I do not own Naruto.
It all began with a harmless joke on an unsuspecting chunin. Nothing bad was supposed to happen, really, and Kakashi was supposed to go scot-free. Instead, he got saddled with the finished problem: One super-cute Iruka chibi.
Because I wanted to get this chapter done, and because I have a soft spot for Sakura x Lee fan fiction, must be that weird 'I hate you, but I love you' genre, this chapter has been done in record speed for me.
Something you will never see again.
For all you people wondering, there will be a sequel to Plastic Ponies. I think I will have a paragraphfrom the first chapter in my bio in the next few coming days. Hopefully you all will transfer to that story too. I might have it a little better planned out than Plastic Ponies, I think I got lost in the plot a little bit as I was writing. Then it took a life of its own.
Also, if you reviewers happen to also read Nocturne, I'm just going to tell you all that I'm going to take it down soon. I want to tweak it, and get some more plot work done before I post again. I felt it was a little rushed at the end of chapter five. But it might just be something about me?
Sakura looked up from inspecting a tomato, spotting Lee a few feet away; he was sniffing a small piece of ginger root. She knew he had no idea what he was doing, this illustrated by his visible grimace when he bit off a sliver and promptly choked on the strong flavor. The owner of the stand, an old woman, after seeing this, started to berate the boy but she was also trying to shove more vegetables into his arms.
Seeing that he wasn't going to escape, Lee just kept nodding and listening to the woman speak of her crops virtues, Sakura grabbed the tomatoes she needed and moved over to the one-sided conversation.
"Excuse me; I'd like to buy these." Sakura said simply, holding out her tomatoes. As the woman turned to find a bag, Sakura grabbed the root from Lee's hands with a quick jerk, scowling at him. "Are you trying to get us into trouble?" She hissed with her eyes narrowed in a ferocious expression, waving the produce underneath the boy's nose, as if wondering if she should hit him with it or not.
Planting his feet firmly, and hoping he wasn't trembling, the miniature green-beast of Konoha simply tilted his umbrella back in what he hoped was a cool way.
At that time, the woman came back and Sakura grabbed her purchases, shoving the money into the waiting hands and stalked off into the rain.
Just as Lee was about to follow, the woman sighed and leaned against her counter. "You're lucky to have her, boy." She stated, looking at the tall boy to her left, taking him in from the corner of her eye. "She needs someone to boss around who won't kill her."
"Um...We're not going out." Tears streamed down his face, "I swore to myself to catch all the sakura petals, but, alas!" He swept a hand theatrically across his forehead, "I failed to catch the last one!"
"Oh. Oh! In that case," She leaned forward in a calculating way, "Want to buy some raisins?"
Before Sakura could get too far away, Lee dashed after her. He didn't want to be left alone with a woman like that, and he was too fond of not turning down old woman for his own good. Besides, Sakura still had some things to get for her mother. There was still a chance for her to like him back!
"All we need now is the sugar cane and the tulip bulbs." Sakura said in a commanding voice as Lee trailed behind, the bags hanging off her arms swinging and making a type of white noise. "We'll get the sugar cane first, since it's the farthest from the house, and then I will go to Ino's for the bulbs." Sakura continued, not aware that the casually dressed boy was elsewhere, no longer listening to her.
When no response came, she was hoping for something along the lines of, 'But Sakura-chan, I love you!' Sakura whipped around, sending the rain droplets that had stuck to her umbrella everywhere. Searching franticly for a moment, looking for a splash of green against the horizon, Sakura found him talking to a girl, both huddled underneath his atrocity of an umbrella.
She grimaced as she felt something take over here, realizing that it was envy. That or indigestion, but then she remembered that she didn't eat anything except toast. Striding over, she glared jealously at the girl who was paying such rapt attention to Lee's conversation, even laughing once.
The girl was pretty, a little smile playing on her lips and her dark hair reached only a little past her shoulders. Her eyes danced as she laughed with Lee, her crimson colored tank top plastered to her body from the rain, arms wrapped around her to stop from shivering. "Lee-kun, I didn't know that that ever happened!" She giggled, not noticing Sakura's sudden approach.
"Ah, but it did! I thought I would never get away from that boar, it just kept running after me! Then I found out Gai-sensei had put a bag of chips in my backpack, and they had been falling out behind me." Lee laughed, turning towards Sakura. "Isn't that funny, Sakura-chan? I had to do three hundred sit-ups with weights before I redeemed myself."
Sakura felt her eyes narrow. "Hilarious." She twitched as the girl across from her wrapped an arm around Lee's waist, an arm from the boy draping itself over the black-haired girl's shoulders. "Aren't you going to help me?"
The girl smiled and leaned into Lee, whispering into his ear. Turning back to Sakura, she smiled again. "Sakura-chan, don't tell me you and Lee-kun are hanging out today? Helping each other with chores?" She laughed when Lee pinched her friendlily on the cheek, earning a deeper glare from Sakura.
"Yes, we are." She commented harshly, not knowing who this girl was, and how dare she call her friend! They weren't on first name basis! Inner-Sakura growled, a miniature figure of the girl getting hacked to pieces then thrown in the blender. "Are we going?"
"Oh, I don't want to get in the way of you guys! I've got to go anyway. This running in the rain should keep me in shape." The girl grinned and turned to go, waving to the two other pre-teens. Before she moved to far away she about faced and smiled at Lee, "Make sure you aren't late for practice again! We don't want you to turn into sensei's esteemed rival!"
"If I am late again, I shall run around the village five hundred times!" Lee said, striking a pose then running up to the girl, giving her a quick squeeze before shoving his umbrella into her hands. "Make sure you don't get sick, or I will have to do ten thousand pushups with one finger." Then, with another parting hug, he trotted over to Sakura, the light haze from the rain not requiring him to really have an umbrella anymore.
"Who was that?" Sakura asked casually as they walked down the road, Lee closer to the houses and building to shield himself from the occasional big drop.
The boy smiled and shoved his hands into jeans pockets, creating a picture of simplicity and serene-ness that had never been associated with the boy known as Rock Lee. "Tenten." He smiled faintly, remembering his teammate and how she hated it when he was late.
"She had to do some errands today, but when she saw me, we just had to talk. Our team hasn't gotten together in the last week, what with Gai-sensei leaving for his mission five days ago. We have to do some extra training, maybe laps..." Suddenly he turned to Sakura, "Why?"
Sakura sniffed, turning to look away from the boy and glancing at her reflection in a store window. "She looked a little different with her hair down, that's all."
Not wanting to push the matter, and finding it difficult to avoid people walking in the other direction, Lee stayed quite until after they picked up the sugar and started to walk towards Ino's parent's flower shop.
"Ah, I expect you want to go to Ino's alone, so you two can talk?" Lee said slowly, choosing his words carefully, trying not to include training in his phrase. The cold shoulder from Sakura had been a little harsh to deal with, especially since it was stemmed from one of his teammates in the first place. He had no idea what was going on in Sakura's head.
"Yes." Sakura said, deciding it would be better if she wasn't seen with another boy, though it was Lee, when she informed her rival in love about Sasuke. She, in fact, didn't really want to be alone with Ino, but it was better than dragging an innocent bystander into the fray.
Convinced with the answer, Lee turned around, prepared to return back home to his parents, when he was suddenly stopped by a hand on his shoulder. Sakura had stopped him! Hope blossomed in his chest, but when he turned all he found was the girl holding out her bags.
"Can you take this home for me? I don't know how long I'll be at Ino's, and I don't want the meat to get ground into the bread." She stated, thrusting the bags into his empty arms and striding down the street in the direction of her friend's shop.
"Alright, Sakura-chan..." Lee stated, starting to re-think his affections for a certain girl.
"Oh, hello. What can I do for you?" Sakura's mother looked down at the adorable boy in front of her; the eyebrows making him look even cuter in her motherly eyes.
Lee smiled uncertainly. This was the right house, finally. He had knocked on almost twenty doors before this, constantly getting the wrong place. "I brought back the things that Sakura-chan bought for you."
Thinking he was going to be set free after this extra mission, Lee was disappointed when he was pulled into the house by Sakura's mother. She took the bags, which were heavy for Lee, and easily lifted them up to the counter. This was absurd; he would have to do many pushups to be better than this mother!
"Of course, now you just have to stay for breakfast." Mrs. Haruno said, pushing back a pale strand of pink hair and going back to the skillet that had slowly been cooling. She had fed her husband and he was off to work, but she still had a little extra batter. Just enough pancake batter to feed Sakura, when she wasn't dieting, of course.
Lee shook his head, not noticing his body acting of its own accord and sitting down in the chair that was offered silently to him. "I don't think I could! I mean, I ate, and then I would have to do more training, not that I don't like training, it's just that my awesome sensei with gleaming teeth isn't here right now, and it would be bad if I got fat and he came back and I couldn't do awesome, fantastic poses with him for the good of Konoha!"
"Gai will be fine with you staying for one meal." The woman somehow had heard the garbled mess of nouns and verbs and translated it into human speech. "I know he's come over here a few times with my husband, just not when Sakura isn't here, thank the gods."
She glared at the batter, she had found the three eggs that she needed to make them. Funny, Sakura didn't need to go out at all. Smiling to herself, she turned on the stovetop again. "So, where is my daughter? Why did she send you to deliver things I sent her out to get?
"Also, where are the tulips?"
Lee shrugged helplessly, trying to find another way out of this house. Sakura's mother was...nice...but she seemed too intent on trying to fatten him up. A risk that no ninja could face, he had no idea how Mr. Haruno stayed trim with this bubbly, food-making woman as his wife.
Before Lee could answer, a slam from the front door shook the entire house. "Oh, welcome home, Sakura dear!" The mother said, turning to look at her befuddled daughter who was in the doorway to the kitchen, clutching a bag with a flower imprinted on the side. "Did you get my tulips?"
"Yes." She ground out, dumping them on the table before turning to glare at Lee. "What are you doing here?" She snarled, her eyes seeming to flash red for a moment before she sighed. "Mom, I'm going to my room."
The mother of the pink-haired girl sighed as her youngster walked away, leaving a confused young man sitting at the table, confusion evident on his face. "That girl, she is so..." Mrs. Haruno looked back out the window, sighing again when she saw the downfall of rain resuming after a slight pause.
After a few moments she turned back to Lee, seeming surprised at finding him still sitting down, dropping her knife to land with an uncanny precision on the cutting board and her hand going up to cover her mouth as a polite gasp passed her lips. "Here I am, keeping you from you family on a nice day like this!
"Quick, you must get home!" She said, Lee suddenly finding himself in front of the door leading out to the cold outdoors. "Here, take this," An umbrella that looked uncannily like Sakura's was thrust into his hands as Lee was forced from the house, "return it tomorrow!"
As he began to walk outside, Lee could have sworn that the older woman had winked at him before promptly slamming the door in his face. The boy smiled as he tromped down the street, a thought coming to him unbidden through the murkiness of the day.
'I have to return this to wonderful Sakura-chan tomorrow!'
Thus, with an elated feeling of happiness, at least one ninja in the village of Konohagakure was deemed to have at least a chance at the love of their life.
This tale of humor and angst is finally finished.