Sakura tossed and rolled. Sleep would not come. A few minutes later — hours, in her opinion — the open window brought in bitter winds from the east. Sasuke shivered visibly.

Sakura noticed this, and after a few moments hesitation, Sakura sidled up next to him, dragging her blanket with her. She covered them both with it, and here, she fell asleep easily.

But before she totally lost herself in sleep, she felt a warm arm by her waist, instinctively pulling her close. She finally fell asleep, lulled by the comfortable warmth that enveloped her.

Unfortunately, she didn't notice her Sasuke's eyes opening to stare at the woman next to him.

"text" – normal speech

"text" – hollered speech

'text' – answer to inner voice

"text" – inner voice


Chapter 11: On each other's nerves

The sun was rising beautifully behind the rolling hills as the animals greeted a new glorious day of their village. Cocks crowed. Pigs snorted. Women shrieked.

Wait, what?

"WHAT THE FUCK!"

Sasuke, snuggled comfortably in his cocoon of blankets by the wall, shot up instantly –well, a bit blearily– and searched for the origin of the hideous screech that disturbed his peaceful morning.

Realizing he was alone in the furnitureless (for lack of a better word) bedroom –or maybe blanket room, the supposed bed part was a big help snort– he called out his companion's name and promptly ducked, managing to avoid a lampshade – never mind where that came from – that was thrown full force in his direction and smashed to the wall he was leaning to half a second ago with a resounding crash.

"Sakura –"

Sakura came storming out of the bathroom, waving a white something in her fist. Her expression was livid, her usual bright green eyes raging in fury and her fists tightly clenched (which was what Sasuke was cautious about, Naruto had forewarned him of Sakura's monstrous strength after being demonstrated to it himself).

Sasuke became wary in his approach. The idea of flying kilometers away this morning was really not appealing.

He cleared his throat. "Sakura, what's the prob –"

Sakura unceremoniously lifted him up by the scruff of his shirt and yelled in his face, spitting saliva all over,

"WHERE ARE THE TOILET PAPERS!"


Three hours later, after Sakura visibly calmed down, much to Sasuke's relief, and after gathering their much needed supplies (mainly toilet paper) they made their way out of the town. Sakura was amiably chattering, acting as if nothing has happened just that morning.

Sasuke, meanwhile, was another story altogether. He has assumed the don't-mess-with-me-pose, with his head on one side and his hands on his pocket. He would have looked altogether the usual Uchiha Sasuke, Icecube Royale®, if it wasn't for his left eye, which was twitching horribly, and mind you, that's something to take note. It's rare to find something to visibly shaken the great bast – guy.

And then something happened.

Something sinister.

Horrible.

"Hey dude, your breaking your all-around façade!"

Sasuke discovered he has an inner self.

"Hey man, can you hear me?"

With an attitude.


Some hours later, Sakura – finally – has lapsed into a thoughtful silence, munching on a carrot stick a village lady had been kind enough to give her a batch of. She was contemplating on their colorful morning, giggling mentally on the outrageous face Sasuke had pulled when she raised him up by the collar.

Actually, now that she thought about it, she can't put a finger on why she had exploded that morning when she found out that they were running out of toilet paper. Personally, she doesn't mind toilet papers before but now… it's like essential for her very survival. Why though?

She fiddled with her necklace contemplatively as she walked the forest grounds. Sasuke was slightly in front of her, frowning, his bloodline limit activated. Was something wrong?

And she felt it. Several ninjas were assembled just in front of them and she could fathom no reason of their presence other than to ambush them. Just great.

"Sasuke—"

"I think they're operatives of Akatsuki." Sasuke answered quietly, not taking his eyes off from where they were assembled. "More or less twenty. And I really don't think they're the pushover type."

Sakura snorted. "I'll just punch the ground and –"

"As I said, they're not the type we can handle if they all attack together."

Sakura was incensed. "Look, are you actually serious in getting my children that –"

My children, she said. Sasuke felt an uncharacteristic sting that he, for the moment, conveniently ignored. "I am. Which is why I suggest we escape."

"What! Escape! Bollocks, that one." Sakura sputtered. "I can't believe I'll know the day the almighty Uchiha Sasuke – repeat, Uchiha Sasuke – will shy away from an actual fight!"

Sasuke flashed her the legendary Uchiha Glare®. "I am interested in fighting them. Nice to have better competition. Fortunately,"Sasuke continued doggedly, amidst Sakura's disbelieving sputters, "I am more interested in recovering OUR children. So. There."

A vein throbbed on Sakura's temple. "First and foremost, we are not even sure if this is even the damn right way! Second, I am damned to run away from a damned fight so damn it!"

Sasuke's answer was lost with the wind as a kunai hurted itself between them. They dodged on time as they were assailed by barrages of shuriken. They managed to avoid all these but were further driven from the road, and their attackers showed no signs of staging an appearance. Sakura was infuriated. DAMN IT ALL!

She resolutely stood in front of the attacks, and when an exploding tag made it's way into her direction, she summoned her chakra and prepared a counter attack, her fingers already prepared for the seals, when suddenly…

Sasuke grabbed her by the waist, unceremoniously dumped her on his shoulder, and swiftly made his way from the battle area.

Incensed was an understatement to use to describe what Sakura was currently feeling. "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING! PUT ME DOWN! SASUKE!" All these she bellowed in poor Sasuke's ear.

But Sasuke kept silent.

After long minutes of Sakura's howls and Sasuke's determined silence, Sakura hollered, "GIT! SAY SOMETHING!"

"I am going to take your ninja license and shred it."

"WHAT THE HELL! Darn it, you're the most infuriating, thick-headed man on planet Earth. Try and understand that we need that path. That means we kick their sorry butts, burn their carcasses and continue on our merry way. And since you seem to simply adore speed, going that way is faster, we just need to punch randomly here and there. And having established our need for speed, this running away would defeat the whole purpose of that damned speed. DOU YOU SEE MY LOGIC HERE!"

"Shut up. You're not helping, they can hear you from the other side of the earth."

Sakura gnashed her teeth. "Changed my mind. I'm throwing your carcass with them for good measure."


"Man, can she holler or what?"

Sasuke sighed.

His newly discovered inner self has been bugging him for – he glanced at his watch -- exactly 6 hours, 15 minutes and 18 seconds -- since he managed to escape the ninjas (no thanks to Sakura), find an alternative path and continue on. Sakura was sulking opposite him, their campfire in between.

He had been contemplating on the presence of the ninjas. Does this mean that a safe house in nearby. Possible. But how to find it? Even Sharingan was having a hard time. He had detected a slight trace of something, he just can't determine what exactly it is. And telling Sakura about his suspicions without definite proof might result in his untimely demise.

"Dude? Hey man, you're one of the best! Scared of a helpless damsel?"

And to add to that, the return of his inner voice – 6 hours, 23 minutes and 47 minutes ago – was not helping with his problem.

Sakura was still glowering in her corner – well, not exactly corner, they are in the middle of nowhere – and Sasuke reflected on her behavior. Obviously, she's worried of the safety of her twins – heck, of course she is – but she's acting as if nothing bitter has happened in their past.

He was horrible to her. He never actually actually lost himself in her company – well, okay, once – but she's acting neither disappointed nor angry.

More like, she's acting as if he – or they – are just fine.

"Peachy, more like it."

And furthermore – ignoring his inner voice – Sakura even bundled him up last night. What was that supposed to mean? She still liked him? Heck, still loves him? He knew there was a time when she pledged her undying love for him, but was that all gone? Just vanished with a resounding poof?

He was over-analyzing things.

But he still had to wonder, what really is going on?


"Punch him! Straight on his noggin'!"

Sakura sighed. How she wished she just could. Oooh, she really is itching to!

But no. For the children's sake, she has to stop herself. ARGH!

"Oh, come on! Punch his sorry ass!"

And of course, as inner voices do basically nothing but annoy the actual selves, hers was no different and assaulted her mercilessly.

'If you can just actually tell yourself to shut up…'

"What was that!"

'Can you actually be a bit useful and instead of killing him, think of something of actual USE!'

" – and give him that, and that, and that, and –"

'SHUT UP!'

Suddenly, Sasuke was looking at her really funny, and Sakura gasped. She actually shrieked that out loud!

'OhmygoshohmygoshohmygoshI'msostupid!'

"And give him more of this, and this and –"

'SHUT THE HELL UP!'

And Sasuke raised an eyebrow at her and made his way to her. And she once again relaized her grand error: she blurted it our load. Again.

'He must seriously think I'm loony.'

"I think I've found the safe house."

' – and seriously, why should I care, he left us so being loony's no biggie at a – what did he say!'

"SAY WHAT!"

Sasuke stood up, dusted himself of, summoned water from some place unknown, doused the fire and just then did he glance to Sakura, who was fuming quite a lot (doing what he did did take some time), and replied, "The safe house. A few miles from here."

Sakura's right eye twitched. "Get. To. The. Damned. Point."

Sasuke shrugged nonchalantly, behaving as if he doesn't give a whit if the female a few feet from him was already readying her chakra to take him head on. "Near here, in fact. I think those nins were there to make us think that the safe house was there instead of just around here."

"ThEN WHAT THE HELL ARE WE WAITIN' FOR!" Sakura stood up and hastily threw whatever she could find in her pack – luckily, Sasuke stopped her before she threw a log whose ends were still lit – and slung it behind her, just as Sasuke fiddled with a strap of his pack, adjusting it to fit him.

A vein popped on Sakura's temple. "Uchiha. Are you, for some stupid, bizarre reason, buying for time? I –"

"Stay here."

Now not only was a vein of Sakura throbbing; more likely, her whole being was throbbing. Her voice came out uncharacteristically calm and even. "Mind repeating that?"

"Stay."

And then Sasuke was suddenly behind her, his movement too quick for even her to see. And to her ear, he whispered, "Thank you."

Sakura's eyes widened. "Sas-" And then she was suddenly pitching forward, with nothing for her hands to grab to steady her. And before her world turned black, she felt arms grab her waist anda murmur reached her ears, almost inaudible and she almost disbelieving that she could hear something, silly, something unbelievable, something she knew she would never hear from his lips, something she can't believe she's imagining at a moment like this…

"I love you."


IMPORTANT:

People, sorry for the long update! I had a monstrous author alert, and absolutely had no idea how to proceed that I fear this I just wrote might even be trash! I'm so very sorry everyone!

By the way, I might – repeat, might – change my penname, Lila Paige Rose , to something else because I find the part 'Paige Rose' too lame for comfort!

Does any of you know where I can download "At the Beginning" of Richard Marx and Donna Lwis, from Anastasia the Movie? I really love it! Or where to download soundtracks from Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus? Really, does anyone? I thank Sechskies for her voluntary giving of the first one! Thanks ate gene! For anyone who could give me a credible site, Ask me a favor that has something to do with writing fics and I'll do my best!

Thank you all!