AN: Yup, it's one of those "Sasuke is going to embark upon restoring his clan" fic's. Twist? Well I'm sure there is one but it's not like I'm going to be all up front about it. I hope to make it a romantic comedy, mainly because I don't want Cheryl to spork her eyes out with all my angst. I can't have my SasuSaku guru with sporked out eyes.
There's a reference to a particular character that's so easy to miss in the anime if you blinked. But in the Chuunin LJ community, he did not go unnoticed and was even given a name. He, and part of that name have been included in this chapter. So I must give credit to those that named him appropriately enough.
Rated as such for innuendo and language. If most don't find it offensive I will lower the bugger.
Chapter One: Hark! A New Idea.
by Wicked ChildSun shone brightly through the window, illuminating everything in sight with a cheer not felt by the room's occupant. Birds chirped happily, singing songs only one of their own could understand. The scent of flowers nearly overpowering if one were so inclined to walk aimlessly through a field. Spring was in full bloom and everything seemingly reflected that fact. Except for him, and he certainly wasn't one to walk aimlessly anywhere let alone a field of flowers. Looking out, he could see the village, the one he abandoned for power nearly four years prior. He hated this room. He hated the sun. He sure as hell hated the hospital. He hated everything that reminded him of the day he decided to leave everything behind in order to gain the power he needed to kill his brother.
Now he was back, and had been for some time. No one from his village had seemingly given up the hope to return him to his proper home in the three years he'd been with Orochimaru. They had come, determined to bring him back with or without his consent. His wants and desires ignored by those he thought might understand but who obviously didn't. He hated them at times for that simple miscalculation, even if it was his.
At the same time several Konoha squads were bent on his retrieval, Akatsuki decided that the time to strike against Naruto had come as well. The mere thought of being able to kick his supposed badass older brother into submission before killing him outright had been ripe in his mind. A battle never before seen, and hopefully never again would be, ensued. Long entrenched ambitions came to fruition for some and were dashed for others. Itachi still lived. Orochimaru did not.
He almost died had it not been for his former teammate. The annoying girl was determined to save him, and anyone else from Leaf that had been injured. She passed out from sheer exhaustion by the end. Then again, she hadn't just sat back and watched the battles within the battle. She'd taken part as well, killing when she wasn't saving. He'd be hard pressed to say he was impressed, but the truth of the matter was that he'd been shocked at her change. She had become a fine kunoichi.
A busy kunoichi as well. Her absence at his bedside did not go unnoticed. While he was thankful from being spared any annoying declarations of love, he did miss the company of his former friends. Naruto was busy on missions, and when he wasn't he was either stuffing his face or training.
Naruto. He too had changed. Sasuke was certain that he was still inferior to the blond boy, but that somehow comforted him. He still had to improve, which meant that he still had purpose in life. His brother would die by his hands, no doubt about that, but he could still rival Naruto the way he had before. The only difference was that now Sasuke was ready to accept his failures and learn from them rather than go berserk and run away with a demented Sennin.
He'd been lucky really. During the battle, no Leaf-nin ever tried to kill him but subdue him in order to take him back. Tsunade had never declared him a missing-nin, and as far as he knew no hunter-nin had ever been given the order to search and destroy. She slapped him as though he were her wayward son and scolded him as such. She attributed his defection as an influence of his curse seal, stating that Orochimaru had manipulated him into leaving the village. It was part truth; he was now able to see that.
Of course his brother's final words to him also helped him realize that his defection had been a terrible mistake. Imagine his surprise when that bastard of a brother told him that he was still foolish and weak for accepting a curse seal from a man that feared him, Uchiha Itachi. How could Sasuke ever become stronger through a man that was weaker than his brother? Orochimaru had never mentioned that little tidbit of information.
But was Itachi really that strong? Sakura had easily pushed the missing-nin out of her way in order to heal Sasuke. The frown on his brother's face made Sasuke desperately worried for his former teammate's life but Itachi had merely stood there, frowning, listening to Sakura's verbal bitch slap. To both Uchiha's.
"You two are such fucking morons, it's no wonder you're related! It must be something in your blood that makes a genius stupid beyond all recognition. Get Sharingan, get stupid. You!" Sakura pointed at Itachi, glaring as best she could despite her present company and the fact that she could very well end up deader than dead. "If you want so badly to die by your brother's hand, then back the fuck up and let me do my job. How can he kill you if he's dead? And you!" This time she glared at Sasuke, something she'd never done but had every inclination of doing it more often because that got a reaction out of him. "Sasuke-kun, if you want to get stronger then shut the hell up and get your ass back to Konoha!"
Itachi had smirked then, bowed, and walked away. "Upon our next meeting, foolish brother, don't disappoint me. If you do, your flower…." Itachi's voice faded but both understood the implications.
Sakura had tried to brush it off. "Ha! As if I'm going to be caught anywhere near him again. I'm not stupid, unlike some people I know. Besides, who the hell said I was yours anyway?" Sakura frowned then, as she concentrated chakra to her hands in order to heal the prone boy—man, definitely man—before her.
"Sakura," he said hoping to make her realize the danger. His brother didn't make empty threats.
"Shut up. I'm working."
And he was back; he wore the Leaf hitai-ate and served the Godaime. Although, that meant being under her scrutinizing gaze at all times. He'd only been sent on a few C-rank missions, missions so completely beneath him he'd been outraged. Sakura had, none-to-kindly, informed him that it was because he needed to prove his loyalty. He wasn't fully trusted. He'd been accepted back but not without reservation.
"Tch." He turned over in the bed, looking at the wall instead of facing the window. The only reason he was in the hospital now was due to a training incident gone wrong. "Stupid Naruto."
Naruto hadn't been injured and had gone off on a mission the next day, with Sakura joining him as the team's medic-nin and more than likely the brains of the group. Kiba and Neji were their other team members this time around. It should have been him in that mix instead of someone like Neji. But then, Sasuke was certain he was a far better candidate than the dog boy. No, he had been relegated to escorting people he considered idiots, regardless of stature and riches. He deserved to be on A-rank missions, even if he wasn't a Jounin. It was idiotic to not use him for such missions when he obviously had the talent. His other main problem other than former traitor: he was still only a Genin according to Konoha.
He felt as though he was one of the oldest Genin's in Konoha's existence. Well wait, wasn't there that one guy during our first Chuunin exam? Flanders or some such thing as Naruto had called him? That alone made him feel better. At least he wasn't as old as that guy, and he was sure as hell a lot more powerful than that guy.
The four had been gone for six days. The mission was only supposed to take three. He was getting restless. Waiting, he decided, sucked.
The sounds of the birds chirping happily were soon overcome with noise in the hallway. A voice he instantly recognized as Naruto's. The other voice took him a moment to place before realizing it belonged to Kiba. From what Sasuke could discern, which wasn't much, revolved around a bet in which the winner was being disputed. Yes, he was being wasted on low ranked missions.
A blur of pink dashed into the room, in an attempt to escape the pleading cries of, "Sakura-chan! Tell him who won!" and "Sakura you know who won and it wasn't this idiot!" to "Who're you calling an idiot you bastard?" and "I'm calling you an idiot, idiot!"
Pressing her back against the door Sakura sighed and closed her eyes in relief. The pounding of fists on the door snapped them open as the muffled cries of both Kiba and Naruto could be heard. Sasuke saw one of her eyes twitching in annoyance.
"This is a hospital dammit! People are trying to heal and work here! They don't need your God forsaken voices disturbing their peace! Have some respect dammit!" Sakura's outburst must have done the trick as the noise from the other side of the door ceased all together. A soft sigh escaped her lips and Sakura rested her head against the door.
Sasuke took in her battered appearance. Still wearing her Chuunin uniform, he guessed the group had just returned from their mission. She looked dead tired and he feared that she might have fallen asleep standing up.
"Despite their brilliance and subsequent idiocy, I fear Tsunade-sama will continue to put them on the same team until they realize how to work quietly with each other." Sakura opened her eyes and smiled. "I didn't wake you did I?"
Sasuke gave a slight shake of his head. This garnered another smile from the young woman.
"Good. I was worried you might be resting. How are you feeling? I didn't bring any apples with me to peel for you, we just got back from reporting to Tsunade-sama and I came directly here."
"I hate this place."
Sakura walked over and sat on the only stool in the room. "Most people do if they're the patient. I'm honestly surprised you're still here. I figured you'd have flown the coop the moment you woke up."
Sasuke glared. "It isn't as easy for me to leave unnoticed as it was before."
"No, I suppose it's not. That'll change soon enough." She beamed at him in a confidence he wondered at. How the hell could she be so confident that he wouldn't be looked down upon, suspected, and distrusted? At times her optimism sickened him. Or it could just be that he had cabin fever.
"What was their excuse for coming here if not to visit?" Not that he actually suspected that Naruto or Kiba would ever willfully visit him while he was laid up in a hospital bed. Well maybe Naruto if only to gloat that he was better but Kiba was a no go.
Sakura looked at him perplexed before realizing to whom he was referring. "Oh them!" She laughed lightly before adding, "They've been arguing since we got back into Fire Country about who won their stupid bet. Neji wouldn't have anything to do with them so I was stuck playing mediator. No matter what conclusion I came up with neither were satisfied so I ran here in an effort to lose them. It didn't work, obviously."
She didn't come here out of concern for him? She used him to escape two teammates? That was highly unusual for Sakura. But when he thought about it, the legion of fangirls that had hounded him when he was twelve had seemingly disappeared, for which he was thankful. However, Sakura's devotion to him seemed to be waning. It didn't really matter to him, but it was nice to have something to fall back on, if only for his malnourished ego.
He watched her as she began to fiddle with her uniform. She was having trouble taking off her vest and her face screwed up in pain anytime her left arm moved. He got off the bed and helped her in her task; it annoyed him she couldn't even properly undress herself.
"Thanks." A grateful smile reached her eyes. She really did appreciate the small things.
Sasuke grunted in response and sat back on the bed. "Can you get me out of here?"
"I don't see why not. What have your doctors said about your condition?"
"Nothing." To him it was truthful. He didn't understand their medic-babble other than he should take more care when training and his concussion was pretty nasty. "They have no reason to keep me here any longer and yet I can't leave."
Frowning, Sakura took a look at the chart hanging on the end of his bed. Sasuke had no doubt spied at its contents himself, but not being medically trained the scrawls were more than likely nonsense. Skimming through the pages she spotted what was the cause for his imprisonment.
Do not let him leave the hospital until Uzumaki Naruto and/or Haruno Sakura are back from their current mission. Hokage's orders.
She pursed her lips together as she realized the implications. He really wasn't trusted and wouldn't be for a long time to come. Aloud she said, "Well there's no reason for them to keep you here any longer. Get dressed and we'll get you checked out ASAP." She grinned at him and walked toward the door. "I'm going to get the paperwork in order while you change. Be back in a few minutes."
Sakura walked toward that floor's nurses station, slightly upset that Sasuke wasn't being given the benefit of doubt. He hadn't given anyone reason to believe he'd bolt. Orochimaru was dead; the seal was for the most part, null and void. By the same token however, Sasuke hadn't done anything to earn anyone's trust. Walking down the street and kneeling before anyone and everyone begging forgiveness wasn't something he would do, not that it would do any good of course.
The only way Sasuke could truly prove himself was to put his life on the line for Konoha, not his own selfish reasons. However, seeing as the Hokage didn't seem to trust him enough to do more than simple escort missions for trumped up nobility who feared their own shadow more than anything didn't seem to indicate that Sasuke's chance to prove himself was going to happen anytime soon. Having her and Naruto baby-sit him didn't seem to be a positive factor either.
Then again, did Sasuke even care? Did he even want to get into their good graces again? Of course both she and Naruto had forgiven him and welcomed him back openly, yet Sakura wasn't even sure if he cared about that fact. Well she knew that Naruto's forgiveness meant something to him, but hers? She didn't want to think about the silence her own inner voice provided. Or what it meant.
Gathering all the forms necessary Sakura signed Sasuke out from the hospital. She returned to his room to deliver this good news only to find the room empty.
"Sasuke?" No response. "Sasuke?" she asked slightly more urgently. Shit! This was not good. Not good at all. She briskly walked into the adjoining bathroom, which was empty. Throwing the doors to the little closet in the room told her that all his clothes were gone. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit!
The window to the room was open, the breeze wafting in along with the distinct smell of spring. Anger began to boil deep within. The bastard had used her! When she found that traitor she'd give him an ass kicking no one this side of life had ever seen or felt before.
"Sasuke, you're such an asshole bastard!" Sakura's fist clenched at her sides, shaking in rage. Oh she would indeed give him an ass kicking that even his brother would say, "Damn, that's a bit harsh don't you think? Go easy on the kid. He has to kill me remember?"
"Sakura, what are you mumbling about?"
Sakura wheeled around to face the owner of that voice. Sasuke stood in the doorway, dressed and carrying his complimentary Konoha Hospital bag given to all patients. He looked slightly perturbed. Inwardly Sakura screamed at the top of her lungs in exasperation. It didn't matter if he hadn't snuck out like the traitor he was labeled, she'd still kick his ass then kick it some more.
"Where were you?"
Raising an eyebrow, his face then took on a bored expression. "I was waiting in the hallway for you to finish signing the papers. You walked right past me."
"Oh." Sakura couldn't help but feel stupid. "I forgot my vest and, uh, was lost in my own thoughts."
Sasuke held up the plastic bag. "The vest is in here."
"Aren't you going to walk me home? Godaime doesn't want me out of your sight, right?" He now looked annoyed and she ashamed.
Without another word Sakura walked out of the room and hospital, Sasuke beside her not saying a word. He wasn't so medic-babble stupid that he couldn't discern the message on the last page about his release. Hell, no one needed to know medic-babble to understand that statement loud and clear. His two former teammates were ordered to baby-sit him and watch over him making sure he stayed a good little boy-man.
He deserved better than this. A small voice in the back of his mind told him that he deserved death or imprisonment for his actions against the Leaf. Sasuke did what he always did whenever that voice decided to speak up, he squashed it dead.
Sakura was again lost in her own thoughts, barely noticing their surroundings or various catcalls she received as they walked toward Sasuke's apartment. She knew he was upset at not being able to use his skills as a shinobi effectively. Tsunade had told her explicitly that she wasn't about to let Sasuke on any sort of mission above C-rank unless he was desperately needed. As in she'd rather let rookie Genins or academy students in on a B-rank or A-rank mission than the Uchiha heir. He was going to have to live with his fate for the time being. But Sakura wanted to make that time enjoyable for him, especially since she didn't know how long his restrictions would be in place. The memory of Tsunade telling her that the restriction would be in place until Sasuke was old and wrinkly was good for her wasn't very comforting. Maybe not him, but for the Hokage it seemed to suit her just fine.
Biting her lip she tried to think of different ways to occupy his time with thoughts other than vengeance. Sasuke wasn't a normal teenager though, and what did most normal teenage boys have on their mind? From her experience, it always seemed to revolve around sex, although most hid this fact with the line "I want to ensure my clan will continue to protect Konoha for generations to come."
Wait a minute. Hadn't Sasuke said something like that when they first formed Team Seven? Sakura was sure of it. He wanted to restore his clan after killing that man. When she put her last thought together with this new one, she wondered if Sasuke was just as perverted as Jiraiya. Twelve years old and already thinking about sex!
But maybe that's what he needed. Maybe he needed to start in on ensuring his clan's restoration before he fulfilled his other life goal. He could woo some female into being his wife, and hopefully he would love her, and either get engaged or married before going off to kill Itachi. Although to ensure that his family line would continue his bride might have to be pregnant before he departed because he could die on his self imposed mission. She'd seen the older brother's abilities and damn if she wasn't scared at the prospect of meeting him alone, or ever again for that matter.
Oh nice Sakura, she thought. Lose faith in him and be just as big a traitor as he was.
But she didn't mean to have traitorous thoughts. She was just being realistic wasn't she? No one was invincible. No one. Not even a member of the Uchiha clan, although Itachi liked to prove otherwise.
Question was, would Sasuke go for it? Would he buy into it and search for a suitable woman to be his wife? Then again, would he even be able to find a woman willing enough? Of course she'd willingly go along with it, but she knew that she wasn't the right woman. She never would be. And Sasuke was rather dense when it came to the opposite sex. He'd need help finding the proper woman, for more than one reason or another.
A small grin made it's way on her face and her male companion could only think of it as being rather mischievous and all together sinister. There was a strange glint her in her green eyes as they neared his home. He hoped she wasn't going to ask him on a date, not that she had since he had returned but that wasn't the point.
"Hey Haruno! How about we play doctor!"
Sakura turned toward the man who called out to her and smiled. "Not today Genma, but maybe some other time."
"I'm taking that as a promise kid." Genma smiled and winked before getting hit upside the head by an angry looking Shizune.
Sakura giggled before following Sasuke up the stairs to his apartment. Once inside the two made themselves comfortable, silence reigning. Normally this was fine with Sasuke, who preferred silence, but that grin remained plastered on Sakura's face and it was making him rather disconcerted. Instead of blurting out, "What?" he remained calm and said in a tone as bored as he could muster, "You lead them on you know."
"Huh? Who?" Sakura seemed bewildered but that grin was thankfully gone.
"All the men that call out to you. You never tell them anything but empty promises. Such as that one guy out there." Sasuke stared at his ceiling, more bored than he realized.
"Genma? Who says it isn't empty? Have you ever been on a mission with him where he had to take off his shirt? Didn't think so." Sakura paused, remembering the sight fondly. "Besides, my day wouldn't be complete without him saying something like that to me."
"Isn't he like forty?" Her joy at being so unabashedly propositioned didn't sit so well with him. In the past she would pummel the male that dared make a move or comment toward her.
"He's thirty-four. And he really does have a great body. Not that that's the point. Besides, he's actually a good guy who's involved with someone." Sakura nodded her head firmly to drive that point home.
Sasuke snorted. "And what does she think, having him propositioning a girl half his age?"
"You saw what she did." Sakura stood and walked into the kitchen, pouring herself some juice along with a glass for her supposed host.
Sasuke blinked. That old pervert was involved with the Hokage's assistant? For some reason, he found that somewhat unsettling and disturbing. The fact that he was willing to talk to Sakura in such a manner, and had apparently been half naked in her presence was on a whole different level. As her former teammate he had to protect her virtue. He was certain Naruto would do the same.
Taking the juice she offered him he watched her walk over to the chair she'd been sitting in. He found it strange that she didn't sit next to him as she would have before, but he wasn't so stupid to not understand time changes people.
"Hey Sasuke-kun, I was thinking about a way for you to get your mind off of things."
Taking a sip he grunted his permission for her to continue.
"Back when we were kids you said you wanted to restore you clan. You also said that you had to kill your brother. You can't do one, but you can do the other." She looked him straight in the eyes when she said that last part.
Sasuke stared at her, contemplating her words and her gaze. She wasn't, was she? "Are you asking me to sleep with you Sakura?" His voice was deadpan but inside he couldn't believe her boldness. His question made her balk and pale.
"No not at all! In order to restore your clan you would require the right woman to be the mother of your children. She would have to be special, possess special qualities that you would admire, and desire for your clan. I was just thinking that you should get started in searching for that woman." She bit her lip as she awaited his response.
Sasuke looked at the juice in his hands. If he didn't know better, he'd think Sakura was telling him to get laid. But she wasn't saying that she should be the one to do so. "You think I need to find a woman and start a family." He paused watching her reaction. She gave him a slight nod. "Just to get my mind off my restriction as a Leaf shinobi."
Her nod this time was ever more slight and less sure. "Look at it this way Sasuke-kun. You are currently forbidden to search for your brother. That means one of your life goals is unavailable to you at this time. Your other life goal, however, is not. You want to get back at Itachi for all that he's done to you and your family. Why not get him back by starting a family of your own?"
"He could just as easily kill them. He's already threatened you," Sasuke spat. He wanted to restore his clan but not until he knew his brother was burnt to a nice crisp, like something Naruto would have cooked.
"They could be killed walking down the street by lightning. It's a risk you have to take regardless of who your family is. Besides, you won't be a little boy unable to protect them. And you'll have people backing you up." He needed this. She knew he did and dammit she was going to make him accept it one way or another. Granted, tying him to a bed and ordering some female to become impregnated by him did not seem the best option. The consequences would be most dire.
He was quiet for a moment. It was true, most of what she said. Killing Itachi had been taken from him, which had incensed him but he could concentrate on the next phase. She was right when she said he wasn't some little boy who couldn't protect those he loved, not that he would love the mother of his offspring, and he did have people he could trust to be there for him, namely Naruto and Sakura. It could be worth checking in to. Although that meant spending time with females, and pretending to care about whatever they babbled about inanely. It meant, meeting parents and spending time doing couple-like things such as holding hands, kissing, having sex.
Shit, he'd have to have sex. When he mentioned restoring his clan when he was twelve the actual act hadn't entered his mind. Well it did, and maybe even in some detail for a moment or two but he hadn't dwelt on it for too long. Maybe he'd have to steal Kakashi's Paradise books to get some tips or something. During his time in Sound he hadn't bothered with the opposite sex, much like he hadn't here in Konoha.
Truth be told Sasuke was a slightly scared, seventeen year old virgin. He knew that Naruto wasn't one, neither were Kiba, Shikamaru, nor Shino, even Chouji had gotten some. Maybe Neji was one too? Not that he was in a race or anything, but he knew if that fact got out people would say things about him that weren't true in the least. He had just never bothered to give in to whatever carnal desires he may have felt from time to time. His hand did the job just fine. But he'd feel a lot better if Neji, at least, was still a virgin. He could blame it on bloodlines or some such thing.
"Well?" Sakura looked expectantly at him, waiting for his answer. Part of him wondered why he had to answer to her, mainly because she hadn't asked him a real question but it would be pointless to argue.
"Fine. Tomorrow I'll begin to search for a suitable woman." Sasuke set the empty juice glass on the side table next to his couch and began to formulate a plan in his head. He barely registered Sakura's derisive snort as she stood and took her glass and his back into the kitchen, washing them before putting them away.
"You're going to need help," she said from the kitchen as she took out various food items.
"Why would I need help?" He was still rather popular among the females even if he didn't give them the time of day, glared at them for looking his way, or telling them what they could do with their time. All he needed to do was smile, maybe even wink, and he'd have a slew of females at his feet begging him for the chance to repopulate the Uchiha compound.
"Why would Uchiha Sasuke need help, I wonder?" Sakura began to chop vegetables as she spoke. "How many dates have you been on? You never accepted my invitations so I'm curious."
"How many compliments have you given to a girl?" Sakura moved from chopping one vegetable to another.
"None that I can think of." Well he did tell Sakura at the start of the Chuunin exams that she was good in genjutsu but he didn't think that counted and he was more than positive that neither would she.
"Do you know the first thing about getting a woman interested in you, and being born with that face isn't acceptable"
"Hn." But it sure as hell helps, he thought smugly.
Nodding Sakura continued, "Sasuke face it. When it comes to girls, dating, and anything remotely social your have the abilities of a gnat. All in all you suck at it. You may be the most beautiful creature on God's green earth and a genius at the shinobi arts but when it comes to the opposite sex you're as dumb as Naruto."
Sasuke winced visibly at the comparison but his female companion either didn't notice or didn't care.
"Not to mention that you're a traitor to the village and not many people trust you. You're going to need help in getting the right woman. So I'm going to help you." She hesitated before adding, "Whether you like it or not."
Silence descended on the pair as Sasuke sat contemplating her words. She meanwhile busied herself in the kitchen, setting the table, and being as unobtrusive as possible. For a good half hour nothing but the sounds of Sakura moving about in the kitchen could be heard.
Finally she said, "Get washed up. Dinner's ready. We'll talk about Mission: Get Sasuke Laid while we eat."