DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO
Italics mean what the person is thinking.
AN: Definite pairings: SasukeSakura, TentenNeji, NarutoHinata, and InoShikamaru. There is no Inner Sakura in this fic unless you really really want her in it. This story is slightly AU. Remember, nobody likes a flamer!
Three Weeks Vacation
Day 12: Thursday (Carnival Part 1)
Tenten sat up drowsily to the clanging of pots in the morning accompanied by shouting. She muttered sleepily, "What the…"
The kunoichi slipped out of bed and into a robe before heading into the kitchen, where she found Neji and Lee clamoring over breakfast. Neji roared, "Lee, you dumbass, you burned it!"
Lee retorted loudly, "Nonsense, my misinformed comrade! I think it's supposed to be black around the edges…"
Neji ripped the pot from Lee's gloved hand. "Give me that!"
The Hyuuga prodigy prodded the formless shape in the pan with a wooden spoon. A temple throbbed in his forehead as he shoved the mess under poor Lee's nose. "Do you think Tenten will even think about eating that?"
Lee peered at it innocently. "Um…maybe. It looks kinda edible!"
Neji dumped the black object onto a plate and handed it to Lee. "Eat it."
Lee looked flabbergasted. "Eat it?"
Neji emphasized, "Yes. Eat it."
The green beast of Konoha protested, "I can't eat that! It'll kill me!"
Neji threw the mess into the garbage. "Precisely. If you can't eat it, do you think Tenten will be able to? Obviously not."
Just then, Neji spotted Tenten chuckling quietly in the hallway. He glared at her. "What're you laughing at?"
Tenten strode into the kitchen and crossed her arms. She surveyed the mess all over the counters and asked, "What might that be?"
Neji scooted into her view hastily, attempting to block said mess. He reassured her, "Nothing we can't clean up."
Tenten raised an eyebrow. "And what was the earlier argument about?"
The Hyuuga mumbled, "We were trying to cook stuff, and you know, idiot Lee couldn't cook to save his life…"
"I wouldn't be calling him an idiot if I were you, I don't think you can cook either," commented Tenten.
Neji scoffed, and Lee chirped, "Sakura-san just dropped by! She said that everyone's heading to the village. There's supposed to be a carnival there!"
Tenten nodded her appreciation. "Thanks, Lee."
She eyed Neji, who was covered in assorted substances. "You better go change…"
The two disappeared into their respective rooms and emerged five minutes later, freshened up. "Right," said Tenten enthusiastically, "let's meet up with everyone else. You coming, Lee?"
Lee hopped out energetically. "Hai! Anything to see my most precious person!"
Tenten said sympathetically, "Lee, I don't think Sorai-san enjoys you calling her 'precious person' all the time…she has a name, you know."
Lee pondered the suggestion for a moment. Then he grinned at Tenten, "Of course, fellow teammate!"
Tenten took Neji's hand and lead him out the door. She smiled at him. "It'll be fun, won't it, Neji?"
Neji gave Tenten one of his rare smiles. "Of course."
She smiled, pleased, at him and hugged him. They arrived at the top of the hill, where everyone was standing and chatting animatedly. Ino raised her hands, and the chatter died away slowly. She grinned at everyone and said loudly, "Now, as you all know, we're going to the village for the carnival! We don't really need to stick together, but everyone, don't get lost."
Shikamaru muttered loud enough for everyone to hear, "If you do get lost, it'll get troublesome, so please, don't."
The group trooped towards the village. Tenten squealed, "Oh, Neji, it'll be so fun!"
Neji snorted softly as Tenten continued, "I haven't been to a carnival in ages! And all the stuffed animals are absolutely adorable!"
Neji felt a growing dread. She's going to expect me to play games for her…Tenten smiled widely at Neji. "Don't you love carnivals as well?"
Neji snapped back to reality. "Huh? Oh, yeah, of course. Especially when someone close to me is going with me."
Tenten blushed and cooed, "Oh, that's so sweet."
Neji mentally congratulated himself. Smooth, Neji, that was smooth. He tried not to look smug. However, a moment later, he was sprawled on the ground, face-first in the dust. Neji leapt up, spitting dust and glaring murderously at the rock he tripped over. Tenten was laughing so hard, tears popped into her eyes. "Oh, Neji, that was…that was so not smooth!"
Neji thought wryly, Oh, the irony…Moments later, the couples and singles arrived at the village and separated. Tenten pulled Neji towards a game stall. "Oh, look, Neji! It's so adorable! I absolutely need that!"
Neji eyed the shuriken plushie. "That? Do you really?"
He regretted his indifferent comment when he saw the look on Tenten's face. "Oh, of course not, I was just saying…"
Neji stepped up to counter and smirked. Too easy…throw and hit the can? Too easy…Neji laid down enough money for three throws. Tenten cheered, "Thank you so much Neji!"
The Hyuuga tried to block out her voice as a blush crept up his face. He aimed the beanbag almost carelessly and threw…only to miss. Tenten fell silent and then laughed nervously. "Must've been the wind! I mean…Neji? Miss?"
Neji picked up the second beanbag and aimed more carefully this time. He threw it and started to smirk, but stopped when the beanbag missed the can the second time as well. Neji held himself back from releasing all his anger on the nearest person and, instead, picked up the third beanbag and promptly squashed it. The vendor blinked a few times at the angry young man and protested, "'Ey, I can't 'ave people comin' in and destroyin' my beanbags!"
Neji slapped down a twenty dollar bill and growled, "Give me another one of those shits."
The burly man handed Neji another beanbag. Neji focused carefully, but at the last moment let out an angry yell and threw the beanbag with all his force. Tenten muttered, "Oh, I don't think-"
However, the beanbag hit the can dead-on and knocked it off the table. The vendor picked up the can, which was bent in half. He stared at it for a moment more before saying meekly, "Well, you earned it by rights…here you go, sir!"
Neji took the plushie murderously and gave it to Tenten. She squealed and threw her arms around Neji's neck. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you!"
Neji blushed and mumbled, "Don't mention it…Seriously…"
He led the jubilant Tenten to yet another game, where hopefully, he wouldn't have such bad luck.
Ino whined, "Oh, come on, Shikamaru! Don't be so lazy…"
Shikamaru muttered, "No. Well, not yet. Not right now."
Ino pouted. "Fine, don't play any games…geez…"
Shikamaru tried to appease his girlfriend by pointing out the Ferris Wheel. "Say, look, why don't we ride on that…"
Ino huffed, "If it makes you happy, oh Shika-sama."
Moments later, Shikamaru and Ino were seated in one of the Ferris Wheel's many carriages. Ino was leaning moodily against the side of the carriage, elbow propped on the wall. She looked down at the rest of the carnival through half-lidded eyes. Ino sneaked a glance at Shikamaru, who was leaning against the other side of the carriage, elbow propped on the wall as well. He was looking forward lazily. Ino pointed out loudly, "Say, look, I think I see Sakura…and there's Sasuke, I think, with her…"
Receiving no response, Ino continued loudly, "They look like they're having fun…At least they're playing games!"
Shikamaru muttered, "That's nice, Ino."
The blonde huffed and fell silent. As they neared the top of the wheel, she spoke up again. "Mmmm…Sasuke-kun looks really sexy…"
Shikamaru remained the same. Ino grew more annoyed and said loudly, "I said, 'Sasuke-kun looks really sexy!'"
Shikamaru replied monotonously, "If you're trying to make me jealous, it's not working."
Ino defended herself hastily, "Who says I'm making you jealous? I'm just saying-"
"-'Sasuke's very sexy', yes, I heard," finished Shikamaru.
Ino pouted. "Oh, come on, Shika-kun, this is boring…"
Shikamaru sighed, but he didn't say anything. Ino sighed as well and fell silent. As they reached the top of the Ferris Wheel, the machine suddenly came to a grinding halt. Ino lamented loudly, "Oh wonderful! How classic! I'm stuck atop a Ferris Wheel with a lazyass genius! Woe is me!"
Shikamaru shut his eyes. "Ino…please be quiet."
Ino continued on sorrowfully, "Does anyone have a boyfriend like me? One who's so lazy, he won't accompany a poor girl like me to play games?"
Here, Ino whacked Shikamaru on the back of his head. "I think not!"
Shikamaru protested, "Oh, come on, here, I'll play games with you after this stupid ride!"
Ino brightened and laid her head on Shikamaru's shoulder. She fluttered her eyelashes and cooed, "Really, Shika-kun?"
Shikamaru rolled his eyes and replied, "Yes. How troublesome…"
Ino sat up again and retorted, "Too bad."
The couple remained silent with Shikamaru's occasional mutterings as the Ferris Wheel jerked back into order. They descended, and Ino grinned wickedly. She took Shikamaru's arm and led him to a game stall. "How about that one, Shika…"
Naruto grinned energetically at Hinata. "Hinata-chan! What do you want to do?"
Hinata poked her fingers together shyly. "A-Anything you want, N-Naruto-kun…"
Naruto grabbed Hinata's hand and squeezed. "Alright! Here, I'll win you something as a token of my love, ne?"
Hinata blushed and smiled. Naruto lead her through the crowd to the first game stall he could find. Naruto brightened. "Look, Hinata-chan! The prize is really kawaii, ne? Just like you!"
Hinata blushed again. She admired the lavender unicorn staring at up at her with huge eyes. "It's v-very cute…"
Naruto grinned at the game. The vendor roared, "Toss a ball into the hoop and win a lovely prize! You, m'lad, would ya like to play?"
Naruto stepped up boldly. "Hai!"
He winked at Hinata, making her blush, and turned to the hoop. He aimed with careful precision and tossed. The ball soared through the air beautifully and landed in the hoop. He hooted, and the vendor gave him a small pink bear plushie. Naruto ogled at it and protested loudly, "Ano sa, what about that bear one? The purple one?"
The vendor replied, "That one's the grand prize. Make the hoop four more times, and I'll give it to ya!"
Naruto squawked, "What a rip-off!"
Hinata offered quietly, "We d-don't have to p-play, Naruto-kun…"
Naruto rolled up his sleeves. "Nonsense! Give me that!"
After six more throws, Naruto beamed. He had only missed two of them, and he won the plushie as well! Naruto took it carefully and dashed to Hinata. He gave her the plushie and beamed. Hinata smiled widely, her eyes moist. "Oh, thank you so much, Naruto-kun…"
Naruto grinned widely. "You didn't stutter!"
He hugged her and spun her around once before setting her down. Hinata buried her face in Naruto's shirt, glad that she was with the person she loved. Naruto took her hand gently and led her to a food stall. He was content to stare at Hinata the whole night. I'm so lucky…Hinata blushed and stammered, "Naruto-kun, p-please, stop s-staring…"
Naruto grinned slyly. "But you're so cute!"
He did turn away however and order a small snack for both of them. Naruto turned his face upwards to stare at the sky. He asked seriously, "Ano sa, Hinata-chan, if you had one wish, what would it be?"
Hinata turned her face towards Naruto. She replied serenely, "To stay with the one I love forever."
Naruto looked at Hinata and grinned. "That's really nice…"
Hinata leaned forward and pecked Naruto on the nose. They blushed, and Naruto hastily announced, "Our food has arrived!"
He dug in energetically, but Hinata was content to watch. Naruto paused to ask, "Aren't you eating, Hinata-chan?"
She shook her head, and he asked, "D'you want something else?"
Hinata stammered, "N-No, I'm fine, N-Naruto-kun."
The couple sat in the stall, each content with the other's presence.
Sasuke turned his head to Sakura, who was bouncing cheerfully along with him. He asked, "What're you so happy about?"
Sakura twirled around and grabbed his hand. "It's a carnival, Sasuke-kun. I love carnivals!"
Sasuke mused, "I haven't been to one since…since Itachi…"
Sakura's face fell. "Oh, I'm so sorry, maybe we should-"
Sasuke squeezed her hand and interrupted, "No, I'm fine. I'm with you, how could I not be fine? Everything feels perfect tonight."
Sakura blushed and laid her head on Sasuke's shoulder. Sakura asked, "So, where do you want to go first?"
Sasuke replied, "How about a ride? Or a game. Anything you want."
Sakura raised an eyebrow and turned her head so she was right under Sasuke's nose. "Are you sure you're Sasuke-kun? Because the one I know is a real ice cube."
Sasuke gave a, "Hn."
"If you don't believe it's me, then don't," he replied.
Sakura laughed and kissed him. "Of course I believe it's you, Sasuke-kun!"
Sasuke-kun, thought Sasuke. I've grown so accustomed to that name. If she should stop calling me that…Sasuke gave Sakura one of his rare smiles. Sakura squealed, "Oh, I know, let's go walk the sakura grove!"
Sasuke asked, "They have one here?"
His girlfriend replied, "Yeah! I saw it on a flier. Let's go this way!"
Sasuke allowed himself to be dragged by Sakura to the outskirts of the village, where the carnival was still held. Sasuke pointed. "Say, is it that?"
Sakura peered at it and nodded. She dashed off towards it with Sasuke hastily following her. Soon, they reached the entrance of the grove. Sakura whispered, "Wow…it's so beautiful…"
Sasuke took her hand again. "Aa…"
They followed the path being showered by the pink petals. Sasuke eyed the flowers drifting through the air and caught one. It was undamaged and completely whole. Sasuke put it in Sakura's hair. She looked up and blushed. "Arigatou, Sasuke-kun…"
They stopped and sat down on a log a little off the road. Sakura continued to look around, entranced by the petals. However, her companion was totally immersed in her. Sasuke reached a hand and touched Sakura's cheek. She turned towards him to find his mouth pressed against hers. Sakura's heart skipped a beat with shock, but calmed as she enjoyed his taste. Moments later, they broke the kiss with much reluctance. Sasuke muttered, looking away, "I shouldn't have done that. Sorry."
Sakura took both his hands. "Of course you should've, silly…"
Sakura smiled coyly at Sasuke, and he smirked. Sakura hugged the Uchiha sitting next to her. For a few minutes, everything was silent. Then, Sasuke noticed that Sakura was sniffing and his lap was slightly damp. Sasuke lifted up her chin, and to his surprise, found her crying silently. Sasuke panicked. "Sakura, what's wrong?"
Sakura sniffed and rubbed her eyes, turning away from him. "It's nothing…it's really silly of me to cry over, you wouldn't care-"
Sasuke grabbed her arms and said fiercely, "Of course I care! Tell me what's wrong."
Sakura smiled through her tears. "It's just that…I've always dreamt of being with you…and now I am…and this is like my dream…"
Sasuke relaxed. Geez, so this is what she was crying over…Sasuke hugged her carefully. "Yeah…I love you, Sakura…"
He felt her embrace him and reply, "I love you too, Sasuke-kun."
The two sat, embracing each other in the midst of falling sakura petals, and at peace.
Lee found Sorai, throwing darts at a board of balloons. He winced as the dart punctured the poor balloon, and called, "Sorai-san!"
Sorai turned around and smiled widely. "Lee! How good of you to come!"
She hopped away from the counter and gave Lee a huge hug. "How's it going, Lee-san?"
Lee grinned. "Wonderful, my beautiful blossom! Now, should we play a game?"
Sorai gestured towards a few plushies on the counter. "I won those."
Lee raised his eyebrow and congratulated his girlfriend. "That's great! What'd you play?"
Sorai answered, "Mostly throwing games, like this dart one, and there was this one beanbag-hit-the-can one, and another one where you use knives to try and pin a duck, which is on a conveyor belt…"
Lee sweat-dropped and held up his hands. Wow…she's a violent one? "Aren't those games too…uh…violent for you?"
Sorai scoffed. "Nonsense! I saw this one where you put someone on a spinning wheel and throw knives at their outline! I was waiting for you to come. Now let's go!"
Lee let out a whimper as Sorai dragged him away. He tried to reason with his excited girlfriend. "Say, Sorai-san, don't you think that's kind of dangerous?"
Sorai scoffed again. "I'm a good shuriken thrower. Why, are you scared? Don't you trust me?"
Lee assured her, "Of course I trust you, my lovely flower! And of course I'm not scared!"
Sorai grinned wickedly. "Oh, good. Then let's go!"
As Lee was being dragged to his doom, he pointed out many things and shouted, "Sorai-san! How about that plushie? The pink one? Cute, ne? No? What about that ride! It doesn't look so bad! Waah, Sorai-san, please don't throw knives at me while I'm strapped defenseless to a moving wheel!"
Sorai jerked Lee's arm. "Oh, stop being such a cry-baby! It's fun! You can do it to me when I'm done!"
Lee restrained from howling out, If there's anything left of me when you're done! As they neared the game, screams of terror could be heard. Lee glimpsed through the crowd, a spinning wheel and a person strapped on it. Why the hell do they have this kind of game anyway? Sheesh! Lee let out one last whimper before Sorai yelled, "Hey! Over here! I want to try!"
Lee groaned and muttered, "I've died and been sent to the deepest depths of hell…"
AN: I'm afraid to read my reviews for fear they're flames about my lateness…Don't kill me…
Anyway...it's kind of OOC...so ignore that...
And yeah, don't kill me.