Disclaimer: May not own Naruto but who cares? This fic sure is mine!

"…" Talking

… Italic; thinking

A/N: Well, this isn't anywhere near as quick as I said it would be…sigh…I had to write and rewrite this chapter like twenty times before I was happy with it. (Seriously, it was that difficult) Please tell me how it is! Somebody out there give me some feedback!

Chapter 10: Hints and food fights!

Sasuke looked up grimacing. He immediately turned it into a pained grin when he noticed the bowl-cut hairdo belonging to the genin known as Rock Lee. He could tell by the headband shining from around his waist. Even though he would've preferred someone/anyone else to come by an old proverb stated 'beggars can't be choosers.' He felt that needed some serious changing.

"What are you doing here?" Sasuke asked. He choked on the rain that had immediately clogged his throat and threw his head back spitting. "Urgh…"

"What am I doing? What are you doing? I was waiting for Tenten!" Lee answered joyfully, jumping down. He landed swiftly on the rope making it bounce about violently.

Sasuke flailed his arms around looking for something to latch onto. "Hey! Hey! I'm dangling for lifes sake on the rope you just hoped on, idiot!" Sasuke yelled glaring at Lee. He reached up grabbing onto the genin's leg getting it in a death-grip. "So, could we please be a little careful? Thanks."

Lee hung his head slightly. "Sorry 'bout that. Anyway, I was waiting here for Tenten. She said to meet her here. But she hasn't shown up. But, I don't mind waiting," he explained happily noticing the grip Sasuke had his leg in. "Uhh…my…leg, it's going numb," he said reaching down and trying to pry Sasuke's fingers off him.

"Oh fucking well," Sasuke grumbled tightening his hold until he heard a crack that made Lee whimper painfully. He wasn't letting go until his feet hit ground. "And this is the wrong alley, dingus. You missed it by like four lanes over."

"Really?" Lee abandoned his loosening attempts after it proved quite clearly that Sasuke wasn't letting go. He couldn't feel that limb anyway. "Shoot! I really wanted to fight her! Darn it! How could I have been so stupid as to—"

Sasuke interrupted him. "Ya know, as much as I'd love to hear you ramble on about your idiocy, would you mind, if it's not too much trouble, to GET ME THE HELL DOWN FROM HERE!"

"Hmm? Oh…yeah, sorry." Lee closed his eyes and started humming to himself.

Sasuke watched silently wondering vaguely how the clothesline was supporting them both. It had to be one strong rope to hold both their weights combined. His thoughts then veered back to Lee who was muttering under his breath. What was he doing? Some sort of nonverbal jutsu? A shizuka jutsu?

Before he could ask, Lee's eyes shot open. "Hm…what was I about to do?" he wondered scratching his head gazing confusedly at Sasuke who stared back in astonishment. "Oh yeah! Okay, I remember now!"

"Glad to hear it!" Sasuke yelled angrily almost drowning once again. He felt like a retarded turkey staring up into a rainstorm. "Damn…"

"Hold tight!" warned Lee and without another word, he leapt up snatching a surprised Sasuke with him. He acted with the fleetness of a cat as he hopped from the side of one building to another with Sasuke hanging on for dear life.

"ARRGHHH!"

BAM!

The Uchiha blinked and found himself lying on his back on one of the dwellings. His chest heaved painfully. He kept shaking his numb leg trying to get the circulation flowing again. Lee was sitting on his left staring at him. Neither of them seemed to care too much about being out in the middle of a storm and on top of a building where they could get the shit shocked out of them by lightning.

"Thank…you…for…the…rescue," Sasuke panted putting a hand over his racing heart. He felt his face burn hot knowing damn well he was blushing. Being saved like a lost child was embarrassing. He was more the independent type. The main reason behind why he never even bothered to thank Shikamaru for saving his neck. Although he should've as it would've been the proper and decorous thing to do but…ah well, it was over.

"No prob, bob," Lee said waving his thanks away. "Hm, gettin' pretty nasty out here ain't it? All this rain and wind. Think it's a hurricane? Or a tornado? Or, just possibly, a tropical storm?"

Sasuke sighed rolling his eyes. Why did Lee of all people have to save him? Why Lee? He was okay and all but sometimes it was just plain embarrassing to be around him. Sasuke for one kept getting the chills whenever Lee said something painfully obvious. The boy just had this goofy air about him at all times. The only time he had ever seen Lee serious was when he was fighting. Sasuke sat up and felt a twinge of pain in his side. That grove made by Kankuro's marionette still stung…badly…

I'm not…fully healed yet, he thought standing up. After stamping down a few times on his leg he could feel it again! "Ahh…much better."

The blue beast continued sitting with his black eyes following every move Sasuke made. "Hey…"

Sasuke stretched and turned around. "Hn?"

Lee stood, cracked his neck, and grinned. "Wanna go lookin' for Neji and Tenten?"

"Neji…" Sasuke muttered clenching his hand into a tight fist. Now Neji, there was someone he wanted to fight. Someone to siphon his anger into and then, as a plus, set him straight about who the strongest was. "Sure. Why not?"

Lee's smile stretched from ear to ear. "Good!"

As they walked near the building's end Sasuke cast a leery look in Lee's direction, scratching the bridge of his nose.

Lee noticed this.

"Need something, man?" he asked swinging his arms stiffly at his sides.

Sasuke nodded trying to choose his words carefully. "Umm, I know this is gonna sound really stupid but…that headband around your waist, right? How in the hell do you get it to fit around there?"

Hours later back at Sasuke's house…

Naruto sat on the bed with his arms crossed and his back up against the headboard. His head was lolled forward, eyes closed. Not sleeping, just in deep thought. Last night's festivities had left him extremely tired. Didn't bode well that in another hour he would have to go to school.

The clock on the nightstand next to him was blinking 6:30 am. It was Thursday. Two more days until that damn competition. Naruto used to look forward to it so much that he ate 252 bowls of ramen a day instead of his usual 648. But now…now he wished he hadn't even heard of it. He wished he had torn up his letter and kicked that pudgy bastard right out of his house.

Ino and Sakura were both on the couch with their heads in their hands. They kept twitching and jerking out of the sleep that was threatening to overcome them. It had already been decided that, seeing as school started in just an hour, what would be the point of sleeping. Naruto, being the hyperactive non-Ritalin boy he was, didn't need to sleep.

His leg has since stopped throbbing and bleeding thanks to Kyuubi's recuperating abilities. He could walk but running was out of the question unless he wanted his white meat showing…again. The TV and all the lights were off though it wasn't dark with the sunlight drifting through the dry windows. It ceased raining about an hour after Sasuke left.

The crazy events that had unfolded last night were replaying over and over in his mind with his grin growing bigger and bigger on each pass. His smile eventually reached ear to ear, as he could still taste a certain person's lips upon his own. His thoughts then wandered to a rag in his back pocket. What the hell had been on that thing to make them act that way?

Then there was that weird meeting with Shino earlier. Naruto still didn't believe what he told them to expect on Saturday though the girls took it at face value. It had to be bullshit. There was just no way in hell that load of malarkey could be true. If it was, then…crap, his life was about to take an unexpected turn for the worst. He sighed; he'd find out soon enough if it was true. He jerked as the alarm clock went off making such a racket both girls toppled off the couch onto the ground.

Naruto laughed.

"'Ide the women and children!" Sakura yelled stupidly, shoving Ino under the bed. "I'll protect ya wit me life madam! Those rogues won't 'ave you! I shan't allow it!" She held up her hand as though valiantly unsheathing a sword.

"Hey! Sakura, wait! You stupid bit—mmfrl mggh!" Ino yelled through Sakura's foot as she was kicked in deeper.

Naruto's hand shot out hitting the clock and bringing silence except for Sakura's heavy breathing as she got down on her belly looking around anxiously as though expecting elephants to stampede through. He opened one eye gazing at her. It was hard to believe that ever since he had first laid eyes on her he had tried nonstop to get her away from Sasuke. He had wanted her so badly but all she had eyes for was pretty-boy. It drove him mad. Looking back, he grinned at his stupidity for actually holding off on food to prove his love to her. That phase had long since been over. Now, he had a new love. One that enjoys his company, one that doesn't yell at him or hit him incessantly, one that likes him for him. And that person is….

"Calvary dismissed, you idiot!" Ino shouted interrupting Naruto's thought as she booted Sakura out of her way.

Sakura flew across the room bouncing off the couch. "Where…where am I?"

Ino stood, stretching, and gasped as hands wrapped around her waist. She turned around and saw Naruto right behind her with a big grin on his face.

"A little too early for all that perverted stuff, eh, Naruto?" she asked smirking through a yawn. "We just started."

Naruto gave her neck a brushing kiss before he sat back down ruffling his dirty-blonde hair. "Yeah. But, as we're dating I figured waist hugging is permitted, right?"

Ino giggled and sat down next to him as Sakura got up running fingers through her pink hair. She surveyed her friends in silence before clapping. "Well, well, well, if it isn't Mr. Idiot and Ms Pig. The new couple."

"Stop sipping that hate-orade and shut up, forehead girl," snapped Ino, sticking out her tongue.

Before Sakura could respond to this, the door flew open and Sasuke limped in. He was in a right state—clothes slashed, an extremely bloody bandage wrapped around his pale ankle, and an uncountable amount of scratches on his exposed bits of skin. There was a blotch of blood under his nose and there appeared to be a large square-shaped bruise all over his face. His kunai holder was empty, the lid hanging open lamely. Without even acknowledging the others, he made his way to the thankfully empty couch and sat down breathing heavily. A vast majority of the sofa became soaked from his clothes, which clung to him like a second skin. He tilted his head back letting out long whoosh of air…

"Sorry…I seemed to have missed our little soiree," he muttered sarcastically, rubbing his ankle. "I can't believe she cut me like that. Jesus…ouch…"

Naruto stared the Uchiha up and down. "Damn dude…what happened? You get gang banged or something?"

Ino giggled.

Sasuke didn't hear; his ears were still clogged with rain.

Sakura blinked. "Sasuke, what's wrong with your face? Why's it all red?" she asked uncertain that she wanted to know.

Sasuke, realizing Sakura's mouth was moving but hearing nothing, grunted as he shook his head. Water poured out of both ears like streams further soaking the couch. "Sorry…say again?"

"…"

Where has he been?

"I said, what's wrong with your face? It's all red."

Sasuke ran a finger tenderly over his aching nose. "Ever get hit in the face with a brick? This is what it does to you."

Naruto's perfect moment of bliss had finally arrived! He leapt up strutting over to his nemesis grabbing a fistful of Sasuke's hair and pulling his head up so that they were face to face.

"Guess what pretty-boy?" Naruto spat.

Sasuke remained silent, his eyes closed peacefully. He was halfway on the sleep-train and didn't really feel like sleeping for an hour just to get back up for stupid school.

I can't believe Shikamaru helped me again! Damn it Is he my guardian angel or something? Every time I'm in trouble it seems as though he's always there, always lending a hand, always helping, always being a HUGE pain in my ass! ARGH!

Naruto shook him making Sasuke grunt signaling he had heard. "You probably won't believe it but Ino and me…?" Naruto broke off up holding up a pinky, grinning triumphantly. "See the red ribbon? Well, do you?"

Sasuke opened his eyes for a split second before letting the calm darkness of his eyelids invade his sight once again. "Nope. Can't say that I can, baka."

Naruto, ignoring the "baka" comment, expected him to say this. "Of course you can't. A single, cynical asshole like you wouldn't be able to see it. Only Ino and I can. And why is that you ask—"

"—I don't remember asking—" muttered Sasuke with a smirk.

Naruto hadn't heard. "—Well, lemme tell you! Because me and her, we, Naruto and Ino, us, and any other plural form of two people together, are lovers!" Naruto yelled smiling triumphantly as Ino blushed adverting her eyes. "What say you now, nave?"

Sasuke's eyes shot open. He looked around the boy that held him to Ino who suddenly found her feet extremely interesting. The monster in Sasuke's stomach lifted its head giving a low growl but just as quickly went back to sleep. Surprisingly…he didn't really find himself caring very much. There was always Sakura but that would be under very desperate measures. He'd sooner go out with Hinata. Maybe if Sakura didn't act like a dog in heat around him he'd give her a try.

"You don't say, brat," he muttered without the slightest hint of anger.

Naruto laughed. "Oh, but I do say, you horse-humping Uke-man! What do you say?"

"Besides you got some kick-ass morning breath," Sasuke began grinning maliciously, "I say I don't care."

Naruto blinked. That right there wasn't exactly the way he planned his nemesis' reaction. He expected Sasuke to fly on him and demand a fight, which was what he wanted. Not wanting to seem like that statement had gotten to him, he nodded clearly at a loss for words.

For a long time there was a heavy silence. Starting to get a crick in his neck Sasuke grasped Naruto's hand and pushed it away. He laid back down with a great sigh. Naruto wandered back over to the bed taking his seat, still slightly dazed.

"But, moving past all this frilly dating shit I found out some rather upsetting news," Sasuke said opening one eye in a lazy fashion.

Sakura nodded as she knew what he was talking about. "Yeah…we heard about it from Shino when he came by to pick up his movie."

The Uchiha opened eyes. "Really? I wonder how he found out."

"Those damn bugs of his," Naruto answered laying back. "At first I didn't believe him. Didn't wanna believe him actually."

Sasuke nodded. "Yeah…when I found out I kind of went a little over the deep end with Lee. Said some things I probably shouldn't have said. I bet my soul he'll try to get me back during the competition."

Ino sat down next to Naruto and leaned over his legs. "I'm still finding this hard to believe. What they're doing is crazy!"

"Seriously, to get a better understanding of our fellow neighbors lands my ass. I'm not leaving Konoha," Sasuke stated darkly, squeezing his fist to increase his seriousness.

Naruto nodded. "I hear that. Too much has happened here for me to just give it all up and leave. No way in hell…I'll fight anyone who tries to make me leave, even if its Lord Hokage."

Sakura gave a sad laugh. "He'd kill you."

"Yeah, but at least I'd be buried here, though," Naruto grinned. "Oh! I almost forgot. Hey, Uke-master."

Sasuke looked up. "Yes, loser?"

"About that bug you smashed against my forehead protector. Shino wondered if you knew it was one of his. Did you?"

"Yup."

"You are so full of shit. No you didn't," Naruto said sitting up.

"Okay, believe whatever you want to believe."

"I so do not feel like going to school in the next hour. I haven't gotten any beauty sleep at all," Ino whined leaning her head on Naruto's shoulder.

"Eh, you didn't need it anyway," Naruto said as she smiled.

Sakura spoke before Ino could. "Umm…Sasuke! Who cut your ankle like that?"

Sasuke growled out loud. "That bitch Tenten."

Naruto started laughing. "Dude, you suck at fighting! I can't believe I thought of you as my rival! First you get your ass kicked by that puppet fag and now you just got served by Tenten? If this is the best you can do, you'd die fighting Gaara!"

"First of all, douche, it was me against Tenten and Rock lee, all right? It was a tie for your information. Now shut your damn chili-hole and let me rest. I refuse to spend my last hour before school talking to an ignoramus like you."

Naruto scowled. "You smug son of a bit—"

Sakura slapped a hand over his mouth. "Just let it go."

After that silence fell and they rested, regaining little bits of energy every second…

At Hinata's house…

Kankuro and Temari were lying on the floor in the living room fast asleep as they had no school to go to in this hick village. Temari was on her back, her hands behind her head with Kankuro's head rested comfortably on her stomach. His arms were crossed over his chest. Hinata's living room was pretty bare. The walls were painted a dark-red that reminded everyone (especially Gaara) of blood. It consisted of a glass table in the center, a couch against the far wall opposite the 20-inch TV in the home theater stand, and a chair near the entrance hall into the room. The kitchen connected to the living room through another door.

Something hard smashed into Kankuro's side making him yelp and flip over Temari. He opened his eyes and saw Gaara standing above him dressed with his arms crossed and eyes narrowed looking extremely menacing. He reared back his foot to kick him again when Kankuro held out a pleading hand.

"Ow…couldn't y-y-y…yawn…you have found a better way to wake—"

"No. I couldn't," growled Gaara cutting him off. "Wake up the girl, get your lazy ass up, and let's go. We've spent too much time here as it is. We have to start training for whatever the hell's going on Saturday."

Like you need to train anyway, sand demon, Kankuro thought rolling his eyes under his eyelashes. "Can't we eat first?" he whined as his stomach rumbled. "Some of us weren't at the luxury of having decent food yesterday, so come on. Show a little compassion!"

"No. Temari! Wake—the—fuck—up!" yelled Gaara throwing her a dangerous look.

Temari, having just being awoken from a very discreet dream between her and Sasuke, sat up yawning. "Righty-o, little bro."

Gaara's left eye twitched. "You call me that bloody name one more time and I'm gonna rip your—"

A clank from behind made all three of them jump out of their skins. Gaara's hand had unconsciously shot to the corker of his gourd as he turned around. Hinata had dropped three plate of food on the glass table behind them. There were scrambled tofu, three tempeh sandwiches, loaves of fresh hot bread and butter, and some orange juice.

"I…I m-made you br…breakfast," stuttered Hinata pointedly.

Gaara's arms fell to his sides as he stared at the bountiful amounts of food laid before him.

"Whoa! Check out the spread! Ahh…it smells so good!" Kankuro yelled with globs of drool seeping over his bottom lip.

"Pig," Temari muttered. "Pick up your lip, you beast. You're getting slobber all over the girl's carpet!"

Gaara swallowed hard. He didn't want to stay in this house with that creepy white-eyed girl who wouldn't stop blushing at him like some sort of retard but…his stomach gave a loud growl of protest to the mere thought of leaving. The aroma of all the delicious food wafted in his direction and commenced to slapping him in the nose. His mouth was overloaded with a torrent of drool…

He gulped, stared at the girl then at the food, and dove on it.

"Hey! Hey! Hey! What was all that bullshit earlier about not eating, huh!" Kankuro yelled standing up. "Thought you were fasting!"

"Muff fagh gyug!" yelled Gaara through healthy mouthfuls of delicious tofu and tempeh as he reached for some orange juice. He took a long drink. "Ahh…now, in case you did not hear that…shut the hell up!"

"Shove over!" Kankuro yelled taking a running start. He leapt on top of Gaara reaching over him, snatching bits of food, and shoveling them into his mouth. Gaara did a 360 spin knocking Kankuro on the ground opposite him across the table. He bounced up as if on a spring and snatched away the tempeh sandwich his brother had reached for. It was halfway to his lips when Gaara wrapped a hand tightly around his throat.

"That…was…mine!" Gaara growled taking it back. He stuffed it whole in his mouth and started choking. His face turned a light purple as he clutched his throat, gagging.

Kankuro laughed spraying bits of bacon over the table. "Ha! Serves you right!"

Sand poured out of Gaara's gourd forming itself into a thin, taloned fist, which began hammering him in the chest. After a few seconds, a stray piece of tempeh shot out clocking Kankuro right in the eye.

"Ow! Son of a bit—urgh," Kankuro groaned flicking the food off. "Ugh! Nasty! It was all wet!"

"Serves you right," Gaara grinned, licking his fingers.

Temari and Hinata stood side to side watching the boys fight over the chow. Food was flying, spit was soaring, and swear words were coasting through the air. Temari was shaking her head in an embarrassed way.

"I'm putting myself up for adoption," she sighed.

"Good! See ya! Don't let the door hit your fat ass on the way out!" Kankuro yelled past a mouthful of tofu as he jerked a thumb towards the door.

Temari held up a very rude finger and turned to Hinata. "Anyway, uh…what's your name?"

Before she could answer, Gaara swallowed all in his mouth creating a huge lump in his throat. "Hinata. It's Hinata Hyuuga," he gasped, his eyes watering. He grabbed a knife and a slice of toast, buttered it with uncanny agility, and stuck it in his mouth crunching loudly. He dropped the metal utensil and dove on tofu.

"God, you'd think they hadn't eaten in years," Temari muttered.

Hinata blushed and turned to Temari bowing. "Y-yes. Th-that's my n…name."

Temari didn't bow, she simply said, "Hm. Okay, anyway can I have a plate of my own food, please? These two have contaminated it with their germs."

Kankuro and Gaara each reached for the last loaf of bread both grabbing an end. There was a pause before it was ripped clear in half. They met each other's determined eyes. With lightning quick reflexes, they each scooped up their knives and grabbed for the tub of butter. They sent it flipping into the air. In the two seconds the margarine was airborne both sand-nin's shot out their hands scooping out some butter then slapped it on their bread just as the tub hit the table in its exact position…

They then shoved the halves into their mouths as though seeing who could swallow first.

"Whoa, Neo's got nothing on you guys," muttered Temari, shaking her head again as Hinata went to fetch some more food. "Oh, and sorry to be pressing ourselves on you like this Hinata."

"Oh…it…it's no-nothing r-really," Hinata stammered disappearing around the corner.

Temari turned her attention back to her savage brothers who had one hand raised over their next object. There was sweat riddled on both their faces, as they didn't dare break eye contact. She spotted that their prey was the last tempeh sandwich. She sighed.

It doesn't stand a chance, Temari thought shamefully.

There was a nasty silence as neither boy moved a hair. The seconds passed with the only sound being Hinata as she bustled around, happily preparing Temari's breakfast. This house was so big and her father was away on a mission and Neji rarely visited her. A crazy idea that he didn't like her that much had more than once ran through her mind. She knew that wasn't true but…she was still somewhat lonely. Gaara, Temari, and Kankuro—maybe she could learn more about them and persuade them to come back…. A glass of juice she had been carrying had slipped from her fingers in her dreamy state.

"Whoa!"

Hinata did a deep split catching it without spilling a drop. I…guess all that training is starting to pay off, she thought standing up, her heart hammering.

Back in the living room neither Gaara nor Kankuro had moved. Both their arms were starting to get tired but they didn't gamble trying to reach for it. Temari, who was watching from the sidelines, was waiting for one of them to make the move that seemed unlikely to ever come. After giving an impatient sigh a plan to speed things up came to her.

Heh…this aught a be entertaining.

"MY SANDWICH!" she screeched making them both jump with fright.

With a bang, Gaara's gourd exploded but the sand retracted before causing damage. Neither sand-nin noticed this as their sandwich was the mission at hand. Instead of reaching for it like Gaara, Kankuro reacted on instinct and spit on it...

Gaara pulled back in disgust. "Argh! You sick bastard!" he yelled pounding the table making everything bounce. "I wanted that!"

Kankuro pulled the snack towards him with a satisfied grin. "Yeah, well, tough shit, bro. This sick bastard just scored himself a free deliciouso sandwich."

A growl emitted in Gaara's throat as Kankuro took a hearty bite from the sandwich that rightfully belonged to him. Hinata came back from the kitchen carrying a small tray and gave it to Temari who sat down a few feet away from her brothers making sure to be out of range of their spit.

Gaara was seriously considering burying Kankuro in sand where he sat. C'mon…do it! Shukaku urged in the depths of his mind. Who cares if he's your brother! I haven't felt blood in so long it's like hell…what's a little blood among family?

No. You forget that you killed that butterfly yesterday, Gaara snapped, watching as Kankuro polished off the last bit of crust. "Son of a…"

It was a friggin' butterfly! C'mon, man! You know you want to!

Yeah, well, that's besides the point, isn't it?, Gaara responded defiantly while deftly bringing the entire plate of scrambled tofu his way. "I'll just be taking this tofu seeing as you got the tempeh. That all right with you?"

Kankuro opened his mouth furiously to object to that when an eerie looking hand made of sand crept out of Gaara's gourd wavering at his side. Kankuro froze, eyeing the limb apprehensively. "Eh-heh…y-you go ahead and take your fill bro. You are looking a tad skinny anyway. We need to fatten you up!"

Gaara grinned evilly. "Much obliged…bro."

What Hinata had expected to be a quiet breakfast was quickly becoming a bout. She could tell when Gaara literally jumped over the table wrapping his hands around Kankuro's throat. Temari had to separate them. Did this mean that they liked her cooking…? Or that they were just exceedingly hungry? She could hardly point out that she had to go to school in the next hour over all the scrapping for food, yells, and choking noises.

TBC

A/N: If you're wondering what happened during those convenient hours tune in for the next chapters! I give you all my…(thinking)…my…my…ah! My coveted ultra promise that the next chapter will be quicker! And thanks for the reviews! I LOVE them!