Title: A Previously Discarded Habit
Chapter: Oneshot/Ficlet
Type: Fanfiction
Fandom: Naruto (by Masashi Kishimoto)
Genre: General, Humor
Word Count: 600
Notes: A whim, seriously.
Summary: Sakura has this habit...

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A Previously Discarded Habit

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Sakura, over the years, liked to think she had matured to the point where the specific reflex of hitting anyone that managed to sneak up on her had been phased out of existence. She liked to think she had more control than that, especially after undergoing Tsunade's rigorous training. As a child, the only two people who ever bothered sneaking up on her were Ino and Naruto. The two blondes had the tendency to be loud and annoying, and yet they were the ones who managed to catch her off guard, though she inwardly blamed that particular error on her tendency to be too wrapped up in immature, girlish fantasies.

When she and Naruto had been placed on the same team, the reflex had only grown more heightened, as Naruto liked to buzz around and around her like some sort of happy honey-bee. Thus, the reaction of lashing out with a fist, or at least reaching out to gently swat whatever it was that was crowding her space. It got her into trouble more often than not. Once, she had given an innocent Kakashi a black eye. She had also accidentally knocked out one of Lee's sparkling, nice-guy teeth.

But, over the past two years, much to her relief, the habit had more or less died. Whether it was on account of her hopefulness regarding the return of her two teammates or her own maturity, she wasn't sure. However, she mused, licking her fingers and raffling through a few pages of her book, the habit was starting to revive. Ever since Naruto's jubilant return – something she was happier about than she would ever let on – the tick had started to resurface. The funny thing was – most of the time Naruto didn't even deserve it. She tended to take her frustrations out on him – playfully, mind you. It wasn't as if Naruto minded, and slipping back into that particular vestige of childhood was more than comforting for the both of them.

She shifted through another stack of books. It was a real pity that Naruto wasn't the type of guy who frequented the library. She could use the moral support, especially when researching topics of this nature – enhancement by use of drugs. It turned her mind down paths that she would rather not travel. But it wasn't fair to rely on Naruto so much, especially when her tendency to swat him was growing stronger by the day. She almost giggled at the thought of his would-be expression – on account of a hit or of a suggested trip to the library.

She was marking a useful bit of information in her book when she felt it – the movement of air to her right. Her fist shot out against her will, flying and impacting against something solid.

There was the sound of books falling to the floor followed by a loud thump.

"Oh, no…" she mouthed, turning abruptly to the side to see who she had hit.

There, amidst a mess of psychology books lay none other than Sai, his mouth drawn and his eyes crossed. His hands were twitching as he tried to stifle a series of small coughs.

Then, she realized exactly where her fist had connected. Eyeing the stack of books, she was dismayed to conclude that he had been coming to sit by her, as a friend. And she had socked him, defenseless as he carried two stacks of books, right between the legs. Now, he'd be more confused than ever.

"Sai, I'm so sorry!"

He made a choking noise in response before passing out.

END.

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