How hard to keep this short. My author insert was the girl who pulled off 15 marshmallows for chubby bunny and Saphos was a female Greek poet from the island of Lesbos who wrote poetry to and about the women of the island (:points at name of island suggestively:) I'm going to miss writing this story. I am going to start a new story after this, probably not the sequel, and then start the sequel after I finish said new story. OR, I could start the sequel now, write it for a while, and then switch to updating it every two days and updating my other story on the off days. OR you can give me other suggestions/orders.
Neji Says: In order to cut off the sob story, the author has forced me to tell you she doesn't own Naruto. And that it hurts when Kiba locks her in small, confined places for ending the story the way she shall end the story. And that she wants out. Now.
They didn't wake up until early Thursday. They had stayed up for all of Tuesday night, slept all of Wednesday on the living room floor, and Temari woke at dawn. No one else woke up until eight at the latest, but Temari liked waking up around dawn.
Temari bathed, dressed, and let herself out the front door. She was feeling miserable, utterly totally miserable. She was sick to her stomach, complete with puking up acidic, 36-hour marshmallows. 'I knew I shouldn't have gone nineteen,' she thought miserably. 'At least, I hope that's the reason.' She really hated throwing up. Really hated it.
She turned around when she hear someone behind her. It was, surprisingly (to her, not the cosmos) Kiba. She raised one eyebrow and sat down on top of a glass-covered Tibetan Sand Mandala.
"Kiba," she said. "Why up so early?"
"I heard you get up. Who knew you had so many showers…"
"So that's why it went cold all of a sudden! Hey!" she glared.
"You flushed the toilet on me."
"Oh yeah," Temari said, giggling nervously and rubbing the back of her neck. "Sorry about that. I was kind of puking my guts out."
Kiba raised one eyebrow. "Why?"
"Nineteen marshmallows. You try eating nineteen marshmallows and holding it down. It's not easy. No, not easy at all."
"And that's it?" Kiba looked mildly concerned. Temari looked carefully from side to side and shifted carefully on her hands.
"Maybe. I don't know. I mean, some of those 24/7 stories sold some pretty shoddy products."
"Are you sure you're not…"
"I bought a test in Washington."
"Any since then?"
"Nineteen marshmallows. That's it, and only it." Temari glared. "What's it to you either way? You're not my brother and you're not my boyfriend." She lay down on the glass top of the sand art and stared at the sky. Kiba sat beside her.
"But you're my friend," he replied. "I care about you."
"I wish it were true."
"It is," Kiba insisted. "You'll always be my friend. Even when you're old and married to Shikamaru, and have a million kids, I'll still be the one you call when Shikamaru thinks Friday night drinking it too troublesome."
"I'll be the weird aunt who tells your and Hinata's kids about all the people who used to live before they either died or were wiped out by Europeans. Like the Incas and the Aztecs and the Mayans and the Cherokee and the Choctaw and the Chippewa and the Creek…" she said in a monotone before breaking out into a grin. "Don't forget the Chumash. Almost entirely wiped out. I know a girl whose elementary teacher was quarter Chumash though."
"Weird Aunt Yankovic," Kiba added.
"Yeah…Weird Aunt Yankovic." She looked to Kiba with a glint in her eye that hadn't existed since she was in high school. She extended her ring finger timidly, and Kiba extended him. They looked in both directions before linking fingers and chanting 'best friends forever, forever we'll be, best friends forever, that's you and me'.
"Alright, now that we're through with the 'best friends forever' talk, can you make steak?"
"Will you put marshmallows on it? Whoa…just kidding…you kind of look green Temari…ew…"
"Wake up! Everybody up now!" Kiba screamed gleefully. He loved waking the unsuspecting up. No one responded, so he resorted to the more drastic measures he had discovered worked marvelously at awakening people from the dead.
'I'm a Barbie Girl' poured out of the stereo. The effect on the sleeping teenagers was instantaneous. Kankuro and Naruto sat bolt upright. Sasuke and Neji looked mortified. Shikamaru opened one bulging eye lazily and tried to drown out the sound with a pillow. Temari looked in from the kitchen and poised the frying pan to throw, but decided that rather than kill her stereo she would just make it stop, so she hurled a shoe instead.
"What the hell?" demanded Kankuro. "How did that song get on there?"
"I listen to it for writing," Temari replied from the kitchen. One bare foot slapped the linoleum as she padded around the refrigerator. "And for waking you guys up. Pancakes, steak and eggs with chives and peppers!" she called. Kankuro was suddenly very much awake and he and Kiba became embroiled for the first plate, which they played tug-of-war with. Sasuke walked passed them and grabbed the second plate in the stack and got his food first.
"Damn!" cried Kiba. He dove for the next plate, letting go of the one he and Kankuro had been fighting over, unfortunately, Kankuro had the same idea. The plate, which was luckily plastic, clattered to the floor and the two boys started fighting over the next plate on the stack. Neji and Naruto got their food next, followed by Sasuke and Gaara. Eventually, Kankuro won and Kiba was left with the floor-plate. Temari rolled her eyes, filled their plates, and filled her own plate with eggs and pancakes and sat on the counter.
"Why are you sitting way over there Temari?" Kiba asked. Temari shook her head.
"I hate steak and the smell makes me sick."
"It didn't before," Kankuro commented.
"I hate steak," Temari growled. "Be quiet, Twenty Eighth Percentile!"
"Nineteen marshmallows and that's it?" Kiba asked as he nibbled on a bite of steak. Temari fixed him with a glare and stomped into the living room, where she proceeded to turn on 'The Sex Pistols' as loud as it would go and watch cartoons from 1982 on mute.
"What was that about?" Shikamaru asked. Kiba glanced into the living room around the corner of the doorframe.
"You might never know," he said. "Or you might find out. Eventually." Kiba turned back to his steak. Shikamaru shook his head and picked at his eggs, pushing all the chives to the rim. Naruto obliviously drenched his pancakes in strawberry syrup, blueberry syrup, and melted butter. Neji poured a neat amount of maple and butter on his pancake. Sasuke drizzled a pattern of blueberry syrup on his. Gaara seemed to be enjoying putting strawberry syrup on all his food just a little too much. Just a little.
The seven of them swore to go on another trip during summer break in honor of Sasuke, Naruto, Neji, Kiba, and Gaara graduating high school (which they were all going to do) and Temari graduating college. Of course, this required rehashing of the decrees. Temari sat at her computer, seven sheets of nice, 100 percent recycled paper in her printer, fingers poised over the keyboard, word processor open.
"Alright," she said. "The Nondenominational Road Trip Scripture. We begin." She started typing on the keyboard.
Decree One: Thou Shall Not Give Temari Coffee in the Middle of the Day
Decree Two: Thou Shall Not Give Temari Alcohol if She Calls Thee Any Name Besides Thy Own
Decree Three: Thou Shall Not Give Neji Alcohol In Any Quantity, Ever
Decree Four: Ask For Directions When Thou are Hopelessly Lost
Decree Five: No Backseat Driving
Decree Six: Thou Shall Never Ask Sasuke About His Home Life Past Or Present
Decree Seven: Thou Shall Never Threaten To Drive Drunk
Decree Eight: Thou Shall Not Mention The Circumstances Surrounding Gaara And Temari's Mother's Death.
Decree Nine: Thou Must Hate Hyuuga Hiashi For Being a Bigoted Bastard and Thou Must Throw Darts at the Photo Glued to the Roof of Murphy Daily
Decree Ten: Thou Must Go on all Road Trips in Murphy The Most Beloved And Revered Van
Decree Eleven: All Circumstances or Behaviors that are Potentially Dangerous or Damaging to Murphy The Most Beloved And Revered Van are Prohibited.
Decree Twelve: It doesn't matter who started it.
Decree Thirteen: Thou Must Always Love Each Other, Always, No Matter What.
"What are we, the siblinghood of the Traveling Sweatshirt?" Kiba asked with a laugh. "That last rule is corny."
"You don't like it?" Temari asked. "You think I should take it out?"
Kiba left first. He clutched the Nondenominational Road Trip Scripture, promising to tack it on his wall. Temari walked him to his mother's car and she said goodbye quickly, pulling him into a hug quickly. He leaned against the metallic of his mother's pickup truck, eyeing her cautiously.
"You sure it was the marshmallows?" he asked. Temari stared at the ground and shook her head.
"I know it's not, and I guess I'm okay with that. I'm just a little freaked out. I mean, I always wanted a family, but I kind of wanted a career too…"
"That's what you have Shikamaru for," Kiba assured her. "If he backs out or doesn't treat you right…" Kiba trailed off threateningly. Temari smiled.
"I know, you'll bring your dogs and do nasty things to his body. Gaara said the same."
"The more the merrier," Kiba cried. "You'll be fine Temari. Of course, I'll be telling you this every day for the next really long time, so you better get it through your head. I'll see you later, alright?" he smiled. Temari returned the smile and hugged the brunette boy. Hot tears seeped from her eyes (she was always emotional at the weirdest times) as she clutched Kiba tightly. Kiba rubbed her back in comforting circles. When they broke apart, Kiba wiped away the blond girl's tears before he climbed into the beat up pickup and was gone.
Neji left next. Actually, he was just returning to pick up a few of his possessions before returning to Temari and Gaara's house. Gaara drove him to his uncle's house in Murphy.
"I'll see you in five minutes," Neji breathed. Gaara nodded. He climbed out of the car and pulled Neji gently by the hand onto the sidewalk. Neji looked at the house defiantly. He noticed his uncle staring out the window, having been notified by Neji that he was returning that day to pick up his belongings.
"Before you go in there…I wanted to tell you. I love you."
Neji blinked. "I love you too," he breathed. Neji wrapped his arms around Gaara's neck and kissed the slight boy cautiously. Gaara kissed him back, and when they broke apart, Hyuuga Hiashi was no longer at the window.
When Gaara and Neji returned, Gaara looked miserable. Shikamaru was leaving. Which meant Gaara had to say bye-bye to the second love of his life: Murphy. When Shikamaru came out of the house, however, with his bags, Temari was following him and she climbed into her car, not Murphy The Most Beloved And Revered Van. Shikamaru walked up beside Gaara.
"You know, that car is so troublesome," he said. He turned to walk to Temari's car. Then he stopped, fished the keys out of his pocket, and tossed them at Gaara. "Take good care of it…him. Take good care of him." Shikamaru nodded and climbed in beside Temari. "I know where you live."
Gaara's heart didn't return to normal beating patterns until Temari came back. "Gaara? Gaara? Are you okay?" Temari shook her brother gently. "Are you alive?
Gaara just clutched the keys and ran off, smacking gently into Murphy and pulling the van into a hug as much as one can really pull a car into a hug. That's right Neji. Be jealous. Very, very jealous. One would love to say Murphy hugged back, but it was not exactly a hug. More like a general mental feeling of goodwill-ness. If that was technically a word. Jealous, jealous Neji…mustn't kill Murphy, it's just a car. And a law that causes the sorrow of millions.
Sasuke decided to leave with Naruto. They borrowed Kankuro's car ("You had better not crash it," Kankuro had warned. "I saved up all summer for this baby. But it goes zero to sixty really fast and you need it, so I trust you. Don't crash it. Gaara isn't the only one with a certain attachment to cars."), and were currently speeding towards Sasuke's house. They figured Orochimaru would be madder, since he hadn't really had any warning. Naruto's guardian knew where he was going and was probably glad that the boy he viewed as an eyesore was gone for a month.
Sasuke's house was in disarray. The lawn was at least five inches long, the shudders were falling off their hinges, there were at least four burnt out dog-doo-on-fire-bags. It was icky. Very, very icky.
"What now?" Sasuke asked. He sat knees drawn to his chest on the leather seat. "I don't want to have to go in there."
"I'll come with--"
"No," Sasuke practically screamed. "No, I'm not letting you come in there with me and that snake. I know he's home. I see his car through the garage window. Stay here."
Naruto shook his head, bit his lip, and took a breath to speak. "How about if you're not back out here with some kind of confirmation that you're okay in five minutes, I'm going in after you armed with a crowbar."
Sasuke considered. "Okay." Before he got out of the car, Sasuke turned his head and kissed Naruto's cheek gently. Then he climbed out and walked slowly up the cracking cement drive. He check the door handle, secretly praying it was lost, and walked into the musty house.
It was even worse inside than out, if that was possible. The lights were all out except for one just between the kitchen and the dining room. Trash littered the floor and the air smelled like no one had cleaned in years. The scurrying of mice met Sasuke's ears and he felt two objects brush against his ankles: one round and furry, the other long and scaly. There was a series of squeaks a few minutes later and then it was silent.
"Sasuke," a voice croaked from the shadows. Sasuke whirled around. A desk light clicked on, Orochimaru sitting in the old, battered blue chair in a now-lit corner. He had a newspaper across his lap, which he appeared to have been reading. Sasuke noted that he had seen the same newspaper: a two weeks ago in New York.
"Yeah?" Sasuke asked defiantly.
"You weren't just gone three days," the snake-like man hissed. "I missed you. I was so worried, I didn't know what happened to you." His eyes fixed carefully on Sasuke. Sasuke felt the scaly creature brush against his leg again. This time there was a bulge in what he assumed to be its throat.
"Did you just sit here and wait?" Sasuke demanded, taking a step backwards. "Did you just sit and wait around for me for a month?" he reached backwards and hit the message machine play-back button.
"Thirty new messages," the machine beeped. "Message one: 'This is Ventura Public High School, we have on our records that Sasuke has been absent for two days. If you could please call in for an excused absence," a silky smooth voice purred (Sasuke recognized it as one of the students who gave their free periods to work in the office), "'That would be great. Have a nice day.' Message two: 'This is Ventura Public High School, we have on our records that Sasuke has been absent for five days. If you could please call in for an excused absence, that would be great. Have a nice day'. Message three: 'Hey, Oro, it's Kabuto, call me.' Message four: 'This is Ventura Public High School, we are going to have to ask you to please call in for Sasuke Uchiha to provide proof of excused absence. Truancy will not be tolerated. Good day.' Message Five: 'Ventura High again, how hard is it to bloody pick up the phone and tell us where Sasuke is?! For the sake of-- Sasuke Uchiha? Yeah, leaving the message right now…I know, that snake guy is a freak, I wouldn't be surprised if the kid ran away…okay, Mr. Orochimaru, leave the message before we have to take further action against your ugly man ass--All messages skipped-- end of messages."
"You did, didn't you?" Sasuke growled. "You just waited in the dark for me to come back." He took another step back. Orochimaru stood and slithered forward over the abandoned food containers. His eyes fixed on Sasuke and Sasuke shivered.
"But yes pet, I couldn't wait for you to get back. You and your little boyfriend."
"How do you know?" Sasuke asked. He realized that probably wasn't the smartest response.
"Oh, I have my ways. For instance, the way you kissed him. The blond boy in the car, right? The one glancing at his watch every thirty seconds. No doubt he's giving you five minutes. Go wave to him so he'll leave."
"Or else what?"
"Or else when he walks in," Orochimaru said, licking his pale lips, "I'll lock you up and then have my way with him. So, do it for him, okay?" Orochimaru talked as though he was explaining a field trip tour to a group of third graders.
Sasuke gulped, walked to the window, and waved. He glanced back and smiled as wide as he could. Naruto bit his lip, narrowed his eyes, and then got back in the car. He drove around the corner and was gone. Sasuke felt like crying. He really did. It was for the best. Orochimaru was strong, and could have probably hurt Naruto, crowbar or not.
"Come here my pretty," Orochimaru growled. Sasuke barely had time to whip around before the older man shoved him down onto the couch. It smelled really, really bad. Sasuke bit back a cry as Orochimaru lay on top of him, biting at the teenage boy's lip furiously. This proceeded for an endless span of time. Sasuke tasted blood, his own blood, and the spit from Orochimaru's mouth. Orochimaru bit at the teenager's collar, obviously feeling no remorse for the angry red spot he left on Sasuke's neck. He ran his hand's over Sasuke's hips and pushed him down further into the musty couch cushions.
Sasuke fought back, trying to sit up and shove Orochimaru off. Eventually, Orochimaru got fed up and hit Sasuke as hard as he could across the face. Sasuke kneed him in the stomach, but unfortunately Orochimaru had the upper hand, considering the snake-man had his teeth clamped around Sasuke's neck. He bit down and Sasuke screamed in pain.
"That's what I like," Orochimaru hissed, biting Sasuke's shoulder, leaving a purple mark that was rapidly darkening. He pushed Sasuke down again and smirked sadistically. The older man fumbled for the zipper of Sasuke's jeans, yanking at the cloth. Sasuke rammed his hips against the side of the couch, trying to make this as difficult to do as possible for Orochimaru. 'I have him right where I want him,' Orochimaru thought. 'And now he's mi--"
Suddenly Orochimaru stopped and fell forward. He lay there, completely still, hands still caught in Sasuke's belt loops. His teeth were still clamped firmly over Sasuke's collarbone.
It took Sasuke a couple seconds to realize what happened. He kicked a nearly comatose Orochimaru off of him and stood up, yanking his jeans back up to his hips. He turned his eyes to his right and came face-to-face with Naruto, Kankuro, and a very angry Gaara. The red-headed boy's eyes almost matched his hair and his lips were turned into one of those horribly sadistic grins. Sasuke vaguely remembered him looking like this in freshman year, just before they dissected sea urchins in biology. Orochimaru, however, was no sea urchin. He was scum. The dead cells Naruto had scraped from the inside of Sasuke's cheek (he started to notice just how obsessive he was about the blond boy) that they looked at under a microscope ranked above him in the world.
"How did you guys get here?" Sasuke asked. Gaara, who was still too angry to speak, pointed to Naruto, who shrugged.
"You don't smile like that Sasuke, ever. So I got in the car, which I didn't have to push, that was nice, and went back for reinforcements."
"Told you that baby was fast," Kankuro said. "Gaara really wanted to come. Maybe we should have left him at home. I don't think cutting off all of Orochimaru's hair is really going to solve the problem Gaara."
Gaara didn't reply.
Sasuke knelt on the floor. A purple snake lay coiled on the carpet, a bulge that Sasuke could only assume to be a mouse a third of the way down its body. It slithered away when Sasuke approached, under the couch. Sasuke swallowed thickly and moved back into the house. He turned on the light to the basement. He nearly threw up.
Hundreds of snakes filled the cement room. Mostly purple except for a few reject black ones. Sasuke stumbled backwards into Naruto's arms, flicking the light off. He glanced up at the blond boy, and then he started to stare. He broke free of Naruto grasp and sat on the steps of the basement and stared. He stared at the inky blackness for what felt like hours. When he glanced up, Naruto was sitting a step above him alone.
"I'm sorry," Naruto whispered. "Are you alright? Did he hurt you?"
"No more than I expected," Sasuke replied. "You came back for me. No one ever came back for me before," Sasuke breathed. No one ever had, at least not willingly. Gaara left him in the middle of nowhere, and it he hadn't even wanted to come back. Sasuke could hear the snakes hissing below them. Naruto inched over and put one foot on either side of Sasuke. Sasuke leaned back, resting his head on Naruto's lap. Naruto tucked a strand of hair behind the Uchiha's ear, stroking the helix with his pinky.
"Why wouldn't I come back for you? I love you."
Sasuke's breath hitched involuntarily. "What?" The entire time they had been together, if you could call it that, Sasuke couldn't remember those words ever being exchanged. He thought that they would have been, but he still thought of Naruto as his friend: lover was too awkward.
"I said I love you," Naruto breathed. "Now I have to go home." He cast his eyes down to the cement stairs."
"Can I come with you?" Sasuke asked. "You were there for me. I'll be there for you."
"I'm back! Your whore of a pseudo-son returns after giving you a vacation from having to be affiliated with an eyesore!" Naruto called as he threw open the door of his house. Sasuke winced. It hurt him to hear Naruto talk about himself like that.
"Too bad too," purred someone from the kitchen. "I was so looking forward to you being gone a while longer, tainting the family name with your impurities."
"You know, I have a friend with me," Naruto said. "He took Judo for six years."
"Is it that nice boy with the red hair?" the voice of Naruto's guardian perked up.
"No. It's Sasuke. My--" Naruto paused, "boyfriend."
There was a crash of plates. "Get out of my house," the voice ordered. "Right now. Go. Get out. Stop tainting this family with your disgusting habits! You refuse to change, instead opting to choose the easy way out--"
"What family? We aren't a family! You're an asshole! I came by to come home, but no, I end up being shunned. Is this about the entrance? Because I'm not a whore you know. Oh and Gaara? The nice boy with the red hair? He's dating Hyuuga Neji. You know. Nephew of the Hiashi Hyuuga. As in, a guy. Oh, what now?" Naruto stomped up the stairs, leaving complete silence in his wake. He returned a few minutes later with a bag of stuff and a determined expression on his face.
"Where are you going?" the voice demanded.
"Getting out of your house," Naruto replied. He bolted out, leaving the front door wide open. Sasuke followed him. Naruto fell on the grass, laughing hysterically. Sasuke knelt beside him.
"What are you laughing about?" the raven asked. Naruto stopped giggling and looked up, mirth in his bright blue eyes.
"You know, I have no stuff, I have no place to go, but I'm free. Not just for a month, I'm free forever." He fished out The Nondenominational Road Trip Scripture out of his bag. "These rules…they made me the happiest I've ever been Sasuke. The happiest I've ever been. I'm free now." He stood.
"I don't have anywhere to go either," Sasuke mentioned. "We should find some place to go together." He looked back at the house and was very tempted to throw a rock. He and Naruto looked at each other at exactly the same time.
"Gaara's," they said in unison. Then they linked hands and started for the car. And so began the first day of the rest of their lives.
It ran EXACTLY 100 pages. Like, one more line and it would have been 101. :sniff it's over:
Neji Says: The author would like you all to know that it hurts when Kiba puts her in a cardboard box and lights it on fire because she was thinking a sequel ahead and is going to possibly ship Shikmaru away for the third installment. It also hurts when the Grammar Police smash the ashes with a mallet because she used Crappies grammar ('Crappies' is actually the plural of 'Crappie'. A crappie is a freshwater sunfish that appears in lakes and ponds in N. America). It really REALLY hurts when Sasuke stabs her for the Orochimaru bit.
She wants out now.
Review all...I shall feel motivated for that sequel if you do! Don't forget! You could put me on your alert list, that would do nicely. Very nicely. Also, my author insert in this chapter was the office aide. Only in real life, I'm the student assistant to my Language Arts teacher and I run copies and drink tea instead of leave messages.
It ended! THIS IS NOT A HAPPY MOMENT! Actually, a sequel or a new story will be coming out soon...ZOMG! THE COSMOS DOES LOVE YOU!
In Closing: Thank you all. Thank you for reading, reviewing. All my regular reviewers, you kept me going, kept me updating every day. It was amazing: 329 reviews as of now. I hope you all have me on your alert list. I can't wait until I get to see all of you guys in the sequel. I'll misseth you.
--Lunar Chasmodai; Writer, Photographer, Artist, RockStarWaitressRoadTripperBiscuitAvengerChubbyBunnyWinner, Student Assistant.