"I don't like you."

Uchiha Sasuke looked up questioningly at the glowering kunoichi in front of him.

"I said, I. Don't. Like. You." She hissed. She actually hissed at him.

He looked left, then right, and finding no one, looked back up at the source of his confusion.

"Sakura, what are you talking about?" She threw her arms in a huff and actually let out quite the screech. It was all Sasuke could do not to throw his hands up to his ears.

"You're SO STUPID! UGH!" And then she stomped away. He leaned back onto the grass where he'd (very innocently) been resting after an incredibly difficult training session, and covered his face with his hands. After letting out a silent scream, he brought them back behind his head and laid back. He had no idea what her problem was and he'd be damned if he was going to follow her all over the bloody village to find out. So he stayed there, and eventually fell asleep, the caring teammate that he was.

He was roused two hours later with a resounding,

"OI, TEME, WHAT'D YOU DO TO SAKURA-CHAN?!?!" And there, in all his glory, was U-zu-ma-ki Naruto, pointing a finger at him in what he imagined was supposed to make up a very threatening image.

"Dobe, if you don't want me to break off your finger, you'd better keep it to yourself."

"What did you do, Sasuke???" He glared at Naruto, willing him with his mind to just go away.

"Nothing, she walked over and said she didn't like me, and then left. She's crazy."

"Sakura-chan wouldn't do that. I don't believe you."

"Fine, don't. I don't care. I'm going home." He got up, dusted his knees off, and raised a hand in goodbye, ignoring Naruto's cries of indignation. He shouldn't be so annoying. "Ja ne."

"SASUKE, COME BACK SO I CAN KICK YOUR ASS!!!" Talk about a waste of time.

As he walked through the village and back to his apartment, he noticed something odd. People were staring at him. A lot of people. And not the usual 'oh my god look at the Uchiha traitor' stares either, those were mostly surprised, maybe a little shameful. These stares were angry, very, very, very angry. The malicious intent in the air was almost palpable. So he glared daggers at whichever eyes he caught and successfully made at least three grown men pee their pants.

"UCHIHA SASUKE!!!" Oh God, please no, please not now. He stopped in his tracks and turned around slowly. It wouldn't do to be rude to any members of the rookie 9 considering they were the reason he wasn't still in shackles.

"Ino." He wasn't going to be nice, though. Just civil.

"I cannot even believe you! You are quite possibly the biggest, most egotistical, full of shit asshole on the planet!! Ugh! You make so sick that I just want to vomit." And with that she turned on her heels, flicked her ponytail in his face and flounced away. Sasuke could only stare open-mouthed at her back. What the hell was going on? He shook himself out of his stupor and turned back towards his apartment. He was going to go home, eat some food, read some scrolls and not come back till this whole thing was O-V-E-R.

Maybe he should sneak back to his place so as not to run into anyone else.

… No, that would be cowardly. And if Uchiha Sasuke was not one thing, it was cowardly. So he held his chin high, his gaze straight forward, threw his shoulders back and walked proudly all the way home.

… Well, at least until his path was blocked by a hooded character with glasses so dark you couldn't see his eyes, and a collar so high that the bottom part of his face wasn't discernible either.

"… Shino."

"Uchiha-san." Sasuke paused, waiting for the bug building to tell him what he wanted. Shino just continued to stare at him, well, his eyes might've been closed… hell, he might be sleeping. Now, Sasuke prided himself on his ability to stay still and quiet… but he really, really wanted to go home.

"Shino is there-" This was when he felt something prick his arm, "Hey ow. Shino, what the hell. Did one of your bugs just bite me?" He had to consciously stop his fingers from coming up to itch the tiny bump that was beginning to swell on his upper arm.

"The situation you've created is one that we find most unfortunate." And then Shino just walked off as if nothing had happened. Why was everybody being so freaking weird??

He scratched at the bite on his arm absent-mindedly as he continued on his way. His mind was too busy hoping against hope that he'd make it back to his apartment without further incident.

… God, however, was not on his side today.

"Uchiha!" … That could not possibly be – could it? Sasuke stopped in his tracks and slowly turned around.

"…Neji?"

There standing in front of him was the most flustered, imperfect Hyuuga Neji he had ever seen. His hair was tangled and frizzy, there was a smudge of something on his cheek, and he was breathing so hard Sasuke could almost see smoke coming out of the older boy's nostrils. If he didn't think that he (unwittingly, of course) was the cause of Neji's irritation, he would've actually chuckled.

"Uchiha, I am going to kill you." And yes, there it was, the murderous intent. Expected. "If you think for one second that you are going to get away with this, you are severely mistaken." Now Neji was hissing at him?!

"Hyuuga, I have no idea what you're talking about, and I don't really care. If it's something that's gotten you this riled up, however, I'd easily do it again just for the results." Sasuke threw on his most famous of smirks and stood leaned back nonchalantly, every bit the bastard every one referred to him as. Neji, in return, actually pulled out a kunai and chucked it at Sasuke's (as of yet perfectly unmarred face). He dodged the weapon and flung words back at his attacker, "Neji, what the hell?!"

"You will not be the one to–"

"NEJI-KUN!!!" A grimace passed over the Hyuuga's face as he and Sasuke both recognized the voice which hailed him. Neji turned and greeted the new comer with a clenched jaw,

"Lee."

"Ah, you are here with Sasuke-kun – I must offer my congratulations on your auspicious fortune!!" … Now he was really confused. "I'm sure my teammate is very excited!" … Neji certain didn't look excited… he looked, well, so angry he could rip out someone's throat. And Sasuke certainly didn't want that someone to be him.

"… Right. I have to go." He turned to walk away, and then heard Neji's voice again. It was low, ominous, and all together a very not-good thing.

"Uchiha… I will get you. Rest assured. I will get you." Sasuke didn't bother turning around, but continued on as if nothing had happened and he hadn't just experienced shivers up his spine due to the Hyuuga. Now was not the time to concentrate on such petty matters anyhow… now was the time for analysis.

What would piss off Sakura and Neji so much that they would hiss at him? And what would make Rock Lee congratulate him? … And Shino sic a bug at him… and Naruto – well, no, Naruto was an idiot… but Sakura, Ino, Neji, and Shino were all upset with him… and Lee was congratulatory. They all obviously knew something he didn't.

… Nothing about this made sense. At least he'd managed to make it to his apartment building with no further upsets. Ah, home sweet ho- What the hell?

"… You have got to be kidding me." Surrounding his door were hundreds and hundreds of flowers. And they were all black. Where did people even get black flowers? This was getting to be ridiculous… "Katon Housenka No Jutsu." And he very quietly, very efficiently, burned said flowers to a crisp. Walking inside, he slammed the door shut behind him and stalked to his bedroom. He was going to bed, and in the morning, this would all have just been a bad dream and everything would go back to normal. Or else. He glared silently at the ceiling as if to give God a warning. Nobody messed with –

"UCHIHA SASUKE!!!!" … Well yes. That's what he was going to- "YOU COME OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW!" Who the hell was that? He didn't recognize the voice… if it was a fangirl he would not be held responsible for her death. He wouldn't. He would kill her and destroy the evidence. He would. Seriously. However, on the off chance that it wasn't – stalking just as angrily back to the door as he had to his bedroom, he yanked it open –

"What. Do. You. Want." This clipped speech was, of course, enhanced the spinning sharingan he had activated so as to intimidate (even more) the idiot who thought it was a good idea to bother him.

This idiot was still staring at him – come to think of it, she looked kind of familiar… what was her name – he didn't have time to think about it however as she seemed to have finally mustered up the courage to – yes, shove him aside and walk into his home like she owned the place.

"What the hell do you –"

"Shut up, I'm going to ask the questions here and you will cooperate or else I will conveniently lose my kunai in a very uncomfortable place."

Sasuke just couldn't help himself,

"What, like in the back of a Volkswagen?" And then that bloody girl punched him in the jaw. "Fucking hell!"

"I said I would ask the questions." She stood there, with her stupid buns on her stupid head, in that stupid shirt, spinning a stupid kunai on her stupid finger. "Now why would you send one of these to every resident in Konoha?" And she shoved a stupid piece of paper at him. Glaring (and not deactivating his bloodline), he snatched it from her and skimmed the contents. His jaw dropped lower and lower with each line.

The honour of your presence
is requested
at the marriage of
Tenten
to
Uchiha Sasuke
on Saturday, the seventh of July
at six o'clock in the evening

"Wait, you're Tenten? … No wonder Hyuuga was so pissed…" Sasuke stroked his chin thoughtfully.

"YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHO I WAS?!"

"Well… if anything, this proves that I didn't send this out – although, if you honestly thought I would do this, then you're as inconsequential as I thought." Oh, she was steaming, he could tell. "Che, idiot girl."

The idiot girl, Tenten apparently, then started jumping up and down and screeching, pulling at her own hair every now and again. This lasted five minutes before she finally stopped. She let out a breath, smoothed her hands against her slacks, and closed her eyes. When she finally opened them again, she was calm.

"Okay, I'm going to pretend none of that ever happened, because now we have to work together to figure out – wait… did you say Neji was pissed? Awesome!" … Did she have stars in her eyes? "I mean … no, okay, we have to fix this. I'd like to be able to not worry about Sakura kicking my ass, please." Then she thought about what she had said, "…Not that I'm afraid of her."

"You should be. She could kill you. You're an idiot. If she couldn't kill you, she shouldn't be on my team."

"… I hate you. Can we please just clear this up so I never have to talk to you again?"

"Gladly."

"And turn off your stupid eye thing." Sasuke rolled those eye-things of his and did as she asked. The sooner they were done the sooner he could put all this behind him. "Now, we have to narrow down the suspects. I know there would be a lot because everyone hates you… but me? Nobody hates me!" She was talking to herself at this point. "I mean, I never do anything to anyone! You, you're a bastard, and everyone knows it. I'm sure you'd have pissed off half of Konoha even without that whole traipsing off to Sound thing. Which was stupid, by the way." Oh God, did this girl ever just shut up? He could feel his eye twitching, and his hand was involuntarily reaching for a stray shuriken to throw at her larynx. "And then-"

"Leave."

"What?"

"Go." Because she wasn't moving, he thought he'd help her along and shoved her ever-so-gently out the door, slamming it behind her and bolting the lock. He'd take care of this himself. But first he'd wait for her to stop screaming.

Hours later, then that Tenten girl had finally gone home after screaming herself hoarse, Sasuke sat down to make a list of possible suspects. The girl did make one point, it was probably someone they had both pissed off – unfortunately, he'd sent her home so he couldn't ask her who she knew (and there was no way he was going to go groveling back to her for help), so that meant he'd have to rule people out the hard way… interrogation.

…..

"AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

"Now, don't you wish you would have cooperated with me?" Sasuke lazily held the kunai to the neck of the 42nd 'suspect' he'd held for interrogation. Of course, by 'suspect', he meant 'random person picked out of a hat'.

"B-b-but I d-don't kn-know anythiiing!" The boy before him trembled at Sasuke's red irises, tomoe spinning wildly.

"You do know something and you will tell me. I can tell if you're lying. Now, what have you done?"

"Okay, okay! I stole candy from the candy store, and I pushed my little sister down, and I lied to my friends about wetting the bed, and I blamed a far-"

"ENOUGH!" This punk obviously wasn't the one who he was looking for. "You can leave… but if you tell anyone about this, I'll kill you."

"Yes sir!" The youth jumped out of the chair and was through the door before Sasuke could even blink. Damn. This was getting him nowhere. Nobody knew anything. He resisted the urge to pull at his own hair while screaming like a little girl. He settled for cradling his face in his hands.

"… Sasuke?" Wha? Bringing his head up fast enough to crack his neck, he winced.

"… Sakura?" She was standing there in the doorway looking incredibly sheepish. He could only assume she'd seen… what was that girl's name? … Tenten.

"I just came over to say that… I'm…"

"Yes?" He settled back with a smirk, and her face got noticeably darker.

"I just came over to say that I'm sorry for hissing at you the other day…"

"Oh don 't even wor-"

"But you're still a pompous asshole." She crossed her arms in front of her chest and hmphed, as was completely appropriate. Oh wait, he hadn't actually done anything.

"I didn't do-"

"Anything." It would be fantastic if she would stop interrupting him all sarcastic-like. "That is exactly what the problem is, Sasuke." He also wished she'd stop leaving off that freaking 'kun' ending, his name sounded weird without it in her voice. He liked reliability. Right now, she was anything but.

"Sakura."

"Okay, I know you weren't really engaged to Tenten, and I probably should have figured that out, but-"

"Sakura-"

"I just was so angry at you for not telling me that I didn't even think of the fact that you and Tenten probably haven't even looked at each other since our first Chunin exam-"

"Sakura! Wait – what? She was- no, never mind. I don't care." She turned her back to him, murmuring,

"Typical." Then she sighed, loudly. "Well, I guess I'll just leave you to torturing some other innocent villager trying to figure out who the hell would do this to you – Ja-"

"Wait." She would help him. As much as he would never admit this out loud, the girl had some intelligence.

"Do you need someone to help you, Sasuke-kun?" She had turned around and was now smiling entirely too sweetly at him. No way was it genuine. No way.

"No. I was just going to see if you'd seen Shikamaru anywhere. He might know something." She'd lost the smile and was now narrowing her (incredibly) green eyes at him. Good. Let her get off her high horse. Even if she did have nice eyes. … He needed to end this line of thinking.

"You're an idiot, Sasuke-kun. Just admit you need my help. Shikamaru's too lazy to help you, and if you threaten him, Ino will kill you." He looked down in seeming indifference,

"Che. Like she could kill me."

"… Ugh. Fine. Go find Shikamaru. I'm going to go have lunch with Naruto and Hinata. I was going to ask if you wanted to come, but I'll leave you to your … project." Damn it. He'd have to suck it up.

"No, don't go. I…"

"Yes?"

"You're evil." She walked over to him and threw an arm around his shoulders.

"Only when you deserve it, Sasuke-kun." And then she pinched his cheek.

"Sakura! Quit it!" But she ignored him and instead sat down to look through his meticulously written accounts of everyone he'd spoken to and everything he'd thought of.

"Okay, let's see… hey, why isn't Tenten helping you with this?"

"Because she's even more annoying than you are."

"Aw, if I didn't know any better, Sasuke-kun, I'd think you could actually stand being around me." He shrugged his shoulders and sat down next to her, ignoring the tingly feeling in his perfectly formed tummy. It didn't mean a goddamn thing. It didn't. Hey wait…

"How'd you find me?"

"I heard some kids talking about 'that fucking Uchiha' and how he was 'so fucking scary' and I threatened to castrate them if they didn't tell me where you were. Funny how they think I'm scarier than you."

"…"

…….

"Agh, Sasuke-kun, I can't even think anymore, can we please take a break? We've been at it since lunch – which I didn't get to eat, by the way – and it's like two in the morning." She punctuated this sentence with a rather obnoxious yawn, "Besides, I'm ex-haus­-ted."

"I didn't realize you were so-"

"You probably don't want to finish that sentence." Damn her and her lack of fan-girling. No wait, he didn't just think that, he didn't. He didn't miss her fan-girling at all. Seriously.

"You don't even know what I was going to say – what if I was going to say 'tired', or 'overworked'?" He wasn't, he was going to say 'weak', but she didn't need to know that. Besides, he was cranky and he felt like arguing.

"… Sasuke, stop being such a baby. I know you were going to say 'weak'," How did she always know everything?! "I know you, and you're not one to exchange pleasantries. It would have been an insult. And the only reason you're arguing with me right now, is because you're tired too, and you just don't want to admit it."

"… Remember when we were twelve, and you idolized me?"

"Only because I wanted to get in your pants." What? He did a double-take at her face, unsure of whether or not she was actually serious. She would never have – not at twelve… would she?

"I'm joking, Sasuke-kun. I didn't even know what that meant when I was twelve." Whew. Jeez. It was like she was trying to give him a heart attack. Stupid girl.

"I knew that." Even to his own ears he sounded like a contrary five year old. "Fine, let's call it a night."

"Thank you!" She jumped up, allowing him to see a sliver of skin between her shirt and skirt… what was he going to say again? Damn it. He needed to not let her get to him this way – it must be because it was so late. Yes, that was it. Sighing, he stood up, shoved his hands in his pockets, and walked towards the door of the shed they'd been working in.

"C'mon, I'll walk you home." It was the least he could do, she had spent all day helping him. She stepped up next to him and latched on to his arm,

"How about I walk you home, Sasuke-kun?" She grinned at him mischievously and pulled him in the direction of his apartment. "We'll start again in the morning! It's like detective work!" He was right, after all. This girl was totally insane.

… But he kind of liked it.

……

Three days later, they hadn't got any further.

"Okay, so you've ticked off pretty much everyone. But I spoke to Tenten, who is doing her own investigation, and it turns out, she can only remember three people she'd upset in the past two years. I guess she doesn't really talk to people all that often…" That's probably because they couldn't stand to look at her and her stupid buns for more than ten seconds. Idiot. Calling him a bastard, who did she think she was?

"Well… who were they?"

"Neji, and we know he didn't do it… Kiba, I guess she let slip that she didn't think Akamaru had been trained very well or something, and he found out about it… and, the last she's not sure, but she vaguely remembers on a mission, someone yelling about her ruining their life and being out to get them… or something. I believe she said there was crinkling involved."

Sasuke's eyes narrowed. Dog-boy was going down.

"Hey wait, Sasuke, where are you going?? We don't know who it was yet! Stop!!!" Suddenly she was in front of him and punching the ground. Shit. There goes his solid ninja stance, considering he was currently flying through the air backwards.

"SAAAAAKUUUUURAAAAA!!!!" Thankfully his vertebrae cushioned his fall, and he just lay there, silently hoping that he could still walk when the pain went away. Then she was leaning over him, menacingly.

"Sasuke, we don't know if it was Kiba, so you can't go kill him yet. This doesn't sound like something Kiba could even think up, he's too much like Naruto – his revenge plans generally involve pudding and balloons. This is way out of his league. So my guess is that it's the mysterious by-stander who was affected by something Tenten did. Now calm down, or I will shackle you to the wall."

"…" He had to bite back the question 'promise?' It wouldn't do to make this awkward. He wasn't entirely sure how it had gotten to this point, but he almost didn't want to figure out who it was, just so Sakura would keep helping him.

… Oh god. He had turned into Naruto.

No, this was stupid. He shook his head and cleared out any thoughts of Sakura in any – as, as anything other than a teammate or a friend, at best. He had to concentrate, so he could make sure nothing like this ever happened again. Ever.

"Fine. How do we do this?"

"Well the mission she was referring to happened two months ago, and I've already taken the liberty of going through the Hokage's files to see who was sent on the mission." She pulled said file out from her case and started flipping through it. "Tenten, Neji-san, Lee-san, and Gai-senpai went on the mission itself, then Shikamaru, Chouji and Ino were sent as back up, and… oh hey, we went on this one!"

"What? What mission was this?"

"The one in Suna, remember? Gaara and the you-know-what, and those missing-nins, and how it was all this huge to-do, and it sucked and-"

"Okay, okay, I remember. Just don't ramble – it makes you sound like the dobe." She ignored him and continued speaking,

"Okay, well we know that we were all there. We followed Ino's group, and remember when we camped with them… you and… I wonder…" She stood off to the side now, staring off into space and he couldn't really help but notice that she was really quite easy on the eyes. Definitely better looking than that stupid Tenten girl… like he would marry someone like that. Ha! If he were going to marry anyone, he would absolutely choose Sak- "I know who did it!!!"

"…" He waited patiently for her to finish the thought; unfortunately, it didn't seem to be coming any time soon. "… Sakura?"

"Meet me at Naruto's in fifteen minutes!!!"

"What?! No! Where are you going?!" He reached out to grab her arm as she ran by, alas for him, he smashed his hand against her… well… places where he shouldn't be touching without her consent. She, of course, stopped cold… all thoughts of the culprit went out of his head and he had about five seconds to appreciate just how much Sakura had grown in the past eight years.

"… Sasuke." He recoiled immediately. She turned towards him, and he couldn't help but take two steps back. He'd never felt such a fearsome aura before… and that was saying something for the man who'd gone up against Orochimaru and the Akatsuki.

"I was just trying to get you to–"

"You are lucky that I have to go get everybody to meet at Naruto's or else I would kill you." Then he couldn't help himself,

"Even if I said they were nice?" Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped, and he took off before she could lift that pinky finger of hers and break his nose. He was an idiot, and now she would definitely kill him. … But the look on her face was definitely worth it.

……

Fifteen minutes later, Sasuke sat in Naruto's incredibly messy living room, surrounded by everyone who had been on that mission. Minus Maito Gai and Rock Lee… mostly because no one wanted to deal with the two of them together in a confined area. Sakura was standing in the middle of the room, quietly rereading the mission file she had stolen out of the Hokage's cabinet… Naruto was talking to Shikamaru and Ino on one side of the room, trying to figure out what he should buy the Hyuuga girl for her birthday, Sasuke and Tenten were on opposite sides of the couch, with Neji separating them (this didn't stop them from glaring daggers at one another, of course) and Chouji was munching his chips on the floor in front of the table.

"Alright guys, thanks for coming here tonight… as you know, there was a surprisingly intricate prank pulled on two of our fellow nins a few days ago… which caused quite a bit of unrest for us, and pain and anguish for the two involved." Sasuke couldn't help but snort at her somewhat dramatic retelling of his tale. Surprisingly, she didn't even look at him. Interesting. He must've gotten to her. Sasuke: 1, Sakura: 0. He was totally winning. … He just wasn't sure what the prize was. "Now, we've gone through pain staking measures to figure out just why, why someone would want to create such havoc for two people, who seem to have nothing in common-"

"You're damn right about that one." Tenten muttered, not at all attempting to hide her distaste with Sasuke.

"At least people know my name." He shot back, completely unconcerned with the shuriken that had found its way into her hand.

"Sakura, you better hurry, because I'm going to shove this thing through those precious eyes of his."

"Neji, you might want to take that away from your teammate, it's not a toy. We wouldn't want her to hurt herself." Sasuke smirked, knowing that the girl would find that particularly aggravating. And he wasn't mistaken.

"AGH!!! TENTEN, I'M SITTING NEXT TO YOU, NOT THE UCHIHA!!!" Neji was pushing Tenten's arm away desperately… which was perfectly reasonable considering she had a shuriken heading towards his face. She blinked her eyes and sat back,

"Ah, Neji… sorry about that. He just … makes me so mad, I can't even see straight!!!" Sakura sighed,

"Sasuke-kun, please stop antagonizing Tenten. Tenten, please don't pull out any more weapons. Now can we get on with this?" She paused, cracking her knuckles purposefully, "Or is there anything else anyone has to say?" Naruto raised his hand. Typical.

"Can I go to the bathroom, Sakura-chan?" She sighed. Again.

"Yes Naruto, but I'm not waiting for you."

"Awesome, because I really gotta take a-"

"Just go!" And he did, even the dobe knew when not to push his darling Sakura-chan's buttons. At least he'd learned something after all these years of her beating the shit out of him. "As I was saying… these two people who have nothing in common! So… I sought out the common thread. A mission. The scene: Suna. The time: two months ago. The players: everyone in. This. Room." … She was taking this detective thing a little far. Maybe he should stop her. He looked around the room… jeez. The idiots were bloody riveted. Even Chouji had put down his chips. He learned back into the couch, a look of casual disinterest on his face. The only part he cared about was the ending. Damn it. Why didn't she just tell him when she figured it out?!

… Sasuke: 1, Sakura: 1. Fuck.

"Now, I couldn't remember anything out of the ordinary occurring on this mission. But that's just because I wasn't really thinking. At first I thought, maybe it was Neji!" She swiveled her head around and stared down the Hyuuga prodigy. To his credit, he didn't even blink. The rest of the room, however, looked perfect aghast.

"Neji?! How could-" Ino was interrupted by Sakura,

"No, no, Ino, I was wrong. It wasn't Neji. He might have it out for Sasuke… but he would never do that to Tenten." Sasuke nearly threw up a little in his mouth at the air of relief that everyone seemed to let out. As if anyone really thought it was Neji. This was ridiculous.

"Sakura, is all this really necessary?"

"Sh! Sasuke, shut up. We want to hear how it all went down." … Some day, he would get his revenge. Some day.

"So, my next suspect… was none other than… yes, Shikamaru."

"Dun-dun-duuuuun." Naruto came out of the hallway just in time to add his sound effects to the tale.

"I hate you all."

"Again, he had a motive against Sasuke, but what about Tenten. I wasn't sure at first, but then I realized at the Chuunin exams, so long, long ago… Tenten, you had bet against Shikamaru in his fight against Temari. You were convinced that his laziness would be his undoing and that she would beat him in under 3 minutes." Shikamaru's eyes widened and he flung his glare at Tenten,

"What???!!!" Tenten at least had the audacity to look ashamed.

"But there was that, I had no way of knowing whether or not Shikamaru actually knew of this bet… and if he did… why would he have waited so long to exact revenge upon you… and wouldn't he be too lazy to do so anyway?" Sakura's eyes were glowing, and it was as though the rest of them weren't even there anymore. Sasuke was almost ready to grab her and throw her over his shoulder, tree-hop to the lake, and toss her in.

"… This is entirely too troublesome for me."

"So that leads us to our last major player. The one that I suspect," She giggled here, "No pun intended, is indeed our culprit… it was something Tenten had said to me actually,"

"Yeah, then there was this one guy… I remember flinging out a kunai at a bush, because I thought it was another enemy, and then hearing something crumpling or crinkling, and then 'Why would you do this to me?! It's like you're TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE!!!!!'"

Everyone looked around confused. Okay… still not getting it.

"Don't you see??? I remembered that, and then, I remembered this little tidbit from our journey to meet up with Team Gai…

"Ah, Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, glad you could meet up with us," Shikamaru yawned at the three. They had just caught up with the InoShikaCho trio en route to Suna to aid Team Gai in what had been a simple B-ranked mission.

"Yeah, it'll be just like old times! Eh, Chouji?" Naruto sprang up to give Chouji a high five,

"Well, at least Lazy-ass won't bring us down," Sasuke bit out to Sakura, "Seems as though Ino and Chouji will be as useless as ever."

"Sasuke-kun!" She'd seen what he hadn't… at least one of these two had heard his callous words.

"So there you have it, it's so obvious!"

They all waited with bated breath for her to reveal who the real prankster was… then they waited some more. She was really bloody awful with this dramatic pausing thing.

"Sakura! Just tell-"

"No! I'll tell you- it was me."

"Chouji?!?!?!" Standing, in the middle of the room, was Akimichi Chouji… still munching on his chips. Sasuke doubted he had ever been so surprised in his entire life. Well, if you forget about that whole Itachi turning out to be the worst brother ever thing.

"Yeah, me. I did it. That's right. I would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that rotten medic!!" Ino looked completely horrified at her teammate's confession… Shikamaru, however, had somehow fallen asleep during Sakura's extended dramatic pause, and so missed the climactic moment.

"… Um… Chouji. Why Tenten? I mean, Sasuke I totally understand-"

"I really wish everyone would stop saying that." Sasuke placed two hands on his temples and try to wish his pain away. When he finally realized that no one was disappearing, he leaned forward and placed his hands before his face in contemplation.

"Because she… she speared my last bag of chips with her stupid kunai!! Weapons mistress?? Ha! SHE HIT MY CHIPS THINKING IT WAS AN ENEMY NINJA!!!"

"…" He was going to kill the fatty; he was going to do it. Right here, right now. He slowly stood up, eyes never leaving Chouji's heaving form. Activating his sharingan, he resolved that he would make Chouji feel as though he hadn't eaten in seventy-two hours.

"Sasuke-kun, don't you do anything to hurt Chouji. You were mean to him, you deserved this… and while he shouldn't have brought Tenten into it for an accident… Chouji's never done any harm to anyone really… and he tried to save your life that one time almost losing his in the process." Why did it all sound so damned logical when Sakura was talking. Really, he should have kicked her out the minute Chouji confessed.

"… Chouji, I'm sorry for stabbing your last bag of chips with a kunai." Now he turned his glare on Tenten. How could she even think of apologizing?? But it seemed as if her apology sparked something, because all of a sudden, big, fat tears started rolling down Chouji's cheeks and Ino rushed to console him. At least lazy-ass wasn't aiding the insanity.

"No, no, I should be saying sorry – sorry that I put all of you through so much pain and anguish!" They were all insane! Not just Sakura, who was smiling at all of this like some bloody banshee. Sasuke turned to head towards the door, refusing to look at anyone. This was all so completely ridic-

"Oi, Sasuke-kun?" He felt her hand on his shoulder and so he made the mistake of looking back into those awfully wide, green eyes.

"Aa?"

"Wait a moment and I'll come with you… I know you're not going to apologize, but it's enough that you aren't going to kill him." She smiled softly before turning away from him to grab her things and say bye to the rest of the morons who were sobbing over each other. When she finally returned, she hooked an arm around his and they walked out Naruto's door together. Surprisingly, that was his favorite part of the entire day.

"Sakura, thanks for-"

"No worries, Sasuke-kun, it was fun! And we got to spend so much time togeth- mmmppphh!" He wasn't sure why he was kissing her, but he was certain that it felt good. And because his incredibly logical mind told him that good could not possibly be bad, he didn't stop. And when he felt her smile into his lips, he knew what the prize was … and somehow, they'd both won.


A/N: Man, even when I reread this, I squeal at the ending lol. So, this is the one shot I've been promising you guys for everrr, it's been sitting here, unfinished for like a month and a half. Seriously. In between the time of starting and finishing this one shot, I've 1) quit my job, 2) gone to new york & found an apartment 3) come back from new york, 4) moved out of florida, 5) went to atlanta, 6) moved into said apartment in new york.

I've been a very busy bee. ... This is also the longest one evarrr. I think it's like 15 pages, which I find to be kind of obscene. But whatever. It makes me laugh lulzzz.

This one shot is dedicated to three lovely ladies. First being my sister, because she's the one who read the very first beginning-draft and said I should definitely finish it. The second being Missa because she helped figure out how to finish the damned thing (I had no idea who the culprit was going to be when I started the piece… Chouji was actually her suggestion, "it's always the quiet ones", I believe she said) and finally, to my darling, anj-chan (known to most of you POTU!!) for making me impose a deadline of, well, today.

Thank you, m'dears XD

Okay, nowwww go, review! Mr. Review button is oh so hungry, and if you don't feed him, he might prank you.

(edit: fixed those bloody flashback italics)

Heart!