Ask and ye shall receive.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Naruto characters, only this incredibly shaky storyline.
Hanabi stood to the side of the crowd, watching as Neji's casket was lowered into the ground. While those around her tried to stifle their sobs, the youngest Hyuuga seemed beyond tears as she thought of her cousin's wasted life. Neji had been spoiled beyond recognition after moving in with her family. Her father, desperate for a son, showered every gift he could think of onto his nephew, and the once humble boy soon grew into a childish man who grabbed first and asked questions later.
After he'd had surgery, Hanabi had begun seeing a change in him, a return to the quiet sadness that had engulfed Neji after his parents' death. She wondered about the reason, but had never been close with him and could not confront him about it, nor could she comfort him. Gaara's hasty entrance into Neji's life had lifted his spirits greatly. But she forever worried that the damage had been done, that her cousin would always retain an air of getting everything he wanted. And before her doubts could be confirmed or proven wrong, he had been taken from her. He had been taken from them all.
A shriek brought Hanabi out of her reverie, and she was startled to see Hinata's body shaking violently on the ground. Her family looked down at her in disgust as she cried, pounding her fists onto the ground. Hyuuga Hiashi, who had pulled some strings and gotten her out jail to avoid further embarrassment, turned his head in shame as Hanabi rushed to her sister's aid. Hanabi fell to her knees and gently coaxed Hinata off the ground. With her arms around Hinata's shoulders, Hanabi led her towards the line of cars. As soon as they were inside the nearest limousine, Hinata passed out in a dead faint, and Hanabi, unable to wake her, yelled at the driver to take them to a hospital.
Where was Naruto? Why hadn't he been there to give Hinata the support that she needed? How could he leave her alone to bear this burden?
There was a leak coming from the twelfth floor. The steady drip chipped away at Hanabi's daze until she sat up abruptly from her bed, looking around for the disturbance.
She saw a small pool of water glistening on the kitchen tiles down the hall. Sighing, she stood up, grabbed a towel off the floor, and went to mop it up. Once the floor was dry again, she looked up angrily at the ceiling, which appeared swollen and water-logged. "Great," she murmured, picking up a bowl off the counter and placing it underneath the leak. A steady plunking sound continued to echo after her as she walked back into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
As she fell into bed, her thoughts wandered back to Naruto's betrayal. And after he'd had the nerve to abandon Hinata, he's taken it a step further and violated her in a parking lot.
"Don't pretend you didn't like it," argued the part of her closest to the tingling sensation in her stomach. Hanabi grumbled to herself but could not verbalize a response.
Luckily, she'd had her pepper spray ready for such an occasion and had maced the sleezeball on principal. But not before a creature had awoken in her unlike she'd ever felt before. She thought she could avoid any repercussions once she moved to the city, but of course that blond idiot had taken it upon himself to get his life together and move along with her.
"He's just sick," she thought to herself. "Me and Hinata could practically be twins and he's moved on to the one that's not in a straightjacket." Images of their kiss played again and again in her head. She rubbed her eyes until they ached, trying to cleanse the act from her mind. But it would not budge. And as she drifted into a restless sleep, her thoughts continued to stray to the blond living eight floors below her.
"Uchiha…" Sasuke grumbled into his arms. "Uchiha!" yelled the persistent voice and he jumped at his desk, jerking his head to attention.
"Yeah?" he said, his voice groggy. His professor glared at him and he heard Sakura whisper into his ear.
"He asked you what you thought about Ichabod Crane's disappearance," she said, giving his knee a push to wake him up a little more. Sasuke looked down at the open book on his desk, which had a small puddle of drool in the middle of the page.
"He was…um…" he searched around in his head for the details of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" that he's skimmed over the night before. "He knew that Katrina would not be happy with him, that he wasn't what she wanted." The class stared at him. "So…he split," he ended lamely. The professor, a man in thick glasses and a green vest whose name escaped Sasuke at the moment, gave a huff of indignation and turned to face the board.
"There has been speculation…" started the professor, but Sasuke was already dozing in his hands when Sakura punched him in the shoulder and he snorted awake again.
"What the hell have you been doing that's been keeping you awake at all hours of the night?" she whispered, her eyebrows furrowed. Sasuke shrugged. "Or, more precisely, who have you been doing?" she said, failing to keep her voice down. A couple students in the row below them turned and gave him smirks before looking back at their books.
"No one," he whispered back honestly. Sakura looked skeptical. "I haven't slept with anyone in weeks." She sat back in her seat, surprisingly satisfied, and started taking notes on the lecture, but Sasuke continued to stare at her, his mind elsewhere.
It was true, he hadn't had sex since he found out he would be seeing Gaara at Itachi's wedding. And with the happy event only a few short days away, it was no wonder he was having trouble sleeping. He kept battling within himself, too confused about his feelings about the redhead to concentrate on anything else.
"Washington Irving will definitely be on the final next week people," yelled the professor from the front of the class, "So you better get your thoughts together." Sasuke sighed as he shoved his book into his bag and shouldered it, loping out of class after his fellow classmates. Sakura followed him as he headed to the dining hall.
"So, what are you wearing to the wedding?" she asked, stacking a couple sandwiches onto her tray as they stood in the food line. Sasuke rolled his eyes.
"Itachi's got me all done up in some monkey suit," he said, grabbing a banana. "I still don't see why I had to be best man." Sakura laughed as she paid for her food.
"You're his brother, Sasuke. When are you going to start acting like it?" Sasuke contemplated the question as he sat down at a table near the window. He took a bite of a cookie before answering.
"There are some things," he said after a moment, "That are hard to forget."
The sound of retching. Needles bouncing on the bathroom floor. Itachi passed out naked in the bathtub, his bruised arms shivering, covered in his own sick.
Sakura stared at Sasuke but seemed to decide to close the subject because she said, "Ino and I went to the mall last weekend and picked out matching dresses. Her's is black, mine is silver. I just need to find shoes to wear…"
Sasuke was grateful for her ramblings. Despite their differences, Sakura still understood him sometimes. And after over a decade of friendship, she still knew when he needed to be alone in his own thoughts.
"Not…in…the…living room…NARUTO!" said Gaara, his eye twitching. The redhead had walked in from a particularly grueling day at Temari's Place to find Naruto, for lack of a better phrase, toking up on their couch and watching cartoons on mute. "I told you, the landlord will be able to smell it if you don't keep it in your room!"
Naruto looked at him and smiled, patting the seat next to him. Gaara's glare deepened and he stomped angrily into the kitched.
"You need to relax man," said Naruto, taking another hit. "All that pent up tension is going to eat you alive."
"YOU'RE the reason for it!" yelled Gaara, pulling a cup of ramen out of the cupboard and filling it with water before sticking it in the microwave. "And all this ramen is going to give me a heart attack!" he muttered.
"You still eat it though," said Naruto. "Besides, I think the REAL reason you're all worked up is because the wedding is tomorrow and you haven't got an outfit sexy enough for Sasuke." Gaara cursed incoherently under his breath as he pulled the ramen out and began searching for chopsticks in the drawers, slamming them shut with extra vigor.
"Did you use the last of the chopsticks?" he yelled again, placing the ramen on the counter and pulling open cabinets as he continued to look for utensils. He heard Naruto laugh from the other room.
"Maybe you should ask a neighbor if you could borrow some," the blond shouted. Gaara straightened up, grabbed his ramen and stormed out of the kitchen.
"I'll do that," he said, pushing Naruto's head as he went. "Don't you have to get ready for work?" The blond jumped off the couch at his words and sprinted for his room. Gaara rolled his eyes and walked out into the hall. He looked left, then right before remembering that he had never spoken two words to anyone on his floor. With a sigh, he made his way to the elevator. As the doors slid shut behind him, he pushed the eleven and watched anxiously as the numbers climbed higher.
With a resounding ring, the elevator stopped on the eleventh floor and he stepped out. A few nights earlier, Naruto had informed him that Hanabi lived in 1102. The blond would not disclose how he discovered such information, but although Gaara had found it disturbing then, he rumbling stomach was glad for the blond's stalkerish ways today.
He knocked twice on Hanabi's door and waited as he heard her shuffling around inside. "Coming, coming," she said, pulling the door open. "Oh, hi Gaara," she said, looking confused.
"Hey," he said, giving her a half smile and hoping that her ill feelings towards his roommate would not extend to him. "Sorry to bother you, but do you have any spare chopsticks? Nar…I mean, I've run out." He gestured to his cup ramen and was relieved to see her smile back at him.
"Sure, we get them for free at the supermarket," she said, beckoning him into her apartment and turning towards the kitchen. The layout of 1102 was identical to 309, but it appeared Hanabi hadn't bothered to get furniture yet.
"Still…getting comfortable?" he asked as she rummaged in the kitchen.
"Yeah," she said, reemerging with a handful of chopsticks. "I really need to find the right sofa, then I'll be able to plan the whole room around it." He laughed lightly and took the chopsticks from her. They stared at each other awkwardly for a few moments before she said, "So you'll be at the wedding tomorrow, right?"
"Oh, I didn't know you knew about it," he said, staring longingly at his ramen, which was starting to get cold.
"Yeah, the Hyuugas and Uchihas are distantly related, didn't you know?" Gaara shook his head. "Itachi's like my third cousin or something. I got the invite a couple weeks ago."
"It will be cool knowing someone there," she said, looking expectantly at him.
"Yeah." He wondered if she was expecting him to say something about Naruto, but didn't want to risk it. "Thanks, I was starving," he said, heading for the door, which was still open. "You should um…come down and visit some time. Three-oh-nine." He didn't look back to see her reaction, but closed the door behind him and started unwrapping his chopsticks as he waited for the elevator.
The more I think about this story, the more frustrated I become with its layout. But oh well. The wedding will be next chapter (maybe I'll add some smut if I get an adequate amount of feedback). I will probably update soon since I'm taking a super easy winter class. But reviews always inspire me to write quicker -wink wink-