Pretty Red Dress

One

The crisp winter air wrapped around Sakura's under clothed body, causing her to shiver uncomfortably. "Damn it, I really should have worn my coat today" she grumbled to herself. "Sakura-chan!" an all-too familiar voice called. Sakura whipped around and managed to move though she was freezing, and give Naruto a half-ass wave. "What are you doing, Sakura-chan? You're going to freeze!" Naruto exclaimed, hastily slipping his coat off and offering it to her. "Keep it, Naruto. You need to stay warm" she refused politely. "Sakura, don't even try to fight me. You're going to lose," he said with a grin. Sakura rolled her eyes, but took the coat and genuinely thanked him. She was grateful he had offered now, the coat was really quite warm.

"Mine!" Temari called, giving the approaching volleyball a good bump. The ball soared over the net, and Temari cursed under her breath when the coach confirmed that it was indeed out. That was her fifth out since practice started. "Alright, good practice girls! Have a good night" she called. Temari heaved a frustrated sigh, and tiredly wiped some beads of sweat from her temple. "Temari, what's gotten into you?" her coach questioned. "I'm sorry, Anko-sensei…" Temari responded. "Temari, I've noticed that your performance is steadily declining over these past few practices," she said. "Is it that bad?" Temari asked quietly. "Try horrible. Several times you couldn't even get the ball over the net" she said truthfully. "And when you do get the ball over the net, you overdo it. We have the regionals game coming up in a week, Temari. After that is the finals game. You'd better pull yourself together before then" she warned. "Yes, Anko-sensei" Temari replied. "Whatever it is that's on your mind, do something about it. And make sure you get a good sleep tonight. Alright, see you tomorrow." Temari nodded and left in a composed manner, though on the inside she was screaming.

Temari was a very competitive volleyball player, and she had a reputation for being the best player on the team, besides, she was the captain. It was super embarrassing that she wasn't playing up to Anko-sensei's standards, or even her own. People just figured she was stressed for the regionals, or maybe she was stressed because she had a massive pile of homework to complete. Neither of those were the reasons, or even true. Temari stressed because she was in love with a certain pink-haired girl she knew, and that certain pink-haired girl definitely did not like her back. Ohhh no.

Temari angrily kicked the school doors open and was instantly greeted by harsh winds and drifting snow. She cursed loudly at the numbing cold and broke into a run, craving heat and hot chocolate. "Temari-san!" Temari stopped dead in her tracks and spun around when she heard the lovely voice belonging to none other than Sakura-chan, calling her name clearly as a bell. "Temari-san, do you want us to drive you home?" she offered. Temari noticed the small ocean-blue car that was parked behind her, and she could just make out tuffs of messy blonde hair in the backseat. "Sure" Temari muttered, heading toward her. She climbed into the backseat, beside the annoying and moronic Naruto while Sakura got in the passenger seat beside the driver, her nineteen-year old sister Sunako. "Hey, Temari!" Naruto greeted. Temari nodded her head to him. "How was volleyball practise?" he questioned. "Alright, tiring" she replied. "I bet! You must've been practicing hard for the regionals game that's coming up!" he commented. "Yeah."

"When is that anyway? Are you nervous?" he hammered on. Temari felt the urge to punch the annoying little freak in the face, but instead she sighed and rolled her eyes. "Oh, it's in a week. I'm not nervous, but I am excited" she answered, not sounding the least bit excited. "Oh" Naruto awkwardly responded. "You don't seem too excited" he noted. "Naruto, don't you think you've bothered her enough?" Sakura cut in. "She's clearly exhausted, and probably doesn't want to be drilled about volleyball when she's probably been thinking about it all week" she explained.

Naruto scratched the back of his head, clearly embarrassed. "You're right, Sakura-chan…I'm sorry Temari" Naruto muttered. Temari smiled thankfully at Sakura, who gave a warm smile back. A few minutes of silence passed until Sakura finally spoke again. "So, you live just around here, right?" she asked. "Yes, you can stop here and I can walk the rest of the way. It's really close" Temari told her. "Alright, Sunako, stop the car" Sakura ordered. "Thank you, Sakura" Temari said. "No problem" Sakura grinned.

Temari sloshed through the freezing snow for a little under ten minutes until she reached her house. She sprinted for the door, swung it open and was happy to be greeted by warmth. After she finished removing her coat, scarf and boots she ascended up the stairs to run herself a nice, warm bath. Suddenly, she noticed the foul, smoky scent in the air. She paused halfway down the hall and noticed a billow of smoke issuing from Kankuro's room. She rushed toward the half-open door of Kankuro's room and flung it open all the way. Her eyes widened in shock at what she saw. Tall, threatening flames were consuming the entire room. "Shit!" she cursed, turning on her heel and sprinting down the hall to the bathroom. She grabbed a large pale from under the sink, filled it to the top and ran back to the room, spilling nearly half of the water as she went. She frantically swung the bucket over the open flames in a rush to put them out, but there were just too many.

"Damn that Kankuro!" she yelled, whipping her cell phone out and punching Kankuro's number into it. "Hello?" a deep male's voice answered. "Kankuro! You idiot, you set your room on fire!" Temari screamed. "What?!" he responded, confusion obvious in his voice. "Just call Gaara and tell him what happened! I'm going to get help!" she replied. "Bye!" she slammed her phone shut before he could reply. Temari hastily called the firefighters to come and then gathered some of her most prized possessions: some volleyball trophies, assorted photographs of Gaara, Kankuro and her friends and some money just in case. She made a short pit stop at Gaara's room, though the fire was just starting to envelop the room. The heat was overwhelming, and whenever she breathed in, the smoke burned in her throat, causing her to hack violently. She grabbed a stuffed teddy Gaara had as a child and all the money he had (which wasn't much) and then left the house. The firetruck arrived shortly after she departed the house, followed by Kankuro and Gaara. "Temari!" Kankuro exclaimed, reaching her first. "Temari, I'm so sorry…" "Gaara, I saved this for you" Temari said, ignoring Kankuro. Gaara took the teddy from Temari and genuinely thanked her. Though he would never admit it, he loved that teddy.

"Temari, did you hear me?" Kankuro asked. "Because of your little mistake, Kankuro, we lose the whole house" Temari snapped. Kankuro sighed sadly as the three of them watched the firefighters attempt to put the fires out, even though they knew their house was beyond repair.

"Temari…" Kankuro tried. Temari did not answer; she just scowled at him. "We can stay at someone's for the night, maybe" she suggested. "Who do you have in mind?" she growled. "I don't know, one of our friends. Maybe Kiba's, his sister is always cool with it" he answered. "Ew, I am NOT staying over at dog-boy's house. The guy's so obsessed with dogs that he freaking smells like them!" she complained. Kankuro sighed in annoyance. "Alright, fine…if you don't want to stay at Kiba's, you can go somewhere else" he spat. "Fine" she said, dialing a number into her cell phone.

"Sakura! Dinner's ready!" Sunako called. "This early?" Sakura asked. "Yeah! I thought you were hungry!" she replied. "I'm not…oh and when's mom coming home?" Sakura questioned. "I don't know…probably around nine" Sunako predicted. It's too late to apologize! Sakura's cell phone rang loudly. "Hello?" she answered. "Sakura, this is Temari. I have a huge favor to ask you…" Temari said quietly. "Um, what is the favor, Temari-san?" she asked, confused by the urgency in the tone of her voice. "Well, it's a long story, but my house kind of got burned down because Kankuro left a candle burning…Kankuro's staying over at Kiba's house, and Gaara will probably end up at Naruto's or Neji's. Could I stay at your place until we figure out what to do?" she questioned nervously. "Oh, wow…I'm sorry about your house, Temari-san!" Sakura exclaimed. "It's okay, Sakura…could you ask your mom if it's okay?" "She's not here right now, but my sister won't care. Why don't you come over and stay here until my mom comes home, then we can ask her then" Sakura offered generously. "Oh, thank you so much Sakura!" Temari heaved a sigh of relief. "No problem, I'll see you soon" Sakura said, clicking the hang-up button.

"Temari's gonna come over and stay for a bit, her house burned down" Sakura notified. "Holy crap…seriously?" Sunako responded. "Yeah, seriously…we'll ask mom if she can stay when she gets home and-" "Do you know how long she's going to be staying?" Sunako interrupted. "Um, I have no idea. Probably a while though" Sakura sighed. "Oh, so you don't mind?" Sunako asked. "Nope, it's alright. I just hope mom's okay with it."