Title: 101 Questions
Rating: PG 13
Warnings: Language, Violence, Nudity
Summary: Sakura tugged at Sasuke's pants, and peered at him curiously. "Hey mister, what's an ass?" At the end of the day he'll be lucky if he wanted to restore his clan.
Disclaimer: I neither hold now ownership to Naruto nor am I affiliated with the anime, manga or mangaka of this series. The only thing I own is the plot and whatever made up characters of my own designs. Whatever lyrics used belong to their respectable owners as well.
Author's Note: I honestly doubt Naruto would ever mention the reproductive system in the context of the last chapter especially since the manga is more focused upon all, but that. This is the final chapter to "101 questions". I'm both happy and sad. I sort of realized the title more applies to the beginning than the end, but whatever. I was a tad bit disappointed with a certain scene because it just wouldn't come out right. Sadly, this too hasn't been beta-read. I'm such a procrastinator. I even recently realized there was a decent "spell check" available on this site - thing is, sometimes it adds "eve" to my "ev" words such as "attractive" so I got stuck going through all the words in this chapter that has those two letters side by side.
Chapter Six: Gratitude Serenity
Sasuke surveyed the area outside, but found no sign of Sakura. How was it so hard to locate a little girl with pink hair? She should stick out like a sore thumb, red in a black and white movie, a cat among dogs. But somehow the little minx was nowhere to be seen. Hell, he might start breaking a sweat soon which was odd since he knew she was no where near this fast at twelve. So perhaps she also retained the ability to use additional aspects of advance training other than her inhumane strength.
Sasuke could just picture the look Tsunade would give him if she ever found out. Like a demoness rising from Hell, the hokage glowered at the pint-sized version of the Uchiha, and bellowed, "What do you mean you lost her?"
"That's what I said." He blandly replied while ignoring the small sense of badly misplaced fear he unfortunately didn't feel.
"Well then…Get out there and find her!" She exclaimed, booting him out of the window, and into the next county.
Of course, that little would-be incident, knowing Tsunade, would be far more bloody, and violent considering how the hokage considered Sakura more of a daughter than a mere apprentice. And the fact that he left Konoha years ago was still a thorn in her side.
Sasuke would be lying if he didn't say the last one and a half was anything but boring. First it was the questions, the annoying, ongoing questions, the shower thing, the bad food, the questions again, the godawful animal show, the breast thing, the menstral nightmare, and now this. Even as a teen she was emotional, usually resulting in someone getting hurt, but far worse than he could've imagined.
It took him about five minutes, but he found her just when the rain began to fall. Ironically enough she sat in the same bench she had confessed her feelings all those years ago. Eyes shadowed by the limited moonlight, long pink hair plastered itself onto her pale face; her clothing cling to her slim form like a second skin. She surely had to be cold there on that bench, but she sat there beneath the full moon as if it were a perfectly sunny day instead of a rain storm.
Sakura sensed him even though Sasuke stood there without saying a word, or making any indication that he arrived a few minutes ago. "You'll catch a cold."
This wasn't the confident Sakura he returned back to. This was the Sakura who felt insecure, weak, and at times needed reassurance. In a way she was who he had once been all those years ago: Insecure, weak, sometimes needed reassurance from his mother, teachers, and classmates since everything he did was compared to Itachi for his father never made him feel worthy in comparison.
"I'm sorry." Sakura gestured to her somewhat flat chest, her clothes, and hair with a frown. "I had to leave because...I just…I want to be myself again. I don't want to be a burden to you anymore."
She was a burden, but Sasuke decided to spare her that. He sighed, "You're not a burden."
"You're just being nice."
"Che. I don't do nice."
Sakura shook her head with a soft smile, but kept her eyes glued to her feet, an odd thing for her to do. "You're nice, Sasuke. You made me rice porridge when I got sick, then played with stuffed animals, you answered all my questions, you let me sleep in your bed, you put on makeup, and even ate ice-cream despite the fact that you hate sweets."
"I only did that stuff only because I had to."
"I know." She sounded disappointed, thus contradicting that smile on her face.
Perhaps Sakura was starting to feel better and accepted the fact that she was stuck in her genin self for the time being because a moment later she stared upwards, and the smile brightened. The rain had stopped for the moment, and the moon slowly emerged from behind the dark clouds.
"The sky is so vast, even on rainy days like this. It's been a while, but I remember. When I was a child, and my bird died, my mother told me it went to heaven so I shouldn't be sad. I said I wanted to visit because I thought it might be scared all the way up there, but she said it was too far away, past where the sky ends."
Sasuke said nothing, which shouldn't surprise anyone who knew the teen. He too remembered that troublesome bird quite well. They had been seven, and he found her crying that Friday evening after school. Turned out some jerks had purposely freed the small bird to upset her. Soon enough he left the crying girl and his mother to find that bird. Why? He didn't know. Perhaps it was because that was what police officials did, and that was what he wanted to become.
"Is this it?" Panting quite heavily, he opened his hands and presented the red and brown bird to her. She stared at the creature, then at him, and hugged him. He stood there shocked as she cried loudly, then he stared at his smiling mother in confusion. Later he learned it was a sign of gratitude.
Even so, her ability to start a conversation and, although one-sided at times, out of nothing was quite a gift. But it would be the last thing he'd ever wish for after seeing both her and Naruto gab on and on about things some people just wouldn't give a damn about. Despite this, it was a gift nevertheless.
Sakura paused, and remained silent for quite a while. "Hey Sasuke?"
"Do you…do you believe in heaven?" Sasuke hadn't been prepared for such a question. He was use to her asking him questions he could lie about or just answer in one word. But never did he expect this. In fact, he didn't reply for sometime so she peered at him curiously, "Sa—"
"I guess. I don't know."
It would be nice, he supposed, to think his mother, and everyone else was in a better place, not in pain, and away from Itachi. but in the world of the ninja, it was also a comforting thought to be where there was peace and not fighting, but not often contemplated about when it came to the line of duty.
Sakura watched him carefully, and nodded. She knew he hated to be uncertain, the tone in his voice suggested as much. Facts was what he loved, the unknown wasn't. So she stared up at the clouds, an occasional rain drop dripping upon her forehead. "It's funny, but this bench has some of my best memories."
Sasuke was slightly surprised at that. Wasn't this the very bench he laid her upon the night he left, the bench where he shattered her dreams more than once, and left everything behind for his own ambitions. How could she find joy in that?
"I learned a lot here." She confessed, briefly recalling the first day they'd become a team, and beyond. "I learned how shallow I was, how weak, and fragile. I learned what it was really like to be all alone even with someone right next to you."
He had been one of the reasons why she wanted to become strong.
"I think it's you that hasn't changed. I'm not that weak little girl anymore, Sasuke. And I think it's time you realize that."
That day he found the rumors were true. Her punches hurt like hell. Ironically enough she had been the one to heal him with an almost too cheerful smile.
He brushed the tear from one of her eyes as she sat beside him staring back wide-eyed. "Annoying."
In his eyes tears were useless. They didn't bring justice, they couldn't revive his clan, they were just a waste of time, and effort. She on the other hand cried so much. She cried for him, she cried because of him, sometimes she even cried because she was happy. Tears, he discovered, were useless, and at times confusing. Yet somehow they held great power.
Slowly the red fog disappeared and there she stood, hot tears streaming down her face, fear and trust in her eyes, and that almost silent voice calling out to him. It seemed at times he wasn't the only one doing the protecting. She had been his undoing. For in that moment the marks slowly receded, and he felt her warmth engulfing his form. And there before frightened ninjas and an unconscious team mate, he felt a sense of freedom and clarity.
Sasuke remembered it clearly like if it were just this morning. He had cried that day his clan had been slaughtered, but those tears had long dried up. His heart had hardened, his dreams replaced as he found himself lost in a sea of darkness, blood lust, and hatred.
"You get use to it."
Sakura stood up, and smiled brightly at him, which left him slightly confused. Her hopeful heart, and optimistic outlook was what many admired. "But you're not alone anymore, Sasuke. You got Naruto, Kakashi-sensei…me. You know that, right?"
Team Seven. A bunch of weirdos some may say. A energetic loudmouth, a sassy girl with one hell of a left hook, a brooding avenger, and a perverted teacher. Who would've guessed that those three students would become so famous at such a young age. At the start two team members were always at each others throats, the other was pining almost shamelessly after one, and the remainder had an annoying habit of carrying some erotic book around.
But despite their differences, they had found some common ground. For every weakness one possessed, the others made up for. For every pain and tear, there was always a shoulder to lean on. For every bit of anger, there was always a readied punching bag nearby.
They were family to one another because no matter what, they were connected. And it was this family he had once betrayed, this family that would never forsake him, and helped heal him in ways he had once never fully understood. In the end, he needed them just as much as they needed him. Sometimes, even more.
Sakura slowly walked up to him, but still he had said nothing. In his mind, why say anything when there was nothing to be said. Three steps, then six, then eleven. She stood before him now, and for a few seconds they just stared at one another as the rain started to fall more heavily. Then she laughed, and left him confused once again.
"Let's go, Sasuke." Sakura smiled brightly, grabbed his hand, and tugged him forward. Even though he wore a scowl on his face, and complained about being led around like cattle, he didn't protest for long. Beneath the full moon, bathed in the rain, they walked side-by-side.
The next day at exactly eleven in the morning, Tsunade knew it was coming. It was like the sudden chills Sasuke gets when Sakura looks ready to punch him out, the feeling of dread when Naruto has to wash dishes to pay for his ramen, the stab to the heart when one loses subscription to their favorite erotica - well, it was something quite different. Even before the door was flung open like a mini hurricane, the hokage saw the blonde blur crisscrossing its way on the rooftops of the village moving at an impressive speed.
"I'm surprised you're back so earlier, Naruto." Tsunade replied, swirling the glass of sake slowly as she peered curiously at the fuming blonde ninja.
Naruto sat on the desk, much to her annoyance, and glared at her as if she had stolen his ramen. "You gave me a stupid mission. I'm a jounin. I should be kicking ass, not getting some stupid cat from a tree. I mean, if it's smart enough to climb it, it's gotta be smart enough to get down."
"Naruto, one would think you'd be happy to get a mission. After all, you're not stuck on indefinite babysitting like Sasuke."
He looked at her as if she had lost her mind. Sometimes he got the feeling she was just out to get him. "But babysitting Sakura is actually fun. Getting your eyes scratched out by some stupid cat and getting beat up by an old woman with a cane isn't."
"For a jounin you complain too much."
"For a old lady you drink like a fish."
Only a fool would've missed that twitching of her eyebrows because no one, absolutely no one, called this woman "old" unless they had a death wish.
"If you wanna die so badly why didn't you say so?" They began to glare at one another, neither refusing to back down. But none had yet to throw the first punch. And it would've gone on for hours like the battle of wills between Sasuke and Naruto if Shizune didn't step in.
She knocked on the open door politely, but didn't wait for a response. "Lady Tsunade, your shipment is here. It's marked fragile materials."
Naruto forgotten, Tsunade smiled and moved away from the desk. Her sake from the Rock county was here. "Finally. I was about to kill someone. Konoha just doesn't make good sake anymore. We'll talk more about your escapade later, kid. Oh, and just because I'm leaving you here doesn't mean I trust you. So don't touch anything. I mean it."
"Nag. Nag. Nag." He muttered, and grimaced at the glare she sent his way.
"I got my eyes on you, Uzumaki."
Naruto gulped. Of course, the second she was gone, the fear was too. And thus with no one to entertain him, his attention span wavered considerably. And as whenever it does, he would wonder aimlessly, poke his head around, and find himself in trouble. Yes, it was the typical, daily cycle of Naruto Uzumaki.
Sadly enough after spinning around in the big chair of the hokage's until he nearly threw up, fiddling with some of the small trinkets on the desk and photographs, and making faces at the mirrors by the door, he got bored. That is until something sparkly caught his eyes, and like a child led to the magical world of sweets, he followed. Never mind the "hazard" sign plastered onto the side of the door, he was on a mission.
"103." Sakura read, and pulled the thermometer from his lips, and settled it onto the dresser with a dejected sigh.
Sasuke remained on the bed, his cheeks flushed, as his temperature steadily raised much to her dismay. Quickly she removed the now nearly dried towel off his forehead, placed it into the bowel by the thermometer, and applied a newly damp one in its place.
Sasuke never gets sick. I mean never! Even when more than half the village had suffered from a really bad flu several years ago, he hadn't even gotten a sniffle or anything while she and Naruto had been sick like dogs. Of course, that had its advantage since he had to nurse her back to heal...and Kakashi and Naruto too.
Sakura groaned, and mentally punched herself. It's because of me why he got sick. This is all…my fault.
"Oh Sasuke." Her inner self cried, and she became rather annoyed by the small voice who was making her feel even worse with the constant, "Why Sasuke? Why?"
It had been two days ago since they had been out in the rain. Yesterday, Sasuke had gotten sick. It was subtle, at first. His cheeks had been unusually red, but he shrugged it off. Soon, afterwards, he seemed almost sluggish, and then finally collapsed onto the bed. Ever since then she had to get his fever to break.
Sakura grabbed some clean blankets from the lining closet, and placed them onto his comforter. The second she turned her back to change the towel, he shoved the blankets aside with a low groan. She too groaned, but out of frustration. "Don't do that, Sasuke. You need to sweat, and get better. I can't have you dying on me!"
Indeed. Sakura refused to let him die especially after he did such nice things for her even when she had been brattier than her first childhood. Plus, he was the one she was going to marry someday. Who in their right minds wanted to be widowed so soon, and before the actual wedding?
Sasuke seemed to have given in perhaps because he was too exhausted to keep moving the blankets. Whatever the reason, the Uchiha had accepted defeat. Sakura smiled proudly at this.
Watching him sleeping, his chest raising and falling at a steady pace, his lips slightly parted, cheeks somewhat flushed, Sakura realized he was even more handsome than before. He looked like such an innocent child, vulnerable, and sweet. This must've been the boy that used to smile, blush, and laugh when he had been no older than eight. The boy who loved his mother, respected his father, and adored his older brother. The boy that lost everything, and felt so defeated and alone, who built so many walls around his heart in fear of letting anyone get close to him again.
This boy, so confused, so lost, so angry, and hurt, this was the boy she loved. This complex creature named "Sasuke Uchiha". And no matter how many walls she'd have to climb, no matter how many times he would try to push her away, she'd find a way to reach his heart someday. Because she knew that boy was still in there, somewhere.
Sasuke gently slapped her hand away and stood up himself. Clearly his pride was hurt being caught off guard by a girl he always deemed so weak and unworthy to be his sparring partner. He glared at her when she asked what was wrong in a smug, sing-a-along voice. "Che. You're so annoying."
Sakura smiled almost flirtatious at him for it seemed that was his pet name for her - 'Annoying Girl' and his was 'Arrogant Bastard' while Naruto's varied from time to time. "Bet you say that to all the girls you like."
He didn't say anything, and she expected him to just ignore her. But then after a few seconds passed with him staring at her with this intense look in his eyes, he lightly poked her on the forehead with a small smirk. A simple gesture of affection, she later learned.
"Hey, you just can't poke a girl and walk away. Come back here, Uchiha, and face me like a man." Sakura exclaimed, trying to pass off the blush on her cheeks as a sign of anger and not embarrassment. But he didn't take the bait, merely continued walking with that smug little smirk on his face.
Who would've known he, one who would rather listen to mindless chitchat about "ramen" than talk to a girl, could flirt?
Sakura watched him go, and the damnable blush only increased. Naruto glanced curiously at the two of them, and frowned. "Did I just miss something?"
They wouldn't be going out and not tell him, right? But then again they did keep a few secrets from him. Like that Karaoke night when Sasuke supposedly kissed Sakura after one too many sake.
Kakashi glanced at his clueless student and frowned. "Naruto, maybe we need to have a talk."
"We already had 'the talk'!"He groaned, recalling all the graphic details and porno used the last time. At the age of thirteen, it had scarred him for life.
Sakura blinked a few times, and frowned. In that brief flashback she had been older, more confident, and even more prettier, as were the others. In fact, Kakashi hadn't been wearing his mask and Sasuke had his shirt off - insert inner self squealing with joy. Perhaps this meant she was getting closer to being her old self again, and the thought slightly sadden her. The closer she got to her old self, the likelihood it would be the further she'd get from Sasuke.
Deciding that his health was of more importance at the moment, Sakura dismissed her worries. She'd deal with them later. Staring still at his peaceful face, she brushed her lips softly against his flushed forehead, and gently whispered, "Get better soon, Sasuke."
Since three in the afternoon, Tsunade had been busily working through her old closet consisting of documents, and papers since her genin days. She hated spring cleaning, chalking it up as one of her top disliked things next to trying to appease the elders by being kind, and patient when they were unbelievably rude, and slow. That she was frantically searching through old scrolls would raise some concern especially since the closet contained quite a lot of dust and there was no sake in sight.
"Lady Tsunade, are you okay?" Shizune knocked on the closet door, and then peered in curiously to see the hokage on her knees going through boxes, and boxes of scrolls like a woman on a mission. She never saw her going through a closet – or any closet for that matter - at such a rate, not even to obtain loss sake. It was a bit scaring, but admirable as well.
"I'm fine. I had a dream last night so I came in here because I think there's another reversal, or antidote, to that aging process. I'm not really sure, and I never really looked because once I look this way why would I wanna go back?"
"Oh. I see."
"Found it. My chuunin year." She blew the dust from the scroll, turned her face so she wouldn't cough or sneeze, and then exited the closet to outlay the yellowing paper onto her desk to study it.
"What does it say?" Shizune peered over Tsunade's left shoulder then made a face. The writing on the scroll was messing, on the sides were badly drawn illustrations of a middle-aged man, notations about local gambling halls were highlighted, old debts with some still unpaid, and the prices for different bottles of sake.
"Hold on a minute…" Her keen eyes scanned the several pages before the words 'Aging' came into view. She skimmed it, and raised both eyebrows with a grin. "Now there's an odd antidote. Wonder if the Uchiha's up to it."
"A kiss?" The younger woman glanced curiously at the hokage, who shrugged.
"I guess. Who knows? I just scribbled this stuff down. It could say "kill" for all I know. I mean why would I, or anyone with an ounce of a sense, want an antidote to a miracle? Besides I wasn't really paying attention to the old coot anyways. He was as interesting as watching Jiraiya get attacked by women from the public baths every day."
Tsunade blinked. "No, that's a lie. Jiraiya's situation is a lot more interesting."
Shizune sighed, and rolled up the scroll, and the large burst of hope faded. "So we're back at square one."
"Not necessarily. Don't sound so negative. We'll just wait for the justsu to run its course." She paused, looked at the brunette for a second, and then hung her head in defeat. "So yes, square one."
Their luck seemed to have decreased even further when they received an urgent SOS from Gai's team.
Sakura removed the drying towel from Sasuke forehead, and placed it onto the small bowl on the nightstand, then afterwards replaced the cloth with a damper one. The brief few seconds her fingers lingered on his skin, his left hand shot out, grabbed her wrist, and then pulled her almost within inches of his face.
Sasuke opened his eyes part way with a scowl, peering up at her confused and slightly frightened face. As the fog in his vision faded, the painful hold loosened almost completely for he recognized the mop of pink hair, and set of green eyes. Clearly they did not belong to the threat he was having in his nightmare.
"S-Sakura…" Now was it just her or did he seem suddenly closer. Feeling his warm breath brushing gently against her lips, his eyes intense even in his feverish state, made her heart flutter.
Was he going to…?
Sakura's eyes grew wide, in fact those green orbs nearly dominated her face, as she stared openly at him. Her stomach did flop-flops as it filled with butterflies, her mouth suddenly became dry, and heart began to beat so loudly she feared it would ruin the moment. Meanwhile her inner self was having a field day with planning out their wedding.
"Kiss me you fool!" Her inner self exclaimed, and puckered up her lips, but she went ignored.
Would this be her first kiss...?
Then just as their lips would have touched - Sasuke promptly drifted back asleep, his hand dropping from her face, and his head turned so that her lips landed on his cheek instead. Immediately Sakura lifted her head up from his face, she mentally yelled in frustration, then reluctantly sat up.
"What a rip off!" Inner Sakura yelled. He was so damn lucky he was hot otherwise she'd kick his ass.
"Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. What am I doing?" Sakura shook her head several times, and groaned underneath her breath.
Clearly it was his fever that was making him act so affectionate, or rather weird. Well weird as in seeing him gaze all lovingly at her like if he was going to start reading outdated poetry to her or confess his undying love for her then break out in a solo. How romantic and scary that would be.
Nevertheless, his behavior was thanks to a nasty flu bug. Even so, Sakura couldn't help but to glare slightly at the boy, looking so attractive even when ill and should be looking like a tomato with black hair. She moaned underneath her breath. At this rate, she'd be on her deathbed before they kissed. Let's not even discuss going on a date.
"Get it together, you moron. I have to make him get better. Not try to steal kisses!" Sakura scolded herself and even though she wanted to grab him by the collar and kiss him to death, she just thrust a fist into the air in a manner that would've made Gai-sensei proud. "Right! To his health!"
Two days passed before Sasuke awoke, no longer held down by the flu. He had vague recollections, dreamless slumbers, and thoughts of annoying stuffed animals running about trying to attack him. The boy couldn't remember the last time he got sick. He was always so preoccupied with his revenge that he never allowed anything, even illness to keep him down. But he was no invincible, just human.
Sasuke turned his head to the side, and took notice of Sakura. She rested her head upon the edge of the bed, her small hand holding onto his. She looked peaceful, and content, but clearly worn out. She had held his hand the entire time, of this he was certain. That warm feeling was happening again, occurring only whenever he started to feel close to someone. It was nice, but a bit scary to him.
"Idiot." Sasuke grunted, and looked away. But that smile on his face, small but genuine, reduced the harshness of the term.
Being the great observer that he was, Sasuke would've saw it long before she would ever admit or recognized it. The faint purple bags beneath her eyes, the tangles in her usually smooth hair, and the rumpled clothing she wore. it was clear she never moved away from him unless she had to. She had stayed by his side. So perhaps he knew the signs because he experienced it in his life being his father's son, the top rookie, and an avenger.
That's what it was.
Sakura hardly pushed herself too this state, because when a ninja ran out of chakara, and energy, they were defenseless. So it was quite rare for her. But when she did, it took quite the toll. She would always call Naruto, and him "reckless," but she was just the same as they were. He remembered catching the medic just in time that day in the hospital after she put all her energy into saving a top official from Sands, his hands reaching out to grasp her limp form, the sudden sense of relief and then wave of anger he had felt. It was that very day Naruto and he decided she would never be overworked again. So no matter how much she'd threaten or beg him or punch or throttle Naruto, she'd get her rest one way or another even if one of them had to knock her out to do so.
Thus, they switched positions. Sasuke laid her gently on the bed, making sure to place the pillow underneath her head. Afterwards, he stood above her, hands in his pockets, his eyes watching the medic slumber with a smile on her face.
She was sixteen again, independent, strong, and pretty. There were hardly any signs of the girl who boldly expressed her feelings for him, the one that drove him up the wall, and the one he would always feel the need to protect. One would think it was bizarre, and downright insane, but he sort of missed that girl.
In the past days Sasuke had learned a lot about her, and about himself. So perhaps the once thought hellish nightmare wasn't as bad as he once would've thought. That didn't mean she wasn't annoying, she was annoying as hell, but nowadays things were different, they were different, and she was annoying in a whole other manner.
"Bet you say that to all the girls you like."
Sasuke soon found his fingers brushing the stray pink strands of hair from her forehead, staring intently at her sleeping form. At one time, not too long ago, if he had done so he would've snapped back like if struck by lightening. But he hadn't. Closer, and closer still, Sasuke lowered his head towards hers. His black forelocks brushed gently against her pale face as his lips softly, barely touching, against hers. He stared at her closed eyes and frowned.
This was all he could give her for everything, and she was asleep.
People thought this was how he wanted to live his life, and he never corrected them, but they were wrong. Deep down he wanted to be able to laugh, to smile, to love freely, and enjoy life. He wanted to be like Sakura, and Naruto. One day he hoped to return her affections. Maybe not today, maybe not even in a year. He hoped soon, but only if she would be willing to wait just a bit longer for him.
"Thank you." His voice was oddly soft, and low.
Perhaps it was the unforgiving bright rays of the sun coming through the window, or perhaps she heard his voice. Whatever the reason may have been Sakura began to awaken. At first she made a face, groaned, blinked a few times, and then smiled at him. "Good morning, Sasuke."
"Good morning, Sasuke." Mikoto smiled at her now healthy son as he peered curiously at her from where she laid her head at the edge of the bed.
He stared at her, his eyes slightly widened at the memory. There were always brief instances in time such a thing would happen, but it had been so long.
Sakura didn't expect an answer, she would be lucky if she got a grunt or a short response, but she didn't let that slow her down. That's was another thing he liked about her. She accepted him just the way he was, she didn't push him to change more than he could. Perhaps because she was among the few that could read him like a book, or at least his unvoiced responses. And she always ready with a smile, or a punch to the face, depending on the situation. In short, she was one hell of a woman.
Sasuke narrowed his eyes. "Go back to sleep."
Sakura peered at him curiously, and blinked a few more times. This wasn't a dream, obviously since he was still being a bit of a jerk. And even though he said those words so impassively, that didn't stop the faint butterfly effect in her stomach. He may not love her, or barely stand her presence at times, but he cared in his own way.
Pleased with this knowledge, the medic smiled and fell back asleep, faintly noting with a little mental squeal that she was snuggled all warmly in Sasuke's bed. Well damn, even his pillow smelled really good.
About sixteen minutes later Sasuke stepped out of the bathroom with the steam surrounding his form. One towel around his waist, another being used to dry his head, he passed through the hallway, and noticed one red light was blinking on the phone in the kitchen.
Sasuke pressed the button, and waited for the computerized male voice to say, "You have two new messages. Monday. 8:30 am."
"Yo. It's me!" Tsunade exclaimed, perhaps a bit tipsy, or just a morning person. "I take it that Sakura's back to normal since you're not begging me for a cure."
She sounded quite amused, and was apparently some sort of mind reader, but why was she calling so early in the morning. "See I told you that assignment wouldn't kill you."
"Che." He replied. The woman either had no idea what she was saying, or did and was probably just trying to patronize him.
"And I'm pleased to present you with a new mission. It's not exactly what you'd call 'A' class, but it's not easy. Both Gai's, and Asuma's teams both failed."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. The fact that Neji had given in did surprise him. He was quite the perfectionist, but so was he. But what could be so bad that would make two exceptional jounin teams fail? Well, it must've been something difficult. But unlike them, Sasuke was up to the challenge.
"Let's just say you came highly recommended…and in fact, requested. I believe the last assignment had you well prepared, and Sakura will prove a very good partner."
"Last assignment…" Sasuke scowled. He had a feeling, a really bad feeling; he was not going to like this would be 'mission'. She sounded all too happy to thrust the work onto him.
"Well…I think someone else can explain this one better than I can. Oh, good luck!" Was it just his imagination or did he suddenly detect excessive sympathy in those final two words?
Silence then followed. Figuring the other message was unimportant; he started to leave, but the phone message beeped twice. And against his better judgment, he waited.
"Monday. 10:10 am."
"Hey, Sasuke." Naruto said, his voice sounded ten years younger. "Uhm…can I come over?"
/ The End. /
Upcoming Chapter Specials: These will be posted one after the other the next two Saturdays from today, and will include previews of new stories. Also, check my profile for upcoming works including drabbles, long ficlets, and smutty materials.
1. Epilogue - Features Sakura and Sasuke's dilemma with Naruto. Turns out nothing will prepare anyone for this energetic knucklehead. All Hell breaks loose.
2. One Bonus Stories - (a) Sasuke deals with the children while Sakura is away. (b) Sasuke deals with the fact that his daughter is in love with the "enemy". (c) And lastly Sakura tries to have "the talk" with their sons. Let's see if the previous missions helped.
Final Author's Note: My first ever completed Naruto fanfiction. This completely calls for a celebration. Indeed, I do love to type a good story. Took me a long, long time, but I did what I set out to do. Thanks to both my beta-readers for their hard work. Additionally, there will be an epilogue, not a sequel, and will definitely be no where near as long as this would be one shot story. Yes, my hands and my brain don't comprehend the meaning of a "one-shot".
Yes, I did find a little pleasure in torturing my all time favorite male character Sasuke even though he can be such a hot, arrogant jerk - but then again, I do like Inuyasha as well. This story was quite fun to write, and work with. There were some parts I was iffy about, yes I'm guilty that I wanted to finish up, but I did get some fluff in! I'm going to revise this again tomorrow since I'm a bit sleepy. Thanks everyone for the reviews, comments, and suggestions. Also thanks to my beta reader dbz-lover91 for her services.