Greetings Naruto (and SasuSaku) fans! BlueGreenApples, the absolutely amazing author of the fantastic SasuSaku fic 'Color Theory' (as well as the brilliant 'Fealty' and all her other jaw-dropping works) recently proposed a fic swap between herself and me. I was obviously ecstatic to receive such an offer (it's a high compliment considering I'm a total newbie to the Naruto fan fiction scene and she is like a Goddess of writing SasuSaku xD) and so I naturally agreed. We exchanged prompts and here is the first part of my response to the scenario she suggested, which was 'summertime in Konoha with a Reconciled Team 7'. BGA, this is for you hun! Thanks so much for being so inspiring, and I really hope you enjoy the first chapter (and all the following ones xD).
Chapter I: The Fair
He liked things simple. He liked things to be all worked out in his head. He liked concepts to be concrete. Anything that was not simple and concrete - anything that even vaguely resembled any form of indefinable essence – disconcerted and bothered him. It confused him. And Uchiha Sasuke despised, above all other states of mind, the catastrophic maze of confusion. Because it was within this state, that complete control, and absolute discipline over both mind and body, would begin to falter.
Konoha was a breathtaking vision to behold in the summer. The sunny blue skies were cloudless; the grassy, rolling banks were dark green and pretty flowers of all shades swayed in the gentle breeze.
Children who were due to start attending the Ninja Academy for the first time in the following Autumn ran down the busy streets in excitement, proclaiming to whoever cared to listen that they would grow to be the finest shinobi or kunoichi that Konoha had ever produced, better than any other in the history of the village.
Seventeen year old Uchiha Sasuke sat perched on the edge of the rooftop of his house, staring out at the idyllic scenes before him. Any threats to Konoha had long since been removed. The hidden leaf village was now the perfect picture of peace.
He had returned to the village just over seven months earlier. And only once he had set foot through the imposing front gates, had he realised just how much he had missed Konoha; his home.
Tsunade had been lenient on him; a year under the strict, watchful guard of ANBU and a further six months after the initial twelve of nothing but low rank missions was deemed to be a suitable sentence for his betraying the village and turning nukenin. Following on from that, he would be permitted on ANBU monitored missions with his original team but on strict probation terms, bringing the total count of his sentence to two years. If he completed the two years successfully and maintained good, law abiding behaviour, Tsunade would withdraw all watch from him and allow him to travel freely on high rank missions.
The Uchiha Clan had been one of the richest in the Fire Country. But until Sasuke completed his two year sentence, all his inherited money would be trusted to Konoha's High Council. He would receive only basic allowances every month for what Tsunade had argued would only be basics anyway, like money for food and other necessities. While serving, he was also required to take all the Academy exams he had missed since leaving the village. Sasuke had passed them all easily, and now spent most of his days reading, toning up already perfected skills, or simply watching people. When Naruto and Sakura were around, and not off on a mission, it made the dragging hours of every day a little more bearable.
When the Uchiha prodigy had first returned to the village, he hadn't known what to expect. Tsunade and all his elders were understandably furious with him. He had half thought that he would be executed, or at the very least, imprisoned for a long time. Naruto and Sakura had pleaded on his behalf. They had never argued for him in Sasuke's presence; they knew he was too proud to permit them to do such a thing; but he knew that they had done so.
He vaguely wondered if he even deserved such friends. He had driven them away, abandoned them, nearly killed them on a number of occasions, and still they had gone so far for him. They had refused to let go. They had refused to give up on him. Team 7 was truly like a family unit, with an astonishingly unbreakable bond.
When issuing his sentence to him, Tsunade had pointed out to the scowling disciplinary council that despite his treachery, Sasuke had still killed Orochimaru and Itachi; two highly dangerous traitors to Konoha. He had also formed an alliance with Konoha's elite ninja squads to defeat Uchiha Madara and the remaining members of the shadowy organisation Akatsuki. Kakashi had added in his defence that Sasuke had done nothing to injure his home village by leaving; he had not killed any ninja or civilians other than the aforementioned enemies of Konoha (Orochimaru had always questioned Sasuke over why he never killed people); if anything, Sasuke's defection had only aided the village and helped to keep it, and specifically, Naruto, safe.
Sasuke had accepted his sentence with an air of nonchalance, but having ANBU guards always stationed nearby, watching him, was an annoyance. Sasuke was a very private person, and hated having his personal space infringed upon. Being unable to leave the village and being unable to embark on high rank missions with the rest of Team 7 was frustrating for one of his talent and degree of skill. Sitting around, day after day, doing nothing but reading or absent-mindedly throwing shuriken at battered target boards was tedious. But he knew he deserved the consequences of his actions. He had no right to complain.
The weather today was exceptionally warm. As he sat, dressed in a light white shirt that was undone 2 buttons from the collar and rolled up to his elbows at the sleeves, dark blue baggy trousers and black nin sandals, he welcomed the faint breeze that stirred his raven hair away from his slightly sun-tanned face.
Many in the village didn't share Tsunade, Kakashi, Naruto and Sakura's sympathetic view of him. Not everyone offered him acceptance and an understanding of his past actions. Many people still considered him a dangerous villain; a traitor. He had often heard whispers directed at him, ones that spoke of Uchihas being nothing but troubled and power-hungry. He didn't let the comments get to him. After all, he had been expecting a backlash the second he had walked back into the village.
For seven months and two weeks now, he had gone about the awkward task of readjusting to normal village life. And for the first time in his life since before the massacre of his Clan, Sasuke was burden free.
It felt strange.
Much had changed in the village. It seemed a lot smaller than Sasuke remembered, or perhaps that was just because he had been 12 when he had left it, and things looked so much bigger in a child's eyes. There seemed to be more people than he remembered. More children. More older residents. More cats and dogs.
But some things had remained the same.
Like the legions of female admirers who thought former nukenin were sexy and exciting, even more so when the shinobi in question was an Uchiha, who happened to be young, wealthy, handsome and single. Tsunade had personally threatened to personally discipline any over-zealous fangirl who tried to bother Sasuke, or even came within a specific distance of him.
Like Kakashi still making excuses for arriving late, when he stopped by to check on Sasuke.
Like Naruto calling him that annoying name.
His eyes lowered to the cobbled street below to find Naruto running up, waving enthusiastically. He was clad in an orange T-shirt, brown Bermuda shorts and brown sandals. Judging from his casual attire and the absence of his forehead protector, Sasuke knew the energetic teen had the day off. Behind him trailed Sakura, wearing a dark red, snugly fitting T-shirt top and a short cream coloured zip skirt over black shorts. She also waved in greeting, though her gesture was significantly more graceful than and not as crazed as her blond haired friend. Naruto stopped directly below where Sasuke sat, stepping back to peer up at him. Both he and Sakura had to shade their eyes from the glare of the sun situated just behind their raven haired friend.
'Hey, Teme, get your sorry butt down here!' Naruto called up loudly.
Sasuke rolled his eyes. He knew he didn't have much choice in the matter. They'd pester him into joining them, just like old times. Besides, as insane as the notion was, joining Naruto and Sakura was a much more attractive alternative to sitting on the roof, doing absolutely nothing but people watching.
Shifting to glance back over a shoulder at the 2 ANBU sitting on watch in a nearby tree, he swiftly jumped off the roof and landed gracefully in front of his loud-mouthed best friend.
'Pfft, always showing off.' Naruto muttered, and then brightened as he remembered the reason for his visit.
'Hoy Sasuke! You won't guess what's going down at the park!' The tan-skinned shinobi grinned mischievously. Sasuke gave him a wary look. He knew that smile, and instantly regretted leaving the rooftop. The blond turned his attention up to said rooftop, squinting as he pointed a finger at the ANBU who had dutifully moved to watch Sasuke.
'Hey! You two! Take a hike! Me and Sakura-chan will watch Sasuke for a few hours!'
The ANBU exchanged glances, before one of them replied:
'We are under specific instruction from the Hokage herself...'
Sakura cut him off, flashing a brilliant (fake) smile, as she held up a slender hand.
'Don't worry; I specifically have Tsunade-shishou's special permission.' She said sweetly. The hand clenched into a tight, small fist, signalling that she didn't want any nonsense.
The ANBU relented, deciding they could trust Sasuke to Sakura and Naruto's care for a few hours.
'We will be waiting here for Sasuke-san when you return.' The second guard said.
'Sure, sure.' Naruto waved dismissively.
The guards jumped swiftly away, disappearing in a flash of movement.
'Alright Sakura-chan!' Naruto grinned at the pink-haired kunoichi who slowly lowered her fist. Then he turned his attention back to Sasuke, the grin widening. Sasuke's eyebrows twitched slightly. Naruto's goofy smile was ridiculous.
'Hey bastard, you better like water!' The blond boy said, and then, cackling, sped off down the street, calling back an excited 'C'mon guys!' before disappearing round the corner.
Sasuke's expression was a priceless mix of 'What the hell' and 'Why do I put up with that idiot?'. Before he could ponder what Naruto had meant about liking water, he felt small, cool fingers close around his left hand and a strong tug pull him forward.
'Come on, Sasuke-kun!' Sakura exclaimed, running forward. Sasuke didn't object, allowing her to pull him along.
Just like old times.
The park was holding some kind of summer festival. The appetising smell of food wafted through the air and children ran, firing water balloons at each other, squealing as they dodged or got hit. Stands selling ice-cream and refreshments, surrounded by many bodies of people, lined up like small wooden soldiers.
A fair? Sasuke thought, unimpressed. Naruto and Sakura had to be kidding. He couldn't think of a sillier or more mindless waste of time.
But Naruto had already greeted his friends, jumping on a mortified Shikamaru in greeting. He fell backwards into Kiba, who spilled his drink, promptly turning to yell at the clumsy blond.
Hn, typical Naruto, Sasuke thought. Trust his friend to cause instant mayhem within seconds of arriving on the scene.
The tug on his left arm directed his attention back to Sakura. 'Come on Sasuke-kun!' She said, but this time he stood firm, so that when she pulled she was sent back, almost colliding into him.
At his stubborn expression, Sakura sighed. Then she pasted 'The Smile' on her face. Sasuke knew that sweet smile the same way he knew Naruto's mischievous one.
'Sasuke-kuuun.' She drawled, in a voice that translated to 'Don't make me use my monstrous strength in front of all these civilians and their children'. He glared, reluctantly allowing her to guide him to where Naruto was getting shouted at again, this time by an angry Ino. Kiba's drink had spilt onto her brand new purple and white top.
'Naruto, why you clumsy little-!' The blonde girl broke off abruptly, spotting Sakura and Sasuke. She shoved Naruto aside and seemingly forgot her anger as she greeted her pink-haired friend briefly. Then she turned and flung herself at Sasuke before either Sakura or the Uchiha could react.
Sakura rolled her eyes. Ino was such a bimbo. Didn't she know by now that Sasuke hated girls who threw themselves at him? Her younger self would have been furious at Ino's hanging off Sasuke, but she had matured a lot over the years. She now merely regarded her friend with something like a weary amusement.
'Oh Sasuke-kun!' Ino sighed flirtatiously, arms around his neck. 'It's so good to see you!'
Sasuke glared, starting to pry her arms off.
'When are you gonna whisk me up the isle, huh?' Ino demanded, to which Sasuke glared even more heatedly before shoving her away. She pouted, feigning hurt.
Sakura knew it was all a bit of harmless flirting on Ino's part, but she caught the annoyed look on Shikamaru's face. He and Ino had been dating for 5 months, and although there was no doubt that the blonde kunoichi loved him to death, she also loved winding him up. How better to rile her sweetheart up than flirting with her old crush, Sasuke? She felt nothing but a vague respect for the former object of her affections. Sakura knew it. Sasuke knew it. Shikamaru knew it, and still muttered 'Troublesome' under his breath.
Ino stuck out her tongue. 'Oh well, your loss!' She quickly lost interest in the tall Uchiha, turning back to Shikamaru. 'Shika-kun!' She said indulgently. 'You promised you'd get us ice-cream!'
The Nara genius sighed tiredly. Was he out with a child or with a woman? It didn't matter. Both were troublesome. As Ino linked a slender arm through his, he gave Sakura a brief, defeated nod in greeting, before turning his attention back to the girl who was pulling him through the crowds.
Sakura giggled slightly despite herself. She was genuinely happy for Ino. Shikamaru was of a very respectable and well-known Clan and he was a good guy who Sakura knew would treat Ino right.
Sasuke was merely pleased that he had one less fangirl to avoid. Ino was less-dense than he had initially thought; her moving on was proof enough of that.
A loud shout drew Sasuke and Sakura's attention to a very familiar figure.
'What did you call me Sai?!' Naruto was bright red, and Sakura sighed. She could only guess what the pale boy had called her blond-haired friend this time. Hinata was looking very embarrassed and agitated, clearly not knowing how to calm Naruto down. Kiba was laughing loudly, further angering the blond. Shino merely stood back, coolly assessing the situation disinterestedly behind black glasses (in reality he was sulking over being left out).
The pink-haired girl opened her mouth to tell Sasuke that she had to go and calm Naruto down before he made an even bigger scene than he already had, but she was surprised to find that Sasuke was no longer behind her. Her apple-green eyes scanned through the crowds of people and finally caught sight of a familiar raven head. The Uchiha had made his way to a rolling grassy slope, not far from where the Academy teachers and Tsunade and Shizune stood. It was the most unoccupied space in the entire park, and as Sasuke sat down, Sakura turned away, satisfied that he wasn't going anywhere.
She made her way over to where Chouji was holding back Naruto while simultaneously eating a handful of food. The kunoichi sighed, giving the Akimichi Clan member a look signalling for him to release the blond, before swiftly stepping between Sai and Naruto and gave them both the sweet, threatening smile that made the two shinobi instantly back down.
'Now boys, there's no trouble here is there?' She enquired in a sugary voice.
'Eheh heh heh...' Naruto laughed through his teeth, still glaring at Sai. 'N...no Sakura-chan, no trouble!'
'Good!' Sakura smiled, and then without warning turned and grabbed Sai by the collar of his shirt.
'Sai! If you go around winding up any more people by calling them your twisted nicknames, I'll kick you out of Konoha!'
The pale boy swallowed.
'I...I understand...' He managed.
The smile further sweetened as Sakura closed her eyes serenely. 'Good! Now go and get Naruto a drink as an apology.'
The green eyes snapped open.
'Eh? Any problems?'
'Ah...n...no...' Sai muttered, as she released him and he went to do as she had suggested.
Sakura watched him a moment before turning on Naruto.
'Geez, that Sai is such an ass-' The blond was cut off when Sakura jabbed a finger at him.
'Naruto!' She lectured. 'Can't you see all the civilians here? You have to make a good impression, not show up our team!'
'But Sakura-chan – Sai, he-'
'You know what Sai is like! What's your excuse?'
Naruto looked genuinely embarrassed. 'S...sorry...' He mumbled.
Sakura sighed and her face softened as she gave him a friendly tap on the shoulder. She glanced at Hinata, and gave the girl a bright smile.
'Hinata! Would you like a drink?'
The dark-haired Hyuuga looked surprised at the sudden question.
'Naruto!' Sakura turned back to her team-mate, who cringed at her accusing tone. 'How can you stand there when a lady is thirsty? Go and get Hinata a drink, where are your manners?'
Hinata blushed a deep crimson and Naruto's eyes widened. He straightened up and nodded, before dashing off to serve as Hinata's knight in shining armour.
Sakura met the shy girl's gaze and winked playfully.
Chapter 1 is done! Keep in mind this is the first time I'm writing non-Team 7 characters, so go easy on the constructive criticism! I'm trying to keep everyone in character, but since they're all a little older than the current Shippuuden ages, I also wanted to put subtle hints of changes and personality growth. The total length of this short story will be between 3-5 chapters. It definitely won't go over 5 lol. It was originally supposed to be 3 but my idea er, grew, as it were xD Anyways let me know what you thought of it so far, and for all you SasuSaku fans, don't worry, there'll be plenty hints at the pairing in the coming chapter. This was more of a setting the scene intro to the rest. Thanks for reading!