Summary: In which case Sakura is forced to go on a series of missions with a certain Uchiha - things get downright nasty. Literally. SasuSaku
Being as careful as she could about it, Sakura smiled up at the guards and proceeded to amble through the gates of Konoha while making certain her broken left arm was set carefully in its brace. This action did not go unnoticed by the guard on the left(who happened to be Genma) because he had raised one eyebrow in either interest or surprise. She groaned at this because he would, without a doubt, go and tell Kakashi that she was injured once his shift had ended. The two gossiped like old divorced women.
Sakura let out a barely audible sigh while shifting the weight of her pack on her good side. She supposed it was a bit odd that a medic nin would walk around with a broken arm that could easily be fixed by their own chakra. And it was with this supposition that she swallowed down her irritation and let the villagers(and fellow shinobi) think what they wanted to and remain unharmed while walking through the crowded streets towards the Hokage Tower.
She even pushed aside a curious Ino who had started to pick and prod about her previous mission. Of course she wouldn't tell her about it, it was classified after all. It was an extensive walk towards the center of Konoha for two reasons.
One, because of the expansion of shops and entertainment that had taken place the previous year. Two, because of Genma secretly following her, as if she were some fragile china doll. It was rather convenient that his shift had ended right when she had returned.
At long last, she had finally reached her mentor's office. The medic nin pushed the door open and was greeted by the sight of a surprisingly sober blonde. It seemed as if her exceptional beauty grew rapidly in form as she aged. Like the finest wine. Something that definitely made her all the more smug towards Jiraiya.
"Ah, Sakura. Welcome home. I was wondering what was taking you so long. I was a little worried." Tsunade flushed out as Sakura seated herself in front of the desk. She looked like she wanted to say more but her all seeing eyes stopped on her ex-student's left side.
Sakura followed her gaze before suddenly blushing the color of her hair. "I guess you're wondering about the arm," Tsunade snorted.
"Well…I didn't want to waste any chakra on it. I just put a brace on it until I got home. I think," She paused, thinking back about her former mission. "I put a little too much force into a punch I threw at that awful daimyo." She grinned sheepishly. "I just thought saving my chakra until I got home would be better." She let her eyes stare at the floor.
"Good. Because you're really going need it for this mission I have planned for you." Sakura looked up as the older woman started to remove the brace.
"And…it's not the most complicated of missions but it will be high paying." Sakura leaned her head up in interest. "Although from what I've heard, you really don't need it. With all those extra hours at the hospital and that head promotion I just gave you." Sakura rolled her eyes. "And these solo missions you've been taking recently." Tsunade's amber eyes surveyed the younger girl.
"Is there something wrong Sakura? It seems like you have been distant lately - almost as if you're trying to avoid something." She felt the pink haired girl stiffen beneath her fingers as she mended her arm. "Ah, so you are. Is it Uchiha again?"
"SHISHOU!" Sakura was totally frozen but her expression was one of dreadfulness.
"Okay, Okay. But I guess it's all the same that you have to take this mission." The dull light of her chakra had faded and she had straightened herself upwards again.
"Why do I have to take this mission?" Suspicion colored the younger girl's tone.
"Because," Tsunade grabbed her arm again. "Sometimes you have to face your problems head on - Oh! There we go." She had obviously found the problem with Sakura's arm because said girl hissed.
She popped it back into place with graceful fingers. "Seems like you'd dislocated it. Must have been one hell of a punch."
Sakura was not going for the bait.
"What problems?" She pressed. "I don't have any…I mean I don't think I do." She frowned as a thoughtful expression overcame her face.
The blonde woman grimaced as the sound of approaching footsteps neared her door. "Well, you know what they say. Sooner or later your problems come knocking!" She laughed a bit tautly before grabbing a bottle of sake( that Sakura had not seen before) and downed it straight from the bottle.
But this problem did not knock. It slammed the door open and stepped inside the room with it's hands in it's pockets.
"And here is your partner…..did I mention it wasn't a solo mission?"
Uchiha Sasuke stared with a bored expression until his eyes landed on Sakura. His expression went from bored to confused to livid in a millisecond.
Years and years of going through pain has no obvious physical upside. It instead shatters the being until there is nothing left except emptiness. A hollow shell at the best. But it does grant an adaptation. Resilience. The pain is supposed to become nothing more than a faint echo of what it had once been, over time of course.
For Sakura, it never left.
"Damn it!" Her shaky fingers ran through her wet locks. If she couldn't pull it together now, it would be over. But why? Oh why would Tsunade do this to her? She had spent the better half of the year since the sullen man had returned avoiding him at all costs.
She would not put herself through this again. If he wanted to act childish and condescending than she would let him. Heaven knows he had put her through the whole works when he had returned. She had healed his extensive injuries, aided by Tsunade, held her head high, and walked out the door. From then on she hadn't said a word to the Uchiha besides hi and bye.
The pink haired female groaned in frustration, slamming her palm into the white tiles of the shower. It squeaked in protest before cracking slightly up the sides.
"Ugh! What the hell is wrong with me?" Sakura slid until her bottom reached the watery tiles of the shower floor. She couldn't help but remember the details of that afternoon as she cradled her head in her hands.
He had said the words without thinking, she could tell, yet there was also no remorse when he saw her face crumble. His normally bored expression was gone only to be replaced by a patronizing look. His hands were now outside of his pockets and at his sides - balled tightly into fists. His whole pose was rigid, Sakura supposed, his neck very stiff.
"Are you kidding me?" She flinched involuntarily.
His eyes had broken away from Sakura's only to zero in on the busty Hokage. Her expression had changed also. She was frowning deeply at him. Obviously she was not kidding. "Her?" He tried again. The said girl tried not to squirm.
"I refuse." His lips were pressed into a thin line.
Tsunade had her hands on her hips, smirking. "No you won't. If you do I'll revoke your ranking and put you back down to chuunin." She said matter-of-factly. Her eyes dared him to challenge that decree.
He stepped forward as if he were about to do just that…..
"It's okay shishou." Sakura had rose to her feet, her eyes oddly cloudy. Her shoulders were hunched slightly. It looked like she might explode into tears at any second. "I'll do my hospital duties that day." She turned on her heel and glided past the still stunned male.
"I'll talk to you tomorrow!" She smiled brightly but it had yet to reach her eyes.
"Yes you will talk to me tomorrow Sakura. To go over mission details. And if this," She stared intently at Sasuke. "……jackass is too obtuse to realize what an accomplished partner he has in front of him than he will surely regret it later. I'm sure Hyuuga would be honored to work with you. He has mentioned it in passing you know….." Her smirk increasesd as Sasuke sneered.
Sakura nodded her head numbly while her mind was still trying to wrap itself around the idea of Neji wanting to work with her. It wouldn't be their first mission together after all. She nodded again, more to herself, and shut the door softly.
She was still trying to keep her emotions in check when she was jerked back by her shoulder into the opposite direction.
Her eyes narrowed.
"I am sorry." Sasuke stood with a languid expression while his eyes were trained dead on hers. She smiled brilliantly at him and he obviously took that as a sign of forgiveness because his posture relaxed and he smirked. " I don't know why you even got upset in the first place. I just refuse to be partnered with someone beneath me -"
She punched him then, his face jerking back. Lucky for him she hadn't put any real force behind it.
"Is that all you can do!? Apologize? I am willing to bet my entire salary you don't even know what you're apologizing for! It's just gotten to be a stupid ass reflex that you use when you have the tiniest amount of guilt. And then I guess it makes everything okay. Well you know what? Maybe it did in the past. But things have changed. I'll think I'll do everyone a favor by saying what they're too scared to tell you to your face. THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOVLE AROUND YOU!" She stopped to take in another breath. "SO TAKE THAT STUPID STICK OUT OF YOUR ASS!" She leaned forward until her mouth was next to his ear. They were close enough that they could have been kissing. "Or I'll do it for you." She whispered, the implied threat would have sent shivers of fear down his spine if he were any other man. But it didn't, since he was Sasuke after all.
She prodded a green chipped fingernail into his chest. "Did. You. Get. That?" She hissed before stalking off. She pushed past a surprised Kakashi and Genma, the latter grinning like hell.
"Way to go Sakura-chan -" Naruto started but stopped when he was pushed roughly aside. "Sorry Naruto." She mumbled so fast she barely heard it herself. Angry, she fled down the stairs in a blur of pink and red.
Sakura was jolted out of her musing by the sudden rush of shockingly cold liquid. She scrambled up and out of her position on the shower tiles and cut the water off. Wrapping the towel around herself, she hopped out of the shower.
She faced the mirror that hung over her sink, which was in dire need of repairing, and gazed at her reflection. She hardly recognized herself. Green eyes that were just as light and clear as when she was younger gazed back at her. Her cheeks were flushed somewhat, from the cold water or from her previous anger she didn't know.
Her skin had lost most of its tan from being in Suna for some months so she was rather pale. Something that had made her envy Temari quite a lot. But the Suna men didn't seem to mind her pallor. Her lips were also a pale pink, bleached from their rosiness by the Suna sun. The darkest thing about her seemed to be her personality these days and her hair. Which really wasn't quite that dark. Strands of hair that ranged in color from the bloodiest red to the lightest shade of coral, waved gently to the small of her back.
Sakura frowned. The red dye (used on her last mission to disguise her bright locks) was supposed to have washed out by now. Her hair was too long also. She had only grown it out with a special cell division jutsu, to add to her disguise. Impatient as always, she yanked the brush through her wet locks. Ino would cut it for her tomorrow. "I guess that's what you get for using cheap products, I should have asked pig for some." She groaned.
No store in Konoha sold pink hair dye and if they did, it most certainly wouldn't be the right shade.
"Gah!" It wasn't fair. It looked like someone had just used her hair as an open canvas for some freaky artsy tie-dye experiment. She shuddered. She could not let anyone see her like this. Especially Sasuke since she was supposed to meet the bastard tomorrow with Tsunade-shishou. She would never ever ever ever live this one down. She crossed the small room towards the door, mumbling as she went.
"Stupid…showoffey…Uchiha…." She flicked the light switch off and gripped the towel around herself tighter. She paused. She thought she had heard something. Almost like the sound of breathing. "Stupid ass….I swear I hate him." Stopping her rant about worthless Uchiha's, she swung the door open leading to her bathroom.
She could have died….really she could have. She steadied a red faced Naruto who had apparently been pressing his ear against the door to listen. Not only was it bad that her best friend was seeing her half naked, and had probably felt her up, even if it was by accident, but there stood two other male figures behind the blushing blond.
One of them stepped forward.
With his hands in his pockets.
Sasuke had one eyebrow raised in question with the ever present smirk on his lips wider than she had ever seen it.
Behind him, she made out the form of Hyuuga Neji. Who had his arms crossed over his chest. Did she imagine his lips twitching into an almost smile?
Gulping, Sakura refocused her eyes back onto the figure in front of her who only gazed back with that same cocky expression.
"Oh, really?" His stoic voice came from the darkness.
A/N: Gah! That was fun. It's quite fun putting Sakura through hell. Although what kind of hell would that be if Sasuke was there? -wink-wink- Well….what a cliffy that was. Anywho I love me some Sasuke. Until next chapter….much love.
Missioning With You