Sorry about the long wait! School and work are kicking my rear. That and YGGTTCB is top priority for me. I'm at that critical point I've been gearing up for in that one. (Shameless plug.) Enjoy!

Disclaimer: See chapter 1.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Light at the End of the World

Chapter 2: Love To Hate You

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Yamato followed Sakura at a safe distance as they traveled the roof tops to get back to her house. He could still feel the murderous intent radiating off of her and was quite rightfully scared for his own safety. Sakura was fast enough to catch him, and given his injured leg and dislocated elbow he'd be no match for her in his current state. Once she was situated in his apartment he needed to go to the hospital and see if anyone there would heal him. There was no way in hell he'd ask the woman who still wanted his head on a platter.

Thinking about his apartment, he had no idea where he would put her. He was a man of simple tastes who only had the basic necessities. A one bedroom/one bathroom apartment with very little furniture and no forms of entertainment except for his dusty, out-of-date stereo system and a tiny, ancient TV set. Yamato let out a silent prayer that the rebuilding of Sakura's house didn't take too long. The tension in his apartment would no doubt be brutal.

The duo landed in Sakura's yard and began to sift through the debris, looking for anything Sakura wanted to put in storage to keep it safe. Yamato was carefully shifting boards to look underneath them when a choked sound caught his attention.

Sakura stood staring at an old wooden dresser, running a hand over a broken side. Huge, fat tears rolled down her cheeks and when she felt Yamato looking at her, the expression went from heartbroken to furious.

Yamato sighed before painfully speaking through his cracked lips. "I know I've said it many times already and it doesn't change anything, but I really am sorry, Sakura."

Pink hair hid her face as she spoke quietly. "This is a family heirloom. It was my great-grandmother's dresser, my grandmother's then my mother's and now it's mine. If I ever had a daughter, it would have been hers. My great-great-grandfather built it by hand. But now..." she trailed a trembling hand over the cracked wood and let out another sob.

Yamato felt the guilt stab him in the gut. Yes, Sakura had goaded him into using the jutsu, but he was the wood-summoner. He should have held firm and told her 'no', but that pouty lip and those endless green eyes were dangerous. He stepped over to her and held his good hand up to the dresser. Sakura watched in fascination as he performed what looked like a medical ninjutsu on the structure. The wood closed up and mended until you couldn't tell it had ever been broken.

Yamato sighed again, tired from the day's activities. "I really am sorry."

Sakura went from awed back to mad in no time at all. She huffed and pulled the dresser over to her parents' storage shed, gently maneuvering the dresser inside. "This is the only thing I wanted to keep. The rest is replaceable."

"Do we need to stop by your old apartment and get your stuff?"

Sakura groaned. "Yes. It's already been rented to someone else so I need to be cleared out by tomorrow morning."

Yamato was in favor of rounding up some of her other friends to help, but Sakura took more evil glee in making the poor man produce a few shadow clones. Not only was Yamato in great pain, but now his chakra was diminishing at a fast pace as he and his clones were forced to haul the largest and heaviest of the boxes and furniture out of the apartment.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sakura set the last box in the rented out storage space and leaned backwards until a satisfying pop came from her back. "That's it."

Yamato nodded and limped his way into the office. "I'll take care of the bill. Meet you at the entrance."

Sakura smirked slightly, feeling a bit of vindication knowing his wallet would be considerably lighter with the tightly secured storage facility she insisted on. "Serves him right." She waited at the entrance and took sadistic pleasure in the defeated look on his face when he came out of the building. "Alright. Show me where I'll be staying."

Yamato decided the streets would have to suffice. He didn't think his leg would hold up much longer and he was getting increasingly queasy from the pain coming from every area of his body. At this rate, he worried he may not even make it to the hospital. A grunt sounded from behind him and he turned just in time to catch Sakura's suitcase and toiletry bag. "I don't know why I'm carrying these! All of this is your fault."

She wasn't exactly being fair, but Yamato was still in no shape to stand up to her so he shouldered her bag and picked up the suitcase with his good arm without so much as a sigh of protest. However, seeing all the odd looks they were getting, he did worry about her professional reputation. "Sakura, people are going to wonder why I'm carrying your things while injured and why you, a top medic, are doing nothing to heal me."

Sakura's deadly green glare stared unblinkingly into his own dark eyes. "I'm sure once they see the ruins of my house and that monstrously huge deck they'll put two and two together."

He would have pouted as he continued to silently limp home, but the bruising and cuts around his mouth made pouting painful.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Yamato swung open the door of his tiny apartment and gestured for Sakura to enter. "Home sweet home."

Sakura looked around and noticed the single bedroom. "I'm guessing you'll be sleeping on the couch until my house is rebuilt."

With a sigh, Yamato set her things down in his bedroom and then flopped heavily onto the couch. Sakura was about to scold him for not offering her anything to drink, but bit her tongue when she noticed the sweat beading on his face despite the cool weather and the shallow breaths he was taking. "Hey, are you alright?"

Despite her anger, she was still a medic, he was still a friend, and she still cared about him. She meant to make him suffer for a while, but she had been so mad that she didn't see just how badly she had injured him. She winced as she took in the swollen ankle that was probably fractured, the dislocated elbow and the multiple bruises and cuts along his arms and face. One eye was swollen shut and when he winced after shifting his leg, one of the cuts around his mouth pulled open again. "Oh my god! Yamato, I'm so sorry!"

She knelt in front of him and set to work on his ankle and leg, green chakra swirling around the injuries as she healed him. "I wanted to punish you but I didn't realize how severe your injuries were. Why didn't you say anything, dummy?!"

Yamato's mouth dropped in shock, which caused a gasp of pain. "Really?!" He fixed the medic with a look that told her he knew better than to speak without being spoken to today.

Sakura snapped her eyes back to her task with a frown on her face. "Shut up." She knew just as well as he did that she would have pummeled him to hell and back for one wrong word after the day's events.

Once his ankle mended and she moved onto his elbow she continued speaking. "This in no way means you're even close to forgiven. But I don't like seeing my friends in pain."

Yamato waited until his mouth was healed before speaking. "We're still friends?" He gave her an adorable and hopeful smile and she rolled her eyes.

"I'm incredibly pissed at you and probably will be for a long time, but yes we are still friends." She gave him a tiny smile back as she finished mending his face and then instructed him to lie down. "Just rest for a while. When you wake up you should feel in top shape again."

"Thank you, Sakura." He gripped her hand and gave her a sleepy smile before drifting off.

She couldn't help the little smile that slipped out. Yamato was just too cute sometimes. "Baka."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Yamato woke up feeling at the top of his game, except for his overly full bladder. He rushed over to his bathroom and tried to enter, but the door wouldn't budge.

Sakura's cheery sing-song voice called out, "Occupied!"

Yamato winced slightly. "Um...I don't mean to sound crass, Sakura-chan, but will you be out soon?"

Sakura smirked to herself as she sat reading her magazine. She wasn't using the facilities, but just knowing Yamato was squirming was bliss to the still-irate kunoichi. "Beauty treatments, Yamato. Sorry, but I won't come out until these are done."

His muffled voice floated back through the door. "Sakura-chan, please. I really need to...uh...use the restroom." Even though it was starting to hurt, he didn't want to be rude to a lady. Phrasing his sentences was starting to become a little difficult.

Sakura's devilish smirk grew wider. "You'll either have to hold it or go elsewhere. I've got a good 20 minutes left on this facial." She flipped another magazine page with a wide smile on her face.

Yamato's jaw unhinged and the man was left slightly dancing and looking around for somewhere he could get to quickly. As he glanced out his window, he gave a slight cheer that he lived on the outskirts of the city and the woods were right there.

Sakura heard him take off and poked her head out of the bathroom doorway, mischievous smile still in tact. "This is so much fun."

She didn't hate Yamato, but dammit! Her house was gone and she was going to make him pay her back in her own warped ways.

XXXXXXXXXX

Sakura's offer to cook dinner that evening was met with resistance from Yamato. "Sakura, I know what you're planning to do. You're going to make something that looks and smells wonderful but it's going to taste awful. You're going to figure out someway to make me eat it and I'm going to have to suffer through it."

Pink hair shifted as Sakura shook her head in the negative. "Why Yamato! So little faith." She let a smile slip again as she spoke seriously to him. "I wouldn't do that, Yamato. I promise. You can even watch me cook if you want. I just feel bad about how beaten up you were."

One eyebrow rose as the elite jounin regarded her. He smirked as he figured he had called her bluff. "Fine. I will watch you cook."

Sakura smiled brightly. "Good. Just let me wash my hands and I'll be right back."

As Yamato watched the young woman mix and stir, he smiled. Everything seemed genuine so far. There had been no awkward movements or suspicious glances from Sakura. He continued to watch as she stirred and his smile widened when she smiled and shook her head. "What are you smiling about, criminal?"

Yamato chuckled. "Criminal?! How did I get that label?"

"Easy. You broke my house, which counts as vandalism, which is a criminal act. So, you are a criminal."

As the two continued their banter and Yamato was distracted, Sakura craftily channeled some chakra through the wooden spoon she was using, pouring a jutsu into the soup. She had formed the hand seals after washing her hands in the bathroom and cleverly stored the chakra for the jutsu in her wrist, waiting for the right moment to let it seep into the food. Mad cackling bounced around in her skull as she continued to cook.

She set the rice, vegetables, meat and soup on the table once she was finished. "See? You watched me cook the whole thing."

Yamato nodded. "Okay, so you were sincere. I apologize for not trusting you."

He grew a little suspicious when he noticed Sakura wasn't getting any of the soup. "What's wrong with the soup, Sakura?"

Her green eyes rolled. "You've known me for how many years? I don't like this kind of soup, remember?"

Thinking back, Yamato realized she was right. "Then why did you make it?"

"Well, it's your favorite, isn't it?"

The wood user smiled brightly at her. "It is. Thank you, Sakura." He completely missed her devilish smile as he sipped on his bowl of soup.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

After dinner, the two sat watching the news on Yamato's tiny TV. Sakura watched him squirm and pull at his collar as beads of sweat formed on his upper lip. She cheered inside her head that her plan had worked, but feigned concern on the outside. "Are you feeling okay, Yamato?"

He began to fan himself with a magazine that was sitting on his coffee table. "I'm hot. Do you feel hot?"

"I'm actually a little chilly. Did you have a fever earlier? It may be breaking. That can make you feel hot."

Yamato shook his head before a grimace broke out on his face. When the first cramp hit him and he groaned, Sakura gave a little huff of laughter. He looked at her in disbelief. "What did you do?"

Sakura just laughed harder. "You may want to make your way into the bathroom. Could get a little messy."

He muttered "bitch" before making a beeline for the bathroom.

Sakura didn't know whether to be offended or not. She knew he had to be in some serious pain. The laxative jutsu she had used on him was a potent one. Her earlier laughter died as the first stings of guilt began to gnaw at her. For the first time, she began to feel some responsibility for her predicament. She began to realize she had been much harder on the man than he deserved. And that muttered curse bothered her a lot.

Sakura had been called a bitch numerous times. It came with the territory of being a lead medic and a no-nonsense ninja. However, none of her boys had ever called her a bitch unless they were joking around. Yamato had never even said anything remotely mean to her, which made the word bite that much harder.

She fell asleep uneasily that night, knowing Yamato would be spending the rest of it in the bathroom.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sakura woke up earlier than Yamato did the next morning. Of course the poor man had gotten very little sleep so she expected that. Feeling remorse all over again, she started making his favorite omelet for breakfast, sort of a peace offering.

Yamato woke up to the banging sounds in his kitchen and glared at Sakura as he poured out the coffee she had brewing and started up a new pot. He eyed the omelet she was making and Sakura smiled hesitantly at him. "I'm really sorry about last night. Really, I am. I didn't realize how unfair I was being and I know the fault for what's going on partly lies with me."

He nodded without saying anything and Sakura plated the omelet and sat it in his place at the table. He glared at the omelet and then dumped it in the trash. "I'll get my own breakfast, thanks. You clearly can't be trusted."

Normally, Sakura would whirl around and start beating the crap out of anyone who said something like that to her. But the fact that it was the kind-hearted Yamato saying it, the fact that it was one of her treasured friends making such a cruel statement made her heart twist. Sakura stood there for a second with her back to Yamato, the tension in the room keeping her rooted to her spot. Finally she managed to make her feet obey her brain and made her way back into the bedroom.

The door shut and Yamato heard a few muffled sobs before running his hands down his tired face with a groan. He was torn on what to do. He didn't want to be the victim of anymore of her pranks or tricks, but he didn't want to hurt her feelings either. He made his way to the door and leaned against the wall next to it. "Sakura, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that, but I was tired of you being so mean to me. I just want things to be normal between us." Yamato decided to wait it out when she didn't respond. She would make some sort of move sometime, he just had to be patient.

Sakura emerged a few minutes later with her bag slung over her shoulder. Yamato stood in front of her, arms crossed. "Where do you think you're going?"

"A hotel. I'm clearly not welcome here anymore and I don't want our friendship to end. Yes, you..." she paused to mend her statement, "we...destroyed my house. Yes, I've been cruel in my revenge so far. No, I'm not entirely over the loss of my home. But I don't want to lose a good friend, either. If I leave, maybe we can mend our relationship and be friends again."

The sudden embrace from Yamato made her face flame and she dropped her bag in shock. He had never hugged her before. "Don't leave, Sakura. I promise to be nicer if you do the same. If you leave, it's the same as running and that won't solve any of our problems." He pulled back and gave her a killer smile.

She slowly nodded and Yamato nodded back. "Good. Go put your stuff away and I'll get dressed. We can go out to breakfast."

As soon as she shut the door behind her, a stupefied Sakura stared into space. She had liked that hug from Yamato far more than she should have. She had hugged all of her boys before, except Yamato. For some reason, he always kept his distance. Naruto's hugs were tight and bone-crushing. Sai's hugs were a little clumsy and awkward. Kakashi's hugs had always been like hugging a favorite uncle with a playful hair ruffle following, when she could corner him long enough to get a hug. Or got him drunk enough. Yamato's hug had been completely different from all of those. It was warm and inviting and comforting and made her feel safe and special. With his arms and clean scent surrounding her she didn't want him to pull back. She felt like she belonged there.

She shook her head of the odd thought. 'I'm just being stupid. Today's been emotional and rough so far. Things will make sense later.' Her stomach gurgled and she smiled. 'Time to put my stuff away and get some food!'

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

A/N: Yay! I finally managed to get chapter 2 out. Hopefully the next chapter won't take as long, but don't hold your breath or anything like that. Reviews loved an appreciated. Smooches!