Once her father got back she was going to kill him. Either that or make him do the chores for all eternity. For what he has put her through, eternal servitude wouldn't be enough. Maybe she would burn all his books and chain him to one the basement pillars for life. Yes, that sounds acutely fitting for a man that practically worshiped the stuff.
You see, Sakura's father had left on her sixteenth birthday and today it was two years from that day exactly. In other words it was her eighteenth birthday. Yes, she was all grown up and able to buy cigarets and see R rated movies by herself. Her father was a novelist, (a bad on in her opinion) and was away on research for another book. All of a sudden he up and left, leaving nothing behind to explain his absence aside from a note scribbled on a sticky-note stuck to the refrigerator. Yes, that was how he did things most of the time.
But his absence wasn't what made his only daughter want to strangle him till he turned purple. No, the reason behind her overflowing anger was the orchard of enchanted apples he left behind for her. Yes, you read that right, Enchanted Apples. The magical kind that kills snow white and poisons a bunch of other cartoon characters in cheesy knock off films. But, oh, if only her apples caused death! That would be ultimately preferable to what they really did.
"Sakura chan! Naruto was in your underwear draw again!"
"I was not!"
"I'm not, I swear to buddha."
"You don't believe in Buddha."
"Which is why I'm swearing on his overweight gut."
"Shut up you two!" Sakura yelled up to the first floor from the ground outside. Sasuke and Naruto squeaked and pulled back inside the house, closing the window with a muffled whimper.
Sakura breathed in deeply, counting backwards from ten to calm her frayed nerves. Really, to have to go through this everyday was a little much for someone who liked their peace and quiet as much as Sakura. She shifted the laundry hamper from one hip to the other and pulled the last few sheets off the cloths line. The dryer was busted once again and so she had to dry her laundry the old fashioned way. She lived out in the country, growing fruits and getting by on the money her father had left to her. If he didn't come back in eight years she would have to go to work herself instead of getting her own novel finished and published like she planned. Yes, she was a writer just like her father, but the difference was that she could actually write something with a decent plot line and believable characters. She had connections in the writing world, so it wouldn't be that hard for her to get published, she thought. Making it big was another story.
Something crashed from inside, causing her to drop the hamper on the grass and break into a sprint. Stepping inside she was faced with the daily dilemma of two of her boys getting into some sort of fight over whatever seemed appropriate for the occasion. This time it was Naruto and Sasuke fighting about who was lying and who was telling the truth regarding her panties or something of that sort. The first 100 times she had caught Naruto in her undies, she had slugged the boy so bad he had a hard time getting out of bed, but after a so long, it didn't bother her as much.
"Alright, break it up!" she shouted, pulling them apart, only to have the golden haired youth clamp onto her leg and rest his head on her stomach, glaring at the Uchiha all the while. "Naruto, be a little more mature, you're three hundred years old.
"Five hundred, I have five tales already, Sakura chan!" he complained, looking up at her with a pout. He liked showing off in front of her.
"Stop hogging Sakura chan all the time, dobe," Sasuke hissed with a dark scowl.
Sakura pried the blond youth off her leg and threw him back at Sasuke, who sidestepped to let the blond fall to the tiled brown red floor. "On second thought, I'm not in the mood to sort through all of this, you guys can fight to your heart's content as long as you don't break anything and keep the noise to a bearable level."
"Aren't you going to do anything to Naruto? He was peaking at your panties!" Sasuke asked, standing up and looking down at her with worried eyes. Once again, he had 'forgotten' to put on his shirt for today, showing off his inhumanly toned body for all of Sakura's viewing pleasure. Over the year she had grown used to it, but still it was something that took the edge off her yelling sprees.
Sakura moaned, rubbing here eyes. "Please, Sasuke, it's only twelve 'o clock. I don't care at this point, at least not today."
Sasuke looked her over once, an idea coming into his head. He tried to move in and wrap his arms around her in a comforting way, but before he could do that, Naruto was pulling the Tengu outside by the collar, muttering something about defending his Sakura chan from molesting perverted temes.
Sakura retrieved her laundry and dumped it into a larger hamper, deciding not to deal with it today. On the way out of the washing room she caught herself in the mirror and frowned. She was wearing a red bandana to keep her hair out of her face, but underneath she could see it was flat and dry, desperate for a washing. When was the last time she took a shower? Three-four days ago? Taking showers were a touchy thing in her house, having to share it with so many men. She didn't like taking them without Haku or Zabuza keeping guard, and both of them were out today, selling and buying for the house. Haku was a Yuki-onna, even though he was 100% male and Zabuza was a water oni, popularly dubbed the demon of the mist. They were probably the only two males with half a brain around her house. All the rest were....ugh, something else. She groaned out loud, rubbing the back of her neck.
"Sakura chan, are you well?" Gaara asked coming up behind her, worry in his tone. Oh yeah, Gaara was another good one. He was a Tanuki and could control sand at will. He used to have insomnia before eating one of her apples, so now he slept most of the time, his favorite place to curl up being her bed or at her feet. Sadly, all the kind and caring guys were hard to hold onto when you needed them. Of course if she ever asked him for something, he would be more than happy to do it for her-but being the proud person Sakura was, she wanted to do everything herself.
"I'm fine Gaara kun, I just need to unwind with a good book or something. I'll be in my nook if anyone needs me."
"Uh...okay." Gaara nodded in reply before yawing and going off somewhere to sleep.
So yeah, all these mythological creatures were living with her, not out of choice but because they had eaten her dad's stupid ass magic apples. (Seriously, apples?) He had been growing them for himself, but it appeared that magical creatures were attracted to them and came from all over Japan to steal one or two. But the thing with magic apples is that they always come with a catch that comes back to bite you when you're bending over. If a magical monster/demon/whatever ate an apple, it was bound in servitude to her father for however long the master lived. Sakura's father wasn't around, so somehow the curse got transfered to her. Yes, she considered it a curse, since she didn't want all these monster being bound to her both emotionally and physically. She was told the emotional attachment wasn't consistent with the other qualities of servitude, so it had to be something the all arrived to on their own. Normally eating from a Jinmenju (human faced tree) would kill anyone-human or not, but so far all her magical slavers were alive and kicking, living just to torture her.
Sakura rummaged through the bookshelves, picking out a worn copy of Silas Marner by George Elliot and headed towards the back room. It was good to unwind with old books like these whenever you were especially stressed, new books were all good and fine, but you can't beat the classics. Dickens, Tolkin and C.S. Lewis were a few other of her favorite authors, but she didn't want fantasy or philosophy and she had just finished a Tale of Two Cities last month. Slipping into a back room she trotted over to her window seat, pulling back the gold and red curtains only to be pulled down by a pair of strong arms and onto a empty lap.
"Mmm, I was just going to go looking for you."
"Itachi..." she groaned, identifying the male who held her in his lap. "Let go of me."
"I don't wanna." Sakura pouted, feeling his arms firmly wrap around her stomach and under her breasts, pushing them up a bit to enhance the view for him. Sadly, he still had hormones.
"Baka, aren't vampires suppose to be afraid of the light or sparkle or something? Why are you in my nook? I want to read," Sakura whined, pouting a bit.
"In in here because I want to hold you, what's so wrong with that?" he asked holding her tight, kissing the back of her neck. "And I'm a Kyūketsuki, not a Vampire, there's a small difference. I just get sunburn really easily so it's fine if I am inside."
Sakura sighed, going limp in his hold. "It's at times like these I see why I need to make a list of people who need to die, like seriously, get lost and let me read my book, Weasel."
"You can read without me having to let go, you never let me hold you."
"With good reason, now move. I'm warning you, 'ya mega pervert."
"Nope, I'm stronger than you, and I really like where we are."
Sakura narrowed her eyes, deciding if she wanted to get out of his hold she would have to take drastic measures. She took a deep breah and screamed at the top of her lungs, knowing it was a big house she lived in. "Kaaaaaay! Itachi is trying to molest me!"
She didn't have to wait before four new males had surrounded her and Itachi. One pried her out of Itachi's hold, set her down on the ground and another two stood protectively in front of her while a fourth held Itachi back from pouncing on Sakura and reclaiming her.
"Itachi, what were you trying to do while we weren't looking? You better not have tried anything you pathetic excuse for a blood sucking bat." both sides of Zetsu asked front in front of Sakura, standing next to Kakuzu, both being Oni of different elements. Zetsu was more of a plant like oni, used to eating humans before devouring one of her dmancursedfromhell apples. He hasn't eaten any humans yet, but he has only been living with her for four months, much like a lot of the other men. The oldest was probably Naruto at one year and then Sasuke at ten months. BUt anyway, Zetsu was tall with green hair and gold eyes, half of body being painted white and the other black. He used to wear a flytrap thingy before becoming her servant, but now a days he walked around in jeans and pretty much nothing else. (A lot of them liked going shirtless, it seems.)
Kakuzu was in a league of his own as far as elements were concerned. He didn't talk a lot, but from what she could guess, he was some sort of earth oni, being held together by threads of black string that ran in stitching all over his body. Sakura had seen him once coming out of a shower and it was sort of...cough interesting. Though he was cruel most of the time to everyone else, he handled all her finances and did the taxes like a pro. For less than obvious reasons, she guessed he was nice to her only because she was his master. Or at least that was what she thought until she caught him drunk with Kisame. The things he said were kind of hard to forget.
Kisama had been the one who had freed her and set her dow with the most care possible. True to his nature as a Samebito, he was a gentle giant, always sensitive to her needs and caring. It was just when he got drunk did she have to look out for him. Sadly, that was every other day. He was the reason her drying machine was busted. In one of his drunk moods, he had body slammed it and...pretty much demolished it in less than a minuet. He really liked his sake, and had it bought for him all the time, burning a hole though her wallet. Her dad was technically responsible for them and since he wasn't here, so they though his checkbook was free for them to dig into. Thank heaves Kakuzu kept them from blowing it all in one day. Heaven knows they would.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" the shark like man asked in a tentative voice.
"I'm fine," she responded with a nod.
"Well I'm not. The damn bastard could have raped you while we were downstairs fuc-"
"Hidan!" Kakuzu snapped, shutting up the foul mouthed Shinigami who had an unhealthy obsession with apples and cursing. Out of all those who were enslaved thanks to her apples, Hidan had liked them the most, going back the next day for a half dozen. He did that every day and, sadly, the apples never seemed to lessen. The silver haired grim reaper huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. Strangely, he didn't reply back with another curse or witty remark. Like always, today he wore a black robe that was open to expose his chest and his swinging rosemary. Most of her boys liked going shirtless, but Hidan was the one that she really had to watch out for, since he sometimes liked to go around her house wearing nothing more than a wet towel after a shower. There are some things you can't un-see once seen!
"Whatever. We had better not catch you again with Sakura chan, you damed bastard."
That was when Sakura noticed it. The absence that shouldn't have been there. "Hey, where are Deidara and Sasori? I haven't seen them all day."
A look of 'oh crap' seemed to spread to all the males present, including Itachi. "They're out," was the vampire's lame excuse.
She narrowed her eyes. "Out where?"
"Buying stuff....Like food."
"Zabuza and Haku are doing that."
"They forgot to put some shit on the list," Hidan answered, nervously. If he was going to lie he should at least try a little harder.
"The two of them didn't have to go, only one of them needed to-"
"They went out to get porn for artistic inspiration from that Kakashi guy." Kakuzu answered with a dead serious face, his voice level unwavering as always. Everyone turned to look at him with a 'WTF did you just do' sort of look.
Sakura fell silent. No wonder they didn't want her to know. Having a father that preferred writing that disgraceful smut over raising his only daughter...well Sakura was a little touchy about the subject, and everyone knew it. She lowered her head and stared at her muddied red and white converse sneakers, a look of defeat washing over her. "Oh, so that's why they left..." She didn't try to say anything else.
Seeing her act like this, Kisame was quick to nurse her stinging wounds, (being the caring guy he was when he was sober.) "It-it's nothing personal Sakura chan, they're just artists, and they're a bit weird, that's all. They're really not that into it anyway. Probably just a passing phase"
"My house probably has the world's largest collection of smut thanks to that old man and I know for a fact that those two have gone though all of it. That's a damn obsession, not a phase," she said, trying to keep her irritation to a minimal. Kisame had done nothing wrong so it would rude to take this out on him and the others.
"Well they're asses anyway, so you can forget about those bastards and focus on better fish like me!" Hidan triumphantly proclaimed,wrapping an arm around her shoulders and jabbing a thumb at his chest.
"Fish?" Kisame asked with a raised eyebrow.
"She knows what I mean;men."
"You're not even a man, Hidan," Kakuzu interrupted. "You are a Shinigami."
"So, there's hardly a difference, I still have a-"
"I'm going up to my room to read!" Sakura interrupted with a nervous laugh, backing away from the group before turning and sprinting up to her bedroom before they could pull her into one of their vulgar, 'manly talks'. She didn't like how the normally ended. She could hear Itachi calling out to her like a deprived child and Hidan cursing at someone else, pinning the blame on them instead of himself.
In her bedroom, she wasn't surprised to find Gaara curled up on her beg, snoring lightly. She reached down to pet him, brushing a stand of waved red hair out of his face. He twitched in sleep, smiling and leaning into her hand, but didn't wake. it took a lot to wake him up by force and when he was awoken...let's just say he could stand up to Kisame on one of his worst drinking nights. Everyone knew to keep their distance from him when he was sleeping. Sakura was probably the only one he didn't mind waking him up and so she was the only one that wasn't afraid to get close to him when he was asleep. She settled down next to him and cracked open her book, content to stay like this for her birthday.
Four and a half hours later Haku and Zabuza were back without the two artist, showing surprise when the learned of their departure from Zetsu. When Haku heard what Sakura had been told and how she had reacted, he made a bee line for her room. Sakura heard the soft knock on her door and instantly knew who it was. Everyone else was either too scared because of Gaara, or wouldn't bother to knock and opt to just barge right in.
"Sakura chan, are you alright?" Haku asked, sticking his head in to see her seated next to Gaara, book in hand.
She looked up and smiled, waving for him to come in. "Yeah, I'm fine. Would you mind helping me with something?"
He cracked a grin, coming to stand in front of her at the foot of her bed. "Would you like me to keep watch? I'm sorry I couldn't be here sooner. You probably wanted to shower earlier."
Sakura shook her head, closing her book and tucking it under her pillow. "Im not that picky since no one seems to mind. Thanks for helping when you don't have to."
Haku looked down at his hands to find them twitching to play with one another in a nervous manner. He blushed a bit and smiled in that shy boy way of his. "You really don't have to treat us like this. If you ordered me to help you I would help just as readily. You keep forgetting we are not human like you."
Sakura gabbed both sides of his face and made him look up at her. "And you are forgetting that I don't care about shit like that. Human or oni, you have feelings and emotions just like me and I don't want to hurt those. You are far too kind to be treated rudely, Haku kun. Those guys downstairs too... They may act like idiots most of the time and ruin my house, but still, that is their problem and I'm not going to treat them any less because of it." She let go of his head and gave him a sheepish smile. "Sorry, I'm sort of tired. I'm thinking of taking a long bath. You don't mind do you?"
"As long as you come out eventually." His blush decreased a shade, but didn't go away. "Don't drown."
"I won't," she laughed slipping into the bathroom that connected to her room with a spare pair of clothes in hand.
True to his word, Haku guarded her diligently, even when that half hour he though she would take, turned into a good full hour. He could hear music from the Fray drifting through the door and he imagined she was up to her chin in vanilla scented bubbles. At least that is what he could smell through the door. She used to like rainforest scents, but now that it was getting warmer out with spring and all, she was switching over from her winter collection. He glanced up nervously to the wall clock that told him it was already five thirty. He just needed to keep her occupied for another half hour and then they could go downstairs to the basement.
Out of all the males, he was probably the one she trusted the most, right before Gaara and Zabuza, and that was something he was proud of. Just beating out his adoptive father, Sakura chan was his favorite person in the world and wanted to do everything he could to make her happy. He knew many-if not all- of the other guys felt this way too, but they all had their own unique way of showing it.
Sasuke and Naruto were both open with their affection and never stopped trying to express it in front of her. Sadly she didn't take either of them very seriously, and just brushed it off as a sill part time crush. Still, the shouted love to her every morning and night. Itachi was another very open person with his feelings, but Sakura only saw him as a hormone crazed male and not someone who was genuinely concerned about her. Hidan, likewise, was another one of the open admirers, but often screwed over his daily confessions of love for her with curses and sarcasm Sakura miss-interrupted as truth.
Zetsu was a weird one, choosing to both keep his feelings hidden and express them. (Black and White sides, remember.) Sometimes he was shy and lovesick in front of her and sometimes he was bossy and protective to the point where he got on her nerves. But Haku believed his biggest fault with Sakura was probably him freaking her out with his split personality. That even freaked Haku out a few times. Along with him, there was Kisame who couldn't be nicer to her when sober. But he got drunk a lot and put her through a whole lot of grief. Another male who fit into this category was Deidara, the blue eyed Tennin who had an unhealthy obsession with blowing things up and collecting porn. A lot of the time he was easy going with her but other times he would turn red in her presence and squeal to himself, freaking her out. Haku though this was probably because he was imagining her doing something the people in his books did. Haku once looked into Deidara's magazines and saw that the blond had pasted over the ladies faces with photos of Sakura. That was scary...if not a bit appealing.
And then there were the shy/blunderous ones. Kakuzu had no experience in love and was pretty dense to it all, so he often scared Sakura off with his cold, stiff responses. He liked being around her, but for him it felt odd unless he was saying something, leading to Sakura being frightened away. But he did little things for her that he wouldn't for anyone else. Her taxes and all that other stuff was something she really appreciated, so he went out of his way to do his best with that. Sasori, a red haired Gashadokuro who owned multiple bodies he called puppets, had a habit of freaking Sakura out by staring at her, unblinking for long periods of time. Sasori really liked Sakura and enjoyed being around her, but was another empty head when it came to love, that was the reason he read so much porn with Deidara. He didn't talk a lot and would unnerve her with his silence. Though, he was a smart guy and would often play games like western chess or GO with her. She liked that and he liked making her happy that way.
As for Gaara and Zabuza, he really didn't know what to think.
His thoughts were interrupted when the door he had been leaning against opened backwards, resulting in his back and head meeting tile floor. "Ita," he mumbled, rubbing the back of his skull as Sakura helped him back up.
"Haku kun, I'm so sorry, I didn't know you would be there!" Sakura exclaimed, kneeling down beside him in a pair of hiphuggers and a old copper shirt. Her hair was wet and knotted a top her head in a bun held in place by chopsticks. "Are you okay?"
He laughed lightly, standing up with her. "This is nothing, of course I'm okay."
She sighed in relief, rubbing the back of her neck. "I thought I heard something downstairs and wanted to check it out. Did you hear anything?"
Of course he had heard Hinda cussing up a storm about what they were doing in the basement, but he wasn't about to let her know that. He still needed to keep her occupied for another half hour. That stupid grim reaper just had to be the loudest thing this side of the Fuji. "Naruto and Sasuke were fighting again about something. I didn't bother to hear what it was about, but they are always fighting so I wouldn't worry about it," he cooly explained, crossing his fingers behind his back.
"Sounds like them. Will you help me with my hair. I don't want it to dry in this knot."
"Of course, sakura chan."
"What were you thinking about?" Sakura asked five minuets later, as her friend parted her hair and picked up a comb from the counter.
"What do you mean?"
"You had that not home look on your face right before you got up," she explained.
"Are you serious?"
"Serious as a heart attack. Were you sleepy?"
He laughed, pulling on combed stand of darkened pink over and under in a French braid. "A little bit. We sold all our apples at the market and it was sort of busy today. But I don't need that much sleep, really." Sakura smiled to him, while looking at both their forms in the mirror at her old and scarred beauty stand. It had been her mother's mother's and was pretty old from what she understood. Haku finished up her braid and put the comb down, looking at her though the mirror. "There, you're done."
"Thanks again Haku ku-"
"Shit, Itachi! Get back over here" Hidan screamed.
Before Haku cold hold her back or make up an excuse, Sakura bolted out the door and down the steeps. There was fighting downstairs in the basement. What were they doing down there? She flew down the stairs, taking two to four steeps at a time, skidding into the hallway that lead down to the lowest level of their house. At the base of the stairway she froze, taking in the mess of a sight before her.
"Sakura chan! Dn't look, we're not ready!" Naruto cried, jumping up from the overturned table, pushing away a green and yellow wrapped present that had landed next to him.
Hidan and Itachi were frozen in a headlock and counter and Deidara and Sasori was like deers in the headlight, the huge banner that read HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY SAKURA CHAN! in big red letters. There was a cake and there were presents and even Sai, her human friend was there. It looked like he was picked up by Deidara and Sasori.
"What is this?" she asked quietly, taking everything in.
Zetsu coughed from next to the stereo and turned Taylor Swift's 'Love Story' off.
"I think it's obvious isn't it?" Gaara asked from the corner where he stood with streamers in hand. "Happy birthday Sakura chan."
Remember my poll? I tried to make it as magical fantasy as possible, but I think I failed. It's more AU humor than anything else. Anyway I hope you liked it and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAKURA!