A/N: I know I've stated that I'd put notes at the bottom of chapters from now on, but I thought I'd notify you all that this chapter has been split into three parts, which will be added later to keep time-skips from becoming overwhelming. It's a cosmetic thing. The rest of the chapter is still in editing, and I'm currently cutting scenes, something I didn't think I'd be doing. What few that I cut may be exposed later in flashbacks, so you're not missing anything. Just know that if I didn't split everything up, this chapter would be 18,000 words long with more than eight line-breaks. Also, there's a little coarse language here, so I apologize if that's offensive to anyone.
Enjoy, and please, don't hit me for taking so long to update; it's not on purpose, I promise.
I hadn't texted Kin.
As I'd expected, I didn't end up walking to her house either; not long after I'd begun to think that neither girl was coming and that the meeting, as I referred to it, was off - lack of directions to Kin's house coupled with no shows didn't help the case much - I was jolted awake from my particularly peaceful nap on the half-broken couch in the livingroom by an incessant screeching honk and the revving of an engine from outside.
"Shit!" I cursed, rubbing the sleep from my eyes as I tripped over myself and a broken chair that had found purchase betwixt my clumsy legs, trying to get to a window and see what in blazes was eating gasoline in my yard and, more importantly, where the fire was that sparked the dire hurry and sonaural chaos assaulting my ears. I pulled back a wilty looking window-shade blearily and peered through the blinds, a moment of realization hitting me before I could start screaming profanities and marching out to bloody the kitchenware that I'd somehow acquired on my way to the curtains. The thought reminded me that my mother was rubbing off on me, and I shook my head, leaving before that particular problem could present itself again; the bludgeoning banshee in a can that liked to think of herself as a parent, that is.
I was out the front door in an instant after tossing down the kitchen knife I'd previously been clutching on to and momentarily hoping that I would get lucky and Mother would trip and lose a toe on it. I regretted this action as soon as I realized that it was raining. The waiting bee-striped bomb of a sports car that I promptly clambered into afterward - on top of someone, unfortunately - wasn't much more inviting than the weather, I found, as a cry of, "What's the deal, Pinky? Can't go half an hour without pulling another home run?" sounded off. I shifted uncomfortably in Kin's lap, unsuccessfully attempting to right myself in a way that didn't involve the better half of my body leaning on hers. Unsurprisingly, Temari was at the wheel and smirking amusedly at our predicament; it became apparent that Kin was joking after a few seconds, and my anxiety seemed to quieten down slightly. It wasn't like either of us would have been uncomfortable sitting two to a seat; the passenger's side would have had quite extravagant leg room for an average person had it not been adjusted forward. Nevertheless, I looked to the space that appeared to be the back of the cab, hoping for a spare seat to crawl into, only to find a heap of clothing and discarded trash mixed in with some other unmentionables.
Temari must have caught my bewildered glances between her and the dump that was behind her because she just laughed. "What?" she said, "You expected reservations? Sorry, had to pick Kin up on the way; time to fly coach, sweets." A lopsided grin grew playfully above her chin, and the befuddled, alien appearance I felt to be projecting had to have been obvious on my cheeks. Her toothy visage faded into a smug smile as the lights in the car dimmed out, and she shifted the vehicle into reverse. "Not to worry, Sakura, just lean back, pop your harness on, and hold tight; Kin'll take care of ya until we get to wherever we're supposed t'be goin'."
'Wherever we're supposed to be going?' That's reassuring. I felt my heart quicken as something slipped over my head and past my chest. Harness was right. Two straps came down over my shoulders, and I felt a belt buckle snake its way around my waist, another coming up between my thighs and fastening everything together. Kin laughed at my reaction, which had been an unfortunate, excessively feminine gasp at the latter.
"Nervous?" Kin murmured past my ear, just loud enough to hear and barely loud enough to understand. Temari's brand of music didn't permit much beyond screaming to get a point across. The interior of the car rattled lightly with the noise, and I sincerely wanted to open a window to relieve the pressure on my eardrums, watching as Kin directed Temari toward our destination with gestures and loud calls.
With a trademark smirk of my own, I stamped Kin's foot half-heartedly and barked back. "Don't fuck with me, little lady. I'm here on business," I warned, laughing somewhat coyly. There really was no malice behind it, not that Temari would hear it if there was any.
The response was a retaliatory slap on the shoulder, which did hurt quite a bit, and a sarcastic, "I'm sure," for which I had no reply. The rest of the ride was similarly uncomfortable, punctuated with sarcastic remarks and similar little pains.
"So, Sakura," Temari began boldly as we sat across from each other and leaned on a rickety, wobbling table. Kin's drink sat idly on the blonde's right, waiting to be tended as it sloshed around accordingly; its owner had excused herself conspicuously to the restroom and conveniently brought another familiar looking brunette with her; I wasn't complaining. I turned my attention back to the blonde in front of me as she continued in that savory tone of hers, "I heard that you and that Barbie doll were on the outs again; seems you're quite the player, Pinky." She took a slurp of the odd, alcoholic mixture of aromatic liquid swirling around in her glass and gave what I assumed to be her best flirtatious little tomboy eye at me. "Any truth to that?" she inquired.
I laughed and debated whether to be truthful or not. "Hah, I dunno about being a 'player,' Temari, but yeah, I'd say that's accurate." The girl seemed to give a light nod, and as hard as she tried to look disinterested, was outed by her dark teal eyes. Over the course of the ten minutes of me having properly acquainted myself her and all ten of which being consumed with waiting for Kin to stumble back from the restroom saturated with hickeys, I'd come to the conclusion that brash, tough-skinned Temari was an interesting character. She'd said that she came from Suna, something that dully sent a chime tinkling in the back of my mind; though, I didn't quite remember for what when we were introduced. Of course, I hadn't needed the our overly friendly, touchy-feely pleasantry exchange once we were sufficiently alone to figure that out, not with the purple cloth bracelet on her arm bearing a white-lined jar symbol and an obnoxious "Suna Village Outfitters" label.
"Hey, wake up, faun of the dead"-she waved her hand in front of me with a cocky expression-"You're getting all quiet and glassy eyed. Kin said you had something worth talking about. Spill it." Arms crossed over her chest, she quirked a brow and brushed off the little waitress that came around to garner a little more of our money.
I sighed and rolled my eyes as Temari retreated back into her seat in anticipation of the next go-round. If the object of this game was persuasion, she knew that she'd won. "Gee, as if my yelling over the music must not have clued you and the whole neighborhood in. You're lucky that Ms. Bratz doll is too busy taking a pee break with Tenten right now to support my argument," I commented dryly. The waitress finally took a hint and moved away from our table, going to the next for a successful hit.
Temari blew a puff of smoke past her lips and smirked. "Shut up, Saku; get to the point if you don't want Giggles and Tits in on this too." She tipped her head to the restroom, and I assumed she was talking about Kin more so than the other girl; Kin wasunreasonably drunk, as was Tenten from what I'd heard. Unsurprisingly, Temari wasn't. By now, the latter was on her third serving of sake since we'd arrived, and we hadn't been here for more than a half hour, if even that much. Her coherency didn't surprise me.
"Do I smell a threat?" I teased. The coy smile, cocked head, and half-lidded eyes promising malintent I got in return for that gesture warned me not to push it; I laughed a bit nervously. I'd already gathered that Temari wasn't the sort to be taken lightly, drunk or no. "Just wondering if someone put you up to this; guess not." Wild lights danced around behind her, an odd few of them framing her profile against the wall. Looking at the brief silhouettes, I thought to myself how ridiculous her pom-pom hairdo must have been to work with in the morning.
"Put me up to what?" Temari laughed, folding her fingers over the handle of her barbaric, cracked glass mug. She'd noticed my scrutiny of her odd hairstyle and seemed amused.
"That's what I'd like to figure out," I answered confidently, sipping my juice, which both Temari and Kin had profusely disapproved of me drinking. They'd ordered several extra drinks earlier on my behalf. "So, spill it."
"I will if you play along with our little drinking game, Sakura."
With some trepidation, I agreed, nodding. "Fine."
There was that smirk again. Temari leered at me from her vantage point confidently. "Well then, if you must know," she began, "Kin and I came up with the idea to take you out for some fun after that blonde haired gangster wannabe's party flopped and you started flinging herself all over anyone and everyone who hadn't already left; excluding Ino, that is. She'd already popped your ass."-a laugh-"It seemed like a fun idea at the time, and with the way Ino was looking at you and that shy girl you were trying to dance with, someone had do something. That's where Kin came in." Temari paused, waiting for a comment before continuing, "I wasn't expecting the girl to go home with you, but running you both to your house was better than watching Naruto make out with his girlfriend..."
"That's it; I spilled, Princess. Take a drink."
Princess? Oh, it was so on. I grabbed a bottle from the table and tossed the contents at the back of my throat.
Triumphantly, I declared, "Beat that, Temari."
"Gladly." And so it began.
Some time after I had imbibed a non-specific quantity of drinks, I somehow arrived before a half-dressed Kin in the restroom, which was delightfully vacant of Tenten. The twin bun-sporting girl had gone off for more drinks and stumbled upon Temari in the process; that much I remembered. I found it funny that the volleyball team captain Kin had been gossiping about not more than twenty-four hours prior managed to entertain herself with two of her worst enemies. This elicited a laugh from me, which alerted Kin to my presence.
"What's up, Pinky?"
What's with all the nicknames?
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming to pick me up, instead of meeting at 'your place?'" I asked, slightly annoyed. Kin stared at me as I leaned against the side-wall of a bathroom stall.
She laughed humorlessly, "Sakura, I live one house over from you. I figured it wasn't that much of a big deal."
That was new to me. It showed. Kin was looking at me like I'd grown antlers out of my ears, screwing up her face this way and that.
"You mean you don't remember?" Her eyes narrowed at me; I was barely able to understand with the slurring, but my own addled brain's stuttering gait was able to eek the words out into what felt like conversation. "Unbelievable."
I raised an eyebrow from where I stood. "What?" I wondered how she could expect me to know where she lived after a cumulative three instances of us interacting, one of those being a brief fight, one of which I didn't quite recall, and another playing out before my eyes. "What do you mean, 'you don't remember?'" I inquired, watching as she dragged herself from a dirty marble counter to her feet, and her eyes swam a bit before locking onto me.
"Sakura, you'd figure that you'd at least glance at a girl when you're running past her to another girl's house on a nightly basis." She laughed before stumbling a bit and leaning back against the counter.
Then, I remembered why it was that I was here; Temari had insisted on another drinking game after subsequently beating me at my own. I groaned, irritated; if I were in my right mind, I would have most likely thrown a tantrum, but something inside of me screamed to chalk my irritability up to the alcohol and fettered judgment. "Uh," I mumbled stupidly, "Well, yeah.. I should really be going."
Kin spat out some witty retort, but I was too absorbed in my own stupor to catch it. Now she stared at me as if I were some sort of mentally impaired elephant in the restroom, which I was, metaphorically speaking. It occurred to me that she must have asked a question.
After no reply from me, Kin finally ordered, "Let's just go back to the damn table, Pinky. We can talk later," and ushered me out.
Great. I got what I came for, for once in my life.
I found myself hungry some time after waking again from the fruits my momentary unintelligent stupor. I realized that I'd been staring at my half-unhinged plank of a door for over an hour as if I'd expected someone to give half a rat's ass and come looking for me. That's an intelligent way to spend your time isn't it, Sakura?
Temari and Kin had to have been gone by now, having taken me home. It was Temari, not Kin, who had shouldered my weight up the stairs leading to the front door and flopped my drunken husk into bed after I'd thrown up in the sink. Kin had only been sober enough to find her way to the couch and settle down for a while. I'd been lying here since then, adhering to Temari's words: "Don't move until you're sober, and don't call anyone either."
What was it that I was supposed to do? Oh, that's right. That little suggestion that Kin so politely supplied me had resulted in an obligation, and I'd had a date earlier. That was partly why my head felt like it'd been walloped with a nine pound hammer. It would have helped my exhaustion at this point if I wasn't still reeling from Mother's idea of a proper greeting. Grudgingly, I slipped from the rumpled mass of mattress and blankets that I'd been complacent to waste away the better two thirds of my life frequenting and stood on my wobbling legs. Briefly, I pondered how I managed to get myself in these situations. Perhaps, I was just a hapless, hopeless, gullible idiot, I mused.
No, I shook my head, That sounds more like Naruto, or Lee, or perhaps Hinata - minus the 'idiot,' on her part, at least. With a sigh, I thought of the timid girl. It'd been a while since we talked. I wondered how she was doing, or if she was angry with me for being so inconsiderate with her. I'd left her alone in my house with nothing but a note telling her that there was food in the cabinets if she so chose to fix any while I went off on my merry, two-timing way, almost like a little 'fuck you' to rub her nose in it. Then I thought of Ino, who apparently was just too good for me. Vaguely, I felt like I needed another drink, as if I hadn't absorbed enough of those already.
Not smart, Kariyo, my inner, reminded, apparently deciding it a ripe time to keep to her old tricks and remain out of sight. She was right, considering the ill effects the last few times I'd let myself dip into the bottle with Ino, or anyone else for that matter. Of course, if I wasn't sober or remotely sane, she'd probably would have shown herself for the simple purpose of taunting me. I looked into the mirror with a grave exhale.
"Gee, Sakura, by that pasty white you're sporting, it figures you'd agree to a date that didn't entail day-walking or, heaven forbid, sunlight." My hair was still a wet pink from hours earlier, and I wondered how it had managed not to dry as it dangled by my cheeks in flattened curls. I barely remembered anything from the previous night other than the fact that I hadn't really gotten anything productive done. Temari, as I'd expected, was no fool. She hadn't let me shirk my responsibilities in our stupid little drinking games, a fact that Kin wouldn't let go after our classy little bathroom chat. I was sure by now that both of them had suspected I was a lightweight, although an impressively solid one, and planned all of this down to the letter. To make matters more depressing, I was still in the same boat, floating between an Ino that didn't want me and a Hinata that I felt ashamed to be using, and if I thought about it hard enough, a Kin and a Temari too. "Damned temptresses," I muttered unappreciatively, "and I still have to clean up that mess Kin made this morning. Great."
Yes, great, Kariyo agreed with me, and don't forget about that vomit in the kitchen sink either; you're going to have to wash that down somehow, sweetie.
I groaned, full-knowing that the next few hours were going to be heinously arduous.
To be continued...
A/N: So, not too much happened in this chapter other than some minor character development. Don't worry; for those of you that want me to get back to Ino and Hinata, there will be more of them to come soon, and for those that like Kin and Temari, they'll be sticking around, coupled with some cameos from other characters, including Tenten, who you all will meet some time later (no spoilers for you here, unfortunately). As far as revamping chapters goes, I've finished half of chapter one, improving it by a large margin so that its narrative style resembles these later chapters. I know, I'm behind as usual. Anyway, I'll start updating the chapters when I reach a point in the story that won't make it seem stagnant; new scenes may be added when I do so, so you may want to read up on them later. I'll notify you all in my A/N's, of course, so no need to check back constantly for updates.
Until the next update, ciao!