Hello everyone! long time no see (or been on here for that matter). I'm back and ready to write! Here's the lastest story...i know the first chapter is short, but the others get longer so no worries!

i hope you all enjoy this one like you did "Affliction".


Why was she here?

She had asked herself that question a million times already and still didn't have the answer to satisfy her enough to get out of her car.
She watched the sky turn darker and darker out of her car window, promising a strong storm with every gust of wind that pushed up against the glass.
She knew why she was here, she just didn't want to admit it to herself.

Just a few months ago she had everything going for her. She was the top in her class with only one more year of medical school left. She had an internship with the top doctor in her field of study. She had the perfect relationship that made everyone around her jealous. She went to sleep with the world in the palm of her hand, and woke up the next morning to find that her grasp on her future had slipped…and that's when things started to change.

Almost overnight the world that she had known was turned upside down.
The economy plunged deep into the depths of the netherworlds, with no promise of it changing.
She was laid off from her job and suddenly the bills for her apartment, food and school were too much for her to handle.
Even though she loved her internship, she had to quit it in order to find a full-time job so she could keep her head afloat. After all, one doesn't get much from an unpaid internship besides experience.
She skimmed the newspapers and job websites in hopes of finding a well paying job, but all that greeted her eager eyes were stories of how fast the unemployment rate was climbing. She was late on her rent, but luckily for her, the landlady understood and knew that Sakura was good for the money.
She went over to Sasuke's apartment, seeking solace and comfort, only to find him in bed with another girl.

Basically, Sakura's once perfect life had now turned to shit…and that's what brought her to where she was now.
She had seen an ad in the weekly newspaper about the local cemetery needing a full-time worker. It was the first good news Sakura had seen in the past few weeks…as good as it was going to get anyways. She called the number that was listed immediately and was invited to come in for an interview as soon as she was available. The very next day, she dressed in her finest interview clothes and drove the fifteen minute drive to her possible salvation from becoming homeless and drowning in an ocean of dept.
As soon as she got to the parking lot, her courage seemed to dissipate and she found that she couldn't drag up the will to physically get out of the car.

She stared ahead at the tall cast-iron gates that loomed in front of her and partially blocked her view of the giant cemetery behind it. Weeping willows lined the fence as well, swaying back and forth violently yet gracefully in the pre-storm wind.
She became hypnotized by the leaves as they twisted and turned on their branches.
The leaves could hold on in the storm, so why couldn't she? How was it that in a month Sakura found herself jobless, hopeless, and alone?
It just didn't seem right. Things like this happened to other people, not her.

Taking a deep breath and leaning her head against the driver's side window, she watched as the clouds drifted by her, getting darker and darker at each passing minute. It wasn't until the first few drops of rain fell that she was jolted into action. It had taken her thirty minutes to make her hair perfect for this interview, a single drop of rain would ruin all of her efforts at looking presentable and, most importantly, hirable.

Jumping out of her car and slamming the door closed, Sakura ran as quickly as she could in her high heels toward the building that sat between the fence and the main gate of the cemetery. She could tell the building was old and dilapidated, and she wasn't even sure if that was where she was supposed to go. But the weatherworn wooden sign that was banging loudly against the side of the building somehow seemed to be calling to her. At first it was hard for her to make out the letters on the sign since the paint was faded and chipped off, but she could faintly make out the thick black letters that read 'OFFICE'.

She was almost to the building's door when the wind suddenly picked up and nearly blew her off of her feet. She frantically pushed down her skirt as she picked up her pace. She attempted to pull open the office door with her unoccupied hand, but the wind was too strong and the door wouldn't budge. Throwing her dignity to the wind, she grasped the doorknob with both hands and jerked it open with all her might. She slid herself through the crack and let the door shut behind her with a loud slam. Exasperated and out of breath, Sakura looked at the door behind her. It wasn't until she heard someone clear their throat in front of her that she turned around.

In front of her, sitting behind a large wooden desk was an older man who had a giant book set out in front of him. It looked like he was writing numbers into slots before she had burst in, and now he was just staring at her. "Can I help you?" he asked her, clearly unsure of what it was she wanted.

Sakura hurried to smooth out her windblown hair and clothes and answered, "My name's Sakura, I called yesterday about the job opening and was told to come in for an interview today."

The man's demeanor changed suddenly and a wide smile graced his face creating more lines on it. "Yes of course! Welcome Sakura. My name's Baki, I'm the one you spoke to yesterday. Please, have a seat." He said as he motioned to the chair in front of him.

Sakura let go of a deep breath as she smiled back at him and quickly approached the chair that the man had motioned to, welcoming the chance to once again sit down. Once she was seated, Baki asked, "How's the weather looking out there?"

Sakura let out a chuckle and shook her head, "It looks like hell is about to take over."

"Really?" Baki asked rhetorically as he got up from his seat and headed toward the only window of the building. He pulled down the blinds with one finger and stared up at the sky. "Damn…" Sakura heard him mutter under her breath and watched as he politely excused himself and walked into what she assumed was his office.

She heard him click on some sort of walkie-talkie and heard him say, "Come on in for the day guys, there's a huge storm rolling in and it doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon."

"Aye aye captain," she heard a scrambled voice respond before Baki returned to his seat once again.

"Sorry about that," Baki apologized once he was comfortably seated again, "I needed to get them in before they ruin my equipment out in the rain."

Sakura laughed uncomfortably and waited for him to start asking her questions. It was only a matter of time before he realized that she had zero experience in the labor and burial field…After all, she has trained her entire life to save people, not to bury them.

"Alright then," Baki said as he stretched himself out in his chair before leaning forward onto his desk with his hands folded in front of him. "Let me give you a little history on this place."

Sakura simply nodded at him to confirm that she was listening.

Acai Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Konoha. There's two parts to it, there's the newer cemetery where we still hold burials, and the old part that is considered an unofficial historical landmark. Although," he added with a chuckle, "many people don't like to think of it like that. We have graves back there that date back to the founding years of Konoha."

Sakura's eyebrows rose slightly, showing her genuine surprise and interest.

"The old section is what you'll be concerned with mostly, that is, if you accept the job. I have to be honest with you, I'm desperate here. With today's economy you would think that people would be chomping at the bit to have work, any work for that matter, but I guess this cemetery is the exception to the rule."

Sakura shifted in her seat uncomfortably.

"I'll be straight with you," Baki said, looking Sakura dead in the eye. "The hours suck, but it's an easy job and it pays great. You'll be here at the cemetery Monday through Friday from 8 o'clock PM to 8 o'clock AM. We have living accommodations for you so you don't have to worry about brown bagging your dinner every day. We even have a television set up to keep you occupied in the early hours. You'll start off at $15 an hour, then after the first 60 days of employment, you'll start getting $20 an hour plus full benefits. You won't be working alone either, we have one other night employee but it's difficult for him to cover the entire area by himself every night."

"And what would I be doing exactly?" Sakura asked cautiously.

"You won't be doing any manual work, that's for sure." Baki chuckled. "After all, it's not safe to dig holes into the ground when it's pitch black out. No, you're responsibility is to make sure no kids get back there and start causing trouble. Teenagers, and sometimes even adults, like to break into the back after hours and poke their noses around where they shouldn't. The last thing I want is a lawsuit from a disgruntled parent because their trespassing hooligan broke an ankle on a headstone or something."

Sakura nodded in understanding, "And that's all I would be doing?"

Baki nodded in response to her question.

Sakura couldn't help the smile that slowly crept across her face, "Then when do I start?"

Baki laughed and slapped the desk in front of him with joy, "Perfect! When are you available to start work?"

Sitting quietly in faux contemplation in order to pass a few moments since she didn't want her new boss to realize that she had nothing to do, she answered, "I can start tonight if you want."

"Tonight would be perfect. I'll meet you at the gates to let you in when you get here, but after tonight you'll have your own keys. The gate gets locked behind you every night and isn't opened until the next morning. The exception is if there's an emergency, of course."

"Of course." Sakura said in agreement.

"Let me get your paperwork for you and I'll let you go until I see you tonight."

Sakura's smile remained on her face as she nodded at Baki once more.
Maybe there would be a break in the storm for her after all…