Title: No Nonsense Coffee
Characters/Pairings: Sakura/Sai, Sasuke/Naruto, but just a lot of Sakura being ridiculous.
Rating: T, for off-screen sex.
Notes: Otherwise known as what happened to Sakura after the events in "Improper", because I felt that the poor girl's issues needed some resolution. This initially was planned to include a scene in which Sakura splattered eggs and had mad sex with Sai on the kitchen floor, but it didn't really work out that way. Oh well. Perhaps this will spawn another illegitimate child with Ino or Tenten as main characters, but I don't like them enough for that. Right now, at least. Anyway, remember to review!

Sakura wakes up the next morning with a pounding headache, the faint taste of vodka and vomit in her mouth, and make-up clogging her pores. She blinks groggily at the ceiling, squinting through her hangover. Her hand finds its way over to rub at her eyes, to wipe the drool away from her mouth, but it can't manage much else.

She should get up. She should get some water and some extra-strength Tylenol. She should take a shower. She should pull her life together and probably get to work.

There are a lot of things Sakura should do, but she can't manage the strength. Damn it.

"Oh, you're awake, then, Ugly?" a familiar voice says.

She grunts. Her throat is too raw and too dry to manage anything more.

"You should get up, then," the voice prattles on.

She grunts again. Shut up, she wants to say. Shut up and leave me alone.

"I've made coffee. I'll even let you have some if you get off of my couch and into the shower."

She opens her eyes again, and this time, keeps them open long enough to take in the sparse apartment, the abstract art decorating the walls, and Sai standing in the middle of it all, steady and holding a coffee mug like an entreaty.

Coffee would be lovely. She smells it, rich and black and strong, just like she likes it. No nonsense coffee, her mother used to call it, back when Sakura would stay up all night studying the human body and all the millions of things that could go wrong with it. No nonsense coffee, no frills, just caffeine to power on through.

"All right," she croaks, "but only for the coffee."

As Sakura thanks Sai and makes her way back to the apartment she shares with Naruto and Sasuke, she reaches several resolutions. Her roommates are mercifully out when she enters (and she's inordinately thankful she can avoid Naruto's worried questions and Sasuke's dead-fish glare), she writes them all out, carefully, on one of her pink notebooks.

Stop drinking, she writes, as she curls up on her bed. Must keep in mind that excessive consumption of alcohol will result in cirrhosis of the liver, damage to neurons, and will, heaven forbid, turn me into Shishou. Besides, you can't go crashing at Sai's all the time, even if he is curiously accommodating.

She reads the lines again, nods, and continues, Find out what kind of coffee Sai gave me this morning, as it was simply orgasmic. Consider leeching truth serums off of Ino-pig. She cocks her head, and adds, But ONLY as last option.

Book double-shifts at hospital, talk to Shizune about grants, specialization, maybe do research. Been sitting around doing nothing for past six months—SCIENCE WAITS FOR NO MAN OR WOMAN, DAMN IT, SO DO SOMETHING. She underlines the last bit in red, twice. There.

Lose weight, she scribbles, just for the heck of it. Buy new make-up. Get a hair-cut. New clothes. New pair of Jimmy Choos would be HEAVENLY. DO IT, BITCH. She can see Ino already, shoving a latte caramel machiatto at her as she drags Sakura into a Jimmy Choo store with the unmistakable air of a determined shopaholic. SOON, she writes as an addendum, because as much as she loves arguing with Ino, no one else really knows how to pare Sakura's emotional messes down to the bone. It also helps that Ino has excellent taste.

She hears the door open and the clatter of shoes and the crinkle of brown shopping bags. Naruto's voice rings out, asking if Sasuke remembered to get the spicy cheese he likes, and she hears Sasuke respond, his voice too low for her to make out the words. She can picture them in her mind's eye, arms laden with brown paper shopping bags, arguing without any real heat, the pulse of affection and utter domesticity that grows stronger between them every day. She has to live with the sounds that come from their bedroom across the hallway, the grunts and the sighs and the moans and the "fuck, Sasuke, yes!"s, and their behavior in the morning, the half-touches and the love bites they don't really try to hide.

Her eyes prickle, and her pen, almost of its own accord, writes two last words. They are plain, unadorned, but they are the most important ones.

Move out.

A month later, she has moved into an apartment of her own. Naruto, who had protested her move loudly until she had punched him into a wall, and Sasuke, who hadn't said anything at all, helped her move. The process had only taken an afternoon, and it had been hurried by the fact that Sasuke had wanted to leave as soon as Naruto had taken his shirt off in the noon-day sun.

Whatever, she thinks. She's left them, and now they can have crazy monkey sex all over their old apartment without bothering her.

Ino and Tenten show up that first night, armed with chocolate and a movie about a ninja-vest that fits five different girls of all different sizes. They watch the movie, laugh, and Sakura thinks, this may not be so bad after all.

One day, as she pushing sweaty bangs out of her face and barking orders to the nurses and ingesting more caffeine than can possibly be healthy and moving around the hospital like she runs the place (and in certain ways, she does), she realizes something.

She's happy. She is competent, she is skilled, she is brilliant as a medic and as a ninja, but most of all—she is happy.

The feeling isn't some bright blue blazing sky or anything dramatic. It's just simple contentment in the fact that her heart isn't leaping and yearning for crumbs of affection and comradeship and love from two broken boys who barely have enough of it between them. She's on the apex of the long sides of the isosceles triangle they make, but that's all right. She still has them, in a diffuse, incandescent sort of way, but it still counts. All she has to do is call and they will come running.

They are her boys, after all.

Sai is a different story. His eyes are empty in ways that are completely different from Sasuke's, his smiles much too soft-cornered to be anything like Naruto's. Those details don't bother her too much, though. Sai is Sai is Sai, after all.

She asks him one day, when he shows up at her apartment with Godiva chocolates and a movie for the umpteenth time, "Sai, what are you doing?"

He merely gazes at her in that infuriatingly placid way of his and replies, "I am setting out the candy and starting a movie that I would like to watch with you, Ugly."

She hardly even bristles at the nickname anymore. "No, Sai." She gestures at him, at the movie, at the chocolate with a wide wave of her hands. "You come over all the time whenever you're in town. You feed me really good food and watch horrendous old romantic comedies with me. Why?"

He sets the box of chocolates down and sits on her low coffee table so his eyes are only inches away from hers. "I think," he says, "it should be obvious. I want to have sex with you."

She feels her eyes go very wide. "Oh," she squeaks.

"And then," he says, "I would like to have a relationship with you."

He eyes go even wider.

"I don't think I would be very good at it, though my penis is larger than Naruto's, and though I can't say much about the size of Sasuke's—"

"Sai," she interrupts, "right now, I have no designs on Naruto's penis, and I don't think that Sasuke's wants me."

He blinks at her, thrown by the turn in the conversation. She takes the initiative and continues. "I am very interested in yours, though."

He blinks at her again, and then smiles, but it's not one of his fake smiles. This one is real; she can read it in his eyes. "That's very convenient. Now, if you would just—"

"Sai," she interrupts again, her voice a touch impatient. "Just kiss me, will you?"

She never does get him to give her the name of the brand of coffee that he makes her every morning they wake up together, but she figures it doesn't really matter, so long as he's always the one making it for her.