I know, I'm a mean horrible person! I'm also still a mean horrible person as this is quite a short update...I just wanted to get some bits straight before heading onto more weddingy stuff :) Life...is a struggle atm,but you live and go on.
"This is ridiculous" Sakura muttered to herself as she managed to cram one more stuffed toy into an already overburdened box.
"What is?" Ino dumped a box of pans with a clash on top of a steadily growing pile of stuff that had gathered in Sakura's now empty living room. She winced and flicked her hair over her shoulder before repeating her question "What's ridiculous?"
Sakura gestured to the empty room and the boxes "how this room is so empty, yet full of stuff!"
Ino snorted "Forehead girl...you are going to have as much stuff as you want when you get to the sand"
"You know, you sounded just like a pig then" Sakura smirked at her friend before hurrying on "and I'm not expecting Gaara to buy me loads of stuff!"
Ino rolled her eyes "like he will be able to resist you batting your eyes at him"
In response Sakura rolled her eyes and Ino was saved from her reply by a hammering at the door "That'll be the aid people" she said opening the door "Shikamaru?"
"Shika!" Ino exclaimed in greeting "What are you doing here?"
Before the lazy man could respond a group of younger ninja hurtled down the corridor closely followed by a laughing TenTen. "Atteeeeention!" She yelled as she noticed the door was open. Immediately the students sprung to attention halting against the wall and saluting Sakura, Ino and Shikamaru. "Heya" TenTen said with a beam "We're here to pick up stuff for the needy aren't we guys?"
"Hai!" the seven called out in unison.
Sakura laughed "The big pile of boxes in the living room are all yours, all labelled okay? Don't take anything not in a box or without a label"
"Hai Sakura-hime!" they shouted as they raced past her.
Sakura winced and yelled after them "I'm not –hime yet!" she turned back to the others "how do you keep them under control Ten?"
TenTen grinned, "Fear mostly" she winced as a crash came from the living room "I best go keep an eye on them" She slipped past Sakura leaving Ino and Shikamaru on the threshold.
With a flip of her hair Ino eyed up her friends "Did you come for something in particular Shika? Or just to lavish in our company?" With a sharp look at the taller nin she let out a frustrated sigh "Temari again?"
Shikamaru shot Ino a dark look "Leave her alone Ino." Seeing the blond woman subside he turned to Sakura "I was actually wondering what colour the bridesmaids are going to be wearing if you're going to be in green"
Raising an eyebrow Sakura answered "I was thinking autumn colours as they'll match both Temari and Ino well...However much the pig disagrees"
Ino muttered something about taste but before she could say anything to Shikamaru he had waved his thanks and disappeared. With a growl Ino stalked back into the apartment and with a puzzled look Sakura followed her friend into what used to be her bedroom. Ino was watching Shikamaru walk down the street from the window and Sakura closed the door against the banging and crashing coming from the living room.
"Okay. What is up?"
"Nothing" Ino replied not looking back.
"Well, if it's nothing you won't mind me talking about it" Sakura moved opposite Ino and leant against the window frame "You appear to be annoyed or frustrated with either Shika or Temari or perhaps both, and you act crabby whenever she's mentioned so I'd hazard a guess you're jealous of something. Could it be you're finally admitting the true love you feel for one Shikamaru?"
Ino snorted loudly "Hardly. He's...my best friend, or at least I thought he was." She looked away at the corner Shikamaru had just walked around as if willing him to come back.
Sakura frowned "he's still your friend Ino, or is it you don't like Temari? She's really nice..."
"That's just it!" Ino scowled and punched the window frame "Temari is –so- nice, she's –so- wonderful and supportive of her brother and –such- a good friend. Why don't you all just move to the sand to be with her forever? Oh wait, you all are." The last part was said without the venom of the rest and tears slid down Ino's cheeks as she turned away.
Biting back a harsh reply at her friends tears Sakura enveloped her in a hug. "Ino...you're mine and Shikamaru's best friend. We're not always going to live near one another but you'll always be my friend...well, unless you suddenly start chasing Gaara."
Ino shuddered "I think you can keep that one" she shooed Sakura away "All yours!"
"Do you feel better now?" Sakura asked cautiously and was rewarded with a genuine smile. "Good, now let's go move me into Tsunade's house".
Gaara looked up as Matsuri put her head around his office door "Yes? Come in Matsuri, how are you?" He indicated she should sit
"I'm fine" she mumbled leafing through the papers in her hand uncomfortably "your fiancée did a good job patching me up"
Unknowingly Gaara smiled at the mention of Sakura and Matsuri repressed another sigh "I never thought I'd lose you as my teacher"
Gaara blinked "Pardon?"
Matsuri slapped her hand over her mouth and blushed bright red "I didn't mean to say that out loud!" she finally stammered out
With a laugh Gaara put his pen down and gave his student his full attention "Matsuri, just because I'm marrying does not mean I will no longer be your teacher."
"but...you won't have any time anymore" Matsuri inwardly cursed her mouth but didn't take back her comment and Gaara's smile widened.
"I was hoping you'd take a liking to Sakura Matsuri, I –was- considering asking her if she would like to share my teaching duties with me. You've always hated hurting people and Sakura could teach you to heal them instead"
Matsuri stared at Gaara open mouthed as she processed what he had just said he is going to ask the second best medic-nin in the WORLD if she would train me with him?
Seeing the strangled hopeful look on her face Gaara put up a warning finger to stem her thoughts "I said I'd ask her, bear in mind she'll be really busy for the next few months and you didn't exactly make a good impression the first time you met..." Matsuri blushed again as he continued "however, this does not mean you will get out of our twice weekly basic practice!" The younger woman groaned and slumped dramatically in her chair "Did you have anything else to say to me?" Gaara asked eyeing the papers in her hand.
"Oh! The last seven missions have returned, all successful...Kankuro-sama has returned but will be delayed in reporting due to having to report first to the hospit...Sensei?"
Gaara was gone.
"What happened?" Gaara's gravelly voice made Kankuro jump and his puppets rattle from the corner where they were resting.
"It's nothing" Kankuro muttered finishing wrapping a bandage around his arm and tying it neatly before replacing his gloves and standing.
Gaara frowned at the stains already seeping through the clean bandage "Why aren't the nurses or doctors seeing to you?" There were none in or near the room
"I said it's nothing!" Kankuro snapped, then as if ashamed at his outburst went to his puppets and began tying them back in place over his back "I was just coming to see you" he said in a calmer voice
"Your mission report can wait" Gaara said concerned
Kankuro turned to face him, his eyes hard "Sooner I report sooner I can go on another mission"
Now Gaara scowled "You are not going on a mission in that state" seeing Kankuro's stubborn face his scowl grew even deeper "I will ban you from the tower"
"You wouldn't dare!" Kankuro yelled.
Gaara's sand gourd collapsed and for a moment the only sound was sand falling in a cascade to the floor as the two men regarded each other in an uncomfortable silence.
"I would dare" Gaara said calmly his eyes boring into his brothers "I can smell the fresh blood from here Kankuro"
"You just want to torture me" Kankuro stated not turning away but folding his arms.
The sand now coating the floor stirred and Gaara sent it a sharp glance before looking back to his brother "I never realised staying in your birth village was such a hardship for you...or perhaps it's just next week you are particularly referring to."
Now Kankuro couldn't meet his brother's stare "I don't know what you are talking about"
"I'm talking about my wedding Kankuro" he ignored the slight flinch Kankuro had when he said the word wedding and his voice softened "Kankuro...it will be one of the happiest days of my life, I...want you to be there. I wanted..."
Eyes closed Kankuro interrupted him "Please don't ask me that, just...don't"
Gaara nodded "I'll ask Naruto"
Kankuro nodded; then turned to look out at the clear blue sky "Gaara...I AM happy for you."
Gripping his brothers shoulder Gaara followed his gaze "I know, it means a lot to hear you say it though... I'd like you to be there, I want everyone I care about there."
Without speaking Kankuro placed his hand over his brothers and nodded slightly. A moment passed before the brothers separated "I best go find a nurse" Kankuro said slightly huskily
"I'll see you later...dinner at mine? Tem's not cooking"
With a weak chuckle Kankuro nodded and headed out of the room.
"Hello?" Temari's groggy voice echoed around her sparsely furnished bedroom as she struggled to untangle herself from the sheets and answer the phone "Shikamaru? Strange time to be calling... oh?" She looked at her watch and quietly swore "Actually, thank you for waking me, I'd have been beyond late in half an hour, I forgot I put up curtains...so it's actually full daylight outside, hmm?" She frowned at the phone "You want Kankuro's phone number?" She shook her head "I really don't have time to quiz you on why" she read off her brothers number from memory "Listen, I have to go...I'll see you next week? Oh? Early?" A smile lit up the blond woman's face "I look forward to it, love you bye!" With one last puzzled look at her phone Temari checked the time again and swearing slightly louder ran to get ready.