"—I'm falling from cloud nine… I'm wide awake. Sometimes what you need is right in front of you all along; you just have to learn to look underneath the underneath. This is 95.7 Konoha."
There have been distinct times in my life where I've been completely and utterly scared shitless.
But I've got to admit, this— and by "this", I mean like right now— probably takes the cake.
Right here. In Karin's dorm. Under her bed.
I silently reprimanded myself in my head. Really Sakura, really? What kind of idiot are you for believing you'd actually pull this one off?
Let's see… heart pounding out of chest? Check. Sweat running down face? Yep. Deep labored breathing? Bingo. It's official: I have never been more scared for my life than right now. Because in all honesty, I'm as fucked as a caterpie battling a charizard.
I feel so petty and ridiculous; I've resorted to breaking and entering for the sole purpose of stealing files that may or may not have a connection to me.
My brows furrowed in frustration.
I mean… I'm pretty sure they refer to me, but I really have no way to prove it unless I view them. I was risking expulsion and possibly worse as it was. Did I really need to see what was hidden behind the encryptions?
Yet, a part of me screamed, "Yes!" It's inexplicable really. It was one of those innate feelings in your gut, as if warning me that something terrible would happen if I didn't.
I closed my eyes in concentration.
Okay, well I've got the files. All I have to do now is formulate a plan to get me back to my dorm. If my calculations are correct, the safest method of action—
My eyes snapped open in alarm.
Where r u?
Of all the times in the world, technology chooses to screw me over now … this can't be happening. Nonononono—
"What the hell..? Is something under my bed?"
A hand reached under the bed skirt and roamed around for a bit. I held my breath as Karin's arm stretched further, nearly skimming my own. I slowly inched my way further back as her arm continued to advance. My feet hit the back wall; there was no place left to retreat. Uh oh.
I let out a sigh of relief as Karin's arm slowly disappeared from my sight. Whoever you are, mysterious voice—I love you oh so very much.
"Oh, Sasuke-kun! What are you doing here?" Karin squealed.
I cringed under her bed. I think a little part of me just shriveled up and died from Karin's voice. My eyes widened in realization. Wait… Sasuke?
"We need to talk," came a gruff reply.
"Oh okay! Here, come sit on my bed with me and we can talk…"
"…No. Let's… go somewhere else."
I inwardly sniggered. Sasuke hardly hesitated; the pictures covering the walls were probably making him nervous. I almost let out a giggle imagining a squeamish Sasuke.
"Sure Sasuke-kun, anything you want. Anything..."
I waited a few minutes after the door shut till I got out from under the bed.
"Damn, that was close," I muttered to myself.
With the flash drive in hand, I left.
I looked down at my phone to check the time, only to see I've received another message.
Forehead, WHERE R U? pick up your phone dammit!
I let out a small sigh of exasperation. Oh Ino, if only you knew…
Meet me by the bulletin in 5
I can already imagine Ino's impending tantrum; ignoring her texts is like signing your death wish... Yet again, I did just escape death… in a way. Kind of.
I just broke into Karin's dorm, nearly got caught, and still managed to escape unscathed. Damn, I'm like a freakin' ninja slash Indiana Jones mega spy hunter person. Yeah, that.
I gave myself a pat on the back. The temple run guy got nothing on me.
I suddenly felt a weight on top of me as Ino grasped both my shoulders and jumped up and down.
I raised my eyebrow at her, "Hey Ino…" and replied hesitantly. She wasn't mad?
"YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT I JUST HEARD!"
I slowly pried her hands away, "What did you hear?"
She tilted her head to the side, "Well…" and then narrowed her eyes as she looked at me, "Did you get my text?"
I almost rolled my eyes at her antics. Of course she wouldn't forget, "Yeah."
"Well, you didn't text back…" she pouted.
"OH MY GOSH UMBRIDGE, STOP TEXTING ME!"
Ino stared, "…"
I stared back, "…"
"We really need to stop watching a very potter musical…"
We burst out in laughter. Che, like that was going to happen.
I flipped a lock of hair over my shoulder, "So what's up pig, what did you hear?"
"Well, I was in the library getting some books—"
"You read…?" I asked incredulously.
I shrugged, "Guess you learn something new everyday."
Ino shot me a glare, "Anyway, as I was saying. I was in the library getting some books when I spotted Karin and Sasuke. Obviously I started to leave because I couldn't care less about that bitch, but then your name came up…"
A wave of panic flashed across my face. Did they… did they see me leave Karin's dorm?
A hand waved across my face, "Yo forehead… you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. What… what were they talking about?"
"Sakura. What's wrong?"
I shook my head, "Nothing. It's nothing."
Ino gave me a knowing look.
I sighed in defeat, "Remember those files we found yesterday?"
"Yeah," Ino nodded.
"I talked to Shikamaru about them and he said that if I could get him the files, he'd maybe be able to hack the encryptions."
"Well that's great!" Ino beamed, "Why are you so worried?"
I took in a deep breath, "This morning… I broke into Karin's dorm again to steal the files," I looked up to gauge Ino's reaction, "I was really close to getting caught, but then Sasuke showed up and they left. If you heard my name come up, there's a pretty good chance they know. I-I think they may have seen me leave…"
"Wait, so that means that…" Ino's eyes widened in shock as she covered her mouth, "My text. Were you still in Karin's room when I texted you? Shit, I'm so sorry. I—"
"It's fine piggy," I gave a meek smile.
Blue eyes narrowed, "No. It is not fine. Do you have any idea what would happen to you if you're reported?"
I nodded sullenly.
A deafening silence consumed the conversation.
Ino's eyes lit up, "Wait!" a broad grin stretched across her face, "When I overheard your name, they sounded like they were…. arguing. Maybe, maybe you didn't get caught..."
I faked a smile, "Yeah, maybe."
I hope you're right, Ino-pig.
My stomach grumbled shortly afterwards so we decided to catch an early lunch. Well, technically it would be brunch for me since I hadn't had breakfast yet. We walked over to the cafeteria and grabbed some trays.
"So after lunch, do you want to see if the try-outs results are posted yet?"
I grabbed an apple and set it on my tray, "Yeah, sure."
It was twelve thirty-eight by the time we finished our food and walked over to The Commons. Ino took my arm and pulled me over to The Bulletin where she scanned the various pieces of paper attached to the board.
She lowered her head, lips slightly trembling. "I-I didn't make varsity…" came out a small whisper.
I raised an eyebrow in confusion. What was she talking about? Of course she'd make varsity!
I carefully pushed past Ino to read the sheet of paper.
Sport: FIELD HOCKEY (girl's)
(V) Coach: Yuhi Kurenai
(JV) Coach: Mitarashi Anko
Field(s): 3 and 4
High School Field Hockey Players:
Below is the team roster for this year's hockey season. Over sixty girls tried out this fall and although I was very excited with the turnout, it also meant that I had a lot of decision making to do. We could only support so many on the team, which is why only thirty out of the sixty-seven of you made the final cut. Please do not feel discouraged if you do not see your name on either list— it only means that you should continue to build your skills and try again next year.
In other news: congratulations to all who made it on either list. Practices run from 3:30 P.M.— 5:30 P.M. on MONDAYS- FRIDAYS. Varsity will practice on Field 3, while JV will take Field 4. I look forward to seeing you all at tomorrow's practice!
Temari no Sabaku
I stopped reading.
It had to a mistake. I read over the list a second time, my eyes narrowing as they skimmed over 'Karin Hoshiko'.
I glanced over to Ino, "Hey piggy—"
"It's fine," she bit out angrily.
I scrunched my eyebrows together slightly, "Ino—"
"Idon't need your sympathy, Sakura."
"I'm just trying to—"
Ino waved me off, "Look: not everyone is fucking perfect like you, okay? I just need to be left alone for a while."
"What the hell, Ino? I get you're upset but you don't have to be such a bitch about it."
"So I'm a bitch now?" she laughed bitterly, "Whatever Sakura, whatever."
"I-Ino…I didn't mean it like that…"
I sighed as she began to walk off.
Today was turning out to be a pretty shitty Sunday.
"Hey Ino, what's up?" waved Suigetsu.
Ino remained silent, arms hugging her knees as she blew a stray lock of hair out of her face.
Suigetsu's brows furrowed at her lack of response. Ino loved talking and seeing her silent was just… weird. Something was most definitely wrong.
He took a seat on the step while Ino remained unfazed by the newfound presence beside her.
"Hey," he branched out hesitantly.
Her head hung lower, her cheekbones now resting on the tops of her knees.
Suigetsu sighed. Gently he nudged her with his elbow, "What's wrong?"
She turned her head slightly to acknowledge her companion. "Nothing…" she mumbled almost inaudibly.
Suigetsu leaned back slightly and threw his hands behind his head, "Yeah I guess I'd be pretty sad too with the apocolypse coming. If Ino's not talking, it's obviously a sign of the end of the world."
The ends of Ino's mouth quirked up slightly into an almost smile. "Shut up," she said as she playfully punched the male in the shoulder.
"Ahhhhh," he feigned a dramatic collapse and fell against the blonde.
Ino rolled her eyes and slowly pushed him off of her, "Way to defy the laws of physics. You were supposed to fall the other way, idiot."
Suigetsu brushed off imaginary sweat from his brow, "Phew, I was worried there for a second. Snarky Ino has returned!"
She promptly made a face at his comment and shot him a very pretty bird.
He chuckled slightly at her antics before resuming a more serious expression, "So… why were you upset earlier?"
Ino let her smile falter before letting out a sigh, "I-I didn't make varsity and I guess I was just… disappointed in myself. It hurts, you know? When you think you're pretty good at something and then it turns out that you just… weren't enough," she finished lamely.
"Yeah I get you," Suigetsu said softly, "But when stuff like that happens, I think it's just more reason to try even harder; it's like motivation to prove them wrong, you know?"
She shook head, "It's not just that. I took my frustration out on Sakura and just lashed out on her— I'm such an idiot! What if she doesn't forgive me?" she covered her face with her hands, "I guess I really am a bitch…"
Suigetsu put his hands on Ino's shoulders and gently shook her, "Never say that about yourself. You are not a bitch. Hell, someone like Karin is a bitch," He inched his head a bit closer, "You're Ino. You are kind, smart, thoughtful, an amazing friend, and most importantly: beautiful."
Her breath hitched as she looked up to stare into amethyst pools.
Ino leaned in a bit more, "You really think so?" she whispered, their breaths mingling.
"I know so," and he closed the space between them.
The kiss was gentle, brief, and filled with fireworks. Except… not really. Not at all.
Ino pulled away and furrowed her brows in confusiton, "That was… nice?"
Suigetsu shared her skeptical look, "Um… yeah. It was… good."
"Maybe we should practice?" Suigetsu suggested.
Ino shrugged, "Wouldn't hurt."
So they kissed. Again.
Suigetsu moved his head back, "Ino… maybe—"
She shook her head, "No. Ugh...no."
"I'm sure you're a good kisser and all but this…" he trailed off, "It just…"
"No. Like yeah… this," she pointed at him and then at herself, "You and me. Just… no. It felt—"
"So uh let's just… never do this ever again."
She giggled at the situation, "Gosh. We're so awkward."
He laughed alongside her, "Yep, just like turtles."
A genuine smile graced Ino's features, "But thanks. Really," her eyebrows furrowed as she remembered something, "Oh crap— Sakura. I have to go find her and apologize."
Suigetsu nodded, "See ya Ino."
She got up and waved, "Bye!"
"Here." I said, thrusting the flash drive into Shikamaru's hands.
He twirled the object around his fingers and nodded, "Thanks. I'll see what I can do with it."
I nodded back and averted my eyes to the ground, "H-how long…?"
"Well," his eyes narrowed slightly, "I started downloading different software from various sources yesterday. I still have to test them; they could be malware for all we know."
"Oh. I see."
He offered a reassuring smile, "But decoding doesn't take very long, so once I check the software we should be good to go. I think a week, tops."
I closed my eyes and let out a tentative breathe of relief. One week. I can wait.
"Thank you so much Shikamaru," I smiled sincerely, "Honestly."
"Troublesome," he muttered back, while rolling his eyes.
I grinned once more and waved goodbye.
"Well, well, well. Look who we have here," drawled out a familiar voice.
My footsteps halted as I turned around, a small glare forming on my face. "What do you want, Karin?"
She mock gasped, "Not happy to see me?"
"What do you want?" I repeated.
She blinked innocently, "I just saw you pass by and decided to stay and chat. Nothing wrong with that, right?" she waved offhandedly, the fake sweetness dripping off each word.
I glanced over her appearance and inwardly smirked. Her skin was still red and blotchy, but her hair seemed to have been tamed down a bit. Whatever, she still looked disastrous.
"Well if that's all, I'll be leaving then." I replied, uninterested.
"To find Ino?"
I paused momentarily.
"Yeah, that's what I thought."
"I saw your little fight this morning," she interjected, "It's about time, too."
"I was wondering when she'd finally realize how big of a bitch you really are," she continued, "Ino has so much potential and it's only being dragged down by hanging with a deadweight like you—"
She took a step closer and looked me in the eye, "Listen, Haruno. Word of advice: I wouldn't be surprised if she decides to break off your little friendship."
She proceeded to shove me aside with her shoulder and walked away.
I rubbed my arm to soothe the pain while my mind wandered elsewhere. Ino wouldn't want to stop being friends with me, right? No, she wouldn't do that! She's not the kind of person to just break up a friendship like that! She's Ino and I'm Sakura and… and I-I called her a bitch…
She'll still want to be friends…
"Sakura!" a voice called out.
I turned around, "Ino…?"
Karin's voice lingered in my thoughts. Word of advice: I wouldn't be surprised if she decides to break off your little "friendship".
"Hey," she panted, a few droplets of sweat running down the side of her face, "I've been looking everywhere for you."
I blinked, surprised. "Really?"
"I need to talk to you."
I clenched my fists at my side, preparing for the worst.
"Yeah, about earlier…" I flinched slightly recalling this morning, "I just wanted to say… I'm sorry for lashing out at you like that."
I gaped in disbelief, "It's fine, Ino. I shouldn't have called you a bitch—"
She shook her head, "No, it's not your fault Sakura. I was just disappointed, you know? But I realized it's not too big of a deal; we're still teammates and being on JV will give me more playing time anyway."
She smirked, "Besides, who else is going to whip those little freshmen into shape?"
I smiled, "So… we good?"
She enveloped me in a hug, "Of course, billboard brow."
"You had me worried there, pig."
She released the embrace and raised an eyebrow, "You didn't think I was going to do something stupid like break off our friendship, right?"
I shrugged sheepishly.
"Please," Ino scoffed, "We still have a bitch to take down."
I grinned. Yes we do.
FAST FORWARD. PAUSE. PLAY.
Field 3. Monday. 4:06 P.M.
"Okay girls, listen up!" Coach Kurenai barked, "Now that warm-ups are done, I'd like to address a few things before we continue with actual practice."
I glanced over to Field 4. I wonder how Ino's doing...
"…this Friday. To get ready for th— Haruno!"
I quickly snapped out of my daze, "Yes?"
Kurenai threw me a skeptical look, "You okay there? You looked like you were spacing out."
I shook my head, "No I'm fine."
"Okay…" she said wearily, "As I was saying, we have a scrimmage against Cloud this Friday. Although it isn't as important as a conference game, I'd still like to have a victory. Understood?"
The players nodded in agreement.
"Good. So to prepare, we'll be doing a scrimmage today at practice. Since we have quite a few new additions to our team, I have no idea how you guys will act as a whole. Essentially, today will give me an idea on how to work out future plays and strategies."
I glanced around; our team dynamic really did change. I scoffed slightly when my gaze met Karin's form. Too bad not all the changes were good.
"We won't be needing our goalie today, so Kaori— can you go tell Anko that I sent you to help JV?"
The brunette nodded, "Mhmm."
"Okay, that leaves fourteen of you which means 7 v 7. I'll let you guys make your teams."
Much to my delight, I didn't end up on the same team that had Karin, Ami, and Kin.
I marched up to the center of the field and took up my position. Karin, being a forward herself, stood opposite of me. Inwardly I grinned; I was going to face-off with her, huh?
Ha, get it? Karin's easy. Yeah…
She readjusted her sports goggles and glared, "Haruno."
I dropped my stick and got into an athletic stance, ignoring her.
"Che," Karin scoffed, "So rude. I'm pretty sure this is just one of reasons why Sasuke-kun left you… for me."
I growled, "Shut up, Karin."
"What? Can't handle the truth?"
"I said shu—"
"I'm sorry; shut doesn't go up. Oh, but I know what can go up. You know when Sasuke-kun moans my name—"
"Shut the fuck—"
That was the whistle. Wait, that means the scrimmage started which means that… shit.
"You snooze, you lose Sakura."
I looked down to search for the ball, but it was already in Karin's possession. I quickly dropped my stick to a defensive position and began fighting for the ball.
Dammit, that hurt!
Karin continued to hack at my stick, hitting my fingers in the process. I could tell she was getting annoyed that I wasn't giving in yet.
Why hasn't a call been made yet? Hacking was illegal.
Suddenly, I felt shove and landed on the ground. I spat out some grass that had gotten into my mouth and prepared to stand up when I felt a searing pain in my—
"STOP PLAY!" shouted Kurenai.
What the hell happened to me? I attempted to roll over onto my back, but a wave of pain hit me once more. I bit back a scream.
"Sakura, please remain still," ordered Coach Kurenai, "I'm going to remove your shin guard to get a better look at the injury, alright?"
I nodded meekly.
As she fumbled with my shin guard, I glanced over to get a look at my right calve. Kurenai successfully rolled off the mangled shin guard as I grimaced.
The skin on the back of my leg was littered with small puncture wounds; blood was dripping out of some, but the coloration of the skin was most grotesque. It was varying degrees of purple, while the darkest sections were borderline black.
I adverted my eyes.
"Oh, Sakura! I'm so, so, so, so, so, sorry," I'd recognized that fake sweetness anywhere, "I swear I didn't mean to. It was an accident; I was just trying to get to ball and then my cleat just went and stepped on you! Oh, Sakura."
"It's alright Karin. You said it yourself: it was an accident," Kurenai patted her back, "Just be more careful next time, okay?"
Karin wiped away some 'tears' and nodded.
I glowered. That bitch.
Kurenai turned to me, "Now Sakura, your right calve has bruising and some minor bleeding. Thank goodness you were wearing shin guards or this could have turned out so much worse; you're very lucky that the cleats didn't scrape through enough skin to start tearing some muscle."
I nodded in understanding.
"Now let's get you the benches so we can bandage it up. You can stay and watch the rest of practice, but I want you to stop by the infirmary right after, got it?"
"Got it. Will I still be able to play on Friday?"
Kurenai narrowed her eyes, "Sakura: I don't want you out on the field till the bruising goes away. I know it doesn't sound too good, but I'd rather have you miss a few games then be out the whole season."
"No buts. I understand we may be losing one of our best starters for a while," I smiled at the fact, "But we'll just have to manage while you're recovering. We have other forwards like… um Karin, was it? Doesn't she play as a forward?"
I inwardly seethed, "Yeah, she does."
"Right. So we'll have the other forwards like her start in your absence."
I forced a smile, "Oh."
After practice, I began to limp my way off the field.
I glanced up in the direction of the voice, "Hey Ino."
"What the hell happened to your leg?"
I rolled my eyes, "Karin stepped on me."
Ino narrowed her brows in anger, "Where is that slut?"
I wrinkled my face in disgust, "Probably flirting with her precious Sasuke-kun."
"Che, figures. Do you need any help?"
I shook my head, "No. I can still walk but it's just a bit harder since my leg is sore."
Suddenly a male with light blue hair and gray eyes jogged up to me, "Hey, you're Sakura right?"
"Uh…" I smiled; he was kind of cute. "Yeah...hi."
He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly and offered a goofy grin, "Er hey, I'm Seiji. I play on the boy's soccer team and uh… I think you're really cute… er I mean, you have um cute… hair?"
I giggled at his nervousness, "Nice to meet you, Seiji."
He blushed, "Ah… you too," he glanced down at my bandaged leg, "You sure took a hit out there, didn't you?"
I shrugged, "I guess, but I don't have to get it amputated or anything so I'll live."
He chuckled, "Phew. I thought you were a goner out there when that wild buffalo trampled you."
My eyes widened slightly. He's cute and dislikes Karin? I think I have a winner here.
"I'm pretty sure if you didn't get injured, you would have scored a million goals or something."
"Really…?" I raised an eyebrow in skepticism.
Seiji nodded, "Yeah. I mean, I've seen you play before and you're really good. Last time I watched you… er well, not watch…" he raised his hands in defense, "I DON'T STALK YOU, I SWEAR!"
I giggled once more.
He sighed, "Well I guess what I'm trying to say is… do you want to grab a coffee sometime or something?"
I smiled, "Sure."
His eyes widened, "Really? Er, I mean…" he smoothed out his shirt, "Cool. What's your dorm number? I'll pick you up at 7."
"207," I winked, "See you tonight."
Seiji jogged away and I smiled. Looks like I have a date tonight.
"Way to make me the third wheel, forehead…"
Onyx eyes narrowed in the distance.
"Ahhh!" I pulled at my hair in frustration, "What do I wear?"
Ino rolled her eyes and flipped another page in her magazine, "It's a coffee date. Comfy and casual, duh."
"But I still want to look cute…" I whined.
"S-sakura-chan, I don't think it really matters," Hinata stuttered, "By the way y-you've described him, I think he'll think you'll look pretty n-no matter what."
"But there are so many options and—"
Ino tossed some clothes at me, "Just wear these and pair it with you floral flats. We all know you can't rock heels with that leg of yours."
I glanced down at the pile of clothes in my arms and smiled, "Thanks."
"Whatever. Come on Hinata, let's go grab some dinner."
I looked at myself in the full- length mirror and grinned. I was wearing a white racerback tank paired with plain blue skinny jeans. My hair was curled, flowing gently past my shoulders. Makeup-wise: I only applied some mascara and a swipe of lip-gloss, but it didn't matter because I looked awesome.
I glanced at the clock; it was three minutes to seven. How prompt.
I slipped on my flats, grabbed a light black cardigan—you know, just in case it gets cold— and opened the door.
"Hey Seiji-kun, you—Sasuke?"
I rubbed my eyes to check I wasn't hallucinating, "Sasuke! What are doing here? I have a date to—"
I didn't even get to finish my sentence because as my back hit the door, all I felt were warm lips crashing against mine.
I should've kept my lips shut.
I should've opened my eyes.
I should've pushed him off.
I should've said, "No, this is wrong."
But I didn't.
Instead, my hand let go of the black cardigan and replaced it with a fistful of noir hair. And I…I…
Oh, I was so confused.
A/N: Yeah, I know. It's been like seven months and I probably lost a lot a readers… I'm sorry guys. Really, I am. It's just been a really hectic year for me; there were a lot of changes and I just needed some time to find myself. Wow… how cliché can I get… This chapter was particularly annoying because I was really unhappy how it turned out the first time. I kept rewriting it until my brain just fried and gave you all this. Yeah. Anyway, the lyrics at the beginning are from the song, "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry.
Moving on, TEAM SHIKAMARU is the victor. Final score was 20 to 6, yeah. So ShikaIno will be happening in the future; I just wanted to give Sui some lurve this chapter cause he's so cute haha.
Also in other news, the Olympics are today. You know what this means? Naruto: Road to Ninja is one day away! Gahhh~
Ehem, as always:
Thanks to those that reviewed/ favorited/ alerted from the last chapter: sabryelle, thebaddestkidd, GabbaGabba, CiiCiinREX, iCherryTorns, TheGirlWhoIsInLoveWithJapan, purple pansy, shurikengrl, SweetCh3rry, xiamesee, SasuSakuKawaii, Naniofthewolves, Alex. , xrawrapandax, sasukeXXXsakura15, animeXtenshiXhime829, SeomaraAngel, rubypetra, DeidaraLuver, lovesurrounds, LoveWhispers, PurplEThornS16, sendo-tenshi, snake eyes, Nobody's Somebody, rockerangel89, Sukutai Chiko, oohitzann, xxchibikibixx
Especially those that supported me when "Quixotic" got deleted: KillerMay, bbarbie325, blondebarbievamp, Pink Lady410, Katkat024, Raikiri80, LoverForAnime, Mizuriro Hoshino, abcdiloveyouwxyz, Rawrgoesdadino
Honestly, thank you so much. This list really does keep growing with each chapter and it just makes my day every time I see a notification in my inbox. I love you all so much, thank you for the support. -hugs-