A/N- My Beta, S.I. encouraged me to develop this story which started as a six page one-shot I wrote on the spur of the moment. So I plugged away at it and wrote the first sixty five in one driven, nearly sleepless week and then got one hundred pages in the next two and now I've finally slowed down. Thank goodness, it's a bit irritating when a story seems to take over your existence like a little demon that won't be exorcised until it's on the page.
Thank you Sakura's Indecision for the edits and encouragement.
I just want to say for this story that there was no grand betrayal by the Konoha council and yes, the massacre still happened. The rest will be explained in the story. It is a Sakura/Sasuke story (mostly about Sakura), and it is full of surprises, humor, angst, and you know me, H, lots of H, just like the old Naruto, I miss those pervy bastards. My beta says I have an Inner Jiraiya. Hehe, I like to think of him more as an Inner Kakashi, cause he's hotter.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. And please don't wait to the end of the story to review, how else will I know if you like it?
By Kaze and Kiba~
Gravity, a non-contact force, is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature (along with the strong force, electromagnetism and the weak force), in which objects with mass attract one another.
I know that God will not ever give me more than I can handle; I just wish that God didn't trust me so much. ~ Mother Teresa
Chapter 1-Gravity…is working against me.
Sakura came home from the hospital exhausted. A sixteen hour shift at the hospital had run her into the ground. Plus, a full eight hours of it found her elbow deep in the chest and abdominal cavities of four Jonin who had been brought in at various times during the day. Tsunade was up to her ears in diplomatic talks to end the guerrilla-tactic skirmishes these three men and one woman had been injured in. The only good thing was that they hadn't all been on the same four-man teams or else there would have been no one to bring them in and their lives would have been forfeit on the field.
Even after she had removed her scrubs and used the hospital showers, Sakura still had blood staining her cuticles. It was a relief to finally step into her own shower and dig her nails into her favorite bar of soap to remove all evidence of a truly shitty day.
Of course she was happy that the four chakra surgeries had been successful, but of the three teams bringing in wounded, two had lost one member in the field during battle. It depressed her to think that she would end up spending the rest of the week wearing black—that was if she wasn't spending it piecing more wounded back together. She prayed Tsunade got through to the idiots who were allowing Konoha's elite to be sacrificed for political gain. 'If anyone can pound some sense into their heads, my Shishou can,' she thought with a grim smile.
Rinsing the last of the caked soap from her trimmed nails, she was satisfied she had removed all signs of the chaos of her day as she stepped out of her bathtub. She decided to put some music on and veg out for a while before going to sleep. There was a piece of truly decadent chocolate cake waiting on the counter, which someone had saved for her earlier in the day. It was one of the nurses' birthdays…Seika, she thought. With all of her time tied up in surgery and ICU, she hadn't had time to join in the well wishing, but the ever-thoughtful girls had remembered her anyway. Her mouth watered and a smile came to her face in anticipation of a little time spent spoiling herself.
She slipped on her favorite red silk robe and towel dried her shoulder length, petal-colored hair, combing it straight and leaving it to air dry.
She hummed a tune from the CD as she searched for it. Finding it, she slipped it into the player and cranked the soft music up, letting it fill the room. She was thankful that she had bought a house in a less populated district of Konoha, where the neighbors weren't too close and she could do as she liked.
She twirled gracefully to the music on the way to her room, singing softly with the artist about a subject near and dear to her heart: rejection. It was OK, though. She had spent enough time feeling down and the song actually made her feel better. It was a kind of 'get up and get back into life' song.
Ever since Sasuke had come home six months ago with his 'new team,' complete with slutty fan-girl, she had learned that it was best to just let the past go. In fact, she hadn't even spoken to him since the first day when she had said hello. That 'Karin' girl had gotten all over her case about Sakura talking to her Sasuke-kun until finally, Sakura had given up when Sasuke said nothing about the redhead's rudeness.
Naruto still spent time with Sasuke daily, but Sakura refused to, even after Naruto assured her there was nothing going on except a weird case of pity between the Uchiha and the red-haired tramp. That crazy girl had even taken an announcement out in the paper claiming Sasuke to be hers and that they were pre-engaged. What the hell was pre-engaged? Ridiculous, but Sakura had let it go. Obviously, Sasuke hadn't given the girl the boot as he had his old, pink-haired teammate so there was nothing she could do but let her feelings for Sasuke go and try to heal her heart. At least she was happy that he was home safe. She wouldn't let herself hope for more.
Throwing herself into her work had helped a great deal and, lately, there had been no shortage of that work. She flipped on the light to her room and went to get some pj's on to make her veg session complete. She opened the drawer…
Next drawer…nothing…and so on.
"What? Surely I washed something this week. Yeah, I was busy, but…damn it!" She realized she hadn't had a day this week or last where she didn't work at least a twelve hour shift. Most of those had been followed by simply eating and sleeping to recover her chakra for the next shift. Some nights, she hadn't even come home, sleeping on extra beds in hospital scrubs.
"Shit." She opened the last drawer and found she had one last, clean pair of underwear. Of course, they were the ones she never wore—a joke for her eighteenth birthday from her best friend and nemesis, Ino.
She blushed at even the thought of wearing them, but what choice did she have? It was that or the old, ugly bridesmaid's dress in the closet. Everything else was in the laundry.
She pulled on the slinky underwear; at least she still had her robe! How embarrassing would it be to get into an accident and have to go to the hospital in little black underwear that had the words 'Open for Business' across the front in bold white lettering. They were practically no more than two patches and some string to begin with; the sides were tied into bows, probably for quick removal. Ino may have no problem wearing such risqué panties daily, but Sakura was appalled at the idea of having to wear them in or out of the house.
She slipped on her pink, fuzzy slippers and started back down the hall, past the living room and the kitchen that held her waiting, sinful treat, to the dimly lit basement where she had her washer and dryer set up. It was cooler down here in the spartan room. She scuffed her slippered feet over to the huge pile sitting under her laundry chute.
"I can't believe I let it get this bad," she grumbled, picking out clothes and separating them to run a load.
She filled the machine and spun the dial before adding soap and popping the knob up.
"Son of a bitch!" she screamed when an ice-cold spray of water hit her. The hose connected to the water output on the wall was squirting cold water everywhere. Sakura quickly shut the washer off and checked the hose. She released a pent-up breath; the threads had simply come loose. The hose wasn't cracked or cut. She tightened it and restarted the washer. No more spray.
But now her robe was soaked and there was a greasy dirt stain on the sleeve from having to reach behind the washer.
"Darn it! This is my favorite." She considered what she could do. She shook her head and looked around her empty, windowless basement.
'You are such a prude!' Her Inner-self teased sarcastically from the recesses of her mind. 'Afraid to get naked in your own house in the middle of the night? Might as well start collecting those cats so you have some company in your old age,' she snickered.
Sakura growled and pulled off the robe. The slight chill on her damp skin instantly gave her goose-bumps but she ignored it, spraying a stain remover on the fabric to save her beautiful robe. She would simply go get the blanket off her bed and wrap up in it until she had some clean clothes. This would teach her not to put off mundane tasks like laundry, or maybe she would just start sending the bulk of her clothes to the dry cleaner. It's not like she couldn't afford it with all the extra hours at the hospital.
Robe in the washer, she trudged up the steps, cursing her luck. She almost covered her breasts with her hands, but then her stupid Inner voice snickered something about cat-ladies and she determinedly brought her hands down to her sides and straightened her spine. She was proud of her body, damn it all! She was not a prude and she was in her own house, locked and safe.
She switched off the landing light and opened the door leading into her kitchen.
And walked smack into an ANBU.
A/N-Is it who you think it is?