Welcome, friends, to my newest obsession: NaruSakuSasu. Well, and NaruSaku and SasuSaku. No yaoi; explicit, implied or otherwise. Have a good time with this! By the way, it's not gonna be a one-shot like I wanted it to be. Seemed too long for that, too many things to expound on. And oh, the plot twists! Watch out for those, because when they hit you at 90 miles an hour, you're going to be hurt. :D
Disclaimer: Do I look like the CEO of Tokyo Animation [Funimation included! :D] or Masashi Kishimoto to you? Didn't think so.
She'd never realized that the Hokage's house was so big. When Tsunade-shishou had been the Godaime, Sakura had never gone to her home. And she'd certainly never suspect that the Hokage's house was hewn into the rock behind all of the past Hokages' faces. It was very clever. Although, should an enemy decide to do a little remodeling and blast the cliffside where all of the Hokage faces were, there was little doubt that the house of the Hokage would be destroyed. Or maybe, because of the five-foot thick steel wall before the lawn to the Hokage's home, the house was better protected than it would appear.
Sakura took in a deep breath and started up the outlined pathway to the house. The lawn was splendid; the green, lush grass looked so soft and perfect. She would love to run barefooted over it, maybe make a grass angel. But she could do that later, always later. When the party was winding down and she wasn't drunk off her ass. The rose bushes lining the walkway were nice too. She didn't think roses came in that glowing shade of powder pink, but Ino had been experimenting lately with the genetics of flowers. Sakura reminded herself to congratulate her busty blonde friend once inside. After all, in Konohagakure, they only throw you an engagement party once.
Walking up to the wide front doors, she knocked politely, shifting her gift so that it wouldn't fall out of her grasp. She could hear loud, fast-paced music blaring inside. It made her eardrums throb and the corners of her mouth stretch into an even wider smile. Leave it to Naruto to pick totally inappropriate music for a small engagement party. After a few minutes with nobody answering the door, she knocked harder and was not surprised when the door opened on its own.
Shrugging off her sweater inside the main hallway, she placed it on the over-crowded coat rack and looked around for a table on which to put her gift. She located it, and let a chuckle escape when she found the table sagging under the weight of so many presents. 'Such generous friends,' Sakura thought. 'Why in the hell did Ino invite so many people?' Bemused but still in a good mood, she placed her gift on top of the pile and was relieved when the table didn't crack in half under the pressure.
Now she had a chance to look around.
The hallway was very wide, the walls painted a metallic silver color with orange spirals spaced every two or so feet along. There were barely any other decorations, but Sakura did see a huge poster of ramen dominating a good-sized portion of the left wall further down. There were open doorways on the right and left, though she guessed the main party was taking place behind the door at the end of the hall, which probably led to the kitchen and some of the bigger rooms of the house. She didn't know the exact dimensions of Naruto's 'mansion' as he liked to call it, but from the size of the main hallway alone she could estimate that it was about or even over 6,000 square feet. That's a lot of room to run around in.
Deciding she may as well join the party since she was here, she began walking towards the door at the end of the hall. She could swear it was pulsing because of the loud music, but maybe her head was shaking around instead. How many drinks had she downed before coming here...?
Steadying herself, she put a hand to her head and continued treading the polished floorboards to the door. Something reflecting in the flickering oil lamplight caught her eyes, and she pivoted to look at it. Oh. It was a nicely framed picture of Team Kakashi. There was Kakashi, not bothering to look into the camera, holding an orange book and leaning against a tree. Yamato was to the far left of the photo, standing ramrod straight, one hand in his pocket and the other held up in a stiff wave. Seriously, that guy was way too formal sometimes. He didn't even call her by her first name anymore. It was always, "Miss Haruno, Miss Haruno" with him. But he was cool. Still awesome. Hmmm. There was Sai, sitting on the ground, though his face was turned to the camera. She remembered that she had asked him to adopt a friendly expression. With his odd angle to the camera, though, he ended up with more of a grimace on his face than anything, but the corners of his mouth were turned up. Naruto, of course, was doing a ridiculous, dramatic pose, flashing two peace signs above his head and grinning hugely, eyes closed.
And there she was.
This picture had been taken sometime after her sixteenth birthday, close to the middle of June. It had been blazing hot out, so she hadn't been wearing her usual medic uniform. Just shorts and the sports bra she sometimes worked out in. She was standing right in between Naruto and Sai and a little in front of Kakashi and Yamato. It was clear that she was the center point of the picture; she remembered the photographer asking her to come forward a billion times. Her stance was simple; hands behind her back and a small smile curving her lips. She looked so natural, so pretty. If Sakura had a bigger ego, she might just whip out a brush right here and paint the character for 'hot' on her picture-self's exposed stomach. She settled for smiling at herself instead.
"Ah, when I was young," Sakura said aloud. Granted, she was not yet twenty-five, but that birthday was coming up fast.
She noticed that the picture hung a little askance then, and so straightened it. As she was doing so, a scrap of paper fell from behind the picture frame. Curious, she picked it up from the floor and unfolded it.
She stared, dumbstruck.
It was her. And she was naked. Totally. She was drawn in the exact same pose as the framed photograph that the paper was hiding behind. Hands behind her back, legs slanted and pressed against each other, pink pubic hair showing in the triangle her thighs and stomach created. The curve of her bust line was a bit accentuated, with the nipples and areolas colored light maroon. Her hips were aligned with her slim shoulders; the artist had drawn them wider than they actually were in the picture, Sakura checked. Her face was inked in the same, relaxed features of the photo. It was just that her clothing had been removed.
The door leading to the party swung open suddenly, and Sakura stuffed the paper into her pocket as Kiba came through the door, balancing a platter of chips and dip in one hand and holding a bottle of beer in the other. His canine companion Akamaru followed behind him, carrying what looked like a sack of doggy biscuits. The two were smiling at each other (if a dog could smile) and Kiba was chatting animatedly to his dog. He paused however when he saw Sakura standing in the middle of the hall. His smile fell a little, then he beamed and set his food on a convenient table attached to the wall. Akamaru wagged his tail in a friendly manner and Kiba said to him, "You go enjoy that buddy." Akamaru made for the front door, and Sakura turned to see him sit near the coat rack before ripping into his treats.
"So, hey, Sakura. Sorry I didn't let you in. I was, heh, getting some party food, you know." Kiba said, slightly sheepish though at the same time scooping some dip up with a chip and popping it into his mouth. For him, food came before hospitality. Most of the time.
"The door was open."
Kiba rubbed his hand over the back of his head while eating more chips and dip. "Ah... I figured if I was gone for a minute and somebody came, she could let herself in. And you did."
Sakura smiled at that. Kiba was obviously put off by playing butler for the evening. There could only be one reason why. "Ino stationed you here because you've been drinking all the beer, haven't you?"
Kiba grinned and took a swig of his drink; a dark barley brew that would have him tipsy and approaching drunk in no time. "Yeah, that about sums up my unfortunate position. Otherwise, I'd be getting my groove and booze on right now. But hurry on to the party, darling, before the good stuff's all gone. And I'm not just talking about the beer."
Sakura didn't allow her suspicion to show on her face as she passed Kiba and headed to the door leading to the party. She sensed him looking at her, though, and turned around. His eyes shot upwards to her face, and she had the unnerving feeling he had been watching her butt swaying as she walked. Calming herself, she said, "I'll ask Ino to let you off early from your duties."
Kiba picked up a couple more chips and crunched them happily. "Thanks, Sakura. And by the way, you sure look amazing tonight."
Allowing herself a small smile even though she knew Kiba would probably store her in his mind for some lewd activity to be acted upon later, she replied, "Thanks. You don't look too bad yourself."
This compliment earned her a nod and a grin from Kiba the doorman.
Turning again, she opened the doorway to the party and stepped over the threshold.
The picture didn't really warrant any concern. She was just furious that someone would think about her and draw her in that way. And then to stick it behind a team photo in the Hokage's home? Unbelievable. And unacceptable. But there was really no way to catch the disgusting pervert. There were no markings like the date or the artist's name anywhere on the paper, and she had thought about the potential suspects, but none of them matched the profile she had running through her mind. Sai was the first person who jumped into her head, but as far as she knew, he never drew people. It was always abstract or a landscape with him. Furthermore, why would he even be interested in drawing a nude body, especially her own? They were good friends and all, but he'd certainly never showed any sexual interest in her, or asked her to pose nude. Which she would have said no to anyway.
Sakura glanced around the party room. It was dark, but there were tiny blips of candlelight dotting the room, as well as colored strobe lights swinging around the dance floor. A throng of people, civilian and ninja alike, were dancing to the fast music. She saw Sai sitting at one of the small tables pushed up against the walls, near the bar. He was nodding and looking barely entertained by a pig-nosed village girl, whose face told Sakura she was besotted with the stoic shinobi. 'Good luck' Sakura silently cursed the girl, then edged around a few people in order not to be seen by Sai and his admirer.
Naruto came next to scrutinize. But he did not have an ounce of artistic ability in him, nor creativity. And even if he did, he probably would've drawn her in a sexier pose and locked the drawing in his most secure safe box. Hiding the drawing behind the photo did not make sense, even if this was his own house. And besides, Sakura was sure that, even if Naruto had thought about her that way in the past, he didn't anymore. This thought pricked a small needle of jealousy in Sakura's brain, but she squashed that down quick. So, Naruto was eliminated as a suspect. But who did that leave?
There was a bar on the far left side of the room, shoved against the corner like it was almost an afterthought. The room itself was quite spacious, encompassing perhaps 800 square feet. Sakura guessed the room once used to hold grand balls years ago, but was now subjected to the modern pleasures of rowdy and occasionally dirty dancing. She paused every few steps on her traipse to the bar to squint up at the rafters and try to make out any beautiful architecture, like crown molding or some such thing, but the dim lighting and the painful burst of strobe flash bulbs every few seconds made that impossible.
Arriving at the bar finally after squeezing under one too many sweaty armpits, Sakura was surprised to find the tiny place almost empty. There was a bartender wiping some beer mugs, though he looked too busy to call over just yet. His silhouette was familiar. There were only two other people sitting on the bar stools, and Sakura was pleased to recognize the lanky forms of Shikamaru and Yamato sitting some feet away from her. They looked as if they were having a deep conversation, though, and she didn't want to bother them until they were finished.
She continued on the train of thought from earlier: who had drawn that creepy naked picture of her? She went through the possibilities in her mind, ticking off one by one. Kakashi? Ew, gross. Not that he would be a... bad person to start a romance with. They'd had a friendly teacher-student and now peer-peer relationship for years. Finding out that he had a thing for her now would just be too weird. Same for Yamato. She ran through other names.
Shikamaru, Kiba, Chouji... Shino. Neji? Bwa-ahahaha. He was way too serious and she doubted he would disrespect any woman's body in that way. Lee? The other day he had asked her to go with him for ramen, but his whole team was there when she assumed it would just be the two of them. But he had paid for her meal. However, it hadn't counted as a date in her book. But Lee drawing a picture of her naked... um... no. Voyeurism was definitely not part of his personality. She didn't even know if Lee had feelings for her anymore. He hadn't asked her out on a romantic date in years. After her twenty-second birthday, if memory served her correctly. Maybe he had given up on her. This thought cause another tiny seed of jealousy to scratch itself into her brain, but again she quashed it down.
This left her with a list of faceless shinobi and civilians she saw every day at the hospital and running back and forth from the Hokage's office. Too many to count, and too many to care. What if it was somebody she didn't know, but somebody who was here right now, dancing dirty on the floor with one eye on her? He would have had ample opportunity to draw a quick nude sketch of her and stick it behind the painting. For what reason, though? So that she would find it? So that the Hokage would find it? But the artist did not leave a signature, or really anything that would help her track him down.
Sakura blew a puff of air at her bangs and leaned on the bar counter, placing her chin in her cupped hands. "I could ponder this until I'm blue in the face," she whispered to herself, unnoticed by the throbbing throngs of people near her. "And I wouldn't get anywhere closer to the culprit. Best not to worry about this anyway. If he presents himself, I can always kick his ass first and ask questions later."
And with that, she signaled the bar tender, an elderly man who happened to be a bar keep at one of the best taverns in town: hired for a small fortune by Ino to stay and serve only the best booze tonight. She ordered an appletini and tipped the man more than she usually gave him. She was now in a good mood after discovering where her favorite bar tender went after she visited his pub earlier that night to have a few drinks before the party.
"You make the best ladies' liquors in Konohagakure, Takahashi," she said to him warmly, sipping her girl's drink delicately. "They should pay you more!"
The barman chuckled and returned to his work, though he and Sakura chatted animatedly for the next several minutes. When Takahashi went to take the request of a new customer at the end of the bar, Sakura was left on her own to nurse her sweet and spicy appletini. Then she heard someone a few feet to the right of her calling her name.
"Sakura! Come join us!" Yamato had to speak loudly to account for the still blaring music. He and Shikamaru were apparently done with their discussion, because Yamato was waving her over and Shikamaru was smirking slightly in her general direction. She wondered if she had spilled appletini on her new dress.
"Wow, nice outfit you have on," Yamato started, gesturing to the seat in between himself and Shikamaru. Sakura took the invitation kindly and sat down a little bit too hard on the stool. She smiled coyly at the opening to a joke Yamato too easily provided her. Now would be as good a time as any to test if either Shikamaru or Yamato had drawn that racy picture of her. Well, she hadn't truly eliminated them as suspects in her mind. Men would be men, if not openly!
"Thank you. But would you rather have it off?" Sakura asked, turning toward Yamato and leaning forward, pushing her arms up under her breasts to make her cleavage all the more visible.
Yamato blinked and Sakura watched to see if his eyes strayed to her chest. They did not. Beside her, she heard Shikamaru order another pint of something on the rocks.
"Sorry, what did you say?" Yamato asked, his voice loud and clear despite the scream of rock and roll overhead.
Ah. He hadn't heard her. "I said, would you rather see it off?" Sakura raised the volume of her own voice and plumped up her chest a little more with her arms. Her breasts may still be virtually nonexistent, but she bought the dress with extra padding for a reason.
This time, she thought she caught her ex-teacher's eyes flicking downward. But it was hard to tell, since it was quite dark where they were sitting and Yamato's irises took up more space in his eyes than a normal person's. And damn, he was hard to read sometimes.
"See what off?" Yamato yelled, confused and straining to be heard over the music. Sakura felt like doing a face-palm. There went her sexy joke stash for the evening. Might as well just spell it out. What harm could that do?
"Do you want to see me naked!" Sakura all but shouted to the man sitting on the left of her. To her right, Sakura felt Shikamaru physically choke on his drink, and he coughed for several seconds before turning bodily to stare at the two of them. He might have been thinking up an appropriate 'what the hell' saying. Though the phrase 'what the hell' would have worked just fine. Yamato, for his part, didn't reply for a good minute or two. Sakura watched him as his face went through multiple layers of pink before settling on a medium magenta. And now there was no doubt of his eyes seeking the cleavage line indicating her two round breasts.
Interesting reaction, Sakura thought. She pondered teasing him a little more, but she didn't know if he'd be able to handle it. It would be awkward, too, when he found out she didn't really want to sex him up. Time to end the game.
"Sakura, I...I-" Yamato stammered, but she cut him off before he could finish his sentence. Best not to let him flounder. He might be angry at her later.
"It was a joke! When you said, 'That's a nice dress you have on', I was obligated to say, 'But would you rather have it off?'. The stupid music ruined the joke! But it was funny, wasn't it? Hahaha." Sakura grinned at Yamato, who was returning to his normal color and smiling also. Shikamaru snorted and she turned in time to see him roll his eyes. He looked away from the two friends immediately, however, when he saw Sakura's furrowed eyebrows fixed on him.
"Some joke," Shikamaru muttered, staring off into the thriving, bouncing crowd of dancers. "That would give some guys the signal to go-ahead, you know."
She could barely hear him. "Oh yeah? Hm. Maybe I should try it out on Iruka or Ebisu, huh? Seemed to work well on you, Yamato!"
Sakura couldn't tell in the darkness, but her comment may have caused latent embarrassment to bloom anew on Yamato's cheeks. She didn't have time to apologize in her mind to him before Shikamaru reprimanded her again.
"Don't encourage guys like that. You'll only wind up in trouble."
Yamato did not appear to be offended by Shikamaru indirectly calling him 'a guy like that'. Whatever that meant. She needed another appletini. A stronger one.
"Okay, Mom. Anything else you want to tell me before I toddle off to bed?"
Yamato, recovered, broke up the potential fight. "Hey, hey, guys. We're here to celebrate, not to battle."
Shikamaru and Sakura turned away from each other, each sipping his or her drink. Yamato requested a re-fill on his own alcoholic beverage. They sat at the bar for a while, not speaking, listening to the pounding of dozens of people scuffing up the dance floor and the chords of the indeterminable music.
Minutes passed, and they were all saved from the brewing storm clouds growing over Shikamaru's and Sakura's heads by Yamato's topic of interest.
"So, Sakura," Yamato swiveled his bar chair to face the dancing people, perhaps to watch them trip over themselves like Sakura's current entertainment, "Do you know who Ino's fiancé is?"
Oh ho ho! Yes indeed. You will find out everything, of course, if you continue reading. Review if you love my rendition of Yamato!