Sasuke was in a pretty damn good mood this morning, as he strolled down the bustling streets of Konoha. The throbbing pain in his hand only made him happier.

Man, he really punched the living daylights out of that scumbag.

The guy didn't even see it coming either, and that's what made it all the more enjoyable to wham his knuckles into Sai's surprised face. Then he left, no explanation given.

What reason would he have given?

Well for one, the guy has the freakiest smile he'd ever seen. Combine that creeper grin with his pale skin and you'd assume he was Orochimaru's spawn if it weren't for his headband. Not to mention, the creep had no idea how to interact with people! And since this was coming from Sasuke, it really meant something.

At first, he shrugged off Sai's social awkwardness as part and parcel of being a root nin in the past. But then as time passed, he noticed that those stupid nicknames and crude remarks did not lessen and in fact, were used more often to purposely aggravate his teammates and others.

How did he know Sai was abusing the "socially retarded" status they gave him?

Simple. He did it too. Except he was much more tactful about it.

Yet despite all these nasty habits, Sai's peculiar quirks had never warranted such a violent desire from Sasuke in the past. At least not to the extent that he'd treasure the moment he would beat the man within an inch of his life.

Of course he knew that Kakashi, being the mischievous pervert he was, was playing around and looking for ways to get the Uchiha mad, probably so he could see angry sex in action rather than in those crappy books he slipped into Sasuke's basket the other day. (Yes he read them, but only to make sure that he would be a better lover than all Sakura's fantasies depicted him to be.)

But he had never really considered the thought of Sakura also being interested in other men, so the mention of Sai definitely made him uneasy. After all, she hadn't been a die-hard fangirl for years. Did she have any lovers in the past? Did she have any now?

Of course not.

During those times when he pried into her mind with his sharingan, he didn't find any indications of another man catching her interest. But he could never be too sure.

Besides, Kakashi always said to look underneath the underneath. Was he implying that there was something going on between the two of them that he was unaware of?

He caught sight of a black blur in the corner of his eye. Looking up, he noticed that his feet had brought him towards the hospital. He could see the whitewashed ceiling of Sakura's office from her window two floors above. It was obvious that someone - most likely a ninja - had come through her window.

A part of him toyed with the idea of checking up on her and her visitor. There was a conveniently located tree beside the hospital, from where he could watch her without anyone knowing as the numerous branches would shield him from curious eyes. He discarded that notion. He was not a stalker. Even if he was somewhat romantically attached to his female teammate (although that knowledge was confined to him and Sakura), he would not stoop down so low as to spy on her-

"OH MY KAMI! What happened to your face?"

Without hesitation he gracefully leaped into the tree and began watching.


If Sasuke was happy before, he certainly wasn't anymore.

Much to his chagrin, that bellybutton flashing creep was Sakura's surprise visitor. Instead of taking the punch like a man should, he was whining about it to the pinkette.

Unfortunately, Sasuke couldn't hear anything they were saying but he could definitely-

What.

The.

FUCK?

He blinked once.

Then twice.

He scowled. Sai was way too close to her for Sasuke's comfort. Judging by the look on her face, Sakura was looking pretty worried about the proximity as well.

Wait a minute.

Was she worried about him making moves on her, or was she worried about them being caught?

Something inside of Sasuke sank at the sight of their noses brushing.

He clenched his fists, shifting his position slightly in the tree. Maybe it was a good thing he checked up on her after all. She clearly wasn't as loyal and devoted as she made herself out to be. He averted his sight from the disturbing scene and mentally produced a list of other possible men she cheated on him with when a loud sound and a strong vibration brought his focus back to her office.

His eyes widened.

Sai was gone. Sakura was the only one in his line of sight. Her right fist was raised as though she had just swung it. The furious expression on her flustered face made the sides of Sasuke's lips lift upwards ever-so-slightly. She must've given him what he deserved.

Sasuke knew she would never cheat on him.

On the other hand, Sai was another problem. The mental image of him and Sakura standing so close to each other made his blood boil, especially after that incident he witnessed. But he wouldn't never describe what he was feeling as the J-word, green wasn't a good colour on Uchihas. He was simply possessive over what was his.

Sasuke swiftly jumped out of the tree. Ignoring the gasps of shock and surprised stares villagers gave him, he walked towards Naruto's apartment.

He needed a spar. Badly.


"TEME! Get off of your man-period!"

"Shut up and fight me dobe." He charged his hand with lightning and attacked the blonde relentlessly. Naruto on the other hand could only dodge the endless onslaught of chidoris in fear of ruining the entire training grounds with any retaliation.

"I thought you said only taijutsu!"

A fist met his face. Luckily it wasn't lightning-infused.

"I changed my mind."

"Ok you bastard!" He grabbed the hand on his face, locking it in place, and built up a rasengan with his other. "It's either you tell me what made that 10-foot pole in your ass go deeper, or I pull out that stick myself."

...

Sasuke raised an eyebrow at his teammate.

...

"GET OVER YOURSELF TEME!" With excessive force he shoved his rasengan into the smirking ninja and watched his body fly into several trees, "I didn't mean it THAT way!"

Sasuke winced slightly as he forced himself up off the ground. That one actually hurt.

"So are you going to tell me or do I have to beat it out of you?"

Spitting some blood out of his mouth, the Uchiha slowly walked towards him, reigniting his chidori.

Naruto sighed. This was going to be a long spar.


"Wait Sakura-san!" A younger girl bolted upright from her seat behind the counter at the surprising sight of pink hair, "Where are you going?"

The pinkette waved off the receptionist's question and with a tired smile she replied, "Don't worry, Tsunade-shishou knows I'm on a break."

The teenager at the counter recoiled in shock. Sakura-san? Taking a break? Why, that's unheard of! But she was in no position to argue, and the medic nin really had been overworking herself as of late.

With a smile she called out, "We'll cover for you until you get back!"

Her words were acknowledged with a lazy wave.


After an hour of continuous intensive sparring, both ninjas were out of breath; their chests were heaving dramatically as they gulped in breathes of air.

"What's eating at you teme?"

They watched each other with guarded eyes.

"Mind your own business dobe."

Releasing an exaggerated scream of frustration, the blonde dug his feet into the grass before sprinting off towards his teammate with a renewed sense of vigor.


"That'll be 200 yen,"

Fishing out the money from her purse, Sakura gratefully collected the bundle of apples from the elderly man and elbowed her way through the overcrowded market. In all honesty, Tsunade was not even the slightest bit aware that her apprentice left the hospital on a self-declared break. But Sakura knew that her shishou wouldn't mind too muchif she found out.

The keyword being if.

Somewhere amidst the overwhelming assemble of unknown faces, emerald eyes caught a glimpse of a familiar brown head and thin stature being swept away by the bustling crowd. Without thinking, she forced her way through the throng and, grabbing the back of the familiar stranger's shirt, dragged them out of the horde of civilians into a more deserted vicinity.

"Hey..."

The moment she found those chestnut-brown orbs glaring back at her with such ferocity, Sakura regretted her display of kindness. Of course the boy was still upset. He lost someone important to him because of her lack of medical ability.

She wouldn't forgive herself either.

And so, without any hesitation, the Godaime's apprentice knelt down in front of the boy (who only days ago attempted to kill her) and, with her eyes closed, touched her forehead to the ground in between both of her hands.

"I am truly sorry for the life of your sister that I couldn't save." Her voice was hoarse as she barely managed to stifle the sob in her throat. "I wish I could take her place...but I have people that I need to protect, and lives that I can still save."

The boy was shocked at the humility she displayed. She was kneeling down to him in public, not even paying any heed to the fact that her reputation was at stake!

Sakura lifted her head from the ground to look the boy in the eye and he marveled at the dirt smeared across her forehead. Did she realize how dirty her face looked? Did she even care?

Judging from her tear-rimmed eyes, he assumed that her appearance was not of her main concern at this moment in time.

"If I told you that I understand how you feel, I'd be lying."

She swallowed visibly at the unconcealed rage on his face.

"But... I've grown up with two people who know exactly what you're about to go through. And they'd be more than happy to make sure you don't shoulder this loss on your own."

He was well aware that she was referring to her teammates, the once-hated kyuubi vessel and the only surviving Uchiha, of whom the latter still scared him (especially after the run-in they had a couple of nights ago).

"And I will do everything in my power to make sure that you will never have to go through what they had to."

He was about to snort but the sound died in his throat once he caught sight of the fierce look in those emerald pools. Sakura's eyes held so much compassion for the boy that it took an immense amount of hatred and mistrust for him not to forgive her completely. Unfortunately, he had still managed to retain some of his abhorrence for the medic but offered some form of a truce with her when he meekly held his hand out for her to shake.

Throughout this entire emotional roller-coaster, neither of them had properly introduced themselves (or had been introduced) to each other. If he was ever to move on from that fateful event, he might as well start now.

"Tetsuya Daisuke."


So this was more of a filler chapter than anything really, kind of my way of saying that I'm still alive and posting. Hopefully it'll be up to speed again in the next chapter.

Thanks for reading and review if you may! :)

Enjoy your Sundays.