"Damn it!"

A familiar sound in Sakura's apartment resounded throughout the whole complex. Sakura's enraged shout, followed by the crash of something breaking against the wall.

Sasuke mused that there were good and bad things about dating the Hokage's apprentice. There were few women in the world who could handle the rough teasing and even rougher sex that accompanied a relationship with a member of the Uchiha Clan, and he seemed to have found the worthiest of all in a pint-sized pink-haired brat of a woman he simply couldn't live without.

At the moment, Sakura was screaming. Nothing overly outrageous about that; she had a wicked temper and a mouth to match, something that often translated extremely well to his mattress, or countertop, or hardwood floor, or pretty much anywhere he could get her to agree to it…

This time looked more serious than usual, though. Tears of anger burned in her eyes, and she grabbed a vase of flowers off the table (ones that he'd given her earlier that week) and let it fly. Sasuke ducked, absently thanking his ninja reflexes for his speed, and it crashed over his head. Broken glass, ruined flower petals, and smelly water rained over his head, and he let out a howl of anger.

"What the hell's wrong with you, woman?" he bellowed, wiping water from his eyes.

"YOU'RE what's wrong with me!" she shrieked. Her pink hair whipped side to side with the timbre of her rage as she looked around wildly for something else to throw. "You don't care about me at all, you just want my body!"

"This again?" he snapped.

"YES THIS AGAIN!" Sakura screeched. "Do you have ANY IDEA how stressed out I am lately?! I'm running the whole fucking hospital singlehandedly while Tsunade-shishou preps Naruto as her successor, I have to train an army of new medic-nin with Shizune just in Konoha alone, not to mention the dozens of fucking commissions I got from the other ninja villages wanting me to train their medic-nin, and I come home wanting a little motherfucking sympathy and all you want is my body! Well ENOUGH! I've HAD IT!"

He fought the impulse to roll his eyes. Poor thing really had a lot on her plate at the moment, and with a foul mouth like hers, he certainly had to deal with a lot of her misplaced anger.

"You really think your body's that good, huh?" he drawled, folding his arms and leaning back against her dented kitchen wall like he owned the place. He watched her anger reach entirely new levels at his ruthless teasing, watched the angry tears in her eyes dry up with incandescent rage, and smirked. "Excuse me, Princess. But a little humility never hurt anyone."

He fixed his focus on her face, and was rewarded with the welcome sight of a smile tugging at her lips. She wanted to be angry with him, but he liked making her smile too much to allow it. Her fighting stance relaxed somewhat, and she let the smile take over all the way. It illuminated the features of the prettiest girl in the village, and he silently congratulated himself on his victory.

"I'm acting crazy, aren't I?" she giggled.

"Sure are, baby," Sasuke replied, never one to sugarcoat things unless he wanted to. He pushed himself off the wall and approached his girlfriend with a bit more courage now that she had stopped looking for things to destroy him with. "But who can blame you. You're stressed. Anyone can see that. Now I'm here because I can help you take a load off, yeah?"

His hands dropped to her waist and he pulled her in close suggestively, but he miscalculated; Sakura had not yet fully recovered from her temper tantrum. She bared her teeth at him in a snarl and shoved him away from her.

Ungodly strength forced him right back into the wall, the dent increasing in size. Sakura was a hundred pounds soaking wet and looked more like a fairy princess than a kunoichi, but with her training from the Hokage, she was stronger than any shinobi he'd ever fought against, and he constantly forgot that when he provoked her. The wind knocked out of him, he glared at her with stunned black eyes as she let out a feminine huff of ire.

"You haven't heard a word I've said!" she hissed. "I'm going for a walk, you horny bitch, and you had better not be here when I get back!"

With that, she turned on her heel, presenting her back to him with the seasoned practice of a woman used to dramatic departures, and without another word, she disappeared through the front door.

And Sasuke exhaled sharply, trying to force oxygen back into lungs he was quite sure she'd collapsed when she shoved him, and was left to do as she had (demanded) asked.

Sakura stalked furiously through the streets, blinded by fury so great she couldn't see where she was going.

Did no one understand her struggles?

It wasn't easy being Haruno Sakura on a daily basis. It wasn't easy bearing the brunt of everyone's responsibilities every single day. Even if she was the best medic-nin in Konoha, besides the Hokage of course, that didn't mean she didn't get tired same as everyone else. Even if she was one of the hardest workers in the entire village, that didn't mean she didn't want a break every now and then. With so many people relying on her, did they really think she was immune to the dangers of stress?

And Sasuke. The nerve of that asshole boyfriend of hers. To behave as inappropriately, as irreverently, as…

Passing by the river, she paused and realized she couldn't quite remember why she'd been so angry at him in the first place. What was his enormous crime against her, anyway?

Her eyes widened in revelation, her stomach churning with regret.

The answer was simple. He'd done absolutely nothing wrong.

I am SUCH a rancid bitch, she thought miserably, slumping into a seat on the riverbank. The water reflected her despondent face right back at her, and thoroughly unable to look at herself, she turned away with a huff of self-loathing. All he was doing was trying to comfort me. How can I get mad that he wanted to kiss me or whatever to take my mind off my long hard day?

God, I don't fucking deserve him. I don't deserve anyone. Because no one deserves to put up with all this shit I bring with me every damn day. I'm so stressed out at work and with missions and everything, and I get fed up and take it out on the wrong people.

Now he's gonna break up with me! And why shouldn't he? I'm a temperamental, unappreciative BITCH who takes out her anger on the people who deserve it least. FUCK EVERYTHING.

To her absolute horror, she felt tears spring to the surface, and like the fragile little princess she never wanted to be again, she sat by the river and cried and cried and cried.

Sasuke wound tape around his chest to secure his bruised, maybe broken ribs. He shook his head as he worked, wondering how many times he would have to patch himself up after one of his fights with Sakura.

She's got more fire in her than I give her credit for, he thought dryly, wincing when he inhaled too deeply.

Crazy, violent, temperamental little bitch.

It wasn't until three hours of misery and agonizing self-hatred had passed that Sakura managed to pull herself together enough to stand up.

It was late now. She should be getting back to her apartment to clean up all the broken glass. Remembering the way she'd threatened Sasuke not to be there when she got home, she almost broke down crying again.

All she really wanted to do was see him. Throw her arms around him, kiss him and apologize for never, ever, ever appreciating how fucking happy he made her. But thanks to her rotten temper, rotten tongue, and complete lack of self-control, she knew exactly what would be waiting for her at her apartment.

The mess she'd made of her belongings and her relationship, and the fading scent of Sasuke's cologne.

Maybe if you beg him to come back tomorrow, she thought, trying to think herself into a better mood as she headed back through a much quieter Konoha to her apartment, like, on your hands and knees, beg him, he'll listen to what you have to say. He's basically a dog, and they like begging, right? Tears never work on him, he's immune to that, fucking douchebag…it's gonna be begging, I know it. If he even lets me do that before throwing me out on my ass.

It'd be nothing more than I deserve.

This train of pessimism carried her all the way back home. Sakura slipped miserably into her building and when she unlocked the door to her apartment, she was unsurprised to find everything dark, all the lights off. Sasuke's scent lingered in the air the way she knew it would, and she released a shuddering sob of longing.

Depressed beyond all reckoning and with no one to blame but herself, she kicked off her sandals and threw off her jacket before slouching towards her bedroom. No warm, strong arms to hold her tonight…

"I'm such a hot mess of a girlfriend," she moaned to no one as she kicked open her bedroom door hard enough to make the hinges creak.

"You can say that again," a deep, muffled voice called out from the bed, making her scream a bit in surprise. "Oi, keep it down, will you? Noisy brat, you're lucky you're pretty."

"Sasuke?" Sakura gasped, astonished. "What are you doing here?"

"I live here mostly," he mumbled, the covers pulled up over his head. Now that her eyes had adjusted to the darkness of her bedroom, she made out a distinctly boyfriend-shaped lump under all her quilts and comforters.

Sakura was torn between disbelief and complete, utter happiness, before she remembered that Sasuke should be so furious with her, he wouldn't even have been able to stand being in her presence. She reached out and grabbed the blankets off the bed, ripping them away from him.

He sat up with a start, wincing a little with a hand to his ribs (her fault, she realized bitterly), before glaring at her half-heartedly from sleepy black eyes that made her knees weak.

"I kicked you out, though," she said bemusedly, frowning a little in confusion, like she expected him to disappear in a puff of smoke. "I was so horrible to you…aren't you mad at me?"

"Now that I'm freezing my ass off," he said dryly, with a pointed gesture to the pile of blankets in her arms, "yeah, I'm a little ticked. Give 'em back."

"I mean about the fight, stupid!" she snapped. "Aren't you mad that I went off on you?"

Sasuke rolled his eyes, and stood up, approaching her fearlessly. He was shirtless, always slept shirtless, and his sweatpants hung low on his hips. The sight was sufficiently mouth-watering, with his absolutely jacked musculature and his cut biceps and the delicious V-shape of his hips and…

He stopped when he was directly in front of her, his hands on her shoulders, his eyes boring into hers.

"Did you think that little tantrum would scare me off?" he scoffed, and she was bowled over by the teasing light in his eyes. He wasn't mad at all. "Babe, I'm a shinobi. An Uchiha. You think I can't handle a little thing like you?"

"But I was so horrible," she said blankly. This didn't compute at all. He should be yelling at her and breaking up with her and cursing her name and shacking up with one of the thousand girls he'd dated before her, not flirting with her. Not looking at her with kind, understanding, playful black eyes that almost shined in the darkness. "I was stressing about work, and I took it out on you, again, and I pushed you, and…"

Sasuke cut her off, sealing her lips with his in a kiss that made her drop the blankets she was holding, and grab onto his rock-hard arms instead. He tasted like mint and home and things she loved, and when he pulled back, there was a playful smirk on his gorgeous face that made her warm from the inside out.

"I get it," he said simply.

Sakura was filled with such a rush of fondness for him that she pushed him again, this time much gentler, until they'd both collapsed onto her blanket-less bed. Eyes shining, she kissed him again.

"You took the time to memorize me," she murmured, "my fears, my hopes, my dreams…I just like hanging out with you all the time."

He smiled, pleased. "Yeah?"

"Yeah. And…no one else is gonna love me when I get mad, so…"


"All those times that you didn't leave…it's occurring to me I'd like to hang out with you for my whole life," she confided sweetly.

He kissed her soundly at that, strong hands curling through her hair and up and down her spine, until there was no distance between them at all. Sakura felt herself falling more and more in love with her childhood teammate, with his unfailing devotion to her, with his playful sense of humor that had her laughing when she was near tears, with his attitude that drove her crazy in good and bad ways.

"All right," he breathed against her lips, dark eyes full of laughter. "All right, you crazy girl. Then if you heal these ribs...

"We'll both stay."

note.. As much as I love normal aloof, emotionally-distant canon Sasuke, I couldn't resist dabbling with the playful flirty Road to Ninja Sasuke a bit. I think the love story between Road to Ninja Sasuke and Road to Ninja Sakura would be more relaxed and nowhere near as dramatic as the real deal.

Inspired by "Stay Stay Stay," off Taylor Swift's new album. It's so sweet and you all need to go listen. Seriously. You will not regret.

Big ups to Pandabear and the Giants. HUNTER PENCE WHY DID YOU LEAVE PHILLY.

To T-Swizzle and Road to Ninja and the World Series. Love y'all.