Sakura stared warily at her mentor, who grinned back at her over her sake cup. The pink haired female took a wary step back from the Hokage as the blond sipped her drink.
"You've had a new suitor come calling, Sa-ku-ra," Tsunade sang quietly, smugly swirling the liquid in her cup.
Sakura frowned darkly, eyes narrowed on her mother-figure, before she turned her head to glance at her sister-figure, who was cuddling a pink pig quite tightly.
"The hell shishou?" she murmured, worriedly watching as Shizune seemed to jump at her voice.
It had been quite a few weeks since it had been declared that all able-bodied (ie. 18-50 years of age) shinobi were to be wedded by the end of the year. While the larger part of her vehemently protested that this was ridiculous, the medic in her silently agreed with the decree. The prominent clans of Konoha's ninja had been dwindling with the constant state of war they were in. With Sasuke, go figure. After the end of the Fourth Shinobi War, Sasuke had decided to form his own village of rogue ninja, and declared war on everyone. Problem was...nobody could find it. So the Kage Council had made a decree to help restore what had been lost during the last and current war. Babies. There was no particular clause to it that said clan members were to be married forcefully but it was...strongly encouraged that you find someone to marry and start building a life with.
"Actually, there were three, Tsunade-sama," Shizune practically whispered, bringing Sakura out of her thoughts.
"Un, but it was one suit," the blond's eyes practically sparkled with mirth.
"Three in one?" Sakura asked, eyes wide in surprise.
"You're team is very fond of you," Tsunade grinned, laughing at the look on her apprentices face.
"What? But-they wouldn't-they cant expect-" Sakura cut herself off, running a hand down her face in exasperation.
"A-Ano, Sakura-chan, I think you should give it serious consideration," Shizune spoke quietly, eyes glued to the floor.
Sakura turned to her sister-figure, who gave a sheepish smile at the ground. Ton-Ton squirmed in her hold.
"Un, considering I've accepted on your behalf," Tsunade chimed, smirking when the pinket's head whipped toward her.
"You what! Shishou!"
Well...this is awkward...
All around them sat couples, enjoying the evening. Theirs was the only group activity. Sakura glanced around the table quickly, only to find all of their eyes on her. She put a hand over her face.
"Why would you all put in your suit together?" she asked quietly, only to be rewarded with silence.
She grew frustrated as the males stayed quiet and gave a grimace. Her expression changed quickly, however, when Kakashi pulled his mask down to his neck, exposing the pale skin of his lower face to them. She stared at him, wide eyed, while his lips quirked up in a half smile, his eye closing to match it.
"Eh...well...we couldn't decide. Those two were ready to fight for you, when I suggested that we...share," the Copy Nin said quietly, smile dropping slightly as he looked at her sudden frown.
"Does that bother you Sakura-chan?" he asked, and she had to look away when he licked his lips nervously.
No wonder he wore the mask. His face was an open book.
"I can hardly see it working...I mean...there's three of you and one of me," Sakura mumbled, poking her sashimi with her chopsticks.
She blinked when it was deftly whisked away, and turned to Sai, mouth opened indignantly to berate him, only for him to place the food in her mouth with surprising gentleness. The painter smiled at her slightly, eyes laughing. She shut her mouth before she looked like a fool and narrowed her eyes at him thoughtfully. He had come a long way since he had been put on their team. While he still couldn't understand sarcasm coming from a stranger, he had become rather good at reading his team and their extended friends.
"You are over-thinking this Sa-ku-ra," Sai murmured, causing her to choke on the sashimi she had been trying to swallow.
"Baka," Kakashi frowned at the ANBU, who looked at her with wide eyes, hands raised as though to help, but having no idea how.
The fourth member of their team watched the interactions silently, blue eyes worried as she took a drink. She met his eyes silently, and he gave her a small, barely-there smile. She tilted her head at the blond, confused.
"And you? I thought you'd finally given up on me?" she asked him, making him narrow his eyes at her.
"Just because I stopped asking you out every time I saw you in passing does not mean I gave up on you Sakura-chan! I was training! You know Tsunade is handing over her title to me soon!" Naruto reminded her, mouth pulled down in a rare frown.
Sakura's eyes softened as she saw his expression, and she followed Sai's example, offering the blond a piece of her sashimi with a smile.
"Truce?" she asked eyes laughing as she saw the surprised expression on his face.
"Does that mean you accept?" Kakashi asked quickly, causing Naruto to pause in accepting the offered treat.
Sakura fell silent as she glanced around at the three males, and she swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry.
"I...guys, I can't just-"
"Please Sakura?" Sai murmured, watching her worriedly.
"Since when do you call me anything other than 'ugly'? You're seriously freaking me out Sai!" she snapped, eyes slightly wide as she frowned.
"Ano, that was my doing Sakura-chan...I told him you wouldn't accept if he kept calling you ugly," Naruto said quickly, eyes avoiding hers.
"What does this mean to all of you? This isn't a joke! This is our lives you're talking about here!" Sakura set the forgotten sashimi on her plate, hands clenching her chopsticks tightly.
"Exactly Sakura-chan. And we don't want them to change," Kakashi answered, taking the lead when the other two males looked at him for help.
Sakura stared at him, confused. He sighed quietly, pulling his mask back up just before the waitress came with Naruto's second round of food. She smiled flirtatiously at the blond, who ignored her pointedly. They all waited for her to leave before Kakashi spoke up again.
"Sakura, our lives are close to perfect right now. Whether you realize it or not, you already act the part of our wife...some interesting aspects omitted of course," Kakashi blushed slightly at his last sentence.
Sakura blinked, thinking about their situation. It was somewhat true, she admitted. They had all moved into a house after a series of unfortunate events, including Kakashi being kicked out of his apartment do to a fire jutsu gone awry, Naruto's lease being up, and her own fight with her parents over whether or not she would continue to be a ninja. Sai had heard about all of their situations and made the suggestion. It had made sense at the time, since they could pool their incomes and get a larger place than any could get alone. And she did tend to do the housekeeping, seeing as she lived with three males, though Sai, oddly enough, often helped her with the cooking.
"So you want me to keep playing maid?" she said, tone screaming 'danger!'
"Nonono! Kakashi, you idiot!" Naruto flicked a piece of ginger at the Copy Nin, who sweat-dropped when it slid down his covered cheek.
"We love you," Sai murmured, making the table freeze.
Sakura's mouth parted slightly as she stared at him with wide eyes. She quickly glanced at the other two to see their reactions. Both were blushing brightly.
"Don't you think that's something we should get to confess ourselves!" Naruto growled, Kakashi nodding in agreement.
"Not that we don't, mind you! That's just...something to confess on your own, Sai-kun," the elder male sighed.
"Oh. Gomen!" Sai smiled sheepishly.
"Guys...I...I love you all too, but I'm not sure its in...that way," Sakura murmured.
But then, she also wasn't sure that it wasn't in that way. Because when she thought of all of them being married to others and moving out of the house, her heart ached. When she thought of not waking up to Sai making breakfast, she wanted to cry. Then she thought of all the times Kakashi had accidentally used his soap when doing her bed linens so they ended up smelling like him. The thought of Naruto not coming home with a loud exclamation every night...or of the bathroom not smelling overwhelmingly like the shampoo all of the male's used...she shook herself from her thoughts as she heard the males start murmuring to themselves.
"What are we gonna do?" Naruto asked his teammates, sounding thoroughly panicked.
"I'll kill any male that comes near her. I'm sure Hokage-sama will understand." Sai mumbled to himself.
"Maybe she'd be willing with only one of us?" Kakashi suggested.
"That would be better than her being with a stranger..." the blond whispered in response.
"It would still hurt though..." Sai scowled darkly.
Sakura felt tears prick her eyes as she saw all of their downcast looks, and sighed, reaching for the sashimi to offer it to Naruto once more. The blond looked at her in confusion. She gestured towards him with it, smiling, and he grinned hopefully.
"I'm not promising anything but...that's what an engagement period is for, right? We can try," she accepted quietly.
Naruto jumped up with a loud whoop, while Kakashi eye-smiled at her, Sai smiling contently. The pink haired female yelped when Naruto scooped her into his arms, twirling her around in the restaurant. Well, she had to admit, things would never be boring with Naruto around.