tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked 107 Times in 62 Posts
Re: Shade of the Leaf
Lowering her brows in fair warning that she wouldn't drop it forever, she nodded. He slipped off the stool. “Towels are in the same place and your change of clothing is clean and in the same drawer.”
Biting her lip, she moved the kettle away from the heat. No Naruto, no need for hot water, and she could live without her cup of tea. Pressing her back against the counter, she studied the place where he had been sitting. Something was obviously on his mind if he had chosen a shower over his precious stomach. He wasn’t operating on standard Naruto patterns. The Naruto who had trained himself into exhaustion for his best friend ate, slept, and only showered when he had the energy to realize how he smelled.
So Naruto was having a hard time with something. It had to be Sasuke. It was always Sasuke; well, when it wasn’t her. Picking up a scrub brush, she went to work on her soaking dishes. Sasuke. He had been home for a year now. Surely that was enough time for those two to find their footing again.
'The same way you found yours.'
Chewing on her lip hard enough to hurt, she attacked her dishes. Naruto had been missing for the last six months. Missions. Sasuke had been grounded to the village and no where else. When would they have had time to work things out? Sasuke was just now getting comfortable enough to look at her in public. The bastard. She sighed. It had only been a year. A year compared to the years spent without them. Things were different. But different was okay.
As much as Sasuke had changed, how different he was from the experience, how difficult it was to get him to sleep or even eat; it had never occurred to her that she might have changed as well. Not until she had stood in his shadow struggling to place where she belonged in his life now. She knew she was stronger, fitter, smarter, and capable. She would never have to watch him walk away again; she had proven it to herself, and to him. She just hadn’t realized how much her perceptions of the world had changed. How much her perception of perfection, her team, Sasuke, and her childhood had barred her ability to see the truth, and in that truth, herself. Herself and more importantly, the truth about the relationships around her, and with Sasuke home the blinders came off.
She had spent two days hiding in her bedroom, working out the new mental paths before Naruto had been released from the hospital. He had shown up, pale and wavering on his feet, demanding ramen and her company. She had gone.
She kicked the dishwasher shut, listening to the sound of the water running, and promised herself she would turn it on later. That had been the last time she had actually had time to see Naruto do something other than sleep, eat, and sleep again. Naruto had been accepting mission after mission, hardly finding time to rest. She had asked Tsunade quietly if it had something to do with the death of Orochimaru, and the older woman had shook her head without offering anything else.
It was almost as if he wanted to be as far away from Konaho and Sasuke as possible for some reason. Reaching upwards, she dragged her hand through her bangs. She didn’t understand what it was that would drive her friend away. Eyes narrowing in thought, she decided that if he wanted to even look at the ramen on her stove, he was going to have to talk to her about his problem. Or else.
“That’s a scary look.”
Lifting her head, she pointed a finger at him, her lips parting to demand answers, but the words froze on her lips. His shirt was old enough that it stretched across his shoulders comfortably. He was barefoot. Sakura had a weakness for men with bare feet and there had always been something strangely appealing about a freshly washed Naruto. He quirked a brow in question, his eyes darkening to midnight as he watched her, and desperately, she reacted.