tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Re: Shade of the Leaf
Sasuke cut him a look, but didn’t respond. That didn’t bother him either. He knew his friend needed time to think. Naruto was confidant that he would help them. There had always been bad blood between the Uchiha clan and the council, and the fox remembered rumors that the boy didn’t. Whispered rumors of missions and traps. He didn’t know if there was any truth to those rumors, but he wouldn’t put it past the Hyuuga clan to take advantage of a willing child in the hopes of weakening the Uchiha clan. Still, he doubted even they would have expected Itachi to snap the way he had.
Neiji would be able to find out, and if not Neiji, then Hinata. The Hyuuga clan kept careful records of everything they did in their private library. If there had been a plot to destory the Uchiha clan, they would have recorded it and then hidden it deep. He would have to get Ino to speak to them about it in private. It was too risky if he conversed with either one of them right then. Ino and Hinata were friends, however, and were not supicious.
“You’re sure of your allies?”
“Sakura will get you a list.”
“I’ll speak to her.”
“The counil will try to stop you.”
“They can’t plot for what they don’t know,” Naruto pointed out. “They suspect nothing.”
“If things go wrong?”
Naruto paused, his eyes dancing. “You remember Gaara?”
“I heard of the alliance.”
“Let’s just say there is a standing agreement between me the Kazekage. If something goes wrong, Sand will protect us.”
“They risk the alliance.”
“Leaf will have to prove they are hiding us, which I doubt they will be able to do.” Naruto said with a smug grin. “You’d be surprised how loyal the common folk are to their new Kazekage, and Gaara, unlike the rest of us, has no complusion against killing his council. They know it.”
Sasuke snorted, and planted a hand in his friends back and shoved him out the door.
“I love you too, you cold fish!” Naruto called before turning and headed back to Sakura’s. Maybe he could meet her halfway to the hospital and make sure she had eaten in the morning. Onigiri would probably be the best bet he had to get something in her stomach. Looking up to the dark mountain that held the images of the Hokages he lifted his fingers in a salute. It wouldn’t be long before he, Naruto Uzumaki, would be there as well. Then things would change.
Sakura tossed a little, unable to sleep. Her dreams had been restless. They weren’t exactly nightmares, just uncomfortable blurs of images she knew she recognized but she couldn’t quite recall from where. Sitting up, she rubbed her tired eyes. She wanted to blame her restlessness on the conversation she had with Sasuke and Naruto that night, but she couldn’t. Difficult sleeping was always a sign of her stress levels, and while the conversation tonight hadn’t helped, she could really only blame herself. Ino was right, she had to learn to tell Tsunade no. Well, there was no help for it; the only way she was going to go back to sleep was with a hot glass of herbal tea.
Not bothering to turn on the lights, she moved from her bedroom into her living room. She paused halfway through the space, her eyes starring at the figure sprawled comfortably across her couch. He was shirtless and lying on his stomach so she couldn’t see his face. He must have showered before coming back to her place, because his hair looked like it had been wet when he went to sleep.
What was he doing here? She always kept half an ear open for him when he had been on missions. She had never asked why he felt the need to come to her home when he returned, and he had never volunteered the information. She just hadn’t been aware he was using her couch for more than just the occasional stay. Was something wrong? She debated waking him, but decided against it. Her movements in the kitchen wouldwake him, but at least then she would have a cup of tea to fortify her against whatever conversation he pulled her into instead of her just waking him.
Moving around the couch, she pulled out her teapot, setting it on the stove, and started hunting for the packets of herbal tea she kept for this very reason. Surely, she hadn’t used them all? Scowling in frustration, she continued to dig deeper into her pantry.
The sudden flickering of light almost blinded her.
“The light would help, Sakura-chan.”
Slowly peeking through the fingers she had slapped over her eyes, she narrowed green eyes at him when she realized she wasn’t blind. Scowling at him, she merely grunted before returning to her search.
“What are you looking for?” His chest was warm as it pressed against her back and she crossed her arms, letting some of her weight fall against him.
“Tea packets, I didn’t think I had used them all.”
She was forced to slide forward a little to accommodate him as he peered over her shoulder. He didn’t seem surprised to find her moving through her kitchen, and she cursed herself for not remembering he was ANBU. He had probably been awake for as long as she had been, and if not, the moment she stepped into the living room he would have been aware of her. She should have just turned on the lights and blinded him, saving herself the trouble.
An arm moved into her peripheral vision and one of her beloved packets was dangling between the fingers in front of her face.
“Yes.” Taking the packet and ducking under his arm, she set it on the counter and pulled a mug down. Hesitating, she turned and bit her lip. “If there is another one, you’re welcome to it.”
A flash of teeth and he was turning back to the cabinet and searching again. Sakura found herself starring at the thick muscles of his shoulders and back, the way his skin shifted with each movement, and she couldn’t look away. The sound of the teapot shrilly echoing through the apartment finally gave her enough willpower to turn away from him. She mentally berated herself. It was Naruto!
“How are things going with Sasuke?” Sakura asked as she accepted the second packet and easily set about making the tea.
“Fine. Bastard is still slow.”
She snorted before handing him a mug and moving into the living room to sit on the couch. Flipping out the lights, she let herself adjust before making her way to the couch. Naruto sprawled next to her, warm skin and soft breathing in the darkness.
“Bad dreams?” His tone was cautious and she shook her head, then remembered he couldn’t see it.
“No. I’m just restless I guess.” They couldn’t be bad dreams if you didn’t remember them.
“You’re working yourself too hard.”
She ignored his statement, enjoying the heat of the faintly bitter liquid. He was silent as well, and she was struck by how much he had changed. Naruto of two years ago would have been slurping his tea. She knew he was drinking the brew, the shifting of his arm against her body was very noticeable, but the movements were completely silent. ANBU had been good for him.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” His voice was soft and slightly coaxing, and she knew if she could see more the outline of his features, she would see his blue eyes wide with concern. She always wondered how his eyes didn’t glow faintly in the dark; they were so bright during the day. Sighing a little, she put her mug down on the table in front of her.
“It’s just mostly stress, Naruto.” He had been around her enough in the past to know how hard it was for her to sleep when she was under extreme pressure. “Tomorrow is the last day of training for the genin, and things will settle down after that. I just fell behind right now with paper work and treatments of other patients, and there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.”
An arm slid around her shoulder and she found herself half-sprawled against Naruto, his hand resting comfortably on her hip. Smooth skin and hard muscles moved under her palm as she caught her balance by placing one hand firmly on his stomach, the other grasping his shoulder.
Last edited by thegodfather2450; 01-12-2009 at 11:29 AM.