tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked 108 Times in 63 Posts
Re: Shade of the Leaf
Sasuke was ignoring her. She didn't take it personally he was ignoring everyone. The only reason she had even known he was there was because she had overhead a pair of old crones talking about the Uchiha clearing out a garden. As far as Sakura knew, the place he was renting didn't have a garden, and he for sure didn't have a green thumb. The time and effort it would take to make a garden was beyond most ninja, and Sasuke had never had the time or the inclination to try.
So that meant he had finally been given a mission, which should have technically started the one-year sentence. She had been curious to find what poor person had paid for genin level and gotten her stony teammate.
"You didn't mention you were going to start missions today." Her tone was accusing, and he looked up. He didn't seem surprised to see her there, and she frowned down at him.
Sasuke tossed a handful of weeds into the wheelbarrow behind him. "You haven't been around."
Sakura rolled her eyes. With Sasuke, that could mean anything from 'you haven't been in the village' to 'I haven't looked for you recently' to 'you're too bothersome to find.' Thankful that she had worn something comfortable on her day off, she peeled off her sandals, rolled up her pants legs, and hopped the hedge. Those dark eyes narrowed, spearing her into place.
"What are you doing?"
She shot him an amused grin. "This way I can spend time with you Sasuke-kun, and you won't run away!" She had to duck behind her hair to hide her silent laughter at the disgruntled look on his face. Odds were he would get revenge for that one, but it had been too easy.
They worked in silence for several moments, only the occasional grunt as a particularly stubborn weed was pulled from the ground. Somehow it seemed to be cheating to use chakra to do something as simple. Sasuke was probably limited with how much he could use, so it was only fair that she follow the same rules.
"Have you seen Naruto?"
She shot him a look that he seemed to ignore.
"Have you been out here long?"
He gave her a cool look and she admitted to herself that had been a bit of a stupid question. It would take Sasuke a bit longer by himself to clean out the weeds, but not all morning. He had barely cleared anything, so it was reasonable to assume he hadn't been working for more than half an hour.
Still, he didn't have to be such a jerk about it.
"Can you answer any of my questions with more than one word?"
She tossed the handful of weeds at him and he brushed them off his shirt with a faintly narrowed gaze. Sticking her tongue out, she went back to work, watching him out of the corner of her eye.
It was painfully easy to fall into a rhythm with him. He moved so differently from Naruto, and he wasn't quite the extension of herself that Naruto had become on missions, but he was familiar. Now that she was looking for ways to integrate herself with him as a teammate, and only a teammate, it was easy. It was those moments before Orochimaru stole him from them at the Chunnin exams where they had been a team. That moment when he had defended her with all his rage.
"The work load at the hospital has finally settled down," Sakura told him as she worked. "That means I'm back to my 'on one, off two' shift. Will you let me know when you and Naruto plan on sparring?" She didn't have to tell him how much she missed working with them. Even she heard it in her voice.
"Tsunade requires a meeting in the morning." Sasuke said after several moments. "I play genin in the day."
"Before or after dinner?"
"Before, we eat late."
She smiled. "That's fine. I don't usually have time to eat until after shift anyway." Fighting at night was dangerous for a variety of reasons, but she could understand why her teammates practiced then. Her stomach churned with excitement, even as her mind groaned with the beating she was going to take until she grew accustomed to not seeing her sparring partners again.
"Sakura-chan, bastard? What are you doing?" The 'without me!' was clear in his voice.
Sakura pointed at Sasuke. It was time he took the blame for something mundane in the team, after all. "He has a D class mission and didn't say anything."
To Sakura's eternal delight, Naruto apparently didn't know either. He frowned at his friend, hands on his hips. Shaking his head, he bent down to remove his sandals.
Sasuke's look torn between rolling his eyes and just scowling.
"You said you would tell me what your first mission was," Naruto scolded, jumping over the hedge easily.
Sasuke gave him a look. "Pulling weeds."
Naruto pointed at him. "It's still a mission! Kakashi never let us pick weeds!"
Sakura snorted. "He never let you two pull weeds. I had to pull them at least once a week."
Both men gave her blank looks. "When?"
"While you two were chasing lost kittens," Sakura returned with a shrug, reaching down to pull up another handful. "Or something else that was equally ridiculous."
"Hey! Chasing kittens is not ridiculous!" Naruto exclaimed one fist filled with weeds waved in the air so that dirt dropped onto his shirt.
"There were no kittens," Sakura returned with an eye roll, moving several feet away from them to start on a new patch of weeds. "You were just so bad at D class missions, Kakashi didn't want to risk the ones that required you to know the difference between weeds and flowers. You would have been suspicious if Sasuke wasn't sent to find kittens, so he figured the two of you could occupy yourselves."
She peeked glance at them from behind her bangs and bit down on her giggles. Naruto's mouth was open and his eyes were wide, and Sasuke was starring at her with a very disgruntled expression.
"Weeds, Naruto," Sakura scolded, "if we want to be out of here in-time to enjoy lunch before Sasuke has to report again."
Somehow, they managed to not only remove the weeds (Naruto had been designated to pushing the wheelbarrow. He still sucked at D class missions), turn the dirt (Sasuke) and manage to fertilize the remaining plants (Sakura) so that the place looked respectable. Using the water hose to wash her hands, she shook her head at the two men leaning against the wall.
"Any thoughts on lunch?"
Sasuke grunted in what was clearly a negative as she turned the facet off, shaking her hands dry. Ignoring Naruto's pleas for ramen was second nature to her. She wondered how long it would be before Sasuke just learned to ignore his suggestions about food.
"The onigiri stand won't open again for another hour," Sakura said with a sigh, brushing her pink hair out of her face. She squeaked when Naruto grabbed her wrist, dragging her along. Sasuke was firmly anchored by the other hand.
"We're not arguing all afternoon. We'll just head over to Ichiraku's! I can have ramen and he has been experimenting with his menu lately." He shot a disapproving look over his shoulder. "I bet you two never go there unless I drag you."
"And suffer your wrath because we went without you?" Sakura growled, twisting her wrist in an attempt to get him to let go.
Naruto stopped so fast she bounced off him and straight into Sasuke. Growling in warning, she twisted around and swatted Naruto in the head. Her name was repeated, louder this time, and she looked up in time to see Rock Lee skid to a stop in front of her.
"I have come to invite you to lunch!"
Sakura blinked at him and smiled. Before she could speak up, Sasuke had beaten her to the punch.
"We are going to Ichiraku's." There was an almost disapproving note in his tone that everyone else just ignored.
Lee's expression brightened. "Today is the day for ramen! I must join you! We can share the beauty of ramen and Sakura together!"
Naruto clapped Lee on the back. "Of course you are welcome to join us!"
Sakura shook her head as she watched the two mostů hyperactive ninja in the village walk in front of them. Lee was telling Naruto about a mission, she really wasn't paying much attention, and she looked up at Sasuke.
"Naruto was right when he said the menu had changed. Ichiraku has some domburi dishes for those of us who really don't care for ramen and somehow get dragged in by Naruto every week."
Half an hour later had them settled into a table eating lunch. Sakura and Sasuke had decided on the beef bowl of domburi, while Lee and Naruto were engaging in a friendly competition on who could eat the most ramen. Sakura didn't even bother to keep tabs on who was ahead. Naruto was a bottomless stomach that was made even deeper by ramen. Poor Lee was going to be running laps all afternoon.
For once, Sakura didn't feel that the lack of conversation between her and Sasuke was stifled. Smiling to herself, she looked up find Naruto watching her with a knowing smile before he went back to his ramen