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Old 01-12-2009, 10:45 AM   #11
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Re: Shade of the Leaf

chapter 3:

Sakura grunted as she helped Naruto carry the couch up the stairs. She wondered why Sasuke had chosen a building with such narrow, little stairs. Scowling when her hip crashed into the wall, she shot the Uchiha, who had sat the coffee table down to unlock his door, a glare. She knew he could feel her ire, but he wasn't calling her on it.

Stupid man. Maybe she should just throw the couch at his head.

"Sorry about that, Sakura." Naruto's voice was sheepish.

"You can walk and carry something at the same time, can't you?" Sakura snapped irritably, hefting the couch to follow him into the slightly larger apartment that Sasuke had finally moved into. The past three months of genin work hadn't paid much, hardly anything, but the council had finally given him access to the Uchiha accounts. She wondered if she was the only one to suspect Tsunade bullying everyone into her way of thinking. Either way, it had taken Sasuke two weeks to find a place acceptable and at a rent price he considered decent. The man was such a penny pincher!

The blonde gave her a hard look, which she ignored in favor of accidentally trying to smash his foot with the couch when she dropped her end. Naruto swore and dodged, bumping into the wall, and she moved around the couch to examine the place. Sasuke had apparently already moved most of his boxes into the apartment. All that was left was the furniture and a few breakables. She hoped he had written "Fragile, that means 'No', Naruto" in large, large letters.

The place was surprisingly spacious. The two-bedroom apartment was a little dark. The windows were small and the bedroom with all the boxes was windowless. Still, she supposed she could drop a few hints that lamps or candles were appreciated as housewarming gifts. Maybe Kakashi would even splurge for something other than a cheap plant.

"Man, teme, you need some windows!"

Sasuke snorted. "It's fine."

"There isn't any light."

"Some of us don't need it."


Sakura rolled her eyes. "I'm heading down to start bring up the rest of the pots and pans. You two get the futon. Do not touch anything that says fragile, Naruto!"

Sasuke's doubtful voice followed her. "You know what the word means, right?"

"Of course! Sakura explained it perfectly last time."

Eventually they brought the rest of his stuff up to the apartment. Naruto had rummaged through some boxes and plugged in the a few of the lamps to give them more light once it started to get darker, muttering under his breath about vampires and snakes. Sasuke dropped of box of scrolls on his foot.

She rolled her eyes. "I feel like I'm in the middle of a circus."

Naruto looked doubtful. "I'm not sure Sasuke would fit in."

Sasuke shot him a look. "What does that mean?"

"You don't have a personality." Naruto said matter-of-factly.

Sasuke paused from where he was organizing his bookshelf. "What?"

"You're about as huggable as a water snake," Naruto continued.

"You're both idiots," Sakura snipped from where she was organizing the dishes.

"Hey, Sakura-chan, is something bothering you?"

Sakura sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "No, nothing, never mind. Sasuke, how do you want these plates organized?"

"Where they fit."

Her brow twitched, but she managed to keep from flinging the plate at his head. This time she caught the exchange of looks between the men and applied a little more pressure to her nose before setting out to organize the dishes.

"Hey, Sakura, yousure nothing is bothering you?" Naruto's voice had lost its hesitation.

She sighed. "Have I really been that snappy?"

"Some." Sasuke agreed.

She rubbed her face in earnest. "Sorry. I'm just a little tired."

"You're still not sleeping well?"

"You're not allowed to highjack my couch, Naruto."

"Don't change the subject," Sasuke suggested as he moved a box.

She scowled at him. "I was just out late, that's all."

"With who?" Naruto's voice was surprisingly lacking emotion.

She grumbled. "Some ANBU Ino thought would be a good lay."

A box tumbled to the ground with a loud crashing noise. Spinning around, she stared at Naruto who was rubbing the back of his head sheepishly, avoiding Sasuke's furious glare.


Sasuke frowned at him a little longer before turning to stare at Sakura. "How did it go?"

"Horribly," she growled, moving back to the dishes. "Ino has some really stupid theory about going after someone in ANBU because they can 'keep up'," she really didn't want to mention sex to either of her teammates. She didn't want to think sex with either of her teammates in the same building. "So she keeps trying to pair me up with them."

"Which ones?" Naruto asked. There was too much innocence in that tone.

"Um…. I don't remember all their names." It was a lie. She knew all their names perfectly so she could throw them into Ino's face later as to why she didn't date ANBU, but telling that to either of her teammates was bad. She wasn't stupid enough to give Naruto anything on someone he thought was the cause of any pain for her, and Sasuke… she wasn't sure how Sasuke would react. At the very least, he would tell Naruto whatever she told him.

"What did they do?"

"Nothing that I couldn't handle," Sakura said without looking at them. "I think part of it is probably Ino's fault. I have no idea what she told them." 'But I will…' When she got her hands on Ino's round neck, she was just going to start squeezing.

Naruto made a noise and then there was a curious thumping sound, but by the time she had turned around, Sasuke and Naruto weren't even looking at each other. She hated it when they did that.

"Anyway, I'm sorry I was taking it out on you." She shrugging, shoving her fingers into her bangs in the hopes that she would be able to see. They needed to be trimmed.

"Right," Naruto said with his familiar smile. Turning back to Sasuke, he sighed. "Did you have to have so many boxes?"

"Shut up, Dobe."


"One of you should start thinking about dinner," Sakura suggested as she opened another box. "I don't have the pots and pans unloaded yet, and Sasuke doesn't have any groceries. We are going to need food."

"I'll get it!" Naruto volunteered. "The onigiri stand should be open by now. I can go pick some up to hold us over until we finish unpacking and then we can just go out to eat."

Sakura's mouth watered. "That sounds good."


"I know! I know!" Naruto said with an eye roll. "All you ever eat is fish!"


"You want fruit or fish, Sakura-chan?"

She hesitated and then smiled. "Both, please."

He nodded. "Alright, I'll be back in a few then."

Sakura sighed once the door shut. "I would accuse him of just trying to get out of work, but I'm too hungry to care."

Sasuke shrugged. "At least he will be quick about it."

Sakura nodded in agreement. Naruto loved food, and was always quick to make sure his teammates had their own meals as quickly as possible. She had written it off as a quirk to his living on the streets as a child, but sometimes she wasn't so sure. The last few months had been normal. Her, Naruto, and Sasuke hanging out between missions and work, apartment hunting for Sasuke, and the occasional dinner out; there hadn't been any of those strangely warm looks from her friend. Even stranger, was she hadn't felt that all encompassing relief she had expected. Shaking off those thoughts, she buckled in and set about working her way through the rest of the kitchen.

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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