tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked 107 Times in 62 Posts
Re: Shade of the Leaf
Sakura checked her pack again to make sure she hadn't left anything important behind. A week and half in Suna had depleted her gear but she was still worried she had left something. Naruto was off gathering supplies with Gaara for their return trip home. They were supposed to meet up with them at the gate in half an hour but Sakura had gotten bored and wondered down early. Temari and Kankuro were already there and seemed amused by her antsy behavior.
"Ready to go home too quickly, Sakura-chan?" Kankuro teased.
"Yes." Sakura said bluntly. "You know, the longer I'm here the higher the odds that I'm going to have to save your ass and I would like to save myself the trouble."
Temari laughed. "That's probably truer than you know."
Kankuro looked offended. Or Sakura thought he did. The face paint made it difficult to determine.
"That's not nice, Sakura!"
Sakura stuck her hand on her hips and smirked. "First Sakura-chan and then Sakura. Make up your mind, paint-boy."
Kankuro straightened himself to his full height. "So, did you manage to catch yourself a blonde jounin while you were here?"
Sakura flung one of her energy bars at his head and was satisfied when it hit with a thud.
Temari gave Sakura a long look out of the corner of her eye and smirked. The next thing Sakura knew, she was being dragged away from the gate and into the market. Sputtering, she stumbled a little before she caught her balance and managed to find her feet.
"Temari." Kankuro hollered. "I was talking with her!"
"Don't worry little brother. I'll bring the leaf-nin back in one piece!" The blonde promised, waving her hand as she continued to drag Sakura along. "As soon as you explain what is going on between you and Naruto." She finished in a hiss.
Temari snorted. "Do I look like I am completely oblivious? Just because Kankuro and Gaara wouldn't see a relationship if it walked up, hit them in the face and stripped them naked with its teeth does not mean I have such problems."
Sakura shot her an annoyed look. "So I should tell Shikamaru no stripping?"
Temari snorted. "Boy's too lazy to do that sort of work. Besides, it’s more fun to watch his eyes widen while you drag the zipper down yourself."
Sakura blinked several times. And then violently shook her head. "That's an image I did not need."
"You'll get used to it." Temari said lazily as she dragged her to a bench. "Now, want kind of dango do you want? We can pretend we were off doing girly things before you left and Gaara will just have to deal with it."
"You mean you’re not going to interrogate me?" Sakura teased.
"I was attempting to be diplomatic. Don't run. I'll just break your ribs."
Sakura snorted. "You can try."
"I'll do more than try, honey." Temari assured her before waking over to the little stand and buying them both some dango and sauntering back. "Now, I have officially bribed you. Start talking."
Sakura sighed. The dango looked delicious and Temari had even brought them small glasses of tea. Taking a careful bite, she sighed again.
"Alright. I give."
Temari's smile was wicked. "I know."
"I don't know what's going on between Naruto and myself." Sakura said mildly. "But I told him I was willing to find out."
Temari chewed for several long seconds. "We'll that's better than what I told Shikamaru."
Sakura lifted a brow. "Oh?"
"Hmm. I told him I was in it purely for the sex."
"I suppose I can see that," Sakura mused. "Just trying not to visualize Shika naked."
Temari opened her mouth and Sakura, realizing what she said, shoved her last dango into Temari's mouth.
"No. Do not. Ever."
Temari rolled her eyes as she chewed. "You’re such a prude."
"Yes well, I have to work with him. I do not need any images. Any."
"I'm sure that Naruto will help you wash your brain out. He has very nice abs." Temari said as they started their walk back to the group conversing near the gate.
Sakura cut her a glance. "If you think I am going to talk about him at all, you're crazy."
Temari smirked. "I have my ways."
"Have your ways for what?" Naruto asked, bouncing a little on his heels. He had enjoyed his stay in Sand but it was time to go home now. He wanted a long, long shower. He cut his eyes over to Sakura. A long shower.
"Weapons," Sakura said waving her hand. "Nothing important." Ignoring the sudden gleam in his eyes she bowed low to Gaara. "Thank you for your hospitality."
"Temari and Kankuro will see you to the border." Gaara said. "Be safe."
Naruto slapped Gaara on the arm. "Don't worry. I'll be back to bother you soon enough. Next time, I'll bring miso ramen."
Gaara nodded. "Farewell."
Sakura flopped down next to Naruto, finger combing her still damp hair. Two days into the border of fire country and they had finally had the chance to stop and douse themselves in a stream. "I never thought I was going to be clean again. Why does sand have to get everywhere?"
Naruto smiled at her, eyes catching sparks from the fire. "I never did show you what was so beautiful about the place."
She rolled her eyes. "You just want to drag me back there again."
"Awe, come on Sakura-chan. You know you had fun."
Shaking her head she studied the fish Naruto had caught earlier while she set up camp. "I think these are about done."
"Yeah." He agreed. Handing her a stick, he carefully blew on his meal. "Man, I missed fish while we were there. And don't think I don't know you are changing the subject."
Sakura rolled her eyes, sucking in cold air as her tongue sizzled with the hot food.
Nodding she chewed quickly and swallowed. "Yeah, I missed fish."
He eyed her for a moment before letting it drop.
"I wonder what's changed at home." He mused. "I bet Sasuke hasn't painted his walls yet."
Sakura's stomach dropped. Averting her eyes from his thoughtful face, she bit down on another bite of the fish and was relieved to find it had cooled a little. Chewing stubbornly she ignored the sudden sharp gaze she could feel boring into her expression.
"Not right now Naruto. Please."
There was a long silence and when he spoke, his tone was deep. "Sakura-chan, does this have to do with Sasuke?"
She bit her lip and considered his words. Shaking her head slowly, she turned to look at him. "No. Not that I know." She took a deep breath. "I can't talk about it, Naruto. Direct orders."
She hated to hide behind that card but she was not willing to talk to him about it. She had promised Tsunade and it had been a direct order. However, the tension in Naruto's shoulders eased and she could read his expression again even if his eyes were still too serious.
She went back to her fish feeling a little nauseous. What was she going to do if she went home and the Akatsuki had killed someone important to Naruto? Taking a deep, calming breath she shoved her emotions into the proper compartments. Later.
"I bet Ayame is still making eyes at Kakashi."
Sakura turned and blinked. "Ayame? The girl who works at the ramen stand?"
"Yup. He even gets free meals occasionally."
"Any chance he returns her feelings?"
Naruto pondered that. "I don't know. Kakashi sensei isn't easy to read like Sasuke. You have to see how many times he twitches to guess exactly how far things run."
Naruto waved his hand. "Yeah. Like with Gaara."
"Naruto, Gaara doesn't twitch."
"No, he smiles."
"Gaara doesn't have facial expressions. Or well, he doesn't besides "maniac killer" and "how many ways can I splatter your insides" sort of expressions."
"Sakura-chan!" His eyes were dancing with laughter. "He smiles. We'll okay, they are a bit more like grimaces but you can totally see them in the corner of his mouth."
Sakura pulled back and pointed a finger at him, struggling to contain her mirth. "You've been starring at Gaara's mouth?"
Naruto blinked before shrugging. "It's not like he has eyebrows."
Her lips twitched. "Well, no. But Sasuke doesn't smile and he does have eyebrows so you don't have those excuses."
"Nah. Teme has the most expressive eyebrows ever."
"I didn't notice that until he came back but you’re right." Sakura agreed.
Naruto stared at her. "What did you look at?"
"His ass." Sakura said demurely. "He has a very nice one."
Naruto crossed his arms. "Oh?"
She patted him on the head before standing up to go and collect the gear they had set out. "Yes. He does. Don't worry though; I have it on good authority that you have a great set of abs."
Naruto's grin was edged and wicked. "Care to check them out?"
"I've seen them. You have first watch," Sakura sing-songed at him. "So if you want to wash up before you start…"
"No mercy for your poor teammate." Naruto teased as he scooped his things up.
Sakura shot him a saucy grin. "I told you, hot shot. You're going to have to work a lot harder than that."
His grin widened. "You shouldn't bait a man, Sakura. You might find yourself bent over a tree."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"You do that," he suggested as he walked away, putting a little swing in his hips. "That way you have no excuse when I strip you naked with my teeth."
Sakura picked up a rock and hurled it at him. "Eavesdropper!"
His laughter echoed back at her.