Somewhere

Sighing, Sakura drummed her fingers against the back of her phone, A habit she had picked up after her best friend came after her about wringing her hands into the hems of her tops and skirts. She had to do something with her hands as she waited, so she drummed her fingers and listened to the way her freshly manicured nails tapped against her phone case.

She was early. She knew she should have been late, made Sasuke wait for her instead of the other way around but sitting around waiting for their meet up time made her antsy.

It had been Sakura’s idea to go out to dinner. Sasuke had suggested a movie but she wasn’t a fan of movie theaters for dates. If she was going to watch a movie it would be at home where she could be in her comfy pajamas and cuddling on her couch.

But there had been too many “dates” in her small apartment and she was starting to feel confined considering she only went out when she needed to go to school or visit her family.

So Sakura suggested dinner so that Sasuke wouldn’t feel like he had to feed her that evening and after a long week at uni, she was in no mood to cook herself.

The sun is almost all the way down…he should be here soon…

Letting out another sigh, Sakura gave up on waiting and headed inside the pub on her own to grab a table. She would just have to text Sasuke so he would know where to find her.

Sakura paid no mind to the other patrons, just requested a table toward the back of the shop if possible and followed the waitress.

Sitting down and setting her cross body bag down, Sakura looked around the room and then back at her table. Perhaps she should have chosen a seat at the bar. It was much more casual than the informal setting already was and maybe that would make her feel more relaxed. Sitting at her table that was meant for four patrons there were only two logical options. Either Sasuke sat directly in front of her or in the seat to her left right next to her.

Sitting next to him felt like something high schoolers would do. Not that she would know from personal dating experience. She had never been one for dating. Sakura had attended an all girls school and had received the occasional confession from classmates at her cram school but it never went anywhere.

When she went out for drinks with members from a circle she was a part of she observed the couples and how they interacted but when she had started dating a boy from the same circle they never got past the texting and phone calls before bed phase.

Academics had always been the priority for Sakura and now as a young adult in a relationship, her partner made everything so easy for her by being so accommodating. Sasuke never asked for much, just that she took care of herself during the day when he couldn’t be with her.

He probably would have been fine if we ordered a pizza, Sakura chuckled inwardly as she took her reading glasses out so that she could read the menu. She could order ahead and the food would be ready by the time Sasuke showed up. Ikayaki would be good…and some karaage and definitely some gyoza. I should order some cabbage for all of this fried food too.

Sakura’s drink arrived around the same time she received a text from Sasuke that he was crossing the street and would be arriving soon. She replied that she was seated toward the back of the shop and waved her hand to call for a waitress. In the middle of ordering their food a second waitress appeared.

“Excuse me, ma’am. There seems to be a bit of a mix up.”


Sakura was fuming as she and Sasuke walked toward the station. Not once in the past few years had she ever noticed that the izakaya she and her friends frequented was a segregated establishment.

“This is my fault,” Sakura sighed out, rubbing her forehead with the heels of her palms. “I’m so stupid. I should have asked first.”

Sasuke pulled her hands away from her head and interlocked his fingers of one hand with one of hers.

“It’s fine. I should have expected it.” He pulled her along, never letting go of her hand. “Besides, I wanted pizza anyway. We can just buy some beer on our way home.”

But it wasn’t fine. Sakura let herself be guided across the street and focused on the feel of Sasuke’s fingers against her own. Even in the summer heat, his touch was welcome. Despite the clamminess and sweat, Sakura felt safe being held by him.

“Isn’t that a━”

“Yeah, it is!”

The poor excuse for whispering caught Sakura’s attention. A pair of college aged girls openly gawked at Sasuke and she wouldn’t have thought anything of it━Sasuke was a beautiful person, of course they would stare━if it weren’t for the look of disgust that washed over their features when their gaze drifted down to Sakura and Sasuke’s joined hands.

“Oh.”

“Don’t stare too much.”

One of the girls noticed Sakura looking at them and grabbed her friend by the elbow and turned her around. They continued to whisper harshly to each other even as Sakura and Sasuke had long past them. A quick look over her shoulder had Sakura catching them staring at her again.

It was hypocritical of them to fawn over Sasuke, but then be disgusted with her for having a relationship with him.

Humans had a strange look but don’t touch policy when it came to vampires. It was alright to appreciate their good looks. It was alright to think about what one would do with a vampire but it wasn’t okay to actually follow through.

Fangbanger.”

Sakura curled her arm around Sasuke’s elbow and laid her head against his upper arm. She remembered now why she preferred to meet him in the safety of her apartment no matter how suffocating it felt to be indoors day after day.

“Tired?” Sasuke nudged her slightly to get her attention. “We can grab a taxi instead.”

“No, I can deal with the train.”

Sasuke looked down at her and cocked his head slightly to the side. He must have seen something he didn’t like because he tugged her closer so they stood at the curb.

“Nah, let’s get a cab.”


“Why don’t you ever invite me to your place?”

Sasuke’s eyes widened and he almost choked on his tea. Sakura had been quiet for most of the night and while that had caused some concern, he knew she would speak up when she was ready. He just hadn’t expect her to ask him about his apartment.

Sakura has turned and propped her elbows on the back of her couch so she could face him. He set his mug on the counter and leaned over it, bracing himself for more questions.

“Do you live in a vampire only residence? Am I not allowed on the premises?”

“Yes and no.” Sasuke chewed on his lip. “I’m not hiding anything if that’s where you’re heading with your questioning.”

“I wasn’t thinking about that but now that you brought it up—“

“I’m not,” Sasuke cut her off, speaking firmly. “My friends have a habit of breaking in whenever they please and I would rather they didn’t interrupt the time I spend with you.”

“Do your friends know about me?”

“Karin does which means they all do. She wants to meet you.” Sasuke grabbed his mug and sat back down on the couch with her. “But she has no filter and will use that as a chance to embarrass me.”

“So that means if I wanted to, I could spend a night at your apartment.”

After their failed dinner plans Sakura had done some research on different establishments in the city. Over half of the restaurants and entertainment facilities were segregated and another quarter of them were human only while the remainder were vampire only. It was strange how she never took notice of that until it affected her.

“I guess you could.” Sasuke set his mug on the coffee table and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her closer so she was in his lap. “My leasing contract didn’t state anything about humans being forbidden. But I think that’s because humans wouldn’t typically want to live with vampires.”

“I would want to live with a vampire.”

Sakura turned so she could hook her arms around his neck. She traced the line of his throat with her nose and ghosted kisses against his jawline. She molded her lips with his as she settled herself so that she was straddling his lap.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it. Depending on the vampire.”

“You know,” Sasuke murmured as Sakura continued to press open mouth kissed down his neck and sucked at his pulse point, “we never checked if I was allowed to be here either.”

Sakura paused and pulled away, giving him a contemplative look.

“Oh my god…you’re right, we didn’t. I should go check my contract.”

Sasuke snatched her by the waist before she could remove herself from his lap. He snuggled his face into her chest and muttered, “That can wait until later…”

“Spoiled,” Sakura teased him, running her fingers through his hair, brushing them against the pointed rounds of his ears. Sasuke hummed against her sternum when she played with his hair. He pressed his face deeper against her chest and splayed his fingers against the small of her back.

He never acted as if he cared about the fact they were technically different species anymore. After their one week fall out months prior, the two of them had been almost inseparable.  There was a designated space in her dressers and closet just for Sasuke’s things. An ashtray sat on the banister of the veranda. His toothbrush sat right next to hers in the holder in the bathroom. He even had discreet pouches of blood stored in her refrigerator for the week in the month she wasn’t able to feed him.

And Sakura wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gently turning his face up to hers, Sakura pressed a kiss to his lips, ever so grateful that he was there with her in her little apartment.

“I love you,” she breathed against his mouth, pulling back for air. She cradled his head in her hands and decorated his face with kisses. “I love you Sasuke-kun.”

He made her burst out in giggles when he pushed her back on the couch and wedged apart her legs to settle in the cradle of her thighs. Sasuke kept his eyes on her face as he trailed open mouth kisses down her torso, pulling down her cotton shorts in the process to show her how much he loved her as well.


Sakura groaned, sliding her arms out in front of her on the table top. She was using the time before her lecture started to research more on integrated locations.

“What’s up with you?” Yamanaka Ino, her best friend, asked her, bringing their iced coffees to the table. “Is school really that frustrating? You should just drop out and get married like I did.”

“You didn’t drop out,” Sakura rolled her eyes, “well, not exactly. There’s nothing wrong with withdrawing to take over your parents’ shop. Still can’t believe you married that weird customer.”

“Sai-kun’s a bit eccentric but loveable.” Ino took a prim sip of her iced latte and then turned a sly smile at Sakura, blue-green eyes twinkling mischievously. “So what’s the real problem? Because you’ve been looking up date spots.”

“How—what? How did you even—“

“I used the reflection from the shop window to look at your laptop monitor. I thought you were finishing up a report for your afternoon lecture at first but that’s not like you at all.”

Sakura’s face burned with embarrassment. She covered her face with her hands to hide the redness creeping on her cheeks. Because of her school schedule and Ino’s work schedule, it had been easy to hide the fact she had been involved with someone for over a year. She had never expected Ino to find out now before she could figure out a way to confess her partner wasn’t human.

“My boyfriend’s birthday is coming up.” Sakura peeked at Ino’s face between her fingers. “And I don’t know what to do for it.”

“Take him to a love hotel,” Ino responded with a straight face.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Sakura whispered harshly, throwing a napkin at her.

“What? If you’re stuck just give him your v-card. He must be something if you’re actually worried about his birthday.”

Sakura hid her face behind her hands again and asked God what had she done to deserve such a loud and bold friend that didn’t care about the setting when it came to topics of conversation.

She mumbled behind her hands and Ino reached over the table to pull her hands away from her face.

“Stop that! I can’t hear you when you mumble like that.”

“I said,” Sakura coughed and then lowered her voice, “I already did.”

Ino pulled back and gawked at her, eyes wide and jaw dropped ungraciously.

“Shut up.”

“It’s the truth,” Sakura muttered, making herself smaller in her seat. “We’ve been seeing each other for almost a year now…”

It wasn’t a lie technically.

In a month it would be a year since they had met although they hadn’t started an intimate relationship until much later that hadn’t gone beyond the walls of her apartment.

“And here I thought you wouldn’t have sex with anyone until your wedding night.”

“I wasn’t going to wait that long…”

“Haruno Sakura, you wouldn’t let a boy hold your hand until you had been talking to him for three months. And we were twenty.”

“I’m just selective.”

“Well,” Ino huffed, “this guy must be really special then.”

“He is,” Sakura admitted softly, chewing on her straw.

“So why haven’t I heard about him?”

Sakura choked on a sip of her coffee as Ino stared her down. Ino propped her elbows on the table top and laid her chin on her delicate fingers clasped together. It’s a familiar sight, one Sasuke uses and guilt pools in Sakura’s stomach.

Ino was her first real friend when she entered university━her first real friend ever considering she never made any effort in high school after years of being taunted for her proud, high forehead.

“I just…”

Sakura began to wring her hands in the hem of her shirt and Ino snapped her fingers in front of her face. Sakura glared at her, batting her hand away.

“You might get upset if I told you about Sasuke-kun.”

“Well at least he has a name.” Ino rolled her eyes but smiled reassuringly. She waited expectantly for Sakura to tell her more. Sakura chewed on the inside of her cheek and took a deep breath.

She told Ino an edited version of events, not wanting to let her know that she and Sasuke had slept together before they had even discussed their feelings for each other. It didn’t take long for Ino to badger her for more details and pull it out of her and the two of them almost got kicked out of the shop for causing a scene when Ino’s voice reached an inappropriate volume that had Sakura shouting back.

“So he eats you and then he eats you━”

“Really, Ino? Really?” Sakura cut her off before she could saying anything crude. “And technically he drinks my blood, so not exactly eating me.”

“He’s still consuming some part of you,” Ino stated matter of factly. “Still. Who would have guessed that you would be a bigger freak than me.”

“Don’t make me regret telling you.” Sakura snapped her laptop closed and laid her head on top of it. She still had another hour before class but she had exhausted her eyes searching from site to site.

“Huh. But that means a love hotel might really be your only option then.”

“What?” Sakura sat up and gave Ino a quizzical look.

“Sai works in these things. He’s one of the only humans at the law firm he works at. Love hotels are one of the only integrated establishments around town for obvious reasons.” Ino tapped on her chin thoughtfully and then snapped her fingers. “I’ll talk to him and see if there’s anywhere classier you guys can celebrate at.”

“Sai is a lawyer? I thought he was an artist?”

“Art is his true love but being a lawyer is what pays the bills.”

“And let me guess, you thought telling me he was an artist was more romantic?”

“Do you want my help or not?”


It was the third night that week that Sakura had fallen asleep on the couch while reading her textbook. It wasn’t until Sasuke was sorting their laundry for the wash and had asked her a question about one of her blouses that he had noticed she had fallen asleep.

He gathered her books and papers and organized them on her coffee table and shut down her laptop. Scooping her up he carried her to bed and made sure she was tucked in.

Summer break would begin in a week but she still had an exam before she could go on holiday.

She’s getting tired so easily lately…

Sasuke brushed hair away from her face and pulled up the sheets up to her chin. He had come over before his shift at work to spend time with her, even if it was just to be in the same place. It was the week in the month he wasn’t supposed to drink from her so he didn’t mind that she had fallen asleep before he left to work but it worried him how fatigued she was.

Their trip coming up would be a good way for her to relax after a busy term. One of Sakura’s friends had found a ryokan that catered to vampires that also allowed human guests. It would be a long trip but at least the two of them would be alone with no worries about work or school.

I should make a shopping list.

Sasuke went around the apartment and took note of the stock of her items. He wrote down what was needed in the kitchen and wrote down laundry detergent and fabric softener because they were almost out.

Huh. That’s odd.

Sasuke shrugged closed the medicine cabinet over the bathroom sink. The box of sanitary napkins was halfway full like it had been after last month.

It must have been a light week.


With a yawn, Sakura checked through her oversized purse one more time to make sure the tickets for the Shinkansen were still in her pocketbook.

“You okay?”

She couldn’t see his eyes through his sunglasses but she knew Sasuke had to have been looking down at her. It was sunset but the light was still too bright for his sensitive eyes.

“I’m just sleepy. I can take a nap on the train. Would you mind?”

“I have my earbuds, I can listen to music. And I might sleep too.”

Sasuke tugged her closer to him and she leaned against his arm. They waited a few more minutes and finally it was time to board.

“Sir,” an attendant called out to Sasuke, “I’m sorry but you cannot sit in this car. It’s a human only car.”

“What?” Sakura pulled out their tickets and showed them to the attendant. “But when I bought the tickets no one told me that the cars were segregated.”

“There must have been a misunderstanding.”

“I know what happened,” Sasuke sighed. “When you bought the tickets the clerk assumed your companion was human as well. Are there any integrated cars we could exchange our tickets for?”

“Unfortunately not for this line,” the attendant apologized. “I don’t believe there are integrated train cars in Japan yet.”

“I’ll go sit in a vampire car then.”

“That can be done but we only have space in the unreserved cars at this time.”

“Of course you do.”

“I’m sorry Sasuke-kun.” Sakura tugged on his sleeve, looking down at her feet.

“It’s fine. I’ll see you when we reach our destination.”

Two hours of passing LINE messages back and forth is how they spent their time until they reached the station. They then switched to the subway which gratefully had no more segregation issues they could run into. They rode in relative silence only breaking it when Sasuke took Sakura’s travel bag from her to carry it.

By the time they had reached their ryokan, Sakura was no longer in the mood to try out the hot springs available at the resort.

“I messed up again.”

Sakura had waited until the nakai had finished giving them information and left before dumping her bag on the tatami. She hid her face behind her hands to cover the tears of frustration that were welling up.

“I already knew there might be complications. We already ran into the same problem before and yet I still didn’t double check.”

No matter how much she tried to blink them away, she couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down her cheeks. They pooled against her hands and slipped between the space between her fingers and her face. She was so angry with herself for being so stupid and forgetting that no matter what there would always be a barrier between her and Sasuke.

Strong arms wrapped themselves around her and pulled her into an embrace. Sasuke rest his chin on the top of her head and stood there quietly. Slowly, Sakura wrapped her arms around him and hugged him back, crying softly into his chest.

“Better?”

“Not really,” Sakura sniffed. “This isn’t how I wanted to celebrate your birthday.”

“We technically have another 2 hours until it’s officially my birthday.”

“Well if you wanna get technical then,” Sakura giggled. “What do you wanna do? I can stay up for another few hours easy.”

“We can take a bath,” Sasuke suggested, a teasing lilt to his voice, “in the private onsen the nikai so kindly pointed out.”

“Oh, can we now?” Sakura giggled some more and then sighed. “I’m tired though so can we keep it to just a bath?”

“I never mentioned anything else,” Sasuke feigned innocence.

“It was implied and you know it.”


“Don’t you think you’re overdoing it?” Sasuke raised his voice so that it could be heard over the hair dryer.

Sakura hummed in disagreement and ruffled his hair as she waved the hair dryer over his head. When she was satisfied with the dryness of his hair, she shut off the cordless hair dryer and placed it in her bag. After she had finished drying her own hair, Sasuke’s was still dripping and she needed to intervene.

Slumping against his back, Sakura draped her arms over his shoulders so they slipped down his chest. She sighed dreamily, and nuzzled her cheek against his head. The bath had done its job of relaxing her body after the long trip but what really had relieved her stress was how Sasuke let her do as she pleased in caring for him. He didn’t even argue when she had done the unnecessary task of helping him tie his yukata properly.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Huh?” Sakura’s cheeks warmed up as Sasuke pulled her arms off of him to pull her around in front of him. He sat her in his lap sideways. Of course he had figured out why she was taking any opportunity she could find to put her hands on him.

Sasuke wrapped his arms around her and tucked his head into the space between her neck and shoulder. His lashes tickled her skin with every blink.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he spoke against the crook of her neck.

Sakura gave a shaky exhale and breathed in the minty scent of Sasuke’s usual soap that still lingered on his skin.

“What do you want to do? We could go for a walk in town or we could…” Sakura’s voice trailed off as Sasuke tugged on her obi so that it became loose. “Or we could do that.”

“Why did you bother with underwear?”

“W-why wouldn’t I put underwear on?” Sakura spluttered as Sasuke slipped her yukata off of her shoulders. “Can we at least put out the futon?”

“I set it out while you were busy drying your hair.”

“Oh, so that’s why you were still wet even though you got out of the bath before I did.” Sakura giggled as he pressed hot kisses to her shoulder. The scheduling would have been different considering it was a ryokan that catered to vampire guests. “So impatient.”

“Ssshhh…” Sasuke shushed her, ghosting his fingers over her bare thighs. He slipped a hand below the waistband of her panties, skimming past the downy pink hair, and stroked lazily at her folds.

As he set to making her comfortable, Sakura focused on divesting him of his own yukata, a task he complicated by batting her hands away when they got in the way of the attention he lavished her with.

“Sasuke-kun, you’re being difficult,” Sakura accused him when he let her catch her breath. She reached for his obi again, but he shifted to trail kisses between the valley of her breasts and down her stomach. “I’m supposed to be spoiling you, remember?”

“It’s not my birthday yet, you can wait.”

“You’re being incredibly selfish right now.”

Snorting, Sasuke nudged her thighs apart with his shoulders and got to work lapping at her core. Wrapping his arms under legs and back around, he held her down by her waist.

Dragging his lips away from her folds, Sasuke sucked on her inner thigh and Sakura felt a sharp nip on the fleshier part. Sasuke gave a sure lick to the punctures before moving on to the other thigh and giving it the same treatment.

“Turn around,” Sasuke demanded even as he was already bringing her leg over to twist her body around so that she was on her stomach.

“Bossy, bossy.” Sakura wiggled her hips as she propped herself up by her knees and forearms.

“As if you don’t enjoy it.” He went back to stroking her folds, slipping his middle finger into her core and pumping it in and out.

With Sakura turned away from him, he had easy access to one of the more sensitive parts of her body, her back. Leaning over her, he inserted a second finger and thrust deeper as he pressed a kiss first to her nape and then down her back. His pace was slow as he concentrated on feeling the way she trembled beneath his lips.

Keeping her distracted with the sensation of his teeth scraping against her shoulder blades, Sasuke used a single hand to loosen his yukata and pull down on his boxer briefs. Sakura had continued to rock her hips against his hand, the walls of her core clenching around his fingers signaled how close she was to climax.

Swiftly, Sasuke pulled out his fingers and before Sakura could voice a complaint, he thrust inside of her and slowly sank in as deep as he could go. He filled her slowly and she let out a guttural groan at the feeling. Taking hold of Sakura’s hips, Sasuke grinded slowly against her. He slipped a hand around her thigh and reached between her legs for her bundle of nerves and traced lazy circles around it.

“Really?” Sakura huffed, twirling her hips to try and get his hand to shift closer to where she wanted him, but Sasuke evaded her clit. “You’re being a pain in the ass, Sasuke-kun.”

She yelped when he used his knee to spread her legs further apart and began to jackhammer into her. Her hands scrambled for purchase on the futon. Sakura clutched the material and braced herself for the combined onslaught of Sasuke pounding into her while he played with her little hardened nub.

It never came, because as soon as her hips had grown accustomed to the pace he was setting, he turned her so she was on her back. He lowered himself so that his forearms rest by her face, caging her head. Taking the opportunity in front of her, Sakura cupped his face with both hands and kissed him, grateful that he opened up to her tongue without provocation.

They continued at a steady pace until Sasuke adjusted his body so he could glide his hands down her sides and cupped her backside. He tilted her at an angle that had her crying out. Wrapping her legs around his waist, Sakura slipped her arms around his back, nails scraping down his shoulder blades as Sasuke thrust harder and faster to chase his own release.

Warmth filled her and Sasuke slowed his thrusting to a deep grind, holding onto her tight as he spilled completely inside her.

Sakura giggled as Sasuke trailed kisses over her face, still not removing himself from inside of her. She brushed his bangs away from his face and sighed dreamily.

“Happy birthday Sasuke-kun.”


Rubbing her eye with her fist, Sakura slumped into her seat at the donor center. It had been two weeks and she was still having difficulty adjusting back to her schedule after being nocturnal for a week for her trip to the onsen.

The only positive was that she was still on summer break and could use her trip back to her hometown the following week to adjust back to her day time schedule.

“Let’s get your vitals while we wait for the results of your test, Haruno-san.” The medical assistant smiled gently at her as she wrapped a blood pressure cuff around Sakura’s arm.

Sakura yawned for the fifth time during her visit and the medical assistant stopped typing on her computer to give her a concerned look.

“Are you feeling fatigued, Haruno-san? We may need to give you some more supplements and possibly a month break from donor duties.”

“Oh, no! I’m just sleepy.” Sakura smiled reassuringly. “I’ve been staying up late now that I’m on vacation.”

“Well, we will know when your blood results come in if we need to make any━”

“Excuse me?” A second medical assistant knocked on the wall of the cubicle. “May I speak to you for a moment?”

Sakura’s medical assistant frowned but excused herself, stepping away from her station. Sakura swung her feet to distract herself from the low whispers from around the corner. Minutes later her medical assistant came back with a packet of documents and a folder.

“Unfortunately Haruno-san it appears that you will need to cease your donor duties effective immediately.” The assistant handed her the documents she brought in. Sakura quickly scanned the paperwork, her lower lip trembling and her heart beating faster with every word. “We can take care of it in house if you would like, but you don’t need to make any decisions now. We will contact the vampire you are assigned to and let him know that you will not be working as a donor until further notice.”

“May I tell him instead?” The question came out so softly that Sakura wasn’t sure the tech had heard her until she reached over and took her hand in her own and gently patted the top of it.

“Although this usually happens with our married donors, it’s not a rare occurrence so we do have back up plans for situations like yours. Vampires know when they sign on for a warm donor that there’s a possibility that their assignment may change so you don’t need to worry about disappointing your vampire.”

The medical assistant reached over to a drawer under her station and  pulled out a few pamphlets. She looked over them and handed two of them to Sakura.

“We will make arrangements for Uchiha-san. There’s no need for him to know that you will be stepping down as his donor due to pregnancy.”

A Gift From The Universe Chapter 10

Chapter Ten: Not a Word

If Izumi sighed one more time, Hana was going to kick her out of her clinic.

“I know it’s not the most exciting job, kid,” Pakkun, one of Kakashi’s summons drolled, “but you can at least fake like you’re enjoying yourself.”

Izumi finished clipping the little pug’s nails and scratched behind his ear. It was interesting dealing with dogs as opposed to cats. The cats of the Uchiha were extremely selective with who they were affectionate with.

“Remind Kakashi that Urisha and Akino are due for their check up,” Hana called from her exam room. “If I have to go hunt him down again he’s not going to like it.”

“Noted,” the little pug responded before disappearing into a puff of smoke.

Izumi cleaned up the clippings and slumped over to the desk in the corner. She thought working with her best friend would distract her, but grooming ninken wasn’t the same as the spark of joy in an academy student’s eyes when they finally nailed a technique they were struggling with.

I was highly recommended by my old sensei too…

Izumi had really enjoyed teaching Sakura and even Sasuke when he couldn’t feign disinterest.

“Oh. Remind the little Uchiha that his Shiba Inu is due for a check up as well, please. And look over the schedule and see who is due for a reminder.”

Hana had offered her the job to help keep her mind off of the one she was declined, but it wasn’t the same. The only positive was that Hana didn’t walk on eggshells around her as if she were delicate and needed someone to censor themselves around her.

Those stupid, stupid boys of hers.

She wanted to vent, to rage. She wanted to hit the training grounds and slam her fists and arms against a wooden dummy until her knuckles bled. To set the fields ablaze with a strong katon.

As dejected as Izumi had been when she got the news, she was more pissed off.

She thought she could do some good teaching the next generation of shinobi. She had all of the right credentials and was recommended by her former sensei and several of her past squad leaders.

And yet she was told to apply for the military police force.

None of it made sense to her.

Izumi had done what was suggested of her and requested  permission to enroll into the force, only to be shot down by the police chief.

“But Fugaku-sama…” Izumi gawked at her shredded application form. He had ripped it up almost immediately after she had presented it to him in the privacy of his office.

“It’s not that you aren’t skilled enough to join the force.” Fugaku dusted the scraps of paper off of his desk and into a bin underneath. “But it wouldn’t benefit you to join when it’s not what you want. And it would negatively affect whatever squad you were placed in anyway.”

She knew he was right about everything. He had done her a favor in not accepting her application.

“I have a mission in a couple of days,” Izumi informed Hana. She had been looking forward to going on a mission. She felt more useful performing her duty to her village and she needed more time away from her overbearing boys.

“You know as soon as you leave,” Hana crossed her arms in front of her chest and scowled at the ceiling, “Shunshin no Shisui is going to just materialize in my office, right?”

“That sounds like a personal problem.”

“What? No! Izumi!” Hana cried after her but it was too late. She had taken a page out of her boyfriend’s book and flickered out of the office before Hana could prevent her from escaping.

No sooner had she left, Shisui was occupying the seat she had just vacated,

“So, how is she doing?”

“Get out of my clinic!”


Sakura hummed as she adjusted the cards in her hands, and shimmied her shoulders in joy. Sasuke narrowed his eyes at the unnecessary action. She had so little cards in her hand after the last play.

“Can we just call the game already?” Naruto whined, slumping over more as he cradled his head in his hands, elbows propped on his knees. “It’s obviously Sakura-chan’s win. Again. Why do we even bother playing koi-koi when we know she’s just going to wipe the floor with us?”

“Shut up, loser.”

The three of them had been playing, alternating between them to play the winner of the previous match. Sakura had let the two of them play first, but after Naruto lost and she switched in she had yet to be beat.

Naruto had gotten bored of losing and had pulled out a scroll on basic sealing techniques his mother had demanded he study. He would occasionally go cross eyed as he read and groan out of frustration. Being more of a hands on learner, Naruto loathed anything that required reading through material.

“What time was the meeting supposed to end?” Naruto asked as he stuffed his scroll back into his weapons pouch.

“Half an hour ago,” Sasuke answered without looking up. He growled, low in his throat as Sakura ended the game in the next play.

“I think he ditched us to hang out with his girlfriend.” Sakura packed up the cards and tucked them into her knapsack.

“Someone’s actually willing to go out with him?” Sasuke snorted before standing up and offering a hand out to Sakura to help her stand up.

“Rin-nee-chan isn’t his girlfriend,” Naruto protested puffing his cheeks out in a pout.

“Let it go, Naruto.” Sasuke frowned at the way Naruto shook his head adamantly. “Obito got over it, why can’t you?”

Naruto crossed his arms in front of his chest and turned his back on his teammates. Sakura rolled her eyes and dusted dirt of the back of her qipao dress. Sasuke nodded his head toward the training grounds and Sakura followed him.

“Wait! Don’t leave me,” Naruto whined chasing after them. He threw his body forward wrapping his arms around their necks. “Let’s go get something to eat.”

“You just ate your bento.” Sakura scowled and ducked under his arm, bringing it around his back and pinning his fist to the center of his back. “How do you stay so skinny when you eat enough for three people?”

“I’m not skinny,” Naruto grumbled as he pulled out of her hold. He adjusted the baggy jacket around his form. “Where are we going?”

“To train.” Sasuke stuck his hands in his pockets as he lead them away from the red bridge they used as their meeting spot. “We don’t need him for that. He can find us when he’s ready to be a teacher.”


Kakashi found them half an hour later at training ground three. His little genin had the nerve to leave their post when he had ordered them to wait for him.

Sasuke and Naruto were in the middle of the spar, the latter grumbling and shrieking out complaints whenever Sasuke knocked him on his back. Sakura sat at the edge by their gear, knees pulled up to her chest watching them. Kakashi observed as her eyes shifted quickly through Sasuke and Naruto’s stances.

“What do you see?” Kakashi asked, eyes narrowed as Sakura mouthed words to herself.

“Naruto falters on his weak side. A half sec hesitation when he has to use his left arm to block or punch.”

“That makes sense, he’s right handed.” Kakashi crossed his arms in front of his chest and watched the boys. “And Sasuke?”

“If Naruto paid attention for once,” Sakura muttered, “he would notice that Sasuke isn’t taking him seriously. And use that to his advantage.”

Kakashi nodded. Sakura had noticed how Sasuke wasn’t holding a proper guard, not protecting his weaker side.

“Sasuke’s ambidextrous but he’s not even bothering to guard his left.” Sakura turned to face Kakashi properly. “You didn’t know he was ambidextrous, did you?”

Ignoring the question━an answer he didn’t want to give━Kakashi took mental notes on his genin. Sasuke was exactly what he expected, well rounded but cocky. Naruto had the lowest scores out of his squadmates except for in taijutsu in which he beat out Sakura for most of his time at the Academy. He had a lot to learn and needed to focus more but he inherited the large Uzumaki chakra reserves from his mother.

And then there was Sakura. An Academy graduate from a civilian family with low field scores and high test scores.

At least her observation skills are good.

He had noticed it during the bell test. Sakura found the flaws in his genjutsu easily. Kakashi had made use of her slight autophobia━something he had discovered when he shadowed the potential graduates━and created an illusion where she had been abandoned, left behind.

She was an ordinary girl. She loved to hang out with her friends, enjoyed getting dolled up, and was occasionally too smart for her own good.

And he had no idea what to do with her.

“Girls really aren’t that hard,” Rin had huffed, disappointed in him. She shook her head, short brown hair swirling and whipping her cheeks. “You’re just not trying.”

“Wanna spar?”

Kakashi raised an eyebrow and watched as Sasuke offered Sakura a hand. She nodded enthusiastically and took his hand.

“Don’t hurt, Sakura-chan!” Naruto threatened Sasuke with a wave of his fist.

Sasuke brushed him off with an eye roll and he and Sakura took their spot where he and Naruto had previously been sparing.

She’s too slow, Kakashi noted as Sakura advanced on Sasuke. But has a decent defense.

Unlike with Naruto, Sasuke brought up his guard even as he continued to rain kicks and punches down on Sakura. There was a wary look on his face as Sakura continued to block his attacks. A harsh kick to the ribs had Sakura collapsing. She cried out and Sasuke flinched at the sound. The moment he dropped his guard, Sakura braced her hands on the ground and swiped her legs out in a low kick, knocking Sasuke to the ground with her.

She pretended the attack hurt her more than it actually did. Kakashi watched as she pounced on Sasuke but was knocked back after he made a quick recovery. Dirty. But smart. Especially considering she knows her opponent.

The match ended quicker than he had hoped it would last but Sasuke had Sakura pinned and she gave in after struggling to break free. Kakashi spotted the weakness in Sasuke’s hold but he was waiting for Sakura to find it herself. It would have been another dirty move, but extremely effective on the boy.

Especially with his obvious crush on her, Kakashi sighed inwardly.

“You should have called the match earlier,” Naruto grumbled, glaring at the two of them. He jutted his jaw out and tapped his foot in a quick beats. It took all of three seconds before he was shouting. “Get off of her!”

Though I guess he’s not as obvious as Naruto. I can’t with kids.

Kakashi pulled his book out of his weapons pouch and got busy catching up on where he left off as the three of them got into a shouting match.

How much longer until they’re eligible for a promotion again?


Fugaku was the lightest sleeper in his family. No one could move around the house without stirring him awake.

Which was why he was climbing out of his futon and tucking the sheets around his wife at a quarter past one in the morning.

He knew Itachi wasn’t home but he checked his bedroom regardless. Empty as it should have been.

“Hm?”

The sound of the washer lid creaking alerted him to where the earlier disruption had taken off to. Passing Sasuke’s open bedroom door, he noticed his youngest was missing, as well as his bed sheets.

What could he be doing?

As quietly as possible, Fugaku made his way to first level of the house and back around to where the bathroom was located. In the entryway to the closed off bath, Sasuke was reading the back of the box of laundry detergent.

“Sasuke?”

Sasuke jumped at the sound of his father’s voice, almost dropping the box. He looked up at his father and then back at the box nervously.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” Sasuke answered quickly. “I’m going to bed soon.”

Fugaku gave his son another once over and noticed he had different shorts than he had put on earlier before bed. And then he remembered his son was going to be turning thirteen soon.

Oh.

Coughing into his hand uncomfortably, Fugaku took the box of detergent out of his son’s hands.

“You have to measure it out and put into the machine as the water runs. It helps to make sure the soap doesn’t sit in one part of the wash. You also need to use the stain remover powder.” Fugaku adjusted the dials on top of the machine. “Your mother prefers to use hot water on soiled sheets.”

Sasuke’s face scrunched up in disgust and Fugaku slapped the back of his head.

“She cares for an elderly man, Sasuke,” He reminded him before continuing to help him with his laundry. “I can take care of the rest. You need to go back to sleep.”

“But, I…” Sasuke shifted on the balls of his feet, eyes flickering from the machine to his father’s face.

“I’ll put them in the dryer and wait for them to finish their run. Your mother won’t find them on the clothes line.”

Sasuke let out a shaky exhale in relief. He wrung his hands in the hem of his sleep shirt and he shifted his gaze from the doorway and back to Fugaku.

“You’re not going to tell her…are you?”

“Your mother doesn’t need to know everything,” Fugaku promised.

“Thanks, dad.”

Fugaku listened to the shuffling of Sasuke’s feet as he made his way down the hall and back up the stairs to his bedroom. It wasn’t until he heard the door to his bedroom that Fugaku groaned into his hand before wiping it down his face.

Itachi had never given him this kind of problem to deal with.

Differential Chapter 11

Chapter Eleven: And So It Begins

Sakura’s eyebrows drew down and she grumbled into the pillow. She made a low whining sound until Sasuke pulled up his quilt over her shoulders. He stroked down the curve of her spine and she sighed, snuggling her face against his pillow.

Sasuke traced the line of her spine down to the cleft of her butt. He paused for a moment there and then began a path lower until Sakura spoke up.

“I’m not that tired. You go anywhere near there and I’ll punch you in the throat.”

Ignoring her, he flattened his palm and squeezed.

“Hey!” Sakura reached over and pinched his arm.

Sasuke sighed and turned his head to where his alarm clock sat. Or had once sat. The space at the head of his bed was empty, all of the items having fallen off earlier. He had probably knocked them off when he held onto the headboard to keep it from smacking into the wall.

Or when he tossed Sakura up onto the bed.

He knew it wasn’t the smartest place to perch his things but it kept him from having to hop off of his bed to turn off his alarm.

“What time is it?” Sakura murmured, rolling onto her side. She curled into him, sliding a leg between his. Sasuke drew her in closer, tucking her head under his chin. She would have been warmer if she got up to put her clothes on but she had a habit of lying around naked in the aftermath.

Sasuke wasn’t sure if he enjoyed that or not. Her nudity was counterproductive to things he wanted to get done.

“Not sure. My alarm clock fell.”

Sasuke felt her head shift against his body and then heard her snort.

“Your glasses are all foggy on one side.”

“Yeah that happens.”

“I should get going,” she exhaled, but made no move to leave. Instead she curled back into Sasuke, wrapping an arm around his waist.

It was quiet for few minutes and Sasuke was sure she had gone to sleep.

“Oi.” He shook her shoulder gently. “You can’t stay here naked. My roommate is going to come back eventually.”

Shino had been preparing a mug of something when Sasuke was pulling Sakura into his suite style dorm. Sakura was barely a foot inside when Shino was taking his mug and his cellphone and leaving. Sasuke could only assume he went as far as one of the dorm building’s communal areas considering he had shuffled out in his house slippers.

Sasuke wasn’t even sure if Shino had remembered to take his key card for their dorm. He would have to text him when Sakura left.

“I don’t wanna go back yet,” Sakura mumbled against his chest, lips brushing on his skin. “Ino and Sai are watching one of those ocean documentaries.”

“You like wild life documentaries.”

“Yeah, but Ino doesn’t. So who knows when documentary and chill will slip into the chill part of the evening.”

“Documentary and Chill?” Sasuke snorted. Leave it to Sakura to call it something as dorky as that.

“Don’t laugh, it’s cute!” Sakura insisted, slapping him lightly on the chest. “She’s trying so hard with this guy and when have you seen Ino put any real effort for anyone before?”

He had to think back to their middle school days. He wasn’t very fond of Ino but if Sakura was there then so was she. Of course it didn’t take long to realize that the girl had developed an annoying crush on him.

She had even forced herself to drink almond milk just because she thought Sasuke would like that she was considerate of his dietary needs. For weeks she suffered through dairy alternatives only to find out that he wasn’t the one that was lactose intolerant.

Then why do you drink it? It’s gross.” Ino wrinkled her nose and squirmed in her seat as if she needed to get as far away as possible from his cafeteria soy milk.

You would think they would carry more alternatives to milk considering how common it is to be lactose intolerant.” Sakura set her tray down with huff. “And why does orange juice count as one of my fruit and vegetable portions? I’m already underweight for my age group as it is without them taking away one of my sources of nutrients. School lunch is ridiculous!”

Wordlessly, Sasuke offered her his carton of soy milk. He pushed it with a finger, sliding it across the table top until it hit Sakura’s tray.

He always arrived to the cafeteria sooner than the two of them considering they always ran off to the restroom together when their Algebra teacher released them for their lunch break.

What they needed to do in the bathroom for so long he would never know.

Looking up to check that Sakura accepted the carton was a mistake. He found himself in the receiving end of one of Ino Yamanaka’s looks. The kind that usually had one of her other best friends heading in the opposite direction.

She kept her eyes on him as she bit into one of Sakura’s carrots.

“Pig! Did you not hear my rant literally five seconds ago about my weight?”

“You’re the only ballerina I know that worries that she’s too skinny.”

Rolling her eyes, she focused her attention on Sakura instead and tried to coax her into sharing one of the big chocolate chip cookies with her.

“You even have your milk now to wash it down that was sooo generously given to you by Sasuke sweetie.”

“Don’t call me that.” Sasuke stood up, pulling his legs up from over the attached stool.

There was only so much time he could spend in Ino Yamanaka’s presence. Her only redeeming quality was that she had instantly become friends with Sakura who had moved up a grade level and didn’t have any friends in their class yet.

“Where are you going?” Ino demanded. Sasuke did what he always did when it came to her and continued as if she never spoke up.

“Sasuke?”

This time it was Sakura and with her it was always more difficult to pretend he hadn’t heard her. He paused in the middle of cleaning up his lunch tray and reluctantly answered the question hidden in the call of his name.

“Library.”

“Wait for us!” Ino continued to call after him. She was awfully persistent. Sasuke didn’t acknowledge her and just grabbed his backpack.

“Save us some seats,” Sakura chirped up, not even bothering to look up from rearranging her food on her tray in the order she was going to eat it.

“Yeah, yeah,” he answered her.

“He blew me off again,” he heard Ino complaining to Sakura. “You need to help me figure out what kind of girls he likes.”

He hadn’t heard Sakura’s response at the time. He had picked up the pace, increasing the distance between him and the girls, not wanting to hear Sakura offer her assistance.

“So what are you going to do then?”

They could clean up and go find something to do on campus. Even take the shuttle out to somewhere deeper in the city.

Sasuke had expected Sakura to avoid him when they returned to campus. It would have been karmic payback if she had decided that after coming back from holiday break that she would pretend nothing had happened.

He had prepared himself for that outcome. Sasuke spent the two hour drive back to the city avoiding taking too many glances at his sleepy passenger. If it weren’t for her sleepy sighs and half murmurs that caused his eyes to stray from the road he wouldn’t have believed she was there. Sakura could have made any excuse to avoid being trapped in a car with him, could have tried to stuff all of her things into Ino’s car and driven back with the chatty girl or even beg her parents to drop her off at KU themselves.

But she hadn’t.

“Can I sleep for like a week?” Sakura whined, shifting so that she was resting on her stomach. “I’m worn out.”

“You did ask to be worked out.”

Sakura propped herself up so she was resting on her forearms and gaped at him, mouth opening and closing like a fish.

“Th-that is not what I said!” She spluttered, cheeks burning a hot pink. “Geez..no one would believe me if I told them how dirty you are.”

“Would you tell anyone?”

“Hmm?” Sakura hummed, settling back under his quilt.

Sasuke shook his head. The afterglow was not the moment to bring up that conversation.

He watched as she curled up, making her body as compact as possible to keep warm. She nuzzled her face against his chest and sighed.

“I’m not ready for this semester at all. I have to start my shadowing hours now because I finished all of my pre-requisites last semester.”

“How many hours do you have to do?”

Sasuke curled an arm around her waist and pulled her closer. Even though it was winter he still got really warm and kept the heater lower than Sakura liked. She would whine a little and then seek out the warmth of his body.

“I gotta split it between medical related and non-medical related shadowing and then I have to do something medical related that’s not just shadowing. It’s split like ten hours and then five each of the other two categories to round up to twenty hours.”

Sakura groaned and pressed her face into his chest more so that her lips moved against Sasuke’s skin with her words.

“I have to do that every semester from now on on top of everything. I’m going to have no life!”

She grumbled softly, only easing out of her frustration when Sasuke dug his fingers into her hair and massaged her scalp. She exhaled and murmured against his skin.

“At least I finished the reading for UNIV. I hate when they assign reading over the semester breaks.”

Sasuke tensed up at that and paused his massaging circles.

“…you didn’t do the reading did you?”

“I was kind of busy all break.”

Sasuke could feel the skin on his chest warm up just from the contact with Sakura’s face.

“I had my hands full.” He slid his hand lower on her back and downward, cupping the curve of her backside. “Really full.”

“Pervert.” Sakura nudged him until she was free of his hold.

Sasuke fell back against the mattress and watched as she settled one knee on each side of his hips and straddled him. He watched curiously as she nestled his cock between her folds and dragged herself back and forth up the length. He gripped her hips and guided her grinding.

“We should try me on top again,” Sakura suggested with a swivel of her hips.

“Are you forgetting what happened last,” Sasuke exhaled deeply, unsuccessfully hiding a moan as she added more pressure and increased the friction, “time?”

“I’m sure I can accommodate for our size differences this time.” Sakura braced her hands on his sternum and swiveled her hips again. “I’ll just go slow.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“I’m not the impatient one here.” Sakura clucked her tongue at him. “You practically threw me against the wall trying to get me in bed.”

“You’re annoying,” Sasuke panted, covering his eyes with an arm. He didn’t want to get worked up just for her to end up in the fetal position and cursing him again.

“Bet I’m not so annoying when you’re rammed all the way up my—”

Annoying,” Sasuke hissed, grabbing her hips to halt her movements. “We can’t anyway. That was the last condom earlier.”

There had only been one time they had been irresponsible—the day against the washing machine in the Haruno house—and Sasuke wasn’t having anymore repeats. The drive to the pharmacy for an emergency contraceptive was awkward enough, he wasn’t going through the ordeal again by walking to the campus health center.

“Hmm,” Sakura hummed, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “I can use my mouth.”

“No you can’t,” Sasuke groaned. Sakura was attempting to fight the hold of his hands and kept moving her hips back and forth. She was going to be the death of him. “I’m covered in lube from the condom.”

“Right. Ick.”

“What happened to being tired?” Sasuke muttered, rolling Sakura off of his lap. He was already irritated that he had forgotten about the assigned reading and now he had a throbbing erection to deal with.

“The reminder that I’m probably going to be too busy for anything once the semester starts gave me a rush of adrenaline.”

Sakura stretched her arms over her head before sitting up and hopping off of his bed.

“Where’s my stuff?” She picked up her underwear up on top of Sasuke’s printer and slipped it on. “You have a printer? And I’ve been paying to print stuff at the library?”

“You use my printer, you help pay for ink.” Sasuke rolled onto his side and watched as she gathered her belongings from where they had landed around the room.

He chose not to remind her that their first three semesters at KU was spent avoiding each other unless it was absolutely necessary to interact.

“That’s still a better deal than fighting people just to get to one that works at the library.”

Silently agreeing, Sasuke finally slid off from his bed and grabbed his clothing as well. He was hesitant to ask if she wanted to do anything else but he could at least walk her down to the lobby.

“Give me a sec,” he told her as she shrugged on her coat.

“You don’t have to come down with me. I’m sure you wanna you know,” Her eyes shifted down to his crotch and then back to his face, cheeks turning pink, “clean up.”

Sasuke gave her an unimpressed look and slipped on his boxer briefs. Sakura shook her head and used his arm as a support as she stood on her toes planting a chaste kiss on his lips.

“Besides, you can’t waste any time you should be using to do your reading,” she said in a singsong.

“Shit,” Sasuke breathed out. He had almost forgotten about it again.

“Good night, Sasuke.” She stood on her toes one more time to give him a kiss and this time he returned it, before she shuffled out of his door.

He listened to the sound of the door to the suite open and closed before he searched the room for the rest of his clothes. He picked up everything that had fallen, including his cell phone which gratefully hasn’t sustained any damage from falling from the height of the dorm bed.

The first thing he noticed was a missing call from Kiba Inuzuka and a few texts from him and one from Shino.

Considering Shino had been Kiba’s penpal and Kiba had introduced them to each other when Sasuke needed to find a roommate, Sasuke wouldn’t have been surprised if Shino has mentioned to Kiba that Sasuke had a girl over.

I don’t have the energy to deal with this, Sasuke grumbled inwardly, swiping away the notifications. He sent a quick text to Shino to inform him that he was able to come back to their room but tossed his phone on his bed ignoring Kiba’s texts.

He was sure Kiba would try to contact him again the following day. He was like Naruto that way, persistent as hell, but at least he gave him the space after the first few attempts. He just happened to come back like a dog that would keep after it’s owner.

If Shino had described the girl he had been with Kiba would know that it was Sakura and that would explain all of the texts. He would just have to hope that right now was one of those periods that Kiba was annoyed with Naruto and wouldn’t bring up anything to him. That was last person Sasuke wanted to know about what was going on with him and Sakura.

Whatever it was that was going on.

It was still confusing but he did know what it would be disastrous if everyone else knew what had been going on between them before he could clearly define for himself what it was. He was going to need to deal with that soon.

But first, a shower.


Karin was humming and usually that was a bad sign especially before she had any caffeine in her system, but Sakura couldn’t help but find her cute.

When she had come back from her date she had burst through the door of Ino and Sakura’s room and practically launched herself on top of Sakura’s bed. At first Sakura thought she was upset but Karin had just laid there with a dreamy expression on her face. It had clearly been a good night.

She was in such a good mood she didn’t even care about having to wake up early the following Monday for the first day of classes which annoyed Sakura who was still upset over her new packed schedule.

“Where are you off to now?” Sakura questioned as she wrapped her infinity scarf around her neck.

“Comp-Sci. I’ll probably run into Sasuke ‘cause we gotta take most of the same classes.” Karin reached over and adjusted Sakura’s beanie. “Can’t wait to bug him all semester.”

“Ughh, I gotta go to Orgo. Ino has it on different days but we have the same professor so that’s something at least.”

“Why? Because it makes it easier to help her study for tests?”

“Exactly.”

Karin snickered and swung her backpack over her shoulder. Ino had been a brat the entire night before because unfortunately for her, she had no choice but to take her Organic Chemistry class in the morning.

“You want to grab a real lunch today or just get some doughnuts?”

“Doughnuts require more walking but I’m also craving some real bad.” Sakura took out her planner and groaned. “I can’t. I have UNIV after Orgo.”

“Sucks to suck,” Karin taunted her. “I’m completely free today after Comp-Sci.”

Sakura clasped her hands together and pouted. Karin rolled her eyes and nodded. Sakura threw her arms around her torso and squeezed her tight.

“Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” Sakura lifted Karin up and put her back down. “Make sure to grab some of the maple bacon ones please. And french crullers, those are my favorite.”

“You owe me!” Karin shouted after her but Sakura just waved back at her as she rushed out of the building to make her way to the one housing her class.


Sasuke had half a mind to skip his UNIV class. He had wasted so much energy on spending an entire two hour class with Karin. When he saw her enter the computer lab he had tried to hide behind his monitor but it was too late. She had noticed he was in the room faster than he could duck and she made a beeline straight to the only computer available next to him.

Sasuke always chose the most inconvenient seat so that he would only have to deal with one neighbor. It didn’t matter where he sat, he would learn just fine.

Not that it deterred Karin from taking the seat right next to him.

He was already tired from the phone call with Kiba the night before. He had teased him in between bouts of barely concealed snickering that they could double date but congratulated him. That was the better part of the phone call before Kiba started complaining about Naruto and how he was moping and being clingy because Gaara wouldn’t even look at him.

“That’s not my problem,” Sasuke had told him before hanging up. Kiba of course had attempted to call back repeatedly but gave up finally after the fifth time he reached Sasuke’s voicemail.

He would have skipped but he knew better than to waste any of his allowed absences on the first day of the semester.

Sasuke had finally opened up the assigned reading and read the section he was meant to have read by the first day of classes. There was a small voice in the back of his mind reminding him that Sakura had already read it and that there was a high chance that she had actually finished reading the entire text and made annotations.

The only positive of the mandatory UNIV class was that it counted as the English credits he would need for his degree without actually taking any English courses.

As soon as he entered the lecture hall he headed straight for the back row. It was the least recommended section to be in but it almost always ensured that he wouldn’t be sitting next to anyone unless it was a large class. Even then he would only have one seat neighbor considering he sat in the very last seat in the row.

One by one his classmates filed in, choosing seats as close to the front as possible. Feeling secure in his decision he pulled out his text and notebook from his messenger bag and reviewed what he had read the day before.

“What? You didn’t finish the reading yet?”

Sasuke shifted his gaze to the right and caught Sakura pulling out her materials from her backpack. As soon as she had everything she needed out, she shifted in her seat so that she was facing him.

“Hey,” she greeted him. “Fancy meeting you here.”

For the first time since high school, Sakura Haruno was in one of his classes.

Mirepoix Chapter 3

Chapter Three: Exposed

Sakura scanned the shift schedule one more time. She squinted at the board willing it to look differently.

“Everyone’s working on the fourteenth.” She frowned at the board. “Not a single staff member is off…”

“It’s always like that.” A soft voice just behind her almost made her jump.

The pleasantly plump pastry chef was just behind her, pulling at her long dark hair. Sakura never had a chance to speak to her before but always got the impression that she looked a bit like the petit fours she made. She mainly kept to herself and her station and if it weren’t for the occasional moments when Sasuke would shout at her for moving too slowly, Sakura would forget she was even there.

“Oh, it’s you Hinata.”

“No one ever gets off on Valentine’s Day. It’s our busiest day of the year.”

“That seems a little unfair. What if you wanted to spend the holiday with your boyfriend?”

“You would need to get a boyfriend first, forehead girl.” Ino tossed her jacket over Sakura’s head and immediately started stripping. Hinata pulled her hood over head and covered her eyes.

“This is a mixed gender locker room.” Sakura tossed the jacket back over Ino’s head.

“It’s nothing anyone here hasn’t seen before.” Tenten, the brunette Ino had told Sakura worked as the boucher, opened up her locker next to Ino’s and stuffed her bag.

“You know you like what you see,” Ino teased, reaching over and tickling Tenten’s sides.

“I’ve never been into blondes.” Tenten smacked Ino’s arms away, trying to catch her breath. “Or girls taller than me.”

Tenten pulled out her smock and slid her arms into the sleeves. After she was done she pulled up her pigtails and styled them into twin buns.

“Wait,” Sakura whispered to Ino, “I thought she and Neji were a thing. They always head home together.”

“Nah, they’re just roommates. But I’m sure Neji has a thing for her. Must suck being hung up on someone that━”

“Neji isn’t interested in women,” Hinata interrupted. This time Sakura did jump. For some reason she thought Hinata had walked out already. “He’s just protective of her and vice versa due to solidarity. People tend to make that mistake.”

“You need a bell or something,” Sakura muttered, embarrassed.

“Kiba says that all of the time.”

“Well guess I should expect to hear some griping from Naruto,” Sakura sighed, feeling exhausted already. The boy was a ball of energy and was always talking her ear off whether she actually paid attention to him or not. “He probably won’t be able to see his boyfriend that day either.”

“Boyfriend?” Ino cocked her quizzically as she adjusted her bandana on her head. “Naruto doesn’t have a boyfriend.”

“What?” Sakura rubbed her eyes with her thumb and forefinger. “I could have sworn the produce delivery guy was his boyfriend.”

Ino burst into a fit of laughter and wrapped an arm around Hinata’s shoulders.

“No he’s just super friendly so people think he’s always flirting. Wanna hear something scandalous, Sakura?”

“Ino, no!” Hinata cried. Her voice was louder than Sakura had ever heard it.

“That dumbass hooked up with Hinata on New Year’s Eve. They both got drunk and headed to his place after our staff party.”

Hinata glared at Ino but the effect was lost with her round cheeks puffing out and blooming pink. It was more of a pout than anything.

Sakura tried to recall anything about Naruto that would give her the impression that he was dating the pastry chef. She caught him being friendlier than he should and begging her for treats but nothing that she would call romantic.

“Don’t worry about it.” Ino waved her hand dismissively. “It gets confusing. Right, Hinata?”

Hinata sighed and worried her lip.

“I keep thinking he’s asking me on dates but Kiba or someone else usually tags along.”

It was the most disgruntled Sakura had seen her and it made her want to pinch Hinata’s cheek. She and Neji looked so similar but she was so soft that any familial similarities in appearance still made it difficult to tie the two as cousins.

“Well at least Hinata has someone to be confused about.” Ino patted the top of Hinata’s head. “Unlike Sakura.”

“I’m too busy to date,” Sakura huffed.

It wasn’t a lie. She was still a student and all of her free time went to work shifts, studying, and clinicals. Nursing school was enough stress as it was and dating just wasn’t an option.

Sakura never liked hook up culture and had deleted the dating app she had been using. One too many pricks messaging her and the “safe” men she did end up going out with had her turned off from even attempting to put herself out there.

“Yeah, sure.” Ino snorted. “You just don’t want to put any effort.”

“Says the woman who ended up dating a coworker.” Sakura adjusted her tie and grabbed her apron.

“That’s completely different,” Ino grunted as she shimmied out of her skinny jeans to change into her work slacks. “Chefs have, like, no life. You just choose to not have one.”

“I do not,” Sakura denied. “Stop making me look bad in front of Hinata.”

Sakura peered out of her peripheral to where the woman had been standing but the spot was empty.

“When did she━? I swear she was just in here.”

“She does that a lot. Especially when she’s avoiding someone. You’ll get used to it.” Ino had barely pulled out a fresh t-shirt from her backpack when Sasuke had walked into the locker room.

He walked straight to his locker and pulled out his cell phone, typed something, and then put it back. Without even glancing over at Ino he slipped out of the locker room like he had never entered in the first place.

Sakura gestured to the doorway and then back to Ino’s shirtless body. Ino cocked her hip and crossed her arms in front of her sports bra covered chest and snickered at Sakura’s floundering.

“Yeah, the man doesn’t even flinch. I might as well be one of the lockers.” Ino finally pulled her shirt over her head and shrugged her smock over it. “It was a little insulting at first. Would have kept being insulting if he weren’t like that with everyone.”

“With just women or━?”

Everyone,” Ino insisted. “He’s the definition of not having a life.”

“Oh,” she muttered dully.

That wasn’t surprising at all to Sakura. In the few weeks that she had been working at Wisteria Place, no matter how late she stayed past all of the employees and even Ms. Kato, Sasuke was always the last to leave. It could be one in the morning and she was dragging her weary feet and he would be in his office going over paperwork or giving the kitchen one last inventory check.

It was one of the rare moments he seemed almost relaxed. There was no shouting or glares.

Sakura found it a shame he wasn’t like that usually. He was pretty cute that way.

Not that she had time to think about that.


“Neji’s doing that thing again,” Sakura chatted away with Ino as she picked up her food. “Is it really that big of a deal what wine you drink with your meal?”

“Trust me, it is.” Ino nodded seriously and leaned over the service counter. “Don’t let him hear you ask that or he’ll make you go to a seminar.”

“Is it really that bad?”

“I’ll help you with that later. Now,” Ino tapped a bowl with her short nails, “take the soups to the diners.”

“You just wanna wine me up,” Sakura teased her as she grabbed her dishes.

“Oh, you know it.” Ino winked back flirtatiously. She giggled to herself as she plated for service.

Because of work and Sakura being in school she barely got to see her friend. Ino jumped at the chance at bringing Sakura to Wisteria Place when she needed a job. Now they could joke back and forth and talk during breaks.

Ino hadn’t been kidding earlier when she had called Sakura out on not putting any effort to have a social life.

I swear she’s as bad as Chef Uchiha, Ino grumbled inwardly, refusing to flinch as Sasuke barked an order across the kitchen.

At least he was yelling.

It was worse when he wasn’t.

“Quit distracting Haruno,” Sasuke scolded. “You can’t afford to waste time either.”

A “yes chef” was on the tip of her tongue but she  bit back the words, her mind working double time on his earlier statement.

“Oh,” Ino turned to him and gave him a sly smile, “you called a waitress by name.”

“Get back to work.”

Ino couldn’t even feel bad about being shouted at. She just hummed to herself as she made sure all of the plates were clean and ready for service.


Sighing to herself, Sakura massaged the base of her neck where it met her shoulders and rolled her neck. She hadn’t expected to take so long to fold the cloth napkins, but one of the waitresses had a family emergency and left her alone after the rest of the wait staff had left for the night.

“We could switch tasks if you would like to complain,” Neji had warned her off from whining about how many napkins there had been to fold. He had been helping until it was time to gather all of the written checks and match them with what was input into the computer system.

He had left earlier when Tenten dragged him away insisting they hit a club. Neji looked absolutely scandalized when Tenten had mentioned opening up his dating app and “shaking out the cobwebs” in front of Sakura but she pretended she hadn’t heard a thing.

Just because she lacked any sort of sex life didn’t mean she would tease others for theirs.

She should have gone home earlier when Ino insisted. Neji had reminded her that the first shift wait staff could finish up folding napkins but she wasn’t ready to head home yet. Ino and Sai looked so cute walking with their arms linked as they left the restaurant that she didn’t want to intrude and be the third wheel.

They were just as busy as she was and it was difficult for them to get any time alone between working at Wisteria Place and Sai’s time as a resident artist.

If we had showers here that would have been great.

Sakura sighed heavily as she reached behind her back and untied her apron and made her way to the locker room. She couldn’t wait to be home so she could wash away all of the sweat and grime that accumulated throughout her shift.

Going to have to take some uniforms to the cleaners.

Sakura shimmied her shoulders to shrug her button down shirt off. Being the last one to leave at the end of the night had the wonderful perk of privacy. She hated wearing her work clothes on public transportation. Unbuttoning her slacks, she let them drop to the floor before bending over at the waist to pick them up. A cough had her snapping back up quickly.

She spun around and clutched her pants to her body to cover up as much of herself as possible.

“Chef Uchiha!” Sakura squeaked, slamming backward into the lockers. “Oowww!”

She had forgotten about her still healing bruise. It no longer bothered her except when she applied too much pressure to the area. She reached around to soothe the area, wincing at the throbbing.

“Oh, shit.”

Sakura felt a hand gripping her upper arm and another reaching for her hip when she dropped her pants to push Sasuke away.

“No, I’m good! I’m really, really good!” Sakura continued to push until he took a step back. “Just, please, leave.”

“Right.” Sasuke nodded and averted his gaze. “Just let me know when you’re done.”

As soon as he exited the locker room, closing the door on his way out, Sakura fell back against the lockers and slid down onto the cool linoleum floor.“Oh. My. Fucking. God.”

Differential Chapter 10

Chapter Ten: “Exercise”

“And the asshole actually pointed it out!”

Sakura bit on the rim of her paper coffee cup to hold back her laughter. Karin had finally got back to their dorm and the three of them were taking a break from helping her unpack to grab some coffee and doughnuts.

“I know I gained weight during the holidays. Sai didn’t have to bring it up. It really killed the mood.”

“Why are you complaining? It mostly went straight to your tits and ass,” Karin snickered.

“Okay but I would gladly trade with you if it meant I wouldn’t gain weight.”

“I wish I gained weight,” Karin muttered biting down on the straw of her frappe. “But then again, I’m also glad that I don’t actually need to wear a bra.”

“Yeah on second thought, I’m glad I’m not as flat as a board.”

Ino side stepped around Sakura to avoid Karin clawing at her. She used her longer legs to take long strides away from her. Karin gave up and sidled up next to Sakura, hooking her arm with hers.

“I’m surprised you aren’t bitching about weight gain.” Karin nudged Sakura. “You’re usually off on a run twice a day because of some imaginary pudge on your thighs and butt.”

“Yeah!” Ino strolled back, closing the distance she had created. She took hold of Sakura’s face between her thumb and fingers and squeezed her cheeks. “And your face is usually all rounded out after eating too many sweets ‘cause you went back home. But you’re actually kind of….glowing?”

“I just exercised a lot.”

Ino and Karin burst out in laughter earning them both a glare from Sakura.

“You never exercise during the holidays.” Ino wiped at her eye with the heel of her palm. “You turn into slug mode and then end up with chipmunk cheeks after they’re over.”

“Well, I was good this year.” Sakura tossed her hair over her shoulder and kept her chin up.

“That or naughty,” Karin snickered. Her laughter died out when she realized that Sakura hadn’t vocally reacted to what she had said. Usually she would be protesting and tell her to get her mind out of the gutter.

“Hold this for a sec.” Sakura held out her paper cup toward Ino.

“Uh, sure?” Ino took the cup and as soon as she had a proper hold of it, Sakura took off running across the campus courtyard.

“What the hell!?” Karin shrieked. She wasn’t going to attempt to chase Sakura. Despite her shorter legs, Sakura was faster than even Ino.

“Forehead get back here!”

Sakura leapt over a short hedge and continued until she went around the corner of a building and was out of sight.

“Oh wow, she really didn’t want to have this conversation.” Karin tapped her chin with a finger. “Suspicious.”

“What the fuck am I supposed to do with her latte? I hate soy milk.” Ino took a sip of Sakura’s latte and gagged.

“Give me. It’s free caffeine.”

“You’ve got a serious problem.” Ino grimaced as Karin downed Sakura’s leftover latte in one gulp.

“I do actually. I wanted to talk to you guys about my date coming up but the little ho just took off running.”

“Oh. Right. That bartender you said you’ve been texting a lot.” Ino stuffed her hands into her peacoat pockets. “The one that doesn’t know how old you actually are.”

“I think she’s smart enough to have figured out my age when she walked me to the dorm but, like, I don’t want her to back off because I’m not even legal to drink yet.”

Karin sighed, tucking her face into the collar of her bubble coat. She knew it was a chance that Tenten would be turned off due to the fact she hadn’t cleared up that one little fact.

Why do I always have to be into older people? Karin grumbled inwardly.

When she was younger she had a crush on Sasuke that had lasted the fifteen minutes it took Itachi to come home from hanging out with his friends. Karin had followed Sasuke around the whole summer in the hopes of getting some of his older brother’s attention but any kindness he shared was due to her being a family friend.

The summer before she graduated from high school she had gotten a job as a lifeguard and developed a crush on her manager who was twice her age. Almost all of the employees knew she had a crush on the older woman but the age gap was too large for anyone to take Karin’s infatuation seriously.

“So, what? You’re just going to keep using your fake for the entirety of your relationship?”

“Nah. We’ll just see if tomorrow is my first and last date.” Karin shrugged. “And then if I tank the date, I’ll make Suigetsu take me out for drinks and hook up with whatever girl he had his eye on all night. It would be hilarious and make me feel a bit better.”

“So back to your regular weekend plans?”

Karin stopped walking and stared at her feet. The way Ino said it made it seem…sad. She had never had a problem before with hooking up. It was fun and she enjoyed having a healthy sex life.

Sure she would prefer to have a date during daylight hours. And hold someone’s hand. And worry about the best gift to give at holidays. Maybe even introduce them to her friends or her mother.

It would be a nice change.

“I don’t even know what a real date is supposed to be like,” Karin mumbled.

But it was terrifying to think about it.


“You forgot you had to come back here didn’t you?”

Ino had her arms crossed in front of her chest and was tapping her foot when Sakura entered their dorm room.

“Have you really been standing there the whole time, just waiting for me to come back?”

“She asked the same question to the wrong roommates twice before you showed up.” Karin was lying on the couch with a sheet mask on her face.

Ignoring them, Sakura slipped out of her boots and into her red, fuzzy house slippers. When they first brought a cubby for their shoes Karin’s roommate had argued that it was wasting space. Luckily the other roommates liked the idea because it kept them from tracking dirt from outside all over the linoleum floor which meant they had to sweep less often.

The girl didn’t like losing and ever since then Karin’s roommate was always on her case and turning on the lights at night when Karin was trying to sleep.

Sakura had half expected to find their shoe cubbies missing when they came back from winter break considering they left it behind despite being warned to pack up all of their items and take them back home by their resident advisor.

“We’re sorry by the way,” Karin apologized, sitting up to make room for her on the couch. “You usually don’t mind when we tease you like that. It wasn’t even as bad as it usually is.”

“You were acting weird during break too.” Ino sprawled on both of their laps wrapping her arms around Sakura’s neck.

“It’s not exactly something I wanna talk about.”

Ino opened her mouth to say something but Karin pinched her thigh. Shaking her head, Karin soothed the spot with a gentle rub.

“Well then let’s talk about me.” Karin stretched her arms in front of her, interlocking her fingers. “The world doesn’t revolve around you, y’know.”

“Alrighty then,” Sakura rolled her eyes, “what does Princess Karin want to talk about?”

Karin sighed dramatically, shifting her body so she could drape herself against Sakura’s shoulder.

“I was all alone in Kusa while you guys were having fun hanging out every day. And no one thought about poor, little Karin…”

“Shut up!” Ino used a throw pillow to smack her in the face. “You couldn’t have been that lonely considering you have a date tomorrow night and you just got back.”

“It was still lonely!” Karin smacked her back with another one of the throw pillows. “It was just texting. Not like she drove all the way to Kusa to visit.”

“What are you guys doing?” Sakura, not wanting to be a casualty in their pillow fight, grabbed Ino’s pillow mid swing and stuffed it behind her. “Hopefully not going to a bar, right?”

Karin bit her bottom lip and gave her a sheepish grin and a shrug. Sakura groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“Eww! Don’t do that.” Karin gagged and pulled Sakura’s hand away from her nose. “That’s Sasuke’s thing. Disgusting. We don’t condone Sasuke-ish actions in this house.”

“You’re such a drama queen.”

“They’re going bowling,” Ino giggled, “which is hilarious considering Karin is really competitive for someone with no hand-eye coordination.”

“Shut up!” Karin pushed Ino off of her lap so that she rolled onto the floor. Turning to Sakura, she worried her lip and wrung her hands into the hem of her sweater. “Did I fuck up by letting her pick what we’re doing?”

“Wow, you’re really hung up on this aren’t you?”

“Is no one going to ask me if I’m okay?” Ino grumbled, rolling onto her side.

“No,” Karin and Sakura answered in sync.

“I just want this to go right for once,” Karin explained, nudging Ino with her foot. “So, I don’t know, I guess I’ll take this slow for a change.”

Slow? Sakura bit the inside of her cheek. Why did it seem like everyone around her had a much better handle on their love life than she did? Well, everyone except Naruto who she had heard made a fool of himself his first week back at school by chasing after Gaara. It was something about Gaara’s birthday but Sakura didn’t get all of the details.

“Does hooking up first lower the chance of a relationship forming?” She muttered just loud enough for her friends to hear.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Ino treaded carefully. “Sai and I were supposed to just be a one time thing but that ended up as something.”

“And then there’s me who usually runs in the opposite direction if I see an old hookup somewhere,” Karin offered with a shrug. “It’s different for everyone.”

“Why do you ask?” Ino narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

“I was just curious.” Sakura looked past Ino’s shoulder, no daring to look her in the eye. “Because of Karin’s predicament.”

“Okay…?” Ino pursed her lips. It was likely she was going to bring up the conversation again.

I fucked up, Sakura groaned inwardly. No way is she going to just drop it.


It’s cold as balls!

Sakura cupped her hands in front of her face and breathed on them for warmth. She hadn’t planned on going for a run but she had insisted she needed the exercise when Ino picked up a call from Sai.

“No, go ahead invite him over,” she argued, pulling on a pair of leggings. “I’m probably going to stop by the gym too so take your time.”

She was trying to be considerate but mostly she wanted any excuse to escape the dorm room where Ino could corner her into having a conversation she really didn’t want to have.

Using the excuse of much needed exercise, Sakura had changed into her work out gear and headed out. Exercising was more of an old habit than an attempt at staying slim. She was used to being active and staying still for too long made her feel restless.

During her ballet days if she weren’t at the studio or using the open space of the Uchiha family’s den she would be out running or at the gym to stay trim. She needed to stay in shape and stay conscious of her weight. There was a time she was obsessed with staying thin.

It didn’t help that she wanted to look good for a certain someone. A certain someone that started to randomly ignore her halfway through high school.

Sakura shook her head and turned a corner, not wanting her thoughts to stray anywhere near that period of her life.

“Ah, fuck.”

Of course she would end up in front of Sasuke’s much nicer dorm building. It wasn’t as if she had planned on it but somehow her feet still carried her there.

“Shit.”

And of course as soon as she realized where she was Sasuke would be exiting his dorm, pulling his hood over his head.

“Oh.” Sasuke stood before her. If he was surprised to see her no one would have ever known with how still his features were.

“I’m just out running.”

“Oh.”

Oh? Really. Oh? Is that all I’m gonna get?

Sakura shifted her weight on the balls of her feet. Leave it to Sasuke to make her feel like her skin was too tight with just a single word.

“Ino has Sai over  so I thought maybe I should get some exercise in to give them some privacy.”

Sasuke crossed his arms in front of his chest and nodded, more to let her know that he was listening than anything else.

“But I could skip the workout,” Sakura offered nonchalantly. Her insides were squirming with his lack of response. “Or not.”

She attempted to side step around him when a hand shot out and grabbed her wrist. She stared at him quizzically before his fingers slid down and intertwined with her own. Without saying a word he led her inside the lobby of his dorm.

Sasuke grabbed the clipboard from the front desk and filled out a line.

“Suite 302B.”

Oh?

“ID card?” The clerk asked Sakura.

Oh!

Sakura took out her student identification card and handed it over. The clerk had barely stuffed it into the binder for guests when Sasuke was leading her down the hall to the elevator.

Not like she needed the run anyway.

New Icon!

I have a new icon for Chronically Day that I hope you all like. I really like chibis and wanted one of myself to use for social media and for my blog.

It was created by Lyferie on tumblr as a commission that I requested. They’re accepting commissions for chibi icons and full body chibis. You can check out more info here.

So some of you may be wondering…what’s up with this dude and all of the spoons?

I am a spoonie. And now I’m just tossing more weirdness on you. A spoonie is a chronically ill person and the term came from The Spoon Theory created by Christine Miserandino.
The Spoon Theory is super important to me because it has really helped me explain to able bodied acquaintances what my life is like being me and having lupus as well as other debilitating illnesses.

And while everythingincluding writing“costs me a spoon”, I always try to make sure I have one on reserve so that I can create stories that I hope makes everyone happy.

Because it makes me so very happy when I can spark some joy in someone’s day.

Kingdom For Two Chapter 25

Chapter Twenty-Five: It’s A Long Drive

The days were long but they were also quick. The days were blurring together and Sasuke wasn’t entirely sure what the date exactly was. If it weren’t for his mother constantly reminding him of how he needed to get to packing and shopping for his new dorm he wouldn’t even have been aware of how quickly his move in date was approaching.

“Why are you even moving into a dorm?” Sasuke cut Naruto off in his ranting. He had come over to play video games in the media room and had started whining about how his mother was constantly on his case.

“Life would be easier don’t you think?” Naruto rolled his eyes. “No fighting for parking or waking early as hell to fight against traffic and make sure I get to class on time.”

Sasuke snorted. The excuse sounded reasonable but he knew his spoiled friend had played his parents.

“As if you would sign up for any classes before lunch time.”

“You’re right I wouldn’t.”

They were quiet after that, only the sound of buttons clicking and the upbeat music coming through the speakers filling the room.

“You’re going to come back on weekends, right?”

Indra Otsutsuki College was only a two hour drive away. Sasuke could technically drive up to the city every weekend and spend two days visiting his family and friends and getting his laundry done at home and letting his mother stuff him with home cooking.

But the chance of that actually happening was very low.

Four hours of driving would cut into valuable time to study or work on assignments. As much as the idea irritated him he knew he would have to join at least one study group if not more depending on what his professors were like. Most students would only be free on weekends to meet up.

On top of the drive, Sasuke would be coming up to see Dr. Yamanaka which was more of a priority than seeing his friends according to his parents. He wasn’t going to drive up on a Saturday and ditch his psychiatrist when that was the whole point of driving up to the city in the first place.

“We’ll see.”


It needed a new radio and when the seasons changed she was going to have to wait almost an hour for it to warm up properly but Sakura was already in love with her car.

“It’s red,” Ino giggled. “Can we call it Ladybug?”

The little Bug was adorable and compact, perfect for city parking. Sakura had cooed over it the whole weekend as her mother gave her a refresher on car maintenance in the parking lot behind their family’s café.

“Has Sasuke commented on your car yet?”

“He called it ‘fitting’,” Sakura made air quotes with her fingers, “whatever the hell that means.

“I think that’s your boyfriend’s way of calling you cute,” Sai guessed. “And small.”

“Oh!” Ino gasped. “We should call it Karin Jr. because you know, it’s red and small.”

“I’m not naming my car after Karin and she will probably kill you for the explanation to that suggestion.”

“How are you going to fornicate in it?” Sai asked. “Does Sasuke even fit in the car? That’s some kind of gymnastics.”

“Sai!”

Sakura’s face heated up as Ino burst into a fit of laughter. The way Ino’s eyes kept flitting over to Sai the whole time Sakura was showing off her car should have been a warning that he was going to say something inappropriate. After years of dating Ino had developed a sixth sense for when Sai was about to say something to embarrass one of their friends.

“I’m going home!”

“Oh, come on Sakura.” Ino tugged on her arm to keep her from storming off. “Sai was only kidding.”

“No, I really wanna know how that━”

Ino elbowed Sai and gave him a look that had him shutting his mouth tight.

“No I have to go home anyway. There’s some stuff I wanna get done before Sasuke leaves this week. He’s gotta move into his dorm and then has orientation stuff on Monday.”

“Oh. Are you guys doing anything special before he leaves?”

“Why is it inappropriate for me to bring up their sex life but not you?” Sai interjected before Sakura could answer.

“Because that wasn’t referencing their sex life,” Ino groaned, wiping a hand down her face. “At least that wasn’t my intention.”

“Yeah, leaving now.”

Sakura waved behind her as she made her way to the driver’s side of her car. She could hear Ino reprimanding Sai through the car window. Something about minding the subject of conversation when they were on the sidewalk in front of her parents’ shop.

As much as they liked to tag team against her she was going to miss seeing them everyday. Ino was going to the same school and they tried to align their schedules to match and to have the same classes but it wasn’t possible to completely match up. And then Sai was going to the art school. The school was in the city and shared campus grounds with Senju University, but outside of scheduled meetups they weren’t going to be able to run into him as often as they used to.

Naruto was having the same struggle. The three of them had tried hard to get into the same classes but they were only successful when it came to their required UNIV courses that all underclassmen had to take.

“I’m going to fail if you guys aren’t in my science credit with me!” Naruto had wailed when he realized he was going to be alone in his Biology class. Sakura and Ino had been able to calm him down only after thirty minutes of assurance that they would get together to study.

Sakura was already missing everyone even though most of her friends were going to be going to schools nearby. All except one.

And she was going to miss him most of all.


The summer between high school and college was supposed to feel more monumental than it did. At least that was what Sasuke assumed.

Left and right all of his classmates were packing up their things and salivating for their first taste of real freedom. No more curfews or parents breathing down their necks.

But all he felt was numb to it all.

Going away to school didn’t feel like he was going to be any more free than he was at home. It didn’t feel like freedom to be alone and far away.

“You have everything ready?” Itachi asked, sliding a teacup across the bartop.

“Yeah I’ve got everything packed up and just sitting in my car.”

“You’ve got swipes for food. Make sure to use them. Hm?” Shisui stared him down from where he was standing by the sink cleaning vegetables in a vinegar wash.

It was always odd watching Shisui in a domestic setting. Sasuke was used to Itachi or Izumi working around each other and acting like real adults. Shisui never really had that chance when they were at his parents’ house.

Sasuke just had to remember that it was Shisui’s apartment first before Itachi moved in. He was so used to the three of them as a unit he sometimes forgot they were individuals.

“Izumi still at work?”

“Yeah,” Shisui replied as he moved on to slicing ingredients. “Unfortunately she couldn’t get the day off because she wanted to save her free day to see you off.”

“You guys are still coming to see me off?” Sasuke’s mouth quirked to the side and he bit his lower lip. Although Shisui and Itachi still saw his dad at work and his mother was visiting them at their apartment often the three of them hadn’t come over the entire summer.

“Well, father and mother did invite us,” Itachi answered. He averted his gaze, looking at his teacup instead of Sasuke, and drummed his fingers against the ceramic cup.

“Is that,” Sasuke shrugged his shoulders as he tried to find a better way to ask and failing, “okay?”

“Father has been,” Itachi looked up at the ceiling and then off to the side as if the refrigerator would grant him the answer, “oddly accepting.”

“What.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of freaky…” Shisui shivered and shook his head. “I expected him to either ignore us or say something awful but he’s just…living life as usual. Except occasionally he’ll check in and it’s so awkward. I think I’m in trouble when he pulls me into his office and it’s literally just to ask how Itachi is doing.”

“That’s…really confusing.”

“You’re telling me.” Shisui sighed and prepared a wok for stir-fry. “I have so much anxiety now.”

Itachi laughed and poured himself more tea, taking out his medication he needed to take with his meal. Shisui served a portion for Itachi and then a much larger portion for Sasuke.

“Eat up kid.” Shisui glared, gesturing with his fingers to his eyes and back at Sasuke to say he was keeping his on him.

Sasuke rolled his eyes  and made a show of taking a bite of chicken. The more Sasuke tried to eat, the blander the food tasted.

Dad accepted Itachi as he is…

Sasuke pushed his food around his plate with his fork.

That’s kind of…irritating.


“He makes it look so easy,” Sakura grumbled, forcefully capping her paint pen. She grabbed another color and shook the pen so that the paint would flow to the tip.

She followed in parallel to the previous color as much as she could, trying to keep her lines as straight as possible with no wobbles.

“At least my handwriting is nicer I guess.”

Sakura sighed and grabbed another color, tracing over the lettering she had drawn on the CD with pencil. When she finished she threw her hands up in the air in triumph. She tilted her head to the side and examined her work.

“Oh, he’s going to laugh at me.”

Sakura burst into giggles. She knew she was no artist but she was sure she did a good enough job. It was her third attempt at trying to decorate the CD and it was the best of the set.

I hope he likes it.


Sasuke lifted his fork full of pasta and let it unravel, letting it plop down on his plate. He twirled his fork to gather some pasta and repeated the process.

“Stop playing with your food,” Fugaku grumbled. He hadn’t commented on the dish of choice but his lips had tightened into a straight line and practically disappeared when he noticed the vegetarian dish.

Sasuke didn’t have to wonder why that was the case even though his mother had prepared a dish he liked that just happened to be vegetarian.

“I’m packing some up so you can have it for dinner when you get to your dorm,” Mikoto offered. Her eyes shifted down to his plate of  where he was mashing zucchini and roasted tomatoes with his fork. “You’ll remember to eat right?”

Sasuke shrugged and went back to twirling his pasta around his fork. He twirled it and twirled it, attempting to gather as much pasta as he could.

“It will probably be late,” Shisui attempted to answer for him. “He’ll probably unpack all of his stuff and then crash right after. Sasuke will probably end up eating his dinner for breakfast.”

“I’ve never been to Otsutsuki College but the campus photos look beautiful,” Izumi budged in, taking the cue from Shisui. “It must be exciting, getting away from the city.”

“You’re going to do fine.”

Sasuke lifted his head at the sound of his brother’s voice. Itachi gave his usual gentle reassuring smile. Sasuke nodded but made no attempt to join the conversation.

Lunch had gone like that the whole day and if Sasuke didn’t block out the noise for most of it he would have probably stormed off. The amount of attention he was receiving was making his skin feel tight and the spaces between his fingers itch.

Normally during meal times discussions centered around work or Itachi’s health. Seldom did they come around to talking about Sasuke━and that’s what it was, about him not with him. It didn’t really seem to matter if he was there or not.

So he checked out.

I should just leave early…

It wasn’t like there was really any reason he should spend more time at home. He watched them all greet each other awkwardly and then sat through lunch where they bumbled through the topic of Sasuke’s university life.

All of my stuff is already in my car anyway.

Izumi gave him a wavering smile as she picked up his plate, helping his mother clear the table. Off in the great room, he could hear his father criticizing Shisui’s apartment and asking him and Itachi when they planned to move a more suitable apartment, closer to the hospital and with more room. His mother burst into a peal of laughter and Izumi apologized repeatedly about something to do with the kitchen sink.

Scooting his chair back, Sasuke removed himself from the dining room and made his way to the foyer. He grabbed his keys, gripping them in his fist so they wouldn’t jingle and give him away. As silently as possible he slipped out the front door, shutting it softly. Without turning back he made his way to his car. Rounding the hood to get to the driver’s side door.

He would have smoothly made his getaway if it weren’t for the fact Sakura was leaning against the side of his Jeep.

“How━?”

“Figured you would try to take off without saying anything.” Sakura rolled her eyes and stood on her toes, looping her arms around his neck. “I love you but you’re such an idiot sometimes.”

“Well,” Sasuke wrapped his fingers around her wrists, “I gotta go before they figure out what I did.”

“You were going to leave me hanging weren’t you?” Sakura narrowed her eyes at him, lips pursing. “And here I am with a gift for you.”

“Gift?” Sasuke quirked his mouth to the side. He had said his goodbyes to his friends the day before, not sure if he was going to be able to before he left and Sakura hadn’t said anything about a gift.

“Yep, it’s already in your car actually. Check the passenger seat.” Sakura tugged, keeping a hold of him and pressed a chaste kiss to his mouth. “Don’t leave me hanging when you leave. Call or text me after you’ve settled, ‘kay?”

“Aa.” Sasuke nodded and gave her another quick kiss before pulling out of her embrace. “But I really do have to go now.”

“Yeah. yeah. I should get going to before they find out that you escaped.”

Sasuke snuck into his car and pulled away as he put his seatbelt on, rushing out of the driveway and out of the cul-de-sac.

“Just going to put this on silent,” he muttered tossing his phone on the passenger seat.

Groping around his hand met with a plastic CD case. He flipped it to look at the clear front and in Sakura’s bubbly handwriting it just read “i love you” in all lowercase letters over a colorful spiral pattern.

Well, I’ve got a long drive ahead of me, he chuckled inwardly taking the disc out of its case. It’s always going to be a long drive…

It Started With Rain

A mist had settled in the village the past few days and brought a chill to the village. The season was changing and Hi no Kuni was entering it’s short rainy season. The clouds had been dark and heavy for days, threatening to burst.

The weather was affecting Sasuke’s hair, making it curl more at the ends and lift away from his head even more than usual. The bangs that fell in front of his face were softer but the frizziness bugged him when he sat still for too long.

He caught himself constantly smoothing the forelocks as he sifted through scrolls and paperwork hoping to flatten them back down.

What the weather was doing to Sasuke’s hair was also affecting Sakura. He had grown accustomed to seeing her hair neat and prim now that she styled it in a bob but with the moisture in the air the ends no longer curled inward in a uniformed fashion.

“Here we go.”

Sasuke’s eyes shifted away from his scroll as Sakura set a tray with tea on his coffee table. The action gave him a view of the back of her nape, pink hair curling up and away from pale, smooth skin.

Lately Sasuke found himself focusing on that specific area of skin. It flashed at him when she bent her head as she chopped ingredients. He could catch it peeking through wisps of hair when she helped him wash dishes and he placed them in the drying rack and wiped them down.

“It’s actually coming down.”

Sakura’s voice broke through his reverie. He turned his head toward the window in the kitchenette and sure enough the clouds had finally burst into a steady shower.

Konoha was a bright and warm place but for a few weeks in the year the sunny village would become encompassed in fog. It would fill the streets and fit snug around the buildings of the ever growing village.

There were many changes to the village after so many years away. The buildings were taller and and the village limits were stretched further as  construction continued to expand the size of the hidden village.

But the one thing that didn’t change was the feeling of being isolated from the world when the raining season hit. There was comfort in being sheltered inside as the downpour kept civilians out of the streets. It was the complete opposite of Ame where the reprieves from rain were few and far between so business went on as usual no matter how hard the rain came down.

“Good thing I brought my umbrella,” Sakura sighed, stretching her arms over her head. Her sweater lifted with the motion, sliding up her torso just enough to reveal flesh just above the waistband of her capris. “I don’t think it’s going to stop by the time I head home.”

Home. Within the past few months of his return Sakura had spent a lot of time helping his new apartment feel more like a home. She filled it with homegoods and the smell of food cooking but it was the chatter she brought with her that made him feel more at home.

Her voice above the patter of raindrops against the windows did more for the atmosphere than a tea kettle or loveseat.

“Hmm…”

Sakura finally settled in her usual spot on the floor in front of the couch. She used the coffee table as a desk and hunched over case files she had brought from her office. She would curl in on herself, writing notes on a pad on the coffee table and cradling a patient file in her lap.

The only sounds that filled the room were the scratching of Sakura’s pen and the occasional flip of a page. Every now and then Sakura would mumble to herself as she worked.

Usually Sasuke found it easy to keep focused on his own task━at the moment that was restoring old Uchiha scrolls━but as of late his eyes kept wandering over to the smaller form sitting on the floor.

It would start as small glances from his peripheral to intently observing as she sighed and rolled her neck with both hands gripping her shoulders at the base of her neck. Sitting up straight to stretch her back, Sakura’s content sounds as her body realigned caused a part in his lower stomach to get airy.

“We should start getting something ready for dinner,” Sakura suggested turning to look back at him.

“Motsunabe,” Sasuke replied without missing a beat. Sakura’s smile dropped into a frown. “Or spicy curry rice.”

“Those would be your picks,” Sakura sighed. Even disgruntled the sound pooled heat into his stomach.

“When it’s cold out, spicy food is the way to go.”

“Have you been talking to my mother?” Sakura grumbled. After a short pause she sighed again.

She really needs to stop doing that…

Every sound, every move that she made was affecting him more than usual. It wasn’t rare that his mind would wander when they were alone together but now it took constant detours.

It’s the rain.

Being alone together was a normal occurrence but the rain cut them off from the rest of the world. In the walls of his apartment, shielded by a curtain of rain it was just him and her, just Sasuke and Sakura.

“Actually?” Sakura cleared her throat as she organized her files. She stood up and brushed her pants and straightened her sweater.“My mom makes the best motsunabe. Despite the chili peppers. If you come over for dinner sometime this week I’m sure she would make some just for you.”

“She’s always trying to feed me.”

“She’s always trying to feed everyone.” Sakura rolled her eyes. “It makes it worse during winter. I always put on so much weight ‘cause the cold makes me hungrier.”

Sasuke scoffed and pinched at her waist. Sakura squealed and slapped at his hand.

“I doubt you gained any weight.”

Sakura averted her gaze and her hands slid up her thighs to her backside.

“I don’t gain it on my waist exactly…”

Eyes shifting down before he could stop them he looked at her hips trying to eyeball if they had indeed rounded out more or if her thighs were plumper than usual. He couldn’t say if she had gained weight. She seemed softer, more filled out…

“I can also go for some oyakodon. We have chicken and eggs left.”

Sasuke left her in the living room to open the fridge in his kitchenette. He already knew what exactly what was in his fridge, he had only gone grocery shopping a few days before, but he needed to walk away.

“How about gyudon instead?” Sakura chirped from behind him. “I’m sure I saw meat in here the other day.”

Sakura leaned into the fridge on his left, peering into the fridge from around his empty sleeve. The tight space had her pressing against him. He pulled back and let her have access to the fridge and

“We could do that. And you can show me how to make dumplings again tomorrow. We’ll use the chicken for the filling.”

“Yeah we can do that tomorrow.”

Sakura’s voice became soft as she grabbed the ingredients they needed, her lips curved into a smile as she moved around the small space.

It was frightening sometimes how easily he made her happy. Just a promise of another day.

And how frighteningly easy it was for her to make him happy in return.

“Can you get the soy sauce?” Sakura asked pointing to the high cupboard above her head.

“Aa.” Doing as asked, Sasuke reached above her.

The compact area was only meant for one person. Originally the apartment was perfect. Just big enough for a full bath and a private bedroom, it didn’t matter that the kitchen area was only separated from the living room by a counter.

The small space wasn’t ideal for two people to work in. It required arms to touch, backs to brush against chests.

If it had been any other person, Sasuke wouldn’t allow them in his kitchenette.

Sakura had always been shorter than him. The height difference wasn’t that large when they were younger but now as adults she barely reached his chin when she wore her heeled sandals. High shelves were a problem for her and in another way a problem for him.

She smelled of fresh linens and white tea. If she had been working at the hospital there would be a slight tinge of antiseptic wafting about her unless she stopped to take a shower first.

Today she smelled of rain. It lingered on her clothes even after they had dried in the heat of his apartment. There was another scent, a familiar one that he couldn’t place.

“Can you get the rice cooker started?” Sakura asked reaching across to grab dried bonito flakes to prepare the dashi. In the process she grazed her back against his chest again and consequently her bottom brushed against him too.

There was the slightest stutter in Sakura’s movements that gave Sasuke pause. It was slight but still there.

As purposefully as possible he brushed against her as he reached for the salt. Almost instantly Sakura halted in the middle of slicing the beef into thin strips.

“Um…?” Sakura tilted her head up so that could look eye to eye with him.

It’s been a while since the last time.

Leaning down, Sasuke brushed his nose against hers, pressing his forehead on top of hers and lifting her hand away from the knife at the same time.

“You know,” Sakura whispered, her lips brushing against his with her words, “I’m not that hungry at the moment. We can wait a bit longer.”

Sasuke reached around her to turn off the stove and Sakura turned in place to kiss him, tugging his lower lip into her mouth with her teeth.

“Wait. My hands, the meat, I gotta━”

They separated as the door to the apartment swung open, hitting the wall with the force. Sasuke could feel a vein throbbing in his temple, just above his eye.

“Did he just━?”

“I finally figured out how to pick a lock guys!” Naruto waved his lock picking kit at them as he strolled into Sasuke’s apartment. “Oh, are you guys cooking? Great! I’m starving.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Sakura seethed, cracking her knuckles.

“What? It’s not like I did it at your place. I know better than to piss off your mom.”

“Don’t you have a wife to cook your food?” Sasuke pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. Just hearing Naruto’s voice cooled his lower stomach, the heat of the moment completely dissipating.

“She’s on a mission and I’m lonely,” Naruto grumbled. “Is it so bad that I wanted to hang out with my best friends? Let’s go get some ramen!”

Sasuke was ready to decline but a hand on his wrist had him shutting his mouth.

“If we’re in public I’m less likely to actually murder him,” Sakura muttered. “Grab your cloak. I’ll put away the ingredients”

Sasuke sighed and went to his room to change into more street friendly attire.

“Sakura-chan, why were you guys trying to cook with the stove off?”


The warmth of the ramen stand should have been pleasant enough but Sakura still couldn’t escape the chill. She scrunched up her shoulders and hid her nose in the collar of her coat.

She had been comfortable in Sasuke’s apartment, who never minded when she raised the heat when she visited. She had been very comfortable when he pressed against her in the kitchen…

But it was unlikely that Naruto would leave after he had broken in. Going out to eat would ensure that he would be on his way back to his single family home right after.

He better go home, cha!

Sakura narrowed her eyes at the man to her right. He was happily chatting away to Teuchi and his daughter Ayame, completely oblivious to what he had almost walked in on earlier.

“Two bowls of shoyu,” Sasuke spoke up from her left. “Double egg for both.”

“What, you order for Sakura-chan now?” Naruto mocked gag earning him a nudge in his side from Sakura.

He just knows I’m too cold to talk. Sakura rolled her eyes at Naruto’s over exaggerated reaction to being elbowed.

Sasuke was very observant. He could always tell how she was feeling without her saying anything. It made it hard when she wanted to surprise him but most of the time it was a quality she appreciated.

Especially because it translates to other stuff.

Heat bloomed across Sakura’s cheeks and rose up to her ears. She had been busy the past two weeks and today was her first day off in a while. She had planned to get nice and cozy with Sasuke after dinner━her original goal for the day━and was overjoyed when Sasuke had the same thought.

They hadn’t had time to themselves after their first time and Sakura had wanted to correct that.

The energy in his apartment had been stifling. She could feel his eyes on her the whole afternoon.

I’m honestly shocked I didn’t jump him earlier.

The rainy atmosphere had a way of heightening the senses. The daytime sky was a dreary gray and the mist left her hair frizzy but the fog of the rainy season created a shield from the outside world.

In a world of just two every sound, every move had her more aware of Sasuke than she already was. Her skin was buzzing with just the sound of his breathing in the small space.

“Here.”

Sakura snapped a set of chopsticks and handed them to Sasuke. He nodded to her in thanks and took them in his lone hand, fingers skimming against hers in the process. It was a deliberate move that had Sakura biting her lower lip.

“You know,” Naruto munched on an egg and swallowed, “you smell different, Sakura-chan. Not that you don’t smell clean! But it’s not that same soft smell? It’s kind of sharper.”

“Sexual harassment,” a voice cut Sakura off from retorting. Sai moved the flap of the ramen stand and took a seat by Naruto. “Don’t you have your own wife to be sniffing on?’

“Why does everyone keep bringing up my wife?” Naruto grumbled. “I’m just making an observation.”

Is it that obvious? As discreetly as possible Sakura dipped her head down and smelled the inside of her coat. I thought only I could tell.

Slowly her scent was adapting to include the smells of Sasuke’s home. It was a scent that latched onto her from all her time spent with him. At random she could sense it hanging off of her and her chest would grow warm.

Surrounded by the warm scent of sandalwood with just a dash of cooling mint, it felt like being touched all over by familiar hands whenever she closed her eyes.

Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about this at dinner…

Ignoring the feeling of being watched, Sakura tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and bent her head over her bowl to lower the risk of causing any mess with slurping.

Just the small act left her feeling exposed. A tingle ran up her spine as she continued to eat, keeping her gaze straight ahead on her bowl of ramen.

Sakura knew it was a favored spot. Short hair framed her slender, pale neck. Skin smoother now that the sun wasn’t making any appearances now that it was constantly shielded by clouds.

It was a subtle flirtation. Sasuke’s eyes would cause her to burn up as the same tingle ran up her spine from the sensation of being watched.

And he’s doing that now.

There was no flirting in public. Now as adults she cherished their privacy but the air was thick between them and she tightened her thighs in the hopes of calming the buzzing of her skin.

“We should go grab a drink,” Naruto suggested patting his stomach.

“You’re going to go drinking? With no Hinata-san to take care of you, you lightweight?” Sakura teased to hide her frustration. She didn’t want to go drinking, she wanted to go back to Sasuke’s place. Alone!

She attempted to smile but could feel her cheeks hurting from the strain. She tried to look away from Naruto but her eyes landed on Sai. He stared at her blankly before his lips pulled into a familiar calculating smile that could have only have been adopted from Ino.

“Actually. I need your help today, Naruto.” Sai pushed his bowl away. “Only you can help me with this. Not Sasuke or Sakura. So we should go. And leave them alone.”

“Why are you being weird?” Naruto narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “What help?”

“Take the hint already.” Sai got up from his seat, smile never wavering. “Come on let’s go.”

Leaving ryo for his bill, Sai gripped the back of Naruto’s jacket in his hand and tugged him into the road, ignoring his protests.

“He knows.”

“Yeah he definitely does,” Sakura sighed. “But at least he’ll keep Naruto occupied.”


If a blanket of fog left them feeling closer and in their own world, walking under a shared umbrella heightened the sensation.

Bodies forced closer and constantly brushing arms, Sakura was a live wire ready to explode.

By the time they reached the door of Sasuke’s apartment her skin was prickling from more than just the cold.

“You still got wet,” Sakura giggled, reaching for Sasuke’s bangs as he shut the door behind her and locked it. “Sorry.”

She brushed them away from his face, revealing the rinnegan hiding behind the curtain of hair. Standing on her toes she chastely kissed his cheek right under his eye.

She pressed more kisses to his face, dragging her lips down his jawline before settling on his mouth. She let him roll his tongue into her mouth and stroke with the tip behind her teeth.

Sliding off his cloak from his shoulders and tossing it on the ground, Sakura guided Sasuke backwards toward the couch.

In one fluid movement he sat down pulling Sakura into his lap.

Finally, Sakura cheered inwardly, sliding her fingers against Sasuke’s scalp tugging slightly on his hair as she pressed her groin against his.

Exchanging moans between them, Sasuke pulled Sakura closer by the hip, smoothing his palm across her ass.

“You’re focusing on my ass,” Sakura murmured between kisses. She ceased Sasuke’s fondling and and pulled his hand around to her chest.

“You’re softer?”

“Sshhh,” Sakura reprimanded as she slid her hands under his shirt, stroking his abdomen.

Sitting back on his thighs, she moved her hands lower and undid the ties of his pants. Sasuke’s breath hitched as she took him in hand and stroked him, pumping her fist at a steady pace.

“You don’t have to—”

“But I want to.” Sakura slid her hand not stroking his shaft up his torso to cup his neck. “I really want to touch you. Wanna touch me?”

In lieu of a response Sasuke dipped his hand under the waistband of her capris and panties. His fingers probed her hesitantly as he watched her face, waiting for a sign that a certain stroke or pressure was making her react the way he wanted her to,

A high pitched cry got caught in Sakura’s throat as she moved her hips against his hand. She dropped his cock and pulled back to remove her sweater and shimmy out of her capris. She needed to be closer.

Sasuke grabbed the afghan thrown on the back of the couch and wrapped it around Sakura as she settled back on his lap.

She thanked him with a kiss and guided him toward her core, not wanting to postpone it any longer.

“Wait. Are you ready?”

“Been ready.”

And with that she sank down on his cock. She pressed a kiss to Sasuke’s throat, relishing in the soft moan he released behind gritted teeth.

It was a position she hadn’t considered before but was enjoying immensely. Sitting up still had them close and it accommodated Sasuke who only had the use of a single hand.

Pressing her forehead into the crook of Sasuke’s neck, Sakura listened to the sound of Sasuke’s panting, letting it overtake the sound of the rain beating loudly against the apartment building and cloud her mind.

“I think—ah!—I’m going to come.” Sakura pulled away from his shoulder and increased the speed of her movements, bouncing and tightening her core.

“Let me get you there.”

Sakura choked on air when Sasuke slid his thumb over her clit, rubbing it to match her pace.

“Shit!” Sasuke grit his teeth and Sakura felt his release, hot and wet between her thighs. She continued to move against him until she hit her own climax moments later.

She slumped against him, pressing open mouth kisses against his throat, finally satisfied. Sasuke leaned his head back against the couch and stroked her back.

Warm in his hold and the cocoon of the afghan, Sakura sighed contently. The buzzing of her nerves had settled to a soft fuzz.

“I’ll stop by the store before lunch time. We need more wakame seaweed for miso soup.”

“Ah. I’ll press the tofu tonight.”

Sakura snuggled closer, pressing her nose into the crook of Sasuke’s neck. The smell of sandalwood was strongest there.

“I don’t want to go home yet.”

Dragging herself home was getting harder to do. Her parents were there and all of her things but there was something missing. Something she could only get here.

“Then don’t.”

“Okay.” Sakura wrapped her arms around Sasuke’s torso and settled more comfortably against him. “Okay.”

Differential Chapter 9

Chapter Nine: Time’s Up

Just like the start of every semester, Sasuke was spending his last week at home buying supplies and groceries to take back to his apartment style dorm.

“I hate moving back in,” Sakura grumbled as she crossed off another item from her list. “We’re going back to the same dorm we stayed in fall semester but they made us pack up all of our shit just to have us bring it all back.”

Except this time he was running his errands alongside Sakura.

“Grab the sriracha,” he nodded to the hot sauce bottle as he slowed the shopping cart to a stop in front of the Asian/Hispanic aisle of the grocery store.

Sakura tugged the cart by the basket until he followed her into the aisle.

“I wanna grab some ramen too.”

“We should just stop by the Korean market instead. Better instant ramen.”

“Shit. You’re right.” Sakura looked down at the few items in their cart and then back up at him. “Why did we come here again?”

“The Korean market doesn’t sell tomato sauce for some reason and the milk here is cheaper.”

“Why don’t you just buy milk when we’re back in the city?”

“It’s a hassle to carry groceries on the train or bus and city parking is a mess,” Sasuke reasoned. “Also your special milk is cheaper here.”

“Don’t mock me for being lactose intolerant.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You’re thinking it.”

“Stupid superior digestive tract,” he heard her grumble as she walked ahead of him toward the dairy aisle.

Usually Sasuke preferred to do his shopping on his own. There was no meandering and he was in and out without any hassle. Sakura was like his mother who always made a list but then deviated from the list she had made herself to grab things she hadn’t intended to buy.

He would have gone out shopping by himself if it weren’t for the fact that it was a perfect excuse to spend more time with Sakura. Time that wasn’t had with their pants off.

Whenever he wanted to have a real discussion about what they were doing, Sakura would trace the veins that peeked through the translucent skin of his inner wrist with a delicate touch of her fingers. She would take his hand and press soft kisses to his fingertips never breaking eye contact.

It was those eyes of hers that made him want to forget the fragile line they had crossed. The one he had been trying to build up into a wall ever since he was sixteen.

A wall that kept crumbling with everyone of Sakura’s kisses that melted into soft sighs and content hums.

“We should do something later.”

“Huh?”

If it weren’t for the fact that her cheeks were flushed he would have thought Sakura hadn’t spoken up from where she was rifling through the jugs of milk for the one with the longest shelf life.

“I just, you know,” Sakura shrugged, peering up at him through her pale lashes, “figured we should go do something since we’re heading back tomorrow.”

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and fiddled with her hands, wringing them in the bottom hem of her sweater. It was a habit she had when she was younger that never really went away.

And one Sasuke was glad he could recognize.

“Imeanwedon’thavetoIjustthought━”

“Yeah, sure.”

Sakura’s jaw dropped but she quickly composed herself into a bright smile and beamed up at him.

“We can watch that movie that Naruto was trying to drag us to but we kept rejecting,” Sakura suggested.

Sasuke nodded in agreement. As much as Naruto was their friend he was terrible company at the movie theater.

“Make sure to mention the movie on Facebook so he can see it.”

“He’s going to be so mad.”

“Good.”


Cute?

Sakura lifted a three quarter sleeve skater dress in front of her floor length mirror and then lifted a baggy cable-knit sweater that was practically a dress considering her height.

Or comfy?

Sakura tossed the dress over her desk chair and pulled on the sweater over her head. She wasn’t going to freeze and look like she was trying too hard. It was just a movie with a friend.

A friend that she was spending a lot of time with her legs wrapped around his waist.

“Oh, Jesus,” Sakura cursed and slapped her cheeks.

I’m getting embarrassed now!?

Sakura bent over so all of her hair fell over and scooped it all up, tying it into a messy bun on top of her head.

“It’s getting awfully long again,” she muttered. She wasn’t going to cut it again but a trim was due. It had taken forever to grow it back her preferred length after she chopped it all off in high school.

Now why did we do that again? Oh, right…

Sasuke had supposedly liked long hair which was one of the reasons she had refused to cut it in the first place. Although she wasn’t going to tell him about her feelings she still had wanted him to think she was attractive.

Well, we got the answer to that question now don’t we? Sakura’s cheeks warmed up as applied lip balm to protect her lips from the winter air.

She had wanted his attention, whether it was because they were competing for the best grades or because he thought she was pretty. Competing on an academic level was easy. Putting her self-esteem on the line wasn’t.

“I need a necklace.”

Sakura opened up her jewelry box and hummed along with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake tinkling as the little ballerina twirled on the box. She pulled out a white gold necklace with a ballet slipper pendant. Carefully she clasped it behind her neck and adjusted it so it rest neatly against just below the hollow of her neck on top of her sweater.

Now this is a look I haven’t seen in a while, she inwardly teased herself.

The bun was messy, completely against regulation, but her face was clear of makeup and she was wearing her old pendant. She could have been on her way out of the old studio she used to go to attend class.

Naruto used to tease her that she and Sasuke conformed to a lot of the Asian stereotypes. She took ballet and he played the violin and neither one of them dared come home with a grade below an A.

Stereotype or not, she had loved ballet. She had quit before her junior year of high school to focus even more on her studies and had no regrets but occasionally Sakura could feel a dull ache in her chest when she remembered all of those years of dance. She loved walking down memory lane but she always avoided thinking about her final recital.

She had chopped all of her hair off the day after the event.

She had tried to let go of Sasuke after that day.

Not that I ever succeeded in doing that.


Sakura let out an exaggerated groan and slammed her fist on the machine. She slipped her hand into Sasuke’s front pocket and he jumped back.

“I’m not trying to feel you up,” Sakura rolled her eyes, “I just need the quarters.”

“Right…”

Sasuke pulled out two quarters and slid them into the slot of the fighter arcade game so that Sakura could press continue.

“I use to win all of the time, how am I losing?” Sakura grunted, jabbing hard at the buttons to try and land a combo.

“That was before we figured out I needed glasses.”

“Oh, shit. That’s right.”

They played one more round until Sakura finally gave up and dragged him to play Mario Kart. Nothing about the night seemed that different to Sasuke than what they usually did just that they were without the usual tag along.

He wasn’t sure if that was comforting or worrying. On one hand it was relaxing because there was no need to try so hard to make the night run smoothly but if he had a moment to overthink it seemed that what seemed like a date to him was just a normal hangout to Sakura.

That had been running through his head throughout the movie. They only thing that was able to put his mind at ease and allow him to enjoy the film was when Sakura lifted the armrest so that she could curl into his side. She had always been very touchy and clingy but outside of what had been going on the past few weeks, it had been years since they were this close and comfortable around each other.

And he knew it was his fault for that.

“I want ice cream,” Sakura sighed, stretching her arms over her head.

“Did you bring your pills?”

“Duh. Kind of have to when all of the good food is made with dairy.”

“All of the good food?”

“Yeah, like ice cream and cheese pizza and pumpkin spice lattes and…”

Sakura prattled on listing all of her favorite foods but Sasuke was barely listening to them, more focused on watching the way her mouth shaped every syllable and how when a word caused her lips to spread a dimple formed.

He knew all of her favorite foods. It was bits of information he stored away, subconsciously stamping them as important.

Clear on his mind were smug grins or scowls, ever present with the way they always tried to one up each other. But her smiles and blushing were rare and he was getting spoiled with how often he could pull them from her now.

“And you know how much I love Vietnamese iced coffee.”

“Yeah, anything to get a high dose of sugar.” Sasuke’s face twisted up into a scowl at the thought.

“Oh, shut up. Sweets make my mouth happy.” There was a slight pause before she continued. “Amongst other things.”

Sasuke stopped in the middle of the theater lobby not sure if he had heard her correctly and was reading too much into it.

“Don’t think about it too hard,” Sakura burst into a peal of laughter. “But you can help me be very happy later.”

Sasuke’s eyes went wide and he gaped at her, unsure how to respond. He hadn’t expected her to tease him in such a crude manner in public.

“And if you’re still not sure what I’m talking about I’m referring to your━”

“Yeah I caught that,” Sasuke interrupted her. He grabbed her hand and sped out of the lobby before she could say anything else where people could hear her.


She tasted like taro gelato and the chocolate she had drizzled all over her scoop.

The plan wasn’t to end up in the backseat of his RAV4 but Sakura had slipped back there and had asked him to pull over somewhere secluded. He was going to ignore her and just go home when she had tossed him her leggings but as soon as her boyshorts hit his steering wheel he turned down a street going the opposite of their houses and parked in the dark parking lot of the community pool. He turned off the headlights and parked in a dark corner.

Sakura pulled on his sweater as he climbed over the center console and joined her in the backseat.

He was getting spoiled with all of her affection. But he was going to make the most of it while she was offering it to him.


Sakura knew her parents were going to wake her up early so they could have a big breakfast before she went back to school.

Her father would make her favorite blueberry waffles and her mom would pack her up two cartons of bao to take back to her dorm.

But she didn’t know if whatever she and Sasuke were would last past the night.

Dragging her fingers down his chest, brushing along the fine hairs that trailed down his lower abdomen, she listened to the way his breath hitched.

She committed to memory the way his chest rose and fell rapidly in sync with her own.

“I’m not done with you,” Sakura murmured, against his mouth. “Not yet.”

She trailed kisses along the underside of his jaw and down the line of his throat.

Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.

Office Romance

With the tip of his pinky, Sasuke traced the round strokes of the letters of his name etched on the empty cup of coffee.

The contents had been drained over an hour ago but he couldn’t will himself to toss the cup into the trash bin. At least not until he got the next cup.

But it wasn’t likely that Haruno would be making another coffee run with how late in the day it was.

He would just have to hold onto the paper cup she had scribbled his name on until her break the next day when she would pop on over to his work station and ask if he wanted her to pick him up anything while she was on her break.

Sasuke was always working straight through his and it was nice that someone had noticed.

Especially that the assistant with rose gold hair had noticed.

Haruno Sakura was new to the company, a student taking sabbatical to do some temp jobs. At least that was how it started. Somewhere along the way someone higher up must have forgotten that it was a temporary position and she was never returned to the temp agency that had assigned her to their office.

Sasuke wondered how much of it was the much needed help and how much of it had to do with Shisui making a passing comment to his cousin Obito.

“Sasuke apparently likes coffee now,” Shisui had snickered as they took their smoke break.

Obito had responded with a “oh really?” and let it go. He didn’t tease him at work but every now and then he would pass by Sasuke’s desk and give him a sly grin when he spotted the coffee cup.

Sasuke didn’t care for the taste of coffee. Just because he disliked sweets it did not mean he enjoyed the bitter taste. His preferred drink was matcha tea.

But of course Haruno Sakura didn’t know that when she offered to grab him some on her run for some “real coffee.”

She had tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, a slight blush on her cheeks and without really processing the question Sasuke answered:

“Sure.”

And now everyday when Sakura ran out to grab a latte she would bring back a cup of strong black coffee with his name on it. Literally.

“Here are your copies Uchiha-san!”

A cheerful voice broke Sasuke from his reverie.

“Ah. Thank you Haruno.”

“I keep telling you to just call me Sakura.” Sakura made a tutting sound and put her hands on her  hips.

Not like you call me Sasuke.

“Oh I’ll take care of that for you.”

Sakura snatched the paper cup and tossed it out. All Sasuke could do was watch her throw it in the trash.

At least she would be bringing another one by the following day.


“I’m going to grab some coffee.”

Sakura stood in front of his desk, wringing her hands around the skinny strap of her shoulder bag.

“Ah.”

Sasuke reached for his wallet to grab some money for his share. She always insisted it was on her but after weeks of buying coffee every day it was getting to be too much.

“You don’t actually like coffee do you?”

Sasuke froze. Slowly, he shut his drawer.

“You always make this face,” Sakura exaggerated a frown, “when you drink it. You get a wrinkle right here.”

Sakura tapped the area between her eyebrows.

“You could have just said no, you know that right?”

Sasuke shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He wasn’t going to tell her that he wasn’t paying attention to her first offer because he was too busy staring at her.

“I can grab you something else.”

Sakura shrugged nonchalantly. Her act was only given away by the dusting of pink on her cheeks.

“What do you actually like?”

You.

“…tomato juice.”

“Tomato juice!” Sakura giggled. “That’s kind of cute.”

Sasuke scowled. Cute?

“Alright then. One can of tomato juice.”

She skipped away before Sasuke could give her any money for his drink.

“Awww.”

Sasuke snapped his head to the other side of him. Shisui was snickering from behind his computer monitor.

“So cute, Sasu-chan.”

Sasuke scowled at him and turned away, shuffling through his notes for the meeting in an hour.

“Sakura-chan never offered to get me anything. But every day she’s at your desk.” Shisui tossed him a smirk. “I wonder why.”

Sasuke coughed into his hand and hid his red face behind his computer monitor.