Chapter Four: New Arrivals
Everything about the mundane world was loud and bright.
Sasuke exhaled through his nose harshly and crossed his arms in front of his chest. He decided right then and there that he didn’t like malls.
“Dude. You have got to relax.” Suigetsu’s voice was thick from the frozen treat he kept stuffing into his mouth. “Get some froyo.”
Sasuke rolled his eyes and went back to his current task: keeping an eye on Sakura. She had dragged him to the mall with Karin and Suigetsu because, in her opinion, he needed to get out more.
With the exclusion of Karin and her familiar, the Hebi coven had returned home a few days after the dinner party. Their High Priest, Orochimaru, had made themself scarce after the dinner, only spending time in their hotel suite or with Lady Tsunade and Dan. Even if Sasuke had the chance to speak with them, he had no real plan beyond blunt questioning to get the answers he seeked.
Out of the corner of his eye Sasuke caught Suigetsu inching closer to a trio of girls chatting away. He reached over and grabbed him by the back of the collar of his shirt and pulled him back. As much as he didn’t care what the man did, Sasuke did care about minimizing Sakura’s stress. If Suigetsu tried anything, Karin would get pissed off and she had a short fuse that had her beating Suigetsu and triggering his liquefying abilities.
“You’re such a killjoy,” Suigetsu muttered.
Ignoring him, Sasuke turned his attention to Sakura who finally exited the body care store she and Karin had spent the past hour inside of. Karin thrust her bag at Suigetsu’s chest and hooked her arm with Sakura’s.
“I’m not your gopher.”
“I am literally feeding you today so make yourself useful and just carry the bags.”
Blocking out the sounds of their bickering he gave Sakura a look and she interpreted it correctly when she told him they had one last stop and then they could go home.
“You need a cellphone if you’re going to be living here.” Sakura grabbed onto his hand and led him towards a store that, fortunately, was clear of people. The shop’s walls were lined with display cases holding cellular devices.
“I have my summons for messages. I don’t need a phone.” Sasuke paused and looked at their hands, fingers laced together, comfortable and warm. “And you don’t have to pull.”
Shaking her head, Sakura insisted that he needed a cell phone. She explained that they were more practical and pushed him away from the cheaper flip phones. He just needed a phone to make or receive calls but Sakura scoffed and found him the same model phone that she had.
“A smartphone is what you need.” She balled her hands into fists and planted them at her hips. “It has apps for navigation and stuff which you need.”
“I have summons for most of that.”
Sakura scoffed, blowing her bangs out of her face in frustration. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and narrowed her eyes up at him. “You’re being difficult. You need a phone and I’m getting you one. Think of it as an early birthday present.”
“Don’t remind me,” Sasuke muttered as Sakura ran off to speak to one of the sales associates.
Usually his birthday was a big affair for the clan. It was one of the days where the focus was all on him and it made his skin itch when all of those eyes were on him. He wouldn’t be returning home for his eighteenth birthday and he had hoped his role as a familiar would be enough of an excuse.
His mother had been upset and her hawk summon nipped at his ear when she had brought Mikoto’s message to him. The letter was lengthy as all of her letters were and its contents had put him on edge.
A member of his retainer would be joining him in the mundane realm and Sasuke knew, he just knew, who exactly would be sent to him. He had barely read his cousin’s name when his mother’s hawk vanished into air before he could send her a reply.
He attempted to send messages using his own hawks but no answer returned until his father sent one of his crows demanding that he stop his foolishness.
In the mundane realm with Sakura, despite not being human, he was just an average teenager but there were times he was reminded that he was exactly what Kakashi sarcastically called him: a young master.
“We should lounge around the pool later,” Karin suggested, reattaching herself to Sakura’s side. Sasuke’s head throbbed every time she wrapped her thin arms around Sakura and pulled her away from him. “Luckily I brought my swimsuit. I need to work on my tan before we have to go back to our stupid underground base.”
He wondered if it was a familiar thing to feel so attached. His brother at one point had an unhealthy devotion to his warlock and now, although it wasn’t toxic, his affection for his witch and her familiar was so strong that at times it felt as if his covenant was all that mattered in the universe.
“You’re all bones.” Suigetsu mockingly gagged. “No one wants to see that.”
“Shut up, Suigetsu!” She rammed her fist against his shoulder and Suigetsu had to force himself not to let the limb burst into a splash of water.
Even with Sasuke’s limited experience with familiars, Suigetsu was a welcome exception to the rule. He was still Karin’s partner but he antagonized her at every turn. Whatever force that bound them together couldn’t force affection.
Sighing, he flexed his fingers on the hand that held Sakura’s only moments ago. It would have been a lot easier if he could just blame the covenant for whatever it was that caused the flutterings in his stomach.
Sakura shifted her gaze from Sasuke’s scowl and back to the tall stranger with the toothy smile. They had been staring at each other for the past ten minutes and she had to wonder if the man’s face was hurting from all of the smiling.
“Go home,” Sasuke finally snapped. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and glared at the man that introduced himself as his cousin.
“You know I can’t do that,” Obito practically sang.
Sakura and Sasuke had entered Tsunade’s manor for a day of lessons only to be met with an exasperated Shizune waiting for them in the foyer. She led them to the conservatory where a tall man dressed in navy blue hakama pants with a long nosed goblin mask on his head was perched on the back of one of the couches. His large black wings were folded behind his back.
They were pitch black like his and Sasuke’s hair and extremely different from Sasuke’s wings. Sasuke’s wings were a lovely chestnut color, speckled with white and black and lined with silver.
Sakura suddenly felt bad for not knowing more about tengu and Sasuke’s family. She had no idea why their wings were so vastly different and if that was significant of anything.
“You’re not staying.”
“That’s not up to you Sasuke-bocchama.”
Kakashi burst into a fit of laughter from his seat in one of the wicker armchairs. “I was kidding but you really are a little master, huh?”
Obito turned his grin towards Kakashi. “He’s the next head of the Uchiha clan.”
“This is fucking hilarious,” Suigetsu said thickly. Sasuke scrunched up his nose in disgust. Why was he always eating or drinking something?
“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” Sasuke snapped at him. This whole situation was testing his patience.
Suigetsu shrugged. “Not really.”
Ignoring him, Sasuke turned his attention back to his cousin. “Why are you here? I’ve been fine on my own.”
“Be glad it’s just me.” Obito held up his hands in defense. “It could have been all of us.”
“All?” Sakura interjected, confused.
“My personal retainer is made up of seven of my clansmen, including Shisui whom you’ve met.” Sasuke’s voice took on a sharper tone when he redirected his attention back to Obito. “We don’t have room for you.”
Obito raised a brow at him and then gestures to the manor. “No room? In this giant house?”
“Sasuke, doesn’t live in the manor,” Shizune explained. “Sakura lives in her family home and commutes for her lessons.”
The grin slid off of Obito’s face and his jaw dropped as he shifted between looking at Sasuke and Sakura and back. Sakura looked over at Sasuke with concern when he groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Don’t even think about—“
“You’re shacking up with your word weaver!”
Sakura and Sasuke instantly began protesting over the sounds of Suigetsu’s guffaws.
“Man,” he swirled his spoon in his bowl of cereal, “Karin picked the wrong day to go to the spa.”
Sasuke barely looked up from Sakura’s book on arithmancy when he heard her murmur. She had fallen asleep during their tutoring session, her head falling against his upper arm.
It had been a long day for the both of them with the arrival of his cousin. It had been absolutely embarrassing to have to explain to him his living situation in front of not only Kakashi and Shizune but Suigetsu as well which meant Karin would know exactly what had happened even if Sakura didn’t tell her.
In the end, Obito was given a room in the manor. Sasuke spent most of his time there anyway so it was the best decision. He didn’t want the Haruno family to have to deal with yet another guest in their home and to have to deal with yet another extension charm to house Obito.
The manor was large enough and had enough rooms that Obito wouldn’t be noticed if he kept to himself.
“It’s not just a house,” Sakura had explained to him before their study session. “It’s the Senju School for the Healing Arts. It operates like a boarding school like most academies, but most of our students are temporary. The healing arts are extremely difficult to master and most witches choose not to learn them unless they are trying to rise in ranks. Shizune and I are the only witches that have been the true students of the school and that have entered the coven.”
“Is that why the Hebi coven is much larger?”
“Yes. Lord Orochimaru can be just as discriminant as Lady Tsunade but our numbers are much smaller because not everyone can perform the advanced healing arts. Even with a familiar, the control and concentration required make the spells nearly impossible to cast.”
“But you were taken as a student before you summoned me.” Sasuke watched as the corners of Sakura’s lips curled upwards. “And you were already casting spells for it?”
“Any other Elder would have seen my blood status and turned me away before even trying to test my control over my mana, just send me off to another academy.” Sakura had scowled before it melted into a proud smile. “Not Lady Tsunade. She saw how much I wanted it and let me join her school and then eventually, her coven.”
Sakura was lucky enough to live in the same city as the Senju School. She told him that Tsunade saw no reason why an underage witch shouldn’t have the comfort of living with their family. At the moment she was seventeen and even though that made her an adult amongst word weavers, she was still a minor in the mundane world.
She had also explained that in the region they lived in he would be officially an adult without the perk of being able to legally obtain alcohol. Sasuke had rolled his eyes at her and said, “what’s the point of being an adult then?”
Moving carefully as to not wake her up, Sasuke grabbed his new phone and opened up the application for the Internet. Sakura had helped him set everything up and showed him how to use Google to search for things.
Sasuke was tempted to let his brother know that he had a cell phone now. Itachi didn’t have a phone but he knew that Izumi did, even though she couldn’t use it anywhere near their mountain and valley. She had to travel a distance and find other settlements before she could send a text or make a call. But perhaps now that he had his own phone his family could be convinced to deal with a cellphone tower. Sakura could probably fix up his phone to work across realms.
But then again, would he be able to deal with his family calling every day? Sasuke shivered, thinking about how he would be hounded every day.
Sakura shifted and Sasuke stilled, body tensing. She had gotten more comfortable in her sleep and had curled her arm around his, cradling his arm against her chest.
It was fine that she wanted to speak to him late at night. It was fine when she sat with him on his bed, close enough for their knees to touch. It wasn’t new that Sakura would study until she fell asleep reading, but this was an intimacy that Sasuke couldn’t afford.
Her lashes fluttered and she sighed in her sleep as she nuzzled her head against his shoulder. Sasuke had to wake her up. Sleeping in his bed couldn’t become a habit.
There was a level of comfort between them that the Sasuke of four months ago would have been repulsed by. He had loathed word weavers and now he was letting one cuddle with him in his bed.
It was far from proper what they were doing, but he at least knew that his cousin Obito wouldn’t rat him out to anyone else. The younger generation didn’t flaunt it but they didn’t care for propriety the way the older generation did.
And he could always blackmail Obito into silence. He had a lot on his older cousin he could use.
Nudging gently with his shoulder, Sasuke attempted to wake Sakura up. “Sakura.” he reached over and pinched her cheek. “Sakura.”
“No,” she whined and held onto his arm tighter. “Warm.”
“I need my arm back and you need to go to your own room.”
“Spoilsport,” Sakura grumbled but loosened her hold. She blinked dazedly at him and stretched her arms over her head. “I was very comfortable. You should have just carried me to bed.”
A rush of heat crawled up Sasuke’s neck. “You’re heavy.”
Sakura blew a raspberry at him. “I am not,” she replied hotly, more alert. “You catch me without breaking a sweat.”
“That’s due to bursts of adrenaline to save your dumbass before you break something.” Sasuke jabbed at her forehead with his index finger. “Now go to sleep.”
“That’s what I was doing.”
“In your own bed. Or do you want them to make more comments about our living situation?”
Sakura scrambled off of his bed, cheeks flushed a hot pink color. “Okay, you’re right. I’m off to bed.”She gathered her tome and sheets of paper and bid him goodnight.
As soon as Sakura was out and shut the door behind her, Sasuke flopped backwards onto his bed with a sigh. The warmth of both of their bodies and Sakura’s scent lingered on his duvet.
“You’re pretty good at this.” Sakura nodded with approval as Sasuke trapped Obito’s pieces on the shogi board. “If Temari visits us, you could probably challenge Shikamaru a little.”
“God I hate playing with him,” Karin grumbled. “I think I’ve only won, like, once when we were fifteen.”
It was the day before Karin and Suigetsu were due to return back to the Hebi coven’s base and the teenagers just wanted to lounge in the conservatory. Sakura and Karin had collected plants for her to take back home and Sakura had used it as a chance to give Sasuke a lesson on “green” magic.
At some point they decided to take a break and Obito had brought out a shogi board. The man was happy-go-lucky so Sakura hadn’t expected him to be ruthless when it came to his challenges. She would have to message Temari and tell her she found her familiar some competition.
“Hello,” Kakashi greeted, slinking into the conservatory in his cat form and curling himself on Suigetsu’s lap. Suigetsu immediately started scratching the back of Kakashi’s ear without missing a beat in stuffing popcorn in his mouth. “If I were you all, I would steer clear of Lady Tsunade and Shizune today.”
“Uh…” Sakura blinked owlishly. “Why?”
“Because━” an explosion went off in the distance, interrupting him. “That’s why.”
“That wasn’t an explanation!” Sakura snapped at him. “Should we go check on that?”
“Trust me,” Kakashi drawled, stretching his paws and getting more comfortable, “you would rather not.”
Sakura opened her mouth to retort but closed it when Karin placed her hand on her shoulder in a comforting matter. She tapped her glasses with her index finger and then shut them. Sakura watched Karin scrunch up her face and then scoff.
“Great,” Karin opened her eyes and rolled them, “another visitor and I’m going to miss all of the drama.”
Sasuke perked up at the mention of another visitor. When the Hebi coven had come to visit, Shizune had stressed out preparing for the visit a whole week. She had just spoken to all of them an hour earlier and hadn’t mentioned that they were expecting anyone to come the manor.
“Are we—?” Suigetsu asked but was cut off by Sakura.
“Let’s go see who it is!” She squealed and jumped up from her seat, obviously excited. “Maybe it’s a new student. I could have an underclassmen.”
“It’s an upperclassmen,” Kakashi burst her bubble. She pouted, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “Actually, the last time he was a student here, you weren’t even born yet.”
“Who is it?” Sakura turned to ask Karin whom had her eyes closed again and had her face pinched in concentration.
“Red hair. Tiny as hell. Like smaller than me probably—“
“Not possible,” Suigetsu deadpanned. “Are you really scrying right now? You just described yourself.”
“And a blond. Long hair. And fire?” Karin opened her eyes. “Lots of fire.”
There was another explosion and the fire alarm rang and Shizune burst into the conservatory. She picked up Kakashi by his neck and shook him.
“You were supposed to entertain Deidara!”
“Do you know how bad burnt fur smells?” Kakashi squirmed in her hold, shifting back into his human form.
Curiosity getting the better of him, Sasuke caught Sakura’s eye and the two of them took off down the hall, looking for the new arrivals. Karin chased after them, huffing.
“Upstairs!” She shouted and they stormed up one of the twin staircases that led from the foyer to the second floor. “Down the hall in the office.”
The three of them skidded to a stop as the door to Lady Tsunade’s office opened inwardly and the High Priestess stepped out glaring at all of them. She raised her hand up and Sasuke felt all of his muscles tense up. He attempted to move but his body wouldn’t respond.
She had frozen them.
“Why are you running in my house?” She glared at all three of them before her gaze landed on Sakura, demanding an answer from her.
“We heard an explosion.”
“That happened in the front hall, not my office.” Tsunade turned her attention to Karin. “You dare to spy into my private office, Uzumaki?”
Tsunade flicked her on the forehead and Karin broke out of the enchantment that had her frozen and clutched her forehead.
“And you.” Tsunade shifted her focus on Sasuke, an eyebrow raised in confusion. “I didn’t take you for the nosy type. That’s kind of interesting.”
Sasuke scowled, heat rising to his cheeks. Tsunade was only a few years older than his father and when she looked at him with that expression it felt like he was being scolded by a parent. It made him feel like a child and reflecting on his behavior he had been acting pretty childish.
As embarrassing as the slip was, it was also a little liberating.
The three teens turned to face the stranger that just stepped out of the office. A man of about Karin’s height with red brown hair in a slim fit all black suit stared impassively at them. Right behind him followed a slightly taller, androgynous teenager with long blond hair, a mischievous smirk gracing his face. Unlike his companion, he was dressed more casually in a singed cropped top and jeans that were ripped at the knees.
“Children.” Sasuke scoffed, which earned him another glare from Tsunade. “This is Sasori of the Akatsuki coven. He and his familiar will be staying with us as he trains to take up the post of High Priest for his coven.”
Sasori gave them a bow, it was only a slight inclination of his head but Sasuke found himself returning it.
“And that is Deidara or as I will now be referring to him as ‘the reason we will be reviewing fire safety.’”
“‘Sup.” Deidara nodded upwards at them, sticking his chin up.
“He’s around your age—well, close enough since he’s barely twenty—so I hope you all will get along.” Tsunade looked exhausted just from introducing him. “Hopefully now that he has peers in his age group to hang out with, my house has a greater chance of not being destroyed. Again.”
Again? Sasuke narrowed his eyes at the hand Deidara offered to Sakura in greeting. Smoke rose from his palms.
“I make no promises,” Deidara chirped.
Before Sakura could return the gesture, Sasuke grasped his hand and shook it, extinguishing the sparks Deidara was releasing as he tightened his grip. The shorter familiar’s face twisted into a pout as he realized his prank had been prevented. Sasuke squeezed his hand one more time in warning before letting go.
He was going to have to ask Sakura if there were any spells to fireproof an entire building.
Day’s Notes: Momyr on twitter made a beautiful fanart for this fic and I just needed to update this fic. You should check it out! You can find it in my likes on twitter. My handle is pain_somnia.
Updating this earlier than I usually would when I post publicly but it’s my birthday so why not share it? lol