Sand Trails Ch 22: Life goes on…

“Itachi, you’re such a fucking dick, you know that?!” Hidan shouted, throwing an empty soda can across the office at the black-haired Uchiha.  The group was all relaxed after a day of being bored to death in school, sitting around the office at the junk yard.

Deidara grinned and wrapped an arm around Itachi’s shoulders as the Uchiha frowned at Hidan.  “Aww, he’s just grumpy, Hidan!  After all, Sakura-chan has been gone for almost an entire twenty-four hours.”

Hidan cackled.  “You’re so whipped, Itachi!” he laughed.

Whipping the can at the albino’s head, Itachi shrugged off Dei’s arm and stood up from the fold-out chair. “Kisame.”

Laid out on the sofa, the blue teen lifted his head. “Yo?”

“Come.” Itachi turned and walked out the door.

Grumbling, Kisame roll up off the cushions. “Fuck, Hidan. Now he’s going to be even pissier.”

“Not my fucking fault!” Hidan retorted.  “He’s the one being all goddamn mopey and fucking bitchy over Pinky.  Blame her!”

Deidara rolled his eyes, secretly glad that Itachi had apparently decided not to beat him to within an inch of his life.  “Alright, we can stop now, un.  Don’t want him to murder us in our sleep or something.”  He nodded.  For a beat, he wished that Kakuzu was there to keep Hidan in line, but as it was, the money monger had gone off for some sort of ‘job’ and said he wouldn’t be joining them for the rest of the week.  Which meant Hidan would likely be out of control.

“HEY!” Hidan yelped and jumped to his feet, sticking his head out the door to spy Itachi and Kisame walking over to the latter’s truck.  “Where the hell’re you fucking going!?”

“Eh, they’re leaving already?” Deidara asked, checking the clock.  He yelped.  “Crap!  It’s already five!  I promised kaasan!”  He dashed out past Hidan and rushed over to his car.

“Heeeyyy!  DON’T LEAVE ME!!” Hidan yelled, since he was stuck there at the junk yard for another hour of work.


“You can’t be serious.” Kankuro stood stock still at the threshold of the room and refused to budge.

Standing by a simple white desk, one that had clearly seen better days, Sakura propped a hand on her hip and scowled. “What.”

Ignoring his two younger siblings that were already settling themselves around the room, the teen gestured at the floor, the walls, the bed, the windows and the ceiling. “It’s… PINK.”

The bedspreads were various shades of light rose to dark blood, the walls were painted a baby’s breath blush, the windows had sheer white lace curtains, sure, but bunched at the sides were more opaque, solid, stubbornly, aggravating dark pink fabric. The glass of the overhead light fixture even had simple pink edges. Who buys this stuff?

Gaara, whom was leaning against the wall three inches from said window, sent his older brother a darkly amused smirk.  “Does it make you feel emasculate, Kankuro?” he asked softly.

Temari tried to smother her laughter and mostly failed.

Kankuro, who didn’t own a single pink item, huffed and dropped his book bag by the door. “Fuck off.” Casting his gaze around the room again, he sighed and gingerly sat down on the -UGH- pink area rug. The PINK SHAG RUG.

Temari nearly collapsed against Sakura, giggling so hard her face was turning a dark red.  The look on his face was priceless!  “Wish… ahahah… I had…. hehehe… a camera!”

Gaara was smirking.  “Maybe we should knock him out and pose him,” he said.  It was impossible to tell if he was being serious or not.

“If you knock me out, then at least my retinas will be spared,” he grumped, then froze as a bright flash lit the room and there was a smug beep. There was a breathless silence and then, “I will end you, Haruno.”

Sakura snickered and wagged a finger at him as she handed her cell phone over to Temari who squealed. “Killing me would be pointless, don’t you think?” she asked, tipped her head to the side to watch the blonde beside her relay the picture to an email account. “And you look adorable.”

Gaara grinned outright.  “You need to send that to my email, Temari.  I might need it in the future,” he said evilly.

Temari snickered and nodded.  “I’ll forward it,” she said, and shot Kankuro a sly look.  “And you wouldn’t wanna hurt Sakura-chan!  Or have you forgotten who she’s dating?”  She winked, though she knew that Itachi couldn’t intimidate Kankuro from all the way over in Konoha.

Pulling out a textbook, Kankuro shot his sister an amused look. “Forget who she’s dating,” he drawled turning to Sakura, “I know who her friends are. And she’s got the whole gang wrapped around her left pinky.”

The pink-haired girl blinked for a moment, then blushed. “I do not.”

Kankuro snorted. “I was there for the beach party, Pinky. You even had Konan gunning for you.”

Temari patted Sakura’s shoulder and returned her phone.  “Don’t worry about him.  He’s just jealous of your womanly powers.”  She glared at Gaara when he snorted in derision.  “Right, niichan?”

His look quickly turned poisonous.  “Don’t call me that.”

She just laughed at him.  “Alrighttt!  Actually, I have a date with a friend of mine, and she gets off work in ten minutes, so I’m gonna go meet her.  You think you’ll be fine with these two lack wits, Sakura-chan?”

Leaning forward, Sakura gave the other girl a quick hug. “We’ll be fine. I’ve had worse.” Hearing a snort from Kankuro, she turned and shrugged. “You’re bound to be better than Hidan and Deidara.”

“Gee thanks.”

Temari snickered and waved, grabbing her bag off the corner of the bed.  “Alright.  Call me if you need any help dealing with them.  I offer BA groups.”  At Sakura’s bemused look, she grinned.  “Brothers Annonymous!”  She blew a kiss at Gaara and left.

He glowered after her.  “I hate her.”

“If you don’t want her, can I have her?” Sakura teased. “I think it would be awesome having an older sister.”

“Take her, she’s yours,” the redhead replied flatly, crossing his arms and scowling at his brother’s down-turned head.  “What are you studying?” he demanded after a beat.

Brown eyes turned up to meet light green and Kankuro blinked. “Biology,” he answered, removing an ear bud from his ears. “Why?”

Gaara glared at him and then ignored him completely.  He looked at Sakura.  “I’m hungry.”  The statement was pretty expectant.

“Snacks or an actual meal?” she asked after blinking. The redhead was lucky she was used to being around Naruto who had a bottomless stomach or else the bid for food would have been too abrupt.

Kankuro’s head snapped back up from the page. “Snacks?”

The redhead’s look was somehow both irritated and incredulous.  “You mean you have both?” he asked, skeptical.  “Ready?”  He wouldn’t believe such a thing.

She raised a hand and began ticking off fingers. “Chips, cookies, salsa and more chips, chocolate almonds, peanuts, pickles, various fruits, at least one apple pie, and three boxes of cereal. That’s the snacks.” Slim eyebrows came together in a slight frown as she contemplated dinner. “I could order in pizza, there’s a few samosas in the fridge, mac ‘n cheese would be easy, there’s also a meat pie in the freezer, and two types of frozen fish sticks. And frozen fries.”

Pausing, Sakura took in the slightly glazed look in Kankuro’s eyes and Gaara’s expression. “Naruto has a black hole posing as a stomach,” she shrugged.

On the floor, the older brother blinked and coughed. “Pickles?”

“Pickled onions to be exact,” she clarified. “Sasuke seems to like them.”

Gaara’s look was full of disgust.  “Tch.  You don’t have to bother with a meal, woman.  Get me the chocolate almonds.”  He sneered when Kankuro gave him a disbelieving look.  “I like chocolate, stupid.  Pay attention.”  Very pointedly, he sat down on the floor by the wall and dragged his bag over.  He had homework to do.

Blinking, Kankuro shrugged and got up off the rug to wander over to where Sakura was muttering over a large cardboard box on the desk.

“He had to pick the one thing that I left in the kitchen…”

“Issues Pinky?” he asked as he peered into the box with her. Ha! He grabbed a bag of Dorito’s.

“Nope.” Sakura tucked a few strands of loose hair behind her ear and turned around to face the expectant redhead. “Be right back. The almonds are in the kitchen,” she explained as she walked out of the room.

Gaara watched her go, expression unreadable, then turned his gaze back to his bag and tugged out a folder and a text-book.  A few seconds more shifting and he grabbed out a pencil as well.  He set the folder in his lap and had started going through it when he realized his brother was staring.  He looked up.  “What?”

Whatever Kankuro was going to say was cut off as a rattling buzz sounded from the desk. “Shit!” The oldest sand sibling yelped as he fumbled for Sakura’s phone as it vibrated right off the edge. “Uhhh…. crap.” He held the phone in both hands as he looked at the screen. “I think I accidentally picked up the call.”

Gaara gave him an annoyed half-glare.  “Then talk to them, stupid.”

“Uh, right.”  He lifted the phone to his ear.  “Uh… hello…?”

“Who is this?”

He knew that voice.  Oh shit.  Giving his brother a wide-eyed, pale-faced look (which Gaara returned with a contemptuous sneer), he attempted to smile.  “Uh, Kankuro…  Itachi, right?  Uchiha?”

Gaara was amused.  “You truly are an idiot.”

There was a shuffling noise on the other side of the phone and then, “Yeah, that was Itachi-kun.” another voice took over, “Kisame here. Kanky, dude! What are you doing with Sakura-chan’s phone?”

Kankuro paled even further, if that was possible.  He was gonna die…  Suddenly, the phone was being snatched from his hand.  Gaara frowned.  “Who is this?” he demanded suspiciously.

“That’s Kisame…” Kankuro hissed.  “Gimme that before you piss them off!”

Gaara glared at his last comment.  “Who cares?”

Kankuro tried to snatch it back, but Gaara stepped out of range and tripped him.  Gaara continued.  “Hello, Kisame-san.  Haruno-san’s getting snacks.  She left her phone in the room with us when she left.”  It was like someone had flipped a switch, and he was suddenly polite.  Then again, he had gotten all that white sand from this guy for free.

“Aaah, study night huh? Hey, Itachi, remember the last time Sakura hosted a study night?” There were murmurs in the background for a second. Then Kisame was back, “Anyway, can you tell Sakura that she has a call? Itachi-kun here is missing his sweety – Aack! My spleen!”

Gaara’s smirk was darkly amused, and he watched Sakura step into the room only to pause.  “‘Itachi-kun’ does not appear to appreciate your teasing.  Here she is.”  He pulled the phone away from his ear and held it out to the rosette girl.  “Kisame-san and Uchiha.”

Kankuro pouted as he sat up, having just laid there as he listened to the disturbing display of a friendly conversation.  His brother was an absolute freak.  “Tell them I come in peace, right, Pinky?”

The girl didn’t answer, only grinned as she traded the almonds for the phone. “Hi guys!” She waved at the other two boys as she moved back out into the hallway. “I missed you!”

On the other side Kisame laughed. “Careful girly, I know you love me, but my friend here is eyeing my kidneys. Hold on…” The phone was apparently shuffled around.

“Hello Sakura.”

The girl’s grin softened and she closed her eyes, savoring the chocolate sound of his voice. “Hi Itachi. I’ve missed you.”

Kankuro, who was standing just three feet away, with only a thin wall and an open door between them, blinked.  Wow, he’d never thought to hear that tone from her.  He grinned and turned to say something to his brother, only to find Gaara’s unnerving stare less than three inches away.  He yelped.  “IEEEE!!”

Gaara jerked back so that when Kankuro jumped, he wasn’t smacked in the face.  The redhead grinned and offered him a chocolate covered almond, the gesture almost cheerful.  “You freak!” Kankuro belted out.

The almond was withdrawn.  “Bite me.”

Distracted by the yells coming from her room, Sakura turned around. “Sorry, Itachi, I can’t hear you over the brothers back there.”

“Hnn, shut them up then. They can’t be any worse than Hidan or Dei.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Sakura smiled. Poking her head in through the door way, she saw Gaara pulling back from his brother. “Kankuro?”

He whipped around, looking very annoyed as Gaara popped the almond into his mouth.  “Huh?”

“Eloquent,” the redhead said, wandering back over to his books.

Kankuro ignored him.

The girl in front of him was holding her phone against her ear, but she was smiling sweetly at him. “Kankuro,” she repeated, “I’m on the phone. Shut the hell up.”

Itachi was grinning as Kisame laughed beside him. He had put the call on speaker phone; both of them had wanted to hear Sakura in her element.

Sharky parked the truck in front of the manga shop and turned to look at his friend. “I knew I loved that girl for a reason.”

The black-eyed teen was still grinning as he smacked his best friend over the head. Then they both leaned forward to listen to the phone call.

Kankuro blinked.  How could someone look so innocently sweet, yet radiate the urge to tear your head off at the same time?  He looked at his brother, who flashed teeth.  Maybe they were secretly related?

“I think she’s waiting for your answer, stupid,” Gaara drawled, turning his attention back to his book.

Kankuro looked back at Sakura and gave her a sheepish grin, nodding mutely.  Best not to anger the beast.  Er, Sakura.  Yeah.

She reached out and patted his head. “Good. Now sit down, eat your chips and study. I may be a while.”

“That’s what she said… Ouch!” Kisame yelped.


Sakura giggled as she turned back to the hallway, heading for the kitchen. “I’ve missed you guys so much!”


Ino made a face, sitting between Sai and Naruto in their usual spot during lunch.  “Naruto, you’re pathetic.  Stop moping so much!  You called her over the weekend, didn’t you?”

The other blond nodded, slumped in his seat.  “Yeah…  but she was all ‘I’m busy right now, Naruto’ and we only got to talk for like half an hour…”

Ino punched him hard in the shoulder.  “That’s more than poor Sasuke-kun did!” she said, and beamed at the Uchiha, who sat on Naruto’s other side, looking like he didn’t really care.

The few minutes that he had gotten with his pink-haired friend had been hurried, but from what he had heard, she had been getting a long with her teachers and making new friends. He buried the small whiny voice that said she shouldn’t make new friends. That she belonged back in Konoha. If anything, just to get his older brother from being such a pain.

“Who cares about teme?” Naruto demanded, only to get creamed by Ino.

Sai was busy painting the scene of Ino grinding Naruto’s head into the grass with her foot.  “You should stay just like that.  Your breasts are stretched quite beautifully that way.”  He barely managed to avoid her enraged kick.

Across from the scuffle, Shikamaru refused to lift his head from his arms. The whole group had been on edge since Sakura’s departure. Sasuke would snap on the slightest provocation or ignore everyone completely. Naruto hardly laughed anymore, and if he did, it would end with a guilty look, followed closely by a desperate phone call to a certain pink-haired girl. Ino was determined to carry on as if nothing was wrong, but he had already stumbled upon her sniffling. So he knew better.

As for himself, Shika frowned. He wasn’t depressed, no. But he was worried. While Sakura had been with their group, she had become a close friend. When she started to spend more time with Itachi’s group, Shika didn’t begrudge her that. Especially since he knew that the older boys would take care of her. But now she was in Suna. Far away from all her friends and anyone that Shika trusted. And the reasons for the move were so vague

“I’m gonna go visit her in Suna next weekend,” Naruto suddenly announced, with absolutely no preamble at all.  Nobody had to ask to know who he was talking about.

Choji’s chip munching on Shikamaru’s right paused.  “Yeah?  Take me with you?  I hear they have this amazing salamander dish in Suna…”  He salivated thinking about it.

Ino made a face.  “Ew.  And ew.  I’m not going.  Make her come here!  Suna would be totally bad for my skin!  The air is so dry and the sun’s unbearable!”

“You sound like you’re experienced,” Sai said, straight-faced.

“I really do wonder why I haven’t killed you yet,” the feminine blonde growled.

Raising his head, Shika shook it. “It’s troublesome, but I would like to go too.” As the others turned to stare at him, he continued. “I want to see who her new friends are.” And if they are good enough.

Naruto met his gaze and gave him a big smile.  “Yeah!  We can have a picnic!”

“What are you, five?” Ino demanded, rolling her eyes.  “Besides, you don’t wanna have a picnic in Suna.  It gets up to 90 degrees in the winter, and it’s nearly Summer.”

“I’ll come too,” Sai added.  “Perhaps we could arrange to have an inside meal, or see a movie…”

“You of all people don’t need to go,” Ino deadpanned.  “She’d cream you for that poster thing!”

“Oh yeah.”

Naruto looked at Sasuke, wondering if he’d come too.

The other boy turned as if feeling Naruto’s regard. Black eyes met blue. Sasuke nodded.

Naruto smiled at him.  “I’ll call her tonight!”


“Oi, Hidan’s been acting kind of weird lately, un,” Deidara said, sprawled upside down off the edge of the couch in his basement.  Said albino was at work – as was Kakuzu – so it was just him, Kisame and Itachi.  “You guys have any idea what that’s about?  It’s weird!”

“He had a run in with Neji yesterday before my metal class,” the blue-boy mused. “Usually that rebar-popsicle doesn’t eat in the quad, so I guess Hidan couldn’t resist poking.”

Deidara frowned.  “No, I don’t think that’s it, un,” he said.  “I walked up to him and tried to pick a fight earlier, and he totally blew me off.  Didn’t even hear what I’d said, un.”  He sat up and shifted to put his back to the back of the couch.  “Something weird is going on.”

From the couch, Kisame just shrugged. “Maybe he’s finally taking meds.”

Deidara gave him a look.  “Hidan?  Taking meds?”

“It’s a fucking joke, you idiot.”

Itachi sighed. He really needed a ‘Sakura fix’. And soon.


The pale girl hummed, trying to think. Standing here, embracing like this, it was nice. Really nice. For once, she didn’t feel pressured to do anything. Okay, maybe besides one thing. Reciprocation was definitely on the to-do list. She leaned back in and initiated her own kiss.

He grinned and returned it… And that was how Deidara found them. The flash of a camera announced his presence, accompanied a cheer. “I HAVE PROOF, UN!” the blond cackled, and ran away as fast as he could.


Chapter 21 | Table of Contents | Chapter 23

A/N: Bwuahahahaahaa! Proof of what, Dei? Share damnit!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s