Shizukesa:  - PursuitSasuke regained consciousness with a dull thud against the dusty ground. Groaning, his body registered his injuries, seconds too late. Pain rushed to his head quickly, his gut, his back, all on fire. As he fought his way to sit up, he forced himself to open his eyes, only to see four pairs of feet and legs standing around him.
“Finally awake, are we?” Sakon’s voice clattered down, assaulting his ears. Pangs of splitting pain throbbed through his head, originating from where he’d been kicked. “I’ll make it simple. You’re coming with us.”
His eyes widened as he looked up, but his vision was gone once more.
~ ~ ~
Cool circles of morning sunlight dragged Sakura from her sleep. Her body was shaking from the cold of the floor where she lay, and all of it was stiff and sore. Gingerly getting to her feet, she had a split second reprieve before the memories of the previous night flooded back to her.
She had to do something, and do it now.
Shizukesa:  - DisappearanceThe sound of two firm raps on the door of the house caused Sakura to tear her gaze away from the sunset-painted scenery outside of the Uchiha’s back door. Sasuke himself was leaned up against the counter, watching the kitten chase its tiny tail.
Slowly, calmly, he strode towards the door, the kitten trailing his footsteps like a little Sasuke shadow.
Sasuke placed a hand on the door’s handle and looked down at the black furball.
An instant later, he was on his back, launched through the air like a cannonball. Wooden fragments of the door clattered around him, and the kitten scampered back to where Sakura was sitting.
“Well, boy? Do you have an answer for us yet?” A rough voice burst into the house, filling it with uncertainty and unrecognizable strangeness.
Slowly lifting his eyelids, the fallen Uchiha observed the silver sound shinobi, Sakon, holding a palm towards the now-empty door frame. He slowly lifted himself to his feet, his mind racing.
Shizukesa:  - Pet Peeves“Hmm... ” Sakura muttered, watching the kitten bat the fish around with its tiny paws before it took another bite of it. She lowered herself to sit on the ground, staring thoughtfully at the black ball of fur and energy. It finished half of the fish, and picked up the rest in its mouth, dropping it off in front of Sakura and nuzzling its face against her leg. As she thought of possible names, she heard a loud bark, and she looked up to see Akamaru padding towards her, a flustered Kiba chasing after him.
“Akamaru, where are you going!?” He yelled, exasperated. As the dog ran past Sakura, the kitten at her feet stood up and hissed. Akamaru stopped and began to growl at the kitten, giving Kiba enough time to catch up.
“Hey! Leave the kitten alone, Akamaru!” Kiba panted, grabbing Akamaru and lifting him away from the kitten. “Sorry about that.” he apologized to Sakura, scratching his head.
“That’s alright, it wasn’t his faul
Shizukesa:  - Natural BeautyThe Uchiha compound rose out of the horizon, its rooftops slicing sections of sunlight off of the main stream. As the two walked in through the grand entrance, a nearby shrub burst into motion, butterflies swimming up in the pool of setting sunlight, rising like a bubble of air in a boiling pot. Scattering in all directions above the many buildings, they dispersed in a cloud of color. One curious young butterfly with wispy purple wings flew alongside Sakura, and landed on her shoulder. She beamed at it, and it remained perched there, lazily hitching a ride.
They approached a building near the center of the compound. The atmosphere of this entire area was sombre, lifeless, devoid of activity. Sasuke drew ahead, placing his hand on the faded white wood of the building’s door. It creaked open, and he walked inside. Opening window covers, Sasuke let the sun’s angular light chase the shadows out of his home as Sakura walked inside.
Absorbing the old, comfortable style of the hou
Shizukesa:  - Love and MiseryDripping with water, Sasuke plodded onto the grass and sprawled out on his back, arms splayed out like he was reaching for something on either side of him. With his eyes closed, he lay there like a felled log, letting the sun dry him with its summer heat.
It was a picturesque scene, among the playful trees and silent water; he was a testament to the serenity of the scenery, the sunny beams and shadow streams drawing swirls across his body.
Sakura let her gaze rest on him. She wondered what was going through his mind right now.
Whispering slithers from the leaves tickled her ears, the silent spray of the water responded in kind. All of nature was fully awake; flight-feathered birds soared over the pond, fish scattered below the surface, and a tiny snake hissed in an inaudible voice. Subtlety, so vivid in her eyes, suddenly manifested itself, and things that she had seen, but had not registered in her mind, began to present themselves to her. The sparkling surface of the water cast a nea
Shizukesa:  - TearsThe pair of them sat on the same bench as they had the night before, a negative photograph of what it had been before. The sun’s rays caused the duck pond to gleam like a piece of molten metal. Painting intricate shadows on the scenery, the trees danced in the afternoon air, their leaves rustling playfully.
Sakura was crying again, tears running down her face and joining their fallen brethren on the park bench.
“Sasuke... I’m -hic- sorry... I didn’t know...” She sobbed, terrified by the boy before her.
“Now you do.” he said flatly, his voice surprisingly level for the amount of emotion he had just divulged.
So many things made sense to her now, the least of which was Sasuke’s annoyance at the children. How did he live with that kind of emotional baggage, let alone be as stable as he was?
Living with what he’d just told her would be enough to drive her to madness.
“You must -hic- hate me...” Sakura cried.
Shizukesa:  - YouthThe village was bustling with activity, the afternoon summer air seeming to invigorate its inhabitants. Market stalls lined the busy street, civilians bought trinkets and groceries, and the blazing sun lazed across the sky. Naruto was walking backwards with his hands behind his head and a grin splitting his face, bragging to Kakashi about how much they’d improved. Sasuke and Sakura walked beside each other behind Naruto and Kakashi in silence, but both were thinking of the odd morning they’d shared.
“Ichiraku, Sensei! Please?” Naruto pestered, pointing to his favourite ramen stand.
“Sasuke, Sakura, what do you want?” Kakashi asked.
Both of them started, having been pulled from their thoughts.
“Pardon me, Sensei?” Sakura asked.
“Do you feel like Ichiraku?” Kakashi repeated.
“Sure!” She smiled gently, and turned to Sasuke. “If that’s okay with you, Sasuke?”
“Okay.” His voice was fl
Shizukesa:  - TeamworkThe training grounds hadn’t changed at all since Team 7 had first become Genin. The trees still laughed down with their tickled leaves, the ground still had the hole that Kakashi had dragged Sasuke into, leaving only his head above ground, and the three pillars still stood, chest height, sentinels of the ninja way. Except for the fact that Naruto was standing on them. All three of them.
Noticing their approach, their orange suited teammate hopped down, grinning widely.
“Hey!” Naruto yelled, running up to his friends.
“Hi, Naruto.” Sakura said, in a half-hearted tone that betrayed her distractedness.
“What’s wrong, Sakura? Did Sasuke do something? I’ll beat him up!!” Naruto’s voice escalated to a yell, his fist shaking in front of his face.
Before she could reply, Naruto had run up to Sasuke and started glaring at him. “What did you do to Sakura, you jerk!?”
Sasuke just blinked, his expression dry and unamused, a hi