Fresh from the Tree

Blue, Green and In Between

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Mens Rea / Slow Burn
Mens Rea - Her voice was raw with the emotions as she bit out, "Leave. Sasuke. Now."

It was a slow and painful trek home from the hospital. Sakura blinked against the tell-tale blurred vision of chakra-depletion and trudged on mulishly.

The sun sunk low, casting shadows by the time she felt her front door snick closed at her back. Resting for a moment against the cool panel, the pinkette seriously considered sinking to the floor and sleeping where she stood.

Before she could convince herself she pressed away from the tiny entryway and stumbled toward the main room of the flat. Her foggy mind failed to alert her to the nearness of a side table and she earned a nasty bruise over her hip because of it. Cursing against the throb of the oncoming blemish, Sakura tried to dredge up enough energy to obliterate the damned thing. When not so much as a spark of her usual reserve responded to her call, she was not surprised.

She frowned in frustration nonetheless and was distracted with her annoyance when the toe of one sandal caught on a scuff in the hardwood floor. This time she was ill prepared and swayed heavily into the near wall. One shoulder slammed hard into the unforgiving structure as her knees gave way and she found herself crumpled before her dulled senses could react. She vaguely heared a crash that told her she managed to take something to the floor with her but was too exhausted to care.

The last thing she registered before a complete black out is the cool, dusty surface of the floor under her cheek.

It might have been minutes or hours or days later when the sound of rain and a deep, pithy curse woke her. Something wet and cold was pelting the upturned side of her face and she could have sworn she heard a man's voice.

Squinting hard and trying to work past the sleep that leadened her limbs, Sakura began to stir.

Well above her prone position, Sasuke was glowering. His dark eyes flitted over the scene he had come upon with something between disgust and guilt. Sakura was sprawled in the leeway between her main room and bedroom, her deep pink locks haloed against the pale flooring. Nearby the remains of a lamp were shattered beneath a table that was knocked decidedly askew.

Gauging by her reaction time to his proximity to her vulnerable form, she has throughly drained herself. Again.

In the recent weeks, Sakura had taken to doubling and tripling her usual hospital rotations. Rather than attend the training sessions scheduled for their newly re-instated team, she had been delving into her medical work. Up until this point, Sasuke's hands had been proverbially tied.

Her life was her own, after all. She was a capable Jounin of twenty. If she wanted to seperate herself from her Genin cell, it was her decision. But this was unacceptable.

"Annoying little fool," he muttered as he gathered her slowly squirming form from the hardwoods. With a bit of adjusting he managed to drop her shoes to the floor along with her medical pouch and gloves. Shifting until she slipped pliantly against his upper chest, Sasuke side-steped the pile of discarded clothing and moved toward her sleeping quarters.

Before he had even reached the threshold into the hall, Sakura's strength returned. A deceptively soft sound rippled from her as she flexed but Sasuke was still knocked sharply from his course. Grasping the curve of her shoulder and the tucked contour of the opposite hip, the male managed to maintain a grip on the struggling Sakura.

She in turn was forced to wrap her legs about his waist for leverage. Planting one bare heel against the curve of his lower back, Sakura worked one elbow up until she could drive it into the muscle where his arm met his shoulder. She relished the burn of her overtaxed muscles as she strained more pressure into the counter to his hold.

A deep, angry grunt is all she earns as the Uchiha elects to return in kind. The tension between them is crescendoing as he digs the fingers of the hand that is splayed at her hip into the soft curve, his thumb pressing into a sensitive nerve at the top of her leg.

Sakura loosed a muted warrior yell as she shifts again in Sasuke's constricting hold. "I don't want your help!" She twisted until one hand was struggling to disable the numbing pinch he had on her left thigh. When her efforts proved futile she growled under her breath and flung her weight as sharply as she could to his left in an attempt to disrupt his footing.

Swaying violently under her assault, Sasuke gritted his teeth as his back met the doorframe at the crux between the main room and hall. Dark eyes glared into Sakura's gaze as he snarled, "You cannot walk."

He can hear her teeth click together and watched her lips pull back as she began to route chakra into her arms and legs. Jarring her pointedly, he reminded her, "You don't have the energy to waste."

A sound of pure feminine ire erupted from Sakura. "Let go!"

She began to struggle in earnest as the words flew from her mouth.

In the past months, she had done what she could to avoid the recently returned Uchiha to little avail. When she had taken to driving herself to exhaustion, Sasuke had begun a routine of checking in on her. Subtly, of course. Rather than waking up chilled after passing out atop the covers, she would be tucked securely beneath the coverlet. Or prepared, nutrient rich meals would make their way into the fridge, all of them ideal for reversing chakra depletion.

More recently, however, he had taken it upon himself to follow her home after late shifts. And to add additional traps to her apartment's several large windows which had been previously unguarded. Most galling, though, was his new liberty with preparing her unconscious form for bed. Rather than simply depositing her in whatever state of dress he had discovered her in as he had initially, Sakura had begun to awake in her shirt and shorts only. Her medical supplies, shoes, belt and other accessories would be arranged nearby. Maddeningly neatly.

She resented the gesture beyond words.

His pity, charity and concern were unwarranted and unwelcome so far as Sakura was concerned. She was a self-sufficient adult. If she wanted to be doted on and patronized, she would move back in with her parents. Sasuke's sudden worry for her wellbeing was abrasive and ill timed.

She was pulled from her thoughts when one of her flailing, thinly charged fists skimmed Sasuke's cheekbone. A dark curse spilled from the tall shinobi as he inadvertently loosened his grip on Sakura, reeling from the blow.

Dropping away from the height at which she'd been suspended, Sakura squealed as her numb leg gave way under her weight. She quickly righted her posture, shifting her baring onto the unaffected leg and vigorously rubbing the hip joint Sasuke had disrupted to speed the bloodflow and return of feeling.

Sasuke worked his jaw experimentally to test the newly forming bruise on his cheek. Grimicing, he refocused on Sakura, noting her lopsided stance with some amusement. Before he could comment, she was in motion.

When she saw the pained scowl warp into a shallow smirk, Sakura felt her temper boil. Her weight tipped back as she twisted herself into a punishing reverse body kick.

A silent sigh escaped Sasuke as he elected to absorb the weaker-than-usual blow with one forearm. Sakura's still formidable strength resulted in what was sure to develop into a bone-deep bruise as her shin met his block with brutal efficiency. Before she could dance back from the failed strike, Sasuke snapped his arm down and clasped onto her overextended ankle. A quick tug and Sakura's sluggish reflexes were sending her to the floor. With another quicksilver motion, Sasuke had gathered a fistful of her shirt's material between her tensed shoulders.

So when Sakura opened her dread squinted eyes at last, she was hovering. Her nose was inches from the polished floorboards. Growling in mixed embarrassment and disbelief, the pinkette dropped her hands flat and wrenched herself away from Sasuke. She ignored the instant nausea her wearied body summoned with her abrupt handstand and flowed out of the awkward position with a tumbler's grace.

She agilely rose from the crouch she'd landed in and felt her hands fist at her sides as red hot frustration began to swell in her chest. Her voice was raw with the emotions as she bit out, "Leave. Sasuke. Now."

Slow Burn - Sasuke and Sakura in the time of Clan Wars.

An Uchiha nin in full battle regalia stood at the door. His dark head with its high topknot bowed slightly as he stepped into the small space.

The man slanted her a flat, passing stare that didn't hint to the pain he must have felt, given his injuries. What she could see made the fact he was even standing impressive. His sloe-eyes seemed to evaluate the interior of her shabby clinic with careful, trained sweeps that did not miss any detail. He appeared to dismiss the several men and women whom had already been treated, which insinuated that he was not pursuing an escaped target.

Sakura released a slow breath of relief with the logical realization. With slow non-threatening movements Sakura approached where he listed against the doorframe. "I'm the medic."

Pitch colored irises raked over her critically as soon as the words reached him. The brunt of his gaze was surprisingly weighty as he zeroed in on her and seemed to debate something with himself before he spoke. "I require assistance." 

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It looks really good! Can't wait to read it ;p

Just how I like my SasuSaku...Sakura looking so much cooler then Sasuke :P Can't wait for you to finish!!

I see myself looking forward to "Slow Burn" more than anything. (Well to be totally honest, it's a close second to a CT update.)

The time of Clan Wars is something so different! Oh I can't wait, haha. ^^

I'm really liking Mens Rea! And since you said this is a preview, am I right in expecting more?

Also, I really do you post some more fics/drabbles from the Ward7 arc! That stuff is addictive. :P

mens rea looks really freaking awesome. well pretty much anything you write is fantastic (Color Theory - case and point). I'm looking forward to anything you write or update! :D

It really looks good! Can't wait. :)

do you have updates to this story? i like mens rea. :)

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