Through The Grapevine

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At school on Monday, it's clear that Sasuke is avoiding me. He won't look at me in the hallway or in class, but we're having a practise after school because we have a game on Friday. He won't be able to avoid me when we're out on the field.

Sakura smiles at me in the hallway. I smile back at her. I'm not going to be bitter. We've been civil to each other since the breakup and I plan on keeping it that way. "So," she starts, sidling up beside me as I near my locker, "What's this I hear about you and Sasuke becoming friends?"

"Yeah," I snort. "I guess we kind of are. Who told you? Karin?"

"Yeah," she chuckles.

"Thought so," I laugh, grabbing a textbook.

"What changed things?" she wonders. "I mean, just a little while ago, you hated him."

"I never hated him," I correct her. "Hate is too strong a word... I guess I did dislike him, though. We never got along. I mean, shit... We still don't get along that great. The friendship is tense."

"He's got a bruise," she points out. "Is that from you?"

"Yeah," I cringe. "I actually didn't even mean to hit him, but it happened like a reflex. I'm so used to hitting him, I couldn't even stop myself."

"He didn't hit you back?" she asks in disbelief.

I shake my head. "Nah, but he was pissed. His parents came home after that, so we kind of simmered down."

"You were at his house..." she murmurs.

"Uh, yeah..." I say slowly. "Why...?"

She shrugs. "No reason. It's just odd. I'm so used to you detesting him and not wanting to spend any time with him at all and now suddenly you are spending time with him without your parents even having to force it."

"Are you jealous?" I ask jokingly.

"I might be," she chuckles before sobering. "I'm sorry, Naruto."

"What for?"

She lets out a sigh and I shut my locker door. We head down the hallway towards class before she finally starts speaking again. "I was selfish. I knew the person I wanted would never want me and that is why I settled for you."

I let out a groan. "Look, we don't have to do this now, Sakura. I don't want to end up feeling even shittier than I do right now."

"What's wrong?" she asks.

"Just stressed out," I tell her vaguely. I don't bother telling her that the cause of most of my stress is indeed Sasuke. She doesn't need to know that because that means she would begin prying and I can't really afford her asking questions I don't want to answer. Besides, I'm really bad with this kind of thing. I always end up spilling people's secrets. I'm bad at keeping my mouth shut.

We enter class and Sakura is still trying to apologize to me. "Dude, look, it's fine," I insist. "I'm over it." It's true. I am pretty over it. I've got new things to worry about, even if they're things I don't really deserve to worry about since I'm part of the problem.

"Are you?" she asks, sounding like she doesn't believe me.

"Yeah," I laugh. "So, I forgive you and whatever, okay?"

"Okay," she says softly. "If you're sure."

I offer her a smile before turning my head to the teacher. I'll pretend to pay attention.


After school, I shove my books into my locker and grab my sports gear before making my way to the gym. In the locker rooms, Kiba is already dressed.

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