Excuse me, ma'ams and sirs. This space is the property of the fine Lady Avaritia.

Her writing efforts won her third place in my last oneshot contest this past summer and here is a oneshot all her own. It is a tardy-as-hell oneshot indeed due to my clumsy first university semester cluttering up my life and making me cling to Tumblr and fanfic reading-not-writing whenever I had available time. But I deliver it to you now, polished and in hopes that it was at least partially worth the wait.

(To think, when Lady and I first started conversing about the oneshot, this idea of "Izuna and Sakura/modern times/relationship", it was in a time where we didn't know who Tobi was. Oh, summer 2012, I miss you. Now I'm at a big university with grades that are lower than my stellar high school and community college ones and I still have no friends here but my roommate and I actually have to study ughguhgukkk. The good part is that I've been introduced to half a dozen lovely new series/fandoms in that time, my apartment is awesome and of course, my seven-year-strong love for Naruto still hasn't faded. And why did I put all of this in parentheses. Uh.)

Now, let's get to it. I am long overdue for the giving of this gift; perhaps I can hand it over to the lovely Lady as a Christmas gift. It is very warm and fuzzy, after all. Perfect stocking stuffer.

Here is my little piece of "fluff-o-rific day in the life of med student and her blind boyfriend".

66

"I can hear your tape all the way over here."

"Should I turn it down?"

"No."

"Fine. Tell me if the volume does get too ridiculous for you."

"…"

"…"

"…You are smiling?"

"Uh, yes, actually."

"Why's that?"

"I was thinking of when I read it last year. Just a…pleasant thought. I remember this part."

"Mm. I forgot that you've read it, too."

"Oh, it doesn't matter. I've got to move these to kitchen, don't mind me."

"…Sakura, are you naked?"

"Wthh—what?"

"I'm pretty curious. Yes or no?"

"I'm not. I'm wearing the same winter jacket I wore yesterday, that you insist has itchy sleeves. And my favorite yoga pants. Why did you think I was naked?"

"You walk more quickly. It makes you nervous, even if I can't see. Your steps resonate a little more. And they were just now."

"Well, I'll be sure to keep that in mind for the next time I feel like walking around my apartment in the nude. Maybe my steps are 'resonating' right now because I want to hurry up and get to making you a little something."

"Making? We just got back half an hour ago."

"It's a dessert to top off the dinner. Hinata gave me an idea I thought you'd like better than any of the restaurant's desserts, and since you're currently ill and resting your tired little body on my couch, I thought I would make it for you now. It could soothe your stomach as well."

"Ahh."

"You stay there and rest. Enjoy the audio book."

"All right…thank you."

"…"

"She was still too angry to be aware of much, including the possibility of the sender's fingerprints on the letter. Nor was she thinking about calling the Country Sheriff's Office, although that had certainly been on her To Do list earlier. Rage had narrowed coherent thought to something very like the beam of the little flashlight she had just used—"

"She's about to tell off the professor, isn't she? I remember her raging at him. I liked that part so much."

"What does she say? I don't mind a big event being spoiled, if there is one to be spoiled."

"No, there's no big spoiler here. She stands up for herself and expresses her anger for possibly the first time in years, and that's what I like. She was the runt of the house growing up, and stepped on and ignored by the public in favor of her husband and she's never been mad about any of that…but she must have pent-up rage to express at the professor, and she expresses it wonderfully. I loved how it was written. He's just so talented with ugly human emotion, Izuna, always has been. And you might have even skipped that part and just get an even worse headache with how much I'm talking. I'll stop."

"I don't mind, Sakura."

"Mmh."

"…What are you making?"

"Be patient and you'll find out. Shutting up now."

"…"

"…"

"Should I be able to smell it or not?"

"Shouldn't the sick boy be sitting and listening quietly and resting his poor little head? Quietly?"

"You're talking more than I am."

"Because you keep asking me things, you loon. Look—stop it! Ghah! Urgh…now we have a freaking chocolate lake on the floor! All of that, wasted. I could have…made it into brownies. Gotten fat."

"Chehheh—"

"Fine. Laugh. Cinderella will just stay over here and make you your nice dessert while you sit on my six hundred dollar couch never shutting up. Izuna, despite your 'food poisoning,', did something just make you infallibly happy today? Is that why you're so smiley over there?"

"I told you, my presentation just went really well. I put a lot of work into it, and I was proud at the end of it. I felt people were actually applauding me of their own will and not out of obligation to get the next man on stage. Consequently, I feel cheerier than normal."

"You remind me a little of Madara with that smile, you know. But I'm proud of you, too."

"Hmm."

"Move the pillow, there…Now, congratulatory kiss."

"…"

"…"

"…Nn. I like this kind."

"I put a lot of work into it."

"Hahha!—khk. Dammit, I, hrrhhhck—"

"Here. Here! Have this water. That's one ugly cough."

"…I had thought the bug was fading off."

"It wouldn't surprise me if the loud tourist and his slob friend behind our table were somehow responsible for you getting sick so quickly. Maybe one of their flying foot bits landed on your plate, and you were infected by a nasty American bug. Like 'Black Ops Fever.'"

"Love, that…would be disgusting and I hope you are wrong. And I thought that wasn't a disease? Just a joke kids made up on the release da—

"Neh-neh-neh-neh, I'm not done. And you don't know jack about video games anyway. Either you are now infected with bacteria ala-American tourist, or your pork was rotten and you weren't able to tell. Which would you like better?"

"Neither?"

"I'm confident it's one of those two. My official diagnosis is bad pork, though."

"I could just diagnose this as 'disgusting cough' or 'flu', get Pepto Bismol and be done…ugh…"

"No, you couldn't. Have more water."

"Me getting the flu sometime this week is the most likely thing to have made me dizzy and collapse on the street."

"I think the idea that that the other things could have happened, and so fast, simply grosses you out and so you're downplaying its probability. And that's—"

"I'm not downplaying anything."

"Well, you only—"

"I think I could detect rotting pig in my mouth, Sakura; I may be able to see just as much as a person with his head buried in dirt, but rotting pig, I think I can sense my way around that."

"If you're going to be smiley and sassy all in the same night you may as well grow your hair out and poof into Madara right now."

"Oh no—"

"And you can gossip about your coworkers in a low whisper like a tenth-grade girl—"

"Please let me stop you there…"

"And screech your feelings on a public bus stop—"

"…"

"Not to mention you can do mini photo shoot sessions with yourself and your bare chest and post them everywhere online to the delight of mindless young females you don't know."

"You're done. This joke is done."

"You know, you're making a face kind of like his, right now."

"I was just trying to make a point that I can tell when I've got the flu. That's all, the end."

"And I was just giving you a hard time. Sorry."

"Yes, sure. It's fine."

"Apology hug? Please?"

"Hahhha…certainly."

"…I disagree that you could make an accurate diagnosis of your own sickness, though. And it's not an insult to you, or a joke or anything like that; most people simply don't know the possibilities that are actually the most likely for a common sickness. They think they know their bodies so well that a licensed doctor should only be there to shut their mouth and give them antibiotics."

"Really. What is it people get so wrong, then? Because I'm tempted to side with the people who know their own bodies."

"They think they're immune to certain sicknesses at certain times of year. The same with allergies. 'I don't have pollen allergies in March, I don't get the flu even in flu season.'"

"I don't get the flu in flu season…"

"True so far, but it also just means we've just yet to see it happen. Don't worry, you'll hack up your lungs and waste away in bed like the rest of us, one year or the next."

"Fine. It could happen. My field has its own share of misconceptions and idiots who think they know every last detail. Every one out there does, I think."

"Move that pillow, please. Thanks. What misconceptions would you have in a bank besides 'how much money is missing'?"

"They—"

"I mean besides 'oh my god you're actually a blind accountant can you seriously do the job'?"

"Yes, besides that."

"Go on. Sorry. Common complaints are?"

"'I should have five hundred in interest by now, not three hundred' and 'when I saw it online at home, it was this much' and my personal favorite: 'I deserve more than this."

"Deserve? What?"

"Based on their income, managerial position, or personal trials, some customers will insist they literally deserve to have a higher interest or savings rate than the next fellow. Four so far have sat across from me and demanded that their bank put more money in their account because they just really, really think they ought to have it."

"That's…that's ridiculous! Hahahaha!"

"People make jokes about these sorts of idiots because they really exist, Sakura. You, too, could live next door to someone whose mask of normality hides a human being who would use their face to test an electric fence."

"No need to remind me…"

"The third one to say this happened about three months ago, and once she'd finished bellowing at me—I do mean bellowing, like a bear or a damn wildebeest—she had clearly given off the impression that she didn't know of my visual impairment. This was only her second time in the building and her first talking to me, and she hadn't noticed all the items marked with Braille around my desk at all. I decided to hush her up with my usual method, but first I picked up one of the plaques, moving slow enough that she could see the 'text' on it—"

"And thus made a 'surprised wildebeest' face."

"Exactly that kind of face. That did quiet her, and then I got to my usual writing bullet points about the plan her account was using, drawing upside down so it could be read from her side. And once I'd finished laying out the entirety of it for her, she snatched up her purse without a word and sprinted outside. Kurenai screamed because the woman nearly barreled through her. in the lobby."

"She tried to run over a pregnant woman?"

"Wildebeest, like you said. She might be taking her business elsewhere. Kurenai wondered if my writing upside down was what scared her."

"That'd be…pretty odd."

"I know. Most people are pretty enthralled to see that I can do that."

"It still sort of enthralls me."

"Hnn. I know…on the topic of 'enthralling things' I will always remember your backflip stunt from last summer in the park. The one child was positively captivated. And the applause was nice, too. That's a thing I wish I could have actually seen."

"Well, now you're just making me blush. And you know that was half to impress you, anyhow. A kid practicing her gymnastics was a lovely excuse."

"I remain impressed. It was far more elegant than the time you almost crashed into me."

"God, not again."

"Yes, again."

"I tried to kindly save an impaired person from falling into a wet gutter. Eternal thanks for just catching your own balance and so making me look like I meant to run at you and rob you. I hate that that actually counts as our first meeting."

"It did look really funny. I mean, really. Another thing I wish I could have seen. Or just have recorded to listen to again."

"Can we go back to impressive stunts of mine?"

"I want to tell that story, though—"

"No. You don't. I will now tell the story of when I helped avert a gas station robbery when I was seventeen—"

"You should thank god the man next to you knew a proper stranglehold. Anyway—"

"Iwas the one who had the shithead in a stranglehold in the first place. And I threw him towards the man who helped me when the thief elbowed me in the neck."

"Oh, goodness—"

"Followed by my favorite part, curling my fingers in and uppercutting that bitch with the heel of my palm, making him bite his tongue and bleed like a stuck pig, all thanks to what Lee taught me the year before—"

"Oh, I'm Sakura, I learned self defense from my neighborhood nerd, I stopped a robbery, I'm so cool—"

"What…? What the fuck is that tone of voice? Are you mocking me or not?"

"Poking fun, darling."

"You sound like Madara!"

"Yes, anyway, Iiiiii'm Sakura, the most impressive little kung fu girl and tactless changer of subjects who hates her boyfriend's penchant for guessing right when she doesn't want him to, it just makes me look bad—"

"Actually, I'm Sakura, and so what if I like to tell a favored personal success story instead of a personal failure that humiliates me and makes me look like a fool and a mugger in front of the person I love?"

"I think it makes you look charming. You tried to help a stranger, and fumbled and was mistaken, but you didn't fail, honestly."

"Now you say it!"

"Poking fun, I told you. You can be so easy to ruffle up. It reminds me of Kushina, I think."

"What about your own cool stunts, Izuna? You must have some. And you can't tell the story of catching the china plates at your mother's business-whatever party."

"Catching the two imported china plates from Xi'an that my mother dropped at the annual New Year's party, in front of her manager and four coworkers—"

"That. Exact story. Izuna. That is done to death and you'll need to wait months for it to become refreshing again."

"All right, I can abstain from my favorite story just for you."

"Thank you. Ever so much."

"And my writing will not count as a cool stunt?"

"Upside down writing doesn't count this time, no."

"Hm. Something I haven't told you, then…well…mm…let me think."

"You have one minute."

"…"

"…"

"I caught a fish barehanded once. And I still could, if needed."

"I'm not sure if I believe that."

"Sakura…if I haven't yet proven to you personally that I have exceptional hand coordination and strength—"

"Yes, Izuna…"

"Yes…?"

"Please tell me you're not comparing that to catching a fish, please…"

"I can also do a one-hand handstand. Or I could when I was sixteen. I think that's the last time I did it."

"That's too outdated. Pick something else."

"Oh…"

"Here's an example. From last week."

"Oooh—"

"I can lift your two-hundred pound brother and carry him across a store floor and back."

"And when did you do that?"

"Last week, I said. At Mr. Senju's place. He actually filmed me doing it."

"Wh-where was I? I need to hear that recording!"

"Maybe if you can top me."

"Top you?"

"Top my impressive stunt with one of your own."

"You were absolutely making an innuendo, Sakura."

"I didn't mean to, but…I did. You know what I mean!"

"Awh. I could just pet you."

"Don't."

"Not yet, you mean. Now, my recent example of something impressive, because my girlfriend is the master of forcefully changing the subject…"

"…"

"…I know something. Something I did recently, can still do, and something you've never observed me doing."

"Hmm…?"

"Sort of connected to my fishing prowess. When I put my mind to it, I am a powerful arm wrestler."

"…That doesn't top my halting an armed robbery, Izuna, at all. Pick something else."

"Sakura, I meant strong enough to beat even you."

"…Really."

"Yes."

"Again I'm not sure I believe that. Actually, I don't think I believe that at all. That's a fail, Izuna. Go home."

"I mean it. Try me, with everything you've got."

"Arm wrestle with you? With your…spindly little rich boy arms?"

"They are deceiving little arms, I know."

"I think we ought to pick some other competitive thing to do, if that's what you're aiming for. I don't want to hurt you."

"You might bruise me if you win, but that's all. If by some horrifying slip of your hand you break my arm or something like that, I trust you to put it in a proper brace and take me to a reliable ER."

"You really are serious."

"Yes. Here, sit on the opposite side of the coffee table. Let's go, right now."

"Uhh…"

"Have you got another pressing issue to deal with? Surprise fifty-page thesis?"

"…"

"Come on, then. I promise I'll surprise you."

"…I'm so sorry if you regret this in one minute."

"I won't. Put up your hand. Sakura."

"…"

"Good. Ready?"

"Yes."

"Go."

"Huahgh!"

"Told you!"

"What! What! The fuck!"

"Never knew I could put up a fight, eh?"

"A year and a half and I just now learn you have fair arm wrestling prowess...any other epic secrets for me?"

"No big secrets, Sakura. But I'm almost there already! Look how close you hand its. Hahah, you might lose, love."

"No."

"You might. I might win, I might 'top you.'"

"No,"

"Gh…that's more like it…shit…"

"Take this, you little prick. You asked for it!"

"I can f-feel that bruise coming on. Rrgh…"

"You wanted to fight, let's fight. If I win this match, you will shut your mouth, sit on this couch like a good boy so I can bake your goddamn dessert for you!"

"I f-forgot about…that."

"And if I hear a 'sandwich' joke while I'm in there—"

"UahhHH!"

"Exactly. And look, about three more inches and you're done, pretty boy."

"Then I can…change the game up."

"What does 'change th—oh. Oh, no you don't! No! Stay there, you prick! NouahhhhH!"

"How's this?"

"You said arm wrestling! Not regular wresting! And if you ever try to pole-vault over my coffee table again you will be sorry."

"If I can hold you down to the count of three, I'm the victor."

"Hahh! You don't have to tell me the rules of pro-wrestling, you little brat."

"Oww!"

"You think you're the only one who can twist around—"

"Augk! No, you don't!"

"Hahahah! One, two—what! No!"

"Yes,"

"You can't do that. Y-you...hhng,"

"I can. Sakura. One…tw—ah. Aughh…ow."

"One. Two…three."

"Ahh…"

"Pinned ya. Hee heeh."

"That…sounds familiar…"

"It should ring from your childhood. Nala said it."

"Nala…hh…"

"Have you learned your lesson about trying to arm wrestle with me? And jump me and initiate regular wrestling?"

"My head is bleeding, isn't it?"

"A bit. I made sure you didn't hit the edge of the table. A hemorrhage from a surface that hefty and sharp would be horrifying. And I don't want to do that to you."

"You're smiling again, aren't you?"

"Yes. What of it?"

"You feel better now?"

"Better? Well…well, I never felt bad. Did you think I was sick? Or I caught your bug? I know it hit you quite fast, but I've only sat with you for fifteen minutes. I don't think you have that advanced a pathogen inside you, so—"

"Sakura. Wait. I was just thinking I rubbed you the wrong way with one joke or another. You acted more ruffled and irritated than I'd hoped."

"You didn't, Izuna. I'm just a prude and easy to piss off, to boot. No harm. But are you okay, though? I really, I mean I swear I didn't mean to hurt you, I just…shit, you do look like you were mugged, it's our first meeting all over again. Shit!"

"I thought the…first meeting was when you were staring at me on my ballllconnyy…the June. Before last."

"Are…you…Izuna, can you hear me? How many fingers am I holding against your chest?"

"I could practically feel you gaping at me from across the way. From your balcony. Did'n mind. I felt like a celllebrity like that. Felt cool."

"Please, tell me how many fingers you feel, Izuna."

"Fffffour…ty-five."

"Geez…"

"…"

"Here. Sit up a little, now. Can you drink some of this water?"

"Uh-huh. Water'sshh good. Thanks."

"…"

"Thank you, love. That was really…nice."

"…Couldn't possibly have slammed your down hard enough to cause much damage. Minor concussion at worst. Maybe you'll need an icepack. But, oh…"

"Hmm…may I go to bed now?"

"Course you can, Izuna. Let me help you up."

"All right."

"…You know, the thing I was making for you was a small chocolate cake."

"Ohh."

"Hinata's recipe for it was excellent. And you said they used to sooth your stomach when you were a child."

"Yes, they sure…sure did. Best medicine. I got cake when I was home sick from schools. Chocolate cake with a fork."

"The bed's right here. Down, now…okay…"

"Hahahhaaee…Sakura. Bring me that chocolate cake. Post haste."

"I will bring you a sleeping pill, post haste. I didn't even finish cleaning up the chocolate frosting that I spilled earlier."

"Madara! Bring the cake!"

"…Izuna, if you don't sleep, I'll be sorely tempted to take you to the hospital. And then I have to admit to a horde of nurses that we were wrestling and you know exactly what they'll do with that word."

"Hmmm, I can sleep. It's good. It's fine. I love you, Sakura."

"I love you, Izuna."

"I'm…m'happy that I can make you happy b-by, by playing around sometimes. Y-You, forceful…but always good. A good force. I love you a lot."

"…"

"…Do you have my cake yet? Please?"

"God….Hahahehh…yes, I'll go make your cake, pretty boy. You can have it tomorrow when you wake up. Sweets for breakfast, how does that sound?"

"Pikachu, bring me the chocolate cake!"

"Okay…time to call her…Ino? Hi, it's Sakura. Yes, I know this is your early night but I just have one little thing to say and then you're free to head to bed. I really advise you do not go to Nomi Town Café anytime this week. Izuna and I ate out there just an hour or two ago, and I think some of their food went bad. Yeah, he got sick from it. It gave him stomach pain, and now as he's drifting off to sleep, he's yammering about cake or something. Yes. Yeah, very. Good. Okay, see you Sunday. Bye-bye. …And goodnight to you."

"Good night."

"If you become any more like Madara, you will not get your cake after all."

"Good niiiiight."

66

Well wasn't that just super adorbs.

For perhaps the first time, I do not feel nervous posting a new fanfiction. Usually, despite all the work I've put in to a project, I will always feel nail-bitingly nervous at posting a new anything, for fear of some fan/review backlash or hate that never comes. This story, which I wrote in a few bursts of fluffy silliness, telling myself time and time again that as a conversation, this would have its own awkward flow, and switch topics more than once as any conversation is wont to do. I was happy that the story itself was somehow totally immune to that sensation of being scared before posting. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I am glad of it.

I hope you are glad, too, and find that this was a fair read for you. As you may guess I've never written Izuna before, and constructed him as an Uchiha (which is its own model of black-haired and cool-mannered) who is calm and soothing, and likes to poke a few jokes. He makes passing mention of his brother as a seriously odd duck, but that ,too, is all jokes and no actual resentful or even simply negative emotion. In contrast, I made Sakura especially easy to tick off, and more biting than I usually make her though few of her own comments are too serious. As I wrote, I hoped this was an extra dash of realism, necessary perhaps as I worry once in a while if I will laugh/scoff at my way of writing Sakura when I'm older. I want to always be proud of the things I wrote, so I'm being even more careful nowadays.

Finally, I wish you all a lovely, merry Christmas-or-whatever-it-is-you-celebrate. May it be warm, pleasant and at night, fanfiction-filled :d Here's to you, Lady Avaritia! I hope I made your December a bit brighter.

I wonder if I'll be able to pull of a Christmas Bash this year. :l I tried last year, to miserable failure, my closest attempt was on January 3rd or so, when I posted These Days, one of the three things I wanted to get done. Let's see what I can do this time in between now and New Year's.

Ta…Storm