Differential Chapter 10

Chapter Ten: “Exercise”

“And the asshole actually pointed it out!”

Sakura bit on the rim of her paper coffee cup to hold back her laughter. Karin had finally got back to their dorm and the three of them were taking a break from helping her unpack to grab some coffee and doughnuts.

“I know I gained weight during the holidays. Sai didn’t have to bring it up. It really killed the mood.”

“Why are you complaining? It mostly went straight to your tits and ass,” Karin snickered.

“Okay but I would gladly trade with you if it meant I wouldn’t gain weight.”

“I wish I gained weight,” Karin muttered biting down on the straw of her frappe. “But then again, I’m also glad that I don’t actually need to wear a bra.”

“Yeah on second thought, I’m glad I’m not as flat as a board.”

Ino side stepped around Sakura to avoid Karin clawing at her. She used her longer legs to take long strides away from her. Karin gave up and sidled up next to Sakura, hooking her arm with hers.

“I’m surprised you aren’t bitching about weight gain.” Karin nudged Sakura. “You’re usually off on a run twice a day because of some imaginary pudge on your thighs and butt.”

“Yeah!” Ino strolled back, closing the distance she had created. She took hold of Sakura’s face between her thumb and fingers and squeezed her cheeks. “And your face is usually all rounded out after eating too many sweets ‘cause you went back home. But you’re actually kind of….glowing?”

“I just exercised a lot.”

Ino and Karin burst out in laughter earning them both a glare from Sakura.

“You never exercise during the holidays.” Ino wiped at her eye with the heel of her palm. “You turn into slug mode and then end up with chipmunk cheeks after they’re over.”

“Well, I was good this year.” Sakura tossed her hair over her shoulder and kept her chin up.

“That or naughty,” Karin snickered. Her laughter died out when she realized that Sakura hadn’t vocally reacted to what she had said. Usually she would be protesting and tell her to get her mind out of the gutter.

“Hold this for a sec.” Sakura held out her paper cup toward Ino.

“Uh, sure?” Ino took the cup and as soon as she had a proper hold of it, Sakura took off running across the campus courtyard.

“What the hell!?” Karin shrieked. She wasn’t going to attempt to chase Sakura. Despite her shorter legs, Sakura was faster than even Ino.

“Forehead get back here!”

Sakura leapt over a short hedge and continued until she went around the corner of a building and was out of sight.

“Oh wow, she really didn’t want to have this conversation.” Karin tapped her chin with a finger. “Suspicious.”

“What the fuck am I supposed to do with her latte? I hate soy milk.” Ino took a sip of Sakura’s latte and gagged.

“Give me. It’s free caffeine.”

“You’ve got a serious problem.” Ino grimaced as Karin downed Sakura’s leftover latte in one gulp.

“I do actually. I wanted to talk to you guys about my date coming up but the little ho just took off running.”

“Oh. Right. That bartender you said you’ve been texting a lot.” Ino stuffed her hands into her peacoat pockets. “The one that doesn’t know how old you actually are.”

“I think she’s smart enough to have figured out my age when she walked me to the dorm but, like, I don’t want her to back off because I’m not even legal to drink yet.”

Karin sighed, tucking her face into the collar of her bubble coat. She knew it was a chance that Tenten would be turned off due to the fact she hadn’t cleared up that one little fact.

Why do I always have to be into older people? Karin grumbled inwardly.

When she was younger she had a crush on Sasuke that had lasted the fifteen minutes it took Itachi to come home from hanging out with his friends. Karin had followed Sasuke around the whole summer in the hopes of getting some of his older brother’s attention but any kindness he shared was due to her being a family friend.

The summer before she graduated from high school she had gotten a job as a lifeguard and developed a crush on her manager who was twice her age. Almost all of the employees knew she had a crush on the older woman but the age gap was too large for anyone to take Karin’s infatuation seriously.

“So, what? You’re just going to keep using your fake for the entirety of your relationship?”

“Nah. We’ll just see if tomorrow is my first and last date.” Karin shrugged. “And then if I tank the date, I’ll make Suigetsu take me out for drinks and hook up with whatever girl he had his eye on all night. It would be hilarious and make me feel a bit better.”

“So back to your regular weekend plans?”

Karin stopped walking and stared at her feet. The way Ino said it made it seem…sad. She had never had a problem before with hooking up. It was fun and she enjoyed having a healthy sex life.

Sure she would prefer to have a date during daylight hours. And hold someone’s hand. And worry about the best gift to give at holidays. Maybe even introduce them to her friends or her mother.

It would be a nice change.

“I don’t even know what a real date is supposed to be like,” Karin mumbled.

But it was terrifying to think about it.

“You forgot you had to come back here didn’t you?”

Ino had her arms crossed in front of her chest and was tapping her foot when Sakura entered their dorm room.

“Have you really been standing there the whole time, just waiting for me to come back?”

“She asked the same question to the wrong roommates twice before you showed up.” Karin was lying on the couch with a sheet mask on her face.

Ignoring them, Sakura slipped out of her boots and into her red, fuzzy house slippers. When they first brought a cubby for their shoes Karin’s roommate had argued that it was wasting space. Luckily the other roommates liked the idea because it kept them from tracking dirt from outside all over the linoleum floor which meant they had to sweep less often.

The girl didn’t like losing and ever since then Karin’s roommate was always on her case and turning on the lights at night when Karin was trying to sleep.

Sakura had half expected to find their shoe cubbies missing when they came back from winter break considering they left it behind despite being warned to pack up all of their items and take them back home by their resident advisor.

“We’re sorry by the way,” Karin apologized, sitting up to make room for her on the couch. “You usually don’t mind when we tease you like that. It wasn’t even as bad as it usually is.”

“You were acting weird during break too.” Ino sprawled on both of their laps wrapping her arms around Sakura’s neck.

“It’s not exactly something I wanna talk about.”

Ino opened her mouth to say something but Karin pinched her thigh. Shaking her head, Karin soothed the spot with a gentle rub.

“Well then let’s talk about me.” Karin stretched her arms in front of her, interlocking her fingers. “The world doesn’t revolve around you, y’know.”

“Alrighty then,” Sakura rolled her eyes, “what does Princess Karin want to talk about?”

Karin sighed dramatically, shifting her body so she could drape herself against Sakura’s shoulder.

“I was all alone in Kusa while you guys were having fun hanging out every day. And no one thought about poor, little Karin…”

“Shut up!” Ino used a throw pillow to smack her in the face. “You couldn’t have been that lonely considering you have a date tomorrow night and you just got back.”

“It was still lonely!” Karin smacked her back with another one of the throw pillows. “It was just texting. Not like she drove all the way to Kusa to visit.”

“What are you guys doing?” Sakura, not wanting to be a casualty in their pillow fight, grabbed Ino’s pillow mid swing and stuffed it behind her. “Hopefully not going to a bar, right?”

Karin bit her bottom lip and gave her a sheepish grin and a shrug. Sakura groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“Eww! Don’t do that.” Karin gagged and pulled Sakura’s hand away from her nose. “That’s Sasuke’s thing. Disgusting. We don’t condone Sasuke-ish actions in this house.”

“You’re such a drama queen.”

“They’re going bowling,” Ino giggled, “which is hilarious considering Karin is really competitive for someone with no hand-eye coordination.”

“Shut up!” Karin pushed Ino off of her lap so that she rolled onto the floor. Turning to Sakura, she worried her lip and wrung her hands into the hem of her sweater. “Did I fuck up by letting her pick what we’re doing?”

“Wow, you’re really hung up on this aren’t you?”

“Is no one going to ask me if I’m okay?” Ino grumbled, rolling onto her side.

“No,” Karin and Sakura answered in sync.

“I just want this to go right for once,” Karin explained, nudging Ino with her foot. “So, I don’t know, I guess I’ll take this slow for a change.”

Slow? Sakura bit the inside of her cheek. Why did it seem like everyone around her had a much better handle on their love life than she did? Well, everyone except Naruto who she had heard made a fool of himself his first week back at school by chasing after Gaara. It was something about Gaara’s birthday but Sakura didn’t get all of the details.

“Does hooking up first lower the chance of a relationship forming?” She muttered just loud enough for her friends to hear.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Ino treaded carefully. “Sai and I were supposed to just be a one time thing but that ended up as something.”

“And then there’s me who usually runs in the opposite direction if I see an old hookup somewhere,” Karin offered with a shrug. “It’s different for everyone.”

“Why do you ask?” Ino narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

“I was just curious.” Sakura looked past Ino’s shoulder, no daring to look her in the eye. “Because of Karin’s predicament.”

“Okay…?” Ino pursed her lips. It was likely she was going to bring up the conversation again.

I fucked up, Sakura groaned inwardly. No way is she going to just drop it.

It’s cold as balls!

Sakura cupped her hands in front of her face and breathed on them for warmth. She hadn’t planned on going for a run but she had insisted she needed the exercise when Ino picked up a call from Sai.

“No, go ahead invite him over,” she argued, pulling on a pair of leggings. “I’m probably going to stop by the gym too so take your time.”

She was trying to be considerate but mostly she wanted any excuse to escape the dorm room where Ino could corner her into having a conversation she really didn’t want to have.

Using the excuse of much needed exercise, Sakura had changed into her work out gear and headed out. Exercising was more of an old habit than an attempt at staying slim. She was used to being active and staying still for too long made her feel restless.

During her ballet days if she weren’t at the studio or using the open space of the Uchiha family’s den she would be out running or at the gym to stay trim. She needed to stay in shape and stay conscious of her weight. There was a time she was obsessed with staying thin.

It didn’t help that she wanted to look good for a certain someone. A certain someone that started to randomly ignore her halfway through high school.

Sakura shook her head and turned a corner, not wanting her thoughts to stray anywhere near that period of her life.

“Ah, fuck.”

Of course she would end up in front of Sasuke’s much nicer dorm building. It wasn’t as if she had planned on it but somehow her feet still carried her there.


And of course as soon as she realized where she was Sasuke would be exiting his dorm, pulling his hood over his head.

“Oh.” Sasuke stood before her. If he was surprised to see her no one would have ever known with how still his features were.

“I’m just out running.”


Oh? Really. Oh? Is that all I’m gonna get?

Sakura shifted her weight on the balls of her feet. Leave it to Sasuke to make her feel like her skin was too tight with just a single word.

“Ino has Sai over  so I thought maybe I should get some exercise in to give them some privacy.”

Sasuke crossed his arms in front of his chest and nodded, more to let her know that he was listening than anything else.

“But I could skip the workout,” Sakura offered nonchalantly. Her insides were squirming with his lack of response. “Or not.”

She attempted to side step around him when a hand shot out and grabbed her wrist. She stared at him quizzically before his fingers slid down and intertwined with her own. Without saying a word he led her inside the lobby of his dorm.

Sasuke grabbed the clipboard from the front desk and filled out a line.

“Suite 302B.”


“ID card?” The clerk asked Sakura.


Sakura took out her student identification card and handed it over. The clerk had barely stuffed it into the binder for guests when Sasuke was leading her down the hall to the elevator.

Not like she needed the run anyway.

New Icon!

I have a new icon for Chronically Day that I hope you all like. I really like chibis and wanted one of myself to use for social media and for my blog.

It was created by Lyferie on tumblr as a commission that I requested. They’re accepting commissions for chibi icons and full body chibis. You can check out more info here.

So some of you may be wondering…what’s up with this dude and all of the spoons?

I am a spoonie. And now I’m just tossing more weirdness on you. A spoonie is a chronically ill person and the term came from The Spoon Theory created by Christine Miserandino.
The Spoon Theory is super important to me because it has really helped me explain to able bodied acquaintances what my life is like being me and having lupus as well as other debilitating illnesses.

And while everythingincluding writing“costs me a spoon”, I always try to make sure I have one on reserve so that I can create stories that I hope makes everyone happy.

Because it makes me so very happy when I can spark some joy in someone’s day.

Kingdom For Two Chapter 25

Chapter Twenty-Five: It’s A Long Drive

The days were long but they were also quick. The days were blurring together and Sasuke wasn’t entirely sure what the date exactly was. If it weren’t for his mother constantly reminding him of how he needed to get to packing and shopping for his new dorm he wouldn’t even have been aware of how quickly his move in date was approaching.

“Why are you even moving into a dorm?” Sasuke cut Naruto off in his ranting. He had come over to play video games in the media room and had started whining about how his mother was constantly on his case.

“Life would be easier don’t you think?” Naruto rolled his eyes. “No fighting for parking or waking early as hell to fight against traffic and make sure I get to class on time.”

Sasuke snorted. The excuse sounded reasonable but he knew his spoiled friend had played his parents.

“As if you would sign up for any classes before lunch time.”

“You’re right I wouldn’t.”

They were quiet after that, only the sound of buttons clicking and the upbeat music coming through the speakers filling the room.

“You’re going to come back on weekends, right?”

Indra Otsutsuki College was only a two hour drive away. Sasuke could technically drive up to the city every weekend and spend two days visiting his family and friends and getting his laundry done at home and letting his mother stuff him with home cooking.

But the chance of that actually happening was very low.

Four hours of driving would cut into valuable time to study or work on assignments. As much as the idea irritated him he knew he would have to join at least one study group if not more depending on what his professors were like. Most students would only be free on weekends to meet up.

On top of the drive, Sasuke would be coming up to see Dr. Yamanaka which was more of a priority than seeing his friends according to his parents. He wasn’t going to drive up on a Saturday and ditch his psychiatrist when that was the whole point of driving up to the city in the first place.

“We’ll see.”

It needed a new radio and when the seasons changed she was going to have to wait almost an hour for it to warm up properly but Sakura was already in love with her car.

“It’s red,” Ino giggled. “Can we call it Ladybug?”

The little Bug was adorable and compact, perfect for city parking. Sakura had cooed over it the whole weekend as her mother gave her a refresher on car maintenance in the parking lot behind their family’s café.

“Has Sasuke commented on your car yet?”

“He called it ‘fitting’,” Sakura made air quotes with her fingers, “whatever the hell that means.

“I think that’s your boyfriend’s way of calling you cute,” Sai guessed. “And small.”

“Oh!” Ino gasped. “We should call it Karin Jr. because you know, it’s red and small.”

“I’m not naming my car after Karin and she will probably kill you for the explanation to that suggestion.”

“How are you going to fornicate in it?” Sai asked. “Does Sasuke even fit in the car? That’s some kind of gymnastics.”


Sakura’s face heated up as Ino burst into a fit of laughter. The way Ino’s eyes kept flitting over to Sai the whole time Sakura was showing off her car should have been a warning that he was going to say something inappropriate. After years of dating Ino had developed a sixth sense for when Sai was about to say something to embarrass one of their friends.

“I’m going home!”

“Oh, come on Sakura.” Ino tugged on her arm to keep her from storming off. “Sai was only kidding.”

“No, I really wanna know how that━”

Ino elbowed Sai and gave him a look that had him shutting his mouth tight.

“No I have to go home anyway. There’s some stuff I wanna get done before Sasuke leaves this week. He’s gotta move into his dorm and then has orientation stuff on Monday.”

“Oh. Are you guys doing anything special before he leaves?”

“Why is it inappropriate for me to bring up their sex life but not you?” Sai interjected before Sakura could answer.

“Because that wasn’t referencing their sex life,” Ino groaned, wiping a hand down her face. “At least that wasn’t my intention.”

“Yeah, leaving now.”

Sakura waved behind her as she made her way to the driver’s side of her car. She could hear Ino reprimanding Sai through the car window. Something about minding the subject of conversation when they were on the sidewalk in front of her parents’ shop.

As much as they liked to tag team against her she was going to miss seeing them everyday. Ino was going to the same school and they tried to align their schedules to match and to have the same classes but it wasn’t possible to completely match up. And then Sai was going to the art school. The school was in the city and shared campus grounds with Senju University, but outside of scheduled meetups they weren’t going to be able to run into him as often as they used to.

Naruto was having the same struggle. The three of them had tried hard to get into the same classes but they were only successful when it came to their required UNIV courses that all underclassmen had to take.

“I’m going to fail if you guys aren’t in my science credit with me!” Naruto had wailed when he realized he was going to be alone in his Biology class. Sakura and Ino had been able to calm him down only after thirty minutes of assurance that they would get together to study.

Sakura was already missing everyone even though most of her friends were going to be going to schools nearby. All except one.

And she was going to miss him most of all.

The summer between high school and college was supposed to feel more monumental than it did. At least that was what Sasuke assumed.

Left and right all of his classmates were packing up their things and salivating for their first taste of real freedom. No more curfews or parents breathing down their necks.

But all he felt was numb to it all.

Going away to school didn’t feel like he was going to be any more free than he was at home. It didn’t feel like freedom to be alone and far away.

“You have everything ready?” Itachi asked, sliding a teacup across the bartop.

“Yeah I’ve got everything packed up and just sitting in my car.”

“You’ve got swipes for food. Make sure to use them. Hm?” Shisui stared him down from where he was standing by the sink cleaning vegetables in a vinegar wash.

It was always odd watching Shisui in a domestic setting. Sasuke was used to Itachi or Izumi working around each other and acting like real adults. Shisui never really had that chance when they were at his parents’ house.

Sasuke just had to remember that it was Shisui’s apartment first before Itachi moved in. He was so used to the three of them as a unit he sometimes forgot they were individuals.

“Izumi still at work?”

“Yeah,” Shisui replied as he moved on to slicing ingredients. “Unfortunately she couldn’t get the day off because she wanted to save her free day to see you off.”

“You guys are still coming to see me off?” Sasuke’s mouth quirked to the side and he bit his lower lip. Although Shisui and Itachi still saw his dad at work and his mother was visiting them at their apartment often the three of them hadn’t come over the entire summer.

“Well, father and mother did invite us,” Itachi answered. He averted his gaze, looking at his teacup instead of Sasuke, and drummed his fingers against the ceramic cup.

“Is that,” Sasuke shrugged his shoulders as he tried to find a better way to ask and failing, “okay?”

“Father has been,” Itachi looked up at the ceiling and then off to the side as if the refrigerator would grant him the answer, “oddly accepting.”


“Yeah, it’s kind of freaky…” Shisui shivered and shook his head. “I expected him to either ignore us or say something awful but he’s just…living life as usual. Except occasionally he’ll check in and it’s so awkward. I think I’m in trouble when he pulls me into his office and it’s literally just to ask how Itachi is doing.”

“That’s…really confusing.”

“You’re telling me.” Shisui sighed and prepared a wok for stir-fry. “I have so much anxiety now.”

Itachi laughed and poured himself more tea, taking out his medication he needed to take with his meal. Shisui served a portion for Itachi and then a much larger portion for Sasuke.

“Eat up kid.” Shisui glared, gesturing with his fingers to his eyes and back at Sasuke to say he was keeping his on him.

Sasuke rolled his eyes  and made a show of taking a bite of chicken. The more Sasuke tried to eat, the blander the food tasted.

Dad accepted Itachi as he is…

Sasuke pushed his food around his plate with his fork.

That’s kind of…irritating.

“He makes it look so easy,” Sakura grumbled, forcefully capping her paint pen. She grabbed another color and shook the pen so that the paint would flow to the tip.

She followed in parallel to the previous color as much as she could, trying to keep her lines as straight as possible with no wobbles.

“At least my handwriting is nicer I guess.”

Sakura sighed and grabbed another color, tracing over the lettering she had drawn on the CD with pencil. When she finished she threw her hands up in the air in triumph. She tilted her head to the side and examined her work.

“Oh, he’s going to laugh at me.”

Sakura burst into giggles. She knew she was no artist but she was sure she did a good enough job. It was her third attempt at trying to decorate the CD and it was the best of the set.

I hope he likes it.

Sasuke lifted his fork full of pasta and let it unravel, letting it plop down on his plate. He twirled his fork to gather some pasta and repeated the process.

“Stop playing with your food,” Fugaku grumbled. He hadn’t commented on the dish of choice but his lips had tightened into a straight line and practically disappeared when he noticed the vegetarian dish.

Sasuke didn’t have to wonder why that was the case even though his mother had prepared a dish he liked that just happened to be vegetarian.

“I’m packing some up so you can have it for dinner when you get to your dorm,” Mikoto offered. Her eyes shifted down to his plate of  where he was mashing zucchini and roasted tomatoes with his fork. “You’ll remember to eat right?”

Sasuke shrugged and went back to twirling his pasta around his fork. He twirled it and twirled it, attempting to gather as much pasta as he could.

“It will probably be late,” Shisui attempted to answer for him. “He’ll probably unpack all of his stuff and then crash right after. Sasuke will probably end up eating his dinner for breakfast.”

“I’ve never been to Otsutsuki College but the campus photos look beautiful,” Izumi budged in, taking the cue from Shisui. “It must be exciting, getting away from the city.”

“You’re going to do fine.”

Sasuke lifted his head at the sound of his brother’s voice. Itachi gave his usual gentle reassuring smile. Sasuke nodded but made no attempt to join the conversation.

Lunch had gone like that the whole day and if Sasuke didn’t block out the noise for most of it he would have probably stormed off. The amount of attention he was receiving was making his skin feel tight and the spaces between his fingers itch.

Normally during meal times discussions centered around work or Itachi’s health. Seldom did they come around to talking about Sasuke━and that’s what it was, about him not with him. It didn’t really seem to matter if he was there or not.

So he checked out.

I should just leave early…

It wasn’t like there was really any reason he should spend more time at home. He watched them all greet each other awkwardly and then sat through lunch where they bumbled through the topic of Sasuke’s university life.

All of my stuff is already in my car anyway.

Izumi gave him a wavering smile as she picked up his plate, helping his mother clear the table. Off in the great room, he could hear his father criticizing Shisui’s apartment and asking him and Itachi when they planned to move a more suitable apartment, closer to the hospital and with more room. His mother burst into a peal of laughter and Izumi apologized repeatedly about something to do with the kitchen sink.

Scooting his chair back, Sasuke removed himself from the dining room and made his way to the foyer. He grabbed his keys, gripping them in his fist so they wouldn’t jingle and give him away. As silently as possible he slipped out the front door, shutting it softly. Without turning back he made his way to his car. Rounding the hood to get to the driver’s side door.

He would have smoothly made his getaway if it weren’t for the fact Sakura was leaning against the side of his Jeep.


“Figured you would try to take off without saying anything.” Sakura rolled her eyes and stood on her toes, looping her arms around his neck. “I love you but you’re such an idiot sometimes.”

“Well,” Sasuke wrapped his fingers around her wrists, “I gotta go before they figure out what I did.”

“You were going to leave me hanging weren’t you?” Sakura narrowed her eyes at him, lips pursing. “And here I am with a gift for you.”

“Gift?” Sasuke quirked his mouth to the side. He had said his goodbyes to his friends the day before, not sure if he was going to be able to before he left and Sakura hadn’t said anything about a gift.

“Yep, it’s already in your car actually. Check the passenger seat.” Sakura tugged, keeping a hold of him and pressed a chaste kiss to his mouth. “Don’t leave me hanging when you leave. Call or text me after you’ve settled, ‘kay?”

“Aa.” Sasuke nodded and gave her another quick kiss before pulling out of her embrace. “But I really do have to go now.”

“Yeah. yeah. I should get going to before they find out that you escaped.”

Sasuke snuck into his car and pulled away as he put his seatbelt on, rushing out of the driveway and out of the cul-de-sac.

“Just going to put this on silent,” he muttered tossing his phone on the passenger seat.

Groping around his hand met with a plastic CD case. He flipped it to look at the clear front and in Sakura’s bubbly handwriting it just read “i love you” in all lowercase letters over a colorful spiral pattern.

Well, I’ve got a long drive ahead of me, he chuckled inwardly taking the disc out of its case. It’s always going to be a long drive…