Finding Peace

Chapter 10- A Visit with Sakura

True to her word Sakura showed up on Wednesday just before lunch. Asami was in the kitchen chatting with Hikari while she waited. Hikari had almost refused to let her boss leave the shop but Asami reassured her that she was only going to town and she'd have an escort this time. Sakura appeared at the door at the same moment that Kayo came into the kitchen to retrieve a tray. Their eyes fell on each other and they just stared for a moment.

Kayo felt that she was looking at a younger version of herself. She had never seen anyone else with pink hair. She smiled at Sakura and said "Hi! I'm Kayo Tanaka."

Sakura gazed at the pinkette that had come into the kitchen. She wondered if she would be that pretty when she grew up. "Hi! I'm Sakura Haruno. It's nice to meet you."

Asami smiled, the only pinkettes in the village had just met each other. "Well I think we'll be off. I'm likely to be a slow walker and I'm pretty sure Sakura isn't strong enough to carry me home if I get too tired."

Sakura pulled herself up to her full 5 feet, well almost. "I'm stronger than I look. But I don't want you getting overtired either." To be honest, although she was stronger than she looked, she wasn't sure she could carry Asami too far without help.

"It's ok Sakura. I don't intend to be carried anywhere today. Shall we head off?"

She and Sakura ambled through town chatting and laughing as they went. Asami thought she was sweet and was glad to spend the afternoon with her. She reminded herself to compliment Mebuki on raising such a sweet girl the next time she saw her. They walked slowly to accommodate Asami's still sore ankle but eventually arrived at the hospital.

When they got to Rock Lee's room they knocked and, upon being invited in, entered. Asami squealed and ran across the room throwing herself into the arms of Might Gai. Lee and Sakura both looked at each other, not knowing what to do.

"Gai! I haven't seen you in ages! You should visit more often!" She punched him as hard as she could in his arm, which wasn't very hard and didn't seem to faze him at all. And then she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a huge hug.

"Asami! It's nice to see you too! What brings you here?"

"Sakura has been visiting me and she talked me into a walk into town, we decided to visit her friend, your student." At this she looked over at Lee who was looking very confused and depressed. "Hello Rock Lee. My name is Asami Kimura. It's nice to meet you."

Lee regarded her from his hospital bed. "Hello Kimura-san. It's nice to meet you also. I just regret that I am such a sorry shape as I am for our first meeting. But have no fear! I, the handsome devil of the leaf village, shall return to my former self in no time!"

Asami could see Gai's influence on the young genin and smiled. Gai had never lacked enthusiasm, that was for sure and he had obviously passed it on to his young student. She turned to Gai "so you've been busy I see. I guess I'll forgive you for not coming by to visit for, oh what is it, the LAST 4 YEARS!" She hollered the last part at him but was laughing as she did so.

Gai laughed with her and said "I know I should have stopped by. I'm sorry for not being a better friend."

Asami laughed. She enjoyed teasing Gai, they had grown up practically as cousins because their fathers had been such good friends but after his fathers death Gai had come around less and less often eventually stopping altogether.

They visited for a while but when Asami noticed that Lee was looking tired she rose and suggested to Sakura that they should be heading back. "I don't want to wear myself out on my first day out. Otherwise I might have to see if you really could carry me home Sakura." She laughed and Sakura smiled, knowing the older woman was teasing her to lighten the mood.

"OK Asami. I agree. I'm sure I could carry you but I'm not sure I could make it comfortable for you." Sakura smiled, she really enjoyed Asami's company and understood why Kakashi did also.

"Do you need to be carried home Asami? Because I, Might Gai, am in the springtime of my youth! It would be an honor to carry home such a lovely lady as yourself. I am after all the most handsome devil of Konoha!" Gai had sprung to his feet.

Asami was at the door and laughed, turning back to Gai she said, "I'll be fine. You know me Gai, independent to a fault." And with that she and Sakura set off down the hall.

"That was a nice visit! Thank you for inviting me to join you. Lee is a sweet young man. Do you have a special place in your heart for him?"

Sakura winced, she knew Lee liked her but the only one she had eyes for was Sasuke. "No, he's nice and all but I like Sasuke Uchiha. He's one of the guys on my team."

Asami knew that look, Sasuke probably didn't share those feelings. She was aware of the Uchiha slaughter and knew that only Sasuke had survived. She sure wasn't going to ask Sakura about that gossip. "Shall we stop for tea before we head home? I could use the rest and a drink. My treat!"

"Sure, that sounds good. But I don't mind treating. You're always treating me to something."

"No I insist. You're taking care of me this afternoon. I truly don't think Hikari would have let me out without an escort and an up and coming kunoichi fit the bill perfectly." They wandered into a tea house and found seats. While they were waiting for their tea to be served Asami told Sakura about falling out of the tree and breaking her ankle. When she finished they were both laughing uncontrollably.

Asami stopped laughing, her attention had been caught by something and she rushed away from the table out onto the street. Sakura followed her only to see her throwing herself into Jiraiya's arms and screaming "Jiraiya-ojisan!"

Jiraiya laughed and scooped her up. "My, my you've grown up into a lovely young woman Asami-chan. I stayed away too long." He put her down gently and she led him back to her table in the tea house.

"Please sit with us for a bit, Jiraiya-ojisan?"

"I wish I could. I'm on my way to train my newest student and I can't be late."

"Aw, Naruto's on my team and he's used to it. Kakashi-sensei is always late." Sakura chimed into the conversation.

"I understand," Asami said. "I'm disappointed but it's important for him to do well on the exam also. Please come by soon and visit? I'm still at the onigiri stand mother ran."

"I will Asami-chan. I can't wait to catch up with you."

Asami desperately wanted to ask Jiraiya about Orochimaru but felt that this wasn't the time. She knew that he would just put her off so she decided to wait. She waved good bye as he left.

Sakura watched her new friend, who clearly knew a lot of people from the village. "How do you know so many people from the village Asami?"

Asami smiled, "My father was in the Anbu when he was alive and he knew a lot of people. I met them all through him. I see people at my stand a lot, but mostly I know them because my father introduced me when I was young. Shall we head back now?" She left the money for the bill and tip on the table and they got up to leave.

When they got back Asami was exhausted and her ankle was aching again. She refused to let it show though. She reported to Hikari to prove she was OK. She then packed up some onigiri to send home with Sakura and thanked her for spending the afternoon with her. Then she limped up the steps to her apartment and fell on the cushions in her living room.

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