“It will probably work out better if we removed everyone’s bedroom doors.”
Sasuke scoffed at Karin’s suggestion, tightening his crossed arms in front of his chest. What had originally had started as a random reminder of an old stupid November event, turned into a challenge, that now was being taken way too seriously.
“Karin, no . We need our privacy,” Sakura scolded her. At the sound of her voice, Sasuke’s attention was drawn to their other female housemate. She was sitting on the ground, right by his leg and using the coffee table as a desk as she wrote down the rules of the challenge.
“Then you can forfeit right now.” Suigetsu cackled at the bright flush that spread over Sakura’s cheeks. He had been the one that had reminded them all about stupid, fucking No Nut November.
The last time Sasuke had even heard the term was back when he was in high school. But then again, Suigetsu had the maturity level of a fourteen year old so it was only fitting that it had been on his mind.
“Alright, so the girlies here have gotta hand over their toys.” Suigetsu flicked a lazy finger in Karin and Sakura’s direction. “I’ll be tossing my stuff too so it will be fair. Sasuke?”
Sasuke shifted his gaze away from the boxes sitting by the coffee table. Sakura had brought down a floral print photo box, Karin had a cardboard box so large that he was sure she could fit in it, and Suigetsu had two shoe boxes.
“Where’s your stuff?”
“I don’t have anything.”
“What?” Suigetsu snickered. “Come on, man. There’s no way. What do you use to—“
“My fucking hand like a normal person,” Sasuke snapped. “Why the fuck do you have two shoe boxes worth of supplies to get off?”
Suigetsu shrugged, snuggling deeper into the couch cushions, not looking up from his phone. “I like to treat myself.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Sasuke caught Karin opening up one of the lids of the shoe boxes. She frowned to herself and closed the box up again.
“There’s a swimming cap in here.”
“Hey. I’m not judging you for your giant box of mysteries. Lay off of mine.” Suigetsu leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and nudged Sakura’s girly photo box with his foot. “I am curious about what’s in there, though. I really thought Sakura didn’t know what sex was.”
Sakura flipped him off from where she was seated on the floor, her cheeks puffed out and face flushed red.
“This is going to be a long month.” Karin sniffed and waved forlornly at her cardboard box.
“I don’t…” Jūgo cleared his throat in discomfort. “I don’t actually have to hold onto those, right? I don’t feel comfortable with that.”
Rules for No Nut November Challenge
All participants must remove their bedroom doors while still in the game
No music can be played while in the shower (this means you Sasuke)
Toys must be handed over to Jūgo
Once orgasm is reached, the cummer has lost the challenge
Sakura is no longer allowed to expose key areas
“Oh, this is such bullshit,” Sakura huffed as Suigetsu tacked on a photo of her with her shoulders, midriff, thighs, and cleavage circled in red to the rules.
Sasuke is no longer allowed to walk around shirtless
“See?” Suigetsu waved a hand at the rules. “Equality.”
Karin isn’t allowed to visit Itachi Uchiha alone
“That’s just cruel,” Karin whined.
“No more boyfriend visits.” Sakura flashed her a stern glare.
“He’s asexual with like no libido.” Karin threw herself at the ground and slammed her fist on the hardwood. “He’s only in the mood like four times a year anyway!”
“God, I wish I didn’t have ears,” Sasuke murmured, tugging his beanie over his reddening ears. He knew Suigetsu was throwing him a bone with Rule Number 5.
It was a little frustrating how obvious his crush on one of his housemates was. All of them knew except for the object of his affections. It was both relieving and frustrating.
“Are we done here? I have to work on editing my video for this week.” Sakura stood up and stretched her arms over her head. She stood on her toes to stretch her whole body, her crop top lifting with the movement.
“While you’re at it, change your shirt.” Suigetsu grabbed the paper with the rules and stuck it on their fridge with one of the fish magnets. “The challenge starts now.”
“And so that’s how the Quarantine No Nut November Challenge started,” Sakura explained to her followers in her live broadcast. She paused in talking as the buzz of the drill blasted over her talking. She raised her voice and flashed a sarcastic grin at her cell phone. “And that’s the sound of Jūgo removing my door. It’s one of the stipulations for the challenge.”
Karin shuffled behind her with a poster board. On one side the rules were listed and then on the other side was the prizes based on who won the challenge.
“If I win the challenge,” Sakura clasped her hands together, “then all of my housemates will have to pitch in to pay for a dinner at the two Michelin star rated dining hall at the Hyūga Hotel Group owned resort in our city.”
“We saw the rates.” Karin shivered in disgust. “We all hope she loses.”
“Care to tell everyone what you win, Karin?”
Karin shoved the poster board away and sat on Sakura’s knee, leaning back against her so that she could speak into Sakura’s camera on her phone.
“So, I don’t even have to last the whole month,” Karin clapped her hands in glee, “I just have to outlast Suigetsu. If I beat him he has to swap rooms with me and I don’t have to pay more rent for the bigger room. And I need the bigger room. My room is the size of a freakin’ closet.”
“Wish us luck!” Sakura and Karin waved at her phone before Sakura ended the broadcast.
Karin hopped off of Sakura’s lap and threw herself onto Sakura’s twin size bed, knocking off some throw pillows and plushies. Sakura had originally wanted to buy a bigger bed after she had moved into the house, but when Karin moved in, the room she had shared with Sasuke for recording and streaming became unavailable. She had to move her desk and desktop to her bedroom and because she already had a vanity with backlighting, Sakura had to throw out her dreams of having a full size bed.
“So what are we doing now?” Karin asked, scrolling down her Twitter feed.
Karin had ended up being let go from her job a few weeks into quarantine. She had used all of her new spare time assisting Sakura with her YouTube channel. Her boyfriend—who also happened to be Sasuke’s older brother—assisted with her rent and told her to just focus on her studies.
“I have to edit my progress video on our herb and vegetable garden. And then I’m going to work on the pattern for an easy no sew sushi plush pillow. And I think Sasuke wanted to stream Among Us today.”
“Ugghhhh,” Karin groaned into one of Sakura’s fluffy throw pillows. “I always die first. You guys always kill me first.”
“That’s not true.”
Sakura actually always attacked Sasuke first. Or at least tried to, but if she ran into someone else first she would off them. It was just so funny to her to attack him first because he was the most skilled player, especially because he never attacked her nor did he report her when he caught her venting or killing a crewmate.
“It is true but I’m fine with that.” Karin rolled on her back and opened up her Twitter app. “It’s funny reading the chat and catching up on the crazy SasuSaku shippers.”
“Ugh, please don’t use that term.” Sakura could feel the heat crawling up her neck and blooming on her cheeks.
“But it’s so fucking hilarious.” Karin gasped. “That SasuKiba fic updated.”
Sakura snorted and rolled her eyes. Kiba was a Twitch streamer that Sasuke played with all of the time and also happened to be his IRL best friend. They had a strangely large following of shippers that always got into fights with the SasuSaku shippers and vice versa.
She had always found it weird when people shipped real human beings with each other and found it even weirder that Karin found the content amusing considering it was about her in real life friends. It was doubly weird considering she was Sasuke and Kiba’s childhood friend and had actually caught them in their secretly fucking phase in their late teens.
“I feel like that one time you caught them mid-coitus back when you were nineteen did something weird to you because you keep looking for fics where Sasuke bends Kiba over and gives it to him.”
“This is actually really good writing, but I do end up giggling because of the characterizations.” Karin sighed and scrolled a bit longer, before closing out of Safari. “I’ll save this for bedtime.”
“You really shouldn’t be reading about your friends fucking.” Sakura pulled out a roll of crafting paper that she used to make patterns. “You’re really proving to be the pervert of the group.”
“Hey! I’ll have you know that Ino reads this fic too.”
Sakura paused in sketching and stared blankly at Karin who was now picking at her nails. “You’re telling me that Ino reads fanfiction of her boyfriend being plowed by his best friend?”
“She’s the one that sent me the link.”
“You two are insane .”
“What’s insane is that Sasuke still hasn’t realized you have a crush on him when apparently it’s obvious to strangers online.”
Sakura grabbed one of the throw pillows that Karin had knocked off of her bed and repeatedly smacked Karin with it. Her door was just removed and she could look directly into Sasuke’s master bedroom. If he had been home there was a chance he could have heard her!
“Stop hitting me!” Karin curled up in a ball and ended up rolling off of the bed in her attempt to escape. “Oh, look. Someone made art inspired by the fluff fic for you and Sasuke about your vegetable garden just being an excuse to grow him tomatoes.”
“If you don’t stop, I’m changing the WiFi password.”
Karin gasped, loud and dramatic. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“I’m retweeting it.” Karin narrowed her eyes at Sakura and blindly pressed on her phone screen. She looked down and snorted. “Ahh...I accidentally sent it to Itachi.”
@whirlygirly: sending this tweet using my data but i have been silenced until someone has mercy on me
It wasn’t until eight that night that Karin was able to get the new password for the WiFi and it was only because Sasuke was going to stream Among Us and he preferred to set up a private game with the housemates and their friends.
Karin made herself comfortable on the floor on the far side of Sasuke’s queen sized bed. Her laptop was opened up to the Discord application and when she was finally settled she clicked on the icon on her phone for Among Us. When the game finally loaded she looked at all of the names in the lobby and choked on air.
“Third!?” Karin shouted over Sasuke’s music. Even though he was streaming he still played it through his Bose SoundDock. “We’re playing with our landlord, Sasuke?”
“Yeah? He’s been wanting to play,” Sasuke shouted back.
“Can you play something other than Crystal Lake?” She had no idea how Sasuke could hear her over the screaming vocals.
“No. Go to your room if you’re going to complain.” Sasuke adjusted his mic. “That’s just my roommate, Karin,” he responded to one of the questions in the chat window. “She’s the one that dies first every time.”
Only a few seconds into the round, Suigetsu’s purple avatar with the butcher’s knife on its head had knocked her to the ground and shot her.
She immediately went to their Discord server on her laptop and typed out a message.
[the real sasuke]: fuck you guys!!!
[the real sasuke]: how????
[sakubae]: L O L
[sakubae]: did you die first again?
[juugo]: i’ll find ur body karin
[the real sasuke]: thank you best boy you’re the only person that matters
Following her comment, Karin inserted the meme gif of the woman shouting “I respect you!”
“Ha!” Sasuke laughed as the corpse of Karin’s avatar flashed on the screen when Jūgo reported it. “See. She died first again.”
“I love you Karin,” Sakura’s voice came through Sasuke’s computer speakers, “but you need to stop announcing when one of us kills you.”
“Huh?” Sasuke finished scanning his body in MedBay and left the room, heading towards the upper engine. “Is that the royal ‘us’ or are you the second imposter?”
“I’m innocent. Watch me do asteroids.”
“Hm? I can trust you?”
Karin rolled her eyes and flopped onto her stomach, stretching out on Sasuke’s bed. She should have focused on finishing her tasks, but sending messages in their chat was funnier.
[the real sasuke]: and Mom and Dad are flirting again
[sakubae]: afhkbjk sHUT
[sakubae]: his followers can see the Discord chat!!!
[sakubae]: MY followers can see the chat!!!
[fantheflames]: can you focus on tasks ghostie
[omg she’s fucking dead] : i’m doing them
[omg she’s fucking dead]: afnajadfjkNJ
[omg she’s fucking dead]: how the fuck are you able to change my nickname WHILE PLAYING
“Ah, fuck.” Sasuke reported the dead body of the blue avatar of their landlord’s. “Okay, so Third━now that you’re dead you just gotta finish the tasks assigned to you.”
Karin opened up the in game chat and asked Third who had killed him. He messaged her back that it was the brown avatar. Kiba was the only one that ever willingly played as brown and used the wolf ears.
“I can vouch for Ino,” Sakura’s voice chirped again. “Cyan has been following me around.”
At the same time, Ino had sent a message about squading up with Sakura’s pink avatar while they did tasks. Suigetsu was lying his ass off about doing a task in electrical. Jūgo messaged the other ghosts that Suigetsu had killed him and then vented away.
“Awww, who killed the best boy?” Sakura asked when they noticed that Jūgo was crossed out. Sasuke shrugged, nodding his head along to the music playing in his background. “One of these days, we have to play with everyone using the mic.”
“You suck at lying though.”
“That’s true. I can’t lie to save my life.”
“And Karin would talk even if she’s a ghost.”
“You guys bully me way too much,” Karin grumbled, grabbing Sasuke’s Baby Yoda Squishmallow and flopping her body on top of it.
The giant pillow-like plush was extremely comfortable and it was almost the same size that she was and it carried Sasuke’s usual scent of mint and eucalyptus. It wasn’t the warm, sweet bergamot aroma that followed Itachi, but it was still calming and reminded her of home. If she wasn’t careful she would be in danger of falling asleep on Sasuke’s bed. Again.
“Can I just say that I hate the Polus map? ‘Cause I freaking hate it.”
Sasuke snorted. “Are you lost again? We can’t baby you and play on the Skeld map all of the time, Sakura.”
[inoinoino]: i’m just gonna drop this screenie here
[the quenchiest]: HA
[the quenchiest]: sakura has the best stream chats sometimes
[runningwithdogs]: THE BETRAYAL
[sakubae]: oh god
[sakubae]: pls delete
[sakubae]: also Kiba my stream is just better 😋
[runningwithdogs]: oh pls all they do in ur chat is talk about how cute u r
[inoinoino]: sorry babe but ur chat is kind of dead
[inoinoino]: it usually is when sakubae and sasucakes play a game together
[fantheflames]: don’t call me that
[juugo]: sasuke’s stream chat is blowing up now
[omg she’s fucking dead]: come on sasucakes
[omg she’s fucking dead]: baby sakura
[omg she’s fucking dead]: violadaydreams knows how much you wanna
[omg she’s fucking dead]:
sakura wants it, be daddy
“KARIN!” Sakura shouted from across the hall, echoing in Sasuke’s speakers.
“I’m not checking that spoiler,” Sasuke said out loud to the disappointment of his stream chat. The watchers continued to beg him to click on the message marked as spoiler. “Sui is just way too sus.”
Once Suigetsu’s avatar was ejected and the gameplay started up again, Karin checked the taskbar for completion. There was only a smidge left that needed to be filled.
“Who the hell still has tasks?” Karin whined, dragging her avatar around the map. “It’s probably Third. This map is way too hard for a beginner.”
“Yeah, it probably is. We’re going to play Hide and Seek next.”
“Yay!” Sakura cheered. “Back to the Skeld map.”
[omg she’s fucking dead]: see
[omg she’s fucking dead]: he babies her
[fantheflames]: i will kick you from the server
[the quenchiest]: do it
[omg she’s fucking dead]: fuck you sui
[the quenchiest]: no thanks i wanna win no nut november
“Disgusting!” Karin shrieked. “I would never .”
“Y’all fucking suck.” Sasuke wiped a hand down his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Now my followers are asking what he’s talking about. My fucking cousin is asking about it now.”
Sure enough, Shisui had popped into Discord to join the game for Hide and Seek and it was the first question that he asked.
[Sushi]: what’s going on? hm?
[fantheflames]: we’re playing Hide and Seek here are the rules
[fantheflames]: 1. Start the game with an Emergency Meeting so the Imposter can reveal themselves.
2. Once everyone knows who the killer is, everyone votes to skip so the game can get underway.
3. Crewmates get a 20-second head start to run away and hide while the Imposter waits in the meeting room.
4. After the headstart, the Imposter begins hunting down the crew.
5. Crewmates have to finish their tasks while avoiding the Imposter and they can't report kills.
6. If the Crewmates complete all of their tasks they win the game. If the Imposter kills everyone first they win.
[fantheflames]: we change the imposter vision to 0.25x so if you get it you won’t be able to see much and the kill cool down is 10 seconds
don’t report any bodies and imposter can only sabotage the comms
[Sushi]: that’s not what I’m asking about and you know it
[fantheflames]: as soon as anyone tells you what that’s about you’re gonna end up running to the family group chat and I really don’t need my dad of all ppl finding out wth no nut november is
[Sushi]: Karin hon
[omg she’s fucking dead]: yeth sushi
[Sushi]: text me the details
[omg she’s fucking dead]: ofc
[fantheflames]: you guys are dead to me
@whirlygirly: no regrets
@fantheflames: I might actually kill someone tonight and I don’t mean on among us
Fugaku: Why do you all insist on adding me to these? I don’t know anything about whatever this nuts in November thing is and I don’t want to know.
Obito: But I can explain EVERYTHING to you uncle
Obito: I only need 2 minutes of your time
Sasuke: Huh, funny. That’s exactly what Shisui has said to everyone he’s ever dated.
Sasuke: And Obito, NO
Obito: But Obito yes!!!!
Mikoto: It’s too late now he’s googling it because you didn’t want him to know
Sasuke: Ok who taught dad how to google?
Mikoto: He figured it out on his own!
Shisui: God, that’s so freaking ominous
Sasuke hadn’t moved from his bed all morning. He wasn’t much of a morning person and he had spent most of the night streaming, but their landlord was popping in for one of his inspections.
Usually when Third popped in, Sasori and Obito tagged along especially now that they were deep into quarantine and had all taken tests and had been cleared for the virus. Third came to check on his property and the custom floor to ceiling saltwater tank with live coral that was built into the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room. It was Suigetsu’s job to take care of it. Literally.
Suigetsu was introduced as Sasuke’s roommate and for the longest time no one knew what the marine biology major did to afford rent until quarantine hit and they found out that he lived there and got paid to take care of the random aquarium tank that Third decided to install in this property of his.
Sasuke was used to his cousin’s boyfriend’s eccentricities, but that probably took the prize for the weirdest thing he has done for as long as Sasuke has known him and the man had once hopped on a jet just so he could buy strawberries from a country in which they were in season.
Third was the reason Sasuke had even gotten into streaming, having bought him most of his gear when he was fourteen because Obito and Sasori had told their new boyfriend that Sasuke liked video games. Sasuke had no use for all of the equipment until Third had asked him for help with certain games so Sasuke would record himself to show Third what it was that he needed to do.
As a kid he focused on play throughs for Third who was usually too busy to actually play any video games. When he got older and switched to Twitch to do live streams, his viewer base rose, partially because he was pretty helpful and partially because of his looks.
“Sasuke!” Sakura shouted from somewhere near the sitting room. “Third and company are here!”
Finally rolling out of bed, Sasuke grabbed his discarded band shirt from the back of his gaming chair and pulled it over his head. He pulled his arms through the sleeves as he made his way towards the front of the house. He could hear his shiba inu, Shiro, barking at the door.
Sakura was already opening up the door, dressed in one of her animal onesies. The rabbit ears swung around the hood when she moved her head.
“Presents!” Sakura raised her arms in excitement.
There was a flash and a shutter sound went off from Sasori’s cellphone. “And she’s still alive.”
“Don’t you dare post that online!”
Ignoring her, her cousin stepped inside and slid his shoes off, nudging them under the shoe rack at the front entrance.
“There’s a box from a certain sponsor and I needed to know what was inside.” Sasori dumped packages and a small paper bag full of envelopes and postcards into her arms.
“So you opened it?”
“Of course I did.” Sasori shook the destroyed white box. “And I’m keeping this after you do your video.”
“Can’t you buy your own bikinis like a normal person?”
“Why are they sending you swimsuits in November?” Sasuke asked as Obito stormed past him, barely stopping to kick off his shoes, carrying more boxes and bags full of mail. Sakura shrugged and followed Obito up the stairs to the upper floor’s sitting room.
“Did my snack box from Japan arrive?” Sakura called after him.
“Is it mail time!?” Karin skipped down the hall to the sitting room and started rifling through Sakura’s packages and letters, sorting them into piles. “Oh, heeeyy. Here’s the package from the small online clothing store that messaged you about featuring something in one of your videos.”
Sasuke peeked over Karin’s head and saw a pink box with a familiar cat shaped galaxy logo. NekoGalaxy was an online merch company that made clothes and items with original art but also made gear themed after different popular social media accounts.
“Sasuke has a box from the same place,” Obito chirped up, tossing Sasuke his own pink box.
Sasuke already knew what was in his box. Tamaki, the lead artist and owner of NekoGalaxy, had messaged him months ago about creating a line of merch with some of his more popular quotes from his streaming.
A couple favorites of his were “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!” and “who needs the sleep? I need the sleep”. The former was a common thing he said when streaming games he was forced to team up in and the second one was something he had muttered in a sing song when he had streamed for twelve hours one night because his insomniac ass couldn’t sleep.
The viewers that watched that stream had been able to hear him muttering to himself before he crashed and fell asleep at his desk and it had gone viral.
“Oh my God, this is funny as hell.” Karin cackled, bringing Sasuke’s attention back to the box Tamaki had shipped to Sakura for a feature.
Karin had pulled out a black varsity jacket with white sleeves. On the left side on the breast was his gamer logo of a red and white uchiwa circled by a ring of fire. She flipped it around to the back where in harsh, horror movie type font his “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!” quote was splashed all over the back in large print.
“Awww! This is so cute, Sasuke,” Sakura gushed, lifting up a white shirt with the chibi art Tamaki had created of him sleeping at his gaming chair with his needing sleep quote circling the art in a bubbly font.
She continued to gush over the quality of the merch over Karin’s cackling. Karin collapsed onto the floor and gasped out “I can’t breathe!” in between deep inhales.
“Aww! Tamaki even added some bonus stickers and face masks from her shop.” Sakura rifled through the rest of the package. “Guess I should do a photo shoot, huh?”
Sakura had to do a lot more for her online engagement. She had her YouTube channel where she had first posted her content, but she also had her TikTok, Twitter and her Instagram. While she posted screen grabs from her videos and pictures of food or the scenery, her Instagram demanded more selfies from her. And even though she posted videos on YouTube, TikTok was another platform she adapted to, focusing more on quick progress videos for her looks for things like her YouTube videos, photo shoots, and outfit of the day videos where she showed off what she wore for the week.
All Sasuke really had to do was post a tweet that he was about to stream and what he was streaming that day or night and make sure he was connected to Twitch when he was playing and that his camera was on. There was so much more work that Sakura had to put in for all of her content and she still streamed when she played games with him.
Sakura had been making videos for YouTube for almost the same amount of time that Sasuke had been streaming. He had found one of her videos when he was seventeen, when he and his older brother were attempting to make soufflé pancakes for their mother. Sixteen year old Sakura had posted an easy to follow guide on making them that Itachi had ended up using because Sasuke was a disaster in the kitchen.
The teenage girl was cute, but there was something calming about her videos that had Sasuke clicking on every ‘how to’ video in her playlist. It was how he ended up subscribing to her channel.
At some point, Sasuke had realized that she lived in the same state, in another city. Despite the close proximity, he never expected to ever run into her, let alone end up as roommates. When he and the others had kicked their old housemate, Kabuto, for being a creep, Third had said he had found them a new roommate.
Sakura at the time had been working as a food stylist, but had quit due to issues with her employer. Her cousin, Sasori, had mentioned it to Third and Third decided that Sasuke and his housemates could use a personal chef.
Karin had been the most excited to meet her. The first question she had asked her was if she could make them the strawberry cheesecake she had made in one of her videos, not even questioning the fact that their landlord found them a live-in cook. The two of them became friends pretty quickly, bonding as the only girls in the house. Sasuke was pretty sure that Karin would become friends with anyone that fed her.
What Sasuke hadn’t expected was that Sakura had been a subscriber to his Twitch channel. Sakura was a secret gamer, but didn’t always have the time or money for all of the games she wanted to play so she watched play throughs so she could experience the games as well. She had watched some of his original play throughs that he had posted on YouTube when he was younger and had followed him when he moved to live streaming. Her favorites were when he played horror video games. Sakura confessed that she was too much of a scaredy cat to attempt to play herself.
That had been three years ago. Sasuke never expected to become friends with his weird online crush from when he was a teenager, but here he was at age twenty-six crushing on her yet again only now it was even worse than before.
Seventeen year old Sasuke was able to get over it easily, but seventeen year old Sasuke didn’t have to live with her and interact with her as a real person.
“You guys removed your bedroom doors?” Third called from down the hall leading to the upper floor bedrooms. “Loving the open concept vibe!”
Itachi 😚😚😚: Hello Karin
Itachi 😚😚😚: I’m home at the moment
Karin: I know where you are??? You've been in your apartment for the last 8 months???
Itachi 😚😚😚: Are you busy right now?
Sasuke was helping Sakura by chopping some vegetables while she prepared the chicken for their dinner when Karin ran down the stairs screeching and flew out the front door. They heard her start up her moped and listened to the sound of it fading out as she drove down the street.
“Where the hell is she going?” Sakura asked, looking back down at her cutting board as she removed the fat from the chicken she needed to cut up.
“Maybe she found out you’re going to be making gyoza tonight?”
Sakura snorted and reached for her knife. “You’re so funny.”
She continued chopping the chicken into the proper size for karaage. It was Friday and because it was quarantine, they usually cooked up bar food and hung out in the basement living room where they watched movies and drank the night away.
“I’m making cheese buttons because she requested them though. I hope she gets back in time for movie night.” Sakura tossed the chopped chicken pieces into a bowl. “Where the hell is she going though?”
“Don’t care.” Sasuke set the vegetables aside and rummaged through the cupboards for the tray that Sakura always used for them. “If we can get rid of Suigetsu maybe we’ll have a quiet night for once.”
“He asked if I was making nachos so I’m sure he’s staying in like he’s supposed to.” Sakura seasoned the chicken and mixed it in before taking her disposable gloves off and tossing them into the trash can. “Whose turn is it to pick the movie tonight?”
“Karin’s but it looks like she forgot.”
Sakura cleaned up her area of the kitchen island and moved to grab more ingredients from the fridge. It was her responsibility to prepare the meals, but she liked when Sasuke joined her. She had lived with them for three years and she never expected any of them to pitch in outside of buying groceries.
Her older cousin Sasori had helped her find the place when she had quit her job as a food stylist for a magazine. She had been rooming with a coworker at the time and the relationship turned sour once she stopped working with them.
The relationship had already been kind of bad because Sakura was becoming more and more popular as a vlogger and it had been a combination of that and Sakura finding her roommate to be inconsiderate about bringing over men to have really loud sex with at odd hours without warning her first. After the last guy had caught Sakura walking to the bathroom in only a crop top and her underwear and decided to hit on her, she had decided that it was time to move out.
Third had been kind enough to offer her a room in one of his properties that he was renting out to some post-grads. He had sweetened the deal by lowering her rent if she worked as a chef for her new housemates, most importantly for the cousin of Sasori’s husband, Obito, who had dietary concerns.
Sakura had never expected that Obito’s cousin was the popular Twitch streamer that she followed. Out of all of the people in the world she was being hired to cook for and offered to live with, it had to be the streamer that she had technically thirst followed. Yeah, she wanted to watch someone play video games she was interested in, but Sakura’s decision rested on the fact that Sasuke happened to be her type. A fact that only three people knew: Sasori, Ino, and Karin after they bonded when they became roommates.
She could have killed Sasori when she found out Sasuke was supposed to be her new roommate. It was too much of a coincidence for it to be anything but one of his manipulations.
“Thanks for helping me with my shots today.” Sakura nudged Sasuke’s arm with her shoulder as he plated the vegetables in the veggie tray and poured out ranch in the center bowl. “It got lots of likes.”
“Of course it did.” Sasuke smirked at her in that way that always made her stomach flutter.
It had started as a thirst follow and then wormed its way to a full blown internet crush and then into something more once she met him in person and started living with him. Sakura really enjoyed innocently flirting with him, but was worried that one day she would cross a line and make Sasuke uncomfortable. As nice as it would be to be something more than friends, Sakura would rather keep her feelings secret than ruin what they currently had.
Sakura averted her gaze and worked on making the sweet chili sauce for the fried chicken. “Tamaki’s really happy with the promo.”
“She better be. I forgot to put the tweet on mute and my phone crashed from all of the notifications.”
Sakura burst into a peal of laughter. She had that happen to her before. She had posted that she was going to be streaming with Sasuke and during the stream someone had heard the echo of the song that was playing in Sasuke’s room in Sakura’s stream. It was made worse when Karin strolled into Sakura’s room shouting at Sasuke to lower his volume, unaware that Sakura was live streaming as well.
There had already been a ton of followers that had been shipping the both of them. They had tied them together through tags because Sakura would tag Sasuke’s professional photography account and sometimes Sasuke would post a photo where he was eating something that their followers noticed she had posted about making. The both of them didn’t help the situation by replying as each other’s mutual on different posts and tweets.
When their followers discovered that they were roommates, it had been the absolute worst. They had shippers going apeshit, tons of hate spewed their way—especially directed towards her from delusional fans that thought Sasuke would date them or from the SasuKiba shippers—and then there were her own fans that insisted that she and Sasuke were only friends and that because she was on the ace spectrum that nothing would be happening between them.
That had hurt the most. Her followers that believed they were defending her, were actually harming her by enforcing the ugly insistence that asexual people didn’t have sex or that they couldn’t be in relationships with people that were allosexual. For a moment it made her want to take down her “demisexual and proud” posts. It took her finding one of her selfies with Sasuke where he was wearing a pansexual flag shirt to say fuck it and just ignore them.
“Are you making that popcorn?” Sasuke asked, pulling out the sriracha. “The one with the sriracha ranch?”
“Are you asking if I can make it?” Sakura grinned slyly at him, taking the bottle of sriracha from his hand.
Sasuke shrugged his shoulders, smiling down at the potato starch he was pouring out on a tray for the chicken. “Maybe.”
“Alright.” Sakura pointed a finger gun at him. “But no spicy edamame.”
Sasuke snorted, dusting his hands on the apron he was wearing before cringing at the mess he made. “I’ll live.”
“Wash your hands. I’m going to have you fry the lotus root chips.”
“Maybe I’ll finally learn how to cook.”
“Ha!” Sakura smacked his back with a dish towel. “I still have to babysit you when you use the rice cooker. I’m not risking you burning down Third’s lovely kitchen.”
“I haven’t started any fires.”
“You almost burned down the deck when we were grilling outside,” Sakura reminded him as she checked that the air fryer was in the proper setting. “Okay. It’s ready for frying.”
Karin hadn’t come home by the time all of the food was ready. Suigetsu came home just in time, slamming the door shut behind him, setting down the cases of beer he had picked up, and ripping off his face mask in exhaustion.
They settled in the basement living room, placing the trays of food on the kotatsu. Sakura made sure to take a picture of the carefully displayed food before Suigetsu could get his grubby fingers in it. That was the problem with her kind of work: she had to be as active as possible, which meant lots and lots of photos of her life.
“We should play Mario Kart,” Suigetsu suggested. “It’s not often we can play games without Karin being around to, well, be her.”
As much as she loved her, Sakura knew exactly what Suigetsu meant. Karin was an extremely competitive person for someone with absolutely no hand-eye coordination. And her inability to drive anything but her scooter actually followed her to video games. She moved her entire body when trying to steer her kart in the game. Karin somehow ended up on top of whoever was sitting next to her.
“Should we save food for Karin?” Sakura nibbled on a baby carrot as she worked on posting some pics of the spread she made and of Suigetsu and Jūgo and Sasuke, remembering to tag them all except for Jūgo who didn’t have any social media accounts.
“Nah,” Suigetsu answered, voice thick from the nachos he had just stuffed into his mouth. He continued talking, but Sakura wasn’t paying attention, too busy focusing on an ominous tweet from Karin.
Sasuke was busy retweeting and liking posts to keep himself active on Twitter while Suigetsu and Sakura battled it out on Mario Kart. He wasn’t one to really reply to comments, but he needed to make an effort. Sometimes when he was feeling particularly lazy about it, Sakura would help him find a tweet to respond to.
He found a TikTok that Sakura had reposted on his Twitter timeline. It was a sped up process video of her look for the photo shoot they had done for NekoGalaxy.
San Holo’s lift me from the ground started playing as she moisturized her face and applied a cream that made her face look even smoother and covered up the light dusting of freckles on the bridge of her nose and cheeks. Sakura took out another face product and brushes that he had no clue what the use was for as she continued making her face up.
The song continued playing as Sakura dusted her eyelids with red eye shadow and lined her eyelids with black liner, creating a strong wing. She made her lashes black with mascara and applied thick fluttery lashes that on a normal day would have looked abnormal.
Sakura in the video then took a comb and parted her hair into even halves. She French braided the two sections on her scalp into high half up pigtails. Grabbing a flat iron from off screen, Sakura curled her loose hair and pulled her fingers through to create waves. She lightly curled two strands of hair that framed her face and then sprayed the part in her hair with silver glitter.
Once she was done, a record scratch replaced the audio and the intro of Monolith by Crossfaith—a song by a metalcore band he played often while streaming—started playing and Sakura headbanged cutely until the scene cut to her seated at her pink gamer chair dressed in denim cut offs over mesh stockings and his shirt and varsity jacket from NekoGalaxy. She had her cat ear headset on and her knees pulled up to her chest as she spun lazily on her chair and smiled at the camera.
He retweeted the video and then QRT it, joking about Sakura developing an interesting taste in music. Almost as soon as he hit tweet, Kiba replied to the QRT.
“Fuck you, Kiba,” Sasuke muttered under his breath. Right after Kiba replied all of his friends and mutuals did as well. Even their fucking landlord.
“Well, Karin is alive,” he announced to everyone as Sakura zoomed across the finish after knocking Suigetsu out with a well aimed shell. “That or she’s roasting me from the afterlife.”
“That sounds like something Karin would do as a ghost.” Suigetsu snickered as he handed Jūgo his joycon. “First thing she would do is haunt Itachi and make sure no one got their claws in him and the second thing she’d do is roast the shit out of you on the daily.”
Scrolling down his timeline he saw Karin post a Spotify link to WAP and then just below it a tweet that only read “fUCK.” The tweet felt ominous for some reason and Sasuke would rather not know whatever the fuck was going on with her.
Sasuke felt a pressure on his side as Sakura curled against him, pressing her cheek to his shoulder. “It’s ominous, right?”
He had no idea how Sakura did it, but at times it felt like she knew exactly what he was thinking about. Sasuke adjusted his body, allowing Sakura to lay against him more comfortably as she spread one of her crocheted throws over their laps. This was another thing he had no idea how it happened. He had no clue when it became normal for them to invade each other’s personal space without a second thought.
Sasuke knew it had taken time, but sometimes it felt like one day they were being introduced and the next day they were curled together under one of Karin’s blanket forts as if they had been doing it for years.
“We’ve been stuck at home for so long, it feels weird that one of us isn’t here,” Sakura grumbled, pulling the throw so that it wrapped around her shoulders tucked under chin.
“It’s peaceful as fuck though.” Suigetsu tossed the joycon aside and fell back into the plush area rug, spreading his arms wide around him. “We should kick Karin out once a week.”
“Don’t be mean, Sui.”
“Okay, Mom .” Suigetsu rolled his eyes. “But come on, I’m right. Aren’t I, Dad?”
Sasuke shot a glare at Suigetsu who just grinned impishly up at him. “Don’t call me that.”
“I‘ll choke you.”
“That just makes it even worse, dude.” Suigetsu snickered, but the sound died in his throat as he let out a groan and covered his face with hands. “I haven’t been choked properly in forever.”
“I did not consent to this conversation,” Sakura snapped, disgust heavy in her tone. “And what I said before still stands. You open up any dating app and try to hook up with someone and we won’t let you back into this house.”
“Ugghhhh, I hate this family.” Suigetsu rolled over onto his stomach, grumbling under his breath.
“Here, have a chip.” Jūgo handed him the bowl of lotus root chips. Suigetsu grabbed two of the chips and bit into one, snapping it in half. “Feel better?”
“Meh. Too healthy.”
“Oh, shut up. I fried the damn things.” Sakura gestured with a hand curled around a white, skinny can to the rest of the food and the open bottles of beer. “It balances out.”
“You air fried it because of Sasuke and his stupid low carb diet. And you’re drinking a White Claw.”
“What about it?” Sakura scoffed, narrowing her eyes at him.
“It’s a low-cal, gluten-free alcoholic flavored seltzer water.” Suigetsu rolled his eyes. “I feel prissy just describing it.”
“Whatever. I like the taste and it gets the job done.”
“Mouthwash would get the job done for you, you’re such a lightweight.”
Before Sakura could respond, the sliding glass door that gave the basement access to the backyard slammed open. Karin shut the door behind her and marched into the living room, slapping Suigetsu on the back of his head as she passed him.
“We have to look at the rules again,” she cut him off, flopping on the couch next to Sakura.
Karin huffed, crossing her arms in front of her chest, looking at everyone pointedly. They all stared back at her quizzically, until a grin spread slowly across Suigetsu’s face.
“You went to Itachi’s place.”
“I’m not talking about the rule about me and Itachi.” Karin exhaled from her mouth, blowing her hair out of her face. “I was just talking with Sasori and he brought up some very interesting points and we’ve decided that it’s fucked up that we gave Sakura a dress code.”
“Wait, then what about Sasuke?” Suigetsu sat up on his knees and gesticulated in Sasuke’s direction. “Isn’t it also sexist to make him cover up like a nun?”
Sasuke’s mouth twisted into a frown. “What the fuck?”
“Sasuke walks around without a shirt and we’ll all fail No Nut November,” Karin argued. Jūgo nodded in agreement and Suigetsu shrugged his shoulders and nodded his head along with the movement.
“I am so uncomfortable right now.”
“The consequences of being hot, Sasuke.” Sakura gave him a cheeky grin and patted him on the shoulder. She held onto it in order to stand up from the couch. “Did you eat, Karin?”
“I can always eat more.” Karin held her hands palm up as she waited for Sakura to hand her a plate full of a bit of everything. “Obito tried to make something and I’m not quite sure what it was supposed to be.”
“You ate it anyway, didn’t you?”
“It was free .”
“You eat for free here.”
Sakura and Karin continued to bicker about eating mystery food while the others opened up the second pack of beer. Being locked up at home because of quarantine had made some things so routine that Sasuke was fine with drinking some more. He was mostly happy that they were already home and wouldn’t have to fight Suigetsu into an Uber.
Sakura eventually went back upstairs where her, Karin, and Sasuke’s rooms were located because she needed to do her nightly skincare routine. Karin had bolted after her to take advantage of the products being out already and reminded them that Sakura no longer had a dress code as she stormed up the steps.
It wasn’t until Jūgo was handing him another bottle of Kanaha Blonde that he realized that no one had bothered to ask Karin what the hell she had been doing at their landlord’s place.
Sakura heard the familiar sound of Will Moore’s As The Night Draws In drifting into her room from Sasuke’s room and knew he was playing his bedtime playlist. Without their bedroom doors, some of their night sounds were easier to hear and it was kind of sweet to be lulled to sleep by comforting music.
Curling deeper under her covers, Sakura sighed contently, taking in the calming scent of her lavender and vanilla scented fabric softener. She focused on the tinkling of the piano version of Masaaki Kishibe’s Hana and felt herself begin to drift off when she felt someone’s bony knee hit her thigh.
“Karin!” Sakura hissed, unhappy to have her descent into sleep disturbed.
“You really need a bigger bed,” Karin whispered, scooting in anyway and intertwining her leg with Sakura’s.
“You really need to learn about boundaries.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Karin tucked her head under Sakura’s chin. “Did you think about what I said earlier?”
Sakura groaned, adjusting herself so that Karin’s elbows didn’t dig into her ribs. “I did. And it still feels like a bad idea.”
“Shh. It’s a fantastic idea. And I get revenge.”
“I’m sure that—“
“Since when have you been on Itachi’s side for anything?”
Sakura shut her mouth, frowning. Since when did she defend Itachi of all people? Sasuke’s older brother always got on her nerves. She was the certified nutritionist, but he was always emailing her and texting her about Sasuke’s dietary concerns and recommendations. It was kind of creepy how Itachi insisted on being his twenty-six year old brother’s helicopter parent.
“You’re right. Fuck Itachi.”
“Too soon!” Karin whimpered into Sakura’s shoulder. “I can’t believe that asshole bet against me.”
“I can. The man is delusional about his brother. I’m pretty sure he still thinks he’s a virgin.”
“He may be the love of my life but he’s going rue the day he decided to bet against me and then sabotage me.”
“The love of your life? Are you sure you don’t want to get that psych exam?” Sakura gagged. “You can do so much better than Itachi.”
“Shut it!” Karin pinched the skin around Sakura’s hip. Sakura yelped and thumped Karin in the small of her back with a closed fist. “Ow! Dammit Sakura. I’m mad at him but I still love the idiot.”
“Okay, okay. Can we question your taste in men tomorrow? I wanna sleep.”
“Yeah, yeah. You’re going to need your beauty sleep if we’re going to start fucking with Sasuke tomorrow.”
Sakura sighed, digging her chin onto the top of Karin’s head. She didn’t like being the big spoon but she didn’t have much choice when Karin was feeling especially needy.
“This is such a bad idea…” she mumbled.
“Shhhh! Go to sleep.” Karin rubbed her hand up and down Sakura’s back. “I need you bright eyed and bushy tailed.”
A really bad idea, Sakura groaned inwardly.