Chapter 28 – Path
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The day ended on a good note. Their classmates were probably undertaking some kind of test given by their team leader, but Sango’s team had no need for such a thing for them to understand each other better. So, while their classmates were struggling, Sango and friends they were having fun at a restaurant.

Sango knew that the future was no longer easily predictable, hardships were sure to come, but for now he wanted to laugh together with the others, what will come was something to worry starting next day, when they would begin undertaking missions.

Late in the afternoon, having eaten their fill, they separated to go their own way home. Only Sango and Kurenai stayed together as was normal for them.

“Kurenai, I want to show you something.” As they watched the girls leave together, Sango turned to Kurenai and told her that, the use of her first name without honorifics didn’t bother her.

“Hmm? What is it?” She asked in return, curiosity showing on her face.

“Not here, come with me.” He replied, smiling under her questioning gaze. He took her hand in his as if it was the most natural thing in the world, this time she wasn’t surprised and didn’t think too much about it, but there was still a strange feeling in her heart.

They walked side by side in silence, there was no need for conversation to keep them entertained as they felt good in each other’s company, something they themselves may not be aware of.

After walking for some time, they arrived at an empty plot of land of around 2200 square meters. It was rather isolated at the outskirts of the village but still within the walls; from there they could see the Hokage Rock in its entirety.

Tall grass and other plants filled the plot of land, indicating the poor state it was in since it was left unattended. Further away the river flowed close by, then it continued to cross the entire village, a small stream broke through the shore and flowed through the plot of land they were facing.

The land he bought, despite its poor state it was in, was clearly a very good piece of land. For others, the isolated plot of land would be inconvenient to live in when taking into consideration it’s distance from the main street and the lack of neighbours, for Sango it was one of its good features.

“What do you want to show me?” Kurenai, who didn’t know why he took her to such a remote place, asked him.

“This!” He said excitedly, then he lifted his arm and pointed with his finger, “From there to there to there and ending there.” He pointed at the four corners of his plot of land, “I bought it all.”

His words left Kurenai at a loss for words, after a few seconds she recovered and asked, “What do you mean you bought it?” She couldn’t understand what was in his mind. Why would he buy such a large plot of land in such a remote place? But she also believed that he wouldn’t do something like this without reason, so she waited for him to explain.

“Well, I like the apartment we live in now, but…” He paused for a bit so the words could settle in Kurenai’s mind, he purposely said ‘we live in now’ to vaguely suggest they were living together already, and to see how she would react. Would she refute his words? Or would she accept them? Maybe she wouldn’t even notice the way he phrased his words. He wanted to ‘see’ for himself and go from there.

Her expression changed for a split second, it was very brief, but he caught it. Yet, he couldn’t tell what it meant. If someone wanted to murder him then he could recognize such an intent in their expression if they lost their composure like Kurenai did just then, but he couldn’t recognize hers. If he had to compare the feeling her expression gave him with something, then he would choose a bitter-sweet taste. Thinking such, he decided to consider it as something positive, at least she didn’t refute his words, nor did she want to kill him.

Those thoughts passed through his mind like lightning, he didn’t even pause for more than a second from his previous words before continuing as if nothing happened.

“But I want our own house, a big one to live happily in.” He said those words with true yarning in his voice, he really believed in what he said, it wasn’t just to win her favour. Lately he even dreamed of such a future, he whose dreams were mostly black. He dreamt of happily drinking tea while playing Shogi in the garden, or cuddling together beside the fireplace in winter, watching the flowers grow in spring and watching them die when autumn came. Where those desires came from, he didn’t care, their promise warmed his cold heart, for the first time he understood how something could become addictive. He didn’t want his desires to remain only that, desires, or else nothing would have changed from the time he was but a puppet, he had to work hard and fulfil his wish.

“This…” Hesitation was visible on her face and her expression changed as feelings conflicted in her heart.

He became important to her, that couldn’t be denied, but what that meant she hadn’t thought about, or rather she unconsciously avoided thinking about. She didn’t fully understand her own feelings, she was now at a bifurcation in her path set by Sango himself when he took her to this place. She knew such moment would come sooner or later as it was hard to maintain their style of life indefinitely. She didn’t know what choosing to live together will do to their relationship, she didn’t know if anything would change and she wanted to avoid thinking about it, but she was surprised by herself when she thought about separating from Sango and pain sprung in her chest, she wasn’t unsure about that question, the strong ache in her chest was enough of an answer. She didn’t want to separate from him, she was too used to his company, she took it for granted by this point, it surprised her how large of a presence he became for her, something she wouldn’t have believed could happen when he meet him those years ago. What that meant she didn’t want to think about, she avoided the question.

Cutting that train of thought, her decision was made. Since she didn’t want to separate from him then only the other choice was available. ‘Yes.’ She thought, ‘There is nothing strange, he is like a little brother to me.’ She tried to deceive herself, ‘Living together is normal.” She didn’t believe those words even when she thought them.

“That’s a very good idea.” She said, “This is indeed a nice surprise, haha!” She ruffled his hair with her hand as she laughed. “But how did you manage to get a piece of land this large?” Her next question was on point, even with how well his book had sold, that didn’t give him enough authority to own such a large plot of land with his unknown origins. For that he had to thank the Hokage, he asked the Hokage for a plot of land to build his own house, the Hokage was very eager to help him and even sold him such a large land for cheap. At the time he wasn’t sure why the Hokage was so eager to help, but after the events of today he was sure of the answer. Everyone would fight to protect their homes, more so if there were people to protect inside of it, and since his home would be inside Konohagakure and the village was inside Konoha… The answer was clear, just add the girls into the picture and even if he knew it was a trap, he would gladly jump in it, he intended to protect Konoha from the start anyway, in his own way.

Before Sango could answer her, an anger filled voice reached them from the trees.

“You damned brat!!”

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