Youbirin finds Jiro at their usual table in the hospital cafeteria, a row of emptied coffee cups standing silent guard around the piles of paperwork being furiously scribbled upon. He sidles his way into an empty chair, cradling his own paper cup of bland tea above the pages of what looks to be a step by step explanation of one of Jiro’s neural ninjutsu.
Sakura joins them ten minutes later, an expression of such dread written on her face that it leaves both he and Jiro confused. Her shift at the hospital isn’t for another hour, at least.
Wisely, Jiro silently hands over a cup of coffee and otherwise stays absolutely still.
Youbirin, unfortunately, is far less savvy even after all these years. “What happened to you?” he asks, earning Sakura’s attention and the brunt of her misdirected disgust.
“I caught my parents having sex,” she intones, voice flat and full of despair, that at first Youbirin isn’t sure he heard her correctly.
Jiro grimaces in commiseration, and though Youbirin doesn’t quite understand–he grew up in the Nohara complex, a pair of apartment buildings and the smaller family run hospital, everyone packed in together with limited sense of privacy–he manages to stay quiet.
“I guess they didn’t think I was in the house?” She explains, the hand not caught in a frenzied grip around her coffee, clutched desperately in her bright hair, “I don’t know, I was sleeping mostly, but then I heard noises and I thought maybe one of them hurt themselves. So of course I went to check and then…” She concludes with a full body shudder, taking a swig of her coffee as if to fortify herself.
“I need to move out,” she says, and at first Youbirin assumes it is an exaggeration–much the same way their ‘could have been’ game is–that he laughs.
Except, after a beat, he realizes he is the only one laughing.
“What, you’re serious?” He asks, eyes darting between his genin teammates, “That’s an overreaction, don’t you think?”
Sakura sighs, chugs the last of her coffee, and runs her hands through her hair again.
“I don’t know. Not really?” She begins, “I mean, it’s not just because of that. I’m an adult, you know? A jounin combat medic and I still live in my childhood bedroom in my parents’ house and, oh. I suppose I am a little happy that my parents are still so in love, though I’d rather not witness it. I know it could have been worse–I could have caught one of my parents with some stranger, cheating, which would have been terrible. Oh, I don’t even know where I’m going with this!”
Jiro gives a sideways smile, “You need your own space now,” he suggests.
To which Sakura nods in agreement, “Yes! That, exactly.”
Jiro nods back, the two of them bobbing their heads in pleased unison, while Youbirin watches in bemused amusement.
“Me, too,” Jiro says, finally, once they’ve finished their nodding.
“What, you caught your parents in the act?” Youbirin asks.
“Ha! No, thankfully,” he says, while Sakura gives another full body shudder, assaulted by memories. “I just meant, I’ve been thinking about moving out, too. It’s a little… strained… living with my parents, lately”
“Why?” Sakura asks, curious and surprised. She’s met the Watanabes before, all of them have met each other’s parents at one point or another, and they had been kind. And while Jiro’s parents were not so outgoing as her own parents, they were still very nice.
Jiro gives a sigh of his own, before mumbling, “They want me to get married…”
Youbirin and Sakura wait patiently for him to finish.
“… to some merchant’s daughter.”
“But I thought they already knew about you liking guys–I mean, didn’t you already tell them? Why would they try to set you up with someone’s daughter?” Sakura asks, sentences crashing into each other clumsily.
“I have and they know,” Jiro shrugs, “but I guess they think its a phase or that I’d be willing to get married as long as they don’t expect grandchildren? Or maybe that I’d be okay if I could have a boyfriend on the side or something? What kind of person do they think I am?” He says, words getting increasingly angrier and faster, until near the end he’s nearly shouting.
It’s only because everyone else in the cafeteria has other things on their mind–or, like them, are medic nin that have carefully cultivated their indifference to non-medical things the way a gardener does his bonsai trees–that Jiro is only being stared at by his two genin teammates and not everyone in the room.
Regardless, Jiro checks himself, shoulders hunched, a flush of embarrassment across his face. When he speaks, his volume has dropped down to a more familiar level.
“I already told them I wouldn’t marry her, and they’ve accepted that at least. But it’s still rather… tense at home. And, well, I would like my own place so I don’t feel as awkward if I were to meet someone.” He shrugs again.
“As if we ever have the opportunity to,” Youbirin says, trying to inject some much needed humor into the conversation.
“We hardly have time to meet up with each other,” Sakura agrees, because trying to coordinate the schedules of three jounin combat medics for overlapping free time is nearly impossible.
“Actually, I was thinking…” Jiro begins, and both of his listeners pay attention, “I don’t really want to live all by myself. I do want my own space, but I don’t think I’m ready to be completely alone,” he explains, “And considering how I’m always at the hospital or on missions, it’d be wasteful to rent a place that’ll be empty more often than not.”
“Are you saying…” Sakura asks, hesitantly.
Jiro gives her an almost shy smile, “We could be flatmates? Split rent, see more of each other. It’ll be like when we were genin again,” he says, which prompts Sakura to smile brightly and clap with excitement, but just sours uncomfortably in Youbirin’s gut.
Yeah, just like their genin days–when Jiro and Sakura were sprinting forward and leaving him behind.
“There’s a three-bedroom place over in west Akimichi district that I’ve been looking at that isn’t too expensive,” Jiro says, pleased. Which makes sense, because any part of the Akimichi district is great and the west side is close to Konoha’s main hospital. Youbirin shouldn’t begrudge either of them that. Although…
“Three bedrooms?” he asks, interrupting Jiro and Sakura’s chatter.
She shoots him an exasperated expression, while Jiro looks at him, baffled.
“Of course I’d look for a place with three bedrooms,” Jiro says, “It’s not like the three of us are going to share a one room apartment.”
Youbirin tries not to let the relief show on his face.
“… Dibs on master bedroom.”
A/N: And another one, @kuipernebula. I was kind of trying to go for Youbirin as more tactless than mean-spirited? Like, his childhood bullying ways and continued poor social skills are mostly because he’s insensitive–in the way that he literally doesn’t have a feel for some nuanced interactions (which explains why Kabuto was so easily able to exploit him). So basically like Kiba but less roguishly charming (and I guess that might explain Jiro’s crush on Kiba)?
It’s probably a good thing he’s a combat medic and not part of the normal Medic Corps because he probably has shitty bedside manner.