Author: MintiNeko PM
Sometimes I really hate Sasukekun. A ring for my birthday? A puzzle ring? With a message I can't read until I solve it? Come on!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Humor - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Words: 3,666 - Reviews: 57 - Favs: 163 - Follows: 11 - Published: 01-03-08 - Status: Complete - id: 3989943
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Supposed to be short and sweet, but ballooned.
For ohwhatsherface, a very, very belated birthday gift
I'm not fooled by it; no matter how innocent it seems, I know it's out to get me. Of all the puzzles I've tried to solve, this one is without a doubt one of the hardest.
(The man who gave it to me is another)
I glower at it, sitting on the café table, the innocent pink and gold bands all interconnected but absolutely impossible to align to become one ring.
It just sits there, sparkling innocently.
"Sakura!" I'm so caught up in having a staring contest with the stupid piece of jewelry that I almost don't notice a slender hand snapping its fingers in my face.
Luckily, I'm not completely out of it yet, and I blink, coming back to reality.
"Ino! Sorry 'bout that, I didn't see you." I scratch the back of my head, feeling a little sheepish. My blonde best friend simply waves it away airily and sits in the seat across from me, dumping her numerous shopping bags under the table.
"Don't worry about not seeing me; it's how you didn't hear me that I'm confused by. What's eating you?"
As a means of explanation, I hold up the connected rings and dangle it right in front of Ino's face. Her facial expression twists with comic exasperation.
"That again? Sakura, it's just a puzzle. Just take a break or something; you've been obsessing over it to a very unhealthy level."
"I've only had it for three days, Ino. That's not long enough to obsess over anything."
"Well, considering your Sasuke obsession, I guess not."
"Hey, that paid off in the end." I shoot back, smiling a little as I think of my Sasuke-kun. It took a lot of effort, tears, and fighting (especially with very annoying fan girls) to reach my goal, but the last Uchiha is now officially mine.
"Only because by that point it wasn't an obsession anymore! Honestly Sakura, obsessions rarely do anyone any good."
"What about when you were so obsessed with Shikamaru and Temari's relationship, huh?" Whenever she tries to get me out of what she's dubbed my "creepy Uchiha-like obsessive tendencies", I can always pull this argument on her.
In one of Konoha's longest and most interesting live soap operas, Ino-pig got so jealous of the time Shikamaru was spending with Temari; she actually begun to stalk Shikamaru everywhere he went, drawing the attention of everyone…except Shikamaru (the idiot). Everyone tried to hammer the concept through his thick skull, but not even Chouji came close to succeeding.
Oddly enough, it was Temari who had to be thanked for finally knocking sense into Shikamaru—literally; she had grabbed him by the collar, took out a small fan, slapped him on the face with it, and then ordered him to tell Ino his feelings for her. Afterwards, Shikamaru had gone after Ino and asked her (bluntly, with absolutely no tact) if what Temari said was true.
The rest, as they say, was history, for not long afterwards Ino got her happy ending. She's happily married, with her father's blessings, and no bad blood between herself and Temari.
"Nuh uh, not at all!" Ino, despite my evidence, wasn't making things easy and agreeing with me.
"Why not?" I challenge.
"Why don't you just ask Sasuke for help?" asked Ino, obviously changing the subject. I just pretend not to notice and don't pursue the topic.
"He gave me this ring for my birthday, and he expects me to solve it myself. Apparently, there's some message written on it or something that he wants me to find. I can't ask him!"
(My beloved, stupid Sasuke-kun knows exactly how to torture me.
I mean, he just has to tempt my female curiosity!)
"Your pride is nearly as bad as his. Well fine then, little missy!" Ino huffs, though I know she doesn't really mean it, "In that case, you're stuck."
I open my mouth to answer, but a deep masculine voice beats me to it.
"Hn? With what?"
I start in my chair upon hearing Sasuke's voice, and twist around to glare up at him.
"Sasuke-kun! Don't scare me like that!" I laugh a little and hastily slip the ring off the table and into my pocket, hoping he didn't see it.
"Hn." Sasuke just rolls his eyes and nods curtly at Ino, "What were you two talking about?"
"Girl talk, nothing important." She shrugs a little. "Sorry, Sakura, I need to go. Shika-kun just got back from a mission last night, and he'll be wanting food and attention." Ino gets up and gathers up her shopping bags, blows Sasuke and me each air kisses and leaves.
"I still can't believe them," I remark, shaking my head, smiling slightly. "She makes him sound like a dog."
"Considering the way he acts at times, are you really surprised?" Sasuke slides into the seat across from me, "What were you two talking about?"
"Relationships." Usually, that little word is enough to dissuade him, and all other men, from prying further.
"So you two weren't arguing about that ring I gave you, the one in your pocket?" I glower at the man across from me, incredulous and annoyed.
"Do you ever miss anything?" I demand.
"Since I am not in possession of the Byakugan, yes." Sasuke smirks in amusement at my rather exasperated expression.
"Sure, be a smart ass. I don't care." I can't stop a small smile, despite my words.
"I know you don't." I don't bother to dignify that statement with a response, "How's the puzzle coming along?"
"Horribly. I'm pretty sure it has a grudge against me or something." I fish the offending ring out of my pocket and dangle it in front of Sasuke's face. "Why couldn't you just buy me a necklace or something, the normal things boyfriends are supposed to give their girlfriends?"
He snorts with amusement.
"Are we normal?"
I ponder the rhetorical question for a moment before conceding that he is right.
"Touché, Sasuke-kun, touché." Checking my watch and discovering that I should have been back at the hospital five minutes ago, I stand up from the café table.
"Sorry, Sasuke-kun, but I gotta go." I bestow a quick peck on his cheek before rushing off to the hospital, almost missing the amused, slightly exasperated smirk on his face.
After a tiring day at the hospital, I just want to go home.
Bidding Tsunade a quick goodbye, I head over to my office to collect my things. As I do a quick clean up, I hear footsteps outside my door and the voices of two of the boys I love more than anything in the world.
And because of my love for them, I see nothing wrong with listening in on what seemed to be an argument. Judging from the subject of conversation, they probably don't know I'm on the other side of the door.
"—she hasn't figured out the ring yet?" Naruto is speaking, and as per usual sounds ridiculously impatient.
"No, unfortunately." Sasuke sounds rather annoyed (not my fault the puzzle ring is so complicated). Naruto groans in exasperation.
"You know teme, you wouldn't have to wait for her to know if she accepted it if you weren't so weird." I stop paying attention to my cleaning as the conversation takes a strange turn. Why would Sasuke want to know if I accepted the ring? I've accepted everything else he's given me, whether it's been bad or good.
"Coming from the loudest, most hyperactive ninja in this world, wouldn't that be the pot calling the kettle black?"
"Teme, I'm just trying to help." Now Naruto sounds serious, which is even stranger.
Sasuke answers again, in a much lower voice, and I struggle to listen harder, and in the process accidently knock over a vase. It doesn't break, but it does make a loud clanging noise that betrays my presence to my boys.
The conversation abruptly stops. Two seconds later there is a loud knocking on my door, followed by a typical "Sakura-chan!" from Naruto.
"Yeah, Naruto?" I ask, mentally cursing my complete inattention to my surroundings. I'm a Shinobi, a kunoichi; I'm supposed to be aware!
"Aren't you done yet? C'mon, teme and I are going out for ramen!"
"I'm coming." Once everything is back in place, I open the door and join them, as usual. We head down to the familiar stall and indulge in the tasty ramen for our dinner. Sometimes Kakashi joins us, but not tonight.
At some point during the meal, some random shinobi comes over and grabs Sasuke to take him to Tsunade, who apparently has decided she's needed him for some mission or another.
It's just me and Naruto now, and I can tell that Naruto wants to talk to me about something.
I don't have to wait long, for soon he blurts out, too quickly to be just casual curiosity, "How's figuring out Sasuke's present going?"
"Not well," I pull a face, "Of all the things to get me, he gets me a puzzle ring." Seeing the expression on Naruto's face I add, "I'd love it normally, but I really wish I had some instructions or something. In fact, I bet there were instructions, and Sasuke hid them from me to watch me suffer!"
Of course, I just want Naruto to tell me things, as that is certainly not my opinion after hearing the little discussion outside my door.
"No, not suffer…" Naruto scratches his head, and pokes at the leftover noodles in his bowl as he tries to think of an answer for me. "Maybe he's just…testing you?" he suggests, shrugging his shoulders slightly as though unsure.
"Testing me," I repeat, a little sarcastically, "Naruto, you know Sasuke. And you know me. So naturally, you know that Sasuke-kun has tested me enough for a lifetime, and that if he was ever stupid enough to test me again, I would make it so that he would never have children."
"True," Naruto laughs at the (unlikely) concept, and returns to his ramen, but almost immediately after slurping up a few noodles turns back to me, "Just try to solve that thing as quickly as possible, that'd take a lot off of teme's mind."
"Why?" I blink, a little confused.
"You'll see once you solve it." He tells me, smiling a Naruto smile. It's not like Naruto to be vague, and I don't feel much like interrogating him, so we leave it at that.
Soon Sasuke returns and we finish our meal, and as per usual, he insists on walking me home while Naruto heads off for an impromptu late night visit to Hinata.
(It really says something about his feelings for her if he is still sneaking into the Hyuuga estate to visit her even after getting caught and beaten up at least once by the following: her father, Neji, Hanabí, and at least six times by a very persistent guard goose.)
Sasuke and I walk home in silence. Even though I know he would listen if I started talking about any random subject, for once I don't feel like interrupting his thoughts. I'm too wrapped up in wondering why the little ring (still in my pocket) is so important.
It's only a gift, and Sasuke already has told me that he loves me (after much struggle), so I somehow don't think that the message on the ring is that. So really, I'm just a confused cookie at the moment.
"We're here." I look up to see my apartment door right in front of my face.
"Oh, thanks. Would you like to come in?"
"Can't. Got a mission in the morning." He sounds annoyed, so I guess that the mission is not exactly one of his preferences.
Probably has something to do with using his looks for information.
He and Neji are the only shinobi who understand a kunoichi's job, which has the interesting roundabout effect of them looking and treating us with a smidge more sympathy than the norm. I would count Naruto, but he actually enjoys seducing the targets with his Sexy no Jutsu.
"Ah, I see." I stand up on tiptoe and press a good night kiss against his lips before unlocking the door, adding, "I'll see you off in the morning."
He just inclines his head and gives me a brief, small almost-smile before I close the door and he goes on his way.
I wait until I hear his footsteps fade away before fishing out the ring and glaring at it.
"Alright, you pathetic bands of metal. It's just you, me, and a very long night ahead of us!"
I didn't manage to solve the ring that night, much to my disappointment. The following days were equally frustrating. At one point I was just tempted to see if I could piece the words together—to hell with the rings—but apparently Sasuke made sure that I couldn't cheat until I solve the damn thing!
Sometimes, I really hate him.
After a few straight days of doing nothing but eat, sleep, work at the hospital, and glaring at the rings, the day before Sasuke came home, I decide that I should just give it a break for a little while.
To keep my head clear, I visit Team Gai's training field for a change. Lee, as usual, is very pleased to see me, as is Tenten. Neji, I'm not sure of, he seems awfully annoyed that I interrupted his 'special time' with Tenten.
(They call it "training", pfft. How stupid do I look?)
I end up hanging out with them for most of the day, just talking and sparring until Naruto grabs me to drag me over to Ichiraku's with Hinata. Despite feeling like a third wheel, I enjoy myself.
After we've finished our meal, Hinata engages me in conversation while Naruto haggles with the cook about his. I take out Sasuke's ring and begin to toy with it while I talk to Hinata, twisting and turning it at random, just to give my hands something to do. However, when two of the rings I am toying with suddenly cannot be separated from one another, I abruptly remember my current obsession.
I manage to excuse myself from Hinata and Naruto's presence and immediately head to my apartment. Instead of sitting at my kitchen table, I seat myself on my couch to twiddle with the remaining rings.
A good few hours pass, but I am able to figure out the ring at last. When it's done, I slide it on my ring finger and admire the effect.
Sasuke-kun may be an ass at times, but he always knows what I like.
The ring is made of gold, with woven gold leaves and a pink rose with a small diamond center. It's very beautiful, and I don't want to know how much Sasuke spent on it. I am so transfixed by how pretty the ring is that I almost forget to check to see what the message is.
Carefully, I take the ring off of my finger (irrationally, I'm a little scared it will go to pieces again) and read the engraved words on the band.
I am almost disappointed, until the implication of his surname and my first name together hits me, and I fall off my couch.
I quickly get back up on my feet, laughing a little, slip the ring back on my left ring finger, and immediately head off to Uchiha section of town.
Despite the fact it's very late at night and he's not expected until late morning tomorrow, I can tell that Sasuke has returned from his mission from the dim light emanating from his house.
He's probably tired, but I don't particularly care. I want to talk to him now.
I knock hard on the door and don't stop until an annoyed Sasuke jerks it open.
As predicted, he looks tired and ticked off.
"Sakura," he begins, "Are you craz—" I don't give him time to finish his sentence, pouncing on him and locking my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist. He staggers back a little from the force of my assault.
"Don't call me crazy, you're the one who thinks that giving a girl a ring to solve is a good way to propose!" Despite my annoyance, there is no real bite in my words. Sasuke relaxes and brings me with difficulty into the house, shutting the door behind him.
"So, you've finally figured it out?" he asks once he has unwound me from his body and we're sitting on his couch drinking the tea he just brewed. He is still in his ANBU gear and sports new cuts on his arms and face, though they aren't very serious. I make a note to do a quick healing before I leave, because half of Konoha's population would die upon seeing Sasuke's face 'marred' by scars.
I take a sip, glowering over the rim of my cup at him, "You know puzzles aren't exactly my strong suit, you idiot. How did you expect me to solve it quickly?"
"I figured your stubbornness would do just fine." Sasuke shrugs and smirks at the expression on my face.
"Veeerry funny, Uchiha."
"I wanted to see if your intelligence was suitable for a Uchiha matriarch--"
Sasuke sees the murderous look in my eye and quickly elaborates.
"And I just want you."
"Good save. Almost."
"Hn. So what is your answer?" Despite the businesslike tone, I could detect the slight nervousness in Sasuke's voice. I force myself to repress a smile; for all of his 'Uchiha are emotionless' talk, he isn't exactly acting like an Uchiha right now.
"Well…" I draw it out, just for fun, before turning serious and answering.
"Sasuke-kun, after all we've gone through in the past ten years, especially these last three, would you really expect me to say no?" Since he didn't make a clear proposal, I'm not going to give him a clear answer. Nevertheless, Sasuke looks very relieved, happy even, which is strange, as Sasuke has only been truly happy on very few occasions.
"The dobe thought that it might." I fight the urge to roll my eyes and hit him lightly on the shoulder.
"You actually listened to him?"
"Not really. I gave you the ring, didn't I?" I place my teacup on the table in front of us and scoot a little closer to Sasuke.
"That's another thing. What made you think that proposing with a puzzle ring was a good idea?"
"If I had done a typical proposal, I would have felt ridiculous and would've looked even worse." Sasuke's face twists as though imagining the scenario and not liking what he's seeing.
I also thought about Sasuke, in public, getting down on one knee and asking 'Will you marry me?' like some soppy romantic lead, and almost went into hysterics.
"True." I agree, "But a puzzle ring?"
"I have one too." He produces a small pouch from nowhere and showsme the completed ring inside. He takes it out and slides it onto his finger, "They were made to promote fidelity, and they're symbolic." He pokes me gently on the forehead, "Besides, I assumed you would value it more if you were successful in putting it together."
"Interesting logic." I can't help but jab, "But you were just scared to ask me to my face, admit it!" The guilty look on his face tells me I was right, and I giggle, amused.
"I was not scared."
"Ask me, right now, to be your wife."
"You already said yes, what's the point?"
"Do it. Now."
(If I'm going to be his wife, I think that Sasuke-kun should learn to listen to me or soon be very miserable.)
"…all right. Haruno Sakura, will you marry me and become my wife?" While the tone was exaggeratedly pompous, the question was genuine, and I accepted it.
"I do, Sasuke-kun." I hug him, and after a moment's hesitation he hugs me back.
"I love you, Sakura. I think you'll be a good wife."
"I love you too. Now be a good boy and let me take a look at those cuts."
"Sakura, it's late, can't it wait until morn—"
"Oh no, mister. I lost sleep figuring out your proposal--"
"I lost sleep wondering if you figured it out!"
"Whose fault is that? You tested me and now I'm testing you. Any complaints?"
"You hide your frustration well. I think you'll be a good husband."
The puzzle ring has been in my head for a while, and I needed to finish it.
I hate present tense.