|All The World's a Stage
Author: katlou303 PM
Sakura is a hapless college student in love with the idea of perfection. She longs for the life of fame, but is popularity really all she dreamed it would be? Itachi is 'perfect,' according to the world. He has a very different view on popularity. ItaSakuRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Sakura H. & Itachi U. - Chapters: 21 - Words: 97,872 - Reviews: 430 - Favs: 237 - Follows: 212 - Updated: 12-23-12 - Published: 01-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7753810
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The wig was too damn heavy and itchy. It was blonde with twisting ringlets that fell down to Sakura's arse (highlighting the fact that Ophelia was obviously supposed to be played by a taller girl) and made her head fell hot and heavy. Not only that, but Konan had dragged out a pink flowery dress that covered every inch of her, her arms, legs and chest all swathed in fabric and faux-flowers. She looked like a walking blossom. Not good.
Sasuke was wearing some ugly doublet and hose combination with a tunic. He still somehow managed to pull it off. He also wore an infuriating smirk that told Sakura he was loving every minute of this.
Sakura would manage to stammer out a line and then Konan would snap, no, that's all wrong, look each other's eyes and act like you are deeply in love, for Christ's sake.
Sakura looked into Sasuke's eyes and kind of wished he would die, right there and then on the stage, clutching his throat and sinking to his knees, that damned smirk vanishing without a trace.
"I can't wait until Hamlet dies." Sakura said fervently, ignoring the little pull in her abdomen that wanted to get closer to Sasuke, to put her hand on his shoulder and pull herself nearer…
She didn't know if he could feel it too, but he looked deeply into her eyes and smirked again, this time the smirk was heavy with meaning that made Sakura's mouth run dry and she couldn't fathom why her feet were suddenly moving closer to him.
"That's it." Konan called from the side of the stage, "That's the atmosphere."
She tapped the stage to get their attention. Sakura jumped violently and realised that Sasuke's arm was loosely draped around her waist. She shoved him off, ignoring his amusement.
"Now, there are certain alterations I have made to this play in order to entertain a modern audience," Konan said without a trace of shame, "Firstly, it will be a musical –"
"What." Sasuke said flatly, all amusement gone from his expression.
"You will have four songs, Uchiha-san. Haruno-san, you have two. Itachi informed me that you, Haruno-san, are a capable singer. Also, the most famous and popular play of Shakespeare's is, arguably, Romeo and Juliet. Audiences respond well to romance and tragedy. Considering this, I have lengthened the scenes Hamlet and Ophelia have together to increase the romantic edge. Lastly," She said, consulting the script in her hands, "I've written in a kiss. Is that a problem for either of you?"
"No." Sasuke said instantly.
"Yes!" Sakura yelled out incredulously, "How can you warp Shakespeare? And there is no way I'm going to kiss that –"
"Haruno-san," Konan said calmly, "Do you want to be Ophelia? If you are serious about a career in theatre, you need to be able to perform roles you dislike, wear uncomfortable costumes and kiss your co-stars. I'm not asking for anything untoward, a simple, platonic kiss. It will last ten seconds at the most."
"Shouldn't we rehearse?" Sasuke looked downright evil when he gloated about anything.
Konan tilted her head to the side, tapping the stage with her script, "Hm… Well, for the first time, I will leave the room to give you privacy, and then with further rehearsals we will gradually introduce more of the cast so you become used to an audience and don't feel sheepish on the day. I trust you two to act professionally and bear in mind that when on the stage, you wear a mask like a new identity. Ophelia and Hamlet are now a tragic love story. I would like to see the both of you shed your own identities in order to perform Hamlet 2.0."
"You can't improve on Shakespeare!" Sakura yelled, incensed, as Konan left the room with an absent smile.
Sasuke turned to her, stepping closer. For all his smirks and apparent eagerness, he looked a little apprehensive as he approached.
Sakura took a firm step backwards, annoyed at herself for reacting so obviously and annoyed with both Konan and Sasuke for taking liberties with Shakespeare.
"Well, come on then." Sasuke muttered, sounding a little perturbed.
"I'm not kissing you, no way," Sakura spat, "You really hurt Sachiko's feelings and you didn't even apologise."
A strange look crossed Sasuke's face – guilt, annoyance? It flitted too quickly across his handsome features for Sakura to name it. At any rate, it was clear he had been affected by his and Sachiko's argument. If you could call completely destroying someone's self-esteem while they stood there and cried an argument.
"It isn't my fault that she is so sensitive to criticism. I wasn't even aware she could hear me."
"Oh, it's never your fault, huh? And how about you wanting to be with me because you thought you could control me?"
"That was… that was more about my father. You don't understand, you didn't see his face every time nii-san messed around and upset important women… I knew this was an area I could exceed even Itachi's record in. I had no intention of messing around. I wanted to make the perfect choice, a woman I could be happy with and yet also be suitable in my father's eyes. In my household, my father's approval is… well sought after." Sasuke said tonelessly. If Sakura was astonished at the personal information Sasuke had handed over without hesitation, she thought she hid it rather well.
"You hurt Sachiko's feelings." Sakura repeated, her voice gentler now. So, Sasuke's father was the root of the issue here. Yet, Sasuke was still a jerk with misogynistic tendencies.
"I'll call her and apologise." Sasuke said carelessly.
"Good." Sakura pursed her lips, "But I don't believe you. Do it now."
Sasuke raised one eyebrow, making it obvious he was doubting both her sanity and her intelligence. And yet, he picked took out his phone from where he had tucked it in his tunic, the weirdo, and dialled a number, still making eye contact with Sakura, almost defiantly.
Sachiko evidently picked up on the first ring, judging by Sasuke's mildly disconcerted expression and the tinny voice saying, "Hello Sasuke. Did I leave something at your house?"
Sasuke had put the woman on loudspeaker and to Sakura's surprise it was necessary, Sachiko's normally too-loud, motor-mouth speech was quiet and hesitant now.
"No, you didn't." Sasuke drawled, "I wanted to apologise."
A pause in conversation.
Sachiko sounded suspiciously close to tears once more, "Oh, Sasuke. That's really not necessary, everyone has the right to express their own opinion."
"Why don't you ever get mad?" Sasuke looked exasperated, "I… I insulted you. I didn't intend for you to hear me, and I was only attempting to annoy nii-san… I shouldn't have done it. Look, stop being so nice about everything. It's annoying."
A quiet sob came through the speakers.
Sakura glared at Sasuke until he squirmed slightly, cheeks very pale pink.
"Don't cry, for God's sake. You aren't an idiot. You're good at that fashion stuff you do. I was trying to get to nii-san, not you, so stop crying. Right. Good. I'm hanging up now." Sasuke said, his expression frustrated with a tiny hint of amusement.
"Thank you, Sasuke." Sachiko said, sounding like she was smiling.
Sasuke rolled his eyes, muttering a quick, "Don't worry about it. Bye." Sachiko was far too nice to have been pleased by that half-hearted apology, Sakura thought to herself. And was it just her imagination, or were Sasuke's cheeks a little redder?
She eyed him suspiciously as he hung up.
"I was going to apologise anyway." Sasuke tucked his phone back in his own tunic, the colour from his cheeks fading.
"Sure you were." Sakura teased him. She knew that Sasuke was truly screwed up, his view of the world coloured by his father's own prejudice, but after feeling the way she had for so long, had felt right up until this week, she couldn't stop herself from smiling at him.
Sasuke's smirk came back full-force, echoing her own smile, and his feet were light as he moved towards her once more, barely making a sound on the wooden stage.
Sakura felt her face flush with the knowledge that Sasuke was still intent on continuing the rehearsal. She cursed how hot the drama rooms got sometimes, now she was trapped in that stupidly tight dress and the heat was making it stick to her skin.
She wondered if Ophelia ever told Hamlet to fuck off.
But she wasn't moving back any further, just standing there, silently watching Sasuke approach.
It seemed to take him an age to reach her, to stand so close they had no choice but to look each other in the eye and wordlessly assess what they saw. Sakura, mouth bone-dry and butterflies frolicking merrily in her stomach, saw a beautiful young man with razor-sharp cheekbones, a strong jaw and two intelligent, unfathomable dark eyes, which from up close seemed more inky blue than pure black. She could only guess what Sasuke saw – a girl with big green eyes, soft features and big forehead, maybe.
Whatever it was he saw, he started to lean in, his breath fanning across her face in quick, oddly nervous puffs of air. He smelt fresh and clean and Sakura would later blame this pleasant scent as the reason why she didn't move away as Sasuke's mouth touched hers.
Her hands were up against their chests, preventing Sasuke from pushing forward further, and his hands were holding hers as though he had wanted to move them away but lost the urge.
She felt too hot, her limbs were air and her head was a cloud as the heat seeped through her and she was afloat, on stage with her Hamlet, her infuriating, misogynistic Hamlet in all his skewed perfection, both of them locked in a dance. She actually felt her feet leave the ground gently as Sasuke's hands touched her shoulders.
A cough, masculine and forced.
Sasuke jerked away and the dance ended, their feet touched the ground and Sakura didn't just feel hot now, she felt faint and dizzy too.
Itachi stood by the stage, one elbow resting on the surface, his pristine suit wrinkling. His smile was the ugliest thing Sakura had ever seen on his face, twisted and so obviously fake – when Itachi was one of the best liars and the smoothest man she'd ever met, his smile should have been shining in sincerity.
And yet, his eyes were narrowed and there was no disguising the angry furrow between his brows, no matter how casual his stance was.
Trailing behind him was Sai, looking awkward beyond belief and Ino, staring straight up at the two of them, her expression curiously unreadable.
"We were rehearsing." Sakura blurted out, her voice sounding loud and stupid, echoing through the room. She winced.
Itachi's smile turned nasty, his eyes glittering with malice, "Is that what it's called now?" He drawled, "Make a note, people. Rehearsing."
"What's your problem, nii-san?" Sasuke asked sullenly. Sakura was privately impressed he managed to inject the word 'nii-san' with such heavy sarcasm without altering his blank expression, "Am I not allowed to rehearse anymore without you barging in? Are you going to follow me into the bathroom too? It's only one step further than what you've been doing, being in all of my classes, trying to talk to me in the corridors, getting angry when I rehearse, be serious now and tell me, what is your problem?"
Itachi's smile was dazzling now, "Oh, Sasuke-chan. No problem at all. Oh, Sakura, darling? Could we have a word in private? Don't take off the wig, you're working it well."
Sakura felt her hands fly up to the frizzy blonde monstrosity on top of her head, her expression defensive, "Look, I have to wear it –"
"Are you coming or not?" He interrupted, turning to leave, his tone sharp and cutting.
Sakura hadn't expected that from him. Not from the person who had been rapidly becoming her best friend, the person she had begun to open up to, despite hating telling people about herself.
Itachi knew her, he really did, and she thought she knew him too.
She always stood up for herself when it counted. Her father had taught her how to fight once, when she was a kid, and made her promise not to let people walk all over her. She found it easier to let people get what they wanted, unless they roused her anger.
"No." She bit out, fists clenched, "Believe it or not, I really do have to rehearse right now, and you are being an ass, so no, I'm not coming."
Itachi sighed, his shoulders slumping. He turned around, "Do we really have to do this here?" He asked wearily.
"Do what?" Sakura yelled, losing her temper, "What am I supposed to have done? We were rehearsing!"
"Hamlet and Ophelia don't kiss!" Itachi shouted, banging his fist on the side of the stage in a rare flare of anger, "There is no kiss in the entire play. Don't try to feed me that crap."
Sakura stared at him, aware of Sasuke's shock. So it wasn't just her who was surprised. Itachi didn't get angry, he never got angry.
"Have you fought with Sachiko or something?" Sakura asked after a brief pause, her voice trembling slightly, "Because I don't understand why you're angry at me. Konan-sensei, she changed the script for Hamlet. She asked you about it, you told her I could sing."
She saw realisation dawn on his face, as well as the growing shame and regret.
Yeah, well, he could take his shame and regret and shove it where the sun don't shine after that performance.
"Sakura…" His voice was pained now, "I'm sorry… I didn't realise –"
"So?" She snapped, "So what? What would you care if I was rehearsing for real or not? It's none of your business, Itachi! I don't owe you any explanations for what I choose to do! This time was a rehearsal, yeah, but what if I was with Sasuke? Do you not approve of me, or something? Is that it; is this you doing some overprotective big brother thing?"
She was snapping too many questions out in rapid-fire precision, but she was too busy being majorly pissed off to rein in her anger.
Itachi shook his head, looking from her to Sasuke and back again. Finally, he said quietly, "It's none of my business. I apologise."
He left, his suit wrinkled even more from where he had been leaning against the stage, the doors swinging shut behind him.
Sasuke had been silent throughout Sakura and Itachi's spat, but he spoke up now, "Ino. What are you doing here?"
Ino raised her pale eyebrows at him and Sakura remembered that she was in love with him, and was using Sai as a second-best alternative. Itachi's cryptic comments had mystified Sai completely, he looked confused beyond belief.
"My crazy boy- um, my Sai, he started shouting at – is that your brother? Yeah, at your brother, and I didn't even know he could shout, and then he followed him in here when he said he wanted to see Sakura. And I, er, followed him." Ino said, stumbling awkwardly over her words.
Sasuke gave Sai a quick once-over, examining him from head-to-toe, "Fine." He said, "You should leave. Konan will be annoyed."
"I want to talk to Sakura." Sai said stubbornly.
"Doesn't everyone?" Sasuke sighed, sitting down on the stage and rifling through his bag, pulling out a new copy of Hamlet and beginning to read.
Sakura climbed down from the stage with difficulty, considering her dress, and made her way over to the stacked chairs, gesturing for Sai to join her.
"What's up?" She whispered, trying to ignore Ino's irritated glare boring into the side of her head. Surely she didn't have any right to be jealous when someone talked to her fake-boyfriend?
Sai was smiling again, his big fake smile that always made Sakura feel uneasy, "I had an idea, when I saw you and the Uchiha on stage. You should go out with him."
"What, Sasuke?" Sakura hissed.
"Yes. It's perfect. If he had a girlfriend, he wouldn't think about other girls, and Ino doesn't steal other girls' boyfriends, she told me that once. So, you go out with him and Ino will give up on him." Sai said smugly, as though his plan was the work of genius.
"Your logic is insane." Sakura said flatly.
"Well, Ino said she believed Sasuke was attracted to you. He is one of the more popular members of the college. I believe you should be 'extremely excited.'" Sai listed the emotion with total boredom, even giving her an empty thumbs up to seal the deal, "I need this. I think she might seek a boyfriend elsewhere, and I enjoy being her boyfriend. I take her to the cinema every other Tuesday and I walk her home every day. I call her Beautiful and she calls me Crazy. Pet names, you see. I never believed I would enter a relationship, so this one is… precious to me."
At this, Sakura whirled around and shot Ino a venomous glare. She blinked in surprise.
Using Sai for own gain, planning on discarding him for Sasuke the first chance she got. Not that she'd get a chance, Sasuke seemed to really dislike her for what she had done to Sakura. Though Sakura couldn't understand why he had taken her side so easily, when he was supposed to be friends with Ino. It made him seem disingenuous.
"I'll think about it, OK, Sai?" Sakura said unenthusiastically, hoping for some way to persuade Sai she didn't have to ask out Sasuke to ensure Ino and Sai's continued happiness. She could picture exactly how smug Sasuke would look if she ever asked him out.
He and Ino really would make a lovely couple.
"Thank you," Sai gave a sweeping, beautifully-executed bow, "I appreciate this. I won't tell Ino, however. I dislike secrets. But I imagine she would not be happy."
"Well, no." Sakura murmured, waving him off with a tired sigh, climbing back on stage.
Sai joined Ino where she stood, inspecting her nails carefully, his fake smile less bright, a bit more genuine.
Ino gave Sai the sweetest smile Sakura had ever seen on the normally sour girl's face, then took his arm in a friendly, look-how-close-we-are-platonically kind of way. They left the room, chatting quietly in low voices.
"So," Sakura said, her voice carrying easily in the emptier room, "Do you have any idea what was up with Itachi?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes, "Obviously. He is my brother, unfortunately. I know how he works."
"Care to share with the group?"
He eyed her, then smirked, "No, despite what he thinks, that would only benefit him."
Sakura nearly growled in exasperation, she was this close to hitting the next person who spoke to her cryptically, right in their cryptic mouth.
"Fine, whatever… Let's rehearse."
She pulled off the wig and threw it, hard, off the stage. Damn the stupid itchy thing to burn in hair hell.
Sasuke put down his copy of Hamlet and they began.
Maybe it was because they were both still angry, maybe it was the difficulty of working around the new, vaguely Shakespearian lines Konan had written in, but their performance was electrifying.
They spat their lines out like curses, they circled each other predatorily and they never once broke eye contact.
Finally they came together once more, both glaring hard into each other's eyes like they wanted nothing more than the other person to drop down dead, and when they kissed, it was full of savage passion, more like striking a blow rather than sweetening an argument with a romantic gesture.
They broke apart to the sound of faint clapping.
"That," Konan said firmly, "is perfection."
Sakura escaped the theatre room, relieved to be free, shutting the doors behind her and hoping neither Sasuke nor Konan wanted to talk, rehearse or do anything for the next week. She was sick and tired of drama.
She opened her eyes and groaned.
Oh hi drama!
Itachi was lurking sheepishly to the right of the door, fiddling with his glasses.
"Go away," She said, "I'm incredibly busy ignoring you."
"Sakura…" He wheedled, "I didn't mean to lose my temper."
"Don't grovel, Itachi, it doesn't suit you," She said, moving away from the door to stand opposite him, not wanting to come any closer, knowing he'd just turn on the charm and sometimes she just found his excessively charismatic nature exhausting to deal with. He was fun in small doses but came across as fake in large ones.
"You said to me once," Itachi said, eyes shadowed but fixed on her, "That you can be lonely inside a crowd. Well, that scared me. It was like you'd got inside my head or something, as though you knew how I felt. You've become a person I rely upon and trust, Sakura. I have always been selfish with the things I cling to… I am a solitary person by nature, yet, yes, I have been lonely… Perhaps I had a problem with the idea of you and Sasuke, because I believed that if you and he had… well, I didn't want to lose you. A friend. I told you, I don't have that many friends."
"I don't believe that," Sakura said, now grinning incredulously, "Charming guy like you?"
"I may have been too charming," He agreed, "All of my male friends stopped being my friends when I flirted with their girlfriends. I can never just be friends with a female, they always want more," His dark eyes landed on her face, looking speculative, "Sometimes I wanted more too. But at the end of the day, I always ended up alone. You've stuck around, Sakura. I've spent years trying to change and having you… and Sachiko makes me believe I've succeeded."
Sakura looked unimpressed, "I can't feel sorry for you. You didn't have friends because you kept screwing them over, so now you want to hold onto the one's you've got? I might not end up with Sasuke, Itachi, because I can't forgive him for what he's done, but I'll end up with someone, hopefully. You can't throw a tantrum when I get a boyfriend, OK? Otherwise you'll only have Sachiko. I'm not putting up with you if you ever act like that again."
"Fair enough," Itachi nodded, smiling slightly, "Shall I take you out for lunch? I'll pay."
"No, I'll pay," Sakura insisted, "Because we're going to a fast food place and we're gonna eat our weight in grease."
Itachi gagged silently.
"Don't worry, I'm sure they serve foie gras." Sakura said cheerfully.
"I'd never eat it if they did, do you know how barbaric the process of making foie gras is? They take…" Itachi said incredulously, babbling on about venison and other high-priced food all the way to the car.
Huh, these new image things sure are nifty. I used some pictures of Sakura and Itachi I'd drawn ages ago for some of my stories, but I'll need to draw another one for this story, I think! Fun!
Ino and Sai, never change. Continue to be adorable.
Konan is a terrible person for making Hamlet a musical. Terrible. Fun to write about though.
Oho, this was literally a very dramatic chapter, no? (I love puns!)
Sakura can't stay mad at Itachi, and really, who can blame her?
I think everyone in this chapter was being highly obvious about everything, lol, except Sakura, probably. Not that she's subtle or anything, she just had nothing to add to this particular explosion of drama.
Much more drama to come, my dears. *evil cackle* Much more to come… Hee hee.
I've literally just been playing Persona 4 and writing this all day. ARGH I LOVE THAT GAME. I'm amazing at it. Lol, not really, I suck at every game invented. Including Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Tiny voiced cameo of Sachiko for those of you that missed her.
Amazed that so many of you like her (most of you seem to like her despite yourselves, lol)! I was afraid you'd all be like, NUH HUH THAT BITCH BACK IT UP OFF OF ITACHI YOU SLEAZY WHORE.
Any typos in this… it's totally my fault.
Long ago I wrote a Konan/Hidan fic, AU, where Konan was an artist and Hidan was a foul-mouthed dude who was trying to spread the word of Jashin and it was actually funny and detailed and I was pleased with it…. and then my computer lost its files, THAT DAMNED MACHINE! Argh, was so upset. Itachi was psychiatrist, too, and Konan exasperated him by being all, "No, I have no issues of note at the moment. Thank you for your inquiry," when he asked her how she was feeling.
I miss that fic…
But moving on!
Trying to update everything is soooooo hard. Especially now that I've started a new ItaSaku story. Argh. I'll try not to die typing everything up.
Goodnight (or morning, or afternoon, or evening!), my dears!
Quick poll for DRAMA: Who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman?
Yes. This one is simply for the lulz.
Feel free to be creative with your reasons why your chosen hero would win :D