Holding Hands

Twelve-year old Sakura Haruno smiled to herself as she packed the last of the special lunch she had prepared for her very unemotional teammate, Sasuke Uchiha. She had took it upon herself to pack everything she thought Sasuke would like, including his very favorite: tomatoes.

Sakura carefully cut the tomatoes into perfect sections and placed them gingerly into the bento box, before closing it up and heading out the door. Not many people knew it, but today was Sasuke's birthday. He wasn't open about it, but Sakura had done some digging and found out the date so that she could surprise him.

She skipped happily down the road, saying a quick hello to passing villagers, but she didn't stop until she found herself at the training grounds. Even though Kakashi-sensei had given them the day off, Sakura knew that Sasuke wouldn't waste the day without training. She looked around the grounds, but she didn't see Sasuke anywhere. She looked at her watch to see it was a little past seven in the morning. She was a little early, but she knew he would be here eventually. Sakura headed over to a tree and sat against it, closing her eyes as she basked in the clean air and waited Sasuke's arrival.

"Hey," Sakura heard someone say, but she felt so tired she didn't want to open her eyes. "Sakura."

Sakura blinked her eyelids a few times before the world came into focus. Sasuke was staring at her upside down. Sakura shot up, realizing she had laid down and fallen asleep on her back while she was waiting. "Oh, uh, Sasuke-kun," Sakura stuttered out, as she wiped her mouth of any droll and tried to tame her pink hair which had tangled from her sleeping on the ground.

"What are you doing?" Sasuke asked pointedly. Sakura eyed him as he stood so cool and collected in front of her, his hands in his pockets and his face devoid of any emotion.

"I, uh, fell asleep, I guess," Sakura said, taking a quick look at her watch. It was half past nine. Sakura almost smacked her forehead at her carelessness. "How long have you been here?"

"About an hour," Sasuke answered and Sakura's mouth flew open.

"An hour? Why didn't you wake me up?" Sakura asked. She stood up slowly, smoothing out her dress and brushing off the grass that stuck to the front.

Sasuke shrugged his shoulders and turned his back. "Oh, some kids took your bento box," Sasuke said, and Sakura gasped.

"Wait, what?" Sakura said, looking around the area and noticing her carefully packed bento box meant for her one true love was missing. "Where did they go? Why didn't you stop them?"

Sasuke stopped walking and looked back over his shoulder. "It wasn't my problem."

Sakura shook her head as tears began to build in her eyes. What was she thinking? Of course, Sasuke wouldn't care about a stupid lunch she made him or the fact that it was his birthday. She should have known.

She wanted to say something. To yell at him and tell him how ungrateful he was, but she couldn't. Sasuke was Sasuke and there wasn't any changing that. She tried to hold back the tears, but she couldn't help but let a few escape. Sasuke didn't say anything, just gave her an odd look, and Sakura turned around and headed the other way. She needed to be alone. She worked so hard on that bento box, and she couldn't wait to give it to Sasuke. What was she thinking? That he would explode with happiness and immediately want to date her? That he would drop to his knees and profess his love for her? She was so stupid sometimes. She berated herself for thinking that he would do something like that.

Sasuke watched Sakura go and scoffed at her. Why would she cry because some kids stole her lunch? She was so petty and weak. He turned and began to make his way back to his house.

He thought about today and how he used to celebrate his birthday. His mom would make such a big deal about it. She would invite the whole family over for dinner and they would celebrate with cake and laughter. He remembered being happy then and even though he complained to his mom about not wanting a big party, he secretly loved it. He relished in the love and attention he received on that day every year.

But now, with everyone dead, today wasn't a happy day. No one even knew that it was his birthday, and he liked it that way. He didn't want a big deal made of it. He didn't want people to celebrate it. Why should he celebrate this day when all the people he loved were dead? He clenched his fists in anger as he thought about Itachi and all that he took from him. He pushed the thoughts aside before his rage consumed him, and continued down the street.

"Um, Uchiha-san?" a voice said to him, and he stopped and turned around to see a young girl, no older than eight, holding up a box for him. He recognized her as one of the kids who stole Sakura's lunch. "This is for you. Tell Sakura-chan we're sorry." The girl handed Sasuke the box then took off out of sight.

Sasuke eyed the bento box. Why would this be for him? This was Sakura's lunch, right? He pulled off the lid slowly, and looked at the contents. It consisted of a lot of his favorite foods. There was a note attached to the inside of the box top and he pulled it off. Opening it up he saw scrawled in Sakura's handwriting a note which read: "Happy Birthday Sasuke-kun."

Sasuke's eyes widened. How did she know it was his birthday? He made sure to keep that information secret. He thought back to her face when he told her someone had stolen the lunch and how sad she was, and Sasuke felt a little guilty. She was upset because she probably spent all morning making this for him, she had waited for him to show up, and then all he did was make her cry. He was really good at making girls cry.

Sakura kicked her feet in the water as she tried to calm herself down. Her tears had long dried, but she was still upset over the incident this morning. She had to learn to get a hold of her feelings and emotions. She had to realize that Sasuke was never going to be the nice, sweet guy she wanted. He just wasn't like that. He had been through something traumatic and because of that, he shut himself off from the world, and Sakura was naïve to think she could be the one to bring any of that happiness back.

"Sakura," a deep voice said behind her, and Sakura's head whipped around in shock to see Sasuke standing behind her.

"Sasuke-kun?" Sakura questioned. Sasuke didn't say anything. He walked closer and sat down next to her. He placed the bento box in between them.

"My bento box!" Sakura shouted, opening it up to inspect the contents. She found everything was just as it should have been. "Where did you find it?"

"One of the kids who stole it gave it back. They said they were sorry," Sasuke explained.

Sakura nodded her head in understanding. They were just kids, how mad could she really get? She turned to Sasuke and debated whether or not she wanted to give him the box. He'll probably just get mad at me and then walk away. So, Sakura, decided not to give it to him.

"Sakura," Sasuke began and Sakura turned to look at him. He was looking out over the water, but he turned to face her fully as he began to talk. "Are you going to eat those tomatoes?"

Sakura almost laughed as she opened the lid, handing one slice to Sasuke and taking one for herself. She smiled as she watched him bite into it.

"They are good, aren't they?" Sakura asked and Sasuke nodded his head.

Suddenly, Sakura felt a hand on her own, and she looked down to see that Sasuke had placed his hand on top of hers. She didn't know if he did it on purpose or not, since they were both sitting so close, maybe he didn't notice, but Sakura didn't dare move.

"Sakura," Sasuke began and Sakura looked his way once more. He took another bite of tomato before saying, "Thank you."

Sakura couldn't help the smile that erupted on her lips and she nodded her head. "You're welcome, Sasuke-kun."

They sat in silence for a while before Sasuke broke it. "How did you know it was my birthday?"

Sasuke asked and Sakura almost choked on her slice of tomato.

"Um, that, well...," Sakura began, before exploding into laughter. They sat there, beside each other, for the rest of the day, and Sakura didn't dare mention anything about Sasuke's hand, which had yet to move from her own. Even though it wasn't normal holding hands, it was Sasuke's way, and that was enough for her.