If someone were to question Sasuke about how exactly he had gotten himself involved in such a situation, he was almost sure he would have no answer to provide them with.
By now, people were used to his silent nature. One could even go as far as saying that very few actually expected verbal responses to their inquiries anymore, be them petty or serious. But what even fewer people knew was that, just because he didn't dignify everybody with a response, didn't mean Uchiha Sasuke wasn't smart enough to always have everything worked out in his genius mind.
This, however, evaded him completely.
He'd known he'd made a mistake from the moment he allowed Naruto to drag him out of his apartment that evening. The blond had claimed it was only with the innocent purpose of having a couple of drinks to unwind after the particularly rough mission they'd returned from in the morning.
Sasuke truly couldn't figure out when exactly his best friend had developed the need to unwind with alcohol, and he genuinely didn't understand why he couldn't be normal and unwind by taking a bath, or lying in bed, or watching TV, or even eating ramen. He couldn't, for the life of him, understand why he'd want to go out only to return home even more tired, and possibly have to nurse a hangover the day after. But he supposed he couldn't understand a lot of factors that were involved in what the blond called 'normal social relations'.
He also supposed it didn't help that he wasn't particularly inclined on making an effort to understand, either.
Regardless, the fact of the matter was, that after one of the most gruelling missions he'd been assigned since the end of the war (which was quite the statement to be made, considering Tsunade had made her dislike for him ever-present and very well-known, sending him on missions that he'd thought, more than once, were more assassination attempts than actual assignments), Sasuke found himself in a popular bar, surrounded by loud, tipsy people and with a drink of his own in his hand—because, as much as he doubted alcohol would ever help him unwind, he also knew he couldn't deal with a drunken Naruto otherwise.
Then she came. Clad in her short dress and with her pink hair only semi-dry, looking fresh and completely effortless, as if, only minutes before, she'd stepped out of the shower and right into her high heels, hurrying to make it to their meeting after her shift at the hospital.
It didn't exactly come as a surprise when he realized the theory he'd conjured was correct. That had been exactly the case, and it wasn't the first time that Sasuke had been able to tell—what she was doing, what she was thinking, what she was feeling, what she'd been doing beforehand, what she planned on doing afterwards.
It had occurred to him once that she must occupy a part of his mind that was entirely too large and active, if he was able to effortlessly guess so much about her day-to-day life when he barely even saw her thrice a week. Immediately, he'd told himself to stop; but how could he, when, most of the times, he wasn't even aware of what he was doing and that he was doing it?
Sliding into a seat beside him, right between him and Naruto, as was the norm, she ordered her first shot of the night.
And, seeing as, out of all the traits she'd inherited from her mentor, monster strength and infamous temper included, her high tolerance for alcohol hadn't been one of them, everything went downhill from then on.
"Where are you taking me, Sasuke-kuuun?" she slurred, hanging off his body with an arm thrown over his shoulder. It was an awkward position, considering the relatively large difference in height, but, too fussy to be carried, it was the only way she'd allow him to support her.
"Home," he grunted, gripping her small waist tightly. As good as she'd proved to be at maintaining her balance on her high-heels, she was tripping over her own feet at the moment, and he'd decided, with how inebriated she was, that he wasn't taking any chances.
"Where?" she demanded again.
"I'm taking you home," he repeated, enunciating his words loudly and more clearly.
"Yay!" she yelled whilst throwing her hands into the air in triumph, letting go of him in the process and almost falling to the side, was it not for his quick reflexes. But while he made an annoyed sound, his heart having jumped all the way into his throat with the incident, Sakura laughed lightly, either having found the incident particularly funny, or not having observed it at all. "I love coming home," she told him, leaning fully against him once more. "When I leave the hospital and come home and slip in my bed—ugh!" She threw her head back and grunted. "Best feeling in the whole wide world!"
Sasuke rolled his eyes. Best feeling in the whole wide world or not, she sure took care that she got very little of it, with how much time she spent in the hospital and how many nights she crashed on the leather couch in her office.
But he didn't mention his conclusion, because, yet again, he wasn't really supposed to have reached it.
"My bed is so comfy…" She continued raving about it as he turned the corner on her street, immensely glad, for once, that her house was only the second one in the block.
She stumbled up the stairs that led to the front porch, almost crashing them both into the ground, and he gripped her waist even tighter, holding her flush against him even as she squirmed in her drunken state. Placing his hand on the doorknob, he roughly sent a burst of electricity through it, not in the mood and hardly armed with the necessary patience to dive into her little purse or search the front porch for her spare set of keys.
Sakura was awfully good at hiding things, he knew that from experience.
"Come on," he told her, swinging the door open and taking a step forward, dragging her along. Sometime in the past second, she'd stopped wriggling and instead attached herself to him, holding onto his neck tightly, the high heels on her feet providing her with just enough height for her to be able to reach his ears if she strained.
"You don't believe me when I say my bed is the comfiest bed in the world?" she slurred, and Sasuke almost wanted to laugh.
He'd seen Sakura drunk before, and he'd always believed she was kind of entertaining, a special type of exacerbated cute that didn't normally characterize her, seeing as she was usually too easy to anger, but he'd never had the opportunity to see the full effects of her inebriation. But with Naruto probably lying unconscious on the floor by now, he'd had to be the one to take matters into his own hands, break the two of them up, and bring one of them home—and of course the logical choice had been Sakura, and not necessarily because Naruto would have surely puked on him.
"Don't you believe me, Sasuke-kun?"
He sighed, guiding her across the living room and towards the stairs. "I do believe you," he promised, holding onto her arm as he manoeuvred her in front of him, part of him wondering if she would be able to make it up the stairs on her own.
Turned out, he needn't have worried, because Sakura had no intention of climbing any stairs at all.
"No, you don't!" she accused, turning to face him, a drunken grin pulling at the corners of her lips.
Sasuke sighed, exasperated, and stopped as well, one foot on a step, the other on the one below, both hands holding onto either side of the banister as she continued to cling to his neck.
"You don't believe me, Sasuke-kun," she slurred again. Suddenly, she was leaning into him completely, and he grunted at the added weight, leaning forward.
"I do, Sakura," he insisted, annoyed.
She clicked her tongue, shaking her head as she pulled back to look at him. "No, you don't!" She was grinning and she was so close to his face that he could notice the small dimple in the corner of her right cheek, see every last speck of darker green in her eyes, and smell the alcohol on her breath.
He swallowed, and tried not to let himself become affected by her proximity. Every time Sakura was close, all his senses went haywire, and as embarrassing as it was, he was quite sure that was no longer a secret. It was a nasty situation to be in on a mission, when his mind needed to be sharp and crystal clear, but it seemed even worse now, when he was alone with her.
Sakura wasn't interested in him anymore. She was kind and treated him with adoration, and it was clear that he was still one of the most precious people she had, but compared to how she used to interact with him in the past, it was glaringly obvious that her feelings had changed. Which was why he always felt bad, and uncomfortable, and awkward, thinking about her the way he did.
"But you can find out."
Or, at least, he had been—until her next words left her mouth, her breath fanning sweetly against his lips, shocking him so much that he found himself unable to support her any longer, falling forward in an uncharacteristic display of clumsiness.
Thankfully, he had the presence of mind to slam his hands on the floor, holding both himself and her up, preventing her back from crashing onto the stairs. On her part, Sakura squealed at the abrupt movement, winding her arms tighter around his neck and burying her face into the nook of his shoulder.
For a fraction of second, Sasuke couldn't think. Her words resounded in his mind, bouncing back and forth until images that were not so welcome in the current situation, in which she was intoxicated, incapacitated, and pressed so closely against him, started to invade it.
Then she laughed, her small body shaking against his own, before she let herself fall, resting her elbows awkwardly on the steps behind her, her head dropping back—partly because of her giggles, partly because she was too drunk to support it, Sasuke suspected.
"I can't believe you tripped, Sasuke-kun," she chuckled.
He rolled his eyes. Standing up, he quickly recovered his composure and gripped her tiny waist, easily lifting her up again and ripping another squeal from her throat.
"But seriously," she continued as he began the journey up the stairs again, half dragging and half carrying her along, rewrapping her arms around his neck. "You and I could test out my bed." Her voice was a sultry whisper in his ear and he very nearly shivered. "See how comfortable it is. And if you still say yours is more comfy, then we can test that out, too."
'What the hell is happening?' a distant voice in the back of his head wondered while his conscious self wrestled with controlling the surprise that took ahold of him even with the knowledge that she was drunk at the forefront of his mind. He'd seen enough drunk people in his life. He'd been drunk himself on a few occasions. He knew how loose tongues got and how people hardly ever meant what they said in such states.
"Would you like that?"
Ignoring her in favor of opening her bedroom door was a failure, seeing as she immediately swung herself in front of him, putting up a resistance for the very first time by stopping him from advancing any further.
"Sasuke-kun," she slurred again. "Don't ignore me!" Rocking back on her heels, she almost fell over; luckily, his hands were still gripping her hips, and he managed to stabilize her.
Giggling to herself, she looked up at him, her green eyes stormy, hazy, and still so beautiful that he felt his heart clench in his chest, doing the same funny dance it nowadays seemed to do every single time he caught sight of her.
He considered it terribly annoying, if only for the fact that he had no idea what it meant.
"Seriously. Have you never thought about my bed?"
He took a moment to wonder when exactly their mostly one-sided conversation had degenerated from expressed happiness at how good being at home felt, to the possibility of testing each other's beds. However, only a single moment was dedicated to that train of thought, because then she began whispering in that sultry manner of hers, and he almost lost his head again.
"It's all I think about." It would have been the most seductive confession she'd ever made him, had her drunken giggles not ruined it.
Escaping his grip as surprise once again froze his body, she turned around and stumbled, but managed to catch herself before she fell, pressing a hand to the wall as she bent down to clumsily remove her shoes.
Sasuke would have stepped forward to help, had his eyes not been instantly drawn to the curve of her ass. But he was a man—a nineteen-year-old teenager, at that—and he believed that was enough to justify his actions, as unfit for an Uchiha as they were and as much as he hated himself for them.
After all, checking out his teammate when they were training and she was so hot she decided to start removing her clothes was one thing. Ogling her curves when she was drunk—and trusting him implicitly—was a bit different and veered into a direction he wasn't entirely comfortable with.
To be perfectly honest, it felt a bit like betrayal. And he was so, so tired of that being the only thing he offered her.
"Sasuke-kuuun," she called, squealing as she stepped out of her second shoe and nearly tumbled to the floor again, regaining her balance in the last minute and turning to face him with a giggle. "You really need to kiss me."
Sasuke could only blink, stupefied.
"Don't make that face," she laughed drunkenly, slowly walking towards him in a line that was not straight in the slightest, but that he supposed should earn her points for eventually reaching her destination. "I've seen the way you look at me when we're training," she breathed, practically spreading herself out onto him, standing on her tip-toes and wrapping her arms around his neck, inadvertently pulling him down with her.
Sasuke had to balance his hands on either side of the doorway in an effort to keep their faces from touching, his eyes still wide as his mind struggled to process her drunken rambles.
"Actually, I've seen the way you always look at me nowadays!" Slowly, her lips spread into a larger, mischievous grin. "You want to test out my beeed," she declared in a sing-song voice.
Sasuke had a feeling he would have laughed out loud, had the reality of the fact that he'd been discovered and that she'd known all along—possibly before even he, himself, had realized—what he was feeling, slapped him in the face.
Sakura was met with silence, but she only paused for a second.
"I'll make the first step," she offered, and backed away, though only slightly.
Then she promptly grabbed the hem of her deep blue dress and pulled it over her head in one swift, clean movement, almost losing her balance in the process.
"What are you doing?" he demanded, petrified, snatching the dress out of her hands before she had the chance to throw it carelessly away, trying hard—and failing miserably—not to glance at her while he struggled to turn it the right side up. By the time he gave up, growled, tossed the petty excuse of a garment to the side and stalked to the bed, whipping the top blanket off, he already knew she was wearing a lacy black number that would definitely make his eyes cross if he stared at it for too long.
Behind him, Sakura giggled. "What're you doing?" she slurred, stumbling in his direction.
Meeting her halfway, he practically threw the blanket around her small frame, wrapping it around her twice.
She laughed. "Sasuke-kun," she whined. "I don't need this!"
Growling in warning as she was about to pull it off, the Uchiha grabbed her by the upper arms and forcefully backed her up the last steps to the bed, thinking she was much more trouble on her feet.
Toppling down on the mattress, she laughed. "Yes!" she encouraged. "See? You can throw me on the bed! Anytime, Sasuke-kun! But you have to join me!"
The damn blanket parted as she continued to shake with mirth, loosening just enough to offer a glimpse of the swell of her breasts and part of her bra. Just enough for him to tell it had a freaking bow in the middle. Just enough to distract him so much he failed to notice—and react in time—when she suddenly sat up and grabbed onto the collar of his shirt, pulling him down with her, above her, and, perhaps more importantly, right on top of that little bow.
"Sakura—" he hissed, but was interrupted.
"Shh!" she said, pressing a finger clumsily to his lips, and repeating, "You can throw me on any bed you want, but you've got to come with me!"
"Sakura—" He tried again, with the same result.
"Shh!" she insisted, more forcefully. "Stop thinking so much, Sasuke-kun! Get drunk with me if you have to—though, I'll have you know, I'm not really that drunk!" she added, causing him to roll his eyes, because this was the drunkest he'd ever seen her—and he'd seen his fair share. "But come to bed with me, Sasuke-kun!"
"Yes, Sakura," he said, starting to sit up.
"Yes?" Her eyes lit up as she lifted herself up on her elbows.
"No!" he immediately rectified, pinching the bridge of his nose in an annoyed gesture he only very rarely felt the need to display, seeing as he very rarely showed his emotions openly. But this woman… this woman had a way of turning him inside out, a special power that she'd somehow acquired and never quite relinquished, even after all the time that had passed and everything that had happened.
"Why not?" she whined, kicking the blanket completely away. "I—"
"You're drunk, Sakura," he said, hastily grabbing her comforter from the foot of the bed and throwing it over her.
She was lost in a sea of blankets for a moment, before she was able to find her way out, lips in a pout and pink hair even more disheveled than before.
He fought a smile.
"Is that the only reason?" she slurred, looking up at him with hopeful green eyes.
Sasuke opened his mouth to speak, but because he wasn't entirely sure of what was about to come out, he snapped it shut again. Placing his hands on his hips, he heaved a sigh and looked down at her in exasperation.
"Because if it is," she continued, "then you have two options. You get drunk with me, or you take me out tomorrow when I'm not drunk. And then we come back and test the bed. Yours or mine—your choice."
Baffled by what had to be the most straightforward proposition she had made anyone in her entire life, Sasuke had no idea if he wanted to laugh, groan, be relieved or nervous. Part of him wondered if she would even remember what she had said the following day, and on top of that, he had to work out how he felt about each possibility.
Somehow, the reaction that won was composed of a soft smirk and a gentle shake of his head. Who could blame him, he thought, with how entirely adorable she looked, with her hopeful eyes and her kissable pout and the hair that got everywhere and never sat in a ponytail, only her head poking out from under her green comforter.
"Alright, Sasuke-kun?" she pressed.
"Fine," he agreed, just to appease her.
She grinned, gave a little squeal, and only then settled down fully onto the bed, head on the pillow and body relaxed. "Can't wait," she told him, her excitement palpable.
"Aa. Now go to sleep," he commanded, shaking his head once more when she nodded and immediately closed her eyes.
She was out in an instant. Sasuke blinked and huffed an amused breath.
It was only after he'd left a glass of water on her nightstand, straightened out the duvet to ensure that she was completely tucked in and then brushed her hair away from her face and turned to leave that Sasuke made his decision. She may not remember what she had said in the morning, but if that was the case, and she didn't, he would ask her out, regardless.
It was, after all, high time he took a chance for them, and not only the other way around.
A/N: This was initially written to be posted in Three Words, but I decided it deserved to stand on its own! Consider it somewhat of a counterpart to Best Behaviour.
Hope you've enjoyed, and please review if that was the case (or not)! :)