Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters.


Chapter 4: Let The Game's Begin

:::

It was the start of summer '13. It was during the month of June and on the 24th day that she first laid eyes upon him.

The only boy of her dreams, the only boy she had ever learnt to care for. The only boy who ever made her heart flutter. The only boy she had ever let unwind herself.

Dark hair which shone in the sun's rays. An attractive, boyish look that fit his age at the time. Lean, and slightly taller than herself. Obsidian eyes, shades darker than anything she had ever seen before. Eyes that held a past full of memories she longed to have a look at. Everything about him enticed her whole being.

It was nothing short of a summer fling, but she enjoyed it to the best of her capability. She still remembers the last day before the beginning of Senior year like it was yesterday. They were sitting at a coffee shop, gazing longingly into each other's eyes. "I love you," she would say. He wouldn't reply. He would only reassure her tainted heart with a small smile.

But it was enough. It was enough to keep her going and working towards her 12th grade credits. They planned to attend the same University and save money to get an apartment together. "We'll be like a young, married couple," she would say jokingly. He would once again offer nothing but a small smile. Maybe marriage didn't work for him.

She had everything planned out; from the apartment, places to purchase furniture, how to sustain a equal rent between them both. She was over the moon, happy in love. While he was staring, lagging behind in what she had hoped would be an adventure they would explore together.

They never had the chance to begin.

:::

Sakura awoke to a puddle by her face. She quickly raised her head, realizing the source of it were her tear ducts.

She wipes her eyes with the back of her sweater sleeve and stares groggily in the dark across the other side of the room. She can make out Ino's still figure beneath a heap of blankets. It's October; the weather has gotten colder. She turns her eyes back to her drenched pillow.

It was only a vague memory. Nothing specific, but altogether gut wrenching enough to have evoked an emotion out of her unconscious state. How embarrassing.

She turns her eyes to the digital clock. It's once again 6:30.

She sighs, slowly throwing away her warm blankets and raises herself from her bed. She had gotten into the habit of getting ready earlier than she was used to, but it's only because her mind has become clouded with things she'd rather not dwell on in her sleep.

Sadly, she's realizes while in the middle of her morning lecture, that she too dwells on these things while awake.

:::

"Let me guess; you miss Sasori, don't you?"

Sakura nearly chokes on her granola bar.

Giving her friend a second to compose herself, Ino leans further over her shoulder and peers at the magazine laid on the table. "8 steps to getting over a breakup."

Sakura quickly covers the coloured pages with her elbows and scoffs in response. "It's not what you think, pig. I was just a bit curious."

"Curious enough to go find some stupid magazine to read?" Ino huffs, pulling up a wooden chair closer to Sakura. She turns her body towards her flustered pink haired friend. "Do you not trust what knowledge I have when it comes to relationships?"

Sakura rolls her eyes, "Not when you're with a new guy every week."

"That just shows how alluring I am."

"Whatever. What do you need?"

Ino's eyes trail back to the hidden magazine. "Are you doing alright? You seem to be avoiding me recently…"

Sakura rubs her eyes, still quite half asleep from her morning lecture. She takes her time to digest Ino's words. "What do you mean by avoid? I just get up earlier in the morning, that's all."

"But you also haven't hung out with Hinata or Tenten recently…"

"You know it's hard to catch up with them when our classes literally finish before and after each others."

"But-"

"Ino, I don't have time for this. I have to finish up my Chem lab that's due tonight…"

The blonde silently gives up, but Sakura knows she'll eventually bring it up again sooner or later. She always gets answers, and Sakura isn't sure how she'll be able to handle her persuasive friend when the time comes.

:::

It's already Thursday. Shit.

Sakura had done such a good job at drowning herself in as much work as possible before having to think about Sasori again, that she hadn't noticed the days go by so quickly. Tomorrow is when he expects an answer, and Sakura doesn't know how she'll respond.

At first, she adamantly told herself that she wouldn't go. But countless sleepless nights went by when she had reprocessed his words several times, over and over again. Now that she thought about it; his offer had been tempting. Why wouldn't she want to know what happened the night she passed out?

But what scares her most is that she's being used. From what she has gathered from previous encounters with the redhead, he's nothing but a damn, manipulative pervert. Always having the tendency to just corner her into a confined space when no one is around. She could definitely report his actions to the school board, right? But the thought of reporting him had never come to mind. Maybe it's the fact that he's attractive is what's holding her back, or his high spot in popularity amongst the other students. But Sakura knows herself well. She would never stoop as low as to let some dude get off the hook just because he's pretty and popular. If only she could find out what happened without attending the damn party… now that would be a miracle.

She's done too much thinking in the past few days. On one side of her brain, there's the urge to give in to Sasori and just attend his damn party. On the other side of her brain, there's the unwanted memories that keep springing up. She just can't ever get a damn break, huh?

Pulling out her cell phone, Sakura glances over the time. 7:25 pm. Now would be a good time to head back to her dorm and continue studying there.

As she begins packing her belongings, she allows her eyes to survey whoevers left in the library. It's a public space for all students to use, although it does close at specific times. I think today it closes at 8?

There's a boy sat alone at a table in the far corner. Unlike the many other students who choose to study by themselves, he specifically catches her attention. His golden hair spikes up in strange uneven directions, and it looks as though it hasn't been washed in days. He's wearing grey sweatpants and a short sleeved white shirt. Typical attire for the average college student.

Bright azure eyes. Sakura blinks, realizing he had caught her gaze. She quickly turns back to her bag, placing the last binder in place.

She can still feels his eyes on her form as she nervously slings her bag over her shoulder. This is awkward.

Sakura bravely turns back to the boy. She was right; his eyes are bright blue, and they illuminate in the dimly lit room like a pair of Christmas lights. She can feel him studying her, and so she allows herself to study him.

He looks young. Probably a first year as well. His tan is a bit darker than Tenten's, although his hair is much more bright and lively unlike Ino's overly bleached hair. 3 scars run across the expanse of each cheek, and Sakura grins at the fact that they remind her of her stuffed fox plushie she had in the 4th grade.

His eyes lower. She wonders why. Oh wait, I'm smiling like a weirdo, aren't I?

She quickly covers her mouth to stop the inevitable laughs that would pursue. He watches her with amusement in his eyes. Sakura wonders what he's thinking.

Shaking those unneeded thoughts away, she tightens the strap of her bag over her shoulder and walks out the library without another glance.

Definitely cute.

:::

Upon arriving back to her dorm room, Sakura drowns herself in more coursework. Before she realizes it, it's already midnight.

Just as she finishes reading the last page of her textbook for the night, a tipsy Ino stumbles through the door.

"Ino!" Sakura whines, detangling her crossed legs to get up and help Ino find her way to her bed.

As per usual, Ino had gone out drinking in the middle of the week. Sakura has gotten use to her wild friend's antics, but that isn't to say that she still doesn't get annoyed by them.

After tucking a now passed out Ino into bed, Sakura makes her way to close their dorm room when she notices a male presence standing in the way. She presumes that he's the new guy Ino had recently been swooning over.

She isn't quite sure what to say. "Um, hi?"

He's tall, blonde, and tanned. Sakura would have definitely mistaken him for the boy she had seen in the library if it weren't for the fact that the man stood before her had freakishly long hair.

"Sasori's girlfriend, right?"

She hadn't heard anyone call her that in a while, which is why she couldn't help but feel her face warm up in embarrassment. "No.. we broke up a while ago."

He raises a thin gold brow, "Huh? Well that sucks. Although, the way he's been acting recently would say otherwise, yeah."

The amusement spread across his face confuses Sakura. She isn't quite sure how to respond.

He offers Sakura a small smirk before allowing his eyes to gaze over at Ino. "Tell her I'll see her at the party on saturday."

Sakura nods slowly. She watches him walk out the front door.

"Oh, Sasori said to meet him tomorrow at your spot? Whatever the hell that means…" he shrugs, not noticing the surprised look on the girl's face. "See ya, pinky."

Before she realizes it Ino's boytoy is gone and she's left alone flustered and confused. She didn't have time to ask him what exactly he meant, but Sakura has somewhat of a clue to what exact "spot" Sasori was talking about.

:::

He hears the glass balcony doors behind himself open and close within seconds of eachother.

"Hello?"

The familiar voice of the woman he constantly craves for rings in his ears. He slowly turns around, not wanting to give away his excitement to see her.

She's in a pair of grey sweats, an oversized blue sweater, and cheap flip flops. Her unruly pink hair is pulled up in a messy ponytail and her porcelain skin is covered in a sheen of sweat. She doesn't even have to try to look perfect in Sasori's eyes. Everything about her just blows him away.

"The weather is humid tonight. What are you doing wearing such clothing?" He asks, looking her over once more.

She scoffs and ignores his comment. "I'm here to talk about the party tomorrow."

"Mhmm.." He hums, turning his head back around to look over the balcony. He crushes the bud of his cigarette on the railing before tossing it over. He turns his full body around to give the pinkette his full attention. "So what's your answer?"

Sakura grips her hands tightly. She isn't quite sure why she's so nervous to speak, but his presence alone just causes her to instantly choke on her sentence. She shuts her eyelids and finds the words she desperately searches for in her head. "I'll go on one condition."

"Excuse me?" He scoffs, freezing the pinkette in her place. "I'm inviting you to a frat house party and along with that, sharing the events of that night free of charge. Don't take advantage of my kindness towards you."

Sakura grits her teeth. "I never asked for special treatment from you, asshole. I don't give two shits about your lame party, it's you who's leaving me no choice but to attend."

Sasori wants to bite back with another rude response, but holds his composure. Instead, he smirks. "Fine, it's understandable that you don't want to attend my party, considering what happened that particular night.." He revels in the way she gets antsy every time that he mentions it. "So I suppose you could do something else for me? You know, considering you want to know what happened so badly."

"Don't get so ahead of yourself," Sakura mutters.

"But it's true, right? This has probably kept you up countless nights. You fear for the worse, but you pray that it wasn't all that bad. It's starting to eat you up alive. The unknowing can be scary, right? Considering the fact that I know what happened… and you don't."

Sakura isn't sure how much more of his taunting she will be able to handle before she loses her cool. So she decides to comply. "Fine! I'll do anything you want, just tell me what happened already!"

The frustrated look on her faces sturs him on. "Anything?"

Her cheeks flush instantly. "A-as long as it's appropriate, dumbass."

"Aw but sweetheart, what's so inappropriate about going to the party tomorrow? We could hang out together, get drunk, let everyone know we're on… good terms."

The idea of willingly spending more time with him shakes her being. She wants nothing more than to be far, far away from him. "I just don't want to go, alright? I've made up my mind. I'd rather do something else."

"Fine then. Be mine."

"Don't be ridiculous," She mutters. Sasori smiles, reminiscing how she responded the exact same way the other night they were both sober on this balcony. "How many times do I need to turn you down before you get the message?" She scoffs. "Plus, we barely know each other."

"But that's the thing," he sighs. "I don't know much about you, and I want to."

Sakura holds her breath as she gazes into his golden eyes. She bites her bottom lip nervously, "Can we get back on topic, please?"

He smirks as he locks eyes with her own. They hold the gaze for a couple of seconds, and it riles him on to make progressive steps towards the frozen girl.

No...no...no… not this again.

"H-how about I give you a back massage? I clean your room? I do your homework for a week?"

She throws as many suggestions as she can, but eventually realizes he isn't listening. There's no use in trying.

Sakura makes no move to stop him. She just stares weakly up at his taller form in nervousness.

His breath wreaks of cigarettes, which she somewhat doesn't mind. "Remember what I said in your dorm?" He softly mutters, moving his face lower and lower.

How couldn't she remember? The events of that night played over and over in her head for the past week. She couldn't go a single hour without it popping back up in her head and making her feel all flustered and uncomfortable again. The way he gazed into her eyes, sweet talked her, grabbed her chin with his light touch... like what he's currently doing now. How many times has she been in this position?

That's when Sakura suddenly became conscious of what was happening. What he's intently doing.

He gets her all worked up, corners in, and says ungodly things. He enjoys tormenting her frail being, and for what? What does he get out of this? How does he benefit from doing such things to a first year student, someone as quiet and unnoticeable as Sakura Haruno? He could have any girl, so why her?

Ino's voice rings in her ear.

"Sasori hates women, and the last girl he dated apparently was so shook up by their breakup that she dropped out of Uni."

Was Sasori's last girlfriend exactly like herself? Someone innocent, outspoken, brash, yet naive such as herself?

Is he after Sakura because she's always been a tough target for him? Does she remind him of his last girlfriend?

I shouldn't make this all about myself.

Right. He's simply a dick. Someone incapable of properly caring for another person. She's just a pawn in one of his many board games, and she will inevitably be knocked down unless she backs out soon enough. He has strength not only physically, but mentally. He will play her and eventually break her down piece by piece, and she'll be tossed aside just like his last girlfriend, left to drop out because of what unspeakable thing he had done to her.

The only way she can avoid it is by stopping this game of cat and mouse before it has the chance to begin.

Her heart clenches in her chest as she pushes him away. He is somewhat surprised, yet disappointed.

"I change my mind," she breathes. "I'll go to your stupid party, on one condition - just hear me out!"

His brows furrow as he patiently allows her to continue. She steadily begins, making sure not to fumble these next words.

"You are to never, ever, get close to me again."

What Sakura hadn't yet fathomed to understand, was that the game had begun a long time ago.

:::


A/N: Alright so... it's been a while. I have no excuse, other than that I have been busy with school. But guess what? It's now summer break! More updates will surely come your way, just cross your fingers every night before bed and the next chapter will be out before you know it lol. Also, sorry for the shortness of this chapter. I wanted it to end off on a good spot, and once I got to the ending I didn't feel it be necessary to add meaningless dialogue. I think it turned out good, leave me a review and tell me what you think!