Chapter 20

"And where the hell have you been?" Ino snapped irritably as Sakura swung open the front door to their flat, wincing as the door smacked into a pile of shoe boxes stacked haphazardly against the wall. A box at the top teetered slightly before crashing to the ground, taking the shoe mountain down with it in a magnificent avalanche of tissue paper and patent leather.

Sakura blinked at the mess, hand frozen on the door knob as she assessed the damage. Hurricane Ino strikes again, she thought to herself with equal parts amusement and annoyance.

"Earth to Sakura," Ino called from the couch when Sakura hadn't moved for several seconds. "Hellloooo, shut the door Forehead! There could be criminals out there just waiting for an opportunity to burgle a beautiful, wealthy heiress and her semi-attractive friend."

Sakura rolled her eyes but nonetheless shut the door and threw the deadbolt before turning to glance at the self-declared "beautiful, wealthy heiress" currently stretched out on their second hand couch with a bag of cookies laying on her chest. Sakura squinted at the coffee mug to Ino's left, trying to decide if it contained coffee or boxed wine. Almost assuredly wine, Sakura decided as she crouched to restack the pile of boxes.

"Ino," Sakura began, examining a stiletto that could double as a weapon, "when I asked you to clean up the shoes I didn't mean move the shoes from the floor to a pile behind the door. I meant you needed to remove the shoes from our home. Completely. Not move them to another room, or behind the door."

"Oh calm down, someone is coming to pick them up tomorrow."

"Uh huh," Sakura muttered under her breath, stacking the last box onto the pile before standing and removing her own shoes. She glanced longingly at Ino's cookies and, decision made, moved to the kitchen in hunt of her own treat. One couldn't possibly eat healthy all the time. Sometimes a girl needed some well earned chocolate.

"Soooo," Ino cooed as Sakura began hunting through cabinets, "you didn't answer my question."

"What question?" Sakura asked as she examined a pudding cup for an expiration date. Almost exactly a year out of date. Disappointing.

"I asked where the hell you have been! It is nine o'clock on a school night young lady. Have you been getting into no good with a certain brooding, black haired dreamboat? Perhaps brewing up some love?"

Sakura glanced at Ino with narrowed eyes and tossed the pudding cup into the trash with a defiant thud.

"Shizune told you about the coffee, didn't she."

"Of course she did!" Ino cackled evilly. "Sakura you little flirt, what is Sasuke Uchiha doing bringing you coffee!"

Sakura groaned and crossed her arms in annoyance.

"It was nothing Ino. We work together. People who work together buy the other people coffee sometimes, particularly if you have an early morning meeting together."

"Maybe normal people Sakura! But we both know that Sasuke is not normal people."

"Ino. As I have stressed to you many times, there is nothing going on between Sasuke and me. It was a coffee, nothing more."

"Then why were you late tonight?"

"I am late because I got a drink after work with Naruto, and as drinks with Naruto often go, it turned into ramen with Naruto."

"Mhmmmm," Ino said unconvincingly.

"Believe what you want," Sakura sighed, giving up her search for food and walking instead to Ino with a hand outstretched, "just give up the cookies. You've had enough."

Ino clutched the bag to her protectively, making a sound oddly reminiscent of a cat hiss.

"I don't think so Sakura, our final dress fitting is this weekend and you need to keep your body in prime condition, especially if you are trying to trick Sasuke into dating you."

Ignoring the Sasuke jab, Sakura hissed back, "oh please, your dress is practically non-existent. If one of us needed to diet to fit into their dress, Ino, it would be you. Not me."

"I have a naturally high metabolism," Ino sniffed, "calories don't affect me like normal people."

Sakura burst into laughter, but Ino's face remained unmoved, her hands still clutched around the bag like a mother holding her first born. The seconds stretched until Sakura's laughter died to an uncomfortable silence.

"Oh," she sputtered, trying to regain control, "you're, you're being serious."

"It's a genetic gift," Ino said matter-of-factly, but she nonetheless scooted over on the couch to allow Sakura a spot. "I can tell you are out of your right mind tonight and need sugar. But as you do not share my amazing genes, you are allowed two cookies, and two cookies only. You are welcome."

Sakura slumped onto the couch and took Ino's meager offering, choosing at that particular moment not to press her luck. Two cookies were better than Ino dropping the bag out the window to spite Sakura, which would result in no cookies.

"So back to Sasuke," Ino purred as Sakura took a bite of the treat, "what's really going on between you too?"

Sakura chewed furiously, realizing she had fallen straight into Ino's trap. She swallowed and let out a huff, considering her words carefully.

"Seriously, Ino, we're working on a case together, and it's just been . . . challenging," Sakura finished, crafting her words carefully. "We have to talk about this pro bono client at the ball next week and today we had an early morning meeting about the case, so Sasuke just ordered two coffees on his way in instead of his normal one. It was an act of kindness, nothing more. Whatever Shizune told you was blown out of proportion."

"Sasuke and kindness is like water and oil. They just don't go," Ino said thoughtfully.

"I don't think that's true. I've seen him with our client and he's actually very . . . sweet with him. Not exactly tactful, but I wouldn't call him unkind. Just socially inept."

"Maybe," Ino agreed, eyeing Sakura with sudden realization. "Does this mean you get to get up and give a big speech at the ball? Because we are going to need to rethink your dress if that's the case, you need something with a little more dazzle."

"The dress fitting is in two days Ino. I don't think we have time to rethink the choice, do you? And the dress has more than enough dazzle, maybe too much honestly, but somehow you talked me into it, as you always do."

"Fine," Ino said in a disappointed voice, "we'll just have to make sure your hair and make-up is perfect then. Everyone will know I created your look, it's essential you show me off well."

"Right, because that is what's important. Me looking like a movie star while I raise awareness about the wrongfully incarcerated."


Sakura shoved the last cookie into her mouth and stood, patting Ino on her blonde head lovingly.

"So long as we have our priorities straight," she said between chews. "I'm going to bed Ino-pig, talk to you tomorrow."

After completing her normal night time ritual of brushing her teeth, washing her face, and pulling on faded pajamas that were slightly too big, Sakura turned off the light and crawled onto her bed face down, her stomach and mind full. She had largely pushed the events of the day into a little box in her mind in an attempt to avoid the slight nausea she felt when she thought about lying to Tsunade about the case.

The objective part of her mind knew Sasuke was right, it likely did more harm than good to involve more people. But the gooey emotional part was still unhappy with their chosen course, and no amount of gin and ramen with Naruto had made those feelings abate. She rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling, eyes tracing across the cracked ceiling tile as if she was reading a map.

Stupid Sasuke, she thought, eyes snapping shut as she recalled Ino's excitement over that stupid cup of coffee. Conspiring together today had felt oddly intimate. As had him picking her up on the way to work. And, for that matter, bringing her a cup of coffee.

"It was just a cup of coffee," she whispered out loud as if saying it to the empty room made the sentence more real.

She tried replaying the memory of him handing her the cup in the lobby as if she could rewind it and erase it from her brain, or freeze the memory and dissect it like dissecting a fetal pig in one of her many science labs in school. But memory didn't exactly work that way. When she focused her mind all she could recall was the image of him walking up to her in his sharp suit, his tall, slender body just a little too close to her own as he handed her the cup, his fingers so close to hers they would have touched if she hadn't shifted her hand just so when taking the coffee from him.

She shifted slightly in bed, realizing with unease that her focus on his fingers had shifted her mind instantly to another memory that too often made its way into her conscious stream of thought. That of his body pressing her against a wall. His thumb at her chin. His hand running down her neck. His fingers playing with the button of her shirt. Then, she had stopped him before it went any further, but she could feel her mind filling in details of choice that had never transpired.

A choice in which she had allowed his fingers to gently undo each button until he could slide the blouse down her shoulders and arms until the fabric dropped to the ground in a puddle of silk. His fingers traveling up her back, little goosebumps rising on her skin as he worked his way up to her bra, undoing the clasp with a quick turn of the wrist, leaving Sakura shivering and bare chested, her nipples turning hard and eager in the office's freezing air-conditioning.

Sasuke silently moving his hands back down until they caressed her ass, moving her skirt up and over her hips where it bunched at her waist. Him lifting her up against the wall until her legs had no choice but to wrap around him. Through the thin fabric of her underwear she would have felt his hard, thick cock pressed directly against her quickly dampening core, his eyes darkening with pleasure as he walked with Sakura to the desk and placed her down so she was sitting at the very edge. She imagined Sasuke would have whispered something into her ear about how he could feel how wet she was, and when she was this dripping wet for his cock how could she pretend any of this was a mistake.

She would growl and move her feet up, which were still in their heels, to kick him away, but he would grab her slender ankles and take off her shoes, his eyes never leaving hers, muttering that if she wanted him to stop, he would stop, but what he'd really like to do is lick her. And she would have melted, her back falling onto the desk and her hips lifting to allow him to slide off her panties. But Sasuke wouldn't remove them, he would merely sink to his knees and push aside the soaking material, his tongue flitting out to lap at her clit, his fingers caressing her thighs as he slowly and meticulously worked on her until Sakura would try to twist away, the sensation too much. But Sasuke would hold her in place by her legs, moving one hand to hold her ankles up and over her head while moving the now free hand down to push a finger into her, resulting in a low moan from Sakura as he began to pump her as he continued to lick, his head squeezed between her thighs as he worked faster and fast until a low, warm ball of energy began to build in her stomach.

"Don't stop," Sakura would mutter, feeling the ball begin to grow as Sasuke stroked her harder, abandoning his mouth ministrations so he could flip her around so her top half was face down on the desk and her ass was up in the air with her knees just barely on the desktop. He would move behind her and caress her ass before taking his pointer and middle fingers and begin to jack hammer into her, his other hand reaching around her front to stroke her clit in ever quickening circles.

"Don't stop," Sakura muttered, feeling the burst of release coming closer and closer. "Fuck Sasuke don't stop," she said with a moan, the fingers moving over her clit until she felt the world drop and the wave of pleasure release, snapping her into sudden consciousness.

Sakura stared up at her bedroom ceiling again, her fingers still gently stroking herself as she rode the remaining waves of her orgasm.

"Fucking Sasuke," she said with disbelief as she continued to lay there, frustration taking over relaxation as she contemplated how she had just touched herself to an imagined scenario where Sasuke went down on her in the office. On his desk no less. She turned onto her side and begged sleep to come.

"Fucking Sasuke," she repeated as she snuggled into her pillow. "Fucking. Sasuke."

Author note:

Hello dear readers, I have missed you. Thanks for all the love you have sent my way during my hiatus. I can't promise I'll be posting consistently, but I hope to be posting more frequently than I have been. It was quite the year, but knowing you were out there always made my heart warm.

I was planning to make this a longer chapter with a little more substance, but you've been waiting so patiently and kindly, so I decided to break up this chapter and post this part now instead of waiting another week to publish the longer piece. More to come of course, we need to move this plot forward after all.

I hope everyone is safe and well in this very bizarre time.