Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me. . Neither does the song. .

INSPIRED BY SYAORAN NO HIME'S "QUANDARY." -- That's a Shaman King fic, by the way.

In the course of his entire lifetime, he'd had no friends. Contrary to what the majority of the female population said about him being "popular," he was not. He was a loner. All by himself.

What about those girls that constantly chased after him and asked him out on dates? No, they didn't count. They simply wanted him for his looks. {He himself didn't get it, really. He'd stared at his reflection in the mirror for a good ten minutes one day, wondering what the hell they saw in him.} And they were annoying, too. No, if the Uchiha Sasuke was to ever have a friend, it would not be an annoying female.

He supposed that the closest person he had to being a "best buddy" -- not that he would ever admit it out loud, and guaranteed, vice versa -- was -- he almost gagged at this point -- was Naruto. He would die and go out with Ino before he ever said this, but the antics of the blond ninja amused him at times. And, oh to hell with it, he saw him as somewhat of a friend. That Naruto was the only one who wasn't afraid of him, anyhow, or ever tried to avoid him. Heck, he was the only one who ever dared defy him!

But...what about her?

A flash of light pink hair and green eyes.

Sakura...

As he searched his soul, he found himself running out of excuses. She was just like the other girls that supposedly "loved" him, wasn't she? She was only after his looks, of course. That had to be it. They were practically opposites. No, if she was really looking for someone based on personality, she would have chosen Naruto a long time ago. The two of them got along better, anyway.

But she still liked him, didn't she?

He let out an exasperated sigh. He was being stupid, he berated himself, very, very stupid. Uchiha Sasuke doesn't waste his time wondering about the female mind, let alone his female teammate's mind.

So why was he doing it now?

It was a typical day, no different from any other. He sat silently at his seat, his hands clasped in front of him in his usual characteristic manner. To his right, Sakura had Naruto in a headlock for some sort of comment he had made about her hair -- apparently, she forgot to blow-dry it. She was screaming at a considerable volume. Sullenly, he watched them out of the corner of his eye.

A queasy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.

He shifted, ever so slightly, in his seat. In his world where only he mattered, emotions didn't exist, unless the emotion was anger, hatred, or want of revenge. This -- this feeling -- He swallowed, quite loudly, actually -- was none of those, and it scared him.

Scared him.

He risked taking another glance to his right. Sakura had apparently calmed down, but was still looming dangerously over Naruto, green eyes flashing dangerously. Naruto looked absolutely frightened. Stray strands of Sakura's hair continuously found their way to her face, and she repetitively brushed them off. Her cheeks were flushed from all her screaming.

You know, she looks prettier when she's mad...

And Sasuke trembled. No, really trembled. Not just a little shiver down your back, but a tremor that lasted for at least a minute.

It was all he could do to not bash his head against the desk.

He clenched both hands into tight, curled fists, and exhaled slowly. Twice. Then he sat up, going back to his traditional Sasuke position of hands clasped in front of his face, eyes narrowed.

"Naruto! I'm gonna kill you!!!!"

Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared him for what was to happen next.

Sakura ran at full speed towards Naruto, temper flaring, right hand clenched into a fist. She was about to give the blond ninja all she had, when Naruto instinctively stuck his left leg out. Sakura, not expecting this, was caught off guard, and inevitably, tripped.

And fell.

On top of Sasuke.

Both of them froze, but Sasuke's hormones worked quickly enough to send his brain the message that one, Sakura was lying on top of him in a very suggestive position, two, she felt quite warm, and three, he himself was liking it.

It was at this particular moment that Sasuke concluded that today was a very bad day.

---

Naruto was not exactly what one would call an intelligent person, but he wasn't utterly and hopelessly stupid, either. Take this moment, for instance. On this day of April 10th, at 9:32 a.m., Naruto discovered what never should have been discovered.

Sasuke had feelings.

Maybe he was overreacting, the rational part -- which wasn't a very large part -- of him suggested. After all, Sasuke was human, even if he tried to hide that fact. And humans had feelings. But was Sasuke really human? He didn't act very humanlike. But he was human, wasn't he?

Boy, he was getting confused.

But as Naruto surveyed the scene before him with giant flying-saucer eyes, he had to agree with his original thought. Sasuke did have feelings, no matter how hard he tried to hide it.

The crimson blush on his cheeks confirmed it; this wasn't just any ordinary bashful blush, it was a real, true, honest blush. It was a rare occasion when one saw the Uchiha Sasuke blush. But as Naruto tentatively took a step closer, his eyes widened.

His eyes.

They say that the eyes are the windows to the man's soul, and although Naruto had never heard of this saying in his entire life, he knew enough to know that eyes always show what you're feeling inside.

And Sasuke's eyes were different.

In all the time he had known the proud young ninja, his eyes had only held the same expression of hatred, anger, aloofness, and a tiny little trace of loneliness.

At this moment, however...

His eyes were quite different.

There was a look in them, a feeling, an emotion, an expression, but it was one that couldn't be described with words, no matter how hard you tried. But Naruto knew enough about the world around him to know what the look meant, for that same look had come across his face many times long ago. It was the same look that trapped his face whenever he got within a mile of Haruno Sakura, so long ago. Not anymore, of course. No, sir, not anymore.

But he needed to get over his initial shock. Sasuke had feelings.

The mere thought sent shudders down his back.

And from what he had just witnessed, Sasuke had feelings for Sakura.

Of course, the fact that Sasuke had an arm draped around Sakura's waist to prevent her from falling to the ground {He had been knocked to the ground on his back; she had fallen on top of him, face buried into his chest} merely added to that hypothesis.

But Sasuke? And Sakura?

Naruto scratched his head impulsively, still dazed by his newfound discovery.

"Sa--Sasuke-kun?" Sakura raised her pink-haired head slightly, gazing into Sasuke's eyes.

"....?"

"You--You can let go--let go of me now."

Sasuke automatically removed his arm from his waist, brushed her off him, and sat back on his chair with as little emotion as possible. Sakura, face completely red, seemed to have forgotten about her anger with Naruto for the moment. And Sasuke still had that look in his eye, even if it had dwindled.

Naruto walked stiffly back to his chair, and plopped down.

He needed to have a bowl of ramen. Now.

---

Sasuke was the type of person who liked to think that he had no problems, no matter how untrue that was. In any case, he liked to forget about them. At least, the minor problems, anyway.

Sasuke was also a very intelligent person. He hadn't been the Number One Rookie in Konohagakure Village for nothing, had he? In fact, the only person who had ever bested him when it came to brain skills was probably...

Her.

Despite that, he was still a considerably smart being, and with those smarts, he was bound to have figured it out sooner or later. And surely, he had picked up the hints along the way?

But even the most intellectual person in the entire world can play dumb when he or she wants to.

Put that together with the fact that he wants to forget about his problems, and now we have a problem.

Ignorance can be bliss, but in the end, that ignorance may hurt you.

His mind went over and over the moment that had occured -- he glanced at his watch -- five minutes and twenty-three seconds ago. Haruno Sakura, on top of him. Her face buried in his chest. His arm around her waist.

The heat on his cheeks.

He had been blushing. He felt it, he knew it. Call it what you will, he knew. And that simply added to the weight already on his shoulders -- or in this case, his heart might be a better place for it. He did not blush very easily. There had been exceptions, moments in his life when the red had just swum impulsively to his cheeks, but those moments were extremely uncommon.

But why had that particular moment -- six minutes and eight seconds ago -- caused him to blush? So she had fallen on top of him. Big deal. The incident with Zabuza and Haku, when she had thought him dead and was crying over him was much more to blush about, in his opinion. But then again, he had been hit all over with acupuncture needles, which would prevent anyone from blushing, or even caring about whether he or she was blushing or not.

He was over-analyzing things.

But still, he had to wonder, what in the world was this strange feeling?!

Being who he was, he'd never really had the time to experience such feelings. Such feelings, in his opinion, were nothing but trash. No, even lower than trash, really. That was his opinion. And once Uchiha Sasuke had an opinion, he stuck to it.

Usually.

For somewhere in the depths of his mind, something was telling him that this feeling wasn't just a regular old feeling. It wasn't just like the feeling of intensity and tenseness that he felt amidst battle. In a strange way, this feeling seemed even stronger, deeper.

He had never felt such a feeling before, so naturally, it unnerved him. He liked to think that he lived in a world where everything made perfect sense. He liked to think he lived in a world where one plus one was always two, and where everything was black and white. But this new feeling was not part of his world. This feeling made one plus one equal three, and added a splash of new color to his black and white.

Millions of other girls had fallen at his feet before, so why did she matter? She was one of those girls, anyway, his brain reminded him. She had been one of the worst ones, at that.

But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that she had lessened her "Sasuke-kuns" and requests for dates. In fact, at certain times, it almost seemed like..like..

Like she doesn't like me anymore.

The realization hit him like a ton of bricks. Sakura...not like him anymore?

The first thing he did was to try and shrug it off. So what if she had finally gotten over him? Months -- heck, maybe even years ago -- he would have breathed a sigh of relief -- when nobody was looking, of course -- and thanked God above for giving him such a gift. But now..he felt..empty... completely devoid of emotion...

Anyway, it was only an if. It wasn't like he knew for sure that Sakura had no feelings for him anymore.

Only an if.

But he clung onto that if because it was his last hope.

---

Sasuke could not fall asleep. It wasn't anything uncommon or anything, for he usually slept a meager three to four hours a night, but tonight was...disturbing.

He couldn't stop thinking about her.

And about that particular moment in school that day.

Even now, that same moment brought a bright blush to his cheeks! Tentatively he raised a hand to his right cheek, and sure enough, it was hot.

Dammit.

He was confused, he could admit it now. Earlier that day, his pride as a man and as an Uchiha had prevented him from doing so. He'd made up some dumb excuses about being tired and sleepy and hungry and delirious. But now, in the midst of the dark night, he found that there were no excuses.

He was Uchiha Sasuke. How many times had he said or thought that before? Being Uchiha Sasuke, he did not run away or make pointless excuses. In his mind, they'd simply delayed the inevitable. And being said Uchiha Sasuke, he liked to have things sooner than later.

In other words, he was a hypocrite right now.

He didn't have very many friends, and he'd never experienced such feelings before. This was scaring him greatly, and the fact that he was actually scared scared him even more.

He blinked.

A flash of light pink hair and green eyes....

Sasuke ultimately decided that today was a very bad day.

---

Kakashi never liked to admit anything that had to do with feelings and emotions, but what he could admit was that he had grown quite a bond with his team. Yes, quite a bond indeed. He cared for them, watched over them, and did all in his power to prevent them from getting hurt, both physically and emotionally. In a way, he thought of himself as the big brother, and the three of them were his little brothers and sister.

Well, it was either that, or he thought of himself as a father, and the three of them were his kids.

Being Kakashi, he opted for the former.

Being their "big brother," he watched them from a distance, when they thought nobody was watching. He knew them long enough to know when they were happy, when they were sad, when they angry, mad, or frustrated. He knew when they were hiding their feelings, when they were lying, and when they were just plain confused.

Most of the time, it was Naruto he kept his eye on, for Sasuke seldomly needed any watching, and Sakura was maturing on her own. This time, however, it was quite the opposite.

It had been quite hard to pinpoint, even for Kakashi himself. Sasuke was always so unemotional and cold that sometimes, Kakashi thought he acted that way purely out of habit. But with his keen eye, he'd noticed, all right. It had been in his actions, in his words, in his facial expressions.

Something was wrong with Sasuke.

Kakashi was stumped. What in the world could be wrong with him?

Actually, the real question was, What in the world could actually faze this kid?!

He couldn't figure it out, so he had decided to watch the raven-haired boy for a few more days, at least until he managed to figure most of it out.

It had been three days. Three days. And had he gotten anywhere?

No.

Nowhere.

But today would certainly be the day, yes, indeed.

Apparently, Sakura had come up with the idea for a picnic. She had decided to invite Sasuke -- no surprise there, Kakashi thought as his lips crinkled into a small smile -- Naruto -- that one had been a bit of a shocker, but not too much, for he knew that she had learned to respect him and his feelings for her, although no one was too sure on what those feelings were -- and surprisingly enough, him. Kakashi had complied. A perfect excuse to study his current predicament.

Nothing too different about the situation. Sasuke sat underneath the shade of a particularly large cherry blossom tree, a fact that did not escape Kakashi. {Hey, there had been quite an impressive variety of trees, including a peach blossom tree, an oak tree, a pine tree, amongst many others...it just so caught his attention that out of all of those trees, he chose the sakura tree...} Naruto had a crude little fishing pole in clasped in his hands, sitting not-so-patiently at the edge of the lake. Sakura sat on the grass, her knees drawn up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them, eyes closed, with a peaceful and content look on her face.

Kakashi blinked. Then, on utter impulse, his eyes flickered over to Sasuke.

Whose eyes were on the pink-haired female shinobi.

If he hadn't been a Jounin, or an ex-ANBU member, or Kakashi, he would have burst out laughing at this moment. He would have rolled around in the grass in fits of laughter until the sky fell down.

But he was a Jounin, and he had been an ex-ANBU member, and he was Kakashi.

So he controlled it as best he could, and contented himself with watching the child that he thought was the most like himself in a state of utter confusion.

Well, now, he hadn't been expecting this.

But as a ninja, he was supposed to "read underneath the underneath," hadn't that been what he'd said? Thinking back, if he'd really "read underneath the underneath," he would have figured it out sooner. He shrugged carelessly.

He continued to watch them. Sakura seemed positively oblivious to Sasuke's eyes on her, and she yawned and stretched and smiled widely. She slowly got up from her spot on the grass and walked over to Naruto, poking him on the shoulder and starting up a conversation.

Steam began to radiate from a certain raven-haired boy's ears.

A muffled snort escaped Kakashi's lips. This was priceless.

Seconds later, he decided to intervene. The cherry blossom tree Sasuke was leaning against was quite a pretty tree, and it would be such a waste if it was burned down because of jealousy. He unfolded his long legs and strode over to him, and plopped down beside him. Sasuke acknowledged him with a curt and polite nod, but his face was still rather flushed.

"What's new?" Kakashi asked carefully. It was always best to be polite and nonchalant with kids these days, for if you didn't, they usually figured that something was up, and in their typical teenage way, they would quickly make an excuse to get out of the conversation.

A shrug.

Kakashi knew this was going to be hard, but he wasn't giving up that easily.

"The cherry blossoms look nice." Kakashi crossed his arms over his chest.

A slight pause, and some movement. "...yes."

Finally, an answer! Kakashi was silent for a moment, thinking about his next choice of words. "Have you ever plucked one before?"

Sasuke froze. Kakashi felt it rather than saw it. In the blink of an eye, however, he resumed his normal face. "No," he answered coolly. "I haven't."

Aha, that sly little voice went off in Kakashi's head, Now we're getting somewhere.

"Have you ever...touched one before?" Kakashi could feel his lips curve into an almost-smirk, but he bit down on his lip forcefully. The images were coming, he knew. For even Uchiha Sasuke was a man, and that did have its down side.

He felt him trembling. "....no." The word came out more forcefully than Kakashi was sure he had intended to.

"Wouldn't you like to touch one?" Kakashi silently thanked God above for his mask; he was grinning more broadly than he ever had in his entire life. At the same time, he also thanked God above that sakura meant cherry blossom.

Kakashi felt the young boy next to him shaking with utter rage. He smirked.

Easy. Much too easy.

"Have you ever kissed one before?" Kakashi spoke slowly, pausing between every word, and putting careful emphasis on the word "kissed." If Sasuke wasn't, well, Sasuke, then his face would have turned the reddest color ever known to man. Kakashi had to hand it to him; except for the fact that he was shaking with anger, his face wasn't too bad, actually.

Silence.

Kakashi laughed shortly, earning himself a glare from the already pissed off teen. "The only way to see if a cherry blossom is ready is to kiss it." He paused for a second, silently berating himself. Was that the best he could come up with? "If it wilts, it's not ready. If it remains the same and continues to bloom thereafter, it's ready." He had to stop himself from rolling his eyes; he sounded absolutely ridiculous. After taking yet another short pause, he decided to use a choice of words that would make more sense to the young man. "You see? As a ninja, one must always be ready to take risks and accept whatever consequences come after. Whatever the situation is, these are the rules a true ninja follows."

He watched Sasuke closely, watching as his usually clear onyx eyes turned into a foggy, misty gray. His words had had some effect, at least, his brain told him.

"About time you caught some fish!!" Sakura's shrill, annoyed voice caught both of their attention. "It took you one whole hour to catch one stinking fish!!!"

Obviously, she wasn't aware that Sasuke was listening, for she never would have used such words and such a tone of voice.

Kakashi stood up, patting the young Uchiha on the shoulder. "C'mon," he jerked his head towards Naruto and Sakura's direction. "Let's eat."

Sasuke stood up wordlessly, his feet dragging on the dewy grass. When the fish was finally cooked, he sat down silently and ate his portion, a half sullen, half bewildered look in his eye when Sakura took her usual seat next to him and addressed him as "Sasuke-kun." She tried to strike up some conversation, but ultimately failed, and finally acknowledged Naruto's pleas for a piece of her fish.

Kakashi sighed, but it was soft and went unnoticed. He had done all that he could, his brain told him. All that was left to do was to wait it out. Love did not bloom, after all, if it was rushed.

---

On the day of April 16, Naruto once again discovered something that never should have been discovered. Seconds, minutes, heck, hours thereafter he was still rooted to the spot, the moment still glued to his mind.

He was officially scarred for life.

Sasuke -- Uchiha Sasuke -- had tried to kiss Sakura.

Naruto resisted the urge to scream. He was a ninja, and ninjas did not scream. At least, not male ninjas, his inner self told him; Sakura would kill him if she ever knew he had ever thought such a thought. He rubbed his eyes furiously. It had simply been a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But -- but -- why did it have to be at that particular time?!

He wanted to forget about it. But the image -- the image was glued into his mind, and he couldn't get it out!

This had been what had happened:

Sakura had offered to clean the classroom after school -- for reasons that escaped Naruto's mind -- and here was the big surprise: Sasuke had offered to do it as well.

"I'll help," he had said in his cool, unemotional, nonchalant voice. After five minutes of gawking at him, he sneered. "It will take her the whole night to clean this entire pigsty. And I have nothing better to do." And then he had gone back to his classic Sasuke position of having his hands clasped in front of him.

That had been the first part.

"Ano... arigatou, Sasuke-kun," Sakura had said meekly after this was decided. "You're right, it would have taken me forever to clean up that classroom by myself." There was a gleam in her eye. This must have been the infamous "Inner Sakura" taking over.

Sasuke shrugged, and bent down to pick up a crumpled wad of paper.

Sakura had a broom and a dustpan, and swept up all the dust and shreds of paper.

There was an awkward silence, and Naruto watched carefully from his place outside the window. This was shaping up to be quite a boring afternoon, but the fact that Sakura and Sasuke were alone together had to bring him some amusement.

His eyes roved from Sakura, to Sasuke, then back to Sakura, and at last, back to Sasuke.

Sakura looked the same as she usually did around Sasuke. Her light pink hair framed her pale face, and her jade eyes sparkled happily. A content smile was on her lips, undoubtedly she was satisfied to be with her beloved Sasuke-kun. There was a pink flush on her cheeks, but again, that was nothing uncommon.

Sasuke, as usual, looked the same. Cold, unemotional, and thumpingly silent. Every movement he did was graceful in his ninja way, but there were small moments when he would look out at the female shinobi out of the corner of his eye and stop what he was doing.

If only Naruto could see his eyes. They probably would have held that same unexplainable emotion.

But alas, he couldn't, so he watched from the outside.

And half an hour later, it was all he could do to not fall asleep.

Nothing had happened. Nothing out of the ordinary, anyway. Sakura tried at least a million times to talk about various things, but each and every time, Sasuke brushed it off. Naruto couldn't help but scratch at his blond hair. Was his theory about Sasuke having feelings really worth relying on?

"Sasuke-kun? You can leave now if you want." Sakura looked slightly embarrassed. "I don't want to keep you here. You could be doing training..."

"I want to be here," Sasuke said shortly, voice completely devoid of emotion. "I've trained enough. One afternoon won't make a difference."

Naruto almost fainted. Sasuke, deliberately miss training? This definitely signaled a red flag. And what had he said... he wanted to be there?

"Oh." Sakura looked surprised, and Naruto sure couldn't blame her. Nonetheless, she looked happy to hear it. "Well...arigatou, Sasuke-kun."

And another thirty minutes passed without much excitement. Sighing, Naruto was about to walk off to the Ichiraku Noodle Bar to get a nice, steaming bowl of ramen with what little money he had left when Sakura spoke.

"We're done!" Sakura wiped off the sweat on her brow with the back of her hand. "Thanks so much, Sasuke-kun!" The familiar energetic smile was on her face.

Another shrug.

Naruto slowly crept back to the window and bent so that only his left eye was visible through the window. Sakura strode over to the window next to the one he was hiding under, opened it, and threw her arms out.

"Feel that breeze, Sasuke-kun! It feels so nice!"

Sasuke looked in her direction, and slowly took a few steps towards her, until he was finally next to her. She smiled at him. For some reason, Naruto noticed that Sakura wasn't as flirtatious as before. Had she given up on Sasuke?

"Doesn't it feel nice, Sasuke-kun? It's so rare that we get such a nice breeze."

"Aa."

But from what Naruto could see from his rather awkward position, Sasuke wasn't even looking out the window. Instead, he was looking at...

"He's looking at Sakura-chan!" he whispered softly to himself. He blinked as he went over this in his head. Sasuke was looking at Sakura?!

There was another awkward silence as Sakura leaned out the window and Naruto pressed himself against the wall with all his might, praying sincerely to God above that he wouldn't be caught. When she went back inside, he let out a sigh of relief.

And then his eyes widened to the size of plates.

Just as Sakura had been letting her head reenter the room, Sasuke leaned over as if -- as if --

As if to kiss her!!

Unfortunately, our dear "avenger" missed. Sakura had moved too quickly for him, and his lips met nothing but air. If not for his quick reflexes, his body would have fallen forward to meet the ground.

Naruto's mouth was nothing but a gaping hole.

"Sasuke-kun? Daijoubu desu ka?" Sakura's voice was filled with concern.

"I'm fine," he grunted. "I just -- tripped."

"Oh." Sakura blinked. "Listen...I hate to, um, leave....but I have to get back home. It's getting dark."

"Hn."

"Would you..." It was during moments like these that Sakura had gone back to her old self. Her face was pink. "...like to walk me home?"

Naruto's ears perked up.

"No, thanks."

Sakura looked disappointed, but it wasn't anything she hadn't gotten used to by now. "Oh. That's all right, Sasuke-kun. Next time, maybe?"

A shrug. Sakura let a sigh escape her lips, and Sasuke looked up at her with an expression of regret. Sakura didn't notice, but Naruto did.

"I'll go home then," Sakura said, trying to sound cheerful. "See you tomorrow, Sasuke-kun."

"Aa. See you."

Naruto was frozen. Sasuke had tried to kiss Sakura.

Sasuke had tried to kiss Sakura.

Sasuke had tried to kiss Sakura.

He checked the sky for any signs of pigs. Nope, nothing.

"Naruto. I know you're out there."

Naruto cringed. Damn that Sasuke and his sixth sense. A well-aimed pebble hit him squarely in the middle of the forehead. Temper flaring, he stood up, and began to shout.

"What the HELL was that for, you idiot?!"

But Sasuke was already walking out the door, completely ignoring the blond ninja. Naruto was about to explode.

"Damn that Kakashi-sensei..." Sasuke mused, and then disappeared from view, leaving Uzumaki Naruto, as usual, clueless.

---

When Kakashi had first heard of the so-called "field trip," it had been extremely hard not to burst out laughing. What did the Hokage think of him? A mere baby-sitter for those snobby little brats?

"Now, Kakashi," he said sternly. "You were the best pick! Actually, it was either you or Iruka, but Iruka made off with some lame excuse...anyway, it's you."

Kakashi let a sigh escape his lips. It was an order from the Hokage, and he could not refuse.

"I accept," he said reluctantly. Then, he stopped. "Where am I taking them?"

"The park."

Kakashi scratched his silver hair. Had he just heard right? "The park?" he echoed faintly. "The park?"

"The park." Hokage-sama shrugged. "I thought it would be nice if all the kids had a day off.

"And I'm baby-sitting?"

The Hokage nodded. "Aa. We will need your skills to control Naruto from killing Sasuke, to control Sakura and Ino from killing each other, and...other problems that could possibly surface."

That was certainly a nice way to put it, Kakashi thought dryly. Of all the people, he had to be the one chosen. But he supposed the Hokage had his reasons, and Kakashi had had the most experience with those kids.

"I see." Kakashi stuffed his hands in his pockets. "When is this...little field trip?"

"Today."

"Today." Kakashi repeated. Yes, he believed the old man sometimes lived to torture him. But again, he was the Hokage, and it would not do to disobey him. "All right. I'll be on my way."

"Good luck," Hokage-sama said with traces of a smirk on his old, wrinkled face.

Kakashi left wordlessly, and he ambled slowly down the street. The sky was especially blue today, and the cherry blossom trees were blooming beautifully. A light breeze blew off the blossoms, and the pink petals scattered across the sky.

Speaking of which, he wondered how Sasuke was doing. Developing feelings for something was never an easy thing to do, but for someone like Sasuke, he imagined that it must have been especially hard. Growing up that way hadn't been a good thing. He had been exposed to hate and anger at an extremely early age, and ever since then, those had been the only feelings he had felt. And now, to suddenly be introduced to such a different feeling... Poor kid, he must really be hurting.

But maybe...just maybe, Sakura would be the one...

He had watched them grow from bratty little kids to mature -- to some extent, anyway -- young adults. He didn't like to say it if it could be helped, but he truly was proud of his Team 7. Heck, he should be! With all the time and effort he had put forth into making sure they grew into not just good ninja, but good human beings as well, he'd better have received some fruits of his labor.

Sasuke had been the hardest to watch. Having grown up the way he had, it was inevitable that he would have the hardest life of them all. But now that this was finally happening, it seemed that Sasuke finally had some hope for a happy life.

His feet led him to the school, where the entire class was waiting. Kakashi checked his watch. Not bad, actually. He was only late one hour this time...

"Oi, oi," he said calmly, satisfied with the silence that he received, "Today, you guys get the day off. So keep your mouths shut and follow me."

"The day off?! Are you serious?!"

"Baka, don't ask him something like that! Take what you get!"

"The day off!"

"Can you believe it?"

"This is heaven!"

Kakashi rolled his eyes. He turned around to face them, gesturing to keep it down. His eyes flickered over the students. There were many he vaguely recognized, but Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke still stayed together at the back of the line. Sakura was chattering animatedly over something or other, Naruto was strangely quiet, and Sasuke had a preoccupied look in his eyes.

He sighed. Why did the kid have to make it so hard? It wasn't everyday that the very same girl you were harboring feelings for was crazy for you, as well! The kid had been given a gift, but he refused to accept that gift. Maybe it was just the way he was born. Yes, that kid seemed to like working extra hard for something he had already been given.

The park was empty, but that didn't stop it from still looking beautiful. The grass had been freshly cut, with tiny drops of dew lingering. It was spring, and the flowers and trees were blooming.

Especially the cherry blossoms, and he didn't mean just the trees, either.

Sakura was looking much happier these days, but that had been nothing new. The girl had always said spring was her favorite season, and she usually was happier during that short period of time when the flowers grew. She smiled and laughed, twirling around happily and talking and pointing at the different trees and flowers. Naruto smiled and responded with some happiness, but Sasuke was still infuriatingly silent.

He scratched his head. That kid was hard to corner.

"You guys, as you already know, have the whole day off!" he shouted at the babbling kids. "Go anywhere you want within the park, and the park only. If I catch any of you outside of the park, we'll be doing some lovely survival exercises as a consequence." He didn't fail to miss the dark look that his Team 7 exchanged.

"Sasuke-kun! Where would you like to go?" Sakura asked brightly.

"I'll stay here."

Sakura's face fell, and for a brief moment, it looked like she was going to make another valiant attempt to melt the frozen heart of this boy, but after a few seconds of silence, she instead forced a happy look on her face and smiled. "Okay. I'll just go over with Naruto, then."

"Whaaaat?!" Naruto facefaulted as Sakura proceeded to drag him away by the arm, ignoring his cries of, "Why are you giving up so easily, Sakura-chan?! Come on, you can do it!!!" until he was silenced by a well-placed blow to the jaw.

A sweatdrop almost appeared at Kakashi's forehead. Almost.

Sakura had matured definitely, and it seemed like her crush on Sasuke was fading. Not that the Jounin blamed her, of course. If he had been in her shoes, he would have decked him long ago and given up on him. After many years of trying and failing to be acknowledged, it seemed that her feelings were finally vanishing, and if Sasuke didn't do something soon, he would lose Sakura forever.

He wanted so badly to interfere, to grab that stubborn mule of a boy by the collar and drag him to the pink-haired shinobi, but with the patience and self-discipline that only he could have, he desisted. He had done all that he was allowed to do. He had given him his little talk and lecture, and put him on the right path. It was up to the boy which path he was to take. He could do no more.

Suddenly, Sasuke, with hands stuffed in his pockets and head bent so that his bangs hid his eyes, began to trudge slowly to Sakura and Naruto. Kakashi watched this all.

Sasuke stopped abruptly behind the two. Sakura was struggling to wake the unconscious Naruto up.

"Geez...did I really hit him that hard?" she pondered, tugging on her pink locks. "Naruto...come on, wake up...."

"Leave him." Sasuke's voice was strange, a cross between I-wish-I-wasn't-here and Goddammit-I-just-want-to-get-this-over-with.

"Oh...Sasuke-kun!" Sakura sounded extremely surprised, but no one could blame her. It wasn't everyday that the Uchiha Sasuke came up to you out of his own free will.

"Hn."

Kakashi's eye twitched. Was that the only word that could come out of the kid's damn mouth?!

"Ano...I thought you weren't coming with us."

"I changed my mind."

"Oh."

Again, there was silence. Wherever Sasuke went, silence was sure to follow. Kakashi decided to sit down, with his latest volume of Icha Icha Paradise in hand.

"It's..." Sasuke struggled for words. "...a nice day."

Kakashi then dropped his book, and if it weren't for his trained reflexes, it would have fallen with an embarrasingly loud thud on the floor, and then some. The look on Sakura's face was priceless, and Sasuke looked like he would rather be eating ramen with Naruto than be here. Kakashi's lips wrinkled into a smile. So there was hope after all.

"It...is," Sakura answered after getting over her initial shock. It wasn't too often that Sasuke tried to talk about the weather. "But it's always beautiful during spring. Especially the cherry blossoms, don't you think?" She waved her arms, gesturing to the cherry blossom trees.

"..aa, they're...nice."

Kakashi shrugged, now engrossed in his book. He supposed it was too much to hope that the word "beautiful" would escape his lips.

But the young ninja was pretty close, he thought. All he had to do was say the words...

"Come on, Sasuke-kun! Let's sit underneath the cherry blossom trees...I mean, if that's okay with you.." Sakura added hastily, looking hopefully at Sasuke for his approval.

He shrugged.

Sometimes, Kakashi couldn't help but wonder if the guy even knew how to talk.

Sakura strode over to the nearest cherry blossom tree, plucking one from one of the lower branches as she did so. She sat down, leaning against the tree trunk, staring lovingly at the pink blossom she held in her hands. Sasuke followed her, sitting down next to her, gazing inquiringly at the flower.

"Cherry blossoms have always been my favorite flower," Sakura said quietly, her voice lacking the usual exuberance and energy it usually contained. She let her fingers caress the petals. "And it's not just because we share the same name. It's just...cherry blossoms are so beautiful, you know? They don't last for a very long time, either. It seems like they just bloom for a day, and then suddenly, the wind just blows them away, and all that is left is the tree. They don't stay for long, is what I'm saying. And because they don't stay so long, you have to learn to appreciate its beauty before it's completely gone."

She let a petal escape through the gap between her hands. "They're so fragile, too. The slightest movement can damage them forever. But even so...after everything is said and done, they still remain beautiful, you know? It's like...even after everything they've gone through, they still have the strength to see another day." She grinned sheepishly. "Ah, gomen ne, Sasuke-kun. I must be boring you."

But Sasuke shook his head. "No..I..I understand."

This was the moment! that sly voice in the back of Kakashi's head shouted, This. Was. It. !!!

It seemed Sasuke's mind was unified with Kakashi's, for he closed his eyes and moved his head and was leaning slowly towards her, down, down, down.........

Only to have his lips meet the cold, tasteless tree trunk.

Kakashi bit his tongue to prevent himself from doubling over. He tasted blood, but the laughter in his head was too great. If only he'd had a camera...

"Ahh! Sasuke-kun!" Sakura sounded scandalized. "Are you okay?!"

"I'm okay." Sasuke stood up, dusting off his shorts. "I was just -- sleepy. I almost fell asleep, that's all."

"Oh." It seemed Sakura believed him. "Well...it is a day off, so I'm sure Kakashi-sensei will allow you to sleep."

Sasuke shrugged indifferently, and held out his hand, waiting for Sakura to take it. Sakura did so, and looked like she was in absolute bliss.

"Do you want...some lunch?" Sakura asked.

Again, Sasuke shrugged, but didn't argue when Sakura led him over to the picnic tables, which were overflowing with food. They both sat down and began to eat.

There is a certain look that comes across one's face when one has found and experienced the feeling called happiness. It is a look that simply cannot be described with words, but when that look comes across someone's face, it is easily recognized. Kakashi had lived a considerably interesting life, and he had seen this look come across quite a few people's faces. And each and every time, his heart swelled with happiness for that other person.

But his heart had never swelled more than right now.

Sasuke did have a chance at happiness. He'd always had that chance, but he'd always ignored it, too intent on the hatred that surrounded him. It seemed like he had lost that chance. But now, maybe, just maybe, he'd finally realized that he still had that opportunity.

---

On his previous birthday, Naruto had received a boombox from Iruka-sensei, along with a collection of various Jrock songs burned on two CDs. It surprised him how well his former teacher knew him, for all the songs on the CD were either soft rock or hard rock, but none of the sappy, mushy pop music he hated.

The two CDs he'd received were the only ones he had, especially considering that he wasn't exactly a rich person. But he treasured those CDs, and listened to them on a regular basis.

Naruto was the type of person who pretty much listened to the music, but only heard the words. He bopped his head together with the beat while practicing jutsus and such, but he'd never paid attention to the words. Words were just words, he told himself, the music was more worthwhile to listen to.

After two continuous hours of doing nothing but a variety of jutsus that his chakra could handle, Naruto fell back on his bed, exhausted, the music still pounding loudly in his ears.

Boy, was he having some problems today. Sasuke and Sakura? A few months ago, he would have burst out into peals of laughter and scoffed. But now, he wasn't so sure. {Of course, it wasn't like he really knew what had happened earlier that day; he had been unconscious for a good two-thirds of the entire trip.}

Sakura-chan and Sasuke were his friends, of course, he could admit that with ease. Well, maybe he couldn't admit that Sasuke was his friend, but for now, he could. He had learned from them, and he had stayed with them throughout it all.

It was obvious from the beginning that Naruto had had a crush on Sakura-chan, but now that he thought about it, it seemed like it had dwindled into nothing but feelings of friendship. And again, it was obvious that Sakura-chan had had feelings for her darling Sasuke-kun, but in the beginning, it had been like a childhood crush, nothing more. She followed him around, no matter what, but still... there were times when it seemed like she truly loved him.

Sasuke, now, was....was... Naruto struggled for words at this point. An ice cube. There. He was always frozen solid and cold, and delighted in the cold and darkness. Whenever somebody tried to hold him, or change him, or get too close to him, they would feel the coldness radiating from him, coldness that was too cold for his or her own good, and immediately put him back in his natural habitat, and leave him be.

Like an ice cube. If you tried to hold an ice cube in your hand for too long, your hand would soon become numb from the cold, and eventually, you wouldn't be able to handle the cold, and immediately throw it down.

That was what Sasuke had striven to do his whole life. He'd tried to be so cold that whenever someone got too close to him, they couldn't help but move away. It was natural instinct.

But Sakura had been different. Despite all of Sasuke's attempts to push her away, she still kept on coming. She, unlike so many other people, tried to be the fire that would melt this ice cube.

{It should be noted at this point that Naruto was so ecstatic and dumbfounded at this sudden realization and the fact that he himself had been the one to realize it that he fell off his bed, his head banging against the foot of the bed. Yes. Ouch, indeed.}

Incidentally, Naruto was also the sort of person who liked to meddle in other people's affairs. Or, actually, had been the sort of person who liked to meddle in other's affairs. After a nasty occurence involving Shikamaru, Ino, something called a tampon -- Naruto was blissfully ignorant -- and a rather sharp kunai, he'd decided that from that point on, meddling wasn't such a good thing anymore. And now that he sat down and thought about it -- yes, Naruto actually sat down and thought about things -- maybe meddling in a situation that involved Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura wasn't exactly a smart thing to do.

He sighed dejectedly. No...as much as he would love to see Sakura-chan happy, and as much as he would love to see Sasuke actually smile -- No, wait, on second thought, maybe not... -- he seriously didn't think it was worth losing a leg and a rib and an arm over.

He slowly stood up, groaning as he rubbed his shoulder. He reached over and cranked up the volume of his boombox as the track changed to his favorite song. He shuffled slowly to the cupboards, retrieving a cup of instant ramen. Then he filled the kettle with some water, turned on the stove, and waited for it to boil.

As the soft whistle came, Naruto snapped the stove off, and filled up the styrofoam cup with hot water. Then he settled back and waited for the three minutes to pass.

The music filled his ears, and he found himself singing -- horribly off-key, but that's beside the point -- the lyrics to them. It was only at this point that he understood what he was singing, and what the words actually meant. In his shock, he fell of his chair and landed sorely on a book whose corners were sticking up. After screaming a few well-chosen words, he got right back up.

A grin of triumph and victory spread across his face. In a flash, he pressed the stop button on the boombox, took out the CD and put it back in its case, and unplugged the boombox. He then put those items beside the door so that it would be impossible for him to forget it tomorrow.

It wasn't much, but maybe, just maybe, it was enough.

You would think that after all of this, he would have forgotten about the ramen and would have continued working on his little "plan."

Wrong. He then proceeded to rip off the paper cover of the cup, and literally drank the cup, slurping noisily, drops of soup and pieces of noodle falling on the already cluttered floor.

Uzumaki Naruto, after everything was said and done, was still Uzumaki Naruto.

---

Kissing was frustratingly complicated, and Sasuke did not like anything that was complicated. Complicated and that had to do with "matters of the heart," anyway. Complicated by itself, he could handle. He'd mastered countless jutsus that had been classified as "complicated," and that had been perfectly fine by him. But add "complicated" and "matters of the heart" together, and then you got a completely different result.

A small part of him wondered why he was even listening to the old man. If his own advice had worked, then he wouldn't still be single at the age of -- he paused. How old was Kakashi, anyway? With silver...or was it gray hair? Well, with hair the color of that, he must be pushing forty...

Twice now. Twice he'd tried.

And failed.

He did not like to fail.

The past nights, he'd lain awake, thinking back to Kakashi's advice, if you could even call it advice, that is. He groaned, every single time he realized that he was actually listening to the guy who read Icha Icha Paradise for his own personal enjoyment. But what really hurt was that he'd finally realized that he needed to do this, he had to do this.

It was a matter of life and death.

Maybe he was exaggerating, but it would be a million years before something like this would ever happen to him again. He was used to deciding things purely out of instinct, not bothering to think about the consequences. Like he usually did when he was in a battle of life and death as a ninja. When you were fighting against your enemy, your life on the line, the only thing you thought of was that you wanted to win. No matter what.

With that thought of victory in mind, you then came right at your enemy, weapons in hand, eyes narrowed in a calculating manner, and struck when they least suspected it. It was because of this technique that you won, and left the other guy speechless.

This was how he had been going on trying to kiss Sakura. When she had been off-guard, he instinctively moved to capture her lips with his own, assuming that she would still be there. But it hadn't worked. Her mind was at a different place than his.

But when you were battling with another for your life, both of you had your minds set at the same place: The want, the need to win.

It was only then that Sasuke realized that he had been going about this in the entirely wrong fashion. He had only been thinking about himself and his desire to show, tell her how he felt. He hadn't been thinking about her.

There is a saying, "It takes two to tango." Sasuke vaguely remembered this from one of his classes. It took two people for something to work, like to tango, for instance. He now knew that it took two people to make a relationship work, or, in his situation, to kiss. One person couldn't dominate over the other and try to kiss the other while the other was off in a different world.

"It takes two to tango." They needed to work together. He couldn't do it all by himself.

"It takes two to tango." Maybe this meant, it took two people to truly, truly live on this world and be happy. He could now admit that he couldn't live on his own, in his lonely world where only he existed. He needed someone else. Someone who could handle him. Someone who could make him happy.

Someone who he could love.

"It takes two to tango."

He needed her.

"It takes two to tango."

Maybe it sounds foolhardy to admit it only now, but better late than never. Sakura had always been open about her feelings, but Sasuke was too busy concentrating on other things to ever take notice. But now, when his loneliness was at its peak, he'd finally understood... He needed someone else to distract him from the down side of life.

And only now did he discover that she was the only one that could do so.

Tomorrow...Tomorrow would be the day.

---

Naruto was all set, for once. In his right hand, he held his precious boombox, in his left, the CD. He crept across the hallway silently. This had better be worth it; waking up at precisely five a.m. in the morning was not something Naruto did very easily.

He plugged the boombox in at the corner of their classroom, and silently placed the CD in. He then escaped out of the room, blending in with the shadows, having exchanged his trademark orange jacket for a black one. A small remote was clutched in his hands.

He indistinctly remembered something about repeatedly hearing something would make you learn that something. He was hoping with all his heart that once Mr. Ice Cube Sasuke heard the words to this song, he would finally do what he had been meaning to do.

He settled back against the cold wall, checking his digital watch. Six o'clock...

Two more hours, then, a tired voice said in his mind, and he then closed his eyes in search of sleep.

---

Sasuke woke up unusually late that morning. Undoubtedly, now that his heart had found some peace, he'd had a better time sleeping. The clock next to his bed read seven-thirty, and he kicked off the blankets and trudged slowly to his kitchen. He poured a glass of milk, and wearily ate two pieces of bread.

Today.

There was a small part of him that still doubted, of course. It is an extremely rare occasion when every single part of you actually agrees on something, and Sasuke was no exception. The majority of him felt cool, calm, and collected, but yet there was still some part of him that was skeptical.

But what had Kakashi-sensei said? "As a ninja, one must always be ready to take risks and accept whatever consequences come after. Whatever the situation is, these are the rules a true ninja follows."

But this wasn't just a battle of his ninja pride.

This was a battle for his happiness.

Not just as a ninja, but as a true, human being.

Up till now, he still didn't know exactly what he was going to do or say. There probably is never an occasion where one knows exactly what to do or say. It's purely instinct, but this time, Sasuke knew that he needed to pay attention to her, too, and not just go by himself.

He wordlessly downed the glass of milk in one gulp, got dressed, and walked out the door.

Today.

He briefly glared at the cherry blossom trees he passed. They weren't making it easier.

He searched inside himself for what he was feeling. Anger? Resentment?

Fear?

He shook his head gruffly. What was he to fear? Sakura was crazy about him -- okay, maybe that was an understatement, but everybody in Konohagakure knew that the pink-haired shinobi, among many other females, was head over heels crazy about him.

His muscles were tense, his hair unusually unkempt. His hands were clenched into fists, and the thought didn't have to cross his mind, for he unconsciously knew.

He was nervous.

Sasuke was the kind of person who said "Less talk, more fight." In other words, he preferred actually doing something rather than talking about it. Words were a waste of time, he believed, words were full of lies. Actions, on the other hand, were what one did, and they reflected what one truly felt.

Maybe that was why he hadn't wasted time trying to tell her how he felt, but instead tried to show her how he felt. He had never been gifted with words, anyway. Only God knew what Sakura would do if Sasuke tried to sweet-talk her.

This....strange, unfamiliar feeling in the pit of his stomach unnerved him. The closest thing he had ever felt to it was during the ordeal with Zabuza.

Sasuke sighed as the breeze ruffled his hair. He knew he had to do it, but that didn't lessen the feeling he was experiencing in the pit of his stomach. Torture constantly followed him, and he was used to that. Suffering, pain, anguish...he had felt that all his life, but after experiencing this undescribeable feeling, he found he would much rather experience the hurt. At least, he was used to those feelings.

Sasuke did not like things he wasn't used to. He didn't like things he couldn't comprehend. He liked things to be normal, rational, predictable... He liked his world of black-and-white, where one plus one was always two.

Maybe...Maybe that's why he had pushed her away so many times.

He liked his world in a balance, where everything was reasonable and logical. Sakura was different. She was happy, outgoing, energetic, and embraced the irrational. She had happiness. He had loneliness.

That strenghtened his resolve. It was his one and only chance to be happy, was it not?

Sasuke had always been taught to go for what he wanted.

It was time to do just that.

Happiness is a free gift, but to some, it is an obstacle. Particularly to this young man. Happiness was something he wanted and needed, but his past experiences were standing in the way.

Perhaps today he would regain the gift he had thought he had lost forever.

---

The door to the classroom was wide open and empty, except for one person. Sakura sat on top of a desk that was directly in front of an open window, gazing at the large cherry blossom tree.

Sasuke swallowed. He hated to admit it, but that feeling had grown worse.

Sakura hadn't noticed him yet, and he was secretly grateful. He fiddled with the edge of his black shirt, coming extremely close to ripping it apart.

It was a cloudy day, but the sun made a valiant effort to shine through. A wind that signaled the coming of a storm blew, knocking some of the cherry blossoms inside through the already open window.

"Oh!" Sakura gasped, surprised. She quickly jumped off the desk and shut the window, breathing a soft sigh of relief as she did so. She then turned around, eyeing the pink blossoms that had scattered across the classroom floor -- and then she noticed him.

"Sasuke-kun!" she sounded sincerely shocked this time. Sasuke was unusually early; it was only eight o'clock, and the rest of the students usually arrived at nine. "Ano...what are you doing here so early? You're usually off doing some extra training..."

"I woke up late," Sasuke replied. It was true, he had. "So I decided to come here."

"Oh." She smiled sincerely at him, and then sat back up on the desk. After a few seconds' silence, she indicated to the desk next to her, a light flush on her cheeks. "Would you -- Would you like to sit down?"

Silently, Sasuke complied. He took his seat gracefully and quietly, and looked out at the direction Sakura was looking in.

"The cherry blossom tree?" he inquired, knowing what the answer would be.

"H -- Hai." She turned to look at him, still blushing. It was strange, a small voice in the back of Sasuke's head, There were times when it seemed like she had given up on him, and there were other times when it seemed like nothing had changed from when they were still known as Team 7. "The rain will come soon," she stated. "Then the wind...and the cherry blossoms will all fall."

Sasuke could find nothing to say to that. "Aa," he finally agreed. "Demo, they'll come back."

"That's true..." Sakura wrung her hands. "It just takes a long time."

Sasuke bit his lip. This was a strange conversation. Sakura had never been serious like this before. She'd always been obnoxiously cheerful, happy, sometimes annoying...but never serious...

There was a click in the corner of the classroom, which caused the two shinobi to turn their heads. A bright orange boombox which both could have sworn hadn't been there before stared defiantly at them. Neither of them knew what to expect.

"A boombox?" Sakura furrowed her brow.

Sasuke merely frowned.

That was when the music began. It had a hard rock beat, one that most teenage kids would probably enjoy listening to. The intro caused Sakura's lips to perk up slightly. It was at that very moment that the singer began to sing out the words.

[ moshimo PIANO ga hiketa nara

omoi no subete wo uta ni shite

kimi ni tsutaeru koto darou ]

[ If I could only play the piano

I'd put all my thoughts into song

So they would be something I could tell you ]

Sasuke's lips curled into an all too familiar scowl. He knew full well who was lurking outside the classroom. He sensed his chakra. The urge to beat some sense into the ambitious young ninja was incredibly overwhelming.

Then, another presence was felt, a familiar one. His eye involuntarily twitched.

What, the old man is involved as well?

"Ne, Sasuke-kun...it's a nice song, isn't it?" Sakura closed her eyes and let a sated look take over her face.

"...aa," Sasuke reluctantly agreed, glaring daggers at the door.

"Listen to the words!" Sakura said softly. "I love these lyrics..."

Sasuke forced himself to listen to the words, as much as he hated the useless, pointless things.

[ ame ga furu hi wa ame no yo ni

kaze fuku yoru ni wa kaze no yo ni

hareta asa ni wa hareyaka ni ]

[ On rainy days, it would be like the rain

On windy nights, it would be like the wind

On sunny mornings, it would be bright ]

"Sasuke-kun? You look...preoccupied."

Sasuke wanted so desperately to hurl a shuriken or two at the two idiots currently hanging outside the door, but he stopped himself.

"I'm fine," he said, the words coming out a bit too coldly than he'd wanted. He didn't miss the hurt look that flitted across her face.

She forced her typical happy look onto her face, smiling at him as she decided to jump off the desk.

Bad choice.

She slipped somehow, and landed with a loud thud on the floor. She bit her tongue, and then looked up at him, embarrassed. "Itai..."

He was there by her side in an instant, checking for any injury. "You all right?" he asked carefully, still a bit uneasy over being this close to her. It took two to tango, but what if the other one didn't want to tango?

Green eyes met onyx.

Sasuke was vaguely aware that Naruto and Kakashi were hiding outside, and that they could see everything that was going on with the two of them. He was vaguely aware that the rain had started falling, drop, drop, drop, and that the wind had blown the cherry blossoms so that they stuck, wet, to the window. He was vaguely aware of the music and the words, still playing in the background.

Closer, closer, closer.

[ dakedo boku ni PIANO ga nai

kimi ni kikaseru ude mo nai

kokoro wa itsudemo hanbiraki

tsutaeru kotoba ga nokosareru

AA A-- AA.......

nokosareru ]

[ But I haven't got a piano

Nor arms that can ask you

My heart is always only partly open

So the words I want to tell you are forced to remain here

Ah~

Forced to remain ]

It was a new experience, one that he'd never encountered before. And he knew, no other experience would ever be able to compare. The different feelings and emotions were more than he could handle.

It took two to tango, and he'd finally found his tango partner.

Eyes are the windows to the man's soul, and at this moment, his eyes were purely, blissfully content, and happy.

Question after question fluttered through his mind, questions like, What if this doesn't work out? or What happens next? or Can I make her happy? but he quickly pushed them aside.

The road ahead of them was a rough one, filled with many rocks and bricks and barriers. He didn't know what the future held for the two of them.

But for now, Naruto's CD was still playing in the background; outside the door, Naruto was dancing with joy, Kakashi was reading the latest volume of Icha Icha Paradise, his eye crinkled into a smile, and it wasn't because of what he was reading; and inside the classroom, a pink haired kunoichi was in absolute heaven, and the ice cube had finally been melted.

Everything was as it had been, only now it was a whole lot better.

-- owari: the end --

A/N~ Lyrics are from "Moshimo Piano ga Hiketa Nara" or "If I Could Only Play the Piano," by Plastic Tree. ^___^ Love that song, you should download it if you ever get the chance.

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