Disclaimer: No own Naruto. Crystal? Clear.
Author's Notes: Special thanks to Ally for beta'ing this fic.
Prologue: It All Starts With Hello
"But you were there
And you were everything I'd never seen
You woke me up from this long and endless sleep
I opened my eyes and you were there."
- You Were There, Southern Sons
Sakura looked over at Naruto. He was staring at her butt. Guys, she thought, annoyed. She turned and slammed her locker door shut, slinging her backpack over her shoulder and letting it slide down to hide her rear.
There were many things Sakura hated about high school but one of them was not Sasuke Uchiha; she had yet to catch him looking at her butt. He was, currently, on her to-do list. She made to-do lists for everything. A current example would be as follows.
- English Essay (due Th)
- Call Ino about basketball practice
- Have Sasuke Uchiha fall in love with her
- No more eating ice cream before bed
- Go to bed early (Important Note: good for skin)
Sasuke Uchiha was her newest addition to her all important list. He had arrived a week ago with his dark hair and even darker eyes and she had wanted those eyes to only be focused on her. From the beginning his aloof personality intrigued her and she was determined to make him her friend and more.
As she accomplished her goals she would go through and cross them out with a big black marker that was permanent and so strong it bled through the paper. She was a procrastinator at heart, so being able to cross out anything was a big accomplishment for her.
Her view of Sasuke's butt, which she had been inconspicuously peering at while pretending to look at one of her homework assignments was blocked by Ino's head.
Great, just who she needed to see so early in the morning. She looked back down the hallway to find Sasuke gone and with him gone, so was her good mood. Then she remembered her to-do list (which she conveniently made this morning, as she did every morning, before she left for school) and decided she could get one thing over with and crossed out.
The tall, lanky blonde girl who was graceful despite her height (Sakura didn't know how she managed it after that kind of growth spurt and was resentful for her ability to be, not only taller but more graceful than she) bounded up to Sakura, a mock frown on her face.
"How many times have I told you NOT to call me Ino-pig!"
Sakura scowled, inwardly smiling at their daily ritual. "And how many times have I told you not to call me Forehead girl?"
Ino tugged on one of Sakura's pink locks, smiling. "Not enough times my friend. Not enough times."
Sakura freed her hair from Ino's grasp and looked around them suspiciously. "So…what's the latest?"
Ino smirked, produced a pen from her ponytail and took out a notebook. She began to scribble on it, making nothing more than random doodles of teachers and fellow students. One of them featured a boy with spiky hair and goggles looped around his neck. The drawing was holding some type of round object with smoke emitting from it. Sakura held back laughter at the picture; it was suppose to be Naruto. That boy was always wearing things, if it wasn't necklaces it was goggles, if it wasn't goggles it was headbands. She smiled despite herself; Naruto was a good friend, if slightly misguided in his attempts to win her heart.
Ino leaned in to whisper in her ear. "I hear Naruto is going to play a prank today in Kakashi's class. Stink bomb. So if I were you I would ask to go to the bathroom for the first five minutes."
Sakura smiled. She would take Ino's advice even if she did want to watch the prank. Better to miss it than to be smelly the rest of the day.
Ino's eyebrows quirked up in amusement at the sudden yell and she turned to look at Sakura with a leer. Sakura sighed, adjusted her book bag and got ready for impact. Students in the hallway turned to look at a boy with messy bowl-cut hair, bushy eyebrows, a bright green t-shirt and loose jeans running down the hallway.
Lee stopped in front of her, bending over at the waist and breathing heavily. He looked up at her, clearly winded but flashed a stunningly bright smile anyway. "I thought that I had lost you!" He waved his arms around emphatically, even though he was clearly tired from his run half way across the school. He grabbed her backpack, tugging the straps from her and slinging it over his already backpack-leaded shoulder.
Ino hid a smile at Sakura's annoyed face and hid laughter at Lee's overdramatic personality. He was cute in a weird way. She was glad that she didn't have to deal with him though. Lee's unrequited love with Sakura was infamous and she knew that Sakura put up with Lee because he was, despite his fallbacks, a good guy.
"Come on!" He shouted. "I'll walk you to class!"
Sakura gave Ino a tired but amused smile and followed Lee down the hallway, waving farewell to Ino. Only too late did she realize that she had forgotten to ask Ino when the next basketball practice was scheduled.
Lee talked animatedly, pushing students out of the way with a loud sorry and excuse me as he made room for Sakura to walk down the crowded hallway. Sakura followed dutifully behind until, like clockwork, they reached the halfway point to her homeroom.
"Lee! Lee! Stop!"
She grabbed her book bag, a brief tussle as they fought over who would carry it, and Sakura, like always, won. "I don't need some guy getting me through the hallways! I'm perfectly fine on my own, thank you all the same!"
"But Sakura, you shouldn't have to push your way through! The very ground you walk on should be paved and the people should move away like Moses crossing the great river!"
Sakura's eye twitched. "Lee, I'm fine on my own. I can walk to class by myself. I do not need an escort and the hallway we're our walking on is paved!"
A hand descended on Lee's shoulder, momentarily silencing him.
"Hey Sakura, is this guy bothering you?"
Oh no, why why why did they have to go through this every single day, Sakura thought with despair.
Naruto leaned over Lee's shoulder to peer up at his face with narrowed eyes, balancing on his tiptoes to reach a similar height. "Are you bothering Sakura bushy-eyebrows?"
Lee glared at Naruto, shoving him off his shoulder and turning around to face him directly. The height difference was staggering, Lee several inches taller than Naruto. But Naruto didn't seem to care or notice, or was too stupid to do either, because he glared at Lee and stuck his chest out, puffing up like a peacock. Lee was unimpressed. "I am not bothering Sakura! I would never! And if you—"
Sakura, unnoticed, left the scene and headed to her class, weaving through other students until she came to her homeroom door. She slipped in and glanced at the teacher's desk. Kakashi was not there, as expected.
She set her book bag down and began to sort through her books. She dropped her pen just as Sasuke entered the room. Perfect timing because it gave her another excuse to view his ass from a different perspective and her mother always told her it was good to have different perspectives on life.
Sasuke Uchiha, in Sakura's opinion, was perfect. She liked watching him drink from the water fountain in the hallway, desperately wishing she could replace the water with her lips. She also noticed that he was ambidextrous and she commonly wondered what those pale, slender fingers would feel like running up her sides and down her arms. He also had a piercing in his lip, which he didn't wear during school (it was against school rules). She had spied the loop of metal on the side of his lip one time after school was out and had decided that it was a prime reason for wanting to kiss him. She had never kissed anyone with a lip piercing before and it was good to have all types of experiences in life. She wondered if the metal would feel cool on her lip and whether there was a chance of it getting caught or—ow!
Ino smacked Sakura on the head as she passed and sat behind her, smiling innocently. "Daydreaming again, Forehead girl?"
Sakura scowled and tried to vainly fix her hair. "Shut up Ino-pig."
Ino leaned over and took Sakura's pen, twirling it around her index finger. She then jabbed the point at Sakura and spoke with raised eyebrows. "You better get your head out of the clouds girl or someone else is gonna take him. Someone," Ino's smile was positively evil, "like me."
Sakura tugged her pen out of Ino's hands, frowning. "Shut up, Ino."
Ino stopped, mouth opening silently at the use of her name without the added insult and then quickly got up from her seat and sat in the next row. Sakura couldn't help it. She was angry. Ino always got the guys! Every time she dared to even like someone Ino got him instead. She was the perfect, pretty blonde haired girl with the bubbly personality and toned body (from all the sports she played). Sakura could never compete with that! Her own slender, flat-chested body and short pink hair marking her as someone likeable and friendly but not desirable like Ino and the one time she did like a guy that hadn't even looked at Ino twice, that guy used her like a piece of castoff clothing. Not to mention he was weird too. All the guys that liked her were freaks! She must have a sign on her head that said something to the effect of "desperate and too nice, please use accordingly". She looked down and fiddled with her pen. Sasuke would probably like Ino anyway. Her hand tightened on the pen, but that didn't mean she would give up without a fight! She glared at Ino's back and pulled out her to-do list, making a star by the 'Have Sasuke Uchiha fall in love with her' line.
The rest of the class filled in, Naruto still fighting with Lee even as they walked in the door. Hinata sat quietly in the front on the far side near the window while both Sakura and Ino were situated in the middle rows. Naruto and Lee both rushed to sit by Sakura, pushing and shoving each other out of the way.
"Sakura! Sakura! Sit by me!" Lee hollered.
Naruto pushed him. "Why would she want to sit by a bushy-eyebrow idiot like you! Sit by me Sakura!"
Sakura huffed and glared at her pen. As if she would sit by either of them. They would come and sit by her and today, she glared at Ino's back; she would have to sit by both of them instead of just one!
"Ow! Dammit! Watc—"
A sudden hush fell on the room and Sakura looked up in surprise. Sasuke was standing by his desk, glaring at Naruto. Naruto in turn was glaring at both Sasuke and Lee. Lee just looked sheepish. Sakura looked at Ino to see what was going on but Ino wasn't paying attention, she was holding her hand over her mouth and looked as if she was trying to hold in laughter.
Damn, Sakura thought angrily, I always miss everything.
Sasuke spoke. "If you touch me again you bastard, you will regret it. Now get away from me, you faggot."
Naruto bristled with anger at the insult. Sakura put her head in her hand, waiting for the explosion.
"Good morning class!"
Sakura shook her head. Kakashi was late as usual but perfectly on time too.
Naruto stopped talking, mouth opening and closing like a fish before turning back and stomping to his seat. Sasuke sat down with refined poise.
Sakura sighed and listened listlessly as Kakashi began to go over excuses for his tardiness and what the school's new lunch menus were. It seemed the mishap with Sasuke distracted Naruto from pulling his prank.
As she was exiting homeroom Ino grabbed her arm, hulling her out of the classroom. Apparently all insults were forgotten.
"Did you see?!" Ino screeched.
Sakura allowed Ino to drag her down the hallway to her first period class. "See what?"
"Sasuke and Naruto!" Ino burst out laughing, still holding Sakura by the arm. "They! They! Ahahaha!"
Sakura yanked her arm free of Ino's grasp and grabbed her friend by the shoulders, wanting to know anything and everything about what she had missed. "What? What did they do?"
"They kissed!" Ino all but shrieked, causing a few people to turn and look at them strangely.
"They…what?!" Sakura sputtered.
"They kissed!" Ino stated a bit more calmly now that her laughing fit was over. "Naruto got pushed by Lee into Sasuke and he fell on top of Sasuke's desk and smashed his lips against Sasuke! It was an accident of course, any idiot could see that but…oh dear, you should have seen their faces! Priceless!"
Sakura made a face and stuck out her tongue. "Gross! Poor Sasuke."
"I know." Ino said with mock solemnity. "Now come on, we're going to be late for class!"
Sakura followed Ino at a trot, dodging students as they hurried to her next class. Math. Her math teacher, Iruka, was nice, in a bumbling sort of way and was always enthusiastic but even that could not stop him from being boring.
The class passed slowly with multiplication and graphs and invisible numbers that took five minutes to explain and five hours to understand. Sometimes she was amazed that she was getting such a good grade in this class, but she studied hard so even if she didn't understand everything perfectly the first time around she would get it on the second try. Sakura laid her head down on her books, drifting off without even realizing it. She couldn't wait to get to biology, her next class, even if her teacher was a torture maniac. She wondered what class Sasuke was in right now and what he would look like without his shirt on…
Something was poking her in the shoulder. Sakura woke up with a start and looked around, finally meeting Hinata's hesitant gaze. "Oh! Oh, shit I must have fallen asleep. Sorry Hinata."
Sakura offered Hinata a small smile and asked her what was wrong.
"Oh…nothing! Nothing…just um…we're supposed to be partners for the in-class assignment. Y-you don't need to help but I just thought…"
"Ah," Sakura waved off Hinata's trailing sentence, "it's alright. I shouldn't be sleeping in class. Lucky Iruka didn't see me or I would've gotten detention. Thanks for waking me up!" She beamed as Hinata gave her a small smile in return. They both bent over their textbooks and began working on the problems until the bell rang.
The next class Sakura had was Biology. Ino didn't have that class with her so she waved a short farewell and hurried to her next period, not wanting to be late for her favorite class (plus, the teacher was such a stickler for things like tardiness).
Oh no. Lee.
"Sakura! Wait up!"
Sakura increased her pace and looked behind her fearfully. Lee was catching up and she would—umph!
Sakura shot a glance at whom she had ran into and froze. Sasuke's dark eyes were glaring at her from underneath his fringe of black hair.
"I am soooo sorry."
Sasuke picked up his books and spoke quietly. "Watch where you're going next time." He left without a backwards glance or an offer to help.
"Hey you jerk! Don't just run into Sakura and then leave like that! You should offer to help her you stuck up prick!"
Oh god, Sakura thought, why me.
Sasuke stopped in his tracks and turned to look at Lee. He stared at him for a minute, glanced at Sakura who was picking herself up from the floor and then looked back at Lee. As if making up his mind, he turned and left without another word.
Naruto, who had been walking towards Sakura and saw most of what had happened yelled. "Bastard!"
Sakura, face red with embarrassment and hurt, grabbed her books and shoved her way through the hallway, ignoring both Naruto's attempt to stop her and Lee's upset shouts.
It's okay, Sakura thought, Sasuke didn't mean to be a rude, insensitive asshole. He was new and she had run into him. It was her fault. Besides they didn't know each other so he didn't really mean anything by it. Gathering her courage Sakura entered her Biology class and sat down in her seat, waiting until the rest of the class filled in, and for her teacher to slam the door and begin their lecture.
The rest of the school day passed in a daze, Sakura numbly worrying about her encounter with Sasuke and whether it would ruin her chances with him or not. She figured in the long run it wouldn't matter and brightened up by the end of the day, to both Lee and Naruto's pleasure – though she steadily tried to ignore them for the rest of the afternoon as well, to their displeasure.
Ino waved goodbye, calling something about basketball practice that Sakura didn't hear (she would have to call Ino later on after all) and Sakura hopped on the bus for her ride home. She jerked forward in surprise as the bus took off with a rumbling start and grabbed the handrail to steady herself. She looked up and gasped in surprise. Sasuke was sitting right there in front of her!
She had never seen him take the bus home before but maybe his ride wasn't coming to pick him up today. Lucky! Her inner voice chimed. This was the perfect chance to introduce herself without Ino hanging around. Plus, she could even have an excuse to sit by him!
Steadying herself on the rail she swung forward, lurching a bit as the bus came to an abrupt stop. Her bag spilled its contents onto Sasuke's seat and she quickly apologized while gathering her belongings and slipping into the seat.
"I'm so sorry! Argh. School has been hell. Sorry!" She hastily shoved her books into her bag.
Sakura smiled and with nerves of steel she didn't have, opened her mouth to introduce herself. He looked up as she sat down and spoke before she got the chance to.
"You could have sat somewhere else. There are plenty of open seats."
Her mouth opened in astonishment, how could…how could he say something so nasty to her? He didn't even know her! Maybe he just didn't have very many friends. It had to be awkward, moving to a new place and he must be very uncomfortable. The least she could do was try to be nice, even if he was being unpleasant. He would probably relax once he got to know her.
"Well, I figured since you're new you might like to meet someone." She held out her hand. "I'm Sakura."
She watched in nervous anticipation as Sasuke stared at her hand blankly before shaking it in a firm grip. His voice was quiet but confident when he replied. "Sasuke."
Sakura smiled in triumph. "It's nice to meet you."
Sasuke nodded mutely.
This, Sakura thought, was the beginning of a wonderful relationship.