-0-My Sakura-0-

Please enjoy! And yes, this is my first Naruto fan fiction story!

"Hey! Kakashi-sensei! We've finished our mission now! Can we go home yet? I want to eat some ramen!" Naruto yelled as he ran to his teacher, who was currently reading his favourite book, "Come Come Paradise".

"Huh? Of course we can go now. Sakura, Sasuke, we're going to go back to Konoha Village now."

"Yes, sensei," Sakura smiled as she carried her bag. Naruto grinned as Sasuke crossed his arms, looking at the high noon sun. It was really that day, and they had just completed their assigned mission: repair an elderly woman's door frame and clean up her attic for her.

Sasuke sighed. While Sakura was complaining to Naruto about the fact that he was always complaining about how hungry he was, he stole a glance at his pink-haired team mate. Those green emerald eyes gleamed in the sun. The short pink hair waved from side to side as she walked. That . . . that smile. . .

You're staring, Uchiha.

Turning away from her, Sasuke focused his eyes on the trees they were passing through as they walked down the road. Sakura and Naruto were walking in front of him while he lagged behind with Kakashi.

"Lost in thought, Sasuke?" Kakashi's voice broke into his thoughts. Slightly startled, though he did not dare to show it, Sasuke turned to face Kakashi, whose eye was glancing at him. Sasuke frowned and turned away once again.

"Say, Kakashi-sensei?" came Naruto's voice. "How much further is Konoha?"

"Not far. I say we'd be there in maybe an hour or so."

"Ow!" Sakura suddenly tripped on the road and fell.

"Sakura-chan, are you okay?" Naruto ran to her side. Sasuke stood still, with Kakashi by his side.

"Sakura, are you alright?" Kakashi asked, as Sakura brushed the dust off her clothes. She rubbed her leg.

Sakura noticed Sasuke staring at her. I can't make it look like I'm a klutz. If I do, then he'll think I'm clumsy, Sakura thought in her head. She quickly flicked her head, her bangs flying back.

"I'm okay," she said, a little too quickly. She quickly stood up to prove her point, but after taking one step with her right foot, a sharp pain shot in her leg. She winced in pain and kneeled down.

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto crouched down next to Sakura. "What's wrong?" Sakura didn't answer him, but wrapped her hand around her ankle and felt it. The pain increased. She trembled slightly and closed her eyes, head lowered. Darn it. I can't let him see that I'm this weak, but-

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto said again. Sasuke walked a bit closer to where Sakura was kneeling on the ground.

"Sakura, can you stand up?" he called to her. Sakura shook her head, face still down. Kakashi stood in front of her and bent down, his shadow covering Sakura.

"Sakura, is it your foot?" he asked quietly.

Sakura held back her tears, and finally gave in. "It's my . . . my ankle. . . It really hurts. . ." She bit her lip.

"We still have to walk for at least one hour more," Kakashi said, as he watched Sakura try to massage her ankle.

Sasuke sighed as Naruto turned to Kakashi Sensei. "Sensei! Sensei! Can I carry her?"

A fist landed on top of the kneeling Naruto, as he landed flat on the floor. It was Sakura's fist.

"Hey. . ." he murmured, face on the dirt. "I'm just offering to help you know-"

"Well who knows if you're going to drop me or something?!" Sakura exclaimed as she tried to stand up again but with no success. Kakashi sighed and made a decision.

"Sasuke," he called.


"I'm assigning you to carry Sakura back to the Konoha Village."

". . . What?. . ."

"I said I'm assigning you to carry Sakura back to the Konoha Village."

". . . What if I don't want to-" Sasuke started to say.

"No fair!" Naruto's head rose quickly from the ground. "I want to carry Sakura back! Besides, Sasuke's too weak to carry a girl back-"

Again, a fist was banged on top of his head, this time being Sasuke's.

"I am not weak, idiot," he muttered.

"Ahhhh. . . . ." Naruto's head sunk deeper this time into the uneven ground.

"Then it's settled," Kakashi replied cheerfully before Sasuke could protest. "Here, Sakura." Kakashi lend her a hand.

"Huh? Oh, thank you, sensei." Reaching for Kakashi's large hand, she unsteadily stood up, while Kakashi helped her up. Sasuke, who was trying extremely hard not to look embarrassed, turned with his back to Sakura and kneeled down on one knee. Naruto gingerly carried Sasuke and Sakura's backpacks as well as his own as Sakura hopped towards Sasuke's direction.

Oh my gosh, I'm so embarrassed! But this is kind of fun that Sasuke-kun gets to carry me. . .

Sasuke turned his head around and quickly faced forward again, lip tight, when Sakura put her hand on his shoulder. Slowly, she put both hands on his shoulders, and Sasuke reached behind to draw her legs into a piggy-back position.

"You ready, Sasuke?" asked Kakashi.

"Yeah. . ."

"Okay then. 1, 2, 3." Carefully, and somehow he managed to do it 'coolly', Sasuke stood up, with Sakura on his back. Sakura almost immediately crossed her arms across his neck.

"Alright then. Let's go."

"You'd BETTER not drop Sakura-chan, Sasuke, or you're going to regret it!" Naruto hissed under his breath.

Sasuke frowned at him with a look of annoyance on his face, then walked along side Kakashi with Sakura on his back.

They continued to walk down the road, with only Naruto talking about how great of a Hokage he was going to be in the future. Kakashi was reading his all time favourite book the whole time.

Sakura tried not to squeeze Sasuke too hard, though she had a huge temptation to hug him. Neither one spoke, and as usual, Sasuke was acting as if nothing had happened.

He's so quiet, Sakura thought. The only time he actually talks is when he has a plan or when he's arguing or lecturing Naruto. Other than that, he hardly even talks to me. . . Maybe I should try to get him to talk to me. . .

"Sorry about this, Sasuke-kun," she said. "I didn't mean to be such a burden to you."

". . . . . ."

"W-what I meant was that, I didn't mean to cause such an inconvenience to you-"

"It wasn't like I had a choice, you know. . ."

He's probably going to say that he's just doing this because Kakashi assigned him to, Sakura thought sadly.

"None of us would have wanted to see you hop on one foot the entire way back, and since you didn't want Naruto to carry you, it wasn't like I had a choice."

"H-huh?" Did Sasuke-kun just say that?

"What now?"

"No. Nothing." Sakura remained quiet after saying that.

". . . . . ." Sasuke walked on in silence, while Naruto talked loudly about his plans to become a Hokage once again.

She's lighter than I thought, Sasuke realized. And for once, she's actually not going on and rambling about how great I am.

They walked for another half hour before they stopped at a tiny snack store. Sakura sat outside on a wooden bench with their bags while Sasuke stretched. Naruto and Kakashi had gone inside the shop to get something to drink, as well as some ice for Sakura's ankle.

As Sasuke was stretching, Sakura looked down at her ankle. It had now gotten a bit swollen and was started to swell up. Taking off her right shoe, she tried rotating her ankle in circles, but stopped after one attempt due to the pain.

Sasuke, who was stretching out his arms, glanced behind him at Sakura, who was wincing at her ankle again.

"Has it gotten worse?" he asked. Sakura looked at him, surprised to hear him talk to her.

"I think so. It wasn't nearly as swollen as now." She looked down gingerly at her foot again.

"You know, maybe you should train harder," Sasuke said, this time staring into the sky with his back towards her. "That way, your body will be able to grow stronger and not be as fragile as now."

Sakura looked down. "Yeah. . . I guess you're right. . ." Even Sasuke's saying that I should train harder. I guess I have been slacking off a little too much. When my ankle returns to normal, I will train harder-

"Huh?" Sakura looked up again when she felt someone touch her foot. She was surprised to find that Sasuke was now kneeling in front of her, and examining her ankle. "S. . .Sasuke-k-kun?"

"Hm?" Sasuke grunted, not looking up. He didn't release the hand he had around her ankle.

"What are you- OW!" Sakura exclaimed. She almost simultaneously moved her leg away from Sasuke as he tried to rotate her foot. But since he kept a firm grip on her foot, Sakura could not move her leg away. "Sasuke-kun! That hurt!"

". . . If you don't be quiet, I can't find out how badly injured your leg is. . ."

"O-oh. Sorry."

". . . . . ." Taking hold of her heel, Sasuke rotated her ankle. Sakura bit her bottom lip the whole time, partly because her ankle was killing her and partly because she couldn't believe that Sasuke, out of all people, was trying to see how badly she was hurt.

"Can you move your ankle up and down?" he asked suddenly.

"Yeah." Sakura moved her ankle slowly to prove her point.

"'Kay." Sasuke ran a thumb down her ankle, and then looked up to her. "You didn't break your ankle, but you sprained it. It should recover in a few days."

"Thanks, Sasuke-kun." Sakura smiled at him. Sasuke, surprised to realize he had found her smile charming, looked back down to her ankle.

". . . . . ."

"Why are you always so quiet?" she suddenly asked out of the blue. "Whenever I see you, you're always so . . . quiet."

". . . . . . ."

"I'm being nosy here, aren't I?" Oh God, now he probably thinks I'm trying to intrude in his quiet life.

Sasuke looked up again. "You are, sort of," he answered. Sakura sighed sadly. She didn't think Sasuke would ever answer to her question. "I. . . I like to be a quiet person," he said, after a moment of silence. "Loud people are just too obnoxious and I never liked being the centre of attention. It's most frustrating. . ."

"Oh. . ." Is this how he feels every time a group of girls come up to him to ask him out? Sakura thought, head down. If he truly feels this way, then I guess I'll help him out by not going up to him like that all the time.

"Sakura. . ." Sasuke murmured.

"Huh?" Sakura flipped her head up and stared into his black raven eyes. "Sasuke-kun. . ." For some reason, they couldn't break out of staring at each others eyes. The world around them seemed to stand still at that moment. Sakura's heart thumped loudly. I want to tell Sasuke-kun. . . how much I care for him. . . I don't want him to think of me as some nosy fan girl. . . I want him to really know that. . . I love him. . . is now the time? "Sasuke-kun. . . I. . . I. . .-"

"What are you two doing?" a voice suddenly said suspiciously, scaring the wits out of both Sasuke and Sakura. Kakashi raised an eyebrow at the two of them. Sasuke quickly released his hands from Sakura's foot and backed away from her by a foot once he stood up.

"Nothing," Sakura stated. "Sasuke-kun was just examining how badly injured my ankle is, that's all." Kakashi raised his eyebrow even higher at that. Uchiha Sasuke, out of all people, was examining someone's injuries?

Kakashi then turned his face to Sasuke's direction. The first thing he noticed that stood out was that both his cheeks were pink. Sasuke, noticing his sensei staring at him weirdly, turned away from both Kakashi and Sakura. Kakashi looked like he was going to say some more, but then shrugged and took out "Come Come Paradise" with his right hand. He held an ice pack in his left hand.

"Sakura, wrap this around your ankle," he said, handing the ice pack to her. Sakura nodded and did so.

"Hey Sakura-chan! Look what I got you!" Naruto ran out of the store, carrying three cans of soda.

"Thanks Naruto," Sakura said as she reached out a hand to get the soda. "Oh, I'll give this one to Sasuke-kun. Sasuke-kun! Naruto got you a soda!" Sasuke lifted his head up at that and walked back to retrieve his drink from Sakura. Their fingers touched as the soda can was passed from Sakura to Sasuke, but neither one took notice of it during that time. The three then sat on the wooden bench, sipping on their ice cold sodas while Kakashi paid no attention to them, for he was too involved in the plot of "Come Come Paradise".

"Say, Kakashi Sensei?" Sakura suddenly said.


"Didn't you mention a few days ago that they're going to have a dance or something?"

"I did?" Kakashi lifted a hand to his chin. "Oh yes! I did."

"What dance?" Naruto and Sasuke both said at once. Kakashi cleared his throat once before continuing on.

"I'm only going to say this once, so listen carefully. According to the fifth Hokage's orders, all the students which had graduated from the academy and all the teachers are expected to attend this dance. Tsunade-sama wishes for us to have some fun and to congratulate those who have graduated and have done missions for Konoha." Kakashi flipped a page in his book.

"No thanks," Sasuke immediately said, crossing his arms.

"Is there going to be food there?" Naruto asked anxiously.

"Yes. It's a dinner and dance thing," Kakashi murmured. "Oh yes, all students MUST go to this event. So you can't back out of this one, Sasuke."


"Everyone has to go. Even we jounins have to go too," Kakashi muttered.

"Damn it," Sasuke muttered under his breath.

"Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura asked, as she moved the ice pack onto the other side of her ankle. "Do we just go there as our team or by ourselves?"

"Tsunade-sama says that all students are expected to go with a partner of the opposite gender."

"WHAT?!" Both Naruto and Sasuke exclaimed at once.

"But what I can't find anyone to go with?" Sakura asked again.

"Nonsense. I doubt that will ever happen. If it does happen, then the jounins fix you up with someone else who does not have a partner, and you will probably be stuck with someone you don't like for the rest of the night. So find a partner of the opposite gender to go with and the dance is in two days. It will be held at the academy's gymnasium and will take place at 7:00 pm. Please be on time."

"Speak for yourself," Naruto murmured.

"Now then, shall we be off?" Kakashi asked as he picked up his backpack and started walking down the road, reading his perverted book the whole time.

"Hey! Wait up!" Naruto yelled as he tried to finish up his soda.

"There." Sakura had tied a medical tape around the ice pack so that it would stay on her ankle. She put her shoe into her backpack. Sasuke handed his backpack to Naruto, and waited for Sakura.

"Hey! Hey! Sasuke!" Naruto hissed under a hushed voice as Sasuke passed him his backpack.


"Can you let me carry Sakura back?" Sasuke wasn't surprised that Naruto had asked him this. He glanced at Sakura and whispered back a reply.

"Why would you want to do that? We're almost there anyhow."

"Cause I want to ask her to the stupid dance thingy while I'm carrying her back, and since you have no feelings for her what so ever, why not hand her to me, so then I take her to the dance?" Naruto grinned widely, cheeks red. Sasuke stared at him as if he was some idiot. He understood what Naruto was getting at: he had wanted to carry Sakura so then Sakura would be grateful that he was doing her a favour and would gladly agree to go to the dance with him. He knew very well that he could just let Naruto do that, but for some unknown reason, his heart stubbornly pulled at him, as if it didn't want Naruto to take Sakura to the dance. Sasuke stared into Naruto's eyes.

"Sorry, but Kakashi assigned me to carry Sakura all the way back to Konoha, and that's what I'm going to do."

"WH-what?" Naruto stuttered. "Hey, wait Sasuke!" he called as Sasuke walked back to Sakura and with a heave, carried her on his back piggy-back style.

"Thanks Sasuke-kun," Sakura said. "Hey, Naruto! Can you carry my back pack for me? Thanks!" Sakura handed her back pack to Naruto, who was still pouting angrily like a noisy duck.

"Argh! C'mon Sasuke! Please?"

"No. . ."

"Please? I'll find you someone for the dance!"

"I don't need you to. . . I can already hear my-" Sasuke shivered at this word- "fan club asking me to the dance, though I hardly doubt I would want to go with anyone in that demented club. . ."

"I. . . I'll be your slave for the week!"

"Nice try, but no way."

"For a month?"

"In your dreams, moron. . ."

"A year?"

"Excuse me, Sakura," Sasuke said as he stopped and put her down.


There was a loud BANG! Then a loud scream.

Sasuke cracked his knuckles. Then, picked up Sakura again and continued walking down the road, with Kakashi a metre ahead of him and Naruto stuck in a hole in the ground with a black eye.

"Sasuke-kun," Sakura said as she glanced behind her at the poor and swollen Naruto. "Was that necessary?"

". . . . . . You won't understand."

"Oh. I see." I want to ask Sasuke-kun to take me to the dance, but I doubt he would want to take me to it. I don't want to force him to take me to the dance either, cause then he'll think of me as some annoying nosy fan girl for the rest of his life. Maybe . . . maybe I should go with someone else instead so that he won't think of me this way . . . but I really don't want to. . . What if he's planning to ask someone else to the dance? Maybe I'll ask him about that.



"Who are you planning to go to the dance with?"

". . . . . . . ." Sasuke continued walking in silence. Actually, he was thinking about what Sakura had just asked him. Out of all the girls in his academy, who would he want to go with most?

"I'm not sure yet," he answered. There was silence for a few minutes before he spoke up again. "I know this is none of my business, but who are you planning to go with?" Sasuke said, trying not to sound like he was curious.

"Oh? Me? I don't know yet. I definitely do not want to go with Naruto-"

"Please! Sakura-chan! Will you go to the dance with me?!" Naruto pleaded, as he ran and caught up with Sasuke and Sakura.

"No you idiot! You're stupid, dumb, and even though you're sometimes nice, there's NO WAY I'm going to the dance with you!" Sakura yelled back.

"Hey! Hey!" Kakashi shouted, his voice hovering their bickering conversation. He was getting pissed at not being able to read in peace. "Why can't we walk peacefully and quietly for once? Settle down. We're almost there."

Wah!!!!! Sakura-chan doesn't want to go to the dance with me, Naruto thought sadly. Then who am I supposed to ask to the dance then?

Damn, I still have to find a partner for this stupid dance. Screw whoever thought of this stupid dance anyhow, Sasuke thought in frustration. But then, who should I ask?

"Yea! We're almost there!" Sakura piped up cheerfully, as she pointed ahead. The sign, Konoha Village, greeted them as they neared the Hidden Village of the Leaf.

"Yes! Ramen, here I come!" Naruto cheered as he ran towards the opened doors to the village.

The moment they went inside, a bunch of girls rushed at Sasuke, who was still piggy-backing Sakura. They immediately began asking him to the dance and bickering at each other.

"Sasuke-kun, will you go to the dance with me?"

"No, Sasuke-kun's going with me!"

"In your dreams! Sasuke-kun's going with me, you dope!" Pretty soon, Sasuke had to escape them by jumping on top of the roofs of houses due to the fact that all the girls were starting cat-fights with each other. Sakura hung onto Sasuke as he leapt up and down. Naruto and Kakashi were right in front of them. Finally, they stopped at Naruto's favourite ramen stop.

"Hey old man! Please fix me up a bowl of BBQ pork ramen!" Naruto said, as he immediately sat down on the stools. Sasuke however, with Sakura still on his back, was looking back to make sure none of his annoying fan club was following him. He was lucky this time that no one could.

"Okay then. Remember, there will be no missions tomorrow, and the dance is in two days," Kakashi reminded them as he helped Sakura down from Sasuke and onto a stool. "Oh, and I do suggest you start asking people before they get asked by someone else." Poof! Kakashi vanished in a puff of smoke.

"Darn that Kakashi," Sasuke grumbled as he sat next to Sakura, taking out a handkerchief and wiping his forehead.

"We still have to find partners too," Sakura sighed.

"Where am I supposed to find someone who would go to the dance with me?" Naruto wondered out loud, as he put down his chopsticks.

"Oy! Naruto!" It was Shikamaru and Chouji. The two sat down next to Naruto. "Who you going to the dance with?"

"I don't know," Naruto answered. "But I want to go with Sakura-ch-"

"NO WAY, you idiot!" Sakura yelled back.

"Ah! Sasuke-kun! There you are!" It was Ino. She quickly put her arms around Sasuke's neck tightly, while Sasuke was saying, "Can you let go of me?"

"Sasuke-kun, do you have a partner yet for the dance?" Ino asked sweetly, batting her eyelashes. "If you don't, then I can always be your date for the night-"

"Ino-pig! What are you doing here?" Sakura asked with clenched teeth.

"Ah, forehead girl! I didn't even notice you were here," Ino said, as she finally let go of Sasuke. "No doubt you haven't even found a date yet for the dance."

"Well, at least I don't go around trying to wring people's heads off just so they'll go to the dance with me," Sakura said as she adjusted her ice pack to her foot.

"But of course, Sasuke-kun's definitely going to the dance with me. Compare to you, I'm way skinnier than you, I have shinier hair, and my forehead ain't as big yours," Ino mocked sarcastically.

"Why you- OW!" Sakura had forgotten that she had twisted her ankle. She had attempted to stand up but now, shrivelled on the floor clutching her ankle. Sasuke looked down to her.

Sakura . . . he thought to himself. She must be still in pain. I guess she can't recover that fast.

He stretched out a hand and extended it towards her. Surprised, Sakura reluctantly took it and tried to stand up.

"Sakura-chan?" Naruto said, worriedly. He got down from his stool, and despite the fact that Sakura had rejected him, helped her up.

"Thanks, Naruto and Sasuke-kun," Sakura said, as she let go of Sasuke's large hand.

"Ino," Sasuke said, glaring at her direction. "No offence, but you talk way too much. Even for a girl."

"Sasuke-kun-" Ino started to say.

"I don't want to go to the dance with you. Go find somebody else." With that, he grabbed their backpacks from Naruto, handed them to Sakura, lifted her onto his back and leapt up from the Ramen shop to one of the rooftops of a nearby building. He disappeared within seconds.

Shikamaru sighed. "Ino, must you force him into making a decision like that? He doesn't even like you. Besides, most of us guys don't judge a girl by her physical appearance."

Ino sighed. "Guess I'll have to find someone else. Say," she suddenly said, staring at Shikamaru. "Did you find someone to go to the dance yet?"

"No. It's too troublesome going up to a girl and asking her to that troublesome dance," he murmured.

"Well, how bout going to it with me?"

"With you?" How troublesome, he thought in his head. But secretly, he was glad Ino actually asked him. "Okay then. You better not back out on me or else I'll have to find some other troublesome person to go to the dance with."

"I won't. Don't worry, you can trust me."

Right . . . , everyone else thought immediately in their heads.

Meanwhile, Sakura hung onto Sasuke as he leapt up and down the rooftops.

"Sasuke-kun?" she asked when he dropped down to the ground and began to walk.


"Where are we going?"

"Well, don't you want to go home?"

"Well . . . yes. But do you know where I live?"

"Not really. Maybe around this area or something?"

"Yeah. It is actually. Just keep going down the road." They passed a lot of people along the road. Some stared at them with looks on their faces which read: "Aw. . . How cute." They were almost near Sakura's house when suddenly, Rock Lee spotted them.

"Sakura-chan! Are you okay?" he asked in concern as he ran over to the duo.

"Hey Lee! I just sprained my ankle, that's all. Sasuke's just helping me get home, that's all." Sasuke looked up at Lee, glaring at him. Sure he respected him as one of the best fighters he'd ever met, but for some reason, he tensed up whenever Lee talked to Sakura. Today was no exception.

"Do you need any help, Sasuke-"

"I'll be fine, thank you," Sasuke said, cutting him off.

"Oh. Okay then. Say, Sakura-chan, I've been meaning to ask you: will you go to the dance with me?" With that, he pulled out a beautiful red rose and held it out to Sakura. Sasuke's brows almost unconsciously furrowed.

You idiot, he told himself. Stop acting as if you actually care, Uchiha. He felt Sakura's hand release his neck and watched it stretch out to receive the flower. He could hear her giggling.

"Why Lee, this is beautiful!"

"For you, my angel. Even though you may not go with me to the dance, this is my present to you."

"Thank you , Lee. I don't know yet if I can go to the dance with you. Let me consider it first, if you know what I mean." Lee looked at Sakura, then looked at Sasuke's cold face, and got the picture. Sasuke must want to ask her to the dance too, he thought. I'm willing to make a sacrifice, for I respect Sasuke. Besides, this guy ought to have some fun in his life for once.

Sasuke noticed Lee staring at him and turned his face away. "Okay then," Lee answered Sakura. "Please, tell me by tomorrow, my angel! Hope your ankle will recover soon!"

"Thank you, Lee! I'll see you soon," Sakura called as Sasuke began to walk again.

"Good bye, Sakura-chan!" Lee waved as he headed down the opposite direction. Sasuke continued to walk down. For some unknown reason, he had a hard time concentrating on what to do for his training once he got home. That scenery of Lee handing Sakura the flower and Sakura accepting it just kept bouncing back into his mind and replaying itself over and over again.

Uchiha . . . Remember the training, he told himself. I have to train to grow stronger, so that I may avenge my clan by killing Uchiha Itachi. I don't even have time for this stupid dance, so I don't even care who I go with.

The annoying fan club memory hit him in the head.

On second thought, I do. Sort of. But who?

"Sasuke-kun, it's this way," Sakura suddenly said, pointing to Sasuke's left.

Turning, Sasuke felt Sakura's hands on his neck once again. Before, he had hated it whenever she had tried to touch him. One of the facts was that every other girl also wanted to touch his handsome face too, and he just couldn't stand it when their obsessive hands reached forward at him every time they saw him. He'd also hated it when she tried to make contact with him by helping or looking after him, because, after all, he was a man. And when you're a man, you're supposed to be the one who helps or looks after those who are weaker than you, not the one who gets looked after. Sure he knew how much Sakura had wanted to help him, but to have her help him like that so publicly would only embarrass him and make him look like a wimp.

But now, he didn't mind as much about those hands touching him anymore. Just as long as she didn't tried to hug him all the time.

Sakura observed the back of Sasuke's head as he continued to carry her through down the street. I've been thinking in a way that's so naïve when Kakashi Sensei first told us about this dance. I had wanted Sasuke-kun to take me to the dance at first this morning just because I liked him, but I never considered how Sasuke-kun actually might feel about this if I asked him. I doubt he'll feel comfortable if I ever asked him to take me out to the dance like this and I don't want to put him on the spot either. But I don't want him to be so lonely either. Maybe I could ask him if he would like to go to the dance with me just as friends so then he wouldn't be so lonely all the time instead of asking him to take me there just because I like him. Well, even if he doesn't like me that way at all, I don't want him to be so lonely like that. He's kind of gotten used to me to, so I'm sure he won't mind if we just go to the dance as friends. Besides, Kakashi Sensei never said anything about going with a friend to the dance.

"Which number?" Sasuke finally spoke up.


". . . . . ."

"Sasuke-kun, you know, you don't have to carry me all this way. Kakashi-sensei only assigned you to carry me back to Konoha, not to my house."

"Well, you can barely stand, so how do you expect to go home like this?"

"Well . . . uh . . . guess you're right." Sasuke could feel Sakura's breath suddenly next to his ear. "Thank you, Sasuke-kun," she whispered.

Did she suddenly get the impression that I actually wanted to carry her home or something? Sasuke suddenly thought in panic.

"Hm . . ."

The two remained silent. Only Sasuke's moving footsteps were heard. Finally, they arrived in front of Sakura's house. Sasuke noticed how clean it was from the outside.

"Here, why don't you let me down?" Sakura said.

"Okay." Sasuke slowly descended to the ground and Sakura stood up unbalanced. She kept a hand on Sasuke's shoulder for support once he stood up and took out her keys from her pocket.

"My mom's not home, so I'll have to manage my ankle by myself for now."

"Here, I'll carry your bag," Sasuke offered. Sakura released her hand from his shoulder.

"Thank you." Placing a hand against the doorway, Sakura unlocked the door and peered inside. It was pretty quiet. She hopped in on one foot, and used the walls for support.

"Thank you, Sasuke-kun. I wouldn't have made it back if it weren't for you," she said as she took the bag from Sasuke.

"Hm. . ." Sasuke answered, as he glanced at her. Sakura noticed that he had an uncertain expression on his face.

"What's wrong?" she asked him.

"Are you sure you can take care of yourself like this?" he asked, eyebrows slightly raised. His voice had just a slight hint of sarcasm at the end.

"Are you saying I'm weak?" she asked.

". . . . . Never mind. I'm going home. Remember to ice that ankle." He turned around and started down the steps. Sakura felt her heart pounding, and yelled back, "Wait!"

Sasuke stopped and turned around. "What now?"

"I. . . I was wondering, Sasuke-kun," Sakura said as she held onto the doorpost, her eyes down. Sasuke waited. Sakura looked back up. "I know you'll probably say no, but would you like to go to the dance with me just as a friend? We don't have to dance or anything and it's the least I can do for you for carrying me back to my home. I know you don't have a partner yet, s-so . . . would you like to go with me?" Sasuke looked down, and turned around so that his back was towards her. Sakura almost felt her heart crumble when she saw him turn around. He's going to say No, I just know it. And then, afterwards, he'll probably never want to have anything to do with me again. What is it that he doesn't like about me? Is it because I'm who I am?

Sakura could feel her eyes tearing and quickly wiped them with her hand. I should have never asked him in the first place, she thought miserably. Maybe if I didn't ask him, then my heart wouldn't be broken and we could have just been friends instead.

She saw Sasuke's shoulders heave up as he let out a sigh after 20 seconds. Finally, he muttered something. But Sakura couldn't hear because his voice was so quiet.

"Pardon me?"

"I said, what time?"

"W-what do you mean what time?"

"I mean what time should I pick you up?" he said a bit louder this time, not turning around. Sakura's gaping mouth slowly broke into a smile as she realized what he was saying.

"You mean, you'll go with me-"

"Hey, I'm only going with you as a friend, remember? That's what you said. Besides, I don't want my annoying fan club to go around stalking me for the next few days just so they can ask me if I can go with them to the dance." Sasuke didn't dare turn around. "So do you want me to come with you or not—"

"Yes. Yes I do. I do want you to come with me, please," Sakura said, her voice lowering as tears of happiness suddenly cornered her eyes. "Sasuke-kun, I won't annoy you. I . . . won't force you to dance with me-"

"Sakura," he said. "What time am I coming to get you?"

"Oh. Um . . . the dance starts at 7:00, so why don't you come over at 6:30, so then we can get there early and talk to people before we go in?"

"Okay. See you then." Sasuke walked down the rest of the porch steps and walked down the street, leaving Sakura staring after him.

Thank you, Sasuke-kun . . .

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WHY THE HELL DID I JUST DO THAT? Sasuke thought to himself as he walked down the road away from Sakura's house. Sure she was his team mate and she wasn't getting to be as annoying as when he first met her, but still, he couldn't believe that he just agreed to go with her to the dance.

Honestly, I have no time to even think about stupid dances, but thanks to the fifth Hokage, I have to go to it. The only thing good so far is that Sakura agreed to go with me to it as a friend, which means I don't have to get stalked by the stupid fan club and I probably won't have to dance with her. But . . .

A sudden flash back of his hand brushing past Sakura's when she passed the can of soda to him appeared in his mind. Then there was that same scenario of Lee asking Sakura to the dance. And now, the conversation of her asking him to the dance replayed itself once more in his head.

When he realized what he'd been thinking of just that moment, Sasuke shook his head in frustration, anger flooding his mind.

Why . . . Why do I keep thinking about her?! I mean, she's only a team mate and well, I could consider her as a friend, but . . . dammit! Uchiha, stop thinking about Sakura for now and start training! She's not that important to you anyhow.

Sasuke turned to the right of the road and continued on home.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

CRAP! I have to find someone to go with me to the dance and quick! Naruto thought as he ran about. He knew that Ino was going with Shikamaru and that Sakura was never going to go with him anyhow, so who was he left with?

Well, there's always Ten-Ten, but I hardly even talk to her and she IS another Sasuke worshipper. Besides, she's probably already taken. Then who am I –

Naruto stopped when he saw Hinata standing in front of a shop with Kiba and Shino. Of course! Why didn't I think of it earlier? I'd better act fast! It's now or never!

Running as quickly as he could, Naruto headed for Hinata, who happened to be talking to Kiba at the moment face to face, and blindly tripped over a banana peel which just happened to lie in front of him on the ground. Naruto went flying, and crashed into Kiba, knocking them both to the floor. Akamaru barked at Naruto. Hinata, who had been holding Akamaru, blushed when she realized that Naruto was lying in front of him.

"Naruto-kun, are you-" Before Hinata could go on, Naruto quickly stood on one knee (proposing style), put his hands in a praying mode, and said very loudly, "Hinata, will you go to the dance with me?"

"Naruto, you idiot!" Kiba pounded him on the head with one of his fists. "I was going to ask her to the dance!"

"Sorry, but I asked her first!" Naruto said, grinning. Shino just sighed.

Hinata didn't hear a word Kiba said. The only words that kept replaying itself over and over again in her mind were: "Hinata, will you go to the dance with me?"

Naruto-kun, I can't believe you actually asked me to accompany you to the dance. I just can't believe it! Maybe this is a dream . . .

Hinata pinched herself, and winced at the pain. It wasn't a dream! It really happened. Her face turned scarlet red and her heart thumped loudly. She tried to remain as calm as possible as she looked down at the face of her crush. He was still down on one knee, as if he was proposing!

"So, Hinata, wanna go with me?" Naruto asked again.

"Uh . . . uh . . . o . . . ok-kay. Y-yes, I d-d-d-do." Hinata quickly looked down, trying to hide her scarlet face. Kiba stood up in defeat as Shino observed the extremely embarrassed Hinata.

"YES! Thank you, Hinata!" Naruto shouted, as he stood up and pumped a fist in the air. He had finally successfully found a partner. "C'mon, I'll treat you to some ramen just because you've agreed to go with me!" With that, he grabbed Hinata's wrist as Akamaru jumped back onto Kiba's head and together, they ran down the road to the ramen bar. Kiba and Shino stared after them.

"Well, so much for asking Hinata," Kiba sighed. "Do YOU have a partner yet?" Shino shook his head. Kiba sighed, then suddenly came up with an idea.

"You want to go with my cousin? I'll go with yours."

"This IS just a cover up, right?"

"Yes. Nothing personal. We just need to have someone to go with, that's all. Besides, my cousin knows your cousin, and we'll just hang out."

"Okay." Shino gave in. He was out of ideas.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Neji stretched as he stood up. He had been training for the past 3 hours with Ten-Ten. She had been placing objects in the bushes around him and he was to tell her how many objects were hidden. Then, he was meditating while she was throwing her kunais at targets. Ten-Ten had gotten better at her aim and her speed was improving too. After that, he worked on his own Taijutsu moves while she did some drills. Finally, the two sat in the shade under a tree, tired.

Ten-Ten wiped her forehead with a handkerchief as Neji drank some water from one of the water bottles Ten-Ten had brought.

"It's so hot today," she sighed, fanning herself with one hand.

"I know," Neji answered. They sat in silence for almost a minute, before Neji spoke.

"Say, Ten-Ten?"


"You know that stupid dance Gai told us about?"


"You found a partner yet?"

"No. Not yet. I was too busy practicing my new move that I haven't had the time to ask anyone yet. Have you found a partner yet?"


Ten-Ten stole a glance at Neji when he drank water from his bottle again. She had been noticing for quite some time how fine his features were, and how much closer they've gotten as friends ever since they first met. I wonder who he wants to go the dance with.

"Say, Ten-Ten?"


"You . . . you don't have a partner right?"

"No. Why?"

"Oh nothing."

Huh? Ten-Ten raised her eyebrows at that. Neji cleared his throat this time and looked down at the floor.

"Ten-Ten, do you . . . do you want to go with me to the dance as my partner?"

"Huh? With you?" Ten-Ten asked, trying to see if she had heard him right. Neji turned to look at her this time and she felt her cheeks growing warm.

"Yeah. Since you don't have a partner, I just thought I'd ask you, that's all. If you really don't want to go with me, then that's . . . that's alright-"

"Actually, yes, I'll go with you. I don't want to go with Lee and since you DO need a partner, I'll go with you." Ten-Ten felt her heart flutter as she tried to breathe calmly. Neji had just asked HER to the dance!!

"Okay then. Thank you. When should I pick you up?"

"Doesn't matter. Do you know where I live though?"

"Uh . . . I think Gai mentioned it once before, but I don't quite remember."

"Oh. I'll just show you then. C'mon. I'll lead you to my house."

"Uh . . . whatever. . ." Neji stood up and walked next to Ten-Ten as she started walking down the road. Needless to say, Ten-Ten was trying her best to stop smiling at the thought of Neji dancing with her under the moonlight.

They continued walking down, until they passed by the ramen bar. Neji stopped when he saw Hinata, who was sitting next to Naruto.

"Ten-Ten, this won't take long," he told her. "I'm just going to check up on Hinata-san."

"Huh? Oh, okay." Neji smiled at Ten-Ten, then turned and walked towards where his cousin was. Ten-Ten could only stare dreamily at him.

"Hello, Hinata-sama."

"Huh? Neji-niisan, how are you?" Hinata bowed humbly to show her respect as Neji spotted Naruto.

"What are you doing here?" he asked Hinata once she straightened up.

"Oh. Um . . . you s-see, Naruto-kun a-asked me to join him for lunch, and I j-just thought that I would-"

"Oy Neji!" Naruto shouted, looking up from his delicious lunch.

"Naruto, are you taking Hinata to the dance?"


"In that case, you'd better look after her, 'cause if she gets hurt, I'll see to it that you get punished."

"Neji-niisan . . ." Hinata whispered, pulling at her cousin's sleeve. "It's okay. I won't get hurt."

Neji shot Naruto a glare, and then said, "Okay then. But you'd better take care of Hinata-sama."

"Don't worry, man! You can bet on it!"

"Are you going to stay around him for the rest of the day?" Neji asked Hinata. "I'm going to Ten-Ten's house right now."

"Huh?" That thought hadn't occurred to her: hanging out with Naruto all the day.

"Don't worry! I'm free all day!" Naruto cut in again. "I can hang out with Hinata today. That's if she's not busy today."

"Oh, no, I'm not busy," Hinata murmured. Neji noticed her blushing face and smiled to himself.

"Naruto, can you take Hinata home then?"

"Huh? Oh, sure!"

"Have fun," he murmured under his breath to Hinata.

"Thank you, Neji-niisan." Hinata thought that Neji was going to take her back home that moment, but instead, he had actually let her stay with Naruto – for the whole day!

"Oh yeah! Neji, are you going to the dance with Ten-Ten?"

"Um . . . yeah . . ." Walking quickly away from Naruto before he could ask anymore, Neji walked back to Ten-Ten and the two continued down the road.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - -

"Dammit! What's wrong with me?" Sasuke muttered to himself as he took off his head band and flopped onto his bed. The mattress bounced and settled in a bit later as Sasuke crossed his arms behind his head as he stared at the ceiling. The only thing that he could not get out of his head was: Sakura. Sure he had thought of her once or twice before, but never like the way he was thinking of her now.

"Why can't I get her out of my head? Girls are only weaknesses in a man's life, so why can't I forget her?!" Sasuke gritted his teeth in frustration. "Maybe I'll think clearer when I wake up tomorrow." Switching off the light switch, Sasuke buried his head under the covers, and after tossing and turning for at least an hour, he fell asleep.

When he woke up the next day, he covered his head in misery and confusion.

What's wrong with me? Am I weaker than I thought?

When Sasuke had fallen asleep last night, he had dreamed that he was dancing with Sakura under the moonlight. And he was wrapping his arms around her lovingly.

Please review! )