Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
A/N: This is just a one-shot story for Valentine's Day! I hope you all like it! I think it'll be good if I take my mind off Rhythm for a while. Of course, you're all welcome to read it! Anyway, Happy Reading!
B/N: As far as I can tell, this is set BEFORE THE CHUUNIN EXAM. Thus, some minor 'details' may now be considered wrong, but it's just back in time a bit. Awesome story, so read and enjoy!
A Walk Home
It was a special day in Konoha. The aroma of roses and daises wafted through the air and the once-silent roads were bustling with people shopping, going on dates, or just hanging out. Men and women were wrapping gifts for and receiving gifts from their special someone. It was a once-in-a-year event . . . Valentine's Day had arrived.
The busy streets did not disturb Haruno Sakura, since she was indoors and preoccupied with placing the finishing touches on her masterpiece. She touched the fabric and smiled to herself at its simple beauty. It was a hand-made blue blanket. The cut was a bit uneven around the edges, but that was hardly noticeable. In any case, it was the thought that counted, and she was still only a 12 year-old genin.
'Sasuke-kun. . .' She felt her face heat up. Sakura sighed and carefully placed the finished product flat on the floor. She'd reserved generous amounts time for her project, bought the necessary materials, and put her heart and soul in the work. Now, she was finally done.
"Sakura!" Her mom called from the outside of the room, "Hurry up, dear! You're going to be late for your lessons."
"What!" Sakura looked at her wall clock and started to panic. "Oh, shoot! I'm coming! Lemme just pack this up!"
Her mom sighed. "Okay, I'm going ahead. I have some things to pick up in the market."
"Yeah," Sakura mumbled, searching for the brown paper bag she bought for this special occasion. "You go ahead, I'll lock the door when I leave."
"Okay," Sakura's mom replied. Her voice turned serious. "And Sakura. . ."
"What is it, Mom?" Sakura asked. She opened a few drawers and shifted her textbooks around. Where was that bag?
"Good luck!" her mother cheered. Sakura heard consecutively softer thuds as her mom went down the stairs, then one last slam as the front door shut.
'Yeah, luck. I'm gonna need that.' Sakura thought of Sasuke's fan girls, bringing their own special gifts to him. They'd flutter their eyelashes, coat their lips with layers of red lipstick, and wear cheap jewelry. Sakura was almost positive that his fan girls would flock to her team's training area, eager to watch Sasuke-kun train. Then they'd give her their usual evil glare for being near him.
Sakura unearthed the brown paper bag from a pile of clothing and placed the blanket inside. She sprinted towards the bathroom and took a short bath. Afterwards, she dressed in her simple red clothes, brushed out her long cotton candy-colored hair, and adjusted her forehead protector.
She checked her appearance in the mirror and sighed softly. 'Sasuke-kun probably thinks it's just another ordinary day, but I have to give him my Valentine's Day gift and declare my love!'
The twelve-year-old genin left her house. She held her precious brown paper bag in one hand and a little something for Naruto in the other. Sakura locked the door as she left and started walking down the road, her mind wandering. 'I wish that today will be different and Sasuke-kun will notice me, for once,' she prayed.
She would soon discover how difficult a task to accomplish that was.
Just as she thought, the marketplace was filled with people. Stalls were decorated with colorful things for sale. Prices had gone up but there seemed to be more customers than ever before. Roses and daisies covered every available surface and their scents mingled in the air. Sakura adored that, but she knew Sasuke didn't.
Sakura made her way into the marketplace, which wasn't overly crowded. While walking, she held her gifts tight until she practically walked into someone unexpected. They stood face-to-face, ignoring the passerby.
It was Yamanaka Ino.
The blonde jumped in what Sakura presumed was shock at seeing her, but recovered and smirked. Ino shook her head condescendingly, holding a medium-size box covered with hearts at her side. Sakura held her gift tighter. They glared at each other, the atmosphere quickly morphing from cheery to tense.
"Forehead girl," Ino taunted, "I guess you know what day it is today!"
Sakura glared. "It's February fourteenth, Valentine's Day, the day we fight over Sasuke-kun's affection, Ino-pig."
"Right," The blonde replied. "But this year, it's not going to be a challenge!"
"Hah!" Sakura smirked. "Are you giving up? Have you realized that you're no match for me?"
"Sasuke-kun doesn't like girls with big foreheads, you know!" Ino grinned smugly. "He likes sexy and good-looking girls like myself."
Sakura grit her teeth, tightening her grip on the bag again.
"I'm going to give my gift to Sasuke-kun after I meet with my team," Ino sighed forlornly for a moment, but her grin returned. "He's going to love it! He'll love it so much he'll ask me to be his girl."
The pink-haired girl felt ill. "I'm going now," she said, rolling her eyes. "I don't want to be late for my training."
"Okay," Ino replied, walking past Sakura. "See you later, Sakura-chan!"
Sakura glanced over her shoulder at the retreating form of Ino before continuing her walk, trying to forget about Ino's parting shot. 'See you later!' was not particularly threatening, but something about the way Ino said it made Sakura worried. Ino was really confident, she knew that from years of being her friend. Did Sasuke-kun like that in a girl?
Finally, she reached their meeting place at the heart of the forest. Kakashi had selected their meeting place carefully to deceive die-hard Sasuke fans, like Ino. They all thought that the team would be training by the river that day.
At first she could only see Naruto, who was waving and running towards her. There was no sign of their sensei, who was apparently late as usual.
"Hi, Sakura-chan!" Naruto beamed and shouted. "Happy Valentine's Day! Would you go out with me after training?"
"No thanks, Naruto," Sakura giggled. She then handed him his present. "But these are for you, Happy Valentine's Day!"
Naruto was overjoyed as Sakura handed him seven candies.
"Why seven candies?" he asked, grinning. "Does it mean, 'I-love-you-very-very-very-much'?"
"No," Sakura said, poking his head. "It means, 'Thanks-for-being-such-a-nice-friend'!"
The blond boy jumped for joy and hugged Sakura. "Wow! Arigato gozaimasu, Sakura-chan!"
Sakura blushed and smiled. "No problem."
"Ne, Sasuke-teme!" Naruto looked up at the raven-haired genin, who was sitting on a tree branch. "I have a present and you don't!" he sang.
Sakura jerked, startled. She hadn't seen Sasuke up the tree. He must have seen the whole thing. Sasuke glanced at her for a second, then shot Naruto a deadly glare.
"Dobe." The Uchiha muttered, closing his eyes and leaning against the tree trunk.
Sakura felt her heart race and her face heat up. Sasuke was a handsome boy. A gentle breeze blew over his jet-black hair, making his face calmer and more serene. Sakura knew almost every woman in Konoha would like him to be theirs, and with good reason.
After a series of arguments between the two boys, Naruto settled behind a big rock to let his temper cool while Sasuke remained on the tree branch. Sakura leaned against a tree that faced Sasuke. She stared at him, trying to think of something to say. The seconds ticked by, and she clutched her brown paper bag, still thinking of something to say.
She felt different. When she was younger, she could say 'I love you!' to Sasuke without any thought. Sometimes she'd even say it three times a day! Actually, it was something like what Naruto continued to do. However, her once-childish crush had changed into something. Something she couldn't understand.
Whenever she saw Sasuke, she could feel her heart pounding wildly, which had never happened before. She would blush less, but smile to herself when she saw him. It was completely incomprehensible and she didn't even know why it was happening.
After five minutes, Sakura gathered her courage and stood up, grabbing her present for Sasuke. She slowly walked towards him, keeping her eyes on his face.
"Sasuke-kun. . ." Sakura whispered. She almost wondered if he had heard her, since she spoke uncharacteristically soft, but Sasuke opened his eyes and met her pale green ones.
"Hn?" Sasuke grunted, finally acknowledging the pink-haired genin.
"I hope you don't mind but I have something to. . ." She paused nervously.
"What is it?" Sasuke asked, already a bit impatient.
Before Sakura could answer, a puff of gray and pink smoke appeared, startling the three genin. It was Kakashi, wearing a cocky grin on his face.
"Sorry I'm late!" he laughed. He glanced at the surprised Sakura and the calm Sasuke. "Did I disturb something?"
Sasuke shook his head and jumped down. His landing was, of course, perfect.
"Kakashi-sensei, what took you so long!" Naruto appeared from behind his rock, pointing an accusing finger at Kakashi.
Kakashi shrugged. "Hey, I was chased by a lot of Sasuke fan girls along the way! They chased me around the village twice!"
"Whatever," Naruto sighed. "Let's get this over with! I'm hungry!"
"It's true!" Kakashi protested childishly but dropped the subject nevertheless.
Sakura looked at Sasuke once again. He looked determined to train right away; he had probably forgotten about what she was going to say. Sakura gave up, for now.
'Later. I'll give it to him later.'
Before the team began training, Kakashi reviewed what he had taught them about chakra molding and ways to increase the amounts of chakra in a person's body. He then told them to make leaf piles that stood above their knees. Apparently, the trio was supposed to stand on their piles and walk in circles without crunching the leaves. After a few minutes, Sakura succeeded in creating her leaf pile, quickly followed by Sasuke. Finally, Naruto finished as well. They all attempted to stand on their respective piles, Naruto crashing right through and Sasuke wobbling unsteadily. Sakura managed to stay on, although she almost got a headache from concentrating so hard. A minute passed and she stepped down warily.
Kakashi congratulated her for a job well done. She was always good in controlling her chakra. While waiting for her other teammates to finish, Sakura sat down under a tree and gazed at Sasuke.
Sweat trickled down his face and he was breathing heavily. His brows were furrowed as he tried hard to master the skill, and Naruto appeared to be equally concentrated.
After training, everybody was prepared to leave except for Sasuke, who informed them that he was going to practice some more by himself. Sakura was about to say something Naruto interrupted her.
"Leave him, Sakura-chan!" Naruto grinned and grabbed her wrist. "Kakashi-sensei's taking us out for ramen, his treat!"
Sakura glanced at Naruto and turned back to Sasuke, but he was already gone. Her expression saddened when she looked back at Naruto and Kakashi.
"But, but, but Sakura-chan!" Naruto protested. "It's free ramen just for Valentine's Day!"
Sakura headed after Sasuke, paused, looked over her shoulder, and smiled. "That's the whole point, it's Valentine's Day." Then she walked away to try and find the Uchiha.
As Sakura left the meeting area, she heard Kakashi speak. "Let her be," he chuckled, "We both know what she's going to do."
"Yeah, but Sasuke-teme always gets the pretty and nice girls!" Naruto whined.
"Never mind them, Naruto, let's eat."
The pink-haired genin wandered through the forest, trying to find Sasuke. She could feel his chakra somewhere, so he was probably already practicing. Sakura headed towards his chakra, clutching her gift tightly.
'I have to go and give this to him! I'll at least hand it to him, and with any luck I won't make too big a fool of myself,' she thought, moving to the trees to gain speed.
Sakura jumped from tree to tree, eventually seeing Sasuke meditating in the middle of a clearing. She hopped down the ground and quickly hid herself behind a particularly thick tree trunk.
Sasuke was wearing that serious look on his face, even though his eyes were shut. He wasn't practicing molding chakra, since he found it almost as easy as she did. If it was anybody else in that clearing, Sakura would assume they were thinking about something personal, but she was at a loss as to what to think he was doing.
Three kunai suddenly flew at Sakura, which she dodged hastily. She left her hiding place and slowly approached Sasuke from his left side.
"What are you doing here, Sakura?" Sasuke asked, not bothering to look at her.
"I just have," Sakura took a deep breath and smiled, "something to give you."
Still not facing her, Sasuke muttered, "Whatever it is, I'm not interested."
Sakura felt a stinging pain in her heart, but she continued. "I made it just for you, Sasuke-kun. Please accept it." She walked towards him cautiously.
"Go away," Sasuke grumbled impatiently. "You're annoying!"
"Just accept it," Sakura pleaded. She felt a blush spread over her cheeks. "I don't care if you throw it away, or even if you burn it after I give it to you. But please, just take it."
Sasuke didn't say a word, but he stood up and faced her.
"Look," he told her calmly. "I'm trying to keep this from happening."
Sakura held the brown paper bag out in front of her. "I don't care, just accept this," she said confidently.
Sasuke took her gift silently. He didn't even utter a simple 'Thank you' or 'Good bye'. Sakura approached him, her hands clasped behind her back, and gently brushed her lips against his. A second passed and Sasuke didn't react, so she started to pull away, feeling utterly embarrassed. Then, to her utter amazement, Sasuke hesitantly kissed her back.
It lasted under a second, but it was a short, pure kiss, her first, and just a little something for Valentine's Day.
Sakura smiled at him, even though he was looking off to the side and his bangs hid his face. "Sasuke-kun," she whispered. "Happy Valentine's Day." She turned to walk away, but he grabbed her shoulder. Sakura looked at him with a surprised expression, but she couldn't tell what he was going to do, since his head was still down.
"Yes?" she asked nervously.
"Let me . . . " Sasuke lifted his gaze and met her pale green eyes. She noticed the slight pink tinge in his cheeks as he sighed and shifted his grip on the bag. " . . . Walk you home."
Sakura smiled, instantly filled with happiness in its most potent state. Sasuke walked past her, still holding her gift.
"Wait," she said, taking his wrist in her hand to stop him. She smiled at him, tears of joy in her eyes. "Thank you, Sasuke-kun."
Sasuke merely nodded.
Sakura touched her lips and thought happily, 'That really was my best Valentine's gift ever.'
A/N: Wahahaha! Ahem. Anyway, Like it? Hate it? Let me know and leave a review! Cherish Valentine's Day by doing that to your loved ones! Hehe, So… Happy Valentine's Day everyone!