1Whoot! The HET fic! You are sooooo lucky, aren't you?

You betcha, because I retyped this three times because I kept forgetting to save or doing it wrong. This would have been longer if I hadn't forgotten the stuff that got deleted...

If this isn't the pairing you wanted, I'm planning on doing a one-shot album eventually, with basically every pairing I can think of. And, whichever one shot gets the most feedback will be elaborated on. So watch out for that.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. I'll only do a hilarious disclaimer if I happen to think of one.

Wai! Gaara won't die! I knew Kishimoto-sama wouldn't kill him off!

Chapter 1: Sasuke, Sasuke.

"Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke! Why does everyone like Sasuke!" a pause, during which a menacing grumble is heard. "Arrrrgh! EVERYONE! HE'S SUCH A JEEERRK!"

A faint voice sounded through the walls of Naruto's apartment. "Can it, Naruto!" it said.

Naruto stopped in his internal (although not really) debate over why a jerk like Uchiha Sasuke was so well liked, while he wasn't. "Why only me..."

But Naruto knew why only him. Only him because he was a Jinchuriki (ehhe, sp?), but not, because Gaara was too. He felt mildly guilty for a time; everyone knew Gaara was worse off. Gaara had no friends, no one to protect him, hell, even Akatsuki had gone after him first. Yes, Gaara had gotten the worse end of the deal, from not being able to sleep to having nothing to occupy him while he was always awake.

It made Naruto angry that they were treated like that; Gaara had had no choice in the matter, and was continually attacked for it, and Naruto himself was supposed to be regarded as a hero. Did it not occur to the people of Leaf Village that, Naruto thought angrily, they were insulting the Fourth Hokage by not respecting his death wish?

By that time, Naruto realized he had been making excuses. Now, he was not angry at the villagers, not even Sasuke. He was angry at the Fourth Hokage, for choosing him to save the village, to contain the Kyuubi vessel.

Why why why? Why Naruto? Why did Naruto inherit all of the detrimental effects of the demon fox? He was sure the blasted thing had stunted his growth. Even at the ripe age of sixteen, he was barely one inch taller than most girls in the village, and practically a midget compared to the other boys. And what girl would want to date an annoying loudmouth midget when she could date tall, serious, handsome Sasuke or genius Shikamaru who was sooo cool by sacrificing himself for a cause during missions. And Neji...cold, aloof, noble Neji, Neji who was beaten down because his father was born second, poor, poor, beautiful Neji!

Naruto conveniently forgot that the only reason he could claim to be taller than the girls was his sunny, spiky blonde hair.

Which brings us back to why Naruto was cursing the Uchiha heir so vehemently.

Well, maybe not, but you wanted to know that anyway, right?

Scaredy cat. Dobe. Dead last. Loser. Moron. Usuratonkachi.

Earlier that day, Naruto had gone to meet Team Seven for a reunion, even though Team Seven had disbanded when they had become chuunin. Sasuke had deigned to come to this meeting even though he was "an avenger" and avengers just didn't attend reunions, to humor Kakashi, who had lost all of his close friends in the course of missions and was, naturally, lonely. Not to disregard Maito Gai; but meaningful conversations between the two consisted of Gai posing and claiming that if he didn't defeat Kakashi this time, he would run 500 laps around the village perimeter on his arms, and Kakashi sighing and either attempting to escape, waiting for a convenient distraction to divert Gai's attention, and if he was feeling generous, favoring Gai with a short challenge, which Kakashi usually won anyhow. Because of this, Kakashi usually spent his free time pestering his only genin team or reading Icha Icha Paradisu.

When Naruto had arrived at the bridge he enthusiastically greeted his rival, and was rewared with a nod and a quiet grunt. He had then entertained the fancy that Sasuke didn't really know how to speak the human language and spent his time consorting with pigs, and had covered his mouth in a lame attempt to disguise his laughter.

Sasuke noticed Naruto laughing at him and rudely asked what he was laughing about. Naruto, who was not quite stupid enough to say what he was really thinking, had declared, "I'm just imagining how I'm going to kick your butt next time we fight, Sasuke!" – notice how Naruto is not using the impolite suffix, teme, in conjunction with Sasuke's name.

"Hn. Whatever, Naruto-baka." Had been the brunette's reply. – take notice, again, how Sasuke instigated the ensuing argument.

"Baka! W-w-!"

"Cat got your tongue, Scaredy cat?"

"SASUKE-TEME!" Naruto roared. How dare he! At least, Sakura wasn't here to witness this battle of wits.

"That's not really all you can think of, is it, dobe?" Sasuke was gleeful. You wouldn't know it to look at him, but he was filled with unadulterated happiness.

"T-EM-E!" Naruto's voice was becoming slightly strangled. They hadn't actually seen each other in months, not exchanged words in almost a year; why was Sasuke acting like they were twelve years old again?

"Tch, guess that cat really did get to you, dead last. Or maybe you're just getting...slow?" To do this...Sasuke supposed he should feel bad, to take advantage of Naruto like that. He would have done the same thing, had Sakura arrived first, but Naruto seemed to always have bad luck. Bad luck that Sasuke had to unload his frustration over Itachi on him.

"-u-u-" Naruto was becoming speechless. Quickly and methodically, as was Sasuke's way, he was insulted with every mean and embarrassing name he had been subject to at the hands (or mouth) of the young Uchiha.

He just didn't understand.

In the midst of all this, Sakura arrived. "What did Naruto do this time, Sasuke-kun?" So assuming, she always was.


Sakura's head whirled around in a splay of pink. "Naruto, quit bothering Sasuke! You probably deserve this, anyway!" Oh, joy. He had missed getting yelled at for no reason. Really, he had. No, really. Rrrreeeeaaaaalllyyyy.

Naruto's eyes had narrowed at the two of them, but stopped before Sakura could yell at him again.

Sasuke quit in his attack of Naruto with someone else around, and the three stood at the bridge for several hours, punctuated only by Sakura asking Sasuke how he'd been. But not Naruto. Never Naruto.

When Kakashi eventually showed up, he had given his customary bullshit excuse. "Got lost on the road of life for real, this time, guys. Sooo...I'm afraid we'll have to reschedule." He vanished with a hand seal and a poof before any of the trio could react.

"Hot date, huh?" Sakura stated. But she wasn't all that upset; Kakashi had given her an excuse to spend time with Sasuke-kun. Even if Naruto had to be there.

Naruto couldn't take it. He had had to endure...that for absolutely no reason. What. The. Fuck. Was. Wrong. With. Kami. Today! Why, why couldn't Sasuke see that he wasn't that annoying dobe of four years ago? That they were equals, no matter how witty Sasuke was and he still wasn't? Couldn't Sasuke see that their friendly rivalry was being strained by his childish refusal to see how things had changed? They were chuunins, dammit!

With a wave and a ja, he took off for home to vent his frustrations...by yelling.


Yamanaka Ino, on the other hand, was blissful. The one, the only, Uchiha Sasuke had just walked past her family's flower shop, with Sakura right beside him. Practically hanging off his left arm, to be precise.

And you know what? He had done the most wonderful thing ever. It was...the most beautiful thing a girl could possibly see. He had called Sakura, it appeared, a big forehead and annoying. As in, both. None of that namby-pamby it makes me wanna kiss it crap. Piss off, pure and simple.

Instead of making a move on Sasuke as most fangirls would, however, she went back to tending the displays within the store. Ino was not stupid; she knew Sasuke was prickly, and if he went off on his ex-teammate, she didn't want to know what would happen to her. All she needed to know was that her biggest rival in the battle for Sasuke-kun's heart was out of the running. Sakura could go revive dead fish or something for all Ino cared.


Sasuke's scowl increased and he ambled away from the crestfallen cotton-candy head. He didn't understand why she was so surprised; he had made it perfectly clear when they were teammates that he wanted nothing to do with her outside of ninja duties. There was absolutely no reason for that to change the way she wanted it now. Sasuke's only responsibility was to protect a fellow ninja if he or she needed help, and he was no longer obligated to help her out for the sake of Kakashi-sensei's teamwork.

At present, he had no desire to begin a relationship. He was much to preoccupied with training for the jounin exams; he was already several years behind Itachi. Sasuke knew full well that he could die. He didn't intend to, of course, but if the high-level missions he planned to take on didn't kill or maim him, Itachi could. Itachi was a monster. But Sasuke would at the very least take Itachi out with him.

Besides, if he didn't die, he wouldn't take a ninja for a wife. Everyone knew that ninja babies had a high mortality rate, and Sasuke would need a healthy wife (or three) capable of bearing many children. Two or three babies would not revive the Uchiha clan.

Sasuke had a plan. He would marry, marry and take on mistresses. No one would mind; he was the precious Uchiha, the last. He would father many children, and he would stay at home to protect his family from anyone who would bring ruin to the Uchiha clan. Sasuke could do this; he would earn money from his current missions, and he had hardly tapped the resources of the vast dead clan, of all the Uchihas.

His plan would work. True, it was a foolish plan, for anyone else, but he compound Uchiha, the Uchiha, and nothing he did could go wrong.

Sasuke continued to walk away from Sakura and didn't look back.

He wandered about, where, exactly, he knew, but not what to call it. Not, home, certainly. The living place of the late Uchihas had ceased to be home to Sasuke the evening he had come home to find his parents dead on the floor, bathing in their own blood. Perhaps, abode would be more fitting. Or dwelling. No, habitat; the others sounded too affectionate.

Presently, he arrived at the Uchiha compound. That place that had once thrived, filled to the brim with a powerful, influential clan. Where everything possible, from wall hangings to furniture to body parts had been emblazoned with the proud colors of the red and white family uchiwa. But now the people were all gone away, to their new homes in the family plot, and the once vivid red had dulled and the pure white grayed.

Now, all Sasuke lived in were reds and grays. When he walked about, he could still see the crimson that painted the large area over the dull grays, like the corpses were still strewed about in a negligent manner, like they had been performing some macabre dance before they dropped to the ground, dead at the hands of Uchiha Itachi.

Sasuke observed the red on gray, gray on red as he traipsed through his family's blood, toward the manor, where he still resided.

He strode through the halls, in a memorized pattern to avoid the place of most horror, where the red still was, as crimson as the day it was spilt. He stayed well away from the places he never went, as a prodigy could never stray. Except for the prodigal son, who had, just once, and had never come back but one time, not to reconcile, but to seal the deed.

Sasuke came to a room, a room cloaked in gray. He stood in the doorway, and allowed the power, the strength that emanated from the walls, the bedsheets, to envelope him, to pressure his mind and remind him of the task he never forgot. Here, was absolute safety.

In this room, no one had died. In Itachi's room, no one could die.


Sakura stood on the street, her head hanging low.

It was over. All over.

Sasuke had, in a sense, disowned her. "Why would I want to be with an annoying big-forehead weakling like you?" And why would he? She was only a pathetic medic-nin. As if Sasuke-kun would need her help. Oh, the shame. Sakura had lost her purpose in life: to measure up to Sasuke's standards. And if she hadn't even come close by now, she never would. No amount of Tsunade-sama's training would help.

And even as she thought it, her subconscious knew that the shame was a sham. By tomorrow, she would have convinced herself that the incident had all but never happened. Sasuke didn't mean the cruel words he had said to her; he was just stressed.

Stressed and misunderstood.

And why shouldn't he be? He had survived the Uchiha massacre, grown to adolescence pestered by those other girls constantly, dealt with being on the same team as that annoying jerk and all the troubles that went along with it. Naruto had only been holding Sasuke back, and surely that had frustrated him.

But for right now, Sakura felt like she should cry. She didn't, ninja were taught not to reveal emotion, and she didn't have so little control that she would burst out sobbing in a public place.

Sakura stood with her head down for a few more moments, steeling herself for the sympathetic or triumphant stares sure to greet her. Until, that is, she heard humming.

Normally, one would expect humming to make someone happy, but Sakura...that was not her way. And, now, she was taking notice of where she was. Slowing turning her head, which was still hanging down, she came face-to-window with the Yamanaka flower shop.

And, one blonde pig working inside. The source of the humming.

The blonde bitch was innocently cleaning, picking up pots to clean away spilt dirt and sprucing the petals and leaves, rearranging the bouquets, humming all the while. But Sakura knew better.

Ino didn't particularly dislike working in her parents' shop, but she didn't like it enough to hum, either. She claimed that the aromas made her sneeze from time to time in the spring or when it was windy during the summer or early fall, but everyone knew she didn't really mean it.

Since giving up her status as an active kunoichi, Ino had dedicated her time to arranging various flowers, all sizes and colors. The rumors were that Ino had been satisfied with the results of the first chuunin exam, and she didn't feel that her skills were improving enough.

Well, it was about time that Ino realized Sakura was better.

"Are you fucking laughing at me, bitch!" Sakura's chakra-enforced feet made small craters in the ground. "Are you fucking laughing?" She slammed her palms into the large glass window of the display.

A shower of broken glass, stems and flower petals struck and sliced at Ino's fair skin. Or rather, it would have, provided Ino hadn't moved. As it was, she had still suffered numerous shallow cuts on her back.

"What the hell! You think you can fucking rob my store!" Ino stood up and a lavish amount of petals fluttered to the ground. And... "Big-forehead? What are you doing trashing my shop?" She leaned back, hands on her hips, and laughed. "You don't really think you won't have to pay for this, do you?"

Sakura growled and her shoulders shook. "Stop...laughing...at...ME!"

"Uh?" Ino's arms dropped to her sides and her face gained a confused expression. Crap...did she hear me?

"YOU BITCH!" Sakura charged forward and swung her fist blindly at Ino. "YOU CAN'T HAVE SASUKE-KUN!" The punch grazed Ino's cheek as she dropped to the side.

"Sakura!" Stop that!

Ino, on her backside, began to move her legs and propel herself backwards.

"URRAAAA!-" Sakura stopped and stumbled, her assault finished. She fell to the ground, inches from Ino's feet.

"Ino, you can't even watch the shop for a few hours without getting in trouble?" Ino's mother and father stood in front of the broken window, the former with her arm still positioned to knock the Haruno out.

"Eh he he..." Sheepishly, Ino patted the back of her head to remove any stray plant parts. She only cut her hand on a shard of the window.

To be continued.

My other fic is on hiatus, for now. You know why? Because I didn't get enough reviews. But since so many of you had been rooting for a het fic, I expect better results. Not because I'm pissy but because you love me. Kapeesh?

If you have questions, ask in a review.