Little Piece of Heaven
While in the midst of waking from a blissful slumber, Sakura stretched an arm across the pillow and felt the soft material against the back of her fingers. Her eyes instantly opened when she again, touched the pillow and the bed sheet that surrounded. The texture of the material was off… maybe not off; completely different was more like it. As her eyes adjusted to the invading daylight, she noticed that the ceiling she peered up at wasn't exactly how she remembered either.
News flash, Haruno: This isn't your bedroom.
Startled, she shot up fast and instinctively swung her legs over the side of the bed so she could sit up properly. …Or she would have if not for her knee coming into contact with what looked to be the back of someone's head.
She yelped in surprise while the poor victim growled in discomfort.
Recognizing the signature black spikes, Sakura folded her legs back under her and crawled to the edge of the bed. "SASUKE?"
"Right..." he hissed.
With the shock dissipating quickly, Sakura soon realized that she was in Sasuke's room. Having slept there before, she quickly began recognizing her surroundings. The only thing out of place this time was that she wasn't alone. From the looks of it, Sasuke appeared to have slept sitting on the floor while leaning against the side of the bed.
Had he been there all night? Her mind was bombarded with feelings of both confusion and guilt. Confusion because she didn't know how and why she had ended up in his room, and guilt because for whatever reason she was there, she was occupying Sasuke's bed and forcing him to sleep on the floor.
The last thing she could remember before falling asleep was that Sasuke had insisted on carrying her before she collapsed from fatigue. There was something else she had felt, too. Something that bothered her… But she'd have to worry about that later. Shaking the last thought, she quickly assessed the situation at hand.
"What am I… doing here…?"
Rubbing the back of his head, Sasuke avoided turning around to look at her. "I didn't want to wake you up to get your keys."
"Oh…" she mused nervously. "Actually… I don't lock my door."
He turned his neck then to glare menacingly over his shoulder. Obviously, he had absorbed her information the wrong way.
She blinked in surprise at the question. "I… I just…"
"If you don't look your door, any pervert could just walk right in."Sasuke turned away and began to stand up. "Stop being so naïve—it's annoying." he added.
Folding her arms, Sakura pouted defiantly. "You're not allowed to lock your door, either. Why would I be safe here?"
He exhaled shortly, as if the question were a deliberate blow to his ego. "At least I'm with you," he scoffed. He had felt it was pretty damn obvious.
Watching Sasuke leave the room, she quickly jumped from the bed and followed after him, not knowing exactly how to react to his last statement. He was either being considerately protective of her well being, or implying that she was unable to fend for herself without his presence. Whatever it was, he didn't seem to be in the best of moods that morning so she decided to keep her comments casual.
"You sat by the bed all night…" she stated softly.
There was a brief silence, until… "You're heavy. After carrying you around I didn't have enough energy to get to a couch."
Sakura wrinkled her nose at the 'heavy' remark, but continued following him down the hallway. "I wouldn't have minded if you dumped me on the floor and took the bed," she joked lightly. "It's your bed, after all…"
"Hn." Turning a corner, he glanced at her from over his shoulder. "Don't be an idiot."
She sighed. "I was just saying… Anyway, thanks for letting me stay over. I'll get out of your way soon; I'm suppose to work at the hospital today."
She was stopped in her tracks quickly when Sasuke turned around and slammed his arm against the wall, preventing her from moving forward.
"Lock your door at night, Sakura—I'm not kidding."
Blinking in confusion, she timidly looked from the barricading arm to Sasuke's intense stare. Was he still thinking about that?
"Are you going to?" he demanded.
She raised an eyebrow skeptically at him before nodding. "Sure…"
He stared down at her for a moment longer before pulling his arm back. "I'll walk you to the hospital," he said tenaciously, clearly leaving no room for argument. "Go eat something first."
"But aren't you training with Kakashi-sensei today?"
"I am, so hurry it up." With that said, he opened the door to the washroom and slammed it shut behind him, leaving Sakura deserted in the hallway. Seconds later, she heard the shower running.
Rubbing the back of her neck, she made her way to the kitchen. Why was he getting so worked up about a locked door? Even if some deranged psychopath decided to waltz into her home, she would make quick work of smashing their feeble body to smithereens. What did Sasuke think she would do? Cry? Faint? Make them tea?
Huffing ever so slightly, she threw open the fridge doors and set about making breakfast for the two of them. One of these days she'd coax the Uchiha into a sparring match and deliver a swift kick to his arrogant, frigid behind. It was the only way to pop that egotistical balloon he called superiority.
Buttering a slice of bread, she paused in her movements to sigh inwardly. Something about her anger felt forced; it was as if she wanted to feel more irritated than she was about Sasuke's somewhat usual behavior.
Closing her eyes, she reminisced about the feelings she chose to ignore all morning. It seemed so kind, so thoughtful… so...
"Go back to sleep."
He had felt so warm…
"Yeah, I don't mind... Go ahead."
Leaning against the counter, she brought a hand to her mouth, grazing her knuckles against her lips. She was being stupid. Really stupid. She was letting some chivalrous gesture crack through years of hard work and rehabilitation. It was something Sasuke had probably done grudgingly; through gritted teeth and disgust for her weakness… and she was letting it mean more to her than that?
There was an easy answer, of course. Forget it, ignore it, or discard it… whatever it took. Stomp out the hopeless romantic dream harbored by the little girl deep inside. She would never win this battle.
Uchiha Sasuke was her good friend. Plain and simple. If he ever found a woman to love, she would be there to wish him all the happiness he deserved.
Pleased with her thoughts, she laid out Sasuke's breakfast and ate her own quickly. Halfway through, it finally occurred to her that she had merely rolled out of bed without glancing at a single mirror. She used a piece of silverware to assess her appearance and noticed that her forehead protector was missing. Ruffling a hand through her pink tresses, she frowned while trying to remember when she had taken it off. Or perhaps Sasuke had removed it for her…? Finishing her breakfast, she moved quickly back to the Sasuke's room to check if that was the case. The ninja headband was a cherished accessory—not knowing where it was filled her with worry.
In her careless impetuosity however, Sakura barely had time to react as she hurled into the room and bashed right into Sasuke. A very shirtless Sasuke, one might add. He was only wearing a pair of black shorts as she collided into his bare, muscular chest. Obviously caught off guard, the dark-haired boy instinctively wrapped an arm around her waist, while using the other to cushion their landing.
Not exactly sure what had just happened after hitting the floor, Sakura blinked rapidly and felt her lashes caressing against the chest she was clinging to. Her cheeks immediately flushed as she propped herself up and stared down into Sasuke's disapproving face.
"Way to go…" the boy mumbled, trying his best to ignore the fact that the pink-haired kunoichi was straddling his hips.
"I'm so sorry!" she stammered. "I was looking for my forehead protector, and—"
"On the dresser." Sasuke informed. "Do you mind...?"
Her cheeks burned when she looked down and finally noticed how intimately positioned they were… even more so when she saw her hands were laid flat on his abdominal muscles. Flinching, she took her hands back and blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "B-Breakfast…!"
His eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What?"
She smacked herself mentally and shook her head. "I mean, I made you breakfast! I-It's on the table."
Onyx eyes watched her incredulously before he spoke again. "Thanks," he said slowly. "But it would help if you got off, Sakura." At that moment, his eyes darted away as his legs shifted awkwardly beneath her. He was starting to feel uncomfortable. The need for a cold shower was suddenly in the works. "Uh… get off… seriously…"
"Huh? Oh right, I'm heavy!" she giggled as she moved off him. "Sorry!"
Getting up with incredible speed, Sasuke reached over to the nightstand and grabbed Sakura's forehead protector. "Here," he said as he shoved it into her hands. "Go wait for me in the kitchen."
Keeping a smile on her face, she nodded and bolted for the hallway, tying the headband under her hair as she did so. Sakura had learned that the only way to get over a horrific embarrassment was to just laugh it off and treat it like it was no bid deal. It really wasn't after all. So what if she had seen Uchiha Sasuke in all his damp, shirtless glory? She had seen it before, minus the damp, and her blushing was only human. She was sure Sasuke had taken it in stride as well until she heard the washroom door slam shut again.
Skidding to a stop, she listened carefully as the sound of running water could be heard once more from behind the door.
He's taking another shower…?
She turned at the sound of her name and smiled brightly when she saw Neji approaching. Sasuke, on the hand, looked less than pleased and displayed it openly through narrowed eyes and gritted teeth. Clearly, after hearing how he had kissed Sakura's hand, he didn't trust the Hyuuga boy and was making sure to keep Sakura within close proximity. Shoving his hands casually into his pockets, he stayed rooted by her side as Neji walked up to them.
"Good morning, Neji!" Sakura greeted cheerfully.
Though looking as smug and confident as ever, Neji still had a thick bandage wrapped around his arm. His injury still hadn't completely healed.
"Pleasure to see you, Sakura…" he paused to nod tersely at her escort. "Sasuke."
Cold, onyx eyes merely stared him down in response.
"I'm glad I bumped into you," Neji continued, ignoring the hailstorm of murderous intent from the Uchiha. "There seems to be a bit of bruising around my arm. Perhaps the last nurse who treated me wrapped it too tight?"
Worry crossing her features, Sakura stepped forward and gently took hold of his forearm. "Hmm… maybe… I'd better change it again just to be safe." Gesturing to the small stone ledge beside them, she motioned for him to sit.
Neji held out his arm for her and smirked up at the other boy who didn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. "Don't let us keep you, Sasuke," he said casually.
As if just remembering he was there, Sakura looked up from searching through her backpack. "Oh! Yeah, Sasuke you don't have to stay! I'm sure Kakashi-sensei's waiting for you, so…"
"I'll wait." he announced defiantly.
She cast her teammate a curious glance before resuming her search for bandages. "Ok, sure… if you want…"
Neji continued to smirk as he evaluated the Uchiha from the corner of his eye. He was wise enough to know that the other boy was clearly agitated by his presence. How rewarding… the great Uchiha genius considered him a threat.
Although he thoroughly enjoyed ruffling the prodigy's feathers, Neji did have a considerably innocent agenda at hand. Haruno Sakura was a great mystery to the young men of the village. She was sweet, beautiful, talented and funny. How on God's green earth was this girl still unattached? It seemed she had plenty of guy friends but no boyfriends, and according to past observations, the only man she had ever been interested in was Sasuke.
Uchiha Sasuke… he thought with a raised eyebrow. What a fool.
What a fool, indeed. He had finally come around to be Sakura's knight in shining armor when she had already given up being the damsel. For someone with excellent proficiency and coordination, he sure had horrible timing. Whatever the case, it was of no concern to the Hyuuga. He was not about to give up just because some pompous imbecile knew how to do everything except get the girl. In his very honest opinion, Sasuke had his chance.
"Thank you, Sakura," he said as she gingerly re-wrapped his arm. "I feel more at ease when you're my nurse."
She giggled. "Well, I'm glad! If you want, I could stop by sometime this week and examine it more thoroughly?"
Sasuke immediately tensed; Neji noticed it easily as he tried his best to hide the amused expression that tugged at his features.
"Anytime would be great," he answered, and was quickly given the deadliest glare known to man from the visibly pissed-off Uchiha. He was testing the other boy's limits and probably putting his own life in danger by doing so… but at the same time, it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Sasuke was still looking calm and composed, emphasizing an air of disconnection by leaning back with his hands in his pockets. A pitiful attempt, in Neji's opinion. Upon closer inspection, the boy's muscles were clenched while his foot dug against the gravel with impatience… and one could definitely not miss the hard look that burned behind his cage of black bangs.
It seemed the genius wanted to interject, but could not do so because Sakura had been the one to propose the infuriating topic of choice. Judging from the amount of tension, Neji could assume that if he had been the one to suggest Sakura stop by for a checkup, Sasuke would've snapped his neck in two by now.
What a fun and deadly game to play.
"Alright, no problem then!" Sakura said cheerfully. Putting her medical supplies back in her bag, she stood. "Probably sometime this week, okay?"
He nodded with a grin. "Looking forward to it."
Again, the Uchiha sent him a look that blatantly told him to "shut the hell up already."
Completely oblivious to the psychological warfare taking place, Sakura gave a gentle tug to Sasuke's arm. "Let's go?"
"Ah." Frowning one last time at the Hyuuga boy, he turned and followed after his pink-haired teammate.
"I'll see you later, Neji!" Sakura yelled back. She had barely finished waving her goodbye before Sasuke spat out his annoyance. "For what? You already fixed his arm. Now he's just wasting your time."
"Yeah," she said casually, giving him a playful poke to the ribs. "Just like you did for a month."
"At least my injuries were real."
Shaking her head, she sighed. "Okay, I don't get it. What's that suppose to mean?"
He shrugged. "I don't trust him, that's all."
It was his intuitive reasoning for everything and something about that reply didn't sit well with her this time. "Fine," she snapped. "Go ahead and think that of him just like you do everyone else."
Why couldn't he just let down his guard, even if for a mere couple seconds? Why couldn't he just embrace humanity and all the happiness that it carried? Sasuke still refused to depend on others, to need others… Was it really so difficult? So painful and unnatural? He fought so hard to rid his life of the demon that destroyed it, and with that accomplished, he still refused to be at peace.
Sasuke didn't seem too stunned by her remark, but he didn't say anything back either. Keeping two steps infront of him, she could feel his penetrating stare burn holes into her back. A couple more minutes passed until…
"I trust you."
She stopped, and he in turn did the same. Turning around, her gaze was instantly transfixed within the perpetual intensity from Sasuke's eyes. He didn't say anything more… he didn't want to.
With an unreadable expression, she opened her mouth to speak.
"SASUKE!" an angry voice bellowed.
They both jumped back to see Kakashi standing before them. Narrowing his half-lidded eye in irritation, he wagged his finger at Sasuke. "You should know I don't tolerate truancy."
"20 extra laps around the village!" he paused. "Oh, Sakura!"
Having been lost in the previous situation, she blinked rapidly and tried to collect herself. "Y-yes?"
"The Hokage wants to see you right away. You have a mission."
Author's note: Yes, Neji is the only one who 'gets it.' Woo-hoo! And shirtless Sasuke needed a cold shower—I'm so bad. Anyway, I've decided against Sasuke's perspective… for now. For this I thought it would be neat to view Sasuke's behavior from Neji's point of view. I don't know if it's clear, but even though he enjoys torturing Sasuke, Neji really does like Sakura. Also, thank you Tami for pointing out some of my stupid mistakes--except the word 'profantic'.. haha it's not a real word, but I like it.
A week and a half left of school. Oh god, I'm dying!
If anyone wants to know where to read chapters from the Naruto manga, I just download them from narutofan dot com. It's free, but you need an account. Anyway, chapter 301 came out recently. SHOW SASUKE'S FACE, DAMNIT! Quench my lustful thirst!
Next chapter: less than two weeks (it helps if I make my deadlines public… I'll do it no matter what this way. Nothing can stop me!)