Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Warnings: Kindly visit the first installment for the full list :) Unbetaed because I posted as soon as I finished typing :)
Possible Spoilers: Karin. A redhead ninja who is one of Sasuke's new 'teammates'. She's a Sasuke-fangirl XD Suigetsu. A Mist ninja who is also one of Sasuke's new 'teammates'. He follows Sasuke so he can fight Kisame. He always teases Karin XD If you don't know them, you can ignore them and replace them with OCs, I suppose D:
Notes: …It's been quite some time, huh? –crickets chirping- Um. I'm sorry for the delay! Thank you so much for your kind reviews and your well-wishes for my recovery from my sickness! :D Now that I'm on my final year in university, I'm a mixture of having fewer subjects (so more time) and having more job applications (so less time). I plan to finish this fic by December, so I hope you guys will accompany me on my journey to make a happy ending for Sasuke and Naruto! (What journey?! OTL) I hope you guys enjoy this installment! It's a longer-than-usual chapter too! :p
Last chapter, Sasuke and the rest of Naruto's dedicated admirers followed the aforementioned blond on his date with Shikamaru. After much trouble of stalking the unexpectedly-popular Naruto, Sasuke found him on a hidden corner of the bookstore, looking lovesick and smitten with his date. And when Naruto found out that Sasuke was spying on them, the blond ran away from him, prompting Shikamaru to say:
"I guess that means he doesn't want to see you."
"Ch, I finally found you," A familiar voice muttered sulkily, startling the brooding male leaning against the school's rooftop's railings. The blond that went into hiding almost jumped at Shikamaru's sudden appearance; Naruto placed a tanned hand on his chest in surprise.
"Geez, you scared me there," Naruto complained half-heartedly, though he wasn't looking at his friend. His blue eyes were fixed on the trees that proudly lined their school's grounds; he was fixated on watching the colors of green swaying with every whim of the breeze.
A couple of footsteps, and Shikamaru was also leaning against the railing. "Scared?" He echoed hollowly, black eyes trained on the other, to watch the blond's actions.
Naruto didn't seem to notice, or mind.
"…What is it, Shikamaru?" Naruto asked, and his voice was weary. Shikamaru was reminded of the blond's voice when he was still alone, an outcast, and he disliked it. Still, he came here for a reason—and that reason is to help his stubborn friend—and his equally-stubborn crush.
The cookbook that Naruto wanted to buy earlier was now inside Shikamaru's backpack, but the boy-genius doesn't plan on telling the blond about it—not yet.
The desolate look on Naruto's face told Shikamaru to hurry up, though. He cleared his throat loudly, and directly asked the question that really wasn't much of an inquiry—since he already knew the answer.
He was here for a reason—and that reason is to coax Naruto into patching things up with the proud Uchiha.
"You really love him, don't you?"
Yours For A Day
"I knew you'd be here," A stoic voice said, and Sasuke has heard that voice for almost his entire life. He didn't bother turning around, to see who was speaking. He kept his eyes stubbornly focused on his reflection on the lake's clear water.
"Go away, Itachi," He said, keeping the desperation and misery away from his tone. He doesn't like the idea of Itachi knowing his state at the moment, because nobody knew what kind of blackmail Itachi could come up with. More importantly, he doesn't like the idea of Itachi worrying about him. He's strong; he can do this.
It's just Naruto.
It's just the most important person in his life.
Instead of going away like he oh-so-politely requested, Itachi sat beside him, his longer legs almost touching the water beneath the wooden platform they were sitting on. The lake's water glittered with aquamarine, scarlet and gold, courtesy of the afternoon sun's rays.
"...You're giving up?" Itachi asked blandly from beside him. Sasuke's shoulders stiffened, but he didn't answer.
He didn't have an answer.
"Yo, Naruto!" A cheery voice greeted Naruto, as soon as the blond opened the door. Naruto suppressed a heavy sigh at Kakashi's sudden appearance. Iruka-sensei must have sensed that he'd be moping tonight, so he sent Kakashi-sensei to bother him.
"Kakashi-sensei," Naruto replied warily, stepping to the side cautiously as he watched the silver-haired teacher enter his lonely apartment.
"It's Sasuke-chan's birthday soon, isn't it?" Kakashi said without much preamble, ignoring the way Naruto's hands waved about as though trying to silence him. "Got any gift ideas?"
Naruto flushed pink, eyes shifting guiltily as he avoided eye-contact with the pervert teacher. He may not look like it, but Kakashi is scarily-perceptive. "W-why would I give that jerk a gift?"
Kakashi crossed the distance between the two of them with quick steps, and was patting the blond's head comfortingly within a moment. Naruto looked up, bewildered. Kakashi's teasing smile beamed down on him and Naruto felt a flash of fleeting dread. He felt his blue eyes widening with realization.
The older man's smile widened with almost-inappropriate glee. His gloved hands took out something from his briefcase and proudly presented it to his surprised student, "Shikamaru-kun passed this to me earlier. He told me that you forgot about this."
"The cookbook…" Naruto murmured, fingers clasping the book and remembering Sasuke's murderous expression earlier, and Sasuke's rare smiles from the years they have spent together, fighting and bickering and being friends.
"Iruka sent me actually," Kakashi didn't sound too embarrassed about it, but Naruto supposed that the idea of doing Iruka's bidding grew on him already, over time. He wondered if the harsh words exchanged almost constantly between him and Sasuke would be like that too—growing into a term of endearment and becoming a proof of something special, rather than being simply evidences of heated rivalry.
"The others would gladly help, you know," Kakashi said kindly, before his eye crinkled as he grinned mischievously, "since we all know how you destroyed the home economics' kitchen last year."
"UGH, KAKASHI-SENSEI DON'T REMIND ME!"
"There's only one week left. Have you secured the premises for the party?"
"Yes. Itachi-san is taking care of the clean-up of the venue." Yamanaka Ino scribbled down Itachi's name beside the entry named 'party venue'.
"How about the catering services? Are their delivery times set?"
Ino nodded, while Neji and Gaara said that they have finished cross-checking the food that would be delivered to the party. They made sure that Ichiraku Ramen would be contributing to the party since Naruto would be there.
"About the drinks… Make sure there's no alcohol, okay?"
"Sure thing," Suigetsu agreed with a sharp grin, but Ino looked suspiciously at the white-haired guy. Knowing Suigetsu and his tendencies for delinquency, it was very likely that he'd sneak in something alcoholic.
"Did we manage to hire a band?"
Sai spoke up from his spot on the floor, in a comfortable cross-sitting position while listening to his mp3 player. "Since I'm in-charge of the entertainment, I'll make sure that everything is fabulous."
The other people in the room looked mildly disturbed with Sai's mention of the word 'fabulous'; moreover, did he have to use that hand-motion along with it?!
"So gay," Ino muttered sulkily, feeling slightly depressed since she harbored a not-so-small crush on Sai a while ago.
"The invitations are sent out?"
"I'll help out Hinata-chan in handing out the invitations," Haku volunteered, an angelic smile on his face.
"You're planning to sell the invitations," Neji accused, but he didn't protest too much because it would help cover the expenses for this extravagant party.
"Temari-san and Kankuro-san have already finished buying them," Ino reported, "TenTen said that she'll help the two in finding more people to uh, convince, to help decorate the venue."
"The gift inspection committee?"
"Don't worry! We, the proud members of Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club, are more than prepared to do a security check on the gifts that will be handed to Sasuke-kun!" Sakura, Karin and Ino proclaimed in a heartfelt statement, before the two glared at each other for saying the exact same lines. Lee looked on admiringly at his Sakura-san, despite the fact that Sakura is more passionate about the 'Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club', rather than being more receptive to his advances.
"Then I guess everything's accounted for," The party-organizer said in a serious tone, before breaking into a yawn.
"You make a good organizer, despite your complaints," Ino remarked good-naturedly.
"This is too troublesome," Shikamaru agreed, while the people present on the super-secret meeting started to move out of the cramped classroom. Class would start soon and if someone saw this bunch of students together, they'd immediately think that there's something going on. For the aloof seniors like Neji and Gaara to hang out with the 'useless idiots' of the lower years…!
"You can become a good overlord, Shika," Chouji joked, still not finished with his seventh bag of potato chips.
"Overlord, huh? I wonder about that."
"Thank you, Shikamaru. For helping us out in arranging Sasuke-sama's birthday party," Sakura said, stopping the lazy-but-way-too-smart teen on his way out of the classroom. The others paused as well. Sakura turned to Neji and Gaara. "You guys too," She stated with a friendly smile.
"We're not doing this for you. Or for Uchiha," Gaara said in his no-nonsense voice, inching slightly closer to where Neji's standing. Neji seemed startled that Gaara seemed to be speaking for the two of them. "This is Uzumaki Naruto's request. We're just granting that favor."
Sakura looked stunned at the admission. Instead of being enraged, however, she smiled indulgently, as though understanding. "Naruto… is amazing, isn't he?"
To get you guys to help out even though you dislike Sasuke-kun went unspoken, but Shikamaru doubted that anyone missed the implication. Neji's shoulders stiffened and he looked like he wanted to say something else, but Gaara was holding on to his uniform's sleeve and was already pulling him out of the classroom and towards their next class.
In just a couple of seconds, everyone has filtered out of their meeting place. Only Sakura and Shikamaru remained, but that was fine because Shikamaru had something he wanted to confirm. "You do know about Naruto and—"
In a blink of an eye, Sakura's hand was already hitting Shikamaru's head. "That won't do, Shikamaru-kun. It's not nice to say that to a girl, you know?"
Shikamaru moved away from the strong girl. Sakura laughed, and it sounded like a mixture of heartbreak and freedom. There was no doubt about it: she knew about Naruto and Sasuke and this party's goal.
"…It's because I love Sasuke-kun. And Naruto, too. That's why."
It was a bit vague, but when Sakura flashed him a beautiful smile, resigned yet optimistic, Shikamaru understood.
Naruto is really amazing, huh?
Naruto finished placing the icing on the cake he just finished preparing. The blond teen gazed longingly at the dessert he made, with the help of everyone's strength and encouragement. An onigiri-shaped cake sat innocently at the middle of the table inside Iruka-sensei's kitchen. There was still an hour before Sasuke's birthday party, so Naruto carefully packed the cake inside the container Haku and Hinata-chan bought for him.
It was more than just surprising, Naruto thought, when the people who bid for him appeared in front of his house a few days ago. He felt a bit troubled, because after all, Uchiha Itachi, most fearsome schoolmate ever, stood in front of his doorway.
The blond remembered feeling mortified when Sai had cheerfully said that they know about Naruto's plan to hide from Sasuke first as long as he haven't finished making the birthday present. Hinata had meekly offered her help in teaching him how to cook properly. Even the untouchable Neji and Gaara had even volunteered to make sure that Sasuke never found out about this secret. Sakura-chan had suggested that they all make a birthday party for Sasuke-kun.
Naruto recalled the way they –the teens assembled in front of his apartment- titled their heads at him in a question of whether he wanted to make a birthday party for that jerk who he was making a birthday gift for. Naruto remembered agreeing because he couldn't refuse his Sakura-chan anything, and that he thought that a party would be a good opportunity to have an excuse for the cake he planned on giving.
And now… There was only one hour to go and Naruto was starting to feel nervous. What if Sasuke didn't like it? He shook his head; that bastard loved onigiri and while he hated sweet things, Naruto made sure that he used as little sugar as possible! He even asked Haku and Hinata-chan to buy a dark blue cake box. He even made an icing-design of that stupid-looking Uchiha symbol! There was no way Sasuke wouldn't like it!
Unless… Unless he was still mad about the last time they saw each other? Naruto shook his head again to get rid of such thoughts. Sasuke couldn't be that unreasonable, could he? Of course, Naruto ran away—Sasuke was eavesdropping! About his questions to Shikamaru about his weird feelings whenever Sasuke was nearby, about what could he do for that asshole's birthday!
There was a knock on the door. Naruto sighed in relief—it was a welcome distraction from the bleak direction his musings were taking. He wiped his hands on the apron he was wearing over his outfit for the party. He opened the door, fully expecting it to be Iruka –back from the grocery- or Kakashi –back from his porn bookstore- but he was way off-tangent with his expectations.
He stepped back and gaped at the visitors.
Neji smiled, though it looked slightly strained. Gaara, on the other hand, simply intoned, "Uzumaki Naruto," in his usual somber voice.
"So, so, why are you guys here? Iruka-sensei is buying something from the groceries first—"
The Hyuuga coughed a bit. "Iruka-sensei asked us to bring you to the party."
"But I can walk…!"
"So the cake will be in pieces by the time you reach the venue?" Gaara asked sarcastically, though his tone didn't really change much. "You don't even know where it is, knowing you." He added almost as an afterthought.
Naruto stuck out his tongue at the mild teasing. "Well then…! So are you going to drive me, the great Uzumaki Naruto?"
"Neji will drive. I'll aspire to protect the cake from his driving and from your stomach," Gaara deadpanned.
Blue eyes widened. "Oh my god. You can joke. And you even sound amused. Sasuke's birthday can cause people to act weird, oh my god." Naruto started rambling, though there was a chuckle going along his words.
Naruto transferred his disbelieving stare to Neji. "You guys are even friends now."
Neji bristled. "We're not…!"
"He is tolerable as long as he isn't being himself." Gaara admitted, while Naruto laughed and said that it's hopeless then. Naruto then asked the two seniors to wait for him first because he would need to ditch Kakashi's kitty-apron first and get the cake.
Before Naruto disappeared to the kitchen, however, he paused, and regarded Gaara and Neji with a contemplative glance. "You've changed," you are not so creepy anymore, I think, "and thank you."
As soon as Naruto was out of hearing range, Neji whirled to face Gaara, eyes blazing as he protested. "We're not friends."
Gaara simply met those white eyes, meeting the ice-cold fury it was radiating. Then, he narrowed his emerald-green eyes—a motion that most students regard as a sign to 'run the hell away'. Instead of picking a fight with Neji, however, Gaara simply said, "Don't whirl like that again. Your hair might hit my face."
Neji flushed hotly. "SHUT UP!"
It was supposed to be a fun party.
Shikamaru did his best to arrange everything, putting up with the myriad of explosive personalities, enduring the screeches of Sasuke's million fangirls, patiently executing out every part of the preparations. The food was excellent; even Ichiraku Ramen was here too, providing delicious ramen noodles. The decorations were very breathtaking, transforming the plain-looking room into an extravagant ballroom. The entertainment committee did a great job—the music choices were tasteful, the band was awesome and everyone was having fun.
It was supposed to be a day when Naruto would apologize to Sasuke for misinterpreting everything. It was supposed to be a day when Naruto decided to swallow his pride and admit that he needed help –supplied by Shikamaru and the others- in realizing the meaning of those quickened heartbeats, of those fierce blushes, of those damned butterflies-in-the-stomach. It was supposed to be a day when Naruto would give this painstakingly-made gift to Sasuke—and hope that it would pave the way of understanding between the two of them.
It was supposed to be a day when Naruto would confess to Sasuke that no matter who bid for him, no matter how many competed for his attention, his rival-best-friend Sasuke would always be his most important person.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
He could feel the cake box giving way to the force his tight grip was giving. He could feel of crinkling gift wrapper. He could almost crush the cake –his birthday gift- collapsing in his hold.
The two figures pulled apart hastily.
Naruto blinked once, twice, thrice, for good measure. No, the image in front of him was true.
Karin. And. Sasuke.
Karin was straddling Sasuke. And Sasuke was letting him. Karin was running her hands through Sasuke's hair. Sasuke didn't allow anyone to mess with his hair. Karin was apparently an exception.
"Sasuke… Karin." Naruto prayed that his voice didn't break. It was too much to handle—didn't Karin say that she would help out Naruto with Sasuke? Why was this happening now? How could Karin do this to him? How could Sasuke do this to him?!
"It's not what it looks like…!" Karin protested after a few minutes crawled by.
Naruto exhaled heavily, the cake and its box starting to be crumpled. "You're making out with Sasuke."
The redhead blushed prettily. "Well yes, but…!"
Naruto didn't need any more words, excuses, explanations. Sasuke is good-looking; Karin is very pretty, if not a bit stalker-ish. They would look very cute together. He ran towards the exit, not caring anymore, not caring if some of his friends were calling out his name, not caring that Karin was running after him, not caring that Sasuke was now… in front of him?
Naruto snarled. He didn't register the fact that the Sasuke in front of him looked slightly different—clothes not rumpled, hair not messed up.
Sasuke looked both happy and worried to see him. Naruto bared his teeth menacingly, and before anyone could stop him, before Sasuke could react, he swung his fist and smashed his birthday present to Sasuke's face. "Eat this!"
"What the fuck?!" Sasuke exclaimed; now he looked bewildered and angry, and Naruto wanted to lash out and shout that he really thought Sasuke loved him back, but…! "You bastard! How could you!"
Naruto paused when picked up Karin's voice in the background. The origami-shaped cake slowly splattered to the ground, dirtying the grandiose party hall and staining Sasuke's sleek clothes.
The blond stepped away from the mess. When Sasuke made a move to follow him, he held up a warning hand. "Don't follow me."
"What the hell was that for, dobe?" Even when dirtied and angry, Sasuke still looked gorgeous and Naruto wanted to rip his hair out.
Instead of inflicting more violence, Naruto settled for fixing the birthday-boy with a chilling glare, before walking away.
And his parting words rang in the party hall that was now stunned into shocked silence.
"Uchiha Sasuke, I hate you."
To Be Continued
So what's the explanation for Karin and Sasuke?! (LOL is that a time-jump I see? Is that a cliffhanger I see?)
Did the others change their minds about Naruto too quickly? Well, there were some behind-the-scene actions that I'll have to reveal next episode then! (Like, what was Sasuke doing during that 1-week interval?!)
And why did those kids bid for Naruto, anyway? Some really have hots for the blond, but then again, some have different purposes. Only two chapters to go, so please look forward to the next update! :D
I hope you guys liked it! Please tell me what you think! Your thoughts are very important to me :) I'll try my best to reply to reviews; in case I don't find the time to reply, please do know that I really appreciate hearing your comments, no matter how long or short they are ;)
Till next time! :3
(PS: I updated Daddy Sasuke and Please, Teacher! Haha.)