Blanket disclaimer: Don't own it. Never will.
Sakura skipped down the streets of Konoha. The sun was just beginning to set; it was a lovely summer evening; the breeze was blowing through her long, silky pink tresses of hair; and she was headed to Team Seven's weekly dinner, this time at Naruto's apartment.
It didn't get much better than this.
She spotted a head of spiky ebony hair up ahead.
Or maybe it did…
She made her way to the Uchiha and squealed out, "Sasuke! Hi!"
Sasuke turned and glared at her, but she didn't care if she annoyed him. She was in too good of a mood to let his jerkiness bother her.
"Are you going to Naruto's already?" she asked.
"Why so early?" he didn't answer, so she continued. "I'm going to make dinner. You should thank me, you know. If I wasn't around, you'd be eating instant ramen every time you went to Naruto's for dinner."
"If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have these dinners."
If it was anyone but Sasuke, Sakura would have been offended. As it was, she just smiled knowingly, "Aren't you glad you have me around?"
Sakura laughed. It was as close to an agreement as she would get.
"Why are you so happy?"
Sakura glanced at Sasuke. "Why wouldn't I be?" she shot back.
Sasuke looked irritated. "You look exhausted; it's hot; we're going to meet Naruto and his idiocy. Anything else?"
Sakura flushed. "It's… pretty today?" she offered meekly.
Sasuke just shook his head.
Kakashi flopped onto the couch and pulled out his favorite book. "Sakura, your cooking is improving," he commented.
Sakura beamed, until Naruto added, "Yeah, remember the first time? She nearly burned down the whole building."
Her frown deepened when Sasuke smirked, "Now we know the difference between salt and sugar, right, Sakura?"
"You guys are so mean," she pouted, seating herself beside Kakashi, who ruffled her hair affectionately.
"Leave my girl alone," he said. The two boys smirked and joined them on the couch.
"You heard the man," Sakura grinned.
Naruto rolled his eyes. "It's just because you look better in a swimsuit than we do." Sakura whacked him upside the head. "Jeez, Sakura," Naruto rubbed his head. "You're so violent! How are you supposed to get a boyfriend that way?"
Kakashi quickly suppressed his perverted smirk. Sasuke noticed and rolled his eyes.
Sakura blushed and sunk back into the seats of Naruto's violently orange couch.
Sasuke blinked. "Do you like someone?"
"No!" Sakura squeaked.
Kakashi looked up from his book. "Who is it?" he asked, turning a page. "I want to break his legs."
Sakura scoffed. "Like you could," she retorted.
The three boys looked at her, and she immediately realized her mistake.
"I knew it! Who is it Sakura?" Naruto asked eagerly.
Sakura stayed silent, face turning redder by the minute.
"Is it Lee?" Kakashi asked, turning back to his book.
"Lee? No way!" Sakura sputtered. "Not that he's a bad guy, or anything…" she added hastily.
"Good, your kids would all have bushy eyebrows," Naruto remarked with a snicker. "Is it Shikamaru? It's him, isn't it? I saw the way you were flirting with him yesterday…"
Sasuke and Kakashi both raised eyebrows at this, and Sakura flushed, glaring at Naruto. "You're an idiot," she said. "I was just asking him a question."
"Whatever you say, Sakura… Wait – is it still Sasuke?"
Sasuke shifted uncomfortably, and Sakura looked away.
"No, I don't like Sasuke anymore…" she said quietly.
Sensing the tension, Kakashi looked up. "I'm going home. Gotta wake up early tomorrow. And I'm beat," he yawned to illustrate his point. 'See ya. Thanks for dinner, Sakura." He winked. "And we'll continue this tomorrow."
He disappeared, and Naruto turned back to his friends.
"Sakura, please tell me it isn't Kiba."
"I don't see why it matters!" she said, folding her arms across her chest. She looked annoyed.
"Probably because you're the only one of us likely to have any sort of romantic relations," Sasuke said.
"Yeah, 'cause Sasuke's got a pole up his ass—"
"And Naruto's an idiot no one can put up with," Sasuke shot back.
"You forgot to add that I'm the cutest," she pointed out. They just lookedat her, and she scowled.
"Sakuraaa!" Naruto whined. "Who is it?"
Sakura shook her head and got up. "I'm leaving. Bye, guys."
She moved towards the door, and Sasuke quickly rose from his seat and followed. She turned and raised an eyebrow at him. "If you think I'm going to tell you who it is—"
"I don't care," he cut her off. "I'm just walking you home, idiot."
"Oh, you don't have to—"
She rolled her eyes. "Later, Naruto!" she waved to the boy sulking on the couch.
"Have fun," Sasuke added quietly. Sakura smirked and Naruto looked confused.
At least, until the other two left, and he spotted the pile of dishes littering his kitchen.
"Hey! Who's gonna clean this up?"
The night air was cool and breezy, the moon was bright, and the streets were quiet. It was beautiful.
"You really don't have to walk me, you know. And if this is about me being weak, don't forget, I could easily kick your butt."
Sasuke hid his smirk. Days after he had returned to Konoha, Sakura had invited him to spar with her. He had accepted, but once the fight had started, he had scoffed about how weak she was. She had snapped and gone all out, and Sasuke, shocked, could do nothing but block her attacks.
"That was a fluke. You surprised me."
Sakura snorted. "Hardly. Face it, the almighty Uchiha isn't so mighty."
"So, this guy," he began. Sakura groaned. "Is he stronger than me?"
"Way stronger," she laughed.
Sasuke glared at her. "It better not be Itachi…"
"You goof! There are a lot of people stronger than you, you know."
Sasuke scoffed. "Name three."
"Gaara, Neji, and Lee. I have more, if you want," she offered.
Sasuke winced inwardly. Way to bruise a guy's ego, Sakura…
Sakura smiled at him. "I'm just kidding, Sasuke. You know you're the strongest ninja in Konoha," she said sweetly.
"Well…" she amended. "After Naruto."
She laughed and sped away as Sasuke gaped after her.
Sakura rummaged in her purse for her keys. "Where the heck are they?" she muttered. Sasuke sighed and she frowned. "Quit your sulking, I told you not to bother, didn't I?"
"I'm not sulking," he replied, crossing his arms.
"Whatever you say, Mr. Macho." Finally she pulled out a ring of keys. "Found them!"
Sasuke glanced at them. "Why do you have so many?"
"One for my apartment, one for Naruto's, one for Kakashi's, one for yours—"
"You have a key to my house?" Sasuke asked.
Sakura blinked. "Um. Yeah. We all have keys to each other's places."
"I don't," Sasuke said. He held out his hand. "Give me my key."
"Uh-uh. No way," Sakura shook her head. "Mine."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes, and Sakura scowled at him. "I'm not going to come and attack you in the middle of the night, you know. And I'll even give you one of mine to make up for it."
"No. why do you even have a key to my house?"
Sakura shrugged. "Because."
"That's not an answer."
They continued their bickering the whole way to Sakura's apartment, when she suddenly stopped, cheeks just slightly pink. Since she had been growing red from anger, Sasuke didn't think anything of it.
"Hello, Sakura, Sasuke."
"Neji," Sasuke nodded at the Hyuuga who had just arrived and was unlocking the door beside Sakura's.
"Hi, Neji," Sakura said cheerfully. "Where have you been?"
"Training with Lee," he answered.
"Oh… fun." Neji smirked. "We were just eating dinner at Naruto's. Next week we're eating here," she gestured towards her door. "Come by if you like. I'm cooking," she grinned.
"Exactly why you shouldn't come," Sasuke muttered. Sakura smiled sweetly at Neji and moved back to grind her heel into Sasuke's foot.
He winced. He was surprised, too. Sakura was stubborn about their weekly dinners; either they all got together, or none of them, and no one else was allowed to come. And now she was inviting Hyuuga?
"Maybe I will," Neji shrugged. "I've been living off of ramen, mostly. Not healthy." He opened the door. "I should go. Goodnight."
Sakura sighed, almost dreamily, before she seemed to remember who was still standing there with her. She turned red, and busied herself with unlocking the door to her apartment.
"So, it's Neji."
"Don't bother lying to me, Sakura," Sasuke smirked, leaning against the wall.
"It's not him!" she squeaked out.
"If I hadn't just seen you drooling over him, I might have believed that."
Sakura sighed and opened the door. She walked in and Sasuke followed, shutting the door behind him.
"Was I really drooling?" she asked miserably.
"Well," Sasuke said thoughtfully, "you're better than you used to be."
Sakura flushed angrily. "Screw you."
"Seriously, though. Why Hyuuga? You don't exactly have a chance with him."
Sakura pouted. "You're just jealous 'cause now he's got more fangirls than you do."
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Yeah, it tears me up inside."