Author's Note: I'm really sorry for the incredibly late update. I know many of you were waiting for this for a very long time. Blame my schedule, as well as a tad bit of laziness :P
So I dedicate this chapter to all of you, especially those who have been reading since the very beginning – the times when my writing wasn't as good as it is now. Seriously. I think this is the fic that really shows how I became better and grew as an author. So it really means a lot :)
Love or Chaos?
Chapter 22: The Ultimate Test
"You know…I would have said you acted well if it weren't for the fact that you've been initiating a lot of physical contact with Sak for the past hour."
Sakura's eyes widened as she turned around to face the owner of this very familiar voice. Sasuke's eyebrow rose. "What did you say?" He asked, his arm not moving an inch. The boy in front of him just smiled.
"I said get your hands of her, chicken ass."
Sasuke's eyes flashed dangerously. "What?" He demanded, taking a step closer to the boy while keeping Sakura protectively behind him. The smile on the boy's face was annoying the hell out of him.
"Oh, not only do you look like a chicken's ass, you're now a deaf moron as well."
Sasuke clenched his fists, preparing to hit that bastard's face with all he had. "Why you-"
Someone beat him to it. He was surprised to see Sakura punch the black-haired guy on his shoulder, but he also noticed something out of place.
She was smiling.
What the hell?
"Ouch. That hurt, Ugly." The boy said, rubbing his sore shoulder. Sakura didn't seem to mind the nickname he had for her though. At least not now. "You baka, I missed you!" She shouted and Sasuke was appalled to see her practically hug the guy to death.
And the boy didn't seem to mind.
Actually, he put his arms around her too.
Not to mention looked at the Uchiha with his smile still intact in his face while he placed his chin on top of the pink-haired girl's head.
Sasuke seethed with anger. "What the hell are you doi-"
"Oh! I totally forgot!" Sakura cut him. She stepped back from the boy's embrace and looked around.
Everyone seemed to be watching them. Naruto, Hinata, Neji, Ino, even Temari, Kiba and all her other friends.
As impossible as it may seem, she wanted them all to get along. It was proving to be difficult, but she could see that they were slowly warming up to each other. Kind of. Well, at least Temari seemed to be happy she liked Sasuke…
"Sasuke, this is Sai." She said, smiling at him and he couldn't help but feel less annoyed. He sighed exasperatedly, as if he was letting out all his anger in one breath. That seemed to work…a little. He held out his hand.
Too bad Sai wasn't really willing to take it.
The smile on his face could fool anyone. But Sasuke knew better. It was obvious to him that Sai's eyes were observing him like a hawk. And he didn't like it one bit.
"You can stop staring now." He stated monotonously and was going to pull his hand away when Sai held it, gave it one shake and let go. Sakura seemed happy with this gesture so he just shrugged it away.
Whatever made her happy.
Sai's probing eyes didn't seem to leave his face though. He said it softly, but Sasuke heard his words – as well as the threatening tone it had. Clearly, Sakura had very possessive friends indeed.
"We'll see if you truly deserve her, Uchiha."
He smirked inwardly.
He was ready for whatever they had up their sleeves.
It was a well known fact with everyone in their school. But as for Sakura's other friends, well – they'll find out soon enough.
An Uchiha never backs down from a challenge.
"Bye Daisuke! We'll really miss you!"
Sasuke just rolled his eyes as Daisuke's face brightened. Then his eyes narrowed as the brown haired boy hugged Sakura who returned it with several pats on his back. The boy didn't seem to want to let go though.
"I'll really miss you too, Sakura-chan!"
"D-Daisuke. Can't. Breathe."
"That's enough." Sasuke moved to pry away the boy's arms from her waist. Sakura smiled at him and inconspicuously mouthed a 'thank you.' He smirked.
"Well, goodbye to you as well, Sasuke." There was something about the way Daisuke looked at him that he couldn't fathom. It was as if he knew something he didn't. Sasuke's eyes narrowed.
"Will we see you soon, Daisuke?" Sakura asked, linking his arms with Sasuke's. She noticed him looking at their intertwined hands for a moment before looking directly to her face.
"Of course. Actually, there's a big possibility that I might come back to stay."
"Stay? As in you and your father won't keep transferring anymore?" Sakura's eyebrows knitted. Daisuke's father's business required him to go abroad a lot. That's why he hasn't stayed in the same country for more than a whole year in his life.
"My father still will. But he thinks I'll do better things if I stay here. At least after this business negotiation in London is done."
"That's good. It's true that you'd probably learn better if you finish your course in one college. It's better than moving around all the time. I heard there's a good college here for business-"
"It's not only that though. As early as it is, my father thinks it's time I start getting settled. Travelling around the world isn't exactly my goal in life."
Sakura smiled at him. "Well good luck then. And see you soon."
"Take care, Sakura-chan."
The way Daisuke looked at Sakura continued to unnerve Sasuke. He guessed he was just being paranoid, but he could feel that something wasn't right. Daisuke knew something. And based from how differently he was acting…
It had something to do with Sakura.
"Why the hell do we have to do this?!"
Sasuke swore he grew more than a hundred gray hairs just listening to Naruto's loud voice. And they've only been in the car for…less than 10 minutes?
"Shut up dobe. Sakura just wants everyone to get closer. So just go along with it." He said through gritted teeth. Naruto didn't seem to notice just how annoyed his friend was though.
"Yeah but a sleepover? With everyone? Gaara's fine…kinda scary though. The others aren't so bad. Except for that stupid dog freak."
"What did he ever do to you?"
"Teme! You should have seen the way he's been hitting on Hinata-chan! He's-"
"What does him hitting on Hinata have anything to do with you?"
"I thought so."
"Just spit it out teme!"
"You like Hinata, don't you dobe?"
Naruto's jaw dropped and to Sasuke, he looked like a little kid caught stealing a bag of candies.
"N-no I don't you bastard!"
"It's true! Friends look out for each other! And that's what I'm doing!"
"By making sure Hinata doesn't hang out with guys who actually pay attention to her?"
"Hey that's not true! I actually pay attention to her, you know!"
"So you're keeping her all to yourself."
"You like her."
"Th-that's not…I d-don't like-"
"Stop wasting your saliva. Practically everyone knows you like her. It's so damn obvious."
"Well maybe she doesn't know. You two are pretty dense."
"Hey I'm not dense!"
"You really think this would make everyone closer?" Temari asked her pink-haired friend. Sakura nodded. "Yeah, they'll get to spend more time with each other. Then maybe they'll figure out that all of them are more alike than they think."
Temari just looked at her skeptically. "I sure hope so. Because I definitely see the tension between them. Ughh…especially the guys," she rolled her eyes, "Men and their pride."
"But you know," Sakura started, "there's something going on. I can practically feel Sai and Gaara observing Sasuke like a hawk. I mean, Sasuke doesn't even look or act like a fanboy or anything. So there's really nothing they should be worried about."
The older blonde put a hand on her shoulder and smiled. "You know they only want the best for you. They just want to make sure and see that you made the right choice in being with Sasuke."
"And if they don't see that?"
"They will. Sasuke may seem like a bastard. But if it comes to you, he might as well be labeled an angel." Temari teased, elbowing her. Sakura just rolled her eyes. "I think you're going overboard with that one. He's not that mean."
Temari just shook her head with a knowing smile. "You keep on saying that. Jeez, all of you are really dense, you know."
"What? What do you mean all of us?"
"That Tenten girl, Hinata and especially that other blonde. She keeps on neglecting the fact that the one she likes is right beside her."
"Well yeah…Ino and Shikamaru would be great together…" Then Sakura's eyes widened, "Ohhh!" She pointed an accusing finger at Temari. "That's why you acted so weird that day in the mall. I knew it! You acted like you liked him to get Ino jealous."
Temari smirked. "I guessed she needed a little push." Sakura looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Are you sure you don't like Shikamaru?"
"Of course! He's just not my type. Besides…"
Sakura involuntarily shivered at the evil smile on her friend's face.
"Making that Ino girl jealous is going to be fun."
Naruto screamed and quickly sat up on the mattress. He exhaled heavily, thanking the heavens it was only a bad dream. Damn, the joker scared the hell out of him. He reminded himself not to watch movies that had people with heavily painted faces. Why the hell did the others want to watch Batman anyway? He shivered just thinking about it.
Then his stomach grumbled.
He instantly smiled. Time for my midnight snack! I remember Sakura-chan saying there's tons of ramen stored in the pantry. He looked around the room and saw that all the guys (the girls were in the room beside theirs) were asleep. Except for Sasuke who wasn't in the room.
Naruto just shrugged it away and proceeded to go downstairs. In the kitchen, he saw Sasuke drinking tomato juice. He was staring into space and looked so deep in thought.
"Are you going to go in the kitchen or just stare at me the whole night, dobe."
Naruto's eyes widened. "Hey! I was not staring!" he shouted, "And why are you here anyway? You look like a zombie spacing out."
Sasuke just rolled his eyes. "I got thirsty, smartass." Naruto neglected his friend's spiteful comment for once because his stomach started grumbling again. He patted it and began to get 5 packs of instant ramen.
Before Naruto could finish his 3rd bowl, they heard distant voices. He dropped his chopsticks and scooted closer to Sasuke's chair, making the raven head look at him weirdly.
"Wh-who's th-there??" The blonde shouted, his hand gripping Sasuke's arm tightly. Before the latter could say anything…
The joker appeared.
With all his scary makeup all over his face.
Sasuke just looked at the figure blankly.
And Naruto screamed like a girl.
"Shut up, woman! Oh wait, it's only you guys."
Kankuro looked at the two like he was about to laugh. "No need to be scared. I'm just here to get some water." Naruto was gasping for air and sweating like there's no tomorrow. Sasuke was pissed.
Then Sai walked in the kitchen with the stupid smile on his face. "Was that you who screamed like a girl, Uchiha-san?"
He's Sakura's friend. Sakura's friend. He chanted in his mind.
Must not kill.
"No, that was the dobe. Get your ears cleaned next time, will you?"
"What's going on?" Sakura comes in, rubbing her eyes. "Why're you still awake, ugly?" Sai asked her. "I was about to ask you the same question. But if you must know, I can't sleep." She replied, still a little drowsily. "And stop calling me ugly."
Sasuke sighed. "Come on, I'll walk you to your room." He said and she turned to him and smiled. "Thanks Sasu-"
"I'll go with you guys."
Sasuke figured Sai would say that. He just shrugged and walked beside Sakura going to her room. What surprised him though was when she leaned on his shoulder. He smirked, placing a hand on her waist. He figured she needed help with walking. Her eyes were practically closing already.
And Sai just walked beside the couple, observing the way Sakura smiled when Sasuke pulled her closer to him. For once his smile didn't seem so fake.
Too bad the couple was too preoccupied to see it.
"Hey! Don't leave me with joker man!"
"Who are you calling joker man, you blonde freako!"
This was going to be one long and scary night.
For Naruto anyway.
"Ha!" Kiba shouted and stuck his tongue out childishly. "See that?! You're one lousy defender, U-zu-ma-ki." He laughed out loud, his chuckles getting louder when he saw Naruto's red face.
"Take that back you dog shit!" The said boy screamed, pointing an accusing finger at Kiba. The blonde scowled when he heard claps from the bleachers. Everyone in the group was there, including Sakura's friends from America.
Currently, they were playing a basketball game - five against five. Sasuke-bastard, Neji, Daisuke, Shikamaru and of course, Naruto - his wonderful self, against Sai, the insomniac, dog shit, bug freak and puppet man.
Well, Naruto never even imagined a guy like him (note the painted face) ever play basketball. Seriously. But whatever, he wasn't so bad with it.
All the girls were watching. Including Hinata.
And she just clapped for dog shit.
Ugghhh that fuckin-
"Focus on the game, you idiot." Sasuke said as he dribbled the ball to the other net. Naruto's eyes narrowed. The bastard was right. He will prove himself to Hinata. And no one can stop him.
Because after this day's over, that Kiba bastard will be lower than what he already is! Naruto smirked, very proud of himself.
He will be-
What's lower than dog shit?
And while he continued thinking, Kiba was able to score a second time.
Hinata clapped once more.
And Naruto was downright pissed all over again.
"Ahhh. Water never tasted so good." Naruto said after finishing one whole bottle. He grinned at his newfound rival. "Why the sad face, I-zu-nu-ka?" He stated, laughing when the said boy growled at him.
"You just got lucky. We're still better than you."
"Then why did we win the game then?"
"You. Just. Got. Lucky." Kiba said through gritted teeth.
"Yes you did."
"No we did no-."
"Will you guys just shut up?" Gaara and Sasuke shouted at the same time. They glared at each other, annoyed that they said exactly the same thing.
Sparks were practically flying everywhere.
"Great game, Neji!" Tenten exclaimed, handing him his water bottle. He smirked and took it from her, their hands brushing in the process. For some reason, he found himself blushing. It's a good thing he just played one intense game of basketball.
He had an excuse for the pink hue in his cheeks.
Too bad Tenten didn't.
And being the silent, but arrogant guy that he is…
"You're blushing." He stated flatly, looking at her with those (intense) eyes of his. Tenten stiffened and if it was possible, blushed even more.
Then he realized it was because of something else.
Great, just great.
He made her-
"Hyuuga." She looked at him, pink face and all.
He was going to sport a bruise after this.
"You look like hell, Shikamaru." Ino said, sitting beside the said boy. He rolled his eyes. "Thanks for stating the obvious," He replied. "Troublesome woman." He murmured.
"What was that?!" Ino asked, glaring at him with that scary face of hers. "Nothing." He hastily answered while she sighed. "Whatever. Here," she was about to hand him a water bottle when someone interrupted her.
"Shikamaru! You look like you just got trashed." Temari came, sitting on the seat on his other side. She seemed oblivious to the glare being sent to her by none other than Ino.
"What are you doing he-"
"Anyway, since I'm so nice, I'll help you – unlike someone here." Temari said, smirking at the other blonde.
"Here you go!" Temari exclaimed, whipping out her infamous (to her friends in America, anyway) fan and started waving it so fast that the pineapple head thought there was suddenly a huge aircon at full blast beside him.
"Wow," was all he could say because while it wasn't that hot anymore, it suddenly became too cold and he noticed Ino involuntarily shivering.
"W-will y-you stop that?!" Ino shouted, her teeth clattering. Temari just laughed. "Why don't you just get up from your seat then?" She said, giving Ino a knowing look.
"And l-let y-you win? N-no way!" She replied.
Shikamaru wondered what they were even playing and rolled his eyes as the girls continued to argue.
Nonetheless, he took an extra shirt from his bag and draped it across Ino's shoulders. It wasn't big and didn't exactly cover her torso, but that was enough. He sighed and stood up, leaving them to settle it themselves.
He didn't notice Ino blush. And since the said girl was too busy looking at his retreating form, she didn't notice Temari smirking at the scene before her.
This was easier than I thought.
"Awesome game, Sasuke!" Sakura said, grinning at him. He smirked back at her after taking a sip of his water.
She playfully punched him in the arm. "You egoistic bastard. After that complement, that's all you can say?" She said, a scowl on her face. He knew better though. Her eyes were practically beaming.
Sai and Gaara were good in basketball, he had to admit.
But still, that didn't change the fact that he was better.
"Hey! What are you smirking at?" Sakura asked and he put his thoughts aside. She was surprised when he put his hand on top her head and playfully ruffled her hair. Before she could comment on this, he shocked her again.
"Dinner tonight. I'll pick you up at seven?"
She was sure her smile stretched across her face at that moment.
"Umm…Here's a towel, Naruto-kun." Hinata shyly handed one to him. He grinned at her and exclaimed, "Thanks, Hinata-chan!" She was about to reply when Kiba walked over to the both of them, placing his hand on each of Hinata's shoulders.
"Do you want to go eat dinner with me tonight, Hinata-chan?" He asked. His face was so close to her own, causing her to stiffen. Should she?
Kiba's really nice, but…
She took a quick glance at a certain blonde and looked at the ground.
…he isn't Naruto.
But it's not like there was a possibility of-
"She's not eating with you." Naruto shouted, giving Kiba a furious glare. The said boy didn't seem affected though. "And why the hell not?" He said, "besides, I'm not even asking you. It's Hinata-chan's decision, not yours. "
"Why would she want to eat with someone like you?" Naruto retorted.
"There's nothing wrong with me eating with her. In fact, I bet she'll find my company so much better than yours."
Naruto glared at Kiba for a long time. Kiba did the same to him. It was then that Naruto noticed the very reason for their argument sandwiched between them and as red as a tomato.
"Keep your dirty hands off her shoulders, idiot!"
And without thinking, he pulled Hinata out of Kiba's grip.
"Hey, what was that for?!" The dog boy growled.
"She doesn't want to be touched by the likes of you."
"And she wants to be touched by you, the ramen freak?"
"I'm not a ramen freak, you dog shit!"
And Hinata just stood there looking dazed.
She wondered if her ears would survive their bickering.
She didn't make any move to walk away though.
Because while the two boys were busy arguing, Naruto didn't realize that his hands were still around her waist.
And she liked the feeling, thank you very much.
Naruto-kun's hugging me.
It's a wonder how she didn't faint yet.
"Sai, what's that?" Sakura asked, she watched as Sai continued sketching. It was a known fact that Sai preferred drawing only animals and she wondered what he could be doing now, just right after a basketball game.
Wow, I guess he still loves drawing as always, she thought. She remembered the time when he drew her as a hyena just because she kept on laughing at his jokes.
"Who on earth brings a sketchpad to a basketball game?" Naruto suddenly burst out, trying to see what Sai was drawing, but to no avail. The said man effectively blocked his work from their view.
"An artist, dickless." Sai said monotonously. Naruto's jaw dropped. "H-how dare you say that!" Naruto shouted, pointing accusingly at him. Sai didn't even seem to notice, being so intent with finishing whatever he was drawing in that pad of his.
Naruto seemed determined to prove him wrong though. "For your information, I am very well endowed!"
Everybody looked at him.
And he realized just how stupid that sounded.
"Whatever you say, Naruto." Sai didn't even seem to pay attention to him and that angered the blonde further. "It's true!" He bit back. Then Sai looked at him with that smiling face of his.
If there was one important thing Sai didn't know about Naruto, it was that the blonde was very, very determined. And if he wanted something to happen…he would do anything to make it come true.
Let's just say everyone left that basketball gym with a memory that could haunt them forever.
"Hey Sasuke did you see what Sai was sketching a while ago?" Sakura asked.
"No." Shit. He might have said that a little too fast.
"You're hiding something! Tell meeee!"
"I won't go with you to dinner later…"
"…it was a chicken."
"…a dead chicken. "
"And I think I saw my name written on the bottom of the page."
"…Remind me to punch Sai on the head later."
"Thanks Sasuke." Sakura beamed at him as he helped her with the chair. "For what?" He asked her, smirking. She just rolled her eyes, knowing fully well that he knew what she was referring to.
"For bringing me here. And that time in the play. I never thought…well, you know…"
"Never thought what?"
Damn, why was he making it so hard? She wanted so much to get that smirk out of his face.
"That you would do that…you know, I think, umm…that's the sweetest thing anyone's done for me." She cursed her cheeks for blushing.
He was about to reply when he noticed the annoyed expression on her face. Thankfully, it didn't seem like it was directed at him. He turned his head to see where her glare was directed to.
Then he saw the back of a familiar blonde head. And he was sitting with a lot of other people. Very, very familiar people. Who seemed to be glancing at their direction every once in a while.
"No freaking way." Sasuke heard Sakura murmur. She stood up and started to walk towards the other table. He followed her, the same annoyed expression on his face.
"Guys, I think they saw us!"
"Shut up Naruto, they can hear you!"
Sakura plastered a fake smile on her face. "What are you doing here?" she said through gritted teeth. "Sakura-chan! You're here! Umm we just thought we should eat dinner here! Right, Hinata-chan?" Naruto said.
Sakura wasn't buying it. "And you're all here together because?"
"Didn't you want us to get along? So I invited everyone here. I didn't know this was where you two were going." Sai said, smiling as always.
Well, that calmed her down.
She sighed. Even though she was sure that wasn't the reason, it still made her happy that everyone was here. For once, she didn't have to be the one to plan for everyone to come.
But still, her first dinner out with Sasuke, and this happens. She made a mental note to talk to Sai and Gaara later. She glanced at the raven-haired boy and was surprised when she saw him smirking while pulling a chair out for her to sit on.
"Since everyone's here, it wouldn't hurt to eat with them." He stated stoically. But as she sat down, he whispered so only she could hear. "I'll pick you up the same time tomorrow?"
She beamed at him and he took it as a yes.
The dinner turned out pretty much alright. Well, as good as it can be anyway. Coincidentally, Hinata ended up sitting beside Naruto and Kiba. Shikamaru was in between Ino and Temari. So it was a tad bit noisy…
But for all their spying antics, no one noticed how Sakura and Sasuke were secretly fighting back a smile.
There was one advantage with eating using chopsticks.
You only need one hand.
She found this out when she felt him slowly clutching her left hand in his right under the table.
It's amazing how he looked so capable eating with his left hand that no one even noticed it.
"Sakura-chan, why are you so red?" Naruto said innocently. Just then, all heads turned to her direction. She inwardly cringed at the calculating looks Sai and Gaara were giving her and Sasuke.
She squeezed his hand lightly and he turned to her, his eyes questioning. She gave him an inconspicuous grin and continued eating her food.
He held her hand a little tighter in his own.
Whatever they would make him go through…
He'd face it no matter what.
Because she was worth it.
And that reason was more than enough.
Author's Note: So there it is…I hope you guys liked reading as much as I liked writing it :) I really appreciate all your reviews and constructive criticisms. They really mean a lot. Oh and I might change the summary for this story soon. But if ever I do, I'll be sure to tell you guys beforehand ;)
Oh and for those who have read my oneshot, Then There Was You…I don't know why but I'm suddenly inspired to make a sequel. I looked back on the reviews of that fic and around more than 30 people said to write one, so why not? Haha so if you have any suggestions, PM or say it in your review please. I would really appreciate it ;)