A/N: SOOO SORRY FOR SUCH A LONG UPDATE! But at least it was less than a month! That's gotta count for something!
This chapter is dedicated to everyone who reviewed the last chapter (the bold ones were my favs):
Trunksmybaby , Sarah Rebecca , Alucard's-Master , The 1 and Only Lover , animequeen100 , darklace15 , TenTenXIrista ,SakuBunny, Odat , CrAzY-SiLLy-Me (um seriously, I'm honored you're even reading my fics! I practically have a CrAzy-SiLLy-Me shrine in my bedroom) , harunosakua , eyezue66613 , Uchiha Sasume , Merridaine , soboInopig , Evil Tobi , eskeflowne , P-Prince , XxDarkAngelPrincessxX , CalwynN.D.Forever , TashioSurami , LOUTRE(you know I value your reviews above the rest—they're so special to me that I even capitalized your name to add extra oomph!), nandy(your review made me laugh) , Tiger5913 , Gothic Saku-chan , pinky101 , NorthernLights25 , Co0kIeS-n-CrEAm , Maye Uchiha(I actually laughed out loud when I read your review. I'm not sure why, but it was really funny to visualize) , XxMomo-chanxX , Demented Angie , tiang-mei.na , partyrockstar100 , romanceluv19 , C.A.M.E.O.1 and Only , siny , ihearttoast09 (I love your penname, your picture, AND your review!) , suitohatoSTUDIO , Lexy , XxcrimsonxgothicxtidexX, cassandra , A.Annie.N , Camameal , hellopanda23 , missysillivan , SakuraUchiha14 , Heartless Ghostie , kawaii-llely-chan(um gargantuan paragraph?? More like gargantuan review! That HAS to be the longest review I've ever received—thanks so much!) , Skyward , ANGELforSHOW , XXMurasaki-TsukiXX , -pUrpLy sTaR- , sakurapearl222 , Juliana , We rock the house
For anyone I missed, no offense, I just posted before I got your review… heh heh sorry!
Sorry for the randomness in this author's note. I just found out I'm gonna get my braces by this winter (hopefully sooner)! So I'm on a bit of a removal-of-orthodontia-high. Or maybe it was the Novocain…
One last note, I swear! You may remember (if you don't you can go back if you'd like) that about three weeks passed between chapters 5 and 6. Well the flashback at the beginning of the chapter takes place some time during those three weeks.
This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected--in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of them, and they understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life.
--WHERE THE HEART IS--
11. The After-Effects
This time, it was Sasuke who awoke first. Since Sakura was pretty much laying on top of him, it took the Uchiha a few tries before he managed to actually see the clock. Seeing the time, he gave a contented sigh and leaned back into the soft pillows.
Sakura murmured as she snuggled in closer to his chest, her legs rubbing against the dark pants that were still on Sasuke's. He smirked, tucking one hand behind his head as the other one rested on Sakura's upper back.
Sasuke glanced over at the window. A small stream of light was let through where the curtains weren't completely covering the window. He could see little clumps of white drifting to the ground. The first snowfall of the season—Sakura would be excited.
This new precipitation made him think of another day with Sakura, only a slightly wetter one…
Sakura and Sasuke had been spending nearly every waking minute together for about two weeks now and had finally managed to tolerate each other. However, just as they knew much about each other, they also knew how to push each other's buttons. Sakura knew that Sasuke hated to be outsmarted or proved wrong and just as easily the Uchiha loved to poke fun at the Haruno girl's forehead size, hair color, or slight height deficiency.
They were staying after class to clean Gai-sensei's classroom—volunteered for by Sakura, of course. Sasuke grumbled as he wiped down each lab table with a wash rag, glaring at the girl who was humming to herself while she washed windows. She climbed up on a counter to reach the higher panels of a window—Sasuke groaned when he realized she was standing on the counter he'd just cleaned—and gasped when she looked outside.
"Sasuke, look! It's raining!"
"Tch. What's so great about it?" he mumbled.
"What's so great about it? I love the rain! Don't you love to go out and dance in it? To splash in the puddles and for once just act like a kid? Not have to worry about staying clean or keeping dry? It's so cleansing and peaceful. I love rainy days…"
Sasuke snorted. "You're annoying…" he muttered under her breath. Sakura turned and arched a brow at him, tossing her rag down.
"Fine. You can stay in here and clean, I'm going outside."
He watched as the girl hopped off the counter and walked out the door. He shook his head at her childish antics before wiping off where she'd been standing. Sasuke finished washing the windows Sakura hadn't gotten to when he saw her walk out into the rain.
He had to admit, even if he was only watching from a second story window's distance, she looked so ethereal and at peace. He saw a small smile appear on her face as she stretched her arms out and slowly spun around, tipping her head back and allowing the water to drench her person completely.
Before long, Sakura was completely soaked, her white blouse and plaid skirt sticking to her body like a second skin. Sasuke put their cleaning supplies back in the janitor's closet and headed downstairs with a sigh.
He emerged from the front door with his hands in his pockets, watching as Sakura continued to laugh. She jumped in a puddle, staining her white knee-high socks a dark gray color.
She continued to be in her own little world, not even noticing Sasuke as he approached her. He arched a raven brow when he noticed her light blue bra showing through the thin fabric of her blouse. It reminded him of their first meeting, when she'd unknowingly flashed him a view of her purple panties. Sasuke smirked, for being such an 'innocent' this girl sure did flaunt her underwear.
"Change your mind?" Sakura asked, keeping her eyes closed as she opened her mouth to catch some rain drops on her tongue.
"Sakura, its October and it's freezing out. I can see my breath. You're going to catch a cold—let's go."
She sighed, not minding the way her damp pink locks clung to her face as she turned to face him. She grinned and nodded. "You're right. We should be at the hospital by now anyway. 'Fun Time' is over…"
Looking back, Sasuke felt a bit guilty for ending her playtime early. But he hadn't realized how little fun she allowed herself to have back then. At least it was better for her now.
He shook her shoulder gently. "Sakura, it's ten o'clock. Time to get up."
"Mph. No. Go 'way," she mumbled, tugging the blankets over her head so they were up to Sasuke's neck.
"Sakura, trust me, you want to get up."
"No I don't. I want sleep. Go back to bed, Sasuke-kun…"
"Sakura," he said against her hair. "It's snowing."
At this, the pink haired girl shot up so she was straddling him, glancing over to the window. With an excited squeal, Sakura launched over to the window, pushing the curtains back to reveal a thin layer of snow blanketing the world around them. Sure it was just the parking lot of the warehouse they were in, but still, it gave the same feeling just the same.
She smiled at Sasuke as he came to stand next to her and peer out the window as well. He sure was glad they hadn't taken the motorcycle. They surely would've frozen on the ride home.
Speaking of home…
With a sigh he walked away from the view of the outdoors and went around the room, picking up the various articles of clothing that had been strewn across the room. Sakura blushed when he handed her her dress and she pulled it on quickly.
Once the two were dressed, Sasuke led the way out of the room and into the hall silently. Sakura rubbed her bare arms, trying to warm them with the friction. Sasuke was about to wrap an arm around her to give her some of his body heat when a voice called out.
"Sakura-chan?" The pair stopped and turned around to see a blonde coming toward them.
"I thought I recognized that hair of yours. I didn't even see you here last night, with… Sasuke? I'd heard that you transferred to Konoha but no one told me you two were together." She arched a brow and sipped from her mug of coffee, giving a knowing smirk to Sasuke.
"Oh, um we're not. Together. I mean we are here… together… but we're not exactly—"
"Save it, Sakura-chan, I get it," Temari interrupted with a wink. "Well I've gotta go help Kankuro clean up. Last night some idiot knocked over an entire rack of CDs, messed up one of the speakers, and twisted some cords and the DJ is having a fit. I'll see you guys soon! Oh, and tell Shika-kun I say hello!"
Sakura giggled and waved as the girl walked back to where her younger brother was yelling at anyone who passed by, waving CD cases in their faces. Sasuke turned to the girl and gestured to a table they party hosts had set up with several coffee pots and donuts.
"Want some coffee?"
She nodded and they each grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down on a couch, watching Temari bark orders to everyone helping clean up. Sakura blushed when Sasuke shifted so his arm was situated behind her, resting on the back of the couch. He rubbed her bare shoulder with his forefinger, tracing random patters on her velvet skin.
Sakura jumped when her cell phone vibrated. The caller ID screen read HOME. She glanced at Sasuke before answering it.
"Sakura? Where the hell are you?"
"Where are you?"
"I… I told you, I'm at Ino's. We just woke up and we're having breakfast now. What's going on, Tou-san?"
"I just got off the phone with Inoichi, he wanted to get together next weekend. I asked him how you two were doing and he had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently Ino left early this morning with her mother to a botany convention—at eight o'clock this morning. I made a huge fool of myself! Inoichi probably thinks I'm an oblivious idiot," her father hissed.
Sakura gulped, looking over at Sasuke. He tensed when he noted her worried look. "I-I'm sorry, Tou-san," she said quietly.
"I don't care. I want you home this instant."
"I'll be at home as soon as possible. I'm really sorry."
"We'll talk about this when you get home, Sakura."
She sighed as he hung up, tears brimming in her eyes. Sasuke set their cups on the ground and turned to her.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"T-tou-san… knows I'm not at I-Ino's. He wants me home as soon as p-possible," Sakura mumbled. She stood up quickly, attempting to straighten out her clothing.
"Let's go." Sasuke grabbed her wrist and dragged her to his car. He blasted the heat on Sakura while he quickly brushed the dusting of snow on his windows before speeding out of the parking lot.
The ride was silent until Sasuke heard a light sniff as he pulled up to a red light. He glanced at Sakura and was startled to see tears rolling down her cheeks. He opened his mouth to say something when the car behind him beeped. He cursed as he looked up and saw the green light.
Finally Sasuke pulled his car up Sakura's driveway. He turned to her and sighed. "Sakura, I didn't mean for you to get in trouble. If you want, I'll go in with you. I'll take all the blame; I was the one who lost track of time and—"
"Sasuke-kun, don't. Thank you, but don't. Last night…" She paused and took a breath, tucking her pink locks behind her ears as she hurriedly brushed the tears off of her face. She gave a weak smile. "Last night was the best night of my life, and it was my idea to go. I need to take responsibility for my actions. My father may not approve of them, but I'll never regret it, Sasuke-kun."
Sasuke was speechless as she slammed the car door shut and with a final smile, Sakura walked bravely to her front door. He watched her go inside before pulling out of the driveway.
Sakura took a deep breath before opening her front door. She listened for her father and when she heard nothing, sprinted up to her room to change into sweats and a T-shirt. When she walked back downstairs into the kitchen, her father was sitting at the table with a frown on his face.
"Are you going to tell me where you actually were last night or should I just call Tsunade-sama and tell her you're resigning as her apprentice and are no longer working at the hospital?" Ikichi asked casually as he poured himself a cup of tea, like this were just mid-morning chit-chat.
Sakura didn't get to finish, for the house telephone began to ring and with a sigh of relief, the girl raced to answer it.
"Haruno residence," she answered politely, glancing quickly at her father before turning her back to him.
"Sakura? This is Yamanaka Inoichi; may I speak with your father?"
"My father?" She turned around and he nodded at her, extending out a hand. "Sure, he's right here…"
"Hello?" Ikichi answered somewhat skeptically as he watched Sakura play with her hair. Sakura, meanwhile, was trying to act calm yet come up with an alibi—seeing as if she did actually tell her father the truth she knew she'd be locked in her room or shipped off to boarding school until she was thirty-five.
"Yes…yes, she's right here…no she didn't say anything yet, but—oh…she was? Right. Well, thank you for telling me. Yes, I'll see you soon." Sakura nervously took the telephone from her father and set it back in the base on the counter. She took a deep breath before sitting down across from him.
"What did Inoichi-san say?" she asked quietly.
"Sakura, I'm so sorry."
"W-what do you mean, Tou-san?"
"Inoichi just called and told me that he didn't know you spent the night and then went over to Hinata's this morning…"
"Oh, um, yeah…"
"She got in a fight with her father, right? The poor thing. Well you're a good friend to do that for her, Sakura."
"A-arigatou, Tou-san, but… please don't tell Hyuuga-san that I was there. You see, Hinata-chan isn't supposed to have friends over without permission, but she really needed me and she couldn't just ask her father if she could have a friend over to talk about the fight she just got into with him so—"
"Sakura," Ikichi interrupted with a chuckle. "I get it. Please forgive me. I should've trusted you."
Sakura felt her heart break as she gave a light smile. "Don't worry about it, Tou-san." She kissed his cheek. "I'm going to go shower then I'm meeting with the girls at Tenten-chan's house."
"Alright, have fun."
As she stepped in the shower, Sakura couldn't decide if she wanted to burst into tears for lying to her father so easily or jump for joy at getting away with spending the night with Sasuke. She stuck her face under the shower, letting the water wash away her stress. The heat of the water stung her cold toes, but she ignored the feeling as she lathered her cherry blossom-scented shampoo in her hair. She sighed and then let out a small giggle.
"Orochimaru-sama," a skinny, pale man said with a bow as he entered his boss's office. "Kabuto-san and Suigetsu here to see you."
"Let them in," the long haired, snake-like man ordered behind the newspaper he was reading. He smirked and let out a satisfied chuckle as he read the headline for that morning: COCAINE LORD MURDER STILL UNSOLVED.
"Kabuto, Suigetsu, do you care to finally tell me what last night's phone call was all about?" Orochimaru asked as the two young men entered and sat down. He folded his newspaper over after circling the headline with a red pen.
"Last night, Suigetsu went to a party in Suna. Gaara-san's siblings—Temari and Kankuro—were holding it in a warehouse."
"Kabuto, is there a point to all of this?"
Kabuto resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Yes, if you'll let me get there, Orochimaru-sama. Suigetsu, tell him what you told me."
The light haired nineteen year old nodded and turned to his boss. "Well, I was walking to the bar to get another beer, when I saw someone rather familiar…"
Suigetsu stumbled through the crowd of dancers as he made his way to the bar, licking his parched lips and wiping the sweat from his brow. He'd almost made it there, when heard a faint "Sasuke-kun."
Glancing around, the teenager found no evidence of Orochimaru's future apprentice. He scratched his the back of his head and was about to continue to his previous destination when he once again heard the voice.
"Sasuke-kun, I'm thirsty. Let's something to drink and sit down."
This time, Suigetsu was positive it was Sasuke. If the one word response hadn't been enough, the fact that a gorgeous girl was dancing very closely to him proved it. The pair went over to the bar, grabbed a whole bottle of vodka, and then walked—hand in hand—to one of the chill rooms.
Suigetsu tried to follow them, when he walked into something hard and pointy. He looked down just to see a CD rack topple over.
"Shit," he muttered. In attempt to regain his balance, he grabbed for the nearest object—a speaker. However, the speaker wasn't as stable as Suigetsu had expected and it too fell over, crashing to the ground. His foot got caught in a few cords and those too got unplugged and tangled.
"What the fuck!" the DJ yelled, running over to him. "What the hell is your problem, you moron!"
Suigetsu ignored the man, searching for that head of light pink hair. Unfortunately she was no where to be found and he didn't want Sasuke to know he was there. Just as Kankuro was about to make his way over, Suigetsu raced out of the nearest emergency exit and called Kabuto.
Orochimaru leaned forward so his elbows were resting on his desk and his fingertips were touching. "So, is this what you meant when you said you had some business to attend to and not to worry if I heard any police sirens?"
Kabuto smirked and leaned back in his chair. "Let's just say that Suigetsu and I figured out a sure-fire way to get our precious Sasuke-kun back for good."
"Thanks so much for bailing me out, Ino-chan. You seriously saved me from being grounded until I was thirty-five," Sakura said with a smile as Tenten handed her a cup of tea.
"No prob, girl. Besides, you'd do the same for me. And you should thank Hinata-chan too; luckily she got in a fight with her father last night."
Hinata laughed. "It was the least I could do, besides, aren't you always saying to make the best out of any situation? Well there you go—I get in a fight with Tou-san, Sakura gets an alibi."
The girls laughed as they sat down at Tenten's kitchen table. Tenten nibbled on a freshly baked cookie Ino brought when said blonde turned to Sakura.
"So, tell us everything that happened."
With a light blush, the rosette haired girl told the night's events from start to finish, leaving nothing out, as she knew her friends would kill her if she did. She gave great detail on the party and while the girls were surprised she'd gotten drunk and threw up, they were glad she was with someone they could trust so nothing worse than getting sick happened.
Sakura was sure her face was a crimson red as she talked about her and Sasuke's make out fest. Ino stared at her dreamily as she described the way Sasuke touched her, Tenten was trying to hold a smile back when she talked about Sasuke's amazing kisses, and Hinata looked like she was going to faint as Sakura talked about his beautiful body.
"So, how exactly how far did you go?" Ino asked once her friend had finished. Sakura's eyes grew as large as soup bowls and Tenten gasped so hard she chocked on her cookie.
"U-um what d-do you m-mean?"
Ino arched a brow and leaned in. "You know what I mean Billboard Brow," she flicked Sakura's forehead, "How. Far. Did. You. Go?"
Sakura gulped. "W-w-well…"
The gasped loudly. "Did you go all the way with him?" she whispered loudly.
"No!" Sakura shouted, throwing a cookie at her best friend. "Kami no! What kind of girl do you think I am, Ino-pig?"
Ino shrugged. "I dunno, I mean you are becoming more of a bad-ass, I just thought…"
"Well you thought wrong," Sakura insisted. "I would never do that on a first date, not to mention a drunken one."
"So then, how far did you go?" Tenten asked with a smirk. Sakura gulped again as all three girls leaned in closer.
"So you made out…"
Sakura nervously cleared her throat. "H-hai."
When Sakura lowered her eyes to her lap, her three companions gasped. She glanced up nervously, feeling even more—if possible—heat flood her face as Ino and Tenten grinned at her.
"Wait, so what did you do?" Hinata asked quietly, a blush growing on her cheeks as well.
"Well, remember what Neji did to Tenten-chan after their date at the fair?" Ino asked, giving a certain hand gesture to more bluntly explain to Hinata what Sakura—or rather Sasuke did.
Hinata frowned a bit. "So does that mean that I'm the only one who hasn't been… you know…?"
Ino smiled, "Don't even worry, Hina-chan. Any day now Naruto's gonna jump you—"
"Ino-chan! D-Don't even say that!"
Sakura laughed as Ino continued to poke fun at the shy girl. They stopped when Tenten turned to Sakura.
"So, is he your boyfriend now?"
Sakura bit her lip. "I… I'm not really sure."
"How could you not be? What did he say this morning?" Ino asked.
"W-well, we didn't really have a chance to talk much because of my tou-san…"
"So, he didn't say anything about what happened between you two?"
"What an ass!"
"Calm down, Ino," Tenten said. "I'm sure he would've said something if he had the time. He probably will call you any minute and explain."
"Yeah, I bet he'll ask you out again tonight!" Ino shouted. As the three began to decide what Sakura and Sasuke should do for their next date, Sakura sipped her tea silently.
I hope it actually meant something to him… she thought to herself. I don't know what I'll do if I find out it was just a hook up to him…
Sakura glanced up at the clock for the umpteenth time with a heavy sigh. It was four o'clock and Sasuke had yet to call, or contact her at all.
He's probably busy working out or something. Or wants to give you space? Maybe he's fighting off some guy who wants to steal you from him! Inner Sakura suggested.
Probably not. He probably forgot or something…
I bet he's just trying to come up with the perfect thing to say!
No, this is Sasuke-kun we're talking about. I bet he's trying to figure out the easiest way to let me down easy.
Her cell phone vibrated in her pocket, interrupting her melancholy thoughts. Sakura glanced at the ID screen.
"Naruto? What does he want? He never calls…" She shrugged and opened her phone.
"Naruto? What's up?"
"Sakura-chan, something's happened…"
"What is it? Is something wrong with Hinata-chan?"
"No, it's nothing like that. It's…"
"Well, it's Sasuke."
She blushed and sat up straighter. "What about him?"
"Sakura-chan, Sasuke's been arrested."
A/N: Hehe! Cliff hanger! I'm so evil.
Again, SO sorry for the long update. Luckily, this is my last week of school before winter break, so then I'll have PLENTY of time to write! Hooray!
(Oh, and sorry for the absolute SUCKY-NESS of this chapter… I'm not feeling well, so you'll have to excuse me.)