Disclaimer:I don't own Naruto
Author's Note: ERMERGERD ITS SASUSAKU
P.S.: I'm changing my account name soon. Just so you know. :) Sorry it took so long, too. The chapter has been done for quite a while; I just hadn't gotten around to editing it for a while, too.
Here he was; standing right in front of her.
She breathed. She didn't know what to do. So, she did the first thing that came to mind.
"Uh." She couldn't fathom where to begin; the sentences and apologies and explanations running through her mind were completely jumbled, leaving her utterly flabbergasted by the entirety of the situation.
He was here.
He read her text message.
She had completely forgotten by the end-point of her conversation with Sai that she had even invited Sasuke—mainly due to the fact that the last thing she had even expected him to do was actually show up.
Damn, she should have checked her phone. She could have at least semi-prepared for the situation by not drinking as much.
She smiled dumbly, yet she refused to face him. "Hi," she sputtered out, finally mustering the courage to say something. Her fingers itched for some form of distraction, so she hurriedly began to trace the rim of her sake bowl. Her gaze remained fixated on the small ceramic as she heard him take a seat in Sai's previous spot.
He disregarded her attempt at a greeting and noted the drunken blush which resided on her face. Sasuke sighed in annoyance, understanding how much more difficult their communication was going to be for resolving their issue. Sakura was never a fan of confronting dramatic arguments when she was drunk. In fact, almost every time she would drop the argument entirely and get to the point of the resolution; otherwise, in her very few instances, she would become obdurate and belligerent, where only she could be right. He could only hope that today wasn't going to be the latter.
"Shochu." Sasuke ordered in an extremely demanding tone. He needed to at least make an attempt to get near her state if they wanted to communicate on the same level. He was not a man to usually resort to such vices, primarily because he was more so a lightweight in comparison to Sakura (to blame was her guardian, Tsunade's, habits). He nodded his head in the negative, correcting himself, "just bring out three."
Sakura's hands were now in her lap, thumbs eagerly fiddling with one another. "I'm sorry," she mumbled, nearly inaudible. It seemed she still wasn't quite ready to face him, this surprised him considering alcohol normally presented boisterous, courageous characteristics within its imbiber.
Ayame placed the glasses in front of the young Uchiha and smiled. He placed some money on the table, implicating that he didn't want to leave an open tab, and he picked up the first glass. He nodded in thanks to the brown-haired waitress and lifted up the glass to his lips. Readying himself for the strong liquor mixture, he took a deep inhalation, in turn scrunching his face at its bitter aroma. He opened his mouth and finished the cup in turn. In the midst of trying to finish his first glass, he had sneaked a quick glance at the pink-haired girl. He choked a bit on the liquor when his eyes met large, shining emeralds; he wasn't expecting her to be looking at him just yet—especially with that…look.
He averted his eyes and gulped the rest of the concoction down. Letting out a deep breath as he placed the cup back in its originating spot, he waited in the silence he knew she would break.
"I'm sorry, Sasuke-kun."
With his hand on the second cup, he took a small sip, placed it down, and then looked at her, acknowledging what she said.
Sakura bit her lip in anticipation. To her, he looked absolutely cool, collected; however, in his mind, he had spent the past hour and a half trying to figure out exactly how this entire situation was going to pan out. He didn't expect her to text him and try to resolve things so quickly, nor did he expect her to still be at Ichiraku, drunk, and waiting for him. And, well… Out of all of the anticipated scenarios that had played out in his mind, this was definitely not one of them: walking into the ramen stand with a drunken Sai and even drunker Sakura, followed by Sakura unreservedly flustered and hurriedly apologizing to him.
Why Sai? The thought came abruptly and then left just as quickly. It didn't matter; Sai was just another character that he could easily dismiss in regards to his situation with Sakura.
In actuality, he had been fully expecting her to be waiting, austerely composed with a cocky grin, forcing him into some half-assed apology that she would, in frustration, finally accept. Then, they would easily forget about the whole ordeal.
He shrugged to himself. This is easier, anyway.
He took another sip and finally looked at her. The words were on the tip of his tongue sugar-coated with light hesitation; he knew he would be instigating her by saying it, but he felt as though he couldn't really help it. A measly apology wouldn't suffice, he wanted more from her than that—he just didn't know exactly what he was looking for.
The main problem he was having was that he didn't quite know what she could say that would be enough. That she didn't like Itachi? That she wanted to be with him? That she needed him?
Sakura's brow furrowed at his response, not fully comprehending what he had just said to her. Did he really just refute her apology, calling it insincere and a lie? Why would he think she was lying to him? Why would she invite him over here to have this discussion, if she planned on lying to him?
But, most of all, why didn't he believe her?
He felt compelled to finish his entire glass when he saw how confused and taken aback she looked in regard to his response. He had thought she would have had a witty retort for him to explain why she was sorry, not a genuinely hurt look.
He averted his eyes in: shame? aggravation? Something of both, he assumed.
"I never would want to hurt you, Sasuke-kun," Sakura grumbled, her confidence completely annihilated with his last response.
His ego felt stricken by her words. Hurt? Did she think he was some overly sensitive man or something? "Why do you think that you being with him would hurt me?" He scoffed with a slight jeer.
His head was filled with a composure that was only meant for prideful situations; ego-inflated to defend some non-existent basis. "You're not my girlfriend." His tone was like ice, each word mutually piercing loosely sutured hearts. "If you want that bastard—" Sasuke frowned; he didn't know why he was saying all of the wrong things—encouraging, even. He was sitting here, demanding of her all of the things that created this dilemma in the first place. "—it's fine by me."
It was the venom underlying each syllable of his next sentence that caused Sakura to choke on her breath, and he to bite his tongue a little too hard. He was not the slightest fazed by the iron taste that slowly filtered onto his taste buds; not at all. No; he deserved it, even.
"Fuck him for all I care."
He deserved it when he let his tongue crochet such hollow, suicidal lies—all in attempts to salvage his evanescent, worthless ego that seemed to had disappeared some time ago with his pathetic integrity.
He finished his second glass and slammed it down. He looked behind the counter until he saw the young waitress and indicated for Ayame to bring two more—just in case. He didn't know why he was getting so riled up, so defensive all of a sudden. He was absolutely livid with Sakura for choosing his brother (of all people), but here he was telling her to go for it. He didn't understand why he kept digging a deeper and deeper grave.
"Just don't come crying to me when you realize he doesn't give a shit about you."
Sakura bit her lip, anger and dejection combating with one another.
You're not my girlfriend.
You're not my girlfriend.
"Fuck him for all I care."
You're not my girlfriend.
It kept replaying in her mind. Of course, she knew that they weren't in a relationship. It was just, well… The reiteration was completely unnecessary and made the situation even more real—the reason for their fight becoming more alveolate, even more non-existent.
He told her to fuck him.
She never thought...
She never would have thought for Sasuke to go that far—to not care that much. First he was sitting here lecturing her that Itachi would never even fathom having the slight inclination of feelings towards her; and now, in all of his reckless glory, he had the audacity to tell her to sleep with his brother.
How could she have been such a fool?
Her hand placed itself upon her left breast. She felt like she was drowning, choking on some malevolent acid that burned down her esophagus and hemorrhaged her heart—she couldn't swallow, she couldn't breathe, and she couldn't feel that beat, beat, beating anymore.
"I didn't..." Sasuke began, but he didn't know where to end. I didn't mean that. It seemed that it was a bit too late for that attempt; and, well, he had meant some of it—like, one and a half parts of it (the not being his girlfriend and Itachi not caring part).
He didn't...what? Sakura thought, waiting with high hopes for the rest of his explanation; to no avail, however, did the sentence unfold.
"Fuck," Sasuke muttered, taking the silence as an opportunity to run a hand through his tangled hair and massage his scalp.
She refused to cry in front of him.
She narrowed her eyes and spoke more definitely, her courage being rekindled by his unexpected, undeserved abrasiveness. She glowered at his sour expression as he began sipping on his shochu and grabbed his extra glass. She took a large swig and slammed the cup down in front of him. "I know I'm not your girlfriend, Sasuke-kun," she growled, an awkward, blistering pain apparent in her voice, "but I only want you."
He almost dropped his cup.
"I only want you; I don't want your brother, I don't want Sai, I don't want Naruto…—I don't want any other boy!" She huffed out the last segment of her sentence with an unwavering assertion. "I only want you," Sakura reiterated for the final time.
He didn't expect any of it.
But, most of all, he didn't know how to react to those words. Some part of him felt like he should be elated, to a certain extent, finally hearing those words he has been searching for all these years—that she wanted to be with him; but, he just couldn't figure it out...
He couldn't figure out how to muster up the courage for a response.
So, he took another moment to let her words sink in, as well as the alcohol; and, finally he nodded.
"Why him, of all people, Sakura?"
She looked down. "Of course, not," she whispered to herself, not caring to whether or not he heard her. His question was completely justifiable.
But, it hurt even more than seeing him with another woman, than every argument they've ever had compiled together, that this was his reaction and response to her confession.
She guessed she would just have to blame that small truth as gilded drunkenness tomorrow.
He took another sip, inwardly cursing at himself for his curiosity and lack of response; as he dutifully waited on her to fix everything that he had equally messed up. It was selfish, maybe; but it was also the only way he knew how to find succor in his contentment.
He knew that she had the capabilities of fixing it, just like she fixed everything else.
"I thought it didn't matter," she spitefully contorted, rolling her eyes. He had struck a match against the kindled flame that had been eating away at her prerogative; he didn't deserve to know why she chose Itachi. In spite, she felt the strong compulsion to lie. An itching desire to make him jealous, to tell him Itachi was more attractive and smarter and sweeter and more of a man and, most of all, he knew how to please a woman.
He eyed her, cautiously, as he finished off his next cup. He longingly watched as Ayame took her time replacing the empty cups with two new glasses.
No... Sakura thought, guilt weighing on her conscience. Lying will only make this worse.
She hated that she cared about him enough to not lie to him—to not hurt him like he had hurt her.
She bit her lip, taking a moment to ponder the multitudes of thoughts as she tried to come up with the most logical reasoning she could. Why Itachi? She had never really taken an actual gander to the reasoning behind her actions. By the time it had happened, it was already too late and just too wrong. It was as though she had ignorantly placed herself within a bad situation, so she had simply accepted it and continued on with her choice.
Was it because he looked similar to Sasuke? She furrowed her brow in contemplation. He resembled Sasuke, but Itachi did not actually look like his younger brother. There were very apparent traits that completely distinguished one brother from the other. They were both very handsome men, just in different ways.
Maybe, just maybe…
It was their eyes; those same eyes that he and Sasuke shared. They held some enigmatic curiosity that plagued their onlookers, making them fall completely captive to their impossible puzzle. Those same eyes that were as black as the night, but held so many emotions and words that they themselves could never manage to articulate.
In the end, though, Sakura admitted to herself (and subtly to Sasuke), that she had absolutely no reason at all to why she had chosen Itachi.
Taking a deep breath, the chilling breeze slightly sobering her up, she deftly uttered under her breath, "because he was there, and so was I."
He felt like he should have been relieved, in the slightest degree, that she hadn't formulated any reason for being with Itachi; but he found that he wasn't. She had admitted to him that it could have been anyone, and it seemed that Itachi had just appeared at an unfortunately convenient time. He didn't find any contentment in this new-found knowledge, though.
He was even more aggravated than before, because she shouldn't be looking at anyone other than him.
Through all the years of knowing her, he had developed some invisible claim on her. It had never come to his attention that they wouldn't always have such a simple happy-go-lucky type of relationship. For years, they had been merry and together (in the non-defined sense). She had never talked to any other guys, nor he to girls. With this, he never felt the need to consider a situation like the one they were in now; because he never imagined a...a change in their implicated relationship.
Maybe he imagined the implication, though.
Maybe without a defined relationship, they were just one too many shades of grey.
He looked at her, lost in the glistening film over her unruly green eyes, and he grimaced. He hated being fully aware of the fact that the lustrous gleam in her eyes wasn't caused by the alcohol, but something much more poignant and hardening than that. Sasuke knew she had been fighting those damned tears—the tears that were only meant for him. And, having that knowledge tore something inside of him, hollowed his gut and cauterized the arterial streets to his heart.
Maybe he didn't deserve her.
Maybe he should let her go; give her the opportunity to find someone that would constantly make her laugh and smile and be happy.
But he scoffed at the thought.
Maybe he didn't deserve her at all; but he would be damned if he were to let anyone else have her.
Even after all his contemplation, Sasuke could not find an appropriate response to utter to her, once again. "Hn."
It was obvious that he was still enraged at her, himself, or Itachi—she couldn't quite place it; but that didn't really matter. He was eyeing her with contempt, trying to disassociate himself from his consciousness so he could be a spectator of their tepid situation. Her answer proved nothing to him, because regardless of whatever she would say, he would still despise the outcome. It was a valid enough reason, because he didn't exactly know what he was expecting her to reply with—was there really any response that could have lightened the situation? He didn't think so.
However, looking at it in a different aspect, he reluctantly viewed her answer as one of the best ones he could have received—that it could have been anyone; but Itachi was just the first one at the scene. Either way, though, wasn't there a limit? This was his brother, for the gods sakes! He had thought Sakura to be better than that.
Did he really have the right to lay an invisible claim on her, when there was never anything serious to begin with? You are not my girlfriend. The words kept replaying in his mind—why did he say that? It only made matters worse in trying to resolve an argument that he had just completely denied with that statement. They were never in a relationship, so she didn't necessarily have any limitations to seeing anyone else—but, his brother..!
Maybe, she thought it didn't matter to him.
He ignored the question and its answer entirely. His trains of thoughts were finally broken by her sniffling. Pursing his lips together, he looked at the girl in front of him. Why did she do these things to him? He should be furious right now—at the very least yelling at her—not sympathetic. Bewildered by the many different emotions wracking his mind, Sasuke ran a hand through his raven locks, massaging his scalp in the process. He disregarded the already drunken feeling that was surging through his body; he needed to finish another drink—that would help him figure these things out.
It had to.
Maybe after a couple more he would actually be able to figure out a response.
He heard her whimper.
He chose to play dumb.
"Sasuke," she whispered; it was a desperate plea for him not to do that—to act like there wasn't another woman, to act like she didn't see him and Ino together. "The pretty blonde woman," Sakura mustered out. Maybe her hair color was too unnatural and ridiculous for Sasuke, or even the clan—whichever one who didn't particularly like her.
He couldn't tell whether or not there was a hint of self-loathing in her tone, but he was pretty sure of it. "She's just a friend," he countered, easily, casually. His eyes glanced over the small ramen stand, hoping that there was something—anything—that could salvage him from this conversation.
"Why do you persist on lying to me, Sasuke-kun?"
Stop saying my name like that. He groaned and looked at the counter top. He didn't deserve the suffix, not when he constantly said the wrong things and lied.
She drawled, "Sasuke-kun..?"
He just loved how his name fell so easily off her tongue. Gods, stop saying my name like that.
Onyx met her glimmering green orbs as he struggled to fight his many urges—to yell at her for having thoughts of his brother, to confess to her his entire situation and ask her for forgiveness, to touch her and kiss her and tell her that she belonged to him and only him.
He did none of these.
As fast as their eyes had made contact, he quickly averted them; instead choosing to stare at his own reflection in the cold glass. He couldn't deal with those eyes right now—not when he was mad and they were arguing and he was now feeling drunker than she was.
She was still idly sipping on the glass she had stolen from him earlier, but he didn't seem to care. His mind was in a completely different place at the moment. Her lips smacked together when she finished off the glass and set it down, feeling her current drunken stupor was suffice and she needn't anymore alcohol. "Sasuke-kun," she again drawled, her tongue clicking very audibly with her enunciation of the suffix—he softly shuddered in turn.
Gods, why does she do this to me.
"What can she give you that I can't?"
At this moment, Sasuke let out a breath he hadn't known he had been holding. He made sure to finish off his drink and slowly set his glass upon the counter before he dared look at her. Cautiously, silently, he tilted his head in her direction. He was greeted by her brilliant eyes, wide as saucers and glossed-over—captivating in their own unique way. He refused to appreciate them in this moment, considering they were supposed to be arguing and they were by no means helping him with his case.
But, they were never really good at arguing—those two. It was adventurous, yet treacherously cyclical. Their arguments always started off by one of them over-reacting to something (because of a lack of communication), then someone would apologize or they would eventually forget about it. They just never seemed to be able to figure out how to end the pattern, either. They couldn't when they were always running back to each other.
"Mou," she mewled, "you know I don't like when you ignore me, Sasuke-kuuuun."
He hated when she'd resort to such sly tactics.
"It's not that." Sasuke shrugged, indifferently. He couldn't tell her that Ino was his fiancée. He couldn't do that to her, not when he had already said so many other things he shouldn't have.
You're not my girlfriend.
Fuck him for all I care.
Fuck. Sasuke thought, angry at himself and the statement's poignancy.
You're not my girlfriend.
He hated that realization—and it kept hitting him, harder and harder, with each glass he had drunk.
"She blackmailed me into going with her, a few weeks back," he lied.
Sakura eyed him, warily.
He looked away and took another gulp from his shochu. He knew that she knew he was lying; but, he also knew that she would shrug it off and let him have it. Out of her good-heartedness and desperate hope for a happily ever after, she wanted to believe him; so his answer was good enough.
"Oh," she responded, quietly. Her eyes lowered and her thumb fiddled the hem of her skirt. "Well it was kind of you to keep true to your word." She guessed.
"Aa," he grunted, not really wanting the conversation to continue further. He could hear the hurt in her voice, regardless of her pathetic attempt at trying to sound unconcerned.
Sakura abruptly stood up, swaying a bit as she managed her way out of the stool. "I'm glad we made these clarifications then, Sasuke-kun," she sighed, blatant disappointment present in her tone. This conversation hadn't gone any of the ways she had intended for it. She wished he could have given her a real reason for him going with her; but there was no way of pilfering the truth from him. Maybe he was trying to protect her from the obvious.
She said with a large smile, "I hope I can call you friend once again."
He felt his stomach drop when he saw her smile. It was the first time he had ever seen a smile like that upon her lips, and it made him extremely uneasy.
It reminded him of Sai.
He rushed to follow her actions, before she disappeared on him, by standing and mimicking the same drunken stupor. He eyed her, suspiciously; he did not enjoy the way her words sounded so empty, so…platonic. He felt, however, that it also couldn't really be helped. So he shook his head when she began walking off and hurriedly grabbed her wrist.
She didn't turn around, and he didn't expect her to.
Sakura bit her lip as the silence continued and he held her wrist in a vice-like grip. She knew he wasn't going to let her go, literally and metaphorically. It was as though her heart had sunk into her stomach, Sai's premonition haunting her thoughts. It was all too cyclical; she had to feign forgiveness for the young Uchiha as he walked away, guilt-free.
"Stop," she whispered, pleaded, into the air, the words reaching nothing but the dry evening skies. With absolutely no conviction, she lightly tried to tug her arm free of his grip—the action was supposed to say something, but they both knew better. "Sasuke…" The way she said his name this time was so dismissive, but all too surrendering, as well.
You're not my girlfriend.
She wanted to cry, because she was too hopeful for why he stopped her—maybe it's different this time, maybe he wants to…
She refused to cry; instead, she bit her lip harder and her eyes stared despairingly at the ground. When she saw his feet next to hers, she finally looked up, stifling a small laugh that threatened to escape when she saw his blushing cheeks—she would blame it solely on his drunkenness.
She looked up, trying to search those dark eyes for whatever he was hiding from her—his emotions, his thoughts, the truth. Regretfully, she deciphered none of these concepts; in response, giving a irked, wearisome sigh.
When he heard her sigh of surrender, he effortlessly tugged at her wrist, leading her in the opposite direction of the small ramen stand.
And, he knew this didn't make up for any of the things he had done; but, it was his attempt at trying.
"I'll walk you home."
Sakura gave him a small, trying so hard to form smile, understanding his actions—because this was Sasuke-kun and he didn't have the words which she so desperately craved.
Because this was Sasuke-kun and this was him trying for her.
He didn't really offer her a choice to accept his actions or not, the way he was tugged at her with a steadfast mind of never letting go. Though he was a neanderthal when it came to the human vernacular and he was slower than Naruto when it came to comprehending relationships, she knew there was still something there—something for her.
Be it as a friend for now, maybe one day they could grow into something more.
She fell into pace with him and wiggled her hand into his. He tugged away at first, surprised by her actions; however, he chose to claim ignorance. He said nothing and pretended to ignore how warm his hands felt. The only reaction he gave her was a pathetic attempt at an annoyed look for her childish behavior before averting his eyes, desperately searching for any form of distraction.
He found none.
Sasuke quickly side-glanced at a dazed Sakura, her hand lightly holding his and her gaze fixated on what was in front of them. He wanly considered how at least one of them was focused on their future. Before he could continue on with his too many thoughts (where does this leave us? what do i do? should i say something? do i have to?), she broke their calming silence.
Her words sang a bittersweet tune to him, blistered yet genuine, "Thank you, Sasuke-kun,"
But, she didn't smile.
"It's so…plain," Ino said as she stared in admiration at the room which encompassed her. She took a moment to revel in the thought of attempting to enjoy room of such solitude; however she couldn't fathom it. She took a seat upon the comfortable bed and breathed in the scent of his room. "How can someone live in such a boring bedroom?" She wondered aloud. There was a limited amount of furniture, save a desk with a chair, the bed, a couple lamps, and then two nightstands. In comparison to the size of the room, his choice of décor made it feel too spacious, too empty. No picture frames, no posters, nothing. She lied on her back, facing the ceiling with a bored look.
She and Sasuke were supposed to go on a date tonight. Dinner reservations had been made for six and she has been waiting in his house for about half an hour. It was now past six. She checked her phone once more, a habit which she attained out of boredom. She didn't expect it to be any different from the last time she checked her phone—five minutes ago.
She huffed an exasperated sigh and quickly jumped off the bed, flustered.
Though Sasuke was not much of a conversationalist, he still usually had the decency to at least reply to her. It wasn't like the Uchiha to not respond, yet he aimed to surprise her with a different circumstance each time. She had sent him three text messages thus far, and still to no avail had a response arrived. Could something have happened to him? He usually at least would give her a detailed schedule of his day, normally. Maybe he was with that blond dork, Naruto.
Glancing around, looking for some form of entertainment, she decided to explore. Maybe she could find out more about her fiancée through small tokens of nostalgia he was sure to have. In doing so, she'd be able to at least plan for future birthday presents and dates. With a disappointed look, she started her adventure with the first piece of furniture in the room. She walked up to his desk and shuffled through the stack of papers atop it. She sighed in annoyance when she discovered them all to be only graded papers and terribly scribbled notes. She found it peculiar that he had terrible hand-writing. With that ego of his, she would have pinned him to be one of those perfectionists at everything he did—from crocheting to gaming.
Ino set the papers back on the desk, checked her phone again to reveal no messages, and then opened the drawer to left. She smiled in triumph when she found a thin book. Lanky fingers gripped onto the spine of the small book as she lifted it from its confines. She took a seat in the desk's chair and set the book upon the table.
She opened the cover.
"I see my brother is not home yet," a voice prodded from behind her.
"Shit!" Ino jumped in shock, completely unaware of the man having been there. She turned around, her expression completely flustered, and looked at the man, mouth twitching. "How long have you been there?" She asked, adrenaline still high. Her mouth hung open, lungs trying to steal in gluttonous intakes of air—Gods! Was this man trying to give her a heart attack?! She felt paralyzed and absolutely dead. If she didn't shut her mouth soon, she was sure she'd start drooling.
"Not long," Itachi coolly replied, shrugging off her demeanor as though it were a normal reaction to him. He did take a second to regard him sneaking up behind her. Granted, he didn't actually sneak, per se, but his step was graceful enough to keep from making a sound. He didn't necessarily care about scaring her though, he felt his grace was a talent—a perfected mannerism—more than anything else. His eyes narrowed. Her reaction did help explain why that Naruto kid always called him "creepy," though. That moron.
Itachi, still deep in thought on this new tangent, disregarded Ino's presence, and chose to stare off.
In this silence, Ino took it as a moment to fully compose herself. Noisily clearing her throat, Ino sent him a cocky, sultry look. "Oh," a grin plastered itself on her plump lips, "drinking me in, I see." She laughed at herself, awkwardly, when she didn't receive a reply from the older Uchiha. Of course he wouldn't reply, Ino thought dumbly. Another man-of-few-words… Great. She inwardly scowled at the fact that both Uchihas seemed to be absolutely handicapped at maintaining a conversation, let alone a small banter of playful words.
He ignored her chagrin remark, resisting the urge to roll his eyes at her femme fatale approach she was trying to display, and took note of the book she had opened. "My brother seems to be running rather late, is he not?" He asked—though, all in all, it was moreover a statement than anything else. He already knew that Sasuke had completely forgotten, or [what was even more likely] completely disregarded his date with Ino this evening. Itachi just felt it a necessity to emphasize his brother's lack of concern for his fiancee, considering the dramatics would play out rather nicely.
He subtly watched Ino as she began fumbling with the small book in front of her. Why Sasuke kept such a tacky memento in his desk's drawer was beyond Itachi; but it was useful when it came to Ino's snooping. Itachi entertained the thought of Sasuke sitting by his desk every night fondling the handmade book with such unleashed desire. He snorted at the thought, but did not dismiss it as implausible. Sasuke did have his peculiar quirks when he thought to be alone. Processing the woman's initial reaction to the book, Itachi realized how oblivious Ino truly was.
She didn't get it. What exactly the book before her was; what it represented.
"Yes," Ino replied, disgruntlement blatant in her tone. A small 'hmph' followed her acknowledgment as she spun back around to continue observing her newest Sasuke treasure she found in the drawer. "You need to teach him manners," Ino chastised. "I know I wouldn't let my husband be frolicking around without giving me the slightest indication what for.
"Let alone forget about our date!" Her tone was livid, and there was still a underlying hint of complete disbelief for Sasuke's contingency.
"It seems you haven't started ingraining that ideal in him yet, then," Itachi mused, pointedly.
Ino sighed as she flipped the title page, anticipating what information the book could possibly reveal about her darling soon-to-be lover. "I'll get to it, eventually. Do you know what this—" Ino stopped her question, understanding the rhetoric of it. The book she had opened seemed to have been some sort of photo album. "I never knew Sasuke had such… conventional hobbies," Ino mustered, trying her best to stifle a laugh. "Seriously, scrapbooking? No wonder he's so quiet about his likes and dislikes..."
Itachi's brows furrowed. He couldn't believe it.
She really didn't get it.
On the first page was a centered picture of a very young looking Sasuke (so cute!), some pink-haired girl (who the hell has pink hair?), and that blond kid, Naruto (ugh...). Surrounding the picture, stickers of Sakura petals and shuriken decorated the rest of the blank page. "TEAM 7" was etched onto the top of the page in rather girly handwriting, nonetheless in pink. What a lame name... She thought. They could have at least called their friendship something more convenient, like The Gang or something cliche.
"Sasuke certainly had a more feminine side to him when he was growing up," Ino remarked, "I wonder what happened...?" Ino flipped to the next page, showing more young pictures of the three children, the ratio of Sasuke with that girl in comparison to Naruto was discomforting. Ino narrowed her eyes in analysis. Every picture they were in together, the girl was touching her fiancee (granted they were just children and he wasn't her fiancee at the time—but that's not the point) and he was letting her.
Pfft. That harlot.
Itachi bit the inside of his cheek very, very hard. How could that blonde woman legitimately believe that Sasuke, an Uchiha, had taken the time out of his day to take up a hobby like scrapbooking; and, better yet, decorate it with flowers and a pink marker. Plus the hand-writing was actually legible—obviously it wasn't Sasuke.
Her finger twitched and she slowly brought it to the pink-haired girl; it was of a more recent, in comparison, picture of the two. "Who…" She began, annoyance and jealousy filtering throughout the entirety of her body. "Who is this, Itachi-san?" She needed to find out all of the information she could about Sasuke's past.
She had to make sure there weren't any other girls in his life; or, if there were, she would just have to take care of any problems they could pose.
She snorted in disbelief at the crazy thought. Sasuke Uchiha being into some chick that dyed her hair pink and had a five-head and, not to mention, ant-hill tits.
"That's the girl my brother fawns over." Itachi deadpanned, making sure to enunciate the most effective, endearing word.
Ino's eye brow twitched and her jaw dropped.
There was no way.
No freaking way.
Not this chick with pink hair, a billboard brow, and mosquito bites for boobs.
Ino laughed. It had to be a joke. "That's funny."
Itachi raised a brow, obvious amusement present in his expression. She didn't believe him? When had he ever told a lie? He tilted his head in consideration, pleading the fifth to avoid its rhetorical answer. Well, more importantly, he had never lied to her before. So, she had no reason to doubt his interjections.
Denial was a funny thing, sometimes—apparently enough to laugh about. He guessed.
"Fawns..." Ino repeated to herself, the term not fully sinking in.
She was still laughing.
He contemplated whether or not he wanted to continue his interaction with her, considering his statements weren't as effective as he thought they'd be. He shook his head. No, he thought, she needs to understand for this to work. He needed to make sure that Ino realized there was a threat to her betrothal to his little brother. If she didn't, there was no way that the marriage would actually work. If she accepted there being another woman, the trust in their relationship would be severed and she would be much more territorial with Sasuke.
"You might want to watch out for her if you actually plan on marrying my brother." His work, yet again, seemed to be setting so easily into action. He knew that Sasuke had left long ago to meet up with Sakura. And, those two had a knack for coming up with some pathetic semi-permeable solution for their outrageous arguments; which meant he needed a new plan. And, this…
This was perfect.
He knew exactly how everything was going to play out, and it so easily fell into his hands the moment Sasuke lost track of time. How foolish, Itachi eerily thought. If Sasuke hadn't been so selfish to indulge in his moments with Sakura, he could have easily avoided this new arising dilemma. If only he had met up with Sakura, apologized, and then came back to take Ino on her date, he could have avoided this whole mess.
After his last conjecture, it seemed to hit her. Slowly, at first; but surely.
"Fawns?" Ino baffled, incredulously. "My Sasuke-kun loves this…this billboard-browed freak?! Look at her forehead!" Ino exclaimed, finger pointing diligently at the picture of a young Sakura's forehead. "And, let us not forget, she has fucking pink hair—PINK."
Itachi frowned, feeling almost offended. Was she implying he had no taste in women, either? Eh... In his defense, he justified the pink hair as being exotic versus anything else.
"To each his own," Itachi dryly responded with a shrug, now clearly bored with the conversation. He didn't expect the blonde woman's reaction to be this…dramatic; but he supposed it would make it all the more fun.
"Where is Sasuke-kun, anyway? He hasn't been responding to me at all and I've been waiting in his shitty boring room for like an hour, or something!" She was fuming, a vein near her temple pulsating. "Why—… Why can't he just try…" Ino spat, her anger suddenly fluctuating to an extreme sadness. "We're supposed to be getting married and, for all I know, he's out gallivanting with a harem of obscurely haired women."
Itachi rolled his eyes. He highly doubted that was the case.
Ino was staring at a picture of Sasuke and Sakura from a few years ago; he remembered that day specifically.
In the picture, they were drunk and grinning like they knew the future. It had been from an early Christmas party—Sasuke had dumb reindeer antlers on the crown of his head, something which surely had been slipped on him at some point in the night; and Sakura had a sparkling red "Santa Clause" hat on. Her hand was tugging at his bicep and she had sneaked him a kiss on the cheek the moment the picture was captured.
It was the first day Sasuke had the gusto to show up to the Uchiha manor awkwardly stumbling and absolutely hammered. It was past midnight when Sasuke had gracelessly knocked on the door several times, because he gave up in his futile attempts at trying to unlock the unlocked door himself. Itachi had greeted him at the door and the smell of too much sake greeted him back.
Itachi hadn't expected that title for years now; he thought it was lost with their constant arguments and pointless banter.
Sasuke had a goofy smile and dumb expression; Itachi remembered how much he appeared like a…a child—blissful and ignorant and higher than cloud nine. He poked Itachi, which in turn led to an extremely peeved look from the older Uchih. "I think I like her, aniki."
Surprise was present in Itachi's normally calm demure. "What?" He asked, obvious astonishment in his emphasis of the word; plus he was certain he must have misheard.
"I like-like her."
Sasuke never admitted to something like this—especially to him.
That's when Sasuke's eyes fluttered shut and his body weight fell into his aniki. Itachi, discomforted by the situation, reluctantly accepted the only option he had. He picked his little brother up and carried him off to his room. When he got to Sasuke's room and placed the boy upon the bed, Itachi sat on the bed next to the young boy. He stared at him, curios and confused about everything that had just happened—an eye-crinkling smile, aniki, and...I like her.
This wasn't his brother.
Itachi narrowed his eyes.
What made this girl so special?
Itachi was brought out of his reminisce when Ino slammed the book shut, her fingers and body shaking—with befuddlement or anger, Itachi couldn't decipher. She had a reason to be utterly confused; the Sasuke she had come to know was nothing like the caricature of him in these pictures—a light demure with a small smile. She had a reason to be completely livid; Sasuke was always hiding his past from her, awkwardly disappearing when they were supposed to be together, and making every obvious attempt that he wasn't wasn't trying for her.
Ino's phone vibrated. She hurriedly, almost excitedly, grabbed for her phone. At least he finally texted me back, she thought both wryly and happily. If he had the decency to at least text her back, maybe it could cool her anger a bit. She unlocked her phone and brought up the text messages section.
She stared blankly, but a smile was able to force its way upon her lips.
FROM: Nara Shikamaru
SUBJECT: [No subject]
Would you like to grab
some coffee together?
Ino didn't bother to turn around. She knew Itachi had already disappeared after having revealed Sasuke's mischievous relationship with the pink-haired girl. Itachi was a rather sly character, always being able to make ins and outs in the most opportune moments—without a moment's notice, at that. Yeah, and always giving people heart attacks...Ino thought, remembering when he first came into the room. So sketchy.
Something in her stomach felt warm as the smile ceased to falter. At least she had someone that she was able to talk to—someone who wanted to spend time with her. She hadn't seen him since he walked her home from the festival. It couldn't hurt to meet up with him in thanks for his previous chivalrous act. Especially considering her fiancee seemed to have completely forgotten, or just didn't care at all, about their dinner date.
Ino sighed. Her chest hurt, but she didn't understand the reason why. It was all too much—Sasuke and some girl in pictures together, smiling; him forgetting about their date tonight, when he was the one whom made the reservations; and, Shikamaru wanting to see her again.
TO: Yamanaka Ino
FROM: Nara Shikamaru
SUBJECT: [No subject]
It seemed Sasuke would just have to work harder for her; she wasn't easy, nor was this a inconsequential game. They were going to get married, so he needed to at least start making an attempt at building their relationship—she was his future wife; be it his choice or not.
She would win this battle, no matter what; and she would have no hesitation in eagerly smashing that pink-haired girl's heart, if she had to.
Once they arrived before her doorstep, she reluctantly removed her hand from his. Sasuke said nothing as she looked at him with an unwavering intrigue. "Where do we go from here?" She asked, not knowing what else to say—not knowing where they were.
He shrugged and awkwardly glanced at his hand; it felt much colder than usual. He flexed it open, stretching out the muscles, then closed it in turn. It was hard to not regard her searching look, the way she was watching him with pleading anticipation.
"Come to my place around noon."
She gave him a peculiar look, confused. "What for?" She was walking to her doorstep while he remained where he stood. She heard him shift slightly, awkwardly; and with her hand on the doorknob, she turned around and waited for his answer.
"I still owe you lunch," he deadpanned as though it were the most obvious answer. It was like he was obliging a contract the way he pointedly shrugged—one he had made with her days ago. "My father will want to meet you, as well."
The empty, fluttering feeling in her stomach came to a shock, considering how much she drunk earlier. She tried to stop the bright smile from appearing on her face, but there was no point in trying to force it away—she couldn't.
So she brilliantly smiled at him and ran down her stoop to the younger Uchiha. She jumped onto him, hugging him, merrily. Not realizing her initial intentions, Sasuke was taken by surprise, his hands in the air as hers wrapped around his neck. Her face buried itself within his nape and he had no choice but to breathe in her scent—rain-soaked lavender bristled with sweet vanilla.
Shakily, realizing his hands were still in the air, he took a deep breath, and lowered them to his sides.
Sasuke's eyes softened before a small, triumphant smirk began forming on his lips.
Maybe everything would actually work out.
He knew she was trying, the way she would force a smile and salvage their bruised hope; so, he felt the obligation to attempt the same.
His hands lightly touched her sides, slightly returning her gesture.
Maybe they would work out.
"I can't wait…" She whispered into his chest. He could feel her smile pressing against his warm skin, involuntarily causing him to harden his grip on her sides, pressing her deeper into him.
He was drunk, so he needn't an excuse.
She breathed his scent in, missing everything that it instigated within her—the emotions, the nostalgia, her Sasuke-kun. She let her feet fall back to the ground as she looked up at him, still trying to wipe the heavy smile off her face. It was humiliating, in a sense, how much he affected her. Her hands hadn't left from around his neck as he slouched further to support her.
"Can I kiss you, Sasuke-kun?" She asked, slurring a bit.
Sasuke looked away.
Gods, why did she do these things to him.
Was it a rhetorical question—was he actually supposed to answer her? He couldn't bring himself to give her an answer, because that was just out of the question for his composure and sanity. His brow furrowed as she felt her grip slightly faltering at his avoidance of the answer.
He inwardly growled and brought his hand to her chin, guiding her towards his. Her eyes fluttered closed and, at some point he couldn't recall, so did his; and their lips finally met. He couldn't verbally bring himself to answer her, so this was the only thing he could do without hurting her even further.
The alcohol coursing through their veins only enhanced their longing. He felt as though he were drowning in her, her scent, her taste—her everything. His hand locked in her pink hair, causing her to lightly gasp at his roughness. This gave him the opportunity to deepen the kiss, not even bothering to wait for her acceptance. Sakura moaned lightly into his mouth as her hands dropped from his neck, replacing themselves firmly on his biceps. Her tongue glided against his as each eagerly danced a tango they never thought they knew.
As he broke away for air, Sakura caught his bottom lip and lightly nipped at it, causing him to tighten his hand against her waist, pulling her closer to him. Sakura tugged at his right bicep and broke away from his him. He gave her a confused look—a juxtaposed look of needing more and knowing the need to stop. She had an embarrassed smile on her face as she pulled him towards her doorsteps, beckoning him in with light kisses splayed against his neck. He groaned in desire as she flicked her tongue against the exact tender spots she knew he liked.
He followed her in a stupefied trance all the way up to her door. He pushed her firmly into it and dipped down for more. His mouth planted itself on the bottom of her earlobe, whispering things she didn't even care to listen to; because they would only make this moment all the more wrong. She mewled as his tongue dragged down her neck to finally suck at her collarbone. His knee forced itself in between her legs as he shoved up, causing her to gasp even louder, needier. She felt him, hard, pressed against the outside of her thigh.
It only made it all the more arousing.
She heard him rest his head against the worn door behind them, and she felt his heavy breaths in the nape of her neck. It was the drunken desperation in his tone, that made her cringe—and want more and happy and sad and every emotion that Sasuke-kun always made her feel—when he hoarsely asked, "Why do you do this to me?" She couldn't tell if he sounded annoyed or deprived; it sounded like both.
"I only want you, Sasuke-kun."
Sasuke groaned, angry at her and himself. "Don't." He wouldn't be able to stop himself if she kept going, he was too drunk and he didn't want to do anything with her when she was drunk and not ready. She felt his grip on her tighten and his hips press harder into her thigh. "Don't do this to me, Sakura," he begged.
Sakura was confused; she didn't understand what he was so upset about. Her fingers trailed lightly from his arms to massage his thick black hair. "Do what?" She asked in a hushed, worried tone. She didn't know what was wrong. Her fingers made soft ministrations on his scalp, softly tugging and scratching away at his sanity. Her lips fell softly against his cheek and she brought one of her hands from his head to guide his face towards hers.
"This," he hissed as her lips slowly made their way against his, beautifully hushing away his pleas. He couldn't fight her away from him, the only thing he could do was beg for her to stop before it was too late. She deepened her kiss with him, tongue slickly gliding against his bottom lip, asking for entrance. He reluctantly, desperately, gave in and felt his composure slipping when their tongues met yet again.
In reaction, he pressed more firmly against her once again as she moaned at the feeling of him against her. His fingers began to trickle softly down to her thighs as he fiddled with pushing the length of her skirt up; he needed more, so much more. Removing his knee from in between her legs, he replaced it with his hand, barely grazing over the spot he yearned for.
He heard her moan louder when he pulled away from her, her lips still sucking on his bottom one. He shuddered when she let go of his mouth and he heard her turn the door handle. The alcohol was making his head throb with more than he could handle; he couldn't go in there with her—he wouldn't be able to stop, even if she asked.
"Fuck," Sasuke groaned when he felt her hand grip his wrist. She was stumbling into the house, her fingers tickling the inside of his wrist, coaxing him further. Sasuke planted himself to the ground, all the while his mind trying to save itself from the cloud nine she put him in. "Sakura," he warned as he tripped a bit when she tugged him further in.
"Sasuke-kun?" She asked, still unaware of his concern of coming into her house. They were just messing around, like they always used to do, what was wrong with that? He never seemed too uneasy about it before. Sakura furrowed her brows in concentration, trying to figure out everything that was happening. How did they go from arguing to this, once again? Her mind was too fogged from the alcohol, she couldn't even remember everything that had happened in the past few hours.
She needed tea.
Sakura noticed the worry plastered all over his face and composure, from his sucked in lips to his furrowed brow to his shaky body. Concerned, she stumbled a bit back and turned to him, softly touching his cheek. "What's wrong?" She asked, genuinely disquieted by his equanimity. "Are you feeling okay?"
"I…" He paused and shuddered when her other hand placed itself upon his jaw line. He couldn't look her in the eyes, not when she was so out of breath and wide-eyed and beautiful. Sasuke averted his eyes and took a step back. "I need to go."
Her head tilted and she gave him a perplexed look. "Alright," she shyly mustered. Did she do something wrong? She didn't understand why he was so upset to be inside her house. She felt a headache coming about through her dehydration and confusion. What did she do to make him look this distressed? "I'm sorry if I did something wrong," she whispered, looking down in shame; but he had already turn around, heading out the still open door.
"No," he said, shaking his head; but he did not clarify his meaning.
Sakura stood alone in her house, dazed and confused and just too drunk.
"Don't forget." He said, hurriedly, as he faced the opposite way on her stoop. He couldn't bring himself to face her any long, lest he ruin his commiserable attempt at integrity.
She closed her eyes, not really even paying attention to him anymore. She was completely lost in her own drunken stupor, blaming herself for whatever Sasuke had been discontent about. She couldn't remember doing anything wrong. What could it have been?
Sakura looked up, surprised, but he was already gone.
A soft smile splayed itself upon her plump lips.
"Noon," she reiterated, graciously.
End of Chapter 7
Author's Note: Reviews are appreciated! I like to hear your opinions, constructive criticisms, conversations, and input!
P.S.: Sasuke's such a weirdo and has bad hand-writing. Itachi's obliviously creepy. Yeah, what up character flaws.
EWHH its Kenna