Done for the blanket on her birthday. Hope it's been a good one.

Disclaimer: I own nothing someone else does.

(Because Sakura isn't the only fanatic.)

"I bet you I can eat ten apples before you can," Sakura said, plopping down across from Sasuke and staring him straight in the eye.

He sighed. As the apprentice to Tsunade, Sakura was inevitably going to pick up some of her habits. But the violent outbursts, need for alcohol, and temper apparently weren't enough. Oh no. Sakura had to start gambling, too.

And sure, it had been amusing at first. She livened up training and unleashed his competitive side, gave them some more motivation on those lazy days. But while Tsunade always lost, he found that Sakura usually won her bets. And that was unacceptable.


"Aw, c'mon, Sasuke. Don't be such a wimp!"

Sasuke bristled at that. "I am not a wimp. I just have better things to do with my time. Unlike some people," he added. Sakura didn't seem to hear.

"You're no fun." She stood up. "I bet Naruto will do it. He's not afraid of a little loss."

And she stormed off. Sasuke rubbed his temples. Her betting was going to get her in trouble one day, and of course he would be the one that would have to bail her out. It was hard to be the responsible one in a team like his.


Sakura held up a fresh bottle of sake, already tipsy enough that she couldn't keep from slurring when she said, "I bet I can drink more than you without puking, guys!"

Naruto looked interested; Sai didn't. Kakashi had disappeared, and Sasuke was glaring as Naruto exclaimed, "You're on, Sakura-chan!"

"Naruto," Sasuke snapped. "Don't encourage her."

"Hey," Sakura protested. "Don't talk 'bout me like I'm not here."

"Sakura, you've had enough," Sasuke told her sternly. "Naruto is not gong to—"

"What's in it for me if I win?" Naruto asked eagerly. Sasuke sighed irritably.

"Naruto, do you even liste—"

Sakura leaned forward across the table. "If you win," she stage-whispered, "I'll kiss you."

Beside her, Sasuke choked on his spit.

"Alright!" Naruto cheered. "You're on, Sakura-chan." He snuck a glance at Sasuke, who looked murderous. "Your boyfriend isn't going to kill me, is he?"

"Ugly has a boyfriend?" Sai asked.

"I have a boyfriend? Who is he? Can he beat Sai up?" Sakura asked, looking around as if for a sign that would proclaim one of the drunken slobs in the bar as her boyfriend.

Sasuke dropped his face into his hands with a groan.

"I meant that butthead," Naruto said, nodding at Sasuke and completely missing his twitch at the juvenile insult.

Sakura blinked. "Who, Sasuke?" She laughed uproariously. "He's not my boyfriend! He's gay!"

Sasuke hated drunken teammates. He really did. And they wondered why he left for Sound so long ago…


"So, Sakura," Ino drawled, bringing a glass of some fancy drink to her lips. She left a clear coat of gloss on the rim. "Are you as bored as I am?"

"Probably more, Pig," Sakura sighed irritably. When she was picking out her dress, straightening her hair, and applying her make-up, she had been eagerly anticipating this party; after all, if Jiraiya was hosting it, it had to be good, right?

Wrong. The pervert was being yelled at/flirted with by Tsunade (Sakura was vaguely grossed out when she saw them going at it; who knew threats could be so dirty-sounding?), and the so-called Party of the Year was turning out to be a dud.

"Well, let's entertain ourselves," Ino said. Sakura wasn't really paying attention – where's Sasuke? she wondered, scanning the hall – until Ino said the magic words, "I bet…"

Sakura's head whipped around, green eyes brightening with excitement.

"…That you can't get the next guy to walk in to ask you out by the end of the night."

Sakura blinked, mulling it over. This wasn't really the right dare for her; she didn't think she could go through with it…

"One date, Sakura. And if you manage it, I'll buy you those earrings you've been wanting."

She was still hesitant, however—until she saw who was just walking in and her cheeks flamed.

"Go get 'em, tiger," Ino urged.

She didn't have to tell her twice. Sakura got up, straightened out her champagne-colored dress, and strode over to Sasuke, his dark eyes already on her.

She stopped in front of him. Naruto, with a quick greeting, had abandoned his friend for the buffet, and they were alone at a table in a corner.

She put her hands on her hips and leaned forward, close enough to smell his aftershave. She practically swooned into his arms right then, but she refrained so she could say, "Hey, ask me out."

Sasuke raised one eyebrow coolly up at her. "No. Why?"

"I'm trying to win a bet," she explained impatiently. "So just do it, I'll give you tomatoes or something."

Sasuke snorted. "Nice try, Sakura. I won't give in so easily."

"Oh, Sasuke-kun!" she whined. "Why won't you just do it? It's not like you'd date anyone else, anyways…" She trailed off, eyeing him. He looked to be between amusement and exasperation. "Um, would you?"

No matter how playful and teasing she was when she said it, it wouldn't have broke her heart any less if he answered positively. Fortunately, Sasuke would always be Sasuke.

"No." He rolled his eyes and added sarcastically, "You're my one and only."

Sakura beamed, leaning down to peck him on the cheek. "I love you too, Sasuke-kun."

And she finally sat down so they were eye-to-eye.

"Sakura," Sasuke said slowly, looking vaguely suspicious in the dim light of the hall. "Have you been drinking again?"

"What makes you think that?" she asked innocently.

"You're sitting on my lap," he said dryly.

Sakura leaned her head against his chest and ran a finger over his tie. "You're comfy," she informed him by way of explanation. "And I only had a little. Sake doesn't even count as alcohol, Sasuke-kun!"

Sasuke groaned. Tsunade was a bad influence on this girl.


When Sasuke saw Sakura wearing a plastic smile, her arms full of red roses, walking slowly down the street, he immediately wondered what she was up to.

"I lost a bet," she admitted grudgingly.

"I told you to quit while you were ahead," Sasuke reminded her smugly.

"Oh, shut up. It's all your fault! If you had just asked me out like you were supposed to, I would have my pretty new earrings, and I wouldn't be stuck selling flowers!" she snapped.

Sasuke sighed. On the night of the party, she had refused to get off him, had fallen asleep soon after and he had been forced to carry her back to her apartment since Naruto was too busy flirting with Ino to pay attention.

Sometimes he wondered why he bothered with her.

"Don't blame me because you're not alluring," he said.

"What?! I am so alluring. I can allure circles around you! In fact—" She separated her bunch of flowers into two, shoving one pile into Sasuke's arms—"I bet you I can sell mine faster than you! And if I win, you have to go out with me and buy my earrings."

"And if I win?" he asked, curious in spite of himself. Sakura looked to be at a loss, so he helped her out.

"Will you stop these ridiculous bets?"

She looked appalled by the suggestion, but comforted herself with the reminder that she would win, get her earrings, get a date, and get her job done.


It was only once Sasuke walked away and got stopped by a girl their age who blushed and giggled and bought two flowers, that Sakura remembered one important detail:

Sasuke was gorgeous.

"I'm so doomed!"


She was sure that she could get Lee and Naruto to buy her flowers. Unfortunately, Naruto was broke, and Lee was nowhere to be found. She managed to convince Neji, Shikamaru, and Kiba to buy roses for their significant others; Chouji took pity on her when she explained her situation; Shino agreed to buy two; she somehow managed to convince Gaara – in town on business with the Hokage – to buy a few; she bullied Kakashi-sensei and Sai into buying one each; and Genma was easy to manipulate.

But it wasn't enough, and when Sasuke found her, she still held a single rose, while he had none to burden him. He smirked widely.

"You lost."

Sakura frowned. Goodbye, date (and earrings!); hello, dull, bet-less lifetime.

"Can we change the stakes?" she asked hopefully.

Sasuke shook his head and she scowled. Not that she had really expected him to concede, but it didn't hurt to dream.

"This is so unfair," she muttered, as Sasuke handed her the money he had collected.

"I helped you with your job, you can't lose any more bets to get stuck with these kinds of jobs in the first place, and you're finished in half the time and free for the day. What more do you need?" he asked her, falling into step beside her as she started in the direction of Ino's shop.

Sakura didn't answer.

"You're better off without those bets," he said firmly. "And I'll even buy your stupid earrings. Satisfied?"

Sakura attempted a smile. It was stupid, she knew, but she had honestly been looking forward to a date with the boy beside her. She had been planning her outfit, dreaming about what they would do, envisioning what they would say…

But it was never going to happen. No matter how she might act and what Sasuke might say, she was always going to dote on him, and he was never going to return those feelings. And even though she would say that she didn't mind, the truth was that she did. She did a lot.


Sakura looked up at Sasuke. He was frowning slightly, looking down at her.

"What?" she asked dully.

He reached down towards her, and her pulse quickened. He wasn't going to ask her out, was he?

"You still have a flower."

Oh. Was that all?

"Yeah," she said miserably looking down at the perfect, blood-red, long-stemmed rose. "Well, I'll find someone eventually—"

But Sasuke was already reaching into his pocket and pulling out a wallet. "I'll buy it," he said, taking out a wad of money.

"It's fine," she protested, even as he was taking the flower from her. "Don't worry about it—"

"Sakura. Shut up."

Sakura glared at him. He was so unromantic! Seething silently, she snatched the money from him and stuffed it with the rest in her pocket.

Finally they emerged from the training grounds and woods. Ino's shop was only a few minutes away. Sakura couldn't wait to get rid of her teammate so she could mope in peace.


What now?


"I bet that I can make you smile before we reach Ino's shop."

"I thought I couldn't bet anymore?" she reminded him huffily.

Sasuke shrugged. "If I'm supervising, it's okay." The corner of his mouth twitched, and Sakura resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at him.

"Gee, thanks, Dad," she said sarcastically. Then, after a beat, she asked grudgingly, "What do I get if I win?"

"You won't," Sasuke assured her. "Winner gets whatever he wants."

"Or she," Sakura corrected angrily. Sasuke waved her off. "Alright, do it."

And he did. He stopped in the middle of road, so she did too, and he held one hand out toward her, other hand stuffed in his pocket.

Sakura took the rose, her cheeks reddening. Never had she thought Sasuke could be so sweet.

Well, kind of.

It was only when he said, "I win," that she realized that, to her horror, she was smiling.

She forgot the bet!

"That was cheap," she complained, looking up at him. He was smirking cockily.

"I know. I'll pick you up at eight," he added, turning to go and raising a hand in farewell. Sakura blinked, mouth opening in bafflement.

"Wait, what?"

Sasuke turned his head to look back over his shoulder. "I won. I get what I want. Wear something nice, and I'll see you for dinner."

Sakura remained standing in the middle of the road, mouth agape, staring at Sasuke's retreating back, until Ino, finally coming to look for her, asked her what was wrong.

Sakura just looked at her, still not fully in her senses. "I bet you can't guess what just happened to me."