Summary: Sakura must deal with her overprotective team and her onesided (so she thinks) love for a certain dark-haired shinobi... Will a Spring Festival change some things?
Pairing: Sasuke/Sakura, Sakura/TEAM 7, minor couples
Rating: Part 1 T/ Part 2 M
Disclaimer: Of course everything related to Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto-sensei, praise his genius! OOC characters and plot do belong to me.
Warning: The end of this chapter is M-rated because of MATURE SCENES, you're warned!
I am Italian, English is not my first language, please forgive my mistakes.
This is my first Naruto fanfiction (See AN at the end)
The Haru Festival, the world-known Spring Festival, was one of the most joyous festivities in Konohagakure: usually it was held on March 21st, day of the Spring Equinox, and it featured dances, open shops, music and many occasions to have fun; not to mention the celebrations for the arrival of spring, announced by the blossoming of the sakura trees all around the village.
But sometimes it was necessary to change the date of the Festival: for example, during the Great Ninja War the Haru Festival was postponed of a week or even cancelled.
This year, because the Godaime Hokage was away on a diplomatic mission to Iwagakure and Mizugakure, the Festival was postponed to March 28th: which, coincidentally, was also Sakura's birthday.
The Haruno clan wasn't one of the most important families in the village, at all.
Like their surname attested, the Haruno family members always had an affinity to the Festival: in fact, they got their name from the role they had in the Haru Festival, that is to take care of and dance around the majestic sakura tree which was planted even before the Shodaime created the village.
This was the only reason they were known by people in Konohagakure and, sometimes, even by people from other countries.
And this was also the reason why on March 28th, Sakura Haruno wasn't going to work at the hospital: she had to get ready for the event she would be taking part of in the evening.
"Good Sakura! Now spin twice and do the steps I taught you yesterday."
The young woman did as she was told, trying to get accustomed to the weight of her cerimonial kimono; she needed to pay attention to her balance because of her long sleeves.
But being used to dance almost every year, she managed not to fall in a difficult spin.
Sakura panted as she finished her coreography, giving and receiving a smile from the other person in the room.
"I think I got it, Aunt Hana."
The older woman, her pink hair tied in a simple ponytail, clapped satisfied.
"Yes, you did well: remember, this year you will be the main dancer."
"I know, Aunt."
Every year the Haruno clan organized a dance to celebrate spring in which partecipated at least twenty members: and every year, a main dancer – called kagura - was selected to dance alone.
This time it was Sakura's turn.
She was excited and proud that the clan elders had chosen her for such an important role, but at the same moment she was a bit worried: what if she messed up something? Her clan would be ridiculed in front of the entire village.
Her aunt, the sister of her father, patted her on the shoulder, sensing her restlessness.
"You worry too much, Sakura. You dance beautifully and all you have to do is stay calm."
The kunoichi smiled at her.
"Thank you, Aunt Hana. I don't know how you managed with the nerves the five times you've been chosen as a kagura."
The older woman just shrugged.
"I think in the end it became a habit."
The two of them laughed quietly: when they stopped her aunt looked at Sakura with soft eyes.
"We are so proud of you, all the clan is, Sakura: apprentice of the Godaime, student of Hatake Kakashi, friend and teammate with Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha..."
"...and Sai, Aunt." She added, Hana waving a hand.
"...whatever. As I was saying, friend and teammate with Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha, not to mention Head of the Medical Department... you accomplished so much, Sakura." She grasped her niece's shoulders, "I am so very proud of you."
"Thank you, Aunt. But I'm not so special, you know. I just happened to decide to do something with my life."
The older woman smiled softly. "You have grown up so much." Then she laughed. "Now, take off the kimono, go home and rest... I believe you'll have many gifts waiting for you to open them." And she winked at the younger woman, both laughing once again.
Sakura opened the door of her apartment, taking a look at the living room: yep, here they were. A bunch of coloured boxes greeted her, while a rose-colored envelope laid innocently on the table.
The young woman opened the letter and a smile crossed her face as she read the note.
Like every year, I gathered all the gifts for your birthday and put them in your living room – as you can see. Smart idea giving me your keys! And no, don't worry, no fanboy of yours entered the house while I had it open.
Happy twenty-second birthday, Sakura-chan!
PS- The others wanted to sign too this year... so I let them. Hope you enjoy your gifts.'
Sakura laughed loudly: Ino was simply too funny...and what a friend!
She kept reading.
'Happy b-day, sweety, enjoy yourself!
Lots of kisses, Tenten & Hinata.'
Awww, Tenten and Hinata were too sweet!
'Sakura-chan!! I'm sure you will like your gift! It's beautiful, I was the one who chose it for you!
Sakura, ignore the dobe. I was the one who chose it. Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday Sakura. I hope you like what we took for you.
Naruto, Sasuke, Sai.'
Her eyes softened: she really loved her boys when they were this sweet. Well, she was surprised that Sasuke pointed out he was the one who chose her gift, and her heart couldn't help but swell at the thought. And Sakura realized for the first time that, technically, she was older than him: he was born July the 23rd! She laughed out loud: wait 'till she rubbed it into his face... it will hurt his pride more than ever!
'Sakura-san, Happy youthful birthday! For the youth to be always with you I got you a wonderful gift!
The medic shook her head in amusement: Lee never changed!
'Sakura, this could be useful to you. I hope you enjoy your birthday, I can't wait to see you at the dance. Kakashi.'
An eyebrow raised: so Kakashi knew about her role as kagura, mh? Interesting.
'This is just a little gift to show you how proud we are of you. Happy Twenty-second birthday, dear Sakura.
Tsunade and Shizune.'
Tsunade-shishou had gotten her something too? And also Shizune? She was really moved. Even though she technically had surpassed her mentor, Sakura felt like she still had a lot of things to learn. Especially because Tsunade had something she lacked: experience.
'Happy Birthday, Sakura. Thank you for all these years, we would have probably bled to death in more than one occasion if it wasn't for you.
Neji, Shikamaru, Chouji, Shino, Kiba.'
Well, this was something shocking!
'Dear Sakura-chan, I hope my gift will help you realize that you should stop working for Tsunade and instead work for me! Jiraiya.'
The young woman watched horrified the name: what could have possibly given her Jiraiya? Certainly something perverted. And since when had he the permission to call her Sakura-chan?
'Well, I'm not really sure about this, but I hope you enjoy the gift. Thank you for saving Kankuro so many years ago, thank you for all the help and the friendship you gave us. Gaara, I mean, Kazekage-sama wishes you a happy birtday too. And Kankuro does too.
Unexpectedly, Temari had been a wonderful friend. Next time she'll see her and her brothers she needed to thank her.
Unable to contain her excitement any longer, Sakura threw herself at the gifts.
First she opened Tsunade's and gasped when she saw it was two books about curative plants and a dictionary of every illness known in the world.
Jiraiya, as she imagined, had given her a skimpy and, she admitted, cute underwear outfit.
Temari's gift was a set of four wonderful silk scarfs, the most expensive product in Sunagakure.
Neji, Shikamaru, Chouji, Kiba and Shino had given her three cds of her favourite band; with a wince she opened Lee's box and saw there was a green suit like the one he wore.
"Well," she sighed, "...it could always turn out to be useful..." 'To clean up the house, yeah.'
Kakashi had given her a set of beautiful decorated kunai and shuriken: a little note attached to the box said that if she infused her chakra in the weapons before throwing them, they would send a signal of some kind to help her retrieve them.
Tenten's and Hinata's gifts were a frame with a photo of Tenten, Hinata, Sakura and Ino, and a pair of earrings: in the picture they were all laughing in their swimsuits. The pink-haired woman remembered when it was taken: one day, the summer before, the four of them had decided to go to the beach and they had met Anko and Kurenai there. It was Kurenai who had taken the picture.
Ino's gift was wonderful: it was a handmade (Sakura guessed it had been made by Ino herself) photo album. She opened it and found some photos of their early friendship, with a shy Sakura and a grinning Ino smiling at the camera; then, there were a few photos of Team 7 in their genin days ('When has Ino taken them?' she wondered), of Sakura sleeping and of her eating ramen with Naruto. But most photos were recent ones: there was one of Sakura and Naruto laughing, Sasuke brooding on the side and Sai painting; then, another one with Sakura in her white coat; one with Sakura, Sasuke and Kakashi eating in a sushi bar; one with Sakura, Tenten and Temari talking about who knows what; one with Sakura and Tsunade in the Hokage office; and so on. But it was the last one that made her heart beat faster: it was a picture of her reading a book as she sat on a bench between Naruto, who was laughing at something out of the photo, and Sasuke, who was looking at her with a strange expression, tenderness mixed with longing and something she couldn't decipher.
She remembered what Naruto had said only a few days before:
"...Don't be fooled by his cold appearence: I can see it in his eyes, what he feels for you. I don't think he exactly know himself what these feelings are... but you're not an annoying person anymore. I can sense the longing he feels around you... I know it well, since I felt the same thing when I was still in love with you."
Sakura bit her lower lip: what if Naruto was right?
She shook her head. 'I can't do anything right now; let's not think about it.'
Sakura gathered her courage and took her team's gift: it wasn't a big box but it weighed enough. Feeling excited and apprehensive she tore the paper and opened the velvet box she found.
Inside there was a stunning pearl necklace with a diamond of medium size in the centre. She couldn't help but stare at it with her mouth open wide, tears of commotion gathering in her eyes.
"It's..it's beautiful." Sakura murmured. "I will wear this tonight." She decided quietly.
"Oi!! Hinata-chan!!! We are here!!!" an iperactive blond waved desperately his hands, catching the attention not only of the person he was calling, but also of everyone else around him.
"Dobe, please stop it!" Sasuke gritted his teeth, his cheeks quite red from the embarassment Naruto was putting him into.
"Uh? What's that, Sasuke-teme?" asked his best friend/rival, completely unaware of the scene he was causing.
"That's it." The dark-haired Uchiha muttered. "I give up."
"Ah! Ohayo Naruto-kun, Sasuke-san, Sai-san." The Hyuuga heiress smiled as she neared them with at her side the always faithful Neji.
"Uchiha, Uzumaki, Sai." He nodded.
"Hiya, Neji, Hinata!" Naruto smiled widely.
"Hyuuga." Greeted both Sasuke and Sai.
"Have you seen the others?" Hinata asked, noticing that the only ones making conversation were her and Naruto. She was quite happy she had finally stopped stuttering around her crush and she hoped he noticed her blue kimono with white petals.
"No. You are the first ones we see here."
'Here' was the ramen stand Ichiraku, which was at the beginning of the street of the Festival. In fact, the Haru Festival was organized on a single road, with shops and stands showing their merchandise: at the end of the road there was a large square in which stood the famous sakura tree.
Team Kakashi, Team 8, Team 10 and Team Gai had agreed to meet in front of Ichiraku.
"Ne, Hinata-chan, do you where Sakura-chan is?" asked Naruto curiously, searching for his female teammate in the crowd of people walking in the streets: he looked quite handsome in his orange haori, his hair messier than usual because there was no hitai-ate on his forehead.
"Don't you know? Sakura is the kagura this year."
The five shinobi turned towards Ino, who had talked, and Shikamaru: they both wore traditional clothes, like the others, Ino a cute feminine yellow yukata, Shikamaru a plain grey haori and black hakama.
"The kagura?" both Sai and Naruto asked.
"The main dancer." Sasuke explained, his Uchiha education coming to help. "I didn't know they gave her the role this year."
"Oh yes," Ino nodded enthusiastically "She was quite excited."
Sai frowned. "Why was Sakura chosen?"
"You don't know anything, do you?" sighed Shikamaru. "How troublesome. The Haruno clan is assigned to the dances of the Haru Festival. That's why this year Sakura is the kagura."
"Cool! Sakura-chan is great!" exclaimed Naruto.
"Oh, yes, my lotus flower Sakura-san is the best!" cried a voice on their right.
Everyone sighed as they watched flatly Rock Lee standing with tears running down his face.
"The power of youth is strong within her!"
"Yes, Lee, we know." Muttered Tenten, who appeared behind her overexcited teammate.
"Yo, guys, what's up?" Kiba greeted them as he arrived with Shino, for once with his head not covered by his hood, and Chouji, who had his cream-coloured haori full of crumbles.
"Is everyone here?" Neji asked, taking a look around him. Ino, Hinata and Tenten were chatting happily, Sai and Sasuke stood aside looking bored and annoyed, Naruto and Kiba were arguing – as usual -, Chouji was eating, Shikamaru was looking at the sky, Lee was talking to himself and Shino was just standing there doing nothing.
The Hyuuga genius allowed himself a rare and small smile.
'What a messed up group we are... how do we manage to be the best of companions?'
"C'mon guys," he said loudly. "I believe the dances are going to start in a few minutes."
That got their attention.
It seemed like every person in Konohagakure had gathered in the square of the sakura tree: some were even on the roofs of the houses surrounding the square.
A large canopy had been built to give shelter to the Hokage and her closest collaborators.
The group found some sitting space on a house near the Hokage's canopy: the view from there was good and embraced completely the square.
Around the tree there was some space left free for the dancers of the Haruno clan: the tension and excitement in the air was palpable.
Finally, all lights went off: only one stayed on the Godaime Hokage.
Tsunade, for once dressed in a wonderful violet kimono, stood up from her seat and addressed the people around her.
"So, citizens of Konohagakure, another spring has come: we welcome the blooming of the sakura trees with our celebrations. I have little to say, so I introduce you the Haruno clan and their magnificent kagura."
The square resounded with clapping and encouraging whistles.
The music began softly, easily suffocated by the crowd's cheering: then, it grew stronger and the people fell silent.
Surrounding the tree there were now ten male figures clothed in red, in their hands they had white fans: at first they moved slowly, the suffused light making the decorations on their dresses shine.
From the sides of the tree ten more dancers appeared, five on each side: they wore pink kimono, over their shoulders they had almost see-throught veils, and they obviously were females.
They danced in couples, their bodies swaying like grass to the wind; they often bowed to the great sakura tree, their hand making complicated gestures. Then, they formed a straight line, always moving sinuously. A dark figure appeared behind them and they moved in a circle around it, their veils flying in the air delicately.
Slowly, their feet patting the earth gently, they opened the circle, the females arching backward, the males clapping their hands.
From the opened circle a dark figure emerged, now completely lit up by the light.
The eleven friends gasped: it was Sakura!
She wore an awesome black kimono with red and pink designs – flowers and dragons all mixed up in an elegant order; her long hair were half held up by silver sticks, and half down, left free to fall on her back. Around her neck she wore the necklace her teammates had given her and in her left hand there was a crimson red fan.
With a jerk she moved the fan in front of her face, her body moving following the rhythm of the mystic music. Her other hand kept doing the same slow gestures the other dancers around her were doing.
Sakura snapped close her fan and began spinning around elegantly, her bare feet seemed not to touch the ground below her; she arched her shoulders, then her back and threw her head back. Her right leg lifted, showing the white and soft skin, and she straightened herself.
She threw away the fan and then quickly rotated her head, her pink hair flying in the air; her body followed the rotation of her head, her hips moving from side to side, her hand touching her lips, her shoulder and then raising in the air in a fluid movement.
Her friends were entranced by her performance; Naruto's admiration for her grew as he watched the beauty of her movements.
Sasuke, on the other hand, almost couldn't keep his mouth from gaping: his blood all rushed southward as his eyes trailed over her slim form, her sensual moves making him grow hot and hard down there.
"She is beautiful..." Someone on his right said: he didn't care who did, but couldn't help but agree with him/her.
The necklace he had chosen for her matched perfectly her kimono and the sticks she had in her hair: the Uchiha was sure that Sakura had never looked so gorgeous. And he couldn't help but wonder – not for the first time - how it would be to have that splendid, loyal medic as his own.
Finally Sasuke was able to take off his eyes off of her, only for a few moments, to take a good look around him; he growled low as he saw the lustful looks in some men's eyes. He felt the incredible urge to rip their eyes out of their sockets.
'Damn it! They shouldn't see her like this!'
The dark-haired shinobi gritted his teeth, his fists clenching in his lap, knowing there wasn't anything he could do, if he didn't want to murder half the village.
With a last spin and a sensual move of her hips, the music finished and Sakura stayed still, panting slightly.
After a moment of stunned silence the square exploded in a roar of cheering and whistles.
Tsunade smiled proudly at her apprentice and Sakura responded with a brilliant smile of her own. She quickly dried the sweat off her forehead and then went in search of her friends, hoping they had seen her performance.
"Sakura-channnnnnnn!!!!!!" she heard from the crowd, a hand waving over the people's heads.
She laughed as she saw Ino jump up and down to catch her attention.
"Ino-chan!" she exclaimed, not noticing the admired and lustful stares of the men around her.
"Ah, Sakura, it was awesome!! You were awesome!!" Tenten gushed as she and Hinata joined Ino in hugging the medic-nin.
"Ok, ok, guys!" Sakura laughed, "I guess you enjoyed the performance!"
"You seemed another person, Sakura-chan!" Naruto piped up, hugging her too "That was great."
"I must agree with Naruto." Said Kakashi, in a black haori and hakama, but still with his mask; next to him, holding his arm, there was Shizune, who smiled sweetly at Sakura. "We really enjoyed your dance, Sakura. I hope to see you again next year."
Kakashi seemed to grimace "With all those dirty men leering at her? I don't think so."
The pink-haired kunoichi rolled her eyes, while Naruto and Sai nodded vigorously.
While everyone congratulated with Sakura - even Tsunade had run to her apprentice to take her in her arms and squeeze her almost to death - Sasuke stayed a bit behind, his hair covering his now red eyes: even if face showed nothing of what he was feeling, inside he was burning.
The last Uchiha felt the need to take away Sakura from prying eyes and show her exactly what she had made him feel with her dance, but at the same time his natural adversion to human contact and social interaction kept him from doing so. He glanced heatedly at the men looking at Sakura, stopping once again the urge to growl at them.
Tenten and Ino had grabbed Sakura's arms and had begun to lead her away from the crowd and to a stand which sold okonomiyaki. Under all the happiness Sakura couldn't help but feel a bit of disappointment when she realized that the only one who hadn't complimented her had been Sasuke.
'Why? Didn't he like my dance?' she wondered sadly. 'How funny: I didn't receive the opinion of the person that matters the most to me.'
Naruto noticed how her face seemed to fell for a moment and immediately understood the reason; he turned his head and glared at his raven-haired best friend.
Sasuke snapped to him, "What?!"
"Teme, congratulate with Sakura-chan." The fox-boy said under his breath, gritting his teeth.
Sasuke raised an eyebrow and smirked at him; the blond saw this and frowned.
"What are you smirking about?"
"I will congratulate with her in my own way." The other muttered, grin still in place.
Naruto looked in confusion as the Uchiha passed him and walked determinately toward the group gathered around the stand.
"A vegetable okonomiyaki for the beautiful lady over there." The vendor was saying with a smile, handing the okonomiyaki to Sakura.
"Oh, thank you!" she answered, carefully taking it and trying not to make it fall as she searched for her wallet "How much is it?"
"Here." Said a low voice behind her, a hand handing the vendor the money over her shoulder.
Sakura turned to see Sasuke with a little smile on his face; she blushed.
"Th-Thank you, Sasuke." She said quietly, flashing him a wide smile.
Hoping Sakura didn't notice that his cheeks were slightly red, Sasuke said.
"Well, you deserved it. The dance was marvellous."
With that he lowered his head and went away, not to let her see the blush that was spreading over his face, leaving Sakura with a warm feeling in her heart. The okonomiyaki surely tasted better now that Sasuke had paid for it.
"Ehi guys!" The pink-haired medic suddenly exclaimed, catching the attention of her friends.
"Thank you for your gifts." She looked down, embarassed, "I love them very much." She touched her necklace and smiled at her teammates.
"Awwww, Sakura-chan!" Naruto said, hugging her once again. "You're so cute!!"
She laughed and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for the necklace...it's beautiful." She addressed also Sai and Sasuke.
"Ooohh, let me see!" Ino stared at the jewel.
"Thanks for the album Ino-pig," the medic-nin joked.
"It was nothing, big forehead." The blonde joked back.
The now twenty-two years old thanked every single one of her friends, feeling a bit uneasy only when she talked with Lee.
Ino and Tenten then grabbed once again her arms and, Hinata trailing behind them shyly, they began to look at the various stands, enjoying the festival, their male companions following them and shaking their heads amused by the girls' actics.
Sasuke watched the pink-haired kunoichi giggling with her friends as they crouched down, trying to catch from a pond goldfishes to bring home. The birthday girl pouted as the net broke, Ino, Hinata and Tenten laughing loudly at her misfortune.
Sasuke's usually cold heart warmed at the sight of Sakura smiling; she had taken off her silver sticks, and her hair was completely down, framing her face cutely. She was the only girl able to make the ice-cube Uchiha smile a little just from looking at her and the only girl he felt he could trust.
When they were younger, Sakura had given him her heart, without asking anything in exchange: he still remembered clearly the night he had left Konohagakure, her pleads echoing in his heads.
"I love you with all my heart!"
But did Sakura still love him?
When Sasuke had noticed that she didn't call him 'Sasuke-kun' anymore, he had felt like a sense of void, like there was something missing. Her smiles, while always heart-warming and dazzingly brilliant, weren't directed only at him anymore, but also at her friends.
The Sharingan user had been also quite surprised by the change in the relationship between Naruto and Sakura: they were now very close friends and Sasuke couldn't help but feel a bit jealous.
Because Naruto had with Sakura a kind of relationship that Sasuke never had.
Not that he had cared in the beginning: just after his return from Otokagure he had been quite satisfied by the fact that Sakura wasn't fawning over him like an obsessed fangirl. Instead, she had concentrated on his injuries in a professional manner and he had been quite impressed (not that he would admit it) by her progresses.
But as time passed, he found that Sakura was a good person to talk to: she was able to listen and converse, and also gave good advice. Sasuke had started to like her company, now that she wasn't so annoying, even if he was slightly afraid (not that he would ever admit it) of her scary temper. And also, he had realised that she was a beautiful young woman.
Now, we all know that Sasuke didn't care about looks; but still, he was man. And, as a teenager, his hormones had started working (to Kakashi's great relief; the copy-nin was beginning to think that his former student was actually gay). And the girl on which his hormones had focused their attention was – to his dismay – Sakura Haruno: well, it was logical, after all, she was the only female he had been close to after his mother's death.
So, here he was now, watching carefully over his teammate, not wanting to feel what he felt for her and at the same time hoping she realized his feelings for her. Not that the latter was going to happen if he kept having his cold behaviour.
But he couldn't change, not even for her.
Actually, Sasuke had realized he had changed somewhat: leaving Orochimaru (and killing him) and then obtaining his revenge (aided by Team 7, he must admit; who would have ever thought that his fire element would be fortified by Naruto's wind element?) had subtly modified his attitude.
After all, he was left with only one goal in life; restoring his clan. And for this, he needed a female help.
At twelve Sasuke hadn't realized yet the implications of 'reviving his clan', especially the physical part of the interaction between a man and a woman.
At age twenty-one, he was fully aware of what was needed to bring more Uchihas to the world: and that brought him back to his attraction to his female teammate.
Technically, Sakura was the perfect choice as the Uchiha matriarch: she was beautiful, brave, strong (not as strong as he and Naruto, but still one of the strongest kunoichi), skilled, gentle and had feelings for him - if not love, at least she cared for him. The dark-haired shinobi had seen how she behaved with the children in the hospital nursery: she would be a good mother to Uchiha children. And, hell, if Sasuke had to have sex with a woman, he wanted at least to be attracted by her!
Sasuke knew he felt something for Sakura, he wasn't really sure what was it: it was like a feeling of belonging. When she smiled he felt warm, when she cried it made him want to hug her. But he always repressed the urge to act on his thoughts.
The last Uchiha suddenly noticed how her kimono showed the valley between her breasts: at first, he mentally groaned, his eyes trained on the view, immagining what his tongue could do to that breasts. Then, he averted his stare, ashamed by his thoughts, only to see some men fascinated by the crouched kunoichi. Once again that evening, he growled low in his throat, wanting to incinerate them with Katon: Goukyaku no Jutsu.
Sasuke wanted Sakura to be his and only his; he didn't want any other male to look at her, to touch her, to speak with her (the only exception were their male friends). He wanted her to look at him and only at him.
The Uchiha knew he was being a selfish, arrogant bastard: but he actually didn't care.
Sakura and Ino turned to see a handsome young man around their age, with a smile across his face, his eyes trained on Sakura.
"Yes?" the pink-haired medic asked gently, a bit unnerved by his stare.
"Are you free?"
Green eyes widened, while the other girls threw inquisitive looks at her teammates, who, as soon as they heard the question, had tensed.
"Why?" she asked innocently, really not understanding.
Naruto's eyes narrowed, fists clenching at his sides. Sai's neutral look was marred by a frown, as he glared at the young man. Kakashi's face was stretched in a hard expression while Shizune watched him worried, knowing how protective the copy-nin was of his female student. Sasuke had activated unconsciously his Sharingan, teeth biting into his lower lip.
'She couldn't possibly be this naive!' they all thought.
"I think you're beautiful." The young man smiled charmingly. "I would be honoured to have you as my girlfriend."
Just when the four males were about to punch him to outer space, three more men intervened.
"Hey, lay off!" one said.
"Yes, we have seen her first!"
"I am her Fan Club President!" the last man exclaimed, then turned to look at Sakura. "Dear Sakura-chan, I am Ryuuji Fujikawa." He said, staring at her adoringly.
The medic-nin looked around herself with wide open eyes, a confused expression on her face.
"Ehm...well...Nice to meet you?" she asked sheepishly.
"I finally talked with Sakura-chan!" Ryuuji said, his hands pressing against his heart.
Ino glanced at Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi and Sai: if looks could kill, Konohagakure would feel the loss of four men.
A vein was pulsing on Kakashi's forehead; Shikamaru and Kiba were restraining Naruto, while Neji and Shino were on each side of Sasuke, who had his sharingan still activated. Sai was murmuring under his breath something that sounded like "They are looking at our Sakura...looking, touching...our Sakura..."
Ino smiled secretely; this was going to be fun.
Sakura was starting to get irritated by the men's lack of respect for her personal space: her formidable temper was beginning to show as her jade eyes narrowed dangerously, her hands on her curved hips.
The four of them were yelling, screaming, trying to talk with her by being charming, and so on: it annoyed Sakura to no end.
"WILL YOU PLEASE STOP IT?!" she finally roared, her patience reaching the limit, her short temper having the best. They all went silent, staring at her atonished.
"First of all, who do you think you are to talk so confidentially to me? I've never met any of you, and you still keep calling me 'Sakura-chan'! Don't you know it's damn annoying?"
At her words, the men backed away, scared, while her teammates smiled widely; Sasuke was especially proud that she used the word 'annoying', which he thought he had personally invented.
"Secondly, don't you find a bit unrespectful to attack me like this? Where are your manners? Here I am, enjoying the festival with my friends, and I suddenly find myself surrounded by idiots trying to talk me! Thirdly, I don't need a boyfriend, so STOP ASKING! I already have a man I love, go bother someone else!" in her irritation, the pink-haired medic-nin didn't realize what she had blurted out unconsciously.
"Now, LEAVE ME ALONE!" she finally exclaimed, an angry frown on her face, as she raised her leg and let it fall on the ground with enough force to open a crack.
They gulped but stood their ground.
"Sorry Sakura-san." One said. "You're right, we behaved badly. But there's no reason not to give us a chance."
At this, the kunoichi didn't know how to reply.
"You heard her." A voice behind her said, just as she felt an arm wrap around her waist - hand possessively on her hip, and two shadows moved in front of her.
Kakashi glared at the man, his figure standing protectively behind Sakura, while Sasuke tightened his grip on her, pressing her against himself. Naruto and Sai stared coldly at the rest of the men.
The blond shinobi said "You've already disrupted our peace; now go before I make you." He growled, knuckles cracking as in anticipation of a fight.
Finally, they decided it was not worthy to battle four powerful shinobi only for a woman.
As he watched the men walking away throught lowered lids, Sasuke swore under his breath.
"Sasuke?" Sakura turned to stare at him, suddenly aware of his body pressed to hers and of his arm around her waist; she tried not to blush at the contact.
"Let's go." He said, without looking at her, his grip on her tightening as he jumped in the air with a frightened medic-nin, who shrieked an indignant "Sasuke!!"
Naruto, Hinata, Ino, Tenten, Shikamaru, Chouji and Kiba stared stunned at the flying couple, or better, at the shadow of them moving, while Kakashi slightly grinned under his mask; Lee was crying and yelling to the world that 'his wonderful blossom Sakura-san was being abducted by the emotionless and evil Uchiha'. Sai, Shino and Neji on the other hand looked completely uninterested.
"Sasuke!! What the hell are you doing? Put me down immediately!" she punched him in the chest, not using her full strenght. Sakura puffed indignantily when he completely ignored her and kept running through the village.
"Will you at least tell me where are we going, Your Majesty?" she drawled sarcastically.
"You'll see. Now shut up, you're annoying me."
Sakura wanted to pull out her hair, his hair, do something to express her frustration and hide her embarassment: after all, it wasn't any day that Sasuke Uchiha took someone in his arms (especially her!) bride-style!
The pink-haired woman tried to ignore the beat of his heart near her ear, his warm breath on her hair, his big hands under her back and her knees; she had wrapped her arms around his neck when he had taken her away, and she felt they were too near.
'First he rejects me, then he behaves like a jealous lover! Will he ever stop confusing me?'
"Here we are." Sasuke suddenly said, stopping and letting her down.
Sakura balanced herself by holding onto him with her hands on his shoulders: she took a look around her, aware of the intense eyes staring down at her.
"Sasuke..." she began, trying to keep her rage in check. "Why are we at your house?"
Indeed, they were in the Uchiha compound, in front of the Uchiha main house, Sasuke's home to be exact.
The kunoichi glared at the shinobi in front of her.
"I was having fun, you know! There are so many things I wanted to do at the festival." She seethed, a bit peeved that he just took her away without asking her in first place if she wanted to go.
"Oh, so you were having fun being harassed by those men?" he asked sarcastically, his midnight dark eyes glaring down at her.
"Well, not that part, but they were gone! I wanted to spend time with Ino-chan and everyone else...it's not like I can see them everyday!"
It was true: because of her work at the hospital, in the evening Sakura was too tired to go out, and usually she was busy on the week-end...and if you considered she also had missions, you'll realize she never had much time for her friends or for herself.
At this Sasuke felt a twinge of guilt, but the shinobi knew that if he backed now he would never find again the courage to tell her...and he would be miserable for the rest of his life. Moreover, an Uchiha never showed weakness, and giving into her would mean swallowing his pride: and to an Uchiha pride was everything.
"Well now it's too late to go back." He said carelessly.
"What!?" Sakura reddened in indignation, "Well, Uchiha Sasuke, if you want to be the usual asocial, indifferent jerk you can go home, for all I care! I, for once, want to have fun! And I'm going back to the festival!"
Simply too angry to really think straight, the medic-nin turned around, searching for the exit of the Uchiha compound: she had just walked two steps when an hand clamped on her forearm, forcing her to stop and face the dark-haired nin.
Sasuke's eyes were flickering between black and red and on his face was painted an amused smirk; Sakura felt a shiver running down her spine, her eyes widening a bit in fear as she watched his red-black eyes.
'Why is the Sharingan activating itself?' she wondered worriedly.
"So, you want to have fun?" he chuckled in a dark, sensual voice. His other arm wrapped around her waist, drawing her against his chest as his face descended to hers, their lips so near that they were sharing air: the pink-haired woman would have sworn that he could hear her heartbeat. "I'll give you fun."
Without warning, Sasuke claimed Sakura's lips with his own, licking, biting, nipping her lower lip; when the medic-nin, too shocked to reply, didn't open her lips, the ANBU's hand moved from her waist to the soft curves of her behind, gently squeezing one cheek.
Sakura's mouth opened in a gasp, as her eyes widened in embarassment and surprise: Sasuke took the moment to insert his tongue into her mouth.
She moaned unwillingly, then blushed as she realized what she just had done; the kunoichi could feel the other shinobi smirking in their kiss as he pushed her against the wall of his house.
Sakura felt trapped, her back against the hard wall and her front being pressed by Sasuke's warm body.
She had been responding slowly, letting Sasuke dominate the kiss: when they broke up for air, Sakura just watched him with dazed eyes, her fingers gripping the fabric of his black haori.
"What was that for?" she gasped, trying to regain her breath.
He was panting too, but a grin crossed his face.
"You wanted to have fun..."
"Since when do you care?" the medic-nin blurted out.
A minute of silence passed, while Sakura mentally berated herself for asking. Sasuke tightened his hold on her, his forehead touching hers, their eyes meeting.
"I've cared for a long time." He whispered.
"You didn't show it."
"Oh, come on Sakura!" he exclaimed exasperated. "You know I'm not good at expressing myself. And after all..." his voice lowered, "...I am more a man of action."
And with that he kissed once again her parted lips: this time, she reciprocated easily, her hands traveling over his shoulders and wrapping around his neck.
Soon their making-out got heated when Sasuke parted the folds of her kimono, touching for the first time her firm thights; in a quick move he grabbed a leg under the knee and lifted it up at his waist, his lower body touching hers intimately.
Sakura broke the kiss and gasped at the hardness pressing against the place between her legs; her hands twitched against the shinobi's neck as she clutched his shoulders.
"Sasuke...!" she moaned, her eyes rolling back when he grinded against her.
The said male smirked and began sucking and kissing the pale column of her neck, his right hand still grasping her leg, pushing her against his body; meanwhile, his left hand grasped the edge of her kimono, pushing it off her shoulder.
Sasuke had had many fantasies about Sakura, but reality was much better; her skin was soft, her lips inebriated him more than sake and her smell reminded him of the flowers she was named after. Her muffled whimpers and needy moans turned him on like nothing else could do and soon the dark-haired shinobi was grabbing her rear, lifting her and pressing her more against his body. To balance herself, the pink-haired young woman wrapped her other leg around his waist, kissing him feverishly.
He couldn't have stopped the smirk on his face even if he wanted; yes, she was now where she belonged to, in his house, in his arms and, soon, in his bed.
Sakura, on the other hand, couldn't believe what was happening: Sasuke Uchiha was finally kissing her! Years of agony, spent in hoping to get his attention, finally reached their culmination. She stilled for a moment, wondering if his actions meant that he actually cared for her or if he only wanted to have sex with her.
When Sasuke recaptured her lips, nibbling gently on her lower lip, Sakura stopped thinking; she really didn't care if this was a one-night stand, she just wanted to enjoy the moment.
Moving away from the wall and taking her weight completely in his arms, the dark-haired man quickly entered his house, not bothering to close the door; after all, no one dared to enter the Uchiha compound.
Still kissing her, he went upstairs and walked into his room, laying the semi-naked woman on his large bed: he kneeled between her parted legs, taking a good look of her face, then kissed her again, cupping her cheeks gently.
"Sakura..." he murmured against her lips, slowing down and trying to calm himself.
The pink-haired medic just smiled sweetly at him – that smile that always was his undoing – and locked her arms behind his neck; Sasuke hid his face in the hollow of her neck and shoulder, biting softly on the skin and making her moan.
His blood all rushed to his groin and he felt himself harden as he parted the folds of her kimono, undoing her obi and the bow behind her back. Sakura turned her head to the side, embarassed, not used to be naked in front of a man; she still had troubles believing this was really happening to her...
Her eyes widened and her back arched as she felt a wet sensation on her breast; she gasped as she turned to see a dark head bowed on her chest.
Ebony eyes turned to her as he continued to suck and lick her nipple, enjoying himself immensely, chuckling at her embarassment.
He played her body with such ability that it made her doubt she was his first: after all, who knew exactly what he had done while in Otogakure?
A finger touching her most private part made her forget about her doubts.
"Sasuke!" she gasped, as he entered her with his forefinger.
He smirked, kissing her again, hand gripping her hair tightly.
"I'm going to fuck you all night long." He whispered harshly in her ear and she flushed, in embarassment and pleasure, getting wet at the thought.
"Damn it." Sasuke swore, feeling her juices on his fingers and adding another one.
"I've wanted you for so long..." he murmured, enjoying her soft gasps and her whimpers. "And now I am going to have you."
Red eyes began to swirl.
She hadn't even realized he had undressed until she felt his naked body press down on hers, it made her gasp in surprise: he was firm and muscled, but not too much, and his skin was soft, not rought like that of his hands.
Sasuke was having some difficulty in controling himself and decided it was time to make her his: he took her legs from behind the knees and wrapped them around his waist – pushing then into her welcoming body.
Sakura chocked a cry when he broke through her virginity and fought back the tears gathering in her eyes: it hadn't hurt too badly, but it was still painful, as her channel tried to adjust to his size (now she knew that Uchiha were well endowed!)
On his part, Sasuke was restraining himself from thrusting savagely into her wet heaven. He soothed her by nibbling on her shoulders and caressing her sides with his hands. When her body relaxed and stopped being tense, he tentatively moved, only to be rewarded with a short intake of breath and a moan.
She wrapped her hands around his neck and groaned. "Sasuke..." she murmured sensually. "Faster, please..."
He grinned wickedly and increased his pace, pounding into her willing body: his eyes closed as the sensation of her muscles clenching around his lenght. Sasuke really didn't want to hurt her, but couldn't refrain from thrusting hard into her, who was so warm and accepting – he wanted her to never forget him, to never forget that he was being her first. He wanted to crawl inside her body and soul, he wanted her to be completely his.
Sakura was moving with him, her nails digging deeply in his shoulder blades, and the blood from his wounds flowed down his back: and it was such an erotic feeling that he felt himself getting harder.
"All night." He whispered harshly in her ear "All night I will possess you, I will have you in my bed and in my arms. Don't ever think of escaping."
His possessive words aroused her to no end and she threw her head back.
"Yes." He licked his dry lips "Scream my name!"
They continued to push and pull, kissing madly, entwined in each other's arms, broken words spilling from their mouths everytime they parted.
Realizing she was very close, Sasuke moved a finger behind their bodies and Sakura's lips opened but not a sound was uttered. Then, she climaxed and shrieked "Sasukeeee!"
He continued to mutter as he nibbled her neck "Mine, mine, mine, mine..." and when he finally came, his eyes shut down.
They laid in a pool of sweat and juices, panting heavily; Sasuke rolled from over her and covered his eyes with an arm.
Neither moved for a long time as they regained their breaths.
It was Sakura who moved first: rolling on her side towards him, she caressed his chest. His arm moved and he stared at her – she smiled innocently.
When Sakura woke up that morning, she found herself in the arms of her beloved. She smiled softly at his still sleeping face, remembering the wonderful night she had just spent with him.
"Who knew you could be so passionate?" she whispered, a finger tracing Sasuke's lips.
She laid her head on his chest, enjoying his warmth and the feeling of being protected that came from being in his arms; her hand moved over his heart, its beat reassuring.
Sakura wondered if this was just an one-night stand or if it meant something more to him: she couldn't take it if he had just used her – she knew Sasuke wasn't that kind of man, but who knew?
"I love you so much..." she murmured, sounding pained.
A hand suddenly grasped the one on his heart; Sasuke's onyx eyes were gazing down at her gently. He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles, lacing his fingers with hers.
"How are you feeling?" he inquired.
"Sore." She replied sincerely. "But happy."
They remained in a comfortable silence for some time, Sasuke's thumb absently stroking the back of her hand. However Sakura couldn't stand her confusion anymore.
"You seemed to be quite experienced…" she started quietly. "This wasn't your first time, right?"
"What!?" he gaped at her and then laughed out loud: it was such a rare sight that Sakura couldn't help but stare at him mesmerized. "Are you kidding me? Of course this was my first time!"
"But…" she stuttered, embarassed. "You… you knew where to touch and-and…"
"Sakura." He stopped her, grinning gently. "I read Icha Icha Paradise, you know? Just because I was a virgin didn't mean I didn't know what to do or that I didn't dream about it."
"You read Icha Icha Paradise?" the pink-haired kunoichi gasped.
Sasuke shrugged, "It was Kakashi's gift for my eighteenth birthday…"
Sakura started muttering something sbout 'killing that old pervert', but the she bit her lip. "So, what was this?" she asked. "Just a night of passion or...?"
"I love you." He blurted almost rudely. He wasn't watching her, but there was a red hue on his cheeks.
She raised herself, leaning on an elbow as she stared at him attentively.
"It's the truth." He grunted.
Sakura smiled brilliantly as she lowered her lips to his, ravishing his mouth: his hand wrapped in the little hairs at her nape, pulling her to him.
When they parted, he was smirking.
"Now, all I have to do is find that Fan-Club President of yours and eliminate him..."
OVERPROTECTIVE - End
Haru Festival & Haruno clan: the spring festivals are very common in Japan, also because in March-April the cherry trees (in japanese sakura means 'cherry blossom') are in bloom. Haru in japanese mean 'spring' and this is where I got the name. To be exact, in Tokyo exists a particular spring celebration (the Hanami) in which japanese people go on a pic-nic with their relatives or loved ones in one of the numerous parks of the city to watch the sakura trees in bloom.
Haruno means 'spring camp'.
Hana, the name I used for Sakura's aunt, means 'flower'.
The kagura are dances which exist since feudal Japan: they're usually danced with a fan and in kimono and feature slow and elegant movements.
Okonomiyaki are more or less japanese omelettes/pancakes on which you can put whatever you want (vegetables, fish, meat – usually they're with vegetables).
Thank you so much for your heart-warming reviews! I love the fact that my work in appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed the story :D I hope you liked this chapter too, and don't forget to leave me a REVIEW