So it's been a while... again. Normally when I post after a long break, I have several chapters to offer, as a sort of amends for the long wait. Sorry, not this time. This is all I have, and to be honest, it's been written for months. I was hoping to be able to post several like I usually do, but it seems it really will take forever. I'm sorry, I've had school, work, and plot issues, and now that school has started up again (my last semester, at last), and with me getting a full-time permanent position (thankfully at last), I can't be sure I'll be able to write more any time soon.

But! I offer this as compromise... I have written a shorter story (short by my standards), and better yet, it's actually finished. Again, SasuNaru, and it's four chapters. I will post it up starting next week. And in the meantime, maybe I'll find some extra time and motivation to get some writing done. I hope. Please give me lots of lovely reviews to motivate me again!

So now, on we go!

Disclaimer: don't own

Warnings: unbeta'd, didn't reread before posting, Sakura-ness (if you remember her character for this story)

She had never really paid much attention to the news and the media unless it had something to do with the Uchiha family, or more specifically, with her precious Sasuke-kun. But even she had taken notice with all the fuss going on over the deceased writer, and now with the whole inheritance issue.

However crazy obsessed she got over Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura was a smart girl. She was a med student, and a copious reader. And Namikaze Minato's books were some of her favorite. So, like many of the late writer's fans, she had been very distressed to hear of his death. But she also knew the Namikaze were one of those well-known families, and so she was content to see them inherit the late writer's estate.

But then the inheritance was contested, and she, like so many of the Japanese people, had been furious. Who was this upstart brat from the slums doing going against the Namikaze family? She had been appalled. She knew the outcome, of course. She knew there was no doubt the Namikaze family would come out on top. There was no way it would go any other way.

And she said so frequently, as the news reports continued, to her senpai (1) Shizune and her mentor Tsunade. Shizune-senpai would just smile in agreement, and Tsunade-shishou (2) would just ignore it all. But then, Shishou didn't much care about the lives of the rich and famous.

But even though she more or less knew the basics of everything, she wasn't really paying any attention to it.

Until the Uchiha family declared war on the Namikaze family.

Suddenly, she realized she had missed something. Something big. After all, how could her precious Sasuke-kun have a connection to the fight against the Namikaze family?

Then she discovered another connection she had completely missed. Her best friend, Yamanaka Ino, was the lawyer of the upstart claiming he was the son of the famous writer!

It was absurd!

Not to mention, Sakura was still reeling from the words Sasuke had spoken before, about him spending Christmas with a lover. It was starting to all fall together.

And she didn't like it. Not one bit.

And so, a couple of days after Uchiha Itachi declared his intention to follow through with the war against the Namikaze family, she managed to make her way into Ino's office, just for a nice chat with her best friend. She was patient- Haruno Sakura was nothing if not patient, after all, and when Ino made her way out of the office for a moment, Sakura helped herself to Ino's files.

And there it was. The address of one Uzumaki Naruto.

As soon as she could, she made her way out of there and over to pay the prat a visit.

And the place was stunning. As she walked in through the walkway up to the building, made her way through the foyer and to the elevator, she was amazed. That upstart had managed to live in a place like this? How? How was this fair?

She held her anger and irritation in check as she made her way to the door.

So not only had this nobody stolen the attention of the Uchiha, destroyed the reputation of the Namikaze, and dishonored the memory of a most beloved writer, he was a liar to boot. Oh, he was not getting away with this.

Soon she found the room, the nameplate beside it stopping her short. Not only did the polished silver proclaim this particular room the home of one Uzumaki Naruto, but… Uchiha Sasuke as well.

Sakura blinked at it for a while as the pieces fell into place. The apartment, the lawyers (as best friend of Ino, she knew better than anyone how pricey the fiery blonde's service was), and most of all, the Uchiha connection. This was Sasuke-kun, her beloved Sasuke-kun's, lover.

A man.

She felt her knees give out and she clutched the wall for support.

A man?

Her Sasuke-kun and… a man?

There was no way.

No way this could be happening. Not to her.

She had waited years, years, to be with him. Only for him to be stolen from her by a man?

The girl braced herself, her anger taking hold. She knew she could be irrational when she got angry, but her Sasuke-kun was on the line. She wasn't going to let this happen. She didn't know how this person had conned her Sasuke-kun, how he had conned the Uchiha, but she wasn't going to let him continue. He wasn't going to ruin any more upper class families.

Sakura up-righted herself and prepared for battle. Then she rang the bell.

Several seconds later and the door pulled open, and Haruno Sakura was face to face with a blue-eyed blond. And as beautiful as she knew herself to be, she was stunned to see how beautiful this person standing before her was.

Then a flash of an image crossed her mind's eye, a picture of the late writer, and suddenly, she wasn't so sure this person wasn't related to Namikaze Minato.

But she had to hold her ground.

For her Sasuke-kun.

"Um, can I help you?" the blond at the door asked. Nervously he glanced around the hallway, and the way he held the door was just as unsure. Obviously, he was weary of someone he didn't know showing up at his home.

"Are you Uzumaki Naruto?" Sakura asked forcefully.

He swallowed and pulled back, closing the gap of the door a bit more. "Y-Yeah?"

She pursed her lips. She was intimidating him, and it made her giddy. Maybe this wouldn't be so hard after all. She would put him in his place, and before the hour was up, he was going to agree to drop the issue with the Namikaze and be out of the apartment (which she was sure would soon be hers) and leave her Sasuke-kun alone.

And so with that inspiring thought in mind, she pushed her way inside, nearly mowing over him as she did so, and soon she was standing in his apartment, taking it all in.

It was magnificent. Beautiful, clean, impeccable. The light from outside was streaming in on the elegant place, making it seem open and warm and inviting. The only sign of a mess was on the table, which was littered with paperwork.

She turned back to the blond, who was eyeing her suspiciously as he closed the door behind him.

"I've come to speak to you on behalf of Uchiha Sasuke-kun."

He blinked at her. "Sasuke?"

She felt her pulse rush at the familiarity with her Sasuke-kun.

He frowned. "What do you mean?"

Sakura smiled at him. "Let me introduce myself. I'm Haruno Sakura," her smile grew, "Sasuke-kun's fiancé."

His expression dropped, his eyes seemed to dilate, and he looked like the air had been forced out of his lungs. Sasuke's… fiancé.

"Y-You mean, you're…"

"Did you not hear? My father is a politician. The wedding has been in the works for a while."

Naruto didn't know what to say. Sakura could already tell she was winning.

In the silent room, the TV was the loudest object, and it was at that moment the commercials ended and the news report resumed, again relating the events of the battle between the two families, Uchiha versus Namikaze.

Both occupants of the apartment turned to the TV, and Naruto watched as a picture of Sasuke flashed against the screen.

Sasuke's fiancé?

He looked again at her, and couldn't help but think she was beautiful. Beautiful, and female. If Sasuke wanted a family… he could easily have it with her.

And all of his insecurities came rushing back at him. He looked at the floor and swallowed thickly.

But how could no one have told him about this? Sasuke had never said anything. Itachi-san too, had acted like he was happy to have Naruto as a part of the family. Was all of that a lie? Was Itachi-san making fun of him? Not even Mariko-san…

His thoughts stopped and he frowned at the girl, focusing on her expression as she watched Sasuke on the screen. He had seen looks like that before, had seen the lovesick expression of girls, especially over an Uchiha. And hadn't Sasuke himself mentioned how girls got over him? And how he couldn't care less?
Come to think of it, he had heard from both Mariko-san and Sasuke that Itachi was always trying to get Sasuke into bed with someone, many different ploys being put to use.

And no one had ever mentioned a fiancé.

At the very least, Mariko-san would have said something. She seemed to know so many of Sasuke's secrets. Sasuke trusted her, enough to leave it to her to find a place for his lover and to keep it from Itachi.

And Sasuke… Even if the younger Uchiha had never said he loved Naruto, Naruto had long realized Sasuke was one of those actions speak louder than words people. Even if Sasuke wanted to hide having a fiancé from his lover… No, Sasuke would clearly be against the idea. He was always fighting Itachi-san about such things after all.

And as devilish as Itachi-san could be… Naruto couldn't believe Itachi-san would do such a thing. He truly believed Itachi-san liked him, and was on their side. He wouldn't agree to keep Naruto in the dark while Sasuke got engaged to someone else.

A picture of his father flashed across the screen. And he thought, if I were my father, what would he be thinking right now? His father was the rational sort. All of the pieces falling together… Naruto didn't buy it. People schemed all the time. He would trust Sasuke.

"Haruno-san, right?" he called to her, bringing her attention away from the news report.


"Is there a reason you're here exactly?"

She turned back to him and approached him again. "I've come to tell you that you should end all of this. You'll only embarrass yourself and damage the Uchiha name."

He cocked his head at her, as though in thought. "You think so? What do you propose I do?"

She smiled at him, obviously believing things were going her way. "End it with Sasuke-kun. It's not going anywhere anyways, as I am his fiancé. And stop letting him use his family name for your little game."

He sighed. "I see. You're right. Things won't end well this way."

"That's right."

He looked up at her and smiled. "You're kinda narrow minded, aren't you Haruno-san?"

Her smile fell. "What?"

He decided to put all his cards on the table, and try his luck. "I know for a fact you aren't engaged to Sasuke. I don't know what you think you can gain from this, but I can tell you this much. It's not gonna work. And even if I tried to pull out now, there's no way the Uchiha are gonna let me. They really want the Namikaze family to pay."

"What do you know about them?" she fumed.

Naruto smiled. "A lot more than you."

She looked like she was about to hit him.

"They know all the things the Namikaze family have done to me. They don't like it, and they won't stand for it. They decided on their own to get revenge. So even if I were to try to get out of it, they won't let me." He looked intently at her, and she frowned at the look. "And you know, there's no way the Uchiha will let me get away from them." He paused for another moment. "Sasuke loves me."

She fumed, her expression promising pain. She looked for a moment like she was debating which of those statements she would attack first, but curiosity won out. "What do you mean," she began suspiciously, "by 'what the Namikaze family has done to you'?"

Naruto cocked his head. "I guess you wouldn't know." He sighed. "It's a long story. I doubt you care enough to listen. I'm your rival, after all," and he couldn't help but grin cheekily.

Sakura frowned, her green eyes flashing. "I'll decide that. I've got plenty of time. Spill it." And she made her way over to the couch and sat herself down, ready to hear it all with skepticism in her eyes. She was obviously looking for an excuse, any reason to turn Sasuke against the blond.

Naruto sighed and sat down in the chair by the window to the balcony. He thought for a moment, debating with himself what he should divulge and where to start. In the end, he decided it would be best not to leave anything out.

So he started from the beginning, and told it all.

Two hours later the door opened and Sasuke walked in. He sighed heavily as he dropped his briefcase by the door, quickly dumped his shoes and began ripping his tie off. He'd had another long, annoying day, filled with Itachi and the press. But he paused before heading further in at the sound of a woman's laughter.

What was a female doing in his apartment? He took a few frantic steps forward, then froze.

What he saw he had never expected to find.

Naruto, his blond idiotic lover, was sitting on the couch, pouring over an open book, Haruo Sakura sitting next to him, chatting happily about some feature of the book as Naruto nodded fervently in agreement. They were laughing and talking over each other, both ecstatically conversing about the many great features of whatever book was between them, sitting together like old friends.

It made his skin crawl.

"Naruto," he spoke, his voice low but audible.

Both heads looked up, and Naruto grinned as he jumped up and over the couch, throwing his arms around his lover.

Haruno Sakura frowned, but said nothing.

"Naruto, what is she doing in our apartment," Sasuke growled.

Naruto pulled away and turned to look at Sakura, then turned back to Sasuke, grinning. "We're talking about my dad's last book. She's a fan!"

Sasuke glared.

"Naruto," Sasuke growled again.

Naruto pouted. "Stop being rude to our guest."

A dark brow twitched.

Finally Sakura spoke. "Naruto told me about the Namikaze family, what they did to him." Her face took on a fierce look. "I had always thought they were a marvelous family. I had no idea they were such infuriating crooks!" She faced the TV and frowned. "And so I've called a temporary truce with Naruto."

"A truce," Sasuke growled. "What the hell does that mean?"

Sakura looked at him and smiled, fluttering her lashes elegantly. "Until everything is taken care of against the Namikaze, I will allow Naruto to stay close to you, Sasuke-kun. But as soon as it is all over, I'll be back to win you over."

"Tch. Irritating," Sasuke grumbled. He turned and headed to the bedroom, no longer sparing her the slightest glance.

"Ah! Sasuke, I haven't said 'Okaeri' yet!" Naruto called from the front door.

"Hn, idiot. Tadaima." He shut the door to the bedroom behind him.

Sakura frowned at the brief exchange.

Naruto grinned. "See! Told you he loves me!"

(1) Does this need a note? A senior at work or school

(2) Master or teacher