Of Fear and Women

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. That copyright belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

It is also important to note that I do not have any claim to that most awesome of movies, The Princess Bride, nor any line attributed to it. (And if you have never had the pleasure of watching this movie, then you won't really understand the first paragraph, but it shouldn't really make a difference, in the long run. Also, if you haven't seen it, I have absolutely no idea as to how you are still alive. Seriously. It is my elixir for when I am ill, and my joy for when I am down. So much awesome packed into one film. It boggles the mind as to how they managed it.)

Chapter 1: The Women

There were three all-important rules in the world that people had to follow to avoid misfortune. This Sasuke knew. The first two he learned from watching The Princess Bride (It was a guilty pleasure. One that he made dead sure no one ever discovered. There was just something about the character, Inigo Montoya, that really spoke to him, though he could never quite put his finger on it.); those being, 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia' and 'Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.' But the third---as he did with most things---he discovered all on his own (lack of family around to aid in the discovery process, and all).

And what was that third all-important rule, you ask? It was, 'Never believe that you have finally hit the bottom, because the bottom will inevitably turn into a Black Hole of Doom that will suck you down even farther and send you spiralling into territory unknown.'

And right then, that was exactly what happened to our Mighty Avenger.

He was just walking along, minding his own business, as he was wont to do, studiously ignoring the wolf whistles and cat calls and the just plain wrong innuendos that were being hurled his way from various females, and yes, a few males (smexiness is androgynous, Sasuke dear). It was nothing out of the ordinary. And as long as none of the onlookers decided to try their hand at grabbing his fine Uchiha tail, he really didn't care. His personal space was foremost on his priorities list.

However, as was previously mentioned, the great Black Hole of Doom allows for stability and comfort in no one's life. And that little fan on Sasuke's back had just become the bull's-eye for one Doomified vortex.

He was walking past a dango shop when it struck, stealthily and without warning (The Black Hole of Doom was most definitely the ninja in the Fate family).

"Sasuke-kun doesn't even look at the girls around him. And it's not like they don't show that they're interested. Sometimes I think he might be gay."


That was it. Something oh so tiny, but with devastating effects. Because he knew that voice. He would recognize it through a howling blizzard while standing next to a passing train and a launch pad; it was just that firmly etched within his mind. Sakura.

What. The. Hell? Since when did Sakura think he, Uchiha Sasuke, was not interested in her kind? What gave her that idea? (And yes, our dear boy did kick himself slightly for sounding as dumbstruck as he did. The possible effects of his cold shoulder techniques had not escaped his calculations while he implemented them. He just never thought that Sakura---Sakura!---would take it like that.)

"No way is he gay! There's no way God would be so cruel to the girls of this village."

Yes! You tell her! You tell her…Ino? He was pretty sure it was Ino. Goodness knew he had heard that screech enough times in his younger days to be able to pick it out of a crowd too. So that he could then leave said crowd, thus avoiding being inappropriately glomped by the owner of said voice. Yes. He was a thinker. Plans for everything.

Except for this. Never had he thought to create a contingency for this. Sakura thought he wasn't interested in a female, such as herself! (And, yes, a very small part of his mind realized that he really ought to have thought of that possibility before and have made provisions for such a turn of events. But the rest of his (macho, macho) mind insisted that there was never any reason to strategize a way to convince Sakura---Sakura!---that he really was interested in her. …Kind! Her kind. To convince her that he was interested in her kind. Yes. That's what he meant.)

"Ino-pig, think about it. He has never once displayed any sign that he even finds women attractive. You'd think a nineteen-year-old male would have shown some sign that he likes what he sees when he's around beautiful women. But no. He doesn't react, even slightly."

Oh come on! What did she expect him to do? Drop his jaw to the floor and drool like some high-on-ramen blonde? Uchiha Sasuke did not drool, with jaw dropped or otherwise. Uchiha Sasuke had an extremely rare thing called class. He did not gape, nor gawk, nor ogle, nor "check out" Sakur---ah that is, women. Yes. That was what he meant. Women. He did not ogle women. It was degrading to them as people. It turned them into objects that are only good for staring at, rather than presenting them as actual human beings. Yes. That's it.

Besides, looks were so not enough to tell whether or not a woman was compatible with a man. You could be standing in front of the most beautiful woman you had ever laid eyes on and not realize that that same person was also the most annoying person you had ever met in your life. Seriously. Sakura was the perfect examp---that is… Uhhh… What Sasuke was going to… Oh! Someone was talking again! Let's listen!

"Not to mention, he seems to prefer the company of guys over girls. He spends more time with Naruto and Kakashi-sensei than he does with me. And he avoids places with high concentrations of women and retreats to a more male-dominated area."

Didn't she realize that the fan-girls had yet to relent? They were rabid raccoons, for crying out loud! He valued his body being intact and unmolested, thank you very much! After the horrors he endured in his academy days, Sasuke had learned the ways of self-preservation when one was among females. Through his trials, he had come to the indisputable conclusion that the most effective way of dealing with the matter of fan-girls was to avoid them at all cost. Retreating to the company of guys was a logical solution. You know, except when said guys included Orochimaru. Yeah. That plan hadn't worked out as well as he had hoped. (Shudder. Shudder.)

"I'm beginning so see your point."

No! No, you see nothing! Shino! You stupid, stupid girl! Oh, wait. Ino. It's InoShino is the Aburame. Ino is Sakura's friend. Yes. Get it straight.


No! No, you see nothing! Ino! You stupid, stupid girl! Sakura is being an idiot! She's crazy! You cannot agree with a crazy person. It's illogical. Now convince Sakura that she is wrong! Do it, I say!

"I mean, one would expect for him to have shown at least a hint of attraction toward me after all these years. What straight man could possibly resist my beauty?"

What is she going on about?

"None could, that's who! I should have come to this realization years ago. The moment he rejected me, I should have realized the truth behind the matter and told you and saved you the pain and humiliation of chasing him all these years, Forehead."

Was she insane? Well of course she was insane. She was female. They were born that way. But was she seriously agreeing with crazy Sakura too? And was she honestly using his rejection of her as proof that he preferred guys to girls? It wasn't as though he was the only guy to reject Ino. Sasuke had seen quite a few guys do the same. She was an acquired taste, Ino was. One that Sasuke had no intention of procuring.

"I'm just going to ignore that obvious barb at my expense, piggy. But I will agree with you on that last point. I wish we had realized this sooner."

Stupidstupidstupidstupid girls! There was nothing to realize! He was very much in the habit of liking members of the female persuasion. Why were they just jumping to conclusions like that? They were being unreasonable!

"Some of the other girls think so too."

What's that? It wasn't just Sakura and Ino? There were more with this twisted and wrong idea about him? That simply would not do! He still had a goal to complete. If the entire female population thought he liked other men, he was seriously screwed! Or, rather, he wouldn't be screwed, as it were. Ahem.

He had to figure this out. If the women (Sakura!) of Konoha believed that he was chasing boys (Ew.) then none of them (Sakura!) would agree to marry him and bear his little (green-eyed) Uchiha minions.

His final goal would never come to fruition!

Oh, he needed to fix this now! But how would one do such a thing?

A small area of his brain screamed, "Ask her out!" (A name was not necessary. In Sasuke's mind, 'her' could only refer to one person, though the larger part of his brain liked to routinely ignore that pretty little piece of information. Yes, denial was his slave, and Sasuke worked it to the very end of its limits, not once thinking to give poor denial a break.)

But there was a problem with this strategy. For one, Sakura---er ah, the girl might think he was only asking her out to quell rumours that he liked men. And then S---she might…reject him. Uchiha Sasuke did not get rejected. He might be the rejector, but never was he the rejectee. It was not the natural order of things. So clearly that option was out.

And the sad part about it was that rejection was not his real reason for eliminating that possibility. No, the real reason was far more pathetic.

The real reason: he didn't know how.

Guttersnipe's Word: This is a very short story I'm working on. It was really supposed to be a one-shot, but it got slightly too long for that. I doubt it will span more than three chapters. This chapter is crazy-short, by my standards, but the next one is quite ample. Chapter two will be out in a few days. Maybe even tomorrow. But you won't have to wait more than three days for it, since it is already written. I just have to shear it off from the rest of the story, which is not complete yet. (As I said, this was intended as a one-shot, and as such, it was written in a big lump that requires me to separate it into proper chapters.)

Anyhoos. Mr. Clicky's family didn't visit him, so he needs some extra love this holiday season. Please review! Thank you!