Author's Note: This idea came to me about a week ago, and due to my lovely break from school and a bright sunny day, I felt inspired to sit outside and write. I really must say how refreshing it is to do another one-shot. There's no background you necessarily have to worry about, no need to further the plot line; just pick a main point and go with it. So here it is, a little, dare I say, crackish? I'm in the middle of writing a huge battle scene in my other fiction, so this bit of relief needed to happen. I hope you enjoy it and lemme know whatcha think, okay? Love and kittens, beloved readers. Oh, and one final note. This could be somewhere between AU and cannon. I don't know.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, blah, blah.
There was a shift in the dreary spring weather; Sakura could feel it even before she opened her eyes. The sun streaked through her window, illuminating the small room as well as the young woman's face. A slow smile crept upon her pale lips as her magenta lashes lifted to be greeted by the bluest sky she had seen all month. With a grin, the medic tossed back her rumbled blankets and stretched, the only part of her to actually rise off the comfy mattress being her leg. With a sigh, she let her limbs relax. Today was her day off and she was going to enjoy it.
Glancing over at her bedside clock, the hands read just a little after nine. Excellent – she could take her time with the morning routine of coffee and hygiene and then… who knows? Smiling to herself, Sakura padded around her apartment. As she fixed her daily brew, the thermometer caught her eye. Eighty degrees! She was in shock. Wasn't it in the low sixties yesterday?
There was no way she could stay inside now. It was officially the first summer-like day of the season, and Sakura refused to remain cooped up. As a matter of fact, it was a Saturday, right? (A quick glance to the calendar confirmed it.) The bubblegum-locked woman made record time in arranging a group for a beach-side picnic. Sure, the water might not be warm enough to swim in just yet, but that didn't mean they couldn't have fun. The usual bunch would rendezvous around eleven, which would give enough time for them to either fake an excuse to get off work or prepare something to bring along.
Taking a lengthy, satisfied slurp of her coffee, Sakura flipped through her brightly colored address book to see if she missed anyone. Ahh, there. Her index finger landed on the last name in the book where an address but no phone number stared up at her. Ugh, it figured he would have the minimal contact information. Sakura took a good couple of seconds to consider not even bothering to invite that old stick in the mud. But the tender spot she held for him beat furiously in dismay for thinking not to ask Sasuke to come. How could she leave him out!
"Alright, alright, calm down," she grumbled to her alter ego before heading towards the bedroom to dress. "But ya know it's going to take a lot of effort and duct tape to drag his loser butt along." But it's worth it, darn him… She punctuated that last thought with a smile.
Tossing on a tank top and shorts over her swimsuit (just in case), Sakura put little fuss into her appearance – it was only the beach, after all. Twisting her cropped hair into a messy bun-thing, she packed a tote with the essentials, grabbed an unopened bag of chips from the top of the fridge and headed out for the Uchiha compound. The heat that hit her outside the door felt amazing with the tiniest breeze. As the medic walked along, there was an extra spring in her step, making the extensive trek across town a bit more enjoyable. She would have to maintain that gleeful feeling once she reached her destination seeing that Mr. Storm-cloud would most likely put up a long-winded fight over leaving his training or whatnot, as usual. No matter, at least she would try.
By the time the pink-haired woman walked through the gaits of the Uchiha grounds, she was humming a tune that was half one song and half another, but somehow they matched… sort of. Nonetheless, she was in high spirits and ready to tackle her stubborn friend.
"Sasuke-kun!" she called out with a sing song voice just outside his house, figuring he could be anywhere on the premises. The muffled groan from inside gave her a clue.
As she knocked firmly on the door, Sakura shifted her weight expectantly. Nothing. Oh, so we're gonna play this game, huh? she thought with a sigh.
Knocking again, the girl said with a hint of impatience, "I know you're here, Sasuke, so you might as well stop pretending you're not."
There was a grunt and a sound like trudging before the locks clicked and the door opened partially.
"Can I help you?" his distain was barely concealed in a deadpan voice.
Sakura resisted her urge to look back at him with equal annoyance, instead vouching for a sunny smile, "A bunch of us are heading over to the beach and -"
"Then get them to entertain you, I'm busy," he interrupted her before moving to shut the door.
Sakura anticipated the move and inserted her body between the frame, "Hold it, buddy, I didn't just walk all the way over here for you to not even hear me out," time to apply a little more effort.
"I heard you. You and how many others are going to the beach. I don't want to come. Goodbye," and once again with the door.
"Ugh, Sasuke, you're the biggest stiff I know!" Evading the closing hunk of wood, the female slid between the narrow opening and into the house. Sadly, she was getting good at that tactic, having to implement it nearly any time she had something to say to this man. Maybe that's why she didn't have his phone number – he could just hang up on her, and until she figured out how to prevent that, door-knockings it was.
"Please remove yourself from my house," she could see the tick working its way around his jaw.
"Not unless you come with me," persistence was a quality she picked up from Naruto. She wasn't exactly proud…
"C'mon, humor me, will ya? It's beautiful outside and we're going to have a lot of fun."
"I have work to do here."
"Like what, wax the floors? This place is spotless."
"What part of no doesn't register with you?" oh, it could be a steep slope if she got him too miffed.
"The part when you refuse me," just as the male went to open his mouth to retort, Sakura fastened her hand over it in a swift move. If she weren't so used to the glares he shot her, she would have dropped the subject and ran home crying. "Now shut up and pack your things. I'm not letting you waste a day like this in the gloom of a house."
Sakura heard him growl and knew she was pushing it, but she had one last trump card. Her voice dropped to a slightly awkward gentle-threatening combination she used only when she was about to knock someone's lights out, "Listen," she said softly, leveling him a stern look, "I have the tape, and you know what happened last time I had to use it to get you to come with me."
Sasuke grew very still, his charcoal eyes narrowing in an expression that said, You wouldn't dare. The fine black hairs on his arms and legs were still patchy, not growing back properly.
The woman stretched the bluff as she gazed at the bag slung over one shoulder, "You know you'll regret it if I have to bring it out."
The dark male grunted in what sounded liked disgust before his shoulders became slack. Sakura took this as a sign and released him, unable to withhold a smug smirk that made her face glow in triumph.
"If you keep looking at me like that, I'll change my mind," the man hissed – obviously a sore loser – before he headed deeper into the house to gather a few belongings.
Sakura's mouth spread wider before she made her way outside to wait for her charge. As the minutes ticked by, she wondered to herself if she was the only one, outside their mutual best friend, Naruto, who could get Sasuke to play along like this. Of course, it hadn't always been this way, but after many a late-night chat and some personal development for all parties, the rose-locked woman considered that maybe they were something. Not necessarily something, but…
"Let's go before I reconsider," the male's gruff voice broke her reverie.
Sakura smiled brightly at the man, earning her a suspicious look as they headed toward the meeting place of the group.
The breeze was heavier out by the large lake, but that didn't prevent anyone from enjoying themselves, they just had to weigh down the towels with the cooler or bottles of suntan lotion. As predicted, the water was still too cold to swim in, though every once in a while Naruto or Kiba would gather up a cup full and splash the girls, making the shriek. By the time noon had rolled around, most everyone was down to swim clothes, playing or bathing in the sun. All except Sasuke, naturally, who had brought a book and was camped out under the single umbrella.
"Sakura-chan!" said girl lifted her head to see an overly-excited blonde barreling over to her. "We found the volleyball net! We're going to have to set it up, but when we're done, wanna play?"
"Ooh, I'm game," Tenten shot up from her place two towels away.
Sakura looked over at Ino who was half dozing behind her shades. Sun worshiping had never really been the medic's favorite activity if she wasn't doing something, so, "Yeah, sounds like fun."
"Great," the fox's grin rivaled the solar gleam as he ran off to supposedly assist Kiba and Neji in putting up the net, although the girl knew he would more than likely be the destruction of it.
"You coming, too, Hinata?" she directed the question to her right.
"Um, I probably won't be much good, but…" the pearl-eyed girl cast a sideways glance at Naruto, her adoration surpassing conspicuous, "I'll t-try."
Sakura chuckled good-naturedly at the blushing Hyuuga before patting her shoulder with fondness, "As long as you have fun, that's all that matters."
Standing up with a content inhale, the woman's jade eyes twinkled in humor as she surveyed her friends heatedly bickering over a now-tangled net. Placing her fisted hands on her hips, she looked around the scene before her gaze landed on the object of her disgruntled affection. He was huddled under the shadow of the umbrella with that book on his knees, looking for all the world may end if he were touched by the light. Huffing a sigh, Sakura took it upon herself – again - to break Sasuke out of that blasted shell he was so comfortable with.
She was met with an expression of pure exasperation, "I'm here, aren't I? Isn't that enough for you?"
"Take a guess," she countered with a mocking smile.
Sasuke grunted and stared back at the book, lines forming around his mouth and between his brows as he attempted to ignore the ever-nagging woman in front of him.
A good three minutes of heavy silence past before a determined Sakura securely latched a vice-like grip on the brooding male's wrist and yanked him away from the temporary shelter. This was met with a few choice curses and futile struggling. Eventually, as the two neared the makeshift volleyball court (one side of the net shoelaced to a big stick) Sasuke resigned himself to the summertime social torture. Of course, that didn't mean he played; more like stood in the back and muttered an occasional, "I hate you guys," whenever the ball got too near.
Within forty-five minutes, the fair-skinned Uchiha was burned to a crisp on his face and shoulders. It was about the time Naruto started to refer to his rival as Lobster-kun that Sasuke stalked back to the towels to gather his things and leave.
"Sasuke-kun, where are you going?" a perplexed pink-haired female trotted after him.
"Home. I hate it when you drag me to things like this, Sakura, you should know that."
"No buts!" he shot her a glare over his now-clothed shoulder, looking genuinely angry. "Next time you want to have a little get-together, leave me out of it."
Ouch, that was a little uncalled for. She just wanted to include him in their fun. But he didn't give her the chance to say so before storming his way back to the Uchiha property.
The wilted stance her body took on must have given away the sting of those comments because next thing she knew, there was an arm around her shoulders.
"Don't take it to heart, Sakura-chan, you know he's full of nothing but his own crap and hot air."
Sakura nodded before looking into the bright cerulean eyes of her best friend and smiled, "Yeah, I know."
He gave her shoulders a squeeze, "C'mon, we're down by two."
"'Kay," why let that jerk spoil her entire day? It was his loss anyway.
But Sasuke's fierce reaction replayed in her mind for the rest of their time at the beach, and even until nightfall. The more she thought about it, the more it bothered the medic. What right did he have to snap at her like that? He came to be with them, she didn't actually bind and hull him there. He was abusing her feels towards him by pushing all the blame on her. As these thoughts rolled on, the angrier Sakura became – convinced she had been wronged. Next time she saw that man, ooh, he was going to get it.
Much to her dismay, Sakura had to stick telling Sasuke off on her To Do list. The hospital became swamped after the lovely sunny day, mostly by people who had become reckless with the good weather, and she was stuck working too many shifts in very few hours. That didn't mean she would forget to give her supposed "friend" a steaming chunk of her extensive mind, but bleeding people came before beatings. It wasn't until the end of the week that she dragged her tired rear over to the Uchiha compound, but with the resolve from Saturday in tow (and a vague inkling that she needed to drop grudges pushed to the back of her thoughts) she pounded on the door.
No answer, go figure.
"That's right, you pompous son of a…" she muffled the last word with a frustrated grunt, "stay in there. See what I care!" But she did care, sadly.
A muted voice came from behind the big wooden slab, "Go away, Sakura, I'm in no mood to deal with you."
"Deal with me? If you think that's what you've been going up until this point, you've got another thing coming. You have yet to see anything to deal with."
Sakura hardly heard the sigh that followed around the blood pumping in her ears with outrage, "Please, can you save it for another day? I really don't want to do this now," he almost sounded like he was pleading.
"No, you're gonna come out here and take it like a man."
There was a long pause, so long that the medic considered her adversary had just walked away.
"What!" the door flew open to reveal an exceptionally ticked off Uchiha.
It was as she was opening her mouth to scold him until dusk that she saw them. Little tan flecks peppered over his cheeks and nose.
"No…" her mouth relaxed into an open gape as she leaned in to examine them closer.
Sasuke's eyes grew wide as if horrified before he went to shut the door in her face, but she caught it as a big, toothy grin broke her temper.
"Ha! You have freckles," it was as if the new discovery were the answer to every question.
"Shut up," his gaze was cast to the side, his embarrassment extending to the slight tinge of red where said freckles resided, highlighting them. "They fade away after a few days," the final addition to his obvious discomfort was his now crossed arms over his chest.
"So is that why you got so upset the other day? The sun gives you freckles after you burn?"
"They look ridiculous," his tone was indignant. And Sakura had to admit how displaced the little specks of color were on Sasuke's usual pasty complexion, then compared to the ebony of his hair and eyes. But it really was too cute, especially how flustered they made him.
"It all makes sense now…" the only warning to her next action was when the girl's jade eyes flickered with mischief before she practically pounced on the male, going to remove his shirt. "That must mean your shoulders have them, too!"
"Let me go!" the rest was strangled off by a too tight shirt collar about his neck.
Sakura's laughter was in victory, "It's true."
"Augh, you…" the raven-haired man gurgled before snatching the garment from her grasp and righting it. "I'm never letting you persuade me into the sun again, especially if this is the treatment I get over some stupid melanin."
"Aw, don't pout, Sasuke-kun."
"I'm not pouting. I'm serious."
"Yeah, sure," she smiled knowingly.
"I'm not, you infuriating woman," he sulked. "Now if you're satisfied with your successful humiliation, good day."
"Oh, stop. I think it's cute."
"I'm not cute! I'm a grown man with grown…skin. And…" apparently Sasuke ran out of retorts, resorting to exaggerated hand motions. Then he slumped. And sighed. And muttered under his breath about not being cute.
Sakura watched the drama with barely restrained laughter before giving a playful rumple to his already messy hair, "It's okay, Sasuke-kun, this can be our little secret."
There was an extended moment before he gave a defeated nod, "It had better be."