Author: Dark Hooded Eriol the Magician
Pairing: Sasuke x Sakura
Theme: 13. Lines/boundaries
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. I only own the ideas! XD
A/N: For 20blankets, of course!
"It's raining," Sakura Haruno observed. She cupped her cheek as she stared out of the window. The sky had been overcast all day but she did not expect rain to pour down. The weather had been hot and sticky so she'd taken a bath to cool herself.
She straightened her bathrobe and patted her pink hair with a fluffy towel. It felt so good to shower. They'd had a long day of training with Sir Kakashi and she was more eager than the two boys to get home. It didn't matter if Sasuke Uchiha dismissed her because she chose personal hygiene over skill growth.
It didn't bother her at all when she thought about it. Sasuke would notice her soon. She was tired, sticky and grumpy. It would take too much for her to remain sweet and cute around him. Besides she sometimes felt that she was flirting with a rock.
Sakura had to grin. She turned her gaze towards the framed picture of Team Seven on her dresser. They looked so young and so carefree. Five years had passed since that picture was taken. Some things had changed but some things remained the same.
Hatake Kakashi-sensei was still perverted but brilliant. Naruto Uzumaki still loved to eat ramen and goof around but he could be counted on to rise above adversities. He claimed to still have a crush on her. And then there was Sasuke Uchiha. After the war that took just as long, he was taken back from Orochimaru. He was still cold, indifferent and power-hungry but he allowed them to know him more. It rankled him that they were still on genin status because he had taken off before the chuunin exam ended.
The chuunin exam was going to resume soon. It didn't matter to Sakura if they were too old compared to the new ninjas. Team Seven wasn't the only ones left behind after all. She just wished that Sasuke won't notice the younger kunoichi. Sakura would bet anything that he was still the heartthrob of Konoha. When he pursued the path of the Avenger, it only added to his appeal. All the girls wanted to tame the bad boy. She'd heard gossip and rumors embroider and embellish his memory so much she doubted if any of them were true. What she knew was that by his mysterious disappearance and unexpected decisions made the women of Konoha covet him more.
It bothered her sometimes. She was fighting against legions of women to win Sasuke's heart. It's all comforting to know that Ino Yamanaka had resumed friendship with her and stopped chasing Sasuke. The blonde's mind changed when she got Shikamaru Nara as a boyfriend.
However, that was only one rival down. There were still plenty of women to fight with. Sure, she was his teammate but that didn't mean he paid attention to her. He was still cool and distant towards her. She tried to flirt with him everyday but that was just exhausting. So she just stopped it and let it all out. Sakura chose to be herself.
She got up and took off her bathrobe. It was time to get dressed. She pulled on her nightgown and reached for her brush. Her pink hair smelled so good. Brushing her hair calmed her nerves and signaled to her body that she was ready to go to sleep. It was the evening ritual that she could never go without.
"Sakura-chan!" Her mother knocked on her door.
Sakura looked at the door questioningly. It was getting late and her parents were strict about bed time. She wondered why her mother was knocking on her door at this hour. "Yes, Mama?" she called out.
"There's someone here to see you," said her mother.
Her frown deepened. Whoever could that be?
She went towards the door and opened it. Then she was face to face with her mother. The older woman's eyes were calm and reassuring.
"It's one of your friends. I tried to tell him that you're asleep but he was so polite. He wanted to know if you were around." Sakura's eyes widened. She wondered which of her guy friends had the nerve to come to her house at this hour. With a nod to her mother, they went down the stairs to go to the living room.
"Did he mention his name?" Sakura asked casually.
"Oh, he didn't mention it," her mother answered with a knowing smile "but he seemed confident enough to know you would receive him."
"Mama, why aren't you mad at the fact that I'm going to receive a late-night visitor?" said Sakura in a teasing tone.
"I'm not mad because I know you like him," the older woman said with a twinkle on her own emerald green eyes. "I'm going to the kitchen for a glass of milk. You can go to the living room. He's waiting."
Sakura grinned. She walked to the living room. Her emerald green eyes widened with shock.
"Sasuke-kun!" she said in a very surprised tone.
He turned to look at her coolly. He was wet, dripping and wrapped in a towel. There was a sports bag in his side. His dark eyes travelled up and down her body appreciatively. She realized that she'd forgotten her bathrobe upstairs. But this was no time for propriety.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded.
Sasuke did not flinch. He merely stared back at her.
"What are you doing with your things?" she asked again.
There was still no answer.She felt so frustrated and confused about his presence in her childhood home. She also felt very embarrassed that he caught her wearing only her nightgown.
"Can I stay for tonight?" Sasuke asked quietly.
"Huh? What?" Sakura said brilliantly.
"I said, can I stay for tonight?" he repeated.
Her green eyes widened. She stared at him as if he'd grown three new heads. His expression remained cool and indifferent.
"Why?" she said, confused.
"It's because my place is flooded and I don't have anywhere else to go," Sasuke explained. He wondered if it was a good idea. It seemed like a good idea at first. Maybe he should've gone to Kakashi-sensei's...
Images of scantily clad girls posted in the Jounin's walls made his cheeks redden. Then they would engage in conversation about girls and their body parts... No, spending a night with this noisy girl was a better fate. Sasuke's hands clenched a bit.
"Why didn't you go to Naruto's? Or even Sir Kakashi's?" she asked wildly. Her expression was priceless. "Why do you want to spend the night on my parent's house? Do you know that all the decent and good citizens of Konoha can speculate about what's going on? We're not even dating."
Sasuke looked amused. They'd slept beside each other in caves, trees and camp sites and she was worried about other people's reactions. How typical of Sakura. She also used a fascinating word. Dating.
She continued on. "We're a bit short on rooms and we could only offer you the couch. It's not as if you could sleep beside me or my parents... My bed is big enough but I don't think we'll fit at all. Oh God, forget I said that!"
Sakura looked cute when she's flustered, he thought with a smile.
"I don't know what to do with you. To deny you the best room is sheer bad manners. To let you stay is exposing us to gossip! And to let you sleep in the couch is even more bad manners... I don't know what to do," Sakura moaned as she sank down on the couch beside him. Her brows were knitted together. "If you were a girl, I wouldn't care!"
Sasuke raised an elegant eyebrow. She wished he was a girl?
They didn't notice the arrival of the elder Haruno woman.
"I know, he can stay in your room." Sakura's mother suggested cheerfully. "You're both old enough to know what's going on. I personally wouldn't mind if Uchiha Sasuke-san would add some great genes to the Haruno clan. In fact, I can encourage you to go ahead and sleep beside Sakura-chan."
Sakura stared at her mother in horror. Where did that prim and proper woman go? Who was this alien who'd replaced her mother? A few minutes ago, she would give anything to know how it felt to be close to Sasuke. But she did not dare dream that she'd get that close. She was so overwhelmed; she was almost rejecting the idea.
"Thank you very much for your kindness," Sasuke said politely. He got up and headed for the same stairs that Sakura's mother took. Sakura took another minute before she realized they were going to her bedroom. She wanted to protest. It was an invasion of privacy. It was a ridiculous notion to let a perfectly mature and virile young man sleep beside a love struck and innocent young woman. It was a helpless situation.
Sasuke followed the older pink-haired woman inside the room. His eyes scanned the walls with interest. Sakura had decorated the room with things that were dear to her. He'd seen the framed photograph. He'd also seen the things that celebrated her femininity. It made him aware of their difference and the changes that had taken place.
"You can change in the bathroom down the hall," Sakura found herself saying.
"Yes and you two better behave yourselves," the older Haruno woman said with a teasing wink. She waved to her only daughter as she went out the door. "I'll see you in the morning."
The two exchanged glances. They blushed. Sakura wondered what other people would think if they knew her mother locked her in with an Uchiha. (Sakura just didn't want to believe that it was too good to be true.) Sasuke thought about how they were going to sleep.
"I'm going to change," he said quietly. Sasuke picked up his bag and left the room.
Sakura nodded and she retreated to the window seat. She wondered what kind of crazy joke it was. Sasuke was in her bedroom. Sasuke was going to sleep in her bed. And to think that she was only dreaming about what she must do to win his heart! He was the one who came to her after all.
She thought that there was actually nothing wrong with sleeping beside Sasuke. They were friends. She might be in love but she had not lost her common sense.
What if suddenly takes advantage of me? Sakura shook her head from the alarming thought. He never made a pass at her before. It was unlikely. Sasuke might be a cold-hearted but handsome man but he was a gentleman if he wanted to.
"What time do you go to sleep?" Sasuke's deep voice broke her train of thought.
"I go to sleep at this time." Sakura answered coolly. She knew that her cheeks were bright crimson. Embarrassment washed over her. She forgot about her bathrobe again. With a self-conscious glance, she pulled down the ends of her short nightgown.
Sasuke watched her get up and move towards the bed. He noted that she had long legs that seemed to stretch forever. Sakura's nigtgown did not leave much to the imagination. He wanted to hit himself. It was nothing but primal instincts that was kicking in. He was not going to give in.
"I'll sleep on this side," Sakura said calmly "and you sleep on the other side. This is our boundary."
She rolled up her blanket and placed it in between like a barrier. Sakura gestured for him to sit on his side of the bed. "I don't want anything funny. You sleep with your arms to yourself. If I wake up at an untimely hour, remember, I can smash concrete and human bones."
Sasuke stared at her, not commenting.
"I'm going to sleep now," Sakura said softly and she switched off the light.
Sasuke lay down hesitantly on the bed. He watched her turn her back from him. She had longer hair now. He wondered why he'd never noticed that before. Sakura could be so funny sometimes. He wondered what gave her the idea that he would take advantage of her. Girls were so strange.
She was still in love with him.
He wanted to know if he loved her.
She let out a soft breath. Sakura was falling asleep. She did not know if he was asleep. It was just that she was so tired.
He respected her, didn't he?
Sasuke lay on his back as quietly as he could. His eyes fell on the sleeping form beside him. She surprised him by letting him stay. What was more surprising was when she let him sleep beside her. They'd slept beside each other in camp fires, of course. But this was different.
A smile flitted to his lips. Maybe he loved her after all.
He shook his head. Sasuke closed his eyes and slept.
He woke up with a start.
Sasuke blinked several times. It took a minute before he realized he was staying in Sakura's room and it was the middle of the night. He thought he'd heard sobs. It must be a dream, he thought.
Another sob pierced the silence. Sasuke sat up as gently as he could. His eyes fell on Sakura who was curled up into a ball.
Then his eyes widened. She was crying.
"What is it?" he asked quietly.
Sakura opened her eyes. She looked up at him, surprised. There were trails of tears running down her cheeks. She looked cold and lonely. Sakura realized that she looked like a mess so she wiped them away. "It's nothing. I had a nightmare," she answered.
"Come here," Sasuke said.
She watched as he removed the blankets and pillows that seperated them. It was as if he was removing the boundaries and lines between them. She wondered vaguely what it meant. He looked awkward and unsure at what he was doing. Sakura appreciated his gesture.
She scooted closer and he let her sleep closer to him. He started to rub her back and shoulders. It was a soothing motion that made her tense muscles relax. Sasuke was very good with his hands. His hands continued its magic on her body. She let out a purr of contentment.
He watched her fall asleep again. Sasuke smiled as he unrolled the blanket. The nightmare was over. He wrapped them both snugly with the blanket before lying down. He took her hand.
Sasuke let himself be lulled back to sleep by her soft and even breathing. He thought about how good it felt to have someone to wake up to.
"I'm glad you slept over," Sakura whispered as she pushed back his bangs. "I'm glad you respect me at least."
Sasuke slept on. She giggled as she wondered how far had the gossip gotten. It was an unexpected move from Sasuke. He came to her house, slept in her bed and helped her get back to sleep. Her rivals must be dying in jealousy. It did not matter anyway.
Sasuke would be hers someday.
Now that she knew how it felt to sleep beside him, she was more determined than ever.
She knew that they were going to break down the barriers someday. They would grow closer as well. It was only a matter of time before they fell in love. That was a very reassuring thought.
Sakura smiled and thanked the gods who flooded Sasuke's room.