So apparently, Sasuke was getting pissy that Naruto was getting all the attention. So I am giving in and posting this. It's probably going to be a series of drabbles, and not an actual plot induced story, but since I am a plot addict I am sure something will come up.
I don't think I have a direct handle on Sasuke, so this might be a little OC. I am writing this from the perspective that once back in Konoha, he makes some decisions about his life and decides to do something about it. We all know what happens once the man gets an idea in his head.
Plus, I really wanted there to be something not so angst driven between these to. I am allergic to angst and its been driving me crazy!
So here is the first part of I don't know how many. I don't know when I am going to be updating.
Remember, I don't own Naruto or anything else, sadly.
PS: This isn't beta read, so please forgive any and all mistakes.
"You've been avoiding me."
Sakura froze. Letting her eyes slide shut, she tilted her head forward so the short strands of her pink hair would hide her eyes. How had she missed his approach? Mentally cursing Orochimaru's ghost for teaching him to be so damn good at masking his presence, she took a calming breath.
Her eyes snapped open at the sound of the lock on her door snicking into place. Curling her fingers into white knuckled fists, she refused to bolt for the window. She was strong enough now that if one of them was going to take a headfirst trip out of the Hokage's tower, it certainly wasn't going to be her.
"Yes, Sasuke." She kept her voice light. Controlled. "I have."
Why? She mused over that question, unclenching her fists so that she could reach over and finish organizing scrolls into the box in front of her. The box she intended on taking home and browsing through before bed.
Why exactly had she been avoiding him? It had started out as a reflex to the awkwardness that had settled between them. He was back. They had won. Years of her life had accumulated to that one moment in Sound. Itachi was dead. Orochimaru was most certainly in pieces, although she wasn't entirely sure what Tsunade had done with his head. Knowing her sensei, it was probably not something to ask.
He had saved her life. He had almost taken Naruto's. Kakashi had ended everything and she still hadn't been able to pry it out of any of the men in her life how. She had held her own, defended her teammates, and they had brought Sasuke home. Where he belonged. Where he was going to stay. So why was she avoiding him?
Because it hurt. Because he was too beautiful to look at and because she could only see the things that might have been if he had stayed; stupid, silly things that didn't matter anymore. Because her heart still clenched every time those dark eyes fell on her and because she was all right with that. Because she would never allow herself to enter a relationship for the wrong reasons even if she wanted them to be the right ones so bad she couldn't breathe if she thought about it.
Because he was going to love her for her and not because she had a womb and could give him a family. She would love him because of who he had become and not who he had been, and she didn't know that person. Because he needed support and strength and she was afraid she could only give it to him from a distance. Tsunade had taken jurisdiction over his case, claiming that the political backlash from the council would tear Konoha apart. Because if he messed up once, just once, he would be executed and it would break her heart into more pieces than she could find if she let herself hope.
"I don't know."
Silence. Licking her bottom lip, she settled the lid of the box into place. She let her eyes scan her desk, searching for anything else she might need. Straightening, she froze at the feel of him at her back, her clothing brushing his. Her eyes were wide enough now that the corners stung.
"Don't lie to me, Sakura."
She clenched her teeth together and her temper warmed the knot that had formed in her gut. She tilted her head and stared at his chin, not quite daring to look at his eyes. Would they be black or sharingan red? Which was worse?
"You don't love me." She told him that firmly, daring him to contradict her. To lie. His body didn't move and she didn't want to read his eyes. "You know what Sasuke? I don't think I love you either."
His hands were on the edge of the desk now, arms resting on the curve of her hips. She continued to stare at his jaw. He had a tiny scare just below his ear. She wondered what he had allowed to get that close to him. He hadn't had it when they were genin.
He didn't say anything, and she could guess at his silence. Sighing, she debated pushing him away. Sasuke was strong, and he was fast, but like this, she was the one who was the most dangerous. He could end her life with a kunai, but she could stop his heart almost as easily as a Hyuuga.
"What do you want, Sakura?"
She blinked at the note in his tone. A faint growl that rumbled along his words. Cautiously she peeked up at him and the black of his gaze caught and held her.
"I don't know that either."
His head moved a little. Perhaps a nod. Perhaps he was annoyed and was considering leaving and had stopped himself. Perhaps nothing.
"Then why are you avoiding me?"
Her brows beetled together. "I told you."
She quirked a brow up. "Is that a challenge?"
The edges of his mouth deepened into what might have been a smile. "No. Just the truth."
She shrugged. "Your truth isn't my truth, Uchiha."
"No." He agreed.
"Do you think we can be friends?"
It was his turn to blink at her. She had to fist her hands at her side to keep from reaching up and touching. She hadn't earned the right to touch. She didn't deserve to touch.
"That depends on you."
"What?" Sakura blurted, startled.
"I asked you what you wanted, Sakura." His tone was patient now, slightly mocking. "Does a friend enter into that?"
Her eyes narrowed. "If you start patronizing me, I'm going to break your ribs."
His head tilted until his breath ghosted across her lips and her pulse started to race. "I look forward to your trying it."
"I won't let you use sex against me, Sasuke." She was proud of how calm her voice sounded. "I really will break something if you don't back up."
He straightened but didn't move away, something dangerous lurking behind his eyes. "You're still hiding."
"So are you," she challenged, twisting so that they were facing each other, leaning her thighs against the desk. "Why did you come here Sasuke?"
"Perhaps I wanted to talk."
"That requires more than fifty words." She made a motion with her hand. "So please, feel free to talk."
The left corner of his mouth curled. "There are more ways to talk than with words, Sakura." His voice drawled her name and her stomach lurched.
"Do you want me to hit you?"
"I've already answered that."
Sakura placed one hand on his chest – warm skin, steady heartbeat – and pushed him back a step. She didn't use chakra, and the way he moved promised he was doing it only because he let her. Moving around the desk, she started collecting her things.
"I'll walk you home."
"No you won't."
"No?" His voice had gone soft and smooth, like chocolate. She cut a glance out of the corner of her eyes and repressed a shiver at the way he watched her. Like a predator.
"No, Sasuke. You won't." She straightened.
"Are you afraid of me, Sakura?"
A question she could finally answer. "Of you? No." She lowered her eyes to the mark on his wrist that Tsunade had put there. To monitor him. "Of what your decisions will be? Yes."
He nodded, as if he had expected that.
"I'll walk you home."
"You're going to find it difficult to walk anyone home with broken legs," she told sweetly. "I said no."
He shrugged. "I don't care."
"We'll I do." She picked up her box and frowned at him. "Stay here."
"Do you like baiting me?"
"I would think you would be relieved," Sakura said with a shrug. "I'm not flinging myself at your feet and begging you to take me on a date."
"You were annoying," he agreed with another shrug. "But you never flung yourself at my feet."
"I didn't like dirt." She replied unlocking the door before stepping into the hall. "It would have ruined the outfit that I had picked out."
He didn't say anything, and she waited for him to leave before making sure that the lock was secure. He made no move to take the box out of her hands, but she knew it didn't mean anything. For all her blustering, she was fairly certain she was stuck with him until she was at her front door.
She wasn't going to invite him in.
She shot him a glare as he fell into step beside her and she ignored the knowing looks from the staff around her. Pressing her lips into a thin line, she reached up with her free hand to block the fading sun as she adjusted to the change in light as they stepped into the empty courtyard.
"Shouldn't you be training with Naruto?"
"I told him I would be with you."
"Meh, go away Sasuke."
He leaned over just enough to meet her eyes. "No."
Resting the box on her hip, she frowned at him. "Why?"
His eyes turned away from her face and he was silent so long she considered leaving him there alone. But there was something about his stance, about the line of his jaw that told her to stay. She was annoyed with herself for thinking she could read him after all this time. There were too many years between them.
"I don't care about the clan, Sakura."
"Bullshit," she shot back, challenging him with her tone. "You killed your brother."
Those dark eyes swerved to her. "Yes."
"You can't tell me you don't care about your clan."
"I have become distinctly distrustful of cages." His tone was mild but there was an edge there sharper than any blade Sakura had.
Biting the corner of her lip, she chewed on that for long moments. If she hadn't spent so much time with Neji over the past year, learning how to move within an ANBU unit she would never fully be a part of, she would never have understood those words. Orochimaru had tried to take his body. Itachi had tried to take first his sanity and then his eyes. The council dreamed of having the Uchiha clan back, dreamed over being able to control the sharingan.
The only problem it seemed was Sasuke himself. His unwillingness to be controlled. To be caged by expectations that weren't his own.
"All right." She motioned between them. "What does that have to do with us?"
A smile flickered over his mouth and then it was gone. "Maybe nothing. Perhaps everything." His gaze swallowed her whole for a moment. "I told you, it depends on you."
She froze. Then she blew up. "Don't you dare say that to me, Uchiha Sasuke."
Spinning on her heel, she marched away from him, ignoring the strange looks she was getting as she moved through the crowd, face flushed and eyes narrowed to slits. He was at her elbow in five strides, but she was too mad to look at him. What she wanted to do was take the box under her arm and beat him to death with it.
Uchiha Sasuke. Last surviving member of his clan. Kin slayer. Killed by a box wielding medic-nin. The thought was almost enough to calm her down. He must have noticed it, because when they turned onto an empty street, his fingers closed around her elbow.
It was that damn patient tone again.
She closed her eyes. "I want us to be friends, Sasuke."
His calluses felt strange against her skin. She didn't know what had formed them. She could catalogue every scare, every scrap of mission roughened skin on Naruto's body but she didn't know Sasuke's.
"Then what is this about?" She spun, starring up at him. "I will not play games with you, Sasuke. You better damn well respect me enough to return the favor!"
His hands were on her shoulders. "I'm not playing games."
"You don't love me." She gritted it out through clenched teeth. "I don't love you." Why was she repeating herself?
He tilted his head. "You don't know me, Sakura."
'You don't know me.' Not 'you don't love me.' Not a confirmation of her argument. Just a challange. The unsaid suggestion that he knew her.Her blood was loud in her ears. "Don't draw those kinds of lines, Uchiha. You don't want those kinds of lines."
"I want those lines very much." He corrected her. "Because then I know where I stand."
Because then he could pick his battle ground, because then he knew how to approach her and how to find the chinks in her armor.
She stared at him suspiciously. "Are you trying to piss me off?"
Let that be the reason.
The edges of his mouth depend, as if he was hiding a smile. "Perhaps. You're more honest angry."
"I'm being honest now!"
"You're also angry." He pointed out. She kicked him in the shin. He flinched, but didn't let go of her, and the look on his face was reproachful.
"Next kick will break bone." She warned through clenched teeth.
He sighed and his hands released her shoulders.
She felt strangely cold.
His eyes flickered to the sun and then they were twisting with the sharingan, boring into her own. Looking for truth only he could see. "There is no us, Sakura."
His fingers reached out and brushed away a strand of her hair as she watched him, eyes dark. "But perhaps we can learn."
She swallowed. "Why did you save me? At Sound?" 'Why did you come back? Why are you doing this now? What changed your mind?'
His eyes never left her face. "Why did you save me?"
She shook her head. "I didn't."
He quirked his brow, eyes dark and unreadable, and the gesture was so familiar that she wanted to cry.
"I'm not a boy." His tone was warning.
"I'll kick your ass, given the chance." Hers was hard.
He nodded. "I know."
She wanted to hit him. "Sasuke!"
"I can't discover if there is anything between us, Sakura, if you're hiding."
She squared her shoulders and stared at him, refusing to back down from his sharingan. Her stomach trembled at all the things he wasn't saying. The fact that they were even having this conversation was surreal. Too much of it depended on a past they weren't admitting to having. She wanted to hug him, she wanted to hurt him.
She didn't do either.
"Do you want there to be?" 'Why?'
She shrugged. "I don't know."
"Then that is what we will look at." He said decisively. "I can give you that."
"Is that all you can give me?"
He blinked, and his sharingan was gone. "That we will have to look at as well."
She bit her lip. Was that enough? Why? "Will you stay?"
He tilted his head.
"Here." She flung her hand out. "Will you be happy to stay?"
He was silent for a long time. He didn't look away from her, but she couldn't read him this time. "That is something I am learning as well."
She shifted her box. "If you run, I really will break your legs." 'If you try to leave me after this, I'll do more than break your legs.'
A smile flickered across his face. "I know."
She licked her lips and nodded before shoving her box into his gut. "If you're going to walk me home, you can carry that."
He stared at her. "No more hiding?"
She bit her lip. "I don't know. I can try."
He nodded, motioning for her to walk. "That's all I ask."
She took a deep breath. "This doesn't mean were friends." 'Or anything else. Not yet, at least.'
His eyes drank her in. "I know."