Title: flirt

Author: paws-bells

Beta-ed by: FallenTenshi, ItachixSakura Forever, BlueGreenApples, MelissaRose85

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: One-shot (Complete)

Genre: Romance/Humor

Word Count: 6905

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #30, flirt

Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: Non Massacre AU. Sequel to thunderstorm. His version of flirting was so outrageously subtle that she didn't even realize what he was up to until it was all too late. And how ridiculous; she sure as hell was not flirting back!

Chapter Last Revised on: 12/04/08

Sakura could not believe that she was about to do this—again.

The kunoichi gave the culprit in question an irritated glance before reluctantly sidling up to him and parking herself by his side.

"Give me that." She snatched the roll of bandages from him and proceeded to bat his hands away from his wounds. How he was expecting to properly create a tourniquet for his arm single-handedly she had no idea, and if he really thought that she would just watch calmly as he fumbled around and made a complete muck out of her profession, he had definitely overestimated her patience and tolerance. Just because she had grumbled at him for appearing at her doorstep unannounced for the nth time since five months ago did not mean that she would allow him to leave her apartment untreated.

Sakura decided that she was really too kind—that and the fact that the medic's code was all for helping the injured and not for dumping them in the ditch and ignoring them in the hopes that they would go away sooner or later.

Sighing huffily and turning around to step into her home, she gestured for the Uchiha to come in as well.

It had been roughly five months since Sakura had been 'officially' introduced to Uchiha Itachi.

In other words, it had been roughly five months since the Uchiha heir had been brought into the hospital badly injured and had Sakura to oversee to his healing. He had been discharged in a little less than a week of course, but that certainly didn't stop the overbearing and arrogant ANBU Captain from treating her as if she was now his personal medic-nin, as witnessed from the first time he had brazenly appeared on her doorstep in the wee hours of a cold and rainy morning with a badly injured arm four months ago. Just thinking of the circumstances that morning still disgruntled the pretty kunoichi sometimes, but no matter how hard she tried there was just no way she could turn him away whenever he reappeared on her doorstep time and again—although he still often always chose the oddest time of the morning to reveal his presence to her, much to Sakura's irritation.

Oh, the young woman made a point to grumble about how he often woke her up at the most ungodly hours of the night but the Uchiha never seemed to notice. Sakura swore to herself that she would one day snap and cheerfully strangle the impossible man.

It seemed that no matter how she griped and complained and bemoaned about how much of an inconvenience he was being to her, (and that he was cramping her style while he was at it too) all her seemingly caustic remarks never seemed to make an impression on the stoic ANBU.

Sakura decided that he either suffered from selective hearing, just like his younger brother, or he just didn't care any other way.

Or maybe he was fully aware that all her grumbles were just for show only—after all she had never failed to heal him completely no matter what she said.

Sakura shut the main door after the tall male ducked into the house. She followed Itachi into her living room and got him to make himself at home while she went about collecting her medical supplies. She always kept the important items of her trade close at hand; Itachi wasn't the only one who would stop by for some medical aid whenever he injured himself. Most nins hated to visit the hospital with an unhealthy vehemence, and more often than not, Sakura would find herself entertaining a lot of her grateful friends/teammates/sensei whenever they got themselves hurt and yet still stubbornly refused to go to the hospital for treatment. Granted they always got largely lectured by her regarding their completely childish aversion to hospitals, but they always grinned and bore it—and would always be back the next time they got themselves injured again, much to Sakura's complete chagrin.

The beautiful pink-haired female could never bear to turn them away though; they were her friends after all—and although Sakura really didn't understand how this had happened it seemed that somehow her friendship had extended itself to the Uchiha prodigy as well.

Mostly resigned to her fate by now, she sat herself beside Itachi the moment he chose to settle upon her couch and started to help him roll up his shirt sleeve in a completely professional manner. Judging from the fact that he was casually dressed in his clan's insignia and not in ANBU attire, Sakura presumed immediately that he must have been training. She started to frown again, and disgruntled emerald met calm onyx.

"Are you injured anywhere else?" It looked rather bad, Sakura was reluctant to admit but still it was only the accumulation of shallow cuts that had covered him from shoulder to wrist that made his arm look so messy and bloodied; he probably got the injuries from flying shrapnel while protecting his face from an explosion. She proceeded to delicately pick out the many tiny, foreign particles that had embedded themselves into his wounds before cleaning the blood off his entire arm with water, all the while irritably battling with his bloodstained sleeve which stubbornly refused to stay up. "And what the hell were you training with anyways?"

Sakura's frown deepened as she at last gave up on salvaging his shirt and produced a kunai to cut away the expensive material instead. Unlike his deadly reaction when she had produced the kunai for the first time whilst in the midst of healing him a couple months back, he was now mostly calm and apathetic to the fact that she was using weapons on his person.

Sakura quickly decided that he was either learning to trust her better or that he just did not want to suffer through again the immense hell she had put him through after he had finally quit trying to break her arm that one time he thought that she was attempting to attack him.

The latter was probably truer; even though Sakura was reluctantly starting to see their oddball association as something more like an (extremely) unconventional friendship, the Uchiha was always so hard to read and the kunoichi doubted that he saw anything past their relationship other than for a saved trip to the hospital. Besides, it was rather well known among her teammates, as well as everyone who knew her well enough, that Sakura was most excellent at vocalizing her displeasure to anyone who dared trod on her tail.

Yes, Uchiha Itachi was probably too afraid of her to do anything else.

Just the thought of it made Sakura feel rather cheerful, and when the man in question shook his head in response to her earlier enquiry on whether if he had sustained injuries anywhere else, the pink-haired kunoichi happily fired up healing chakra to her hands and started to do what she does best.

Her face was set in a mask of serious concentration as she slowly merged the green flames of her energy into his body. It didn't take long for Sakura to heal all the injuries flawlessly, the cuts and nicks on his arm were mostly shallow and when she was done the kunoichi absently ran gentle fingers down his bicep to check if she had missed healing any wounds.

He let her touch him, his eyes unreadable as he watched her do her work. She didn't seem to notice that he was completely bare from waist up and that she was sitting so very close to him. When she at last took her hand off his person, she glanced at him only to be slightly taken aback by the intent look in his eyes.

Her brow furrowed slightly. Was he hurt somewhere else?

"Hey, are you alright?" she asked at last. "Did all that loss of blood made you dizzy or something?"

A little concerned by his silence, the petite kunoichi was about to raise her hands to his temples when he spoke.

"Your chakra…it's warm."

His odd comment had her arching a brow.

"Yes, many people tell me that," she retorted dryly, still quite intent to give his head a brief check to make sure that he hadn't accidentally knocked his brain loose during training. She leant over to him so closely that their faces were but inches apart, and placed her hands lightly around his temples. Gently, she began to push little tendrils of chakra into his head to ascertain his condition. It didn't take long for her to understand that he was perfectly alright. Satisfied, she was about to withdraw from the proximity of the larger male when she was abruptly halted—

He kissed her.

His eyes never left hers as he closed that one inch between them, and even though it was just a gentle contact of his lips against hers, Sakura felt as if she had been branded. Too stunned to react to what had just happened she could only freeze in her place and stare at him with shock.

He was still pressed against her, and when he started to brush his lips lightly across hers she reacted—pushing away from him immediately.

Sakura did not understand what he was trying to do.

In typical Sakura fashion, she began to get angry.

"Wh-what on earth are you doing?!" She scooted a safe distance away from him and scowled as fiercely as she could muster.

He was completely unrepentant.

"I believe I was kissing you."

Sakura could only gape at his casual reply. She stared at him for so long she finally started to notice that he was completely naked from waist up. She gawped at his sleekly muscled torso and sculpted chest for a good long moment before it finally occurred to her that she was ogling Uchiha Itachi like a pervert. Sakura started to turn bright red.

"Well, you are not supposed to kiss me!" The poor, flustered female snapped.

"Why not?"

"Why…not…?" She faltered for a brief moment, and then her glare returned full strength. She was completely certain that he was trying to screw around with her head. "What the hell do you mean 'why not'? I'm your healer, that's why the hell not!!"

He stared hard at her.

"Do you really think that?"

Sakura's scowl worsened.

"This is not funny at all, Itachi. If you want to play such games-"

She really had no idea how he could move this fast, but even as she realized belatedly that she should have expected something like this from him—he was kissing her again.

This time, he ran his tongue across the seam of her lips before withdrawing slightly from her. He was completely unabashed as he looked her in the eye, the expression on his face intent and serious.

"Do I look like I'm laughing, Sakura?"

His voice was quiet, and so calm that she could only stare. Sakura did not know what to say.

"B-but…" For once, the grumpy kunoichi was stuttering like no tomorrow and she really didn't appreciate this loss of control. "You are Sasuke's brother!"

Her argument made no sense at all and they both knew it. His eyebrow lifted slightly.

"And I have no interest in you that way!" She blurted out quickly. Too quickly.

He did not look convinced. "You are blushing." His retort was oddly gentle. Sakura felt her cheeks grow even hotter, much to her chagrin.

"Well, that's because you kissed me! Twice!!"

It was obvious that her usual bluster was not working on him at all. The way his eyes warmed slightly made her heart beat so fast that Sakura was immediately dismayed. To think that she had tried so hard to ignore him and put him at an emotional distance for the past months, only for him to ruin everything with a single kiss tonight made her extremely dismayed.

"Perhaps you would require…some persuasion?" Emerald flew up to meet onyx with surprise. What did he mean…? She started to frown again.

"No! I do not require anything! I'm telling you that I'm not interested!"

Unfortunately, it was like he really suffered from selective hearing. "Very well. I understand that you will need further convincing." Sakura could only gape at that…obstinate pig in disbelief.

"That's not what I mean-"

"Sakura." There was no humor whatsoever in his tone, and she quieted reluctantly. "You are lying."

As expected, the kunoichi did not appreciate being labeled a liar. She puffed up with agitation. "Who are you calling a liar, you…Uchiha! I have been nothing but cordial ever since you made it a point to drop by my apartment every so often on these unauthorized visits! You can't come in here and insult me-"

"Look at me then," He interrupted her rant before it could escalate any further. "Look at me and tell me that you don't want me here, and that you have no wish for me to disturb you. Tell me now and I will never bother you again."

"Fine!" Sakura snapped, more than happy to do what he wanted her to. "I do not want you here, and I have no wish for you to-"

The kunoichi halted abruptly.

It was as if someone had stoppered her mouth shut and the words simply refused to leave her mouth. The look on her face was one of bewildered confusion but that didn't last long when she detected the muted gleam of satisfaction in the Uchiha's dark eyes. An aggravated look made its way onto her face immediately.

"Itachi, you-"

"You are not a good liar, Sakura," he answered simply. He sounded so confident that she frowned ferociously. "And most importantly you can't lie to me."

"I can lie very well, thank you very much!" Now Sakura was changing her tune so quickly it was obvious to him that she had promptly forgotten about her earlier agitation about being accused a liar.

"No. You can't lie at all." His tone was gentle but firm. Despite herself, Sakura started to turn bright red again at the mild tone of affection in his lilting voice. Why was he behaving like this all of a sudden??

"What is your problem?!" the kunoichi burst out again. It was becoming glaringly apparent to him that she became pricklier and even more defensive whenever she was feeling out of her element. Privately, he found that particular trait of hers rather endearing. "Why are you acting like this?"

He looked at her.

"If you really don't know-"

"Well, I don't!"

"Then I will make it clear now that I'm interested in you."

His eyes never left hers as he made the quiet declaration with firm assurance. Sakura could only stare.

"You must be joking," she blurted out at last, completely disbelieving.

"Once again, do I look like I'm laughing, Sakura?"

Before the stumped pink-haired beauty could react, the Uchiha stood up from his seat beside her. The dazed kunoichi tried her best not to look at the way his sleek musculature rippled with his movement and promptly failed miserably. Shaking her head desperately to rid herself of an entire load of unwanted images that he had single-handedly upended upon her head, the pink-haired female stood up as well and all but fled into her bedroom.

She appeared but moments later, and promptly thrust an article of clothing at him.

"Wear this," she demanded quickly, determinedly not looking him in the eye—or anywhere else, for the matter. She had probably seen thousands of naked male torsos in the span of her career as a medic-nin but the fact that she was completely unnerved by his partial nudity now amused him.

Then he glanced at the men's shirt that she had just passed over to him and immediately felt a little less amused.

"It's clean—I bought it myself and used it as a nightshirt." The pretty female mistook the sudden concentrated look on his face completely and tried to explain.

Eyeing her for a brief moment, he slipped on the shirt easily. The gentle aroma of mangoes and cream that was uniquely her surrounded him immediately, and onyx eyes darkened. Sakura did not notice. She was too busy feeling relieved now that he was covered again.

Then he just had to open his mouth and ruin it all.

"I like your scent."

Emerald eyes widened at his honest remark.

"Uh…" She was at a complete loss for words, but then instincts snapped in and Sakura immediately knew what to do.

Fight or flight; and she was definitely choosing the latter. This situation was quickly becoming so uncomfortable to her!

But not necessarily in a bad way.

It was just that everything was happening so fast and—

And how on earth could she not realize anything amiss until he chose to drop this on her?!

She needed to think and regroup and analyze just what was going on. This was so confusing—and completely bewildering.

Once again, Sakura could not wait for Uchiha Itachi to take his leave. Why did he always have to be so bloody complicated?!

This made Sakura feel completely bad-tempered.

"Well, now that you are completely healed and not…half-naked and all, can you leave now?" Sakura was recovering from her mild embarrassment spectacularly enough to appear all grumpy and unhappy again. "It's getting rather late, in case you have not noticed."

It was most unfortunate that Itachi was hardly fooled by all her bluster.

But for now, he would allow her time to digest what was going on.

This little female who had unintentionally snagged his interest was unlike any other women whom he had met. She did not seem to associate him as heir to one of the most powerful clans in Konoha and never hesitated to reveal her displeasure to him every time she felt that he was in the wrong. She never fawned over him like other women, would rather die than to give him any special treatment, but the way she never failed to heal him and sometimes even going above the line of duty to help had revealed to Itachi her fiercely protective nature, as well as the fact that she was also rather sensitive to the predicament of others despite her outwardly prickly demeanor. That didn't mean she was all sunshine and laughter though. She had a quick temper on her and didn't seem to tolerate idiocy or arrogance well, despite her gentle healing touch among other more violence-inclined abilities.

She was such an amazing bundle of contradictions and the more he tried to unravel the character that was uniquely her, the more fascinated he became with her.

However, he was also very aware that if he prodded her too hard now it was most likely that she would turn around and lash out at him. For now, he would have to handle her with care but Itachi had no doubt that he was going to be very well rewarded once she learns to drop her guard around him. The past five months he had spent getting to know her had revealed to him as much. She was such a feisty little female, after all.

He could afford to be patient now.

Sakura was slightly taken aback when he actually paid heed to her—for once. Hesitantly, the kunoichi walked him to her door when he showed signs of leaving.

"So you are really leaving after telling me all that you just had?" She simply could not help but ask demandingly when he appeared for all intent and purposes to just walk out of her door.

"Would you rather I stayed and forced you to accept me immediately?"

The tall, powerful shinobi stopped at the threshold of her apartment to face her completely. The look in his onyx eyes was so quietly intent, that for a brief moment, Sakura felt like a bird trapped under the paralyzing stare of a dangerous predator.

"Well, no…" Sakura answered slowly at last. Then she started to frown ferociously again. "And what makes you think that I will be agreeable to whatever you want even if you gave me some time to 'accept', as you so nicely put it?"

The look on his face was nothing if not arrogant. Sakura felt herself twitch just looking at that smug face of his.

He lifted his hand and ran the back of his knuckles down the silky curve of her jaw line. Oh, Sakura knew very well that she should slap his hand away or something, but she was so caught up by the mesmerizing look in his eyes that she could hardly think about anything else.

"I will see you again soon," he confirmed quietly at last, not really answering her question, and Sakura was suddenly feeling so awkward by the surety behind his words that she was quick to retort.

"I hope that does not mean I will have to heal you again the next time I see you. You are always wasting my energy—and my patience." She was acting so flustered that a small, knowing look appeared in his eyes. Sakura gritted her teeth and cursed herself for acting like such a big idiot around him.

And she was blushing—again!!

He was hardly dismayed by her negativity however, if the way his lips twitched slightly was of any indication.

Sakura's face burned brighter.

"Erm…" The highly intelligent kunoichi was as articulate as ever.

His gaze roved over her face, and warmed slightly.

"Wait for me, Sakura."

And then he was gone.

Apparently her definition of 'soon' varied vastly from that of Itachi's, for it was almost two and a half months before she next saw him again.

Not that she wanted to see him, of course! She didn't! In fact, by now anything that even had a vague relation with the name 'Uchiha' would make the quick-tempered kunoichi fly off the handle, much to the confusion of one poor Sasuke. None of her teammates were aware of her oddball relationship with the Uchiha heir of course, come to think of it no one other than herself and Itachi knew about his frequent unannounced visits to her house.

Of course, those were ancient history.

For someone who would drop by her house at least once a week (oftentimes more) for almost five months, the fact that he had stopped coming over to her place abruptly for so long held a rather significant meaning.

And Sakura was completely furious over the fact that she had just been played for a fool by him.

All she had done was extend her friendship to him, but he just had to play stupid mind games with her, and now Sakura was so angered by her own gullibility that she vowed never to be tricked by the likes of him again.

She did not understand him at all; why even bother to say those things to her if he had planned to disappear from her life? Did he get his kicks out of confusing people? Oh, sometimes the urge to hunt down the arrogant pig was so overwhelming, but Sakura's fierce pride would simply not relent and let her do so. To look for him would indicate that she had succumbed to his will, that his words and actions that night had affected her after all, and Sakura would rather die than to let him know that.

And so Sakura forced herself to put aside her turbulent feelings and to continue on with life as if nothing out of the usual had happened. Oh, once in a while she would blow up unexpectedly, but that was it. The kunoichi was completely determined to erase all traces of her fledgling friendship with the Uchiha prodigy, and she was slowly succeeding too.

Besides, there were other things to worry about other than how his kiss had made her stomach flutter and twist in a most odd manner. Like now, when she was all out of chakra and on her way home, only to be cornered by some besotted Jounin who had been completely dazzled by her whatever, she really had no idea. All she knew was that she was tired and annoyed and this insistent male was not helping matters at all.

"Look, Asuka-san." The exhausted kunoichi pasted what she hoped was a polite smile on her face. This guy had just been discharged from the hospital after all; putting him back in again because he was annoying her was just going to make her life harder—seeing that she worked in said hospital in the first place. "I have just knocked off from work and I need my rest badly right now. I'm afraid that I will have to decline to your invitation for dinner."

The shinobi, who was a couple years older than herself, appeared completely disappointed by the beautiful, pink-haired female's refusal. But he refused to give up, unfortunately for the increasingly agitated Sakura.

"Oh. What about tomorrow then, Haruno-san? Can I entice you to lunch tomorrow?"

Sakura could only stare at the man's determination. He wasn't bad looking; in fact he possessed a rather boyish, affable appeal but for the life of her Sakura just could not understand why on earth he was so adamant in getting a date from her. Sure, she had been the one who had healed him when he was brought in injured from a mission, but surely that was no basis for him to form such an interest in her?

"At least allow me to show my appreciation for your care of me during my stay in the hospital." He looked so earnest but still Sakura hesitated.

"I'm being paid to care for you, Asuka-san. It isn't necessary to treat me to a meal because of that."

"But I insist." The blonde Jounin was nothing if not persistent, and Sakura was growing so tired that all she wanted to do was to crawl home to bed for a good sleep.

What the heck, she was now frazzled and exhausted and ready to agree to just about anything to get the male off her back when he appeared.

Sakura had been walking past the Hokage tower when Asuka caught up to her, and therefore when a member of the ANBU slipped out discreetly from the tower's entrance awhile earlier, the kunoichi had been too preoccupied to notice a thing.

But now he was making his presence known.

Despite the fact that she had not seen him for months, his aura was unmistakable. Sakura felt herself freeze for a brief moment, and then—

She started to get mad.

Adrenaline coursed through her weary system and perked her up immediately, and even though she could sense that he was still at a distance away, the raw fury that lit up her eyes made the friendly, eager Asuka hesitate.

Was this really the same sweet-tempered pink-haired angel of mercy who had helped healed him?

Then, he too noticed the unmasked ANBU captain who was calmly making his way over to them, his tread soundless and deliberate, almost like a stalking panther. The other male's dark eyes flickered over to Asuka once before sliding back to focus on the petite female beside him and when the raven-haired male finally came to a stop before the pair Itachi only had eyes for the fuming kunoichi standing right in front of him.


"Uchiha." Sakura's scowl was downright ferocious as emerald eyes glared daggers at him. She looked like a furious little kitten to him, all bristled up and hostile as if somebody had rubbed her fur the wrong way.

Asuka looked from the kunoichi to the ANBU and back again. There sure were a lot of very electrifying vibes floating around the two, and the Jounin started to appear slightly crestfallen.

It was rather obvious now why the intelligent and beautiful medic-nin had been so adamant in not accepting a date from him.

She was involved with Uchiha Itachi, heir to the powerful Uchiha clan and one of the strongest ANBU captains within Konoha.

As if on cue, the lean, raven-haired male fixed his attention briefly on Asuka.

"Jounin-san. Please leave."

It was not a request; the steel in the Uchiha's seemingly mild mannered tone revealed as much. Asuka appeared slightly intimidated by the cold look in the other man's onyx eyes.

Sakura, on the other hand, was completely unimpressed.

"Asuka-san," the kunoichi called out sharply. "You can stay here if you want to. He has no right to make you go anywhere."

The poor Jounin was literally trapped between the two clashing forces of incredible willpower. He was also starting to understand that this breathtakingly headstrong and stubborn female was just not his to have. He might have been entranced by her sweet gentleness at the hospital but the blonde would not fool himself: he would definitely not stand a chance against that powerfully obstinate and overwhelming confidence that she was displaying right now. The strong determination that was shining in her eyes now held exactly the same fierce spirit that made the Godaime such a formidable kunoichi.

It was no wonder that the Uchiha was so intent on protecting his claim on this particular female.

Itachi focused his attention wholly on the bristling female.

"Is it necessary to drag other people into this?" he asked calmly.

Sakura narrowed her eyes. Asuka just looked completely lost.

"I'm not dragging anyone into anything," the kunoichi snapped irritably. "In fact, I'm leaving now. Let's go, Asuka-san. You can walk me home."

The petite female sounded completely commanding but Asuka hesitated. The fact that the Uchiha heir was eyeing the shorter male with a dangerous sort of passive-aggressive intent contributed largely to the other nin's reluctance.

It was not that the Jounin was deathly afraid of the ANBU captain (though it would certainly be justifiable if Itachi's imposing presence did made him feel that way) but it was obvious to Asuka that he was clearly stepping in between something he should never have in the first place.

"I don't think that's a really good idea, Haruno-san."

Sakura's scowl worsened at Asuka's halting reply. It looked apparent to her that he was completely intimidated by the ass standing before them.

"You don't have to be so scared of the likes of him," the kunoichi answered confidently. "Come on, I will get you out of here."

Asuka didn't know whether to be mortified or not that this kunoichi who had caught his attention apparently thought him so weak-willed that she had to personally step in to defend him.

If he wasn't convinced earlier, the blonde Jounin was certainly aware by now that she was not the woman for him. Or rather, he would never be the man for such a female. She would need someone who could be on par with her on all aspects and maybe even more; in terms of abilities, intelligence, confidence. Anyone lesser would quickly find themselves overpowered and overwhelmed by this dynamic and proudly confident female.

And it seemed that she had already found that correct someone.

"Haruno-san," The once earnest Asuka sounded oddly respectful now, and there were no longer any earlier traces of the over eagerness that Sakura had detected earlier. "I really don't know anything much about your relationship with Uchiha-san, but you really should try to make up and settle your differences."

Before Sakura could recover and protest that there was absolutely nothing to make up for, the blonde Jounin smiled. "I apologize if I had caused you any discomfort. I wouldn't have asked for a date had I known that you were already romantically attached to Uchiha-san."

Sakura was starting to gape at the other nin's wild and completely inaccurate inference in regards to the relationship between herself and Uchiha Itachi. Sure, they were all taught to 'look underneath the underneath', but this was completely ridiculous! There was no underneath to look in the first place!

"I'm not romantically attached to anyone!" The kunoichi made one last attempt to clear the air.

Asuka merely shook his head wryly. Now that he had come to terms with his standing with this pink-haired medic-nin, it was suddenly quite amusing to see her trying so hard to deny the inevitable.

"My presence here is redundant. Uchiha-san will escort you home, Haruno-san." Putting his hands together as he started to form seals for a transportation jutsu, he gave his farewells to the disgruntled kunoichi. "I will still treat you to lunch, between friends, of course. See you soon, Haruno-san!"

And then he was gone in a flurry of leaves.

Leaving Sakura alone with the bane of her life.

The annoyed female started to glare ferociously at the Uchiha.

Itachi didn't even bat an eye over the kunoichi's look of displeasure. He stared back at her unrepentantly, and the pretty pink-haired medic-nin was hard-pressed not to twitch with agitation. Without another word, Sakura turned sharply and started to stalk off in the direction of her apartment.

She was not surprised when he fell into place by her side.

She was completed brassed off, though.

Sakura stopped in her tracks immediately and scowled at the taller male.

"Quit following me!"

It was as if he didn't hear her.

"I will see you home." His quiet tone brooked for no arguments but the kunoichi was just spoiling for a fight, unfortunately.

"I don't need you to see me home!" she whispered fiercely. There were so many passersby around them, and Sakura was certainly not big on drawing their attention to what was currently happening between herself and the esteemed Uchiha heir.

He was completely aware of her reservations of course, and he had no qualms taking advantage of it.

"We will discuss the reasons behind your displeasure at your apartment." Before she could open her mouth to heatedly protest his calm statement, he continued. "Or would you rather that we do it here, in front of anyone who might walk by? I certainly wouldn't mind."

Sakura glared.

"There is nothing to discuss!" she hissed. "I'm tired and all I want is to go home and sleep. I have no energy to deal with you right now."

She was about to march down the street when he snagged her lightly by the wrist.

"Not even…if I'm injured?" he asked quietly.

At his words, Sakura's head snapped around quickly to look at him. Now that he had mentioned it, his attire was not as immaculate as she had first thought. Her expert eyes roved over his torso to check for the presence of wounds. He was dirt-streaked; there was what looked like traces of dried blood on his silvery-gray vest, and he looked rather worse for wear. The lines of exhaustion on his face appeared even more pronounced then ever, and he seemed to have lost so much weight that he appeared almost gaunt.

The flash of worry that appeared in her eyes refused to be masked no matter how hard she tried. Sakura made one last attempt to detach herself from this situation.

"The hospital is just around the corner." Her voice, though rather brisk, was no longer as sharp as before. "If you can still stand around to talk to me, you can make your way over there to get yourself looked at."

Dark onyx looked straight into her eyes and it was all Sakura could do not to flinch and turn her gaze away from him. The heat that his long fingers were spreading to her wrist seemed so much more intense—and intimate, and the kunoichi frowned slightly at her errant feelings. She quickly shook away his hand and fortunately for her, he chose to let her go.

"No." His reply was firm. "I will accept the aid of no other healers with the exception of you."

For a long moment, Sakura could only stare at him for his audacity. Her rising ire seemed to make her presence even more intimidating than ever, but the Uchiha was hardly affected by her temperament.

"How dare you demand anything of me?!" the kunoichi growled furiously, her eyes all but spitting sparks of emerald fire. "After two and a half months and not even one peep from you and now you suddenly appear again and expect me to fawn and look after you like I'm your personal servant?! How dare you!"

It was obvious to him that she was extremely agitated. The reason for her anger occurred to him in a swift moment, in an unexpected realization that made his eyes lighten slightly with muted surprise.

And then those mesmerizing onyx orbs narrowed minutely with masculine pleasure.

"Did you miss me, Sakura?"

His soft, gentle question made her gape at him. Her mental tirade against this irresponsible Uchiha ground to an immediate halt.

Sakura promptly turned a most unpleasant shade of red.

"O-of course not!" the prickly kunoichi snapped immediately. What nonsense. Why was he bringing up such completely unrelated matters all of a sudden? She really did not understand him at all. Why did he have to be so damn complicated? "Why would I miss someone like you? You are like a gigantic thorn in my side; believe me when I say that I couldn't be any happier when you stopped showing up at my door!"

Her offended blusters were rather amusing to him. She was trying so hard to push him away but failing so miserably while she was at it.

"You are a terrible liar," he mentioned calmly again.

Sakura narrowed her eyes at that rare glint of amusement in his eyes. She was not at all pleased to be his entertainment and puffed up immediately in offense.

"Just go get yourself treated already," she growled. "I'm going home."

The fact that she was blatantly trying to change the subject was most obvious to him. The fact that she did not refute his last comment was not lost on him either.

"Sakura." He spoke before she could turn and walk away, his lilting tenor serious and more intent than ever. "I was on a reconnaissance mission in Iwa for the past months. It had taken longer than expected to complete the assignment. I apologize if I had caused you any worry."

This certainly explained why she had not seen head or tail of him for the last two and a half months. Emerald eyes widened slightly in realization, and then the kunoichi winced inwardly. She was a complete moron; she should have investigated the reason behind his sudden disappearance before coming to the conclusion that he had finally gotten bored of playing around with her head and thus had moved on to something else to occupy his attention. But no, her own fierce pride had gotten in the way, and coupled with his odd behavior and that kiss he had bestowed upon her the last time they had met Sakura was now completely irrational when it came to one Uchiha Itachi.

It was all his fault.

Sakura felt completely awkward. All of a sudden, the atmosphere between them seemed to have changed completely. She no longer had her righteous anger to hide behind, and the beautiful pink-haired female felt completely out of her league.

As such, Sakura did the one thing that still made sense to her.

The kunoichi turned and promptly started to walk away.

The tall Uchiha merely stared at her retreat, and when he made no move to follow Sakura turned her head and gave him a long, hard stare.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" she demanded at last. "Do you still want me to heal you or not? I don't have all the time in the world, you know."

She was relenting. It was as good as a concession from her, and after a deliberate moment Itachi moved towards the petite female soundlessly. Sakura tried her best to ignore that glint of pure masculine satisfaction in his onyx eyes, grumbling under her breath the entire way as he fell in step with her.

"This does not mean anything," the pink-haired medic muttered quickly. "I'm just saving the medics over at the hospital from the grief of dealing with you."

The way his weary eyes warmed slightly told her that he hadn't bought her grumpy attitude. Sakura started to turn pink despite her self. It made her feel even more annoyed than ever.

This meant nothing, Sakura reminded herself fiercely.

She looked over at him, only to find that he had been staring at her the entire while. To her horror, she felt herself turning even redder.

"What?!" she blurted out defensively.

He shook his head silently; the smallest of smiles tilting his lips and making him look so breathtakingly handsome that Sakura forgot to breathe. Then he leant down towards her and brushed his lips slightly against hers. The gentleness behind his action spoke more than anything he could say.

Belatedly, Sakura thought that she was about to faint with shock. It really was a good thing that the streets were currently empty and no one had seen the Uchiha heir kissing one of the most powerful kunoichi in Konoha.

The completely stumped look on her face must have been very amusing to Itachi; for his smile widened slightly when he pulled back.

"I missed you too, Sakura."


Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

Hoped you people enjoyed this promised sequel to thunderstorm. I wrote this in between chapters of Curtain Call because it just wouldn't leave me alone, and so here it is.

I may write another sequel for this (it's never going to end, is it?), or I may not. This can be a standalone, from what I see. It all depends on how cooperative my muse is willing to be with this series, I suppose.


I find myself really liking grumpy Sakura, she's so sensitive about the topic of Itachi that I find it rather amusing to write her like this, especially when she gets all puffed up and offended.

I liked how Itachi turned out in this series as well. His passive aggressive nature here makes my inner fangirl squee, though I'm certain I'm not supposed to mention that here.


And as always, the blonde Jounin Asuka is an OC. I'm beginning to realize that I have a problem with using canon characters as third parties, for some reason or another.


Your reviews fuel my passion for writing. So please leave a comment if you like this fic, thank you.