There were fifteen thousand, six hundred and thirty nine reasons why she should not currently be standing in her best friend's kitchen, staring unabashedly at said best friend's brother – who was shirtless. It really wasn't her fault… ending up in that situation, that is… she had just come down for a cup of water, and he'd happened to walk in from the pool at the very same time. It was, she had already decided, fate.
How would those romance novels describe the scene? Oh yes, they'd definitely mention his dark, tousled hair and would without fail touch on the water that dripped down his oh-so-chiseled-
"Could I just –"
"OH, yes, um, let me just – hey." Shit shit shit shit, she was such an idiot. He'd absolutely see through her now, no way would he-
"Hey." And there it was: the smile. Her favorite part of her best friend's house. Well other than her best friend, of course. She had to stop her head from immediately forwarding to their marriage – which would happen. It would. "Do you want anything to drink?" He paused from reaching into the cupboard she'd been in blocking. She nodded, afraid of squeaking if she actually tried to speak again, and he withdrew two glasses instead of one. "Soda okay?"
"Uh-huh." She hoped against hope that he didn't notice her hands clenching and unclenching behind her back. He didn't. Instead, he turned his back to her, busying himself with pouring out the drinks. She was just starting to get wrapped up in the movements of his shoulder bones and vertebrae under his skin when his voice shattered the silence.
"So, Sakura, how's life for my favorite of my brother's posse?"
"Life? Good. Fine. Wonder-" She paused and took a breath, "I mean, it's great." It was incredibly hard to have a conversation with shirtless boys who look like the Adonis personified. And as if he was reading her mind, he turned around and threw a disgustingly beautiful, and yet very irritating smirk in her direction. Like he knew how uncomfortable she was, and how much she was dying – dying – to get in his pants.
"Any boys I should know about?"
"No!" She knew she was blushing furiously and was, incidentally, furious at herself for doing so. She calmed her features and started again, "No boys, Itachi. Just, you know, friends."
"Ah yes, Sasuke and Naruto." He walked over to her with a glass and leaned against the counter entirely too close for her comfort. "The wonder twins." She grinned, momentarily distracted by his deep sarcastic wit. Of course, then he threw an arm around her shoulder. "Well, good. I don't want you talking to other boys, they're bad news." She was having trouble concentrating considering his bare arm was touching her, and his fingers were lightly dancing on the surface of her skin. He retracted his arm and ruffled her hair, "You got that?" She couldn't do anything but nod.
She should go.
"Well, thanks for the soda-pop." He chuckled a bit at that, and then she realized that she'd sounded like she was five. Shit, again.
"Not a problem, kid. I'm sure I'll see you later." She nodded in acquiescence and decided now was the time to bolt. And bolt she did. Not ten seconds later she was walking back into her friend's room, hoping that her face had gone back to its normal color. God she was so stupid, honestly, 'soda-pop'?? Who said that anymore! No wonder he called her kid. He probably still thought of her as the idiot twelve year old that was soooo in love with his younger brother.
"Are you okay, Sakura… you look a little red." Of course she did. God hated her.
"I'm fine, Naruto." She waved him off as he attempted to feel her forehead. "What'd I miss?" She settled back down into her spot on Sasuke's bed.
"Sakura, you've seen this movie fifteen times. You know what you missed." Typical no-nonsense Sasuke.
"I was just asking, jeez. Quit being such an asshole." And then she launched a pillow at the back of his head. Which, despite his self-proclaimed amazing reflexes, managed to bean him right on target, and caused him to fall face first onto the floor.
"SAKURA! What the hell!" He glared at her from the floor, not at all being able to look as angry as he wanted to.
"Serves you right for being a jerk." Typically, he growled and threw the offending pillow right back at her. She threw herself out of the way, knocking over the poor blonde of their trio in the process.
"I'M TRYING TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!"
"WE'RE TRYING TO HAVE A PILLOW FIGHT!!"
"YOU'RE BOTH IDIOTS, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
Sakura and Naruto stared at their friend in shock, which of course, slowly gave way to itching grins, and finally, both collapsed in laughing heaps. Sasuke just groaned and muttered some more, all the while staring at the bottom of his bed like he wished he could just crawl under it and disappear.
"Well, sorry, Sasuke, but we can't leave." She'd learned quickly that what Sasuke needed was not a love-addled Sakura, rather a goofy (but loyal) Sakura who really didn't (but kind of did) care that he was kind of super hot (… it ran in the family, unfortunately). "Without us you'd probably burrow yourself in that hole we know you keep in your closet – " Naruto interrupted her here, which she'd allow because his spinning of the tales always got Sasuke more riled up.
"And you'd probably start wearing guy-liner and emo pants and cry about how much you hate the world, but really –"
"You'd just be crying about missing us because we're sooo awesome and you just can't stand being away from us for more than five minutes, which is why –"
"You'd go into the hole in the first place!" Sasuke's mouth had been thinning into a straighter and straighter line throughout this joint soliloquy until it was barely discernible. She was sure it was all he could do to keep from pummeling them to death, "HIGH FIVE, SAKURA!" And Naruto slammed his palm upward to meet hers in what was the most obnoxious physical representation of triumph they could have shoved in Sasuke's face at that moment.
"AGGHHH I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, NARUTO!" The blond groaned just before he turned tail to run,
"Man, Sasuke, why don't you ever go after Sakura?!" And then he was gone and Sasuke was hot on his heels.
"Way to be a traitor, Naruto! Just wait till next time!" She called after them. Now to settle back and relax and get back to – oh wait, what time was it? Eff this movie, she was going to watch cable. Grabbing the remote, she flipped channels before finding exactly what she wanted. Gossip Girl reruns? Check.
One of the downsides of being the only girl in her trio meant that no one could appreciate the intricacies of the GG universe and relationships. Instead she'd have to wait until she got home to call Hinata who would absolutely understand. And squeal. Did she mention the squealing? Because there was always squealing.
"Wakey, wakey East-siders."
"What are you watching?" Itachi's voice suddenly broke the Upper East Side spell that had been cast over her brain,
"Ah!" And then she fell off the bed. Shoot, remote, power, power, power, must hit the power button! She couldn't get caught watching Gossip Girl!
Whew. Disaster averted.
"Were you just watching Gossip Girl?" He was staring at her; those beautiful black eyes were trained on nothing but her. It was like a dream come true… if you took away the incredulity with which he was observing her. Like how could she possibly like Gossip Girl. Jeez. Can't a girl get a break around here? She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly as she attempted to climb back on the bed,
"There was nothing else on. I was just waiting for Sasuke to stop beating Naruto's ass, I didn't want to keep playing the movie without them." Normal answer, okay good, this was good. "I figured that would lead to one of them pitching a fit." He cracked a grin,
"That's quite the phrase you used there, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were trying to act older, Sak-u-ra." He was getting closer, oh God, he was getting closer!! She had to will her heart to stop beating so loud. If he could hear it, she'd be absolutely mortified.
"YOU'LL NEVER CATCH ME, BASTARD!!" A yellow flash flew into the room, and barreled right into Itachi who barreled… Right. Onto. Her. All of a sudden she felt the hard planes of his chest and stomach against her and his arms on either side of her head. He was moving to get up in less than a second, but it had been all she needed. This was, officially, the best day of her life. And it was all thanks to Naruto. Please don't get up, please don't get up, please understand telepathy! She thought at him, she thought at him hard. But no, no good. Itachi had already straightened his arms and was pushing off the bed when Sasuke ran in, still on the warpath.
"You idiot, I'm going to kill – " That's when he noticed his older brother, lying on top of one of his best friends on his bed, "What the fuck?" Naruto was still lying on the ground from where he had knocked into Itachi rubbing the back of his head. "What are you guys doing?" This was said calmly, but Sakura knew better. For some reason, Sasuke was displeased. Oh, hell. This was going to be irritating to deal with.
"It's nothing, Sasu-chan –"
"Don't call me that!" Itachi patted his little brother on the head condescendingly,
"Your friend just pushed me over onto poor Sakura, that's all." Of course, that was all. She sighed inwardly. Some day, he'd have to realize that she was super hot and they needed to get married. No seriously. As if to validate his story, Sasuke turned a hard eye on her. And that's when she knew he knew. There was no way she'd kept the blush off her cheeks. No way in hell. He held her gaze for a second and then looked away,
"Che, whatever. Don't you have better things to do than hang out with your little brother's friends?" He glared at Itachi who in turn shook his head.
"Not really, my break started earlier than all my friends. Besides, there's no one else I'd rather be around than you and Sakura." He fell back on the bed, throwing the same arm around her that he'd used earlier.
"Hey!" Naruto had finally decided to pipe up, "I resent that!" Itachi spared him a wry grin,
"Ah, and you Naruto, and you."
"Thank you." Naruto nodded, and sat down next to him. She couldn't help but feel uncomfortable with the weight of Itachi's arm and the added weight of Sasuke's glare. He was going to kill her as soon as they were alone. He probably wouldn't tell Naruto, or Itachi, which was good of him, but still… he was going to kill her.
"Please stop molesting my friends." Sasuke all but breathed that last statement, the fight going out of him as he realized how much of a hassle it would be stay angry, "Anyway, mom said she needs to talk to you about something."
"Your guest tonight." She couldn't help but notice the meaningful look Sasuke had shot the love of her life. … Speaking of which, Itachi had touched her three times today, three, in the span of like 2 hours. That had to mean something! She watched him remove his arm from her person and walk towards the door. Just came to say, goodbye love, goodbye. Sigh. She was going to home and watch Rent and cry like a little baby.
As soon as Sasuke had shut the door behind Itachi, he turned to Naruto.
"Idiot, you have to go home." Naruto glared,
"Because you're annoying and you stink like ramen." Naruto then proceeded to protest as loudly as he could. "Smell yourself." So then Naruto smelled his shirt and winced,
"Okay, I guess I kind of do smell like ramen… Can't I just take a shower here, bastard? Home's sooo far!" Despite the on coming conversation she knew Sasuke wanted to have, Sakura couldn't help but laugh as Sasuke responded.
"Naruto, you live like two doors down. Quit being so lazy." Naruto threw his hands up in resignation,
"Fine, fine, everyone be mean to me. It's okay; I know its just jealousy." He paused when he got to the door, "Don't think I don't know what this is about, any way. You guys just want me to leave so that you can make out." And then he was gone.
"NARUTO!" He had a bad habit of dropping jokes like that at the worst times. Like the time she'd been about to confess to Kiba that she'd liked him and Naruto had come around the corner yelling about Sasuke and her being stuck in a closet together. Like they'd been playing 7 minutes in heaven or something. Honestly, Naruto had literally gotten them locked in a closet and all they'd done was fall asleep, while Naruto forgot about them and had dinner with Hinata. He was an idiot, but then again, he was the reason Itachi had fallen on her today. She let out a sigh of happiness and started dreaming about their life together.
"That look's way creepier than I know you're thinking about my brother, Sakura." She broke out of her reverie with a jolt,
"Eep." She looked at him sheepishly, "Pleeeease don't tell anyone, Sasuke! Please!" He looked at her strangely,
"Why? Don't you want him to know?" Deciding to avoid the peculiar look he was giving her, she turned away from him to answer him with another question,
"Do you mind? I mean, I'll understand if you do. It's weird, because his your older brother and we're friends and I used to –"
"I don't care." He cut her off. Typical. Of course he didn't care. Why had she ever thought otherwise. She turned back to face him, only to find that he wasn't even looking at her. Instead, he seemed to be examining his own bookshelf.
"Um, what are you doing?"
"Trying to get the idea of you and my brother out of my head." She groaned mentally, and then picked up the pillow and for the second time that day, hit Sasuke in the back of the head. "Ow! Sakura, what the hell?!"
"Don't be disgusting, or I'll hit you again." She plopped onto his bed and threw an arm over her eyes, "So what do I do?"
"What do you mean what should you do? You should do nothing, obviously." Boys were so DUMB! And so she said as much, "I'm not dumb; I just think it's pointless." She sat up again to glare at him,
"Why?! Because he's older? So it's five years, it's not like I'm thirteen! I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm already 18, he's only 23 –"
"It's not that." He cut her off, a-freakin-gain.
"Then what? Am I not smart enough? I know your brother's super smart and all and already in his second year of law school, but whatever. I've already been accepted to three six year med programs for next year! I totally smart enough –"
"Sakura, I know you're smart that's not what I'm trying to –"
"Oh, so he's too good looking for me?! Is it because of my forehead, because I'll have you know Uchiha Sasuke that I have not had a single remark about my forehead in over three years! Not counting Ino, but still, NOT IN THREE YEARS! I am freaking hot, and just because you don't notice it doesn't mean your brother doesn't either –"
"I never said anything about your looks! Or your freaking forehead!" They were glaring at each other now, she from his bed, him from his book case,
"Then what is it about me, Sasuke, why do I not deserve to be with your brother? Hmm?" She could feel tears pricking at her eyes, this was ridiculous. He sighed,
"Sakura, it's not that you don't deserve him, it's just, he's not –"
"Whatever, Sasuke. I don't even care what you think anymore. I like your brother and that's that, and if you don't like it, well, that's too bad. Because, you know what, just because of this conversation, I'm gonna tell him. I'm going to walk up to him and say, Itachi, I love you, take me now!" At this, Sasuke started choking on his own saliva. She moved him to the bed and patted him roughly (hit really… he completely deserved it) on the back to help him breathe again. When his eyes finally stopped watering he turned to her, a new sort of determination apparent in his eyes.
"Okay, you want to tell my brother you love him. First you have to get him to take you seriously."
"I can definitely agree to that!" She grinned, happy with her resolve. This was it. She would make Itachi notice her if it was the last thing she did!
"Well, if you're serious about this," He paused and looked at her, as if trying to discern her true feeling by staring into her skin, "I'll help you." She threw her arms around Sasuke and yelped,
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!! You're the best friend ever!!"
"Sakura, what are you doing, get off me, I can't breathe –"
"Hey Sasu –" Then Itachi came back, "Ahhh, Sakura, from one brother to the other – I never knew you were like that." He shot her that same devious smirk she loved so much, although in this case, it was exactly what she did not want to see. She and Sasuke hastily separated,
"Ah, no, no, Itachi I was just –"
"Thanking me for helping her with her stupid biology club experiment." Itachi shook his head at Sasuke's, admittedly feeble, explanation.
"Whatever you say, Sasu-chan." She could see the vein popping out of Sasuke's forehead now… "Mom sent me to get you; she said she had something to say about your lack of guest for tonight."
"Egh, fine." He stalled by the door for a moment, "You can stay here and keep Sakura company if you want, you don't have to leave my room." She was stunned, he'd actually made an attempt to help her. Granted, it ridiculously obvious what he was doing, but she was touched all the same. Itachi's voice cut through her moment of sentimentality,
"You hear that, Sakura?" He picked the remote up from the floor and flipped on the TV before settling back on the other side of the bed, "Sasuke would like me to keep you company. Why, I wonder?" She looked at him, stretched out, and wondered. Maybe now was the time for her to tell him, maybe he'd get it, maybe she could, "Oh, look – The Naked Chef is on. I wonder what he'll cook up this week." … Or not.
"Sasuke, you know that tonight's a very important night. Your father's going to be upset if you don't have a date with you for the dinner. This will be the first time that we get to meet –"
"Mom, I know." He wished he could glare at her, but unfortunately, Sasuke's mother was probably the sweetest woman on the planet. If a little annoying sometimes. "Don't worry, I'll figure something out."
He was still watching the Naked Chef. Still. And hadn't said anything to her after that first statement. What was she doing? Sasuke had literally given her an opportunity with which to dazzle Itachi with her fabulous traits, and what had she done?
Because when it came down to it, Haruno Sakura was a big, fat scaredy cat. She sighed and continued standing waiting for a commercial so that she could say something intelligent and then he'd take her hand and look longingly into her eyes and,
"You know you can sit on the bed, Sakura." He said it without looking at her, "You're standing is making me anxious."
"Oh! Oh, I'm sorry, Itachi –" Oh man, she was so lame! "I'll – I'll come sit down." She walked to the bed hesitantly, stepping over the mess that Naruto and Sasuke had made in the midst of one of their fights. She sat down gingerly, and stayed, back ramrod straight, not-watching the television in front of her.
She just needed to do it! Like ripping a bandaid off, the faster the better,
"Itachi, I –"
"Ah crème anglais! I've always wanted to learn how to make it this dish, hold on a moment, I'm going to take notes." He jumped off the bed and made it to Sasuke's desk faster than she'd ever seen someone move, "Do you know if Sasuke has a spare notebook anywhere?"
"Ummm… in the top drawer I think, or the bottom one, I can't remember which." He was scrambling for a notebook, to write down the directions for crème anglais. Maybe this was the wrong moment to confess her feelings to him. Having found what he was looking for, Itachi jumped over her to his side of the bed and settled, choosing to sit Indian style and eyes glued to the television. Why hadn't Sasuke ever mentioned his brother was a Food Network freak? It was so bizarre.
Speak of the devil…
Sasuke had returned, slamming the door open angrily and causing her to nearly jump out of her skin (Itachi, of course, didn't even flinch).
"Why do I have to bring someone to this stupid dinner tonight?! The parents are insane."
"Because they think it's important, Sasuke. And you know that this is because – "
"No, no, ugh. Whatever it's about it, I don't care. This is lame. … Hey is that my notebook?!" His eyes had taken on a wild glint. Unfortunately, Itachi has already gone back to the crème anglaise on the television and so wasn't listening any longer. "Itachi! Is that my freaking notebook!"
"Hm? Hold on, Sasu-chan – I need to finish this recipe, then I'll – ooooh, so that's how you do it!" Sasuke's face had gone purple. Despite this visual indication of just how angry he was, he very calmly walked over the TV and pulled out all the cables.
"… Oh no…" Now would probably be a very good time for Sakura to leave.
"Sasuke, that was a very poor decision on your part, considering what I seem to have in my hands." Sakura couldn't help but be distracted by Itachi's grace as he got up from the bed & passed by a now significantly paler Sasuke. "You never think before you act, Sasu-chan. Poor form, poor form." What the hell was in that notebook?! Sasuke didn't move again until Itachi had left, taking the notebook with him. … And he hadn't even -
"Oh, and I'll see you later, Sakura." The door slammed shut again. He totally loved her! L-O-V-E-D! Meanwhile, Sasuke had already made it back to his desk and was frantically going through the drawers.
"Where is it… where is it… A HA!" He slammed the drawer shut without actually retrieving anything, and leaned against it, heaving heavily.
"What is wrong with you?"
"…Okay…" He shook his head at her.
"How do you like him, Sakura? Sometimes I seriously question your mental capabilities." Finally stopping with the incessant (and condescending) head shaking, he continued. "But, I said I'll help you, and I won't go back on that." For a second there, she swore she could hear a sinister note in Sasuke's voice.
But, no. That was just silly.
"Thanks, Sasuke. I can't help it, he's just so smart and pretty and – "
"Sakura!" She grinned sheepishly.
"… My bad." Taking a seat cross legged on the bed, she decided now would be a good time to plan. "So, what are we going to do?" By which she meant Sasuke would plan. He plopped down in front of his desk and cradled his chin in his hands.
"Hmm, that's a good question… where to start…" He suddenly turned to her, a frighteningly contemplative look on his face, "Say, Sakura?"
"… Yes, Sasuke? " She could help but be wary of whatever he was about to say, something told her that the rest of the days events were going to be very, very traumatic.
"Did you bring your swim suit?"
A/N: Squee. I know, I know, I should have put up a new chapter of ASTW considering it's been a month I think. Aye dios, mio. I feel like I spend all my author notes apologizing for being a sucky updater. I should just put a standard apology in my profile … aaaaaanyhow. So yes. I suck.
But this, this is my baby. I started it last MAY (as in 2007) when I was looking for a place to live in NY… and then I ignored it for a year, and then I tried starting it again like two weeks ago. So it's going to be a two-shot, and yes, it's SasuSaku not ItaSaku, trust me. But I do so love Itachi in this story, he makes my heart all-a-flutter .
Aaaanyhow, hopefully you enjoyed this. And hopefully your reviews will inspire me to finish the next chapter of And so They Were. Most of the second half of this one has already been written, it was just too long for a oneshot… oook, I'm rambling.
Review! (Because I love you)