"Sasuke, this is ridiculous!" She hissed at him, quietly. It wouldn't do for Itachi to hear their argument considering they were just around the corner from his room.
"Try again, and do something more flamboyant so that he actually has a reason to look up, idiot."
"I hate you. I look so stupid – what reason do I have to be walking past Itachi's room in my bathing suit?" He scratched his chin thoughtfully, as if seriously considering her question.
"You're right… it would be better if you owned a two-piece."
She leaned her head against the wall and counted to thirty in hopes to calm herself down. She could not kill the brother of the man she was going to marry. Then, with a one fingered goodbye, she turned the corner and started sauntering. Maybe this time, he would actually look up from his desk and see her, in all her scantily clad glory, and come running. Okay, it was all still going according to plan. She swung her hips and crossed her feet, one in front of the other and hummed something nonchalantly. Out of her peripheral vision, she saw the movement of his head as it came up to look in her direction – perfect! … Until the foot that was supposed to cross in front of the other, didn't move fast enough and the one that was supposed to be behind moved too fast and then she was on the floor.
"Sakura! Are you okay??" And of course he'd seen all that. Not the previous seven times when she'd made it past his room perfectly. She heard Sasuke slap a palm to his forehead. But, none of that mattered because Itachi was putting her arm around his shoulder and helping her to his room and now she was sitting on his bed. His hair, uncharacteristically loose, fell over his shoulder and tickled her leg as he looked at her ankle, rotating it to test the pain. Of course, she knew it would be okay, it'd probably throb for a little while, but that would be the extent of it – but she'd let him figure that out on his own. For now, she would enjoy the feel of his hands on her. … Thank God she hadn't said that out loud.
However, as much as she was enjoying the sight of his dark eyes narrowed in thought – thoughts of her – unfortunately, it seemed to be strictly medical. Those same dark eyes hadn't actually strayed anywhere else! She kept waiting for them to flicker upwards, taking in her long legs, her bathing suit covered tummy, her perfectly average sized bus-
"Ah, Sakura, you're shaking. I didn't even realize you were in a swimsuit. Here, let me grab you a sweatshirt." He placed her foot back on the floor and disappeared into his closet. Sigh. Of course he didn't notice… maybe she should get implants. Rolling her eyes at her self, she couldn't help but think that she was really glad she hadn't said that out loud. While Itachi was gone, she took a few minutes to take in his room. There was an immediate difference to Sasuke's in its darkness – the walls were deep purple, and the accents maroon. There were two framed pictures on his nightstand which caught her attention. One was the same as the picture hanging in Sasuke's room. The entire Uchiha family all decked out in formal attire. The strict father, Fugaku – whom Sakura secretly felt was one of the most frightening people she had ever met; the doting mother, Mikoto … whom she loved almost as much as her own mother, and of course, the smirking Itachi and the ever irritable Sasuke. Her eyes lingered on her friend's face for a moment, surprised at how much he hadn't actually changed. …
The other picture was more interesting. It was Itachi with his arm around some … who was that girl?! Blond, blue eyed, half her face hidden behind a fan, her bangs falling softly onto her face – she was bloody gorgeous! Well, maybe the bottom half of her face was covered in hideous scars or something… but probably not. Her musings were interrupted when a ball of sweatshirt fell into her lap,
"There you go, Sakura. Don't want you to catch a cold," He smiled, in what she imagined was an adoring manner. No, no he wouldn't want her to catch a cold because then he couldn't kiss her and hold her and – "So, I'll just –"
"Ah, mother dearest – Sasuke!" He caught his younger brother as he walked past his room, probably eavesdropping, "Help Sakura back to your room, she hurt her ankle."
"Fine." Itachi paused, looking back at her foot – but not at her, unfortunately. "You should carry her."
"What?? No!" This was exclaimed simultaneously by both parties… followed by them glaring at each other.
"Itachi, it's fine, see? I can walk." Sakura stood up to prove herself capable of walking only to have her ankle give way beneath her and – oh surprise, surprise, she was on the ground again. "It'd be nice if someone could occasionally catch me." She couldn't help but throw that in under her breath. Cracking a wry grin in response, Itachi helped her back onto the bed.
"See, Sasu-chan? Just go ahead and –"
"Itachi, if you're not down here in five minutes I am calling your father!!" He shook his head, obviously annoyed.
"Well, I'd better go before she has an aneurism. Feel better, Sakura." She meeped in response. "Sasuke. Help her." And not sparing either one of them a second glance, he called out a "Coming, mother!" And followed his words down the hall.
"He thinks I'm twelve." She groaned and flung herself backwards in a desperate attempt to kill herself byway of fluffiness.
"Che, whatever." Sasuke's voice had gotten significantly closer. Lifting her arm from her face to inspect the reason, she found him crouched in front of her, but facing the door. "Get on, idiot. We'll figure out another plan of action." Settling her arms around his shoulders and feeling him hoist her legs around his waist, she couldn't help but think back to when she would have absolutely died to be in such close contact with the Uchiha Sasuke. A little part of her was still squealing … on the inside, of course. She should probably squish that piece of her down, down, down.
"What?" She felt him respond, the vibrations of his voice echoing through his back and to her front.
"Who is that girl that Itachi's hugging in the picture on his nightstand?" He almost dropped her then, stopping suddenly and nearly letting go of her legs.
"What?" Then he continued onto his room, "That must be new, I don't know what picture you're talking about." He was obviously a liar.
"Are you lying? You don't have to lie to spare my feelings, you know."
"I'm not lying; I just don't know what picture you're talking about."
"Then why'd you stop so abruptly? Hm?" She had him now.
"Because I thought I saw a cockroach."
"SAKURA STOP TRYING TO CLIMB UP HIGHER ON ME!"
"What?" Sasuke lifted his face off the floor and groaned,
"I said, please. Get. Off. Me."
"Oh. Heh. My bad."
After making it back to his room where he had very unceremoniously chucked her at the bed, he sat down to once again consider their options. Once she had adequately disentangled herself from the sheets and the blankets, and taken a moment to send a fairly vicious glare his way, she joined him in his considerations.
"What if we played that old jeopardy board game you have and then I can show him how smart I am!"
"Or, you could fall down the stairs and break your wrist and I could reset the bone – then he'd know that I'm going to be a great doctor some day."
"… One: I'm not falling down the stairs for you, two: you don't know how to reset a bone."
"I've read about it." She tried very hard not to sound petulant when responding… but she wasn't sure if she quite made it. Judging from Sasuke's superior expression… she hadn't. "Fine, what's your great idea, genius?"
"Come have dinner with me." Her head spun and found his eyes,
"I mean, us, come have dinner with us – my mom's making me bring someone anyway. There's supposed to be some announcement or something. So you can dress nicely and act lady like and tell him when you feel your most attractive."
"… Sasuke, have you been reading my magazines?"
"You don't have anything else in your bathroom." She looked at him, arching one quizzical brow before shaking her head to resume the important part of the conversation.
"I haven't got anything to wear."
"Yeah you do, you left your graduation dress here and my mom had it dry cleaned. I forgot to give it back to you. It's been hanging in my closet for weeks."
"Naruto would kill for this information."
"If you tell him, I'll light it on fire." She narrowed her eyes at him. Like hell he would.
"I'd kill you." Not bothering to acknowledge that statement with a response, Sasuke opened his closet and pulled out a plastic garment bag from somewhere in the back. He threw this same garment bag at her, moments later.
"Here, go get ready already, we have to leave in an hour."
"This is lame, Sasuke. I'm not coming to your family dinner, all dolled up to impress your brother." She pushed her hair out of her eyes, "It just sounds so pathetic."
"Less pathetic than a quitter." She groaned.
"That was way harsh."
"Do not quote that insipid movie in my presence."
"But you know what I was quoting, so you must loooove it, Sasuke…. Or should I say 'Cher'?" This was good – distracting her from her inability to get Itachi to notice her.
"That's it – if you're not coming to dinner then just go home and fantasize about boys you'll never have because you're too scared to really make an effort. Idiot." Of course, when Sasuke responded like that, it was hard to play the avoidance game. He was looking at her very seriously, his chin resting on clasped hands. There was a curious prick at the corner of her eye, and on some level she'd stepped outside herself and could see, more than feel, the tear that escaped its ducts and slipped its way down her cheek. This was humiliating.
"Sakura – Fuck. Don't cry – I'm – I didn't – shit." And great, now he was coming towards her, intent on pitying her and babying or – She stood up quickly, halting her friend in his tracks.
"You're right. I'm doing this." She wrenched the dress out of its garment bag and rushed by him to the bathroom nearly toppling him over in the process.
"Wait, Sakura. Stop for a minute. This is all wrong. I have to tell –" She slammed the door ignoring his pleas and concentrating on one step at a time. "Sakura! You need to listen –" But she was too busy zipping up her dress and straightening out the fabric. Pulling the door back open, she shoved past Sasuke whose arm was raise, mid knock. He followed her. "You're not going to listen." She turned around.
"I listened to the part I wanted to hear. Now come on, I have to borrow stuff from your mom and you know your parent's room skeeves me out." She turned away from him again, knowing he'd go with her. His catching of her wrist, however, was a little surprising.
"Sakura, there is definitely something you need to hear about –" She wrenched it back away from him.
"About nothing, Sasuke! Just let me do this. I have to. Now please, let's just go so I can get make myself pretty for your older brother." He rolled his eyes, but still followed when she started walking.
"Fine, but I want you to know that I refuse to take any responsibility for anything that happens from here on out."
"You know, Sakura, as much as I've enjoyed watching you look for shoes in my mother's closet… I have to get ready. So either hurry up, or I'm leaving you here alone."
"No! I'm coming, I'm coming! Don't leave me here… your dad scares the crap out of me." She grabbed one of the pairs she had been considering and tailed Sasuke back to his room. "I don't see what the big rush is, all you're going to do is change into slacks and a shirt. It'll take you like five minutes." She paused, "Unless of course… you need to muss your hair."
"Do you want to borrow your mom's mouse? I mean, I could run back and –"
"I will give you a noogie." She ran in front of him and smiled cutely,
"No you won't, because I look soooooo pretty!"
"And so you do, Sakura." That definitely wasn't Sasuke's voice. A hand came and rested on her shoulder, pulling her into a turn and then she was face-to-chest with Itachi. "You look beautiful." Thankfully, she hadn't actually applied any rouge to her cheeks and so hopefully, the blush that was settling itself there was seemly enough. "I take it you're going to join us at dinner?"
"Uhm, uh-huh." Oh, fabulous, the verbal retardation had returned.
"She's coming with me since mother dearest is making me bring someone." Itachi's grin turned mischievous,
"And I'm sure that's the only –"
"She was already here, it was convenient." Sasuke had crossed his arms and turned away from the scene, as if it was so ridiculous he didn't want to deign to grace it with his gaze.
"If you say so, Sasuke, if you say so." He sidestepped Sakura and walked by his little brother, pausing to ruffle Sasuke's hair. "Do you want to borrow some product? I have some hair stuff in my bathroom." Sakura had to put a hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter. Sasuke, of course, did not find it the least bit funny.
"I hate you. Go away."
"I'm just trying to help, Sasuke. I'm your older brother, I should teach you how to – "
"Muss his hair?" Sakura couldn't help but add that in. She smiled cheekily, relishing the amused glance that Itachi threw her way.
"Precisely. Now come on, Sasuke, we'll transform you in no time!" Itachi had taken Sasuke's arm and was dragging him towards his room. Sasuke, in return, had let out a strangled yelp,
"What?! No, no, no, I can get ready on my own! Leave me alone!" The panic had made itself very much at home in his speech. Sakura stared open mouthed as Itachi proceeded to pull Sasuke into his lair and slam the door shut behind him. The last she saw were the wide eyes of her friend, screaming in fear. Metaphorically, that is.
"I'll have him back to you in 20 minutes, Sakura!" The muffled voice of Itachi came from somewhere-beyond-the-door.
"… That was weird." She shrugged her shoulders, deciding to leave Sasuke to his fate. There was probably something on television she could watch. Maybe one of Sasuke's hidden cartoon dvds. Ooh, Foster's. Yes, she was going to watch Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Because Bloo was hilarious.
"I like cereal."
"I like potatoes."
"I. Like. ceeeeereal."
"Si. I like po-ta-toes."
"I like cereal."
"I like potatoes!!"
"Where did you find this!" Sakura turned to find Sasuke standing in the doorway, irritation and shock written on his face.
"Buh-wha?" Words failed her as she took in the sight of her best buddy in the world. She'd known he was attractive, obviously. But – "Daaaaaaaaamn, Sasuke. Itachi really worked a number on you. You look amazing! Are those his clothes? No wonder they look so good – wow, I can't –"
"If you don't stop talking, I might maim you." She got up and walked closer to him, strangely, he flinched in response.
"Sasuke… are you … is that a smidgen of eyeliner?!"
"It wasn't my fault! He effing tied me down! Move, I need to go to the bathroom and wash my face." She didn't budge.
"Oh no you don't, you look great. We're taking pictures. Where's your mom?"
"I'm not telling – "
"Sasuke! It's time to go!" His eyes widened, "Where are you!" The voice was getting closer.
"No, no, no, no – " He lunged for the lock on the door but was beaten when it flew open and nearly knocked him in the face.
"Sasuke!" Mikoto flew into the room in a rush of satin, and black hair, and diamonds. She missed her son as he was now on the ground behind the door, hoping against hope that his mother would not notice him – which she didn't… for time being. "Ah, Sakura! You look gorgeous! I understand you're coming as Sasuke's date," She emphasized this by wiggling her finely arched eyebrows up and down a few times, "It's about time, I've been waiting for Sasuke to finally–"
"Go to a dinner with my friend, mother?" Sasuke had felt this might be an opportune moment to interrupt the one sided conversation Mikoto was having with a very flabbergasted Sakura.
"Ah, le petit prince de mon coeur! I didn't see you there." As usual, Sakura had to bite her lip to keep from laughing at Mikoto's ridiculous pet name for her youngest son. Sasuke clenched his jaw.
"I am not the little prince of your heart. Please stop calling me that."
"You look fabulous, darling. Come, let me get a picture of you with Sakura. And then one of you and Itachi. And then one of all three of you!" She continued chattering as she pulled Sasuke, who pulled Sakura, out the door and down the stairs.
Later, after they'd nicely had their eyesight taken away by the evil lady with the little flashing black box, and while she was distracted by Itachi and Fugaku, it occurred to Sakura that Itachi didn't have a date.
"Hey, Sasuke?" She spoke softly as to not spark the evil lady's interest.
"How come you had to bring a date and Itachi didn't."
"Because, this dinner is about –"
"For the love of all that is holy, Mikoto, no more pictures! Come on, Sasuke, Sakura, we're leaving! No, Itachi you cannot go double check your hair! LET'S GO!" Fugaku's voice had a terrifying quality to it, that made anyone in the vicinity sit up straighter, school their features, and agree to whatever it was that he said… and so, they were all in the car within thirty seconds.
As Fugaku was in a mood as Mikoto had whispered to them, the ride to the restaurant was spent in silence.
"And here we are, a table for six. May I ask when the last member of your party is arriving?"
"Probably within the next fifteen minutes. I'll make go make a phone call to double check." Itachi removed himself from the group and reached into his pocked to pull out his phone. He turned and walked towards the front of the restaurant as to not irritate the other patrons while Sakura watched, wide eyed and curious. She poked Sasuke.
"Who's he calling?"
"How should I know."
"Because you know."
"Probably his date."
"Sasuke." Fugaku's command for his son's attention interrupted their exchange. "Pull Sakura's chair out for her, you weren't born in a barn."
"Yes, sir." She sat and lowered her lashes demurely at his looming figure,
"Thank you, le petit prince de mon couer." His fingers tightened around the back of her chair so hard that it shook.
"Do not call me that." Waiting till he sat down next to her, she ignored is aggression and instead chose to ask a series of questions,
"So what is this dinner for, any way? And why did you need a date?"
"Ah, Sakura, the dinner is because Fugaku's making a big announcement." Mikoto chimed it, "And as far as the dates go, of course Uchihas cannot go against protocol, now can they?" The way her eyebrows had started wiggling again suggested that this was more Mikoto's idea than the family's. "Sasuke, please stop thumping you heard against the table, we're in polite society." The thumping stopped.
The waiter came by to take drink orders and Sakura took this opportunity to once again irritate Sasuke with one more question. The most important question of all.
"So who is Itachi bringing? You have to tell me. I mean, this girl is going to be my competition. Is she prettier than me? Is it the blonde in those pictures?" Sasuke abruptly stood up and pulled Sakura with him.
"Sakura's not feeling well; I'm walking her to the restroom." Without giving his parents a chance to respond, he already had them halfway across the room.
"Our sons are very strange people sometimes, Mikoto. You know this is because of your side of the family, don't you?"
"Whatever you say, darling." Mikoto absent-mindedly responded, her head too full of images of pink haired grandchildren to properly pay attention to her husband.
"Sasuke! What are you doing? I feel fine!" He pulled her into the lobby and whirled around to face her,
"What I'm doing is saving you a load of embarrassment. This is a bad idea, the only reason I agreed to it is because you were being annoying and I thought it'd be funny, but now for some reason I have this stupid feeling in my stomach like if you cry that it's my fault so I'm going to fix this right now. Itachi is – "
"Sasuke, Sakura, I want you to meet my date. This is good, I'd rather this introduction happen before our parents'." Itachi's voice came from behind her and Sasuke's face visibly fell. She had never seen so much regret in his face as she did right then. Of course, this just confused her more than anything else.
She ignored it for the moment because now was the time she'd finally lay eyes on what Itachi wanted. Her competition. What she would strive to be! As she faced away from Sasuke, her eyes found Itachi first and there, behind him. Tall, blonde, gorgeous blue eyes, slender neck, strangely broad shoulders, and wow, the flattest chest ever… and, oh Jesus Mary and Joseph.
"So, this is Sasuke, and this is his friend – though I dare say he wants it to be more than that – Sakura," He turned back to them, "And this is my boyfriend, Deidara."
"Oh my God." Sasuke's hand moved of its own accord,
"OH MY GOD." Sakura didn't notice.
"Sakura…" Sasuke was gripping her shoulder,
"OH MY GOD!"
"Sakura!" He was trying to get her to turn around,
"YOU'RE – mmmphhhhmm!!" Sakura had slapped a palm over her mouth and was dragging her backwards,
"Itachi, I'm going to take care of this, do not take him to the table till we get back!" He paused in his ministrations, "and I'm going to kill you for that introduction, bastard."
Outside of the restaurant, Sasuke reluctantly let go of the heaving Sakura,
"Um," For once in his life, he was at a loss for words, "Are you – " Of course, getting punched in the face was another first that outweighed the former one, "OW, COME ON."
"You are a complete and utter ass, Sasuke, and I, oooh, I bet you thought that was hilarious!" She had her fists balled at her side and her hair hanging in her face, "I cannot believe you!"
"I tried to tell you!" He tried very hard to glare at her from his spot on the ground,
"After convincing me that I was a lesser person for not going for it!!" She ignored his pathetic glare,
"I didn't realize you'd take me so seriously!" He struggled to get up and yell at her at the same time,
"Well, maybe your opinion matters to me, genius!" Of course, since she felt bad for hitting him, she offered him a hand,
"Well, maybe your opinion matters to me too and maybe I wasn't as okay with you … appreciating Itachi as I pretended to be." He didn't let go,
"Wait – what?"
"You're an idiot, but for some reason in my incredibly retarded brain I … like it."
"Like what?" She was surprised to feel her heart lift a little,
"Like you, moron. Even if you do 'love' my brother, I can't help it and it won't go away, so…"
"Sasuke," she paused, considering her words, "You have to know he was always the consolation prize." He shot her a small smile, "But I'm still mad at you!" Which quickly turned into a not-so-small frown, "How could you not tell me that Itachi's gay!"
"Sorry! I was going to tell you when you first mentioned it, but then you got all self righteous and it was incredibly irritating hearing you talk about my gay older brother like that. So…"
"You were trying to teach me a lesson?" She tried to crunch his finger bones which were still entwined with hers, "I might kill you." He didn't flinch and instead welcomed the tight hold, using it to pull her back inside the restaurant and towards the table.
"You can kill me later, especially now that I know you like me better than Itachi – "
"I regret having this conversation with you," But the fact that she didn't pull her hand away bellied that statement and Sasuke knew he was safe with this one.
"Come on, my parents don't know. We don't want to miss this." Itachi had not listened to Sasuke and so when they returned to the table, they found a very confused Fugaku and incredibly excited Mikoto. Fugaku was speaking as they came up to the table to take their seats,
"So you two are – "
"Yes, father." Itachi sounded irritated.
"And will there be a commitment ceremony any time soon??"
"Mother!!" Now he sounded mortified. Sasuke shot him a malicious grin. This was a mistake on his part. "Ah Sasuke, you came back, and did mine eyes deceive me or were you and Sakura holding hands?" That wiped the grin off his brother's face right-quick.
"AYE!! A double ceremony!"
"I just wanted to bring my family together to tell them that I bought a summer house in the Hamptons, and instead, I find out my oldest son has a boyfriend and my younger son is –"
"Is what, dear?" Mikoto's icy tone had interrupted her husband's musings, and he back pedaled quickly,
"Is, is dating a delightful young lady who I'm sure will do us all proud as a future Uchiha matriarch."
"… I have to go." Sakura began to pull at her hand, Sasuke refused to let go.
"If I have to sit through this, so do you."
"Itachi-chan, are all your family dinners like this?" Itachi grinned,
"Sadly, no, Dei-dei. Sadly, no."
"So, Sakura, Sasuke, when was this decided, hmmm?"
"Oh look, Itachi and Deidara are being cute, mom. Look at them. Look." Sasuke's emotionless voice had worked its magic and Mikoto's eyes spun to her eldest.
"You two are adorable! Where did I leave my camera!" Itachi groaned,
"You do realize, Sasuke, you've just started this." Sasuke's eyes widened – he wouldn't… "Sakura, did I ever tell you about Sasuke's dream journal?"
"OHMYGODIFYOUDON'TSHUTUP – I WILL DIE!"
"… Um, Sasuke?"
"That was the most ridiculous dinner party I have ever been to." Sakura grinned, "It almost makes up for the fact that Itachi will never, ever see me that way – "
"Sakura!" The two of them were in his driveway, putting her stuff into her car.
"Kidding! – Kind of, any way." She sighed, fitting the key into the lock and feeling the shift as it came open, "No, it's alright. He is what he is, and I only ever liked him because on some plane I convinced myself that if I couldn't have you – " Of course, it was difficult to finish explanations when the person you were talking to just up and interrupted you by kissing you. Sasuke pulled away,
"I don't really care, idiot." She put a finger to her lips and smiled,
"Oh well, all the better, Itachi's too pretty to be straight any how. You're much less pretty – "
"More handsome, you mean?"
"No, I mean less pretty."
"Your brother's girlfriend is too cute, Itachi-chan!" Deidara was peering out the window and Itachi couldn't help but grin,
"I know, and to think, Sasuke's been trying for two years to work up the nerve to get her, and I got it done in one day. I am a bloody genius." He laid back on the bed with a self satisfied smile, throwing the notebook he'd been skimming to the side, "Dei – as much as I love those pants, I think they'd look better on my floor…"
A/N: AND IT'S FINISHED. OMG longest one shot ever. I freaking love Itachi in this piece and I want him to be my gay BFF. He's just as scheming as in the manga though – heart, forever.
So yeah. Tell me what you thought you guyyyyzzzz. Who called it? Who didn't?
Let me know!
Okay – now I'm off to go see my girl crush. M.I.A.!!
Peace out homez.