Chapter One

You've Got the Look

A/N: This is the sequel to my 1 shot Heat. It's been a long time coming but I'm finally getting starting on it. However I must warn you that due to certain complications in my life that updating will not be as frequent as any of us would like. I decided to post this anyway since the first chapter is ready to go. Thank you Endoh and cutecrazyice for beta-ing this for me.

"I've never seen such a pretty girl look so tough."--Prince

The trio sat at a small table in a bar, sipping beer. One of the three would covertly glance at the door, as if waiting for their fourth. He had been home for two months already, and he hadn't seen her at all. He found this a trifle odd since she was the one who had confessed her undying devotion to him, yet hadn't bothered to come see him.

It annoyed him to no end.

Kakashi and Naruto didn't talk about her at all. He was beginning to doubt she was still alive.

"Is Sakura coming?" he asked suddenly. He expected them to look at him, to be surprised he had even bothered to inquire about her – but they didn't.

Naruto just shrugged. "What's that supposed to mean?" Sasuke snapped irritably.

"It means he doesn't know," Kakashi said, lifting his head from his book. Sasuke frowned.

"She's changed." Kakashi added.

"Into what?"

The two shinobi ignored him. Their eyes were glued to the door. He turned his head to follow their gaze.

"Into one hell of a woman," Kakashi answered.

And so, she swept in, like a breathtaking little thing out to knock out every heart there was.

Sakura walked into the bar. The noise that had been near deafening died down to a hush. Her hair was longer than when he last saw her – it was pulled back into a messy bun. She wore black leather pants that clung to her muscular thighs. She had on a matching leather top that resembled a corset. Every man in the bar watched her like she was…sex personified. Her hips had a light swing to them as she purposefully approached their table.

She was stopped mid-way when some poor, ignorant chump grabbed her ass. She moved so fast all he saw was a blur of pink.

She had the man instantly pinned against the wall. Her hand was around his throat and his feet dangled in the air. Sasuke couldn't hear what she said – her voice was low, and probably menacing. He expected her to knock the poor guy out, but she didn't. She lowered him to the ground, and his head bowed in what seemed to be shame. He said something to her that made the Uchiha wish that he was within hearing distance. She smiled at the man and in return, he blushed.

He blushed!

She then moved away from said man and continued on to their table.

When Sakura had reached her destination, she placed her hands flat on the table, and leaned forward – giving a wonderful display of her full, round breasts to the occupants of the table.

"Who wants to dance with me?" she asked without preamble.

Nevertheless, her team immediately became wrapped around her little finger.

Naruto struggled to get out of his chair – but, before he could stand up, Kakashi kicked it, sending him flying backwards. Kakashi then stood up and put his hand on the small of Sakura's back and led her to the dance floor. Sakura glanced back at Naruto, but disregarded him when Kakashi pulled her into his embrace.

As he watched the scene, all the while, only one thing filled Sasuke's mind.

What the hell...?

They were on a mission when he saw her again.

Team seven was reunited completely. The day was looking up, since Kakashi actually showed up on time.

What Sasuke didn't know at the time was that anytime Sakura was on a mission...the silver-haired nin was always punctual.

It should have been laughable, really.

The mission should have been easy. Truly, there wasn't a real need for all four of them to go on the mission – but the Hokage had insisted...and ninja didn't argue with her if they knew what was good for them. It was supposed to be a simple escort mission. Simple and worry-free. Sasuke should have known better than to think it would be simple because the last escort mission he had gone on with them turned into an A-rank mission.

He had a feeling the Hokage knew that was going to be the case. Sasuke was definitely going to make sure he spoke with Tsunade to ensure they got A-rank compensation.

The enemy slid in from the shadows, three attacking him at once. It was nothing he couldn't handle. However, because his attention was focused on the three in front of him, he overlooked the one that was planning to attack his back.

It didn't matter, though, because suddenly Sakura was at his back, defending it. Defending him. When realization dawned on him as to what had just happened, she had moved on and was protecting Kakashi in the same fashion that she protected him while Naruto protected the client.

It was then that he was forced to acknowledge that Sakura was no longer just a pretty face – she wasn't someone he had to worry over and protect any longer. She was someone who was worth their weight in gold – Sakura was now someone he wanted at his back and at his side.

She was becoming someone that he desired above all others.

She was strong, and she watched out for all of them. They were now called Sakura's boys when people didn't think they were around. The team was a powerhouse – no longer were they known for having the Last Uchiha, the Kyuubi container, Sharingan Kakashi or Sai the ass.

When people saw them, they thought of Sakura.

She had taken Naruto's place. She was now the backbone of the team. If not for her, he grudgingly admitted he would have died several times.

Him…Uchiha Sasuke…who knew?

She had changed her outfit. The pink was gone and in its place was a black sleeveless shirt with black skin-tight shorts. Occasionally, she wore a fishnet hunter green top over the shirt...but not often enough for him.

He liked fishnet.

It had been six months since his return, and she treated him…well, just like Kakashi, Naruto, and Sai. She never showed any preference for any of them, but he was starting to believe they all had a preference for her.

Ever since the training incident, he had noticed that his teammates had become a bit more…physical with her. He didn't like it. He didn't care for the lingering touches that Kakashi had when he touched her. Naruto's suggestive smiles made him itch to tear him down a few pegs. Most of all, though, he hated the way that Sai would get her all riled up and have her ready to knock him clear across Konoha – then the artist nin would suddenly lean down and whisper something in her ear that would make a rather fetching blush spread across her cheek. She'd hit him playfully and be as calm as the river.

She had no boyfriend. Although he knew most people wanted her, no one held her attention for long. She'd eventually get rid of the poor sap that was pining after her and move on with her life.

He grew tired of her indifference to him. When he could take it no longer, he decided to approach her.


He found her just as she was leaving the hospital. Her eyes had dark circles under them, and she looked exhausted. She still managed to smile for him, though – that same smile that she gave the others.

"Hello, Sasuke."

"I'm walking you home."

She looked too tired to fight off a baby at the moment. She nodded her head tiredly and fell into step by his side.

"What brings you here?" Sakura asked curiously. Sasuke didn't often meet her after work. That was something that she expected of Naruto, not Sasuke.

"I need to talk to you."

Sakura frowned. Sasuke didn't talk – well, not really anyway. He was simply a quiet strength that surrounded them always. It no longer bothered her. In fact, sometimes she took comfort in it.


"About us."

Sakura's stride didn't slow down. He halfway expected her to gasp or show some kind of excitement...but she didn't.

She didn't even look at him.

"What about us?"

"Do you still love me?"

"I'll always love you." She said it in a way that was strictly platonic. Almost…brotherly.

That wasn't what he meant.

Sakura moved closer to Sasuke and slipped her arm around his waist. She then proceeded to give him a quick squeeze. Sasuke didn't let her move away immediately– instead, he put his arm around her waist and gave her the same gentle squeeze. He couldn't remember the last time he had actually returned someone's embrace – but what he did know was that she felt right, so right in his arms.

Sakura drew away slowly.

"Is something wrong, Sasuke?" Her body tensed and green eyes sparkled with worry.

"I never see you." At his words, the tension eased out of her body. Her eyes flowed with an unspoken apology.

"Yeah, Kakashi says that a lot." He frowned at the mention of the copy ninja. "I'm sorry. I know I need to spend more time with you guys outside of missions. It's just that life tends to keep me so busy."

"Too busy for me?" he asked softly, yet seductively.

"Sasuke?" The questions were shining like a neon sign in her whole demeanor.

"I want you, Sakura." He reached out and pulled her close. "And I want you to want me, too."

Sakura's eyes went cloudy momentarily – but she abruptly pulled out of his tender grasp.

"Sasuke…you only want me because I'm unattainable."

He opened his mouth to protest – but she wouldn't let him.

"I love you Sasuke...but my love doesn't extend beyond friendship."


"Because—" She took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. "I'm happy as I am. I don't need you to define who I am. I already know. I'm sorry."

As she gazed at him, he knew she was hiding something. It was something that let him know that she did indeed desire him.

It was enough to let him know that he wasn't going to let her walk away easily.

"I don't accept that."

Fire leapt into the eyes that she rolled at him. She muttered under her breath. "Stubborn man." She strode away from him, and he quietly walked at her side, making sure she made it home safely.

Once Sakura was sure Sasuke was gone, her mind went over the conversation that she just had with him. He wanted them to be an item, and she had turned him down. She turned down that extremely hot, sexy, intelligent man because she was afraid.

Afraid there was something better for her out there…in the form of her teammates.

Now, given his lack of communication skills, it was an obvious fact that he had no idea how to make Sakura see how well they would work together. Since Sakura was sort of no longer willing to just fall into his arms, that meant it was going to be something of a challenge.

His first mistake was mentioning his intention to pursue Sakura to Kakashi.

"Are you serious?" The copy ninja studied him, trying to ascertain the truth of his words.

Sasuke only nodded. He expected to hear Kakashi admonish him on being careful of Sakura's feelings. He just knew that he would threaten him if he didn't take care of her. He knew a lot of things were going to come out of his mouth.

But none of them did.

Rather, Kakashi said something that threw him into a loop.

"Sorry, Sasuke. I guess Naruto, Sai and I never thought to mention it to you since, well, you never actually seemed to want Sakura. So I guess now is a good time to tell you. We have a rule regarding Sakura."

"What rule?" Sasuke asked, caution and suspicion laced in his tone.

"If one of us pursues Sakura…we all do."

Sasuke stared at the dirty old copy ninja, stunned. He knew that Naruto desired her, but...him, too?

And Sai?

Kakashi grinned at his former pupil. Although Sasuke couldn't see the mischievous smile, he knew it was there.

"Women like older men," Kakashi couldn't resist adding.

Then he disappeared into a cloud of smoke.