Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

PART IV: Back Against the Wall

"So, I was struck speechless, but that's beside the point! It was such a good opportunity and I couldn't pass it up!" She grins at me, waving the fork around her pasta, "And that is how I ended up switching from psychology to botany. I don't regret it though. I'd probably still be in school right now if I hadn't gotten out of that medical school path."

Honestly, I was afraid I had to make conversation, but Yamanaka Ino was a show of her own. Sometimes, I wonder how she can talk, eat and breathe at the same time. Then again, I also know another blond by the name of Uzumaki Naruto, who also defies all laws of physics. The guy's digestive system must be some kind of monster, given that I've never seen him chew his food.

But her company isn't bad. I mean, she did talk a lot about random shit. Though I feel that her intelligence spreads a lot further than what she's playing it out to be. The girl did think about going to medical school. And she had the looks to boot. So I guess, I shouldn't be complaining about this 'date' because tons of guys around (including the ones shamelessly ogling her at the moment) would die to be in my position.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that…it's not too bad being with her.

"Anyways," She brushes a stray strand of hair away from her face, "Enough about me! What about you, Sabaku-kun?"


I may or may not have let out a strangled noise.

She blinks at me, clear blue eyes were a dead giveaway to her amusement.

I've always hated talking about myself. Sure, I may be a recluse, but I think I'm pretty damn good at listening. It makes up for not doing the sharing. Not that there was much to share about. My life was a sob story and I'd rather not have the moms and daughters bring out their tissue boxes.

The damned girl kept staring at me. Suddenly, the air seemed hotter than summer usually warranted and—I don't think guys are supposed to have hot flashes.

"Suna, uh, I went to Suna University," I pause, glancing away from the spot over her shoulders to her attentive face.


Now I'm not sure if that was fake enthusiasm or if she was actually really excited, but I'm guessing the silence meant for me to continue.

"…I finished my Master's in Business Management about a year ago…"

This kind of reminds me of those speed dates I've seen in movies. But with my luck, Yamanaka Ino and her inquisitive gaze isn't going to stand up and rotate to the next table in about two minutes.

"It wasn't what I wanted to major in," Because I hate dealing with people, "But my father insisted, and now I'm a stand in for his company."

And…that's it.

She tilts her head to the side, shooting me a questioning look, "You know, it might just be me, but you don't seem too happy about it."

"No, I'm not," The words flew out of my mouth before I knew it.

Of course I wasn't happy about my little dilemma, but then again, when was I ever happy about anything I got dragged into?

"But there isn't anything else…I want to do," I shrug, "Besides, I owe the old man one."

Yamanaka didn't reply to my statement instantly, instead, she leans over, propping her elbow on the table while staring at me.

"So…there's nothing you want to do?"



"Yes, really."

She didn't seem convinced with my answer, her lips parting slightly and I wonder if they were as soft as they looked.


I really need to stop these thoughts. At least she's not wearing a low cut dress today. That would've probably been the end of me if she had shown up in something she usually wears on the group dates or club nights.

But I don't think I'd mind it that much. I mean, we're already turning heads and receiving incredulous stares from everyone.

"I think you'd make a great ballet dancer or something," Her eyes twinkle as she spoke slowly, aware of my lingering gaze on her.

I think I'm starting to get used to what they call the Yamanaka mind fuck. Her days of throwing me off my boat are nearly over since I have spent almost 2 hours in her company at full blast. But really? Ballet dancer?

"What…" I hesitate. Do I really want to know why she thought that of me? "What makes you say that?"

"Because…" She pauses for the waitress to set up the dessert, "Try this gelato, Sabaku-kun."

I raised a non-existent eyebrow, waiting for her to continue her explanation but all she did was return the same gesture, holding out the spoon for the triple-scoop between us.

"I totally ordered dessert without asking you, so I hope you like it. It's cioccolato fondente extra noir," She explains, extremely off-topic as she took a spoonful for herself.

I'm not sure why she's holding back from her explanation, but I might as well go with the flow. When have I not?

"It's just like ice cream," I announce, regardless of her delighted expression.

"Mmm, but it's healthier than ice cream," She retorts and noticing my skepticism, adds, "Even if it's just by a bit. Everything counts!"

Shrugging, I continue eating the gelato at a slower pace, "Well…?"

She pauses, looking at me, "Well, what?"

"You never explained."

"Explain wha-OH, oh!"

Sometimes I wonder if Yamanaka and Naruto were really related and that they're just bullshitting me.

"You know…" She answers hesitantly, I assume, trying to pick the best words. I continue eating the gelato as she spaces out, eyebrows a little furrowed in clouded thought.

"Male ballet dancers are…" Yamanaka drums her fingers absentmindedly.

I nod, waiting for her to continue. This chocolate ice cream thing is pretty damn good. She still hasn't given me an answer and I looked away from the spoon quickly enough to catch the smirk spreading across her face as she watched me eat.

"Downright hot and sexy."


"I think I like you, Sabaku Gaara-kun."


The door slams shut behind me, making the three inhabitants of the apartment jump. Well, two actually, the third just looked lazily over his shoulder.

"So Gaara!" My stupid older brother waltzes up beside me, "How…errrr…" And he quickly disappeared.

Temari hastily appears where Kankurou was, "Oh, Gaara…"

Dammit. I do not need people fawning over me right now. I'm already as disoriented as I can be. I hate being suffocated.

Kicking off my shoes, I made my way to my room.

Too bad, things never go my way. Never ever.

Temari intercepts me before I made it there and pulled me daintily towards the living room couch. I almost rolled my eyes at the sight before me. Shikamaru, for once, was seated straight up and semi-alert and Kankurou was twitching beside him. Temari seats me down across from them and she took the spot beside me, throwing her arms over my shoulders. What the fuck.

My sister squeezed my shoulder and started.

"It's okay, Gaara, it really is! Sometimes it just doesn't…yeah…just doesn't!"


Kankurou chose the moment to jump in, muddling up things up more.

"Yeah, there are always the bitchy ones. Just don't trip, bro!"

What the hell are my siblings spewing?

"She said she likes me," I deadpan and suddenly the room was silent.

"Wha-What's wrong then?" Temari hugs me happily, "Congratulations, Gaara! Your first confession!"

Well of course they don't know about why my mood was so sour. And no, I don't think Temari had to include the fact that, yes, it was also my first time getting a confession.

"Gaara?" My sister pauses, a little concerned now, "What's wrong?"

Should I tell them? Humiliating myself in front of her was enough…

"I spilled chocolate ice cream on myself," I gesture miserably towards the almost-unrecognizable dark stain on the already-dark clothing, "And then I tripped on the way out."

All three pairs of eyes were on me, "And…?"

"And what?" I wish I could bury my head my hands, "I took her back and then went home."

I think this is how it feels to be hysterical because it has just dawned on me.

I fucked up my first date.


I'm not exactly the most patient person in the world, but I don't think I've ever been this restless. Looking around the room, I figured that everyone else is at least two decades or more older than I am and that only makes me want to bang my head against the table more. The clock on the wall was ticking at the slowest rate possible. Part of me wished that it would be 11:00AM already so I can get out of this damned meeting of old men. The other part of me knew what I had to face during that lunch hour.

And just the thought of that made my empty stomach lurch and I almost gagged. This whole ordeal was going to give me an ulcer or something.

As the meeting adjourned, I numbly thanked the members for coming beside my father and quickly excused myself.

"Oh Gaara," President Sabaku smiles at me, "Would you stay for lunch? Uchiha Fugaku is bringing his sons, Itachi and Sasuke to lunch and I'd like you to get acquainted with them."

"Ah," Now how am I supposed to decide?

Mulling it over, I decide that I'd visit Yamanaka after lunch. After all, I'd get to formally meet this so-called Uchiha Sasuke now.

"Of course," I manage to grate, "I'd be happy to stay."


Formalities were something I was never really taught, after all, who'd want to introduce their illegitimate son around town?

"Uchiha Sasuke," The dark haired male introduces himself without much of a smile, "Nice to meet you."

"Sabaku Gaara," I answer, same neutral expression, "Likewise."

Lunch came and left with the two older men talking about business or whatever the hell is up with the economy and their company. It also seems like Uchiha Itachi is the knowledgeable one between the two sons too because as hard as Uchiha Sasuke can try to mask it, I can tell he had no fucking clue what was going on.

Now it made me wonder about that meeting in the café with Haruno, Yamanaka and Uchiha Sasuke.

Obviously, Haruno and the Uchiha were together, but where does Yamanaka stand in this? I probably should've asked Shikamaru more. He has a tendency to know everything and say nothing. Not because he's an ass (like some people), but I think he just feels it's a waste of breath (and brain space for the other party).

"My, Itachi, I'm quite surprised you haven't thought about getting married yet," My father laughs and Uchiha Fugaku joins in.

The male across from me slightly tensed as he watched Uchiha Itachi's reaction.

I understand how brothers of the same blood can be different as night and day. I mean, Kankurou is a moronic idiot, and I am…I guess a little above average.

So between the two brothers in front of me, the younger one seems quite displeased with the question as the older one laughs it off.

"Oh, I've thought about it," Uchiha Itachi smiles lightly with some kind of remorse I can't place.

"Really?" My father probes. I'm hoping he isn't getting ideas to set me up or something.

"Yes, there was one," The older brother glances at his agitated younger brother, "The one that got away."

I think it is safe to say that everything got a little awkward after that.


I have a bad habit of getting caught up in other people's paces. After the entire tour of Sharingan Inc., I manage to make it back to my car and rush across town—hopefully making it there before the shop closes. Like honestly, I didn't know men talked about feelings that way. We went through Uchiha Itachi's entire sob story about his lost love—or whatever—and handed out moral support for him to find another suitable girlfriend, maybe fiancée.

Though, I smirked to myself, whoever the girl was, I give her props for doing a number on the Uchiha brothers. I don't think Uchiha Itachi was the only one uncomfortable since Uchiha Sasuke seemed more agitated than he should be.

Luckily, there was a street parking open and I quickly pulled in and hopping out without much grace. I stumble once again towards the door of the shop just in time to see her reach for the 'OPEN' sign, ready to turn it over.

Grinning, she opens up the door before I can reach for it, "Gaara-kun! What a surprise to see you here!"

Gah. Did she just take it in to call me by my given name?


I'm not sure why, but there was a slight satisfactory feeling for her to call me that. The feeling was a little flighty, slightly uncomfortable but not unwelcomed.

The blonde pulled me into the store, flipping the sign to 'CLOSED' as she bustled towards the register, "Just hold on a bit so I can clean up and we can leave."

"Ah, sure," I stared at her fumble around, moving potted plants to designated locations she only knew. The bag in my right hand suddenly seemed extremely heavy and I felt incredibly out of place just standing there, surrounded by flowery fragrances.

"Do you need help?"

She stops and stares at me. Gah, me and my stupid mouth.

Yamanaka laughs and ushers me towards a chair, "Just relax here. You seem more flustered than usual. Did you run here? I'll finish this up quickly."

Like she said, the blonde was efficient in cleaning up in just a couple minutes as she was soon washing her hands and hanging up her apron. Turning around, she stares at me with those unreadable eyes and I suddenly feel a little light-headed.

"So, what brings you here, Gaara-kun?" She smiles, cocking her head to the side as she stops at the counter right in front of me.

"I—uh—I…" Wait, why was I here again?

Damn, now I just seem like a stalker.

No. No I can't be a stalker because she said she liked me first.

Wait, she said she thinks she likes me.


What did Temari say again? Oh yeah, bring her the chocolates, apologize for flipping out on her the other day, and ask her on another date.




Did she just lean closer? And did she smell like vanilla? Something along the lines of flowery vanilla, but I can't really place it. But all I knew is she smelled nice. As boisterous as she was, Yamanaka somehow snuck herself into my subconscious and I can't seem to stop thinking about her. I don't know if it's love, or like, or just plain attraction in some sort of way, but I think I enjoy it. I'm not saying I'm a masochist or anything, but the queasiness also brings some sort of satisfactory feeling with it when I see her.

"Haha…" My thoughts are starting to derail and I think I've become a little mentally unstable.

She looks at me questioningly, placing a hand on my bare arm, shooting little electric shocks into my skin.


My eyes were glued shut and I could feel beads of sweat on my forehead as silence settled.

"I'm sorry, Gaara," She whispers as I snap my eyes open.


My eyes darted over her shoulder. I'm so fucking confused. Didn't she say she likes me? Did I read too far into what she meant? Maybe she only meant to like me as a friend. Oh fucking shit. I've fucked up again, haven't I? I've overestimated myself once again. I mean, how can a girl-friendless guy like me suddenly get a bombshell to like him? I'm a complete loser. And right now, I wish I could disappear.

"I'm sorry, you were mumbling. Can you say it a little louder?"


The grin on her face was recognizable. Does…she enjoy making me suffer? It took me by surprise naturally. Of course I didn't flip out or anything, but I just stood there as she grabbed me.

"Or do I have to make you say it?"

And she kissed me.

And…I just stood there awkwardly as she pulled away slightly, smirking at me, "Well?" Her arms were still wrapped around my neck and her body pressed against me as I leaned as far back as I could against the chair. It totally slipped my mind what Shikamaru had said.

What Ino wants, Ino gets.

"I…I think I like you…too," I manage to stammer before her lips met mine again. I remember musing about her lips before, and just for the fact, they're softer than I thought. I just wished mine weren't so chappy. Why the hell am I thinking about this shit right now?

At this point, I think I moved instinctively, wrapping my arms around her tiny waist as she pushed me back further into the chair.

Then there was tapping on the window or door or something. And I think it freaked me out a bit because I pulled away and Yamanaka used the distraction to push me into the chair.

"Store's closed," She breathed against my ear and I realized she was on the chair, on my lap.

The incessant tapping didn't stop though.

Huffing, she pulled away and slid off the chair, straightening out her dress, a frown across her face.

"I'll be right back," She winks at me and saunters off to probably kill whoever is at the door.

I can feel the heat flushing towards my face. It's the first time I've kissed anyone. Hell, it's the first time anyone's kissed me. And then proceeded to get on my lap and undress me.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

I heard her voice raise a pitch from the front of the store. Then there was another voice, deeper, a male voice. Which made me curious, and I made my way off the chair and towards the front.

"Well I don't want to talk!" I can just picture her flailing her arms in the air. Who the hell was it at the door?

I caught a glimpse of dark hair as I walked over to Yamanaka from the side. Turning my head, lo and behold, I meet Uchiha Sasuke.


Ohhhhh myyy. When was the last time I updated?! Haha, I am incredibly sorry for the long wait! But I will try getting this story finished (at least). I know Gaara's a little OOC, but let's just deal with it. Thanks a bunchhhh for reading and keeping up with my horrible updating times.

Anyways, please read and review!