Chapter Twenty-One: From the Heart
"W-what? Did he just imply that he…?" Sakura asked. Her eyes widened, disbelief rushing through her body. She had stiffened at the sight of Uchiha Sasuke pulling Higurashi Kagome—the little bitch!—toward his body, and now she was not entirely certain she had heard him correctly.
Another Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club member took a tentative step backward, her mouth falling open. Tears began to form at the edge of her eyes, as a sudden cry escape from her throat. It attracted the attention of the rest of the fan club easily enough, and then she cried out in horror. "S-Sasuke-kun, he—!"
"No! No, he didn't!" Asuka suddenly snapped. She refused to believe that—!
"You heard it!" the original girl snapped back. "We all heard it!"
Mayu remained rooted in her spot, refusing to speak in fear that her voice would crack in anguish. Asuka, as usual, was just being an idiot. The stupid girl just could not bring herself to believe that Uchiha Sasuke had admitted to—to—!
Another girl suddenly broke out into sobs, dramatically shaking her head and throwing her face into her hands. She appeared to have broken down completely, reality sinking in, and it was clear that her actions were infectious. Other girls broke down beside her just as dramatically, wailing into their hands.
"S-stop it!" Asuka cried. "You just misunderstood him! Yeah!" The girl nodded quickly, trying to convince herself. "That's it! You just misunderstood him! He didn't actually say anything; you're all just assuming the worst! He's still—!"
"Oh, shut up, Asuka!" Mayu yelled, unable to stop the few tears that dripped from beneath her lashes.
"Hmhp." The Hyuuga Neji Fan Club member gazed about them in interest, a smirk lightening her features. Then, she said, "If I had known this was all it would take to make you all break down, I would have tried to make it happen a long time ago."
"This—" Sakura's eyes blazed suddenly, her ears hearing only what she wanted to hear at that point, "—this is all your fault."
"Um, excuse me?" Mizuki flipped her hair over her shoulder, before leaning her hip into the hand that she had placed upon it. Because, really, that was a bit too far. While she just loved to see them all fail miserably at obtaining Uchiha Sasuke's heart, she was not the type to purposely make another person cry.
"You just wanted Hyuuga Neji so much for yourself that you—you-!" Sakura shrieked. She could not control herself in that moment, as she was faced with the reality that Uchiha Sasuke, the boy she loved through and through, had set his sights on someone else. That while he knew he held her constantly bleeding heart, he had gladly taken the chance and crushed it between his beautifully cruel fingers.
Large, wet tears spilled down her cheeks immediately after.
"Oh, yes," Mizuki spat, "because I, clearly, have the godly ability to decide how and when someone will decide to start developing feelings for another person!" Her honey colored eyes took great pleasure in watching Sakura cry, as she added, "You're such an idiot, Sakura, you know that?"
"J-just, shut up!"
"And why should I?" Mizuki challenged. "It was about damn time that you were knocked off that high horse you've seated yourself on! Sasuke-kun! Sasuke-kun! Do you honestly think that just because you like someone, you're automatically better than everyone else?"
The other members of the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club scowled at Mizuki's tone, but, silently, they all agreed with her statement. Sakura, since the moment she was forced into presidency by Ino's betrayal, had been a real pain. And even if it broke each and every heart, knowing their precious Sasuke-kun wanted the one person they tried so hard to keep him from, it was a delight to see her cry.
Blinded by anger, Sakura took a step toward the Hyuuga Neji Fan Club member. She had every intention of striking that superior scowl from her face, but a large, firm hand gripping her shoulder halted her movement. Glancing behind her, her emerald eyes wild, she deflated slightly when Iruka-sensei came into her vision.
"Sakura—" Iruka knew that he had to do something before violence broke out between the two girls, "—while I understand that you've always held strong feelings for Sasuke, sometimes, if you truly love that person, it is best to let them go."
Blinking through tears, the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club members watched as Haruno Sakura suddenly flung herself at Iruka-sensei. She grabbed at his chuunin vest tightly, letting out a wail, before she began to sob loudly against him.
Iruka glanced down at the pink haired kunoichi-in-training sadly, as he said, "Violence never solves anything, Sakura."
"—I," her blush increased, as the boy seemed to subconsciously pull her closer to him by her waist, "well, I—"
"I knew it!" Naruto suddenly proclaimed. "I knew that it had to be you, you bastard! You were so fast to deny that you would given anything to, well, anyone, that I just knew it had to be you!"
The Uchiha boy chose to ignore the blonde, instead focusing on the beautiful blue depths staring up at him. After all, the idiot was just being as annoying as always. And, while it was obvious that his little act was meant to keep Kagome from knowing that he, himself, knew, he had stopped her from finishing her sentence.
Glancing away from his gaze, Kagome muttered, "Um…"
Stomping his foot, Naruto ignored the heated glare that the dark haired boy cast in his direction. "Damn it!" he shouted. "Will you two stop ignoring me? I exist, damn it!"
Shifting her gaze nervously, Kagome put her hand on Sasuke's chest and pushed a little. His proximity was making it difficult to think, especially after he had confessed to having given her the cute little nin-cat charm she'd found on her desk nearly a month ago. "Um," she bit her lip, "I'm really sorry, Naru—"
"First—!" Naruto pouted, "—you're all like, 'Let's ignore poor little Naruto, my best friend, and train together, Sasuke~! I know I totally promised him, but you are just oh, so cute!' And now you're both all like, 'You're so cute! No, you're so cute! No, you're cuter!' Do you see yourselves? This is what you are becoming!"
"Oh, will you give it a rest, Naruto?" Inuzuka Kiba growled from the sideline. Once the blonde focused his attention on him, the Inuzuka allowed a smirk to cross his face. Then, wagging his eyebrows, he added, "They're just too focused on other things, y'know?"
"Ugh!" Naruto shivered, "Ew! That's my best friend you're talking about, ya pervert!"
"Hey, I'm not—!"
Deciding it was best to ignore Naruto at the moment, the Higurashi girl managed to use the distraction to remove herself from Sasuke's grip. His hand remained on her wrist, holding onto her, while he gazed down into her face, and she felt her heart give a small, impressive leap. "Uh," she swallowed, trying to fight off her blush. "T-thank you."
The contact left Sasuke in a much similar state, though his blush was not nearly as noticeable. "You're welcome," he muttered softly. The butterflies in his stomach were intense, and he suspected it was from the sheer joy he felt knowing Kagome had yet to pull away from his hand.
"I, well that is, I just—" It was hard to think, even when she turned her head away, knowing that he was focused so completely on her. Even when there was a horde of crying girls nearby; each and every one of them probably as confused as she was. "I just—" Boy, she was starting to feel really stupid. "Uh… thank you, again."
A smirk lifted the corner of his mouth, as he continued to watch her. She was so flustered it was adorable, and he did not see any reason to ruin the moment. Especially every time she forced the butterflies inside him to flutter wildly by simply glancing up from beneath her dark lashes.
The familiar burning sensation rushing through her, as his dark eyes gazed upon her with the same intensity as when he had frightened away his fan club, Kagome felt her mouth open silently. Her blush spread a little further, if that was possible, and she finally knew the answer she had been searching for, for the last few days. So, quietly, she stated, "…yes."
His brow dipped down, as confusion swam into his mind. "What?"
Lifting her gaze, she allowed her blue eyes to lock with his onyx colored pair. She smiled slightly, knowing then that what she felt was real, as she looked upon his handsome face. "Yes."
His eyes widened slightly, as realization dawned upon him. "A-are you—?" he asked, though his voice was a mere whisper.
She nodded, her smile brightening, and said, "Yes, I'm saying that—" she swallowed loudly, "—that I'll go on a date with you."
"Oh my god!" Ino squealed suddenly. "That is so damn cute!"
"Yeah, it's freaking adorable," Naruto said, making a face. He was happy for his friend, but he could have done without the lovey dovey, oh so happy smiles and glances. "Though, I've gotta say, that at least that stupid little charm is a lot better gift than the—"
Despite the large distraction Sasuke was proving to be, Kagome's head twisted suddenly in Naruto's direction when she realized that he was about to give away her secret. Her mouth opened to stop him, as her eye twitched wildly, and she felt the Uchiha boy stiffen at the look that crossed her face.
"—twenty something stalker photos of himself that Neji gave her!"
The Hyuuga Neji Fan Club member, Mizuki, made a face. "Stalker photos?" she mumbled.
"NAR-U-TO!" Kagome suddenly exploded.
Sensing the monster, despite her raging hiss, Naruto back peddled quickly. "Kagome, I didn't—!" He raised his uninjured hand in an attempt to appease her, but it was clear from the way she growled that that was impossible. "I swear I didn't!"
"I'll kill you!"
A high-pitched scream escaped the boy, and he turned tail the moment the Higurashi girl took a threatening step in his direction. "Run!" he yelled. "Everybody run for it!"
"Uuugh, my head," Naruto whined.
"Oh, shut up," Kagome mumbled. Did he honestly think that his pity act would work on her after what he did? After he—ugh—! "I should make you do my gardening for a year."
Scowling, Naruto glanced away from his best friend angrily. "Yeah, well, at least I'm not all giggly over some boy." After all he had done for her, and this was how he was going to be treated? Sure, she was completely and utterly oblivious and, thus, had no idea he had had a hand in anything, but still!
"I'm not the boy that turns himself into a girl in front of perverts for fun," Kagome replied, while huffing.
"Pft, they deserve it!"
"Doesn't change the fact," she said.
"You—!" puffing out his cheeks, Naruto squinted his eyes at her, "—You're impossible!"
Huffing again, the Higurashi girl merely turned her head away from him. He had been there when she received the envelope; he had helped her burn all the evidence; he had helped her avoid Neji for some time out of embarrassment; and he had said that he would never tell anyone. It had been a promise, damn it, and he broke it!
She had every right to be angry!
Knowing how stubborn the girl could be, Naruto released the air from his puffed up cheeks. "Look," he glanced away, "I'm sorry, ok?"
Pausing in step, she glanced over her shoulder at him. He refused to look at her, scowling, and she allowed a little bit of a scowl to form on her own lips. "You knew that I didn't want you to tell anyone," she reminded him softly. "It's embarrassing."
"Yeah, well, I've got a big mouth," Naruto reminded her.
Gazing upon her friend, Kagome felt her anger deflate a little. There had been countless times where he had almost given away her secret, yet she had been the one that stopped him each time. It was really just a matter of time before he finally let it slip. "I know…"
Catching her eye, Naruto asked, "You forgive me, right?"
"I guess," she replied. She definitely did not like it, but this was Uzumaki Naruto she was talking to. He was the most forgetful, loud mouth that she knew, yet that did not change the fact that he was her best friend. "I guess I'm sorry that I hit you earlier, too."
The blonde shinobi-in-training was definitely not too keen on her answer, either, but he supposed that it was the best he was going to get for now. It had been something pretty big that he had let slip, after all. And, while she would not say it, he could tell that it really bothered her from the way she was rubbing her arm.
The awkward silence settling in, Kagome kicked a small pebble beneath her foot.
"Hey," the blonde finally said. "Did you know I had this really awesome prank that I wanted to do?"
"You always have a really awesome prank that you want to do." A small smile worked its way onto her face at the thought, as she remembered the last one that ended with them both running wildly from a horde of Uchiha police. "And, besides, you'd better not say anything about it here. There might be Uchiha listening."
"Pft!" Naruto waved his hand. "I'm not afraid of a few Uchiha!"
"Are you sure?" she asked, grinning. "The last time we were almost caught, you looked like you might pee your pants."
"N-nuh uh!" he gasped. "And, besides, this prank is way cooler than that one!"
"Yeah!" Naruto grinned wickedly, as he turned on his heel and pointed toward the monument that could be seen from any part of the village. "I want to paint that!"
"You want to paint Hokage Mountain?" Kagome asked. She shuffled her feet, unsure of Naruto's current train of thought, since she had grown up with her grandfather spouting stories time and again about the monument. To throw paint all over it would be a disgrace, even if it was only a simple prank.
Naruto grinned, nodding. "And, you know, you have to help me!"
"Um, no?" Kagome laughed nervously.
"What?" Naruto scowled. "You have to help me, Kagome! Do you see my arm? I can't carry buckets by myself, and I probably won't be able to carefully propel myself far enough without your help."
"It's just," Kagome tried to reason with him, "that's Hokage Mountain."
"It's just a bunch of faces carved into the side of a mountain, Kagome," Naruto fought back. "I, personally, think that the paint will help spice it up a bit, y'know." He grinned suddenly, his eyes twinkling, as he added, "Or, maybe, you're afraid of getting caught by an Uchiha."
"Of course not!" she huffed.
"Which reminds me," Naruto chuckled, "when is your, oh, how to put this, big day?"
Smirking, the Higurashi girl thought it best to counter his attempt to embarrass her further by embarrassing him. "Why do you have so much interest in Sasuke all of a sudden, Naruto? You say you hate him, but—"
"Hey, I have every right to know when some bastard is taking my best friend on a date!" Naruto cut her off, not trusting her tone enough to let her finish the sentence. She was an evil, evil, evil girl when she wanted to be, after all, and there was no telling what was going on in her head.
Shaking her head, Kagome turned on her heel and began to walk once more.
"H-hey!" Naruto shouted. "That's not answering my question!"
"Tomorrow," she sighed, before smiling brightly. "Tomorrow."
The Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club was in chaos even after the Academy had let out for the day. It was common for them to ban together to make certain that no one, whether they were shinobi or civilian, had the chance to interact with Uchiha Sasuke on his walk home. Yet, today it appeared that that tradition was going to be broken.
Even Sakura, the club president, had not bothered to show.
"We still have a chance!" Asuka said, her voice determined. "Sasuke-kun may have started to develop feelings for that stupid Higurashi, but there's still a chance that he'll get bored!"
"Asuka, give it up," Mayu sighed. She, unlike Asuka, had not been an Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club member for most of her life and accepted the fact that, maybe, it had been their own behavior that caused Sasuke to turn away from any of them. It was hard, sure, but, sadly, it was reality.
"Oh, shut up, Mayu," Asuka growled. "You might not believe it, but once Sasuke-kun gets bored with that stupid Higurashi—and he will!—the rest of us will prove to him that we've always loved him! And then he'll pick one of us, instead of someone like you!"
Her silver colored eyes narrowing, Mayu stood suddenly. "You're so delusional," she said, as she turned on her heel. It hurt, knowing that she was walking away from the one boy she had chosen to place her heart with, but she knew that it was for the best. She refused to be seen as a fool, especially if Asuka was proven wrong.
"Oh, this is just terrible!" Emiko cried. "Just terrible!"
Asuka glared in her direction, huffing. "Everything is terrible, terrible, terrible with you, Emiko," she hissed. "But, I'm telling you! Sasuke-kun will throw that stupid Higurashi away like yesterday's trash! It's only a matter of time! And, when he realizes that she's not worthy of the name Uchiha, one of us will step in and help him find his way!"
"It doesn't matter anyway, Asuka," Reina sighed. "Without Sakura, the rules state that we are not allowed to—"
"Fuck the rules!" Asuka clenched her fist, as she continued, "Sakura has abandoned us! She has given up, something I refuse to do, and its only fair that we choose a new president to continue what she obviously can't."
"What do you think we should do, Asuka?" a girl asked from the back.
Grinning in triumph, Asuka began her speech, "I think that we should continue as we always have. We've endured this entire time: without Yamanaka, without Leiko, and we'll still endure without Sakura! We can't just sit here and cry! Yes, I know it hurts, but Sasuke-kun is just confused. He's the smartest shinobi of our generation, so there's no doubt in my mind that he'll be quick to dump that stupid Higurashi. We," she paused, "just might have to help him a little."
Emiko wiped at her tears, as she asked, "What do you mean by that?"
"You all heard it, I'm sure," Asuka nodded to herself. "Sasuke-kun plans to take his little toy on this outing—" she refused to use the term "date," as it was clear to her that Sasuke was only confused by the meaning, "—tomorrow. It is our duty, as the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club, to put a stop to this!"
Reina frowned a little, saying, "Don't you remember, though? The last time we attempted to do anything to Higurashi, Sasuke-kun started spitting fire at us."
"Ha!" Asuka chuckled. "You're just over thinking, Reina, like always. Sasuke-kun only did that because he was afraid that Leiko, an Uchiha like himself, would hurt the thing that he decided to play with. That would be impossible, after all, if she were stuck in a hospital bed."
"I think you're wrong," Reina said firmly. "I think that Sasuke-kun—!"
"Sasuke-kun was not spitting fire at us!" Asuka snapped.
"Oh?" Reina scowled. She definitely did not like the fact that Asuka just decided that since she was the one with the biggest mouth, she was going to run everything. "And, who was he throwing fire at then, Asuka?"
"Leiko, of course!"
"Leiko was still one of us then!"
The Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club began to whisper amongst themselves, as Asuka and Reina bickered back and forth. They, too, did not appreciate Asuka's attitude now that she believed she was the one in charge. Several girls even walked away, intent on going home to cry some more.
"Oh, shut up, will you!" Asuka growled.
"You just think that you're big now because Sakura isn't around to put you in your place!" Reina growled back. "Despite what you've obviously decided, Sakura is still the club president until there is a vote among those remaining stating otherwise. And, even then, it has to be a club vote to decide whether or not you're fit to lead us."
"Well," Asuka hissed, "why don't we put it to a vote then? Who here believes that Haruno Sakura, the girl that has abandoned us in our greatest time of need, is fit to still be president of the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club? Anyone? Anyone?"
Very few girls remained, but among those that did, no one raised a single hand.
"There!" Asuka smirked, "Are you happy now, Reina?"
Reina, however, was not deterred. "And I ask you, members of the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club, do you believe that Miyake Asuka is fit to be your club president? Those in favor, please, raise your hand."
Hesitantly, Emiko allowed her hand to lift.
"Emiko?" Reina blinked. "Why do you think Asuka would…?"
"Well," Emiko sniffled, "while I don't agree with her attitude, Asuka was the only one that tried to keep us all together. This situation is simply terrible, and yet she is trying, at the very least."
As whispers broke out among the remaining Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club members, more hands lifted into the air.
"I don't see anyone else even doing that much," Emiko added.
Asuka smiled brightly, watching as Reina turned her head away when it appeared she was the odd man out. "That's so sweet of you all," Asuka sighed. "Thank you. And, of course, as the new president of the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club, I will do everything in my power to make certain that it is one of us that Sasuke-kun picks to stand by his side forever!"
Emiko clapped for a moment, before it became apparent that no one planned to follow suit. "Congratulations," she mumbled.
"Which leads me to my next order of business—" Asuka could not believe that this had happened to her. She was the president of the Uchiha Sasuke Fan Club! She decided who was first pick on the Weekend Uchiha Watch; who stayed and who joined; who—Oh! The list went on! "—we will not be doing something so stupid as trying to harm Higurashi! No! We will, instead, merely do everything in our power to make it seem that Sasuke-kun's outing is a bad omen between the two!"
"And how will we do that?" Reina bit out.
"Well," Asuka flipped her hair over her shoulder, "first of all, we're going to—"
His sandals slipped off easily, before the dark haired Uchiha glanced behind him at the sound of the door opening once more. Itachi gazed upon his brother curiously, taking immediate interest in the way he held his head high. If Itachi did not know better, he would almost have said that it appeared his brother held the world in his hand and adored it.
Sasuke, however, paused at the sight of his brother. His lip turned down instantly, as he said, "I thought you were out on some ANBU business, Itachi?"
"It is a pleasure to see you, as well, Sasuke."
Toeing his sandals off beside the door, Sasuke cast a glance at his brother. He had been doing that lately. It was almost as if he was attempting to tell some little joke that only he, himself, would understand. "Tch," he muttered, "whatever."
As he moved to walk down the hallway leading further into the Uchiha manor, Itachi's voice stopped him. "Tell me, Sasuke," he asked, "why are you so pleased with yourself? Did you, perhaps, manage the impossible?"
Sasuke did not bother to answer the Uchiha prodigy, though he did allow himself the chance to glance over his shoulder and smirk. Itachi's merely blinked, but there was little doubt that the great and noble Uchiha Itachi understood the gesture. He was, after all, the genius of the Uchiha clan.
Then, deciding that he had been within his brother's presence long enough, Sasuke quickly fled down the hallway. He shoved his hands into his pockets, as he finally rounded a corner and found his destination. He knew he probably could have found the room with his eyes closed, considering the amount of noise his mother was making as she shuffled through an array of pots.
Glancing to his left, Sasuke was slightly surprised to find his father seated at the table. It was a normal occurrence for him to stay at the police station until six o'clock sharp, yet it was clear he had arrived early from the steaming cup of coffee set before him. "Father."
Fugaku lifted his brow at the smirk his son cast him.
Mikoto turned at the sound of her youngest son's voice, smiling at the sight of him. "Hello, Sasuke," she greeted him. "Did you see your brother when you arrived? I thought I heard the door open twice."
"Mother," Sasuke greeted her in return. He did not bother to answer her question, since it was clear that she already knew Itachi had arrived home early. She did, after all, appear as if she was planning on making dinner early tonight.
Her dark eyes twinkling, Mikoto said, "You seem quite pleased with yourself today, Sasuke. Did something exciting happen at the Academy?"
Though his mother turned back to what she was doing previously, Sasuke nodded. "Yes," he said, "yes, something very exciting happened today, mother."
As Mikoto turned her head, even Fugaku gave his son a curious glance. "Oh?" she asked. "And what was that?"
"Tomorrow, I have a date." His mother was sure to be pleased with that one. She was, after all, the one that silently encouraged him to interact more with those of the female variety.
A smile blossomed on the Uchiha matriarch's face, as she turned on her heel to gaze upon her little boy. "Really?" she asked. "Oh, how exciting! Did you finally accept one of those girls' that's always asking you, Sasuke? I knew that eventually you would find one that caught your interest."
Glancing again at his father, Sasuke said, "I will be taking Higurashi Kagome, mother."
"Higurashi Kagome?" Mikoto blinked. "Higurashi? Higurashi? Oh!" Her smile seemed to brighten a little, as she recalled the young girl from somewhere. "You mean the pretty little girl with dark blue eyes that sits behind you, yes?"
"Oh, Sasuke, I'm so happy for you."
As that familiar glazed look overtook his mother, Sasuke swallowed. She had often hoped that Itachi would settle down soon, thus granting her grandchildren to play with, but, as it stood, it appeared that she was now imagining another set of children squealing around her.
And, indeed, Mikoto hoped that her future would be filled with dark haired, blue-eyed little ones. Her grandchildren would be delighted to see her, begging her to play with them, and, if her dream came true, all of them would be girls.
Fugaku, sipping from his cup, frowned at his wife's expression.
Sighing softly, Mikoto said, "This will be your first date. My little boy's first date."
Sasuke merely nodded. It was best not to distract his mother while she was stuck in her blissful daydream.
"It has to be perfect—"
Fugaku sighed. He, too, knew it was best not to distract the Uchiha matriarch while she was in this state. And, while he did not approve of his son pursuing the Higurashi girl before he rose back into the number one rookie position, he knew that his wife would have a different opinion.
"—Oh! I'll take care of everything for you, Sasuke!" Mikoto smiled. "It'll be perfect, I promise. I'll set everything out somewhere near the river, and I'll have all the snacks prepared, and, oh, I'm so happy for you!"
"Thank you, mother."
Mikoto appeared unaware of the gratitude, as she sighed blissfully. Grandchildren were in her future, she was sure of it. Dark haired, blue-eyed grandchildren.
KibaSin: Yes, Mikoto is a hopeless romantic that really wants grandchildren. Oh, and I've found my inspiration for this story again after reading it all. :D