Part I: The One Who Really Loves You
"Oh, my gosh. I love Tsunade!"
"She just feels guilty because she kept us from having fun during winter break."
"Kiba, that is so not true. I still refuse to believe Tsunade did it on purpose."
"Ino, you are so naive."
"And you're a hillbilly!" the blond-haired girl retorted quite loudly for everyone to hear.
Everyone happened to be relaxing and kicking it back in Naruto and Sasuke's rec room; it was a fantasy finally come true after so many weeks of doing nothing but hanging out in Kakashi's boring classroom.
Kiba crossed his arms looking completely smug. "Hillbillies are cool." he stated as a matter of fact.
"Did you know hillbillies marry their own sister slash brother?" Konohamaru replied, and everyone knew it was unnecessary.
"Is that why Kiba's so retarded?" Sasuke retorted, lying casually on one of the couches, reading the daily newspaper.
Kiba sneered at him.
Sitting next to the furniture that occupied Sasuke, Sakura sat on the floor next to him and frowned. "Who the fuck told you that, Kono?"
He shrugged. "Naruto." he said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Of course." everyone muttered.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Naruto lifted his head from the game he and Shikamaru were playing, and glared at everybody.
Sakura ignored him. "Kono, don't believe everything Naruto says. Sometimes it's really wrong."
Sasuke looked confused. "Wait. Aren't you some kind of genius or something?" he said, looking directly at Naruto.
The supposed genius shrugged. "That's what I thought."
His pink-haired BF gave him a look. "Besides the pranks, you're a genius when you're serious (which really isn't all the time). So most of the time when you're a hyperactive idiot, whatever you say is bull." she dodged the playful push she was about to receive from Naruto.
"But what if he is right?" questioned Konohamrau.
Sakura sighed. "Well, who knows. Maybe hillbillies do marry their siblings. Maybe not. I have no idea."
"Where did you get your resources anyway, dobe?" asked Sasuke in curiosity.
Naruto snorted arrogantly. "The only reliable source there is, teme: Wikipedia."
"Of course." everyone synchronized.
"Whoa, wait!" Ino shouted, causing the room to freeze. "When did this conversation suddenly turn to hillbillies?"
"You brought it up." Kiba muttered.
He was ignored. "I was talking about the dance Tsunade's setting up this week." she said, disappointed with everyones' ignorance through such an important event.
Sakura looked thoughtful. "I wonder who's gonna ask me to the dance?"
"Don't even think about it." Sasuke gave her a look and returned to reading the newspaper.
"I already told you: I hate dances."
Naruto snorted. "Yeah. What's so good about buying stupid-lookin' tuxedos only to be humiliated afterwards knowing it's not the tuxedos making us look stupid, but our fuckin' dance moves."
"Exactly." said Konohamru knowledgeably.
"You've never even been to a school dance, Konohamaru." Naruto rolled his eyes pathetically towards him.
"You can count me out, because I'm not going to that shit-excuse for a dance. It's so troublesome." said Shikamaru bitterly.
"Aw. That's too bad." Ino sighed teasingly. "Because I was just about to ask you-"
"Where should I meet you?" he perked up for the first time in a rare while.
Ino smirked. "My room, of course."
"I'll see you there in a few weeks." he saluted.
Naruto gaped. "Shikamaru, you traitor! What happened to our 'we hate dances and will despise it for the rest of our lives' club!?" he questioned, shaking the spiky-haired boy's shoulders hoping it would bring his senses back to normal
"Well, this time I got a date." Shikamaru shrugged.
The blue-eyed boy groaned in misery and fell back onto the couch next to Sasuke's. "I hate Tsunade's dances." he grumbled under his breath.
"I don't understand why." said Sakura, playing with Sasuke's hair. "I enjoy her dances a lot, and there's a lot of importance to it, too."
Naruto made a disgusted sound.
"Seriously. It's important for a guy to take a girl to a school dance."
"And every teenage girl dreams of the day."
"Well, the muffins are actually pretty good." Naruto said in consideration.
Sakura genuinely smiled. "So, who are you planning to take to the up-and-coming dance?" she leaned an arm against the edge of his shoulder.
"I ain't going to the stupid dance!" he whined.
Ino and Sakura gave each other smug looks. "I guess Hinata will have to find another date to go with, then."
Naruto froze. "What?"
"Oh, don't you know?" Sakura almost laughed at the funny expression on his face. "Hinata LOVES school dances. She told me herself." a glint of evil sparked in her emerald eye.
Sasuke inwardly scoffed at Sakura's evil plan to make Naruto go to the dance. Her schemes didn't work on him, so what makes her think it will work on Naruto?
"What color is she gonna wear? Should I make myself match?" Naruto panicked.
Letting out a breath of frustration, Sakura's eyes remained glued to the floor, deep in thoughts. The unexpected break up with Sai was heart-wrenching, and of course she felt incredibly bad for him, but she couldn't help but think about Sasuke. There's no doubt about it; she's in love with him. So why isn't there anything 'romantic' happening between them? Everything's fine, GREAT, when surrounded by groups of people. But alone time? It's nothing but awkwardness and discomfort.
"You okay?" Sasuke tilted his head, noticing Sakura stopped in her attempts to braid his hair (he didn't quite know how she got him to agree to it). "Fine. I'll take you to the dance." He gave in.
Naruto looked flabbergasted. "Not you too!"
"You're going with Hinata." Sasuke frowned.
"I'm not sure yet. She still faints whenever I'm around-"
"Really, Sasuke? You wanna go to the dance with me?" Sakura interrupted, earning her a mutter of complaints from Naruto.
The Uchiha shrugged. "If it's that important to you."
Ino melted. "Aww. That's the sweetest thing I've ever heard."
Well, for now, Sakura isn't going to complain about her relationship with Sasuke when he had just said THAT. So she smiled warmly and her emerald eyes shined bright in the light.
All of a sudden, a girl with a red-tie came rushing into the rec room, out of breath and apparently with big news.
"Gaara Sabaku has a secret admirer!"
Then for some reason she ran away.
"Did you just hear what I heard?" Sakura turned to face Sasuke.
He looked up at her without a care. "So what?"
"Who the hell would like Gaara!?" Kiba growled through his teeth. "Really, he doesn't talk to anyone, besides Sakura for some odd reason,"
"Well, I am special." Sakura nodded her head knowingly.
"Specia Ed." Naruto whispered to Konoharmu out of pure immaturity.
"And he's a total loner!"
Sakura gave Kiba a weary look. "What do you have against Gaara?"
He scoffed. "Nothin'." he lied.
"Well you see, it started when Kiba accidentally knocked his lunch trey against Gaara's chest causing a nasty spillage on his uniform-"
"Ino!" Kiba screamed.
"-so Gaara, being the scary person he is, sort of...," Ino shrugged.
"You mean they got into a fight!?" Sakura looked horrified.
The gossip girl shook her head. "Not really. Gaara tripped Kiba in return, and his face landed painfully in a pot of peas."
Everyone looked at Kiba.
"I never ate peas again." he said, making a terrorized face. And then he continued his ranter. "Whoever this chick is, is a NUT-JOB. Didn't she read the fliers about him!?" he whined, growling through his sharp, dog-like teeth.
Sakura and Sasuke looked confused. "What fliers?"
"You guys sure did miss a lot." said Shikamaru.
The 'couple' looked at each other. "Well, we were avoiding the face of the planet." reminded Sakura, while Sasuke nodded his head in agreement.
"Okay. While you two were being all invisible, someone (who had the right idea) put up a number of fliers listing all of Gaara's hates, dislikes, his rage blackouts, his murder instinct, and anything that'll make a person run for their lives whenever around him. It was very effective because no one had the guts to bother him since." said Ino.
The pink-haired girl looked amazed. "Wow. I wish I was there to see 'em."
Konohamaru rolled his eyes. "You've really been out of it, huh? They're still posted all over the school."
"In fact, there's one over there taped to the door." Naruto pointed to a regular sized flier stuck to what was indeed, the door.
Sakura lifted herself up excitedly and focused her attention on the flier. She took a few moments to read and looked pleasantly surprised. "I like the picture." she almost laughed, finding herself staring at an angry boy with fire, red hair, crossing his arms and hissing at her.
"Gaara may look like a scary homicide out to destroy the world," started Ino. "but he sure is CUTE." she and Sakura giggled.
"I don't blame whoever his secret admirer is. Gaara is hot." Sakura nodded her head, acknowledging the picture.
Sasuke snapped his head at her, looking extremely displeased.
"You think he'll take me to the dance?" Sakura teased, battering her eye lashes.
Ino sighed dramatically. "Oh, I do hope he takes ME to the dance."
As the two jokers laughed hysterically, the boys rolled their eyes and muttered 'Girls.' behind their backs.
Sasuke had made up his mind and got up with abrupt action. He quickly took Sakura's hand and pulled her out of the rec room.
"Come on." he said hastily. "I'll buy your dress."
At this point, Gaara stood his ground thoroughly annoyed by everyones' pointless gossip-talk. The red haired boy was surrounded by Aoi's and Aka's alike, asking him weird questions about his secret admirer, as if it was some juicy scandal. It was truly annoying. However, there was no way he would resort to violence; he finally found comfort and actually made an effort in trying to stay in school. It was after all a certain someones fault...
"Is it true your secret admirer is, like, totally hot?" asked a red-tied girl, as a bunch of friends giggled behind her.
"If he knew, it wouldn't be a secret, now would it." an Aoi boy retorted by rolling his eyes.
"Oh, shut up."
The boy and girl of opposite sides looked at each other with heated glares, and then oddly enough, smiled at each other.
It Gaara wasn't so preoccupied with running away, he would've said, "What the fuck?"
Finally out of sight, Gaara leaned casually against an abandoned locker and constantly complained about everyones' sudden interest in his 'admirer' in his head. So what, he had a secret admirer? What the hell gave them the right to try to pry into his personal life? Gaara reached into his back pocket and pulled out a pink, scented letter with stupid little hearts on it. He opened the letter and read:
I know it's quite shocking, but I've completely and helplessly fallen in love with you.
You're not the easiest person to get along with, in fact, it's nearly impossible.
I know you sort of have a thing for Sakura Haruno, but I really don't blame you.
She's beautiful, fun, totally crazy, and I've seen the way you look to her: you smile a little
without even knowing it. I know you might think I'm just a stupid girl, but I get really
jealous. I don't know what made me love you: was it your looks? your mystery-guy attitude?
I'm no competition when it comes to Sakura, but I just wanted you to know that
someone out there has real feelings for you. I'm a coward when it comes to facing you. Not
because you're just a naturally mean person, its because I'm afraid you won't return my
feelings. Maybe someday I'll confront you, and maybe then you won't be so taken with
Sakura. I'm really hoping for that day to come.
Your secret admirer
Gaara wanted to literally beat up the love letter. What kind of psycho would fall in love with him?! Seriously, did Gaara waste all his efforts in creating and putting up fliers for nothing? He even took an angry picture of himself, for fuck's sake. Subconsciously, he began crumpling the letter and thew it carelessly behind him, landing perfectly in the trash can. What can he say? He is a naturally mean person after all.
After reading the letter, he had no feelings whatsoever. Not even anger. He was, however, a little disturbed by one part of the letter:
I know you sort of have a thing for Sakura Haruno.
Was that girl mentally retarded or something? He definitely did not have a 'thing' for Sakura Haruno.
"Gaara!" called out a familiar voice from afar. "I finally found you." The red-head turned to the source and found a pink-haired girl running towards him, a little out of breath.
Well, maybe not that definite.
Sakura looked up at him with shiny green eyes and lifted what seemed like a fat scroll. "This is for you."
Gaara looked at her curiously. "What is it?"
"Don't tell me it's another love letter."
"Come on, open it."
"There's no way I'll be able to read this entire thing by the time I die."
"Just open it!"
Gaara gave her an annoyed look, as always, and pulled the scroll down. After a few seconds of reading through, he looked up at Sakura with accusing eyes. "What the hell is this?"
She smiled mischievously. "Oh, nothing. Just a list of all the possible girls who could be your secret admirer."
"Not you too."
"It's so cool having somebody who secretly loves you." she nudged him teasingly.
Gaara glared at her. "That's nothing to get excited over."
"It's everything to get excited over!" she defended. "I mean, I never had a secret admirer of my own-"
"Whatever." Gaara rolled his eyes. Her statement was a little hard to believe considering all the guys who are constantly after her.
She frowned. "Really! I never had anyone who secretly loved me. They'd all confess right then and there." she told him.
That was a little easier to believe.
"Do you think she's dying to take you to the dance?" Sakura continued to tease.
"Change the subject or I'll happily leave you stranded in the dust."
"Fine." she pouted. "I actually wanted to ask your advice on my new relationship concerning Sasuke." there was a pause. Then she smirked teasingly again and pulled a piece of paper out of her bag. "And forever mock you for posting fliers of yourself all over the school." she said, lifting up the flier, and dangling it for Gaara to see.
He mentally gaped. "How did you find out?"
"What, that you're the one who made the fliers?"
"No, that I've finally come out of the closet." Gaara sarcastically retorted.
Sakura looked graved. "You're gay? Poor secret admirer...,"
"Just answer the question." he said impatiently.
"I really didn't know." she shrugged. "You just confirmed it."
"So what about you and Sasuke?" asked Gaara, completely reluctant, although willing to change the subject.
Sakura sighed and leaned against the locker next to Gaara. He flinched uncomfortably. "Well, Sasuke and I started dating a couple days ago. It's fine whenever we're around groups of people, but when we're alone it's…" she shrugged.
"And a lot more."
Gaara looked ahead and stared at particularly nothing. Sakura believed he was in his own world until he turned his head to give her a knowledgeable look. "Give it some time. You and Uchiha are in a new relationship; it's natural for things to get a little awkward." He simply told her. "Before you know it, the only thing you two will want is to be alone."
Sakura looked at him in awe.
He turned his head to gaze back at nothing again, and inwardly sighed.
"You sound like you have a lot of experience." said Sakura, still very much in awe.
Gaara scoffed. He guessed watching all those shitty soap operas actually paid off.
"Sakura, there you are." an eager voice reached both their ears.
They turned their heads to see a raven-haired boy making his way towards his new girlfriend. Sakura lifted herself off the locker and gave him an affectionate smile. Gaara could almost gag.
"Hi." she replied bashfully.
"Hi." He responded, equally uncomfortable.
Gaara rolled his eyes at them. At this point, he was pretty much invisible to them.
They stared at each other for a while longer; the discomfort was infectious.
"Um, I was thinking maybe…," Sasuke started.
"Yeah?" Sakura inched forward, completely taken with him.
"Er…maybe we could go somewhere to eat?" he looked pretty unsure of himself. "Alone." He said, giving Gaara quite a look. Gaara returned the 'look'.
"Oh. Well, class starts in a few minutes, so…,"
"Oh, right. Of course." Sasuke shrugged, feeling really stupid, but was successful in not showing it.
Silence overwhelmed them.
The red-haired boy shifted his eyes between Sasuke and Sakura.
Wow. She wasn't kidding when she said things could get really awkward. In fact, it was pretty much an understatement. Even Gaara, of all people, felt uncomfortable for them.
"So, I guess I'll see you after school?" Sakura forced herself to look into Sasuke's eyes instead of gawking at the floor.
Sasuke stared at her, also forcing himself not to look else where. "Actually, we have first period together." He said.
"Oh." Now Sakura felt like the stupid idiot. "I forgot."
Gaara inwardly groaned. The awkwardness was just too unbearable. He instantly thought of taking his advice back.
"Should we walk together?" Sasuke raised an eyebrow, turning his body to the opposite direction without taking his eyes off of Sakura.
She completely pushed herself off the lockers and stumbled stupidly towards him. "Yeah. Sure. If you want to."
"I definitely want to."
"Okay, then." She mentally hit herself for being stupid.
Extending his hand out, Sasuke patiently waited for Sakura to take it. Smiling at the gesture, she happily placed her hands into his and they walked side by side. She turned her head for a few seconds and smiled at the supposed 'homicide'.
"See ya, Gaara."
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Not if I have anything to do about it." He muttered.
"What was that?" Sakura gave him a confused look.
"Nothing." He tightened his hold on her.
As Gaara watched the new couple leave hand-in-hand, he couldn't help but feel his heart twist in a way that thoroughly confused him.
Could he possibly be jealous?
Does he really like Sakura Haruno?
Walking towards his first class, Naruto stretched his arms and yawned. He was obviously in no hurry to get there, knowing he was already about fifteen minutes late. He desperately tried to shrug off his sleepiness and his eyes laid lazily on the door to Kakashi's class. He turned the knob and opened the door, expecting to see a room full of students whose eyes were all on him. It happens every time he's late, which is basically all the time.
"Whoa." Naruto's eyes widened as he stepped inside. "Where the hell is everybody?" he looked around, hoping to find at least one familiar face.
Kakashi appeared equally surprised.
"Am I two hours late or something?" Naruto hoped to God he was.
"Actually," Kakashi began, and quite pleasantly, too. "you're thirty minutes early."
"Wait a minute. Why are you here so early? I hear you come late to class everyday." Naruto eyed him suspiciously.
Kakashi coughed nervously. "Er, well," he started sweating. "Tsunade told me if I come to my own class late again, she'll…uh…" the look on Kakashi's face was an expression of horror. "I don't want to talk about it."
Naruto nodded his head. "I totally understand."
"And yet you're always late."
"What can I say? I'm Tsunade's favorite." Naruto shrugged. "And fuck. I'm sorry, but I feel like the nerd who came in early for math class." He replied, feeling immensely ashamed of himself.
"Well, you are the nerd who came in early for math class."
"Gawd, I know!" Naruto groaned. "So I guess I should go and kill some time, then?" he said on an impulse, not exactly sure what he was doing.
"Or," began Kakashi. "you can stay and NOT be late for once." He suggested.
Naruto gave him an incredulous look. "That goes against everything I believe in. I mean, what will people say when they see me in class this early?"
"'Finally'?" Kakashi shrugged.
The rebellious Uzumaki ignored that. "My reputation will be ruined." He said as a matter of fact.
"Why did you wake up so early, then?" asked Kakashi as he raised an eyebrow.
Naruto sighed, still refusing to take a seat. "Well, you see, I usually set my alarm clock to wake me at exactly 7:30 a.m." he started. "So I'd wake up, turn the stupid thing off, go back to sleep, and wake again at 8:30. Then I'd brush my teeth, take a shower, kill a little more time-"
"But then you'd be late for class."
"So you see my dilemma?"
"I'm early! It's a big dilemma and a ruined reputation!" said Naruto in devastation.
Kakashi stared at the boy like he couldn't be any more insane. "So what caused you to wake up so early?"
Naruto seriously pondered on this. "Hmm. My alarm clock broke last week, so Sakura bought me a new one." He told Kakashi. "I couldn't really get the hang of it, and the stupid thing was so complicated to work with so I asked her to set the alarm for me-,"
It was like something big hit him. Naruto's mouth gaped a little and his eyes widened in realization.
"That bitch" he said vindictively.
"Tell me about it." Kakashi rolled his eyes sarcastically. "She set your alarm clock earlier than usual so you can go to class on time! The snake."
Naruto seemed to agree. "She did it on purpose! She knew about my awesome reputation and set my alarm clock one hour earlier knowing I'd automatically wake up one hour later and be on my merry way to class, or whatever."
"Where would 'whatever' be?" Kakashi glared at Naruto suspiciously.
He was ignored. "When does class officially begin?" Naruto asked, not at all in determination.
"In twenty-five minutes."
"I'll be here in forty." He waved casually at Kakashi and left the room.
The silver-haired teacher let out a frustrated sigh.
Naruto wasn't the only one with that so called 'reputation'. Almost all Aka's in school had a problem coming in class early. Naruto just happened to be the one who comes in a few extra mintues later practically making him the king of lateness. Kakashi was truthfully and secretly a little impressed.
He had a reputation too until Tsunade ruined it for him.
Just when Kakashi lost all hope for the Aka's, two students in red ties came through the door stretching and yawning just as Naruto was.
He smiled proudly at them.
Tenten and Ino forced themselves awake and traveled lazily towards their desk.
"Whoa." said Ino in shock. "Where the hell is everybody?" she looked around to find at least one person.
Tenten's eyes widened. "I feel like the early math nerd."
Kakashi inwardly sighed.
"Why are we so early?" Ino looked completely at a loss.
"It's our new alarm clock. It woke us up too early!" Tenten complained.
Ino groaned and slapped her forehead. "I can't believe this! When our old one broke and Sakura gave us the new one, I thought for sure-,"
The two girls looked at each other with menacing eyes.
Kakashi sat behind his desk and watched the incredibly ludicrous scene from afar. What was the big deal? So what they were early? Good for Sakura's evil plan!
"Well, what are we gonna do now?" asked Tenten, throwing her arms in the air.
"I have no idea! Sakura's a dirty, stinkin'-"
A familiar voice was heard coming from the classroom door. Ino and Tenten turned their attention towards a pink-haired girl who was currently hand-in-hand with her hot new boyfriend. Ino was envious, but Tenten looked totally unaffected by the cuteness and glared at Sakura.
"Hey, Sakura. Thanks for the alarm clock." she spat.
The beautiful pink-headed girl laughed sheepishly and felt tempted to hide behind Sasuke's back. "Oh, yeah, sorry about that."
"Sorry for waking us up so damn early in the morning!?" Ino shouted grumpily.
Sakura pouted. "It wasn't fair!"
"What are you talking about?" Tenten questioned.
Sasuke sighed a breath of annoyance and stepped in. "I asked Sakura to wake up early so she can come to class on time."
"Why the hell would you do that?" Tenten glared after him.
Sasuke turned to look at Sakura having the feeling that she was glaring at him also, and back at Tenten. "Because apparently I'm stupid." he let out another irritated breath.
"Ever since our break ended I've been miserable." Sakura added in a murmur as she rubbed her emerald eyes and yawned.
"So you had to drag us along with you!" Ino huffed.
Sakura fumed. "Can you blame me!? I didn't wanna be the only one waking up so goddamn early!"
"Sasuke, why did you do this to poor Sakura?" Tenten grumbled, feeling her friend's pain (although she agreed with Ino, hating being dragged along).
The raven-haired god merely scoffed. "Is it so wrong coming to class early?"
The three Aka girls gave him a confused look.
"You do know when you come to class late, the percentage of your grade lowers?" he raised an eyebrow at them.
They still looked confused.
"Never mind. I'm sorry." He reluctantly gave up.
Sakura smiled forgivingly at him and squeezed his arm with fondness. "It's okay. Just don't ever make me wake up so early again." She warned him.
He silently scoffed. "Like it's that big a deal."
"It is." Sakura growled at him demonically and turned to face her girlfriends with an apologizing face. "And I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring you two down with me…and Naruto for that matter."
Tenten and Ino smiled understandingly. "Let's just forget this ever happened and have some girl talk."
Sasuke groaned painfully.
Giggling uncontrollably, Tenten and Ino sat in their designated seats while Sakura and Sauske followed behind. It was unusual seeing two people (whom at the beginning of the school year, hated each other), holding each other's hand and looking lovingly into each other's eyes. Tenten knew the feeling well, but Ino mentally threw up.
"What?" Tenten gave Ino a questionable look.
"Nothing. Only they're totally grossing me out." Ino retorted bitterly.
They sat themselves down, followed by Sasuke and Sakura who were completely unaware of the rude comment, and still staring into each other's eyes.
"Oh, please. This will be you and Shikamaru in a few weeks." Tenten smirked playfully as Ino looked flabbergasted. "You did ask him to the dance."
The blond-haired girl gasped. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"That you like Shikamaru." Tenten bluntly responded.
Ino gasped again. "Nuh uh! My story with Shikamaru is different from Sakura and Sasuke's. They totally despised each other when they first met, and slowly fell in love." She retorted knowingly.
Tenten shrugged. "It's not totally different." She began. "Remember, you hated Shikamaru when you first met him."
Ino paused for a while. "That's not true."
Her brunette friend gave her a look. "You called him Hibatamu for two years just to make him mad."
"And let me tell you, it worked." Ino grinned accomplishing at the memory.
"But you two eventually got along, time flew by, and now you like him." said Tenten, smiling brightly.
Ino responded with a scandalized face. "I don't like him!" she defended her feelings.
Tenten stared at her.
"Oh, shit." Ino said tragically. "I like him."
Suddenly, Sakura stopped looking into Sasuke's eyes and snapped her head towards her two girlfriends.
"Did I just hear Ino confess her feelings for Shikamaru?" she asked, skeptical.
Tenten smirked. "Yeah, and don't get used to it."
"Holy fuck." said Sakura, turning to face Sasuke once again. "This is big."
The boy didn't look at all affected. "Bigger than the time you missed an episode of One Tree Hill?"
Pretty big, then.
For some odd reason, Ino found herself in no mood to celebrate her former-unrealized feelings. She placed her face in her hands and continued to look grave. "Why does it have to be Shikamaru?" she grumbled.
"What's wrong with Shikamaru?" asked Sakura.
"IT'S SHIKAMARU!" Ino roared, knocking the wits out of everyone; including Kakashi who fell backwards. "What did he ever do to make me like him? And why do I only realize this now? Where the hell have I been?!"
Sakura shrugged. "Oh, I don't know: chasing after Sasuke."
Sasuke literally gagged. "What?"
"You can't be serious." Sakura gave him an unbelievable look. "Ino's been after you since we got here." The raven-haired boy looked bewildered. "Don't tell me you've been completely oblivious?" Sakura raised an eyebrow at him.
"I just thought she was retarded or something." He shrugged.
"Thanks a bunch, Sasuke." Ino muttered behind her breath.
Changing the subject to more important matters, Sakura kept her attention on Tenten and Ino, and forced herself not to stare back into Sasuke's mesmerizing onyx eyes. "While Ino sits there and wallows, I have something to say about Hinata and Naruto."
Tenten scooted her chair closer. "I have some thoughts, too-"
Everyone's attentiveness was suddenly focused at the door where they heard someone's voice. A white-eyed boy stood by the frame of the door, appearing flushed and out of breath. After a few seconds of regaining his normal breathing, he finally composed himself, looking quite aggravated.
"Where the fuck have you been!?" his eyes softened a little when he saw Tenten's puppy dog face. "I've been looking for you everywhere. I thought you'd be asleep during this time? When I found out you weren't in bed, I was worried." Even the puppy-dog look couldn't keep him from scolding her.
"It was my alarm clock! It went out of control and wouldn't stop ringing!" she defended herself.
"And you couldn't have come to me about it?" he gazed into her hazel eyes.
Sasuke's face gave away an amazed expression. Neji certainly changed since the old Aoi days. But then again, he's changed a little too. He wrapped an arm around Sakura's shoulders and she smiled in return.
"I'm sorry, Neji." Tenten pleaded. "But somebody, specifically Sakura, gave us a bogus alarm clock and purposely set it so that we'd wake up earlier than we're used to." She gave Sakura a dirty look.
"Hey!" Sakura pouted, crossing her arms. "I thought I was forgiven!?"
"Since Neji is upset with me, I change my mind." Tenten returned the pout.
Neji brushed off the bad feelings and sat faithfully next to Tenten.
It was quite overwhelming finding everyone (mainly the Aoi's) in class before the bell had rung. They hadn't even noticed anyone until then; the conversation must've been enticing.
"Oh, I forgot to talk about Hinata and Naruto!" exclaimed Sakura.
"Speaking of Naruto, where the fuck is he?" Sasuke looked around the room. "I thought you set his alarm clock at an earlier time."
"I did." she shrugged. "Maybe he caught on to my genius plan?" she said bitterly.
Kakashi stood up from his chair and sighed. "He didn't really." Sakura looked up at him with confusion in her expression. "Trust me, Naruto caught on a little late. He'll be here in fifteen mintues." he winked at her.
"Oh." said Sakura, a little surprised. "Okay." she shrugged.
"All right, everyone. Turn your books to pages 257." Kakashi announced.
Sakura sighed. "I just wish I had time to discuss about Hinata." She murmured.
"What about me?" Sakura heard a quiet and tender voice.
She turned her body around and found the soft-spoken girl sitting directly behind her. Sakura flushed with embarrassment. "Oh, Hinata!" she shouted, causing the female Hyuuga to flinch. "Where you sitting there…,"
"The whole time." Hinata finished.
"Oh." Sakura obviously looked guilty. She turned to Sasuke and glowered at him. "You could've warned me."
He shrugged. "I didn't know she was back there either." Sasuke honestly told her.
"She's sneaky like that." Neji mumbled secretively.
"What about N-Naruto and I?" she asked, instantly blushing when she said Naruto's name.
Sakura looked to Sasuke for help, but being the traitor he is, looked the other way and pretended to be thoroughly interested in what Kakashi had to say about the math lesson.
"Unhelpful asshole." She muttered.
"Interfering bitch." He grunted.
"Oh, they really are the perfect couple." Ino rolled her eyes.
Kakashi lifted his head up, eyeing Sasuke and Sakura. He cleared his throat for their attention. "Is it all right if I start the lesson now?"
Everyone in class looked at the bickering couple and smirked.
Sakura blushed sinking deep in her chair, while Sasuke scoffed and ignored them.
"I hate you." She glared holes in him.
"I still love you." The playboy in Sasuke smirked.
Sakura paused. "I love you, too." She sighed dreamily as Sasuke pulled her chair closer to his.
"Hey. You still haven't told me what you were saying about me and N-Naru-"
Kakashi stopped his lesson yet again and stared after Hinata.
She blushed a deep shade of red.
'Sorry.' Sakura mouthed guiltily, and before she knew it, was completely consumed in Sasuke's embrace.
Sooner or later, she'll feel un-awkward about being alone with her boyfriend and find herself at total ease. Sort of like how they are at this moment. If only Naruto could figure out his problems dealing with Hinata.
"Hey. Did you guys notice how friendly things have been going between the Aka's and the Aoi's?" whispered Sakura, ignoring Kakashi's lesson.
"What's the deal with that?" Neji cupped his chin in thought.
"It's unnatural." Sasuke retorted.
"I heard it happened over break" added Tenten.
"Well, from what I've heard-" started Ino.
"Ahem." The gang turned their faces and found Kakashi glaring at them.
"Sorry." They muttered.
A/N: I'm soooo sorry this chapter took forever to update! It's been forever since I logged into my email, and when i read one of the reviews saying "You haven't updated in 420834742353018 years!" I realized I totally forgot about fanfiction. But Wow. This was a really long chaper, wasn't it? Originally, I had it written out in 10,000+ words, but decided it was WAY too long, so split it into three parts. Next time: part II!