Beta-ed by: MelissaRose85
Characters/Pairing:Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi
Type: One-shot (Complete)
Word Count: 1675
Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #18, Dreams
Rating:T (Contains content not suitable for children)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.
Summary:Ramen-verse Non-massacre AU. Of bedtime and unusual sleeping habits. Poor Itachi.
Created on: 01/10/08
Completed on: 07/10/08
Chapter Last Revised on: 03/01/09
The first time they shared a bed, Itachi learned something new about Sakura.
The pink-haired kunoichi was definitely not a passive sleeper. She twisted and turned, curled up like a ball one moment and stretched out full length the next, hands and arms flinging about the place in periodic intervals; it was as if she was fighting in her dreams rather than resting in calm repose.
Of course, he wasn't really surprised when her leg shot out suddenly and nearly nailed him in the knee, and it was then that the stoic Uchiha decided that the woman was dangerous even when asleep. He quickly chose to search for a less hazardous area to rest, and that was how Sakura jolted awake groggily in the middle of the night to find him not in bed with her, but dozing lightly on a thin spread of bed sheet on the floor by the other end of the bed.
By the time she clambered over to him and the crown of her head appeared over the edge of the bed, he was already wide awake and looking calmly back at her. She squinted at him incredulously.
"What on earth are you doing down there, Itachi?"
"You kick in your sleep," he told her flatly.
The raven-haired Uchiha was never one to mince his words, but then again, Sakura had been in the presence of her teammates long enough to have developed a rather tolerant hide when it came to criticism, and besides, she did vaguely remember Naruto whining something about her 'violent' sleeping habits some years back. Still, she had been fairly sure that the blonde had been exaggerating again, though the fact that the Uchiha heir had chosen to sleep on the floor of her bedroom instead of on her bed beside her was somewhat embarrassing.
"Well, can you get back up here?" she asked eventually. "You sleeping on the floor isn't going to solve this problem, you know."
Itachi had no idea what she was talking about. Logically speaking, his action did provide the immediate solution to her…vigorous sleeping habits. Still, the lean male sat up slowly, got to his feet, and joined her silently in bed. In the semi-darkness of the night, she smiled at him.
"Now, we solve this problem permanently." She shot him an almost innocent look. "After all, you can't be sleeping on the floor every time you come over to spend the night."
Itachi merely watched her, waiting to see how she was going to 'solve this problem.' Short of binding her limbs together, the stoic raven-haired ANBU could anticipate no other solutions that would curb her enthusiastic nocturnal movements.
"Here, lie down beside me." She patted the empty space on her right, and when he obliged, she did so too, lying down beside him. Then, before he could wonder how she was going to settle this problem, the pink-haired kunoichi wriggled over and snuggled up next to the surprised male, burrowing into the circle of his arms and boldly throwing her own over his torso and entangling their legs together in a snug and cozy manner.
Predictably, the Uchiha stiffened, not used to being in such intimate proximity with anyone. Unfortunately for the poor, distinctly uncomfortable man, Sakura did not seem to notice. The pink-haired kunoichi gave him a sleepy pat, or three, and sighed.
"If I attempt to move too much again, just hold me tight," she murmured simply, matter-of-factly. "There, problem solved. Good night, Itachi."
It wasn't long before she fell asleep again, nuzzling her cheek affectionately against his shoulder before relaxing completely, giving in to slumber, whereas the man beside her took a longer time to adjust to this entirely new sleeping arrangement.
A loner for as long as he could remember, his finely honed instincts shrilled in automatic alarm at his current vulnerable position. One of his arms was trapped under the soft weight that was her, his legs were intertwined with hers and that would definitely cause a delayed response time should an attack occur. Not to mention she was currently curled into him and sleeping trustingly like a log; in the event of an assault, freeing himself up for retaliation really would take much longer than was ideal.
Itachi spent the next half an hour mulling over the matter with the solemnity of an old man until Sakura jolted him from his thoughts unintentionally, turning slightly in her sleep, almost as if she was about to move away from him or, god forbid, attempt to kick him again. Acting on pure instinct, his grip tightened on the restless female, and he watched carefully as she shifted faintly before settling down even closer to him than before. It wasn't long until the Uchiha realized that he now had an armful of warm, sleeping woman, where earlier she had only been curled up beside him.
Of course, this new situation prompted yet another session of careful consideration from the worry-prone, stoic Uchiha, at least until the sensation of her lithe, gently curved body against his harder, leaner torso began to register to his senses. He took a brief moment to contemplate their current positions, and with her draped across him like a gentle, living blanket, her scent of mangoes and cream prevalent in her lustrous, pink hair, even the soft sounds of her quiet breathing was surprisingly comforting, not invasive and disturbing like he would have thought it would be. Her head rested on the crook of his shoulder, her face nuzzled unconsciously into the side of his neck, the slender tip of her nose nudging lightly against his throat, her slightly parted lips brushing across his skin.
Even in repose, there was such trust in him within her that he was, once again, stunned.
There was a sort of implied intimacy here, and it felt almost as if this was a perfectly natural act to be in; caught in an embrace with the woman who had captured his attention so completely. However, as calming as the feeling was now, he was simply not used to such behavior, such closeness with another person, and so, it took a little longer for Itachi to get used to the idea that was her.
Slowly, almost experimentally, his fingers stretched out from their earlier semi-curled position to spread and press firmly against her waist. Her soft warmth seared into his open palm, and eventually, he did the same with his other hand, resting his arm around her shoulder, gingerly at first, but becoming more relaxed as time passed, long, elegant fingers stroking her slender back unconsciously as he did so. She didn't seem to react to his quiet actions, but then again, she was deeply asleep and so he took his time getting accustomed to her proximity. It took another half an hour before the Uchiha felt comfortable enough to lower his guard completely around Sakura, and when he finally did so, he would admit quietly to himself that this situation wasn't as bad as he had first thought.
In fact, a part of him rather appreciated Sakura's boldness and no-nonsense attitude whenever it came to such…interpersonal matters. They both knew that he was downright inept when it came to situations of this sort, and if not for the way in which she had sensibly taken charge of the problem, he would still have been stoically sleeping on the cold, hard floor, and not lying in bed with an armful of sweet-smelling, pink-haired kunoichi curled up around him.
This was a rather enjoyable experience, Itachi concluded in the end, one that he wouldn't mind repeating in the future now that she had introduced it to him, even if she had done so in a somewhat abrupt manner that left him with no choice other than to deal with it. As if his mildly reproachful thoughts of her rash actions earlier had prodded her to wakefulness, the kunoichi in question stirred slightly in discontentment before blinking her eyes open blearily.
Surprising enough, her lover did not choose to disentangle himself completely from her, nor did he loosen his hold on her body. Instead, his arms tightened instinctively around her torso, and Sakura raised her head slightly to look at him.
"…Itachi," she murmured in a soft voice husky from slumber. "Wha-did you even sleep at all? I didn't kick you again, did I?"
Even as she made her inquiries, she was already shifting this way and that, almost as if either trying to control her wayward limbs, or to unconsciously pull away from him. He did not allow her to move unnecessarily, however, but did shake his head once to refute her drowsy queries and to encourage her to quit moving instead, all the while inwardly marveling over how absolutely at ease and relaxed she was with him.
Sakura didn't seem to notice, in her semi-conscious state. With a small sigh, she lowered her head back upon his shoulder, ready to return to slumber. It was, after all, still in the middle of the night.
"Really…" she chided him sleepily, her eyes beginning to close again. "Go to sleep, Itachi. You can always worry tomorrow."
It was apparent that she knew what he was staying up late for; as ridiculous as it may seem to her, it was actually rather important for him to analyze every situation and get the facts right, though she would certainly appreciate it if he did so in the daytime instead of in the middle of the night. Feeling the tendrils of slumber beginning to encroach and surround her mindscape, the kunoichi planted a small, distracted kiss on the side of her lover's neck, and then cuddled close to him before settling into a gradually deepening sleep cycle.
The raven-haired ANBU watched over her quietly as she dreamt, and then, he carefully aligned their bodies together, instinctively curling his lean form almost protectively around her before closing his eyes, taking a deep draw of her comforting scent before relaxing completely into her bed.
Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:
...And that was how Uchiha Itachi learned how to cuddle. Seriously.
Haha, my apologies to those of you who have unexpectedly found yourself neck deep in all the fluff. I know that this plot is really clichéd, but it came to me out of the blue and I just had to write an ItaSaku version of it. Obviously, this is a rather short installment for Ramen-verse, though I can definitely promise that the next installment will be longer, normal length, in fact.
Once again, Ramen-verse Itachi is a little socially inept and, as you can see, rather wary and defensive of his personal bubble. A great, powerful shinobi he may be, but a smooth, sleek and witty Casanova he is definitely not, something which I personally feel is more compliant to his canon character and strict upbringing, all things considered. In other words; stoic, strong, an impossibly tactical mind, great leadership abilities…and downright hopeless when it comes to interpersonal relationships—that's Ramen-verse Uchiha Itachi for you, in a nutshell, that is.
Thank god Sakura is there to set him straight (or crooked), eh?
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