Title: hair clip

Author: paws_bells

Beta-ed by: MelissaRose85

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: Two-shot (InComplete)

Genre: Romance/Humor

Word Count: 5742

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #14, hair clip

Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: fiesta-verse Non-Massacre AU. In which the truth finally comes out. In which the cat is let out of the bag. In which Ino makes a big mistake. In which Naruto is definitely not amused.

Created on: 06/05/08

Completed on: 03/08/08

Chapter Last Revised on: 10/01/09

Chapter 1

"Sakura-chan!!! Hurry up; we are going to be late!!" Naruto's yowl of impatience could be heard echoing through his heart sister's modest little apartment. A muffled reply was immediately echoed back from the bedroom where the kunoichi was currently occupied, trying to put on her furisode in peace.

"…Naruto, shut up."

The last member of Team Seven muttered with little preamble as he looked, almost boredly, at his fidgety best friend. Naruto was being even more annoying than usual, if that was possible.

Said blonde merely paused and frowned at the spiky, raven-haired Jounin currently lounging lazily on Sakura-chan's living room couch. Both males were dressed in men's kimono as was the norm for attending the traditional street festivals. For once, Naruto had nothing orange on his person. His kimono was a pure black in color, and the fabric truly brought out the newly minted gold of his hair, not to mention his bright blue eyes. Sasuke, on the other hand, had on a charcoal grey kimono that complimented his pale complexion and smoldering onyx eyes.

Naruto placed his hands on his waist. "Teme, don't just sit there and act cool," the blonde grumbled. "We are supposed to meet the rest of the Rookie Nine by eight, in case you forgot. It's nearly eight now, in case you are not aware."

Sasuke was aware, thank you very much. He gave his friend a dirty look.

"News flash, dobe. We are ninjas. Do the math."

"Yes, but we are being restrained!" As if on cue, Naruto started to scratch and claw at the scratchy material of the expensive formal attire that he had on. "I swear, if this wasn't personally chosen by Hinata-chan…!"

Leaning his elbow on the armrest, Sasuke watched with his chin resting on his palm as his teammate made an idiot out of himself.

"Scratching is only going to make it worse," the Uchiha commented baldly, long after Naruto's skin had turned red and irritated, and his costume was all rumpled up and disheveled from his vigorous actions.

The blonde scowled.

"Thanks for telling me now," Naruto muttered sarcastically. Sasuke raised a brow.

"You are welcome." Reluctantly taking his attention off the amusing antics of his best buddy, the Uchiha chose to look around the room with an air of general indifference. Like the rest of Sakura's little apartment, her living room was cozy and inviting. The large windows let in bright sunshine and fresh air, a rather tall shelf of books and knowledgeable scrolls were kept neatly in a corner, the furniture was comfortable and set in neutral earth tones, and the coffee table…

Mild curiosity crept into Sasuke's eyes.

He had seen this somewhere before.

The 'this' in question was a small, intricately designed pocket knife.

The Uchiha straightened slightly from his elegant sprawl on the sofa to inspect the razor sharp weapon with intent fascination. A sense of déjà vu alerted his well honed instincts. He had seen this particular switchblade before. Now, where had he seen it? And most importantly, who had he seen it with?

"Teme, what are you doing?"

His blonde friend enquired after thirty seconds or so of pacing and still no Sakura. Naruto ambled over to see what had caught the attention of the Uchiha so.

"Eh? A small knife?" the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki enquired almost to himself as he, too, squinted at the small, concealable weapon. It was apparent that both men had never known Sakura to own a blade as specially crafted as this, and they would know, trained and sparred with her so often.

"Who do you think gave it to her?" Sasuke asked almost inaudibly, the hint of curiosity evident in his rich bass tone. Naruto turned to regard his teammate, and scratched his chin as he did so.

"What makes you so certain that someone gave it to her?" the blonde asked.

The raven-haired Jounin refrained from rolling his eyes with exasperation. "Use that little bit of matter between your ears once in a while, will you?" The Uchiha easily picked up the pocket knife and turned it ever so slightly this way and that. The small, exquisite weapon glinted beautifully under the ceiling light, and the tiny semi-precious stones encrusted on its hilt gleamed. "Have you ever known Sakura to waste money on pretty little jeweled trinkets like this one?"

Sasuke had a point there. Naruto shook his head reluctantly. If there was one thing synonymous to Team Seven, it was that they were all taught to be brutally practical, even Sakura. A jeweled weapon may be good for decoration purposes, but it would be a dead giveaway during covert missions and Sakura had never been one to collect weaponry anyway, other than those for sensible usage during active duty.

"Besides…." Sasuke inspected the intricate designs that were carved onto the hilt with a careful, expert eye. "This looks like some sort of an heirloom, and I think I have seen it before."

Unfortunately, Naruto did not share the same curiosity as his teammate. He shrugged, and his attention shifted back to the time. "Ah, why do you care who gives it to her anyway? We are going to be late, late, late! Shouldn't that be more important? Right, Sakura-chan?!" Naruto hollered the last sentence down the hall just so that his female teammate could get the point and hurry out already.

Why on earth did females have to preen and primp so much? Sakura-chan was already so pretty that the boys of Team Seven had to literally beat off her suitors with a stick. A very large, thick, and heavily spiked stick. Naruto really had no doubt that tonight would be no different. Their female teammate was going to be happily drifting around the festival stalls with all their friends, completely oblivious as usual, while both Naruto and Sasuke shot protective/cold stares at the overeager men who came too near.

Sakura-chan may be a brilliant medic-nin like baa-chan, and a powerful kunoichi in the battlefield to boot, but when it came to personal relationships it was as if she was somewhat defective. That would make Team Seven a truly authentic group of emotional retards—one oblivious, one shamelessly thick skinned, and the last emotionally constipated.

Naruto muttered to himself as he made faces to nobody in particular, and Sasuke was kept occupied examining the small weapon, turning it this way and that, trying to jolt his memory into remembering just where he had seen it before, thus unraveling this little mystery, but to little success.

And that was exactly how Sakura found her teammates when she finally got out of her room and carefully walked down the hallway and to the living area. Naruto was making odd faces but that wasn't as odd a sight as one would have assumed; she was completely used to seeing her heart's brother behaving strangely as he had done so for years already. Naruto was just endearing like that, she supposed. Then her eyes automatically searched out Sasuke, and she located him just as quickly, of course.

But what she saw him holding in his hand nearly gave her a heart attack.

"Sakura-chan, you finally came out!" Naruto exclaimed immediately the moment he felt her presence. He shook away his thoughts and turned to look at his female teammate. "Let's go already; we are late— Sakura-chan!!"

Naruto's tone was so comically aghast that Sasuke was immediately alerted. The Uchiha reluctantly took his gaze away from his current object of fascination to look over to his two team members.

Her blonde brother was looking so horrified by her attire that Sakura half wondered if she should feel insulted by his currently less than flattering expression.

She frowned at Naruto.

"Do you have a problem with what I'm wearing?"

Despite her level question, even Sasuke knew that this was dangerous territory.

In response, Naruto twitched. It was an involuntary facial tic that was part grimace and part cringe, and the blonde Jounin appeared as if he was having cramps.

"…no, Sakura-chan," Naruto answered obediently at last. "You look very pretty."

The men of Team Seven were so very whipped.

Despite it being a conditioned reply, it was also so very true. Sakura may have been literally covered from neck to toe, but her beautiful, traditional attire only served to highlight her svelte figure and dainty, petite form. The exquisite silk kimono was made from a rich, crimson material, with small delicate floral designs embroidered down the side, her dark blue obi blending beautifully with the elegant furisode and her sweeping, ankle length sleeves indicating to all her status as an unmarried young woman—vibrant, clearly blooming, and in the prime of her youth. Coupled with the soft tendrils of pink-hair that had somehow escaped the small bun that she had tied her hair in, framing her heart-shaped face and bringing attention to her large doe eyes and pink cupid bow lips, the kunoichi was a regular crowd pleaser alright, albeit more or less oblivious to her own appeal.

Naruto groaned mentally, and judging by the somewhat resigned/annoyed look on Sasuke's face, both males were well aware that they were in for an evening of covert guard duty again.

And damn, Naruto was beginning to understand Neji's less-than-pleased reaction when it became known to the Hyuuga that the blonde Jounin was courting his shy, sweet-tempered cousin, respected friend or no. There was just no man fit enough to be with his dear Sakura-chan, and even Sasuke was with him on that point; the Uchiha's silent agreement and participation in fending off the interested male parties spoke volumes even when he himself flatly refused to speak a word on that particular subject.

It did seem that the men of Team Seven were completely determined to see that their female teammate would remain untouched and pure as freshly driven snow for as long as they could ensure it, hopefully until she was well into her mid-forties. Said female was blissfully unaware of the men's aspiring goal, though she did have an inkling that her teammates were a tad too overprotective sometimes, never mind that she was usually able to pull her own weight and more whenever they were in a sticky situation: no, the world of men was evidently a lot more dangerous than fighting and defeating a bunch of S-class nukenin combined.

"Good," Sakura remarked at last, pleased by Naruto's meek answer. "Ino rented this for me. I would hate to tell her that my teammates found it distasteful." The pink-haired female turned in a full circle to fully display the exquisite autumn kimono to the men, both of whom she had long regarded as her brothers. "It's gorgeous, isn't it?"

Naruto could only nod glumly in agreement.

Gorgeous? Yes. Trouble? Yes. Headache? Hell, yes.

Sasuke grunted a noncommittal reply, and returned his attention to the small dagger that he was absently toying in his hand. Sakura frowned imperceptibly, and tried not to reveal too much of her startled apprehension over the Uchiha's overt interest in the one thing that she had clearly forgotten to hide prior to her teammates' visit. This simply would not do; how to divert Sasuke's attention away without being too obvious?

Naruto came to the rescue, fortunately, even though he was not aware of it.

"Alright!! Now that you are finally done primping, Sakura-chan, let's go, let's go, everyone!! Need I remind all of you again that we are already late?!"

Sasuke returned the exquisite little dagger into its jeweled sheath with careless grace, and then replaced the decorative weapon to its original position on the coffee table, idly forsaking the mystery of the origin of the expensive stiletto in favor of frowning subtly at the antsy blond who also happened to be his teammate and best friend.

"…idiot, the night is still young, and the celebration is not even in full swing yet." The Uchiha's tone was flat as usual, but since there was no undertone of genuine irritation to be detected, it was obvious that Sasuke wasn't really annoyed, though he was somewhat put off by Naruto's disgustingly childlike enthusiasm for the street festivals that Konoha celebrates annually. To make things worse, Sakura had also proved time and again that she too shared a similar love for the seasonal celebrations. After all, what was there not to like? To be able to spend time with loved ones and friends, taking in the sights and happy ambience of the village as a whole and enjoying oneself with all of one's precious people.

…Unsurprisingly, the broody, raven-haired Jounin of Team Seven was not a big fan of boisterous crowds, loud noises, and formal kimono. Not that the Uchiha could be blamed for his blatant aversion to the abovementioned points; whenever he happened to be unfortunate enough to be dressed in formal attire in a public area, boisterous crowds (also known as fangirls) generally tended to appear out of nowhere and with no prior warning whatsoever, complete with loud noises and aggressive, rabid-like tendencies. It was really a miracle in itself that he had been somehow convinced (coerced/tricked/browbeaten) by his relentless and ever so resourceful (devious) teammates into faithfully attending the festivals for the seventh year running.

Naruto easily retaliated with an unbelievably juvenile gesture, and fairly rude, too, while he was at it. Sasuke refrained from rolling his eyes as his teammate presented him with the bird.

"Naruto, don't do that; it's just plain rude! The both of you can continue with your macho act when we meet the rest, and I'm sorry I took so long. Anyway, let's just go now, alright?"

Sakura quickly took over the conversation before Naruto could do anything too drastic in response and Sasuke could focus his attention back on that damnable piece of expensive dagger that his equally frustrating brother had purposely left here without her prior knowledge. Sakura really had no idea what the Uchiha heir was planning exactly per se, but she had an inkling what his actions were telling her, if the fact that he was calmly, surely and sneakily invading her life and filling her cozy little home with more and more evidences of his presence was to be of any indication. Granted that Sakura hadn't exactly been aware of what was going on at first, but it was startlingly obvious to her now just what he was up to, and although it might be too late to do anything much, Sakura was still trying her best to do some damage control.

It had been almost three months since her accidental meeting with Itachi in that training ground during the summer festival and exactly two months since Itachi had declared his interest in pursuing a relationship with her. Sakura had been apprehensive over the powerful Uchiha's suit at first, but two months later and the fact that Itachi appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be subtly moving himself into her apartment (oh, he probably thought that he was being so very sly, and that she wouldn't notice how he was spending more and more of his time over at her place whenever he was free from his duties, as well as how she was beginning to notice more and more of his belongings strewn unobtrusively and seemingly carelessly around the house as if they had always belonged there) Sakura was starting to cotton on to the fact that Itachi wasn't joking when it came to courting her.

Thinking of the quietly assertive Uchiha and his dark, onyx eyes whenever he looked at her never failed to induce a light dusting of soft pink on her cheeks, and now was no different. As a grumbling Naruto followed Sasuke out of the apartment with Sakura in tow, the kunoichi could only silently thank the gods for the little reprieve that the heavens had seen fit to gift her with.

By some form of miracle and luck, the boys of Team Seven were still not yet aware of the fact that their sweet, lovely Sakura-chan had already been taken and thoroughly poached away from right under their very noses. Of course, Sakura knew that it was going to be pandemonium when Naruto and Sasuke finally found out, and she was really surprised that they hadn't realized yet that she was now in a relationship with Uchiha Itachi, of all people. Sasuke was definitely going to be so chagrinned. Besides, the boys were normally rather keen-eyed and sharp-eared when it came to news that had to do with her and a potential suitor, almost like a pair of bulldogged sharks really, and although Sakura hadn't exactly openly announced her newly attached status to the world at large, Itachi had made certain that they weren't hiding their fledgling but steady relationship either.

Belatedly, Sakura decided to be relieved over the fact that Itachi had been kept too busy teaching the ropes to the new ANBU recruits these couple of months to openly tease/challenge her teammates. In fact, the Uchiha heir was currently out on a practice run with a newly assembled team, testing their mettle as well as ability to work as a well-oiled, fully functional unit. It was just one of the many duties allotted to the few elites holding the rank of ANBU captain, which was why he was currently absent and she was able to get away with keeping her teammates in the dark regarding the status of her relationship, if only for a little while longer.

After all, what they didn't know would not kill them, and what they would know eventually would do nothing but give her a major headache, and Sakura was keen to avoid that for as long as she could get away with it. Itachi might be somewhat amused by how she always fretted whenever it came to predicting her teammates' reaction towards her now 'blissfully attached' status, but Sakura really didn't find it funny at all; they had always been so overprotective of her, not to mention that she was going to have to face Naruto's dramatically disappointed gaze for a long while to come when it finally occurred to him that she had been hiding a man from their 'Operation: Defend's Sakura Chastity Until She's Old and Wrinkly' campaign for the past months. And Sasuke…well, she didn't even want to think about explaining to her Uchiha teammate just how on earth she had somehow become so intimately attached to his elder brother, when it had always seemed that they barely knew each other at all.

But now was not the time to think of such awkward situations. With the exception of a few hospital staff (who were beginning to wonder just why the ANBU captain Uchiha-san would appear often, even if only periodically, to look for their head medic-nin for the past months) as well as Ino (who was well aware by now that her pink-haired friend was in a relationship with an ANBU whose identity she just couldn't seem to uncover), Sakura decided that she was still relatively safe from her teammates' impending discovery.

"Sakura-chan, you are walking sooo slowly! Hurry up, Hinata-chan is waiting for me!"

At Naruto's anxious tone, Sakura could not help but shake away her thoughts and smile at her antsy best friend. Besides, what was she thinking; to be so worried about Naruto and Sasuke's reactions? They were both Jounin, after all, and not a pair of overwrought, oversensitive old biddies. The mental imagery of a cantankerous, wrinkly Sasuke in a granny dress and a loud, grumpy Naruto in a similar attire made Sakura's smile widened slightly.

There really was nothing to worry about, Sakura decided at last. Her boys were more than capable of handling as small a surprise as this. She really should put her trust in them more.

"I'm already walking as fast as I can! Hold your horses, will you?"

The streets were crowded with people, nin and civilians alike. Food and game stalls were there in abundance, the smells of tantalizing yakitori filled the air, not to mention the mouthwatering scent of traditional Japanese snacks like dango, taiyaki, okonomiyaki and takoyaki. Sounds of chatter and laughter could be heard everywhere in Konoha, and Sasuke was being his usual grouchy, unhappy, and altogether 'unyouthful' self, as a certain Green Beast of the Leaf would bemoan.

The younger Uchiha Jounin was not impressed, however. He was glaring at the crush of people who at least had the sense to part before his imposing aura, allowing Team Seven to move very quickly through the packed streets, to the meeting area the Rookie Nine had agreed upon. Once again, Naruto loudly marveled over the usefulness of having teme around in crowded areas like this; that high and mighty, stick-in-the-you-know-where attitude sure came in handy when one was in a hurry.

Needless to say, Sasuke was not amused, and it was Sakura who had to be the peacemaker, to convince her raven-haired teammate not to stalk off in a fit of annoyance. The Uchiha really never liked being around throngs of people and noisy places, and the fact that he was here, despite his fierce dislike of the situation, clearly showed just how much he was willing to tolerate for his teammates and best friends.

In the end, Team Seven continued moving towards the meeting place, albeit with Naruto sporting a lump on his head, which he grudgingly accepted as his due for baiting the teme. Again.

By the time they arrived in the crowded village center, they were nearly half an hour late. Naruto danced his way over to his shy Hyuuga girlfriend, all puppy-like and ready to grovel for her forgiveness, never mind the fact that Hinata was just too sweet-tempered and head over heels in love with the blonde future Hokage to be mad at him in the first place. Her teammates, however, namely Kiba, were not as patient. The Inuzuka grumbled about how long they had been waiting, and that prompted a chagrinned Sakura to offer her own apology as well.

Not surprisingly, the dog user was quick to accept; this was Sakura-chan after all, and she was famous for inheriting the Godaime's sucker punch and volatile temper, though she was not as likely to use it as her predecessor. Shino accepted the sincere apology as well, and just like that Team Seven had made its peace with Team Eight.

Ino, on the other hand, was not as easily placated. The irritated Yamanaka surged forth towards her best friend, all but ready to give the pink-haired female hell for being so late. Behind her, the remainder of Team Ten ambled lazily towards the rest of the group, one somewhat exasperated by his girlfriend/teammate's feisty, high strung temperament, whereas the other was too contented by the overabundance of delicious festive foodstuff to share the Nara's lazy annoyance.

"Forehead girl! You are so late!" The blonde scowled as she came to a stop before Sakura. "Do you have any idea how difficult it was to have all of us stay in one spot, fighting the crush of people for the past half an hour or so?!"

Sakura could only raise both her hands, palms up in a placating gesture.

"Sorry, Ino." The kunoichi tried to sound as contrite as possible. "I had a double shift over at the hospital today, and-"

"-and you just couldn't walk away from your cases," the Yamanaka continued irritably for her friend. "Which was why you had to rush home to change quickly and ended up late as usual."

Sakura was always so predictable, and judging by the mildly embarrassed look on the pink-haired female's face, that was exactly what had happened. Ino rolled her eyes in exasperation, and then she decided to let it go in favor of something more interesting. After all, despite all her hard work at attempting to root out the identity of Sakura's mystery lover, she was still about as close to identifying that unknown ANBU as the day she had unwittingly allowed Sakura to leave with him, shortly after the completion of their B-ranked mission a couple of months ago. The blonde started to make a show out of looking around Sakura, much to the other kunoichi's puzzlement. Still standing stoically beside his female teammate, Sasuke stared at the Yamanaka with something akin to annoyed bemusement.

"What are you looking for, Ino?" Sakura asked at last.

Ino merely continued to peer around her friend, carefully scanning the many passing faces of civilians and nin around before returning her attention to Sakura.

"You came alone?" the blonde asked bluntly.

"…I came with my team, Ino. You saw us arrive together, or did you forget already?"

Ino was not amused by Sakura's dry remark. She shot her friend an irritated stare.

"You know what I mean, forehead. Where is he?"

Even as Sakura stiffened slightly as it finally occurred to her just what Ino was asking for, Sasuke started to frown.

"Where is who?" the Uchiha asked flatly, having remained by Sakura's side the entire time since he wasn't exactly looking forward to socializing with the rest of the Rookie Nine, and god forbid, sticking around his dobe best friend whilst he romanced his girlfriend.

"No one," Sakura blurted out immediately in response, shooting a warning glance at her blonde friend while she was at it. Ino had the gall to look amused, damn her, and Sakura tried her best not to twitch with agitation.

Unfortunately, Sasuke was far from convinced. Doubt began to surface in her teammate's dark eyes, and inwardly, Sakura cursed that ridiculous paranoia that seemed to be inbred into the very genes of the proud Uchiha clan.

"What is Ino talking about?" Sasuke asked suspiciously as he regarded Sakura. The Uchiha of Team Seven had never liked secrets, especially when it had to do with the members of his team, who had somehow become his second family.

Sakura gave Ino an irritated stare of her own before turning to Sasuke. "Ino-pig is talking nonsense, as usual," the pink-haired female assured, much to said blonde's cry of outrage. Then, she looked around her, and quickly realized that the large group was beginning to pair off and head down one of the more crowded streets, where the more famous food stalls were located. Naruto's mad gesturing beside a softly smiling Hinata in her gorgeous clan kimono could not have come at a better time, and Sakura mentally wilted with relief. Saved, at least for the moment.

"Look!" the medic-nin of Team Seven exclaimed quickly, successfully diverting Sasuke's attention from her and towards Naruto instead. "Everyone is leaving the square, let's move on as well. Come with me, Ino, I want to talk to Hinata-chan."

Without another glance at her Uchiha teammate, the pink-haired kunoichi quickly snagged the arm of her Yamanaka best friend and all but hauled the protesting female towards Naruto and his sweetly shy girlfriend a distance away, leaving a somewhat nonplussed Sasuke to deal with the remaining members of Team Ten.

The very moment the three males (one rather surprised and disgruntled at the speed in which he had just been abandoned by his female teammate, the other two just secretly relieved that they wouldn't have to trail after their demanding female counterpart, if only for a little while) were out of hearing range, Sakura turned to Ino and frowned at her. "Are you trying to get me killed, Ino-pig?"

"Who? Me?" the blonde merely smiled innocently, batting those big blue eyes of hers that never failed to coax her lazy Nara boyfriend into doing anything she asked—within reason, of course. Sakura, most predictably, was not impressed. Large emerald eyes narrowed into a honed glare.

"Ino…" came the warning growl. The blonde could not help herself; she burst into laughter.

"I can't believe that you haven't told the boys yet!" Ino commented with smirk. "Or rather, that they haven't discovered it themselves yet. You know, this really makes me wonder just what kind of guy your mystery man is, for you to be so abnormally anxious and all…"

"I'm not anxious!" Sakura yelped reflexively in dismay.

Ino's smirk merely widened lazily. By now, the two kunoichi were beginning to reach Naruto and Hinata, with the remaining trio of men trailing slowly behind. The shinobi of Team Eight were ahead, almost disappearing into the crowds but not really. Kiba and his humongous dog, Akamaru, were scoping out the many different food stalls on display, all mouthwatering and enticing, whereas Shino lingered nearby his Inuzuka teammate, seeming to hold a somewhat vague conversation with the ninken-user.

"…so who is he, really?" Ino asked almost too nonchalantly. Sakura gave her best friend a withering stare, but unfortunately for her, the look washed off Ino's back like water. "Come on, Sakura. Share! I'm really curious! Are you serious about him?"

"…yes, I am."

Surprising enough, the pink-haired kunoichi's answer was immediate and serenely certain. Ino was now even more determined to find out just who this ANBU was. Sakura had always been such a workaholic, and if possible, had always been literally blind to the subject of relationships and such. Whoever her man was, Ino was sure that he must be something really special for Sakura to actually pull herself away from her demanding occupation, sit up, and take notice of him in a way that other men had failed.

"Alright. Now you really have to tell me who he is." Ino's voice was very serious, and Sakura resisted the urge to groan in dismay.

"You won't believe it, even if I tell you," the pink-haired female commented baldly. The two kunoichi fell in behind Naruto and Hinata, even as they queued for some takoyaki.

Ino appeared a little amused.

"Is this one of those 'opposites attract' kind of thing?"

Sakura paused and thought about it.

"…in a way," she admitted.

"Hmm, opposites…" Ino's mind started to work as she processed her best friend's character, as well as what her opposites might mean. At the same time, Sakura gave their orders to the ojii-san manning the takoyaki stall, leaving the Yamanaka to her own thoughts as the pink-haired female started to speak with Hinata and Naruto as they all waited for their food.

Sakura was always so soft-hearted and willing to help out those in need of aid. She was kind, and like the rest of Team Seven, very protective of her precious people. She was a workaholic; she was always striving to improve herself so that she would never see any of her friends die during her watch. Like the Godaime-sama, she was also notorious for being a lousy gambler, although she was not as sore about it as her predecessor. She was sometimes oblivious, normally greeted everyone with a small smile on her face, and was generally well-liked and respected.

So who could her other half be?

Ino accepted the platter of piping hot shrimp and octopus balls distractedly, even as she tried to identify Sakura's mystery boyfriend. Meanwhile, Sakura, Hinata, and Naruto lingered around the stall as they waited for the rest of the group to make their purchase before moving on. The Yamanaka frowned thoughtfully as she tried to put together the information that she had gathered so far. For the pretty blonde, there was nothing that could get her going faster than a mystery, especially when it had something to do with her friend and her seemingly nonexistent love life.

Sakura had shyly admitted to being kissed shortly within her first meeting with the unknown male, and judging from that described encounter, it was simple for Ino to conclude that the man was probably a very confident individual, probably very arrogant and good looking too, if the way Sakura had blushed was of any indication. It was also possible that Sakura's love interest was a rather powerful individual, as well as a rather high ranking ANBU, maybe even a captain, if all her failed snooping around Shika was to make any sense to her.

As surprising as it was, her lazy Nara boyfriend was actually one of ANBU's top strategists. Rather predictably, Shikamaru had never asked to be put in that entirely 'troublesome' position, so to speak, but nonetheless, the shadow-user found himself right smack in the midst of the most powerful organization in Konoha. Nobody with the right sense of mind would dare say 'no' to Godaime-sama, after all.

But that was not the point of irritation for Ino. No, the more annoying thing was that she was beginning to suspect Shika knew the owner of the Weasel mask, but had flatly refused to identify the shinobi for his demanding girlfriend when she had relayed her questions to him. Still, he had appeared somewhat surprised when Ino explained the reason behind her curiosity, which quickly led the blonde to believe that whoever this Weasel was, he was definitely someone whom even Shika had never suspected Sakura would have a relationship with.

Mentally, Ino began to cross-reference her hard earned information with all the shinobi whom she knew. Immediately, all the affable and 'nice' men like Rock Lee were struck off from her lengthy list. Also, the romantically attached males (Rock Lee) were omitted. There was simply no way that Sakura would tolerate being with a male who happened to be a dirty double crosser, powerful or not. In prompt order, all non-ANBU nins (also Rock Lee) were quickly eliminated as well, leaving her with rapidly shortening numbers of possible candidates.

Ino's frown deepened slightly. Confident. Arrogant. High ranking. ANBU.

And so far, there was only one such confirmed ANBU captain whom they were all familiar with.

It really wasn't a difficult conclusion for Ino to leap to.

The blonde's blue eyes widened, and in her obvious excitement, the Yamanaka quickly blessed everyone present with her new discovery.

"Sakura!" She turned to her surprised pink-haired friend, who had just bit into half of a shrimp ball balanced carefully on a stick. "I can't believe that you actually kept something like this from all of us!"

Before a bewildered Sakura could ponder on how on earth Ino was still mulling over the subject of her secret relationship, as well as ask her to let it go already, the dogged blonde forged on, determinedly and promptly dropping a bombshell on all of their heads.

"Your secret boyfriend is Hyuuga Neji!!"


Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

Next Chapter: In which the you-know-what hits the fan!

I think I can hear some of you wondering just how on earth this is supposed to be an ItaSaku one-shot when only one half of the equation (plus meddling teammates and friends) is present in the plot. Worry not; our favorite raven-haired ANBU will make his appearance in the next (and final) chapter!

As for one unfortunate Hyuuga Neji, well…you will see!


Tentatively, 'hair clip' will probably be the final installment for my fiesta-verse non-massacre AU. At least, until the muses decides to strike again. As you can already guess from this chapter, it's going to be a lot more crack-ish than its two earlier prequels, the reaction of the various characters a tad more exaggerated than they should be in canon. Now that I have already given you peeps prior warning, don't come complaining about the OOCness of the Naruto cast! They are meant to be that way!


For the unaware, 'teme' is an informal and extremely rude way to say 'you,' whereas 'dobe' means dead last.


And for those who are curious, here are the definitions of the various delicious, mouthwatering Japanese foodstuffs that I have mentioned earlier, once again, as according to Wikipedia:

Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼?) (literally fried or baked octopus) is a popular Japanese dumpling made of batter, diced or whole baby octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, konnyaku, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, green laver (aonori), mayonnaise, and katsuobushi (fish shavings), originating from Osaka.

Yakitori (焼き鳥 やきとり?), grilled bird, is a Japanese type of skewered chicken. It is made from several bite-sized pieces of chicken meat, or chicken offal, skewered on a bamboo skewer and barbecued, usually over charcoal.

Dango(wikt:団子?) is a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour), related to mochi. It is often served with green tea.

Taiyaki (鯛焼き , literally "baked seabream"?) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, or cheese. Some shops even sell taiyaki with okonomiyaki, gyoza filling, or a sausage inside. Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold for each side. The filling is then put on one side and the mold is closed. It is then cooked on both sides until golden brown.

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き?) is a Japanese dish consisting of a pan-fried batter cake and various ingredients. Okonomi means "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki means "grilled" or "cooked" (cf. yakitori and yakisoba); thus, the name of this dish means "cook what you like". In Japan, okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.

There are more detailed information on Wiki for those who are really interested, not to mention quite a lot of recipes floating about in the net to be tried out, for those who are brave enough, (and reasonably skilled in the culinary department) that is.


Part two to be up next weekend!


Your reviews fuel my passion for writing. So please leave a comment if you like this fic, thank you.