Pairing: Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura
Summary: How does your hair stick up like that? Do you notice my mismatched socks? Why are you so amazing? After all of these years, why don't you see me the way I see you—as a place I can always return to?
Word Count: 4367
Warning: LAME, CHEESY, CORNY, (insert other food adjective here) FLUFF NEAR THE END. -gag-
This is dedicated to the 100+ people that have me on their favorites/alerts. You guys are amazing, and I hope you guys continue to support me. I love each and every single one of you. :3
"Oh, my dearest childhood friend—best friend," she corrected herself, "why don't you do anything other best friends do?"
Sasuke looked at Sakura with a pointed look. "Why do you have pink hair?"
She puffed her cheeks—a normal reaction from her. "Don't change the subject." But she smiled anyway, dropping the question. It was Sasuke. Sasuke was different in every possible way. Which was why she loved having him as a best friend. "What'd you think of the Bio exam?"
He rolled his eyes. "Too easy."
Her face fell a little. "Oh. Well, maybe you could help me study next time, then? I don't think I did as well as the last one."
His shoulders rose and fell a fraction—his version of a shrug. After knowing him ever since kindergarten, Sakura had learned to read all of his body language.
"So," she said again, probing the topic once again. "Can you help me pick an outfit for Ino's party this weekend?"
When he looked at her, his expression wasn't unlike a glare. "Hn."
Her lips curved involuntarily into a smile.
That was a yes.
"Caffeine is bad for you."
"Never smiling is bad for you."
"I'm still not sure about this," she said, twirling in front of her full-length mirror, wearing pale yellow short shorts, a white tank top, and an assortment of long, gold pendants. "This isn't really my style."
"You already bought it." She could see him rolling his eyes in the mirror.
She tugged at the shorts uncomfortably. "My shorts don't match my hair."
"The party is in an hour. You have no time to get something else, anyway."
Frowning, she turned around and placed her hands on her hips. "Are you sure you don't want to come, Sasuke-kun?" His eyes hardened at the suffix. For as long as their friendship existed, he had told her to drop it. He said it implied that she was in love with him, or something.
She wasn't in love with him, she had told him. She just loved him.
"Yes." Social gatherings weren't his thing.
"Naruto's going to be there," she said, persistent. It seemed to have the opposite effect; Sasuke's face twisted into an expression of disgust. She laughed.
"Don't assume I like spending time with him."
Turning around again, she inspected her reflection. She didn't like her new pair of converse shoes, or the way she could see her pale pink bra strap. The tank top was a little low, and her hair was down; it kind of felt like her side bangs were blocking her vision. "Are you really sure about this? My top feels a bit too tight—"
"Shut up, Sakura," he snapped, sounding irritated. "You look fine."
She beamed, but tried to hide it. That was as close to a compliment as anyone had ever gotten. And she was the only person he ever complimented.
"Do you know how much sugar is in a frappuccino?"
"Do you know how many wrinkles you'll get by the time you're thirty from frowning all of the time?"
"The same goes for laugh lines."
"I'd rather have signs of my happiness written all over my face than my emo-ness, Sasuke-kun."
When she woke up, it took her a few moments to realize that she wasn't in her bed.
Her head throbbed with a slight headache, but it wasn't serious. The blanket that kept her warm fell to her lap when she sat up on the couch, leaving her arms bare and the goosebumps to crawl up her skin. Upon glancing at the coffee table, she found a post-it stuck on it with Sasuke's familiar, elegant handwriting on it.
Be back in a bit.
It made her a little happy to know that even though he didn't go to the party, he still took care of her after she left it, tripped over the undone shoelaces of her stupid new converse and fell to the sidewalk, badly scraping her palms and knees in the process.
Because Sasuke was her best friend. And Sasuke didn't do things other best friends did. Unlike other best friends, he carefully applied alcohol to her scratches and wrapped them up with the first-aid kit he always had handy, and let her sleep on his couch and brought out an extra blanket and wrote"Be back in a bit" on a post-it note without signing it because he knew she'll know it was from him. Sasuke did all of that despite the fact that she made what was probably the biggest mistake of her life—
Because Sasuke was just Sasuke. And she loved him for it.
She stared fondly at the note for the next couple of minutes before the sound of the door opening and closing again sounded in the quiet apartment. (Sasuke had some family problems, and his parents agreed to let him move out.)
"Sasuke-kun!" He ignored her. He tended to do that a lot—even if she didn't use the suffix on his name. "Where were you?"
He sat on the couch beside her, and much to her surprise, placed a Caramel Frappuccino on the table in front of her. "Talk."
It was a form of bribery—both of them knew it. Both of them also knew that it would work. Taking the blanket on her lap and wrapping it around her shoulders, she took the straw, unwrapped it and stuck it into the plastic cup before picking it up gingerly, like it was something precious.
Because everything Sasuke gave her was precious.
"Um." She sipped on the straw, enjoying the sugar and caffeine running down her throat. It distracted her from her headache. "Well…"
A silence fell over them. Sasuke waited. She sighed.
"So you know how Ino always has booze at her place, right?" She sipped at her frappuccino again—this time, out of nervousness. "So I drank some—not a lot!" she said indignantly at his look that clearly said, You cannot tolerate alcohol to save your life. "Just, like, half a beer. It tasted disgusting anyway. I was kind of unhappy." He didn't say anything, but his expression asked her why. "Because my shorts didn't match my hair." That wasn't technically the real reason, but she wasn't going to tell him it was because he wasn't there, best friend or not.
To be honest, the entire thing was a little blurry. She didn't really remember—and she didn't particularly want to. She sighed again, gripping her chilled drink with her quickly numbing hands.
"Sai was there," she continued, albeit a little uncertainly. "He asked me where you were. I said you weren't there, so he offered to keep me company. He's actually really sweet on the inside, you know, even if he has pretty bad social skills." Her eyes remained fixed on the whipped cream and caramel on her frappuccino. "Then this song came on—Ino has the best technology, I tell you! She even had drums and guitars and mics for people to play if they wanted to—"
"You're getting off topic."
"Oh. Sorry." She coughed a little. "So, anyway, Sai offered to dance with me, and I did. Since no one ever dances with me anyway. And then he asked if he could kiss me." Sasuke's eyes immediately narrowed at that, and she felt a little better at his protectiveness. "And…I said yes."
"Why?" He sounded a little angry.
"I'm not going to deny a good-looking boy! And it's not like I specifically like anyone. And I'm single—"
"If you were fine with it, you wouldn't have called me after you left, sitting on the sidewalk, crying like a child."
A blush crept into her cheeks. "That was because afterwards, he asked me if I did it because he kind of looked like you." Her voice dropped, lips clamping onto the straw of her drink stubbornly. "And then he said my shorts didn't match my hair."
Sasuke snorted—something that was very rare. "And you ran off because of that."
"Well"—she couldn't find anything to say that would dignify herself. "That's because he just assumed I liked you…" It was partially true; Sasuke was one of the most important people in her life, but that didn't mean she liked him romantically. Maybe at one point, but now—
"We're seen together almost everywhere." He shrugged. "It's normal to assume that."
"But it was just…so blunt," she protested. "So straightforward." She puffed her cheeks. She was upset about it because she didn't know if it was true. She'd always had mixed feelings about Sasuke, and being her, she'd avoided confronting it like the plague. She didn't want to ruin the perfect friendship with her dearest Sasuke-kun.
"Maybe," Sasuke said, standing up—his way of dropping the subject—"some blunt words are what you need."
"Sasuke-kun, do you love me?"
"You don't even know what I mean by 'love' yet!"
"Alright. Define 'love'."
"Um…Like, if I'm gone, you'll miss me, and you actually do care about me, and stuff like that…"
"…Was that a yes?"
"I love you too, Sasuke-kun."
"Are you seriously leaving for Oto?" She tried to keep back the tears. It'd never really been something she was good at.
"Yeah." Sasuke sounded grim.
"You promised when we were little, though—we'd always be together! And you know the teacher I want is here in Konoha—"
"Have you ever considered that I want to go to Oto?" he snapped. "Its technology has grown much faster, and it's best for my education to go there." It felt like she broke then. The slight change in his expression showed that he noticed. "It's not like I want to leave." His voice softened, but only a little. Only so no one but Sakura would know.
She avoided looking at his eyes, because his eyes were always able to see right through her. And if he looked at them long enough, he'd give in and stay. She'd done it to him so many times before—but this time, maybe—just maybe—she wanted him to do something he wanted to do, regardless of her opinion on it.
"University generally takes four years," she said quietly.
"I've known you for eleven years. Those eleven years flew by."
She wanted to say it was because they were together, and when they were together, time raced by and they conquered everything—but she wanted to show him that she was strong. That he didn't always have to pick her up, bandage her scrapes and buy her Starbucks.
But to be honest, she was weak and vulnerable and useless and not strong at all when she wasn't with her childhood friend, her best friend, her Sasuke-kun.
"When do you leave?"
"In two weeks."
She sniffled a bit. "Do you have some time? I want to have some Starbucks with you."
His answer was immediate. "Sure."
Her lips tugged into a melancholy, bittersweet smile, because thanks to knowing him for so long, she understood that in Sasuke-language, that meant I will definitely come back.
"Get Strawberries and Cream!"
"Pink is a manly color."
"So you're manly?"
"Manlier than you. And don't give me that look—you're just mad 'cause I'm right."
She sat across from him at the little table, drinking her Caramel Frappuccino happily. He had a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino sitting in front of him, untouched.
She sat across from him and poured out everything she never told him—like how she wondered how the back of his hair stayed that way without any hair products, and how she wore mismatched socks from time to time, hoping that he'd notice, and how she thought his eyes were empty and his hands were cold because his heart was warm and took that warmth away from the rest of his body, and how he was amazing in all the weirdest ways, and even more amazing in the normal ways—
She sat across from him and told him everything, gave him everything, so when he finally came back, he'd still feel like home.
She wished he'd think of her as home, too. But he remained silent throughout her chatter. Never told her anything. No secrets, no quirks—nothing.
He sat across from her, the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino still untouched.
"You said you loved me. So that means you'll miss me, right?"
"This is the last time we'll see each other for a long time. Can't you say something meaningful for once, Sasuke-kun?"
"Yeah, I'll miss you."
Naruto cocked an eyebrow. "That isn't Sasuke's address."
She blinked. "Did I write it down wrong?"
"No. It doesn't resemble it at all."
It kind of felt like Sasuke ignoring her the way he ignored his fangirls, even though he wasn't physically there. She felt a little rejected, a little down. The way Sasuke was always capable of making her feel.
"But…he gave me this address. Are you sure you have the right one?" Her voice sounded anxious, uneasy. Naruto should be the one asking her that question.
"Yeah. We've been writing to each other ever since he moved in."
Pause. "…Oh." Her arm fell, hand gripping the envelope tightly. The envelope that held her feelings and words and imissyous and maybeiaminlovewithyous. "Oh." Did she mean nothing to him at all? Weren't they childhood friends? Best friends? "Can I…have his address, then?" He wouldn't respond to her e-mails, his phone was as dead to her as his parents were to him—there was just no other way of contacting him.
Her friend looked pained. "I really want to give it to you, Sakura-chan—but he made me promise I wouldn't. He offered a month's worth of ramen."
For once, she couldn't find the energy to punch him in the gut to get what she wanted. Maybe it was better off knowing.
After all, what was a friendship if it was only one-sided?
Will you please write back? Please?
The seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years ticked by.
She sipped at her Starbucks quietly.
I won't be sending this, but that's alright. I hope you're doing well. You're probably a disaster without me.
It's okay. I'm a disaster without you, too. But we'll learn to be independent.
I'll be back before you know it.
* It's optional, of course.
She couldn't help but note today.
Today was the last day of her fourth year of university. Although she didn't get her master's degree yet, Sasuke would be done with university today.
Sighing, she looked up at the sky. It was clear, cloudless.
It had been a long four years.
"The sad thing is, I think I spent more time missing you than I did studying to be a doctor."
To be perfectly honest, she was a little scared. Scared of how Sasuke might had changed—scared of how she might had changed. It was okay when they changed together—but when they changed apart, they might not get along anymore.
The thought really frightened her.
Sometimes at night, she'd lay in bed and hold one of her pillows close and whisper "Sasuke-kun, Sasuke-kun," over and over again like a mantra until she felt creepy and disgusted with herself and just went to sleep. The truth was, she said his name so often because it almost felt like he'd be there to say something like, "Shut up, Sakura. You're annoying."
She could always almost hear his voice. Almost.
One week after school ended, she still didn't visit him. He still lived in the same apartment—Naruto had visited and told her that—but she couldn't bring herself to go see him. She'd linger in the area of where he lived in the evenings, but didn't dare look up to the window on the third floor she'd looked up at so many times before and hope he'd be looking out.
But she wanted to see him. So much. She wanted to have him sit across from her in Starbucks with that untouched Vanilla Bean Frappuccino and have him tell her that she looked fine and that he loved her and missed her because they were childhood friends and best friends and they were meant for each other—
"Look, it's Sakura-chan!"
For the past four years, she had grown a lot closer to Naruto. Without Sasuke around, it was almost like the blonde was filling an empty space. Naruto was bright, Naruto was warm—Naruto was everything Sasuke wasn't.
She made sure there was a smile on her lips before she turned around. "Hi, Naruto—" Her entire body seemed to freeze when she saw who was with him.
Even though she whispered his name so many times underneath her covers, she couldn't say it now.
"H-Hi." A blush crept to her cheeks as she averted her gaze downwards.
There was an awkward silence before Naruto clapped his hands. "Let's go to Starbucks! You guys used to do that all the time, right?"
Sakura nodded nervously before trailing behind the two boys who were walking down the street. She knew she shouldn't have left the house today—it was Friday the thirteenth. It was cloudy. The weatherman said it was going to rain later in the afternoon.
What was she supposed to say to him? "Hi, how's it been these last four years? Did you smile at all? Why did you give me the wrong address? Why didn't you contact me even once after all of this time?"
The same frappuccinos. The same formation at the table—sitting across from each other—except Naruto was between them this time.
She didn't know why, but she had the sudden urge to cry.
Naruto seemed completely oblivious to the tension between them—of course; he was always oblivious—and happily chattered away as he occasionally took swigs from his Jones bottle (since, apparently, he didn't "rely on caffeine like the both of them").
"Bathroom break!" the blonde suddenly announced before abruptly standing up and walking away.
Sakura had no idea if that was intentional or not, because Naruto had a way with doing meaningful things while making them look stupid.
She mixed her frappuccino idly, watching the caramel blend with the whipped cream. "So…how does it feel to be back?" she asked when silence covered them for a good minute. Sasuke had never been a conversationalist—she supposed he wasn't going to start anytime soon.
"It hasn't changed much." He didn't once meet her eyes, and she was kind of glad he didn't. He was always able to see right through her—what would happen if he saw how weak she was without him? How he made her feel every possible feeling there was to feel? "How…have you been?" She blinked in surprise, because he just asked her a question. Albeit quietly, grudgingly and a little uncertainly, he still asked her a question.
He was trying, too.
A soft smile made its way to her lips. "I've been doing okay. I really missed you, though."
He seemed to struggle with his words. "You too." She thought the faintest of color graced his cheeks, but when she blinked and looked again, it was gone.
Feeling a little better about the situation, she leaned forward on the table. "So, we haven't talked for four years. What's been new with you? Any girls?" A part of her didn't want to hear a yes for the latter question, but she asked it anyway—it'd kill her in the future if she never knew.
He gave her his signature glare, and she began to feel a little more at home again. (Finally, finally, finally.) "You talk. That's usually how it is."
Her frown only lasted for a few moments before she launched into a brief synopsis of the past four years. Medicine school, getting closer to Naruto, being pursued by Lee—even without Sasuke, life proved to be interesting. But she really did miss him—even though she didn't dare emphasize on it. Sentiments usually made him uncomfortable.
"A doctor." He nodded. "That suits you."
She quirked an eyebrow. "It does?"
"You don't think it does?"
"Well…" She shrugged. "I just thought that it was the career that was the most within my grasp. And I thought you'd be a little proud of me."
He grunted. "I am."
She was glad Naruto returned just then, because if he didn't, she might've pounced on him in happiness.
He was still her Sasuke.
It was raining later when they walked out of Starbucks, but she didn't feel the cold at all.
"Did you miss me, Sasuke-kun?"
"…Was that a yes or a no?"
"Do you realize how much money I wasted at Starbucks when I only just sat there and never drank my frappuccino?"
"You're really sweet."
Sakura widened her eyes in horror. "Sasuke-kun! Your phone!" Swiping it out of his hand, she inspected the back of the phone that she had grown so familiar with over the years. There were tiny tick marks scratched into it—tallies? "What did you do to it?"
Grunting, he grabbed it from her and stuffed it back into his pocket. "None of your business."
"Don't just go killing your phone! I told you—whenever you feel emo and you really miss me, just videotape yourself playing some love song on the guitar and send it to me!"
He did something akin to glaring at her, but looked away before she was able to take it seriously. Stubborn as always, that kid was. After finishing a four-year course on forensics, he'd returned to Konoha to enroll in being a police officer. He made her proud.
"Those ticks," he muttered, almost shyly as he turned on the television, "was for every time I wrote you a letter and never sent it."
For the first time in their lives, Uchiha Sasuke had rendered her speechless.
His eyes remained on the Weather Network, even though he wasn't really watching it. "When I was in Oto, I used a different phone and e-mail address so you could never reach me. I gave you the wrong address of where I was living."
"I—I know." She swallowed, remembering the first couple of weeks without him. It had felt so empty and hopeless. Almost like he had finally thrown her away. "But why?"
"If I saw your number or read anything you wrote, I'd come back." His voice sounded strained. When was the last time he had said something meaningful like that? Sakura's expression softened. It was already amazing that he was telling her these things. "I couldn't come back at a time like that."
She felt overwhelmed. Sasuke, wanting to come back? Perhaps she knew that he cared on a subconscious level, but she was never completely aware that he was so attached to her.
It made her so happy.
"Do you really mean that?" she asked, praying to God she wasn't just dreaming this. When he didn't answer, her hopes began to fall. "Sasuke-kun, look at me. Please."
After a long moment, he sighed wearily and turned his head towards her. Throughout the years, his features never ceased to amaze her. How could someone be so flawless? It had to be illegal. Throughout middle and high school, not a single zit graced his face, even though she always got them when she was stressed. His dark hair and eyes contrasted so much with his pale skin. It almost made it look like he was glowing.
"Sakura." Her name rolling off his tongue sent shivers up her spine. They were sitting so close on the couch, but she didn't really notice; they were always this close. The body contact made her feel more secure. "Why do I always have to repeat myself? Are you deaf?"
"Well"—the direct way he was asking her was a little overwhelming—"you always make me second-guess you, because you say things that are so out of character…"
He rolled his eyes. "Just take the hint."
Her brows furrowed in confusion. "Hint?"
Before she could think, process it, or even breathe, he closed the space between them and pressed his mouth against hers. She didn't even notice his hand at the back of her head until he pushed her closer. His other hand (so, so cold) pressed against her flushed cheek, and her heartbeat increased tenfold when his lips parted her own and oh, God, it was just so sensual and perfect and holy crap he's such a good kisser.
What surprised her the most, though, wasn't that Uchiha Sasuke was kissing her—but more that she didn't mind it one bit. She didn't mind kissing her childhood friend—her best friend.
She couldn't find the words when he pulled away, his cheeks a little flushed. His other hand rested on the other side of her face, his forehead pressing against hers.
"My hair stays up that way because I sleep right after I shower," he told her suddenly. She blinked. "It's the way I sleep. I notice your mismatched socks all the time—I like it best when you wear pink and green, because it reminds me of when we eat watermelon slices in the summer. My eyes are empty because I can't think when I look at you. My hands aren't cold because my heart is warm; they're cold because I'm giving you everything warm about me. And I'm only amazing because you make me amazing."
As stupid as it was, she actually felt tears coming on. Swallowing that lump in her throat, a smile stretched across her lips, so wide that it hurt.
"At that party, I did kiss Sai because he looked like you. I missed you. You weren't there."
"I'm here now."
They sat on the couch, listening to the weatherman say that it was going to rain later in the afternoon, their fingers intertwined.
She was finally home.
A/N: If you haven't noticed, I have some weird attraction towards the situation where Sasuke and Sakura are childhood friends and Sasuke has a soft spot for Sakura, even though he doesn't show it. :3
P.S. I seriously have not forgotten the requests. I'm almost done the last one. :)