Finally! This is only a two-shot, so don't expect a third chapter. I'm sorry it took me so long to upload this, but I've been really busy on ATWSS. Anyways, if I have time, I might upload a ONE-CHAPTER sequal to this. It'll be set into the future, but I dunno what it'll be called. :) Anyways, please read and review!

'In other news, popular teenage movie star, Uchiha Sasuke, was found together with an unknown girl, yesterday. And this isn't just any girl; she had pink hair! You heard right! Pink hair!

Our sources say that this girl must be a commoner. She's never released an album or starred in a movie. Mystery Girl appears, in all aspects, to be a normal girl!

Why is a hottie like Uchiha Sasuke hanging around some commoner? That's what we'd like to know!

As seen in this photo, Sasuke and Mystery Girl are walking pretty closely together. And what's this! They're holding hands! Just how close is their relationship? This appears to be the first time Sasuke has been out in public with Mystery Girl. Could she be his new lover? And further more, who are the two on Mystery Girl's left? They appear to be commoners, too!

Follow E! News for the latest scoop; we'll have more next time!

Late last night, actress Watanabe Ami—'

But I didn't hear anymore.

I sat in a shell-shocked silence. My brain just couldn't comprehend it.

Lover? Lover?

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

"LOVER?!" I screamed out loud, enraged.

I felt Naruto jump from his position behind the couch. I flew from my seat.

"Who the hell does he think he is?!"

Naruto cast me a nervous look. Usually, he'd be yelling about how he was going to kill the guy who did this, but apparently he was more afraid of me at the moment.

Uchiha Sasuke was going to die. Slowly and painfully. He was going to die.

I scowled as I turned off the tv, tossing the remote onto the couch.

"Let's go," I ground out.

Naruto followed me obediently as I trudged a warpath out of our apartment. Since Sasuke butted in yesterday, we hadn't gotten a chance to celebrate Naruto and Hinata's engagement. (We were forced to go hide out at home because of the fangirls and paparazzi on our tails). That's what we were going to do today, and maybe even invite Neji and Shikamaru or some of the others. (Shino, Tenten, Kiba, Kankuro, Gaara, Temari, and Chouji. I doubted that, though.)

Sure, Naruto and Hinata were only nineteen, but people were getting engaged as early as sixteen these days. (That is way too young, I say.) But they would both be twenty soon (Naruto in October and Hinata in December), and that's how old my parents were when they got married. (Well, my mom was 20 and my dad was 21.) And since it was September, they didn't have long to wait. Besides, these things took months — sometimes even a year — to plan and execute.

My thoughts took a darker turn. To Sasuke.

That man-bitch. He better hope I don't see him again, or he'll regret it. If he's lucky, I won't ever see him for the rest of my life. That would be ideal.

Naruto and I stopped outside of Hinata's house — mansion. I rang the doorbell. We didn't have to wait long for the door to be opened. Instead of Hiashi, it was Hinata that answered the door. She smiled shyly at us, murmuring a quick 'good-bye' to someone behind her before walking out of the house — mansion.

"Morning, Hina-chan," I mumbled, sighing.

Naruto grinned widely, throwing an arm over her shoulder and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. Instead of blushing red like she always did, she shot me a worried glance.

"A-are you alright, Sakura-chan?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah," I replied dully. "Just peachy."

And off we went.

"She's mad 'cause she was on the news about being with the Uchiha-teme yesterday," Naruto told Hinata, attempting — and failing — to keep his voice down.

My eye twitched, but I said nothing. Hinata cast me a sympathetic look from Naruto's right (I was on his left).

"M-my father was really surprised wh-when I told him that you proposed," she stammered, changing the subject to get my mind off things. I love Hinata; she's so sweet.

Naruto seemed to gulp before putting up his macho act.

"Wh-what'd he say?"

So much for macho.

Hinata giggled quietly.

"He said that he n-never really liked you, b-but he respected your courage for asking me," she replied, her voice clear and soft as silver. "H-he said it was okay."

Naruto breathed a loud sigh of relief, and I had to restrain the urge to smack him upside the head. He sent his infamous blindingly-bright grin at his fiancé.

"See?" he said with rather pathetic-sounding 'manly' voice. "I knew it'd all work out!"

I rolled my eyes.

"You're hopeless, Naruto," I teased. He made a face back.

"You're so mean, Sakura-chan."

"Oh? Did I say I wasn't?"

"...I don't think you did..."

"Think?! Oh, Naruto. What have I told you about thinking? That's dangerous, you know."

"Hinata-chan! Sakura-chan's being mean again!"

Hinata giggled again and I laughed. Soon enough, we were all laughing loudly (well, Hinata's never loud, but you get the point). Oh, it felt good to be with my brother and best friend again. Without interruption.

"Hina-chan," I called, leaning forward to see her. She looked at me with a smile.


"You wanted to go to Akikyo's right?" She nodded. I grinned. "Then Akikyo's it is."

"Thank you," she said kindly, hugging Naruto's side softly.

"We should do more than just that!" Naruto objected, pouting.

"I figured we'd go see a movie or something afterwards," I muttered.

"That's not enough!" my stupid, idiot, loveable brother complained childishly.

I punched him lightly on the shoulder.

"Alright, Mr. Macho," I mocked. "Then where do you want to go?"

He put his hand to his chin in a stupid-looking attempt to seem smart. He failed, of course. Because really, a smart Naruto? The world would implode.

A lightbulb clicked in his head.

"I got it!" he exclaimed in his Volume-Level 11 voice, attracting a few irritated glares from other people on the sidewalk around us.

"Keep it down!" I hissed, smacking him on the back of the head.

"Ow, Sakura-chan!" he whined, rubbing the place where a knot was sure to form. I'd hit him enough the past couple of days to knock something lose in his head (of course, assuming that there WAS anything in there). But, being the hopeless fool that he is, Naruto forgot all about my violent act of sisterly love in a heartbeat. "We can go to the new haunted house on Main Street!"

Hinata paled, and I delivered another hearty whack to Naruto's head.

"Idiot," I grunted. "Hinata's afraid of haunted houses. You want to scare her to death?"

"I-it's alright," Hinata stuttered in embarrassment, patting Naruto's head gently as he cried about me hurting him again.

"Nope," I disagreed. "This celebration is for both of you, so we're doing things you both want to. Liiike..." I thought for a moment. " the Konoha Skate Zone!"

Hinata perked up, nodding timidly in excitement. Naruto, however, looked disappointed.

"Eh? But Sakura-chaaaan! That place is—" I sent him a deadly glare "—so freak'n awesome! I can't wait to go! Wh-what about you, Hinata-chan?!"

I nodded firmly, shooting my adopted brother an annoyed look. He would go, and he would like it. Hinata's eager expression dropped, quickly replaced with one of nervousness.

"W-we don't have to go," she offered. "I-if Naruto-kun doesn't w-want to—"

I cut her off.

"Of course he wants to go, Hinata-chan," I assured her with a sickly-sweet smile that — honestly — was hurting my face. "Isn't that right, Naruto?" He paled and nodded quickly. That's what I thought.

"W-well, okay..."

"So then, it's settled!" I announced, purposely raising my voice and pumping one fist into the air. We were the unfortunate recipients of at least a few dozen more weird stares.

There was no way I was going to let Naruto ruin this for Hinata. If he did, I'd kill him.

"Aren't you excited, Hinata?" I joked. "This is your day." She blushed cutely. "If you don't speak up, Naruto will take char—"

And then, I slammed into someone.

Time seemed to stop as I collided with the chest of someone about my age (but regrettably taller than me). I couldn't breathe; my throat dried up and my face went white.

No. It couldn't be. It was impossible.

I faintly heard Hinata gasp behind me, and two hands grabbed my shoulders to steady me. My head lifted slowly, and I was met face-to-face with black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. My heart stopped, and I felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice cold water on me.

I couldn't be.

But it was.












Not Sasuke.

Wait— what the—

"Sai?!" I choked out, peering up at him in disbelief. He stared blankly right back at me.

"Hello, Ugly," he said emotionlessly. "I didn't expect to run into you or Dickless here."

A vein twitched in my forehead, and I attempted to tear him a new one.

"Damn it, Sai!" I yelled, ripping myself from his grasp. "You scared the hell outta me!"

"You scared the hell out of me," he deadpanned. "Your ugly face nearly made me trip."

I scowled, throwing a fist at the dark-haired boy. He side-stepped my attack smoothly (I wasn't really trying to land a blow; my heart was still racing and my nerves were still on end).

"Hey, Sai!" Naruto called, waving and grinning stupidly — even if he did look a bit ticked.

"Hello, Dickless," Sai replied with that weird fake smile of his, drawing an indignant yell back from the blond.

I sighed deeply, rubbing my temples in irritation. Damn, I hated him. He showed up out of nowhere, and then launched straight into the insults. Jerk. I knew it was his way of being friendly (being friendly = nicknames), but jeez, did it piss me off. I really wished he'd learn to quit giving such atrocious nicknames to people.

And even worse: for a moment, I'd thought he was Sasuke.

For some crazy reason, it scared me to think that I'd run into him again today. Even though I'd sworn to beat the stuffing out of his fat little head, I was really anxious about seeing him. I wanted to avoid meeting him at all costs. I almost decided to tell Naruto that I was sick when I woke up this morning. (But, of course, I couldn't do that to him; it would make him and Hinata sad...not to mention the fact that Naruto would cry and scream and stay by my side until I was 'better'.)

So, I decided to tough it out and hope for the best.

Best Case Scenario: Never see that chicken-haired little ass EVER again in my life.

Worst Case Scenario: Have a replay of yesterday; specifically, the alleyway incident (or the AI, as I called it).


I crouched behind the only trash can in the alley, face heating up when I felt him come in behind me.

Whoa. Let me rephrase that.

I crouched behind the only trash can in the alley, face heating up when I felt his chest against my back as he crouched behind me.

There. That sounds a bit less...dirty.

He placed a hand on the top of my head, forcing me to duck down so I wouldn't be seen. His chin rested on my shoulder, and I could feel his breath on my ear. My face was flaming. I was getting a bit uncomfortable.

We crouched for a few moments, the only sound being our ragged breathing. My ear was starting to tickle, and my insides were squirming. Oh god. What a time for my hormones to kick in.

Bad thoughts invaded my mind, poisoning my head with dirty images.

Ack! Get them away!!

I could have died when Sasuke pressed up against me even further. He went completely still and his breathing quieted. I held my breath.

Seconds later, there was the sound of many rushed footsteps dashing by the alley. A ton of voices were calling 'Uchiha-san?!' or 'Sasuke-san?!'. The noises disappeared quickly, but we waited on edge.

After a moment, I could hear his labored breathing against my ear again. I shivered, and I felt his body tense behind me.

Well, the shit has officially hit the fan.


How did he know my– oh, wait. Naruto yelled it a few times.


Damn my wavering voice.

And then suddenly, his breathing was no longer on my ear. It was on my cheek.

My heart skipped about a thousand beats, and my throat dried up.

I felt his nose skim the side of my face, and I nearly had a heart attack – if I haven't had one already – when he seemed to be leaning over me. His hand found my left arm again, and I was suddenly being pulled backwards to face him. Something bumped against my hip–


I jumped a good ten feet into the air, toppling over the trash can awkwardly and landing on my head on the other side. I cradled my head, eyes watering in the corners, and hurriedly sat up. I stared at Sasuke in horror, my face on fire.

That better NOT have been what I think it was.

His dark eyes were clouded as he regarded me silently, lips slightly parted to allow himself to breath easier. His face was unreadable.

I think my soul has officially been ripped out of my body and flung into the sky.

It WAS what I thought it was.

That thought alone made my face go so dark red, it was arguable whether or not it was actually red.

Kami-sama must REALLY like to fuck with me. Nothing good could come from two horny teenagers alone in an alleyway who were thinking X-rated dirty thoughts. NOTHING.

"W-we should probably go," I stammered, wincing at my stutter.

His eyes flickered, but he said nothing.

"Uh, S-sasuke?"

He stood up smoothly, offering a hand down to me. I blinked and stared at it for a moment before taking it. His hand closed over mine, and I suddenly got the feeling that I shouldn't have taken his offer.

He pulled me up quickly, alright. Yeah, he pulled me right up into him.

I slammed into his chest, momentarily shocked. And what does he do in my moment of hesitation? He grabs my chin and kisses me. The bastard.

I stared wide-eyed in shock and his lips moved against mine, unable to think straight or move a muscle. I felt those cursed hormones creeping up on me again, and I jumped slightly when his hand brushed over mine softly. His lips trailed down to beneath my left ear, smirking against the skin before giving it a light nip and suck.

He pulled back, a cocky smirk on his smug little (hot) face and he chuckled at my expression. Sasuke stuffed his hands in his pockets and strolled right past the pale-white-statue than is yours truly.

To my extreme horror, I found a hickey where he had bit me.

"I may be of need of your services again," the black-haired male murmured in amusement before stepping out of the alley and walking away.

I blinked.


What the hell had just happened?

Come to think of it, my hand was clenched around something...

I lifted my hand absently and opened it, staring blankly at the contents. In my hand lay five one-hundred-dollar bills.

What the...



I bristled in fury, glaring angrily at the spot he'd been in moments ago.

"BASTARD!!" I screeched after him, hoping that he'd go deaf from it.

I screamed in lethal fury and kicked the trash can, huffing and yelling curses. In my fit of rage, it took a few moments to register Naruto and Hinata peeking around the corner.



Naruto cowered, looking as if he was about to wet himself. Then, something caught my eye. I mustered up all of my self-control, managing to restrain myself to a deathly growl.

"Naruto, where did you get a hundred-dollar bill?!" I hissed.

He paled and started shaking.

Then, something in my pocket vibrated. I took out my phone, blinking stupidly at the screen.

One New Txt Message

Unknown Number

I flipped it open, pressing a button to show the message.

The dobe gave me your number. I'll see you tomorrow in front of the alleyway for another 500.










I shuddered at the memory. That was not something I wanted to repeat.

"—re you doing here?" I only caught the last part of Naruto's question, but I took a stab as to what he had been saying.

"I was looking for a book store," Sai replied without a care. "I was hoping to find more books on how to make friends."

I sighed, shaking my head.

"You know, Sai," I started, "you could just ask me or Naruto haw to do it instead of wasting your time walking to and from the book store. And you could save a lot more money that way."

He looked at me in genuine confusion.

"But it would take me longer to walk to your apartment than the bookstore," he said blankly. "I wouldn't be saving time at all."

I glared at him for a moment before running a hand through my hair to keep my temper in check.

"Sai..." I sighed again, frowning. "Sai, that's not what I meant." He blinked. "You could ask us before or after school. It would only take you maybe ten seconds to find us — or rather, to find Naruto."

He seemed to consider it for a moment. Then, he sent me that sort of sweet-looking fake smile he was known for around the school.

"Thanks, Ugly," he said, trying to sound friendly. (Even though he added in the nickname, it was hard to get mad at him at a time like this.) "I'll see you tomorrow." And just like that, he turned and began to walk away.

It took me a minute to register his words.

"...huh? Hey wait!"

Sai stopped, looking at me curiously.

I raised an eyebrow, as if questioning his intelligence-slash-stupidity.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

It was his turn to send me a questioning-intelligence look.

"...home, obviously."

"Why?" I inquired. "We're right here; you can ask us now."

Once again, his fake smile surfaced as he shook his head.

"No, thank you," he declined. "What would be the point of asking you now? We aren't at school."

Both Naruto and I stared blankly after the black-haired male as he disappeared from sight around a corner. We looked at each other.

"...and I the only one who thinks he's got something wrong in his head?"

"Nope; same here."

I nodded distantly.

"...yeah. Thought so."

Hinata's gaze was soft.

"Are you hurt?" she asked. I shook my head.

"Nah. I'm fi—"

And then, something hit me from behind.

I stumbled forward, cursing loudly in a very unladylike manner. Someone grabbed my left arm, and I had a sense of déjà vu.


Just as we were about to laugh yet again, something slammed into me from behind. I stumbled, nearly falling flat on my face, and Naruto and Hinata staggered back. A person latched onto my left arm, squeezing me in a death grip. What the hell?!

My head whipped to side so I could tell him off, but my words died in my mouth.

Gripping onto my arm was none-other-than the famous teenage movie star, Uchiha Sasuke.


My heart stopped again, and—

...what the hell?

I peered stupidly at some guy who had just snatched my arm. He definitely wasn't Sasuke. This guy look about twenty-five, and he had curly brown hair and green eyes. (Not that he wasn't attractive, but I hadn't expected to see someone like him on my arm). I realized with a grimace that situations like this were going to keep happening all day.

"...who the hell are you?"

He glared at me.

"Hand over all your money little girl," he ordered firmly, squeezing my arm in a death grip.

A vein popped on my forehead again, and I scowled right back.

"What'd you say?!" I growled back. "Get your hands off me!"

He attempted to reach into my jeans pocket, but I wasn't having that. I bit down hard on the hand that was latched onto my left shoulder, successfully stopping his attack. As he tore his hand free, I sucker-punched his conniving little face and kicked him in the balls.

He let out a choked cry, staggering back with a priceless look on his face. I would've laughed if I hadn't been the one being attacked. As the man fell back behind us, I huffed and stalked away. Naruto and Hinata were at my side before I could blink.

"You okay, imouto-chan?!" Naruto demanded, looking about ready to rip the guy's head off. I growled under my breath but said nothing.

"He didn't h-hurt you, did he?!" Hinata fretted, a terrified look on her face. With a grimace, I opened my mouth to tell her that I was fine (yet again), but a hand grabbed my left shoulder again.

Fiery rage burst from me. I whipped around furiously, rearing back my fist to knock the fuck out of his face again, a battle cry ripping from my throat.


But my screech died short.

My eyes went wide, and all the breath left my lungs. It wasn't an illusion this time.

This time, it really was Sasuke.

He looked at me with both eyebrows arched high, his hand leaving my shoulder instantly.

"What'd I do to piss you off so bad?" he asked defensively.

But I didn't reply. I just stared. It was Sasuke. I had been trying so hard to avoid him all morning, and we'd run into each other again. Were we never going to make it to Akikyo's?!

"S-sasuke?!" I choked out weakly.

His eyes were wary, almost as if he expected me to attack him like a savage beast.

"How did you..."

I blinked, raising both hands to rub my eyes. After a good ten seconds of fierce rubbing, I reopened my eyes again to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

Nope. He was really here.

"It's you!" Naruto yelled loudly, pointing an accusing finger at the Uchiha.

But for once, I didn't growl and whack Naruto upside the head for screaming in public. I was still too shell-shocked. My stomach twisted, and a bead of sweat rolled down my brow. Crap.

"You little bitch! You'll pay for that!"

My head snapped up, my gaze leaving Sasuke for the first time since he appeared. Mr. Sorry-Ass-Robber was burning holes into my head with eyes of emerald flames, holding his nose with one hand. I forgot about Sasuke for the time being.

"Bring it, you pansy-ass bitch!" I shouted back, my temper flaring. "I'd like to see you try stealing from me again!!"

With a growl, he lunged forward to no-doubt choke the life from me, but before he even came close, Sasuke had him by the collar. He glared at the nameless man with a powerful air about him, and I saw fear flicker in the stranger's eyes.

"Get lost," Sasuke said darkly, dropping him.

A cloud of dust exploded around him as the man hauled ass away from Sasuke, undoubtably with hysterical tears flying from his eyes. I glanced at Sasuke in surprise, watching as he turned back to me with a calm expression.

"Hn," he grunted. "Did he take anything?"

I blinked, shaking my head. (It didn't occur to me until a few moments later that Sasuke asked AFTER he'd let the almost-thief go.)

"Why are you here?" I demanded.

He raised an eyebrow, smirking.

"Is that any way to treat the man that just saved your skin?" he taunted.

I glared.

"I was perfectly fine on my own!" I snapped angrily.

"Not from where I was standing," he retorted.

I scowled in annoyance. This is why I hated him. He acts like a sort-of nice guy at first, and then he shows his true 'irritating-little-bastard' colors. Damn him.

Instead of hissing back at him and possibly starting World War III, I settled for glared black flames at him and turning my back on him. I walked away stubbornly, crossing my arms. I heard Naruto and Hinata's footsteps as they quickly followed me. But then, to my annoyance, I heard a third set of fast-paced footsteps. Why did Kami-sama curse me with this vertically-challenged body? Eyes narrowing, I picked up the pace, but he caught up in mere seconds.

"Why are you avoiding me?" Sasuke demanded, falling into step on my left. I felt Naruto and Hinata watching us.

I refused to look at him as I replied stiffly.

"Because you're a bastard," I muttered.

I could practically hear him roll his eyes.

"I'm offering you five hundred dollars to keep me safe for a day," he argued. "How hard is that?"

"And because you think you can buy anything with money."

He sent me an incredulous look.

"Are you even paying attention to what I'm saying?" the dark-haired male asked irritably.

"Of course I am; I just choose not to listen."

He grunted.

"I should have expected that one."

"Get lost, Uchiha," I ordered. "You ruined yesterday for us, and you're not about to do it again."

Another eye roll.

"How could I have possibly ruined your day?" he retorted smugly.

Oh, how I wished I could knock that smirk right off his face.

"Did you forget? Your fucking psycho fangirls and camera-stalkers tried to hunt us down all over Konoha. Naruto, Hinata, and I had to hide at home and turn off all the lights."


"That's what I like to call the paparazzi."


"Anyways," I continued, "since they were chasing us, we couldn't go out for Naruto and Hinata's engagement celebration. Instead, we decided to do it today." I glared at him. "And you're not invited."

He sent me that devilish (-ly handsome) smirk of his.

"Not invited?" he echoed in a poor attempt at mocking hurt. "I'm heartbroken."

"Your heart's not the only thing that'll be broken when I'm through with you," I muttered under my breath.

"What'd you say?"

"Oh, nothing."

I stopped walking completely, freezing in my tracks, and turned to face Sasuke. He cocked an eyebrow at me, waiting for me to explain my sudden halt. I sent him a stern look.

"Beat it," I said firmly. "We really don't need you around to screw everything up again."

He sent me a 'do-you-really-think-that-scares-me' look, smirk attached. Damn, I hated that smirk.

"I don't think so," his disagreed.

My eyes narrowed seriously, and I crossed my arms once more. (Why did I uncross them? I couldn't remember.) "I mean it, Uchiha," I growled. "Go find someone else to victimize."

"S-sakura-chan," Hinata cut in shyly. "M-maybe we should let Sasuke-san come with us. I-it would be a lot easier..."

I frowned, shaking my head.

"No-can-do, Hinata," I declined. "This is where I draw the line. Move it or lose it, Uchiha."

Amusement shone on his face, pissing me off further. "Or lose what?" he taunted.

"Your teeth," I snapped.

Sasuke chuckled. He fucking CHUCKLED at me. That son of a BITCH!

"How about this," he offered. I scowled, but listened anyway. "You let me come along, and I'll pay for anything you three want to do."

My eyebrows shot up. I hadn't been expecting that offer.

"Anything?" I repeated. "Does that include lunch?"

He nodded. I glanced over my shoulder at Naruto and Hinata.

"Do you mind having an extra person along, even if he is just wasted space? I promise, we won't be polluting the environment too much."

Sasuke rolled his eyes, while Naruto snickered.

"I don't mind," Hinata said quietly.

"Ah, let the teme come along," Naruto agreed, grinning widely. "It'll be more fun that way."

I shrugged. So be it.

"Alright, Uchiha," I stated formally, holding out my right hand. "You've got yourself a deal."

Sasuke smirked, shaking my hand firmly, and — I noticed — keeping hold of my hand for a few seconds longer than necessary. So, with a sharp smile, I politely removed my hand from his. (Translation in The Official Words of Haruno Sakura: tore my hand away from that evil little fucker and swore to wash it a thousand times when I got home.) I cackled inwardly. If only Sasuke knew what he'd just agreed to. He had offered to pay me five hundred dollars for 'guarding' him all day. Now the total amount would easily be twice that after he finished paying all the bills. Sucker.

o o o O O O o o o

The four of us sat in Akikyo's Grille and Café, enjoying our meals to the fullest. Wait. Hold up.

Correction: staring at Naruto in horror as he enjoyed his meal to the fullest.

Naruto was currently on his fifth plate of food, and he was still going. I wasn't sure where he was putting it all. He had to have at least five stomachs to even stuff that much down. I, myself, ate a lot (more than most guys, actually) but Naruto was on a whole different level. He was a human garbage disposal.

Sasuke stared wordlessly at Naruto from behind his dark sunglasses — which had slid down his nose to reveal his eyes — with a comical look on his face, completely speechless. I think he was witnessing a scene that would scar him for the rest of his life. Hinata was blushing wildly, attempting to laugh it — or giggle, in her case — off as nothing. I, however, had my elbow on the table with my cheek in my palm, smirking smugly at Sasuke. Let's just see how rich he is after this.

I took a good look at Sasuke as my adopted brother continued to stuff his face. Sasuke was pretty well disguised (at least, that's what I figured. I could recognize him a mile away, but that's just me. We got a lot of whispers and stares when we walked in Akikyo's, but none of the girls starting screaming or crowding around the table, so I took it to mean that they didn't recognize him.) He wore a black sleeveless shirt that stuck to him like a second skin, the neck line ending half-way up his throat and clinging all the way up. Gray-black jeans sheathed his legs completely, ending only where his dark-colored shoes began. Cool dark sunglasses graced his face. All designer's clothes, of course. Tch. As if he'd wear anything else. Damn rich people.

But, as much as I hated to admit it, Sasuke looked...nice. Not nice in the 'kind' sort of way. No. Hell would freeze over a dozen times before that became possible. 'Nice' as in...good-looking. And that was horrifying enough to admit on its own.

"Ahh!" Naruto sighed happily, folded his arms behind his head and closing his eyes in content as he leaned back in his chair. "That hit the spot!"

I laughed, shaking my head.

"Nicely done, Naruto," I congratulated him, punching his right arm playfully. "You got down five plates of sweet and sour pork, three bowls of rice, and three servings of dumplings. I think that's a new record — for here, at least."

We both laughed, while Hinata giggled quietly. Sasuke sighed, running a hand down his face and shaking his head in disbelief.

"I never thought I'd see the day," he muttered. "That was the scariest thing I've ever witnessed."

I snorted loudly, grinning.

"You haven't seen anything until you see Naruto eat ramen," I told him truthfully, laughing at his resulting expression. "He ate over a hundred bowls in seven days — and he only goes there for lunch."

Sasuke muttered something I couldn't hear, but I pretty sure it wasn't a compliment.

"Um, h-here's your ticket, sir..."

Sasuke, Hinata, and I looked up while Naruto cracked open one eye. The waitress was standing shyly beside Sasuke, a deep blush on her face and one hand behind her back as she offered a small slip of paper to him. Sasuke grunted and took the paper, not even sparing her a thanks. I saw the waitress leave slowly, a fangirl-ish grin on her face. I rolled my eyes before leaning over Sasuke to check the damage. I barked a laugh.

"Nice going, Naruto!" I laughed, looking over the ticket. "The total's over sixty bucks — and each plate or serving was only five dollars apiece!"

We both laughed, slapping each other high-fives. Sasuke sighed, pulling out a wallet. With the tax, the total would be 74.0025, but instead he put $74.00 even on the table. He got up, obviously intended for the waitress to keep the change for her tip, and snatched my shoulder.

"Let's go," he muttered, pulling for me to hurry up. I made a face at Naruto and he laughed, both of us standing with Hinata.

"Thank you!" the manager called, waving as we left the café. "Come again!"

Naruto and I laughed again once we were outside, throwing our arms around each other's necks.

"Oh, aniki!" I said in a teasing tone. It was an inside joke between us; Naruto called me his younger sister and I called him my older brother, but in reality, I was older than him by seven months. "What would I ever do without you?"

He pretended to think for a minute.

"Hm...I dunno. Guess you'd be pretty hopeless, huh?"

"In your dreams, dumbass!" I laughed back, shoving him heartily. We couldn't seem to stop laughing; it was too much fun. Even Hinata was joining in. (I think Sasuke was smirking, too.)

"Ne, Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked after a moment, once we had both caught our breath.


"Where are we going next?"

I thought about it.

"Beats me. You decide."

His face brightened even further, if that was possible. I was pretty sure his smile could disintegrate the ozone by now.

"The haunted house!!" he insisted.

I frowned at him.

"Naruto, we can't go everywhere you and I want to," I reprimanded him. "Hinata's afraid of haunted houses and horror attractions; I've told you this a thousand times. We can't go."

"I-I'm sorry," Hinata stammered in embarrassment. "I don't m-mean to ruin your fun..."

"Hey, it's no big deal," I assured. "RIGHT, Naruto?" I leaned in, hissing quietly in his face. "If you upset Hinata, I'll kill you. Got it?"

He nodded quickly, much like before.

"No big deal at all!" he agreed, throwing his other arm around his fiancé. I ducked out from under his left arm to allow them some (almost) privacy. "Where do you want to go, Hinata-chan?"

I didn't catch the rest of their conversation because, shockingly, Sasuke actually spoke to me.

"So, you like haunted houses?" he asked casually.

I grinned back, nodding. "Yeah; I love them!"

He seemed surprised, but smirked nonetheless.

"Same here," he agreed.

But before I could say anything else, Naruto butted it.

"Guess what, Sakura-chan?!" I cast him an irritated look.


He looked like he was bursting with excitement.

"Hinata-chan said we could go to the haunted house!!" he exclaimed.

I glared at him.


"N-no," Hinata interrupted. "It's alright; I'll do it."

I glanced at her uncertainly.

"Are you sure?" I checked. "You fainted at the last one."

She blushed, but nodded.

"I'll be okay."

I noticed with a smile that her stutter was becoming less noticeable. You go, Hinata. I sighed.

"Alright," I agreed reluctantly. "BUT—" I shot Naruto a warning look "—you better stay with Hinata; don't you dare run off on your own."

Naruto waved it off, and I got the feeling he hadn't heard a word I said.

"Yeah, yeah; I got it."

My eye twitched. Rude little jerk.

o o o O O O o o o

I stared up at the new haunted house on Main Street with awe, a grin on my face. It took up a lot of land, so the inside had to be big. Perfect. Naruto and I exchanged stupid smiles, locking our arms together at the elbow. Without a second thought, I entwined my left arm with Sasuke's much the same as I had with Naruto, and it seemed to catch him of guard. Naruto and Hinata slid their elbows together, but Hinata hugged onto his arm for dear life.

"You okay, Hinata?" I asked.

She nodded, but her eyes betrayed her. She was absolutely terrified. Poor Hinata.

At least she had a couple minutes to prepare herself. There were about twenty people in front of us, and they only took groups of four or five at a time to walk through. (They didn't want groups running into each other, so they spaced them out with a few minutes between each.) It was all indoor, so it didn't matter that it was daytime.

The guy standing in front of the door turned and knocked on it with the back of his fist. A few seconds later, a knock came from the other side, and the door opened. The guy held the door for five people to go in, then closed it back. Once the people in front of us moved up, we were able to progress in the line. Now there were only fifteen people— no, wait. Scratch that.

The four of us watched as a woman two groups ahead of us (second in line to enter, now) tugged nervously on the man beside her's sleeve. She whispered something to him, and he mumbled something back. She gave a tiny nod and he seemed to sigh before stepping out of line with her, along with another girl. My eyebrow raised. What was that about?

Naruto and I glanced at each other, identical expressions on our faces.

"I guess she got too scared," I muttered. Naruto nodded, glancing conspicuously at his fiancé. Hinata was white as a sheet.

"...hey, Hinata-chan," he murmured, his hand closing comfortingly around hers. She jumped slightly, looking up at him as if she'd just noticed he was there.

"Y-yes?" she stammered.

"Do you want to go?" he asked. "We don't have to go in if you're scared."

I heard Sasuke scoff at my left, and I shoved him, shooting him a glare. Naruto turned, removing his arm from mine to face Hinata.

"I-I'm sorry, Naruto-kun," she squeaked in embarrassment. "I-I just c-can't."

Her stuttering was getting worse. That was a bad sign. She was likely to faint any second.

"Come on," I told her gently. "We can go somewhere else."

She shook her head vigorously, surprisingly all three of us.

"I'll w-wait outside," she proposed. "You three c-can go in."

"But what if someone tried to rape you?!" Naruto panicked, his voice cracking in hysterics. Hinata paled.


"Fine!" Naruto huffed, crossing his arms and nodding. Sasuke and I sent him blank looks. "I'll stay out here with you, while Sakura-chan and the teme go in! Hinata-chan and I can just go get refunds for our tickets!" (I felt sorry for him; it took us twenty minutes to get those tickets.)

Naruto was sweet when he wasn't being stupid.

"It's fine, Naruto," I disagreed. "We can stay out, t—"

Sasuke jerked me by the arm, dragging me forward.

"What the— Hey!"

He grunted.

"We're going in," he muttered. "It'll take a while to get through, and no one will recognize me inside."

I rolled my eyes.

"You're a real ass; you know that?" I deadpanned.

He arched an eyebrow at me in amusement, tugging me forward when the next five people were sent into the haunted house. Now there were only seven people in front of us. (Two people stood at the front; they were the other two members of the group that the trio abandoned a few minutes ago.)

"Oh?" Sasuke questioned smoothly. "Am I?"

"Yes; you are."

He let out a quiet 'heh', a smirk spreading across his lips. I ignored him, instead settling for looking up at the huge (what looked to be two-story) haunted house. A large sign written in blood red letters with crimson dripping down from them read:


I grinned again. Awesome.

Suddenly, a muffled scream came from what sounded to be the second story. I nudged Sasuke's shoulder, momentarily forgetting who he was.

"Doesn't that sound awesome?" I asked in excitement, rearing to go. "Dude, I hope the actors look convincing."

He smirked back.

"I'll see if it's up to standards," he agreed.

I sent him a questioning look, blinking up at him in a way that made me feel incredibly stupid.

"I've been to my fair share of haunted houses," Sasuke explained, though his tone didn't suggest any sort of boasting. "Of course, the ones I've gone to were set up especially for people who could pay a generous amount to get in. Konoha doesn't really have any expensive places, but this haunted house looks promising."

"Hm..." I nodded distantly, frowning slightly to myself. I didn't take his words as an insult; in fact, I could see the thoughts behind it. I had to give it to him. Sasuke was pretty smart (but not as smart as me. Pft. As if.)

"Hey!" a guy in front of us shouted. (He was with the roup of five that was right before us in line.) "What's the hold-up?!"

I exchanged a confused look with Sasuke, and we both peered around the group to see what was going on. The couple — that had been abandoned like us — was talking with the guy standing charge in front of the entrance. The worker cast the man that had yelled an irritated look before continuing to speak. He paused, glancing back at us and everybody behind us.

"Is there a group of two or three?" he called. "Groups must consist of four or five people, and this group only has two."

Before I could react, Sasuke had already sprang into action.

"Right here," he called back, raising a hand head-level (his head, not mine). The worker nodded, motioning to us with two fingers to step forward. I could've hugged Sasuke for that.

We cut around the group ahead of us and joined the two by the door.

"Two?" he checked. Sasuke nodded. "Alright."

He turned to the side and knocked on the door, another knock sounding from the inside seconds later. (Now that I actually got a good look at the door, it looked pretty cool. It reminded me of one of those huge doors from a hundred-year-old mansion.) The man turned the knob and held open the door.

"Go on in, and have a good time," he said.

My grip tightened around Sasuke's arm (I was still holding onto him?) as we entered, and I was sure my face would be hurting later from all the grinning I was doing.

"Right this way," another man instructed, lifting an arm to show us the way.

I could make out his form, but not his face; the darkness was too thick. He led us through another door, shutting it behind us, and popped on a black light. The woman from the couple with us jumped slightly when we got a look at the man's face. He was covered in movie-star-grade make up that disguised him as some dead guy with an axe embedded in his head and stitches all across his throat. He looked wicked. I mentally congratulated them on the great job. He pointed one hand at a sign beside another door, an expression fitting for the walking dead on his face.

"These," he stated bluntly, "are the rules. No fighting, eating, drinking, smoking, or running allowed inside. No weapons, food, drinks, drugs, mace, Tasers, exceedingly loud alarms, or extra lights are to be brought inside. Stay with your group and do not run ahead. One person in your group needs to lead; the leader may also occasionally have to feel his or her way through some of the darker areas, but only touch the walls. Do not touch the actors, and they won't touch you. Simple."

"Wait," the girl spoke up, clinging to her boyfriend (or maybe fiancé, or even husband; not like I cared, anyway). "So we can't even open our cell phones if it gets too dark?"

"Nope," the man replied dryly. "All those who are easily nauseated, pregnant, deathly afraid of the dark, claustrophobic, can't be around flashing lights for more than a few moments, or are subject to panic attacks are encouraged not to enter; and those under fifteen — unless accompanied by someone eighteen or older — are not permitted to enter. If any of these apply to you, I'd suggest you leave now and get a refund on your tickets before they refuse to let you return it."

The guy and girl looked at each other.

"She'll be fine," the guy muttered, almost daring her to object. The actor shrugged indifferently.

"Fine," he grunted. "So be it. Just go in and have fun. Come again soon." He didn't sound too enthusiastic. (But then again, he was acting like a dead guy.)

He opened the door, staring at us without a care as the four of us entered the haunted house, and flipped off the black lights as he closed the door behind us. I was impressed. This place was pretty cool.

"Hey, you two."

Sasuke and I looked at the guy in front of us. He shot us a look that clearly stated 'I'm-an-asshole-and-you-better-follow-my-orders'.

"You better keep up with us, 'cause if you get lost, it's your own fault," he declared. "And I don't want to hear any crying from you, little girl. If you can't take it, get the hell out."

I glared at him, but to my surprise, Sasuke spoke before I could.

"We'll keep that in mind," he said stiffly, glaring coldly at him. "But I'd prefer if you kept your comments to yourself; we'll be hearing enough of your stupid voice when you start screaming, after all."

The guy glared right back.

"What'd you say, punk?" he growled. "I'll squash you like a bug when we get out of here. Just you wait."

"Come try it, pansy-ass," I muttered, snorting. He scowled at me, but whipped around back to his girlfriend.

"Let's go," he grunted rudely, yanking her after him.

That's right. He'd better just walk away.

We went forward, taking slow cautious steps so as not to fall in the near-utter darkness. All I could see was Sasuke's eyes and the faint outlines of his and the other two's skin. (Their clothes blended in perfectly with the blackness even though the girl was wearing a cream-and-white t-shit and a pink skirt.)

Sound was all around me: Sasuke's footsteps, by own breathing, the girl's whimpers, thunder noises (most likely someone banging on a metal trash can), faint evil cackling, the creaking of a door, the sound of fierce winds blowing against a closed window, quiet growls and snarls, the sound of people screaming from farther into the haunted house — I mentally applauded them for the top-notch sound effects.

And then, I heard a dull thud.

"What the—"

I could barely make out the guy in front of us as he banged on something.

"It's a wall," he stated ingeniously. I snorted, stepping up beside him — with Sasuke — and reached out my hand. My fingers brushed a slightly rough — and not cold — wall. Wood.

"Come on," I murmured to Sasuke. "Since he's obviously not going to lead, I'll do it."

Sasuke grunted, and I just knew he was smirking. I wasn't sure how, but I could feel the amusement and scorn (towards the guy, whom's name I still didn't know) radiating off him. I pulled Sasuke along to the left, taking a right a few moments later when I saw a very faint white-painted wall ahead of us. I paused to make sure the other couple was following us before rounding another corner.

As soon as we did, bright light flashed in my eyes.

"Cool," I murmured. The other two nodded, the girl gasping.

"Oh," she whined. "I hate clowns!"

It was a maze. The walls were white with large multi-colored blotches here and there. Funny mirrors decorated every wall and a disco ball (not a mirror ball) cast spots of random colors in every direction. But, instead of looking like something from a circus, it was more sinister. Red light bulbs were hung from the (black) ceiling every so many feet, bathing the entire maze in an eerie crimson, and fake blood was splattered over every surface.

'Not bad," Sasuke agreed.

The guy behind us snorted, unimpressed. I walked forward confidently, running a finger along one of the walls. I studied the warm red liquid on my finger, sniffing curiously. It didn't smell toxic. So, without hesitation, I popped my finger into my mouth to taste. The two behind us gaped at me like I was crazy, the girl paling, while Sasuke raised both eyebrows in surprise.

"Like I thought," I told him. "Corn syrup and red food dye. It's the best mixture for real-looking fake blood." His eyebrows dropped back down, and the girl shuddered, hugging her boyfriend (or fiancé, or husband) tightly.

"You sound like you're enjoying this!"

I grinned at her over my shoulder.

"Scary movies, haunted houses, and rock music are my life."

"Seriously?" the guy inquired suddenly, his interest seeming to peak. "Well. Looks like we've got something in common." He sent me a smirk, even as his girlfriend-fiance-wife gaped at him. (By this point, I was pretty sure they were just dating.)

The saddest part of that? I think his smirk was supposed to be seductive. I could've laughed. His was nothing compared to Sasuke's—


No! Bad mind!

I suddenly found myself unable to look Sasuke in the eye — forgetting the fact that he wasn't even looking at me. But, despite my inner turmoil, Sasuke seemed pretty set on something.

On glaring at the guy.

"Is that so?" Sasuke asked in a clipped tone, his arm locking securely in it's place interwoven with mine as he pulled me more towards him. My face had to have been flaming. "How fortunate. It's such a shame you don't share anything else in common."

The guy smirked with an air of cockiness at Sasuke, lifting his chin slightly in an obvious show of challenge. His girlfriend (friend-person) looking strikingly like a big ugly fish with the way her mouth was hanging open.

"Who's to say?" he taunted. "Maybe we do have something else in common." His smirk then directed at me, and I felt Sasuke's annoyance at being outright ignored. "Care to find out?"

I scowled at him, flipping him a bird.

"Go fuck a tree."

Sasuke chuckled. He chuckled. I think he even laughed.

But, damn it, I was pretty close to losing it myself. The guy's reaction was GOLD. He looked like someone had just stuffed a dead rabbit covered in tartare sauce in his mouth. But, even though I found his face ridiculously amusing, I whirled around and tugged Sasuke away, fully intending to leave Mystery Guy and Mystery Girl behind.

And then, I was reminded of something from that morning.

Mystery Girl.

My eyes narrowed. I'd have to interrogate Sasuke on that later.

"Do you know him?"

I jumped slightly, my side bumping ungracefully into's Sasuke's. I hadn't expected the sudden murmur in my ear. I leaned my head away from his, trying to hide my embarrassment with a scowl.

"Damn it, Uchiha!" I hissed quietly, making sure it was too low for the people behind us to hear. The last thing we needed was for them to realize just who Sasuke was. "Don't do that!"

He raised an eyebrow smoothly.

"Do what?"

I barely restrained myself from throwing him to the ground and curb-stomping his big fat (pretty) head. (I remembered, with a twitch, that I had considered curb-stomping his head before. I shouldn't have held back the first time.)

"Shut up," I muttered. "And of course I don't know who that guy is!" I contained my scolding to a whisper-yell. "If I did, I would've killed him already for talking to me like that!"

"I could do it for you," Sasuke offered bluntly, eyes narrowing. I was sure he could see my surprise. Why was he trying to help me?

"No, thanks," I grumbled. "I don't need to be arrested for murder — or rather, conspiracy and accomplice to murder."

Sasuke shrugged.

"I'm an Uchiha," he stated. "We don't get arrested."

I sent him a pointed look.

"But I'm not."

He smirked.

"Do you want to be?"

My face flamed red, and if our arms hadn't been locked at the elbows, I most likely would have fallen flat on my face. I sent a right hook at his face, but he caught it easily. With a furious glare, I yanked away from his grip and crossed my arms. He laughed quietly, smugly throwing an arm around my shoulders, but I shoved him back.

"Oi!" the guy behind called, sounding pissed and wickedly amused at the same time. "You two having a lover's spat? Don't make any loud noises up there!"

"Shut the hell up!" I snapped at him. "This doesn't concern you!"

"It does if you and your little boyfriend are fighting. Why don't I show you what it like to be with a real man?"

"You wanna go?!" I yelled back at him, bristling fiercely. Shock crossed his face. "If I hear another word out of you, I'll knock your fucking block off!! You got that?!" I stupidly disregarded that this guy was twice my size and easily five or six years older than me.

It took a minute before his stupid male pride kicked in.

"What'd you say?!" he growled. "Come here, you little bitch!"

I threw a fist, not even blinking when I felt his nose break. He stumbled back, letting out a chocked cry, and his girlfriend screamed. He gripped his nose as blood dripped between his fingers, but he jumped at me in retaliation. The guy slammed into me, knocking me to the floor with a grunt and grabbed my hair to hold me in place.

I smashed my forehead against his and black spots shot across my vision, but I didn't hesitate. He flinched back at the sudden pain, but I jerked my body up to throw him off. He rolled away and I kicked angrily at his chest, sending his skidding a few more feet.

Then, the actors started appearing. Two grabbed me as the guy and I leapt to our feet to claw at each other, another guy grabbing him. I threw off my attackers, but he had already escaped his single assailant. The guy punched me flat-out in the face, and my nose cracked much like his had. I jumped on him and wrestled him to the floor, locking both of my arms around his neck from behind.

He slammed his head back and pain exploded from my now-very-broken nose, blood splattering out. I growled, my grip slipping, and he took that advantage to toss me against a wall. I hit it sideways, landing awkwardly and effectively spraining my ankle.

I wasn't sure where the three actors went. Maybe they realized that trying to stop us would be dangerous, or maybe they went to find a couple dozen of their friends. I didn't care.

I pulled myself to a kneeling position, my right knee and my left foot planted shakily on the floor. My right ankle throbbed painfully, but I ignored it. I attempted to push myself up to stand, but he was on me again before I could recover. The guy forced me back against the wall, punching me in the stomach and knocking the air from my lungs. I choked, coughing roughly, and slashed at his face with my nails.

The guy hissed as my nails cut deep into his face, inches from his eyes, and slammed me against the floor. He kicked my face viciously, but I grabbed his ankle and brought him down beside me, the back of his head connecting with the concrete. He kicked out again, nailing me on the cheek and (most likely) fracturing my cheek bone. His foot attacked my face a third time, sending me straight into the wall at my back again, but suddenly, a dark figure landed on him.

My savior punched him at point-blank range, the impact making his head knock against the floor and rendering him unconscious. I coughed, the sharp metallic tang of blood in my mouth and fiery pain searing through my entire body. I curled around myself and gripped my stomach, certain that a giant bruise would be there in the morning.

The figure turned to me quickly, but my eyes closed painfully and I didn't see anything else. I felt myself being picked up and cradled gently against a chest, a warm hand brushing my face tenderly as two arms secured me. And then, I felt the person walking swiftly — maybe even running — as a voice whispered softly to me. It took a few moments for the voice to register in my brain: Sasuke.

He was...rescuing me.


I heard the sound of multiple footsteps nearing us, and I instinctively curled into Sasuke, my chest hurting as I tried to breathe.

"What happened?!" a voice demanded. "Is she from the fight?!"

Sasuke chest rumbled as he spoke.

"Yeah," he replied, his tone far beyond furious. "She's hurt. That guy just attacked her; I've got no clue why, but I don't care at the moment. I'm taking her to a hospital."

He...was covering for me? But why? I was the one that punched that other guy first. Sure, he was annoying as hell and got what he deserved, but it was my fault. Not his.

"You need to stay here," the man's voice instructed. "The police are on their way, and you can't leave the scene."

I couldn't lay here like some pathetic beaten dog while Sasuke did so much for me. I had to help, too. So, swallowing whatever shreds of dignity I had left, I let out a weak whimper and pressed myself to Sasuke's chest as if I was scared. Sasuke seemed to catch on to what I was doing.

"Please," Sasuke demanded. It faintly surprised me that he even knew the word. "She needs to go to a hospital." I didn't need to go to a hospital; I wasn't dying.

"Sir, I—"

"I'm going, whether you like it or not," he threatened. And then, I knew he was pulling out his trump card. "I'm Uchiha Sasuke; let me through, now."

I heard the shocked intakes of breath from at least six or seven guys.

"O-of course."

Then, I felt Sasuke moving with his ground-eating pace again. Che. Movie stars always got what they wanted.

I wasn't sure where Sasuke was going, but I didn't care. All I could focus on was the slightly-easing pain in my face, my stomach, and my ankle. (But my face hurt the worst.) After a moment, I heard the distinct sound of a metal door opening and light appeared behind my eyelids, dying them a red-orange color. I squeezed my eyes closed more tightly, the sudden brightness hurting my eyes even though they weren't open.

"Hold on for just a minute," Sasuke murmured comfortingly to me, walking faster. He stopped just a few seconds later, sinking down to sit. I felt my butt touch the ground, but I still continued to grasp the front of Sasuke's shirt, pressing my face against the fabric in an attempt to catch my breath. His arms slid around my lower back, holding me against him gently but firmly, and his chin rested on my head. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"Yeah," I mumbled into his shirt, relaxing against him. "I'm fine...where...where are Naruto and Hinata?"

I heard him sigh in exasperation.

"You're bleeding a river from your nose and you have about five broken bones," Sasuke retorted, "yet you still think of them before yourself? You're insane."

I laughed hoarsely, pulling back.

"I guess I am."

His fingers lifted my chin with ease, almost as if he was afraid I'd shatter. I watched his expression as he examined my face. He sighed.

"Your nose is broken pretty badly," Sasuke reported. "And your left cheek looks like it took a nasty hit; it might be broken, too."

"Weren't you taking me to a hospital?" I asked dryly. "I appreciate your concern, but honestly? I don't trust you to fix a broken nose without taking it off and reattaching it with SuperGlue."

Instead of glaring at me, his eyebrows smoothed out in slight amusement.

"Not that I can complain," he murmured. "I wouldn't trust myself to fix a broken nose, either."

I laughed with him, and I was surprised yet again. I never expected Sasuke to crack a joke at himself, just to distract me from my injuries. And now that I thought about it, he was distracting me from my injuries. He might not look it, but Sasuke was...kind of nice.

"Thank you," I said quietly.

He grunted.

"Like I said, Uchiha's don't get arrested. We can get out of anything."

I rolled my eyes, raising a hand to my nose to hold in the blood. I winced slightly.

"Of course," I muttered. "But that's not what I meant."

I looked down, my cheeks heating.

"I...thank you. didn't have to help me, you know. You could've just left..."

Sasuke snorted.

"Only a coward leaves a girl lying in her own blood after a fight to the death without stepping in."

I attempted to make a face at him, and we both laughed quietly at the pathetic outcome.

"You're a tough girl," he stated with amusement. "All the girls I know would be crying right now."

I scoffed indignantly.

"Me? Crying?" I snorted. "As if."

He grunted, shaking his head.

"Come on," he urged, pulling me to my feet carefully. "I'm taking you to the hospital."

"So you are taking me there after all?" I challenged playfully, wincing slightly as I put pressure on my right ankle.

Sasuke smirked at me, grabbing my right arm to steady me but not touching me any further.

"Maybe. But who else is going to fix your nose? I could try using SuperGlue..."

I laughed again, my stomach starting to hurt from the bruise (at least, I assumed there was a bruise) and all the laughing. For the first time since my eyes opened, I took in my surroundings.

"Where the hell are we?" I deadpanned.

"Behind the haunted house."

Right. Should have noticed that one.

My cheeks flushed in embarrassment at my moment of stupidity, and I huffed.

"We need to find Naruto and Hinata first," I said stubbornly. Sasuke rolled his eyes.

Almost as if on cue, my phone rang loudly before Sasuke could reply. I blinked, pulling it out and answering it.



I flinched away from the phone, my ear ringing. I could've sworn Sasuke's eyebrow twitched. I glared at the phone.

"Naruto, stop yelling in the phone!" I snapped. "I'm not deaf!!" But I might be NOW.

I heard a faint 'eep' on the other end.

"Sorry, Sakura-chan!" I sighed. "Where are you guys?! There's police showing up out front!"

I groaned, leaning absently against Sasuke as we walked.

"We're out back behind the haunted house," I replied tiredly. "We're walking around, so just wait, alright?"

"Sure thing, Sakura-chan!!"

Before I could get in even another word, Naruto had already hung up. (And he didn't even ask why we were out behind the haunted house.) I glared at the phone again. Typical.

"By the way," I commented as I put my phone away. "Did you happen to catch E! News this morning?"

I felt Sasuke stiffen beside me, and that was all the answer I needed. I scowled at him.

"Thanks to you, I'm going to be pursued by camera-stalkers for the rest of my life!"

He sighed quietly, running a hand through his hair.

"I didn't think the paparazzi would find us yesterday," Sasuke finally admitted. "It wasn't my intention to get you mixed up in this; I was just looking for an escape route."

For some reason, that hurt. I pulled away from him, glaring angrily.

"What am I?!" I growled. "Your little trinket to play with?!"

His eyes narrowed, as if it pissed him off that I would suggest such a thing.

"Listen, Sakura," he stated. "You might think otherwise, but I don't toy around with girls like almost every other famous person. You shouldn't group us in the same category."

"Is that so?" I asked venomously. "Then what do you call paying me five hundred dollars to pose as your girlfriend just to get away from some girls? Because that seems real chivalrous to me."

Sasuke glared at me, and I took a nervous step back. I didn't like the look in his eyes. It was as if his infamous Uchiha mask suddenly broke.

"Are you really that thick?" he hissed lowly, his tone furious. His anger didn't feel like it was directed at me, though. More like, at what I had said. But nonetheless, it made me slightly anxious. "You were such a genius yesterday. I expected you tp pick up on it so I wouldn't have to say this out loud."

What was he talking about?

Sasuke's eyes penetrated mine, freezing me in place.

"Do you notice something?"

I sent him a blank look.


He sighed in frustration, turning away and running a hand through his hair again. He didn't look at me as he spoke again.

"Do you notice something missing?"

I stood there stupidly for a moment, feeling as if he had gone insane.

"...not really."

He shot me an exasperated look.

"Surely — surely — you must have noticed," he repeated. "Something missing? Perhaps — oh, I don't know. A group of incredibly annoying stalkers that seem to follow me everywhere?"

A lightbulb popped on in my head.

"...oh! The camera-stalkers and the fangirl-stalkers."

He nodded, sending me a look that clearly stated he couldn't believe I didn't figure it out earlier.

"...and what does that have to do with anything?"

I swear, I think his eye twitched.

"Tell me, Sakura," he murmured in a clipped tone. "Why am I here?"

Once again, I stared at him blankly.

"...because you want to be?"

He sighed for the thousandth time.

"Why am I here with you?"

I blinked. That was easy.

"Because you're paying me to protect you from your stalkers," I replied.

He nodded.

"Yes; exactly." Sasuke seemed to prepare himself, looking like he was about to talk to a first grader. "Does something about that not seem right to you?"

My face must have answered that, because he groaned.

"You're incredibly stupid for a genius," he muttered. I scowled.

"And you're an ass."

Sasuke rolled his eyes.

"And you're immature. Why do I bother putting up with you?"

He seemed to be directing the question at himself. But then, he turned and stared at me intensely.

"Why is that?" he demanded. "Why do I put up with your sarcastic attitude and your infuriating retorts?"

"Because your stalkers would maul you without me," I replied bluntly. Sasuke didn't appear to have heard me.

"Why are you so annoying?" he inquired. I bristled, offended, but he didn't let me speak. "Why are you so interesting?"

I froze, staring at him in shock.


And then, Sasuke was suddenly right in front of me.

"Don't you get it?" he asked in a low, quiet voice. "I offered to pay for everything just so you would keep me hidden from the paparazzi and psychopathic girls. But have you even seen either of them one time today?"

I realized with a jolt that he was right. I hadn't.

"Why?" I demanded.

He sighed, suddenly looking very tired.

"I don't know," he murmured. "That's what I'm trying to figure out." He shook his head, closing his eyes and resting one hand on the back of his head. "I ditched my personal assistants and my manager to meet you today." A moment later, his eyes reopened and locked directly onto mine. "Will you meet me again tomorrow?" He didn't even wait for a reply. "I don't mean accidentally running into me again; will you meet me somewhere? A restaurant or something?"

The words stuck in my throat.

"...why?" I managed to finally ask.

He shifted his weight to his other foot, stuffing the hand that wasn't behind his head into his pocket.

"...I want to start over." My surprise must have shone on my face, because he continued. "I just caught you on a bad day yesterday; I probably looked like a big ass."

I snorted, unable to stop myself from rolling my eyes. That was an understatement.

The look he gaze me clearly spelled out that he knew he was an ass, but he didn't care. That was just how he was. I could also see how HUGE of a blow this little talk was making on his ego. I faintly wondered if there'd be any ego left after this.

"You're famous," I remarked flatly. "And you're also an Uchiha. You were born to be an ass."

He let out a quiet 'heh', and I noticed that he didn't even attempt to deny it.

"Now that you've stomped on my pride and left it in the dust, you can pay me back with lunch tomorrow. My treat."

I nearly laughed.

"You're horrible at these things," I teased. He sent me one of those cocky smirks.

"You don't seem to be complaining, though," he shot back.

That time, I did laugh. When I finally recovered, I opened my eyes to find...



What the— where'd he go?

I whirled around quickly, the sudden movement causing a head rush. I stumbled slightly, the blood loss from my nose making me dizzy.

Sasuke was walking away, hands in his pockets, acting like nothing had happened.

I blinked at him before scowling.

"Hey!" I yelled indignantly. "Get back here!" When he glanced over his shoulder at me, I continued. "Where do you think you're going?!"

He smirked.

"Home. Where else?"

I felt a vein pop in my forehead.

"What happened to taking me to a hospital?!" I demanded.

"You'll live; go find the dobe and his fiancé."

Nice guy? What the hell was I smoking?


I'm sorry if this seemed a bit rushed! ^^; MY BAD! Heh heh...did anyone notice that Sakura and co. never made it to the Konoha Skate Zone? They just seem to be barely getting by, ne? 8D WHOO! They got to stay in the haunted house for FIVE MINUTES!! TTwTT So fun...

Oh. I don't own the name Bloody Acres. It's the name of an actual haunted house close to where I live.