Sakura sat on the couch, her legs hanging over the side lazily, her hands and eyes occupied by a thick book-Servant of the Bones- the book honestly wasn't very interesting, but she adored Anne Rice and her Mayfair Witches series, so she had promised herself she's read every book the woman ever wrote. But she was starting to regret it. The Vampire series wasn't the best, and she was dreading the day when she finished all the vamp books and started on the religious ones.
She was halfway reading and half listening to the radio, which was on the Akatsuki station. It was music and partially a talk show, and she enjoyed listening to them debate on different things, from art to conquering the world.
"I'm not going to stay long. I have to go to my friend's birthday party soon."
"Yeah, Weasel invited me too-"
They all used code names: Weasel, Jaws, Punch, C0, Blue, Leader, Change, Tobi, VFT, and Snake, who left and formed his own bubblegum pop station a long time ago.
Drowsily reading, half listening to the men on the radio bicker. It was comforting to hear Weasel's and Change's monotones, the loud and opinionated C0. She didn't hear her favorite on tonight, though; otherwise she would have abandoned her book. The group announced a song and the drums woke her up slightly, the lead singer's voice hitting her ears like a knife.
"If you were gay…That would be okay-"
Sakura yelped and half fell off the couch, the book flying to the floor and landing on the cat curled up on the tan carpet. It meowed pissily and skittered away to the kitchen.
Sakura grabbed her phone off the wooden coffee table and fumbled with the top, finally flipped it open and pressed it to her ear. "Hello?" She panted.
"Sakura, you okay?"
Oh yeah. 'If You Were Gay' was Sasuke's designated ringtone. Sakura switched off the radio, the song 'Never Wanted to Dance' cutting off mid lyric.
"Yeah, I'm fine Sasuke. I just fell off the couch."
A dubious pause. "Hn. Anyway, I won't be able to pick you up."
"Oh?" She brushed her bangs back. "Why not?"
Today was Sakura's birthday.
Every year, she would go over to the Uchiha's place and celebrate. It was a tradition ever since she was thirteen. She would celebrate with her family in the afternoon when they were actually home for her birthday (Her parents traveled a lot.) but most of the time she would just hang out at her house until four, when Sasuke or Itachi would pick her up. (Or before they could drive, their chauffeur) Sakura had long given up on letting them spoil her. Mikoto has often said she sees Sakura as a daughter (And would make a very nice daughter in law, hint hint.) She disproved of her parents wandering lifestyle and became her stand-in mother when Sakura was nine. Mikoto's chocolate chip cookies were Sakura's favourite, Mikoto was the one who made the sweater Sakura wore at Christmas time. (Which she also spends at the Uchiha's house.)
Or maybe it was Madara.
Madara Uchiha was many things-perverted, seven years older than her, and more than likely had a small crush on her ever since she was fourteen, where they had met at her party. It had not gone well, to say the least. She would not be surprised if he was the one who organized the whole thing. She liked him well enough; sure, he was more than kind to her. He was probably one of her best friends.
But did she mention it was her eighteenth birthday?
He had been hinting for ages he'd like to date her, but he wouldn't dare as long as she was safely underage. (That's what helped her sleep at night.) And it probably helped she had been going out with Neji Hyuuga for the last year, an important contact of the Uchiha family. They had broken up four months ago. She wasn't dating anyone, she was eighteen… Madara was in the clear.
And it didn't help that she actually had a small part of her that thought he was, well, she won't say it.
"Cousin Shisui took my car to pick someone up at the radio station without telling me, and his cell is off."
Sakura could hear the anger in his tone.
"It's all right Sasuke, I'll just walk over."
"It takes you an hour to get over here from your house, Sakura."
"Not if I take the bus. And anyway, isn't Madara over? You could ask him to loan- "He already said no." Sasuke cut her off. Talk of Madara seemed to make him mad.
Sakura smirked. "What, he doesn't trust you with his (beautiful) Camaro?"
"So I guess I'll take the bus."
"There is no need." He said stiffly.
Sakura collapsed against the couch. "What do you mean?"
"Madara is on his way now."
"Okay, problem solved."
"I don't trust him with you."
"He's driven me over plenty of times."
"It's your eighteenth birthday."
"You actually think he'll try anything? "
"…Put some pepper spray in your pocket."
She laughed. "Seriously?"
"I'm been around Madara since I was fourteen. He's my friend, and I think he'll take no for an answer, even if he whines about it."
The door bell rang.
"That's him. Bye Sasuke."
She hung up the phone.
Sakura set the cell down on the coffee table and padded across the floor, shaking her leg to get rid of the prickly feeling.
She unlocked the door, wrapped her hand around the handle and pulled.
Madara Uchiha stood on the other side of the screen, his usual smirk on his face. His long hair blended in with the dark black material of his jacket, which she knew had the red and white fan that symbolized the Uchiha clan on the back. Not too tight but tight enough jeans and boots completed the outfit.
"Hi, Madara-san." She opened the screen with a 'whoosh'. "Do you want to come inside?"
"Of course, Sakura. And you know I hate it when you call me Madara-san. No honorific at all will be fine." He was grinning at her mischievously. "And we can't stay long. Sasuke threatened to never let me near you again if we took too long. And other things you wouldn't repeat in front of a lady." His grin disappeared and his mouth turned down into an adorable pout. "He said you don't like me, Saaakura! Is that true?"
"Why would you think that?"
Sakura moved out of the door and Madara edged in. Once he was in the foyer he turned to look at her. "You didn't hug me when I came in. You always hug Itachi and Sasuke…and even Kisame!" His pout grew even more adorable, if that was possible.
Sakura sighed. It was rather cute when he acted childish.
She went closer to him and wrapped her arms around him, face buried in his coat. She looked up at him when he wrapped his arms around her in turn.
"Of course I like you. Who got me those 100 dollar softball cleats for my birthday last year?"
"Who went on all the roller coasters with me at Disney Land, even when Itachi wouldn't?"
A small grin came on his face. "I did. But that wasn't really a favor."
Showing up Itachi (and Sasuke, who wouldn't go on any roller coaster) was worth it.
"And the time when you broke your leg and I played nursemaid for an entire month?"
"You wouldn't wear the maid outfit."
She stepped back from him and playfully hit him in the arm. "Pervert."
He grinned. "But you love me anyway. And I just ignored a perfect opportunity to-"
She slapped his arm. "You never learn, do you?"
She sighed and headed towards the kitchen. "You want some Dr. Pepper before we go?"
"No, just plain."
"Sure." He collapsed on the couch.
She shuffled around in the fridge. Naruto had come over yesterday and drank all her milk. She was going to have to go shopping soon. …Why is the cheese all gone? And the chocolate sauce? It was half full yesterday….
"….Sasori asked you out week."
"Wha-what? How did you know that?" She was glad he couldn't see her face. It was redder than a cherry gummi bear.
"I have my sources. So why'd you say no? You broke up with that Hyuuga, right?"
Like he didn't know. Like he didn't dance an evil jig that would make a leprechaun proud when he heard the news.
"A while ago."
"Sooo…" He left the sentence hanging, waiting for her to finish it.
"Sasori…is…" She struggled with her words as she reentered the living room with two Dr. Peppers. "Strange."
She handed him his soda and sat down beside him.
"Well…" She cracked open her can.
Strange was perfect for the theater obsessed boy. When Sakura was sixteen he insisted on her playing Christine to his Phantom in the Phantom production at their school, even though she took art. That was strange; the drama and art department, even though forced to work together often, were bitter rivals. From stuffing clay in hats, placing bubble rap in shoes and switching the script for Cats with that of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the art students were merciless. But Sakura, of all people, who only knew him because of their mutual friends, (Kisame, Itachi, and Deidara.) and who had never set foot of a stage except for a stage crew job when she was a freshman.
But Sasori, the apple of the drama teacher's eye, got what he wanted.
Sakura actually tried, for Deidara's sake (He had begged her on his hands and knees not to refuse his 'danna' for fear of his evil thespian-y wrath) but it was not fun at all. Whenever they had a conversation he would refer to her as 'doll' and ruffle her hair. When they practiced their lines she felt very uncomfortable, because it seemed like he actually meant his. And when he asked her over to his house and showed her his creepy puppets…
Well, at least his grandma was nice.
"Just creepy, Madara." She sighed nosily, blowing her hair out of her eyes. "All the guys I know are disturbing or Naruto."
"I'm not disturbing!" He protested, turning the puppy eyes on again.
"You are twenty five and you regularly hit on a seven-eighteen year-old girl. And you tried to grope me when I was fourteen…"
"There was a mosquito on you. I simply tried to brush it off."
"So who would you date, if you could?"
"I just told you. Everyone is creepy or taken."
"Yeah, Kakuzu is going out-"
Madara clapped a hand to his face and started gasping.
"What…are you doing?" Sakura asked, concerned. "Are you alright?"
"Dr,Pepper..up…nose…" He mumbled. "What did you just say?"
"I said, Kakuzu is taken."
"Are you serious?" Madara's face was tinted pink. "Kakuzu?"
"Yeah. Suigetsu's cute, but he's a jerk, and so is Kiba. Pein and Konan have been going out since elementary school, and I think Itachi and Kisame are secret lovers or something."
'I think Itachi is straight. "
"Yes. What about Sasuke?"
"We tried that a while ago, remember?"
He nods. That was a very terrible week for him, seeing his Sakura around the Uchiha place almost regularly without being able to come near her (Mikoto's orders. Apparently she didn't want her precious 'daughter' going out with anyone but her own sons...which is pretty creepy.) seeing Sasuke kiss her. He had considered murdering him with the waffle iron five times in two minutes one morning, and had decided that day that Sakura would be his.
They sat silently sipping their drinks for a few minutes, Madara's hamster wheel turning deviously while Sakura sat blissfully unaware.
"So you have no problem dating an Uchiha." It wasn't a question.
"Kakuzu is almost as old as I am."
Sakura did not like where this was going. "So..?"
"Just making sure." He said cheerfully. He rose and headed towards the door. "Should we go now?" He threw the can towards the kitchen and it landed in the trash can with a thunk.
"Show off." Sakura mumbled and threw her can away the boring way, stopping to grab her keys from the kitchen counter. Madara patiently held the door open for her, and waited on the porch as she locked it. They tromped though the grass in their boots, Sakura pausing to check the mail-"Nothing but bills and penis enlargement ads. I think they are mixing up your and my addresses." "Sweet Sakura, I can honestly reassure you I don't need anything of that sort. I'll prove it to you if you want….?"-
He also held the passenger seat door open, something she would have been uncomfortable with if she hadn't been hanging out with the Hyuugas and Uchihas for ten years. Who said chivalry was dead?
She squirmed around on the cream leather seat, settling into the ass shaped depression that had formed on it a long time ago. Madara had this car when she was fourteen and he would take Sasuke and her out for ice cream. She had come over just to get a ride from Uncle Madara many times. Itachi had gotten a GT for his birthday a couple of years ago, and had reluctantly driven her and Sasuke places often, but it wasn't the same. Even when Sasuke finally got an almost matching car for his birthday it wasn't the same.
And Madara knew it.
He started up the Camaro, backed out of her driveway with a practiced ease, smirking all the way. Sakura flicked on the radio, knowing he wouldn't mind. Madara never went anywhere without the radio blaring. She skipped from Sunny 106.5 to the station she had been listening to earlier, 109.1, the Akatsuki station.
C0's voice warbled from the speakers, probably arguing with Punch. "I doubt that your art can actually pick up girls, yeah. What girl likes creepy puppets?"
Usually the hosts kept their topics listener friendly, but usually something will start them off again. No one really minded though, It was funny as hell to heard them bicker like old women, and Sakura did actually learned something once or twice.
"Sakura-san likes my puppets."
Sakura froze. Madara slowly turned his head to face the speakers as if he could see Punch though them.
"No she doesn't. And she doesn't like you, either. I had to convince her to do that stupid musical thing with you, and it wasn't easy, yeah."
""When she came over to my house she had no problem with them."
Madara cranked his head to look at Sakura.
"Madara, pay attention to the road!" Sakura snapped, her face pink.
"What do you mean, when she came over to your house?" A voice cut in. Weasel.
And he did not sound amused.
"A while ago she came over to see them and my grandmother."
"Doesn't she go over to your house all the time anyway?"
Sakura glanced at Madara. This statement didn't seem to perturb him, unlike Punch's remark, whose identity she had figured out a while ago, along with C0. His speech impediment was hard not to recognize.
"Weasel…" Sakura muttered. "Is that…?"
"Shouldn't we be playing music now? The debate was over quite a while ago." Change said impatiently.
"The whole reason we weren't was because we don't have any new stuff, yeah. Hey, any of you guys listening have any requests?"
"Hand me your phone." Madara said tightly.
Curious, Sakura complied, handing him her black phone with it's Gin Ichimaru charm. He flipped it open and quickly dialed a number one handedly.
Sakura could hear it ringing, and then…
"Isn't that Sakura-chan's number?" Weasel asked.
"How do you know what Sakura's number is?"
"Akatsuki radio, you're on the air."
"Tobi would like to request a song, please!"
"This time it was Sakura who turned to Madara in disbelief.
He grinned and pressed his finger to his lips, his eyes still glued to the road.
"Tobi, what the hell, yeah?"
"Tobi wants a song, senpai."
"Tobi wants 'What Is Love' by Haddaway for his Sakura-chan."
"Yep! Say hi, Sakura-chan!" Madara thrust the phone at Sakura. Sakura put the phone to her ear. "Umm..hi?" she said weakly. She was going to punch his lights out when they got to the house.
"Sakura, why are you with Tobi?"
This was very weird. "I don't think that's any of your business, Sas-Punch-san."
Madara made a gimmie motion and Sakura handed him the phone. "What about Tobi's song…?"
"Hell no-" "Here it is." Change interrupted. 'What Is Love' by Haddaway."
The song began playing and the jockey's voices disappeared. "What is love…baby don't hurt me…"
This song was important to Sakura and Madara. They had watched the movie 'Night at the Roxbury' together once when Madara had broken his leg a while ago. Sakura had fallen asleep on his shoulder and woke up to the song and Madara's hand on her waist. After they enjoyed the humorous moment she pounded him into the ground, but then it was decided it was to be their theme song.
Even if he was figuratively marking his territory, Sakura still appreciated the gesture.
Madara handed her phone back triumphantly, a smirk on his face.
"I don't know whether to hurt you or to hug you."
"Hugging is fine, but after we get home."
Sakura stuck her tongue out at him. "I can't believe you are Tobi. I had a crush on him. "
"Are you serious? I've asked you on a date a thousand times."
"I had a crush on Tobi, not Madara." Sakura pointed out. "If Tobi asked me on a date, I probably would have dissolved into a fan girlish mush. I always thought he was cute."
"Great. My only competition is myself." Madara rolled his eyes.
Sakura leaned over and kissed the side of his lips. "You're cute too, Madara."
It was a really good thing that they were at a red light, and a very, very good thing that Madara had the self restraint of a saint. No, of a god. (A very perverted god.) Still, the car jerked a little.
"Gods, Sakura, don't do that while I'm driving. Not that I'm complaining, but I really don't want to wreck."
He had felt a spark or leap in his stomach, the same spark he felt when ever he touched her or she smiled at him times a million and one. Or the time he had offered her a ride on his motorcycle when she was sixteen, and she had wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed her face between his shoulder blades when he turned corners. And the time she had fallen asleep on him during The Night At the Roxbury, when she was taking care of him after he broke his leg. She had felt it was her duty since he had tripped on her school bag. He had not been inclined to argue. While she was sleeping he had stroked her pink hair and smelled the scent of her shampoo, snaking his arm around her waist so she would be as close to him as possible. It wasn't often he had her all to himself, what with Sasuke and Itachi mooning after her as well.
"You are eighteen now."
Shit. Her throat tightened. "Yeah?"
"We have known each other for a while." The ca slowed as the do the mansion's gate.
"Since I was fourteen." She agreed.
"I have always treated you well."
"But you still say no. You never really gave me a chance."
"You haven't asked."
"You haven't asked at all today. Sasuke even told me to bring pepper spray because he expected you to proposition me at the door."
"You trust me."
They drove up the driveway in silence, Madara glancing at Sakura occasionally while she bobbed her head along to the song, humming merrily. It made him feel squishy inside to have made her happy, and besides, he loved this song.
They finally got to the top of the driveway and Madara slid the keys out of the ignition. Sakura fumbled with her seatbelt as he gracefully exited the vehicle and went around the car, opening the passenger door.
Sakura finally got the seatbelt off and, leaning on the car door, jumped out. Madara watched her intently as she did this, eyes gleaming with something unrecognizable. He closed the car door and turned to her.
She faced him and looked at him questioningly.
"This is partly the reason why I offered to pick you up." He paused and shuffled around in his jacket pockets, pulling out a white envelope. Her name was printed on it in ballpoint pen, Madara's hand writing smooth and flowing. He held it out to her gravely.
She carefully took it from him and opened the unsealed envelope. A card.
She flipped it open and a few pieces of paper almost flew out. She looked at them, the colored paper with Goofy on them. The first ones she'd ever gotten without Pluto. Two of those.
Two plane tickets as well.
"These are for the Disneyland in America."
"And these are plane tickets to Anaheim, California."
"There are two of them. "
"Again, he nodded. "You can take anyone you want. Ino, Sasuke, Naruto… Sasori." He smiled slightly, but it was forced. Sakura was quickly becoming uncomfortable with this strange serious Madara.
She tried to use her tongue once, twice. "Would you go with me? I understand if you have work or something…"
His entire demeanor changed dramatically, a huge smile blossoming across his face. Slightly maniac, filled with the same thing she had seen in his eyes before.
"Do you even have to ask?" He jumped towards her and hugged her tightly. Why…
Realization dawned on her. Madara… the looks… the tickets, the never really asking but heavily implying way he had spoken to her today.
"Hmm?" He was still hugging her tightly, almost desperately.
"Would you be my date for the party?"
He just hugged her tighter. "Don't tease, Sakura."
"I'm not teasing." Or breathing, for that matter. But she wasn't about to complain. Madara was warm and smelled nice, and to tell the truth she always liked his touch. But that didn't give his a right to molest her whenever he pleased.
"You're serious?" He moved back from her, looking at her hopefully, like he couldn't believe.
She rolled her eyes. "Duh."
He inched his way closer to her-he was already a hair away from her face- probably headed for her cheek.
But at the last minute she turned her face.
It was soft, gentle and hesitant.
Deeper and deeper, until Sakura was lying on the grass and Madara was straddling her, his hair obscuring her and his face, and she didn't even remember how she got there. His tongue forced itself between her lips, the first time she had ever been kissed that way. Running over the roof of Sakura's mouth, twining itself with hers.
It was longing combined with something else, the thing in Madara's maniac smile and eyes.
What was it?
Sakura couldn't put her finger on it. It had been there a while, probably, but she had been too convinced by his old pervert front to see it.
"Wha-SAKURA-CHAN! I'll save you from Sasuke's pervert uncle!"