I apologize for my late updates.

I know I'm terrible for making you all wait so long.

And also, I've given up on the languages thing. Too troublesome. I'll find something else to put in the front, but for now it's just the dashes.

But here it is.


Silence pervaded the dining room, filling the little cracks and corners. For a moment I was worried that the rest of dinner would go on this way. As I mostly saw my father in the nighttime, dinner was always lively as we exchanged our daily events. Thankfully the awkward silence in the room cracked with Fuugaku-san, who, after swallowing the food in his mouth turned towards me slightly. "So, Sakura-san, is it?" he inquired. I replied in the affirmative and said apologized for intruding upon their household. Fuugaku-san smiled a little and shook his head. "It is no burden upon us. Are you Sasuke's classmate?"

I nodded, "Yes. We're working on an English project together, so we met to day to interview each other."

Mikoto-san's voice practically sparkled as she spoke. "Ah, so that's where you went," she said playfully, eyeing her youngest son, "I thought you were going out on a date and didn't want to tell us. He went out of the house in the strangest disguise!" Ah, Sasuke and his fashion sense. Or, well, disguise-sense, I guess. His fashion sense isn't bad; he always looked neat, but carelessly put together, like he hadn't meant to come out looking that good. It really wasn't fair of him to be born so pretty. Sasuke really did take from his mother and Itachi as well. Neither was so sharply defined like Fuugaku-san though Sasuke's features weren't as soft as Itachi's. Speaking of Itachi...I slowly peered over the table to find him staring at me. I felt someone's eyes on me, I knew it!

It wasn't an intense or piercing stare—no, nothing so dramatic. Just, well, it felt like he was studying me. Or maybe he was thinking about something and I happened to be in his line of sight. Who knows?

"I thought I told you yesterday I was going out to meet a classmate," Sasuke said defensively.

"Yes, but you never mentioned it was a girl!"

He crinkled an eyebrow. "Does it make that much of a difference?"

Mikoto laughed, "Of course. The last time you brought a girl home was in the third grade, which was Ino." Whoa, Ino, third grade, what? I am so asking her about this later. They go that far back? Mikoto-san smiled at Sasuke and then me. "I'm just happy that our son found a female friend. You shouldn't be afraid of girls anymore Sasu-chan, you're much too old for that."

...Friend?

Was I a friend to Sasuke?

I looked over at him, as if the answer would be clear once I saw his face. Alas it was not so. Sasuke didn't deny anything about his mother's comment, but then again, he could be doing it because it's rude to yell out, "She's not my friend!" when I'm right there. But really, what was I to him? I'm pretty sure I'm the closest female to him at school since I've never seen him with any other girls. We talk about all sorts of things though they never get really personal unless it's for the project or his fan club. We had some good laughs and petty arguments. And, most importantly, I don't have any romantic feelings for him whatsoever. Honestly.

It sounds like I'm trying to deny something, but I don't have those kind of heart-thudding emotions for Sasuke. I mean, I think he's good looking, but hey, looks aren't everything. He can be an insensitive ass at times, he's arrogant, impatient, childish, and a whole bunch of other things (but he has his good traits too, obviously.) Honestly, I could never see myself being romantically involved with Sasuke—dating, fling, one night stand, whatever it is. I always pictured I'd go out with someone that's really friendly and optimistic, who can make me laugh and lift my spirits.

Whoa. I just described Naruto.

Weird.

Really weird, actually. But I don't like him like that. But he's my type.

Hm. Weird how I only like him as a friend.

Anyways, he's Hinata's, so, pushing thought away from head as of...now. He's a tad bit too loud for me anyhoo.

I blinked to shake myself out of my thoughts. When I looked up I saw, yes, still, Itachi staring at me. Why? His gaze was unsettling me, but I smiled quickly at him before looking back down. "So, Father," Sasuke said, "how was your day?"

Fuugaku-san nodded. "It was the same as usual. The company has many improvements it could still make, and I'm still consulting with the Board for suggestions. Tomorrow I'll be at a meeting with them."

"Ah."

The table was overcome once more with silence. I really, really hope I wasn't the cause of this awkward-ish dinner.

I finished my meal quicker than the Uchiha males, and was fumbling with my napkin when Mikoto-san asked me of a favor. She wanted my help in cutting up the fruits for desert. A bit relieved to exit the room I graciously followed her into the kitchen. She handed me a clean knife and went into the fridge to take out some apples and peaches. "How was the dinner?" she asked, "Did it make you hungry at all?"

"Oh, yes. Your cooking is amazing, Mikoto-san," I said, smiling as I reached for an apple, skinning it slowly. In my household, my father usually dealt with fruit after I sliced my finger the first time I tried. From then onwards, my father was wary with me and knives. When I was alone, I would sometimes practice peeling fruit but with great caution. The sight of blood made me uneasy—especially mine.

Mikoto-san picked up a peach. The fruit was a pale color, speckled with splotches of pink. "The reason why I brought you here is because I can't have the men overhear us," she said, "I have a challenge for you, Sakura-chan." I paused, turning my head to look at her. Her piece of peach skin was perfectly curved and still in tact even though she was almost done with it. I glanced briefly at my now lopsided apple and the flakes of red that littered the counter underneath it. "Before you go home," Mikoto-san cut off the remaining skin and placed it into the trash, "I want you to tell me which one of my sons resemble my husband and which one resembles me more." She peered over at me, her eyes twinkling. "And it's not a trick question. They both don't resemble one parent. So, do you accept?"

"Ah—," I blinked, wondering if it would be rude of me to say yes. But I was curious. This would allow me to study the Uchiha family without Mikoto-san being suspicious of my scrutinizing stares (I hope she'll explain this to her husband later on, or else he'll think me an impolite brat.) Plus, it could be a great addition to my biography of Sasuke. "I accept."

A rather satisfied look crossed Mikoto-san's face. "Good," she said cheerfully, "And thank you for helping me." I finished peeling the apple, and then cut it into eight equal slices. I picked up another apple, trying to make my pieces last longer. "You know," Mikoto-san began, "Sasuke never really liked girls that much because of his fan girls." She smiled widely at this, eyes twinkling, "Our little Sasu-chan, having fan girls. That's always a thought that makes me laugh. Most boys would be delighted to have that many girls attracted to him. But he's always hated it so much." Mikoto-san was done with her second peach as I was a forth of the way down on scraping off the apple skin. "Ah, should I-?
"Oh no, it's fine I could-" I cut off a piece of skin that took too much apple with it. Damn. This just does not get easier. "I'm sorry, I'm really bad at this," I said, handing the apple over to her.

She shook her head. "Practice makes perfect. I was even worse when I was your age," she said. The entire skin was off in five seconds. "What I wanted to say was I really am grateful that you are friends with Sasuke. I was getting worried he would never open up to any girls." Mikoto-san placed the fruits neatly on the plate, sticking five colored toothpicks in. "Could you take this to the table?" Nodding, I took it from her and exited the kitchen. There was much conversation going on as I went through the door, surprisingly. So I was the cause of the silence.

Fugaku-san was talking: "Itachi, you have changed greatly since you left Japan. Your mind has become highly Westernized." His voice was stern. Itachi, however, look absolutely nonchalant as his father went on, "What happened to the values Japan had taught you?"

"Unlike you, Father, I don't consider Westernization a bad thing. We'll have to learn and adapt to the environment that's changing around us or else we'll become bitter when it has changed entirely," Itachi said, "Already we see rebellion from the younger generation Japanese. Old traditions are becoming undone. There are faults and good points in both the traditional Japanese ways and the Western ways." The eldest son turned his eyes on me in the doorway. I walked towards the table and set the plate down quickly, then took my seat. "What about you, Sakura-chan? How do you feel about Westernization?" he asked.

The question caught me by surprise. I hadn't expected the conversation to include me. "Ah, well—" Intelligent response, Sakura, don't make a fool out of yourself. "Since I plan on going to a college overseas, I think it would be best to assimilate Western thought to, like you said, adapt to the environment around me," I said, "The traits that the Japanese tend to look down on, like pride and ambition, are awarded in the West. Staying too Japanese could ruin your chances of advancing in a career, but becoming too Western, I feel that you would lose a part of yourself. Because no matter how Western we might want to be, we are still Japanese. We have to embrace our culture as well, so it isn't stamped out by others." Itachi nodded while I spoke.

"You want to go to college overseas?" he questioned me.

I blushed a little. "I would like to, though I doubt I would ever get such a chance."

"You attend one of the most prestigious private high schools in Japan," Itachi pointed out with a small smile, "I'm sure you will get such a chance in a school with your intellect."

"Thank you," I said, my cheeks flushing a deeper shape of pink. He was actually pretty nice. Still doesn't explain why he was staring at me, but, many things in life must remain a mystery. Itachi seemed a lot less harsh than his father, but I shouldn't assume then he's more like Mikoto-san. I'll wait longer to see what evidence plays out.

Itachi turned to his father. "Ah, by the way father, I forgot to mention that we might have a visitor tonight."

"You haven't picked up any foreign girls while you were away, did you?" Fugaku-san asked gruffly.

The elder Uchiha beamed, one corner of his lips quirking upwards. "Why, father, how did you know?" Itachi said brightly, "My girlfriend is coming over in about ten minutes, I believe. She'll be staying here for a couple of days so that we can return to Europe together."

Fugaku-san's eye twitched. "I remember strictly forbidding you from getting romantically involved with foreigners."

"What does she look like?" Sasuke asked. His face was slightly scrunched up, as if he couldn't believe his older brother's words.

Itachi hummed thoughtfully. "She has long blonde hair and striking blue eyes. She's pretty tall, but I'm taller than her."

"Does your mother know about this?"

"Of course," Itachi replied breezily, "She's the one who invited her to stay."

Fugaku sighed deeply. "Mikoto, really..."

"I'm positive you'll love her, Father."

The kitchen door swung open and Mikoto-san entered, holding a tray of cut fruit with toothpicks embedded in them. She set it on the table and looked curiously at her eldest son. "Positive I'll love who, Itachi?"

The corner of Itachi's lip curled upwards. "My girlfriend who is coming in about ten minutes." He eased back into his chair. "Why don't you tell Father about her?"

Mikoto-san laughed heartily, "Oh, yes, your girlfriend! Well, she has blonde hair and blue eyes and is very, very pretty. A very talented artist I might add." A smile graced her face as she glanced at her husband. "I'm sure you will love her as well."

"What's her name?" Fugaku-san asked. He raised his hand and gently massaged his temple, closing his eyes. This ordeal of Itachi-san having a foreign girlfriend was stressing him out more than I expected. Was it really that bad dating someone who wasn't Japanese? At least they're all bound to be good looking. I always envied the sophisticated looks of foreigners, especially Europeans. A little girl like me with bubblegum hair and watermelon candy eyes didn't fit in with their regal, Caucasian features. And, well, I'm Japanese. So I wouldn't fit in the first place looks-wise.

"Why don't you wait a little bit, Father?" Itachi said, "She'll be here in a few minutes. I just got a text." Fugaku-san conceded, but his eyes remained on the door afterwards, as if this mysterious girl would burst in anytime. I wondered what she would be like. Itachi-san resembled Mikoto-san more (from what I had gathered at least) and seemed to have an easy, teasing character. What kind of girl is he attracted to? If Mikoto-san married Fugaku-san, the girl should have more of an edge than Itachi-san...

And at that moment the doorbell rang. Itachi-san rose from his seat and disappeared out the door. There was a burst of a voice, faintly heard, which I gathered to be his girlfriend. I guess this made sense—since Itachi-san was pretty quiet, his girlfriend should be louder than him. I firmly believed in the "opposites attract" rule since two people could complement the other's faults that way. They don't have to be complete opposites in everything, of course, they should share some similarities, but it was always kind of sweet to see a quiet girl with an outgoing guy or the other way around.

Kind of like Naruto and Sasuke. It would explain the whispered rumors in the girl's locker room of the deep, sexual tensions that existed between the two friends.

...Oh God, images.

Images.

Stop.

I'm going to unsee what I just saw. Ugh.

There was the light patter of footsteps and I turned to catch a glimpse of Itachi-san's girlfriend. She indeed did have blonde hair, which was tied to a high ponytail, and a strip fell in front to cover half of her face. A lone, bright blue eye was revealed as it gazed over the Uchiha family members before resting on me. She furrowed her brows at me for some reason. Well, she was certainly pretty, but her fashion sense was nothing I had expected. It was certainly rather masculine—a white dress shirt, form-fitting black slacks, and

-holy shit that is not a girl.

That's a guy.

Wait, what was his name again? It started with a "D"...

De-...Demara? Dei—

"Ah, little Sakura-chan," the blonde-haired man said to me, smirking, "I had no idea you knew the Uchihas. This is a pleasant surprise."

I blinked. "Deidara-san." Ah, what was his name! "You're not Itachi-san's girlfriend...are you?" Deidara raised an eyebrow at the smug looking Uchiha next to him.

"Girlfriend?" Deidara repeated dryly to Itachi-san, "The first time I come back to your house in three years, and you introduce me as your girlfriend?" Itachi-san merely shrugged though his expression didn't change. "You're sick you know that?"

"You're the one dating me," Itachi-san said, smirking deeply. The blonde snorted loudly and crossed his arms.

Fugaku's mild groan rippled through the air. "Itachi, you—you went to Europe and returned as a homosexual?" I could tell he really had a migraine now. He wasn't even bothering to massage his forehead, just rested his palms against it.

"I merely jest, Father. I'm as straight as Deidara looks like a girl." He got a shove from Deidara for that comment. "That aside," Itachi-san turned his head to me, "How are the two of you aquatinted with each other?"

Deidara's eyes met mine, grinning widely. There's no way he's telling the truth. Before he could say a word, I said quickly, "Sasuke and I happened to be at the café he was working at. I forgot my bag and Deidara-san returned it to me." The blonde pouted a little at me, obviously disappointed that I hadn't humiliated myself in front of Sasuke's family. As if. I rolled my eyes at him and gave him a pointed look. It was meant for Deidara-san to see only. After all, I had spent most of the dinner appearing to be a withdrawn, shy girl—not that I was and not on purpose. Well...it was complicated. I just wanted to make the right first impression and ended up being someone I'm not really. So when I threw Deidara-san a dirty look, Itachi-san raised his eyebrows, a little smirk curving his lips. I blushed brightly and looked down. My wristwatch read 8:04 PM. My eyes widened—how did it get that late so quickly? "Ah, excuse me, but it's getting a bit late," I said, eyeing the clock hanging in the dining room.

Mikoto-san's gaze followed mine. "Oh my, you're right!" she exclaimed, "How time flies." She glanced over at Itachi and asked, "Do you think you could drive Sakura-chan home? I promised her she would get a ride if she ate with us." The eldest son nodded.

"I'll go get my car ready," Itachi said, walking out the door.

"Now, Deidara-kun," Mikoto got up from her chair and smiled at the blonde, "It's so nice to see you again. What are you doing back in Japan? Oh, and come sit, sit!" She motioned him to the closest dining chair, which happened to be Itachi's (now empty, because, yeah.) Deidara seemed to sink into the seat and sighed in content, reaching over to grab a piece of fruit.

He glanced over at Fugaku-san. "Ah, may I?" he asked, motioning to the apple slice.

"Help yourself," Fugaku-san replied.

"Thank you." Deidara-san sighed. "I was working at the café for ten hours. I took on my friend's shift because she had a date. Anyhow," he tossed the slice into his mouth, chewed viciously, and swallowed, "Itachi told me he was visiting home during Golden Week and I just followed. Right now, I'm staying at Pein's apartment—do you remember him? Red hair and lots of piercings?"

Mikoto-san grinned, "How can I forget?"

Deidara-san chuckled and helped himself to another slice of apple. "Well, yeah, I'm currently residing there. I had to visit you guys once before we leave, though. Itachi said he would drive me back to Pein's place after bringing me here. Actually, I should be riding with dear Sakura-chan then, right?" He turned his head at me, blue eyes dancing back and forth.

"Is that so?" I smiled...nervously. I felt like he was going to tell Itachi what actually happened. So much for good first impressions.

"Then I'll go too," Sasuke said suddenly. He had been quiet during the whole Ita-Dei fiasco and during dinnertime until I left the room. (Very depressing. I'm not that awkward.) "I don't trust you and Itachi being alone with her."

Deidara-san smirked. "Why, afraid your girlfriend will be charmed by our good looks?"

"She's not my girlfriend." The blonde looked dubious.

"Yeah, I'm not!" I chimed in. "We met in the café for a long-term English project. We had to interview each other."

"All right," Deidara-san shrugged, "So I guess that means...she's free for the taking?" He winked in my direction. My cheeks flamed. Curse good looking older guys. How old was he anyway? Twenty? Oh, the age difference isn't that bad. I mean...it's actually legal for us to have a (sexual) relationship, since a person is considered a minor until they turn twenty one. Not that I was thinking about it. I'm just pointing that out.

I'm a virgin anyhow. And I intend on staying one until I...find the one, I guess.

Gosh, why is this topic popping up in my head? How embarrassing.

And wait-why is he talking as if I'm not sitting right there in front of him? Before Sasuke could answer him, if he was going to that is, I replied, "No, she's not." Then I gave Deidara a look. He smiled easily. There was the light sound of footsteps and Itachi-san stepped through the doorway, swinging some keys around his index finger.

"Car's ready," he said, "let's go." Deidara, Sasuke, and I all stood from our chairs. I thanked Mikoto-san and Fugaku-san for letting me stay. Mikoto-san smiled and told me to visit again. Itachi-san raised his eyebrows when his brother also stood. "You too, Sasuke? That's a surprise. All right, well, the car's out front. I'll be there in a minute." We walked out of the Uchiha household and through the lawns/gardens to a four-door, slightly curved, dark blue Toyota. It was rather plain and not as extravagant as I thought someone Itachi-san's age would own. But then again, I was relying on Asian drama clichés as my source on how wealthy people live. We got in, Deidara calling shotgun, and Sasuke and I sitting in opposite sides in the back. Itachi-san joined us a minute later. "Since Deidara lives closer," he said, starting the car up, "I'll drop him off first, then you, Sakura. Is that all right?"

"Yes, that's fine," I replied. The trip to Deidara's—Pein's, I mean—apartment took about ten minutes. Deidara and Itachi-san conversed amongst each other in the front while Sasuke and I sat in silence in the back. I was too tired to make a conversation. Sasuke, being of a quiet disposition, didn't try to disrupt our silence. I didn't really realize we weren't talking at all until Deidara exited the car and we were on the road again. The conversation between the two older males had served as background music, almost. And now with Itachi-san's conversing partner gone, the silence in the car felt like a dead weight.

It was getting awkward pretty fast.

"You should know, this car isn't mine." Ah, good old Itachi-san to the rescue! In the dashboard mirror his eyes met my reflections' (Is that what it's called?) before returning to the road. "This car is my father's," Itachi-san explained, "I would never drive something so family friendly."

I laughed a little. "Actually I did think this car was a bit old-fashioned for someone your age, but I didn't want to be rude. And," I went on, feeling a bit more relaxed in his company, "I don't think navy blue is your color."

"Is that so?" Itachi-san asked. It must be from hanging around Sasuke for so long, but I detected a smirk in his voice. "Then what kind of car do you think I would drive, Sakura?"

Hm, that was a tough question. I looked to my right for inspiration and found Sasuke with his head rolled back, eyes closed. Aw, he was asleep. I spoke a bit more softly, "Actually you don't really seem like the driving type. If you had a car, I'd say it would be...black."

"Black?"

I nodded. "Yes, black. Oh, and I live in -, by the way. If you take - Road down for a couple of blocks...if you had a GPS that would be great." It was dark and I had no idea where we were...very bad situation.

"Already on it," Itachi said from the front. I watched him punch in my address into a little device attached to the dashboard. Thankfully we were at a red light, so our chances of getting into a car accident just exponentially decreased. There was a little beep—presumably from the GPS. "It'll take about thirty minutes from where we are. You live a while away from here, don't you?

"Yes. The café Sasuke and I went to is only ten minutes from where I live, but I helped him home since his chauffeur was busy," I said. For lack of a better word.

Itachi made a thoughtful noise. "So the two of you arrived at the household by bus?"

"Yes."

"It was his first time on a bus, if you didn't know," Itachi said, chuckling, "How did he take it?"

Ah, that was no surprise. I had assumed it was his first time, and I had doubted I was wrong during our bus ride, but Itachi confirmed my thoughts. Sasuke had a chauffeur after all. And plus he had been so terribly clueless once the bus had stopped and opened its doors for us. "Surprisingly well," I said, smiling a little, "He was sort of absorbing everything in, I feel like. I don't know if he'd want to ride one again, but..."

Itachi's voice was dry, "Probably not." I laughed and nodded. After the incident with the coffee spill, I doubted Sasuke would trust public transportation ever again. Plus he didn't really seem like that type to travel with people, I guess. He already exuded a "loner" persona. Buses just don't suit him. "So," Itachi quipped, "you don't think I'm the driving type, hm?"

Was he offended? I hope not. I didn't mean to offend him, anyway. "Well, it's just that—you seem more of a walker. If not, a public transportation-type person," I explained.

"Hmm..." Okay, he didn't sound insulted. Just thoughtful. "The funny thing is," Itachi said slowly, "that you're pretty spot on."

I blinked. Oh, well that was not what I was expecting. "Really?" I asked, rather surprised.

"Yes. In Europe, I either walk or take the trains and buses. I don't own a car because it's inconvenient to me and because I dislike cars. I live in a campus—Deidara's my roommate, actually. I work the weekends and some workdays at a restaurant under the head chef. That's the only time I need to travel, and I'm fine commuting by public means," Itachi said, "Of course, Deidara always rubs his fancy, shiny sports car in my face and insists on driving me everywhere."

"I can see Deidara-san driving one of those," I laughed. Already the image came to my mind: a sullen Itachi in the passenger seat with Deidara driving recklessly, blonde ponytail flying wildly behind him. And a couple of screaming pedestrians here and there, but that was it.

Itachi made a turn to the right. The streetlights lit up the stores dimly and I vaguely recognized where we were. "Do you mind me asking a question?"

Err, it really depends on the question, Itachi. Hell like I was going to say that. I said, "No, go ahead." The only question I was really afraid of him asking me was whether or not I was involved in Sasuke's fanclub. I think I would have refrained from telling him the truth.

"What happened between you and Deidara? I could tell there was more to the story than you said, and Deidara told me to ask you for details. He said it wasn't his to say," Itachi said, "I'm merely curious, but if it makes you uncomfortable I'm fine with you not telling me." I blushed and looked down at my hands. All right, it wasn't that mortifying to tell. I probably would have told Ino and Hinata, but the problem rested more on who I was telling this to. Having Itachi hear that my story made me feel like a little girl. And I guess I am, sort of, compared to him, but that doesn't mean I want him to see me in my...lack of awareness of my surroundings...that does not sound right. Oh whatever. My mind isn't on grammar check. "Did he..." Itachi sounded rather concerned for some reason. He went on, his voice quiet, but on the edge of being murderous, "Did he harass you?"

"Wh-wh-what, no," I spluttered, "No, that did not happen at all. It's just—it's just really stupid. I accidentally went into the men's restroom and saw Deidara, who I thought was a woman. But, well, he isn't. Once I found out, I panicked and ran out without my bag. He found my table and returned it to me, end of story." I sat back, feeling my cheeks burn. It sounded a lot more embarrassing out loud than it did in my head.

Someone snorted loudly next to me.

...But there was only one person next to me so that mean it had to be-! I turned and grimaced when I saw Sasuke fully awake. He head was still leaned back, but his eyes were definitely, unfortunately open. He looked over at me and started laughing. "So that's why you took my cap? To hide from Deidara?" Sasuke, to my utter amazement, laughed even harder and grabbed his stomach. I swear I saw a tear roll down from his eye.

"It's not that funny," I said flatly. It stopped being amazing pretty quickly after I realized how much amusement he was getting at my expense.

"I know—but," he took a breath to stop himself from laughing, "—but then I remembered the thing you told me on the bus and—" And his plan failed. Because he ended up laughing. Harder.

Itachi had his eyebrows raised. My Uchiha senses were tingling. "What happened on the bus?" he asked.

Dear little Sasuke looked so very tempted to start that story, so I poked him in the gut to shut him up. "You promised you wouldn't say a word," I hissed as he flinched.

"I never made that promise, Sa-ku-ra," he shot back, grabbing my hand before I could stab him again, "and you're not making much of a convincing argument by trying to kill me."

I glared like I never thought I could glare before. This was a serious "if looks could kill" moment. Because if they could, Sasuke would have gone to Hell and back fifty times and then stayed there. (Hell, I mean. Not earth.) "That's because I'm trying to," I said, trying to take my hand back, but failing because the boy had a death grip on it.

Sasuke stared at me seriously and lifted my hand that he was holding. "Are you going to poke me again?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Then why should I give this back to you?"

I scoffed, "Because, Sasuke-kun, you're touching me." Sasuke dropped my hand abruptly, scowling.

"Oh please, you were all over me before," he muttered. What? Excuse me? Since when was I ever actually all over him? I never sprung into his personal space and clung onto him like an obsessed fan girl. My jaw dropped at his words. Sasuke had the nerve to say that to me, right in front of his brother might I add, when he knows that none of my fangirling was real? Die. Die now. "And I never told you this, but what the hell were you thinking?" Sasuke raised his eyebrow at me and I knew it wasn't going to be good. "'You have really clean pants'?"-he air-quoted my words—"Really?"

Uchiha Sasuke is treading on very dangerous territory. Especially because my fingers are quick and nimble and I know now that he's ticklish. "You're really going to bring that up now?" I snapped, "because I thought that was long behind us. And I'm not the one who threw a temper tantrum by pouting the entire period of English when we were supposed to be working on our interviews." Yeah. That felt gooooooood.

"Really now? I thought that was long behind us," Sasuke smirked, crossing his arms, "someone's childish."

And now he's throwing around groundless accusations. "You're calling me childish?" I echoed.

He had the audacity to nod. "Yes."

IT'S A RHETORICAL QUESTION, DUMBASS!

"This is coming from the guy who threw a temper tantrum for the first week of our partnership because you didn't want to work with me, and you're calling me childish?" This guy was going to drive me insane. I just know it.

"I hate to break this lovely argument apart but," Sasuke and I both swerved our heads at Itachi, "we're here," he finished. That had to be the shortest thirty minutes of my life. "You live in the light blue one, right?" My father and I lived in a...I actually don't know what it's called. It's either a co-op or a condo, or neither. The house consisted of two levels and stretched out for many yards. There were stairs leading to the upper level, painted white, but it used to be a dark green. There were six doors on each level, and each family got an equal section of the house: two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, two closets, and a living room. Our house was a good size for two people and efficiently designed.

But it was tiny compared to the Uchiha's mansion. I didn't even realize how big his house was until I saw mine. Our house/apartment/chunk was nice, though. Homey. "Yeah, that's the one," I said, "Thank you very much for driving me, Itachi-san." I gave him a very pleasant smile through the rearview mirror before opening the car door and getting out.

Inside, Sasuke rolled his eyes. "What, I don't get a goodbye?"

I smirked, "No." And then I shut the car door in his face. (Victory for Haruno Sakura, oh yeah!) I waggled my fingers at him through the tinted window and walked around the car.

"Oi," Itachi said, jerking his head lightly to my retreating figure, "go walk her home properly. Make sure she gets in safe." Sasuke grumbled from the back. "Now. Or else. You should treat your girlfriend better, Sasu-chan."

"She's not my girlfriend, jeez." Sasuke slammed the car door behind him with great satisfaction. Itachi merely smirked at his younger brother's antics. Ah, young love, he thought dryly.

I was about to step on the stairs when I heard a rush of footsteps approaching. It was Sasuke. "What-?"

"Itachi told me to walk you to the door," he grumbled, "to make sure you get in safe." Aww, that was sweet of Itachi. I smiled and began to climb up the stairs. It was wide enough for two people, so Sasuke walked up beside me, walking more or less the same pace. "I won't tell Itachi," Sasuke said quietly. We both reached the top of the stairs. I lived in the third door of the hallway, which was only a couple of yards from where we stood.

"Good," I nodded, smiling, "and I won't tell your fanclub that you're ticklish."

Sasuke spluttered, looking affronted. "I'm not ticklish."

"Want me to poke you again?" I offered, but he declined with a glare. We had reached my door. The white painted frame looked welcoming and familiar and yet for some reason I wanted to linger outside. "Well," I said, turning to face Sasuke, "I guess I'll see you May 5th."

He nodded, "Yeah. I guess so."

"Bye, then," I said.

"Bye."

He walked away, but looked back at me over his shoulder. I raised my hand and waved. Sasuke merely smirked and sauntered off. Watching his retreating figure, I became strangely thankful—thankful that I was accepted to Konoha High, that I met and made friends with so many great people, and that I was able to reach Sasuke. Despite the strange, awkward encounters we had with each other, we amazingly managed to become something like friends now. And if I had to go through them again I think I would. Mortifying and self-deprecating as some of those moments were, it brought us closer. I leaned against the doorframe and waited until he was down the stairs before unlocking the door. It was pitch black inside. I flicked on the light switch quickly, scattering the darkness back into its crevices. So, Dad is still working then. I sighed. I went over to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. After taking a big gulp, I sat down in one of the chairs circling our small dining table.

Money.

If only we had money.

I sighed again, and the noise seemed to overpower the silence that stilled the entire apartment. If only. I went into the living room, turned on the TV, and waited for my dad to come home.


Thank you for reading! :)

I'll try to update more often, but really...no guarantees.

feedback is very very welcome!

lots of love,

moodyaura :D