UPDATE: This chapter has been revised as of March, 2014.

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Title: Love in Chinese

Summary: This whole situation is a joke. Sakura dumps him? Sure, he can handle that. She finds a new guy in a day? Okay, whatever. But when Sasuke actually meets her new boyfriend, he isn't prepared to set himself up as the biggest punch line to his own heterosexual joke of a life.

(summary written by wiwiun, edited by l Obliviate l and me)

Alternative summary: Uchiha Itachi. Who is this mysterious, charismatic lawyer that suddenly pops out of nowhere, steals Sasuke's girlfriend, threatens Sasuke's own sexuality, and is bent on turning his world upside down? A dark and tangled history is lurking backstage but emotions are brewing – and it won't stay behind the curtain for long.

(credits: l Obliviate l, katBelle)

Parings: Main Itachi/Sasuke or Sasuke/Itachi, past Sasuke/Sakura, implied Itachi/Sakura, mentioned Sasuke/nameless OCs, others.

Setting: Alternative Universe, modern Kyoto (Japan) with a western point of view. Story begins in October of the year 2009 and will end somewhere in 2010.

Editors/BETAs: Kyarei (chapters 1-14); l Obliviate l (from chapters 16 onwards, current official BETA).

Warnings (NC-17): Slash (m/m), sexual content, incest, adult language, some violence, some drama, occasional bad humor.



Love in Chinese



Never let your heart open with the spring flowers:

One inch of love is an inch of ashes.

- Li Shangyin

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:: ::

Naruto didn't need the so-called Socratic methods of premises to know that there are not one, but three universal truths:

One) Ramen is awesome;

Two) He will be President of Japan one day;

Three) Sakura's 'undying' love for Sasuke is really undying.

Though apparently now, there were only two universal truths.


"You heard me," his best friend repeated. "Sakura broke up with me."

It was true. Naruto took a slurp of his coke, with blue eyes agape staring at his friend. Even Sai looked surprised, something that Naruto had never saw before.

"When was that?"


Truthfully, Naruto had heard a rumor about Sakura breaking up with Sasuke yesterday, from a very unreliable source (Shikamaru) but of course, he didn't believe him. It's difficult to believe gossip from a guy who wasn't exactly know for being a social butterfly, and particularly one that spent more time staring at the clouds and the shitting birds in the sky than doing useful things. Like not spending the entire day looking at shitting birds and clouds.

"You don't seem very upset."

Sasuke shrugged. "'Surprised' is the right word."

The wind blew charmingly, picking up the Autumn leaves off the pavement and dropping them on one of the green gardens built in front of the university. The boys had just finished their lunches, now relaxing a little under the sakura tree before they went to their respective classes. Since each one of them were taking different courses, and their classes were held in separate buildings, lunch hour became the only time they could hang out together. Sakura would be there with them too, if she hadn't broken up with Sasuke.

The four of them had been friends since the beginning of high school.

Sai was a self-confessed gay and he declared to Naruto a couple of times, always being rejected. Naruto never took him seriously, and besides, he was a self-confessed heterosexual.

Naruto liked Sakura since they were children. Sakura liked Sasuke since the day she was born.

Sasuke hated Sai, loved arguing with Naruto and was too asexual to care about Sakura's maturing body.

Then a strange phenomenon occurred, in the beginning of their junior year of high school: Sasuke and Sakura had sex. Sure they were at that time of the age, and it was Spring and those damn pheromones were all in the air, but it was popular belief that Sasuke's hormones were made of steel. Stainless steel, in fact.

Naruto remembered that day, on the news, a not very small meteorite hit the Earth and conventionally landed in the middle of the desert. Maybe it has something to do with 'the butterfly effect' you know? Like, the gravitational force of the meteorite's impact in North Africa somehow manifested six thousand miles repercussions and caused the most unexcitable teenager in Japan an erection.

Whatever, it happened.

And it turns out that Sasuke enjoyed the act of having sex so much that he made sure to repeat it more often, not always with Sakura.

"It had to happen sooner or later," Naruto stated. He finished his coke and laid back on his chair, crossing his legs.


"Well, you cheated on her."

"Yeah, but I never thought she could do it. It was supposed to be the other way around."

The blonde sighed, knowing what he meant. His friend had many faults – being a cheating bastard was one of them – but Sakura always forgave him no matter what. She loved him so much that everyone who knew her thought that she couldn't survive without him. If one of them had to break up, it would definitely be Sasuke. Some people even thought that he was dating her out of pity! HAH! As if Sasuke was ever capable of feeling pity for anyone other than himself.

But she broke up with him.

"Maybe she didn't feel satisfied," Sai reasoned up, after being quiet for all that time. "I read in some studies that the main reason for break ups in young couples' relationships is due to sex."

"I didn't ask for your opinion Freud," Sasuke snorted bitterly. He and Sai never managed to create a real friendly relationship, no matter how hard Sai had tried.

Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura had known each other since kindergarten, though they had only started interacting with friendly intentions in the third year of junior high school. The presence of a new person in their lives, Sai, contributed to that, as from that moment on they found a good reason to talk to each other: making fun of Sai.

Looking back on it now, they regretted being such evil brats but each of them had their reasons. Naruto wanted to get closer to Sakura, and Sakura wanted to get closer to Sasuke. Sasuke just wanted someone to hate and humiliate, and Sai, with all that faggy attitude, was just an easy target.

He still owed an apology to Sai. Though Sai didn't really care, he only accepted in fraternizing with Sasuke for Naruto's sake. Sai would do anything for Naruto.

"But you've been dating for more than three years!" Naruto stated.

"I know how to count, Naruto," the brunet snorted.

Man, Sasuke was in a bad mood. He didn't want to show it, but Naruto knew he was affected by Sakura's sudden R-E-S-P-E-C-T attitude. At least that was the reason Naruto thought Sakura had broken up with him.

"You're still coming to my party right?"

Sasuke eyed Naruto suspiciously. "Why wouldn't I?"

"I don't know, you seemed a bit affected-"

"I'm not affected!" He grunted. "There're tons of girls like Sakura, why would I even care?"

Naruto felt his heart twitch. He hated when his friend vulgarized Sakura like that. Naruto had given up his love for Sakura a while back, but it still hurt when Sasuke didn't give her the attention she deserved, and she had been through so much just because of him.

Besides, Sakura was one of them. They were a pretty close group of friends. They would hang out occasionally with other people (well, not Sasuke perhaps), but they only shared friendly bonds with each other.

"Whatever, man." Naruto stood up, stretched his body and yawned. "I'm going to class. Just make sure you show up at my party tonight."

Sai immediately got up and followed Naruto, leaving a grunting Sasuke behind. His classes were held in the building right next to Naruto's.

As Naruto was heading towards the imposing academic building, he kept thinking about what happened. It was hard to believe that Sakura finally found the guts to break up with Sasuke. He didn't know if he should laugh or feel sad for Sasuke, though he always knew that Sasuke didn't like her. What was bothering now is that she broke up with him first.

Yes, Sasuke suffered from Huge Ego Disorder, if that really existed. It was being kinda hard for him, being dumped by his die-hard fangirl. Though despite his best friend's 'charming' qualities, Naruto couldn't help himself to feel sorry for Sasuke. It was in the blonde's nature, after all, he and Sasuke shared a special bond. If it hadn't been for him, Sasuke would still be a delinquent, maybe behind bars even, and wouldn't definitely be studying Law now at Kyoto University.

Sasuke had been an evil kid until high school. He had been pretty much the nightmare of every kid since elementary school to junior high. His goods looks had granted him female fans (and some male fans) for life, but even they had been too afraid to approach him. Sakura had been the brave girl that tried to approach him, endured his verbal humiliation, cried for years from him being such a jerk, but always stayed by his side – and later fate rewarded her by letting her be his first.

Anyway, due to 'certain' circumstances – peculiar occurrences that don't concern the matters right now – Sasuke began changing in the beginning of high school. He became calmer, quieter, more passive and less aggressive. He began to smile – rarely, but it was a major improvement. Eventually, he became a fairly normal social being (or close enough), and that evil child soon disappeared from his personality.

But one thing that never changed in Sasuke was his Ego. If his Ego was made of wool, it would attire the entire Chinese Army of Xian. Only during the last year of Junior High did Naruto find out that his Ego was essentially a plastic protection mask, to conceal his debilitated self-esteem.

Sasuke still hadn't taken off that mask.

:: ::

Naruto was impressed that so many people came to his 20th birthday party. It's not that he wasn't popular, not at all; it was because many of his friends were still from Junior High, most of them studying at another University or working, and they hadn't been talking since High School. Sasuke could be the main reason why, as there were still people who feared him and didn't believe that he had changed. A lot of them missed Naruto's previous birthday parties purposely only because they were too afraid to meet again Sarutobi Sasuke, even though it's been so many years.

But now, finally, people were able to put the past behind them. And a lot of them were eager to talk about the new hot info, still unbelievable for many of them:

"Oh my God, is it true that Sakura broke up with Sasuke?"

Funny how they were no longer in high school, a lot of them were at different Universities, but everyone seemed to be up-to-date with that little info. And everyone in that party had something to say about that:

"How dared she! Poor Sasuke," his female guests would say.

"Finally, she dumped that douche," his male guests would say

Naruto was still a bit nervous of how some of those people would react when Sasuke arrived. Luckily Sasuke said he would be late, since he had to take care of his bratty cousin until one of his parents got home. That would give time for people to relax, be familiarized with alcohol, and by the time Sasuke arrives they will hopefully be too drunk to act like resented victims and ruin the party. Hopefully.

Naruto hated ruined parties.

The bell rang at the edge of the house, interrupting his thoughts. He headed towards the entrance and opened the door, somewhat hastily – inwardly hoping that it wasn't his best friend yet – and dropped his jaw in the process.

It wasn't Sasuke.

It was Sakura, with a new guy. A new boyfriend.

They were hand in hand.

What a completely unexpected image, seeing Sakura happy with a guy that wasn't Sasuke… so soon.

"Happy birthday! Again!" She smiled widely, displaying a full set of white teeth bordered by fully applied red lipstick.

Damn, she was hot. That red low-cut dress had to be made for those curves.

"Oh, this is Itachi." She introduced her new boyfriend to him. "And Naruto."

The guy was oddly similar to Sasuke, Naruto noticed. Minus the freaky hair. And the stuck-up attitude.

But there were undeniable resemblences in outer looks: pale skin, tall stature, slim body, pretty face, sharp eyes, black hair. Aah, he guessed that Sakura had a thing for the same type of guy, much to Naruto's disappointment.

"Itachi…?" Naruto asked as he invited them inside, trying to make some conversation with the guy.

"Uchiha Itachi," he replied.

Naruto gasped. "Uchiha? You mean, of the family of lawyers?"

The guy's lips drew a soft curve, amusingly. "Yes. Of the family of lawyers."

That was too much news for him to handle in one day; not only had Sakura quickly found a replacement for Sasuke, he also had to be of the Uchiha family. The family owned the most well-known Lawyers Firm in the country. And the only reason Naruto knew who the Uchihas were, was because Sasuke applied for their merit scholarships.

By the way, he forgot to call Sasuke to ask if he got the scholarship. He should know by now. Oh well, he'd ask him once he arrived.

After entering inside the cozy apartment, Sakura handed Naruto a plastic bag containing an item inside. "Here, this is for you! We bought this together!"

Naruto was still wearing the same dumbfounded expression when he received the gift.

"Well? Aren't you going to open it?" She teased, impatiently.

He looked at the bag and removed a present from the inside, wrapped in bright orange and pink spotted wrapping paper. They may have bought it together, but it was definitely Sakura who picked the wrapping paper.

He unfolded the present and his jaw dropped again, hitting the ground harder this time.

It was a Sony Ericsson W44s! 3-inch display screen with Bravia Reality Max technology, not to mention the 3.2-megapixel camera, 115MB of memory, dual stereo… man, this phone was so cool! He looked at Sakura's smiling face, enjoying her friend's moment of deliriousness caused by a gift she offered. Itachi was just observing him with a serene expression.

Oh they sure had bought it 'together', Sakura didn't have the money for these kinds of things!

He was about to thank them when the couple was suddenly bombarded with Sakura's friends eager to know who her new date was. Some recognized the guy immediately – apparently he was in some magazines?...Who knows, only girls know about that stuff.

"Sakura, I'm so glad that you finally dumped that jerk!"

Tenten had to say that loudly. She was one of the very few girls that hated Sasuke's guts. Naruto didn't really understand why she hated him so much. She didn't go to the same Junior High as them, it's not like Sasuke had ever been cruel to her.

"That slut! How could she dump Sasuke and easily open her legs to someone else? Has she no shame?" That was Ino, as always, badmouthing Sakura with another girl, drinking some vodka near the entrance. "And where the hell did she dig up that hottie?"

"Hmf, he's nothing special. Sasuke is waayy better. And Sakura must've dumped him because she realized he was too good for her." That was Karin, the other girl Ino was talking to.

Karin was another die-hard Sasuke fangirl, though she only had chances with him when he was almost in an alcohol-induced coma. Unlike Sakura, who was easy to control, Karin liked to perform dangerous seduction attacks that scared Sasuke himself.

Soon the couple was getting everybody's attention. Two or three guys from Junior High asked Naruto when Sasuke arrived (with a smirk) and Naruto felt the urge to punch them. Fucking schadenfreudists, first they didn't want Sasuke at the party and now they were eager to see Sasuke's pride being hurt. Though admittedly, Naruto himself could not deny his inner curiosity for Sasuke's reaction when he saw Sakura with… but he was sure he wasn't going to react badly. It's not like he cared for Sakura. And he had changed. Naruto knew he had changed.


It was almost two hours later that the soap opera's protagonist arrived at his party. By that time, the party had already begun and it was at its summit: half the guests were drunk and the lights were low to promote the 'dancing ritual', where the girls try their off-rhythm sexist moves and the boys only hope they don't look like dancing monkeys. The sound stereo quality was proven when the music succeeded in reaching the last house on the block, promising to give a bad night sleep to all the neighbors. People were in a state of too much happiness to care who arrived or not anymore. Naruto went to receive his best friend at the door, and listened to him complaining about his cousin while he removed his shoes:

"Can you believe that brat is reading Icha Icha behind everyone's back? He's so fucking spoiled… he can read adult books but he can't get a C in Japanese."

"Leave it Sasuke, he's still a kid. How did that thing with the scholarship go?"

Sasuke eyed him suspiciously. He was rather impressed with Naruto for him to remember such a trivial thing. He then shrugged and replied with a pit of frustration in his voice: "They rejected me."

"What? But you have awesome grades, why-"

"I don't know Naruto. I only talked with their receptionist. She said my record had too many pages."

"Only for that? It's only two pages! It's no big deal." Naruto grunted.

"Tell that to them."

The thing about these so called do-gooders Firms wanting to help students with financial needs and hence promoting their name in social causes, is that they are all a bunch of hypocrites. Sasuke had always been a straight A student, but because he got into some messes with authorities in Junior High, now he had to deal with the stigma and be unfairly excluded from potential opportunities.

"They think having a record is bad for their merit scholarships, but they're famous for putting up dangerous criminals on the streets," Sasuke snorted. "Fuck the Uchihas. They're only good at retarding the natural course of justice."

Naruto laughed at his friend's comment.

"Naruto, about your present-"

"Nah, don't worry. At least you came." He nudged him friendly.

Sasuke never once gave him a birthday present on time. It wasn't his fault really, he always lacked money, and Naruto didn't make much of receiving gifts. Though he knew that his friend would eventually buy him a gift – sometimes with months of delay – simply because he was too proud not to.

Naruto disappeared when he heard something falling in the kitchen, leaving Sasuke alone at the entrance of the rather dark living room. The only light was provided by three standing lamps with low-watt bulbs, covered with colorful muslin, and some sparkly Christmas lights hung around the walls, in a cheap way to imitate the disco ambient.

He walked through the moving bodies towards the drinks zone, hoping that Karin wouldn't find him before he was sufficiently drunk. He was thankful that the illumination condition made it difficult to distinguish who was who. He knew some of his Junior High 'buddies' were there, and frankly he didn't feel like facing them at all. It wasn't just because of his cousin that he had arrived so late at the party…

Serving himself with a glass of cheap sake bought from the man of the eels' tent, he almost spilled his first gulp when a rough hand hit his back without warning.

"I heard you were dumped! So how does it feel Sasuke, getting the treatment you deserve?"

"Go away Tenten," he snorted bitterly. "I'm trying to savor my sake." Damn that girl didn't lose an opportunity to annoy him. She called herself a true feminist, though she didn't exactly fight for equality, she fought for women's supremacy.

"Already drowning your grief in alcohol? So you must have heard of her new boyfriend…"

He put his glass down.


"Oh you didn't know…?" She grinned maliciously. "And he's way better than you."

She hated him dearly, that's for sure, but at least the hate was reciprocal.

"Already?" That was his first reaction, naturally. It wasn't at all the thing he was expecting to hear so soon. Sakura… she sure surprised him.

Though Tenten didn't like his comment.

"Why not? Love doesn't pick a time to arrive, and she so deserves him. He's a gentleman, and he cares for her feelings, he's not a cocky cheating asshole who treats women badly…you know, he's a real man. Unlike you."

He was so used to being badmouthed by Tenten.

"You're not a real woman either," he retorted. He was just responding out of responding to her, not really making an implicit comment about the fact that she had no boobs.

Unfortunately that's how she saw it.

"You sexist pig!" She spat at his face and walked away infuriated.

He grimaced, wiping the spit out of his face with a napkin. Seeing that his drink was also hit by her lovely saliva, he left it on the table and decided that it wasn't a bad idea to go to the bathroom to wash his face of that crazy girl's germs.

He crossed the room in hasty steps, trying to avoid colliding with hovering drinks from dancing bodies, and entered inside the bathroom without knocking. It's the men's room, they don't need to knock.

Although, he should have knocked.

The Uzumakis' house was provided with two bathrooms: one too stupidly huge, enough to fit a jacuzzi inside, and the other too stupidly small – so small that the shower was on top of the toilet. Being the ladies' man, whenever he threw a party, Naruto reserved the big bathroom for girls' usage only.

The thrifty space that comprised the men's bathroom was already occupied by a guy inside, who immediately turned around when Sasuke entered. Standing next to the wash-stand; he was tall, good-looking, hair glossier than the standard male's hair, fancy dressed. Too well dressed for that party.

His dark eyes fixed upon Sasuke's were very…mesmerizing. Sasuke found himself staring at those black spheres, surmounted by very long black eyelashes. He had never seen eyelashes that long before.

The door closed behind him and the music's beating was stifled to give the ear some resting.

Realizing the figure he was making, Sasuke cleared his throat and broke the eye contact with the stranger. The guy didn't move, staying in the same position he was found, near the wash-stand with the first two buttons of his white shirt opened. The collar was moistened and had red lipstick blotted on it.

"You better use alcohol for that," Sasuke spoke, immediately realizing what he was trying to do. He didn't know why, but his own voice sounded suddenly too boyish. "Water and soap only make it worse. Just drench it in ethyl alcohol and wait about five minutes before blotting it."

Why he was bothering to explain to a total stranger the techniques of how to remove lipstick from a shirt, he didn't know. The guy sure had a captivating appearance, very tidy and… his pale skin look incredibly soft and shiny.

Sasuke liked soft skin.

Ok, never mind that.

"Or you can also use dishwasher detergent, it also works." Sasuke cleared his throat, inwardly attempting to dismiss improper thoughts away.

Not that he was having improper thoughts, of course.

"Or ammonia. It works even better."

Ok, he was sounding like an idiot now. The guy didn't make a single expression or comment, just kept staring at him with a tad dumbfounded expression as if he was talking in Chinese or something. And the annoying music screaming outside the bathroom was strangely becoming louder.

The silence between them was becoming rather embarrassing for Sasuke, thus he decided to shut his mouth up completely. And stopped looking at his eyes. What was wrong with him anyway, he wasn't even the talkative type!

Clearing his throat again, Sasuke walked to the wash-stand with his chin up, nudging for the stranger to step aside and give him some space.

Which he didn't.

All of a sudden, the space between the side wall and the half-wall that separated the wash-stand from the toilet/shower, seemed too tight for him and the stranger. He practically had to thrust his body in between the side wall and the space occupied by the foreign body at the right, just to wash his hands. If the guy hadn't noticed that the bathroom's facilities were made for one person's usage only, he will notice now.

But the guy only leaned his body against the half-wall behind him, which was very useful to give Sasuke one inch more of space.

The idiot still refused to move. Didn't he realize their positions? Sasuke was almost rubbing himself on him just to perform the supposedly innocent task of washing his hands.

"Do you know," Sasuke snorted, while he tried to avoid too much physical contact with the foreign body as he opening the faucet, "'intimacy space' is not just a funny concept."

"You know a lot about removing lipstick stains," he spoke.

Sasuke felt a light shiver swirling down his spine and inwardly hoped that it was just a late reaction to the sake and had nothing to do with that deep, melodic, manly voice…

And his breath in his ear.

"Yeah, well…" Sasuke mumbled, bowing his head to concentrate all his attention on the very much interesting faucet.

Grab the soap, rub your hands against each other, splash water on your face to eliminate evidence of Tenten's saliva, and pretend that his breathing is not bothering you. Maybe he was raised in Europe, where social interaction comes with a lot of physical contact.

"Many girlfriends?" He asked. Or better speaking, he breathed.

"Many mouths."

Sasuke never felt so unexplainably coy for saying something like that. For the first time, it sounded like he was some playboy, a nature of species that he would rather not be identified with.

He wasn't the dating type, but he also wasn't the 'dismissing' type when an attractive girl wanted to give him him some pleasure when he was on biological needs of…you know. Mother Nature is the one to blame. And Asuma. His foster dad always said: "Don't reject a woman who has nothing but love to give to you." Yeah, maybe Sasuke didn't interpret his words the right way, and maybe that's why Sasuke never had the guts to break up with Sakura. Who cares anyway, he's just a stupid hippie. Asuma, that is.

So yeah, he got a lot of undesirable lipstick 'love' marks from many mouths, in many parties where common sense says that you don't want to appear in the same room where your maniac depressive girlfriend is with a stranger's lipstick on your clothes.

"You're not going to remove that?" He glanced at the guy, seeing that he didn't make an attempt to make use of his advice. He probably wasn't even listening.

"Do you perhaps know where to find ethyl alcohol, dishwasher detergent or ammonia?"

Oh, so he was listening.

Damn his voice.

Sasuke turned off the water, dried his hands and face on the towel placed below the counter – for which he had to kneel down a bit, standing uncomfortably closed to the guy's lower regions, but no he was not having improper thoughts – and straightened his body to open the mirrored doors of the medicine chest above the wash-stand.

"Naruto should have something here..." Scrutinizing the shelves, he quickly detected the distinctive plastic bottle next to a small box of cotton disks.

Grabbing the items, he turned his body to give them to the guy while informally brushing his arm against his well-built chest-

"Ugh, sorry," he recoiled in an instinctive reaction and immediately felt like an idiot for saying 'sorry' for touching a guy on his chest.

The space was still tight. The walls hadn't moved. His face was stupidly burning.


Discerning dark eyes stared at him, an undecipherable smile formed by the slow-motion moving lips that thanked him for the items caused an unfamiliar reaction in Sasuke, a sense of tingling in the lower abdomen.

That guy teased in mysteriousness, and everything seemed so out of the ordinary, like he was being embraced by a huge hypallage that smelled of blueberry juice and washing machine detergent. The scent of the mysterious guy's shirt was still softly tickling inside hit nostrils, and he noticed-

They were too fucking close.

"A-hem, guess you don't need my help anymore." Mumbling tangled words, he broke the uncomfortable eye contact with the guy and decided he had had enough time inside that bathroom.

What a strange guy… didn't his mother teach him not to stare at people like that? Man, those eyes and that face could almost-

Forget it. Sasuke was straight.

He closed the door behind him and walked towards the drinks' zone like a scared cat with his tail between his legs.


What the hell was that?

It's like his heart had been fed adrenaline; like before you jump off a bridge with nothing but a frail-looking rope tied around your ankles, except that he didn't try to do bundgee-jumping, he just went to the men's room!

He slid his hand to his belly, as if he was trying to track the faded "tingling" sensation. Odd feeling, and annoyingly opportune, like he would ever admit to himself that a stranger could make him feel so… nervous.

'Get over yourself,' he mentally face-slapped himself.

He didn't understand what had happened in that bathroom and, since he did not want to understand it in first place – that would take acknowledgement of some sort of emotion that belonged to some sort of fifth dimension – he grabbed the one bottle of sake displaying on the drinking table and poured some on an unused plastic cup. Drinking it in three gulps, hoping that the liquid would burn his throat enough to persuade his mind not to think about-

He had this slight pinkish tone on his lips. That stranger, you see. Sasuke never met a guy with lips like that. Generally guys have skin-toned lips, or dry whitish lips that screamed for a moisturizer, or swallowed lips combined with colored lipstick marks and a dose of disgusting vain. Sasuke was a good observer. But this guy…

Yeah, that really wasn't working well.

He threw his head backwards and spilled the remaining liquid inside the bottle of sake down his throat, attempting to drink those awkward thoughts away. He stopped abruptly when he saw through the corner of his eye the unique pink head of Sakura walking towards him.

He put the empty bottle down, suppressing a hip from drinking too fast, and waited for his ex-girlfriend to reach his spot.

She wasn't alone. That guy was following behind her, as Sasuke immediately recognized the tall figure concealed in his fashionable mysteriousness, too well dressed for that party, emerging through the dancing bodies with unprecedented elegance-

They were hand in hand.

"Sasuke! You're here." Sakura was now in front of him, grinning like there was no tomorrow, and the stranger was right next to her, eyeing him with apathy like there had never been before.

Sasuke tried to mutter out a sarcastic response (a statement like that was only asking for it) but his mouth opened to silence. The guy was staring at him.

"This is Sasuke, the one that I talked to you about."

He was supposed to nod and say 'hi', but Sasuke found himself unable of performing the ceremony of social introduction when he was still fighting an inner struggle to control the adrenaline of his processing mind and the stupid tingling in his belly and all the things a proud man like him wasn't supposed to feel.

(The guy said 'hi', apparently.)

"This is Itachi," Sakura said his name. The guy nodded. The guy smiled. The guy's name was Itachi.

His shirt collar was moistened and clean.

(So was his slight pinkish-toned lips)

"My boyfriend," she added.

And as if the words weren't enough to believe – Sasuke barely had listened to her anyway – she grabbed the guy's shirt and pulled him into a kiss, catching his lips so unexpectedly that one could say even he was caught in surprise.

Sasuke was left to stare at them, kissing like a couple (oh, wait, they were a couple), facing an even bigger inner struggle with the sake dancing in his stomach, and the fucked up adrenaline and all the things he was hating feeling right now, but he couldn't put a name on them.

His ex-girlfriend was boldly right in front of him, eyes closed absorbed in the task of kissing Itachi. And Itachi had one eye still open, still staring at Sasuke.