Trading Hearbeats

Sasuke had believed he had the perfect interpretation of love—waking up to the smell of his mom's tomato pancakes, the warm feeling in his stomach when he was wasted at a party and seeing that his best friend was waiting to bring him home, and even the comforting pat on the back he'd rarely receive from his brother after a job well done.

But the way he felt right now, waiting on the doorstep of his—well, that was the thing. He didn't even know what she was. But he couldn't ignore the instantaneous beating of his heart, the way he felt all choked up to the point he couldn't even utter a single word, and of course the awkward scratching of the back of his head because this feeling was completely crazy.

He tried to ignore it and analyze it later, when he wasn't in the company of the pinkette, but every time she'd put a piece of hair behind her ear, or glance up at him, notice him staring back, awkwardly giggle, and look at her nicely painted feet again, he'd lose control.

"So did Naruto tell you that I love carnivals?" Sakura asked, a small smile emitting happiness from her face.

Of course, it was true that after the blonde saw his best friend practically stalking ("I just wanted to make sure she was comfortable, idiot.") Sakura the duration of his birthday party, and the way she blushed when he finally approached her asking how she knew his best friend, Naruto had suggested that Sasuke should take the pink-headed girl to the end-of-the-summer carnival being hosted in Central Park.

The onyx-eyed boy (man—all man) hit his friend on the head and pretended to be completely ignorant to the suggestion, but had went home and called Sakura to ask if she wanted to go with him to Central Park this Saturday.

He smirked. "Nah, you just seemed like a carnival kind of girl."

She giggled lightly and grabbed his hand—taking him by surprise. He lifted his eyes to meet hers as she said, "Well thank you for everything tonight."

She lifted on the tips of her toes and gently pecked him on the cheek. With one last smile, she opened her door and walked in without looking back at the stunned Uchiha.

And on the fifteen minute walk back to his apartment, all he could do was smirk while keeping his hand glued to the spot her lips touched.

More shock was evident on his face when she asked if he wanted to join her for lunch—even more shock than five minutes before when his secretary came to the door claiming that he had a visitor. Sasuke Uchiha never had visitors.

Or well, no, that's not true. Naruto came to bug him all the time. But his secretary—and everyone else in the office, for that matter—just let him in, because he wasn't even worth restraining.

Sasuke was about to retort, but when he opened his mouth, nothing seemed to come out. This caused him to stage a yawn so he didn't look stupid, but then analyzed over the fact that maybe she was insulted by his lack of interest.

Sakura didn't seem to take it this way, because she simply smiled and walked over to the side of his desk. "I have two hours off before the kids come back from lunch and recess, and I heard from my friend that this new café opened, and its tomato and mozzarella salad was to die for."

She gave a slight wink, reminding him that she remembered his tomato fetish from the night of carnival, in which he had asked for extra of said fruit on everything he bought.

He had simply nodded with a smirk, got up from his chair, put on his jacket, and opened the door for her as he headed out of his office. He easily predicted the look on his employers faces as he walked to the elevator with his hand clasped around that of a female.

"Are you really that nervous about calling your girlfriend?" Naruto taunted while throwing a tissue box at his best friend.

Said boy just looked up, at first wondering where he got that tissue box because said item was way too feminine for his "bachelor pad", and then sighing while admitting, "I don't even know if she's my girlfriend."

"Well, let's see, you flirted like crazy at my birthday party—yeah, couldn't set me up with someone, could you?—go to a carnival, she comes to your freaking office to have lunch, and you two talk on the phone every freaking night. And obviously you guys have been kissing because—"

After noticing the sudden change in expression on his friend's face, he starts laughing because he can read him just too well.

"You haven't kissed her yet?"

Sasuke hates being laughed at—especially for something so stupid. But really, it wasn't that stupid because really, why haven't they kissed yet?

"Shut up."

"You know, I'm probably going to be asking her to go out drinking with us anyways. So either way she'll come. It's just a little stupid that you—you know, her boyfriend—aren't going to ask her to come."

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Hn." But nonetheless, he dialed her number that he might have memorized since the day he got it from her.

"I suck."

Sasuke sighed and rolled his eyes for the eighth time in the past ten minutes. "Sakura, again, no, you don't suck."

"Yes, Sasuke-kun, I really do. Because honestly, you could be out partying and drinking and everything, but you're not because a boy in my class had a little cough and I still hugged him for giving me that apple and—"

"Sakura, you babble way too much. And I told you already, I wasn't even going to drink. And I was only going because you were."

She couldn't help but giggle and blush while burying her head into his chest, which caused him to redden as well. "Well I really appreciate it." She pecked him on the cheek, and then jumped off the couch. "I'm going to get some popcorn and bring you a pair of pajama pants, while you look for a movie." Before he could answer, she was already out of sight.

"Oh, and you better not pick anything scary because you might have to stay with me the rest of the night!" She added while in the kitchen, pushing the buttons on the microwave.

Sasuke couldn't help but smirk. Even though he knew that's obviously not what she implied, he couldn't help but think of what a great idea it was.

Sakura always managed to surprise him. Not just with the way she'd text him during the day with just a smiley face, or even when he had walked into his office to find a tomato on his desk with a pink cherry blossom next to it. But more in the way that she was able to make him do things he has never done.

It wasn't just waking up with her sprawled across his chest that morning—because surprisingly, it wasn't what it seemed like. They happened to fall asleep during an I Love Lucy marathon that she forced him to watch, and had woken up at ten in the morning—fully clothed.

She couldn't help but chuckle at the circumstance while getting up from the warmth of the couch. Sasuke started wondering what day of the week it was, but his train of thought was momentarily stopped when he caught sight of half of Sakura's back when she had stretched while walking towards the kitchen.

"Hn," He told himself, remembering that if he can't even kiss her, he definitely won't be seeing more of that.

"Let's go to the park." She suggested as he heard her rattling through the cabinets, getting her morning coffee she usually needed.

Sasuke smirked while also getting up and heading into the kitchen. "It's a Saturday. You might not have to work, but I do." He grabbed the pink mug she offered him as he rolled his eyes. Typical.

"I know grumpy pants, but it's already ten and you'd get no work done anyway because you're obviously still gushing over the movie we watched last night and—"

"Do you always babble like this?"

She stuck out her tongue, but was still determined to finish with, "And everyone needs a day off every now and then."

Sasuke never takes a day off. Even when he's sick, he doesn't. He doesn't see the point. If he's still sick while lying at home in bed, obviously he can be productive at work even if he's feeling not so well.

But the way her smile grew when he went to take out his phone to dial his office, and the feeling of her lips on his cheek as she ran off into the bathroom to go and shower, he knew it was the right choice.

"You're adorable, you know that, right?"

Sasuke sighed while leaning his head against the tree behind them. "Hn,"

"Well of course, how could you not be? Sitting here with your shoes off in a dress shirt with your hair in this total Edward Cullen style, eating a pretzel hotdog from some creepy old guy—who you were totally jealous of when he offered to give me mine for free—and all the while skipping out on work."

Instead of answering her, he shoved the rest of the pretzel in his mouth. Silence was always the best policy, of course.

And although he couldn't help but feel tiny butterflies fill his stomach as she put her head on his shoulder, he also couldn't help but think that this was all a little too gay.

What if she thinks he's gay? Just a person to have picnics with and to cuddle and watch movies with—someone she wouldn't even kiss.

His mind went back to the text he got from Naruto this morning, commenting on how he wasn't at his house when we went to bring him coffee this morning, and how he must have scored.

Except all he did was watch chick flicks and eat popcorn and hold Sakura really close when she freaked out because a commercial for Paranormal Activity came on.

And that's not scoring at all.

"I'm not gay, you know."

He felt a little stupid when she started hysterically laughing while getting off of his chest and looking him square in the eyes. No wonder why she and Naruto are such good friends…

"What the hell?"

She still continued laughing, but after noticing the seriousness that his eyes held, she stopped to let him explain. "I just, I don't know. I don't want you to think that I want to be your friend."

"You don't want to hang out anymore…?"

The sadness that was made apparent by her expression was enough to make sure he would never say anything that could possibly upset her ever again.

"No, no, no. I mean, I mean that I don't want you to think that I'm not, you know, into you…in other ways than friendship."

Sakura let out a small giggle, but made sure it didn't get too exasperated to the point that he'd be frustrated again. "Are you confessing?"

"No. I'm just, you know. I might like you."

She smiled the biggest smile he'd ever seen. "I might like you too."

"Not in a gay way, though—in an I-like-kissing and I-really-hate-chick-flicks sort of way. The manliest way a guy can like a girl."

This time, she had to let more than a giggle escape her lips. "Yes, and I like you in a you-have-the-most-amazing-eyes and I-will-watch-scary-movies-just-to-snuggle-you sort of way."

He couldn't help but smirk. "Well, as long as we're clear."

And she couldn't help but smile as he leaned in for their first kiss.

Sasuke never wanted to kill anyone more in his life. Who the hell did Naruto think he was banging at his door at eight in the morning on freaking Sunday? You know, his only day off.

Before he could yell at the idiot, he opened the door to find the only person he honestly didn't hate seeing. "Oh,"

"Oh? I get an 'Oh'? That better be a you-look-stunning-this-morning-so-I'm-flabbergasted sort of 'Oh'." She retorted while swaying into the kitchen, putting a bag of groceries on his counter.

"Hn. It's early, and my day off."

She laughed lightly. "Of course, I know that silly. I just knew that you'd sleep until one, and not eat breakfast but just skip right to lunch. And that's obviously not healthy, so I thought I'd come to make you a delicious omelet."

Sakura could feel his smirk as he came behind her and buried his face into her neck. She giggled at the soft tickle, but then stopped when he put his arms around her waist and his chin on her shoulder. Her face couldn't help but heat up at his sudden openness around her. They'd been seeing each other for two months now, and it was still a big step.

And of course the fact that he was only in his boxers.

"But don't think I'm the only one making this. I will not be your housewife. Go and get a bowl for me, will you?" She asked (ordered) but not before pecking him on the lips. When she was about to pull away to get the eggs out of the bag, his grip around her waist tightened, causing her to let out a slight moan.

She could feel his smirk again.

Sasuke could deal with early Sunday mornings if it meant waking up to stolen kisses and tomato promises.

"Miss Haruno, there's a handsome man at the door with a really nice butt!" Ami-chan cried while pointing to the entrance to the classroom. Everyone laughed at her confession, and Sakura would've too if she hadn't been so surprised by his sudden arrival.

She gave him a questioning glance while walking towards the door, but opened it nonetheless. "What are you doing here?" She asked with obvious confusion in her voice.

"I thought your class ended at 3:30?"

She laughed quietly while taking his hand to lead him into the classroom. "Fifteen minutes early, sweetie. But you can join the class until it's over."

Now it was his turn to give the questioning glance, but still took the seat next to a hyperactive-looking redhead. She waved happily as he offered a forced smirk. He always felt awkward around children—like he'd break them, or something along those lines.

"Okay guys, we have a new addition the class just until the end of the day. This is Sasuke Uchiha." Everyone had yelled their welcomes to him as he gave his girlfriend an annoyed glance while she offered him a wink.

"He's a little big for school, isn't he?" One boy yelled from across the room, only to have a dozen girls quiet him while arguing that he's not big, but incredibly handsome.

And as she saw the twitch in Sasuke's eye and the way girls began writing their names on their folders with his last name attached, Sakura couldn't help but agree.

Sasuke woke up in Sakura's apartment, but again, it wasn't what you'd think it to be. And even though he woke up to her groaning, it was a different kind of moaning—one signaling pain.

He had come to her side with a couple of aspirin and her favorite green tea from that café a few blocks over. She smiled at him while taking the cup, moving over on the bed to give him room to sit down.

"What happened last night?" She asked before completely downing her cup of tea. He was glad he had purchased three of them—he had heard from Ino that Sakura was a bad patient when having a hangover.

Sasuke got up to get the other drink while answering, "You, uh, got a little wasted."

"Crap! And I wasn't even supposed to drink! I was going to be a designated driver with you, and we were going to laugh at everyone else being drunk and retarded, but no, I had to take the bet when Naruto said I couldn't beat him at beer pong and—"

She stopped after taking another sip of the hot beverage, completely melting at its deliciousness.

"But wait, isn't it a Friday? Why aren't you at work? I highly doubt you get the day off after Thanksgiving and all. And it's already noon!"

She had sat up so quickly that her drink almost spilled everywhere, but was luckily stopped when Sasuke pushed her back on the bed. "I took the day off. I figured you'd need me."

Sakura loved the way he didn't state it like it was something he should be rewarded for. He wasn't smug about the fact that she got so smashed last night that she'd need a guy to help her out. He said it like it was just a simple fact—like he knew he had to be there.

And obviously, no one wants to help a throwing-up, bitchy woman recover from a terrible hangover. But he was still there.

And from that point on, she knew he always would be.

"So, how'd it go Thursday night?" Ino asked with a suggestive glance and the nudging of her shoulder.

Sakura looked up from her strawberry daiquiri—virgin, because she had finally learned her lesson—to her best friend with a questioning glance. "What do you mean? You were there. I got completely wasted and went home and woke up with the worst hangover."

"No, I mean your first time with Sasuke! I bet he was great. You better have remembered it girl, because I need details."

She probably should've gone with the alcohol. "What the hell are you talking about? Sasuke slept on the couch that night."

"What? You two left my house that night with you all over him. You almost took off your shirt while attempting to make out with him, but he stopped you because, well, you know. He's a freaking gentleman. But I figured he'd finally give in once he brought you back home."

Sakura simply shook her head with a small smile. "Well, he stayed a gentleman the entire night, because he changed me into his shirt, put me in bed, and went to lie on the couch. I remember that much at least."

"I know this sounds crazy, but I'm kind of jealous."

Sakura feigned shock.

"No, seriously! Like, any guy would take advantage of me—or you; don't deny it—if I was in that kind of state. But instead, he just, he just knew that it was wrong and, well, let you sleep. It's kind of amazing when you think about it."

And though Sakura really did never think about it like that before, Ino did have a point. This guy really was one in a million.

And she didn't plan on ever letting him go.

Sasuke had never been happier in his entire life as he watched the two girls he loved sitting together on the couch across from him. He knew his mom would definitely approve of Sakura, but he hadn't realized to what extent she would love her.

As soon as they walked into the door and Sakura commented on how much she loved Mikoto's yellow flower hair pin ("Mom, you look ridiculous."), she knew that this was the girl her son was going to marry.

And she made sure to tell him. And her. At least three times in the past hour.

Itachi and his father were nice enough, shaking her hand and Itachi even offered to show her around the house. She was about to accept when her boyfriend had shunned the idea, knowing that his idiotic brother would show her some sort of embarrassing thing.

He knew Christmas Eve at his parents would be a successful night.

Sasuke had found himself smirking while looking over at his girlfriend, but was a bit embarrassed when she apparently noticed as well, for she turned towards him and smiled as well, letting him know she was having a great time.

Soon enough dinner was served and presents were opened, for they would be spending Christmas day at Sakura's parent's house. Mikoto had obviously not wanted them to leave, but Sasuke kept insisting that they had to get up early ("It's only ten o'clock!") and it was a long walk home ("Sasuke-kun, I live ten minutes from here!"), but he mostly wanted to leave because he wanted Sakura all to himself.

After fifteen minutes of coaxing, they finally went to get their coats on. Sasuke waited patiently as she kissed everyone goodbye, and thanked his mom for everything—from the delicious pork roast to raising her son so very, very well.

He couldn't help but smirk at the last part.

"So Sasuke-kun, I might love your mom as much as I love you." Sakura commented while smiling happily. She grabbed his hand tighter as they walked past many lighted apartment buildings.

Sasuke had almost stopped when he heard that one word, but didn't want to seem nervous. He coughed slightly before saying, "Love is an awfully big word, Sakura."

She seemed to see it as a mistake, because she had stopped and turned to him, as if explaining herself to him. "Oh, you know, I mean, as a broader term, as in—" She had stopped though, as if she had just realized something.

"No. I love you. You know that." She offered him a smile, but it was more a reassurance to herself that she didn't forget. She grabbed his hand once again and began walking down her block.

"I, uh, I love you too, you know." He offered as his face got redder, but he was ready to defend saying that it was just the cold.

She stopped again. Sasuke looked around to see if they were already at her door, but when he realized they weren't, he glanced at her. She had the widest smile on her face and was closer to him than she seemed to be before.

Sakura grabbed his face and lightly brushed her lips on his. There was no way this kind of red on his face could be caused by the winter's chill, but that wasn't really a main concern.

Before he could really start kissing her, though, Sakura had jumped away from him and looked up at the sky. "Sasuke-kun! It's snowing!"

And just like a child she twirled through the snow, as if she'd never seen in before, sticking out her tongue like an idiot. She eventually stopped though, and Sasuke hoped it was the end of her childishness.

He soon realized that it was quite a silly request, because Sakura was simply a child, and she would never stop her antics. That and the fact that she grabbed his hand and began twirling with him too.

He stopped her acts after a few minutes (it was Christmas, after all) to walk her to her door. She was still giddy from the fact that it was actually snowing on Christmas, and of course from the man that was with her on such an occasion.

The smile on her face had not ceased, and he could feel one of his own appearing.

"I'm glad you didn't end up being gay." He could only frown as she started laughing. "I'm just kidding!" She giggled some more while falling into his chest, her arms wrapping around his torso.

He began massaging her head. "And I'm glad I ended up going to the idiot's birthday party."

She chuckled lightly while shaking her head in agreement.

After a few moments of silence and snuggling on her porch, she had lifted her head to meet those beautiful charcoal eyes.

And as Sasuke lowered his head to give her a kiss, he had finally realized that he knew what love was. It was more than just food and accomplishment and dependence—it was that, and a whole lot more.

It was secret smiles and everyday lunch dates between twelve to two and the promise that the next day they spend together will be better than the last.

It was Sakura. And it always would be.

I hate my life, so I wrote this.
Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.
I don't know if there are carnivals in Central Park, but there are now.
The ending sucks. I know.
They're in NYC, by the way.
Hope everyone's life is monumentally better than mine.
Peace out, cub scout.