Story: Astronomical Nuisance yet...a Beauty Unrivaled

Dedicated: DarkAngelFall

Words: Several-pyromaniac, official business, pirates vs. ninjas, conundrum, and ANBU

Pairing: Unspecified

A/N: I changed things a bit. It's probably not what you're expecting chica, but I hope you like it anyway.

Astronomical Nuisance yet...a Beauty Unrivaled

The door opened.

A simple way to start a story, but I'm a man of few complications. I'll start here, since this is as good a place as any. I stood in the entryway, decidedly bored. I couldn't believe I let Naruto drag me somewhere I didn't want to be-again. Yet there I stood looking at a guy who made an unworthy attempt to cosplay me. It was a miracle, but I managed to keep the sneer off my lips.

"Hey dickless, you brought over a frie-" He cut himself off and looked in my direction, giving me a once over. He soon let out a soft chuckle. "I almost said 'friend,' but who would be friends with you?"

I glanced at Naruto and saw that he was two seconds away from attacking the guy, and for once I wouldn't blame him for starting a fight. Of course, I generally had to finish whatever he started because he was a loser, but I didn't think I'd mind too much this time.

"Sai, stop harassing Naruto."

I heard the voice and shifted slightly in order to see the face that accompanied it, but only saw a shock of pink hair. My brow rose immediately at that little discovery. Who had pink hair? Sai turned his head and looked over his shoulder at the petite woman behind him.

"Sakura, have I told you that you're looking uglier than ever today?"

I heard a muffled grunt come from the man before me and I smirked amused.

"Move out the way and let them in." The disgruntled figure growled.

With a sigh he stepped aside, allowing us entrance. It was then that I saw her. She wore white overalls-well, they used to be white. They were currently covered in multiple shades of paint. The left side of her face was almost completely covered in red paint and even the tips of a few strands of her hair was red. As far as first impressions went-well she really didn't make one at all.

"What are you doing here, Naruto?" She asked, looking at Naruto suspiciously. I realized then that she knew the idiot well. He was always up to something and if he wasn't he soon would be.

"Can't I visit my favorite person in the whole world?" Naruto asked, beaming at the paint covered woman. I rolled my eyes at his annoying cheerfulness. Sometimes I wondered why I let him hang around me.

She stared at him a minute and then replied, "We don't have any food." She tossed me a glance and continued speaking, "And don't bring your freeloading friends with you. We can barely afford to have you over, let alone your friends."

My eyes narrowed at her last statement. I couldn't believe her audacity to clump me in with the likes of Naruto. I decided right then and there that I didn't like the woman one bit.

"Tch."

She turned and looked at me, placing her hands on her hips.

"You got something to say to me?" She growled, walking in my direction. Unfortunately for her, she tripped on her overalls and went toppling to the ground. Perhaps I should have made a move to stop her fall since I was the closest, but it was unnecessary. Sai already had his arms wrapped around her waist and Naruto moved quickly in front of her, placing his hands on her shoulders to steady her.

"Are you okay, Sakura?" Naruto asked, anxiety evident in his voice.

"I'm fine. Thank you." Naruto moved away from her and Sai released her waist once he was sure she was steady. I noticed that a blush stained her cheeks, and for some reason she was desperately trying to hide her face from me. I noticed then that fire coming from the direction of her hand. This startled me because it wasn't quite normal to see people shooting flames from their hands. Staring hard I realized that she had a lighter in her hand that she was steadily flicking on and off. I took a moment to recall that paint was flammable and another to realize that the woman was either a nut job or a pyromaniac, which was essentially the same thing.

"Sakura, this is my best friend Sasuke. Sasuke, this is my sexy friend Sakura." I smirked when Sakura smacked him upside the head. I nodded at the lunatic who only stared back at me blankly. "He doesn't talk much, but that's because he's an asshole."

It was my turn to hit Naruto, but she beat me to it and I found myself a little annoyed by it.

"Don't be so rude Naruto. Now tell me what you want…then leave. I'm working here."

"I'm here on official business!" Naruto yelled and quickly dodged the hand that she had aimed at his head for yelling in her ear. "I'm here to get you out of this place. You've been cooped up in here for too long."

"I like being cooped up. I like doing my work. I-"

"Like being dull as a doorknob?" Naruto finished. I had thought that she would definitely hit him for that remark, but surprisingly she did not. From what I could tell, this was very out of character for her.

"What am I supposed to do, Naruto? I'm not like you. I can't go out there and meet people I barely know and strike up a conversation. I get all awkward or worse yet-bitchy. It's a pointless endeavor. Just leave and let me finish painting."

I looked back and forth between the two who seemed to be saying a million words without opening their mouths. It was at that moment that I became conscious of the closeness between the two. It was a conundrum. If they were that close, then why hadn't he mentioned her to me before? It was like she was some dirty secret that he kept hidden.

"I'm not leaving without you." I had never heard Naruto speak so sternly to anyone. He was a kidder by nature and to see him change so abruptly was a bit perplexing. He didn't even speak that way to his own girlfriend-or ex-girlfriend rather.

"Well, I'm not leaving."

I wondered briefly who would win this match. They both had a stubborn glint in their eyes, looking hard and unyielding. I didn't have to wait long to find out. Naruto pulled his shirt off and over his head. Sakura's eyes grew large, and I wondered what the point of him disrobing was. He was a shameless exhibitionist, but still this was taking it a little too far. Why burn my retinas?

My question was soon answered when I saw him toss the paint covered hellion over his shoulder and head to what I assumed was her bedroom.

"We'll be right back, bastard." Naruto called out. "Make yourself at home."

Naruto left the room then, ignoring the banshee like wails of the woman he had tossed over his shoulder. It didn't take me long to realize that he had left me alone with that guy who happened to be staring at me. If I was anyone else I would have shuddered at his decidedly creepy gaze.

"Did you stick your finger in an electrical outlet, too?"

The question was so absurd that I couldn't help but question it. "What?"

"Sakura told me that Naruto's hair is the way it is because he stuck his finger in an electrical outlet when he was a baby. I was wondering if such was the case with you as well."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"They say birds of a feather flock together. Sakura explained to me that means that people who are alike tend to hang around each other. Naruto is an idiot, therefore you are one, too. Therefore, it's probable that as a child, you stuck your finger into an electrical outlet and now your hair is sticking straight up in an abnormal fashion."

My eyes narrowed on the little asshole. "Following that logic that would mean, since you're an ass that your pinkerella girlfriend back there is an ass as well."

"Not at all. If she were indeed my girlfriend, then the rule of opposites attracting would be in effect. She would be the ass since Naruto is her friend. I would not."

I stared at him and he gazed back at me unblinkingly. I ignored the vicious cursing coming from the other end of the apartment and wondered what the hell was wrong with the man in front of me. Was he deliberately trying to get me to kick his ass? Cause I was by no means afraid of handing it to him. Thereafter, I decided that he was no longer worthy of my attention and focused my mind on other things, like the upcoming exam I had to take in order to join the police force. It shouldn't be difficult. After all, if my brother could do it, then so could I.

A while later a squeaky clean hellion joined us, followed by a triumphant Naruto. I could tell she wasn't in the least happy-but at least she was clean.

"Are we leaving?" I asked Naruto, noticing that his hair was damp. Had he joined her in the shower? Were they lovers? The asshole had denied having a relationship with her. Was that why Naruto insisted that I meet her, because they were together? I let a few more questions roll over my mind before I realized that my question was being answered.

"Yes. Let's go." Naruto replied, leading the way out while grabbing Sakura's hand and dragging her along with him.


"Naruto you idiot! You drag me all the way out of the house to get pizza? I thought you were at least going to take me to a club or something!"

"Why would I take you to a club so you can pout all night and ruin everybody's fun?" Naruto held his hands against his chest and fluttered his eyelashes disturbingly. "Woe is me. I am sad. I am alone. No one loves me."

Sakura stuck out her tongue at him and crossed her arms across her chest. Her actions drew my attention to her chest-and I say chest because she was lacking in the breast department. They say more than a mouthful was a waste, but it didn't look as if she had enough to stick a coin on.

"Interesting." Sai said, drawing their attention.

"What is it, Sai?" Sakura asked curiously.

"I do believe Naruto's abnormally silent friend just checked Sakura out."

All occupants of the table, then turned and looked in my direction while I directed an evil glare to the wannabe me.

"I knew you were a secret perv!" Naruto hissed angrily. "I bring you around my sweet Sakura-"

"I'm not yours, Naruto," Sakura interjected.

"-for two seconds and you're already all over-"

"I would hardly call that being all over me," Sakura said dryly.

"-her. I am truly flabbergasted by-"

"Don't say a word Sai. Not one word." Sai proceeded to keep his mouth shut at the threatening look on Sakura's face, but I felt no such impulse.

"Do you even know what flabbergasted means?"

I smirked when I saw the look that crossed the Dobe's face. He hated being interrupted during his random lectures, but I hadn't been really listening anyway. Perhaps it was the commentary added by the little woman that kept my attention. Perhaps, I wondered what exactly would come out of her mouth next. I glanced at the woman's frown and changed my mind. That couldn't be it.

"Shut up, bastard."

"Right after you go to hell," I retorted.

"Shall he prepare a place for you by his side?" Sai questioned, looking directly at me.

I'd like to think that under normal circumstances, I'm a rather calm person. Sure, I argued with Naruto rather frequently, but I never let him get me riled up to the point of violence—very often. More or less Naruto and I had an understanding. It was me and him against the world and when the world wasn't bothering us it was me against him. I knew that. He knew that. We were both fine with our relationship, and I used the word 'relationship' loosely. However, this Sai asshole-


"I can't believe your hotheaded friend got us banned from my favorite pizza place. He's a jerk Naruto."

My eyes narrowed on Sakura's small frame. She was speaking as if I wasn't walking right behind her and her idiot roommate.

"I told you before he was an asshole," Naruto whispered.

"Yeah, well, so are you, but I don't hold that against you."

"Aw, thanks Sak…hey wait."

Sakura and Sai burst out laughing. I smirked slightly, entertained by her wit, although it doesn't take much when faced with Naruto. Naruto, not at all offended that the joke was on him, threw an arm over Sakura's shoulders and pulled her close to his side. She slipped an arm around his waist and squeezed tightly and again I wondered about the status of their relationship.


"Goodnight Naruto. Goodnight Naruto's friend. Thanks for dragging me out today."

I said nothing, but turned my head to look at some obscure object that I can't recall. "It's no problem Sakura. I'll drag you out anytime!" Naruto exclaimed. Out of the cornered of my eye I saw her lean in and give him a light kiss on his cheek.

"Next time don't get me banned from one of my favorite places. Now I'll have to go there incognito." Naruto chuckled, earning himself a punch in the arm and a door slammed in our faces.

We walked away in silence. I glanced at Naruto and found that his face was unusually pensive. "She's lost weight," He muttered to himself. There was only one 'she' he could be talking about, and since he brought the subject of her up I felt free to ask a few of the questions that had been bothering me.

"She your girl?"

Naruto looked at me startled. A grin formed on his lips. "Not my girl. The girl." He clarified.

I frowned, not understanding. "What the hell does that mean?"

"She's everything that I've ever wanted."

"She's violent, ill-tempered and breast-less."

"You really did check her out!" Naruto exclaimed, making an attempt to hit me, though I easily side stepped his blow. He was thrown off balance by my sudden movement, but I put a hand on his shoulder to stop his fall.

"I didn't check her out. I looked at her. It's called gathering data. Speaking of which, how did you meet her?"

"How?" He shrugged. "It feels like I've always known her, but I guess we actually met that last year of high school. The year you transferred to that other school." I frowned at this. I was just meeting this girl now? "She was dressed up as a ninja for a school play. I think it was called Pirates vs. Ninjas. It was a really weird play, but she was great. I had to meet her afterwards. She was kind of shy but-" I had no idea where this shyness that he spoke of was when I had met her but I would let him speak. "When you get to know her, she opens up and shows you how loving she is." A smile appeared on his face and a far away look shone in his eyes.

"She fell in love once with a friend of mine. You remember Gaara?" I nodded. "She was going to school to become a doctor at the time and they became close, real close but they were never together. I'm not sure how Gaara felt for her. By the time I thought to ask, it was too late." I recalled then that the man had died in a car accident a year or so ago. "She quit med school and since then has embraced her art. She's really good, but sometimes I think she would have been a better doctor." Naruto looked down at the ground and somehow I knew he was hiding from me. "He's the only man she's ever shown any interest in; the only man she has ever loved. She thinks it's because men tend to label her in the friend category, but actually she does that herself. She puts distance between herself and every male that she encounters not realizing that most of us are in love with her.

"Most of you?" I asked perplexed.

"Sakura attracts men like bees to a flower. You remember the Hyuuga?"

I remembered the Hyuuga. I remembered that I didn't like him in the least. Something about that guy rubbed me the wrong way.

"Aa."

"I can admit that I'm wrapped around her finger, but that guy-" Naruto shook his head. "Not to mention your brother."

"My brother?" Surely I hadn't heard him correctly. He did not mean Uchiha Itachi.

"Your brother." Naruto confirmed. "He met her at some sort of art gallery and has been doggedly pursuing her ever since. I'm glad she's so oblivious cause I probably would have lost her by now. There's also Sai who denies his infatuation, but it's there. Everyone wants her."

"Are you sure you aren't just paranoid?" I asked, thinking about the woman I had just met. Surely she was no temptress, no seducer of men. It just didn't seem to fit her persona.

"If only it was that simple," Naruto said with a shake of his head.

"If everyone falls for her why would you bring me to meet her?"

"You don't count since you're asexual."

This time I made the move to hit him, but he dodged with ease and a grin.

"Whatever," I said, straightening and continuing with our journey.

"Don't you want to know who else-"

"No."

Naruto just shrugged. "I suppose they don't matter anyway because in the end she'll love me."

"Why is that?" I asked, not at all surprised by his confidence. He was like that. He always had been.

"Because I will always be there for her no matter what. The best friend always wins in the end."

I said not another word.

:::

:::

I ran into her again at my parent's home. She was on the arm of my brother. Her face was upturned and she was smiling at something he had said. That itself was puzzling, but what was downright frightening was that my brother was smiling back at her. My brother never smiles unless he was doing something that was truly evil. Evil that generally had something to do with me. It made me wary and I was going to avoid them all together if she hadn't called out to me.

"Hey! Naruto's friend, come over here." My eye twitched over the fact that she didn't even bother to try to recall my name. If the woman could be described in one word I would say that she was annoying. Itachi motioned for me to come forward and I did so reluctantly.

"What?" I asked immediately after I stopped before them.

She whispered loudly to Itachi, "This is the one that got me banned from my favorite pizza joint." Itachi frowned at me and I glared at her.

"Have you been making yourself a nuisance Little Brother?"

"Tch."

Sakura's eyes widened as she looked back and forth between the two of us. "You two are related? You're so much cuter, Itachi." Itachi chuckled.

"That's because being the first born, I got the best of everything, including genes. Sasuke got whatever was left."

I turned and left then, ignoring the muffled laughter of the couple behind me. I soon discovered that she was here to have dinner with the family. Itachi had invited her over and she had accepted. It was quite the conundrum because Naruto had to drag her out the house. How did my brother get her to come and have dinner with my family so easily?

:::

:::

Dinner was an awkward affair. Well, for me at least. She was completely at home in the midst of my family. In actuality, she appeared to belong more than I did.

"Mikoto, as usual, dinner is delicious." Sakura gave my mother that beautiful smile of hers.

As usual? When had she been here before? I looked around the table at my family, wondering how this woman had become a well kept secret. And when did she get on a first name basis with my mother?

"Thank you, Sakura dear."

She turned her head and looked at my brother. Her eyes were brilliantly green as she gave him a look of pure adoration. "Ita? Do you have plans for next Friday?"

Itachi frowned at her. "I have to work. I switched shifts with Shisui. Why?"

Her face fell. "Oh, well, never mind. It's okay."

His hand reached across to the woman that was sitting at his side and he placed his hand on top of hers. "What is it?"

"There's an art showing then and I really wanted someone with me. Preferably a devastatingly handsome man." My mouth dropped when I saw the blush stain my brother's cheeks. "It's okay. I suppose I could ask Neji…."

My father spoke up then. "Sasuke will take you."

"The hell-" I felt my mother kick me from beneath the table. "Ow, what did you do that for?" I hissed, looking at my mother, whose eyes grew frosty as they stared back into my own.

"Language. Sasuke. Haven't I taught you better than that?"

I broke contact, immediately contrite. Of course, one shouldn't swear in front of a lady-especially not one's mother.

"I don't know, Fugaku," Sakura began. "I did say I wanted a handsome man on my arm…."

I glared at her, and then at my mother, who had the audacity to chuckle. What she found so amusing was beyond me.

"Don't worry," My father reassured. "He may look like garbage right now, but he cleans up well." Sakura looked my way speculatively.

It was official. My whole family was insane. I focused on the food before my face, determined not to say another word. I did, however, look across the table and catch Sakura's eye and once I had she did something that infuriated me more so that I already was.

She smiled at me.

:::

:::

I'm a man of few words, but even those few escaped me when she opened the door that night. She wore a white dress.

I had never been fond of white. I generally tended to prefer darker colors like blue, black and things like that. Unbeknownst to me, after that night white became a favorite color of mine.

The dress had splits on the side that came as high as her hips. She couldn't have been wearing any underwear or I would have seen the telltale evidence. A thick strap of clothe crossed over one shoulder, and the breasts that I had not seen before were suddenly there and in my face. Maybe it was some miracle known to women, but her nonexistent bosom suddenly became an ample one. When I saw her from the rear I realized that the back was out on the dress. How she kept the dress on was a mystery to me, a mystery that was begging to be solved.

On her wrists were bracelets-also white. She wore no necklace, but that worked just fine. Her hair was pulled up, revealing her graceful neck and more ivory skin that would taunt any man who dared to look at it. Her lips had a shine to them. It wasn't lipstick, it was that other thing that women put on. The name escapes me at that particular moment.

"Are you ready?" She asked, looking at me quizzically.

"Aa." I said and offered my arm to her. She took it, to my surprise, and allowed me to escort her out of her apartment building.

She didn't say much and that suited me just fine. I had no desire to chit-chat-especially since I could barely keep my eyes off of her.

But all good things end as she was the first to break the silence. "Thank you, for coming with me tonight."

I let out a grunt that caused her to smile and turn and look out the window of the car we had been riding in.

We arrived at the exhibit not fast enough for my liking. The whole ride there my eye kept drifting to her creamy thighs instead of focusing on the road. I had no wish to die over just looking at a pair of legs. Now if they were wrapped around me when I died….

I shook my head of the errant thought. The chit wasn't my type at all and yet as we walked in together my arm, of its own volition, wrapped itself around her waist and pulled her close to my side. She looked up at for a brief second, a puzzled look adorning her face, but I ignored her and soon she dismissed the incident, though she never once pulled away from me.

The night droned on. I hated events like this. Entirely too much talking was done-talking that I staunchly refused to take part in. I was well aware that I was an ornament on her arm. It wasn't likely that people expected me to say anything anyway. I wouldn't have either if he didn't showed up.

"Neji!" I heard her exclaim with a tad too much excitement for seeing a Hyuuga. The Hyuugas were distant cousins of my family. I wasn't sure how closely we were related. The only thing I knew for certain was that everyone I ran into was a pompous prick-present company included.

Sakura moved away from me for the first time that night. My eyes narrowed on her small frame as she stretched out her hands to the Hyuuga, who immediately clasped them.

"What are you doing here?" There was genuine joy in her voice as she addressed him and I watched as pleasure showed on the prick's face at her happiness.

"I know how important today is." He said simply and then leaned down and pressed his lips against her cheek. I took a few steps forward, making my presence known. The Hyuuga straightened and then looked at me. "Sasuke. It's been a while."

I managed to keep the irritation off my face at his familiarity. He certainly didn't know me well enough to use my first name-I don't care if he was family. I nodded curtly at him and was immediately dismissed. Not that it was surprising. If the situation had been different we would have had words about both issues, but the last thing I needed was for this woman who was so involved with my family to make some sort of complaint later on.

"Is he your escort?" Neji jerked his thumb in my direction and Sakura frowned at him. His tone of voice left much to be desired and a bit of the joy in her eyes at his arrival dimmed a little. I smirked.

"Don't be rude, Neji. That's not like you." I snorted. "And yes, he is my escort. Do you know each other?" Sakura looked back and forth between us, sensing the tension that boiled just below the surface.

"Aa." I answered.

"Just a distant relative. Nothing serious." Neji stated, and then offered his arm to Sakura. Almost naturally-too naturally if you ask me-she slipped her arm into his and allowed him to lead her off. I stalked behind them, silently pissed that I suddenly felt like the third wheel. How was I the third wheel when I was her date?

And so it went on that evening with me in the shadows, listening to comments like,

"Oh, you two look like such a fabulous couple."

"Sakura, dear, your work and your men are a work of art."

It would be one thing if the comments were made and about me and Sakura, but they were oh so obviously talking about the Hyuuga. It was difficult to keep the sneer off my lips. I was seconds away from leaving inconspicuously or conspicuously, but she broke away from Neji and tossed me an apologetic look.

"Sorry, Sasuke. I didn't mean to ignore you tonight. I just got caught up in Neji's sudden appearance. I haven't seen my friend in so long." She smiled up at Neji, then turned back to me gazing at me quizzically. "You'll take me home?"

I locked eyes with Neji over her head. He scowled when she used the 'f' word. Every man knew that was the kiss of death and suddenly the irritation that I was feeling before vanished. I held out my arm to her and she quickly linked her arm into mine. She smiled benevolently at Neji saying a soft 'good night' to him.

:::

She hadn't really been on my mind when I saw her again. I didn't really think of her. Not really. Hardly ever.…

I saw her again in a friend of my brother's apartment. "Sasuke, yeah. What are you doing here?" He motioned for me to enter, which I did. I hated coming to Deidara's apartment. He was weird and creepy and likely to commit suicide in an attempt of artistic freedom.

"Itachi said you had some painting that he bought from you."

"I remember that. Right this way, yeah."

He led me into a room that was exclusively devoted to his artwork. There was so much work hanging on the walls, and on various easels that I almost didn't notice her presence. Deidara lifted a painting and handed it to me. I glanced at it, wondering at my brother's taste when I heard an undignified squeak. I looked over my shoulder to see her standing there. Something clenched low within me seeing her standing there in a midriff pink top and black sweatpants. It was an odd combination, but everything about the girl was odd.

"Dei! I asked you for that painting ages ago and you're giving it to him?!"

"The painting doesn't suit you, yeah. I told you that."

"And I suppose it suits him." She pointed a delicate finger in my direction, and I wanted to snap it off or bite it or something, but I didn't allow myself to focus too much on it lest I act on my desires.

"It's not for him, yeah."

"Then why is he taking it?!"

"Look woman, I can do whatever I want with my art, yeah. And if I say you can't have it…you can't have it."

Her bottom lip trembled and her eyes grew glassy from unshed tears. "…but Dei…"

I watched flabbergasted as his face seemed to indicate he was seconds away from giving in to her demand. She was a master manipulator. It was yet another side to her that I found fascinating. I was seconds away from just giving her the picture myself. I had to admit that I was impressed, though I continued my way out of the room with every intention of leaving because neither one of them would have to deal with my crazy brother if I didn't come back with the property that he had already purchased.

"Wait, yeah."

I glanced over my shoulder at Deidara. My hand was on the doorknob, and I was just about to pull the door open when he stopped me.

I raised a brow at him waiting for him to try to convince me to leave the painting with him. I looked over his shoulder to see that Sakura was nowhere in sight.

"Tell Itachi that Sakura wanted the painting, yeah." Deidara reached to take the picture out of my hands, but I moved swiftly, not allowing him to do so.

"If she wants the painting, then she can talk to Itachi about it. I was sent here to pick it up for him and I will not leave without it."

"If you tell him it's for Sakura then he'll be okay, yeah."

"And I'm supposed to take your word for it?"

Deidara nodded and looked at me expectantly.

"Well, in that case…no."

"Damn, you Uchiha men are assholes." I shrugged, accepting the truth. You can only be what you are. "Just wait, yeah. Let me call Itachi."

I raised a brow, but said nothing, waiting for him to make the phone call I could have made, but chose not to because like I said…I didn't too much care for Deidara.

"Itachi? This is Deidara. Mmm-hmm. Sakura wants the picture…That's what I said, but your brother's being an ass about it, yeah. Here."

Deidara shoved the phone in my hand like the moody diva that he was. I raised the phone to my ear. I'm not quite sure how he knew my ear was to the phone. My brother always had known me rather well. It was disconcerting at times and at others, downright annoying.

"Give the picture to Sakura."

"You sure?" I asked, irritated that I came all the way to Deidara's place to get a picture for my brother that I wasn't even going to bring home.

"Goodbye, Sasuke." Itachi said, not bothering to answer my question. I looked at Deidara's cell, seeing that Itachi had hung up on me. I scowled at the phone and shoved it and the picture into his hands.

"I'm outta here." The door was part way open when she reentered the room.

"Hey, Sasuke you're not going to stay? Sasori will be here soon and-"

"Hell no." I said, walking out and slamming the door behind me. Like hell I wanted to hear the three of the drone on about art. Plus, all three of them were annoying.

:::

I next saw her at a party.

Once again Naruto had dragged me to some place I really didn't want to be. Nara Shikamaru was having a party-which, according to Naruto was a once in a lifetime event. It was probably true. Since Nara wasn't the type for these sorts of things I was sure that someone had coerced him into it. I would find out later that a certain woman with pastel colored hair was behind it all.

My eyes scanned the room and immediately stopped at the flash of pink I saw on the dance floor. She was wrapped in the arms of a tall guy with gray hair. He was probably old enough to be her father. I couldn't see his face, but something about him didn't sit well with me-and it had nothing to do with the fact that Sakura seemed perfectly content in his arms. I watched as he leaned down and whispered something in her ear. She lightly hit his chest, a small blush staining her cheeks.

I don't recall how it happened, but one minute she was dancing with some random guy and the next she was in my arms.

"That was rather rude, you know. I haven't seen Kakashi in quite some time."

"Hn."

"Is that all you're going to say?" I raised one brow at her as she let out an exasperated huff. This amused me and I let it show by smirking down at her. We danced in silence for the completion of the song and then she smiled up at me, said a brief thanks and continued to enjoy herself.

She didn't approach me again that night, but I did see her with several familiar male faces. I was not happy by the time I went home.


I called her.

I wasn't quite sure why, but the need to hear her voice while she was saying some quirky inane comment pushed me into it.

"Sasuke?"

"…"

"You know…people usually call someone when they want to have a conversation."

Despite myself, I chuckled at her words. "What are you doing?" I asked her curiously.

"I'm…" There was a note in that single monosyllable word that let me know that something was bothering her. Something she didn't want to share.

"You're?" I prodded anyway, because I had developed this weird desire to know all that I could about her.

"I'm visiting a friend…." Her voice trailed off uncertainly and I heard something akin to pain in her voice. It was what pushed me to make the offer.

"Would you like some company?"

"That would be…nice."

"I'll be there shortly."

She was wearing a black dress when I arrived. There was nothing special about it, yet she was still extraordinarily beautiful. She slipped inside my car and began giving me directions to her friend's house.

Only…

We never arrived at a house. Her directions were to a cemetery. I looked at her questioningly as I stopped the car, but she ignored me and slid out the door. I followed behind her, disliking the fact that I felt like a hopeless puppy trailing in her wake. She went immediately to a particular gravestone, stumbling once or twice along the way, where two other people stood. The female immediately circled Sakura in her arms, holding her close. Then she moved to the male who hugged her just as fiercely. I finally moved close enough so that her two companions noticed me.

"Who's that 'Kura?" The male asked.

"That's Sasuke. He drove me here." She said, smiling slightly in my direction.

"Thanks man. We appreciate you bringing her here." I inclined my head slightly and watched as they all stood together, holding hands while staring at the gravestone.

Subaku Gaara

I remembered then. This was the guy that Naruto told me about. This was the one that she had loved once upon a time ago. They said words that I did not hear as my attention was so focused on her. She was full of grief and sorrow, so I reached out and pulled her into my arms. She turned and buried her face into my chest and I said nothing as her tears dampened my shirt.

After a while the duo that I came to realize were Subaku's siblings left me alone with Sakura at the grave site. Her tears had long dried and she stood woodenly in my arms. Then suddenly she pulled away from me and glanced once more at the grave. A brave smile flitted across her lips as she blew it a kiss. She turned and walked away then, and I followed behind her closely as I realized several things all at once.

One, Subaku Gaara was one lucky man in life and in death.

Two, I had fallen hard and hopelessly for the odd woman in my presence.

And three, she was an astronomical nuisance and yet a beauty unrivaled.

I was lost.


A/N: My thanks to BlueArcticWolf for looking over this for me.