Disclaimer: I don't own it, but if someone would like to gift it to me for Valentine's, I'd be delighted. ;)
Because actions speak louder.
Written by: seleneswan
It was that time of year again. Her hands tugged on the hem of her white, billowy dress, fidgety. The lace crinkled every time she did, and then she smoothed it out again before repeating the process.
Fidgeting: it was a habit of hers, something she picked up while she was thinking. Lately, she had even begun to pace while she was thinking, another form of restlessness, she supposed.
But even as her hands were tugging and she was skipping back and forth and back and forth, her eyes were steady, glancing quickly and methodically through all the stores. The marketplace wasn't filled at this time of the morning, and she didn't have to weave through the crowds of tall adults to see the large display windows. Only a few people got up at this time of morning, and even less were regulars.
Of course, there was the ever-typical and highly unoriginal heart-shaped box of chocolates, and other heart-shaped commodities, ranging from conversation hearts to giant teddy bears, clutching a heart within their paws.
After only a glance, she dismissed it. Too typical, and besides, he wouldn't want a teddy bear that was taller than him, now would he?
Definitely not, she decided firmly. She passed by yet another shop, this one filled with red and pink roses, carnations, and other flowers. Too girly.
The next one was a weapons shop, where the kunai were on display in the large window, bearing red ribbons and promising free gift wrapping. She sorted that one in to the "maybe" column in her mind, passing it by with slight hesitation.
There were clothes, sweets, flowers, classic messages, and more. But it just wasn't right.
It was a special day, and he was her special person, so she couldn't afford to pay for the wrongwrongwrong gift. With an exasperated sigh and a glance at the clock, she approached her everyday vendor, looking for her peach.
She was like clockwork, and every day, she woke up ten minutes earlier than she could, just to go buy a fresh peach for her lunch. The old man, Fujiwara-san, crinkled his old eyes at her, beaming as he always did.
"Ah, Sakura-chan. I've picked out the best of the lot and kept them aside for you; I presumed you might be in a hurry today."
With bright, big eyes, she tugged on her dress again, and glanced up at him, the corners of her lips pulling up to a smile. Her childlike hands, slightly chubby with baby fat were now clasped together as seven-year old Sakura sorted through the indicated peaches.
Her hands ran over the texture, pushing the harder ones to the side along with the overripe ones. With only five peaches left, she brought each to her button nose, sniffing intently before carefully selecting the perfect peach.
Her eyes skimmed over the rest of the items out of habit, but for once, she stopped. With the peach clutched in her right hand, she handed it to the man, but walked down to the other side of the cart, where they were situated, bright and plump.
She knew it as she saw it – this was it.
With a big grin, she chose a box, and handed it, too, to the man. He looked at her speculatively, and as she held out the appropriate amount of money, gave her an intuitive look, but spoke casually.
"Are these for a special someone?" He glanced at her quickly, but returned to counting the change.
She turned pink, and shifted slightly.
He chuckled at her reaction, raking a hand through his receding, scanty, grey hair and handed her a paper bag, filled with her goods.
She glanced at the clock again, putting the bag down for a moment, and fixing the red ribbon in her hair.
Just as she was about to take off, he offered kindly if she wanted a ribbon for her item.
She tugged on her gossamer dress again, blushing again, before nodding, and pointing to the dark blue one. He gave it to her, free of charge, and watched as she delicately wrapped it around her package and ran off, just like she always did.
He watched as her billowy white dress and red hair ribbon disappeared from sight, and he chuckled again.
It was that time of year again, he thought to himself as he noted the great changes in the market atmosphere.
It was all pink and purple and red and girly. The terrible thing was that he knew all too well that half of these girly, cheap items were going to end up in his possession. Sometimes he returned them to their appropriate shops, but he learned last year that they were good for fire-jutsu practice.
So the pinks followed him as he shuffled through the marketplace.
Where was his favorite dark blue?
He supposed he would have to wait for winter.
He paid little to no attention to anything around him, making a beeline for the only place he was ever concerned about: Fujiwara-san, and his groceries.
He was like clockwork, passing through every day with eyes only for his prized red fruit.
The old man was chuckling as he arrived, but sobered as he saw his arrival of his frequent tomato buyer.
"Sorry, Sasuke-chan. I ran out, today. But you know, Mikoto-san informed me that she thinks you should be eating more carrots; they're good for your eyes."
Sasuke just stared. "…no tomatoes?"
Fujuiwara-san's lips twitched at the corners, amused at the dumbfounded reaction. "No."
Sasuke sniffed then, wrinkling his nose in distaste as he looked at the orange vegetable. "Carrots are unappetizing. And orange."
Fujiwara-san laughed, then, and Sasuke sighed morosely, sticking his bottom lip out ever so slightly.
And then he walked away, sighing again. Typical, he supposed, that the day would go worse. First with the knowledge of being bombarded by sweets and other girly things, and then with the lack of tomatoes.
What had the world come to?
Fujiwara-san laughed again, the creases on his face exemplified as Sasuke walked away, shoulders sagging slightly in disappointment.
As the Uchiwa fan on his back disappeared in the distance, Fujiwara-san reached down and pulled out a box filled to the brim with the red fruit, setting it on the table.
Fujiwara-san's eyes crinkled again, his eyes smiling, and thought to himself that they would make quite the couple in the far future.
The day at the Academy passed slowly, and Sakura walked everywhere with her paper bag clutched to her chest.
As expected, Sasuke was showered with flowers and chocolate. And even more expected, the blonde clad in bright orange devoured the chocolates while, behind the school during practice, Sasuke snuck away to burn the flowers.
Sakura only kept her paper bag protected, putting it down only during target practice outdoors, where with stunning precision, she got every kunai through the bulls-eye, except for two.
She even received a stack of ramen coupons from Naruto, and then tried her own hand at burning them, but only succeeded in singeing part of her gossamer white dress black. She then resorted in burying the half-charred papers in the ground, getting only a small amount of mud on her hands and cheeks, which she wiped off later on in the girls' bathroom.
Lunch approached, and numerous girls asked with crimson cheeks and forwardness whether the Uchiha wanted to have lunch with them and be their Valentine.
Ino even latched herself on to his arm, leaning her head against his shoulder, and then with quiet giggles in her voice, asked him to spend the rest of the day with her and be her valentine, forever. She even propositioned him with marriage in the far, far future.
He declined every offer.
But she followed him anyways, through the lunch grounds and through the forest to a small pier. Ever elusive, he sat down at the edge, swinging his feet over the edge as he stared at his reflection, mentally grappling with something.
He didn't notice as she walked down the dock and only looked up as she seated herself next to him.
Wordlessly, she opened the bag and took out a clear box of bite-sized cherry tomatoes, wrapped up in a dark blue ribbon, and handed them to him. There was no cheesy message attached, or even a handmade card like so many others had done, within them residing their declarations of love.
It was just a box with a blue ribbon, filled with his tomatoes.
He looked back up at the unorthodox girl, but she was rummaging through her paper bag again, pulling out a particularly juicy looking peach, setting it in her lap on the slightly blackened, lacy hem.
Belatedly, he realized she smelled slightly of smoke.
She busied herself with folding up the paper bag over all the correct creases, and placed it at her side.
Peeling off the tiny label on the side, she stuck it on her bag, which he also noted was covered with small peach stickers. And then she bit into the peach, chomping contently.
He looked at her, and then looked at the box.
With nimble fingers, he tore off the ribbon and opened the box, pulling out a single tomato, and assessed it. It didn't seem to be poisoned or infested…
…so he carefully bit in to it.
He looked up again, and realized that she was staring at him again, with slight fascination.
Her mouth was still filled with peach, a little of the juice beading at the corner of her mouth. Her cheeks were puffed up, but she still managed to smile slightly, before returning to her chewing.
They ate in silence.
Her hand rested in her lap while the other cradled her peach, and without registering what he was doing, he reached across and took it in his own, looking stoically ahead. He squeezed her hand slightly, and then dropped it, a light red painting his ears.
She giggled and grinned.
He finished off the last tomato in the box, and licked his lips thoughtfully. He closed the now empty box, and was about to place the ribbon on top in a heap, but then reconsidered and dropped the blue ribbon in her lap.
She was just licking off the vestiges of peach-juice from her fingers and dropped the peach pit in to the lake, watching as it floated away, and then wiped her hands on her dress, covering the white in a light orange.
She lifted the ribbon speculatively, and then pulled her own red one off, replacing it with the dark blue.
From a distance, the cries of fellow classmates signaling the end of lunch resounded, and she stood up along with him, gathering her paper bag.
Just before they walked away from the pier, she handed him the red ribbon, and flounced away, leaving Sasuke staring at her receding form.
That day, after school, Sakura walked home, passing through the now bustling marketplace, the dark blue ribbon prominent in her hair. And right beside her, Sasuke ambled, something red and indiscernible clutched in his right hand.
From a distance, Fujiwara-san beamed. Quite the couple indeed.
I love Fujiwara-san. He doesn't exist, but he's the cutest thing, I think. :D Old people with crinkles and memories and hints of matchmaking amuse me.
Happy Valentine's Day! (: And, drop a review, please. (: