Summary: One shot. High School AU. Suigetsu likes Karin, and has a plan to get her to like him back. Except that Karin loves Sasuke. And she hates Suigetsu. And she's insanely violent. And she hates Suigetsu. SuiKa.

Rating: T for swearing and some…mild violence.

Pairings: Suigetsu/Karin, one-sided Karin/Sasuke. Mentions of other pairings but nothing else.

Notes: I've been meaning to write a SuiKa fic for so long now and finally got around to it. I just love both of them, and think that they'd be so cute together. I'm holding out hope that it might one day happen, though unfortunately it will probably only happen in my daydreams. So instead of waiting I thought I'd write a SuiKa fic to cheer myself up. I made it AU because I love stories that happen during high school. It has got to be my favorite setting for a story.

Thanks to x. Pow for beta reading my story!

Anyway, hope you like the story. I tried to stick as close to their personalities as possible, but it was a little difficult considering I've seen so little of them.

Enjoy!

The Symbolism of the Watermelon Flavored Lollipop

It was kind of funny, he thought, the way she was kicking the vending machine mercilessly until it dented at the sides. He would probably have found it cute, if it wasn't so scary the way she pummeled it with her fists, swearing and yelling until her voice went hoarse.

She was the violent type. He had known this ever since he had seen her in preschool when some kid had stolen her crayons and she'd beaten him with a red, plastic chair. It was the first time he had laughed until he'd cried, and since then he'd always found her amusing. She was just an entertaining person overall. At least, to him she was. And this moment was no exception.

"Give me my lollipop!" she yelled, shaking the machine. "Give it to me, damn it!" Her friends bid her good luck, separating as they headed off into different classes. None of them seemed very affected by the sudden change in mood. They were too used to it after years of knowing her.

"I'll see you in class," he said to Sasuke. The raven-haired boy's eyes traveled over to Karin and there was a flash of understanding. He raised an eyebrow as if to question Suigetsu's poor judgment, then shrugged, deciding that maybe it wasn't worth it.

"Don't be late," he muttered, then walked off in search of his blond friend – the one Suigetsu knew as 'the Uzumaki boy'. He didn't really know his name, but who cared? Right now his attention was focused on the raging psycho trashing the vending machine. Casually he strolled up to her, whistling and pretending that this scene wasn't highly amusing.

"Little trouble with the vending machine?" he asked. She didn't have to turn around to know who was speaking.

"Go away, Suigetsu," she replied almost automatically. Of course, he didn't listen. He never listened when she got worked up, because she was always his favorite person to annoy. She turned back to the machine and kicked it. "Give me my god damn lollipop, you useless-"

"How is it that the boys can resist your dulcet tones?" he interrupted teasingly. "You should talk to them like that, and maybe they'll go swooning at your feet, dear Karin."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she yelled instantly, eyes blazing with poorly disguised fury. He smirked with delight. It was so easy to rile her up. He simply shrugged, putting his hands behind his head. This served to infuriate her even more and she made a noise of irritation before kicking the vending machine and turning to storm off. He laughed, watching as she hit some poor kid and screamed at him before rounding the corner.

A deep voice interrupted his amusement. "Why do you always bother her?" He turned to see his other best friend, Juugo, looking at him with mild curiosity. The giant of a teen had spoken softly, as he usually did, and his face was in that mild expression that it usually wore…when he was in a good mood. When he was in a bad mood…Suigetsu shuddered as he thought of those few times when Juugo had lost his temper. But at the moment, he seemed to be relatively unaffected and calm, which meant that he could relax around his friend.

"Because it's fun," he replied.

"You said she was annoying."

"She is annoying! She's the most annoying girl on the planet!" As he said this, he took out a coin and pushed it into the slot of the vending machine. He chose what he wanted and picked it up, studying it with a devious grin.

"I see," Juugo said after a moment of silent thought. The corners of his lips twitched and he passed the white-haired boy without saying anything. He didn't need to. Suigetsu knew him well enough to see that he was hiding something under that calm exterior.

He followed after him, scowling. "I don't like that smile on your face. What are you thinking?" The two of them entered the classroom, which was packed with students but devoid of teachers. The class had taken advantage of this free time to be as rowdy as possible. Most of the students who often sat in the back were talking loudly and throwing things at each other. The better students in the front were whispering to each other quietly and reading books while they waited.

Karin had seated herself by the window, separated from Sasuke by only one space, which was always taken by Suigetsu. The person to Sasuke's right was the Uzumaki boy, who was deliberately ignoring his friend in favor of talking to…dog boy. Right then he decided to make it a point to learn the names of his others classmates, even if he didn't give a crap about them.

"I'm thinking that you like her," Juugo answered simply. With him there was never any beating around the bush. He was like Suigetsu in that way, who simply crossed his arms and said:

"Yeah? So what if I do?" Before Juugo could answer he strolled towards his seat, hands in his pockets and flopped into his chair. Sasuke gave him a cursory glance before turning back to the front of the class, his lips pressed together tightly. Suigetsu propped his legs up onto the table. The chair tilted back and he put his hands behind his head, smirking as he noted that the blond boy still hadn't acknowledged Sasuke. "He still pissed about you ditching him for Orochimaru's group last month?"

He was awarded with a glare, but it didn't faze him. It took a lot more than that to shut him up.

"I'm not surprised. You did call his girlfriend annoying when she tried to stop you, and that was after you punched him in the face for-"

"As you have reminded me for the hundredth time," Sasuke interrupted. He didn't sound annoyed – he was strangely patient when his came to his loud-mouthed friend – just weary. "But it doesn't matter. Naruto will get over it. He always does. He's just stubborn."

"Like you."

Before Sasuke could answer back their teacher walked in, holding an Icha Icha Paradise book in his hand and lazily shutting the door behind him. He lowered the book slightly to reveal a masked face and eyes narrowed in amusement.

"I'm sorry class, I'm late because I was abducted by aliens who attempted to extract top secret information about Earth's nuclear weapons from me and only just escaped with my life."

A groan emitted from the students.

Suigetsu leaned towards his friend, whispering, "I bet they anal-probed him." Sasuke's lips twitched and he hid a chuckle, attempting to ignore what had just been said. In one swift move Kakashi whipped the blackboard eraser at Suigetsu's head, smirking as it made contact with his face and almost sent him careening onto the floor.

"Ow! Son of a-"

"A reminder that nothing you say will escape me, Suigetsu," his teacher said, the smirk audible in his tone. Suigetsu continued to curse, beating chalk off of his shirt and Kakashi ignored it, writing the plan for the lesson on the board. All the while he did not loosen his grip on his book and Suigetsu could see his eyes drifting to it as he wrote.

About half an hour passed when he finally decided to talk to the redhead next to him. She had been watching Sasuke with a dreamy look during the whole class and it had annoyed him to no end. Especially when she kept grabbing his head and slamming it against the table in order to get a better view.

"Oi, Karin," he hissed. She didn't hear him, too focused on the person next to him. He prodded her. "Karin. Karin. Snap out of it, you ugly hag!"

She blinked dazedly, before turning to him. "What do you want, asshole? Can't you see I'm busy?"

"Pfft, it's not like Sasuke would ever go for a troll like you."

"TAKE THAT BACK!" Karin screeched, clenching her hands into fists. Everyone in the class looked up to stare. Then once they realized it was simply another one of Karin's outbursts they went back to what they were doing. She realized that she had half-risen from her seat and immediately fell back down, then crossed her arms and snapped her head to the side in a sulky manner, clearly ignoring him.

He knew it was useless to try and get her to listen, so instead he placed the object he gotten from the vending machine onto the table, along with a folded up note, and slid it towards her surreptitiously. She glanced at it, then made a 'humph' sound and continued to ignore him.

It was only at the end of the lesson when the bell rang and most of the kids had exited where she finally gave in to curiosity and picked up the object when she thought Suigetsu wasn't looking. To her surprise, it was a watermelon flavored lollipop. She blinked, staring at it for a few seconds. Her cheeks flushed slightly and she opened the crumpled note on the table.

Wanna suck my lollipop?

Suigetsu barely had time to register the fist in his face before he went flying to the other side of the room and crashed into the wall. In his daze, he heard footsteps next to him and watched as the lollipop was thrown onto the floor.

"You jackass! I hate watermelon!"

-0-

-0-

"She'll give in eventually if I just persist for long enough," Suigetsu said confidently. He was sporting a black eye and a bruise on his forehead from where he'd hit the wall, but that had not deterred him. In fact, he seemed to have been spurred on by Karin's reaction and now he was more determined than ever to get her to reciprocate his feelings.

"Isn't that Sasuke's fan club's motto?" Juugo asked, his voice barely noticeable above the sound of the students in the cafeteria. Suigetsu looked at him, uncertain as to whether he was joking or being absolutely serious. It was always hard to tell, since he almost always had the same expression. It was like Sasuke, but much softer and kinder.

Sasuke raised an eyebrow at him, also surprised by what Juugo had just said. His lips pulled up at the corners and he quickly looked away. "I believe what Juugo said is true. I would like to add that persistence…doesn't always work with everyone." His eyes flickered towards the table of girls who were not-so-subtly staring at him from across the cafeteria. They had organized their table so they all sat lined up on one side, which gave them all a fair chance to stare at their intended target.

"Whatever. I'm way more awesome than any of those girls," he said, waving his hand at them. "That nagging psycho will fall for me, if I just play my cards right. The only hitch in the plan is her little obsession with Sasuke here. But that's not a problem, considering you never give her any attention anyway."

His eyes traveled to where Karin was. She was currently sitting with her friends Sakura, Ino, Hinata, Tayuya and Tenten. They were all talking, though from what he could see Karin, Sakura and Ino were leading the conversation. If he ventured a guess – and he would probably be correct – they were most likely talking about his earlier actions in class. Especially considering the sour look on Karin's face, which wouldn't have been there if they'd been discussing Sasuke.

She noticed him staring and scowled furiously before turning back to the others and talking frantically.

Well…at least she was talking about him. That was a first.

"Why the sudden interest in Karin?" Sasuke asked, interrupting his thoughts. "I thought that you despised her."

"No reason. I just figured that's she was kind of cute…for an annoying bitch," he admitted. His friend chuckled. In Sasuke's language, that was practically a hysterical laugh. He shook his head and stood up, picking up his empty tray.

"You're going to have a lot of trouble if you carry out this plan. Karin is going to suspect foul play and she won't make your life easy," he warned. "Anyway, I have to leave. Itachi is picking me up early for a doctor's appointment." With that he turned and left before they could say anything, an action typical to his behavior. The two boys watched him leave silently. Suigetsu yawned, leaning forward onto his elbows and tilting his head in Karin's direction.

"You don't think it'll be that difficult, do you?" he asked uncertainly. Sasuke's words had lowered his confidence slightly and he was starting to wonder what he'd gotten himself into. After all, Karin had quite a few very important personality traits. For one thing, she was a hardcore Sasuke fan. For another, she was a raging lunatic bitch with a violent streak. He cringed. His future seemed very bleak at the moment.

"Karin is…special. Even ignoring her obsession with Sasuke, she still despises you. It seems that she would much rather flatten you with the heel of her shoe than speak to you."

"Damn, you sure know how to cheer a guy up. When the hell did you gain a sense of humor?"

Juugo shot him a serious look. "Who said I was joking?"

"Aww, come on. She can't hate me that bad. The only thing she hates about me is that I'm sexier than she ever will be," he crooned. They picked up their trays and left the cafeteria, heading towards their classroom. Their last class of the day was a double period, which Karin just happened to be in as well. Usually she sat next to Tayuya, but today Suigetsu was going to begin his plan of 'wooing' Karin, which consisted of him sitting as close to her as possible whenever he got the chance. He figured that aside from outright sitting on Karin's lap, Tayuya's usual spot would be adequate enough.

"I don't think that's why she hates you."

"I don't think she hates me, period. Sure, she screams at me and punches me and deliberately pushes me into oncoming traffic, but that's just because I'm an ass to her. If I do something nice for her, she'll respond with just as much kindness."

"I doubt that," Juugo said. His voice was still monotonous, but Suigetsu could sense the slight undercurrent of a challenge.

"Fine, I'll prove it to you."

Karin had left the cafeteria and was heading towards his class, chatting vibrantly to Tayuya. He took a moment to admire the way her hair framed her face, and took note of how it was messier on one side, as if she just couldn't tame it and had given up. He thought that she was the only girl who could look beautiful in those thick, black-framed glasses, though he would never tell her that.

As they approached, Suigetsu pushed his friend next to the door and waited until the two girls were almost right in front of him. Immediately they both crossed their arms, glaring at him.

"What do you want, moron?" Tayuya snapped. She disliked him almost as much as Karin, despite the fact that he never talked to her.

"Nothing from you, so fuck off," he snapped at her. She rolled her eyes and bid goodbye to Karin before leaving to her next class. On the way she gestured rudely to him, which he returned without hesitation.

Then he opened the door and stepped aside, motioning for Karin to go first. She raised an eyebrow, suspicions immediately raised by his strange action and didn't move, even when he continued to gesture.

Finally, after an awkward silence the white-haired boy lost patience, but managed to stay polite and said:

"Well? Are you gonna go in or what?"

"No, I don't want to. I'm sure that this is some sort of trick designed to embarrass me. You're probably going to slam the door on my ass as I walk in and make me fall," she said defiantly, frowning at him with irritation.

He rolled his eyes, sighing dramatically. "I promise I won't slam the door on you. Now will you go in, for fuck's sake?" He could see Juugo glance at the clock and resisted the urge to give him the finger.

"Oh, you won't slam the door," she answered, her eyes glinting. She stalked forward and Suigetsu suddenly felt a worried chill run down his spine. He heard her whisper under her breath, "I won't give you the chance."

Then her hand shot out and whacked the door, causing it to swing towards him.

CRACK!

-0-

-0-

The next few days consisted of more attempts to make Karin fall for him. After nursing his bloody nose, he had announced to Juugo that his injury was in fact a lot less painful than the injuries he had received in the past, therefore his theory of being nice had worked. His good gesture had only bloodied his nose, not broken it.

Obviously, it was her way of thanking him for the kind action.

With this thought fresh in his mind, he set out to annoy his way into the heart of his crush. Around Karin he was often irritating, teasing and downright mean. This had led to a strange tolerate/hate relationship and although she usually said she couldn't stand the sight of him, they did speak to each other on a daily basis. And only about seventy percent of it was bickering or trading insults. And only about fifty percent of it led to physical violence.

He was telling all of this to Sasuke and Juugo as they walked towards the school bus. The two of them were listening with a feigned lack of interest, but he knew that they had bet money on the outcome behind his back, and were therefore very interested in how this was going to turn out.

"Which means, Juugo, I won't be sitting next to you in the school bus. You'll have to endure sitting by yourself on those long journeys home," he announced.

"Well, if it's necessary," was the reply.

"By the way, which one of you bet that I would succeed in winning Karin's heart?"

They glanced at each other, clearly surprised that he had known about it. Sasuke smirked and pointed to himself, which made Suigetsu blink, stunned. Sasuke was putting faith in him? "That would be me. I bet Juugo that by the end of the month you would get Karin to go on a date with you. Pity dates and one off's don't count. A real date."

"One off's?"

"Well, if she dates you once simply so that you'll stop annoying her, I have to pay Juugo."

Suigetsu scratched his head. That made sense. "But why would you bet that I'd succeed. I thought you said persistence doesn't always work with everyone."

There was an uncomfortable silence and Sasuke's cheeks turned slightly pink. Grimacing, he looked away and mumbled:

"Because if you succeed with Karin…"

He stopped and abruptly stalked off towards the bus, leaving a confused Suigetsu.

"What was that about?"

Immediately, Juugo pointed to where Sasuke had left and he watched as a familiar blond boy boarded the bus, yelling loudly at his friends behind him.

"Sasuke's using the same method as you to get Naruto to forgive him. Even under torture he'd never say it, but he misses his friend. So if you succeed with Karin, it means there's a chance that he'll succeed with Naruto," he said wisely.

They arrived at the school bus, which was still relatively empty at the moment. In about five minutes it would be filled with obnoxiously loud teenagers, Suigetsu included. Sasuke was waiting for them and as they approached he motioned for Juugo to come talk to him. He usually went to the orange-haired teen to talk about his problems, because he was a much better listener than Suigetsu, who had the attention span of a five-year-old.

Suigetsu boarded the bus, saluting the bus driver and heading straight for his intended target – the red-haired witch. His two friends remained behind, talking to each other in low voices. The white-haired teen slid into the seat next to Karin smoothly, smirking as she made a noise of disgust and moved closer to the window.

"Hey, sweet Karin," he greeted. Inwardly he winced. Why did everything he say to her sound either sarcastic or insulting? Even now there was a suspicious tone in his voice.

"Why the hell are you sitting here? Haven't you bothered me enough already, turd-face?" she snarled.

He pouted, putting on a hurt-puppy face. "Can't you have a more endearing term for me? At least call me by my name if that's too much for you."

"No problem, slug-etsu."

"Ouch. What did I ever do to deserve that?"

"You insult me, you tease me, you pull my hair, you call me fat, you're rude to my friends, you purposefully annoy me, you-"

He quickly put his hands up to stop her rant. This was not going as planned. He hadn't meant to remind her of all the reasons she hated him. Instead of her warming up to him, he could see that she was starting to get worked up again. It was difficult for him to restrain a smile when he saw her cheeks getting flushed from anger. She was so cute when she was pissed off.

"Okay, okay, I get it. Ignore what I just said," he said. "But things have changed now. Things are different than they used to be, I promise."

She rolled her eyes. "You're still annoying and I still hate you, so nothing much has changed. Now get the hell away from me." With that she crossed her arms and turned to glare out the window. It didn't bother him so much; he knew that she was incapable of ignoring him the more he irritated her. He had a whole bus ride to get her attention, so this was just a minor setback.

Sasuke and Juugo finally boarded the bus. Suigetsu shifted in his seat so that he could lean back more and announced:

"Baby, I'm not moving from this seat so you can just-"

"OH MY GOD SASUKE SWEETIE SIT OVER HERE!"

He shrieked as Karin roughly shoved him off of the seat and onto the floor, waving desperately at the Uchiha. She kept her foot on his stomach to stop him from getting up while he spluttered in protest.

Sasuke took in the scene before him without pause and pointed to the seat next to Naruto. "Thank you, Karin, but I'll just sit over here." He slid into the seat, ignoring Naruto's harsh glower. The blond boy spat something at him and he replied calmly, but Suigetsu didn't hear. He was too busy trying to get back into his seat.

Karin had planted her foot onto his chest, keeping him from his seat. She grabbed the seat in front of her to balance herself, snarling at him.

"What's the big deal? Lemme sit down!" he yelled, trying to push past. She was incredibly strong for her size and didn't budge. "Aw come on! Sasuke's not even sitting here!"

"Just because Sasuke's not here, doesn't mean I want you here, you parasite!" she screeched. Frustrated, he threw his hands up in the air.

"Fine!" He stormed down the aisle until he was next to Juugo. Throwing himself down he crossed his arms and glowered at the seat in front of him. His friend patted his shoulder in sincere sympathy.

"Don't worry. I'm sure you'll wear her down eventually."

-0-

-0-

"Are you sure she'll like this?"

He stared at the bouquet in front of him with uncertainty. It was very colorful and he was sure that it was dazzling to any girl, but it was also expensive and he didn't want to buy it if he wasn't sure that Karin would like it. Did she even like flowers? She seemed too sadistic for that type of thing. Then again, if it was Sasuke presenting her the flowers…

He frowned, shaking his head. He didn't like to think about that.

"Of course she will. Karin's always loved tulips, especially red ones. A bouquet of tulips are supposed to represent elegance and grace," Ino said knowingly.

"Of which she has none," he mumbled.

Ino continued to arrange the flowers with an expression of intense concentration. At first Suigetsu had been reluctant about asking her, considering she was a friend of Karin's. She had probably heard Karin complain and say terrible things about him. But once he'd gathered the courage to ask her, she'd shown supportive enthusiasm and had been ecstatic to help him in his quest. She was delighted to "help people find true love", as she had called it.

Maybe it was a girl thing that Suigetsu didn't understand. Either way, he was grateful for her help because he wouldn't have known what to do. His only part in this was the money needed to pay Ino for her help. And even then, he wasn't sure he was able to afford this luxurious bouquet. He'd tried to restrain her, but she had become so focused she'd ignored his groans when she continued to add more and more flowers to the bouquet.

"I'm not sure I'll be able to afford this, Ino. It looks expensive…"

"Oh, don't worry about that. For you I'll make it half-price," she said, waving away his worries.

"Really? Why?"

"Well, I think it's sweet how you like Karin. God knows she scares away any other potential suitors." She placed it on the table while Suigetsu laughed. How true her statement was. "So, what do you think?"

He shrugged, looking at it. It was pretty – even he could admit that, but the nuance of this art was completely lost on him. All he saw were a bunch of colorful flowers tied together. He didn't understand how they were supposed to mean elegance and grace, but that didn't really matter to him. He doubted that Karin would know either. They looked nice, and that was the basic necessity of this plan.

"I'm a moron when it comes to shit like this, but I think it…looks nice?" he offered. Ino giggled appreciatively.

He paid her for the bouquet, thanking her profusely for her help and she waved him goodbye, wishing him luck. As he walked towards Karin's house he grinned at the sky, which had remained blissfully clear for the whole day. He hoped it was a good sign.

He felt quite confident as he strolled into Karin's front yard, clutching the flowers. He was sure that this would make her change her mind. After all, how could she possibly misunderstand a gesture as simple as this?

However, once he was in front of her door he felt a spark of nervousness. Was she really going to appreciate this? He felt like he was in some cheesy lame-ass movie, something she was surely going to point out. What if she thought this was a joke? Should he have dressed a little more formally?

He mentally slapped himself. What a stupid thing to think. He would have laughed at himself if he weren't so anxious and pressed the doorbell. It trilled loudly and he heard someone yell something inside.

What if she was allergic to flowers?

He froze, suddenly realizing that he had no idea whether she was allergic to flowers. What if she was allergic to pollen, or had hay fever, or was allergic to tulips? He wasn't sure whether tulips were particularly dangerous, but what if she was deathly allergic to them? Was that even possible?

The door opened before he even had time to think and he found himself face to face with a stunned Karin. She stared at him, taken aback by his sudden appearance and for a few seconds neither of them said anything until finally she reached out and with tentative fingers, brushed the petals of one of the red tulips.

"Are you allergic?" he demanded. Confused, she shook her head and he sighed inwardly with relief. "Cool, then these are for you." He thrust them at her with a distinct lack of tact and she took them, blinking. Then she gasped with delight, her eyes brightening.

"Oh my god, are they from Sasuke?"

"W-what?"

"They're from Sasuke, aren't they? He asked you to deliver them to me!" she cried, delighted. She breathed in the scent eagerly and giggled, completely the opposite to how she usually was. "That's so romantic…"

Suigetsu had not been expecting this. While she was babbling about Sasuke's apparent newfound love for her, he was standing there wondering how she had possibly come to this conclusion.

Finally, he decided to shatter her little dream world:

"They're not."

She looked up, having obviously forgotten his existence.

"Not what?"

"They're not from Sasuke. They're from me," he blurted. He watched as the expression on her face changed from one of delight to disgust and she automatically shoved the flowers back into his arms, almost gagging.

"Gross! Ugh, then I don't want them at all! You can take these back to the shop."

Ouch.

"And stop bothering me, asshole! I can tell you're planning something, and I don't like it one bit!" Without another word she slammed the door in his face, leaving him standing alone, completely baffled.

It took about twenty seconds for him to register what just happened. He gripped the flowers with trembling fingers and turned, slowly making his way onto the pavement and walking away from that dreaded house. All the while he could feel a strange pounding in the side of his head and some strange, invisible pressure on his chest.

He could return these flowers, but he couldn't stand the thought of facing Ino after his failure. He didn't really care what she thought but it would emphasize his own failure and he really didn't need that right now.

Finally, the pressure was too much for him and he threw the bouquet violently onto the road.

"FUCK! What's wrong with me?"

He stomped off, not even watching as a passing car ran over the lovely bouquet, shredding it completely.

-0-

-0-

The next week was a disaster for Suigetsu. Everything he tried couldn't have turned out worse and by now his friends had stopped laughing at his stupidity and begun to try and convince him to give up. Even Sasuke, who was at risk of losing his bet, was telling Suigetsu that he would be better off if he just gave up.

Aside from sitting next to her in every class, following her during break time and lunchtime and sitting with her on the school bus, he had tried various romantic gestures each day in order to try to get her attention. He'd managed to get her attention all right, but it just wasn't the kind he had been looking for.

On Monday, he had bought her a box of chocolates, only to find out that just because she wasn't allergic to flowers, it didn't mean she wasn't allergic to chocolate. Of course she had thought he was making fun of her when he'd eaten one and kicked him in the nuts. It had not deterred him from his goal.

On Tuesday he had brought her a pretty bracelet in a small, light purple box and left it on her table. She had chucked it in his face and screamed at him to leave her alone before she beat the crap out of him. She hadn't even opened the box to see what was inside. He'd given it to Ino out of guilt for ruining the bouquet she had made for him.

On Wednesday he had filled her locker with confetti. She had calmly taken her books out, struck a match and thrown it in right before his eyes. Then she'd slammed the metal door closed and locked it without even sparing a glance at him.

Now, in desperation, he was trying one last thing.

He sat with his friends on the school field, lying in the grass and watching the sky. Sasuke had seated himself on a bench with Juugo and the three of them were conversing quietly, ignoring the other children playing football a few meters away. Sasuke had tried to join in but after a few attempts at murder from Naruto he had smartly opted out and instead sat with his two friends. Suigetsu, usually jumping at the chance to play some sports, was too exhausted to even lift his head and watch them.

"She's crazy," he said hoarsely. "I don't know what to do besides this and if this doesn't work…well, then I guess it's over. I've tried everything that regular guys do for regular girls, but since she's not a regular girl it hasn't worked. I'm just going to ask her out, no romantic gestures, no games, no whatever. I'm going to ask her fucking outright if she'll go on a date with me."

That's probably for the best, he thought to himself. That way she can't misunderstand it, burn it or throw it back in my face.

"If she says no, then you'll give up?" Sasuke questioned.

"Yeah. I'll give up; it's too exhausting." He waited a minute before standing up, brushing himself off and stretching. He sighed with relief as his joints cracked and looked around until he finally spotted Karin. She was walking towards her friends who were on the other side of the field, watching the football game intently. It was no surprise, considering their boyfriends were all playing. Even the idle Shikamaru was standing in the goal, yawning as Ino called out to him. He lazily waved back, but tensed slightly as the players approached. "I'll see you guys later, okay? I'm off to get my ass kicked."

He walked through the game, wanting to catch Karin before she reached her friends. Thankfully the ball had been kicked way from where he was and just as he'd finished crossing, dog boy – who he'd found out was named Kiba – scored a goal. The teen whooped and blew Hinata a kiss, who then blushed fiercely but smiled, hiding a giggle behind her hand.

Karin had turned when everyone began cheering to see what was happening. She caught sight of Suigetsu and frowned, turning quickly to leave but he was faster than her and stopped her, stepping in her path before she could move.

"What do you want, Suigetsu?" she asked wearily. It seems her anger had run out over the past few days. Maybe lighting his romantic gesture on fire had lifted her spirits enough to not want to vomit at the sight of him. Either way, the use of his name was somewhat encouraging.

"Will you go out on a date with me?" he asked.

For a few seconds she didn't say anything, obviously thinking. Then she sighed and uncrossed her arms, pushing her glasses up. She looked him directly into the eyes before speaking. He already knew what she was going to say, even before she said it.

"Look Suigetsu, I'm telling this to you straight. I don't like you. I don't want you to buy me flowers, or chocolates, or jewelry or fill my locker with confetti. I don't want to date you, to be your girlfriend or even talk to you most of the time. What I do want is for you to leave me alone and stop trying to get my attention. Get this in your head – I like Sasuke, not you. So just…stop it."

She spoke clearly, with little room for misunderstanding and without a hint of malice. She wasn't being cruel to him, she was just being painfully honest. And every word felt like an iron fist slamming into his chest until finally he was left breathless and unable to say anything. Vaguely he was aware of the people playing football cheering loudly once again. Neither of them had moved and he sensed that she was waiting for him to reply. Maybe for him to just shrug and walk off, or call her a stupid bimbo like he usually did.

"Damn it…" he muttered. "Damn it…what the hell does it take?"

"Huh?"

"What does it take for you to just wake up and realize that you dumb girls only like the idea of Sasuke, and that none of you actually love him? All you have is a stupid crush that blinds you to the fact that Sasuke will never love you." By now he was yelling and although he wasn't loud enough for anyone to hear him, he saw Sakura frown and get up to approach them. Karin's jaw had gone slack and she stared at him, open-mouthed with shock at his outburst.

"I've tried everything I can to get you to like me and I'm sick of this." Breathing heavily, he shook his head. "That's it – it's over. I'm done. I've figured out now that you're too much of a high-maintenance cow to ever see me the way I see you."

He left her standing there while he walked off, feeling his heart thundering in his chest. He saw his friends walking towards him, looking concerned and turned away from them. He didn't really want to be with anyone right now.

He just wanted to sit and think about how he'd ever been so stupid as to believe he could have gotten Karin to fall for him.

-0-

-0-

Karin watched as he greeted the girls loudly, sitting in the midst of their group and soaking in all their giggles and compliments. He put his arms around two girls, smirking as they pawed at him and looked at him with disgustingly cute expressions. Of course, with his confidence he was usually quite good with the ladies when he wanted to be.

She made a noise of disgust, looking away and turning back to her friends, who were chatting vivaciously. At least, Sakura and Ino were chatting whereas Tayuya was smoking and Hinata and Tenten were listening.

Class had just ended and everyone was gathering just outside of school grounds, like they usually did during Friday afternoon. It had been little more than a week since she had rejected Suigetsu and now he had gone back to his old self, with one exception – he completely ignored her.

Now he always sat next to Juugo or Sasuke in class – always choosing the seat farthest from her – and lavished his attention on all the pretty girls in their year. He flirted with them constantly and they flirted right back. Karin had often heard them saying that they were glad he had given up on her and he would usually answer that he had finally snapped out of that momentary lapse in judgment. She didn't know why, but whenever she heard that she felt an ache of hurt inside. It was an unpleasant feeling, but she ignored it.

It took her a second to realize that Ino was waving a hand in front of her face.

"Hey, you in there? What's with the zoning out?"

"Feh, bet she's still pining over that loser, Suigetsu." Tayuya wrinkled her nose, clearly showing her dislike for the teen.

"Am not!" Karin snapped immediately. "I'm just…thinking."

"About Suigetsu." The cigarette was crushed against the wall. It dropped to the floor, smoke still curling up from it.

The other girls looked over to where the white-haired teen was, surrounded by girls. His two friends were a little bit outside the group, neither of them talking or looking interested in their surroundings. Karin turned as well and took a second to admire Sasuke and his insanely hot body. She loved the way he smirked when he heard a joke but never laughed outright. She loved the way his voice was always soft and uninterested, no matter what he subject. She love the way he leaned back and put his hands behind his head, showing off the muscles in his arms.

Wait…

Sasuke never did that. No, that was Suigetsu.

Her train of thought was quickly interrupted when someone spoke again.

"You know, Karin, he did put a lot of effort in getting you to like him. Some of the stuff he did was really romantic. My boyfriend wouldn't do that even if I begged him," Ino said carefully. Karin rolled her eyes.

"Puh-lease. If Shikamaru had a choice he wouldn't even get up to eat or drink or go to the bathroom. He'd just sit and watch clouds all year long," she scoffed. Sadly, it was quite true and Ino huffed, looking offended. "And anyway, it doesn't matter. I like Sasuke, not Suigetsu. To me Suigetsu is just an annoying brat."

"Who has a crush on you," Sakura interjected.

One of the girls near Suigetsu shrieked with laughter and slapped his shoulder playfully when he planted a kiss on her cheek.

"Obviously not anymore." For some reason, saying those words made her throat close up slightly and she stopped talking, worried that they would be able to hear the change in her voice.

Hinata spoke up, surprisingly. She kept her eyes on the ground as she talked, clasping her hands under her chin. "I still th-think he likes you. He l-looks at you sometimes, when he thinks you w-won't notice." The other girls wiggled their eyebrows and nudged Karin suggestively while she flushed, shaking her head. God, even Hinata was joining in the conversation.

"I don't care. Like I said, I'm not interested in him and that's final!"

-0-

-0-

Goddamn it was freezing. The temperature had plummeted in the morning and it was only once Karin had left her house that she realized she had forgotten her coat. By then it had been too late to go back. For the most part, it hadn't been too bad. She had met with her friends at the coffee shop for a quick chat and then they'd watched a movie in the cinema, but now that they had all separated she decided that it was too cold to walk back home.

She headed to the bus stop at a brisk pace, rubbing her arms in an attempt to warm up. It didn't help much and she felt goose bumps rise on her arms. Fuck, it's cold, she thought.

The streets were practically empty, with few cars on the road. Even though it was the weekend, people seemed to prefer the indoors due to the sudden drop in temperature. The few people she had seen were covered in numerous jackets and wearing gloves. She looked at them with envy, wishing she'd had the foresight to bring something warmer.

She sighed, putting her hands in her pockets. At least she was wearing pants…

As she approached the bus stop, she caught sight of Sasuke, standing at the bus stop. He was leaning against the stand, listening to music without a care in the world. Immediately she felt her face warm and before he could turn to see her she quickly adjusted her glasses and tried to smooth down her mess of hair.

She started to see the situation in her head. She would go talk to him casually, then shiver in an oh-so-subtle manner. Then he would offer her his coat, which she would politely decline, of course. He would insist and finally she would take it, but ask about his well being. Then he would ask what she is doing out here in the cold, and she'd reply and then ask him the same th-

No more dreaming. She cleared her throat and got ready to call out:

"Sasuk-"

"Sasuke! Over here, Sasuke! Sasuke!"

She was shoved roughly two the side by two girls who ignored her and continued to run towards her target. Sasuke glanced up and frowned, looking annoyed as they immediately latched onto his arms and began cooing over him. The two of them were girls from the Sasuke Fan Club, and she had always hated them.

At that moment, the bus arrived and the three of them boarded it. Still feeling huffy, it took a moment for Karin to realize that it was the same bus she needed to get on to go home. She slapped herself on the forehead as the doors closed.

"No! Wait! Wait for me, you bastards!" she yelled, running forward. The bus didn't stop and for a second she swore that she could see the two girls sticking their tongues out at her. She shook her fist at them, swearing and yelling as it drove away. After a few minutes of childishly stomping her foot on the ground she gave up, deciding that a tantrum wasn't the best way to go about things.

Crying out in frustration she flopped onto the bench, suddenly feeling a lot colder and lonelier than before. The wind seemed to pick up slightly and the streets had been completely vacated until she was the only person left.

She wished for some company. Damn it, even Suigetsu would have been welcome at this point. Not that he talked to her much anyway nowadays. He was always off flirting with some girl or chatting with his friends. In the past two weeks she hadn't even spoken to him once. And he had made no effort to acknowledge her existence, even when she had said hello to him.

It had hurt, she admitted to herself, when he had ignored her. A lot. He hadn't even glanced at her and he'd walked away, leaving her in the middle of the hall. She hadn't told anyone that the reason she'd been late for class was because she had spent the first half of the lesson in the bathroom crying. She wasn't sure why it had affected her so much, but every time she'd thought about it she would tear up.

Since then she hadn't dared to look at him, certain that he would just do something else that would make her break down in front of everyone. It would have been humiliating, not to mention it would have ruined her reputation of being the "intimidating psycho bitch". There was no way she would cry in front of anybody, even her friends.

She cringed as she remembered, and quickly shook her head, dispelling the memory. It didn't matter anyway, it wasn't like she cared whether he spoke to her or-

"Ooomph!"

Something had hit her smack dab in the face and she almost fell back onto the floor, flailing desperately.

"What the hell?" she spluttered, reaching up and pulling whatever it was off her face. Once she regained her vision she realized it was a soft, dark purple jacket. The jacket was warm and instinctively she hugged it close before looking up to see who had thrown it. "You!"

Suigetsu glared down at her, arms cross and mouth drawn in a grim line. With barely contained annoyance he spoke:

"You looked cold."

"Well you didn't have to throw it in my face," she grumbled, though she didn't say it loud enough for him to hear. He was talking to her again and she wasn't about to send him into a fit of anger. "Won't you be cold?"

He shrugged tensely. "I'm fine." That was a lie; she could see him shivering slightly but didn't say anything. Instead she put the jacket on and zipped it up, immediately feeling much warmer. It was still warm from when Suigetsu had used it, and it smelled nice too. Surreptitiously she pulled her knees up and buried her nose in the sleeve of the jacket. "What are you doing here anyway?"

"Just waiting for the bus. I missed the first one because…because I got distracted."

"Tch. Stupid. Just like you to do something like that." He sat down next to her.

"Hey! Don't call me stupid, shit for brains!" she answered automatically.

He scoffed at her. "I see that you haven't changed one bit. You're still completely uptight and a major psycho," he snarled. She frowned and turned away, pouting.

"Why should I change? You wouldn't want me to change…" She couldn't resist saying what she did next. "You should know – you're the one who had a crush on me." Immediately she regretted it, watching him narrow his eyes and clench the seat tensely.

Neither of them said anything for a while. Karin was a lot more comfortable now, snuggled into a warm jacket and even though her feet and legs were still cold, it was much more bearable than before. She pulled the sleeves down to warm up her hands, looking left and right. The streets were just as empty. If Suigetsu chose this moment to go into a rage and kill her, there would be no witnesses. Suddenly she really wished she could take back her words.

But he didn't do anything. He didn't swear or yell or even glare at her. Instead he seemed to be concentrated in the middle of the road and when he spoke she jumped, accustomed to the silence:

"Why do you like him?"

"Huh?"

"Why do you like him…and not me?" he said slowly, as if she were a child. "What does he have that I don't? I bet you just like him for his looks and because he's all...mysterious or whatever the fuck you girls like."

"Sasuke is calm, brilliant, gorgeous, talented and athletic. All traits that I love and admire," she said matter-of-factly. She cast him a look of disdain. "You, on the other hand, are annoying, stupid, lazy, weird-looking and an asshole. All traits I despise." She had regained her courage when he had inadvertently insulted her crush on Sasuke. Like hell she would tolerate that!

"You're way more annoying than I am!" he retaliated. Then he looked away and added under his breath, "Even if you are pretty, you lousy hag…" She was obviously not meant to hear that, but she blushed, feeling a strange fluttering inside. The compliment – if she ignored the 'hag' comment – had made her feel light and she struggled not to smile.

He shifted and the movement made his shoulder bump against hers, an action that caused her cheeks to redden and without realizing it she had leaned towards him until their arms were touching. If he noticed, he said nothing.

"Your arms…"

"Eh?"

"I like your arms," she muttered. "They're very…nice. I've seen you swim as well, in competitions. You're…a better swimmer than Sasuke, and you have nicer arms." She ducked her head so she couldn't see his expression, feeling embarrassed by her confession.

She could hear the happiness in his tone. "Yeah? You think so? Heh…I guess that's pretty cool." He chuckled and she joined in, feeling considerably more comfortable than when he had first arrived. "What if I…do this?"

He draped an arm around her shoulders gently, pulling her closer. She glared at him but he didn't let go.

"Nuh uh, you can't complain, because you like it. If you complained, I'd just know you were lying," he teased.

"Pfft, you wish, assface," she snapped, but she didn't move from where she was. Yes, he was right. She was very comfortable like this. He was warm and his nice arms were encircling her and making her feel protected. Vaguely she wondered if Sasuke would feel as nice as this, and she doubted it. Suigetsu's arms were a lot nicer and more comfy too. Amazingly enough, she didn't find anything weird about these thoughts. Normally she would have inwardly yelled at herself to stop thinking such blasphemous things. Maybe she was just tired…

Then again…she would never be able to have this conversation with Sasuke. She couldn't even imagine insulting him or teasing him like this. She couldn't imagine being…herself, around him. When she spoke to him, she restrained herself. There was no way she would ever raise her voice around him.

But with Suigetsu…she didn't care what she said. He was used to the two of them fighting, and she could relax around him. It was a nice feeling, familiar yet unfamiliar.

"Come on, I'll walk you home. You're okay to walk, right?" he offered suddenly, standing up and extending a hand towards her. She took it without hesitation and began to walk with him. Neither of them spoke and it was only after a few minutes that she realized they were still holding hands. He didn't mention it, and neither did she, but none of them made a move to release their grip so they remained that way until they walked back.

About halfway back to her house she spotted Sasuke once again.

He was walking with a familiar blond boy, who was talking and gesturing wildly, but not with anger. Naruto was smiling at his friend and as the two of them watched, Sasuke laughed without restraint at something he had said. It was unexpected, shocking even, and she couldn't help but stare.

"Wow…I don't think I've ever seen him laugh like that," she said.

"I didn't even know he was physically able to laugh. I used to congratulate myself on making him smile," Suigetsu added, grinning. "I guess Naruto finally forgave him." The two boys continued down the street, still talking to each other. Naruto seemed to be leading most of the conversation, talking non-stop as if he'd bottled up everything he'd ever wanted to tell Sasuke during their fight and now it was just spilling out. But it wasn't any of the bad things he'd thought, just the good things. She could see that from his delighted expression.

Sasuke glanced up and spotted them. He gave a half-wave and smirk before disappearing around the corner.

Karin knew that the wave was meant for Suigetsu and not her, but the thought didn't disappoint her. In fact, she was surprised that she hadn't deluded herself into thinking that it was meant for her. There had been no excited little gasp, or a fluttering in her stomach. Sure, there was some small delight that came from him looking at her, but it was different. It was…distant.

"Were here," Suigetsu said after a long silence. She had been too deep in thought to speak and he seemed to enjoy having her listen. Surprised, she realized they had stopped in front of her house. She hadn't even noticed. "This is where we must part ways, sweet Karin."

Karin felt a twinge of disappointment.

"I guess so. But I'll see you at school, right?" She tried not to sound too eager.

He nodded. "Yeah, definitely." Then he clicked his fingers and brightened considerably. "Oh yeah, I almost forgot." He reached into his pocket and fished out something familiar before taking her hand in his and placing it in her palm.

"What's this?"

"It's for you."

She lifted it up, only to realize that it was a watermelon flavored lollipop. It was oddly-shaped and sticky, with lint stuck to it and a torn plastic wrapper. She wrinkled her nose in repulsion.

"Is this the lollipop you gave to me all those weeks ago?"

"Yup. That's the one," he said, grinning widely. He seemed proud that he had kept it for so long. Karin, on the other hand, felt horrified that he had kept it in his pocket all this time. Was he expecting her to eat this?

"Ewwww. I don't want it. That's disgusting," she said, shoving it back in his hand. "I can't believe you kept that gross thing in your pocket all these weeks. You really are revolting!" He scowled at her and made a noise of frustration.

"It's symbolic, you annoying cow!"

"I don't care; it's unhygienic. If you don't take it back I'm throwing it away," she threatened, pointing it at him.

"Whatever. Just take it, will you?"

Sighing, she did so, holding it at arm's length away from her. He laughed at her expression, clearly amused by her annoyance. Before she could say anything, he leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips.

It was only for a second, but it was long enough for her to notice that the tingling feeling had risen inside of her again. And it was much stronger than she'd ever experienced. She hoped Suigetsu couldn't see her hands trembling.

He pulled away almost reluctantly and smiled. A genuine one – not that arrogant grin he usually had.

"I'll see you later, Karin. Maybe at school. I'll uh…save you a seat on the bus, yeah?"

"That…would be nice…"

"Oh, unless Ino's there. Then I'm afraid you'll have to sit on the floor while I flirt with her, sorry," he joked lightly, his eyes sparkling.

"Asshole," she giggled, slapping him playfully on the chest. She let her hand rest on his chest for a little longer than necessary, and he reached up to brush her cheek. After a moment, he turned to leave, giving her a backwards wave.

She waved back, even though he wouldn't be able to see.

-0-

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I hope you enjoyed it. Please review, they're greatly appreciated. It's nice to hear people's thoughts and opinions.