Summary: Uchiha Sasuke never does anything nice unless he gets something out of it.
Disclaimer: Anything that you recognise does not belong to me. And anything that you don't recognise probably doesn't belong to me either.
She was too late.
The auction had just finished. Her heart sank as she watched the bidders pack up their belongings and leave their seats, some chattering happily amongst themselves about their latest purchases, some with disappointed faces.
At least they'd had a chance.
She scanned the people leaving, trying to find someone on their own. She finally spotted an elderly man heading towards the exit alone and made her way to him.
"Who bought it?" she asked, wincing slightly as her words came out harsher than intended. "Who bought it?" she repeated, softer this time. "The queen of hearts?"
Sakura had flown halfway across the country to bid on the card after having found the auction flyer sitting mysteriously in her mailbox. The flyer had the list of items that were to be sold, and the queen of hearts had been circled two times in thick, red ink. She had, of course, immediately booked the next flight to the capital, but was delayed by her grandmother calling her to tell her she was feeling unwell, and if she could please come round and see her? The storms didn't help either, delaying Sakura even more, and now she was too late.
"The playing card?" The elderly man removed his hat to scratch his head. "Hm. I believe it was the young, dark-haired gentleman standing over there in the corner," he said, pointing somewhere to Sakura's left. "The one in the black suit."
Sakura closed her eyes. She knew, without even having to look, who it was, aware of his presence from the moment she had walked into the auction hall.
Uchiha Sasuke, young, extremely handsome, intelligent, and her direct competition. He delighted—although that would be an inappropriate word to use to describe the broody young man—in outbidding her on any items her clients searched for, choosing instead to hoard it for some time before selling it off at twice the price he bought it for.
Only, this had nothing to do with business this time. This was supposed to be a personal purchase, and Sakura would be damned if she let that smug, arrogant swine have it only to pawn if off to make a profit at a later date. The card meant too much to her, as well as her grandmother.
She charged over to where Sasuke held court, the other collectors that had turned up at the auction hanging on his every word. Figures, Sakura thought bitterly. Most of them were young women who swooned every time he so much as glanced in their direction, probably not serious about their collection anyway.
"You… you… you…" Sakura spluttered, trailing off when she realised she hadn't planned what she was about to say to him at all.
"Yes, it's me, me, me," Sasuke said smoothly, his back to her. He turned around to face her and smirked at her flustered appearance. "I see you're on time as usual, Sakura."
Ouch. A dig. Sakura always prided herself on being early for every auction.
"You know I wanted that card," she seethed, pointing her index finger and his chest and poking it. "But you just had to have it, didn't you?"
The queen of hearts was the last card missing in her grandmother's playing deck, what with Sakura having had already located the three of diamonds a week and a half ago. Companies had stopped manufacturing playing cards when her great-great-grandmother was young for some odd reason. At the time, there were already enough in circulation for the whole incident to blow over relatively quietly. Now, however, in her generation, they had become antiques, somewhat, with people scrambling to collect as many as they could. Sakura's job, as a professional bidder, was to find cards that her clients wanted—different suits, numbers, makes, designs—and bid for them on their behalf, sticking to a certain price range, of course. After making a few mistakes in her earlier days with some of her first clients, Sakura had quickly learned the art of bidding, knowing which auctions to attend, and how to get what she wanted without having to break the bank.
"Yes I did," Sasuke replied simply. "Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid I'll have to excuse myself for a moment."
He put his arm around Sakura's shoulder, steering her into an empty hallway. There was strength and determination in that casual embrace, but Sakura wasn't going to be fooled by his words like those fools in the auction hall were.
"Is everything okay?"
That almost sounded like concern. Sakura looked up and studied him. Nope, no concern. Just mild curiosity, if you could even call it that.
"How can everything be okay?" Sakura said. "You have my card."
And there was that damn smirk again. There was something about it that aggravated her so much—and, if she were to be honest with herself, made her heart skip a beat.
"Ah, Sakura, you and your one-track mind," Sasuke said, smirk still in place. "If you think about it carefully, you'll see that I'm really doing you a favor. What would you do with yourself after you found the last two cards?"
"The last card," Sakura corrected, distracted by the fact that Sasuke was still holding her close to him. He smelled of mint and leather bound books and man, and the combination almost made Sakura feel a little giddy. "After I found the last card."
"You found the three of diamonds? In the metallic spiral deck?" Sasuke said in a mildly surprised tone, his eyebrow arching slightly. "I've heard that only one of those still existed, owned by some eccentric, old coot living in the middle of nowhere."
Sakura blinked. How did he know that?
"You're not wrong there," she agreed. The little, old man had been talking about how selling her the card had been part of his deal with the devil. She'd had to complete the transaction in lightning speed before his equally crazy, elder sister arrived back at the house they shared and beat Sakura over the head with a stick for trying to trick her brother.
"He must have been a real character." Sasuke stroked her back, sending shivers up and down her spine. It took an enormous amount of self-control for Sakura to appear unfazed at the action. "I wonder if you and I will ever end up that way."
You and I? Sakura wondered if he was just doing all of this to make her feel uncomfortable, and shook herself. She had to remain focused, especially since her opponent was Sasuke. She needed to concentrate on getting the queen of hearts, not let her thoughts linger on Sasuke's touch.
"What do you want for it?" Sakura asked. "What do you want for the card?"
"There's that one-track mind of yours again." Sasuke let go of her and felt inside his suit jacket, removing a slim box from it. He held it in front of her face and opened it, the queen of hearts sitting prettily inside, her colors and design rich and intricate as though she was hand painted just yesterday.
"Seriously, Sasuke, what—"
"Nothing," he cut her off, snapping the box shut. "I want nothing." Sasuke placed the box in Sakura's trembling hands, his fingers caressing hers. "Absolutely nothing."
Sakura's brow furrowed; this made no sense. She glanced down at the box in her hands, her grip on it tightening. Was Sasuke just going to give the card to her?
"Nothing?" she repeated. "You want nothing?"
"Think of it as my good deed for the day. This is me being nice."
Sakura snorted in disbelief.
"Nice? Sasuke, you're never nice."
"There's a first time for everything."
"Really, now?" Sakura said, eyeing him with suspicion. "But surely there must be something you want; this must have cost you a fortune."
She looked up only to find him staring at her with an odd spark in his eyes.
"Well, now that you've mentioned it, there is something that I've wanted to do for quite some time now," Sasuke said, his voice deepening.
Before Sakura could open her mouth and ask what, Sasuke had bent down and captured her lips with his.
A/N: I don't even know. But I wrote. And it is here. As is summer! For me, anyway. Expect more updates, both for existing stories & one-shots. I'm planning on rewriting a few things & (hopefully) finishing them off too.
Review, please! :D