hurr, hurr, hurr. look at us coming up with something new. but, i mean, we're amazing, so it's to be expected.
dedication: to our fucking amazing beyond belief best friend, and third fragment of our whole: Saraa. Momma. Wifey. And all the other nicknames we give her. we fuckin' love you, betch. & it''s not even your birthday yet!
disclaimer: fuck off, we own nothing but the coffee sonya's gonna get later on today, and whatever kind of food les is gonna eat. :)
notes: It's official. We have a last name. Rockaholic. Les Rockaholic. Sonya Rockaholic and Saraa Rockaholic. It's dignifying; choke on it.

Les dances in the middle of the streets: BOOM BABY. LOVE US LIKE YOU LOVE YOUR TEDDY BEAR AND IT'S MOTHER. :)
Sonya throws a party at your house: I might love this as much as I love the rest of my AIW family. Like... I want to live in this verse (different from SBNY, eff wai eye). So tell us whatcha think! There's something satisfying about this. Guess who is moving into her dorms for her freshman year of college this week? ME. ME. SOMEONE MAKE SURE I DON'T FAINT OR DIE.




Sakura tilted her head to the right side, to the left, and upside down. She even squinted and made a rectangle with her thumbs & index fingers. Looking through it, she discovered that, unsurprisingly, nothing had changed.

"What is that?"

Turning to her roommate, she placed her hands on her hips and pouted.

"Why do we have that on our walls? It's like… I don't know. I actually don't. I mean, I love Sai- he is such a dear, considering how, um, clueless he is- but I really don't know what this is."

The object in question was a painting made up of many strong lines in reds and oranges and pinks and blacks. Everything began and ended, but there was no… picture. Nothing for the eyes to settle on. Yes, it was pretty, but when Sakura had commissioned a painting from her old friend from high school, she had expected something like one of his portraits from high school. It was something, but… what it was, no one had any idea.

Ino blinked and stared at it.

And stared hard; as in, she was trying in vain, but still trying to decode just what the hell the whole thing was. She moved her bangs out of her line of sight as she attempted to get a good look at the thing but…

"Hell, I don't even know!" She huffed and took a seat on the arm of one of the couches.

And this was saying a lot, she decided. Ino loved art – or she did at some point in her young life. She liked drawing and understood it more than one would think but… She spared Sai's present a glance and crinkled her nose.

She did not understand what that could be.

"He must have been high when he did it, obviously," she commented lightly. She inspected the ends of her hair and sighed. "I'm gonna have to go buy more posters of Blink and JEW and The Beatles to even the room out and make it pretty again."

She rolled her eyes and gave Sakura a small glare, "Since you refuse to throw it out."

"It was a gift, Ino, god."

Ino rolled her eyes. "One that you can't decode; pretty great gift. You think I should get a Twilight poster just to irk Karin?"

"No posters, Ino," Sakura sighed out, her green eyes still glued on the work of art.

Ino pouted and grumbled.

Hinata stepped into the house she was sharing with her four best friends and she felt it, "it" being some big change that spread deliciously happy energy through her body. There were no words to put to it, but it was like that moment, when you step out of the cold into a house where the heat was on, burning you with satisfaction.

Shrugging off her winter coat and hanging it up on the coat rack by the front door, she made her way into the living room.

And there it was- that source of something.

She stood in front of it, eyes roaming over the sheer expanse of canvas. It wasn't exactly complete, she knew, even as it stretched three feet up, down, and to either side. But it was still glorious in its anonymity, the way you knew you were in front of something great even if you didn't know exactly what.

Perhaps she could hazard a guess at it, but she didn't want to. A label wouldn't limit it, but…

It made her think of her boyfriend, the way it felt when he held her to him on their way home from lunch, the way he let her mash a snowball on his head even if he could have dodged it, the way he made her laugh even if he wasn't trying…

She smiled.

She felt Tenten come up behind her. "Do you know what it is?"

"You could say that," Hinata murmured.

"So… what is it?"

She gave her a distracted smile. "You'll understand. Some day." Seeing the disgruntled glare, Hinata rushed to explain.

"It's just not something I can really explain… you know?"

Tenten glared at the… the… thing.

Some weird thing that made no kind of sense to her. Actually, it made her want to break it in half and use it… For something.

Oh, she didn't know.

And you know why she was beginning to dislike it all the more? It was making her think of a Hyuuga – and it wasn't Hinata.

Kind of… Well, it made her think of those times where there wasn't tension and awkwardness and anger and annoyance. When there weren't any of that, it usually held stolen glances and hidden smiles and the want to… something. It made her think of stolen kisses and…

It made her twitch.

A lot.

"Oh, whatever," she huffed, "I'm gonna go make myself a sandwich."

And possibly text said other Hyuuga and convince him to take her out for a joyride.

This possibly irritated her more than that nonsense-painting-that-she-had-to-keep-because-Sai-made-it-and-you-don't-throw-away-gifts-from-friends.

Sakura gave a violent twitch.

"Okay, where is the painting?" she hollered.

There was no answer. Hinata was probably exhausted after spending all afternoon with Naruto, considering all of his exhaustive energy. Her door was probably shut with some violin concerto on her speakers as she slept.

Then there was Ino, who was probably in her room, sexting or having phone sex with Karin, who was visiting her parents. It really was more a guess than anything else- an educated guess. Truth be told, Sakura didn't want to know.

Now… Then there was Tenten…

Sakura's eyes narrowed, looking more like slits of emerald of green than eyes.

Outside the window, she saw the wind as it whipped the snowflakes into a storm. The forecast had been predicting a blizzard that would decimate the current snowfall record from thirty-seven years ago, but the painting…

Swearing under her breath, Sakura ran for her black coat, pulling it on as she rushed through the door and down the steps into the storm.

Fuck Ino for showing Tenten where she could legally argue with people and get money.

Tenten smirked and got out of the car, but before slamming the door shut, she turned to her 'driver'.

"Keep the engine on, I'll be done in a second."

The male on the driver's seat grunted and kept his eyes on the distance. Tenten rolled her eyes and closed the door; quickly she went into the place that was made out of pure win.

Or so, that was her opinion.

It didn't take her long, though. And she was absolutely glad of that; snickering at her dirty work, and counting the stash of money she just made (people and their bizarre love of art, tch), she exited the place and quickly made for the car.

She turned to smirk at Neji and waved the money around.

"How about we go rent a hotel room and stay there for a while?" She gave him a wink she knew he would most likely ignore because he did not know how to interpret it.

Neji sighed and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "Tenten. You live within a mile of the pawnshop. Why would you need a hotel room?"

"…So we can have hot, intense sex and so I can keep you to myself?" Her tone was more of a duh-why-else-idiot, rather than a question.

"How about I buy you ice-cream instead?"

Tenten stared at him, deadpanned. "It's snowing, Neji. Snowing. Let's get the hotel room so I can fuck you back up the straight edge."

He remained quiet for a second before, "…Fine. How about a chocolate fountain?"

"Do you want me to tie you up and take you hostage?"

"Not particularly. There's a new coffee place on the way to my place. And Suigetsu and Kiba are out of town. So you can spend the night."

Tenten sighed and slumped in her seat. "There's no hope with you, Hyuuga. I try to have some… spice in this weird thing we got going on, and you always kill it. Kill it. Just… Fine. Take me to your place."

"Then let's be on our way."

He put the car in drive and they drove off, Tenten snickered when she caught, from the side-view mirror, a certain girl making her way down the street and towards the pawn shop.

She knew that car.

She knew it- the black '69 Chevelle that Kiba (her boyfriend from high school) doted on like it was his child. To tell the truth, it had taken her a while to realize that it wouldn't work out between them. Cars were his one true love and… Well, they ended up good friends.

The point was that Sakura knew that car as well as she knew Ino- her best friend from childhood.

And Sakura only knew one person whose boyfriend had that car.

God, Tenten made her want to…

Grumbling to herself from behind her favorite lime green scarf, Sakura narrowed her eyes to see through the wind. Her eyes, the only part of her face that was exposed to the elements, felt like they were on fire from the way the freezing air hit them.

Luckily, the pawn shop was just a few doorways down.

Rather unfortunately, it was icy out.

She grunted as her shoulder hit the ground. The only good thing about the snow was that it swallowed most of the impact, but now her jacket…

To her dismay, the leather jacket was the worst for wear, drenched with melted snow and splotched with the mud that came after the snow last week had melted.

Standing up, Sakura winced as she tested out her shoulder with a gentle roll. That was going to bruise in the morning.

She made her way carefully to the door and sighed with absolute relief at the sensation of there being heat and warmth and- wow, it was kinda like a mini-sauna inside. Someone really had enough money to pay for what must have amounted to a really expensive heating bill.

But it beat the temperature- or lack thereof- of the snowy wonderland outside.

Turning to look around, Sakura made a marvelous discovery.

There was no one manning the front desk, but that didn't really matter.

The painting.

It was leaning right in front of the cash register.

With no one watching it.

Biting her lower lip, Sakura made her way slowly to the desk.

The painting was in grabbing-and-getting-the-hell-out-of-there distance, but something made her hesitate. It wasn't really that it was "too easy to be for real" so much as the morals that had been drummed into her as a child.

Stealing was wrong and since Tenten had been paid…

Pulling her wallet out of jacket pocket, Sakura looked around for the "records of purchase" document that had to be on the desk. But as might have been expected, there was a world's worth of mess.

It took a few minutes before she spotted the green corner of the document. Sometimes Ino would drag her here to sell something- like her old ice skates after Ino'd broken her arm while skating that one time when she had decided that skating and Jack Daniels mixed- so she knew what to look for.

And there it was!

Sneaking a peek at the bottom, she felt her heart sink slightly. She didn't have two hundred dollars on her! She barely had fifty!

Muttering about no good friends who force their friend to play Good Cop, Sakura threw whatever she had in her wallet on the counter, letting a shower of pennies rain down on the stacks of paper.

Picking up the painting with a huff, she froze.

There was someone behind her.

Someone… tall.

With their arms crossed.

Pressed right up against her back so she couldn't move.

Sakura didn't think they were happy about this.

At all.

"You know, they're trying to get rid of delinquents like you."


He wasn't happy at all.

Sasuke hated waiting.

He's stoic, he's quiet, he's cruel and he's pretty much everything else people would say about him. But he was also impatient. And he'd been in this damn pawn shop for over three hours already.

And now this person just came and – and – and…

He didn't know.

It's just that it annoyed him that this guy just waltz right in there and didn't care for the people that had been waiting. Just… It was damn fucking annoying.

He twisted him around in the gentlest way he possibly could. And then he almost gasped at the realization that it was a girl.

Sasuke blinked and stared at her before he looked down at what she was holding.

"How annoying."

She didn't know what to do.

What do you do when someone kind-of-sort-of-sees-you-kind-of-sort-of-steal a painting that does not have any value that most people can understand?

So Sakura kind of just… blinked at him.

"Um, this is mine?"

It rankled, the way he raised an eyebrow in challenge and the way his dark eyes were so skeptical. And then there was a soft, barely audible snort.

Like he didn't believe her.

The nerve!

"If it was, it wouldn't be here, nor would you have dropped a load of cash on the counter."

Sakura's temper flared up slightly, so she gently settled it down on the table next to whatever this… man had brought in. That way, if she got the urge to swing her fist into his face, she wouldn't destroy the painting.

"It turns out one of my… roommates isn't as appreciative of a gift an old friend gave me as I am."

"So she sold it."

"For about two hundred dollars." She gritted her teeth at the thought. "I'm going to have to pay the owner back to cover it, but I really need to get it home. Sai said he'd be around to check it out and see if it was all arranged to be aesthetically pleasing."

He raised an elegant eyebrow at her words.

Sasuke… doesn't care about people. He's the kind of guy that talks when he's spoken to, doesn't bother to if there's no need to. Unless, you know, you're his friends – close friends. What he was doing, talking to this girl was clearly about annoyance.

He was annoyed and that was all.

And honestly, he didn't care about her woe or her whatever – not until he heard that idiot's name pass her lips.

"Did you say Sai?"

He watched her blink her vivid green eyes in surprise. "Yeah. He's an… artist, or something. Do you know him?"

Sasuke gave a very slow nod as he studied her. Short pink hair, bright green eyes, pale-ish skin… and kind of short. He blinked and locked eyes with her as he said, "Yeah. He's an idiot that paints the weirdest shit in the world."

She shifted her weight from one leg to the other. "I think he's… creative. Apparently his professor thinks he's going to be the next Picasso or Monet."

Sasuke instantly snorted and rolled his eyes, "That's one art gallery I won't be going to."

"YOU, sir, are a horrible, attractive man," she stomped a foot on the ground and pointed her index finger at him.

Sasuke raised an eyebrow and allowed a slow smirk to sketch itself on his lips. "…Attractive?"

And amusement danced in his eyes as he watched her widen her eyes in horror and open and close her mouth like a fish without water.

"Attractive? I meant – I meant… My sushi's going to burn in the oven! Gottagobye!"

Sasuke watched her rush out, amusement on his face as well as a smirk.

In her defense, she had tried to leave.

But the snow…

The damn snow.

It had fucking melted. What the fuck did it think it was- ice?

… Oh. Well.

Thoughts kind of fled her mind when her legs started slipping, running in completely different directions. Sakura liked her body in one piece, so she did the best thing she could- she grabbed the closest solid object.

Which happened to be…


Bad choice, Sakura scolded herself, even as she held on with all her might. You should have let yourself fall because you- you talked. You opened your big mouth and made a fool of yourself and now you're holding on to him so he'll probably think you're a complete skank and now you're rambling when- why haven't you let go of him?

Out of reflex, Sasuke shot his arms out and placed his hands on small hips. He gripped them tightly, like trying to prevent some sort of delicate chinaware from slipping down to the ground and shattering into pieces.

He blinked once, twice and thrice until the situation made sense in his head. He looked down to stare at the top of the girl's pink head.

"You're clumsy," he muttered, helping her balance herself out and prevent from falling.

She looked up and fixed her heated glare on him, wrenching herself away from him. "It's the fucking snow, you jerk!"

Sasuke smirked, "Well, maybe if you hadn't rushed..."

"It's your fault."

He raised an eyebrow again and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "...Me."

She shifted around in her agitation, glaring at everything in her line of view. "No, the OTHER TALL DARK-HAIRED GUY IN THE ROOM. GOD."

And then she started ranting about "Tenten" and "that damn Hyuuga, too" and Sasuke could only shake his head and roll his eyes. This girl was awfully dramatic; though, he spared her another glance, he didn't seem to... mind her running her mouth with babbles that made no sense.

"You talk a lot," he commented.

She halted in her rant mid-word and gave him yet another haughty glare. "Well, excuseeeeee me! Mr. Tall, Dark, & Ha-Annoying, I am sorry to be such a BOTHER."

"You're dramatic, too." He tilted his head to the side and admired (silently) her flustered state. He'd be lying if he said he didn't find it attractive.

"...and you know what? I will- stop looking at me like that."

His eyebrow raised again and his smirk was back in play. "Like what?"

She flailed her arms around before crossing them in her chest, defensively. "Like- like... Like! Like I'm a cow- a piece of steak!"

"...Why the hell would I look at you like that." Sasuke's face went blank as he stared at her, almost... wanting to look puzzled. How weird was this girl.

"I don't know! You tell me! You're... you look like you're appraising me. And it makes me kind of uncomfortable." She glared at him, arms still crossed in front of her chest.

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "...You're annoying."

Her mouth dropped.

"I- I- you are driving me crazy."

"Is that so? Why?"

Sakura almost wanted to bang his head against a wall. Was he clueless? And how could he not understand the way he was staring at her was creepy? Albeit the fact that he was kind of really... well, pretty. On a normal day- like one where her friend wasn't selling paintings she didn't own and she didn't nearly die walking around- she would even take it as a compliment because it wasn't every day that a rather attractive man checked her out.

But it was just the fact that he wasn't listening and was being completely infuriating that made her so upset.

And then there was how he apparently enjoyed making her utterly frustrated to high heavens!

"You are such a jerkface- what's your name again?"

Sasuke stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jacket and stared the wall over her head.


"Oh! I'm Sakura. And I would appreciate it if you would..." And she went off in another burst of babbles.

Sasuke sighed and looked out at the snow. He liked the cold weather - the heat usually made him really snarky, really agitated and if it were hot right now he'd probably be sneering offending words at this weird girl. But instead, here he was... mildly listening to the random rants she was giving.

He sighed again and rubbed at his temples. He turned to stare at the line he had gotten out of and almost wanted to growl and punch a wall or something. He grabbed the stupid portrait that Sai made for him and turned to stare at Sakura.

"I'm leaving."

She stopped and stared at him, a pout, almost. "No. I'm leaving first."

Sasuke blinked and gave her a what-the-hell look. "If it makes you feel better, I'll let you pass the door first."

"No. No. No. You can't let me. I have to- god, I hate you."

He smirked, shaking his head and walking towards the door. "You don't even know me, and you hate me. How interesting."

And... he doesn't even care.

This... mysterious Sasuke character just brushed it off.

She didn't like him.

At all.

"Hey. Where are you going?" She grabbed the painting and trotted after him. Why she was following him, Sakura didn't understand. He made her all petty and annoyed andandand- she wanted to win something, dammit! He wasn't even letting her get through the door first now.

"...I told you I'm leaving."

"You said- you said you'd let me go through first."

She nearly tackled him when she slipped again, but she managed to stay on her feet and swerved around him into the doorway, blocking his way with a hostile glare. He just made her want to- want to.

"Nevermind, I just want to go home. Have a not so nice life."

Sakura pulled the hood of her jacket over her head and started making her way home.

This girl... was so weird.

He snorted and got inside his car; the polite side of him - the one that was still conscious of his proper-polite upbringing was demanding he offer her a ride. Hell, he could even hear his mother screeching in his head. But Sasuke fought it all down and drove off.

Sasuke didn't really drive home - he ended stopping at a coffee shop for... a latte, or something. Anything hot that could warm his body down.

He wasn't all that into coffee - not that kind of caffeine, at least. But Kiba had shown him this coffee shop, close to the pawnshop, and it was... more than decent. It was kind of addicting. And he wasn't the only one that thought this, what with the line and the always being busy.

Sasuke sighed and allowed his annoyance to settle down, just as he settled down to waiting for his turn.


He was stalking her.

She knew it.

That Sasuke guy was standing at the counter of her favorite coffee shop, his hands deep in his pockets as he rocked on his heels minutely- barely noticeable if it wasn't for the fact that she was basically watching everything about him, gathering all of the details she had missed before. Like the way his hair seemed gelled back into the shape of a duck's-

Giggling to herself, Sakura opened the door. Part of her listened to the jingle of the bell and the other half noticed the way he didn't turn around to look at the door.

Sakura wasn't like that. She had that kind of curiosity where she just needed to know small things like that. Of course, she didn't try to be blatantly obvious about it- she glanced out of the corner of her eye. At least she tried to. Maybe that's what he was doing...

She got in line between him.

No reaction.

The package was shifting underneath her arm, so she tried pulling it up higher while shuffling in her pockets for some wrinkled dollar bills.

It didn't work out so well.

For Sasuke, anyway.

Sakura was fine.

Sasuke, though, was the one who felt the force of a corner of a painting.

Sakura didn't feel too bad about it though.

He deserved it.

He didn't hiss or grunt or groan or, really anything other than glare, heatedly.

Sasuke turned to spare the person a look over his shoulder... Only to darken his glare at the familiar short thing. He groaned and rolled his eyes, turning to look at the front again. "You again. How annoying."

"It's not my problem- why are you stalking me?"

At that, Sasuke whipped around, glaring down at her through strands of his black hair. "Stalking you? What the hell? I'm merely buying myself something to drink. Why the hell would I stalk you."

"I don't know!" She stomped her feet on the ground. "You tell me!"

Sasuke snorted and shook his head and turned to the front again. "You're weird and loud and... annoying."

Sakura huffed and spared him another glare. "Can you stop calling me that? You don't LOOK annoyed."

"I feel it inside."

"Uh-huh. Can't you just... go be yourself somewhere away from me?"

Sasuke sighed tiredly. "I'm not here for you. Sorry to disappoint; I have a life and it doesn't revolve around you. After I get my drink, thankfully, I'll never see you again."

He went to the barista and ordered his latte with two extra shots of espresso. He paid for his drink, waited the small amount of time it took for them to make it and, once it was in his hands, he turned around and made to grab a table. As he passed Sakura, she managed to silently hiss, "Who would want to see your face anyways?"

Sasuke merely smirked as he went to a table and took his seat.

Smiling grimly at the guy behind the counter, Sakura placed an order for a white chocolate mocha with raspberry syrup. Idling by the counter as she waited for her drink, she thought about how... completely full of himself that guy was. She would never admit that she just wanted to blame him for something just because... well, she didn't really remember why she disliked him. Like she had mistakenly let slip, she did find him horrifyingly attractive and under any other circumstance, she would have been too shy to say anything and lurked by her friends' collective elbows.

But he, to say the least, pissed her off.

She faintly heard the barista say, "Here's your drink."

Scooping it up into her right hand, Sakura held the painting under her arm carefully and skimmed the room for a spot.

It was all full.

Except for one spot with a rather annoying man.

Conclusion: the world hated her.

Sasuke had his hands steeped in front of him, his chin resting on his two thumbs, as he stared out the window.

He'd be lying to himself if he said he didn't find the girl attractive. Because did - he found her very attractive. It's just that she annoyed the hell out of him with her talking and her need to blame him for everything that happens to her. God, he wanted to pull at his hair just thinking about it.

Then the same person that was rapidly driving him up the wall slid in the seat in front of him.

Sasuke glared.

"What do you want."

"For my friend to stop obsessing over pawnshops. Oh, and a chair and table to sit at."

He sighed and looked back out the window. "Whatever - do what you want."

"Fine. I will." She took a sip of her drink and hummed to herself.

Sasuke took a deep breath and a long sip of his drink.

This- this silence was driving her absolutely crazy.

Her fingers drummed on the table and she hummed, trying to get rid of this... this lack of talking. She half-expected him to glare at her and snap for her to stop that glittery sound of fingernails on glass table tops. Then again, Sakura didn't really think that Sasuke would start talking. She hadn't known him for very long- less than an hour, in fact- and he didn't seem like the type to talk just to fill the silence or even just to get rid of an irritating sound. He was more likely just to grab her wrist and give a warning look.

He didn't say anything.

Glancing outside, she noticed the snow increasing in its icy wrath. It wasn't that she lived far away- it was less than a mile- but the fact that it was so icy out made her recoil slightly at the thought walking home in that weather.

"I know... I know that you don't know me well and that you don't like me- and I don't blame you, considering my... little rambling moments and blaming you. I'm just a bit irritated by the weather and- I'm sorry, okay? But... I... I don't want to try walking home in this weather." She bit the corner of her lips, preferring to look outside, at swirling winds and snowflakes sparkling neon in the coffee shop's outside lights, spelling out its purpose and name.

"Could you give me a ride to my place?"

Slowly, Sasuke turned to stare at her with his bored, blank eyes. And just as slowly, he raised an eyebrow. "You're asking me. The person you hate?"

He watched her tense slightly, watched her avert her stare to anything but at him. "I don't... I don't hate you. I just don't understand you very well..."

"You haven't tried," he commented in a drawl. "You can't learn everything about a person in less than an hour."

"I admitted I was wrong to act like that. Can't you just... I dunno... Forgive?" She looked... He didn't even know what to call it. But it was amusing in a twisted way.

Sasuke took another sip of his drink and said, "Nope." He watched her look up at him with a blank expression and he smirked. "But I'll drive you. Just to show you I'm not a jerkface... Much."

She had a pretty smile, he decided. "Thank you... Sasuke."

He swallowed whatever it was his mouth wanted to let out and settled for staring out the window and finishing his drink. He didn't quite know how long it was before he stood up and, with one hand holding the empty cup of his drink, stuffed his hand into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out his keys.

"Well, then... let's go."

Sakura followed him meekly to the black '78 Camaro in the corner of the small lot right next to the coffee shop. It wouldn't do to aggravate him. After all, if she was too mouthy, he wouldn't let her out. No, he would drive to the farthest point in Konoha and let her off there so she could walk all the way home.

Yes, best to be meek.

"Where should I put the painting? I don't think it'll fit in my lap."

The look he gave her was blank, but she knew what it meant. "Put in the back seat." He didn't add 'duh' to the end, but he might as well have- his face said it all.

Being abnormally acquiescent, she opened the door and rested it upon a similarly sized package.

Quickly making her way to the front seat, she buckled herself in. Usually, Sakura wasn't too into leather being inside cars. She always thought of the poor cow that was now dead and skinless and how it was kind of icky to sit on their skin. But, she admitted to herself, the car would have missed an element of class that it had in bounds without it.

As Sasuke pulled out of the parking spot, Sakura twisted back to look behind her.

She didn't see the sideways glance Sasuke gave her, but she felt it. It was just like he was resting a hand on her shoulder, but she did her best to ignore it.

"What are you looking at?"

"The thing you were bringing to the pawnshop. What is it?"

He thought back to Sai.

He's known Sai for a long, long while - parents' friends of his parents and all. They became... friends. You know, the kind that were at each other's throat one minute, swearing devotion the next. They were more or less the same kind of person - blank, easily annoyed, sometimes clueless, smart asses, and... kind of subtle flirts. They clashed but it worked and Sai made it a point to always give Sasuke some sort of art-gift.

Normally, Sasuke'd like the arts he'd give. Because he'd actually understand it. Comics, scenery - anything. Just not... that thing he gave him some days ago. It was so... Just not pretty. At all.

"Something that looks like the rainbow threw up all over it."

"That sounds... pleasant."

Sasuke snorted indignantly, "Hardly."

Sakura stayed quiet for a bit.

"I want to see it."

She looked at him just in time to catch him roll his eyes."Knock yourself out."

Pouting slightly, she said, "I will."

She twisted back to grab the package. It was a little difficult, considering there was one on top of it and neither were exactly light. When she finally extracted it, she propped it on her lap and tore at the wrapping impatiently until the passenger side and her lap looked like Christmas day at a rich kid's house.

Her eyes sought the painting and her heart stopped.

"Oh my..."

Sasuke stopped at a stop light and spared her a glance before glaring at the stupid painting.


The painting - abstract, he supposed - was the stupidest thing Sai could have ever painted. Everything seemed to have no end - lines of different colors were everywhere, becoming bold and pronounced due to it's stark white background. It made no sense - painted no image... He didn't know what the hell it could be, and he wasn't all that stupid when it came to art and their hidden meanings.

Sakura sounded surprised and slightly... bewildered as she said, "Just... Stop driving. You... you really do need to see this."

Sasuke sighed - he's been doing that a lot today - and drove at the green light, eyes searching for a parking space he could park into. When he finally found one, three minutes after Sakura had made the request, he turned the engine of his car off and dropped his hands to his lap, turning to stare at her expectantly.

"Well, what is it?"

She was already reaching into the back of the car by the time he had stopped and had unwrapped her painting as well.

It was just as she thought- they almost matched.

"See? What do you think?"

Sasuke stared at them and she could almost see the blank nothingness before he said anything.

"...Nothing much..."

Immediately, she reached for his head and jerked it closer to them, swiveling his head so he looked at both of them really closely. "Does that one," she moved his head so he looked at his painting, "make you think of anything like... that one?" He was forced to look at her painting.

Sasuke blinked and spared the two paintings a long look before he raised an eyebrow. "Am I supposed to think anything in particular?"

She scowled. "Um, I dunno. Maybe the way they have the same color scheme and motifs?"

Sasuke, yet again, sighed.

"Coincidence." Though his eyes never broke away from his painting, following the lines and the schemes and the motifs, observing them, taking them in, memorizing them before he did the same exact thing with the painting Sakura held in her lap.

He felt Sakura's eyes on him as she slowly said, "... Sasuke. The same guy painted this. There has to be a reason."

"Well, what reason is it," he asked no one in particular.

"I dunno..." She peered at it closer. "I... have an idea of what it means, but... I dunno. It's Sai. It's not like he understands emotions, you know?"

To humor her, he moved his painting until the edges of it touched hers. He held his breath as the lines seemed to mix together into one single painting. His brow scrunched up as he tried to make up what the hell any of this could ever mean, but his mind wasn't producing anything at all.

"Bizarre," he murmured softly, leaning closer to the portraits, attention fully grasped. Slowly he turned to bore his intense eyes at her, "Well, what's your idea?"

She dragged her fingers through her hair without thinking, messing it up as she twisted her head to see it at any and every possible angles.

There was this bizarre but not unwelcome feeling in Sakura as she leaned a little more to the left to see it from Sasuke's point of view and her head brushed his shoulder. The meaning- the mystery behind this bizarre painting puzzle- eluded her. It made her think of Ino and Karin and Tenten; Hinata and Naruto blushing and looking away from each other after their first kiss (she and the rest had stalked them to protect Hinata Just In Case); Casablanca and Gone with the Wind; Heathcliff and Catherine; Mr. Darcy and Lizzy Bennett; chocolate... Sasuke made it ring a faint bell in her mind, but she wasn't sure yet. It was barely anything, but it brought back that feeling she got when she had touched him.

It was electric.

"I know what it is," Sakura said slowly. "But I don't know if I could possibly explain it. It's inexplicable. It's... the greatest thing ever. Sai... I don't know if he knows... but..." She gave Sasuke a small shy smile.

"Can you see a masterpiece?"

Sasuke stared at the painting, jaw tense and Adam's apple bobbling with every thick, forced swallow he gave. His brow was furrowed as he began to think of... These things - his friends, his mother, his father, his stupid brother, the look his friends would get when they spoke about their girlfriends... It didn't really make sense in Sasuke's head.

Or maybe he was just thinking to hard.

But... He kind of thought of Sakura, too. The fierceness in those green eyes as she sneered at him; and the heat that his palms felt when he held onto her hips.

If he were anyone else, his shiver would have been visible. But he settled for just closing his eyes and delving into this foreign feeling. The static shock he felt when he swam deeper into his thoughts. His eyes snapped open as he turned to look at Sakura. Really look at her.

Their eyes locked and for a second he was being magnetically pulled, but he fought it.

"Yeah," he said huskily. "I see it."

He looked at her with those eyes of his- the ones she had avoided this whole time because... well, just because- and she couldn't help it.

Sakura's whole body tingled with anticipation and nerves and this weird high that she couldn't understand except that it felt sodamngood. She never wanted Sasuke to stop looking at her because she felt so good when he looked at her like that instead of wearing that stupid smirk that was his default when he had any expression at all.

"Wow?" she breathed, looking at him slightly before she looked down at the paintings again, starting to rewrap them again.

It was interesting, considering that earlier that evening, these had meant nothing to her but now...

It wrapped up everything good in the world into one little package.

"... Are you sure you want to go home?"

Sasuke's words startled her until she looked out.

Or at least she thought she was looking out.

All she saw was a world of white.

His eyes were still on her and he kind of had mixed feeling of the fact that he couldn't really look away. He swallowed thickly and turned to the front quickly, taking a deep breath and slowly cursing the bad weather.

"My house's closer," he commented, "I... The weather's getting bad."

"Yeah... I can't even see the parking meter." She bit at her lower lip before giving a decisive nod. "If you don't mind..."

Wordlessly, he started the engine and, with much agitation, he slowly and carefully drove back to his house. True to his word, the ride couldn't have lasted more than six minutes if not a minute more or less. Sasuke turned the engine off just as soon as he parked in his driveway. Sighing, he opened the door and got out, going around and grabbing both of the artworks out of Sakura's hands and leading her up his front porch.

Once inside, Sasuke turned on some lights; the weather caused it to look as if it were ten p.m. rather than four, if not earlier. He didn't really know what time it was, anyway. He carefully placed the paintings on the bar-counter, along with his keys before turning around and focusing his attention on Sakura.

"Would you like anything?"

He was an asshole, yes, but he was also polite. If his mother ever found out he was rude to a lady, he'd get an earful for years.

"Um.." she looked down at herself and almost instantly did Sasuke understand.

"Right," he said and made a movement for her to follow him. Once inside his room, Sasuke shed his jackets and allowed only his gray long sleeved thermal shirt to be seen. He walked towards his drawers and busied around until he found something... good.

He handed her the shirt and gave a forced cough. "Uh... I'll be... Over there."

Sasuke looked adorable when he felt awkward, Sakura giggled as she made her way to the bathroom. He didn't look at your face and just kind of shuffled around, looking embarrassed.

The door closed, she took off her jacket, t-shirt, and jeans before slipping into the shirt. It smelled so much like him that it was completely intoxicating- soap and just enough Axe that he didn't smell overwhelming.

So clean and just... she needed to stop sniffing his shirt.

She made her way out of the bathroom and listened for Sasuke.

Hearing some sounds of moving upstairs, Sakura made her way silently up the stairs. The light was on in the room two doors down the hall on the left, so she walked inside.

Sasuke was there, hanging up clothes and tidying up things in general. She stood there for a while, just watching Sasuke operate in his own world. His movements were smooth and relaxed as he completed these standard tasks efficiently. It was a different side of him- it wasn't the Sasuke that had been irritated at waiting though he hid it well, nor the Sasuke who had enjoyed driving her blood pressure sky-high.

When she knocked on his open door, he looked up and just stared at her. For a while, both were still. Sakura didn't know what to make of his expression. Feeling awkward, she tugged at the black v-neck she wore. No matter what she did, it wouldn't go farther down than midthigh, which was kind of uncomfortable... She bit at her lower lip.


Sasuke swallowed thickly again as he scanned her one last time before looking away.


His eyes zeroed on his window, hearing the loud hissing of the wind and the overall fact that... They were stuck in his house. Not that he minded... Not that he'd ever say that aloud... Not that - -

He cleared his throat and ran a hand through his hair, "So..."

She gave a slow nod, "So..."

Well, this was awkward.

Sasuke hated awkward.

"Would you," he trailed off and shifted his weight from one leg to the other. "Would you like anything to drink?"

Sakura opened and closed her mouth several times before she settled for, "Do you want anything to drink?"

Sasuke blinked and allowed amusement to come onto his eyes as he turned to stare at her. "That's hardly important; you're the guest."

Quickly, he looked away. He didn't want to seem... rude by just staring at her. And... Oh, hell, he didn't even know. It's just not something he wanted to get into, less he loses his perfect control in keeping this... as normal as possible. The last thing they both needed was an awkward tension in the air...

Well, more awkward then the one they were currently in.

"And you're the host, right? I don't want to put too much work on you. Can you just tell me where the glasses are? I can get water from your sink."

Sasuke sighed and settled for leading her to his kitchen.

Well... wasn't this quaint.

Heading down the stairs behind her host, Sakura stared at the back of his head. It wasn't because she was annoyed and trying to be rude- it was because that was what was in front of her face. He was at least a head taller than her and as she was a step or two behind him, she could smell the lemon coconut shampoo that he must use. It was seductive in a welcoming way. She hadn't expected such a bright and calming scent from him but... it worked.

Making their way down the hall and through the first door on the left, Sasuke said, "Cups are on the cupboards and I hope you know what a sink looks like."

"Thanks." Sakura wandered past the island in the middle and all of the random pieces of cooking equipment, picking up a glass on her way to the sink. Jutting her hip out just a bit to ease the pain on her leg slightly- her left leg was a little sore from her fall earlier- she pulled the handle up and waited for the faucet to fill her glass up.

... His watching eyes were making her uncomfortable.

"See something you like?" she teased.

His eyes slowly moved up her calves, up her thighs, lingered on her... backside... up her small back and he allowed himself to give a smirk as he raked his back down and repeated the whole thing.


She turned around to stare at him with a amusement and something else etched on her lips. "Oh, so you brought me here to look at me. Do you want me to... pose or something?"

His smirk grew in size, if just a bit. "It depends. What are the poses gonna be?"

"Well... it depends. What are you interested in?" She tilted her head to the side, one of her fingers coming to rest at the side of her lip.

Sasuke swallowed. "You."

She remained silent as she sipped her water through a straw he didn't really knew he had around the house. And as she sipped, her eyes were on him, just as his eyes were on her. Sasuke... didn't really know what to do. This attraction he felt towards her... God.

He ran a hand through his hair, leaned against the wall and crossed his arms in front of his chest. His eyes remained locked with hers.

She had never liked staring contests. The staring had always made her uncomfortable, not to mention how quickly her eyes dried out.

But this... this was different. Worlds away from what she had played as a child.

She could blink as much as she wanted because the winner was the one who looked away last.

There was this building tension. Sasuke's eyes felt like they were incinerating her just by looking. It was that crazy burning feeling like before but on a bigger scale. Like, ten times bigger. She had never felt like... whatever this was before.

Sakura took one step closer. And then another. If she stretched her arm out, she could probably brush his shoulder.

"And what are you going to do about your interest?" she asked softly, tilting her head slightly and looking through her lashes and bangs that had fallen in front of her face.

Sasuke had the smallest of smirks on his lips as he leaned down, just a tad bit. "It depends on what you'll let me do about my interest."

His smirk was mirrored on her lips as she murmured, "You could always find out on your own."

Sasuke gave a soft chuckle, "I think I might."

That was the last thing said before he brushed his lips against hers. It was a simple brush, a feather kiss - innocent, even. That was before that... desire grew on him - or maybe on both of them. The kiss turned into something rough; with nipping and slight lip-sucking and even the occasional tongue. It was kind of entrancing how their breathing turned heavy, how their hands instantly found their places on the other's body. It was kind of maddening how this kiss was driving him wild.

And just as maddening to subconsciously wonder if she felt the same.

By the time they both had to pull away for more oxygen, they weren't against the wall, but rather... she was hiked up on the counter and his arms caged her there. His breathing was ragged, chest rising and falling heavily. And her eyes were half-lidded, her lips swollen and parted as she tried to regain her breath.

"Do I get an encore," he asked huskily, his eyes roaming her face before lingering on her lips.

"If you're good," she murmured.

"I think you've forgotten already," he teased, "Let me remind you."

She- that- it-

Sakura's brain fairly spasmed. It was all she could do to not gasp and act like a young girl who had just gotten her first kiss. He was so confident and her heart just had a freak attack.

With a fair amount of heart fluttering, she met him halfway.

He was smirking against her lips as they kissed.

Sasuke met her today - this quirky, loud, spastic, weird girl. And he might have to admit that she grasped his attention almost instantly; the fire in her eyes as she argued with him... It made him... It made him feel inexplicable things. It made, as girly as it sounded, his heart race and want to fluster her all the more. Watch her cheeks color with agitation.

And the kissing - god. That was a bonus.

She was... not gorgeous. She was pretty - beautiful. She was... insanely ethereal; god, Shakespeare had messed with his head. He hated English lectures as of now.

So he killed his thoughts there. He settled for going blank-minded and instead turning his attention to this girl in front of him. Of how her lips moved perfectly in sync with his, at the small hands that softly cradled his face and at just how... He was feeling the same exact feeling he felt in the car.

The paintings laid next to them.




He sat in his studio, the easel sitting in front of him. The tip of his paintbrush dipped into the blue paint, drenching it in the color. Perching the brush comfortably in his right hand, he started painting the canvas, changing the pressure on the brush to suit his purpose.

"What are you painting now, Sai?" His teacher on emotions peered over his shoulder, glancing at the peaceful streaks of blue and green blended into one piece of harmony.

"It's this new collection that I've come up with," the artist murmured, confidently pulling his brush across the rough surface. "It's to combine my art with what you have been teaching me, Yamato-sensei and perhaps give physical substance to them so people can see them and perhaps put a name to them."

The brown-haired man studied the painting, looking at it for hints in the technique, color, and, of course, the picture. "Let me guess- this is trust or calm."


"Can I see what else you have done?"

"No. I... sent it to the two people that I think needed it."

"Two people?"

Sai continued painting, not really paying attention to his teacher's actions.

"Yes. I had a feeling that they'd find each other. It suited the painting anyways."

Yamato thought hard, a contemplative look on his face. What emotion would need two people? And how could a painting as abstract as these mean anything to anyone if they didn't understand the nuances of art? "What emotion was it?"

For the first time since Yamato entered the room, Sai paused in his painting. A different smile than normal crossed his face before he placidly continued his painting.






Extra thoughts from us:

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