"It happened AGAIN!" Sakura growled as she slumped down in the chair. Her friends looked up. They'd met in a little café, taking a table on a balcony overlooking the park, for a late lunch. Now, it could be considered an afternoon tea.
"What's his excuse?" Ino asked as she sipped her latte.
"He says he isn't ready for that sort of commitment." Sakura grumbled as Hinata nodded to a waiter.
"You offered him a key to your apartment, which is basically offering him sex anytime he wants it, and he's not ready?" Tenten asked incredulously, leaning forward to scrutinize her friend. Sakura nodded glumly, before giving her order. The waiter hurried away quickly, not wanting to be dragged into the conversation.
Hinata looked at Sakura closely, "You don't believe that. Do you?"
Sakura bit her lip for a moment then she let it all out. "No, I don't believe it! I think it's the same reason for the last seven guys. It's always the same!" She sat up straight, on the edge of her seat, running her hands through her hair. She stopped and twisted the long pink strands, and grimaced, "It's my fucking hair!"
"But," Ino smirked, "You have to admit, it draws their attention."
"Only because they're curious to see if it's natural." Sakura snorted in derision, while Hinata blushed and Tenten grinned. "Once they find out it is, they hang around for a while, enjoying themselves and then they split." She thanked the waiter as he placed her cappuccino in front of her and disappeared quickly again.
"Don't worry, Sakura." Ino soothed, "I'm sure there's at least one guy out there who isn't fazed by the possibility."
"Wait! What possibility? You aren't still hooked on that bogus theory, are you?" Tenten asked as she sipped her green tea. She shuddered at the taste and looked longingly at the sugar dispenser.
"I don't know why you drink that if you hate it so much." Ino remarked, taking another sip of her latte and humming in bliss. Before Tenten could defend herself, Hinata spoke up.
"Neji told her it was healthier."
"Oh! Neji!" Sakura and Ino said together, matching grins on their faces.
Tenten coloured, "Shut it you two! And thank you so much, Hinata. I finally have him talking to me about non-work related things. I am not interested in rocking the boat."
"What fun is a relationship without a little conflict?" Ino inquired as she stirred her coffee, scooping some froth off the top.
"I mean, not heaps of fights. Just little ones." Ino went on, "It's a stress reliever."
"And then there's the make-up sex!" Sakura laughed. Hinata and Tenten blushed.
"Besides, it's supposed to be a partnership. Equality and all that jazz." Ino stated seriously. "You shouldn't be letting him dictate to you."
Tenten folded her arms defensively and glared at her friends. "Enough about me." Ino and Sakura grinned at her, as if to say, 'you know we're right." She slapped a hand down on the table, "You changed the topic."
"What were we talking about?" Ino asked looking at Sakura. Sakura shrugged.
"Sakura's theory about why her boyfriends are leaving her." Hinata supplied quietly.
"Oh, yeah. They don't want to tempt fate." Sakura replied, leafing through the dessert menu.
"On account of your hair?"
"Yes. They're scared any possible sons we could have, will have pink hair. Bunch of wusses if you ask me."
"But that seems like a pretty shallow reason to break up with someone." Tenten pointed out.
"I know." Sakura replied.
"But then there are shallow people in the world." Ino stated, "I heard Ami Wan broke up with Kankuro, you know Temari's brother, because she didn't like his last name."
"Well, that's stupid. She could have kept her own name." Tenten snorted, "Why'd she go out with him in the first place?"
"That aside though. What are you going to do?" Hinata asked Sakura. "I mean, that is what you're after, isn't it? A family?"
"Yeah." Sakura sighed, "Maybe I'll just get a sperm donor."
"Oh that is sad!" Ino spat in disgust. "Wasting your body on a pregnancy with no sex as a reward! Nuh uh! I will not let you do that to yourself!" She looked out across the park, thinking to herself and ignoring the shock on her friends faces.
"Whoa! Sakura, I see the answer to your problem!"
The three other women turned in their seats, following Ino's line of sight. Two men were walking through the park. They were both dressed in dark business suits, both looked respectable and they were talking. Well actually, the blond one with the orange tie was talking. The dark-haired man, with the pale skin and the navy shirt, was simply walking along.
"Isn't that Naruto?" Sakura asked, "You don't honestly think I'd go for him, do you?"
"What's wrong with Naruto?" Hinata demanded indignantly.
"Where do we start?" Tenten muttered. "Calm down, Hinata. If you like him so much, why haven't you done anything yet?"
"Well, I… it's just…"
"Yeah, you're shy." Ino cut her off mid-stutter. "I wasn't talking about Naruto! I was talking about the Uchiha he's walking with."
"He's a Uchiha? How do you know?" Sakura asked Ino before turning back to regard the man again, "How did Naruto become friends with a Uchiha?"
"Probably through his parents. But that isn't the point." Ino waved it off as irrelevant.
"What is your point?"
"All of the Uchihas have black hair!"
"All of them?"
"Yep! I was at a wedding a little while ago and some of them were there. One married this pretty woman with long silver hair and his sister was married to this guy with green hair. They had their kids with them and guess what? All the kids had black hair!"
"Hmm, interesting!" Sakura turned back to look across the park. Then she sighed, "Damn!"
The other three turned to look.
Naruto and his Uchiha friend were standing quite close together, heads touching.
Sakura slumped over the table, "I knew it! My one chance at a normal family and he's gay!"
"No! My Naruto isn't gay!" Hinata wailed.
"Did you hear something?" Naruto asked, looking around for the source of the wailing.
"Don't change the subject, Dobe!" Sasuke snarled, his hands fisted in the collar of Naruto's shirt.
"Oh, give it up, Teme! You're so stressed! Just go out and get laid!"
Sasuke let him go in disgust. "Shut up!"
"You need a girl, Sasuke. It's very simple."
"Again. Shut up."
"See. They're angry, not gay."
"Looked pretty gay to me." Sakura grumbled, "Probably a lover's spat."
"Sakura, this is Naruto we're talking about." Ino reasoned with her, "This is the guy who got suspended for hiding in the girl's locker room at school."
"I heard he was suspended for making out in the nurse's office." Tenten said.
"No, that was a rumour." Ino replied, though her face was a little red. Hinata's eyes narrowed.
"What?" Ino finished her coffee. "It wasn't me! Anyway," She continued despite the giggles now coming from the other two while Hinata just looked miffed. "I heard he has a "special room" for his porn collection because it was too big to hide under the bed!"
"That has to be a lie!" Sakura scoffed, "How would he get permission from his parents?"
"Maybe it was at his godfather's house. Poor choice, that man as a godfather."
"Definitely. Godparents aren't supposed to lead you astray."
"You're both off track AGAIN!" Tenten stated emphatically, "The Uchiha isn't gay. So, why don't you ask him out?"
"You know what?" Sakura looked around at her friends, "I think I will." She downed the rest of her coffee, wishing it was alcohol, and stood up. "What do I have to lose?"
"Go get him, tiger!"
"Look, Naruto, would you just drop… whoa!" Sasuke's voice trailed off as he caught sight of the confident, and stunning, young woman walking toward them.
"Hi, how are you? Will you marry me so my sons won't have pink hair?"
Sasuke stared at her for a moment, "Uh, what?"
"Oh great, he's a halfwit." She muttered, before turning her brilliant smile on him again. "You're a Uchiha, right?"
"Yes…" Sasuke replied uncertainly.
"Great! And you're single?"
"Yes." He said again, ignoring Naruto's muffled laughter.
"Excellent. So we can get married and my sons won't have pink hair!" She announced, clapping her hands together.
He frowned at her, one eyebrow raised, "What are you talking about?"
"My boyfriend just broke up with me. He's the eighth one in four years. That's pretty bad right?" She waited until both guys nodded, if uncertainly, before continuing, "I have this theory that it's because of my freaky hair: they're all scared my sons will have pink hair so they leave me so that their sons aren't mine."
"But I think your hair is pretty, Sakura!"
"Can it, Naruto. I wasn't talking to you."
Sasuke glanced between them, "You two know each other?"
"High school." The woman, now known as Sakura, huffed.
Sasuke smirked, "Why don't you sound happy about that?"
"He's your "friend". Don't you find him annoying?"
"I don't have to put up with this from you!" Naruto yelled, "You're both lucky to share in my awesomeness!"
"Shut up and go away, Dobe."
"Better yet, go over to that café and talk to Hinata." Sakura said pointing out the table where the other three women still sat, watching the drama unfold.
"Hinata Hyuga?" Naruto asked, squinting slightly.
"The one and only."
"Ok then." And Naruto departed.
"So, where were we?" Sakura asked, facing Sasuke again.
"Your hair." Sasuke informed her, studying it curiously.
"Yes, it is natural."
"Curiosity killed the cat." Sakura said with a smile.
"Okay. I have no idea what that meant." Sakura said with a blank face.
Sasuke rolled his eyes, "Back to your outrageous marriage proposal."
"Outrageous? Come on! I think its perfectly logical!" Sakura stated indignantly.
Sasuke crossed his arms, "Explain."
"We're both single. We're both adults. I'm attractive. You're ah…" Sakura eyed him up and down and blushed slightly, causing Sasuke to smirk, "very attractive. Your family has a genetic marker that seems to override all other hair colours. No doubt your family would like you to have a family. That's what I'm looking for, and this seems to solve all the issues." She crossed her arms and cocked one hip, "I really don't see a problem here."
"Wow, your logic defies reality."
Sakura's eyes narrowed, "Excuse me?"
"That was worse than Naruto." Sasuke stated, his face completely free of emotion.
"You're talking about getting married to a complete stranger while under a crazy and misguided belief that it will change the possible hair colour of future offspring."
"Yeah, so?" Sakura replied, pretending that she couldn't see how ridiculous it was. The idea seemed so much better in her head.
"You're crazy." Sasuke stated, and began to walk passed her. She grabbed his arm.
"Alright, stop. We'll start again."
He turned back to face her and she started, "Hi, my name is Sakura Haruno."
"'Field of Cherry Blossoms'. Yes, that suits you." Sasuke said thoughtfully.
Sakura stared at him in disbelief. "That's all you're gonna say?"
"Still, don't know what that means. What's your name, Uchiha?"
"Sasuke. Sasuke Uchiha."
"Right, nice to meet you. Now that that's out of the way…"
Sasuke pulled back from her, "Huh?"
"We aren't strangers anymore." She said brightly, flashing that brilliant smile of hers. "And I'm not crazy. I'm a resident surgeon at Konoha General."
"They actually let you near patients?" He asked in disbelief.
She leaned in close and whispered conspiratorially, "With sharp implements too."
Sasuke couldn't help it, he smirked. She was irrepressible. "I'll admit, you are intriguing."
"That's a yes, right? Right?" Sakura stepped up to him, holding onto his crossed arms, her face full of hope.
Her face fell, "What? But why not?"
"You're still talking about marriage." Sasuke took a step back.
"So, marriage is a permanent institution."
Sakura snorted, "Clearly you haven't heard of divorce."
Ignoring her, Sasuke plowed on, "It's a joining, a union of two people into one; mentally, emotionally, physically…"
"Financially, biologically. Yes, yes, I know."
Sasuke glared at her, "Why should I take you seriously?"
"I'm sorry, Sasuke. That was actually quite romantic."
"Whatever." He huffed.
"Look, I'm sorry I was flippant. I was telling the truth though: it was romantic."
"And still, don't know what that means." As she looked up at him, her expression softened, "Will you give me a chance? Please?"
"You're really serious about this?"
She nodded. He sighed.
"One date though. That's all you get." He held up one finger to illustrate his point.
Sakura looked from his finger to his face and pouted, "Even if you like it?"
"We'll see." Sasuke looked at his watch, then around the park, "Where'd you put Naruto? We have to go."
Sakura tilted her head and looked at him quizzically. He could tell what she was thinking.
"We have some important clients waiting."
"We work at Zenkan, you know? Architecture and engineering."
"You're kidding! How did he get that job?"
"He's in HR." Sasuke explained.
"Yeah. I wouldn't trust him with a building."
"I wouldn't trust him with anything." Sakura replied, leading Sasuke towards the café. "He's over here."
"And yet, you trust him with your friend."
"Yeah, oh wait! Neji's gonna kill us!"
"That's cute. You should do that more often." Sakura smiled up at him. His smile disappeared.
"I am not cute."
"Sure you are."
"You're pushing it, Sakura."
"You know you love it." She replied, stretching up to peck him on the cheek.
"You know, I don't think that's a word."
"It is in my vocabulary."
"You know you love it." He replied with a smirk, leaning down and returning the kiss. "I'll meet you at the Italian restaurant, The Gandor's, on Maple. Eight o'clock." He stepped away from her and called to Naruto, "We have to go, Dobe."
"Alright, Teme, I'm coming." Naruto stood up and looked around the table. He grinned at Hinata, "Nice talking with you."
The two men walked down the stairs and onto the street. They stopped and Sasuke looked up.
"Sakura." He nodded to her.
"Sasuke." She smiled.
And they were gone.