Summer at Port Honju

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

Chapter Seven

It came as a shock when Sasuke appeared out of nowhere the next day. The pinkette and Naruto had been strolling down toward the rock pools the second time that week when the stoic teen joined them, briefly informing the blonde that Yuri had gone away with her parents for a few days and that he had nothing better to do.

"Finally, Teme! You have no idea how mad I was at you for not welcoming back Sakura-chan!" Naruto threw his arms around the two of them, Sakura on his left and Sasuke settled on his right. "But, now that you're back, we can all go and have fun in the rock pools again!"

Neither of the other two bothered to complain and thus, were dragged the rest of the way to the destination.

"I'm going to go that way," pointed Naruto, stepping lightly over the harmless rocks, blue eyes narrowed to slits. "There might be some more crabs here," lurching out of the way of one of the larger rock pools, the blonde was before sprinting off in the opposite direction before Sakura could say 'crab'.

Sakura gulped as she felt the familiar silence engulf the air around Sasuke and herself, wishing things were back to the way they were last summer: unawkward.

She couldn't help but feel like this was the first time they were together alone, though the green-eyed girl could easily recall the countless times Naruto had abandoned the two on some sort of evil revenge on various creatures. What had happened to the days when the Uchiha would smirk at her as she fumbled with the shells she had collected amongst the waves? Why had things changed?

Yuri Hatsuo.

"Hn," Sakura's head whipped in the male's direction. She noticed he had moved up the side of the rock pools, feet skimming the soft, clear water. "That idiot…"

Realising he was giving her an opening, Sakura quickly took up the chance to speak.

"Yeah," biting her bottom lip when Sasuke looked up from a small fish and gazed at her unblinkingly. "R-Remember when he fell into one of the bigger pools and nearly choked on a sea urchin?"

Wincing when Sasuke didn't reply and only continued to stare at her, Sakura mentally wished she was choking on a sea urchin. It had to be less painful than this.

Of course Sasuke wouldn't be as enthusiastic to reform their lost friendship. Who was she to think Sasuke would go back to their usual routine of jokes and familiarity?

Kicking grudgingly at an innocent rock by her foot, the pinkette turned away and traced the outline of the various shops to her right.

"…and the time he kicked a rock, not realising it was actually a turtle?"

Spinning back around, Sakura bit her lip as Sasuke smirked at her knowingly. Green eyes brightening just a little, Sakura clasped her hands together, hope filling her chest. Finally. Quickly noticing she had not replied, Sakura shot into conversation mode as the pair made their way down and around the rock pools, stopping every once in a while to stare at the fishes hiding under seaweed.

By the time the two joined the tired and bored Naruto at the end of the pools, Sasuke had won three out of four arguments and Sakura, no matter how hard she tried, couldn't tear the pure look of content off her face.

Things were…almost…back to normal.

Because at the pace they were going, Yuri might've not even existed.

Too bad Sakura wasn't delusional. Reality was, Yuri was going to be there. All the time. Temporary leaves didn't count because as much as Sasuke would pretend he didn't know what she was talking about, Sakura could see the look on his face when the handsome teen zoned out of their foolish conversations and stared off into the distance. She knew where his mind was and it was hard. It was hard to keep a smile on her face when he pretended to have heard the things she said.

"So Sakura, cookies 'n cream again?"

"Yeah, you know me," the pinkette turned back to the white table, drumming her fingers on the hard wood.

The trio was back at the ice cream store, killing time. Sakura knew if she kept up this routine, she would be as fat as a beached whale… not that whales were fat. They were beautiful creatures, really…

"Oi, snap out of it," Naruto laughed, handing the treat over to the pinkette. "You're really weird when you do that you know, Sakura-chan?"

"When I do what?"

"You know…when you doze off like that. Like you're thinking really deeply, but sleeping at the same time," Taking a large bite out of his banana split, Naruto was oblivious to the disgusted look Sasuke gave him as bits of bananas dripped off his chin. "You know…I bet you're thinking of me, huh?"

Sakura rolled her eyes, also taking a bite out of her cookies 'n cream. Naruto could be such a clown sometimes—

"Hn, don't be stupid Dobe, she thinks of me."

A large gap of silence elapsed before Naruto burst out laughing, albeit a little nervously. Sakura was glad of the distraction however, as she felt her whole face turn purple. To cool herself down, the pinkette practically stuffed the whole ice cream down her throat, regretting it moments later when—

"Ah," she gasped, clutching her head. "Brain freeze!"

Being around Sasuke again (without her that is), sure was great…but definitely more painful…

"Okay, have fun, Sakura!"

Waving to Mizu again, the green-eyed teen smiled sadly. Now that her cousin's holiday job had officially started again, she was seeing less of Mizuki. All she knew was that the job took place somewhat twenty minutes away in a shady hut which sold tourist merchandise and tacky Hawaiian shirts. Open eight hours each day, Mizu worked from ten to two with a one hour break, and then from three to five.

Feeling sorry that her cousin couldn't come along for the day Naruto had planned, Sakura shrugged and pulled on a skirt. It would be hot again today.

Hinata was already waiting at the beach by the time Sakura arrived. Naruto and Sasuke were nowhere to be seen. Surprised at their lack of presence, Sakura smiled brightly at Hinata and sat down cross-legged on the sand.

"Hi, Sakura-c-chan..."

Hinata looked stunning in a pale green sundress and straw hat, small green and blue flowers embedded in the garment. The shy teen had taken her sandals off, letting her feet play around in the warm sand. It was much too early for the sun to burn them yet and Sakura took the chance to lay down.

"Hey, Hinata! How are you?"

"G-Good, how about y-you?"

"I'm doing great!" The two females paused, neither sure of what to say. Feeling the silence swiftly descending on them, Sakura improvised. "So," wracking her brain for something to say, the pinkette blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "Tell me about yourself…like, uh…how did you and Naruto meet?"

At this, Hinta turned a pretty scarlet and a small smile escaped her lips. Sakura beamed.

"Well…w-we met about a-a-a year and a half a-ago…I-I was swimming down b-by the pier to the north of t-town and N-Naruto…"

As Hinata continued, Sakura noticed the stuttering faltering and Hinata slowly creeping out of her shell. The Hyuuga spoke about Naruto with such passion, Sakura had no doubt that she would be at their wedding in a few years time.

"…so then he told me…that I looked n-nice and we've been going out ever since."

Sitting up and dusting the sand off her arms, Sakura could feel her own cheeks starting to heat up.

"That's…really sweet," the pinkette patted Hinata on the shoulder. "I'm sure you guys will have the cutest babies ever."

Biting her tongue to stop the laughter from erupting when Hinata squeaked and pulled her hat lower to her face, Sakura shook her head and hugged the blushing girl, laughing as the pale-eyed teen whispered she hoped so.

In the next few days, the four of them travelled around Port Honju, with Sakura being led around the busier parts of the Port, experiencing the wonders of the small town where all the groceries were done and all the fish were sold. Sakura never had a moment of boredom, what with the hilarious antics of Naruto, shy tendencies of Hinata and the sarcastic comments from Sasuke.

I wonder what it would be like to live here…

Meanwhile, with Yuri away, Sakura and Sasuke mended their friendship, the bond between the pair becoming more unbreakable than ever before. It helped that Naruto was a romantic, taking Hinata on secret boat trips and dinner, leaving the cooing Sakura and bored Sasuke behind to explore on their own.

And it was on one of these adventures that Sakura remembered why she had been so intent on healing their broken bond in the first place.

The night was calm, peaceful—and Sakura loved it. Sasuke was walking her home, a task which had her heart beating a little faster, though not enough to completely wind her. It was quiet between the pair—but not the awkward, painful silence they usually had, no. Sakura could feel the ease in the air between them, and it was this ease that made her say what she did.

"Do you want to star gaze?"

The words were out before she had a chance to rethink through them. Slapping her cheek for the stupidity of her words, Sakura amended herself.

"I-I mean, if you don't have anything to do—not that you wouldn't because I get it if—"


Startled, the pinkette let the dark-haired male lead the way down the beach and to a picnic table placed a few metres before the waves. Lying down with his feet on the seats and head at the end of the table, Sasuke said no more as he stared up into the sky.

Knowing this was his invitation; Sakura nearly—nearly, clapped her hands in glee. Jumping over to him, she placed her head next to his, letting her bright eyes wander around the night sky.

The stars were much more vibrant than they were back home in Konoha. Must be the pollution… letting her thoughts stray home, Sakura thought of Ino and Temari, and all her other friends. She had kept in contact with them, remembering her promise to inform Ino about everything but with so little time to be alone with Sasuke, it was almost impossible to keep track of when to do what.

Turning her head slightly, Sakura watched the teen out of the corner of her eye. Again, the word 'beautiful' passed across her mind, and the beating of her heart increased tenfold. The handsome male took no notice of her stare and this only made her even more breathless.

It was no hidden fact that Sasuke had opened up to her—he had let her into his heart—albeit slowly…but surely. There were still those times when Sakura would be explaining some silly thing, and she would notice, with a stab to her poor heart, that he wasn't really listening…he was thinking…about her. Yuri had been away a week—much longer than Sasuke had initially said but Sakura knew her time with him was limited.

"Sakura," said male started, turning his head to face her.

The pinkette turned to fully face him too, desperately trying not to reach out and smooth back his spiky hair from his cheek. Sucking in her own cheeks, Sakura smiled slightly.


"Are you happy here?"

The blunt question shook her and the pinkette turned her head once again, looking up at the twinkling stars. Anything was better than those piercing black eyes. Yet, she couldn't help but turn back, her own version of a smirk on her face.

"Yeah…I'm happy here."

Sasuke had followed her actions, facing the sky again, eyes joining the sparkling dots together, creating his own constellations.

"…When are you leaving?"

Green eyes widened slightly and Sakura forced a smile on her face.

Cautiously, she reached out. Sasuke's hand met her's. He didn't pull away.

"Sasuke…I don't want to think about that yet," Sakura cleared her throat. "…but I will have to return soon. Meanwhile," the pinkette played with his thumb, lightly scratching the skin under his nail. "Let's just focus on now, yeah?"

The dark-haired male didn't reply for a while and Sakura continued to stare up at the sky, unconsciously tracing his knuckles, feeling the contours easily, as if it were her's—as if he were her's—

"Hn," his deep voice rumbled into the quiet darkness. "Let go, Sakura."

An electric shock seemed to run through Sakura's whole body and she dropped his hand as if bitten by a scorpion. The moment was gone. Clenching her fist tightly, Sakura (tried to) ignore the coolness she had felt in between her fingers and she let out a soft chuckle. Of course, she thought bitterly, he has her. Even without Yuri present, somehow, the evil girl dampened the mood. Knowing she shouldn't feel sour (she was his girlfriend), Sakura closed her eyes.

Without the sense of sight helping her, Sakura could feel her other sensing kicking in immediately.

The waves crashed against her eardrums and the smell of salt and sand and serenity filled her nose. Her sense of touch was all the more sensitive—Sakura could feel the wood against her back and the subtle warmth on her left, radiating from him.

Sasuke. Even with her eyes closed, the teen could see. She could see him, in all his glory, glowing in front of the world of darkness. But it wasn't enough.

So, letting her eyes flutter open, Sakura, for the billionth time that night, took a look at Sasuke. The Uchiha had his own eyes closed. Everything—just everything—about the male was perfect and though Sakura knew her train of thought was heading dangerously close to an off-limits area, she couldn't stop it. Not when—

Not when she loved him.

She may have only known this man for a short time, but she knew.

She loved him.

A/N: I'm not even going to make up excuses. I'm sorry.