Standard disclaimer applies. Hope you find a way to enjoy this!
Sakura Haruno hates flowers.
Which is quite ironic, since her best friend happens to own the most popular flower shop nearest Konoha University.
They're so beautiful. And delicate. And short term. And symbolic.
She hates flowers.
Aside from family members, she has yet to receive them from anyone else. And so now, she dreads that someone unimportant would surprise her with a single stalk of rose, or a bouquet of lilies. She doesn't want to receive flowers from someone who did not matter.
That is a very harsh way of describing it, yes. But she was cheated. She missed out on receiving flowers.
She supposes that receiving beautiful flowers would count as a 'first' for her. She scoffed. And to think that she has gone through all the basic firsts out there.
Sakura stood there, in the flower shop; thumbing the silky yellow rose petals that had fallen onto the counter.
Ino Yamanaka, best friend of more than two decades, sighed loudly. She was busy arranging bouquets of flowers when Sakura entered the shop. The rose-haired girl walked over to where she was standing, and proceeded to 'help' her. And by 'helping', she meant plucking petals off an unfortunate flower.
"Hey forehead, quit punishing my flowers." Her best friend finally decided to break the silence.
"I'm not punishing them, pig." she quietly replied. Sakura moved on to scooping up the fallen petals and sorting them out by size. They really are beautiful.
"Look at all those petals."
The roseatte rolled her eyes. "Punish them for what, then?"
"For what your ex never did." Ino sing-songed.
Sakura's hands hovered over the stalks of daisies lying next to her pile of rose petals. She released a soft sigh.
"I think we should stop blaming Sai for this."
"Well he was an idiot, really. I honestly don't know how the hell you lasted for two years. I mean, come on. Aside from se-"
"Okay, okay. Aside from…that, there was no romance at all! I mean, seriously. No flowers? What the hell was that? And he even argued with you about corsages and boutonnieres! What kind of guy would flat out say, 'We don't need them' to a girlfriend during prom season? Unforgivable!"
"I'm really not in the mood to recall high school memories, you know."
Ino momentarily stopped arranging her bouquet.
"First of all, Sakura, it was only during your senior year of high school. That, and your first year of college here. Secondly, I understand that flowers cost money. But that bastard wasn't dirt poor. I still don't understand how you went through two years without receiving any flowers from him."
"Ino, they're just flowers." There. She flat-out said it.
The atmosphere darkened.
"Sakura, get out before I cut y-"
The little bells on the door jingled, signaling that a customer had entered. A flash of green, and Sakura was already hiding behind the counter.
"Ah, Lee!" Ino exclaimed.
"Hi, Ino," the boy greeted. His thick brows were scrunched, eyes darting from left to right. "I thought I saw another person in here with you?"
Ino smiled. She felt a cool hand on her right leg. Looking down, she saw her best friend, furiously (and silently) mouthing 'I love flowers' while huddled behind the work station. She quirked a slender blonde brow before focusing her attention back to the customer.
"Must be your imagination, Lee! So, what can I do for you today?"
"Oh, I see. Well, I was wondering if I could see your new arrivals. The bouquet I purchased last week didn't quite make it to Sakura, sadly. Your friend is always too busy; I always catch her walking away whenever I try to visit her at the hospital. You know you've made riches from me alone, but believe it or not, none of those bouquets ever got to her! Imagine that!"
"Oh, really? How unfortunate!" Ino had to pretend that she was indeed perplexed.
"Yes! But do not worry. I always stop by the children's ward. The youthful little girls there always enjoy your flowers," he concluded.
"I'm glad they didn't go to waste!" she replied. She cringed when the boy mentioned his favorite word, youthful. She supposes that was the longest he had ever talked before spitting out his signature word. Ino made a mental note to rip out the 'youthful' section out of a thesaurus and secretly stash it inside Lee's pockets, one of these days. Of course, that would actually require him to wear something other than that awful green jumpsuit of his.
"Ino?" Lee started walking towards the counter.
The hand on her leg squeezed harder.
"Oh, the new arrivals, of course. Come with me to the back, Lee. I assembled a fresh bouquet. Very colorful. The kids will love it," she answered.
"That would be fantastic! Of course, the kids will only see it if I miss Sakura at the hospital again…"
As soon as Ino and Lee disappeared to the back of the store, Sakura made a dash for the exit.
After several minutes of power walking, she finally settled on a leisurely pace. The weather was perfect today. The sun warmed her skin, and the cool wind played with her tresses. On a Saturday morning like this, she usually heads towards the library for some light reading.
But she did not feel like it today.
Her feet carried her to a playground, just blocks away from a park. She was glad to find an empty swing set.
She sat down on the blue swing, pushed herself off the ground, closed her eyes, and allowed her mind to relax.
Truthfully, Sai is nothing but a memory to her now. She cared about him. Loved him. They lasted for two years, and it took her over a year to get over him. She was heartbroken. But that was it.
Sakura solidified a wall, after the break-up.
"It crumbled," she mumbled to herself. Her eyes were openly gazing at the clouds now. She smiled and wondered if Ino's boyfriend, Shikamaru, would ever watch clouds this way. She deduced that he wouldn't. It was much easier to just lie down on a hill and comfortably gaze at the sky.
Sighing, she went back to her thoughts.
She hated flowers.
But she doesn't blame Sai for this hatred. She just doesn't understand why she hasn't received them. She's twenty-two now.
True, many have tried to offer her flowers, but at the sight of these men, Sakura would run away. She wanted to receive flowers from someone she wanted…well, someone she wanted to receive flowers from.
Ino chastised her for being too picky.
She smiled at this thought. Kicking off the ground, with more strength this time, Sakura tilted her head back and enjoyed the sun on her face. Another memory resurfaced.
She received flowers before. A flower, if she wanted to get technical.
Sakura was about five, then. She was sitting on a small hill, in a park, busily getting grass stains on her new white sundress. She was also wearing a straw hat, which covered her bright and playful pink hair.
A little boy of around the same age joined her. And a silly dialogue ensued.
"Go away. This is my spot!" Sakura spat.
"My parents own this park. You go away!" he retorted.
The little girl narrowed her eyes and stuck her tongue out. The boy mimicked the gesture, but sat next to the girl anyway. She took note of his weird hair. Blue-black and sticking out everywhere!
After a few minutes of silence, he opened his mouth.
"Your dress is dirty."
"I know." Pause. "Your clothes are too clean."
Little Sakura grabbed a handful of grass and dragged them across the front of the boy's shirt.
"There," she said. "Yours is dirty too."
He inspected his shirt. A messy green stain on a stark white shirt greeted his eyes. He laughed. "What are you doing here anyway?" He finally asked.
She smiled. Her green irises twinkled. "I'm looking for a four leaf clover! Someone told me it's very lucky! I want to find one and keep it forever and ever, so I'll be lucky forever and ever and ever!"
"You talk too much," he concluded.
She stuck her tongue out again.
"Stop doing that." He found it slightly annoying. But only by a little.
They decided to look for the four leaf clover. She told him that she's willing to share it, if she finds one. He simply replied with "Finders keepers," which prompted the girl to stick her tongue out again.
After what seemed like hours upon hours of fruitless search, they finally gave up.
Sakura was sad. The boy was aggravated.
"I'll tell someone to look for it," he said.
"That's cheating!" she replied.
"Let's look again."
"I'm tired. I have to go soon. Maybe next time?" She wondered if she'll ever see this boy again. He was rude, but fun to play with.
"Maybe," he simply answered.
"Okay," she began, as she finally stood up. "Next time!" She waved at him and started walking away.
"W-wait!" he yelled after her.
The girl turned around to find the boy sluggishly walking up to her.
"Give me your hand," he said, upon reaching her.
She held out her right hand. It was green and brown from all the grass and dirt. He wiped it across his shirt, unsuccessfully getting the dirt off.
He then placed something around her wrist.
"What is it?" she curiously asked.
"I couldn't find that clover. But this one is prettier," he answered. He let go of her hand, quickly turned around, and walked towards the opposite direction.
The girl brought her wrist closer for inspection. A white flower! The stalk had been twisted into a circle, resembling a bracelet.
"So pretty," she mumbled. She was ready to call out a 'thank you' but the boy was already gone.
She visited the park the next day, but he did not show.
The boy remained a fleeting childhood memory.
"You're too heavy for that swing," came a voice.
Sakura broke out of her reverie.
"Hey, Sasuke," she greeted.
"Hn." He gave her a light push, and then settled on the pink swing to her left.
"Morning jog?" she asked.
The sound of the steel chain grinding on the steel bar echoed throughout the playground.
"I'm going downtown tonight," he said.
"I suppose that's your way of asking if I'd like to accompany you," she remarked.
He remained quiet.
"I don't feel like it," she added.
Because I'm trying to get away from you.
"Because I have an early shift tomorrow at the hospital," she answered.
"You're only an intern."
"You sure you can't come?"
"Why are you planning to go there, anyway?"
He kicked off the ground. She followed suit. He was swinging higher than her now.
"Just to get away."
"Oh, okay. I could, but shouldn't," she concluded.
"Alright," he said. His feet caught the ground, and he stood up. "You smell like the shop."
She sniffed her sleeve. "No I don't."
"Roses," he affirmed.
"I especially hate roses."
He quirked a brow.
She stared up at him. "They are beautiful, aren't they? I like the fact that they have thorns, but dislike the fact that roses are almost universal. You can find it in different colors, for different purposes and can give it to just about anyone. The uniqueness of it having thorns and beautiful petals loses to the way it's commercialized too much. So I hate them."
He almost rolled his eyes. "You talk too much."
She stuck her tongue out.
His brows furrowed at this gesture. "I'm leaving now," he called.
"Enjoy downtown," she replied.
And he left.
Sakura clutched at her chest. She stared at the empty pink swing to her left.
The reason why her wall crumbled down.
They met four years ago, at an extracurricular club at Konoha U. She was cheerful and he was reticent. But they developed a good friendship. They met when she was with Sai and while he developed an interest in some girl named Karin. He was there when she was heartbroken from the break-up, and she was there when he was frustrated with Karin's commitment issues. They were there for each other.
They were good friends. They cherished their friendship.
But something awful happened along the way.
Sakura Haruno fell for Sasuke Uchiha.
Sure, he is handsome, rich, and smart. His piercing onyx eyes make the ladies swoon, and men are jealous of his physique. Sakura sees all of these. But she sees more.
Sasuke lets most of his guard down around her. She understands why he is quiet. Understands why he is apprehensive of having a family later on in life. She enjoys his spontaneous nature. She knows why he likes going out for a drive to just about anywhere. She loves conversations with him. She is especially enthralled by his rare smiles.
Her feelings for Sasuke have been on and off for about two years now. She tried to put an early stop to it, but failed miserably. She wanted to dispel all romantic notions, but every moment spent with Sasuke just shattered her resolve.
And so now, here she is. Inlove with a friend. Inlove with Sasuke Uchiha.
She wanted to get away from him. Away from the heartache. Away from this unrequited love. She would never admit it. She hasn't told a single soul about her feelings for him. And it will remain this way.
She was not the type to fall for a friend. And neither is he.
He is hard to read, but she knows enough to safely say that she's only a friend. She knows her place.
So here she is, annoyed at herself. Trying to summon the strength to banish what she feels for him. Several days ago, she was determined to avoid him. She needed distance, she admitted.
But she could not stay away. So she simply settled with lightly cutting away communication. She held herself back from texting him. She stopped dropping by his apartment, and avoided certain buildings at school.
It was successful, until today.
"Idiot," she mumbled out loud.
That's what you get for falling.
Three weeks had passed.
Sakura mumbled a few thank you's as she exited the Konoha General Hospital. She finally completed her internship for the semester. It was a sunny Thursday afternoon. Plenty of time to…do absolutely nothing.
She smiled. I'll stop by Ino's, she mused. As if on cue, her phone vibrated. She fished it from out of her pocket and glanced at the caller ID.
"Ino-pig, I was just thinking about stopping by," she greeted.
"Oh, I'm touched, Forehead. But I think you'll have to stall for quite sometime. Lee heard about your completed internship, so I'm pretty sure he'll be here to buy all the flowers from my shop," Ino rambled. "Oh, and congratulations!"
"Whyyyy does he keep doing it?" Sakura whined.
"Beats me. Oblivious man. But he's my best customer, thanks to you," the blonde rationalized.
Sakura sighed. "I guess I'll just see you some other time. Let's have dinner tonight. Happy hour at the usual place? I'm craving their martinis."
"Mmm. Good choice. Alright, I'll see you later. I think I see Lee-and-yup-there-he-is-see-you-later-bye" Ino quickly whispered before hanging up.
Sakura stared at her phone. Where should she go now?
To the park it is. She decided.
Cumulus clouds against a serene, blue sky greeted Sakura's green irises. She definitely prefers this over an encounter with Lee.
After taking a couple of deep breaths, she decided to close her eyes and nap for a few minutes. Dr. Tsunade decided to be ruthless on the very last day of her internship. Her early morning consisted of piles of paperwork and interaction with the rowdy patients. Sakura was tired.
She was drifting off to sleep when she heard the crunch of grass against someone's shoes. She opened her eyes and tilted her head to the source.
It was Sasuke.
And damn, he looked awfully nice. He was wearing a white button up, with some black slacks. She wondered what the occasion was. She also wondered what he was holding in his right hand, which was currently hidden behind his back.
"You found me," she began. It's been three weeks.
"Aa." He sat down.
She sat upright. "Is that food? I am a little hungry. My final shift was a killer and-"
He held out his right hand.
"-what is that?"
He was grasping a bouquet of red roses.
"Congratulations," he simply said.
She stared at the flowers, then at Sasuke, then back at the flowers again. She scrunched her brows together.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooo!" She dramatically called out.
"Sasuke, you idiot! You can't give me flowers!"
"I'm supposed to get them from someone else!"
"I don't know. But you're my friend!" she whined.
"You don't want them?" he asked. He was a bit annoyed.
She sighed. "I hate them. I especially hate roses. Remember? You have a terrible memory! I had a short speech about how they're commercialized and used for every single occasion by just about anyone! You suck."
"Your vocabulary is astounding."
"Hn." He shoved the roses into her hands.
"I don't want them." She shoved them back.
Sasuke held onto the bouquet, and silence lingered between the two for what seemed like forever.
"I don't know. I was hoping the first flowers I'd ever get would be from a suitor. Or a boyfriend. Or a husband. Something like that," she said. "Someone who mattered."
He quirked a brow at her.
"I mean, you matter. But you're my friend," she quickly defended.
"A+ for effort," he remarked.
She stuck her tongue out.
He shoved the bouquet back at her. "Liar," he said.
"You love roses."
She remained quiet.
"And you're an idiot," he continued.
"First, a liar. Now, an idiot. Are you forgetting that I have a mean right hook, Sasuke?" Sakura called out.
"I have excellent memory."
"No, you don't. I told you how I hated flowers. And how I especially hated roses, and what are you doing-"
As Sakura babbled, Sasuke grabbed her right hand. He quickly slipped something around her ring finger and returned her hand back to her.
Sakura stared at her right hand. Around her finger was a tiny white flower; its slim stalk curved into a ring.
"What is this?" she asked.
Sasuke sighed. Sakura stared at the flower-ring for a few more minutes before gasping out loud.
"How did you-"
"I have excellent memory."
She was surprised beyond belief. Sasuke was the little boy from the park! All this time. All these years. She was simply speechless.
Sasuke grabbed the roses. "I already beat your future suitor, boyfriend, and husband. All at the tender age of five."
Sakura grabbed the roses back. "I didn't say that it was some sort of competition."
They stared at each other for a few minutes.
"You knew all along that I was the little girl from the park?"
"How? I mean, I'm easy to recognize because of my hair. But I'm pretty sure I was wearing a hat that day."
"You're just as annoying," he asserted.
She stuck her tongue out.
"There," he said.
"That annoying thing you do."
"You know you love it," she smiled.
"Your eyes. They matched the grass. Pretty."
Sakura reddened at the offhanded compliment. He stared at her.
"I'm going downtown tonight," he said.
"I suppose you're asking if I'd like to accompany you, yet again?"
He was quiet.
"To get away?" she followed.
"To be with you," he answered.
Her cheeks flushed again.
"A date?" she asked.
"You ask too many questions." He finally looked away.
A pregnant pause. Then-
"Yeah. A date." He focused his attention back to her.
"Oh," was all she could say. "Well, I can't."
"What now? You're done with that internship." He sounded so irritated.
She laughed. "I promised Ino some martinis at happy hour tonight."
He almost rolled his eyes. Almost. He grabbed the roses again. "Fine." He stood up.
"Hey!" she called out. She stood up and grabbed the roses from him.
"You said you hated roses."
"So I was right."
She stuck her tongue out.
"I like flowers," she said, as she caressed a rose from the bouquet. "I especially like roses."
Sasuke smirked. "Since when?"
Sakura glanced up to him and smiled. "I don't know. For a while now."
Sasuke returned the smile. "Let's go eat," he said. He grabbed her hand and started walking uphill.
"Oh, wait, I forgot something."
This time, Sasuke actually rolled his eyes. He glanced at the spot where they were sitting. It seemed like she didn't leave anything behind. "I don't see anythi-"
His sentence was cut short when he felt Sakura's hands all over his shirt. He looked down and saw a huge grass stain across the front of it.
"You look really nice today, Sasuke." Sakura laughed. "And thank you for the flowers. I love them."
Before he could react, she quickly stepped away from him and walked uphill.
Sasuke quietly inspected his shirt. He spent an extra second this morning, trying to decide what to wear today, only for this to happen. Silly woman.
As he turned around to follow Sakura uphill, he noticed something by his foot. It was a four leaf clover. He stared at it for a few seconds before looking up at Sakura's retreating back. A small smile played across his lips. He decided not to pluck it. Keeping his eyes on the roseatte's form, he quietly mumbled, "Finders keepers."
Sakura clutched at her chest as she climbed uphill. Her heart was practically threatening to leap out of her ribcage. She honestly has no idea what to think. But she knows one thing for sure.
She loves flowers.
Hope you liked it! Sorry for the lack of updates. This semester was a killer. As usual, reviews are MUCH MUCH MUCH appreciated! And happy holidays to you all3