Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
The first day of school for Sakura…was the exact opposite of what she imagined. Mother had told her she would make many friends and have a fantastic time playing with each others' hair and eating yummy snacks for recess. Father had assured her it would be an adventure like no other—her very own journey across the unknown.
Her green eyes had shone back then, full of hope and happiness. She had always had her own opinions of 'school'.
But whatever thoughts she had of the teachers, classmates, lessons and playground, immediately vanished when the five-year-old turned to see her father's blue car turning around the corner, going in the opposite direction.
Suddenly, the young pinkette felt sick. What did she do now? All she knew was that she was finally there. In front of the intimidating school gates, knees wobbly and small, pale hands shaking. Frantically looking around, Sakura realized she was the only one. Was she too early? Or had the bell already rung? Wait…what did a bell sound like?
Ready to burst into tears (then collapse; most likely), Sakura bit her lip, willing the clear liquid to stop in its tracks. Father had promised her everything would be fine. That meant everything would be fine.
A soft bang of a car door shutting startled the terrified girl. Spinning around, relief flooded her systems when she spied a young boy her age walking in her direction. The black vehicle he had arrived in reversed and drove away—but unlike her, the dark-haired boy did not look back.
Hoping to make a good first impression, Sakura wiped away a tear that had somehow escaped her eye and smiled brightly. She expected the new boy to smile back. She was mistaken.
Narrowed eyes stared back at her and not once did his thin lips turn upwards. Frowning, Sakura surprised both parties by letting out a startlingly sweet laugh. Black eyes stared back, not amused in the slightest. But still, the pinkette continued giggling, unaware of just who she was dealing with.
Finally, the dark-haired child scowled, frustrated with the joke he apparently did not get.
"What's so funny?"
The sudden gift of speech rendered Sakura silent, but her eyes still laughed, not unkind and not mocking.
"Well," she began, anxiety apparently gone and her natural cheerfulness making her cheeks flush pink. "It's just…your…your hair is very strange."
Unconsciously blushing, the boy remained scowling.
"It's a good thing!" His facial expression seemed to startle her back into being the nervous five-year-old she was. "I-I mean, I've never seen such dark hair before…I think it's nice…"
"Hn…" Again, a frown marred the girl's expression—why didn't he talk? "Your hair is strange too."
Sakura's eyes widened, her panic spreading.
"…but I like it too."
And that's when both children knew they were going to be good friends.
"What is it?"
The Sasuke frowned up at the pink-haired girl, flinching when she almost tripped over a truck that sat in the big sandbox. Luckily, she managed to straighten herself up…before leaping over various other toys to get to his side. A small paper bag flapped by her side, the material scrunching under her excited fist.
"Look! Look what mummy made me for lunch!"
Curiosity getting the better of him, Sasuke slowly released the handful of sand he was about to place at the very top of his castle. Many other students glanced up at the commotion, but swiftly returned to their own lunches and toys when seeing who it was.
Still panting from her run, Sakura carefully placed the bag at her feet before flopping down next to the quiet boy, her green eyes not dulling at all, despite noticing the averted stares from her fellow peers. All she needed was Sasuke.
Eyes glued to the paper bag, Sasuke held in his gasp, but black eyes widening to represent his wonder. The tinniest pair of cupcakes perched themselves on Sakura's small palm; one with light blue icing and the other decorated with a pink butterfly.
A surprised look passed over Sasuke's face before it was back to it's subtly curios expression. These were Sakura's cupcakes…not his. Smile fading, Sakura tilted her head to the left. Sasuke didn't seem to understand.
"Mummy said she was happy that I made a friend, so she made an extra cupcake. I did the sprinkles!"
Sure enough, both treats had colourful flecks on them, messily placed but not enough to put out the appetite. Sasuke raised an eyebrow and carefully reached forward, still unsure about what this new gesture meant. Seemingly impatient, Sakura finally thrust the cake into his hands, giggling when his unsteady hands almost squashed the poor thing.
Obeying her own words, the pinkette carefully nibbled on her butterfly before pushing the whole treat into her mouth. Giving him a disapproving look when he did not move, Sakura waved her hands around, urging him to dig in. And he did.
Albeit slowly, but surely enough, after the first tentative bite, Sasuke had swallowed the whole cupcake in a matter of seconds.
"Do you like it?"
By now the bell had rung, but neither moved; Sakura still intent on his silent reaction and Sasuke still licking his lips. Then—
The biggest grin split out on her round face, missing front tooth showing and all. Clapping her hands, obviously pleased, Sakura grabbed his hand and started sprinting to their classroom.
Only by a second did she miss his small smile.
"I love school!"
The three Harunos sat at the small dining table, the clinking of the glass and silverware the only sounds. Conversation was comfortably scarce until Sakura interrupted, her voice muffled by the potatoes still full in her mouth.
Surprised, both adults turned to their beaming daughter, who began to cut up her chicken happily.
There was a reason Sakura's declaration had surprised her parents. It wasn't long ago the pinkette had come home, red-eyes and clothes just a bit dirtier than they should've been for her first day. It was also only a while ago when Sakura had claimed she wanted to quit school and help her mother with cooking. Mr. Haruno had questioned her strange behaviour, but nothing could make her talk.
"Sakura, honey, what's the matter? I thought you were excited to go to school!"
Surprisingly quiet, the pinkette turned back to her colouring, still pouting. This time her mother tried.
"Sakura, please tell us if there's anything upsetting you…is the homework too hard? Have you made friends yet?"
At this, Sakura looked up, stopping completely in colouring Dorothy the Dinosaur. A purple pencil rolled across the pencil and onto the floor, but she didn't make a move to retrieve it.
Her parents glanced at each other, worry marring their features.
"Sakura, if you're having problems with friends…then—"
Green eyes peered up at Mrs. Haruno, clear and wide.
"…Some girls said I was silly." Hands now twisting in her lap, Sakura looked away. "They s-said my hair was silly and then some boys said my head was big."
"W-well—" Both parents bit their lip. What did they say to an innocent kindergarten about bullying?
"…But…I do have one friend…he was very nice."
"He likes my hair."
"What's wrong Sasu-kun?"
"Okay then…do you want to play on the swings?"
"What about the sand?"
"O-Okay…what do you want to do then?"
Sakura smoothed out her hair, too distracted by her own confused thoughts to notice the laughing stares she received from some of her classmates. It was reading time, but no matter what the 'Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar' wanted to eat, she could not focus.
Why was Sasuke avoiding her?
Did she do something wrong?
"Sakura, please focus on your book." Her teacher smiled encouragingly and the pinkette discarded her thoughts for the time being, making up her mind to ask Sasuke about his actions at lunch time.
The boy didn't turn around, instead, walking even faster toward the back of the library building.
"I don't want to play today, Sakura."
"But Mummy made cupcakes again…I brought some sprinkles so you can put it on your own cupcake."
"Sorry Sakura, not today."
The dark-haired boy didn't answer, instead averting his eyes and staring off at some of the other kids running around the grass area.
Then, it hit her. Sasuke was the only person who didn't tease her about her hair. The only person who cared enough to arrive early in the morning with her…the only friends she had. And he was sick of it. Who wanted to be with the outcast? Sasuke was popular enough to play dragons and knights with the other boys—why would he want to spend time with her and her cupcakes?
"Okay then, Sasuke." The boy frowned at the absence of 'kun'. "I'll see you later."
"How was school today?"
"Did Sasuke like the cupcake you brought him?"
"Sasuke doesn't like cupcakes."
It was reading time again. Now reading a book about ducks, Sakura ignored the fact that Sasuke had not talked to her the whole week. She had first realized he'd rather play with his other friends on Tuesday. It was now Friday. The pink-haired girl had pretty much given up hope—Sasuke was not her friend anymore. Even in the morning, he arrived early but made a beeline for the back of the library straight away. Not even a hi. Not even a hi.
Anger slowly started bubbling up inside Sakura's chest. Who was he to befriend her then get bored? Who was he to not acknowledge her when she smiled at him? Who was he to be so special mum offered to make him sweets? The rage crackled and burst.
Thrusting back her chair the moment the bell rung, Sakura rushed to the back of the library, determined to accuse Sasuke the minute she saw him.
"Sakura? What are you—"
"You're mean, Sasuke! You're the biggest meanie ever!"
Shock was evident in his eyes, but instead of the frown Sakura was expecting, Sasuke stuck out his chin, a strange determination set in his black eyes.
"Sakura, I want to play today."
Her first reaction was to smile and agree, but then she hesitated. Just because he said so? What if she didn't want to play with him? But you do.
"No. I said you were a meanie. A big meanie!"
"Come with me."
But she followed him anyway. All the way to the small bush behind the library building. What was so important he had to hide in such a secret place? Despite her anger at Sasuke, Sakura couldn't help but shiver in excitement—Sasuke was talking to her.
"Sasuke?" She sat down cross legged when the boy stopped in his tracks and turned to face her. "Why didn't you want to play with me?"
The boy ignored her question, instead, asking one of his own.
"Can you keep a secret, Sakura?"
"Yes!" She leaped up on her feet. "I love secrets! I promise I won't tell!"
"Okay then." There was no suspicion or doubt in his voice and Sakura beamed at the fact. Sasuke trusted her. All thoughts of the dark-haired boy playing with the others and mocking her disappeared as the boy strolled over to the bush and drew something out.
What was it?
"Sakura…" Sasuke started, his cheeks dusted a soft pink. His hands were behind his back and the suspense was causing Sakura's heart to leap to her throat. "I'm sorry for not playing with you this week. It's because I wanted to play with Oturan."
At this Sasuke pulled out the object he had been hiding. Sakura's eyes widened in surprise. It was a teddy bear. A small, chocolate brown teddy bear with black buttons for eyes and blue paws. Half of one of the ears was ripped and a few spots of light brown was scattered across the body.
"This is Oturan. I've had him for a long time." Sakura lifted her hand to stroke the toy but the protective boy pulled away, eyebrows drawn together. "My brother gave him to me and I've never told anyone before."
"Oturan," she said lightly, knowing how special the bear was to Sasuke. "H-He's…very cute."
Unsure of what response she would receive, Sakura turned away. So that's why he was avoiding her—Sasuke was nervous about school too. He even brought his own little friend to spend time with. At least she was sure it wasn't because he didn't want to be her friend…
"Sasuke…? I'm sorry for calling you a meanie."
"A big meanie," He corrected her, eyes near twinkling. "It's okay…so…do you still have cupcakes? I don't mind you and Oturan being friends."
And for the first time in days, Sakura was sure about 'school'.
It didn't matter if her classmates teased her. As long as she had Sasuke…one of her two friends.
They both smiled.