Title: Beneath the Calm Facade
Date: July 3, 2011
Summary:"Be yourself, Haruno. Don't change yourself because of me."
Pairing: Sasuke and Sakura
Themes: Drama, Angst, Romance
Prompt: SasuSaku Month – Week 1: Alternate Universe; Day 3: Change
Beneath the Calm Façade
"Your paperwork, Uchiha-san."
Uchiha Sasuke paused in his careful perusal of the contract in his hands before lifting his head up to acknowledge his company. Bright emerald eyes met his deep onyx, her gaze regarding him calmly as she patiently held out a thick stack of folders for him to take.
Curious, Sasuke took his time laying down the sheets in his hand, leaning back in his leather chair as he blatantly considered the woman standing before him. She raised a single, pink brow in response.
Dressed immaculately as ever in her black pencil skirt and white-collared blouse, long legs ending in tasteful black pumps, Sasuke silently approved of her choice in attire, expecting nothing but professionalism from his personal secretary, especially in a demanding job like that of the Uchiha Business Empire. He glanced at the clock above the doorway of his office – she had finished her work an hour early.
Impressive yet unsurprising – Haruno Sakura was no slacker, proven time and time again during the past eighteen months under his employment.
"Uchiha-san," She repeated; her tone didn't contain any impatience – it was candid, a single word that would snap him from his inner musings.
Returning his gaze to her face Sasuke found her composed expression a little irritating – it was the only look he was familiar with when it came to her; it was calm, cool, collected and professional Haruno Sakura. Perhaps there were reasons for this but Uchiha Sasuke wouldn't pry – it wasn't worth the effort, so long as she got her work done and got it done right, he wouldn't complain. She was by far the best secretary he had ever hired.
"Thank you, Haruno," He finally answered as he took the manila folders from her hold, "It seems you've finished early – take a break, get some coffee, you deserve it."
Sakura shook her head, pink strands from her practical bun falling loose and over her eyes; she brushed them away before pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose; the sunlight filtering through his office window causing a glare against the lenses, covering her expressive irises, "Thank you, Uchiha-san, but I should get started on the Sarutobi Files immediately – they're due by the end of the week."
"End of the week," A new voice interrupted, two pairs of eyes switching to the office's entrance, finding the ever loud and charismatic Uzumaki Naruto, "I can understand end of the day, Sakura-chan, but the end of the week? That's in five days; you've got plenty of time to finish it. Bastard's actually showing kindness and you're not going to take it?"
Sasuke scowled, an expression he always wore in the blonde's presence, his frown only deepening when he found Sakura's features blank – not annoyed, amused, anything – she only blinked before shaking her head and turning back towards him.
"Perhaps another time, Uchiha-san," She bowed; glasses slipping a little off her petite nose, "But thank you for your offer and the acknowledgment. I'll be at my desk if you need anything."
Sasuke nodded, allowing the dismissal, watching as she smoothly walked away, past Naruto – who had settled in one if his guest chairs – and disappeared completely from sight.
'What a strange girl…'
"Sometime's I think she's stiffer than you, Teme," Royal blue eyes shifted away from the doorway towards Sasuke, bright grin on his tanned face, "And, really, that's saying something."
Sasuke scowled, returning his full-attention to the contracts on his desk, "Shut up, idiot."
"Sometimes I get past her walls," Naruto shared thoughtfully, "She has her sarcastic moments and she might give a tiny, tiny smile once every blue moon, but she's one tough nut to crack!"
Sasuke tried to tune out Naruto's rambling, dark eyes skimming over various protocols and promises made with a new company the Empire just bought, "Hn."
"But she can be cracked!" Naruto announced, oblivious to Sasuke's rising annoyance, "Shikamaru knows her, and I mean knows her, outside of work. His girlfriend is Sakura-chan's best friend. He's seen her smile, laugh, have fun – I wonder what she looks like…" He pouted, "I tried getting the Nara to spill some stories, even pull out a few embarrassing photos, but he won't budge – says he's 'too lazy'. What a killjoy!"
Sasuke sighed, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't go harassing my employees or go digging through their personal lives."
Naruto crossed his arms petulantly, glaring at his best friend with exasperation, "Aren't you the least bit curious about her?"
"She could be a daredevil," Naruto exclaimed loudly, hands waving in the air, "A supermodel, a secret agent, or even a criminal!"
"She's a secretary," Sasuke stated, pointedly staring at his companion with irritation, "And she does her job and does it well. That's all I need to know and worry about."
"Is there a reason why you're here, loser?" Sasuke snapped, "Because if you're only here to rant and rave about my secretary or you're not here to give me the work you're three hours late in delivering then get out of my office."
Naruto's face brightened considerably, "Oh, right. There's a party tonight! Let's go!"
"What?" Naruto yelped, "We have to go, everyone's going!"
"Then go without me," Sasuke sighed, scanning his papers again, trying his best to ignore the blonde so he could get his work done.
"That's not how it works, bastard," Naruto actually looked annoyed himself; "You've been working non-stop this past month–no–more like the past year! Live a little! Relax! Just a few drinks and hanging out with the guys!"
As tempting as that plan sounded, Sasuke would rather choose to catch up on the little sleep he had gotten than getting drunk with the guys, "Another time, Naruto."
"You go tonight and I'll leave your office right now and have all the paperwork you need done this week all completed by the end of today," Naruto compromised, expression serious yet still hopeful.
That halted Sasuke's reading, dark eyes lifting to connect with deep blue, "…Everything? The Umino Project, the Aburame Museum Files, the Akimichi Restaurant Deal, and the Senju Hospital Fundraiser?"
Naruto nodded vigorously, "I'll even take care of the Orochimaru Lawsuit Files! And buy your drinks!"
Sasuke's brows arched, surprised that Naruto was willing to go that far – especially to freely volunteer to touch the Orochimaru Case; he smirked, "Hn…Deal."
"So you're going, right?" Naruto asked excitedly.
"Only if you finish all that work like you promised," The Uchiha answered as he returned to his reading.
"R-Right!" Naruto shot off the armchair and made for the door, grinning broadly, "It'll be done in no time – you just be ready to party at eight o' clock sharp!"
As Naruto disappeared from view, Sasuke made himself comfortable in his leather chair and smirked a little wider.
It was a wonder the things Uzumaki Naruto would do to get Sasuke to be social.
'Hn. As long as work gets done in the process, I have no complaints.'
"I need a drink…"
Sasuke and Naruto languidly walked from the Uchiha Empire Headquarters in the Financial District towards the Nightlife Quarter they occasionally visited when times were rough and a good time with friends and alcohol was welcomed.
"Seriously," Naruto continued dramatically, "Getting all that work done was so boring," He flexed his hands, bones cracking to emphasize his point, "My hands and wrists hurt from all that writing and typing!"
"As long as I don't have to worry about you procrastinating all that work, loser," Sasuke shrugged, hands stuffed into his slacks pockets.
The Uchiha stopped in front of an old, brick building – quiet besides the sporadic sound of glass 'clinking' together – staring up at the familiar bar he and his friends usually frequented. He made to step inside when a firm hold on his shoulder stopped him.
"Not tonight, bastard," Naruto grinned as he forcefully dragged the dark-haired male across the street, the sound of low-bass music steadily getting louder, "We're trying something new."
When the two men finally stopped Sasuke was staring disdainfully at a brightly lit building crowding with people, music shaking the ground even when they stood yards away from the entrance. Scowling, Sasuke switched his glare to his companion.
"What the hell is this?"
Confused, Naruto gestured to the building hesitantly, "…A club?"
Dark brows furrowed sharply, "I know what it is, dobe! Why are we here?"
Naruto laughed, further irritating the Uchiha, "It's something new. Come on, Neji and the others are already inside!"
"I'm not going in there!" Sasuke sneered, shrugging the hold off his arm.
Naruto glowered, "Hey, I did all that work for you! And I have to buy your dumbass drinks. You're going!"
Uchiha Sasuke hated how strong Uzumaki Naruto could be when he put his mind to it.
A bottle of cold beer was thrust into Sasuke's free hand, the contents slightly swishing over the lip and onto his hand. With a genuine glare directed at Naruto, Sasuke consumed a generous amount of the substance in one gulp before returning to his brooding mood in the corner of the group's chosen booth.
The club was loud, pounding with music that left the occupants screaming their lungs out to be heard among their companions. Multi-colored lights flashed in the darkness and the dance floor was filled with sweating, gyrating bodies. The bar was packed also, bartenders performing their tricks while paid dancers took up the scattered cages and poles to entertain others with.
Hyuuga Neji and Nara Shikamaru were as quiet as Sasuke, sitting in their booth, enjoying their drinks even as Shikamaru twisted a finger in his ear and Neji flinched with every particularly loud noise produced by the surrounding speakers. Hozuki Suigetsu, Inuzuka Kiba, and Naruto stood by the booth, laughing and enjoying the stifling atmosphere. Subaki Gaara disappeared – most likely to the bar – and Rock Lee was dancing vigorously with the masses.
Sasuke often wondered how he even remained friends with these morons since Middle School.
"Who chose this place again?" Shikamaru drawled as he eyed a group of giggling women warily.
"Who do you think?" Neji sneered as he gestured to the three standing next to their booth – the same three winking flirtatiously at the blushing women, "One of those idiots!"
"…Or all of them…" Gaara offered as he calmly slid into the empty space beside Sasuke, a new bottle of beer in hand.
Sasuke merely grunted before taking another swig of his beverage – just another few hours of enduring the loud music and his idiot friends before he could finally go home and sleep.
"You three are so boring!" Suigetsu complained, clearly tipsy, "We didn't go to the Bar because we didn't want to just sit around and drink – but you're still doing it! Get up and dance."
"No," Came four simultaneous replies.
"Shit!" Naruto shouted; he turned to Sasuke and pointed towards the dance floor hurriedly, "Did you see that? Look! Look!"
Rolling dark eyes, Sasuke followed the general direction of the blonde's pointed finger, frowning when he saw the typical scene of dancing bodies, "I don't see anything, loser."
"LOOK!" Naruto pressed.
Sasuke did – irritated – and couldn't help but straighten with curiosity as a familiar flash of pink reached his vision before disappearing in the crowd of dancers. His dark eyes shifted back to Naruto to find the blonde nodding excitedly, a goofy grin on his features.
Shikamaru straightened as well upon the declaration, his dark eyes sharpened as he scanned the crowd.
"If she's here…" The Nara Genius mumbled, "…damn it, Ino."
Curiosity was definitely getting the best of Sasuke as he found himself leaning forward, obsidian eyes narrowed as he searched for the unmistakable flash of pink again. Calm, cool, collected, professional Haruno Sakura here, in a club?
"Let's go find her!" Naruto suggested, clearly wanting to see the side of Sakura never seen before.
Instantly, Sasuke sat back in his seat and shook his head, "No."
"What?" Naruto shouted in disappointment, "Why not?"
As intrigued as Sasuke was, Sakura was obviously enjoying herself and he didn't want his and Naruto's unexpected presences to ruin that for her. They didn't need business and pleasure to mix for each of them – Sasuke was content in his work relationship with Sakura, he wouldn't compromise it. He would stay where he was and he'd make sure Naruto did too.
"Just let her enjoy her night," Sasuke stated seriously before taking another drink from the bottle in his hand.
Naruto looked like he wanted to argue but settled with dropping childishly into the seat beside Neji to sulk.
When Sasuke finally caught full sight of Haruno Sakura he was left in wide-eyed frozen surprise.
In complete opposition of the conservative pencil skirt and white blouse, his secretary was dressed in a modest yet tight-fitting black dress that flowed just inches above her knees. Her hair, always kept in a bun, cascaded down her back in silky waves and her emerald eyes shined, unobstructed by her ever-present glasses.
What gripped Sasuke the most, however, was her smile. Her expression was carefree, full of enjoyment in the company of her girlfriends, cheeks flushed from her dancing, and body completely at ease with her surroundings.
Haruno Sakura looked…stunning.
"Wow," Naruto mumbled next to him, "Sakura-chan is hot."
The comment earned the blonde a whack to the head, courtesy of his best friend.
Dark eyes, however, ignored his moronic friend in favor of watching Sakura's friends drag her back onto the dance floor to continue enjoying themselves.
Shikamaru sighed across from him, "…What a drag."
"Oh yeah!" Naruto shouted, pointing at the Nara, "You know them, don't you? Tell me, who's that dark-haired girl with the pretty eyes?"
Shikamaru exhaled heavily once more, "Went to University with them. Her name's Hinata, Naruto."
"What?" Neji growled, fully alert as his eyes panned the crowd, "Hinata's here?"
"You know her?" Suigetsu questioned, absorbed by the conversation.
"She's my cousin!" Neji hissed, "What is she doing here?"
"…Your cousin's hot," Naruto grinned lazily – obviously inebriated.
The blonde earned two whacks to the head for that comment.
Sasuke didn't account for how much interest he would take to Sakura's secret, alter ego. As much as he wanted to ignore her, he just couldn't. He wanted to find out more about this mysterious side of hers. He wondered why she put on such a serious front when at work. He expected professionalism from his employees, yes, but it wasn't like he disallowed her from smiling, making small-talk with others, laughing – showing expression and showing herself.
What prevented her from doing that?
"You're staring an awful lot at your secretary, Uchiha," Suigetsu commented breezily, grinning behind his drink and laughing when he barely dodged Sasuke's offhand attack.
"Who can blame him," Kiba stated, "I've never seen Sakura like this before either…ever. If she weren't so unique-looking, I would have totally brushed her off as another girl – but that's definitely Haruno Sakura alright."
"Going to do something about it, Sasuke?" Suigetsu teased, "A boss and his secretary: cliché but hot."
"She is quite attractive," Gaara agreed.
"Shut up you morons," Sasuke growled, before pushing Suigetsu out of the booth and onto the floor so he could leave.
"H-Hey, where're you going? Kiba yelled, trying – and failing miserably – to hold back snickers directed at Suigetsu, who was sprawled on the floor.
"I need another drink," Sasuke answered snappishly.
He probably had four shots too many, especially on top of three full bottles of beer, but Sasuke was still completely aware and conscious, if not a little more relaxed and accepting of his surroundings. The loud music wasn't bothering him anymore and dancing didn't seem like such a bad idea…
"Can I get a shot of tequila please?"
Sasuke knew that voice, but it was different – less restrained, freer, uninhibited. He turned his head, watching with rapt attention as Sakura took the shot from the bartender, threw it back, and followed it up with a slice of lime. Her face was contorted due to the strength of the alcohol but it didn't take long for her striking smile to reemerge.
Sasuke couldn't stay quiet any longer. The curiosity was overwhelming.
Just who was this Haruno Sakura?
Her reaction was immediate, her body stiffening that made Sasuke want to frown. Did his voice, the utterance of her name by him, really have such a negative affect on her?
Slowly she turned towards him, her emerald eyes widening with surprise and a hint of – what Sasuke hoped wasn't – fear before she blinked rapidly, as if what she was witnessing was but an illusion created by her alcohol intake.
When she seemed convinced that Sasuke was indeed real, her eyes widened again and she looked around nervously – a response that amused Sasuke since he had never seen Haruno Sakura look so anxious.
"U-Uchiha-san," She greeted softly – unsurely – further amusing him, "I-I…I…"
"Sasuke," He interrupted earning confusion from the young woman, "We've known each other for over a year now – I don't mind you addressing me by my first name."
It seemed the alcohol Sasuke consumed was making him a little more open and – dare he think it – teasing.
He was silently satisfied to see a small blush crawl up her cheeks, "R-Right."
"Enjoying yourself?" Sasuke inquired casually before taking a sip from his newly acquired beer.
Her brows furrowed, expression now curious – Sasuke was coming to find that Sakura was a lot more facially expressive than he initially realized, "Yes, I am."
Sasuke smirked, "Well, don't let me ruin your fun. It was good to see you, Haruno."
"…Yeah," She answered cautiously as she took a step back, "…You too, Uch–I mean, Sasuke-san."
And with a small hesitant smile that satisfied Sasuke more than her tiny blush, he watched her go in a whirl of pink hair and black fabric before disappearing once more into the rambunctious crowds.
Uchiha Sasuke had only seen a glimpse of her true self…But it left him craving for more.
Sasuke noticed that Sakura was reverting back to her composed and collected veneer – and he had a feeling that it was his doing, his presence that was unnerving her and preventing her from having the fun she was enjoying before he presented himself to her. Her bright, emerald eyes would scan the crowd, lock on his own, and she would hastily turn away – probably because he was too tipsy to care that he was blatantly staring at her from his seat at the booth. She would turn down drinks and reluctantly – stiffly – dance with her friends or refuse to join them altogether. Her friends would glance his way too, smiles would spread, statements were made, and Sakura was left blushing madly before pouting and storming off.
The Uchiha wouldn't deny his ever-growing amusement.
"Where did Shikamaru go?" Suigetsu asked, though he sounded the least bit interested.
"Dancing with his girlfriend – that blonde girl – over there," Kiba waved lazily.
"…How the hell does a guy like him score a bombshell like her?" The amethyst-eyed male exclaimed when he spotted them on the dance floor.
"Apparently you go to University with them," Naruto grumbled and whined, "Lucky bastard is friends with all those hot girls!"
Neji glared heatedly at the blonde male, resisting the urge to kick his shin from under the table.
Sasuke ignored them, continuing to stare at Sakura, subsequently making her nervous as she fidgeted with her dress, even when they were at completely opposite ends of the club. His brows furrowed. He didn't like seeing her uncomfortable and he didn't like being the cause of it.
Making up his mind, the Uchiha stood and began to walk towards his personal secretary. Her eyes met his, widened, and she looked around – probably in search of her friends who had inconveniently disappeared – before slumping her shoulders in defeat and waiting for his inevitable arrival.
"Oi, bastard!" Naruto shouted, "Where're you going?"
Sasuke smirked as he casually continued walking, hands in his pockets, "Dancing."
His answer earned him several fist-pumps and hoots of encouragement.
"Haruno, we meet again."
Sakura leaned against the bar, emerald irises regarding him quickly before shifting back to the dance floor a few meters away, "…Appears so. Having fun, Sasuke-san?"
Sasuke nodded, leaning against the bar just inches away from her, taking a sip from his beer, "More than I expected to have."
She raised a brow at him, "…Is that so?"
"It's been a while since I've enjoyed the company of my friends," Sasuke admitted with a shrug, "Work has been quite chaotic lately."
The mention of work caused Sakura to turn away from him consequently causing the Uchiha to inwardly scold himself for bringing up a taboo subject, "Very true."
Silence reigned between them, tension thickening with every passing awkward second.
"How about a dance, Haruno?" Sasuke suggested as he turned towards her and placed his finished beer bottle on the bar counter.
Again her eyes widened with surprise, "A dance? W-With you?"
Sasuke tried not to look too offended, "You'd prefer not to…?"
"N-No!" Sakura answered hastily if not a little loudly, earning another blush on her cheeks and a raised brow from her boss, "I-It's just…I never…" She sighed, took a deep breath, and Sasuke watched her change back into his no-nonsense secretary right before his very eyes, "I don't think it would be a wise decision. I work for you, Uchiha-san–"
"Sasuke," He corrected.
"–And that's how our affiliation with one another should remain," She continued as if she hadn't been interrupted.
Sasuke kept his brow raised, "It's only a dance, Haruno; I'm not asking you to marry me."
He smirked when she blushed before frowning with indignation, "With all do respect Uchiha-san–"
"Sasuke," He rectified calmly.
"–You asked me to dance in a club," She persisted, "An environment where dancing is less than innocent and both parties have consumed a large amount of alcohol–"
"What are you so afraid of?" Sasuke couldn't help but ask with her growing list of reasons and excuses.
She frowned, "I am not afraid–!"
"Is it me?" Sasuke asked evenly, "Are you uncomfortable with me? You've danced without problem with complete strangers, but when it comes to a man you've worked with for over a year then your red flags go off?"
Sakura blinked, surprised, "No, it's not that–!"
"You don't like me," Sasuke stated as fact. He couldn't help but frown with this revelation. Was he really that bad a person to work with and be around?
"No," She began to defend, her eyes widening as she watched Sasuke turn and begin to walk away, "Hey, wait! Where are you going?"
Sasuke sighed, "It's getting late; I should be heading out. Good night, Haruno."
Sasuke didn't see her face crumple with guilt but he did feel her petite – soft – hand grab his large, calloused one before dragging him to the dance floor; surprisingly stealing an unattended shot from the counter and easily downing it, "Let's dance, Sasuke."
"I knew this was going to be awkward…"
Sakura's angry muttering was also a new discovery for Sasuke as he and his secretary were jostled by the dense crowd. She had situated his hands on her slim waist and had looped her arms around his neck; a good foot of distance remained between them, making their loose embrace a little uncomfortable.
"It doesn't have to be awkward," Sasuke stated.
Sakura sighed, "It's not that easy."
"It doesn't have to be hard," He pointed out; they silently swayed even if their slow movements didn't correspond with fast-paced music, "…So why do you do it?"
"…Do what?" She asked quietly, difficult to hear over the low bass.
"You're different – changed – compared from this morning to tonight," He elaborated, "Why the different personalities? Why the alter ego? Are you not comfortable at work?"
"I am comfortable," She assured quickly, "I enjoy my job, really I do – I just…There's a time and place for everything and my everyday-attitude doesn't belong in a work environment as prestigious as the Uchiha Business Empire."
Sasuke frowned, "You've met Naruto, haven't you?"
Sakura laughed and the Uchiha found himself pulling her body closer to his, wanting to feel the tremors of her laughter against his very skin, "I have; I like him, he's nice…"
"So…What's the problem?"
She flushed, bowing her head, pink tresses covering her features, "Two reasons…It's a little embarrassing actually…"
Sasuke frowned, "If you're not comfortable telling me, you don't have to–"
"I should," She interrupted, "I want to. I…I would rather tell you the truth than have you thinking I don't like you," She looked up, emerald eyes shining, "I do like you…" She flushed again in realization, "I-I mean…I don't think you're a bad person; not at all!"
Amusement, once again, twitched Sasuke's lips into a small smirk.
"Anyways," Sakura pressed forward determinedly, "Reason One: I was once in an inter-office relationship…It didn't end well and I had to leave. I guess going into a new job kept me mindful of any consequences I would have if I dated – even flirted – with a co-worker. Admittedly, Uchiha Business Empire is filled with a lot of…attractive men…" She laughed, "I guess the more there were the more serious I got so I didn't fall to any temptations…"
She flushed darker and Sasuke's amusement increased; his grip on her waist tightened in order to gain back her attention, "Alright, understandable. And Reason Two?"
Sakura bit her bottom lip before meeting his gaze directly, "…Reason Two was you…"
Sasuke blinked, "Me?"
"You're quite intimidating," Sakura confessed, "You're very professional and intelligent and as your personal secretary I felt that I should emulate that…Instead of being such a–I don't know–instead of being, well…me. I'm a girl who likes to party, go shopping, squeal over celebrity crushes, scream in complete terror whenever I come across a spider, allow my short temper to get the best of me, cry under stress, eat without reservations, play videogames, read manga, daydream about being a ninja-princess, crush over boys like a teenager – just me."
Sasuke smirked, staring down at the girl in his arms with a new understanding – literally meeting her for the first time, "…For the record, Haruno, I find this side of you far more attractive than the other."
Her blush increased tenfold, eyes widening in stunned surprise, "U-Uchiha-san–!"
"Sasuke," He corrected, smirking; then his lips pulled into a grim and serious line leaving Sakura to stare up at him with worry, "Don't change who you really are because of me, Haruno. Even at work – while there is a time and place for professionalism, being yourself is a personality I would rather witness than a falsity that doesn't present who you really are. And don't let my personality affect yours – if anything, yours would balance out mine perfectly."
"What about Naruto?" She questioned, teasing.
"He doesn't count."
She laughed and Sasuke enjoyed the way her fingers weaved through his hair as he leaned a little closer to her – on the pretense that she heard him over the blaring music, "I may be your boss but I'm not an ass. We…we could be friends. I'm interested to know more about you; the real you."
"…Really?" She asked, skeptical.
Sasuke smirked, twirling her around so her back was pressed against his front, his breath brushing along her ear, "Really."
He twirled her back around, eliciting a laugh, "…Alright, Sasuke. I will…Thank you."
Smirk still in place, Sasuke took her hand and brushed his lips against the skin of her knuckles, "It's been a pleasure, Sakura."
Her eyes glittered, "It seems I'm not the only one who's gone through a change…"
He placed his hands in his pockets, spinning on his heel as his peripherals caught the sight of Sakura's friends approaching; he glanced at her from over his shoulder, "I wouldn't necessarily consider it a bad one. Good-night, Sakura, I'll see you in the morning."
Sakura smiled and the Uchiha was eager to see the expression more frequently in the coming future, "Good-night."
"Fuck, my head hurts!"
Sasuke looked up from his paper work to see Naruto stumble into his office, one hand holding his head while the other carried a cup of steaming coffee. Two more steps and the blonde was haphazardly sprawled atop the leather couch situated along the far wall.
"That's what you get for drinking so much, loser."
Naruto laughed weakly, "At least I'm not as bad as Kiba and Suigetsu – Inuzuka's already dead to the world on his desk and Hozuki passed out on the copy machine," His royal blue eyes glared at the working Uchiha, "You, Neji, Gaara, and Shikamaru all suck. Why the hell do you four look all fine and dandy?"
"Because we're not all stupid enough to get piss-drunk on a Monday night," Sasuke offered matter-of-factly.
"At least I wasn't Neji, having to find Lee and drive his drunk-ass back home," Naruto amended.
Sasuke couldn't help but shudder in agreement.
"…So what happened anyway?" Naruto asked, "I can't remember a damn thing!"
"Nothing happened," Sasuke sighed, flipping through various folders before neatly signing his name on the given lines.
"…You're lying," Naruto accused, glaring at Sasuke suspiciously, "Something happened to everyone. Suigetsu met a red-headed waitress, Neji was talking to one of the bartenders – who has a weird fascination with knives – Shikamaru got laid by his blonde-chick girlfriend, Kiba got into a fight, Lee danced a damn storm, Gaara won a prize – a damn keg shaped like a gourd, dude, party at his place this weekend – and I managed to get Neji's hot cousin's number! Something had to have happened to you!"
Sasuke shook his head, taking a languid sip of his coffee, "Things changed…I changed…She changed…"
Naruto stared at him hard, "…Are you still drunk, bastard?"
The Uchiha scowled, "No, moron. Don't you have work to do? Get out of my office."
Naruto smirked, leaning back in his chair comfortably, "Don't you remember? I did my week's worth of work yesterday. Now I can sit and relax."
"Not so fast," Haruno Sakura walked into the office carrying a large stack of files, dressed in her professional attire, though her pink hair was left down in wavy tendrils and her glasses were absent, "The Orochimaru Lawsuit needs your attention; apparently Orochimaru would like to have a meeting with Uchiha Business Empire's representatives – I believe you took on the case, Naruto. It's scheduled for two in the afternoon at OroSound Inc."
"That guy wants to meet me?" Naruto yelped, "Today? B-But I was only supposed to take care of the paperwork!"
"You'll be going with Subaki Gaara," Sakura informed, "He'll be speaking to the attorneys, you will be working with OroSound Inc.'s representative Yakushi Kabuto to exchange and go over the necessary paperwork."
"I'm too hung-over to deal with this!" Naruto complained dismally.
Sakura smirked, "That's what you get for drinking like there was no tomorrow last night. And I didn't appreciate you grabbing my butt!" At this, Sasuke's amused smirk darkened, "And if you break Hinata-chan's heart then I won't hesitate to break you. Clear?"
Naruto stared in wide-eyed fear at the secretary towering above him, "…Sasuke-teme, what happened to Sakura-chan?"
The Uchiha smirked, "Naruto, you'll be the first to know that there's going to be some positive changes around the office. Start getting used to it."
Sakura nodded her head, smiling and winking at the surprised blonde for extra emphasis.
"…So that's what happened to you last night…" Naruto muttered before grinning broadly and bolting out of the room, ready to spread the news like wildfire.
With a satisfied sigh, Sakura picked up her extra folders and placed it on an open space on Sasuke's desk.
"Here are the files you asked for, Uchiha-san–"
"Sasuke," He corrected with a smirk earning a rising flush against her cheeks, "Thank you, Sakura. And how are you adjusting?"
Sakura smiled, "It's strange to change the habit so abruptly…But I like it, I'm grateful."
"Good," Sasuke nodded before standing up and looking at the clock, "Now then – since this change hasn't altered your work ethic in the slightest, it seems we have two extra hours to ourselves," He picked up his jacket, "Care to join me for some coffee or lunch?"
Sakura blinked, before she nervously looked at her shoes. Sasuke knew what was going through her head. Reason One: the temptation and possibly dire consequences that came with Inter-Office Relationships.
It didn't help that he was her Boss.
"I have a year to make up for in getting to know you, Sakura," Sasuke stated casually, "It's not like I'm asking you to marry me."
Sakura bit her lower lip, "Last night…You said you were attracted to me…"
"I won't deny it," Sasuke responded calmly, "I did say that."
"And last night…" She continued timidly, "…You heard me say that…I like you…"
The Uchiha couldn't help but smirk, which caused her to blush in rising embarrassment, "I heard."
She licked her lips and looked him straight in the eye, "This is new for me; for both of us. Just…Let's just try not to change too fast…please?"
Sasuke's eyes softened and he walked up to her and placed a stray strand of pastel-pink hair behind her ear, "The only change I'm worried about right now…Is the amount I have in my wallet to pay for lunch."
Sakura offered a weak laugh.
"Don't worry about it; change always happens – it's only a matter of whether or not you're willing to go for the ride. But we'll deal with it at our own pace."
Sakura nodded, accepting his answer with a relieved smile, "Well, if that's the case – lunch sounds wonderful."
As Sasuke and Sakura walked side by side out of his office – feeling completely different towards each other than how they felt only twenty-four hours prior – they realized just how affective and powerful change really was.
'Who knows…?' Sasuke thought candidly as he felt her arm comfortably loop around his in the cool breezes of early afternoon, 'Maybe someday, I will ask her to marry me…'
But that's another story all together.
A/N: I'm sad that I posted this up a couple days late. I was vigorously trying to write three SasuSaku Month Prompts at the same time and consequently filled my basket up with too many plot eggs. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this story. I don't often write Alternate Universes but this was fun and refreshing! I'm glad I actually completed it! And I tried to keep Sasuke In-Character but it's hard when I don't see him in his Ninja Element, haha.
Anyways, hope you're enjoying all the awesome authors' stories that are being submitted in for SasuSaku Month! Check them out! They're really great, interesting, and imaginative. And please leave feedback, we really appreciate it!
Btw, sorry for the length. I can't do short stories or drabbles, nothing under five pages. I just start writing and they take on a mind of their own. Hope it doesn't bug you guys as readers! But thanks for continuing on to the end anyways!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and Company or any brand names like OroSound Inc. that may be similar or alike to real-life counterparts.
Thank you for Reading and Reviewing!
Look Out for More Prompts from me for This Week!
GO SASUSAKU MONTH!