Title: training

Author: paws-bells

Beta-ed by: MelissaRose85

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: Two-shot (Complete)

Genre: Humor/Romance

Word Count: 7829

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #37, training

Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: Non Massacre AU. Sequel to flirt. He is intent on laying claim on her. She is not so thrilled by his possessiveness. Meanwhile, Team Seven watches on with complete bewilderment.

Completed on: 01/05/08

Chapter Last Revised on: 15/12/11

Chapter 2

That particular calm, lilting tone was completely familiar to the kunoichi but still she could not help herself from reacting. She let out a sharp hiss of surprise and whirled around swiftly to face the antagonist of her suddenly drama-filled life.

The blasted Uchiha was leaning nonchalantly against the doorframe of her bedroom, looking as if he had every right to be there.

Sakura was not amused and was immediately disgruntled that she had just been caught off guard by the ANBU. She hadn't even heard him enter! Part of her lack of attention to her surroundings could be attributed to the same male currently looking at her with his rich, onyx eyes, and with just one glance at him, Sakura was becoming highly agitated all over again.

"How dare you enter my house without permission?" she accused sharply. "You are breaking in!"

He merely looked at her bristling form.

"I knocked, but you didn't answer," he replied at last. "And you didn't lock your door. Anyone could have entered."

His tone was almost reproaching, and Sakura scowled unhappily. Why was he acting so concerned about her, and causing her further confusion while he was at it?

"What are you doing here anyway?" she snapped irritably. "I'm not in the mood to entertain you right now, so can you please see yourself out?"

To nobody's surprise, he didn't appear to heed her request.

Sakura's frown worsened, and she did her best to ignore the fact that he was staring at her intently.

"Look, if this is about your dinner date-"

"It's not."

The Uchiha straightened to his full height, and belatedly, Sakura realized that he had somehow changed and washed in the hour or so since she had last seen him. He no longer had on the standard ANBU attire; instead he now wore the colors of his proud clan, his raven hair still slightly damp from his own shower. Sakura tried her best not to pay attention to his sleekly muscled physique.

"It's not?" she asked suspiciously instead.

He inclined his head once, and then started to move towards her, into her bedroom. Sakura was inwardly alarmed by the semi-predatory look in his quiet, watchful gaze. His stride was long and measured, soundless as he approached her and it was all she could do not to draw back quickly. Thankfully, he stopped a feet away from her.

His onyx gaze roved over her delicate, albeit somewhat aggrieved features, before meeting her eyes at last.

"You have indicated your reluctance to attend my family's dinner, have you not?" he asked simply.

She nodded cautiously, not exactly sure just where he was heading with his question.


"Very well. I will not attempt to persuade you to change your mind."

His reply was unexpected. She blinked at him in surprise. All her previous encounters with this particular Uchiha had indicated that he wasn't the type to give up so quickly, and so Sakura was quite taken aback by his ready agreement.

"You are not lying, right?" she asked quickly. He only looked at her.

"I don't lie."

"Oh…that's good to know then…" Somehow, she felt oddly disappointed, but Sakura quickly sucked it up and looked at him once more. "Don't you need to look for another date now?"

"There is no need." He looked at her carefully, and then continued, "Since I have no intention of attending the dinner as well."

Sakura's eyes widened slightly.

"What?" Before he could explain, her eyes narrowed. "Hold on—just what do you mean by that?"

Itachi merely regarded the agitated pink-haired female calmly. She appeared highly disgruntled again but the impact of her irritation was softened by her rumpled, fresh-from-a-shower appearance that he was beginning to find rather appealing.

"The purpose of attending the dinner was to introduce you to my mother." His answer was candid. "Your absence defeats that very purpose."

Sakura could only sputter. "But—but!" She started to glare again, clearly trying to hide her confusion behind her bluster.

"Why on earth would you want me to meet your parents?" she hissed with sheer incomprehension. "I'm your medic; that's it!"

To her disbelief, he refuted her statement. "No," he interrupted. "You are more than that."

The quiet, assured manner in which he spoke told her quickly that he was convinced he was right. Sakura found herself the recipient of one of his rare, gentle looks. She started to turn pink. But then she clenched her fists and shook her head mentally.

No! She had to clear things between them today!

"Why are you doing this?" she demanded fitfully. "Coming here and acting so…familiar with me! You have no right!"

It was blatantly obvious that she was trying so hard to push him away.

It was just too bad for her that he had no intention of going anywhere.

Once more, he looked at her quietly, and imagine her surprise when he actually answered her.

"That may be so, but I'm trying to earn that privilege now."

Sakura could only gape. Then she recovered quickly and frowned all over again. This was getting quickly out of hand, and the way her heart was beating rapidly was not helping matters either.

"You are trying to use me to get your parents off your back, aren't you?" she blurted out at last, trying to confirm her suspicions.

For once, he was unsure of what she was talking about. He said nothing, instead waiting patiently for her explain, and sure enough, she did so almost immediately.

"Sasuke has mentioned before that Mikoto-san has been getting on his case lately about his unattached status. I bet the situation is the same for you." She looked at him almost knowingly. "You are using me to get your mother to stop nagging, am I right?"

He could only stare at her as she started to appear pleased, almost as if she had finally gotten everything figured out. He would have been rather offended if she wasn't looking so…adorably smug at the moment. She was so desperately trying to find the most absurd reasons for her refusal to accept the most obvious of them all, and part of him wondered if the prospect of his suite was that appalling for her to go to such lengths of self-delusion.

A small, amused light sparked to life in his beautiful dark grey eyes, and Sakura's own emerald orbs widened slightly.

"What?" she asked immediately. "Am I wrong in my deductions? You chose me instead of one of your many admirers because you knew that I won't be attracted to you, isn't that right?"

Her theories were getting more and more outlandish and amusing by the minute, and he started to smile at her.

Poor Sakura had to focus her entire attention on the subject at hand to keep from visibly quivering at that gentle, amused look on his handsome, aristocratic features.

"H-hey, don't give me that look!" she snapped halfheartedly in response to that expression on his face. "I'm not joking." She tried again, and so preoccupied was she with her current situation that she failed completely to notice that he was slowly edging nearer towards her.

The Uchiha gave her a long look.

"Good," he spoke at length. "Because I wasn't joking either."

Belatedly, Sakura found herself tilting her head to look up at him. Just when did he get so near? They were barely inches apart, and his now serious eyes were so very mesmerizing to her that she wondered halfheartedly if he was using the Sharingan without activating it.

"So, you are admitting that you were planning to use me?"

Sakura really had no idea where she was going with her questions. All she knew was that being around him made her feel foolish and rash, and she wasn't even aware of what she was supposed to do anymore! Maybe he could clear the air once and for all now, and maybe—

"No," he answered without preamble. "But I'm admitting to you now that I'm attempting to court you, since you have failed for the past eight months to detect my intentions."

He was being brutally frank with her, and as a result she was left completely speechless.

"B-but-" She tried desperately to salvage the situation. Then his words finally sank in. She looked at him incredulously. "Wait. You want to court me?"

"I am courting you," he corrected her easily.

Good god, he wasn't playing around with her after all. He was serious.

Sakura didn't know which was worse. She sputtered.

"You can't do that!" she blurted out quickly. When he merely looked at her, she quickly added. "I mean, I don't like you!"

That secretive smile of his returned again, much to her increasing fluster. Could he not see that she wasn't joking?

"Is that so?" he asked softly, his dark eyes probing and intent as he stared at her. "Shall I prove you wrong, then?"

His voice was so soft that she had to strain to hear his rich tenor. She frowned at the leanly muscled Uchiha.

"You won't be able to prove anything, because I'm—mmph!"

Disproving her very statement immediately, he lowered his head and kissed her to silence.

Sakura was not expecting that.

And it wasn't helping matters at all that the way he was kissing her now was like nothing she had ever experienced before. Whereas their previous encounters were gentle and almost chaste in nature, it was as if he had finally decided that he had given her enough time to accustom herself to him. Lightly, he tugged her stunned form to him and pressed against her almost insistently this time around, his hands coming up around her waist, spreading electrifying warmth to her body. She was stiff in the circle of his arms, her normally prickly nature immediately nonexistent, leaving nothing but shock and uncertainty behind.

But he was simply undaunted by her unresponsiveness. Calmly, patiently, he coaxed her with his lips and tongue, running himself across the seam of her closed mouth, tasting her soft lips, subtly drawing the pouty flesh in between his teeth and applying gentle pressure before releasing her again and using his tongue to soothe the lightly imprinted marks that he had left on her, brushing his lips against hers. She still wasn't participating in the kiss, but she wasn't resisting him either. He could feel her tensed form relaxing slowly under his hands, and encouraged, he pressed further.

Widened emerald locked with calm, darkened onyx.

Sakura could not decide if she liked what Itachi was doing to her at the moment. His overwhelming heat made her somewhat dizzy, his fresh rainwater scent inundated her senses and he was being so very bold in his advances towards her that she really wasn't quite sure how to react to him at all. After all, it was one thing to spar with him verbally, but it was yet another matter altogether when he was being this…touchy.

She was not equipped to handle him like this, and wasn't he supposed to be this stoic and emotionally constipated ANBU captain and heir to the Uchiha clan? He sure as hell wasn't acting like it now!

And the way that he was subtly pulling her against his leanly muscled form, not to mention how his firm lips were actively coaxing her to kiss him back…

Sakura's heart was pounding so loudly in her chest that she was certain that he could hear it as well, which would really be no surprise since he was currently plastered to her smaller form. A light, almost imperceptible shudder ran through her body. This was easily felt by him, of course, and he could sense that her resolve was beginning to waver. The large hands that rested on her waist moved and roved lazily to the small of her back, and then he had his arms wrapped snugly around her. Surprised by the feel of his strong, sleekly muscled forearms against her back, not to mention how he had daringly placed his hands on the rounded curve of her rump, Sakura emitted an outraged, albeit somewhat muffled squeal when that pervert actually dared to cup her bum to press her intimately against him.

Immediately, the kunoichi stiffened and started to turn bright red at the contact. He was being so bold in his advances that the poor, normally grumpy pink-haired female was completely blindsided and bewildered as he took her by surprise again and again, not allowing her time at all to understand and attempt to evade him.

In fact, the wily Uchiha wasted no time taking advantage of her parted lips, and even though the stunned medic-nin was starting to cotton on to the fact that she was being taken advantage of and was beginning to feel her confusion clear up quickly to be replaced with affronted anger, he did not cease his sensual assault on her body. His tongue slid wetly into her parted mouth, seeking and locating hers almost immediately, and once again, the kunoichi could only freeze.

It was such an intimate act, and dear god, she could taste him as acutely as he did her. Sakura's eyes widened and, finally, the realization that he was kissing her and she was actually unresisting towards his efforts hit her.

Her reaction was predictable. She finally recovered her senses and immediately tried to push away from the addictive raven-haired male. Her hands came up to his broad chest, and then she reared back, breaking the kiss.


He ducked down and easily recaptured her lips again, muffling her protests with his mouth as a long-fingered hand came up to cup the back of her head, keeping her firmly in place. She could not help the small whimper from escaping her throat when he invaded her mouth again, his skillful tongue wrapped around hers as he sucked and nibbled on her succulent, kiss-reddened bottom lip, his lithely muscular body bending easily after hers as she tried futilely to arch away from him. He was not letting up on her at all, and together with the intensity of his hot, drugging kisses and his overpowering, convincing aura, Sakura of the iron senses started to cave.

She had tried her best to resist him though; common sense and instincts informed her repeatedly that she was supposed to be mad at him in the first place and besides, letting him have his way in an instance like this was only going to encourage him in the future. She really should be kicking his ass for the liberties that he was so shamelessly taking with her right now, but for some reason she just could not force herself to oppose him.

At the moment, his urgent, deep kisses felt so very decadent to her, and she was simply blown away by his passionate, unrelenting onslaught. Who knew that Uchiha Itachi could kiss like that, and who would have guessed that he was attempting to court her?

The notion still felt so very odd to Sakura, but at the moment the matter was unconsciously pushed aside as Sakura could barely focus on the situation at hand as it was. Maybe…it wasn't so bad after all, to stay as she was right now and to allow him to touch her thusly…

Delicate, feminine hands that were formerly resisting towards him slowly started to fist into his shirt instead, her wide, mesmerizing eyes started to relax and close, and tentatively, she started to respond to his kiss. Her tongue danced against his lightly at first, and then she leaned forwards slightly to add her own pressure to the kiss, much to his quiet rumble of approval.

Emboldened, she started to take a more active interest in what they were doing, curiously moving her lips against his, darting her tongue out to run against the firm contours of his mouth, tilting her face up to his so that he could have better access to her. He was bemused by her sudden change in temperament, but did allow her free reign to conduct her own exploration. Slowly, she became eager and enthusiastic, and before long she was probing her own tongue into his mouth, running it against his teeth and tongue, unconsciously tiptoeing onto her feet to get as close to him as possible.

Her participation clearly pleased him and he encouraged her ardent attentions, running his hands soothingly and languidly over her pliant body, tugging her to lean against him even more. She didn't seem to notice that he was maneuvering them to the side, and didn't seem to care overly much when he proceeded to back her against the nearest wall so long as she was allowed to ravage his mouth as fiercely as he was doing to her. A small, sexy sound escaped her unwillingly when he boosted her with a powerful arm around her waist to raise her to be more on the same level with him, and instinctively her arms went around his neck to steady herself and he pressed her resolutely against the wall.

Easily, he proceeded to wrest from her the role of the aggressor, taking control of the kiss again and making her whimper unconsciously before withdrawing from her delectable, kiss-swollen lips. Her eyes were open and glazed with growing passion, and his own onyx gaze darkened at the delicious sight. Then he leant down and nibbled at the side of her mouth, before peppering wet kisses along the line of her jaw, and to the sensitive flesh of her ear. She shuddered and gave out a small, keening whine that sounded impossibly sexy to him, and he answered with a low, masculine growl that did strange things to her insides. His scent was clouding her already dazed mind, and as he continued to tease her earlobe with his teeth and hot breaths, she started to pant softly.

Dear god, who would have known that he was so…persuasive!

Sakura could only clutch at the Uchiha helplessly as his hot, wet mouth somehow ended on her neck now, and as he sucked and bit down lightly on her thundering pulse point, it was all she could do to remain upright. The kunoichi squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to control herself but somehow that only served to amplify the pleasurable sensations that the tall, raven-haired ANBU was giving to her. Damn it, but he was so very good at what he was doing that she shouldn't have been surprised! But yet she was, and the way he was touching her made her ache for more…this was so unseemly!

He was aware that she was still trying futilely to control herself, but the fact that she was unable to resist him and was so very ardently responsive filled him with blatant masculine satisfaction. A part of him had no doubt that she had never allowed any man to see this side of her before, and that he had managed to evoke such a sensual reaction from her pleased him greatly. She might claim all she want that she was not interested in him at all, but her body language would tell no lie and he could read her as easily as he would a book. He had once deduced that she would be a very passionate female with the correct amount of stimulation and under a suitable male, which happened to be him and no other, of course, and he was right. She was so very addictive and feisty, her curvy physique and soft, delectable mouth a complete complement to her fiery and almost fierce nature. Her prickly character would ensure that she would show no one else but him this sensuous, receptive side of her, and for obvious reasons, that pleased him greatly.

She was perfect for him.

In complete contrast to his gentle mother, the future Lady of the Uchiha clan would learn to take no nonsense from the clan elders, and would show subservience to no one else but her Lord and mate. Of course, there was still a long way to go before Sakura could be coaxed into accepting that position where most other women would have jumped at the chance, but the handsome, raven-haired male knew that she would be worth every bit of his effort. Never let it be said that Uchiha Itachi did things by half measures; no, he had known almost from the beginning what he wanted from this alluring and spirited little female, and he was doing everything within his might to have her pay attention to him in the exact same manner in which she had unwittingly attracted him to her.

It would be so very easy now to continue ravaging her, to complete the act that he had started to prove that she was just as vulnerable to him as he was to her. At the moment, she was willing and eager, and her sweet scent called out to him as usual, in fact even more so now since she was fresh from a shower, the smell of mangoes and cream prevalent in her soft, silky skin. He luxuriated himself in her scent, and then flicked his tongue out to trail a wet, sensual line down the graceful column of her throat. She mewled softly in reaction, and at that moment, he wanted nothing better than to tug her to her bed, divest her of her clothes, and help himself to her pliant, delectable body, claiming her sexually and marking her as his. She was so much more enticing than he had allowed himself to imagine, and he had quite a long time to think about this sassy kunoichi of his.

Unfortunately, he was well aware that she was not quite ready to take such a step with him yet, no matter how willing she appeared to be at the moment. Always one to plan ahead and taught from birth to always look at the bigger picture, Itachi had no intention of giving into a moment's pleasure, no matter how tempting it was, only for his prize to be scared off because of his impatience and over eagerness. Their relationship was still in its fledgling state, his tie to her still tenuous at best. Right now, he had to entice her into agreeing to allow him to get closer to her; anything else would come later, and he had no doubt that she would be worth every bit of his patience, if the eager, yet alluringly innocent passion that she was revealing to him now was just a little preview of how fiery she could become with the right persuasion.

And so, almost regretfully, the Uchiha started to ease off on the intensity of their passionate encounter. Slowly, carefully, his kisses became less urgent and more languid, the hot sucking pressure of his mouth on her skin replaced by small, light, completely unapologetic, openly affectionate exchanges that he peppered down the graceful arch of her neck. She shifted slightly against him, still somewhat dazed by what had just happened, and belatedly, he wondered if she was aware of the fact she had been running her fingers gently through his dark hair for quite some time already.

Eventually, the passion induced haze that he had so successfully created around the two of them disappeared completely, and after that sense of complete urgency between the young couple faded away as well, the kunoichi's glazed eyes slowly cleared and he watched her quietly as she finally registered the uninhibited nature in which she had behaved with such abandon around him but minutes ago.

To his inner amusement, she started to turn bright red.

It was definitely an uncomfortable situation for Sakura, and how on earth had she ended up pinned between him and the wall anyway? And that languorous, currently somewhat sated look of masculine amusement in his dark eyes…

It was hard to breathe looking at him like that, but suddenly she remembered what they were arguing about prior to this and she started to scowl all over again. He could have told her that her bluster wasn't working at all this time around, especially since she was looking so sexily disheveled and rumpled, face still tinted pink from their previous activity and lips red and pouting from his earlier attentions.

But Sakura was undaunted. The kunoichi was getting riled up again just thinking of how she had been promptly taken advantage of by this arrogant Uchiha, and the fact that her own body had betrayed her by shamelessly soaking up all his attentions and even begging for more made her even more irritated. Her fierce pride demanded that she do something to make up for her temporary lapse of judgment, and Sakura was in full agreement.

Her brilliant emerald eyes narrowed, and before he could even anticipate how she was going to react she had fisted her right hand, cocked it, and then proceeded to plough it angrily into his gut. In their shared proximity the unexpected sucker punch that she had delivered to him was awkward at most, but even though she had used none of her superior chakra-enhanced strength, the power she packed in that single hit and into his unprotected solar plexus made him flinch slightly.

He was not accustomed to being attacked by a female whom he had just kissed so thoroughly, and especially when he also knew for a fact that she had thoroughly enjoyed their encounter. But she wasn't acting coy and trying to display maidenly outrage over his stealing a kiss from her. No, Sakura was genuinely miffed, and it became very clear to him that his kissing her was the least of her agitation.

She glared at him with feminine indignation. "Don't you dare use me to prove your point again," she hissed as she finally saw fit to remove her small but deadly fist from his gut and started to prod him fiercely in the chest instead. It was apparent that she was warning him that she did not take well to being treated like a weak subservient woman, who would just roll over and allow him to do whatever he pleased with her anytime he wished.

His onyx eyes gleamed with genuine appreciation and admiration of her fierce, prideful spirit. The urge to tame her for himself was growing with each and every moment he spent with her, and after eight months of her acquaintance, he was now very certain that there would be no other woman for him—except this petite little kunoichi with a temper like a lioness when riled, and whose chakra was so achingly warm and gentle that he had been unknowingly hooked almost from the very beginning.

Imagine Sakura's bewilderment when the Uchiha's dark gaze focused so intently upon her that she promptly lost a good part of her indignation. Then, he nodded once in response to her aggravated demand, much to her surprise. The fact that he was actually respecting her request stunned her somewhat—she had never thought him to be this agreeable, to be honest—

Then his mesmerizing gaze turned fierce.

"You will let me court you," he demanded suddenly in an uncharacteristically hard voice, and she frowned at him.

"Now why would I want you to do that for?" she retorted. Just imagine all the grief he would cause her!

He looked at her calmly.

"Do you need to be persuaded?" he asked, completely serious.

She stared at him for a long time. Was he persistent or was he persistent?

"It depends," she replied testily at last, not too certain about this emotion that she was feeling at his firm determination to woo her. "Do you need a flying boost out of my apartment?"

Unfortunately for her, he was hardly intimidated by her threat. After all, it was rather hard for him to be wary when she was all but wrapped snugly in his arms. Despite the fact that she had shown him but moments ago that she did not take kindly to being patronized and that she was not above using her fists to settle the matter if she had to, he was not the least put off by her aggressiveness, if that darkened glint in his eyes was of any indication. The Uchiha remembered the advice that his brother and his teammates had imparted to him.

"Despite her grumpy behavior, Sakura actually takes the time to consider the situation before she gets violent and snappy," Sasuke remarked cautiously. Naruto nodded in agreement, and then added his own two cents. "Yup, all you need to do is to keep surprising her, catching her off guard and not allowing her to think too much, and you may actually get somewhere with her."

Sai gave his vague smile. "And if all else fails, Ugly seems to have an ungodly appreciation for good manners. As genuine as you can manage it, of course, or she will hit even harder."

The men of Team Seven gave a collective wince, all borne from shared experience.

It certainly explained why Sasuke had learnt to become more cordial to people from all walks of life as the years passed, and less arrogant as befitting his clan status. His brother was literally being taught courtesy one punch at a time, and it was all thanks to this little pink-haired female currently fuming quietly in his arms.

"Let me go," Sakura demanded grouchily at last.

Unfortunately for her, he didn't budge as she prodded at him with an index finger. "And what will I get in return?" he asked her instead.

She looked at the raven-haired Uchiha with disbelief and then scowled. "You won't get attacked by me, for one," she snapped, starting to get irritated again by the blockheaded man. It was odd, but she was not the least threatened or alarmed by her forced proximity to him. A part of her was secretly annoyed with herself for being unable to get genuinely mad at this particular Uchiha, and she growled softly with agitation.

He looked down at her with a long, considering gaze.

"I think I will take my chances," he remarked at last, his masculine, lilting voice placid and calm. As if to further solidify his claim, his sleekly muscled arms tightened slightly around her waist. "I happen to enjoy very much the feel of your body fitted against mine."

His statement was delivered so bluntly and frankly that for a brief moment she could only stare at him. Then, true to her nature, she started to turn bright red again.

"Y- you-" she sputtered. Was he trying to be funny? This was not amusing at all!

His eyes softened, and her breath caught in her throat. Then he lowered his dark head, and lightly nuzzled her cheek with such blatant affection that she was immediately left speechless.

"Let me court you, Sakura." His voice was gentle against her ear, and so very persuasive as he reiterated his request again, but still she could easily detect his unwavering determination. Her brilliant emerald eyes darkened involuntarily as he dropped a small kiss on the side of her mouth. Oddly enough, the heat that he was generating soothed her, and despite herself she felt her muscles relax even more against him. She remained silent in his arms, but the fact that she was no longer demanding to be freed encouraged him.

He gifted her with yet another chaste kiss, this time on her soft lips.

"I only wish to know you better," he coaxed quietly, much to her bewilderment. "Will you consider my suit?"

She stared at his intent expression for a long time. At last, after months of subtle nuances and wooing from the dark-haired Uchiha, did realization finally dawn for one highly intelligent, if not somewhat oblivious, pink-haired kunoichi.

"You really are serious." She sounded genuinely surprised, as if having recently discovered her revelation. Then, she immediately felt rather foolish for voicing out her discovery. So all those times when he kept coming over to her, when he kept visiting her…

So he wasn't trying to annoy her after all.

Sakura still looked stunned, and then she started to see him in a new light.


Those pure, onyx eyes of his looked at her calmly. "I have been nothing but serious, Sakura," he informed her candidly. "Whenever it comes to you."

Sakura was at a loss for words, and suddenly, she was not sure how to react to him. This man wanted to court her. He was genuinely interested in her.

Belatedly, Sakura wondered if all his ANBU assignments had screwed up his mind somewhat.

Still backed up against the wall by him, she allowed herself to lean completely against the surface, closing her eyes as she thought hard about her current circumstances, even as her hand came up to pinch the bridge of her nose in a display of exasperated disbelief.

"I think you are crazy," she remarked at last with a small huff. She cracked open an eye to stare at him balefully, but he merely waited patiently for her to make her decision, just like he had waited patiently for her for the past months.

Sakura frowned inwardly at that thought. He had been waiting for her the entire while, and there she had been, completely oblivious to his intentions. Sakura really felt like an idiot right now.

What should she do now? What to say? How to go from here?

The questions floating around in her head really did make her frown this time, and honestly, Sakura felt that she would have been better off without Itachi's attention…

Then she thought hard about it, and never one to like lying to herself (overly much, at least), Sakura realized reluctantly that while her life might have been a lot less complicated without Itachi's presence, it would also have been a lot emptier as well. Her life revolved basically around work, missions and friends, and if not for the willful entrance of a certain Uchiha clan heir, her love life would have been literally nonexistent. Not that she was exactly giddy and overjoyed by the man's arrogant and pushy behavior, and the kunoichi would never admit it aloud even on threat of death, but maybe, having Itachi around wasn't all that bad.

She sighed as she finally reached the inevitable conclusion. It was apparent to her that the raven-haired Uchiha was not planning to leave her alone any time soon, and it was also equally obvious that his determinedly dogged nature would ensure no peace for her should she choose not to accept his suit—and not be able to come up with an acceptable reason while she was at it. A small part of her was still curious as to just what he had seen in her that had attracted him so; there were so many girls who would have been willing to throw themselves at him at any given day and as much as she wanted to ask, Sakura was mortified to realize that she didn't have the courage to, at least, not at the moment.

And so, there was no choice but to discover why—the old fashioned way.

But how would the people closest to her react to this new change in her life? The fact that Itachi had actually escaped her teammates unscathed had indicated that he had gained their support somehow, and Sakura knew that she shouldn't be surprised; his younger brother was part of her team, after all. And what about her teachers? Kakashi? Shishou?

A new thought occurred to Sakura. Oh god, shishou.

Her head snapped up so fast that she nearly collided into his chin.

"Shishou will be attending your clan's dinner tonight," she blurted out suddenly.

The Uchiha nodded once, not the least perturbed by the appalled expression on Sakura's face. The kunoichi could only look at him.

"Then what are you still doing here?" the pink-haired female demanded. "You are the clan heir; you are supposed to show respect for your Hokage by being present when she arrives!"

Imagine Sakura's incredulity when the Uchiha shrugged. She was so incredulous that she missed completely the considering stare that Itachi was directing towards her.

"I'm sure Sasuke would be able to explain my absence," he stated casually. She looked at him suspiciously.

"Explain?" she echoed. "Sasuke won't have to explain a thing at all if you leave and return home right now!"

It was as if he didn't hear her demand at all.

"Why would I want to do that? To return to the clan property," his voice was bland, and then he lowered his tone, became almost husky as he looked at her. "When I can stay here with you?"

Sakura turned pink at his heated stare.

"I never said that you could stay." She recovered forcibly and retorted with some difficulty. Then her emerald gaze honed into a fine glare. "Go back."

In response, his arms merely settled themselves even more firmly around her waist, much to her outrage. Then, he drew his face nearer to her, his gaze intent and almost calculating in nature.

"And what will that…get me?" When she frowned at him, he continued. "What are you willing to promise me in return, Sakura?"

He was blatantly trying to wrangle something out of her; that much she was aware of. And she had an inkling just what he wanted from her. The kunoichi knew that she should be angry with him for being so annoyingly impossible, but somehow, she only felt oddly exasperated instead. He had been nothing but confusing this entire day, but the fact that even now he was gently stroking with his callused fingers the small sliver of flesh that peeked out from between her shirt and shorts rendered her unable to even stay annoyed at him for long periods of time. There was just something in his touch, as well as the way he looked at her, she supposed, but Sakura quickly dismissed her unrelated thoughts before it could get any more out of hand. She certainly had no intention of mooning after Uchiha Itachi right before the man himself, darn him.

She let out a gusty sigh. She must be mad, Sakura thought to herself, to let him push her buttons like that. Utterly mad.

"I will consider what you said," she allowed cautiously. There was no need to commit herself completely, after all. Who knows, he might lose interest in her just a few days down the road. Sakura conveniently chose to neglect the fact that this was the same man who had spent the last eight months or so of his time wholly on her.

Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, he was unimpressed by her meager promise. His rich, onyx eyes gleamed with lazy, masculine amusement, though.

"You know," he started mildly. "I can always remain here to convince you-"

Immediately, Sakura knew where he was about to go with that sentence. Worst of all, the expression in his eyes indicated that he was actually considering that possible scenario. Sakura really had no wish whatsoever for shishou to know of her oddball relationship with Uchiha Itachi, which was what would definitely happen if he was missing from the dinner and Tsunade enquired about it.

"Alright! I accept you!" she blurted out at last. The way his eyes glinted with slight triumph immediately made her snap in reflex. "And wipe that smug look off your face before I do it for you."

In response, he smiled at her, a small but rare smile that he seldom showed to anyone. Sakura drew a sharp breath at the look on his face, and then renewed her efforts at wriggling away from his firm hold on her. He let her go this time, arms loosening around her femininely curvaceous form and allowing her to put some distance between the two of them. Sakura was relieved and strangely disappointed by the loss of his proximity, and it made her frown again.

"You should leave now," she muttered as she absently fixed her disheveled clothes and rumpled up appearance. "You are going to be late."

He was hardly offended by how she was desperately trying to kick him out of her house every time he happened to drop by. It was obvious that she was easily flustered by him, and privately, he found her embarrassment amusing—and endearing. She was trying so hard to stay unaffected by him, and failing so miserably but that was what had attracted him to her even more—her failure to conceal her emotions to those whom she cared about.

And slowly, surely, he was inching his way to the top of that list of people.

His current progress with her pleased him. She might not be agreeable to a meeting with his family right now, but he was certain that one day soon, that would change. She was softening towards him; he could feel it in the way she no longer protested as much whenever he came near, in the way she allowed herself to stay within his embrace without much fuss, even in the way she was beginning to look at him in a new light.

Sakura started to hurry out of her bedroom, and she escorted the Uchiha towards the exit of her house as she did so. He walked beside her, and was mildly amused by the look of disgruntlement that was displayed so guilelessly on her face. She threw open the latches, and pulled opened the main door before standing to the side and gestured for Itachi to go through. Then she frowned slightly as he stood at the threshold to regard her.

"And for god's sake, don't tell shishou about this," she spoke quickly, almost as if worried that he would forget. Before he could even demand a reason why, she answered him. "If she makes life difficult for me, I will make life hell for you."

Her implications were obvious, but only after a long, firm look at her did he nod at last in agreement. He could afford to keep quiet about their relationship for now. Besides, he was well aware that his silence was only a temporary reprieve for her. With his status as heir to the great Uchiha clan and herself the prodigious disciple of the Godaime Hokage, it wouldn't be long before the matter of his courtship of her came to light before the public of Konoha.

After all, just because he promised not to speak of it did not mean that her teammates would be similarly constrained.

Privately, Itachi decided that it would be amusing to see her expression when it became obvious that everyone was aware of their budding relationship. She was probably going to sulk most adorably, but for some reason or another, he found himself looking forward to it.

After all, he had just discovered an excellent way to soothe her temper, an act that was proving to be extremely pleasurable for the both of them.

"You drive a hard bargain." His beautiful, lilting voice was filled with gentle teasing.

Sakura didn't know if she liked this part of him at all. His eyes were warm as he looked at her, a small almost-smirk on his thin, well-defined lips.

"Just go already," she sighed at last. There was no longer any aggression in her tone.

He merely responded by a gentle caress to her cheek.

She reddened again, much to his increasing amusement.

"I will return later tonight," he promised.

"I didn't ask," she grumbled softly to herself. He heard her easily, all the same, but was not offended. Then, she added. "I'm definitely not going to wait for you to come back."

To her inner grief, his eyes gleamed with good humor.

"In that case, I will make sure to complete my duties earlier, then." His reply was bland, and she really did frown at him then.


He cut her off by ducking down and catching her lips in a long and hard kiss, tongue and all. He was relentless and dominating as he invaded her mouth with such sensual thoroughness, and when he finally pulled back, the poor female was suitably dazed, much to the Uchiha's smug satisfaction. It completely failed to occur to her that she had just been kissed in her apartment hallway, where anybody could have walked by to see her heated exchange with the prodigious Uchiha clan heir.

She recovered quickly, though.

"Don't do that!" she hissed irritably as the lean Uchiha straightened back to his full height, but there was little heat behind her words.

She was so easily flustered and it was simply amusing, not to mention satisfying that he could ruffle her feathers with such ease. His lips twitched slightly, and he looked at her with such affection that Sakura could feel herself relenting to him again, much to her inner disgust.

Woefully, the kunoichi realized that it was highly probable that she was never going to be able to get genuinely mad at this particular Uchiha again, and that dubious 'honor' was something that even Sasuke hadn't achieved in the almost eight years that they were together as a team, and yet his elder brother had easily achieved that feat in just a little over eight months. Sakura didn't know whether to feel sorry for herself or not. Was she always this lucky?

"I will be back soon." His tone was a rich, masculine timbre, full of promise and the pink-haired female actually turned bright red at his less-than-innocent implications, delivered in a completely innocent manner, of course. Her eyes flew straight up to him, and the knowing glance in his dark, onyx eyes made her flush even harder.

"You are starting to annoy me again." She looked away forcibly and muttered quickly instead.

He was not fooled by her. The lazy amusement in his beautiful eyes increased a notch, and then he turned and started to walk down the hallway. She watched him leave, and only when he had fully disappeared from sight did she shut the door with a soft, exasperated sigh.

That blasted Uchiha. He was so impossibly pigheaded, blunt and arrogant! Not to mention completely determined not to be deterred by her resistance to his advances.

Resistance that was beginning to waver in a most alarming manner.

Grudgingly, Sakura decided that she had to commend him for that dogged tenacity of his. She wouldn't have given him the time of the day had he not been the assertive type, forcing her to pay attention to him, daring her to look at him in a new light.

And boy, had she looked.

Sakura sighed again.

This was really all his fault.

But she didn't blame him. Not entirely, at least.

Emerald eyes softened reluctantly with gentle amusement and grudging affection.

Maybe having him around really wouldn't be so bad.


Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

And this chapter wraps up 'training!' I do hope that some of you have at least derived a bit of entertainment from this two-shot. While this old fic is admittedly not one of my best works, I still find myself quite partial to this verse all the same. I'm not sure if there will be a sequel after this; we will just have to wait and see if my muse is willing to oblige in the near future!

Besides, the ending here hints strongly of a new beginning—a new understanding—between Itachi and Sakura, which seems like a good place for me to stop at if any, so for now at least, that will be all for the 'tossing a coin'-verse!


Yes, I know that Sakura is something of an obnoxious/oblivious twit here, but that's because she has some rather extreme denial issues to work through and, to further compound that, is also stubborn as a mule (which naturally makes the situation twice as problematic and her short temper also does not help matters any).

Aha, I'm not really sure what happened when I was plotting this verse's Sakura, but she turned out to be quite the ornery character who obviously does not appreciate people making decisions for her, which explains why she is so adamant against the idea of Itachi. The man had, after all, just decided all by himself that he was going to keep her come hell or high water, and in typical arrogant Uchiha fashion, had gone out of his way to do exactly just that, without even consulting her opinion in the first place. Therefore, she is understandably aggravated by the upheaval in her life and, in response to his highhanded ways, is determined to be as deliberately difficult as possible whenever it comes to him—even when her heart is quite obviously not in it.


Nothing else to comment on; from what I can see, this chapter is pretty much self-explanatory. Once again, hope you guys enjoyed this!


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