~ O ~

A Naruto fanfiction

"Sakura, is your hair really natural? I mean really? You can tell me if it's fake. Because seriously, it looks totally fake." Naruto Uzumaki stared unabashedly at his female teammate with wide eyes, the book about chakra control that he was supposed to be reading lying forgotten at his elbow.

"It's real," she replied coldly. One pink eyebrow twitched in annoyance at his tactlessness.

"You suuure?"

She slammed shut the medical text she was reading, returned it to its shelf, and stalked out of the library, her face going darker than her hair.

Naruto turned to Sasuke, who had been sitting across the table from him and Sakura, reading a novel. The blond's expression was cross.

"As if other people aren't wondering the same thing," he muttered, "I'll bet you've even thought it, huh, Sasuke?" His teammate shot him a condescending look, placed a finger in his book to mark the page, and moved to another table, the whispered word 'idiot' under his breath.

But Sasuke actually had wondered.

The table he relocated to was in the nonfiction section (somewhere Naruto would certainly never follow). On a whim, he got up and found the section of the library devoted to genetics and heredity.

He tugged on the spine of one that looked promising, let it fall open to the section on hair color.

'... females born with such pink hair include protagonists and hipster computer whizzes that aid the hero in Japanese manga series...'

That makes sense, he thought to himself. Curious, he flipped to 'black hair'.

'... including but not limited to: antagonists, pretty boys that people are secretly irritated at, and drag queens. The baby being born with black hair is caused by the baby's future most likely turning out as one of these examples.'

He threw the book across the room, scowling.

Still, his interest had been piqued concerning the pink hair. Genetically he wondered at the combinations. What must Sakura's parents be? Was it some chance mutation? Obviously it had to be extremely recessive; he knew a little about heredity. Colors like brown and black were dominant, therefore more people were born with those hair colors.

He cleared his table and pulled down a few more books on genetics. He studied Punnet squares and essays, cranked up one of the library's ancient computers even. Often he came across words he did not know – the Ninja Academy taught more practical ninja knowledge than things the average shinobi did not need to know in the field – and he added further to the books littering his desk as he sought out explanations.

He'd become absorbed in his reading – he'd even gone so far as to see what the turnout would be of children with parents of his dominant dark hair and eyes (of course all the Uchiha features were dominant) and rare coloring like Sakura's. He grimaced when he realized he'd felt relief that there was almost no chance of any children he might have with Sakura having pink hair. As if he would ever have sons running around carrying the Uchiha name and pink hair. Daughters sure, but little Itachi the Seconds?

As if he would ever have children with Sakura. He grimaced at himself. This was all purely in the name of an entertaining day of reading.

Sasuke delved back into his books, so intent on genes and blood that he hadn't even noticed the stream of people walking past the front of his desk. Most of them were shinobi, some of them even people he knew, like Shikamaru Nara, Choji Akimichi, Kiba Inuzuka, and Shino Aburame. The library offered classes on a wide spectrum of subjects that people like shinobi often took advantage of. None of them ever got schooling past the Ninja Academy, but many of them – those who weren't like Naruto anyway – had interests in learning about other subjects than shuriken and water attacks. Sasuke himself had attended his fair share of history classes. Sakura was obsessed with anything to do with the human body.

The Uchiha was jerked from his preoccupation when he realized that some of the members of the dismissed class were lingering a moment or two in front of his desk, several giggling before they moved on. He sent dark scowls in their direction; the snickering didn't go away. Exasperated, he looked down at his desk, wondering what they were laughing at...

... and realized that he'd covered the table with pictures from medical textbooks of diagrams of pregnant women, sex organs, and DNA, charts detailing gestational periods and sperm counts and many, many, many other embarrassing things. He'd had to look up a lot of medical stuff; as if Sasuke Uchiha knew anything about the corpus luteum or umbilical cords and how they pertained to the way babies turned out.

His face went very red; the embarrassing shade made less effective the murderous glares he was careful to direct at each passerby. The giggling only got stronger.

Of course Shikamaru, Choji, Kiba, and Shino all came to a stop at his table, each of them grinning widely (well, Shino's face couldn't really be seen).

"I see you're finally working on reviving that clan of yours, Uchiha," Kiba said, howling with laughter, "Good for you!"

Sasuke glared down at the lines of the book in his lap, continuing his reading and trying to look like he was ignoring them.

"Oh, I can see why he's so absorbed in his reading, guys!" Choji held up an atlas of the human body, which just so happened to be open to the section 'Reproduction'. Sasuke's face flushed deeply with anger and embarrassment.

"Whoo! Soon his clan'll be bigger than Hyuga's!"


The librarian appeared at all the shouting and laughing, her withered old face severe. At her entrance, the four boys all left the room, still snickering.

"I can't wait to tell Naruto!"

"And Lee's going to be pissed when I tell him Uchiha was calculating the genetic turn out of babies from himself and Sakura on the piece of graph paper I saw!"

Sasuke jerked out of his chair, nearly toppling the table and spilling books all over the floor. They could not be allowed to tell Sakura that he was intending to make her the mother of his children. Which he wasn't! He tried to run after him.

The librarian, still standing at his table, reached out a hand and grabbed the back of his shirt angrily. She was surprisingly strong for such an old woman; she must have been a ninja in a past life.

"Oh, no you don't, you little punk! You are reshelving every one of these books before you leave!" Her glasses glinted in the light, her face twisted in a glower that said she wasn't kidding.

He tried to step around her.

"Not so fast! I know who you are, Uchiha! And I know you're still on probation after that whole fiasco with you deserting the Village and then trying to come back. I will personally go to Miss Tsunade and tell her what I think of you; see how you like your situation then." He stared down at the wrinkled old woman, remembered how the current Hokage charmed her own appearance, and wondered if they were old friends. He suppressed a shudder.

Satisfied that he'd taken her threat seriously, the librarian turned to leave. As she left, the books scattered all about him caught her eye. She gave him a queer, wary look.

"What? I am NOT a pervert! Come on!"

"Stop yelling in my library!"

"Sasuke! Congratulations on the clan being on its way to being revived and all that!" Kakashi called out as he spotted Sasuke running towards him in the streets, almost an hour later. The boy came to a stop in front of him, grimacing.

"Do you know where Sakura is?" he hoped his eyes didn't have the desperation in them that he felt.

"Wow! You work fast! I am proud of you, kid," Kakashi patted his shoulder fondly, "If you need any pointers..." he waved the novel he held in his other hand, "... feel free to ask your old sensei."

Sasuke's eyebrow twitched in spite of himself.

"Where is Sakura?" he tried to ask calmly.

"I don't know; it's getting late," the silver-haired man gestured vaguely toward the setting sun and pink-and-orange streaked sky, "Try her house. She's probably in her bedroom." He winked.

"I was speaking metaphorically! God!" he shouted over his shoulder as he ran towards Sakura's house.

He found the place in a matter of minutes.

Sasuke rapped on the door loudly, his movements jerky with his growing anxiety. He had to get to her first.

Her father opened the door. He had brown hair and hazel eyes, Sasuke noted.

Mr. Haruno frowned at him, "It's rather late for callers; you should probably go." The sun had set in the time it had taken Sasuke to run to the house; the outside light was the soft, muted gray of twilight.

"I need to see Sakura right now," he persisted impatiently; he unconsciously shifted his weight from leg to leg with pent up nervous energy.

Sakura's father raised a dark eyebrow, taking in his odd behavior. He peered into Sasuke's face.

"Hey. I know you; you're that Uchiha kid. Sakura's teammate," the man's eyes grew narrow. Sasuke frowned; most of the Village still hated him after his defection and wouldn't trust him. Great.

"I hear you want my daughter to help you revive your clan. So the hell am I letting you into her bedroom at this hour of the night! Or ever! In fact, you can stay away from her!" He shut the door in Sasuke's face.

"Shit!" he nearly yelled. If Sakura's father had heard the rumor, then surely she had by now.

Sasuke refused to make that assumption entirely, however. He had to see her tonight. He paced along the back wall of the Harunos' house, staying clear of the windows, waiting for it to get dark. He picked out the window he knew to be Sakura's room, which was on the second story. The light was on in there. At least she was at home and not talking to any friends, he thought to himself. How annoying this all was...

The lights of her parents on the first floor went out before hers did. He figured it would be a simple matter to climb up to her window, politely rap on the glass, explain things to her, and be on his way. The soles of his feet glowed blue as he focused his chakra there in order to climb straight up the outside of her house. He gave a wry smile at how easy it was for him to get up to see her, unlike that Shakespearean literature fool Romeo moping about a little balcony. Then he got angry with himself for comparing this simple, innocent excursion to a romance.

He was through the window in no time, ready to explain himself.

Her light was on, but she was asleep. She lay on top of the covers in her bed, a book checked out from the library lying face down on top of her chest, rising and falling with her deep breathing. Her short, pink hair was quite ruffled from sliding down the pillow as she'd lost consciousness, and she still wore the same clothes he'd seen her in earlier. It was obvious she'd fallen asleep reading.

Sasuke knew he shouldn't linger; he could talk to her in the morning. He crossed the room to turn off the lamp on her bedside table so she could at least sleep in peaceful darkness. As he knelt by her head, looking for the switch, her hair again caught his eye. She was soundly asleep, and he couldn't resist reaching out to touch a lock. He'd always wondered if it was as soft as it looked, and of course there was something very novel about touching pink hair. He could see her roots very clearly in the bright reading lamp's light. She was obviously natural. He was definitely going to give Naruto a beating tomorrow for having sparked this whole nightmare with just one asinine question.

Remembering his situation made him angry, and determined. He was already here; he really just had to talk to her before things got out of control. Naruto and Sakura were the rare friends he'd managed to retain after his traitorous actions; he couldn't afford to mess anything up again.

He leaned his tall frame over her sleeping figure, took hold of her shoulders, and gently shook her.

"Sakura. Sakura."

She awoke with a start. Thank goodness her ninja training prevented her from shrieking with fear and waking her parents.

"Sasuke...? What the hell?" she sat up quickly, nearly knocking into him where he hovered above her. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, becoming alert quickly.

"What's wrong?" Her face was grave as she asked. He realized belatedly that she probably got woken up like this for bad news and important missions.

"Nothing happened, Sakura" - she visibly relaxed - "I just... have you, uh, heard anything weird today?" He felt like a moron as he asked the question.

"Um... nooo?"

"About... us?" He was suddenly conscious of the fact that when she'd sat up, they'd become very close. He didn't know how to move away without making it awkward.

"What do you mean 'us'?" her face went a little pink, but her expression was wary.

"Nothing, just... I don't want you to think I'm recruiting you to be the mother of my children, okay?" His face was redder than hers, his expression angry at having to say such an absurd sentence to her.

Her expression went totally blank, as if the surrealism of his words had put her into shock. Unconsciously, he leaned in a little closer in concern, wondering if he'd suddenly unloaded too much on her while she was tired.

"Well, you're kind of sending me mixed signals here. Waking me up. So close to me. In my bed. At night..." she finally said. He glared. She gave a little chuckle at his expression.

"Oh, calm down, Sasuke. I always knew you meant 'revived' metaphorically. Please."

He felt like he could have kissed her for saying that. Or, heck, doing more to her, if that rumor was going to go around anyway…

He went with kissing her. Taking it slow... Somewhere along the way that night, he'd realized that she mattered a lot more to him than he'd thought. He certainly wouldn't have gone through so much trouble if she wasn't a big deal to him. And, seeing her so soft and warm in her bed with her amazing pink hair and her books, he'd realized he wanted more than the life of the avenger he'd lived the first time he'd been in the Village. He didn't want to be cold and cynical and aloof anymore, sadness and viciousness and revenge permeating every cell of his body. He'd succeeded in reviving his clan in the metaphorical sense; maybe it was time to start working on it in the sense everyone else imagined.

"Mixed messages!" she scolded when he had to stop for air, but her cheeks matched her hair, and she'd kissed him back. He shot her a smile, small but nonetheless genuine; as she marveled, her breath momentarily taken away at the fact that Sasuke Uchiha was actually able to smile, he pressed his lips to hers again. She tentatively brought her arms up around his neck, and he gently pushed her back onto her pillow, his body covering hers. He had to say, working towards this sort of reviving was definitely more pleasant than vows of eternal vengeance and curses and the harsh realities of the Uchiha clan's history that he'd dealed with thus far.

Sasuke was so preoccupied with the wonderfulness of this new goal, in fact, that he didn't even hear the faint metallic click of Sakura's door as it opened.

"Sakura, honey, I saw your light on; what are you doing up so la-," her father trailed off at the sight before him.

"UCHIHA! SONOFABITCH! These damned ninjas!"

A nice one-shot to break up some of the monotony of writer's block that so often comes with writing longer stories!

This one was inspired by a little bit of reading I was doing this weekend. I was going through the Part 2 manga again, and I was at the part where Team Seven is reunited again and Kakashi is fighting Sasuke. And Sasuke's all crazy, ranting about reviving his clan and whatever. Obviously, if he's kind of a crazy psycho now and just tried to kill the one girl he is probably closest to, he's not thinking that "revive" means "to make babies". But all the time in fanfics, people write about the baby making thing as part of the romance. I kind of just wanted to explore the distinction and think about how Sasuke would actually react if he realized a bunch of people out there in some other universe or whatever think his ultimate quest is a bit of fratricide and then lots of sex.

Poor Sasuke.

Hope you enjoyed it! Please read and review!

- An Engineer