Desperate times call for desperate measures – and Sakura is desperate. She steals something of Sasuke's, claiming it hostage. To get it back before it is shared with all of Konoha, Sasuke must take her out on a date – that is, if Sakura doesn't become a hostage herself.

*Strong language used once

SasuSaku month book image picture done by Soceressmyr at Deviantart*

A Hostage Situation

Sakura Haruno sat cross-legged in the grass with one hand propping up her head and the other idly playing with the greenery beneath her. Her gaze never once left the black-eyed man in front of her. Sasuke and Naruto were sparring a little ways away. She had just finished training with Sai (beat him, by the way), and was waiting for the other two to finish.

A pout began to form on her lips. "Stupid Sasuke." Sakura mumbled.

"I do not believe his IQ is low enough to be called stupid." Sai corrected her. He was also sitting beside her, though his attention was on the paper in his hands.

"It's a form of speech, Sai. Besides, he may be book smart, but he's pretty stupid social-wise."

"Ah. I believe he may actually be on my level."

"Sai," Sakura finally broke her watchful gaze from the Uchiha to smirk at the painter, "You're on a whole other platform." She scooted closer and leaned so that the painting was visible. "What are you painting?"

"The two of them fighting."

Sakura nodded, still leaning closely to Sai, watching his hands gracefully move, giving life to the lines. Mid-stroke, Sai stopped and placed the pencil onto the ground. "It seems to have stopped for now."

Sakura looked up from the painting to question Sai, but instead only saw pale legs and blue shorts. "Sasuke-kun?"

He stood between the two, a glare directed at the painter. "We're done." He said simply.

"I won! I beat your ass!"

"I was going easy on you, dobe."

"You liar! We were really equal until you got distracted – oof!" Naruto was immediately cut off by Sasuke kicking the legs from underneath him. As soon as Naruto was face down on the ground, Sasuke's foot found a home on his back.

Sasuke leaned in, arms crossed, and a smirk on his lips, "Now we're even."

Sakura watched with a raised brow. Sasuke glanced at her once before removing his foot and promptly walking towards the town. Sakura's green eyes followed his retreating back while phasing out the sounds of a shouting Naruto. With every step he took, she could feel the frustrating bubbling up inside of her, ready to burst.


"He's so stupid!"

"I know."

"He likes me, I'm sure of it!"

"If he doesn't like you, there's no hope for him."

Immediately after Sasuke had disappeared from view, Sakura launched up and ran to Ino's flower shop, demanding she take a lunch break. Ino, happy to hear the newest gossip, had readily agreed. In a flash, the 'out to lunch' sign was up and Sakura and Ino found themselves sipping coffee outside of their favorite café.

Sakura leaned in, elbows resting on the metal table in front of her. "It's there, I know it. He's been doing more lately. I catch him watching me occasionally. He even walks me home once in a while. Yesterday I was laughing with a male co-worker, and he scared the guy off just by glaring at him. Today when he and Naruto were sparring, he got distracted because I was sitting too close to Sai. Still, the man won't admit or speak up at all!"

Sakura let out a weary sigh as she heavily dropped back in her metal chair. Her hands ran over her tired face. When she was through, she leaned foreword again, palms surrounding the now cold cup of coffee in front of her.

"What do I do, Ino?"

Of course, Sakura knew this was not one of her brighter ideas. She wanted to vent to someone, that wasn't a problem at all. Even venting to Ino was a perfectly acceptable idea. Ino was a fellow girl who understood the Sasuke issue. Ino loved to listen (providing she could talk and comment when and where she pleased). No, the real problem came when Sakura asked for the advice of Ino. In fact, even now, before Ino could pitch her plan, Ino's conniving and mischievous grin made Sakura sink down in her chair, desperately wishing she could retract her request.


Night in Konoha was a peaceful time. Many went to bed early to rise with the sun. Others, but not many stayed out to enjoy company, but almost none were out in the wee hours of the morning.

So when Sakura snuck out at 3:00 am dressed all in black, she was not surprised to face empty streets. The way to Uchiha mansion was especially quiet and abandoned. With a great amount of stealth, Sakura launched herself onto the main Uchiha roof. There was no noise, no sign or sound of her arrival. Sakura stopped above the designated window. Taking a deep breath, she flipped herself off the roof and onto a protruding balcony.

With the skill and concentration only a medic can have, Sakura placed two fingers over the key hole and sent in her chakra. It began to form and harden to the shape of the keyhole. Still deep in concentration, Sakura turned her hand ever so slightly and was rewarded with an audible click.

Sakura wrapped her fingers around the golden handle and slowly pushed down. The door opened smoothly and without a sound. As soon as Sakura was inside, she closed the door; afraid the breeze would alert anything. She stood still, waiting for something to be thrown at her, but there was nothing.

Sakura crouched down slightly, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness of the room. Only the light from the moon lit her way. Beside her was a king sized bed covered by a blue comforter. The bed was made perfectly and without wrinkles. On the other side of her, a dresser stood tall. It was made of wood. The top was empty save for one lamp. On the other side of the bed was a nightstand. It's top held a picture frame and a clock with blinding red light warning her of the time. Across from her was the door to the hallway and on the left wall stood a wardrobe. With the final touch of the dark blue carpet in front of the bed, the room was complete.

Completely boring. Sakura thought as she began to rise from her crouched position. Yes, she was definitely in Sasuke's room. It hadn't changed much since his return. Carefully, Sakura moved about the room, checking for hidden traps or listening devices.

When the room was clear, Sakura pulled at the black cloth covering her nose and mouth. "I'm surprised at you, Sasuke-kun." Sakura commented to the empty room. The room replied with silence.

Now she stood in the middle of the space a hand on her hip and her curious gaze roaming the room. "Find something embarrassing of his and hold it hostage in exchange for a date." Sakura repeated. One more glance around the room caused Sakura to pout. "What could he possibly have that is embarrassing? Ino, you're an idiot."

With a resigned sigh, Sakura stepped towards the nightstand. The clock had not changed much, but she knew she had most of the night. Sasuke was on patrolling duty. He wouldn't be back for another three hours. She picked up the lone frame on the small piece of furniture. Warmth spread through her being when she saw their old team picture. "Oh, Sasuke-kun."

Still smiling, Sakura placed the picture back on the nightstand exactly where it was. She imagined Sasuke was a stickler for details and she did want to live to see if she could ever get him to date her.

The nightstand had a drawer. She opened it with a tug. The drawer contained one book, a kunai, and a notepad. Sakura picked up the notepad and flipped through it. Aside from a few dates and numbers, the paper was empty. Sakura carefully put the items back and closed the drawer.

Next came the wardrobe. Sakura opened both doors. It was a simple wardrobe. His ANBU armor and uniforms dangled on hangers while weapons and shoes decorated the bottom. Sakura flipped through the clothes and felt the back. Nothing hidden. No secret drawers, no hidden shirts. How lame. The double doors closed with a click and Sakura made her way to her last hope.

The dresser contained five drawers. The first held shirts. The same blue shirts he wore almost everyday. Sakura carefully felt through the shirts, hoping to find some hidden treasure. The second drawer held the white open shirts he wore when he wasn't wearing the blue ones. Sakura repeated the process. The third drawer contained blue shorts and the fourth held the pants version. Nothing was hidden. Everything was perfectly folded with each item in its place. The fifth and final drawer contained Sasuke's boxers and socks. With a blush, Sakura closed the drawer. Then she paused.

Oh?

Eyebrows raised and her bottom jaw dropped just slightly as she slowly began to open up the magic drawer again. Oh, there were still boxers and socks in this drawer, but they were so much more. Sakura riffled through the options. All of the socks were white and blue, as were most of the boxers. Yet one pair of boxers caught her eye. She pulled it out, the silky texture brushing up against the tips of her fingers. The moonlight danced in her green eyes as she examined the material in her hands. "Ino, you're a genius."


The next time Sakura saw Sasuke was two days later in front of Konoha gates. It was a short two-day mission to a nearby village to drop off important information. Two people were not necessary, let alone three, but Naruto had begged Tsunade to give the three of them a mini vacation.

Six punches and about 48 death glares into the trip, Naruto began to think that something was wrong with Sasuke.

"So," Naruto ventured first, "who pooped in your tomatoes today?"

"What?" Death glare number 49.

"You're freakishly violent and especially grumpy today." Sasuke turned his glare to passing tree branches in front of him while Naruto continued, "And that's saying something for you."

Sasuke was silent, and it began to grate of Naruto's nerves. "Hey, jerk-"

"Guys!" Sakura came up between her boys, her green eyes glaring at both of them, "This is our little get together, we shouldn't be fighting this much. Now, Naruto, leave Sasuke alone. And Sasuke, if you wont talk about what's bothering you, then at least stop taking it out on us or the tree branches you're breaking off because you're stomping so hard on them as you land."

Just as she finished speaking, another branch fell under the weight of Sasuke's anger.

Sakura heard a slight 'tch' noise and then, "Stupid fangirls."


When they arrived at their destination, the sun was resting on the line of trees. People were coming to and from and bustling about the road. Stand merchants called out loudly to the newcomers, trying to sell their goods. Naruto split up with the pair as soon as they entered the gates to hand over the information.

Sasuke and Sakura stopped at the corner near the restaurant they had agreed to meet up with. Sasuke was leaning up against the wall, arms folded, and onyx eyes glaring at an invisible force.

Sakura pushed herself from the wall and slanted her head towards Sasuke. Her long pink hair fell over her shoulder and she wondered if Sasuke was even looking at her mischievous smirk. "So are you going to tell me what's bothering you?"

The silence that followed was her answer.

"Hey Sasuke, do you know what makes me feel better?" If possible, the smirk that played on her lips spread further. Her green eyes were glinting in the sun, "My favorite material." She waited for a reaction. As expected, nothing. So she continued, "And do you know what my favorite material is? Silk. Especially pink silk."

Onyx eyes were on her now. Nothing else had shifted, but oh, she had is attention.

"Oh, you know what makes it better?" She watched him eye her, finally taking in her body language and expression. She was also watching when his eyes began to widen just a fraction, knowing what she was going to say, "Pink silk with your clan's –"

"What the hell is wrong with you?" He interrupted. He was fully facing her now. His hands were in fists by his side. She should be scared, she knew. Yet Sasuke couldn't scare her, not this time.

"Here's the deal." Sakura's arms crossed in front of her. "When we get back to Konoha, if you ask me out on a date, and go through with the date, I will give you back your adorable boxers at the end of the night."

Sasuke scowled, "And if I don't?"

"Fan-girls all over Konoha will get to see and touch your favorite boxers."

There was a pause and for a moment, Sakura thought that he might actually reject her proposal. Finally, Sasuke closed his eyes and his scowl became less severe, more defeated frown, "When?"

"I don't know." Sakura snapped, "You're supposed to be asking me." He's not getting the whole idea of this.

"Sakura…"

"How about two nights from now – the night after we get back from here. You can pick me up at seven o'clock pm sharp and we can go to a restaurant of your choosing."

"Fine. Now answer me this:" His strong gaze was on her. He was still angry, but there was something more to it, "Why?"

Sakura hesitated, debating within herself. Her eyebrows creased and she thought of not giving him a direct answer, but – I've gone this far… "Because I like you Sasuke-kun." She watched his face carefully for any reaction, "And I'm pretty sure you like me too, but you don't seem to have the balls to ask me out, so I'm helping you get a head start."

Green and Onyx clashed. Neither made a move. Sakura was running what she said through her brain. It wasn't what she would have planned to say – it was certainly what she had been thinking – but it wasn't what she had planned. Was it too much? Her heart was becoming heavy, watching his frozen form.

"Sakura-chan!"

And there it was. Sakura jumped and Sasuke-kun melted back into his stoic expression and body language. He turned and headed toward Naruto, not looking or waiting for her. She couldn't move, only stare at the spot he had left and think. Think about what his reaction was inside, what he was thinking. Did she ruin things forever? Did she-

"Sakura-chan?" A warm hand was on her shoulder. She looked over to the owner of the hand. He blue eyes were watching her with concern. Sakura forced down a watery answer and simply smiled and nodded for her best friend.

He hesitated. She knew he didn't buy it, but she silently begged him to let it go. He turned to look at Sasuke, whose back was to the two, and then back at Sakura. Finally, he sighed and grabbed Sakura's hand, a smile on his face. "Well, let's eat!"


It was blurry. Fuzzy and blurry. Blurry and fuzzy. A chuckle

No!

"What have you done?"

Eyes narrowed, trying to focus. Lips tightened in the process. Oh, lips were chapped…

"What the fuck did you do to Sakura?"

Sakura, right. That was her name. Her hands began moving about, since seeing wasn't working, maybe she could feel her way out. If she could feel, that is. Were her hands numb?

"We poisoned her."

Colder. The air definitely just got colder. Yet, warmth suddenly wrapped around her flailing hand. "Sakura-chan." A voice whispered. Naruto. "Sakura-chan, it's okay."

"Why." It wasn't a question.

Sakura tried to move her other hand, but it was held down by something.

"Because we want you, Uchiha." The pressure became tighter. She heard growling.

"Why."

"You got off too light. We want to give you what you deserve."

"What does that have to do with Sakura-chan?" The warmth from Naruto's hand disappeared. Her hand fell to a flat surface. She brushed up against a moveable object. Glass. Scattered memories of broken glass and a fallen table fluttered around her closed eyes. A restaurant. They had been eating. The food had tasted kinda funny. Shouldn't come here again.

"If Sasuke gives himself up willingly, we will give the girl the antidote."

Antidote? Right. Poison. Survival and medical instincts kicked in. Slowly but surely, her chakra began to move.

First, must locate and analyze.

The pressure on her hand loosened just slightly before squeezing again. Sasuke, she knew. Could he see her chakra moving?

"Your sharingan wont scare us, Uchiha."

Sakura would have smiled if she could have actually moved her lip muscles.

"I don't need to scare you. I just need that antidote."

"Then turn yourself in or the girl will die."

"Sakura-chan is stronger than you think!"

Right. Poison in the stomach seeping through the stomach lining into the blood stream. Most of it was in her stomach, if she could just purge most of it…

Chakra moved again.

"It doesn't matter. She will die soon enough if you don't make your decision."

"I don't trust yo-"

Gagging noises. Something was coming up – good, now if she could just move so she didn't choke on it.

There, her body was turning onto her side. Something was hitting her back, helping the fluid move. Light tickles moved from her face. Someone had moved her hair for her. How nice.

When she was done, she felt someone move her again, this time leaning up against something hard and immoveable. With most of the poison out of her system, it gave her more time to wake up, work out the rest of the poison, and maybe be able to start to move again. For the third time, Sakura's chakra prepared itself.

"You shouldn't waste time. The poison should be in her blood stream by now. I bet she completely paralyzed and numb already. Her internal organs will be failing soon."

"Enough." Sasuke's voice was sharp. The sound of metal dragging on metal was heard. Sasuke was pulling out his katana. "Who says I can't just pry it from your cold, dead fingers?"

"You wouldn't risk it." The taunting voice wavered slightly. "We could drop it and she'd be dead without any hope."

Clarity was beginning to creep back into her mind. Green eyes cracked open. It was still blurry. She blinked a few times. She could make out Sasuke and Naruto standing with their backs to her. In front of them, stood ten, no, five? Six? men – oh, who was she kidding? They could have been women for all she knew right now. Her head titled to the side. She was leaning against an overturned table. As far as she could tell, they were the only ones in the restaurant.

Oh, look! Sakura could feel some fingers. They were twitching.

"-kill you."

Oh, right. Sakura's head bobbed to look straight ahead again. She should probably be paying attention.

Seven men. She was almost certain now. Her vision was clearing. Naruto had a kunai out. The tension was high. Sasuke took one glance back. Sakura was pleased to find that she could offer a small reassuring smile.

A proud, but soft smirk seemed to offset the angry red eyes. Just as quick as she had seen it, it was gone and he had flashed foreword to make the first attack.

Her palms. She could feel the carpet she was on now. Her eyes were still only cracked, but the picture was becoming clearer. Her hand reached out stiffly and closed around the shard of glass. With great effort, she pulled her arm closer. Sakura would not be looked down upon.

Feet, oh, good, her feet were still there.

The battle was still going. Four bodies littered the floor. Sasuke was fighting the leader while Naruto was trying to grab the dangling antidote from the other's hand. Seven… there were seven. Sakura gripped the glass. She could feel it cutting into her skin.

A shadow crossed into her vision.

"Well, well." Sakura squinted up at the man. Her hands clenched the object to her, hiding. She certainly didn't have speed. She'd have to use the element of surprise.

"It's too bad I have to kill you." He leaned in so his nose was inches from her own. "You're pretty good."

Sakura heard her name being called – a desperate cry echoing through the restaurant. She ignored it, only concentrating on the widened hazel eyes in front of her. "Damn right I am." She whispered. Her hand pulled back, yanking the bloody shard from his stomach. His once poised kunai fell to the floor and he on top of her.

anxious cries were heard as the lifeless body was thrown off of her being. "Sakura!" For a moment, red eyes were wide staring at the growing stain at her legs. He dropped to his knees while his eyes trailed up her body, looking for any signs of life. When the red met green, Sasuke let himself drop onto his heels. With the blink of an eye, the frantic look was gone, only an echo in his eyes and traces of sweat indicated his moment of discomposure.

"M'okay." Sakura assured him. "You?"

Sasuke huffed, "Worry about yourself."

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto dropped beside her, fumbling with a bottle in his hands. "I got the antidote, don't die!"

"Idiot!" Sasuke snapped. Naruto stopped his fiddling and stared at Sasuke. "She's fine."

Naruto looked down at the smiling Sakura and nearly dropped the vial in his slumped relief. "Thank God."

"You both need more faith in me." Her voice was wet and a bit slurred.

"You still need it." The frown was back on Sasuke's face.

"Yeah." Sakura was also frowning with frustration. "But I got most 'f it out." Sakura reached out to nab the antidote from Naruto, but found she couldn't open it. A sigh came from her left and she glared at Sasuke as he gently pulled the bottle from her grasp.

"You did good." He replied as he popped open the lid and handed it back to her. When she had emptied the contents, Sasuke continued, "Do we need to take you to the hospital?"

"No." Sakura mumbled. The antidote was already working. "Water 'n sleep." Her words were slurring more.

Naruto jumped up and disappeared for a short time. She wasn't looking, but she could feel the frown coming from Sasuke. "M'fine! Lotsa chakra using 'n need sleep."

Naruto returned and held the cup to her lips. She drank greedily, anxious to wash the puke from her mouth. When she had finished, the cup was removed. As she closed her eyes, Sakura felt strong arms wrap under her knees and back. The comfort of the gentle bobbing and the smell of earth, fire, and Sasuke's heartbeat lulled her into a deep sleep.


It was the lack of soothing motion and the clicking sound of her bedroom window opening that finally woke her up. "Why are you breaking into my room?" Sakura mumbled, unwilling to open her eyes. "Can't you just use the front door?"

"Like you did?"

She should have come up with a retort. Or even a 'touché,' but all she could think of was how mean he was for picking on the weak and tired. Happy with whining in her head, Sakura remained silent.

When he placed her on her bed and began fiddling with the covers, Sakura finally opened her eyes and put out a hand to stop him. He still held the sheets in his hand and looked at her quizzically.

For the first time, Sakura was able to get a good look at him. He wasn't injured, at least nothing she could see, but he looked… tousled. Disorderly – at least for Sasuke. It was little things – the way some strands of hair weren't falling perfectly, the way his deep black eyes weren't as blank as normal, the fact that he was actually putting her to bed.

So with a sigh of resignation, knowing she'd caused enough stress for the poor man, Sakura reached under her bed and pulled out a black bag. She handed the bag over to him. "Here. I can't hold this on you anymore." She held it in her outstretched arms to him. He stared at it. Irritated, she began to shake it and its contents. "Here." She tried again. "Take it. You saved me, after all."

Mutely, he took the back from her outstretched arms and placed it back on the ground. She watched with a strange fascination and he pushed her back onto the bed and returned to his task of placing the covers over her tired body. When he was satisfied, Sasuke picked up the bag and walked to the window before turning to her again. "Get some sleep. I'll pick you up around seven tomorrow like we agreed."

"What?"

"Did the poison get to your ears?" Sasuke was scowling. He was looking more like himself now.

"But… why? You don't have to anymore." Sakura peered up at him from under her covers. Silently hoping she wasn't still dreaming.

"That's not all."

Sakura raised an eyebrow, "I'm sorry?"

"This is not all you took." He lifted the bag in his hand.

"Jackass," Sakura formed her own scowl. "I gave your boxers back to you. I didn't take anything else."

"Just be ready for tomorrow." And before she finished blinking, Sasuke was out her window like he had never been there in the first place.

"He's still blaming me for taking something! I don't get it!"

"Idiot," Ino hid her chuckle behind her coffee cup, "I think he was referring to something less physical and more figurative."

Okay, so I didn't know how to make it less painfully cheesy at the end, but I thought it needed to be said and... and... ah. It hurt my soul. I may or may not delete it. Anyhoo... hope you enjoyed! Please review :)