"Here you go, you old pervert," Sakura said, slipping an envelope into Kakashi's greedy hand. "First of the month from C-17, overpriced and on time as always."

"You're magic, Sakura," he replied, his visible eye crinkling up in a smile.

"Why do you wear that thing, anyway?" she asked for the hundredth time, gesturing towards his allergy mask.

"What thing?" he answered for the hundredth time. She sighed and gave up, as he knew she would.

"You seem rather frustrated today," he observed. "Trouble in paradise?"

"Paradise?" Sakura scoffed. "That's a fucking stretch. It'd be paradise if you cut our rent back a little…?"

"Nice try."

She sighed again and folded her arms, leaning against the door of Kakashi's office. Every month, she would come down here with her and Sasuke's rent checks, and every month, she would watch her hard-earned money vanish like dust on the wind. What she wouldn't give for a little extra spending money every now and then, especially with a certain holiday coming up celebrating certain romantic situations and a certain boyfriend who was certainly impossible to shop for.

"Just stressed with school," she replied. "And work. And my dumb boyfriend. And my lack of money."

"Valentine's Day?" he asked, raising his eyebrow, and she nodded.

"It's such a stupid institution anyway," she mumbled grumpily, since her landlord was about the only one in the world who would tolerate her complaining. "It's a way to make people who aren't a part of a couple at the moment feel left out and lonely and terrible about themselves, and people who ARE a part of a couple have to bend over backwards trying to reach impossible standards of romance that's just plain unrealistic. Like am I seriously supposed to buy my boyfriend a pink teddy bear that says I Love You Beary Much on it? Is that the measure of my love for Sasuke?"

"Love?" Kakashi echoed, latching onto one word in her entire speech, and leaning across the desk almost feverishly. What a gossip queen.

"Yeah," Sakura muttered, dejected, feeling her cheeks heat up. "I mean it's totally obvious to everyone except him, of course, but yeah. I guess so. How fucking typical, right?"

"So Sakura what I'm hearing you say is that you're stressed out because you don't know what to do for Sasuke on Valentine's Day. Why not tell him you love him? I'm sure that would make him as happy as any pink teddy bear."

She considered that for a moment before smirking and shaking her head.

"If you think that that's what Sasuke wants from me, you clearly don't know him as well as you think you do," she said, leaving his office on that note.

It wasn't as though she hadn't considered this before, naturally. Admitting to Sasuke Uchiha, her boyfriend of like a month or whatever that she loved him. It was painfully obvious, she felt, in every single thing she did. Her fondness for him was so pathetically clear to every human being in the universe. Surely he had to have figured it out for himself?

But Sakura wasn't an idiot.

She knew how most guys would react to such a statement.

"Hey, Sasuke, we've been together since Christmas and that was like barely a month ago so I love you."

Too soon. Way too fucking soon. He'd probably just stare at her with that expression he wore whenever he got home from work early and caught her watching Disney movies: a deep, bored, unimpressed frown. Sakura was many things, but dumb wasn't one of them.

She couldn't bear to admit something so achingly personal and have Sasuke blow it off like that. And she knew he would, because what guy wanted to hear his girlfriend of barely a month admit that she was already in love with him?

This is so frustrating, she thought with a groan, crossing the parking lot to get back to her building. It was cold as hell outside and the lot was slick with ice. And just what the fuck am I paying 'parking lot maintenance' for in my goddamn lease if they can't even salt the roads so I don't slip and break my damn neck out here?

Whenever Sakura was faced with a dilemma like this, one that had no perceivable solution, it had a profound effect on her mood. She was a smart girl and refused to admit that this one thing had her stumped, but it had about the same effect as an unattended stomach ulcer: it got worse and worse and worse until it finally ruptured.

Sasuke wasn't home yet when she stepped inside, which pleased her just fine. She knew she was in a rotten mood and didn't want to take it out on him. He was probably held up late at baseball practice; with the season coming up so soon, he'd been in the gym almost every day since New Years.

But just because Sasuke wasn't home, didn't mean her apartment was empty.

"Hey, Sakura!" Naruto called from the living room. "I was hungry and I wanted to play Assassin's Creed so I broke in through the window. How was school?"

"What'd I tell you about being here unsupervised?" she demanded, stomping into the living room and finding Naruto in his usual spot: sprawled across the entirety of her couch, a videogame controller in one greasy hand and a bowl of pretzels balanced on his stomach. "Damn it, Naruto, and you tracked in snow on the carpet?"

"Sorry, Sakura, but if you'd just tell Sasuke to stop locking me out.."

"Look, I'm not really in the mood right now. So unless you want me to strangle you with my bare hands and hang your body from the shower rod to make it look like a suicide…"

"That's oddly specific. Whatsamatter? You can tell me, I didn't feel like doing homework tonight anyways."

Sakura wanted to yell at him – he was such an easy target – but maybe he, as Sasuke's best friend, would have a good idea on what she should do for Valentine's Day. It wasn't like she had much else to go on here anyway, and it was worth a shot…

"Maybe you actually can help," she said thoughtfully, kicking off her boots and shoving Naruto's legs off the couch to make room for herself. "See, I'm kind of…I don't know. Helpless about this Valentine's Day thing. I have no clue what to get Sasuke."

"Well whatever you got for him for Christmas, he was totally happy with. Wouldn't tell us what it was, though, just kept smirking…oh, did you get him the new Call of Duty?"

Sakura blushed fiercely as she remembered Sasuke's rather racy Christmas gift and turned pointedly away, picturing him sharing all the gory details with his friends. Dickhead, she thought angrily.

"No," she said hotly. "And I'm not telling you either, that's private."

But her poor choice of words had dumbass Naruto groaning in disgust as he figured it out for himself.

"Oh, God, gross, Sakura! Really?"

"Gross? What are you implying exactly?"

"That you're way too pretty for the bastard. Seriously. Oh what a revolting image, there's no way he knows how to please a lady. He probs has like a two-inch d-"

"Finish that sentence and it'll be the last thing you ever say," a menacing voice hissed from the shadows, and Naruto jumped, throwing the bowl of pretzels onto the floor.

"Oh hey Sasuke," Sakura said, as her boyfriend stalked over to them looking furious. "Naruto here broke in through the window and said it was your fault for locking him out."


"Get out of here, you cockroach," Sasuke snapped. "I don't even want to know what the hell you two were talking about."

"Oh, Sakura doesn't know what to get you for V-day," Naruto said comfortably.

"Naruto!" Sakura snapped. "Damn it!"

"The hell is V-Day?" Sasuke asked, plainly in no mood to deal with his best friend.

"It's Vagina Day," Naruto replied without missing a beat. "You know, a day to celebrate that beautiful invention that you don't even know how to please with your one-inch d-"

Sasuke had had enough. He seized Naruto by the collar of his jacket and threw him bodily into the hallway, slamming the door shut behind him and locking it.

"We have to invest in child locks or something," Sakura sighed, getting up to check that the windows were locked in case Naruto felt like skulking back inside for Round 2.

Sasuke didn't answer. He was sweaty and flushed from his workout, and he'd had a very long day. She knew to stay out of his way while he decompressed, and sure enough, after about ten minutes of laying on the couch with his arm over his eyes, he finally asked, "What is V-Day?"

"Valentine's Day," Sakura clarified, cracking open her Anatomy textbook. "Is there anything you wanted in particular? I was trying to figure it out subtly from Naruto, but…"

"But you wanted subtlety from Naruto," he quipped, and she laughed. "No I don't need anything."

"I know you don't need anything, but that's not the point of Valentine's Day."

"Then what's the point of Valentine's Day?"

She opened her mouth to answer, then froze. Was she really trying to buy Sasuke's love?

"What do you want?" he asked instead. "Since this is so important to you and all."

"It's not important to me, I think it's kind of fucking dumb, actually, but…"

"Then there you go. There's no saying we have to celebrate it just because we're in a relationship."


Sasuke sighed and sat up. "Look, if you're that desperate to give me something, then a half-hour blow j-"

"…what if we went on a trip for the weekend?" she asked, glaring at his flip attitude. "Like, just get away from campus for a little while. We haven't been anywhere since Suna for Christmas, it'd be nice to go somewhere else or something."

Sasuke didn't immediately shoot her down, which meant he probably didn't hate the idea. He was quiet on the other end of the sofa before he said, "Can you get off work for that weekend?"

"Probably. Can you? And what about baseball? You know what, whatever, let's just do it. Let's just go somewhere and they can miss us for a few days. We deserve a little trip, yeah?"

"If I say no, will you still make me go?"

Sakura glared at him, then grinned as she threw her textbook off her lap and in one fluid movement, slung her legs around Sasuke's waist. He hummed a quiet approval and his dark eyes looked up at her, eyebrows raised.

"It'd be in your best interests to agree with me," she said, rolling her hips lightly against his and making him growl, hands locking tight around her waist.

"Where d'you wanna go?" he asked, leaning in and pressing his lips against her throat. Loving when he kissed her there, she felt her focus scatter for a moment before reining it back in.

"That's the surprise!" she exclaimed, a brilliant idea zapping into her head just as Sasuke's hand found purchase on her denim-covered ass.

"What surprise?"

"That's what I'll do for you for Valentine's Day! I'll plan a whole weekend trip. It'll be a surprise! I won't even tell you where we're going."

"Hang on, I'm just supposed to let you take control of this? What about what I'm supposed to do for you for Valentine's Day? Is this just a ploy to make me look like a shitty boyfriend?"

"Oh, baby," she laughed, kissing him soundly on the lips and pulling back, a mischievous light in her eyes. "You don't need a ploy for that!"

Sasuke growled and flipped their positions, pinning her underneath him on the sofa. "Say that again," he dared, the light in his silver-black eyes dangerous and exciting all at the same time.

"I said," she kissed him lightly, "that my boyfriend," another kiss, "is in for the best weekend," another, "of his life," this one on his neck, "and if he doesn't get off me in the next second," and she pulled back to whisper in his ear, "or get me off in the next second," and she delighted in his groan of arousal, "then I'm going to invite everyone over here for a Valentine's Day party this weekend."

Sasuke froze above her, her veiled threat hanging in the air between them.

A party. A holiday party.

Sakura Haruno's Achilles Heel, her inability to throw a successful holiday party.

That was the alternative. She knew she had him.

"I'll get off this weekend," he muttered grumpily, and when she clapped her hands in delight, the atmosphere between them suddenly became charged with a very familiar, nearly inextinguishable sexual electricity. "And I'm gonna get you off right now," he added filthily in her ear, the way he knew she loved.

This is gonna be amazing, she thought, trying to focus on her surprise Valentine's plans while Sasuke negotiated her out of her shirt. I'm gonna take him somewhere I KNOW he's been dying to go, and we're gonna spend the whole stupid made-up holiday having rough angry hate sex because that's what Valentine's Day is about, right? And this way, I don't have to throw a stupid Valentine's party that's gonna be fucked to hell like everything else I ever tried to do in this stupid overpriced apartment. Two birds, one stone.

And Sasuke doesn't even have to know how much I love him.

Really, she should be congratulated, and so should Sasuke:

She'd solved their V-Day dilemma all on her own. Wasn't he lucky to have such a brilliant girlfriend?

"Wait, wait, wait, say that again," Ino snapped over coffee the next morning. "You're doing what?"

Sakura blew her fringe out of her eyes and glared at Ino. "I swear you don't listen. I said, I'm taking Sasuke on a weekend trip for Valentine's Day. That way we don't have to be around for all the stupid festivities…"

"That we were planning on having at your apartment!" Ino snarled. "What are we supposed to do now?"

"Throw the party yourself," Sakura snapped, irritated and pleased all at once that Ino was so worked up. "Kiba's got a place, too. I'm burnt out, you know. I've got so much going on right now and everyone just expects me to throw parties every single holiday but I don't feel like it. Plus I don't even like Valentine's Day. I wouldn't mind skipping it."

"But think about us!" Ino groaned, smacking her forehead dramatically. "What about us? We count on you guys to support us for parties and now we're supposed to, what, fend for ourselves? How long will you be gone?"

"I got us train tickets for Friday, right after our morning classes," she replied. "We'll be back here Sunday night."

"And where are you going, exactly?"

Sakura was distracted by her excitement for the weekend – she'd picked the perfect place – and completely missed the dangerous glint in her best friend's calculating blue eyes as she stirred her macchiato.

"It's a secret," she said smugly. "And I can't tell you because you have a giant mouth and you'd tell Kiba and he'd tell Naruto and Naruto would take out an ad in the newspaper and Sasuke would see it because Sasuke's the only person in town who reads the fucking newspaper. So I'll tell you about it after we get back."

She expected Ino to argue more, whine more, demand more information or maybe throw a punch or two for breaking plans they hadn't made yet for a party. Instead, however, Ino just smiled, the kind of shit-eating grin that usually preceded some sort of fuckery – and tossed her sleek blonde ponytail over her shoulder.

"You do that," she said with a smirk. "Friday to Sunday, you say?"

Ino drafted the mass text that evening, to be sent to every single contact in her phone except for two.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Stupid Cupid Valentine's Day Fucking Sweet Party at Sasuke and Sakura's! Don't tell them. Totally secret. Bring alcohol. BRING ALCOHOL.

She smirked at her cleverness and pressed Send.

Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, she thought smugly. And what Sasuke and Sakura don't know won't kill them.

note.. hey there. yes i know it's been awhile for this shit but whatevs. and yeah it's the boring transition chapter but it's necessary.

also, to the anonymous people who won't stop telling me about this: i AM AWARE that there's a story about Sasuke and Sakura as roommates that started off as very very similar to close encounters. a bunch of people came to me when it first came out telling me it was a straight rip-off of close encounters. i read it and spoke with the girl who wrote it and she made some changes and now that's its own story. if people are still giving negative feedback about how similar they were/are, that's for her to figure out. i'm not gonna "do something" about people having an opinion about the two stories and making that opinion known, that's not my problem. so fucking sick of these anonymous reviews bossing me the fuck around on MY story like this has anything to do with me. i spoke to the girl and that's that. fuck off. solve your own problems.

and to everyone else who's not an entitled fucking asshole, thank you very much for your support and i hope you guys like this chapter, if you did let me know! if not...you know the drill ;)

xoxo daisy :)