AN: Hello! I am a faraway friend who's been too busy studying for exams to actually have time to sleep, let alone write. Either way, holiday is coming, so not only do I have some free time, but I'm also feeling particularly soft, because, hey, it's Christmas. This is going to be a two-shot (unless I get crazy like I did with this chapter, since this story wassupposedto be a one-shot) and the next chapter should be up by next week, unless something happens and I have to flee to Honolulu and change my name. Now, if you're willing to read my pointless 'behind the screen' ramblings, go ahead, you'll get a cookie. If not, then enjoy reading and leave a review if you want to make me a happy girl.
Pairings:The romantic pairing is ItaSaku, though in a very early stage. The second chapter will be about the relationship between my two favorite shinobi, while this one is a very fluffy friendship SasuSaku, that I've been craving to read, have not found, therefore decided to write myself. Something is terribly wrong with the approach concerning Sasuke and Sakura: they are either portrayed as lovers or as enemies to the death. I have not found one story that focuses on their friendship. If you have,pleasetell me, because I would die to read it.
Captain Obvious:This story is AU, where the Uchiha massacre has never happened. If I hadn't made this non-massacre, then Sasuke would be the ultimate idiot seeking revenge and not the sweetheart I made him to be.
Disclaimer:There is areasonI am writing fanfiction, and that is I don't own Naruto. Yet.
Could You Teach Me How to Dance?
Haruno Sakura was a fearsome and courageous kunoichi of Chunin rank, the apprentice of the mighty Godaime Hokage and the female member of the infamous Team 7. However fiery her temper was, the fifteen years old teenager was known for her ability to remain calm and focused in dire situations, concentrating solely on finding a logical solution to any unexpected issue.
Therefore, it was only natural for Konoha's cheerful citizens to turn their heads in utter awe when said kunoichi stomped into the Yamanaka Flower Shop with an expression that, dare they whisper, screamed panic.
''Ino!'' Sakura yelled, her voice surely one octave higher than usual, as her hurried and nowhere near graceful steps carried her towards the beautifully decorated counter. As a matter of fact, the entire flower shop was thoroughly prepared for the approaching holiday, variously colored tinsel flattering the gorgeous flowers that were procured daily, and a Christmas tree standing proudly in all its glory on the left side of the shop.
Not that Sakura appeared to be concerned.
A blonde girl of the rosette's age lifted her surprised gaze from the magazine she was currently reading, clearly baffled at seeing her best friend in the state she was in. While it was not unusual for Sakura to become feral in a temper fit, the kunoichi was obviously not angry, but completely and utterly terrified. And that was severely unusual.
''Sakura?'' Ino questioned cautiously, expecting an Akatsuki member to barge through the doors any minute, with how peculiar Sakura was behaving. ''What's wrong?''
Gasping so loudly and unevenly that Ino was certain she was having a panic attack, Sakura promptly leaped over the counter, tackling her best friend whose kunoichi instincts had yet to kick in.
''Ino, I need help!'' the rosette exclaimed, her voice muffled by Ino's suddenly stiff shoulder. The blonde's brain went in overdrive, trying to find out what the heck had happened to her childhood friend.
Ino first thought of her teammates, obviously. Naruto was almost instantly out of the picture, since Sakura could never be afraid of him for any reason, plus he was away on a solo mission he had technically begged for at the current time. Sasuke was a more valid option, but the blonde girl shook her head quickly after some thought. He might have been a prick (and a very sexy one, might she add), but never in his life would he bring his teammate in such a state. He would, more likely, be busy killing the inducer of her terror. Slowly.
And then it struck her with such a force that she felt impossibly stupid for not realizing sooner.
''Sakura, is it Itachi?'' Ino asked softly, grabbing her hyperventilating friend (she was definitely having a panic attack) by the shoulders and forcing her to look into her baby blue orbs. The blonde did not know Sasuke's older brother very well, but what she did know was that he had a remarkable talent of scaring people out of their wits.
However, since he had invited Sakura to the Uchiha Christmas Festival as his date, Ino had assumed he had a soft spot for his little brother's best friend. Heck, she had transformed this small fact into Konoha's biggest gossip, so Ino was going to get, for lack of a more expressive word, pissed if the mighty ANBU Captain proved himself to actually be a sick pedophile, a complete jackass, or whatever was needed to bring Sakura on the verge of insanity. After all, the fact that a famous man of age twentyhad openly expressed his interest in a young kunoichi of only fifteen was accepted because of his reputation, and nothing else.
Feeling the murderous intent radiating off her current mental support, Sakura shook her head vigorously. ''Not him, Ino,'' she tried to explain. ''His… His parents.''
The statement left Ino at a loss for words once again. His parents? What could his parents have done? As far as Ino was aware, Itachi had made it painfully clear to Mikoto and Fugaku that, when his personal matters were concerned, the clan had no power over him whatsoever. She remembered they had disapproved of him bringing their youngest son's teammate to their festival, as his date no less, and Itachi had calmly told them, in his formal and exquisite vocabulary, to fuck off. It had amused Ino to tears at the time and Sakura had walked with her head held higher than the sky for three days straight at this display of possessiveness and sheer masculine dominance, but, now, Ino began to doubt it should have seemed such a positive occurrence. It sounded like Fugaku and Mikoto were aiming for revenge.
The blonde teenager swallowed. This could not be good. ''What did those two old geezers do, Forehead?'' she asked, trying to humorously lighten the mood for her friend's sake.
Sakura was most definitely not amused. ''They sent me a message at home to tell me to wear something I would be comfortable in, and that they can't wait to see me dancing their traditional dances,'' the girl groaned at the end of her sentence, hanging her head as if her life were over.
In Ino's humble opinion, it pretty much was. Sakura was an absolute failure when it came to dancing in the first place, but the two sly bastards were going to humiliate her further by forcing her to participate in their traditional dances, that no soul outside the Uchiha clan knew. It was simply cruel.
The kunoichi in Ino finally emerged, though, and she began thinking of a solution, since there had to be one.
All of Konoha, from the baby civilian to the Hokage herself, knew of the dangerous crush Sakura had on Itachi and the even more perilous one he seemed to reciprocate. They were the most famous almost-couple in the entire village, all thanks to Ino herself, which was probably why the mighty ANBU Captain always eyed her disapprovingly, Sakura became furious whenever she was reminded of the fact and Sasuke avoided her even more than usual, obviously siding with his two precious siblings.
Either way, they were no secret.
Therefore, the rosette Chunin could not possibly voice her sudden refusal, especially after having accepted Itachi's offer so enthusiastically. She could not allow herself to be humiliated, either, so there had to be a way to avoid any event that involved Sakura moving her clumsy body to music.
Ino could only think of one thing. ''Talk to Itachi,'' she advised. It made sense. He had been so rapid to defend her in front of his exigent parents, and Ino doubted the elegant sex god – err, ANBU Captain – was going to allow any cheap stab made at his newfound crush's address.
To her surprise and annoyance, Sakura shook her head, and the blonde suspected the appearance of frustrated tears in the kunoichi's wet emerald gaze. ''I can't! He's away on a mission with Shisui-san and will only be back tomorrow evening!''
Ino snorted. Tomorrow evening? That was exactly when the damned festival was scheduled! Sakura was so prone to getting into trouble that Ino was surprised she actually still lived to be able to heal Naruto and Sasuke on their missions!
Prepared to actually stomp into the Uchiha compound herself and give Fugaku a piece of the Yamanaka clan for completely destroying her best friend's first date, Ino stopped herself so suddenly that she was certain she'd torn a muscle in her leg.
Naruto and Sasuke.
Naruto and Sasuke.
''Forehead, you're the biggest idiot I know.''
Sakura turned from panicked to confused and then to furious. ''Ino-pig, what-''
The blonde would not have it, however, so she lifted a hand to stop the imminent flow of insults. ''Calm your tits for a moment, Billboard Brow, and tell me who your best friend is.''
The medic nin gave her a perplexed look. ''You are,'' she said confusedly, wondering what Ino was aiming for.
To her surprise, Ino shook her head and grimaced as if Sakura was the most oblivious creature to ever live. ''Your best friend, Sakura. One you would die for.''
For a moment, Sakura felt insulted. Did Ino think she was not worth dying for? And still, the look in Ino's blue orbs urged her to tell a different name, so she thought of one person she would throw her life out the window for in a heartbeat.
The blonde kunoichi banged her head on the counter. Okay, she knew Sakura loved Naruto to death and beyond, but he was completely irrelevant to the issue at hand! Ah, the idiot…
''Sakura, your first love,'' she finally said, giving up on the guessing game and deeming it useless.
That did it, though. Sakura's eyes softened for a moment, but soon returned to their confused gaze. ''Sasuke-kun? What about him?'' she asked, ignoring her inner self's incoherent grumblings about how unnecessary it was for Ino to try to make her guess the person instead of just telling her and finishing the messy business.
Ino sighed patiently, to her friend's annoyance, and smiled tolerantly. ''Sasuke, Sakura, is an Uchiha. He is also in the village, and if he loves you enough to clean your house and make dinner when you come from the hospital half dead, then I'm sure he'll find no problem with teaching your clumsy legs how to dance,'' the blonde explained, watching proudly as Sakura's face lit up immediately. As much of an infuriating gossip as Ino was, she always had the best solution for anything boy-related, the rosette realized, smiling brightly at her best friend.
''Ino, why did we ever break apart?'' Sakura asked softly as she hugged the kunoichi, knowing she would welcome the display of affection they rarely shared – they were still rivals, after all. With a melodious laugh, Ino patted Sakura on her back gently. ''Because we were two lovesick idiots, that's why.''
Breaking apart after a small moment of childish giggling, Ino began to usher her friend towards the exit with a knowing smile. ''Now go, Forehead, and woo that hot Captain tomorrow with the dirty moves his brother's gonna teach you,'' she teased, laughing as Sakura turned red as a tomato.
''Ino!'' she hissed, infuriated that her friend could even insinuate that she would ever play dirty, with either Uchiha sibling.
She was thrown out of the flower shop before she could lecture her hormonal comrade further, but did not miss the yell Ino threw back at her as she sassily walked back to her counter.
''Come back to me un-kissed after tomorrow, and I'm arranging a nice Valentine's Day for you with Lee!''
Sakura sighed. Ino made it sound as if she didn't want to be kissed by the Uchiha prodigy she happened to be crushing on, but she felt she knew better. He may have verbally indicated that he reciprocated her feelings, but she doubted he would make any sort of physical move on her. Though, at her age, she was considered an adult among shinobi and her parents were more than excited for her to be admired to such an extent by the Uchiha Itachi, she knew him enough from their previous encounters to be able to say that he was not fond of physical contact with another individual. Sasuke had been the same as a Genin, even if now, if they were not seen walking with their arms linked, it meant they were upset with each other. So, she was familiar with that kind of attitude and it meant, without a doubt, that Sakura was going to have her first kiss at a much later time.
For now, though, she decided, she had an Uchiha teammate to find.
Sasuke frankly thought himself to be a good person. Unlike Naruto and Sakura, he disliked having numerous friends and had long ago decided that the two of them were more than enough to keep him occupied.
That did not, under any circumstances, mean that he was not devoted to them like he was to his own flesh and blood. Sasuke was, most definitely, not a verbal person, unlike his older brother who had absolutely no problem with telling people exactly what he thought in that elegant way of his. No, Sasuke acted more than he thought or spoke, which meant that an infuriating comment from any individual was answered with a powerful fist or, in special cases, a remarkable Chidori, and pleasant company, such as the one of his two best friends and older brother, was rewarded accordingly, depending on the situation.
He had no restraint in defending his older sibling from their occasionally impossible father, and he even went as far as to take some clan duties upon himself just to offer Itachi some well deserved free time.
He did not refuse the Dobe's frequent invitations to Ichiraku, and did not mind paying for half of his meals, since he already considered his clan to be richer than it should have been.
He actually found it quite self-satisfactory to spend his Saturday nights with Sakura, falling asleep in a tangled mess on her couch after cleaning up her small apartment and making dinner. Saturdays were busy for her, with a full day shift at the hospital, and it was no problem for him to stop by.
As a result, Sasuke believed he could very well grant himself the day off, especially since the Christmas Festival was scheduled for tomorrow. There was no Naruto to pester him to 'hang out' the entire twenty-four hours, so the Uchiha was content to indulge in some well deserved meditation in Sakura's apartment, knowing that she never minded him or the Dobe staying in her home.
He simply refused to head to the Uchiha compound, where his infuriating father was bound to be grumbling about his brother. Sasuke was in no position to step between them and he was well aware that Itachi could maneuver the situation perfectly fine, but the subject of their continuous argument was not something Sasuke had no connection with. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.
Ever since his older brother invited Sakura to the festival, she was the sole subject of a conversation he was forbidden from joining. And it angered him tremendously. Sakura was his teammate and best friend, and he found no problem whatsoever with her bonding with Itachi. Frankly, he had seen it coming. His brother had always had a sweet tooth, and Sakura was the epitome of sweetness, with the slightest spice. As for the kunoichi, Sasuke wondered why she had even bothered with himself when his brother had always been there. Itachi was an utter gentleman, and also displayed a possessive side (apparently), that a girl such as her could simply not resist.
They had also begun to share sickeningly deep discussions about the philosophical side of the world that even Sasuke had lost his own head while listening. They both were intelligent, brave and strong. The Uchiha actually had to slap himself when he began thinking of pink-haired, Sharingan wielding nephews. He was becoming his own mother, and it was frightening.
It was then that the front door opened and, when none of the meticulously set traps were activated, Sasuke knew his kunoichi teammate had entered her home. As different as she was from Naruto in terms of being ridiculously loud, he knew he could still not meditate any longer in her presence – not that he had any desire to continue, either way, with the dangerous toll his thoughts had taken.
Before he could step out of her bedroom and into the hallway to greet her, the door was kicked open and only then did the Chunin in Sasuke sense that her chakra was flaring. Looking at her gasping petite form from where he was towering over her, he lifted one eyebrow. Had he done anything to upset her lately? He could not remember.
''Sasuke-kun, thank goodness,'' she managed to choke out when she saw him. This only confused him further. Had she been looking for him? Why? She looked like she'd been running. Was she being targeted? Akatsuki?
Sakura seemed to notice his paranoid tendencies take over, so she smiled up at him with a small shake of her head. ''No, nobody has been after my head for the past month,'' she said jokingly, yet he only caught the serious part of her statement, that said there was no danger. His form visibly turned less tense, but he did send her a questioning look for the state she was in.
The rosette fidgeted before sitting down on the edge of her small bed, which confused him. Sakura had stopped fidgeting around him a long time ago, and she only did it when she was about tell him something he would not like to hear. He kept silent though, waiting for her to elaborate.
''Err... Are you busy today, Sasuke-kun?'' she beat around the bush. It was foolish of her to feel nervous around the person who was practically living in her home to get away from his own family, but she couldn't help herself. She was about to ask him to teach her how to dance. Even the thought that she was horrible at such a feminine thing was embarrassing.
The Uchiha did not even bother to hide his emotions. He gave her a serious are you kidding me look. She had not acted so peculiar since she tried to ask him out on dates when they were twelve. And that could not be the case right now, because, thanks to her bimbo friend, the entire Konoha knew of her infatuation with his brother.
A frightening thought crossed his mind. ''Sakura, there is no way in hell I am teaching you how to kiss,'' he blurted out. It sounded downright stupid, he knew, but he simply could not put it below that unpredictable vixen that happened to be his heart sister to ask for something like that just to avoid feeling awkward in case his brother thought it would be a good idea to try it out with her the next day.
Sasuke's assumptions were thankfully proven incorrect when his teammate choked on her own saliva at his rash statement. ''W-wha…? Sasuke-kun!'' she yelled at him in sheer embarrassment, turning an interesting shade of beetroot red.
However, Sasuke was not ashamed of himself in the slightest. He shrugged at her nonchalantly. ''It had to be made clear,'' he said, fighting the smirk off his face when his friend blushed even further. The fight became even more difficult when the stuttering commenced.
''I was just… I would never… Really, Sasuke-kun! You're… Gah!'' she screamed in frustration, standing up on her feet and stomping towards the living room. The damn Sasuke, as if she was not embarrassed enough! He just had to blurt that out! As she threw herself on the couch with a huff, Sakura swore he had a dirtier mind than Ino.
Back in the bedroom, Sasuke sighed patiently, sticking his hands in his pockets as he followed the temperamental girl into the living room. He supposed her little blowup was nothing unexpected. Whenever she got upset with Naruto, she only punched the daylights out of him and then they were laughing together like a couple of retards again. When she got angry with him, however, this happened. She would stomp outside wherever they were and not talk to him until he lowered himself enough to grit out an apology, at the insistences of a particularly annoying Dobe and, lately, his own brother. He sometimes wished she'd just throw her fists at him and end the tirade.
However, she had not run away crying, so he decided it was not so bad. When he set foot inside the living room and saw her actually waiting for him instead of sobbing and yelling at him to go away, he mentally sighed in relief.
As for what the heck she wanted…
''Sakura, why exactly do you need me?'' he asked smoothly, sitting down next to her on the couch with a neutral expression, completely ignoring her previous outburst and what had caused it.
To his increasing irritation, she flushed and began fidgeting again. What could be so bad? Surely she did not want him to teach her how to give a blo-
''Could you teach me how to dance?'' she asked so quickly he barely caught her words. He did, though, and internally hired an army of shinobi to destroy his idiotic teenage hormones for what he had almost just thought. Of course she would desire something as innocent as that. She was Sakura. He was going to kill Naruto for corrupting him, and then he'd move to that perverted sensei of his. Both perverted sensei of his, since Kakashi must have been a bad influence also.
However, before he could do that, he had a blushing kunoichi to instruct, apparently. He was still confused, though. Surely she knew his brother would never force her to do something she did not wish to. If she didn't want to dance, no one was going to make her. He told her just that.
To his surprise, though, Sakura shook her head. ''I know he wouldn't, Sasuke-kun, but…'' she trailed off, as if unsure of whether she should tell him or not.
Sasuke was not a patient individual. ''But what, Sakura?'' he pressed her, having almost snapped at her continuous avoidance. The cautious look she gave him did not help, either.
''You're going to get angry,'' she warned him, glaring when he snorted almost rudely. With a roll of his eyes, he met her gaze with an equally intense stare. ''Try me.''
She only hesitated for a second, before shrugging, daring him to start yelling or destroying things in her home. ''Your parents sent me a message this morning, telling me to dress comfortably so I could better dance your traditional dances,'' she explained at last, watching him closely.
As expected, he did begin to fume at his father's (because he knew his mother, and she adored Sakura) nerve. However, when she glared at him dangerously, he contained the set of curses and possible Chidori that he desperately wished to direct at home. How could his father do this to his oldest son, who was a certified prodigy, having become an ANBU Captain at the frail age of thirteen, was way beyond Sasuke, but he could never stand to see any of his teammates humiliated, along with his beloved brother. Because, if Sakura ended up making a fool of herself, Itachi was going to be made fun of by the entire clan for months and even years to come. Not to mention his dear friend becoming the subject of ridicule for the entire village… Not on his watch.
Comforting himself with the thought that Itachi was going to oh-so-elegantly lose it when he found out about his father's shameless plot against him and his possible first girlfriend, Sasuke threw the kunoichi beside him a breathtaking smirk, knowing fully that, to this day, it still made her blush; he lifted himself off the couch and stretched with the grace of a feline, before reaching to lift his particularly red little cherry blossom as well. It was no secret to him that she was absolutely horrible at dancing. With her reputation of being a chaotic fighter, it was no surprise at all, either. However, Sasuke always liked a challenge.
Sakura stared at his pale hand indecisively, before taking it nervously. It had not occurred to her during her conversation with Ino earlier that morning that learning how to dance was going to feel so tremendously awkward. As a human of the female persuasion, it was generally expected of her to be graceful and delicate – even on the battlefield. Most kunoichi used different sorts of weaponry to fight, undoubtedly to preserve their beauty for more subtle missions. She, however, fought with her fists and was a rampaging monster in battle. She was nowhere near graceful. This was going to take a while.
Almost as if sensing her utter lack of confidence, the Uchiha pulled her up faster than she could comprehend and she was soon met by one of those smirks, the ones that were meant only for her, Naruto and, occasionally, his brother. The fact that she had managed to become Sasuke's best friend while all she'd used to do as a Genin was to annoy him with her unhealthy obsession did lift her spirits slightly, and she smiled back at him affectionately. She knew she would never trade him or Naruto for the world.
Breaking his gaze from hers, Sasuke turned his head to look out her small window. A quick look at the sky told him it was only late morning, so he gave a small pleased grunt: he had almost an entire day to teach the little klutz before him his family's traditional dances. Knowing her, if he pushed the right buttons, she was going to urge herself to not only learn, but ace all those moves. A day was fine with Sasuke.
Sakura gasped when she felt her teammate's arm snaking around her waist, the other hand that was holding hers being lifted to her shoulders' level. She looked up at him uncertainly, only to find him biting the inside of his cheek in a poor attempt to restrain himself from chuckling at her utterly confused expression. She found it rather rude of him, actually, but she let it pass, since Sasuke laughing was a rare occurrence as it was.
''Your free hand is supposed to be on my shoulder, Sakura,'' he finally said, deciding he could laugh at her later, when her knees were not so extremely close to his midsection, or rather to what was below it.
With a bashful nod of her head, Sakura put her hand in place, and let out an involuntary yelp when he began to move. She certainly wanted to stop and receive concrete verbal instructions before beginning the practical part of the lesson, but he appeared to want to have none of it. He moved her back and forth, and she was only capable of taking small, shy steps, in the attempt to at least maintain their stance correct.
''Sasuke-kun, I don't understand a thing,'' she muttered, and then he finally stopped and looked down at her. He gave her a funny look, and then she realized he was having way too much fun.
''You're not supposed to understand, Sakura. You're supposed to take my lead,'' he explained, and it was too much for even him to hold his chuckle in at the expression she put on her face. He began to doubt she even knew what following the lead meant in dancing.
Sasuke let out a small sigh, before taking only one step away from the kunoichi, so that she could look down at their feet when they moved. ''We'll try again now,'' he told her, ''and you'll move in the way I direct you.''
Taking the hint to look down and observe their footing, Sakura nodded. On cue, Sasuke gently led her back and forth, slightly swaying. After a few moments of the same movement being repeated over and over again, Sakura felt she was beginning to catch the rhythm, even though there was no music, and suddenly gained a bit of confidence.
Until she stepped on his foot, that is.
''Gomen!'' she squeaked instantly, breaking away from him and promptly landing on the couch in her rush. Sasuke, however, gave her a nonplussed look.
''Sakura, it happens,'' he said nonchalantly, pulling her back up. She obviously was overreacting (wasn't she always?) since he had expected to leave with sore toes, and had no problem with it. Besides, while not being a feather, she wasn't heavy, either.
''Hush,'' he cut her off shamelessly, continuing the interrupted dance and, when he deemed it appropriate, initiating new movements that she remembered faster than expected.
When he was certain she had the waltz mastered, he moved to the more complicated tango, silently cursing his clan for deciding to adopt foreign styles as their own when he found himself picking his friend up from the floor numerous times. What his parents proudly called 'traditional' were, as his brother had secretly informed him, dances inspired by foreign cultures that had been slightly altered by their clan to fit the geographical region they lived in. It was tempting to stomp into his father's office and accuse him of being a plagiarist, but Sasuke knew better than to betray his older sibling's trust.
To his pleasant surprise, though, Sakura proved herself to be quite stubborn, and she pushed herself until she learned all the complicated patterns by heart; at one point, he actually had to scold her for having taken the lead herself.
By early evening, Sasuke had the petite klutz laughing besides herself while they repeated the very last dance his father had plagiarized – err, passed down from generation to generation – and he was too busy counting the steps for her to care that her neighbors were throwing a fit, thinking they both were drunk.
''One, two, three – Sakura, pay attention – one, two, three, turn. One, two, three, change direction, one, two, three,'' he kept mumbling in her ear as he had for the past hours. Even though she was exceeding his expectations when it came to memorizing the steps, he had noticed that she had difficulties maintaining a steady rhythm, and had a tendency to rush ahead of her partner. Therefore, he found himself voicing the rhythm for her and deciding that they were inarguably going to have tomatoes for dinner so he could soothe his hurting mouth.
Sasuke accidentally ceased voicing the steps for one moment, and Sakura instantly lost her pace, making him sigh. ''Sakura, I think we should stop,'' he said, releasing her waist as he said so.
Her pout was adorable, but not at all convincing. ''But, Sasuke-kun, I can't even follow a rhythm!'' she argued, also aware of her issue. Sasuke, however, thought of his older brother and how possessive (frighteningly possessive) he was, and instantly knew that Itachi was going to enjoy teaching his little crush further. Sasuke's job was done – he wanted dinner, since the little pest that happened to be his best friend had prevented him, with all her determination, from eating lunch. Sasuke was going to break his own hand and eat it, considering how hungry he was.
''You'll be fine,'' he told her, already heading towards the kitchen. He didn't need to hear her steps to know she was following. She must have been starving as well.
Opening her refrigerator shamelessly, Sasuke contently found the bottle of tomato juice she always had prepared for him and drank half of it in one movement, before grabbing the first edible element he placed his hand on, which happened to be a plate of tempura leftovers. Without bothering to warm it or even remember his decision to eat tomatoes as a meal, Sasuke practically dug in, deliberately ignoring Sakura's amused giggles as he did so. He could tell from the taste it was her mother's cooking, and Haruno Mebuki was known for rivaling his own mother in terms of proficiency in the kitchen.
Mebuki always sent her only daughter food, despite the fact Sakura had chosen to move out of her parents' home once she became a Chunin, as was customary. Sasuke, for one, was grateful for that fact, since both he and Naruto technically lived with Sakura, for obvious reasons: Naruto, to get far away from the sheer mess that was his own apartment, and Sasuke, because of his frustrating father. Sakura was a complete and utter disaster in the kitchen and the two males were no better, so they fed themselves with Mebuki's cooking and Ichiraku ramen.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sasuke noticed Sakura nibbling on a small umeboshi, with three onigiri by her side. Finally able to think straight due to the tempura he had devoured in less than three minutes, he eyed her expectantly: he knew when she was internally debating whether to tell him something or not, and that was one of those moments.
Catching his gaze, Sakura realized she'd been caught. She sighed and began twirling a lock of pink hair that had grown to reach her collarbone. At one point, he had thought she was going to let it grow out like she had before, but soon realized afterwards that this exact length suited her best.
''Sasuke-kun, what do you think I should wear?'' she finally blurted out.
It was very tempting for him to snort. Was Haruno Sakura really asking him this? It had been three years since she'd last been concerned with her appearance at this point, and a part of Sasuke realized that the girl before him had it bad for his brother.
He sighed in response. ''Sakura, Nī-san made it crystal clear that he likes you. You don't have to doll up.''
Sakura looked annoyed by his answer. ''I know that, you idiot!''
Somehow, he doubted it.
''I simply don't know what I'm supposed to wear at an Uchiha Festival,'' she huffed, chewing on her misfortunate onigiri harder than necessary.
Sakura had always been good at making excuses, and this was no exception, but the Uchiha was no fool. She was worried, and, if he knew her and his brother well enough to dare say it, Itachi had somehow managed to make her feel inadequate. It was no surprise, considering his imposing figure and his tendency to be formal even with individuals that were relatively close to him, but Sasuke had seen the way he acted around Sakura. He was even more pleasant than he was with Sasuke himself, and, from what the teenager could tell, his brother had taken a strong liking to Sakura, especially after hearing of her quite infamous battle with Sasori.
Only a person like Itachi could possibly like being told and retold that tale, when Sasuke and Naruto felt like digging up the Akatsuki member's corpse, bringing him back to life and torturing him slowly for nearly killing their teammate. Naruto, at least, had not even wanted to hear the story – he was perfectly content with knowing she had won, period. Sasuke, however, had reached the battlefield in time to see the battle ending, and Elder Chiyo pulling a poisoned sword out of Sakura's abdomen. That had been the first time he'd turned feral since his first Chunin Exam.
His brother, though? He'd been most impressed and had deemed her worthy of being publicly congratulated by Itachi himself. After that, Sasuke supposed, chemistry worked its magic, and the two began seeing each other more often, to his and Naruto's amusement. Next thing they knew, after continuously being teased and snickered behind, Itachi had asked her to join the festival as his partner for the upcoming evening, which only caused the teasing to become even more frequent – and Uchiha Mikoto to start making plans for grandchildren when Fugaku wasn't nearby.
Either way, Sasuke thought, his teammate was much too anxious about the event. His mother had always believed she was the most adorable thing to ever be born, Itachi obviously was severely crushing on her, and there was Sasuke himself. Sakura was acting as if he weren't going to be there as well. Besides, if she really was so terrified of Fugaku, all she had to do was tell his brother – from what Sasuke had witnessed, Itachi was an extremely private man and knew perfectly well how to put his father in his place and still remain his favorite son.
As a result, Sakura's worry for her clothing, of all things, was most definitely unfounded.
''A yukata or a kimono will do, Sakura,'' he said in a bored tone. ''And a layer of confidence might help too,'' he couldn't help but add.
The glare she sent him went ignored, as his statement went unanswered. Sasuke was content with sipping his delicious tomato juice, yet Sakura looked ready to burst.
Struggling to find something to say that did not address her insecurities, the rosette sighed. ''I miss Naruto,'' she admitted quietly.
It was true, as well. He had already been gone for a week and a half, and, while she was well aware that the blond was technically undefeatable, Sakura still worried. Also, while she did not, by any means, mind the Uchiha's company, it was simply not the same without their bickering, the bruises Sakura healed after inflicting them herself, and the way she proudly walked between her boys, holding both their hands, as they made their way to Ichiraku Ramen.
Sasuke grunted in response. ''One would think the silence that comes with his lack of presence would be pleasant,'' he said, and Sakura knew it was the closest thing to an agreement she was going to get. She smiled sadly.
''It actually feels rather lonely.''
As much as Sasuke hated to admit, she was right. The Dobe could be loud and annoying, but they felt lonesome without him. Saturday night with just Sakura and himself was one thing, but every day without Naruto could get to a person. He was going to beat the idiot to a bloody pulp if he did not return for the actual holiday, especially after having taken a mission without him and Sakura.
However, Naruto was not going to come home faster if they both fell depressed because of his absence, so, when he was sure Sakura was done eating, he grabbed her arm and dragged her back to the living room, leaving the dishes for tomorrow.
He was going to have to wake up early the next day to head to the compound (he shuddered) and help with the preparations for the evening. He almost felt bad for leaving Sakura with her anxiety the entire day, but his father was going to be angry with him for not spending the night at home again anyway, and he didn't need Fugaku having a fit, at least not until his brother returned from his mission, so they could both side against him. For quite a while, the clan leader had been disapproving of whatever his sons did, for a reason unknown to both of them. It was as if the loyalty of steel they had to Konoha and their loved ones was unnerving to the aging man. Either way, Sasuke decided it was best for both Sakura and himself to go to sleep, since the next day was going to be emotionally frustrating for both of them, until Itachi showed up.
Mind having been made up, he let go of Sakura's had and threw himself on her couch as if it were his own (which it pretty much was). To his and Naruto's eternal amusement, the couch was actually larger than her bed, and much more comfortable to sleep on. Sakura did not care in the slightest, however, since she only ever used the bed when her teammates decided to have the couch. Solitude didn't last long anyway, since one of the two was bound to become tired of the other at some point and stomp off to sleep with her. They had reached the point where all three of them were unaccustomed to sleep alone, thus the two sleeping on the bed always found the third tangled with them in the morning.
They had even been suspected of being in a three-way relationship at some point, but a Rasengan, a Chidori and a good punch later, the trio was labeled as just very, very, very close friends.
The unusually close relationship Sakura had with her teammates had discouraged many potential suitors from approaching her, but Uchiha Itachi had no problem. It was probably because he was Sasuke's brother, thus he knew exactly where Team 7 was standing from his sibling's own mouth. Sakura was glad nonetheless. She liked Itachi to the point of squealing, but would have never accepted any sort of bond with him if it meant losing the one she had with her boys. So far, however, Sasuke's slender legs were already tangled with hers to the point she didn't know which limbs were hers and which were his and her head was roughly buried in his chest (she pinched him to loosen his hold so she could breathe better) and there was no furious ANBU Captain with red eyes standing at her front door.
As Sasuke decided to be a jerk and only pull her closer to make her breathing process even more difficult, she mentally sighed, thinking of the Uchiha heir again. She couldn't help wishing it was him holding her so tightly, and not Sasuke. Undoubtedly, Sakura felt warm and safe with either of her teammates, but Itachi… She'd only just accidentally touched his arm once and a flow of electricity had surged through her. That never happened with Sasuke or Naruto and… She wanted more of it. It was foreign, but thoroughly captivating.
Itachi was much more physically attractive than his younger brother, that she had determined long ago – not that she was ever going to tell the prideful teenager she was currently cuddling with – but, unlike her first infatuation with Sasuke, her crush on his sibling had not been dictated by the man's appearance. She had admired everything about him even as a young Genin, and his chivalrous behavior had almost made her fall off her feet. However, all those qualities of his were not what attracted her to him like a fly to honey.
It was the sheer kindness of his soul that made her melt. He was a devoted pacifist, and loved his precious people – Sasuke especially – with a passion that was only invisible to those who refused to see. She could see how he struggled every day to be strong enough to protect those he loved, yet how feared he was, only for the power he meant to use to do good. These facts simply made her heart bleed for him, and ache with the wish to just see that man happy. She wanted to make him happy, and he had accepted that from her. It was only natural for her to fear she was incapable of doing such a thing. Despite her acquired strength and self-respect, she knew she still had problems with truly believing in her abilities.
Sasuke stirred next to her and, in one swift motion, turned her around so that her back was glued to his torso. ''If you will just stop belittling yourself and sleep, Sakura…'' he grunted in her ear, voice raspy from exhaustion.
Sakura slapped herself inwardly. Her chakra had obviously darkened with her pessimistic thoughts and, being so close to her, her teammate had felt it. It was also clear her inner struggle was preventing him from getting some well-deserved sleep, so she apologized quietly.
He didn't answer and let out a long breath into her hair. Sakura smiled softly at his antics. Sasuke was surprisingly easy to get along with in almost any situation – just simply not when he was hungry or tired. He had a good reason to be tired, as well. Teaching someone as clumsy as her how to dance must have taken a lot out of him, especially since he'd been fixating rhythms at the same time.
Sakura suddenly felt horrible. It had been his day off, and he'd spent it taking care of what she needed instead of resting. It was not the first time one of her teammates did that for her, and she reciprocated often, but she could not help feeling guilty.
Therefore, she snuggled closer to the young man that had undoubtedly saved her first date and kissed his cheek, something she rarely did.
Sasuke cracked one eye open to meet a radiating kunoichi, and he couldn't help thinking she was bipolar, since she was smiling at him as if he'd just saved her life, when a few moments ago her depressive flares of chakra had been keeping him awake. Regardless, he grinned back at her rather idiotically, not aware in the slightest of the reason for her sudden flow of affection. She was Sakura, though, so she may as well have remembered a time when he was simply nice to her when they were children.
Turning back around, the kunoichi sighed contently. Naruto may not have been around to force them both onto the floor with his infuriating yet endearing sleeping habits, but some peace and quiet with Sasuke would do.
''Thank you, Sasuke-kun.''
Ta daaa! Did you like it? I have to admit, I'm quite happy with this little baby. I simply find the concept adorable!
Either way, I hope you folks like it as much as I do and it'd be great to have a review! I'll be back with the next chapter for my own satisfaction regardless, but feedback is always nice. Bye!