A Busy Life @lonewolf153
A Date Forward

Hi guys! Sorry for the wait!

Sasuke: Is that really all you have to say for yourself?


Sasuke: Three whole months without an update Lone Wolf? You might as well have been considered on hiatus again.


Naruto: Then what took you so long?

Come on guys! I have a legit reason for taking a while! I promise I was working on it!

Hinata: I think we should hear her out.

Naruto: You're such an angel Hinata-Chan! -sparkly eyes-

Hinata: -blush-

Hmph! I'll have you knooww, I got a new job! One that takes up a lot of my time and between working on all updates for three separate stories I think I deserve forgiveness!

Sakura: -enters-


Sakura: Hm? What was that about?

Sasuke: -wraps arm around Sakura- Nothing for you to worry about Tsuma.

Sakura: -smiles- Well, since Lone Wolf ran off, I guess I'll start the story. TO THE CHAP! SHANNAROOOO!

Friday couldn't have come fast enough for Sasuke. While he was able to flawlessly keep up with his workload and then some, work had been the least of his concerns. Instead, today seemed to go on painfully slow, as if taunting the fact that he was looking forward to leaving for once in the years he owned the company. He looked at the clock for the nth time today thinking at least an hour had passed. To his dismay, it hadn't. Only fifteen minutes had gone by since he last checked the time. The clock on his laptop received a damning glare from his onyx eyes. Just another half an hour before he could leave and it just wasn't coming fast enough. His eyes closed as he sighed, his brow furrowed in irritation as he slouched back in his chair. Damn it. Damn it all, he didn't even have much else to do for the rest of the day. He had a few phone calls to make, yes, but none that would actually make time pass any faster.

A knock at his office door spurred him from his grudging thoughts, halting his cursing on time itself. Not bothering to open his eyes, he grunted with slight appreciation. Maybe whatever this was would take up some time.

"Enter." He grumbled out and in walked Itachi, a slightly confused look on his face.

"Sasuke? I don't recall but did you have a meeting scheduled with a 'Karin' woman?" and Itachi asked. Sasuke's eyes opened with a glare, his brow creasing further. What the hell was she doing here? This was not the kind of time wasting he wanted at all. He stood and it appeared Itachi read him fully as a look of exasperation filled his face. Before Sasuke could answer, the named woman barged in behind Itachi, a gleam in her eyes.

"Sasuke-kun! I didn't know you had a brother! I see your looks run in the family!" She said shamelessly, dressed in a tight dress. Sasuke glared, feeling all the more annoyed that he really couldn't leave yet. There was even more irritation in his eyes as she walked over and pushed her body against his, placing a hand and her head on his chest.

"Of course, he isn't as good looking as you though!" She said, practically drooling as she let out a laugh that disgusted him. Pushing her away from him, Sasuke gave a glare.

"What the hell are you doing here Karin? Didn't I warn you last time?" Sasuke growled coldly. She only smiled as if his threat was empty and misdirected.

"I was in the area today and thought I'd stop by! I have a bottle of wine I thought would be great to share!" She proclaimed, fishing out the large wine bottle from her equally large purse. Sasuke closed his eyes in an attempt to muster some degree patience, which was rapidly thinning.

"No. Get out or I call security." He growled already reaching for his office phone. Karin flinched, her eyes becoming hurt and disbelieving.

"W-Wait! I-I also came for another reason." She stopped him, grabbing his hand. Sasuke yanked his hand from her, continuing to glare down at her with disdain. Karin's eyebrows furrowed together. Six months of working for him and she never got a look other than this one, if it wasn't irritation or just plain indifference. His tone always harsh and cold to her. She didn't understand it. She had showered him in compliments, had tried getting him to agree to dates and lunches, yet he never gave her the time of day. He never looked at her the way he looked at the pink haired woman that night. It never left her mind how he spoke to that pinky over the phone at the bar.

"Sakura…" The way he said her name. Gentle and calm. She had even noticed the way his shoulders had relaxed from their tension that night, the instant he answered the phone. An anger brewed inside her. What was so special about that woman? What did that pinky have that she didn't? She even knew him longer! She knew him since college. It was pure luck when a friend of hers offered her a job and it just so happened to be with him. She hadn't seen him since graduation at the time and when he came face to face with her during the interview process, she was infatuated all over again. Where, in high school he was a prince, he had succeeded his father and became a king. He had become a man of high status and respect in his very own right and she could only think about how lucky she had been. A commoner, lucky enough to get into his court, to be able to relish in his presence everyday.

She thought that when they had reunited, he would finally allow for something between them, considering all throughout college he only pushed almost everyone away from him. He didn't bother with relationships and rather, even kept guy friends at an arm's length. Instead, much to her disappointment, he was still the same. He took no interest in her advances and instead rebuked her. No matter what she did, whether she dressed skimpily, or gave him flirtatious suggestions, the closest thing she ever got to his acknowledgement of her was, "Good work. You can take your lunch break."

"I-I wanted to ask for my job back. Or maybe any other job you can give me. Please? I'll do anything to prove myself." She pleaded, clasping her hands together and shaking them in front of her, the bottle of wine already placed on his desk. Sasuke frowned.

"I don't have an available position suited for your skills. Now if that's all, leave. I have phone calls to make. Take your wine and go." Sasuke answered, picking up his cell phone. The first thing he noted was the time. Only a little under five minutes had passed. A string of colorful curse words were screamed mentally. Not even half an hour could pass fast enough today. Damn it. He would leave right now if he wasn't waiting on an important deal to close, along with this problem in front of him right now.

Another night with Sakura. That's all he wanted. It was obviously too much to ask of whatever deity above that had written out his life.

Karin's hands clenched into fist. In her chest was a burning of envy and anger that spawned because of him. Why? Why wouldn't he just give her a chance? Why when she was standing close to him did he seem so far from her grasp? It was as if she was chasing a shadow. No matter how far she went or how fast she jumped, she was almost certain she wasn't going to get a grasp of him.

Karin stomped her foot.

"You didn't even give a reason for firing me! Why?!" She yelled. Sasuke's eyes widened with a dangerous glare. There were two things he never allowed in his office. Uninvited people was the first. Second was anyone yelling at him. If it ever did happen, he would not allow even Sakura to stand here and yell at him in his own office. There was no one on this Earth who he would allow to disrespect him in his place of earning. Itachi must have feared for the girls life, because he instantly stepped in between him and Karin, grabbing the woman's attention.

"You're going to have to leave." Itachi said, an urging of the suggestion edged in his voice. Karin stared in disbelief.


"Karin." She heard Sasuke growl menacingly. Itachi was pushed gently to the side and she was frozen in place as Sasuke glare stabbed her a thousand times. Her heart stopped, feeling a pain. Did he ever look at the pink haired girl like that? Did he ever say her name with the same seething disdain he gave hers? Did he ever give her an expression that in itself, called her nothing but a nuisance in his path?

Karin honestly knew the answer already. She just wanted to be wrong.

"I fired you because of your incompetence, your ineptitude. You were a failure at your job. Now, get out and don't come back. This is your final warning." He ordered. The king had spoken. She was now exiled. Anything afterward was going to be her execution. She gave one final look of defiance and reluctance before she grabbed her wine bottle and turned to leave. She had only one more chance to get Sasuke to fall for her. Her final plan and once she enacted it, she swore she would win his heart.

Sasuke gave an exasperated sigh, closing his eyes as he dialed a phone number from his office phone.

"Sorry, Sasuke. She just—" Sasuke put a hand up to Itachi, shaking his head.

"It's not your fault. Trust me." He mumbled. At the same time, his cellphone rang and Itachi noticed the slight displeasure reach his eyes. Unable to contain his curiosity, he looked at who was calling and the caller's ID made Itachi's heart pang against his chest. Sakura. Itachi watched as Sasuke pushed aside any emotions he may have been feeling and turned into a robotic businessman, rejecting Sakura's call as he answered whoever was on the other line. The words he said a few days ago rang in his mind.

You bailed on everything!

Too bad that father had to turn in his grave though, when you declined ownership of the company!

The elder Uchiha was filled with a sudden guilt. If he had taken his place as CEO, Sasuke wouldn't have been burdened with having to do so. He may have had a life of his own choosing rather than a life he had to take out of obligation. What was maybe the worse part about it, was that Sasuke never complained. Not once. After their parent's sudden death, he took over a responsibility that really belonged to Itachi and ever since, only moved to ensure the company remained prosperous and affluent. While he did harbor a grudge against Itachi for the shoving of weight onto his shoulders, he only diligently pressed forward and carried on their father's will.

Only an Uchiha may run Uchiha Corporations.

"We'll talk tomorrow as well." Sasuke said, hanging up and dialing the next number. Itachi stared solemnly. Maybe...Sasuke could have even met Sakura under less tense circumstances. They could have been friends. They could have dated. Sure, Sasuke had a date with her tonight but...it would have been more freely. They could have spent late nights talking about everything and nothing. Vacations and trips. Sasuke barely did such things. If he was away, he was on a business trip. Work. All he did was work.

"Itachi...can...you call Sakura for me?" Sasuke asked rather hesitantly. Itachi nodded.

"Of course. Anything you need me to tell her?"

"Just that I'm a bit busy with a phone conference so I can't answer her call. Find out what is it she wants to tell me—" Sasuke paused, stiffening.

"This is Uchiha Sasuke." He suddenly said, his voice changing from a calm tenderness on the topic of the woman, to stoicism once again. Itachi's eyebrows furrowed together, turning and leaving Sasuke's office. He made the call Sasuke asked of him.

"Hello?" Itachi did his best to make his voice light, hiding his own strife.

"Hello, Sakura. How are you today?" He asked.

"Aa, Itachi! I'm fine today. How are you?" Her voice was cheery and surprised. He could already see a glowing smile on her face, her eyes probably closed in delight at his call. Such a kind woman. Itachi wondered if it was possible that she was actually an angel from heaven that had fallen to earth. It would make sense, considering she was the miracle that caught Sasuke's attention. He was almost certain Sasuke was going to spend the rest of his life alone, until he saw the pinknette beside him. The day he witnessed how he looked at her, he dashed his initial beliefs. They disappeared completely when he realized exactly how much Sakura seemed to care for Sasuke as well. Itachi was certain they were definitely connected by the red string of fate, bound to each other1

"I'm doing well. Doing my best to ensure we your return to work will be an easy one." He stated softly. He heard her giggle.

"I hope Sasuke-kun isn't working you too hard." She laughed out. Itachi chuckled along with her.

"Not at all. However, he has officially banned me from making him coffee as of this morning." He quipped, earning even more giggles from the woman on the other line.

"Really? Why?"

"I'm not exactly sure. I did what he said. Black, two sugars and nothing more." Itachi shrugged, walking to the desk he had been working at for the last two weeks. It was almost over and oddly enough, Itachi found himself dreading his return to his other life. He'd probably be leaving the city again this time. He never really knew what would come up next in his life. It was mostly reacting to whatever came his way. He supposed in that sense, it was similar to the business world...then again his business was...different.

It was the reason he left Sasuke...and Izumi.

"Hmmm...you made it too weak, didn't you." The woman said almost knowingly. Itachi gave a light laugh. She was quite in tune with the people around her and it was another thing that impressed Itachi. Certainly, if someone could handle his little brother, it would be her. He needed the kind of woman who knew and understood his needs and mannerisms. Sasuke would only end up misunderstood as a cold hearted man otherwise.

"Yeah...and too strong apparently." He sighed. Sakura laughed again on the other line.

"Oh? I usually make it a bit on the strong side. He didn't like it?" She questioned. Itachi smiled.

"Well, maybe you just have a special touch to it." He suggested.

"Haha. I don't really do anything special to it. Anyway, what's up? Do you need something from me?" She asked. Itachi eyes lowered, remembering the upset look in Sasuke's eyes as he had to reject Sakura's phone call.

"Actually, Sasuke asked me to call you." He informed. The was a pause, before she spoke again.

"O-Oh. I tried calling him. I figure he's busy?"

"Yeah. He couldn't answer the phone due to a phone conference." Itachi explained, pulling down his tie. He really wasn't one for suits and seeing that there was only about twenty minutes left for the day, he figured Sasuke wouldn't mind a bit of slack.

"I see...u-uhm…" Her voice suddenly grew timid, a small silence followed after. Itachi couldn't help but smirk, already knowing what her sudden shyness was about.

"Something wrong Sakura?" Itachi asked, his voice unable to hide its amusement.

"N-No j-just...uhm...well, can you...ask Sasuke-kun if w-we are still meeting tonight?" She stuttered. Itachi closed his eyes, his smirk widening. Now he could see the same red blush on her face he had witnessed back at Deidara's bakery.

"He wouldn't miss it for the world, Sakura." His smirk grew. His little brother should be grateful for a big brother like him.

"A-Ahahaha...u-uhm, well, thanks. I-I'll talk to you later Itachi."

"See ya, Sakura." They hung up and Itachi stood, back to Sasuke's office. He opened the door only slightly before hearing Sasuke's seething voice. Sasuke must have put the phone on speaker, as he wasn't holding the phone in his hand anymore. He was glaring down at the phone as if willing it to spontaneously combust, or for the one on the other end on the line to explode.

"I have neither the time nor the patience for you to screw with me, Orochimaru." He snarled, making Itachi's eyes widen, his face flown into shock. Orochimaru?

No. Why? This couldn't be…

"Kuhuhu...Please accept my sincerest apologies Sasuke-san. I do not mean to cross you." It was him. That sly, slithering voice filled with unreadable intention was unmistakable. Itachi's eyes narrowed, a glare and frown coming to his features as he listened in.

"Then don't and do as I say. I know you have ties to the last medical chairman who has yet to approve my prospect. So either get on board or I promise, I'll go after you." Sasuke growled. Orochimaru chuckled again before sighing out.

"Always filled with such tenacity and vigor. Do not fret, Sasuke-san. I will ensure he approves the new insurance plans." Itachi's hands clenched into fist.

His reluctance to return to his old life just got thrown out the window. He was ready to leave tonight…

"...well, can you...ask Sasuke-kun if w-we are still meeting tonight?" His eyes lowered. Him leaving tonight wouldn't affect that, would it? Leaving tonight wouldn't affect their time together.

"I want the approval by Monday." Sasuke ordered pressing a button and ending the call. Itachi entered, doing his best to keep Sasuke from noticing the unsettling troubled feeling he had. It was a gift of their family to be able to hide emotions well, though they were in fact, the most sensitive people around. Many looked at them as though they were soulless and inhuman. In fact their father had actually gained a bit of a nickname for it; Wicked Eye Fugaku. One look from their father and almost anyone and everyone yielded to him, some even involuntarily cowering in fear. Itachi had long supposed it was passed through genetics, as not only was he able to give such gazes but so was Sasuke.

No one could have ever believed in a million years that they were actually rather gentle people.

"Sasuke." Itachi called to announce himself. His brother turned, giving a look of expectancy. Itachi gave a curt nod, knowing exactly what he was asking with that gaze.

"She's fine. She just wanted to know if you guys were still going out tonight." Itachi informed. Sasuke lifted his wrist, looking at his watch. He still had one more phone call to make and that was a eleven way phone conference with the gentlemen who had approved of the new insurance plans. He had kept it a secret from Sakura, wanting it to be approved first before anything. Along with his new investments being put into hospitals, he had also proposed a new health insurance plan, that offered low copayments and a large amount of coverage for the insured. The monthly payment was on the low side as well, making it way more affordable than most other health insurances out there. Sakura was sure to be pleased and he knew it. It was only a matter of getting it done. He sighed. Orochimaru took up too much of his time. There was only ten minutes left of the day.

"Call her back and tell her I might be a little late. I have a final phone conference that might take a while." Sasuke explained, his hand reaching for his office phone again. Itachi's eyebrows knitted together.

"Sasuke, I'm sure you can handle that tomorrow morning. You shouldn't be late to seeing Sakura." Itachi exclaimed lightly. Sasuke was already dialing.

"It can't be helped. If I want this done by Monday, it has to be tonight." Sasuke said, hearing the phone ring. He could hope that it wouldn't take longer than ten minutes, however, Sasuke already knew from experience that it wasn't likely. A man's voice answering brought out of him his professionalism.

"Good evening. Are we all on the line?" Itachi watched as Sasuke started the phone conference. His eyes lowered again as he walked out the office.

Sakura checked herself for the hundredth time, eyeing her full length mirror. In her reflection, she stared at the white sundress Ino had picked out for her with concern. It was a pretty off shoulder dress, stopping above her knees and decorated subtly with lace at the hems. It hugged her body a bit, showing off a bit of her curves. Sakura's eyebrows lifted worriedly, turning back to look at the blond sitting in her bed.

"Isn't this a bit much Ino. It's just a walk in the park." Sakura said, rubbing one of her arms with anxiety.

"No way! Sakura, you need to relax! He's gonna be stunned seeing you like this!" Ino grinned widely, before she sighed.

"Arrrggh! It's still not fair you know! How come you get the rich and handsome CEO?!" Ino groaned, throwing herself back into the bed. Sakura blushed again, nervously pushing a strand of hair behind her ear. She remained silent, looking away in uncertainty. She wasn't sure herself. In fact, she wasn't certain she could even say she actually caught the attention of the Uchiha. Sasuke did say this was to make things up to her. Ino shot back up to look Sakura in the eye, a glare in her sky blue orbs.

"Hey, I know that look and you better stop doubting yourself right now!" Ino growled. Sakura flinched with surprise, not realizing that she had been revealing of her insecurity. Sakura looked away, biting her bottom lip a bit.

"I-Ino...wh-what if...it's not what we—"

"Ugh. Not this again." Ino interrupted. The pony tailed blond stood, slapping her hands on Sakura's bare shoulders and giving a reassuring squeeze.

"Stop being a big dummy forehead!" Ino yelled out lightly, giving a confident smile. Sakura stared back into her best friend's blue eyes, honestly not understanding how Ino could always be so sure of herself. The blond had always been so assertive and certain of everything, even if she was completely wrong. She was kind of like Naruto in that sense, constantly tackling things head on and not really thinking ahead...or simply not thinking at all. Sakura thought it was funny how she had two blonds for best friend's who were unrelated though their personalities matched. Both cared a great deal about her and both were boisterous knuckleheads that got on her nerves from time to time.

"Everything is going to be fine. You're gonna go for a walk like you do all the time. You're gonna smile, laugh and be a flirt and—"

"I-Ino!" Sakura scolded lightly, earning a giggle.

"And you're gonna win him! You'll see." Ino said, her voice a promise to her pink haired best friend.

"You're a beautiful, independent woman and you'll see, you're going to have a great time with him. Besides, we both already know very well he's very attracted to you." Ino snidely remarked, wiggling her eyebrows in suggestiveness. Sakura's cheeks blushed a deep crimson, knowing and remembering exactly what Ino was referring to. Now that she had that in her mind, she was completely unsure of how to even face him. She had relearned the next day of their bet that not only did she owe six hundred dollars but the Sasuke Uchiha, willingly gave out information by being bribed…with beach party photos of her.

"D-Did you have to remind me about that?" Sakura whimpered, her shoulders sinking. Ino snickered, placing her hands behind her back and leaning to Sakura's ear.

"I bet he enjoyed them a lot. You were in that red bikini last year right? With the pretty red and white sarong? You looked absolutely divine!" Ino mused, sighing in reminiscence. Sakura's eyebrow twitched. To be frank, Ino was the one who chose that bathing suit. At first Sakura wanted nothing to do with it, but Ino subdued her. It was either wear the bikini chosen for her, or Sakura got her ear chewed off by Ino both of which were not pleasant. Where Ino couldn't stop raving about how "divine" she looked, Sakura could only feel slight embarrassment at the looks she received all day at the beach. Naruto had even almost started a fight with a small group of guys that wouldn't quit catcalling her. It was mortifying.

"Ino, I'm never wearing that bikini again." Sakura deadpanned. Ino snickered.

"Oh yes you will. Especially for the rich Uchiha when he takes you to his private beach house on his private island via his private jet." Ino cooed, swing her shoulders at the thought of it all. Sakura rolled her eyes and her eyebrow twitched lightly.

"Ino, I'm positive he doesn't own anything like that. It's not his style." Sakura said, crossing her arms. Ino shrugged.

"Hey, you never know." Ino sang. Knocks at the door made the two females snap their heads towards the apartment entryway. Sakura blushed slightly, looking at the time. Itachi said Sasuke might be a little late but it looked like he was early.

"Oh my god he couldn't even wait and got here early. Go forehead!" Ino pushed Sakura out the bedroom and slammed her door. Sakura blushed a little harder, looking down at the dress. She gulped nervously, taking a deep breath as she approached the door.

"Who is it?" She called out.

"Sasuke." She blushed again. He really was early. Why did Itachi even bother telling her he'd be late? Then again, Sasuke's definition of late probably meant he just wouldn't be arriving by his usual fifteen minute head start. Taking another breath and gathering up her courage, Sakura opened the door. Upon seeing her, his eyes lighted, widening slightly at what she was wearing. His eyes wandered all over her, taking in her creamy legs and eyeing her bare soft looking shoulders. Sakura could only begin feeling self conscious, seeing as he was staring at her.

"I-Is it too much? I can chan—" She was about to offer a change, turning away only for her wrist to get grabbed.

"You look...fine." He mumbled, looking away. Sakura's heart fluttered, seeing a small blush on his cheeks as he turned his head from her. She looked more than just fine in his eyes. He could think of a number of synonyms that were more accurate for her. Pretty, gorgeous, beautiful, stunning; none of which he had the gall or courage to say to her. She smiled appreciatively, turning around and unable to hold back a short but sweet giggle.

"Thank you." She laughed out. Sasuke released her wrist, his mind and body protesting the action. Her skin was as soft as silk and he instead had the urge to pull her against him. He moved to rub the back of his neck in order to occupy and relax himself and his growing want.

"You ready to go?" He asked, shoving his other hand into his pocket. Sakura nodded, grabbing her keys and her phone, placing them in a small white purse that wasn't too fancy.

"Yeah." She said, putting on white sandals that were by the door. They left and Sakura locked up. Ino came out the bedrooom, a large smirk on her face.

"She owes me big time." Ino laughed.

The sun was setting in the sky, the warm orange hues were beginning to give away to darkening blues that came with the night. Sakura couldn't help looking up as she walked by Sasuke's side, She smiled. She always had a personal favor over the night as opposed to the day. Frankly, she sometimes even considered herself nocturnal. She wasn't sure why, but everything was just better at night. Mornings were exhausting and afternoons she had no care far. But the night was always on her side. It was the night that brought her the most relief. She put her hands behind her back, smiling as she took in the little details of the sky.

"Such a pretty sky, don't you think?" She said absentmindedly, looking to Sasuke. The man looked back at her, his hands in his pockets as they strolled down the street. He looked up thinking of how to answer her. He never really took into account what the sky looked like. He never cared for it. Not even when he was alone. Usually, he just blanked in thought during his walks and kept his gaze either forward or on the ground. However, now that Sakura had mentioned it, it was a rather soothing sight. It was quite nice.

He wondered why he never saw it before. When did he become unaware of something so simple like the sky? What else had he overlooked in his everyday life? Was there more of the world he had taken for granted?

"Yeah…" He murmured, suddenly lost in thought. He looked back to Sakura, who continued walking close to his side with a pleasant smile on her face. Just ahead another block or so, they approached the park.

"How was work? Everything went okay?" She asked. Sasuke sighed, trying to relieve himself of the annoyance that was Karin. The said woman had worked for him for a total of six months and he did know her in high school—if you would call ignoring someone who bothered you on a day to day basis. When they graduated he didn't see her again and he relished in that, until she was suddenly an applicant as his secretary. At the time, compared to other applicants, she had more credentials and references that vouched for her than others. As per protocol, he usually asked for a total of six references, compared to the standard three and if that could not be provided, he expected an extensively well skillset and vouching of the applicant from the former employer. Not one applicant other thank Karin had met the requirements at the time. The others were rather mediocre. Waitresses, receptionists with minimal experience, other applicants that did not receive commendable notes from their references. To be honest, it was rather lucky for him to run into Sakura and for his now experienced instinct to feel she was right for the job. To hire Karin, he didn't have much of a choice since he had just received the two weeks notice of his father's last employer and it caught him in a bind.

"It was irritable. But nothing I couldn't handle." Sakura chuckled at his answer, gaining his attention.

"Itachi said you banned him from making your coffee." Sakura claimed with a light chuckle, a hand coming to her lips. Sasuke rolled his eyes. He knew he wanted her to come back, despite her injury, but the need for her to come back had never become so strong after having to tolerate Itachi's coffee for two weeks. Even buying coffee from other coffee shops and businesses was barely satisfactory.

"He can't make a decent coffee for the life of him. He does try—excessively mind you, but I'd rather spend the money at Café Blanché. Or any other coffee shop around." Sakura laughed.

"Café Blanché...where we met." She mumbled absently. Sasuke's eyes shifted to her, seeing a small smile on her face.

"I'm...glad I met you there. You know, I don't think I ever thanked you for punching that drunk " Sakura said softly, a small blush coming to her cheeks. Sasuke's soft gaze warmed further and he smirked. It was a bit funny really. He never thought that meeting a single person in his life would have such an affect on him. Routines he had long since found permanent and immovable were now nuisances. Work was now a chore he minded completely, when before he simply saw it as a task that needed to be done; through his upbringing and training it was just something he had to do. Now he didn't want to.

Now...all he wanted was to be like this, with her. By her side. In her presence. Knowing she was there with him. For the first time ever, he wanted something and where he was certainly in denial of it at first, he could honestly say that meeting her that day was a needed blessing, even with the things they had gone through. Not only was he learning about her and other people but he was even learning about himself. Before he met her, he never considered himself a jealous man, yet he had fits of rage whenever she just as much as looked at another man. He knew he was driven, but he didn't know he was willing to go to lengths of extreme for anything she needed. He felt happy for the first time in so many years.

Where she was glad he met her there, he was absolutely grateful he did.

"I am too." Her head whirled and their eyes locked, an even deeper blush reaching her cheeks. He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets and looked away, feeling a bit embarrassed. He really wished he hadn't said it outloud.

"Do you...go to Sarutobi Park often?" Sasuke asked hesitantly, mentally smacking himself. It was a rather cheesy way to start as well as divert a conversation but he had never been one to converse much to begin with, unless it had to do with business. He was barely accustomed to walking by her side, even if this wasn't their first time doing so. She gave him a curt nod, smiling at the ground.

"Yeah actually. I like getting fresh air out here. Its pretty calming and I do a lot of my sparring sessions with Tsunade-Shishou here." She answered. He raised an eyebrow.

"I imagine you guys attract a crowd if your doing it here." Sasuke stated. Sakura gave a sheepish grin, scratching the back of her head.

"Yeah, well, we usually are so deep into it, we barely notice until it's over. We can get pretty competitive and its kinda only gotten worse the older Tsunade-Shishou gets." Sakura shrugged, lightly laughing at the memory of her last training session with the busty blond just the other day.

"Why is that?" He asked. Sakura sighed.

"She thinks she's getting slow with age. She really hasn't slowed down much, but I think I've just gotten a little faster with time." Sakura answered. Sasuke looked at her quizzically.

"She doesn't seem that old. How old is she?" Sasuke questioned. Sakura gave a smirk this time.

"Give a guess." Sakura taunted. Sasuke raised an eyebrow.

"Thirties?" He questioned. Sakura shook her head.

"Nope. Want another try or should I tell you now?" Sakura asked. Sasuke shrugged.

"Tell me."

"Sixties." Sakura chuckled out. Sasuke's eyes flew wide with shock, looking at Sakura like she had grown three heads spontaneously. Sakura eyed the look and flew into a fit of laughter, already accustomed to the incredulous look she got whenever telling her teacher's secret.

"You can't be serious." Sasuke murmured. Sakura laughed again.

"I'm completely serious." Sakura giggled. Sasuke snorted.

"There's no way. She doesn't look like she's in her sixties. I figured the old man had landed himself a young woman for a wife. What was his name? Jiraiya?" Sasuke inquired. Sakura chuckled.

"Nope. They are the same age. They even grew up together." Sasuke's look became even more baffled.

"Seriously?" He asked. There was absolutely no reason for Sakura to lie to him about this. He couldn't think of a reason for her to lie about it anyway. Besides, they had already established that Sakura was no liar a few weeks ago. Despite that, he still found himself disbelieving. That woman did not look to be anywhere near her sixties.

"Yup!" Sakura grinned.

"Did she find the fountain of youth or something?" Sasuke asked out of sheer curiosity. Sakura laughed even more.

"Nothing like that. She's never really told me how. She said it comes with her training." Sakura chuckled. Sasuke eyed her. Did that mean at sixty, Sakura would look the same as well? She was under the same training wasn't she?

"Sakura-chan!" The two heard, just as they passed the threshold into the park. Sasuke followed the voice—that belonging to a child—only to see ahead of them a young boy running towards them. Sakura gave a bright smile, turning to Sasuke.

"S-Sorry. Do you mind? This should only take a minute." She apologized. Sasuke shook his head.

"There's no need to apologize." He said just in time before the boy finally reached them. Sakura smiled as the boy crashed into her waist, embracing her with a big grin on his face. She returned the embrace, giggling as she had to stumble a bit to keep her footing with his impact.

"Hello there, Niko-kun!"

"I've missed you Sakura-chan! Where have you been?! You haven't come to see me or the others in a long time!" The dark haired boy grinned, shining innocent blue eyes looking up at her with the utmost admiration. Sasuke watched as Sakura started glowing, a gentle warmth and special affection appearing in her eyes and on her smile. His heart fluttered witnessing it. He had never seen that look on her face before. Not at anyone or anything. The way she looked down at the boy was like that of a loving mother. She absolutely adored the boy and you could tell she did with just the sparkling glimmer in her emeralds for eyes.

He found himself wanting to be looked at like that by her. The desire grew when she lowered to the boys height, placing her bare knees on the ground just to look him in the eye. Such humility and devotion. He wanted it.

"Sorry, Niko-kun. I haven't been feeling well myself, so I couldn't come in to visit. But, I promise, I'll try to make some more time to come this weekend after a big test I'm having for school." Sakura explained lightly, grasping the boy's hands in hers.

"Forgive me?" She asked with lifted eyebrows and a downward tilt of her head. Her smile was apologetic and hopeful and the boy called Niko only gave her a big grin. Sasuke stared. If she made a face like that towards him, he was sure even if she had done something unforgivable, she would always be forgiven. Even by him and he had never been a very forgiving person. When someone wronged him, he was more keen on getting vengeance for it or some kind of pay back for his troubles.

If Sakura made a face like that, he'd have no choice but to relent and surrender.

"Of course Sakura-chan! I'll forgive you for anything!" He proclaimed, making Sakura giggle in amusement.

"Are you feeling better?" He asked. Sakura nodded, giving a wink.

"Better than ever!" She promised.

"Niko!" A woman's voice called out. Sakura and the boy looked back, catching a woman with several kids around her. The moment Sakura stood, all the kid's eyes lit up.

"SAKURA-NEE-CHAN!" They all screamed in unison, running towards her. Sakura gave an embarrassed smile, looking back at Sasuke.

"S-Sorry." She apologized again. Sasuke smirked, raising an amused eyebrow.

"You sure have a lot of little brothers and sisters." He quipped, just as the kids ran to surround her. Sakura blushed lightly, giving a sheepish grin as the kids crowded her.

"Sakura-nee-chan! Let's play Going To Kentucky! Please!" Sakura bit her bottom lip as secretly as she could. Really, she didn't expect this at all and to think this would happen to her while she was with Sasuke, it was quite the unexpected event. She gave a weary look to Sasuke, almost asking him permission to do so, only to get a curt nod.

"W-Well, just once alright?" Sakura conditioned. Nevertheless, the kids all beamed with smiles of joy and eyes of excitement, Niko being the closest to her grabbing her hand instantly. Another little girl grabbed her other hand, the modest group of about fifteen kids all ran towards the grassy area, pulling Sakura along. Sasuke followed, keeping a slight distance as they all got into a fairly large circle. Sakura and him exchanged a glance before they finalized their places. She looked around at the kids, smiling at them with enthusiasm.

"Sakura-Nee-Chan goes in the middle this time!" One girl called out, shy and timid looking. Sakura chuckled walking to the center and looking at Sasuke with a nervous grin. He crossed his arms, smirking.

"Ready?" Sakura called out to all of them. The kids cheered.

"Alright! Everyone together now! Three! Two! One!" She yelled out. In that instant, they all began to jog lightly in a circle around her, their hands holding each others.

"We're going to Kentucky! We're going to the fair! To see the señorita, with flowers in her hair!" They all sang, Sakura included, as she did a fun little dance along with the words.

"OH, shake it to the bottom! Shake it to the top!" Sakura's hips moved from side to side, her movements akin to a little girl dancing and swaying from side to side. Sasuke smirked in amusement. Aside from obviously being a grown adult, it was almost obvious that Sakura was having fun doing this little children's game.

"Then turn around and turn around," Sakura began spinning, in the midst, a woman coming a little to Sasuke's side, though she kept her distance. Though Sasuke paid her no mind, being caught up with Sakura's game with the children, he did hear the woman sigh out in exasperation. She covered her eyes with one hand and pointed the other, spinning in a circle as they sang the line. Sasuke almost snorting with laughter, as Sakura's grin got even bigger. This was probably her favorite part of this game he never played before. They all sang in unison, big smiles on their faces and light in their eyes but none had a bigger grin than Sakura.

"Neehh. How is she so good with these kids?" He heard her say. His smirk turned into a soft smile. So she was good with kids too? That was another thing he never thought about. Kids. He had his fair share of events surrounding his sponsorships in a number of schools around the city and had come in contact with them. He wasn't all that great with them, but he wasn't terrible either. He felt mostly awkward around them really. He lived in a world of adults from a young age that even when he was growing up and going to school, it was rather irritating to deal with the others. Naruto had been the only other kid to have the patience and just the plain ignorance to tolerate him.

He could still remember glaring at the blond seven year old who had somehow managed to climb his high gates and wander into his mother's garden. The blue eyed, raggedly dressed boy had been picking flowers when Sasuke had discovered him with his mother. The boy had only grinned down at them sheepishly, having been chased up a tree by one of their security dogs. He explained that there was a pretty girl he wanted to give "the best" flowers to because she was "really, really, pretty" and named after one. Sasuke, of course, was quick to glare and tell him he was trespassing, even at seven years old. His mother instead chuckled in amusement and proceeded to help give him more flowers. He came everyday after that, never asking for anything more than flowers, which his mother would happily give away, even giving the boy lunches and offering to stay and play with Sasuke.

While Sasuke had always complained that he didn't want to spend time with him, Naruto would simply shrug and say he had to get back to the pretty girl anyway. Sasuke had always rolled his eyes. He always spoke of her, never giving a name, but talked like she was the greatest thing in the world. When they gotten to their teens, Sasuke was certain that this so called girl was a figment of his imagination. Then, they started seeing each other a little less and less. Sasuke had his duties and Naruto did his things. A few years later, he was in fact introduced to Hinata, but it never left Sasuke's mind that she certainly wasn't named after a flower. Again, he figured the pretty girl was a long lost myth, a way to tease him in their younger age.

In hindsight, he could now see exactly how pretty the "girl named after a flower" was, why as a young boy, Naruto wanted to give her the best flowers and risked being chased by the Rottweilers they had. In hindsight, he wondered east She deserved that. She deserved only the best and more and they way she glowed proved that.

Seeing Sakura like this with them, reminded him of his mother that very day, those years ago. Even the way she had kneeled down to Niko before was similar to the way his mother kneeled to him and Naruto whenever they played in the house. The dark haired matriarch had always been a breath of fresh air and freedom. A gentle and caring woman, always tender and soft with others, even more so with her sons. It was their father that was the strict one, though she nicely countered him at every turn with her beauty. An effect she had on his father...one Sakura had on himself.

"Until you make a stop!" Sakura stopped spinning and the kids stopped circling her. Her finger pointed at the boy Sasuke now knew as Niko. The kids cheered and laughed and Sakura uncovered her eyes only to begin laughing with them at who she saw.

"Niko-san is it!" One of the little girls proclaimed. Sakura laughed.

"Yup! Don't forget it!" Sakura grinned. Niko gave a wide grin.

"Sakura-san! It's been some time!" The woman said, as the group of about fifteen kids shoved and pushed to get close to Sakura.

"Hey, Kyoko-san! Taking the kids out for a trip?" Sakura questioned, greeting all the other kids with pats on their heads and smiles. The blond girl nodded, tiredly sighing and slumping her shoulders.

"I honestly don't know how you do it. Especially with Niko. He's always more behaved with you than me!" The woman called Kyoko whined. Sakura chuckled.

"It's not that hard." Sakura shrugged. Kyoko sighed again.

"Neh? Sakura-Nee-Chan, who's this? Is this your boyfriend?" One of the little girls suddenly asked, looking up at Sasuke. Sasuke felt himself turn rigid, looking away with slight embarrassment. Could he say he was her boyfriend? This was a date...so...maybe? Then again, he still wasn't really all that sure what Sakura thought. Looking to her, he was only met with a crimson red blush on her flustered face. Kyoko eyed Sasuke, a blush coming onto her face at how handsome the man was.

"U-U-Uhm...well, t-that's a little p-personal Mebuki-chan." Sakura dodged.

"No! He can't be Sakura-chan's boyfriend! I'm Sakura-chan's boyfriend!" Niko screamed, glaring angrily at Sasuke and stomping his foot. Sakura giggled looking over to Sasuke.

"Uh oh. Looks like you have some competition." She quipped, grinning playfully. Sasuke looked at Sakura sighing, deciding to play along. He just decided he was going to make an effort and he was not going to go back on his word.

"Looks like I have no choice..." He looked down to Niko, a deadpan seriousness in his eyes.

"I will challenge you for her." Sasuke suddenly said, making the young boy grow furious. Kyoko snorted, muffling her giggles in her palm as Sakura blushed even harder with his sudden proclamation. She wasn't expecting that at all and Sasuke knew it. Niko raised a fist, shaking it with the challenge.

"You're on, old man!" He yelled, sticking out his tongue. Sasuke smirked.

"So how should we settle this?" Sasuke asked. The instant he did, there was a wide slew of suggestions came from the kids and Sasuke had to admit this was a sudden interruption between him and Sakura that he really didn't mind at all. In fact, the gentle look of gratification and a sudden charm in her eyes as they shared a glance with his participation was all the more welcomed. He could tell, he had indeed impressed her for his sudden willingness to play around with the kids.

Honestly, if this had happened to him while he was with anyone else, he would have flat out left the area entirely. He would never have thought in a million years he would be willing to play and children's game with a group of children and he knew it was Sakura's charm that had made him so open to it. To watch her seem so free and innocent, he was certain that she was his main influence into this and oddly enough, he didn't mind it one bit. To be frank, he didn't even mind if someone from the press caught him right now. He was with Sakura and...he was enjoying himself.


"Jump rope!"


"Hide and seek!"

"I have an idea." Sasuke suddenly spoke out. They all silenced, waiting to hear what he had to say.

"Since it's for Sakura, I think it's only fair that she decides how we go about this." Sasuke looked to the now surprised woman with a smirk. She gave a gentle blush before grinning.

"Hmmm...how about we play one more round of Going to Kentucky? But, there's a catch!" Sakura clapped her hands together. She gained the curious attention of the two adults looking at her and the children.

"Whoever points at me first wins! Niko-kun will go first since he has already been chosen last game. If he doesn't point to me, then Sasuke-kun will go! If neither one points at me after your one and only chance of being in the center, your both lose!" She set up the rules, sticking her tongue out at the end. Sasuke smirked. He supposed it was good that he watched Sakura do the dance.

"Alright!" Niko cheered and instantly the kids began to form a circle again. Sasuke instantly took the chance to grab Sakura's hand, considering it was how he watched the game be played. Besides, he was almost begging for a reason to grab her hand again from earlier. Her hand was so small and soft in his and the waves of electricity flew up his hand and arm when she grasped his hand back. A little boy had grabbed his other hand. Sakura looked at him, giving a small and shy blush. She smiled secretively, Sasuke eyeing the look with much warranted curiosity and mutual connection. Sakura was not that hard to understand. She was really an open book, especially when looking into her eyes. However, she had these moments of beautiful thought, a complex mysteriousness coming to her eyes that made him want to learn more about her. He also noted she never looked people in the eye when she looked like that. She always looked away.

What was she thinking? What was that look for? He couldn't read it, to this day and he wanted to know. It was the same look she gave in the hospital when talking about Sasori. It was the same look she gave whenever he was acknowledged and praised by her. It was a look she gave when others weren't looking, having caught it during one of their nights at Temi's.

"Wait!" One of the other boys suddenly shouted, not yet joining hands with the others. Niko glared at him. Sakura raised an eyebrow, that look washing away from her eyes. Sasuke's eyes noted it, putting it to the back of his mind. It was a subconscious look. The fact that upon a reaction it disappeared meant it was a look of habit and that it was something only known to her.

"What is it Jin-kun?" Sakura asked.

"How are we gonna make sure Niko doesn't cheat?! He always cheats in contest!" The brown haired boy accused, glaring at Niko. Niko glared back.

"Shut up Jin! No I don't!" Niko yelled, stomping a foot.

"I think I have a solution for that." Kyoko stepped in, taking off the hair scarf she was wearing. It was dark blue and decorated with flowers. She stepped to Niko, wrapping the band around his eyes and tying it.

"There. Now be honest Niko, can you see anything?" She asked. Niko shook his head.

"No." The boy harrumphed, crossing his arms. Jin stepped over to Niko's side.

"Good, buttface!" He taunted, sticking out his tongue. Niko turned towards the sound, but Jin moved over to his left.

"You're a buttface!" Niko yelled in the completely wrong direction. Sakura chuckled.

"Now now, you two. Jin-kun, let's get in a circle now." Sakura ended the starting conflict instantly. Jin gave a sparing glare to Niko as he walked off and the boy could only pout.

"Okay everyone, ready?" Sakura questioned. The kids answered positively in unison. While Sasuke didn't sing, he couldn't help but smile, watching as Sakura sang with closed and delighted eyes. These kids made her pretty happy. She seemed beyond overjoyed. The ritual of the game began and they began to lightly trot around the blindfolded Niko. Even blindfolded, the boy seemed to be unable to hold back from singing the song along with them, childishly dancing and clapping to the tempo.

"We're going to Kentucky, we're going to the fair! To see the senorita, with flowers in her hair! OH, Shake it to the bottom! Shake it to the top!"

If he could give her a smile like that everyday, he could feel down to his very bones that his mind and heart would be at ease. The way she glowed. He could only feel content. As a matter of fact, saying he felt content grossly understated how he felt, seeing her like this. He'd probably wouldn't be able to form words of just exactly what it made him feel, but he knew for sure that if he could, he'd give her that smile everyday for the rest of her life if he could help it.

Now came the moment of truth as Niko pointed his finger out and began spinning in place.

"Then turn around and turn around until you make a stop!"

Niko stopped and much to Sasuke's amusement, was not pointing at Sakura. Instead the boy was pointing at the little girl holding the woman named Kyoko's hand. Using his other hand, the boy excitedly yanked the hair scarf from his eyes only for his joyous face to fall into disappointment.

"Nooo! I wanted to point at Sakura-chan!" He whined and pouted. Sakura laughed.

"It's okay Niko-kun. It's Sasuke-kun's turn now!" Sakura said, looking over to him with a grin. He grunted, releasing her hand a bit reluctantly. He passed Niko who was taking his place and the young boy shot him a glare as he gave Sasuke the blindfold. He looked over at Sakura.

"I don't dance by the way." He declared. Sakura smiled.

"I figured. But, you must! It's part of the game!" Sakura urged. Sasuke closed his eyes.

"What if I don't?" He questioned.

"Then you forfeit and lose to an eight year old boy. I bet Naruto will have a lot to say when he finds out the great Sasuke Uchiha lost to a child." Sakura answered instantly, sticking out her tongue at the end. Sasuke's eyebrow twitched, a slight irritation in him growing when he eyed the smug look given to him by said boy. Sasuke sighed.

Well...first time for everything, as his mother had said to him long ago.

"Tch. A-Alright." He sighed, placing on the blindfold.

"...Erm...Sakura-Chan…" He heard Niko say. He stood there for a moment, not hearing Sakura ready the kids to sing as she did each time. He heard nothing but whispering actually and even that was a bit difficult to hear and after a moment he heard Sakura giggle. He could feel a slight anxiousness. He never had done this before. Then he felt soft, petite female hands grab his. He flinched, honestly not able to see a thing, considering he figured to play fair. The boy obviously didn't cheat and therefore he wouldn't resort to it either.

"Relax it's just me." He heard her voice and instinctively, his head tilted downward towards her. It was instinct and habit to look into someone's eyes, especially in the world of business. However, that wasn't what was aching him. Hearing her voice without looking into her eyes he was filled with a sudden need. He wanted to hear her voice for him and for him alone.

"I'll join you for the dance part. Niko-kun knows exactly how you feel. He was shy about going in the middle at first too." Her voice eased him and his grip on her hands tightened just slightly with reassurance. He felt his cheeks burn a bit and in reaction to the heat, he quickly turned his head away from her and mentally grimaced.

"L-Let's just get this over with already." He murmured. Sakura giggled.

"Ready everyone?" He heard. He felt her hands gently lift his, opening his palm and placing hers against his. Her hand was so small. He was certain his fingers could hook over hers if he folded over them.

"We're going to Kentucky, we're going to the fair! To see the senorita with flowers in her hair! " With their palms still touching and to the rhythm of the song, he felt Sakura move his hands from side to side, a slight bounce to them that indicated more movement. Her fingers entwined with his and he felt her hop lightly from side to side. In reaction, though he started of hesitantly, his body began to move along with her. Next thing he knew, he felt Sakura hook her arm in his, facing opposite from him, and she pranced around, lightly dragging him until he had no choice but to follow along.

"OH! Shake it to the bottom! Shake it to the top!" He heard Sakura giggle a little, and he gave a small smirk. He felt her stop, him doing the same thing. She bumped her hip against his, his hip going to the side in reaction and back to make contact with her hip again. She felt her hand grab his and lift it to point. He figured it was about time to spin. When he started, he felt Sakura leave his side. It was all up to fate now. He had no idea which way she went.

"Then turn around and turn around until you make a stop!" He stopped, keeping his finger pointed and hearing the kids cheer. He lifted the makeshift blindfold and his eyes widened in surprise.

"No fair!" Niko whined, stomping. Sasuke stared directly at Sakura, who was smiling back at him. Sakura laughed, walking over to the boy and patting him on the head.

"Now now, Niko-kun. It was fair. I promise. Besides, it won't change anything between us, okay?" She promised him. The boy looked back at Sasuke who walked over and glared.

"You better take good care of Sakura-Chan!" The boy growled, crossing his arms. Sakura straightened, and blushed at the statement. Sasuke eyed her, a gentle smile coming onto his face. He had already promised that didn't he? He had told her a number of times, he would be the bearer of her burdens from now on. He gave his word to her. He wasn't sure if she remembered, but he still had Suigetsu guarding her in secret. Sasuke kneeled, looking the boy in the eye.

"You have my word, Niko." Sasuke promised, reaching his hand out for a handshake. It was a deal and he never went back on his word, especially one that he closed with a handshake. The still pouting child stared for a moment grudgingly before his small had grabbed Sasuke's contrasting adult hand. They shared a light shake

"Alright kids! It's time for us to get back to the clinic now." Kyoko suddenly called out. The kids whined and moaned, some stomping their feet and others outright protesting. Sasuke raised an eyebrow. The clinic? What clinic? These kids seemed healthy.

"Can't we stay a little longer?" The boy called Jin asked. Kyoko shook her.

"Sorry guys. It's almost time for dinner for you all." The woman kindly denied. The kids whined again.

"Come on guys. There will be other days for you to enjoy at the park. For now, it's time to go and eat, so you can all stay healthy and strong. Go on with Kyoko-Chan now." Sakura softly said over all of them. They stared at Sakura for a moment before all made a mad dash for her for a grand group hug. Sasuke watched as again, that angelic smile reached her lips and she did her best to embrace all of them back. Sakura really was the epitome of love; her affection and emotion as tender and comforting as the spring breeze. She waved them off as they departed, all of them giving their own separate cheers of farewell to her.

"Don't forget what you promised, duckbutt!" Niko suddenly screamed. Sasuke's eyebrow twitched, forcing a wry grin on his face with difficulty. If the kid was nearby, he definitely would have grabbed and lifted him by the throat...probably. Either that or find some other way to punish the child. He was eased however, by the sound of Sakura giggling and trying to hold back her laughter.

"Oh? Is that funny to you?" He questioned playfully. Sakura blushed.

"Hehe! Sorry, Sasuke-kun." She said grinning sheepishly. He smirked, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"I won't let this go, Sakura. I'll have to think of some way to punish you for that." He shrugged, continuing to walk while Sakura froze in place.

"E-Eh? W-Wait! Sasuke-kun! I didn't mean to laugh!" She instantly began apologizing, jogging lightly to reach his side. He smirked, feigning a look of thoughtful consideration.

"Maybe a good extra twenty hours of overtime will suffice?" He thought up. Sakura shrieked again.

"N-No! Please! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Sakura cried out. Sasuke snickered to himself, only to pause with surprise when he felt Sakura hook her arms around his. Pressing herself against his arm, he had no choice but to look at her in surprise, only to be met with a pleading gaze and a begging pout.

"Please forgive me Sasuke-kun?" She pleaded softly and Sasuke felt his cheeks burn. Damn it. She was unknowingly tempting him. Where this action probably meant nothing to her, he could barely keep his thoughts in check. Seeing her lips and getting that pleading look in her eyes, he was being filled with a number of thoughts, all of which weren't the cleanest or the most respectful of thoughts. The flirtatious nature of her dress wasn't helping him either. He turned his face away from her.

"A-Alright alright…no need for all that." He mumbled, only to feel his arm be released and to hear her cheer.

"Yay!" She laughed. Sasuke sighed in exasperation, though his smirk only promised that he was being playful.

"You're annoying." He said, a look of amusement in his dark eyes. Sakura chuckled.

"Me? No way! You're just grumpy." Sakura shot back, sticking out a tongue. Sasuke closed his eyes, shrugging his shoulders.

"Grumpy hm? Not as grumpy as you after you give me eighty hours next week." He quipped.

"EEEHHH?! B-But that means working the weekends too!" Sakura screeched.

"I didn't say you'd be leaving the office." Sasuke smirked, watching as Sakura's face twitched.

"Y-You're so cruel." Sakura whimpered. Sasuke shook his head.

"What was with those kids?" He questioned out of curiosity. Sakura smiled.

"Well, they are from a small children's clinic I go to volunteer at from time to time. They're all really great kids." Sakura laughed, before her face dropped a bit. Her smile saddened.

"They...well...they've all had something traumatic happen to them one way or another. So, I try to be there for them the best I can." She explained. Sasuke's eyes observed her.

"Well, from what I saw, you are doing well for them." He said, in hopes in would lighten her mood. She smiled in gratitude.

"Thank you." He was going to respond before he saw Sakura's head turn.

"ICE CREAM! GET YOUR ICE CREAM HERE!" He heard, accompanied by music. He followed Sakura's eyes, seeing her stare directly at the ice cream man. He couldn't help but smirk in amusement. After watching her play with the kids and now this, he really could say Sakura was a kid in an adult's body. He was absolutely certain of it. Come to think of it, she and Naruto really did have these burst of childish antics here and there and he couldn't help but somberly wonder if it was because she didn't have much time to be a child. Something so simple that he took for granted because he thought he needed to grow up quicker. He chose to grow up. She was forced to.

"How about some ice cream?" He suggested, already walking towards it and grabbing her hand. She was caught by surprise.

"H-Huh? Y-You don't have to." He looked back at her smirking.

"You sure? The way you're staring down the ice cream guy, I figured it be best to just buy it before you tackle the entire truck." He taunted. Sakura blushed and giggled.

"You're so mean, Sasuke-kun." She chuckled out, walking to his side. It did not go amiss that she kept her hands in his and he felt a tingling in his chest when she grasped it for a hold on him, considering he grabbed it in surprise. Sakura blushed a bit harder, a smile coming to her face. His hand felt so big and warm and holding it made her feel so secure and protected. Holding his hand made him feel like she could do anything so long as he was at her side. All this, while simply walking towards and ice cream truck. She hardly realized they had walked up to the truck window.

"What can I get you two?" The vendor questioned. Sasuke shook his head.

"I'm good. What do you want Sakura?" He asked. She smiled shyly, looking back up.

"Um, just a rainbow sprinkled cone please? Vanilla?" She ordered lightly. The man tilted his hat and gave a grin.

"You got it pretty lady. One rainbow sprinkle cone coming up!" He said and got to work. Sasuke glared. The guy didn't have to compliment her. To think he had the gall to do it in front of him too, as if he wasn't standing here, holding her hand. Bastard.

"Tch." Sasuke sounded, gripping her hand a bit more tightly. Sakura looked over, only to see Sasuke eying the still working man with a glare in his eyes. She grew confused, lifting an eyebrow.

"Something wrong Sasuke-kun?" She asked. Sasuke grunted, looking away.

"No. Nothing." He growled. The vendor came back, a grin on his face.

"Here ya go! One rainbow sprinkle cone! Enjoy beautiful!" He chirped and winked. Sasuke's glare went from the ground, to the ice cream vendor. Sakura grabbed the cone from his hand. Sasuke let go of her hand, reaching for his wallet.

"That'll just be two fifty!" Sasuke pulled out a five and the vendor reached out to grab it. Sasuke only felt the need to slam the five dollars in the guy's face. Hard. With force. However, as to not cause a spectacle for Sakura as well as land himself in a lawsuit for assault, he settled for glaring at the guy harshly.

"Thanks. Give me a moment for your cha—" Sasuke grabbed Sakura's hand again.

"Let's go, Sakura." Sasuke cut off, pulling her to walk.

"Eh? But what about your change?" She asked.

"You're asking a multi-billionaire about change. Two dollars and fifty cents, moreover." Sasuke reminded with a deadpanned look on his face. Sakura snorted, laughing out in hilarity.

"Haha! You're right!" She continued to laugh. Sasuke smirked, looking at her only for his heart to skip a beat. He had looked at her just as she moved to lick her ice cream. Her tongue snaked out, licking the side of the spiral upward before taking the peak into her mouth. She smiled in joy, humming with satisfied taste buds, while Sasuke cursed himself. He felt his face burn and his mind fill with dirty thoughts and did his best to look away.

"You don't want ice cream Sasuke-kun?" He heard her ask. He looked back to her and unfortunately, for his slipping control, she was licking the ice cream again. He eyed her tongue, doing his best to keep himself composed and dignified.

"I'm...not into sweets." He murmured, turning his head again to try and distract himself from the burning in his cheeks. Sakura smiled.

"Yeah, I thought so. You don't seem like someone who likes sweets. You barely touched the cake at the surprise birthday party." Sakura sighed. Sasuke snuck a glance at her again.

"I hope that didn't offend you." He apologized. Sakura shook her head.

"Not at all Sasuke-kun!" She dismissed.

They walked, side by side. Sakura began to tell stories from her childhood. Sasuke listened quietly, making comments and asking questions here and there, but nonetheless, for the two of them, the whole world was just each other. People that passed them by did not exist. Sasuke didn't care if they actually did. He only cared about the words she spoke, the smiles she gave, the laughs she let out whenever he said something funny to her. They had ended up in the wooded parts of the park, Sakura just finishing up a story about Naruto sneaking into a old lady's yard to try and prank her.

"So, even though I told the baka not to go into Kakashi-sensei's yard he did anyway. Next thing I knew he was screaming at me to run and being followed by a bunch of street dogs. Haha! We had to run for almost an hour before we finally climbed up a low fire escape ladder and got up there!" Sakura laughed out. Sasuke's eyebrow twitched.

"Idiot." He grumbled. He had half a mind to ask her how and why she even bothered to continue tolerating the dobe, however that would be hypocritical considering he put up with the blond for almost as long as she did. Sakura laughed.

"Yeah. Kakashi-sensei was pretty crossed too, since he's a big dog lover and had been trying to take care of all the dogs for a while. He made me and Naruto go around all of the streets of the slums to find them." She sighed out.

"Tch. That idiot shouldn't have roped you into his situations."

"Nah it's alright. It was kind of fun and hilarious. Well, it wasn't until afterward that we laughed about it. He gave me flowers the next day. He always gave me flowers to apologize. They were always really pretty." Sasuke scoffed at the statement, again the memory of Naruto getting flowers for a pretty girl named after one coming to mind again. That jerk never brought Sakura around either. It now made him wonder if maybe Naruto had a crush on her back then and didn't want to bring her around him. It was most certainly before Hinata's time. Was there ever something more than a friendship between them? He could only really imagine them as nothing more than brother and sister, but Sasuke couldn't help but wonder why Naruto never brought her as children. If he met her sooner he was sure things in his life would have been different. He'd have an actual reason to want to be successful. He'd have a reason to get up every morning other than work.

It would have been for her. It definitely would have been for her.

"Do you know where he got those flowers from?" He asked. Sakura raised an eyebrow, a little confused with the question.

"Huh? Not really. He said he picked them from a secret spot of his." She answered. Sasuke rolled his eyes. Naruto even took credit for his garden.

"Hn. Yeah. Secret." He mumbled. Sakura looked turned even more perplexed.

"Come to think of it, you've known him for a long time right?" She asked. Sasuke nodded.

"Let's just say, I'm pretty sure I know exactly where those flowers to you came from." Sasuke grumbled. Now he was a bit bothered about it.

"You do?"

"Tch. My mother's garden." He answered. Sakura's eyes widened.

"What?! Really?" Sasuke grunted in confirmation.

"Seems the idiot has a habit of being chased by dogs. The day I met him, he had been chased by my security dogs up a tree. When my mother asked his reason he only said he wanted get the best flowers for a pretty girl named after one." He informed. Sakura's eyes widened. She next flew into a fit of laughter and Sasuke eyed her, with a raised eyebrow.

"That baka. He was stealing from you?" She laughed. Sasuke smirked.

"He was, until my mother found it adorable and just gave it to him. Then he came everyday. Haven't been able to really get rid of him since." Sasuke scoffed. Sakura gave that secretive smile again, her eyes lowering and taking the final bite of her ice cream cone.

"Naruto...has always been there for me. For as long as I can remember really." She spoke. He gazed at the look that made him want to know more about her. He still could not place it. There was a somberness to it, but she wasn't sad. There was a detachment in her eyes, but she seemed fond of whatever she was thinking about. His hand couldn't help but grip hers a bit, staying quiet.

"I...honestly don't think I'd be here if it wasn't for him. There's so much we've been through together and not once do I remember him ever leaving me alone for too long. He's...always did his best to take care of me and make me happy." Sakura absently said, smiling up at the canopy of leaves above. The orange in the sky was starting to darken just a bit, but it was still indeed light out. Sasuke looked at her, stopping in his place and facing her.

"I suppose I'll have to thank him for that." He said softly. Sakura faced him..

"Thank him for what exactly?" She asked. He looked down at her hand in his and caressed the petite softness of her knuckles.

"For taking care of you...so I had the chance to meet you at Cafe Blanche." He answered, his eyes lifting to hers. Sakura blushed staring into his eyes. His eyes warmed, taking in the details of the most beautiful emeralds he had ever seen. He felt so drawn to her. His eyes lowered to her lips, leaning in slowly but surely. His heart thumped against his chest and Sakura could hear hers in her ears, speeding faster than a speeding train.

"Sasuke-kun…" She whispered and it shot electricity throughout his body. His other hand slowly lifted, about to touch her waist.


The two flinched in surprise. Sasuke mentally cursed and Sakura's eyebrow twitched. It was her phone. She sighed looking away with embarrassment and dismay. Moment ruined, and she wished she had turned off her phone completely.

"S-Sorry." She mumbled. Sasuke eyed the look, seeing a disappointment flash in her eyes as she let go of his hand and rummaged for her phone in the small bag he carried. He found out he didn't like the look of disappointment. His hand lifted, giving a poke to her forehead.

"Eh!" She yelped slightly in surprise and looked up to him while holding her phone. He smirked at the bewildered expression.

"Let's go, it's getting late." He started walking. Sakura stared at his back confusedly. With one hand touching her forehead, she lifted the phone to her ear and followed him.

"H-Hello?" She answered, still dumbfounded.

"Enjoying your date?" Sakura raised an eyebrow, not recognizing the female's voice over the phone. She moved to look at the caller id, only to realize she had picked up for an unknown number.

"Who's this?" She asked. Sasuke looked over questioningly.

"Cunt!" The woman screamed and the line went dead. Sakura's eyes widened an instant anger filling her for being called such a thing without any reason.

"What the hell?" Sakura hissed. Sasuke's eyes grew concerned, his eyebrows furrowing.

"What happened? Is something wrong?" Sakura exhaled to calm herself.

"It...was probably just a wrong number. Don't worry about it. Sorry." She said, shaking off the call. She felt no need to ruin a date by being angry at someone she didn't know.

"No need to apologize." He said, grabbing her hand again. The action was suddenly rather comfortable to do and when he did, Sakura blushed, smiling softly. The walk back to her home was pleasant and the sun had finally began to give way to the night. Walking up the building, Sasuke looked to her.

"I've had a nice time with you Sasuke-kun. Thank you." She said, giving him a joyful smile. He smirked, nodding in congruence. He did indeed enjoy his time with her, even from something as simple as a walk. Even with the small disruptions here and there, it was something he would like to do again. With that thought coming to mind, his eyes lowered to the ground, feeling a burning again at his cheeks.

"Do you...want to call it a night? We...can go somewhere else if you'd like to." He suggested, rubbing the back of his neck with nervousness. He didn't know why but even though he had gotten comfortable enough to grab her hand and hold it, it was still a bit nerve wracking to ask her for more. Maybe she was tired? Maybe a walk in the park wasn't enough? Even so...he didn't want to part from her. He wanted to be with her, even if it was a little while longer. Sakura blushed, smiling softly at him.

"I've had fun today Sasuke-kun. I'd like to...spend more time with you, but I have an appointment tomorrow early morning at the hospital." She said softly and she pushed a another strand of hair behind her left ear. He couldn't help but take note that she always pushed away her hair from the left side. Sasuke's eyes lowered, a feeling a disappointment in his chest. He supposed however, it couldn't be helped.

"I understand. Is it about the wound?" He asked out of curiosity. Sakura nodded.

"Yes. I have to be in at seven, which really means get there at six." Sakura shrugged.

"Do you want me to take you? I don't really have much going on around that time other than heading to a meeting by seven." He offered. Sakura smiled appreciatively.

"I wouldn't mind that if it isn't too much trouble for you." Sakura accepted. Sasuke nodded, his hand lifting and taping her forehead. Sakura blushed and as always, when he poked her forehead a warm feeling rose in her chest.

"It's no trouble at all. Goodnight, Sakura." He said softly, pushing his hands in his pockets and turning to descend the stairs of her building. Sakura turned to insert her key, before she stopped, a sudden question coming to mind.

"Hey, Sasuke-kun?" He paused, turning just as she did and looking up at her. Sakura looked down at him, a question in her eyes, though she seemed hesitant to ask. Sasuke waited, knowing Sakura would say what's on her mind. That was just the kind of woman she was. She was never afraid to question him, from day one.

"Uhm...well…" She hesitated again and he watched as she touched her forehead and instantly he knew what she wanted to ask. He held back his smirk as best as he could, keeping his best poker face as to ensure she didn't know he was onto her.

"Why do you poke my forehead? I haven't seen you do it to anyone else and it's...the third time you did it. Does it mean something?" She questioned curiously. Sasuke stared for a moment, wondering if he should reveal the meaning behind it before deciding against that action. It was too early for her to understand what that meant to him. He still wanted to take his time, to ensure she...he wanted to wait and be sure she wanted anything with him. Afterall, it had crossed his mind that maybe she didn't feel as strongly as he felt. If he, in the beginning, was in denial of it maybe she was too. His only other worry was that this was all too fast. His feelings, their connection, their understanding of each other seemed to all just be too fast and too much, especially to him. If he didn't know any better, he would have said he had known her in another world. They were connected in someway and that connection was leading them to each other.

The last thing he wanted was to run her off because he couldn't be patient, despite not being a very patient man to begin with. For her, he'd wait. For her, he'd do his best to control himself, even if he wanted her right now. He gave a teasing smirk, an amused look in his gaze that took her aback.

"I'll tell you what it means, someday." He dismissed, turning around and walking. Sakura stared at his departing back in confusion, watching as he turned to walk down the block presumably to get his car. Sakura watched him, looking down at the floor in wonder. So the forehead poke did mean something...but what? What was its significance such that Sasuke wouldn't tell her straight out when she asked. Instead, she would be told what it meant "someday"?

Still confused and in her thoughts with wonder, she opened the entry to her building and walked inside.

Across the street, envious eyes glared at Sakura's retreating back.

Sakura sighed, sticking her keys into the apartment door. Her walk up the three flights of stairs of her brownstone weren't tiring, but trying to think about what Sasuke's forehead poking meant was. She tried to think of the last three times it had happened and the only thing that she found they had in common was that he did it usually when they were parting, save for the one in the park earlier. That one appeared to be done for some other reason that she couldn't place.

Before she could turn the lock, her door swung open, the keys ripped away from her hand and there stood Ino and behind her, Tenten, Temari and Hinata. Hinata was looking at her with a shy smile. The other three were mischievously grinning.


Sakura didn't even have a chance to question them before she was grabbed at the shoulders and pulled inside with a surprised scream, the door slamming behind her.

Sasuke walked over to his black car. He had decided to take the Lexus F out today, considering he had the Lexus LFA in maintenance for the time being. Sebastian was suppose to pick up the car tomorrow morning. He entered the driver's seat, checking his watch. Eight-fifteen. It was still a bit early and he had a sudden feeling of dread and melancholy in his chest. He was already missing Sakura. All of a sudden, he was feeling drained when just before they parted ways, he was full of energy. He did have some work to do before the days end and while he knew he had to, he really didn't want to. Instead he wanted to be with Sakura. He wanted to see her again. He wanted to hear her voice and hold her hand again. He wanted to get closer like they were before. Maybe he should have still went in for a kiss? Was it too soon? Sasuke honestly had no idea what to think or do. Everything about Sakura drove him to do things he thought he would never do or ever want to do.

All in all, he was glad that everything went smooth. Nothing went wrong. Absolutely nothing was wrong about the date and now he wanted to spend even more time with her. Not going over some stupid document that he really didn't care about. Then again, the documents tonight were about finalizing the new health insurance plans he had in the works and that was related to her...he supposed he would have to suck it up and get on with it. With that, he shifted the car's gears and began pulling out the parking spot.

Maybe Sakura would kiss him in joy after the insurance plan went into effect. He could almost see it now. He would unveil the entire insurance plan offered by Uchiha Corporations to her and she gasp with joy. She'd rave and rant about how much coverage a patient could get for such a small payment a month. She'd be overjoyed once finding out that very few authorizations would be required for the large variety of services provided by physicians everywhere. The low payments did not hurt payments to physicians either as they were rewarded heartily by the medical board for accepting the insurance through his investments.

Then she'd jump on him and kiss him into oblivion, which he'd gladly accept.

"You're so amazing Sasuke-kun! I want to be yours forever!"

The words heard in his imagination made him grip the steering wheel of his car. Between the feel of her body on his arm today and the way she was licking the ice cream, hearing those words from her very lips would be the day his control and restraint snapped. From there, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to stop at just a kiss.

Especially with how divine she looked in the red bikini he saw in the photos Naruto sent him. Her dress today was probably even a bit worse than the bikini photos as he was almost desperate to see everything underneath the white fabric. He shut his eyes for a moment, willing any derogatory thoughts of her out of his mind. He respected Sakura. He saw her as a woman who deserved respect and he wanted to give that to her. Fantasizing such thoughts...was the exact opposite of that. Despite that, his thoughts and desires were cruel opponents to his will, bombarding him with images of her curves. His dreams were no help either. If she was involved in them she was most definitely in a provocative state for him and him alone.

There was even a dream of her begging for him.

"Tch." He scoffed, closing his eyes to try and dash the pleading look she gave him both in that dream and earlier. He began to drive, trying to call Sakura but her phone had kept ringing until he received her voicemail. He raised an eyebrow.

"You've reached Sakura Haruno! Sorry I can't take your call right now but please leave your name and number and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Bye!"

"Sakura, it's me. Just calling to find out if you got upstairs alright. Give me a call when you can. I'll call you in the morning when I'm on my way." He spoke, unaware that behind him was three rising heads. Two men tiredly and silently questioning why they got dragged into hiding in the back seat of Sasuke's car, and the last one grinning wildly.

Naruto was of course, the first to act. He lunged over to the front from his hidden place in the back seat and wrapped an arm around Sasuke.


Sasuke screamed and slammed on the break, his car screeching to a halt. Thank goodness there was no traffic.

"Damn it Naruto! Don't get us killed idiot!" Shikamaru snarled. Naruto, however, could not reply promptly, considering his face had hit against the dashboard control panel. Naruto groaned in pain, grabbing his throbbing nose. Sasuke spun around, only to see in his backseat, Naruto, Kakashi and Shikamaru.

"Are you fucking insane!?" Sasuke screamed. Naruto grinned sheepishly.

"Hehe. Sorry teme." Naruto said.

"Sorry wouldn't have brought back our lives Naruto. It would be especially tragic to Sasuke, considering he just got finished with what appears to be a pretty successful date." Kakashi sighed, closing his eyes and crossing his arms across his chest. Sasuke eyed all three of them with incredulous anger and confusion.

"What the hell are you all doing in my car?! No—scratch that; how the hell did you all get in my fucking car!?" Sasuke yelled. Naruto grinned sheepishly.

"Sebastian gave me the other key." Naruto informed. Sasuke raised an eyebrow, his wide eyes staring incredulously at the blond.

"You can't be fucking serious." Sasuke said in disbelief. Kakashi shrugged.

"Naruto was persuasive…" Kakashi said boredly. Sasuke's eyebrow twitched.

"I'll talk to that old bastard later. Furthermore, I'd expect this of Naruto, but why the hell are you two here?" Sasuke growled, glaring and beyond pissed off. To think, he had been in a good mood just a minute before and now this. He was so annoyed right now, he could hit all three of them.

"I'm afraid I got lost on the path of life, when suddenly a black cat crossed my path. It was then that I decided to take a different route, when I caught an old woman struggling with her groceries, so I helped her and that's when I spotted Naruto an—"

"Don't bullshit me Kakashi. Why the hell are you really here?" Sasuke snarled. Kakashi chuckled, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.

"I got curious as to why Naruto was running out the office building after work today and followed." The silver haired man answered truthfully. Sasuke scoffed, before his glare shifted to Shikamaru.

"The girls kicked me and Kiba out of Sakura's house and I saw these two. I had nothing better to do so I figured I'd nap here after hearing Naruto's little plan. Didn't think he'd almost get us all killed though." Shikamaru shrugged, yawning. Sasuke sighed in exasperation, trying to calm his nerves and reach back to strangle the blond who was the obvious cause of all this. Though, there was a certain detail that did not go unnoticed.

"You said the girls kicked you out of Sakura's house?" Sasuke questioned. Shikamaru nodded, leaning back with his hands on the back of his head.

"Yeah. Temari said something about a "girls chat" and that I wasn't allowed. What a drag." Shikamaru said boredly. Sasuke rubbed a hand down his face. Maybe that's why Sakura didn't answer the phone.

"You're telling me." Sasuke grumbled, driving to his house. He was pretty certain Naruto had the car at the house if he got the extra set of keys from Sebastian. The blond idiot would be the one responsible for taking the other two home.

"What did you guys do?" Temari asked excitedly.

"Was he all over you?" Tenten asked grinning.

"Did he kiss you?!" Ino yelled.

"Was he nice?" Hinata asked modestly.

"Will everyone just quit it! Why in the world am I getting the third degree?" Sakura asked incredulously. Once she had been dragged into the apartment and plopped onto the couch against her will, she was then surrounded by the four girls and interrogated with no escape possible. Her phone had been confiscated and she was the center of attention from the other four girls. She already knew Ino blabbed about her date with Sasuke, but for them to all have glasses of wine ready—they even had one ready for her—was just ludicrous and unnecessary.

"What? We just want to know how it went? Soooo? How was your date with prince charming?" Ino asked. Sakura sighed, finding it hopeless and moved to sit on her hip, her legs laid out on the couch to the side. Ino put Sakura's feet on her lap and Sakura was supported by the arm of the sofa. Tenten was cross legged on the floor nearby Sakura. Temari sat on the living room table directly in front of her and Hinata was beside her. The different shades of eyes were all on her and Sakura looked down at her glass, swirling the red wine absently.

"It...was nice. He was really kind and nice. I ran into the kids from the clinic and well, he played with them with me. Then we walked and talked and…" Sakura trailed blushing. The girls were all intrigued listening and sipping their glasses. Sakura drank her glass, a gentle smile coming to her lips. Her eyes lowered. She could still feel Sasuke's large hand holding hers. His presence itself felt as though he was still here, despite having already left.

"He...held my hand and I...I think we were going to kiss." Ino squealed in absolute excitement and Temari smirked. Tenten grinned and Hinata gave a delighted smile.

"So you were going to kiss? Did you?" Temari asked, obviously catching Sakura's wording. Sakura sighed, this time looking at the wine glass with a bit of frustration and anger.

That phone call...it definitely wasn't one of them playing some kind of prank on her. Was it really just a wrong number? If it was, it was a pretty strong coincidence that whoever the person wanted to call a "cunt" was also on a date like her.

"W-Well...no we didn't. We...well, I got interrupted."

"WHAT?! BY WHO!?" Ino yelled in full blown fury. Tenten started cracking her knuckles.

"Tch. Name 'em Sakura! I have a new knife in my collection that needs trying out anyway." Tenten snarled menacingly. Sakura sighed and shrugged.

"My phone went off. I thought it was something important, but it was an unknown number. There was a woman and she asked if I was enjoying my date and then she called me a cunt." Sakura sighed out. She drank her cup, thinking about the way the voice sounded. The woman was vicious sounding. The woman sounded so scorned, Sakura might as well have done something completely wrong to her. With the way the woman sounded, Sakura may as well have taken away her hopes and dreams, her future and she had ruined the other woman's life. However, as far as she knew, Sakura did no such thing. She defended herself and her loved ones only; she never went after anyone or did anything malicious to another person vindictively.

"Tch. Some jealous bitch who got the wrong number?" Temari growled, crossing her arms across her chest. Hinata's eyes became serious.

"That bitch! Who the hell does she think she is!?" Ino yelled angrily. Sakura sighed.

"It doesn't matter." She said, her eyes softening as she remembered Sasuke's eyes on her. Sakura thought it was quite ironic really. A man who was so seemingly cold and was anointed with power by not only his birthright, but by his own earning; Sakura never thought upon first meeting him that she would ever be looked at so gently by him. Even the way he held her hand. She never imagined he'd even want to be even within arm's length of a child, yet he seemed good with them. 'He'd make a great father…' Her eyes widened, cheeks burning at the thought that just crossed her mind. Ino shrieked, grinning like a madwoman.

"What the hell did you just think!? What?! That is the first time I've ever seen a look like that on your face! Tell us and tell us NOW!" Ino demanded hastily. Sakura blushed harder.

"W-Will you quit it!?" Sakura whined and drank her wine until it was just a quarter left. Her eyes closed in satisfaction and then she sighed after swallowing.

"I have to be up early tomorrow, so you guys sh—" Sakura was cut off with the sound of running liquid. She looked, only to see her glass being filled with wine again and Temari, Hinata and Tenten all staring attentively. Temari crossed her legs and arms smirking.

"You're not going anywhere for the rest of the night though." Temari quipped. Sakura's eyebrow twitched, a sudden laugh bursting from her as her friends joined her.

"Come on! Tell me! How'd it go between you and Sakura-chan?!" Sasuke heard for the fiftieth time between the car ride back to his home and now standing in his lounge room. In the middle was a billiards table and the four men stood around, each with pool sticks in one of their hands and a drink placed somewhere on one of the tables in the room. The room was large, a relaxation room his father had made to entertain his business partners when they had meetings here. Sasuke used it sometimes, but not very often. After Naruto's obvious refusal to take the others and himself home unless he spoke about his time with Sakura, Sasuke resigned to the request and decided to have a few drinks while practicing the game.

Especially after being beaten by Sakura consistently. The woman was a pool shark and he vowed to one day have his vengeance.

"I'm interested to know as well, Sasuke." Kakashi said, taking his turn and aiming the cue. Sasuke took a sip of his brandy.

"It...was fine." He answered.

"Ah, come on! You have more to say than that!" Naruto urged, eyeing as Kakashi made his shot and moved to get the next one.

"What else do you want me to say? It was just a walk in the park. Nothing special." Sasuke scoffed and rolled his eyes.

"Did you kiss her yet?" Shikamaru suddenly butted in. Sasuke's eyes shot to him before looking down. He was starting to regret not kissing her. Maybe he should have. If not to lay his claim on her but to satisfy at least one of his desires. She had only been inches away from his lips. All he had to do was do it.

"No." He answered. Kakashi had finally missed his shot. Sasuke took another sip of his drink, picking up his black pool cue and taking aim at a stripe ball.

"Why not?" Kakashi questioned. Sasuke took his shot, successfully pulling off a combo and sinking the second ball into the corner pocket. The question hit him. Why not? Why didn't he?

"I...don't want to move too fast. I don't want her to…" He trailed, aiming for the same ball he used to pull off the combination shot he did.

"...I just want her to be ready for it. I don't want to push her into something and she isn't sure she wants it." Sasuke answered. Kakashi suddenly chuckled and Shikamaru sighed.

"How troublesome." Shikamaru grumbled. Sasuke made the shot and eyed the man.

"Pardon?" Sasuke questioned almost vulgarly. He didn't like the slightly condescending tone Shikamaru had and he definitely wasn't someone who liked to be looked down on.

"Don't you get it teme! Didn't I tell you to stop thinking and analyzing! Sakura-Chan isn't one of your clients or business partners!" Naruto yelled. Sasuke's eyes widened slightly, his next shot missing with the loss of thought. Of course he knew that she wasn't a client or business partner. She wasn't a rival. She was indeed an employee but...not someone he had to analyze. She was not someone he had to plan out. Shikamaru stepped up to the table.

"Stop holding back! If this was some kind of business deal or something I bet you'd be attacking head on with all your might!" Naruto continued. Sasuke looked down in thought. Putting it like that, it now sounded like…

"You're making excuses because you're afraid." Naruto finally ended. Sasuke flinched looking at Naruto with a glare in his eyes.

"I'm not afraid." He growled. Naruto smirked, seeing he sparked a fire inside Sasuke. Now, Sasuke was driven and determined, considering he had just gotten a blow to his ego and pride by the blond knuckle head no less.

"Then prove it. Kiss Sakura-Chan." Naruto challenged. Sasuke felt a burning at his ears.

"Naruto, let Sasuke do it on his own time." Kakashi stepped in. He placed a hand on Sasuke's shoulder.

"I understand you don't want to rush things. For that I applaud you. However, you'll never move or progress if you aren't willing to take a risk. That's one of the first rules of a successful business is it not? Same can be said for this predicament." Kakashi did what he did best and advised. Sasuke eyed the older gentleman warily.

"You won't progress with Sakura if you aren't going to take that risk. Even so, take your time. When you are ready you'll know. So will Sakura." Kakashi eased.

"Or you can continue on being a big chicken." Naruto teased turning his back to Sasuke to grab his drink. Sasuke glared maliciously, lifting his pool cue to strike the blond, Kakashi lifting his hands and his eyebrows in an attempt to stop Sasuke.

"Kakashi and I win." Shikamaru chimed out, freezing the other three gentlemen in their positions. All three of their gazes snapped to the table in unison and sure enough, the eight ball was gone along with all the other solids. The only balls remaining on the table were two striped balls.

"What the hell!? You cheated!" Naruto screamed, pointing accusingly at the almost always drowsy man.

"I didn't. I mean, it's all just angles." Shikamaru shrugged.

"Tch. Best two out of three. We only lost because Naruto's the lousy shot." Sasuke snarled, his competitive nature in sync with Naruto's.

"What did you say teme?!" Naruto's attention switched to Sasuke. Sasuke glared.

"You heard me dobe." Sasuke snarled.

"Sakura must have her hands full between the two of you." Kakashi sighed.

"Shut it!" Naruto and Sasuke yelled in unison.

Monday rolled around. The weekend was rather uneventful and other than dropping her off at the hospital for her appointment, Sasuke didn't really get to see the pink haired woman that had flipped his entire world. He was a bit more irritated getting up today, sighing out when he received a message from Itachi. The older Uchiha had indeed left the city. Something "urgent" came up, he said. Sasuke shook his head and stepped out his car. He should have known Itachi wouldn't stick around. It was not like he ever did for long anyway.

He walked towards his building entrance, heading to his office floor only to be surprised. Upon exiting the elevator and walking down the hall, Sakura was passing by, a stack of folders in her arms dressed in a simple red dress, a black blazer over her.

"Ah! Good morning Sasuke-kun!" She said smiling delightfully. His eyes widened.

"Good Morning...what are you doing here?" He questioned incredulously. Sakura's head tilted in confusion.

"Huh? I came to work." Sasuke's eyebrows furrowed.

"You still have a few days left of sick leave." He reminded. Had she forgotten?

"Yeah, I know but I'm good enough to work. I don't see any reason why I shouldn't. Anyway, I'll be back Sasuke-kun. I'm just gonna drop these off at resources. You're coffee is on my desk." Sakura said smiling. Sasuke stared at her baffled. He doubted anyone else in this world would ever do such a thing.

"Sakura you really didn't have to come in today." He said softly. She grinned.

"Well, I figured it's about time I did. How much longer are you going to be able to go without my coffee?" She questioned jokingly. Sasuke stared before a look of gratitude came upon his face, on his lips a smile of the gentlest calibur. In him, a feeling of relief and a weight being lifted off his shoulders just at the sight of her. Again, in him, she brought him an ease of mind that he never thought he needed. He never knew how just how much of a difference one person could make in life.

He wasn't looking forwards today at first. Now, he had all he wanted to look forward to.

"Sakura…" She looked at him as he pressed the elevator button for her. Her eyes grew slightly wide, the smile on his face too much for her to ignore. Could a man smile so beautifully? Just the way he was looking at her so warmly, she felt like she was blessed by an angel. From that one smile, Sakura's heart raced.

"Thank you for everything." He said softly. Sakura stared for a moment before giving him another grin, her eyes closing in absolute joy with his praise.

"See you soon, Sasuke-kun." She answered and walked into the arrived elevator. Sasuke watched her go before walking to his office.

Another day he had to look forward to.

Seeee? I even went through the trouble of making the chap longer this time too!

Sasuke: You still haven't apologized.

What? I practically begged for forgiveness!

Sasuke: From Sakura.

-sigh- Sorry for the long wait everyone! I will try update sooner than this one! I have finally fully settled into this job, so everything should be a lot smoother! Thank you so much for your patience and all your support! -bows a thousand times-

Sasuke: That's more like it.

Shut up chicken butt!

Sasuke: My hair did not look like a chicken's butt!

-shrugs- Naruto? Sakura?

Sakura: U-Uhm...


Sasuke: -sharingan- Naruto...

Naruto: H-Huh?

Sasuke: Run.


Sasuke: -chasing with katana- GET BACK HERE DOBE!

See you guys next chap! ^.^ Again, sorry for the wait. Next chap will be up way sooner and that's a promise.

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