Disclaimer: No Uchihas were harmed in the making of this… Oh wait… I mean - I don't own the rights to Naruto. -cues evil laughter-
Rated T: For slight swearing, innuendo, and alcohol consumption.
Title: Melon Margarita
Pink lips mewed into a slight pucker when she lightly dabbed the tip of her tongue in a feline lick, picking up a bit of salt on the rim of the glass. Unbeknownst to her, a pair of intense, onyx orbs studied the action with a dose of primal male hunger that would have knocked her off her heels if she'd seen it.
She complained over the rhythm of the pounding music blaring in the background, "Ino, I swear, I'll never understand that Uchiha. Not that Uchiha's are easy to understand. It's like they have their own damn language, or something. I mean, have you ever tried to translate those gloomy blank looks that - that only Uchiha's can do."
The blonde sitting next to her, plucked a strawberry from her daiquiri inspired drink. Popping it in her mouth, she chortled amused, "Oh? What did Sasuke do this time?"
"Not that Uchiha. The other one." Sakura hissed between her teeth, more than just a little tipsy.
Ino sat straight up at this announcement. Twirling around on her barstool, she hooked the heels of her sleek gray pumps into the metal ring beneath. Pinning Sakura with sparkling blue eyes, "Don't be vague Sakura. You know I hate it when you beat around the bush. Which Uchiha? There's a whole compound full of 'em."
Pitching back the rest of her glass, Sakura swallowed the contents, and set the fluted glass down on the bar with a hard clink that made Ino flinch. She was paying tonight. She didn't need Sakura breaking things. Thankfully, the glass stayed in one piece. Who knew pinkettes were so temperamental anyway?
"Who else? His older brother."
The owner of the dark eyes leaned forward at that.
"You mean Itachi?" Ino asked, taken aback.
"What other older brother does he have?" Sakura's brows snapped down, her green eyes sparking with irritation, "Of course I mean Itachi Uchiha."
"Whoa. I'm sorry. It's just…" Ino trailed off uncertainly, and then shook her head, "I'm a bit surprised is all. So what did he do to hack you off so bad?"
The man arched a brow.
"He… he always looks too damn good. It's distracting, for one." Sakura blushed at this announcement.
Ino did a double take at the unexpected response. "He did what? Oh brother, Forehead. I think someone's had too much to drink."
"No Ino, I - well maybe I have, but…" Sakura pouted, but then sighed, "I know it sounds stupid." Sakura huffed a sigh, "Well you know I've had a crush on Sasuke for years, but …" She shook her head, "You remember how Itachi got badly injured in that last mission? He almost lost his life."
"Of course, I do. I was at the hospital too remember, when the field medics brought him in."
"Well, it was Tsunade-sama who did the surgery," Sakura leaned her elbow on the glossy surface of the bar, and then propped her chin on her palm. The mock pout was gone, and the flush of her cheeks was the only thing giving away her inebriation. Green eyes glistened with the memory. She'd been present in the room with Tsunade-sama. That night had felt never-ending. Shizune at the time, had been away on a diplomatic excursion to Suna.
Sakura had been pulled from her usual rounds that evening, to assist Tsunade. It wasn't that Sakura wasn't used to those situations, it was just that, it was Sasuke's brother. The weight of that knowledge had bore down on her. She knew that Sasuke would never forgive her if they'd lost Itachi. It had sat like a brick in her stomach the whole four hours, Itachi was in the intensive unit.
Honestly, Sakura truly believed that if it had been anyone other than Tsunade-sama. Itachi would have died. All because, he had stepped in to save one of his underlings. The rookie.
A harsh snap of the fingers brought Sakura out of the hazy memories.
"Earth to Sakura," Ino smirked.
"I'm sorry. Anyway, you know that after that, he was bedridden for three weeks, and then… he had to undergo physical therapy."
"I remember. You were the one Tsunade-sama assigned to oversee all that."
"When we were twelve, I just had a crush on Sasuke but then when we were on the same team, I believed I'd truly fallen in love with him. I finally got the chance to get to really know him. All these wasted years."
Ino's lips thinned. She admonished Sakura, "Don't talk like an old woman baka. You're only twenty dammit!"
Sakura finally smiled up at her. Green eyes alight with something the blonde had never seen in her friend, "I know what it is to be in love Ino. And… and I've learned that the feelings I thought I had was shallow, and no where near this… this almost soul wrenching, burning, aching…" Her voice trailed away, at a loss for words. How could anyone ever describe such a feeling? Her hand shot to her chest, fingers curling almost desperately into the soft green blouse she wore.
"You're angry at yourself." Ino stated with a small, soft smile. She reached over and laid a soothing palm over her friend's white knuckled grip. At the contact, Sakura's fingers relaxed. The blonde kunoichi, "I guess I can understand where you're coming from. You shouldn't be so hard on yourself."
"It's just so twisted though. I mean, I probably never would have felt this way, if he'd never been hurt. It's just…" Sakura shook her head. It was just so bizarre. Doctor patient romances weren't unusual, but she'd never thought she'd gain feelings in a way she used to privately scoff at. It was a bit corny, even for her.
"Life is like that though. I don't think you're weird for it. Shit happens."
The female member of team seven chuckled dryly, "I guess you're right. I still feel like a traitor."
"You shouldn't. I mean, Sasuke knows you've had feelings for him for years. We were all obvious back then, weren't we?" Ino patted Sakura's back, with a good-natured grin. She waved an airy hand. Giving an unladylike snort, she added, "That boy could have almost gotten away with having a harem, I think."
"So, what do you think I should do? I can't go on like this."
"Tell Itachi how you feel," Ino replied coolly.
Sakura didn't respond, instead she looked even more desolate at the blonde's advice. She could only imagine what her overprotective teammates would think of her change of heart.
The blonde motioned to the bartender.
The barkeep glanced up, "Want another?"
"I'll take the bill. I'm done for the night."
He dipped his head in acknowledgement, pulled out a notepad, and thumbed through the pages. He tore their bill and laid it in front of Ino. She picked it up, her eyes quickly scanning the contents. With a huff, she dug into her purse, and dug out her wallet. She eyed Sakura, "Three margaritas tonight. You're on a roll, Forehead."
She placed the cash on top of the bill and shoved it toward the barkeep, tip and all. He thanked them, and then quickly moved on to the next patron.
In a small, and uncharacteristically shy voice Sakura murmured, "It's not the same as when we were twelve Ino. I don't think I can. I mean, how's that going to sound? Oh hey, while you were struggling through physical therapy, I fell in love with you. Wanna go on a date? That's…" She rubbed a palm down her face.
"Yeah, well I'm sure there's a better way to word it. No wonder you've been antisocial after he was discharged. I thought something was up with you. You weren't planning on telling me, were you? I should have invited you out for a girl's night out, like a month ago," Ino arched a brow at her friend.
"I… I probably wouldn't have confessed back then. I wasn't ready to accept my feelings for him yet. He's a good man Ino. Most people think he's… he's this icicle ANBU Captain. Hell, I even used to assume that he was. He's too good really, for someone like me," Sakura folded her arms against her chest, and shook her head, sending her rosy-hued bangs swinging wildly.
Thankfully, no one was sitting nearby, to hear that sensitive information. The one listening, thought to himself silently. The man rose to his feet, melding instinctively with the shadows. He walked around the edge of the light, fluid and graceful like the shinobi he was.
"Don't make me kick your ass Forehead. I won't allow you to down yourself like that. You're a damn good woman too, ya know? Any guy would be lucky to have you." Ino's voice was sharp, but at the same time, sincere. Sakura was a good person. She had a heart that was much too big for a kunoichi.
"Pfft, you talk big. I'll take you on anytime Ino-pig," Sakura quipped back with a mock serious expression contorting her features. Trying to glare was hard when everything was a bit hazy, Sakura thought off-handedly.
"Oh you'll…" Ino started to say, and then stopped. Swallowing hard, her blue eyes hardened when her gaze fastened on the male stalking towards them, his shoulders set with purpose. Had he overheard them? One look at the heat in his eyes gave the blonde her answer. She managed to choke out, "Sa…"
Sakura placed a hand on her hip, giving her friend a saucy grin, "I'll what?"
"Sa…Sakura. I don't think you're going to have to confess."
It took a few seconds for the sudden change of subject to click in her somewhat, clouded mind. The green-eyed kunoichi's mouth went slack. Ino couldn't mean what she thought she meant? What had gotten into the blonde all of a sudden? It wasn't nice to tease people like that. Frowning at Ino, she realized that her friend was looking behind her, not at her.
Sakura was about to ask Ino what she meant, when a fission of goose bumps skated up her spine. A very familiar chakra signature brushed against her senses. Her eyes zeroed in on the obviously male shaped shadow looming almost ominously over her. Warmth stole through her, and her toes curled inside her heels, when the scent of rainwater hit her nostrils, which was a feat in itself with the smell of smoke and alcohol all around her.
"I'll see you later, Forehead." Ino slipped off the stool and stopped in front of the male. She sent him a piercing look, and when she found what she was looking for, walked around him after sending a polite nod.
Shocked at the blonde's sudden exit, she pivoted around in the stool, "Ino where are you…"
The stream of words were cut off when a pair of masculine lips slanted over her mouth. His name died in her throat, when he gently, almost reverently brushed callused fingers down the soft skin of her cheek.
Her arms shot up and wrapped themselves around his neck. He tasted of fine sake, and ambrosia. Everything and more than she'd ever daydreamed. This had to be a dream. She had to be dreaming. There's no way, this was really happening. He'd always been so… distant as long as she could remember. It hadn't stopped her from loving him.
When he moved away, Sakura inquired hoarsely, "I thought you were on-duty again. Weren't you…"
He pressed a finger to her kiss swollen lips to stop the tide of words, "That information is sensitive material. You shouldn't be allowed to drink in public."
"How much did you hear?"
"Everything," a masculine smirk curved his well-defined mouth. He took her hand in his, and without another word, tugged her out of the seedy bar and into the lamp lit street.
Head spinning, Sakura dug in her heels when she felt the night breeze against her skin. She choked out, red-faced, "Wait Itachi."
He stopped immediately, dark eyes boring into her own. Waiting in his quiet way for her to speak.
"I didn't know you… had feelings for me too." She felt like a silly girl, saying that out loud. Geez, did her lack of the typical dating scene have to be so apparent? Damn, she shouldn't have had that last margarita.
He looked down into her upturned face. He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. Dark eyes framed by thick lashes, told the whole story.
Swallowing hard, Sakura felt a lump of nervousness swell in the confines of her chest. She averted her gaze. The whole situation was bizarre, she had followed Ino's advice. In a round about way, anyway. "Well, I meant every word."
Itachi gave her a searing look that she felt from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. She used to think Sasuke's eyes were intense. What the hell had she been thinking? Gazing into Itachi's eyes when he looked at her like that, was like jumping off a cliff without a parachute.
"I thought you disliked me."
Her eyes widened, "What? Why would you think that?"
"You behaved like you didn't want to be around me," he admitted lightly.
"I wasn't used to this feeling. I was upset at myself. Not you. Never at you."
The Uchiha cocked his head to the side, "That's not what you were saying earlier."
"I wasn't mad at you."
"You said you were angry at me for looking too damn good." The smug grin on his face, almost made Sakura want to slap him. There was only a handful of times, she seen that particular look on his face, and she felt the same way every time.
"Yes, well. I still say that it's your fault," she sent him her version of a saucy smile. It failed miserably. "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it." That was margarita number two talking, she grimaced when she caught sight of the amusement in his eyes.
Who knew the man had a sense of humor? He'd always seemed so serious. Even as much as Sasuke loved his older brother, he would refer to his brother as always being a bit on the cold side. But she had seen so much more. Maybe it was due to his near death experience. She'd seen first hand, that could change a person. Nin faced life and death all the time, but it was when they looked over the brink of death, and came back. That was when most, decided to do things a little bit differently.
She started to fidget beneath his scrutinizing gaze. It was almost as if he was looking for something. He'd already heard her spill her guts to Ino.
He reached for her hand and this time she placed the small appendage in his. They walked through the village, side-by-side in amiable silence. She wasn't sure where he was leading her, but Itachi was someone she trusted whole-heartedly. Shinobi Captain or not.
Itachi asked her, without glancing over, "Why would you say that you aren't good enough for me?"
Sakura sighed. Well, some things never changed. Itachi always seemed to enjoy a good verbal tango. She huffed at him with a hint of exasperation coloring her voice, "That should be self-explanatory. I'm - I'm Sakura Haruno. A medic nin, who comes from civilian parents. I don't have any bloodline limits or… Oh to hell with it! I shouldn't have to spell it out to you."
"I want to know why you think this way, so I can change this silly idea you seem to have."
Her sent him a look. That almost sounded sweet, but of course, he had to make it into an arrogant statement. That was Itachi for you.
"You should have quit while you're ahead." Her lips quivered, even as she tried to squelch the grin that was wanting to come out.
"Probably." He agreed easily enough, his expression deadpan.
So infuriating and yet so loveable. Sakura sighed and then told him, "I wasn't serious about the dating thing though."
He stopped mid stride and turned to appraise her, his countenance growing somber.
Sakura realized fuzzily, he might take that wrong way. She buried a hand in her hair, "Argh! We shouldn't even be having this conversation right now." She should be sober for this, for kami's sake. She realized she was making a verbal mess. Hell, she hadn't even planned on confessing to him yet.
"Explain." He demanded sharply.
Another time wouldn't wait. Sakura had realized something else. She had always figured herself to be a pretty stubborn person, and then she had to oversee physical therapy for Itachi.
She planted her fists on her hips and sent him a pained look, "You're not going to be satisfied until I spill my guts, are you?"
Rolling her eyes, she decided to give him the cliff note version, right here, right now. And that was it. Then, she was going to go back to her apartment, and sleep off the buzz. Sakura was blunt and to the point, and not in the least bit romantic, "I fell in love with you. I'm not into casual dating." There! He could make what he wanted out of that. The kunai was in his hand now.
She peeked up at him surreptitiously through her bangs, to see how he took that. A shiver tingled through her when she realized Itachi looked like a cat who had stolen the cream.
Sakura started when his thumb came to rest on the base of her chin. This time, he leaned forward slowly, giving her time to meet him halfway. Rising on her toes, she slanted her mouth over his. At first he was tentative and gentle. She was having none of that. This time, it was she who was aggressive. When she caught his lower lip between her teeth, a low rumble came from the confines of his chest. Did he just growl at her?
When he opened his mouth to her, it was she who plunged her tongue into his mouth, greedily. Completely wanton, and guileless she took her sweet time tasting him. Running her hands through his hair, she tugged the tie that kept his hair in that low slung trademark ponytail of his. Greedy fingers ran through the silky river of black hair that tumbled, now free from its confines down his back.
Even as he broke the kiss, he wrapped his arms around her and looked down into her flushed features. He was fortunate that his brother had never taken up the sweet kunoichi up on her offer.
Sakura leaned her forehead against his chest, limbs quivering from the intensity of her emotions.
"I admit that I knew of you. You were my brother's teammate, and eventually the Hokage's apprentice. I had you neatly categorized in my mind, but then after the accident," he confessed and paused to look down at the crown of her head, "I was angry. Not at you, or at Ryota. I was angered by the situation, and at myself for not keeping a closer eye on Ryota from the beginning. I knew he was a rookie, and out to prove himself."
When she didn't say anything, he went on, "And you were there with me, every time I fell, or every time I managed to overcome an obstacle. At first, I told myself it was your job to care. That was what you were there for, but then I realized that you are one of the best medics in the hospital, and you could have just as easily had someone else take care of my physical therapy."
She mumbled something unintelligible against his chest and then once again grew silent. It didn't take him long to realize that she had fallen asleep against him. Itachi scooped her up in his arms, and cradling her against his chest, he contemplated the pros and cons of taking her to either her apartment, or his.
He knew it was probably better to take her to hers, he turned in the direction of the apartment he kept outside of the Uchiha compound. Itachi knew her well enough to know that once she woke sober, it was likely that she would avoid him, just as she had before. This particular conversation was one he wanted to finish. Plus, he knew what apartment complex she stayed at, but he didn't know what room it was.
Mind made up. He brushed his lips tenderly against her forehead before springing into the tree tops towards home.
When Sakura woke, it was with a pounding headache. Her tongue felt like a huge swab of cotton in her mouth. Her body felt heavy, and when she sat up her head started to pound even harder.
She blinked thrice when a glass of water was placed in her hand. Sakura downed the contents. The empty glass was deftly taken from her fingers. It was then that her brain was yelling at her that something was not quite right.
Looking up, a small squeak left the confines of her still parched throat when she realized the person that handed her water, was no other than Itachi himself.
Memories of the night before, and snatches of their conversation played back in her mind. The last thing she remembered was him talking about her. Had she really fallen asleep to the sound of his voice? She remembered they had kissed, and he had started to tell her something, but then all the words had started to blur together.
Itachi cleared his throat lightly, gaining her attention, "How do you feel?"
"Like crap, but nothing a little bit of chakra in the right place can't fix," she shrugged noncommittally. It was then she started to look around her surroundings, and she realized that she was inside of an apartment. In a strange bed. That smelled like Itachi. Sakura realized she should be mortified, but all she wanted to do now, was lay back down and bury her nose in his scent.
"I'm sorry, it seems I've taken over your bed."
He set the glass on the nightstand, and settled on the bed next to her. He shook his head, "It's fine."
Feeling awkward Sakura blushed as the next words came out of her mouth, "Well, um - would you like to meet up later today for lunch or…" she glanced at the clock on the oak bed stand and sighed, "I mean, dinner? We could talk about things then."
Itachi arched a brow at her, "You do not have plans to avoid me again?"
"I wasn't avoiding you." Sakura scrunched her face at him tellingly. She decided that it was time she get out of his bed, unless she decided just to lay in it all day. She felt a little affronted by his response. She added with a frown, "I'm a big girl, I'll have you know. I'd would just rather continue this conversation after I get myself together."
She rose to her feet, and ran a hand down her khaki skirt in an attempt to at least make herself look halfway presentable. Sakura ran fingers through tangled tresses, and after a quick shot of chakra from her fingertips to key areas, her throbbing headache immediately felt loads better. Well, that was a start anyway.
Sakura strode out of his bedroom, her eyes taking in the details of the super organized apartment. She was going to have to have a talk with Sasuke. It might be a good idea to bring Naruto over here on a little fieldtrip of sorts to show him what an apartment should actually look like.
Chuckling at her wayward thoughts, she turned and stopped at the door. She swallowed when she realized Itachi was as close as he was. He seemed worried, she realized when she looked into his eyes.
"How about you come to my place for dinner? I'll get some takeout for us. We can watch a movie, relax, and talk." Sakura knew it was forward of her, but she wanted to reassure him that she wasn't going to steer clear of him since he found out about how she felt. The cat was out of the bag already, what else but to follow through? Besides, he hadn't rejected her after finding out. No, he had kissed her twice last night.
"Did you mean what you said last night?"
"I said a lot of things last night, but…" she smiled, "I meant all of it."
"You love me?"
Sakura flushed embarrassed at the straightforward question. Really, she should be used to it by now. Exasperated, she reiterated firmly, "I do."
Her eyes narrowed at the demand. What was with him? She wouldn't have chalked him down to being like this, but she realized in hindsight that, Uchiha's weren't a clan known for showing affection. She remembered how long it had taken her and Naruto to get Sasuke to open up. Perhaps, it was hard for him to believe that she'd be so open about it.
She was a bit surprised herself. Being so outspoken about things had to be Tsunade-sama's influence. Sakura crossed her arms over her chest, and finally settled for sending him an impish smirk to cover her embarrassment, "I love you."
Sakura flinched slightly when he reached down, and his fingers settled under her chin. He cupped it gently, lifting it so he could get a good look at her expression. Dang it. Her face actually was starting to heat up.
"I do not want to casually date you either."
So much for waiting until dinner to talk about things. Ugh, she just wanted to go home, take a shower and relax before ordering something to eat. Was that too much to ask?
Sakura gently placed her hand on his wrist. Her smirk faded into a tiny knowing smile, "I know."
Finally he released her, and she stepped back. Staring into his dark eyes a bit longer, she opened the door, and glanced over her shoulder at him, "Six o'clock? My place?"
She paused mid step, and threw back over her shoulder with a grin, "Apartment twenty seven."
Sakura almost tripped over her own feet, when his response was a heart stopping smile. Itachi watched silently as she practically skipped down the halls. Sakura had never in her life thought she'd be so grateful to a melon margarita.
A/N: A bit ooc, and fluffy for the both of them and probably just a little bit clichéd. I hope you all enjoyed the one-shot for all it's quirkiness. Honestly I'm a bit rusty, and I apologize for the mistakes, and probably botched grammar. Thanks for reading.