Differential Chapter 12

Chapter Twelve: More Than You Need To Know

Sakura drummed the pads of her fingers against her face. She was hunched over in the sitting area of the pharmacy, not happy to be wasting her time.

What’s the point of messaging people that their prescriptions are ready if you’re just going to make them wait? Sakura growled in frustration, her leg bouncing in impatience.

“Haruno?” The pharmacist called out from behind the counter.

“Finally,” Sakura muttered under her breath. She waited for them to ring her up and she handed them the coupon the OBGYN’s receptionist gave her before she left their office.

Not wanting Ino or Karin to know what she was up to, she had told them she was off to another interview at the associated hospital. Instead, what she really was doing was running off to get her pap smear and a prescription for birth control filled.

The two of them had been unbearable the past two weeks. She would tell them she was off to the library or to a study group and they would both give her knowing looks.

Imagine how they would act if they knew that I’m already sleeping with Sasuke.

Sakura stuffed her packet from the pharmacy into her backpack and headed to the bus stop. She was able to take the university’s shuttle to the hospital where the office was located but had to make her own way to the pharmacy she prefered.

“If you’re going to the doctor, I can drive you there,” Sasuke had offered. If it had been any other doctor she would have let him but for this she wanted some privacy. Even though Sasuke would be her only sexual partner ever, she wasn’t getting the birth control pills for him but for herself.

Hopping on the bus, Sakura took the first available seat she could find. She really needed to consider getting a bike, especially if she planned to find an apartment in the city after the semester ended.

I would need to room with someone, probably Ino or Karin…maybe both.

Sakura opened up her phone and opened up the real estate application she had downloaded. Almost everything in the city was so expensive but it would be cheaper than living in the dorms after she calculated all of the fees.

Sakura was scrolling through single room apartments when her phone began to ring.


“What up, bitch?” Ino drawled through the speaker. “Karin is spending the night at Tennie’s so I’m picking you up from the bus stop so we can go get some dinner.”

“You don’t sound very excited about spending time with me,” Sakura responded with mock hurt in her tone.

“Nah, I’m just careening down Satan’s waterfall right now and I don’t wanna go out but I’m also starving.”

“Any clue where you wanna go out to eat?” Sakura sandwiched her phone between her ear and shoulder as she twisted the top off of her bottle.

“I kinda wanna eat everything and anything so I’m just letting Sasuke sweetie here pick.”

Sakura tried her best not to spit out her water but the next thing to come through the speaker had the water forcefully coming out of her nose.

“I told you to stop calling me that. Don’t you have a boyfriend?”

Only Ino would have no problem talking so casually about her menses in front of Sasuke. Considering she had bled through a sweatshirt of his before, Sakura no longer cared but she knew that Karin would rather die than let a “hottie” know about her monthly flow. The last time she was asked for a tampon in front of Itachi she started screaming to cut off Sakura’s question.

“Oh, you know I love fucking with you, Sasuke sweetie. So how long until you get here? You okay? Something sounded like a fire hydrant exploding.”

“I’m fine,” Sakura coughed. “Soon. I’m a stop away.”

She had no idea how Ino convinced Sasuke to leave his dorm and hang out with her, but Sakura was elated that he was joining them. The three of them had been schoolmates and had been in the same social circle ever since Sakura joined them in the eighth grade but toward the end of their junior year of high school there had been a sort of rift. They still hung out in huge groups but usually Sasuke was off with other people or hanging out with Ino’s ex-boyfriend, Kiba, and Choji.

It was a strange time in their life. Sakura was feeling awkward, feeling so behind sexually than all of her friends. And then when she finally got her answer, Sasuke started avoiding her.

She had wondered if maybe he had figured out what she had herself and decided to keep his distance. But the events of the past month ran into conflict with that theory.

“Are you guys about to make me get back on the bus?” Sakura groaned when she got off at the university bus stop. Ino and Sasuke were standing there waiting for her. She had expected to meet them in one of their cars.

“You know there’s almost never any parking available on Fridays.” Ino pulled Sakura into a hug, pressing her face into the bulge of her chest. “It’s okay, I’ll keep you warm while we wait for our bus.”

“Ino. It’s going to snow at any moment, why are you wearing heels?” Sakura asked, voice muffled against Ino’s peacoat.

“A lady is never seen without her heels.”

“Bitch, you weren’t wearing them all week.”

“Bus is here,” Sasuke interrupted before Ino could retort back. Not waiting for Ino, Sasuke used a hand on the small of Sakura’s back to guide her to their bus.

Sakura looked over her shoulder, searching for Ino’s reaction to Sasuke’s casual touch. She found nothing. Ino just walked behind them as if it were the most natural thing.

Maybe I’m overthinking it? Sakura shrugged and climbed up the bus stairs. Sasuke found an empty seat and offered it to her.

“Ahem?” Ino nudged Sasuke in the ribs. “You could have offered me the seat. I am the one in heels.”

Sasuke just stared at her impassively for a moment. The bus had left the stop before he finally turned away, not answering her.

“Great,” Ino huffed. “Just like old times.”

She was staring and it was irritating him so much that he was grinding his teeth.

Ino Yamanaka had a gift of being completely oblivious when she wanted to be, but then completely observant and sharp when one didn’t want her to be.

For all of elementary school until freshman year of high school, she followed him around and clung to him despite Sasuke rejecting her advances at every turn. At some point Sasuke believed she was an idiot for not understanding his clear disinterest in her.

It didn’t take him long to realize she was interpreting things in a way that benefited her. When they were eight she believed he simply wasn’t interested in girls yet. In eighth grade Ino came up with the theory that perhaps he was interested in men instead. Sasuke couldn’t understand why she didn’t get the clue that he just wasn’t attracted to her physically or as a person without there being something lacking in him that caused the lack of interest.

Tenth grade had Ino flipping a complete one-eighty on how she approached him. She continued to attempt to flirt with him in a way that made it seem like she couldn’t avoid it, it was like breathing. But it didn’t stop her from dating whoever she wanted. The year before she dangled the boys in front of him, trying to make him jealous without the result she wanted. At age sixteen, Ino finally got the hint that was screaming in her face.

Finally moving on from Sasuke, Ino saw something in him that he hoped she never would.

“So, Sasuke sweetie,” Ino absentmindedly braided her hair, “what have you decided on for dinner?”

“Yeah, we should—“

“It’s too early for dinner,” Ino interrupted him. “We should walk around and check out the shops.”

Of course. Sasuke rolled his eyes and looked out the bus window. She never makes anything straightforward and simple.

Ino had run into him on her way back to her dorm, almost quite literally. If Sasuke’s reflexes were slower he probably would have sent her flying when he turned the corner.

Hey,” she had called out to him when he tried to walk away. “Are you still into Sakura?”

Sasuke sighed and laid his head against the arm holding onto the overhead handrail. Leave it to Ino to figure out his secret.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” was his reply, but Ino had dug her nails into his arm when she grabbed, forcing him to stay put.

“I’m trying to help you, moron.”

“Ino, you can’t just drag us around while you shop,” Sakura scolded her. “Sasuke is a busy person.”

“It’s Friday. What could he possibly be busy with?”

“I don’t know, Ino. Homework maybe? Studying? We attend one of the top private universities in the country, of course he’s busy.”

Sasuke tuned the girls out as they argued. Ino was right that he wasn’t going to be working on any schoolwork. He had planned on inviting Sakura over if she was feeling alright after her doctor’s appointment.

Sakura bucking her hips against his mouth was preferable over whatever torture Ino planned for the evening, but here he was, heading into the city with the two of them.

“Alright! Here’s our stop.” Ino yanked Sakura out of her seat and pulled on Sasuke’s arm with more force than necessary.

Sasuke took one quick look at the shops at the bus stop and made a beeline for the Doc Martens store.

“Hey!” Ino called after him but Sasuke didn’t turn back around and entered the store. He knew as soon as he saw the lingerie store that Ino was going to drag the three of them inside.

Ignoring the sales associates, Sasuke examined the wall of boots. The heel was worn out on his own pair and it was a good idea to replace them now that he was out.

“Those look good.”

Sasuke did a double take as Sakura reached over and pulled a boot from the wall.

“Why aren’t you with Ino?”

“She was convinced I went up a cup size and felt me up so I left.” Sakura scowled and set the boot back on the wall before picking up a pair of yellow boots.

“Was she wrong?” Sasuke asked, mostly to see her get more riled up more than actual curiosity.

“She wasn’t but it was rude,” Sakura grumbled. “Sometimes I feel like she and Karin forget I’m a person and not a doll they can do whatever they want with.”

“Hey.” Gently, Sasuke grabbed her shoulder and turned her around to face him. “What did she do? I mean, other than grope you.”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” Sakura ran her hands down her face and blew a raspberry in an attempt to relax. Sasuke tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and waited for her to compose herself. “She shouldn’t have dragged you out. How did she drag you out?”

“What do you mean you’re trying to help me?” Sasuke scoffed, pulling his arm out of her grip. Ino wasn’t the type to do something just because she was nice. “I don’t need your help.”

Even at thirteen he knew that she originally became friends with Sakura because she wanted her as an accessory. What better tag along for the most popular girl in school than the prettiest girl in school?

“Fine. You don’t need my help. But Sakura does.” Ino circled around him slowly like a shark. She stopped in front of him and sighed.

“What are you getting at?”

“Oh, nothing.” Ino shrugged and pursed her lips. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and looked Sasuke up and down. “I just want Sakura to finally go out and date someone and Karin got it in her head that better you than some random fuckboy we don’t really know.”

“Sakura doesn’t need your help to find a date.” Sasuke matched her pose and crossed his arms in front of his chest, glaring down his nose at her. “You’re just being nosy.”

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Ino narrowed her eyes at him, jaw jutting out and nostrils flaring. “You don’t know Sakura like I do. Because of your little disappearing act you can’t claim to know her best anymore.”

Sasuke refused to let the guilt show on his face. He knew that in order to protect his own feelings he had hurt Sakura, but that wasn’t anyone’s business but his and Sakura’s so Ino needed to back off.

“Despite that, Karin and I have decided that if it had to be anyone,” Ino waved a hand, gesturing to all of him, “you were the best candidate. So just go with it, ‘cause I know that’s what you want.”

Sasuke shrugged and averted his gaze back to the wall of shoes. “I was just hungry.”

“Well, now you’re stuck with us.” Sakura clasped her hands behind her back and nudged him with her shoulder. It was a light, good humored tap and she smiled that same soft smile that made his chest ache.

“You think we could ditch her?” Sasuke nudged her back.

“What? You want to have dinner with just me?” Sakura fluttered her eyelashes at him in mock flirtation.


“That’s mean, Sasuke sweetie.”

The two of them whipped their heads around. Ino stood behind them, tapping a foot, a small pink shopping bag in hand.

“I hate when she calls me that,” Sasuke muttered.

“You’re ridiculously easy to shop for.” Ino ignored him and with a lazy swing of the bag she handed it off to Sakura. “They’re always stocked in your sizes, you lucky bitch.”

“Please tell me you didn’t buy my something skanky and expensive.”

“Expensive? No, there’s a bunch of sales ‘cause Valentine’s Day is approaching.” Sasuke chose to ignore the way she eyed him at the mention of the upcoming holiday. “Skanky? Please, I’m classier than that, I got you something tasteful. Don’t worry, I know you hate thongs.”

Sakura peeked into the bag and then stashed it into her backpack before Sasuke could see what it was. Whatever it was, it had her cheeks burning a hot shade of pink.

“Can we go eat?” She squeaked, pulling her hood over her head.

“Yeah, sure.” Ino turned to Sasuke and asked him, “Where are we going?”

 Ino wanted Korean barbecue but Sasuke vetoed the suggestion—complaint—and he led them to a spot he liked for hot pot. Ino had looked to Sakura for help but she gave her a sheepish grin and followed after Sasuke. It was cold and Sakura wanted hot pot.

“At least Karin’s not with us,” Sasuke muttered, taking his coat off once they were seated. “She eats as much as Choji.”

“I have to carry snacks with me so she won’t complain about being hungry in the middle of our lectures.” Sakura rolled her eyes and grabbed the menu.

“I should start doing that too. She kept whining in the computer lab and almost got us kicked out.”

“Can we not order it super spicy,” Sakura pleaded. “I’ll die.”

“We’ll get it medium heat, not mild.”

“Is no one going to ask about my preferences?” Ino scoffed, acting affronted.

“We’ll get lots of meat for you, Pig.” Sakura stuck her tongue out at Ino who was seated directly across from her.

The seating arrangements were odd. Ino had practically pushed Sasuke down into the seat next to Sakura after she chose her own seat.

While Sasuke talked to the waiter, Ino kept making faces at her. She raised her eyebrows suggestively and kept nodding her head in Sasuke’s direction. Sakura kicked her under the table.

“Ow! You bitch,” Ino hissed, bending down to rub her shin.

“Stop being weird!” Sakura hissed back under her breath.

“Who’s being weird?” Sasuke asked after the waiter walked away.

“Naruto,” Ino answered immediately. “Kiba says he’s been moping about for a month now.”

Ino was the only person Sakura knew that was best friends with their ex. It was the most amicable break up she had ever witnessed.

“He was dumped, Ino,” Sakura defended him. She knew Sasuke wouldn’t especially from the insult he muttered under his breath.

“He deserved to be dumped.” Ino took a prim sip of her tea. “He was being selfish and only wanted the open relationship to be open for him. Gaara did the right thing and I have never seen him happier. Look at this pic Temari sent me. Lee is so good for him.”

Ino slid her phone across the table. Gaara and Lee were in matching Suna State t-shirts at a basketball game for their university. Gaara even had some face paint on and was smiling, a rare occurrence when he was in crowds.

“Aww,” Sakura squealed. “Well, we always knew Lee was a good boyfriend. He and Neji just weren’t going to last past high school.”

“Doesn’t help that he cheated on him with Naruto at that party,” Sasuke muttered. “He was drunk, but still.”

“God, our friends are so messy.” Ino rubbed her temple with the heel of her palm. “Did anyone that dated in high school stay together?”

“Shikamaru and Temari,” Sakura supplied. “Though, if it weren’t for Temari I think Shikamaru would have been single for the rest of his life.”

“Thank you, Temari,” Ino raised her glass of tea, “for making the ultimate sacrifice and dating the guy voted least likely to get a girlfriend by everyone in our year.”

“How did Shikamaru earn that and not Lee?” Sasuke’s brows furrowed in confusion. “What vote?”

“As confused as the boy was when he was chasing Sakura around, he was at least sweet and girls love romantic guys.” Ino scooted back to make room for the meat and vegetables the server was placing on their table. “I love him, he’s one of my best friends, but Shikamaru isn’t exactly boyfriend material. I’m pretty sure if it weren’t Temari he was dating, it would have never lasted.”

“The girls in our graduating class made a couple of lists during junior year,” Sakura answered Sasuke’s second question as she peeled the wrapper of her straw. “It was so childish, but they divided the guys up by who was dateable, who was bangable, and who was neither. Shikamaru got the most votes for neither.”

“Choji got most dateable, I’m so proud.” Ino wiped a fake tear. “You got must fuckable of course, Sasuke.”

“I didn’t need to know that.” Sasuke scrunched up his face in disgust.

“As if you guys didn’t have your own list,” Ino snapped at him over the bubbling pot. “Kiba tells me everything.”

“Yeah, you guys are the weirdest exes by the way.”

“I don’t care, I’m still pissed off that I ended up as second for most fuckable and in sixth for most dateable. I’m a fucking prize, thanks.”

“Who was first for both?”

“You don’t need to know,” Ino and Sasuke answered in sync. They stared at each other in shock until Sasuke averted his gaze.

“Trust me, hon,” Ino patted Sakura on the arm, “it’s best that you don’t know.”

“You just gave away the answer, and eww.” Sakura shivered. “You would think not dating and making a point not to date would have made me the least sexualized person.”

“And yet, it made you even more popular.” Ino pursed her lips, clearly still feeling bitter about the whole thing. She rolled her eyes and and tied her hair up in a ponytail to get it out of the way. “I’m kidding. You’re smart and nice and hot. You were just so oblivious to it in high school. Still are.”

“I’m not oblivious.” Sakura frowned, feeling a little insulted. “I’m just busy. And I’m, well, you know…the other problem.”

“It’s not a problem,” Ino snapped, nostrils flaring. “Stop saying that about yourself.”

Sakura sank into her seat. It was always the same whenever the issue of her sexuality was brought up. Ino always got defensive—a side effect of being bisexual and also suffering from people pretending her sexuality wasn’t real. She had trusted Ino with that information but now it seemed that Ino was about to expose it in front of Sasuke and that would make things awkward and confusing considering what they had been up to for the past month.

“There’s nothing wrong with being asexual.”

After Ino had dropped a bombshell of a revelation, dinner was the last thing Sasuke wanted. She then made it even more awkward when her boyfriend showed up and the four of them went their separate ways.

The ride back to campus was done in relative silence. He and Sakura sat together awkwardly, both avoiding speaking.

The whole bus ride back he went over his relationship with Sakura and everything they had done since winter break. Did he cross a line he shouldn’t have? Did he make her uncomfortable in anyway? Was she forcing herself to continue their physical relationship? She seemed enthusiastic most of the time, but maybe he was seeing what he wanted to see.

They were halfway up the hill to the dormitories when Sakura finally spoke up.

“Are we going to talk about what Ino said?”

No. “Yeah.”

Sasuke turned around so that he was facing her. She looked smaller than she normally did and the incline wasn’t helping. He walked back down the hill until they were more level to each other.

“Why do you let me—why are we—“ Sasuke covered his mouth a hand and inhaled deeply through his nose. He closed his eyes and then exhaled. “Just…why?”

“Because I want to.” Sakura spoke clearly, determined eyes boring into his, insisting that he believe her. “Besides Ino was only partially right. I’m demisexual. And asexual people can want sex.”

Sasuke sighed, cupping his neck with both hands. He rolled his neck and thought over what Sakura had just said. He knew she wasn’t lying, she sucked at lying. It wouldn’t do any good to fight with her about it.

“I was going to go back home for the weekend tomorrow, but I think I’m just going to head out now. Did you wanna go home?”

Sakura nodded her head and shoved her hands into her coat pockets. “I just need to grab some stuff and my laundry. Meet you in front of Hiruzen Hall?”

“Yeah. I gotta grab some stuff too. I’ll pick you up in like forty minutes.”

Sakura only fell asleep when Sasuke was the one driving. With everyone else, she was always on edge, wary of every little choice the driver made. But not with Sasuke.

With Sasuke behind the wheel, it was so easy to curl up in the front seat and just doze off or watch the trees blur as he sped down the highway. She felt safe.

She always felt safe with Sasuke. And at home. Sakura could sit in his car, the heater turned on high, and ride for hours if Sasuke was the one driving. Just to wander aimlessly without a destination.

“It’s snowing,” she said softly, dragging her finger down the cold window, chasing the fat flakes as they fell.

“It’s a good thing we’re home. Wouldn’t want to drive when it gets worse.”

Sasuke pulled up in front of their houses and parked on the street. He turned the heat off and then the lights before turning the car off and returning the heat settings back for the next time he started his car.

“They’re probably asleep and the chain’s probably up.” Sakura bit her lower lip. “You know them. Early to bed, early to rise.”

While she had texted Karin and Ino to let them know she went home for the weekend, she hadn’t bothered to call her parents, knowing they would stay up to greet her despite needing to wake up before the sun.

“You can stay at my place. My parents are probably asleep too, but it’s not like it’s the first time you would be staying the night. Come on.”

Sakura grabbed her backpack, not wanting to leave her laptop in Sasuke’s car and out in the cold. They moved in silence, carefully unlocking the door and disabling the alarm, they tiptoed up the steps. Sasuke paused in front of his bedroom door and looked back at her. There was a guest room and Itachi’s old bedroom; there was no need for her to stay with him in his room.

No need, but Sakura didn’t want to sleep anywhere else. It must have shown on her face because without a word, Sasuke led her into his bedroom. Sakura grabbed her stuff and headed to the hallway bathroom to get ready for bed.

She took her time brushing her teeth and washing her face. She massaged her night cream into her skin in small circles, dragging out her night routine for as long as possible.

In her fantasies of Sasuke, he was always rough with her and they never looked at each other. He would take her from behind so she wouldn’t have to see his face, but most importantly he wouldn’t see hers. He wouldn’t see the longing.

Reality was so much different. Even when he was pounding her into his mattress, Sasuke treated her with care. And that care scared her. Sakura didn’t want to get comfortable, so used to his gentle ways, only for it all to be taken away.

Sakura closed Sasuke’s bedroom door behind her, making sure to lock it.

Sasuke was already in his bed, turned to the door. He lifted the comforter up, inviting her to join him.

She climbed into bed and he pulled her closer, enveloping her in his warmth. The blankets had trapped his body heat and they smelled like fabric softener. Sakura assumed Mikoto had washed the sheets and comforter earlier, knowing Sasuke would be coming back on the weekend.

Sasuke’s arm wrapped around her waist and he tucked his leg between her thighs as she hitched her leg over his. Sighing, Sakura tucked her head under his chin.

“You’re not going to be weird now are you?” Sakura murmured, adjusting her body so she was curled against him in a more comfortable position. Sasuke ran his hand up and down her back soothingly.

“Can’t say I won’t be thinking about it.”

“Oh,” Was all she could say. She couldn’t blame him for that. It was one of the reasons she never wanted him to find out.

Sasuke could feel her withdrawing, pulling away from him, and tightened his hold on her. “That’s not saying that I want nothing to do with you anymore, Sakura.”

“Then what does that mean?”

“It means,” Sasuke moved his hand up to her hair and massaged soothing circles against her scalp, “I’ll be thinking about what you want. Wondering if what I do is okay.”

“It’s okay,” Sakura responded quickly. She didn’t want him to stop trying to touch her now that he knew. “You don’t have to change anything.”

She buried her face into his cotton t-shirt and gripped the back of his shirt tightly. It wasn’t as close as she wanted to be, but it helped her anchor herself, assure herself that he was still there and that she was still allowed in his bed, in his room, in his life.

“And you don’t have to just think. You can ask me and I’ll always answer honestly.”

“Okay then,” Sasuke pulled back so he could look Sakura in the eye, “what do you want?”

There were many things she wanted. She wanted more time, so she wasn’t always stressing over deadlines. She wanted Ino and Karin to just let her be, she knew what could make her happy. She didn’t need their interference.

Sakura wanted Sasuke. She had wanted him since she was twelve and that want had only grown stronger as the years went by. Even if she was only a friend—a neighbor that irritated him by always getting ahead of him in school. She wanted a piece of Sasuke that was just for her..

But mostly she wanted to be wanted in return.

In the dark of his bedroom, under the covers and smells of home, Sakura whispered, “You.”