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  Pink. Out of all the colours in his palette, pink was the colour that annoyed him the most. Sasori frowned as he dragged the brush across the plain canvas. Newly bought white bristle paint brushes laid neatly on the side, stained with shades of pink and green.

 i.

    The first time he saw her, she was carrying a large canvas to her art studio. Stumbling and shouting obscenities as she went. When she tripped and fell in an ungracious manner, Sasori offered his hand without thinking. "My name is Haruno Sakura." He flinched when he felt her small warm hands grab his.

Sasori felt the unfamiliar tingling sensation spreading in the pit of his stomach, he clicked his tongue at the cliche situation. He was dizzy and light-headed, hands beginning to drench in sweat. Sasori quickly released his hand and wiped it on his shirt. Sneering in disgust, he left. "Watch where you're going." The first time he saw Sakura, he ignored her.

 ii.

    She sat directly in front of him, uninvited. Much to his annoyance, he couldn't help but study her, it's not everyday that you have a girl with pink hair sitting in front of you.

   He observed the way her slender fingers wrapped around the handle of her mug, to the way she licked the crumbs of her broken croissant from the corner of her lips, his eyes watched the movement very carefully. Tracing the outlines of her lips, he wondered what those lips would taste like.

Sasori shoved the thought away and looked elsewhere. Disarrayed stands of pink fell apart from her messy updo, and his hand twitched with the urge to run his fingers through it. He wanted to preserve the unique beauty, he wanted to paint her, not make her into a puppet, what sick psycho does that? Sasori wanted her. The second time he saw Sakura, he tried to ignore her.

 iii.

    Despite the oversized baggy green sweater she was wearing beneath her shorts, Sasori could see the way her hips curved and swayed as she moved around the studio. Clumsy movements and dainty feet gliding across the floor as she hummed to an unfamiliar tune. She turned around and smiled at him, revealing pearly white teeth. Sasori frowned, brows furrowed.

He stiffened when he felt her kiss the area between his eyebrows, smoothing away the wrinkled skin.

"Frowning can cause wrinkles," she said.

Sakura sat beside him and pulled her knees to her chest. The large sweater poorly concealed her smooth, creamy thighs. She didn't seem to notice. The third time Sasori met Sakura, it was getting harder to ignore her.

iv.

    When Sakura stretched, her shirt would rise up and Sasori would catch a glimpse of her skin. He imagined drawing the individual toned muscles, sketching and shading the details of her anatomy.

Small droplets of sweat beads formed at her nape and clung to her collarbones. It dripped and trickled down her back and chest, falling between the small valleys of her breast. Sasori wanted to tear away the loose fabric and taste the salty sweat, licking and kissing every inch of her skin until he memorized every part of her body.

Oblivious, Sakura threw her running shoes to the corner of the room and chugged her water.

The fourth time he saw her, Sasori secretly appreciated her firm ass from afar.

 v.

     "Oy, Danna you've been eye fucking her for the past thirty minutes. You like her, yeah?" Sasori scowled and turned his direction elsewhere. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he mumbled. Deidara threw his arm around him, arms loose and wrapped around the red head's shoulder and said, "Who's the lucky girl?"

Cerulean eyes scanned the room. At the sight of her sitting at the far end corner of the room, he let out a whistle and sent his partner a grin.

Sasori ignored the blond returned to his sketches, though his eyes would drift to her figure every once in a while. She had let her hair down today. Carefully brushed pink locks that framed her face and always ended up tucked behind her ear whenever it got in the way of her vision. Sakura wore a dress, which was unusually since Sasori was accustomed to seeing her in only thick sweaters and athletic tights.

She wore a white dress with floral patterns that clung tightly to her chest while flaring out at the dip of her hip and reached to her mid thigh. On top of that she wore a navy blue cardigan with golden buttons. He wasn't complaining, he hummed in appreciation at her toned calves that peeked beneath the hem of her dress.

"She's got a nice ass, yeah." Sasori glowered at the blond. To his horror, Sakura had approached him and greeted Deidara. Sasori clenched his fist and refused to acknowledge her presence. He continued scribbling angrily in his sketch book.

Deidara had managed to charm the rosette with a joke, however that quickly changed when he was snaking his hand up her skirt, skimming the surface of her skin with calloused fingers.

Sasori felt the pencil snap to pieces beneath his grip, splinters punctured through his skin. He was livid and far too angry to notice the pain or the blood dripping down his fingers.

Sakura smiled at Deidara and slapped his hand away. She sent an uppercut his way and turned to leave.

"Please refrain from touching me," she said in a gentle voice.

 A sly smile tugged at the corners of Sasori's lips. The fifth time he saw Sakura, Sasori was captivated.

 vi.

    The sixth time he saw her, she was wearing a white gown.

An oxygen mask pressed against her face, the heart monitor beeping weakly. Sasori threw the door open, ignoring the nurse that tried to usher him out of the room. His steps were slow and heavy. He wanted to touch her, to reach out and feel the warmth of her skin.

He called out her name, hoping that she would smile and respond the way she usually did. Silence. He was afraid. Scared and terrified that he would never be able to see her green eyes that was filled with intelligence and wild fire.

Bruises, black and blue marred her cheeks. Lacerations and cuts littered her arms while bright angry looking wounds wrapped around smooth skin.

Sasori's hand was shaking as he grabbed her hand, he only squeezed tighter when he saw the stitches along her arms.

The doctor had explained that Sakura was hit by a drunk driver on her way to the bus stop. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she was nearly approaching death, barely clinging onto life. The notion of losing Sakura tore him apart. He couldn't lose her.

 vii.

     During his seventh encounter, she sat in front of him. This time he didn't feel irritated, instead he watched as she stared at the ground. Her emerald eyes, glassy and lost in thought.

Sakura recovered from the accident, but the damage was already done. White bandages wrapped tightly around her arms, Sasori knew that beneath them were the rough rugged scars that the wounds left behind.

"Thank you." She whispered.

Sasori's head snapped back up, "For what?" Sakura's voice trembled, she swallowed thickly before replying. "For being there."

He placed his pencil down, gently putting it aside. "Are you worried about what the doctor said?" She flinched.

"What if I can never paint again?" Sasori got up and moved quicker than he had ever done in his life, he wrapped his arms around her fragile body and awkwardly patted her head. "I-I don't understand... how can I..." She said, voice barely audible.

Sakura couldn't stop the tears from soaking the fabric of his shirt. He held her tighter. Her sobs echoed within the empty studio, drowning the silence with her cries.

"You will paint." Sasori was never the sentimental type, but he'd watched enough soap operas to know that this situation called for sentimental words and awkward pats, which he continued doing because Sasori didn't know how to comfort people. Especially a sobbing mop of pink that was soaking his shirt with tears, and you know snot.

"You will always paint for as long as you live. When you recover you are going to paint on a giant canvas, you are going to be covered in the mess that you'll make and you will be traipsing down the gallery where your art will be featured." He whispered to her. 

viii.

    Sasori paused to unlock his door and shoved it open, before returning to her lips. He hungrily devoured them with greed, he laughed internally at the hypocritical mess he was in. He made fun of Deidara for being a whore and yet here he was sucking the face of Sakura Haruno. 

She pressed her soft lips against his, returning the gesture. He slammed the door closed with the tip of his foot and shrugged off his jacket.

Sakura let out a groan when he lifted her against the wall, she wrapped her legs around his waist, gripping them tightly. He recklessly tore off her thin white shirt, pausing only to take his off as well. 

She covered her arms, failing to hide the thin white scars on her arms. Sakura felt ugly. Sasori gently moved her hands away and kissed the scars, each and every one of them. "Don't ever hide these things from me," he murmured.

He carried her towards his bedroom and roughly hurled her small body on the bed, slamming it against the mattress and grinding against her because he was not a patient person. Sakura gripped the silky sheets, her back arched when his hands wandered to her chest. The eighth time he was with her, Sasori found out that he wasn't so asexual after all.

 ix.

    Sasori brought the mug closer to his lips, sipping the hot liquid too quickly that it nearly burned his tongue. Sakura was standing in his kitchen making pancakes on his stove. She was wearing a thick lavender sweater with his jogging pants on, it was rolled up three times and yet it still hung loosely on her hip.

Her hair was all tangled and it stuck out in odd places, it was frizzy and it looked like an untamed pink mop on her head. Sasori adored her even more.

"I hope you like raspberry pancakes, we ran out of chocolate," Sakura sulked as she placed the plates down.

"It's fine." He bent over and pressed his lips against hers, it tasted of syrup.

Sakura hummed in response. When he pulled away she pouted. "You had some syrup on your lips," he answered seriously. She threw her head back and laughed, "You could have told me!"

He shrugged. "I could have." Sakura walked over and sat on his lap, slim fingers cupped his face. "You don't have to make excuses to kiss me, you know." She traced his jawline, the curve of his nose bridge and over his lips.

Sasori rested his hands on her waist, drawing lazy circles. He slipped his hands up her shirt.

"Your hands are cold!" she gasped.

He leaned his head forward, resting on the side of her neck. Sakura petted his head, running her fingers through the soft mass of red.

"Technically it's a safe day today."

The ninth time he saw her, Sasori wanted to take her on his own dinning table, but he didn't want to risk ruining the pancakes that Sakura had prepared for the both of them.

x.

    Sasori woke up to the soft pitter-patter of rain beating against the window. The room was cold, he was used to that. His side was warm, he was not used to that. He felt his arm wrapped around the waist of an unfamiliar, yet familiar figure.

Sakura. He was lying in bed with Sakura. It was strange yet it felt so right. He played with a strand of her hair, rolling it between his thumb and index finger. Sasori suppressed a smile when he noticed dried paint matted in her tresses. Cobalt, sapphire, azure. Various shades of blue mixed in with the pink. He imaged the results, creating shades of violets and lavender. His hand slid up and cupped her cheek gently.

Pale pink lashes fluttered against the cheekbones, revealing green eyes. If there was something that Sasori would never grow tired of seeing, they were her eyes. They were green, the sort of green that resembled the beginning of spring; filled with life and the rich emerald that decorated Mother Nature's cloak.

"Why are you staring so intensely?" she inquired quietly.

"Go back to sleep," he answered.

Instead of resting his fingers on the curve of her waist, he chose to lay it over he hand. Sakura cared about her hands, she always carried two packs of lotion and  her nails were always neatly filed. An artist's hands are important, she once told him. Despite that, Sakura was an artist and her hands were bound to get dirty. There was dried cracked paint, dirt and grim beneath her nails and he knew she would spend hours in the bath washing it off later.

Sasori traced the outline of her fingers, from the side of her digits and all the way to her knuckles. He stopped at her ring finger, directly over her wedding band. It was golden and had a simple elegant design adorned with miniature specks of diamonds. 

The ring once belonged to his deceased grandmother who gave it to him before she passed.

The tenth time, Sasori never thought he would ever find use for the ring, until now, until her. Now it wrapped around Sakura's finger like it was meant to be there.

 xi.

     Sakura entered the studio and approached the figure from behind. She carefully wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him tight.

"What are you painting?"

When she glanced up, her breath hitched. He had painted a portrait of cherry blossoms. "It's you."

Sakura laughed, her eyes watery. "You're saying I'm a tree?"

"Well it is a sakura tree."

He watched her, observing her reactions. Sasori was a man who found love to be unnecessary and complicated. Love clouded his judgment and influenced him to make reckless mistakes. Love was a sign of weakness. Love was ugly, but she certainly was not.

Sasori felt his chest collapse as his heart thumped wildly. It was painful.

"Just this once..." He thought to himself. 

He turned around and dragged her onto his lap. Gentle fingers lifted the pink hair and parted it onto the side, exposing her pale neck. Sakura was angling her neck to give him better access because she trusted him. Sasori pressed his lips against the warm surface of her skin. He inhaled her scent and indulged in the fact that she had a mixture of both their scents. Sakura was intoxicating, Sasori wasn't sure whether or not that was a good thing or a bad thing, or neither. He knew that just this once he would allow himself to love, because she was an exception, one that he was willing to make.

"I love you, too."