Title: Skinny Jeans and Coffee Beans
Pairing: SasuSaku
Summary: AU. It's a coffee-colored Christmas.
Chapter 1: Christmas
Naruto, not mine since 1999.
Note: Hopefully this is the beginning of a multi-chapter fic exploring SS's relationship through holidays. I am in love with this brainchild, even if no one else is. :B

Christmas Day is the worst day of the year. Haruno Sakura kicks at a piece of trash on the street and curses as it scuffs the white rubber of her brand new Chucks. Just another reason for her to hate this stupid holiday. As she stuffs her hands in her pockets and continues down the empty street, she mentally rehashes all of the reasons in a purely masochistic exercise.

Sakura lives in Upper Konoha, the rich district of Konohagakure. Her parents like perfect appearances and perfect parties and a perfect daughter. Sakura is definitely not the latter and hates the other two with a burning passion. She refuses to wear the hideous and restrictive clothing that young ladies of the upper echelon typically wear, opting instead for worn skinny jeans and various grunge band tops. Since it's cold and the neighborhood is buried in snow, a hot pink hoodie and black denim jacket complete her rebellion.

As she wanders down the empty street, road salted so that it's ice-and-snow-free, Sakura is almost grateful for the holiday. Every year in December her parents leave on a month-long cruise in the tropics, leaving her to fend for herself. Sakura is both relieved by the solitude and resentful because her parents have no interest in spending Christmas as a family.

To make it worse, her friends are all off on holiday as well. Ino and Temari are off visiting Temari's family in Suna, Hinata and her family are at their chateau in Kumo, and that means that Tenten is also gone because she's dating Hinata's cousin.

So here she is alone on Christmas day, a solitary figure bracing against the chill as she approaches Upper K's shopping district. Most of the stores are closed for the holiday, but Starstruck, Konoha's premier coffee chain and Sakura's favorite, remains open. The red and green flashing lights in the window are the beacon for her dragging feet, and five minutes later the bell above the door tinkles as she makes her entrance.

Unsurprisingly, the cafe is deserted. Craning her neck, Sakura looks around behind the bar, but there's no sign of the barista. Sighing in irritation, she jams her earbuds into her ears and aggressively cranks up the volume of her mp3 player. Wandering over to the counter, she absentmindedly glances through the pastries. Her fingers drum against the glass of the display case as she eyes a particularly tasty-looking danish.

Lost in thought, Sakura is startled as someone taps her on the back of the shoulder. Reacting on instinct, she throws her elbow back into her "attacker's" face. But she's apparently significantly shorter than her attacker, because rather than jabbing him in the face, she's knocked his arm into the air. Hot coffee rains down around them, soaking their hair and clothes and drenching Sakura's ipod.

Sakura screeches as the scalding liquid sears her skin. Frantically, she tries rub her mp3 player dry, but it's no use. Her sleeves are wet through-and-through, and the electronic device has already shorted out. Through dripping bangs, she turns to the jerk who spilled the coffee (as if this holiday didn't suck enough already) to give him a piece of her fuming mind. Apparently he has the same idea, because his dark eyes are narrowed in a mirror of her expression.

But something in Sakura's brain short circuits before she can let him have it. She tells herself that it's definitely not because of the way his limp jet bangs fall in his eyes, or the way his perfect mouth looks made for kissing. He's lean, with just enough muscle to send her hormones into overdrive. Not only that, but he's tall, towering over her short frame, and she may very well develop a crick in her neck because she might just stand her looking up at him forever.

"Do you always attack people who are trying to take your order?" His face is set in a grimmace as he inspects the damage to his clothes. With a jolt, Sakura finally realizes that he's the barista. He's definitely not from Upper K, that much is obvious. His navy (or what was once navy, but is now stained with coffee) shirt is faded and his jeans are torn, not artfully, but from wear. The Vans on his feet have obviously seen years of use.

Gathering her long-gone dignity, Sakura finally manages to say something. "Well, you shouldn't have surprised me."

He rolls his eyes pointedly at her. "Oh I'm sorry, was I supposed to wait until your song was finished?" he retorts dryly. She glares at him again.

"It's not like you've got anything better to do anyway!" she waves at the empty store around them.

His thin lips tighten in agitation. "Yeah, the guy behind the counter doesn't look busy, let's dump coffee all over him. Jesus, you people are all the same." Angrily, he moves to the supply closet to pull out the mop.

Sakura is frozen in place, mouth agape. "Excuse me? What do you mean by you people? I'm not one of those snotty rich kids who lives off of ventes and treats people like shit!"

He glances at her up and down, and his next words are flat. "Could have fooled me. You may dress like a punk, but you're still carrying around daddy's credit card." Sakura splutters, but he cuts her off. "First of all, that music player of yours costs more than my bike. Second, only rich little shits like you wear brand new Chucks like it's something to be proud of. Third, you're the one who freaked out and threw coffee everywhere."

Sakura flushes with angry embarrasment. The worst part is that he's right and there's nothing she can say that won't make her look worse, so she stomps over to where he's standing and yanks the mop from his hand. He watches her in amusement as she jerkily shrugs out of her wet jacket and hoodie and throws them onto a table. Mop in hand, she attacks the floor with all her self-loathing.

After a few minutes of this, the barista finally sighs and gently pries the mop from her hands. Her face is still red, and her scowl could scare small children. She turns away and folds her arms tightly across her chest as he finishes cleaning up. After he finishes putting the mop and bucket away, he plucks the danish she'd been eyeing from behind the counter.

She eyes him apprehensively as he hands it to her. "What's this for?"

He shrugs. "For trying."

Still suspicious, she breaks it in two and hands him half.

"What's this for?" He raises an eyebrow as he takes a bite.

She shrugs. "For not being a complete jerk."

He smirks at her, and finally the corners of her mouth release their scowl. "So how come you were carrying around coffee in the first place..." she squints at his name tag "Sasuke?"

Sasuke swallows his last bite of danish. "I was on break when you came in. Guess that means you owe me a coffee now." His smirk widens.

"Smooth." Sakura rolls her eyes and turns away to watch the snow fall outside the window. She absentmindedly responds to the question of how she likes her coffee as she contemplates this Christmas compared to others. Getting a coffee shower isn't really worse than staying home alone in her parents' giant house, with no one but the walls to talk to. And maybe she needs that shakedown of how the world really sees her.

A small smile curls her lips as they take a table next to the window. He leans back in his chair and they watch the snow fall together. He's not a talker and she's an internal mess, and that seems to suit them just fine in the silence. Occasionally his eyes will flicker to hers, and she will watch him over the rim of her coffee mug.

"So what's your name?" He flicks the question across the table, curious disguised as casual.

At the sound of "Sakura," his eyes are drawn to her damp pink hair like a lodestone.

"That explains a lot."

"It doesn't explain anything," she retorts, lightly stirring her coffee.

He leans back in his chair, arms crossed. "And I'm supposed to believe that you, in your rebellious desire to reject everything about your rich kid world, didn't dye your hair to match your name?"

Setting her mug down, she looks at him cooly. "It's natural."

He lets out a bark of laughter. "Sure it is."

Jade eyes narrow. "I swear, if you make one comment about whether the curtain matches the drapes-"

Sasuke makes a face. "Yeah, no thanks. I don't want to know."

They fall back into silence, accompanied by the sound of a falsetto voice singing a popular Christmas song over the loudspeakers. But Sakura is not content with silence when that's the only thing she has to look forward to later.

"So," she starts slowly, "what are you doing for Christmas? Besides working, I mean."

He eyes her warily before answering. "Nothing. Just dinner with my brother. What about you?"

She shrugs. "Leftover pizza and reruns on tv."

Sasuke stares at her as he gathers their empty mugs. "That sounds incredibly depressing. And I don't even do anything for Christmas. Aren't you rich?"

Sakura scoffs. "Yeah, so? Maybe if I weren't rich my parents would be home. Or maybe I'd have different friends who don't take exotic holiday vacations."

The mugs are discarded and Sasuke ambles back to the table. "You sound bitter. What's stopping you from-"

"Don't move!" Sakura jumps up from her seat and approaches him slowly.

His eyes widen in alarm as she nervously moves closer. "What is it?"

She glances upward and he does the same. He lowers his gaze to meet hers, scowling. "Why would you tell me not to move? That's the kind of thing I want to move out of."

Sakura wets her lips nonchalantly. "Because it's Christmas, and it's not like anything more interesting is going to happen anyway."

Sasuke sighs. "This is the worst, most useless Christmas tradition, you know that right?"

She doesn't answer, waiting for him to move in or move away. The mistletoe over their heads hovers expectantly. And maybe because she's right and nothing more interesting will happen, or because there's something tempting about kissing a rebellious rich girl, or possibly because she's pretty even covered in coffee and he likes the fire in her, Sasuke kisses her.

He tastes like coffee and cherry danish, and Sakura is sure this is the tallest guy she's ever kissed as she balances on her tiptoes. Her fingers catch on his forearms, and what might have been an innocent Christmas kiss is lost as his thumb presses against the back of her neck, tilting her head back so that he can deepen whatever kind of kiss this is.

And as she leaves later with a new number in her phone, Sakura decides that Christmas still sucks, but she may be visiting this coffee shop a lot more often.