SS Month Countdown: Day 18

Prompt: Speechless

Inspiration: Sakura's necklace in The Last movie.

Scenario: In which a displeased Sasuke notices the increasing admiring glances Sakura is receiving from the young men of Konoha each time he returns from his travels. And he finally decides to do something about it.

This was posted on my tumblr account earlier.


By AngeLhearteD

He hadn't intentionally planned it, really.

It was more accurately the case that the strange idea had suddenly yet resolutely struck him - and cemented with near-alarming certainty - on an uncharacteristic impulse.

It had happened after he had suffered watching yet another blushing, blundering buffoon trip up over nervous feet and stutter through a tied tongue, whilst unsteady arms had offered an extravagant bouquet of purple flowers to her. Gratitude for her healing services, the faceless, upstart shinobi - one completely unknown to him up until that moment - had insisted bashfully.

But Uchiha Sasuke's eyes – a startling, deadly combination of both sharingan and rinnegan – were capable of unearthing the truth behind every motive. There was nothing that could be concealed from his frighteningly perceptive, hawk-like gaze.

And he had immediately known, as he'd stood at a seemingly nonchalant distance with clenched fists stuffed inside pockets; waiting - quite impatiently - for her to stop paying attention to a stranger; he'd known, as he had witheringly watched the near insulting, comical charade of a scene unfolding before him, that he'd had quite enough of briefly returning home from his roaming travels, only to notice just how many appreciative glances her fully-matured, feminine form attracted.

Plagued with constant, unwanted female attention from a disturbingly young age had taught Sasuke long ago to quickly identify flirtatious passes when he saw them. He'd travelled enough over the course of two years to inadvertently witness a surprisingly wide variety of romancing strategies in the bustling streets of the countless villages he had wandered – most of which had been cringe-inducing and worthy of utter contempt. Nevertheless, it was painfully obvious when a desperate, lovelorn fool wished to woo a woman – even to a man as emotionally aloof as Sasuke.

Usually entirely disdainful towards and dismissive of such thoroughly superfluous matters, he found that he had become peculiarly and increasingly attuned to romantic advances when they came to concern a particular rose-haired kunoichi.

And each time he returned to Konoha, each time he drifted through its peaceful streets in contented silence by her side as she chattered animatedly away and filled him in on all the months that had passed since he'd last been home, he grew more and more aware of the looks. More and more irritated.

More and more murderous, in the surreptitious glares he hurtled about like sharp kunai, at any roving, intruding eyes that happened to admire Sakura whenever she walked in his presence. Dagger-loaded, positively lethal glowers that clearly commanded everyone and anyone to back the hell off and scurry away to safety while they still had the chance.

Most perplexingly – and perhaps unsettling – of all was how often Sasuke had begun to think of her while he was away. How he found himself wondering, mostly to a starry night sky, how many young men were likely making disgusting attempts at sweeping Haruno Sakura off her feet in his absence – and how there was nothing he could do to deter them from his distance.

That terrible, sickening thought had troubled him for several months, a mystifying burden on his shoulders. He hadn't known why he'd found it so infuriating, why his brain had been unable to process it and accept it. And when he'd returned this time, and seen precisely what had been weighing on his mind so heavily occurring multiple times almost daily, something had finally snapped inside him.

And like the dutiful, protective team-mate he was, he'd told himself that he had to do something about it. For Sakura's sake, at least. To save her the uncomfortable smiles and awkward displays of false gratitude she was forced to bear while receiving the unwanted, amorous attentions of men that Sasuke knew for a fact she would never entertain romantically.

However, a vexing part of him still whispered he had no right to act in such a manner. He went travelling for months on end after all, leaving her, the world's biggest goofball Naruto, and his former-sensei-turned-Hokage Kakashi, far behind. He knew he was missing out on chunks of her life – of all their lives – as he chose to wander in solitude, in search of all the great mysteries the world had to offer. He'd made it clear from the outset that he'd wanted his own time and space. And they had patiently given it to him, knowing that Sasuke still needed to find himself – keeping faith that someday, he would be ready to return to them.

The reality was that Sakura was free to smile and get to know whoever she wanted. He hadn't promised her anything, after all.

But then Sasuke would remember - with a stabbing twinge of regret at the actions he had taken at the time - her last love confession, two years prior – and just like the first when they'd been twelve, he hadn't ever been able to banish it from his mind.

He recalled the welcome feel of her soft warmth and sweet scent whenever he prowled, completely unannounced, through Konoha's front gates and she joyously threw herself at him (the Dead Last moron would then usually ruin the pleasant reception by jumping riotously on top of them both). Sasuke would scowl and scoff, of course, brushing off their public displays of affection, pretending he hated their incessant, adoring fussing. Inside, however, he secretly relished it.

He had never returned Sakura's hugs, always choosing, instead, to let her hang on for as long as she pleased – but he had certainly felt it. Her heart drumming against him as she'd stood on tip-toe, embracing him tightly.

He'd seen it – the charming blushes that stained her cheeks whenever she looked up to find his gaze on her, her pupils fully dilated, open to him.

The girlish smiles. How her famed, fearsome temper would all but fizzle out in his presence. How her eyes would slink almost guiltily his way, whenever she had to reject an unexpected suitor who happened upon them when they strolled about town together.

All the little signs that whispered she still loved him. Faithfully. Entirely. Unwaveringly.

And so he told the unpleasant voice of doubt nagging in his head, to shut the hell up, because he wasn't prepared to share those special affections – the dear place he knew he still occupied in her heart - with anyone else. He had already decided that much – though he still had no clear plan in place beyond it.

Sasuke had endured all these ridiculous passes in silence for long enough, borne them with extraordinary patience, he reasoned to himself for the hundredth time, as his feet carried him to the store of the finest jewellery crafter in Konoha.

The bell on the door rang as Sasuke entered, signalling his arrival. The bespectacled crafter, a thin, artistic-looking old man clad in plain brown clothes and a patterned apron, had thinning grey hair and bright blue eyes unworn by the ravages of age. He smiled knowingly at the sight of Sasuke. Just as promised when commissioning the piece three days prior, the tall shinobi had punctually arrived as soon as the shop had opened for business on that bright, sunny spring morning.

The eye-wateringly generous stash of money Sasuke had far too casually slapped down upon the counter had instantly informed the crafter that his request was of utmost priority – and he needed it complete before he departed Konoha next.

Just before Sakura's nineteenth birthday tomorrow.

"Ah, Uchiha-san!" The old man greeted politely. "Good morning to you, sir! How are you on this fine day?"

Having never been one for small talk, Sasuke grunted, and got straight to the point.

"Hn. Is it ready?"

"Why, of course, as requested. One moment, please!" The shop-keeper disappeared into his work station at the back of the store.

A brown-haired young boy seated on a high, wooden stool by the till – who Sasuke assumed was the man's grandson – stared openly at him with curious hazel eyes. The lad appeared to be no older than nine or ten at most.

"Your eyes are funny," he blurted out, in the forward, candid manner children were prone to doing.

Sasuke blinked, and fought against the overwhelming urge to smirk in a darkly intimidating way that he knew would send the child running for cover. Instead, he mercifully chose to spare the boy an early-morning fright and ignored the impolite remark, busying himself by disinterestedly eyeing the wealth of jewelled trinkets on display, before turning his attention back to the elderly man as he quickly returned with a rectangular, crimson velvet box in hand.

Placing it upon the glass counter, he unclipped the lid, revealing the item within. On his seat, the little boy edged nosily forward to sneak a cheeky peek.

Sasuke's gaze trailed over it in silent, appreciative satisfaction. The work was delicately carved and feminine, set in gleaming platinum. It glistened brightly, the beautiful central pendant cut of radiant diamond and deep garnet - a symbol of pride, honour, hope and strength.

It was perfect for Sakura. And it would certainly do its intended job.

"Does it please you, Uchiha-san?" The owner asked with baited breath. He knew from rumour that spread like wildfire about the village, that this noble and wealthy customer was not an easy one to please.

"Aa," Sasuke answered.

"Wonderful!" The old man smiled in delight. "Now I'll just get this polished up for you one last time…"

Sasuke waited patiently, checking the loudly ticking cuckoo clock on the wall. Her shift today, Naruto had informed him last night, began a little later, at eleven. He still had plenty of time to catch her before she departed.

"If it's not too bold of me to ask, might I enquire as to who the lucky recipient of such a fine necklace will be?" The old man attempted to make polite conversation, pushing his glasses further down the bridge of his nose as he worked.

"A lady," the child piped up helpfully. "It's for a lady, grandpa."

The elderly man chuckled. "Oh, of that much I am certain, my boy. I'm merely curious as to know which fortunate lady."

Sasuke said nothing, his silence clearly conveying he had no wish to discuss such private affairs. Besides, he reasoned, the entire village would know soon enough. There was nothing secretive about his choice of birthday gift, after all. In fact, it was quite the opposite – a statement piece of jewellery that spoke unmistakeable volumes.

Once the man had finished, he presented the box to Sasuke.

"Do I owe you anything else?" The last heir of the Uchiha Clan asked automatically.

"Oh, no, I'm afraid you gave me far too much, Uchiha-san," the old man shook his head. "Here is your receipt. I owe you a fair bit of money back, so please allow me to get-"

"Keep it," Sasuke clipped, pushing the receipt back towards the crafter, so that there was no possible way for him to change his mind at the last moment and return the necklace.

Before the old man could protest any further, Sasuke had slipped out of the store.

The jitter of nerves grew worse the closer he drew to Sakura's apartment. Sasuke was confounded by it, bothered by how uncharacteristically edgy he felt as he reached her front door, the velvet box stuffed inside the small item-pouch attached to the belt around his waist, concealed beneath his dark blue cloak.

This definitely wasn't like him. He didn't like the way his heart was starting to pound, how dry his throat suddenly seemed. He wasn't used to the feeling, was thoroughly put out by it.

And for the hundredth time, his mind threw all kinds of deafening doubts at him.

What if she doesn't like it?

What if she doesn't want it?

What if it's too much?

What if it isn't enough?

What if she's offended? After all, there's only one way to interpret this.

What if you're making a stupid mistake?

What were you even thinking, moron?

You've been away from the village all this time - and you think this is an appropriate gift?

What are you, stupid?

I can't believe you're actually considering giving this to her.

What the hell would Naruto say?

He'd never let you live it down, the idiot.

This is Sakura. You want to give this to Sakura.

The entire village would talk about it.

Is it even really worth all the hassle?

Are you sure about this?

Why don't you just turn around right now, and just forget all about it, just get her those sweets she likes, or even better, nothing-

Without warning, the front door flew open. Apple-green eyes blinked up at him in surprise. He stared back. Sakura was already dressed for her shift at the hospital.

"Oh! Sasuke-kun?" she greeted. "Good morning! I was just about to go grab some groceries. Can you believe I'm out of milk? How can I go to work without…?"

His ears tuned out the remainder of her words, for he had frozen at the sight of her, his mind running blank. She'd appeared before he'd had a chance to properly prepare himself. Her soft, dusky hair was brushed neatly, worn loose just above her shoulders, a long side-fringe tucked cutely behind her ear. She looked as fresh and pretty as the tree that shared her name-sake – not that he'd ever admit it.

Sasuke's heart was thundering. He half wanted to tear the treacherous organ out. It was clearly faulty, drumming so agitatedly for no reason whatsoever. This wasn't a perilous battle. He wasn't in any kind of danger.

A sudden rush of anxiety gripped him regardless.

What had he been thinking? They weren't- they weren't even involved in any way! It was preposterous, but he hadn't even considered that. He had only wanted to find a way to make all the other young men in Konoha back off; he'd just wanted to send out a clear warning message that he would always be watching over her, and nobody else - that she was not to be approached or harassed by anyone in his absence-

"…today, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura finished. When he remained frostily quiet, she lifted a hand to wave at him, puzzled by the fact that he hadn't even seemed to have listened to a single word she had uttered.

The unexpected sight of him, first thing in the morning, was a welcome one, but one that set her heart cantering. It wasn't like Sasuke to stop by so early. Had something happened?

"Sasuke-kun?" she repeated worriedly. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he practically snapped – with much more force than he had intended.

Even more confused by his seemingly sour mood - but somewhat accustomed to handling it - she shrugged, "Well, have you had any breakfast? Why don't you come inside for some tea? I've still got another hour before I have to head out; I'll just pick up the milk later."

He wordlessly accepted the invitation, even when he knew he was making an awful mistake. He was only getting himself into an even stickier mess, digging an even deeper hole for himself. The correct, sensible thing to do would have been to mutter something incoherent about Naruto being a loser, and then leave – even if that made no manner of sense whatsoever.

The velvet box seemed to burn in its leather pouch against his thigh. He was horribly conscious of it, as she led him to her tidy, airy living room and invited him to take a seat on the floor at the low table as she wandered into the open kitchen and filled the kettle with fresh water.

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her back, his gaze lingering, a little too long for what he felt was socially acceptable, on her gently rounded hips and slender legs. He dragged his eyes away, choosing instead to silently vent his glaring frustration at the unfortunate wooden table surface in front of him as his mind raced.

Now what was he supposed to do? Why did he feel so maddeningly hesitant? So nauseatingly uncertain? Uchiha Sasuke always knew precisely what he was doing. He always had a battle strategy, was always so cool and in control. He felt like he was shaming his family name, somehow, by acting like an incompetent, clueless fool.

"So what brings you here so early, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked conversationally as she continued to bustle about in the kitchen, preparing tea just the way her memory dictated he liked it. "I mean, it's really nice to see you, but I thought you'd be sparring with Naruto at this hour."

"…" Sasuke didn't know what to say. He didn't want to lie. But he certainly couldn't tell her the entire embarrassing truth, either. Besides, he had already kicked Naruto's sorry butt the previous day and tactfully rejected the furious blond's insistence for a rematch. He planned to leave the village this time as the last winner of their most recent scuffle.

So, after some careful thought, he settled on an artful, succinct, "Hn. Walking."

Sakura, with her back still to him, felt an unsure, lopsided smile curve her lips. Walking? By her front door in the morning? Her heart fluttered and she berated the irrational hope that tickled her stomach. It was probably just a lovely coincidence, she concluded. But she grew even more intrigued despite herself. That still wasn't like him, to stop by alone…

"So when do you head out again?" she casually posed the real question that had been plaguing her mind for the entire duration of the two weeks he had remained in Konoha. Sasuke was an unpredictable enigma – appearing unannounced one second, and leaving just as suddenly the next, as silently and swiftly as a passing shadow.

The last time he had departed in the night, she hadn't even been able to say goodbye, which had made her wallow in devastated misery for a long time, until Ino had managed to practically slap her out of her pathetic state of self-pity.

She bit her lower lip as he remained silent for a long moment. Didn't he want to tell her? What if he had come to say goodbye for another seven or eight months? It was getting progressively more difficult each time, to watch him leave. More difficult to reassure herself that she was perfectly happy letting him go, not knowing when she would see his beloved face next.

Then his answer came. And it hit her like an iron sledge hammer, knocking the air cleanly from her lungs.


The fragile cup she had been rinsing in the sink slipped clumsily from her grasp, shattering upon impact immediately. She internally cursed, pulse hurtling, as she collected the broken fragments distractedly, managing to slice skin in the process.

"Tomorrow…?" she echoed unthinkingly. "But tomorrow is…" her voice trailed, as her eyes lowered to the crimson droplets staining the white washing basin.

He was going… on her birthday?

When Kakashi and Tsunade had given her the day off as a treat? When she knew for a fact Naruto had already made plans for them all?

She couldn't believe it. Her shoulders slumped, then, when the very real and disheartening prospect of him not even realising what the significance of tomorrow was struck her.

Of course Sasuke didn't know, she told herself sadly, as she tossed the broken glass in the bin and sent a tiny stream of chakra to heal the small wound in her hand. He spent so much time travelling, saw so many wonderful things and surely met so many interesting people, that it was no wonder he wouldn't remember something as inconsequential as her birthday.

It wasn't like it was a big deal anyway, she tried desperately to reassure herself in vain. She had missed his last one, too, even when she'd sent out Kakashi's scouting hounds to deliver a gift that they had mysteriously returned without, stubbornly refusing to disclose its fate – and she had always been too shy to question Sasuke about whether or not he had received the rare set of shuriken she'd purchased just for him. She certainly had never spotted the weapons on him.

Pulling out a new cup, she swallowed back her disappointment. But it was like a thick lump in her throat that refused to budge.

"I see," she said softly, angry to feel stinging tears threatening to well in her eyes. She had promised herself, a long time ago, that she would no longer cry over him. She had thought she was past that stage and had surely moved on from such deplorable displays of weakness.

But it seemed that Uchiha Sasuke was still able to reduce her to a quivering, pathetic mess, even on the verge of her turning nineteen.

Get a grip, she told herself sternly. What was she even getting so worked up for? Even if he had stayed, the most that would have come out of it was him consenting to eat ramen with them in the evening. It wasn't like he would have actually spent the entire day with her or spoilt her rotten the way Naruto or Ino did.

That was the exact reason why she was so upset, though, Sakura knew. Simply having him there, by her side on her special day, would have been more valuable and cherished than any other gift.


She tensed at the sudden sound of his quiet voice, close behind her. She had been so distracted, so lost in her dejected thoughts, that she hadn't even heard him move.

Plastering her best false smile onto her face, she turned automatically to him.

"S-sorry, Sasuke-kun," she stammered, suddenly feeling like she was seventeen again, when he had first returned – too briefly – to the village. "I was just thinking…" her voice trailed off in surprise, when she found him holding out a red, velvet box to her.

His face was pointedly averted, his gaze fixed on the tiled floor.

"Huh?" Her eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets in astonished disbelief.

He shoved it closer towards her, still refusing to meet her gaze. He was frowning, his lower lip protruding outwards slightly.

Sakura gaped.

Was he pouting?

If it had been anyone else, it would have been classified as a definite pout. But on Sasuke, it was more like a highly emphasised, displeased – but adorable - scowl.

"For me?" she asked stupidly.

No, genius, her inner voice taunted sarcastically. For the sink. Who else is here?

"Just take it," he snapped impatiently at her. He seemed uncomfortable, the longer he was forced to keep hold of it. Embarrassed, almost.

Sakura flushed, mortified that she was forgetting her manners, and snapped out of her state of shock at last, compliantly accepting the box. Sasuke folded his arms defensively, keeping his face deliberately angled away from her – but watched curiously from the corner of his vision as she looked down at the package in her hands.

His heart hammered in his throat, the jangling of nerves intensifying as he tracked her expression closely as she lifted the lid.

He'd forced himself to move the second he had heard the glass shatter in the sink. For he had seen the way her shoulders had slumped, in response to his disclosure of leaving the following day. The way he had hurt her, unintentionally, once again.

And he hadn't been able to stand it, the crushing guilt that had gnawed away at his insides, scalding like acid. He'd been behind her in an instant, calling her name before he could change his mind or stop himself.

It was too late to back out now. Far too late. He was a fool. But it was done. All he could do now was observe her reaction and hope that she wouldn't refuse his offering.

And then he saw it. Saw the way her expressive green eyes widened as they took in the sight of the delicately carved, diamond and garnet Uchiha fan pendant, hanging from a beautiful platinum chain. He saw the way her body visibly trembled as the weight of realisation slammed into her, heard the incredulous gasp flee from her throat.

Sakura couldn't believe it. For a long, stunned moment, her mind struggled to register what it was she was looking at. Then it smashed into her like an overwhelming tidal wave, and the significance of it drowned her, took her breath away.

She tried to speak. To say something. Anything. But she was rendered speechless. Only rapid air escaped her parted lips, as incredible happiness exploded in her chest and her eyes welled. The unspoken implications of his choice of gift spoke volumes to her.

He recognised her feelings. At last, after so many years of heart-ache, he was answering them in his own way, with a finality that made her knees turn to jelly.

Then she was weeping, weeping, hot, messy, choking tears, sobbing uncontrollably, clutching the box to her heart and blubbering incoherently.

Sasuke tensed, visibly horrified by her response, the pain of rejection stabbing like a ruthless, twisting blade in his gut. He swallowed thickly. Was it really that bad? Was it really so terrible, for Sakura to envisage wearing the Uchiha crest around her neck? Did the idea really repulse her so much? Had he misread her entirely? He cursed himself inwardly. He had known it was a stupid idea from the outset. All along, he had known it-

He opened his mouth to automatically tell her it was alright – even when it wasn't at all to him -that she didn't have to wear it if she really didn't want to, if she would only stop crying so distressingly-

But then she finally managed to form meaningful words, and relief flooded through him, so sudden and overpowering that he audibly released the breath he hadn't even realised he'd been holding.

"S-Sasuke-kun!" she gasped. "I-I- it's so beautiful! I-I can't believe- oh, Sasuke-kun!"

He was incredulous. Why was she spilling so many tears? She was so… so damned annoying, never doing what he expected or wanted. He just couldn't understand it. He didn't understand her.

"Tch. Stop," he ordered stiffly, awkwardly, clenching his fists tightly, thoroughly disturbed by her tears – even if they were happy ones. "Sakura- stop crying-"

"B-but Sasuke-kun!" she exclaimed. "H-how can I wear this?! If- if people see me with this, they will think…" she abruptly broke off, inhaling sharply, as his piercing, unapologetic and downright defiant eyes met hers.

And that was when she realised. Sasuke wanted people to know. He didn't care what the other villagers would say.

Her heart burst, soaring with inexplicable joy.

"I'm sorry," she sobbed harder, shaking her head. "I-I'm sorry Sasu-ke-kun. It's just! It's just-! I'm so happy!" she wailed.

He swallowed, unsettled by this, yet oddly encouraged at the same time. Stepping forward, he drew the box from her. He needed to put it on her, he decided, before she made even more of a needless, irritating scene.

She turned, still sniffling, to accommodate him, still feeling like she might awaken from the most blissful dream she'd ever had at any moment.

Inside her head, her gleeful thoughts were running rampant with delight.

He hadn't forgotten! He had remembered! And what a gift, he had chosen to give to her!

As Sasuke lifted the chain and fumbled for the clasp, he was disturbed to find fine tremors assaulting his fingers. He was thankful that Sakura couldn't see it and it took him several attempts to secure the necklace around her slender, creamy neck.

Finally he managed to do so, and Sakura turned to him, displaying the pendant that rested just above the valley between her breasts. It lay snugly on her chest – just over her heart.

And at that moment, Sasuke forgot all about his uncertainty. He forgot all about awkwardness and embarrassment. All he could think about was how right his Clan's symbol looked on her. How much it suited her. How he hadn't ever noticed something so painfully obvious before.

He reached out, ghosting his fingertips over the delicate pendant, as if afraid of shattering it beneath his touch.

Sakura's eyes pooled with fresh tears. It was perfect. She would treasure it forever. Once more she found herself blabbering nonsensical words as her feelings got the better of her.

"It's beautiful, Sasuke-kun! I-I love it so much! Thank you! I'll wear it forever!" she vowed, squeezing her eyes shut. "Even when I'm asleep, when I'm training, or at the hospital, or on missions, anywhere I am, I'll where it everywhere, everywhere I go, forever-!"

Sasuke's eyebrows twitched, a light frown creasing his handsome features. She was talking far too much, prattling out nonsense and giving him a thorough headache. He had to find a way to silence her completely, before the neighbours came over to find out what all the noise and ruckus was about.

Then it came to him. Another, uncharacteristic impulse. The perfect way to shut up that annoying little mouth of hers.

"I'll never, ever take it off," Sakura went on emotionally. "Even if Ino-Pig begs me to try it on, I'll never-!"

The remainder of her sentence dissolved into thin air as her lungs inhaled sharply at the sensation of something warm and soft pressing just beneath the left corner of her lips. A feather-light brush, just shy of touching them. Sakura's eyes flew open, and for the second time in a matter of minutes, she was stunned into absolute, gawking stupor.

Sasuke's face hovered inches away from hers, his intense, heavy-lashed, mismatched eyes searing through her like twin flames. They made her body burn, made her heart gallop wildly in a way nobody else's could, and all of a sudden, she could read their silent, unspoken message with frightening clarity.

All at once, she could read the promise behind his heavy-lidded gaze, as he rested his midnight-blue cloth-bound forehead lightly against hers.

Wait for me.

He was leaving again, she understood, the bittersweet poignancy of the moment causing her throat to close over again. But this time, there was no despair – only budding hope and anticipation for his next coming. He wanted her to be patient for just a little longer.

Without hesitation – but with the shyness that accompanied the first attempt at what she wanted to do - Sakura lifted her arms to loop them around his neck and stepped forward, bridging the slight gap between their bodies as she pressed herself against him, prompting a quiet exhalation of breath from the tall young Uchiha.

She saw the flicker of uncertainty – a fleeting flash of fear and near-panic - in his wavering gaze. The way his past demons seemed to surge up for a brief moment, threatening to tear him from her warm, loving embrace once again.

But this time, Sakura resolutely told herself that she would not let them. Her grip on him tightened soothingly.

All thoughts then flew from Sasuke's mind at the feel of her fingers as they combed through his hair, caressing his fine, messy raven locks with a tenderness that banished the last, haunting shreds of indecision and caused everything else to still in his mind. His heart was racing. He knew there would be no turning back for either of them, if he allowed what he knew was on the verge of happening right then.

But there had surely been no turning back anyway - he thought distractedly to himself, strangely unable to focus or even bring himself to care anymore - as her mesmerising eyes drew him in like alluring emerald pools - the moment he had chosen to gift her with the necklace bearing his Clan's symbol.

And when she tugged his head down gently, to press his lips chastely to hers, he lost himself for the first time in the exhilarating softness of her touch, feeling her rapid heartbeat, ramming against his rib-cage, as it answered to his unspoken demand.

Always, Sasuke-kun.

Author's note

This made me feel so warm and fuzzy. Like it? Reviews would be nice, if you could kindly spare the time.