Well, I can't believe how popular She is Haruno Sakura was. I really thank those who reviewed, it means a lot to me! I hope you enjoy this as much as the last one!
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He didn't like her.
When Uchiha Sasuke first saw her, he was more aghast than confused with how bright she was. Of course, he was describing her appearance rather than her personality, since she always seemed to want to hide under her hair and hunch over herself as if she just wanted to disappear. He wondered why she was even in the academy, since his father had always told him and his brother that to be a strong shinobi, one had to be confident in their skills, and that girl was anything but.
She had pale pink hair that shone like a beacon amidst the sea of plain blacks and browns and blondes, and he wondered how she would hide it on missions when (if, since he doubted that she could survive with that depressing attitude) she became a kunoichi. Her eyes were almost always hidden but with the few moments that he happened to glance her way, he would manage to catch a glimpse of shining green eyes that he could deem as pretty, then she would blush red and run off to who knew where.
Sasuke scoffed. Another one of those stupid girls.
His opinion of her lowered even more and he decided that he wouldn't care about her.
He dismissed the image of spring (she looked like the personification of the season) and reminded himself that he was Uchiha Sasuke, and she was only Haruno Sakura.
The next time he saw her, he denied to himself that he was surprised. Not only did she look different (a bit more confident) than before, he actually thought for a (horrible) moment that he actually liked seeing her so... cute.
He inwardly choked before schooling his features into a poker face not unlike what he saw Itachi did whenever girls try to catch his attention.
"H-Hello, can I sit here?"
He resisted the urge to jerk his head, not knowing if he was about to shake it or nod, so he did nothing.
A few seconds passed with the girl (Sakura) awkwardly shuffling her feet before she slid into the seat beside him. He glanced at her from the corner of his eyes and he saw that she was making sure that there was a set distance between them.
Sasuke turned away when she timidly smiled at him as a small smirk tugged at his lips.
She wasn't cute at all.
As the years went by, he unintentionally kept the memory of the girl with the hopeful eyes to the back of his mind as home became less of a home and more of a military camp with how hard his father was on him and the constant pressuring and comparing was getting on his nerves more than he would like to admit.
The young Uchiha wanted to be special. He wanted to be acknowledged, to stand as his own person and not as a soon-to-be clone of his older brother. In the past, he had wanted (longed for) to be like Itachi in every way sans appearance, but as he grew up, his yearning to be someone tantamount to his brother became into a desire to be someone more powerful, more supreme.
But to be powerful, he needed to let go of the things that weighed him down. Emotions, for one, were as distracting as they came. Sasuke's apparent disdain for Itachi (he refused to acknowledge it as jealousy) held him back so he decided to avoid him altogether. His interest (not admiration, never) in Haruno Sakura took a backseat and he did everything to make her dislike him as opposed to her sometimes suffocating affections, and it had grown worse when they were placed into a team together with the dead-last.
They were going to be a hindrance to him, he could already tell. A blond idiot that always challenged him as if he was worth his time and pink-haired fairy trying her best to catch his attention were anything but convenient. In fact, he debated to himself if he should request to be placed into another team but waved the idea away. He would just ignore them.
But the two were persistent. Naruto and Sakura were as stubborn as they got, and sometimes, his irritation with the things at home and their constant whines for battles and dates just added to the fuel that he would say things that he didn't actually mean.
"You should practice instead of doing such useless things," Sasuke watched as Sakura's large green eyes grew wide in hurt, but he couldn't stop himself, "besides, I don't like you."
The tears that threatened to fall down her flushed cheeks physically pained him, much to his surprise and chagrin, so he immediately turned on his heels and trudged away.
Sasuke didn't mean it. Well, he meant the part where she needed to train more, but the last just came out on its own accord. Sure, she annoyed him in ways Naruto didn't, but that didn't meant that he disliked her.
He didn't dare look back because he knew (he just knew) that if their eyes met, she would sway him into doing things he normally wouldn't do. For some reason that he couldn't even start to fathom, there was something in Sakura that made his instincts rear its head. Was it because of her fragile appearance, with her doe-green eyes and unblemished ivory skin and petal-colored tresses, or was it because he actually liked the fact that she showered him with attention only meant for him and no one else?
Sakura didn't need to know the power she held over him, so he walked away forcing the guilt to vanish from his system.
He thought that she would give up on her admiration for him, that she would finally see that he wasn't the boy that she thought he was, and it left a bad taste in his mouth. But he should have known that she was more obstinate than he thought.
Sasuke couldn't understand why she was so determined. He was sure that he had quelled her feelings for him in one of the bluntest ways, but she kept on and on.
He was baffled with her disregard for his words. She still acted as if he didn't say anything to her and she continued to worry for him, support him, and offer him everything that she had to offer. He didn't know why, but somehow, it got through him.
With the same conviction and dedication he showed with his training, he did his best to return the favors his female teammate gave him. He subtly worried for her (Sakura, stay behind me.), quietly supported her (You have your strengths Sakura. Use them.), and even though he couldn't offer her the same affection she committed to him, he gave some to her in his own way (You're annoying.); because even someone like him could make others smile.
It was wholly unexpected when Oto and Suna invaded Konoha, and when the Sandaime perished as a result, the village went into an uproar. Without a leader, Konoha would metaphorically crash and burn, so the council hunted for one like a bloodhound.
The monster within him raged when his father proudly announced over dinner that Itachi had been nominated for Hokage, and it grew to uncontrollable levels when his perfect big brother just calmly shook his head and stated that he wasn't yet ready.
How humble of him, Sasuke gritted his teeth, his eyes meeting Itachi's and he couldn't hide his envy even if killed him, like the perfect son, as always.
He excused himself as polite as he could with the anger simmering in his blood and ignored the piercing gaze his brother followed him with as he stalked to his room.
When a woman named Tsunade was made Hokage, he couldn't care less. Naruto rambled on and on about how mean she was to him and how fake her breasts were and how old she was supposed to be, so he perfected the art of tuning out everything the blond would spout in order to preserve his sanity. It was perfected to the point that Sasuke instinctively knew if the dead-last would say anything useless and his ears would automatically close by themselves.
Life went on. Naruto bugged him day by day, Sakura tried to please him in any way she could without remotely invading his personal space, and Kakashi irritated him in ways he couldn't decipher. Everything was as it should be, with him growing both mentally and physically, and his teammates (maybe friends) staying in the sidelines. Kakashi had decided to personally train him, and maybe, the older man was more useful than he once thought. The Chidori was proof of that. He loved the way the sting of lightning traveled up his hand, the heat of power and strength in its bluish hue. Even Naruto decided to take things seriously, being trained by Jiraiya, one of the Legendary Sannins.
Something in his mind told him that he was forgetting something.
Four years flew by and Sasuke was somehow contented with the way his life was going. His father rarely compared him to Itachi now, his mother doted on him like always, and Itachi was more tolerable to be around and he had felt his admiration for his older brother return, just in a more subtle way compared to his blatant hero-worship in his childhood. Naruto and Sakura and even Kakashi had wormed their way into his stone cold defenses and he wasn't ashamed to admit that he would actually give up his life to them in the blink of an eye.
Everything was far from perfect, but he didn't want it any other way. Team Seven became Team Kakashi, the strongest search and destroy team Konoha had to offer, with a prodigious Uchiha, a Jinchuuriki, the Copy-ninja, and apprentice of the Godaime. They were famous, they were unstoppable.
Sasuke was proud of what they had become, much more so with what was thought to be the weakest link in the team became a force to reckon with, and he liked it more than he would admit.
Maybe, just maybe, he could finally accept everything that she had to give. In the years that he spent with her, her soft unchanging smiles and unfailing love (yes, it was love. Everything about her was of love) stirred those buried feelings that he decided was useless and had awoken with full force. He had been accosted with memories of a timid girl with eyes full of hope and he finally realized what she really meant to him.
He went to dinner with a satisfied smirk (smile) on his face.
"I have arranged for you to be wed, Itachi."
Everyone froze, even their mother. Sasuke watched as Mikoto openly gaped at her husband. She had always been more open with her feelings. His eyes slid to his brother's and he marveled at the way Itachi kept his cool. His brother calmly placed down his cup of tea but remained silent, and Fugaku took it as his cue to speak further.
"The clan council and I had discussed about this, and we had deemed this union as beneficial to both the clan and the village."
Sasuke didn't miss the way Itachi's eyes lit in understanding. Sasuke's own eyes widened as realization dawned on him. Beneficial to both the clan and the village? The only way for the marriage to be beneficial was if Itachi wed someone with the influence only someone of high status could give, and his father would sooner slit his throat than engage in a union with the Hyuuga clan. Then that left...
The cup in his hand shook and the clenching of his chest made it difficult to breathe. No, there were many other eligible females out there. There was that Yamanaka heiress. She could be beneficial too.
"May I know as to whom I would be spending my life with, Chichi-ue?"
Sasuke's eyes snapped towards their father. It was Ino; it had to be Ino-
"Haruno Sakura would be a fine addition to the clan, wouldn't you agree son?"
He felt his heart stop. Sasuke gripped his cup harder as he turned to stare at his brother. He ignored his mother's worried glances at him.
"Haruno Sakura," Sasuke hated the way Itachi spoke her name.
No... He wouldn't-
"The wedding will take place within three months. It will take some time to prepare."
"She hasn't agreed to this," Sasuke found himself speaking in a low voice and all eyes trained at him. Fugaku gave a confident scoff that made Sasuke want to wrap his fingers around his neck. He didn't want to hate his father, but with the way things were going...
Sasuke's throat went dry.
Itachi's expression was unreadable, and he inclined his head.
"I will marry her."
Later that night, Sasuke wondered if he should have objected. If he should have raged and furiously asserted his claim over his... teammate? Friend? Lover?
He stared at the wall opposite him, and for the first time, he could almost feel his heart truly crack.
Over the next few days, Sasuke did his best to avoid her. He ignored Naruto's angry yells and Kakashi's condescending stares, continuing his stubborn need to distance himself from Sakura. There were other girls.
But he knew that there would be no other that could affect him the way she did. Only Sakura. Always Sakura.
When the pink-haired medic invited them to Ichiraku, he knew he shouldn't come, but he did.
"I'm getting married."
No you aren't.
"To whom, Sakura?"
Kakashi's voice was gentle, and he found his mouth opening.
"Itachi." Perfect, powerful, peerless Itachi.
He stared straight at the ramen in front of him. He didn't want to meet her eyes. He knew that he had hurt her, that she had hoped (maybe even prayed) for him to stop it, to save her from a lifetime's worth of misery of marrying a person she didn't love.
He wondered if she would start to hate him now.
"Yes Sasuke-kun," he almost flinched at her fake tone of happiness, "we're going to be siblings now."
I don't want to be your brother.
He didn't want to hear any more of her nonsense. The conversation was just buzzing to his ears and he wanted to leave, to be far away as possible.
"I'm so lucky, right?"
"Sakura, are you sure?"
Stop talking, now!
"Of course. If I could be of use, I would do anything."
What are you saying?
"At the cost of your own happiness?"
He left the establishment with a parting lie that he knew shook Sakura to the core.
"Home. I'm not interested in this."
When he arrived home, he met Itachi on his way to his room. Sasuke planned to ignore him when his words made him stop dead.
"How is Sakura-san, otouto?"
Sasuke barely heard his own voice from the blood pounding in his ears.
"I don't care."
When Sakura formally met Itachi and his family, he exuded an aura of indifference that he had developed all these years. He would not give anyone a chance to see through his carefully constructed facade of apathy, especially Sakura. He didn't want her to think that she still had the power over him that only she possessed.
Sasuke forced himself to watch Sakura interact with his family, the beautiful (yes, she was beautiful) girl seamlessly weaving herself through the conversation as if she was already one of them, and he found himself pretending that she was here for him. That she was marrying him.
His throat burned when he watched Sakura stare at his brother as if she was mesmerized.
After dinner, Itachi led her to the garden and it took tremendous control for him not to follow them. Instead, he helped his mother wash the dishes, like a good son would do.
"Sasuke-kun, are you alright with this?"
His mother's question caught him off guard, and he wryly smirked. He should have known that Mikoto would know about his feelings. She had this uncanny way of attuning to her sons' needs and wants.
"I will be okaa-san."
When they finished drying the utensils, Sasuke found himself walking through the hallway leading to the garden, his feet silently padding on the wooden floor. When he reached the doorway, he chanced a peek and his blood ran cold.
Their faces were close, lips nearly touching, and Sasuke found himself staring at Sakura's figure. Her expression, the faint blush on her cheeks, and the look of desire on her face...
"I love Sasuke-kun."
And then they were kissing, his brother's arms gathering her to his chest and her fingers threading through his hair.
They looked like they belonged together.
And then he was walking away, his body stiff with tension and his vision was as clear as day despite the darkness. He was sure that his Sharingan had activated on its own, and he was confused, so confused.
Should he feel betrayed? Sakura loved him, so why was she kissing somebody else? He knew that he had no right, but he felt fury welling up inside of him. She was supposed to be his. She promised, didn't she? Was her love a lie then? Had she always been this fickle? Was she so desperate to be loved that she latched onto the first male that made her feel special?
Was he not enough?
But she promised...
I love you with all my heart!
The taste of iron caressed his tongue and covered his face with his hand.
He wasn't crying.
How was it? Should another piece be written?