Disclaimer: Naruto does NOT belong to me. And as always, a song is used, and that song does not belong to meeee...

Ah.. this story is a bit of a change for me, especially considering that most of my stories are the light-hearted, funny type... [you know what I mean if you've read my previous Naruto fanfics..well, excluding "Monday"] well, anyhow, I'll try my best to keep you guys interested in it. ^_^ Enjoy, everyone!

Chapter 1: Swinging By Himself

Sasuke couldn't precisely say when he had found the swing, or when he had first started to swing on it. The only thing he was really sure of was that it was his one source of comfort. It was the place he went to whenever he had no place else to go; it was where he went when someone was bothering him; it was where he went to when his thoughts were too much for him to handle.

The swing was an old, creaky thing, older than he himself, most likely. Certain places had growing spots of rust, and whenever you swung forward, a loud squeak would follow. It looked like if you even thought about sitting on it, it would instantly fall apart. Nevertheless, Sasuke grew attached to the swing, and constantly sat on it, swinging back and forth lightly.

On this particular day, Sasuke walked home by himself on a scorching afternoon. There was nothing unusual about the scene. He had always preferred to be by himself. Naruto was just too loud, Kakashi was, well, Kakashi, and Sakura...well, she had a crush on him, enough said.

The thing about her was, she was just so annoying. Sasuke bristled at the mere thought of her. She tried to get his attention too much, and she was more worried about the way she looked than how she could get stronger and better at fighting. Not to mention, she was weak.

Sasuke never paid attention to people he thought were weak. Being Uchiha Sasuke, that meant that he never paid attention to most kids his age. They were stupid; they were just weaklings.

Then why, he wondered, as the swing finally came into view, did she get under his skin so much?

He paused right directly in front of the swing. For crying out loud, the only reason he even noticed her was that she was part of his team. And as much as he hated to admit it, his team was part of him, and he was part of his team. She was weak, too, and it was his duty to protect her. After all, if she died in a mission because she lacked strength, undoubtedly everyone would point fingers at him, for he was the strongest, after all, and the strong were expected to look after the weak.

So he gingerly put his weight onto the cold metal swing, and prepared to push forward and take off. But as he turned his head very suddenly, he noticed, for the first time, the other swing.

It was separated from his swing by a thin metal bar, and it looked as old, maybe even older, than the swing he was sitting on. He had never swung on that swing before, he realized. For some reason, he had always stayed on his swing, the swing to the left of the metal bar.

He found himself staring at the swing, but he wasn't sure why. The empty swing fluttered back and forth in the breeze, almost taunting him.

This swing had been built for two, then, he thought, but there was only one of him.

Feh, he thought, somewhat irritably, if it bothered him that much, he could easily destroy it, annihilate it. And for a moment, he thought about that. He considered blowing up the swing.

Then a faraway memory drifted to him, a memory that he had pushed far back into the back of his mind. It came to him all of a sudden, surprising him. He clearly remembered light pink hair, with long, almost ghostly bangs covering the forehead... he remembered teary green eyes, and he remembered the twisted frown on her lips...

He remembered it had been a long time ago, some six or seven years ago. It had been before Itachi had massacred the Uchiha clan. It had been before, during a time that seemed so unreal.

---

He stopped, right in front of the swings, when he realized that somebody else was there. He accidentally stumbled on a twig, and the girl who had been swinging abruptly stopped, and turned to look at him with wide, frightened eyes.

"I -- I'm sorry," she stammered, avoiding his eyes and staring down at the ground. She shook her head so that her bangs covered her forehead. "Is -- are these your swings?"

He wasn't sure what to say. Finally, he shook his head. "No. They're not my swings."

She seemed nervous, and she continually looked from him to the ground, and back again. "Do you want me to leave?" she asked, but it was obvious that she was hoping he would say no.

He stared at her for a moment, brow furrowed. He had never seen her before, but the words were already forming on his lips.

"No. You can stay."

---

Sasuke had heard her approaching, even though it was evident that she had been trying to stay quiet. The rustle of leaves, the crack of twigs, and her footsteps had given her away.

He thought of what he should say once she decided to reveal herself. He pushed himself lightly, allowing his feet to dangle midair, swinging back and forth. The soft, fluid motion gave him a slight sense of peace. He sat there, content to let the sun wash its rays over him, and he rocked back and forth, back and forth...

He felt her presence lingering uncertainly next to the empty swing. He waited for her to say something, something like her usual exuberant greeting of "Sasuke-kun!" or something else like it... but when she said nothing, he decided to turn his head to acknowledge her.

"Hi, Sasuke-kun!" She smiled cheerfully, waving.

"Hn," was his reply, and he turned away and swung harder.

Silence washed over them, and Sakura was the first to break it. "Is it okay if I swing with you?" she asked, pointing to the empty swing.

Sasuke didn't stop to think about it; the word had come out of his mouth before he knew it. "No."

He turned to face her again, searching her face for some sort of negative reaction...sadness, disappointment, maybe even anger.. but he found none.

Sakura tried again. "Do -- Do you want me to leave?"

This time, Sasuke thought about his reply before speaking. And the words he had spoken so long ago found their way yet again to his mouth. "No." He faced away from her. "You can stay."

After all, this had been the spot where they had first met each other.

[nanimo shiranai boku wa itsuka nemuri-tsuzukeru kara

daremo todokanai yume no naka de oborete kimi soba e shizunde]

[Because I, who know nothing, will one day sleep forever,

In a dream unreachable, I am drowning

Sinking to your side]

-- tsuzuku: to be continued --

A/N~ Ehe, yes, that's quite...uhm, I'm not sure what the word I'm looking for is, myself.. @_@ It's.. different, that's for sure, but whether that's a good or bad thing, I'll wait for your reviews to tell me. As always, there is a song involved in this fic.. [psh, there's always a song involved in my fics. Except this time, I won't reveal the the title and artist of the song until the very end of the fic. ^_^ Mwahaha]... anyway, please review! Let me know what you like and what you don't, because I'm quite new at writing SasuSaku fanfics!