Before we begin... This takes place a few years after the present storyline, so they're in their late teens. Something like 19 years old.


[ Chapter 1: Waiting for the Return of Spring ]

Sasuke sat up against his bed, his head leaning heavily against the wall. Silence lingered throughout his blank apartment. After the demise of his clan, Sasuke eventually moved out of the Uchiha home and into his own apartment. Devoid of all personal effects and nearly anything that made a home habitable, Sasuke's apartment consisted of only a bed, a dresser, and a few kitchen items. His apartment was bare... Like so many other things to him, it was empty.

Emptiness was a feeling familiar to the young man. The demise of the Uchiha clan could have been the cause of that feeling. However, even during that incident, he had never felt emptiness as intense as he did now. The Uchiha massacre filled him with hate and anger more than it emptied him of other feelings. Since that incident, Sasuke followed the self-destructing path of revenge. Revenge was a disease. It spread throughout Sasuke's being, slowly killing his humanity as the years went by. Revenge had been the only thing that mattered to him. It was the only thing that gave him purpose, it was the only thing that gave him feeling, and--as he brought himself to believe—it was the only thing that gave him life. Because he was so narrowly focused on revenge, all other facets of his life seemed to no longer matter to him. By the time revenge had been over with, there was nothing left for Sasuke. Sasuke took on the path of revenge, and in return, revenge took everything else away from him.

Revenge did not go only as far as to take away his purpose and feeling that it gave to him, it also took away his life. Or rather, his future life. At one point, Sasuke had a conceivable idea of a future set aside from revenge. He imagined that once the deed was done, there would be a new path for him to take; one that allowed him to pursue new goals as well as place him in the company of who he would call friends. But revenge came at a high price. Even that future, the only future he would accept, was taken away. Sasuke was still alive. He lived in his apartment, he had something of a role to play in society, he had other people who would drop in on him once in a while. But the emptiness still existed for him. For reasons of his own, he accepted it. Since and because of revenge, he had come to a point in life where he could move no further. Everything was still, everything was empty. All that was left were a few lingering memories. Some were vague notions of names and faces. Others were vivid images that came back to haunt him. It was as if he were stuck in a bitter winter while yearning for the sweet return of a warmer spring. In this yearning, he would be tricked into seeing a cherry blossom petal float by in the sharp winds of the cold, making him think that a cherry blossom tree was blossoming somewhere. A place warmer and more welcoming than where he was.

But it wasn't winter, and it wasn't spring either. Spring had already ended a few months ago.

Sasuke's eyes widened slightly as a cool summer breeze blew against the pale curtain of his window. Past the curtain's swaying, Sasuke caught a glimpse of silky pink hair also swaying in the breeze. He looked away. It was a cold and heavy summer. Or, it seemed that way. Everywhere he went, a chilling breeze seemed to follow him. Everyday seemed to him like a never ending winter. In spite of his sweat, his body was shaking. Looking back past the curtain, he saw nothing but shadows once again.

Sasuke sat up straight, this time leaning against the wall with his back. He breathed a deep sigh. He slept on a twin sized bed. It was generally room enough for one, but sitting in it alone, Sasuke felt how empty it was. Another summer breeze blew his black strands of hair past his cheek. A delicate female frame began to form beside him. Her slight figure glowed with a certain light as she lay on her side with her back facing him. Short pink hair cascaded on the pillow where it could reach. Sasuke looked down on her, wanting so badly to reach for the silky strands and run them between his fingers. She turned. With her back on the bed, her face tilted towards him. Sasuke gazed upon her features. The curves of her face were illuminated by the filtering moonlight shinging through the window. Emerald eyes gazed back, partly in longing, partly in sadness. Sasuke could only look on. The curtain window swayed again, Sasuke blinked, his gaze still on the empty space beside him.

*She didn't lie...* Sasuke thought *She promised she would stay by my side, always... And she didn't lie.*

That girl... Sakura.


Author's Note: Yup, I'm at it again. And by now, you can see the SasuSaku hint (come on, now, look at the last line!). I started this one in the middle of writing my previous Naruto fic (Bed Time Stories). The idea started out as something more visual. But since I can't animate, nor can I even draw a decent fanart, I had to write it out. I'm not good at visual descriptions, so bear with me while I try to make up for it with some substance.