Chapter 17: Home Coming

The first thing that popped out of my mind was the question, 'Why are you here?'.

Its been a long time. And he's back. Was it God's way of amusing Himself?

Very slowly, memories of the past flashed in my mind. I thought I was ready about it. I taught myself that I should only care about the present, not the past. Gaara is my past. Sasuke is my present, my future.

And so, like an actress on a stage, I tried to act as best as I could. Try to act normal, that is.

"So, uhm, you're back." I knew it. It was a dumb thing to say.

"I'm here so I guess so." He answered not looking at me. Nothing changed. He looked like the Gaara I knew before, I was with before. He just got taller. I sighed.

"Yeah and.. Why a-are you here?" Was that natural enough? I didn't know why but I was so tensed. I felt stupid.

This time, he looked at me with those fierce-looking emerald eyes.

"To visit a.. friend. A very special friend." He answered.

I knew who he was talking about. Alright, just a friend.

Just a very special friend..

I forced myself to smile.

"Why don't we eat at the new coffee shop at the plaza? I'm sure you'll love it there." I told him. "And oh, my treat. Uh, you know, to welcome a friend.. A very special friend." I added.

He looked at me for awhile before saying, "I'd love to."

Tia's Cafe is a wonderful place to eat. I spend my free time there while reading a book. The aroma of the brewed coffee soothes my tired soul. Not to mention the prices of the food there are cheap.

"Hello, Ms. Sakura! May I take your order?" Asked a brown haired waitress named Maria. I told you I was a regular customer.

"I would like to have hot chocolate, please." I said, grinning at her.

She turned to Gaara.

"How about you, sir?" Maria asked. "I've never seen you around."

"He's a friend. He just arrived here uhm.. yesterday." I answered for him.

"I see. I thought he's your new boyfriend." She said.

"He's a friend." I repeated. "Just give him coffee. Thank you." There was finality in my voice. I didn't want her to say more.

Sasuke and I spent some of our time there before he went to Spain. I liked the food and drinks they serve so he often took me there. Of course everyone in there knew himthe famous, handsome Uchiha Sasuke, the superstar. They gave us special treatment whenever we eat there. It was wonderful having Sasuke with me there. I felt like a queen, so special.

Gaara gave me a puzzled look. I was silent for quite a long time.

"Oh, uhm, you'll love their coffee here." I told him. He didn't answer me.

"Something is bothering you." It was not a question. Of course he would know. I was not talking with a dumb person.

"Yeah.. It's about school. We have a lot of projects to do, you know." I lied. He knew. Good thing he didn't ask me about it.

Maria came with our orders. She put it on the table.

"I hope you'll like our special coffee, sir!" The brown haired waitress turned to me. "Hey Ms. Sakura, please say hello to Sasuke from me."

Oh yeah, thanks for blowing it away, Maria. But why should I be hiding our relationship? It isn't something that is illegal. Besides, I knew Gaara would know about it sooner or later.

Thank goodness Maria left.

We were silent for a long while. I wasn't feeling thirsty at all. I just kept on mixing the chocolate with a silver teaspoon.

"Drink it while it's still hot." He finally said like he's already tasted the chocolate in that cafe.

"Oh, yes." I took a sip. I knew their hot chocolate is delicious but then it seemed like it doesn't have any taste.

Again, there was silence.

"I knew you will end up having him as your boyfriend."

"Y-Yes I know but"

"How long have you been together?" He suddenly asked.

"A-About five years." I nervously answered.

"That was a couple of days after I left. Five years, that's a long time." He flatly said. "How about your child?"

Oh, that stupid incident. That reminded me of my stupidity. I was both angry, sad and happy about it. Angry because I was so dumb, sad because it was the reason why Gaara left me, and happy because it made me know Sasuke better and made us lovers.

"Oh, uhm, I found out that it was a false alarm." I chuckled with the thought of me having such a big tummy.

"I'm happy for you," He sighed. "because you finally found the one who will love you forever."

"T-Thank you." I said with a smile but behind it was a suddenly terrified Sakura.

It was the same as before. After I attend my classes, I'll go home and do some stuffs or if I feel like it, I would go at Tia's Cafe.

I decided to go to my apartment.

Luckily, I've only got one homework and I finished it easily. I was sitting on the couch, thinking about my future.

I took 'medicine' as my course. When I was a little girl, I wanted to have a small clinic. I wanted to have a husband who is a doctor.

But I knew it wouldn't happen. He's an actor.

Well, that can still be possible. I'll manage the clinic and hire a doctor and a nurse. Sasuke will have to do the mother things, I guess. Like cleaning the house, washing the clothes, cooking and taking care of the children. He would have a lot of time.

Just the thought of Sasuke doing those things made me laugh.

Oh, how I missed him! I felt empty without him. I guess that was lifefull of hardships and sadness.

I sighed. I didn't want to think much about that because it makes me miss him more. I turned on the T. V. No show interested me. I kept on pressing the remote control and I finally gave up. I put it on top of the side table.

"And for the show biz news." A reporter said. I wasn't really paying attention. "Teen star, Uchiha Sasuke, already engaged to his non-showbiz girlfriend? Let's find out more about it." Now that caught my attention! How did they know?

The television now flashed another reporter and Sasuke. I felt my heartbeat getting faster.

"Hello! We are live here at Madrid, Spain where teen star Uchiha Sasuke is currently shooting his new movie. Sasuke, is it really true that you are already engaged?" The lady reporter asked.

"Yes." He answered. I thought he would deny it.

"With your non-showbiz girlfriend? So, who's the lucky girl?"

"You need not know about her. I want to protect her privacy." I knew he was trying his best to be polite.

The reporter turned to the camera and said:

"Sorry girls but Uchiha Sasuke is already taken. You don't have any chance" She turned to Sasuke "ain't that right?"

He just nodded.

"What are you planning to do after the marriage?"

"I'm planning to quit showbusiness." He answered.

The lady looked surprised.

"I know the reaction of your fans would be like 'why would you do that! You'll disappoint us, you know'. What will you say to them?"

"I'm sorry but I've already made up my mind. I'm willing to leave this job for her." He paused. "People would always tell me that I've already got everything, that I'm lucky. But I am willing to give up that everything for her. I'm serious about it."

"Oh, that's nice! So, when can we meet this girl?"

I was not able to hear his answer because the phone suddenly rang. I answered it. It was Sasuke.

"Hey, I thought you were having an interview?" I said with a happy smile.

"Oh, that? That isn't really live. That was shot about an hour ago." He answered. I knew he was happy just by hearing his voice. "So, how's my fiance doing?"

I loved the way he addressed me.

"What? Say it again, please?" I said.

"Say what?"

I blushed a little. That was so childish of me to do. But I just can't help it!

"How's my fiance doing?" He asked again. I knew he was smiling.

"I'm fine but quite sleepy. So, when can I see you again? Have you finished shooting the film?"

"Don't be ridiculous. You can't expect us to finish a movie in just some weeks, you know." He answered.

"Oh.. I miss you, you know. So be quick, okay?" I wanted to talk to him for a long time. There was a question I wanted to ask him since he left. I lightly bit my lower lip. "Sasuke, are there a lot of pretty girls at Spain?"

He chuckled.

"I never thought that Spanish girls are beautiful." He said. "And I would be lying if I tell you that you are prettier than them."

I pouted.

"You're always mean to me, Sasuke." I told him.

"The truth hurts," He replied. "Well, got to go now. We'll be shooting another scene."

I felt sad and lonely. When will he call me again?

"O-Okay.. I love you, Sasuke. I.. just want you to know." I said, almost like a whisper.

"Okay but I really got to go now." He paused. "Sakura, you are beautiful and special, I just want you to know that. I love you, too, my Sakura."

Then he hung up. I put the phone back to its place. It was really amazing how he would seem to be so mean to me then just one 'I love you' could make me melt and forget everything he said.

The man I'm destined to be with. Could it be him? I knew it was him because from the day I first saw him personally at school, I knew I've fallen in love with him.

I went to school the next day. It had been raining all afternoon and I wasn't expecting it. I didn't bring my umbrella with me. I also have tons of homeworks to do so I must not waste my time waiting for the rain to stop.

I breathed deeply.

"This is it!" I whispered.

I started running towards the direction of my apartment. The ground was slippery and I knew I had to be careful.

"So c-cold!" I was shivering and tired but then I forced myself to run faster.

Then, oh good God! I finally reached my house! I didn't actually believe that I would make it. It was really cold and my bag was soaked. I looked for my key inside my bag but..

Oh no.

It wasn't there! Maybe I dropped it or I left it inside my apartment. And yeah, fate is so unkind. The landlady wouldn't be back from another country for a week. I wouldn't be able to borrow the spare key.

Am I the biggest loser?

I sighed as I sat down on the dirty, stone ground. It was getting colder. I hugged myself and can't possibly bring myself to move.

"Oh.. C-Cold! C-Can't t-t-think s-straight." I was really shivering.

"Think! Think! Think!" I told myself many times but it seemed that my brain was all frozen up. "I can't just sit here and do nothing!"

I sat there for almost an hour. It was getting dark and the rain got worse. I was tired and sleepy and cold. My eyelids felt heavy and I knew that soon, I would be asleep. Just then I felt something warm, like a jacket, on my back. I turned to see who it was.

"G-G-Gaara? W-What are y-you doing h-here?" I asked. Well, I was glad he came.

"I knew I couldn't leave you alone." He answered. "You're shivering. It seems that you have a problem entering your house. Tell me what happened later. I'll take you to my apartment so you could warm yourself up."

I nodded a little. I couldn't think straight. All I wanted that time was to feel warmth.

He helped me to stand up and we went on our way to his apartment.

Although it was smaller than mine, it was neat. There was a small fire place at the living room. I sat on the couch, his jacket keeping me warm.

"I'll get some clothes for you." That was the first thing he said when we arrived.

I stared at the red-orange flame. It looked really nice and I felt warm. I suddenly remembered Sasuke. How was he doing? Was everything alright?

"These might be a little bigger for you. These are all I found." Gaara reappeared holding a black shirt and a pair of blue comfortable looking pants. I assumed it wasn't his but I didn't ask him anymore.

"You can change at the bathroom. Just go straight ahead then right." He said. I nodded and followed the directions.

The black shirt looked really awful on me. It was bigger than what I had expected but it was a good thing because it provided me with warmth. I went back to the living room and saw him sitting on the couch. He also had changed his clothes. I sat beside him.

"Drink it while it's still hot." He said, referring to the hot chocolate on the table. He must have prepared it while I was changing my clothes. I smiled at him.

"Thanks." I said. I took a sip. It was really good.

We were silent for a while and both of us staring at the fire. Hearing the crackling sound of the burning wood.

"What have you been up to since you left?" I finally asked.

"Nothing really important." He monotonously answered.

"Oh, okay.. Have you been working or something like that?" I asked again.


"Are you alright? Like, really?"


I paused.

"So tell me what happened." He asked.

"Oh, about my apartment? I forgot my key inside. I know its really stupid of me"

"And it isn't like you, you know, the Sakura that I once knew." He added.

I nodded a little, half agreeing with him.

"Do you really think that I'm.. not the Sakura that I was before?" I asked him.

"I think so but I don't know what's really different in you. I can't explain it."

Neither him nor I have anything to say. We were silent for quite a while.

"Have you had any.. girlfriend?"

He looked at me. I didn't know but it quite scared me.

"Would it matter to you?" He asked.

'Yes of course, you idiot!' I wanted to tell him but then I couldn't.

"Not really. I was just asking you that's all." I said with a small smile.

"Your eyes tell me another story, another answer." He answered.

"You haven't answered my question yet."

"No," He finally said. "Would it really matter to you?"

I couldn't answer him. I knew he knew what my real answer would be.

"Of course," I answered, not looking at him. "We had a special relationship, remember?"

He put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me closer to him. My head rested on his chest. I felt strangely warm.

..and blushed a little. I realized that I missed being close to him.

"Does he treat you right?" He asked.

"You mean Sasuke? Yes, very well." I stared at the fire. "He often takes me out. We go to gardens, watch the stars and some other stuffs."

It was my turn to ask him, "Why did you leave?"

I knew the answer to my question but I just wanted to hear it from him.

I heard him sigh deeply before answering my question.

"Let's just say that I woke up one day and realized that I just couldn't give you the love you truly deserve."

I smiled a little, a sad one.

"And so you let go of me?"

He was silent but I knew his answer would be a 'yes'.

"Letting go is just a painful way of saying, 'go and find someone else, you deserve to be happy.' " He explained to me.

"Oh, uhm.. Thank you," I said. "I told you before, a lot of times that I feel happy whenever I'm with you. Is that reason not enough so you left me?"

He didn't answer me. I looked at his emerald eyes and flashed him a smile.

"You don't need to answer that. I was just joking. That's the past, Gaara. We can never undo the mistakes."

"I know.."

I yawned. I realized that I was so tired and sleepy. He brushed his hand on my long hair and it felt wonderful and soothing. We were like that for quite a while, neither of us said anything.

"Sakura, I.." He said but then my cellphone rang. It was inside my bag. I grabbed my bag on the table and looked for my cellphone. I looked at its screen. It was Sasuke.

I felt awake again and quite excited. Gaara looked at me as I stood up.

"It's Sasuke!" I happily informed him. He just smiled at me. There was an expression in his eyes that I just can't read. I answered the phone.

"Hey, Sasuke!" I said to him.

"I tried calling you at your landline number but you didn't answer. Are you all right? Where are you?" He sounded so concerned.

"I left my key inside my apartment so I couldn't get in. I know, it was stupid of me." I answered.

I heard him chuckle.

"I'm glad you know. So, where will you be staying?" He asked.

I looked at Gaara as he shrugged.

"Uhm.. At a friend's house. I'll be fine."

Sasuke was silent.

"Sasuke? Are you still there?"

"Yes." He said. "I know.. you'll be fine. I know he'll take good care of you."

Then he hung up. I tried calling him back but it seemed that he turned his cellphone off.

How did he know?

I sat back beside Gaara. I looked worried, he said. It was nothing, I answered him.

"Try to get some sleep. Tomorrow everything will be all right." He said, looking at the fire.

I weakly nodded although I knew sleeping wouldn't make my worries disappear. How did Sasuke know that I was staying at Gaara's house?

'..I know he'll take good care of you'

But what if I was wrong? What if he was referring to another male friend? I tried to think of more things to convince myself but none of it would sink into my mind.

I slowly closed my eyes, hoping that my 'minor' worries would somehow be lessened. I felt something warm and soft hugging my body, a blanket. I also felt that Gaara pulled me closer to him.

Before I finally drift into the world of dreams, I could have sworn I heard him say something like:

"Sorry.. Mistake.. Letting you go.."

Oh, this is getting boring, don't you think? Don't worry this boring fic is nearly complete. I hope I would be able to finish it. Please don't forget to submit (a) review/s. They really make me happy and encourage me to write more. Thanks a lot!

I'm planning to write another fic when I finish this one. I'm thinking if it should be SasuxSaku or ItaxSaku. What do you think?

I guess that's it for now. Once again, wait for another millenium.