Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

A/N: Hi readers! First of all I want to thank all of you reviewers who kept supporting me through my other fics. You reviews are greatly appreciated! This is my fourth Naruto fic, yes, I am obsessed with SasuSaku…:D!! Anyway, enjoy!

Autumn Leaves

Prologue: On That Day, Six Years Ago

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The streets of Konoha were bustling with people in the bright morning as the shining sun gave out an illuminating glow. The vendors' persuasive shouting were heard, the restaurants' delicious aroma were smelled, and the busy markets were seen. Konoha had once again become the prosperous village it used to be, if not, more.

But among the crowds of anxious customers and busy shoppers stood one lone young man. He stood outside, looking as if he was just there. So silent and quiet he was, it was quite easy for the villagers to pass by and not even notice that he existed. His face is emotion less, showing nothing, but his mind is the complete opposite, and he stands there, waiting…

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The alarm clock rang and rang its noisy sound louder than Dosu's attack. But the man still laid sleeping, streams of drool seeping from his mouth. He muttered things in his sleep, things that a 'normal' person might not say, unless completely obsessed with the food, such as in this case.

"WHATDDAYA MEAN YOU'RE OUTTA RAMEN?!?"

Naruto woke up, sweat poured down his face and his hair disheveled all over his head. The fear in his azure eyes disappeared as he realized that it was a dream and was replaced by a shade of relief. He turned to his left and clicked the top of the red alarm clock, which silenced the loud rings that it produced.

'Crap…I'm late to meet the bastard…'

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Naruto walked along the Konoha streets, rubbing his eyes and unconsciously heading for the Ichiraku. As he walked, the villagers greeted him politely or gave him a look of acknowledgement. He was no longer the fox-demon that they had hated so much, he was now a respected ANBU. He wore his usual ANBU attire with pride as he was going to go to work right after his meeting with Sasuke.

Sasuke wasn't the kind of person to talk much, he really hasn't changed at all. It's been six years since Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura were placed in the same team, but none of them changed much, except for their appearances. Though it was rare that Sasuke ever wanted to talk to Naruto about something, Naruto knew exactly what he had wanted to talk about.

'Sakura-chan…'

Flashback

Six years ago…

The village was soaked with the heavy rain as a girl waited outside the Konoha gates. She held a pink umbrella that matched the color of her hair. She had emerald color eyes and rosy lips, and yes, the girl was indeed Haruno Sakura. This was her usual routine since the past twenty-one days. She waited solemnly outside on the same spot under the same tree for six hours straight. Her eyes distant and longing, her face full of weariness and despair.

"S-Sakura-chan…"

Sakura turned around.

"Hinata?…What are you doing out here?"

"Y-You s-shouldn't b-be out here i-in the c-cold…" The girl said meekly, her grasp on her violet umbrella getting tighter. She was a shy girl, with silver eyes and black hair. The heir of the grand Hyuuga clan, she was rejected by her father when she wasn't able to meet his expectations. Her little sister, Hyuuga Hanabi, five years younger, had even surpassed her in the 'Gentle Fist.'

"…I'm fine, Hinata-chan." Sakura smiled sadly. "A little cold won't—"

Sakura suddenly jerked towards the forest. Hinata looked at her female companion, confused.

"H-Hinata…d-do you feel that?" It was Sakura's turn to stutter now. Hinata, feeling confused, took a few steps towards Sakura. Her eyes widened.

"Let's go." Sakura and Hinata ran towards the forest, not caring that they had dropped their umbrellas.

: : : :

"Naruto!!"

Sakura yelled, her vision was blurred by the pounding rain.

"Hinata! Can you use your Byakugan to see where they are?!?"

"H-Hai!"

Hinata quickled formed her seals and muttered, "Byakugan." Sakura and Hinata had sensed Naruto and the others faint chakra coming this way. Their chakra was weak, and Sakura hoped that they weren't too hurt…

"T-They're n-not t-too far…w-we have t-to g-go north."

"Hai."

The girls sprinted north.

: : : :

"Sakura-chan…I'm sorry…"

"Naruto, you BAKA!" Sakura cried as she hugged her dear friend. "I don't care if you bring Sasuke-kun or not! I just want you to be okay!"

Sakura clung onto Naruto as they were in the white hospital room. But Naruto did not take advantage of her sadness, for he was depressed himself. He had promised her he would bring him back, but he failed.

Sasuke refused to come back to Konoha until he had killed his older brother, and Orochimaru's nins chased them after their attempt to run away. Naruto suddenly clenched his knuckles so hard that they went white. During their journey back home he had heard rumors that Sasuke was going to help Orochimaru in destroying Konoha.

'Bastard or not…how could he do this to us?'

Naruto snapped out of his trance as Sakura's wails stopped, and he realized that she had fallen asleep. He heard whimpers, and it was obvious that she was having a nightmare. Naruto responded by gently patting her back and giving her reassuring whispers. .

'Don't worry, Sakura-chan…I promise…I won't let him hurt you anymore.'

End of Flashback

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Sasuke stood in front of the Ichiraku patiently. He had known that the idiot was going to be late but he had some things to ponder about, so he came out at the original time on purpose. He stood, his arms crossed across his chest, leaning on the pole, ignoring the muffled giggles of the infatuated girls that glanced at him.

Uchiha Sasuke, even after seven years, was still adored by the women of Konoha.

For every man, this would be a dream come true. To be surrounded by women would be their fantasy, but Uchiha Sasuke wasn't an ordinary person. He was the heir of one of the most powerful clans of Konoha, his brother had massacred his whole family except for him, he lacked a regular childhood, and he had betrayed his friends for power.

Suddenly, an image of a pink haired girl flashed in his mind.

Flashback

It was night, and the moon above shined to portray the orange and brown autumn leaves dancing with the breeze. The stars above twinkled and flickered like a weak light bulb. Insomnia had engulfed Sasuke once again as he walked through the empty roads in Konoha. These nights were normal for Sasuke, he never remembered a day in his life where he slept soundly. His dreams were plagued with such demonic evil that if a stranger were to have them, they would want to kill themselves.

But Sasuke was used to them.

For countless nights he had been dreaming of the demise of his clan. How the great Uchiha Clan was cruelly massacred by one of its own. What was worst, was that fragments of the Tsukyomi, the technique that Itachi had used, which makes the victim experience a nightmare for three days straight when in reality is really a few minutes, still lingered in his mind and dreams. For Uchiha Sasuke, there is no escape.

"S-Sasuke-kun?"

Except her.

Sasuke turned to see a petite, pink haired girl, looking up at him with those jade eyes. He was so deep in thought that he hadn't even sensed her chakra approach. She looked at him worriedly, an emotion that was quite often seen on her when it came to him. Her hands fidgeted nervously, as he stared into her eyes.

"…"

Wherever Sasuke went, silence followed.

"What are you doing out here?"

"I couldn't sleep."

"Oh." She responded, looking at the ground.

Sasuke walked and sat on the nearby bench, staring up at the starry skies.

"C-Can I sit n-next to you?"

Sasuke nodded, not removing his gaze at the sky. His eyes lingered at them as if they were the most interesting things in the world. Sasuke, slightly uncomfortable by the silence, asked a question.

"What're you doing out here?"

"I-I had to clear some thoughts…"

"Aa."

Silence overcame the two once again, but this time, he was a bit more comfortable. Yes, indeed, the only time Sasuke was able to escape from that hell was when he was with her.

After she had abruptly sliced off her hair in the Death Forest of the Chuunin Exams, her annoying attitude had gone with it. There was no more "Sasuke-kun!" and no more surprises that lurked in the bushes. It was as if a different Sakura was born that day, and that day, was when he had finally come to respect his teammate.

"S-Sasuke-kun?"

"Hn?" Sasuke answered lazily.

"D-Do you ever g-get scared?" Sakura, realizing that she had just asked Uchiha Sasuke if he was scared, muttered a sorry and put her head down.

Sasuke, curious at what she had meant by her question, asked her.

"Of what?"

"I-I really got scared…" Sakura paused for a second, looking at her hands. "…I really got scared when we were fighting against Gaara…"

"…" Sasuke looked at her.

"N-Naruto and you always held my hand in missions and in times of trouble…" Sakura reminsced, her tone of voice changed into nostalgic whispers. "…but…the feeling you get when you can't do anything to protect the ones you care about…" Sakura clenched her knuckles so that they turned white, and tear drops fell on them . "…is the worst feeling in the world."

Sasuke's eyes widened as he remembered those exact feelings. When Itachi had murdered his parents, Sasuke was too shocked and frightened too protect them. Who knew that Uchiha Sasuke would actually have something in common with Haruno Sakura?

"But…I've noticed…" Sakura slowly looked up into Sasuke's onyx eyes. "…that you didn't hold my hand anymore."

Sasuke avoided her gaze and looked down at his hands. He sort of knew what she was talking about. Sasuke always protected Sakura when she needed to be protected, and Naruto was always there for her when she needed help…but now, he noticed, that this was the first time he had actually talked to her after the chuunin exams. They hadn't met in a long time…

Naruto was gone training with Jiraya while Sasuke was training with Kakashi. They all left her alone by herself, as if she was a bother to even think of helping.

Sasuke reached over and wrapped his hand around her clenched fist.

"I'll hold your hand…" Sasuke said, as his white breath was shown in the night air.

"…I promise."

End of Flashback

Sasuke reached down the neck of his ANBU uniform and took out the gold locket that he had been wearing for a long time now. He didn't know the reason why, maybe it was because it was Sakura's, but he felt naked without it.

He opened it, and it contained a picture of the face of a pink-haired girl. It was the latest picture that Naruto had of her, a month before she disappeared. He stared intently at the picture. Her pink hair was flowing with the wind and her emerald eyes show a little surprise, as if the photographer, probably Naruto, had taken the picture right after she had turned around. Her rosy lips were slightly curved, and a very faint smile was shown.

'Sakura…'

Sasuke's gloved fingers gently touched over the glass above of the picture and brushed against her cheeks.

'I have decided…that I must live for you.'