Thank you, reviewers, for all your reviews! Sad to say this, but this will be the last and FINAL chapter of "My Sakura".
I really had fun writing this story, and I'm sorry if this chapter is disappointing or not the way you expected the story to end!
I should have typed this a LOOOOONG time ago, but (sighs), no, I do not own any of the Naruto characters . . .
I hoped everyone has enjoyed this story, and thank you for reviewing this story! Please enjoy this final chapter!
Sasuke groaned. He was back at the table again, deep in his thoughts.
By now, most of the people were dancing, hanging around with their friends, or just sitting at the tables socializing.
The vision of him almost kissing Sakura when they were dancing brought chills down his spine as well as warmth to his cheeks.
Dammit! None of this was supposed to happen! But how did it happen! And WHY!
Almost immediately after they had gone back to their table after they danced, Sasuke excused himself to go to the washroom. He had almost felt queasy after what had happened. He couldn't believe what had almost happened: he, Uchiha Sasuke, had almost allowed a GIRL to kiss him!
When he had returned, he sat away from Sakura as far as possible, forcing himself to stare away from her. Sakura herself seemed to be embarrassed with what had almost happened, though she didn't avoid Sasuke like the way he was avoiding her. Instead, when Ino, Ten-Ten, and Hinata had returned from dancing, she chatted with them feverishly about some past experiences they had in the academy.
The guys however, teased each other about dancing with their partners. Kiba had Neji blushing from pink to red within 2 minutes.
Miraculously, none of them had seen Sasuke dance with Sakura, which was a huge relief for Sasuke.
Sasuke sighed. His thoughts wandered once again for the millionth time to the scenario of him with Sakura.
"Sasuke-kun . . . I . . . I . . ."
"Sa-Sakura . . ." His face had flushed and he couldn't help but stare deeper into her green eyes.
By then, they had been so close to each other that he could have smelled the scent in her hair.
Then, somehow, he had started leaning towards her, and before he knew it, he had almost touched her lips with his. That was before Kakashi had broken them apart with the flash of his camera . . .
But why couldn't I stop myself! Sasuke thought, as dread filled his eyes and ran down his spine. Was it . . . was it because . . . I . . . I l—
"Hm?" Sasuke blinked a few times, before he noticed that Naruto was motioning him to come over to a spot on the gym where the rest of his friends and class mates were standing.
"Come on! We're going to take a group photo!"
Sasuke frowned at that. He never really liked photos.
But since I might not see these people ever again, I guess it wouldn't hurt . . .
Walking over to the group, Sasuke stood right next to Naruto, Sakura right in front of him. Standing next to Naruto was Shikamaru. Chouji, Kiba, Shino and Neji stood right next to each other after Shikamaru.
In front of the guys were the girls. Ten-Ten, Ino, Hinata, and Sakura stood together in a line.
Kakashi stood in front of the whole crowd, waiting patiently as the group of girls and boys shifted around.
"Are you guys ready yet?"
"Okay then. We'll have a formal picture first, and then we'll have a couple of crazy pictures after."
Sasuke didn't even hear the words spoken from his Jounin instructor. In fact, he didn't even hear anything spoken by anyone at that moment.
He stood exactly the same way he did for the first photo as he did for the rest of them while everyone posed differently for each picture. He didn't even bother to look up to the camera.
All his thoughts were focused on that one incident between him and Sakura.
When the group finally had their photos taken, they slowly headed back to the table. Sasuke however, stayed where he was. His pulse quickened as his heart pounded against his throat. He could hardly focus. The only thing that was on his mind at that moment was Sakura.
Sakura . . .
Horror filled his eyes as flashbacks kept replaying itself over and over again in his head. His heart pounded louder with each memory.
"Sasuke-kun, you know, you don't have to carry me all this way. Kakashi-sensei only assigned you to carry me back to Konoha, not to my house."
"Well, you can barely stand, so how do you expect to go home like this?"
"Sakura . . . . . . You look . . . very nice in that dress . . ."
"Th-thank you, Sasuke-kun . . . . . . You look so handsome in your suit . . ."
" . . . . . . ."
"Sasuke, you're in love with her, aren't you?"
Bah-Bump! Bah-Bump! Bah-Bump!
"Sasuke, could it be possible that you actually have a crush on Sakura-chan?"
Bah-Bump! Bah-Bump! Bah-Bump! Bah-Bump!
"Sasuke-kun . . . I . . . I . . ."
"Sa-Sakura . . ." His face had flushed and he couldn't help but stare deeper into her green eyes. Their lips had almost touched if it weren't for Kakashi's interruption.
BAH-BUMP! BAH-BUMP! BAH-BUMP! BAH-BUMP! BAH-BUMP!
"Thank you, Sasuke-kun . . ."
Dammit . . .What have I done? . . . What have I been doing this w-whole time? . . .
His fist trembled.
Dammit . . . DAMMIT!
Uchiha Itachi's face appeared into his head once again.
"Foolish brother. If you wish to kill me, hate me, detest me, and survive in an unsightly way, run and run and cling onto life."
Damn you Itachi . . .
"Sasuke, you're in love with her, aren't you?"
"You cannot choose both Sakura and your goal to avenge your clan."
"Sasuke, are you that afraid of falling in love? Is that the real reason why you've decided to go with that choice of revenge and leave Konoha?"
Damn you Kakashi . . .
"I. . . I was wondering, Sasuke-kun. I know you'll probably say no, but would you like to go to the dance with me just as a friend?"
"You don't have to say yes, but I was just wondering if you would like to dance with me."
"Thank you, Sasuke-kun . . ."
"Damn you, Sakura . . ." he whispered hoarsely. With a rage of frustration and confusion, he stared at his pink-haired team mate, who was standing farther away from him, near their table. Sakura coincidentally at that moment stared back at him, eyes innocently brimming with recent tears. Sasuke could not look away. His eyes stared into hers.
For a few seconds, they locked gazes; flashbacks of their incident during the time they were dancing came rushing through them once more.
Finally, Sasuke blinked, a cold look replacing his confused one. Then he turned away from her and left the gym.
Walking quickly down the hall, he didn't even notice that he had brushed past Naruto, who had just come out of the washroom.
"Oy! Sasuke! Where are you going?" Naruto asked as Sasuke kept walking down the hall. He didn't turn around.
"Sasuke!" Naruto called again. When he saw that Sasuke was ignoring him and had disappeared at the corner of the hallway, he shrugged in defeat and went back to the gym.
Sasuke however, didn't stop to go back to the gym. In fact, he never went back into the school building. Instead, he walked out of the school, down the main road, and up some smaller roads before stopping right in front of the door to his home.
Something was wrong. Something just didn't feel right.
She glanced beside her at Sasuke's empty chair. It was now almost 45 minutes since she had last seen him. Before he had left the gym, they had locked gazes with each other. Almost immediately, her cheeks had turned into deep shades of pink. Then he had a weird expression on his face, almost a cold one, and she had not seen him since then.
Could it be . . . that he hates me? Maybe what had happened just then had frightened him off.
Sakura could feel all tingly inside when she thought back of how Sasuke had been dancing with her, and how they had almost kissed each other.
She didn't even know how it had happened. One moment ago they were dancing; the next moment later they were going closer to each other as if some magic magnet had suddenly been placed between them, and before she knew it, she had almost kissed him.
Sakura sighed again. It was crystal clear that she was truly in love with Sasuke. But did he feel the same about her?
Probably not . . . but there's something that still bothers me . . . It's the way he left the gym . . . The way he looked at me . . . . . . He looked strange . . . He had . . . a strange look in his eyes . . .
A flash back of Sasuke staring back at her just before he left appeared in her mind.
Those eyes . . . those dark, lonely eyes . . .
It was really bothering her now. Something in his eyes just somehow alerted her that something was wrong.
Standing up from her seat, Sakura looked around, scanning for a trace of Sasuke. There was no sign of him.
Neji and Ten-Ten were currently talking to each other, occasionally laughing from time to time. Ino, Shikamaru, and Chouji were engaged in conversation while Kiba and Shino were talking about some issue back when they were in the academy, Hinata listening to them from the side.
She suddenly noticed that Naruto had just returned to their table after talking to Jiraiya and Kakashi. Walking up to him, she asked, "Naruto, have you seen Sasuke-kun around?"
"Sasuke?" Naruto's eyes widened. "You mean he hasn't come back yet?"
"What do you mean?"
"I thought he came back. That's strange." Naruto looked around for his best friend and arch rival.
"You're right, Sakura-chan," he said a few seconds later. "Sasuke isn't here."
"Then where is he?" Sakura asked, a hint of eagerness in her voice.
"I don't know," Naruto answered. "Didn't he tell you where he was going?"
"No. It was right after we took the group photos. I was walking back to the table, and I just turned around to see where he was. That's when I saw him leave the gym."
"Hey! I remember now! I went to the washroom after the photo, and when I came out, Sasuke walked past me in the hall. I tried to call him, but he didn't answer me. He must have been in a hurry or something, because he was walking pretty quickly. After he disappeared down the hall, I came back. I thought he just went to get something—"
Sakura's heart grew heavy as she listened to Naruto's response.
Sasuke-kun . . .
She suddenly ran towards the direction of Kakashi and Jiraiya, leaving Naruto turning his head to look at her with a puzzled look on his face.
"Kakashi-Sensei! Have you seen Sasuke-kun?" she asked wildly. Kakashi turned away from Jiraiya and looked down at her.
"Yo, Sakura! Having fun so far?" he asked in a cheerful voice.
"Well, um . . . yes . . . sort of. Sensei, have you seen Sasuke-kun?"
"Sasuke?" Kakashi looked around.
Looks like that boy has already left . . . I guess that's his decision . . .
He looked back at Sakura. "Sorry, Sakura, but I haven't seen him," he said, in the same cheerful voice. Sakura looked a little bit upset, then said a word of thank you before she turned her heel and headed quickly for the door.
Kakashi glanced in the direction that she had gone off.
Poor girl . . . She'll find out sooner or later . . .
Sakura stood in the front of the school, letting her hair fly in the soft breeze. It wasn't too chilly that evening.
Staring up into the darkened sky, Sakura sighed. She could just almost see Sasuke in the stars, with his hypnotizing eyes, cool hair style, and his rarely seen irresistible smile.
She frowned. She knew that she blew it.
I still can't believe it . . . I finally got to dance with Sasuke . . . I almost kissed him . . . and n-now . . . he left the dance without me . . . Could it be that I scared him off? Or was it something else I did wrong? Sakura wondered as she looked into the sky.
The look in his eyes before he left was so strange that it stuck out in her mind. Sakura sighed. Reluctantly, she decided to go home, since Sasuke had already left and there was no point in staying with a heart as heavy as hers.
She started walking down the main road towards the direction of her home when suddenly, the haunting image of Uchiha Itachi's eyes flashed in her mind.
The haunting nightmare seemed to replay itself. Especially the part when Itachi plunged his kunai into Sasuke's head . . .
Sharingan . . .
Her heart was beating strangely fast. Looking around her, she checked to see that no one was following her before she continued walking. She felt very paranoid now, thinking back about her nightmare.
Then Sasuke's words hit her.
"I have an ambition: the resurrection of my clan and to kill a certain man."
"I am an avenger."
She stopped walking. Wait a minute—
"—to kill a certain man—"
Her pulse suddenly increased again and she felt an eerie feeling in her heart.
"I am an avenger."
Sakura felt her eyes widened as she suddenly thought of another possible explanation as to why Sasuke left the dance.
No . . . what if he . . . what if Sasuke-kun was . . .—
She quickly turned on her heels and started quickly down the opposite direction of the main road.
Slowly, the moon began to rise above the sky as the dance ended 10 minutes later and students began to depart from it.
"I'll see you guys later," Shikamaru said as he waved to Kiba, Chouji, and Shino.
"See you later, Romeo!" Kiba said, winking at him.
"Bye Ino! Bye Shikamaru!" Chouji said as Shino waved farewell.
"Bye!" Ino said as she and Shikamaru walked down the road side by side. The guys walked down the opposite way, eventually splitting off into different smaller roads to their homes.
"So . . ." Ino said nervously after almost half a minute of silence. "Why are you walking me home? Not that I don't appreciate or anything—"
"Well, Ino. You do know that it's a gentleman's duty to escort a lady home after a dance," Shikamaru responded, putting his hands in his pockets. "Besides, a girl shouldn't walk home at night alone. You have no idea how many serial killers are out there."
"Oh. I see. Well . . . um . . . thanks."
"Don't mention it."
They walked a little bit more in silence, until Shikamaru surprisingly spoke up.
"What do you see in Uchiha?"
"Huh? What do you mean by that?"
"What I mean is why do you like him so much? In fact, why do all the girls like him so much?"
"Why do I like Sasuke-kun? W-ell, first of all, he has that absolutely gorgeous hairstyle. I mean, it's not too long or too short, and it blows in the wind! Then, there's that pair of eyes he has! I don't know why, but EVERY girl that has ever stared into his eyes ends up falling in love with him! It's so . . . hypnotizing! There's also that sexy smile of his. He doesn't smile much, but when he actually does, it makes him look so cool and so handsome . . . well, he IS already cool and handsome. And finally, it's his attitude! His attitude is what makes him so cool! He acts so mysterious, so cocky, and so . . . well, daring, that it attracts all us hopeless romantics! Ahhh . . ."
Shikamaru almost felt like puking in front of her, but he knew he had to hold back. He felt shivers down his spine though, whenever Ino talked about Sasuke like that.
"HUH! WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT'S IT!" Ino exclaimed.
"Are you telling me that all you ever like about Uchiha is his appearance and aloof attitude?"
Shikamaru raised an eyebrow. "Have you even considered the fact that he hates all of you? Especially his 'fan club'?"
"Well . . . that's what makes him so mysterious. He's never seen around with a girl . . . except for Forehead Girl whenever they have missions . . . and he doesn't care about anyone either!"
"And what exactly has he done for you to deserve all this praise?"
"W-ell . . . . . ." Ino paused. Shikamaru had caught her there.
Shikamaru secretly grinned as Ino couldn't answer his question.
"Well?" he asked.
"Oh be quiet!" Ino pouted as she lifted head high, nose in the air. But her voice was softer when she spoke again, "You're right, Shikamaru. Sasuke-kun . . . no, Sasuke has done nothing for me at all. I never really forced myself to realize this, but you are right. Maybe THAT'S why I've been feeling like this."
"I've been feeling sort of . . . strange these days. I keep thinking about . . . about how you've always treated me nicely and then I would think about how I would long Sasuke to do the same. But . . . reality just doesn't work that way."
They walked on in silence again, until they arrived in front of Ino's house.
"Well . . . um . . . thanks for walking me home, Shikamaru," Ino said, as she turned around to face him. Shikamaru smiled.
"It's no problem. Thanks for choosing me to be your partner for the dance, Ino."
Ino smiled. "You know," she said, looking down at the ground. "I have to admit, I had the best time today at the dance with you."
"Really? What about Uchiha—"
"Sasuke-kun? Well, I'll just have to say that Sakura is one lucky girl, but the dance would have been way different if Sasuke-kun was my partner. I don't think I would have had more fun if he was my partner because he barely even talks. But you, you're different." Ino smiled. Shikamaru smiled reluctantly.
To his surprise, Ino suddenly stepped forward and hugged him. His eyes grew wide for a second, before he reluctantly closed his hands around her waist.
Ino closed her eyes. It's clear now. I must be in love with Shikamaru. Not Sasuke-kun . . .
After a few more seconds, Ino pulled herself away from him and Shikamaru released her from his arms. They stared at each other for a second, before blushing again.
"Well then, um . . . goodnight," Ino stuttered, as she looked onto the ground shyly.
"Yeah. Good night," Shikamaru stammered. "I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Yep. Bye!" Ino quickly walked up the steps to her house, unlocked the door with her keys, and open it. Turning around, she waved to Shikamaru, who waved back before she went inside and closed the door.
Ten-Ten bit her bottom lip nervously as she and Neji walked silently side by side.
They've been in silence for almost 2 minutes now, and it was so nerve-racking that she could hardly stand it.
Okay . . . what should I say? She thought as she tried thinking of something to say.
But her mind was still distractedly wandering to the time Neji had asked her to dance.
"Ten-Ten," he had said nervously.
"Yes?" She couldn't help but blush, because he had been staring right into her eyes.
After clearing his throat, he asked her the one thing she had been dreaming he would ask for a long time, ever since he had first agreed to be her partner: "W-Would you . . . would you l-l-like to dance with m-me?"
She sighed, her heart beating once again in remembrance of that one moment. Then, of course, there was that other unforgettable experience of dancing with him. He had actually wrapped his arms around her waist, while she had her arms around his neck.
And he didn't reject me . . . Ten-Ten realized. But he probably just danced with me because Gai Sensei had forced him to in the first place –
"Huh?" Turning her head, she saw that Neji was looking at her as they were walking down the road. "Yeah? What is it?"
Stop blushing! Stop blushing, you idiot! She thought to herself.
Neji blinked at her at first, then looked down onto the ground, as if deciding whether or not he should say something, then turned back to her.
"I . . . I actually had a great time today." Ten-Ten blinked at that.
"Really? Same here. I didn't expect myself to have this much fun at the dance before."
"Yeah . . . Me too." They walked on in silence again, each one lost in their own thoughts.
"You know," Ten-Ten said, after a minute of silence. "I think I saw Hinata dancing with Naruto today, and Ino and Shikamaru, when w-we were dancing."
"O-oh. R-really?" Neji tried not to think too much of him dancing with Ten-Ten, but it just couldn't be helped. It was the only thing that kept popping up in his mind.
"Yeah. Hinata just looks so innocent next to Naruto. It's almost cute," she said, smiling. Neji had to smile at that. It was true though.
"Hm. I have to agree with you on that," he replied. "Hinata-sama does look innocent compared to Naruto. She's always so quiet and he's always talking whenever he can."
"Say. . . I wonder if Sakura ever got to dance with Sasuke . . ." Ten-Ten wondered out loud. "If she did, then she'll probably be the luckiest girl in the world." Neji felt his brow unconsciously arch, then shrugged and asked a question that had suddenly popped into his mind.
"Do you like Uchiha Sasuke?"
"Huh?" That question was one that Ten-Ten had not been expecting, especially from a guy like Neji, so she just blinked for a while, thinking of what to say.
"Uh . . . wh-what do y-y-you mean by that, exactly?"
"Well, from what I've seen and heard, most of the girls seem to be crazy about him," Neji murmured.
"Well, yes, he's attractive and all, but no, I'm not in love with him, if that's what you mean. He's just a good-looking guy, that's all. Besides, I barely even know him."
Neji nodded, his heart slightly relieved.
They walked on a little bit more until they reached Ten-Ten's house. As they approached the front porch steps to Ten-Ten's house, she turned around to Neji. They were standing pretty close to each other, though not too close.
"Well, Neji, I'm really glad we had a good time together at the dance today," she said, a bit disappointed that she couldn't spend more time with him. Neji nodded too.
"Yeah. Me too."
There was awkward silence before Ten-Ten spoke up again.
"Are you going to be training again tomorrow?" she asked timidly. Neji looked up at that.
"Are you going to be at the usual training spot?"
"Yeah. Are you?"
"I'll wait for you there." That sounded a little bit personal. Ten-Ten blushed. She tried to rephrase that. "I mean, um . . . well, we always train together . . . that's what I meant . . . so uh . . . I'll just –" She didn't seem to notice, but while she had been talking, Neji had taken a step forward and had leaned towards her. She stopped talking when she saw that Neji was staring into her eyes. Her face turned into a shade of pink as she stared back.
Neji leaned closer to her, then rather reluctantly titled his head slightly and kissed her on the cheek. Then he pulled back, and looked away rather shyly, blushing.
Ten-Ten's face still felt hot from where the kiss had been planted on her face. She was just speechless for that moment. She had never expected that from Neji.
Does that mean . . . you really danced with me . . . because you liked me?
She couldn't help it anymore. Stepping forward, she gently kissed him back on the cheek. When she pulled back, they stared back at each other for a moment, before Ten-Ten broke into a smile. Neji smiled back.
"Do you . . . want to hang out after training . . .?" Ten-Ten finally asked.
Neji smiled, a shade of red covering his face. "Yeah, sure."
Ten-Ten smiled once again before turning to go to the front door.
"Thanks for walking me home Neji, and for taking me to the dance."
"No problem. Thanks for agreeing to be my partner in the first place." Neji stared at her beautiful eyes once again. Ten-Ten smiled.
"I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Yep. Goodnight, Ten-Ten."
"Goodnight , Neji."
With that, Ten-Ten unlocked the door, opened it, and went inside.
When Neji left Ten-Ten's house, he could see her peering out to watch him through her bedroom window with his Byakugan.
Hinata smiled to herself, hands clasped together as she walked beside Naruto down the road. Ever since they left the dance together, Naruto had been going on about how great and how fun it had been.
"The food was actually pretty good, even though they didn't have any ramen there. But still, it was delicious. Especially those fried shrimps and California rolls. Oh man, they were absolutely addictive—"
Hinata only half-listened to his conversations as they walked. Her mind was still set onto the moment they had together when they were dancing. Her wish had actually come true: Naruto had asked her to dance.
Her mind wandered off.
"But if Hinata hadn't agreed to go the dance with me, then I probably wouldn't be as happy as I am now." Naruto then turned and smiled at her. It took her quite a moment before she could respond shakily.
"N-Naruto-kun . . ."
"Don't forget, Hinata! I still owe you for being my wonderful partner! If it weren't for you, then I'll probably be stuck with some weird girl. Thanks once again!"
The only thing that she was embarrassed about then was that Neji had caught her reacting to Naruto shyly.
"Hinata, you want to dance too?" That question was extremely unexpected. It had only been a question one could possibly daydream about all day long and long to be asked by the one they loved. She almost stopped breathing all together when she remembered that it wasn't a dream: it was real.
"W-w-w-w-ell, I – I – I . . . um . . . I . . . uh . . . Y-y . . . y-y-y-e-s-s-s-s-s."
"Yay! I'm so glad you didn't turn me down."
But the best part yet was when they were actually dancing together. And once again, it was something that she had never expected the real Naruto to do.
"I never thought you would be so nice as to not reject me. All the girls seem to hate me, but you're always so nice to me. It makes me very happy."
"Yup. I like that about you. You don't hate me. And even though I'm always so annoying, you never treat me as if I'm an annoying person."
"O-oh. Th-t-thank you, N-N-Naruto-kun," she had murmured, her face on the verge to matching the temperature of a volcano.
Then he stepped forward even more, so that they were even closer to each other, and wrapped his arms around her waist. She could only rest her head on his shoulder as she tried to think of a way to express her feelings to him.
Of course, she never got to it because she was just too shy and nervous.
"Hm?" Taken by surprise, a rather pink-faced Hinata looked to Naruto. "Y-yes, Naruto-k-kun?"
"Why is it that all the girls except for you treat me like some annoying person?" he asked, looking up into the sky. "And why is it that they all seem to worship Sasuke all the time? I mean, he ignores them like houseflies. What's so attractive about that?"
"W-well . . . m-maybe . . . p-perhaps t-t-they think h-he's amazing b-b-because h-he is good-d looking . . ."
"Well, he's not THAT good-looking, is he?"
Is he a-asking me? "W-well . . . he's n-not really my type, N-Naruto-kun. T-truly, I respect h-him as a class-mate. But I d-don't admire him as the o-other girls d-d-do."
Naruto suddenly whirled around, scaring the heck out of Hinata. They stopped walking in the middle of the road.
"Did you just say that you don't LIKE SASUKE!" Naruto exclaimed.
" . . . . . . ." Hinata stared at him for a second before looking down onto the ground. "Y-y-y-yes . . ."
"WHOO HOO!" Naruto jumped about a foot in the air, pumping his fist into the air. Hinata stared at him as he did a victory dance, then rush forward and picked her up in a hug, while spinning about in a circle at the same.
Hinata's eyes went wide. "N . . . Naruto-kun?" she managed to breathe out as Naruto whirled her around in one more circle, almost collapsing, before he put her back onto the ground.
"Oh. I'm sorry, but it's just that you're the first girl who I've known who isn't a Sasuke-fan!" Naruto said, grinning from ear to ear. Hinata blinked, then shyly looked down onto the ground, a small smile on her face.
As they continued walking, Hinata stole a glance at Naruto again. She envied at how he could just talk so freely without once ever feel shy, at how he was able to become stronger at such a fast pace, and how he never gave up, no matter how difficult the situation was. She was the opposite of all these facts.
Maybe . . . perhaps one day, I can be just as brave, strong, and confident as you, Naruto-kun . . .
They finally arrived at Hinata's house a few minutes later, Naruto talking all the while on how great everyone thinks Sasuke was and how he would one day become the Hokage of Konoha and show everyone and Sasuke just how great he was. He managed to earn a lot of smiles and a few giggles from Hinata, though she barely talked and mostly listened to his conversation.
But it had been fun all the way; mostly because Naruto was so happy that Hinata wasn't one bit annoyed with him and that she wasn't an "I-LOVE-SASUKE-Fan-Girl".
He still wasn't accustomed to seeing her BIG house, so he always sort of gawked at the house when they arrived.
Walking her up to the front door, Naruto grinned.
"Well, I'm so glad you agreed to be my partner in the first place, Hinata. Otherwise, I wouldn't be standing here, telling you how much fun I had at the dance with you."
"Huh? . . . Oh . . . mm . . . I should be t-t-thanking you Naruto," Hinata answered, trying to talk without feeling her heartbeat increase every millisecond. There was silence for a brief moment before Naruto spoke again.
"You know," Naruto said, looking towards the ground. "Sometimes, I feel as if everyone treats me as the opposite of Sasuke, just because I'm different from him. I try to be as cool and as strong as he is, but it usually comes out a different way. And in the end, everyone hates me or compares me, as a lower class to him, as a higher class. That's why I was so overjoyed that you didn't turn me down when I asked you to the dance."
" . . . . ."
"I was really scared that I might not find a partner, just because I wasn't anything like Sasuke. I . . . I just don't think I'm good enough for you. You deserve better, Hinata. You really do, because you're always so nice to me. I'm just not cool and strong enough to even deserve to be your partner."
" . . . . . . B-but . . . umm . . . . you're c-cool and strong in your own way, Naruto-kun. I-I . . . I really think so. Y-you see, b-back in the Chuunin exam, when I was fighting a-against Neji-niisan, you cheered for me, and t-that alone gave me c-courage to f-fight back. B-because of you, I was able to c-change myself a little bit." Hinata swallowed.
"You shouldn't c-compare yourself to Sasuke, Naruto-kun. Nobody should. You . . . should just be y-yourself . . . be . . . b-because . . . I . . . I . . . mm . . . I l-like you the w-way you are . . ." She almost immediately gasped as she realized what she had just said, but quickly stifled her voice so that she didn't make a sound.
Naruto looked at her, eyes wide. "R-really?" he asked calmly. He blushed slightly.
Hinata nodded, looking down onto the ground all the way. Her cheeks were awfully red. She started twiddling with her index fingers again as her heart hammered against her chest.
"In my eyes, you are the Sasuke in m-my life."
There was silence as Hinata twiddled around with her fingers more distractedly. Naruto digested this bit of information before he spoke again.
"Hm." Smiling, he looked up at her. "Thanks, Hinata. I really appreciated that."
" . . . . . ." Hinata smiled back, her face constantly changing into a deeper shade of red.
He . . . he smiled at me . . .
" . . . I . . . I guess I s-s-should go now . . ." Hinata said shakily. "T-thank you, Naruto-kun, for taking m-me to the dance and w-walking me back h-home."
"Hm. It's no problem," Naruto said softly. He still seemed dazed with what Hinata had told him.
As Hinata turned to go ring the door bell, Naruto grabbed her wrist just as she pushed the button to the doorbell.
"N-Naruto-kun?" she said, turning around. Her eyes were wide.
Is he . . .
Naruto grinned at her. "Hinata, I was just wondering: would you like to go see a movie with me tomorrow?"
Hinata almost fainted. Steadying herself, the color of her cheeks was beyond description and she felt her mind repeat those words a million times.
"Hinata, I was just wondering: would you like to go see a movie with me tomorrow?"
Naruto-kun . . . I . . . just don't know how to thank you . . . Thank you for not . . . rejecting me . . . This is . . . This is more than I could ever have asked for . . .much more than I can ever have expected from you, Naruto-kun . . . Thank you . . .
Naruto waited patiently as Hinata tried to calm herself down. Finally, with much effort and bravery, she murmured her answer, her eyes looking down all the way.
"Y-y-y-y-yesssssss . . . . . . ."
"Alright!" Naruto cheered, still holding onto Hinata's hand. He ran forward and gave her a big hug. "Thanks Hinata! I promise you, we're going to have so much fun! And afterwards, I'm going to treat you to ramen for lunch –"
Hinata, still a bit traumatized by his reaction, rested her chin on his shoulder, happy that this was such a wonderful night.
Little did she know that her father was watching from inside the house, smiling to himself, and giving them a few more minutes together outside.
Hinata . . . you've really grown up, haven't you? I'm proud of you, daughter.
(Some lines are taken from Ch 181 of manga or from episode 109)
The wind blew as Sasuke walked quietly down the main road. It had been almost 70 minutes ago since he had left the dance.
A few leaves blew in his path as he continued down the road. He was wearing his normal clothes once again, with his shuriken holster on his right leg and a backpack on his back.
He had only taken what he had needed for his journey: some clothes, money, his weapons/scrolls, and a little bit of food/water. He didn't wear his headband. No . . . that was in his pocket.
Walking down the quiet path, he noticed how bright the sky was tonight. Even though it was dark, the moon lit up the sky and cast down its light onto the streets of Konoha.
It was pretty quiet, because most of the people were sleeping. The crickets were the only sounds he could hear, other than that of his footsteps.
He neared the entrance, as well as the exit, to the village of the Leaf. It would take him perhaps 5 minutes more or less to depart from his home village.
As he walked past the school and down that path, he suddenly noticed a figure a little bit ahead of him. The person was wearing something pinkish-red and had pink hair.
Sakura . . .
As he neared her, she walked towards him, and stopped in the middle of the path. She still had on her dress for the dance.
The first thing that she noticed was the backpack on Sasuke's back. Her eyes widened as her mouth opened partially, shocked.
She had been right. She had been so right that it'd hurt.
She could only watch as Sasuke walked closer to her, and then finally stopped walking and stood in front of her. They were about three meters apart.
He looked at her. "What are you doing down here so late at night? Shouldn't you have gone home with the others after the dance finished?"
Sakura lowered her head slightly as she answered him, "I left the dance early because I was worried about you. So I went to look for you. Besides, this is the only road leading out to the village."
Sasuke closed his eyes, then turned his head away from hers and continued walking. "Go home and sleep," he said coldly.
She felt her heart crumble as he walked past her, never stopping to look back or say a word to her. It felt like they had never known each other at all. As he continued walking, she felt her lip tremble and her eyes water.
"You're going after your brother, aren't you, Sasuke-kun?" she murmured after a moment of silence, still not turning around.
" . . . . . ." Sasuke didn't respond to that, but rather kept walking at the same pace.
"Why . . . Why are you still after him?" she asked quietly, as she turned her body sideways. "Why won't you stay here with us? Why can't you give up your hatred of your brother? Why do you still—"
"Why are you always sticking your nose into my business?" he answered coldly. He stopped walking. Sakura watched him as tears filled her eyes. He stood still. "This has absolutely nothing to do with you. Quit trying to be nosy."
Sakura tried to digest this, but she couldn't. Looking away for a second, her tears slowly dripped down her cheeks.
Silence filled the atmosphere for a moment as Sakura swallowed. Biting her lip, she smiled shakily.
"You always act like you hate me, Sasuke-kun." He didn't respond to that. She breathed in shakily.
"Do you remember . . . when I first asked you to be my partner for the dance?"
A flash back of that incident replayed itself in both their minds.
"I'm going home. Remember to ice that ankle." Sasuke had started to go down the road when Sakura had yelled, "Wait!"
"What now?" he had responded.
"I. . . I was wondering, Sasuke-kun. . ." Sasuke waited. "I know you'll probably say no, but would you like to go to the dance with me just as a friend? We don't have to dance or anything and it's the least I can do for you for carrying me back to my home. I know you don't have a partner yet, s-so . . . would you like to go with me?"
He had almost immediately looked down and had turned around, her back facing her. She had felt her heart crumble when she had seen this response.
He's going to say No, I just know it. And then, afterwards, he'll probably never want to have anything to do with me again. What is it that he doesn't like about me? Is it because I'm who I am?. . . . I should have never asked him in the first place. Maybe if I didn't ask him, then my heart wouldn't be broken and we could have just been friends instead.
But to her surprise, 20 seconds later, Sasuke's shoulders heaved up and he muttered a reply.
"Pardon me?" she had asked, because she couldn't hear his voice.
"I said, what time?"
"W-what do you mean what time?"
"I mean what time should I pick you up?" he had said a bit louder this time, not turning around. She soon realized what his answer meant and had almost immediately smiled.
"You mean, you'll go with me-"
"Hey, I'm only going with you as a friend, remember? That's what you said. Besides, I don't want my annoying fan club to go around stalking me for the next few days just so they can ask me if I can go with them to the dance." Sasuke still had not turned around to face her. "So do you want me to come with you or not—"
"Yes. Yes I do. I do want you to come with me, please," she had answered in a voice which was growing softer with each word. "Sasuke-kun, I won't annoy you. I . . . won't force you to dance with me-"
"Sakura," he said. "What time am I coming to get you?"
"Oh. Um . . . the dance starts at 7:00, so why don't you come over at 6:30, so then we can get there early and talk to people before we go in?"
"Okay. See you then." With that, Sasuke had left and that was how they had ended up going to the dance together.
Sakura looked up to him, tears staining her cheeks. "I was so overjoyed when you had said that you would be my partner. I . . . I'd thought that maybe, perhaps with the dance and all, we could become better friends. I . . . I still felt so distant from you, even though I saw you almost everyday whenever we did missions. I thought that . . . perhaps you would . . . you would like to know me better also . . . and not have to identify me as just some stupid fan girl of yours, but rather . . . as a good f-friend . . ."
She sniffed again, thinking back of the memory of Sasuke dancing with her.
Or perhaps much more than just a good friend . . .
Sasuke didn't even blink. "I only said yes because I didn't have a partner. It was nothing personal. I had no intention whatsoever to become better friends with you. Besides, you mean nothing more to me than just a mere team mate."
She felt her heart crack. That comment hurt her. It was like receiving a slap in the face.
Sakura's small smile turned upside down. As she looked away from him once more, she held back a choking sob, tears dripping the ground and forming one small water stain.
"I . . . I s-s-see . . ." she murmured shakily after a few seconds of trying to control her crying. "B-but . . . I . . . I guess . . . it's the first time we've done anything together outside of missions . . . just the two of us as partners. Even though you might not have enjoyed going to the dance, I enjoyed every moment of it. From buying a new dress and waiting for you to pick me up, to eating together, and taking pictures. I enjoyed it all, especially when we danced together. It was really fun . . . and I hope you've had fun with me at the dance too . . ." She smiled, tear drops gathering at the corners of her eyes like small droplets.
Sasuke didn't move.
Sakura sniffed as she swallowed and looked at the back of Sasuke's head. After a few seconds of silence, she continued on, "Sasuke-kun, I know what happened to your clan. I know why you're always so angry at your brother, and I guess . . . this is the reason why you would stop at nothing to avenge your clan. But . . ."
She thought back of her nightmare. The thought of Itachi's Sharingan gave her the shivers.
"Sasuke-kun, you can get hurt! Uchiha Itachi's extremely dangerous . . . He even defeated Kakashi Sensei! I just . . . I just don't want to see you get hurt anymore, Sasuke-kun! You might even get killed!" Her voice was now rising up more as she took one step towards him. "Please, don't go! You might . . . you might never come back alive! You might suffer even more, Sasuke-kun!"
Sasuke listened to her words. But he did not turn around to face her. He breathed in before saying to her quietly, "I know."
Sakura stared at him, shocked at his answer. Sasuke continued on, "I already know the possible results of what would happen if I were to go and kill my brother. I have also accepted them. Even if I must die, I have to still move forward and pursue my brother. That is my only other destiny besides death. I exist for this purpose and this purpose only. That is why I am an avenger. I can never be like you or Naruto."
"Why must you always think of yourself as an avenger?" Sakura said hysterically. "Why . . . why can't you just give up your revenge? Revenge won't give happiness to anyone! Not you . . . nor me . . ." Her voice trailed off as she looked at Sasuke.
She watched his shoulders heave up slightly as he let out a sigh. "Sakura . . . stop talking as if this means anything to you," he said emotionlessly. "I've already told you before: this has nothing to do with you. So stop trying to be nosy and mind your own business."
Bah-bump! That comment hurt her even more. This time, it felt like a knife had been pushed into her heart.
Her eyes stared in bewilderment at Sasuke as she bit her bottom lip tightly. Sasuke could hear her breathing tensely, as if she was angry or frustrated. But he didn't dare turn around.
Sakura tried to relax and not take that comment to heart, but it just couldn't be helped. Her lip began to tremble as the tears came down like streams of water.
Why . . . w-why? . . .
"Why . . . why can' you s-see, Sasuke-kun?" she cried, a choking sob in her voice. "Why c-can't you s-see how m-much I care about y-you?"
" . . . . . ." His heart stood still as he listened to Sakura's desperate words. He looked down at the ground as Sakura's heaving sobs filled his ears.
"Why can't you ever understand, Sasuke-kun?" she murmured, this time in a quieter and exhausted voice. But her voice rose again with each word she said, "I . . . I love y-you . . . I l-love you so m-much that it's b-breaking my h-heart to even see y-you leave . . . P-Please . . . I'm begging you . . . D-don't go . . ."
Sasuke felt his brow arch slightly as he thought of what Sakura had just said.
"Why . . . Why c-can't you s-see how m-much I care about y-you? Why can't you ever understand, Sasuke-kun? I . . . I love y-you . . . I l-love you so m-much that it's b-breaking my h-heart to even see y-you leave . . . P-Please . . . I'm begging you . . . D-don't go . . ."
His heart beat sped up as he stayed silent.
She loves me . . . but . . . I can't love her . . .
"Sasuke-kun! Please! I'm begging you!" Sakura cried out, her voice cracking with emotion. "Please! D-d-don't go! If . . . If you stay here with me, you won't regret it! I promise! We . . . We can s-still be friends! And . . . e-everyday, we'll do something f-fun! Or . . . if that is not at a-all possible, then . . . please . . . take me with you! I'll help you with your r-revenge, Sasuke-kun! I don't k-know what I can do, b-but I'll do m-my best to help you with y-your revenge! All I'm asking for is that you'll s-stay by my side, Sasuke-kun! PLEASE!"
" . . . . . . . "
The wind blew gently as silence filled the atmosphere for a moment.
Sasuke stared at the ground for a bit before he tried to think of an answer to her request. Sakura's sobs were now starting to make his heart grow heavy.
No . . . I can't allow it . . . I . . . I just can't . . .
Taking a breath, Sasuke said his words carefully, "Forget about me, Sakura. It would only be easier for you if you forget about me. All the things we did together . . . the missions, the conversations . . . the dance even . . . Forget about it."
With that he stepped forward and began to walk even further away from her. Sakura stared at him in shock.
"DON'T GO!" she screamed, her voice breaking. But Sasuke paid no attention to her and continued walking. Sakura watched in horror as he walked farther away from her with each step he took. Her pupils shook violently as she trembled.
"Sasuke-kun! Don't go! I . . . I won't LET YOU!"
With that, Sakura ran forward towards him, panting.
But as she reached Sasuke, everything seemed to move in slow motion. Just as her arms were ready to reach out and hold him back, Sasuke turned around, whipped out a kunai, and held it right in front of her throat. His eyes were narrowed and Sakura could only stop dead in her tracks, frightened at his reaction.
For a moment, they stared at each other, each one frozen in their position. They were less than a meter apart from each other. The kunai gleamed in the moon light. Sakura panted, tears streaming down from her eyes.
"Sakura, I don't want to hurt you," he muttered as he stared into her eyes. His hand tightened around the handle of the kunai as it stayed dangerously near her throat. "I really don't," he said again, this time in a softer voice. "So please . . . stop all this . . ."
Sakura could only choke under her heaving sobs as tears flowed down her cheeks. They locked gazes for almost a minute before Sasuke finally moved his hand away from her throat. He looked very serious with his decision and she could see it in his eyes. She sighed in defeat.
"Are y-you absolutely sure a-about t-t-this ? . . ." she whispered hoarsely.
Sasuke nodded. The kunai was still in his right hand.
Sakura felt broken inside. She knew now that there was no way she would ever be able to change his mind. There was a look of certainty in his eyes.
She swallowed, trying to hold back a sob. "W-Will y-you c-come back to visit-t . . . W-will y-y-you? I'll . . . I'll w-wait for y-you . . ."
Sasuke stared at her before lowering his eyes to the ground. "Perhaps," he murmured. Neither one spoke or made a sound for a few seconds.
Finally, Sakura's heaving sob resurfaced and she covered her face as her heart began to break apart. Sasuke could only watch solemnly as her tears dripped to the ground.
Sakura . . . does it hurt you this much to see me go? . . .
After a minute, Sakura spoke up.
"Why . . . why c-can't we ever be together?" she whispered hoarsely as she lifted her hands away from her face and looked down. "Why d-do you always act like y-you h-hate me? Why c-can't we spend our d-days together? Why . . . why c-can't you give me y-your heart w-when I've already given y-you mine?"
Sasuke watched as she continued sobbing. His jaw clenched as his hand tightened and trembled around the kunai. From somewhere inside, he felt his heart snap.
"Sakura . . ." he finally said, after 30 seconds have passed. "I don't . . . I don't hate you . . . It's just that . . ."
Sakura stopped her sobbing and looked up, trying to hold back her crying. To her surprise, Sasuke lifted up his right hand, still clutching the kunai, and began wiping the tears away from her left cheek gently. Sakura could only stare. Her heart stood still and she seemed to be holding her breath.
"You . . . and I . . ." he murmured softly. "We can never be together . . . We just can't . . ." His hand now stretched open partially, allowing him to touch her cheek.
"Perhaps . . . if things had been different . . . then . . . t-then . . ." His voice trailed off. His hand rested on her cheek tenderly as he stared at her.
Sakura stared at him as his eyes lowered to the ground. Then his eyes narrowed slightly and his hand slowly moved away from her cheek and into the air next to her face. Sakura watched intently, wondering what was wrong with Sasuke.
"Sasuke !" Whap! All of a sudden, the left side of her head felt the contact of something hard. Her vision soon blurred as she felt dizzy.
"Sasuke . . . kun . . ." she managed to breathe out before she went unconscious. Her eyes closed. Her body fell limply forward and Sasuke caught her as she fell, her head resting on his shoulder. Carefully putting the kunai away, he let her body rest against his before he turned her to one side and carried her to a nearby bench.
When he had set her down onto the bench, back lying down, he could feel the stain her tears had made on his shirt.
He looked down at her for a long moment, staring at her beautiful complexion. The thoughts and memories of the last few days of him with Sakura appeared in his mind.
"Why are you always so quiet? Whenever I see you, you're always so . . . quiet."
"I'm being nosy here, aren't I?"
"Who are you planning to go to the dance with?"
"Oh? Me? I don't know yet. I definitely do not want to go with Naruto!"
"Sasuke-kun, you know, you don't have to carry me all this way. Kakashi-sensei only assigned you to carry me back to Konoha, not to my house."
"Thank you, Sasuke-kun . . ."
"I. . . I was wondering, Sasuke-kun. I know you'll probably say no, but would you like to go to the dance with me just as a friend?"
"You look so . . . so handsome in your suit."
"Isn't this fun, Sasuke-kun?"
"You don't have to say yes, but I was just wondering if you would like to dance with me."
"I left the dance early because I was worried about you. So I went to look for you. Besides, this is the only road leading out to the village."
"Why won't you stay here with us? Why can't you give up your hatred of your brother?"
"You always act like you hate me, Sasuke-kun."
"I enjoyed it all, especially when we danced together. It was really fun . . . and I hope you've had fun with me at the dance too . . ."
"Please, don't go! You might . . . you might never come back alive! You might suffer even more, Sasuke-kun!"
"Why . . . why can't you just give up your revenge? Revenge won't give happiness to anyone! Not you . . . nor me . . ."
"Why . . . why can' you s-see, Sasuke-kun? Why c-can't you s-see how m-much I care about y-you?"
"Why can't you ever understand, Sasuke-kun? I . . . I love y-you . . . I l-love you so m-much that it's b-breaking my h-heart to even see y-you leave . . . P-Please . . . I'm begging you . . . D-don't go . . ."
"If you stay here with me, you won't regret it! I promise! We . . . We can s-still be friends! And . . . e-everyday, we'll do something f-fun! Or . . . if that is not at a-all possible, then . . . please . . . take me with you! I'll help you with your r-revenge, Sasuke-kun! I don't k-know what I can do, b-but I'll do m-my best to help you with y-your revenge! All I'm asking for is that you'll s-stay by my side, Sasuke-kun! PLEASE!"
"W-Will y-you c-come back to visit-t . . . W-will y-y-you? I'll . . . I'll w-wait for y-you . . ."
"Why . . . why c-can't we ever be together? Why d-do you always act like y-you h-hate me? Why c-can't we spend our d-days together? Why . . . why c-can't you give me y-your heart w-when I've already given y-you mine?"
He knelt down next to her. She looked extremely exhausted, but she still looked beautiful in her dress.
Sasuke couldn't help but stare at her. He hadn't wanted to hit her, but if he didn't, then she might have tried to stop him from leaving. It was less painful to see her unconscious than to see her cry.
He couldn't risk taking her with him either. He wasn't willing to have Uchiha Itachi use her as a hostage in order to torment him or prevent him from avenging his clan. He wasn't willing to lose anymore than he had already.
His eyes rested on her tear-stained face as he stared at her. His heart began to beat faster.
For the first time ever, he didn't try to question himself why he was looking at her, or why she even meant anything to him. The truth remained in his heart.
"Why . . . why c-can't you give me y-your heart w-when I've already given y-you mine?" she had asked him earlier.
Sakura . . . I can't give you my heart . . . and I can't give you my soul . . . But . . . I can give you this . . .
With that, he leaned forward towards her slowly and kissed her. His eyes opened when he pulled his lips away from hers a few seconds later. A warm feeling, as well as a sad one, filled his heart as his cheeks filled with a pink color.
He reached forward and stroked her cheek, drying the tears from her right cheek this time. Her cheek was soft but wet from her tears and she smelled of a soft scent of flowers. He had never done this before in his life. Never.
But it was time. . . . Time for him to go. . . . Time for him to leave.
Brushing her hair back from her face, he stared at her one last time before saying,
"Good bye . . . my Sakura . . ."
With that, he stood up and continued down the road, heading for the gate of Konoha. When he had reached it, he hesitated for a brief moment, thinking over about his decision.
The wind blew quietly. Sasuke looked up into the sky at the moon, then proceeded ahead to the road ahead of him and left.
Well, that's it everyone! I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did writing it! I want to thank you once again to all my reviewers out there! Thank you so much everyone for supporting me all the way with your reviews! I'm sorry if some characters were too out-of-character and if the ending sucked!Pleasereview!Enjoy!