Hiya! The third time this fic is edited. I hope this is better. And I also change some of the personality so it won't be too OOC.
He was coming to the village.
It was unbelievable, thought Sakura. And unexpected. In seven years after his departure, he came back surprisingly out of the blue. But no one could predict the Uchiha's mind. Especially Sasuke's.
It was clear that Tsunade's order for her to greet him was in purpose. There had been a teasing glint in her eyes when she ordered her to do so.
"Maybe he can bring you back."
Bring her back? Humph. Ridiculous. She had never felt like herself before. She had always felt under someone's shadow. Now, she could prove her ability. Even though she came from no bloodline. Her family was no ninja family. She was the first ninja in her family.
She missed them, truly missed them. She always came to their catacombs at least once a week, just to memorize them.
"If you forget them, then they're truly dead, aren't they?"
But then, Naruto and Ino had been so nice and supporting. And she regarded them as her own family. But deep inside her heart, she knew she couldn't live the pain of being left anymore.
That was why she changed.
She withdrew herself from them, focusing in training and healing, hoping with her ability, she might be able to postpone their leaving as far as possible. It wasn't as if she didn't love them. It was quite the contrary. But the village regarded her as one of the anti-social person.
It wasn't as if she didn't care, it was simply came out the wrong way.
Funnily, the new attitude was also regarded as cool and composed, earning her a fan club. Even though 25 percent of the fan club consisted of girls.
Now, she could use a skill, her skill to protect them. The people who she held dear.
The lone figure in the end of the road caught her attention. Her heart leaped into her throat, and she tried her best to calm it down.
Easy there, tiger.
But it wasn't easy. He was back. He was back!
She felt like jumping with joy, or crying. Neither of the action was appealing, so she did neither.
Confused of what to do, she glared at him.
The Uchiha caught her eyes, albeit taken aback by the none-too-warmly greeting. He had expected a bit of crying, screaming, hugging, and kissing.
Heh. He wished.
She changed, he thought. But, who wouldn't be? I knocked her out in the cold of the night when she was waiting every night for him to prevent him from leaving.
I deserve the glare.
And the new name.
She panicked inwardly. Uchiha-san? My God, she had decided to act cool and composed about him returning to Konoha, about greeting him, but she hadn't meant to push him away.
Cool was NOT cold. It wasn't the same, damn it.
And for the record, it seemed a little bit stupid and a desperate act to distance herself away from him.
But it was silly to change the name now. Well, she might as well get used to the new name to regard her past crush, or love, or whatever.
It was past.
But apparently, the Uchiha thought the other line she did. She hates me now. She must hate me now. Urgh.
He had betrayed her trust. He had crushed her heart which had been offered generously to him and him alone.
And the mere thought of it sent him to the guilt that knew no end.
"May I take your coat, your bag, and your gloves? Hey! Are they… stocking?"
"They are NOT stocking. They are parts of the sandals! See?"
"Aah… Sorry. They are… err… cute."
"Yeah. Do you know where I can get a pair? Do they come in woman size?"
No way in hell.
"Kabuto gave them to me."
His inside nagged at him. She treated him with such hostility in her expression and acts. She acted like she barely knew him, with restrained, forced conversation and forced smiles.
Although… they were no smiles.
Her brain jumped up and down in frustration. How lame could she be at making a decent conversation? She could have asked how his journey had been, or his training outside Konoha, or something SMARTER.
But no, she pointed that she thought he wore a pair of womanly assets.
Very smooth, Sakura. She cursed herself as he gave her his bag.
"I'll keep the coat and the gloves."
It was Sasuke's turn to smack his head inwardly. Such a gentleman. Did he actually just tell a woman to bring his bag?
"So…" she broke the awkward silence between them with a cough. "Why the sudden change of mind? Why are you back with Konoha?"
Oops. Not exactly a warm and sweet conversation.
"I… hope Konoha will help me find him."
"Oh?" Sakura raised her eyebrows knowingly. Typical Sasuke-kun.
"In case of that… wish, you just need to meet Tsunade-sama while I bring this back to your mansion,"—she gestured to his bag—"And then I'll help you unpack."
"I don't need help in unpacking."
"Oh? I thought it was polite since I live in your mansion. But you can do as you wish. No hard feelings."
"Huh? You live in my mansion?"
"Oh… I didn't mention that, did I? Yeah, I was told by Tsunade-sama"—by 'told', she meant she had offered, almost had begged to volunteer—"to clean you house, so it wasn't dusty and dead in case you're coming back, like now."
"And how about your house?"
"Ah, I didn't tell you that either, did I? Err… just put it this way. A friend of a shinobi I killed had a grudge against me, and then burn down the house after killing my family."
He winced inwardly. The sadistic, blunt, and flat description of the massacre of her family was too cold. Even for him. It was almost as if she didn't care.
He spotted the light of sadness shone in her eyes for a second, and then it was gone. She put up barriers against him, locking all the emotion inside and leaving him outside.
For some reason, he felt stung. Cheated, as if she robbed him of something.
"Uchiha-san, I think you're going to need this." She let go of her hitae-ate, and then giving it to him.
"How about you?"
"I have another one, and it's prettier. It's red. Blue doesn't exactly go with my hair, does it?"
Fuck it. What's wrong with her? Why did she lie to him? He knew she didn't care a shit about the colour of her hitae-ate. When you're going to a mission and facing the thin line of life and death, you wouldn't care whether you look pretty or not.
Not that she needed to look any prettier.
He told himself that he didn't care. But he could hardly ignore the developing breasts and bottom, or the low cut of her top that emphasized the tininess of her waist and the fullness of her breasts and the flare of her hips. Her face grew thinner and prettier. She lost all the childishness in her face.
Maybe if she laughed, the child would be back in her face.
Damn it. He should stop. Why did he care about her laugh? He cared only about the death of his damn brother.
He shouldn't care about the child hiding in her.
But then again, why should he? He was hardly could be called celibate all these seven years. There had been conquests after conquests after conquests. He had changed women as often as he changed his underwear.
Yeah, but with his reputation, it would be unwise to continue that living style in this village.
Ah, his reputation. That was why.
He didn't care about the whispering that spread like a wildfire when his face was shown up, but apparently, Sakura cared.
She cared, he thought as she tied the forehead protector to his head.
"There you go. Konoha Ninja once more." She said with a hint of satisfaction. "Now get your ass to Tsunade-sama's."
He got no punishment whatsoever.
The fact bewildered him. The village was softer than he could ever imagine. Had the village been him, he would have all the missing-nins beheaded as fast as he could.
Or at least, quarantine them for some time.
Well, the situation favoured him, though. He should be grateful.
On the way home, he met Naruto, and chatted a bit (By 'chat', he meant listening while Naruto talked and talked and talked until his mouth was foaming).
He hadn't change, had he? Hyperactive, colour blind (Seriously, what kind of ninja wears such a BRIGHT and SHINING and STABILO orange. It could be spotted easily.), and Hokage obsessed.
"I'm gonna be the greatest, handsomest, strongest, coolest, sweetest, and many many '—est' Hokage Konoha ever had!"
"…stupidest, dumbest, loudest,..."
"WHAT??! GET BACK HERE, TEME!!"
He also knew from Naruto, that his former teammate kunoichi had earned a fanclub of her own.
"Yeah, they are scarier than yours. Some are even searching her trashes, can you believe that? Sakura actually had to report them to Tsunade-baa-chan."
Ah, report them. Why hadn't he thought that before?
Sakura had changed. Naruto said it wasn't his fault, for the change had begun since her family's massacre. But still, he must be partially responsible for the loss of her smile.
"We've never seen her true smile anymore. Now, the definition of 'smile' in her is: a few millimetres movement from her lip muscles."
"Except in the mission. Her smile was REAL seductive to the enemy."
"Yep. The smile of Angel of Death. Whoever saw that smile would die less than an hour."
"Yep, the enemies tend to be real smitten to her, which gives her more openings."
The three of them now had learnt the hard way for lack of family, hadn't them? Naruto had lost everything from the start. Thus, he still could embrace people and be friend with them.
As for Sakura and he himself… He could understand why she had changed. She pushed people away before they became too dear to her.
Because then, the fear of losing them would be too great to bear.
They both shared the same pain, even though she was lucky it hadn't been her sibling who had slaughtered her family. But the attack must have been such a hellish blow for her, for the slaughter had successfully robbed her smile.
"Can't you smile, Sasuke-kun? Smiling is very important, you know. My mother once told me: one smile your life will be longer five minutes! You don't want to die before you kill your brother, do you?"
Her true smile…
He didn't know why, but he was itching, having such a craving, to see her smile. To see the emerald eyes of her widened and brightened, and then a curve of lips adorned her face prettily.
He terribly missed her smile, missed the soothing, calming effect it brought on him. Missed the only source of light in the dark life of his.
Yet, it had been the reason he had drawn himself away from her. The calmness and the warmth were so alluring, so tempting. He would like nothing more than to crawl in and then never came out again.
And somehow, made him forget about revenge. He just couldn't lose the goal in his life. It was the dream he should fulfil. Must fulfil.
He would do anything, anything to kill him. Slaughter him. Making him down to his knees and begging his mercy.
Which he wouldn't get, obviously.
That was why he came here.
That was why he risked the wrath of the villagers.
Because of his revenge.
Anything would do. His life.
Or even her life.
She was waiting for him. Her eyes searching the street anxiously. Her teeth chattered softly because of the cold of the night.
And yet, she hoped that she wouldn't meet him.
Her prayer wasn't answered. Her biggest fear came true to life, she realized as she saw him walking down the road.
"What are you doing here?"
"…" He brought his baggage, she noticed with an uncomfortable tightness in her throat.
He was going to leave.
Dammit, she would move heaven and earth not to make him leaving the village. Leaving her.
Her voice was low when talking. "I know that you would come this way if you want to leave. So I just waited here…"
"Get out of here. And go to sleep." She was told flatly. She flinched slightly at the coldness of his voice.
The silence was deafening. Unbearable. Only the tears—her tears, dripping to the street was heard.
"Why didn't you say anything? Why did you never say a single word to me?" She looked at his back, waiting for an answer.
"I told you: I didn't need your help. Don't try to look after me."
The girl couldn't say anything. Finally, she smiled bitterly.
"No matter what, you just hate me, don't you? Even when the first time we met as three-man team, you were so mad at me." She lowered her gaze, remembering their past. Expecting an answer, but never hoping too much.
Ever since she loved him, she never hoped much. She had learnt hope was futile, useless.
She should have enough brain for that in the first place.
His answer, after a long pause, startling her. "…I don't remember that."
The rejection struck her a little, making her flinch softly. But then, she smiled bitterly. "…I guess you're right. They're all in the past, aren't they? But even now… I still enjoy it."
"…I know all about your past, Sasuke. Even though you get the revenge, it won't bring anyone happiness. Not even you, Sasuke…, nor me…" she ended her sentence weakly. Helplessly knowing that those words were futile to stop the boy from leaving. As futile if she tried to fight him to make him stay.
She was still weak.
A burden for the Team 7.
The boy answered quietly, "…I already know. I'm different from you guys. I can't take the same way as you guys do."
Sad and angry, she retorted, her voice hoarse from tears. "Do you really want to go back being alone? You told me how painful is loneliness. Now, I know your pain. I may have family and friends. But…" her tears flowed, "…if you leave… to me… I would be just as alone as you…"
Something seemed like across the boy's mind. But he paid it no heed and said, "From now on… we all begin new path."
"I love you with all my heart!" she shouted, "If you stay here, you will have no regrets, I swear! I don't know what to do, but we would be happy. So please… stay here with me…. Or if you can't, take me with you…" she cried and shuddered uncontrollably.
She didn't want him to leave. She needed him not to leave.
Finally, he turned his head to her.
With an arrogant smirk…
"You really are… annoying."
Sakura woke up from her bed, panting. Her right hand brushed her hair away from her damp face.
That dream again…
A dream, but not quite a dream. A remembrance of reality. The one who haunted her for countless time already. And although she already paid it no heed, but now it was different.
It was different.
He was back.
When she felt a painful stinging at the corner from her eyes, she wiped her tears that had not yet come with haste.
I DON'T cry. Cry won't solve the problem.
The feeling sickened her. The same feeling she had when she looking at her house burning to ashes and dust with flame roaring madly around her home.
There will be no difference. Whether he's here or not…
I have changed, haven't I?
I won't be the same as years ago…
She sighed, wiping the sweat trickling down her forehead. They were torments, the dreams were. When she was awake, she would be able to fight her own demons…
She walked outside.
The door closed soundlessly behind her, bidding her goodbye.
As she left the room, her body embraced the cool air. She raised her chin, letting the night wind tossed it about.
She needed the cold. The silence.
Needed to clear her mind off him.
She didn't love him anymore. She didn't. She had passed those madness years ago.
She could guard her heart and her mind against him.
But how did you guard yourself against a dream?
He could never sleep well after he had left the village.
Maybe it was guilt, maybe… unhappiness.
But what was happiness, after all? It was an illusion. A happy place that the mind created them to be.
He looked around his village. The training ground, the Konoha Hospital, Hokage's building, his friends' home.
He missed them.
Missed the peaceful and safe feelings this village brought to him.
Of course, Konoha was far from safe. But… he had friends here.
Slowly, he arrived at the place where he had met Sakura trying to stop him leaving. He closed his eyes, and sat at the bench when he had knocked her out.
He enjoyed the stars, the quiet, and the night, when suddenly his eyes caught a figure walking. To him.
She was staring at the ground, trying to clear her thoughts. Thinking anything, everything but him.
Yet, as if on cue, she lifted her head.
There, she met the object of thousands of her dreams.
So? How was it? Better? Worse? (chewing nails) Leave me a review, kay? (officially have no nails to chew)