Title: Nothing but Memories
Pairing: Itachi x Sakura
Genre: AU, Drama
Story Type: One-shot
Summary: It all started with the untimely Sakura petal, but ended with nothing at all. A story of loving and loosing. Maybe he shouldn't have met her at all, but then he would never have found happiness.
"For all the love Itachi-sama had given me, I have nothing to repay for such kindness." He watched as tears brimmed on the edge of her emerald eyes.
"In the past eight years with Itachi-sama, Sakura felts as though she'd been in a pleasant dream. I would never forget you, Itachi-sama…" And the fragile hand he held between his own slipped from his grasp.
It was the last of the winter days. Spring had yet to arrive, but his cherry blossom could wait no more. And for Uchiha Itachi, spring will never again come into his life. It was the year his spring was lost forever, buried beneath the cold layer of snow.
10 years prior – spring
The thin branches of the young cherry blossom in their backyard swayed with the soft breeze. Watching intently was a young girl with bright emerald orbs and a head of pale pink strands, which was also the reason for her namesake: Sakura. A bright smile brightened her face as she enjoyed the spring, her favorite season, the season of growth and new life.
She was seventeen that year, just barely passed the age of adolescent. But of course being one born of lower classes, there were no demands for her to be married right away. Sakura was glad for that, she would much rather stayed outdoor than to be kept inside like a caged bird. She was a free spirit; she enjoyed her freedom. Smiling to herself, the young woman picked up a wooden pail nearby and proceeded with her daily chores.
It was a good year, and the spring sun was just splendid for the growing vegetations.
9 years prior – autumn
The few remaining leaves drifted across the barren field, devoid of any growth. The summer had been too short that year, providing insufficient growth for the plants. Not to mention the periodic plague of insects that ate away the peasants' hard work. What was salvageable had all been removed and sold, at a low price nonetheless. The lower class, especially the farmers, was greatly affected. And that included Sakura's family.
Relying mainly on farming vegetables, this particular year's bad fortune had hit them hard. With little to no vegetables to sell, they were unable to make profits enough to put food on the table. They tried the best they could, but luck did not shined down on them. It was that year also when Sakura lost her mother to sickness. She would never forget the ill fortunes of that particular year.
9 years prior – winter
Her urgent steps pounded the snow underneath her sandals as she ran across the snowy field. Behind her, a small group of men continued to pursue her. The family had reached their limit. Their house was stripped away to pay for the debt, and she was to be part of the payment as well. Sakura could not find it in her heart to blame or hate her father. This was the life peasants had to endure; there was no stability in anything. Their very lives depended on the good will of the gods above. The weather, to be more precise.
Sakura understood her fate, but she treasured her freedom more than anything in the world. So she ran. With no destination in mind, the pink haired woman struggled to escape the life of a slave, should she be caught. Had the situation not been so rushed, she would have enjoyed the exhilaration of running fast paced. Even with several men on her trail, her experience in the wilderness had not failed her. She had always appreciated the natural beauty of the world since she was but a little girl. And it is within the large forest near the base of the northern mountains that Sakura found salvation.
Her pursuers had already given up, leaving her to fend for herself in the dense forest covered with thick layers of snow. Thinking that a young woman with no food or decent shelter would not survive the bone chilling weather.
So Sakura stayed there, living off nature and what little it could provide her with. It would be springtime before she found salvation again. But this time, it won't be nature that provides it, but something entirely different.
8 years prior – spring
He often wondered why such menial hobby was ever introduced to men. To him, it was a complete waste of time to chase around small animals in a thick forest by releasing trained hounds on them only to claim victory afterwards. Not to mention the victory did not belong to the men who held up the animal's carcass, but to the hungered hounds that obeyed their masters' every whim in fear of getting locked up and starved.
But since he was the young master of the house, it was required for him to attend these mundane festivities, if one would call it as such. And he wasn't only the master of a house; he was the young master and next in line in the prestigious clan of Uchiha. Itachi Uchiha sighed inwardly as he watched the nobles beside him talk animatedly with one another. Being the first-born son to the head of the Uchiha household held countless benefits. However, being forced to attend hunting trips with other nobles was not one of them.
"Itachi-san," A noble beside him knocked him out of his reverie. " Would you care to split off and hunt on your own?"
Before he had the chance to reply, a more elderly man in front had already stopped and turned around to address them.
"That is a great idea! We could make a competition out of this."
And so it was, that a few moments later, Itachi found himself surrounded by the quiet noise of the forest and nothing else. His steed, a black mare given to him by a serving noble, neighed softly as the young master urged him on to proceed deeper into the foliage. A single pink petal of a cherry blossom tree caught his attention as it drifted in front of him. It stirred his curiosity to find the small flower petal in the air even though the blossoms had yet to open this year. Following the general direction in which the single petal had drifted from, Itachi longed to sate his curiosity regarding the untimely flower. Little would he know that said curiosity would lead him to a much greater find.
In a small clearing in the midst of the thick forest stood a tall and firm cherry blossom tree. Yet unlike the other blossom trees at the time, this particular tree had already begun to bloom. Its white and soft pink bubs opening in response to the sun shining through thin clouds. This was the scene Itachi walked into as he trotted into the clearing. The tree was the initial cause of him being there, but something else immediately caught his eyes as well. Lying beneath the shades of the blossomed flowers was a small bundle of cloth and skin.
With fluid grace, the Uchiha heir dismounted to land softly beside his tall mare. Pulling on the reins, Itachi walked towards the bundle with caution for the unknown.
Upon closer inspection, he realized that the bundle was actually human, a female at that. Her thin and rough kimono had endured much hardship by the looks of it. Numerous tears decorated the dirt-covered fabric. The bottom had already worn out to the point that it reached only her knees. From the small amount of skin that was visible, it seemed that the girl might not have had a good meal in a while. She was not down to skin and bones…yet.
From mere appearance, the girl very well could be dead, but that wasn't the case. Despite how minimal, Itachi was still able to see the gentle rise and fall of her chest, indicating signs of life. But now the question was whether he should do something about it. The girl couldn't have been anyone important, judging by the looks of her crude and rough kimono. Therefore Itachi presumed that the girl was probably a run-away servant or a slave. And that was where the problem existed. He had no obligation to save a lower class peasant, especially since he was the heir to a powerful clan. It would not become of him to be generous and valiant to those undeserving of such. Least of all words will get out that the heir to the Uchiha clan saved a peasant…It would not bode well with his station in life.
Something tugged at his sub conscience, telling him to save the girl. His mind, drilled with the social order of life since he was but a boy, was objecting the very thought of performing the good deed. But his instincts conflicted with his mind, want him to take the girl and look after her.
Having always based decisions on his mind, Itachi decided to give instinct a chance. Unclasping the hook between the two sides of his cloak, he took off the thick fabric to drape it over the unconscious girl. Gently, he wrapped the girl with the dark fabric designed to feign off the last whispers of the winter breeze. With ease, Itachi lifted the small bundle into his arms and stood up, surprised to find that the girl was quite light. Glancing down to make sure everything was in place, the young heir was taken back when a pair of bright emerald orbs stared back into his own onyx eyes. Her eyes were half open, looking at him in wonder.
"…who?" The single word was said before the girl fell unconscious again. Bringing the cloak tighter around her small frame, Itachi walked over to his steed. Using his left hand, he gripped the saddle before lifting the bundle onto the horse, then pulling himself up behind it. The black mare neighed softly at the extra weight. Itachi held onto the reins with his right hand while his left hoisted the girl closer to his chest. Her head leaned against his chest as she maintained her state of unawareness. Only then did Itachi notice the strange pink coloring of the girl's hair. Having been caked with mud previously, it was hard to tell what the strange hue of red was. Steadily, the young heir of the Uchiha clan rode out of the clearing, with his new discovery in hand.
It seemed as though fate was on his side, for he faced no trouble upon entering the household. Perhaps it was because most of the servants and clan members had attended the hunt, and was still in the forest. Itachi had not bothered to tell anyone of his absence, but proceeded straight home with the girl in hand. After he dismounted the mare and led it to the stable, he walked towards the large Uchiha compound. Sighting a familiar servant near the doorway, the young master of the house called the elder woman over.
The woman looked up in surprise at seeing the young master standing there with. She bowed slowly before she approached the heir.
"Yes, young lord?"
Itachi handed the bundle of clothes to the woman.
"Have her cleaned up and changed. Send her to my room when you have done so." And he walked into the house, leaving a bewildered woman with her task and no explanation for the odd behavior.
Sakura groaned softly as the sensation of being drowned in water came over her senses. Panicked, the pink haired girl franticly waved her fragile limbs, trying to get out. A gentle voice drew her attention and made her cease her alarmed actions. Opening her eyes completely, she was surprised to find herself not drowning in a river, but inside a bathhouse. Beside her kneeled a woman, possibly in her forties.
The woman smiled gently at her as she placed a hand on Sakura's shoulder, urging her back into the lukewarm water.
"My name is Hira." The servant introduced herself as she took a wooden bucket beside the bath and proceeded to fill it with water.
"Close your eyes." She warned before pouring the water over the girl's head, clearing away the mud and dirt on her hair.
To say she was confused would be an understatement. At that moment, Sakura was trying her best to remember what had happened to lead of her current situation. Her mind drew a blank, the only thing she seemed to have a recollection of was a pair of the darkest and deepest pair of eyes she had ever seen. Clearing her throat to find her voice, Sakura voiced her question.
"Um… where am I, Hira-san?"
"The house of the Uchiha, this is the bathhouse in the servant quarters." The woman answered without so much as look up from her work of untangling her pink strands of hair. She let out a cheer of triumph as she finished and poured water over her head again.
"I received instructions from the young master of the house to clean and prepare you, I'm sure he would make his intentions known to you when you meet with him."
And Sakura remained quiet the rest of the way, letting the woman named Hira do as she was told. It had been a while since the pink haired girl had a bath and decent clothes. So she wasn't about to complain or bite the hand that fed her, so to speak. If anything, she would be eternally grateful and would give anything to repay this man that had saved and clothed her.
To be honest, her appearance had surpassed even his wildest expectation. Never would he have thought that the girl covered in mud and dirt not too long ago would be cleaned up so well. Nothing covered her face, and her pale soft strands of pink locks fell around her shoulders as though they were silk. Her thin frame was clothed in a cream colored yukata, held together by a light sash at her waist. Itachi could not see her face clearly from the way her head was bowed.
"Come here." He commanded from his sitting position on the tatami floor. His left knee was drawn up, with his hand resting on it. His eyes never left the girl as he watched her move to sit in front of him on the low wooden table. Her small hand clutched together in her lap, and her head was still bowed low so that Itachi could not see her face.
"Lift your head." His tone was softer than before, not wanting to scare the girl.
Emerald met obsidian as Itachi took in her delicate features. He had made a mistake, the female was not a girl, but already a woman. A few years younger than him by the looks of it. Her bright jade orbs went well with her pale and smooth skin. Her lips were full and cherry red, and he noticed that she was somewhat biting her lower lip in apprehension. Reaching his right hand out, Itachi cupped her chin and utilized his thumb to pull the abused lip from her teeth. The young woman let out a small gasp and the Uchiha heir couldn't help but smirk.
"What is your name?" He asked after he retrieved his hand.
"What is it?"
She blushed softly as she looked at him.
"I do not know the name of my savior."
"Itachi, Itachi Uchiha." He had expected her to gasp in surprise, or any other motion that indicated shock to be speaking with the Uchiha heir. But none of those came. The pink haired young woman only smiled warmly at him and bowed her head.
"No words can express my gratitude." She paused in her sentence, a sad smile decorated her face. "Yet I have nothing to reimburse for your kind deed…"
"Stay here." Without thinking, the words came out his mouth, surprising both the young woman and himself. He watched as confusion crossed her face, only to be replaced with a smile moments after.
"If my lord would have me, Sakura would be happy to stay."
And she stayed.
6 years prior – summer
They walked together, along the lake on the Uchiha compound. Since the day she had stepped into the household, there had been much argument about the new addition. His parents especially were enraged that the young heir would stoop so low as to associate with a lower class peasant. They objected fiercely to having the girl around their precious heir. But he protected her, from the harsh words, the malicious gazes, and from herself. Sakura was delicate. She would sooner hurt herself than to know that she was the thorn on others' side.
After he had first seen the woman cry in the corner of her room, Itachi had promised himself that he would protect her. He had not allowed the household to treat the girl like a mere servant. He did not give her any chores or tasks to perform daily, yet she had taken it upon herself to care for the flowers in the large garden behind the compound. It was the least she could do for living off the powerful clan.
He watched attentively as Sakura walked in front of him, sometimes jumping in happiness to be outdoors. His eyes took in her small form under the bright sunlight. The rays shined down on her, which made the scene more appealing to the young master of the household. Itachi stretched out his hand and caught her wrist. Her head turned around, making her pink tresses glide softly with her motion. There was a small amount of confusion in her eyes, but the warm smile on her lips told him of her happiness.
And Itachi couldn't help but be content as well.
Pulling her wrist softly so he wouldn't injure her, he shortened the distance between them. Holding her chin up with his hand, he looked into her emerald eyes for any sign of rejection. There was only warmth and bliss. So Itachi kissed her, relishing in the fact that she would not reject him.
It was the summer he found happiness in the form of a pink haired woman. For once in his strict and rule embedded life, he was content. And nothing would take that away as long as she stayed with him.
6 years prior – winter
Old age and a troubled heart claimed the life of the master of the house, then his wife following not soon after. With the head of the Uchiha clan deceased, it was only a matter of time before the young heir was given the position of clan head. The funeral was monotonous, yet everything went smoothly in Itachi's eyes. He watched from the front as Sakura, dressed in a formal dark kimono, gently laid a white Chrysanthemum that she had planted herself onto the straw mat, which covered the corpse of his deceased parents. He felt no great remorse for their deaths. Being the heads of the most influential clan, his parents had no time to be what others would call 'loving' or 'caring'. It was their obligation to produce an heir for the future of the clan, and Itachi was merely the product of duty.
He would shed not a single tear for them, and Sakura understood this. So she cried for him. That night, he held her in his lap on the low wooden porch outside of his room. Her head was buried in his chest as his hand stroked her silken hair. Itachi paid no mind to the fact that the front of his night yukata was soaked with her tears. Instead, he watched the full moon in the sky as morning drew near. What mattered to him the most now was the future.
5 years prior – spring
Itachi had long ago figured out that spring was Sakura's favorite season. For she seemed to bloom along with the growing life of nature during this period. With the deaths of the clan leaders behind them, Itachi was soon made the new master of the house. His initiation went by quickly, and many came to pay homage to their new lord and master. He gave the serving nobles under him gifts to ensure their loyalties, and he gave the lower classes land to ensure their basic survival. He was now the new master of the Uchiha clan.
But it was not this title that made this year a memorable year to the Uchiha. No, it was something much greater to him.
To Sakura, he gave her his heart to prove his affection.
And he gave her his name.
Which she accepted with tears in her eyes and a beautiful smile.
During that spring, when the cherry blossom was fully bloomed, Itachi Uchiha wedded Sakura in matrimony underneath the drifting pink petals of blossom. When the small cups filled with high quality sake was exchanged and emptied, Itachi had found everything he needed in this life. Together with his new wife, they excused themselves from the guests and retired to their chamber.
That night, she became bounded to him, and him to her. He was her first, and nothing gave him more satisfaction than that. Held between his well-toned arms, he glanced down periodically during the night to make sure that she was still there. The thin bedding had slipped off her shoulder, leaving a generous patch of skin visible to his eyes. The soft moonlight filtered by the shoji door landed on her delicate features. And Itachi fell asleep watching his wife. Now that he had her, he would never let her go.
2 years prior – winter
It was so small and insignificant that he had not noticed it. Or it could have been that he was simply too busy with duties as the clan head to notice the small signs of approaching danger. It started with simple coughs, which he easily judged to be the cause of a small winter cold. The doctors that had looked at it simply waved it away as a simple cold, and asked the household to prepare herbal tea for the mistress to drink. Little would Itachi know that this was only the start of something more horrible to come.
1 year prior – autumn
Her little cold had gotten worse, a lot worse. It seemed that Sakura was doomed to this ill fate. No doctors that examined her hold a single clue as to what is causing the Uchiha mistress such illness. Her body's immunity was trying its hardest to fight against the unknown disease, thus taking up all of her energy. It had gotten to a point where she was too weak to leave her bed, and Itachi was beyond worried.
As he sat by her bedside, he could distinctively see how pale his wife had gotten. Her eyes were closed in a light slumber, and her breathing was slow and burdened. Itachi stroked her cheek softly as he watched his beloved suffer under the clutches of illness. It pained him greatly to see her in such state, and he blamed himself for not noticing it sooner.
As though she had read his thoughts, Sakura opened her eyes and wrapped the hand that was stroking her cheek in her own fragile ones. She smiled weakly at him.
"Gomen ne, Itachi-sama."
Her hand reached up to touched his face, and Itachi leaned into her warm gesture. He kissed the back of her hand and held them in his own.
"Do not apologize for something that is not your fault."
A smile reached her pale lips before she fell asleep again. Itachi stayed with her for that night, the night after, and the nights to come. Until autumn became covered by winter, and winter faded into spring.
Her funeral had been heart retching for those who knew of the difficulties their master and mistress had faced in their joining. Their master was silent throughout the service, choosing to kneel alone by what remains of his beloved wife. The Uchiha compound was enveloped in a thick layer of dark atmosphere. Nothing could be done now.
As years passed, rumors spread about the heartless master of the Uchiha clan. It was said that the man was reckless and power-hungry, willing to do anything in order to achieve his goals. Under this man, the once powerful Uchiha clan became the most influential and feared in the land of Japan. Some said he was demented, others thought him heartless for all the wrongs he'd done to achieve such power. Never would any of them notice his slight pause before a cherry blossom tree, or his absence during a particular day in every year's winter end.
He chose to stay with
her on this day, telling his tales to the only reminder of her
existence. He would stand beside her grave, and trace over her carved
name in the stone. She had given him everything, but left him with
nothing. Nothing but memories. But in his mind, he would always
remember the short period when she was still a part of his life. And
for that short while, he
was truly content.
A/N: I'm sorry, but since my hand was itching to write a ItaxSaku story, I've neglected 'Drunken Luck'. Did anyone notice, the first few lines were taken from Bleach, I just simply translated it to english. So don't sue me if it seemed familiar and a nice big hug to those who got it! I guess you can say that this is my delay tactics for my other story... But does this appease you angry gods? Or should I make another sacrafice... perhaps another time. I felt sad making Sakura die... she's such a nice girl... Please forgive me... Any thoughts on this? comments? Insults to my horrible grammer? I thank you again for reading my story, I am eternally grateful.