Disclaimer: Being the property and creation of Kishimoto Masashi, the manga, anime, and name Naruto are not mine. I own none of the characters or their names mentioned in this story. All credit goes to Masashi, because without him this story would not exist.

Serious Warning:If you haven't paid attention before, do so now please. As a courtesy, I'm reminding readers that this story is rated M. This chapter may contain sexual situations, blood and violence, swearing… If you are not of age and/or this is offensive to you do not read.

To Readers: You've all been so patient. I can't stress that enough. Some of you have even emailed me encouragement. I thank you all!

Special thanks: Thanks to all reviewers! I really appreciate your comments!

Attention: Beta read by fellow fanfiction author Raina 1 (Author of fanfiction "Hana Ni Arashi" one of my faves!). She's been with me as a reader since chapter one of this fic. Thanks to her consenting to beta this story this chapter is now done. Were it not for her this probably still wouldn't be posted. Thanks to her!

Chapter 12: Convergence Part II

"Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrow which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad."-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Why no one had thought to bring Shikamaru into the investigation sooner was beyond Temari. She'd spent enough time with him - fought him too - to know just how genius he could be at deciphering puzzles and coming up with strategies. If he couldn't solve this riddle, then he'd at least tell them how to solve it.

She glanced over at Neji. He was leaning casually against the wall just beside the door frame. Kakashi had shown enough judgment to bring the Hyuuga in while he questioned the captured Sound nin. The Byakugan was invaluable in telling lie from truth, and if not exactly that then it could at least pick up when/if something was being hidden. As it turned out the female nin was definitely hiding something, or so he said.

Kakashi mirrored Neji's stance on the other side of the door. Both looking like two pillared guards, if bored pillared guards. She knew they weren't really uninterested, and they certainly weren't as relaxed as they appeared. It was just their way. Undoubtedly they were hearing every word of the conversation - unlike herself - and they were ready to pounce should anything out of the ordinary happen.

Shikamaru was sitting at the large round table, his head lazily propped up with resting elbows. How he was supposed to look commanding with a stance like that she had no idea. He looked bored. Not the kind of cool I'm-above-this-shit bored like Neji and Kakashi were capable of achieving, but bored like if-I-wasn't-being-forced-I-wouldn't-be-here bored. Not that Shikamaru cared how he was perceived. That would require too much effort.

Temari mentally scoffed. To think he was the only one passed as Chunnin. She glanced to her brothers, wondering if they were listening as "intently" as she was.

Kankuro was on the other side of the table, his chair pushed back and askew. He was sprawled out as one might lounge while watching a moving. One arm was slung over the back of the chair, his puppet haphazardly leaning against the wall nearest him. His legs were stretched all the way out in front of him. It looked as though he were trying to take up as much of the room as possible. He looked cocky, rude, and ill-mannered. 'But then… Kankuro is cocky rude and ill-mannered.' Temari noted.

Gaara stood near Kankuro, stoic and unmoving. His arms were crossed, his posture straight as a board, but still managing to not look stiff. He looked fake, like a doll or something, staring straight at Shikamaru, no expression in his eyes or on his face. Okay, it was impossible to tell if her brothers were paying attention.

All the men in the room looked to be making silent statements of this is my corner and that's yours; attempting to exude both cool boredom and pent up hostility. All except Shikamaru, which made Temari smile. But in the end she concluded that all the men in the room were annoying, so she concentrated on other things, more interesting things… like the walls.

The room was small, dominated by the large table that stood in the middle. The walls were industriously blank and plain white. Not a clean stark white either, but a sort of bland jaundiced white. The room was unassuming, very blasé, and depressing as hell. The dark almost black finish wood table certainly didn't help the atmosphere get any cheerier. Pictures on the wall might have helped, Temari mused.

She heard Shikamaru mumble a question for what seemed to her the sixth time or more. "For goodness sake Nara," she sounded irritated, "we've told you a thousand times already. We poisoned him." She huffed. 'Damn.' Her mind had been wondering and still his incessant questioning irritated her. She could only imagine how her brothers were handling everything. Their patience tended to make hers look infinite.

Shikamaru grimaced, unhappy with Temari's words and tone. He probably had asked the same question too many times, but it wasn't because he was deaf or not understanding. He'd heard their stories and knew the answers to their questions. He just needed to hear it over and over again until his mind agreed to register that Uchiha Sasuke was dead.

Even so Shikamaru tsked. He'd been pulled from bed, rushed out the door, and then received shocking news all in less than thirty minutes. If anyone should be irritated, it should be him. "But you're sure he's dead?" He asked. This was probably the fourth time he'd asked this one. As long as no one was coming up with anything more forthright, repeating the question seemed justified.

A collective sigh filled the room, even Neji couldn't resist. Kakashi was respectfully quiet. He understood better than anyone what Shikamaru was going through.

The strategist let a moment of silence pass before he spoke again. "If we don't have the body, and no one saw him dead, how can you confidently say he's dead?" Shikamaru defended himself, wishing Chouji was there to do the annoying deed for him. It was so troublesome explaining himself. He'd tried to just leave three times already, but Kakashi stopped him every time, so here he was explaining himself… again.

'Ignore it. Ignore it.' Temari silently chanted, searching the room for something other than Shikamaru and the gang to occupy her mind. They weren't exactly discussing new information or anything. Besides she had been there in person for the entire ordeal. She knew what happened. She visibly shivered at the memory, drawing the Hyuuga's gaze. She shrugged; he blinked and went back to looking bored.

Temari decided to focus on the room again. Silently finding the shortcomings of the room's décor had proven somewhat distracting before. Perhaps it would again. She wondered at the walls again. They weren't dirty, she knew that, but they looked it. Of course the five incandescent bulbs that lit the room probably had something to do with the anything but cheerful yellow that cast its glow on everything in the room. It wasn't even a cheerful yellow. It was sick. Were it a human or animal she'd take it to the doctor.

"What!" She shot out, more incredulously than she'd intended. She didn't know how long she'd zoned out, but Shikamaru's words pulled her back like an ice cold shower. She hadn't expected something like that to come from his mouth.

"He's not dead," he repeated, giving her his best I'm-tired-and-this-is-troublesome look.

"I heard you," she said, annoyed, "but how the hell did you come up with that?" And to think she'd been the one silently praising him for his strategic planning and puzzle solving skills. "The Hokage herself thinks he's dead." She sounded as if he were a bit slow at understanding the situation. That all the information they told him must have flown straight out of his head. If you couldn't take the Hokage's word, whose could you?

Once again Shikamaru sighed, looking every bit as annoyed as he felt. Leave it to the only woman in the room to be so troublesome and argumentative. And he thought he'd be getting a break without Ino here. "She said most likely and probably. That means there was a chance of survival, even if it was a slim one." His lazy, and Temari thought condescending, tone told her exactly how much he appreciated her intervening.

Temari narrowed her eyes at him. He was going to pay for his brashness later when they were alone. "Then where is he?" she asked pointedly.

"Find Sakura... and you'll find Sasuke." He knew it was possible to find Sakura, and most likely Sasuke, through Naruto, but either way Sakura was the one that cured the Uchiha. She was the only one capable, and he suspected, the only person in Konoha Sasuke would go to of his own free will without a second thought.

"Sakura doesn't know about the order though does she?" Neji asked. He was thinking like everyone else. If Sasuke was back, why didn't Sakura or Naruto say anything? If not Sakura, he knew Naruto would be screaming the announcement everywhere.

"Sasuke told her." Shikamaru answered. He noticed Kakashi stiffen at his answer. The jounin had relaxed as soon as he'd tensed. It was a small movement, but for the ever cool and calm Hatake Kakashi, it was a lot. Shikamaru understood. If it were Chouji instead of Sasuke, he'd never forgive Asuma for no! t saying anything to him.

"That leaves the Sound nin." Gaara said, speaking up for the first time. "What is the Sound doing here?"

"Looking for Sasuke." Shikamaru answered almost carelessly. "Maybe they know he's not dead."

Struck, Temari sucked in her breath. "You don't think Sakura or Naruto would have alerted the Sound do you?"

At first everyone looked at her like she was crazy for thinking such a thing. Neji almost laughed. After a moment's thought everyone sobered as the implication sank in. Perhaps Naruto and Sakura had felt betrayed enough by Konoha to go to Orochimaru.

Kakashi finally spoke. "Naruto would never do that. He'd be here yelling at me, yelling at Tsunade. He'd be irate, he'd be destructive, but he wouldn't go to Orochimaru." Neji and Shikamaru nodded, reassured at his words. Of course Kakashi was right. It had been foolish to think Naruto would do something like that. So that left another question: Did Naruto know?

Kakashi sighed. "We have to talk to Sakura." He wasn't sure what she was capable of. Of his three students she was the one he knew, regrettably, the least. He could predict Sasuke. He could predict Naruto, however his female student remained a mystery to him. Sometimes he could forecast her reactions, sometimes it was a coin toss. Who knew how she'd react to the news that Sasuke had been ordered hunted down without her knowing? Involuntarily he shivered. Whatever her reaction he was certain it wasn't going to be pleasant.

"To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead."-Bertrand Russell

Sasuke woke. The room was still dark; the dawn had not yet come. Sakura was cuddled against him, unconsciously holding his arm to her chest like some sort of teddy bear, sound asleep. The atmosphere was extremely quiet; the rhythmic ticking of a clock the only sound in a room bathed in silence. It was so thick it seemed an entity all its own. It was all so warm and peaceful, like a grandmother that always hugged you and baked cookies. Sasuke scowled, feeling more than a little uncomfortable. This place felt so foreign and surreal, like he woke up in someone's idea of a happily ever after fairytale. It was both unwelcome and reassuring at the same time.

Very carefully, Sasuke detangled his arm from her grasp and left the bed, making his way around the starlit room studying various objects as he went. A few ribbons hung from a vanity mirror, brushes and other beauty products spread out on the desk below. Some articles of clothing were tossed haphazardly over an old abused looking rocking chair. A triplet of pictures was asymmetrically arranged on one side of the long dresser, a tattered purple velvet book on the other. Typical female clutter, nothing unusual or out of place -- he found an odd comfort in that.

Sasuke fingered the book, brown in spots where the velvet had worn down; it was well used. He sighed, sighting the team seven picture that was so unfortunately burned into his mind. It was to the front of a picture with Ino and Sakura, and one with Naruto, the Hokage, and Jiraiya - all scowling at each other.

Sasuke studied the photo, silently marveling over how young he looked. It seemed so long ago. In years it wasn't, yet measured in personal changes and deeds done, it was a lifetime ago. He 'hmphed'. It certainly was a lifetime ago. He barely knew the pouty-faced Uchiha in the picture. He looked so innocent and unworldly, like his only care in the world was the bubbly pink-haired girl, the idiot blonde, and the eccentric silver haired teacher. Of course at the time those had been his only worries - his brother not much more than a bad memory he refused to recall. 'I was stupid then.' He scowled turning away from the picture, looking to the one with Naruto and the two sannin.

'When was this taken?' he silently wondered, taking note of Naruto's slightly taller, more broad shouldered appearance. Was this what he looked like now? He silently wondered. 'Not much changed, but some. Probably still an idiot.'

"That one was taken a few months ago."

Sasuke turned.

A delicate long finger pointed from behind him to the picture he'd just been studying. "Those three are always bickering with each other," Sakura offered with a small giggle, as if she could hear them now. She leaned forward, pressing herself against him in an armless hug. It wasn't a sexual gesture, as it could have been, but one of comfort.

The moment her body met his the atmosphere of the room seemed to sigh and relax. 'Everything was as it should be.' His presence filled her room, as if a large space had remained empty waiting just for him to fill it. He felt so sturdy and warm beneath her. Sakura closed her eyes, reveling in the feel of him. All the loneliness she'd felt was melting away beneath the sound of his breathing, the swell and ebb of his back and chest. "I missed you," she whispered, pressing her forehead to his back, sliding an arm around his waist.

Inundated, he closed his eyes, frightened at how natural all of this felt. It felt so right that it screamed wrongness, because he wasn't ready for this. He knew he wasn't ready for this. Part of him wanted to allow her to hold him, even wanted to reciprocate the innocent affection, but the other part wanted to lash out at her, punish her for daring to weasel her way so thoroughly into him.

"I thought you would die," she whispered, interrupting his thoughts, almost talking to herself. She flattened her palm against his stomach, pulling him to her more. "You did… twice." She took a deep breath, inhaling his scent, losing herself in his presence. She'd almost lost him for good this time and she felt the near-miss keenly, aware of death's proximity. Her fingers had a mind of their own, lightly ghosting down his back. She couldn't stop touching him. It was like she was memorizing him. His scent, his warmth, the feel of him… She wanted to absorb him into herself and never let him go.

Sasuke could feel her breath through the cloth of his shirt, long deep breaths alternately warming and cooling his skin. For a moment he'd almost surrendered to her. For a moment he'd felt… safe, and that was when he felt really uncomfortable. Safe was a feeling he didn't trust. It was an illusion. Safe didn't exist. It was only a temporary hiding place while the dark things searched for you - and the dark things always found you.

Images of his mother and father murdered flashed through his mind, unbidden and horrific. His aunts, uncles… everyone, cut open, bloodied, lifeless eyes staring at him. Accusing him… He was running through the streets, Itachi following him… slowly, toying with him, letting him know every step of the way that should he decide to kill him there would be no escape. He'd been utterly and truly helpless. He'd been completely at Itachi's mercy and his older brother had made sure Sasuke understood that, herding him through the streets like a pack of wolves to its prey. Sasuke had definitely understood. He'd felt his helplessness and mortality keenly.

The atmosphere of Sakura's room wrapped around him like a protective cocoon, isolating him from the outside world. Sakura was holding him as if he were the dearest thing to her -- no, he was the dearest thing to her -- he knew that now. It all echoed of the past… of home. Sasuke was suddenly that boy again. The silence of the room was roaring in his ears, the tick of the clock like approaching footsteps, a mocking malice. He wanted to check every shadowed corner of the room, secure every door and window, investigate every small noise, 'crush that fucking clock that won't shut up'.

His older brother was in every corner of everything Sasuke was, had, or thought… because Itachi was proof that everything could be taken away. And he was still out there.

He remembered how Sakura had looked after Kisame had attacked her, bloodied, bruised, lifeless… Suddenly it wasn't just his parents lying in a pool of their own blood. Sakura was too, her throat slit, eyes wide and lifeless, mouth open in a soundless scream.

Sasuke was breathing heavy now, almost panting. He felt trapped. It felt like the walls were closing in on him. The air was thick and warm, stifling. He sucked in a deep breath, as if he were suffocating. He felt the strongest urge to run to the window, whip it open, and breathe in the fresh outside air. His hands were shaking. His knees felt weak.

Last night he'd thought he could give himself to Sakura, but now that it came to it he couldn't do it. He couldn't pretend everything was okay, because it wasn't okay. "I don't want this," he whispered shakily, almost frantically. He pushed away from Sakura, ripping himself from her embrace. He needed to get the fuck out of there… now!

He'd had all of this before. Safety, comfort, love… He'd had it and it had been ripped away from him. He didn't want to go through that twice.

'Sasuke-chan. Wait a minute.' His mother's sweet voice echoed through his mind. He could see her smile, feel her touch as she soothed his burns.

'As expected of my son.' He'd waited so long to hear those words from his father. That was the first and last time he did…

Itachi poking him in the forehead. 'Forgive me Sasuke…'

No. He covered his ears, and squeezed his eyes shut, as if that would shut out their faces, their voices… It didn't. "I don't want this," he repeated louder, moving toward the door.

A firm grasp on his arm pulled him back. "Sasuke!" Sakura called out desperately. Her voice was loud; like it was the tenth time she'd called for him. Maybe it was. She had a white-knuckled grip on his arm. She'd had to be forceful to stop him.

"I have to go." He pulled his arm from her grip.

'What the hell happened?' Sakura silently questioned. She'd saved his life and he'd left her. Now he was back. He came back to her, but why? Why did he come back only to leave her again? She was so confused, and sad, and upset, and frustrated…

"Please..." Sakura asked, her voice a confused plea… She just wanted some sort of explanation, something other than just goodbye. Sasuke near crumpled at the sound of her voice. Those hooks she imbedded deep into his soul twisted and pulled at him, trying to drag him back to her, punishing him with sharp pains when he didn't obey.

He stopped at the entrance to her bedroom, hand poised on the door frame, ready to pull himself out of the room and away from her, by force if necessary. "I don't want this," he repeated again, almost pleading.

"I…" Her words died. What could she say that he hadn't said already? She didn't even know what the hell was going on. He'd held her during the night. She'd woken to find him snug beside her, holding her… It had been wonderful but it was so different from what she knew of him. Someone had nearly killed him. Who? What had happened there? She had so many questions and if he would just stay with her, talk to her, they wouldn't even matter.

Sasuke grasped the trim of the door, his grip involuntarily tightening, white-knuckled. He heard it in her voice; she was expecting him to hurt her. She sounded so resigned. Yes. Part of Sasuke wanted to hurt her. She was expecting it right? What damage could meeting her expectations do?

He shook his head. He couldn't hurt her anymore. Did he want to? Maybe. But the way his gut twisted and wrenched he didn't think he could do it. Things were different between them now. She'd seen to that. "Please Sakura… Let me go." It was all he could say to her. "If you were ever really my friend, you'd let me go."

Sakura's mouth fell. She'd prepared herself for him slapping her away, ignoring her, yelling at her… but not this. His voice was so thick with emotion. He sounded so hurt and she didn't know why. What the hell happened to him? What was going on?

"Why did you come back? Why did you come if you were only going to leave again?"

He gave up his grasp on the door to rake his hands roughly through his hair. "I don't know what to say to you Sakura." What the fuck did she want from him? He told her 'no' time and again. He hadn't minced words with her… ever. He was always quite clear with her about wanting to be left alone.

Sakura went with what was in her mind and in her heart -- she could offer him nothing else. "Say you'll stay with me. Tell me you want to be with me. Tell me something besides goodbye damn it!" She'd started out whispering but ended up screaming. She stood inches from him, facing his back. It seemed she was always facing his back.

Sakura's hands were clenched in fists; she didn't remember doing that. 'Damn it!' She didn't want to be angry with him. She slumped, sighing. "I love you." She closed her eyes, regretting it almost as soon as the words left her mouth. Not because she didn't mean them but because she didn't think he was ready to hear them.

"I don't know what you want from me!" he growled, wishing for once she'd just do as he asked her. "I can't give you what you want! Why don't you get that?" He wanted her to leave him alone. His hands curled into fists so tightly every knuckle cracked. "Why can't you just be happy with Naruto?" He was so angry with her. It was almost as if her words flipped a switch inside him.

Sakura gasped as if he'd hit her. She didn't know why what he said hurt so much. She remembered his words to her. 'I tried to be like you guys…' He had tried to forget about revenge, but in the end his heart decided on revenge. Yes, she understood it, she truly did. But now... now... and still...

"Why can't you forget about your revenge?" She watched him stiffen as he realized what she was saying. 'She'd already tried.'

"Hn." He replied. "Then you're as cursed as I am."

"Stop it." She wanted to shake him. Shake him until he snapped out this… whatever the hell it was. Why couldn't he see what he had? Why could he only live in the past? "Everyone envied you. You were always perfect at everything. The sole reason Naruto works his ass off is to be like you, to surpass you. You had the world by the ass and you let go. For what? Orochimaru? Itachi?"

Bemused, he barked out a bitter laugh. "I always got A's. The teachers were always calling me gifted. The other students thought I was perfect." He was quiet a moment. "I was a disappointment in my family… a bitter disappointment. I was a pitiful Uchiha." He laughed again at the irony, but his voice sounded anything but amused… wistful, angry, sad… but not amused. "You should have seen my father look at me when I'd practice. I'd see the hope in his eyes as he readied himself to watch his son execute everything perfectly… and I saw the disappointment when I was anything less. And I was always less Sakura… always." His voice was so quiet.

"Every day I practiced from morning until night, trying to make him proud of me, but it didn't matter. I could work till I was half dead - and I did - but if I was less than his expectations I was nothing. Not even fit to wear the family crest on my shirt, or so he'd told me. Everyday I was silenced or ignored whenever Itachi showed his presence. I was practically invisible. The only one that really saw me was him." The way he spat him, left Sakura no doubt who she was talking about.

"As wonderful as you all thought I was, in my family I was nothing." Sasuke laughed again, cold, harsh. He'd been so stupid to think he could forget for a while, be "normal" for even a day. "I don't know how to be in your world, like you… Don't you see? I can't!"

"So it's death or a murderer? Is that all there is to you now?" Sakura asked, incredulous.

"I think so." He sounded far away, and though he'd answered her question it sounded like it was something he was admitting to himself. He turned soft eyes on her. "I'm grateful Sakura, but I've been past the point of return for a long time now. Honestly I think I was past that point the moment I saw Itachi kill my parents." A sad smile crossed his face. "You tried so hard. You were so loyal to me. I'll always be grateful for that Sakura." He stepped close to her, lightly running fingertips down her cheek.

'I still am loyal to you.' "Sasuke…" She stepped closer to him, her eyes searching his face. He looked so hurt. His face so rarely showed emotion it made witnessing his pain that much worse. 'If he'd just let go...'

His hand lingered on her cheek. "It doesn't have to be like this," she whispered, leaning into his touch. Sasuke shook his head.

"I'll never stop hunting you," she hissed. "Do you hear me? Never."

Sasuke was mesmerized by her eyes. They were so intense, like green fire. They glistened with such fierce determination. 'She'll never give up. She never had.' He thought, strangely happy at that. He'd wanted to leave, wished her to leave him alone, but she refused and he loved that. He held her face in his hands, memorizing her look. She'd never be more beautiful than she was in that moment. He wanted to memorize that face, take it with him and keep it with him for always.

She tilted her face to his, palms flat against his chest. "I'll always love you, even when you push me away."

Her mind replayed the times he jumped in front of her to protect her from the two assassins that had been after Tazuna. All the times he'd yelled to her during battle, worried she might get hurt. The time he'd said she was the best among team seven at spotting illusions. The time he'd hovered over her passed out form, checking to see if she was okay… The list went on and on.

He should be mad. He should smack her away. He should… "Sakura…" He breathed out. He kept trying to get away from her and she kept pulling him back. So Sasuke pulled her to him, holding her tight against him. He'd miss her so much. He really did want her, so much. Sasuke burrowed his face into her hair, taking deep calming breaths. He loved the smell of her hair and skin. He wanted to fall into her.

"Sasuke…" She slid her arms around him, letting her hands caress every inch of him they touched. This might be the last time she held him; she wanted to remember it. It would be all of him she would have left.

"Sometimes when Naruto would hold me I'd close my eyes and pretend it was you." She buried her face in his chest, clutched his shirt in her hands. Somehow no matter how close she held him it wasn't enough. No matter how much she caressed him she wanted more. If this was the last…

Sasuke stiffened at the mention of her and Naruto, remembering the time he'd caught them so intimately kissing. He'd been so angry. She'd lain so cozy with him, spoke such affectionate words to him, touched him, and then he found her with that idiot blonde. His teeth grit with the memory.

Selfishly, he wanted to make sure he haunted Sakura's thoughts. He could scream at her all day long about her being happy with someone else, with Naruto, but deep down he didn't want her to be happy with anyone except him. He wanted to haunt her thoughts. Of everything he'd lost in his life the one thing that was, and had always been, his was Sakura. Naruto would not take that from him. Gripping Sakura's chin he raised her face to his.

She gasped at the look in Sasuke's eyes, both loving and fearing it. He looked about to murder, but at the same time the intensity of his gaze drew her in and made her tingly all over. "Sasuke?" She asked breathlessly, and he kissed her.

The instant his lips touched hers, fire blossomed behind her closed lids. Oranges, yellows, and reds flashed, and she melted into him. His kiss was confident and sure, caressing her mouth with just the right amount of command and softness - or so Sakura thought. She'd assumed that all kisses, in principle, must feel the same. She was wrong.

She grasped the back of his head, pulling his mouth forcefully to hers. Her tongue sought his, wanting to devour him. She'd always wondered what it would be like to kiss him, and the exquisite taste of him now made her wonder how she ever lived without it.

The kiss was too much, and Sakura wanted more. She pulled at his shirt, desperately seeking the warmth of his flesh. Her hand slipped up the back of his shirt, and she sighed against his lips finally finding what she sought and liking the feel of it. Judging from his gasp he did too.

Sakura went from docile to wild in seconds. Her hands and mouth were frantic. She clawed at him, bit at his mouth. He heard his forehead protector clang on the floor as she pulled it off, sinking the fingers of one hand into his hair as the other tried to remove his shirt. Sasuke backed away a moment to help her and pulled it over his head. She gawked at the sinewy movement of his muscles as he pulled his shirt off.

Sasuke felt both proud and a little self-conscious at the way her eyes soaked in his form. Her thoughts were laid bare in the glistening green of her eyes. She obviously liked the way he looked.

Wrapping his arms around her, he kissed her again - this time long and lingering. His lips moved sensually against hers, his tongue caressing hers slower; delving deeper. It was far more erotic than before.

Sakura pressed against him, and without his shirt he could feel the nuances of her curves clearly. He'd forgotten how small and form-fitting her sleep clothes were. Right now she was definitely reminding him, and he knew with certainty that they were crafted of thin material.

He groaned into her mouth, wordlessly letting her know how much he appreciated her body. The many times he'd been with Tayuya, the woman had never once ignited a fire in him like Sakura was doing now. He'd intended only to kiss her - preferably until she melted into the floor from the intensity of it - however he couldn't seem to stop touching her. "Sakura…" He panted.

His hands roved the length of her back and further down then turned to ghost up the front of her. She gave a short feminine giggle against his mouth as his fingers tickled her abdomen. He smirked, leaning his forehead against hers. His hands rested flat against her stomach, now still in their once upward movement.

"Don't stop." She whispered shyly, and with a slight blush.

"Sakura…" Did she understand what she was asking?

"Please." She said, but her eyes were what really got him. They were full of wonder, excitement, and need. So much need.

He cradled her head and laid a soft kiss on her neck. She gasped.

Encouraged, Sasuke gave the area more attention. He loved eliciting reactions from her. He wanted everything to feel good to her, wanted to show her just how wonderful kisses could feel, and distantly, he wanted to wipe Naruto from her mind.

Sakura tilted her head in silent plea for him not to stop. He didn't, giving her neck more than one token of this encounter. He didn't care who saw it afterward either.

"Sasuke…" She timidly mumbled, pulling away from him yet holding his hand, and pulling him toward the bed. She lay herself on the mattress waiting for him to follow, but he pulled her back up. She gave him a questioning look, then quickly averted her eyes turning a bright shade of red as his hands gripped the hem of her shirt. She was nervous as hell, but she wanted this. With every fiber of her being she wanted this.

Slowly, gently, Sasuke pealed the form-fitting tank from her, letting his fingers wisp against her skin as he undressed her. Reflexively Sakura moved to cover herself but stopped, resisting the urge to shield herself from his view. She still couldn't look him in the eyes. It was far too embarrassing.

She felt his gaze upon her, taking in the sight of her. Did he think her adequate? She wondered.

Pulling her to him he held her against his body. Sakura gasped at the feel of his bare chest against hers. It was strange. She'd never felt anything like it before, but it was also wonderful. He was so warm, hard and tightly muscled. She was quite a bit softer. The contrast of the two touching felt nice.

"Beautiful," Sasuke whispered against her ear, knowing she needed to hear it, but also meaning it. She was beautiful.

He lifted her with him as he moved to lie on the bed. They fell, legs entwined, and for a moment Sakura just studied his face. Pale skin framed by impossibly dark hair. Tentatively she fingered a few strands. It was softer than she imagined, and felt cool and smooth against her skin. Raising herself up she tried a kiss of her own. "I love the way you kiss me". She breathed out against the shell of his ear. She took his lobe into her mouth, sucking; then nipped along the line of his jaw. Open-mouthed, hungry to taste more of him, she made love to the crook of his neck, his collarbone… Before long she was lost in the feel of him, the taste of him, his scent… As if of their own accord her hands slithered down his body, cupping his ass, giving them a rough squeeze. "Tight." She growled.

"Sakura." He whispered, turning to putty with her touches; barely able to hold himself up against her assault. Instinctively he positioned himself between her legs, pushing against her. She was getting pretty aggressive, and he liked it.

Answering his thrust, she wrapped her legs around him, using her grip on his backside to push him against her. It felt so good. Pulses of pleasure shot up and down her body with his movements. If this was what sex with clothes was like what would the real thing be like? She wondered.

"Make love to me Sasuke." She hissed, barely believing that came from her. She sounded so fierce and wanton. She raised herself up, attacking his mouth with a brutal kiss. "Make love to me." She repeated desperately against his mouth, nipping his bottom lip.

He pushed her down, roughly. She thrust her hips against him, excited at his dominant treatment of her. He moaned, nearly losing focus. Gripping her hips he pressed them into the bed. "Don't move." He chastised breathily. She was driving him crazy.

Smiling wickedly Sakura slid her pelvis forward, slow, firm. "Nnnn." He groaned, melting above her. Slowly his eyes drifted closed at the wonderful sensations she was causing. Now thoroughly lost from whatever the hell he'd been trying to do he moved against her. She threw her head back in bliss. "This time don't stop." She ordered in a firm voice.

Holding himself up was too much. He rested his forehead on the bed beside her, panting, and languidly moving against her. She slid her hands beneath the waistband of his pants to cup his bare ass, feeling the bend and flex of his muscles as he moved above her. "Let's try it." Sakura breathed out, bringing Sasuke back to himself. "Wait." He answered. "You're not ready yet." He'd needed to go slow with her. The more he prepared her, the less painful it would be.

Sakura was about to protest, feeling more than ready to have him inside her. His hands gripping the waist of her shorts stopped her. "Sasuke?"

With predator-like eyes he kissed a path from her neck to her stomach; watching her the entire time. He looked like a panther about to devour his kill. Sakura was enraptured watching him. He pushed the waist of her pants down, lightly kissing and sucking each hipbone. Swirling his tongue and making her giggle; he resisted the urge to smile.

He worked his way back up her body to face her again. Staring her directly in the eyes, he once again fixed her with his predatory gaze, silently telling her to watch his face. How could she not? He placed his hand on her stomach, his palm stroking its way to her waistline and lower until he cupped her. He slowly stroked her, watching the look of wonder pass over her face as he ministered to her. She ran her hand down his face; he gave a soft near imperceptible smile.

"Tell me if it feels good." He whispered, moving his hand beneath her waistband.

Sakura gasped as a wonderful spark of something shot through her. For a moment she couldn't even see. Her eyes fluttered and she lost eye contact with Sasuke. Silently she wondered what h! ad just happened, but was too shy to ask so she just enjoyed the sensation of it. Whatever he was doing it certainly did feel nice, and he kept doing it.

"Is this okay Sakura?" She quickly nodded - not trusting her voice to speak, gripping the sheets in an effort not to make any embarrassing noises. An effort she wound up failing.

The more he attended to her, the more embarrassment fled in the face of the ecstasy he was giving her. She was becoming more and more curious of how their bodies might fit together, what it might feel like, what he looked like… "Tell me what you want Sakura, and I'll do it," he whispered against her collarbone as he kissed it.

"Take off your pants." He froze in shock, but recovered quickly enough that she might not have noticed. But still…

He sat back to do her bidding. She followed, gripping his waistband and vigorously pulling. Her eyes were half-lidded with desire. She could think of nothing but undressing him and having him inside her. Whatever he'd done to her, she wanted more, no longer concerned with how this looked or that sounded. She just wanted. And why the hell weren't his pants just falling off him?

Sasuke stood and pulled his pants off before she shredded them. They dropped to the floor, and Sakura's gaze instantly became one of wonder.

He was so beautiful. Everything about him was firm and lithe. She didn't think it was possible for anyone to be that perfect and still be real, and yet here he was, flesh and blood. 'Most definitely flesh and blood,' she thought.

Sasuke tried to ignore her studying gawk - good God, he was probably blushing! What the hell was she thinking? Tayuya never made him feel like this, but then he didn't really care what she thought. It was obvious to him that he sure as hell cared what Sakura thought.

She held her arms out to him, eyes suddenly flashing excitedly. "You're so perfect."

Sasuke came to her and lay down to hover above her. Her hands explored his flesh. He allowed her, holding himself up so she could better see and reach. It was an odd feeling to be appreciated so fully, but it was also good. She ran her fingers over every inch of his flesh, the curves and dips of his washboard abs, the firmness of his chest... She smiled at him. "Can we try it now?" Internally Sasuke sniggered at her choice of words. Outwardly he just nodded.

"This is probably going to hurt Sakura," he murmured, positioning himself for her. She nodded. She'd heard the stories. They varied from extremely painful to not hurting at all. She wondered which it would be for her.

He entered her slow, wanting the transition to be as comfortable and painless as possible. Luckily he'd known to prepare her well. He slid in easily enough, but she was so tight and he had to fight the urge to not absolutely fuck her through the mattress. Not yet anyway. When he reached resistance, he grabbed her hands, twining her fingers with his.

"Here goes Sakura." He wished there was some way to bypass this part.

He pushed, and she cried out, squeezing his hands. He stilled, giving her a moment. He knew the only way the pain would recede would be to give her pleasure, but still she needed a moment to adjust.

Sakura squeezed her eyes shut, trying to chase the strange and painful feeling away, morph it into something more. More of what she'd always imagined. "Sakura… Look at me." Sasuke breathed out huskily, nuzzling her face. She opened her eyes. He gave her a small smile of encouragement. "Don't take your eyes from mine." He coaxed, moving inside her - slow small movements at first.

It hurt, but it was a bearable pain. She immersed herself in Sasuke's eyes, concentrating on him. She watched his lids fall half mast with pleasure, alternately squinting shut as he fought the pleasure. The fact that it was her body that was giving him such ecstasy amazed her. She loved watching him fight against how good she felt.

Soon Sakura felt no pain, or it wasn't dominating her experience. She even moved her hips a little, experimenting with what reactions she could get out of him. "Sakura." He hissed out; saying her name like it was both a blessing and a curse. She really loved that, positive she'd never feel more powerful than she did in that moment. Uchiha Sasuke was utterly and completely at her mercy -- and that was incredibly erotic.

When he realized she wasn't in pain anymore he lengthened his thrusts, hardened them a bit. Zings of pleasure shot through Sakura with every push. Nothing mind-blowing, except that it was Sasuke that was doing it. That was mind-blowing.

It was pretty much guaranteed that without extra help Sakura wouldn't climax, but he knew a "trick" that would most likely bring her.

He moved inside her till he thought there was no possible way he could take any more - which he thought wasn't long enough - he loved being with her. Just before he reached his limit he leaned back, gripping her hips to keep her with him - not that she wasn't trying to follow him. She looked up at him wondering what he was doing. He answered with a shit-eating grin - a rare thing for Sasuke - and then stole her breath with a touch from his hand.

Crying out, Sakura threw her head back in absolute bliss. This… this was mind-blowing. Whatever pleasure she'd felt before paled in comparison to this. She was losing control of her own body, at the mercy of his movements inside her and the caresses of his hand. "Sasuke..." she begged, not having any clue what she was asking or chastising him for, but feeling the need to do it anyway. She kept repeating his name over and over, riding out the bliss he was giving her.

When the sensations were becoming too much for her that she'd beg him to stop - her cries of his name had diminished to unintelligible whimpers and moans - he finished. "Holy shit," he whispered, falling atop her, taking a moment to catch his breath. "Holy shit." He repeated again.

Sakura smiled. "Tell me about it." He snorted. She laughed.