Disclaimer: Naruto, unfortunately isn't mine… otherwise I'd pounce the cutie! Meow!

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The autumn festival was to celebrate the coming of the season and to execute superstitious customs. Also to enjoy the games and food offered as well as dress up in traditional kimono.

To those about to take the jounin exam it was a relief to be able to relax and enjoy the festival. To others, like Sasuke it was a chance to taste what he had been missing out on for what seemed like an eternity.

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"Neji? Why are you…?" Sasuke was unable to finish his sentence as Neji had already left. He knew that shinobi planned on being matchmaker tonight but he also knew he had no choice when he turned to see Sakura's blushing face.

As she was highly intuitive, of course she also figured out what was going on. Not sure of what to do she looked over at Sasuke, "Let's go get something to eat Sasuke-kun."

After having a sweet potato, the pair went to the town shrine to pray for success in the jounin exam. The temple wasn't crowded but it was fuller than usual.

"You two on a date?" A voice came from behind them; it was Tsunade-sama with Jiraiya next to her. Both were smiling at the pair.

Sasuke and Sakura looked at each other, both lost for words. "No we're not." Sasuke finally said.

"Well you should be." Jiraiya grinned as he nudged Tsunade to give them some space.

A moment passed before either of them said anything. "That was awkward…" Sakura laughed a bit forcibly.

Sasuke smirked, "Indeed." He gestured for her to follow him as he walked into the vast garden near the temple. No one seemed to be there; usually it was crowded with couples.

"The fireworks should start soon, let's go find a place to sit down?" Sakura suggested.

In response, Sasuke looked back to her with an expressionless face and sat down on the nearest bench under some trees. It was on a hill giving a clear view of the moonlit sky. Sakura sat down next to him with a light blush on her face, this seemed like a perfect romantic opportunity.

"You know Sasuke-kun, maybe they were right…?" She began quietly, looking away to conceal her blushing face.

He turned to look at her, "Who?"

"Tsunade and Jiraiya-sama… just now, what they said…" She trailed off.

"Hmmm…" Sasuke crossed his arms and looked at the sky. After a moment of silence and Sakura's mild embarrassment at his reply, he finally spoke up, "Maybe they were."

She looked up at him in surprise, her blush deepening. He was looking directly at her with that expression he wore that night they almost kissed. Sasuke put all thoughts aside and just looked at the girl he had left behind, perhaps for the first time he actually looked at her.

"S-Sasuke-kun?" Came Sakura's meek voice, unsure of what he was implying. Then without warning his hands seized her shoulders and he pressed his lips to hers. Her eyes widened in surprise but as soon as he slipped his tongue into her mouth, they closed. Sasuke's arm wrapped itself around her waist as his other hand held onto hers tightly. At this point Sakura was doing quite a bit of guessing; on the other hand Sasuke seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Instincts? Or was he simply experienced? Sakura couldn't tell but decided not to think about it now; she just wanted this moment to last.

His tongue gently caressed hers, causing her to shiver at this new delight. Their kissing became less gentle and more intense. Sasuke's behavior transformed from gentle kisses and light touches to something more aggressive and desperate. Sakura pulled away from their kiss when she felt his grip on her tighten. She calmed him down by brushing her fingertips on his cheek. Why was he looking at her like that? Was it desire? He looked into her turquoise eyes and smiled, holding her in his arms now.

Sakura leaned up to very tenderly brush her lips against his, just to brush them away and kiss his cheek. Her hands moved up to his face before she kissed him again. Sasuke gained new confidence with her responses and deepened his kisses with her, wanting to taste this beautiful girl in his arms.

She let out a low moan, the sound ringing in his ear. As he felt the softness of her lips and tongue, an unwanted thought came to him. He had a flash… Itachi murdering Sakura in front of him. Itachi murdering Naruto and Kakashi as well as the others dear to him… Sasuke pulled away from Sakura. He placed his face into his hands muttering to her, "I can't do this… I'm sorry Sakura."

"Sasuke-kun, what's wrong? Did I do something wrong?" Her voice sounded worried, something mismatching with her flushed face and reddened lips.

"No you were… I'm sorry, I just need to be alone right now." He stood up and walked away from her, his hand on his forehead. Sasuke seemed to be deep in thought, leaving a confused and worried Sakura behind.

The moment Sakura had dreamed about had not gone the way she thought it would. It started out wonderfully, giving her new experiences and sensations but he left her there. She knew he had a reason but she also couldn't help but feel hurt by his actions. Sakura got up and decided to walk around before going home, it helped her clear her mind.

As she walked through the garden, the fireworks had started. She wished she could have seen them with Sasuke. Another couple was also in the garden, on a closer look Sakura saw it was Naruto and Hinata. She smiled, happy to know Naruto finally realized his own feelings for the Hyuga girl. Hinata was busy wiping off some of his face paint, giggling the whole time. When she was finished, Naruto suddenly kissed her, causing the girl's face to burn up. Sakura then continued walking, not wanting to disturb them. Inside she was cheering for the two even though she had her own doubts.

Sakura didn't stay to watch the end of the fireworks show, instead she headed home. Noticing Sasuke hadn't come home yet, she went straight to bed.

It was probably 3 am when Naruto walked Hinata home. He kissed her good night and went on his way to his little apartment. On the way he noticed a bar, which was usually occupied, by Jiraiya and Tsunade at this time but instead Sasuke sat alone at the bar. He went up to his friend and sat down by his side.

"I didn't think you were much of a drinker Sasuke." Naruto commented noticing a couple of small sake bottles in front of his former companion.

"Only during the hard times my friend…" He muttered.

"So I take it things with Sakura didn't go so well?" Naruto asked, realizing Sasuke wasn't drunk quite yet.

At this Sasuke put down his drink and shoved it aside, "I can't do it Naruto. I thought I could…"

"Dude, what's up with you? She really cares about you and I know you care about her. What's the freaking problem?"

"Itachi…." Sasuke muttered, "Itachi is the problem. He'd do anything to get to me, even kill off Konoha just to call my attention."

"Ahh I see…" Naruto thought for a moment, "Sakura can take us both on pretty easily you know. We're all fairly equal in jutsu. If you're scared of getting her hurt, don't be man. You chose a strong girl who can kick some serious ass. If you stick by her, I'm sure you two can take on any enemies."

Sasuke looked at Naruto, at a loss for words. He knew his friend was right.

"Come on Sasuke, you can crash at my place tonight. You don't want her to see you tipsy now do you?" Naruto asked with a grin.

"Piss off moron…" Sasuke grinned back, finishing his last drink before getting up.

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I was going to introduce Gaara and co today but decided not to! Hehe just wait until Sakura and Sasuke mess with Naruto about Hinata…. That's gonna be fun to write!

Thank you again to my reviewers,