Sakura stared at the frowning man, knowing that he didn't like today. She knew exactly what today was. She knew exactly how many years ago it had happened. She knew everything that had happened to the culprit since he committed his horrible crime. She knew all the names of all the people that had died that night, and the names of the two that didn't. She knew things about Sasuke's dad that no one else did. Things about his mother, his brother, his neighbor's. She knew many things about the Uchiha massacre. She was like a walking textbook, especially on this particular subject. She also knew, however, that she didn't have a clue about the things that often went through the young man's head, only vague ideas that told her what was creating the blurs of emotions that traveled swiftly across his obsidian eyes. And that was a very big problem for her. A problem she wanted desperately to fix.
Her small gift was hidden in a place she knew he would never look. It's silk material was folded sharply, the perfect corners completely hidden in her weapon pouch, protected by a thin box wrapped in black and silver paper. Even though she had no doubts that it was safe, she still moved gingerly, making sure that she dodged any attacks in that general area, still trying to make it discreet. When their training was over she hurried to his old village.
He would be here tonight, she knew it. She had secretly watched him almost every year. She had watched as he broke down for a few simple seconds, watched as he cursed at his brother, watched as he screamed at the ground he stood on. She had watched him finally collapse after he released all his pent up emotions, slumping down on the walls of those empty houses. And she had even watched as he slept there, in that district full of broken and torn memories, stained with blood and horror, the tears still falling like rain down his beautiful skin. And it was only him there, most likely feeling all alone, wishing for no one else to know how weak he was on this day. This year wouldn't be the same, however. Because she was going to be standing right there. She was going to be right beside him. And maybe... maybe her gift could help just a bit.
The sky had long since turned black by the time the Uchiha boy walked down the dusty road. Sakura had fallen asleep against his old house, her weapon pouch clutched tightly to her chest. As he neared the door that she rested by, his eyes widened in shock, then anger. He glared at the girl with utter hatred, glowering down at her while she slowly woke up. His look only got angrier as she blinked cutely, vaguely remembering where she was.
"What are you doing here Sakura! I don't want you with me!" He knew that she had come for him, of course. But he didn't understand why.
"I think you know why I'm here, Sasuke-kun." The worry in her eyes hid under a thin veil of indifference, yet still Sasuke couldn't look beyond to see it.
"You are obsessed, woman! I don't know what else I can do except for just come out and say it! I don't like you, I don't care about you. You. Mean. Nothing. To. Me." He said the words in a low hiss, the sting of them causing Sakura's green eyes to water briefly. He didn't notice. "I've told you how far my feelings run. You're annoying, Sakura, a weak little burden. You're pathetic, hiding behind your pretty smiles, and your stupid perfect behavior, instead of training like a true ninja! I could never love you, and you could never be the bearer of my children! Why. Are. You. HERE!" He yelled the words at her, ignoring the way she flinched at the tone of his voice.
"Are you done, Sasuke-kun?" She smiled at him weakly, and he let out a frustrated growl. She smiled wider and pulled out the small box from her pack. "Because if you are I would like for you to take this." She saw him open his mouth to bitterly refuse, and frowned. "I made it by hand, so you better open it. Now." She shoved the tiny package into his hands, still a bit hurt at his outburst.
Sitting, he unwrapped the paper. His hands shook and the way his eyes glittered was dangerously handsome. When he saw what lay inside, however, his expression melted into complete sorrow. His fingers traced slightly over the red designs and his eyes welled up in tears. He glanced at her and she could see the apology swimming in his gaze. Placing a hand on his, she squeezed it reassuringly, frowning as he yanked it away from her. She couldn't help but sigh and turn her head .
"I just wanted to let you know... I'm really going to be here for you. No matter what happens, I will always love you Sasuke. I know that tonight you will cry, and curse, and scream, and say things that you don't really mean. I know that you will sleep here tonight, and that tomorrow morning you'll get up before anyone else has a chance to even begin to stir and meet Naruto and me to train. And tomorrow you'll pretend once again that the wonderful Uchiha Sasuke is a great emotionless bastard. But I, I will know, and I will be there for the one time a year that you die over and over again. And you can't make me leave."
"Please... Please Sakura, just leave me alone. I don't want to have anyone here." He was still staring at her present, not looking any better.
"No. I will not leave you here to do it all alone again."
He just watched her as she stood where she was, unwavering in her determination. He bowed his head as he turned to look back at the oak door.
"When my brother did it," He said the words softly, barely letting them drift from his mouth. He didn't want to reveal things to her. "He told me to hold on to the pain and the anger that I felt, to use it to make myself stronger. He said that I was too weak to kill, and that I should grow stronger to defeat him."
"I know that you had to be in a lot of pain, and that you must have been extremely upset. I only wish that I could better comfort you. But there's really nothing else that I can do." He turned to see her face, and was surprised to find that she was calm. "I did ask Kakashi about your brother, to see if he could tell me anything that books and information cards couldn't. He said that your brother was cold hearted, didn't talk much to anyone except you. I... I imagine that only made it worse..." She stared intently up at him, waiting for a response.
"I see you've done your research. That doesn't matter. You still don't know anything about me."
"Of course not. You haven't told me enough to let me in." She said it in a simple tone; soft, yet confused and all knowing at the same time. She had a habit of doing that. "However, my previous statement is still true. Don't forget it. Now, go on what you were doing. Don't be 'strong' like you always pretend to be. Tonight, Sasuke, you just need to be the scared and broken little boy again."
And he was. For most of the night he pretended she wasn't there, and continued his routine of screaming and crying and cursing until he was exhausted. It wasn't until then that he slunk down beside her and rested his head on the door she sat against. It wasn't until then that he leaned over to her and breathed out a silent thank you. Just as he was drifting off to sleep she smiled and stood, ready to walk away.
"Sakura..." Her movement had woke him.
"Why did you do this?"
"I've already told you why."
"You're welcome, Sasuke-kun."
He nodded just sightly as he fell asleep, too tired to do much else. It appeared that expressing his anger and pain was too much for him. She couldn't blame him for that. He obviously wasn't used to it, so when he went crazy it took its toll on his mind and body. That she understood. She didn't understand, however, why he held it in so much. No one would think any less of him had he shown his grief. She shook her head, her hand caressing the boy's smooth cheek before she left him laying there.
Clutched in his hand was a beautifully crafted fan. It's red tip was set in a lovely circular design, it's white silk shining brilliantly by the light of the moon. The white painted handle had the name 'Uchiha' engraved on one side, and was filled with black paint to make it easier to read. On the other side it said 'in loving memory.'