AN: It's a twist on that one famous episode we all know...enjoy!

"Why can't you stay…?" Sakura whispered, quietly enough that Sasuke almost didn't hear it.

Sasuke only stood there, not facing her, though he knew she was crying. He could hear it in her voice.

"Revenge," he said simply. "That's why I go on living."

Sakura finally snapped. Brushing away her tears, she raised a fist and yelled, "Revenge! Your whole life you've thought about revenge, and where has it gotten you? Nowhere! You should know by now that thinking only of revenge is only going to make you suffer!"

Sasuke, again, was silent, but he could feel her words burning into him. A slight breeze drifted by, his hair fluttering into his eyes. He was too deep in thought to consider swiping it away.

"I know," he murmured. "I won't be at peace with my family unless I avenge them. Can you understand that?"

"NO!" Sakura shouted so forcefully that Sasuke looked up, surprised. "I don't understand! How are you ever going to be happy when the thought of killing your brother is the only thing that keeps you going? Isn't there anything else you can think of that would make you want to stay…?"

Yes. "No," Sasuke replied softly, saddening her even further. I want to stay for you, and for Naruto. But you know why I can't. "There's nothing for me here."

Tears were sliding gently down Sakura's face again, but this time she ignored them. Her hair was sticking to her moist cheeks as the wind blew, and though she didn't feel very attractive at the moment it was the one time in her life where she didn't care.

"I'm here."

Sasuke's eyes widened, and he almost turned around to face her. Almost. But something held him back. Whether it was the promise of never letting someone get close to him or the fact that he was trying to convince himself that he had no feelings for her, he couldn't tell. But Sakura's confession nearly made him break his personal vow never to let someone close to him in.


Sakura could only gaze at him, her tears drying, as she waited. Waited for him to say something, anything.

"Go home."

She gasped. At any other time in the course of their time together, she would have fallen apart at this obvious rejection. But just this once, she felt anger building in her chest. Her eyebrows furrowed, and she stepped toward him with a certain aggressiveness Sasuke hadn't seen in her before.

"No. I'm not giving up, Sasuke." Sakura's abandonment of the –kun suffix shocked Sasuke. What were her intentions…?

"Like it or not, if you go any farther, you'll become a missing-nin, and then it'll be my job to bring you back," Sakura growled. "I may not be very powerful, Sasuke, but I'd rather stop you here than have to retrieve you out there." She gestured to the road in front of them. The stone that was the village grounds ended too shortly. Sakura knew that with his speed, Sasuke could simply vanish right this moment, and she wouldn't be able to follow. What was holding him back, she didn't know.

Sasuke turned to face her, a cruel smirk turning the corner of his lips.

"You really are…"

"Annoying," Sakura finished for him, glaring at him. Where had the loving, desperate Sakura gone? "I know that. And I'll get a lot more annoying if I have to come after you."

"Sakura…leave." The smirk had disappeared from Sasuke's face, leaving only a slight frown, indicating that he was serious.

"I can start by screaming if you take another step."

The air in front of Sakura seemed to move quicker as Sasuke instantly vanished, leaving nothing but wind in front of her. There. He was gone. Sakura wondered what took him so long.

"Sasuke…I hate you…" Sakura whispered, trembling. She took a kunai out of her holster and griped it in her fist. She had no idea what she would use it for, but just holding a weapon seemed to comfort her in her anger.

"You don't hate me," a deep voice said from right behind her. Sakura gasped. He hadn't left…?

Sakura turned around instantly, deciding it was better if she faced him if she was going to battle this out. Her kunai rested readily in her hand, and Sasuke had to chuckle. She wouldn't.

Sakura stood defiantly in front of him, and it was only then that she realized that they were mere inches away. Sasuke had appeared behind her, but now he was so close that she could feel his breath on her face.

"What makes you so sure?" Sakura asked. Sasuke didn't miss the wavering in her voice.

"You're still trying to get me to stay."

He was smirking. That arrogant baka.

Sakura held her chin up. "It's my duty as a kunoichi of Konoha not to let you become a missing-nin, isn't it?"

Sasuke apparently wasn't fazed by her comment, and Sakura noticed, responding with a drop in confidence. She couldn't just let him go. But it was looking like there wasn't much else she could do.

"What exactly could you do to make me stay?" Sasuke asked. "Your strength doesn't quite match up to mine."

Oh. Emphasis on arrogance. "Maybe so," Sakura ploughed on anyway, "but you might be surprised. I'm not all swooning and standing in the background."

Sasuke's eyebrow raised in amusement, and maybe curiosity. "I'd like to see you try." I don't have time for this. Sasuke had been repeating that phrase inside his mind for years. Nowadays, did he really have time for anything…?

"Fine. You asked for it," Sakura said stubbornly. This is for that time when we first became a team, Sakura thought.

You're not running away this time.

Sakura grasped the azure sleeve of his shirt, moving him forward. In slow motion, Sasuke could see her reach her arm around his neck, and though he could see every move, he was frozen, unable to react. What was going on?

Hooking her elbow at the nape of his neck, she pulled him to her, crushing his body against hers, their lips clashing together.

Following this sudden burst of courage, Sakura's natural shyness came rushing back, and she almost backed away. But as this thought drifted across her mind, she found that she couldn't.

Sasuke had suddenly taken control, as if he had just lost every bit of self-control he had once had. Sakura felt his strong but careful arms wrap around her back, and his lips capturing hers with a kind of dominance Sakura couldn't object to. Where had this come from? Who cares, inner Sakura sighed, willing her to clutch Sasuke's shirt more tightly.

Sasuke separated from her quickly, furious with himself for even letting the kiss last that long. It should never have happened. He had not expected Sakura to try to seduce him. What was she thinking!


Sasuke found himself at a loss for words. Well, what did he expect? That a full condescending speech would just come pouring from his lips?

"Yes?" Sakura, still in shock, only stared at him, her eyes boring deep into him. It's up to him to say something now. Why? 'Cuz I sure can't think straight right now.



Sasuke cursed himself for letting her affect him this much. The heat on his skin was just a fever right? Good lord, surely he wasn't blushing…

"I can't stay."

Sakura's stomach dropped like a sack of bricks. You expected this, inner Sakura told her. This shouldn't come as a surprise.

"I-I know," she said, fidgeting with the bottom of her red outfit, twisting the crimson fabric in her hands. "I just…I thought that…"

"Thought what?" Sasuke's anger at himself turned on her, though unintentionally. "Thought that a simply kiss could convince me to stay?"

"N-no…" I hate my weakness.

"Go home, Sakura."

Though he was telling her to get lost, Sakura still loved it when he spoke her name. "Say it one more time," she whispered.

"Say what?" Sasuke asked, surprised.

"My name." Her half closed eyes looked up at him, a kind of need evident in them that he just couldn't satisfy. He had things he needed to do. She knew that.

Sasuke sighed frustratedly. "Stop this. I don't know what you're trying to do, but I don't have time for this."

"Of course you don't." Sakura's eyelids closed. "Of course."

This sudden submission in her stirred a funny feeling in Sasuke. Guilt was clearly not something he was used to. Damn her.

Sakura's inner voice spoke to her one more time, and this time she was quiet and reserved.

I've done all I can.

Let him go.

Wordlessly, Sakura turned away from him, the village behind them coming back into focus. She knew she had to stay, and that he had to leave. Well…so be it.

Sasuke never thought he'd see the day when Haruno Sakura gave up on him. The sight of her now walking away should have come as a relief. But now he wanted to yell out, or strike something, or…catch her. He was going insane.

Sakura gasped loudly as the scent of pine surrounded her and arms encircled her body. Sasuke stood behind her, pressed against her back, breathing on her neck.

"I might come back someday," he whispered slowly, so that only she could hear him. Not only could she hear him, but Sakura could feel his warmth, smell his scent…it was getting to be too much.

"So wait for me…"


Sakura would have turned in his arms if it weren't for the sharp pain at the base of her neck. "What did—" she started. Her voice trailed off as unconsciousness overtook her, blocking out her thoughts and vision. She sagged against him, limp, as if she was boneless.

Sasuke felt a small twinge of regret, but he would not let him get him down. He still had a mission to accomplish. And even Sakura would just have to wait until he completed it.

He set her on the cold stone bench, brushing her bangs out of her face. His eyes closed as he saw her tear-streaked face, as though blocking her from his sight would keep his guilt away. Squeezing her hand once, he took one last look at her, and stepped away.

Don't worry, Sakura, he thought as if she could hear him. I'll have to restore my clan someday.

AN: Read and review no jutsu!