Salvation - An Itachi & Sakura story
By: Mitsuki Shiroi

Disclaimer: Naruto and all its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto.

A/N: After tons of requests, here's the epilogue.

If I could live my life again

If I could call the world my friend

If I could write the story's end.

I would.

I would give all these things in vain,

Just to hold you once again.

Epilogue


He smiled as he glanced at Sakura's drowsy form, nearly asleep with her head on his lap. Her radiant pink hair was fanned all over his lap as he gently caressed it, admiring the soft texture of it under his roughened hands.

Friends, they were. Nothing more; she was in love with the Uchiha, he knew that, but still, he wished it would be different, especially during these small intimate moments that meant nothing more for her than ordinary bonding.

"Deidara?" she whispered, voice laced with sleep.

"Hmm?"

"Did you mean it?" Sakura asked quietly.

"Mean what?"

"After Tooya's attack, you said you loved me..." she opened her eyes and looked him in the eye, searching for answers.

He opened his mouth, then closed it again, not sure what he should say to her. All that he told her that fateful night was the truth, and he knew it was in vain and that it wouldn't matter, but he just had to say it to her.

Feeling like an absolute idiot, he tried his hardest to flash a smile and then answered, "I did... yeah."

"Did?"

"I guess my feelings for you receded to just a brotherly love after you left," he lied easily. She was not his and would never be his; he accepted that. It was time he let go of her. "And I always knew you were in love with Itachi... yeah."

Sakura smiled sadly, then pushed herself up and against Deidara, hugging him tightly.

"I'm sorry," she whispered softly in his ear, clutching his shirt in her hands. Then, his shirt suddenly felt wet and it took him a mere second to realize she was crying. "I'm so sorry."

"Don't apologize," Deidara laughed it off casually, wrapping one arm around her waist as the other one stroked her short hair. He hesitated, then kissed her cheek quickly as she pulled away to face him. Sakura gave him a watery smile, her fingers gently touching the place he had kissed her.

She then bent towards him and returned the kiss. He grinned happily. "Don't call me brother though... yeah!"

"I won't," Sakura laughed as Deidara wiped away the tears that still rolled over her cheek.

A curt knock on the door made the two of them look up. He already knew who was standing on the other side of the door, but asked anyway. "Who is it?"

"It's me," came the monotone reply and the bed lurched as Sakura pushed herself off and opened up the door to reveal the raven-haired man. His piercing crimson eyes glanced over Sakura's cheeks momentarily, obviously noting the fact that she had been crying, then turned to the blond who still sat on the bed, his hand on the place where Sakura had sat moments before, still feeling the warmth radiating.

"You've been crying," Itachi observed, still looking at Deidara.

As Sakura looked up to meet his eyes, she could clearly see something other than his usual blank look. Another emotion flickered behind those long lashes of his, and for a moment, she thought it was anger, before dismissing it immediately.

"It's nothing," Sakura replied, touching her eyes. "We were just talking about the past."

Itachi curtly nodded, then calmly walked away, his thumbs hooked in his pockets in a nonchalant manner.

She turned around and smiled at Deidara, waving, before following her partner to wherever he was heading.

He turned around the corner and stopped there, causing Sakura to almost bump into him as she hastily followed him. The kunoichi stood still for a while, waiting for him to say anything, but as he turned around, he gently pushed her against the wall and before she could even speak up, he pressed his soft lips against hers, displaying his hunger and urge in a way she hadn't ever seen before.

Sakura complied, wholeheartedly welcoming his warm lips as they nudged hers in demand for more intimate access as Itachi's hands settled on her hips, softly kneading the flesh. These flashes of passion from Itachi's side were rare and she'd take any chance she had to make them last. With a quiet moan, she gave back as good as she got and the kiss went on, growing hungrier and more insistent by the second, until she felt that familiar pain burning in her throat and she quickly pulled back.

He held her tightly as she coughed, a hand calmly resting on her back as she doubled over and when she nearly fell to the ground, Itachi held her calmly, allowing her to reach the ground without hurting her knees, patiently awaiting the moment that the coughing would stop.

When it finally stopped, she was too tired to even look him in the eye and just passed out in his arms.

Without too much effort, he picked her up and carried her to their room, once in a while glancing down to see whether she was awake or not, but she didn't open her eyes.

As he laid her down on the bed, he could clearly hear her even breathing and looked satisfied as he calmly took her boots off and pulled the heavy duvet over her. Itachi then turned around, picked up one of the wooden chairs that stood near the door and sat down on it, watching over his kunoichi as she slept.

With his elbows resting on his knees and his hands folded against his forehead, he finally let go of his mask for the first time in years, and let the dreadful fear that lingered within take over for a split second.

He aspired to be the ultimate shinobi; a powerful being who was a part of Akatsuki. He had hidden all of his feelings for so long and then she showed up again and told him the news and nearly broke him from inside out.

This is why he didn't want to get close to anyone again. This is why emotions are unnecessary.

This is why he failed as a shinobi.

But still, as he pondered about all of these things, he wasn't able to suppress the feeling that the next time she had a coughing fit and passed out, she might not wake up again.

And that mere thought was enough to bring a stinging to his eyes that he hadn't felt since he was a mere child.

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A/N: Uploaded for everybody who couldn't see or read it for some reason.

Love,

Mitsuki.