I… sniff I-I don't… tear I don't own Naruto! But then again, I'm kinda glad I don't. I completely lack the mental capacity to create such a great series, so I leave that up to you Masashi Kishimoto-sama. Kudos to you!

…Having To Breathe…

In a flash, she was by his side, one arm draping his over her shoulders. She walked his limp form over to the base of a nearby tree, and went back for the other one. The blonde boy was unconscious unlike the raven-haired boy, and was heavier too. With a little struggling, she walked him over and laid him beside his friend.

"Sakura"… The first moaned. She turned to him and smiled.

"Why don't you sit this one out? I'll come back and heal you when I'm done". She said, laying him down. He tried to protest, but he couldn't move, and she wouldn't look him in the eyes.

Then she was gone, in a burst of cherry blossoms, she was gone. His eyelashes fluttered from both exhaustion, and the silky pink petals raining down on his skin. The sound of metal-on-metal met his ears and he flinched.

People were screaming, but so far, none of the screams were Sakura's. He hadn't heard her scream in a long time. When he'd come back, five years later, she was so different, but so the same.

She greeted him with a warm smile and 'Sasuke! Welcome back'! And he'd joined her at the bar with his former team minus Naruto who was out on a mission. Apparently she'd just come back from one of her own, but wouldn't give him the details.

She was still the same happy-go-lucky girl he'd known all those years ago, but shrouded in a veil of mystery and a rather intimidating aura.

She was beautiful, he'd giver her that, more that beautiful. She was a bubble-gum-haired bombshell. He'd spent a lot of time with her, just catching up, talking. She was different towards him, it was like she knew him better than he knew himself. Most days she was content to just sit with him, or train along-side him.

But one day, when she'd left on a mission and not come back for several months, he inquired about her. Naruto wouldn't give him any straight answers, saying 'she'll tell you when she wants too', and Kakashi only shook his head sadly and told him to ask her himself.

During the sixth month of her absence, he'd received word from a hysterical Ino that Tenten and Neji had found her body on the outskirts of town, and the others were waiting at the hospital.

Sure enough, when he'd rushed in, nearly everyone he knew was crowded into the waiting room. Even Shino and Neji were there, along with Tenten, Ino, Naruto, Hinata, Kiba, Shikamaru Choji , Lee, and even the jounins and Hokage.

He'd rushed up to the huddling jounins, breaking into the circle between Kurenai and Asuma. Genma had tried to calm him down, but he demanded to know what room she was in. Kakashi was the one to tell her, and to stop all the others and the nurses from stopping him.

She had been fresh out of the surgery room, and she was placed in the center of a room on the hospital bed, it looking like a pedestal and she was princess. Her hair looked different, along with her skin. It was duller, paler.

The thin white sheets, covering her clung to her body, and he could see her chest rising and falling in time with the machine that was breathing for her. He walked as quietly as he could up to her, and noticed how much she was sweating. He read the clipboard at the foot of her bead, and paled.

"Chance of Survival: 43" He wanted to throw up. Sakura Haruno was not going to die. He pulled down the covers to her waist, knowing how hot she must be from experience. He noticed the paper-like gown she was wearing was nearly see-through, and he could see the blood-soaked bandages on her skin blaring an angry red at him.

He could see the outline of her ribs and her collar bone, and tried to think of what she had gone through. He followed the wires that wove their way like snakes over her thin pale body, and noticed it for the first time.

The bold black tattoo on her upper arm, the familiar leaf-like swirl of ANBU. The tattoo was small on her arm, not taking up much space, and the top of it was marred by a scar.

His eyes widened in realization. Kakashi had come in the, hands in his pockets and slouching like usual. He'd asked what division she was in, and he'd told him.

"A bit of everything. She likes to help out. She'd really good with planning and information, she was Shikamaru's partner for the longest time, but she got bored – and strong – and started hunting and assassination. She one of the top Ansatsu Senjutsu Tokushu Butai". (Roughly Special Assassination and Tactical Squad)

Things were starting to piece together, her suddenly going missing at random, the plaques and awards she hid in a box in her room, wearing only long sleeve, or wrapping her arm. Why it seemed like she wasn't trying when they fought, or she was careful with what she said, and why everyone seemed to love and respect her, yet fear her a bit too.

From the positing he was in on the forest floor, he could see her gracefully sliding in and out of the trees, using techniques he'd never seen anyone use before, but still seemed vaguely familiar.

He watched, trying to see her eyes as she killed, but they seemed so blank and dull, like she didn't really care. Konoha's famous medic-nin, the restorer of life, taking it so harshly. A small explosion, and three men were gone, she was left with two others.

She snapped one's neck with a harsh kick to the face, and the other lay at her feet, nearly cut in half at his chest.

She went about, doing what she was supposed to do, and destroying the bodies. She'd placed them in a row, said a silent prayer, and burned them, so no one would know their secrets.

She took a minute to clean herself off, and limped slightly over to them, the previously unconscious Naruto slightly wide-eyed. She'd pulled out a canteen and washed her hands, then poured her chakra into her hands and healed Naruto.

Ordering him to run ahead and alert Tsunade of their successful mission, he was quick to agree and after taking his pack and saying good bye, he was off.

That left him. She'd placed her palms gently on his chest, and he could feel the bright green chakra flow into his body. It was warming -- such a strange feeling to be warmed from the inside -- and while it went about fixing things, it at the same time acted as an anaesthetic.

The strange and slightly uncomfortable feeling of bones re-aligning themselves made him want to squirm, but he held himself down. After a few minutes, she was done, and clearly dizzy. She sat with her legs out in front of her, and leaning back on the palms of her hands.

"We're good to go". She smiled, and stood up. She brushed herself off, and looked up to him. He was giving her the critical eye.

"Sasuke"? She asked. There must have been a second head on her, the way he was looking. But, instead of answering, he'd pick up both his and her packs, placed them on his back, and picked her up bridal style.

She protested and struggled, insisting that he didn't have enough energy to walk back to Konoha with the extra weigh of her and her pack. But he'd silenced her with a glare, laced with worry and slight annoyance.

She was uncomfortable -- and no matter how much she'd changed, some things remained the same; she talked. When she was nervous, uncomfortable, threatened, she talked while inside she worked out every possible escape.

In the four years he'd been back, he'd put her into several positions where she'd been uncomfortable and cornered, but ANBU instincts had kicked in, and she became hostile and willing to fight.

Now, she reverted back to the old Sakura he'd knew and loved, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

"You know, it's weird, I've been rambling for"… She counted something in her head, "Two minutes now, and you've yet to stop me or call me annoying. Not that I'm complaining, but it's weird is all". She was finally quiet, and he took the opportunity to glance down at her.

She was looking back up at him, as if waiting for him to say or do something, so he just shrugged. Apparently that wasn't the answer she was looking for, and she was still in old Sakura mode.

"Well now wait just a minute! What was that"? She asked, imitating him shrugging herself. "I'm tired of you not answering my questions, not talking to me. Doing all the talking gets hard once and a while, I'm seriously running out of topics"! She yelled.

"Finally"… He muttered, hiding a smile. She looked stunned, and resumed her struggles.

"Put me down! Put me down"! She ordered. He walked up to a pile of moss and leaves, and dropped her. She sunk into the plants and flailed her arms and legs in attempt to get free. He chuckled at her muffled profanity – something she no doubt picked up from both Naruto and ANBU over the years.

He walked away at a slow pace, fondly rubbing the tattoo on his shoulder when she caught up. She was still brushing twigs and leaves off herself when he sighed. She growled, and did something most unexpected.

She'd punched him.


In the cheek. He'd stumbled, then fell to the ground, right into a pile much like the one she had been in. He pulled himself into a sitting position, and was about to yell, but all that came was a laugh.

A rich, deep, and manly sound that delighted her ears, but only made her angrier.

"What are you laughing at mister"! She fumed. He looked her up and down. Clothes torn up, blood leaking from some cuts, hands in fists and on her hips, hair dishevelled and matted with twigs and leaves – and he laughed again.

"You should see yourself"! He chuckled. Her face softened, and a smile crept onto her face.

"I could say the same for you". The smile was definitely getting bigger – on both of them.

He looked down at himself. He was in a state much like her. Torn clothes, dried blood, sitting in a pile of leaves, his hair sticking up at awkward angles…

They shared a serious look for all of two seconds, and both burst out laughing. It was a care free the-world-is-good kind of laugh.

She liked his laugh, rich and deep, genuine, a sound that suited him. It was strange coming from the usually quiet and reserved boy, but it suited him none-the-less.

He watched her through blurry eyes, her head thrown back, laughing for all the world to hear, and was compelled by a mischievous side to grab her wrist and pull her in, so he did.

She squeaked, landed face-first next to him, and was quite for a moment while he was roaring with laughter, holding his aching sides in a desperate attempt to quell the shaking muscles.

She looked at him as he was wiping a tear from his cheek, but he fell into more fits of laughter. A stray leaf had stuck to the skin on her cheek, and one on her forehead. Instead of being angry like she wanted to be, she laughed. She picked up a pile of leaved and threw them at Sasuke – and laughed.

They felt like twelve-year-olds again, with the weight of the world yet to press itself on their weary aching shoulders, they were free for the time being.

After an exhausting play fight in the leaves, both lay on their backs, arms spread and panting heavily. The goofy smiles were still plastered to their faces, and the mirthful twinkle was present in their eyes.

Sakura breathed deep and looked up at the evening sky through the canopy of multi-coloured tree leaves, alerting Sasuke to her sudden swing in moods. He tilted his head to the side and watched as she did the same, their eyes locking.

"That was fun Sasuke. It really was".

"Yeah"… The word was breathed and sad, almost like he lost something precious, and he looked back up.

He could hear her stand, and watched as she offered her hand out to him. He took it, surprising her, and she pulled him up. They stood, looking off into the distance, and she spoke.

"Sasuke, thank yo"- She was cut off by warm lips against her own, and with wide eyes was frozen, staring right into the deep obsidian eyes of Uchiha Sasuke. The look in his eyes scared her at first, but then washed over her in warmth. It was love. Pure caring, fondness, gentleness, love in his shadowy onyx eyes.

Her eyes slipped shut slowly, not wanting to miss the affection in his, but wanting this… This to go on. Her hands found their way to his neck, and his her waist, and she took a step forward. The world suddenly became very cold, and he was the only warmth she could find.

Her hands toyed with the hair at the base of his skull, and when they broke for air, they were still there, sending shivers down his spine. Her eyes were hooded, and she was biting her lip, still playing with his hair.

She looked up to him, her eyes bright and innocent, and she smiled, still biting her lip.

The next kiss she initiated entirely on her own. Her hands suddenly rose and tangled themselves in his raven hair and pulled him forward. His lips crashed down onto hers, and his tongue swept across her lips. She sighed, purely content, and he slipped his tongue into her mouth.

It was a delicate kiss, (her second kiss ever), and filled with everything they wanted to say. She felt him relax, his body shielding hers, and hers fitting perfectly against his. Her knees trembled, but she was determined not to fall.

One of his fingers was drawing patterns on her skin, leaving goose-bumps as they danced over her delicate flesh. She realized somewhere in the recesses of her mind, that his hands were warm against her skin, and that they were under her shirt, but they were low on her back, and she knew she could trust him.

Her fingers were still working through his hair, massaging his scalp while being mindful of her nails. And things were perfect. No longer was there Sasuke and Sakura, but there was just one. One perfect living being – two bodies, one soul.

And she cursed herself for having to breathe, but she pulled away, noting the look in his eye promised many more kisses, and she was content.

C'est la fini! YAY! I did something. I'm gunna say their 23-25 in this fic, somewhere around there. shrugs

So, I had erased everything from my account for major revisions, and poof! I up and catch a bloody virus, erasing everything. I was pissed, no, I was livid. I broke a chair and toe, (yes, for real), and started writing again. So, here you go, a nice Sasu/Saku filled with wondrous fluff, enough to fill a pillow case and smother a bear with. sighs

REVIEW! Good or bad reviews, I don't care. If you absolutely hate it and you want to seal a demon in my unborn children for it, let me know, and I'll consider it constructive criticism. Thank you!