Disclaimer: Nah, Naruto not mine.
A/N: Please bear with the first part. Yes, I know it's about a character you completely don't know, but it's a one-time appearance.
Side Track to Memory
gates won't open up for me
With these broken wings I'm fallin'
And all I see is you
These city walls ain't got no love for me
I'm on the ledge of the eighteenth story
And oh I scream for you
Come please I'm callin'
And all I need from you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin'
-Savin' Me, by Nickelback
It was raining, pouring, and Yumi was getting horribly wet. The raven-haired heiress hugged her mink coat closer to her, making sure her stiletto-clad feet were high above the rising puddles. This was unbearable, not to mention completely unacceptable. Here she was, Yumi Ichizawo, heiress of the Ichizawo Electric Company, and daughter of Japan's tenth richest man, forced to wait, drenched, at a common people's bus stop. It just wasn't fair. She had money, and fame and still her father wanted-expected-her to be carry on like a middle class citizen? It just wasn't fair.
Not to mention the bus was late. Yumi was positive the bus should have arrived ten minutes ago.
"Kazekawa? Call my father. Tell him to send driver down. I'm going to be late otherwise. Kazekawa?"
Where was her bodyguard? Her father had hired him especially so that Yumi would not be kidnapped or injured in any way while 'experiencing' a commoner's life. So where was Kazekawa?
"Excuse me. Are you waiting for the 79 bus too?"
The stranger had come up and sat down beside Yumi so quietly that she had not noticed. With slight amusement, she noted that he was dark haired and rather handsome-wearing all black.
"Yes, I am." She decided it must be all right to talk to him. After all, beautiful people just weren't kidnappers, or murders. Only ugly, poor people did that sort of thing, right?
But where was Kazekawa? Despite the fact that she was in public area, Yumi still had doubts. Any random no-life could come and kidnap her and with this sort of weather, no one would see.
"The bus is late." The stranger's voice was cool and detached.
Yet strangely suave. Kazekawa must be using the restroom. She was sure he would call sooner or later. It was all a matter of time.
"Yes. It is, isn't it? If I had my way, I would have had a limo pull up by now." She added with an indignant shake of her head.
"You…You're very beautiful. The most beautiful girl I've seen in my life." He didn't look at her, but was that a smirk on his face?
"Really? You mean it?" Yumi warmed to the stranger immediately. He was handsome, after all.
0 0 0
It was almost too easy. With only a few words, the girl had fallen head over heels over him. Pathetic.
With disgust, he glanced at the human girl, who was moving disturbingly close to him. He would have to end the mission, soon.
"…. Have you heard on news? About the third murder this month? I'll bet it was the vampires who did it," She was saying.
He would wait a little before finishing the assignment-he wanted to hear what the girl had to say.
"It was the murder of the Chairman of some plumbing company. Papa said it wasn't a very big company, but the Chairman had been a rival of the vampire leader, Orochimaru or something. I'm glad vampires don't show up in Osaka." She gazed at him through her thick eyelashes, smiling flirtatiously.
Her brown eyes widened slightly in surprise when he looked at her coldly.
"How ignorant. The leader of the vampire association is Itachi. Orochimaru was overthrown three years ago."
"W-What….?" Confused, the girl tried to smile, though her smile faltered. "Oh, I must have forgotten. I didn't hear about that on the news….. But don't you think the vampire association is pretty scary? I mean, they have such a mysterious group, and I hear they have assigned assassins. Papa told me that it's because their numbers have diminished so greatly-with them having to drink blood and all that. Pretty disgusting, isn't it?"
The girl was becoming increasingly annoying. It would have to end. Now.
He touched her shoulder. It was a repulsive action, but it was necessary.
"I've really enjoyed spending this time with you. And since the bus isn't here yet, would you care to go for a drink at the local coffee house?"
Her eyes gleamed and she squealed. "Really? Of course I'd like to go!"
He didn't understand humans. Everything about them was confusing, and rather disgusting. Much like their notion that vampires had to actually use their teeth to draw blood. Didn't they know that high ranked vampires only need skin contact to draw out blood? It was much less conspicuous that way, as well as convenient.
While the girl giggled on about how pleased she was, he slowly covered her hand with his-a mist of blood slowly rising from between his fingers and sinking into his wrist.
Almost immediately, the heiress of Ichizawo Electricity Co. slumped over, unconscious. He lifted her limp body over his shoulder. Mission complete.
He disappeared almost as quietly as he had arrived, with Yumi Ichizawo in tow.
In the rain, no one noticed anyone missing.
"Which one, Sakura? White or blue? Hey! Are you listening?"
A face with cobalt blue eyes, surrounded by flaxen blonde hair, loomed in.
"White or blue? Sakura!"
Sakura Haruno turned slowly to face her best friend, Ino, who held two bouquets of flowers in her hands.
"What was that, Ino?"
Ino sighed in exasperation. "It's for your own wedding, dummy. I said, which do you want-white or blue flowers? Remember, we're picking out decorations?"
"Do you have any dark red flowers?"
"What? Dark red?"
"I'll have both white and blue." Sakura turned back to the window, where she stared impassively at the water clogged streets. "You know, it's been raining for two days straight…."
"If you worried that it's going to rain on your wedding day, don't worry. It won't. Gosh, Sakura. Your wedding is in less than a week, and you're completely out of it." Ino tugged on a lock of the other girl's pink hair. "And look at this. You haven't even decided what to do with your hair for the wedding. You should be so grateful I'm here to help you."
"Oh believe me, Ino-I am." She smiled appreciatively at the blonde.
"You know, I don't get you at all. How can you be so out of it when you're get married to the son of one of the most influential men in the country? Not to mention, he's hot as hell. You're crazy."
Sakura frowned. "Ino, it's a marriage of convenience. It's Naruto. Yes, I love him, but only like a brother. To be frank, I don't think he can even decide who he likes more-me or Hinata."
"But you've known him for almost your entire life, and besides, his father's the late Prime minister."
"Ino, that has nothing to do with it. The point is, Naruto thinks he loves me, when it's really Hinata he's after. This whole wedding thing was really just one of his dad's 'death-bed wishes' or something, since we did have an arranged marriage when we were younger."
"Still, you should be happy. Because after all, this is the Uzumaki family you're marrying into. They're involved in politics, and business. And filthy rich too. You won't starve."
"Papa just wants me to go for it, since it'll help him with his job."
"Whatever. I'm going to go get some of the fabrics for the veil, and I want you to choose one." Ino stood up and patted at the hem of her skirt. "You're really lucky, you know that?"
Sakura knew she was. The blonde haired, bright eyed Naruto would definitely take care of her, even if he realized later on that he didn't love her like he thought he did.
But it was ironic.
She had spent the last four years of her twenty-two years trying to forget him and now, she couldn't stop thinking of him.
It wasn't fair to Naruto. If anything, she should just forget about him. It was Naruto she was getting married to, after all.
But like dreams, thinking about him was something she couldn't help doing.
She knew it was wrong to think about him, and wasn't she the one who had been trying to forget him for the past four years? She tried, but still-it wasn't something she could help doing.
As she watched the raindrops dance outside the misted windows, her thoughts led her back to that other day…
"You don't love me, do you?" Emerald eyes blinked, fighting to keep tears from overfilling.
"Sakura….." The dark-haired man's voice was strained, yet his face showed nothing.
"Why are you marrying me? Why? Is it because everyone expects you to marrying Sakura Haruno, your childhood friend? Why?" Her voice was filled with torment.
"Sakura, you're acting immature. Calm down."
"NO! All along, I thought, maybe, just maybe, you actually cared about me, but I was wrong!"
"Of course I care about you. Why would I go through the trouble of marrying someone who I cared nothing about? You know I'm not like that."
"But as more than just a friend." It came out as a whisper. You've known since the beginning that I've loved you. Heck, we've been friends since we were both five, and since then you already knew I had a crush on you!"
"Why are you doing this? We're both only eighteen."
"I'm doing it for myself." It was a casual answer.
"But you don't love me."
An awkward silence passed.
"Sakura….." Once again, his voice was strained.
"I knew it. Somewhere, inside, I knew all along that what I felt for you would never be reciprocated." With determination in her eyes, she continued. "You know what? The wedding's off. I don't know why you even thought of marrying me in the first place. If it's not for love, it's not worth it."
"Don't be stupid, Sakura."
"No! It's off. I'm sorry to have spent so much of your time and money on it, but I can't go through with it. The reason I came was just…just to find out if you were marrying me for the right reasons. And you aren't. I'm sorry. I'm going back home. You don't need to come with me-I already have a train ticket."
She reached for her coat. He grabbed her wrist.
"Sakura, I won't repeat this again. Why would I be marrying you unless I cared about you?"
Her eyes blazed. "You don't love me. I won't be trapped into a loveless marriage. I know you care about me, but you don't love me. If you're going to marry someone just because you care about him or her, you might as well go marry Naruto."
He gritted his teeth. "What do you want, Sakura? You said it yourself-you've liked me since day one. I'm marrying you aren't I? Yes, I have my own reasons in doing it, but do you think I would have asked you to marry me unless I knew that you already had feelings for me?"
She pulled her wrist back, violently. "Marriage is between two people who love each other. Do you understand that? It's pretty apparent you don't."
Would he come after her? Even as she flung open the door and walked into the chilly street, she half-hoped he would come. Even as she raged at him silently, hated him silently, she wished that he would come after her.
He didn't, of course. Uchiha Sasuke didn't do that kind of thing.
My first memories always include Sasuke, Naruto, and me. I've known the two of them for nearly forever. We only met because we all came from such prominent families-well, Naruto and Sasuke, at least. Naruto's father was the Prime minister, and Sasuke's father was in the league of businessmen. As for me? My mother was a maid working for Sasuke's mother, until she married my father, a successful, but not wealthy doctor.
Our world was-and still is-one of many complications.
From the start, I liked Sasuke, and Naruto liked me. Sasuke, the dark, handsome one, always came across as the cool, aloof guy. Naruto was always the cheerful, hyperactive one, attractive in his own way. I could always count on both of them.
But now, thinking of it, it's silly to label our childhoods as 'complicated' just because our little love triangle. Because, after all, many other things were happening at that time.
For one thing, it was at that time that the vampires had begun gaining power, as well as influence over us.
Vampires? Although their existence was not discovered until about nine hundred years ago, they have always co-existed alongside humans. Mysterious, and dangerous are the two words that come to mind when I think of them. And clever too. They are able to pass as normal humans, looking and acting like us, except for the fact that they feed on human blood.
From the beginning, vampires already had control of the Tokyo underground. It wasn't until recently that their control began to move onto more apparent levels. There isn't open war between humans and vampires. No yet, at least. Humans outnumber vampires by millions, but it's only a matter of time.
When I say vampires are mysterious, I mean mysterious. Most of them are all in league with one another, under one leader. Unlike us humans, who have multiple leaders and groups. And since there is no way for humans to detect vampires-who do not fear sunlight, or crosses-there is really no way to tell who is a vampire and who isn't. And although it's never been confirmed, there's always the threat that you might become a vampire, if bitten in the correct way. Which is why it's hard to trust anyone these days.
But I could always trust Naruto and Sasuke. Ino is my best friend, but these two were like family. We grew up spending almost every day together, even though I went to an all-girls school and Naruto and Sasuke to private schools.
Eventually, however, we had to separate. First, it was Naruto. After his father's death, Naruto decided to go for his father's old position. He was the first to leave the city we had all called 'home'.
Sasuke and I spent much more time together, and my crush turned into love. Then, came the day he proposed. It was so out of character, so impossible, that I should have rejected it. But I didn't. I thought he had come to love me, so I accepted. My family approved because of the wealth of the Uchiha family.
I was the second to leave. I wanted nothing to do with Sasuke anymore, after that incident. Or so I told myself. It would have been too hard to remain friends with something like that hanging between us.
I met up with Naruto a few years later. By then, he had already met Hinata-a poor, lower class girl who worked at a restaurant. I could tell she loved him, despite the obvious differences between them. And Naruto would come to love her too, if only he didn't insist so vigorously that he only loved me.
We didn't hear from Sasuke for four years. There was the occasional letter at first, but they stopped after a while. We worried about him, but we knew he would be fine. By then, I had almost forgiven myself for leaving. Life is like that. You think you're doing the right thing, and you really believe you are. But then, after you finish it and cut off all ties, you regret doing it. You wish that maybe you had gone with the other choice, even if it would have meant destroying yourself trying to make things work.
"Sakura! Here are the laces and silks you can use for your veil, with the materials to put around your bouquet. Come on, choose one!"
Ino had rolled out three different sheets of material, letting the vibrant cloths cascade onto the floor. Her gaze wandered to where Sakura sat absent-mindedly next to the window.
"Hey, big-forehead girl, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I think I am. I was just thinking." Her eyes were slightly glazed over by-were those tears?
"Sakura, you need to stop angsting over past events. It's not healthy. And it's annoying for other people, especially to such helpful friends like me who are trying their best to help you with your wedding…..You're thinking about him again, aren't you? Sakura, it's ridiculous. Hasn't it been four years already?"
"I'm sorry Ino. I'll really try to do this right. I think all the thinking and spacing out has helped. I think I'm finally over him. I really think I am now." Sakura smiled apologetically. "In fact, I'll even send an invitation for him to come to our wedding. Naruto will be happy to see him, I think. I'll go with that white lace with the black trim."
"What? Another assignment so soon?" Annoyance laced his voice.
"It won't be hard. For you, it will be a piece of cake."
"Read it, and dispose of the paper immediately after you're done."
"Yeah, I know. I've gone through this a hundred times already."
Like night itself, he slipped through the rain- a mere shadow in the darkening streets. He reached the house in little time. From the one window that was illuminated, he could see two dark silhouettes, one which was surely his target. This one was too easy.
With a leap, he was on the roof. Crouching, he extended his arm and lifted the latch of the window….
"So, Ino, what have you and Shikamaru been doing?" Sakura asked with a knowing grin as she looked over the wedding menu.
"You know, if he weren't so lazy, I'd accuse him of cheating on me with that big breasted lawyer, Temari. But as it is, I know he's way too lazy to cheat on me. I mean, we've been going out for at least seven years, and still, he hasn't even mentioned getting married. Sad, isn't it?"
The two girls laughed as Ino imitated Shikamaru's voice, pitching her voice lower by an octave to play the role. "Marriage is too troublesome."
"What I'd give to be in your shoes, Sakura! Naruto actually turned out to be pretty good looking! You'd never have expected he'd look so hot now with how he looked like when he was a kid."
"Oh, don't be silly. I know you loooooove Shikamaru!" Sakura teased.
"Of course I do, but he's still a lazy bum who-" Ino's blue eyes widened, and her mouth opened, gaping, like a fish.
It would have been comical if Ino's face hadn't been turning slightly red.
"Ino?" Sakura touched her friends shoulder in concern. "Ino-chan? What's wrong?"
She shook the other girl gently. "Come on, Ino! What are you playing at?"
Ino's pale head slumped over Sakura's shoulder. To her alarm, Sakura saw that she was no longer breathing.
"Ino!" She jumped up reached for the phone, her fingers scrambling to dial.
"Don't touch the phone. If you do, I'll kill your friend here." The voice was low, and almost familiar.
She spun back. A dark figure stood over Ino's limp body. Dressed completely in black, with a black silk scarf wrapped around his face, a held a knife in his hand-shining, like a piece of light in the darkness.
"H-How did you get in? And….what are you trying to do? Ino will die if I don't get her to a medical center!"
"She won't die. If you come with me, I'll make sure she receives proper treatment. If you don't, I'll kill you and your friend."
"Why are you doing this? If you want money, I can go get you some! Just please, let me take my friend to the hospital! She needs help!"
"What we want is you. Not money."
"We? What do you mean 'we'?" She squinted, trying to make out his features.
Her eyes widened.
The girl wasn't completely ugly for a human, he decided. Her looks were exotic-the pale face surrounded by the long locks of rosy pink hair. He wondered, briefly, if she smelled like cherry blossoms.
"I'll say it again," he repeated in a low, almost vibrating, voice. "Come with me or I'll kill your friend."
"Tell me why you're doing this. If it's not for money-"
"I don't have to. If you don't come with me, your friend will die. You wouldn't want that, now would you?"
He smirked beneath the black scarf.
To his surprise, she bounded forward and tore the scarf from his face before he had time to stop her. She was fast. Immediately, he pushed her to the floor, pinning her arms and legs together. Her look of triumph turned to one of utter shock. Green eyes wide, she reached up with her hand, almost as if she meant to touch his face, before her arm fell limply to her side and her thin frame began shaking uncontrollably. Her voice came out in a hushed whisper.
It couldn't be, it couldn't be. It was impossible. Impossible. He couldn't be here. This couldn't be him. Then why was it his face staring back at her, a face she could never mistake for another's?
Why was he here? What was he doing here? And why, why was he threatening to kill her?
"Why….Sasuke-kun? Why are you here? Why are you doing this to me? Why do you say you're a vampire? I've been trying to forget you for the last four years, and still, you're here. Why?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Sasuke-kun?" Her eyes filled with angry, indignant tears, despite all her attempts not to cry. "Don't pretend. Why are you here?" Her arms struggled against his hold.
He grabbed her wrists, a movement she remembered well from the last time she had seen him. His breath was cooling against her face as he leaned over her, her back pressed hard against the tatami floor.
"Look, I don't know how you know my name, but don't speak to me as if you know me!"
His voice was familiar, but she had never, never heard him speak in such a cold, lashing tone. Not to her.
With trepidation, she looked into his face.
Her darkest fears were confirmed with that single look, as her green eyes met his. The dark eyes that stared back were blank, and void of any recognition.
don't remember me, but I remember you
I lie awake and try so hard not to think of you
But who can decide what they dream, and dream I do
-'Taking over me", by Evanescence
A/N: I still wonder if it would have been a better cliffhanger if I left it at the first "sasuke-kun", but yeah, I just wanted to get in that he doesn't remember her. As you may know, I'm a complete review-craver, so the button is down there if you can find the time to click it and send a review, even if it's a short one.
I think I've been 'review craving' lately which explains why I've been sprouting all these new stories. However, the plot for this one I actually like, so I probably won't delete it even if it doesn't get all that many reviews.