Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, because if I did, you would be watching stick figures poke each other.

So basically I'm in love with SasuSaku, in case you didn't pick that up based upon the theme of this fic. XD

But anyway, I was reading a lot of other fantabulous SasuSaku related fics and decided to try my hand at writing one. This is really my first attempt at any big SasuSaku fanfiction…the rest of my collection is just drabbles and oneshots. So read, review, and enjoy! I always like to know what my readers think…my apologies if this chapter is a bit slow—promise it'll pick up soon enough.

If, that is, I decide to continue it. I have a terribly bad habit of leaving things unfinished for weeks, I'm afraid... -.-; XD


Chapter One: Not The Same

She had been forced to come; he could tell by the way she stood back from everyone else, the way her arms hung motionlessly at her sides, the way she refused to even look at him. The most she had given him since he arrived here was a quiet "Ohayo, Sasuke." He didn't blame her, however. He didn't deserve her attention, as much as it surprised him that he wasn't receiving it.

The anger that he was greeted with didn't appall him in the least. They all had a right to be resentful towards him, all for different reasons. His punishment had already been executed: he was not permitted to be outside Konoha for an entire year, instead focusing his energies on completing simple, D-ranked missions within the walls of the village for the meanwhile. Any small misconduct on his part now would result in a far more severe penalty later.

So, in short, the anger that everyone emanated didn't surprise him at all. He was a traitor, a revenge-bent fool in the eyes of most. Naruto held a grudge, Kakashi hadn't spoken more than a few words, and Sakura…she had been silent this entire time. Those two words of greeting she had uttered softly had been the only ones to slip past her rosy lips since he had regained consciousness.

That in itself didn't shock him, either. He remained silent as well, nodding as Naruto explained what had been happening since he had been gone to signify that he understood, when he sensed her eyes upon him. He blinked, shifting his gaze in her direction, his onyx eyes locking onto her jade ones. No emotions seeped past his impassive features, as always, but her eyes told him everything. She was angry, she was hurt, and she was confused. Completely and utterly confused. Her brows were knitted together in frustration as they regarded each other, one of her white teeth biting onto her lower lip. His stony countenance only seemed to irritate her more. He glanced back at Naruto, who was still in the process of explaining the current events in Konohagakure.

It was then that she surprised him, with a solid slap to the face that he didn't even have the time to detect, let alone block. By the time he had turned to look at her in shock, she was already slamming the door behind her retreating back.

This was definitely not the same, crying Haruno Sakura he had left on that bench all those years ago.


It had been a long time since he had last walked these streets. He took his time, not really paying attention to where he was going, contemplating silently as he stalked the empty paths of Konoha. For the first time in his life, he felt secure. Perhaps not as fulfilled as he would have liked, and most definitely not as content, but he did feel secure.

His goal was accomplished; Orochimaru was long gone, as well—and yet…he still did not feel fully satisfied.

He smirked twistedly to himself. Kakashi had been right. He had become so focused on revenge that, now it was out of the way, he had no idea what to do with himself. He ate, he slept, he trained, he took walks…and that was all. Life had been simple these past few days.

Glancing at the sky, he assumed that it was about to rain, the telltale rumble of thunder in the distance only confirming his suspicions. A few people were bustling around the streets by now, but not so many that it made him uncomfortable. It was still fairly early…only ninja and a few early-bird villagers were awake by this hour. Besides, if he lucked out, it would start to rain soon and all of them would just flee back inside, anyway.


His wish granted, it soon began to drizzle, causing all those in the streets to quickly duck under a roof for shelter. He, instead, merely walked along in the light rain, eventually stopping under a tree to shield himself as it began to pour, shoulders and hair only slightly damp. Closing his obsidian orbs, he listened as the thunder occasionally rumbled from afar, the droplets of rain pounding against everything in sight. He sighed, sliding down to sit at the base of the trunk as he opened his eyes, staring up at the steadily dripping, green canopy above him.

He had always liked the rain. It created one of the few opportunities where he could find an excuse not to train, to just sit and think without the worry of everyday responsibilities. With a sigh, he closed his eyes again, only to have them snap back open as he sensed a presence approaching.

He scanned the street to find a sopping wet Sakura walking in the direction of his tree. He shifted slightly, his brows creased in mild confusion. He noted that she had an umbrella in hand, but was blatantly ignoring its purpose, instead allowing it to hang limply from her right hand as she focused her emerald eyes on the sky. Even from here, he could count the rivulets of water as they rolled gently down her neck and onto her clothing, which was thoroughly stuck to her body. When she finally reached his tree, she slowed and eventually stopped, eyes still focused on the clouds above. She refused to meet his eyes yet again, staring upwards as the rain continued to pound her body. Silence stretched between the two.

"You're going to catch a cold if you stay out there in the rain," he muttered eventually, turning his attention back to the water drops that were collecting on the leaves above him. She dropped her head after a moment, staring ahead, a thoughtful look on her face; a small, sad smile flickered across her lips.

"I've endured far worse than a cold, Sasuke," she said quietly. She had dropped the familiar kun suffix from the end of his name, he noted. As much as he tried not to care, her impassive behavior stung him, to an extent. Not that he would ever let her know, of course.

The silence stretched between them again, Sakura's attention once again fixated on the clouds above. After a moment, her lips parted slightly, the quiet dissipating with her words.

"I'm not going to apologize for slapping you, you know," she said quietly. He turned to peer uncertainly at her, a frown gracing his handsome features. She turned to look at him, her mouth set in a stern line, beryl eyes betraying her frustration with him. "You deserved it—and then some." And with that, she was around the corner and out of sight before he even had the chance to blink.

After a while he smirked, closing his eyes.

"Aa," he murmured, though he knew she was already far out of earshot. "I know."

Yes…this was most definitely not the same girl he had left on that bench all those years ago.


So I hope you liked the first chapter enough to give me some wonderful reviews…I love those. Oodles. :D Teehee.

Even if you didn't like it, constructive criticism is always welcomed. I'd love to know what you think I could do better in the future! Thanks a bunch. :)

Ja ne!