Author's Notes: This is mainly a Sasuke/Sakura fanfic, takes place years after the time skip. My first Naruto fanfic.

Warnings: Contains some violence, blood and heavy kissing.


Shattered

Blood.

Drip, drip, drip.

There is blood everywhere.

He has never been squeamish about blood, not after all those years of Shinobi training, during which he suffered nearly mortal wounds. However, now there is blood on his hands and on his kunai. He suddenly feels as if he is seven again, his parents' blood soaking his clothes and hands.

That same fear and coldness is bubbling up in his chest now. The dread, the emptiness.

His eyes widen in shock as he stares at his hands.

Blood.

Blood all over them.

"Brother..." a voice whipers nearby.

He looks up, expecting to look into his brother's cold red eyes, but the Sharingan is gone. Only eyes, almost exactly as his own, stare back, empty, reflecting the pain he feels.

"...You've improved..." Itachi says in a strangled whisper. Blood drips silently from the corner of his mouth.

Crimson. Blood.

Sasuke pulls back the kunai and Itachi grunts. Blood seeps out from the deep wound right on his heart.

There are so many things he wants to say to his brother, to scream at his brother, but none of them come out. His voice only emits a choked gasp. His respiration is heavy and the hand holding the bloodied kunai is trembling.

"But you haven't won anything, Sasuke..." Itachi continues, his breathing slowing down considerably.

"What do you feel, Sasuke?"

"Nothing," he answers, his voice barely audible.

"Then you have achieved nothing. Your revenge is over and you're left with the same feeling of loss and loneliness that will never cease. I'm gone, but you're still here. You will never win..." says Itachi, drawing his final breath, then he is still.

Sasuke looks at his hands.

Drip, drip, drip.

Blood. Crimson.

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"Ah!" Sasuke screams as he bolts up on his bed. He is trembling, cold sweat running down his body. His respiration is heavy; he tries to slow it down, but he can't. His breaths gradually turn into shuddering gasps for air.

After a few minutes, he has calmed down sufficiently to notice that he is holding the kunai tightly in his hand, ready to attack.

He stares at the kunai and remembers the cold crimson blood.

Drip, drip.

The kunai is mocking him. He holds it up to his wrist, closing his eyes, ready for the pain. Then he feels it; someone is here, in his apartment.

He stands up from the bed and hides, using the darkness as his shield.

The door creaks open and someone steps inside.

In a flash, he is holding the person up against the wall, his eyes red, the Sharingan activated. He points the kunai at the back of the intruder's neck, ready to strike. The Sharingan seems to shine brightly in the darkness of the room.

"Sasuke...?" the intruder asks.

He could recognize that voice anywhere.

"Sakura?" he asks back. Sakura? What could she be doing here?

As if reading his mind, she answers: "Naruto told me you'd be here, and I - I wanted to see if you were alright..."

He lets her go and lowers his weapon.

She turns around and looks at him. He can see the Sharingan reflected in her eyes, shining.

"Why are you here, Sakura? You've refused to see me since I came back," he says. Why is she here now of all times? She really is annoying.

She stares at him, a confused look in her eyes.

"I don't know," she says. "I just needed to see you..."

He feels uncomfortable now. Her eyes are staring into his and he can't look away, even though he wants to. Her eyes... they're so green, so dazzling, so... pretty. When did Sakura come to have such beautiful eyes? Probably sometime during the four years you were gone. She's not a girl anymore, she's a woman, the voice in his mind reminds him.

Suddenly she looks down, her eyes widening.

"Sasuke, you're bleeding," she says in a low voice.

He looks down at his arm and, indeed, he is bleeding. A deep wound on his arm is the cause. You must have cut yourself when she came in and surprised you. Nice move, Uchiha, let her see what you were about to do, the voice in his mind calls again.

Blood. Crimson.

Drip, drip, drip.

He gasps, remembering the dream, the nightmare, the foul stench of death.

"Sasuke, are you alright?" a concerned voice asks, but all he can focus on are his brother's haunting final words, echoing in his mind.

"You can't win..."

"Sasuke!"

The urgent calling of his name snaps him out of his reverie. He notices his hands are trembling.

"Sasuke, what's wrong?" the same urgent voice asks.

He opens his eyes. He has fallen to the floor. Someone lingers above him.

Green eyes. Sakura?

"Why?" he asks suddenly.

"What?" she asks back, looking genuinely confused.

"You called me by my name, only my name, no honorific attached. Why?"

"Oh, I guess I've grown up..." she answers, smiling slightly. However, it's gone as quickly as it came, and the concerned expression returns to her face. "Sasuke, what happened?"

"I fell...?" he tries, hoping she will forget everything. He really doesn't want to talk about it.

She smirks. "You know what I mean."

"I don't like the blood," he says, gazing at his now healed arm. "It reminds me of my nightmares."

She looks even more concerned now. Uchiha, the voice in his head says, why did you get into this? He might as well tell her everything now, so she can go and leave him alone.

"All these years I've had this dream of killing him. I lived for that dream, I trained for it, I worked my hardest for it. I told myself it would be the moment that would make me who I wanted to be, a new person. But now that it's done, I feel nothing - I'm empty. I have nothing to live for, no passion, no dreams. I have no one."

Sakura grabs him tightly by the shoulders, making him look directly into her eyes. There shines a feeling and a passion like none he has ever seen before. A fierce determination.

"That's not true, Sasuke, you know that. You have us, Naruto and me, and Kakashi-sensei. We will always be here for you."

"Why?" he asks. "Why do you accept me back with open arms, when I left you and caused so much harm? I almost killed you and Naruto!"

She sighs and looks down, but her determination never falters.

"Sasuke... it's alright. You left, but you were blinded by revenge and that's over now. You may have left everything behind for a stupid ideal, but the important thing is that you came back to the place you left behind, to the people who care about you, and that's all that matters."

He looks up at her.

"Sakura... thank you," he says.

She glances at him again, eyes widening and glittering with tears. She's afraid, he can see it. The words brought back the memory of long ago.

She thinks I'm leaving.

A single tear snakes its way down her face and he feels something inside his chest, a stirring of feelings he hasn't felt in a long time. His eyes are welling up with tears and he closes them so they can't escape. His fists close up tightly, so tightly his knuckles start turning white. Control yourself, Uchiha, don't let her see you like this, the voice in his head reprimands him.

"Sasuke..." he hears her voice, so soft and so much closer, but his eyes don't open. "It's alright to cry."

His eyes snap open at this. No one has ever said that to him before.

"Crying is for the weak, Sasuke, and you're not weak, are you?"

"No..." he says, his fists tightening more. "Crying is for the weak..." he whispers. He tries to hold back the tears with all his might, but even his resistance has to break at some moment and that moment is now.

A tear escapes from his closed eye and travels down his cheek.

For the first time since he was seven years old, since the death of his parents, tears fall from his eyes.

After that, a dam breaks and the tears flow freely. A sense of relief floods over him; it feels wonderful to let go of everything after so many years, but he is also filled with sorrow, sadness, pain.

"Sasuke...?" Sakura calls, sounding surprised, and suddenly she's holding him tightly in her arms.

A hug, a real one. He hasn't returned one in years and now seems like the perfect time to do so. He hugs her back tightly and for a moment she seems surprised, but she soon relaxes and everything is fine.

Such a simple gesture, to be held... he had almost forgotten how comforting it felt. He can feel her tears hitting his skin, just as his are hitting hers.

He's not sure how long they've been like this - minutes, hours, days. The quietness of the room is filled only by the sound of his sobs and his breathing.

Suddenly he pulls back, wiping away his tears furiously. She has seen him at his weakest; he shouldn't have allowed it to go this far... but he looks at her face and all is forgotten.

She feels my pain, my sorrow, everything I feel, because, even after all these years, she is still in love with... me...

He feels a horrible need to thank her for everything she has ever done for him. But how? Words of gratitude seem so hollow... but then it hits him and he knows exactly what to do.

He gently caresses her cheek, wiping away her tears.

She flinches, not accustomed to his touch.

"S-Sasuke... what are you doing?" she asks.

He doesn't answer. His face is inches away from hers and, in a flash, his lips cover hers.

Her eyes widen at the contact and she seems frozen. Her lips don't respond to the sweet caress of those running over them.

Sasuke has never felt anything like this before, so good, so warm, so exhilarating. It scares him. His chest tightens and he can hardly breathe, but he senses her fear and pulls away.

Sakura's eyes are wide open and she raises a hand to touch her lips.

"Why?" she asks in a frightened voice.

"I don't know..." he answers. I can't believe you just did that, Uchiha, the voice in his mind says. "I just had to," he finishes.

He pulls her against him and his lips are on hers once more.. He has no idea what he is doing, but he feels like he can't live if he's not kissing her.

This time she is prepared and her eyes snap shut at the contact.

He can feel her lips moving under his.

Oh God. He grabs her wrists tightly and holds them over her head, pushing her against the frame of the bed. She gasps and her mouth opens, granting him access inside.

Bliss.

How on earth could he have lived all his life without this feeling? He tightens his hold on her wrists.

She pulls back slightly. "Sasuke... you're hurting me..." she says softly.

He instantly backs off, jumping back at least two feet. For a moment, Sakura seems surprised that he leaped away so fast.

He's crouching on the floor, a bewildered look on his face.

"I - I'm sorry..." he blubbers. Blubbers? What is going on? He has never blubbered. Keep your cool, Uchiha! the voice in his mind screams.

"I got carried away..." he says, so softly he's not sure if she heard it. Then a blush creeps up his cheeks.

Oh perfect, Uchiha, now you're blushing.

Blushing. He hasn't blushed since he was a child - he's not a child anymore. Sakura, what have you done to me?

Now she blushes too. She gets up from the floor and brushes off her dress, clearing her throat to gain his attention.

He looks up at her.

"Well... I - I should go home and sleep. There is a hard training session scheduled for tomorrow. Goodnight, Sasuke," Sakura says, moving quietly towards the door.

"Goodnight, Sakura..." he responds, nodding his head towards her and gulping.

She nods back, and then she's gone.

Sasuke feels exhausted, as if he has used up all his energy in a very difficult battle. He gets up from the floor and falls back on the bed, casually draping his forearm over his eyes. A smile appears on his lips.

A smile. The first true one in years.

She has shattered his cold demeanor for good.

F I N


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