She was coughing blood. Tsunade kneeled beside her.
Shhh! You'll wake up the dead. The girl said hoarsely.
You're getting weaker…
The girl smiled. …thank you for your special technique!
I lived long enough… long enough for Sasuke-kun.
…I'm sorry Sakura.
Nah! Don't be sorry! When it's time, it's time.
Sakura stood up weakly.
See you tomorrow, shishou! Tsunade knew it was a lie.
I have to see Sasuke-kun today.
Did he know?
It was an order, not a request. It was not a question. It was a statement. Notice the absence of polite 'will you' in the beginning of the sentence.
Sakura fought the urge to giggle but a wide smile brightened her pale pretty face. "Oh, Sasuke-kun," she said, grinning at her boyfriend's handsome, somewhat blushing face.
The Uchiha grunted, looking down at her face, the beautiful face of his girlfriend of three years. Her face was pale but the brilliance of her smile and eyes made up for it. His grip on her hand tightened, dark eyes narrowing irritably.
"Sakura," he growled impatiently. The look on his face amused Sakura and she resorted into childish giggles.
"You're so cute." She grinned when his brow twitched in annoyance.
"Sakura," Sasuke repeated, his tone guttural and clearly infuriated. His large hand cupped her cheek to tilt her face up. His eyes darkened as he glared at her as if to threaten her to say what he longed to hear.
"Why?" asked Sakura. Instantly, his glare darkened.
"Why not?" he snapped, pulling her closer. Sakura smiled.
"Well…" she took steps backward until his hands left her face and hand. "I will marry you…if—" Sasuke glared at her dangerously. "…you accept my challenge."
He raised a brow. "What challenge?"
Sakura clasped her hands behind her like a child. "Live a day without me."
Sasuke's face darkened. "No way—"
"A day without communication between us for 24 hours."
"You can only talk to me after 24 hours.
"And I promise, I will marry you if you pass the challenge."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Why are you doing this?"
She laughed. "Oh come on, Sasuke-kun… Don't be a chicken."
He threw her a reproachful look. "After 24 hours, you will marry me?"
The girl looked down to the ground.
It took a long time for Sakura to look up and smile.
Sasuke grunted. "You better keep your word, Haruno."
Sakura chuckled and hugged him. "You're so Uchiha."
Damn it. Don't walk away from me.
I'm busy. She smiled. Can we talk some other time—?
He grabbed her arm, dark eyes flashing.
We will talk NOW.
Sakura blinked. Wow… you're persistent. She grinned. And annoying.
Sasuke swallowed the lump forming in his throat.
Why… did you… He narrowed his eyes, his grip tightening. …you rejected me. He added quietly.
Sakura bit the inside of her cheek.
DAMN IT! Talk!
She wet her lips. Sasuke-kun… I'm sorry.
Damn you. He released her arm. His eyes looked at her with such contempt.
You frigging keep my hopes up.
You made me believe that you'll fucking wait for me.
So, he looked down to her, eyes dark and clearly in pain, disappointed and betrayed. You're acting so hard to get. You know I want you and now…you know that I do… to get back at me… you—
You're babbling. Sakura interrupted softly.
DAMN IT! Sasuke shouted, Sakura shrunk away in shock and fear. He's angry. As hell.
I LOVE YOU!
He huffed in front of her, angry and blushing…somewhat.
Why do you have to yell?
Sasuke blinked. And from the corner of his eye saw people staring at him.
Sakura grinned. You're so cute.
And I love you too.
His face softened.
But… sorry. I can't be with you.
At first, it was hard. Sakura had been an integral part of his routine.
Go to Sakura.
Spend time with her.
Train with her.
Let her punch him.
Let her heal him.
Punch him again.
But he endured, knowing after this day, tomorrow, she will marry him.
For two years, he endured. He loved her. He loved her too much in the end. After killing Itachi, he became happy… though it wasn't THAT obvious. He said he loved her but she turned him down. She said she loved him too…but why can't she be with him?
He tried to appear less broody still she rejected him, with a smile though.
She stopped but didn't turn around.
Turn around. Look at me.
Be with me.
One day later.
It was 8am. It was early but he wanted to see her again. 24 hours without seeing her, he will never admit it, but he missed her. Her and her annoying voice and monstrous strength.
He frowned, confused. In front of the house, the house left to her by her parents, were people. Ino, Shikamaru, Hinata, even Neji.
"What's happening here?" asked Sasuke, his frown deepening as he saw Ino's eyes watered.
No one answered. Sasuke searched the faces and found Naruto's.
Naruto looked up, pale and shaking. "Sasuke…"
"What happened? Why are you all here?"
Naruto kept quiet.
"Damn it. Just fucking tell me." Sasuke growled impatiently. Oddly, he felt his stomach twisting. What's wrong?
Finally, Naruto spoke.
"It's… Sakura-chan." He said quietly. "She…" he trailed off and wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "…she's not here."
"What? Where is she?"
Naruto turned away.
"Naruto…" Sasuke growled threateningly. He was about to grab his collar but Neji tapped his shoulder. "Tsunade-sama said that you should meet her in the cliff overlooking the sea."
Sasuke scowled. "I have no time for her. I have to find Sakura—"
"She's with her."
"Alright…" he turned to go but stopped. "Thanks."
Neji nodded curtly.
Maybe she loved him too. Or loved him as much as he loved her. What ever way around, he was contented.
For three years, they were together. And he was happy.
He looked forward for happy long years with her. And so, he asked her. Or ordered her to—
When he arrived there, Tsunade was not alone.
The two spun around.
"Sasuke," Kakashi said, hands inside his pockets.
Sasuke walked towards them. "Where's Sakura?"
Tsunade casually jerked her head towards the tree. Sasuke's gaze followed where she indicated.
A cherry blossom tree.
He walked closer to the tree, his knees shaking.
Then, looked down.
She watched him frown. She giggled.
Sasuke grunted. You better keep your word, Haruno.
Sakura chuckled and hugged him. You're so Uchiha.
So go away now! And don't you dare sneak!
He grunted, annoyed.
She pushed him away…weakly.
Remember after 24 hours!
He looked even more somber.
Oh, Sasuke-kun… just remember: I love you so so so so MUCH!
Sasuke snorted. You're so childish.
I love you this this this MUCH! She grinned as she stretched her arms wider.
Alright… you're on, Haruno.
She grinned cheekily. Now, don't cheat…
I'll know if you did.
I lived long enough to annoy you, huh?
He looked at her, puzzled.
She laughed to cover her slip. Anyway! I love you! I love you! I love you!
He sighed and turned around.
Prepare yourself, Haruno. After 24 hours,
He looked at her over his shoulder.
You'll be mine.
Silver and bore no name except for a single cherry blossom flower.
The Hokage blinked back her tears.
…haha… good thing I got rid of Sasuke-kun… at least for 24 hours, ne?
He'll be pissed. Kakashi stated.
More than pissed. Naruto said quietly.
Sakura smiled, her color paling… and paling.
I don't want you to see me like this… Naruto.
Sakura-chan… he choked.
I loved you like… like a brother… right?
I lived long enough…
Long enough for Sasuke-kun.
She smiled up to the ceiling.
I don't want to die in front of him.
Kakashi tapped him in the shoulder. "Sasuke,"
He ignored him, clenching his jaws together.
"She asked me to give this to you." his gloved hand held a white folded paper.
Sasuke looked up to him and took the letter.
Kakashi stepped back, giving him privacy.
Sasuke opened the letter.
It contained one line.
Naruto sobbed harder, his whole body trembling as he kneeled beside her bed. Sakura-chan… Sakura-chan… Don't go DON'T GO—
Sakura didn't cry but coughed thick blood. Tsunade looked away.
Little by little, light faded from the horizon. It was red sunset with soft breeze coming in and out of her bedroom.
They watched in silence with muffled sobs from Naruto.
15 hours later after Sasuke's proposal, she died.
"You made it, Sasuke-kun! Can you do it again everyday?"