A/N: I need to stop writing one-shots and get back to finishing my actual stories. These will eventually be the death of me. Especially considering they're usually way too short.

After My Picture Fades
By Bunny-chan
11.28.2006

"You see you'd love to run home, but you know ain't got one
Cause you're livin' in a world that you're best forgotten"
- "Broadway", Goo Goo Dolls

It was not the first time he had gone back to that village, nor was it the first time he had gone to her home.
It was, however, the first time he had gone into her room.

Along with showers of cherry blossom petals and the strange scent of rebirth, spring had also brought an unnatural warmth that year. Upon his arrival, he found her window open and, once sure the kunoichi was asleep, Sasuke slipped through the opening silently.

Part of him had wondered in the first few moments if she might awaken upon sensing his chakra, but he knew it was impossible.

She had gotten stronger, yes.
But never strong enough to rival him, and the years of his status as a missing-nin had taught him more than just power. They had taught him stealth.
He was, undoubtedly, undetectable.

It had been so long since he'd been able to look at her closely. From a distance, she never appeared to have changed.

Examining her now also proved to offer very few changes.
Bright pink hair fanned out on her pillow, kept short ever since that day. Her eyes were closed, but he knew that they would still be brilliantly emerald.
She had grown older, but everything was so similar, from her haircut to the gentle curve of her lips.

On her dresser stood the picture of team 7 at its beginning. Picking up the frame gently, he studied his own face, comparing it to his reflection in her mirror. The strangest thing was that he had not changed either. Throughout years of loneliness and fighting, he had stayed the same as well.

Too angry at his own likeness to realize the danger of the movement, he set the frame back down harder than needed. His whole body tensed at the noise of wood hitting wood. It wasn't too loud- nothing that would wake anyone ordinary.

But Sakura was not ordinary, and as a shinobi, she had become accustomed to sleeping lightly.

The moment of self-loathing seemed to stretch into eternity before he turned to face her.

The green eyes he had waited so long to see again were open wide in shock, her lower lip trembling.

"Sa... Sasuke-kun...?"

In less than a second, his lips were against hers, his body pushing her back against the wall. When he pulled away, she looked into his eyes, and fell into his arms.

After placing her back on the bed, he could help but take one last look. The scene filled him with the memory of his original departure, though instead of crying in the morning, she would only wonder why her dream of her former teammate was so vivid, and why the sharingan was the last thing she could remember.

Next time he would be more careful.
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A/N: ... Gah. No comment. -hits head on desk-