who are you
who are you
who are you
It was the moment when her perfect world cracked.
For a moment, Tsunade thought her pupil will start crying at once.
Naruto, with a barely concealed sad frown, squeezed her thin arm. "Sakura-chan…" he whispered soothingly.
Sakura's lower lip trembled, her posture stiff. She had to push her knuckles up to her lips, the visible shaking of her fingers apparent.
"…is he—?" She began quietly, her brows quivering. The green of her irises faltered, turning from their usual brightness to dull gray hue.
It hurt to speak. Her throat was throbbing painfully. The boy with the face that looked so much like Sasuke-kun's was looking at her reproachfully. With difficulty, eyes begging, she tore her eyes from the boy's face and sought Tsunade's comforting brown gaze. "Shishou…?"
The blonde woman sighed deeply as her apprentice turned to her, searching her eyes, looking so lost like a small girl. Small as she is… fragile… like a child… always like a child—
"Shi…shou… what—" she looked back at the dark-haired boy, lowering her hand to her side. "Shishou… he… he—"
The girl glanced back at her and Tsunade sank to her chair wearily, muttering feebly, "…he's alive."
Green eyes widened significantly. Her heart pounded and for such a girl with tiny body, she had an unnaturally strong heartbeat. Naruto could almost feel her heartbeat going frantic and for a second there, he thought her body would explode.
"…no." The pink-haired girl breathed shakily. "He must be… someone who looked a lot like… Sasuke-kun." Sakura countered silently.
The boy frowned disdainfully. "What are you talking about?"
Sakura froze and looked at him, petrified. Voice like Sasuke-kun's… a face like Sasuke-kun's… eyes like Sasuke-kun's… a frown like Sasuke-kun's…
"He's alive." Tsunade leaned forward, her fingers laced together in front of her chin. "He… obviously, he cannot die easily, eh?" She cleared her throat, "he's alive. He's…" the woman glanced at the visitor who scowled heavily.
"Uchiha Sasuke." The boy stated in a monotone.
Oh my god.
Her eyebrows drew together. "It can't be… he d-died… three years ago."
The boy scowled at her. "I'm alive."
Sakura blinked and a question came to her. "…but— but why didn't you…come back here? We—" she stopped and frowned in confusion, "…were waiting for you."
He looked straight to her eyes.
His frown deepened.
"Why come here?" With a grunt, he crossed his arms and looked at somewhere else. The girl had a hauntingly good-looking face.
A face that cannot be easily forgotten. But then, he cannot recall seeing that face for all his eighteen years.
He cannot feel a connection.
And so he said flatly,
"I don't even know you."
Her eyes widened and slowly… she looked down, pink locks swept over her forehead, covering her eyes. Naruto gave her arm a comforting squeeze while biting his tongue to stifle a curse that threatened to roll off his mouth. Instead, he protectively pulled her closer to the side of his body.
"Watch your mouth." Naruto said in a controlled voice.
The dark-haired boy was about to snap back a retort but the redhead girl beside him beat him to it. "Don't talk to him like that—"
Naruto glared at her but soon was startled at the similarity he had found the girl shared with his Sakura-chan.
They have the—
"Don't look at her like that." Sasuke snapped.
Sakura bit her bottom lip before forcing a smile. "Naruto, it's okay—"
"I told you. We should not be here." Sasuke snapped, turning to Tsubasa. "I don't need help in regaining my memories—"
Sakura's head rose. "Regaining your...memories? Why? Have you—"
"He has amnesia." Tsunade interjected.
"He…" she stared back at Sasuke who glared at her coldly. She immediately withdrew her gaze.
…cannot remember me?
"I already informed Naruto about this." Tsunade added sharply. "Therefore, I was expecting that he would understand the situation. That he will tolerate Uchiha's… tactlessness since he cannot remember who Sakura is, who he is…and who I am."
"…all these years… he was alive somewhere?" Sakura said softly, staring at Sasuke desperately.
"Obviously." Sasuke snapped irritably, making Sakura shiver. Naruto glared and Sasuke gazed back heatedly. "Who are these people?" he asked coldly. "Why do you have to insist that I should meet them?"
Tsunade snorted. "They are your friends."
Sasuke raised a brow. "…you mean, they were my friends." He said with a narrowed cold stare.
This bastard. Naruto's jaw moved and if weren't for Sakura, the boy who came back from the dead would die again.
Tsunade watched Sakura's face discreetly, watching the emotions swirling under the thick lashes that hid her eyes. She was impressed that Sakura hadn't cried.
"How could you say that…?" the blonde Jounin hissed, baring his teeth. The horizontal lines across his cheeks darkened and became prominent. "All these fucking years, three years of fucking grief and damn it! You were having such a grand time—"
Naruto stopped and looked down to Sakura.
"Stop it… Naruto."
Her voice pierced through him and Naruto grumbled something like: bastard, show-off, asshole… before letting go of her arm and crossing his arms across his chest with a huff.
"Glad you can talk with sense." The dark-haired boy grunted.
The blonde gritted his teeth before biting off. "You bastard—"
"Naruto! I said… Stop." Sakura hissed. Naruto exhaled forcefully through his nose and turned away arrogantly.
Sasuke snorted and looked outside. "I want to go home."
Tsubasa smiled. "Well, if you retrieve your memories quickly, we'll be able to go back earlier than scheduled."
"I want to go home."
Sakura's expression softened. Where is your home, Sasuke-kun?
Not here anymore.
But to where that girl is, it would be your home.
Sakura looked down, biting her lip to control her unstable emotions.
"Um, Hokage-sama…" Tsubasa called timidly. "Well, about his situation… will they help us?" she asked, looking at the pink-haired girl and tall blonde boy with uncertainty.
Tsunade narrowed her eyes. "Of course, the three of them were friends since childhood."
Since…childhood? We're friends that long? Sasuke frowned and unconsciously, his dark eyes moved to stare at the girl with silly rose-colored hair with bangs framing her doe-like eyes and cheeks.
"And my cute apprentice is such a good soul. So, no prob." Tsunade added with a half-smile. Sakura blinked slowly and raised her head, showing a slack smile.
Naruto scowled. "Help him with what? Help him remember?"
"But…" Sakura interrupted. "Is it important?"
Tsubasa gazed back to the pink-haired girl's steady gaze. "What do you mean?"
Something flickered over those green irises. "Does it matter if he remembers his past or not?"
"Of course, it does!" Tsubasa answered indignantly.
"It doesn't." Sasuke contradicted stiffly.
"Koi-kuuuun! Stop disagreeing with me all the time." Tsubasa lectured sternly. She glanced back at Sakura. "Please excuse his…tactlessness? Yes. His tactlessness. To be honest, I had a hard time persuading him to be here. He doesn't want to go back here."
"…!" Tsunade, Naruto and Sakura were startled.
"But I insisted."
Sakura wet her lips first before saying lightly, "He's right."
Sakura turned her face to Sasuke. The boy looked affronted and a stiff expression appeared on his face when the girl smiled warmly. "What matters most is that he's alive."
Sasuke looked away, strangely feeling uncomfortable at the smile.
Why? That he didn't know.
And he definitely did not want to know.
"I insisted because I want to meet his parents."
Naruto's pale brows went up. "What for?" They're dead, idiot.
"Because we're engaged." Tsubasa said with a grin.
"…?" Sakura frowned. What?
"…engaged?" Naruto repeated dumbly.
"Hai." Tsubasa nodded happily. "We're engaged to be married."
It was Naruto who reacted.
"We are engaged for a year now." Tsubasa replied.
"As in…wedding bells?" asked Tsunade whose brown eyes were wide like saucers.
"Hai. Wedding bells. Wedding gown. Those stuffs…" the redhead said, making motions with her hands.
First, Naruto and Tsunade stared at Sasuke who looked indifferent as though what his fiancée had announced was similar to 'I want candies' declaration. Then, their shocked gazes went to Sakura. The pink-haired girl gazed back, stunned. Naruto wiggled his eyebrows at her as though saying, 'curse them! punch them anythiiiiing just do something! Say somethiiiing!'
"Wow." Sakura cleared her throat and smiled very widely. "Congratulations."
Naruto's jaw dropped. "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT! It wasn't your line! You're supposed to say—"
"E-heheh. Don't pay attention to him. He's…uh, a little disoriented. As of now." Sakura giggled. "It was just… well, it was unbelievable."
"Hell right. Unbelievable. Who would ever thought that a human ice cube will get knocked up—"
"Another word and you're so dead." Sakura hissed murderously.
"Naruto, please." Sakura whispered.
He stared at her eyes for a long time and sighed. "Fine." The boy folded his arms behind his head. "I'm outta here." He drawled flatly and padded out nonchalantly.
"Oi, where you going?" Shizune asked. "We're not yet finished—"
Tsunade dismissed her words with a wave of her hand. "Gah, let him go. He's hungry, I assume."
"It's okay." Sakura said with a smile. "Well, shishou… I have to go now."
Sakura smiled brightly. "I am needed in the hospital. I'm on duty."
"But you just came back from your mission." Tsunade said, looking at her tired form.
"Nah, it's okay." Sakura heaved her backpack higher and showed her teacher the scroll. "My mission report. I wrote this while—" She stopped, then grinned. "Well, here it is." She approached the table and gave the Hokage the scroll.
"Well, if you have something important to say… say it now, Shishou." The pink-haired girl stated smilingly.
Tsunade squinted, sharply scrutinizing the girl. "Don't worry about your duty. You can go home now. You looked tired."
"No. I'm fine. Really. I have to work." Sakura contradicted.
"Do what I say."
Sakura frowned but nodded heavily. "If you say so."
Tsunade nodded and sat down. "Good. You're dismissed."
"I just summoned you to… see Uchiha."
Sakura blinked, and then gave a loose grin.
"Alright." Summoning her inner strength, Sakura turned to Sasuke who was watching her. "It's— it's great to see you again, Sasuke-ku— Sasuke-san." She bowed. "It's…really…"
"I'm so happy to know that you're alive… after all these years… thank God."
Sasuke remained staring.
The girl straightened up and gave a bright smile. "…well, see you around." She gave a small wave. With quick steps, Sakura made her way to the door.
Huh? Surprised, Sakura wheeled around, frowning.
Sasuke crossed his arms and looked at her indifferently. "Who are you?"
Sakura looked up and met his flat narrowed stare, pink strands falling softly over her eyes.
…who are you—
…who are you—
Such simple words, a plain question. But the effect was devastating. Painful.
For some odd reason, Sasuke was entranced with the strange brilliance of the girl's green irises. So green with thick long lashes. He found it annoying… because he was staring. Too much.
I know those eyes.
"I didn't catch your name." he added with a casual shrug.
"…I'm—" Her throat, unexpectedly, closed in.
"I love you the most."
"I wished for your happiness."
"I'll protect you."
"Anything. For you."
Those were the times when he'll do anything for her. Those were… the times. The past. The time when he was in love. With her.
But now, I am nothing.
She gave him a soft smile. Still the happiness is there. Even though… he would never remember me—
I would be forever grateful.
"Haruno Sakura." She bowed respectfully.
That's my name. You can't remember? Nah?
"The clouds have covered the sky. It will rain soon." Tsunade commented, standing in front of her window. Her visitors from the Cloud Country were gone. Below the windowpane, the Hokage watched Sakura walking out of the building.
The girl stopped.
Tsunade watched her apprentice from her window.
"I thought she'll start crying."
The clouds above gathered faster.
"Especially when he said 'who are you', I thought she would crying right away."
She watched the raindrops that slowly fell. The rain fell heavier, the raindrops were larger and amazingly, there was no chilling breeze.
"…she should be." Shizune said sadly.
Tsunade's brown eyes focused again on Sakura's slumped back. Sakura-chan. The girl's pink mane hung behind her back loosely, wet and heavy.
"…she's a strong girl." Tsunade said softly. She saw Sakura raised an arm to wipe her face. "She's just a child in a body of a young woman. And like a child, all she can do is to cry."
Shizune sadly gazed at the young girl who was getting wet under the heavy downpour. She looked fragile. It was almost a joke to think that this girl can draw a crater with her little finger.
"But as of now that's what she must do. Cry for a while." The Hokage turned her back on the window. "To cry doesn't mean you are weak. To cry when you have to cry is a way of showing strength."
She sat down and started sorting her paperwork. "Not so many people can do it. The real strength doesn't mean physical strength."
"It is when all is lost and still, you go on."
"When people expected you to be cool but instead you cry." Tsuande smiled slightly. "After crying, she will be able to face her problem easier."
Shizune turned to her master. "You know her very well."
The woman rolled her eyes. "Not so well. Sakura's unique. You can't tell what she will do next because she looks weak. Only few know what she was capable of."
"Hai." Shizune smiled and bowed before exiting the room.
Sakura, do you regret now?
Discreetly, Tsunade turned her swivel chair to face the window. It hurt. Very much. Her face softened. Maybe, I would never fathom the depth of your pain right now. But…be strong.
She smiled, fully this time.
After all, you are not alone.
The rain stopped falling. But the sounds of patter-pitter were still present. Sakura looked up, slightly with difficulty. Her thick sodden hair was heavy on her head and her thick bangs were sticking to her forehead, blocking her vision.
Someone was holding an umbrella aloft above her head. Startled, she lifted her gaze, her vision watery as rivulets of water poured down her face.
Her thick-lashed eyes widened.
"Sa… Sasuke?" she murmured without a sound. Only her lips moved but he understood.
Chapter 1— hmm, maybe a cola and cake will heal a broken heart.