Disclaimer: Me no own. Can I put it any simpler?


'Good things come to those who wait.'

'The person who made up that particular saying obviously hadn't met me,' I thought absently as I ran with all the speed my legs could carry me through the forest. For the first thing, in my opinion three years is a bit long to wait and I wasn't even sure what I was doing now was even remotely bright.

I paid no heed as the branches and vines whipped past me in my fast pace, underlined panic making me urge my feet faster and faster.

After all, it wasn't everyday when one stole Uchiha Sasuke's sword.

It was supposed to be just a routine recon mission for my team. My camp is only about eleven miles away from here. I had been ordered by Kakashi-sempai to scout the surrounding area before we headed back to Konoha.

It had been while I was doing just that when I glimpsed a sword, poised to lean up against a tree with a black traveling pack situated next to it.

I had known instantly on sight that it was Sasuke-kun's katana, Kusanagi . How could I not? It had nearly run me through not a month ago. With that encouraging thought, I ran faster.

'Would Sasuke-kun kill me if he catches up to me?' Possibly. In fact, that outcome was more probable than I preferred it to be.

My plan, I'll admit, isn't exactly foolproof and might be considered just a tad bit brash but I had to take the chance. I figured if I stole his sword and ran back to camp, I could lead him (because once he knows it missing he's sure to follow, right?) to a trap set by Kakashi, Naruto, Sai, and I! As long as I get there in record time before Sasuke's notices it gone, I should be fine.

'I wonder why he left it in the first place… was he going to the bathroom? Maybe washing up in a nearby stream or just coming back from a mission?' I mentally shrugged, that didn't matter right now. This was a gift that was basically served to me on a silver platter and I would not let it pass me by.

Once I get to camp the trap we'll set will catch him by surprise – hopefully, and we'll be able to capture him and bring him back to Konoha. Yes, it was a stupid, badly laid out plan but what else could I do? I couldn't just run back to camp without taking the sword – what if Sasuke-kun left before we got there?

So, taking the sword with me seemed to be the most logical thing to do. Logic. Right.

I hugged the sheathed sword to my chest, 'how many people has Sasuke-kun killed with this?' Would I join them? My heart pounded as my heart cried no and my brain screamed yes.

I thought I heard an off sound as I looked down at my feet to see a blanket of black smoke before a snake snapped at my heels viciously. I let out an undignified shriek, kicking it away as I watched it vanish in a swirl of dark smoke.

This told me one thing: 'He's coming!'

This also made me aware of a second thing: I was nowhere near the camp yet.

Out of nowhere a dark figure appeared in front of me. I gasped in surprise, stopping my jump to the next branch but not fast enough as an arm reached out. I kicked away from the thick branch on the high tree and did a back flip onto the forest ground.

My heart fluttered in fear and anticipation as Uchiha Sasuke jumped down in front of me. I clutched the sword tightly, my nerves dancing on end as I willed my hands not to shake.

He was in the same sound uniform he'd been in when I saw him a month ago; the only difference was there was no katana at his hip.

I expected him to strike at me any second but he just stood there staring at me with a blank expression in his emotionless onyx eyes. This unnerved me even more.

I could handle angry Sasuke. After all, the old Sasuke I knew would probably rage up a tantrum if someone stole one of his prized weapons. But this older Sasuke's lack of reaction was getting to me.


I started when he finally spoke in that cold, indifferent tone.

"I thought you were smarter than this."

I bit my lip as my knuckles went white from my tight grip on the katana. So even he thought this was a dumb idea…

I swallowed, "Maybe I'm smarter than you think."

He gave no reaction. I took a step back; he took a step forward.

After a moment his black eyes narrowed on mine, "Hand it over, Sakura. You know you are not getting any farther."

I stilled as I heard that obvious threat that he didn't even bother to veil. I fought the urge to hide the sword behind my back – that'd be just a tad too childish.

Fighting for time, I came up with something on the spot, "I'll give it back if you come back to camp with me."

Sasuke gave me a dull stare as he vanished from my line of sight.

My heart jumped in my throat as I felt his presence in back of me, I whirled around and threw a right hook which connected into the earth and shattered the ground, making a huge crater.

Whipping my head in every direction, I failed to locate him as I turned on my heel and dashed towards my camp.

'I'll never outrun him…but I have to try!' I didn't make ten strides before I was knocked off my path and roughly crashed into a nearby tree. Sasuke pinned me down to it effortlessly as he reached out and grabbed the sword from my hold.

I held onto it with all my 'monstrous' strength as, after a moment, Sasuke glared into my eyes with an easily recognizable annoyed glint. For me anyway.

"Let go, Sakura." He ordered emotionlessly, taking another step forward.

My throat went dry as my eyes darted anxiously from the sword to his apathetic gaze.

'Do something!' Inner Sakura urged in a panic, my heart pounding as Sasuke's inky eyes narrowed – the time he was allotting me was rapidly ending.

In fact, it was probably a miracle that I was still breathing.

I placed a foot against the tree for leverage as I pushed up on impulse and – since he was already standing so close – crashed my lips on his.

Whether it was the shock of the kiss or the sheer bluntness of the act, Sasuke's grip loosened just enough that I was able to yank the katana back as I disappeared in a blur of cherry blossom petals.

Glad that I had missed his reaction (if any), I jumped from branch to branch in a nervous frenzy. I knew I wouldn't live for long if he caught me now. What am I thinking?! 'Oh God, oh God! What did I just do? Stupid, stupid Sakura!'

But I had panicked and acted blindly on the spot to catch him by surprise – I was a kunoichi after all! However, that was clearly not how I had imagined my first kiss to be. Illusions of starry nights and walking-me-to-my-doorstep burst in flames at the way it had been used as a battle tactic, if anything.

Who was I kidding? That had been more of a gambit than anything else. One that was probably going to get me killed.

I gasped in shock and pain as a hand shot out and gripped my left wrist so quickly I nearly dislocated my arm as I was forced to an abrupt stop.

Before I could pull my arm away from what I knew was Sasuke's firm grip I suddenly collided into something hard. I looked up for an instant to see that now Sasuke stood in front of me as I reared back, his vice-like hold on my wrist never wavering as I kicked outwards with my left leg, aiming for his temple.

My power kick was blocked with his arm, the black guard covering it not even giving way or cracking in the slightest. I bared my teeth, determined not to lose this time. I couldn't. I wouldn't. For Kakashi to have his prodigy back. For Naruto to have his best friend back. For me to have my…

I pushed back those thoughts with an iron wall as I swung his sword at him instead, scabbard and all. I was not the little girl who stood in the background and watched tearfully anymore, and I would prove that today.

No matter how strong Sasuke was, I would have to be strong enough so that I could detain him long enough for help to arrive – for my team to come looking for me when I didn't show up.

He took a hold of the sword as it came down, encircling his fingers around the scabbard as I gripped the hilt and pulled the katana out immediately, swinging the sharp tip down at the hand that was still latched onto my bruising wrist. He let go as I managed to jump a few feet away onto the ground below, pointing the sword towards him in what I hoped was a threatening, intimidating manner.

Sasuke looked completely unaffected, as if nothing had occurred at all. As I panted with excursion and the deep emotions flooding my heart, he stood off to the side as if he was merely a spectator. In a fluid movement, he returned the scabbard to his waist.

I prided myself solely on the fact that my hands were no longer shaking as he stared at me listlessly, a look of almost boredom crossing his pale, handsome features.

"It's over, Sakura." He stated in that chilling, bottomless tone before in a crack of air and pressure he was in front of me again. 'He's fast! I can't even see him move…!'

Inky black depths bore into mine as I gazed down at my hands to see that the katana was still in my hold, but that Sasuke had his right hand over mine on the hilt.

His grip over my fingers tightened so that it hurt, but I didn't let go.

"Any more and I'll break your precious sword," I said in a low warning voice that didn't stumble.

A dark brow arched at this, as if amused.

"Any more and I'll break your neck." He replied in a cool manner, as if he was commenting on the weather.

Now while I had not doubt that he probably would (or is, more likely) he hadn't yet and I couldn't help but fathom why. Maybe he was just hanging around now for kicks? Or perhaps he was enjoying seeing me so defenseless, despite my talking big? Or possibly he was just indifferent to it all and didn't want to have the trouble of cleaning my blood off his sword later on.

I prayed it wasn't the ladder.

After a beat, his grip clenched once more. I bit my bottom lip to keep from whimpering as two of my fingers cracked. Sasuke's expression never changed as he kept his merciless hold, steadily increasing the pressure as if my pain amused him in some sadistic way. It probably did.

"…Sasuke-kun," I said at last, staring up at him with wide, desperate eyes that I couldn't shield.

"If you continue this, I will kill you." He cocked his head to the side, a wry smirk playing at his mouth that looked much too demonic. "Or do you want that?"

I stopped myself from gaping at him as I forced my gaze to lock onto his. He asked if I wanted to die. If I kept this up, I would die. Did I want to die? 'No,' I thought, 'of course not.'

But…I knew when I picked up his katana, the relief that had overcome me because I had found him again, that small miracle in itself that it was before Orochimaru had taken over his body, the gratitude towards fate for this rare, off chance that my prayers had been answered.

For what had I been doing all these years? When I was at the academy, I had been crushing on Sasuke and chasing him with secret blushing stares and his returned annoyed glances. When I passed out tests, I gave his to him in a way that would ensure our fingers would brush.

When we - Sasuke, Naruto, and I had become Team 7 under Kakashi I had been once again watching him. But in a different way – now I was staring as he protected me, his teammate. I was holding him even, when he convulsed in pain from Orochimaru's mark in a forest of threats. I was standing behind him, beside him and giving witness to how he grew, how he and Naruto developed as flames were carried by in the roaring wind with his technique.

I stood still. Not silent, that was for sure as I yelled encouragements and screamed promises of love and devotion. Of everlasting happiness and peace as the words left my lips from my heart.

But I ended up behind him once again. It made me think that during those few precious days in team seven when I thought that I had stood beside him was just that. A thought, a falsehood - nothing real, nothing substantial.

I so badly wanted it to be real.

I didn't want to stare longingly at Uchiha fans and Uzumaki swirls. I wanted my own Haruno circle to be next to them, in the middle, alongside the fan. Scolding the swirl and clasping the arm of the fan.

A circle, a fan, a swirl.

And so, it make it real, to make it happen so that next time I would be in the middle of them instead of behind – I trained. I become a medic-nin. I become stronger for that hope, for the need that I would never be faced with a back again. Especially if that back had a fan on it.

I wanted to be useful to Sasuke. I wanted to help him, to save him. I didn't want to watch anymore, I wanted to act. I wanted my punches to shatter earth into the sky like his flames had. I wanted to make an impact on him, an impression so that he would understand, so that he would know…

That I waited for him. That I loved him with all my heart.

So that he would know that I had never spoken those words I said to him that night at the gates of Konoha to another. That I never would. That they were his to keep, throw away, or ignore.

Just like I was.

Tears ran down my emerald eyes as I gazed into the eyes of the boy, the man I loved so brokenly much.

Would I die for him? Yes. Would I die because of him?


And so, I knew. Even though my inner pain hurt me and tore me apart – it kept me going as well. Because to save Sasuke, I needed to be strong as well. Maybe all I did was steal his sword but I had to continue trying because he was my important person.

In my reverie, I felt another of my fingers suddenly break under Sasuke's grip and instead of wincing at the pain, I smiled.

"Everyone needs someone to die for."

My answer seemed to still him for a moment as Sasuke's black orbs burned into mine quite abruptly. "I only need someone to die."

I knew I should have expected his answer. I knew that killing Itachi was the only thing in his vengeful mind right now, maybe ever since I had known him, but it couldn't have been the only thing. Not always.

I spoke my thoughts, however foolish they might have been. Speaking was better than silence, action was better than waiting.

"Not always…" I whispered so he could hear me, "you can't have always. I know you would have died for us when we were team 7, the same as we would have died for you." My green eyes softened, "We still would…we still will."

His dark depths regarded me closely yet separately, as if examining my words under a microscope as he frowned at the meaning. This frown bore into a scowl that should have left me tensing.

It didn't.

Then the scowl left Sasuke's mouth as he once more studied me distantly, emotionlessly. "At one point, I would have died for you or Naruto… I almost did for the dobe once…" A low, dark chuckle emitted from him, "I was foolish back then to even think of throwing away my path of revenge, my path of power."

His muted chuckle deepened in his dark humor before with one hard push to my collarbone I was thrown, slamming roughly into the jagged bark of the redwood tree behind me as I wobbled slightly.

I saw the katana in his grasp now; I didn't even register it leaving my hand when he had pushed me away. A gasp tore its way from my lips as I watched him sheath his katana like he must have done a million times before. 'No…!' I thought faintly. In my mind I had connected having the sword in my hands with Sasuke coming home. As if I couldn't have one without the other.

"Sasuke-kun…" I repeated, my limbs heavy with weighted down dread of what was going to come and the knowledge that after three years I still didn't have the strength to stop it.

"Do you want to know what I really think of you, Sakura?" The Uchiha said calmly as he took a step forward to me. My back was pressed against the tree as I noticed how Sasuke towered over me with his height.

"You are weak. Basically useless in any important situation and even a hindrance with your constant need of protection and you're loud crying, along with your pitiful words. You haven't changed. You never will with your stubborn mind." Sasuke stated coldly, his black eyes uncaring.

"Grow up, Sakura, and face reality. It's pathetic how you let your useless emotions cloud whatever judgment you have." He continued as more tears fell silently down my face.

"In a word…you're annoying."

With that finishing statement, I choked back a sob and wiped away tears with the heel of my hand that didn't have broken fingers. Part of me was slightly shocked, even though the words he had spoken were harsh and heartbreaking; it was the most Sasuke had ever said to me in one standing.

I gave a bitter laugh that rose from my twisting stomach and escaped from my trembling lips, "You had to throw in the final blow, didn't you." I said in reference to the 'annoying' insult as I bowed my head, "You always were ruthless."


In my mind, the fan, the circle, and the swirl floated far, far away. The circle crumpled next to the fan and the swirl, blowing away like it was nothing. I couldn't even see the swirl as the fan burst in flames, never to return.

As I stared at my head, wisps of pink falling into my eyes a sudden rage overcame me swiftly, coldly. My heart lurched with its burning caress as my ears rang with his callous speech. I had never wanted to hear those words.

I had worked so heard to never hear those words. But this time, instead of walking away from me he pushed me away and let me fall.

I parted my lips to say what I thought, what I felt at that intense moment as I saw Sasuke's own feet turn to start walking away. The words came rushing out like water from a tap turned too high; I had no control over them as they poured from my mouth.

"If I am those things…then…then you're pathetic, too!" I looked up to him with a fierce glare in my jade irises, "You're a blind fool! You don't even realize what's right in front of you – what's always chasing you!"

'Sasuke-kun chases Itachi. We chase Sasuke-kun. It's endless.'

I fisted my hands, even against the pain of my broken fingers. My nails cut into my palm, making me focus, making me centered as my rage dimmed and flared, "You act cold and emotionless but really on the inside you're falling apart! Your screaming aren't you, Sasuke-kun…? I can hear you, even now…

You know you won't be happy on your path but you're so damn consumed with hatred for your brother you've thrown away any chance of a real life! And Orochimaru's using your revenge for his own twisted purpose – and you're playing right into his hands! You're nothing but a tool! An indifferent, lonely, bitter tool that shoots down anyone who actually cares about him!"

I shook my head as pink stands from my hair clung to my face against my wet cheeks; Sasuke was standing there with his back to me, still a bit turned away from me. Slowly, purposefully, he turned around so that his body was once again facing me. I could feel a threatening aura surround his body but I didn't care.

In my mind, I already knew I was dead. So, in response to that I might as well say what I want to say to him. Hurt him the way he hurt me so that he'd see what he doesn't want to. I may have my faults, my weaknesses, but…even Sasuke had them to.

His pitch black bangs covered his eyes as I willed my sore voice to continue, "I may have stolen your sword but you, Sasuke-kun, have stolen much more from me…only in your eyes it's not nearly as valuable…"

'It's his to keep, to ignore, or throw away.'

I hung my head, sobbing brokenly as my throat burned. I raised my head and took a shaky step forward. I moved so I could see his onyx eyes under his layers of equally black bangs.

"In a word…you're weak." I whispered, knowing that he caught every syllable.

I saw that Sasuke's eyes were wide as he lifted his head to regard me, a hateful scowl etched on his darkly handsome face, marring his features as his inky depths resonated with utter, intense fury.

"You will die for your words, Sakura." I shivered at that way he said my name in such a menacing tone that was coated with anger and laced with promises of pain. An avenger could do no better.

The next breath and he was pinning me down, my back breaking a twig on the forest ground as I was thrown on top of it. I reached out to punch him but he grabbed my wrist and twisted it so I screamed as he sat on my upper thighs to keep my legs from flailing.

I rebounded with my other fist (the one with broken fingers) in a panic but he caught that just as easily with his other hand and pinned both hands above my head as my panting quickened.

'I'm dead. He'll kill me here, out in this forest.' I stared helplessly into his maddened black eyes that held nothing of the boy from my past. The boy I adored. The boy I loved. More tears flooded my vision as I tried to hold them down, but the more I fought them, the more they came.

'At least,' a part of me whispered in comfort, 'at least my death will be by his hands and not some other nameless shinobi.' It'll be Sasuke-kun. My Sasuke-kun who owns my death, my heart, and so much else.

But that didn't mean that I wasn't going to go down fighting.

Sasuke's free hand moved for the hilt of his sword as I aggressively fought back, struggling to move my body under his crushing weight. Channeling my chakra, I managed to half sit up and went for his hand that was going for his katana, biting it hard in my panic.

He hissed as he sharply pulled his hand away, placing it on my forehead. He pushed my head back into the ground. I whimpered as I turned my head to the side, but Sasuke seemed to disagree with this because he grabbed my chin and forced me to look frontward.

Then, all I saw was raven spikes.

It took me a moment to realize Sasuke was kissing me. No, not a kiss. It was too brutal to be classified as such. His mouth was slanted over mine – biting and roaming as his hands and body held me down.

He mauled down my neck as I mewled and squirmed underneath him, "Do I seem weak to you now, Sakura?" Sasuke asked against the sensitive skin of my neck as I felt every brush of his lips when he spoke. He moved over to my lips again, reclaiming them harshly as I closed my eyes, crying but trying to be quiet.

Even if I wanted to respond, I couldn't with the way his tongue explored in such a dominating, possessive way. It made me bend, it made me break.

"Answer," He said under a growl as his free hand that wasn't keeping my hands pinned trailed down my side with a lazy intent and an even darker purpose. I tensed as it grabbed my knee and slipped down my inner thigh, under my shorts. "Now." Sasuke whispered in a cold tone that was a striking contrast to his warm hands.

His hand holding my wrists squeezed as his other started now going up and down my flat stomach. Sasuke's fingers traced patterns along it as they inched higher and higher to my chest.

With a nudge of stubbornness and utter disdain at how defenseless I was, I shook my head. I felt every bone in Sasuke's body stiffen and cried out as he bit down hard on my neck, the area where the shoulder and neck met. It was sure it'd bleed.

"Next time…Sakura…" he whispered into my ear with an icy tone, "when you start something…" Sasuke said as the instance of me kissing him so I could make away with his sword came back to me, "…I'll finish it."

Suddenly his crushing weight was gone in the blink of an eye as I raised my gaze weakly to see Sasuke standing over me with that same stoic expression and lifeless eyes.

I felt something warm trickle down my neck as tears blurred my sight, making Sasuke's outlined form murky and mudded as I lied there on the ground.

I swore I saw something flicker in his dark, empty eyes as he stared down at me.

"…what you seek, Sakura…is something I was never capable of to begin with."

Letting out a shaky sigh of a breath when he spoke in that void-like monotone, I tried to settle my trembling body that just wouldn't listen to me.

"Or was never given a chance of." I said without a pause.

"You always did speak too boldly." Sasuke said offhandedly, "I could still kill you."

"Then kill me."

At his silence I moved to sit up and was able to do so, my hands at either side of me. 'Was I really the same, as he said? Did I still need protection?' Obviously so, I thought, staring at my broken fingers and my truly pathetic state.

And I was still crying.

I closed my eyes; my tears making me hiccup slightly. "Am I not enough?"

"Enough for what?" Sasuke dully inquired.

I had already revealed so much today… what could any more possibly do?

"Will you always walk away from me…from my reach?" I asked softly, staring up at his deadened eyes in despair.

"You should stop reaching."

"…I can't." I whispered when I wanted to shout, "…not when your so far away."

Shakily, I lifted my good hand towards him as my fingers outstretched in a weak attempt to touch him. Hold him. Anything.

'Come back…come home... please come with me…'

Tears were now freely running down my pale face as Sasuke stared at me immobile.



I closed my eyes against the yells of my teammates knowing Sasuke would now leave, perhaps forever this time. 'I guess I live to chase another day…'

Then, a brush of fingertips met mine for a few seconds and lingered, warm and there.

"Sasuke-kun…" I sucked in a breath and opened my eyes.

He was gone.

I lowered my hand, staring at where his fingers had brushed mine for that instant. With a muffled cry, I held my hand to my chest as I felt my heart throb in a pounding beat. 'It had been real…'

Next time, Sasuke-kun…

Will you let me live again next time?

The swirl and circle would chase the fan…the circle would wait for the fan… and the swirl would bring back the fan.

They would chase as the fan runs away till they once again stand together.

And as it runs, the circle would never stop reaching for the fan.

The End.

A/N: Don't know where this came from. Just had a funny idea for what would happen if Sakura stole Sasuke's sword. Came out angsty though, but how could it not with Sasuke? (I do hope this is okay with a T rating) Ah, well – please review!