It's a deep scar, one filled with blood and intent to harm, mentally. Not physically. This scar did both. Scars stay forever.

Sakura gave him that scar.

While the sun sets, all she can think about is how many more minutes, precious seconds, there are to last.

She laughs inside her mind and can taste the bitterness, the bile forming behind her blocked throat. Her body can still process even though her voice cannot. If she tries to speak, her voice comes out harsh and crone-like. And a picture of skeleton-bone fingers splay white in front of mute eyes.

For all the years, months, weeks, and days, to mere passing hours, she has lost every feeling that tied her, even if slight, a tenuous bond to a crush and lover she has had.

What does she know, a mere girl, barely making it.

What does she know, a mere child, barely remembering what it was to love.

Every boy, man she has loved.

When she tried to remember what it was like. The reasons why she had loved them. The kind words or attention they had showed her, she couldn't. She couldn't remember them.

She could only remember their faces. Each and every one of their eyes, the way their lips stretched and relaxed, they knuckled fists and hesitant fingers. Young boy fingers, that barely knew how to touch.

So when the door opened, and she could smell masculinity radiating from the walking man, she was surprised.

Her eyelids opened, and the visitor could see the dim flash of green.


Why are you here?

What she should have asked was, who are you. But she'd grown tired of asking that question for the past hours.

He walked slowly, ever so slowly to the bed. His eyes watched her, and they spoke for him. He reached his hand for hers, and she flinched despite herself.

She searched her mind. It was like searching through a sea of dust. Sift after sift, she still couldn't grasp at anything. It slipped away, the tail end glimmering before she could see it.

She couldn't find a memory of anyone's hand holding hers like he was now.

The hold was gentle. It was a hand that knew how to fight. How to wash dishes, hold kunais, hit with the strength of ten hundred men. (She once knew how to fight that well, she thought.) How to touch and feel. It was a hand that held her to the ground. And it was firm.

She raised her other hand, never lifting from the bed, and ran her fingers down his palm. Lingering a second or two before she pulled away and she looked at her fingertips. She felt them tingling, and the knot in her stomach loosened slightly. She didn't know if she was supposed to like this, but it was a nice feeling, a jolt of electricity trickling down her spine. It released her a little from that numb emotion.

When she stopped staring at her hand, she looked at Sasuke.

His face …

His face.

Of all the faces she remembered, she remembered this face the most. She winced a little as she sat up. She neared him; he never started, but gazed back just as intently as possible.

She touched his face first.

She outlined his face structure, prominent cheekbones that curved inward when it met near the curve of his mouth.

His brows. They felt like feathers. Little bird feathers, smooth and black as ink.

The outline of his eyes. He closed them. And as she lightly fingered his thick eyelashes, he had released a small smile. Barely there. She didn't see it.

His nose. The way it was so straight and then smoothed its way down to a small nub.

His lips. She thought it would be hard and firm like his hands. They were softer than she had imagined it would be. Her hands trembled.

They regained its stillness and traced down to a scar from the side of his cheek meeting his neck. She frowned. She couldn't recall that there before.

He rubbed his thumb on the back of her hand, waking her from trying to remember. He didn't want her to remember, because, frankly, being able to forget was much better than being able to remember and regret.


There he breathed her name again. His breath tickled her strands of hair. Dry, pale pink. Thin as spider silk could be.

She stared at him, and realized unconsciously, that the way she was positioned to him was intimate. Intimate. But not strange.

"I know you," she whispered out. "I do."

His eyes hardened.

He sat on the edge of the bed, waiting. Waiting almost desperately, because he knew, faintly, time was running out, and there was so much left be said, yet so little.

"I," she faltered, hand still on his cheek, swallowing hard.

And the memory hit her fast. He caught her as her head almost lolled back.

Thunder stroke the ground, and lightening crashed, dancing wildly, no rules, guiding the patterns afire. On the battlefield, two figures were fighting, one to the point of fatigue, and one to the point of tiring death.

"Sasuke. Stop this. I don't want to fight you. Just please, come back."

Come back. Come back. Come back. Her voice seemed puny even then.

Sasuke stood panting, forming chakra into his hands, and molding it into a ball to execute his special attack.

Sakura stood there, in the pouring rain. Sweat, tears, and rain mingling together, clashing and kissing, belonging and not belonging. It somehow fit in that tragedy.

She couldn't move. Her mind told her otherwise, but she. couldn't. move.

When he hit, she couldn't feel anything at first. The pain was painful enough so that it felt like nothing at all.

She looked at him first. His blue-black hair had been drowned onyx. Bangs covering parts of his forehead. It kind of looked funny back there. But it wasn't funny. She didn't laugh at all. Because his expression was one of horror, and shock, his eyes looking at hers. . Please forgive me.

She blacked out, hoping that her eyes reflected her answer.

Because he was supposed to hit her vital organs, and he had moved in the nick of time to her side instead.


It wasn't enough.

She startled, her heartbeat rapidly increasing. A color had returned to her cheeks. But it was the bloom of the sign of death. He was afraid he wouldn't have time.


His eyes widened a fraction.

She smiled then. It was the most bittersweet smile, the first and last she'd given him.

She opened her mouth and her voice box cracked.

"I still love you."

He stared.

Sense overcame him and he drew his head toward hers, lips inches away from each other.

"I…" he paused, licked his lips his voice suddenly hoarse, and found he couldn't say it. "More than you'll ever know."

She looked at him then. Eyes softening, and heart slowly, slowly beating down. "I forgave you. And I know."

He closed his eyes. "…I know."

Outside, night was falling.

Inside, two figures were locked in an embrace. One dying, the other alive, but just barely. Both sharing the last and only kiss they'd ever share in their lifetime.

In her eyes, she still loved him.