TK: I can safely say I didn't see myself finishing this fanfic in less than a month, that's for sure. I remember the day I wrote the first chapter and posted, wondering if people even read AU fanfics. Well, it's nice to see that so many have. I appreciate what everyone had to say, and it's really thanks to all of you that this story has been a success and that I was able to finish in such a short amount of time. You've all been so patient with me and said so many wonderful things in your reviews. I really want to thank all of you for that by giving this story a happy ending, and that's exactly what I did. I wanted this chapter to be a long one, but an ending is meant to tie everything together nicely, so I'm afraid this will have to do. Regardless, I worked hard on this chapter, and I hope everyone enjoys this fanfic; I adored writing it.
Lots of Love to All of My Reviewers
The Perfect Failure
Sabaku no Kurai
XxHunter the One and OnlyxX
Kaze-Yume No Tenshi
Tainted Kitsune Kisses
Akatsuki-Dawn of Love
"Don't," Sasori said, tightly gripping Deidara's shoulder to stop him. "If you run after her now, it's going to cause a thousand problems we need to avoid."
"She just ran away!" Deidara looked at the altar where Sasuke stood, emotionless expression glued to the door Sakura sprinted through just moments before.
Ino looked at Sasori, "I'll go after her; it'll make sense since I'm her best friend." Sasori nodded, relinquishing his grip on Deidara's shoulder. Ino glanced at Sasuke and then lifted her dress so she would trip, running down the aisle and out the double doors as well.
When she reached the entrance of the church, Ino frantically looked around in every direction. For being a runaway bride, Sakura sure knew how to slip away. "Damn it, Forehead, what the hell are you thinking?" Ino asked to no one in particular. She opened the front doors of the church and looked to see if Sakura had run outside.
She was too late. As Ino opened the front door, Sakura's Tommy Kaira sped out of the parking lot. "Not good…"
"Where is she?"
Ino turned around, even though she knew it was Sasuke who had spoken. He still had that smug, blocked off facial expression that didn't reveal a thing about how he was feeling. The blonde looked at him defiantly, "Gone. I think you have Karin to thank for that."
This time, Sasuke gave her a cold glare, visibly clenching his right fist tightly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Deidara and Sasori in the doorway, watching him, practically daring him to try anything. Without another word, Sasuke walked out of the church, heading towards his car.
"You okay, chick?" Deidara asked.
Ino smiled, shaking her head once, "I'm fine. Sakura just left; I saw her car speed out of the parking lot. I don't know where she went though."
"Somewhere that she can get away from both Sasuke and this idiot," Sasori said.
"Watch it," Deidara said in a warning tone.
Ino gave him a quizzical look, "But where would that be?"
A slight grin crossed Sasori's lips, "You're her best friend; you should know."
She furrowed her eyes in confusion for a moment. Sakura… Then it clicked. Ino nodded her head, "I'll do what I can," and ran out to her car in the parking lot.
"How do you know where she went, yeah?" Deidara asked, raising an eyebrow.
Sasori glanced at him, smirking, "Perhaps if you understood the true concept of art, you would know as well."
Ino took out her keys, fumbling with them for a moment to find the one to her apartment. She was in such a rush, it was difficult to do even the simplest of tasks. To think that Sasori had been right – well it was no wonder, really. Perhaps he knew Sakura as well as she did. Ino took a sidelong glance at Sakura's Tommy Kaira in her driveway and smiled slightly.
After unlocking her door, she stepped inside and closed it behind her, quickly taking off her shoes. Ino felt her heart tie in a knot upon seeing her best friend at the kitchen table in tears. "Sakura…?"
Sakura lifted her head off the makeshift pillow of her arms and managed to give Ino a fake smile. Her eyes were slightly red and puffy from crying. "How did you f-find me?" Sakura asked.
"I'm your best friend," Ino said with a comforting smile. She sat down next to her at the table. "Though it doesn't help that you hid in my apartment…"
A small snort of laughter came from Sakura before she slumped back in her seat, burying her face once again. Ino stood up and walked over to the cabinet, taking out two cups and filling them with ice water. She handed one to Sakura and then walked into the living room. Ino came back a few seconds later and placed a box of tissues on the table as well. Then she sat back down in her chair and waited for Sakura to calm down enough to talk.
Sakura looked up slightly, seeing the tissues. She took one and tried to clean herself up. "Thanks," she said quietly, gently rubbing her eyes. After drinking a few sips of water, Sakura set the cup down and stared at the table for a while.
Ino was quiet, too, waiting for Sakura. She knew her best friend would talk when she was ready. That had to be part of the reason she came here of all places as well. After a few more moments of silence, Sakura finally spoke. "I just… I don't understand… Why can't I be happy? Here I am, on my wedding day, and I'm in my best friend's apartment crying my eyes out, ruining my dress and my makeup…"
"It's not your fault," Ino said, trying to think of what she could say to help. She had to try that chess-talking move that Sasori always used, where you think six moves ahead. Smiling inwardly, Ino knew she wouldn't be able to do that. So perhaps just two.
"But it is," Sakura insisted, meeting Ino's gaze. "I couldn't take it… up there on the altar. The priest just kept saying Sasuke's name, and every time he did, I felt fear rise up inside me. It was… it was just awful. Ugh, this makes me a horrible person…"
Ino shook her head, "No it doesn't."
"How can you say that?" Sakura asked. "I just ran away from my fiancé at the altar! I ran away from my own wedding!"
Ino sighed slowly, continually meeting Sakura's green eyes with her own. "Now then… what makes you a horrible person?"
"I ran away from Sasuke, what do you think?" The tears were slowly starting to come back.
"And why did you run away from Sasuke?" Ino asked, handing Sakura another tissue.
Sakura dabbed her eyes gently again, but froze as soon as her mind had registered what Ino had asked. "Because… because I'm not in love with him."
"And who are you in love with?"
Hesitantly, Sakura looked at Ino once again. "I'm… I'm in love with Deidara."
Finally, Ino smiled at her, nodding her head. "Now then… what do you think you should do?"
A slightly lopsided smile crossed Sakura's lips, but she nodded, knowing what she had to do. "Can I use your computer?"
Ino tilted her head to the side, "I don't think you can cancel your wedding through an e-mail…" Sakura shook her head. "Well, sure, I guess. What do you have in mind?"
"There's something coming up… and I want to go with Deidara," Sakura explained, standing up and walking to the computer in the living room of Ino's apartment. "It's his favorite band… they're having a concert here in about a week."
"How do you know about it?" Ino asked.
"I saw the commercial a few weeks ago," she replied. Sakura typed in a web address and started browsing different concert listings until she found the Mötley Crüe one. "This is it." As she started putting in her credit card information to purchase online tickets, she said, "You know, if someone would have told me I'd be going to a rock concert…"
"I would have hit them," Ino said with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I was surprised when you went to that Linkin Park one. At least these guys aren't as heavy as some others."
"Well I sort of drew the line there," Sakura laughed. "There's no way I'd go see some loud screamer band. But these guys aren't too bad for as old as they are. Might be kinda nice. Besides," she added softly as she clicked the 'confirm purchase' button, "this isn't for me."
Ino smiled at her, "I know."
Sakura parked her car in her driveway, smiling slightly when she saw Deidara's Trans Am already there. She got out and walked to her front door, wondering what she was going to say. She clutched the receipt for her two concert tickets in her hands, anticipating the look on his face.
When she reached the front door, she unlocked it and walked inside. Half of her wished she had changed out of her wedding dress and into something of Ino's, but the other half knew that whatever she borrowed probably wouldn't be returned. Ino had a lot of cool clothes, after all.
As soon as Sakura closed the front door behind her and slipped off her shoes, Deidara emerged from the hallway and stopped. He leaned against the wall slightly, watching her and waiting to see what she would do first. Sakura put on her bravest face and walked towards him. "I couldn't go through with it."
"I noticed… yeah," he said. There was a slight pause. "Feel any better?"
"Not enough to marry someone I'm not in love with," she replied, a slight smile tugging from the corners of her mouth. She stopped when she was right in front of him, looking at him with the same smile that she used to. It wasn't long before he was grinning at her with a raised eyebrow, wondering what she was thinking. "I can't marry Sasuke. I can't and I won't," she said simply.
After all that had happened, she found these words were a lot easier to say at last. Not to mention, she could always be herself in front of Deidara. Sakura wasn't out to impress. She put her arms on his shoulders, gently holding onto his neck with her hands, "Dei, I don't love him. I don't know what went through my head – maybe it was the stress, maybe I was worried that if I wasn't with Sasuke, I'd be all alone. Hell, maybe it was just to please my mother. Regardless of any of that, I don't love him. I love you."
Deidara was about to say something back but stopped, a contemplative expression crossing his features. After a couple seconds, a mischievous grin appeared, "Let's see, yeah… I don't know, chick; that involves me dating a freshman after all."
Sakura playfully poked him in the forehead, "You jerk!" She finally registered his hands sliding down her lower body from behind and raised an eyebrow, "You are such an ass."
Deidara shrugged, "Yeah, I know."
Sakura pulled away and looked at the receipt one more time, a slight blush coming over her cheeks. "Well… I… I got you something. Us… something," she corrected. "You don't have to, but I thought it would be kind of nice…" Sakura hesitantly held the paper in his direction, so Deidara took it with a confused look.
After glancing at it briefly for less than a second, he pulled Sakura into a bone-crushing hug, "You serious, yeah?" he asked, still looking at the paper as he held onto Sakura tight. She nodded, hugging him back. "I never thought I'd see these guys – Sakura, this is a once and a lifetime thing, it-"
Sakura smiled despite herself, tuning out Deidara's rant about how amazing the band was. All that mattered was that things were finally going to go right from then on. She was going to cancel her wedding, maybe make a dramatic scene(it was something she had always wanted to do at least once), and start her new life with Deidara.
That was when the door opened. Sakura pulled away from Deidara and looked to see Sasuke leaning against the doorframe, watching with that unreadable expression of his. From the open window, she could see Karin sitting in the passenger seat of his car.
"Are you aware that adultery is illegal?"
That was the first thing Sasuke said. In the beginning, Sakura wanted to back down. She wanted to run away and hide in her room or cower in a corner and wait for him to leave. But after taking a deep breath and calming herself down – seeing Karin glance at the apartment from the Lamborghini helped – she said, "Are you?"
Sasuke raised an eyebrow but only for a moment. For that split second, he was surprised by the sudden change in Sakura. Perhaps she couldn't be pushed around anymore after all. Even if marrying her would have looked a lot better than street-orphan-Karin, it didn't exactly bother him too badly that it wasn't going to work after all. The only annoyance was that all that effort on his act went to waste in the end.
Though there was the annoyance that of all people, Deidara, one of Itachi's friends, was the cause of it.
"You've got one last chance," Sasuke said at last. "Either come with me or give up your chances at a decent future."
Deidara was about to stop forward, but when Sakura heard him crack his knuckles, she held her arm in front of him, holding him back. With a slightly sad, diminished smile on her face, she looked at him and then walked towards Sasuke.
Sasuke smirked slightly; he had overestimated Sakura after all. She couldn't resist him. When she was barely a foot away, something he didn't expect happened.
Her knee made direct contact with his manhood.
His eyes widened, and Sasuke fell to his knees, forcing them together so tightly air couldn't squeeze through. Sakura backed up, the sad smile replaced with a triumphant one. She mimicked Deidara's actions and cracked her knuckles for good measure, showing Sasuke that there was more where that came from. "Anything else?" she asked sweetly. "Or did I make my point clear?"
"…Gh…" Sasuke seemed unable to speak, his eyes still wide. Sakura was certain that if he could move, she'd be in danger. But it was obvious he'd be in pain for a long time.
Karin made her way through the door, "Sasuke!" She knelt down beside him and tried to help him up, all the while glaring at Sakura. Sakura was the one that prevented her from having Sasuke entirely to herself. Though at least now she would be out of the picture.
As soon as they were out the door, Sakura slammed it shut. She looked at Deidara, scratching the back of her head sheepishly, "Wow… um… I guess I don't know my own strength! A-heh-heh…"
Deidara swallowed hard, "As long as I don't ever make you mad… yeah." He visibly shuddered at the thought.
Sakura giggled and walked over to the windows, closing them to block out unwanted sunlight and anything else. She sat down on the couch and patted the seat beside her. Deidara sat down next to her, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. Sakura turned on the TV, comfortably leaning against him. From the corner of her eyes, she could see him looking at the ticket paper again.
"Well aren't you easy to please," she teased. Deidara rolled his eyes setting the paper down and shifting his position so he was lying on his back. Pulling Sakura closer to him, he ran his fingers through her hair once. Sakura smiled at him, twirling some of his blonde hair around her index finger. "You know… it is Sunday."
Deidara raised an eyebrow, "And…?"
"Well… we don't have to work on Sunday…" her voice trailed off.
Deidara grinned, knowing where she was going with this. "And…?"
"Let's play Monopoly!" Sakura exclaimed jokingly.
Deidara rolled his eyes, gripping Sakura's shoulders and swapping positions with her. He grinned at her again, "I think I have something better in mind… yeah."