AN: I'm so sorry for the delay… I hope you didn't lose interest…here's the next chapter…

Chapter 9: Distant

Far away and long ago, she knew something happened. Each time she reaches out for that single thread connecting to her past, it snaps and dances out of her fingers. There were nights when she feared sleep, when she knew the darkness would bring her to a nightmare she tries hard to forget. It wasn't often that happens, but then recently, it gets harder and harder to fight the flashing images.

It was daytime.

She knew by the way the birds chirped, but the sun had yet to shine. Something metallic was in the air; she couldn't move…it was difficult to breathe. The ground on which she stands on feels familiar, but the smoke all around makes it difficult for her to see what is up ahead.

Her feet tried to move, but she was rooted to the spot. Her mouth opened for a scream, but even her voice was stolen from her.

A chuckle was heard from behind.

"Do you really want to see what is ahead cherry blossom?"

That voice, she had heard it somewhere. But she chose to ignore it for now.


She nods for she cannot speak.

"Are you sure? I could take you away from it all. I could even give your voice back so I could hear your sweet voice."

And in that instant, her voice was back.

"Please, I want to see."

"Very well."

The smoke cleared ever so slowly, the first thing she saw was the reddening sky, she couldn't understand why. It was only early in the morning. But when she moved her gaze lower, she finally found the cause.

Cold fear traveled through her spine, her eyes widened in horror.

A majestic castle was up in flames, all at once her senses came back, her ears heard the tormented screams of the people trapped inside, her nose picked up the scent of burning bodies, her skin felt the scorching heat.

And her eyes…

Her eyes saw the huge white snake coiling its massive body around the castle as it crumbles slowly.

The snake watched her and she stared back. She still couldn't move and the white beast knew it, she was its next prey.

She screamed.

"Ah, even your screams are music to my ears, how many times have I heard them now?"

Arms suddenly came around her, and the scene changed drastically. The burning castle was nowhere in sight, in its place was a field of flowers.

A finger came up and caressed her cheek.

"Why do you cry cherry blossom? There's nothing for you back there."

She knew that, and yet she felt that what the voice said was a lie.

"Come to me, and this nightmare would go away."

The voice was gentle, but she suddenly became afraid. The arm at her waist went to her throat gripping tightly.

"I-I can't b-breathe…" she said finally.

"I know, because you can only breathe when I allow it. And I am the only one you are allowed to love."

The voice became harsh and demanding, she was suddenly hurled around and a rough kiss was placed upon her lips.

Red eyes stared intently at her green ones.

She broke away from the kiss then she gasped for air, his mouth went to her ear.

"You belong to me. Not to anyone, especially not to HIM." His hold on her tightened.

She didn't know who he was talking about but she found herself shaking her head.

The arms around her were almost crushing her.

"NO!" she managed to choke out.

"No? Then I will kill him, so you no longer have anyone to hold on to but me."

And before her eyes, the flowers around them bled.

On cue, she woke up suddenly. The dream always ended that way and as always, the moment she comes back to reality a lingering presence of someone hostile could be felt in her room. She stood up shaking then walked towards the window. She jumped out of it and crashed against a wall, but then, the wall staggered back and they both fell on the snow covered ground.


He had just returned from one of his nightly walks when he felt a malevolent aura in Sakura's room. Sasuke rushed towards the backyard where he could get to her room faster. The moment he reached her window though, a blurred figure came at him and the next thing he knew, he was flat on his back.

His first instinct was to brace himself for the next hit of the enemy, but the body above him became painfully familiar, without thinking, his arms went around Sakura.

He was contented with their position even though his back was slowly becoming numb. But then he heard her sniff and he finally realized she wasn't shaking from the cold.

"Sakura, why are you crying?"

His voice comforted her right away.

"I-I'm sorry for b-bothering you, I-I had a nightmare, a-and…"

"Hush, you don't need to tell me anything. Cry as much as you want."

And she wept until he carried her back to her room.

Sasuke gently placed her on the bed then stood up, heading for the door. But Sakura's hands caught his wrist.


He did.

"You could sleep on my bed, I don't mind." She said as she hid her face under the covers to hide her blush.

His eyes were filled with amusement.

"Thank you, but I don't sleep. I'll stay here." He sat beside her bed, near her head. He smiled inwardly when he saw that she hadn't let o of him yet.



"Why are you here?"

"You asked me to stay." He teased.

"You know what I mean! What are you doing here in Snow Country?"

"I'm…looking for something." He said carefully.

"What is it?" her green eyes wide with curiosity.

He looked at her deeply, wondering if he should tell her now everything that had happened. But he knew she wouldn't be able to handle it at this point. The last thing he wanted was for her to be distant again when she seemed to be warming up to him already.

He gave her a smile that melted away all her fears, in that moment it was just him she could see and feel. She felt her body moving, but made no move to stop it. Sasuke watched as she went closer and closed his eyes when her cheek came into contact with his, warming every inch of his body.

He lifted his hands and allowed his fingers to stroke her soft hair. Their situation was supposed to be awkward, and yet they both felt very much at ease.

"I don't know why, but whenever you're near I feel so safe." She mumbled, her breath tickling his ear.

That's because I live to protect you. He continued stroking her hair, while his other hand came to rest on the small of her back.

"But at the same time, I feel apprehensive, sometimes even scared."

His hands moved from her hair to her chin, tilting her face up, he looked deeply in to her eyes.

"Why is that?"

Sakura couldn't speak for a while, she was captured by his eyes, which turned from black to red. She didn't know if the chill running through her spine was because of pleasure or fear.

"It's…because of your eyes. When they're red like this, I feel like I could remember something from my past. But I'm afraid to reach out for it."

"Why?" he asked again, his hold tightening.

"It might be something I'm better off not knowing."

"But maybe in that life of yours, there are people waiting for you to go back."

She didn't answer him, her heart felt heavier all of a sudden.

"Demo, I'll always love you Sasuke-kun, no matter what you say or do."

Sakura moved abruptly when the thought flashed through her mind. Sasuke tried to move towards her but she stopped him.

"Every time you're near I keep seeing flashes, who are you Sasuke?"

"Please Sakura, not now."

Sasuke sighed and looked away, he sat on the edge of her bed and slowly breathed in and out. He had to control his emotions, he wanted so badly to tell her everything but he knew it would only make things worse.

"Sasuke-kun, if you ask…then I'll always forgive you."

Another flash came to her mind, but another emotion overcame her confusion. Her heart went out to him, she didn't know why her heart was breaking upon seeing him look so dejected. She moved towards him again and laid her head on his back. She smiled when she felt him relax.

"Tell me Sakura, are you happy? Being here in Snow country, I mean."

"Why do you ask?"

So that when the time comes, I can find something to help me let you go.

"I just want to know. Well?"

"I am…contented."

I'm not unhappy, that counts right?

"You didn't answer my question, hime."

She blushed at the endearment, wondering why it felt so familiar to her ears.

"I'll answer it when you answer mine."

"Hn. Fair enough."

He looked at her and smirked. She pouted at him and lightly punched his arm. His eyes softened at that, he recalled her antics when she was still a child.

He was done pretending and denying now.

Looking at the woman in front of him now, he tried to remember the exact moment he fell in love with her.

But her beautiful face kept distracting him, and before he could talk himself out of it, he grabbed the back of her head.

Her eyes widened as she fell on her back, his sudden movement made them tumble towards the bed. She pressed her hands on his chest, with the intention of pushing him away. But when his tongue traced the curve of her lip, all thoughts of rejection flew from her mind.

Her hands travelled from his chest to his nape, wrapping itself around it. He deepened the kiss when he felt her respond, molding her body with his as his hands stroked her sides. Sakura arched her back when Sasuke's tongue went in her mouth.

He went crazy when he felt her yield. He planted wet kisses around her face then turned his attention on her milky throat. His hands danced upon her shoulders before shaping her left breast while grinding his hips on hers.

She couldn't hold it in anymore, she was feeling too much all at the same time, a moan escaped from her mouth.

It was her bliss that brought back his sanity.

Slowly he started to rise, he stopped when he was about an inch away from her. He smiled inwardly when he saw dissatisfaction in her eyes. He gave her a kiss on her forehead before reluctantly getting off of her.

"I better go, before I do something we both might regret."

"Alright." But I don't think I'll regret it. She blushed at that thought. Thankful the dark hid the color.

"Goodnight hime."

"Goodnight, Sasuke-kun."

And he accidentally disappeared in a swirl of leaves upon hearing her say his suffix.


He flopped down on his bed as soon as he got to his room. He cursed himself for losing control again. But he couldn't regret what happened. Because if he was honest with himself, this was the first time he felt happy ever since she disappeared from his life.

He only hoped she'd forgive him when she does remember her past. It was a constant pain in his heart, the memory of their last moments together, the hurting words he had uttered and her coldness as he left.

Not once had he wished that he could turn back time, but no matter how hard he tried, he can never forget that he had caused her pain.

His fingers touched his lips, again recalling their brief moment of passion. Yes, he loves her but he would never tell her. There was too much at risk, he had found her now, if he showed his weakness, she might disappear and he'd rather die than see her taken away from him again.

He fell in love with Sakura, and that made her farther for him to reach.