Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

XOXOXO

I'm at your door, soaked to the bone, shivering as the rain thunders outside. I'm trying to decide whether or not to knock. It's a hard decision. I have always been stubborn and proud, but if I don't do this now I will never get the chance again, I know.

I left you.

Left you when it was clear you had given up everything for me, for us.

Even now it's hard admitting it. But I will.

I'm not even completely sure what I will even say if in fact I do bring up the courage to knock. Even if I know one thing: that I need you…I'm not sure that will be enough. After what I've done…

Sasuke came back two months ago.

We were walking in the park, I remember. You had finally opened up to me. I was so happy. At the time I was just happy to be with someone who cared about me. I didn't know at the time the extent of my own feelings for you. Nobody, of course, knew about us. Not even Naruto. We told each other, of course, that this might amount to nothing, and we both understood that this relationship was in a way no strings attached; we were just experimenting—at least I thought we both understood.

Shizune came running, the craziest I had seen her in a long time. Of course we were shocked but made to the hospital at breakneck speed. He was in emergency care. We couldn't enter for a few hours—normally, I, being one of the top medics, would be allowed inside to help with the operation, but they deemed me too shocked and they thought I wouldn't be careful and might hurt him in the operation room. I, of course, was furious—they had to restrain me with two medics and you. You tried to calm me by covering your hand with mine, but I just swatted you away, irritated and feeling lost. I didn't even recognize the faint signs of hurt in your eyes at me pushing you away…

Back at standing in front of your door again, I gulp. How could I have done that to you? My eyes water up slightly. Closing my eyes again, I go back down memory lane…

Naruto was in another room. He had helped Sasuke get back. Apparently, they had fought Itachi together. But with his superb healing abilities, he healed much faster than the only remaining Uchiha. When he was ready to be seen, I…didn't even go see him. You wanted me to go, and were a bit shocked at my refusal, that I wouldn't even go see him when he had stayed by me a great many number when I was in a similar condition, but I wouldn't budge from a few feet away from Sasuke's operation door. Again I didn't even realize that emotion in your eyes…

When Sasuke woke up, you were still visiting Naruto. When Tsunade-sama came out and told me it was OK to go in, I flew in, and tears immediately came to my eyes at seeing his condition. He had the same, exact same, rugged, overly handsome face, but he looked so…sickly, and weak. I rushed to the side of his bed.

"Sasuke…kun…" I said, almost sobbing. He barely moved his head, but successfully was able to look at me.

"Sa…ku…ra…" There was a long pause. He cleared his throat. In this pause, I didn't realize, until it happened, that his almost icy cold fingers had found mine. Tears rolling down my cheeks, I raised his hand to my cheek, trying to get some warmth into it.

"Are you OK, Sasuke-kun? Oh, I'm so glad you're back! I…missed you…so much!" Covering his hand with mine still, I sobbed into it. When I was able to open my eyes again, I saw he was staring at me.

"I'm…sorry…Sakura…for…what I…did…" he choked out. I listened intently as he went on, my eyes wide. There was another long pause; I didn't even hear the quiet sound of the door opening. I was too hooked to his words. After a while, he went on,

"But…I want…you to know…" his eyes focused more directly on mine. I almost shivered at his intense gaze. Even though he was so sick and weak, he still had the strongest stare ever.

"One of…the reasons…I'm back…here in Konoha…" again there was a pause. He caught his breath. But I could also say that it was hard for him to say what he was trying to say for another reason also.

"Is…because…of…of…" his hand tightened around mine. My eyes were as wide as golf balls.

"…you."

I was not ready for that.

If I had been ready for anything—it definitely wasn't that. I had barely even soaked in the information that he had come back to Konoha and was home for good and what we had been working for for years was right here in front of me—in fact, I seriously think I hadn't sunk it in yet at the time.

"W-What?"

"You…loved me…I…do you…still…?"

My mouth was wide open. Was he saying what I thought he was saying?

"S-Saskue-kun…I…are you saying…?"

"I…want…to be…with you…Sakura…" His eyes were begging some sort of answer from me.

"Oh…Oh-Sasuke-kun!"

I fell, sobbing, on his higher chest, and I could feel his chin tucking lightly into my head.

"…Sakura…"

I turned my tear-stained face to face his, and caught my breath. His face was so close to mine that I could feel his soft breaths on my own mouth. I shivered. We stared at each other for a moment.

I seriously don't know what came over me at that time.

But the next moment, Sasuke and I were sharing a soft kiss.

I didn't feel any electric feeling through me like I had heard in the stories. But I did like the feel of soft lips against mine, so I disregarded the loss of that legendary feeling supposed to always accompany one's 'true love' kiss and just kept pressing my lips softly against his, hoping I was doing it right.

And, like I hadn't noticed as someone quietly walking in, I didn't notice at all as you walked out.

But, Sasuke, ever the watchful and alert ninja, did notice.

Once we disengaged, him breathing heavily since he was still so weak and me feeling like I was as red as a ripe tomato, I just watched him until he could speak again. But he didn't say anything. Just kissed me again.

Once that one ended, and he had caught his breath, I rested my head softly on his chest.

"Kakashi…was in…here…"

I stiffened. He looked at me questionably. I felt guilty, of course. I was supposed to be dating you, and you had just seen me kissing Sasuke, no doubt.

But, my mind reasoned with me, We did agree on a no strings attached thing. I'm sure Kakashi will understand. I mean, he knows that this has been my heart's desire ever since I was seven. He'll forgive me. For now, I just want to be with Sasuke-kun…

I relaxed and smiled at him. He relaxed too when he saw I was OK again, and I gave him a peck on the lips before lifting myself up off him.

"You need to get some sleep, OK, Sasuke-kun?" I whispered caringly to him. He nodded. He didn't smile, but I didn't find this unusual at all, I mean, this is Sasuke we're talking about, right? And after everything he had been put through, it was probably be hard for him to smile right away. I was sure, though, that I would be able to make him happy.

In my heart I was truly very happy indeed. I was convinced, at the time, that this was what I had wanted my whole life.

This was true, to some extent. I had wanted this over half of my life so far. But I didn't realize at the time that what I was feeling at that time wasn't true love at all; since I had pined for him for so long, when he admitted his feelings for me, I was convinced that I still loved him too.

I haven't seen you at all since his coming-back party, which I feel like you only came to because you were obliged to attend. You didn't speak to me at all. I wanted things to mend between us, for us to go back to being friends, but I wasn't eager to approach you again. I figured we had plenty of time to talk and fix everything later. I was too busy swooning over Sasuke-kun…

I thought I loved him, but after two months of trying to spark those feelings that had once inhabited in me when were genins, I finally admitted to myself that they were fake. I never really did love him. When we were together, I was forcing myself to laugh, forcing myself to have a good time, because I was absolutely convinced that this was what I wanted. How could it not be? When I had loved him for so long?

It was so confusing. I even shed some tears over everything. I didn't know what to do. Why don't I love him? I had asked myself.

Why don't I love him? I ask myself now as I stand in front of your door, still soaked to the bone but not shivering anymore. I had become so absorbed in the past that I hadn't even noticed the cold.

When I figured out—finally—that I didn't love him, I was so lost. When we were together, I was distant. He finally brought it up after ignoring it for a long time. I was flustered but tried to make it clear to him that I didn't love him like I used to. I tried to make him understand that time changed a lot of things. He just stared at me, not saying anything.

And then he walked away.

I shed a few more tears—now I had nobody. But I didn't cry as much as I thought I would. Strangely, I didn't miss him. Strangely, when I was hugging my pillow and rocking back and forth, lonely and trying to figure everything out, the only person I was missing was you.

Which is what brought me here.

After all, when someone is missing something, they try to find it, right? That's what I'm doing here.

I finish mulling over the past. So why do I miss you? What aspect of our relationship to I miss exactly? Our friendship? Or…what we had been before Sasuke had come…?

Well, it definitely wasn't friendship. My feelings are way too deep to be just simply that. If it was just friendship, why wasn't I at Naruto or Ino's doors? They, after all, were, at present, much closer to me, ever since you started avoiding me.

But why were you avoiding me?

This question awoke in my mind.

The Kakashi I have always known would definitely not care if I started going out with Sasuke. You have always known I had loved him, right? Unless…

Unless…your feelings had run deeper for me than what I thought I had for you. Unless you were actually…hurt when I started seeing Sasuke.

I hadn't even told you straight up yet.

I just left you.

And we were supposed to have been in a relationship.

I didn't realize I was crying until they started streaming down my cheeks. How could I have done this to you? How could I have ever been so stupid? You were not just something to be used—and that's what I did, I used you—and then to be thrown away like you were worth nothing, not even an explanation.

You are worth so much more than that.

And then I was brought back to the question: why am I missing you? Why do I feel like I need you more than the world right now? Why am I craving…your hug? Your soothing words? Just your voice?

Because maybe…I like you a lot more than I even knew I did. Maybe, it wasn't Sasuke I loved all along, but…you.

I am positively sobbing now. I realize I love you, but I don't deserve you! After what I did to you!

But I can't go on without apologizing to you, telling you how I really feel. And I know you will probably reject me, but I just can't go on not telling you.

Shakily, I raise my hand. After what seemed like hours of hesitation, my fist collided with the hard wood. Three times.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Oh no! I suddenly think. What—what the hell did I just do? What am I supposed to say to you? How am I supposed to even face you—

I hear a doorknob turning. I forget to breath.

As if in slow-motion, the door swings inward. Internally, I'm positively panicking. Oh no! What have I done? I'm not ready for this!

But it's too late.

You stand there, in nothing but loose pants and an undershirt, your hair the sloppiest I have ever seen it, your mask slightly lopsided and a bag under your visible eye. I have never seen you so un-kept. I stare. But not for long. As soon as I realize your eye is starting to examine your visitor and widens when you recognize me, I come out of my trance.

"S-Sakura?" you whisper. I hold my breath again. "What…are you doing here?" your voice is firm and shaky at the same time. It's weird. It's like, your words are broken, but your tone is shocked and demanding. At hearing your voice, though it is not exactly kind and loving, I am calmed. It's amazing. What I have been looking for, ever since Sasuke and I broke up now comes right in front of my face and I understand what to do, what to say. But that doesn't stop me from being slightly embarrassed and very ashamed too.

"Kakashi…" I stare at my feet.

Spit it out.

"What do you want, Sakura?"

I don't answer. I can feel you examining me more closely.

"Does…Sasuke know you're here?" I think you realized that I had been crying. Your tone is quieter, but no more friendly.

"No," I find voice enough to speak. You don't say anything. You're waiting for me to say something. New tears start to form in my eyes. Desperately, I find the courage to finally look up and stare at you straight in the eyes.

"I miss you, Kakashi," I murmur. That wasn't what I meant to say. I realized later that I should have started out with an apology. You look taken aback. Quickly, you regain your composure and I think your eyes slightly narrow.

"What do you mean by that? I'm sure Sasuke is enough to keep you company." Your words are bitter. I cringe. I almost run away, just then, but gulp and continue in a small voice,

"I don't love him, Kakashi…I thought I did, I thought this is what I had wanted ever since I was a kid, this is what I've been pining for, right? But, it's not. I never felt right when I was with him. And I was so lost, but then I realized that it was you that I wanted tot talk to, you that I was missing…" I trail off, honestly not knowing what to say. Those words have come from my heart but I don't realize I still haven't apologized or said anything that considered your feelings. I sound selfish, as always.

"So what, Sakura? You expect me to just welcome you back like nothing happened?" You suddenly grab my arm and pull me a little so you could look straight into my eyes. I yelp at the unexpected pull. Your eyes are like hot coals, and I see that you hate me. I feel like curling up and dying, and only now do I start to feel like I think I know what you have been feeling like for the past two months. You go on,

"What am I to you, Sakura? What do you want me to be to make you happy? Just someone to satisfy you until someone else comes along? Do you just want to use me and then when my purpose is filled, leave me to pick up after myself?!"

I'm trembling. You give me a shake and I tremble harder.

"Answer me, Sakura! Goddammit!"

And that's when I see it. Behind that coal of fiery fire, I see moisture. And I realize you are about to cry. This only makes me cry harder. I can't take it any more. I collapse on your chest. You're unresponsive, but I don't care. All I want is the feel of you around me.

"K-Kakashi…I'm s-so sorry! I…feel so d-dirty right now…I'm sorry I left you. You d-don't deserve that. I'm so sorry! I…I know that I don't deserve y-you…but I just had…had to tell you how I feel…before it was too late…" I pause. The tears are still coming down.

You don't say anything. But I can tell from the stature of your stiffened body that you are listening intently.

"I…I'll understand if you hate me. You have every r-right to…but I need you to know…I love you…I have for w-who knows how long…I just didn't realize it. And I hate myself…for not realizing it sooner. Then I wouldn't have been such a b-bitch and left you all alone like that. Then none of this would have happened. I don't even know what you went through…but…just know this. I will always love you…No matter what happens…"

I tighten my hold on your torso and just sob some more, knowing that you are about to reject me but getting as much of you as I could in what is likely to be our last hug.

It lasts a while. I begin to feel like it is finally starting to come to and end. You are still unresponsive and rigid as ever. I pull back, sniffling and feeling too embarrassed to look up at you in the face. Without even glancing up at you, I slowly turn and begin to walk away.

A hand grabs at my wrist. In less than a moment's time I am suddenly spun 180 degrees and my face meets your soft chest.

"What—"

I don't have any time to say anything else. You tip my chin up considerably with your finger, and the next thing I know you are kissing me.

I am stunned. Beyond stunned. It takes me a few seconds to even realize what just happened, and them my heart soars and I feel a swooping sensation in my stomach. Hesitantly though, I push my lips a little into yours.

I shiver involuntarily as something seeming as an electric shock passes through me.

So this is what a 'true love' kiss is…this is was it feels like…

I am in heaven. None of Sasuke's caresses had ever felt like this one kiss with you. You push a little harder, which I respond to. I moan deep in my throat, and you moan in response to that.

Suddenly I feel something push at the seam of my lips. I gasp. Sasuke, even in the two months we had been dating, had never kissed me completely, tongue and all. You take advantage of the gasp and thrust your tongue inside the inside of my mouth, exploring me, causing me to shiver and moan. Hesitantly, I respond, pushing my own tongue out to meet yours. You groan…

We disengage after a while, both of us with labored breaths. My eyes are closed as I need time to soak in what just happened. When I open them you are staring right at me. I notice your mask is off and for the first time it occurs to me that you must have had to take it off to give me such a kiss. Your features are angular, but not pointy and unattractive. Your cheekbones are kind of high, your nose defined, and your lips pink and luscious. I find you one of the handsomest men I have ever seen, even though I have to admit to myself that Sasuke does outdo you by just a hair. However, I find you way more attractive than him. Your eyes aren't as cold, and your gaze much kinder and passionate.

I find myself wanting to bring my hand up and run it along your face, but I am still hesitant. I need to hear it from you first before I do anything.

"Does…does this mean…"

Your hand comes up to caress my cheek. Again I think of how different you are as a boyfriend from Sasuke. He never gave me such gentle caresses, even something as simple as what you were doing right now, stroking my cheek softly. The feeling generates more shivers down my spine. You bend down so our noses are touching. I love this feeling you generate from me. I feel like I'm the highest person in the world.

You give me a peck on the lips before answering in a whisper, your hand now running lovingly through my hair,

"Sakura…I forgive you…I love you too...I have since you were around eighteen. I…honestly I was very mad at you; I even thought I hated you…but even then, I still loved you for some reason. I will always love you."

Your words burst my heart open, and I feel like crying again. Not trusting myself to talk, I just circle my arms around your neck and pull you to me, crashing our lips again.

Once we ran out of breath, you survey me. A mock speculating look comes over your face.

"Now, Sakura, if you stay in those clothes, you're going to get sick. What say we heat up the shower and clean you up?" you say, grinning cockily and with one eyebrow raised suggestively. My heart skips two beats…or three…or four…when I see you have dimples. You look so gorgeous when you smile…

I can only give a small smile as I forget to breathe.

"Pervert!" I manage out in almost a whisper. We are back to the way we used to be; you being typical Kakashi by making a perverted remark, and I retaliating with a comical insult.

I whack the chest I'm engulfed in. You laugh, and you lead me inside, and then everything…is perfect.

XOXOXO

Hey! It's been a while, but I ran across this on my computer. I wrote this a really long time ago but I never posted it. Now, I am.

Please comment on how you liked/hated it! Thanks for reading!!

Ja ne,

The rose has thorns