Disclaimer: Do I look Japanese to you?

Words: 1,157

Character or pairing: Sakura and SasuSaku

Beta: The wonderful. lovely and talented Mistress of Sarcasm (applauds loudly)

Author's Note: I hope you enjoy this. I think it is my best one-shot yet. Review please.

3 times Sakura doesn't bring Sasuke home and one time she does.

She waits on that bench every day.

7 p.m. to 8 p.m sharp.

She sits there waiting for her (dream, hope, wish, memory, fantasy, love) dear Sasuke-kun to come home.

Hours turn to Days, Days turn to Weeks, Weeks turn to Months, Months turn to Years, and Years and Years turn to Waste.

(Because she has not grown)

Her shiny pink hair reaches her hips, touching the bench her tears once did.

Everyone looks at the waiting genin with pity in their eyes and not even Inner Sakura can rally a response.

Ino no longer calls her Forehead-Girl because there is nothing (no one) to fight over.

Konoha wishes it was surprised when she freezes to death waiting (for him, always always for him) in the dead of winter.

Finally, she is as cold as his heart.

She is buried under her beloved (hated) bench, her name carved on the seat in graceful kanji.

And people still say they see her waiting (always) for him from death and beyond.

Sakura waits her life away.

Haruno Sakura is a true kuniochi and this her mission.

Kill the Uchiha Sasuke by means of seduction.

It's him or the village again. And this time she is going to make the right choice.

(Naruto, Ino-pig, Kakashi-sensei, and Tsunade-sensei flash in her mind's eye. And she thinks that she was so stupid when she was twelve.)

Her name for this mission is Rin Kokoro.

Literally, Cold Heart and she finds it fitting.

Kokoro's eyes are deep brown. Her skin slightly tan. She is curvy with dancer's legs. Her dark brown-almost black-hair reaches her hips.

(She would laugh at the irony if she were Haruno Sakura because, what do you know Sasuke-kun really does like long hair!)

She sits at bar, the only one not fangirl-ing over the prince come to life.

Because only way to get an Uchiha's attention is to ignore him completely.

She figures this out when she declares her undying love at 12. He insults, thanks and knocks her out in two minutes flat.

(Sasuke-kun was always a good ninja because he wasn't anything else.)

It takes a week, but he finally ambushes her on the dance floor. One thing leads to another and soon they're in the bar's private room. It's time for her to make her move.

A kiss on his neck, a kunai in his heart and Sasuke is down.

But not dead so Sakura releases the genjustu.

(You always look them in the eye, the people you kill. Common courtesy, really.)

Her eyes turn jade green. Her skin lightens and her figure is slender. The brown hair shortens and changes to pink once again.

"Sakura." Sasuke whispers, blood seeping through his clothes.

And there is so much she can say now.

(This is where revenge leads. This was my mission. I'm not weak. Slug beats Snake. Naruto is going to named Hokage in a month. We could have been enough for you. You shouldn't have left. Did you ever care about us? We would have been happy together. I still love you.)

But she settles for something more metaphorical because that's the way they work.

"You're welcome." She whispers back and kisses him as herself.

Because hadn't he always wanted to die?

Sakura's life, as any kuniochi, belongs to the village.

The day after Naruto fails (failure, her mind whispers and who exactly is she talking about?) to bring Sasuke home, Sakura forgets him.

Forgets the broken boy with flaws and beauty. Forgets onyx/crimson eyes and devilish smirk. Forgets paper pale skin with accursed stains spreading madly. Forgets cruel/kind words and bruising fingers on a soft neck. She forgets him.

(And loses half her heart but half a heart is better than a broken one)

(or a cold one.)

So Ino-pig is now Ino-chan, Naruto is Naruto-kun and Tsunade-sensei is still Hokage-sama because there is no Sasuke Uchiha.

Naruto leaves with the Sannin Jiraiya and the promise to bring Sasuke home.

"Who?" Sakura asks totally confused and Naruto looks like he is about to cry.

Sakura takes the Chunin Exam with Ino-chan and Chouji. Ino-chan keeps asking her questions about her first Chunin Exam that Sakura does not understand.

(Remember when you fought the Sound Ninja? Remember when Lee came to save you? Remember when you cut your hair? Remember when Ino-Shika-Cho came to help you? Remember when you stopped Sasuke? Remember please, Forehead girl.)

No, Sakura doesn't remember anything. Her hair had always been short, not hip length like Ino-chan said and why is Ino calling her that terrible name and who is this Sasuke?

No, Sakura doesn't remember anything because she has forgot her anchor and is drowning in her own freedom.

Forgot the indecision and the worry of failing. Forgot the 10th question and passing as a team. Forgot the death forest with treacherous snakes that marked the broken boy. Forgot snarling red eyes when deadlast made his stand. Forgot pink shards on forest's ground. Forgot spilt lips, black eyes, bruised skin. Forgot holding cursed death back. Forgot growing because she forgot him.

Sakura passes the exam with flying colors and teaches children to be good little killing machines at the Academy. She then goes about her life.

Four years later, they tell her Uzumaki Naruto is missing in action. (Failure her mind whispers and this time she knows exactly who she is talking about.) The next day she forgets him.

Just like she forgets the broken boy and her heart is snapped in two the second time.

By forgetting Sasuke, Sakura forgets herself.

Sakura is a fool (in love, maybe). Just like Naruto and Kakashi-sensei. Just like how Tsunade used to be before her brother and lover died in blood mud, before her teammate left them for immorality. Because Sakura believes Sasuke-kun can be saved.

No matter how many people shout that he is a traitor, a betrayer, a lost cause not worth the effort.

(She laughs and smiles but her eyes are grave with the promise to prove them wrong.)

So she learns and heals and trains.

(Until bloody knuckles can crack rocks and stones and earth with medic hands.)

But she is (finally) ready.

As she stands before the last (lost) Uchiha in Kunoichi glory.

As she throws the kunai, dodges the sword and punches his ever cold heart.

As Leaf's wind rustles through choppy hair when they bring him home.

(She is strong enough to wear her hair short.)

Yes, she is ready.

So when Sakura makes her own life and gives Sasuke back his, everyone and no one is surprised.