standard disclaimer applied.

A V E N G E R

Sasuke has always been an avenger.

It is engrained in the very fiber of his being, in every iota of who he is.

Sasuke is an avenger.

It is why he does not come running back to her as she pleads with him, tears running down rosy cheeks like tiny waterfalls. It is why he does not hold her as he so longs to, to feel the warmth that she so willingly offers to him. It is why he does not reassure her she is so much to him, so much that their distance tears him apart.

It is also why, as he gently places her limp body onto the bench, he does one thing to spite the fates, to avenge her broken heart:

It is why he places a kiss on her (perfect) forehead under the watchful eyes of the full moon.

(leaves his soul in her eyes,

his heart in her fingers.)

--

Sasuke has always been an avenger.

She looks up at him with eyes so vivid the gods might as well have grabbed two of the brightest stars from the heavens and proclaimed them dull.

Sasuke is an avenger.

It is why he does not allow himself, even in his innermost thoughts, to acknowledge the outrageously beautiful woman she has become. It is why he does not activate the Sharingan, then and there, just to have her permanently etched in his memory. It is why he does not run down to her, when every survival instinct he possesses screams go!.

It is also why, when he sees something a little off in the way she looks at him and something a little more in the way she looks at Naruto, he does one thing to avenge his breaking heart:

It is why he targets Naruto first.

(but doesn't harm her at all, never intends to,

and he has always been a good actor.)

--

Sasuke has always been an avenger.

Karin looks up at him with eyes so dark and full of yearning to put Orpheus to shame.

Sasuke is an avenger.

It is why he does not choose a stronger shinobi; Karin's senses are unparalleled. It is why he does not allow himself to imagine Karin's hair shorter and paler and softer. It is why he does not let Karin touch him.

It is also why, as he remembers emerald stars and pink skies, he does one thing to avenge his broken heart, to spite her:

It is why he chooses someone who looks at him with something a little more.

(and does not recall vivid green eyes and

the emotion they lacked.)

--

Sasuke has always been an avenger.

Itachi is (unjustly) dead and gone, and all plans to crush Konoha have dissipated when he feels her chakra pulsating somewhere in the ruins of a once-mighty village, and he cannot break her even more than he already has. Still,

Sasuke is an avenger.

It is why he does not allow them to see how enraptured he is at the sight of their faces. It is why he does not allow himself to visibly mourn the death of his teacher (Sasuke knows because, though Kakashi is always late, only death would stop him from being punctual for this). It is why he does not allow himself to hug Naruto back.

It is also why, with all the emotion of a thirsty man finding the fountain of life, he does one thing to avenge her for all he has done:

It is why he holds her back tight, her head tucked snugly under his chin as the tears roll down.

(he does not acknowledge, even to himself, that he brushes the lightest, subtlest of kisses on her forehead before doing so.

neither does she.)

--

Sasuke has always been an avenger.

She is the most beautiful thing alive, the most beautiful thing in existence. She is a goddess to all the elements. The moon offers itself for her to wear as a dress, as the sun flares alive in her eyes. The clouds come down to veil her head, and the stars shine bright in her hair.

Sasuke is an avenger.

For once, he does not care.

He is next to her, her arm linked through his, and it is a blessing unlike almost any other to hold her so close.

(The greatest blessing would be to stand at the opposite end of the aisle and watch her light up the world.)

As they walk down the aisle, his eyes never leave her. Her eyes never leave Naruto.

He wishes this aisle would last forever. He isn't quite ready to let her go.

(years later, he finds it ironic that he never will.)

But they do reach the last step, and for one last time, she looks into his eyes.

Something is still a little off in the way she looks at him, yet it is the first time she sees something a little more in his.

(it's always been in his eyes, they realize a little too late)

He leans down to kiss her on the forehead through the veil, and she finally gets the message she should have gotten on that night, so long ago.

Stay with me, and I will worship you more than the sun in your eyes or the moon in your dress. I will love you more than the clouds in your veil or the stars in your hair.

Wear a fan on your back as a sign that I will always be yours as you will be mine.

I love you more than anything.

Finally, his lips lightly brush over skin as she closes her eyes and whispers.

"Thank you."

They part ways.

Nobody sees the lone tear that cascades down her cheek.

(nor the hundreds that run like tiny waterfalls down Sasuke's.

she does not run back to him. nor does she acknowledge the warmth he offers.

the distance tears her apart.)

--

Sasuke is an avenger.

(when she finally understands what it feels to walk away)

Now, so is Sakura.

(when she breaks his heart even worse than he'd broken hers)

fin.

--

author's notes

i am so embittered by sakura's "budding feelings" for naruto, as stated in her entry in the third databook. so many blatant, blatant hints...

so i write angst. un-edited, raw angst.

it's not that narusaku is bad. it's that i sold my heart to sasusaku.

kindly review. :)