He lied. He said that he would leave once she had fallen asleep, but he didn't.
Hours had passed since pale eyelids drooped closed over startling green eyes, but he was still there. After carefully slipping his arms from around her, he clothed himself and leant against the windowsill, crossing his arms over his chest in his familiar fashion. And he watched.
It was interesting to watch her sleep because her facial expression didn't change. Usually, when he had to watch someone sleeping, their faces contorted into any emotion that briefly passed through them during their dream state. But the small smile remained captured on her face, the corners of pink lips turned slightly upward at the same angle for hours. Facial muscles were relaxed and free of any anxieties and pains she might have felt in the real world. He liked her better that way.
As soon as he thought that, he paused. This was wrong; he shouldn't have done that. He shouldn't have let her in so easily. But he had been vulnerable, dare he say it. All those pent up emotions had built up and exploded within him, preventing him from thinking straight and acting rationally. Maybe he had been overworking himself with training and such, and he had been too tired to continue the fight because there was no way he would ever have done that with her if had been completely coherent.
Uchiha's didn't show vulnerability, ever. He had made this mistake. And he wouldn't be making it again.
Sakura was sure that the "morning after" feeling wasn't supposed to be the one she was feeling right now.
As soon as she was woken by the clap of thunder from outside, that warm happiness didn't invade her body like she'd heard countless times from Ino, and the ecstatic smile didn't drift onto her face as Tenten had put it. Instead, all she felt was the cold nakedness of her body beneath the sheet and the burning soreness of her body.
And though last night had been magical and breathtaking to her, now she felt cold and empty. It was the fear coming back full force. She supposed it would never go away. So many years of heartbreak had taught her well after all. It was only a habit to expect the worst.
Yet, that hope, as it always did, still burned inside her. This time she had proof that he felt something. She had felt it in every one of his caresses, in the way her name had so softly fallen from his lips. Would he deny it?
Sakura suddenly felt her heart beat accelerate and thud painfully. He wouldn't do that would he? She absolutely knew last night was emotionally genuine for them, and every action was made because it felt right. Otherwise, they wouldn't have done it. He wouldn't have done it. But Sasuke was completely unpredictable and complicated, and she wasn't sure what his next move would be.
She suddenly remembered where she was and realized her state of undress and scrambled out of the bed to put her clothes on. She was lucky enough that no one had walked in yet. Wincing with each step, she made her way slowly over to the adjoining bathroom and blinked in the harsh glare of the light before blinking at her own reflection.
Pink strands of hair jutted out in several odd angles and was, to put it simply, a complete mess. Her lips were still slightly red and swollen, and she could see dark bruise like blemishes glancing out from beneath the collar of her hospital gown. She blanched. How in Kami's name was she going to hide those? Roughly yanking her fingers through her hair, she managed to tame it slightly and reduce the amount of knots so it could lie flat over her shoulders and hide the marks.
Her fingers traced lightly over her lips, and a sudden bubble of warmth swelled in her stomach as memories of last night flooded her mind. Sasuke had been so warm, so unbelievably inviting. His very presence was powerful and darkly enticing, and she loved it. The smile ghosted across her face, and she now felt what Ino had been trying so hard to explain.
However, there was a tang of bitterness in her mouth and a soft ache in her chest that she was sure weren't supposed to accompany the expansion of bliss in her lower abdomen. Then again, she wasn't supposed to have a happy ending.
Naruto's voice carried to the bathroom, and Sakura quickly readjusted her hair before stepping out. The concerned look on the blonde's face quickly vanished when he saw his friend emerge with a smile on her face.
"Hey," she greeted, hobbling across the floor.
Naruto moved forward, swept her into his arms, and placed the laughing girl onto the bed.
"You weren't that bad yesterday," he stated, noticing how she was wincing much more and how weary she looked.
Sakura fidgeted slightly, not going unnoticed beneath Naruto's watchful eye, and toyed aimlessly with the thin hospital blanket as the smile wavered on her face.
"Oh, well, I guess I moved too much yesterday," she said, trying to keep a casual façade. "I mean, I did get out of bed and walk around the hospital and stuff."
The young man's brow furrowed softly. She was such a horrible liar. Or maybe he had always just been able to tell. He moved his eyes over her face, noticing the slight swelling of her lips and the tired droop of her eyes. Slightly uncomfortable beneath his intent gaze, she shifted and he gasped.
"What is that!" he yelled out, grabbing hold of her collar and yanking it down to reveal the three red marks blotting her collar bone.
They were too dark and large to belong on her ivory skin, and Naruto felt anger bubbling within him. He snapped up into a standing position, intending to unleash his wrath on whoever put them there. Of course, he had to find out who it was first.
Sakura jumped slightly, surprised by the anger in his eyes, and quickly jerked her gown up to cover her exposed shoulder.
"How the hell did you get that?" he seethed, and Sakura swallowed thickly, unsure where his anger was directed at the moment.
"I…me and Sasuke… I mean-" she began and was cut off when Naruto cried out in disbelief.
"Sasuke!" The cerulean eyed male blinked several times before Sakura wrapped her fingers firmly around his wrist, locking him in place.
Her eyes were pleading and her expression scared. "Please," she said softly. "Don't say anything about it to him. I don't know….I don't think he really meant anything serious by it."
Naruto's eyes softened at the saddened look adorning her face, and he took a spot next to her. Tenderly, he brushed back loose wisps of hair and tucked them behind her ear.
"Sasuke never acts without a reason," Naruto stated. "You know that."
Sakura sniffled and blinked back her tears. "I know, but sometimes people act on impulse. And if he wants to turn his back on this and walk away then I'll have to pretend that it was nothing too. What else can I do?" Her voice broke slightly, and she swallowed.
Naruto pulled her into his arms, and she collapsed gratefully against his chest, nuzzling her face in the familiar warmth of his shirt.
"I think it's deeper than that," he said gently. "I think you do too."
"I think I love him so much that I'll believe anything at the moment," she responded.
Naruto rested his chin atop her head and struggled to find some sort of comment to lighten the mood. Sakura could feel him smiling and pulled back to study his face with narrowed eyes.
"At least I know why you're so sore today," he joked, his eyes sparkling with a grin.
"You idiot," she gasped, hitting him on the chest before breaking out into laughter.
And she wondered how long it would last.
He could hear everything from inside the room. Leaning stiffly against the wall by the door, the Uchiha never strayed as he heard things that made his heart pound and his breathing become more ragged.
"And if he wants to turn his back on this and walk away then I'll have to pretend that it was nothing too."
Was it nothing? Was the fire that seared his skin every time she touched him nothing? Was that magnetism that unconsciously pulled him toward her nothing? Kami, he didn't know anymore.
He didn't even know why he was here in the first place. All he wanted to do was talk about it, clear up everything and make her understand that what they did was wrong and shouldn't be done again. But as soon as he had approached the door, he felt nervous and unsure and was about to turn and walk straight back home, but the voices of his friends stopped him. He was interested in what they had to say.
"I think it's deeper than that. I think you do too."
It almost felt like Naruto was talking directly to him, every word striking deep in his mind and sticking. Nothing about the way he and Sakura interacted was deep. Except the announcement about her mission. Even if he hated to admit it, shock and grief had struck him so deeply that he couldn't even train without thinking that he could be using his current move to help her, to protect her.
And that one night he'd found himself walking her home after she'd spent up all her chakra at an intensely busy day at the hospital. She'd still found the energy to talk to him, though he wasn't very responsive, but he had listened. She'd still found the energy to smile, though he didn't return it, but he had been looking. And he had found himself strangely attached to her in those few minutes, where her smile was unusually bright in the dark backdrop of the night and her aura was curiously warm in the cool air.
Even when they simply sat down for dinner and she smiled across the table at him, he felt it, that magnetic pull. How could he have been that blind?
"I think I love him so much that I'll believe anything at the moment."
Her proclamations of love weren't anything unusual to his ears, but this one stopped his heart beat all together. He could hear the underlying tones of pain and sadness and sincerity all woven together in a single beautiful song, and he could honestly say he enjoyed listening to it.
She would believe anything, and he had spoken the truth in his apology. He was sorry for everything, so sorry it almost physically hurt not to get the extent of it across to her. So why did she sound so unconvinced, so sad?
It must have been a full hour that he stood outside the door, flickering from wanting her to wanting to push her away. It made his head hurt and spin, all this indecision and emotion. The turmoil his feelings were causing was overpowering, and he wanted nothing more to destroy it.
He reopened his eyes when he heard the door open and footsteps halt near him. Naruto froze at the sight of his friend, eyes depicting no emotion for a few seconds before turning hard. With his lips pursed, he managed to tell the Uchiha with a simple expression everything he needed to know.
And Sasuke didn't need any more time to think.
Sakura felt him before she heard him. The dark yet intriguing aura filled the room like smoke, suffocating her. Neither of them moved.
Sasuke licked his dry lips and swallowed the lump in his throat. Why was this so much harder than it should be?
"I just," he began, causing Sakura to shiver at the sexy deepness of his voice. "I just wanted to tell you that this is going to be hard, probably a lot harder than most other relationships out there."
Sakura's stomach flipped violently, and a choked sob was caught in her mouth.
"And it'll probably take some getting used to, but since you seem pretty willing, I don't think it will be a problem for you."
Two tears escaped the confines of her eyes, and a soft tingling spread through her bones.
"And I may not be able to say everything you want to hear, but there are other ways…."
Sakura, who felt the bubble of bliss suddenly burst within her and flood the rest of her body, turned and gave him a watery smile that stopped him right in his tracks. The glimmer in her eyes was amazingly vibrant, and the smile gracing her face was the most beautiful he'd seen yet, and he could no longer think.
"And Kami, you're all I think about at night," he finished breathlessly, striding around the bed to tower over her.
His face was so softer than she'd ever seen it before, and she stood fearlessly to press her lips to his. It was slow and deep, and the warmth raged through them like an inferno that would burn forever.
And they realized that this was real, that all the things they were feeling were the purest things the world had to offer, and they would happily accept it.
A/N: Omg! It's finally over! Lol. I've been wanting to work on other things, but I wanted to get this out of the way first. I've had such a great time writing for all of you guys, and I hope you liked it. This was for all of you!