Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.


A Truth Not To Be Revealed

by DeepPoeticGirl


The sound of her alarm was a harsh wake-up call, that morning. Her boyfriend groaned in displeasure, his arms tightening momentarily around her, while a string of curses slipped from her own lips soon after. Sakura blindly sought out the annoying machine on the nightstand, slammed the snooze button, and shoved her face into her pillow, sighing.

"You should get dressed," Sasuke murmured sleepily a few minutes later, sounding exhausted. He evidently didn't have much sleep after their lovemaking last night, but Sakura was too sleepy to wonder why. She made a grunting sound in return to his suggestion, mumbling half coherent words under her breath. Clearly, she wasn't fond of the idea of getting up. Her bed was so soft and her muscles were so sore—and god, her lover was so warm.

"Five more minutes," she muttered, snuggling backwards into him and slipping her hand under her pillow.

If he wasn't so drowsy, Sasuke would've smiled at her behavior. He'd known since way before their relationship even started that she wasn't a morning person, and often lacked the motivation to get herself out of bed on her own. This was probably one of the reasons they engaged in morning sex so often—she was more prompt to be energetic and to happily go on with her day after a good romp.

Unfortunately, this morning he was too tired to help her out. Last night's thinking weighed heavy on his mind and was mostly to blame for his lack of sleep. Plus, his body still hadn't fully recovered from their numerous rounds—they'd been more than a bit rough it seemed. So instead, he slipped his arms off her waist, and gave her the lightest shove as a sign of encouragement. "Come on," he whispered, eyes slipping shut. "Can't be late again."

This was true, Sakura realized with a smile. She had been late one too many times in the past few weeks—courtesy of her abusing the snooze button and her all too regular wanton behavior with Sasuke before her shifts—and Tsunade had warned her there would be consequences if it ever happened again.

She'd probably make me work the worst shifts two weeks in a row without any days off, she mused, slowly dragging her body out of bed. Tsunade-shishou loves me, but she's not very patient.

Once she finally stood on the cold, hardwood floors, she winced a bit. Her thighs were twinging. To make matters worse, the ache seemed to pinch a bit more every time she took a step. Sakura turned to give her boyfriend a reprimanding look, but the man was seemingly already drifting off to sleep. Smiling softly, she leaned over and gently kissed his forehead, and wondered if she was going to manage a non-awkward walk. She hoped she wouldn't end up limping by the end of the day.

Otherwise, I don't know what I could tell them, she thought, her smile brightening when his eyes opened again. She brushed a few dark haired locks from his face, then turned around and headed towards their shared wardrobe.

Sakura collected her medic clothes and traipsed around buck-naked across the room, very much aware of the smouldering stare her not-so-awake lover was giving her. She collected a pair of sexy matching underwear and slipped them on, flashing Sasuke a quick flirty grin before laughing as he growled, "Don't tease me when you know I can't have you."

"But you will have me," she jibed, striding to the bed and straddling him. "Just not this morning." She leaned down to give her man a good morning kiss, to which he returned with the same sentiment. His hand rubbed her thighs gently.

Then she squirmed a bit on his lap, and his eyebrows creased.

"You're still teasing me," he said. "And that's not very nice." He pinched her side a bit, smirking lightly when she squealed and pulled away.

Sakura rolled her eyes, still smiling. "Right," she replied. "Like you don't do it too."

"Never said I didn't."

Giggling, she leaned down again and gave him a deep, long, appreciative kiss. "Last night was amazing, Sasuke-kun."

"Hm." He returned the kiss with the same vigor, stroking her sides and thighs lazily. "Get dressed, Sakura. You're gonna be late for work."

"Alright, alright," she conceded, making a move to go. His hands gripping her hips tighter made her unable to, however, and she giggled a bit. "Your mouth says one thing, but your body says another," she said, giving a quick wink.

He didn't answer, seemingly more preoccupied with brushing her thighs. When she followed his gaze and saw the bruises, her mouth opened in surprise. No wonder my thighs hurt, she thought.

She opened her mouth to say something, but was stopped as he said, teasingly, "You should heal those. Unless you want to get caught and embarrass yourself by explaining who exactly gave them to you." He smirked, then. "I rather like them on you, though."

She blushed and lightly slapped his hands away. "Pervert!" she exclaimed, summoning chakra to her hands before she swiped them over her thighs and healed the purplish bruises there.

He merely chuckled in reply, allowing her to get off, this time.

As Sakura finished putting on the rest of her work clothes, she tried not to feel too disappointed when she saw Sasuke sitting up in bed, completely naked and looking as sexy as ever. She pouted when he stretched long and good, showing off his perfectly good abs and absolutely gorgeous muscles.

When he noticed her lack of movement, he looked her way with a confused frown.

She scowled, and blushed. "Don't give me that look! You can't expect me to not stop what I'm doing and not stare at you when you look like that."

Sasuke smirked, before he shrugged and laid back in bed, not bothering to throw the sheets over his wonderfully sculpted nude body.

"Who's the tease now," she muttered under her breath, grabbing some important legal papers off the desk and turning towards the door of their bedroom.

"Ah, Sakura…" His voice stopped her. "Don't bother making plans for tonight."

Her steps fell short in surprise, and she shifted her head back to look at him. "Eh?" Confusion crossed her features. "Why?"

His eyes softened considerably. "Tonight, after you're done working, I want to take you out. On a date." He paused. "A real one." When he noticed the all too emotional look in her eyes, he looked away, feeling too vulnerable all of a sudden. "So… don't make plans."

There's was a minutely silence, as Sakura looked at him in complete wonderment. A real date, she thought. He means… in front of other people. Holding hands. Where he doesn't treat me like I'm just a friend. A real date.

Forest green eyes shone brightly, then, and she gazed at him with a look of pure, pure love.

"Okay," she exhaled, still a little bit astonished, but mostly just breathless.

But she needed to make sure. Needed to know that he was aware what he was doing—that he was aware of what people would think of them. That he was aware that this was the moment that would likely change everything. "But won't people wonder, Sasuke-kun? They'll probably think it's weird…"

He merely shrugged in reply, giving her the impression that he didn't care what they thought, and the gesture made her so very, very happy that she couldn't help but sprint to the bed and straddle him again, giving him a really long, thankful kiss. He returned the affection after a moment of stunned surprise, but it wasn't long before he had to pull away and mutter something about her being late again.

Giving him one last peck, she hoped off his lap and grabbed her papers and bag by the door, before running out of their room with a squeal of excitement. He smiled a bit when he heard the door slam, rolling his eyes at how quickly he managed to lighten her morning mood. She went from lazy and grumpy, to delightfully happy, and finally to bouncing-off-the-walls euphoric.

Letting his body sink back onto the bed and into the soft warmth of the covers, Sasuke glanced one last time at the clock before he smiled sleepily and let the lull of slumber overtake him again.

5:16 AM. Way too early for this kind of excitement.


&Thank you baby,

for making someday come so soon


Thirteen hours later, and freshly cleaned, they were in the busy streets of Konoha, walking side by side. They hadn't spoken a lot since they left the house, but Sakura brushed it off to Sasuke's odd jitteriness and possible lack of sleep. He tended to be a lot quieter when he was tired or anxious about something. And given that in an hour or so, everyone would probably think they were together or, at the very least dating, then he had a reason to be nervous.

She never understood that part of him though—well, that was a lie. She did at first, with the council and their reaction to an unstable, untrusted War criminal dating a respected, highly regarded medic nin who possessed great influence over the leaders of the village. It was a suspicious thing.

In fact, it was the very reason she refused him when he first wanted to get with her. She knew that had they found out about their relationship, they could have executed him or tried to assassinate him on the assumption of an undermining betrayal. Hell, they could have executed the both of them if they thought she was in on it as well.

But the more the months went by, the more he proved himself loyal, the more he put his life on the line for his comrades and scrolls containing important information about the village, the more the council trusted him… she couldn't understand his reason to be afraid anymore. Couldn't understand why he wasn't ready.

And now, even as a he was fully reinstated, and one of the top ranked ANBU shinobi of Konoha of the Leaf, he was nervous at the thought of revealing their relationship. He was still persuaded that there would be dire consequences.

And she didn't get it.

(Of course, this really wasn't what he was anxious about anymore, but Sakura would never know that.)

The sound of a coquettish giggle reached her ears, and Sakura turned her head in its direction, eyes narrowing in jealousy when she saw a pretty blonde woman being embraced and seduced, while she ran a flirtatious finger down the man's jaw.

Grinding her teeth together, Sakura looked away from them and down the road in front of her, eyes widening in shock when she caught sight of a couple walking in their opposite direction. They were sweeter than the other two: the man's arm was wrapped affectionately around the woman's shoulders, while hers was wrapped around his waist, and her free hand held a single rose. The grin on her lips was blindingly happy.

Anger bubbled in her stomach. It was like the world was out to hurt her, mock her. Every time she turned her head, she saw another one—another god damn couple—laughing and flirting together, giving each other bedroom eyes, kissing and holding hands, whispering sweet nothings to each other…

Each one a sting to her heart, because she wanted those things. More than anything in the world, she wanted them with Sasuke. This was what they didn't do in public—not when someone could see them anyway.

And god it hurt. It made her heart ache so much. Because weren't they supposed to be on a date right now? Weren't they supposed to be holding hands? Or leaning onto each other? Or smiling and laughing and giving teasing glances? Just like they were doing right now?

Didn't he seem like he was ready, like he didn't care about what anyone else thought, just this morning? Or was that the sleepiness talking?

Please… don't tell me he backed out now, she thought, swallowing the lump in her throat. Don't tell me he bailed.

She was so tired of not knowing. So tired of pretending they weren't together, especially when their love was this strong after all this time.

Looking down at the considerable space between them, she frowned and tried to discreetly close some of it. When Sasuke didn't react, her heart fluttered a bit with childish hope, but she couldn't tell if that was because he didn't mind or because he didn't notice. She bit her lip and hesitated, but in the end was set on her decision.

Tentatively, she reached for his hand and brushed her fingers alongside his.

He responded instantly, body tensing and jaws clenching.

Her heart sank, and she retreated to herself quietly, putting some of that distance back. Her steps slowed a bit, and her hands went up to rub the skin of her arms comfortingly. Her heart was clenching all too tightly and all she could feel was an agonizing ache that made her want to cry. Being rejected time and time again had taken its toll in the past, but this? Being rejected on the day he intended on finally exposing their secret relationship?

This was too much.

.

.

.

Too concerned with trying to swallow down her pain, she hadn't noticed him clench his fists and open his mouth to say something. But then he noticed she was no longer beside him, and was rather trailing behind, and he refrained himself. His steps came to a full stop as he caught the sight of her watery eyes and vulnerably posture.

"Sakura," she heard him call, sounding worried. "Hey…"

It was the last straw.

Her heart clenched so painfully that she couldn't help releasing a heavy breath, tightening her grip around her own arms before her shoulders began to shake softly. I can't do this anymore, her mind whimpered, causing a few tears to slip from her eyes. This is too much. Her shoulders shook harder. Her breath came heavier. Her bottom lip quivered as an imminent, tell-tale sign that she would begin sobbing any second now.

He said it was a date but it's just like every other day, he's not changing, this isn't working, he's not ready, he's not fucking read—

All of a sudden, Sasuke grabbed her arm and tugged her towards him—with a little more force than necessary, she couldn't help noting—before he did something that stole her breath away: he kissed her, full on the mouth, right there in the middle of Konoha's crowded market, where everyone could see. Some people even stopped in their tracks to stare unabashedly with gaping mouths, but Sakura didn't seem to be able to take this in. She was shocked—so shocked she couldn't even kiss him back.

Sasuke didn't seem to mind, though.

What seemed like hours later, he finally pulled away, cheeks flushed and ears beat red. He gave her a look that was so undoubtedly shy, so abashed, and even somewhat childish, that she couldn't help but to blush herself because he looked so damn adorable.

Her mouth slipped open in utter bewilderment when she noticed everyone—and she meant literally everyone—staring at them, mouths gaping and wide open, while some whispered things to each other. In a manner she had never imagined possible, he had revealed their secret to the world. He had exposed their discreet relationship, had washed away all her sadness and her worries, had bared himself wide open for everyone to see—for everyone to understand the type of feelings he held for her.

That was when she noticed how incredibly nervous he was. How he was almost sweating because he was so anxious. She blinked at him and brought a hand to her lips, blushing even fiercer, before she opened her mouth to tell him something.

"I—"

He stepped back, then, dropping the hold she hadn't even realized he still had on her forearm, and turning abruptly to face the road again. He took a few steps forward, and she began worrying for him, her momentary lapse of excitement and shock fading as she watched him walk away from her—only for her mind to stop, once again, as he turned to look at her with the gentlest look.

His body shifted in her direction, and the corner of his mouth twisted upwards. "Sakura," he called softly. Her eyes widened as he lifted his hand and held it out to her, almost shyly. "You coming?"

Never, in her entire life, had she ever felt such happiness than the moment where she ran towards him with the biggest grin and took his hand, her stomach flipping wildly as he intertwined their fingers before the eyes of the civilians and ninjas surrounding them, and gave her an embarrassed, tender look. She squeezed his hand tightly, laughing lightly as a few happy tears escaped, before she wiped them quickly and offered a soft, chastened apology.

"You're too emotional," he murmured to her as he squeezed her hand back. Then, "Annoying."

Sakura made a face. "Hey, give me some credit!" she countered softly, sticking her tongue out at him. "I've waited a long time for this!"

He looked like he was about to say something, but they were interrupted by a soft, caring greeting amidst the cheering crowd.

"Hello, Sakura-san. Sasuke-san." Juugo offered a timid smile. "Tumultuous afternoon for you both, it would seem."

The medic had to refrain herself from laughing as Sasuke blushed again and scowled.

"Yes," she answered, beaming a cheerful smile. "It seems to be quite the news for them. I think they'll be pretty noisy for a while." Her eyes softened, then, as she remembered the incident all those months ago, where Juugo had been the first to discover about them. "Thank you, Juugo. For not telling. We really appreciate it."

At this, she nudged Sasuke's side a bit, glad when he looked up to the man and gave a sure nod. She was please he could forget his momentary embarrassment to give his genuine thanks.

Juugo smiled. "Of course. Anytime."


Cause' I'm keeping you

Forever & for always


He knew the public's reaction was going to be big when the news of their relationship would finally take place—he just never knew it was going to be that intense. Nor did he ever think it would progress so quickly. An hour after the incident and, already, more than half the village was informed. It was insane.

Very few people actually approached them directly about it, though. Most people tended to point and whisper loudly (although some brash ones hollered their comments with confidence). Those who did approach them, however, tended to have incredibly positive things to say—

("I know you don't know me, but I've seen you both a lot since Uchiha-san returned—I work at the food market—and I've always been rooting for you two. It makes me very happy and… gives me hope that all is never lost in love.")

("I always thought there was some kind of complicated sexual and romantic tension between you two—I just always thought I was imagining things, I didn't actually think I was right!)

("I heard stories about what you—team 7—all went through together within the past few years and I just want to say… it's nice things can still end this nicely. You guys getting together… It's almost tragically beautiful.")

("Oh man, you guys are gonna have the best looking kids.")

("Seeing you finally accept Sakura's feelings after all these years has given me so much hope! True love really does exist, and it takes time!")

("This is gonna sound so weird but I'm so damn happy right now—I always thought you two could complement each other perfectly, and like oh my god you actually got together.")

("So it really is true. Some people really can fall for someone else because of the love they are given. That's amazing.")

—about the both of them together, and individually.

("After the tragedy of your clan, Uchiha-san, and the terrible years that followed, it's incredibly satisfying to see you finally happy.)

("He's a hunk, Sakura-san! So glad you finally managed to grab him!")

("You deserved him, Sakura-san. After all these years of dedication, pain and tears, you truly, undoubtedly deserve him!")

("I know not many people think so, but I think you really deserve to finally have peace, Sasuke-san.")

Even so, Sasuke didn't fail to catch sight of the ones who glared at them. Didn't fail to see the looks of spite in their eyes, the way they growled, the way they snickered and whispered their disagreement—they were evidently not pleased. Most of them were ninjas, he also noted. And he tried so hard to convince himself he didn't care, and that it didn't bother him—but this was exactly what he dreaded would happen. Ninjas not liking the sight of them together, telling everyone of their disapproval… it was bound to get to the higher-ups soon enough.

The higher-ups who would react negatively, and instantly. Because although Sakura incessantly told him that he was trusted, that he was forgiven—Sasuke knew. He knew he was still being watched, was still under their scrutiny, was still being analyzed and tested. He was still given them the impression that he would betray them again someday.

And every glare sent their way reminded him of that.

So when the stress became too overwhelming for him, he gripped Sakura's hand tighter and whispered about postponing dinner and getting somewhere quieter. All it took was one look from the woman at his side before she frowned and agreed—no doubt after seeing his tense form and anxious features.

"Let's go to the beach. Shouldn't have too many people there at this hour," she said, squeezing his hand.

He nodded and squeezed hers in return, before they both pumped chakra into their feet and dashed away from the boisterously loud crowd and towards their quieter, much more private destination.

Sasuke could only find himself thanking the gods as they arrived to the beach and found it completely empty.

Finally. Peace of mind.


We might've took the long way,

but we knew we'd get there, didn't we baby?


Their quiet, romantic time together didn't last for very long.

About half an hour into their arrival, as they were innocently kissing whilst ankle deep in water, Naruto stumbled onto the scene and started yelling excitedly when he saw them. He was so overjoyed by their relationship status that he couldn't help but to tackle them both into the water, his arms wound tight about both their necks as he laughed and shouted his delight.

While half annoyed that he was drenched and that the idiot interrupted their much needed private time, Sasuke still couldn't help but to let his lips quirk up a bit at his best friend's reaction. Naruto was making such a big scene out of it—it was impossible not to be touched by his joy.

"I can't believe it! The rumors really were true!" he exclaimed, laughing all too cheerfully. "They were running left and right in the city and all I could think of was this was some sort of sick joke!"

"What, because it was so impossible to think we'd get together?" Sakura retorted back, hand forming a tight, menacing fist.

"No, that's not it, Sakura-chan!"

Sasuke's smirk receded, slowly. Despite his positive reaction, he was a little worried, and felt a little guilty.

Part of the reason he didn't want to tell Naruto was because he was aware of the dobe's feelings for Sakura. Or rather, he had been aware of them in the past and didn't know if he still harbored them. Bringing them up had occurred to him a few times during his ongoing relationship with the medic, but he always decided against it, lest he hit a sore subject.

He couldn't help but to wonder if Naruto was still somehow hurt or disappointed by the news. Shouldn't he be, if he still harbored feelings for her?

"More like I never he'd get the balls to finally ask you out!" he heard his best friend say. "Always too busy angsting about his life."

Sasuke twitched.

Screw feeling sorry for him, he thought, raising his fist high in the air. I'll feel sorry for him later.

And he punched him square in the face, sending their hyperactive teammate flying backwards and onto the warm, dry sand.

"OW!" the blonde yelled, groaning as he rubbed his face. "TEME, WHAT THE HELL!"

.

.

"That punch was uncalled for," Naruto muttered, eyes narrowed as he stared straight at the horizon, ocean blue moving to capture the view of the pretty colors of the sunset. "Prick."

Sasuke scowled. "You insulted me," he replied blithely, turning to look at him with a strict glare. Then, as he noticed the pout on his friend's lips and the hurt look in his eyes, he signed and relaxed his stiff form, rolling his eyes. "Besides, Sakura fixed you up, didn't she?"

A tiny smile slipped on the younger man's lips, and he crossed his arms over his knees, putting his head down on it as he stared dreamily at the sundown.

"Yeah," he agreed, softly.

The response unsettled him. Hearing his best friend sounding so tender after the mention of his girlfriend healing him, and looking so wistfully at the sunset… it made his stomach churn in guilt.

Naruto liked Sakura. There was no other explanation for that wounded look he caught earlier, or for the way his mood completely lightened at the mention of her healing him. He liked her. Naruto never stopped liking Sakura.

His heart tightened, and Sasuke swallowed tightly, trying to shove down the tsunami of remorse washing over him.

I'm sorry, Naruto. You deserve her more than I do, he thought, as they sat together in silence. His eyes rose to watch their other teammate, whom was perusing the shores in the search of pretty sea shells starfishes, and he smiled—miniscule, but gentle. But I love her. I love her, and I can't let you have her. She… she means everything to me. And I can't let her go. I will never let her go. I'll have her for as long as she'll have me.

He sighed, then, and turned to the man at his side, all traces of his smile gone. He needed to apologize for the abrupt news—needed to let Naruto know that he hadn't meant to hurt him.

Sensing the severity of his gaze, said man turned to look at him with confused features. His mouth opened to say something, but Sasuke cut him off.

"I didn't mean for you to find out like that."

The tension left Naruto's shoulders, frown turning into a genuine smile. He seemed almost amused, really.

"Sakura-chan's not the one I like anymore… you should know that."

Sasuke blinked, and his head titled to the side a bit. "But you…" He paused, frowning. "You were upset earlier."

Ocean blue eyes widened in bewilderment, before suddenly, he burst into laughter. "What are you talking about?" he exclaimed, slapping the dark haired man on the back. "If I looked anything remotely upset today—like ever—that would have to be because you, my best friend, didn't tell me earlier!"

"I thought—I mean you were just—"

"What?" Naruto questioned, grinning. "What the hell did you see that made you blow things out of proportion?"

If he noticed the way Sasuke's ears reddened, at least he had the courtesy to pretend he hadn't. "You… kept smiling and you looked…"

The blonde chuckled, before he said, almost bashfully, "Well, it's a beautiful sunset. I did have someone in mind." A tanned hand rubbed the back of his neck. "But not her."

Flashes of interrupted scenes and all-too-close hands, and a certain dark haired girl's all too common presence at their team meetings, with soft talks and stealing glances—and suddenly something clicked.

Sasuke smirked, just a little. "The Hyuuga girl?"

The blush on Naruto cheeks and the sheepish grin on his face was all it took to confirm it. "Hinata makes me happy," he said shyly. "It's really been great the past few months."

He nodded, finally understanding.

There was a silence. Peaceful, as they watched the glowing colors move in the sky; as they watched the waves crash against the sand; as they watched their childishly scavenging teammate.

"You would have known what to do better." Sasuke said suddenly, looking concerned. "I never know if I'm doing the right thing by her."

"Probably." Naruto looked at Sakura, happily searching for shells and a look of pure happiness in her eyes. "But… it looks like you're doing just fine to me."

Sasuke gave him an appreciative look, and smiled, just barely so. "Thank you, Naruto."

Said man grinned in reply. "But if ever you hurt her teme, I'll beat you six ways from Sunday!"

He smirked. "I'd like to see you try."

Sakura's excited squealing interrupted their competitive banter.

"Sasuke-kun, Naruto! Come over here and take a look, I found something so cool!"

Naruto laughed, calling out, "Awesome, Sakura-chan! We'll be right over!"

As they stood to join, however, the blonde turned to look at him, a serious look on his face. The sudden severity between them was enough to wipe all softened features from Sasuke's face. His mouth tightened in a firm line, because he was certain he knew what his best friend was going to say, but he waited for him to speak, regardless.

"You know the council isn't going to be happy, right?" he said, voice quiet and worried. "They'll be suspicious, Sasuke."

A sigh left his mouth, long and slow. He knew it. "…I know."

"They'll take measures against you guys."

He closed his eyes. "I know."

Beat.

"You better not back out now."

"—I won't."

Naruto grinned. That was the quickest, strongest reply yet.

He took a step forward and placed a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "I'll be with you guys every step of the way, I hope you know that. I won't let them take away you and Sakura-chan's happiness." His eyes hardened, his legendary determination shining through. "You both worked too hard to get it."

Sasuke gave him a look of pure appreciation and trust. "Thank you, Naruto."

.

.

.

"You obviously totally bonged her."

(Furious blush.)

WHACK.

"…THAT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, BLOCKHEAD!"

(Whining.)

"OI! I'M YOUR BEST FRIEND, YOU OWE ME THAT!"

"I'm about ten seconds away from kicking you in the face so hard that no one will be able to recognize you for a month."

"…I'm going now."


&I will not let anything take away

what's standing in front of me.


At the sight of Homura dozing off on her living room chair, Koharu rolled her eyes and nudged his foot firmly, placing her silver tray on her mahogany coffee table.

"Wake up, you old fool," she said, sounding annoyed. "Tea is ready."

At Homura's continued snoring, she jabbed her finger into his side. The man startled awake and let out a grunt, mumbling incoherent sentences under his breath.

"First you take a nap while I make tea, and now you're mumbling things to yourself." Koharu snorted and handed him his steaming cup. "You're getting quite senile, old man."

"We're only a few months apart in age," Homura remarked bitingly, taking the offered cup. "If I am senile, then you are too." He let out a huff and blew on his tea, before smirking lightly. "Maybe even worse, since it seems women mature at a quicker pace than men do."

Koharu scowled. "I highly doubt this always applies. I heard that the maturity level of men and women are relatively the same after the man evens out in his twenties." It was her turn to smirk, but she hid it as she took a sip of her drink. "And so it looks like you're the most senile one here."

"Hmph," the other harrumphed in reply, looking away sharply.

After a minutely silence of quiet sips and triumphant looks, Koharu put her tea cup down.

"So," she began, bringing her hands together and interlocking her fingers. "Have we any news from ROOT?"

"Nothing much, it seems." Homura took a delightful swallow, and regarded his fellow council member evenly. "Just the same reports on the Uchiha spending all too much time with the pink haired girl."

"Sakura Haruno," Koharu confirmed, nodding. "Tsunade's latest apprentice."

Homura hummed in affirmation. "Quite so."

Suddenly, a figure burst through the open window, surprising both elders.

"Hyo," the old man greeted. His mouth tightened. "Your report was given this morning. Why are you back?"

"There has been very important development this afternoon, which needs to be discussed immediately."

Homura shared a grave look with his female companion. "Very well."

"At approximately six o'clock today, I spotted, amongst many others, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno kissing in the market. Her surprise from the action makes it evident that the kiss was not planned. I am lead to believe that the Uchiha took this opportunity to bloom a relationship with her, thus completing his affiliation with the village."

"As suspected," Homura spoke, frowning. "The Uchiha has been gaining the woman's trust during all this time he has spent with her, to no doubt create an opportunity such as this one." He put his tea cup down and nodded at Koharu. "We were right not to trust the man. With his new relationship with Sakura, he no doubt thinks himself invulnerable."

Koharu nodded in return. "Yes. We must dispatch two of our best members to watch over the Uchiha boy and make sure to find out of his plans." She turned towards Hyo. "Your stealth is impeccable, and I think you are more than suited for this job. But," she said, turning to her still-warm tea and cupping it, "we need someone else. Someone who knows them, and who would not arise suspicion."

The old man huffed, catching up quickly. "Yes, of course." He turned to Hyo as well. "Get us Sai. His affiliation with Team 7 gives him the best position to find out about the Uchiha's undermining."

Koharu smiled, then, quite levelly. "And tell him to watch the girl as well. Who knows what the Uchiha's charms could lead her to do."


When everything is going wrong,

Just know it won't last long.


"You were nervous, today."

Sasuke swallowed, closing the front door behind him, before he nodded stiffly. His eyes refused to meet hers as he walked past her and towards their living room. She followed him close behind.

After taking a seat on their couch, and waiting for her to do the same, he said, "I'm not comfortable doing all this stuff in front of everyone."

Sakura softly touched his arm. "Because you're shy."

He didn't respond, but he buried his face in his hands. "I can't promise you I'll be like this every day, Sakura."

She softly ran a hand on his back, stroking gently. Comfortingly. "I don't expect you to be perfect, Sasuke-kun."

He wanted to laugh, then, but not a happy laugh. A kind of nostalgic laugh—bitter even. Her words were all too contradictory to her younger self, who adored him and his cool demeanor, and never expected her could fail. Well, before she grew up anyway.

A vicious sneer crossed his lips, and he raised his head to look at her snidely. "Don't you, though?"

She shook her head no and leaned on his shoulder. He smiled a little.

Silence.

"You deserve all of it."

"Eh?"

"The public kissing, hand-holding, and whispering sweet nothings in front of everyone. All of that. You deserve it." He paused. "But I can't give all that to you."

"I never asked for it."

"But you want it."

She smiled a little sadly at how perfectly he has always been at reading her. She had always been something of an open book to him, from the very moment they were placed on the same team.

"It's true that it's what I've always dreamed of since I was a child, Sasuke-kun," she whispered, moving to kneel down in front of him. She grasped his hands strongly. "But I'm not that innocent little girl anymore. I know I can't have that, not with you."

"You should have fallen for Naruto."

"Yeah, maybe I should have," she murmured, more to herself than him. "It would have saved me a lot more hurt than I deserved, and I'd probably have all that PDA and more."

His eyes narrowed, and something like a growl passed his lips. She smiled, softly, and calmed his jealousy by cupping his face in her hands.

"But Sasuke-kun, to me, there was only ever you." Her smile brightened, and she looked at him with so much love that it was hard not to believe her. "We're not perfect, and we'll never be perfect… but I would never want it any other way. Naruto is probably the kind of man I should have gone for, but he's not what I want." She kissed his brow lightly, affectionately. "What I want is you. What I need is you."

He kissed her then, hard and forcefully, and pulled her into his lap, running his hands all over her. She returned it with as much fierce passion, touching him back just as frenziedly, making him feel feverish. "Give me time," he whispered, breath hot on her lips. "I'll be better."

Panting lightly, she buried a hand in his hair, and hugged him tight. "I can wait a little more," she said, closing her eyes to the feeling of his mouth on her neck and shoulders. "I won't give up on you now, Sasuke-kun."


There ain't no way, ain't no way

I'm letting you go now


Things about to go cray-cray here. Say whaaaaaaat.

As usual, my deepest apologies for the delay. I'm sorry it's come to this, having to wait at one year intervals for an update, but I promise I'm not trying to make you guys wait. And I promise I still LOVE to write, especially for this story. But life gets crazy, and I know it's the most overused excuse ever but seriously, trust me when I say this, my life gets fucking CRAZY. And like, it pains me to say this but there are much more important things for me to deal with than worrying about updating fanfiction. Fanfiction is always going to be there. My other issues, however, are short on time. Kind of a need-to-fix-it-now thing.

But, never fear, I will not give up on any of my stories. ANY of them. I have the deepest rage for discontinued fics, and I will never be one of them. Like see, I haven't update The First in two years now, but I'm still planning on finishing it. I just need time. And inspiration.

Although… I hope you take comfort in the fact my updates are lengthy, and not a mere 2,000 words (or worse, 1,000 *gasp*).

P.s. Homura, Koharu and Hyo are not OC's. Homura and Koharu are the elders that form the Konoha Council. Hyo is a legitimate ROOT member whose most honed skilled is stealth. He was Danzo's most trusted, I believe, since he was the only one who delivered very important and secretive information for the man.

Love you all very much,

DeepPoeticGirl