I-I'm so happy that you all like this story so much! It really means a lot to me when you guys post comments like you all do; it keeps me working harder to make the next chapter a wonderful one. So thank you all so much for the kind words you all have to say, especially when you guys tell me what parts you like and your reactions to them. I will continue working hard for you all! Enjoy!

Sasuke was quietly sitting in his study room at his home; his reading glasses on and a book in his hand. He made sure that the door to his study was closed and locked. Unless there was someone dying, he did not want to be disturbed. He began reading from where he left off.

Alice's screams echoed as she tumbled head over heels down the enormous, dark hole. Her hands reached out, searching for something to stop her fall, and she realized that the walls around her were lined with odd things…things you would never expect to find in a rabbit hole. Hanging on the dirt walls were crooked paintings, ancient maps, cracked mirrors, demonic masks, and bookshelves crowded with bizarre paraphernalia.

She grabbed the first thing her hand touched and found herself holding an empty jam jar. Frustrated and terrified, she let that go and grabbed for something else-a crystal ball. Growing frantic, she scrabbled through object after peculiar object, finding herself holding books, more jam jars, a badger claw, a monkey's hand, and finally a human skull. With another shriek, she flung this last terrible thing away from her and kept falling, down and down, still falling.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, Alice landed on a hard wooden floor, smacking her head as she hit the ground.

"Sasuke! Sasuke!"

Sasuke's thoughts of Wonderland had suddenly disappeared when he heard banging on his study door; like someone was trying to reach him before they were about to be murdered. Sasuke groaned; who on earth would be bothering him while he was trying to read? Sasuke folded the corner of the page he was on before closing the book in his hands and placing it on the coffee table. He then got up off of his couch and made his way towards the door, the banging still commencing.

"Sasuke! Are you in there?!"

Sasuke's eyes widened once he knew who that voice belonged to. Sasuke quickly unlocked the door and opened it to find his older brother standing before him, his breath harsh and his clothes all wrinkled.

"I-Itachi?"

Sasuke was surprised that his brother was even here; especially since he hadn't spoken with him since the argument that they had.

"I'm glad your home Sasuke…I need to speak to you about something," Itachi said as he entered Sasuke's study room.

Sasuke gently closed the door before turning to his brother who was slowly pacing back and forth across the room. Sasuke was surprised by his brother's behavior; usually Itachi was the calm, collected brother who never seemed to be stressed out over anything.

"Itachi; is something wrong?"

Itachi then stopped his pacing when he heard his brother's voice and quickly looked up at him.

"Sasuke, I know that I shouldn't be bothering you while you're home, but you're the only one who I can talk to about the situation."

Sasuke was taken aback by his brother's request, and was even more surprised that Itachi was acting like the argument that they had didn't happen. But he could tell from his brother's behavior and appearance that this was serious and that Sasuke needed to respect his brother and help him in whatever he needed help with.

Sasuke motioned for Itachi to sit on the couch, which he complied. Itachi seemed to relax more when he sat down.

"What's going on? Are you having problems at work?" Sasuke asked, thinking that his grandfather probably had something to do with it.

Itachi shook his head, "No, it's nothing like that; it's…it's Yuuka."

Sasuke was kind of startled when he heard the name of his brother's ex-wife. It had been years since they separated and for Sasuke, that was the last time he heard about her.

"…Did something happen?"

Itachi sighed, "…She contacted me Sasuke…she called my work yesterday and asked if she could speak with me privately."

"Is that why you're freaking out?"

Itachi ran a hand through his hair, "I haven't spoken to Yuuka in months, but that was because she wanted me to sign the divorce papers, but other than that it's been years since we actually had a real talk…I haven't slept since she called."

Sasuke then grabbed his computer chair and wheeled it near the couch, and sat in it, "Well is it because you're nervous?"

Itachi slightly nodded his head, "A little…but I'm just wondering what it is going to be that she wants to speak to me about."

Sasuke sighed, "Well I don't know what I can tell you Itachi, I mean, I haven't been in this kind of situation before."

Itachi clamped his hands together, "I know, but I needed to tell someone, and you're the only one who I can talk to about this."

Sasuke watched as his brother was having a mental battle with himself. After all of the shit that he said to Itachi; Sasuke couldn't believe that his own brother would be coming to him in such a distressed state.

"Listen Itachi; I may not be in your situation, but I will tell you this. No matter what Yuuka says to you, you just need to remember that you're a good person, and that nothing she says to you should bring you down…okay?"

Itachi looked up at his brother and saw the serious look in his eyes. Itachi smirked, thankful that his brother was here to listen to him.

"Thank you Sasuke…"

Sasuke nodded his head as he watched his brother get up from the couch. Sasuke didn't know if he should apologies to Itachi about their previous argument or just keep his mouth shut and hope that Itachi had forgotten all about it.

"No problem…and if you need to talk again, don't hesitate to contact me."

Itachi nodded his head before he opened the door once more. Itachi was about to leave, but stopped; his back facing Sasuke.

"You know Sasuke; even though you aren't ready to start a family…I know that you will make a great father someday."

Sasuke let out a slight gasp; not expecting Itachi to say anything like that. But before Sasuke could get his brother's attention; Itachi had already left the room, closing the door behind him, leaving Sasuke back alone in his study.

Sasuke felt like he needed to say something to his brother; to apologize about what he said the last time Itachi had visited…but Sasuke just stood there in silence. His legs would not budge even though his mind was telling him to move. It didn't matter though because Sasuke had heard another door shut, meaning that his brother had already left his house. Sasuke sighed before running his hand through his hair and knew that before he and Sakura left; he would need to have lunch with his older brother.

~X~

"Have you noticed that Sakura has been acting really weird lately?" Ino said as she and Hinata were having tea together.

Hinata held her tea cup in her hands, "A little…but Sakura-chan probably has a lot on her mind."

Ino groaned as she rested her head onto the small table, "I know that finals are coming out, but Sakura always had time to hang with us, it just seems like recently her head has been somewhere else."

"Well you can't forget that the whole thing with Sai-san has recently distracted her," Hinata said before she took a sip from her tea.

Ino sighed, "Sakura should feel happy that a guy is interested in her, especially with Sai-kun as her potential boyfriend."

Hinata fidgeted. "I don't know Ino-chan, Sakura seemed pretty shaken up when Sai-san gave her those flowers."

Ino straightened herself out, "Yeah true, even when he stuck another bouquet of flowers in her locker she turned them down."

"D-Do you think Sakura-chan likes someone else?"

Ino almost laughed, "Yeah right! I'm sure if Sakura liked someone else she would have told us, or at least made it obvious."

Hinata gave Ino a worried look; obviously thinking that Ino wasn't as observant as she was.

"Anyways, I think it's about time we get to the bottom of Sakura's weird behavior," Ino said, with a smirk on her face.

Hinata looked down into her tea cup, "A-Are you sure that's wise Ino-chan? I mean, we shouldn't really pry into Sakura-chan's personal life."

Ino crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes, "Don't be so soft Hinata; if Sakura does have a man on her mind, I want to know who it is; who knows; we might be able to help her get a date with him."

Hinata still wasn't sure if Ino's plan was okay to do, but Hinata, deep down, was quite curious about Sakura's behavior.

"…F-Fine…but we shouldn't go too far on doing it to the point that she gets angry with us."

Ino smirked, "Of course; this will be a simple mission that even Sakura won't be suspicious about."

Ino then raised her cup, "Sakura is our friend, so we need to do everything in our power to make sure she's happy."

Hinata gave Ino a small, yet nervous, smile and raised her cup as well, "For Sakura-chan."

Ino clanked her cup with Hinata's before the two took a drink, vowing that they would get to the bottom of Sakura's strange behavior.

~X~

"Sakura-chan! Time for lunch!" Mebuki called out from the bottom of the stairs.

Sakura was in her room when her mother called. She was too busy playing with Kaoru that she almost didn't notice her mother's call. Sakura smiled at the small kitten that was playing with a ball of yarn.

Sakura giggled, "You play with that, while I get something to eat."

Kaoru was too busy playing with the yarn to even notice Sakura's leaving presence. It was a good thing that her mother loved cats or else Kaoru would have had to stay with Sasuke for the time being.

Sakura made her way down the stairs and into the kitchen where she saw her mother place two plates onto the table.

"I thought you'd never come down Sakura-chan," Mebuki said as she watched Sakura sit at the table.

"Sorry, I was too busy playing with Kaoru-chan."

Mebuki smiled, "It was so nice of Ino-chan to give you that sweet little kitten."

Sakura smiled up at her mother, knowing that she was telling her mother another lie, "Yeah, thank goodness."

Mebuki kept that smile on her face as she brought the bowls of food over onto the table.

"You know Sakura-chan; your birthday is in about a week so I was thinking that you and I can go do some shopping."

Sakura was about to take some food when she was stopped by her mother's statement. It was weird; she would soon be turning eighteen and that day will also be the day that she and Sasuke start their new life together.

"…It's going to be weird," Sakura said.

Mebuki giggled, "You'll finally be eighteen, and I'd say it's weird for me too."

Sakura gave her mother a small smile, knowing that the two of them were thinking differently by what Sakura said.

"…Do you think it would have been weird for dad?"

Mebuki looked at her daughter with a small, yet sad smile, "I'm sure he would be, but only because you're his little girl, and now that you're turning eighteen you're not so 'little' anymore."

Sakura chuckled, "I can imagine dad telling me to stop growing up and to stay a kid forever."

Mebuki smiled at that thought, "Your father always was protective of you."

Sakura smiled at the thought, remembering all of the times her father did protect her; even small little things that no one would seem to care about; he made sure Sakura was always safe.

"…Well I am his daughter after all."

Both Sakura and Mebuki spent the rest of their meal in silence; their minds both filled with emotions that they tried to keep away for many years. Sakura's mind kept telling her about last night; when her father visited her in her dreams. Sakura didn't know if she should ask her mother about it or not. When Sakura looked at her mother's face; she could tell that her mother's thoughts were completely on her father, so Sakura didn't know if telling her would make her happy or just more upset.

"…I've been meaning to tell you something Sakura," Mebuki said.

Sakura managed to escape her thoughts after her mother had spoken.

"What is it mom?"

Mebuki gave her daughter a small smile, "Did I ever tell you the story about how your father and I met?"

Sakura blinked and raised her eyebrow in curiosity, "N-No, never."

Mebuki chuckled at herself, "…I guess you could call us the Romeo and Juliet of our generation."

"Romeo and Juliet?"

Mebuki nodded, "Yep; his family wanted to have nothing to do with me, and my family also wanted to have nothing to do with me."

Sakura's breath hitched, "W-What do you mean?"

Mebuki smirked, "…When I was your age…I was a Yankee."

Sakura's eyes widened, "A Yankee!?"

Mebuki nodded, "Yep, I became one when I was thirteen and stopped when I was nineteen."

"S-So was dad in a gang too?"

"No, when he was in high school, he was the quiet, book nerd."

"But dad was such a jokester; I'm surprised he was the quiet type."

Mebuki shrugged, "That's why it took me so long to know who he was; while he was in a library with a book in his hand, I was the girl who would go out and cause trouble."

Sakura kept quiet as she imagined her parents the way her mother was describing them.

"So how was it that you finally noticed dad?"

Mebuki laughed, "More like he noticed me! I mean after I beat the crap out of him and took his money!"

Sakura gasped, "Y-You first met dad because you beat him up!?"

Mebuki waved her hands in defense, "It's not like I had a choice, your father bumped into me on the streets; he wasn't paying attention because he had a damn book in his hands so I decided to take his money."

Sakura's eye twitched, "Yeah right; you had the choice to just walk away."

Mebuki smirked, "Well without that encounter; you wouldn't have been born."

Sakura averted her eyes, "Whatever."

Mebuki continued to smirk as she went back to her story, "Anyways; after I stole your father's money we managed to keep bumping into each other in the most random places."

"Like how random?" Sakura asked.

"Like at a coffee shop or in a store; at first I thought it was a coincidence, but after I noticed that he kept appearing in all of the places that I was at; I knew I had to say something..."

~X~

"Okay you little piece of shit! Why the hell do you keep following me!?" An eighteen year old Mebuki said as she grabbed a young Kizashi by his shirt collar.

Kizashi had a small blush on his cheeks while he averted his eyes, "…"

Mebuki growled; if there was one thing she hated more than stalkers, it had to be being ignored, "Answer me!"

Mebuki began shaking Kizashi by his collar, knowing that this would get his attention.

"You better answer me or I'm going to shake you harder so that your neck breaks!"

And it seemed that every moment Kizashi kept quiet, the harder Mebuki would shake him.

"O-Okay! J-Just please stop shaking me!" Kizashi cried out, tired of being shaken.

Once Mebuki heard his request, she stopped shaking him, but kept her hands remaining on his collar.

"So are you going to explain why you keep following me like a creepy stalker?" Mebuki said.

Kizashi looked up at Mebuki, but kept his eyes still averted, "…I-I'm not trying to be a stalker…I'm just trying…to meet you."

Mebuki lowered her eyes and puckered out her lips, "What do you mean you're trying to meet me?"

Kizashi sighed, "You probably don't remember me, but a few weeks ago you beat me up and stole my money."

Mebuki's eye twitched, "I remember you stupid; who could ever forget that hair of yours."

Mebuki stared at Kizashi's hair. It was odd for a male to have it, but it made him unique. With his hair being a dull-pink color, and it being shaped like that of the petals of a Sakura blossom, who in their right mind could ever forget hair like that?

"Th-Then you know about our encounter," Kizashi said, beaming Mebuki a smile.

Mebuki glared at Kizashi due to his annoying smile and released him from her grip; why would anyone be happy about running into a Yankee? Especially one that beat you up and took your money.

"Look, if you want your money back then you're too late; I already spent it."

Kizashi shook his head, "No, that's not why I wanted to come find you."

Mebuki raised an eyebrow in confusion, "So what? You want to beat me up for revenge or something?"

"Of course not…the reason I want to meet you is…because you're trapped"

Mebuki's eyes widened a bit, "…"

"At first, I did hate you because you beat me up and stole my money, but after I saw you, after I first looked into those eyes of yours, I could tell that you were…hurting."

Mebuki flinched; she couldn't believe that this guy was talking down on her. Mebuki clenched her teeth before grabbing Kizashi by the collar again and brining him up to her face.

"Listen asshole, I don't know who you are, but don't talk down on me like I'm a child! Just because I'm not like you doesn't mean I'm 'hurting'! Do you understand!?"

Kizashi kept silent before Mebuki shoved him away from her, with a glare evident on her face. She watched him fall to the ground before leaving him there in a confused state. Mebuki didn't look back as she left; her hands clenched into tight fists. As Mebuki continued down a street she had this weird feeling in the pit of her stomach…why couldn't she hit him? If it were any other person she would have had no problems punching them in the nose so why…why was it that she couldn't hit him?

~X~

"So what happened after that?" Sakura asked.

Mebuki chuckled, "After that day my mind kept telling me what he meant when he said that I was hurting. It annoyed me till no end and for some reason, his smile and his words made me angrier. It was a week without him showing up everywhere that I realized that I needed to know what he was talking about. It was a weird thing for me to do, especially since I never cared what other people thought about me, but my encounter with your father made a drastic turn."

~X~

Mebuki was outside of the gates of the high school that both she and Kizashi attended (Mebuki was supposed to be attending class, but since she was a Yankee she never went to her classes and instead would skip them) waiting for Kizashi to come out.

'I can't believe that this guy actually goes to my school; I mean we're both in the same grade so I'm surprised that I didn't even know who he was until I ran into an old yearbook,' Mebuki thought, ignoring the weird looks she was getting from passerby's.

'Haruno Kizashi…his hair is like that of a cherry blossom and Haruno means spring field...it's kind of weird.'

School was just letting out so there were many students walking out of the gate and most of those students were seeing Mebuki and were surprised that she was actually on school grounds. Mebuki was too busy focusing on Kizashi than to glare at the students who would whisper and stare at her; she didn't care, they weren't even a waste of her time.

"Oh my God, isn't that Tatsumiya Mebuki?"

"Yeah, I heard she is part of some gang now."

"I heard that she punched a teacher in the face so hard, that they had to reconstruct the man's face."

"So that's why she isn't in school?"

"What the hell is she doing here anyways? Shouldn't she be in prison?"

Mebuki couldn't help but roll her eyes; pointless rumors were being spread about her, and if she could, she would tell them off, but she had more important matters to attend to.

The minutes felt like hours and with each passing minutes, Mebuki was getting more irritated. It had been almost twenty minutes and there was still no sign of Kizashi.

"Where the hell could that little ass be?" Mebuki said to herself as she crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her foot.

The minutes kept passing and Mebuki was getting more agitated. Her patience was running thin, not only because of the no-show Kizashi, but also because of the constant stares she was getting.

"What's the point of her being here?"

"Maybe she's waiting for someone."

"Who in their right mind would want to be seen with her?"

"Do her own parents even like her?"

That last comment made Mebuki flinch. It was true that her parents were sick of her attitude and choices, but it was because of whom they were that made Mebuki despise her parents and rebel against them.

Her father was nothing but a constant worker; his only true love in life was his job. He would never be home and all he really cared about was money. Her mother on the other hand cared about image. She never wanted shame to be brought upon the family and it was because of that that Mebuki's mother constantly showed distaste towards Mebuki. Whenever people asked if she had any children, her only reply would be that she had none. Mebuki never had the love and support that a reall family would give her, and that's when she decided to become a Yankee, where in that lifestyle, you could be free and have no one hold you back.

"Mebuki-san?"

Mebuki's thoughts were interrupted when she found that wild hair standing a few feet away from her. Kizashi had just gotten past the gate when he noticed Mebuki standing there. One hand was holding a book while the other was holding his school bag.

"H-How did you know my name!?"

Kizashi blinked, "We're in the same class, remember?"

Mebuki sighed, "…O-Oh yeah…right."

Kizashi smirked at Mebuki's reaction, "So what are you doing here? Last time I heard, you stopped attending classes."

Mebuki's eye twitched, "I'm a Yankee; I don't need to-Wait a minute! I'm not here to explain myself; I'm here to talk to you about something!"

Kizashi tilted his head, "What about?"

Mebuki froze in place; the way this guy was reacting towards her was unusual. Usually when she would talk to people they would either run away or be scared, but this guy was talking to her like it was no big deal.

Kizashi then chuckled, "You know it's pretty cold out…why don't we take a walk?"

Mebuki was taken aback by his request, but truth be told, she did hate having to stand around in the chilly air.

"F-Fine," Mebuki answered as she followed Kizashi down the street.

"So Mebuki-san, why is it that you came all this way to see me?"

Mebuki blushed, "I-It's not like I came here because I needed to see you or anything! I just want answers!"

Kizashi smiled, "Well go ahead and ask me anything."

Mebuki averted her eyes, 'Why is he making me feel weird?'

"Mebuki-san?"

Mebuki shook her head, "I came to ask you about what you said to me a week ago, about me hurting…what did you mean?"

Kizashi looked forward and gave a small smile, "Well…I can tell that whenever I see you, I know that you're a very sad person."

Mebuki flinched.

"You act so tough and violent that I feel like that's a way for you to escape just how sad and miserable you are."

Mebuki stared at Kizashi in disbelief, they barely knew each other and already he was stating the truth and that Mebuki kept hidden away.

"But I also know that deep down, you're a caring person and that you want to be happy; you just don't know where to start."

Mebuki couldn't believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. She has never told anyone about anything that goes on inside her head, and yet this boy has already found out so much by just bumping into her.

"Mebuki-san…let me be that person."

Mebuki stopped in her tracks, "W-What?"

Kizashi stood before her, "Let me be the person that makes you happy…let me be your starting line."

Mebuki's eyes widened.

Kizashi then lowered his face closer to Mebuki's; his face in a serious tone, while Mebuki stood frozen, trying to comprehend what he was doing.

Kizashi's lips were inches away from Mebuki's before she realized what was happening and shoved him away from her. Kizashi was pushed away softly, yet hard enough to get him back a few feet. Kizashi looked at Mebuki and saw that her cheeks were covered in a blush.

"…I…I have to go," Mebuki said as she turned around.

Mebuki was about to leave before Kizashi gently grabbed her wrist, forcing her to stop.

"Mebuki-san…tomorrow, I want you to meet me at the park near the school…I want to show you something," Kizashi said as he released Mebuki's wrist, "…Promise me you'll show up."

Mebuki had her back still facing him, "…"

Mebuki then ran away from Kizashi, not looking back.

"Tomorrow at noon! I'll be waiting near the big cherry blossom tree!"

Mebuki heard his words as she ran faster and further away from him.

~X~

"So what did you do?" Sakura asked as she took another bite of her food.

"I did what I had to; I showed up at noon and met him there."

~X~

Mebuki leaned against the withering cherry blossom tree. Due to the weather being so cold, all of the plant life was slowly withering away until spring would come to revive them. Mebuki was waiting nervously for Kizashi to show; she had no idea why it was so easy for this guy to get inside her head and tug at her heart, and she was also curious as to why someone like him is trying so hard to get her attention…the real attention that she had always wanted.

"Mebuki-san!"

Mebuki looked over and found Kizashi running towards her like the happy-go-lucky idiot that he was. But every step that Kizashi took, the more nervous Mebuki kept feeling. She could tell by the look on his face that he was happy that she showed up and that he was also quite excited as well.

"I'm glad you showed up Mebuki-san," Kizashi said as he reached the tree.

Mebuki blushed and averted her eyes, "Whatever, it's not like I have anything better to do anyways."

Kizashi smiled while Mebuki noticed that Kizashi had his hands clamped together the entire time.

"What's with your hands? Are you holding something?" Mebuki asked as she brought her face closer to Kizashi's hands.

Kizashi nodded as he pulled his hands away from the prying Mebuki's face, "Indeed I do, but I want this to be a surprise."

Mebuki raised an eyebrow in curiosity, "A surprise?"

Kizashi nodded his head, "So close your eyes."

Mebuki wanted to smack him upside the head for having him request something stupid like that, but when she saw how excited he was, she just decided to humor him.

"Fine, I'm closing my eyes," Mebuki said as she slowly closed them.

It was probably five seconds later before she heard Kizashi tell her that it was okay for her to open her eyes, which she complied. Mebuki immediately went to Kizashi's now opened hands and saw that he was holding a cherry blossom.

"Hm? A Sakura?" Mebuki asked, confused.

Kizashi nodded, "Yeah, I found it earlier this week; I'm surprised that it's even around since it's so cold out…this must be the only surviving one."

"It's not like it's the last of its species, there are going to be thousands more when spring comes," Mebuki said.

"But don't you think it's rare for a single cherry blossom to be out in this weather; and look at it, the color of it is so bright, like it's already ready for spring."

Mebuki stared at the lone blossom and did find it interesting that the color of it was the same as if it were spring. Mebuki looked up at Kizashi and caught him staring at it like it was the most amazing thing he ever came across of.

"So why did you want to show me this?" Mebuki asked.

Kizashi looked up at Mebuki and smiled, "Because it reminded me of you."

Mebuki's eyes widened a bit in surprise.

"I was walking home from school when I noticed something pink in my line of vision. I stopped and saw this little specimen drifting through the wind and I knew immediately that I had to catch it because it is such a rare find."

Mebuki stared at Kizashi as he looked at the blossom in his hand.

"I knew that it reminded me of you because when I met you I knew that I wanted to catch you…you are my rare find Mebuki."

Mebuki blushed and her eyes widened even wider, "W-What?"

Kizashi gave Mebuki a smirk, and not an annoying, sarcastic smirk, but a sweet and caring smirk, the one that a boyfriend would give to their sweetheart when they wanted to tell them that they looked cute today or that they wanted to say I love you. It made Mebuki's heart skip.

"I find you so interesting…like this cherry blossom you strive to survive in a world that doesn't want to understand you…you want to show the world who you are and that you're not scared to show your true colors…I knew that right after I met you, I wanted to be by your side…I'm in love with you Mebuki."

Mebuki gasped, how in the world could he fall in love with someone like her? They barely knew each other and yet this boy knew more about her than anyone else; even her own parents. Yet he claims to be in love with her when she didn't know anything about him, aside from his name. Mebuki didn't know what to say to him; did she feel the same way? Did she want to put her barrier down for some guy she just met? Could he save her from being...lonely?

"Mebuki-san, I want to know if you'd give me the chance to show you how much I care for you…I want to know everything about you, even if you don't feel the way that I feel about you…will you give me that chance?"

Mebuki stared at Kizashi with the same surprised look. Her chances of finding someone that could make her happy was standing right before her…but there was always that chance that it could end up crumbling before her.

Kizashi could sense the hesitation in Mebuki and he narrowed his eyes at her. He could sense that she was scared; scared that she would put her whole trust in him and then he would somehow break that…but he didn't want her to feel that, not one bit.

"Mebuki…I love you."

Mebuki flinched; those words so foreign to her.

"I love you…I love you; I will say those three words to you every day, as many times as you want me to, because I know you want to hear them, I know you need to hear them."

It was odd for Mebuki; not just because of Kizashi;s words, but because tears were starting to fill up her eyes. Mebuki didn't remember the last time she cried like this…it felt…good.

"…S-Stupid…don't say such embarrassing things," Mebuki said as she used her sleeve to wipe the tears away.

Kizashi let out a small chuckle, "Don't try to wipe them away. I want you to cry because you need to cry. I don't want you bottling up your emotions whenever you're with me; I want to see you happy, upset, sad, angry, and excited; any emotion you have, I want to see them all."

Mebuki blushed and turned her head to the side.

Kizashi chuckled, "Oh, and I definitely want to see you bashful…it's very cute."

Mebuki's eye twitched, "I'm not supposed to be cute; I'm a Yankee for crying out loud."

Kizashi saw that Mebuki's tears had stopped, so he got closer to her and rested his forehead against hers.

"Just as long as you come back to me, I don't care what you do…my little rebel."

Mebuki would have smacked Kizashi over the head because of that stupid comment, but because she saw the sincerity in his face and how she loved the feeling of his skin on hers; it made her love the thought of her being with him even more.

"…Then I want to learn more about you Kizashi."

Kizashi smirked, "I'll tell you anything you want to know."

Mebuki blushed as her eyes down casted towards the ground, while her forehead was still on Kizashi's.

"Then every day I'll come to you…whether it's after school or at your home or even on the streets…I'll always come back to you."

Kizashi had lifted the cherry blossom that was still in his hands and brought it up so that it was in front of both of their faces.

"And I'll always be waiting for you Mebuki-chan."

Mebuki gave Kizashi a small smile, "Kizashi…thank you."

Kizashi then removed his forehead from Mebuki's and walked behind her to where the trunk of the cherry blossom tree was at. Kizashi then placed the bright cherry blossom right next to the trunk.

"What are you doing? Aren't you going to keep it?" Mebuki asked confused as to what Kizashi was doing.

Kizashi shook his head, "No, I think it would be best if I left it here; that way it can survive all of winter and then when spring comes it will know exactly where it belongs; just like how you belong with me."

Mebuki watched as Kizashi looked over the blossom one last time before going back to Mebuki, with this hand held out.

"Come one, I'll walk you home."

Mebuki stared at Kizashi's gloved hand and smiled before reaching out and grabbing it with her own. Both Kizashi and Mebuki walked hand in hand the entire time, and it was the same every day whenever they would see each other. For once Mebuki felt like she could live life without feeling the need to hate it and it was all because of the man with the cherry blossomed hair.

~X~

"Wow…so after that you and dad were together?" Sakura asked.

Mebuki nodded, "Yeah; I even started going back to school just because I wanted to see him so badly…"

"Did you quit being a Yankee after that?"

Mebuki chuckled, "It was about another year before I quit; for some reason the rush of being a Yankee kept me going…but your father supported me even though I knew he was worried over me."

"So what made you decide that you were finally done with it?"

Mebuki gave her a small smile, "…When I found out I was pregnant with you."

Sakura's eyes widened a bit.

"I knew that I never wanted to bring a child into this world knowing that they had a criminal for a mother…I didn't want you to have the same kind of childhood that I had, knowing that even one parent was going to ignore and neglect you…I didn't want to be my parents, and I didn't want to put Kizashi through that either, so I knew that I wanted to be there for you."

"Mom…," Sakura could only stare at her mother in awe and disbelief.

"It was also on that day that your father and I decided to move into our own home where we could raise you without the constant judgments of our families following you."

Sakura lowered her head, "…Was dad scared when he found out about me?"

Mebuki laughed, "If anything he was excited; not something you would expect from a nineteen year old boy, but he was very happy."

"And what about you?"

Mebuki placed her hand on top of Sakura's head, "…I was very scared…but I knew that I was going to care and love you no matter what."

Sakura looked up at her mother and smiled, "…Thanks mom…for telling me this."

Mebuki smiled and placed a kiss on her daughter's forehead, "I love you Sakura and your father does too."

Sakura smiled up at her mom, "I know he does."

Sakura's dream with her father replayed in her head. She was very happy she had that chance with her father, and she would never forget it.

~X~

Two Days Later

"So tomorrow is your last day?" Kiba said as he watched Sasuke pack his things up for the day.

Sasuke only nodded, "Yeah…thankfully when I gave my two weeks' notice, Tsunade was able to get in contact with an old colleague of hers…he's taking my job now."

Kiba groaned, "Man, it's going to be weird without you Sasuke…so what's the reason behind your leaving?"

"The wife and I are going to be moving soon…we're wanting to start a family soon and my wife got this new job a couple cities over…it could really help get us started."

Kiba nodded his head, "Well it's good that you're finally going to have little Uchiha's; tell your wife I said congratulations."

Sasuke nodded his head and gave Kiba a slight wave before leaving his office. Sasuke walked down the now empty hallways, his mind wandering someplace else. He really didn't want to give a two weeks' notice; he wanted to just sign his divorce papers, get Sakura, and then leave…but he felt obligated to let his boss know that he was quitting; it was the professional thing to do, and besides no one suspected a thing…well aside from Sai.

"Well if it isn't Uchiha-sensei."

Speak of the devil.

Sasuke lifted his head and saw Sai; the smug little bastard held his fake smile out at Sasuke, which just pissed him off more. Sasuke didn't want to cause any trouble, especially since Sai was the one person who found out about his affair with his student. Sasuke instead ignored Sai's comment and decided to walk past him without even giving him a single glance.

"…So I hear that you're last day of teaching is tomorrow."

Sasuke kept walking, only to be followed by that same annoying voice.

"The least you could do is humor me Sasuke; after all this will probably be the last time we ever see each other again."

Sasuke kept his head down and kept his pace going; wishing that this little punk would just leave.

"…I'm guessing Sakura-san is going with you as well?"

Sasuke stopped in his tracks. Sai just smirked.

"…Just because I'm quitting my job doesn't mean I'm going anywhere."

Sai chuckled, "I'd say it does Sasuke…now why on earth are you trying to take away my little cherry blossom?"

Sasuke's hands clenched into tight fists.

"Don't think for a second that you'll be able to leave with her Sasuke; the second I find out that Sakura-san isn't where she needs to be, I'll be calling the police on you…face it Sasuke; you're stuck here."

Sasuke;s teeth clenched and his fists started to shake while Sai's smirk grew wider and darker.

"Just admit it Sasuke; I've won this match…Checkmate."

Sasuke turned around; not caring what the consequences were going to be, he just really wanted to destroy Sai from the inside out.

"U-Uchiha-sensei?"

Both Sasuke and Sai recognized that voice instantly. They both turned their heads to find Sakura standing before them with a worried look on her face.

Before Sasuke could say anything; Sai obligated himself to step in.

"Sakura-san; I didn't realize you were still here at school; are you looking for something?"

Both Sai and Sasuke knew that Sakura still had no clue that Sai knew about hers and Sasuke's relationship; Sai just wanted to spark things up more.

Sakura shook her head nervously, "N-No, I was actually on my way out…I didn't mean to interrupt."

Sai smiled, "Nonsense Sakura-san, you didn't interrupt anything, but since we're both here, why don't I walk you home?"

Sakura flinched a bit; her eyes were looking into Sasuke's, pleading for him to help her out, but he just lowered his eyes and looked away; making Sakura's heart break a bit.

"Th-That's not necessary Sai-san…"

"Don't be silly; I could never just leave you walking out alone, there is no telling what kind of perverts are out there," Sai said, letting Sasuke know full-well that he was talking about him.

Sakura looked at Sasuke one last time; his head still turned away from her. She had no idea why he was acting like this; did she do something wrong? Sakura couldn't say anything because Sai was standing right next to her…so what choice did she have?

"…I guess I can't decline your offer Sai-san."

Sai smiled at her, "Excellent; shall we get going?"

Sakura watched as Sai linked his arm around hers and began walking down the hallway; passing Sasuke.

"Say goodbye to Sakura-san, Uchiha-sensei," Sai said.

Sasuke stood there as he kept his face from looking at Sakura's; his teeth clenched.

"…Have a good afternoon Haruno-san."

Sakura's heart felt like it had been stomped on; why is he allowing Sai to take her? Why is he letting Sai wrap his arm around hers? Why is he not looking at her?

"…Same to you Uchiha-sensei."

Then both Sakura and Sai left the school grounds; leaving Sasuke in a defeated stance. He could never have his way could he? When something amazing in his life happens; it always gets taken away…but he knew that if he had done something then Sai would have made it to where Sakura could never see him again and vice versa.

"I'm sorry Sakura…"

Sasuke then left the school with his head down in shame; but he knew this: if that bastard even tries anything on Sakura, he would risk everything by beating the shit out of him. No man will ever touch Sakura the way he touches her; he would rather go to jail than have another man have his way with her; that was a promise.

~X~

"Hey Uchiha; are you done with those manuscripts yet?" Mao asked as she poked her head inside Itachi's office.

She heard nothing but silence; which surprised her because usually she would hear the light tapping of a computer being typed on or the sound of a pen writing on paper. But today she heard nothing; which worried her.

Mao then entered Itachi's office in a way to see if she could find any traces of him; but she didn't need to look far because right on the right side of his office she found him sleeping on his office couch.

Mao's eyes widened a bit; surprised that the very own Uchiha Itachi was actually sleeping while at work. Mao was quite curious; she didn't think Itachi ever slept, so she wanted to make sure that this was real. Mao quietly walked over towards the couch and saw that it was indeed her boss and not some weirdo trying to sneak in a few hours of sleep. Mao let out a small smile; happy knowing that Itachi was getting the rest he so rightfully deserves.

Mao stood next to the couch and watched as Itachi's chest slowly moved up and then down; and his breathing was so quiet that Mao had thought he was slowly being taken away to the afterlife. Mao saw that Itachi had his left arm at his side while his right arm was resting on his stomach. Mao let out a light laugh; for one second she thought Itachi looked like a small child that had just gotten back from playing and was now taking a nap.

Mao's eyes then went straight towards Itachi's face; how tranquil and peaceful it looked. She then looked at his lips; the way they were parted as he was breathing softly. Mao's face turned stoic, but a small blush covered her cheeks. When she was watching Itachi sleep; it made her realize just how vulnerable he was.

Mao didn't know why, but she felt her body move lower and lower towards Itachi's.

'I was always in love with you,' Mao thought, 'I still am…I would do anything for you.'

Mao's eyes slowly closed as her lips began to part and her face drawing closer to Itachi's while one of her hands was placed on top of Itachi's hand that was resting on his stomach. She felt like she had no control over what she was doing, and even though her mind was telling her she shouldn't; the back of her mind knew that this is what she wanted.

Her lips were only centimeters away from Itachi's; when she stopped. Instead of lips being placed on Itachi; there were tears instead. Mao's eyes were filled with tears; but for some reason she had a smile on her face as she pulled away from Itachi's form; her hand the only thing remaining.

"I love you…but why can't I do it?" Mao said quietly to herself.

Mao's hand then gently wrapped itself around Itachi's; hoping that somehow, Itachi's hand would intertwine with hers.

"Ever since I met you, I knew that I wanted to be by your side…that's why I worked so hard to get where I am today; I started off as the coffee girl and I hated every minute of it, but being able to just catch a glimpse of you was enough to get me through the day…and then as the years went by I worked my ass off to get to a higher position; hoping that every step closer was getting me closer to you."

Mao's tears were slowly running down her cheeks.

"It was then that I became your assistant; it was the happiest day of my life, but what made it even better was that you remembered me instantly…I was so happy."

Mao gently squeezed Itachi's hand.

"I am so glad that I met you Itachi…"

It was then that a knock was heard coming from Itachi's office door. Mao's eyes widened in surprise and immediately removed her hand from Itachi's and started wiping the tears away from her eyes until they were gone. The knocking kept going before Mao slightly ran towards the door and then opened it slightly.

Mao's eyes widened when she saw who was standing there outside the door.

"…Y-Yuuka?"

Yuuka was standing before Mao with a slight smirk on her lips; her eyes as sparkling as ever and her beauty more radiant.

"It's been awhile hasn't it Mao-chan?"

Mao was still shocked to find her old friend standing before her. She was clueless as to why she was even here; especially in front of Itachi's office.

"…Y-Yes it has…"

Yuuka ran a hand through her long blackish-blue hair, "I came here to see Itachi; is he in?"

Mao looked over her shoulder to find him still asleep.

"I'm afraid he's…out at the moment."

Mao knew that if word of Itachi sleeping got to his grandfather; there would be hell to pay.

Yuuka raised an eyebrow in curiosity, "Well then you won't mind if I wait in his office until he gets back?"

Yuuka was about to barge her way into Itachi's office before Mao stopped her, "Sorry Yuuka, but Itachi doesn't want people in his office while he is away; I'm afraid you'll have to come back later."

Yuuka narrowed her eyes a bit, "Then why are you in here?"

"I'm his assistant; so I'm one of the few people who can be in here," Mao said, getting impatient.

Yuuka kept her slight glare on Mao before shrugging her shoulders, "…That's fine, if he's out than he's out; I guess I'll stop by later then."

Mao nodded her head as she watched Yuuka turn to leave.

"Do tell Itachi that I stopped by and to call me later; we have a lot of things we need to discuss before the big day arrives."

"Big day?" Mao asked in curiosity.

Yuuka turned her head back over her shoulder and smirked, "Didn't you know? Itachi and I are getting re-married."

Mao's eyes widened a bit and a gasp escaped her lips; her heart stopped beating.

Yuuka noticed Mao's reaction and continued to smirk, "I guess you didn't know…funny how you're his assistant and he didn't even tell you…well anyways; I do hope you'll come to the wedding Mao-chan; you'll receive an invite of course…take care."

And with that said, Yuuka turned her head forward and made her way towards the elevators. Mao was still shocked to hear what she had just heard…how could this be happening?

Mao went back into Itachi's office and closed the door before looking back at him as he kept sleeping. Her heart was slowly breaking; she could feel the pieces being broken and she knew that this time they couldn't be repaired.

"…I can't believe that I'm going to lose you again…"

Mao's eyes were starting to fill up with tears once more; she realized that her most precious person was being taken away once again, and this time she had a gut feeling that this time she was going to lose him for good.

I am so sorry that that took so long! I've just been so busy lately, so please don't hate me. I know that there wasn't a lot of SasuSaku fluff in this chapter, but there were other fluffs instead…Anyways please comment; I really do love hearing from you all. Hugs and kisses!