This is an idea that popped in my head so I had to sit down and write it. Standard disclaimer applied, everyone tell me what you think.

Sasuke had been back for a while now but Sakura had yet to visit. Sasuke found himself wondering why the annoying girl hadn't sought him out, he was expecting some sort of tear filled reunion and declarations of love wherein he could calmly explain that in her absence he found he was a little fond of her. (The word "love", of course, would not leave his mouth because Sasuke Uchiha was not the romantic type.)

He often questioned Naruto for information on her whereabouts but Naruto would always yell something stupid to change the subject or make excuses about meeting up with Hinata. Sasuke had no clue how a quiet, kind girl such as the Hyuuga could put up with Naruto's noise and obnoxious attitude but he was, nevertheless, happy for his friend.

Sasuke hadn't changed all that much, he was still quiet, preferring muttered "Hn"'s to real conversation and to say he suddenly expressed his feelings to others would be like saying Kakashi has given up his hentai ways and reading choices. However, since the death of his brother, Sasuke experienced a freedom he hadn't felt since he was little. No longer would he worry that Itachi would come and take away what little semblance of family he had. He was now free to be with Sakura and to spend time with Naruto.

Therefore Sasuke decided to seek out Sakura on his own. He was pretty sure that today was her day off from the hospital and he knew she would be outdoors, seeing as it was a rather nice day and the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom.

Walking through the streets he prepared for the many looks he would receive from the villagers. Some felt he had done the village a favor while some thought he should leave.

Naruto, he saw, was with Hinata at the Ramen stand and he received a wave from Ino who was outside of her flower shop. He nodded his head in greeting and continued his walk to the outskirts of the village, to a place he knew housed the most beautiful Sakura tree, the Uchiha compound.

Walking between the desolate houses old memories threatened to resurface. He tried not to think of them, focusing instead on what he would say to Sakura if she was here. He wanted to let her know that he loved her, but he wanted to avoid a scene. He was never an emotional person and as much as he loved her he didn't plan on becoming the touchy-feely type now.

Good, there she is, he thought. She was standing next to the tree, admiring the rest of the garden his mother had placed here. I wonder if she knows this is my house, he mused.

"Sakura," he called.

She turned slowly to face him and what he saw was shocking.

She was beautiful, her emerald eyes were cold as ice and he received no smile. She gave him a curt nod and turned back to the flowers.

"Sakura, look at me."

"Why?" came her reply and it was not the soft, welcoming voice he had expected, but the voice of a woman who wanted nothing more than for him to leave.

"Because I wish to speak with you," he nearly growled.

"And should I listen merely because you wish me too? Am I to jump to your every whim?"

"Why such questions when I merely want to speak to you?" he retorted.

She said nothing so he continued, "You never came to see me."

She scoffed, "Were you expecting me to run to your arms with tears of joy? I will shed no more tears for the likes of you."

He was stunned. What happened to the girl he left on the bench? This was not the same Sakura. He told her as much.

"People change, Sasuke. Before you ask, I don't want you anymore," she said and turned towards him again, "It's what you've always wanted, isn't it? For the annoying little girl to grow up and get over you? To stop being a burden?"

"Sakura, that's no longer what I want. I want you to be with me," he said. She didn't look surprised or angry. She showed him nothing, continuing to stand there, under the tree.

"I don't love you anymore, Sasuke Uchiha. No one can ever love you and I am tired of your lies."

She began to walk away from him.

Sasuke ran to catch up with her and grabbed her wrist. "Don't touch me," she warned and jerked away.

"Why are you doing this to me?" he asked softly.

"Because I am an avenger, it's what I live for, and you did this to me."

She was mocking him, throwing a twisted version of his own words back at him. And suddenly, he was crying. A rain of tears fell freely from his face and she gasped, the only real emotion she let loose the entire time.

"Then I will not stop you," he muttered and he let go. Falling to the ground, the sobbing came next and he let loose all the pain he had felt over the years, all the anger, the frustration of the loss of his family and the horror at what he had done to her, how he had pushed her away when she only wanted to be with him. Never before had he realized what power there was behind a few little words.

He didn't know for how long he sat there before cool hands touched his face and arms wrapped around his shoulders.

"Sakura?" he choked out.

There was no answer, only the tightening of the arms and he knew she had lied. Lied to save herself, and lied to make him realize.

"Sakura, I'm so sorry," he heard himself whisper, "I love you."

"I know," she replied, "and I forgive you."

And he fell asleep in her arms, under the safety of her watchful eyes and the tree she was named for, and he would wake in the morning to his mother's garden and the scent of strawberries, ready for a new start.