Last chapter! It will be quite long…

Oh, and a lot of plot holes will be filled, just as a lot of questions will be answered in this chapter. Just read. You will understand everything.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Our New Life Begins

by DeepPoeticGirl

"Are you sure?"

Honey colored eyes narrowed, and a sigh escaped the lips of the aggravated woman. She gestured to the documents piled up in front of her before giving her pink haired apprentice a pointed look.

"Does it look like I'm not?" she said flatly. "Besides, Sakura..." She paused lightly, her hand almost naturally reaching for the cup of sake at the edge of her desk. "...would I have called you in if I wasn't certain of my calculations?" she finally finished, sipping her drink.

Sakura bowed her head a little in ignominy. "No, you would not have," she murmured.

Tsunade regarded her with cautious eyes for a moment, analyzing the girl's posture and tone of voice. She was not herself, she concluded, as she noticed the hunched shoulders and sad emerald orbs.

"You seem to forget a lot of things these days, Sakura," the Hokage remarked. "Not to mention the decrease in the quality of your medical work..." Upon noticing the way she stiffened, Tsunade smiled lightly in triumph. "Clearly, something has been bothering you. Care to share?"

"It's nothing," the girl immediately responded, avoiding her gaze.

"Don't take me for an idiot, Sakura," her mentor growled. "I think I would know when my own apprentice is not herself."

"My apologies, Tsunade-sama," she said quietly, her words accompanied by a bow of submission. "I don't wish to worry you with my concerns."

"Your work capacity is decreasing. This has become my concern, whether you like it or not." She sighed, placing her sake down on her desk again before folding her hands under her chin. "Now, what is it? A lack of sleep? Overexertion? A quarrel with a friend? Or could it perhaps have something to do with the Uchiha?"

From the way Sakura's fists clenched at the mention of his name, Tsunade knew she had hit home. She leaned back into her chair and took her sake again. "So it's the Uchiha, huh?"

"...Yes." At this, the young medic deflated like a perforated balloon. The grim look on her face and her completely defeated posture told her that this wasn't one of her usual issues with the Uchiha. Whatever it was this time, it wore her out to her very core.

"Do I need to have him punished?" she calmly asked. Scenarios of painful torture and screaming deaths ran through her mind. She secretly relished the thought of giving Sasuke a taste of his own medicine.

"No," the girl murmured. "I'll take care of it."

"You best do it," Tsunade said. "Because I'm not tolerating any more lessening into your skills. You're my most valuable medic, next to Shizune."

"Yes, Tsunade-sama," Sakura acknowledged. "I'll try to have this fixed for tomorrow."

When she turned her back to leave, the Hokage spoke again. "And Sakura?"

She turned, saying, "yes?"

"Take care of yourself, will you? I don't like seeing you so vulnerable." Her lips lifted in an almost motherly smile. "It breaks the heart so many claim I don't have."

Sakura smiled—one that was genuine, her mentor noticed—tenderly. "I will. Thank you, Tsunade-sama."

So I set fire to the rain.

With eyes wide shut so tightly he was clenching his teeth, Sasuke couldn't help the voices from flooding into his thoughts. Voices that took him back to a distant past, or a recent event. Ones that he had never been proud of and often made him wish he could take them back.

("You know Sasuke-kun, you and that kunai have a lot more in common than you think.")

No, he thought to himself. No, we do not. His fists clenched until they turned white, and he flung one of it forward, missing the tree he had been aiming at. I'm not a killer, not anymore. His left foot moved on its on, twisting to hit the missed target. A growl of rage left his lips. I've changed.

("You took lives, you look dangerous, you betrayed the trust of many, and you're violent.")

"No," he muttered, delivering several kicks to the tree's trunk. "That wasn't me," he went on, voice rising with edge. "That wasn't me!"

Sasuke coiled away from the woody plant, hands moving lightning fast to form familiar signs. He brought one to his lips, inhaling at the same time, before he blew fire. A giant fireball formed itself, but quickly dissipated.

He sensed a chakra approaching, but ignored it. Anger boiled in his veins, and he ran forward, landing a kick to the ground—one that was meant for his wooden training doll.

"Hey teme—"

"Fuck off," Sasuke seethed, rudely cutting off the blond boy.

"Jeez!" Naruto exclaimed grudgingly. "What's got your panties in a twist today?" he grumbled while shoving his hands in his pockets. He watched his best friend kick the area beside the dummy and frowned, a bit sadly.

"Just leave me alone, dobe," he snapped. He reached for a kunai in his pouch, features hardening in concentration. The kunai then flew in front of him, but it didn't reach the tree's trunk, and Sasuke knew this as he hadn't heard the weapon thunk-ing.

Naruto winced when he sensed the raven haired man's mood darkening terribly. "Alright, Sasuke-teme," he mumbled, giving him a look of pity. "But don't get mad if you can't—"

"I said leave me alone!"

Ocean blue eyes widened considerably out of pure surprise. This was the first time he'd heard Sasuke yell in years, and he knew that when he did, it was because his emotions were on the rocks. It wasn't like Sasuke to be this out of control with his emotions—everybody knew he was the best at hiding them.

"Sasuke..." he murmured. He wasn't afraid to admit that his heart broke a little at Sasuke's angry but all the while anguished features. "...fine. I'll be going, if that's what you want."

As he turned and started making his way out of the training grounds, Naruto couldn't help thinking, What could have possibly caused Sasuke to become such an emotional wreck?

Please, don't run away from me.

Let me love you.

Sasuke didn't know if Naruto noticed his frantic state of mind in the few minutes he was in his presence, but he knew he wouldn't put it past him. After all, the blond was aware that his best friend's everyday composure was his usual apathy. To see him breathing raggedly like a madman and yelling no less was without a doubt a dead giveaway to the fact that he wasn't himself.

The dark haired man moved his feet across the ground, eyebrows pinched in concentration. He tried to feel his surroundings through his senses, tried to sense where other trees could be. But a frown soon marred his face.

I can't do it. The voice fleetingly flew across his mind, and he seethed. God damnit, why can't I do it? ! His feet shuffled around again, fists clenching at his sides, mind reeling from the bitter truth that he didn't want to face. Mother, father... I'm sorry. I'm a disgrace to our lineage.

Something wet filled the corner of his obsidian eyes, like tears of frustration, but Sasuke's mind was reeling with too many furious thoughts for him to notice."I'm sorry," her voice echoed in his head. "I'm sorry, but I just can't. I..."

Whips of lightning emanated from his right hand. Raven hair flew around his face like a hurricane. Thin lips were twisted downwards in an obvious snarl. His right hand shook from the delirious rage running in his blood.

You frighten her, his mind whispered. You tried to kill her, it told him.

The sound of chirping birds. Something trickling down his cheek. Was it sweat?

You're a monster in her eyes.

Then, all he saw was white.


& Sometimes I wish I could scream at you,

and tell you what you do to me.

"Why did I promise I would fix this?" she moaned, burying her face in her hands. Sasuke-kun... I can't talk to him so soon. He's still mad at me...


Sakura's bodily reaction seemed immediate at the word. Every bone in her body tensed up, her teeth clenched together, and her mind reeled from too many frightful thoughts. She looked down barely a second later with her still-so-tense form, catching sight of her blind team mate shoving his chidori in her tree's trunk. Terror ran through her veins as she realized what the outcome would be, but before she even had the time to think of an escape, the tree lurched forward, unable to sustain itself from the damage Sasuke's chidori caused. Her eyes scanned the area around her wildly for a safe way out, but her concentration was sharply interrupted when the tree started falling—fast. Meanwhile, Sasuke was already moving out of the way.

Did Sasuke just try to—

She yelped in surprise and desperately reached out for a branch to catch, too caught up in her fear to catch the way Sasuke's head snapped backwards while he was running off from the point of impact, his gray eyes clearly showing surprise, and maybe even a little disbelief.

Sakura screamed when her feet slipped from the bark, and she decided she had to act now or she would be crushed to the ground. Reacting instinctively, she kicked a branch to give her body a boost, pushed another branch to twist herself away from the tree, but the fall was too quick for her. A branch caught her foot, dragging her body down and holding her back from running away.

But than a hand caught her own and pulled her out of the way just as the tree first started hitting the ground. She found herself being launched forward, and the next thing she knew was that she had fallen, was pushed up against someone's chest, and the ground was trembling from the force of the tree's fall. Although, it wasn't long before that stopped.

"You okay, Sakura?"

With shaking hands, Sakura pushed herself away from her savior's body and nodded lightly,before she looked up to her former teacher with eyes filled with fright. "Thank you, Kakashi," she whispered, wrapping her arms around herself. "You saved my life."

"Why didn't you get out, Sakura?" Kakashi asked, his worried gaze showing he had clearly been afraid to lose her. "You're better than that, I know it."

"I—I was... distracted," she mumbled, trying to take in a steady breath. Her eyes flashed in pain when she recalled what just happened.

"What could possibly distract you from a gigantic falling tree potentially crushing you to death?"

"I—" She stopped to take a moment to hold back the tears filling her shining green jewels. "I—"

He couldn't be that mad, the young medic reasoned to herself. He couldn't just have tried to kill me.

"I—don't know," she whispered. "Just—tired, I guess."

But he didn't come back. He didn't try to save you, a voice inside her head told her. He ran away.

"I don't believe you," Kakashi said, grasping her shoulder gently. "You're a talented ninja, Sakura. Sleepiness shouldn't distract you from something like this."

She bit her lip and shook her head wildly, trying to shake out the horrible thoughts in her head. "I don't know what happened, I just—" She cut herself off when a sob threatened to come out, and she buried her face in her hands, willing away her urge to cry. The pain that she felt in her chest when she listened to those whispering thoughts was excruciating. She never thought she'd have to feel it again, not after he was back in Konoha.

"Kakashi," she whimpered, unable to hold back her tears anymore. "I think he tried to—Sasuke was here and he—"

"Sakura," her former sensei interrupted softly, sounding surprised at the implied accusation. "Sasuke told me he thought you were in danger. I wouldn't have been there to save you if he hadn't been there."

"What?" she whispered, stupor consummating her. "No... he couldn't have...he put a chidori through that tree..."

The pure pain that filled her voice was enough to crack his heart a little, but Kakashi relaxed his posture and he smiled lightly. Squeezing her shoulder, he gave her a look full of reassurance. "He didn't try to kill you, Sakura."

"But he—"

"Sasuke is blind, Sakura. He didn't know you were there."

"But he can sense chakras, he couldn't possibly not have sensed me! I was—"

Kakashi chuckled, a bit sadly. "He's been trying to train for a while, did you know that?" he asked softly. "'Trying' would have to be the keyword here, though. He hasn't been able to achieve anything."

Sakura softened a bit, suddenly feeling bad for Sasuke. "He was mad," she said, catching on to his words. "He was too mad to sense me."

"He's not accustomed to failing," the gray haired man affirmed. "I don't doubt he feels as though he is dishonoring his family's name."

Sakura nodded sadly. And all this time, I thought he was going back to that, she thought to herself, feeling ashamed. I thought he was trying to kill me, again.

"...Sakura?" a new voice murmured, one that they both knew too well. The pair was both surprised at how hesitant he sounded, as if he was unsure that he was welcomed.

"Sasuke," she acknowledged, wiping away the tears from her eyes. "Sasuke-kun, thank you. Thank you for telling Kakashi."

He nodded lightly while his gaze remained on the ground. She wasn't sure if she was imagining the guilt in those black pools.

Kakashi looked back and forth at the both of them, a bit unsure about what to do, but then as if he sensed something in the air, he took a step back and bid them both goodbye. A puff of smoke was all there was left to him, afterward.

A short silence took place, one filled with hesitance and doubt.

But it wasn't long before Sakura couldn't take it anymore.

"Did you—"

"No," Sasuke answered quietly, eyes narrowed almost softly. "I didn't know." I didn't know you were in that tree. I didn't know I was the reason you almost got killed.

And that was enough.

I want to tell you so much:

"...I love you."

"Wouldn't have predicted it would rain today!" Sakura admitted to him, her tone leveled as to be able to speak through the gushing rain. She looked at him from under the binder she was holding above her head, smiling when she noticed his displeased features. "The weather looked too good!"

They had both been running for a few minutes, just after the sky started pouring gigantic droplets of salty liquid over the entire village. It felt like they were going through a waterfall because the weight of the precipitation was so heavy.

"I wouldn't know," he replied after a minute or so, voice just loud enough for her to hear him through the massive drops.

Her tender smile vanished, and her eyes widened in horror. "I didn't mean to—"

"It's fine, Sakura."

She couldn't help but to feel guilty nonetheless. She knew Sasuke couldn't see the blue sky anymore, or the white puffy clouds. She knew he missed all the colors of the world, and the sight of a beautiful day. She knew he missed waking up in the morning and seeing the sun's welcoming ray's rafting through his blinds. She hadn't meant to make Sasuke feel–

A sudden noise tore their attention away. It was small, and ridiculously faint regardless of its high pitch. Sasuke didn't need to have eyes to know what it was, and he knew Sakura would immediately react to save it.

"Sakura, leave it," Sasuke warned, grasping her forearm before she could start searching for the source. "It happens all the time—"

"I don't care how often this happens, I'm not letting the poor thing die!" she replied, her voice holding desperation. "Let me go, Sasuke. Please."

Sasuke's lips tightened, and his grip on her arm loosened a little, before the little thing cried out for help again. He sighed in defeat and released her altogether, allowing her to scramble frantically in the direction of the hopeless call. He shoved his hands in his pockets and waited in the pouring rain, silently wondering if he was going to catch a cold since they were clearly not dressed for this weather.

It certainly wouldn't surprise him.

It wasn't long before Sakura returned with a small, black furry bundle wrapped in a towel she had picked out from her backpack. She had him delicately pressed up against her chest to protect him from being soaked any further. When she reached Sasuke again, she grabbed his hand with her free one and started pulling him along, running forward in the direction that would lead them to Sasuke's home.

"How old is it?" she heard him ask, greatly surprising her. She didn't think he'd care about the youngling in her arms.

"My guess is two weeks or so," she yelled over the rain, pushing the gates of the Uchiha grounds open. She shuffled over to the side to hide under the roof of an old house, all the while telling Sasuke to be careful with his steps. They took a moment to catch their breaths while under cover.

"He can't be any older than that, he's still so fragile on his legs," she said, her tone quite sad. "The poor thing was in a crack between a wall and a rock, and he couldn't get out. I don't doubt he would have drowned if I let him there."

Sasuke nodded and his hand reached forward a bit. Sakura understood what he wanted and she guided him to the small black furry ball mewing up a storm against her chest. Sasuke felt the young kitten shivering furiously before he even touched it, although he would never admit how his heart pinched as he realized he wanted to leave the hapless furball to die. He gently touched its wet fur and stroked it once, finding himself surprised at how small it was, before he pulled his hand back and told her they should get going.

"It is far?" she asked as they started running again. "He really needs a warm and dry place right now, Sasuke-kun!"

"Almost," he replied, pointing at the blurry form of a building.

They sprinted faster, eager to get out of the withering rain.



Twenty minutes later, they were in the warmth of Sasuke's house, out of their wet clothes and sitting in the living room by the fire. Or, well, Sakura was. She was drying the little one's fur tenderly, ushering soft comforting words while it cried weakly. Sasuke was in the bathroom, gathering a few towels for them to use, and searching for a basket in which they could put the youngling in.

"Did you find anything?" Sakura called, stroking the kitten's fur lovingly as an attempt to calm him down. The kitten's cries didn't cease.

Instead of answering, Sasuke handed the towels over, and put a laundry basket beside her. It was covered in a woolen blanket, and had a pillow stuffed inside for added comfort. For a split moment, Sakura was shocked at his ability to sense her so perfectly but she forced herself to snap out of it, and took the offered towels. She smiled, putting the wet ones on the coffee table in front of her, before she carefully put the kitten down in the basket.

"Do you have another blanket for him? He needs a bit more to cuddle and stay warm."

She smiled when Sasuke rolled his eyes, but nonetheless sauntered off to fetch another one. She then grabbed a dry towel from the pile and started drying off her hair while a sigh of contentment left her lips. She was tired of having her hair drip all over her dry clothes and sticking to her skin. After a hot shower, it wouldn't have mattered to her, but she had been out in the cold rain. Her hair had been shiveringly cold against her skin.

A frown then graced her lips because the young kitten started mewing noisily, its cries becoming more and more exigent. She put her towel down and hushed it softly, kissing its tiny head. "What's wrong, sweetie?" she murmured. "Why are you crying more?"

"Maybe it's hungry."

Pulling back from the crying black fur ball, Sakura turned to look at Sasuke with surprise grazing her features. She blinked once; twice. Her lips pursed. A delicate hand pressed itself to her chest.

The girl then noticed that Sasuke's attire was different than usual. The Uchiha had developed the habit of having training clothes as his everyday outfit, and so it was quite strange for her to see more relaxed clothes on him. Loose black cargo pants adorned the lower half of his body, while a snug navy shirt covered his top half, showing off his pecs and well-built chest.

Sasuke, not quite sure what he had done, simply stood there, face blank. His hands were shoved in his pockets, as usual, but a towel was slung around his neck as a clear sign that he had been busy drying his hair as well.

"Ah, um, yeah!" she mumbled, looking away quickly when she realized she'd been bluntly staring at him. "Hadn't thought about that." She picked up the basket with as much gentleness as possible, not wanting the kitten to have a scare if it shook with her movements, but when her efforts were in vain, she picked up the kitten along with the blanket and cuddled it affectionately.

When she looked up, a blush was faintly tainting her cheeks. "Hey, Sasuke? I don't suppose you have any kitten milk, right?" He snorted in response, and Sakura giggled. "Yeah, I thought so. Would you mind watching over him while I go fetch some at the civilian pet clinic?"

"Sakura," he warned, eying her cautiously, "it's pouring rain outside."

"It's a bit more calm now," she exclaimed, shoulders slouching. She put the kitten back in the basket as gently as she could, afterward raising her head to look at Sasuke again. "I'll be back real quick, I promise! It's not far from here. Just about five minutes away if I go as quick as I can!"

Her green, green eyes gazed at him pleadingly, and he looked away immediately, scowling. Her heart dropped in sadness, and it was evident by the way her gaze narrowed to the ground, defeated. But just as she thought she couldn't convince him, Sasuke stepped toward her and grabbed the basket. Her head snapped up to look at him, happiness dancing everywhere on her face, but his sightless gaze was directed elsewhere. He obviously didn't want to confirm he was actually doing her a favor.

She almost giggled to herself.

"Thanks, Sasuke-kun! I'll be back soon!"

Sasuke couldn't only sigh to himself, head lowering in the direction of the crying kitten in the basket. He briefly wondered what he'd gotten himself into.

& In the end,

love is worth the wait.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Sasuke muttered, instinctively tilting his head down at the furry youngling in his lap (even though he couldn't see it) as he carefully grabbed its head and tapped the bottle's nose on its mouth. He was shocked at how quickly the kitten immediately reacted by clamping its mouth down and sucking out the milk readily waiting for it. He felt tiny paws press themselves on his hand, supporting its fragile body, pawing and pressing like it would to its mother.

Sakura giggled for what seemed like the umpteenth time, but the smile she held on her face was the most tender she'd given today. "Just sit still and keep your head straight at all times." She tipped his chin up, taking her fingers away a little too quickly in Sasuke's opinion. "Don't worry, I'm good at this. I do my own hair all the time."

He was tempted to point out he hadn't seen her hair in nearly two years now, but kept his mouth shut because he knew she would throw another guilt-filled fit. It pleased him sometimes to know that she forgot about his blindness, but at other times he wished she kept her mouth shut about it. Then he wouldn't have to deal with all the messy stuff afterward.

So he opted for his usual grunt instead.

"Do you know if you want it short? Or do you just want to freshen them up?" she asked while she stood behind him and ran her hands through his hair, testing the length. She felt the tips of his locks, recognizing he had dry ends.

"As long as they don't get in the way," he replied flatly.

She understood and smiled. Taking her hands out of his hair, she reached for a spray bottle and her scissors on the dinning table, then proceeded to spray Sasuke's hair with water until it was damp. Brows pinched in concentration, she started working on cutting the dry ends of his raven locks first.

He had a lot, she discovered. In fact, she realized his hair wasn't as well tended as it used to be back in the day. She remembered that it used to be silky soft to the touch with a look healthier than hers. Now his raven mane was rough and dry, not to mention that the color seemed duller. Some ends were unevenly cut, and she guessed that a kunai was the cause. Sasuke had to no doubt cut his hair once or twice when it really bothered him. He probably didn't care about the results.

When she was done getting rid of the dry ends, she went to start styling his hair properly but stopped herself when she noticed the kitten let go of the bottle and sniffing Sasuke's hand. It wobbled unsteadily, mewing a bit while it smelled its way around, however when it settled itself comfortably against his stomach, she felt her heart melting in her chest.

"Seems to take a liking into you," she remarked, putting the scissors down on the table.

He knew what she was implying. "I'm not keeping him," he replied firmly, scowling at the idea.

She observed the fluffy black kitten standing back up and looking up at Sasuke with its endearing blue eyes, meowing, before it wobbled over to his arm. It rubbed its head on his skin, then laid its body against him, head pressed against his palm and paws lightly stretched out to touch his fingers. She visibly saw Sasuke relax, his gaze seemingly fighting between annoyance and surrender, while he evidently didn't have the heart to move his hand away from the kitten.

When he felt the sudden lightheartedness in the air, he knew Sakura must have been looking at him in a way that reveled she was trying not to smile so widely, and he scowled again. He looked away and grabbed the scissors from the dinning table, but at this, the girl stiffened everywhere. He raised an eyebrow at the change of tension, now visibly confused.

"I'll follow you! I'll leave Konoha!"

"Um," she stammered, gripping the material of her skirt. "Um."

There was no doubting the fear she felt, he knew that now. Her chakra was emanating that emotion pretty strongly.

"Why would you want to join me? What are you trying to pull off?"

He silently reached his hand out to give her the scissors, but she only stared at them fearfully.

"Kill her, and I'll accept your offer."


"Well? Can't you handle this, Sakura?"

"Sakura," he called, annoyed.

"Sasuke... don't... don't do it..."

(birds chirping. Her heart stopping.)

"Sakura," he gritted out.

Nearly jumping out of her skin, she took a step back and gasped. It didn't take her too long to focus back on the real world, with Sasuke looking ahead to where she was with a look that seemed almost angry. She didn't know if she was imagining the hurt she was seeing in there.


She reached out to shakily grab the scissors, and silently thanked him. He said nothing in return, only snapped his head away from her, as if unquestionably decided to ignore her or close himself off.



A broom in hand, Sakura silently swiped the floor to gather Sasuke's cutoff hair in one pile, while the said man had busied himself with carrying the kitten back to his warm basket. The fact they hadn't spoken a word ever since she snapped out of her trance was something that really bothered her, but what was worse was how she was completely aware of the fact Sasuke was deliberately ignoring her. The reason why she wasn't really sure of, but she guessed he had probably figured out what she had been thinking about when she was frozen in place.

It was her best bet.

She bent down to pick up the relatively small pile of raven locks with the dust pan she had put at her side, but when she looked up she saw that Sasuke was making his way towards the front door.

"Hey!" she called, dropping the objects she had in hand, effectively making the sliced hair fall everywhere. "Hey, wait!" She ran to him with worry grazing her features, wondering where he could possibly be going in that weather. "Sasuke, wait!" she said as she finally reached him. Her hand delicately closed the door that he had been preparing to walk out of, but she knew she would not be able to hold him back if he really wanted to get out.

"You don't trust me."

The words left his lips almost as instantly as her hand left the wooden door. She was so completely unprepared to hear him speak, not to mention say those words, that all she could do was gape at him for a while. Sasuke's face scrunched up in something like anger, and she coiled back as an instant reaction.

"I don't know what you're—"

Something changed in his features, and that made her cut herself off with a near-to-silent gasp of fear. He looked so, so cold. So distant from her that she could not help thinking about the last time she had seen that face on him.

"Don't you start lying to me, Sakura," he muttered, tone as icy as his features were.

She swallowed the lump in her throat and clenched a fist out of frustration of not knowing what she could say back.

"I'm sorry," she stammered, taking a single step back so that her back was against the door. "I'm trying, really," she mumbled weakly, feeling her heart clench. "But it's so hard to forget what you've done to me, I just—"

"You're a hypocrite," he seethed furiously.

At this, pure shock took over her features. Then the hurt washed over; anger was next. She clenched both her fists before gritting out, "excuse me?"

"You heard me," he replied in the same silent fury.

Her hand came up and flew across his face, making a loud and satisfying smacking sound. His head was wiped to the side, and a trail of blood made it's way in the corner of his lips.

"How dare you?" Sakura growled, sheer pain and heartbreak present in her voice. "How dare you call me a hypocrite when you—"

"You were the one who tried to kill me first," he cut her off icily, something strange marring his face. "You lied to me, tried to deceive me, and you betrayed me on every level." She could see his body tensing up, and his fists clenching as a sign he was hardly maintaining control of his emotions. "You willingly tried to kill me by your own hands!"

Tears leaked from Sakura's eyes, and she choked a breath, feeling as though she was unable to breathe as her heart was constricting so much. It hurt unbearably, and as if on cue, Sasuke seemed to relax his posture. But she could feel that he wasn't feeling any less angry.

"I was lost in darkness at that time, and my mind wasn't in the right place," he went on, his voice definitely calmer. Back in control. "The man who tried to kill you wasn't me." He then gripped the doorknob and opened the door, pushing Sakura off of it and closer to him.

She felt his hot breath fanning over her skin. Suddenly, she wasn't able to breathe at all.

But then he stepped to the side and held the door open wide before he said in a tone colder than the last, "what's your excuse for trying to kill me?"



"That's not fair, I—I was only trying to... to..." She trailed out, whimpered a bit, before wrapping her arms around herself as an obvious attempt to comfort herself.

"I think you've made it pretty clear that your intention was to kill me."

She wouldn't look at him anymore, too scared to admit the truth to his face. "Yes, but—"

"How could you possibly try to explain why you were trying to kill me and make it sound good?" he hissed, slamming the door hard. He approached her dangerously, making her take several steps back. "Any reason I can think of right now makes you selfish."

She started stammering desperately now, because he was still stepping forward and she had reached the kitchen table and she couldn't back away anymore."No, I—"

"You what!" he shouted, imprisoning her as he caught both her forearms in a hold so tight that it had her wincing. His face was merely inches away from hers, mouth letting ragged breaths as a sign he was losing it.

She was completely terrified. She was always afraid that when he acted like this, he would lose himself into the dark person that tried to kill her twice without a second thought. But, she told herself, he needs to know. He needs to know why I tried to kill him. He needs to know that it wasn't for hate, nor was it for a loss of faith in him. He needs to know that it was because I—

"I... I loved you," she whispered, eyes searching his face.

"What..." he started lowly, dangerously, with the exception of shock grazing his features, "what does that have to do with anything we're talking about?"

She smiled, quite sadly, but he would never know that. "I didn't... I couldn't bear to see you go down that path anymore. You were so deep within darkness..." She took a deep, shaky breath. "I know I wouldn't of been able to watch you get darker and darker. It... it would've been so hard."

The pinkette felt his grip loosen on her arms.

"You weren't the Sasuke-kun I knew, not anymore. I couldn't recognize you. Same handsome face, same beautiful hair, same gorgeous black eyes..." A hand delicately touched his cheek. "...but not the same Sasuke-kun."

Something was happening to her, Sasuke realized. She was opening up to him, spilling her whole heart out to the guy she feared most. And most importantly, she was leaning towards him like a magnet. It wasn't long before he felt her head pillowing against his shoulder, while the arms he still held onto remained still.

"I had to end this," she revealed, her hands gripping his shirt at the sides. "Not because it would break my heart more if I didn't, but because I didn't want to see you become the bad guy." She paused, squeezed the shirt she held, before she pulled away from him. He didn't need to see to know that she was looking up at him with tearful eyes. "I didn't want to see you become what you feared most all your life, Sasuke-kun."

Sasuke would probably never know how his breath caught in his throat when he heard those words. As it slowly settled it, he whispered, "you wanted to kill me... because you loved me."

" much."

The words were spoken in a breath that left her so, so softly.

"Then why—"

"I don't know, Sasuke!" she cut him off, voice hopeless. "Maybe it's because you tried to kill me! I know, okay, I know it wasn't you. But damnit, I've loved you for years now! For so many years!" Her eyes started to shed tears that were held in so long. "Do you know what that did to me, Sasuke? Do you know how heartbroken it made me feel when your chidori was inches from my brain, or when your hand was at my throat? Do you—"

"I care about you too!" he angrily shouted, hands tightening around her again. A small cry left her lips because of the pain, but Sasuke didn't seem to hear. "Did you think I wouldn't feel guilty about what happened? About what I did to you?" Did you think I wouldn't feel anything when your kunai was at my back?

"You didn't—"

"—apologize?" he finished for her, still angry. "No, I didn't. You should know why."

She stayed silent, and he knew why. She was realizing something. He took this time to calm himself down again, his tight hold loosening considerably, before letting go altogether all but a few moments later.

"You're too blinded by your irrational fear to see that I care. I may not be especially blunt about it, or show it like Naruto does, but I care about you. You need to forgive me for what happened and put it behind you." He ran a hand through his hair and sighed heavily, as if exhausted. "I don't give you a hard time for trying to kill me when you were conscious of your actions. Yet I wasn't and you..." He trailed out, and she cringed, recognizing the emotion he wore on his face.

He stayed silent for a long while. Sakura, unsure about what to do, just stood there awkwardly, feet shuffling at times. She then realized the storm had stopped during their argument, and thought it to be quite ironic.

A while later, Sasuke grabbed the doorknob, opened the door, and breathed out heavily.

"I think it's about time you go home."

No one can ever promise you they will never hurt you,

because at one time or another it will happen.

A pale, delicate hand gripped the pillow tighter, squeezing harder and harder. Distraught features worsened. Another hand was placed on her chest, as if wanting to protect her heart.

Sakura was evidently having a nightmare.

("Sasuke... don't... don't do it..."

birds chirping. her heart stopping.)

She inhaled sharply, moaning out in fear and pain while her head was tossing around wildly. It was as if she was trying to shake off her feelings, or like she was denying something over and over.


Sakura saw death.)

"Nooo..." The sound was drowned into the pillow. An unfamiliar noise followed, and it almost sounded like she was out of breath and rasping for air.


"You've really fallen so low, Sasuke...")

A thin sheet of sweat had formed on her body, layering itself on her brows, forehead, cheeks, neck and arms. It looked as though she had a fever.

(her heart is breaking as she watches the disaster that was Karin.

Sasuke-kun really did this...? And he had tried to kill her—


"Don't talk yet! I'm almost done..."

crying rivers. teardrops hitting the ground incessantly. Karin's face twisted into something more miserable. sympathizing.

an explosion!)

Her arm slung itself across her head as her body twisted so she was on her back. She groaned, and made noises of negations while the arm continued on shielding her closed eyes.

('I... I can't falter!'

knife to his back. shaking hands.

'Sasuke-kun I... I...'

she sees her past flash before her eyes. her grip loosens on the kunai. tears drop.

'I... I thought I could do this!')

She panted for breath, and streams of see-through liquid made their way down her cheeks. The tears had come.


he turns lightning fast, grabbing her by the throat.


The panting breath was replaced with hiccups and choked sobs. Her body was getting warmer and warmer as she started trashing around heavily.


he slaps the kunai away from her hand and grips it, bringing it up with intention to strike. for a moment, she sees the crazy look in his eyes, and thinks to herself that this can't be him. this can't be Sasuke-kun.

he brings the kunai down, but she feels the death coming more than anything else.


More sweat layered itself on her body. Her body tensed up.

(suddenly, arms wrap themselves around her protectively, wind blows around her, and blond hair covers her vision. she is saved, once again.)

Sakura sprung up from the bed, and she screamed. It echoed her pain, her fear, her loss, her burning heart, and the heavy weight of her love for him.

(But she is numb. she can't take it in. he tried, once again, to kill her.)

She sobbed, so so softly as she tore herself from this nightmare.

The reality sank in.

She took in the sight of the hot blankets around her, blinking rapidly. She remembered the heated argument that she and Sasuke had, all but a couple hours ago. A hand clutched her heart, and she sobbed harder. It hurt, it, hurt, it hurt!

("Did you think I wouldn't feel guilty about what happened? About what I did to you?")

"Ohhh," she moaned, pressing the heels of her hands against her eyes. "Ooohhh."

It was more a moan of pain and guilt than it was a moan of realization.

("What's your excuse for trying to kill me?")

I love you, oh I love you. The words ran through her mind, repeating incessantly. I love you so much, I couldn't bear it, Sasuke-kun. I couldn't bear it, couldn't stand the thought...

("I don't give you a hard time for trying to kill me when you were conscious of your actions. Yet I wasn't and you...")

I know, she thought to herself. I know. I'm so selfish, so, so selfish. So stupid. You've been nothing but respectable to me. You've proven yourself to be trustworthy. She choked a sob, and wrapped her arms around herself. And I'm so sorry I didn't let you in. I'm so sorry I couldn't forget.

Her tears started dampening her night clothes.

But I'm gonna try, she promised. I'm really gonna try this time, Sasuke-kun. I'm gonna stop thinking about the past. Her sobs faded, and so did her hiccups. I'm gonna let you in. Move on. She wiped her tears away, and tried to stable her shaky breathing. I'm not gonna be afraid of you. Not anymore.

She looked at the frame at her bedside which held the Team Seven picture. A tiny smile crept at her lips, and she took the frame in her hands, holding it with tenderness. Sniffing and wiping away the remaining tears, she stroked the younger Uchiha's face and looked at him with sadness and love mixed together.

"Never again," she whispered to herself. "Never again will I doubt you."

What have I done? Wish I could run...

"What, seriously?"

"Yeah, seriously," Ino sighed, burying her face in her hand. "I'm worried, is all."

Naruto scrunched his nose up, like he had just smelt something bad. "I didn't know you liked Sasuke again."

A sharp whack to the head came next, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and the blonde boy yelled out in pain. "OW! OW! OW!" He covered his head with one hand, the other trying to keep the angry woman from beating at his head with a bouquet of roses. "STOP IT, INO, IT HURTS!"

Ears red from fury, she threw the bouquet at him and flared her nose, hands then placing themselves on her hips. "IT'S FOR SAKURA, YOU DICKHEAD!" she shouted with great intensity. "THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL I WOULD LIKE THAT JERK AGAIN!"

"WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST SAY SO?" Naruto barked back, rubbing his sore head. "YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO ATTACK ME FOR IT!"

"You're the idiot who always comes to conclusion without all the facts!" Ino growled, marching towards the counter at the back of the store.

"You asked me if I could go see Sasuke to see if he was doing okay! How the hell was I supposed to know that it was for Sakura? !"

"I'm in a stable relationship Naruto! Have been for two years now!" the blonde replied sharply. "You're an idiot for forgetting that!"

Naruto growled, this time. "Stable my ass. The amount of times you guys break up and make up, it's impossible to know if you're back together," he grumbled, making his way to the exit door.

Another bouquet was thrown at his head, followed by a shriek. "JUST GO SEE YOUR BASTARD BEST FRIEND AND CHEER HIM UP BEFORE I RUN TO CASTRATE HIM!"

The knuckleheaded man hightailed out of the flower shop, shouting out exclamations about how crazy his team mate's best friend was and why in the world he even accepted to see her in the first place.

She does have a point though, he thought to himself. Sasuke hasn't been acting as usual these days. He's so prissy about everything, and we can't just brush it off to the fact he's blind. He's never been open about his feelings for it before. He brought a hand to his chin and rubbed thoughtfully. Something tells me that it's not his blindness that's causing him to be so pissed off. He saw Sasuke ahead of him, walking alone whilst looking broody, and he frowned. At least, it's not just that. It must be something else.

But just as he was about to intercept him, Sasuke snapped, "fight. Now."



He had to admit, the only reason he agreed to fight him was so he could get to talk to him. He knew the only way Sasuke would actually talk would be if there weren't many people around. It was easier for him to open up like that.


"Shut your mouth and fight me."

That surprised him. Usually he'd let him say whatever he wanted to say, because most of the time it pumped him up. Then again, Naruto would normally throw nasty comments about how he wouldn't stand a chance.

"What are you waiting for you deadlast?" his best friend growled.

Naruto frowned, lips forming a thin line. He glared. "No," he finally said, tone decided. "No, I won't fight you, Sasuke."

"Goddamnit, Naruto, I'm not asking you!" he put himself in a fighting stance and snarled, "fight me!"

"I'm not going to fight you," the blonde firmly repeated.

"Fight me!" Sasuke finally shouted, lounging forward.

But his best friend caught his fists and held his ground with force, teeth gritting together at the amount of anger Sasuke was putting into his strength. But he was hardly a threat partly because of his fragile state of mind, yet partly because he knew Sasuke would never dare force him into a fight.

Or at least, he thought he knew so.

"Sasuke—damnit stop trying to make me hurt you!" he said in a strained voice. "I said I'm not fighting you!"

"I need it!" the raven haired man vividly voiced. "I need this fight!"

"You don't need it, Sasuke!" Naruto shouted back, letting go of his best friend's hands to grip his shoulders tightly. "You have to learn how to let it out! Don't vent your frustration on others, let it out." He squeezed reassuringly, a brotherly gesture. "Tell me what's wrong."

The darker man started thrashing about, angrily, almost desperately. "I don't need to—"

"Talk to me, Sasuke."

Exhausted coal met ocean blue slowly, very slowly. Lips moved uncertainly, as if debating, or holding back. For about a minute, the two entered a staring contest: one determined and motivating, while the other was defiant and distant. Then suddenly, Sasuke's gaze tore away from his best friend's, and he shoved the hands off his shoulders roughly. Something like pain flashed in his eyes, and Naruto didn't nearly have enough time to catch it since the dark haired man turned his back to him and took a few slow steps.

But then he stopped.

"I have done everything," he hissed in wroth. His fists trembled at his sides, like the mere thought of whatever he was talking about bothered him so much it drove him to the edge. "I've done everything, and still—"

He cut himself off short, a raspy breath passing through.

"Sasuke... what are you... ?"

"It isn't enough." A fist clenched, then unclenched. Again, and again. "I'm not enough. Not for her. She doesn't..."

Her? His mind reeled in realization, like pieces of a puzzle all coming together.

("Sasuke-kun took me out."


"I don't know." Silence. "I think he was just trying to please me." Another silence. "You know, for lov—helping him." Sad look. "I don't think it's what he wanted.")

"She doesn't get it!" he snapped, head thrashing about. "After all this time we spent, she doesn't..." A furious sound left his lips, followed by another intake of a raspy breath. "She doesn't trust me!"

It was then that the man flipped his body around, revealing his face to Naruto. It was an understatement to say that the emotions that he saw shocked him. He literally couldn't believe he was seeing.

"She was the one who tried to kill me with a conscious mind! Yet she gives me complete shit for what I did to her while I was out of mine! I forgave her, Naruto! I forgave her for trying to kill me because I get it!"

His face was contorted with so much rage, so much agony that it made the blonde boy's eyes tear up. He didn't think something like this could affect him so much, especially since he hadn't really shown he cared about her that much. He always knew that Sakura was dear to him, that she was a precious friend. Someone he considered family. Sometimes even he could see that Sasuke had the potential to return her feelings, but this... this was taking it to a whole other level.

"Then she has the nerve to tell me she did it because she loved me." Sasuke was breathing raggedly now, almost like he had punctured a lung and had trouble breathing. He calmed pretty rapidly when he saw the expression his his friend's face. But there was no mistaking that ironic, and almost sad, smile that grazed his lips when he whispered, "loved me."

Sasuke... did he...?He couldn't possibly...?

What can you do when your good isn't good enough?

& all that you touch tumbles down?

"Door's locked," Sakura muttered, brows furrowing. "That's weird, Naruto said he'd be home today."

She had knocked six times already, and no one was answering the door. Sasuke was usually pretty quick into opening up to see who the visitor was. After a knock or two, he was at the entrance, looking through the window at the side. She also knew for a fact he also answered when he was taking his shower, because there was this one time, just about a year ago,where she had knocked and he'd come to the door dripping wet and wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.

So where...? she thought, fiddling with her pink locks.

"Katon! Gōkakyū no Jutsu!"

Her head whipped around to look at the side of his house, and few seconds later a giant fireball flew by to hit its target: a healthy green tree. She had barely seen it all because of the high foliage of his garden, but being on his porch, she had been tall enough to catch sight of it. She then noticed that several of the surrounding trees were burned as well, but most of them only had little burns. Almost like the fireball missed them.

Cautiously, Sakura made her way towards the gate of Sasuke's garden, wondering when he started training in his garden since he had a perfectly well equipped training area in his backyard. She kept her guard up in case he would lose control of his temper and throw random fireballs in every direction like a child would kick everything in his sight when he wouldn't get what he wants. Naruto had warned her that it had happened to him three times already, and that since he was quite pissed off these past few days, it was likely it could happen to her.

"Sasuke-kun?" she called when she put a hand on the garden gate. She thought it to be smart to announce her arrival, and it proved to be effective. Almost immediately after her call, she had sensed Sasuke's flaring chakra dim down to nothing. He had probably been preparing another fireball.

She let herself in, then, opening the gate slowly and hesitantly. She was warily testing if she was welcomed or not.

When Sasuke made no sound of protestation of the sort, nor any cold remarks to send her away, she took it as an invitation and fully stepped in. She looked around in both amazement and shock, taking in the sight of burnt bushes, partially incinerated flowers, and scorched tree trunks. Although he hadn't had perfect hits, she could tell that he was making a lot of progress into his aim.

"What are you doing here?"

The low, nearly unhappy sound of his voice snapped her out of her observational moment, and she turned to look at him, a bit surprised that he was at her side so quickly. He sounded pretty far away when he was training.

"Check-up," she spoke quietly, frowning a bit. "I've been told that you've avoided your appointments these past two weeks."

"I felt fine," he said flatly. "No point in going."

"Oh," was all she said.

An almost unbearable silence took over, then.

"So... why the garden?"

He raised a brow in return, seemingly a little taken aback. But there was no mistaking the distant features on his face, and she perfectly knew why they were there.


"The garden." She gestured all around. "Why are you training here? You've got your backyard," she pointed out, her green eyes blinking in confusion.

After all, he had wooden targets, a terrain of dirt for when he tested out his electric-based attacks, and a perfectly well adapted obstacle ground to practice reflexes and increase speed. She couldn't really understand why he chose the garden instead while utterly aware he could destroy all of its beauty.

Sasuke scoffed, as if the reason as to why was completely obvious. "More targets. More chakra," he answered in clipped sentences. "It's easier to feel."

Realization dawned on her, and she smiled a bit. "Ah, of course." She nodded, although aware he couldn't see it. "You've gotten better," she remarked softly. And he had, really. She had seen him training several times ever since he lost his sight, and she could tell that his abilities had greatly improved.

Somehow, though, it turned out to be the entirely wrong thing to say. His face had darkened terribly, and he growled, quite atrociously. "My abilities are pathetic," he hissed. "I am dishonoring the Uchiha bloodline."

Now that astonished her. Sasuke was never one to admit weaknesses, much less underrate his skills. Sure, he had always been harsh on himself in training as to become stronger and stronger, but he was never one to label himself as weak. But, she thought, I guess all the disappointment has been taking its toll on him.

Taking her courage in hand, Sakura didn't hesitate to contradict him. "You're wrong, Sasuke-kun," she whispered, shaking her head. "You're amazing. You've done so much."

"The only thing I am is shameful," he spat out, looking down at his hands yet clenching them soon after. He was evidently frustrated at himself.

But somehow, those words seemed to have hit a notch with her. As quickly as he could have ever sensed her Sakura came forward, and the next thing he knew was that his cheek was stinging terribly.

She had slapped him.

"Don't you dare start pitying yourself," she growled, eyes filled with furious tears that he could not see. "I don't want to see that from you, not ever." There was rage in her voice, evidently, but he could also detect traces of something else. Something sad—nostalgic even. "You were the reason I got so strong over the years. You were the reason I grew up." She poked his chest hard, and he knew that her face was near his because he could feel that harsh breathing perfectly. "You made me see the reality."

Without stepping away or putting any kind of distance between them, Sasuke leaned his enraged face towards hers, making their unstable breathings mingle together. Lowly, he snarled, "I have lost everything, Sakura. My family, my village, my abilities, my friends—"

She interrupted him as she grabbed him firmly by the arms, and although she was shaking, Sasuke knew this time that it was from rage, and not of fright. Her eyes closed, and she took a moment to calm herself."That's not true. Naruto, Kakashi and I, we're still here for you. We still love you," she whispered to him.

The next words left his lips almost immediately. "You don't."

She paused, pulled away from him, and looked at him quite perplexedly, the anger washing away slowly. She was silent, but Sasuke could feel the weight of her bemused stare on him. "What makes you say that?" she finally asked him, her voice now so, so soft.

"When we fought. You..." He seemed to struggle with what he was going to say, his lips firming and loosening over and over again. He couldn't seem to find the right way to say what he wanted to say, she realized. But why, she thought, is it so hard for him to get it out? Could it really bother him this much?

A certain wave of tiredness seemed to hit him out of the blue, washing over his features. The sudden change bewildered her thoughts even more, because she now knew that whatever it was, it was emotionally tiring him.

Sasuke exhaled quietly, turning his head away from her. "You... said you loved me."

The breath she had taken in caught in her throat, and she blinked quickly. Her heart was skipping beats. Of all the things that could have daunted him, this was...?

Somehow she managed to let out a sad and almost dry laugh. "I... I was talking about the past," she started, her heart now heavy with longing and sorrow, "but I—Sasuke I—"

She stopped abruptly, letting out an almost disbelieving breath. She didn't think that he cared about the feelings she harbored for him. She never considered the possibility that that knowledge was precious to him. Because really, why should it? her mind asked. He's never had any interest in love. He's never had any use for it. Why should it matter to him if our feelings have or have not changed?

Sasuke watched as she tensely tugged at the buttons on her shirt while she thought about something. She seemed at war with herself, looking as though she wanted to say something but was not sure that it was the right time. That it would ever be the right time. He silently hoped she would tell him the truth, and save him from all that torment. That she would not lie for his sake, would understand how much he treasured honesty—

"...I lied to you, Sasuke-kun," she finally said, sighing seemingly in defeat. "I told you this was a mission. That Tsunade assigned me to you. But that's not true I...

"She wanted to assign some stranger to you. I protested because I didn't want you to be taken care of by a total stranger who knows nothing about you and who no doubt would judge you because of the things they heard about you. It would have been unfair to you. For your life, your future to be in the hands of some faultfinding stranger!

"So I went to Tsunade. I told her that it wasn't right, that I should be the one taking care of you. But she insisted that having an emotional attachment to a patient was unprofessional and would often cloud the rightful judgment. That I wasn't suited for the job because I had a past with you that involved an emotional baggage. She told me it wouldn't do me any good, that it would be better off for my to stay out of it. I knew she was doing this to protect me from any more hurt.

"I didn't care. I didn't back down. I couldn't. I stayed there for three hours arguing and trying to convince her to let me do this from my own free will. To give me a chance to set things right between us. To fix all those issues and mend this devastatingly broken bond that we had by helping you get your life back. I told her that I wouldn't let my emotions get the best of me, and that I would do my utmost to stay calm."

She took a deep breath, and approached him slowly yet determinedly until they shared the same heat. She wrapped her arms around him, unafraid. "I did it because I care about you, Sasuke-kun." She buried her face in his neck, closing her eyes trustingly. "I wanted to help you. I didn't want you to get through this alone. I..."

She trailed out as she pulled back to look deep into his eyes, and laid her hands on his face tenderly, lovingly. "I love you, Sasuke-kun," she confessed, loud and clear. "Even after everything. I never gave up."



Sasuke didn't know how to describe the warmth that settled inside him upon hearing those words, nor was he able to explain why it did. But he knew, nevertheless, he was aware of that feeling. He felt shocked, but strangely relaxed at the same time, while some kind of relief seemed to wash over him. Why? He wasn't really sure.

But right now, he didn't know if he wanted to find out. He just knew that having her there, spilling her heart out to him and saying those three words—it felt right. That feeling those thin little arms squeezing him and that beautiful face nuzzling his skin—it felt good. And all he could think about was how he hadn't lost her love, and he was still good enough for her, and always had been, and—

"I tried to use my sharingan to remember you."

The whisper left his lips willingly, yet so quietly he was afraid she hadn't heard him. The stiffening of her body against him reassured him otherwise.

"I—you... what?"

He gently tugged her away from him when she was still blubbering and felt the stare of her emerald eyes on his face. She was no doubt shocked and confused, wondering what in the world he was talking about.

"When you scolded me back then about trying to use it. I didn't tell you why," he clarified, his head shifting away so she could no see his eyes. "I couldn't."


She couldn't seem to properly take it in. Sakura's posture hadn't loosened one bit throughout his words, almost as if she was still in shock. He didn't blame her. After all, it was quite rare to him to admit to anything. Much less reveal a secret. But it had Sasuke wondering if she was actually listening to him or had simply heard his earlier confession and was replaying it in her mind ceaselessly.

Squeezing the hold he had on her forearms, he brought his sweaty forehead to hers out of instinct and cringed, his eyelids closing shut. He said nothing for a moment, unable to think about anything but the invading scent of sweet flora that was Sakura. But damnit, he had to tell her. He needed her to know.

"I wanted to see you," he finally gritted out, voice filled with surprising despair. "I thought that the sharingan could help me see, just this once."

He heard her gasp, before she started crying quietly. "Sasuke-kun..." she whispered, grabbing the back of his neck with both hands tightly, but not enough to hurt him. Her actions seemed to be just as reckless as his. If he hadn't known any better, he'd think Sakura had understood just what he wanted to tell her.

(alas, that was not the case... the pink headed girl had only accepted the words, had only acknowledged that he was sincere...)

"Sasuke-kun," she chanted like a mantra, over and over again as she tried to pull him closer. "Oh, Sasuke-kun..."

Eyes still tightly shut, Sasuke let his hands instinctively run up her arms, feeling her skin and rubbing comfortingly (for her? for him? he didn't know). Some sort of need to touch her had taken over him, and he couldn't get enough. But he would not force her into something she wasn't ready for, he wouldn't force her into letting him touch her to finally, finally remember her. His touch was light like a feather, enabling her to stop him anytime. She could easily pull away if she wanted to.

But she didn't. In fact, she was aware and she wasn't stopping him because she wanted him to remember him. Because she finally (finally, finally...) trusted him enough to let him touch her. Tears ran down her cheeks, but they were not of sadness. Her chest hammered, but not with pain of a heartbreak.

She only felt this overwhelming warmth seeping through her. So much love and happiness that was so immense she couldn't contain it.

He knew, then, that she was giving him permission to do what he had wanted to do all these months ago, that night that he had taken her out. So he started exploring, exploring, and oh god discovering how much she had grown up. He had never felt so alive, so overflowed with emotion than that moment. She was so beautiful, so soft, so goddamn grown up (oh my, oh my how she had grown!) and so, so damn fragile.

He knew how strong he was. He was completely aware of her skills. But as he touched her like this, he understood that she wasn't tough all the way through. That she wasn't as strong as she said she was. That when it came to him, she was so freaking breakable.

And when Sasuke's hands reached her face, he flinched a bit at the feeling of her hot tears still streaming, but the sound of her hiccuping laughter encouraged him into thinking that he hadn't hurt her again. That she was happy with this. He let out a breath that sounded almost like a gasp, as he delicately ran his fingers over her features, never missing a dip of skin. His face was twisting to form an expression that she didn't recognize, but that she found so heartbreaking to watch.

"Sakura," he mumbled, hands moving in her mane to bury his fingers in her silky soft pink locks. He stayed quiet, for a while, just leaning his forehead against hers. Just taking in all of that soft skin and delicate features to form her lovely face in his mind.

(simply being able to picture all of that beauty he had learned to see with her help.)

She was so beautiful, he knew now. He had always imagined she had grown up to be pretty and womanly, but now he knew because he had seen it with his hands. And all he could think about was how much he wanted to kiss her.

So without a warning, Sasuke dipped his mouth down to hers and did just that.

& In my dreams

I've kissed your lips a thousand times

"Tsunade-sama?" the young medic called as she opened the door to her office. "You called us?"

"Ah, Sakura!" her mentor acknowledged. "Yes, yes I did. Come in!"

Nodding more to herself than the honey eyed woman, Sakura stepped in the Godaime's office while closely followed by Sasuke. She bowed a little to show her respect before moving to the center of the room, hands behind her back. She flinched a bit when Sasuke joined her side, his arm brushing against hers for a split moment, but when she stole a quick look, she saw no sign that he had been aware of her reaction.

"So," Tsunade started, oblivious to the tension between the two ninjas. "I brought you two here because I have just received extremely good news," she went on, her mouth twisting into a small, rare grin. "Sakura, I believe you may know what I am about to say."

Shock filled her being. She couldn't possibly mean that...—?

"You found—"

Her honey eyes twinkled with pride. "Yes," she confirmed, knowing what she was going to say. "We found a way."

A delicate hand found itself in front of her mouth when it dropped a few inches, as if trying to hide her surprise. But her eyes betrayed her—they showed it all.

"Forgive me if I perhaps sound rude, Hokage-sama," Sasuke began, frowning a little, "but what exactly are you talking about?"

He felt Sakura shaking at his side, and his frown deepened slightly. Is she crying? he wondered.

"Well, Sasuke," Tsunade began, taking her bottle of to start pouring into three glasses, "I do believe it is time for you to get your sight back."

A silence settled itself over the room, but it was quite expected considering the weight of the situation. This was life changing news for the pair, especially Sasuke. Getting his sight back would mean getting his old life back. Getting to be able to train and aim and go on missions again. It would mean he would be able to become an ANBU, to get his skills back! That he could observe the beauty of a sunset once more... and everything else.

"...what?" he muttered, chilling dead eyes as wide as they had ever been.

Tsunade smiled, sipped her drink, before chuckling a bit. "Sakura, would you care to announce him the news in clearer terms?"

The man turned to look at the woman at his side, whom was still shaking, but when he heard her choke a laugh, he felt his heart lift with hope. Then she spoke words that felt like they came straight out of a dream.

"We found a way for you to see again, Sasuke-kun."

It felt too good to be true.

"How is that possible?" he ground out.

Well. That was unexpected.

The Godaime frowned. "Aren't you happy, Uchiha?"

"I'm more than thrilled to hear you think you have found a way—"

"I don't think, I know," Tsunade snapped, interrupting him quite rudely. "I know this must be quite a shock to hear, but that is no reason to doubt this situation. I don't deliver good news like this without being sure of myself."

"I don't recall there ever being a cure for blindness," Sasuke flatly explained.

"There's a lot you don't know about the medical world, Sasuke-kun..." Sakura softly whispered at his side, a hand reassuringly pressing at his arm. "A lot of research goes undercover here."

His head whipped in her direction. "You mean to tell me you knew about this?" he retorted in an accusing tone. He really didn't sound happy now.

"No, I—Tsunade told me they'd found a way but I didn't think—I didn't know it would be medically confirmed so soon—"

"And you didn't tell me about any of this?"

He was towering dangerously close to her, which in turn made her halfway too scared to reply anything, but halfway too tense because it reminded her of the closeness they shared earlier this day. She felt nervous.

"Calm down, Sasuke. It's not her fault. She was right not to tell you immediately, as it does usually take years for the technique to be tested and announced to be fully functional to the public."

"How do you know it works, Tsunade-sama?" her apprentice asked, curious herself, if not still a little stiff from the previously rising argument.

"This kind of cure is for a blindness that is technically repairable comparing to the 'real' blindness," she explained, folding her hands under her chin. "Your blindness, Sasuke, is caused from the extensive damage to your eyes that took place while under the use of your mangekyou sharingan. It is not caused by hereditary diseases or physical damage from a weapon or toxic components." She paused, taking a moment to recall her words. "I'm sure you remember that getting your eyes replaced don't exactly take away that problem. It is the overuse of your highest weapon that caused your eyes to stop working."

"So you found a way to reverse it." It was more of statement than a question, they all knew.

"Yes," she simply answered in return.

But Sakura couldn't seem to understand one thing. "But Tsunade-shishou, you said it would normally take years to—"

"Yes, Sakura. But it is as you said as well, a lot of researches go undercover here."

That was quite surprising. She never knew that medics had been doing research on this particular problem in the past. After all, why would they need it? How could they have known? Was it possible the problem had already existed back then? If so, to whom had this happened to?

The older woman seemed to have seen right through Sakura's train of thought. "Sasuke is not the only Uchiha who was known to be losing his sight due to his bloodline ability, Sakura. There have been several records of others, such as Uchiha Itachi, who had the same problem." She turned to face Sasuke, face solemn. "I'm sure you were aware that Itachi was in the need of a new set of eyes."

He nodded, quite stiffly, and Sakura didn't fail to see how he gritted his teeth. She wasn't sure if the mentioning of his brother was causing this tense reaction, or if it was some sort of past memory that was triggered.

"But there is a slight issue," she stated, frowning.

"What is it?"

"Once the surgery is done, and that your eyes have completely recovered..." the woman began, " is highly likely that you won't be able to use the mangekyou again."

Much to everyone's surprise, Sasuke huffed. "I have no need for that ability anymore," he mutters. "That part of me is gone."

And when his fingers lightly brush against hers, Sakura told herself it was just an accident, and he hadn't meant to subtly imply a message.

"Good, then. Everything is settled," she took another glass of sake and drank it contently, beaming quite possibly with pride. "Shall we look into this surgery, then? Is tomorrow too soon?"

"Tomorrow's perfect."



When the next day came, the surgery happened.

Being a complicated and demanding process, it was executed by Tsunade and her two most trusted and talented medics: Shizune and Sakura.

It lasted nine hours and twenty three minutes.

And while the other two exhausted women called it a day afterward and told the pink haired medic to rest as well, she shook her head and headed straight towards the recovery room.

Ah, young love.

Lift this blindfold,let me see again.

If there was one thing he believed, it was that the morning after his surgery he would feel the best he had ever felt in a long, long while now. He would wake up fully energized on a beautiful morning and for once wouldn't mind rays of sunshine dragging him out of sleep because at least he could see them again.

What a letdown that was.

When Sasuke came out of his deep sleep, the brightness of the sun rays were not to blame. Quite humorously, it was a thunderstorm.

And although he was feeling groggy, that the back of his eyes stung terribly, and that his head was pounding up exceedingly, the first thing he became aware of was that he still could not see. It took him a moment more to realize that his lack of ability to see was not because of his blindness, but rather because there were bandages wrapped around his head, protecting his newly healed eyes.

Yet he did not feel angry. He did not feel impatient. He did not feel annoyed. No matter how much his expectations were not met, he did not feel disappointed. And why?

Because there, at his bedside, was a someone sleeping and holding his hand. That person, he knew, was no other than Sakura.

After all, who else had hair that smelled like her name?

"Nnngh..." he heard her moan, her delicate hand squeezing his larger one. He knew she was waking when he heard the sheets on his bed shuffling, no doubt from her attempts at moving away her arms and head from the mattress. Another groan left her lips, then a small mutter about how she knew she shouldn't have fallen asleep in that position since she could get a kink in the neck.

"You stayed." His voice was still a little hoarse from sleep.

From the way her hand immediately dropped his and the sound of something falling to the floor, he knew he'd caught her way off guard.

"Sasuke-kun!" she exclaimed, clearly embarrassed. "I didn't know you were awake."

She shuffled around to pick up whatever she had knocked off to the floor, and from the sound of sharp clangs, he guessed it was a vase or something made of glass. He hummed a little in amusement, but it went unnoticed by the preoccupied girl.

"How are you feeling?" she then asked, sounding much closer than when she was sitting at his side. He felt her hands touch the sides of his head, rubbing gently, and he comprehended that she was towering over him. "Does it hurt when I do this?"


"Good," she replied, sounding content. "But you still haven't told me how you're feeling."

"Massive headache. Eyes are sore." He paused. "Quite dazed, also."

She acquiesced quietly, taking her hands away from him. "That's normal," she reassured. "The foggy state of mind is more from the anesthesia which hasn't completely worn off yet, and the headache is probably from your brain having taken up so much in such short time. Not to mention the sudden reactivation of dead nerves and such." She made a noise that sounded like she was thinking. "I guess it's a good thing we bandaged your eyes! Your headache would have been an unbearable migraine if you eyes had to suddenly take up tons of visual information, something they haven't done in about two years now."

"When can I take them off?" he asked, pushing his groggy body up so he could sit upright on his hospital bed. "When can I get out of this place?"

She laughed, but it was lighthearted and was not aimed at him. "Don't be so eager, Sasuke-kun," she told him. "Your eyes still need to rest for a day. Now if you take these," she handed him a few pills and a bottle of water, "your headache will go away in no time and you can go back to sleep."

Sakura watched as he took the medication and chugged all the water, and when he handed the empty bottle she gladly grabbed it from his hands. As she pushed him down on his bed, she laughed when she saw him scowl, but the fact he didn't fight against her made her smile.

"I'll leave you to rest then," the pinkette murmured, grabbing the medical coat hanging on the chair she had been sleeping moments before. "I've got papers to fill in anyway. Better finish them before Tsunade-shishou scolds me." She smiled and laughed at her own words.

"Sleep well, Sasuke-kun," she said, while she turned to leave. As she made her way out the room, although, she heard him call her name. She turned, saying, "yes?"

"...I'll see you tomorrow."

There was a double meaning there, she knew. She smiled. "Of course, Sasuke-kun."

Like a super nova, that old life is over.

I'm here to stay.

"Alright, alright, calm down," he grumbled, picking up the blanket full of hair, amongst other dirty speckles, from the young kitten's basket. He draped it over one arm and made his way into the laundry room, sighing as the meowing fur ball followed him closely, rubbing its head on his feet when he settled the blanket on top of the counter.

"Lay off," he warned sternly before gently pushing away the kitten from his feet. "You're not making it easier by getting in the way."

But a sigh passed his lips when the black youngling jumped up on his leg and hung from the material with its claws. He meowed up loudly, but he dared not follow his way up. "Good to know you've learned your lesson about climbing people," he muttered, carefully picking up the kitten from his leg and settling him down on his shoulder. "There. Now stop whining," he said, obviously annoyed.

And while it nuzzled his neck, tenderly licked his hair, and purred up a storm, Sasuke told himself he didn't feel warm and fuzzy inside, and that he certainly hadn't liked the given affection. After all, he was a man's man. And a man's man would never, in any case, actually admit to himself (much less to anyone) that a kitten too cute for words would melt his heart. (EVEN IF IT'S JUST A LITTLE, GOT IT?)

After throwing all the laundry in the washing machine and putting detergent the way Sakura taught (to measure, mind you) him to, he turned it on and walked out to make his way to his bedroom. When the young feline started playing and chewing off the ends of his bandages, Sasuke took him off his shoulders and put him on the bed. He himself collapsed on it moments after and breathed out heavily, happy to finally be able to rest in his own comfortable bed.

Closing his eyes, he emptied his mind of everything, concentrating more on breathing at an even, slow pattern. It was a trick his mother had taught him when he was little. She told him that if he just thought and listened to his own breathing, he would eventually just lull himself to sleep. It had never failed him when in a stabilized state of mind, but it was an entirely different story when it came to nights where the demons of his past haunted him.

When he felt small, damp nose rub his cheek and a tiny furry paw on his forehead, his lips quirked a bit on one side. He tugged him off the pillow, and the kitty made a sound of protest before he jumped on Sasuke's chest and trotted up to his neck. When he made himself comfortable in the crook between his shoulder and his throat, he meowed pleasantly before he quickly dozed off from the heat. Sasuke huffed a little, clearly amused, but he made no effort to push the kitten away. That little fur ball had gotten him quite fond anyway, so it was not to say he wasn't enjoying any of the affection that it was giving him.

So Sasuke closed his eyes, and—

Tock, tock.

He let out a frustrated groan at the sound. Could he not have peace, for one day? Let alone a few hours? He'd just come out of the hospital four hours ago.

Reluctantly, and quite grudgingly, Sasuke pulled himself off the bed in a leisurely fashion, taking the time and great care of putting the long haired kitten on the bed before he stood on his feet. The kitten, obviously perturbed to have been awoken from sleep in such short time, meowed in protest and followed alongside Sasuke until he reached the end of the bed.

Sasuke vaguely muttered something to the kitten as he passed before he walked out the room, leaving the kitten crying for help since he was still too small and scared to jump off the bed at his age. But he ignored, telling himself that if he really wanted to join him, he would find a way to get off. He had to learn how sometime, didn't he?

"Who is it?" Sasuke called out, making his way towards the entrance of the mansion.

"It's me!" the reply came, from a voice that was all too familiar to the dark haired man. He needn't ask furthermore questions—he knew who it was.

He opened the door to his house, his frown hidden by his bandages. "What are you doing here, Sakura?"

"The hospital called me." She sounded quite discontent, he noticed. "Seriously, Sasuke? You couldn't even wait another four hours before breaking out of the hospital?" she exclaimed, exasperated yet worried. "I told you to rest! It's not safe to walk around blind and still under the effects of anesthesia."

"I had reasons," the man replied, crossing his arms.

"Like what?" she asked, rolling her eyes. "The bed wasn't comfortable enough? We have pillows for that, you know!"

She saw his mouth tighten, a sign of his growing frustration, but just as he opened his mouth to reply, the sound of a querulous fur bundle caught both their attention. As the noise registered fully in her mind, Sakura became completely shell-shocked. Her mouth dropped open a bit, revealing that she was evidently caught off guard. Is it possible that Sasuke didn't flee from the hospital for his own well-being but for

"Might as well come in before he runs out," Sasuke muttered, interrupting her train of thought as he opened the door wider for her. A silent and incoherent curse left his lips when she entered his home slowly, the doe-like expression still present on her features. As if she still hadn't registered the situation properly. A heavy sigh passed Sasuke's lips when the cries continued, and he left Sakura's side to fetch the kitten demanding his attention.

This wasn't exactly the way he imagined Sakura finding out that he was caring for the kitten they'd found together. He had been pretty secretive and furtive when it came to this matter. It wasn't like he was ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone—it was really just how they would give him complete hell if they found out. It wasn't exactly everyday that someone heard he actually had the heart to take in a poor, helpless animal and keep it, nonetheless. Especially after his return.

Feeling the kitten rub itself on his leg and meowing loudly, Sasuke reached down and scooped his neonate pet with one hand. The fact that he fit entirely in the palm of his hand always made Sasuke aware of how small he really was.

When the kitten started wobbling his way around, he brought his hand to his chest as to make sure the young one wouldn't fall off if he made a wrong footing. When frightened cries started, two fingers brushed his furry head reassuringly, quieting him down.

Heat was building up at the back of his neck as he felt the weight of Sakura's gaze on him. He was completely unprepared to have her finding out, and it also made him quite uneasy to have her watch him be so delicate with the small feline. So to shrug off the awkwardness, he made his way towards her with the kitten purring against him, clearing his tight throat when he was two steps away.

"Sakura," he started, sounding a bit uncomfortable, "this is Kei."



Her mind kept reeling back to a few weeks back, wondering if this was the little kitten they had both saved, the same little bundle Sasuke had firmly told her he wouldn't keep. And if so, what could have possibly changed his mind?

"Kei?" the girl questioned back, voice quivering. "You named him?"

Sasuke's lips quirked on one side, clearly amused. "What was I supposed to do? Call him 'cat' for the remainder of his life?"

No matter how much it shocked her, his lighthearted and teasing reply warmed her heart and lifted her mood. She smiled and giggled. "No. Maybe 'annoying', though."she replied in the same tone, while she closed the door behind herself. It didn't take a moment more for her to realize she was flirting with him.

"That one's for you."

She saw a flicker of a smirk. Oh my god, was he flirting back?

Unable to suppress the toothy smile that burst at her lips, she asked, "did you just make a joke?"

"No," he replied, that hint of a smirk still forever present.

Her smile widened, undoubtedly delighted with his humorous state. Well after all, who wouldn't be after such events? He was going to get his sight back!

Sasuke, meanwhile, stepped closer to her so they were almost sharing the same heat. She couldn't see his expression the more he stepped closer, as he stepped in the shadows of the room, but there was a certain feeling in the air that, for a moment, made her feel nervous.

The memories about the last time he had been this close to her before the hospital flooded to her thoughts.

(the dilapidated garden. the dirt on his clothes soiling hers. his hands cradling her head.

...his mouth on her own.)

A blush crept to her cheeks as he took her hand, and she swallowed the lump in her throat, watching him carefully, yet coyly. Although any thoughts of his supposed romantic intentions vanished when he led that hand to the fluffy black bundle sitting on his own. Her stomach dropped when she saw the kitten turn its head to look at her with the most beautiful pair of blue eyes she had ever seen.

Sapphire, she thought tenderly. Sapphire colored eyes.

With utmost affection, she caressed the little one's fur time and time again. A gentle smile curled at her lips when Kei responded happily, purring and rubbing its head on her head the second she would stop stroking him.

She was unaware that Sasuke was surprised upon hearing his pet's response. Usually, Kei was very timid around things he didn't know. He was a shy boy, afraid of anything or anyone new. He knew this because of the time he had brought him to the pet clinic for a checkup—Kei had been a nightmare to keep calm. He had freaked out at the littlest object or living being remotely approaching him. So for the little kitten to react so happily and comfortably towards was strange.

"Kei... it means lucky, right?" the girl questioned softly, snapping him out of his thoughts.

Sasuke blinked, face reverting to its passive phase. "Hn."

She smiled at him, warm and appreciative, something he was aware of as he had felt it. "It's nice," she said, scratching the youngling's ear lightly. "It fits him."

"...Hn." Sasuke's expression softened, and she took full notice of it. He had known what she meant.

(yes, he was lucky. lucky they had found him, lucky they had brought him home. lucky Sasuke took care of his every need.)

"Why did you keep him?" Sakura asked, almost naturally reaching to touch his forearm gently with her free hand. He didn't flinch when she did. "You told me you wouldn't keep him. What changed your mind?"

A sigh left his lips, then, but it was not one of aggravation. It was one that slightly amused her, because it was a sigh that reveled he knew the question was bound to come up. One that told her he had been expecting her to ask this specific question.

Yet no matter how much he expected it, no matter how much he had thought about what to answer, the words he had prepared for her seemed to vanish when he looked into those forest eyes again.

"A simple reason," he answered lowly. Captivated. He stroked Kei's fur thoughtfully, and affectionately, even. "I thought that maybe it would..." He stopped momentarily, looked away while struggling to find the right word to say next. "," he continued quietly, still not looking at her, "to take care of something in return." His tone was modest. Humble. "That it could do some good to me."

"That's very considerate of you, Sasuke-kun."

A silence took place, and all that was heard was the kitten's purring for a while. Sakura kept on stroking the kitten, but she would steal glances at Sasuke once or twice, a light blush staining her cheeks. Sasuke would remain quiet, but there was no mistaking the tenderness in his expression.

"You did a great job, Sasuke-kun," she suddenly said, breaking the silence. "He's very healthy."

"Is he?" he questioned back softly, sounding relieved. "I... can't tell."

A whirlwind of affection came swirling through her, filling her stomach with butterflies, and she laughed in a manner that sounded so heartwarming that he almost couldn't help himself from smiling. Strangely, Sakura felt it so fitting for Sasuke to be so concerned for Kei's well-being.

"Yes," she affirmed, cupping his cheek with a delicate hand and urging him to look at her. "Yes he is, Sasuke-kun. So very, very healthy." She smiled and threw her head back, laughing out of complete joy. "It is so astonishing!" she exclaimed, leaning over so she was eye level with the kitten. She kissed its head and took him from Sasuke's hand, bringing him to her chest and cuddling it lovingly. "You're amazing, Sasuke-kun!"

A hand then caught her free wrist, and her heart jumped in surprise, cheeks heating up as she noticed the strange emotion marring his face. One that was there when he...

"Sakura," he murmured, closing his eyes, "take off these bandages."

"I—what?" she stuttered, cheeks reddening even more.

"Take them off," he repeated quietly, and so, so longingly.

"I don't think it's a good idea, I mean your eyes—"

"Sakura," he interrupted softly. "Don't make me beg."

There was a feeling in his voice, something she was too familiar with. She couldn't quite believe she would see it coming through Sasuke.

(desperation. plead. complete and utter need to—)

"...okay," she replied a breath. "Okay, fine."

Gently, she put Kei down on the floor, giving him a final stroke before she straightened herself up to look at Sasuke again. The medic took a deep breath. With shaking hands, she reached behind his head in search of the pins holding the bandages in place, not failing to notice Sasuke's lips thinning in a firm line when he felt her trembling limbs.

"I'm nervous," she whispered to him. "I'm nervous of what will happen when I take these off." She wanted to go on, but a shaky laughter interrupted her next words. Then she found the pins. "But I trust you, Sasuke-kun. I trust you."

The second she took the pins off, two hands caught her wrists in a hold that was tight, but not enough to hurt her. She caught her breath in her throat, her heart skipping a few beats when he pulled her in so close that their noses were almost touching. His warm breath fanned her lips, and she realized his breathing was as unsteady as hers.

"Thank you," he whispered. ...for trusting me.

Her eyes softened.

With one slow tug of her fingers, the bandages fell off and she was met with the sight of his deep onyx eyes. And although they still looked sore, the moonlight reflecting on them made Sakura think they had never looked more beautiful than now.



It hurt.

It hurt, but goddamnit he couldn't bring it himself to care about that. Pain was plowing up through his mind like crazy, so much he thought he might just faint if it were any stronger, but how could he possibly pay attention to that when he could see again...? How could he possibly care about all that pounding pain when the sight of the woman before him sent his heart soaring with emotion.

God, how he missed her.

Her name slipped past his lips almost breathlessly. "Sakura..."

But she'd barely heard him say it. She was too caught up, too wonderstruck by those onyx eyes. Ones she used to dream about all the time, before all the betrayals. Ones she once loved so much, but couldn't remember why before now.

How could she have ever forgotten the reason why? How could she have ever forgotten how perfectly safe those eyes made her feel? How could she?

Her fingers brushed his temples gently, while she gazed in amazement and wonder at those eyes. And he was staring back at her, the hands on her wrists moving up to hold her forearms, his eyes burning into hers with an intensity that terrified her.

Because what was held in those dark pools was forever found in hers when in his presence.

No, her mind whispered. That's not possible. You're imagining things. Her eyes slipped shut, and she pushed herself away from him hastily, as if the very touch of his skin burned hers. You're just trying to comfort yourself into thinking he might return your feelings one day.

"S-Sorry," she stammered, taking several steps back. "I... I didn't mean to stare," she finished quietly, shamefully. "I didn't want to make you uncomfortable." Because that's what happened, right? That's what you were really feeling... right?


"Why did you kiss me?"

She regretted ever asking the question the moment she saw Sasuke's entire posture stiffening, obviously taken aback.

(though she would never know it was because he was truly surprised she was asking him this question. that he thought she knew specifically why he'd kissed her.)

Just as the dark haired man opened his mouth, she made a strange sound and raised a hand to stop him. "You know what—Nevermind. Don't answer that," she went on, cringing.

She saw him take a single step forward. Hesitant.

A bitter smile crossed her face. "I should have known," she murmured. "Gosh, I am such an idiot. I should have known not to get my hopes up." The pain was shown clearly in her eyes, and it was something she knew Sasuke had picked up on. She wasn't going to put it past him, even after he'd just gained his sight back minutes ago. "I told myself you only did it because you wanted to please me. Because it was your way of thanking me." A laugh tore out of her mouth, but it wasn't happy. It was acrimonious. Doleful. "And I was right! I was so r—"

Her breath was knocked out of her lungs, then, as she was roughly pushed against the wall behind her. A pair of muscular arms imprisoned her, immobilized her every moment. She was left shell-shocked to stare at his face, unable to breathe. His face depicted something dark, but nothing really frightening. It looked as though he had grown impatient, or aggravated even.

But the moment she opened her mouth, Sasuke snarled, "just shut up, Sakura."

She had no time to think of any reply after that. And why? Because the very moment after he'd said those words, he cupped her face with both hands and slanted his lips over hers in a searing kiss. One far different from the one he'd given her before.

This one was passionate, harsh. Overpowering. He was taking, taking and taking. Again and again. He was stealing the breath from her lungs, gripping her possessively, crushing his frame against her own. His lips were aggressive on hers, bruising even. Selfish. It was nothing like the gentle brush of lips in the garden. In this kiss, he was trying to make a point.

And she understood. She understood.

(so when he pulled away, she knew what he was going to ask.)

"Do you get it now?" he asked, nearly breathless.

His gaze was smoldering. Heated. It sent shivers down her spine, and shook her to her very core. "...yes," she whispered, tightening the hold she just realized she had on his shoulders.

And then he kissed her again, to which she responded, just as wholeheartedly. It was softer, this time, but still so damn passionate. The hands gripping the side of her face had loosened to caress instead of possess. It sent her heart soaring into her chest, and the world around them became a blur. But their bodies were still pressed just as tightly together, as if never wanting to part—it was impossible to find any space between them.

Her arms came to wrap themselves around his back, wanting to pull him even closer. One of his hands moved to the back of her head, and he angled himself to kiss her even deeper. She then pulled at his shirt, groaning in his mouth, wanting to get closer, closer, closer...

When their breaths became heavy, a need also grew stronger and stronger between them. Clothes became obstacles, the room grew hot, and they found themselves stumbling into his bedroom. Slowly, the obstacles were diminished, piece by piece. But that heat never went away. That passion never faded. They kissed and stroked and nipped and touched with everything they had and felt.

Everything felt so right. Everything was right.

(that night, they finally became one.)

I found the strength inside to see, found the better part of me,

& I'll never let it go.

She kept her distance from him when they walked.

It wasn't because she was reluctant to be with him, or because the situation was still a shock. No, it was because she didn't know what was going on between them. Did Sasuke want this—whatever this was—to be official? Or did he want to keep quiet?

She didn't know. So she gave him space.

Sasuke is so confusing, sometimes, she thought to herself. I just don't know what he wants. Or what he thinks, for that matter.

Like this morning. She thought everything would have been settled after they'd woken up, that everything would have been made clear. But the thing is, they didn't have much of a morning. She woke up to a bed with an empty space beside her, which didn't really surprise her too much (he was an early riser...) but the second she had put her hand on the doorknob, the door opened, making her stumble back in surprise. And there was Sasuke, looking a bit surprised himself. He then proceeded to tell in that Kakashi was just at the door—they had training.

Which led to them to now. Walking to the training grounds.

And they hadn't said a word ever since they left.

"Sasuke-kun, I—"

"SAKURA-CHANNN!" a voice they both knew oh too well boomed. "SASUKE-TEME!"

Her eyes narrowed in disappointment, something Sasuke didn't fail to catch, but it quickly disappeared when she smiled at the oncoming blonde boy and greeted him. "Ohayo, Naruto! It's good to see you're in a good mood."

Naruto laughed in return before throwing him arms around her in a hug. "I'm always in a good mood, Sakura-chan!"

"Hmm, of course, how could I forget?" She smiled again, patting his back.

When Naruto pulled back, although, she couldn't help but to burst out laughing at his expression. To say he was shocked would be a horrible understatement.

"OH MY GOD," he shouted, jumping back in surprise. "TEME, YOU CAN SEE AGAIN! ?"

Sasuke huffed in amusement and smirked, nodding confidently. "Had surgery," he flatly said.

"WHAT? WHEN?" But before Sasuke could even reply, Naruto took off in the opposite direction, screaming, "KAKASHI-SENSEI, SASUKE'S NOT A MOLE ANYMORE!"

The pink haired woman at his side giggled, evidently amused by what Naruto had called him. She shook her head and tucked a lock of hair behind her ears, the warm smile forever present.

Then he remembered...


She turned to look at him, smile dissipating, only to be replaced by bemused features. "Hm? What is it, Sasuke-kun?"

"You wanted to say something before the idiot came in yelling."

She frowned, before she gave him a fake smile. "It's nothing, Sasuke-kun. It's fine."

Now it was his turn to frown. "Don't do that," he growled. "Don't lie to me."

Sakura swallowed, cursing at his ability to read her so perfectly in her mind. "Sasuke-kun, now is not the right time to—"

He cut her off by grasping her chin tenderly with two fingers, urging her to look at him. "Sakura," he warned softly. "What's wrong?"

Her gaze locked itself with his, pleading, but confused.

"What are we, Sasuke? What is this?" she whispered, voice revealing she was so completely, utterly lost.

He frowned. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, are we together? Are we—"

"I thought we settled this yesterday."

She stayed silent, for a moment. Thinking.

"Sasuke, I don't know how this works for you. I don't know what last night meant to you exactly."

Unfortunately, the moment he opened his mouth he was interrupted by his best friend shouting again. "Guys! What are you staying here for! ? Training's gonna be over there!"

"Naruto, settle down," their former sensei said, patting the knuckleheaded boy on the shoulder. "Didn't you see they were having a conversation?"

Sasuke looked at Kakashi, then at Naruto, and then finally at Sakura. He gave her a light, gentle smile, one that everybody caught. Sakura, bemused, gave him a look full of confusion, before feeling Sasuke's hand discreetly, and almost shyly reaching for her own. Her mouth dropped open slowly, and her breath cut itself short because there was no way Naruto and Kakashi didn't catch that.


"...well then."


"...are you two...?"

"OH MY G—"

"Naruto, shut up!" Sasuke finally snapped, whacking him upside the head with one quick movement. "And yes, Kakashi. We are."

Although, the hit didn't seem to faze Naruto. The boy simply proceeded to point dramatically at them, mouth wide open.


Rubbing his forehead with his free hand, Sasuke groaned. "Because this happened yesterday, you dope."

Next thing the pair knew, Naruto had lounged at them. They both stumbled back from the surprise tackle, and while Sakura laughed when he wrapped his arms around them both, Sasuke was only left scowling and trying to shove him off.


"Get off, you loser!"


"Naruto, that's a bit tight..."


"The fu—GET OFF!"


"Kakashi! Help?"



Five minutes later, they managed to get Naruto off of them. Kakashi hadn't even lifted a finger to help.

"Seriously, what is wrong with you?" Sasuke spat, rubbing his sore neck.

"So-rry!" the blonde huffed back. "I was just happy for you guys. It's really great to see you finally ending up together."

"I admit, I was beginning to worry," Kakashi piped in, flipping a page of his orange book. "But I am happy to see you have finally come to terms with your hormones." His singular eye shone with special happiness. "Congratulations to you both."

"Hn." Sasuke smirked. "This doesn't get you out of our deal. You and I have unfinished business, remember?"

Snapping his book shut, Kakashi looked at his raven haired student curiously. "Are you sure you want to do this now? You've only just gotten your sight back, Sasuke."

"He can take you on," Sakura reassured, grinning triumphantly. She gave the hand she was holding a tight squeeze, her eyes softening when she caught Sasuke's appreciative look.


The gray haired man lifted the Konoha Leaf headband from his hidden eyes and stepped into the clearing, putting away his little orange book. "You know you're going to lose, right?" he casually commented as he watched Sasuke step into the clearing. "You've been out of practice for a long time."

"Heh," the young man huffed back, smirking arrogantly. "We'll see about that."



Sasuke turned to look at the woman he held feelings for, noticing her wide, tender smile full of happiness and utter joy. He watched as she winked and laughed, giving him a thumbs up, and he gave her a look of complete fondness that only she understood. She returned it with an understanding smile.

When he looked back at his former teacher, Sasuke smirked confidently, feeling his blood pumping in fierce adrenaline.

"Let's get this started."

Sakura cheering him on, supporting him, believing he was good all along, and always confident in his skills—that was what drove him to believe he was best.

That was what drove him to believe he was enough.

The look on your face

is delicate.

Done! Wow, this took so long... this should have been out way earlier, but there were a lot of times where for a couple weeks I felt too down to write more than a sentence or two. Which sucked. Then when I'd get better I'd have a lot of plans and wouldn't have too much time to write.

At least it's out now, you know! It's been a year, I know... gah! Sorry! But at least it's like the longest chapter I've probably ever written, and it has QUALITY BABY! And it's post-canon. And IC. Like, come on, you forgive me right?

Oh, and yes I did dare to add a kitten in there. I know some of you were probably thrown off by it or not liking the idea, but I thought it would give Sasuke more humanity, and it would show that he's done progress. It was kind of a way for me to show he was getting better, and was starting to show his compassionate side openly. Plus, Sasuke likes cats better than dogs anyway, so I thought it'd be sweet for him to have a companion in his lonely house. Ya know, before Sakura moves in. ;)

Teehee! Not joking. :D

I really hope you liked it, I worked SUUUUPER hard on it!

On a side note, I'd like to give a shout-out to with blue roses, because she's a total sweetheart and makes me smile&laugh. I'm totally loving the lovely conversations we're having. Also, her stories are so very fantastic, so it'd be cool if you checked her out. I'm in love with her new story Turbulence. It hit home for me. Love you, hun, don't ever change! xox