Sorry, sorry! It's been forever, I know. I'll leave all the author note stuff at the bottom so you can start reading.

How she survived yet another long hospital shift was beyond her because every time she stumbled home, Sakura was absolutely positive her body wouldn't survive one more day of paperwork and standing and running and healing. She rubbed at her neck in exhaustion. At least her bed was waiting. Just the idea of lying horizontally nearly made her pick up her painstakingly slow pace. She glanced pitifully at her aching feet. Nearly.

Just a few more streets. Just a few more streets. The echo of her feet plodding across the ground seemed to be the only sound she could hear. With some concentration, she could make out her little shallow breaths. Where was everyone?

It was so dark. And cold. Her neck felt bare against the chill. Unthinkingly, she smoothed down her hair. For the first time in years, it was above her shoulders. It was new, but she kind of missed it long. Sasuke liked it longer.

She shook her head.

How late was it? The walk home seemed to be taking forever. Her feet were moving slower than the lugs of her heart. Her breath curled in white wisps against the darkness. When she was alone like this, she couldn't deny the emptiness within her.

You're better off.

Was she so sure? Because above the healing and mending and readjusting and rediscovering was this thick, heavy nothingness in her chest. It was distracting. And bothersome.

You willingly left him. Don't complain about loneliness.

But he could fix it, couldn't he? He could fill that void—

She shook her head.

Sighing deeply, she rubbed at her temples. What she would give to have this man out of her head.

And then suddenly, he was there, in her path. It was too late to turn around. It was too late for this.

Crossing her arms, she shifted her weight to her right foot which seemed slightly less sore than the other. "It really couldn't wait until daylight?"

"I can't reach you during the day. You work a lot."

Silence swept between them, prickling Sakura's skin as she waited for something—anything really that wasn't this drained, sad look that pulled at his face. It was odd to see misery gaunt the features of a face that had been void of any emotion but anger for years. Unsettling, almost, in the way it stirred something within her. She waited for him to speak through this eternal moment, all the while, those penetrating eyes of his intently searched her face.

"What is it?"

He spoke, and his voice was hoarse, his eyes accusing. "You left me alone."

"Because you erased me! I feel like a fucking broken record trying to explain this to you!" Her heart returned to its normal pace before she spoke again, softer. "I've already made a lot of progress Sasuke. I can't go back. Not now, not ever." She had barely finished speaking before she felt his hands grip her arms and watched as desperation clutched at his throat, stealing his words. "Sakura—" There they were, all the emotions he had smothered over the past two years brewing tumultuously behind his breaking face.

Why did she feel so alarmed?

Slowly, intoxicatingly slow, one hand slid up her shoulder and gently held her face. She only hesitated for a moment before she leaned into the touch. "I can't—" he sighed heavily. "I can't keep living without you."

She looked into his eyes and it was like four years had never passed and he was the man who poked her sides to hear her laugh and who carried her home after a double shift and who installed window blinds on the skylight so she could sleep. Her Sasuke.

She shook her head. No. "Leave me alone." the waver in her voice only increased her panic.

But then she was in his arms and his presence was swallowing her and her resistance melted. Because it was Sasuke. Sasuke. "Please Sakura." He whispered and it vibrated throughout her entire body. His fingers were on her temple, on her chin, on her lips, persuading, persuading. "We belong together. We belong to each other. You should be with the one you love."

Sakura took a step back and ripped herself from the words she was beginning to believe, her cheeks still warmed from his fingers. She would say these words slowly and carefully so that he could feel their full effect and could not read the lie in them. "I hate you."

"Don't lie Sakura." His smirk shook her. The sensation of his fingertips on her face sent cold streams of dread down her spine where they pooled in her stomach. But she liked it. "You still love me." His grip on her face was tight—she couldn't escape. She didn't want to escape. Inches away, his lips dangled before her and she unwillingly fell into them, tears staining her cheeks, dropping onto his hand. Sobbing and soaring: it hurt. Why did she still love him? Why did she still love him?

The bed sheets were twisted around her limbs and her quickened breath matched the rapid beating in her chest. Sweat slicked down the loose hairs floating around her face. Her hand gingerly probed her cheek. A dream. Like the others. Deep calming breaths swirled in her chest. A dream.

Sakura glared tiredly around the chestnut armoire. "Ino, you're not even lifting."

Ino shot her a glare to match. "Sakura, you're freakishly strong. Besides, I'm here more for emotional support."

"Oh right, how could I forget. Now could you channel some of that emotional support into your arms and lift this please?" Reluctantly, Ino hoisted her side higher as the pair carefully climbed the stairs.

"It's finally cool enough that I can go outside without my hair frizzing and you are forcing me to do physical labor. Ugh." Sakura rolled her eyes. "Friends help each other move Ino. It's a thing."

"Friends don't cause friends to herniate a disk." Ino groaned through gritted teeth as the weight of the furnishing was shifted in Sakura's attempt to open the door of the stairwell. Bent over, they scuttled into her apartment and dropped their load with a tired grunt. Ino's moan persisted as she slumped against the furniture and slid dramatically to the ground, managing to turn onto her back before sprawling her limbs across the floor. Sakura observed her, partially annoyed yet partially attuned to the behavior.

"You know, if he was in town, Naruto would've jumped to help me."

Ino's hands became puppets as she mimicked Sakura in a high-pitched tone. "Naruto-this, Naruto-that. Naruto's such a good friend; Naruto is so loyal, blah blah blah." She turned onto her stomach, propping her head up on her wrist. "You'd think he was your only friend the way you talk."

"I'm sorry; Naruto helped me get me this apartment amongst other things. What have you done for me lately?"

Gesturing to the various boxes and furnishings spread across the room, she huffed in surprise. "Um, hello? Who has been carrying your stuff all day?"

Shaking her head tiredly, Sakura rummaged through bags in search of provisions. "Ino, you've carried a grand total of three boxes. Two of which contained pillows and blankets. Naruto would've at least moved a few more than that before he started complaining." Victorious, she extracted two water bottles and a bag of chips from the heap of belongings piled in the corner. The chips were ripped from her hands in seconds. And of course, because Ino wasn't one to stick to etiquette in the presence of her friends, she continued the conversation despite the food overtaking her mouth.

"Whatever. Three boxes are better than none. You should be grateful I'm even here at all." Sakura smiled slightly at Ino's hair flip and playfully haughty tone before gradually falling silent, blankly gazing at the dingy carpet.

Brushing the crumbs off her fingers, Ino propped herself on her elbow and watched Sakura unthinkingly smooth a strip of hair. It was easy to guess where her thoughts were from the way her brow wrinkled. "Still thinking about him, I see."

Relunctantly, Sakura nodded and sighed. Her eyes trailed to the window. "I wonder how he is sometimes." All the time. His desperate eyes from her dreams studied her whenever she left her brain to wander. And so she wouldn't.

She pushed off the couch, grabbing the discarded bag and empty bottles as she made her way to the kitchen. "Enough talking; break's over, let's get back to work." Ino's groan resounded through the room.

"I cannot move another muscle." Sakura stood above her, watching her in mock contempt. "You are pathetic." She grabbed her hands, pulling her up. "Come on, we only have a few more things left."

Ino glared at Sakura's exiting back. "Of course, by 'a few' you mean two dozen boxes and a bed." An angry huff of air blew her bangs away from her face before she grudgingly followed.

Fall passed in bursts of busyness amid sprawling lengths of dormancy. For a span of time, there would be an influx of patients or a new technique to teach the medic nins or some type of managerial crisis to handle. And then, as suddenly as it appeared, the task would be gone and she would be thrust back into a state of listless boredom.

For the seventeenth time that hour, Sakura looked at the clock across the room and sighed. Her shift didn't start for another 15 minutes, the book currently splayed across her chest couldn't hold her attention, and visually tracing the patterns in the wood grain seemed like the most interesting thing at the moment. She flopped onto her stomach, pressing her face into the couch.

Idleness was the enemy. Idleness led to thinking which led to questioning which led to doubt which always led to Sasuke. She was convinced that, subconsciously, her mind was intentionally drawing all things back to him because the lingering pain somehow made her feel less—empty. It was wrong and unhealthy, she knew, but she couldn't stop the thoughts. It was like prodding at a bruise. And with enough prodding, she would begin asking herself the insidious questions that provided the raw material for her dream-nightmares. So she just wouldn't think altogether. Foolproof. She sighed. How much longer, she wondered, would he remain at the back of her mind like that, seeping into her thoughts at whim?

Her eyes flickered back to the clock and instantly brightened. "Finally!" the promise of busyness propelled her off the couch and into her gray tweed coat. As she tucked stray hairs under her black woven hat, she almost wanted to laugh at how ridiculous she was; what kind of person eagerly marches toward a 10 hour shift?

The walk to the hospital was short—ten minutes at a normal pace, eight when the chilled wind cut through her coat and urged her forward. Just enough time to sketch a rough agenda for the day and think of miscellaneous activities to fill gaps, if there were any. After her usual rounds, maybe she'd get a head start on floor evaluations. But then she wouldn't have anything to do next week. Perhaps, personal reviews? Even those were periodic and were split into manageable groups. She could do one group of workers in only two hours or so. When did it become so hard to find work to do?

"Excuse me? Could I—"

She addressed the blurry male contour to her side without breaking stride. "I'm not looking to buy anything right now."

"Oh, I'm not a vendor. I just wanted to know if I could walk with you." She stopped walking.

He was too soft-spoken for a man of his stature, Sakura decided as she appraised the man who had interrupted her internal planning. Aged around 26, give or take a year. Toolbelt, working boots. Tall frame, angled jaw. Probably considered attractive. Light brown hair due for a cut that hung in his eyes. Eyes that seemed—excited. Which made her nervous.

Her wariness was caught immediately and the stranger moved to remedy the situation. "I'm Ryo. My team's been working on a building near the hospital for the past few weeks and I usually end up walking behind you." When she studied his outstretched hand for a wary moment before shaking it, he added warmly, "I'm not a creep." Oh, well when he put it like that, how could she not trust him? It was hard not to automatically roll her eyes. She'd been around Ino too much.

"Nice to meet you Ryo. I'm Sakura." She continued walking with this strange tall man occupying her thinking time. When he didn't speak after five beats of silence has passed, she figured she'd get the ball rolling.

"Well, if you're not going to sell me anything, how can I help you then Ryo?" she watched him scratch behind his ear as he smiled nervously.

"I wanted to know if you'd be interested in grabbing lunch some time." Lunch? Why would she—and then all at once, the confusion dissipated and Sakura realized, quite embarrassedly, that he was asking her on a date. Like normal people did.

Watching the various emotions rapidly flash across her face, Ryo quickly modified his request. "I understand if you don't want to. I figured I might be jumping the gun asking you this early but I really wanted to beat the crowd." He laughed quietly, continuing when he saw the question in her eyes. "I used to see you around sometimes with that guy you were with. I heard you were single now and I figured I'd try and get a date in before the lines started forming."

It was hard to discern one complete thought within the multitudes of half-formed questions streaming and crossing and colliding within her head. He heard she was single? From who? Was this widely discussed? Did everyone know? No, not everyone could possibly be talking about one incident from months ago. Right? Oh God. And what of the 'lines' and 'crowds'? Should she be flattered? Should she be concerned? What should she tell this guy? Did she want to go to lunch? Did she want to start dating? Did she want a relationship? What if he turns out like him? She shook her head in an attempt to reorient her mind. "Thanks for the offer Ryo but I'm not really looking for anything. I'm sorry."

He waved it off good-naturedly. "Don't worry about it. I get it. I've had a few bad breakups myself. There's no need to rush back in." Their footsteps dwindled into stillness in front of the hospital. What else was there to say? "Well, thanks for walking me here."

"No problem." he had a nice smile, she decided. Genuine. She smiled in return. "It was nice meeting you Ryo."

"Likewise." They shook hands again. "I hope I'm not overstepping any boundaries or anything but don't let yourself get hung up over bad blood, you know? There are plenty of guys in this village who'd love to take you out. Take care of yourself." He patted her shoulder.

She entered the hospital still in an odd state of confusion. She used the solitude of the elevator to reassess the conversation. Smiling softly, she considered his proposal. Dating would be interesting and new. However, she was nowhere near ready for it.

Ino however, thought differently. "Of course you're ready to start dating again. The water's warm, the fish are biting: time to jump back in the game." Ino stated, her matter-of-fact tone leaving no room for disagreement. "You're hesitant because you've been off the market for three years and you're afraid you don't remember how these things work—which is obviously true, seeing as how you describe a man as if you're filling out his physical examination." Hinata softly chuckled in agreement before Ino continued. "It'll come back with practice. Next thing you know, you'll be flirting and fake-laughing your way through dozens of dates like an old pro."

Having assembled the group at her apartment for TenTen's benefit, Sakura regretted saying anything about her early morning encounter now that Ino was set to twist the story into a psychoanalysis session. "I don't know. Going on dates is the last thing I want to do right now."

Ino laughed as she stood up from the ground, stretching before entering the kitchen. "You sound like a middle aged divorcee who hasn't dated anyone in 20 years."

"That's kind of what it feels like." Sakura mumbled.

Hinata smiled sympathetically. "Perhaps you need more time to yourself before you take on a new relationship."

"Who said anything about a relationship?" Ino called from the kitchen. "Being single is all about having a little fun and meeting people. Just some no-strings-attached socializing and a whirlwind of free meals. Harmless stuff."

"That sure sounds better than an emotion-oblivious, stubborn, jackass boyfriend." TenTen moaned bitterly into the carpet. Soothingly, Hinata stroked her hair.

"I know Neji can be difficult at times," TenTen snorted in protest, "but he really does care about you."

"On a scale from training to familial duty, where do I place?" she rolled onto her back, throwing an arm over her eyes. "Don't start dating again Sakura. Boys suck."

Returning with four bowls balancing on her arms, Ino stepped over TenTen's splayed limbs. "You know, there's really not enough room in here for you to be spread out like that." she shrugged off TenTen's growl as she placed a bowl of mint chip ice cream by her head. "Just saying. It's a bit dramatic. Why don't you sit up and eat your ice cream like big girl?"

"If you can mope and whine every time you gain three pounds, I think I'm allowed to lay on the ground when I break up with my boyfriend."

Ino scoffed out of the side of her mouth. "Just so you can get back together and break up again next week." Sakura sighed, settling into the couch cushions to watch the ensuing battle.

"I don't understand Tsunade-sama." Her fingers stopped shuffling papers and laced together above the jumbled white masses on her desk. "Like I said: I don't have any missions for you."

"Has no one requested a need for our services lately?" she sighed. This was becoming exhausting.

"No, I have plenty of missions. Just none for you." When there was no hint of realization and his silence became questioning, Tsunade sighed again. "You just returned from a three week long S-ranked mission yesterday. And while your eagerness is appreciated, it's not in your best interest, or mine, to send you out again so soon. I'd rather have you well rested and ready when I need you for an S-class mission rather than hospitalized for overexertion." Tsunade began amassing the sheets of paper into one individual 'do-later' pile. "So go home and rest. I'll probably have something for you in a few weeks."

A few weeks? As he spoke, Sasuke worked to keep the displeasure out of his voice. "What about short term missions?" Tsunade briefly looked up at him with impatience before answering with a measured tone. "Nothing at your level."

"That is not a concern."

"But it is to me. I don't need you wasting your time and energy on lower level missions when there are plenty of chunnin and genin who need to be paid too." The poorly masked irritation in her voice had become a well-developed annoyance at the point. It was no secret between the two that Tsunade harbored sour sentiments for Sasuke: it was nearly explicit at times. At least she did her best to keep their interactions as business-centered and professional as possible, mainly by never mentioning Sakura.

Pushing back from her desk with more force than necessary, Tsunade stood, placing her hands atop of the messy pile of paperwork as she appraised the young man before her. Sleeplessness shadowed his eyes; his skin seemed tighter around the neck. He was unhappy with her; she could see the way disapproval stiffened his frame. But he wouldn't continue to argue. He wasn't one for open defiance. It was Uchiha Sasuke after all.

"Go home. Get some sleep. Eat. Relax. Come back in a few days and I'll see what I can get for you."

A few days. The walk from the Hokage tower to his apartment was fraught with reluctance and, though he would've rather not admitted it, slight panic. A few days? Swiftly, the door was unlocked and the blank emptiness of his apartment rose before him like a citadel. He was surrounded. He felt stifled by it: the quiet that seeped along the floorboards and permeated the air. The apartment was purely practical; a space to sleep and store belongings. There was no need for aesthetics and decoration when he didn't plan to spend much time there. But now he had no choice. He would be trapped here.

He ate. Bathed. Cleaned. The only thing left to do was to finish his mission report. He stared with hesitance at the sheet before him, knowing that, after its completion, there would be nothing to stave off the deep chill of loneliness. He would only be able to sit in silence as the internal turmoil sunk into his heart and mind—clenching, gnawing, tearing. A draft seeped through the window frame and the chill sighed and settled into his bones. Looking at the glass as it shuddered in protest to the surge of wind, he sighed. To be freed of these emotions.

Only a quarter of the report was completed before the light above the small wooden table faltered once, twice, and then went out. The whir of the heater sputtered into silence. He knew there was an extra blanket in the closet and a flashlight beneath the sink; he could manage a powerless night. But at that moment, he could only think about how thick the darkness was, even with the faint, gray light from the windows. Moving quickly, he grabbed a sweater and his report and left the suffocating apartment.

Naruto still hated him, he knew, but his options for shelter were limited—limited to one. He would rather sit in silence being glared at than be subject to the influence of his dark apartment. That was, if Naruto even let him in at all. A grimace pulled at his face—partially from the cut of the wind, partially from annoyance at the prospect of being put out. Ten minutes passed and he was there, at the foot of the complex staring up at Naruto's apartment window. The lights of the television glowed incandescently against the glass. A chilled drop of rain fell onto his head, somehow deepening his frown.

"Sasuke?" from the way the voice jolted his chest, he knew who it belonged to before he looked towards the speaker. She stood a few careful feet away, her arms barely holding her thick blanket, pillow, and overnight bag. There was something about her stare, peeking over the jumble of belongings she held, that bothered him—familiar, yet different.

"Sakura." Saying her name aloud, after months of avoidance, felt like a sigh in his mouth but a wrench in his stomach. Sakura, Sakura, Sakura.

Her hair was shorter, skirting the nape of her neck and curling behind her ears. The heavy chill in the air rouged her cheeks, and her nose. He'd forgotten how beautiful she was.

When he didn't say more, she smiled politely in the silence, and then broke her gaze. What was she thinking about as she chewed at her lip, fidgeting? Making an excuse to leave? Thinking of what to say? Her eyes flickered to his face and away and then back again. And then he realized he was staring. He turned his focus back to the apartment and from the corner of eye, he watched her posture relax.

"Are you visiting Naruto?"

He shrugged. "My power went out." she nodded and gestured to the things spilling out of her arms. "Mine too. As soon as the girls left, everything shut off."

Hands in pockets, he stared at the ground to avoid staring at her. She picked at the edge of the blanket. They didn't speak.

Several rain drops dampened the ground and Sakura looked upwards at the swirling clouds. "Do you want to head up?" In response, he walked forward and held open the door as she maneuvered through the doorway with her load. They travelled up the stairs in silence, Sakura only muttering a 'thank you' when Sasuke relieved her of her belongings halfway up. He watched her now empty hands fiddle with the hem of her coat, wondering about the contents of her mind. As they reached the top of the stairs, he could see the way relief coursed through her.

It took two minutes of banging and screaming for Naruto to finally hear the noise over the blare of the TV and his snores. He opened the door, rubbing his eyes and yawning as he spoke. "Ne, Sakura keep your voice down before you disturb my neighbors." She promptly knocked the top of his head. "I wouldn't have to scream if you could hear like a normal person. How many times do I have to tell you not to turn your volume up so high? And why are you sleeping anyway? It's only 8 o'clock."

"I'm exhausted! Training with Lee is killing me." It was only after rubbing tenderly at his sore head that Naruto opened his eyes and caught sight of Sasuke standing behind Sakura. His pout faded into blankness, his eyes narrowed. Sakura laid a calming hand on his chest. "Sasuke's power went out."

"And so what?"

"And so, he doesn't have heat. And with the storm—"

"Did you expect to stay here you selfish piece of—" Sasuke matched Naruto's glare.

"Naruto." Sakura muttered quietly. "Just, be nice. Please." His grimace deepened. "For me?" After a few more moments of glaring, Naruto turned and reentered his apartment. Sakura sighed before following, Sasuke close behind.

He could feel Naruto's eyes on his back as he placed Sakura's things on the couch. Without a word, he turned the corner towards the dining room, situating himself at the small table. Through the door, he listened to her try and soothe Naruto with promises of homemade ramen. After a few moments of coaxing, he relented and they laughed together about some joke. How long had it been since he had heard her laugh? Sasuke did his best to swallow the nostalgia as he returned to his report. If he could focus, he wouldn't be moved by something as trivial as laughter.

At this point in the mission, a potential compromise to my task revealed itself. The town leader caught wind of a possible breach in security and relocated the target. Four guardsmen were located at each entrance and a request for shinobi from Kumo was submitted. I—

"If A Kiss Before Sunrise isn't on the screen when I come back, you'll be sorry." The door swung open and her scent was smothering him. Focus, focus. He pretended not to notice when she passed by the table to grab something from the fridge, when she glanced at him hesitantly, when she walked towards him slowly, when she sat beside him, toying absently with the lid of her bottle. He placed his concentration on each stroke of his pen.

"Mission report?" he nodded once. Pause. "A-ranked?"

"S-ranked." he corrected as she nodded in response. The stream of laughter from the TV cut through the silence. He could feel her eyes studying him.

The pen paused.

"What do you want?"

Through the corner of his eye, he saw her frown slightly. "I just want to know if you're alright."

Alright? She knew what it had been like for him before he found her. She knew. Alright? All of a sudden he was angry, angry like he had been in those weeks after she had said goodbye. Angry enough to feel the heat pounding through him. He spat his words. "Does it matter whether I'm alright or not?"

"Of course it does." Defensiveness hovered behind her words, creased her brow.

"Really. All that seems to matter is how happy you are."

"That's not true." Her voice was quiet. It drew his eyes to her face. Her face hung wearily. The misery that used to glaze her eyes hovered threateningly at the corners of her sight before she gradually sealed it away. For that brief moment, he could see the traces of the spiritless Sakura he had found sitting at the table months ago. Then with a few controlled breaths, she was gone. "You can't tell me you'd be happier living how we were."

Of course he'd be happier; she'd be there. Pushing back the regret collecting in his chest, he turned his sight towards the window, watching the sleet and rain sliding down the glass.

"Listen, I remember how it was when you first came back, how much solitude had changed you." her fingers pressed lightly against his hand. "I don't want to see that happen to you again."

Swirls of wind broke against the window. Had her touch always felt so painful? "Why do you care?" Even he could hear the tired ache in his voice.

Shrugging slightly, she sighed. "Force of habit I guess." What was he to make of her words? Of the sad smile she offered? "I don't see why we can't be civil towards each other."

Her eyes were kind, waiting for him to say something—anything. He could tell her. Tell her about the dreams and the emptiness. Tell her that each mission report he turned in was accompanied by a request for a new one. He couldn't sit in the apartment and listen to himself breathing. He could tell her that his heart ached. He could tell her and she would listen and his body wouldn't feel so laden with these emotions. But he didn't need her pity, didn't want her sympathy. Not when her mind was set. In the end, she'd return to her home and he his and he'd still be alone. Talking wouldn't change a thing. So then what was there to say? He turned away and resumed writing. Her eyes followed the stroke of his pen for a moment, and then she stood and returned to the living room. The door swung shut and reflexively, he gazed at the space where her fingers had grazed his skin.

The report was finished in an hour. Thirty minutes to write, thirty minutes to proofread. He studied the window, the night sky obscured by his reflection. Naruto and Sakura's muffled chatter diffused through the walls. She sounded happy—no, she was happy. It was there in the way she sat, in the light of her eyes. She was happier without him. She was healthier without him. She was better without him. Eventually, she would rid herself of this phantom limb of a relationship and heal completely. She'd regain everything she had lost. She'd be incredible.

And he would be alone.

He needed her, more than he wanted to admit, more than he could understand. Through the square plastic window in the door, he studied her, watched the light of the television bathe her face in flashing colors. An actor made a joke and her face melted into a smile. He knew she was right: without him, she could find happiness again.

Within the next hour, Naruto had fallen asleep on the floor, slumped against the couch by Sakura's feet, swathed in half of her blanket. She almost didn't notice Sasuke come in, silently emerging from the darkness. The couch was small but he left as much space as possible between them when he sat. Both their eyes absently watched the images on the screen, internally focusing on the person at their side.

On that drafty December night, the warmth of her body reached across the five inch dead zone between them and coaxed his tongue to say the words that had tossed about his mind for months. "I'm sorry Sakura. For everything." He watched the surprise brim her eyes and eventually slide down her cheek.

"Thank you."

Okay. So this chapter was basically finished months ago but, because I'm an idiot, I left it on my flash drive which was then subsequently lost/stolen. So I had to rewrite it which actually turned out to be a good thing since this version came out much better than the last. Also, this chapter was more of a transitioning type chapter which made it harder to write. Mostly because I have the story set in my head, but I can't just flash forward to the scenes I already have set because then the story wouldn't make sense.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Let me know how you like this chapter. I might keep editing it because I don't know how much I like it quite yet.