I'd written this story a while ago, and I've recently wanted to update all of my stories and edit the ones I've already completed. I'm still not a fan of SasuSaku pairing, but I've been inspired by it. I may even do a sequel to this in the future. Not much has changed from the original posting, just edits and tweaks.
For a long time, Sasuke stared at the picture of his squad on his bedside stand. They had become like his family. Kakashi Sensei, as the father figure he never knew after his childhood. Naruto, as the annoying brother he wanted to beat the crap out of on occasion. And Sakura. Oh, Sakura… But this wasn't the time to reminisce. He had a choice to make, he knew that he had to make his choice at the crossroads he was now on.
The first crossroad he had was for justice. His revenge for his father, his mother. All of his clan members; neighbors, friends, his extended family. All dead at the hands of his bro- of Itachi. Just the thought of him brings Sasuke's blood boiling to the surface and he clenched his hand.
His other choice was here. In the village with everyone around him. He could work to train harder, learn faster, and hope someday he would meet Itachi in battle. He would be able to be with his substitute family, with Naruto challenging him. Kakashi Sensei training him and giving him elderly advise. And Sakura, they could…
But he shook his head, squeezing his onyx eyes closed because he knew what he had to do. There wasn't a point in dwelling on these thoughts. He knew what was best, what choice he needed to do. He couldn't turn back now, not after all the work he had put into his lifelong goal. He couldn't let anything stand in his way, family or no.
They were only a substitute family, he told himself.
So he set the picture down flat and walked out of the room, leaving behind everything. He slung a backpack over his shoulder that held just the barest of necessities. He refused to acknowledge the small package in the bottom, the one he'd gotten just days before in the hospital because it had been his birthday. He walked without thinking, ignoring the ache each step brought to his chest. He had made his decision, his final one. There was no turning back now.
She waited in the shadows, working her bottom lip between her teeth. She felt guilty leaving Naruto behind at the ramen shop, but she just couldn't shake the feeling that something was off about tonight. When she thought about Sasuke, the feeling just grew worse and worse, until she had finally fled from her spot to the trees she was now crouched in. This was the only path out of the village, if Sasuke was going to leave tonight, this was the way he would head out. And this was the night, her last shot to stop Sasuke from his destructive path he was quickly spiraling down to.
She didn't have to wait long before she saw a shadow of a young man walking down the path. She would know that figure anywhere; dread seeped into her bone and a painful squeeze settled in her chest. She knew that she had to step out and try to stop him anyway that she could, but she froze for just a second. When she realized he would that be passing her, Sakura took a step out of the trees. Still, she couldn't speak.
Sasuke's face was schooled to be emotionless. Despite the fact he clearly saw Sakura, he continued forward several steps. When he heard her swallow, almost nervously, he paused. He carefully chose his words, his voice cold as he said, "It's the middle of the night. What are you hanging around here for?"
Her blood seemed to freeze in her veins and her heart sank, but she tried replying calmly, "This is the only road out of the village." She kept her face just as void of any emotions, although all she wanted to do was cry.
He ignored her unasked question and started walking again. He told her coolly, "You should go to bed."
Her voice catches in her throat, and the unshed tears began to fall, just a bit. She choked out, "Why Sasuke? Why won't you tell me anything? Why does it always have to be silence with you? You've never shared a single thing with me."
He could hear the tears in her voice, the desperate tinge. He paused, but didn't dare turn around. "Why should I have to tell you anything? Just keep your nose out of my business. It's none of your concern."
Her bottom lip began to tremble and she bowed her head in both frustration and sadness. She had known this was what would happen. Of course he would say this to her. It was obvious just how he felt about her. Just the irony of the situation, of how she knew, made a small grin creep on her face. "I know you hate me." She had known from the beginning, from the first day of the Genin life. She just wished she'd known in the beginning, before she fallen irrevocably in love with him. "Even in the beginning, you couldn't ever stand me. Remember, back when we made Genin and we were assigned to our three man squads? We were alone together for the first time, right here on this very spot. You got so mad at me that day." That day, when she sat on the bench with Sasuke flashed into her mind, causing her smile to widen slightly.
'I don't hate you, Sakura-chan,' he wanted to tell her. 'This is the path I'm destined for.' He wanted to explain to her, wanted to tell her exactly what was going to be happening and that he would be back someday, just for his family. But this last thought was enough to sober him smile and he said coldly, "I don't remember that." Because he really didn't, not much. He'd been too focused on other thoughts, other plans.
He didn't see the surprised, slightly hurt, look cross her face. 'He can't remember even the basic memories of our time together…' She forced out a small laugh, but it sounded terribly fake even to herself. "Yeah, sure. I mean, it was so long ago, right?" But she thought, 'It's because you just wish you could forget everything about me, right?'She continued, "But still, that's the day it all began. It was the start of you and me… and Naruto and Kakashi Sensei."
Sakura couldn't help, but remember the past so well. It felt like she lived in it at times. But the time they became Genin were so important. It was the beginning of everything. A family with the four of them, Naruto as their annoying brother, Kakashi Sensei becoming the elderly figure, and Sasuke… Oh, Sasuke would never be anything other than the love of her life. "The four of us started going on missions. It was rough back then, every day was such a challenge. But, more than anything, it was so much fun." She took a deep breath, pausing to weigh over her next words. Everything counted on how well she worded the next part. She couldn't let Sasuke go, couldn't let him take his chance at being a true, excellent Ninja. She just hoped he'd forgive her for her next words. "I know about your clan, Sasuke, I do. But seeking revenge… that won't bring anyone happiness; nobody at all. Not you, and not me."
Sasuke pressed his lips together, his hand clenching into a fist. He felt a shot of anger towards her, 'How can you ever understand?' But then he realized something; this was exactly what he'd wanted to hear from her. But he couldn't… Not now, he couldn't change his mind. It was now or never. So he took a deep breath and let his anger take control of him. He snapped at her heatedly, "I knew it. I'm not the same as you. I'm traveling a path the rest of you can't follow. I know that the four of us have worked together and, for a while, I thought I could take that road instead." He paused, taking a deep breath. This was it. His final chance to let her know… "But, in the end, I've decided on revenge. That's always been my reason for living. I'll never be like you and Naruto."
Sakura knew his choice before she'd come here. She knew exactly what he would say, what he would choose. Still, his words caused her heart to skip a beat and fresh tears streamed down her face. She should have brought Naruto. He could have fixed this better… Desperately, she nearly shouted, "Don't do this Sasuke! You don't have to be alone!" She squeezed her eyes closed and said slowly, more calmly, "You told me that day how painful a thing solitude can be. I understand that pain now. I have a family and friends, but if you were gone, Sasuke, it would be the same thing for me as being all alone." She hoped those words would freeze his heart like he did to her.
For a moment, Sasuke took pause. He didn't want her to feel… Mentally he shook of the thought, and encased his heart in the ice he knew he'd need. "This is a new beginning. Each of us has a new path lying before us."
She's near the edge of complete desperation. She was losing him, no matter what she was saying. Her knees buckle beneath her as she watches Sasuke start to take a step forward and, finally, admitted aloud what she hadn't dared say before. They sounded ridiculous, something so needy. But he was everything to her! She needed him! "Sasuke! I'm so in love with you I can't even stand it! If you would only be with me, I promise, I'd never let you regret it! Every day will be a joy. I can give you happiness! I'll do anything for you Sasuke. So please! I'm begging you, don't walk away! I'll even help you get your revenge! I'll do whatever it takes to make it happen! I swear! So stay here, with me." She took a deep breath. "And if you can't, then take me with you, Sasuke." 'Oh, please,' she prayed silently as she tried to cover up her sobbing, 'let it be enough.'
This, this was what he'd wanted recently, what he'd needed to hear. But it was too late now. Too late for everything, for anything that could have been a possibility. Instead of saying he cared for her, instead of, "Come with me, Sakrua. I'll keep you safe," he closed out everything. He reached for the words that would hurt her the most and turned to her. He put that cold smirk on, the one he reserved for those he truly hated, and said, "You haven't changed. You're still annoying."
He could see the look of hurt on her face, the horror and self-hate she felt for herself at what he'd said. He had regretted those words since he'd gotten to know her better. But he didn't flinch and met her gaze for an extra beat. He turned and started walking again. He heard her move forward. Then she screamed hysterically, "DON'T LEAVE ME!" She ran forward and threatened, "If you go, I'll scream and-"
She watched him disappear, she could feel his presence behind her. She was always hyper aware of him, of everything he did. She could feel his warm breath on her neck, his presence looming over her, and it sent a shiver down her spine. "Sakura," he whispered, raising goosebumps on her skin. Her breath hitched in her throat at his voice. "Thank you… for everything."
Suddenly, she was swaying. Blackness started to cover her vision. She tried to speak out, but unconsciousness stole her before she could say her final words.
As soon as she was down, Sasuke carefully scooped her up and lay her out on the bench. She'd be safe until morning. Nothing would happen and someone would find her soon enough. Still, he paused and sat there. He looked at her, unconscious, and brushed her bangs from her face. "I'm sorry, Sakura," he whispered softly. "But I have to do this. Understand, please" He leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead and then her lips. "I'll be back, some day. I promise." As he stood up and started out of the village, he thought back to their shared final words. He carefully stored them away to a part in his heart he'd go to when he needed to feel a bit human.
I had to rewrite this story after I'd reread it after a couple years. I've kept the main layout of the story with a bit of tweaking on parts and a little addition to thoughts and feelings. Hopefully they all stayed in character. I'm even a bit inspired to write a short story leading this. Maybe. If I decide to, I'll put up the title in here.