"The love that lasts the longest

is the love that is never returned."

· William Somerset Maugham.

It's safe to say he wants the day — night — to end now.

The wedding ceremony was done and over with. He couldn't stand watching those two pairs of eyes stare at each other directly with so much love and passion. He could practically see the I love yous dance out of their mouths and eyes so silently, so happily. The vows — those damn vows — uttered behind their lips, especially hers, surrounded the peaceful and wondrous air (though to him, the air became shards of hurt prickling him everywhere). It was long — annoyingly so. She had told him that her vows were written to be "short, sweet, and simple; to the point but enough for it to flow through to his heart" — but, in his ears, it dragged on and on and on. For some reason, however, the bastard's vows were a blur — fortunately. And then the priest — a man so young, so joyful, always replicating how beautiful of a couple they are (fucking annoying) — said the official words, the words that tied them together in holy matrimony.

"You may now kiss the bride," he said, that stupid smile still scrawled on his face.

Lips joined.

Family and friends roared with happiness, clapping furiously. Some girls dabbed the corners of their eyes; some were crying a waterfall of joy. Everyone was smiling, smiling, and smiling.

(Not him — never him.)

But he smiled at her when they parted and she glanced at him.

She mouthed with her thin ruby-smothered lips, "Thank you, Naruto … "

He didn't say "You're welcome," nor did he nod back. He just smiled, feeling numb as he did so. Why would he, anyway?

The wedding reception dragged on much longer — far, far much longer — than her vows. The newlyweds were inseparable, all bright smiles and such. They walked table to table, mingling with their families, friends, and other guests. His pale hand never (never, never, never) strayed from the small of her back; she was always (always, always, always) next to him, close proximity and all intimate. They cut the cake and fed each other. She was giggling, eyes crinkled upwards and shining. He actually smiled — though it wasn't huge.

(If it was him, it would be ginormous, never wavering.)

The speeches were up next. Ino, her maid of honor, came up quickly and excitedly, wearing her bridesmaid dress confidently. Her high heels clacked on the dance floor as she headed up to the center of the stage. She sent a smile towards the newlyweds, and although she looked superbly happy for them, he could see miniscule dots of jealousy and hurt in her icy blue orbs. She grabbed the mic and took a deep breath. She began her speech.

He didn't listen in, because he knew their story: their friendship and rivalry.

Her speech was quite long much to his pleasure. But eventually, it ended. She and Ino hugged tightly, bawling their eyes out. (Her makeup was ruined, but she never wilted.) They held each other for a long time, babbling incoherent sentences simultaneously. The sight grew smiles for everyone even for him. The bastard managed another smile, and it was starting to creep him out. The two best friends broke apart and smiled at each other. Ino patted the groom's hand and said in the mic, "Hurt her and I'll shove roses with thorns up your sexy ass," which resulted in an uproar of laughter.

But her threat wasn't even a fraction towards his threats swimming in his mind dangerously.

Soon, the spotlight was on him. He knew why. All eyes were on him, waiting for him to go on up and say the best man's speech for the bastard.

Kakashi went up.

His ears heard murmurings around the room: "Why isn't Naruto going up? Isn't he Sasuke's best man?"

No. No, he wasn't.

The bastard didn't ask him.

But the crowd should've known he wasn't the best man. He wasn't even up at the altar, standing a few feet behind the groom. He was merely sitting down on the pews, watching the couple announce their love — on the bride's side of the room.

Apparently Kakashi was asked to just say a speech. He wasn't the best man. More murmurings came about, though it was quieter and lessened.

Kakashi talked about how the three of them became close friends. He went on about how they all didn't interact at all with one another until a group activity in middle school. The three-man cell was randomized by the principal, and the teams were ordered to do out of the blue community services. The more community services and the harder they were, the more rewards the teams would get. Kakashi was their adviser.

He didn't want to listen in anymore, because the speech was becoming all emotional and inspirational. He couldn't afford having that thick feel suffocating his esophagus. He tuned out his former adviser's tear-jerking speech and kept his focus on the candle light glowing dimly inside the circular bowl positioned in the middle of the table.

His cerulean eyes — once shining brightly with happiness excitement, now blurred with dead glimmers of nothingness — silently eyed the other people occupying the table with him. Sitting across from him was Iruka; next to him sat Rock Lee who was sniffling and sobbing pathetically, runny nose and flooded eyes; Tenten sat in between him and Lee, and she was listening to the speech gently, a small smile soft on her face; Neji sat on his left, also listening to the speech; last but not least was Gai whose head was bowed down, nodding along with Kakashi's words, right fist curled around the fabric of his tuxedo above his heart, looking immensely proud of the speech.

A roar of an applause came, filling up the ballroom. Some, like Gai, stood up from their chairs, giving Kakashi a standing ovation. Kakashi regarded the recently married couple with a smile (even though it was hard to tell if he was actually smiling, what with that damn mask, his eyes were crinkled upwards, showing that he was). She ran towards him as fast as her pumps could take her and engulfed her former adviser with a crushing embrace. He held her back and stroked her long pink tresses softly. The bastard came up, as well, and he patted Kakashi on the back, speaking with hushes in his onyx eyes.

He diverted his orbs from the view instantly when they announced the newlyweds to the floor for a dance. The lights dimmed more, and the spotlight was on the two as they made their way to the center. He cleared his throat, though the sound was blocked by the music. He got off his chair and headed towards the buffet table. He grabbed a chocolate-covered strawberry and ate it in one bite, spitting the leaves out. He was the only one, besides a few others, that wasn't paying close attention to the slow-dancing couple.

But he paid attention when she began dancing with her father. The bastard was currently twirling around a slightly swooned mother of the taken cherry blossom. Many other girls went up to the dance floor, hoping they could catch a dance with the now married heartthrob of Konoha. Luckily for them, she was busy dancing gracefully with her father, crying delicately and smiling.

"Aren't you going to ask her to dance?" a low voice asked behind him.

He continued stuffing himself.

"She's waiting, you know."

He swallowed slowly, stalling. "She didn't ask me," he replied, tone slightly clipped.

Kakashi sighed behind his mask. "You don't need to be asked, Naruto. You already know what to do."

"And just what do I need to do?" He grudgingly devoured more and more.

"Ask me to dance."

He swore he almost had a whiplash from snapping his head towards the new voice just to his right.

She was smiling (and it's killing him) so beautifully, completely complimenting her dress, her eyes, her face, and her everything in his eyes. Her white gloved hands were hidden behind her, obviously clasped together. Her dress accentuated her torso, and multiples of silver, thin silk ribbons were tied around her waist; the rest fell down around her, falling to the floor like a calm avalanche, and swaying here and there as she moved. Gleaming with picturesque innocence, she was by far the most beautiful flower he had ever saw.

Her emeralds stared at him intently straight through his. All of a sudden, he felt ashamed to be pigging his damn self out at her own wedding when he should be supporting her and having fun. He shouldn't be lurking in the background, hoping this would end already. What kind of best friend was he to do that?

Hastily, he grabbed a napkin and wiped the chocolate smeared on the corners of his mouth. He turned around a bit so she wouldn't see him clean his teeth with his tongue in case any traces of chocolate goodness was right smack on them. He took a deep breath and turned back, flashing a smile in her direction.

Her smile brightened.

He suddenly didn't feel so dreary anymore.

The famous glow in his blue eyes came back for another show.

"May I have this dance, Sakura-chan?"

Although he stumbled and stepped on the trail of her satin dress a couple of times, he managed to get the hang of it and danced on with ease. He stopped looking down at his shoes and faced the bride, a sheepish grin on his face.

It was very strange. Just earlier, he had been acting uncharacteristic of him, being secretly depressed and reserved. And now that he was with her dancing (oh, how beautiful she looked up close), all evidence of him acting like an anti-Naruto was instantaneously stripped away from his face and heart. His trademark grin was permanently stamped on his face — at least he hoped it would be. Just looking in her pools of emerald seas really made him … simply ecstatic.

Up close, she was an angel. She had a hairstyle that just sang simplicity. Her bangs were held back gently by tiny, white flower pins. It descended down with the rest of her lightly curled pink locks. Her lips shone and shone, ruby glittering. Her lashes were brushed with mascara and curved up, as well as the lower. Her cheekbones, suddenly so defined-looking, were caressed with blush, dots of glitters mixed in. On her ears dangling loosely were a pair of crystals. Around her slender neck was a chain decorated with crystals, matching the earrings.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful …

(And not yours.)

She rested her head on his chest, and her locks tickled his cheeks.

"I'm just so … so happy right now," she murmured.

Of course you are; you're with him now. But, no, he couldn't afford to ruin the night anymore now, so — "You should be, Sakura-chan. It's your wedding," he murmured back.

"You're not."

The statement hit him straight in the face, because it bellowed out truthfulness. He let out a shaky, shaky breath and stroked the small of her back unconsciously, calloused fingertips enjoying the feel of her attire.

"I'm not what?" he stalled.

"You know what." He stiffened slightly as he heard the vague sound of exasperation coming from behind her contented tone. He refused to obliterate her special night by pissing her off. And since she was a hot-tempered beauty, he couldn't risk everything, especially his heart — and genitals.

The blonde sighed, the air fanning the stray hairs on her head. "I am happy. I'm happy for you."

Her feminine hands gripped onto his tuxedo tightly, wrinkling the fabric partially. She lifted her head upwards, emeralds shooting him such emotion directly. It made him feel tense at her penetrating gaze.

"That's not enough," she said, voice growing steely.

Fuck, he thought.

"That's not enough, Naruto. I don't want you to be happy for me. I want you to be just that: happy. Not for me, not for anyone else but for you. And all of this — " her left gloved hand gestured wildly to their surroundings " — isn't making you feel any better! I'm not making you feel any better; he's not making you feel any better. Frankly, you're feeling, excuse my French, shittier and shittier. And don't you dare argue with me about that."

He sighed again, about to protest and tell her to just ignore his damn feelings. He caught view of the bastard staring at them with expressionless orbs. He was currently swaying quite awkwardly with Shizune-san, who was chatting gently with him. The bastard's focus was straight at them. It was as if he could hear every sentence, every word, they were speaking. He was intruding. He was intruding.

He glowered, sending icicles to his direction. Fuck off, you bastard. She's mine — for the time being.

Said bastard nodded his head inconspicuously. He remained staring at them, though.

She forced his head down to stare at her. (He had grown to be four inches taller than her.) She was staring angrily at him.

"Answer me, you idiot!" she snapped. "Are you happy or not? And tell me the damn truth!"

The leftover anger he felt towards the bastard came pouring out unintentionally. He didn't stop, couldn't stop. "After all the shit he had thrown at you countless of times, why the fuck would you still fucking pick him?" he questioned, white hot rage in his tone.

Her eyes widened at the harsh inquiry as well as the vulgarity. He had never, not even once, cussed so profoundly in her face.

"Naru — ," she started whispering.

"Sakura-san! Sa-ku-ra-san!" came Lee's deafening cries.

Cerulean and emerald didn't stray away from each other. They both continued asking questions (where are the answers?) through each other. None of them noticed that they had stopped dancing. The slow-dancing songs were now replaced with upbeat songs, and some people were heading up to the dance floor to grind and grind. Their hands were squeezing the lives out of each other. She was pressed against him, and if they were to lean closer, their —

"Naruto-kun, Sakura-san … ? Am I interrupting something here?"

She broke the string questions and regarded Lee with a smile. She stepped back once, though held on still. (And he wishes she would just hold on and hold on forever … )

"No, you aren't, Lee," she replied with faux cheerfulness.

Lee grinned widely. He bent down and gradually brought his arm outwards. "Then it would give me great pleasure, darling Sakura-san, if I could have this dance?" he asked chivalrously.

She flickered her eyes at him. They weren't done yet. "W-Well, Lee, actually — "

He pried his hands out of her grip easily. He took a couple of steps back. "We're done dancing, Lee. She's yours now," he answered for her. "Have fun."

He walked away.

Time went by and by. The music was upbeat, and everyone on the dance floor was shaking their bodies and having the time of their lives. Wide smiles were what he kept seeing everywhere he looked. Loud, ecstatic laughter surrounded his eardrums, mixing in with the irritating music. An atmosphere of pure, pure bliss grappled with the sour, dead one wafting off of his person. He stared expressionlessly at the crowd of dancing people.

He knew where she was at. She had sneaked off with the bastard somewhat discreetly.

Probably fucking right now, he thought coldly. Can't even wait until their honeymoon. Damn bastard can't keep his hands off of her.

He then chuckled bitterly.

I know I wouldn't.

Soon, he saw them come through the ballroom doors. Their hands were intertwined tightly and securely. In their eyes, he could detect somberness and ounces of them. He wondered what they had conversed about behind those close doors. But then again, it wasn't for him to know, and it wasn't for him to ponder and ponder about like a nosy fool. He had enough of his nosiness; it caused him too much pain.

Ino came up to the center of the stage and announced the bride and her bridesmaids up front. Apparently she was going to have to face away from them and toss the bouquet in the air for the bridesmaids to catch. Hurriedly, the bridesmaids, in their short, flowing dresses, walked to the stage. Their faces were giddy with excitement. She seemed reluctant to get up, squeezing the bastard's hand more firmly. Her face tightened for an ephemeral moment until she smacked a faux smile on, pried her gloved hand out of his hand, and marched right up. She received the bouquet from Ino, who noticed her best friend's change in mood, and stood in front of the crazed bridesmaids. She smiled at them, turned around, and, without warning, recklessly threw the bouquet. The bouquet soared past the bridesmaids and landed on … Hinata's lap.

The female Hyuuga's milky eyes widened at the bouquet resting on her lap. A dark rose glowed on her porcelain cheeks.

Ino cackled into the microphone, frightening some people. At that, Sakura turned and saw that it landed on her lap. Her faux smile was shoved away, a real sheepish smile taking its place.

"Well, well, Hinata. It seems you're the lucky girl," Ino joked playfully, a smirk on her face. "And I wonder … whoever is the lucky guy?" She put on an innocent tone, her smirk pronouncing.

He saw it. For a split second, he noticed her pretty milky eyes glimpse his way. Her blush darkened and darkened in the dim light. Some people chuckled at her appearance. He noticed Neji looked quite disgruntled and crossed his arms over his chest, sending a glare towards Ino's way.

He couldn't remember the remainder details of the event. Right now, he's in front of the hotel the ceremony took place at. He is leaning against the smooth exterior, head craning up, and staring at the starless midnight sky. His eyes are dead once again, and he has a feeling they would forever remain that way. His blonde hair is splayed all over his eyes, but he doesn't make a motion to push them away. His blazer is over his right shoulder, and his tie is loosened.

He thought he would feel a sense of relief after the event ended. He thought he wouldn't feel this weight smashing his heart anymore. He thought things would actually be all right. He thought accepting her invitation and attending would make him have a bit of closure towards everything. He thought, he thought, he thought, and he thought.

He hears gentle clacks coming his way. He doesn't look to the side to see who it is. He just keeps gazing upon the starless sky. He compares his eyes with the sky: dead and dark.

"Although it's a starless night," her beautiful voice floats in his ears, "the sky's rather picturesque, don't you think?"

He doesn't reply.

She sighs.

He moves a bit.

"See, you are mad at me after that outburst, it's clear that you are."

He doesn't dare speak to her.

"Speak to me, Naruto. This night, this very moment right now, is the last time you'll ever see me again. Sasuke-kun and I … are going on our honeymoon, and we're thinking about traveling around the world. Or maybe we'll move somewhere else." She pauses. "Sasuke-kun loves me, and I love him."

At that, his heart begins to feel even more crushed. He wonders, after she leaves, if he'll ever have a heart left. He wonders if his heart is already dead and gone.

"I love you, too "

He chuckles bitterly, cutting her off. He stands upright and faces her. The numbness he was feeling now becomes pure hot rage. The heat crawls up his throat, and he doesn't hold back. He doesn't resist. He has no barriers. He's going to let it out like a volcanic waterfall. He doesn't care. He doesn't give a flying shit anymore.

"You love me? Are you sure, Sakura? Are you really sure you love me?" he asked angrily. "No. Don't you ever say you love me. The way you say 'I love you' doesn't connect with the way I say it. You say it to me like how you say it to to to Kakashi-sensei or Ino! When I say it, it's completely different. So don't you give me that 'I love you' crap if it doesn't mean the way I want it to mean."

"What the hell you do mean?" she yelled. His ears start feeling like needles are in them. "So what, do you want me to say 'I hate you'? Because what you're saying right now is making me want to hate you!"

"Go ahead and hate me, then! I don't care! I don't care anymore now, Sakura!" He felt tempted to pull out his hair until there was not a single strand left. "Ever since this shit happened, ever since he started to love you back, everything has been going downhill! We were supposed to be together! I can tell, Sakura! I can tell that you started loving me back, even if you didn't want to admit. Knowing that you loved me back was enough for me. I didn't care that you were in denial, that you still believed you were in love with that fucking bastard! But when he came back and started stealing you away as if he had the fucking right, it hurt me. And when you allowed him, you can guess that it killed me."

Her emeralds brim with tears. "When Sasuke-kun said that he loved me, it made me happy! You, out of all people, should know that I was in love with him ever since I met him!"

He charged towards her until he was just a mere foot from her. "I was in love with you ever since I first saw you! Does that mean nothing, absolutely nothing, to you? Did you ever once acknowledged my feelings, Sakura?" He shook his head. "No! You never did, because the minute he came back and said he loved you, you became so selfish and tossed me away so easily! I " He breaks off, running out energy to say anything.

She glares at him. "What now, then?" she whispers harshly. "Do you want me to leave him and stay with you so we can live happily ever after? Because that's the most selfish thing ever!"

He glares back. "Did I ask you to do that? Maybe we should've done that way before that asshole came back! We would've been " He breaks off again. He feels utterly exhausted now. He just wants to lie down on his bed and never wake up.

All of a sudden, he came out from the revolving doors and spots them together. He walks up towards them and immediately places a protective arm around her waist. He narrows his onyxes towards the blonde.

"What's going on here?" the bastard inquires coldly.

That ugly, fake smile appears. It ruins her beautiful face. She looks up at him, sparkling with delight. "Nothing at all, Sasuke-kun!" she assures him. "Naruto and I were just … just sharing our goodbyes." Her smile wavers.

The Uchiha regards him for a brief moment. "Hm."

Sakura glances at him, fury, sadness, hurt, and pained love clouding her eyes, and nods once. "Goodbye, Naruto," she says so quietly. At his name, her voice breaks ever so slightly.

The newlywed couple turn their backs on him, heading inside. His arm is still around her waist, and she is hugging his side with all her might. Her form starts to tremble. He strokes her back soothingly. The gesture doesn't alleviate her trembling at all.

He grits his teeth. "You know what the worst part is, Sakura?" he shouts out to her.

She stops, making him stop, too.

"During the time he was gone, I tried my very best to make you happy and fill the void he ripped out from your heart. I was there, and he wasn't. I loved you way before he loved you. I supported you throughout everything. I know more about you than he does. I know that even though you love him so much, you'll always love me, too."

She stays silent and doesn't move.

He's hollow inside.

"Just let me go, Naruto."

"I will. Have fun with a guy who can't make you happy."

Uchiha Sasuke and Sakura have been together for six years. They have a little girl, who's the spitting image of Sakura, and she is two-years-old. For some reason, the couple didn't move and didn't travel around the world. They stay at a homey house not too far away from where he lived.

Every time he sees her at the marketplace or the post office, he sees how happy she is. But he can see a gloominess in her emerald eyes, the gloominess only he can take away and make it shine. She would try to catch his gaze. She would smile at him. She would try to strike up a conversation with him. She would try, try, try, try, and try.

(And fail.)

It's too late, though.

He's not a part of her life anymore.

He's moved on.

Just like she wanted.

But not like how he wanted.



You guys don't know how long I've worked on this stupid thing.

Enjoyed the angst or felt a bit "eh"? Send me some feedback. ;)

c l i c k t e h b u t t o n.