note: Finished this in less than a month! 8D

A year and a half later.


The woman sits across from him, pink hair held haphazardly in a messy braid, the same grey scarf she'd never stopped wearing hiding the slim white column of her throat. A cup of coffee sits steaming in front of her-it's black, no sugar. He knows because he'd ordered it for her. Today, her nails are green.

Sasuke puts down the book he's been reading, taking a moment to appreciate the red in Sakura's cheeks, residue from the cold. "Hey."

She grins, cupping her fingers and blowing into them for warmth, "Thanks for the coffee, you need a refill by the way."

"That can wait," he returns, before reaching out and taking her hands in his. Sasuke pretends not to notice the blush in her cheeks as he rubs her hands methodically between his, but the satisfied smirk gives him away.

"It's just the cold," she scowls, but quickly breaks into a half-smile, "Naruto called-he's mad that we haven't been over to see him yet."

He shrugs, still intent on her hands, on running his fingers over the delicate joints and soft skin, "And?"

After a moment, he adds, "I need to buy you a pair of gloves."

Her grin grows wider, "Worrywart. The point is that he's pushing for a house warming party at the new apartment if we don't go over to his place."

"We can change the locks, or get a new apartment," he offers flatly.

Sakura laughs, and the sound warms something in him. Sasuke tips his head, looks away to the side to hide the small upturn of his lips. His reading glasses slip down the bridge of his nose meanwhile and the next thing he knows, she's close. Too close and not close enough, smelling of lavender and winter wind, deft fingers pushing his frames back up for him before taking his empty cup with hers.

Still smiling, she says, "I'll go get you more tea."

He watches her walk up to the cafe's counter and ask for refills. She's wearing skinny jeans tucked into big, clunky combat boots, his old leather jacket swallowing her whole. Sasuke approves of the jacket and appreciates the way the jeans delineate her long legs. Another smirk settles around his mouth as he imagines peeling those clothes off of her later, which he doesn't quite hide quickly enough before Sakura turns around, drinks in hand.

She reads his expression immediately and rolls her eyes, saying as she nears, "Not even a week back and Kakashi's already rubbing off on you. Here." She hands him the mug and smiles when he quietly thanks her.

Her own coffee's in a styrofoam cup and Sasuke raises his eyebrows in a question.

Sakura huffs, "Tsunade paged. She says Shizune had to leave early because Tonton got a cold-a pig, of all things-and now I'll have to take over her shift because we're short-staffed. Clinic hours." Her nose scrunches up in distaste and Sasuke wants to laugh-would laugh if he wasn't Uchiha and had to be dignified in public at all times-because that's been an expression of hers since they were in pre-school and he's glad that he can recognize it, guesses that some things really never change.

"Oh, you won't be laughing later, Uchiha Sasuke. I know for a fact that you have a ton of paperwork to deal with at the office because you've been away for so long." Sakura has to resort to sticking her tongue out at him when he only-really, truly-smiles in response, picking up her bag from the chair and walking out of the cafe with a flippant, "That smile doesn't work on me anymore, Sasuke-kun!" He only smiles wider because he knows, is so thankful, that it does, it still does after all this time.

Shaking his head, amused, he watches Sakura from the window until she disappears around the corner, but not before the girl looks over her shoulder and gives him one last, brilliant grin.

And Sasuke is fine, is okay-he can pick up his book, go back to where he left off, and concentrate on his reading. Because even if she is walking away from him right now, that bright, beautiful girl will be coming home later. To him.


a/n: Done! I hope you guys had as much fun reading this as I did writing it, and thank you so much to anyone who bothered putting this story in their faves and alerts. And especially to everyone who's reviewed (and sometimes with essays! You know who you are, and you have no idea how much I appreciate your feedback) and dropped some kind words, encouragement, concrit, etc along my way. See you guys in LWH!