Author's Note: I don't care how many of these fics have been already done. I'm adding another to the list and none of y'all can stop me. *throws confetti*


He shouldn't be feeling like this. It was supposed to be easy. He would leave, just like that, without any doubts or remorse.

But nothing Sasuke Uchiha ever did played out in his favor.

He knew he shouldn't have glanced over to his short bookstand. There, on top of it, was that damn picture. He should have left as soon as he was done packing. He double-checked that he had everything needed for his trip—all was in place—but he thought it wouldn't hurt to have one last look around. He was wrong.

Sasuke shouldn't be feeling like this. The reality of his soon-to-be actions were overflowing him. Condemned and tormented. Not a great combination for someone who thought they had everything figured out.

It was even worse with all the guilt he felt. Sasuke could not lie to himself at this point, he felt happy with Team 7. Even if he pretended they were nothing more than a nuisance to him, they were his precious people. He would have done anything to ensure their safety and would take it upon himself to seek justification if anything happened to them. He let them in; he created bonds that no one else could ever replicate or replace.

However, now he must sever those bonds to fulfill his ambitions. If he kept them, leave him still open to them, they could stop him. He could hesitate. They could ruin everything.

Kakashi.

Sakura.

Naruto.

They felt like a family to him.

But family is the reason behind the path he has chosen. He was an avenger.

He placed the picture down. He didn't need their judgment.


What was Sakura doing here? She couldn't have been expecting him, could she? No, that's right. Sasuke himself said she was the sharpest kunoichi of their class. The way she noticed his pack, she knew what he was doing.

"Why are you prowling around here in the middle of the night?" He had to make sure.

"I knew you'd come this way… if you were to leave… so I just waited here…"

Dammit. "Get out of here." This shouldn't be affecting him. "And go back to sleep." He walked past her, not daring to make contact. If he did, he might reconsider what he's doing. He can't turn back now. This was his choice, this was his life. This—

"Why won't you say anything to me?" He could hear it in her voice. The shakiness, the sadness. "Why do you always keep so quiet? You never say a single word to me—"

"I told you: I don't need your help." Or your emotions. "Don't try to look after me."

Why did he stand still? Why did his legs not move? He needed to leave, to get away, especially from her. But there was something… some force keeping him in place.

"No matter what, you just always hated me, don't you?" That wasn't true. That was far from any truth. In his lonely void of an existence, she filled it. She filled it with her warmth. "You remember, don't you? When we became genins, the day when our three-man team was first decided. The first time we were here by ourselves, you were so mad at me…."

Of course he did. Sakura angered him with her words. She was so naïve then. She had no idea what having no family could do to you. The pain of loss. The feelings you endure when the ones you love are taken away.

"I don't remember that."

He always regretted going off on her. She didn't deserve it. She had no idea, but Sakura struck a chord with him. If it was anyone else, he would have never forgiven them.

"Hahaha… Yeah, I guess you're right. That's all in the past, huh?"

No it wasn't. It should be, but it wasn't.

"That's when it began, though. You and me… along with Naruto and Kakashi-sensei."

Stop.

Please.

"We did all sorts of missions, just the four of us. It was painful and difficult at time. Even with that though… I still enjoyed it."

Don't make him remember. Those were happy times, ones he enjoyed too. They made him feel he belonged.

"I know all about your past, Sasuke. Even if you get revenge, it won't bring you happiness. Not even you, Sasuke… Nor me…"

"I already know," he snapped. He needed to end this. "I can't be following the same path as you guys." You're too pure for someone so tainted. "Up until now, we've done everything as a group, but there is something else… I must do…" And it can't involve any of them. This is for Sasuke and Sasuke alone. "Deep inside my heart, I've already decided on revenge. For that reason only do I live." He's an avenger. He decided that long ago, long before her. "I'll never be like you or Naruto."

He wished it did end there. But he stayed in place, knowing Sakura would continue.

"Do you really want to go back to being alone?"

No.

"You told me how painful it was to be alone!"

But he has to be.

"Right now, I know your pain!"

Sasuke would have snorted if they weren't in this situation.

"I may have friends and family… But… If you were to leave…"

Don't.

"To me…"

Please don't cry.

"To me… I would be just as alone as you…"

I am so sorry.

"From here on out… we all begin new paths…" Don't hate me, he begged.

"I…" Her voice was shaken more than before. "I," she made it louder, stronger, "love you with all my heart!"

No, do hate him. It would be easier than this.

"If you were to stay with me… there would be no regrets because everyday we'd do something fun, we'd be happy… I swear!" She was so childish. "I would do anything for you! So, please, just stay with me! I'll even help you with your revenge. I don't know what I could do… But I'll try my best to do something." So, so childish. "So please, stay with me." He couldn't. "Or take me with you if you can't stay here." No, he would endanger her.

He did have to look to know she was a sniffling mess.

With a smirk, he turned around. "You really are annoying."

He turned back around swiftly. It was supposed to be something to remember him by, but he saw it in her eyes. She knew, she knew he remembered. She knew he was lying. She could tell he'd begin to reconsider, even if it was an extremely slight chance.

He began his walk again.

"Don't leave!"

Just let him go.

"If you do, I'll scream!"

He was behind her before she could even react. He was so close to being gone from this village. He should have been away sooner, but…

"Sakura…" If you ever asked Sasuke, he would say the next words were forced out of him by the wind. They were on the tip of his tongue and the breeze took them with it. "Thank you."

He knocked her out quickly. He was done talking and listening.

Sasuke already had his arms open when Sakura's body slumped backwards. She was so light, so soft. He picked her up and carried her to the bench bridal style. He hoped the next time she was carried in this position, it would be on her wedding day.

He gently placed her down. Sasuke kneeled down, grasping her hand. Maybe in another life he would have stayed. They could be happy then. Live their lives as ninjas, and then settle down to have a couple of kids.

But fate did not wish that.

Sasuke let go of her hand and wiped away some hair that had fallen on her face.

Sakura's forehead was so big.

He kissed it.