a/n: This should be of no real surprise to you all, so please just enjoy it. (:


Prompts: Tsuki No Uta by GACKT, Stars, Fanfiction Drabbles.

Categories: Romance/Angst/Tragedy

Rating: M (For explicit sexual content)

Pairing: Uchiha Sasuke x Haruno Sakura

Dedication: Brooklyn-King00—OH GOD, FORGIVE ME FOR I HAVE SINNED~~ ;A;

Summary: "Tonight… I'll show you the stars."

Disclaimer: IDNON, BIDHTOS! I also do not own any of the songs or the lyrics used in this oneshot; all rights reserved go to their respective owners. I am merely using them as a medium to enhance reading pleasure. That is all.


NOTE: I highly suggest listening to GACKT's 'Tsuki No Uta' if you can (or haven't heard it already). *Is a die-hard Classic-GACKT fan* It will be the song that Sasuke sings later on in the story, and I believe that it will carry a much headier effect if you can follow the story whilst imagining him, well, singing it. I'll let you know with the lyrics (they'll be in Japanese!). (:

NOTE #2: LINKS TO SONGS ON YOUTUBE!

Naruto's piano piece:
watch?v=3dM2qCCg6GE (Add onto the standardised YouTube URL)

Sasuke's warm-up song (one of my favourites in English):

watch?v=lizakPflV20

Sasuke and Naruto's Instrumental Collaboration: Sad Guitar Piano Song

Sasuke and Naruto's Collab Song 1: Pieces—RED

Hinata's Song: Michiyuki—Hikati Kaori

Sasuke's Serenade to Sakura: Tsuki No Uta—GACKT

For additional interest!

Sasuke and Naruto's Collab Song 2: Already Over [Part 2]—RED

Sasuke and Naruto's Collab Song 3 (Hinata Infusion, Christmas): Hymn For The Missing—RED


Sasukeluva 4eva presents;

S.t.a.r.s.

Sasuke x Sakura Lemon Threeshot


"Ne, Sasuke-kun…"

"Hn…?"

"…"

A stuttered heartbeat, which falters in the stillness of the night; a sign of her illness—a sign that she was, slowly but surely, slipping away, from between his very fingers.

"Do you think that maybe, just maybe, I'll finally get to see the real stars tonight?"

"…"

A delayed response.

"Sakura, it'll be a cold day in Hell before we ever see the real deal."

Pessimistic and sardonically cynical; the typical and inevitably expected 'Sasuke-kun' reply.

A bitter smile twisted her plump lips, into an expression bearing a flickering semblance of something melancholy, as if she were reliving a moment that had been corroded by the sands of time (slowly but surely falling away at the edges, leaving the skeleton within exposed for the waiting buzzards pleasure; an ironic sentiment indeed, considering her current physical state), her apple green eyes slipping away from his face, only to gaze apprehensively at the sky.

A storm was brewing, both amidst the clouds of Heaven, and alongside her.

Sasuke was unsettled, restless, and it frightened her, simply because it deviated from his usually indifferently composed countenance.

He only ever became like this when he was distressed, upset or livid; it was most likely the latter, if the taut clenching of his knuckles (the skin pulled so firmly against the bones that it looked as if the pliant tissue would tear at the very seams—split apart like the loosened valves of her weak heart) indicated anything.

Livid over what, though?

Her naïve optimism?

Her hope for a better tomorrow?

Her desperate wish to truly live, before she slipped away with the ashes of the lost and fallen?

There were so many possibilities for his pent up ire, but none as fitting as that of her impending demise; it hung over them both, like a looming shadow, a fog that was slowly but surely settling over their prone forms—it was the constant reminder of what she would inevitably miss, of what she would never hope to experience, of what she would never get to see for herself.

Even such a mundane triviality like the stars, of which no one had witnessed for god knows how long, was beyond her given time; she would die, long before the smog overhead was fully dispersed, and that in and of itself was the saddest part of it.

The smallest things, once taken for granted, now the only human desire left to be fulfilled, were what Sakura longed to indulge in—but it would never come to be.

The pallid hue that painted her delicate skin only stood in testament of the battle that she had fought so hard to overcome, but had ultimately lost in the long run.

Sasuke's gaze flickered over to the frail figure alongside his tense frame, ebony orbs hooded and filled with an intensity that she had become all too aware of over the past year; it was sadness, and pain, and unmitigated heartache, ever-present in every passing stare, every flickering glance, and every heated gaze that he directed at her.

His misery over losing her companionship, her heart-warming presence in his life, was incomparable; not even the loss of his father had wounded him as Sakura's forthcoming passing had, and it was always evident in the way he lived his life.

Every step he took felt weighted, like cinderblocks had been attached to his long limbs, and his entire person had naturally folded within itself to accommodate for the burdensome load that was quickly becoming his reality; his shoulders slouching, posture no longer tall and proud as it had been three years before, his head downcast and uninviting—the introvert of his childhood had returned in full force, but to a far greater extent than it had been in that period of his life.

He had pierced his earlobes relentlessly; his lips buried behind black studs, rings and spikes, his arms marred and covered with horrific, irremovable scars, his left side, shoulder and neck tattooed as a means of punishing himself, for not being strong enough to save her.

He had dabbled in teenage binge drinking, partaken in all forms of drug usage, had engaged himself in vigorous sessions of aggressive hate sex in order to expunge all thoughts relating to her and her shedding her mortal coil, had been put through extensive rehab due to addiction to the aforementioned, and was now using music as a way of coping with the inexorable (and to lead him astray from the path of self-destruction that he was knowingly engraving for himself), because it was the only thing that would make Sakura smile (for her tears only aggrieved him further, his constant near-death debacles causing her equal distress); she had always loved his singing, and his guitar playing, and although he hadn't believed them to be worthy of her attentions, she was adamant that his music was her sunshine, the light in her dark and dismal life, and that he was her inspiration.

That was all she had needed to say in order for him to stick it out, his improvement not going unnoticed by those around him, who had urged him to pursue it as a career with much fervour; and so that was what he aspired to, for her, because she was the one that had catalysed these changes in him.

He may have wanted to die, and on some days the urge returned to mock him, but he pushed forward, for her sake—for her.

He never wanted to be the cause of her anguish, never again, and so he found the inner willpower to endure, endure his grief, endure the gradual shattering of his heart, endure for her, when she herself could not.

When she felt herself drowning in her depression, he was always there to pull her from the murky waters of death, to hold her close and keep her warm—to giveher warmth, when she could not feel any for herself.

When she felt herself caving to bitter resentment, he erased those negativities with a tentative smile, and a tender touch to her cheek, because it had never failed him before, and he knew that it would undoubtedly bring her back from the brink of needless hatred, as it always did time and time again.

When she struggled for breath, he gave her heart a reason to endeavour onward.

When she could not stand alone, he was her constant pillar of support, the one that held her upright and spurred her forward.

When she wanted the battle to end, he kissed her relinquishment away, refusing to allow her such petty surrender; not yet—he couldn't afford to lose her just yet. A

t the end of it all, it was always Sasuke that held her together, the glue that bound them with a fierceness that even astounded the pinkette, and she would be forever indebted to him for his unwavering encouragement, and his love.

It was for him that she continued to live, to fight a pointless battle; that arrogant, stubborn, damaged, and yet tragically beautiful man, whom held her heart captive, in perpetually blissful imprisonment, and whom she loved so much that her heart physically clenched from the force of it.

If anything were to kill her, then it would be that poisonous love, its infectious venom spreading and circulating, enveloping her in a toxic rapture unparalleled, inundating her with its passionate ardour and suffocating her from the inside.

Love would be the death of her, but Sakura couldn't help but be less than mindful, almost wishing it—after all, it would be a beautiful way to go, wouldn't it?

A soft smile replaced the cynicism on her contemplative features, her dull eyes glowing faintly in the iridescent moonlight (fake, just like the stars stitched into the dark blanket above them, cloaking them from the faults of human nature at its very worst, created only to stifle the complaints of innocent youths like herself, who yearned for something more).

A faltering pulse, thrumming discordantly behind tight skin, and a subdued yawn, and Sakura's head was resting against the ridge of Sasuke's broad shoulder, her arms folding around his waist as she snuggled closer to his heat; she was cold, so, socold, all the time, and he was the only one who could cure it, vanquish it from her system and leave her warm once again.

His former reluctance to be physically close to another had all but been wrenched from him, allowing the contact with little reservations; he welcomed her embrace with open arms, his own pulling her closer still to his toned frame, hidden behind tight shredded jeans and a ripped band tee (all black, of course, for it wouldn't be 'Sasuke-kun' otherwise, if his favourite shade was left in blatant disregard).

She had only seen him half naked once, and it had left her abjectly mortified, so much so that he made sure to lock his bedroom door whenever he needed a change of clothes (the fact that they had played naked as toddlers was unsung in her eyes; he couldn't have cared less, to be honest), lest she stumble upon him in a similar state of undress once more.

His body was inhumanly stunning, in her eyes, as if carved by the golden hands of a Greek God, with sharp lines, dips and contours, solid ridges and delicious rippling musculature that had her squirming in her place beside him, his brooding good looks only enhancing his overall bodily appearance, even with the substantial mutilation that tarnished his otherworldly perfection; a baffled look was what she received for her bizarre movements (from said subject currently occupying her more tantalising thoughts), before he snorted derisively, dismissing her strangeness in place of relishing in her company—soon that would be stripped from him too.

Th-Th-Thump! Th-Th-Thump!

The irregular rhythm of her heartbeat could be felt against his chest, which bore only a profound emptiness, a hollow that had been carved out to match her withering heart; as if they were a mismatching puzzle piece that fit together only because he enforced it, made it so that they worked in broken harmony.

Like he had carved out his own heart in preparation to take hers within himself, take the malfunctioning organ and replace it with his own.

It was a morbid thought, he mused idly, smirking coldly at the Gods above that were surely spiting him, holding him accountable for something in a past life, for that was the only explanation that he could summon in order to rationalise Sakura's gradual fading, whilst he cursed them all to malevolent damnation within Hell itself; it was only right, seeing as they were taking away his heart, his love.

His grip tightened on Sakura's shoulder, before he pulled her between his legs, both arms coming to rest around her neck like meaty chains as he nestled his face in her sallow locks of pink, humming a dissonant tune in the back of his throat as he rocked her back and forth, back and forth, until she was adrift in dreamland, her eyes fluttering to a silent close as he continued to quell her doubts and hush her reality—if even for a moment.

On that night, one of many, and yet so few, he held her like nothing in the world mattered, like she was not sickly and dying in his arms, like they had all of the time in the world, like the constant ticking of her internal time-clock had never existed in the first place, like the sands of time were not against her.

On that night, all of her limitations, all of her remaining time, ceased to be.

On that night, they just 'were'.


.

..

.

Yet another mundane day spent amidst the banal, prosaic masses; how Sasuke hated it here, this confinement in an environment that only left him feeling oppressed, smothered—how he despised school.

Despite all of its' supposed 'perks' (they being the equally humdrum social conventions that the students had designed in order to disguise their own aggravation with the building of extensive academia), the raven haired teen found reasons, no matter how insignificant, to abhor the concept even more—the people, the smell, the restrictions on academic material that could be studied, the classes, the lack of a certain someone.

Sakura was eleven months younger than Sasuke, and thus 'demoted' to the year below him; while he was to graduate in a few short months, Sakura would never get that chance.

She was doomed to rotting away in the eleventh grade, the hopes of holding her alumna diploma crushed before she could even realise them; irrespective of the fact that she was clearly capable of acing the twelfth grade material (and the fact that all of her subjects were the advanced year eleven topics, which equated to year twelve work anyways), she had been unsuccessful in her attempts at skipping ahead and joining him at the pinnacle of his studies, and it had almost destroyed them both, for it was not just for graduating's sake.

It was for more time, time that they currently did not have to spend with one another; he wanted her to be in every single one of his classes, so that they could sit together and help one another keep on top of their marks, so that they could maintain pointless, inane, irritating chatter (for even though he hated it when everyone else did it, she was always his bias, his one and only exception to the rule) whilst revising over material that they already knew like the back of their hands—so that he could hold her hand beneath their joint desks (conveniently forgetting the policy of 'no intimacy whilst upon school grounds', while not technically breaking it either) and brush his knuckles against the small patch of bared thigh she had absentmindedly made for his touching pleasure.

He wished her close because he was losing; losing against the ever shifting tides of sand, that were pouring down into an abysmal sinkhole of darkness—a darkness that was stealing her from him, with every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year that passed them by.

A darkness that was as ruthlessly cold as it was unforgiving, harsh; something that they both feared, with nail-biting anxiety.

It made Sasuke physically nauseated to even think of that very same substance blacking her out in his heart, his soul and his mind—memories were not forever, after all, whether etched upon the mind, engraved in the heart or embedded in the soul, and he dreaded discovering what it would feel like when she was no longer there.

Shaking the disturbing notion from his mind, lest something tangible became of it, the raven haired adolescent stalked through the hallways, people naturally divvying in order to let him pass; his presence alone was as frightening as it was hauntingly beautiful—to have such a tragic figure mixing amongst them, with obvious mental disturbances and personal antagonisms against society as a whole, was an intriguing if not discomfiting situation, one that was allowed simply because it was a part of life.

There were many others akin to his disposition (to an extent beyond even his own) in the real world, and the best way to adapt to the volatile instabilities of such a person was to become familiar with their presence, and treat them as any other human being; the last part was a little daunting though, considering the biting fury that shrouded Sasuke's person like a brick wall whenever one tried to be cordial to him, so for the time being, they settled for what would not distil further animosity from the intimidating male.

And that just happened to be no pointless bullshit, and no heroics; it was one thing to preach about being on good terms with the rogue Uchiha student, but to put it into practice, regardless of the true verity behind the aforementioned statement, was a big fucking no-no in his steely onyx eyes, and bigots be damned, he'd still beat them six ways from Sunday if they even attempted unwanted pleasantries with him.

This lesson had been taught, and taught hard, on many an occasion previous to this time, from overconfident egoists in his own year, to the youngest kōhais of the school; those whom had heard of his reputation (stretching from the very beginnings of middle school, he vaguely recalled) in the senior facilities had dared to mock his wrath, and were met with brutal consequences for their idiocy.

Thus all had learned that he was a force to be reckoned with, one that was unafraid of confrontation, and wasn't passed using his fists to dissolve the problem, if the need arose, and all thereby avoided incurring his poisonous ire, for it was hellish to contend with, on par with the Devil himself.

Sasuke, with his shoulders heavily hunched and his head planted in stagnant contemplation (wondering if he would ever be able to count all of the specks of dirt on the linoleum flooring), made his way toward the usually abandoned music room, hoping to work on his latest project, one that even Sakura was not aware of; she was to see the doctor during lunch break, but since she had two free periods afterward, she intended to meet up with him in the auditorium—the acoustics were best in there, after all, as she had continually told him in past memories long since gone.

The halls had grown sparse, few to no people lurking around as he luxuriated in the sudden quietude; as much as he would have enjoyed listening to his iPod in such conditions, he had to stay alert, on his toes, for any signs of unwanted approach.

The one time he had so foolishly let his guard down in that regard (music blasting unforgivingly in his eardrums) was the time that he had been beaten within an inch of his life by a gang of upset Mafiosi; he had successfully gone passed the point of simply pushing the wrong buttons, instead all but ripping them from the very stitching that bound them, and that left some very vengeful mobsters desiring nothing but his blood on their hands.

Well they got that, and then some.

He had been comatose for six weeks after that incident, six agonising weeks where Sakura's illness progressively worsened due to stress and worry; an agonising hole tore its' way to the surface whenever Sasuke remembered his part in her lost experiences, her lost grains of sand.

He would never forgive himself for being the instigator of her extensive hospitalisation, and that was why he made sure to avoid all brawls, where possible; he couldn't afford to hurt her any more than he already had, and nor could he afford to lose any of the time that he had left with her.

He had to spend it wisely, forging new memories for Sakura to take to that place beyond all human comprehension, so that she would not be sad, would not be lonely, when she finally departed from everything that she had grown so accustomed to—from everything that she had come to know and love.

He had to spend it wisely so that she, at least, would not be scared of what was to come, because he was so fucking terrified (a cowardcowardcoward he had become, since falling in love with her all those years ago) of letting her go, and it wasn't fair to make her cut the thread that bound them together due to his own misgivings, so he had to be strong, no matter what.

For her sake.

For her.

As always, Sasuke!

Clenching his fists, said male stormed into the sought out classroom, expecting it to be empty, as was the anticipated response.

His entire preconception, however, was shattered with a mere glance; blonde, blue and orange.

All trademarks of one stupid dumbass.

"Sasuke-teme!" Ah, there it was; the foreseen reaction of an even more predictable moron.

Sasuke could not for the life of himself figure out what made this boy, this Uzumaki Naruto, so fucking cheerful all the time (especially considering his poignant upbringing, or lack thereof), but it really grated on his nerves; the irritating youth had been the only one foolish (or brave, if you considered an outsiders perspective in more detail) enough to maintain his persistent badgering of him, always extending the hand of friendship even when it had been made perfectly clear that Sasuke neither wanted it, nor him in his life.

He had Sakura, and she was all he would ever need; even if he only had her for a short while longer.

It didn't matter; it had always been just the two of them, and he would not disrupt that peace by introducing this disastrous element into it.

He did not mind that the fragile pinkette had others of whom she wished to spend her time with; that was an inevitable part of their separation, and he just wanted her to be happy and contented with her company, just as he was happy and content with just having her.

It was alright for her to have other friends that she loved dearly, wholeheartedly, because it made her world a brighter place to live in, to bear, and it made thereby made living for him worth it; it was alright for her to have other friends, but he wanted no part in it whatsoever.

His world was already too closed off, too warped, for another to ever understand it, and he wasn't prepared, or willing, to let them find out just how deeply scarred, messed up, he was; for their sakes, as well as his own.

The walls he had built to protect himself would not be torn down, especially by the likes of the school's renowned jokester.

Never.

Grunting in what he believed to be an adequate response to Naruto's overbearingly eager greeting, Sasuke made his way over to the instruments room, pausing to take in his surroundings; same rustic smell, produced from the varying woods of the numerous stringed and woodwind instruments, tinged with a familiar calling of home as he reached for the farthest acoustic guitar, strung up on a rack against the corner wall, polished wood glistening in the luminescent lighting as he departed from the room, stopping to observe the unnervingly quiet blonde, sitting studiously behind the lid of a stunning grand piano; he had hardly expected him of all people to play such a majestically refined classical instrument, but then again, people were all conundrums in and of themselves, full of secrets and puzzles hardly worth knowing unless witnessed unfolding in person, and so he should have guessed.

Naruto seemed to be scrawling something down on a piece of paper, eyebrows knitting together in apparent displeasure, before he raised an eraser and deftly wiped away whatever was offending him from the face of the planet, pencil scratching gratingly in the silence of the tense atmosphere as he made the desired changes to whatever it was that he was deeming more important than his usual jabbering and annoying quips, before a smile tugged at his lips, full of self-satisfaction as he raised the sheet into the air and kissed it like one would an infant or a treasured pet.

"Perfect!"

It was a loud, boisterous exclamation, more fitting of his nature, causing Sasuke to reflexively wince at the sheer volume the lone boy exuded; Sakura had never been this loud, not in her life, and that is what made him hate the blonde even more.

Sakura appreciated silence; Naruto did not.

All the more reason to not accept any kind of friendship from the maddening teen before him!

Naruto's cobalt gaze shifted from that of the surprisingly unwrinkled sheet in his hands, to the darker presence in the room, his smile widening until it could almost trump that of the Cheshire Cat's, eyes alight with residual delight as he beckoned Sasuke closer with a jerk of his head, a motion that Sasuke was completely unaccustomed to; so much so that he made his way over without complaint, taking a seat at the opposite end of the bench that the blonde was currently occupying, eyes admittedly curious as to what the boy wanted to show him.

Pleased that Sasuke had openly accepted his invitation, Naruto picked up the scattered sheets (of what Sasuke could recognise as music scores, entirely self-composed, from the looks of the chicken-scratched scrawl, and quite complicated, much to his surprise and disbelief; that someone so academically stupid could concoct something so advanced of his non-existent intelligence was truly beyond Sasuke's comprehension), before aligning them in their correct places along the rail at the base of the piano's forefront, the opus itself easily at least five minutes long.

Sasuke watched quietly as Naruto made himself comfortable, before readying his fingers at the appropriate keys, flexing them for good measure, before he played the first few haunting notes, eerily soft, and agonisingly sad, fingers gradually melding together to bring about a beautiful harmony, full of excruciating melancholy as he reached the first peak of the concerto, a string of baleful, harsh notes melding together to create a sense of vexing wretchedness incomparable as he all but smashed his hands down upon the keys in a manner so tender and careful that Sasuke was stunned at the emotions that he was evoking, without even the need to physically represent it in his actions, eyes fractionally wider in amazement as he listened to what he could only assume was Naruto's heart—his aching, broken heart.

The blonde's hands continued their sinuous trek along the keys, eyes closed in thought as he played what he knew already by heart, for it was his heart, written so plainly over white, looking like a mess of emotions (and indeed they were, for there were such joyously saddening moments, moments that stole breath from his lungs and brought tears to his eyes, moments that could not be expressed in words, only music, for it was his saving grace, the only thing worth living for anymore, that knew him better than he knew himself) that could only be deciphered by him—but now, he wished to share it with someone, someone that he knew could know his heart without really knowing it, but would see it there, so obviously scripted, and yet so difficult to understand.

He wanted someone to see him, and he had chosen Sasuke, for he knew similar hardship; he knew how to see, to feel, heart when he saw it, heard it, because he had a real, genuine heart, not one full of materialistic desires, or half-hearted promises, but a true heart, one that had been broken, and was still being broken, trodden on as if it were nothing more than an old, abused rug.

Ah, their hearts, they had been abused!

Peeking through a lidded eye, Naruto discerned Sasuke's quiet features, carefully schooled, but relaxed, almost peaceful, with haunted eyes closed and ears open to the notes spewing forth from the majesty of the piano, a faint wetness lining his eyelashes.

Naruto politely averted his gaze at the sight, knowing that his pain was a burden that he did not wish to share, especially with the likes of him (he knew all too well how Sasuke felt towards him, and could not help but share the same opinion, for it was all he had been told since before he could even remember), so he instead focused all of his energies into bringing his masterpiece to the crest of perfection, fingers renewed in their purpose to share his heart with another who was willing to listen for but a moment.

A deep moment of profound desolation fell over the notes, before they regained their former agitated woe, and peaked at the highest possible tones of heartfelt grief, and although they were short-lived, they ended the sonata with a heightened sense of sorrow, a prolonged, restless unhappiness that left an intense impact on Sasuke.

Opening his charcoal eyes, hidden by pale lids and stark black eyelashes, long and thickly rimming, sticky with what could only be called tears, the elder male locked gazes with the now sheepish Naruto, who was rubbing his hand over the back of his head, grinning like an A-class idiot with eyes his clenched shut (Sasuke knew with an irritating profoundness that the blonde dobe had seen his tears, and was trying to be polite about them by not looking; averting his gaze, he quickly wiped the pesky sprites away, before returning to being annoyed with the fool before him, and his unparalleled kindness), and asking Sasuke's opinion.

Now normally, he would have grunted and walked away, but because it had been able to move him to such a degree, he couldn't help but let the awkward compliment slip through his defences regardless of his personal vendetta against him.

"It was beautiful."

And as much as it pained him, it was the truth; he had felt the emotions put into the masterpiece, and it had touched his cold, cold, fragmented heart. Why lie about something that clearly meant so much to the both of them?

Naruto's answering smile was enough to fill the room with an almost tangible glow, his azure eyes brightening even further as he laughed, and it was a joyous sound, one that spoke nothing of the pain that he had only just moments ago been expressing, divulging; to have someone know him, see him—that was all he had wanted, but he had gotten so much more, and he almost burst into tears because of the unexpected turn of events.

Had he not promptly laughed, he would have without a doubt; Sasuke knew this too, so he simply turned his gaze away, preparing to heft his own weight when a tan hand caught his forearm, causing him to pause mid-stance, his gaze trailing back to meet Naruto's inquiringly.

The exuberance of his smile had warmed to a simmering kindness, a plaintive expression moulded within his countenance as he spoke, for the first time since he had met the dobe (in kindergarten), in a ruefully apologetic whisper.

"Look, I know you hate me; who the hell doesn't?"

A bitter, caustic laugh that made Sasuke visibly flinch followed tout suite after that particular jab, and his heart clenched tautly within his chest.

"But isn't this nice? Just sitting around, playing music in the quiet, with nobody else to hear us but us?"

Sasuke quirked an eyebrow at that, not quite sure if he would define spending quality time alone with Naruto as a good thing, let alone something that is nice, but he gave allowance for the fool to continue never the less.

"With no one who'll judge us for our differences, our problems; wouldn't you want that to last?"

The dark haired teen paused in thought, as if weighing the notion out for all of its pros and cons; he grudgingly admitted that the blonde pianist had a valid point, especially considering the fact that he was trying to avoid all possible forms of potential trouble—for Sakura's sake.

Perhaps whatever he was alluding to, propositioning, would work to his advantage?

A curt nod was Naruto's only response, and this alone brought a larger than life smile to his once sullen face, all previous markings of sadness wiped from the very planes as he tugged forcefully on Sasuke's arm, startling him enough to have him sit without complaint, completely stunned at the sudden and unexpected action.

Naruto, seemingly pleased with himself for catching the dark Uchiha male by surprise, shook his head, before releasing the elder boy's arm, turning back to face the piano's keys once more, but not before letting slip his real intention for making Sasuke stay put.

"How 'bout we take over this room, ne? You can play your music, I can play mine, and both of us will stay outta shit."

Fuck, this kid was observant.

"Heh, if I'm lucky, you might even let me collaborate with you on a song!"

That, Sasuke had to sneer at derisively, a cutting laugh silencing Naruto's enthusiasm as fast as it had come; God, what had he gotten himself into?

Shifting so that his back was to the blonde, Sasuke picked up the earlier abandoned acoustic guitar (situated carefully against the closest leg of the grand piano), propping it over his crossed lap, before he replied in a dull, utterly bored monotone, "Like that'll ever happen."

Rolling his eyes, he took the time to adjust the instrument on his lap, tightening the strings whilst tuning them to the appropriate notes, before he played a few test chords, finding that they were at a satisfactory adjustment.

Content with the changes, Sasuke began to strum the opening bridge, bangs falling into his handsome face as his shoulders moved with the flow of the music, the male oblivious to the attention he was drawing from behind himself as he parted his lips, the first few lines of the song streaming from his diaphragm like velvet honey.

"Only oceans are between usAnd it is through you that I believeI could live again…"

Naruto was honestly shocked at how magnificent a voice the renegade Uchiha had, as he sat, eyes bulging and mouth hanging agape as he allowed himself to be swept away with the tide that Sasuke's voice and instrumental was producing.

"And if I should pass, I will rest in your oceanFor these are the waters that once drowned me…"

An acoustic break occurred, where Sasuke ceased in singing, fingers flying over the softer notes before aligning themselves over the harsher ones, his right hand plucking in apparent ruthlessness at the strings with the plectrum that he had pulled from his jeans pocket just before he began his "silent" serenade, his dark bangs continuing to obscure his forehead and sooty eyes from plain sight as his mouth opened to spew out further disarming words of heartbreak.

"Where is the light in my lonely existence? I brave the dark and the waters bleakFor I've seen your image in the mind's eye…"

A short pause, where Naruto felt his own breath hitching in heightened anticipation, his tears long since streaming freely down his cheeks.

"Fear is alluring but pain is no temptress…"

Yet another instrumental break followed after the haunting verse ceased echoing in the quietude of the room, beginning as the previous one had, but changing to one that was far more sophisticated, reminding Naruto of those amazing Spanish guitarists, the ones with the insanely fast fingers, with its Latino origin, the impeccably fast plucking fascinating to observe (for although Naruto could not see it face to face, he could see the obvious passion and strain it left upon Sasuke's endeavouring shoulders, his back itself), the tone it brought to the harmony of the score raising the hair on Naruto's arms and neck to fine, prickled points.

Then, as Sasuke finished the heart-wrenching strumming, he began to sing again, a harsher, coarser tone overtaking his melodic baritone until Naruto was tense with the high-strung nature of the emotions being invoked within him.

"There's no point in coming crawlingThe mighty temptress has fallenthere's no point, no point, no point in coming crawlingThere's no point in coming crawlingThe mighty temptress has fallenthere's no point, no point, no point in coming crawling…!"

It was funny; Naruto understood all but two words of English coherently, and yet that entire song had been composed in the foreign language.

Not only was Sasuke's pronunciation flawlessly immaculate, but he had not made a single mistake in the phrasing of the sentences; it was an original piece that would surely attract a lot of attention in the market for new talent on the music scene, Naruto was sure of it.

The fact that it had sounded so deeply heartfelt was what churned the blonde's insides uncomfortably though, for he had not realised the depth of Sasuke's pain until he had heard him sing of it—that had to be why it was in another language.

Because it was the only way he could express his hurt, without being mocked for it in the case of understanding.

That brought about further tears, even as Sasuke peered over his shoulder to see why the blonde was so reticent.

He seemed genuinely surprised by the jokester's reaction, if the marginal flaring of his eyes indicated anything, before he schooled his features back into bitter indifference, his eyes shifting back towards the guitar in his lap; he did nothing further, other than stare blankly at the glossy wooden guitar buttressed over his thighs, face pensive as he tried to summon any words. Naruto, of course, beat him to it.

"That was so freaking amazing, Sasuke-teme! Seriously, I didn't know that you could sing—well at all, to be honest, but holy crap, you're crazy good!"

Sasuke took the compliments in silence, listening as the blonde prattled onward, not having the opportunity to notice the tiny smile that had lifted the elder teen's lips almost imperceptibly at the praise; no one but his mother, brother, Sakura and close relatives had thought anything special of his supposed 'gift', and it was pleasantly gratifying to know that another outside of that limited circle of knowers appreciated his apparent talents.

He tuned back in when Naruto directed a curious question at him.

"Ne, Sasuke-teme, is that all there is to the song? Or are you going to add anything else? 'Cause I think you could do some really sick things with it once you've recorded it! Or have you already?"

So much for limiting his arsenal to but one humble inquiry, rather than a barrage of them; he answered them dutifully regardless, being as curt and vague as humanly possible in order to prevent the blonde from having any further insight into his musical pursuits, lest he take the information and do something volatile with it.

"First question: no; second question: yes; third question: no."

A groan sounded, followed by a whiny protest from Naruto.

"Aw, come on Sasuke-teme! Surely you can elaborate a little more than that? Hell, I'll give you the one-oh-one on my music, if that'll make you willing to talk to me about yours!"

A sigh.

"First question: no, that is not all there is to the song. Second question: I intend to sync some electric vibes from my electric guitar as the somewhat 'leading' component to the overall composition. Third question: no, I have yet to record the finalised product, but that may or may not be due to the fact that I have yet to purchase the appropriate equipment for such a task. Money has been tight lately."

He grimaced at the last thought, clamming up as fast as he had opened, thoughts of the pink haired angel of his dreams plaguing him as he remembered why they were so restricted on money; her hospital fees were far more expensive now that she was in need of the critical care ward, and his mother had insisted to pay for them (it was all she could do to prevent herself from feeling completely helpless), much to the horror of Sakura's parents.

It wasn't as if they could have afforded the top class care that the pinkette was getting now, under their subsidy, anyways, so who were they to complain?

As much as he yearned to be able to properly record his written music, and as much as his brother and mother wished they could support his passion, Sakura came first, and his needs were next to nothing compared to hers, so he didn't feel as disadvantaged, knowing that his girlfriend was getting a little more time from their family's inheritance (being the richest family in Japan assured that).

Not that Sasuke would equate her value to that of something so mundanely materialistic!

Never, not ever!

Dispersing the musings from his mind, Sasuke returned his attention to the dobe, who was once more running dialogue like a faucet pouring water.

"… is the case, then you can just use my stuff!"

A bewildered look in the boy's direction.

"What?"

Goes to show how much attention he had spared the overly friendly teenager, seeing as he had missed his entire speech of God knows what.

Naruto gave Sasuke a dry, exasperated look, apparently aware of his mind's preoccupation, before he repeated his last comment.

"My recording shit, you can borrow it if you want. Though I'm having second thoughts, now that I know that you've not been listening to me…"

Naruto trailed off with a suggestive shrug, returning his attentions to the keyboard at his fingertips, a smirk all his own tugging at his lips as Sasuke all but spun around on the bench, the excitement in his face clearly evident as his sights turned to Naruto.

"You would honestly allow me to use your equipment? Truly?"

As astounded as Naruto was at the sudden bipolar shift in personality (what he imagined Sasuke to have been like before his problems began), he couldn't help the grin he flashed the adolescent across from him in easy confirmation.

"Sure, it isn't any problem! I do live alone, after all, so I can make as much noise as I like, and no one can tell me otherwise; they couldn't give a fuck!"

It was a painful slap to the face, hearing Naruto confirm his suspicions; the boy, after all, had lost his parents to a brutal murder on the night he was born, but somehow, the killer had bypassed him entirely, thanks to the meaty shields of his parents' corpses covering him from view, and he had escaped unscathed from the merciless bloodbath.

Which meant that he had most likely bounced around through foster homes, too; he could recall the blonde missing many weeks of school at a time as youngsters, before coming back, black, blue and miserable—obviously his upbringing was a very traumatic one, being beaten and abused around the clock.

The extent of which, Sasuke never wished to find out; he had enough issues of his own to contend with, and he didn't need another's weighing down his already overstuffed plate. Although he did recall Naruto being put away into juvie hall (the correctional facilities upon which he too had become acquainted with over the past few years of his life) for something particularly bad…

Oh well, like it was of any concern to him.

Dismissing the random ponderings, Sasuke gave the blonde a strained, very much so uncharacteristic smile in thanks for his offer (the only form of gratitude that he could bear to muster, at this point), a nod being the only (it was becoming quite commonplace now) sign that Sasuke had heard, and was accepting, his gaze drifting down to the guitar he was holding firmly in his grasp, before he asked, very quietly, so as to not disturb the sudden lulled peace between them, "How about that collab project you mentioned earlier?"

It seemed that perhaps mateship wasn't such a bad concept to deal with, after all.


Sasuke strolled down the hallway, taking it at an unusually leisured pace as he conversed (one can only guess who was doing all of that) with Naruto about the fundamentals of intersecting musical instruments; they had decided that their musical partnership would entail their two strongest instruments (Sasuke on the guitar, and Naruto on the piano), and that the score should be written gradually, with whatever kind of sound they were looking to achieve. What that was, they had yet to properly establish, but that was an aspect that needed little pondering for the time being.

For the moment, it was merely a process of discovering each other's strengths and weaknesses—what plausible obstacles would they need to overcome in order to make such an effort possible, for example—and complimenting them accordingly with whatever traits were already dormant within the two young men.

Like Sasuke's focus and drive, against Naruto's lackadaisical carefreeness and reinforced positivity. Sasuke's icy aloofness versus Naruto's bubbly optimism.

They were two halves of the same coin, both wearing a different face, both with differing circumstances, but both sharing pain so profound that mere grief hardly satisfied the defined standard of suffering.

It was because of such a reason that they were able to connect on a level far deeper than that of those who assumed suffering, but had no real claim to the idea.

And with this connection, they were able to interact effectively and without need to be standoffish or distant.

Yes, they would establish their own level of separation whilst amidst each other's company, that would determine what boundaries neither could cross over into under any circumstances, but for the most part, they would be given the opportunity to be open about a shared passion, and both were eager for the chance encounter.

Their dynamic, although in obvious need of work, would inevitably bring them closer to the heart of their problems, and although they had yet to realise the significance of such a precarious aspect, for a time both would finally achieve the peace that they had so desperately been craving.

From the hardships of life, from loved ones gone and going—from everything.


Sakura stilled at the edge of a dormant locker, green eyes fixed upon the intently involved expression that made up the planes of Sasuke's usually schooled, hardened countenance. He looked comfortable, almost happy, the tell-tale sign of a stubborn smile tugging at his normally scowling lips.

It was surprising.

A smile graced her lips against her volition; her eyes alight with joy as contenting warmth sunk into her chest.

It was such a remarkable transition, a sight not considered commonplace, especially since it concerned her love.

He was usually monotonously cold, detached from within even himself as he got lost in a reality that existed beyond the planes of her sight and exploration.

And yet here he was. Not lost in the twisted paraphernalia that melded as one with his distorted ponderings.

In that one precious moment, he simply 'was'…

And she could not have been happier.

Silently, she slipped back into the shadows, becoming one with silence and solitude as she allowed Sasuke his momentary peace.


"…ke! Sasuke!"

Snapped from his thoughts, said teen raised his weary gaze from the novel that he had been devouring (not entirely in every sense of the word, but from an outsider's keen perspective, the analogy was quite fitting to the situation) with sharp, intent eyes, only to be met with the soft, pensive gaze of his elder brother.

School had since departed for the week, and Sasuke was currently settled under the Uchiha mansion's resident sakura tree (a permanent memento and reminder of his lovely girlfriend), one arm crested over a raised knee in order to support the hand that cradled a delicate white book within its clasp, whilst the other was raised in preparation to flip to the next page.

His remaining leg was folded loosely in front of his prone form, resting against the lush greenery that he was sitting upon.

The distinct scent of cherry blossoms in springtime wafted into his waiting nostrils, filling him with a sense of peace; when Sakura wasn't there, it was his only source of comfort, outside of his mother, his music, his books, and of course, his adored older sibling.

A small smile lifted at the corners of his mouth, which was returned with equal fervour.

Kindness had always been Itachi's practised forte, and he performed it with ease; it was engraved so deeply within himself that no one could ever accuse him of falsity, for he was genuine in his affections.

But as good as he was to those of whom he affiliated with wilfully, he was also renowned for his monstrously foul temper and inability to handle incompetence in all of its forms.

Which meant that the vast majority of the Earth's life forms were deprived of his presence, for they were too aggravating for him to bother associating with, and of course Sasuke could comprehend this, as he was, metaphorically speaking, the same.

Made of the same genes, thus made to be antisocial.

Itachi made his way over to his younger brother, eyes ever expressive as he sat alongside his stilled body, his shoulder brushing his in the whisper of a kiss.

He sat there for a time against the wiry tree trunk, saying nothing, simply relishing in the quietude of the early morning with mahogany eyes braving the glare of the sun as he watched the birds fly overhead through a pristine blue sky.

Not a cloud in sight; the perfect day to be outside amidst the nature that had cultivated life on Earth.

But, he mused with a sardonic smile, this is surely the premise for change. The calm before the storm, in every sense of the pun.

And if Itachi was right, which he was ninety-nine times out of a hundred, then there would a killer downpour by sundown.

Sasuke continued to skim over the text within his hand, brain not really absorbing the new information as he inconspicuously peered at his brother from his peripherals, through the inky fringe of hair that obscured his face from sight.

He really was a beautiful man, in all aspects of living.

Physically, and deep within, to his very pores and marrow.

With his hair loose of their usual constraints and flowing down to meet between his shoulder blades, and the loose khaki pants and button-up top, he looked every bit of the modern day model, poised for pictures even when he was considered to be underdressed (by his own standard, anyhow).

Casual really did suit his flawless perfection; not a scar marred his complexion, no piercings or tattoos to distort his cool and refined image.

Sasuke, however, had all of what made him an A-class rebel.

In stark comparison, he seemed more like the son of a wealthy gangster, a member of the Yakuza, than the ever classy prince before him.

But heedless of their differences, they were the closest pair in the world; even Sakura could not come between them and their relationship as brothers, no matter how much he continually stressed her importance.

No one would ever get between them, not ever.

Itachi's smile widened as he caught his brother spying on him through a mane of rebellious navy bangs from the corner of his eye, but other than that, he did nothing more than continue to observe the sky and all of its inhabitants, making no move to discourage Sasuke from his staring.

Placing the antique bookmark between the pages that he was up to, Sasuke closed the cover of the book, setting it aside on the soft grass next to his right thigh, his left arm still loosely draped unceremoniously over his kneecap as he returned his subtle focus to his enigmatic elder brother, his eyes readjusting to the dazzling brilliance of the sun's light as he did so.

When did it get so bright out?

A peaceful stillness settled over the pair as they basked in the glowing environment around them, watching nature's wonders in ripe abundance around them in action.

Every infinitesimal movement, every fleeting engagement made by the wildlife around them, held their attention firmly, raising the ambience between them until there was nothing but pristine quietude filtering in with the enigmatic sounds of life moving forward.

It was the ideal atmosphere, one free of convention and heedless need for noise.

It was an atmosphere that both brothers could relish in fully.

A flicker of a shadow fell over Sasuke's face, forcing his gaze skyward; a hawk had swooped down upon the branch above his head, and had paused to groom its puckered feathers into sprucely impeccable shape.

It was a bird full of pride and elegance, a wonder to behold at such a range, as they were normally solitary beings that preferred their own company over the abysmally mundane and often tiresome gatherings that had become a social paradoxical conformity of the human design.

To be so close was a privilege held only to those who did not seek to taint the easy-going vibes of nature, and to those who bore no ill will to the them in return of their companionship.

The breath caught in his throat, hitching until there was a soft but audible 'huff!', Itachi's contented gaze wandering back to his brother's face as he observed what he believed to be the most interesting creature in this quiet little (in actuality huge, but from his perspective, it had nothing on the true gardens of old) estate in the midst of his wonder.

His dark eyes were glowing with the hint of a smile, mirroring his countenance as his lips lifted imperceptibly to the naked eye at the tender sight of the majestic bird settling for sleep.

Such was the unsullied disposition of Mother Nature at its finest, that even a wary beast would make itself at home amidst a known predator's garden.

"Beautiful…" He murmured in a breathy whisper.

And it truly was; the plumage of the bird remained unruffled and kempt, the distinct patterns crisscrossing across the velvety, dark textured feathers breathtaking to look upon. With its head nestled between the valley of its breasts, and its eyes shielded from the sun's brilliance, it looked the picture of pure transience. It helped the mood between the brothers dissolve even further, Sasuke's head lolling onto his brother's sculpted shoulder in swift succession, as if mimicking the hawk's current stance in the braches overhead.

His right hand came to rest upon Itachi's thigh, fingers toying with the loose fabric of his pants, fingering the creases whilst bearing an overbearingly sad expression upon his face.

The peace was finally gone—only grief remained intact.

"She'll be gone soon… with the end of Spring, comes Autumn… She won't live to see the pretty red leaves that she adores so much, will she, 'Tachi?"

Itachi stilled, a sombre expression etched into the lines of his handsome face as he listened to Sasuke in silence, respectful of his need to vent his pent-up emotions.

"And so the capacitor on her life runs empty, leaving nothing but ashes in the palm of my hand; she'll slip through the cracks of time like the remnants of sand falling to Hell, and I can't do anything to stop it from happening."

Sasuke looked off into the distance, eyes glassy with emotion, Itachi's gaze drifting down to look upon his face.

When the first tear fell, his right hand reached up, cradling the back of his spiky locks and pressing his head into the crook of his neck, his cheek coming to rest upon his temple and his remaining hand entwining with Sasuke's closest one.

His thumb rubbed comforting circles on the tattooed surface, his eyes closing to hide the grief he felt for his brother and his lovely girlfriend, Sasuke's soft murmur lost upon the fickle wind, who carried it into the depths of space and beyond, like a prayer to Heaven and all of its inhabitants to spare her such a cruel fate.

"She won't live to see the stars."


Sasuke sat on the floor alongside his bed, legs spread out to support his guitar as he strummed away without restraint, Sakura sprawled over his bed on her stomach, resting her chin upon her elbows and hands as she watched him in silence.

She loved this.

It was one of the few rare moments where Sasuke wasn't shy, wasn't hiding his love for something other than her and his family, and it was such a raw moment that sometimes she wished she was invisible, so that she could continue to observe him in this state forever.

In the beginning, he refused to share this love with her, not for fear of being laughed at for being awful (because honestly, Sakura couldn't imagine him being bad at anything, especially something he was so openly passionate about), but for fear of upsetting her for having an interest that didn't revolve wholly around her.

It was only when she begged him to play her a song—that they both loved dearly—that he acquiesced, caving immediately when faced with her large, beseeching doe eyes.

And he had played for her ever since, sometimes not even registering her presence as he did so.

So absorbed was he in his craft.

The pinkette smiled at the sight of Sasuke's turned back, which was, for once, not tight with stress and strain, but relaxed.

He was completely at ease.

Why wouldn't she smile?

She crawled to the edge of the bed, so that her head was hanging alongside his, which was bent with concentration, tilting so that she could capture his hidden expression.

His endlessly dark eyes were closed, a pacified calm making its mark on his face as he mechanically plucked at the strings of his guitar, aged but loved, a complicated flurry of chords and notes reverberating in the air around them.

Sasuke's left wrist flexed over the steel threads, a melancholy melody, in all of its simplicity, pulsating in her ears, driving a metaphorical dagger into her heart; it was such a bittersweet sound, and tears stung at her eyes from the force of its impact.

And yet still she smiled, undeterred by the tragic hum of his heart breaking, her cheeks flushed with emotion as he eased his way down to an open, suspended ending, the last twang of the notes settling upon the ground like ashes to dust and ushering a peaceful calm in its wake.

Sasuke's eyes fluttered open, hazy with disuse, and as if in a daze, he gazed up, looking and seeing nothing but white, glittering white, the distinctness of the shimmering entities almost startling.

It felt as if he was drowning in a sea of stars—not the fake cloak of synthetic lighting strung out to look like a velvety lapis lazuli ocean, but the real ones, the ones permanently obscured behind a veil of darkest black smoke (smoke made by them, the materialistic and shallow masses that continue to build upon their own insecurities by playing the ignorant fools and covering up their mistakes, never once thinking to fix the problems created by their own undoing's, and instead pretending that they do not exist).

For the briefest moment, he was in Heaven, and he loved it.

But all too quickly, he floated back to reality, eyes clearing of his disillusionment almost as fast as it had come to him, his dark eyes settling upon the metallic glint of his ceiling fan rotating at a cutting, vigorous pace.

That would be the source of his delusion, it would seem.

A soft, warm breath against his cheek alerted his attentions, his head inclining to the source.

Sakura's dazzling smile was what he was met with, and it stole the breath from his very lungs.

Such a beautiful smile she possessed, warming him to the very core and leaving him feeling whole, complete.

Instinctively he raised his left hand—back still resting firmly against the edge of his bed—to cup her cheek, the angle a little awkward, but not unbearable, so he remained fixated in his position, head turned to her now sheepish gaze.

A light pink flush had settled over her cheekbones, smattered delicately over her nose as he continued to stare at her with his usual heated intensity.

Even after all of these years, being faced with an all too familiar expression, Sakura still found herself flustered, the scorching force behind his every glance enough to melt her into oblivion.

God he was so beautiful…

She leaned into his cupped palm, his calloused thumb smoothing soothing circles over the reddened flesh as he continued to stare at her with his usual bland expression.

The way he touched her caused the hairs to rise all over her body, the pinpricks hypersensitive to every sensation that he invoked from within her.

She shuddered. It was all too much to believe that this wonderful, fantastic, gorgeous, beautiful, (mortified as she was to say it) orgasmic man was all hers, but the fact that he loved her so much only made her heart quiver and squirm within her chest that much more.

Sometimes she even doubted the verity behind his feelings, reasoning them to being mere platonic attachment (she being the only female other than his mother that he had allowed into his heart), rather than passionate ardour.

Never had she ever met another so fully devoted to her and her needs, so committed to making her every wish and dream a reality; him loving her was just the cherry on top of the amazingly tiered cake of life.

Not something that she had ever expected to happen, but the one thing in all of the world that she treasured and cherished above all else.

"What?"

His voice, normally silky and suave, was terse and gruff, a testament to how long he had been silent, as he prodded for the reason behind her sudden shyness.

"Mm!"

Sakura mumbled with a quick shake of her head, her hair falling precariously over her forehead as she did so.

"It's nothing."

She amended quickly when met with his sardonic raised eyebrow (which meant that she was in for a world of tickling—torture, in for a world of torture—if she didn't clarify right now), her eyes never leaving his face for a moment as she thought of what to say to ease the sudden tension between them.

"You're wonderful, y'know."

She settled on the first thought that came to mind, her smile softening into something akin to awe and wonderment as she crested her cheek in the hollow that his fingers provided. Looking up at her from his place on the floor, neck straining to remain in one piece (and not snap from the unnatural incline he currently had it conforming to), she appeared every bit as lovely as always; glowing and magnificent, so very perfect. So very his.

"Hn." Was his only reply, his hand slipping behind her neck so that it cradled the back of her slender décolletage; he fingered the skin there.

Soft and oh so very smooth, unmarked by the sun, and unblemished by scars or injury of any kind; so very polar to his own flesh, which was riddled with irremovable damage and even more imperfections. He guided her forward with gentle coercion, easing her closer to his slanted face until her eyes widened slightly in surprise.

Her shock lasted for only a few moments, for when his own breath—warm and minty, fresh like life itself—fanned against her parted lips, her eyelids automatically drooped, falling to a close when a plush mouth, lined with metal studs, spikes and rings, pressed against hers in a chaste kiss.

There was little movement for a while, the press of lips pure and sweet, before the raven haired teen retreated ever so slightly, tugging her bottom lip playfully in the process between straight white teeth, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth when graced with the sight of a pleasing rush of scarlet invading her pale cheeks with the carnal, provocative action.

He was such a tease!

But even amidst her embarrassment, Sakura pursued his line of tactic, crawling forward on her elbows so that she was resting on the very edge of the bed, hands mechanically reaching for his angled face.

She pulled him toward her, in a move so bold that a contented groan echoed in the back of his throat (a deep rumbling that rose from within the depths of his chest, sending pleasant tingles down Sakura's spine), and slanted her mouth over his, her lips working a sensual dance over his; one to which he responded to without hesitation. His left hand still cradled the back of her neck affectionately, whilst the right stretched around his person in order to pull her closer to his face.

Her warmth was what he lived for, and the soft fluttering of his heart behind his ribcage escalated into a thunderous pounding, one that sent a flush of heat throughout his entire being; every nerve was standing on end.

Oh how he loved her so.

And soon… soon, she would be no more, nothing but a memory destined to one day fade from his mind, settling amidst the countless other trillions of sand grains that made up her very essence.

It was with such a thought in the forefront of his musings that intensified his desperation, to keep her forever, to never let her leave his arms, and the evident hunger in his needy kiss stood in testament to it.

He couldn't bear it. Letting her go; he wouldn't have it.

Not yet.

Not yet.

Sakura's breath hitched, her abdomen curling and tightening at the sudden change of pace; his tongue, warm and wet, brushed against her bottom lip, swollen from the abuse it had wilfully taken, beseeching entrance into the heat lying dormant within.

She was initially reluctant to part her lips for him, but with his insistent prodding, coupled with a reassuring flick from the pad of his thumb against her cheek, she acquiesced, her breath catching in her throat as his tongue sunk in to meet with her own.

The soft, wet muscle pushed against hers, urging her to follow his lead, and with a shy tap from her tongue against his, they came together, lost and tangled like her fingers amidst his dark, shiny hair.

And for a time, they were content, lips silenced to the vulnerability within.


..

..

I love you so much

Yet you cannot see

Just how much you mean to me

And if I should die before you wake

Continue to live on, if for only my sake

..

..


Sasuke stared at her sleeping form, buried beneath the heat of his doona cover.

They had kissed for what seemed to be an eternity, sprawled over his bed, never touching one another in a way that conveyed anything more than chaste, subtle need, the need for comfort, the need for love, hands tracing the lines of each other's faces, necklines, shoulders, arms, waists, before coming to a rest upon their shoulder blades.

When she became drowsy, however, Sasuke had pulled away, a concerned furrow etching its way into his brow.

"I'm okay, Sasuke-kun… just a little tired."

She murmured against his lips with a small smile, eyes closed as her breathing gradually evened out.

Sasuke sighed with relief.

Thank god.

Allowing a smile to soften his normally hardened features at the scene before him, the raven haired Uchiha raised his head, sweeping the rosy locks that had fallen into her eyes away with the tender brush of his right hand in order to press his lips to her exposed forehead.

"Go to sleep then, beautiful."

The pinkette gnawed softly on her bottom lip at the endearment, and he kissed the plump flesh in swift succession.

"Mm."

Either a sound of submission, or a garbled moan, he wasn't too sure, but that was how she had ended up under his blankets, amidst the Sandman's embrace, soft breaths warm and moist against his throat, arms tucked beneath his armpits and stretched out across the vast expanses of his back.

His long, slender fingers played with the long locks of pink, massaging her scalp and temple with careful fingers; she was so frail, so very thin and physically weak, that he could not handle her with anything less than the utmost care and caution.

He observed her transience with watchful, keen eyes, never straying from her face, in the instant that she were to come apart from the horrors of her dreams, from life itself—he had to watch her so that he could preserve every flicker of living within her within himself, so that he would never truly lose her when she was gone.

With any signs of upset, he would be there for her, for best or for worse.

It was all he could do to repay her; for her laughter, her smiles, her joy, her love.

For her everything.

Wrapped in the heat of her embrace, Sasuke drifted, between the planes of life and death, dreams and nightmares, his arms the anchor that kept her firmly rooted in his world of deranged disillusionment, where she would forever remain as the light at the end of his dark and dismal tunnel.


Sasuke observed his surroundings in silence.

A surprisingly clean layout, with only the odd sock and empty ramen cup defying the otherwise pristine cleanliness of his current setting.

The floor was made of sturdy wooden planks, polished to perfection and obviously maintained regularly by its owner, and upon it, to the right of the door, sat a battered shoe rack that was held together with masking tape and the odd nail.

Obviously carpentry wasn't one of the blonde's specialties.

Upon it were three pairs of equally tattered sneakers, worn with wear but evidently put to good use, lined up neatly in a row according to stature (school, formal and casual wear, all of which, of course, retained the scuffed dog look); to the rack's very left there were several coat-hangs, where a black denim jacket and an obnoxious orange hoodie were suspended, also aged, but again loved very thoroughly.

A potted plant flourished, as tall as a small tree, from the floor next to the vanity where he kept his personal effects; a bowl that's contents consisted of his rust-bucket's (a traumatising and atrocious example of a car that was beyond carbon dated) keys, his wallet (which was in surprisingly good condition, probably his most recent purchase), and the odd coin and sweetie, yet another small potted plant (a beautiful bonsai that was well fed, if the water-can next to it said anything) at the far end of the timber strongbox, and a threadbare, dilapidated photograph, which was framed by a delicate, ornate steel frame.

It was tatty and old-fashioned, but retained a strange beauty as well, that Sasuke found himself appreciating as he slipped out of his shoes, placing them atop the rack to his side whilst slipping into the slippers provided at the raised ledge that led onto the landing, his eyes zeroing in on the rest of the blonde's possessions.

His bed filled the left half of the room, placed directly beneath an awning that supported the apartment's largest feature window, fitting snugly in the carved hollow that the cream wall provided.

It was neatly made, with plain orange and black sheets, and navy blue pillowcases accentuating the unusual ensemble.

Yet another small potted plant, a cactus the size of Sasuke's palm, sat upon the wooden sill, and an old, dog-eared novel completed the Zen-like atmosphere; Sasuke was beginning to think that Naruto was a lot more responsible than he looked, what with so many plants flourishing under his care, and the impeccable nature of his home, and he nodded internally in approval.

He had been too quick to judge, it seemed.

The rest of the apartment was relatively normal; it had the one-room openness that he had expected of such an open person (one who had no secrets from himself), with the bathroom and shower being the only rooms closed off behind solid, veritable barricades.

The kitchen was a part of the vast space, connected to the entire plot and inviting to all who made themselves tangible within the blonde idiot's home.

It was decent in size, and had a breakfast bar settee circling its immaculate bench, which was apparently made of some cheap brand of limestone; the fact that it was so glossy only stood in testament to the amount of time Naruto spent in there, cooking and cleaning to no ends.

But what really caught Sasuke's attention was the thin corridor leading to what appeared to be an alfresco setting; there was a glass sliding door at the very end, but whatever was outside was obscured by the heavy cloak of rain outside, and the dark that came with it in turn.

His attention had been piqued.

Naruto had already stepped onto the polished flooring, slippers silent against the pliant surface as he pointed out a few of the main features of his apartment—light switches, heat thermostats, fan knobs, linen cupboard, his closet and underwear drawer; all things he deemed necessary to know, in case of unexpected happenings like getting caught in a storm and needing a place to stay for the night (coincidentally the reason why Sasuke was there in the first instance), or just on a need to know basis for later occasions of familiarity.

He had already established himself which rooms were which (in terms of toilet—which had a sign clearly stating as such nailed upon it—and bathroom), so Naruto hadn't bothered restating the obvious; he wasn't that stupid.

Sasuke made a move to follow, listening half-heartedly as he moved up onto the landing, and across the entryway, coming to a wretched halt when he glanced upon the photo from his earlier perfunctory perusal.

There, within the sturdy frame, was a faded image of two people, obviously in love, standing within each other's tender embrace; a young man, in the prime of his youth, with good looks that would make many a woman swoon, who had spikes of golden blonde adorning the crown of his head, a light sun-kissed complexion, and the bluest cobalt eyes he had ever seen in his life, eyes that were so expressive that he felt almost embarrassed to be staring with such ludicrous intensity (at such an intimate moment, lost in the fabrics of time itself).

He was tall and lean in his khaki pants and long sleeved t-shirt, but Sasuke could tell with a glance that this man was no pushover, that he could have handled himself in a sticky situation, much more so than his female counterpart; she was petite and elfin, with skin as pristine as silken ivory, not a blemish upon her milky flesh.

Fiery locks of scarlet flowed from her scalp, framing her heart-shaped face (making her seem like a refined and elegant young woman; the steely look of mischievous determination within her pretty indigo-grey eyes, however, completely defiled such a treacherous image) and falling well past her bottom, whilst she adorned a simple blue dress and black wristband.

She was a stunning woman, without a doubt, being the polar opposite of her significant other, but also the only person that could ever possibly compliment him and his prominent, dashing features.

But what surprised Sasuke the most about the picture was the very pronounced bulge that jutted out from her pelvic line and made up the brunt of her physical proportion, the heaviness of her stomach not of obese origin.

With the golden man's arms wrapped around her waist, evidently cupping and supporting her bloated front with affectionate hands, and her hands resting over his in an equally loving gesture, all Sasuke could conclude was that she was, in fact, very pregnant, and due to give birth at any given moment.

The raven haired Uchiha moved in so that he could closely observe their joint features.

There had only been one person that Sasuke had thought of when he had first looked upon the young man, and his likeness was unmistakeable (even the woman bore features reminiscent of her own rendering).

"My mom and dad."

Sasuke looked up from the picture to see a sobered Naruto, who had an eerily serene smile on his face as he gazed fondly at the photograph of interest, a faint sadness lining the depths of his cerulean orbs.

"This is all that I have left of them. The rest of their stuff was either donated to charity or disposed of when I was a baby."

Sasuke returned his bland gaze to the smiling couple.

The last memoir… The only thing he has left of them, of their memory. Their legacy.

It was a chilling realisation indeed.

But Sasuke could relate, on some small levels.

His own father, god rest his soul, had perished a long, long time ago, and it was still as raw and painful as it had been all those years ago; but it couldn't compare to the loss of something that was unknown, that had yet to be perceived and identified.

To lose something so important before even knowing or understanding, that had to be the worst feeling in the world.

Their conceptions of pain, and a painful upbringing, were indefinitely very different, but the definitions didn't hurt any less (for either of them), and thus Sasuke could relate.

Right at this very moment, his most important person was perishing, right before his very eyes, and he could do nothing; he was powerless to stop it, and in a way, that was the same as being an infant unable to do anything at all to recognise their parents, or understand that they were no longer of this world.

Both unable to prevent the inevitable—a twisted and horrible fate to be handed, but they were the cards that had been dealt, and it was all they could use to play the game of life with, so what else could be done?

Now abstemious to the sombre situation, Sasuke straightened, eyes never for a moment trailing from the deceased pair; now that he really focused, he could see that there was a makeshift shrine surrounding the frame, made of a few sticks of incense in two empty saké bottles on either side of the photograph, and two thick, scented candles, which had recently been placed on the altar of sorts (their condition too new to suggest otherwise), atop two plastic dishes, already buried beneath a sea of melted wax.

He prayed every day for their wellbeing and happiness; just like he did for his father.

"Well, we better get you a change of clothes. Here."

The raven haired teen raised his head, only to see Naruto extend his hand; in it was a fluffy white towel, fresh from the linen closet.

He took it gratefully, only now realising how cold, wet and generally uncomfortable he had become standing around in his drenched school uniform.

The pair had been locked in the music room until late in the afternoon, and by the time that the janitor had come around to tell them to "Clear off!" it was already after six in the evening.

No charter buses were running in such a rural area at that time, and so Sasuke's only viable option was to spend the night at the blonde's place, seeing as it was markedly closer to their school than his own estate, which was on the very outskirts of Konohagakure.

It took him two hours to get there every morning, and because his car was being serviced, his only form of transportation was the local buses.

The bullet train was too far away to take, and he couldn't trouble Itachi for lifts every day; he had a very busy schedule at their father's company (being the CEO, and the face of the enterprise itself as well), and he couldn't impede on that.

The stress would be too much.

And so he dutifully took the bus to and from school every day with Sakura (only much later, considering the fact that she lived so far away; it was only when she began staying at the hospital that he was able to see her more often), commuting to school like most other teenagers do.

Due to his own negligence—to which he felt like punting himself, for he had never been so careless with his time before—he had missed his only veritable form of transportation, and Naruto's car could only go so far (being both low on mileage and too much of a fatality on the road to risk the lengthy drive; how it had been deemed roadworthy was beyond even Sasuke's comprehension).

So thus he took up Naruto's gracious offer of lodging for the night, against many of his self-imposed rules, and here he was, standing soaked in the blonde's foyer, looking as miserable as a wet dog as he dried himself off.

Naruto gestured for Sasuke to follow him, and he did so without little hesitation, eager for the opportunity to change into something clean and dry, rubbing the towel against his bedraggled raven locks in an attempt to regain its former spring as he did so.

Naruto reached into his nearest drawer, pulling out a plastic packet filled with fresh, unworn boxers, whilst he fished around in his drawer for a decent sized shirt (considering the fact that Sasuke was fairly toned for one of his age, more so than the blonde jokester), muttering curses under his breath as his search proved fruitless. Sasuke stood there awkwardly, not quite sure what to do; he had never stayed over another person's house before other than Sakura's, and they had been inseparable since they were little, making it a comfortable, almost natural transition whenever he "slept over".

This was a new and completely foreign experience for the elder teen, and he was not comfortable with the odd sense of displacement that had filled him because of it.

"Aha! Found one!"

Naruto exclaimed with a ridiculously proud beam in Sasuke's direction, before he handed him the plain black (thank god) t-shirt and underwear package, still smiling even as he led the baffled Uchiha to the bathroom. He flicked on the light switch, a fluorescent beam filling the quietude and breathing life into the walls themselves.

They were the colour of sunshine, a brilliant yellow that brightened Sasuke's dampened mood somewhat (that had to be the blonde's secret to being so eternally jubilant), and contrasted wonderfully with the crystal clear white of the sink vanity and the tiles that made up the shower itself.

The bathroom itself was sparse, two towel rails, a cracked mug that served as the blonde's toothbrush and toothpaste cradle, a few shaving supplies here and there, and two more scented candles; Sasuke was beginning to sense a theme here.

"You trying to be Buddha or something? Things seem pretty frugal in here."

Naruto was so stunned at the comment that for a moment, all he could do was gape open-mouthed at Sasuke, before he burst out laughing, eyes shining with mirth as he shook off the residual giggles with forced coughs, noting the older teen's sudden swing in mood; apparently he regretted ever opening his mouth and speaking so forthrightly.

"Ha! Nah, I just like the smell; they liven up the place, and they're relatively inexpensive. Money's tight, so I can't afford to be scraping in huge electricity bills. Y'know, being orphaned and all that, makes things difficult; debt collectors don't care for sap stories, just their cut of the moolah, if you follow me."

Sasuke flinched; he really should learn to put his words through a filter before he said them aloud.

"And about the 'frugality'; well, I don't really need a lot. Just the bare necessities, to get me by for the year."

He really was doing it tough, wasn't he?

And yet, not a word of complaint had left him.

He merely soldiered on, unperturbed by the meagre life he had established for himself; because regardless of how little he had, the fact that he had anything at all was something of a blessing, especially since he was technically a minor for another few months yet, and thus shouldn't be out of his orphanage (being kicked out for his stint in juvie had really damaged his resolve to rely on others), and he was thankful for every moment of freedom that he could scrounge.

"Anyhow, you can leave the light on while you take your shower; my bills have been pretty good lately, so I can afford some special exceptions. Soap's in the porcelain cradle; feel free to use the body wash and hair products. I'll be in the kitchen when you're done, so leave the towel in the wash-basket in the corner, alright?"

With that, Naruto stepped out of the room, leaving Sasuke alone to foster his thoughts.


..

..


When Sasuke emerged, freshly clothed and wet clothes in hand, the pungent smell of food invaded his waiting nostrils, both of which were not expecting such an overpowering odour after inhaling the fumes of minty green tea body soap for the past ten minutes.

Naruto looked up at the sound of feet padding against the timber of his flooring, smiling when a curious Sasuke made his way over.

Noticing the damp bundle in the raven haired Uchiha's arms, Naruto placed down his spatula, which had been mixing a red-hot batch of spicy mince in a red frying pan, and shuffled over to his side, peeling the clothing from his skin and taking a detour down the thin corridor, Sasuke following without a word.

Pushing open the glass sliding door, Naruto made his way outside onto his balcony, the dark forcing Sasuke to squint in order to make out the forms of various shady objects.

Fumbling, the blonde searched for something, hands smacking against what Sasuke assumed was the nearest wall; within seconds, he had located what he was looking for, but before he did anything he spoke, his voice barely containing his bubbling excitement.

"Sasuke, I'd like to formally introduce you to my most prized possessions."

And with that said, he flicked a switch, and a blinding light illuminated the open space.

The Uchiha rebel could barely withhold his astonishment.

It was an alfresco setting, for sure, with glass railing and windows supported with mahogany frames, all closed due to the ferocious storm outside, a comfortable red cushioned bench connected beneath the transparent crystal creating a languish vibe to the already stunning alcove.

Plants of all description were strung about, an exotic but trimmed aesthetic that bordered the two opposite walls and hung freely from the roof, wildflowers growing in ripe abundance amidst it all.

And there, in the middle of the room, was a massive grand piano, set up alongside an equally impressive recording studio hub.

Two comfortable looking recliners were set up around the costly technology, one of which was covered in scattered papers—most likely music scores.

In one word, it was simply amazing.

He had not been expecting such a magnificent arrangement, not in the least bit.

It was obviously Naruto's pride and joy, from the amount of time and dedication he poured into maintaining its pristine appearance.

His wide eyes turned to said male, who was gauging his reaction—and evidently pleased with the result—with an assertive gaze.

As if suddenly remembering why they were there in the first place, Naruto turned, coming face to face with a laundry-line structure the height of his hip, before he sorted Sasuke's clothes neatly over the spare lines, Sasuke almost embarrassed when his boxers were strung up next to the blonde's.

Naruto showed no such notice, paying it no heed whatsoever, as if it were a completely normal thing to do (hanging out another man's undergarments to dry), before he straightened up, turning once more to face the flabbergasted Uchiha.

"Well, why don't we have something to eat, and then we can come back here and chill for a bit? That way, you can get to know my good friends here a lot better."

Sasuke couldn't have agreed more.


Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned very quickly into months.

The pair spent a lot of time fiddling with all of the possibilities that their music could produce, whilst also exploring what could be added through the use of Naruto's recording technology and expertise.

Soon enough, they had created several scores, none of which had any lyrics; the blonde had decided (unanimously, for Sasuke couldn't imagine what kinds of "meaningful" verses Naruto could spin with actual words, rather than music notes alone) that Sasuke would be responsible for any and all lyric writing, and therefore would be the wordsmith that would move the hearts of others.

And without even realising it, Sasuke was spending more time with the blonde, often staying over his place for mediocre things other than music; for school projects, and even simply for company, he went over, and not one word of complaint was ever uttered.

They spent time together at school—Naruto getting along famously with Sakura, much to Sasuke's grief and astonishment—and hung out on weekends when Sakura was indisposed.

The two, although with obvious differences, made up for each other's imperfections, and thus became inevitably closer because of it.

Without even realising it, quite inadvertently in Sasuke's eyes, the two had become the best of friends, and neither of them was bothered by the strange development.

Naruto had once insisted that it was destiny that they had met and become companions.

On any other occasion, Sasuke would have scoffed and told him he was a moron for believing in such lame sentiments.

But it was what he had come to believe also.

Especially after Sakura took a turn for the worst, when he least expected it.


Ending Remarks: So how much have you missed my clffies? I'm hoping that this is a pretty good one. ;)

LOL, not really. This now "trilogy" was meant to be a oneshot, but from the sheer length of it as of now (124 pages and counting on Microsoft Word), you can kind of see why I thought it best to break the content up.

You as the readers would most likely get bored, complain or give up reading altogether, and I wished to avoid this outcome as much as humanly possible. So yeah. Threeshot, woohoo!

The second part will be posted, well, whenever I get around to it, and I am still about three quarters of the way through the final part; the epic finale, where all of the tragedy hits its climax.

So strap yourself in for an overhaul of emotion, pretty people. Shit's about to get really messy.

Tissue boxes are advisable.

Drop me a line, would you, and let me know what you thought, okay? (:

Ja mata ne.

/Rin/