Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Chapter rating: K
Summary: Sakura doesn't want to die, feeling regret.
The war was coming to the end, Sakura along with everyone else on this wretched battlefield knew it instinctively as they all put their very souls in the last, big attack to destroy the Ten-Tails. They knew it in their weary minds and hearts, they could taste the inevitable climax to the story of their lives in the air they breathed – though whether the ultimate verdict would be the damnation or salvation no one could tell yet. However, at the moment all the shinobis didn't regret anything and were ready to face their destiny head on, taking pride in the fact that they never surrendered to the terror of Akatsuki.
Now all that was left was to see the results of their gamble.
Most of ninjas fell to their knees, too spent and chakra-deprived to stay upright, but there were still some with enough energy to remain standing. Among those was one pink-haired kunoichi, who somehow during the fighting managed to gravitate towards her old teammates. Team Seven, reunited after so many years, was standing strong side by side and that was enough to fill Sakura with an overwhelming joy.
Finally, they felt complete and that was enough for her. Even if they were going to perish in the end, this one moment was worth it all.
Sakura didn't look at the Juubi, instead taking the time to drink in the perfect sight of her team. She carefully perused Naruto's tired but determined expression, the Will of Fire burning brightly in his eyes, his shoulders squared as he prepared to take on any counterattack the beast might retaliate with and she couldn't help but feel the admiration and pride swell within her. In this moment, Naruto looked like a Hokage and she realized that in her heart he already was one – the Hokage she most respected and loved, the Hokage she would plead allegiance to and always follow, even to the ends of the earth.
Though there's someone more devoted to Naruto than even me, Sakura smiled to herself as she noticed Hinata's hand wrapped in his own tightly. She felt happy, knowing that there was a person who gave him what she never could – a true, selfless love.
There were many times Sakura had beaten herself over it, but no matter how much internal berating she had done, no matter how much guilt she had drowned herself in, Sakura couldn't change her feelings. She could never make herself fall in love with Naruto, because her heart had been stolen a long time ago – and the thief was standing right next to her.
The twinge in her chest, as she slowly surveyed Sasuke's handsome visage, still emanating his usual brand of masculine confidence, his aura no longer tainted by a hateful malice, could be only described as sublimely painful. Her love for this man had always been a constant source of anguish to the kunoichi, yet it persisted through the betrayals, steadfast and unchanging. It was the absolute dogma of her existence.
Sasuke must have felt her looking at him, because he turned her way and his intense, dark eyes locked with her green ones. A charge seemed to go off between the two of them and she found herself unable to tear her gaze away, feeling exposed and vulnerable before him as he was reading her as easily as an open book.
She could never lie well to those she loved.
A deafening boom shook the ground and Sakura remembered just where they were. Death was waiting for them and she was determined to face it with her head held high, however there was still one thing she needed to do before she was truly ready for it.
Her resolve made, the kunoichi stepped up to Sasuke, purposely breaching his personal bubble, which action would usually be met with an instant, harsh rebuke from the man, however not this time. Never breaking their eye-contact, she reached out and cupped his cheek gently, but even then he didn't react, calmly allowing her to do as she pleased. Relieved that he wouldn't stop her, Sakura braced her other hand on his shoulder and leaned up, her lips brushing against his in a kiss as delicate as a butterfly. She held it there for barely a second, then eased back slightly.
"I... don't want to have any regrets," she answered his unvoiced question quietly and turned to back off and give him his space. She couldn't expect him to return her affections, but at least he accepted them and it was enough. It had to be enough. Another explosion rumbled from the direction of the wounded Juubi.
A large hand on her arm stopped Sakura in her tracks. Too shocked to resist its pull, she didn't object when her body was yanked back and pressed against a warm and very male frame.
"Sasuke-kun?" she whispered as she looked up at him in utter bewilderment.
"Do it again," he asked, no, he demanded, an unusual, hard glint visible in his eyes.
"W-what?" she stammered out, disbelievingly.
"Sakura," he growled out in warning and she stiffened in his hold. "Do it again. Like you mean it," he ordered harshly and this time she reacted. Hesitating, she leaned up again and gently pressed her lips to his just a little bit harder than the last time.
Sasuke wasn't exactly known for his patience but it still startled her when one of his hands cupped the back of her head, bringing her closer as he fervently reciprocated the kiss, turning it from fairly chaste to increasingly heated. Sakura's mind blanked at that, absorbed by the furious clash of lips, teeth and tongues she zealously lost herself in. He was taking from her again, plundering the treasury of her heart but this time she was stealing from him, too, getting back what was long overdue.
Both of them wouldn't have it any other way.
And the ground quaked underneath their feet, the rumbling and crashing and howling so unbearably loud as if the sheer volume was only needed to signal that the end was here, but never did they break the kiss, because it was meant to last a lifetime never lived, a lifetime full of joy, laughter and light.
The sounds were becoming muted until only silence reigned over the battlefield. The short transition between the two extremes was painful, yet they still didn't care, gliding their tongues together in a deep, languid kiss, wholly consumed by each other. At this point, nothing else existed.
Then, a familiar voice screamed out, "We won!" and the roar of cheers erupted from thousands of throats.
The Juubi didn't survive the final attack of the Shinobi Alliance.
The war was over.
Sakura tentatively opened her eyes, her vision blurry for a second from a few unshed tears, and giving a last lick to his lips, drew back. She didn't want to look at him, too afraid of his reaction. She didn't want to see his stony, unapologetic expression. They have been lost in each other like real lovers just a moment ago and if she saw in him the lack of acknowledgment, it would hurt her more than any torture she could possibly imagine. She tried to back away from him, but he didn't allow it, his hands holding her firmly in place.
"Sakura. Look at me," he rasped out, his voice thick with some heavy emotion.
She reluctantly raised her gaze, trembling minutely in his arms.
"I don't regret anything," he told her and the weight carried by such simple, but powerful words, just because it was Sasuke who said them, was enough to make her believe him in a heartbeat.
"Thank you, Sasuke-kun." A small smile brightened her features like a first ray of a new, better day.
AN: So, I decided to start another anthology of SasuSaku stories. You can expect to find here various genres, continuations to my oneshots from Against the Odds, story ideas which never made it in there and, most importantly, lots of SasuSaku :) The ratings will range from K to M. There will be no graphic sexual content, however if I ever decide to write some, I will give appropriate warnings or just post it as a separate story.
About this first installment, it was inspired by manga chapter 647. I just thought I needed to make that kiss every SasuSaku fan wants to see to be Sakura's idea for once. I realize the beginning seems kind of stiff, but it means that I just need to get back into writing, haha. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story.
Thanks for reading!