Disclaimer (because I forgot to say it in chapter 1): I don't own Naruto!
Honestly, I only have the next 3 chapters written. I'm still trying to think of the best way things should happen without it being too AU and unbelievable.
Dilemma: I kind want to post all at once so everyone can read it continuously. When I read fics, I always forget what happened before when updates lag. However, it'd be cool to slow it down so I can get more readers and reviews!
Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy it!
Sakura stirred. She was on her back, on the floor...somewhere. With her eyes still closed, she felt the ground with her hand.
It was cold.
She tried to turn on her stomach but was suddenly aware of the weight on her chest. Surprised, she opened her eyes, which immediately fell on the dark blue hair of Sasuke, sleeping peacefully.
The events of the previous day came rushing back to her. First a disastrous ambush attempt, then an expectation of death, and finally a surprise meeting with her old teammate.
They had shifted during the night, and somehow he had settled on face down, covering part of her left side. Her heart beat faster when she realized where his face was rested. She felt his right leg too, in between the two of hers hers.
Good thing my blanket didn't slip off in the middle of the night.
She wanted to move but was afraid to wake him.
Well, it's not that uncomfortable...at least both my hands are free.
Sakura sighed and unconsciously started lightly running her fingers through Sasuke's hair, eventually moving down to stroke the back of his neck.
Sakura removed her hands momentarily, rubbed her eyes, and yawned. The movement of her chest must have woken Sasuke because he shifted slightly and slowly turned his body away from her and groaned. His brow was furrowed as if to say it was too early to get up.
He put both palms to his face, rubbing it for a few seconds.
"Hey, I'm cold," Sakura said. As he had withdrawn his weight from her, he had also taken the blankets with him.
Before she could react, there was a blur and the next thing Sakura saw was Sasuke on top of her with sharp eyes and even shaper kunai at her neck. One hand was near her head, supporting his weight as he leaned forward. His knees were bent and straddled her hips.
Sakura's eyes betrayed her shock and confusion. She could sense his intent to kill, and it was crippling. Her chest heaved up and down as she took deep breaths.
Sasuke's serious face suddenly relaxed as he dropped his kunai next to her.
He removed himself from his position and sat down beside her.
Sakura put a palm on her head and the other hand over her chest. She was still breathing hard.
He looked at her and said apologetically, "Sorry, I forgot."
If waking up with Sasuke was like this, I shouldn't have looked forward to it for so many years...
Sakura kept her gaze on the ceiling, still recovering as her heart beat gradually slowed down. Then she heard him move closer to her.
His face partially blocked out the ceiling in her view.
"You okay?" He asked, slightly concerned.
She tried to smile reassuringly, "Yeah."
He seemed satisfied as his face left her view again. There was the rustling of bedding as he stood up.
"You should get up. Once I start folding these things there's going to be a lot of dirt in the air."
Sakura sat up.
"I'll help you."
Damn, I shouldn't said that. I can barely move in this stupid thing.
She noticed the blanket covering her had loosened a bit, though nothing disastrous was showing. Slightly embarrassed, she turned around and rewrapped herself.
"We'll go to my place, and I'll give you a change of clothes for the road."
She turned to him again, surprised.
How does he always know what's on my mind?
His gaze traveled from her face to the blanket around her body and back again. Something about the way he looked at her made her cheeks burn.
Sakura cleared her throat uncomfortably, "It's okay, I think my uniform is dry."
She stood up slowly and checked the pieces of her ANBU uniform on the table. It had definitely taken a beating during the mission.
"You can't wear that, Sakura. Not without your mask," Sasuke said simply as he finished folding the blankets and moved to return them to their storage place.
Argh, he was right again.
"I'll just wear it on the way to your place," she replied after some time, congratulating herself for a good save.
She sat silently watching him as he secured the latch.
"Fine. Tell me when you're done." Sasuke turned his back to her and proceeded to slip on his own clothes from yesterday that still looked damp.
Sakura quickly removed her blanket, feeling the sudden chill of the air on her exposed body.
Just the shirt and pants will do, she thought as she put them on as fast as possible. They weren't totally dry and she shivered.
"Alright, take your stuff and come with me," he said as he walked toward the door, adding, "You can keep the blanket."
Sakura wrapped the rest of her uniform and cloak in the blanket and followed Sasuke out of the cabin.
The forest looked different in the morning. For one thing, she could actually see where she was going, which made it a lot less threatening. There was the same distinct, earthy smell as last night and and she could still see her breath as she exhaled into the chilly air. She admired the glistening foliage, covered in last night's rain, shining in the sun.
Her eyes eventually fell on the figure in front of her. He was a good ways ahead. She ran to catch up with him.
"What is it?" he asked as she appeared next to him.
Sakura was in a good mood. The cold air in her lungs awoke and refreshed her spirits. She smiled brightly as she clutched her belongings to her chest and said honestly, "I wanted to walk next to you."
She tried to read his face for a reaction but he didn't flinch, keeping his gaze forward.
A few minutes later, Sakura grew increasingly frustrated with his silence. Even last night, they had not talked very much. She felt like she had seven years worth of words to say, but he seemed not the least bit curious about what events had passed while he was absent.
And...Kakashi-sensei—did he even know?
Sakura frowned, Would he care?
She bit her lip as they passed through the forest at a brisk pace.
The building the ANBU had attempted to invade last night finally came into view. It looked odd against the forest backdrop. Plants crept up the side of the walls making it appear as if the earth wanted to swallow the building underneath.
“Good. It’s not burned down.” Sasuke said.
If he was happy, Sakura couldn’t tell.
He led her past the fence, across the lawn, and to a side door of the building. A combination lock later, Sasuke opened a door to a narrow stairway. After four flights of stairs, he walked in the hallway, down the corridor, to a room on the right.
His room was more furnished than the cabin, but not by much. There was a small bed this time, a dresser, a mirror- it was cracked. Sasuke walked in casually and sat on the bed.
Sakura realized this was the room that the attack had taken place. She quickly scanned the dirtied white floor and walls. Sure enough, there were blood, burned surfaces, fallen weapons, and near the window, broken glass. She shuddered involuntarily.
Sasuke sensed her discomfort, and said, “The only bathroom is in my room.”
“You’ll feel better after a shower,” he added, as he got off the bed, and reached into the drawer for some extra clothes.
“Here’s an old shirt of mine, and some pants.”
Sakura silently made her way across the room, trying not to step on any of the debris. She couldn’t help but stare at the puddles of blood. Suddenly, she felt sorry for her ANBU teammates assigned to the task. She selfishly had not thought of them this whole time.
She paused, “You weren’t hurt yesterday...were you?”
Sasuke was silent for a moment.
“Not badly, no,” was his casual response.
Sakura walked over to where he stood by the dresser, setting her belongings aside.
“Let me take a look,” she extended her hands out to him.
“Come on, where is it?” she insisted.
“Nowhere, okay? I’m not hurt. Go take a shower.”
“Sakura! Will you please go!” he shoved the clothes in her direction.
Sakura swallowed and stiffened, and after a pause snatched the clothes and started heading for the bathroom.
Sasuke sat on his bed with his back supported by the headboard. He heard the water turn on and sighed. She sure was annoying, he said to himself.
His attention turned to his arm, just above his elbow. He rolled his sleeves up to examine a small dark spot of dried blood. It had been a flying needle. Still, it was nothing he couldn’t handle. The location of the wound bothered him a bit, but no ANBU needles, even poisoned ones, have ever worked on him before. He’ll just open the wound when Sakura left. Surely this time it wouldn’t be any different.
The water stopped. A few minutes later, he saw her come out wearing his old clothes. They were big and fit her poorly, but her face was clean and her wet hair was relieved of the dirt and leaves that had tangled it before.
Sasuke walked toward her on his way to the bathroom. Her face was calm and serious. He felt he probably shouldn’t have yelled at her for her concern awhile ago.
“Once I’m done, we’ll leave,” he said quietly.
Sakura didn’t look at him.
Sasuke paused next to her, hesitating. He ran a hand down her arm, and stopped at her hand, supporting it gently for a moment before letting it go. It was a simple gesture, but Sakura knew it was his way of apologizing.
As he left to take a shower, she proceeded to sit on the edge of the bed.
When he finished, he walked over to where she placed herself, his towel over his wet hair. Sakura could feel the heat emanating from his clean body. He threw the towel to the side.
Sakura got up reluctantly- the shower had relaxed her tensed muscles and made her sleepy again.
She took her things and they exited the building. Sasuke paused when they passed the fence that marked the end of the grassy lawn.
“Alright,” he started. “The fastest way out of here is to move northwest through the forest.” He raised his arm and pointed in the direction he spoke of, dark eyes squinting in the sun.
“You’ll pass another grassy field in about two minutes. That will tell you you’re going the right way.”
“Keep going until you hit the river. Follow it for two full days. Then you’ll be at the outskirts of Konoha.”
He looked back at her for a sign that she understood. Sakura was still clutching her things, hair wet and soaking dark pools of water on her shirt. She had not listened to what he was saying and concentrated instead on the feeling of dismay regarding her imminent journey.
It’s too soon...This can’t be it...I’m not ready to leave.
“Sakura,” he asked, “did you hear what I said?”
I need more time with him...
She looked at him suddenly and blurted out, “I might get lost.”
“Come with me,” she said.
Sasuke didn’t respond.
Sakura forced herself to add, “Just until we reach the outskirts. You don’t have to go in the village.”
Sasuke thought for a moment. It was true, there may be dangers she’d encounter along the way. Plus he doubted she knew how to efficiently hunt for food.
After some time, he conceded, “Fine. Let me get some things.”
For the next couple of days, Sakura tried not to think about Sasuke's inevitable departure once they reached their destination. The idea of him leaving her made her feel sick to her stomach. Instead, she wanted to enjoy the time she had bought for herself.
During their journey, Sasuke still didn't talk much, but Sakura minded less and less. She found that his reticence made the quiet moments they shared more meaningful. There was even evidence of him growing comfortable with her presence. Though he still never spoke about past or present events, Sakura noticed that he no longer pushed her away when she touched him.
Sakura's favorite part was at night when she had an excuse to wrap her arms around him. They would lie next to each other silently, piling both their blankets on top of their bodies to keep warm. Whether he meant to or not, Sasuke always dozed off first, pressed against some soft curve of hers. Sakura didn't mind; he felt pleasantly warm in contrast to the cold air. She'd stare at the stars until she felt her eyelids getting heavy. Finally, she'd fall asleep with a smile, satisfied with way their bodies fit together.
This persisted for far too short a time for Sakura. There was a heavy solemnity in the air throughout the third day. Sakura could no longer ignore the fact that by nightfall, she would be back in Konoha without Sasuke. Though she had been at home just a few days ago, it seemed like a month had passed. The apartment, the chuunin lounge, the memorial, Hokage-sama, Naruto, Lee, Ino...they all seemed like a distant memory.
This with Sasuke...this...feels normal.
As they neared the destination, Sakura wanted to slow down, but Sasuke was anxious to get there. Finally, they reached the edge of a small cliff overlooking the main city of Konoha. The multicolored lights spotted the darkness and they could hear the murmur of the night life below.
Sasuke and Sakura stood a few feet apart, looking in different directions. Sasuke seemed disturbed, being so close to his former home. To Sakura, this place seemed trivial now compared to the man next to her.
"I can't go any farther," he said plainly.
Sakura felt her body sink slightly into the ground and shifted. Crickets were chirping in the bushes. Sasuke sensed her disappointment, but his mind was made up. To some, Konoha was a peaceful haven, safely removed from the rest of the world; but to Sasuke, it was a stifling cage for those like himself who felt the need to seek power.
Besides this fact, he also faced the possibility of death if he showed his face again in his old home. This fate was sealed the moment he scratched a line through his forehead protector and tossed away his identification tag. Sasuke was an S-class criminal now—a traitor to the Leaf. Though he was a skilled jounin-level ninja who could probably single-handedly destroy smaller cities, he knew Konoha had many proficient soldiers who were willing to give their life to end his.
He felt a chill as he strove to push away thoughts about his childhood days. This is where those memories lived. Academy, team 7, and...that incident—the incident that pushed him down this path and gave him his one single ambition. They all began and ended here.
Sasuke's attention turned to Sakura, who was silent.
Her hair was purple in the moonlight, and she was staring out into space.
This was their last conversation. Sasuke felt he had to end whatever issues they had now. He knew what was on her mind.
His voice was the first to penetrate the heavy stillness. "Sakura...what you want...it's impossible."
Sakura turned to face him, snapping out of her trance.
She asked softly, "Why does it have to be this way?"
Sasuke didn't respond. His gaze was fixed on some invisible spot in the darkness.
"If I had more to offer you back then, you might not have gone...." she apologized in a soft voice.
The complete sincerity in her voice made him uneasy. He didn't like taking about their past.
"It had nothing to do with you," he said flatly.
His detached tone was too much for her. Sakura tried to control the swell of emotions, but she felt as if she would explode with frustration.
"I can only give you everything I have, every part of me, but it's never enough for you..." she replied shakily. Her vision blurred.
Sasuke avoided her gaze and did not answer.
Sakura couldn't stand it anymore. She declared in a desperate tone, "I need you, Sasuke! Can't you see I need you...so bad...it hurts!"
Her body relaxed slightly after the convulsion—it seemed relieved by releasing the confession that had been weighing on her mind since their first encounter. She had gone out and said it, and now her feelings were out in the open.
Slowly, she took a step forward, closing the gap between their bodies. She took one of his hands in both of hers and raised them to her chest.
She lifted her gaze and caught his eyes.
"Stay with me," She whispered. The phrase was honest and thrilling in its vulnerability.
Sasuke looked at her. His hand could feel her heart throbbing.
"Please. I'm begging you."
"There's no way I can lose you again."
His eyes fell from hers. "Sakura...I can't."
"Then take me with you."
Sasuke found it hard to speak in his most practical voice. "You can't give up everything you've worked for."
She didn't back down. "I can and I will."
He felt a wave of annoyance crash over his body. "Why?" he asked desperately, searching her face for the answer.
Sakura didn't hesitate. "Because it's worth it."
The words seemed to awaken his full anger. The more he thought about it, the less sense it all made. Sasuke broke away suddenly and backed up, removing his hand forcefully from her grasp.
"No, Sakura, you don't get it!" He laughed in disbelief of her stubborn foolishness. "It's NOT worth it. I'M not worth it! A lot has happened in these seven years. Do you even know who I am? How can you give up everything for a stranger, much less an S-class criminal?"
His palms were turned up in exasperation.
"Sasuke..." Sakura was stunned by his sudden change.
"I can't believe you! If you would listen to me, I could give you a hundred reasons why I'm exactly what you DON'T need! Since I left, I haven't cared about anyone but myself and it's not about to change!" Sasuke stopped and sighed in frustration. "I should never have...I can't believe I actually tried to...and we..."
He paused and turned away, rubbing his neck with one hand.
"I wish we never met," he finally declared in a low voice.
Sakura swore that the slight breeze that blew just then passed right through her body. The words were unmistakable, and Sakura felt them reverberate in her core.
"You don't mean it," she whispered with wide eyes, trying to convince herself.
His voice was honest. "I do, now more than ever."
Sakura shook her head in denial. Her eyes closed and she felt them burn as tears started forming behind her lids.
He continued more quietly, "Do yourself a favor, and forget about me."
She heard the rustling of clothing and opened her eyes again. Her vision was blurry, but she could make out Sasuke bent down, securing the kunai holster on his right leg. He was getting ready to leave.
He can't leave...not like this...
After Sasuke finished adjusting his weapons, he rose to face her for the last time. Their bodies were close, but Sakura felt that the familiarity between them that had grown so much in the last few days had suddenly died. The person who stood before her was indeed a stranger and she felt as if an infinite distance separated her from the Sasuke she thought she had known.
Sakura had nothing to say. Anything that came out of her mouth now would be a futile, naive statement.
His eyes were sharp and empty, but Sakura forced herself to meet his gaze for the final time.
"I'm leaving now. If you follow me and I see you again I swear...," Sasuke spoke coldly.
"...I'll kill you."
His tone was serious and controlled.
He means it...
Sasuke backed up a few steps and paused, as if testing her to see if she'd follow.
Sakura felt paralyzed and remained where she stood.
"Good," Sasuke said, satisfied that she finally stopped her protests. He then turned around and disappeared quickly into the darkness.
As he fled, the reality of what just passed sunk in and Sakura was overcome with a sense of finality. In the back of her mind, she wanted to believe she could change him. But now he was gone and she was alone. She never imagined it would end this way.
Sakura suddenly felt the darkness and silence suffocating her. Her body was heavy and she soon gave in to the pressure. Bending her knees, she collapsed to a sitting position with her legs tucked at her side, her palms supporting her weight on the cold rock.
OMG!! it's here! its here! it's awesome! YAY!
Dude, keep your updates in ONE thread. Having a thread for each part is ridiculous.
WELL ITS FUN HAVING MANY THREADS HAHAHHAHAHA THERE WILL B ABOUT 4 MORE LONG PART OF THIS STORY!!!!AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! DIS STORY WILL GO ON FOREVER!!!!!!
Congratulations sasusaku4eva, you're probably going to be a reason why we're not going to want to allow fanfiction on this site and, if you continue these threads, will be the reason you will be banned.
Refer to the link below for the rest of the fanfiction.
Red is right. Please don't make multiple threads for your fan fiction! This is warning #2.