It was an accident. He didn't mean to run into her out in the woods but he did and she's given him somethings to think about and in return he gives her something to look forward to. [SakuraSasuke] ...
Something to Look Forward to.
He hadn't meant to. Heaven knows he consciously decided "Heck, I think I'm going to let her sense my presence so that she will follow me into the woods."
GAAA!!! How he hated himself right now as he jumped nimbly from tree branch to tree branch, willing his legs to go faster to no avail. It's not that he couldn't go faster, heck, he could run like the wind when he wanted to. But for some damn reason his stupid body wasn't obeying him as it should.
Maybe running into them in the middle of the woods had shocked him so much that he still hadn't recovered.
Or maybe he wanted her to catch up with him. Maybe he wanted the chance to see her up close again without looking as if he wanted to.
NO! That was definitely NOT what was happening. His body was just tried and his mind was just numb that was all. And yet at the same time, he felt as if his very core was on fire and he didn't understand it. This new feeling was strange, yet exciting, and in a way, it frightened him. It left him feeling vulnerable, and Uchiha Sasuke hated feeling vulnerable.
It had all started as a simple retrieval mission from Orochimaru. Nothing big, just steal some scrolls and come back. Of course there were the highly skilled nin guarding the scrolls, but they hadn't proven much of a problem for him. He was an Uchiha after all.
But as luck would have it, the supposedly simple mission would turn into a nightmare. Well, not really a nightmare, but when you're trying to break all ties to your former life, this could definitely count as a nightmare.
He had been traveling through the forest at a leisurely pace, in no particular hurry to get back to the Hidden Village of Sound and one very creepy sannin. While traveling, his thoughts had been interrupted by the sounds of metal clanking in the distant. Not just any metal but the distinct sound kunai hitting against each other. Some one was fighting nearby.
Now normally Sasuke wouldn't have given it a second thought and continued on his merry little way. (Can Uchihas even be merry? Umm...don't think so. Scratch that thought.) and continued on his broody, self-absorbed way. (Is that better?)
But alas, today was not to be one of those days. For his body seemed to stop against his own will and his heard turn in the direction the sounds were coming from. Curiosity began to seep through him making him turn and follow the sounds as if hypnotized. Maybe it was because he was out in the fresh air for the first time in a long while, or the fact that he had been around to many aggressive and introversive people for the past two years (just because Uchiha's like being aggressive and introversive doesn't mean that they like being around people of the same sort.), or maybe he had spent to much time around a certain loud mouth busy body dobe in his younger years. But whatever the reason, he found himself drawn to the struggle happening deep within the forest.
/Might as well have a look, /Sasuke had thought to himself. It was one of those moments in life you look back and either regret with every fiber in your body, or celebrate with every last breath you take. Sasuke still hadn't decided under which category this particular moment fell.
As he had approached the fight, his whole body had tensed as if anticipated multiple enemies to fly at him at any moment. But no enemies came, only the steady sounds of metal on metal and grunts and groans of physical strain.
He crouched low on a tree branch and peered through the foliage straining for a glimpse of the combatants. Soon two men came into view. By their posture he could tell they were fairly dangerous nin and therefore whoever they were dealing with was either:
a) great in numbers
b) supremely stupid or
c) supremely strong.
And seeing as he could only pick up one other chakra in the small clearing it had to be one of the later.
Just then the two men signaled each other and spread out, readying for their next attach. Sasuke cursed when they disappeared from his sight. Damn leaves. He couldn't see a thing; he could only listen.
There was a loud "HAA!" followed by a WHAM! THUNK! And the two men came flying back into view. One managed to land haphazardly on his feet while the other fell unceremoniously on his butt with a thud. It was easy to tell by the look on their faces and their multiple lumps and bruises that this wasn't the first time an attack had ended this way.
"So I'm guessing it's extremely strong." Sasuke muttered to himself as he turned and looked at where he judged their opponent to be.
"I could do this all day!" Their opponent's voice filtered up to him. It was high and a little, how to describe it.... sweet. Sasuke's eyes widened in realization. A girl! He had to fight the urge to laugh. These two men looked like the devil incarnate and they were getting beat up by a girl. It was just too much.
The two men struggled to their feet and began throwing insults at the unseen woman. She simply laughed and told them to come at her. They did. And then they went sailing through the air again. Only this time one of them didn't get up. The other looked like he wasn't far from joining his buddy on the forest floor.
And then it happened. The woman who had remained hidden until now came rushing into view. She flew at the last of her adversaries and punched him in the face so hard that the forest reverberated with a CRACK. He fell to ground next to his companion and didn't stir. The woman stood, hands on hips, with a smug smile on her face as she surveyed her handy work.
Now Sasuke saw all this, seeing as his eyes were open and he was looking right at her, but the only thing that registered in his so called genius mind was pink.
And that was how Uchiha Sasuke came to see his former teammate, Haruno Sakura, for the first time in almost two years.
After several minutes of staring, Sasuke managed to pick his jaw up off the ground and actually LOOK at what was happening in front of him. Sakura had just finished tying up the two men and stood back with a smile of satisfaction.
"You should never misjudge your opponent just because they're young and pretty." Sakura said to the two unconscious bodies. Sasuke couldn't believe what he was seeing. What had happened to the weak little girl who had to be protected all the time? Where was the girl who used to hang around him every chance she got and beg for attention? How had she become so strong? He decisively remembered an unusually common kunoichi who was always getting in the way. It's not that he didn't appreciate her, because he did. She had been a friend when he needed one and over time she had grown on him, her and Naruto. That was one of the reasons he'd left. He couldn't be attached. Not when he still had Itachi to kill and his family to avenge. Their love and friendship had become a liability.
And now she was no longer the little Sakura he knew who cried and shook in the face of danger. Now she walked with confidence, like someone who was strong and knew they were strong. It looked like he wasn't the only one who had changed in the past two years.
Just then another figure landed nimbly at Sakura's side. Tight green spandex and bushy eyebrows identified one Rock Lee.
"Good job Sakura-chan!" Lee proclaimed fist in the air. "Your flame of youth over powered the darkness of evil!" Sakura simply rolled her eyes at Lee's comments and continued as if it was an everyday thing, and with Lee, it probably was.
"Thanks Lee-kun." Sakura smiled up at the taller boy. Sasuke saw red. Though he didn't know why at the time and he still can't quite grasp the reason but all he knew was that he had the sudden urge to punch the "Green Beast" in the face. He waved the feeling away saying it was because Lee was just so annoying and at times reminded him of Naruto.
"Would you mind taking these two back to the village while I pick up all the weapons?" Sakura asked. "I would hate for someone to stumble on one of them and get hurt."
Well some things never change. Sakura was still as kind hearted as ever.
"Ooooiiii!" Lee shouted, his eyes sparkling. "Sakura-chan is so nice! And I will do my part by carrying away these criminals to face the hand of justice!" And so Lee picked up the two men and started off, going on and on about the power of youth and justice. Soon his voice disappeared and it was just Sakura and Sasuke, alone.
For some reason, it felt...intimate, to be with her like this, even if he was only watching from a distance. And the feeling of intimacy made him uncomfortable. Sasuke was not an intimate sort of guy.
After a minute or two of watching her, mesmerized, Sasuke realized with a start that he was in a very dangerous position. Without the two nin or Lee here to distract her, it would only be a matter of time before she picked up on his presence. And any minute now she could wander under this very tree.
Shit! He cursed himself silently for getting so distracted just from seeing her again. He made haste to leave as quickly and quietly as possible. He blinked. He looked down. DAMN! He was still sitting in the same tree, on the same branch, in the same exact position. He hadn't moved at all.
Just then he felt a spike in her chakra and looked up to see her staring right at him, well not right at HIM, but in his general direction. She had noticed his presence. This time when he willed his body to flee, it responded. Not quite as fast as he had hoped but heck it was better then just setting there and waiting for to hop up in the tree with him and ask:
"Oi! What are you doing here?"
Okay, so she probably wouldn't have said THAT, but that was beside the point. Not that he could remember the point anymore anyway.
And so here he was flying through the trees, begging his body to go faster while at the same time hoping the little twinge that was Sakura's chakra wouldn't disappear from the back of his mind. He, Uchiha Sasuke, wanted her to chase him. Heck there was no denying it; he wasn't stupid enough to try. He had missed her, missed all of them, missed Kohona, missed home. He missed the feeling of companionship that had gone hand in hand with all of that. Though he would never admit it to anyone, he had become close to them, cared for them. But he could only get so close, only care so much before a voice in the back of his mind would begin to chant; Itachi, murder, monster, vengeance, Itachi, slaughter, family, death, Itachi. Itachi. Itachi.
And his peace would shatter; his life would fumble and fall to pieces.
And so he had left. To kill Itachi, to avenge his family, to find peace, to find life, to be able to live. Because he wanted to care for them, to be the friend they once thought him, to be the faithful companion. He wanted to be deserving of their love. He wanted to love them.
And in order to gain all this, he had left. He had hurt them and betrayed them. Heck, he had even tried to kill Naruto. It had been in that moment when he stared at an unconscious Naruto after their battle at the Valley of the End, that he had realized exactly what he had gotten himself into with Orochimaru and his curse seal. Sure it gave him power and made him stronger, but it also changed him in another, darker way. When he had realized that the seal would not only change his body but his mind too, he vowed to use it as little as possible. He would not let Orochimaru control him. He had enough problems with his brother controlling him from afar. True to his word, he had grown stronger without help from the curse seal.
And here he was almost two years later still running from a past he couldn't erase and a future he wasn't quite ready for. But then he didn't seem to be trying to hard to run away. So why run at all?
Slowly he came to a stop and landed noiselessly on the forest floor, back to his pursuer. He felt her growing closer quickly and the need to flee almost uprooted him. He shook his head and glared.
"I, Uchiha Sasuke, run from nothing." He growled more to himself than to anyone who might be listening. And so he stood determined. He would face what was coming no matter how much it scared him (not that he would ever admit it, he has an image to uphold after all).
Her felt her approaching more cautiously now, sensing that he had stopped. He took a deep breath and made sure his usual cold facade was firmly in place. He wondered if she would recognize him. After all, he had changed a lot over the years, too.
She was almost directly behind him now, probably studying him through the trees as he had studied her not to long ago. He smirked when he felt more then heard her gasp. So she recognized him after all. Two years older, taller, more muscular, and no tell-all Uchiha fan on his back and she still recognized him. But he had spent so much time walking away from her back then that he shouldn't be surprised that the image of his back was engraved in her memory.
She landed softly behind him a ways. Her breathing was slightly erratic. She moved to take a step toward him but stopped herself. He wondered what she was going to do. Would she cry over her "Sasuke-kun" and beg him to return? Would she be angry and try to fight him? Would she try to force him to return?
"Is it really you?" Her nervous whisper floated to his ears. He turned around slowly to face her. Upon seeing her up close for the first time the first thing that went through his mind was "Can boobs really grow that much in two years?"
Now some of you are setting there in shock thinking; "Now that's a very un-Sasuke sort of thing to think." And I usually would agree with you but who really knows what goes through the mind of the stoic Uchiha? Maybe one day he'll write it down in a book, publish it, and become a best seller. But I highly doubt that don't you?
Sasuke quickly adverted his gaze from her chest to her face and immediately regretted it. Her green eyes overflowed with pain, hope, confusion, and.... that same familiar gleam that used to gaze out at him from those spring green eyes. It seems some things will never change.
"Sakura." His voice came out huskier then he had planned and he quickly checked himself. He took the time to look at her again and noticed she was no longer wearing her signature red dress but had replaced it with a long sleeve fish net shirt covered by a red tank top complete with a black pair of shorts. She looked so grown up and... temping. Sasuke quickly snapped him himself out of that train of though. Now was not the time for that.
"Sasuke?" Sakura took a tentative step forward searching his face for a sign of whether or not that was a good idea. "Are... are you alright?"
"Hai." So she thought he had stopped because he was hurt. But then he had never given her hope that he would willingly seek her out.
"Then why did you-? Where have you-? What's-?" A thousand questions attempted to spill out of her mouth but got jumbled together in the process. But he could see the questions in her eyes, the war that was going on inside her. In the end she decided to abandon all her questions, probably figuring he wouldn't bother answering them.
"I've missed you." She whispered. Her eyes now watched the forest around them with great interest.
"Sakura." He said again only this time his voice was softer, quieter. His face relaxed, loosing its trademark scowl. "You've changed so much and yet you're still the same Sakura."
She blushed slightly and began pulling nervously at a shoulder length strand of pink hair.
"You've grown taller and more... muscular." She blushed even more and adverted her gaze from his body. He grunted in response.
"Are you still with Orochimaru?" She asked shyly meeting his gaze again.
"Hai." His eyes bore into her, taking in the whole of her and memorizing every detail.
"Does he treat you well?" Sasuke shrugged and looked away, indicating that this wasn't a subject he wanted to discuss to discuss.
"I've been training with Tsunade-sama." Sakura offered timidly.
"It shows." Sasuke smirked causing her to blush again. "You have her insane strength."
It was an odd conversation they were having. He was the notorious missing nin who had abandoned the village for the sake of power and vengeance and she was the girl who had mooned over him in the past and was probably under orders to capture him if she ever ran across him and here they were conversing as if they were childhood friends who had run into each other on the street after many years apart. It was odd but felt perfectly normal to them. Any other way and they would end up fighting and hurting each other. It was a weird feeling for him, not wanting to see her hurt. Sure he'd never wanted to see her physically hurt, he'd even fought to protect her, but he'd never had any qualms about ignoring her or calling her annoying and then seeing the hurt look on her face as a result. But he had the feeling he wouldn't be able to handle that broken and rejected look from her with his usual coldness the way he used too.
"Naruto's gotten stronger too." Sakura continued as she watched him out of the corner of her eyes while playing with the ends of her sleeves. "So I guess we've all grown a lot over these past two years."
"Did you grow stronger because of me?" Sasuke asked suddenly causing her to snap her head up. Shock and embarrassment registered in a flash across her face.
"Yes, at first," She finally answered hanging her head in shame. "But later because it was the only way I could survive." Sasuke's gaze sharpened at this quiet statement. Survive? What did she mean by "survive?" Sakura must have seen the question in his eyes for she moved to answer it.
"I was alone." She stated in a low tone. "You left then Naruto was sent to "train" with Jiraiya in hiding for his own safety. Kaka-sensei was always off on missions that would last weeks and months. I was left behind so I had to learn how to protect myself because there was no one else to do it."
Sasuke felt an unfamiliar clenching in his chest. Images of a young, scared Sakura corned by a group of ruthless thugs flashed before his eyes. He growled as the need to protect the young girl rose within him and clutched at his throat. He looked up to find Sakura looking at him questioningly with those lovely emerald eyes. He stared into them several minutes, getting lost in their depth. He saw pain there, loneliness, uncertainty, and other emotions that mixed and swirled together.
"I'm sorry." He said so quietly that had Sakura not been paying attention, she wouldn't have heard it. But she did hear it and she treasured the simple phrase because she understood it. He was sorry for leaving her, sorry for hurting her, and sorry for not protecting her like he said he always would.
"I protect my precious people."
That thought echoed through his mind, reminding him of the promise he had made to himself long ago. A promise he obviously wasn't doing very well at keeping. But how could he keep that promise if the little voice in his head refused to leave him alone. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Sakura's voice calling out to him.
"Sasuke?" She asked hesitantly. He caught her gaze in a silent answer. "Will...will you ever come back home?"
The question was simple, either yes or no but for some reason it stumped him. Would he ever go... home? HOME. Yes Konoha had once been home and- if he were ever selfless enough to admit it- he still considered it home. The problem was would they accept him back after he betrayed them? Would they allow him to call Konoha home once more? Looking into Sakura's eyes, he knew she would. That fact could be read as clearly as the grass is green and the sky is blue. He knew Naruto would accept him too, he'd give him hell but he'd accept him. The dope was too forgiving for his own good. But what about the others? Would they judge him or would they understand?
He wanted to go back to Konoha, go back where life was simple and happy, where Naruto was loud and annoying and Sakura spent her time trying to keep him in line and Kakashi would read his perverted books; where he would be a part of that.
He wanted to grow up there, get married there, have kids and rebuild his clan. He could see it now; a whole heard of little boys with onyx eyes and dark hair and giggling girls wit bright smiles and pink hair and all of them-
WAIT.... Pink hair?
When had that happened? Since when had he associated Sakura with the rebuilding of his clan? He had never really given any consideration to WHO he was going to rebuild the clan with. He just always assumed that when the time was right someone would just, "poof," appear. Maybe it was the fact that Sakura was ALWAYS there and she was openly infatuated with him. Or maybe it was the fact that she had grown on him. He had, over time, become accustomed to having her around and, against his own will power, learned to enjoy her company. Though he would kiss Naruto again before he would ever admit that to anyone, the fact still remained, that whether Sasuke had willed it or not, he had grown fond of his pink haired team mate.
He looked at her as she stood patiently waiting for his answer and he hated to admit it to himself but she stirred something in him that he didn't know existed. But even if he did have feelings for her, which were growing stronger by the minute, he had no right to have her. He was a missing nin, a traitor. She deserved someone who would stick by her side no matter what and could love her the way she deserved to be loved, without vengeance hanging in the background like a rotten piece of meat that makes the cleanest of rooms smell revolting.
"You know I can't." He answered simply, trying to keep the sadness out of his voice.
"Yes, you can!" She responded desperately. "I'll talk to Tsunade, to everyone. I'll make them understand. It would take time, but everyone would come around eventually, I know it."
Optimistic as always. And she could probably do it to, convince everyone to let him come back. She always had a way with people that had amazed him. But the problem was, he didn't know if he would ever make it back. He had yet to kill his brother; in fact, he hadn't seen him in his entire time with Orochimaru. And he didn't know how long that would take and if he would come out alive in the end.
"Sakura, I don't know how long I'll-"
"I don't care. I'll wait forever." She cut him off. There was a heavy silence in which they both watched the other closely, as if waiting for some sign.
"So?" Sakura quietly broke the silence. "Will you come home?"
Sasuke frowned. Almost all the obstacles in the way of answering that simple question had been broken down but just one stayed, one that plagued him more then all the others. Sakura. He didn't deserve her, plain and simple. No need to beat around the bush, she was day and he was night, she heaven and he hell. He had done to many things in his short life for which he would never be able to atone for.
But wait, why not? Even if he didn't deserve her, she had always been his. Even back when they were young, all the other boys had steered clear of the pretty kunoichi because of him. Well, except for Lee and Naruto who just weren't to smart when it came to certain things. So, even though he never openly claimed her or even remotely acted like he wanted her, she was his from the start. So why not take her? Didn't he deserve some happiness in life? Was there some sort of unwritten law that said all Uchihas must live miserable lives? Well, law or not, Sasuke was tired of pain. He wanted to be happy and she was offering him just that. Though he hadn't realized until he saw her again how much he wanted happiness with her and only her. And so he answered.
"Hai." He could feel the shock roll off her in waves. She had wanted that answer but had obviously not been expecting it. A small smile spread slowly across Sasuke's face. "There's something there that belongs to me."
Sakura's brow scrunched in confusion at this statement, but before she could ask, Sasuke was suddenly in front of her. He was so close she could feel the heat radiating off his body and his breath fan her face as he peered down at her. Her breath hitched in her throat and she ordered her legs not to fail her now.
"Something very important." Sasuke whispered, his fingers moving like feathers across her cheek. She felt something warm and soft press against her lips for a brief second but before she could even register what it was; it was gone. Sasuke was no longer in front of her.
"Thank you, Sakura." His voice called from behind her. She whirled around to catch the last glimpse of him as he bounded gracefully through the trees. Her fingers went instinctively to her lips and she smiled when she realized that she had just gotten her first kiss from the man she had loved for as long as she could remember. Though he had left her behind again, using the same parting words even, she didn't care. Before he had left her in pain and now he left her with hope. Before it had been the end but now it was the beginning because Haruno Sakura had something to look forward to.
I hope everyone enjoyed my little story! I had a blast writing it and I'm even thinking of making a sequel if you guys want it!