Chapter Fifteen_
"Sensei" :

Sakura was still distracted from her conversation, or rather, argument with Sasuke this morning. Sitting at her desk in the training center, she didn't even notice when one of the 'patients' started spewing blood everywhere.
Of course it wasn't as if it was a real person, just a dummy body used for different types of training. Still, she should've noticed the faux blood now covering one corner of the room.
"Um, Sakura-sensei," called Etsuko, "there's been a problem."
Sakura looked up, surprised at the soft voice. Etsuko was one of her top students. She was shy and tended to keep to herself, but she was a smart girl who picked things up rather quickly.
Blinking at the scene before her, Sakura immediately shot to her feet.
"What the hell!" she said, walking over to disengage the jutsu giving 'life' to the dummy bodies.
Furious, she turned to look at Kenji. Not the most experienced of her students, but somehow he'd made it through her first cut and was doing rather well. Keyword: was. Still, he had a lot of determination and the drive necessary to become a great medic-nin if he ever got the discipline to apply himself.
He sort of reminded Sakura of Naruto. She couldn't deny the soft spot she held for her student because of it.
"The assignment was to stop the internal bleeding and heal any damage, not shower the room in blood."
"Sorry," mumbled Kenji. "I'm just a little distracted."
Sakura frowned. For Kenji to seem down was worrying. Still, a medic-nin must never allow emotions to hinder their ability.
"Alright," she said glancing at the clock. "Since this place is a mess, I'll let you all off early today. Remember to practice your chakra control and study poisons and antidotes. We'll be moving on to that and herbs next week."
After a simultaneous, "Hai!" the sixteen students began to file out of the room. Sakura had started with a group of thirty-five, but quickly got rid of those who didn't have any potential. She knew more would be cut soon, but she wasn't sure how many. Most of them were doing exceptionally well.
No matter what happened, Sakura knew she would be leaving Oto with a good group of medic-nin to train the next generations.
"Kenji," she said after the others had left. Kenji had taken up the mop and was cleaning the blood from the floor.
Sakura had learned quickly that beginners tended to make messy mistakes, thus she kept proper cleaning supplies near by.
The boy looked up at her. "Yeah?"
"Do you want to talk about what's bothering you?"
Kenji sighed before shrugging.
"Not really," he mumbled.
"Look," said Sakura sympathetically, "you have all the necessary traits to be a great medic-nin. Your chakra control is perfect. You learn quickly, but sometimes I wonder if you're willing to put you heart and soul into your training. You have raw talent Kenji, but that isn't going to get you much further. You'll need to be putting in the hard work, too."
"I do!" said Kenji. "I just…"
"Just what?" coaxed Sakura.
"Honoka has a boyfriend now," he mumbled bitterly. "She has a boyfriend and they walk around together all happy and smiling and they're probably going to get married and have stupid happy kids together all because I was too much of a coward to ask her out myself."
Sakura frowned.
"Honoka?" she said, annoyed. "As in a girl! Are you serious Kenji! You're letting yourself get all distracted over some girl! Are you stupid?"
Kenji glared at her. "She isn't just some girl. I love her!"
Sakura rolled her eyes. She supposed she should be a little more sympathetic. He was only fifteen, after all, and it was probably his first crush, but she really wasn't in the mood.
"I can't believe you would let this opportunity slip by because of some girl! Do you realize how stupid that is?"
"It's not!" said Kenji. "She's important to me. Geez, haven't you ever been in love?"
Sakura was taken back at the question.
"I- well- of course I have! But that doesn't mean I'm going to let it ruin my life!"
Kenji frowned at her.
"Now whose stupid?" he countered. "When you love someone, they are your life."
Sakura swallowed thickly as her eyes slid to the blood-covered floor. She felt sick to her stomach.
"Don't be so naïve," mumbled Sakura. "Saying things like that… That sort of love and devotion doesn't exist in the real world, Kenji."
Walking from the room, she said, "Make sure all the bloods cleaned up before you leave."
Regardless of what she said to Kenji, Sakura remembered a time when she used love Sasuke so unconditionally.
When had her thinking on matters of the heart become so cynical?




Chapter Sixteen_
"Beginning" :

Sakura was standing in the hallway staring at Sasuke's door. He wasn't home. It was three in the morning and he still wasn't home.
After the incident in class, Sakura had laid awake thinking of her past; more specifically of her past with Sasuke. It left her with a sort of bittersweet taste in her mouth. Here she was, in Oto, living in Sasuke's house and she was wasting this time by yelling at him. Did she feel guilty about it? No, of course not. Sasuke had hurt her, but at the same time he'd done nothing like that while she'd been here.
Should she just over-look their past and take the plunge at maybe being friends? After all, that was all she'd dreamt of for those first few years of his absence. Now, though, she couldn't get over the fear lurking in the pit of her stomach. Regardless of what she told herself, there was still that little part of her heart that loved Sasuke. It scared her to death to think if she let down her guard for two seconds around him that she could fall prey to the same heartbreak she'd been victim to as a girl.
She wouldn't be able to handle that.
All too soon her memories were of the past, of that night. Of the panic that had drawn her to confront him, of the feeling in her gut that told her he was going to disappear. The very idea of never being able to see Sasuke, to talk to him had nearly made her sick with grief.
The next morning, when she woke up knowing he wasn't in the village, wasn't with her it was much worse than she had imagined.
"Shit."
The memories of that first week without him—of those first few months had only given the panic slowly squeezing her chest a catalyst.
What if something happened? What if he was hurt or worse?
Turning on her heels, Sakura retreated into her room and threw on some clothes. She didn't know what she wanted, whether to avoid getting close to Sasuke or just take a chance, but she did know this: Sasuke was never this late.
Running down the stairs two at a time, she'd just got her arm in her jacket as she slammed the door shut behind her and ran down the porch steps. She didn't know where she was going as she jumped to the first rooftop, fanning out her chakra, the moment she felt the flicker of Sasuke's she surged towards it.
It took her a little under ten minutes to find the three story building he was in. It didn't look much different from any others. Perhaps a bit bigger, but that was about it. She assumed it was somewhat like the Hokage Tower—holding stacks upon stacks of paperwork as well as the staff who helped traffic missions and visitors and the like.
Pushing through the front door, Sakura walked through the hallway, nearly passing the stairs. Half way up someone turned down. She stopped, figuring it wouldn't hurt to ask.
"Excuse me, is Sasuke somewhere on that floor?"
When the disgruntled man looked at her, his mood seemed to completely change. A toothy grin quickly split his face as his eyes seemed to light up with mischief.
"So you're the girl. Quite the looker. An acquired taste, I guess, but you're pretty enough." Sakura was about to yell at him when he beat her to it, "He's down the hall, your second left."
Deciding to ignore his previous comments, Sakura nodded her head and mumbled a quick thanks before going up the rest of the stairways.
The door the man had directed her to, she noticed, was open. Sakura was just about to walk up and knock, figuring she should at least try and be polite when she froze at the feminine voice.
"You know, Sasuke-kun, you keep working like this and those hideous bags under your eyes are going to become permanent," she said.
"Go away, Karin," sighed Sasuke.
"Aw, don't be like that," said the woman. "Why don't you take a little break. I'm sure I can help you relax."
Sakura's breath caught in her throat at the implication. Biting her lip, she leaned just a tad to get a look through the doorway. What she saw made her heart stop. Sasuke was leaning back in the chair behind his desk—glaring at a redhead. This, however, wasn't what bothered her. What bothered her was that the redhead was sitting on his desk, her feet propped up on either side of his legs on his chair.
The whole thing just seemed wrong.
Feeling a whole new fire that had absolutely nothing to do with her previous panic, Sakura walked into the room before clearing her throat—a vicious glare aimed at the redhead.
"Hmmm?" hummed the redhead with her head tilted over her shoulder, she raised a curious brow before getting down from Sasuke's desk.
Slipping on her glasses, she frowned at Sasuke and said, "Well, if you're done wasting my time, I'm leaving."
Sakura was a little shocked by the sudden change in demeanor as her eyes trailed after the redhead before drifting back to Sasuke.
"What the hell was that?" she asked accusingly.
When Sasuke raised a brow and smirked, she was mortified to realize what he found so amusing. She actually sounded jealous, which she wasn't.
"Why do you even care?"
"I don't," said Sakura flustered. "It's just a little, well, you're supposed to be working!"
Sakura watched as Sasuke sighed, his eyes closing and all the teasing leaving his face.
"That's just how Karin is," he said, leaning forward and going back to the paperwork on his desk. "What are you doing here?"
"I-" Sakura paused, wondering if she should lie, but that's when it hit her, "I was just worried. You're never gone this late."
Sakura didn't want to be some outsider in Sasuke's life anymore. She was nervous, hell she was terrified, but he just looked so damn tired. Even more than that, he looked alone and she hated that. She hated that no matter what he does in his life, Sasuke seemed cursed to be lonely.
But it wasn't just about Sasuke, she wanted this. Those few moments of panic that she may never see Sasuke again made her realize just how much she still cared for this stupid man before her. It made her realize just how much she could be throwing away if she didn't make the effort to get to know him again during this year.
Suddenly those three hundred and sixty five days seemed so short.
Sasuke was staring at her, a slight furrow to his brow that made her feel a bit self-conscious.
Shifting her weight, she took the plunge.
"I used to help Tsunade sometimes, so if you need any help..." There was a pause as Sakura hastily added, "If you don't, that's fine. I just… I mean, I'm here."
Sakura could only hope he understood she wasn't simply talking about this single moment.
She watched as Sasuke's face seemed to relax and an almost-there smile found his lips. He grabbed a stack of papers and sat them before the chair on the opposite side of his desk.
"Sort those."
Sakura smiled before taking her seat. It didn't bother her that he didn't quite ask because that was Sasuke and for the first time since she got to Oto, Sakura was glad to be there with her former teammate.




Chapter Seventeen_
"Rush" :

Sasuke woke to the thud, thud, thud of Sakura running down the stairs and then back up the stairs and then back down. Groaning, he glanced at the clock. Ten. Sighing, he rolled over and closed his eyes. A few seconds later they shot open.
"Fuck."
Sasuke immediately bolted up from his bed before kicking off the covers and getting dressed. Just as he was walking into the kitchen to grab something to eat and hopefully a cup of coffee—how he hoped Sakura had made some—he ran right into the pinkette herself.
Looking down at whatever had collided with his chin, he saw Sakura about to fall as he grabbed her shoulders to steady her.
"Thanks," she said, rubbing her forehead.
She blinked a few times before looking up at him. A sense of realization lit up her eyes.
"Sasuke! What are you still doing here?" He didn't answer as she figured it out herself and sighed. "I guess staying up until five wasn't the best idea."
Sasuke didn't say anything, he just stared at her. Absently, he realized his hands were still on her shoulders. Clearing his throat, he moved her out of the way before going to get some coffee.
He tried to convince himself his palms burned because of the hot coffee.
Taking a sip, he frowned.
"Strong enough?"
Sakura rolled her eyes before going to get her shoes on.
Sitting the mug in the sink—there was no way he would be able to drink it—he joined her in the foyer.
It was still odd for him that they lived together. After trying to avoid her for the first few weeks—because obviously she didn't want to be there—he was starting to like the fact that he was seeing more of her. Perhaps it was selfish of him, but last night he decided he should make the most of his time with her. After all, once the year was over she would go back to Konoha and he'd never see her again.
As he slipped on his shoes, Sakura had gotten her coat on and was just staring at him. He raised his eyebrow in question.
"Oh," she said, a slight blush on her cheeks, "I figured we might as well just walk together, since, uh we're heading in the same direction and it'd be weird for you to be following me… I mean, that's just me, if you want I can leave or–"
Walking past her and opening the door, he said, "Come on."
He felt a warmth in his chest at her smile.
"So," she said, he could tell she was trying to think of something to say as she pursed her lips, "uh, it gets pretty cold in Oto, doesn't it."
"Aa."
He saw her nod slowly a few times, mumbling, "Yup."
He could tell she was nervous. She'd never been good in uncomfortable situations, but somehow it was nice to see a side of Sakura he recognized. Sighing, he knew if he wanted any semblance of a friendship with her, he'd actually have to try.
Sometimes he wondered when he lost his mind.
"It snows a lot here in the winter."
"Really!" said Sakura and Sasuke was surprised at her excitement. "That's awesome. I hope it snows while I'm here. It never snows in Konoha, well maybe a few flurries, but the last big snow I remember was when I was six. Ino and I spent hours making snow angels."
Sasuke looked down at her as they walked. He could tell she was remembering her past.
When she stopped all of a sudden and looked up at him, he felt heat crawling up the back of his neck.
Did she catch him staring?
"This is my stop," she said, and Sasuke nodded slowly, realizing they were at the training center.
Not wanting to say or do anything he might regret, Sasuke turned and started to walk off when he heard her yell, "I'll see you later."
He wondered at the hopeful tone in her voice as he lifted his hand in a halfhearted wave.
It was times like these that he wished he wasn't so closed off from his emotions because of course he would see her later and he maybe could've told her that he wanted to see her. Alwaysalwaysalways.




Chapter Eighteen_
"Fetish" :

Sasuke sighed before dropping his pen back to his desk. Leaning back in his chair, he rubbed his eyes. Going on so little sleep and staring at small print all day wasn't a good idea. His eyes were starting to sting.
Relaxing in his chair, he found his eyes slipping to the unoccupied seat across his desk, the one Sakura occupied the night before.
"What the hell am I doing," he mumbled before he heard a knock at the door. A head poked through a second later followed by a hand holding a plastic bag.
"Hey," said Sakura. Sasuke just stared. His mind was a bit sluggish at this point and he really couldn't think of what to say.
Hi never crossed his thoughts.
Clearing her throat, she added, "I, uh, figured you might be hungry."
Sasuke nodded slowly when she smiled and walked over to her seat. He felt like some mute idiot at that point. He heard the rustling of plastic before she pulled out two packages of food.
"I just picked up some onigiri," she said. "I figured your taste in food hadn't changed."
"Thanks," he said, taking the food. It struck him as odd that she knew some of his favorite food, but he didn't know hers. Before really giving it much thought, he asked, "What's your favorite food?"
He was glad to see Sakura didn't find the question odd or out of place as she grabbed a stack of papers and replied, "Um, I like dumplings and umeboshi. Oh! And animitsu is pretty good too."
Sasuke looked at her like she was crazy.
"What!" she asked, glaring. "It's perfectly good food."
"Sweets are disgusting," said Sasuke.
"Just because you don't have a sweet tooth, doesn't mean the rest of us don't."
"They're still disgusting," said Sasuke, rather enjoying how easy it was to talk to Sakura.
"Yeah, yeah," she said as she began to sort the stack of forms in front of her, "just shut up and eat your damn food."
He didn't argue as he took a bit of the onigiri and got back to work.
It wasn't but ten minutes later that he looked up at her. He wouldn't exactly call it staring since he was blinking and all. That was until she looked up at him, a light blush on her cheeks.
"What?" she asked. "Do I have something on my face?"
"No," said Sasuke, quickly coming up with a reason for his not-quite-staring, "it's just, you know you didn't have to come up here. I don't expect you to help me."
"Oh," said Sakura, obviously not expecting that, "I really don't mind. Besides, I had been getting bored at the house. Plus, maybe I can help you get finished earlier. I was serious about you not getting enough sleep. It's really unhealthy."
"Suit yourself," he said, turning back to the forms in front of him. This time he made sure his eyes stayed there.
About an hour later, Sakura was the one caught staring. Sasuke frowned when he noticed this before staring back curiously. She didn't exactly notice because she wasn't so much staring at his face but his arm or hand, he wasn't sure.
When she finally did glance up at his face, her cheeks turned a bright red.
"Oh," she said dumbly, "I uh, well, sorry, I just, you," shaking her head, she said, "I mean you have really… nice… hands. Yeah."
Clearing her throat, Sakura looked back down, her hair shielding her bright red face.
Sasuke's smirk was practically to his ear. He couldn't help himself.
"I have nice hands," he echoed slowly. It was probably the weirdest thing he'd ever heard, after all.
"Shut up, Sasuke," seethed Sakura as she glared at him.
He really did try to get rid of the smirk on his face, but he simply found the situation too amusing.
Sakura rolled her eyes.
"Yes, you have nice hands. Okay, are you happy now? I have a hand fetish and I think you have very nice hands so can we please move on with our lives. If you haven't noticed I am helping you so, you know, I'd appreciate it if you'd stop looking at me like that."
Sasuke just turned his gaze back to the form he'd been filling out, trying very hard to stop glancing at Sakura's bright red face as they continued to work.
A hand fetish, huh?




Chapter Nineteen_
"Snow" :

"Psst, Sasuke."
Sasuke groaned and rolled over, not quite registering the voice nagging at his sleep.
"Sasuke, wake up!"
When his pillow was ripped out from beneath him, Sasuke was pissed.
"What the hell!"
Glaring, he found Sakura looking down at him, one of those annoying smiles on her face. Sighing, he let his head fall back to the mattress. After all, he knew he wouldn't be able to say no when she looked at him like that.
"It's snowing," she said.
Keeping his eyes closed, Sasuke hoped he might be able to just ignore the fact that she was there, looking at him with that annoyingly happy smile.
"I don't care."
"Well I do!" she said. "Come on Sasuke, it's snowing. I haven't seen snow in years."
"Then go look at it," he said, pulling the covers over his head.
"But I want you to come with me. It's no fun alone," said Sakura before adding. "Then you just look like a moron standing out in the cold!"
"No."
"Please?"
"No."
"Please, Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke's heart nearly stopped when he heard the familiar suffix. He wished he had been looking at Sakura then because he couldn't decide if it'd slipped out or if she was just playing dirty.
He hoped it was the former—hoped she had said it because things were finally starting to go back to the way they were.
With his breath caught in his throat, he turned his head to look at her. His eyes clashed with determined green. Sighing, he sat up rubbing his eyes.
"Fine."
"Really!" said Sakura. He felt the tips of his ears burn at how excited she looked. When she threw her arms around his neck, the blush quickly spread to his cheeks.
It was only for a moment before she pulled away and grabbed his wrist.
"Well then, hurry up!" she said, dragging him behind her. He would've thought the hug was nothing until he saw the red on her cheeks. He smirked, shaking his head. Typical Sakura to act before she thinks.
The notion made him realize that maybe the chances of the suffix just slipping out were rather high.
They were getting their jackets on when Sasuke wondered at how quickly things had changed. One second Sakura had been accusing him of wanting to kill her and then she was bringing dinner and helping him with all that damn paperwork every night.
He wondered what happened a week ago to make her suddenly change her mind about him.
"Ready?" she asked excitedly.
"Impatient," he muttered before opening the door. Sakura followed him out before running down the porch steps and into the snow.
Raising his eyebrows, he gave her that 'how old are you?' look.
Sakura rolled her eyes.
"It's called an inner child, Sasuke. Obviously, you don't have one."
Yawning, he said, "Thank god."
Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Sasuke leaned against the railing on the porch as he watched Sakura try to catch a snowflake with her tongue. Sometimes he really wondered at her sanity.
He could feel his eyelids getting heavier—the world around him growing blurry. He was so damn tired. Shaking his head, he forced his eyes open to see Sakura giving him that worried look. It made her look motherly and he made sure to kill that thought the moment it started doing funny things to his stomach and giving him odd images of black-haired green-eyed children.
When her face was slowly split by a wide grin, he frowned. That was never good.
"We're both playing hooky tomorrow!" she announced.
"No," he replied immediately.
She waved her hand a few times as if erasing his reply. Sometimes he wondered if she'd ever truly rid herself of all her annoying tendencies.
He ignored the small whisper that he didn't really want them to disappear.
"Yes," she said, her eyes daring him to challenge her. "You aren't getting enough sleep. Besides, I've already decided we're going to play in the snow tomorrow and we can't do that if we work."
"It's called responsibilities, Sakura."
"It's called fun, Sasuke-kun."
There went that suffix again.
Damn.
"Fine," he said through gritted teeth before heading back inside.
"Where are you going?" asked Sakura—he could hear her footsteps getting closer.
"To bed. I'll need some sleep if I have to deal with you all day tomorrow."
"It's okay, you know," she said. "I know being an ass is your way of showing you're excited."
Sasuke couldn't help but roll his eyes at that. Still, he realized, perhaps he was a little—very little—bit excited. Not to play in the snow, of course, but to spend a day with her.
He tried to ignore the warmth spreading through his heart and even more so, he tried to ignore the pain he knew would replace it when she returned to Konoha.




Chapter Twenty_
"Touch" :

Sasuke woke up at the ripe old hour of eleven feeling well rested and slightly weird because he wasn't at work. He wondered if Sakura would notice if he slipped away for an hour or two. Maybe she'd assume he was still sleeping?
His plan was immediately forgotten when he smelled breakfast.
Sighing, he knew this time Sakura had done that on purpose. There was no way he'd be able to just walk away from a meal. Especially after he'd had her cooking. Surprisingly enough, Sakura was a pretty good cook.
Getting dressed, he headed down the stairs and to the kitchen. The sight before him was enough to give him pause. Leaning against the doorway, he watched as Sakura busied herself by cooking breakfast. This wasn't what caught his attention though—he was more curious to see how well she knew her way around his kitchen.
It made him realize for the first time that they lived together. Sakura knew where he kept dishes and food. She knew her way around their house.
He wished he could simply enjoy the idea without it quickly getting over shadowed by her leaving.
Sasuke had to shake the thought. He couldn't dwell on what was inevitable. He decided before—he would make the most of this time he had with her.
"Hey!" she said, when she turned to put the food on the table. "I was just about to come wake you up, sleepy head."
"Hn."
He walked over and took a seat at the table, his eyes following her form behind a curtain of bangs.
"You want some coffee?" she asked as she fixed herself another cup.
"Aa."
When she sat down to eat he couldn't believe how excited she looked to play in snow. Though, he supposed, it was Sakura.
"Alright!" she said. "Eat quickly!"
He could've laughed.
Twenty minutes later—five of those minutes her glaring at him because he was apparently taking forever—they managed to get into some warmer clothes and were out in the snow.
Great.
Sasuke had a scowl etched on his face as Sakura dragged him out back.
"Oh, come on, Sasuke-kun! Just try and have some fun."
"Yeah, because standing out in the freezing cold is fun," he said, annoyed.
He should've expected the snowball that hit him in the face, he really should've. And before he could even get mad, he heard Sakura burst out laughing. Smirking, he picked up a handful of snow and chucked it.
When it soared straight past Sakura, the girl's grin widened. Surprisingly enough, Sasuke's smirk did as well.
"Man, you–" When a huge pile of snow fell on Sakura, her voice dropped and a frown marred her face. "–suck."
Looking up, Sakura saw the now snowless tree branch above her.
"Oh, it's on now!" said Sakura before disappearing.
Sasuke narrowed his eyes before slipping behind a tree just in time to avoid a snowball. Quietly, Sasuke scooped up a handful of snow before taking carful steps around the tree. The second he saw a snowball coming at him, he tracked its path and flash-stepped towards Sakura.
Letting it fly, he ducked behind another tree when Sakura dodged the snow and seamlessly made another snowball to chuck at him.
Before he even realized it, he was having fun. For the first time in years he wasn't being nagged by unwanted thought or memories, he wasn't worrying about all the paperwork sitting untouched on his desk. He wasn't worried or burdened by anything—the only thing on his mind was Sakura and that huge ass snowball flying at him.
Pivoting on his right foot, Sasuke dodged the projectile scooped up another handful of snow and threw it.
He wasn't expecting Sakura to run at him, deftly catching the snowball and flash-stepping to his right to let it fly.
It hit him on the side of the head—snow getting in his ear.
"Hell yeah!" he heard Sakura say as she pumped a fist in the air. "I am officially snowball champion! Sooo, since I totally just kicked your ass, does that mean I get to overthrow you and take over Oto."
Sasuke scoffed.
Shaking the snow from his hair, he looked over to see Sakura suddenly just fall to her back. He frowned and walked over to look at her.
He couldn't help but give her that, 'you're insane' look as he raised his eyebrows.
"You look stupid."
Sakura merely stuck her tongue out as she continued making her snow angel. When she was done, she extended her hand towards him.
"Help me up."
It was just his gut reaction to reply, "No."
"Aw, come on, Sasuke-kun! I might mess it up!" she whined.
With a sigh, Sasuke pulled his hand from his pocket and grasped Sakura's. With a quick tug he had her to her feet and his heart pounding viciously against his chest.
His hand hung beside him limply as she took hers back as if it was nothing—as if the contact didn't affect her at all.
The thought stung.
"Now that is a good looking snow angel if I do say so myself," said Sakura, beaming. "Which I do!"
"Childish," murmured Sasuke before stuffing his fisted hand back into his pocket.
Turning, he started to trudge back to the house.
"Wait!" cried Sakura. "We have to at least make a snowman before we go back inside."
"You can do it yourself," said Sasuke, his mood already gone south. He didn't like that he could get irritated so easily, but it hurt to know he'd blown any chance with Sakura—to know she felt absolutely nothing.
It hurt to know he was the only one to blame.
Walking back towards the house, he was surprised when two hands wrapped around his elbow. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Sakura looking at him with concerned eyes.
"Please, Sasuke-kun, talk to me," she looked down as he heard her voice crack, "for once in you life, just talk to me."
He couldn't think, couldn't focus, couldn't do anything because his elbow burned from her touch. The heat shooting straight up his arm and filling his heart.
"Sakura," he said—nothing but a whisper.
Just to have her name on his lips was like a breath of fresh air.
At that moment, he knew he wouldn't be able to simply let her go, to only have one miniscule little year with her.
He was falling and at that moment, he hit the bottom.
Sasuke couldn't avoid the truth any longer—he was in love with Sakura.