Naruto: Kakashi/Sakura, implied Sasuke/Sakura.
Romance/Angst. AU One-shot. Inspired by Gavin DeGraw's "Just Friends."
"The party was somewhat of a surprise," Sasuke admitted to Sakura as he walked her back to her apartment, "but it was nice."
She laughed. "How could you be surprised after you've been gone for so long? We're all glad to have you back, you know."
He glanced at her. "Is that so?"
"Well of course. Why wouldn't we be?"
He didn't respond until they had reached her door. "Kakashi seemed reluctant to be there."
She let out a laugh that she hoped didn't sound as nervous as she felt. "Oh, he was just put out because I hid the latest volume of Icha Icha and forced him to come to the party without it."
"Hm." Sasuke surveyed the shadows created by the trees across the street, then looked back at her, all golden under the porch light. "Is that all?"
Sakura shifted the strap of her purse on her shoulder. "I'm not sure what you mean, Sasuke."
"Never mind," he said.
She reached out and laid a hand on his arm. "What is it?"
He looked down at her hand for a moment and then shifted his gaze to her meet hers directly. "Are you still in love with me?"
Her face was carefully blank as she drew back her hand. "Why do you ask?"
"Sakura, surely you remember my promise."
She held on tight to her purse. "Why are you doing this?"
An eyebrow rose. "I've returned. I told you what would happen when I returned."
Sakura took a small step back. "Sasuke, I—"
He gripped her upper arm, careful to keep his hold firm but gentle. "I need you."
She knew that was the closest she'd ever get to the one thing she'd always longed to hear from him. "Sasuke-kun," she murmured as his face drew near and his fingers tangled in her hair.
Neither noticed the slightest rustle of leaves as a lone figure decided that he had seen enough.
Sakura entered the darkened apartment and closed the door behind her quietly.
"You came earlier than I expected."
She started at his sudden voice. "Why are all the lights off?" she asked, recovering quickly and flipping a switch as she walked into his small kitchen to get a drink.
His hands in his pockets, he shrugged, watching her.
"I thought you'd be pouring over that book of yours by now." When he remained silent, she turned to look at him. "You did find it, didn't you?"
He reached into his back pocket and held up the orange book for her to see. "Thanks," he finally said.
Her brow furrowed. "Are you alright?" She set down her glass of water and walked over to him.
"Why wouldn't I be?"
His flat tone gave her pause. "Why did you say that you expected me later? I left the pub quite a while before you did, I'm sure."
"What's between you and Sasuke?" he asked, ignoring her question.
Her face remained expressionless. "We're just friends."
"Is that so?"
"Yes." She stared up at him. "Why are you doing this?"
He let out a mirthless chuckle. "You seem to be asking that a lot tonight, Sakura."
Her eyes widened and she sucked in a breath. "Kakashi, I can explain—"
"I don't want an explanation," he said. "I saw enough."
Her gaze shifted to the left of him. "You saw him kiss me?" she asked, staring at a faded stain on the wall.
His lips twisted. "Looked like you were doing your fair share, too."
She stayed silent, because it was true.
But you were just friends
At least that's what you said
A minute or two passed before she was able to pull herself back from the edge. "Sasuke, stop," she said, her protests muffled against his lips. "Stop."
He drew back only to shift his attention to her neck. "What's wrong, Sakura? Isn't this what you wanted?"
"No." She pushed against him, hard. "It isn't."
He stared at her in disbelief. "What?"
"You said you needed me, Sasuke. Before you left, I would've given anything to hear you say that."
"So you did love me."
"Of course I did." He moved closer again, but she held firm. "But that was over three years ago, Sasuke," she said, almost sadly. "I don't anymore. I want to be loved, not just needed."
He looked back to the shadows across the street. "It's Kakashi, isn't it."
She fingered the simple bracelet encircling her wrist. "Yes."
"I trusted you," he said quietly after a while. "You know that, don't you? That's why I let you walk home with him."
"Then why did you follow us?"
"I didn't trust him."
"How can you say that? It's Sasuke."
He smiled, but it didn't reach his visible eye. "I trust him, but not with you, Sakura."
She stared at him. "You said you trusted me. But you didn't—not enough."
"Look," he sighed. "I've had other...opportunities, too. You know that."
She turned her gaze to the floor. It hurt, for him to say that right now.
"But I only wanted you, Sakura," he said, his voice betraying his own deeper hurt. "I don't understand why you couldn't do the same for me."
She was suddenly overwhelmed with guilt. Never before had Kakashi been so open about his feelings for her. "I...I don't know what to say, other than I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she choked out as he began to turn away. "It was only a kiss—"
"—but I stopped him and told him that I didn't love him anymore and that it was you, it was you that I—"
When she didn't continue, he faced her again. "That you what?"
Wanting to see his reaction but afraid of what that might be, she hesitated. She finally looked up at him. "That I love."
A slow smile crept onto his face as he stepped forward and enveloped her in his arms.
Her own arms wrapping tightly around his waist, she could feel that his heartbeat wasn't as steady as usual. Listening to the rhythm of that vital organ, she could hear all the words he couldn't yet say.
I'll forgive you for what you've done
If you say that I'm the one