Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or the characters of this story. The first half of the story is what happens in episode 109 of the English edition of the show Naruto. The other half is my own creation.

Hate's Blossom

A calm, warm night breeze blows fallen leaves gently along the dark, moonlit path. The moon is full and bright stars litter the pitch black sky.

A lone figure is to be found walking along the path leading out of the village. He holds his head high as he strides along, his raven hair being blown in the wind. His hands are shoved down into the pockets of his white, knee length shorts. A backpack hides the red and white fan that adorns the back of his dark blue jacket.

Before long, he becomes aware of another presence ahead of him. Waiting, as if they knew he would come walking along the same street. Brilliantly pink hair shown in the solemn light, Sakura Haruno stood waiting for her beloved.

"What are you doing wandering around here at night?" his voice was as harsh as always, never showing any acknowledgement or remorse for the girl that would give her life for his.

"In order to get out of the village, you have to take this road," her voice was calm. She had long since become used to his cutting words.

He continues walking; having no intention of stopping on his way to what he knows is his destiny and possibly the last thing he would ever manage to accomplish, should he die along the way. "Go home and sleep".

He passes by her side and tears begin to stream down her face. "Why?" she manages to ask. She turns to watch him walk away from her, sadness written across her face. "Why won't you tell me anything?"

Not a sound is made from the raven haired boy, his face set in determination.

"Why do you always stay silent?" she asks, hopping for an answer to at least one of her questions. "Why won't you say anything to me?"

"Why do I have to tell you anything?" he asks quickly, stopping in his stride, yet keeping his back to her. "It's none of your business."

Tears flow faster from her shockingly green eyes, love for the boy apparent with every blink made.

"Stop concerning yourself about what I do."

Her eyes move from his back to the ground, her head hung in despair. A few moments pass, yet he doesn't continue walking; instead waiting for her reply to his cold words.

"You've…" a smile curves her delicate lips. A bitter happiness evident in her voice. "Always hated me, huh?"

Her head raises and the smile remains on her face as she recalls, "Do you remember…"

"I don't remember."

Her eyes widen in disbelief then her gaze drops to the ground again. Tears splatter across the cobbled roadway at her feet.

"Makes sense," she says quietly. "That's something that happened a while back." She looks up, watching him. "But that's the day when everything started… You and I… and also Naruto and Kakashi-sensei. It was fun!"

Once again, he makes no reply, having not moved or made any recognition to her words. Her shoulders shrug in a sigh.

"I know about your clan," she says, turning away from him. "But revenge… That won't make anyone happy. No one. Neither you… nor I".

A dark cloud passes in front of the full moon, blocking the light that light both their faces, casting them into darkness and in its turn, pushing them farther away from each other.

"Just as I thought." All emotion is hidden from his voice. "I'm different from you guys. I walk a different path than you guys. I tried to think that it was my path to do the things we've done up until now. The four of us did things together, but my heart decided on revenge in the end".

His brows creased in hatred, "That's my purpose in life. I can't become like you or Naruto."

She quickly steps forward, her hand moving over her heart, "Are you going to chose to be alone again?!"

A shiver runs through her body at the thought. "On that day, you taught me that solitude is painful! I understand that so well right now. I have a family, and I have friends, but if you're gone…" she takes another step toward him.

"To me… It'll be the same as being alone! From here on… A new path will open for all of us."

"I…" she takes another step. "I love you so much!" she exclaims, putting all of her heart in to the meaning. If you stay with me, I'll make sure you won't regret it! Every day will be fun. We'll definitely be happy. I'll do anything for you."

"So… Please! Stay here!" she pleads with him, feeling her own heart breaking into pieces with every second. "I'll help you with your revenge. I'll do something! So please stay here with me!"

The cloud moves from in front of the moon, its beams once again shedding light upon the two ninjas.

"If you can't stay, take me with you."

Finally he turns to face her, a smirk on his face. "You really are annoying," he proclaims. Even after she poured her heart and soul out to him, he still looks upon her as just another obstacle that stands in his way.

Her eyes widen once again in shock as he turns and begins walking away from her with no intent on stopping for her again.

"Don't leave!" she runs after him. "If you do I'll scream!"

Suddenly, he disappears from in front of her only to reappear right behind her. He is so close to her that she can feel his warm breath on her neck

"Sakura…" kindness and compassion fills his voice for the first time in all the years that she has known him. "Thank you."

Her gasp is lost in the wind as it blows her hair about her face. Peace falls between them and the silence is only broken by a dull thud.

As her eyes begin to close she mutters the last words she would ever have the chance to say to him, "Sasuke-kun…"

Picking her up in his arms, he holds her limp form close to him, realizing that this may be the last time he will ever be able to hold her. Placing her on the nearest bench, Sasuke walks away before his heart gets the better of him and his mind tells him to stay with her.

Reaching the top of the hill, he looks back out over the silent town, everyone still asleep in their beds with their families; a privilege that had been taken away from him at a very young age.

"Sakura," he speaks to the cool night air, "I promise you upon the honor of my clan that I will return to you once my destiny has been fulfilled. Then you shall have the perfect life you deserve. Wait for me".

With those final words, he turned his back to his village, his home, his freedom, and his life; choosing the path laid out before him.

Five long years have passed since the night Sasuke walked from the village hidden in the leaf. His last promise unknown to anyone but himself, yet to that promise he stayed true. That promise itself is the only thing that kept him alive throughout the long years he stayed gone, and his will to keep that promise.

Now, as he finally stood in the same place where he made that precious vow, looking out over the village; nothing had seemed to have changed. People ran to and fro; shopping, chatting, laughing, and enjoying life to its fullest.

But Sasuke knew that this was only the village's outward appearance. He was soon to find out the changes that had been made.

The sun was just about to set, its orange glow lighting the sky. Knowing good and well that he was still a wanted man and would be seized as soon as he stepped on foot in the village, Sasuke decided to wait until dark before he fully returned to his home village. Choosing a branch of the nearest tree, he sat waiting for dark to come.

His own appearance had changed quite a bit over the last five years. He was, by far, taller and his lean form was now shaped with muscle. His hair, which hung down in his eyes, was still its raven color. His face had gained a more mature look about it, yet his eyes still shone as brightly as ever. He wore long black flowing pants and his black long sleeved shirt was partly unbuttoned, showing some of his lean chest. His attire resembled that of the legendary samurai from the tales that were told to every child when they were young.

Finally, darkness fell across the village and street lamps were lit. Having already made his decision to visit Naruto first, he set out towards the towns meeting house. From information he had gathered on his way home, Sasuke had been surprised to find out that Naruto had been made Tsunade's understudy for the position of Hokage. Within six more years, he would take over her role and accomplish his goals of becoming Hokage.

Landing on a branch outside of the window, Sasuke peered in, making sure that Naruto was the only one in his room. He had sent a message to the blonde head a few days before his arrival, explaining why he was coming back and that he wanted to talk to Naruto alone. He had also told Naruto not to tell Sakura of his return, not wanting to get her hopes up just in case he didn't make it the rest of the way home.

Naruto was sitting behind his desk, his head bent over his papers. Sasuke tapped lightly on the window and Naruto's head jerked upward quickly, his hand moving to the kunai that was lying in front of him. Noticing who his visitor was, he quickly got to his feet and ran to the window.

Throwing the window open, he whispered loudly, "Sasuke?! Is it really you?"

Once inside the room, Sasuke turned to his long time friend, "Yes, dope, of course it's me".

"I couldn't believe it when I got your message," Naruto said quietly. "I just thought it was someone playing a joke or trying to lure me into a trap. So I didn't pay much attention to it".

"You really have grown stronger then, Naruto. It was wise not to trust the letter".

"But you really did send it, and here you are; standing in front of me as if we've been friends and stayed in touch all these years".

"Naruto, I want the bounty that hangs over my head removed. I have killed both Orochimaru and my brother, as I'm sure you well know. I wish to return to the village without the word traitor to my name".

"Sasuke, you are more than welcome here. The bounty, along with every feeling of treachery was forgotten the day this village received news that Orochimaru had been defeated," a smile lit the soon-to-be Hokage's face.

"I wish I would have known that sooner," Sasuke said, despair apparent in his voice. "I would have come back a lot sooner".

Naruto patted his somber friend on the shoulder, "Well you're back now, and that's all that really matters. There's not one person in this village that wouldn't be happy to see you back here".

"Not everyone wants me back here," bitterness swept through his voice. "I don't blame her in the slightest if she never wants to see me again. But I must talk to her jus tone more time to explain why I…"

"You're a free man now, Sasuke. You can walk through these streets undisturbed and without fear," Naruto turned and walked back to his desk. "Go talk to her".

"I know she won't…"

Naruto kept his back to the stubborn ninja to hide his smile. "That's an order, Sasuke Uchiha!" he demanded, his voice stern. "I have nothing more to say to you at this moment".

Awe filled Sasuke as he stood there. Naruto's new role sure had matured him more than he would ever have thought possible.

"It seems you and I both have matured a little bit over the past few years," Sasuke said as he returned to the still open window. "Thank god for that, my friend".

With that he left, heart pounding at the thought of seeing Sakura once again. What if she really didn't want to see him? Suppose he would never have the chance to explain to her that the reason he had left her behind was for her own safety. He had known before he set out that it would be dangerous, and he knew that had she went along with him, she would not have returned in one piece. And he had known even then that he couldn't bare it if she was lost to him forever.

Coming to a stop in front of her house, he paused with his hand raised to knock on the door. What would he say to her? How would she react upon seeing him again? Many minutes passed as he stood there, trying to gain the courage to knock.

'It doesn't matter,' he finally thought. 'I just have to see her again'.

Three taps rang out through the night. It felt like an eternity as he stood there, waiting for some sign of movement from inside the house.

A light came on and Sasuke heard foot steps leading to the door. His heart beat with the rhythm of the steps, his breathing becoming difficult.

"Who is it?" a warm voice called through the door. There had been many nights that Sasuke had thought he would never hear that sweet voice again.

"A friend," he managed to say quietly.

He watched as the door slowly cracked open just enough for him to catch a glimpse of soft pink hair then an emerald green eye. Even in the dully lit lamp light, her eyes shone as bright as they always had.

"Friend?" her voice was hesitant. "Who are…"

The only visible eye grew wide in disbelief as she seen who was standing before her. She opened the door the rest of the way, shock clearly written across her face.

"Sasuke-kun?" she whispered barely loud enough for him to hear.

He said nothing, wanting to take in the sight of her and burn the image to his memory. She looked so beautiful standing before him in nothing but a pale blue, thigh length night grown. The material was so thin it was practically see through.

"Is it really you?" she asked, disbelief still on her soft face.

"Sakura, I…"

"You really came back," she took a step backwards. "Why did you come back here?"

"Sakura, I came back because…" he took a step towards her, but she stepped away from him.

Tears began to fall down her smooth cheeks as she watched him. Hurt filled her eyes and her hands came together in front of her chest.

"Sakura, I came back because…" he raised his hand to wipe a tear from her face but she jerked out of his reach. "Because I made a promise to come back to you".

Tears fell faster, but she did not make an effort to reply. He waited, but she still didn't say anything. He felt his heart break a little more with every silent second that passed.

"I don't blame you for not wanting me back here. I don't even blame you for not wanting to talk to me," sadness filled his own voice, unshed tears in his eyes. "I just wanted to see you one more time to tell you that, no matter how I ever acted towards you, I did it because I thought it best for you. I didn't want to see you hurt".

Her fragile figure shivered in the cool night air as she listened to his words. Words he had wanted to say for so long.

"But I realize now that by acting that way and in the end leaving you has hurt you more than anything else could. For that I am sorry".

He turned and began to walk away from her, feeling that he would never have the chance to make things right again, leaving her standing behind him once again.

Half way down the street, with tears now flowing freely down his face, he heard her call out to him. He turned to find her running after him. Stopping in front of him, she looked into his eyes once again.

"If I've learned anything within the past five years, it's that I should never let the people I love walk away from me hurt. I always knew why you had to leave and I knew why I could have never gone with you. You cared for me enough to want to keep me safe and for that, I still love you with all my heart".

Relief filled his whole body as he pulled her into his arms, holding her close to him. Tears of joy now flooding his eyes as she cried into his shoulder. He picked her up and buried his face in her hair.

"I promise you upon the honor of my clan that I will return to you once my destiny has been fulfilled." Sakura whispered in his ear. "Then you shall have the perfect life you deserve. Wait for me".

Sasuke looked at her in shock as she spoke the very same words he himself had said that chilly night five years ago. How she had known, he would never know.

A smile lit her tear stained face, "I waited for you, Sasuke-kun".

"I'm glad you did, Sakura-chan". Pulling her face to his, he slowly kissed her savoring the moment. After all the long nights he had spent thinking and dreaming of finally kissing the sweet cherry blossom, his dreams had finally come true. "I love you".