AU. SasuSaku. Slight OOC.
Standard Disclaimer Applied
She had first met him in the garden.
He had been working as a servant under the Haruno household.
She remembers fondly that one afternoon, when he'd suddenly smiled towards her.
Because she was a rebel (who had been taught not to associate with the lower classes,) and because his radiant blue eyes and foxish grin had held a certain charm, she'd smiled back.
He had been kind, easy-going, and all too trusting of everyone and everything.
Perhaps that was why she had settled with him- because his childish simplicity was an escape from the pressures of her everyday pressures.
He had probably been aware that she was only using him, but it didn't matter- not to him...because (as he once told her) he would always cherish her no matter what happened.
One night, he'd kissed her after a stroll and she hadn't felt a thing (no sparks, no tingles...nothing.)
After, he had asked her to go to the countryside with him, and she had said yes simply so she'd be able to escape from the boring hellhole that was her life.
They had run away at midnight, the servant and the heiress, together.
Three years had passed.
She'd been sixteen then, but now she was older, wiser...an adult.
True to his word, he had moved them to the outskirts of the country, and they had yet to discovered.
The entire little village had believed them to be married despite their young age, and had kindly accepted them with open arms.
He had become an ice cream vendor, and she his faithful stay-at-home wife.
On the three year mark, he'd stopped her before she'd gone to bed, and looked her straight in the eyes.
"Just tell me once, Sakura," he had whispered. "I only need to hear it once."
And even though she had not meant it, she had complied with his wish.
"I love you."
It had been raining the day he died.
She had clutched him to her chest as she stared down at his motionless face, stained with the blood gushing from the bullet wound on his forehead.
Even in death, he was smiling, and she had bitterly mirrored it as she lay him down onto the cold pavement.
The tears would not come- the sky was doing enough crying for her already- and the brief sadness that had gripped her heart was quickly overwhelmed by a burning rage.
She guessed she partially hated him, because he-her one escape- had left her, left her alone to suffer in this cold, cruel world.
But mostly, she had cursed the man who stood behind her, silent and stoic as she grieved over her husband's body.
She'd detested him because he had been the one who killed her friend, and had despised him because it had meant the past had finally caught up...she'd been found.
He had grabbed her by the arm and yanked her up, dragged her to the car, and shoved her through the door with his rough hands- killer's hands-ignoring her screaming and protesting the entire way.
As they had sped away, she had snarled at him.
"I hate you."
The journey back to her family was to take three weeks.
The first few days, she'd refused to eat or drink, and he'd allowed her to do so...had let her act however she wanted.
Only when it had been clear that she was on the brink and would not last any longer, had he used force and shoved bread and water down her throat.
She'd kicked and scratched and punched, but all to no avail. Yet, she'd refused to give in- she'd never do such a thing- and had refused to cry for her misfortune; she'd told herself she was a fighter who'd never surrender until her dying breath.
Despite it all, on the 7th night, she'd taken the bread and water he offered without a word, and had swallowed it by herself.
If he'd been amused by her actions, he had not showed it on his face.
Before he had exited her room to allow her to sleep, she had snapped at him.
"I hate you."
Another week had passed.
As the days had come and gone, she'd come up with more and more reasons why she hated him.
She hated that she tried her best to insult him, to degrade him, and yet, he would always ignore her; that damn apathy was irksome as hell.
She hated that he never talked- never even attempted to- because sometimes the silence between them would stretch on for so long that she wanted to scream just to break the tension.
She hated that he was arrogant, that he knew he could match her in cleverness and wit, and that he was superior in strength, so chance of escape was an impossible feat.
She hated that he was handsome- so much more than her late husband- and that she couldn't help but be captivated by everything about him.
Out of curiosity, she'd asked him his name on the 14th day.
He had looked at her, and told her she needn't know in that deep masculine voice that belonged only to him, and she had grown furious.
And because she had been so furious (which was what her delusional mind was whispering to her at that time,) she'd concluded he needed to be punished, so she'd lunged at him in a blind fury and crushed her lips to his.
All she could think was that she was insane and ill and completely embarrassing herself (though she had been satisfied that he was equally shocked as well) and needed to wrench herself off him. At the same time, another part of her had only been able to keep screaming that he needed to be punished and punished and punished; she had decided to listen to the latter.
Later that night, she lay naked in bed next to his slumbering form, and felt like crying for the shameful act she had committed with who she considered the enemy.
That moment of vulnerableness had been short-lived, however, as she realized he had never answered her question of what his name was.
She had quickly become furious once more.
I hate you.
Three weeks were over. She had returned home.
She'd watched in silence as her father congratulated him on a job well done- his name was Sasuke- and had given him a wad of bills as payment.
She'd faced him when he stood at the gates of her house, ready to depart; it was only the two of them there.
"Where are you going?" she had asked him.
"My job is completed," he had answered.
An awful sound had echoed through air, and then another had quickly followed, and she'd been shocked when she had realized those sounds were coming from her- that she was sobbing.
She'd felt the wetness upon her cheeks, and was even more appalled when she'd felt the tears cascading down her face in a constant flow.
Her body had shook, and the tremors had grown more and more violent as she had tried desperately to cling onto the last of diginity.
Eventually, her legs had lost their strength, and she'd collapsed to the ground in a pathetic heap.
"IHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOU!" she'd screamed.
Wordlessly, he had walked over and lifted her up, swiping away the tears with his calloused palms- lover's palms- and then had bended down to place a kiss upon her head.
Now she is twenty-two.
She sits alone in her garden- one could say it all started here- and stares at the flower she holds in her hand.
There are footsteps behind her, and she feels his warmth before she actually turns and sees him.
They don't speak, but merely take a moment to take each other in.
He really hasn't changed much, but then again, probably neither has she.
The moment passes, and finally, their eyes meet.
Surprisingly, he is the first to speak.
"Do you still hate me?"
She does not reply immediately, but instead, looks down upon his outstretched hand.
Slowly, she grasps it, and looks back up into his smirking face.
The past becomes the present.
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