Author: fireblazie PM
A picture brings Sakura and Sasuke closer together. [SasuSaku, obviously]Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 9,211 - Reviews: 117 - Favs: 195 - Follows: 25 - Published: 03-28-04 - id: 1794398
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer:Naruto does not belong to me... it all belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.. and, as always, the song also doesn't belong to me...
WRITTEN ESPECIALLY FOR SAKURA-CHAN'S BIRTHDAY [MARCH 28]. INCIDENTALLY, THAT IS ALSO MY BIRTHDAY! *WAVES CONFETTI*
BY THE WAY, THIS IS WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN SAKURA'S POINT OF VIEW. ^_^
It sits on my dresser, staring, staring, staring. It's placed at the very center of everything -- hair brushes, combs, mirrors, books... But it's easily the largest object, and it's the first thing anybody will see when he or she enters my room.
I must have had it for at least a year by now. Maybe. But as time passes, as I grow older, so does the pain. And that's what it reminds me of. Pain, and things that I will never have.
I'm not stupid. I'm a smart person, and I can back that up. I know full well that I'm hopeless, and that it's a hopeless case. Yet I can't. I just can't..
I tried to throw it away once. It was very recently, maybe one or two weeks ago. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I had it in my hands, and I was standing in front of the garbage can. The black plastic bag in the trash was like an invitation, requesting, commanding, even, for me to throw it away, and get rid of it forever and ever.
The memory is like a vivid picture painted in my head. It's been engraved there, and I'm pretty sure that it will never go away. I'm standing, in front of the trash can, hands outstretched. It would have been so easy to do, so frustratingly simple. I could have done it. I should have done it.
But I didn't.
So now it sits on my dresser, at the very same spot it's always been on. I suppose I can't bear to part with it, just because it's so precious to me.
Yes...it's precious, but not in the sense of precious as how being rich and powerful is. Most people want to become rich and famous and powerful. They treasure that power. It's precious to them.
But for me, it's more of the way a little child treasures his or her first stuffed bear. I had a stuffed bear, and I remember that I could hardly part with it. When I was a child, I thought so simply, so plainly. My stuffed bear was my source of comfort, my source of assurance, my source of hope. I carried it with me wherever I went, despite my mother's complaints.
I guess my inability to part with it is something similar to that. I'm -- I'm afraid, that if I let it go, then everything will follow, soon after.
Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I'm thinking too hard about things. Maybe. But try as I might, I can't part with it. I -- I want to part with it, but I can't.
I think that part of the reason I can't bear to let it go is because it's the only way I am able to get close to him. Sort of. In reality, he doesn't notice me. I try to make him notice me, but you can't make someone notice you. Not in the right way. He thinks I'm annoying, that I'm nothing but a tag-along. I wanted him to change his opinion about me. I wanted to prove him wrong. I wanted to show him that I am strong, and that I'm not weak.
But how can I prove him wrong if he's right?
If I can't even part with such a simple little thing, how can I get stronger? How can I prove that I am rightfully a shinobi, even if I'm not as strong as him?
The first thing is always to push past your emotions. Emotions get in the way, isn't that what he believes in? He's never said it, but from the way he acts, it's obvious that's his philosophy on life.
I can't push past my emotions. My emotions are who I am. I can't let them go so easily.
My emotions tell me who I am. They tell me how I'm feeling, who I'm feeling, why I'm feeling. Does this make me weak, I wondered, and is this why he'll never like me?
Is this why I can't throw it away?
I'm not a quitter. I stick with things, through thick and thin. But if the only logical thing to do is to quit, then rightfully, I should quit... right?
I walked to my dresser. The mirror reflected my image, and I smiled sadly at the sight. Then I looked down, where it sits, and will most likely always sit.
If I am able to throw it away... then I'll be able to throw him away... I'll be able to throw all those feelings away...
I picked it up, staring defiantly at it. I strode to the small garbage can in the corner of my room. I reached out, it dangling from my fingers.
And almost immediately, hugged it tightly to my chest.
I can't throw it away. I can't let it go.
After all, it's the only picture I have of us together.
I knew I looked sick. I felt sick, too.
The surprising thing was, I didn't think he would notice. He's never noticed me before, so why would he start now?
"Sakura..." His brow creased, raven bangs falling perfectly across his face. "You look sick."
I was about to answer, to make up some sort of excuse, when Naruto interjected loudly. "Sakura-chaaaan! He's right! Your face is red. And you haven't yelled at me at all today."
"I'm okay," I lied, trying to stifle the coughs that I knew were coming. "Really. Stop worrying."
"I think they're right." Now Kakashi-sensei got involved, peering closely at my face. I moved away on instinct. "You do look sick, Sakura. Your face is flushed. Not to mention..." He clapped a gloved hand gently on my forehead. "You're burning up."
I blushed, embarrassed. "But -- I feel fine," I tried to protest, but he wouldn't hear anything of it.
"No," he said firmly, shaking his head. "You're going straight home. Sasuke, walk her home and make sure she makes it back safely."
A prickle of displeasure arose in me. What was with them always making a big deal over me? If it was Naruto, or even Sasuke-kun who had the fever, they would have gone on with the mission, I'm sure of it.
"What about --"
Kakashi-sensei waved my worries away. "We're just going to find a missing cat. No big deal. I'm sure Naruto and I can handle it."
Naruto nodded earnestly at me. "Don't worry, Sakura-chan. I'll complete the mission!"
"Just go home and rest," Kakashi-sensei instructed me. "That's an order."
An order from a teacher who was never on time? I wanted to retort, but thought better of it. I rolled my eyes. "Fine."
"Good." Kakashi-sensei's visible eye crinkled into a smile, "now, Sasuke, walk her home."
Even though I still felt uncomfortable, the fact that Sasuke-kun would be walking me home instantly made all my worries vanish.
The walk back was quiet, but it was nothing I didn't expect. After all, it was Sasuke-kun who was walking me home, and he'd never been the type to make conversation.
I began to feel weak, and my knees felt like they were nothing more than jelly. Sasuke-kun walked a few feet away from me. I didn't know what to do. Normally, I might have tried to talk to him, maybe even tried to flirt with him a little. But this sickness somehow made me more aware of the consequences, more aware of what was really going on...
But I shouldn't care. I mean, I've always known that I've never had any chance with him, and that's never stopped me before. So why am I starting to be more aware of it now? Why?
Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as he stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking up at the clear blue skies. He seemed bored.
The silence was deafening. My heartbeat grew erratic, faster, then slower, and faster again.
It's what always happens when I'm with him.
I think it was the silence that first got to me. Whenever I'm with Sasuke-kun, it's always filled with my incessant chattering, my useless attempts to get him to open up to me. I wanted to talk to him, but I started to be afraid, to be nervous...
I opened my mouth. Then I closed it, silently.
I needed to say something. It was obvious that he had noticed that I wasn't as annoying as I used to be. I swallowed, and tried something.
"Uh... thank you... for walking me home," I tried, turning my head to look at him.
My comment changed nothing. He shrugged.
"It was Kakashi-sensei's orders."
"Oh." I blinked, feeling suddenly stupid. Of course he only did it because Kakashi-sensei told him to. Even after everything was said and done, Sasuke-kun was still obedient to his elders, to those who were of a higher status than him. Even if he didn't always agree with them.
I gulped, feeling so... worthless. My heartbeat slowed down to its normal rate, and I clenched my hands into a fist. Why, I wondered angrily to myself, Why was this happening?
Gone were the pink circles that always filled my cheeks whenever I was near Sasuke-kun. Gone were the girlish, childish, flirtatious comments I used to make whenever I came around him. Gone was the erratic heartbeat, gone were the stammers and stutters.
My right hand reached up to clutch my heart instinctively. From the corner of my eye, I saw Sasuke-kun stop.
"Sakura?" His voice sounded uncertain, so un-Sasuke-kun like. "Are you okay?"
I paused, not knowing how to answer. Was I okay?
In the end, I nodded. "Yeah. I'm fine."
Sasuke-kun looked like he might have wanted to argue further with me, but Sasuke-kun never argued with anyone unless it was absolutely necessary. With a curt nod, he continued walking again.
"Is this is the right way to your house?" he asked, after a few moments of silence. I started at the question, but I knew full well that Sasuke-kun didn't know where I lived. Of course, he wouldn't care.
"Yeah. If we continue on this road, we'll be there soon." I bobbed my head in agreement. As soon as it happened, I wished I hadn't done so. A throbbing pain began to engulf me. I swore mentally, reaching up to rub my temples.
"Sakura, are you sure you're all right?" Sasuke-kun was looking at me strangely. His dark onyx eyes looked straight into mine. I searched inside myself for that cheesy, fluttery feeling that used to course through my body whenever that happened.
It wasn't there.
I opened my mouth, waiting for the words to come out. But they never did.
' Sasuke-kun... could it be... that I'm not in love with you anymore? '
That was my last coherent thought before I blacked out.
[ Daikirai datta sobakasu wa chotto
Hitonadeshite tame iki wo hitotsu
Hebi ikkyuu no koi wa migoto ni
Kakuzatou to isshoni toketa
Mae yori mo motto yaseta mune ni chotto
"Chiku" tto sasaru toge ga itai
Hoshiuranai mo ate ni naranai wa ]
[ I touched those hated freckles lightly and sighed,
My "heavy class" love has dissolved clearly
Just like a sugarcube.
The thorn stuck in my thin breast went in further
And hurt much more than before.
Astrology didn't predict that at all. ]
I groggily opened my eyes, blinking confusedly once I did so. I was lying on something soft...and it seemed like my head was lying on something... a pillow?
Then I awoke fully, and I realized that I was back at my house, lying on my own bed, in my own room. I tried to sit up, but I found that I was too weak to do so. I managed a weak cough, and sighed, staring at the ceiling. I tried to make sense of what was happening before I found out that somebody else was in the room with me.
His dark blue shirt and raven hair stuck out from the rest of my room, all of which was a light pink, red, or purple. I gasped, and that apparently caught his attention.
"Sakura?" He walked emotionlessly towards the foot of my bed. I instinctively clutched my blankets tighter around me. I don't know why I did so.
"Ah... Sasuke-kun..." I trailed off; my mind blanked out. I had no idea what to say or do next. I settled for thanking him, as I figured I should do. "Thank you... for bringing me home."
He simply stood there, standing over me, staring. I felt myself blush from the intensity of his gaze. "You should have told me you weren't feeling well."
You should have told me echoed in my head. Me, he had said, not us, not indicating Kakashi-sensei or Naruto. Just him.
"I'm sorry," I apologized. "I -- It just sort of happened."
He stood still, as if he was unsure of what to do next. I took this opportunity to reflect on the situation. I was blushing, but it wasn't the normal, typical, girlish blush I usually wore. My heart wasn't going at ninety miles per hour. I was feeling almost -- well, almost normal.
There was silence again, but this time, I welcomed it. The silence was like a break from all the things I had been going through, with my feelings, emotions, and Sasuke-kun.
' I wonder... does this mean I can finally throw it away? '
"But you'd already been looking sick; you could have at least said something."
There was something in his voice, something almost transparent that just barely caught my attention. And for a small, tiny moment, I wondered...
' Is he worried about me? '
"I'm sorry," I said again. The words seemed to come naturally to me. I was always apologizing for something. Messing up on a mission, accidentally hurting Naruto more than I needed to, getting too close to Sasuke-kun for his comfort, anything...
He shook his head, but said nothing.
My eyes flickered over to the framed picture which sat at the middle of my dresser, amidst all my books, brushes, necklaces, and bracelets. It seemed to stand out, for some reason, the way Sasuke-kun stood out amongst all of the artifacts in my room.
' I wonder... does he remember it? '
When I finally found the courage to look back at him, his hands were stuffed in his pockets, and he had taken two steps towards the door.
He was walking away again.
I wanted to stop him, but I didn't know why. It wasn't just because I wanted him near me, not just because he was the Uchiha Sasuke, not just because he was the most popular boy in the village.
He was walking away again.
"Sasuke-kun --" I finally found my voice. He heard me, and stopped, his dark onyx eyes staring inquisitively at me. I swallowed, trying to find something, anything to say, but I couldn't. I tried to smile. "Oh -- just -- thank you. For bringing me home. And for -- just -- thank you."
His eyes clouded over, then they were back to normal again. He shook his head.
"It's no problem."
And he walked away again.
I saw him again two days after that. It was during the afternoon, on the bustling streets of downtown Konohagakure, amidst the stalls and shops.
"Yes... I just need those two watermelons," I told the elderly woman behind the counter. As I paid and she handed over the large sack containing the two fruits, I found I could barely pick it up.
' Oh, great... '
I bit my lip, looking around. There was no cart, no wagon, nothing... and everybody else on the street were strangers; it would be rude, not to mention awkward, to just walk up to them and ask for help.
"Miss? You need to move. Other customers are trying to get past you."
"Oh --" I stuttered, and on instinct, dragged the heavy sack on the floor, away from the stall. It worked, but by the time I got back home, I was sure that the watermelons would be bruised. Why hadn't I thought of this before?
Then I saw him. He stood out against everything else, much like he had stood out against all the things in my room. There was just something about him, something that made him different, something about him that just caught my eye.
I was close to him, and my breathing was coming in loud, heavy gasps, tired from having dragged the heavy weight all this way. I knew that if I asked him, he would probably refuse, just because he was Sasuke-kun, but at the same time, I had no other option.
' He'll probably say no... '
"Sasuke-kun..." I trailed off, waiting for him to turn around to meet my gaze. He looked at me questioningly, and I somehow found the words to say. "I was -- could you help me with this?" I indicated the sack which contained the watermelons.
He stared at me for a moment, his deep onyx eyes, which somehow seemed to just draw me in, never fading, never blinking. I swallowed. It was getting hard to breathe.
Then he turned back to the middle-aged man he had been talking to, paid for his box of tomatoes, and walked towards me. He lifted the heavy sack of watermelons with ease.
It was funny, but when I was with Sasuke-kun, it somehow seemed easier to weave through the crowds that filled the busy downtown streets. He walked a little bit ahead of me, and I found myself staring at the familiar sight of his back. It filled me with a sort of sad emotion, like his back was all I would ever see because he would always be walking away from me.
I always knew that I liked Sasuke-kun. Like a little schoolgirl crush, really. The kind of crushes teenage girls have on famous actors, or famous rock stars. Something like that.
But it just seemed, at times like these, that... I just didn't like him anymore.
That thought brought me to a sudden and rough halt, and I just stood there, unmoving. Me...not like Sasuke-kun anymore? It seemed so strange, so unreal. I couldn't picture myself not liking Sasuke-kun anymore. I'd liked him for so long that in a way, liking him had become a part of who I was.
When I came out of my trance, I found Sasuke-kun, head turned so he could see me, eyes looking somewhat annoyed. "Sakura? Can we get going?"
"Oh --" I ran to where he was standing. "Yeah -- I'm sorry, I just --"
' Just what? I don't even know what I'm going to say... '
I forced a smile. "Never mind, Sasuke-kun."
He looked at me strangely. I was determined not to look at him. Seconds later, I heard him moving again.
' Sasuke-kun... '
I forced my feet to move, and they did, to some extent. They shuffled slowly, following after Sasuke-kun's graceful steps. I gazed unblinkingly at the middle of his dark blue shirt, at the spot where the fan was sewn. The very same spot I always found myself looking at.
' ...what does this mean? '
In one hand, he held the box of tomatoes with his fingers curling around the bottom. In the other, his right hand, he clutched the rough sack of watermelons. He carried it with no difficulty, with such gracefulness.
I remember, some time ago, not too long ago, that if I had been placed into this situation, I would be latching onto his arm, squealing and chattering nonstop into his ear. I could have done that now. But I didn't want to. My heart wasn't up to it. It was almost as if... my heart was tired of it. I was tired of it.
' Sasuke-kun.... I -- I don't think -- '
The idea was so absurd, so darn ridiculous. But it made sense. It made downright sense.
' I don't think I like -- love -- you anymore... '
It was raining the next day. I stared in wonder as the soft drops of rain fell slowly to the ground.
It was pouring, so I chose to stay inside, at least until the rain weakened. I was still in bed, and I pulled the thick sheets closer to me, snuggling closer to my pillow.
Now that I had realized that I didn't have any feelings for Sasuke-kun anymore, I felt... strange. Empty. Incomplete. What was I supposed to do now? Just start acting normally around him? I didn't think I could do that.
My eyes fell again on the picture, and a wave of goosebumps came over me. I had tried to throw it away again last night, yet I couldn't. I thought that since I didn't like Sasuke-kun anymore, I would be able to throw it away. I guess I thought wrong, because it still sits on top of my dresser, staring, staring, staring.
I wonder why it is that I can't throw it away. Why does it seem to mean so much? I mean, I thought that the only reason I couldn't bear to get rid of it was because of my feelings for Sasuke-kun. But now that those feelings are gone, why is it that I still can't throw it away?
I've wondered, more than once, why I've loved Sasuke-kun so much. Or is it love? Or is it just a regular schoolgirl crush that just seems like love?
The funny thing is, I couldn't answer.
He's never paid attention to me. He even told me before that I was worse than Naruto, that if I had time to go out on things like "dates," I should train and work to be stronger. He sees me as a weak person. I know this. I know that despite all of my dreams and desires, he will never acknowledge me.
Even after all of that, I still liked -- or was it loved? -- him. I never stopped.
I'm still not sure about whether I like him or not. But it sure seems like I don't like him anymore. Why, though, did I suddenly stop? Did my heart just grow tired of waiting and wanting but never receiving?
I had always liked Sasuke-kun. I never thought I would stop. I remember, lying awake on those long, cold, lonely nights, praying that I would stop liking him, hoping that maybe it would make me feel better, that I would stop feeling so lonely. But now that that had happened, I found myself wishing that I still liked him.
[ Kowashite naoshite wakatteru noni
Sore ga atashi no seikaku dakara
Modokashii kimochi de ayafuya no mama de
Soredemo ii koi wo shitekita ]
[ I understand breaking apart and putting back together
Because that's my personality;
With impatient feelings and uncertainty
Which nevertheless are capable of good love. ]
I was sick again. Whatever I had caught, I hated it. We were supposed to have gone on another mission today. Undoubtedly, Kakashi-sensei, Sasuke-kun, and Naruto were on it, while I lay sick in bed.
I wondered what was going on, if Kakashi-sensei, Sasuke-kun, and Naruto were worried about me. I wondered if they even cared. I even went so far as to wonder if they were still standing there on the bridge, waiting for me. I hadn't been able to even get up this morning.
But of course not. They would have gone on that mission, no doubt a D-Rank mission, regardless of whether I was there or not. Anyway, I was never much help on those missions, what with Sasuke-kun and Naruto always doing all of the work.
' You're...annoying... '
I still remember the glare he gave me, the iciness in his voice. I'm not sure why my memory chose to remember that particular moment right now. I guess it serves me right for liking, falling for someone like him.
I remember sitting down after that, crying. I think that was the first time I truly realized that I had no chance with him.
That had been only a few weeks after the picture had been taken.
Then there was knocking, pounding, almost. I frowned, and the throbbing in my head began.
"Naruto," came the muffled, ever patient voice of what sounded like Kakashi-sensei, "please don't break down Sakura's door."
"Idiot," remarked somebody else -- I felt my heart skip a beat -- Sasuke.
"Sasuke, don't call Naruto an idiot."
"Ha!" I could just picture Naruto sticking his tongue out at Sasuke-kun as a sign of victory.
I heard a long-suffering sigh, and then Kakashi's clear, loud voice. "Sakura?" Two soft knocks. "Are you awake?"
"Maybe she's resting," I heard Naruto suggest.
"I'm awake," I called out, sitting up in bed. "You can come in."
A whirlwind of yellow and orange hurled itself at me, and I found myself face-to-face with Naruto. "Hey, Sakura-chan, are you okay? Kakashi-sensei told us you were sick, so we finished our mission as fast as we could so we could come and visit!"
I tried to move away; Naruto was definitely coming too close for comfort. "That's nice, Naruto, but --"
"Idiot." Sasuke-kun crossed his arms over his chest, rolling his eyes. "You're getting too close to her. You'll catch whatever she has."
"I don't care," Naruto stated haughtily. "What about you, Sasuke? Scared that you'll get whatever she has?"
"Idiot," Sasuke deadpanned, but made no move to come closer.
Not wanting another fight, especially here in the middle of my room, I sat up some more, leaning against the stack of pillows I had near the headboard. I looked at Kakashi-sensei. "What are you doing here?"
"Visiting," he replied. "You're sick. You're part of our team. We were worried."
"Weren't you sick a few days ago, too?" Naruto asked.
"Y -- Yeah," I stammered, determinedly avoiding Sasuke-kun's eyes.
"It might be the weather," Kakashi-sensei suggested. "It's springtime. Allergies and such."
I blinked, surprised that he actually knew this piece of information. His visible eye crinkled into a smile, and I smiled back, softly. "I guess so."
Sasuke-kun remained silent, just standing there at the foot of my bed, the very same spot he had been a few days ago. I waited for him to say something, but he didn't.
"So, then... how was the mission?" I finally asked no one in particular. Of course, Naruto took it upon himself to answer my question.
"We had to do Hokage-sama's groceries!" Naruto stuck out his tongue. "I never knew anyone who loved red beets so much.."
Grocery shopping? I arched an eyebrow at Kakashi-sensei. He shrugged. Maybe it wasn't so bad that I had gotten sick today, after all.
"Yeah," Naruto went on, filling in the silence. He then looked sheepish. "It took hours just to find the right stuff. Then we ran straight over here. So, I kinda need to use the bathroom..."
I rolled my eyes, and pointed out the door. "The bathroom's just down the hall." As Naruto took off, I found myself shouting, at least, as loud as I could without my throat hurting too badly, "Don't break anything!"
Then I was left alone with Kakashi-sensei, who had whipped out his book again, and Sasuke-kun. Between the former and the latter, I couldn't tell which was worse.
The silence roared like a lion, and I squirmed around in my bed, feeling uncomfortable. I didn't really feel like talking to Sasuke-kun, what with my feelings still being mixed around, and Kakashi-sensei was too engrossed in his book to really pay attention to what was going on around him.
I opened my mouth to say something, but a loud crash in the hallway took care of that for me. I closed my mouth.
Kakashi-sensei placed a bookmark in his book, and stuffed it in one of his pockets. He cast me an apologetic glance. "It looks like Naruto has struck again." And he ambled slowly out the door.
Leaving me with Sasuke-kun.
"Um..." I clutched the bedsheets tightly. "I'm sorry...that I wasn't able to go with you on the mission..."
"Don't be stupid." He looked at me. "You're sick."
I bowed my head. For some reason, Sasuke-kun always had a way of making me feel stupid, weak, not good enough. I didn't think he did this on purpose. I think it just sort of happens.
I stared at the sheets. Was I not good enough for him? Was that why he always pushed me away? He always pushed everybody away, though, so I supposed I was no exception.
"You still have this."
I glanced up abruptly at the sound of his voice. I followed his gaze.
And saw that he was looking at it.
' Ah... great ... '
"Oh -- yeah --" I tried to sound like it didn't matter too much. "You -- remember it?"
' Does he remember? '
I struggled to decipher what Sasuke was feeling.
' Or has he just thrown it all away? '
Sasuke-kun stared blankly at me, and then at the picture. He slowly strode over to the dresser, and picked it up. I watched him carefully.
He looked up at me again. His deep, dark onyx eyes, which I loved, yet hated at the same time stared right through me. A wave of goosebumps rushed through me.
He fingered the silver frame, brow creased as he stared, hard, at the picture. Then he looked at me, yet again.
"Of course I remember."
He reached inside his pocket, producing a slightly creased piece of paper. When he turned it over, I saw that it wasn't a piece of paper. It was a picture. And it was an exact duplicate of my picture.
"I still have it, too."
[ Sobakasu no kazu wo kazoetemiru
Yogoretanui gurumi daite
Mune wo sasu toge wa kienai kedo
Kaeru-chan mo usagi-chan mo
Waratte kureru no ]
[ Counting up the number of freckles
Embracing the spots and all
But the thorn piercing my breast won't disappear.
My stuffed frog and rabbit
Smile and comfort me. ]
The rain poured harder than ever the next day, and it almost sounded like the roof would fall in any second from the force of the rain continuously hitting it. I reached for a tissue and blew my nose. The weather was not helping my condition.
But besides all of that, I couldn't stop thinking of yesterday afternoon. The picture, which I had wanted to throw out so long ago, had somehow brought me closer to Sasuke-kun.
He had the same picture as well.
And he had kept it.
' But why? Why would he have kept it? '
I was so confused. I just didn't understand it. How had Sasuke-kun gotten a copy of the picture, anyway?
'He wouldn't have kept it...unless it meant something to him... '
I furrowed my brow; this wasn't making any sense at all. Why would a picture mean so much to Sasuke-kun? I figured the guy didn't even know what a picture was. He was too angsty, too quiet, too reserved.
I wished I could figure it all out. If I truly didn't harbor any feelings, any feelings at all for Sasuke-kun, then I wouldn't care so much about him, right? But I still do. I still care for him, but it doesn't seem to be the same as it used to be. It seems different now, different in a way that I can't explain.
It was then that I heard footsteps outside my door. I figured it was my mom, so I just lay back, waiting for her to enter. When she didn't, I tensed, getting confused.
Then three knocks, very softly.
Now I was really wondering what was going on. I held onto the bedsheets tightly.
"Come in," I called.
The door creaked open, and I caught a flash of black. My heart sped up, and my grip on the sheets tightened. I knew it was him before he looked at me.
"Oh...Sasuke-kun..." I sounded like an idiot, and color spread through my cheeks. I swallowed.
He nodded. He looked around the room, his eyes hovering on the picture for a moment before they rested to gaze at me. "I came to visit. Since you're sick."
"Oh." I fell silent. What could I say to something like that? He came to visit. That was odd, to say the least, but not entirely unappreciated.
"Kakashi-sensei and Naruto said to tell you that they hope you feel better soon," he stated monotonously. "They weren't able to make it, so they asked me to come."
"Oh -- well, tell them thanks," I said awkwardly. I didn't know what else to say.
He nodded briskly. It was only then that I noticed the dripping sound.
"Sasuke-kun...?" I pulled myself out of bed, and I found myself staring at Sasuke-kun's dripping wet clothes. His hair was damp as well. "Sasuke-kun, you're dripping wet!"
He looked down at himself, face as unemotional as ever. It amazed me how he could hold that poker face of his for so long. "Yeah. Does it bother you?" He wrung out a corner of his shirt, water spilling onto the floor. "Oh -- your floor."
And then he sneezed.
"Never mind the floor." My voice still sounded hoarse. "Sasuke-kun, you have to dry yourself off. You'll get sick."
"But --" His soaked clothes clung to him, and I swallowed, a little too loudly. "It's not healthy. You'll catch a cold. Then you'll have to stay in bed."
"I won't have to." He shrugged.
"Oh. Right." That was something I had forgotten about. Sasuke-kun had nobody to force him to stay home. Except for Kakashi-sensei, but I doubted he would. "Still, Sasuke-kun. You should at least dry yourself off. I'll get a towel." I was about to walk past him to the drawer to get a towel when he placed a hand on my shoulder.
I stiffened at the contact, and some sort of feeling surged through me. I heard his soft, gravelly voice, "I'll get it. You should go back to bed. You're the one who's sick." And he opened the drawer, retrieved a white towel, and dried himself off.
' What is this feeling? It's like a ... a wave of goosebumps ... and ... '
I waited for him to finish. He slung the towel over his arm, eyes questioning.
"Over there." I pointed to the pile of dirty clothes that was gathering in the corner of my room. He threw it in that direction, the towel landing perfectly on top. I tugged at my nightshirt, thankful that it was thick enough and long enough.
"How are you feeling?" He spoke like he always did, cold and calculating.
I blinked, not at all accustomed to Sasuke-kun starting a conversation. "Better," I finally said. "I think I'll be able to go out by tomorrow."
And everything was quiet again. Although, since this is Sasuke-kun, I suppose I shouldn't expect too much. I don't think he'll ever change. There will always be an uncomfortable, awkward silence between us.
"I should go now." His voice was still the same, soft, husky, and cold.
I nodded. "Thank you... for visiting."
I turned away, my hands involuntarily picking up the silver picture frame. I still can't let it go, no matter what. But do I really want to let it go? Maybe I don't. Maybe I should just leave it be...
His voice startled me...
And my hands shook...
And I dropped it...
I stared at the ground, where a million pieces of glass lay, scattered, on the floor. The silver frame had cracked in half, but the picture...
' Thank goodness... the picture is still safe... '
"I'm sorry." His voice held a trace of apology, and he quickly walked over to me, and swept the pieces of glass to one side, and held the photo gingerly. There was a small rip in the corner. He handed it to me.
"Thank you," I said softly, not looking at the picture. I think it hurt to much to do so. I placed it, face-down, on top of my dresser. Sasuke-kun carefully took all the pieces of glass into his hands and deposited them into the garbage. I have never understood, and I don't think I ever will understand how he does things like that with such ease and comfort.
"I'm sorry," he repeated. I don't remember ever hearing those words come out of his mouth. He looked a little bit uncomfortable, and the words sounded slightly funny coming from his lips.
I shook my head. For some reason, I couldn't force myself to smile. "Don't worry about it, Sasuke-kun. It was --" I swallowed. "-- just a picture."
' But it wasn't just a picture... '
He eyed me strangely, almost... unbelievingly. He looked me up and down, and I flushed under his gaze.
' It was more than that... '
"Give me the picture," he said simply.
I wasn't sure if I heard him right. Even worse, I wasn't sure what he wanted to do. I frowned.
"I'll fix it," he explained.
That didn't help at all. I retrieved the picture from my dresser, still face-down. But I didn't give it to him, not yet.
He sighed at this point, looking and sounding a little exasperated. "Sakura, I can get you a new frame for it."
"You -- You don't have to." I hugged the picture closer to me. "I can get one myself."
"I want to." His eyes were so deep, so dark, and so meaningful. "It was my fault it got broken."
And then I found myself handing it over to him, holding out the photograph. He took it gently, his eyes glancing over at it with the strangest emotion in his face.
"I'll bring it by tonight," he promised, tucking it safely into his pocket. He hesitated a bit before continuing. "I won't let anything happen to it."
I nodded. "I know."
It was around seven o'clock that night when more knocks resounded at my door. I knew who it was, and a small smile crept on my face.
The door swung open silently, revealing him again. His raven hair clung to his face, and his right hand was stuffed inside one of his pockets. His left hand clutched it tightly.
' He... He fixed it... '
He thrust it at my outstretched hand. I took it gratefully, and let my hands run over the newly placed frame. The glass had been replaced, as well.
I looked up at him. "Thank you," I said, and I meant it.
He didn't say anything. A look of understanding, nothing more, nothing less, passed between us.
The new frame was a simple black one, with clean lines running through it. I climbed out of bed, and placed it on my dresser. It stood out, the black against all the reds, pinks, and purples.
It was so... so him...
He strode over to the dresser, standing at an angle so that he could see the picture, but didn't block my view. He stared, almost longingly at it. Then the hand that had been stuffed in his pocket was drawn out, and it clasped a picture.
The very same picture.
' It's... It's that picture... '
He held it out at arm's length, putting it next to my framed copy. It was an identical replica.
"You do remember, don't you." The way I said it, was a simple statement. There were no tinges of questioning or curiousity in my voice.
He paused for a moment, as if recalling a memory from far, far away. He turned to face me, and I found myself drowning, yet again, in those pools of dark onyx.
"Yes..." He trailed off. "I remember."
I glanced up at him hopefully. I could vaguely remember that day -- or was it night? -- myself. It had happened at least a year ago...
But I know that it's a reminder of something painful. Something that hurt me, something that I wasn't able to get over for a long time. I want to remember it, nonetheless. Is that foolish of me?
"You know what's ironic?" I spoke into the silence. I didn't wait for him to answer; I just barreled on. "I don't. Not very clearly."
He gazed at me. "You don't remember?"
"Not very clearly," I repeated, sounding almost ashamed of myself. "I -- I remember that it was very windy, and cold...and I remember the cherry blossom trees.... and -- and I remember that it was right after we graduated from the Ninja Academy -- and --" My hand instinctively went up to clutch my heart. "I remember that -- that it hurt. A lot." I glanced at him questioningly. "But that's all. I don't know what happened."
He was silent for a long period of time. He had moved so that he wasn't facing me. Instead, he was now turned towards the pictures. He still held his own copy next to mine.
"I still remember." He said it like it was a burden. "I wish I didn't. But I do."
I remained silent. What could I possibly say to that? He seemed preoccupied by the pictures.
But as always, I broke the silence in the end. "Sasuke-kun?"
At first, it didn't seem like he heard me. After a few seconds, however, he turned to me.
"Could you..." I gulped. "...tell me what happened?"
He stared at me, long and hard. I was afraid he would refuse.
But he didn't. Instead, he pocketed his picture, and leaned against my dresser.
I was so happy and proud! I had finally graduated from the Ninja Academy, and to top it all off, I graduated as valedictorian! I was at the top of my class, and I knew my mom and dad would be proud.
I was walking -- okay, I was practically skipping -- when I saw Sasuke-kun, all by himself. I thought it was sad that he had no one to celebrate this time with, so I walked right over to him.
"Hi, Sasuke-kun!" I smiled brightly. Maybe today would be the day I could finally get him to be my boyfriend and rub it in Ino-pig's face.
"Hn." His headband was clasped untidily around his forehead.
"I was thinking, since we all just graduated, maybe we could... go out to celebrate!"
I hoped he would accept, but a small part of me knew that he wouldn't. Still, it never hurt to try, right?
"No, thanks." His voice was flat and cold, like it always was. But I wasn't discouraged. My inner self cheered me on as I walked closer to him.
And the chill wind blew, causing me to shiver. He was walking towards the cherry blossom tree, which was one of my favorite spots, and so I followed him.
"Why are you following me?" He sounded slightly irritated, and I fell back, abashed. I always knew that Sasuke-kun was a blunt, straightforward type, but he never failed to surprise me.
"Why --" I stopped. "Because -- I -- I want to."
I caught a glimpse of his eyes. They were darker than they usually were. Instead of the regular onyx color I was accustomed to, it was a dark, jet black.
"Leave me alone." He spoke coldly, and his eyes and face reflected that coolness. "If you have time to waste by hanging around with me, you should go train."
My heart had begun to hurt. It felt like it had been ripped, torn, into a billion tiny pieces. But I didn't quit. I knew I should have, but I didn't.
"Why are you always pushing me away?" I blurted out. It came out of my mouth much too loudly. "Why can't you just learn to accept that there are some people who care about you, some people who want to be your friend?"
"I don't need any friends." He glared icily at me. "I live by myself."
"Sasuke-kun..." I froze. "I -- I really like you. I like you a lot..."
I took a moment to swallow. How many times had he heard that line before? He was a popular guy, so I was sure that many people had confessed their feelings to him before...
He was unfazed. "You should stop those feelings of yours. Because I don't feel the same way."
I tried to smile. I tried to laugh it off.
But I couldn't.
This was the first time I had confessed my feelings to him, and what did he do? He brushed it all off like it was nothing. He treated me like dirt... no, he treated me worse than dirt.
I knew I had no chance with him. I knew he would never feel the same way.
But I couldn't stop.
The feelings wouldn't go away.
"Sasuke-kun..." I found my voice. He threw me a glance.
"Will you take a picture with me?" I pointed at the school, where all the children and graduates were taking their pictures. "Please. Just one picture."
I knew he would say no. I braced myself for the word.
But he didn't. Sasuke-kun surprised me, yet again.
I remembered now. More clearly than ever. I remembered his dark, frightening eyes, I remembered my tearful green ones, and I remember how Iruka-sensei had pressed the button on the camera. Click, it had gone, a simple little sound, and then it was all over.
I remembered now. More clearly than ever. About a week after he had taken the picture, Iruka-sensei had come over to my house, with the picture in hand. He had delivered it, with a smile on his face, remarking that the photo looked very good.
Then I remember having gone to a store one day, and having searched for a great deal of time for the perfect picture frame.
"I see..." I said slowly, and softly, very softly. "I remember it now..."
He blinked up at me, looking uncertain. "Sakura...?"
I tried to force a smile onto my face, like I had done so many times before, but it wouldn't work. "What is it, Sasuke-kun?"
He bit his lip. I had never seen him look so uncomfortable in his life. "You're... crying."
' I... am? '
My hand rose up numbly to wipe the tears off my face. I was crying, and I hadn't realized it.
Why was I crying?
Was it because of the pain, the reawakened memories? The tears continued to come, although silently. I stared in wonder as they fell slowly down my cheek and onto the bed.
"I'm sorry," I said, almost laughing at my childishness. "I'm sorry. It seems like all I can do is cry."
He said nothing. I continued to cry, and I found that I lacked the strength to stop myself. The tears seemed to automatically fall on the same spot, and that spot soon got soaked through to the mattress.
' All I ever do is cry... '
' Does that make me weak in his eyes? '
' Is that why he doesn't feel the same way? '
Then I saw white. I blinked for a moment until I realized that the white I was seeing were tissues. He was holding out the box of tissues that had been on my dresser.
I graciously accepted the box, but before I had the chance to wipe my eyes, I caught a glimpse of him. He stood, a little bit away from me, his hands stuffed characteristically in his pockets. His eyes were half-closed, but there was still a worried look on his face. Worry. For me.
It had been a simple little act. He had merely given me a box of tissues. Anybody could have done so, but when it came from him, I felt that it meant more than that. Much more.
I took a tissue from the box, and went on to wipe the tears from my face. I felt embarrassed, having cried, yet again, in front of him. But no matter how much I wiped away at the tears, they just kept on coming, and coming, and coming.
"You should stop crying." He held out another tissue that he had just picked from the box. "I hate seeing people cry."
His words and actions shocked me, and I looked up at him, yet again. He was trying to look like he didn't care, but I knew better. Despite the way he treated me, I knew that he still acknowledged me, to some extent.
And then I realized...
' It's not that I don't like him anymore... '
I took the tissue from him, dumbfounded.
' It's that... I love him... '
The funny, almost ironic thing was that nothing special had happened. No, nothing special at all. I was in my room, lying on bed, pathetically sick, and crying, for that matter. Sasuke-kun stood unemotionally beside me, just watching.
There were no fireworks, no romantic words or poetry.
It was just like my picture. The picture was a plain and simple one, a snapshot of me together with Sasuke-kun. He had had that same expressionless look on his face, and I had had a tiny, half-smile on my face. But what made the picture stand out, what made it so meaningful, was that he was there. With me.
' I love him... '
And the world didn't shatter, and time didn't stop. Everything went on as it had been. Sasuke-kun still remained cold and unemotional, and I would soon revert back to my old self and flirt and chatter ceaselessly with him.
There were no fireworks.
There were no words.
There was nothing.
Except for me, him, and the picture.
Words hung awkwardly in the air. I thought about asking him how he had come to have a copy of the picture. I thought about asking him why he had visited me in the first place. I thought about asking him why he was still here. I even thought about telling him that I love him.
But I didn't.
Sometimes, the unspoken words are the ones that mean the most.
[ Motto touku made isshoni yuketara nee
Ureshikute sore dakede ]
[ I wished we could go together farther,
It would be joyful enough to... ]
--- owari: the end ---
A/N~Hah! You didn't think you'd get away without an author's note from dear little me, did you? ~.^ This is the first Naruto fanfic I've written in first person point of view... and I think the reason I chose to do Sakura is because many people think she's a bitch, but I think not. I think she's exceptionally strong and loyal for having stuck with Sasuke all this time -- heck, if I was her, I would've given up on him a LONG time ago -- plus, it's her birthday, and it's my birthday too, so that's special. ^__^
Well, the song is "Sobakasu" from Rurouni Kenshin. It's one of my all-time favorite songs, very catchy and upbeat. The verses are all out of order, though.. ^^;;
Last, but definitely not least, REVIEW!!!