|Softly as the Sunrise
Author: ElasticBobaTurtle PM
It's taken him a lifetime to realize. Moments before his death on a quiet, moonlit night. Bittersweet. [Sasusaku]Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Words: 1,166 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-01-05 - id: 2513947
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Still in partially angst-ridden mood. Somewhat inspired after reading Chevira Lowe's 'e c l i p s e'. You should read it. It's much better than this, guaranteed. :xx
He almost – almost – allows himself a smirk right then and there, but then he remembers the graveness of the situation and realizes that maybe a smirk isn't the expression he should be wearing. So he curbs his almost-smirk into a tight line, nearly a frown.
There are shadows everywhere, dancing around them in flitting pirouettes, so ignorant of what is happening that it is achingly beautiful. A shadow clings briefly to her face, her pale, drawn face, and then dips behind her neck and lies in her hair, peeking through between the strands.
She is elegant beside death, there is no denying.
Even he knows it. He had always expected something different, expected her to act so much more – childish – to be perfectly honest. He had expected sobbing, open proclamations of her regrets and pains and fears and foolish love, if it could be called that, expected – he half-laughed at this – that she would be the one crying even when he was the one dying.
She is changed, there is no doubt.
The room is so blankly white, even in the pale moonlight that he is briefly blinded and is forced to blink in flashing, dancing spots. Why is it so goddamn white? Wait, he remembers, this is a hospital. He keeps forgetting the most obvious of things, these days. But then it doesn't really matter, does it, seeing as he's slowly dying and there's no way to stop it.
He is kind of expecting her to say something now, sort of wanting her to say something, anything, because strangely, the silence makes him uncomfortable and he doesn't like it; him who used to be the silent one, and she who used to be the one who wanted him to say something.
It was weird how quickly the roles could be swapped, so fast he didn't even realize it had happened.
He's still wishing she would speak, but she doesn't say anything, just sits there in pondering, breathing silence. He hears faint footsteps echoing down the hall, probably a nurse or janitor or doctor – he really doesn't care.
"…Sasuke," she offers, finally, because that's all she can manage at the moment. He stirs a little, looks at her, and then turns away because something inside is throbbing. The word is snatched up by the hungry silence again, and he sighs to himself for ever thinking she could fill up the silence for him. No one is ever enough, he reminds himself, no one.
He should have learned that ages ago, but somehow there was always that little clinging, nagging hope that could never, ever be stamped out by his mind's grinding foot. Even all those years ago, in that hazy clear remembrance of a certain man whom he had thought had surely been the strongest, bestest person in the whole world but turned out to be his worst nightmare, a living, breathing embodiment of his hate.
Even that man hadn't been enough to live his life for, Sasuke later realized.
No one was ever enough, he knew, but he still hoped because – because he was only human. And humans make mistakes, often fatal ones, and don't realize it before it's too goddamn late. But there was no use in regretting, now was there?
He breaks from his thoughts when he hears her shifting closer, feels the slight groaning of the bed as she settles her weight on it. Her hand skims across the creamy sheets, reaching out to touch him. He almost flinches, but stops himself.
Her touch is surprisingly cool, spreading shivers down his spine.
"He's still mad at you," she states, softly and matter-of-factly at the same time, a peculiar, singular combination of tones, her words like buttermilk pancakes on a Sunday afternoon.
He smirks weakly, and its sardonic edge has not rusted in the least, even after all these years. She smiles slightly as she notes this, a knowing, familiar smile.
"I'm mad at you too, you know," she continues, but her hushed voice softens the hardness of her words, cushions and changes what might have been flinty anger into a playful little tug of reprimanding.
He isn't surprised. That's good, he thinks absently, distantly. You should be mad, he nods to himself in approval.
"After you left," she sighs tiredly, a flittering fragment of a sentence, the look in her eyes a wistful kind of sad, so very wrenching. He knows that she's probably still wondering why in the world he did it; sometimes he still wonders about it too, on those restless nights when Insomnia can't sleep, either, and bothers him with fussy questions that tickle like silken ostrich feathers.
He knows that she's thinking of that one ashen moonlit night when the leaves were light caresses in the wind and everything was frozen, bitterly frozen. He remembers how the moonlight hit in just the right way that it illuminated her face and made it seem like she was a ghost, a frightfully, hauntingly, beautifully, mourning ghost. He remembers exactly how cold it was, how breathing made little miracle puffs of frost, remembers the trees and their silent, waving branches, he even remembers what type of trees they were, goddamn it. He remembers a little stone bench, the one that he laid her on afterwards. He remembers her tears.
He wonders if she recalls it as well as he does, and concludes that she probably does, if not better. He had broken her heart that night, after all.
"Don't expect me to cry for you this time," she says, and adds as a fleeting afterthought, "Okay?"
Sasuke wonders briefly if it's just him or is her voice a little more strangled than usual, her face even whiter than usual. He dismisses it though, takes it for granted that he's becoming slightly delirious, and that he should know better than to trust himself anymore when he's already half-dead and more than a little crazy.
She's changed, remember?
But something inside of him stops, the room flickering in wavering turns, the aching inside of him fading slowly and he wonders faintly if it's just that his heart is stopping and he's finally, finally dying or maybe – maybe just this once –
His eyes close, his breathing stops, the moonlight shatters. She still cries.