|Only When I Sleep
Author: Amser PM
10 years have past.The 5 Countries are in socioeconomic ruin. Sasuke, half mad now sees Itachi in his dreams and looks to him for advice, whilst Sakura battles on with a dire blend of sake and morphine. Can one help the other? Or are they doomed? SasuSakuRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Drama - Sasuke U. & Sakura H. - Words: 3,166 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 3 - Published: 01-04-08 - id: 3992621
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer- I don't own Naruto.
A little something new I cooked up.
Bare in mind- Five countries have gone in economic collapse because of intense War, shinobi are scattered. Total chaos. Fic will go into more detail concerning that a little (like next chapter, probs) Goes off from the main plotline from Chapter 384.
Warnings include: Drug usage, alcoholism, madness, violence. General angst. There will be future sex. Ooh, and some slight, very, very slight ItaSasu.
Only When I Sleep
Chapter One-Winter Aconites and a Dose of Morphine
"Yes," Sasuke replies, recalling images of small, pretty flowers that bloomed in bright yellows and pearly white; the plants his Mother adored. "Winter Aconites are the first flowers of the year- they are impervious to cold, frost and snow. But, they are also-"
"Poisonous, yes," Itachi smirks slightly. "Every inch of them is poisonous. Who do they remind you of, Sasuke?"
Sasuke turns his head to the side. The cool grass blades tickle his soft cheek, but not enough to really irritate. His brother is lying next to him; face perfectly still, like a beautiful mask, as his eyes watch unblinking a vast, starry horizon. Tonight, there is no moon.
"Who do they remind you of, Sasuke?"
Sasuke inches closer to Itachi, so he can speak his words in a whisper that only the wind can over-hear. Sasuke's breath is feather light on the elder Uchiha's skin, but he shows no signs of awkwardness, or discomfort.
"They reminded me of you," Sasuke whispers, sharply. "Because, like them, you are- or were, as it stands now- impervious to everything cold and cruel and deceitful. Although, most of all, you reminded me of those flowers because they are poisonous… venomous… toxic… and yet, they still manage to retain a flawless, tempting façade,"
Itachi's head turns. The brothers are face-to-face, the air on their faces not from the wind blowing through the valley, but from the air they exhale.
"Why don't I remind you of them anymore?" Itachi asks, and grins. "What has changed, little brother? Is it because you killed me?"
Sasuke swallows hard. His eyes search his brother's, but he does not see the answer he needs. Itachi sees his brother's hesitation, the blind searching in those dark eyes so similar to his own. Sasuke feels as if he's made of glass- like he's completely transparent and too easy to shatter.
"Why can't you answer me, Sasuke?"
Birds are singing outside his windows, their melodies calm and peaceful. He listens with a blank, expressionless face.
Minutes, maybe hours pass, and Sasuke doesn't move. He doesn't warm up, either. The Uchiha lies in the cold bed, listening to the cheerful birds, soon deciphering the four different tunes each bird makes.
Four…He remembers, long, long ago when he was one young quarter of a novice shinobi squad, in a great land that was once his home, and his enemy. He recalls, lucidly, his teammates' names, faces, voices and mannerisms, as if he'd last seen them yesterday. Which was odd, Sasuke found, seeing as most of the time he forgot what he did the previous day, or what he ate for breakfast. He was unable, now, to remember anything without prompt, or so it seemed.
"It's because you're stuck in a time-warp," Itachi had told him, his tone very matter-of-fact. Sasuke should've recognised this."Only in the psychological sense, however. Physically, you still wander through the Present,"
Sasuke mulled over this idea, this theory his brother had conjured. Was it correct? Of course it was. Itachi, on the whole, was usually extremely precise with these matters. And he would never lie, not to Sasuke's face.
But the lone Uchiha is not concerned with his state of mind, for the moment. Today, he does not care. The only thing he does care about is the singing of the birds beyond the window, with each unique tune a song, a melody to fit the only people who'd given him a second chance.
Two of them, he knew for definite to be dead, long ago. The last, however, he had heard nothing about. He was not optimistic. She had probably died a hideous death to a bunch of cowardly, talent less, nameless shinobi who dumped her body later in a shallow, nameless grave, where the scavenger animals could dig up and devour her shredded remains once the hunters had finished.
"Just the same fate as hundreds of other shinobi…" Itachi had said, slightly softer, his voice and face appearing more animated, more humane. When Sasuke said he'd be optimistic, Itachi rebuked him."Pessimists do not suffer disappointment- they are realists, the only true rationalists in this world, Sasuke,"
After that, Sasuke chose to fling away whatever hope he may have been able to retain, and gladly, for the hope had grated upon him, carving away at what little soul he had managed to cling to.
Suddenly, the birds fluttered away, hunting worms, probably and the songs ceased. Sasuke was left alone to silence, which was something he certainly wasn't unaccustomed to. Although, the lack of birdsong nicked his motivation, and he no longer wanted to lie alone in silence.
Slow and arduous, as if his joints were ancient and rusty, Sasuke pushed himself away from the mattress and up from under the thin duvet. The cold of early January harassed his skin, but he chose to ignore it.
Stepping out on to the floorboards, he shook the cold, the aching and the stiffness from his limbs. It was something he had learnt to do long ago, a routine created from many nights spent in chilly, damp dungeons and underground lairs that smelt like a mixture of dry snake skins and rank soil.
"Those were dark days, weren't they?" Itachi had asked him once, but the elder Uchiha had not seemed too concerned. When Sasuke had not answered him, Itachi did not pursue the matter further.
If Sasuke had replied though, he would have said yes, they were, but not as dark as the ones I live through now. Briefly, Sasuke wondered what Itachi's answer to that would be. It would have to wait though, as Itachi only spoke to Sasuke when he slept.
The last of the Uchiha walks towards the drawn windows, the light behind the blinds strong and tantalising. He draws the blackout material, and meets a bright, pewter sky. No Sun, no blue, no fluffy white clouds just… grey, an endless, plain, encompassing grey.
In the back of his mind, he hears his brother's words. "Pessimists do not suffer disappointment,"
Despite his madness, and his warped sense of justice, Sasuke could not help but admit his brother spoke a lot of sense, sometimes. Too much, other times… By the looks of it, today was one of the latter, and Sasuke could not handle one of those episodes, not now. He was not strong enough.
Inwardly, he knew he should find somewhere better than this. A place where the Sun did shine, and he didn't wake up prickling with cold. He wanted to feel something other than dread, than loathing, something better than disappointment. And unfortunately for Uchiha Sasuke, this answer did not lie within Itachi's crooked words.
"Honey, why you so cold, huh?" A man (if you could call it that) makes a face, one akin to a mutilated puppy.
The woman drinks straight from her third sake bottle, with gulps often and eager. There would have been one time, years ago, when she'd have tears trickling down her cheeks whilst she drowned her sorrows with the potent, liquid fire. But now, those tears were dry, and her sadness was replaced by a cold, bitter frost- a winter of her soul.
There was little surprise in the fact that she attracted so much attention. She was a very attractive woman, with a lithe, strong body and classically beautiful face. Her hair and eyes though, set her out from the rest; pastel colours always tended to attract more attention, and her bemusing mixture of pink hair and soft green eyes made her popular prey for the predators of the night, especially for those who desired a taste of the unusual in this cold and miserable world.
"Cummon, sweetheart!" One of the buffoons jeered, his jesters smile something she'd have liked to bash into the wall behind. "Why so glum, huh?"
The woman gulped down a large, long drawl of sake. A tremor runs through her, the man's idle words allowing things she rather forget resurface. Darkness swims in her jaded eyes.
'Why so glum?' You ask? A cruel, dark smirk forms on her shapely lips. She makes eyes with the bartender and raises an eyebrow.
The bartender, having known her for a good few years, spots the primal look in her drunken eyes, the pain and suffering steadily manifesting into the desire to pummel these idiots into oblivion. He sees her breakdown, her rationale dissolve. He sees the coldness of her desperation, the depths of her grief. She is unable to handle it. For now, she has passed the point of no return.
"Go ahead, Sakura," He says, with a heavy nod.
"Thank you," Sakura slurs, and mumbles she'll pay the difference, later. The bar tender doesn't expect her too, but knows the girl is true to her word, that she prefers paying her way. He would have liked to have known her before she became like this, he imagined her pleasant, once.
Haruno Sakura, after nearly a decade of wandering the world like a ghost without a house to haunt, still retains all the teachings, all the masterpieces of the shinobi fighting arts both Hatake Kakashi and the Leaf's Godaime Hokage, had taught her.
Despite her intoxication, Sakura was deadly, her reflexes and chakra control still abnormally precise.
Tonight, Sakura considered the vermin who tormented her. She watched them, like a starved hawk would scrutinise the ground it surveys from the skies, and came to the conclusion that a powerful smack in the face would be far too good for these cretins. For these bastards, she'd utilise her medical ninjutsu. And, darkly, she knew she would enjoy it, happily do it over and over again. The alcohol helped too, it numbed the reason, the mercy that had made her such a caring, compassionate person. It blurred her sense of justice, of rising above scum like the ones frequenting the bar tonight.
They didn't stand a slither of chance, not against her, and that was always the massive guilt she felt in the pit of her stomach after she woke from such nights as this, finding the corpses being stacked on the horse-drawn carts and moved to the landfill sites, the shock on the faces of the provincial populace of this rancid town.
I shouldn't care, as they couldn't give a flying fuck about me…Sakura takes one last mouthful, and then slides off the bar stole, chakra tingling maliciously throughout her body.
Roars of excitement erupt from the wankers in the corner, as they drink in the sight of her gorgeous body in motion.
Animals… animals… a bunch of disgusting animals. The drink makes it easier. She sees them; they are animals, nothing about them is human, not the noises they make, or the jovial movements of their alcohol-laden bodies. She makes no excuses, no pardons to overlook their behaviour. There is nothing human about them, nothing at all worth saving.
As she made eye contact, one wolf whistled and another crudely mentioned her "killer pins" in vile, drunken slurry. He was the first to bite the dust, the nearest, unfortunately for him. Sakura simply walked into him, directing her chakra-scalpel fast and diagonally up his broad chest. Inside, his organs collapsed, torn to bits. His eyes were wide with shock.
For a while, the others saw nothing wrong with their foolish comrade. It was only when he fell forward, blood splattering from his slack mouth as the liquid life filled him to the brim, did they realise anything was amiss.
The other men gawped in horror, some wailing and shouting in terror, some running. Sakura allowed the ones who ran their lives; they would never make this mistake again. Their lessons were learnt. It was the ones who stayed she let all her pain and anger swell into.
Six stayed, all large, all furious- furious that anyone (and especially a woman, no doubt) had dared do such a terrible thing. They came at her, and Sakura slaughtered every single one, the killing coming as naturally as it had done once before on the teeming battlefields.
Blood sprayed, some limbs lay scattered. Sakura slew them as easily as shouting fish in a barrel.
So… worthless. She thought, watching, as the man whose heart she made explode died pitifully, open eyed and shock-ridden. She hated them, hated what this world had become, what her life had become… and the worthlessness of everything.
And now they were all dead and she had nothing to pull apart. The barman watched her back, eyes narrowed with a strange pity for this dark, dejected woman he couldn't really comprehend.
"No… no… no…" She sobs into the hands cupping her face, the hands that knew what to do whenever this disaster struck. Sakura hated her hands. They grew rough with age, rough with neglect. She prophesied her demise from the slow disintegration of her hands. She would die slowly and arduously, the life draining out of her from a tiny, miniscule hole. It will be gradual, not instant, not as any shinobi expected their death to be.
She can hear the cart now, beyond the creaky windowpanes, and knows the bodies are being collected. She can hear the bodies, like dead weights, being lifted, pushed and prodded, all bloody and cold.
"Oh God… Oh please… no more, no more…" She cries, exhausting herself. She was already sickly from the drinking last night, and tired from the work in the makeshift hospital during the day. She had no time for sobbing, for crying, for wailing. She must pull herself together. She needed to take a little something from the medicine cabinet and be on her way.
No police will come knocking- they don't exist, not anymore. The Fir Country is lawless, devastated by war, by poverty, like all the other nations. Shinobi do not exist in large numbers now. Not many at decent skill levels, anyway. They were picked off like flies in a pathetic, meaningless war, instigated by those with too much power and too little sense.
So many dead, so many gone…Sakura whimpers, she must leave her bed and reach the medicine cabinet now, otherwise she will not have the strength to leave the room. All gone, all dead, all gone…
She staggers, eyes not really watching where she's going, to her small, en suite shower room. In the mirror that hangs above the basin, she glimpses herself. A mess, a low-life, a mere shadow of a painfully glorious past.
Pathetic, isn't it? She observes her appearance, her wild hair- too bright- her wild eyes- also too bright- and her pale, dead skin. She will spend hours in the shower today, striving to be clean. She'll probably use another whole bar of soap in the process, too.
First things first, though, right? Get your act together first, yeah? It was time to secure the day. Sakura opened the medicine cabinet and took out a large bottle, full of clear liquid, which she shook before unscrewing the lid off. From there, she took a fresh needle and attached it to a syringe. After this, she placed the needle into the liquid and sucked it up into the body of the syringe, until it reached about a third of the way.
It'll be fine, I'll find them again with this, and then I can go to the hospital and do some good around here… Sakura took a belt from the towel railing, which she kept in the bathroom for such occasions, and tightened it around her arm. Silently, she watched as a blue vein swelled under her skin. There, she meticulously plunged the needle into the vein and pushed on the plunger. I'll be fine; it'll be all right with this.
"Everything will be all right now," She hummed, as if attempting to convince herself, at first distressed and unable to. But as the drug coursed its way through her veins, Haruno Sakura began to feel better. The room, which was so dull and boring, seemed to come to life. It grew brighter, and she did not appear to look so bad when she inspected her appearance in the mirror for a second time.
I'll find my boys… my parents… my Master… and I won't be alone anymore… The thoughts raced gleeful and euphoric through her head- just, as she knew they would. One day, she knew she'd find someone to share happiness with again, knew she would see her friends one last time. If it were drug-induced, then never mind. It was not as bitter or lonely as facing reality, especially this reality- a horrendous reality that's lasted for ten years without one shred of hope, love or happiness.
Some may say that Haruno Sakura was heading down a deep and perilous circle of regret and disaster, but at least she was optimistic- at least she could call upon one last beacon of hope to guide her, as many who walk that path have none to begin with, and they surely, are worse equipped, even if they don't have to deal with disappointment anymore.
Constructive R and R please.