Author: someonestolemyname PM
metenoia: noun. A fundamental change in one's beliefs: conversion, rebirth, regeneration - Because redemption and finally-found happiness are nothing short of miraculous. SasuSakuRated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Friendship - Sasuke U. & Sakura H. - Words: 1,477 - Reviews: 32 - Favs: 84 - Follows: 7 - Published: 03-04-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4112767
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Jack's Mannequin is LOVE, just so you all know. No joke, they are fabulous. GO check them out. Right now. It is they, not I, that own the lyrics to "Last Straw."
you I don't have
a place that's .safe. from all the monsters
that hide in my head
and sing me to sleep,
It is the hottest day of the year when Sasuke returns (home).
He is empty and tired and mostly dead as he stumbles through the all too familiar streets. The only thing keeping him from falling into the dirt and never rising again is the tight and constant pressure of Naruto's arm clamped securely around his ribcage.
(In the back of his bitter, half-crazed mind he finds that damn hilarious.)
The blonde boy pulls him to the hospital and Sasuke registers that same, loud, obnoxious voice radiating from the body beside him as they enter the pristine white halls.
Next thing he knows, Sasuke is in one of those flat and unforgiving beds, somehow grateful for the chance to just rest. But a hand is reaching out for him, is drawing his injured arm our for inspection, and Sasuke is growling because he is tired and hurt, but mostly tired and –
Sakura growls back at him.
She hugs Naruto before she says a word to him.
She is silent as she works; the picture of a calm, cool, self-assured medic-nin. As she runs those glowing green hands along his tattered skin, Sasuke wonders how this has happened.
Her hair is short. Her snap at Naruto is without menace – and Sasuke sees something like unbreakable trust in her eyes when they fall upon the other boy.
But then, when she is done, Sakura turns to Sasuke. His own blood is staining the thin rubber gloves that cover her thin fingers and he sees the sheen of sweat on her forehead. But she smiles; and it is like he remembers. As he watches, she sheds this skin of professionalism and slips into something else, something familiar, but something –
"Welcome back Sasuke."
The leaves are spiraling down in lazy circles the first time Sasuke smiles.
It's stupid, really, because there is nothing real to smile about. Sasuke likes concrete facts, sure and steady reasoning. Doing for the sake of doing is senseless and useless (and it leads to black nightmares of hate and blood and I was just testing myself). But there is no rationale for this feeling.
Maybe it has something to do with Sakura, walking at his left. With the way she watches the world through bright and happy eyes, the way she joyfully shoves Naruto as they walk over The Bridge. Maybe it has something to do with the complete shock on Naruto's whiskered face as he stumbles and topples over the railing in a manner that disgraces all ninja.
(Maybe, just maybe, it is the realization that everything is ok, that everything will be fine, that just here, just now, is enough. But -)
There is something in his chest. Something warm and hard that echoes around the cavern of his ribcage. All knows for sure is that it wants to get out. His cheeks feel odd, and his world is suddenly bathed in a new clarity. It's getting harder to fight, so he smirks down and the sopping Naruto and says, "Dobe," right before he smiles.
It gets easier after that.
Like the shell it is, the blackness falls away.
He isn't Naruto, not even close, but that is something he is glad of. (Because, really, he isn't sure he even deserves to have that light around him, much less in him) But there are times, now, that he feels a little spark of indefinable something that gives him the will to just smile.
He mostly smiles when Sakura does.
It makes her smile brighter.
The wind is howling cold and hard the first time Sasuke lets Sakura touch him.
It is a black and empty night as the three bundled figures trudge through the snow. Two of them, the one with pink hair and the one with blonde, walk side by side, bodies huddled against the chill. The third is off a little - close but never touching.
They reach a turn, and Naruto stumbles down another street. Sasuke nods his goodbye. Sakura waves and smiles.
"'Night, guys!" calls Naruto.
For a moment, the two figures stand. Then, in unison, they continue on their way.
Sasuke knows Sakura is cold. Her arms are wrapped around her body and he sees the occasional shiver run through her.
Awkwardly, he steps to her side. She looks up at him, eyes wide, and doesn't say anything. But then she smiles, and he smiles back.
It takes nearly the entire remainder of the walk for Sasuke to walk properly. With Sakura's shoulder against his chest and her head tucked to his arm, he has to make some adjustments.
But he figures it out. His steps shorten to match her own, and he leans just enough of his weight, and before long Sakura has stopped shaking.
Soon it is an addiction.
He wants this touch, this contact, more desperately than he will allow himself to contemplate.
When she is cold, now, he is always there. He doesn't do much of anything; but he stands at her side and allows her weight to fall into him. When she turns to him and Naruto and smiles that smile before opening her arms wide, he doesn't shy away. Side by side with his blue-eyed (best) friend, he lets himself be engulfed in a bone-crushing embrace. Sometimes, when the mood is warm and happy and peaceful, he'll even allow Naruto's arm about his shoulder (for small amounts of time.)
He doesn't want to hurt; and this makes it all a little better.
The world is bathed in pastel and light the first time he tells her he might just love her.
They are at the duck pond. Sakura is worried.
With frantic eyes she circles the water, searching is vain. He watches her.
"She's not here," she whispers. "She's not here…"
Sasuke looks down to the small shrub at his feet and then to the nest he can hardly see through the leaves. He looks up to watch Sakura disappear behind a small grove of trees. Patiently, silently, ignoring the small cheeps that fill the air around him, he waits for her.
When she emerges, her face is pale and her eyes crestfallen. He catches her eyes and she gives a sad little shrug. "She's dead." Her thumb jabs angrily over her shoulder. "Over there. Something got her."
She looks entirely too sad and entirely too crushed, so Sasuke reaches out and lets his arm fall across her shoulders. Sakura sighs, looks down, and abruptly crouches. With swift, exact movements that recall her hours of training, she gathers the three small bodies to her own. As she stands she looks at Sasuke. He looks back at her with something like incredulous skepticism.
In her arms, pressed to her body heat, are the three damp yellow bodies of hour-old ducklings. "What are you doing?" he asks.
"Saving them," she replies, sticking her chin out. "I can do it; just watch."
But he already knows she will.
So he leans foreword, just a little, and places his hand against the back of her neck. Gently, slowly, he pulls her towards him - pressing his lips to her forehead when she is close enough. Smiling, he whispers into wisps of pink hair, "I love you."
She does save them. All three.
She laughs and teases herself because, look, these ducklings think her Mother. They follow her wherever she goes and cheep up a miserable storm when she leaves them for any length of time. But when she is near, when she is there, they are happy to just find a place in her lap to sit and be warm.
Sasuke understands how they feel.
Everyone needs a safe base.
(So, when she goes to walk her ducklings, he goes too. He walks behind her, just a little, just enough to let her lead him. Her hand holds his and it is enough to make him feel not broken, not angry, not anything but content.)
He's thankful he's got her.
AN(again) Because Sasuke needs help. And a hug.
And ducklings that follow you around are adorable. Really, truly, amazingly, cute. Plus, they make you feel loved. Which is always a good thing.
So, review? Please?