Author: Yellow Mask PM
The problem is that you didn't appreciate what you had. You didn't appreciate her, and now you'll never have her. SasuSaku oneshot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Sasuke U. & Sakura H. - Words: 2,583 - Reviews: 122 - Favs: 388 - Follows: 24 - Published: 04-14-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4196540
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By Yellow Mask
Spoilers: None overt.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
AN: I wrote a oneshot in first person Sasuke's POV, so I thought I'd try second person. Again, this is Sasuke's POV.
The problem is that you didn't appreciate what you had. You – and a lot of others, come to think of it – didn't appreciate what Sakura is and does. Some still don't.
You certainly didn't. Blinded and blinkered and so goddamn arrogant and sure of yourself, you never really appreciated the pink-haired girl that always hovered in your line of vision, at your back or at your side...until she suddenly wasn't there.
When you were in Oto, you thought about her and the others occasionally, but the burn of guilt was an unfamiliar sting in your throat, so you tried to turn your mind away from them.
Then you came back, and you saw her; older, stronger, beautiful, respected and self-assured. You almost couldn't see your old teammate underneath that woman, but she came out in flashes like a sparkling star – when she yelled at Naruto, when she smiled at you, when she scolded Kakashi for his tardiness.
And now you are left wondering how no one else can see what you see, why so few people seem to appreciate what Sakura has become.
But you have no room to throw stones, as the saying goes. You didn't appreciate what you had either, when she was twelve and innocent and would never think of saying no to you...
She says no to you rather frequently nowadays. She criticizes you, laughs at you, snorts at you, ignores you and the hurtful comments that seem to fly out of your mouth on reflex these days as you become increasingly desperate for some kind of response from her. Some kind of indication your opinion is still important to her...
But she doesn't need your appreciation anymore. You didn't give it, so she's learned to do without it. She doesn't need your validation, your protection...
She doesn't need you, period.
Now, in a bitter role reversal, it's you that needs her.
The heart monitor beeps and blips in the background, a subtle whisper of how close you came to losing her.
Another A-rank mission to help out a besieged village, and Sakura was too busy attempting to protect a slew of refugees to really look after herself. She took a very long, very wide sword straight through the chest, and if she hadn't been able to at least slow the bleeding and repair her lung almost instantaneously, she wouldn't be here now.
You vow to break her of the habit of trying to save everyone's life but her own.
The blade missed her heart, but the medics insisted on an overnight stay and the heart monitor that is now informing you when her heart contracts and at what rate.
But that is hard to hear over Naruto's undignified guffaws. Sakura is telling him about some of her first days as an intern in this very hospital. Kakashi is leaning against the side of the window, but his crinkled eye tells of his own amusement.
And you think that you – the three of you – need her far more than she has ever needed any of you. All those years ago, when this first began, you don't think anyone would have guessed it would come to this. Back then, Sakura had been a shadow in the background, forgotten, overlooked...
But now she is the sun around which the three of you revolve, the bright and burning core that holds you together. The three of you have been smothered and drowned in tragedy for most of your lives, and while it seems strange that someone who has never really experienced what you have could become so integral to your world...Sakura has managed it.
You think that Naruto is the heart, the wild pounding energy driving you on. Kakashi is the brain, cold and calculating and yet feeling more deeply than he likes to admit. And you are...the limbs, perhaps. You hurt, you bleed and you lash out, full of reflex action that doesn't make sense anymore but is ingrained in you nevertheless.
And Sakura...Sakura is the soul. What she brings to the equation is unproven, incalculable...but take it away, and there is nothing.
You want to ask her out. That devotion that you once took for granted, you now want back, now that you can finally appreciate it, appreciate what she will be giving to you...but you don't.
Logically, asking her will be risking nothing. Even if she doesn't feel the same way, she's not as cruel as you were – she won't deny you her company, you won't lose her as a friend.
And yet...you don't. Because it would kill something in you to see her face fall, to see the sorrow and sympathy in her eyes as she tells you that she isn't interested, that she doesn't feel that way anymore.
Being perfectly honest, you suspect it's the 'anymore' that would really kill you. The idea that if you could have that love, that devotion now, if you'd just been a little nicer, if you'd said something more than 'thank you' all those years ago...
"Hey, Sasuke, want to go get some ramen?"
For a moment, you freeze, stunned that this golden opportunity should have dropped into your lap. You thought she'd given up on you, that she'd never ask you on a date again...
But apparently the moment you've hesitated is a second too long, because Sakura plunges onwards like a river thundering towards a waterfall, "Come on – it's not like I'm asking you on a date or anything. I have a boyfriend now, after all."
You blink, and try to hold your usual look of indifference even as something within you cracks and bleeds. Of course she has a boyfriend, of course she's not asking you on a date; she has someone else, someone who appreciates her.
She doesn't need you.
But you still follow her to Ichiraku anyway, determined to appreciate what you have.
Because you made that mistake once, and look where it's got you.
Now that you know Sakura has a boyfriend, small things you overlooked before begin to make sense. The way she smiles on some mornings – softly, dreamily, as though she knows a secret no one else does. The way she'll abandon you and Kakashi and Naruto after a mission is over and you've made your report to the Hokage.
You always thought she was going to the hospital...but apparently, she's going to Him.
You make no effort to remember her boyfriend's name. She told you about Him once, and the news that he was a civilian – not even a genin ninja! – infuriated you. If he'd been a ninja, you could have challenged him to a spar and at least been able to take out some of your frustrations on him.
You know you have no right to feel jealous, but something in your stomach still twists when she slides off her seat at Ichiraku and waves goodbye to you and Naruto, knowing she is going to Him. Knowing that she will kiss him, make love with him, knowing that she will someday take his name and have his children, while you are left watching and longing for something that will never be yours again.
The irony of the situation chokes you.
You don't know much. One of Naruto's clones came around to your house just after a mission and babbled out a story and that you have to come to Sakura's right away and comfort her, and if you don't show up he'll gouge out your famous eyes.
You don't know much, but the clone told you that Sakura caught her boyfriend cheating on her. Apparently she came back from the mission, went to His house to surprise him...and came across Him having sex with another woman.
You know Sakura will probably be upset. You know Naruto will be angry – you can sympathise.
You are furious. You can't have her because He has her, and he doesn't even appreciate what he has. He isn't treating her the way she deserves, and while you are the first to admit you probably wouldn't treat her the way she deserves either, at least you wouldn't go around screwing other women!
You make your way to Sakura's house and try to remember his name. Once you know his name, you can find out where he lives, and once you find out where he lives, you can kill him. Considering your own power and the fact that he's a civilian, it shouldn't be difficult. Once you explain the circumstances to Tsunade you're sure she'll understand. Anyone who hurts Sakura like this deserves to die in a very messy, excruciatingly painful way.
You're aware that the list of people who hurt Sakura probably includes your name somewhere near the top, so by your logic you deserve to die, but you figure you'll buy your life by picking off the people below you.
You and Naruto are stuck in the awkward position of having to provide Sakura with chocolate and ice cream and listen to her rant and rave for the rest of the night. For a moment, you actually consider demanding that Tsunade recall Team 10 from their mission, just so that Yamanaka girl can deal with this. After all, she probably knows more about comforting Sakura than you do (though considering your history, you sometimes think even Gaara would be better at comforting Sakura than you).
So you and Naruto play the best friends and concerned teammates, and listen to her pour out her sorrows. You learn that He was the first man she ever had sex with, and while you know that sex is hardly a commitment nowadays, you are angry that the man she allowed into her body should have so abused her trust.
Not that you're one to talk – you've had sex before, and it didn't mean a thing besides a physical release marginally more satisfying than masturbation. You've had sex before, and you didn't feel any sort of regard or affection for the woman.
After all, there were many, many women offering such in Oto, more so than in Konoha. Because Oto is all about snatching power where you can, and if you don't have particularly extraordinary powers or intelligence or skill...then your body is one more thing you can use. Many people – both women and men – offered themselves to you, in the hope that Orochimaru's apprentice would grant them favours.
You accepted only one of those offers.
And even now, you tell yourself it was just coincidence that the woman was a strawberry blonde, and that her hair looked pink in the dim light in your room. Coincidence that you always turned her face down, so all you saw was pink hair and pale skin, and if your mind happened to fill in green eyes and a familiar, gentle face...well, you couldn't help it, right?
Even then you didn't appreciate what she was to you. You've never appreciated her, and now He has done the same damn thing.
It is a while before you think of Him again. Sakura is cheerful again, apparently recovered from the disastrous ending to her relationship, and smiles and laughs as though she never had her heart broken.
And then, when you and Sakura are walking back from a mission, you see Him walking down the road.
Sakura's posture becomes stiff and brittle, and you have to consciously suppress the urge to do something damaging and permanent to the man in front of you.
But then He looks up, sees Sakura, and actually has the gall to smile! "Hey, Sakura."
Your spine is as rigid as steel, and your fists have clenched so tightly you think your fingers might snap off. He shouldn't be greeting her, speaking to her as if they are old friends – he has no right to even look at her after what he did!
Apparently, Sakura's thoughts are much along the same lines, because her lip curls. "Look, I don't know if you have selective amnesia or something, but...you cheated on me! I'm not about to act all buddy-buddy with you after that!"
He shrugs. "Let's be honest with each other, Sakura...we knew it was never going to last anyway. I might have been sleeping with someone else, but your heart wasn't really in it, either."
You grit your teeth and taste iron on your tongue. You don't care whether or not he thinks her heart was in it or not, at least she remained faithful, which is a hell of a lot more than He can say.
Sakura looks like she's trying to restrain herself from punching him across the village as he continues.
"I mean, you were never really in love with me – you were just using me to try to get over the one who tossed you to the curb like trash."
His eyes cut towards you, but you barely notice. You are fuming. There's another one! Another one of these assholes Sakura gets involved with who don't treat her as she deserves. You want to shake her, to scream at her that she should go out and date someone who will appreciate her true worth.
His words have apparently struck Sakura speechless, because she just stares at him as he walks on and past her. Her eyes shift towards you, then dart away again, as though in shame.
And you have had all you can take.
"Come with me," you instruct her, grasping her hand and tugging her down the street.
"Where?" she asks blankly as you mentally calculate how much money you have in your wallet.
"Just come on."
She rolls her eyes and follows you, but goes stiff when you lead her into a casual restaurant and push her down into one of the booths. "What is this? What are you doing?"
"We are going on a date," you inform her, pleased that your voice is your usual cool, unaffected tone and reveals none of the turmoil writhing under your skin as you hope she isn't about to either slap you in the face or laugh her head off.
Her mouth parts in astonishment as she gapes at you.
At least she isn't attacking you or ridiculing you, but you had hoped for more than a blank, fish-eyed stare.
"If you're going to have a boyfriend, it might as well be someone who appreciates you," you mutter, resisting the urge to fidget.
She blinks one, twice, and then smiles.
AN: In case you didn't pick up on it, the person Sakura's ex-boyfriend is referring to is Sasuke. And thanks to justcallymefaye for beta-ing this.