|the soup kitchen
Author: precarious mind PM
.:AU:.:SASUSAKU:. "It's almost funny," she had said, voice harsh and biting him so hard. "Your eyes are the same color as your heart."Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Drama - Sasuke U. & Sakura H. - Words: 3,032 - Reviews: 54 - Favs: 64 - Follows: 93 - Published: 06-22-08 - id: 4341234
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
x. once again, using this as a writer's block cure. that way i can buckle down on my multi-chaps. and fyi, the medical parts of this are under no circumstances true, and are most likely next to impossible.
x.. twoshot, maybe three. sasusaku. chibi!naruto.
x… as always, enjoy.
.the soup kitchen.
"Got any money, mister?"
Sasuke looks up, and just a few yards ahead of him there is a scruffy blond boy. His skin is bronze, undoubtedly from being outside year round, and his arms look like easily-snapped toothpicks. He is harassing a man in a gray suit.
The businessman pulls his sleek cell phone away from his ear to scowl at the kid. "Beat it, sewer rat."
The boy scowls right back. "Gimme some food first."
(Sasuke glances down at the grocery bags dangling from his wrists with blank eyes.)
"Look you little shi-" The man pauses and then speaks into his cell again, "No, not you. Some future hobo is just harassing me."
(If he lives long enough to have a future, Sasuke thinks as he nears.)
The little boy makes the mistake of tugging on the sleeve of the expensive suit. "Mister, c'mon mister. I haven't eaten for three whole days. I'm hungry."
The businessman shoves at the small chest- "Get your hands off of me!"- and the blond child lands in a dirty puddle with a shallow splash and surprised grunt.
After a final glare, the man walks away. It begins to rain gray.
(Sasuke sighs. He is only a few feet away now.)
Naruto lets out a tiny sniffle and wipes his bright cerulean eyes with the back of his filth-covered hand. His stomach no longer rumbles; its roaring is so loud and continuous that it is silent. He feels hollow inside, and wonders if it is just the hunger.
(mommy mommy i miss my mommy)
Something is thrust before his face. A plastic grocery bag.
He looks up.
A man is standing there, young looking, and his face is devoid of anything.
"Here," he says, and blinks away a teardrop of cold rainwater.
When Naruto only gazes back at him incomprehensively, he places the bag on the sidewalk and lifts him up by the shoulders. He takes the bag. Shoves it forward again.
Naruto clutches at it in disbelief, and turns towards him with a grateful smile. The rain has flattened his wild mane of hair.
The dark-haired man turns away, and leaves.
Sasuke reaches his block holding only one grocery bag now (the one he had given the homeless boy was filled with sweets and oddities that only a pregnant woman would want; his wife will not be happy). The rain has only gotten harder. It pelts down like a barrage of pebbles.
There is a splash behind him. He should have expected it, most people associate charity with a charitable person, and the boy is homeless. He turns, and stops.
The scruffy blond grins back at him sheepishly. He is holding the grocery bag like a teddy bear, and is only a few feet away.
Sasuke sighs again.
Sakura opens the door for her husband as a string of sharp lighting stings the now-black sky. He is holding two grocery bags, and beside him is a tiny boy in tattered clothes.
They are both drenched.
Naruto takes the fluffy towel from the sweet lady gratefully, and has another big gulp of hot chocolate. He sighs happily, and snuggles into the plump cushions of the burgundy couch.
The couple moves into another room, no doubt to talk about what to do with him, and he places his mug down on the floor so that he can fall asleep without spilling any of the sugary liquid.
"So what now, Sasuke?" Sakura asks him angrily. She is pinching the bridge of her nose, and Sasuke dimly reminds himself that stress isn't good for the unborn baby.
Or its mother.
"Oh, that is really just so helpful."
He lifts an eyebrow.
"Grace me with your words oh-wise-one. I'm waiting."
He sighs. "I don't know."
Her nostrils flare; this is how he knows that she is truly mad. "I know it's the right thing and everything, Sasuke, but did you ever think it through first? We feed him, give him a bed for a night or two, a new outfit, then what? Throw him back out on the street?"
He looks at her with softness in his eyes, and she suddenly thinks these are the little things.
"Then what?" she asks again, but her voice is considerably lower.
He leans forward, kisses her, and says, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
She can't help but to smile and place his hands on her swollen stomach.
It is three weeks later, and Naruto has become accustomed to life with the Uchiha couple. They are young and not used to caring for children, but he thinks he's good practice for when their own baby comes.
They have bought him clothes and ramen and introduced him to some other nice people that took care of him when they had to leave for a bit.
Sakura is by the front door and sliding into a loose jacket that is probably her husband's. Sasuke is right beside her (they are always near each other, Naruto notices more than once). They lean in, kiss, and she turns to him.
"I'll be back in a little bit, okay Naruto-kun?"
He nods with a grin.
It is about an hour later, and the world twinkles in its twilight.
Sasuke is in the kitchen; Naruto goes there, staring up at the man curiously.
He lifts an eyebrow back at him when the blond boy's face becomes determined.
Naruto puts his hands on hips (it's what Sakura does when she has to nag Sasuke into doing things) and says, "Tell me where babies come from."
Sasuke's mouth opens, then closes. Naruto is only five.
The phone rings. He picks it up off the cradle, frowning at the caller ID, as Naruto goes to fume in a corner.
"Is this Mr. Uchiha?"
"Yeah. Who's calling?"
"I'm afraid I have some unfortunate news, sir. Your wife
got into a car accident," Sasuke tells Naruto, and curses when a big silver SUV cuts in front of them.
"Will Sakura-chan be okay?" Blue eyes filled with worry, not knowing the depth of the situation but bright enough to catch the main idea. Sasuke cannot look anymore; he tears his eyes off of the rearview mirror.
"I don't know," he says truthfully.
(For the first time in fifteen years, he wants to cry.)
Naruto has decided that he hates hospitals. The floor is white, the walls are white, the ceiling is white, and it smells funny. Any noise is only a quiet murmur, except for the fat lady that is pacing a few feet away from them, screaming into her cell phone with small, fleshy lips.
"It's all your fault you should've been watching him you piece of shit look what you've done are you happy now?"
Naruto fidgets in his seat, looks over at Sasuke's closed eyes, and climbs onto his lap.
"He might be dead now all your fault all your fault ALL YOUR FAULT."
He puts his head against the sleeping man's chest, and the heartbeats drown out the screams of the ER waiting room.
The doctor shows up some hours later, a very pretty middle-aged woman with pale blonde hair and a chest large enough to stretch her white lab coat to its limits.
She hands Naruto a grape-flavored lollipop, and tells him to go play. There are crayons on that desk there, and coloring books, see them?
Reluctantly, Naruto leaves the two adults.
Instead of going to color, he heads for the large lady that is still screaming, now at the ER nurse behind her desk. He tugs on the edge of her too-small sweatshirt, waits for her dark eyes to stare down at him, and looks up at her solemnly.
"This is for you," he says, and lifts up the lollipop. He's never liked grape anyway.
She blinks down at him. "What?"
(He'd seen the boy she brought in. He was about fifteen, and he had a quarter-sized bruise on his forehead, accompanied by a tiny red lump. But still the lady was yelling, "Why should he wait, can't you see how hurt he is. My poor baby, my poor, poor baby…")
He thrusts the lollipop upwards, so that it goes into her mouth, and watches the nurse giggle out of the corner of his eye.
"Maybe that'll keep you quiet," he says haughtily, and walks away as the woman turns red in the face.
"She's stable now," Tsunade tells him, and Sasuke lets out a sigh of relief. "But…"
The doctor doesn't meet his eyes, instead gazing calmly towards where Naruto is cheerily scribbling on the pages of a clown-centered coloring book across the room.
"But, you have to make a choice, Sasuke. Her, or the baby."
He knows he hasn't heard her right. His voice and skin are ash-white. "What?"
"If we take the child out now, via C-section, we can keep it alive and healthy. But the strain mixed with her injuries from the accident will kill Sakura."
"Or?" His voice is hoarse, now Tsunade isn't the only one avoiding eyes with an eerie sense of calm.
"Or, we can terminate the child and save your wife."
"There's… There's absolutely no other option?"
"No. I'm sorry."
They are quiet.
The doctor speaks again, "Try and make your decision as quickly as possible. I know it's difficult, and it might be tearing you apart inside, but the longer we wait the higher the risk factor."
He does not respond, and she stands. Clapping a warm hand onto his cold shoulder, she suddenly looks much older. "I'm sorry," she says again, but now sounds more like a relative than a professional.
"Me too," Sasuke says, and slides his pale hands over his face as if to smother himself.
It is a week later, and Naruto misses Sakura a lot. She had come home from the hospital after a few days, angry and otherwise lifeless.
Always screaming at Sasuke. For little things, like forgetting to refill the ice tray or tying the garbage up the wrong way, real different than before.
Naruto doesn't get it.
She had packed her suitcase one day, and when she reached the front door Sasuke was behind her.
"Where are you going?" he had asked, voice miserable and oddly unsurprised, black eyes taking in her bags and traveling coat.
Sliding her wedding ring off her finger, she had thrown it on the floor and walked out of the house.
Naruto doesn't get it.
He walks down the narrow hallway and reaches the room that the couple used to share, to hear Sasuke on the phone.
"What would you have done if you were in my position?" His voice sounds hard. A pause. "Exactly."
(Naruto has never seen Sasuke as sad as he's been the past week.)
"How can you possibly resent me for this?" Another moment where the only sound is the clickclackclick of the heater. "Dammit, Sakura, I know. Do you know how fucking hard it was to decide something like that? How many times-
"A reason? You need a reason? Fine, then. I 'chose' you because I've known you since we were eight. Because we've been through Hell and back together, and we never let something come between us, trivial or otherwise, so please tell me how you're
letting this happen?" Sasuke asks her. She twirls the cord of her mother's phone.
All she remembers about waking up was white and a doctor's explanation and angerangeranger. My baby, she had thought, How could he have killed my baby?
"Sakura?" There is a small spit of static. "You still there?"
"No," she says, and breaks down into a heaving set of sobs as the tears spill over.
Sasuke is quiet. "Come home," he says when her emotional fit has ended.
"I miss you."
But my baby.
"I miss you too."
"Fine," she whispers, swiping a shaky hand across the tear-tracks. "Fine then."
"Yeah," Naruto hears Sasuke's voice saying. "Yeah, I don't mind picking you up. Your mother's house, right? …Okay. Love you too."
The bedroom door opens, and Naruto looks up at Sasuke's relieved face with the sheepish grin of a troublemaker-caught-red-handed.
"Wanna take a ride?" Sasuke asks him.
Naruto grins, and nods.
"Oi, Naruto, pull your head back in. You're not a dog, don't stick it out the window."
Reluctantly obeying his pseudo-father, the boy huffs.
"Are we there yet?" He whines, and Sasuke sighs.
"No, for the tenth time."
They are on a deserted road, and it has turned dark outside. They stop at a red light, and Naruto frowns at something through the window.
Another sigh. "What?"
"Some guy is waving at us."
Sasuke looks outside, and cocks his head. "He probably needs directions, or maybe a ride. The roads are pretty empty around here." He rolls down his window.
The man emerges from the dark in a light jog, hands stuffed in his pockets, and Naruto shrinks away from his door. The guy stinks of something.
If Sasuke smells it, it does not show on his face. "Can I help you?" he asks the man.
Naruto sees the man flash something at Sasuke, but cannot discern what it is. "Mind if I hitch a ride?"
Sasuke eyes him warily. "No problem." Voice tight.
The man begins walking around the front nose of the car, and Sasuke slips his cell phone into Naruto's hands while speaking quickly from the corner of his mouth.
"Take that and slip into the trunk. Call Sakura and tell her we're in trouble. Okay?"
Brow furrowed (why?) Naruto nods, and pulls down the hatch that connects the inside of the car to the spacious trunk. He climbs in just as Sasuke clicks open the lock of the passenger door, and closes the compartment opening just as the man slides inside.
It is dark. In the silence, Naruto gulps.
Zabuza, is what Sasuke had first thought when the man was close enough; he could smell the stench of blood. And then he had flashed his infamous knife at him, and Sasuke knew they were close to doomed. The man had kept the monstrous gun trained on him as he walked around the car.
The same one that is now pressed to his pulsing temple, hard and cold.
"Drive," Zabuza orders, sharp eyes flickering from Sasuke's unaffected face to the steering wheel.
Sasuke drives, keeps impassive, and asks like a cab driver, "Where to?"
"Anywhere secluded," he answers, and laughs like a true villain.
Sasuke thinks, My God, there's a serial killer sitting a foot away from me.
He reaches forward, and Zabuza presses the steel even harder into his head. Sasuke doesn't wince.
"Just turning the radio on," he clarifies, lifting an eyebrow, trying oh-so-very hard not to look suspicious. He is hoping the music will drown out Naruto's voice when he makes the call.
"Leave it off."
Thinking fast, Sasuke decides that the only other option of muffling Naruto's conversation with his wife is to talk to this crazy-man that has his face plastered on every WANTED poster in several major countries.
"…See any good movies lately?"
Zabuza gives him a flat look, and Sasuke returns it.
"I guess not."
He drums his fingers against the steering wheel, smirking a little at a news expose he has suddenly remembered.
"So, Zabuza," he begins conversationally, as if speaking of the good weather. "They say you're the criminal of the century."
The killer's voice is rough. "They say a lot of things, kid."
Sasuke wants to snort. He has never been called a kid before. "They also say that the only problem you have is when you're behind the wheel of a car." A sharp smirk. "Can't drive without crashing?"
"Che. Watch that mouth of yours, kid." Zabuza taps the gun barrel against Sasuke's head with every word. "It might get you killed one day."
Sasuke takes a shaky breath. "Maybe," he responds, and it is quiet.
Naruto remembers Sakura saying her phone number. He just doesn't remember exactly what it is.
He scrolls through the menu, grateful that the tiny battery-shaped icon on the upper-right of the screen is full. He presses the middle button, brow furrowed.
Blue eyes narrowing, he scrolls down the screen and reaches a picture of a phone.
He sees her name, towards the bottom half of the list.
Eyes alight, he pushes down the SEND button with his small thumb.
"Hello, this is Uchiha Sakura-"
"Sakura-chan!" It is a hushed, excited whisper. "We need help-"
"Please leave a message after the beep, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!"
"No," Naruto moans, and decides leaving a message is the only choice. He hears Sasuke trying to talk to the rancid man-that-is-a-threat. But the words are muffled.
Sasuke does as told, and lifts an eyebrow at the typical shoddy motel. He thinks of Naruto, and wonders how to pull this off.
"Out of the car."
He's still in the trunk.
Sasuke looks over at Zabuza, and says, "Mind if I get something out of the trunk first?"