|spinning empty bottles
Author: Neon Genesis PM
Sakura's heart is not on her sleeve, but it is not in her throat, either. SasuSaku, oneshot.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Words: 1,215 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 64 - Follows: 5 - Published: 07-12-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4391060
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
spinning empty bottles
When Uchiha Sasuke returns to Konoha after ten years—a decade, she thinks, ponders, realizes, despairs—she is not sure what to do. She does not know what to say, how to act. She deliberates between hugging him and decking him. Both are very tempting, but she knows that at one point in time she would regret either one.
Instead Sakura walks into his hospital room and smiles at him, and she thinks that if smiles could speak, that smile would have said many things (hello and I'm still mad at you and welcome home and I want to hate you and I missed you and how tall are you now, anyway?). If her smile says any of this to Sasuke, he does not show it. He looks at her and he sighs, a resigned sigh, a sigh that says let's-just-get-this-over-with. "Sakura."
She attempts to mimic his deep, toneless intonation. "Sasuke-kun." She ends up sounding something like Darth Vader on crack, so she quickly abandons the attempt.
She sits. He stares. She fidgets. He frowns. She makes a desperate stab at conversation. "So…nice weather day, huh? Very…" she flounders, "weather. Ish. Weather-ish. Er." The look of blank incredulity on his face is so priceless that she breaks into breathy, strangled, reluctant laughter, and it feels so good not to have to force it.
His look of incredulity fades into something different, something softer, something Sakura doesn't recognize but wants to.
And it gives her hope.
Not much hope, but enough, enough to encourage her to venture into unsafe waters, to test boundaries—for although her heart is not on her sleeve, it is not in her throat, either.
"Sasuke-kun," she tries again. She makes a face, considers her words, and asks carefully, "Did you ever miss Konoha?" She is careful to keep the question general, impersonal. No need to step in front of the firing squad.
His soft look disappears and he sighs again, this time a harsh, irritated exhalation of breath.
But she refuses to let him clam up on her, to put up the walls that she knows so well, the walls that are stained with her blood from the many times she has beaten her fists against them fruitlessly. "Sasuke-kun," she persists. "You owe me this. You know you do." Despite her words, she doubts herself, and she is so afraid of being rejected again, denied again.
He gives her a level look. "I owe you nothing."
His words hurt, but Sakura has a high pain threshold, so she doesn't give up, doesn't give in, and resolves to go down with her ship. (But damn, that water below is dark—) "You do, Sasuke-kun. I'm not asking for much. Just please, answer me. If you want, I'll leave you alone after this, okay? I won't pester you or bother you or force apples on you or set up a tent in the corner of your room. I promise." Her voice wavers towards the end, but she means what she says. She knows better than to force her company on someone who so clearly doesn't desire it.
He sighs again, the third time, and she sorely wishes he would stop doing that. "I didn't say that's what I want." His words restore her tremulous hope. He is looking at her, his eyes penetrating and grave and intense, and she wonders what he sees.
Sakura regards him carefully. "Then what do you want?"
He returns her measured stare with one of his own. "What do you want?"
She wishes he would stop turning this around on her, but she answers him honestly. "I don't know. I…" she pauses, tugs on a lock of hair, "I don't know. I wish I did. But this all depends on you, Sasuke-kun." She struggles to retain eye-contact. "I'm willing to try, though. If you'll let me." After that she halts the flow of words that want to burst from her lips, because she has already made herself just a little vulnerable, and she has learned not to risk more than that.
He nods, slowly, consideringly. Silence blooms between the two until, shockingly, Sasuke breaks it (he was always good at breaking things—hearts). "Sometimes."
She blinks at him, unsure of what he is talking about. "Uh, what?"
He rolls his eyes, and she feels like the ignorant little girl he thinks she is. "Konoha. I missed it. Sometimes." The words come out halting and disjointed, as if every syllable is a struggle.
Sakura wants to ask if he counts her as a part of the Konoha he missed, but again, the firing squad is standing to attention, and she thinks that maybe, just maybe, she can see the answer she wants in his eyes (and no, she has not been reading too many of Ino's romance novels, thanks a bunch).
She cannot help the small grin that manifests itself on her face, but the situation soon becomes very awkward. Sakura realizes that she had been leaning forward in her chair, towards him, and that he had not moved away, so she leans back and clears her throat self-consciously. "So, um, feel free to pipe in any time now. You know, an amusing anecdote, a sparkling metaphor." No response. "I'd settle for an epiphany?" she offers. "Or even your favored 'Sakura, you're annoying.' …Oh, come on, at least give me a 'hn.' Something to work with."
He remains silent, watching her, and it dawns on her. "Oh—you're waiting for me to leave. I did promise, didn't I?" she laughs uneasily.
Just as she is preparing to rise from her seat, he speaks. "I told you. I didn't say that's what I want."
She angles a glance at him, at his high, dramatic cheekbones, his eyelashes like black ink strokes, his razor-blade of a nose, his angled, elegant eyebrows, his thin, flawless lips, his eyes of depth and shadows, and she wants so badly to touch him.
She keeps her hands tucked safely under her legs. "So what do you want?"
For the longest time he doesn't respond and with crushing despair she sees that she had indeed made herself too vulnerable, had been too honest, and rises from her chair and approaches the door.
Her hand is on the doorknob when he speaks—he does not answer her question, but he tells her what she needs to hear. "I'm willing to try, too."
And she knows that this is a beginning.
The title is part of the lyrics from Vanessa Carlton's song "White Houses," which doubtlessly you all have heard. (Um, please don't make a liar out of me.)
This kind of popped out of nowhere (or the deep recesses of my mind, whichever's worse), so I'm not quite sure what to think of it. I came up with the summary first and then tried to write a oneshot to match it. Uh, it could have been worse...?
Disclaimer: Is this really necessary?
Feedback is loved. (Please don't comment on my shamelessness.)