Author: dance of isis PM
It is a love fuelled by hate, and they have come too far for it to be a happy ending. And so she asks him: is this what you wanted, Sasuke? SASUSAKU, hints of NARUSAKUSASU.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Words: 2,781 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 26 - Published: 11-26-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4677889
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I love you. I love him. I love you both—
But I also hate you. I hate you because—
You made me kill you both, and kill your purity, and your love.
"Is this what you wanted?"
The question is posed just like any other question. She is a little curious, a little amazed, but mostly just so goddamned tired. She's older now, he recognises vaguely, in a distant uninterested way. Her hair is longer and her voice is lower and her body scarred. What disturbs him most is her eyes. Dull, faded, almost-dead. Hanging onto something that she was still searching for, in him—
"Is this what you wanted?" she repeats, as hollow as before.
He does not answer. He does not look at her anymore.
"Sasuke—" he imagines that her voice sounds almost like a mother's, almost like a woman scolding her child. Then again, it's not as if he would know. Memories of that are so faded now that they're almost forgotten. Almost. "—you have hurt me more than you'll ever know. You have single-handedly ruined my life. It means you owe me an answer. An answer more than a syllable."
There is no Sasuke-kun, I still love you or I forgive you or I understand why you did it. There is no forgiveness, no sympathy, no compassion. He has killed the love she holds within her, chilled it to something akin to hatred, hardened her into the distant, clinical, tired woman standing before him. What he sees now is his fault, he thinks vaguely, this conversation is entirely the product of his actions and his decisions and it is almost too much for him to handle. Still, he does not speak.
"You always thought you knew everything," she says softly, a whisper sashaying through their past—their history—in a whirlwind. "But you didn't, not really. We were twelve, after all. None of us knew a thing—and yet—what we did then made the world what it is today."
When she says we, she means him, and he accepts this. But there is no anger or sadness or disgust or even depression. There is nothing palpable to her words, no emotion that he can clearly discern and nothing he can understand. He wants to ask her how she can keep her voice so calm and steady, after everything. But then, he remains silent, staring at the cracks in the wall. I have nothing to say to you, screams the darker part of his mind, wanting bloodlust retribution vengeance pain—
I owe you nothing.
"Isn't it funny?" he is unsure whether she is asking him or herself or someone who should be there now but isn't. Maybe it's rhetorical, he muses hollowly. Maybe it is something that cannot be answered and so, by default, isn't. "I was so in love with you. It's… no, no, I guess it was really my fault to begin with."
Inwardly, he snorts derisively. Of course it was her fault. Falling in love with somebody like him was always doomed to failure—it would never be a fairytale, never have a happy ending. The shoe would never fit; there would be no true love's kiss. He was somebody who always knew that his goals would end in nothing—nothing for himself, nothing for the people around him, nothing except a hole where love and comfort should be. Satisfaction, maybe, but at a price.
"It took me awhile to figure out," if she is perturbed by his silence, she doesn't show it, merely continues forward in a detached manner. It gives him goosebumps—almost—that she is so collected. "That it wasn't, you know, eternal love. Unrequited. Not in the romantic sense. I wanted to—I wanted to heal you, ease your pain and suffering, make your burden easier to bear. That sort of thing. Classic martyrdom, I suppose, throwing your life away for someone who doesn't give a damn."
He stiffens. This statement throws him, just a little. Not an obsession, echoes the rational part of his mind that he clings to, a little more than an obsession. Even—back then? When she fawned over me?
A hollow bark of laughter from her end. "I know what you're thinking—it grew into that. I had to give it time to figure it out. I was always a little stupid about you. Hell, even Ino-pig got over you eventually. I never did. Not in the sense that I forgot what I felt. But in the sense that I… knew what I would do."
There is no please be with me or I'll help you restore your clan or I can give you what you want so please take it from me. There are no promises. She is not offering him anything, and he knows this, because they have both come too far to let themselves fall now. It is vulnerability, caring for someone, and putting your heart on the line. One that the both of them will not risk now.
"…you're wasting your time," he speaks up, his first words since the conversation began. He wants her gone—he wants her gone now. "You know this."
"You would think that," she responds steadily, undeterred. "You haven't answered my question yet, Sasuke. I'd like to think that you would, for me." There is an undercurrent of: because I wasted my life away for broken promises, shattered dreams, illusions that would never come to being. All for you. It was all for you.
Question? his eyes rest on hers momentarily. Time seems to freeze, and slow, for just a moment. Because her eyes look amused. He narrows his own, challenging her. What is your problem?
"Is this what you wanted?" she clarifies. "Did you want Itachi to die? Did you want to kill hundreds—no, thousands, actually—of people in Konoha, so they could suffer the same as you? Did you really want—"
She stops abruptly. He can almost hear her heart breaking. He can almost feel that thing they used to call regret. Almost. It is tangible in the air, the tension between them.
"—tell me, Sasuke," she regains her composure, but only a little. Her eyes are wild now. "Tell me. Did you really want Naruto to die? Did you really want his blood, of all people's, on your hands?"
He stares at her. She stares back. What is in her eyes is unsettling, and he feels his heart—if it's still there, but it has to be, somewhere, buried underneath all that hate and madness—tug painfully. He has done this to her, he has ruined her life, he has made her a fool and a victim and the thing that is worst is that he is almost sorry for it all.
"That was three years ago," he tells her monotonously, as if it is rehearsed. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't—he did not think that he would ever see her again. He did not think of her, did not regard her as anything but a distant memory that would never be corporeal, solid, reality. She was a voice in the back of his mind, his conscience, maybe—no, that was too clichéd, almost too good for him.
"It was," she agrees. "It took three years of practice, of almosts, before—before I could face you without killing you on sight."
He realises why she is so tired, why she seems as though she has given up, why she is only a shadow of who she once was. She is a broken person, alone at night and distant by day, and he is the only person left that she can connect with. And that, he realises, would be true suffering.
"You loved him," he states, only a little surprised. It would, he concludes, be a healthier love than she could have ever felt for him. It would have not shredded her to pieces, it would have been welcomed. She could have been happy. But, instead, she is here and he is here and they are the broken-hearted people, never whole but still something. Something. This is, he thinks, probably a monumental moment, but neither of them care enough to recognise it.
"I loved the both of you," she corrects gently. "I loved the both of you. I really did. You were my—precious people. My—everything. Cheesy, most definitely, and maybe a little unbelievable, but you both taught me how to love. And I know you loved him, too. That's—that's why you killed him, isn't it? Because you felt like you had the most right, you didn't want any of the Akatsuki to get near him—you knew Konoha was losing."
He does not respond. He does not have to. What has happened between him and her and Naruto—it is history, it is clear and bare and not simple at all. But he knows what it means, and so does she, but neither of them want to voice it. It is delicate, like glass, and harsh like sandpaper. Maybe it is for the best that there are no words for it.
"Kakashi-sensei was killed, they were closing in on Naruto—but you reached him first. You killed him because you loved him and you thought the Akatsuki were going to win. You were wrong—and you were stupid and twisted and, and you took him away from me and from Konoha—but you loved him."
"I—" there is so much I could say to you, I could apologise, I could sneer, I could not care—but it would all be wrong, so wrong. You know me better than I know myself, I can't keep fighting, why are you here, I don't know anymore—
"Is this…what you wanted?"
She has asked him this question countless times throughout the conversation, but only now does he admit how much it means to the both of them. This is something long overdue, emotion welling up between the cracks in the two of them—pouring out, cascading through their brokenness, leaving them dry and parched and devoid of anything but need. They needed this closure; they needed an ending to their story. Their dance of hatred and love and confusion and immaturity and pain. And maybe, in another reality, Naruto would have been with them, too. But that is not now and it can never be and maybe, just maybe, it was only meant to be the two of them in these final moments.
"Yes," he answers, to spite her and to spite himself. To make his hatred plain. Some love is based on hatred—sometimes it is unhealthy, sometimes it is malicious. Some love can exist only with hatred. "Yes. I wanted this. Don't be a fool. It was always going to end this way." I never deserved a happy ending. And you were stupid enough to not give up on me, so I dragged you down, too.
Her emotions are no longer in check. Tears are flowing freely, escaping through her hands and hitting the concrete below her feet. He watches them, absorbed. Two, three, four, five, six—freefalling to the ground, sharp slaps against the floor. There is a memory in each and every one of them.
As children. Kakashi's bell-test. Their first mission. The Chunin exams. Sakura's hair all over the ground. The curse mark. How she smelled like vanilla and roses. How Naruto grinned like everything would be fine. The fight. Orochimaru invading. Her protecting him from Gaara. Naruto saving her when he failed. Wanting to be better than his rival, his friend, his—Naruto. Wanting to wish her goodbye properly and coldly so she would, could be better than him and his revenge. Wanting, so desperately wanting, to leave Team Seven behind—because that way, they could be perfect. And instead, they chose him over perfection.
"Stop crying," he commands, pleads, asks. "Stop."
"I—I'm not crying for myself," she mutters lowly. "I'm crying for you. And for Naruto. Because—because neither of you ever got what you wanted. And I kind of did, I got you two—for awhile, it was okay, but you—you—you were never happy. You always suffered. You made other people suffer. You screwed it all up just so the pain would stop. And it didn't. It didn't. And Naruto—he never should have… it should never have ended that way for him."
She's older now, he observes, but her heart is still the same as it was. It still loves too fiercely and too much, and maybe now her love for him is a lot of hatred too, but she still loves him. After everything, after pain, after suffering, after torture—she loves him and he loves her and she loves Naruto and he does, too, a little. Her heart is large enough for the three of them, large enough to carry the love that they all need. He almost wishes that things had been different, if only to experience that love without the hatred. But it's only an almost. They have come too far for this.
"Sakura," he says to himself, and to her.
"Don't," she shakes her head. "Don't."
And suddenly she is inside his cell, she has her arms around him and her breath is ghosting over his neck, over the now-inactive curse mark and he is letting her and it is all, for one frightening moment, just slightly peaceful—
"I pleaded with Tsunade-sama, pleaded for months so you wouldn't be executed," she whispers to him. "She listened to me. Because she knew it would torture you more than execution. She didn't know why I wanted this for you. And after three years—I'm ready. I'm ready."
He is only a little confused, because it is all beginning to make sense and he is only slightly angry because it is an ending that is sickeningly, scarily perfect for them. He does not have time to respond because she has captured his lips with her own. The kiss is not what he expected it would be. It is harsh and dark and angry and painful and soft and gentle and perfect and—it is not just for them, it is for Naruto too, but it is a long time coming.
She bites down on something she has trapped between her teeth and something acidic bursts into both of their mouths. He swallows it before he can help it, and she breaks away, satisfied. Her eyes are not dull anymore. They are lively, bursting with electricity and determination and she is still holding onto him.
Poison, she mouths. He nods. I know.
"Sasuke, Sasuke-kun—" she whispers breathlessly, as her vision blurs and the world seems to fall away from him. "—I'm sorry that I love you."
I'm sorry, too, he wants to say. But that is something to save for another lifetime, a happier ending. There is not much time left for them here.
"Sakura," he breathes against her, wrapping his arms around her as though she is his lifesaver and his angel and his last chance and she is, she really is, because she is ending his suffering and he has lived far too long for all this—
And then they both fall away from the earth, the darkness consuming them.
Their happy ending is not exactly happy, and not exactly sad, but it is full of love and hatred and that is, in their eyes, true perfection. It is the only way it ever worked.
You were an avenger, Sasuke-kun.
So was I. So was Naruto.
I avenged our love, and our hatred, for the both of us.
A/N: So, um. Hiii. I have been somewhat AWOL for awhile, and then I come out with this. I didn't even mean to get so angsty, and whoa--I just wrote something that had NaruSakuSasu hints. Like whoa. I never thought that would happen. It just... seemed so perfect, you know? So complicated, so dark. I hope you like it--I will get back to my actual stories eventually, I promise. This follows the events of the manga, I suppose, but will become AU eventually, I guess. By the way: I refuse to believe Kakashi is dead, even if they blatantly state it next chapter. I refuse.