Author: Neon Genesis PM
When you ride the same subway every day at 4 A.M., you start to notice the same people. For example, I became nodding acquaintances with the very pretty gangster sitting four seats down from me. Alternate Universe. Sasuke x Sakura. Oneshot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Words: 1,841 - Reviews: 173 - Favs: 553 - Follows: 48 - Published: 07-16-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5222363
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I have a routine.
I get up at three A.M., take a twenty-minute shower, throw on some clothes and a little bit of makeup, and leave my apartment. From there I jog two blocks to the nearest subway station. I grab coffee and a bagel from the coffee-shop right next to it and am ready for my four o'clock train.
I know what you're thinking: who in their right mind would get up at such an ungodly early hour? A resident doctor with the early shift at the Chicago General Hospital, that's who. My shift ends at noon, at which point I go home, sleep for a few more hours, and am ready to grab dinner or whatever with my friends who have normal work schedules.
It's not conventional, but not much that I do is, anyway.
The thing is, when you ride the same subway everyday at four A.M., you start to notice the same people. People whose schedules are apparently as screwed-up as yours.
For example, I became nodding acquaintances with the very pretty gangster sitting four seats down from me.
The first time I saw him, I was struck only by his looks—his blade-cheekbones, his shadow-eyes. The kid is gorgeous.
The second time I noticed his conservative, expensive suit and figured that he was a businessman of some sort.
It was only the third time when I noticed the ring on his finger. The Akatsuki ring. Akatsuki is the most powerful gang in Chicago, and that's saying something. We're notorious for our gangsters. Al Capone? Yeah. He was ours, baby.
(For the record, I think Al Capone was a pretty good guy. I mean, when he wasn't off being…gangster, I bet he was a gentleman. He probably opened doors for women, tipped his waiters well. Like I said, a good guy.)
Our gangsters are part of how we justify that we're better than, say, New York, along with our skyscrapers, and our awesome baseball team. (No, not the White Sox. The Cubs, babe. How 'bout them Cubs?) They make us unique. And, anyway, I don't think NYC is that great, anyway, not after I went to the Macy's after-Christmas sale there. (Ever been? Clothes get snatched out of your hands by brazen New York women. Being a nice girl from Chicago, I was shocked and appalled, to say the least.)
But back to my gangster. Well, okay, so I'm using the term 'my' loosely. So I've never talked to the guy. So what? We have a deep and meaningful acknowledgment routine every morning.
It goes something like this:
I step on the subway. I nod at him.
He nods back.
We repeat the process today, and I take an extra second to admire the stylish spikes of his hair, the casual way he lounges in his seat, his eyes hooded.
I sit in my usual spot and look around. All of the regulars are here—me, my gangster, a guy from Wall Street, a mother with twins.
Today there's another man, drunk and passed out on his seat. Two kids looking like they're barely out of high school approach him, no doubt intent on stealing his wallet.
Normally I don't involve myself in situations like that. If the guy's stupid enough to get drunk and pass out on the subway, he deserves to get his wallet stolen.
But once the two guys go at it, I am deeply unimpressed. Picking pockets has evolved into an art-form, a skill. Their clumsy maneuverings make a mockery of it.
That might be why I speak up. "Hey, just leave him alone."
They turn on me, angry, and I see the glint of a knife.
Yeah, probably shoulda seen this coming.
I think quickly. What to do, what to do…
My gangster has noticed the spectacle and is watching, eyes narrowed. Impulsively, I get up and slide into the seat beside him.
He glances at me, and I think he might be amused. I sigh in relief. Home safe.
The two boys continue their approach until they notice the ring of the man I'm sitting beside. He raises an eyebrow at them, as if asking, Yes, may I help you? Immediately they blanch and take their seats.
I stick my tongue out at them. Haha, you can't get me, you can't get me.
They glower, and my gangster watches my antics sidelong.
I blush and turn to him, grateful. "Thank you."
He shrugs nonchalantly. "Didn't really do much, did I?"
Well, no. Unless saving my ass counts. "Still," I say. "Thanks."
After a moment, I offer, "I'm Sakura."
A long, long pause. Finally: "Sasuke," he returns.
I smile. Sasuke. "So…why are you up so early?"
His expression is suddenly closed. "Business."
Whoops. My bad. Backtrack, backtrack… "Oh. Well, um, that's cool. Very gangster. I mean! Uh. Gangster as in cool, not gangster as in, you know, ummm…" I blush and look away. At best he's going to think I'm an idiot. At worst he's going to shank me.
Eff my life.
But when he speaks again, he only sounds amused. "And what are you doing on the four o'clock train?"
I hazard a glance at his face. He doesn't look like he's contemplating my violent death. "I have the early shift at the hospital."
Sasuke almost seems impressed. "Doctor or nurse?"
"Doctor," I answer, with no small amount of pride. Then: "Well, only a resident."
He nods. I hesitate, contemplate, deliberate. But then I figure, what the heck? I've finally gotten a chance to talk to him, might as well not waste it. "How…did you become involved in Akatsuki? If you don't mind my asking," I add quickly.
His face is very still, and I don't think he's going to answer me. Again, there's that possibility of being shanked.
"It's a family thing," he says shortly.
I tamp down on a smile, thinking it inappropriate, but still pleased that he is being at least just a little bit open with me.
I nod slowly. "So, kind of like one of those family-run Italian restaurants?"
There is a glint in his dark eyes. "Something like that."
I consider that. "Well, they have good breadsticks." Mmm, breadsticks.
Now I think he really is amused. "You're a strange girl," he says, almost-smiling.
I grin, but then we reach my stop. Disappointed, I stand. "Well…"
I notice that the two guys from before also stand, apparently intent on following me off of the subway.
I'm gonna say it again, for the benefit of the court: Eff my life.
But then Sasuke is also standing, his hand at the small of my back, and he guides me off the subway. I'm surprised and confused, because I know that his stop is after mine.
Still, his presence has the desired effect. The two punks don't get off.
Team Sakura 2, Team Losers 0.
I love being a winner.
We walk up the steps of the subway station, his hand still a light touch at my back. I'm giddy. We emerge from the underworld. It's still dark outside, the city lights still glowing.
We stand on the sidewalk. "Um. Thank you again. I'm sorry you couldn't get off at your stop."
Sasuke shrugs. "It's not a long walk."
He considers me, and it seems like he is arguing with himself in his mind. Don't I know that feeling.
Apparently one side of his consciousness wins, for he slides his ring off of his finger and hands it to me. "Here."
I gape at him. "Wha…" My mind can barely process such a gesture.
He shrugs again, and I think he might even be uncomfortable. "No one will bother you if you have that." His eyes narrow. "They better not."
There is an edge of menace in those last three words, and I'm not sure if it's because he's angry that someone would disrespect his gang by harming a person with its ring, or because he's upset that someone would harm me.
Gotta say I like the latter option better.
I hold the ring in my hand. It is large and well-worn. "Is it…really okay for you to give me this? Don't you need it? Won't you get in trouble?"
He smirks. "I have another one, and there aren't many people that can get me in trouble."
So he's high-ranking, too. Nice. His ring is so big that it will only stay on my thumb. That's where I put it.
Oh yeah, I'm cool.
I look at him, gleeful. "I'm a gangster!"
His mouth twitches. "You're very intimidating," he assures me. Then he takes note of the time on his watch. "I have to leave."
I resist the urge to sigh, but I muster my spirit. "See ya, Katie."
At his blank stare, I frown. "What, you've never seen that movie?"
This time he does smile, small and lovely. "You're a strange girl," he says again.
I grin. "It's what endears me to people."
I motion with my hand for him to bend down, as if I want to whisper in his ear. He complies, and I take the opportunity to kiss the corner of his mouth.
It's daring and bold and completely uncharacteristic of me. I don't know what's come over me.
It's just something about Sasuke.
"Bye, Sasuke," I whisper against his lips.
After he straightens, he regards me for a moment before flicking my forehead with his middle and index fingers. He smirks. "See you tomorrow morning, Sakura."
He makes my name sound so good. I smile, happy. "Four A.M. Be there."
I know I will.
This...actually happened to my mom. o_O Part of it. How she always rode the subway at four A.M., and became nodding acquaintances with this gangster dude, and when she commented on two guys picking pockets she went over and sat by him and the punks left her alone. The rest is the product of my imagination. And, yes, I realize that Sasuke giving her his ring is abrupt and very improbable. STOP RAINING ON MY PARADE.
Brownie points to whoever can name the movie Sakura is quoting! ("See ya, Katie.") And I actually know this time. =P
Yay Chicago! It's where I was born, and where I lived for a little while. How 'bout them Cubbies, huh? Okay, so we haven't won the World Series since...1908. So what? It just...hasn't been our century... -looks away-
Sequel is posted. =D
Disclaimer: I own nothing that is not mine.