Author: Annie Sparklecakes PM
Nights, in Sakura's world, are meant for staying awake and hoping he doesn't find her. But running away only works for so long. SasuSaku. AU.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Suspense - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 10,203 - Reviews: 206 - Favs: 193 - Follows: 224 - Updated: 02-01-10 - Published: 07-23-09 - id: 5242608
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Why do you drive this crapmobile?" Sakura complained, clambering up into the decade-old minivan. Sasuke and Naruto had bought it at a used-car lot a year ago, and it smelled like feet. Sakura fished out a tiny bottle of perfume from her purse and sprayed it around her. It barely helped.
"You're a little bitch when you're tired," Sasuke said, hitting the buttons to roll down their windows and air out the car.
"You're always a little bitch," Sakura said. "So we're even." She yawned, and Sasuke handed her his half-empty, still-hot cup of coffee. She took a grateful sip, then made a face.
"Gross," she said. "I hate black coffee."
"It'll keep you up," Sasuke said.
Sakura took another small sip and shuddered. "If you say so." She yawned again, blinking blearily at the clock. It was nearly ten. Sasuke was late; his stupid van had probably broken down again.
"Shouldn't you be used to being up at this time by now?" Sasuke asked, stopping at a red light and glancing at Sakura. She was curled up in the passenger seat, legs folded beneath her, cheek resting against her seatbelt.
"I missed my afternoon nap today," she said. Sasuke had to fight a smile at that. She sounded so juvenile. "It's not funny," she said, reading his expression easily.
"I know," he said. "Sorry."
"It's okay." She was slurring her words now, and still fighting her desire to sleep. "Talk to me. Keep me awake."
"I don't talk," Sasuke said flatly. Instead, he flipped on the stereo, turning the volume up. His radio didn't work, but he had a CD Sakura had made sitting in the changer. He snuck a glance at her wrist, leaning against her door. "Your corsage is wilting."
"Because I've been wearing it for two hours, waiting for my prom date," Sakura shot back.
Sasuke frowned. "I'm not your prom date," he said. "We're not even going to prom."
"It's prom night, you bought me a corsage, and I'm with you," she said. "It's close enough. Just not as stupid."
Sasuke had to agree, though he wasn't quite sure why Sakura had skipped their senior prom. She usually took any chance to stay up at a party. Better than staying up alone, Sasuke supposed.
Sakura reached out to turn up the volume. "She makes me feel like shit," Sakura sang softly, "But I can't get over it, because she's everything I ask for." Her voice wavered a bit, and she was a bit off-key, but she had a sweet voice. It was cozy, sitting with her, listening to her sing, in the middle of the night as they drove through the nearly-empty streets of Konoha.
"You're skipping lyrics," Sasuke said.
"Everything I ask for, and just a little bit more," Sakura continued, raising her voice. Sasuke shook his head, amused. "Everything I ask for, and so much more." Her voice broke on the last word as she yawned widely, once again, and she reached, irritably, for Sasuke's coffee.
He stopped her. "Why don't you take a nap?" he suggested. "I'll wake you up when we get to Gaara's."
Sakura just stared at him. "No way."
Sasuke shrugged, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. "Why not? There's no bed, so there aren't any…" He hesitated, searching for the right word. "Monsters," he finally said. The word didn't sound right for the terror it caused Sakura.
She didn't refuse immediately, as Sasuke had been expecting. She must have been really tired.
"Only for an hour," Sasuke said.
She was silent for a moment, staring at his profile. He could see her blank, calculating expression out of the corner of his eye. Finally she sighed, eyes fluttering shut. "Okay."
"Wake me when we get there."
He nodded. "I will."
"And—don't leave me alone, okay?"
She sounded so vulnerable, like a five-year-old afraid of the dark.
Sasuke nodded again.
"I'll be right here."
She was six again, back in her bedroom. Even though she told her parents every day about the monster, they didn't listen, and whenever she finally fell asleep on the couch – despite hours of struggling to stay awake – Daddy carried her to her room.
Too scared to leave her room, for fear of the hands that reached out to grab her from the shadows under her bed, Sakura instead pulled her stuffed animals around her, forming a sort of protective circle around her. Maybe he wouldn't know she was there.
She could barely keep her eyes open, and no sooner had Sakura pulled her favorite stuffed green frog, Gambit, to her chest for comfort, than she was asleep again.
Sasuke pulled into a gas station and glanced at Sakura. She was sleeping peacefully, her face pale and drawn with exhaustion. He could wake her, but she looked comfortable. He wouldn't be long, and he'd be right outside the door.
He turned off the car and unlocked his door. With one last look at her, he stepped out.
Sakura shuddered and turned her head so she was facing her window.
A cool breeze rippled over her, and Sakura tightened her hold on Gambit – but he wasn't in her arms. She felt around for him, still caught in the space between dreams and reality – when she heard it.
Sakura's eyes snapped open before she could mentally prepare herself for what she might find. There was a flash of black in the corner of her eye, disappearing over the side of her bed, and she gasped, shooting up and scuttling backwards to press herself against the wall.
Gambit was in her lap, and she scooped him up, burying her head into his plushy stomach to stifle her dry sobs. Sakura squeezed her eyes shut, trying to calm her pulse.
It's okay, she told herself. It was already morning. He couldn't get her now. She was safe.
She opened her eyes.
The sunlight streamed in through her windows, casting rays of light over her green and white comforter, over her legs, and over her stuffed animals—
Sakura paused, eyes widening.
Stuffing floated around her room. Her stuffed animals – her bears, her bunnies, her dogs, all of them – were beheaded and dismembered. The heads were lined up in a grinning row at the foot of her bed, and limbs littered the floor around her. All except for Gambit, who still sat in her lap, though one of his arms was partially ripped off.
Sakura began to scream, the message clear to her.
She would have been next.
Sakura woke up shrieking. She opened her eyes for only a moment, long enough to see that it was dark out and she was alone, then closed them again, covering her ears and hoping he wouldn't come.
A breeze ruffled her hair, and her pulse quickened, the memory of her dream – of the most terrifying experience of her life – hitting her full force.
A hand on her shoulder pulled her around, and Sakura's screams died in her throat when her eyes flew open to see Sasuke, staring down at her, looking alarmed.
"Sasuke—" She gulped in air, rubbing at her sore throat. "What happened?"
Sasuke glanced over his shoulder, at the middle-aged woman at the next pump over, gaping at them. He slid into his seat, inserted the key, and switched the car on, pulling out of the gas station and down the street to a parking lot in a plaza before he spoke.
"You were screaming," he said slowly. "You had a bad dream."
Sakura glanced at the clock. Midnight. They still hadn't even hit Suna.
"You left me," she realized. "You said you wouldn't!"
"I didn't!" he said. He was pale, and when he reached toward her, his fingers shook. Sakura held her breath as Sasuke fingered a strand of her hair, looking disturbed. Soon, she learned why. "Sakura, your hair…"
Sakura pulled back, baffled. Then she reached up, flipping down her visor, and stared at her reflection.
When she was six, that day she had woken up to find her stuffed animals slashed and ripped apart, Sakura's hair had still been short, chopped just past her chin. She had grown it after that.
When she had fallen asleep, her hair had swept down to her elbows. Now it was all gone, all messily hacked off. Locks littered the floor and seats of Sasuke's car, individual strands floating around about them as they breathed.
Feeling nauseous, Sakura examined the way her hair was cut, choppy and uneven. As if it had been slashed off without care – as if whoever had cut it didn't care what they snipped.
Sakura tugged at her hair, the implications settling in, and tried hard to keep breathing.
"He was here," she whispered. Her gaze snapped to Sasuke. His face was cast in shadow; she couldn't read his expression. "Oh God, Sasuke, he was here."
"Sakura, calm down," he said, reaching out to touch her shoulder. Her breathing was becoming shallow and too rapid to be healthy. "It's okay. He's gone." He began sweeping Sakura's hair into his empty coffee cup. Best to get rid of it before she could look to closely at the way the tips of some of the wisps were singed. He was surprised she hadn't smelled it.
His phone rang suddenly, and Sakura jumped. Sasuke flipped it open with a glance at the Caller ID and snapped, "What?"
"Oh, sorry, did I interrupt something?"
"What do you want, Naruto?" Sasuke growled, glancing at Sakura. She was rubbing the petals of the cherry blossoms on her corsage between her fingers. She had laughed when he handed it to her two days ago. So cheesy, Sasuke-kun, she had teased.
"Ooh, things are getting serious," Naruto laughed. Sasuke pinched the bridge of his nose. Naruto didn't know the half of it. "Just wanted to know if you reached Gaara's place yet."
"No." Sasuke turned away from Sakura and lowered his voice. "Something happened."
Naruto was silent. Sasuke could hear the thumping music faintly in the background, and he guessed Naruto was outside. For a moment, he wished he had pressed Sakura to go to the prom. Then, at least, she wouldn't have fallen asleep to her biggest nightmare.
"Is Sakura-chan okay?" he asked finally. "Give her the phone. I want to talk to her."
Sasuke pulled the phone away. "Sakura," he said, turning back to her, "Naruto wants to talk to you."
She held out her hand for the phone, and pressed it hard to her ear, letting Naruto's too-loud voice fill the silence of the dark van. With one last, careful look at her, Sasuke pulled the van out of the parking lot, continuing on their way to Suna.
"I'm fine," Sakura was saying. She paused to let Naruto speak. "No… no… he was getting gas," Sakura said, and Sasuke felt a prickle of guilt. "Don't worry," she said, and Sasuke saw, out of the corner of his eye, that she was looking at him, even though she was still talking to Naruto. "Twenty minutes, maybe? … Yeah, I'll tell him. okay. Okay. Bye."
With a sigh, she pressed the End button and dropped the phone into her lap.
"It's okay," she said suddenly, before Sasuke could speak. Her visor was still down, and she examined her reflection critically. "I think short hair suits me. what do you think?"
He could tell by the way she was looking at him that she needed this, needed him to confirm that everything was normal. Safe.
"It looks great," he said.
Sakura smiled shakily, then leaned forward to flip the stereo back on. She flipped back to The Maine and cleared her throat.
"Oh, she makes me feel like shit," she sang.
It's always something.
"But I can't get over it," she went on, skipping lyrics, as usual.
She thinks it's nothing.
As Sakura continued to sing, Sasuke stared out at the empty street before them, wondering just what they were going to do.
Yeah, I don't know. I've never written anything remotely horrific before, so we'll see how this goes. It might be a bit confusing right now, but hopefully everything will start to make sense soon.
Blanket disclaimer: I own nothing someone else does. And I am very sorry for completely butchering the meaning behind The Maine's Everything I Ask For. I promise I actually know what they're trying to say, and I know it's not what I said and, God, this makes no sense, does it?