Author's Note: I recently caught up to the current chapter and thought I'd try my hand at some SasuSaku because I came across a Tumblr post that went along the lines of:
"i shall tell you the story of how my life began to end
'let's check this naruto thing'
and how i decided to make it worse
'i think i kinda like the pink haired girl with the dark haired boy'" - justalonelymangaartist at Tumblr.
Which was accurate for me, as far as I'm concerned.
I'm sorry if it's OOC.
One Shot: Thank You
A groan rumbled deep in his chest as he came to, his brows furrowing at the brightness penetrating his closed lids. His whole body was stiff and aching, as if he had lain in that same position for some time now. Frowning, Sasuke turned away from the light source and slowly opened his eyes.
His gaze immediately landed on the girl seated on a chair to his left, her deft hands peeling an apple with a kunai. She didn't seem to have heard him, a knot on her brows as she focused intently on the fruit. Several strands of her short pink hair escaped to frame her face and she smoothly tucked them behind her ear again without even pausing.
Now this was a familiar sight. He'd seen something like this before. She'd done the very same thing so many years ago.
Sasuke watched in silence as she finished the first apple and began to peel another one. She still hadn't noticed he was awake, but he didn't seem to mind. Just watching her like this, he could feel the planes of his face softening, his frown fading as his sensitive eyes slowly adjusted to the sunlit room. He didn't even seem to mind the ache in his bones. The bed below him was suddenly satisfyingly soft, the pillow below his head like marshmallow. A slight breeze blew in from the open window to his right, making the white curtains dance as it brought with it the scent of flowers from the flower box outside his window.
Spring, he thought.
It was odd how stark of a contrast the season was compared to what he had come from – what they had all come from. Right at this moment, lying in bed with Sakura peeling apples beside him, it was almost as if the war had been nothing but a distant memory. Just a long nightmare he had to endure before waking up into reality again.
Sasuke closed his eyes and inhaled a deep breath.
No. No matter how hard he wished it was, the war hadn't been a long nightmare. It had been all too real. Villages had been destroyed, lives were changed, and people had died. The scars on his body were sheer proof of that.
Right, he told himself. Remember it properly, Sasuke. Remember them properly. He couldn't dishonour the dead by forcing himself to believe that what had happened to them was a mere nightmare.
Sasuke opened his eyes again, saw the room before him in a new light, and eyed Sakura, still slaving away at her apples. "What are you doing?" he piped up.
Sakura jumped violently, the peels spilling onto the floor and his bed. She hissed as the kunai sliced her finger but she ignored everything in favour of giving him her wide-eyed look of surprise. "Sasuke-kun! W-What am I–? What are you doing? Scaring me like that?!"
He braced himself for impact because, for a moment, it really did look like she was going to hit a patient. She, however, regained her composure as she bent to pick up the apple peels.
"I was waiting for you to wake up," she muttered as she gathered the peels onto the plate she had been using. She huffed at the half-skinned apple she had also dropped onto the floor and made her way to a table at the foot of Sasuke's bed. With poise, she quickly poured water from a jug into a bowl and washed the slightly dirtied apple in it. "You're going to have to eat this later," she smiled.
Sasuke shrugged a shoulder and winced slightly as a pang shot up his arm. "I don't mind. Hospitals are generally clean anyway… even their floors."
"Let's hope so," she replied as she finished skinning the second apple.
As he tracked her movements with his eyes, he couldn't help but think this was probably one of the only normal conversations they have ever had together. They weren't at war anymore, she wasn't waxing poetic at him, and he wasn't calling her annoying. They had changed, now all grown up and matured. She wasn't the same girl he'd left on that bench all those nights ago, and he wasn't the same boy she'd harboured a blatant crush on.
Those were the days…
He fought to suppress the grin from his face but lost the battle. Unfortunately for him, Sakura noticed.
"What are you grinning about?" she asked, bewildered, as she finished dicing up the two apples into smaller pieces. When Sasuke merely shrugged again, she shook her head and let the subject go. "Anyway, I was waiting for you to wake up because your bandages need changing."
Sasuke nodded and shifted himself into an upright sitting position. Gingerly, he scooted to the edge of the bed and faced his back towards her, his legs splayed over the width of the bed. Behind his shoulder, he could hear Sakura cleansing her hands and gathering her materials.
"Are you still hurting?" she murmured as she quickly set the plate of sliced apples on his bedside table.
"A little," he answered. Shrugging off the standard white shirt the hospital had given him, he pursed his lips at the layers of bandages snaking around his shoulders and abdomen. He knew dried blood clung to the deeper layers and bruises were hidden beneath. Just war injuries he hadn't wanted healers to fuss over when there were other people worst off.
"Would you like some pain-killers?"
Sasuke could feel himself tense slightly when her hand brushed against his skin as she started to unwrap the bandages around his shoulders. Compelling himself to remain calm, he managed to choke out a strangled "No."
Here, he could feel Sakura hesitate behind him. "Are you sure?"
"I'll be fine."
They continued in silence, Sakura gently unwrapping his bandages and Sasuke letting his mind wander.
Yes, they weren't the same two kids who exchanged parting words in that lonely walkway all those years ago. She had trained under the Fifth Hokage and he had followed his path of revenge. She learned to heal where he learned to kill. She saved lives and he was deluded into murdering his older brother.
Sasuke shut his eyes and was grateful that he wasn't facing her in that moment. He had already mourned Itachi, had spent too long mulling over his regrets but… he had tried to kill her too, hadn't he?
He clenched his jaw and gritted his teeth, recognising the ache in his chest to be something else. Here was the girl who put his life above hers. Here was the girl who fought tooth and nail for him. Here was the girl who couldn't kill him, even though he had threatened to destroy the world.
Here was the girl who never gave up on him.
And he had tried to kill her.
"Sakura." He grabbed her wrist, just as she was reaching around him to unwrap the last few layers around his abdomen, and he could feel her freeze.
"Sa-Sasuke-kun?" she stammered.
His eyes fluttered open, landing immediately on her wrist trapped inside the clasp of his left hand. Shaken by his own actions, he loosened his grip and he felt her pull away a little, her actions unsure. Before either of them could think too much or react, he slowly threaded his fingers with hers, his left hand completely encasing her much smaller one.
Sasuke bowed his head and gently squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry for what I put you through."
A wave of overwhelming feelings washed over him then, and he sincerely wondered how he could ever make it up to her.
"I-It's all right," she sputtered behind him. From their proximity, he could feel her soft breath on his neck and he struggled to hold back a strange shiver. "I… I've…" She paused and he waited, suddenly anxious. "I've already forgiven you for–"
His turning his head to look at her had inadvertently cut her off and he cursed himself for it. She swallowed and bowed her head, unable to meet his eyes as a furious blush tainted even her ears.
Releasing her hand, as painlessly as he could, he swung his legs around and hopped off the bed. Without a word, he pulled her to him in an embrace, his loose bandages trailing onto the floor. He wondered if she could feel how hard his heart was thudding against his chest. But no matter, because this… This felt right.
"Sakura?" he murmured into her hair. He found himself relishing the brush of her skin against his as she carefully wrapped her arms around his waist.
"Hmm?" she hummed against the crook of his neck.
"Thank you," he said as he pressed a firm kiss to her hair. "Thank you for loving me."
Author's Note: Grinning Sasuke probably had something to do with the delirious kind of relief of being alive... or medication.
But yes, the SasuSaku ship came full circle. Hahaha. Well, he left her with a "Thank you" and I hope he'll come back to her with a "Thank you".
Please let it be canon.