Little Piece of Heaven
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Summary: Alternate Universe from 3year break. Years later it finally happened. Sasuke was finally able to acknlowedge the qualities of one Haruno Sakura... Unfortunately, by this time she just didn't care anymore. The classic story of love and irony, where one is oblivious… and the other is Sasuke. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
"You know…you really are annoying."
It seemed so long ago.
He was already 18. The need for revenge that consumed his childhood had been extinguished. His brother was dead, and now he, Uchiha Sasuke, was back in Konoha.
Why? Well that was a funny story. The fight with his brother had been almost futile. They nearly destroyed eachother, and in the end, it was Uzumaki Naruto who had found his best friend's mangled half-dead body, sprawled god knows where, and dragged it back to Konoha.
She had been standing on a tree limb just over the front gates, her exquisite pink hair, now shoulder-length grazing the porcelain skin of her cheeks from the warm spring breeze. The curiously wide forehead, gone. The green doe-like eyes, stunningly captivating. Konoha's smartest kunoichi had grown up, and the once hot-tempered, lovesick little girl was now the village sweetheart, bursting with charm and intelligence.
And as they approached, Naruto supporting Sasuke's weight on his shoulder, Haruno Sakura was ready. This was it. This is where the years of mentally abandoning the idea of Sasuke and her together would pay off. It was something she knew she earned.
After all, Sasuke had made it clear, many times, that he wasn't interested in her. Certainly his blow to her head during their last meeting was enough to start the flow of rational. She offered her heart and soul to him and he had eyed it like a slab of unappealing meat on a stick. Of course at the moment she had been crying, begging and letting her voice hit high altitudes. Annoying. That was what he had called her.Annoying…
But that was the past. She had grown up. Her priorities had changed and no longer would she torture herself trying to gain the recognition of a certain someone who just didn't care.
Don't yell "Sasuke-kun," don't yell "Sasuke-kun"…
"You know, you could be more helpful," she heard Naruto grumble. "Probably having both legs broken is no excuse to keep dragging your feet like that."
"Shut up, dobe…" came the half-hearted reply.
The sound of Sasuke's voice sent a slight tremor to her feet, almost yanking her off the tree and quickly to Sasuke's side. It had been years since she'd heard that voice. It was that deep, silky monotonous tone that captured a great deal of his essences; a voice she heard in so many of her dreams.
She couldn't help but notice how much more attractive he had become. He had grown taller, more muscular. The hair was the same: black and rebelliously spiked… bangs framing his pale, stoic features. Eyes, of course, that same cold obsidian that reflected an almost fearful intensity.
The young Sasuke in her dreams was now a man in the flesh.
And yet, despite the tinge of sentimentality, of lost hopes and dreams, Sakura felt close to nothing for the dark haired boy. She had moved on. She was in a state-of-mind she thought she'd never reach as she watched Sasuke and Naruto pass beneath her.
This was her test.
As she watched Sasuke's return after so many years she would not be the one running out to greet him. Would not wrap her needy arms around him, fall to her knees crying, and remain there crying even hours after he'd left.
They were heading toward the hospital now.
The test had been passed.
She hadn't moved a muscle.
"What is it?" Sakura asked, looking up from the rather large book she was studying in her teacher's office.
"If you were wondering, Sasuke's been doing a lot better…" Naruto informed cautiously.
"Really?" she asked with a smile, eyes drifting back to the rustic-coloured pages infront of her. "Glad to hear."
"You still haven't seen him, Sakura-chan."
He noticed upon saying it that something in her expression turned frigid. It was shaken away before returning to her warm, charismatic smile.
"I've just been busy," she lied "but I'll be sure to stop by today."
The rather grim expression on Naruto's face obliterated as he chuckled nervously. "That's good, Sakura-chan. You had me worried! 'Cause you know, Sasuke's been back for two weeks and I thought for sure you'd be taking care of him. Haha! That bastard's been bitching non-stop cause he's under probation and has to be stuck with me all day."
"Has he…" Sakura made note to smack herself for being curious "…asked about me?"
Naruto crossed his arms behind his head and wrinkled his brow in thought. "No…I don't think so… But I told him all about what you've been up to lately, and that you're a total babe!"
She leaned over the desk and punched him playfully in the arm. "Idiot…" she growled.
He laughed and placed a hand on the doorframe. "I'll let you get back to your studies," Naruto hesitated before leaving, "Don't forget to visit him, okay?"
She waved half-heartedly. "I will, I will…"
The door closed behind her blonde teammate with a soft click.
Sakura leaned back in her chair and sighed. Perhaps it was best she stay true to her words. After all, she had made the commitment to stop loving Sasuke, not to stop being his friend. And if one had a friend in the hospital, one should visit that friend to offer condolence… or point and laugh, whichever suited, and she guessed when Naruto visited Sasuke it was usually the second one.
After hauling away her teacher's gigantic medicine books and picking up a small bouquet of flowers, Sakura soon found herself standing hesitantly outside Sasuke's hospital room. Finding it had been rather easy, but she surprised herself at the reception desk when asking for the room number of a 'Sasuke' and not a 'Sasuke-kun' followed by metaphorical pink hearts. Years ago adding the suffix was a natural reflex that rolled off her tongue… and the hearts, well… they were just there.
With two flicks of her wrist, she knocked on his door quietly. Perhaps a little too quietly since there was no response.
Sliding the door open hesitantly, she peered in and discovered the dark-haired boy was sleeping.
Feeling satisfied with just leaving the flowers and letting him sleep, Sakura tiptoed her way to the windowsill on the other side of his bed. Without realizing it, she avoided actually looking at Sasuke while picking up an empty vase on his nightstand. Placing it on the windowsill, she kept her back turned to him as she gingerly placed each individual flower into the vase.
"If you came to force-feed me apples, don't bother."
Sakura froze in her movements, and with the tiniest feeling of discouragement, resumed her flower arranging. Years ago, on another occasion Sasuke was in the hospital, she had babied him to no end. Even after he smacked the plate of apple slices she prepared into the wall, there was just no waking her. At times, reflecting on her past behavior could prove quite embarrassing. How many rude awakenings did she ignore?
"You really should be resting," she said finally.
He raised an eyebrow disdainfully, implying he had been, but she disrupted it. A brief moment of silence passed before he spoke again.
"It's been a while… Sakura."
Finally she turned around, and Sasuke finally got to see his pink-haired teammate face-to-face after so many years.
Surprise flickered in those midnight eyes at the sight of her. It was rather startling. Had she really changed that much since he last saw her? Given the slight change in hair-length, she really couldn't think of what other features had been altered. Then again, something that had increased vastly over the years was her modesty.
She could feel his eyes examining her as she casually took a seat at the edge of his bed.
"Sit up." she instructed.
He narrowed his eyes in confusion. "What for?"
"The bandage on your left arm needs to be changed."
He was close to expressing his doubt in her observation when he remembered Naruto saying she was almost a high-ranking medical ninja, mentored by the village's own Hokage.
Not looking to pick a fight he sat up, struggling slightly in the process, and held out his bandaged arm for the taking.
"I hope you know what you're doing."
"Give me some credit, Sasuke." she smiled as she carefully unwrapped the bandage.
She expected him to release a small intake of breath with a smirk, to utter that trademark sound of his that just gushed with ridicule and patronize.
Much to her surprise, he remained silent after her last sentence was spoken.
She chalked it up to his lack of strength. Then again, Uchiha Sasuke was never much of a conversationalist. One would have more luck talking to a dried-out clump of dirt.
After the bandage had been removed, she curiously examined the wound.
"You were able to use chidori more than twice…?"
"Hn." There it was. He was bound to do it. "I used it 9 times," Sasuke told her in annoyance. "I overdid it when I fought my brother. The bone snapped and the skin hemorrhaged."
"I can see that… I suppose you're regretting it now?"
One look told her that he thought she had just asked the most foolish thing in the world.
"He's dead, isn't he?"
Ignoring the deadly glare as well as the question, she began applying the new bandage. "And Orochimaru?"
"I left 2 years ago when I went to search for Itachi."
She stared at Sasuke suspiciously. "It was just that easy?"
He smirked before looking away. "Guess we'll see…"
Turning her attention back to the bandage, she tightened it gently before getting up and announcing her departure.
He nodded slightly… either thanking her for her attention, or just politely saying 'Good. Get the fuck out', she wasn't sure... but she couldn't help being proud of herself upon realizing that she really didn't care.
She slid open the door but paused at the sound of his voice.
"What is it?"
Suddenly noticing the clock posted on the opposite wall, Sakura mentally began skimming her schedule for the day. Hmm… it's just about noon…
I should finish up my studies, meet with Tsunade-sama… what else did I need to do today? Have lunch with Ino…I should train, too…
It seemed Sasuke's voice had trailed off. She glanced behind her, not impatiently of course, just expectantly.
She noticed his eyes were observing her with that classic indescribable expression. Well that was nothing new. She did get lost in her thoughts again; he was probably going to ask why she looked so spaced-out.
"Nothing." he finally muttered. "Never mind."
"Okay," she said with a nod. "I'll see you around then, Sasuke! Welcome back to Konoha."
Closing the door behind her, she smiled confidently to herself. Yes, this is when her life was starting anew. From the moment she sat on the edge of Sasuke's bed and didn't lunge at him with arms wide open, she knew the obsession had become a thing of the past. Yes, indeed. Sakura was a smart, confident kunoichi with a brand new head on her shoulders.
Things were looking up.
But not so much on a certain someone's end, however. After Sakura had scampered off, Sasuke remained sitting up in his bed, staring with strange unsettlement at the newly wrapped bandage around his arm.
Author's Note: While I was going nowhere trying to write my other GaaSaku story, I started warming up to the idea of Sasuke and Sakura again. Don't ask why... I guess it depends on which side of the bed I wake up on. So far I'm being typical... Sasuke returns and a pissed off Sakura doesn't say 'kun' anymore. Have faith... It'll go its own path soon enough. Anyway, the next 4 chapters have already been written. If people like it I'll submit a new one each week... if they REALLY like it then probably twice a week. But if no one likes it, I'll just cry in a corner somewhere ...and submit anyway. Bwahaha!