Written by Jia Zhang

She woke up to the sound of the sparkling crackle of fire and ember, the colours of gold and amber and red and yellow dancing its macabre movement against the darkness of the night. Emerald eyes, half-opened, stared at the dust covered ground, illuminated by the laughter of the feverish flames.

The night is silent, so ferociously silent that she fears she was alone—so utterly alone within the stomach of the forest. As she wakes, she is met with the song of the fire, and the shadow of a young man stroking the flame.

Sakura had been asleep—asleep in a dreamless void. Then she was awakened—by the notion of duty, to stand watch for foes amongst the fervent jade of the forest. Her world is put onto a slant—horizontal, but clear. The young man was waiting for her to awake, and take his place.

It was her turn now.

But she says nothing.

She is humble and quiet as she watches the young man court the tiny flickers of embers and wood. Shimmers of gold rained up into the midnight sky, trying to return to the heavenly embrace of the solemn moon. With a small, thin branch of wood, the young man known as Sasuke plays with the furious blaze, driven by some mute curiousity that was hardly apparent.

He seems to be drowned in thought, Sakura wondered to herself, but what about?

Their relationship was held across an ocean of confusion. Not quite vague, but not quite clear—simply always at a spacious distance. She made her private fascination and adoration known long ago; the young man made his response in a palpable and simple form that many would often think cruel.

But then again, she thought, what was I supposed to expect?

She expected kindness, and acceptance. She expected her imagination's fairytale, and not the games of reality. She wanted the image—not the man beneath.

But she did not know the man beneath—thus, how could she know how she was mad for?

—someone would say, to pity the child that did not appreciate the pitfalls of this tormenting parody we call love.

Someday, perhaps, when her rose glasses were smashed, her vision no longer clouded by the camouflage of pink hues, and she wasn't tricked by the perfume of cherry blossoms, she would come to elucidate the mystery of a lone orphan boy—who held everyone away for fear of his own heart, to love again.

Yes, yes, too afraid he was to love, to accept the warmth and words of a dream he could no longer recognize. No, no, he was too caught up within the eye of the hurricane, too lost in the ferocity of the storm to understand the direction of his compass.

But both were just children, toying with a flame they could not control and could not smother. They fed the fire, with each breath and each wonder and dream and hateful anguish.

And Sakura could only watch, wordlessly, as a film of facades passed across Sasuke's face.

She watched as his eyes became fused with an emotion she did not recognize, and a nostalgic smile appeared on his pale face. And she wondered, as she watched him play with the flame, why did he smile?

She was a child, so she would wonder and not know of how he remembered a past he tried so hard to ignore. She would not know that he smiled as he remembered his mother, scolding her father for some silly, insignificant incident.

And in a flash, an upsurge of sadness drowned him—but she was a child, who did not understand the pain of watching as the world you loved was torn apart by a person you loved.

The cackle of the fire turned into hysterics as the boy continued to court the violent flame.

His windows reflected the febrile gold of the fire—ferocious, furious, and intense. He was consumed by the fire, and it was festering into his bones. But she did not know any of this. She did not know of his ardent hatred, of his thirst for revenge—his desire for an ending to his maddening goal.

She did not know of his charred heart.

He did not know of her fire of love.


His movement stops, and he turns away from prying the embers. He gazes at her silently, and for a moment they say nothing—an air of voiceless compassion passes between them, and is gone in a moment before it can realize its existence.

"…hn…ramen…" mumbles Naruto in his sleep.

Sakura smiles at the blonde for a moment, before turning back to the ebony-haired soldier.

"You can go to sleep. I'll keep watch now."

The boy nods, and says nothing.

Without further words, the two exchange roles.

Before he falls asleep, with half-opened eyes, Sasuke listened to the sound of the sparkling crackle of fire and ember, and watches the hues of gold and amber and red, as Sakura toyed with the ardor flame.


Note: The author promises herself she will never write a SasuSaku fic ever again. (bangs head on table) I actually really dislike this pairing. Really can't stand it. But I think it didn't turn out that bad. Though, I really don't know what I was intending with this fic. Not really angsty, just tragic in a sense. I guess I kinda wanted to show how each of them held a flame within their hearts, but for different reasons—and how, because of that, until they grew up, wouldn't be able to keep that fire from burning them.

…okay, I'm seriously confused by my own fic.

Oh well. I'm a little annoyed with my beta right now, since she's being late these days. Thus, Fire is currently unedited.I'm going to be posting a "Beta For Hire" sign soon.

This is the second part of Elementum, a short series of romances using the elements as a theme. The next will be Wind (or Air, depending on how I name them eventually), which is a NaruHina fic that I will try really hard to make cute. Oh boy…and then after that it's Earth, my ShikaIno fic…so, yeah…

Anyway, review.

Jia Zhang

© June, 2006 by Jia Zhang. All rights reserved.