Caricatures of Intimacy♥

Chapter 13- Paper Cut

With life, there are always decisions to be made, but what happens when those decisions interfere with how you want to feel about something. Could choices change how you see someone and possibly alter how you wanted to see them in your mind? Sakura and Sasuke learn the hard way that sometimes you can't really choose who you fall in love with. It just happens.


It was barely dawn. The silver halo of the sun's first rays stretched over the horizon in a steadily progressing sliver of light that danced along the Fire Country's forest. Sakura watched the environment awaken, the land sparkling in the pale morning, frost touching everything. She stood on the back porch of Sasuke's apartment, a steaming cup of tea in her hand as the songs of lovebirds filled the cold November air.

Her free hand clutched the fronts of her button down shirt, or rather, Sasuke's shirt. He remained in perfect slumber just within the sliding glass door that led from the porch to the bedroom. Her eyes scanned the piles of blankets, the lump in the center of the bed visably breathing with the rise and fall of the duvet laying over his bare back. His dark locks were splayed over the light blue pillow, his face set in a peaceful smile.

She moved towards the door, carefully sliding in closed behind her. She made her way to the bed, setting her mug down on the nightstand before pulling back the blanket covering Sasuke's back and proceeded to check his bandages. The senbon wounds had bled through the clean, white gauze with the tossing and turning he had done during his restless slumber and she noticed him wince as her fingers touched the tender areas. His eyes fluttered open upon feeling the ache in his back from the oversensatized nerves and she smiled down at him, his sleepy gaze studying her face.

" I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you," she said softly, laying her hand against his cheek. He closed his eyes breifly as her warmth fed into is cold face. She carefully brushed back his bangs and withdrew her hand as he propped himself up on his elbow, emmiting a drawn out yawn before turning to sit. He hunched over, trying to ease the throb that stretched down his side.

" How long have I been out?" he said with a thick voice, rubbing at his sleepy eyes.

" Just a night, since yesterday afternoon. I need to replace your bandages, they've bled through while you've been sleeping," she stated and he nodded. She rose to retreive her satchel from the chair and returned with the ointment and gauze in hand. He allowed her to move to the spot behind him and bit his lip as she began to remove the old dressings.

With careful fingers, she placed a dab of the medical salve to each wound and placed the fresh gauze upon the numerous injuries. He sighed contently as she finished the last one, his muscles throbbing with pain. She set her palm against his back and pressed her chakra through his muscles, relaxing away the throbbing ache. He felt immediately better and sat up straight to test his back.

" Thanks, that feels so much better," he sighed, stretching out his arms over his head. She gave him a hesitant smile, but he hadn't noticed. Her eyes fell back to the glass door, the sunlight filling his room. The chill from the outside air had penetrated her and her hands slid up and down her arms as she shivered slightly.

" You'll catch a cold. You shouldn't have stood outside dressed like that for so long," Sasuke said quietly, looking over his shoulder at her. She shook her head, standing up and moving away from the bed toward the bathroom.

" I'm going to take a bath," she sighed as she slipped through the half open door. The tile beneath her feet was freezing and she hissed as the bite of cold nipped at her already chilled toes. She hurridly turned the hot tap, the water soon emitting steam as it filled the porcelain tub. She gently dipped her feet into the tepid water and bit her cheek as her feet stung while her skin warmed.

Sasuke listened to the water run, slight splashes disturbing the soothing sound. She was distant this morning, not something common for her. She seemed more at thought than he had seen her in weeks. He knew it was because of the war, the deadline, his training. Their relationship.

He rubbed his shoulder slowly, working out the knots and sighing as he thought about recent happenings himself. The sounds of Sakura's undressing made it difficult, but he tried to focus his hearing away from the sound of lapping water and her content sigh drifting from the bathroom.

War was imminent. He knew that was the main worry plaguing Sakura. He knew she was delicate to violence, even as high a ranked Jounin as she was. Even when he would be put under her squad, he felt she might stay her hand from battle to prevent... mishaps.

The thought of death made him shiver.

Whether it be his own or Sakura's. No. He wasn't afraid of dying. He was a shinobi. Ninja were trained to be elites, indestructable and absolute in every dealing. He couldn't, and shouldn't, lower himself to thoughts of weakness. He could handle battle. And Sakura. He needn't question her abilities.

She had proved to be craftier than he had normally thought. From the day that they had met, he knew she was no normal kunoichi. She had an air of vurnerability, but the second she was crossed, she became a force to be reckoned with. Her strength and quick thinking proved to be more than enough for him, or any other opponent, to handle.

" Sasuke?"

Sasuke's eyes drifted up from the intricate design on the comforter covering his legs to Sakura wrapped in a towel, her fingers combing through her wet hair. She leaned casually against the bathroom doorway and watched him through her sea foam eyes. Her brows were creased and her lips were pulled in a thin line, making her appear far too old for her age. If it weren't for her hair and eyes, she could pass as Tsunade.

" You okay?" he asked as she continued to gaze at him.

Without a word she drifted over to him and sat down on the edge of the bed. Her hand found his and she gripped it tightly. Her eyes seemed to grow intensely dark and misty as she looked from him to her thumb rubbing over the back of his hand.

" When... the time comes for us to move to the border," she paused, taking a deep breath to calm her emotions. He watched a tear fall from her face hidden behind the curtain of pink, wet locks. He reached forward, tilting her face up to meet her eyes with his concerned gaze. Her eyes were brimming with silvery tears, their wet trails tracing over her flushed cheeks and gathering at her chin.

" I'm scared for the first time since I became the head Medic Jounin. I've seen terrible things, done terrible things, but this. I never thought I would have to fight a war," she whispered, holding back sobs as she looked into his deep onyx eyes. This was her vurnerability. Her fear of losing someone, him namely. He was seeing her at her weakest, but she looked so strong as she held back her tears.

" Sakura, everything will be fine. I promise that nothing will happen," he said sternly, pulling her to his chest. Her fingers pressed to his bare chest, her tear slick cheek pressed against his warm skin.

" I know this is our life, the life that I chose when I was younger. But it seems so much harder when you find something worth fighting for that could be stripped from you at any second," she said quietly, her moist breath fanning over his chest. His fingers found their way into her hair and she sighed in comfort in his arms. " Aren't you scared?"

He thought about her question carefully. He wasn't really sure what he was afraid of. Battle wasn't something a ninja should be scared of. It was an innevitable part of their lives.

"No. I know as long as I have a goal, I'll follow it to the end. Even if it means fighting for my own life, or yours. I value what I have. I'm not about to let it all go," he replied and she looked up into his face, searching his eyes like there was something hidden in the gaze he returned. She leaned up, leaving a wet and chaste kiss on his mouth and she could feel his lips pull into a smile at her action.

" Nothing will happen to us Sakura. You're one of the strongest ninja I know. What could you be afraid of?" he said with a chuckle. She smiled weakly and looked down at her hands smoothing over his chest.

" Losing you I guess. I just wish we didn't have to go through with this. I want to stay like this with you, where we have no worries, no threat to the way we are now."

He smiled wide. She had thought about this alot. She wanted a future, a definite future with him. The idea didn't scare him off, not like it had with so many other woman. The thought of being tied to one person never appealed to him much. But Sakura. She was different. He could see himself with her and only her for, well, the rest of his life. It was daunting how far their feelings had grown from the first kiss to the first time they made love. He was attached to her and he liked it that way.

" You know what I thought the first day I met you?"

His voice whispered over her cheek as he nuzzled into her neck. She smiled softly as let his fingers link through hers. Her eyes fluttered as his breath touched her skin in steady rhythm with her heartbeat.

" No, what?"

" I thought you were the most amazingly beautiful woman I had ever seen. I wanted to impress you so bad that I made an ass out of myself that day. I remember when you told me I wasn't ready to be a ninja and all I could do was stand there and stare at how your lips formed my name. I've always wanted to tell you. But I thought that you'd laugh at me."

" Sasuke..." Sakura pulled back, shock written on her features. He suddenly felt stupid for saying anything. But her soft laughter broke the silence and he relaxed. She nudged him with her finger and gave him a toothy smile as she playfully tugged a loose strand of hair hanging in his face.

" You know, I'll admit when I first saw you, I could feel my heart beat a little hard. Considering you were so devilishly handsome," she said with a giggle. " But then you got upset because I kicked your ass. I thought you would think I was a bitch for beating you."

" No. I thought more along the lines of ' She must think I'm an idiot'," he chuckled and she laughed. Secretly, she had thought he had been a bit ridiculous, trying to show off like a Genin fresh out of the academy. But thinking back on those days when she started that fight with him, she was ashamed of how poorly she had handled the situation. To think they could have been together longer if she had just done things differently.

" Sasuke, lets go out and do something. Just us," she said suddenly and sat up to look at him excitedly.

" Like a date?" he asked hesitantly as her eyes got round and her lips spread in a wide smile.

" That's exactly what I mean!" She nodded her head energetically and cuddled into his arms. " I've wanted to ever since the first time we talked about being together and now I don't care if people know about us. They'll be too absorbed in the war to care about a couple of ninja dating."

He had to admit, she made sense. No one would care if they were seen together. With the war being the news, people wouldn't even bat a lash at them.

" Yeah, that sounds great," he said finally and Sakura gave him a quick peck on the cheek before getting up from the bed. She quickly grabbed her pants and pulled them on, tying back her hair into a messy bun. He eyed her questioningly as she unbuttoned his shirt from her body. She tossed it onto the bed and pulled her bra on, her Jounin shirt following.

" Going somewhere?" Sasuke asked as she pulled her boots on. She stopped mid calf, the zipper between her fingers. She looked up at him with a smile.

" I'm going to get ready for our date," she replied, her fingers pulling the zipper the rest of the way to the buckles. She finished strapping up the last boot and grabbed her bag by the door. He swung his legs out from the covers and sat up. She stopped in the door, looking over her shoulder.

" Be at my house in an hour for our date, okay?" Her bright sea foam eyes watched him and he nodded. She grinned and walked out, leaving him sitting on his bed. He chuckled to himself. It was always like her to be a whirlwind of activity.

It seemed things were progressing and he felt the slight knot of worry tighten in his stomach. He still had so many doubts about how people would take their relationship.

But for Sakura, he would do anything. He thought about what Naruto would say, considering he had a feeling he already knew. His mind was restless with the idea of taking Sakura anywhere. He was more than thrilled she was his, that he would have her on his arm and she would be with him tonight. He smiled and got up stiffly, making his way to the bathroom to shower and get ready.

Something about being out with the woman he loved seemed to push all thoughts of war and battle out of his mind, and for the first time in a long time, he stepped into the shower singing a happy tune.


A/N:

Well shoot guys, I'm really sorry this took forever to update. I finished my first quarter at the Art Institute and it's Christmas break at the moment so I find I have some time to spend doing what I missed! So far I'm liking the direction the story is taking. I still need to speed things up a bit to get into a more action based, suspense "on-the-edge-of-your-seat" feeling to it. but hey, I'm just one woman lol

On to the next chapter:

Chapter 14: Snowstorms

- A few people find it shocking how the stoic Uchiha and prized pet of the Hokage are dating

- Panic rises in Konoha as war is anounced to the villagers

- A storm strikes, leaving Sakura and Sasuke torn between duty and themselves

- The deadlines are nearing as the new year approaches, and tension rises between our two favorite ninja

well thats all i really can give away. hopefully some of you still read this thing :D haha until next chappy!

Black