A/N: I wasn't lying when I said this was done eight months ago. It was terribly written and I was going to post it so I wouldn't have to worry about the story anymore. I'm a fan of fanfics too and hate people dropping stories. I didn't want to leave mine hanging. I couldn't post it though. Too much time has been put into this to end it poorly. I wrote this story for my enjoyment and have no regrets. I'm glad so many of you cared about it. I didn't think that possible. It's been a long journey with a lot of harassing to finish, but ultimately I did it in my own time, just as I should have. Don't expect any sequels or much more from me in the Naruto world any time soon. My passion for the series has died a little bit with the downward turn I think it's taken, though you might see more of me in other fandoms, or the occasional Naruto one-shot. Flames will be extinguished by the love of my loyal readers. Never thought I'd get over 1,000 reviews. Thank you for everything and goodnight!
"Thoughts" "Speech" "Writing"
Disclaimer: You know the drill, enough already.
Chapter 12: The Truth Comes Out
Sasuke awoke to a bright white light. If he'd died from his wounds, it didn't matter. Sakura was okay. Risking his life to secure her safety was worth it. To his surprise, the bright light subsided and dimmed to reveal pristine white walls. Sasuke felt the fingertips of his left hand brush against a scratchy fabric. He froze when he realized his right hand felt warm and smooth. He turned his gaze to the right and met a pair of emerald green eyes. He looked from her eyes to her soft pink hair, and then back to her eyes again.
He didn't answer. He just continued to stare into those eyes.
Sakura suppressed a giggle. "Sasuke, are you okay? What is it?"
Sasuke groaned. "You talk too much."
"Thanks. I've been told that multiple times. How are you feeling?"
Sasuke smirked. "Amazing, apart from the mind-numbing pain in my head and shoulder."
"You sound like you got yourself into a lot more trouble than I did."
"What?" Sasuke's eyes tightened when he caught sight of Sakura's arm in a cast. "Your wrist. Sakura I'm so sorry. God only knows if I killed the bastard. I hope he's dead."
"Don't say that Sasuke."
"Why not? It's the truth isn't it? All Itachi did was cause more pain. I wish I'd never met you!"
Sakura dropped Sasuke's hand. "Really? Do you really mean that?"
"Yes, I do."
As Sasuke looked away, Sakura took a deep breath, got up, and walked toward the door.
Realization dawned upon Sasuke. "No, wait Sakura. Come back."
Sakura choked back her tears. "Clearly you don't want me here."
"No, you don't understand. I didn't mean it that way."
"Then what could you possibly have meant?"
Sasuke struggled to sit up in bed, wincing from the pain pulsating through his shoulder. "Please, come back."
Sakura sighed and returned to the chair she'd been sitting in for hours. After they'd finished taking x-rays and putting on her cast, she waited in the hospital lounge for Sasuke to come in. She wasn't allowed into his room, but a nurse let her slip in after one look at her tired, tear-stained face. "I'm all the family he has," she'd told the nurse then. It wasn't a complete lie.
Sasuke took a glance at his bedside table where a pitcher of water, a glass, a pen, and a pad of paper lay. He had to tell her now. He owed it to her after all the trouble he'd caused. What better way to tell her than how it all began? "Sakura, can you hand me the pen and paper?"
"Just do it, please. Stop asking so many stupid questions."
"You used to like my stupid questions."
"I still do," Sasuke thought to himself. He took the pen and paper from Sakura. The IV in his wrist was going to make it a little difficult to write anything, but he'd manage.
Sakura watched curiously as Sasuke slowly wrote on the paper. It must have been extremely painful for him to do so. Why couldn't he just tell her whatever it was he wanted to say? Didn't he just tell her he wished he'd never met her?
After a few long minutes, Sasuke put down the pen and handed Sakura the pad of paper. He met her eyes for a moment before dropping his hand and looking away.
I need you Sakura. Please stay. I love you.
Tears started to stream down Sakura's cheeks. She looked up at Sasuke who was now grinning.
"The only reason I said what I did was because if you'd never met me, you wouldn't have gotten hurt. I never wanted to do anything to hurt you Sakura. You've been the one thing that's made me happy in such a long time."
"Sasuke I... I don't know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything. I'd doubt you'd ever want to see me again after what happened."
"If that were true I wouldn't have sat here all night waiting for you to wake up."
A look of surprise crossed Sasuke's features. "You were here all night?"
"Of course I was."
"Why would you do that?"
Sakura laughed. "Sasuke! You can be so dense sometimes. Stop focusing on yourself."
"What are you talking about?"
"See, you are miserable and arrogant, just like I thought you were back in summer school."
"All right, I may be miserable, but I'm not arrogant. Just stubborn."
"Kakashi-sensei was right about something for once." Sakura smiled.
The corners of Sasuke's mouth turned downward. "What is it? Will you just get to the point already?"
Sakura took the pen from Sasuke's hand, brushing his fingers with hers as she did so. His cheeks flushed a light pink. As she began to write on the pad of paper, the door of the room was thrust open. Three police officers, a nurse, and a doctor hurried into the room.
"Nurse Shizune, what is that girl doing in here? I specifically ordered that Sasuke had no visitors."
Shizune's face turned white. "I'm so sorry Doctor Tsunade. I have no idea what she's doing in here."
As the group reached the foot of Sasuke's bed they came to a halt. Sakura sat as still as she could in the chair and Sasuke fixed an icy glare on the police chief standing before him. Officer Morina Ibiki was the head of ANBU, the special service squad of the Konoha police force. He was also lead interrogator and had never failed to receive the information he wanted from a prime suspect. The imposing scars across his face only enhanced the terror he could incite.
"Sasuke, we need to speak with you immediately. Alone," stated Ibiki.
"You must leave this instant. You may not return until visiting hours," Tsunade said to Sakura.
"Yes ma'am," Sakura said. As she stood up to leave, she slipped a piece of paper into Sasuke's hand.
He locked eyes with her before she walked away and shut the door. Sasuke returned to glaring at Ibiki.
"What is it you want? Can't you see I was busy?"
"That's no way to talk to an officer Sasuke. Apologize this instant," said Tsunade.
"Sorry," he spat out.
"Sasuke, we have some urgent news to discuss with you."
"So, discuss it."
Ibiki dismissed the two other officers that were with him. They went to wait outside the room.
"Shizune, you may leave," stated Tsunade.
As soon as Shizune shut the door behind her, Ibiki began again. "ANBU reports have shown that Uchiha Itachi's body could not be found. However, he was still pronounced dead. His Akatsuki ring, signifying his membership to the gang, was found at the scene of the crime. We have taken it as evidence. We speculate he was not alone when the events of last night took place, and a fellow Akatsuki member must have retrieved his body. Now that one of their strongest members is dead, we hope that catching the other members will be easier. Maybe soon their crime ring will be eliminated and the remaining members will be brought to justice."
Sasuke stared blankly. "Are you stupid?"
"You heard me, are you stupid or just ignorant?"
Ibiki lowered his tone of voice. "How dare you speak to me that way you insolent brat?"
"Do you really think Itachi is dead? I'm sure he's alive somewhere right now, hurting other people."
"If he were alive, I'm sure you'd be dead by now."
"Maybe I should be."
"Enough. I will not be spoken to this way. We already did a search of your home. Nothing was found. A lawyer should pay you a visit within the next week with some legal documentation that concerns you. You are still a minor. Being that your brother was acting as your legal guardian and your parents are deceased, you may be put into foster care unless another law-abiding adult comes forward to take care of you. Any questions?"
"No. Now leave me alone."
Ibiki took one last look at Sasuke before silently walking to the door and exiting.
Tsunade let out a sigh. "Sasuke, you really need to have your attitude adjusted."
"What's it to you?"
"Never mind. Listen, I don't know what that girl was doing in here earlier, but she will not be allowed back in until proper visiting hours. Is that clear?"
"Crystal," said Sasuke through gritted teeth.
"Good. I'll send in Shizune with another round of painkillers. I bet that shoulder is really acting up. Hopefully you can get some more sleep."
Sasuke took on a bored tone. "When can I leave?"
"The day after tomorrow if you're lucky."
"Why can't I leave today?"
"We have to make sure your stitches look okay and that you won't faint trying to walk out of the door. You lost a lot of blood. Besides, someone has to take you home. You can't be by yourself in the state you're in."
Sasuke crunched the piece of paper under his fingers a bit. "Maybe Sakura can get her parents to bring me to her house. I guess I can just call that loser Naruto. I'm sure his uncle wouldn't mind. Living with Neji would be a little awkward. His parents have so many rules."
"Well Sasuke, I'll let you be now. You have a lot to think about. I'll be back in a couple of hours to see how things are. Remember what I said about visitors."
"I know. No one can come in until visiting hours. What is this, a prison? When can I get my phone call?"
Tsunade shook her head and mumbled something to herself as she left the room.
When the door closed, Sasuke quickly unfolded the piece of paper Sakura had given him. He read the message three times, not believing the words he saw. Satisfied, he set it on his bedside table and leaned back into his pillow. A huge smile spread across his face. It took him every ounce of will he had not to run out into the hall, find Sakura, and kiss her. "There will be plenty of time for that later."
Shizune came in shortly thereafter with a tray of pills. She went to set it on the bedside table but stopped short when she saw the paper lying there.
"I've always needed you Dark Flame and I love you more than you could possibly imagine. Who's Ms. S?"
"None of your business. Just give me the Vicodin already."
"You're so pushy."
"I'm not pushy. I'm just in agonizing pain." Even though he was being rude, Sasuke couldn't keep the smile out of his voice. "I love you Sakura. I really do."
Sakura stepped outside of Konoha General Hospital into the fresh air. She hadn't been outside for a while. It felt nice to have a cool breeze against her face. Sleeping upright in a chair hadn't been great for her back. She was in dire need of a massage. It was hard to process everything that had happened in such a short period of time. If breaking her wrist were all it took to get her the boy of her dreams, Sakura would have arranged a hit-and-run car accident ages ago.
She still couldn't fully comprehend Itachi's motives. He'd explained himself in a rather peculiar way, but maybe Sasuke really was better off without him. Sakura wouldn't question that subject further. What was done is done. How was she going to explain it to her parents though? It'd taken a lot of convincing on her part that she was completely fine and would be home soon. She wasn't sure if she were prepared for the onslaught of questions she'd know they'd hit her with. "Where have you been? What happened to your wrist? Why were the police involved? Who's Sasuke? Oh yeah, that's definitely going to be a fun one to answer. He's only the most important person in the entire world." Sakura paused her whirlwind of thoughts when she felt a vibration in her pocket. No one had texted her in hours. She looked at her phone and noticed it was a number she didn't recognize. "That's weird. Solicitors don't send text messages." Sakura flipped her phone open to read the message.
Thank you Sakura. For Sasuke. For everything. I'm sorry about your wrist. Goodbye.
Sakura's face paled. She snapped her phone shut and quickly scanned the area in front of the hospital. A nurse was pushing an old woman in a wheelchair. Two men were walking toward an ambulance with an empty stretcher. A husband carried a bag while his pregnant wife walked with her mother toward the entrance. A young man with long black hair sat on a bench, smoking a cigarette. Four women in scrubs headed to their cars on a lunch break. "Wait, smoking is not allowed in this area!" Sakura looked back to the bench near the hospital doors. The young man was gone. "What? There's no way! It can't be him. I must be imagining things." Sakura walked up to a security officer standing on the curb.
"Excuse me sir? Did you see someone smoking on that bench just now?"
"No miss. You know smoking his prohibited except for in the designated areas."
"Are you sure you didn't see someone just there?"
"I'm sure. I know how to do my job. If I'd seen anyone, they'd be in big trouble. Now run along now. I have things I need to do."
"Sure, like standing around and trying to look important while doing nothing." Sakura turned around and walked back toward the front doors of the hospital. It was noon and she hadn't eaten anything since lunch the previous day. Maybe she could grab a cheap sandwich in the lounge. She stopped when she felt a tap on her shoulder. Sakura turned around and gasped in shock.
"Kakashi-sensei! What are you doing here?"
"Well, in all honesty, I'm here to see Sasuke. I also have some news for him."
"Last time I saw him, he was speaking to the police. The doctor kicked me out of the room."
"Well, actually, the police are the reason I'm here. All the teachers were informed by mass email about what happened at the school last night. When I heard about Sasuke's involvement I decided that maybe I could help out."
"What are you going to do?"
"Sasuke needs someone to help take care of him for a while and I thought that I could do that for him."
"Wow, that's so nice of you. Is there any particular reason you're doing this?"
"Let's just say Sasuke and I have a history together."
"He never told me about that."
"I wouldn't expect him to. It's not something he'd really talk about. Itachi was one of my best students and I've always known how hard for Sasuke it has been to not only live in his shadow but to live with him as well."
"Okay. I was going to get a sandwich. Visiting hours aren't until later this afternoon. Would you like to come with me?"
"I'd love to Sakura."
Sasuke had gone to sleep shortly after taking his medication. He woke up to the sound of a light rapping on his door. He sat up in bed to the best of his ability and brushed his fingers through his hair. "I guess it's visiting hours already."
Sakura poked her head through the door. "Are you awake Sasuke?"
"Yeah, it's fine."
Sakura walked into his room, followed by Kakashi.
"What are you doing here?" mumbled Sasuke.
"It's nice to see you too Sasuke," said Kakashi.
Sakura smiled and took her seat by Sasuke's bedside. "I thought you might get tired of listening to me talk so I brought someone else."
Sasuke took her hand. "I could never get tired of listening to you, even if you talked about hearts and flowers."
Kakashi coughed. "Am I interrupting something?" He sighed. "Kids."
Sasuke sent a glare in Kakashi's direction. "Yes. Leave."
"Well, I have something important to tell you Sasuke."
"Get on with it then."
"I'll be taking you home."
Sasuke's eyes widened. "What?"
Kakashi smiled. "I'm going to take care of you for a little while until you're back on your feet."
"Um, thanks... I guess." Sasuke was surprised. Kakashi had always looked out for him but he'd never expected this.
"I'll leave you two alone for a bit. See you later okay Sasuke?"
Sakura watched as Kakashi's silver hair disappeared behind the door. "Sasuke?"
"Yeah?" Sasuke smiled. It was great to see Sakura by his side. He hoped she'd never leave him.
"I have another stupid question."
"You know how much I've loved those. Is it another one about my favorite color? Because now I'm pretty sure it's pink."
Sakura blushed. "Are we, you know, together now?"
"If your asking me if I consider you my girlfriend I'd have to say yes, of course. Maybe those stupid girls will finally leave me alone. Now your friend can get really jealous."
Sakura frowned. "I'd hope she'd be happy for me. I've known her for so long. I don't want things to end badly."
Sasuke couldn't stand seeing Sakura upset. He squeezed her hand and their eyes met again. "Sakura," he whispered.
He moved his hand from hers and tucked a strand of pink hair behind her ear. He cupped her cheek and slowly leaned forward, brushing his lips with her own. He pulled back and dropped his hand to clasp his fingers with hers once more. "Did you understand that message?" he whispered.
Sakura wiped away the few tears that had fallen from her eyes, smiled, and nodded. "I guess summer school was worth it after all. I'd sit through another whole summer with Kakashi as long as you were there with me."
"You mean you'd rather do that than spend the summer doing this?"
Sasuke leaned forward and kissed Sakura again. When he pulled away this time, she was slightly breathless."
Sakura giggled and leaned forward in her chair. A playful smile spread across her face as she leaned toward Sasuke's ear. She told him, "I guess you're right. That's a message I could never get tired of sending."