A/N: Intelligible, poetic, plotless angst. This is what happens when you listen to Grey's Anatomy OST. I wanted to write SaiSaku, and this came up. Much like my only KakaSaku, I would suppose. Angst, drama, a lot of mixed metaphors, a bit of romance, and fashionable interior decorations in between. Don't mind the tense change, I beg of you.
Add Me Colour
Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
The Fray, "How To Save A Life"
It was three AM when she finally ended her shift in the hospital, and she wanted to do nothing more than soak up in her bath and maybe drown in there a little, too.
Sometimes she was so sure the fates were against her.
"Haruno-san." That name, —were she awake enough to care, she'd analyse it, analyse how it triggered reactions, and pride, and how it pulled her in, but really, what was there in that name? it was her father's name, and she wasn't him—, that name was always enough to snap her back into life.
Another operation or two, another ANBU member saved, another shinobi going home in a few days, with only two scars to remind me. She prayed, if she had any gods to pray to, like maybe Amaterasu, or God, or Buddha, she prayed to them each day that please don't let today be the day I operate on them. Because the idea of having to open Naruto up and play a minuet on his insides, or rearrange Kakashi's bones, or sewing a wound in Yamato's chest, or spending two hours breathing chakra and life into Sai's—you soulless, emotionless, fake bastard, you—body always made her cold. Always made her wonder: what if I can't do it? What if all my talent and all my greatness, all those hours of training and perfecting, are lost the minute I have their lives on my hands.
And that was just stupid.
Because they were a team, were they not? And a team meant having to save their lives, too. So Sakura prayed to gods she didn't have, begging them to not bring her boys on her operation table. Sometimes, they listened. Most of the time, they liked to grab their bellies and laugh at her.
That was what gods like those must have liked.
Her shifts always ended at three AM, in theory, but five out of seven days, someone got hurt at ten minutes to three, and Sakura had another few hours of loving the hospital.
"We really should consider putting up some colour in their rooms," she'd suggest to Tsunade, the next day during training. "I mean, if I'm gonna be there all the damn time, I'd rather not go blind with the whole white. You can hardly figure it's a ninja hospital, with all the white."
"You're a medic-nin," Tsunade would say, gaze too stern to fit on the woman's face. "You don't need to care about colour, unless it's red and coming from your table of operations."
And that was usually that.
Sakura never had much taste, Ino would say. After all, she matched pink with red, and it always, always looked horrible, but in a strange, Sakura-ish way, it fitted right through. However, her attempts at propagating fashion through the hospital were always unfruitful.
"Paintings," she'd say, a few weeks after that, barging into Sai's crisp and clean apartment. "Make me paintings."
"Why?" he would ask.
"For the hospital. I need something other than…white."
And because Sai was cruel more than he was nice, he'd make her three paintings of a white snow storm, and one of a red poppy in the middle of a sun-stroked grain field—"It's pale yellow, you see?" he would explain, and then, as usual, get his skull fractured by her merciless hand.
Slowly, all the colour started to ebb away from her life.
Routine fell over her, and it was hospital, train, hospital, sleep, hospital, train, hospital, sleep, over and over and over and over and over. Some of those days, she purposely searched Lee or Gai out, not approaching them, just standing in the distance and soaking up all their green.
And she asked herself, how is it possible that they have more life then I do? Is it that every time I save a life, I lose a bit of mine?
Slowly, like a lull to sleep, the colours faded to a frightful, almost transparent collection of pastels.
Her yellow, her sunshine, her warmth and power and strength, that which held her up and helped her climb, left, and travelled. Naruto always was a free spirit, and Sakura didn't have the heart to hold him close, to set him boundaries. She was not that cruel. And so, Naruto left, always returning, of course. Narutos always returned. But when he returned, she got a lunch with him, a talk, a how-did-your-month/year/time-go-when-I-w
as-gone?, and that was that. Naruto was growing up, starting to notice other colours, like purples and soft cream, shy whispers and blushes.
Hinata took away the yellow, and Sakura smiled brightly at their wedding, face creaking from the force of it.
She can't remember, but Sai had been near, letting her grasp his hand until she broke the fingers.
Her silver, her wisdom and encouragement, left and was dull, and was dull and was gone. Kakashi never could die, and Sakura knew this. But soon, his missions started getting lengthier, and she started to forget the crinkle of his eye, the texture of his mask, and the smell of his hands. Kakashi would come home from missions, and Sakura would heal him up, and they'd talk. Maybe. Sometimes he just went to bed, while Sakura left him food on the counter and left his apartment silently. When they talked, Kakashi knew how to break her heart without needing to put a kunai in it. When will you stop clinging to dreams? he would ask, and Sakura would be furious because he just couldn't seem to see that she had stopped. She'd stopped back when Sasuke's absence had reached its fifth year and the war with Sound came—yet not again Orochimaro, but against him, so red, and black, and bloody. She'd stopped clinging to Sasuke, like she'd stopped clinging to Naruto, and Kakashi.
Maybe she'd never stop grasping at Sai's fingers, and she hoped desperately for Ino to never get married, because Sakura couldn't stand more white and weddings.
"My life is white," she had told Sai once, on a hill, watching the sunrise. Near the shore, watching the stars. In a lake, watching the sunset. Home, watching her walls. Places and things she's watched, she can't remember. "All I remember is white."
And he would look at her, expressionless, wondering mutely why the girl-woman still holds on to him. He'd stare, wordlessly, at how Sakura came closer, leaning against his side, making him pause in his painting.
"My colours are leaving, and I'm letting them go," she would say, lips brushing against his skin. He never pulled away. "If you go, I'll kill you so bad."
He'd snort softly, familiar with threats, familiar with their routine. "What do you want?" he would ask.
She never answered.
Then, he goes missing for a year. One year without sadistic paintings of snowstorms and poppies, and Sakura does what she knows best.
She waits. And she hates it.
Naruto invites her for dinner at his house, but she always declines politely. Hinata is there, and purple clashes with yellow, Sakura thinks—in an artistic sense so similar to his she wants to laugh and laugh—but it's not that Sakura hates Hinata. She couldn't. But dinners at Naruto's house are loud, and lively, filled with meaningful gazes they think their guests never mention. Against her nicest intentions, it always makes Sakura sick.
So a year passes, and Ino tells her she's stupid for not knowing what she wants; and Kakashi tells her she's silly for not letting go of her dreams; and Tsunade tells her she's stupid for not concentrating on her job. Sakura never answers either of them, and never answers herself.
She buries herself under the white, and wishes he were there to call her Ugly.
It's only normal that the gods she so heretically prays to each day would chose to mock her like this.
"You stupid, emotionless, fake-smiling bastard," she hisses as she pours her chakra into his unconscious body. Her assistants share a confused look, while Sakura breathes her life into him, "I hope you fucking appreciate this, you idiot,", laughing shakily when he wakes up.
It's a year and three long hours of waiting, but his words make the waiting worth it.
"Ugly, stop crying over me."
And so is the punch that comes after it.
They don't speak of themselves for a while.
He tells her of his mission, as little as he can without breaking rules, and she tells her about her year, as much as she can without divulging how she nearly drowned without…something.
Some days, she knows she wants him, the whole Sai package, with the insufferableness, and the lack of emotion, and those eyes she can drown in. some days, she wants him so bad it hurts, but he never asks anymore, and she never tells.
The invitation to Ino's wedding in her mailbox has her crying for an hour.
Then she pulls out a white dress, puts it on and goes to barge into his apartment. He's painting, of course he is, something green and yellow and purple and pink. No red, no white, no grey.
"All my life is white," she says, voice shaking this time as she stands, barefoot, in front of him. "And I'm drowning in it."
And he, used to this, asks, "What do you want, Sakura?"
This time, she answers. "Paint me. Add me colour. I want…" she trails off, because he's wiped a finger full of red paint across her white dress.
"What?" he asks. Again.
"You," she answers, and crashes her mouth against his. I don't care if you're an emotionless, fake-smiling bastard, but if you don't kiss me, I'll kill you so bad.
He shows her the use of paint, covering her entire body with it. She's red, and yellow, blue, purple, grey, green, orange, pink, and everything else. There is colour. So she asks, "How do I look?"
His face, the bastard, finally softens a bit with emotion she doesn't understand. "Beautiful."