Cataracta's Notes: I'm not exactly satisfied with this story, but I wanted to post it anyway. It's a little... strange, and a little jerky, but I like it. Hopefully you will too. Btw, this is #2 in the TDW series. Enjoy!

On the Human Condition

"You say you are happy, you are lying. Sasuke X Sakura"

Sasuke's never been good with words. They've always been his own second-worst enemy, never coming out quite right. He chokes on them sometimes; other times he just can't think of any.

And this is a problem, he thinks, because people are always so desperate for words. They're desperate for reassurance; "it'll be okay". They're desperate for acknowledgment; "I'm proud of you". They're desperate for affection; "I love you". But he's never quite managed the ability to get those words to come out right.

They've always sounded more like; "you're weak", "you're useless", "you're in the way". There are the rare times, of course, when something does manage to come out right and he can get away without putting his foot in his mouth, but those times are rare. Really, he can only think of two; "I wanted to save you" and "thank you". Odd, he muses.

He's noticed, though, that sometimes it's okay if the only thing you're good at is putting your foot in your mouth. Because, really, words aren't the only thing that talk. Actions talk, and if the sayings are to be trusted, they're louder than words.

Sasuke thinks that's true. The proof surrounds him, after all. Naruto's words have never been that articulate; too many "believe it's", but more than enough follow-through. Lee, too. His words are deafening and ornate, yet his actions have always spoken of his true intent. And, since he was on a roll, Hinata. The girl's stuttered words were more often than not ignored, but that didn't change the resolve in her actions.

Perhaps most importantly, he suddenly realizes, Sakura's actions have always been much louder (and more believable) than her words. For years and years she claimed to love him, and for years and years her actions betrayed her. They told him it was only a childish crush, fueled partly by competition. And so he had paid her no mind. But now…

Now, her actions speak of something else. She no longer claims to love him, but her actions tell him she does. Instead of throwing herself on him at every opportunity, she waits patiently for him to come to her. And, perhaps most surprisingly, he does. He comes to her when, ironically, he needs a break from the constant chatter that never seams to cease.

And it's odd, because the girl who had once never stopped talking is now the one he seeks for silence. Even stranger, he thinks, is the fact that he enjoys her presence, a quiet, soothing sort of company that he doesn't have to constantly reassure and acknowledge and serenade. He doesn't have to constantly claim to be happy, or sad, or angry. He merely has to be there.

Because it has been his experience that if you claim to be happy, you're lying. But if you feel it, you will act it. And so when he pulls Sakura into his arms one day and buries his face in her hair, he doesn't murmur his happiness or his pleasure. The gesture is enough. Sakura's arms wrap around his back and she smiles against his shoulder.

And Sasuke doesn't say he's happy. He doesn't have too.