They sit on the window ledge, gazing out at the city. It's sunset and the white of buildings are a dusty orange because of it. The faces of the hokage are cast in uncertain shadows as the light shifts, turning trusted expressions into something more sinister. She tries not to look too hard at it because it seems too terribly familiar. Instead she watches her companion out of the corner of her eye. It's hard to ignore him, sitting with him like this, their legs pressed together because the window is small.
He smells of ramen and wind and earth. His legs stretch out longer than hers and she knows how strong they are, both as a medic and a team member. His hand which rests on his leg, so close to hers, is large, tanned by the sun but without scars. She's always found that strange. All shinobi have scars, from where a kunai bit to deep or a mission went too wrong. Scars are the way the shinobi mark the past. It comes to her mind as a saying, though she can't remember who she heard it from and maybe she just made it up. He is affected by the past too, even though there are no scars to show for it. The past has flowed around him, blunting the sharpness of childhood, molding him into what he is now, and it's still flowing around him, around her, around them all. She wants to reach out and trace the path where the scars should be on the back of his hand, feel the ridge of bone beneath her finger. Thankfully a breath of wind comes swirling from the north and tugs her hair into her face, prompting her to lift her hand and tuck the errant strands behind her ear.
"I love this place," he says. It's random and unexpected in the quiet and she is caught off guard. Her mouth moves before her brain can catch up.
"I know. I've always found that a little strange," she says, wishing to take the words back even as she speaks them.
"Huh? Why is that?" he asks, looking at her, the light glinting off his hitai-ate. She is tempted to just brush it off. It's uncomfortable and she's never much cared for the uncomfortable. She's different now though, scars of her own, though perhaps subtle, and plows on.
"Just the way you were treated," she says, staring at a tree even as she can feel him looking at her. "When you were younger, I mean." She only knows about it in bits and snatches, dark rumors between adults. She hadn't concerned herself much with those kinds of things in those days. He shrugs, a movement which, since they are so close, nudges her a little as well.
"That's life, isn't it? You can't change what already happened. The important thing is to just keep going for the future."
"Don't you ever wish you could change things, though?" she asks, at the moment tired of his optimistic attitude. There are so many things she would change. So many things she would have said and done. Maybe if she had been more of a friend then just an empty headed fangirl… Maybe then…
"Yeah, I do," he says, voice serious and almost wistful. He looks away and she waits a moment before tilting her head to see him better out of the corner of her eye, watching him without watching him. He stares at the city with a focused gaze, as if taking everything in, absorbing every moment ticking by. Moments are things that never return, she thinks, realizing it more and more with each day that passes. What was a second ago is gone in a blink and will never be back again. They are dying in fractions and one day there will be no moments left.
"But if all you do is look at what happened," he says. "Then you won't have time to think about what's ahead."
"I didn't peg you as a philosophical one," she says with a slight laugh, wanting to bury his words before she thinks too much about them. The future is scary, wide open and uncertain and she is not ready for it. Instead she pokes him lightly in the temple with her index finger. "There is something in there. Who would have guessed?"
"Hey, I'm full of philosophical thoughts," he says, loudly, proving his worth even though she's not sure if he really knows what he means.
"Full of something anyway," she says, sticking out her tongue and poking him again. He grabs her hand, it's quick and unexpected and shocks her. His palm is rough and callused, like hers she expects, but bigger, darker, warm. It seemed he was only intending to stop her from poking him, but he doesn't let go. The heat fills her hand and her face and she hopes that her cheeks aren't red like his are.
"S…Sakura," he says, but she isn't ready for that moment either. Maybe she'll never be. Emotions are too complex and subtle and she's learned from experience not to dive head long into things before checking carefully for the sharp rocks that might be there. She turns her head away, slipping her hand from his to fold both on her lap, but doesn't leave. He stays for a moment; hand still raised, then lowers it and looks back to the city too.
"It's so pretty this evening," she says after a moment. "I hope it stays this way so when Sasuke comes back, he can see it too." The name is strange on her lips, even though she's said it so often. It makes her heart sink a little, turn to stone just a tiny bit more because she doesn't believe it, she knows in the darkest part of her heart that it will never happen. But she says it because she knows Naruto believes and wants to give him at least that much.
"Yeah," Naruto says. "I think he'll like that."
Disclaimer: Since I am not male nor Japanese, I am obviously not Kishimoto and therefore do not own this series.
This is for my twinnie, just because. Also, sort of accidentally flowed in a style similar (and quite inferior) to that of Tsubakihana. So check her out for a great read!
Insofar as my other stories go, I'm working on Kenji and then will work on Child's Eyes. Am not setting a date for either chapter to be up yet. NightMare's Fushigi Yuugi shall be updated sometime this week. Thanks to everyone who left a review! I really appreciate it!