why do we always suffer in silence?
can the world just be ours
for a day?
She dreams of falling, flying, running, crying, dying. She dreams of people with blurred faces, her parents buried six feet deep, ninja, sneakers hitting grass, shooting stars, Orochimaru. She dreams and when she wakes it feels like a walking dream, a world where everything can be broken like thin glass, where ice skates cut deep welts into an already thinned icy pond.
But she never dreams of him.
It's been six months since his return and she still hasn't gathered courage to see him, to visit him, to yell, to scream, to throw genjutsu at him, to laugh, to cry, to do anything. It's painful, she tells herself, and she just doesn't want to. Naruto tells her she's moved on, but she thinks it's less than that.
She's just scared.
Sasuke has no business paying attention to her, the-girl-who-always-got-in-his-way, and he's certainly not expected to acknowledge her existence, beg for forgiveness, befriend her––Sakura expects nothing from him, but there's a nagging feeling in her mind telling her that if that's so, why does she still bother?
(I'm the girl that got in his way)
Sakura doesn't dream of Sasuke because she knows it's pointless loving a dream, someone you imagined up in your head who happens to have a striking physical resemblance to one Uchiha Sasuke but isn't anything like him otherwise. Someone you fantasise about, think of, someone you wish would notice you. Sakura doesn't dream of Uchiha Sasuke because he will never, not ever, dream of her.
Sakura dreams of running, her feet never touching the ground, just running out beyond mountains and rivers and grassy plains with everything and nothing––
(maybe one day i will touch the sky).
Tsunade sends her into the marketplace to gather some medicinal herbs for antidotes, and Sakura is glad to leave the patients to themselves, to focus on her own thoughts in the blurry heat haze of a summery Konoha. Naruto is out on a mission with Shikamaru and Ino, who replaced her when Tsunade labelled her much too busy to be running around doing recon. Sakura secretly hates the Hokage for this decision, but says nothing because it's best that way.
Herbs, Sakura thinks to herself distastefully as she calculates prices at the different stalls. She's bored out of her mind at the moment, thinking that excitement is as elusive as air caught in bare hands.
(she feels like she's walking on broken glass)
Someone brushes past her and the familiar scent that she hasn't smelt in so long, the cologne that always made her heart skip-hop-tha-thump against her chest, and in the sudden twang that resounded through her head and body she dropped the paper bag.
"Crap," she cursed, before scrabbling to pick up the items. She was a ninja, she was not supposed to be uncoordinated and clumsy. Ninja prided themselves on accuracy, flexibility, stealth, dexterity. She had just demonstrated that obviously those who spent months on the written and failed dismally at practical could still attain ninja-ship.
And when she got back up, emerald eyes collided with ebony ones and she cursed herself for basically everything.
She would prefer Kakashi's infuriating bell test, the sky to fall down and bury them all alive, a black hole to crush them to pancake-like beings, hell, even an apocalypse to come with the four horse riders and all. Maybe she was being melodramatic, but all the hurt and pain she'd deemed long buried ran to catch up with her, waving posters of 'You suck!' and all.
"Sasuke," her voice was brittle and parched, like a lake devoid of water.
"I didn't know you were in Konoha," was this Sasuke trying to initiate conversation? Sakura almost laughed aloud when she saw Sasuke's raised eyebrow, inviting her to pine, to beg him for his love, to ask him on a date, to blush and stammer and there was no way she was doing any of those things.
"I've been busy," she responded icily. "With important things."
(don't cry, don't cry, don't cry)
"Anyway," she turned away, clutching the paper bag to her chest as though it were a lifesaver. Her palms were sweaty and strands of pink hair stuck to her cheeks. She wished, more than ever, that the ground would open up and she'd fall straight through to the Underworld. "I have errands to run for Tsunade-sama."
And she walked briskly up the esplanade, grocery bag ripping under the weight of her strong hands.
Sakura dreams that night about running far away from everything and anything, painting the stars multi-coloured with a brush, using the world as her easel and laughing till she swallowed the moon whole in a mouthful.
Sakura dreams, and not once does she think of Sasuke.
Somewhere, however, her heart aches in a hopeless symphony.
Her next collision with the Uchiha prodigy occurs when Naruto drags her out of her apartment for ramen and refusing Naruto ramen is like refusing a baby its milk, so of course she says yes but does not expect Sasuke to be perched on one of the stools, staring into nothing and looking like Strong Sad.
(building towers around myself)
"Sakura," he addressed again, in that same no-nonsense smug smirking voice, full of pride and wit and you-know-you-love-me-really-you-just-won't-let-go. A tone full of self-appreciation and Sakura hates him for it.
"Sasuke," she was curt, concise, to the point and wishing Naruto would shrivel up like the annoyance he is. "How have you been?"
She wishes to berate him, to tell him that he left (he left her) everything behind and he doesn't have the right to be sitting there as King of Smug, acting like he owns everything and he's always belonged right there, in that seat––he went to Orochimaru, he sought strength and he didn't even repay the snake-man. Right now, she wouldn't have cared if his soul had been stolen, his body used as a vessel, because he's wrong.
"Serves you right," she said unthinkingly, and it felt like she watched from the sidelines as Naruto inhaled sharply, loudly ordering ramen for the both of them and Sasuke giving her a stony, unimpressed, hurt look.
(i'm walking on air, i'm falling)
"Does it?" he's piercing her with a look, a goddamned look, and she feels like smacking him across the face. She's angry; he left her and everything and he has the nerve to question it all. She doesn't dream about him because she convinces herself not to love him, he isn't worth it, hell, he doesn't even give a damn about friendship.
She glares, putting all her hatred into it. "Yes."
Sakura dreams that night about wielding a katana, cutting through trees and stones and figures that look strangely like Orochimaru. She is not running away and blind fury is pressing her forwards.
But she does not dream of Sasuke.
Sakura usually dislikes training because the principle of it is to train until your muscles ache and you can hardly stand and it's exhausting. Tsunade reprimands her; to be a medic you must be strong and endurance is key. To master genjutsu you must be strong and endurance is key. To be a ninja you must––
(we are born innocent, tainted by blood)
She throws punches blindly, aiming for the air, the trees, the sky, the world, anything. I'll capture the world in my fists, she thinks, and then maybe I can call myself a ninja. It's hard pouring all your energy into an attack, to be able to match your tempo to your beating heart and just fight, but it's an art.
People accuse ninja of being atheists, prone to violence, evil.
But being a ninja is religion. To be able to move swiftly without making noise, making a prodigy of yourself by standing by your country and what you care about––Sasuke, she thinks, you were never born a ninja. You were born an avenger, free to spill blood that kills your lust for revenge. Ninja fight to protect, but you go in for the kill. You are not a ninja. Naruto is a ninja. You are just––
She doesn't turn, doesn't say anything, merely keeps punching until her arms begin to ache for the strain. And then he's in front of her, frowning, and she keeps punching, hitting rock-solid muscles and he's letting her, his arms snapped to his sides like a toy soldier. She fights like a spastic kitten and once she's done she just sinks to her knees and lets the tears fall.
"I hate you," she screamed to the sky. "I hate you. You left, you bastard, and we looked for you––we searched for you! And all this time, you didn't care about us and then you saunter in like everything's okay, like nothing's changed, your only excuse being that you didn't want to be Orochimaru's vessel! And then you wonder why we arrest you, try you, make you stay here, question you! You wonder! And all this time I've been hurting and … and say something!"
Sasuke doesn't speak for a long while, and she's wondering if he's going to strike her back, tell her she's annoying, walk away, say 'thankyou', do something typical of him.
"I did care," his voice is miles away, on some faraway plane, caught in the clutches of Hell. You were my friends, his eyes seem to scream and her heart aches all over again, wounds cracking open and bleeding.
"But we weren't important enough, were we, Sasuke? Friends stay, you know that? Friends help each other, friends don't leave to avenge people, friends don't say thankyou, friends help! You are not a friend, Uchiha Sasuke. You never were."
(circling around towers, the city in its glory)
Being a ninja is religion. You adopt a no-feelings mentality, you fight until you meet your end and Sakura has had enough. She has never been strong enough to be a ninja, never been strong enough to abide shinobi rules. Her emotions run too hot, and her blood too cold. She is not a ninja, but neither is Sasuke, and she feels stronger knowing this.
"And besides," she is spiteful. "You're speaking in past tense."
She's on the ground, sweat beading on her forehead from training, palms sweaty from that and Sasuke's proximity. Almost three years and he comes back, rewrites history, acts as though Konoha and him have never been parted, acts as though he's suddenly nice-guy with the friends and talent and devotion.
"I did care," he repeated with the sort of fierceness only Uchiha Sasuke can bring to a word.
"It got you a long way, didn't it, Sasuke?" tears drip from her nose to the ground. "I hate you."
She looks up and sees him at eye-level, kneeling in the grass beside her. Her hair is flying everywhere and through the pinkish haze she can see him looking the typical I-don't-care Sasuke-ish mentality, but he's looking at her.
For hating me because I failed to love you.
(walking on water and drowning in regret)
Sakura dreams that night about drowning. She's trying to swim but she can't and her head keeps disappearing under the water and she's choking on the deep blackness as the light fades from above her. She tries to reach the top, but she can't.
She doesn't dream about Sasuke, but when she wakes, he's the only one on her mind.
Her heart beats violently against her ribcage and she can't concentrate on anything Tsunade says the next morning.
"I've got a proposition for you," the Hokage announced one morning and Sakura is beyond caring.
"Oh, I love them, as they always involve a doubled workload," Sakura responded dubiously, staring at her battle-calloused hands in distaste.
"Gaara has requested a medic be sent from Konoha to Suna for a six month trial period, and if it works out, at least until this constant fighting-between-villages clears up. As we've only recently established a shaky alliance with them due to Orochimaru and the Akatsuki, we thought it best to send one of our best medics. Which is you. Of course, you can refuse."
"Leave … Konoha?" Sakura was dumbfounded.
And suddenly it all seemed so easy; run away, never see Sasuke again, never face the problems you have, end all the heartache, move on. It seemed so easy to say yes, yes I will go, and just end it. But the thought caught halfway.
"Yes, that is the general idea," Tsunade smiled. "So?"
She wanted to say yes.
"I can't," she said, concentrating on her hands. And I got that scar when Gaara went psycho and tried to kill me. "I'm sorry. I … I couldn't leave my parents here, not when they expect a lot out of me, and––all my friends, and … my duty lies in Konoha, Tsunade-sama. I can't leave it. Not for anything."
I might not be a strong ninja, Sasuke, but I can still be a ninja. I protect my country and I will not leave it, even in wartime, even for alliances. I will not leave it because I will not let it bleed without me bleeding. I won't let it die unless I die. This is Konoha. It's my home.
"I understand," is all Tsunade responds with.
And Sakura decides that that is that.
Sakura does not dream that night.
"I heard you were leaving," Sasuke greeted her with this statement when she opened the door, sleepily rubbing away remnants of a dreamless night.
Sakura feels her dinner regurgitate in her throat, and pushes the nausea down.
"Where'd you hear that?"
He shrugged. "Around."
"Well, I'm not," she responded harshly. "I said no, anyway. Was there any particular reason you came over, or did you just want to wake me up, Sasuke?"
"Sasuke-kun," he retorted, as if it's an automated response.
He runs a hand through his hair and lets a sigh escape his lips. "I wanted to ask if you'd train with me."
Sakura wonders if she's heard right. "What?"
"Why don't you ask Naruto?"
And Sakura hates him for it all over again. Why now, after all this time, does he want to socialise, be a part of her life, befriend her, be at least mildly civil? Why?
She asks him.
"Because you've changed."
And Sakura fixed him with a glare. "Because of you."
Later, she wonders, if anything will ever be the same.
She dreams of falling, flying, running, crying, dying. She dreams of choking, of fighting Orochimaru defenceless, of booting Kabuto in the behind. Of laughing her head off at nothing in particular.
She just dreams.
But one night an image of Sasuke burns so fiercely into her mind that she wakes up with the image plastered to the back of her eyelids, burning red hot and leaving her heart beating so wildly fast that everything spins around her.
It was useless before, chasing after the impossible and wondering why nothing happened, but now they've moved on and times have changed and maturity has set in and perhaps she's not just dreaming anymore.
(maybe one day i will touch the sky)
A/N: Squeeness! I don't own Naruto or anything but WHATEVER.