title: in gratitude
pairing: peripheral(ish) SasuSaku
summary: She is grateful for promises fulfilled, for love unrequited.

for: all of you, every single one, but most of all, to my newfound LJ-friends.

and especially, to annie, to ailey, to missa, to ren, to pina.

happy (belated) thanksgiving, to all who celebrated it.

notes: I fail. I wanted to post this on Thanksgiving Day, but I fell into a cholesterol-induced stupor. Please accept it, late as it may be.

disclaimer: not mine

Haruno Sakura is thankful for many things.


She is thankful for sunlight, for warmth, for conversations over stone-cold broth, and impromptu picnics on the training grounds in July. She is grateful for faith, and hope, and devotion, and a bond so strong,

(almost accidental, really, really, and she laughs a little at the would-be regret)

it overwhelms her—

(and I love you, even if the words don't quite leave my lips, so take the bruises, the less than pretty words, and know that I'm glad you never left)

So she picks up an extra order of shiyo ramen, and makes a note to drop it off after work.

Naruto, she knows, will be gone until dawn, and it'll be nice to come home to something other than silence.


Ino's shop is fuller than ever, and Sakura smiles.

Her best friend is vibrant, stunning, really, and beautiful despite. Blonde hair the color of bright light, of faded photographs—a strawberry-scented memory.

She regrets the schism, but cannot fill the gap with mere hollow words.

(she's thankful for memoirs, for red silk headbands, and blue fey eyes, for purple barrettes, and glitter crayons, for confidence, for quiet strength, for cosmos)

Sakura buys an iris, the color of her favorite shade, and slips out before the bell.

She smells like damp earth, and bitterhot sun, and forgiveness, and saltwater tears and—

(she buries her demons in that forgotten field, and hopes they lie to stay)


Kakashi-sensei is an expert at hiding in plain sight.

He is a warrior,

(tired, broken, hollow that he is, something like the toys he grew up too far away from, but never as harmless, never as whole)

a sentinel of the fallen dead, and she wishes she understood.

(is selfishly thankful that she doesn't)

She doesn't disturb him, will not infringe on his twisted tranquility, but she slips past his fractured guard, through the empty halls, past vacant rooms, waters his plants, and straightens the weapons on the white-washed walls.

She leaves his team picture untouched.

(and he is thankful for that)


She is grateful for promises fulfilled, for love unrequited.

His regard is her dream, her wish, her foolish aspiration. He is beautiful, untouchable, hotter than stars, and brighter than green eyes at the peak of dawn.

His love is her motivation, her catalyst, the voice that taunts her when she falls.

His touch is her weakness, and he knows this.

She turns to him, hands bathed in red, mask in shards, heart barely beating, and—

("…would you rather you felt nothing? That every poisoned senbon be routine, every forced seduction meaningless? Would you rather it not be difficult for you to feel the way the kunai digs through, slowly but surely through the flesh of his neck?"

and she won't touch him, won't taint him anymore than he has himself—

but he catches her hand, ignores the flinch, and runs the bath warm, washes the slaughter from the tips of her fingers, and waits til the water runs clear, and—)

he pieces her whole again.

She is thankful for his scars, for his iniquities, for his own imperfections.

(his own red-eyed demons, and she wondered why there were so many in her peripheral vision)

She falls asleep to the sound of his slow breaths, to the scent of cosmos, in the warmth of stars, under the protection of shadows and—

(she is thankful)

Yeah guys. You're awesome.