As Sasuke watches Sakura, he wonders. He wonders if she realizes that she's become an enigma while he was away. He wonders if she knows what her calm nonacceptance does to him. He wonders if she's done it all intentionally or if she's as pure as she looks from this distance.
Her once flamboyantly pink hair has relaxed with her personality, settling into a pale shade of coral. The locks fall almost to her waist again, now. He's not sure if that's a pointed message or a coincidence. So many things have changed about her, he's not sure what he should think.
Sasuke knows without looking that her emerald eyes remain unchanged.
He remembers those eyes in a million times and places, nightmares and daydreams. A bone-deep certainty tells him that eyes like those won't change. Emotions will flit and flash over them but at the end of all things, they'll still shine, bottle-green and lovely, as they did the day he met her.
Those eyes are the same that hero-worshipped him when he was just a stupid, angry child. The same pair that cried for him when the odds stacked against them in the Forest of Death. They pleaded with him when he chose the path of vengeance. Green hate-love shone from them across the battlefield when she faced-off with Team Hebi. And calm detachment radiated from them the day he walked back into Konoha.
Deep down, he knows the reason he can't look at them now is for fear of what he'll see barreling back at him. Because no matter how her manner changes, Sakura's true feelings will always show in her eyes. Hardened avenger or no, Sasuke's not sure what he'd do the day that hate stared back at him from her green, green gaze.
So he dodges the possibility and waits, watching her from a distance.
When he returned to the Leaf, Team Seven was patched back together. They were ragged and dissenting but whole again at last.
Naruto liked to pretend that nothing had happened, but that didn't set any precedents for the rest of the team. Sasuke despised Sai for no reason other than the fact that he'd replaced him. He had replaced Sasuke in the only real family he'd ever known and he only had himself to blame. Kakashi still loafed around, keeping his students under his watchful eye. It was the vague remnants of disappointment disappearing from his gaze that gave the Uchiha hope.
But rebuilding their team just wouldn't happen without Sakura. She was the medium that held their rag-tag group together, the one person who each one of them was drawn to without really knowing it. Still, Sasuke couldn't stop himself from being selfishly angry that she won't seem to welcome him back with open arms. He had thought about her every day that he'd been gone. Irrationally, he wonders why that isn't enough.
But he doesn't push her, because no matter how different this girl--this woman--seems, he knows that she won't be won back by force. So he carefully aligns himself with her good graces and does all he can: wait. He does what he can to try and endear her to him, to earn her kindness once more. He almost calls it regaining, but stops when he realizes she gave it freely and that it was he who cast it away. Now he knows that he's repenting for what he did when he was an immature, hateful child toying with a beautiful, mature-minded girl's heart.
The slow courtship drags on for a year until they are on an A-rank mission in River Country. It's winter and they're alone at last. The contrast of her pale hair and the snow is distracting him from what she's saying. When she stares at him, awaiting his response, he's glad that a 'hn' will suffice.
As she strides ahead, she doesn't think he notices her trembling with the cold.
When they set up camp for the night, she is returning from gathering wood when a soft weight settles itself over her shoulders. By the time she can react, he is high in the tree overhead, settling in for the first watch. Green eyes watch with something like slowly returning wonder as an expertly executed fire jutsu melts the snow from his chosen perch. Rather than casting the still-warm cloak from her body as she knows--thinks she should, she instead wraps it more firmly around her. A reluctant sort of smile creeps onto her lips as she inhales the scent that she couldn't quite forget when he was gone.
It is wintertime in the River Country when Sakura decides she's ready to start forgiving.
Oh noes! Cannon-fic by Bluegreenapples? Is it true?! X3 Three inches of snow on the ground this morning when I woke up inspired this piece. Even though there's almost no snow in this fic! This is a two-piece drabble. The other part (from Sakura's perspective) will be up either late tonight or early tomorrow. Thanks for reading and please review:D