Warning: anorexia, nicotine, drugs, and suicide.
"No," the Angel said, arching his wings gracefully, blinking sad, dark eyes, "I can't let a human learn how to fly."
"But why?" the girl asked, hugging her pixie-body to herself, "I'd really like to learn."
The Angel smiled into the naïve teenaged face. "You may be pretty, but I can't break God's rule for you. Why do you want wings so badly? Your legs work fine."
"Ah," she said. "But my legs won't help me get away from this world.
Sakura wishes she could fly.
She wishes she could fly, soar, leap.
Dance in the air like the blossoms can.
But humans can't take flight.
Man does not possess wings. Thus, man cannot fly.
But, Sakura reasons, petals don't have wings either. But petals can still fly. They are Wind's chosen passengers, the one that wind would like to arabesque with against the clouds.
Sakura understands. She understands that in order to fly, she must be weightless like the petal blossoms. A feather-light touch on the face of humanity
She skips dinner that night.
"I don't know what's wrong with her, and I don't have time to find out," the CEO says to the phone. "You're her doctor, you find out."
CEO Haruno hung up the phone, carelessly dropping it back into the cradle. Her daughter was causing trouble again. Who cared if Sakura weighed 83 pounds at age 16? She was thin, she was beautiful. All girls wanted that.
Haruno lifts up her designer suit's jacket sleeve. She stares at the dark puncture wounds in the crease of her elbow. She remembers the needle, the IV, the heart monitor, the wretched scale she had to stand on everyday.
All girls wanted to be thin.
After all, she had been just the same at her age.
Haruno's face tightens. She calls her secretary, tells her she's going to be out for the rest of the day.
The double zeros seem to slide down her hips even more when she takes a drag from her cigarette.
Sakura picks at her skinny jeans, dark washed – almost black – making her twiggy legs seem even thinner. The denim is hanging off her legs like sweatpants. She stares in contempt at the belt she's using. It isn't on the last hole yet.
She inhales, breathing in smoke, burning a pathway through her lungs. Smoke feels good when it slides through her airways.
Smoke makes her forget.
She stomps out the stub and chews on a slice of Orbit, wincing. She much prefers the taste of cigarettes, the cutting flavor of death and sin.
When she gets home, her mother is waiting at the kitchen table.
Sakura grits her teeth when she's forced into her mother's Mercedes.
She doesn't need to go to the hospital, to the rehabilitation center, to a counselor. She just needs a cigarette and a shot of tequila.
Since when did CEO Haruno start caring about her teenage spitfire of a daughter? Wasn't she supposed to be at her company, at her real daughter?
The doctor that greets them at the main lobby is platinum blonde and has breasts that are practically popping out of her shirt. "I'm Tsunade," she says. "I run the branch on eating disorders."
Sakura tosses her limp carnation hair away from her gaunt, pale face. "I don't have a disorder," she tells her. "I'm a straight-A student at the Academy, and I'm student body president. I don't need your help."
Tsunade gives her that smile.
The same smile people gave her when her dad died, when her boyfriend turned out to be gay, when her best friend got thrown out of school for using ecstasy.
The CEO flashes a brief smile of clinically whitened teeth and excuses herself to go take a call on her Blackberry.
Sakura narrows green eyes at her mother's Dolce and Gabbona suit.
It's been three months.
Sakura has been forced to gain 20 pounds. Tsunade beams at her over the clipboard, tells her that she's done a good job.
"It's time for you to leave the hospital. You'll continue gaining weight in a rehab center."
Sakura smiles faintly. Three months have been long. She can't wait to feel the wind against her body again, the sun against her skin.
"Thank you," she says to Tsunade. "for your care."
She packs her suitcase and leaves the whitewashed walls without turning back.
Sakura stares stonily at her mother when the CEO walks her into the rehabilitation center. Dark rings circle her eyes, faded green and smeared with too much makeup.
"I think you'll really like it here," her assistant says to her, "you get a roommate, and there's free time every afternoon with the other patients."
Sakura nods, licking her dry lips slowly.
The CEO gives her daughter her business smile before turning in her Prada heels.
Sakura's roommate is an ex-druggie who used to be on heroin.
"I loved the needles," she says to her, twisting her fingers around the buns in her hair. "They call me Tenten because it takes me ten shots to even get close to high." Her brown eyes are dreamy and distant. "But then my ex-boyfriend turned all straightedge and dumped me in here." She asks Sakura why she's in here, in this hell.
"I wanted to fly."
Sakura tells her, lying down on her bed.
Tenten laughs. "Blossoms, you were on angel-dust or somethin'? Used to do that shit, but then I got onto coke." She plucks at her blanket, occupying her hands.
Sakura looks at Tenten. "I stopped eating because I thought the wind could take me away easier if I weighed nothing."
"You're anorexic? No wonder I thought you looked like a model."
Sakura laughs, a short scoff. "Your needle veins aren't bad themselves."
Tenten grins, eyes still dreamy and distant, as she stares out the barred window. "We're gonna get along good Blossoms."
She clenches her fists, subconsciously popping her blackened veins.
Tenten's been here for six months. She was in here once before, but as soon as she was released, she went back to her life of needles and smack.
They send you to the shrinks in the morning, she tells her, and then they drug you up at lunch and lock you in the rooms until three.
But, Tenten says, after three is the best. Then it's rehab recess, and they get to be with all the other people. They even get to eat dinner together.
"And there's a totally hot guy here too. He was here for abuse and he tried to kill himself, but that's okay, because he told me he liked my hair," Tenten rambles, in her alto voice that reminds Sakura of sweet smoke. "And he has most wicked tattoo on his forehead."
Sakura's shrink is a sweet, down-to-earth woman named Kurenai.
"Don't worry about being skinny, you're beautiful the way you are," Kurenai tells Sakura, staring straight through her soul with crimson eyes. "It's okay that you don't want to be obese, but it's okay to eat too."
Sakura nods, smiles, pretends she's absorbing it. This is easy for Kurenai to say. Kurenai is a fat cow. Kurenai doesn't have the chance to fly anymore.
But she does.
Rehab is a legal center for brainwashing, and Sakura refuses to let it take over her.
Rehab recess was actually the rehab workers shoving the patients, the brainwashed, into a games room.
The games room is spacious, with nailed in furniture and padded walls.
Sakura follows Tenten into the games room, sitting down on a cushiony couch with her and Tenten's boy – Neji.
Neji introduces himself. He's quiet, with soft, light eyes and a lime green tattoo right on the center of his forehead. He makes Tenten's eyes go even cloudier when he talks to her, touches her.
"I got my new roommate too," he says to Tenten and Sakura.
Tenten's expression softens. "We should go meet him," she suggests, ever friendly.
Neji nods. "Okay," he agrees, grabbing Tenten's hand and pulling her up from the couch.
Tenten waves a needle-marked hand at Sakura, beckoning to her to come.
They slowly travel across the rec room to the barred windows, approaching a dark haired boy with too much heartache in his eyes. He lifts his eyes to Neji's face, waiting.
"This is Tenten, and her new roommate Sakura," Neji introduces quietly. Sakura can see the scars on his wrists when he gestures to each of them.
"Sasuke," the heartache boy says softly. His voice is velvety, rough on one side, soft on the other, dark, and capable of drowning someone. He reaches a pale hand up to brush blue-black hair away from dark, sorrowful eyes.
Tenten twirled a button on her shirt. "It's nice to meet you," she says with her usual faraway smile. "Blossoms, get to know him," she says to Sakura, casting the pink-haired girl a hippie smile and leading Neji away.
Sakura sits stiffly next to a boy she barely knows, looking out the window.
She sees him, and his noble pale skin, his unruly hair, his eyes that have watched his own life fall apart. She sees the scars on his wrists, the signs that no one ever caught.
She sees Sasuke.
And she sees her heart slowly start to crack.
The girl next to him…Sakura? Sasuke does not know her. But he sits with her at the window sill, watching life pass them by on the outside.
He sits with her, and her cherry blossom hair, her skin, so light and thin you can see her veins. He sits with her anorexic body, bones sticking out where they should not, face gaunt, making her eyes seem even bigger.
He sits with Sakura.
And as he sits, he slowly starts to bloom.
When the brainwashers ask Sakura how she feels about food she replies.
"It's necessary to the body. It's wrong to not eat it."
They smile. Kurenai pulls her into a hug.
Tenten smiles as she helps Sakura pack. "Don't give up, Blossoms," she tells her. "Even if they dump you back in this shithole, don't give up," she says, muddy eyes clear for once.
With a hug and a wave, Sakura is left outside the center's doors.
Sasuke pretends he's been listening the entire time his therapist has been telling him that there's always another way other than suicide. There's counseling, therapy, restraining orders, court judgment, Kakashi says. Anything. Just not suicide.
Sasuke also thinks Kakashi is full of shit.
But he pretends he's cured, pretends he understands that he did a wrong.
He pretends that trying to take his own life was a mistake.
Neji gives him a rare smile before he leaves. "You can do it, Uchiha," he says, before waving him off out of their room.
Even after three months, she still recognizes him.
Even through the smoke, the alcohol buzz, the dancing bodies, she still sees him.
She calls him. Fighting through sweaty bodies that grind too closely, she finds him.
He's changed. His face has become thinner, the bags under his eyes darker. Sasuke looks sharper, darker, older. His eyes look lonelier.
But she's changed too. Her mother assumed rehab had done it's job properly. She assumed that Sakura was back to normal. She didn't notice when her clothes started to stink of cigarettes and marijuana again, or when she started wearing baggy clothing again.
They meet in the middle of the dance floor. Between the strobe lights, the drunken teenagers who just want to forget, the vibe the ecstasy being passed around has given them all.
They smile at first.
They smile when they realize they haven't changed.
Then they dance.
They dance when their bodies are slowly pushed together.
Sakura moves with the rhythm of the trash rap pounding through the club. Sasuke moves with her, following her closely, their bodies moving as one.
Vodka is her favorite, whiskey is his.
They taste it in each other's mouths at the end of the song.
Their lips move slowly, scorching.
Two broken souls have united as one.
But they want to fly. Together.
Sakura clutches Sasuke's hand, gripping it tighter as she looks over the edge.
The water below the bridge is dark blue, dark blue. The waves crash against the pillars with astounding force.
He helps her up on the ledge, making sure she doesn't fall, and then climbs up after her.
Wind rustles through their hair, blossom colored and the shade of the night sky.
Sakura smiles into the wind, greeting it. She leans her head against Sasuke's shoulder, wiping her tears on his sleeves.
Sasuke smiles at her, glad that he's helping, pressing his lips to her hair.
She wants to run away from her family. The mother who doesn't care, the father who was never there, the friends that slowly disappeared one by one.
He wants to run away from the silence he enters every time he goes home, the brother that shot them all, the pain that wrapped itself around his heart every time he stepped foot in his own house.
The rushing water sprays mist two hundred feet below them.
And together, they jump.
"Humans can't fly," the Angel said, scratching at his blue-black hair.
The girl narrowed her eyes. "How do you know?"
The Angel looked the girl squarely in the eye. "I've tried," he told her, staring into her ice blue eyes.
And then, Sasuke disappeared.
It's unconventional, and totally unlike what I've written before, but I hope you liked it all the same. Thanks for reading, please review.