title: Upside Down
summery: She's ridiculously easy to capture. But so is he.
pairing: Sasuke x Sakura.
note: This is kinda weird and kinda like – what? And I know Sakura's stronger than that, but…
word count: 1149
He captures her easily. Too easily. So easily that as he does it, as he strikes the blow and watches her eyes roll to the back of her head, her legs crumble and her body fall, he is ashamed for her. Embarrassed. But that feeling is familiar. Also familiar is the weight of her, the softness that hides the hard muscle, the feel of the backs of her knees, of her shoulder blades, and the damnable way her head lolls to rest against his collarbone.
That must be why he takes her.
Because she is Sakura and he is Sasuke and nothing in his life is the same as it was and he thinks - briefly, fleetingly, as he takes to the trees and leads black and red skies away from a burning village - that he will like having her around, the same as she always was.
Then she wakes up and she is not the same.
When she first begins to stir, he stops going to train and begins to stay in his room. Waiting. Watching. Wake up, wake up, wake up. She does. From her cocoon of blankets and pillows (he almost gave her the bed - almost) she sits up. Quick. Nothing about her is blurry and sleep-fogged, none of her movements are sluggish and undecided. It doesn't take long for her green, green gaze to find him, sitting in the silence and watching, always watching.
And she looks at him, pink hair mussed and wild. Pink hair that is not long, is not soft and silky but free, insane, a badge of courage he isn't sure she deserves. No matter, he prefers her hair like it is now. He prefers her, as she is now. Grown up and stronger and a healer and Sakura and -
"I hate you."
and maybe he doesn't prefer this new Sakura.
In the shock of right after - the shock he doesn't let show on his face or in his actions - Sasuke almost asks her why.
He takes her everywhere with him.
They know about her, all these people he now call comrades, but they know better than to come to close. Still, he doesn't trust them, doesn't believe in their honor, or dignity, or anything else that he can't bring himself to even think about anymore. So she must always be with him, must always be where he can see her, where he can be ready to stand between her and the world he calls his own.
When he trains, she sits and watches. Her eyes are so jealous, so bitter, so infuriated that he's distracted. He is clumsy sometimes. Clumsy and slow and sub par. Then her eyes smile, laugh bitterly and coldly and make him so, so angry because they embarrass him so, so much. Sakura tells him that Naruto is better than him. That - and now her voice sharpens to a stabbing point - if he were to remove the chakra suckers from her wrists and ankles, she would be better than him.
Silently, he leads her back to their room and doesn't remind her of how easy she was to capture.
The old Sakura comes back at perhaps two o'clock in the morning.
He hasn't had nightmares for years, not since he left Kohona. But they've come back with Sakura. Usually, no matter how scared and horrified and please no, please no he is, Sasuke awakes with nothing but a jolt to a silent, still room. This night is different.
This night there is too much blood, too many screams, too many lies and too much and - and Sasuke writhes in his bed, caught in a make-believe world that only he knows the horror of. He doesn't make a sound, but his thrashing awakes Sakura, curled up in tremulous sleep. She stands and looks and sees a Sasuke that is vulnerable, that is nothing more than a child. That is her Sasuke.
When his eyes fly open, wild and flashing red, all he can see is her, leaning over him, hand to his forehead, making soft, soothing noises of comfort. And no matter how much he wants to hold on, wants to stay with this Sakura that isn't glaring at him like he's the scum of the earth, he drops back into sleep.
The nightmares don't come again, but in the morning the Sakura they brought is gone too.
They settle into a routine.
Everyday, Sasuke wakes up before Sakura. When she awakes, they go and get breakfast to bring back to the quarters to eat. Then, Sasuke goes to train. Sakura sits and watches. They eat again. They train. They eat. They sleep.
Most days, not a word is said between them. All communication is done through glares and sneers and scoffs. Sasuke is just silent.
The routine is broken when Sakura - after dinner, before bed - breaks the heavy silence.
"Why did you capture me?"
Looking up from the kunai he is polishing, Sasuke raises an eyebrow.
"Why me, Sasuke?" It's the first time she's used his name. "Why anyone? Why not just kill me?" Her voice has a hysterical edge, he notices with apprehension. "Why would you steal me away from everything - everyone - I loved to live this stupid life that - that's not even a life!"
She throws herself into her nest-bed, silent but - he knows, he knows - crying.
Sasuke's hands are trembling as he resumes polishing his weapons.
It is perhaps one o'clock in the morning when the new Sasuke arrives.
He crawls through the dark, aided by eyes that he hates, loathes, but, right now, is grateful for. Roughly - too roughly - he grabs her small shoulders and shakes her awake. Her head lolls and he thinks that his collarbone should be supporting it. Then her eyes open and she is awake.
"You said," he whispers, voice shaking, mind reeling, heart hurting. "You said that you wanted to come. You begged. Remember?" His voice is a beg, is a plea for her eyes that glow in the dark as surely as his to sharpen and clarify and then soften into what they used to be, to show the emotions she used to feel. "You said you loved me."
His hands fumble, shaky, to her ankles. Carefully, he removes the drainers. He reaches for her wrists.
"Go," he tells her. "Just go."
Then, finally, she moves. Her hands find his and squeeze them tight, maybe too tight, but tight enough that Sasuke can feel the pounding of her pulse, echoing in his own hand. Out of the darkness that he sees through, her face looms. Her lips find his and press to them tight, insistently. She pulls back, not far, just enough to whisper, in a muffled voice:
"I still do."
He is ridiculously easy to capture.
note: I apologize for any seemingly out-of-character-ness. But I think that Sasuke would be in a delicate state, after all that's happened, and that the presence of Sakura - especially an angry, hurtful Sakura - would pronounce that. Besides, this whole story's weird anyways.