She looks at him and sees what he has become.

(And it scares her. Scares her so bad she feels the physical drop in her stomach, the clench of her heart and the throbthrobthrobof her - just her, just who she is, just everything - aching.

Why? Why did you do it? I don't understand, I don't understand. Don'tdon'tdon't!)

Then she looks a little closer and sees what he could have been.

(Once upon a time, he was a little boy and he smiled and he loved and if she had been there then, to protect him from the dark; had been strong enough to bring him back before he even left... She sees the light - dim and frail and impossibly faint, but there and alive and just too smothered.


And then she cracks her knuckles (the ones that can shatter the sky) and narrows her eyes (that have seen to much) and swears to make him all that he can be.

(Sakura's promises are worth something. Worth life and happiness and I'll never give up. Just ask those she saved - the ones everyone else gave up on.)

It takes a long time, hours upon hours upon days spent sitting, waiting, watching a silent, stone face (a perfect mask) and hoping (praying, begging) that today would be the day it finally cracked.

("I don't need you."

"I know."

"I don't want you."

"I know.)

She doesn't give up.

(Because she loves him. Not the way she used to - not the fake, artificial, you're so pretty love. No. This love is the love of years, the love of friends and the love of comrades; of unbreakable bonds and too-caring hearts. The love that Naruto and Sakura cannot escape and the love that Sasuke cannot find.

Not yet.

But she's working on it.)

She doesn't judge him.

(Expect for when she does. Except for when she hates him for everything he's done to her and the ones she loves; for when he left and for when he stayed gone and for when he shattered her heart and tried to destroy her. She hates him then.)

(But when he screams and rages and yells out that his entire life has been a lie - then she doesn't judge. Then she stands - watching, watching, watching - and waits for the perfect moment to step in and grab him tight. To not let go when he squirms and bucks; to wait until he gives in and slumps into her shoulder and cry.)

And in the end -

(after days that turned to weeks that turned to months spent in stony silence that turned to careful murmurs that turned to cautious laughter and hope that turned to faith that turned to joy that turned to love)

she watches who he was and who could have been merge into a seamless who he is.

(He's hers. All hers. In watchful silence and soft conversation. In unpracticed tenderness and quiet, rusty laughter. Tempered by time and wear, but still alive and bright and full of power and strength, still a warrior that now has direction, this Sasuke is not a child and not a God, but he is a man and he is a man she is proud of.

A man she can - a man she does - love with frightening ease.)

(I love you. I love you I love you Iloveloveloveyou)


completed: 8.24.08


note: Written simply to prove that this style is not impossible to write. Regardless of whether or not I did it in a remotely legible way or not. ;)