title: freefall
pairing: I had SasuSaku in mind, but it could work for a fair few pairings, I think. Let me know who was on yours?
my neglected babies. D: I wanted to write crack, but I think I should leave that to the Experts.
summary: SasuSaku. He can't make her any promises, but that's all right. She just wants him to make it easier."It's hard to fall," she said pointedly, "when no one will let you."
notes: One day, I will branch out. Probably. Oh, I am sorry, you two.

I really have no idea where this came from, and I have a midterm I should be studying for. If you all would excuse me …

disclaimer: Not mine. :)

After the after, she tried falling, again.

It was easier than she remembered, despite her years of training, and she was in no real danger, as long as she kept herself alert. All she wanted was a moment to be free. Even now, they were blocking her light—the shadows behind her, beside her. After one misstep on a nameless cliff, an (in)convenient west wind, and a forgotten pebble, she was horizontal, the space between the ground and her breath declining with every second. In the moments before impact, she had no time to think, and she was thankful. She'd been doing too much of that, these past few months.

She wanted to feel, just a little.

Slowly, she allowed her body to relax, felt the tenseness leave the line of her back, her spine, her shoulders. She slackened, allowing her fatigue its release.

Mid-fall, they seemed to disappear.

The ground was rushing her, and she tried to draw breath enough to sigh, but even that seemed to be denied her. It was so frustrating, the way even the wind would not let her have her tears, wiping them away with a harshness that was now more than just familiar. It offered her only resistance, pushing against her with nothing but its best, as though attempting to return her to her place above ground.

Above her, she could hear the faint strains of their frantic calls, and she shut her eyes, knowing what came next.

There was a movement behind her, below her, a scrabbling for purchase on the rocky side of her chosen relief. She heard his arm lash out to catch her before she felt it around her waist, and when she hit his chest, she winced for them both. That meant more bones to heal, and no time to spare.

"What did you think you were doing," he asked evenly. There was no concern, only a slight curiosity, though his arm tightened around her. She didn't move, even as he began to pull them up by the rope that held him tethered. She would not turn around.

The last thing she wanted was to see those dark eyes.

She kept silent the whole way up, trying hard not sink into him. Her hands, she kept at her side, carefully out of reach, and her head was bowed. After a while, she disengaged, choosing to climb up beside him, using her chakra as a hold. She had been planning that, anyway, before he decided to interrupt. At her movements, he stopped, silently ordering her to climb ahead. She wondered if it was what was left of his humanity that forced him to do this. She wondered if he was worried that she would try and fall again.

She wondered if she would.

Later, after the other had been appeased, and they were alone again, she turned to him, her eyes solemn.

"It's hard to fall," she said pointedly, "when no one will let you." She looked down at her arms and legs, the pale skin dappled with shadows.

He said nothing to that, but he did not turn away. He was always watching—just watching her. Except for when he stopped her falling.

"Let me fall, next time," she said instead, willing him to understand. "Let me fall. I can catch myself, if I need to. I know how. I've done it before. So, let me fall."

He didn't reply. Instead, he stood up, and walked to their makeshift medic's station, returning with a roll of bandages.

"You have a cut," he said blankly. "Above your left eyebrow." He lifted a hand, and moments later, she felt it—a feather-light touch that still made her sigh. She felt his breath on her face, and despite herself, she felt her eyes fluttering shut.


"No promises," he interrupted her suddenly, still close enough to touch. "I—I can't make you any promises."

She opened her eyes, and felt a weight leave her.

"I don't want you to make me any," she assured him. "I just want you to make it easier. I'm not asking for any promises."

He backed away, and instantly, she found herself missing his warmth.

"Fine," he said. "I'll go find that idiot. He thinks he was being subtle, listening to us in that tree directly behind me."

She laughed, lighter than she'd felt when she'd been falling.

"Fine," she echoed, running her eyes down the length of him as he turned to walk away, content with knowing that he would return.

"It will be fine."

No, she is not suicidal. I think I might have gone overboard with the metaphor, here.