Diary, I Love a Ghost.

whenifall xX

-x-

Standard Disclaimer Applied


"Some women love only what they can hold in their arms; others, only what they can't."

~Mignon McLaughlin

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February 14th, 2008

Dear Diary,

I'm tired of loving him. I'm tired of hiding it. I'm tired of not being acknowledged, noticed, or cared for. I'm tired of hoping, of believing, of wanting. I'm tired of him. So, how come tomorrow I'll be trying once more? He brings out the worst in me.

On the brighter side, Naruto and I were valentines. He told me, "I know you can get a guy, you're hot, and amazing. So I don't know why you aren't dating - but in the mean time, have the chocolates. I love you, Sakura. But go find someone."

Hey, I said brighter, not 'bright'.

--

June 8th, 2008

"I don't know if this will fit," Ino ran her fingers down the fabric of a red dress, "but I think I have to have it anyway."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll make it work," I said, eyeing the skimpy piece that was now being cradled in her arm.

"I doubt my dad will be too happy though."

"What makes you think that?" My voice wasn't innocent – not that I had bothered to try.

A scowl formed on Ino's lips and she shook her head, as if in great annoyance. "Just because you haven't found anything yet doesn't mean you have to be a bitch."

Actually, I had found something two hours ago, but I couldn't tell her that. While I loved, and trusted Ino, I still couldn't bring myself to show the gown to her – I knew how she would react, and I didn't want to hear it. Not yet.

"Sorry," I said after a pause. "Maybe I'll come back tomorrow; I think I'll get the one we saw at Rose & Lace."

"The gray one?" Ino questioned, and even though she tried to hide it, I saw the disapproval on her face. The dress was everything but exciting; figureless, plain, and dull. Not that I had ever worn something truly enticing before, but this was senior prom – a dress so drab was not something she wanted me in, and neither did I. That's why the smallest smile crept on my face when I answered.

"Yeah."

It wasn't the first time I had lied to Ino, and I suppose it wouldn't be the last.

--

February 18th, 2008

Dear Diary,

Ino lectured me today. Well, more like a this-is-what-you're-doing-wrong talk, one of the ones that always end with a here's-how-to-fix-it. It never works. Apparently, I'm in love with a ghost. The second she said that I gave her the "You are insane, why I haven't put you in an asylum yet?" look. It didn't faze her. As she puts it, I've "done well" over the past few years. I tricked her into thinking I was over Sasuke (can you get over something that never was?), and even though she feels like a terrible best friend for not realizing it, I'm the shitty one for not informing her – I didn't take that too offensively, I know she's right, but I chose for it to be that way a long time ago. Now this, this is all according to her – and it's odd to say, but Ino can be deep sometimes. Ino can be right.

A person who believes in the supernatural, much like I believe in Sasuke, hasn't ever really seen a ghost. They believe they're there – whether it's because of imagination run wild, or because they've seen a sign. And not a "knives shooting across the air" kind of sign, but a real one, like the whisper of the leaves when you're deep in thought, or a chill running down your spine when you think you're alone. A person who has seen these things – things that are so miniscule compared to the real thing – will still believe.

And that's how I am with Sasuke. I remember him when he was a happy little kid before his parents passed away. I notice the protectiveness he offers when someone, other than himself, insults Naruto. I see bits and pieces of the kind guy underneath. I fell in love with the all the parts of him that are hardly ever there, and can't even be proven that they actually are. Can I get any more pathetically helpless?

--

When I got home from the shopping adventure, I found a note taped to the outside of my bedroom window, and couldn't help but smile. Naruto was always leaving me little post-it notes, whether it was a 'remind me to do my pre-calc homework tonight!!' or 'smile – the crime rate in New York dropped 2% this week'. I still don't know if he made that one up or not.

Even though my parents hadn't realized it, the screen had long since been gone, giving me easy and fast access in and out of the house. Of course, that was only when I was sneaking out, but it's other use was that fetching the notes on my window only required me to unlock it and slide it up. As I grabbed this one, in its average faded yellow glory, I quickly scanned my eyes over it – 'do I have to go? & what do I wear? Call me!!'

Rolling my eyes, I pulled my phone out, pressed speed dial '3' and 'talk', and closed the window with a half-hearted shove. Only two rings later did Naruto pick up.

"Hey, you got my note?"

"Yeah, I just got home."

"Your car was in the driveway, did Ino drive?"

"Yeah," I answered, plopping down on my bed, leaning over to untie my high-tops. "So what's up?"

"I went shopping today," he answered, and suddenly his voice changed from chipper to what seemed to be distracted.

"And then you realized you didn't have any clue where to go or what to get?" I guessed, throwing my overly worn green Chucks towards my closet – or at least in that general vicinity.

"Well, yeah," he chuckled. "But I also ran into someone."

There was something about the way he said 'someone' that made my brows furrow, and my tongue slid across my dry lips while I waited for him to continue.

"Literally," he started after a moment. "I was walking with an ice cream cone that I just got from Dairy Queen, you know the one in the mall, and I just kind of ran straight into Sasuke."

At least he couldn't hear the way my heart beat skipped, or see the way I accidentally bit down on my tongue just a little too hard.

"And, I got ice cream all over him – really, you would've found it hysterical, I did. That was the problem actually. It was just like old times, so I started laughing, and he just rolled his eyes and muttered 'dobe'…. Can't even remember the last time I heard that."

I had a bad feeling about where this was going, so I uncharacteristically kept my mouth clamped shut.

"I don't really know what happened after that. We talked some actually, it was kind of weird. But now… I think we're friends again, Saki."

That being said, the last knot in my stomach tightened, and I swallowed hard. "Things are going to be like old times then?"

"I hope so," he answered immediately. "Well, I mean, I know I'm not the only one who had beef with him." There was the hint of a question on his words, and I knew he was asking how I was taking this news.

"Oh, well you know me, I'm a vegetarian." When in doubt, pull out a joke – and quote 30H13. As expected, he laughed, and I could feel the tension rolling off him in waves. Flowing right into me.

"Thank you," he said, and I knew how grateful he really was. Just like I knew these past few months had been killing him, because even if Sasuke had been a complete, uncaring asshole, they were best friends. And even if the fight had been brutal, it didn't mean it would keep them apart forever.

"No problem."

Looks like I lie to Naruto too.

--

February 20th, 2008

Dear Diary,

It's like my greatest wish and worst nightmare have come true. The details would take too long to write, but Sasuke and Naruto have gotten in the most god-awful fight, and the others have gotten involved to – I attempted to be the peace-maker, then gave up and stood quiet. But Ino is still raging like a cat trying to escape from a forced bath in the sink, Neji's nose has been broken (honestly, I had no clue Hinata could scream, let alone that loud), and Shikamaru's knowledge with words is definitely not limited to the decent ones.

All in all, Sasuke's gone. Of course, he's still here but, not here with us. Half of me is sighing in relief – no more pining over him with a pasted smile, no more watching him not watch me, no more reminders of what isn't and will never be.

The other half is absolutely broken. Because a part of me has still clung to him, to loving him, to the dream I'm always repressing: the one where, one day he cares about me too. And now it's over.

--

June 09th, 2008

It was early on a Sunday morning, but I hadn't gone out the night before, so it wasn't too bad. Last night my mom said it was going to get warm today, so I dressed in tiny pin stripe shorts and an old black Power Rangers tee. While some girls pulled off the shorts and Converse look, I don't – so I threw on red flip flops, and set out. I can't remember if I even looked in the mirror when I threw my long hair up into a messy bun.

Surprisingly, even though by now I shouldn't find it surprising, I was looking forward to the day – Naruto had a way of making things seem lighter, and carefree. I think that's how Sasuke and him got along so well. Sasuke needs someone like Naruto, and Naruto's always helping the hopeless.

I pulled into the driveway, grabbing the mountain dew in the cup holder as I parked – everyone said I was too nonchalant of a driver, but I felt comfortable behind the wheel; adding it onto my list of "things to treat with wary" was not something I planned on doing. After a quick swig, I opened the door of my little red Dodge Stratus 2001, and hopped out.

The fact that it was eight o'clock in the morning made me a little apprehensive as to knock on the door or ring the bell, so I pulled out my cell phone and sent a quick "I'm here", text. "Okay", was sent back not a moment later. Playing with the keychain in my left hand, I waited for the door to be opened. Only when it finally was, it wasn't Naruto who answered. I stood there in shock.

"Sakura," he finally said – the familiar tone of complete vacancy on his voice.

"Hey," I blurted out. Awkwardly at that, but wasn't everything with him that way? "What are you doing here?"

The least Naruto could have done was give me a warning that Sasuke was going to be here!

"Same as you," he answered, stepping away from the door and heading towards Naruto's room. I closed, and locked (Naruto's adoptive mother was overly alert) the front door before following after him.

Well, I was here for tuxedo shopping. He was here to help too?

"Saki!" I heard the yell before I saw him flying after me, and was crushed in a familiar, tight hug.

"Hey Naruto, how's it going?" I could feel the large smile on my face, even though I wanted to remind him for the millionth time that while his hugs were always appreciated, he should keep in mind that just because he doesn't have boobs doesn't mean that the rest of us don't either.

"I'm tired," was his response. I didn't doubt it – he'd probably been up till at least four in the morning. He was almost nocturnal on weekends. "Oh, nice shirt!"

I looked down – my power ranger's one, an absolute favorite – and remembered that he had given it to me on my fifteenth birthday, almost two and a half years ago. I'm not sure how it still fit; if I had grown normally it probably wouldn't. Oh well.

"Yeah, you got it for me," I answered, taking a seat on the stool he kept in his room, swinging my legs some as they hung down.

"Well, he picked it out," Naruto shrugged. My eyes flew towards him, and then the direction that his hand wavered to – Sasuke, who had already gone to the computer, not bothering to pay us any attention.

"Really?"

"Hn," Sasuke mumbled – which surprised me, he was going to join the conversation? "Wasn't going to let you get her ramen coupons." Of course, he was directing it towards Naruto, not me. But that really wasn't what caught my attention most.

"Sasuke, you got me ramen coupons."

"No, he got you a necklace," Naruto said matter-of-factly, as if he were always right, and no one else could be.

"I didn't get a neckl--" The words stopped dead in my mouth, and suddenly my hand was at the base of my neck before I could even stop it. On it was a necklace, a beautiful one. It was a sheer thin white gold chain, with a small, delicate faerie holding onto an emerald. I found it in my locker with a note – 'for the fifteenth', and that was that. I had never known where it came from, up until now – but now it didn't seem believable at all.

"Yeah, that one," Naruto remarked, eyeing the piece between my fingers. "You don't ever take it off do you? I guess I got so used to it, I hardly noticed."

"Only for sports," I answered his question, but nothing else. It was impossible not to look at Sasuke, but he was facing away from me, and all I saw was the tuffs of his raven colored hair.

"That day sucked so hard! We walked around for so long trying to find something. God, today isn't going to be like that is it? This will be an in-and-out ordeal, right?" Naruto was giving me that pleading look, and I went to open my mouth with a response, but Sasuke beat me to the punch. What is wrong with him today? His vocal cords have come to life.

"Dobe, if it were an in-and-out ordeal, we would all still be sleeping." With grace that I could swear the best dancers didn't even have, he flicked the monitor off and stood up from the chair. As Naruto pouted, and grumbled something about 'let me get my shoes', Sasuke looked towards me. Actually, towards my hand, which had the necklace fit between the fingers. I stared back at him, watching the eyes that weren't looking at mine.

Until he looked up with a blink, his dark eyelashes fluttering slowly, and for the first time ever he was looking at me with something that wasn't vacancy or disapproval – but it was still unreadable.

"Okay guys, lets ride," Naruto called out, lifting his hand up with the snap of his fingers, pointing towards the exit of his room.

"He'll never grow up," I mumbled – too used to talking to myself instead of directing it to Sasuke. I had a feeling he knew this, but never the vibe that it mattered anyway. Breezing past Sasuke, I snatched a piece of gum off Naruto's desk, and headed back to the car.

I have to admit – it felt nice to be around Sasuke again, to be near him. And as for the birthday thing, I'm not really sure howI feel about that yet. But I couldn't stop touching the emerald.

--

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June 09th, 2008

Dear Diary,

I got the dress. Naruto wanted me to show it to him, but I told him no. I told him Ino hadn't even seen it yet. Naturally, he whined about it. I justified myself once more, saying that a dress has to make a point, and the point should be made on the night it's worn, not the week before. He didn't get it. My mind playing tricks on me, however, told me that Sasuke seemed curious. Maybe.

--

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June 15th, 2008

Silence. When I told Ino what I was doing, the only thing she offered was silence. And I couldn't even read a single thing off her face.

"Well?" I prompted, confused by her reaction – or lack thereof. A horrible outburst, I had been expecting. Maybe even a pity part. But not this.

"I know you think he makes you weak," she said quietly, and it sent daggers into my stomach, because I had never told her that, but I suppose it really was obvious wasn't it? "But he makes you strong too, you know."

I blinked. Strong? After what I had just told her, she was calling me strong? She was calling this strength?

"You think you're giving up, but you're not – this is fighting, Sakura."

Confidence was something Ino carried like her purses – always large, always visible, and always on her. But not once, never during a "Don't I look great?" or "He will definitely be mine", had I heard this much conviction in her voice.

"Thank you," I whispered, pushing back the tears.

"Of course," she dismissed it, reaching her hand over to grab a chunk of my hair. "So, how short?"

I took a deep breath, and looked into her large vanity mirror, looked at me. "Short. With bangs."

--

June 16th, 2008

Dear Diary,

I don't really know where to start, so I guess I'll have to start from the beginning. In this case, it's a fight Sasuke and I got into five years ago. It was eighth grade, back when I liked him, he knew it, and everyone knew it. Back then I was young, and I guess I didn't know how to deal with my feelings, so I threw myself at him. Maybe I was stupid, or maybe I thought he'd be able to help in the dealing. Well – I don't know why I wore my heart on my sleeve then, but I know why I took it off.

While a ribbon or headband helped hide my large forehead when I was younger, its effect had started to wear off as I got older. The obvious way to deal with this was a new hairstyle. I had it chopped off to my shoulders, and it flipped out nicely at the ends, with a set of side bangs that half resembled a comb over. I couldn't help but love it, up until the point where I went and showed Sasuke – I caught him at the wrong time, I acted the wrong way, and suddenly, for the first time, he opened his mouth to speak his mind.

"Long hair is better, the bangs don't hide your forehead, and blue makes your eyes look dull. It looks stupid. Leave me alone, you're annoying."

I'd always remember those words – it was worse than any slap in the face, punch in the gut. Whether it was because it was the first the he had voiced his actual complaints about me, or because I realized just how much he meant it, I didn't know. It was probably both. I threw out the blue shirt I had been wearing, and not once since then, had I worn that color again.

Oh, dinner – hold on.

--

If anyone could pull off 'scantily clad' as 'modern and pretty', it was Ino. Turns out that the red dress did fit her, and "fit" it did. I imagine the tightness in her chest was killing her, and personally, with a slit that high going up my leg I would've found it uncomfortable – but Ino wore it with pride, and something tells me that Shikamaru won't be happy, but at least the rest of the male population will.

"I feel like my hair's going to topple over," Hinata said, probably to herself, as she stood in front of the large mirror, tilting her head to the side, back and forth, slower to faster. I smiled at her, and through the reflection, she could tell – she smiled back.

We were in Ino's living room, waiting for the limousine that we had put our money together to get. Its second stop would be Naruto's house for pictures, and then the dance. Shockingly, I wasn't nervous – I felt brave, and free. Even though tonight would mark the final (and worst) fall, at least I would no longer be dangling.

"Oh, look, it's here!" Tenten said excitedly, carelessly hopping up from the couch. She wasn't used to dresses, let alone heels, and barely saved herself from falling to the floor.

"First day with your new feet?" Ino joked, smirking ruefully at the brunette.

"Oh, shove it," Tenten growled. A second later, they were both laughing, and all of us were out the door.

"So, Hinata," Ino started, taking advantage of the awestruck girl (the limo really was eye-catching). "You're going to dance with Naruto, right?"

While a dark red flush erupted on Hinata's face, Ino smiled and thanked the driver, being the first to enter the gorgeous vehicle. Next was Tenten, this time more careful in her daisy yellow dress, and then Hinata and I followed.

"Well?" Ino prompted, not even glancing at the impressive interior of the car.

"I-I don't think so," the timid answer finally came.

"Why not? I'm going to. Sakura will. Even Tenten might."

Ino knew that the case was different, as did the rest of us – but I knew what she was trying to do; trying to ease Hinata into at least some type of casualness with her long-kept crush.

"Sakura's even going to dance with Sasuke."

My eyes widened and I all but screeched, whipping my head to face Ino like a venomous snake. Her eyes weren't innocent at all, but challenging. And then I knew she was testing me.

"I'll dance with Sasuke," I said airily, recovering my bearings, "if you dance with Naruto."

"It isn't that simple," Hinata frowned.

No. It isn't. "Of course it is."

Hinata didn't catch my lie, but that didn't mean she found it believing either.

"Oh, what do you have to lose?" Tenten questioned dismissively, taking a root beer from the mini-fridge.

Just my heart, all my hopes, and every dream. Suddenly I felt my mood sinking, and I had to quickly remind myself why I was doing this – I might be losing everything, but at least I was giving it up, not having it taken away. It worked a little.

The girls talked for the rest of the ride, but I was so lost into my mind that when ten minutes passed and the limousine stopped, I hadn't noticed in the slightest.

"Come on Sakura," Ino drawled. "It's show time."

I snapped out of my daydreams, and she withdrew her arm, offering me a smug smile – The bitch was just as anxious as I was to see the response Sasuke would give. If any at all.

On the way out, Tenten tripped once again, releasing a string of curse words before removing her heels and chucking them back into the limo. Then she took the bottom of her dress, and folded it up, until it reached her knees and she could knot it at the side. It looked ridiculous and informal, but she didn't care at all.

"Wait," Hinata said softly. Her small hands enveloped the black fabric of her dress, and a moment later, she and Tenten had matching styles. "There we go."

"You didn't have to," Tenten told her chidingly, as we walked towards front door – Ino, of course, leading the way.

"I don't mind." It was only the truth.

Once was never enough with Ino. She pressed the doorbell four times, before taking one step back, leaving room for when the door swung open. I quickly realized that her doing so meant that when someone opened it to greet us, the first person in their line of sight would be me. Damn it Ino! I tried to move over to her other side, ignoring the "Oh, no you don't!" she mumbled viciously under her breath. But it was too late.

The first words that came out of Naruto's mouth were very loud and enunciated all too slowly; "Holy shit, Sakura."

I opened my mouth to reply, 'I don't look that different, Naruto'. But I actually did. The hair style made me look much more sophisticated, and at least two years older. My eyes weren't exactly dull, but the color I was wearing changed the vibrant green to a teal-ish sea foam. My dark blue dress was strapless, with a sweet-heart neckline and pleated bodice. It flowed down gently, narrowly clinging onto my form, instead of fitting tightly to it. Made of silk, it felt like heaven, and looked the like too.

"Is that a compliment?" I wondered, gathering all the nerves I had (no use in bailing out now, since actually, it's far too late for that), and stepped inside.

"Yeah, yeah, you look great! Woah, Ino, so do you."

His attention shifted off of me almost immediately, but there were others who still hadn't seen. Thanks to Naruto's loud proclamation, I sensed the curious eyes of Neji, Shikamaru, and Sasuke before I even walked into the living room. It was only one person's eyes I was interested in seeing though.

As nonchalantly as possible, I rounded the corner of the small hallway, and turned into the room; into the moment this whole morning was spent preparing for.

Neji and Shikamaru were sitting on the coach, discussing something distractedly. When I walked in, their eyes turned to me expectantly, and their faces peeled over in shock. It really has been this long since I've looked good, hasn't it? Swallowing inaudibly, I lifted my eyes to Sasuke, who was standing against the chimney a few feet further away, his arms folded casually, his feet crossed normally.

In that second, I knew that everything about this day had been worth it. His face wasn't lit with surprise – no, he never showed emotion that clearly – but simply transfixed into something different. The dark eyebrows were lifted, his jaw was pulling too tightly, and his lips were split into the smallest part, the tiniest 'O' they had probably ever formed. And in his eyes, I could see everything – the surprise of my new look, the remembrance of that eighth grade tragedy, and the realization of why I had done it.

It didn't really matter that rejection was next. What mattered was that for the first time in his life, Sasuke Uchiha had left his thoughts unguarded. And it had been at my doing.

"She looks great doesn't she?" Ino questioned, her voice very smug, as she wrapped an arm around my neck and pulled me into a half-hug. I had to tear my gaze away from Sasuke, and face my best friend's triumphant smile instead. This was proof enough that I hadn't imagined Sasuke's reaction. She had seen it too.

"The hair cut looks nice," Neji agreed.

"Obviously. I did it! Look at those bangs, perfectly straight across."

The rest of the group was now in the room, and the chorus of greetings started to sound. Shikamaru pulled Ino to his side, clearly trying to decide whether he approved of her outfit or not. Neji smirked at the sight of Tenten and his cousin, and when his girlfriend apologized for not being girly enough for these things, he told her she looked beautiful and it didn't matter now, never had before, and never would. Tenten's a lucky girl.

"Saki," Naruto yelled, coming up to me with the intention of an embrace before stopping short. "I'll mess something up if I hug you, won't I?"

"I don't care," I replied – which was true. My legs were starting to feel shaky, and I thought I might need a glass of water. But a hug from Naruto would do.

"Good," he laughed. Then I was pulled into a bear-like hug, pressed against him and his familiar warmth. I took a deep breath, using these few seconds to let out my own shock. Did I really do this?

"I remember eighth grade too, you know," he whispered in my ear. Then I was released, and I didn't have enough time to cover the look on my face, before my eyes met Sasuke's once again – his were guarded, back to normal. Well, hell, mine weren't. But did it matter? He knows now. He knows that I've never stopped loving him. He knows that now, starting tonight, I'm going to let go.

Wouldn't it be just sickening if he congratulated me? I shivered to myself, and looked away.

"OH, DON'T YOU GUYS JUST LOOK ADORABLE!"

Naruto's mother… and time for pictures. The ones that I would look back on in ten years, the ones I would see, and remember this night.

--

Overestimation. It had always been one of my weaknesses – looking at something, evaluating it, and giving it more credit than it was really worth. The result was usually just a disappointment here and there. But tonight was different. I hadn't overestimated something or someone else – I had overestimated myself. I thought I would be able to do this, but I can't. I can't at all.

Tears were threatening to spill, and even though no one would be able to see in a place this dark, crowded, and loud – I still needed out, needed fresh air, needed something. Not bothering to go get my heels, I gathered some of my dress, and got out of there as fast as I could.

I was only walking with large steps, but part of me wanted to start moving faster, to run. Maybe if I did that, and I went fast enough, then all these emotions would fall off and disappear in the dust. But I didn't run. And they were still here.

Oh, everything about this situation is just so wrong. You'd think I'd of gotten used to the complete and utter feeling of dejection that comes from being around him. I haven't though; each time only gets worse and worse. How much longer before this pile of stacked cards within my heart just come tumbling down? Or has it already?

I should hate him for this. For making me feel this way. For not doing anything about it. But is it really his fault? Of course not. It's mine. I'm pathetic. I'm lovestruck. And I'm doomed to never have what I want. What I need. It just isn't fair – how many more times can things that haven't even been built, fall completely apart?

Everyone else was still inside the Hall our senior class had rented, since it was only ten o'clock, and I knew now that since I had exited that I wouldn't be able to get back in – a precaution they take against people coming in after getting drunk or high. But I didn't care. The curb I sat on half a block away felt comfortable enough, although I'm sure the dress wasn't appreciating it, and I let the silent tears stream down my face. My face was buried in my hands, and I stayed in my own world, where being weak was okay and crying didn't represent a multiply fractured heart.

"Sakura." It came out like a sigh, one that sounded of annoyance, exhaustion, and relief. But why was it Sasuke's voice? My fingers split apart across my face, slowly taking in the look of him, until my hands retreated to my lap.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, but it didn't sound like a question, and it was only as loud as a whisper.

He didn't answer, only stared at me. I suppose he saw the wetness on my face, but I doubt it was a surprise. Just because I hid my feelings for him didn't mean I hid everything else – he knew how emotionally fragile I could be.

"You aren't going to be able to get back in now," I said – trying to say anything, for whatever reason. Not very discretely, I used some fabric of my dress to wipe away my tears.

"Neither are you," he replied – almost dismissively, glancing around at the empty street.

"I don't care."

Typical. The way he watched everything else around him, but yet I couldn't take my eyes off his. Always watching him, and that's all.

"I know," he said, and suddenly he was taking off his over jacket and sitting down on the curb, right next to me. I felt too frustrated and hurt to feel anything, but I knew it was wonder that would've normally enveloped me right now had I been feeling normal.

I turned my head in the opposite direction, casually glancing around. Not seeing whatever he had been looking at.

"You don't talk often."

In an instant I turned back towards him, bitterly amused – I mean, come on, I talk all the time, probably too much; but he just Hn's here and there, makes comments once in awhile, and hardly ever initiates a conversation. But that's what he was doing now – why?

"To me," he finished, looking into my not-very-green-tonight eyes.

My mouth opened to form words, but this wasn't something I could reply to with some bullshit answer. I knew that. He knew that.

I felt my eyes drift off of him, onto the ground, and my shoulders shrugged. "It's hard," I said, feeling the sunken feeling in my chest reverberate with the freedom of coming clean, of not caring about the outcome any longer. "I can always think of a million things to say, but I never know which you'll tolerate, or which will annoy you. I want to talk to you, but I get too… scared."

He nodded once, whether it was an acceptation of the answer, or if he was still sizing it up, I didn't know. Predictably, my eyes wandered back to him.

"Why are you talking to me?" I asked.

Because the night wouldn't be over until the rejection came on a silver freaking platter. Jesus, what's wrong with me?! I didn't need to hear this answer, not right now. Maybe not ever.

"Hn," he mumbled, ignoring my question, looking up at the dark sky.

"I answered your question," I said – pouting, I couldn't help it.

"It wasn't a question," he replied, and I swear there was a twitch in the cheek muscle beside his lips.

"Oh, now we're getting into technicalities."

Definitely another twitch. Was he angry with me? But when his eyes met mine once more, it looked more like amusement shining through. With that, confusion settled through me.

"Well?" I croaked, frowning some.

"I don't know," he answered – it sounded honest, and blunt. But in that moment, I realized it wasn't enough. Looks like I like my silver platters.

"Oh come on, Sasuke," I said, getting up from the curb, pacing a few steps before turning back to him, hardly acknowledging that he too was standing now, "just say it. Tell me that what I feel is just infatuation, that I need to get over myself, that I need a life. One that doesn't involve you in it. And maybe if it comes from you, I'll actually listen."

Standing in the middle of the street, with only random public lights and cloud-covered stars shining down on us, he never looked more beautiful. His dark hair glittering a midnight blue, his pale skin looking as smooth as wax, and those onyx eyes hard as stone. Other the other hand, my cheeks were red, my eyes puffy, and my dress crumpled. Anything but beautiful. How perfect.

"I don't want that."

My heart, and everything else, stopped. What did he just say?

"You don't want that…" I repeated, trying to gather what he meant, and nowhere near succeeding.

"You," he clarified, "not in my life."

He was standing in front of me now, making our five inch height different feel quite less. His words were dancing in front of me, floating around, but I couldn't grasp them. It just… wasn't possible.

I closed my eyes, squeezing them tight. "This is a dream." Funny, how positive I thought I was, and how my voice still wavered.

Suddenly, there was a fingertip at the side of my eye, a hand hesitantly trying to cradle my face. My lids blinked open, greeted by the sight of Sasuke – looking so vulnerable, looking at me. My face was somehow blank, but open – even though my heart was beating louder than the Westmont Train.

Ever so slowly, his touch became firmer, and I all but melted into it. He was leaning in, getting closer, pausing – worried that he was doing something wrong? I never took my eyes off of him, never moved my body an inch, but my arm reached for his free hand, until I was holding onto his fingers. Who knew that I'd be reassuring Sasuke?

As if that was all he needed, and that second of doubt had never been there, his head dipped down and his lips pressed onto mine, leading me into a kiss. Overly gentle, soft, and warm. I never wanted this to end. But it did. Almost just as quickly as it had started.

He was looking at me, watching my reaction – I doubt he saw much, unless it was through my eyes, where he could see the feeling that was flooding through me. It wasn't that this was fantastic. Or wonderful. Or powerful. No, it was real. He was real. It was all real. And, it was happening.

"I'm not perfect," was all he said – apology for the past, and a warning for the future.

But did he honestly think I didn't know that? That for the past fifteen years of my life, I've thought he was the knight in shining armor, the faultless hero that would sweep me off my feet? As if. I knew his flaws better than anyone. I had just accepted them.

"No," I agreed. "You're everything."

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June 17th, 2008

Oops, I got sidetracked last night, and forgot all about completing the entry. I can't remember what I was going to put, and I could probably put a whole lot, but I think it's safe to say that:

If Sasuke is my ghost, I'm officially in love with the haunting.

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Authors Notes:

1) this was my first SasuSaku - it was too long for a OneShot, and the dates might have made it confusing. i hope it was still an okay read.

2) SPOILER WARNING! uhm. is he really dead? i mean. no. chapter 425 just broke my heart. favorite character, dead. ugh. ): i can't believe it.

3) my email is really whacked up right now. i don't like it.

Questions/Comments Are Appreciated.

(: