Maybe Next Year
A/N: GIFT FIC FOR BECCA. AH. BECCA. So sorry this is late. And that even when it's late it actually kind of sucks. :/ I'm so irresponsible. -cries- ALSO, if my onee-sama is reading this, I KNOW what it sounds like but but but, it's a common use of countdown! D:
prompts: grass clippings, ID, "hey. hey you, you wanna buy a watch?"
He's thirteen, broody, an avenger with a calling; she's twelve, blushing, a silly girl with silly notions for the future; and they are just leaving the annual New Year's festival, alone (Naruto had fallen asleep at the Ramen Booth and Kakashi had apparently decided he had better things to do), when she first confesses her ridiculous resolution to him.
She fiddles with the obi of her red yukata, adopting her signature embarrassed expression, as she says, quietly, "I…resolve to become Sasuke-kun's number one."
He looks at her with a little less deadpan eyes, surprised with her courage. Somewhere inside him, there's a voice that is begging to be delicate—because this is Sakura; she's small and fragile and as annoying as she is, she means something to you—
He watches as her face falls and he attempts to shrug off the discomfort he finds in her quite apparent unhappiness.
She rubs the back of her neck, cheeks burning with embarrassment, "…Yeah, I know." Her eyes quickly turn elsewhere as her fingers nimbly fold over the string of her pouch. "Ah, well, I guess I'll get going! Home's that way." She gives a nervous laugh without making eye contact, "Good night, Sasuke-kun. Happy New Year."
He watches as she walks away, stumbling clumsily in her wooden sandals. He shakes his head, and is about make his own way home when—
"Hey. Hey you, wanna buy a watch?"
Sasuke turns around to find that a cloaked man has approached Sakura, his lecherous grin conveying volumes of his intent. "Pretty little girl. Would you like to buy a watch? They're of professional quality, promise."
The pink-haired kunoichi blinks at him, brows furrowed, "Uh, no thanks. I need to get home…"
She tries to leave, but the cloaked man smoothly steps in front of her, "C'mon, pretty girl. Maybe your daddy would like a watch?"
"My dad's got plenty of his own watches, thanks." She gripes, side-steeping him.
Again, he blocks her path, grin fixed and the eeriness in his smile has Sasuke grumbling and walking in their direction. "My shop's just a little ways away," the stranger says, "You could just step in for a little bit…"
When the guy's hand shoots out to grasp her arm, a sharp and sudden revulsion erupts in Sasuke, darkening his eyes. He is about to quite literally leap into action when—
"NO, damn it!" She shouts, gripping at his limb, "Can't you see I'm wallowing in self-pity here?!" She effectively lifts him up and proceeds to slam him hard into the ground, "Happy New Year, pervert."
As she walks away in a huff, the cloaked man grits his teeth and attempts to stand, pulling out a knife from an inner pocket, "Why you little bitch—"
Before she can react to his voice, she spins around to find that Sasuke has already delivered a well-placed kick to his head, rendering the man unconscious. Her eyes widen in surprise, "Sa-sasuke-kun!"
He glares at her, his heart thumping a little irregularly (due to his irritation at her inability; not because he was worried for that split second he caught the glint of the well concealed knife), "Don't turn your back to the enemy until you're sure he's dead or unconscious. Simple Academy stuff, Sakura."
Her brows furrow, eyes glistening in shame, "Sorry, Sasuke-kun."
Without another word, he stalks before her and she's confused by the direction he's going, "Um, Sasuke-kun don't you live over there…"
"I'm walking you home." He mutters succinctly, leaving no room for argument. "Really. You should be resolving to get stronger."
Sakura bounds after him, smiling because she was never one to look at any alone time with her Sasuke-kun in a negative light. "Maybe next year."
He's sixteen, broodier than ever, a missing-nin with a purpose; she's fifteen, still a little naïve, but a real kunoichi on a mission; and they just happen to be in the same restaurant, in the same town, on the same night, when he overhears her mention that same resolution to a friend.
She's sitting a few booths away with a girl he doesn't recognize, hair shorter but still pink and just as noticeable as it had always been. Her soft words somehow reach him amongst the bustle of people. "I resolve to bring Sasuke-kun back to us."
He glances over at her with steel eyes, not knowing whether he should be awed at her devotion or amused at her ignorance. He only manages a scoff as he draws his cloak tighter about his face. As he calmly gets up to leave, he chances another look at her—someone he'd left behind, someone he'd betrayed, but someone who still wished for the impossible.
And their eyes meet. Jaded coal on startlingly bright mint.
Numb shock is clearly written on her features as his name tumbles from her lips, "Sa-sasuke-kun?"
He quickly turns away and hurries out, cursing the slip of his usually vigilant demeanor. And she characteristically gives chase. "Wait!"
He steps out, the night air unusually windless for January, and runs in the general direction of the forest. He doesn't quite understand what it is that drives him to avoid her at all costs but it's borderline desperate (because damn it, he's been building this indifference for three entire years now and if he sees her then everything might fall to pieces).
It's been about 12 seconds since he's left the restaurant but the forest is still oddly some distance away. A mailbox in Sasuke's peripheral vision catches his attention and he finally recognizes why the evening is curiously warm. "Shit."
He does a quick cancellation jutsu and lo and behold, he's standing in front of the restaurant and Sakura is suddenly before him, brows drawn, "You got out of that faster than expected." A corner of her mouth lifts as her features soften, "I'm impressed."
How could he have not noticed her genjutsu from the get-go?
He looks at her coldly (and refuses to acknowledge the grudging atom of respect he has for her honed genjutsu skills).
As he attempts to side-step her, his body abruptly acquires an abnormal sluggishness and he looks at the pink haired girl with sharp, suspicious eyes. "What did you do to me?"
She smiles, "Drugged you a bit so you couldn't run away."
His eyes turn stony and he bites, "What kind of drug?"
"A little thing I concocted in my spare time." She explains, matter-of-factly (and again he has to force away the impulse to be impressed with her gall). "It's not lethal and it only lasts a couple of hours. It works in your blood, releasing a sedative when exposed to its trigger, adrenaline and—" She blinks, "I'm actually kind of surprised you can move as fast as you do now."
When he throws her his best un-amused stare, she laughs a little, tugging at the ID on her arm. He shifts his attention to it and he finally understands.
"You're a medical ninja." He grunts; a fact, not a question.
She nods and they settle into momentary silence before he scoffs, quickly stepping around her and moving in a general direction. "Sasuke-kun!"
He pauses only to mutter, "You can't stop me."
"I know but--!"
"I'm not going back."
Her usually brilliant teal eyes deaden a little, but determination settles in the emptiness, "Yet."
Again, he stops, looks at her over his shoulder, "You should quit with the stupid resolutions. Waste them elsewhere."
She reddens, before frowning and shouting after him, "You will come back Sasuke-kun! I know it!"
He kicks chakra into his legs, and runs, unable to stop the unconscious thought from flaring in the back of his mind. Maybe next year.
He's nineteen, still broody, a reinstated Konoha jounin with only one life goal left to accomplish; She's eighteen, unbelievably charming, a respected woman with a legendary right hook; and they are sitting on a grassy hillside (having needed some reprieve from Naruto's annual New Year blow-out) when she mumbles this year's resolution.
He isn't expecting anything different. For the last six years, without fail, she's resolved the same thing. Granted, words are changed and tones are altered and naturally, they've grown. But her resolutions are always identical in principle and unconsciously he's begun to count on them.
She sighs, sits up and smiles at him, "This year, I resolve…" He waits for the words, in an almost knowing fashion, and her features soften a bit, "…to finally give up on you."
His eyes fly open and he looks at her, brows screwed together in confusion. "What?"
The kunoichi grins up at the stars, "I've been resolving the same thing for six years, Sasuke-kun. I'm sure we've both had enough."
Sakura turns to him, "You did say I shouldn't waste my resolutions on ridiculous things." She puts a finger to her chin, in thought, "Right. Maybe resolving to give up on you is just as ridiculous. I'll think of something else."
She giggles, "Maybe I'll resolve to stop eating so many muffins. No, wait, to clean my apartment more often."
Sasuke's insides squirm and he realizes the tightness in his chest, the edge in his nerves is the beginnings of panic.
She then stretches and rises from her sitting position, "Well. I think it's about time we rejoin the festivities. It's… 11:58 already! Naruto's probably looking for us. C'mon, Sasuke-kun—"
"Wait." Impulse has his arm shoot out to grab at her wrist. The pink-haired girl looks curiously down at him, brows furrowed, "Sasuke-kun?"
"No." He says, voice hard, "I do not accept."
He suddenly stands and she throws him a confused look, "What do you mean you don't accept?"
The Uchiha is momentarily at a loss for words and his head is buzzing with all these little things—He doesn't quite understand why he's so irritated, why he's so abruptly unsettled by her words, but he is. It feels as if she's broken code, forsaken some long held tradition, and it's wrong.
This is not how things are supposed to be.
"It isn't enough." He says, calmly, staring down at his hand still loosely wrapped around her wrist, "I haven't had enough."
She blinks up at him, "Sasuke--?"
Her bright eyes widen and she turns to the apartment in the distance. She quickly pulls down so they're now holding hands, and tugs, "Shoot, we're missing the countdown! Sasuke-kun, let's go—"
"Don't care." He says, an unreadable expression gracing his pale face.
She glares at him, "What do you mean don't care? You want us to be standing out here when the New Year finally arrives—"
"You." He whispers sharply, drawing her closer to him so they are but a breath apart. "Will not give up on me."
Her cheeks warm at the proximity but she's a little affronted by his order so she looks at him defiantly, "What the hell, Sasuke-kun! What's with you? Why not?"
He stares down at all eighteen years of her—huffing, cheeks warm and eyes vibrant and irritated; pretty and imperfect; frustrating; and for god's sake there are grass clippings in her tousled pink hair—
--and he abruptly realizes how much he'd like to kiss her.
"I'm going to kiss you."
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!"
And he does. It's sudden and kind of rough because he isn't sure what he's doing despite his nineteen years of life experience; it's clumsy and sort of hesitant because this is so very new in the seven years she's fully, truly loved him.
They part, breathing harshly and she sinks her face into his chest, "You…" She mumbles, gripping the lapels of his coat, "It's all your fault, you stupid idiot moron!"
He rests his chin atop her head, dazed, large hands sliding down to the small of her back, "What?"
She looks up at him sharply but the glare lacks any real malice, "It's all your fault that for the last seven years, I've never been able to keep a single one of my resolutions!"
He snickers, vaguely amused, into her hair, and mumbles, "Pick a good one and maybe next year."
A/N: Um, sorry again Becca. I know the title's incredibly lacking in creativity, I'm kind of cheating with the prompts because this is more like three related shorts in one, it was really eh on the whole, AND IT'S SO LATE. But I hope you enjoyed. XD
AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 2009 WOOT.