Author's Note: This is based off an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Two," written by Montgomery Pittman for the third season of the show. It's on YouTube and I'd encourage you to watch it. Such a great show all around.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or The Twilight Zone.

"The Two of Us"

Sakura hadn't eaten in a few days. Her throat ached, and not just from thirst. She fingered the scars on her neck delicately- they were red and swollen, but healing well. Or they would be, once she got some more water into her system. Under different circumstances, she would have healed her injuries quickly and have been recovered by now, but since the attack she had to reserve chakra. She knew she would not be able to utilize her voice for a while, as she could only repair her vocal cords a little at a time. But then, she thought darkly, it's not like she needed to talk.

For the past several weeks, maybe even a month or two, she had wandered through the backlands of the Land of Fire. The devastation of the village had left her wounded and alone but she was not beaten yet. She had not met any other survivors, but she would keep looking until her neck healed and in the meantime the forest had been kind to her. She had followed a stream for the past three days, along which blackberries ripened on the bush, providing her with food and water enough to survive on. Hunger still pulled at her stomach but it was a sensation that she had grown accustomed to.

The branches that she was jumping to were thinning out, and between the leaves Sakura saw the tops of buildings. Hope rising in her chest, she jumped down onto the ground and ran toward the settlement on foot. Within minutes, she had reached the end of the forest and entered the clearing.

She proved to be disappointed. It was a small village, with one main street and an array of small houses scattered around it. It was completely abandoned, desolate of all life, although the shops and restaurants along the street signaled to Sakura that this village had once supported maybe up to three hundred people. By the looks of it, this town had been abandoned about the time that she had fled her own village. The windows on the shops were streaked and dirty, and grass beginning to grow in the middle of the dirt street. Sakura wandered into the town, peering around corners and peeking into stores.

At once, her eyes caught on the window of a dress shop. On display was a shimmery olive kimono, embroidered with gold that shined brightly in the sunlight. Upon closer examination, Sakura recognized detailed, possibly even hand-sewn craftsmanship. Her eyes soaked in the delicate lotus blossoms stitched into the silk. It had a thin red trim along the edges and the pale pink obi glistened with silver thread in wave shapes. A snow-white lining kimono peeked out from under the collar. The mannequin even wore a wig with a delicate headdress, a diadem of soft ribbon and blooming flowers.

In contrast, Sakura's own reflection in the mirror was haggard. Her face and arms were covered in dirt and scratches from the branches of the forest, and her clothes were stained and rumpled with travel. Her hair was an oily tangle that hadn't been washed since before she left Konoha and she had been gone so long that it had grown out longer than she noticed or remembered, hitting below her shoulders. The scars on her neck were prominent beneath her clothes. Suddenly looking at the beautiful kimono made her feel disgustingly filthy, like such soiled eyes should not even look at the garment without in turn making it dirty, so she turned away.

She found herself looking straight at what was once a restaurant. At that moment, her stomach growled loudly and she remembered out long she had gone without a full meal. Sakura immediately ran across the street and flung open the unlocked door. She tore through the tables into the kitchen, where she found that in their haste to abandon this settlement the owners had left a large stock of food. She figured that the place must have been vacated about the time Konoha had been attacked, so all the perishable food was rotten. The stench alone sent her running from the refrigerator and churned her stomach violently, making her hunger pangs worse. However, the cupboard was more promising. It was well stocked with canned tuna, crackers, dried noodles, and non-perishables. The freezers too were functioning, and full of frozen hotdogs and ice cream. Within seconds she located a pan and set water to boil for rice. She then attacked the can of tuna, ripping the lid off and tossing it aside. She scooped the meat into her hands and began to devour it greedily.

As she crammed the cold tuna into her mouth, she noticed a shadow in the doorway from the corner of her eye. Suddenly dropping the can, she jerked into a defensive stance. If she could have seen herself at that moment she might have found her plight funny, a ninja with canned tuna all over her face and baring her last kunai at a shadow that she should have noticed earlier, but at that particular moment there was nothing funny about it. Sakura broke out into a cold sweat and fear gripped her chest like an iron fist.

Suddenly, whatever- or whoever- it was shot inside the room with lighting speed, and before she could locate it to take aim it was upon her. A black blur slammed her across the kitchen with the brutality of a charging lion, causing her to drop the tuna can. It was seconds from hitting the floor when the blur scooped it up, and for a second it froze, hungrily sniffing at the can. It was all the time Sakura needed to pounce. She propelled herself off the wall and onto its shoulders. Now that she had contact, she could tell that it was a man and not an animal or violent specter of her imagination. The dark ninja- for only a ninja knew how to move so fast and so precisely- pivoted sharply on the spot in a maneuver to shake her off. This time, instead of letting herself be pushed, she jumped with the momentum of his toss and touched off against the wall for a second time, hurtling herself towards him with her kunai in hand. Aggressively protective of the tuna can, the dark ninja bolted towards her, arm raised and ready to block.

They were both weary and half-starved, and she might have succeeded in disarming him had she not raised her eyes to take better aim seconds before impact. What she saw startled her to the core- a pair of eyes in dark scarlet, spinning dangerously as she hurtled directly into the crosshairs of his pupils. With these eyes she was intimately acquainted: having trained with and against them, she knew their style and their form, but also how lurking behind them was anguish and despair.

In shock she lost her focus, forgetting her attack, and so did he. The two of them collided painfully in midair and ricocheted to the floor, where they landed in a tangle. Almost immediately they were up again and perched defensively in diagonal corners of the room like wrestlers in the ring. For a moment, the two just stared at each other.

It was Sasuke. By the looks of it, he had also travelling and was looking a little worse for wear. His cloak was tattered and covered in dust, making the once black fabric look dun. Faint red clouds still peaked out from underneath the grime. His hair had grown out so much that the spikes that she remembered from their days as genin fell low on the nape of his neck and his bangs hung in his face, which was scratched and dirty. But underneath it was still him- the same build, the stance, the chakra (which she noticed for the first time at that moment), but most especially the eyes, which stared right back at her. His expression, which had been ferocious just seconds earlier, had contorted into one of surprise.

Sakura, however, had already moved passed feeling surprise as rage boiled up from her stomach and made her see red. He caused her to feel many emotions at once; she wanted to attack him as a traitor and hug him as a long lost friend at the same time. Even worse, she perceived, was that she was also struck by urge to caress him but the memory of their parting made her insides churn with the sting of rejection. Her hands were trembling to know his touch again but her palms were sweating profusely from fear, and she hated it. He made her confused, which made her angry but unable to bring herself to make another move.

"Sakura?" he asked quietly, disbelieving, in a voice that she barely recognized. Remembering her injuries, Sakura didn't attempt to respond. Looking confused, he stepped down from the counter he had been poised on and took a few tentative steps in her direction. Her body grew rigid. More than halfway across the room, he paused.

At that instant, Sakura panicked. With speed only possible through an adrenaline rush, she charged him again with her weapon. His kneejerk reaction was to dodge her and get into a blind spot, which in this case was to veer to the side and get behind her. Driven by his ninja instinct, his hands were inches away from the back of her neck before he knew what he was doing. That same second she realized he was no longer standing in her midst, but that they were in a position that both suddenly found sickeningly familiar. She drew in a sharp breath, and everything went black.


He hadn't meant to knock her out but the hunger won over. Sasuke needed food and Sakura was standing in his way, and he lost control of himself. It was almost a surprise when she began to crumple to the floor, but he grabbed her before she could fall and gently lowered her down.

Getting back to business, Sasuke returned to the tuna can and popped the remaining meat into his mouth. It was the first thing he had eaten in almost five days, and it tasted like heaven and stoked his appetite for more. He threw some rice into the pot on the stove that Sakura had conveniently set up, almost like she had been expecting him. He had certainly not been expecting her, he thought as he opened the freezer. There was a tub of ice cream in the back that Sasuke devoured with his bare hands.

When he was done, he washed his hands at the sink and turned off the stove. The rice was ready. Now that he was less hungry, he was beginning to feel more civilized and his eyes strayed to where Sakura lay, still unconscious. He suddenly felt very guilty and ashamed of his own pettiness, knocking out a friend- knocking out a woman- for a scrap of food. And Sakura, no less. He knew he had been raised better than that. Sasuke moved to her side with two bowls of rice in hand, which he set on the floor beside him. Curiosity got the best of him and he opened up her weapons pouch to see what she had on her person. It was almost empty. There were no more shuriken and just a little spool of rope, and what looked like a scrap of paper. Sasuke turned it over. It was a their team picture, the very same one he had left in his apartment when he left Konoha years ago. They all looked so young and awkward, except for Kakashi who looked the same as ever.

He looked back over at Sakura. Even after all that had happened, he would be lying to himself if he thought that he hadn't missed her and Naruto, and didn't want to see her. After all that had happened, she actually seemed like an appropriate companion. The weeks that he had ventured by himself had made even him utterly lonely, and he longed for human interaction more than ever before in his life. Now that the opportunity was upon him, he was not going to pass it up.

"Sakura, wake up." He tapped her cheek. She did not stir. Sasuke shook her shoulder once, then a second time a little more roughly. Still nothing. Feeling impatient, he went to the sink and poured himself a glass of water. He walked briskly back to Sakura and tipped the glass over onto her face.

The cold water was enough to shock her awake. She jerked up, suddenly alert and visibly agitated. She snapped her head around to him and snarled, backing away on her hands and knees until her back hit the cupboard behind her. Struck with fear but unable to escape, she tensed up and waited for an assault and when it didn't come she started to shake. Sakura was breathing fast and he almost worried that she was going to hyperventilate from sheer frustration and shock. Sasuke had all the time in the world. He sat cross-legged on the floor, waiting for her to calm down. "I'm not going to hurt you."

After a few minutes her breathing slowed, and he handed her one bowl of rice and started to eat the other. The two ate in silence. Sakura eyed Sasuke in suspicion, and he looked at her expectantly. Something was missing and Sasuke racked his brain to figure out what it was. Her hair? No, still the same. Her eyes? The same. Her uniform? The same red shirt and black shorts that he had seen her in before.

"Sakura, say something," he ordered, putting his finger on the change in her. She gave him a reproachful look and remained silent, slowly chewing on her rice. Exasperated, he plunked his bowl down on the floor. "Look, I know you're probably really upset with me."

That would be an understatement, thought Sakura. Sasuke seemed to pick up on this, and lowered his eyes. For the first time in a long time, he looked ashamed of himself.

"I'm so tired of fighting," he said quietly.

He seemed so sincere, but Sakura had a hard time taking him at his word. He had just attacked her and knocked her out in the same humiliating way he had done the night he left. He had attacked her friends, her family, and had probably been involved in attacking Konoha, judging by the cloak he wore. That meant that the injuries she had sustained during the fight had been at least partly his fault.

"Sakura, please. Don't play games. Say something." He looked at her intently with pleading eyes that let her know that he meant what he said.

Sakura looked around the kitchen, trying to find a way to communicate, but there was no pen or paper in sight. She looked back to Sasuke and shook her head.


She nodded her head.

"No that yes?" She shook her head no again. He wasn't getting it. Frustrated, Sakura undid the first button of her shirt and pulled it aside, exposing her neck and the bottom of her shoulder. She slid her fingers carefully along the scars on her throat.

Realization dawned on Sasuke. "You can't speak?" She nodded, unable to say that she didn't think she would be permanently mute.

In his head, Sasuke was connecting the dots. "You lost your voice when Pein attacked the village," he said flatly. Again she nodded.


Sasuke had always known that irony was a bitch. He thought now that fate must have a personal vendetta to settle with him, because it seemed that anything he ever wanted was snatched from under his nose. All he wanted was to hear Sakura's voice, the same clear and reassuring voice that he imagined every night to coax himself to sleep. Then there was the knowledge that he had been instrumental in sending Pein to destroy Konoha, which was the reason that she was in the state she was in.

He let out a heavy groan and looked up at her again. She glared at him, but he found that he didn't mind. Even if she couldn't talk to him, he'd manage. The company was what he wanted most of all and he'd have it no matter what.

"Are you done with your rice?" was the only thing he could think to say.

She shook her head no.

"Well… that's just too bad then." She got a confused look on her face as he pulled her up off the floor. Gripping her wrist in his hands, he pulled her out of the empty restaurant and into the street.

Sakura wondered if Sasuke had finally gone crazy. He dragged her down the main road of the abandoned village until they reached the outside of what seemed to be a small cinema, maybe two screens at most. There were a few faded posters hanging near the box office. The first was boldly emblazoned with the kanji for the word "revolt" in white with fire and armies in the background. Sasuke noticed too had noticed the poster.

"I think not," he said.

Sakura growled. She had wanted to see that one when it came out. Sakura thought that he would be able to relate to a movie called "Revolt" with flames and violence, but he shook his head.

"If I wanted to see a movie like that, I would make my life into a movie," he snapped in reply to her growl, and squeezed her wrist harder. Much as she wanted to, she no longer possessed the strength to escape.

The other poster was for a children's animated film. It showed a beautiful foreign-looking woman in a golden dress holding hands with a hairy monster in blue coattails. The writing was in a script she couldn't read and assumed it would be a dubbed film. Sasuke saw it too.

"Good choice," said Sasuke, pulling her through the dim lobby before she could protest. The theatre was drafty and darker still than the lobby, and smelled of stale popcorn. He practically tossed her into a chair. "Sit down. I'll be right back." Sasuke jumped up to the light booth and tinkered around for a few minutes. Sakura sat down and turned in her seat to watch him. He didn't seem like the cold, apathetic Sasuke she had ran into while chasing down Sai or the tormented, distant boy who had ditched her on a bench.

"That should work." He hopped down from the booth into the seat next to her and the movie began to play. "You know, Sakura, I haven't seen a movie since that time we had to watch that one with the Snow Queen in it."

Sakura had always imagined herself seeing at the movies with Sasuke, just the two of them, but never quite like this. At the very least she had always thought that she would want to be there with him, but although her chakra was extinguished her fighting spirit was not. She would not make this easy on him.

In the meantime, a usually reserved Sasuke was making up for her lack of conversation. "Just so you know," he started hollowly, "I got my revenge. Itachi is gone." This perked Sakura's interest, though she tried not to show it.

"But I was wrong. He… to make a long story short, Akatsuki needed my team. Team Hawk. I don't think you've met them," he said with a sarcastic laugh. Then his mood switched drastically. "At first I wanted everyone dead. Every man, woman and child," he spat bitterly. "Even Kakashi-sensei. Even Naruto. Especially Naruto." He turned to her, his face illuminated by the light from the previews. "Maybe not you though. No, not you."

He was rambling now, she thought. He lifted up the armrest and put his arm around her. "But Sakura, you have to understand, I got tired of the killing… I was so lonely…" He pulled her close, so that the tip of his nose was level with her ear. "I don't like to kill. I never did. It's not the Konohagakure thing to do." He sighed. "I don't want to fight anymore…"

Sakura wanted to scream at him that he was a coward, and that he should finish what he started, or to at least help the village. She started to squirm, anything to get away from this deranged boy-man, but he put his other arm around her and hugged her tightly to him.

"Are you afraid of me, Sakura?" She put up one more attempt to struggle against him, but he didn't budge. "You shouldn't be." He scooped up her legs so that he was holding her in his lap and looking down at her. "We always did get along, didn't we?"

Sakura couldn't say she agreed.

"You were there when I got that curse mark. You took care of me, I haven't forgot," he said, an eerie smile growing on his face. "You and Naruto are the only two people I've ever been able to really talk to, did you know that? Even to this day."

She didn't understand where he was going with his, and their proximity scared her. Sasuke or not, he was dangerous. "And whenever Naruto would rush into things without thinking, you and I always hung back. We had to save his ass so many times, remember?" He frowned. "To be fair, he saved us a lot too."

The opening narration of the movie was starting. "Are you going to sit still now?" He set her down in her own seat again, and she made no attempt to deviate.

Just as she thought, the film was dubbed but the voices were carefully matched to the characters and well-synced, so Sakura soon forgot that it was a foreign import. It was about a girl who went to live with a hideous monster. Sakura actually found herself enjoying the movie, and was close to tears at the climax when the monster appeared to die. When he came back to life, her heart soared with the orchestra as the film drew to a close. She and Sasuke watched through the credits until the reel ran out. Wordlessly, Sasuke turned off the projection machine in the light booth and led her out of the cinema.

While they were watching the movie the afternoon had advanced so that the sun was almost set when they emerged. Sakura had no idea what was coming next, but Sasuke had a plan. "It's getting late." He pulled her off to one of the side streets into a residential area. The small village was filled with simple, traditional houses, with grey thatched roofs and wide panel windows. Sasuke yanked her haphazardly through the neighborhood until he stopped at one house seemingly at random. "This one looks good." It was one of the smaller houses, tucked in the lot between two larger houses. It had two stories and a quaint stone porch, with a maple tree in bloom in the front yard. He took her through the bamboo gate and up to the front door.

It was unlocked. Finally Sasuke let go of her hand and took off his sandals. Sakura did the same and followed him into the kitchen. Using his fire jutsu he blew flame into the simple fireplace and began to rummage around the drawers in the kitchen. Unable to ask what he was doing, Sakura sat down on the floor by the table.

Finally Sasuke found what he was looking for. With a self-satisfied smirk, he slapped a small notepad and pen down on the table. "Now tell me, what are you doing here?"

Sakura picked up the pen and started to write. When Konoha was destroyed, I was sent out to look for survivors.

Sasuke frowned. "Who sent you?"

Tsunade. There were a few other survivors in the village, but she suspected that other areas would be affected by Pein's jutsu.

"What about Naruto?"

He was not in the village at the time. I do not know his whereabouts. So don't bother asking.

This seemed to satisfy Sasuke. He put some tea on the stove and collapsed into the cushion across from her.

"We're spending the night here," he stated, looking around in approval. "We need rest." They sat in silence for a moment. "I think there's a tub upstairs. You can have the first bath."

Sakura tilted her head to the side and gave him an are-you-sure? look.

"I'll make dinner. Think of it as me making up for this afternoon in the restaurant."

Sakura didn't need him to reiterate the offer. She practically ran up the stairs. The master bedroom of the house had a large, spacious bathroom and she wasted no time stripping out of her clothes and digging around for soap. Whoever had lived there while the town had been inhabited must have been some sort of aroma therapist; the shelves were stocked with many different kinds of lotions and soaps to choose from, like a spa. Sakura scrubbed week's worth of grime from her face with soap that smelled like apples and had to shampoo her hair three times before the dirt was out, bringing back the color to her hair that had been dulled by travel. Finally, she lowered herself into the hot bath and let the piping hot water soak into her pores. The knots in her back smoothed themselves out and all of her muscles relaxed. She felt refreshed, and even her anxiety about Sasuke being in the next room melted away.

When she started to get pruned, Sakura reluctantly pulled herself up out of the bath and put the lid on it. Wrapping herself in a towel, she glanced over at her clothes, which she had tossed into the corner. Now that she was clean the idea of donning them again was repulsive, so she stepped into the bedroom to see what was available.

The state of the bathroom was an indication that a woman had lived in the house, which was confirmed when Sakura began to go through drawers. There were also men's clothes in one half of the wardrobe, so the mistress of the house had probably been married. Sakura began to wonder about her as she picked through her clothes, looking for something to wear. Had she been a vibrant, extraverted individual or did she prefer to read classical literature alone in her fancy bathroom? What had she done in life? Was she a ninja, perhaps? To the last query, the clothing in the bedroom suggested otherwise. The Mistress, as Sakura had begun to think of her, had been fond of delicate, feminine clothing and aside from the odd pair of exercise shorts Sakura did not see any clothes that would have lasted ten minutes into a mission. At first she felt a guilty thief slipping into this strange woman's underwear but the feel of the fresh cotton against her skin was rewarding enough to make her forget her inhibitions. In the closet Sakura found a floor-length satin nightdress and light cotton robe, which she decided would be enough. The night was warm.

Sasuke was just putting food on the table for her when she came down into the kitchen. He gave her a quiet smile and the two sat down to dinner: ramen, with rice on the side.

"The people that lived here had tons of it lying around. It seemed appropriate." He poured filled her cup with tea and began to eat.

What good manners you have, Sakura wrote on the notepad. Thank you for making dinner.

"Well I'm not a dirty heathen," replied Sasuke. "I have manners." Sakura raised an eyebrow. "And I've been feeding myself since I was a kid, so I know how to cook ok."

Sakura flashed him a slight smile.

"It's just like old times now, eating ramen. Now all we need is Naruto being a dork and Kakashi to read those kinky novels of his. Then our trip down memory lane would be complete." He took a big gulp of tea and exhaled deeply, eyes closed. "I miss you guys."

We miss you too.

Sasuke looked guilty again. "Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I never left."

I could write a novel about that. She gave Sasuke a pointed look. We wouldn't be in this mess, that's what.

"You don't have to remind me of that. Do you ever wonder what life would be like as a civilian?"

What do you mean? And what does that have anything to do with you leaving Team 7?

"Like, if we weren't ninja."

No, I never did wonder that. Being a ninja is tough, but it's all I know.

"Well I wonder about it, sometimes. I need a break."

There are no breaks for a n-Sasuke, who was reading while she was writing, snatched the notepad away across the room angrily before she could finish.

"I know, there's no break for a ninja. That's the academy's first rule and I'm so damn tired of it. Just imagine it for a second, Sakura. I'd have my family and Naruto would have his. We'd be friends at some high school in the middle of blissful fricking nowhere. This stupid war and revenge would be someone else's problem and the three of us could actually have our lives back! Do you know what that would mean to me? To us?" he hissed, slamming his tea down onto the table. Sakura backed away from him, aghast that he had thought about civilian life so deeply.

"It means that Naruto didn't have to live his life as an outsider! I didn't have to lose everything because of that god-forsaken village! It means that when we go to movies we wouldn't be training for anything, or running from anything, we'd just be there to go there. I'd be able to kiss you in the dark instead of just wishing I could bring myself to but I can't. I can't feel anymore!" His eyes had turned red again, and his fists were clenched.

At that moment Sakura didn't see him as Sasuke, the ruthless Sound-nin or Sasuke, her troubled classmate, but as an enraged, wounded young man who had forgotten his reason to live. Moreover, she found herself woefully ill-equipped to remind him who he was, or to soothe his pain. Desperate to see him calm down, she reached across the table and put her hand on his. His skin was hot and sweaty to the touch, but it seemed to help. His eyes deactivated, slipping back into their normal dark brown hue. His whole body seemed to wither and he slumped down on the table.

"Shhh," she hushed him. "Shhh."

It then occurred to her that he seemed feverish. She brushed her hand across his forehead and sure enough he was burning up. She took her hand back and retrieved the notebook.

I think you have a fever, she wrote. Go take a lukewarm bath.

He looked at her message blankly, but let himself be helped to his feet and taken upstairs. Sakura made sure the bath was ready for him and then left him to clean himself, taking the pile with their dirty clothes down to the first floor to start a load of laundry. In the quiet darkness, Sakura cleaned up the dinner dishes and put them away, trying to leave no trace that the house had been tampered with. She poured him a glass of ice water, because he would need fluids to break the fever.

Sasuke was pulling on a shirt when Sakura let herself into the master bedroom. He looked at her inquiringly as she put her hands on his shoulders and gently pushed him to a sitting position on the bed. She handed him the cup of water and an acetaminophen pill.

"Thank you," he said, looking up at her with a smile.

Suddenly Sakura felt very tired and flopped down onto the bed next to him. The mattress was bouncy and the feather-soft duvet sunk underneath her weight. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.


It was uncomfortably hot and hard to move. Sakura became aware of the sun shining in through the window. She tried to turn away from it but bumped into something dark, organic and smelling of apples. She cracked her eyes a little ways to see a close-up view of Sasuke's forehead. Lying on his stomach, one arm hung off the side of the bed and the other was hooked around her, the root of her moving problem. His grip was tight, even in sleep.

Sliding out from underneath his arm, Sakura sat up. The morning was dead silent and peacefully empty. She wandered down to the kitchen and started to rummage around for breakfast. Still groggy, she poured herself a bowl of Lucky Charms and sat down at the table, wishing she had a newspaper or something to occupy her mind, which was full of the fuzzy dreams she had the night before. She had dreamed that she was a new student at her high school, and that Sasuke was the captain of the basketball team, whatever that was.

From behind her, she heard Sasuke coming down the stairs and into the kitchen. "Morning, Sakura," he mumbled from behind the kitchen counter, digging around for another bowl. He practically inhaled his first serving of Lucky Charms and didn't waste any time pouring himself a second. "I'm feeling much better."

Sakura smiled. Curing a patient was the most rewarding thing about being a medic, and she didn't even have to use any of her own chakra this time. Suddenly remembering the state of her voice, she rushed to find the notepad from the night before and started to write.

I didn't get a chance to tell you yesterday, but I think I'll be able to have my voice back in a few more weeks. I've been healing myself slowly to save chakra. The damage won't be permanent.

She was surprised when he didn't look relieved, or even vaguely enthused. "That doesn't take away the fact that it happened," he said.

It's in the past now. Just get over it.

"That's rich, coming from you," he snapped between bites.

She frowned. What do you mean by that?

"You're the one who keeps reminding me how I left the village and ditched you and Naruto," he said, scowling.

If you recall, I haven't actually said anything at all. Maybe you just have a guilty conscience.

"You're annoying."

You're a jerk!

"You think I don't notice, Sakura? You flinch whenever I touch you."

She didn't know how to respond to his sudden hostile attitude except to defend herself. Can you blame me? Do you have any idea how deeply you hurt me the night you left? Furious tears began to form behind her eyes. Why do you even care if I flinch?

"You see, you're being a little hypocrite."

She couldn't hold back tears anymore. They fell on the notepad, blurring the ink slightly. That's not fair.

"Don't you even try to tell me what's fair."

It sounds like you're just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

That made a bit of an impact on Sasuke and he sat up straighter. "Sorry," he said. "Maybe I do have a guilty conscience." He started to sip the milk from the bottom of the bowl. "There's a few things I need to get out in the open with you, Sakura. First off, I was foolish to leave the village. Ok? You were right," he said through clenched teeth, obviously not liking being wrong. "It didn't make anyone happy. And I didn't have the capacity to say it when I was thirteen, but you really are a… precious person to me. I haven't felt so strongly about anyone since my parents died. It was insensitive of me to knock you out, that night and yesterday too."

Sakura stared at him, amazed. This was the most she'd ever seen him divulge to a single person at one time, and she found herself a speechless recipient.

"I've been thinking, girls develop faster than boys anyway. Konoha didn't leave my thoughts, and you didn't either, and now, when I think about it…"

She waited expectantly for what he would say next.

"For all we know, we're the only people around a hundred miles. We can look for people. We can go back. But for a while… will you stay here? With me?"

It was a heavy proposition. I need to take a walk.


Sasuke sat on a cushion in the vacant house, waiting for Sakura to come back. She had been out almost an hour and in the meantime he had been practicing what to say to her when she returned. This proved a difficult task for him; he had always had problems putting his emotions into words and it was especially difficult that he felt something new when he saw her, an attraction that he had never felt before during his short life that was futile to fight off.

He heard the front door creak open and he stood to greet her, but what met him at the door was hardly the girl who had left. Sakura had discarded the nightgown during her walk and put on a pretty green kimono that he had noticed in a shop window earlier. She looked lovely- like a queen from another time, and it caught him off guard. She smiled unsurely at him.

"So I was thinking, you don't really have anywhere else to go, and no one to go there with," he started. "If you stayed here, you could heal your voice faster. And I'd like to catch up. We have a lot to talk about, don't we? I- you're beautiful," he slipped. Flushing, he looked down at the floor. "Think of it as a well deserved vacation with just the two of us," he said softly.

Sakura reached her hand over and tilted his chin up, peering into his eyes. She nodded and rose to the tiptoes of her sandals and kissed him on the cheek. The notepad materialized, and she jotted down another message for him.

I like that idea. Just the two of us. When we're ready, we'll go back?



End Notes: This turned out longer than I thought, but I'm glad I was able to put in all the details. With the double spacing between paragraphs, this thing is a monster at sixteen pages! My goal was to preserve the mood of the original episode of The Twilight Zone, but still keep it within the Naruverse. Also, the two movies discussed in this fic are real films, and another film is referenced very slightly. Kudos to anyone who can guess what they are.