It's got so I don't even know for sure
Whether I am glad, sorry, or anything.
There's nothing but a voice-like left inside
That seems to tell me how I ought to feel,
And would feel if I wasn't all gone wrong.
--from A Servant to Servants
Faint stars scattered sparsely across an expanse of ebony. Wisps of cloud drifted over a silver crescent moon. Konoha lit up like a warm beacon. Leaves swirled from the trees by a cool, stiff breeze. Like that night.
The breeze nipped at her exposed skin. The cold, unyielding stone beneath numbed her. The darkness pressed in. She paid no heed. Everything felt like that night. She had even caught herself expecting to him.
He was in the wind, the leaves, the darkness, the bench she sat on. Everywhere. The last words he had spoken seemed to resound both within and around her. When will I see you again?
The wind rustled through the leaves overhead, creaking the boughs. Moonlight filtered through, tinting his raven hair. The dewed grass beneath him was stained crimson. Solid, sharp bark dug into his back. His limbs felt as heavy as lead, stiff and aching from the cold.
It was done. His revenge was complete. He was not certain how he felt anymore; there was nothing left but a void. A voice within him reasoned that he should be satisfied - he had accomplished the goal he had sacrificed so much for. Yet all he felt was empty and lost.
Her presence. It was so strong, almost overwhelming. He could hear her voice, smell her hair, feel her embrace, taste her tears. It was as if she was right there with him. Sakura…
Sakura stood up resolutely. She was not going to spend another sleepless night wondering what could have been and if he was ever coming back. She could not just sit idle. Not when everything was like that night. Not when she felt his presence so intensely it was as if he was right beside her. Not when she could not go on without him any longer.
Tightening the knot in her red headband, she sped off down the path and slipped silently out of the village. He was out there. She felt it.
Sakura had travelled only a short distance from the village when she came upon him. He was slumped against an oak tree, moonlight silvering his hair and his downcast face. The sight of the blood soaking the ground around him made her heart lurch. As she drew near, she saw that he was covered in a multitude of deep gashes, most of which were still bleeding profusely. Her mind raced. What was he doing here so close to Konoha in this condition?
Sasuke's eyes flickered open. Slowly, he raised his head. Sakura. It was like his thoughts had summoned her there. She approached cautiously, hesitantly. Her green eyes, though fixed firmly on his dark ones, were anxious and apprehensive. The tension in her body was noticeable; she seemed poised to bolt at any moment.
She knelt beside him, sweeping a trained eye over his body. There was no doubt her sharp mind was already working out which wounds to heal first. He had heard that she was the best medical ninja in Konoha - maybe even in the whole of the Five Countries - and having trained under the sannin Tsunade, her medical skills and inhuman strength knew no bounds. It was even said she had surpassed her mentor. Although he had discovered to his surprise something had changed when she charged him that time they had met after three years, he had never got to see just what had. Now he had the chance.
Sasuke watched her remove the black gloves from her hands and gingerly touch the deep gash in his chest. He winced at the light contact. Pain was soon replaced by pleasure however when warm green chakra flowed into the wound from her downward palms. He stared, transfixed, as the injury gradually closed and healed. The warmth of her chakra seemed to pulsate into every corner of his being, comforting, soothing. Her eyes remained focussed solely on her work and her face, illuminated by the soft emerald radiance, was set with concentration. He had never seen such an expression from her before; it made her look so strong, so beautiful. Almost ethereal.
When she took her hands off his chest and put her gloves back on, he found himself missing the warmth. He felt relaxed, even drowsy. His body no longer ached and his limbs were not stiff or cold. He stayed still whilst she cleaned and dressed his injuries, her fingers gentle and nimble, her ministrations deft and brisk. Every movement radiated confidence. Another side to her he had not known. She really had grown since their genin years.
It was only when Sakura leaned heavily against the tree, sinking down beside him, that he realised how tired she was. From what he had heard and just witnessed, the feat of healing wounds was no menial task although it would not have normally exhausted her this much. Not sleeping well had. The fact she was out at this time of night proved it. She had probably had many sleepless nights during the time they had been apart, he reflected with a pang of guilt.
Sakura opened her eyes, smiled. "I knew you would be here." Our hearts are one tonight. The bond between us hasn't weakened; it's deepened. It feels like we were never really apart.
He smirked faintly. "So did I."
Her smile faded slightly. She placed her hand on top of his. "It's not the same without you. Everything feels incomplete."
Sasuke did not reply. By leaving her, he had brought on the very thing he had suffered before and after being on Team Seven. Loneliness. Something he would not have wished on anybody yet she had endured it and now here they were again.
"I've kept this safe." She took out a familiar adornment.
It was a dark blue headband. His headband. The deep groove that had once been etched into the leaf symbol was gone.
"They say you'll always have someone to come home to as long as they think of you. I've never stopped." I still love you, Sasuke.
"I know." I'm glad.
His hand slid out from beneath hers to take the headband.