Title: Memory

Community: 35Fantasies

Pairing: Uchiha Sasuke x Haruno Sakura

Theme: 01. Tears of a Phoenix

A/N: This isn't exactly a fantasy one…I'll make the next one more fantasy-like, but this one stemmed from the fact that phoenix tears are supposed to heal any wound.

….

….

"He's ready, Sakura-san," one of the nurses—she doesn't remember who—tells her as she enters the hallway. "If you need any help, don't hesitate to ask."

Trembling fingers buttoning up her coat, Sakura tries to give a reassuring grin. "I never do need any help with him nowadays."

The nurse doesn't miss the nervous twitching, the constant smoothening of her coat. "I didn't mean with him."

"Oh." Biting her lip, she shakes her head. "I'm fine." Picking up the clipboard from the table nearby, she flips through the papers, deciphering the messy scrawls and elegant cursive letters. "He was calm last night?"

"Yes." The nurse sighs, noticing the change of topic, but doesn't bring it up. "Quiet and calm, like usual. Not a change at all."

"Really…" Sakura's words are quieter now, the nurse straining to hear them though the hall is empty except for them. Louder, she continues, "I'll go see him then."

The walls are a pale yellow due to the lights, a sickly yellow that she tries to avoid staring at. 248, 256, 262, the numbers on the doors increase rapidly as she approaches the final door. There are only a few patients on this floor, a few that sometimes screech in her ears with their laughter and calls.

(They know, they mock, they taunt…)

Even though the nurses enjoy their company sometimes—he's a good chess player, you know—she can only see the hidden words behind their stares.

Those patients know that he is worse off than them.

Those patients know that she is suffering more than they are.

290.

She stops at the door, stares at the brass numbers. They haven't been polished in a while, smudges and dust coating it lightly. Not a good thing in a hospital but they have been understaffed lately. Maybe she should do the job herself.

Her fingers rap the door lightly, almost fearfully. She knows that there won't be an answer but still she waits for one.

(What are you doing here?)

Her watch slowly ticks, snip, snip, snip, and her hand remains poised over the door. She waits—waits for him, always for him—for a few minutes before finally turning the doorknob and opening it herself.

(I don't know.)

The sudden light startles her and she quietly tsks under her breathe, going to the windows to lower the blinds a little. The last nurse forgot to close them properly, leaving them completely open instead of half-closed. Didn't she know that his eyes are sensitive?

A small noise brings her out of her thoughts and she finally turns to see him. A silhouette against the wall, his hair is in messy spikes and clothes a little rumpled.

"You're a mess again, Sasuke," she complains, making her voice as loud and annoying as possible. "A complete mess. If I didn't know better, I'd say Naruto came and did this to you."

There's no sharp response from his lips, just his eyes moving slightly to watch her. She pretends he spoke as she continues. "He can get the better of you sometimes. Not always, but there are times. And yes, I will keep pulling your hair like that because it is messy and in tangles. For someone who doesn't do anything all day, you somehow get more tangle than I do. I don't carry a comb with me everywhere. Hey! This one was from your bedside table. Hmph!"

It's a one-sided conversation. She knows his responses like she knows her hand. He's a page she memorized from a book that no longer exists.

"Maybe later this evening I can take you out to the garden. I know you don't like flowers as much but they're nice and I like them." Her chatter fills up the room and she keeps waiting for that sign to stop.

(Why do you like talking so much?)

Sasuke still doesn't say anything. Sometimes he adjusts himself so she has an easier time and he can do the basics. Changing his clothes, walking, simple things aren't hard for him.

It's ironic because he used to love puzzles and complex problems, things that made him think and twist his mind to solve. He used to find new things to break and fix everyday until she grew tired of having machine carcasses lying around their house.

(Because you don't like too talk much. Besides, you love my voice, don't you?)

"Wait a moment—I'll go and get your lunch. Plenty of tomatoes." She gives him a quick grin and turns to leave when his hand latches onto her wrist. She stills, his hand cool on her skin, and a familiar ache spreads across her.

There is a glimmer in his eyes, a glimmer that she remembers from the start of the story. "Sa—" he starts to say, his voice tripping over a name he once knew as well as his own, his hand clutching hers tighter. He starts and she stops, waiting, waiting, waiting.

(Will it happen this time? Will the spell be broken? Will—)

Just as quick as it came, the glimmer disappears and he stares at his hand in confusion. She's a faded memory once more and he's lost in the abyss of his mind. Smiling softly (brokenly), she gently releases his fingers. "I'll go and get your lunch."

He gets so close sometimes that she can't stop herself from hoping that maybe their story will reach the end. Only the prince is still stuck in the first chapter and the maiden is waiting at the last, with a whole section between them. Sometimes she can see him, a glimpse in the mirror, but it only happens once in a while. Then it dies, like it always does, and she's left wanting more.

And the worst part is that he never knows what's happening, what he keeps finding only to lose it again.