Disclaimer- I own them all. Period.
Author's Notes: This was a small idea that cropped up almost three months ago. Originally, it was to be a long, multichaptered story following a post-breakup Naruto trying to rebuild his life, retie bonds he'd severed over the years, and figure out what exactly went wrong. Then I got lazy, and figured I could just post the one half chapter.
So this is AU, where Naruto and Sakura get together and have lived with each other for a strange five-years without being married as Naruto tries his hardest to forget Sasuke and try and make his way up in the Business-Shinobi era.
Dedicated to Maiden of the Moon: even though I don't know you and have never spoken to you, you resonate awesome, and for that I salute you.
'All That Glitters'
" I can't do this- this - anymore. I just- please. Go."
He knows the words before she says them.
He sees them forming in the way her breath quickens, the way she stands, hands folded in front of her as if this was all casual, in the way the light in her eyes seems to dim, in the way the gentle 'o' of her soft pink lips hardens into a grim slash of feeling.
His fingers tentatively grip at the smooth handle of the suitcase. Sandpaper grates against the back of his throat, and he takes a moment to clear it. Words spin around in his head, balancing on the tip of his tongue, so tantalizingly close yet so far, far away.
He takes a breath. " I understand." he settles on finally, but she knows he doesn't; he doesn't quite believe the words himself. He opens his mouth once more to say something, anything, else, but she closes her eyes and shakes her head.
For a moment they just stand there in the others' presence, his training keeping him from displaying anything but utter calm and her's allowing her to wring her fingers and look distressed.
He wonders about those eyes of hers, wonders how she sees him. If she saw them the way he does, in a land where everything was as it should be, and, yet, everything so different.
Friendship and love were replaced with foreign emotions, colder and more painful then their predecessors. He sees them, icy and forbidden, tightly frosted over the well of emotion within those pools of vibrant color. They are not what he is used to.
But, then, what is he used to? Already he cannot remember her smile, or her laughter. And she stands there, a coexistence of emotion- placid yet chaos, fragile and broken - right there in front of him.
" Is this…" he stops, looks at her. He watches the muscles in her shoulders grow taut, and her body seems to freeze up and tense. Finally she coughs. "….because of me?"
Her eyes snap at him and tell him, even though she herself speaks nothing. And he reads her answer, and as he did so, he feels himself begin to break inside. Little, by little, like a shattered mirror or an out of season rose, he cracks and wilts under the pressure of her eyes.
" I'll send you all of your paperwork," she replies quietly, running a hand down her arm. " I'll…" she takes a deep breath, and he knows she's running out of words to say to him.
No. That's not it. She doesn't want to say anything to you. You disgust her.
" Do you hate me?" he asks suddenly, inwardly wincing at the hurt plea resonating beneath the surface of his words.
A quiet breeze ruffles his standard black jacket, and thin blades of grass brush lovingly against the solid material of his black boots. Her eyes seem to focus on him, and then they widen as if she has seen him for the first time.
For his sake, or maybe hers, she manages a small, tight smile. He wonders where she learned that quiet, familiar gesture. Then he realizes she's gotten it from him.
" No," she says quietly, but he sees those tortuous grey clouds in her eyes, those things he does not recognize. He reaches for her, a symbol of comfort, but she steps back and away from him.
" No. I do not hate you," she repeats, eyes twinkling amid clouds. Once he would've trusted her words. But now, his eyes narrow, trying to find a fault in the way she holds herself, the way she speaks slowly and deliberately as if to a child.
Not as if. He is a child. A child with no control over his own emotions, a child that could not rein himself in unless it was positively literal, and then some. He is a child, and even in his love he acts as one. A lover with no regard to another is not a lover at all.
He does not speak. Instead he forces himself silent as he absentmindedly hefts the bulk of the suitcase. She nods to him for a final time and he turns away.
It is only when he has exited what could be considered a normal person's earshot that she mumbles something softly and painfully.
" I don't hate you. You cannot hate someone you do not know. I pity you….Naruto."
She turns from him as well as he continues walking. He continues walking until he hears the sound of a sad, hollow door click shut.
Then he is running, running, running down the street, but he does not know from what he is running. Away from what he's always wanted, perhaps, or rather, what he'd had, until everything was pulled so violently and quickly from within his reach. Perhaps that was it.
He runs until he is so out of breath and tired and hurting hurting hurting that he has no choice but to slump to the ground.
He struggles to breath but the tears streaming down his face make it so difficult and painful that he decides to give up calmed breathing.
He racks with sobs until, finally, the tears slow and he drifts into sleep, pursued only by a twisted laugh and a voice.
'All that glitters, is not gold….'