.chapter three— F major

Life without Sakura was a dreary one indeed.

Sasuke returned to his regular routines. Starbucks once a week, brainstorming for his new novel. Lunch with Naruto whenever the blonde invited him out, and having dinner with his family every Friday.

And somehow, it was so…bland. Boring. Dull.

So…not Sakura.

For the past two years, there wasn't a week when he hadn't seen her. If they didn't meet face to face, she'd text or call him, or even e-mail him. There wasn't a day without Sakura.

But now—now, it was too quiet. Too normal.

Too Sasuke.

When did he become so dependent on her?

This was why women were so annoying. They just weaseled their way into your minds and your daily routines, until you couldn't stop thinking about them. And it just got so bothersome, because—because he missed her, and he wanted to talk to her, and why wasn't she just here with him—

"Hey." Sasuke was pulled from his reverie when he found Shikamaru sliding into the seat next to him. "I heard from Sakura that you usually come here on Tuesday afternoons."

"Hn."

It was pathetic how he was reduced back to monosyllabic responses due to the lack of a single woman.

"I have places to go to, so I'm going to get straight to the point." Shikamaru gestured towards him. "You're going to need to grow some patience."

"Are you doing this on behalf of Sakura?"

"Yes. Troublesome woman."

"Is she too afraid to face me herself?"

"Actually," Shikamaru turned away and stared at some random spot on the roof, "she's been working almost full time at the hospital lately. You know she works in the ER, right? They're running low on staff. But she figured you'd go crazy if you went too long without her—don't give me that look. She told me to tell you that you know she's right." Sasuke scowled. "She said something like you drowning yourself in black coffee with two creams and a blank document and very possibly ramen and never come out of your hermit home again, and that she was worried."

He grunted. "Worried, my ass." He found it highly offensive, how she thought he couldn't manage on his own. He did it perfectly fine before he met her, so he could do it perfectly fine after he met her.

"She told me to tell you to drop by sometime so you guys could sort things out. She said there were legal documents involved."

"Hn."

…There were legal documents involved?

"That's all I have to say." Shikamaru glanced at his watch. "And now I have to meet up with another troublesome woman." He sounded so tired—tired, just like Sasuke.

"Ino?"

"Is there any other?"

After sharing a grim smile, Shikamaru sauntered out the door. Sasuke heaved a sigh and stared at his blank document, and then his black coffee with two creams. Then he contemplated on having ramen with Naruto—at least it'd take his mind off things. Or he could just go home, sleep, and never wake up.

Then, vaguely horrified, he realized that Sakura was right. About everything she said.

Females were a bit frightening, if not completely. Or maybe it was just Sakura.

Leaving his unfinished coffee on the table, he packed away his laptop and stalked outside. He tossed his bag into the passenger seat of his car carelessly before driving off, going nowhere in particular. This was one of the effective ways of clearing his head—for writing, usually—and getting into the right mindset.

What did Sakura know? Sakura knew nothing. She knew nothing about him. There was nothing to know.

He was Uchiha Sasuke. He wasn't going to be pulled down by some mere woman.

His grip tightened on the wheel, and he pressed harder on the pedal, speeding up. Although everything else seemed to drift from his mind, the one thing he wanted gone the most wouldn't leave.

And the disappointing thing was that, after writing numerous romance novels, he knew that the chances of it leaving were slim to none.

Sasuke turned a sharp corner, scowling when he heard his tires screeching against the road. A few honks were heard, and he honked right back at them. He wasn't in the mood to deal with people. His scowl only deepened when he looked straight ahead and found that another car was driving straight towards him.

Stupid people. Shouldn't they learn how to drive in the right lanes?

He didn't slow down for that driver—why should he? He continued at his pace of sixty kilometers per hour, nearly cursing out loud when the car heading towards him wasn't slowing down either. That arrogant bastard—

Sasuke only realized after they crashed that he was the arrogant bastard in the wrong lane.

x

When he came to, he was hacking and coughing. Not a very pleasant way to wake up.

"We got a response!"

"Alright, now ventilate him!" Something was shoved over his mouth, and he forced his eyes open to see who dared do that to him. It hurt to breathe—it was like his entire abdomen was cracking in two.

The first thing he saw was a head of pink hair, and the name instinctively left his lips. "Sakura." His voice was muffled by the mask on his mouth, and it almost felt like the air was being forced down his airway, each breath more painful than the last.

She didn't respond with one of her breezy smiles and her light chatter—she didn't respond at all. "I'll take him to the OR," she said to someone out of his line of vision.

"What's happening—" He was in the middle of demanding before he coughed and hacked again, pain shooting up his chest.

"I'd suggest you not to talk or move, Sasuke," Sakura said, voice low as she pushed his bed down a hallway. She was dressed in a white coat, her hair messily tied up in a ponytail. The bags under her eyes were even worse than his. Shikamaru wasn't lying when he said she was working nonstop for the past while. "Breathe as shallowly as possible."

"Saku—" But he was passed on to other doctors and pushed into another room.

She didn't even look back. Didn't even give him one last lingering gaze before she backed off—she just turned around and walked away.

Was she always like this when working, or was it because it was him? Or both?

"Uchiha Sasuke, we're going to perform an operation," a faintly familiar voice told him, although he couldn't see the person. Neji, he thought before it left his mind as soon as it came. "As you may or may not remember, you were involved in a serious car accident. It resulted in the breaking of two ribs and a fracture in your arm. One of your ribs is dangerously close to puncturing your lung. We're going to fix it. All right?"

He grunted—and grunted again, due to the pain from the first grunt.

"We're going to give you some oxygen now, to knock you out. When you wake up, it'll be over."

When everything went black, he dreamt of green eyes lighting everything up and pink hair tied back into a ponytail.

x

"I could request a day or two off for you. Tsunade-sama would understand."

"I don't need a break."

"You've been working for three days straight. The only breaks you took were the fifteen-minute ones in the cafeteria with shitty coffee from the vending machine."

"I'm female, Neji. I'm invincible."

Snort. "Bullshit."

Sasuke frowned faintly at the conversation, but didn't dare open his eyes. If Sakura knew he was awake, then maybe she'd leave. He hadn't heard her voice in so long—as creepy as it was, he just wanted to lie there and listen. Listen, and try to predict what she'd say next, like a game. Sasuke had always liked games like that.

"Look. Sasuke—Sasuke's the worst I've ever seen him. I want to be working while he's still here."

"He's out of critical condition."

"Yes, but—it's complicated. I just don't want to be here as a visitor. If I drop by, I…I want an excuse."

Pause. "You two are in a fight."

"Something of the sort."

"A lover's spat."

"No! Even you're believing what Ino-pig's saying?"

So there were rumors about them? Interesting.

"Only to a certain extent. I believe what I can see."

"Are you saying you're seeing more than I am? Because, Neji, please, enlighten me—Sasuke and I are nothing more than friends. And"—her voice dropped a little—"it doesn't look like we're going to grow into anything more."

"So you admit to fancying him."

"Doesn't every woman, though? And did you just use the word fancy?"

"But you care about Sasuke on a more meaningful scale."

"Please stop talking. What you're saying is frighteningly accurate."

"Sasuke and I are both men—"

"Yes, I realize that, despite both of your feminine features."

"And we are both the same species of men."

"That's awkward."

"It's your choice whether or not you believe me, but Sakura…" Pause. Sasuke stiffened under his sheets, almost angry with the Hyuuga that he barely knew. "He cares. It shows it in the little things, doesn't he?"

Snort. "Don't ask me. I can't read his mind. Or yours, for that matter. Or any of male of the…same species."

"There are things I'm sure he'll let you get away with that he wouldn't let anyone else get away with." There was a beeping sound coming from the direction of Neji and Sakura's voices, before it stopped. "I have to go—but just think about it. He cares."

"False hope sucks, Neji. That's why I don't want to think about it."

"Your loss, then." Sasuke heard the door open and close, before silence met his ears. Sasuke suddenly felt strangely charged—like he wanted to write. He wasn't sure what, but he wanted to write. Write, because God knew—hell, everyone knew—that it made up for the lack of emotions in his life.

He had been aware of how Sakura felt towards him about half a year into their…friendship? Companionship? He wasn't sure what it was. Knowing about it was one thing. Returning it was another. But now—now, Sakura knew that her feelings were mutual. And even if she didn't quite believe Neji, she was given a little shove in the right direction. And that was enough to scare Sasuke right back into his hermit home.

"You sound so confident about the fact that your feelings are unrequited." Sasuke nearly choked on his own words; his voice was raspy, and if he didn't know better, he'd think it was someone else talking. "And yet, you were sure that I'd be hopeless without you, and sent Shikamaru to give me a message." He finally opened his eyes, and saw the woman that had been by his side for the last two years.

"S-Sasuke! You were awake?" She sounded flustered and—although he hated the word all the way to hell—cute.

"Hn." He kept his eyes steadily on her—he knew that intimidated her. Whenever he did that, she'd always look away. However, this time, bright green eyes hardened in something that might've been called professionalism as she strode up to him.

"How are you feeling?" she asked, almost as if on autopilot.

"Hn."

"I don't understand your one-word responses, you know."

"Fine."

She fixed the numerous amounts of flowers that were on his bedside table—given to him, no doubt, from women he didn't even know. "You're to stay in the hospital for the rest of the week. We still need to run you through some tests, and you also need some rest."

He scowled. An entire week without his laptop? Without his family dinner? Without Naruto and his ramen? What kind of week would that be?

"Don't give me that look. You were the one who was driving in the wrong lane."

He was tempted to snap at her and ask whose fault that was, but thought better of himself. Always that talkative one, she was. Frowning, he looked away from her. There was a silence as her hands came back to a rest at her sides. A beeping, not unfamiliar to the one he heard before, sounded. Sakura pulled a device out of the pocket of her coat before pushing a button, stopping the sound. "I have to work. I'll check up on you later."

He wanted to know what she meant by check up. He wished she'd turn back into the normal Sakura.

His Sakura.

x

Sasuke didn't think he'd ever been so glad to see Naruto in his life.

"Teme!"

He smirked. "Dobe."

Naruto stalked up to Sasuke, who was propped up against his pillows. His arm was reeled back to punch him, but for once, Sasuke didn't scowl. He was too exhausted to. Or maybe, something inside him told him deserved it. Although he didn't know what he deserved it for.

"Oi, Naruto, he's already in a hospital bed!" Ino appeared from the doorway and restrained him. "Don't you think that's enough?"

Clearly angry, Naruto turned around to face Ino. "Do you think that's enough, after seeing Sakura-chan?"

"Well, he could've died," Shikamaru said, walking lazily into the room. "I heard from Neji that if he'd shifted in the wrong way before the operation, a rib could've pierced his lung and he would've suffocated."

"What happened to Sakura?" Sasuke asked, tone demanding. He was ignored, though.

"That bastard should die," Naruto shot back.

"Well, that was the most crying I've ever seen her do," Ino said thoughtfully. "But I wouldn't want Sasuke dead because of it."

"What about after she collapsed?"

Sasuke sat up immediately, sending a sting of pain to where his chest was opened for the operation. "Sakura collapsed?" So where was she now? Was she resting? She was probably being stupid and working again. This wasn't the first time she'd collapsed from overworking herself.

"Well"—Ino looked like she was in a fix—"Sasuke's so pretty—I mean—he's so nice—well, not really—"

"Shut up, Ino." Naruto turned around and stalked towards Sasuke again. "Are you happy, teme? You and your asexual habits make Sakura-chan cry, and then you make her go overwork herself and you get yourself into a goddamn car crash and make her worry like shit and now she's not talking to anyone—are you fucking happy? Huh?"

Sasuke suddenly found the wall very interesting.

"You're an asshole, you know that?" He had never heard Ino use that tone of voice with him. "Sakura deserves some respect."

"Says the person who calls her Forehead more than half of the time."

"She and I both know where the line is."

Sasuke kept his gaze steady on Ino. "My entire character is like this. What made you think I found Sakura special?"

Ino must've had some experience in this area, because by the time he realized that she'd slapped him, her hand had already returned to her side as a clenched fist. His cheek stung more than it should've from a simple slap, but he was determined to keep what dignity he had left.

"Because Sakura is special," she hissed, tears brimming in her eyes before turning on her heel and stalking out. Shikamaru sighed wearily, muttering something about troublesome women, and followed her.

He could feel Naruto's eyes on him.

"You really do care, don't you?" his (still self-proclaimed, Sasuke reminded himself) best friend asked softly.

More than you could ever imagine.

x

Let's face it—there was nothing to do at a hospital.

Naruto decided to make himself useful for once and brought Sasuke's laptop and Sakura's old guitar from his apartment over so he could at least keep himself occupied and distracted (from both Sakura and the nasty hospital food) for a week.

Sasuke had started to write his new book during this time. It was a sequel to Out of Tune (because he honestly couldn't think of anything else to write). It was in the point of view of the male antagonist this time, and instead of a thriller-romance genre, it was just plain romance. Because all he could think about when it came to anything related to this book was Sakura.

Only Sakura.

He wasn't sure if he'd publish it, though. As of right now, it was more of a stress reliever than anything.

He also practiced the guitar. He looked up the chords for You and Me, Wonderwall, and Yellow. Maybe it'd make Sakura happy. Or maybe not.

When he was discharged, the first thing he did after going home and cleaning up was go downtown, take Sakura's old, beat up guitar and play it while leaning against the brick wall of a building. Singing.

Who would've thought the day would've come when Sasuke would be making music on the streets.

It was probably Sakura's influence. Everything was her fault. His mixed up feelings, his drastic mood swings, his—his reason for actually getting out of the house more than he usually did—

'Cause maybe, you're going to be the one that saves me—and after all, you're my wonderwall.

Although he wasn't planning on making any profit out of this, people were throwing coins and bills into his guitar case. People—mostly females, but whatever—were gathering around him with dreamy looks. He usually wasn't one for attention, but somehow, this was different.

He hated the way everything in his life sounded so cliché and lame. It wasn't before he met Sakura. That wretched woman.

There are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don't know how.

Everything he was right now—this guitar playing, singing stranger on the streets—she made him. The author of one of the most heart-throbbing romance novels of all time, the person who treated her to ice cream and went to parks in the middle of winter with her—Sasuke, and just Sasuke—she made him.

"Sasuke?"

His eyes shot open—he didn't even remember closing them—to meet emerald green eyes.

Everything that he wanted to say to her—I miss you, I'm sorry, I love you, I love you, I love you—got stuck in his mouth. The girl he wanted to spend his days with was right here, and he was in perfect condition to tell her everything that would make the world perfect—but he couldn't.

One of the things that I want to say just isn't coming out right. I'm tripping on words; you've got my head spinning—I don't know where to go from here.

"What are you doing here?"

He stopped singing, but the guitar continued. He could feel his insides turning to mush—he could feel that soft spot for this pink-haired doctor grow by the moment—and he wasn't sure what to say.

"Shouldn't you be resting? I heard you overworked yourself." He paused. "Again."

"Well"—Sakura still looked completely flabbergasted—"I'm better now. I just had lunch with Ino. Shouldn't you be doing something other than…this, though?"

"Hn."

And it's you and me, and all other people, and I don't know why I can't keep my eyes off of you.

"When did you get so good at the guitar?"

"I never improved. I just learned more songs."

"I think you got better."

The words thank you were just itching to leave his mouth, but he hadn't said those words in years. "Hn. I spent too long without doing something that reminded me of you." That reminded me of how happy we were together. How painfully perfect we are for each other. He hoped it wasn't being too out of character. He wanted to be able to tell her what he meant. What she meant. To him. So maybe, that way, they wouldn't get in an argument ever again.

A blush spread across her cheeks, and some of the crowd began to die away at this. Most of them probably just wanted a lay, anyway. "Well—thanks, I guess. How have…you been?"

He stopped playing, letting the guitar hang on the strap around him. "I've been better."

"Oh. Well, I—" She looked around, and stepped over so she leaned against the wall beside him. "Ino's been setting me up on a couple of…blind dates." Sasuke stiffened.

There were still a lot of grey areas when it came to this topic between them. He wasn't sure if it was something he wanted to face now. Or ever. "Ino's quite vicious," he finally decided to say.

She laughed. "Oh, yeah, I heard from Naruto. Was that the first time you've ever been slapped by a girl?"

"Second, actually."

"Really? Who was the first?"

A faint memory of a girl with glasses and flaming red hair flashed behind his eyelids. "I'd rather not think about it."

"So even you've had your ups downs."

"Everyone has."

Sakura's gaze fell fondly onto the guitar he had strapped on. "Do you want to…do a duet?"

"I only know so many love songs," he told her wryly. He gently strummed the strings of the guitar aimlessly. It felt a little different, for him to be the one holding the instrument, when she was usually the one playing.

"We should write one!" Suddenly, her eyes were sparkling. "Let's make our own album!"

He snorted. "I highly doubt I hold enough talent. Music is not my forte."

"Hah. Nice play on words there."

"Hn." Stepping away from the wall and backing away from her, he thought for a moment. Their eyes locked as he began to strum some chords, and he felt a strange feeling surge through him. Maybe he couldn't tell her how he felt—but maybe he could show her.

Look at the stars—look how they shine for you, and everything you do.

He liked the way the blush spread evenly across her cheeks as she looked away. Suddenly, he felt confident again. Normal again. Knowing that he could have anyone at his feet in an instant. The guitar felt natural in his hands—maybe all of that practicing actually paid off—

He heard a couple of people say "Aw," in the crowd, and a smirk tugged at his lips. Sakura was searching for a place to look—anywhere but him.

"Embarrassed?" he taunted during an interlude. Her head snapped back up, and she glared at him.

"You're the one who sounds terrible!"

He quirked an eyebrow. "Really."

"Really."

You know, you know I love you so…You know I love you so.

Sasuke never thought that there'd be a day when he'd serenade someone—but he supposed there was a first for everything. It was a fulfilling feeling. Was this what Sakura felt when she performed?

As he played, he made his way closer to her. She only stepped back once, fiddling with her fingers nervously. His voice softened as he leaned over her, their faces almost too close for his liking—but at the same time, he couldn't get enough of it. It would be so simple to close the rest of that space, but—

He pulled away. She blinked in surprise. He couldn't even find it in him to smirk. He was sure he looked somewhat like Naruto—clueless and stupid—and hurried to close his mouth.

It was that moment that Sakura's face lit up, almost as if she came to an epiphany. She turned around and made her way through the small crowd of people that had gathered around him. He stopped playing, frowning. Everyone turned around to watch where she was going.

If she was running away from his subtle confession, he would kill her the next time he saw her—

"Uchiha Sasuke!" His frown deepened when he saw that she had clambered onto the ledge of a nearby fountain. By now, people were muttering to others about his identity.

Tch. Stupid girl. She was attracting attention.

"There are so many things I hate about you!" As if she could be any louder. She cupped her hands around her mouth as an amplifier. "You can't hold a conversation, you're stubborn, you have too much pride, and you're not considerate at all!" He could feel his growing anger. Of all places to point out his flaws. They weren't even flaws—it was just how he was. "And I hate the way you're so pretty"—pretty?—"and how whenever I get mad at you, all you have to is buy me ice cream to forgive you." Her expression softened at this.

His hands that were previously clenched into fists loosened a little. "Sakura, get down."

"Make me!" There was just something about the way that determination shone in her eyes.

"Don't make me come over there."

After sticking her tongue out childishly, she cupped her hands around her mouth again. "And you're always so demanding and obnoxious, and you think you can control my life and that you can bend me to your every will—well, you know what?" She paused then, and Sasuke, who was halfway to the fountain, stopped. "You probably could. 'Cause I think somewhere between the arguments and the ice cream and inconsideration, I fell in love with you."

And Sasuke was left completely speechless for once in his life. His jaw tightened, and he felt like he was the luckiest, happiest man on earth. Because Haruno Sakura just confessed to him. Albeit, stupidly, standing on a fountain and in public—but she still did.

And it was more than what he could ever do.

"Hn." His ears must've been flaming red by now. "I said, get down."

She hopped down gleefully, cheeks flushed and beaming. "Sasuke, you're the best!" She then proceeded to pounce on him, despite the large instrument between them.

"Oi—your guitar…!" He attempted to push her off of him. "And I never said I returned your feelings."

"But they are returned, right?" Her bright expression seemed infallible. "If they weren't, you would've left already. You wouldn't still be here." Even after two years, Sasuke was amazed with how well she read his actions. She really knew him more than he gave her credit for.

He paused. "Hn." His eyes widened when she leaned towards him and pressed a chaste kiss to his lips. Shoving her away, he scowled. "Don't touch me, you annoying woman."

He had to turn away to hide the first smile that'd graced his lips in years.

x

"This is our story," Sasuke said in a business-like manner. "Our fairytale, to put in simpler terms. And this isn't our happily ever after"—he looked at her evenly, and she swallowed, mesmerized by how even his gaze was—"this is…" He paused or dramatic effect. It worked.

"This is…?" she probed, voice barely over a whisper.

"This is our once upon a time."


notes: haha whaaat?! i was reading this over and making sure everything was okay—then i realized that this is the last chapter!

i'm sad. but just a little. because i'm writing another multi-chaptered sasusaku! hahaha, i don't know if i'll ever finish/post it, but it sates my hunger for multi-chaptered sasusakus. so you can pray for me to finish, or you can do better things with your life.

(like review.)

i hope you guys enjoyed this fic! :)