title: a rough patch
author: reviee
rating: T
prompt: #75: shade
summary: SasuSaku. Post-canon. He never meant to come back, but they brought him back anyway.
a/n: I was watching The Following and yeah, the scene with Kevin Bacon and his sister really brought on SS feels. That sounds a little weird but i didn't know they were siblings when the scene was playing!

Sakura walks through the prison doors and smiles at the guard. The guard nods at her and without further ado, she walks into the ward.

Sasuke is held in solitary confinement. He has four high level shinobi guarding his door and no visitors allowed saved for her and Naruto. She goes through another set of metal doors that are reinforced with chakra. Every time she passes through the doors, it feels like she is going to see Godzilla. Behind the doors though only lay a good-looking twenty year old male whom she spent her childhood chasing after. Without another word, she steps into his room.

It is a small room. The walls are concrete and reinforced with chakra. Sakura also has a feeling that a seal is somewhere around here also. Tsunade was stricter than she imagined when Sasuke was finally brought back to Konoha. He'll only be here for a year, she thinks, he can survive.

"Hi," she greets and sits down in the chair across from him.

He is lying on his back with his knees bent and his hands laced behind his head. He is barefoot and dressed in a navy t-shirt and training pants. He looks a lot younger, she remarks, in contrast to the very grown up Sasuke she saw a month ago yielding a sword and blazing chidori in the other hand.

"You're here again," he doesn't even look at her.

Sakura crosses her legs and intertwines her hands on her lap, "I am."

"Why do you come here every day?" He spits.

She laughs and ignores the menace in his voice. "You've been gone a while. I wanted to see you."

"Why can't you just leave me alone? This is solitary confinement."

"Solitary confinement makes people go a little crazy," Sakura muses, "and I would be a bad teammate if I simply let you go crazy in here."

Sasuke stays quiet and ignores her. Maybe, he thinks, if he ignores her long enough she will go away. He did not ever think he was going to come back to this god forsaken village. He thought he would get away or even die in the war. After purifying his clan's name, there was really nothing else for him to do. He would rather be dead than to live in a village that thought of his family in such a bad light. Oddly so, the thought of living in another village did not suit him. His family had roots in Konoha and he had no business bringing the clan elsewhere. The Sharingan was a Konoha kekkei-genkai and no matter how much he hated the village, the bloodline would stay there.

The silence is deafening in the room, to Sakura at least. Sasuke seems to be submerged in his own thoughts. She sits quietly and bites into an apple. The crunch of her teeth sinking into the skin echoes through the room. She gulps.

"Are you thinking about that day?"

He finally looks at her. She is not surprised when her eyes land on dark circles and hollowed out cheeks.

"No," he quickly replies, "That day was the worst I've had."

A picture of his parents lying on the floor flashes in her head. The hate in his eyes when he thought of Itachi also came to mind. She quietly replies, "That's not true."

"What do you know?" His voice gets louder.

Sasuke has never been a person who yelled. He yelled when he fought with Naruto. He yelled when he talked about his parents' death. Even when he scolded her back in their genin days, he did not yell. It did not take much of his voice to make her flinch and unconsciously sit back in her chair.

Though she still reacts to him with a little bit of fear, she also reminds herself that she is no longer a preteen with no self-esteem and a crush. She is a twenty year old woman with the knowledge of how powerful she is. She straightens her back and tilts her head up. Her hands lay flat on her thighs.

"How can it be the worst day? Or even one of the worst days? What were you planning to do, Sasuke?"

He frowns at her. She has never talked back to him. He lost it a little he had replied, but he was sure it would have led her to be quiet. He would have never fathomed it was elicit a reply as fiery as the one she had given him.

"You don't know anything," he hisses vehemently.

Words from the past, she thinks. Sasuke dwells on a lot. He must have a lot of pent-up frustration inside of him. It may be the reason he's always so disagreeable. It hurts her a little because the words bring back a little more than she thought would be there. She heart constricts but she ignores it; she is a confident woman now. It is the mantra she repeats to herself over and over again.

"Is that your defense mechanism? Do you realize how much the world knows about you? You are the famous Uchiha who was the last one standing. You are a national rogue-nin. They know revenge drives you and truthfully, there isn't much more to know about you. You've devoted your whole life to it, so does it really matter what else I don't know about you?"

Sakura realizes that he sounds a little upset. The fact that he says she doesn't know anything means she's probably missing something. That day meant something to him. Was it freedom, she thinks? After defeating Konoha with Madara would have meant his revenge would be complete.

"You didn't intend to come back," she whispers, "You were going to leave us, Sasuke, weren't you?"

He glares. "I left you guys a long time ago. It would have simply been an actualization of that."

Her eyes widen. "I was talking about you never coming back to the village. You intended to die on the battlefield."

There is silence as the truth sinks in. She doesn't know what to say. She is stunned. It hurts, she's angry and she feels an ethical issue coming on. Sasuke has never wanted to come back and after living such a hard life, isn't the least they can do for him is to fulfill his wishes? But what about them? What about Naruto, who has worked so hard to bring his best friend back? What about her? Don't they deserve a little as well?

She supposes she didn't lose anything from wanting him back so much and neither did Naruto, but she knows they would both feel like their life has been useless. She sucks in a breath and finally looks up to Sasuke.

"No." She decides, "You don't get to decide these things. We've worked so hard. You've also worked hard to complete your life's work. Enjoy it a little."

Sakura huffs and stands up. His eyes glide over her form—back arched elegantly, chest jutted out in confidence and head tilted with an air of superiority. She really has changed, he decides. Her footsteps are steady and purposeful as she walks away. It is the sound he hears echoing through his head.

He waits for her to come back the next day.

a/n: This turned out a little differently than I thought it would. It was supposed to be a little more angsty on Sakura's part but it turned out to be this revelation about Sasuke. I like it though. By the way, I've turned the last chapter (#13: again) into my personal project at school. Basically, I'm turning it into a three-part story. When the two other parts are written, I will be posting it as a separate story. I hope you guys enjoy! Oh and, I saw someone recommend this anthology on tumblr and I was mad happy! I saw it at school so I was squealing during history, haha. Thank you!