disclaimer: do not own
note: post-canon; and kudos to whoever can tell the song lyric in here :)
He looks content, she thinks. Finally, for once, he has no one left to hunt, and because of that he has found peace. The furrow that seemed to permanently mar his brow is smoothed and his closed eyes flutter softly with the hopeful tease of a happy dream dancing behind them. His lips are parted ever so slightly as he breathes evenly.
He is content.
Carefully – so, so carefully – she lets her fingers touch his cheek. Hardly enough contact is made for it to truly be called a touch. It is enough, however, to wake him from his slumber, and with the instincts of a true shinobi, he grabs her wrist before his eyes shoot open. It's not that surprising. A man like him – a missing nin like him – must have such honed skills.
She smiles, unaffected by his grip. "Good morning."
He says nothing but releases her immediately. With a grunt, he turns away from her and faces the edge of the bed. Sakura frowns at his cold behaviour but does nothing. Instead, she settles comfortably on her back and studies the white ceiling. It looks grey due to the darkness of their room. Near the window, bits of light peek through but the thick, navy curtains keep them at bay.
"I have to go today," she says eventually.
Her departure is inevitable if not anything else. She looks at him and hopes for a reaction – ask me to stay – but receives none. She sighs and pushes the blankets off her body, briefly shivering when the cold air makes contact with her skin. Donning her underwear, she chooses to wear a simple dress, a perk of no longer being a ninja. When all her things are gathered she looks at him once more, lying there, facing the ceiling with an arm crossed, sprawled across his eyes. He wears a frown but does not say anything. Unsurely, she sits down at the edge of the bed.
"Where are you going?" he asks after a moment.
In his typical fashion, he manages to sound like he does not care in the least. Sakura smiles at that. He hasn't changed that much, in her opinion. Deep down, under the taller, stronger figure, he's still the damaged and broody boy she new as a girl. She is much too reminiscent for her own good, she thinks, as she easily falls into her own memories.
"I don't know," she admits.
He sits up and crosses his legs with the sheets bunched in his lap. True to her nature, Sakura's cheeks redden at the sight of his bare chest. Sasuke rolls his eyes and chastises himself for having thought she had actually grown up – actually changed.
"Foolish," he mutters. "Why would you leave the village for no reason?"
She levels him with a placid stare and seems to be thinking of an answer. Rather than responding however, she drops her bag on the floor and lays down in her earlier position, opting to once again study the darkened room's ceiling than think about a reply.
"I want to travel," she responds eventually. "I was bored, to be completely honest." Shrugging feels awkward when done while lying down. "I was restless stuck in Konoha. I want to… I would like to learn more, I think. New medical techniques, other cultures, languages…" Sakura smiles whimsically and thinks about the future. "I want to travel."
After a moment, she turns on her side to look him in the eye but inconveniently, he is facing forward. "I just want you to know," Sakura bites her lip but forces the words out, "I just want you to know that I was not looking for you. I haven't thought about you in a very long time and I did not leave Konoha with the hopes of finding you on the road. I… I wasn't looking for you, Sasuke. This was just a coincidence. This…" Continuing almost feels like a struggle. "This will never happen again so… I guess this is goodbye, Sasuke."
She sits up and kisses him on the cheek softly. It is a simple brush of her lips against his cheek, but it still pulls something in his chest and Sasuke flinches at the contact. He grabs her wrist as she tries to stand and pulls her back down.
"You have nowhere to go," he states, staring her down. "Why are you in such a rush to leave?" She opens her mouth but no answer comes out. "You should stay," he mumbles.
Her eyes widen at his utterly ridiculous idea – really, what could he possibly be thinking?
"W—what?" she stutters, openly gaping.
Sasuke bows his head and she easily picks up his racing heartbeat. "I'd like to know," he murmurs slowly. He lifts his head and holds her gaze, "if you'd be open to starting over from scratch."
"What?" She shakes her head and looks away. "I don't understand."
"I'd like to know if you'd open to giving me a," The last two words are nearly a whisper but she manages to pick up on his request, "second chance."
She swallows nervously and stares down at her hands. Her fingers are clenched tightly around the bed sheet beneath her and she has no idea what to do. Sakura lets go of the now wrinkled material and runs her hands over the creases to smoothen them. She can only distract herself for so long, Sakura deduces as she struggles to ignore Sasuke's smouldering gaze.
It hurts. Just a little bit. A lot. It still hurts to be around him, to hear his voice, to feel his touch. Every time he said 'thank you' for courtesy's sake in the past few days they stole together, Sakura still found her self flinching. Every time they kissed and his fingers brushed along her spine, she froze up momentarily and subtly took her neck out of range. Sakura prides herself in being quite intelligent so she knows why it hurts: she still loves him.
Finally she looks up at him and Sasuke is almost relieved.
"I," she begins, focusing on his lips rather than his eyes. "I'm Sakura."
He blinks, confused, before understanding. Sasuke nods and his lips pull into the smallest of smiles. "I'm Sasuke."
Before she can speak, Sasuke pulls her closer and wraps his arms around her. His grip is tight but warm and comfortable and feels so, so safe and Sakura prays he doesn't ever let go. He buries his face in the crook of her neck and breathes her in.
"Thank you," he says softly.
Sakura pulls away just enough to be able to cup his cheek and look at him fully. She smiles gently and then closes her eyes and presses her forehead against his. With a contented sigh, Sakura whispers the words that are nearly six years overdue.