and all of its discontents


(a/n: once more, written for the blanket, who wanted a sasusaku "and all of its discontents." and moreover, thank you's to all the lovely mods over at fracturedtales. )


It's not a happy marriage. Sakura's surprised by this in a vague sort of way; she knows who and what and how Sasuke is. She knows not to expect any sort of sweet domesticity with him, and she knows not to think of him as a Prince Charming come to take her away to her happily-ever-after. She knows all this. But Sakura is something of a romantic at heart, and it still hurts when he's curt with her, when he's cold, when he's silent, when he's late for dinner, when he doesn't apologize, when he never asks after her day, when he still maintains his distance, surgically separating the spheres of their married life into yours and mine.

He's dutiful; he's not unkind. He's not a bad husband, thinks Sakura, and she's not a bad wife. Eventually, they will have children, and he will be a good father and she will be a good mother. It's just not a happy marriage, but it's not unhappy either, and that has to count for something, thinks Sakura. Sometimes Sakura is wistful, and sometimes she wishes he'd talk to her more, sometimes she wishes he'd eat dinner with her; sometimes Sakura is sad, is melancholy, thinks that things weren't supposed to turn out like this, that there were supposed to be kisses at the end of the rainbow. But only sometimes. These she dismisses as moments of weakness; and it's not a bad marriage, it's really not. It might not be happy, but none of them had happy lives anyway, so perhaps it is fitting. It might not be happy, but Sakura hadn't really been looking for happiness when she married Sasuke.

She doesn't regret anything.

(But sometimes, she sees Naruto and Hinata laughing together, she sees Ino and Shikamaru squabbling at each other with disgruntled affection, she sees and maybe she is a little envious in her heart. Maybe she is a little sad.)


She wants to say to him sometimes: please be on time for dinner. I'll wait for you, but–just once, please. Please remember to be on time. She wants to say sometimes: Today is our anniversary, and that must mean something, that means something, doesn't it, Sasuke-kun? She wants to say sometimes: I'm here, Sasuke-kun, I'm here, I'm here; why are you still so lonely? What am I doing wrong? What am I supposed to do? I don't know how to fix you, Sasuke-kun, I don't know how to make you happy, are you unhappy, are you still bleeding inside, Sasuke-kun, I'm here, I'm here, are you here too?

She wants to say: I'm here, Sasuke-kun. Look at me. Look at me.

Look at me.


They're doing something wrong, she's convinced. There's a level of dysfunction to be expected with Sasuke, of course; she gets that.

Still: They're doing something wrong.

She doesn't think she's ever seen Sasuke smile at her.


(actually, he has. he does. he smiles at the nape of her neck, early in the morning, when the sky is still bruised black and blue outside, when the light is pearly and secretive peeking in through the window curtains, when she is still asleep. then, he smiles, and slips out of bed, and pulls the covers back over her shoulders. ittekimasu, he presses with his lips into the curve of her shoulder, the shadow of a kiss, i'm going now, and that word hangs in the air, lingers even after he has gone.)


Lies Sakura has told in the past year:

"I already had breakfast."

"I'm not worried."

"I don't know who ate the tomatoes–"

"Naruto didn't eat the tomatoes–"

"I'm not covering for Naruto–"

"No, I didn't wait long."

"Yes, yes, all right. I promise I won't wait up for you."

"You're crazy. You don't leave until five. It's only…four-thirty. "

"I'm not lying about the time."

"I'll be okay."

(except that last one. that's not so much a lie as an eventual truth. she hopes)


There are still missions. Sasuke won't tell her, but she suspects he's ANBU these days. It's half-way confirmed by how Naruto won't meet her eyes sometimes. Ah, she thinks when this happens. You have sent my husband to die again, have you? and it is very hard not to feel bitter.

Naruto's just doing his job, and Sasuke's just doing his job, and Sakura has to just do her job too.

(they don't have happy lives. they don't have happy lives just like how she doesn't have a happy marriage)


"Sasuke-kun," she says one day. "Sasuke-kun?"

"Aa," he says, that ubiquitous monosyllable. He's sitting on the engawa, head leaning back against the house wall. There is a cup of lukewarm tea in his hand, and he peers up with large dark eyes. The afternoon is soft under a pale, winter sun; Sasuke looks tired, worn (too many missions this past month) and yet strangely calm. The tension is gone around his eyes, and there is something of wry, ironic humor around his mouth.

(he's come home, she realizes. he's happy to be home and this is the tadaima that she's been waiting for since last week, this is the tadaima that she's been waiting her whole life to hear. okaeri, she thinks in her heart, okaeri, okaeri, okaeri.)

"Ah, you're busy," she says instead, seeing the scroll unfurled in his lap. "I just wanted to see if–well, never mind."

He tilts his head slightly at her retreating back. "No," he says, in that quiet, still somewhat boyish voice, slightly rasping, creaky and dusty. "Sakura," he says, and "Wait" and:

"You can stay."


There are still missions, still wars, still people killing and dying and getting left behind. They are, at the end of the day, still shinobi, bound in service to their village. They are shinobi, none of them with happy lives: Hinata sick with worry because of that demon in Naruto's stomach who's still conniving its way out; Ino half-insane with rage because Shikamaru is never, ever going to get over Asuma or Hidan.

But they are alive. They survive, and they wake up each morning, and each day is another day alive.

Some things are not about happiness.

They are alive, they are alive. That is more than enough.


It's not a happy marriage. But it is a marriage, and she is his wife and he is her husband. She keeps dinner warm for him when he is late, and when there is a bad day at the hospital (he always knows when there is a bad day at the hospital; usually, he is the cause for bad days at the hospital)–then, he has hot soup waiting for her when she gets home. He puts extra tomatoes in her bowl.

It is a marriage. They are together, and it is a home, and they have survived.

That too is more than enough.


(you can stay)

and we are back to my unhealthy okaeri-tadaima fixation. D: reviews would be love.