sakura loves the feel of blank canvas beneath her fingertips. she skims her fingers over and over and over the bumpy ridges and admires how it's blank and white and pure.
she loves watching the paint spread, streaks and pools of black bleeding into the tinytinytiny squares that make up the blank sheet and smiles as she sees the bristles drag across the canvas to form lines, shapes, faces—anything.
sakura doesn't paint because she wants prize money or galleries or recognition. she paints because acrylic runs through her blood and she cries watercolors. she paints for happiness, for personal fulfillment.
she paints so she can smile.
sakura loves the feel of blank canvas beneath her fingertips. it's blank and white and pure and oh-so-taintable and she loves being able to ruin it with just one smear of paint.
she is a Creator.
sakura still remembers the first time she ever held a brush in her hands.
she was young, small, and only four years old. she was still hopeful that mommy would leave that strange man and come back some day, and daddy would finally be able to leave the apartment and drop that wretched brush from his hands and be able to turn away from the canvas and face her instead.
why would she want to hold one, to grasp the very same object that took her daddy's attention away from her?
she watches her father day after day after day as he paints beautiful portraits of faces, people, landscapes—anything. all in shades of grey.
he leaves his supplies out one day, too tired to put them away as he stumbles away from the glass with strong smelling water and drops into bed, peaceful at last.
sakura quietly pads through her parents' bedroom. she dips the brush her daddy gave her into blackest black paint and her arm is shaking as she drags it across the canvas, leaving a trembling line full of loneliness and worry.
when her father wakes up, he sees his daughter, the spitting image of his adulterous wife, asleep at his easel and he sees the wobbly lines and blurry images she's created.
the faintest flicker of a smile dances across his lips as he sets up an easel for his child before picking up his own brush and diving into The Escape.
she is seventeen now, and sakura is well aware that the only reason why she is still in high school is because she takes three art classes a day and gets away with filching supplies whenever the notion strikes her.
you have remarkable talent, deidara tells her the first time he has her as a student, tell me, why do you only paint with black and white?
she shrugs at first. it was all she's ever had to paint with. she doesn't care for the obnoxious presence of vivid colour and she doesn't like having to deal with mixing colours that just disrupt the stark simplicity of greyscaled paintings.
but then the truth comes to mind and she looks up at deidara with clear green eyes and says;
i have never been able to see colour, sensei.
and deidara knows that she isn't merely talking about being colourblind.
sakura can find a lot of things to paint within her own mind in her own bedroom.
but when she needs the extra inspiration she knows one place to go—it's the rooftop of the abandoned building three blocks west of konoha high. it's where all the stoners go to smoke pot and the musicians bring their guitars and blank sheet music and the lost go to surround themselves by others just like them.
the only supplies she brings are one pack of brushes and two small bottles of white and black every time she goes to sit on the roof.
she mixes the shades right on the roof floor, her usual spot surrounded with splotches of every shade of grey imaginable. it is the perfect place. it overlooks the west side of the city, where the slums and homeless gather, where she can see urban sprawl taking it's place. it's grungy and underground and the real city, the place where she grew up and loves almost as much as she does the canvas.
ino is there nearly every time she goes to the rooftop. ino is a sketcher, moleskine and shading pencils always present. she favors the sharp, harsh lines of the 8B pencil over all the others. ino looks like sunshine, but she is the only other artist on the roof who doesn't use any colour in her work.
whenever she ventures up the twenty flights of stairs to the rooftop, sakura brings a six-pack of juiceboxes she picks up from the dollar store. she splits it, gives three to ino and keeps three for herself. ino offers her half a sleeve of oreos, doublestuffed, and they work together in silence, basking in the scent of sweet smoke and creation.
they hardly ever speak on the roof, but sakura and ino are best friends.
ino calls her every friday night and they make plans. ino knows where every party is and she knows that sakura enjoys the haze of dancing and alcohol just as much as she does.
we're going to the harmony tonight, ino informs her. her voice is muffled and sakura knows she's on speakerphone because she hears the clinking of perfume bottles and the sound of a cigarette being stamped out in the background.
the harmony is a music venue filled with small bands with boys in tight pants and there is no alcohol, just adrenaline and nicotine.
who's playing there tonight? sakura asks, pressing the speakerphone button on her own phone and setting it down as she uncaps her eyeliner and begins drawing on her eyelids.
some band, the urban collapse? ino answers. sakura can imagine her shrugging when she says, i don't know, i've just heard that the lead singer is really hot.
it's a terrible reason and typical ino, but sakura just wants to get out of the quiet apartment.
the urban collapse is a loud band with a spiky-haired blond boy with a raw voice singing. there's an indifferent looking bass player and a bored looking boy on keyboard. the drummer is aqua haired and seems lecherous.
ino is admiring the blond boy, and manages to burrow her way up to the front of the crowd, pulling sakura along with her.
sakura is bored and uninterested, and all she wants is to dance and perhaps get a little tipsy and to smoke a goddamn cigarette, but she's forgotten her merit ultra lights at home and she's sandwiched in a crowd of groupies.
thirty minutes later when the band is finally nearing the end of their set, the lead singer smiles and tells the crowd that they're the urban collapse and they're new, but here to stay.
they're breaking down equipment when sakura sees him.
he's the guitar player and he's wrapping up cords and packaging his precious gibson away when he accidentally lets his pick slip from between his lips and fall to the stage floor.
one of the groupies squeal and sakura watches with bored amusement as he gives the pick to the screaming girl and carries his guitar off stage and to their trailer.
oi, hurry up! the blond singer says to him, impatient.
the next band is on stage already, unraveling wires and doing their soundcheck. they are the dangerous fall, a band sakura downright despises and ino positively adores. a new wave of groupies converge towards the stage, and sakura steps out of the way, telling ino that she'll be outside until their set is over.
when sakura steps outside, she sees that the urban collapse in their entirety has already taken up all the room on the steps. she sighs before turning to go back inside until—
hold on sweetheart, we'll make some room.
the blond singer is speaking again, this time with a cigarette in hand. he sucks down the rest of his cigarette in two drags and stands up. here, you can have my seat.
what, trying to get some ass tonight, naruto? the drummer asks, grinning with sharp teeth and a mischievous glimmer in his eyes.
naruto shrugs before heading back inside. just trying to be nice, now hurry up, we shouldn't miss the dangerous fall's set. it'd be rude.
the other members file obediently back into the harmony, tossing away their cigarettes and pocketing their phones.
except for him.
the guitarist is still sitting on the steps, enjoying his cigarette and taking his damn time.
can i bum one? sakura asks, pointing to the cigarette. he shrugs and pulls out a box, shaking one out and handing it to her, and then takes out a lighter. he flicks the lighter, but it doesn't spark, so he leans in, touching the glowing tip of his cigarette to hers and
he lights her fire.
the next time sakura goes to the rooftop, ino isn't there for once, but there's someone sitting in her spot, unknowingly surrounded by splotches of grey and plucking out hesitant chords and broken melodies on a beat-up gibson.
we meet again. you're in my spot, sakura says to him bluntly. it's windy and cold and she's clutching her canvas tightly and she's had such a shitty day, all she wants to do is sit down and paint until the blank canvas is covered with ebony and dripping with exasperation.
he shrugs and scoots over a foot so she can sit down and sakura tries her hardest to ignore the pretty music he's creating but even with her imagination hiding in the canvas she still can't completely block it out.
she uses only black today, and a tiny detail brush. the entire canvas is kept white and sakura barely paints, using fractions of lines and minimal details for a bleached out painting.
when she's done, she drops the canvas in the guitarist's lap. she doesn't want to keep this one, because even though she created it, it just was never meant for her.
he studies the picture slowly before looking at her while she drinks a juicebox. she feels his eyes on her and turns to looks at him as well.
they stare at each other in silence, the wind blowing pot smoke into their faces and stirring up all the creative energy gathering on the rooftop. he gives her his guitar pick—fender medium and shell print with the gold logo smudging away from use.
i'm sasuke, he finally says.
she looks straight into his eyes with a piercing, unwavering gaze that makes sasuke want to write music forever and says,
they meet on the rooftop everyday.
she still paints and he still strums and they barely talk until they're done, sharing their work, but one day creative energy runs at an all-time high and sakura doesn't know when exactly it happens, but all of a sudden his lips are on hers and they're bracing the wind together in each other's arms and the guitar and the canvas are abandoned for the feeling of warmth and completeness.
they're together for four months before he disappears.
we've been signed to a label, he explains hurriedly on the rooftop on the last day. they want us to go record for them, and then we have to tour and—i'm sorry. his eyes are hard and sakura can't seem to read them for once and his guitar is still strapped on his back and her canvas is laying on the ground, dropped and forgotten.
sasuke continues, not-quite looking at sakura and tells the sky above her pink hair, we'll come back to konoha eventually, but we won't be able to stay very long. come see us on tour sometime. please.
then he wraps his arms around her frail shoulders and breathes in the scent of sakura before kissing her forehead and saying goodbye.
he walks away and sakura drops to her knees. she doesn't know what heartbreak is supposed to feel like, but somehow she knows that it's what she's feeling right now.
sakura walks slowly to ino's apartment, knocks on the door, and ino just knows when she sees her best friend's face, because that's how best friends work.
she invites her inside and brews her a cup of tea and stays silent and just lets sakura bury her face into her bedsheets and let just a few tears slip when she thinks ino isn't looking.
it is her birthday and sakura is finally eighteen and there's only a few months left to go before she's done with high school forever
she hates school. the urban collapse and sasuke are everywhere—they have a trillion groupies at konoha high and it seems as if someone is always singing their newest single or talking about how excited they are that the urban collapse is finally coming back on their next tour or how ohmygod they're race-the-sun record's best-selling new artist ever!
sakura paints quietly in deidara's class, fanning the brush out and creating textures with black paint and twisted bristles. it isn't good for the brush, but sakura could care less.
you're different, deidara says sadly to her. where did your heart go?
sakura knows he is talking about her paintings, but she can't help but tell him, it's racing the sun and might never come back.
sakura, you can't keep moping forever, ino scolds her one friday night as she watches sakura slash thick heather grey streaks of heartbreak across a huge canvas.
ino pulls the brush out of her friend's hand and replaces it with a tube of mascara. we're going out, so get ready, ino decides, so lose yourself in maybelline and hurry it up.
ino is bossy and loud, but she means well. sakura knows this but can't help but resent her best friend as she grudgingly combs through her eyelashes with black and paints her face on.
ino takes her to the harmony and sakura wants to strangle her because there is no alcohol and the place is filled with ghosts of memories that she does not want to think about ever again.
after two hours of watching mediocre bands play, sakura decides she is tired of watching guitar players and screaming boys. ino, let's go, these bands suck, sakura tries to tell her, but ino shakes her head and her platinum hair spills over the shoulders.
the headlining band is up next, so just wait a little bit longer, ino says to her. go outside and smoke a cigarette and then they should be done setting up and soundchecking.
sakura shrugs and follows ino's advice. there's nothing like a bit of nicotine to get you through a boring night, after all. she's almost completely done smoking when she hears a huge scream from the groupies and she finds herself stamping the cigarette out and going inside anyway.
the first song begins with drum clicks and just the lead singing beautiful lyrics with a raw voice and sakura knows why ino decided to bring her here tonight as the urban collapse begins their set.
he sees her after the first song, staring straight into her green eyes and into the empty space her heart used to be. they are both paler and thinner and miserable looking and sasuke feels his own heart beginning to beat again when he sees her watching him, even after three months.
naruto knows and he jumps off stage during an interlude and wades through the crowd to grab sakura's hand and drag her towards the stage, ignoring the screams and protests of the other fans.
he pulls her onstage and nudges her towards his right, to where the guitarist stands, and sasuke drops his pick and stops playing.
everyone in the crowded venue just knows when they see the two together. they're both wearing skinnies and vans and even sasuke fans have to admit that they two look so damn right together it should be a sin.
the bass and the keyboard and the drums are still playing and naruto is still singing, but they are all watching sasuke and sakura and they all know that souls are mending and two people are becoming whole once more.
sakura reaches up to her neck and undoes the ribbon necklace she is wearing, crumpling the dark blue ribbon. behind the bow is a guitar pick—fender medium and shell print with the gold logo smudging away from use—and she hands it to sasuke, the faintest smile dusting her lips.
this says everything to sasuke, and he knows that she's missed him and cursed at him for leaving.
sasuke accepts the pick and this says everything to sakura, and she knows that he's sorry, so sorry, and he's missed her too.
she waits for him after the show and he lights her cigarette with his own and they go to the rooftop and blow smoke rings and sit with each other and bloom until morning.
it's may and it's almost time for graduation and sakura is sitting in her last class ever with deidara.
i feel as if your last painting for my class with be brilliant, deidara tells her. what have you got for me, sakura?
sakura smiles faintly and looks at the back of the canvas she has flipped over, hidden from deidara's view.
well sensei, i tried something new, but i'm not sure if it's good enough to exactly warrant 'brilliant', sakura says, drumming her fingers lightly on the back of the canvas before flipping it over.
deidara's eyes widen and he doesn't have anything to say because sakura's painting isn't just black and white. there's colour, beautifully mixed shades of yellow and blue and green and pink.
sakura, this is brilliant, deidara tells her sincerely. he is shocked and proud and sorry that his best pupil is leaving, because she was great with black and white but fantastic with colour.
so i guess you aren't colourblind anymore, deidara says to her, giving her a smile.
sakura fiddles beneath the table with her necklace—a guitar pick, fender medium and shell print with the gold logo smudging away from use—and shakes her head.
no, sensei, i don't think i am.
capitalization is for squares! ha, this was originally supposed to be angsty, but i couldn't exactly fit it in, so now it's just drama. it's a bit rough, written in one setting, and i haven't exactly written anything like this in a while, so bear with me please. thank you for reading, and please drop a review. (: