NOTE: I HAVE TO DO THIS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AHHTSACTI!
- Sasuke and Kari -
When the paramedics arrived, Sasuke explained what he had on the phone. "We'll have her right as rain soon enough, kiddo. Don't worry."
Sasuke, graciously ignoring the fact that he'd just been called 'kiddo' stood up, "I'm going with her. I'm not going to let her go on her own." He said defensively. The words 'ever again' were murmured silently in his mind.
"That's okay," The man who hadn't called him 'kiddo' said, "come along – what about your party, though?"
"My friends will handle it." Sasuke told them, picking his hoodie off the back of his door and flinging it over his shoulder as he followed the paramedics out.
Sasuke stayed with her the whole night. He didn't leave her side for a moment. She was put in a ward after having all of the poisonous vodka pumped out of her system and Sasuke refused to leave, pointing out that he was Sasuke Uchiha and that he could do whatever he wanted. Usually, he wouldn't have said that, but he was determined not to be kicked out.
He'd been in Kari's state before, once, long ago, when drinking was the shit. Not to mention that he felt fully responsible for her having put herself in such an awful situation.
It was three in the morning when Sasuke fell asleep, his head on top of his arms and his face facing her. One of his hands was holding hers and stroking her thumb as he did whenever they were in their most serene moods where they didn't feel like joking with each other; the moods where they just wanted to lie beside each other and stare.
When I awoke, the first thing I noticed was the scent of disinfectant, and then more disinfectant and then Sasuke. I opened my eyes only a millimetre before shutting them as a horrible amount of light caused my eyes to burn and a wave of nausea to wash over me. I turned and took a deep breath before opening them again. I noticed that this most certainly wasn't Sasuke's bedroom. Nor was it Karin's. It was, of course, a stupidly lit hospital room. I glanced down, feeling something that wasn't my leg against my leg and almost gasped at the sight.
It was Sasuke… after breaking up with me last night, the last thing I expected was for him to be waiting with me in the hospital. Crap, I must have made a total idiot out of myself. My head was thudding horribly so I closed my eyes and took a deep breath again, trying to remember the events of the night before, but failing.
It was a total wash. I couldn't remember anything after I started drinking… at least now I knew why I hated vodka.
I realized that my hand was in the palm of Sasuke's and I pulled it gently from his grasp before kneeing him in the back of the head, roughly, "Wake up." I muttered darkly.
"Now, now, don't be so nasty. This boy was up all night with you." A nurse said as she appeared in the doorway. I smiled at her awkwardly, mouthing an apology to Sasuke in the hope that he would feel it. Or something like that. "Is he your boyfriend?" She asked as she recorded some stuff onto a clipboard.
I glanced at Sasuke, my chest hurting at his words last night, 'So I'm breaking up with you.' "Well…"
"Of course he is, the whole of Konoha knows. Sorry, silly question."
I laughed shyly, "Yeah…" If she didn't know, then maybe word hadn't got out yet – maybe the word didn't need to get out if he was here in the hospital. Maybe he'd made us seem even closer… I stopped that thought in its tracks. Of course not. Sasuke had broken up with me. I had gotten fucked up.
I honestly hadn't intended to. I just had the vodka so I tried some with some coke and after a couple of those things, it started to get weird. And then some boy tried to flirt with me so I ran away and downed the rest of the drink –
Shit. I downed the rest of it in Sasuke's room. Wow, he probably thought I was some sad, desperate loser: his ex-girlfriend passing out in his bed. Grim.
"Poor guy. He was so worried." At this, I squeezed his hand, silently demanding he wake up so that I could find out what had happened. He squeezed back in response and ran his thumb across my finger.
THAT BASTARD. He was awake!
"Anyway, how are you feeling?"
"Incredibly hungover." I drawled, "Uh… is there any chance I could get a glass of water or something, please?" I asked. The nurse smiled and nodded to my side where a plastic cup was already filled. I took it quickly, drinking it like some nutrient-starved desert animal.
"I'll be back in about half an hour. Try to relax, and don't get up."
"You don't want to find out how much of you that thing covers." The nurse chuckled, pointing her pen in the direction of my green… hospital dress thing. Whatever they're called. Oh fuck, no way was this one of those ones from TV. Without the… the back… the butt cover… I didn't even want to know.
The door closed and Sasuke snorted, pulling his head up and chuckling at me. I giggled back shyly, not really sure what I should do. "It isn't funny, Sasuke, it's really embarrassing."
"Your own fault for getting so fucked." He scolded, "I can't believe you did that to yourself. For a start, you don't even drink vodka –" I cringed horribly at the thought and Sasuke got to his feet so that he could hold his hand gently over my eyes.
"Uh… what are you doing?" I questioned bluntly.
"Don't look at the light." He commanded. I closed my eyes and felt Sasuke remove his hand.
I felt him place a hand on the other side of my body farthest away from him on the mattress and heard his felt his fingertips brushing my hair behind my ear. He kissed the top of my head and then pressed his forehead against mine, "Kari I'm so sorry," He whispered, "I'm sorry for letting you get like that, sorry for hurting you—"
"Stop it, Sasuke," I murmured, putting my hands on his chest and weakly pushing him back. He didn't budge.
"No, hear me out." He murmured, rubbing his nose against mine (Sasuke Uchiha is the Eskimo Kiss pro). "I thought that last night, if I broke up with you, it wouldn't be so bad when you left but I didn't even think about how you'd feel. I wanted to take it back when you walked away, but I didn't. I didn't want to let go of you. Not really. And I shouldn't have… because maybe that way, this wouldn't have happened. I'm sorry, Kari."
I opened my bright eyes to meet his dark ones, I brought my forefinger up and pressed it against his lips before he could open his mouth again, "You're such an idiot, Sasuke. I told you, my dad's been given a four year extension. You're stuck with me."
At this, I felt Sasuke tense slightly. He paused before straightening up and tilting his head thoughtfully towards the ceiling. "Yeah… I remember."
"Yeah, so, nice one on dumping me~" I sang jokingly, through my dry throat. Sasuke looked appalled. I shook my head. "Don't look at me like that, don't make me feel bad. I'm actually really angry at you."
"Like, I can't believe you wouldn't make the effort to be with me even if we were miles away. Look at Juugo and Temari. They're at least a day's drive from each other but they see each other every weekend."
"I know," The Uchiha murmured, "I didn't consider things like that; like I said, I didn't even consider how you would feel if we broke up now. I was only thinking about one specific moment in time."
"That's obvious." I sighed, looking sadly into my empty cup of water. A sudden rush of emotion filled me. "I'm sorry, but I really don't have the mental energy to stop myself so if I start crying I'm sorry." I choked, giggling to cover up the fact that my eyes were already watering. This was the worst part of being in hospital. I always got really hysterical.
Sasuke flashed that same soft smile from yesterday, "No problem."
And then I really was crying. I couldn't believe how normal we were being with each other - had we even broken up? Sasuke certainly wasn't acting like it. I held my hands over my face and sobbed quite pathetically whilst Sasuke moved back around into his chair. He curled his leanly muscled arms around my small figure and pressed my head into his chest. "Hey," He cooed (Yeah, I know, I didn't think it was possible either),"don't cry emo kid."
"YOU ALREADY SAID NO PROBLEM AND IT'S NOT MY FAULT I CAN'T HELP CRYING."
"Emotionally unstable girl." He teased whilst he stroked the back of my head.
"Says the boy with the hair like a parakeet that doesn't even have emotions." I sniffed.
"Getting quite personal, there, Kar-i-ssa." The Uchiha drawled.
"Maybe I am, Sa-su-ke." I shot back. I was surprised at how normal we were being. This was just like us when we were together. It was as if we had never even broken up at all. I buried my head even further into his chest, locking my arms around his waist and tried to stop the sobs that came from my lips. He stood quietly hushing me and stroking the top of my head for a long time while I just clung onto his dark blue shirt.
The nurse from earlier returned with my dress and heels in a pile. "We had your dress cleaned – ah, are you feeling better, Kari? Not kicking your boyfriend in the head anymore?"
"Yeah, I think I've got brain damage or something. Gosh, Kari, have you never heard of restraining yourself?"
"Oh shut up." I sighed, punching him weakly in the stomach (and then stroking it and apologizing). "Oh, you cleaned my dress?"
"It was… messy." The nurse nodded with a grimace before handing it to me and detaching Sasuke from me and dragging him to the side of the room, pulling the grey curtain around my bed. "You'll be allowed to leave as soon as you sign out. I thought you might like to change first."
"Ah… yes…" I nodded. I got up and out of the bed – and then I screamed, "HOLD ON WHERE ARE MY—"
"They're with the dress."
I heard Sasuke snort. Hmph, well, one day, when he's in hospital, maybe I'll take his underwear and leave him to wonder where it is before putting a floaty dress on. That ass… I quickly put everything on, frowning at the small heels and sliding them on, fixing the straps. It's a wonder I didn't break my ankle last night. I swirled some more water in my mouth before spitting it out and somehow combed my hair horribly with my fingers.
I stepped out from the curtains and spun on the spot with a "ta-daa~" Sasuke caught the tips of my fingers as I twirled so that I looked like a little ballerina and the nurse chuckled kindly.
"Just sign here, and then at the front desk, you need to sign out." She tapped the clipboard with a biro. I scribbled my initials and gave her my thanks, as did Sasuke and he took my hand as we left.
His hair was slightly dishevelled and he looked as though he'd had a rough night. Bless him, he actually came with me to the hospital and missed his own party because I was an irresponsible teen. It was that, or I'd puked on his bed and he was mad and was secretly plotting to kill me. I hoped it wasn't the latter.
A few people recognized us as we left the hospital; I hoped the whole of Konoha didn't already know of my record as the Featherweight Champion of Drinking. We walked to into town, which wasn't too far from the hospital, and Sasuke took me straight to Starbuck's. The sight of the food caused my stomach to cry out in desperation and need, and so Sasuke bought me a regular cappuccino, as well as one for himself, and cheese toasties for both of us.
"I swear." Sasuke murmured as he watched me devour my toastie in amazement, "You could eat for Konoha."
"I like food, okay." I said once I'd made room to talk.
"I'm amazed you aren't throwing up." I looked up and pulled a face at him before continuing to destroy the food between my hands. "Oh, and you're so ladylike too." Sasuke added, a dark eyebrow raised at my manners, "I love that. You're a real classy chick."
At this, I shot him an appalled look before swallowing. "My stomach has been cleared of all nutrients." I told him, "Don't be cruel, you know I actually am classy, Sasuke! Don't make me sound like a creature."
The Uchiha chuckled before scooping a bit of the foam from his cappuccino and putting it on the tip of my nose. I stared blankly at him and he smirked at the use of my nose for his own entertainment. I continued to stare, rather un-amused. But then Sasuke moved, lightning fast, leaning forward and licking the foam from me. I squealed and hid my face.
"Gah! Sasuke I'm nauseous and if I throw up I'm blaming it on your face."
"Oh, hush little girl."
"Forrrk yeeeew." I responded in a high pitched voice.
"Well, that was rude." He responded easily.
It was just like our first dates – we used to have so many laughs just by making fun of each other and doing all these silly, childish things. We'd grown up a bit, but not much. I smiled happily at him.
"Hey, thanks for staying with me." I said, not caring how cheesy it may have sounded.
Sasuke just nodded, "I had to. You were in my bed. I would have found you and stayed with you either way."
I blinked, the smile not disappearing from my face. I was so, so happy at how he had said that. He might have tried to cover it up with an excuse but UM HE LOVED ME FOR SURE. "You would have?"
"Were you… worried about me?" I winked, my hands clasped together over my chest.
"Che, don't be an idiot, I knew you'd be fine."
"Oh? That's not what the nurse told me, Sasu-cakes. She told me you were really worried." I teased. "Widduw muwfinnn."
"I'll get you a muffin. And put it in your mouth. And then I'll choke you to death."
"SO ANYWAYS YEAH THANK YOU FOR THE MEAL AND THE COFFEE." I paused, "But thanks, Sasuke. I owe you one."
"Hn, like I said, don't worry about anything. I just know I'm not letting you storm off on your own ever again. You're a danger to yourself and society and nice clothes." He nodded in the direction of my dress, "Violating those poor birds the way you did last night…"
"Oh no…" My eyes grew, "I'm sorry little birdies! I didn't mean to puke on you oh my gosh are you alright?"
"…That's a completely disgusting word." Sasuke muttered, a hand over his eyes. "And the birds can't hear you, you mad woman."
"Oh, sorry!" I giggled. I took in his tired appearance and felt the familiar pang that I always got whenever Sasuke looked less like he was about to kill everyone, "Are you okay?" I asked softly.
"Yes, I'm fine." He looked up and shot me a tiny grin to prove it. "My eyes just feel sort of dry."
"Oh, how come?" I questioned, a narrow, brunette brow raised.
"Just something from last night." He shook his head, "It's nothing; shall we get you home?"
"I don't know, Lord Sasuke, SHALL we?"
"Don't take the piss out of how I speak."
"I love— to do it." Both of us laughed awkwardly to cover my false start. That had always been my usual response whenever he got annoyed with me playing with him. 'I love you'. Now it was a taboo for awkwardness.
Sasuke had broken up with me last night, we both knew that, as far as we were concerned, we both knew that it was over… but now he knew that my dad didn't have to go and work, and we were being so casual with each other – behaving the way we did every other day when we were together – it felt as though nothing had changed. I didn't know how to process any of this. What were we now?
Later, Sasuke walked me home. I was cold in my short, sleeveless dress but Sasuke through his grey-black hoodie over my shoulders. I was amazed at how perfectly it fitted him but looked so huge on me, falling past even the hem of my bird dress. Sasuke flipped the hood over my head with a comment about Gollum and so I flipped it back off, no longer feeling cute.
As we approached my house, we recognized the usual gaggle of cameras and journalists.
"You do not have my permission to film us," Sasuke told one of the guys with the cameras, "If you want to take photos, turn your flash off." He muttered darkly to another. It was unusual for Sasuke to ever do that. Sometimes after parties he'd do it because we'd always look rough but it was rare.
As we passed them, I noticed Sasuke's grip on my hand and a thought struck me. "Wait, Sasuke," I murmured to him, "this is a really dumb question. But you're not allowed to judge me because I honestly can't tell…"
"What is it?"
"Well, are we together or not?" I asked, indicating to our interlinked fingers.
"That's… entirely up to you." He said, stopping. "I made a mistake, but truth be told, everything I said I meant, last night. I love you. I don't know how that's possible, you're such a pain in the ass, but I do. But… I fucked up and you got hurt. It's your decision."
I turned to face him, we stood in the centre of the drive up to my house with tall hedges surrounding us, I looked at him unusually shyly, not really sure what to say. "…I'm pretty sure I love you too, and… I'd… I'd still like to be your girlfriend, Sasuke. Really."
"If that's what you want." He replied, his lips breaking apart to reveal a stunningly happy grin. "I'd still like to be your boyfriend too." I grinned brightly right back. Then, regardless of my countless complaints of nausea, he scooped me up like a baby and kissed me right there, in front of the paps. Even with my eyes shut I could see the flashes and hear the whoops of the media group.
My fingers were linked at the back of his neck and held me bridal style for the longest moment. We pulled away from our kiss at the same time and just smiled happily at each other, totally sure of where we stood with each other. He rubbed his nose against mine in his cute little nuzzle while he smiled that famous smile of his, the dent in his cheek appearing before he was kissing me again and then putting me down as we continued to walk up to my house with our pinky fingers linked.
And for once, none of that was for show. That was all just for the two of us, so we could show off to the world that we were together and that, even though we were only young and learning the meaning of the word, we might have actually been in love.
Thank you all for reading, as well as your hundreds of reviews. Your delightful responses were the thing that kept me motivated to complete this the whole time. I can't believe it's been two years since I published this! It doesn't feel like it at all.
A Heart Harder Than Stone And Colder Than Ice is dedicated to its reviewers by its writer. I'm so thankful to have had such constantly positive feedback, and I swear I actually giggle and cry of cuteness whenever I look back on your reviews. Thank you for waiting with me.
Please remember that Naruto is not my property and no copyright infringement has been intended. However Kari and her family, as well as any other OCs and this plot are mine and unless you're doing an art trade, I'd prefer if you didn't use them unless you have my permission!
…I want to do a sequel. What are your thoughts? I just feel like there's no end for these kids.
Thank you, as always, for reading. And please review!