Title: Vicissitude

Author: rot-chan

Genre: Drama/Romance

Summary: Sakura notices him. Watching her, eyes drained of light like two pinpricked stars. Uchiha Sasuke, the New Admission - sociopathic, it's replayed in her mind like a mantra. AU.

Notes: gift-fic for my LJ friend Mikochan-noda. Inspired heavily by the amazing film Girl, Interrupted, like my use of the word 'orderly' and my ideas about the wards. The prompt is from the Sasu/Saku kink meme: a sociopathic Sasuke becomes attracted to a nurse, Sakura - once again, requested AU. I plan to write more canon-verse, don't worry. Happy reading. Reviews rock.


Vi-cis-si-tude:

1. A change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

::::::

During the second round of afternoon meds, she notices him. Watching her with that peculiar, dark expression. Haunting, like the sudden darkening sky, eyes drained of light like two pinpricked stars.

Her name is Sakura, and she wears her hair out of her face - her real hair, virginal hair untouched by heat or irons - and the same brilliantly white nursemaids clothes. A hidden heart broken one too many times, she's almost too logical - up by six AM and pulling through those old hellish gates by seven, back 'home'.

Home is where the insanity is.

The Home, institution called Konoha Center.

Tap, tap, tap. The sound of his wrist hitting the radiator with the snake rattle in the corner. It's winter and the air is dry with cheap heat. Two more patients need their Clozapine. To examine the patients tongue with her gloved hands and to see the swallowed pills, its Sakura's responsibility.

Tap, tap. Glancing over as she doles out the dosage. Dark eyes and unkempt hair, a shadowy ill look to his eyes, a distant look. Sitting in the swivel chair wearing his own clothes. Must be a transfer from the Maximum wards.

Sakura puts the water into the patient's hand. Watches them swallow the two poppy red pills. Observing for trickery, seeing none. Continuing on to the next on her chart.

"Miss Haruno!" Someone calls for her, they need her. "Haruno, Harurooo..." They call in that happy voice, sing-song voice teasing from a gleeful madness, standing in the doorway of their rooms, they seem too innocent. She's not buying it.

On her way Sakura passes by him, he's still hitting his arm leisurely and looking lonely-bored. She's very is tempted to snatch his arm, wonders about possible bruising -

As he whispers to her, "Go on, Haruno-Haruno," in that icy voice, ice-tipped tongue, mocking without the intended laughter.

::::::

Reading his file in the smoky break room, she's given permission to know about their new patients.

She was out when they first brought him in - Uchiha Sasuke, to the East men's ward. Escaping one day from her ward, her boys, as she affectionately called them on better days. They'd thought she'd come down with a chill.

Now, wondering if he was truly the same person by the radiator's hum, as she asks for the story and listens (really, it's shameful they're such gossips): that boy - he came in in a screaming fit! Screaming and yelling straight out of bedlam, calling for somebody - naturally we don't know who it was, but it's beside the point - tranquilized him, but he managed to claw one of the nurses. She has a big scratch now right over her pretty face, poor thing, it's a total shame.

::::::

The cafeteria before noon: an assaulting mix of smells, old starchy white bread and canned fruit. Sakura follows the group into the lunchroom, into a windowless room filled with long tables that resembles a grammar school; fitting because they're all children here, defenseless in their madness.

The madness: the screaming and yelling, the administered tranquilizer-drug, the straitjacket in the safety room. She will never grow used to the frequent calamity.

Sakura's wearing new shoes today. Sitting at the table with her favorite patient, a boy with bandaged hands. Her hair is in a french braid and neatly bobby pinned, she tried to look fresh faced, open, renewed. She hopes there'll be no petty fights today, no overturned chairs.

In the corner, someone outbursts because they want peanut butter and jelly. Another nurse comes in to calm down the room, their presence a tranquilizer.

Sakura sees him again. Uchiha Sasuke, the New Admission. New patient, nicknamed a trouble maker, Sociopath. This time pacing at his leisure, trailing near her table and the dessert bar.

"Oh, don't be that way," he says offhandedly. Sakura can hear that voice that seems to imitate kindness cruelly. She watches him, curious - she can sense trouble when trouble comes around.

Slapping a palm onto the table, casually staring with that infuriating look, he's perfectly put together: slightly rumpled clothing, all symmetrical lines and a carefully calculated tone, two strong lean arms beneath a white short-sleeved shirt too bare for winter - it's his face Sakura can't get by, ridiculous hair and an animated mouth that can at once go silent, two eyes black and unforgiving as hell, he certainly has a certain charm. That cleverly tenebrous stare, she can't get over it.

"Don't be that way, you know what I want...don't be stupid..." a sharp curl to the end of Sasuke's voice, questioning him - the other patient Naruto, unstable, bipolar. Two sided, and Sakura doesn't want to reveal the other one. She intervenes.

Planting herself beside him and touching that arm - now definitely bruised. "You need to step away."

The bitter crook of his almost-smile challenges her, a defiance in his eyes - then compliant when the two orderlies appear at her side convincingly enough. Wordlessly walking away, hands up in a don't-shoot gesture. "Don't be angry, Haruno," he says. Sakura is tempted to laugh.

Everything here seems to be measured in unordered segments, chaotic events. The afternoon can't begin without someone affronted.

::::::

Unexpectedly they tell her - beg her, that Uchiha Sasuke needs his medication.

Uchiha Sasuke. Difficult from the start but easily able to blend in; able to cause a slow stir, then an instant huge headache - screams and shouts follow his level provocative words. 'Friends' with the patients, their ally in agreeing this place is prison, yet their most volatile enemy.

Sakura's read about the diagnosis in her books, remembering examining the diagnosis in nursing school: ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER, it looked almost normal beside the ghastly words like schizophrenic; but no, Sakura understands, that curious darkness is lurking inside, somewhere, sucking him dry.

Sasuke is in his room now, a single near the common room in the ward. Only the rich ones get singles. Sitting on his bed, his room is blank and antiseptic almost like a cage. Giving her that haunting look, amusing look. One irritated raised brow - get out, that's clear enough. Sakura isn't leaving.

"It's time for your medication," Sakura says.

Flipping through a thick book - Dictionary Volume A-B, Sasuke says simply, "Go bother somebody else."

She walks over and closes the book with one hand; to this he reacts, snatches it away while she simply smiles almost mockingly. Sakura takes the pills. Grabs his palm. Slaps them into his hand. Straight taut mouth. Unrelenting glare. "Take them - I'm watching. They're sleeping pills. Lights out by eleven."

Sasuke is smirking at her, lips curling in disbelief - "Take them. In front of me, with the water or without, your choice but if you don't I'm calling an orderly." Her voice can be as cold as his. Easily colder, she's seen and felt things she sure he hasn't know. The Sociopathic versus the Sane, the Hateful versus the Abandoned, she can hold her own.

"You can't make me."

"Are you five?" She sounds chiding.

Watching carefully as Sasuke takes the meds with his tongue - disgustingly lapping them up from his hand, just to spite her. Gulping them purposely and smiling at her, fake smile. She knows he never takes his pills, even when she's giving them. She knows it's killing him. "Get out," Sasuke says, audibly this time.

"Good night," she says, offhandedly, in spite of him.

::::::

The common room one day in February: void of everyone, except for him. It seems when the rest are all missing, in the music or the art room or laughing about some crude joke, tentatively rejoicing in a birthday cake - Sasuke isn't there. Maybe she appreciates that about him. It reminds Sakura of avoiding high school parties, reading old classics and watching movies instead of going to a formal dance.

Sasuke: sitting with his knees propped up and glaring at the TV set, some game show is on so Sakura walks over and turns it off. She's come from the office, conveniently unoccupied. Sasuke glances at her, maybe appreciative. She can't tell.

(She's the only one he bothers with whatsoever, one nurse said, exasperated.)

"What are you reading?" Curiosity kills but she's tempted to ask, strangely drawn to speak with him; feeling that they're on the border between enemies and an almost-allies. (The secret to good patients is making friends.) Though Sasuke is intriguing - unlike all the others, with that sharp and bitter charisma, persuasive cool eyes and a secret ugly heart. She hasn't seen the best of it yet.

"Why, are you bored?" Sakura can tell he's too smart.

"I can see it's no dictionary this time." Taking a seat across from him while her clean bright clothes keep her in another realm - but Sakura is only 24 and she can feel young, propping an arm on the arm chair and leaning in close from across the coffee table, trying to read the cover.

Loosely he turns the page before looking at the back cover. "The power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom...Of Human Bondage," he says in that measured (tantalizing) voice. Setting the book on the coffee table not offering it to her, not keeping it either.

He decides to turn back on the TV, Sakura's observed he hates silence. Sasuke says with that fake drone, "Thank you for disturbing my reading, Haruno."

Sakura hears them coming back from the art room in loud pairs of two. She'll continue with her day's work, she won't have time to take the book and read - in what fantasyland? "Thank you for the lovely conversation." Almost wry as she walks in the other direction considering his unstable popularity, she's sure half the people he met were just bowing down at his feet. How ironic.

::::::

Maybe he did take the pills, her coworker says in disbelief and a sort of wonder, when they see Sasuke hasn't stayed up as usual, no, the orderly reports, he slept. It's a start, hastobe a start.

Who are they fooling? Sakura figures.

It's late already, Sakura has given him a fifteen minute grace period. Two tiny blue capsules rattle in the bottom of the paper cup, she's become almost weary.

"You should know I don't check you like the other patients, I don't check." Sakura says offhandedly. She grabs the empty paper cup, turns her back to the trashcan. "Maybe it's because I think you'll bite my finger off - I don't check for your pills, maybe that's stupid of me - "

Suddenly Sasuke is pulling her to him. He gives her a necessary second to pull back before he's pressing his mouth to hers, crushing her lips with a harsh breath. Grinning against her he opens his mouth; slips the pill onto Sakura's tongue - and she spits it out onto his bed sheets. Sakura wipes her mouth.

Eyes no less relenting - always void, like pinpricked stars. A small smirk, and her head beats with a strange pressure. Reaching out to touch her wrist, she doesn't back away. Challenging her. She's always thought Sasuke was a devil in human form.

Her mind, almost numb and blank with static as Sakura's hands shake. She smooths her uniform and mirrors his cold eyes that don't match his words, his body. Sasuke lets go of her wrist. Emotionless, she's shocked from the feeling. Sakura leaves, says "Lights out by eleven," as always, that unnecessary reminder.

::::::

Sociopathic dances behind her eyes, burnt into her brain like a sickening mantra. It's a shame, one nurse said before, he's so handsome...

Like a nauseating chant, Sakura is tempted to mutter it: sociopathic, sociopathic. Able to clearly picture his eyes.

Lingering - the feeling of their kiss. Sure he had women before her, he was too sexual, subtly sexual. The symptoms of the anti-social personality are clear. Charming, witty, nothing's wrong, nothing can be wrong - 3 months since his admission but he's only yelled twice, hit an orderly once in the dark but he never went to seclusion, no, Sasuke never has -

It's nearly midnight but Sakura can't sleep, the TV's on low and her heart is haunted with the shadow of his voice and the sensation. And so she cannot help but wonder -

How it would feel if he touched her and gripped her wrists with those bony hands; pushed her down onto the bed, the door locked and nobody could find them. No, nobody would know. On those cleansed hospital sheets Sasuke would kiss her again, saying her name in that callous intellectual tone she'd come to like; he would brush against her and she's gasp, and it would be all over in her heart.

She'd break down neatly, until her hands would trace and memorize the bones of his back; and smoothly, Sasuke would enter her, one leg around his hip, an impossibly pure connection and Sakura could see her own eyes flutter closed in pleasure -

Dizzily she shuts off the TV as it hums with fake laughter. Crawling beneath the blankets. It repeats again and again as she hides away from the cold of winter, You liked it. You liked it. You're sick, you liked it, you like him.

::::::

One night, when the orderlies have retired to the back room for a smoke, and the last remaining nurse is fast asleep in the office, Sakura is working overtime and she slips into his room.

Sasuke, awake, sitting on the edge of the bed. Inside this blank room, with only books and dictionaries of microscopic print and painful words, she doesn't know how he stands it. She forgets who he is, conveniently.

Tentatively going to sit beside him, he's ethereal in the dark, as pale as bone, never sleeping, what is he?

Tugging her beside him on the bed, it catches Sakura off-guard and she suddenly remembers the mandatory rules in the handbook, A patient is not to assault, touch or harass an orderly or nurse at any time! Oh well. It's disturbingly simple, disturbingly flat and depthless. Oh well.

"Do you like me Haruno?" Sasuke asks as he grips her arm hard. What was it with him and abuse, pain, hating the body, the human heart?

"Do you like me?" Sakura turns the question on him unpleasantly. "You don't call me by my first name, it's insulting. I should turn you in."

Another hot kiss, then it's a string of kisses - the door isn't locked, an orderly could walk in, an orderly, a nurse - "Doesn't matter," he manages, breaking contact, it doesn't matter, it never will.

Touching her breasts beneath her taut white uniform - gasping for air - Sakura could lose her job, no, she will, she doesn't care, does she care? Scaring herself because Sakura can't tell.

He bites at her neck; she pictures a vampire, draining her of emotions and keeping the sensations. Making her dig nails into his arm too bare for winter. Still sitting on that ugly white bed between those ugly bleached walls, her calf wraps around his leg. "No one's coming in," Sasuke says. A sociopath often lacks the ability to make close relationships.

Allowing him with little reluctance in this dangerously disjointed exchange to painfully kiss her because she feels trapped, Sakura doesn't want to go, unlike her daydream but his touch chills her - she's lonely, maybe in another place he could be 'normal', SANE.

Later feeling her heart pound. The quiet is broken by the sound of a patient's far-off scream. The white oasis, that white wall, blinding her eyes wide open.

Her eyes close when he tells her as she pulls at the sheets, half clothed, "forget about the pills."

Now there seems to be nothing ahead, Sakura doesn't remember. Saying nothing, numb and shivering. There's only these white walls.


A/N: I feel like the ending was subtle. I kind of intended it to be that way. It's up to you to decide how the rest goes. ;) Thanks for reading, Happy New Year.