disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
dedication: to my plethora of beta readers (including Stover, selene, les, Saraa, & Briony). & to the people at SasuSaku Month - what are you waiting for? GO SIGN UP!
notes: this was supposed to be for sasusaku month, but I decided on a new plot for my series of vignettes or something, so I decided to make this its own thing, since it's only all only loosely influenced by the prompts. :) Also, I'm sorry if Sasuke seems OOC here; I had taken into account a lack of massacre-ing & a good relationship with his family (for the most part) to cover it.

They stand on opposite ends of the roof. She looks at him while he is pretending that he finds starlight enchanting.

"Why do you do this?"

The words seem to find wings on one of the winds blowing between them, flying back into her face, but Sakura has a feeling Sasuke still heard her.

He turns back just enough that the light strikes his eyes, and she knows he is looking at her now. His gaze, even ever so slight, feels like it is bruising her, just like its color; that blue-black hue. Sakura hopes its steadiness is just him pretending to be strong, that he is just acting like she hasn't reached some truth about him.


Sakura doesn't want to elaborate for him – her intentions are as blatant as the glow sticks on the airport runway in the dark of night. She wants an answer right now, the explanation on the tip of her tongue, but she bites it back. If she knows anything right now, in a world only certain of uncertainties, it is that she is done working for his attention. He owes her that much – no, she deserves that much. Despite what he seemed to think, she is a person with feelings and dignity. She will no longer trample over it for him.

It is silent again as they both look away from each other. She is not looking to break the silence as she stares at an airplane descending from the sky onto the runway. The familiar sound of wheels spinning on concrete before rebounding manages to break through the wind, and, somewhere else in the darkness, an engine fires up, ready for take off. All she can smell is the freshly mowed grass lining the runway mixing with gasoline and the faint scent of her lotion and perfume; of her namesake spritzed on her neck. The amalgam makes for an interesting blend – though it truly is one that gives her something of a headache due to the combination of incompatible scents.

Pulling her pink hair out of fingers of the wind, Sakura scowls as the ends still manage to end up in her eye. Her eyes water, and she can only imagine what she looks like to any observer – to Sasuke - the large green eyes that always manage to make her look like a child, tearing up as if she is upset by something. Maybe it is time for a haircut, she muses sourly. It is too short to put in a ponytail, but long enough to get in the way.

So inconvenient.

Her gaze slips off the runway and across the roof to Sasuke. It has never been something that she could help, and she always blames him for it. After all, it is not her fault that she can't help but look at him. He has this magnetic quality to him, bringing people to his side regardless of his actions. To make things worse, he never wants anyone. So it really is not her fault.

If Sakura had to place the blame entirely on anything, though, she would cheerfully put it to fate. After all, the assignment of flight attendants on each flight – and thus, with each plane and its pilot – is at random. They roll dice or something, Sakura suspects, when the flight attendants are not in the room, because she has a feeling that, given the choice, Sasuke would let Kiba or Naruto have her on flights. But what was the chance of her always ending up on his watch? Every single female flight attendant would sell their own mothers and future children into slavery to fly with Sasuke, who, as Ino always says, is like the freaking embodiment of sex and oh god, Sakura, why haven't you hit that yet, you lucky bitch?

Of course, it takes two to tango, but Sakura always manages to hold her tongue when her fellow flight attendants say similar things. They always seem to think she has an influence on whose plane she ends up serving on – oh, how she wishes she did. If she did, she knows she would have taken steps that would only lead to her not getting to know him enough to fall in love with the most self-serving, stiffest pilot of them all.

"Why do I do what?"

She almost teeters on the edge of the roof in surprise when she hears his voice – that low and smooth baritone (Ino swears it sounds like sex – what is with her obsession with sex anyway?) that makes her skin crawl and her heart shiver. Even if she had been determined to wait for him to go first for once, she hadn't thought that he would actually humor her.

Sasuke is staring at her, and it makes her insides do things that are probably bad for her health. She flushes, and she's thankful for once that she cannot see three feet in front of her because that means he probably cannot see the way her cheeks are tainted pink (but she still doubts that because he has always been known for his ability to see clearly, regardless of light quality. And the rumored red glow of his eyes, but she didn't really believe that because his eyes are as black-blue as they come).

When he coughs politely, Sakura snaps back to the roof of the navigation system building. She clears her throat.

"Why do you push people away?"

That had not been that hard to ask – for some reason, she had expected something along the lines of snakes and frogs to drop out of her mouth instead. Sasuke has always had that effect on people, of making them feel smaller than they were and less adequate in his presence. Sakura had personally never been sure of whether it was because he had a large ego or if it was because he expected just as much from everyone around him as he did from himself.

"Why would you say that?" he drawls as he slowly walks closer to her. Her heart is not pounding yet, but she feels her skin heat up in the late October chill. Her skirt flutters frantically around her knees and she shivers visibly. But she holds onto his question.

Maybe because I always have this feeling that no one knows you and that I'm the only one who spends much time with you, she wants to say, and that is only because we fly the world together for some reason. Sakura does not need to stalk him to come up with a theory that he spends next to no time with anyone outside of a plane; after all, such close quarters for hours at a time probably call for extended periods of social-decontamination afterwards. Even Naruto, his self-appointed best friend, only saw him outside of a plane or airport for one night of drinks a week.

But Sakura has a theory.

"Are you denying all of the evidence that states that you are hiding from something?"

He is not the only one walking to the center of the roof; she stalks closer too, and soon, they're circling each other. The wind has died down slightly, so it is not hard to hear each other. She does not know where she got the… the guts, really, to confront him. He possibly scared her more than anything she had previously thought possible. Sasuke scares her more than the monster under her bed used to when her nightlight burnt out in the middle of the night, but Sakura can never decide if it is in the same way.

"You avoid company like the black plague, even when people want to get to know you. Most people would be jumping at the chance to get away from the loneliness you seem to surround yourself with." She pauses before amending her analysis. "Though some of your avoidances can be justified – rest after long flights, the… girls in want of unsuitable contact, and drunk Naruto is something I would not wish on a person I despise."


Sakura hesitates at deciphering the grunt, but she eventually concludes that it had been something along the line of, "And your problem with me is…?"

"But that's not it." She sees his eyes glittering in the dark, a hint of the fire that burned within them, and the faint hint of his chiseled features. She falters slightly in her speech, losing the words that had sprung to mind and all of those vague ideas that had just been coming to the light. But she pushes all of that back, and tries her damnedest to continue. "Everyone wants something, don't they, Sasuke? And they have to have the passion to find or create it. Love, a future, happiness – everything is done for some greater purpose. When it comes to it, there's no way to go too far, right? There's always some kind of desperation involved – because there is something you are willing to do anything for because it means everything to you. So, riddle me this, Sasuke – what do you want more than anything in the world? What are you so desperate for?"

Her chest is heaving, and it is only then that she realizes that her voice had increased in volume as she had gotten more worked up until she had screamed her final question at him. There is a look of surprise on his face, and something savage arises within her at having managed to put it there, where there had only ever been stoicism.

That funny look on his face – partly surprise, partly something else – stays there for a while. It says a lot of things, not that she understands all of them.

But she doesn't find an answer there.

"Do you have a purpose, Sasuke?" Sakura speaks so softly she can barely hear herself, even without the wind, but she knows he can hear her. "Are you just living day by day, lacking in every feeling the rest of us revel in? Do you feel hate and joy and sadness and nostalgia… and love? Do you ever look behind you and want to build forward so there's even more to relive in your brightest dreams and darkest nightmares? Or do you only ever see the past?"

The questions are rhetorical, but all the same, she feels sad, as if she had known the answers to them and had just wanted to torture herself further.

All of a sudden, she sits down where she had been standing, her legs curled to her side. Her eyes are set on some distance beyond the runway to the streetlights lining the interstate, and she only feels the brief contact of his hand on her shoulder as he rests beside her.

The questions are rhetorical, but all the same, she feels sad, as if she had known the answers to them and had just wanted to torture herself further.

"Why do I ask questions I almost certainly know the answer to?" Sakura asks abruptly.

"How do you know them?" he responds in turn. "For all you know, your answers are all wrong. Anyway, there are never any absolute answers. All of those things you keep talking about – they come to an end. Maybe everything you think is an answer is true now, but they won't always be so. No one could fly centuries ago, and so it was true that flying was impossible. But now we have wings; maybe not our own – not yet, at least – so we cannot speak truths because even they will be lies. Everything has its ending."

She cannot help but chuckle. "What an optimist you are. Haven't you heard the news? The journey overtook the ending – in importance, at least. Everything from beginning to end can have different compositions. We can choose love or hate, revenge or forgiveness, moving on or dwelling, creation or destruction. All of these decisions can only end in death, but there's a time before then. And, if everything ends, so shall endings."

She pauses before brusquely muttering, "I love you, you know?"

"Hn. I figured."

Sakura's shoulders slump at the dispassionate reaction, knowing that it was the best she could have expected from him. It does not ease the pain, of course, but she supposes it isn't outright rejection.

They sit there in the silence for a little while longer before Sasuke stands up and brushes off his dark pants nonchalantly. His movements are nearly robotic, Sakura notes, as he silently holds out a hand to her. Without hesitation, she puts her right hand in his, bracing her left against his shoulder when she was nearly standing.

"My legs have fallen asleep," she groans, furiously shaking them out one at a time.

He snorts. "That's what you get, for sitting down in the cold. No one to blame but yourself."

As they head for the staircase that leads downstairs, Sasuke hesitates for a short moment. Just before they reach the door, he stops and faces Sakura.

"I cannot have you, you know?"

Just like him to reject her when she is comfortable. She wishes she could safely scream and hurl things at him, but she is too old to let loose her heart in the form of obscenities and there is nothing to hurl.

All she can ask is a simple, "Why?" Sakura wonders if he can hear her heart in the word.


It is a simple not-answer, and part of her feels like he doesn't know either.

They enter the circular staircase together, both quiet and lost in their own thoughts.

Sasuke continues walking, and she sees the mask of stoicism fall back into place as they get further and further from the roof. He is getting farther from her, too, in more ways than distance.

"I cannot have you."

But… Sakura's mind works at a feverish pace – faster than it does at her weekend classes for college – while her feet slow. The gulf between "will not" and "cannot" is growing into an unbridgeable distance. "Cannot" is an inability to make the decision while "will not" is a choice.

But she still does not understand why not.

All she can do is watch him as he goes down without her.

A/N: There shall be eight parts to Momentum: fracture, fly, shield, gravity, drive, fade, identity, & collide. This one was, of course, fracture. :)