disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to flower-print and pearl necklaces.
notes2: for sasusaku_month on LJ. prompt was Fix You — Coldplay under AU.

title: the matchstick city
summary: They existed to the sound of sirens and rain and the desperate, desolate crackle of an old radio. — Sasuke/Sakura.






The world was a wreck and Sasuke watched it crumble from the inside out. With cold pizza and an engine's screaming for company, he waited out the night in the loft of a car garage that belonged to someone else.

It was eerie quiet in the city's Chinatown. The power-lines in this city went out like a lighter in the wind most nights, but not tonight. Tonight it was just quiet, and the rain drowned the gutters.

Sasuke watched the red paper lanterns swing back and forth, merry and bright in the night and listened to the rushing sound outside the garage. The world turned as people crawled across its surface. The speakers sang synthetic rhythm from a different city, different world, different life.

And he waited.

The radio crackled—if you try your best but you don't succeed—behind him.

And then there she was, slipping into the garage like a summer breeze. Grind of metal as she shoved her way in through the doors, and Sasuke stared down at her with an eyebrow raised.

Sakura looked up at him, smiling, and called "You gonna let me up?"

He snorted quietly. As if he had any say in what she did.

But he nodded and motioned just a little, and she grinned and disappeared. Sasuke stared out at the dying city, and waited for her to come up without saying a word. It was better that way—when she did the talking and the smiling and he did the thinking and the listening. No expectations, he supposed.

Sakura dropped down next to him with a muted thump, dumping the contents of her bag on his lap.

"Hold this," she told him belatedly.

Sasuke watched, bemused, as she shoved her hair, still wet from however long she'd been outside, up in a way that only barely kept it out of her eyes. And then pins, dark metal as she tucked strands up and away.

In the orange light of the lamp, she looked too young to be trapped somewhere like this. He reached over and tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear. Sakura glanced at him and smiled.

She was always smiling at him.

Sasuke scoffed, and ignored the way the tips of his ears burnt at her glance. The radio crackled unobtrusively—lights will guide you home and ignite your bones—borderline incoherent.

The wail of a siren came from far away, and the both looked out towards the decaying city, trying to find its source.

"Someone's dying out there," Sakura told him.


"I'm glad it's not you, Sasuke-kun."

Sasuke looked down at the top of her pink head. She wasn't even looking at him; she was staring hard out at the dark, looking for all the world like she was able to divine all it's secrets from somewhere in the blackness of the night.

But of course that was impossible.

Almost as impossible as it was to tell her that he was glad it the sentiment was reciprocated; he was that she wasn't the one out there dying.

Sakura and dying were contradictory.

(Not that Sasuke would ever admit it.)

Instead, he asked "Where were you, today?"

Sakura yawned and stretched. "Somewhere boring."


"You weren't there, Sasuke-kun. It was boring by default. Move over, I'm sleepy."

He snorted.

(And looped an arm around her, anyway.)

She sunk into his side, smiling her little-girl smile. She was warm, bubble-gum and sparklers in the dark; and Sasuke was down on his knees gasping for air, trying to make sense of everything she was.

Only Sakura had never made sense.

(Probably never would.)

He shifted his grip on her, and Sakura grumbled her discontent and quietly burrowed into his side.

"You make a shitty pillow," she breathed into his shoulder.

Sasuke snorted.

For a very long time, they sat side by side.

They were just children, really. They were just children. They barely had anything in common, except the shared need to escape; the shared need for family. For comfort. For anything out of the ordinary.

For something to keep them going.

Sakura tipped her head up, and looked at him. It was a tired look, from a tired girl in a tired world.

"I still love you," she said.

"I know."

"I think I always will. I don't know why. I can't explain it. But I do," she continued.

"I know, Sakura," Sasuke replied.

He didn't know why she did this to herself—why she did it to the both of them. It was masochistic and twisted, because he would never love her properly and she would always love him and—

"I know you know. Sometimes I just feel like I should say it."


Sakura leaned against him, head on his shoulder, humming nonsense under her breath.

It could have been forever.

But it probably wouldn't be, and Sasuke knew that. It prickled at the back of his mind; that this girl who was barely even legal had become so violently important to his mental well-being.

It would probably always annoy him.

Sakura was annoying, the rain was annoying, everything was annoying. But Sasuke sometimes thought that if nothing was annoying, life would be more boring than it already was.

Dying cities only had so much going for them.

And Sakura was the opposite of a dying city, light and warmth and wonder all wrapped up in pink hair, pale skin, and green eyes. Sasuke brushed his thumb along the line of her jaw, gentle down her throat.

Sakura looked at him with solemn eyes.

"You can kiss me, you know," she told him softly.

Sasuke cradled her head in his hands. "I know."

He pressed her down against the sheet metal of the loft's floor, fingers scattering pins everywhere as he pulled her hair free. His mouth slanted over hers, possessive and hot.

And in the background, the radio—I will try to fix you—sang.






notes3: i listened almost exclusively to I Made It All Up (by Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory) while writing this. it's a beautiful song.
notes4: please do not favourite without leaving a review. it makes me want to break you. to those of you who review consistenly: have my babies. :)