Project: SasuSaku Month~
Theme/Prompt: Chance Meetings/Shatter
a falling star
fell from your heart
and landed in my eyes
It was as though the planets fell out of orbit and the stars flickered out…and she was left in the dark. It was as though the shining crystals that she remembered gazing up at on missions had faded to black. The constellations that she had whispered her dreams to shattered and crumbled.
Crumbled to pieces.
She threw herself into the darkness, clawing at the edges of the black hole, her only light a glimmer of green exuding from her palms.
And all at once, it happened.
The sky replaced itself.
She was on a mission, a simple mission. It was dark. The rest of her team was asleep, and she was on watch.
Her right leg was falling asleep, the prickles settling in her calf discreetly. By the time she bothered to shift her leg and notice, half of her leg was beyond feeling anything but pins and needles. She stood, leaning on her better leg, hobbling about.
And she bumped into him.
Standing under the play of shadow and light of the woven tree branches, she could barely make out his features.
The curve of his jaw, the dark of his eyes.
She was so close. His breath was on her face.
And just like that, he was gone again.
And she didn't know if what she had seen was an illusion or, if she dared to hope, reality.
Light and dark and dark and bright.
Even though she always awoke early enough to see the sunrise, she never could feel the light.
She gazed up at him, heard his mouth form the words to her name.
He disappeared and reappeared so close to her, but didn't pay her any heed at all. She saw the lift of the metallic blade, the glimmer in the sunlight of the desert. She jerked reflexively, but her feet were motionless.
And then there was an altercation.
There was blood and red and that crackle of lightning and she could almost hear the splitting of wood and…
And then he ascended once again…
She supposed he was like a flame.
Flickering into existence before disappearing again.
But a spark, she maintained, always stayed behind.
For the flame burned bright again.
And that gave her—no, gave them—hope.
She dreamt of singing moons and glittering seas of stars and the future.
She dreamt of love and happiness and teamwork and never letting go.
But mostly, she dreamt of him.
She saw him again, and he snarled curses at her, dealt her the hand of mortality. That same shimmering blade against her neck.
But it was as short and fleeting, just like the rest of their chance meetings.
And before she knew it, it was over.
She saw him much sooner than she thought.
She was squatting, gathering herbs. Stocking up. Picking through the aloe, fingering the catmint.
The deliberate crunch of leaves on the edge of her awareness was what got her attention. She was drowsy; the sun was setting. But as her head snapped up and she saw him, the yawn that had been building up vanished.
She was more awake than she had been in a while.
He said nothing.
"Don't do this," she whispered. Her fingers tucked the strands of disobedient hair behind her ear.
She stood, slowly and carefully, as if any sudden movements would startle him away. She inspected him, scrutinizing the burn from his elbow to his wrist. She opened her mouth to speak, to say something, but it was gaping like a fish, and her mouth wouldn't shut.
The words tumbled out. "You should put some aloe on that. Mash it up, apply it. It's like a salve. Good for burns."
"I don't need your help," he bit back, a flash of annoyance in his eyes.
"Then why are you here?" she retorted, quick and sharp-tongued as ever.
There was a lengthy silence in which Sasuke chose to stare at the sky, and Sakura chose to stare at him, drinking in his appearance.
And finally he answered. "I don't know."
She expected him to disappear, enigmatic as ever. She expected him to turn to dust, to vanish in a tumble of leaves, in a burst of flame. She expected him to ignite.
But his gaze turned to her, and the redness of his eyes became apparent to her. There was a crust of blood on the rim of his eyelids. She didn't say a word.
"Aloe?" he muttered, hands shoved in his pockets.
She stepped forward. He eyed her warily. And then she walked briskly towards him, all business. She stopped within a few feet of him, rummaging through the basket she had with her. Picking out a few blades of the plant, she presented the leaves to him. "Here."
And easily, as if they were on the same team again, as if they were younger, he took it from her. Their fingers didn't brush; there were no tingles of excitement. Just a dash of nostalgia...
…and the fine smithereens left of sorrow.
He fingered the plant thoughtfully, nodding. "Thank you," he said, looking down at her. He had grown so tall.
And then, only then, did he turn and walk back into the fringe of trees, into the darkness.
She wondered if he would notice the odd leaf out, if he would notice the small bit of poison she had handed him in a fistful of help.
Conflicted with herself, she hoped, at least a little bit, that he didn't use it. That he hadn't noticed, that he had dropped the small leaf into the long blades of grass as he walked away. The he had found, perhaps, another healer to give him the proper care he had needed.
But always, she would console herself. She hadn't given him nearly enough for it to be lethal.
She couldn't decide whether or not that had been a good thing.
Looking back, sometimes, she would joke with herself. Even after all those years, he still managed to maintain his manners.
She only wished she could have said "you're welcome".
For whatever it was that he was always thanking her for.
She wished she knew.
She didn't see the fight. She only saw the aftermath, the rubble, the debris. The fallen, prone bodies.
The prone, breathing bodies.
Her hands fired up her green flames and she healed.
And with a small, exhausted thump, she fell next to them.
She floated, drifted.
Ever in a state of unconsciousness.
She awoke alone.
She stepped into the dank, wet underground of the prison, her heels clicking with every step she took like the ticking of a timer…counting down the seconds to her future.
He was in a cell, sitting, hunched over on the bench.
Her fingers slipped and slid over the bars, but they repelled her, just as she knew they would.
He looked up.
"Hi," she breathed.
He stepped through the doors, his wrists blue with bruises, his skin sallow and unhealthy. He smelled like sweat and dirt and filth. His breath was rank. Stubble had grown over his face.
But his eyes—they weren't as clear as she had hoped—but they were lighter and that was an improvement. He was healing.
And so as they walked out of the final checkpoint wall of the maximum security prison he had been kept in, his hands were in theirs as they led him into the sunlight.
It was as though the universe had realigned itself after an era of chaos. The stars sparked into existence again and dappled the water in petals of light. The moon hung, graceful.
The constellations that she had whispered her dreams to smiled.
It was when Naruto had spilled ramen on Kakashi's precious novel collection and Sasuke, in turn, had sported a grin for a few seconds, that it had become definitive, to her.
He had returned.
conceptions: just as I had suspected-another plotless oneshot. except this one has weird formatting. but, anyways, I suppose this one's more about life. and the only real plot in life is getting through it, right? eh.
many thanks, again, to pandastacia for being a fabulous beta. (: