"You killed Sasori."
It was by no means the smoothest of greetings. But with no indication of surprise, Sakura turned to face Sasuke. Her gaze unsettled him, catching him off guard for a heart beat. Her hair was red in the light of the sunset. Or perhaps that was owed to the gore that tainted her skin.
"How many have you killed, son of Fugaku?"
Sasuke did not answer, his very quietness a concession.
It was strange that an enemy would appear so close to their beach encampment – upon one of the towering crags that sheltered it, no less. Yet as if their previous encounter had never occurred, Sasuke came to sit beside her. Their legs dangled carelessly off the edge of the crag, the waves reaching their crests mere meters below. Whatever enmity had existed between them died feebly in the face of the grief left behind by bloodshed. As they breathed in, the exhalations of the sea cleansing their battered lungs, the Achaean and the Amazon were the same: victims of circumstances, jadedness writ with calluses upon their fingers.
For a few moments, silence prevailed.
"Why has Akatsuki returned to the battlefield?" Sakura asked finally. Her eyes closed, and her eyelashes lovingly caressed her cheeks, where roses bloomed under pale skin.
Sasuke found himself wanting to trace the lines of those cheeks. "Itachi was not pleased with my disappearance."
"Itachi's reputation precedes him," Sakura commented lightly. "I have seen very few warriors of his caliber. It is no wonder we had to retreat today. When we brought our forces to your camp, we did not anticipate his return."
Sasuke did not mention that it was not Itachi the Trojans had fought. While Itachi was gravely worried when his younger brother stumbled home, mortally wounded and barely breathing, he had not been so concerned for Sasuke as to relinquish his pride entirely. The elder Fugakides had granted Shisui leave to use his armor, his greaves, his sword, and his shield. Justice for Sasuke's spilt blood was to be brought by proxy. When Shisui led the Akatsuki to battle in Itachi's garb, the Trojans were none the wiser: upon its native soil, Trojan blood flowed as easily as did the waters of the river Xanthos.
Briefly, Sasuke contemplated the depth of the enmity between Itachi and Madara. For Achaeans, the war with Troy was only second to the war of wills between Itachi and Madara. Itachi, one man that he was, was the key to Troy's defeat. The longer Itachi stayed off the front lines to nurse his pride and hatred, the more chances Prince Naruto and his men had to break down the Greek army. The duration of the spat was not measured in any unit of time - no, it was measured in the cessation of heart beats and the intensity of funeral fires.
Anger be now your song, immortal one.
Sakura let out a long breath. Sasuke turned over. He inhaled sharply. All her wounds had disappeared. Only her blood, thick and red, remained like stains upon the snowiest of linen.
"Does it really matter?" Her eyes were on the horizon. An emotion Sasuke could not place was buried in those emerald depths.
Sakura nodded, lifted a hand as if to touch him. His skin prickled just as it did in battle, waiting for contact. Sasuke could not explain the sheer anticipation that flowed through him then, almost alive in itself as her fingers hovered ever closer. Yet Sakura stopped midway, letting her arm fall back down to her side.
"What are we fighting for?" she asked abruptly.
Sasuke thought of his cousin, Hinata. How she fled Greece in an act of rebellion against the strict Hyuuga ways. How the Hyuugas had then turned to their brother clan, the Uchihas. How the greed gleaming in King Madara's eyes spurred legions of Greeks to war. His longing for Troy resonated well with the desires of his relative. For King Hiashi could not accept Hinata's will to allow a mere branch member, Neji, to succeed the throne. His pride would not bow down. There would be war.
Truly, Troy had not even played an active part, only openly welcoming the Hyuuga princess as she sought refuge.
Thus Sasuke's answer was simple. "Nothing."
Sakura laughed. "Indeed, nothing. I do not even fight for home; Amazons are not Trojans." She ran a hand through her hair (somehow he felt the silkiness through his hands too, as fine and as delicate as the threads of life Atropos spins). "We lay down our lives only because Tsunade's and my father loves Troy."
"You are sisters?"
"I do not see why a Gargarean would hold Troy in such high regard."
Sakura snorted. "Of course, men. That is one rumor about us that is blatantly untrue. We would never do something so crude as holding annual mating rituals with a neighboring tribe, simply because we are all female and they all male. My father is no Gargarean, and I am not a product of a disgusting tradition."
"What else would you have us think?" Sasuke asked. "How else would you perpetuate an all female warrior tribe?"
"You do not understand," Sakura said. "To you, because we take up arms to war and live on our own merit, we are no longer women." Their eyes met. "But the truth is, we are more female than the ones that warm your beds."
She retrieved her helmet and rose, her eyes never leaving his. She continued, "The women you know – they are not true women. They are creatures. They allow themselves to be like livestock, simply collected and used as you please. How many women must you have won as prizes of war?
"But an Amazon, a woman of my homeland – she is a true woman, a human being. She is not to be sold or won; she bows down to no man. She never forsakes her femininity to be strong - she wields it. Her sexuality is her most powerful weapon."
Sakura bent down to press her lips to Sasuke's. Her lips were soft, full – but the contact lasted barely a second. She withdrew, leaving a lingering lick upon his bottom lip.
Sasuke grasped his knees tightly. His hands were trembling with thwarted desire. His chest – he did not recognize it, mangled with an unidentifiable pain as it was, his heart thundering messages in a language he did not understand. How could he see her as anything but a woman, a woman that put to shame the rest of womankind?
Sakura smiled wickedly. She saw his pain, he thought, and was pleased. "To taste an Amazon is the greatest pleasure a man can know, Sasuke. You would do well to remember that."
With a speed that startled even himself, Sasuke reached for her. Cupping her face in both hands, he dragged her down. She wasted no time resisting – easily, she straddled his lap, her fists clenched tightly in his hair as their mouths met hungrily.
The woman was right – she was like no other. Sasuke had had many women, but never had mere kisses left him so wanting. Unwittingly, he remembered a line of verse he had heard from a wandering tradesman.
Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth.
For your lips are sweeter than wine.
Sasuke groaned – he was utterly captivated, as bereft as Tantalus in his eternity of punishment. He forgot himself, where were the boundaries between he and she? What mortal definitions dare put the two asunder? There was no distinction – their identities were lost in a blur of puckered lips and writhing tongues. Eagerly, his lips moved down to sample her neck.
She tasted like honey.
There was no rhyme or reason to this intense attraction. It existed beyond either of their control. Even with the vastness of the war between them, it persisted, seeping into their beings like madness. But he was glad to be mad, to be seized by this greater feeling, this loss of will. There was no pain and no death, only the eternity of her hands on him, her soft breaths rustling his hair.
Sasuke paused, overwhelmed, turning to rest his cheek upon the slopes of her breasts. The metal of her breastplate was cool against his flushed skin. His heart roared under his chest, and his breaths came out in shallow gasps.
I am lost -
I am found!
"You cannot die," he uttered. "Troy may be razed to the ground – " He raised his head to look her in the eyes. "But you must live."
His words were a jumble, a mess, barely distinguishable, blending into each other like blood diffusing in water. Nevertheless, she seemed to understand. In her great understanding, she did not respond: a soft, sad smile stifling the promise he yearned to hear from her lips.
In the distance, the walls of Troy stood resplendent.
Gargareans - an all-male warrior tribe. It was said that they and the Amazons would couple once a year. Male children would go to the Gargareans, and female children would go to the Amazons.
Atropos - One of the Fates. She spins the thread that represents a mortal's life.
I do not own Naruto, the Iliad, and the Bible.