disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: Chloe. my crack dealer. on her birthday. er. late. but only because she didn't tell me she was older than I am! WHY AM I ALWAYS THE BABY?
notes: and then this happened at 2AM. oops.
notes2: this... literally doesn't even make sense.

title: none will shine
summary: Faded and weary. — Sasuke/Sakura.

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Sakura picked listlessly at the frayed edge of her chunin vest, fingers cold and pale in the grey dawn light. Awash in the colourlessness of the morning, she patiently watched the sky.

She'd always been patient.

But it was tiring, and she was a faded version of herself that morning, curled in a corner nook of the medical tent; nearly sleeping but not quite there because no one in a war slept, not really. There was too much going on, no silence, no darkness—not that Sakura liked silence or darkness. They both reminded her of things past, people gone, love lost.

In a way, it made her sadder than she could have believed possible.

Sakura had been sad for a very long time.

And it was hard, but that was life.

She clenched her fists and dug her nails into her palms. She left the med tent because she had to move. Had to be somewhere that wasn't here—had to be doing something before she went crazy because even though saving people was gratifying, it wasn't in the fray.

And she would have given anything to have been in the fray.

Sakura swung into the trees, on guard and duty and kunai up, fingers in her hair. This was getting ready, getting set, getting go—letting go? Same difference. And her body blew in across the continental shelf, skeleton bending in places it shouldn't have. She was magic, manic, mortal—

But stumbling into Sasuke was the last thing she wanted to do.

It was an accidental sort of thing. This confrontation had happened already, and dying wasn't on Sakura's list of Things To Do, that day. Even so—dying would be easier, she guessed.

"Hn."

"What is that supposed to mean?" she asked.

(It was an involuntary thing. She hadn't even meant to say it. She hadn't even wanted to. It just sort of forced itself out. Sakura absolutely hated herself.)

"…Nothing."

There was a moment where Sakura thought she felt the entire crushing weight of his chakra—and it burned against the back of her eyelids, so thick and potent with rage and hate that she couldn't even bear it. This was Sasuke (never hers, not really), and it—it was wrong.

"I don't understand you anymore," she told him bluntly.

It was the only thing she could think to say. She didn't understand him anymore.

He stared at her.

"You don't need to understand, Sakura," he said, and it was heartbreakingly gentle. "I have to."

She wanted to stomp her foot and scream and rage at him. Yes, she did need to understand. No, he didn't have to. It was all muddled somewhere in her head and her heart and it would have hurt. It should have hurt.

But really all it did was make her want to laugh, because this boy in front of her—this person that she still loved despite all evidence to the contrary, despite the fact that he'd nearly killed her twice—he didn't know anything. He thought he did, but he really didn't. He was beautiful and cold and he didn't know anything.

Sakura very nearly reached to touch his face.

She stopped herself at the last minute.

"I guess," she said, "I guess you have to."

"I do."

"Naruto's going to kill you, you know."

He twitched like her words were an irksome fly. "I'll kill him first."

Sakura tipped her head. "That's what you said last time. You didn't then, either."

She wanted to tell him a lot of things. She wanted to tell him he was pathetic. She wanted to tell him he was an idiot.

She sort of even wanted to tell him she still loved him.

But, funny fact:

She knew he wouldn't care.

It was a strange piece of knowledge.

Sakura shrugged.

"You should probably go," she said slowly. "If you don't, I might actually have to hurt you."

"Hn."

She thought he meant it to remind her that he'd nearly killed her—twice. That was important. Sakura didn't care.

"Go away, Sasuke," Sakura smiled. "Before you destroy something you can't get back."

Funny enough, he took her advice. It was strange, but she watched him turn—when did he get so tall?—and she watched him walk away. There was a linger of pain, but mostly she was just tired. Mostly, it didn't even hurt. Not anymore.

And Sakura, faded and weary, sunk to the ground and tried to breathe.

fin.