"Well, that definitely took longer than I thought it would," Naruto sighed.
Once the train came to a stop, the doors slid open, allowing both boys to safely make their exit. The station they'd made their stop at was fairly small and had a rather cozy feel to it compared to the one in their hometown, which was usually bursting with noisy passengers. And yet, here in another town, it was completely silent, almost like he'd entered another world. The simple brick patterns and raised wooden platform were all too fitting for the station. There was something serene about the atmosphere, and despite the retched heat, he couldn't help but feel somewhat at peace.
Well, for a few seconds that is.
As the train departed, Sasuke watched in annoyance as the blond looked around excitedly; his eyes sparkling like that of a child's. After a few minutes of surveying the area and gauging his friend's reaction, the Uchiha tiredly supplied with a sigh, "She's not here yet, huh?"
The earlier cheerfulness he'd had earlier was nowhere to be found as the blond pushed his lips out into a childish pout. "That's weird, she's usually early or arrives on time…" he mumbled to himself. After a few minutes of thinking, he seemed to have come up with something as he smacked a closed fist into his open palm. "Ah, I got it! Wait here, Sasuke. I'm gonna go and check with the station attendant about the schedules and see if she maybe got them mixed up."
And so, the Uchiha stood by a nearby pillar as he'd been told to while waiting for his friend's return. It couldn't have taken him too long to find a station worker, or so he thought.
Sasuke glanced down at his wristwatch for about the hundredth time that day; nearly forty-five minutes had gone by and his impatience was wearing thin. The traveling in between towns had worn him out, and not only that, but it was also insanely hot, he was hungry, and as far as he was concerned, wandering around to search for the town itself would get him nowhere since he was in a different territory. As much as he would've hated to admit it, he was bound to get lost within a heartbeat.
"Goddammit, where exactly did that idiot disappear to?"
Getting out his cell phone, the Uchiha was ready to call up the other boy and go off on him until a nearby thud made him look up from his glaring screen.
The first thing that had entered his line of sight had been the trail of long, dark, and silky hair on the train station's ground, followed by the head of the girl it most likely belonged to, who at the moment, was flat on her front with her arms outstretched before her.
His face became grim as he began piecing together the sound from earlier and the girl lying on the ground. There was no doubt that she had, for whatever reason, fallen over. He slowly made his way to her side, bending down to get a closer look at her. She definitely wasn't dead, that was for sure, as indicated by her heavy breathing. The back of her shirt was also soaked through with sweat, much to his discomfort as he gulped down the lump in his throat. And if that wasn't enough, what made it even worse was how red-tinged her incredibly pale skin seemed to be, almost as though she had been cooked alive. It was obvious that she'd been out in the sun for too long, and as a result, had fainted from heatstroke. Whether or not it was a severe case, however, was the question.
He gently shook her, trying to elicit some sort of a response, and was given one in the form of a low groan. She didn't seem ready to regain consciousness anytime soon, that much was clear from her current state.
Sasuke slicked back his hair, feeling more irritated than ever. Not only was the heat getting to him more so than usual, but here he was, being forced to help a complete stranger out of guilt. Had anyone else been around, he would've gladly walked away as though he hadn't seen anything and left them to take care of her, but that wasn't the case at the moment seeing as he was the only one there.
As carefully as he could, the Uchiha gently lifted her to flip her over so that she wasn't on her front anymore, and to his surprise, she was quite light. Settling her on her back, he stared in disgust with a wrinkled nose at the long threads of hair matted to her face. Though hesitant at first, Sasuke allowed the tips of his fingers to come into contact with her forehead for a brief second before pulling away immediately. Strange, there was more than enough shade provided by the wooden roofing of the train station, but her head was still hot.
Sighing, the young man reached into the duffel bag he'd brought along with him, producing from it, a simple and white paper fan. It had been a small gift given to him by Naruto three summers ago at a local festival. And though he didn't want to openly admit it, he had always carefully treasured it, much to his embarrassment. Luckily for him, the blonde had completely forgotten about it, since his only reason for purchasing it at the time had been due to the Uchiha's endless complaints of the summer heat.
He began fanning her for a few minutes while wiping off her sweat with the handkerchief he'd pulled from his pocket, figuring it was the least he could do for her. He could only imagine how uncomfortable it must've felt to have such long hair sticking all over her face the way it did.
And as he brushed aside her hair, which was slick with perspiration, he was given a bit of a shock at the face that had been uncovered by his very own hand.
What he couldn't help but notice first were the length of her eyelashes, which were long and dark, making for a nice contrast against her smooth and pearl-like complexion. Her lips were smooth and healthy-looking as well, unlike the noisy girls at his school-with their thin and brightly-colored lips. The color of this girl's lips, however, reminded him faintly of the fleeting cherry blossoms in the spring.
Sasuke was not one to compliment a person, or anyone for that matter, but he had to admit-
She's so thin…
-this girl was quite pretty.
He paused mid-thought, unsure as to whether or not his mind was in the right place at the moment.
A deep sigh escaped his lips as he hung his head in disbelief. What the hell is wrong with me? Now isn't the time to be thinking about something like this, he silently berated himself. He raised his head to stare at her face once more, blocking out his previous thoughts from earlier. For now, I should probably just keep on fanning her until she-
It was as though she'd read his mind or something because it was within that instant that her eyelids suddenly fluttered open, only to reveal a fascinating pair of luminescent silver orbs.
This left him utterly speechless.
Both each held the other's gaze as their eyes locked into what seemed to resemble a long staring contest. After several minutes, Sasuke watched as the girl's face went from a sickly pallor to an extremely bright red shade, something he found to be surprisingly amusing.
She bolted upright, glancing left and right as she took in her surroundings with a bewildered look on her face.
Finding her confusion to be somewhat pitiable, the Uchiha decided that it would probably be best to calm her down first before properly explaining the situation to her.
A few minutes later…
"I fainted?" She tightly clutched onto the half-empty water bottle in her hands, spilling a bit of it in the process.
"Well, that was what I said, wasn't it?"
She took a moment to think about this, as though lost in thought, before replying with an embarrassed smile, "Ah, I see. I was careless then, wasn't I?" she laughed quietly to herself.
It's not something to laugh about y'know. He sighed while fixing her with a tired gaze. He'd never been this worn out before. And where the hell had the blonde idiot gone to anyway? The sooner they were in a building with air conditioning, the better. "I take it that you walked here from town or something?"
She seemed surprised by this. "O-Oh, how did you know?"
I was right? "Hmm…just a guess judging from your earlier condition, I suppose. How far is the town from here anyway?" he decided to ask, simply out of curiosity.
"How far? Um, about an hour and a half by foot I think?"
It had taken her an hour and a half…by foot? In this heat? It was no wonder the girl had collapsed! Is she a monster or something? He didn't want to admit it, but he most likely would've passed out from exhaustion within the first fifteen minutes or so. Summer had never been his favorite season to begin with anyhow.
"Ah, but I guess…that's amazing in its own way somehow," he muttered more to himself rather than for her to hear.
But she had heard him anyhow, and much to his shock, fixed him with the happiest smile he'd ever seen from a girl around his age. Most of the looks he'd gotten from girls were either coy smiles or love-struck grins.
This girl, however, seemed so innocent, and…quite sincere while he was at it. This was all somewhat new to him, so he wasn't sure of what to make of it, or the girl for that matter.
"Do you really think so?" she continued smiling brightly, her eyes lit with excitement. "I-I mean, I wasn't too sure if I should've gone through with it at first, but now that I've made it here, I'm actually quite glad that I did." She giggled quietly, as though pleased with herself.
Sasuke stared at her for a long moment, trying to figure out the best way to describe this person without being too rude. It finally hit him after a minute or so, and without hesitation, he immediately said, "You're pretty weird, aren't you?"
A long silence followed shortly after that.
"Eh? I-I am? Really?" she asked, her earlier joy immediately replaced with a mixture of shock and confusion.
The Uchiha couldn't help but notice this and decided to backpedal and rethink his words. Perhaps he'd been too rude after all. "Yeah, but...it's not necessarily a bad thing." He racked through his brain for a few good seconds before coming up with something. "Uh, for example, if everyone had the same personality, then wouldn't that make the world a boring place?"
Another long silence enveloped the atmosphere, causing the Uchiha of all people to unnaturally tense up for some reason. Had he actually said something stupid without realizing it?
The tension building up in him, however, immediately shattered the second the girl sitting only a few feet away erupted into a fit of laughter as she held onto her stomach.
"Hahaha, I-I'm sorry," she apologized while wiping away a tear. "It's just that…you have such a serious face, but when you say something like that, I can't take you seriously at all," she continued giggling.
The Uchiha didn't like it one bit; this reminiscent feeling and familiarity.
Sasuke fought back the incredibly urge to blush since the strange girl's response had actually confirmed his earlier question; something stupid had come out of his mouth after all. And for some reason, he couldn't shake the feeling of embarrassment from his body at all. It was a terrible feeling, and one he was not familiar with. The girl next to him, laughing away to herself was of no help either, considering the fact that it was only making him feel even more foolish.
"You sure have a lot of energy for someone who just regained consciousness," he couldn't help but note with a bit of bitterness in his voice. He was starting to regret having helped her at all.
This line of his ceased her laughter almost immediately as she paused to look up at him. "Ah, but you did save me," she said softly while bowing. And as she rose, the corners of her lips rose into a pretty smile as well as she directed it towards him. "And for that, I am grateful."
Sasuke could feel his left eye involuntarily twitching. It wasn't annoyance really, but rather something else.
He wasn't too sure about what though.
"Oh!" she cried as though something had just occurred to her.
"What now?" The Uchiha snapped, finding it somewhat difficult to keep up with this person for some reason.
"I-I completely forgot to ask you for your name!" From the sound in her voice, she was clearly appalled with herself. Even the look on her face was completely different, compared to her lady-like smiles from earlier. She looked ridiculous now though, and he couldn't help but find this somewhat amusing.
Really weird girl...
"My name, huh?" he thought about this for a bit, wondering whether or not there was any point in giving out his name to a stranger.
"Yes," she replied firmly with what could possibly be considered her most serious expression, "because without your name, I won't be able to thank you properly."
Again, there was that feeling. There was something about her-something familiar that he couldn't quite place his finger on. It was weird, he'd only just met her, yet he felt so at ease. Was it because she didn't look at him the way most girls did, or was it something else?
In any case, due to her reasoning, he didn't see the problem in giving her his name. She seemed sincere enough-harmless even.
She watched him expectantly, smiling while waiting for him to speak two simple words.
This girl…why is she so…?
"My name…" he began, "it's-"
"Oi, Sasuke! Where the hell did you go, you jerk?"
The Uchiha whipped his head around at the sound of the other boy's voice, surprised that he'd chosen to come now of all times. Knowing the idiot, he was more than likely going to tease him for being alone with a girl and whatnot. Sasuke stood up as the blond began to approach them, prepared to knock the living daylights out of the idiot if even a single joke came loose from his loud mouth.
"You dumbass, you were the one who left me waiting and…" he trailed off from there, startled by the trail of long hair that had suddenly flown past him, just barely brushing against his face.
The sound of running footsteps echoed throughout the train station. He watched in silence as the female stranger ran further away from him, getting closer and closer to the blue-eyed boy that was his friend.
The look on the blonde's face slowly changed from mild confusion to one of recognition. Even from where he was standing at, he could see the ear-to-ear grin on the idiot's face as he held out his arms, allowing the girl to jump into them as she tightly held onto him, her frame so much smaller than his.
He watched in silence as Naruto returned the embrace, while nuzzling his face into her dark hair, his expression more tender than he'd ever seen it. This was a side of Naruto that he'd never seen, a side he was not familiar with. And to think that the other boy could look so happy, how could he have not been relieved after seeing it for himself?
And all because of one girl.
"Promise me you won't fall in love with her," echoed the blonde's words for some reason.
The Uchiha let out a deep sigh while scratching the back of his head at the day-old memory. What the hell…?
He turned his back to them, figuring it was best to give them some form of privacy.
"You idiot, as if I'd go and do something like that…" he muttered to himself.
A/N: Thoughts? Feelings? I know it's been awhile, but I'd like everyone's feedback if possible.