It's her first day, and she's happy.
Well, maybe not happy. She hasn't been happy in years, but she thinks she might be on the way to happy.
She leaves behind nothing she's not perfectly willing to forget. Some might think her crazy. What Homecoming Queen wouldn't bring her crown along for the ride? What nationally-ranked dance champion would neglect a trophy case the size of most people's houses? What valedictorian would leave her pewter medal on the floor of her bedroom and never look back?
But it's what she does, and watching the little yellow house in her rearview mirror getting smaller and smaller, her past with it, makes her as close to happy as she's been in what feels like centuries.
All that is in the past and for the first time, she feels like she can exhale. The anxiety is still there, of course, but no longer does it weigh on her like a nightmare in her heart. Instead it niggles at the back of her mind, like an old primary school bully biding its time to call her a nasty name and ruin her day.
But time has passed since the day she stopped breathing easy and she won't let the past control her future any longer.
Sakura looks around the sparsely-furnished dorm room and sees nothing but bright, shining hope streaming in through the dusty white blinds like sunlight.
It's his first day and he is apathetic, but he is apathetic about most things.
He's rooming with his best friend, who is his diametric opposite in terms of personality and emotionality and reality and every other -ality but they're best friends, so the lack of similarity is entirely ignored. They move themselves in, having packed up their lives into a beat-up, black Jetta and everything they know is left behind, with the exception of each other and a few friends scattered here and there around campus.
The room isn't especially big, and his concerns range from 'not enough personal space' to 'my best friend smells like cheese'. But anything is better than the hollow, austere mansion he's left, with rooms emptier than his heart and nothing but silence and time to fill the spaces.
At least they have their own bathroom.
His best friend is loudly optimistic as they move their belongings inside, and not for the first time, he wishes he could share in that optimism. It's not that he has no hope for the next four years of his life. It's that he is a realist. And realistically, it did not do to approach a situation with anything other than cool detachment and clinical calculation. Allowing oneself to hope for anything better, anything grander than the likeliest scenario was a scam catered to fools like his best friend (of whom he has always been jealous.)
Because fools can smile like the world is theirs, and actually mean it.
Sasuke doesn't remember how to smile. He looks around the room they are filling with the ghosts of their pasts and knows it's improbable to hope that will ever change.
No one comes to move Sakura in, but that's to be expected.
Her family (no longer not anymore never again) is left back home with all the other things she must forget if she is to remember what it's like to smile without fear and love without restraint and hope hope hope for something more than what she knows. They would not have helped her anyway, and the knowledge of this does not sting as much as it used to.
So she wheels her belongings inside a giant laundry cart up the elevator to the coed floor at the tiptiptop of the building. She will sleep alone in Room 432 Hokage Hall. It is her luck to score the only available single dorm in the building but she wishes for a roommate, a sister to share in these most challenging first days.
Still, she makes friends easily, always has. She is confident that she will not be alone for very long.
So she empties the cart quickly. Out pours her life, or at least what remains of her past and what little of it she will carry with her into the future. She makes her bed with a brand-new down comforter, her favorite shade of blue, with satiny sheets because she likes the feel of them on her skin, especially in these scorchingly hot last few days of summer. The pillowcases are the same material and she wishes she'd thought to wash them before because she likes to sleep in comfortable, well-worn fabrics that make her feel safe like she used to be. Still, a few nights in them to break them in and all will be well.
Into the closet, she tucks flannel bedsheets and heavier comforters for when winter comes, because, despite never experiencing a Konoha winter, she knows they are fierce. She kind of looks forward to a proper winter, complete with snow and ice and the prospect of warmth and security in this little room that's now her home.
The bed is set up and she smiles at it before she removes a mini netbook, all she could afford on an ice cream shop girl's salary, and sets it on the desk. The desk is too large for such an absurdly tiny laptop but that's okay, because with premed courses, Sakura knows that soon any available space will be sacrificed to medical textbooks as big as she is and fresh notebooks jampacked with tiny tiny notes about the human body and she can't wait can't can't can't wait to be helpful and useful and necessary.
She has the printer up and running with little to no difficulty because she is smart, has always been smart. Back in Suna, she was valedictorian. Back there, she-
No. No more of that, Sakura. Back then is no more. To these people in this land hours and hours from what she leaves behind her, she is nothing and no one. She will prove herself, she will validate her intelligence, she will not rely on her past accomplishments to prove to anyone who she is or why.
So she hooks up her printer by herself.
Then come her clothes.
Sakura loves clothes. She loves shirts and sweaters and jackets, and skinny jeans most of all. She has skirts and she has dresses floaty like summer and sexy like mistakes. She has everything lace Victoria's Secret ever created and almost twenty bras, size 34B and just exactly right. She places sweaters on hangers and folds T-shirts and each go in their respective places.
And SHOES. Sakura loves shoes. A new pair of shoes is like a shot of adrenaline. On her worst days, she would buy herself a pair of shoes and try for a new outlook.
She has lots of shoes now.
They go in the closet beneath all of her clothes.
Everything she needs is set up, now for everything she wants: a ton of pictures of the friends she's leaving but will miss, they go up on the walls along with posters of old movie stars, far-off places she's never been, and her favorite baseball team.
Now her walls shine with personality. A signed group photo of her high school dance troupe sits neatly on her desk beside her laptop to remind her that dance was her doctor before she decided to become one herself.
Sakura knows her room isn't much. It isn't elegantly furnished like some of the other girls' whose rooms she's glimpsed so far. It isn't full of the latest technology and it isn't all that great.
But it's hers. She's earned it and it's hers and everything about it, down to the last detail, has been paid for and hand-chosen by HER and damn it, she loves this room, she loves it more than she's ever loved anything except dance and books and hope.
But there's still the matter of getting the television out of her car.
Sasuke's side of the room is set up within the hour.
It is practical.
Practicality is something with which Sasuke has become familiar. He would say that he has mastered the art of it.
"Your side's fucking boring, dude," Naruto snorts.
"Idiot," Sasuke retaliates without missing a beat.
His bed is made with utilitarian black bedsheets and a gray blanket, along with one pillow (he has no need for more.) His closet is stocked with an array of neutral-colored shirts, his jeans folded up in the drawers and his sneakers set up beneath his desk. His Macbook Pro sits on top of his desk next to a printer he has not yet installed. There are no pictures on his walls because they are unnecessary.
The ghosts of his past are emblazoned indelibly on what's left of his heart. Their faces remain forever embossed in his mind.
He does not need them staring back at him from his walls.
Naruto, on the other hand, makes an enormous production of the entire process. He talks and talks and chatters and chatters and it's all mindless but it's the soundtrack to Sasuke's life. He supposed that having Naruto as a best friend is crucial, so he has learned to ignore the majority of what the knucklehead says and really listen to only the important things.
While Sasuke's side of the room is a boring, utilitarian testimony to his aversion to anything fanciful, Naruto's is set up like a circus. Cascades of color, pictures of their old high school friends every which way, clothes strewn about haphazardly like they have lived there for years and not moments. It is a study in contradiction, in the polar extremes of the human psyche, and Sasuke is left to wonder not only how such a clown came to be his best friend, but vice versa.
"We should hit up the cafeteria, man!" Naruto says excitedly as he shoves himself into an oversized Konoha University hoodie. Part of Naruto, he knows, is amazed to be attending college, and having seen his high school test scores, Sasuke certainly understands. But here they are, and he really has nothing better to do.
"Aa," Sasuke replies in a tone that smacks of detachment.
Naruto barely notices. In fact, he has jammed his feet into sneakers and is halfway out the door when a quiet, pretty voice interrupts them.
"Um, excuse me? Hi, I'm Sakura and I'm rooming just down the hall...um, would you guys help me? I can't get my TV out of my car!"
Sasuke looks up at the girl who is talking to Naruto.
Something inside him tells him that this moment will be significant someday. His intuition is sharper, more astute than most so he has since learned to trust it. He wants this time, however, to dismiss it, to scorn his own precognition.
Because besides being the prettiest girl Sasuke has ever seen, she is still just a girl.
And no girl, not even fairy girls with pink hair and eyes like summer and a nervous smile he's never seen, can ever be significant enough to merit his attention.
He ignores the screaming in his head to remember remember remember this moment because it will be important someday.
It is the first day of college at Konoha University. Sasuke does not know what to expect but already things are not going as planned.
The fairy girl's name is Sakura.
He wonders why that matters.
note.. Hey there! Another story for you. I believe that you should write what you know (except of course for extreme fantasy) and this will tell you a little bit about what I know and what I'm about. I'm really excited (and nervous) to share this because of how very personal it is. Rating is for adult themes, violence and language and sexuality, all that good stuff. More about that later.
Please let me know how I'm doing, okay? Have a wonderful night.