Four: The Plan

"I'm gonna do it." Sasuke breathed as Sakura seated herself beside him as usual in class. She shuffled in the chair for a moment, moving it forward with a rough grinding sound against the old, greyish brown carpet.

The pinkette gave him an odd look, questioning. Sasuke didn't return it. His eyes were tracing the patterns that had been etched into the table top. His long, slim fingers tapped softly against the ugly covering of it, black eyes narrowed as he bit his lip thoughtfully. He didn't know why he'd felt the need to inform her of his plans, but he continued anyway. "I'm going to try and get inside it."

Sakura's bright green eyes widened for a moment before she rolled them, "You're still going on about C Block?"

Sasuke shot her an unreadable look. She seemed different, recently. It was as if she were constantly mad at him about something. He… didn't like it, it just wasn't nice. She had always been so upbeat and friendly as opposed to his blunt, cold exterior. Ever since their confrontation, although they'd decided to call a truce, it was like she was still holding some icy dagger right in front of him. His eye twitched. "What's with you?"

Sakura just shrugged, twisting in her seat and folding one leg over the other so that she could give him a proper look. Her fingers linked themselves together lightly as she settled herself. Sasuke watched her, his eyes shooting up and down her face for any sign of what might be going on in her mind… nothing. That was so infuriating. She shouldn't have been the stoic one. That was his job.

He sighed, resting his cheek on his palm as he continued to meet her gaze. He decided to ignore her odd mood, passing it off as some grumpy state of PMS or something. God, girls were annoying. "I'm going to get inside it… somehow."


The first real fight that Naruto witnessed during his stay at the juvenile institution in Oto involved Sasuke and, if you'd believe it, the captain of the guard himself, Kabuto. It was four weeks after he had arrived. The group was sitting in their usual cluster at their time-scarred table during breakfast, digging into the mushy oatmeal without much of their usual chatter.

Something felt different today. Something felt very, very strange. It was as if the usual violence in the air had been magnified, and it was particularly heavy around their space. The boys snapped their replies to each other instead of the usual banter that was passed between them.

The blonde kept his head down. He didn't want any of them to turn on him with their sharp, snappy replies. He'd never experienced them so uneasy. His blue eyes rove over the small space that his line of vision offered him: the jagged marks, the occasional scribble across the table grated in by a knife or a fork, the side of his tray. He heard almost nothing. Everyone was quiet today. Was it a special day or something? Naruto didn't know. Nobody else had told him anything.

He glanced up, looking for Sasuke – he doubted he would tell him but he knew that the Uchiha held a certain sense of calm. It surrounded him. It rolled from his shoulders in waves. Calm, but dangerous. Water mixed with poison, blood with disease. That was how Sasuke held himself. Naruto always wondered why he was so resistant to the idea of obtaining a friend or two. He guessed he'd never know unless the Uchiha were willing to speak of it – which he was sure he wasn't.

Sasuke was nowhere to be seen. Sakura was talking quietly with Ino. Could she not feel the restlessness? It was… intense. Or maybe… maybe it was just him. Maybe it was just Naruto. Maybe he was the one who was restless. And maybe he was the one creating the very questionable vibe surrounding the others. But— no, it couldn't have been him. When he got agitated, it was a whole different story. Naruto's eyes narrowed, surveying the hall.

It took him less time than he had expected to find Sasuke. There was a crackle from the walkie-talkie radio system attached to a nearby guard. A somewhat hectic voice travelled and reached his keen ears. "We have a situation. Report to Cell Block B at once."

The guard spared one of the clocks on the wall a glance before sprinting out of the hall. Kiba nudged Naruto, "Let's follow 'em." He muttered.

Without a word to anyone, the blonde and the brunette hopped away from the bench, abandoning their breakfasts without a second thought. When asked, Kiba responded to Ino that he had to grab something from his cell. And that was that. They knew where they were going, it wasn't much of a challenge since the building consisted of five main sectors: the cafeteria, the educational rooms, the shower blocks, the reception and, of course, Cell Block B.

As they booked their way through the empty, echoing halls, the sound of shouts and grunts drew louder. A fight? Almost certainly. Naruto had a bad feeling as he neared the doorway. Two guards lay in agonized heaps close to the doorway while, a few feet away, Sasuke stood, silent as the grave and examining his knuckles as if he hadn't been involved.

"Sasuke," Kiba's tone was shocked. The Uchiha flinched at the sound of his name – something Naruto had never seen before. "What happened, man?"

"That is none of your concern." The dark haired teen responded, tone daring Kiba to argue with him. The brunette raised his eyebrows, clearly biting back a response. Naruto stepped closer to one of the guards. He bent down, ignoring the way his clothes seemed to rustle so loudly in the silence of the place. "Leave them." Sasuke spoke again.

The blonde cast a cautious look over to the other teen, his sleeves rolled up, hands in his pockets, dark eyes locked onto the face of the man that Naruto had reached for. "How did you—?" He began before stopping, shaking his head and then trying again, "Why?"

"I don't know. Felt like it." The Uchiha shrugged. Kiba snorted, aiming a very deliberate kick to the shin of one of the men in his dark purple uniform as he passed him. He stepped up to Sasuke, raising his hand to give him a friendly slap on the back before thinking better of it. The watchful glare from Sasuke appeared to tell him more than just 'keep your mouth shut'.

Naruto couldn't tell what it was with Sasuke. The vibe he sent out was aggressive. That was for sure. A thin sliver of blood from a split across one of his knuckles travelled between his fingers. "So, what, you just punched the guy and didn't stop?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke didn't respond. His eyes were focussed ahead now, clearly anticipating something. Naruto froze, slowly rising to his feet as heavy footsteps began to thunder down the corridor. The blonde backed up, falling in line with Sasuke and Kiba, his own measured footsteps slow as another three guards loomed into sight. The dark haired boy exhaled, but did not move from his lazy stance as the silver haired guard marched towards the three of them, black eyes narrowed behind a set of glasses as he reached for the baton on the side of his belt.

"What happened here?" He asked, voice curt.

"What do you think happened, Kabuto?" Kiba sneered from his place a small ways behind Sasuke. Naruto suspected that he would use the Uchiha as a shield should the captain decide to attack.

"Inuzuka, Uchiha and Uzumaki." The tallest of the four smirked, pushing his circular glasses up his nose. The dull light glinted threateningly off the lenses like a blunt knife. "I have to say, I never expected trouble from a relatively new inmate… you, Naruto."

"Hey," The tattooed brunette suddenly spat before the blonde could say anything, "we only just got here. Don't go jumping to conclusions, Captain."

"This is pathetic." Sasuke spat, making to leave and stepping slowly and casually in the direction of the open doors, clearly heading for the corridor. He was not interested in dealing with Kabuto's sarcastic comments or snotty tone. He wanted only to get out, get away – lessons would have started by now but he didn't feel particularly social today. Maybe he'd just take a wander.

In truth, Sasuke had no idea why he was so tense. It was just one of the things that built up over time, he supposed. Everybody had their bad days. Why should he be any exception to the bad attitudes? After all, he was supposed to be the very balls of the entire convict-community inside of these prison walls.

As the Uchiha stepped forward, his scuffed white shoes hitting the cold, concrete floor calmly and without a sound, he passed the second guard he had punched the lights out of. The man gave a deliberate cough which breathed his last name.

It happened in seconds. Kabuto's dark grey eyes clashed with Sasuke's hollow onyx and a swift swipe of the elongated baton was sent in the direction of the dark haired boy's chest. Sasuke had anticipated this, and before the metal could make contact with him, he had stopped it with the palm of his hand.

Didn't these people ever learn? Fourteen years of karate and judo beside ten years of video gaming had taught him quicker than quick responses – trying to land a hit on Sasuke was almost impossible. That was one of the reasons his parents had decided to send him to Oto after he was charged and found guilty of the several recurring arson attacks. One of the biggest youth institutions in the country surely meant security strong enough to deal with him. Wrong.

He glared at the silver haired captain whose eyes narrowed back in response. The Uchiha felt the pressure from Kabuto's gloved hand slowly disappear as he realized his baton wasn't going anywhere near Sasuke. The second he lowered it, Sasuke struck.

His fist collided instantly with the stomach of the silver haired man. Kabuto grimaced, bringing his baton up again – but his grip on it was slack from the distracting pain in his abdomen. Sasuke snatched it and dropped it purposely onto the head of the second guard he'd knocked out. The one who'd moaned. This could have all been over with if it hadn't been for him. Sasuke smirked at the small 'oof' that sounded as the heavy object connected with his skull and then slid to the concrete, rolling for a moment.

Kabuto reached for his radio next, but Sasuke whipped the side of his hand across the silver-haired guard's wrist and sent the device flying into the corridor behind him. "Uchiha, I swear, if you don't stop this bullshit—"

The dark haired teen's hand shot out once more, suddenly capturing the guard's throat and marching him backwards into the wall, slamming him against it forcefully, "Don't fuck around with me, Kabuto." He murmured. Deadly serious.

Naruto stood, stunned, listening to the whimpering and the choking that came from the taller man's mouth as the Uchiha teen continued to watch him squirm under the different pressures his hand made, smirking slightly. It was at that moment that the Uzumaki boy mentally declared Sasuke a sadist. But he guessed that wasn't so surprising.

Kiba jogged forward, "Sasuke— man! Fuck! Stop it. You're going to get yourself in deep shit—"

Sasuke whirled around, Captain Yakushi sliding to the floor with his hands around his own neck as he gasped dramatically for air. The brunette's hands slammed onto his younger friend's shoulders, dark brown eyes locking with Sasuke's seriously, "Stop this." He said.

Sasuke gave him one long, filthy glare, pulling his arm back slowly and threateningly. He was not about to take shit from Kiba as well. Absolutely not. The Inuzuka boy's eyes widened for a second, staring behind Sasuke. Before the Uchiha could get a second glance, a sharp hot pain slammed violently into the back of his neck – after that, everything went black.

Naruto stared with eyes like golfballs as he watched his cellmate drop to his knees gracelessly, emitting a quiet gasp of what he suspected might have been surprise before he fell, unconscious, to the floor. Kabuto stood with one hand holding onto his neck, and a baton in the other, glaring down at the Uchiha.

"Orochimaru will hear of this." The silver haired guard breathed, eyes narrowing at Naruto and Kiba, "And we'll see how Sasuke fares under the warden's punishment. Because if it were mine, the little shit would be dead." He cast the Uchiha a short, hateful smirk before slamming the very tip of his foot into the boy's ribs. A whispered curse shot from Sasuke's pale lips as he winced.

Kiba shook. He had never seen one of his friends be assaulted by the guards. He'd never seen anyone be assaulted by the guards, to be honest. They just looked mean. It didn't mean they were actually willing to batter anyone. "You're a bastard, Kabuto. Ever heard of not kicking a man when he's down?" Naruto bit back a retort involving how Kiba was sort of being a hypocrite since he had done the exact same thing. The Inuzuka boy's hands balled into tight, white-knuckled fists. He knew better than to repeat Sasuke's actions, but god, how he wanted to after seeing his strongest friend get treated like that when he had no way of defending himself.

So what if Sasuke had started it? Sasuke was usually one of the people to stop fights in their tracks. He saved the prison a lot of shit and the guards weren't even aware of it. He was just… having a bad day. Probably. And that was understandable. He'd been far too composed for far too long. Even he needed to unleash his anger sometimes. And while Sasuke did use the gym, his ridiculous smoking habit had messed up his body quite a lot. It was hard for him to get his hate out properly on the punch bag when his lungs refused it. God dammit, Sasuke…

The captain just smiled, retreating to wherever it was that his radio had ended up after Sasuke had hit it out of his hand. He picked it up, hitting a specific number and continuing to beam delightfully at the blonde and the brunette. "Orochimaru, sir, Sasuke Uchiha's been causing some trouble on Cell Block B. I will give you details later, he has become incapacitated. What do you want me to do with him for now?"

"Bring Uchiha to the medical wing… I haven't seen him in a while. This should be interesting." The low, hissing voice responded. The warden's slow, rehearsed way of speaking altered the mood in the cell block from urgent to tense, dangerous even. Naruto clenched his teeth as two more guards arrived. One had a toothpick between his teeth, eyes fixed lethargically on the heap of incapacitated males strewn across the floor.

"What a mess." He commented, dryly.

The other, whom Naruto recognized as the guard who helped Sasuke out with his cigarettes (well, with almost anything he asked for, really), Kakashi. He raised his index finger and scratched a bare space of skin beneath his one visible eye, "Sasuke did this?" He snorted.

Kabuto straightened up, seemingly trying to appear superior. In Naruto's opinion, it wasn't working very well. "Uchiha is out of control. He attacked these two without reason." He explained briefly, "Luckily I arrived just in time to handle the situation—"

Kiba snorted, "Dream on." He muttered. Naruto chuckled as if to back him up. "You couldn't handle a teacup."

"Unless you wish to join your friend in the medical wing with an appointment with Orochimaru, I suggest you two keep your mouths shut." The silver haired captain of the guard bit out. He didn't even bother looking around. Kiba continued to snicker, nudging the whiskered-blonde as a sign for him to do the same.

"Hold on," Kakashi cut in, stepping forward, "Orochimaru? He started a fight just the same as most of the kids do… is that really a necessity?" He asked, one eye narrowed hard at his superior.

"The warden was planning on arranging an examination with Uchiha anyway." Kabuto spat, suddenly defensive. Naruto shot his brunette friend a wide, blue-eyed gaze. Kiba returned it with raised eyebrows. "What I choose to do with the prisoners is up to me." He added, "I am the captain of this guard force, not you."

The other guard raised a hand to pick at his beard, "Alright Kabuto," He drawled, "let's not be childish in front of the," He glanced at Kiba and Naruto with a grin and a wink, "well, the children."

"Just do your job and get Uchiha to the infirmary. I'll have someone else take care of these two," He gestured to the other two guards before turning his dull, grey eyes and fixing them on the blonde Uzumaki boy and his brunette companion. "Well?" He spat at them, "Don't you two have lessons to go to?"

Kiba shoved his hands into his pockets, puffing his cheeks up with air and mooching silently past the captain of the guard with Naruto in tow. The man clearly didn't know what he was doing. Why was he even working with adolescents if he blatantly had no idea how to speak to them. "Sasuke'll be fine right?" The brunette murmured to Kakashi as he passed him.

The silver haired guard nodded once. "I'll make sure of it."

"Good." Kiba nodded, his white shoe covered foot hesitating over the threshold between the hall and the corridor as he glanced over his shoulder to the dark haired teen, lying uncomfortably on his side, face twisted into some pained expression. What in the world could have possessed him to act so recklessly, especially with the guards? Was he trying to get an isolation offence?

Isolation was simply when a prisoner who had behaved badly was forced to stay in a totally empty cell for an extended period of time. The cell didn't have bars, as all of the others did. It simply had a huge black metal door with a single food hatch and a thin sliver of a window just beneath the ceiling. A prisoner could be put in there for days depending on the seriousness of their wrong-doing within the institution's walls. From Kiba's experience, it was not fun. But… Sasuke was a favourite of the warden. Perhaps he'd get a slightly lighter form of punishment.

At break, as Naruto was walking, head down through the dull corridors by himself, something slammed into him roughly. A set of hands grabbed either side of his shirt and walked him backwards. His back hit the wall with a thud. One confusing moment later, the blonde realized that it had been Sakura who had attacked him. "Sakura!" He gasped, simply relieved that she wasn't some huge, angry bully.

"Where's Sasuke?" She breathed. "Temari said she saw him being taken up to the infirmary, where is he?"

The blue eyed boy blinked, almost completely terrified. "Uh—uhm, well, if that's where Temari saw him going… I'd assume the infirmary." He answered, wincing lest he would get a smack.

Sakura released him roughly but didn't step back, "Why?" She urged his answer.

Naruto glanced around and then back down to her. Sasuke had said she'd been acting off with him – so why was she suddenly so desperate? Her eyes were large, jaw set firmly. The blonde gulped, "This morning… I don't know what happened to cause it, but he attacked a group of guards including Kabuto." He took a deep breath as Sakura's expression fell with dismay. "He just— I don't know, Sakura, I've never seen him like that before." A chuckle, "Well, at least he served Kabuto a good dose of everybody's feelings, the great prick—"

Slap!

The blonde Uzumaki boy felt his cheek sting. His hand came up to cradle it as it flushed. "Dude, what?"

Sakura was looking at her hand, apparently amazed that she had even acted like that. "S-sorry, Naruto," She murmured, stepping back, "you can give that to Sasuke later if you want to." She ran a hand through her hair, "So that's his plan…" She mumbled.

The blonde straightened up. His brows had drawn together critically as he looked down at her. What was she on about? "Sakura?" He asked. She looked up. "What's going on? What's happening with you and Sasuke, I mean? And what do you mean by 'his plan'?" The blonde gesticulated with two fingers on either hand.

The girl with the pink hair shook her head, expression changing from annoyed and confused to an indecipherable smile, "Sasuke and I are friends." Was all she said before she skipped away.

Naruto was left alone. Mindfucked.


Sasuke glared at the ceiling. He had a headache worse than any others he'd experienced in a long time, and his throat and mouth were dry. Yet here he was, sitting in Orochimaru's office and waiting for the warden to appear. Don't get him wrong, this is exactly what he had wanted. He'd planned this for days. It was just… a little more painful than he had expected.

The yellow eyed man sat in front of him, greyish fingers laced together and pointed chin atop them. "Sasuke," He said, voice dangerously soft and hissing. Snake. He knew Sasuke a little better than to expect a reply, and so he continued, "are you willing to tell me what all of that was about?"

Sasuke rolled his head on his neck, giving him a brutal glare. Orochimaru simpered, "I thought not. Did you just want an audience with little old me?" God, this man was so… twisted. He laughed to himself while the Uchiha stared blankly at him.

"Actually," Sasuke began, cursing his dry throat for the scratched sound of his usually deep and smooth voice, "I did."

This stopped the laughter in its tracks. Orochimaru leaned forward, golden eyes narrowing at the youth's apathetic expression, trying to thaw his icy air. "So," The warden beamed, smile wider than anything, "what did you come for?"

Sasuke stared the older man down for a moment before leaning back more comfortably in his seat. "I've asked it before." He said slowly. "I'd simply like to know about C Block." Orochimaru stared without even blinking, and so Sasuke continued, "It's unnerving having a building there and not knowing what it's for." At this, there was a slight twitch in the warden's jaw. Sasuke worked with this, ignoring how odd it must have sounded, "It's completely walled away, yet when I'm outside in the late evening and nobody else is out there, I can hear people. I can hear teenagers."

"Perhaps you need to have your head examined, boy." Orochimaru muttered, "Blocks A and B are the only cell units populated by anyone." His golden gaze settled on Sasuke's onyx one, daring him to continue.

Sasuke did. "If that's so," He murmured, "why did you never want to talk to me about it before?"

The dark haired man raised a slim eyebrow at Sasuke, who fought back a smirk. Ah, so there really was something going on there. "Well, obviously because you've made such a desperate effort to reach me." He switched topics, "If that is all, I will have you escorted back to your cell. You will not be allowed to leave it during free periods."

Sasuke nodded once. A small, nagging urge wanted to ask for the reason for Sakura's behaviour the other week. It also wanted to know what she had been locked up for in the first place, but he respected that she wanted to keep that private. And it wasn't like Sakura was the only person whose skin Orochimaru could get under. He ignored the urge and instead got to his feet.

It seemed, however that he'd forgotten something. His head fucking hurt. The Uchiha fought with a small sense of dizziness, unable to handle the wave of white that blinded him momentarily before staggering gracelessly out of the office. His hand reached out sightlessly, grabbing onto what he hoped was Kakashi's arm, his other hand over his eyes, shutting out the light. The light burned him.

"Sasuke!" His name came out of the guard's lips worriedly before everything went black.


Sakura stood at the foot of the steps that would take her onto the boy's wing of Cell Block B. It was forbidden for anyone to go up either of the sides, but she figured… Sasuke had done it for her before, so it was only natural that she'd want to do the same for him. She'd waited outside of the medical wing for ages, skipping her lessons before lunch until he, Kakashi and Asuma had appeared and stumbled awkwardly out of it and straight through to the cells.

She'd waited for the guards to leave before skipping across the empty expanse of land and stopping at the locked gate. She took a deep breath before clambering over it quickly and making her way soundlessly across the metal flooring to the cell directly across the hall from hers.

There he was. She gave him a momentary glare before her face softened. It seemed that Kakashi and Asuma had simply deposited him onto Naruto's bed. She knew that Sasuke didn't like the bottom bunks. He didn't like the top much better but he preferred being higher up away from the grimy floors. He was quite a picky boy, really.

He was apparently asleep, turned on one side with an arm covering the bottom half of his face, elbow of the other arm cushioning his head. A thin layer of sweat had appeared slickly on his milky skin. A painful jolt of realization hit Sakura. He'd fainted – this was what he had looked like when he'd passed out in front of her from a migraine before. Her heart sunk, her fingers closing over the space where it should have been as she breathed slowly, one hand locked around one of the thick metal bars of the cell.

She doubted the door would be open, but she tried it anyway. To her surprise, it screeched when she tugged on one of the bars to prize her way in. Sasuke didn't move, and so she assumed he was really asleep. She slipped through the small space, not daring to let the door squeal any louder. Her footsteps were quiet. Not in the catlike way that his were, but quiet. Like raindrops tapping against a hollow pipe. She made her way to his side and sat down silently towards the foot of the bed, looking down at him, her eyes sad.

She hated to see Sasuke in any kind of defenceless state. He was so proud and aloof, so when he lost even a smidge of that powerful outer vibe, it was like a tidal wave of uncertainty to Sakura. She was so used to having him mutter his sarcastic comments.

"Sakura? I never thought you'd break the rules…"

She sighed, she could almost hear him now. Glancing back to his face, she was startled. Ah, so that hadn't just been a figment of her imagination. Confused onyx eyes glittered under the dim light inside of the cell as Sasuke cast a curious look over the pinkette. She melted. He couldn't have been out for long, but his voice was husky as it always was in the mornings when he'd murmur his responses to her. His brows knitted together in a sincerely lost fashion. "Oh. You're awake!" She grinned.

Sasuke closed his eyes. He didn't dare moving in case his headache decided to snare a hold of his nervous system again. What had happened? Well, he knew he'd had a migraine and fainted. He'd had enough fits of nervous exhaustion to last him a lifetime. But… ugh. That would have been the second time he'd passed out in one day, and both times in front of the people in the institution he rebelled the hardest against. Damn. "Yes, m'awake. Why are you here?" He mumbled into the crook of his arm.

The pinkette lowered her voice, apparently recognizing that her loud, cheerfulness would do him more harm than good, "Well," she murmured, "some people told me that you were in the infirmary. I went there to find out what for, but you weren't there." Sasuke remained silent. She couldn't even tell if he was awake and listening. She continued anyway. "Naruto told me you fought with the C.O.G." Captain of the guard. "Why?"

The pale Uchiha raised a hand slowly, fingers curling slightly around her arm before tugging her down. Sakura made some unattractive pterodactyl sound as she fell, shoulder hitting the space in front of Sasuke's face. His eyes were still closed. Figures. Light with a migraine was painful. She settled herself comfortably opposite him, amazed that the tiny bunk could fit the two of them on it, even if they were on their sides and relatively small for their ages. "I wanted to make a point to the warden." He murmured, softer than before. "That's all."

Stunned into silence by their proximity, Sakura just nodded. She knew he wasn't telling the truth. She knew what he was really doing. He'd stir as much trouble as he could from now on, just to get on the warden's nerves. It was something that a lot of the boys did from time to time so that they could get the specific attention that they wanted. Karin did it often, too. "I understand." She replied quietly, just hoping that she knew what he meant.

"I'm on semi-isolation. No free time. No socialising…" He said, "you shouldn't even be up here, Sakura, you should go."

"But… Sasuke." She began, but Sasuke gave a slight hushing movement with his head to silence her. "Okay, okay." The pinkette sighed. She had come to the sudden realization that she'd never be able to say no to Sasuke when he was being this cute. There was absolutely no chance. "Just let me stay a little bit. If you're not allowed to interact with the rest of us, let me stay until you fall asleep."

At this, Sasuke managed a smirk. A small twitch of the mouth. It wasn't much, but to Sakura, it was an answer. She hated herself for sounding so desperate to spend time with him, but at least it had worked. Or maybe he was just too tired to argue. She knew she should have left him alone to sleep off his headache… it was just that for some reason, she couldn't fight the instincts inside of her that told her not to leave him. It was just like when her older sisters wouldn't leave her on her own whenever she was sick as a child. Just… a thing she felt she needed to do.

"Sakura," Sasuke mumbled, "why do you freak out so much at Orochimaru?"

The pinkette frowned. He'd obviously managed to work out her weakness to his… well, his weakness. "He patronizes me. He's just despicable. You know the way he'll use your crime against you after asking what your hopes for the future are?"

"Mhm."

"That was the thing that had gotten me the first day. He asked what I wanted to be, and when I told him I wanted to become a doctor, he made up some snarky remark about how it was a shame I couldn't work my doctoring knowledge on my—" Sakura stopped. She realized that Sasuke was listening intently. When had he opened his eyes? He continued to gaze at her, head half buried in the thin pillow.

"Your what?" He asked, quiet.

Sakura rolled her eyes, "My victim, obviously." She said, tone quite harsh. Sasuke winced slightly at the sudden snap in her voice. "…I'm sorry. I told you, Sasuke, I'm still coming to terms with it myself."

The Uchiha nodded, chewing on his lip from the inside. "You killed someone." He murmured. "No, wait. That would put you in A Block." He brought his hands up and massaged his temples.

"Close your eyes, you'll just get a relapse if you try using them. Is your head still sore?"

"You injured somebody?" Sasuke continued to guess. He did, however, obey her orders and shut his eyes immediately. It was like a wave of cool, gentleness as the surprisingly bright glare of the dingy cell was shut out. He paused, hand ghosting gently over her cheek. He really just wanted to know how far away she was, to be honest. He hadn't meant to do any caressing and/or touching of the girl's face. He heard the way her breath hitched in her throat. "Y'wanna know what I think?"

"…What?" The pinkette murmured, her fingers locking around the side of his hand.

"It… might not mean a lot coming from someone accused of being a pyro, a.k.a. possibly insane." The Uchiha drawled, "But… Sakura, don't let one mistake define you." Sakura felt her heart… flutter. That was the sweetest, deepest thing she'd ever heard him say. "Nobody in this place knows what you did except for the staff. What makes you think they'd judge you after finding out? You've got everyone there for you." His speech trailed off, voice ragged.

Sakura beamed, she knew. Of course she knew that. She had Karin and Tenten and Ino and Hinata for a start, and all of the boys, even the new guy, Naruto had taken a liking to her. And… Sasuke. She had had Sasuke there for her from the start. Obviously it just took a firm battering and a violent headache for him to be able to let her know.

"It's not something I can just describe." She sighed, "But I'll try. Please keep it secret." She whispered.

"'Course." Sasuke nodded once, removing his hand from her cheek and bringing it back to lie in between them, flexing his fingers expectantly for hers to join it. He didn't know why he did that. He didn't have a clue. That was just the way it was. He was too tired to pretend he didn't care, and he'd already let her know he wouldn't care whether she'd murdered someone or broken a window. He just… wanted to know about her. Starting with the reason for their meeting.

"And if you fall asleep, I'm not re-telling it." She added with a simper.

Sasuke grinned, a rare flash of a smile followed by a momentary laugh. "Okay."

The pink haired Haruno girl took a deep breath, her eyes watching the way that his thumb travelled up and down her index finger gently. "My mother married an alcoholic. He wasn't my father. He was just a man she'd met in the last couple of years, like from when I was thirteen. She was always really busy with her work, so he stayed at home to look after us the summer they got married. My sisters always watched my back, but…" She sighed, "…well, they moved out a few months ago. Mom went away on a business trip, so I was left alone with him." Her lip quivered momentarily, and she was thankful that Sasuke had shut his eyes.

"He asked if I wanted to watch the football with him. I mean, he was in a really good mood about it, so I was like, 'why not?', you know? He'd been a father figure in my house for years. Maybe it was time that I bonded with him. Anyway, long story short, his team lost. He'd made a bet on it, so he was really angry. You know me, Sasuke, of course I went and made some comment about how he shouldn't have been gambling in the first place since it wasn't exactly his money."

"Oh…" Sasuke frowned, somewhat sympathetic. I was thankful for that.

"Yeah, I know. He lost his shit with me and…" She shrugged wordlessly, "well, he plainly attacked me. All punches."

"Fuck." Sasuke hissed. His eyes shot open and the grip on her hand tightened a fraction, "You're a girl." He said incredulously, "And you're small."

"Exactly, I'm a really small girl. I had no way to defend myself, except for one of the nearby bottles. I smashed it over his head. He's in a coma. Multiple glass-cut wounds. Blind in one eye."

Without giving it a moment's thought, Sasuke glared, "Good." He seethed. "You're lucky you got him sooner rather than later, Sakura. You know how fucked up drunken abuse goes, don't you?" He asked her, earnestly. He wanted her to know that she wasn't a monster. She wasn't as bad as she made out to be. It was just that she was Sakura and he'd never want to see anyone hurt her. At this thought, Sasuke's subconscious slapped him.

You're falling for her, you know that, don't you?

"Yes, Sasuke. My mom and my defence argued that for me, but since I robbed a man of his sight, I still got prison time. He's got it too when he slips out of that coma." She added with a smirk. "I don't really want to talk about it anymore… I spend a lot of time thinking about it already. Now you know."

"Hn." Sasuke nodded, agreeing silently not to continue the discussion. "Such a fucking piece of—"

"Sasuke!" Sakura scolded, giggling softly and hiding her face in his chest. "Please."

The Uchiha blinked down at her, dark eyes steely as usual, but with some warm sense to them. They only ever got this way when he was close with her. He'd noticed it when they'd ignored each other. Without her, he was cold. Always cold. His arm slipped gently around her waist and he curled his chin into his neck, resting the side of his cheek against her head. It wasn't comfortable, sure, but it was comforting.

An hour or so later, Sakura slipped quietly from his cell, her heart feeling fuller and happier and lighter than it had in years.


notes: So this chapter kind of came out of nowhere, right? Well, let's just see exactly what Sasuke's got up his sleeve... Also! Thank you all so much for your reviews! Could we get to 30? :D Thank you for reading, and please review!