As a side note, the name comes from the same titled track from AnoHana. If you want, listen to it while you read the story. It really adds to it.
***Image is from Sorceressmyr. It's called "Leaf's jounin" You can find it on Deviantart. Thank you so much for your permission :)***
"Last Train Home"
The view from the window is pretty decent. The morning sun lights up the room when the blinds are open. There is a nice outlook of the streets of Konoha. It is usually pretty busy - filled with civilians and ninjas alike. The mountain with the great Hokages stands in the distance. It really is a great view – one of the best. At least that's what he is told.
Sasuke supposes that they aren't lying to him. He may be going blind, but he can hear just fine, and he often finds himself feeling his way over to slam the window shut just to stop all the noise. Still, he keeps the window open more than he ever thought he would. Sometimes, though he'd never admit it, the silence of the empty room gets to him.
A sigh escapes his lips after Sasuke tries to examine his reflection in the window. A futile attempt, he knows. Most shapes and colors are gone now. He only sees blurs of grey with an occasional drop of color – though those are few and far between. A hand raises to his chin to feel the stubble. He should probably shave soon.
Footsteps approach the doorway. When the doorknob turns, Sasuke turns his gaze to the blurry entrance. He knows it is probably a silly habit now, but even silly old habits die hard.
"Good morning, Uchiha-san!" The voice is cheerful and bubbly. Sasuke scowls, but the person continues. "I'm just here to change your bed sheets." The orderly bounces in (Sasuke assumes that she is bouncing as her feet and personality would suggest), and the sound of rustling cloth is heard. "I think your son should be in soon, right?" He says nothing, so she continues on. "The Hokage-sama really made sure you have a great room. Oh, not that you don't deserve it. You are a legendary ninja, after all. Is it true that you two are best friends?" The only answer the orderly receives is the sound of a sheet as it is tucked in. Sasuke hears her falter before, "Well, I'll be back again in a few days, Uchiha-san." The door closes quietly.
Sasuke puts an open palm on the window. It's closed right now. He peers through the window hoping to see anything – any sign of hope that his sight isn't going. The hand clenches and a scowl forms. His eyes squeeze shut and the other hand begins to rub at them.
"You know that's not very good for you. Rubbing your eyes is supposed to make it worse."
Sasuke whirls around. Someone had snuck up on him – and not just anyone, "Sakura." He whispers. She is a blur, but he can still make out a shade of pink. Though, he really doesn't need to see to know it is she. He knows her voice.
"Sasuke-kun," Her tone is disapproving. He can make out the blur coming closer. He feels something on his cheek. "You know if you don't shave, you really start to look your age."
Sasuke steps back, a scowl, borderline pout, present. "You still look young."
He hears her laughter – her beautiful glorious laughter. "Of course! It's because I am always young at heart!" He thinks that she winked at him then – but he can never be sure.
There is silence again. It is a comfortable silence. Through their years, Sakura had never become the quiet type, but she had begun to appreciate the art and beauty of silence. The two had a special bond in their stillness.
"I'm going blind." It is Sasuke who breaks the silence. He needs to talk; he needs to hear her voice.
"I know." She says quietly.
"The sharingan is poisoning my body."
"I know." She says again.
"I'm going to die." He isn't sad. Not really. It is a statement. A fact. He is older now; he has lived his time. Perhaps his main regret is that he is not going to die in a battlefield, like a good ninja, but in this hospital.
Sakura is silent, but he can still feel her presence. He turns to the window again. "Why are you here?" He asks.
"What?" Amusement tickles her voice, "A wife can't visit her husband?"
"Not you." His throat is dry. He swallows to wet it.
He imagines that her smile falters, "Sasuke-kun…"
"Hey, teme!" The door slams open. Someone is behind Naruto, begging him to be keep it down. "Ah, sorry! Sorry!" Footsteps enter the room and the door shuts. "I am here to make your day!"
"Idiot." Sasuke doesn't turn, but a small smile graces his lips.
"Hey," Sasuke can feel Naruto's breath. "You look really old today."
"That's what I said." Sasuke hears Sakura pipe up. "You really should shave."
"You're too close." Sasuke shoves Naruto away. There is the scuffing of feet and laughter.
"Sorry, but you really are starting to look your age."
"I've already heard that today." Sasuke snaps. He resists the urge to feel his stubble again. "We don't all have a Kyuubi in us to keep us younger." Sasuke mumbles. Alright, he is a little bitter. He has always taken great pride in his looks.
"Yeah, yeah." He hears the scraping of a chair, and then a whoomp as the body collapsed. "So are you going to stand by the window all day, or are you going to talk to me?"
A smirk plays on Sasuke's lips. He doesn't move.
"Ah!" A stomping his heard. "I come all this way for my best friend…!"
Sasuke sighs – he's been doing that a lot lately – and makes his way over to the bed. When he thinks he is close, his hand very slightly moves out to stop himself from bumping into the object. As his hand touches the sheets, he smoothes the fabric out as though to hide the real purpose of his touching.
"It's gotten real bad, huh?" Sasuke can hear the frown. It annoys him.
"It's fine." Sasuke assures him as he sits on the bed.
There is a beat of silence. Sasuke feels himself getting agitated. The idiot is rarely quiet. He must be pitying him, goddamnit. "Stop it." Sasuke snaps.
Naruto does not ask what or why. They have been friends long enough. He only lets an awkward chuckle escape before speaking again, "So, Konohamaru is doing great. He'll be ready to take over if need be. I've trained him well!"
"Ready to retire, already?" Sasuke smirks.
"Nah." He hears shifting in the seat next to him. "But even though I may not look it, I am getting older, so I should be ready in case something happens. What about your family? They come to visit?"
"Aa." A soft smile, one that Sasuke rarely shows, adorns his face. "When they can."
"Yeah," Naruto is thoughtful, "I really should take the two off missions for a while."
"Don't bother." Sasuke's response is quick.
There is more silence. Sasuke fights to not grind his teeth. Lately, the conversations between any of his visitors have been pretty morbid. He does not like it. If he has to keep repeating himself or keep assuring everyone, he would rather them not come. It isn't much of a visit.
"Sasuke-kun… Naruto…" Sakura speaks again. She's been so quiet and letting her boys have their moment that Sasuke almost forgot she is there – almost.
"I'm ready." Sasuke says suddenly. He tries to watch Naruto's reaction. He can see a vague blur snap its head in Sasuke's direction. Sasuke can only imagine the wide blue eyes. "When the time comes," Sasuke says again, "I'm ready." He almost snorts when he says, "I didn't even expect to live this long."
"Teme…" Naruto is speechless. Sasuke thinks that he must have made a record. Finally, Sasuke hears a sigh. "Yeah. I guess you have done it all. Married Sakura-chan, had two kids, lived to see one of them get married and have a kid. Plus, you're one of the great ninjas – you know, next to me."
Sasuke's lips curve upwards. His eyes drift to Sakura's blur as he feels something touch his hand. "Aa."
"Hey," Naruto's voice shakes slightly. Sasuke for once is glad he can't see. "You know," There is an audible swallow, "You know you've been my best friend, right? My brother even?"
"Aa." Sasuke does not say anything else. He does not need to say anything else. He hears movement and feels arms wrap around him.
"This really sucks," Naruto's voice is still shaky and his arms are tight. Sasuke does not hug him back, but he does not push him away either, "But I know you'll finally be really happy, huh?" The arms pull away, but Sasuke can still feel the residual warmth.
Sasuke does his best to look up at his best friend who is now standing over him. He still can't see, but he knows Naruto is smiling at him through watery eyes and quivering lips. So Sasuke does what he can. He lifts a hand high in the air. He hears Naruto chuckle – a wet chuckle – and sniffle. Then a loud slap is heard as their hands meet.
With a final muffled sniffle, Naruto backs up and heads toward the door. He opens it up, but stops before he leaves, "Sakura-chan," Naruto calls out, "I'll leave this idiot to you." And the door closes.
Sasuke's shoulders slump after the door closes. He begins to shift to lie back in the bed.
"Happy, huh?" He hears. Sakura has not left. Sasuke says nothing, adjusting himself on the bed and closing his eyes. "Tired?"
"I imagine." Sakura offers. Sasuke feels his hair move. He sighs contentedly and turns his head toward the source.
"I missed you." He murmurs.
"I know." He feels cold lips on his cheek. "You've done really well, Sasuke-kun. Our kids turned out great."
Sasuke opens his eyes to smile at her blur, but he finds that even the blurs have turned to darkness. So he closes his eyes again, but still offers a small smile.
"You can rest now. It's okay." Sakura whispers in his ear.
Would it be? Is it enough? For all the wrong he has done, did he make it right? Is it really okay now?
"It's okay." Sakura repeats, as though she can hear his thoughts. She usually did. And he believes her.
"Why are you here?" He asks again, even though he knows the answer. He knew the moment he heard her sweet voice.
"I've come to take you with me, Sasuke-kun." She whispers, so softly he almost misses it, but he hears it. He hears it and he sleeps with a contented smile on his face.
Written for SasuSaku month prompt: Ghost
Thanks especially to Januaryeclipses!
Fun Fact: I oddly loved writing from Sasuke's point of view. At first, I started writing this in the past tense, but then I realized it flowed so much more when it was in the present. Maybe it's Sasuke's personality or the situation, but it worked.
I'm actually quite proud of this story, and I hope you enjoyed it!