A/N: Thank Ed Sheeran and Ellen Hopkins for this one. I just don't even know. I hope you all enjoy this because, admist the other shit I write, this is my most personal story, based on what I know, who I know, and what I've experienced. I wrote it three years ago, just not in the !verse. So please, read and enjoy.
Summary: AU. "Let's pretend we're not commited to a mental hospital, restricted from even having shoelaces, and just be together." Sasuke teaches Sakura how to breathe again. —SasuSaku
Characters/Pairings: Just Sasuke, Sakura and reluctant love
Note: Mentions of the suicide, drugs, and sex with Sasuke.
It was December when they found her. The glass pipe in between her pale lips was expertly balanced, as was her body on the red railing of the familiar bridge. The warmth from her body had long ago melted the powdery snow she didn't even bother to clean off her seat.
Inhale, but don't exhale.
They said that glass made you sluggish, but whenever she got her first taste of crystal, she could feel herself zipping to the top.
Sluggish her ass.
CrankCrankCrank goes the old metal rods that made up the roller coaster she was climbing. HigherpuffHigherpuffHigherpuff.
Until the smoke ran rampant out of her nose, fluttering in all directions from the wind, but lazy and slow on account of her finesse.
Then something went wrong.
What is that?
Smoke was gone from her lungs, replaced with cold, biting air.
I can't breathe. It's too fresh. Too too fresh.
Is that my—
Naruto was the first person she saw when she woke up.
"You died for 42 seconds. You're lucky I was going to meet you at the bridge."
Sakura contemplates her luck, but doesn't respond.
What is she supposed to respond with?
"Maybe you should've made a U-turn and left me there to stay dead. Longer than 42 seconds."
That could possibly be the truth. Either way, she wouldn't break her best friends heart by telling him.
She couldn't hear her mother crying from inside of the glass paneled walls of the recovery room she was in.
The thought didn't make her as upset as it could've.
She had heard of Konoha Acres prior to her admission. It was talked about like a mythical place; somewhere to avoid.
"The kids there are crazy," people in her town would say.
"They can never put me in that place. I'm not crazy," she would say to Naruto.
Then they'd laugh at her rebellious nature.
She never thought she'd be on the third floor of the place, in a navy blue sweatsuit with regulation slip-ons, sitting on mattress she thought would be harder, with her pretty blonde roommate.
"Hey, I'm Ino."
She got flashed a smile. Sakura thought her teeth would be perfect too, but the enamel that was clearly missing gave her a hint as to why she was there.
They stayed up well past the turn-in time telling each other about home.
Sakura told Ino about her best friend, Naruto, her mother's inability to cope with the loss of her husband, and all the "shitheads" at her school who were probably talking about her.
Ino told Sakura about the mall near her house, her father's domineering personality, and how her cheerleading squads were probably blowing the championship as they spoke.
They never got on the topic of why they were both there.
Sakura never told her about the insatiable need for crystal and the feel of a glass pipe balanced expertly on her lips.
Wishing it were something else.
Group was something that took place for two hours, twice a week; Mondays and Fridays. People were separated according to age in groups of 8. On Monday, there was a focus on setting goals for the week—like talking to other residents more or picking up a supplementary activity. On Friday, there was discussion of each person's respective weeks—momentous occasions and whatnot.
However, on both days, everyone was constantly reminded that Group was a "safe and respectful environment where everyone can talk about how whatever they wanted to talk about" by the Resident Medical Assistant, Shizune, who doled out everyone's respective medications.
Their Group Advisor, Kakashi, was not as plastic.
"If none of you want to talk, we won't talk. But when was the last time you had people who listened?"
Maybe he was the reason why their Group sessions were never silent.
Sakura knew almost everyone in her group's reasons for being here because of his clever manipulation of the teenage mind.
Ino was bulimic and got admitted here once her parents found out. They caught her purging one night. She was the epitome of everything Sakura wasn't. Popular. Adored.
Choji was an overweight kid who had been teased constantly since he was little. It made it hard for him to be around others or interact without having anxiety attacks. Eventually, he was so isolated that he became majorly depressive and tried to commit suicide. Swallowed a whole bottle of his mom's Ambien mixed in with a bowl of cereal.
"I wanted to die, so I did the only thing I knew how. Eat."
Shino was obsessed with bugs. Usually, that wouldn't be a problem, but at one point, he started to behave like them. He ate other insects and slept outside in a small burrow he created in a tree in his backyard. When he tried to fly off of his room, his parents sent him here.
Kiba had a problem similar to Shino. He used to have a dog named Akamaru, who he loved a lot. Akamaru was his best friend. Then, when Akamaru passed away, Kiba was determined to keep his memory alive. He became the family dog. They say he has dissociative personality disorder.
Hinata was probably the shyest girl she ever met. And might've been the sweetest. She just had some bad luck. Her cousin raped her in the dead of night and she murdered him a year later. Now she's here.
There was also a kid with a ponytail that resembled a pineapple.
"If we're all being honest, then I could really use a J right now."
Shikamaru was the laziest kid she had ever seen. They said weed did that to a person eventually, but "they" said a lot of stupid shit.
During her first Group session, Shikamaru had drawled out his story in his trademark slow tone that had the air of a martyr.
"The first time I smoked, I was in 5th grade. By the time I was in 8th grade, I smoked a j twice a day. My dad found out when I turned 16, and I guess he thought I was too troublesome to deal with, 'cause before his pothead son could ruin his squeaky clean rep as a top notch lawyer, he threw me in here."
Kakashi's droopy eyes roamed over to Shikamaru and he chuckled.
"That's why you're in here, Shika-chan."
The rest of the Group laughed.
Sakura's eyes drifted past Shikamaru to the last person in the group. He hadn't spoken too much since Sakura had arrived at KA, but he introduced himself the day she was assigned to this group.
A smooth, deep voice said, "Uchiha Sasuke," and then never spoke up again.
His grunting totally didn't count.
She basically knew nothing about him.
So why did she feel like a moth fluttering by a porch light?
Looking at him made it easier to breathe.
Sakura played with the pudding as as stared across the cafeteria, face resembling one of deep concentration.
The dreaded nickname developed a week after being roommates with Ino.
Sakura grunted an affirmative.
"Okay, seriously, stop staring and just go talk to him. You wouldn't be the first girl to try."
Sakura's cheeks glowed red. She shoved a fat spoonful of chocolate pudding into her mouth so she wouldn't have to respond.
The blonde girl stood up, grasped Sakura's upper arm tightly, and proceeded to drag her towards to farthest corner of the cafeteria.
The pinkette struggled but somehow the girl dragging her became impossibly strong.
Sakura vaguely thought of the rigorous warmups Ino told her she used to assign to her team before they practiced routines.
They reached the isolated table too soon.
"Yo, Uchiha. Sakura has something she wants to say to you."
Onyx eyes looked up at her, curious and exasperated.
He's so beautiful...
Chocolate pudding splattered on the table beside Sasuke's tray of food. He wrinkled his nose in distaste.
Sakura looked for Ino, but she was already back at their previous table, trying to start conversation with Hinata.
When a napkin was shoved in her hand, she looked back down at the boy who was looking straight back at her.
The chocolate pudding was gone from the table.
"So? Are you going to clean your face and sit down or stand there looking like some idiot?"
It didn't take a genius to see there was no bite to his words.
That night she dreamed of something else besides the taste of a white monster clawing to her lungs.
The next day, he sat with her.
"Your name's Sakura."
"You're in my group."
Cough. "Uh, yeah."
"Your hair is pink."
Sasuke was like a puzzle. He gave her so many pieces...
"I have a father, mother, and older brother at home."
"I was class president."
"My favorite food is tomatoes."
"When people ask for my favorite color, I say black. Yes, I'm aware that's a shade."
"My father tends to favor Itachi."
"I have no idea how to swim."
"My mother is an angel."
"I've never had a girlfriend."
"I picked my room because of the view. It's smaller than my brother's and we both have balconies, but mine faces the sun when it's setting. I used to sit on my balcony and wish I was a bird so I could fly and be seen as only an outline against the sunset."
...But she couldn't put them together.
Why was he here?
He told her one day at lunch.
"I have bipolar disorder."
"I was having an episode one day and I tried to kill my brother."
"I love Itachi. At the time, he was just in the way."
"I'm not your therapist."
"I'm not your therapist. You don't have to justify anything to me."
Sasuke's next breath sounded shaky but relieved.
"So... Why are you here?"
It never occured to her that—
"You barely talk during Group."
"I like crystal meth. A lot."
The spoon of tomato soup went back in his mouth as he calmly resumed his lunch.
She could've kissed him right then.
Nature is said to be therapeutic for many mental health patients.
It's customary to go on a camping trip once a month, but the snow fell so hard that winter, they cancelled it.
When March rolled around, it was deemed warm enough to go on the trip.
It was nearing to be her third month at Konoha Acres and here she was, propped up on her elbows, looking at the stars from the top of a cliff on the outskirts of town, overlooking everything.
The rest in her group were scattered all around the cliff's clearing. Hinata and Shino were counting the fireflies glowing in the air. Kiba and Choji were dozing off by the fire at the center of the clearing, their backs to a log. Shikamaru was telling Ino about a four leaf clover he once found near these woods, while the pretty blonde listened with rapt attention. Kakashi sat by the fire reading a neon orange book. And Sasuke...
Where was he?
He hadn't hiked up the cliff next to her, nor had he even talked to her that day.
Did she do something wrong?
She knew Sasuke didn't talk much to others, but he always managed to convey his presence without words.
And if she was lucky, he'd tell her something else about himself in the seemingly casual way he did.
She knew she was spoiled with his attention, but without it, she felt like a gaping hole was in her.
One that not even a million puffs of crank could fix.
It was past midnight, according to Kakashi's "glow in the dark" watch, when he unzipped the opening to her tent and pulled on her right foot.
The way she jumped made Ino turn over and groan.
She wanted to say, "Sasuke, what the hell are you doing?"
The moonlight hit his face in a way that made him glow, dark eyes shining like stars reflecting off a lake at night and his hair swayed at the tips with the breeze that shook the smallest leaves on the trees around.
The words died in her throat as she climbed out of the tent.
"Kakashi let me go into the woods to find some flowers, but all I found were these leaves. So I got a vine from one of the trees and wrapped it with a bow. I know it's stupid, but I didn't have anything else to get you..."
The situation was, without saying, unusual.
Two mental patients standing in a clearing, one holding a vine wrapped bouquet of leaves, the other standing with a vermillion blush that put Hinata's to shame. Then there was their Group Advisor half watching from behind a tree as he read his porn.
An unusual situation indeed.
But Sasuke's unsure face made her uneasy.
"Let's pretend we're not commited to a mental hospital, restricted from even having shoelaces, and just be together."
She took the bouquet of leaves and sat down on a rock, gesturing for him to follow.
By the end of the night, he would kiss her and walk her back to his tent.
She would dream of a boy with black hair and black eyes and a warm heart. Not of white snow, white smoke, and cold air.
After that night, the five months to follow would be a blur.
Sasuke could feel a little better about almost commiting fratricide and Sakura started to breathe again. She talked more in Group, chastised Kakashi for reading porn on the camping trips, trying to hold down the blush that came up when she thought of the tradition her and Sasuke shared every trip, told Ino more about herself, and cracked jokes with Hinata. She talked to Shikamaru more and learned he was ridiculously smart. Kakashi bought them a shogi board, so Sakura and Shikamaru would play, Sasuke would remain loyal by her side, and Ino would cheer on whoever was winning.
When August reached its ides, Sasuke was released.
He left her with a kiss, a promise to wait for her, and a demand for her to start writing her letters longer than the ones she would send Naruto every week, even though the ones he sent back to her were ridiculously long.
She agreed and kept him updated.
When December rolled around once again, she was released, her mother welcomed her with something lukewarm on her face, Naruto stayed the night, and Sasuke climbed in through her window at midnight.
It was their hour.
"Eh? Is this Sasuke?"
Insert the elbowing and winks and sneaky smiles, you had Naruto's behavior for the evening. At one point during a ridiculously competitive game of Uno, Sasuke called Naruto an idiot, and Naruto called Sasuke a bastard.
She was all smiles when she saw how good they got along.
At dawn, her best friend fell asleep.
Sakura made herself comfortable in Sasuke's arms and did the same.
On the day of their year anniversary, Sakura had run into some old friends on her way to pick up some fresh tomatoes for Sasuke from his favorite vendor.
How the hell had they not met sooner?
When she spoke to Suigetsu, she saw his glazed eyes, bloodshot and droopy, paranoid stance, and right hand holding a paper bag covered beer.
The son of a bitch was crankin'.
"I haven't seen you around in a while! I just got some good shit from Kabuto today. Wanna share a few lines?"
As he leered at her chest, she remembered the times she fooled around with Suigetsu just to get a taste of the glass Kabuto cooked. She never paid though...
Atleast, not in cash.
"I've got a boyfriend now, Sui."
His leer and flirty talk turned into a neutral line and monotone.
"I can give you an eighth to smoke later. For 60 bucks."
No matter how bad she knew it was, she didn't hesitate to fork over the cash.
They had agreed to spend their big day in bed after a visit to the cliff where they first kissed.
When she laid on her bed with Sasuke, she couldn't help but tremble.
She found her backup pipe in her closet and as soon as he left, she would go outside on the tire swing of her tree and light it up and then-
"Are you okay?"
Sasuke's eyes were scrunched in the way she didn't like, out of worry. His hold on her loosened so he could place her head on his chest, her stomach rising with her breaths, touching his hipbone.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just cold."
"Oh, well then. Let me see if I can warm you up."
She had never believed in a higher being before, but having sex with Sasuke was like being drenched in bourbon, lit on fire, drowned in an icy lake, feeling the water ripple as your fingers claw towards the surface and then being pulled out by a merciful, perfect someone whose tounge had healing powers and licked you all over, then covered you in a blanket and carried you off to some place that felt like home but only better.
It was like being high, but better.
By the time they finished, she was covered in sweat...
"Sakura, are you okay? What's wrong?"
Her legs ached, but she swung them over the edge of the bed anyway and stood up, bothering to throw on only her boyfriend's shirt.
She walked to her closet, grabbing a red bandana. Then she began to rip open drawers and take out objects he didn't know she had anymore.
A glass pipe.
So many razors.
And a zip lock bag with what looked to be white rocks.
He was sad to say he knew better.
"Do you love me?"
The question was so abrupt, he almost forgot to respond.
Her nimble fingers wrapped the bandana into a makeshift sack.
"Good. Because I love you too."
She was so serious that he knew what she was asking of him.
He followed her to the red bridge, and dropped the red bandana into the rushing water below.
Then he held her when she cried.
Thank you, Sakura.
2/20—To My Guest Reviewer, Cat: Yes, as someone who suffers from bd2, I know what you mean. A lot of us can carry on normal day to day lives. We just have to be more careful of our extremes, that's all. Thank you for reviewing.
Don't judge me because of my obsession with all things shitty. The best things in life are free, of course. But so are the worst things.