Title: All The King's Horses
Summary: The court condemns you, Uchiha Sasuke... Guilty.
Disclaimer: I Don't Own Naruto.
You have a visitor, they tell him.
Who would visit a traitor like him?
They lead his visitor in, and -
She sits down on the provided chair, and immediately looks out of place. Her vivid sundress contrasts sharply against the graying walls, her rosy cheeks instantly chilled by the cool air. She doesn't belong here. She belongs to the outside world of nature, and spring, and sunshine, and flowers, and -
She can belong to anything or anyone.
Just not him.
There is no ice that needs to be broken, no awkward silence to overcome, for she launches headfirst into a conversation, as if they are old friends, reminiscing of the past. As if there is nothing wrong.
She smiles foolishly at him, and continues to chatter nonsensically, filling him up with the gossip and news that he has missed for the past four years. She doesn't seem to mind that the conversation is one-sided, that her monologue is only bouncing off the deaf ears of the brick walls.
She doesn't even mind the steel bars separating them.
Just being this close is fine.
At first, he only looks at her hands as she peels the apple methodically with the small knife. He doesn't dare shift his gaze upwards, doesn't dare look at her.
He is afraid to look at her, terrified even.
No, no, you've got it all wrong. It's just...
He doesn't want to know if she has the same eyes as them – the same cold eyes that blamed and accused.
You're just a coward!
"When is it?" The question surprises him, yet it also does not.
He jerks his head up sharply, and, and -
Her eyes are not cold, nor blaming, nor accusing.
They are gentle, and kind, and caring, and warm, and -
Tell her the truth.
"In a week."
Ah... It ended up being a lie.
No, he decides. I only heard her wrong.
"Together. We can run away from this cruel fate and live in the countryside. Build a little house, raise a couple of chickens, and even grow our own crops." Her voice escalates until it hits the last, shrill note, and it rings around and around in his head.
She looks at him expectantly, and he can only look down at the floor in despair, look up at the ceiling in agony, and look left and right at the walls in misery, but never – never – at her.
She had tried to offer him the slices of the apple, but he could only look at them, and laugh bitterly at the irony.
The light from the lone window wanes, and darkness descends. Melting candles flicker to life, and the lengthening shadows waltz around the shuddering flames.
You have to leave now, they urge her gently.
She hesitates, and her emerald orbs linger on his dark silhouette. He pretends not to notice that the tender light in her eyes had disappeared, replaced with a melancholic glow. Finally, she gives up, gathers the slices of the apple reluctantly with a soft sigh, and shuffles to the doorway. She stops, but doesn't turn around.
"I'll be back tomorrow." Her voice cracks.
Only when she leaves is he able to exhale the strained breath he doesn't realize he has been holding the whole time.
He smiles triumphantly, but it leaves a sour aftertaste lingering in his mouth.
Tomorrow is far too late.
It's time, they tell him. He ignores the evident glee in their voices, and gets up from the lone chair in the cell.
They push him down on his knees before the judge. Once upon a time, he would have been infuriated. Now, there is nothing left in him. Nothing at all.
"Number 017-82. Male. Nineteen. Guilty of treason and murder. Do you plead innocent or guilty?"
The crowd below him roars with elation.
The court condemns you, Uchiha Sasuke...
The sword gleams in his eyes, and in the moment that he is briefly blinded, all he can do is remember her.
Those green, green eyes.
My Only Exception.
The sword comes down.
There is something left after all...
I DON'T WANT TO DIE YET.
It's always too late.
To accept your apples would mean I have accepted your love.
… How I wish I could.