dedication: To Daisy and Chloe coz we are now the Holy Trinity. And to Rhea coz she keeps me from going backspace-button happy.
Fragments of Time
He wakes up with a start, jumping on the bed, sitting up and gasping, loud and without restraint and agonized. He coughs; his lungs rusty and unaccustomed to stretching and sucking in such an amount of air. His head pounds in the most unpleasant way, his vision blurs and he is quick to drop back onto the bed, shifting and only acknowledging his surroundings at the restraints he feels on his arms.
He looks down at them, moving them around and watching the cords stabbed into him jiggle at his movements.
Where… Is he?
He looks around at the bland walls—white and disturbing, a single abstract portrait hanging on the wall, right across from him. Mocking, he decides as he stares at it for a few seconds longer. There's a curtain that, if pulled out, secludes him from the rest of the room, hides him from the chairs where his possible-visitors would sit and blocks the small window where the moonlight peeks in through.
Hospital, he realizes.
He's inside a hospital.
He pats as his chest, feeling nothing—not a single surge of pain or… Anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him; this is a mistake, clearly, he decides. They have all made a mistake, took him in for someone else and treated him for something that… That is not there. It's so obvious… So transparent—nothing is wrong with him.
He grabs the stiff blankets and pulls them off him, making to sit up, stand up and leave.
But when he tries to command his legs to swing off the edge of the rigid bed… Nothing happens.
He blanches out, furrowing his brow and attempting again. How… Is this possible? How hard is it to stand up and off a bed and leave? Why are his legs not cooperating? What… Happened?
What happened to him?
His heart monitor picks up speed as he begins to panic, not knowing anything, not remembering anything—who is he, anyway?
Who is he? Why can't he remember anything about himself, what color are his eyes, what color is his hair, how old is he? Where is he from? Why is he here? Who did this to him? Who saved him?
His heart monitor continues to pick up speed and soon a nurse bursts in through the door, her eyes wide and ready to fix him… Except she isn't prepared to see him awake, his eyes wide open and wild with confusion, shock and even fear because his legs aren't moving and he's in a hospital without a single clue as to why, without a single idea as to who he is.
"Oh, god," she whispers before running out the room again.
He opens his mouth and tries to scream at her to come back, but all that comes out is a dry croak.
He growls, arching his back but falling back onto the bed—useless.
The nurse returns with someone following in after her; another woman, he realizes. Spiky, short pink hair, sharp green eyes and a killer smirk as she bends over him, one of her eyebrows raised. She lifts a hand up and he flinches, even as she places it on his forehead, smoothing back his messy forelocks, caressing his face.
"It's okay," she says, softly, her expression softening up as well. "It's okay, you're okay."
He stares at her, his lips curling into a sneer and wanting to hiss at her that everything is not okay because he can't move and he apparently can't speak either.
"Do it," she says, turning towards the nurse and pulling away from him.
His eyes are frantic as they turn towards the nurse that nears him from his other side, an injection in her hands. And how he wishes he could move away from it, feeling unsafe and not knowing its purpose; but the most he can do is scoot away from it and that is limited because he has nowhere else to run when he reaches the edge of the bed.
He groans in protest and the pink-haired woman shushes him, her hand on his head, her fingers tangled in his hair.
"It's okay," she repeats, softly.
The injection stabs into his skin, acute and numbing, and he slowly begins to realize that everything is growing black.
He grunts, his eyes rolling back, and falls back to sleep.
The second time he wakes up, it is less eventful. His eyes flutter open, vision blurry and unfocused. He blinks a couple of times, fists clenching the bed sheets as he tries to sit up into a sitting position; it's hard, especially since the bottom half of his body is dead weight, but he manages to at least come up to a slouched position.
He turns towards her, taking in her relax form as she sits on one of the chairs, a leg crossed over the other, the thigh-high stockings being held up by the straps connected to—what he most likely notes—a garter belt, under her dress. She's smiling at him, bright and friendly—as if they have known each other for years and she's happy to see him alright.
He stares at her with annoyance.
"You must be hungry," she comments, tilting her head, her hair cascading to one side.
"W—w—w…ho… a-am… I…?" He croaks out, his voice dry and broken with abandonment.
Her eyes are the brightest of green, yellow and silver and gold—bewitching and nerve-wracking. She stares at him, her expression sobering up for a second or two before her lips crack into another pleasant smile. "Yes, as I thought. You're hungry for answers."
He stares at her.
"Well, I suppose I should introduce myself first, hm?" She stands up, smoothing her short black dress and the bow-tie resting a few inches above her chest. "I'm Sakura Haruno! I've been put in charge to look after you and your recovery and boy was it a long process. You've been out cold for almost two years now; I was beginning to lose hope."
Out… Cold…? For two years?
He had been in a coma… For two years…
She pauses, stares at him and he can almost see the way she's analyzing him, her facial expression impassive—clinical, even.
"I wish I knew," she finally murmurs, her pink lips barely moving. A second later she perks up, nearing him and hovering above him. "You, though, are named Sasuke."
His name—that is his name; Sasuke.
He clears his throat, licking his dry lips and hoping his words didn't fail him as he asks, "What… Is my surname?"
"You don't have one," she chirps with a big smile. "You're just Sasuke."
If this bothers him, he doesn't let the feeling manifest and grow any bigger. He has so many questions he doesn't have answers to and the way this girl—this Sakura Haruno—is throwing the answers to his face makes him want to ask everything before she grows bored and decides to leave with all his clumsy words at the tip of his tongue.
"Where am I?"
"Konoha," she says, sitting at the edge of his bed, fixing his blankets with a soft touch. "You're in Konoha; in the medical ward of the old Namikaze Manor."
He furrows his brow. "…Who…?"
She laughs, softly, placing her hand above his. "All in due time, hm, Sasuke-kun? How about you rest up while I find you some food; you need to restore your energy so we can start therapy to get you walking again."
Sasuke realizes three things, that day.
One is that he has never felt such a hunger—gripping and immobilizing, muscle clenching and mind shuddering—upon smelling the food Sakura had brought back. A full tray of any and all breakfast he could have ever thought of—pancakes, waffles, French toast, hashbrown, eggs, sausage links, bacon, orange juice and coffee—he devoured every last bit and still had room for more.
The second is that his stomach tells lies and as soon as he finished wolfing his meal down, he crippled over and vomited everything right back out. Too soon, Sakura had sighed, rubbing soothing circles on his back and calling a nurse to clean the mess.
The third is that men stand outside his door, dressed to impress and with guns in their hands, ready to shoot down any oncoming threat.
Which has Sasuke wondering who would come to threaten him and why would they threatened him to begin with?
He sits on his bed, staring out the window as the sun begins to set. He can't see much other than the sky and the top of trees from the courtyard, but it's something to look at. The antsy feeling and the desire to move is slowly beginning to eat him alive and he's wondering when exactly his therapy will start and how long will it take?
And who are those men with guns?
Who is Sakura?
What is it that he doesn't know?
Everything, he tries to remind himself. He doesn't know a single thing other than the few questions Sakura answered with that annoying smile of hers. Anything else is just a fuzzy buzz; like the feeling one gets when a limb falls asleep. He keeps trying to think back to the last thing he's ever done but everything is static noise and empty black voids.
He doesn't remember a single thing.
He's close to falling asleep when he hears voices outside his door. His eyes snap open, elbows supporting his weight as he stares at the door, trying to make out what's being said, but it's so muffled that he can't really catch anything other than the fact that they are obviously all men.
The door is cracked open, and then pushed open and someone walks in.
Sasuke had been expecting Sakura but instead a tall blond walks in, his hair messy and ruffled, his blue eyes wide and filled with mischief.
He's never seen him in his life, either. But then he counters that he doesn't remember his life prior to his mysterious memory loss and accident, so the statement didn't really count. Sasuke watches him with wary eyes, his hands clenching into fists; he doesn't know what good the action is, but it at least makes him feel a bit secure.
Sasuke frowns at him.
"I'm Naruto—Naruto Uzumaki."
"Congratulations," Sasuke murmurs, his brow furrowing.
Naruto stares at him, shoving his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, tilting his head in a way that is very much alike Sakura's. He is studying, Sasuke knows, and he wonders why they keep doing that… Studying him like he's some specimen; like he's not from this world. As if he's done something notable or something.
"I'm not s'posed to be here," Naruto confesses, shifting in his stance. "But Sakura told me you finally woke up so I figured you're probably tired of bein' all cooped up in here. So I came to show you around!"
Sasuke stares at him, at this giant beaming at him with excitement. He doesn't know how to react, what to respond, but he has the itching feeling of calling him an idiot.
"I can't walk," he settles into saying.
Naruto thrusts a finger in the air and gives him a grin and a wink. "See, I thought about that. So I brought a wheelchair! Bring it in, boys!"
The door opens, again, and one of the two guards pushes a wheelchair in and parks it right next to his bed. Sasuke stares at it as if it's the bringer of all things evil and grunts in surprise when he is lifted off the bed. He shifts a bit, trying hard to not fight against them lest he falls to the ground. He does feel degraded, though, and glares as he's seated on the chair, his hands gripping the armrests.
"Boss is going to be angry," one of the guards says.
Naruto scoffs as he walks towards the wheelchair, gripping the handles and beginning to lead him out the room. "Jeez, s'not like I'm going to kidnap him, man. He needs some fresh air!"
They shake their heads, resuming their post even as Naruto leads him away, down a hall.
"Why is your boss going to be angry? Who is your boss?"
"Not 'boss'," Naruto drawls as he turns a corner. "Boss."
"There's a difference in the way you say it," he goes on; his steps slow so Sasuke can observe everything. "The way you said it makes it seem like any old boss, a bakery shop boss, a mall shop boss… Any of that. But my Boss is the kind of Boss that handles deals and influences political figures and sends people like me out to get rid of anyone that threatens his system."
Sasuke is quiet as he lets all this settle in, his eyes turning from one side to the other as he takes in the extended halls. Everything is as bland as the room he's being kept in; walls having yellow stains from how old and unmaintained everything is.
"So you're a gangster?"
They pass by a hall with its entire left wall being made out of windows; the moon's light illuminates them in a soft glow and he stares at the trees, at the cars, at the gates.
"Then why am I here?"
"D'aw, Sasuke," Naruto drawls, stopping the wheelchair and walking around it to stand in front of him. His arms are spread open, leather jacket stretching along with his movements and exposing the two guns resting inside his shoulder holsters, on either side of his chest, a few inches under his arms. "Coz you're one of us, duh!"