Summary: He needed an heir, and she just wanted to go home. It was unfortunate that home has always been with him. /SasuSaku/
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters.
Notes1: I'm having baby anxiety, so I'm taking it out on Sakura, and of course a healthy dose of drama and angst is needed.
Chapter Song: All Hail the High Sea – Eye Alaska
The word tasted funny in her mouth, and she could hardly distinguish the rough, hoarse voice as her own, but knew it had to be as she felt her cracking, dry lips move. She tried to swallow – her mouth tasted like shit – but found that her mouth was completely dry.
It had to be the drugs they gave her. She didn't know how long she'd been there – or where there even was – or how long she'd been unconscious. She'd wake up every so often and muster up the energy to pry her green eyes open long enough to see a stone ceiling and exposed water pipes. She was in no hospital, despite the IV she felt – could still feel – in her arm. She'd look down for a fraction of a second before unconsciousness would take her, and frown at the goosebumps covering every inch of her the exposed skin of her shoulders.
It took her 3 bouts of coming to to jerk her head to the side and see the bag of fluids extending from the IV stand.
Sakura was a medic, and a damn good one at that. She could take apart the human body with nothing but her fingertips, and she could put it together again – brand new and in better condition than when she started. She could take life as easily as she gave it. She was the closest thing to a god the shinobi world had to offer. There were trackers and hunter-nin; sensors, fire types, earth types, water types – ninja with Kekki Genkai strong enough to take down entire villages; but she was a medic. Where they destroyed, she healed.
And she took pride in healing. She spent years studying every single medical text and scroll she could get her hands on – she knew how to disable a nervous system with a flick of her finger. She could stop a beating heart and heal a fatal wound at the same time. She knew every medical procedure ever preformed in Konoha. She learned all the poisons and found antidotes for them in a matter of minutes.
She considered herself well-versed in serums, but she had no idea what was running through her system. There were books of sedatives that could have the same result once administered that she was feeling, but whether it was the drugs or a lack of knowledge, nothing was clicking. So Sakura just stared at it until the weight of her eyelids became too much and she fell back into nothingness.
Even under the haze of drugs, Sakura could sense exactly who her captor was. Every time she stirred, she could feel his chakra in the room with her. It didn't matter how many sedatives were in her bloodstream; Sakura could be blind and deaf and still be acutely aware of the man several feet away.
Every time she woke up, she asked him why – but she did not have the strength to stay awake for an answer.
He was beside her at one point – hovering over her at an uncomfortable closeness that she could feel even in her delusion. She'd opened her eyes, head facing the IV and the wall, and found his hard body, covered in an Akatsuki cloak – the clothes of an enemy.
"Why?" She repeated, before promptly passing out again.
It was the same every time. She'd wake up, look at the wall, try to ask what he wanted, and pass out. Surely if he wanted to give her an answer, he'd stop administering the sedative. Sakura didn't know how long they'd been playing this game – it had to be at least a week, if not nearing on two, and after the first dozen or so times, the cat-and-mouse thing was beginning to become so tedious that soon Sakura didn't even open her eyes anymore.
She did not dream when she slept, but in her consciousness, her mind was filled with static.
She thought of the village and Naruto when she could. Was he looking for her? Was the village still in shambles? Was the Kyuubi still sealed away? Was he dead? Has Konoha already burned to the ground?
Burned in the fires her former teammate had ignited himself.
In her drug-induced haze, it had barely registered that her little spells of consciousness were becoming longer and more frequent. She could feel her nerves tingling in her fingertips. She could feel chakra pulsing inside her core, vibrating with the intense instinct to heal its container. It stung her insides at its inability to – the sedative was blocking it.
Perhaps he was weaning her off the sedative after all.
She didn't feel so faded anymore. Soon things were coming into focus; things she couldn't quite pick up before – like the way her feet and only her feet were cold, suggesting the blanket covering her body wasn't meant for someone her size. She could hear rhythmic dripping of water somewhere in the room. Where they underground? That would explain the exposed walls. Was this one of Orochimaru's old bases?
She pried her tired eyes open and found nothing but darkness.
Her arm twitched.
Being blind, she reasoned, was infinitely better than being drugged and feeling like she was nothing more than a human-sized rag doll. Maybe that was what the drug did – blind her little by little.
She'd never come across a poison like that, but it wasn't unheard of. New drugs were invented every day – drugs meant to hurt and maim.
That, of course, meant that Sasuke wanted her blind.
Why would Sasuke want me blind?
It didn't matter. She did not know Sasuke anymore. Her teammate was a shell of his former self – that had been proven on the bridge when he was going to kill her without a second thought.
They had years of hurt and a war between them.
And Kakashi was not here to save her this time.
Exhaling a sigh and her fear, Sakura shut her eyes. Her mind, not fully recovered from its misuse, didn't fully register that her eyelids were a shad lighter than the darkness that took over when she had her eyes opened until she blinked again. Noting the change in light, she blinked a few more times.
She had overreacted. She was not blind – she was blindfolded.
Her misdiagnosis made sense – she could not feel her face, or any other part of her body besides her hands and feet. Numb from the drugs and lying too long in the same position, she was sure.
With that sorted out, Sakura was becoming hyperaware of the footsteps pacing about the room. Finally, she thought; she could get an answer.
She could feel him halt in his steps, and she didn't hear him move for minutes after that. But then he was creeping into the edges of her consciousness. She heard his footsteps and felt him stop beside her; his presence was as demanding as it had always been – intimidating as it had always been.
It was not a question.
A cough bubbled from her lips, and in the next moment she felt an arm underneath her, forcing her upright, as something cool pressed to her mouth.
Her kunoichi instincts refused to accept this, at first, and she forced her mouth closed.
"If I was going to kill you, it would have been while you were powerless. It's just water, Sakura." His voice is deep and rough.
She does not remember drinking it; she only remembers when the container is pulled from her open mouth before she is satisfied.
"If you drink too much you will be sick."
I know that, she wants to scream. I'm the medic, you're the traitor.
She does not scream, however. She does not even talk; but she does let out a surprised squeak when her handicap is abruptly pulled away and he is in front of her.
She has not seen him in a year – no one has. There had been rumors speculating his death in neighboring villages (SUNA and Kiri, primarily); rumors that were promptly ignored by Naruto and herself. He is taller than he was at their last encounter; broader – with high cheekbones and hollow eyes, and it's hard to believe he's only pushing 18.
He is 18 and he already looks like he's lived ten lifetimes.
He takes a seat beside her – in a chair she is just now noticing. "I will be blunt with you," he begins, and if Sakura had control of the nerves in her face, she would have raised an eyebrow. "I need an heir to the Uchiha clan, and your chakra control, combined with the Uchiha bloodline limit, would make for the perfect offspring."
He sighs. "Do not make me repeat myself."
"What!" This is ridiculous. She feels like she is dreaming; trapped in a genjutsu. If she could move her arms, she would have tried to dispel it by now. "No!"
"I seem to recall a time where you would have done anything for me." Oh no, there is no way he's playing that card. This is definitely a genjutsu – an incredibly detailed, too-personal genjutsu.
"That was years ago," Sakura sputters. "Before this war that you started! Everything has changed, Sasuke-kun. I've changed."
He does not flinch. "So you say."
She can't believe what she is hearing. She doesn't want to believe what she is hearing. This is not the same Sasuke she grew up with – fought side-by-side with. This man in front of her is broken.
She is a medic, a damn good medic, but he is something she cannot fix.
They are silent for a long while as she looks at him. Sakura focuses on the drip, drip, drip, in the background and stares.
He stares back.
Finally: "You think I'm going to lay here and take it?"
Sasuke smiles then; a slight curve of his lips that has the hair on the back of Sakura's neck standing straight up – she has never seen him smile like that. She sees something in his eyes, and for a second, she is sure the Sasuke from before everything turned to shit – the Sasuke she loved with every fiber of her being – is gone for good.
But it leaves him faster than it came, and he's back – all brooding good looks and empty expression.
"I'm not a rapist, Sakura. I will not touch you without your consent. But you will beg for me, soon enough."
He stands and makes for the door to leave, and Sakura can't do anything but stare at his retreating, red-cloud covered back.
"Why are you doing this?" Her voice is so small and quiet, she almost doesn't recognize it. She is momentarily ashamed that she has turned into this, but she can't help it. She knows it's because of him.
It's always because of him.
It's always been him.
He pauses at the door, running his fingers over the edges of the wooden doorframe.
He doesn't look at her. "You're as empty as I am."
And he is gone.
"Do you think he's coming back?"
Naruto looks over at her, mouth full of ramen, and poses this question.
They are 15, and Sakura has missed her teammate more than anything in his absence. It's been a grueling three years to deal with by herself (she doesn't like to think of how many times she's cried herself to sleep) but she is no longer useless – no longer a burden. And while she's glad Naruto is home, she would be happier with both her boys beside her…Ichiruka feels just a little too empty, tonight.
It's a good question, though. Will Sasuke ever come back…come home?
She feels like crying, but instead she smiles. She has one of her boys, and that is more than she could have ever hoped for.
"He doesn't have anywhere else to go, does he?"
Notes2: Part of this was written months ago, and it was really shitty, so I decided re-write it. I forced most of this out in half an hour, and it's pretty unpolished and rushed towards the end, but I hope you enjoyed it, nonetheless.