The hand removed itself from over her mouth. Their faces were close now.
“SA-KU-RA!” It was louder than before. If they got any closer they’d see her for sure.
Their voices broke the dream-like state she was in. The young man next to her furrowed his brow and looked sharply in the direction of the calls.
Sakura stared at his profile now, at a loss of words.
Could it be?
“Come with me,” the young man said decisively. He helped her up by the shoulders and moved them out of the moonlight. He found a tree nearby that could hide both of them. Sakura speechlessly allowed herself to be hidden. One arm was around her protectively as he watched the ANBU nins walk closer to where they had just moments ago been.
If I scream now they’ll hear me.
Sakura opened her mouth ready to scream, but nothing came out. She had hesitated.
“Over here! Look at this.” cried the ANBU nin to the ANBU captain.
“Her mask...” said the ANBU captain solemnly. He slowly knelt down to pick it up.
The ANBU shinobi shared a moment of silence as they hung their heads for a prayer.
One ANBU cleared his throat and began quietly, “We better report this to Hokage-sama. She won’t be pleased.”
I’m not dead yet! I can go back to Konoha. Just one scream- they’ll hear me. Just one.
Sakura opened her mouth again.
“Next time we’ll be prepared. We didn’t know his Sharingan could still work so well in the dark.”
Sakura felt like someone knocked the breath out of her body. Her mouth closed and she felt the pressure of her heart thumping hard. She looked at the chest of the man she was pressed against. Then she squinted her eyes, trying to get a better look at his serious face.
Sharingan. So it wasn’t just my imagination...
“Alright, let’s go bring the bodies of the others—“the ANBU tripped over something in the dark.
“Hey, what’s this!?” he exclaimed as he reached into his back pocket for a flashlight.
“God,” said the other as they shone the light on another unconscious comrade. Sakura realized she had entirely forgotten about her unconscious teammate.
“Okay, let’s gather the three other bodies and bring them back home. Their families deserve some closure,” the captain said.
“What about Sakura?”
“We’ll send the hunter nins to look for her body later. It’s too dangerous for us now in this weather and darkness. Let’s hurry.”
“Yes, sir,” said the other ANBU as he dragged his comrade’s arm over his shoulder and carried him.
The two ninjas nodded at each other and disappeared into the forest.
After a few moments, Sakura felt the body of the young man shift. He let her go and she stood up, now facing him. He had a good few inches over her in height, not like when they were kids.
“You didn’t scream.” His voice was still flat, but it was gentler than she remembered it.
“I wanted to...but I couldn’t...” Sakura whispered. For some reason she felt tears starting to swell up in her eyes again.
She sniffed and her fingers brushed away the tears.
The young man hesitated. “Stop crying.”
“I’m sorry,” she sobbed harder, “Sasuke...”
He sighed, “Come on.” He led her by the arm, “They might have planted a bomb in my house so we can’t go back there. It’ll probably explode sometime tonight.”
As they walked, the only noise that broke the silence was the numbing sound of leaves crunching under their feet. The rain had lightened up even more, but their clothes were already soaked through.
After what seemed like a mile walk, they eventually reached a cabin of sorts. The moonlight was weak so Sakura couldn’t see. Sasuke turned the knob on the door, which wasn’t locked. Sakura followed.
He reached over to the upper right and removed something from its hook. A few squeaking hinge noises later, he told Sakura to stand back.
He lit the candle with a jutsu and hung the lantern back on its hook.
Sakura looked around at the surroundings. It was a modest place to say the least. There was wooden table that looked like it was on its last legs, some straw on the ground, and a fireplace, which Sasuke proceeded to light as well.
She stood uncomfortably idle as he knelt down to the floor and pulled up a latch. In a hole in the ground were a few blankets and pillows that he tossed out.
“You can change out of those wet clothes if you want.” He only glanced at her as he said those words, throwing her one of the many blankets. Then he looked away and busied himself setting up their sleeping area.
Sakura caught it. She noticed a few things now. Sasuke wasn’t wearing much- just a long sleeved shirt and some sweats with a holster for kunai. He probably slept with his weapons and getting ready to go to sleep when the attack began. She, on the other hand, was still ridiculously overdressed in the ANBU uniform.
She hugged the blankets he had thrown her way. They felt thick and soft. She could imagine them being warm.
Sakura blushed slightly as she began removing her peripheral ANBU armor and setting it on the rickety table. When she got to the actual clothing portion, she hesitated.
She looked at Sasuke, who had his back turned to her the entire time, still fussing with the bedding.
She was about to open her mouth to say something, but he beat her to it, “Go ahead, I’m not going to look.”
Sakura swallowed and removed the rest of her soaked clothing. Then she hurriedly tied the blanket tightly under her arms.
“Okay...” she said softly, tucking her hair around her ear nervously. She sat on the edge of the bench of the table, carefully making sure the blanket covered her legs.
Sasuke started removing his clothes, too, with his back turned to her. He was quick, tossing the garments to the side.
He’s definitely not as shy as I am... Sakura noted. She caught herself staring and then turned her head away hurriedly.
He left his boxers on and threw a blanket over his shoulders. He finished setting up the blankets and pillows next to the fire.
Sasuke sat on his mat with his knees up and hands supporting his body behind his back, and studied Sakura on the bench for a moment.
”You going to sleep? It’s late, and you have a big day tomorrow.”
Sakura drew a blank. “What am I doing tomorrow?”
“Uh, okay.” Sakura stood up carefully, again making sure nothing that was covering her accidentally opened or slipped. She shuffled slowly to the empty space next to Sasuke’s, which was closer to the fire.
He started snuggling into the covers. He moved onto his side, his face facing Sakura’s mat and the fire, and closed his eyes before she sat down.
Sakura, with one hand over her chest and one on her lower stomach, knelt down and tried to nudge herself into the covers as best she could.
She turned herself to face Sasuke, really studying him for the first time. There were features she recognized- the shape of the eyes, the way his hair fell, and his stern mouth. But his cheeks were thinner now, his jaw more pronounced. His voice was a deeper, but not by much. It still had that crazy ring to it. It was a voice that sat on border of sanity- and drove her to the border of sanity as well.
She found herself wanting to trace the lines on his face.
“Sasuke-kun!!! It’s not an illusion this time, is it?” An image of young Sasuke’s body penetrated by Haku’s flying needles overtook her mind. She remembered the pain of the loss. It had felt like her stomach had been ripped out and thrown against the ground.
Sakura shook the memory out of her head. No, this wasn’t that Sasuke. This Sasuke, she reminded herself, was the S-class criminal. A man who could murder and pillage without a conscience. Suddenly Sakura felt she ought to be more careful.
What am I doing with him?
Sakura turned on her back and stared at the ceiling. She tried to summon more fear about her current situation, but couldn’t. Truth was, if he had wanted to kill her, he would have done so already.
After all these years, she still trusted him.
“Sasuke,” she said, “are you sleeping?”
His eyes remained closed, “What is it?”
“If you want to reminisce about old times, I’m not playing that game.”
She turned on her side again to face him.
“I...” It was easier to say when his eyes couldn’t see her.
“I missed you.” Sakura looked away.
It was an earnest statement, and it caught Sasuke off-guard. He opened his eyes and saw her averted gaze.
He appeared confused, "Why?"
Sakura looked at him again, the fire crackling and creating dancing shadows on his face.
"I don't know." She smiled. She realized then she hadn't smiled in a long time, "I guess I'm kind of foolish." Sakura turned around to face the ceiling again and laughed as she raised her right arm to rubbed her forehead. Her own laughter sounded strange against the crackling fire and soft rain falling on the roof. She cupped her own cheek.
"You should try harder to forget about me," Sasuke said firmly, not moving from his original position.
"Did you forget about me?" she asked softly.
Hmm...maybe that was too much.
"I guess a strong shinobi like you cannot let emotions get in the way, right?" She gave him a sideways glance.
"Right," he replied. Only this time he didn't sound so sure of himself. Sasuke shifted uncomfortably. He closed his eyes again.
After some time, Sakura's voice penetrated the silence again.
"Will I ever see you again, Sasuke?"
"..."I can't exactly go back to Konoha."
Sakura looked desperately at him, her face was filled with empathy and wonder. She shook her head in disbelief.
She hesitated, but eventually whispered, "Sasuke...what...what have you done?"
He opened his eyes slowly. They looked tired, like they've seen too much, and made his face seem older than it was.
"You don't want to know."
Sakura leaned in closer to him and reached for his shoulder, curiosity getting the better of her. "I do..."
Sasuke grew angry and tossed her hand away. He turned around so his back faced her.
"We live in different worlds, Sakura, so stop pretending that you know anything about me."
"But I want—"
Her hand was on his upper arm again.
Sasuke grew impatient, threw off the covers, and sat up suddenly.
"You really want to know? Okay here it is. Once a businessman that hired me for an assassination mission couldn't pay fee once the job was done. I thought he was lying so do you know what I did? I tied him to a tree with chakra strings and slowly and painfully made the chakra strings constrict his body."
Sakura sat up and her eyes grew wide with disbelief and horror as Sasuke continued maliciously, "He was begging for mercy which annoyed me so I gagged him and broke both his legs. I could see the blood starting to ooze out of the lines I carved on his body. He was crying, but I kept going. I threatened to kill his family if he didn't pay. I told him I'd slowly slice up their bodies one by one, piece by piece, until they died. He looked so pathetic it made me laugh. At that point I figured, heck, might as well end it now so I---"
"STOP, STOP, STOP!" Sakura screamed as she covered her ears. She sobbed, turned away from him and said, more softly, "Stop..."
Sasuke's voice dropped as he sat looking at her screwed up face.
Realizing that was probably too harsh, he softened slightly. For a minute or so he searched for the right thing to say.
"Look," he said, awkwardly putting both hands on her shoulders.
"I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean to..."
No response, but Sakura dropped her hands from her ears.
"Well...it's better for both of us if you hate me."
"Sakura," he began uncomfortably, "aren't there any other boys in Konoha that you've felt something for? Don't tell me all these years..."
Sakura wiped her face. Her eyes were puffy and her nose was red when she lifted her head up but refused to look at him. She was resting one elbow on her knee, biting a fingernail. Sasuke noted that she looked utterly miserable.
He let go of her and smiled slightly, "you're a real mess, you know?"
Sakura sniffed and sighed. She seemed annoyed at her own emotional fragility and somewhat determined to regain her composure.
Sasuke took this as a good sign and said, "Let's get some sleep, okay? I'm tired, and you must be too."
He learned back down and covered himself with the blankets again, lying on his back.
Sakura sat for awhile longer, staring at the hypnotic shapes in the fire. Seven years, and now he just wanted to sleep? There were so many things she had to ask him.
Sakura yawned, her eyelids felt heavy. The warmth of the fire was starting to burn against her face.
She broke the settling silence, "Sasuke- the fire is too hot."
"Come over to my other side," he muttered.
Sakura moved her mat, pillow, and blankets to the other side of Sasuke and arranged them properly. She also gave the blanket covering her body a healthy tug.
She crept in between the sheets, back towards him. She shivered.
Damn, bad decision. Who knew it would be that big a difference?
She curled up slightly. "Now I'm cold," she whispered.
Sasuke, who was tired of talking, sighed and rolled on his side towards her and slung an arm around her waist. She could feel the warmth of his chest on her back, his nose and breath against her neck. Her pulse quickened for a few minutes, but soon she felt overcome with exhaustion. The events of the day had indeed worn her out and the makeshift bed was surprisingly comfortable. Sakura laced her fingers over his and drew his left arm tighter around her.
Who knew what would happen tomorrow, but today- right now- things felt right.
A/N: just barfed it out in 1 day, it kind of took a life of its own. Wanted to make LeeSaku a bigger deal but couldn't. Wanted to make Sakura hate Sasuke but couldn't.
Hope this fic wasn't angsty or OOC. Maybe I made Sasuke too nice- but I like to think he's a different person around Sakura. Sorry I have no sense for chapter divisions.
I didn't want to make Sakura jounin (let's be realistic) so she's a chuunin. Let's all assume chuunins can be medically trained.
Sorry to all Kakashi fans! I killed him off! I love Kakashi myself but I think he would be problematic in this fic.
I can't write battle scenes- lo siento.
hahaha!!!! it looks like i made sasuke tooo soft!!!!
Although i'm not into reading fanfiction I thought i would try yours since it's here ^-^- well done its well written, especially for your age ^-^.
Im sure fans of the couple really love it!
Old CR lover! Alive as of 31/07/16
First off, there is no need to make another thread for the second part. You can just use your other thread. And second, I'm not sure if we are going to allow people to post fanfictions on the site since there is no section for it.
Probably working my ass off