18. waking up with amnesia AU
That’s how long he’s been sitting in this frigid ICU waiting room, how long since his life changed drastically within the span of a few moments. He has not moved from this chair, not for sleep and not for sustenance. He just stares and stares and stares at the blank wall with nothing inside of him but a self-loathing so great it trumps any charges the police could throw at him.
His joints are stiff and aching, but it’s nothing compared to what he’s done, the suffering he’s inflicted on someone who didn’t deserve it. He’s the one who deserves to be lying on that bed in here, smashed into near a thousand pieces and hooked up to machines.
When he can take no more of the walls closing in around him, silently accusing him as they loom ever closer, he drops his head into his hands. His hands clench in his dark hair, as though by ripping himself apart he could make all of this go away.
It’s been four days since Sasuke hit a girl while driving drunk.
She doesn’t wake for another two days, and Sasuke has not been allowed in to see her. He doesn’t know if he could move even if he wanted to; the crushing weight of his guilt roots him to this chair until it runs as poison in his blood.
They identify her from the driver’s license in her purse, whose contents had been scattered across the sidewalk as he’d emerged stumbling from his totalled vehicle. Her name is Haruno Sakura, and as the hospital has been unable to locate her family, she has lain broken and alone in that room for the past six days.
It is a sad truth that money buys freedom from punishment, and so the only reason that Uchiha Sasuke is allowed to maintain his silent vigil in the waiting room is because his parents paid for his bail. No amount of cajoling from his family or nurses will convince him to leave, and they have finally resigned themselves to his constant, brooding presence.
She wakes in the small hours of the morning, crying out in pain. Sasuke is aware of none of this, only holding fast to the blurry memory of her white face as they strapped her to the gurney a week ago. They don’t tell him until late in the afternoon, perhaps as a form of punishment.
If the news that she is awake and alive brings him some measure of relief, the cost that follows breaks him.
She retains some memories of her childhood, of faces that she can somewhat recall, but the last few years of her life have been wiped away, leaving her with a blank slate and no one to fill it in.
Sasuke finally, after seven days, is forced from his chair as he voids what little contents are in his stomach into the nearest trash can. The knowledge that he has stolen her life as effectively as if he’d killed her slams into him, doubling him over and robbing his breath.
He might as well be a murderer.
Perhaps the staff at last take pity on him, seeing his remorse and the frenzied guilt in his eyes, because they allow him to see her that afternoon. Fifteen minutes and no more, they warn him.
It’s just as well, because Sasuke doesn’t know if he can live with himself for that long.
He enters the spacious ICU room, where the sun’s warm afternoon rays shine in cheerily from the large windows that open up to a beautiful view of the hospital’s landscaped grounds.
Her eyes are closed, and her head wrapped in bandages, but pale pink hair fans out around her on the pillow. She is covered in casts and bandages, her broken legs elevated.
Sasuke nearly runs out of the room right there.
But he doesn’t, because he owes this girl, Sakura, every waking moment of his life trying to make it up to her and paying for his profound stupidity.
He moves to stand beside her and her eyes flutter open. They are the green of fresh spring grass. Despite how sore her face must be, she smiles, and Sasuke feels his heart stop.
"Oh, are you my boyfriend?" she croaks in a raspy voice.
She misinterprets the stricken look on his face. “I’ll be okay, you know. It’s worse than it looks. But my head is sort of hazy and I can’t remember your name, I’m so sorry. I feel terrible.”
Her sheepish grin makes him feel even worse, if that’s possible.
He clears his throat, his voice heavy from disuse. “Sasu-I’m Sasuke. I’m sorry, but I’m not…”
Her face falls as his voice trails off, but she perks up again a moment later. “Oh, no, it’s me that’s sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed—well, anyway, it’s nice to meet you Sasuke-kun. Or meet you again, I suppose-”
"I did this to you," he cuts her off, the guilt inside his chest screaming. He doesn’t deserve her friendliness and he doesn’t know how she can be so upbeat in the face of the monster standing in front of her. She deserves to know what he is.
Sakura looks at him, confused. “You did what to me?”
“This,” he gestures toward her broken body, “all of this. I did this.”
His voice breaks, and the wetness on his cheeks tells him that he is crying. He collapses into the chair next to her bed and buries his head in his hands, trying not to scream. A cool touch on his forearm jerks his gaze back to her.
"It’s okay," she whispers with a sad smile.
But it’s not okay, it will never be okay. She should be the one crying, not him. She shouldn’t be the one comforting him, not when she’s the one damaged maybe beyond repair and he is the monster. Hers is a soul too beautiful for this world.
She takes his cold hand in hers and squeezes, and the broken pieces inside him start to shift.
"Will you stay with me for a while?" she asks, and there is nothing in him that can refuse her.
He nods, squeezing her hand back gently. “For as long as you want me here.”
And when she smiles, it’s brighter than the sun.