To catch a star, to fall for one
Day 13: lucid dream, follows the Kimono prompt. In which Hinata does too much and Sasuke gets angry.
Summer fades into fall. Hinata’s health wanes with the coming rains.
She feels sluggish. Heavy as the water that pounds against her window pane. She doesn’t want to move. Her headaches are getting worse and she’s been too petrified after her first failed attempt to experiment anymore.
Her resolve is weak, but still she pushes herself to get up and go to her new job at the local apothecary. She slides out from under the many blankets she’s piled on, and slips on her bunny slippers to avoid the chilled wooden floor.
She dresses quickly into an oversized gray sweater, some drab long pants, and winces at her reflection in the mirror. Her cheeks are still sallow, her eyes ringed by prominent dark circles, her is lank and unkempt…her clothes hang off her more so than usual.
She hopes no one notices.
“Are you alright, sweetheart? Do you need a moment to rest?” Asks Koto-San. She is Hinata’s current employer. An old, kindly apothecary who had needed an extra hand after her grandson had gone off to university in Kumogakure.
Hinata looks up for a moment from wrapping up the next parcel of herbs, shakes her head with a polite smile, and continues to work.
Koto-San admires the girl’s work ethic. She really does. Hinata is the opposite of everything she’d come to expect from a Hyuuga. The girl is humble, sweet, and skilled with herbal remedies. Hinata still holds her head with a certain manner of well bred elegance that would have left Koto-San envious had she been a few decades younger.
As it is, Koto-san has merely grown to love the girl for all her kindness, and she worries as she sees her grow thinner, more tired with the passing month.
Her smiles are still broad. Her warm interactions with customers still draw in more regulars, like moths to a bright little flame. Never hesitating…save for today it seems.
A particularly beautiful young man with dark hair and eyes enters the small shop. The top of his head nearly brushes the hanging potted herbs, and Koto-san finds his stoicism a bit daunting.
At least until Hinata returns from the storeroom, muttering recipes to herself.
The change is instant. The young man’s eyes widen, his cheeks flush for an instant, before he brings his hand to his face and looks away.
Koto-san is filled with amusement. The boy recognizes her lovely employee and seems to find himself in the throes of some sort of attraction.
“Hinata dear, we have a customer. Could you please attend to his order?” Koto-san announces with cheer, before making herself scarce in the back room.
“Of course, Koto-San! Hello sir, how may I he…oh crap…” Hinata stops once she looks at who exactly is the new customer. The packets in her hand fall to the floor with dull thuds as her cheeks flush with a long absent red.
“Hyuuga.” Sasuke says quietly, amusement at war with every bit of awkwardness the situation could merit. He’s long since dropped his hand from his face, seeing as his reaction couldn’t have been any worse than hers.
Her jaw seems to be working to say something, but all that comes out is series of petite coughs that remind him of when he had accused her of seeking out erotica in the library.
“U-Uchiha-San….how may I help you?” She gathers herself, pulling her flaming face into the best sort of politeness she can muster up at the moment.
She hadn’t seen him since the night of the festival. The last week of August. It was now early October.
Still, Sasuke seems to be feeling magnanimous, because he merely shrugs and tells her his order. He points out the various herbs on the shelves just to make it easier as well. It doesn’t escape her notice that he’s moving his arm stiffly, and she can see a clean, white bandage peeking out from under his long sleeve.
“You’re hurt? What happened?” She says worriedly, as she wraps up the last few packages for him.
He seems surprised by her inquiry, and then smiles with fondness at the familiarity of her concern.
“I was distracted. Stupid mistake.”
She frowns. He’s being evasive, and she knows this distance between them will only grow unless she addresses what happened. His absence from her life has left more of a gaping hole than she’d realized. She’d stored away the moonstone bracelet in her nightstand, fearing that wearing it may give the wrong kind of signal.
She isn’t used to this at all. She is unsure how to proceed. At the same time, it hurts not to have him in her life..however infrequently their paths crossed.
“Sasuke…I…” she begins quietly…too quietly.
“You’ve been avoiding me.” He interrupts without meaning too, and then gestures at her to continue.
“I…” she wants to deny the accusation, but she’d be lying and she doesn’t want to be false with him. They’d been so open with each other for the most part…he’s a piece of her world now. He shares her burden of Neji’s secret…she can’t lie. “I did…but I didn’t want to…I’m just not good with this.”
She gestures sheepishly in between herself and him, and looks down at the discarded pieces of white wrapping paper.
“I had no expectations Hinata…I have none. Things can stay the same…if that’s what you want.”
She feels the tears gathering at the corners of her eyes. The watery sunlight seeping in from behind gray clouds makes everything feel silvery and dreamlike. She feels warm. Too warm.
But she’s grateful. Her smile is big and genuine as she nods her head.
His answering smile, a nice one that reaches all the way up into his pretty eyes, is the last thing she sees before she collapses.
She drifts in between the stars, her hair trailing past her in the dead air of space.
Her eyes burn against the brightness of it all, the multi-hued totality of the galaxies are mesmerizing…especially when the stars begin to fall and shoot past her.
They’re beautiful, molten silver streaking like white hot ribbons. when she reaches out to touch one, they burn her fingers. It hurts too much, pain shooting all the way up her arm and searing into her head.
She opens her mouth in a silent scream, but then a blessedly cool hand presses against her lips, trails up alongside her temple and forehead leaving relief and peace in its wake.
She tries to look past the stars in her eyes, to thank her savior, but she can only make out a silhouette.
The stars keep raining, but this person cradles her cheek in one hand and holds a familiar, battered umbrella over them both with the other hand.
The stars bounce off of it with bell like sounds, and she swears she can hear this person say-
“I love you. So wake up, stupid.”
She leans her head against the solid support of their embrace, and doesn’t protest when they kiss her forehead. This is only a dream after all.
She says vaguely to herself and them-
“I think I could fall for you.”
She looks so tired, frail. She’s shattering here on his couch, and he can’t help her. He can only help keep her cool. He could have asked Sakura, but something tells him this illness has everything to do with Hinata’s exhaustion from the past few months.
She seems to be settling from her initial fever dreams, mumbling incoherent things until she speaks with some clarity.
“I think I could fall for you.”
He has to take in a sharp breath when she utters those words.
An unwanted hope spears through him, fills his lungs until he feels he might go insane with want and dreams and he can’t let himself feel this. He’d had no expectations.
He’d had no expectations for forgiveness when he first came. Had had no expectations for reparations to be made or for his family name to be expunged…he’d merely counted himself lucky to be able to help Naruto change this world into one where no more children like him would be raised…no children alone or fearful of the future.
He’d only expected to rebuild this little home of his in the Ghostly Uchiha district. Only expected to live with the remnants of his mother’s garden and the sparse few belonging sItachi had left behind.
He had been content to be nothing but a solid stone, forever watching the currents of life eek past him.
And then she had shot into his life like a falling star, wide moon eyes pulling him closer until he caught her in his waiting arms.
Her words make his heart beat fast, but it quickly sinks back down to the pit his of stomach when he wipes away the sweat gathering on her forehead with a damp towel.
He sweeps back her long bangs to reveal a horrifying green cross, surrounded by a flowering reddish bruise that is hot to the touch.
He curses loudly and Hinata’s eyes open at that. She looks at him through a fog, a worried expression furrowing her brow as she reaches up with clammy hands to wipe away the tears gathering in his eyes.
“Don’t be sad.”
He grits his teeth, his jaw tensing with barely restrained fury and a tenderness that’s nearly unbearable as she worries for him.
“Who did this?” He says quietly, brushing trembling fingers against her forehead.
She winces, and closes her eyes. She is silent for a long while, before she looks at him again.
“I did.” She whispers, and she has the gall to look at him with broken pride.
He inhales sharply, and leans down to press his cool forehead against hers.
“You’re so stupid.”
She laughs bitterly.
He wants to say more, but he can’t. He’d promised that things would stay the same. This is as much as he will do.
He pulls away, relieved that she’s awake. Furious that she would try and experiment with the seal on herself.
She seems to be drifting off into sleep again, too exhausted and hurt to do much else.
Before she does, he makes sure to tell her-
“The next time you need a guinea pig for this, use me.”
He thinks she’d protest quite loudly if she wasn’t ill, but as it is, she merely hums an inconclusive response. But he will make sure that means agreement once she’s well again.