Prompt: Blood, Sweat and Tears and Something More, Sasusaku Month 2017, Day 2 and Day 5
Summary: The moment when Sasuke realises just how beautiful Sakura really is.
(Set during the Chunnin Exams after the attack by the Sound genin Team.)
It was only after the entire crowd cleared from the gathering did Sasuke let himself scan Sakura up and down.
She was currently busy telling Naruto to shut up as he relentlessly pestered her on to fill him in on the things that had occurred while the hyperactive ninja had been knocked out.
Naruto was particularly incessant on knowing about Sakura’s sudden change in hair style and it irritated Sasuke to no end. She was clearly injured and yet all the idiot could think about was her hair.
The other teams had left a while back, they’d cleared off fairly quickly with the Hyuuga’s team being the first to leave and after a sharp look from Sasuke’s side the other rookie team had followed suit even though the blonde girl had been reluctant to walk away.
They were scared of him and rightly so because even Sasuke didn’t quite understand what had happened. Being ignorant was something Sasuke wasn’t used to and he’d never admit it out loud but his behaviour had scared him too.
Naruto was blissfully unaware of his predicament and Sakura….
Sakura had been scared too. He’d seen the fear in her eyes when she’d just barely managed to stop him. His sharingan had etched every detail of her expression at that time into his mind.
It had been the shock, the shock of seeing Sakura- Sakura terrified of him that had brought him back from the edge of slipping away entirely.
“Sakura where are you hurt?” Sasuke asked quietly interrupting his teammates conversation. He’d noticed how Sakura had sunk to the ground the minute the Yamanaka girl had left as if she’d been holding herself up just for show.
“Oh I’m fine Sasuke-kun!” She said brightly turning her attention from Naruto with a wide smile,“Don’t worry.”
Sasuke’s eyebrow arched up at her lie. Even though she looked marginally better than when he’d woken up that wasn’t saying much. Her hands were strategically clasped behind her back and one of her eyes had more or less swollen shut due to a large bloody cut above it. She was pale and bloody and if he looked closely he could see that Sakura was still shaking.
“Naruto go get water.” Sasuke ordered picking himself up. Sasuke wasn’t particularly steady on his feet yet and the mark on his shoulder ached sending faint pulses up his neck.
“Sasuke-kun you shouldn’t stand-”
“Sakura shut up.” His voice cut her off abruptly. He didn’t have the time or the energy to deal with Sakura’s uneeded concern for him. Right now she was the priority.
“Teme what do you think you’re doing?” Naruto got up yelling at the Uchiha,“Don’t be so rude to Sakura-chan!”
“Naruto water now.”
Something in Sasuke’s tone must have gotten through to the blonde boy because he abruptly got up with a pout on his face and marched into the forest.
Sasuke silently stalked towards their supplies. From the corner of his eye he could see Sakura struggling to get up. Her arms were now on full display, sporting multiple bloody cuts as if she’d been stabbed by a kunai.
Sasuke flinched despite himself.
He’d figured as much when he’d noticed there was blood all over his shirt which couldn’t have possibly been his considering the stellar job Sakura had done wrapping up all the wounds he’d sustained while fighting against Orochimaru.
The blood must have gotten on his shirt when she’d wrapped her arms around him.
He quickly turned around focusing on getting their medical supplies out as he felt his cheeks heat up at the memory.
His expression darkened quickly enough as he remembered his total loss of control. He was an Uchiha not some toy of a man who had his own ulterior motives. Even if the power offered to him was unbelievably tempting it meant nothing to Sasuke- nothing if he had to see that look of absolute horror in Sakura’s eyes when she’d realised just how close he’d been to truly becoming a monster.
Sakura had always smelt like her namesake, like cherry blossoms and looked at him like she was the single bright star in an otherwise moonless night.
He’d never really cared for either of those attributes until the moment she’d wrapped her arms around him, her expression terrified and desperate.
Stop, she’d begged him, Please just stop.
She had been bloody and had been shaking as she clung onto him. Her arms had anchored him back to himself but for one terrifying moment Sasuke had considered batting her away.
He’d returned to himself the very next second and he’d pushed the dark writhing power inside him as far away from himself as he possibly could.
For at that moment he’d had the choice between the power he’d always wanted, no needed for his revenge and Sakura.
He’d made the decision without even thinking because up until then he’d never truly realised just how much he’d relied on Sakura and her never changing belief in him.
“Sasuke-kun are you alright?” Sakura had managed to make her way next to him, the same forced smile plastered on her face.
Sasuke supressed the urge to snap at her. She was the one who was bloody, bruised and barely standing and yet she was concerned about him.
Why was she so goddamn annoying all the time?
Why was she trying to hide the fact that she was afraid of him?
“Sit.” He ordered.Thankfully she agreed, even if it was probably because she barely had any energy left to stand.
Sasuke followed suit and bent forward to asses the cut above her eye. He had to clean it before it got infectious.
“It’s okay Sasuke-kun.” She reached to take the cloth out of his hand but Sasuke brushed her away.
“Sakura stop being annoying.”
Her hand dropped down and he sighed.
Sasuke sometimes wished he was gentler with her but life hadn’t given him enough chances to be gentle and he’d long forgotten how.
He poured water on the clean cloth so that he could start with wiping her face. He carefully ran the cold cloth down the shallow scrapes on her cheeks to the small bloody cut at the corner of her mouth. She sat there absolutely still as he moved in a little closer to gently clean the cut above her swollen eye.
He brushed her hair out of her eyes as he continued to work. He paused after he was done his eyes flitting towards her dull choppy hair and the blood that stained it.
This was all his fault. If he’d just-
“Sasuke-kun?” Her voice brought him back and realising how he was vacantly staring at her and he pulled back immediately jostling Sakura’s leg in the process which made her cry out loudly in pain.
For some reason Sasuke felt like he’d been stabbed.
“What’s wrong?” He asked his voice tinged with the slightest trace of panic.
“My leg hurts a little.” She conceeded,“ It’s noth-”
“Where?” Sasuke demanded, his voice leaving no room for her to protest.
She stretched her leg out wincing slightly as he inspected it. Her right leg was a bloody mess that she’d purposefully covered with her long dress and the cut a few inches above her knee was worryingly deep.
She’d managed to keep quiet about it the entire time and then had the audacity to worriedly hover around him asking if he was alright.
He barely managed to restrain himself from shouting at her for being careless and just so-so goddamn stupid.
What the hell was she thinking picking a fight with ninjas clearly out of her league? She should have run away screw him and the idiot.
No she shouldn’t have run away instead she should have happily handed Sasuke over to them, after all he’d been what they had wanted. Instead she’d foolishly chosen to protect him all alone against three ninjas who were obviously far stronger than she was.
When had Sakura become so goddamn insufferable?
He forced himself to calm down, the mark on his neck was pulsating dangerously. Getting mad at Sakura would do him little good especially since he very knew it would be pointless.
After all if there was one thing that Kakashi had taught all three of them it was that loyalty to their team came first.
He forced himself to focus on the wound on her leg considering his options. He’d have to use the last of their water and cleaning it would be a painful process so it would be best to keep her distracted while he got to it.
His eyes snapped up to meet hers,“Tell me what happened when I was unconscious.”
The hesitation was clear in Sakura’s eyes and it was justified considering that even Sasuke couldn’t give her the guarantee that if she actually recounted the tale of how those bastards had hurt her that he wouldn’t go on a rampage and actually finish the job.
None the less she started recounting the events that had occurred as he began working.
“Orochimaru disappeared after he bit you. Those marks appeared near your neck and you collapsed.”
He vaguely recalled he’d held her hand as if his life had depended on it until he’d finally lost consciousness. The last thing he remembered was seeing Sakura’s worried face hovering above his and thinking that there were worse ways to die.
“I brought you and Naruto here as quickly as I could.” Sakura continued,“I set up a few traps and-”
She broke off wincing and Sasuke quickly moved his hand cursing himself for not being more careful.
“I’m sorry.” He said quietly,“Go on.”
“Naruto wasn’t hurt, I think he was just put into some sort of deep sleep. Your fever was pretty bad and your breathing was shallow. I-I thought-”
Her voice wavered but she did her best to hide it as she continued,“The sound genin attacked at dawn. Thankfully Lee-san appeared and…..”
His grip on the cloth tightened as she recounted in detail how brave Rock Lee had been while defending her even if he had been defeated in the end. When he heard her say that seeing Lee stand up for her had inspired her to fight the mark on his neck flared dangerously and he had to focus all his energy on it so that he didn’t lose control.
“….. but I got caught in the end and the only way I could escape was to cut my hair. That’s why it looks like such a mess.You probably don’t like it- Ino told me you like girls with long hair but it was the only thing I could think of. I’m sure if you’d been there you’d have easily defeated them Sasuke-kun. I’m sorry that in the end I was still pretty much useless and I wasn’t-”
“Sakura.” He cut her rambling off. He finished tying the cleanest cloth he could find around her leg before looking up at her. She stared back at him absolutely still.
“You did well Sakura.”
Her eyes widened.
“I did?” Her voice was small but the desperation in it was clear. She needed this, needed to be told that she hadn’t been useless, that she hadn’t just been a burden to them.
Sasuke let the smallest of smiles on his face, “Aa.”
For a moment they stayed like that, staring at each other, unbreakable onyx against glassy jade.
And before he could stop it Sakura had already leapt forward wrapping her arms around his neck and burying her face into his shoulder.
“I was so scared!” She sobbed,“I thought you were going to die. That I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I was so scared that I’d lose you to that monster. I was so so scared Sasuke-kun!”
She wailed hiccuping and clutching onto Sasuke as tightly as she could and all he could do was stare down at her pale pink hair with his back against the wall.
It was only then, at that moment did Sasuke realise that she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid of losing him.
Despite everything, despite the monster he’d become she was still just scaredfor him, not of him.
For the first time in a very long time did Sasuke uncharacteristically find himself wanting to return her affections.
To convince her that he was worth the unwavering belief she had in him.
He raised his hands to hold her closer, to tell her it was alright and that she’d saved him, perhaps for the hundredth time in a way that nobody else could, but the image of those very hands mercilessly breaking the sound genin’ s arms flashed through Sasuke’s head and he quickly dropped them to his sides.
Sakura may not have been scared of him but he was plenty scared of himself. He couldn’t afford to lose control especially not when there was a chance he’d hurt Sakura.
He could barely stand seeing Sakura bleeding and the thought of having her blood on his hands was absolutely revolting as it was unthinkable.
He would never hurt Sakura.
He would never let her get hurt, not if he could help it.
He was well aware that he cared for Sakura in a way he thought he’d never be able to after the massacre.
Because somehow stubborn, annoying Sakura had inevitably become a part of him that made him something more than just an avenger.
If he ever hurt her, if he ever raised his hand to injure her, it’s the day he would know without a shred of doubt that there was absolutely nothing left for him except his revenge and his hatred.
When Sakura finally pulled back from him she gave him a wide smile, her eyes still glassy.
“Thank you Sasuke-kun.” She whispered softly.
Her usually shiny long pink hair hung limply in a choppy mess lined with sweat and dirt. Her clothes were bloody and one of her eyes was bruised and almost completely swollen shut. Tear tracks ran down her cheeks which was littered with various scratches.
Sakura was a mess.
A mess of blood, sweat and tears.
And yet it was at that moment Sasuke realised for the first time just how beautiful Sakura really was.