ninjaprocrastinator10  asked:

Love your work! How about.......17 😏sasusaku if you can! Thank you!

Title: Set the New Year on Fire

Rating: Teen

Pairing: SasuSaku

Notes: Okay, I’m not gonna lie. I had a hell of a time with this one, and I had to rewrite it entirely. But I really want to thank you @ninjaprocrastinator10 because I ended up really liking the final product, and it’s not something I would have thought to do without this prompt. That said, I somehow ended up writing a canonverse fic, which is not AU at all?? Sorry about that. >.> I really hope you enjoy this piece anyway!

Kiba’s sister taught him how to make a few fancy drinks, and now he thinks he’s a bartender. Half of the rookies are drunk on some flaming cocktail with a ridiculous name, and Sasuke has had one too many to muster an appropriate level of disdain.

Besides, he’s a little distracted, because Sakura keeps stealing glances at him. Sasuke can feel her looking, but every time he tries to catch her at it, she’s already turned away.

Next Sunday, he’s setting out to do some good in the world, to seek absolution he probably doesn’t deserve.

Sasuke is leaving the village in a week, and Sakura hasn’t spoken to him since he shared this news. She wants him to stay, but she’s too selfless to say as much. So now they’re dancing around one another, not-talking their way through their last days together.

He nudges Naruto with his elbow. “Is Sakura mad at me?”

Naruto laughs so loudly that Ino turns around to look at him, as if he just heard the most hilarious joke. Sasuke is certain that he didn’t say anything funny.

“How many of those did you drink?” Sasuke asks. He can feel a frown pulling at his mouth, but he doesn’t mind. Naruto deserves judgement for getting so plastered (not that he’ll feel it in the morning, with his jinchuuriki constitution).

“No more than you!” Naruto says. “And of course she’s not mad. Sakura-chan gets it, yanno? She understands that this is something you’ve gotta do, but—”

“But what?” Sasuke asks.

Naruto shrugs, like the answer is the most obvious thing in the world. “She just doesn’t want to be left behind again.”

Everyone is wasted, too loud and too tactile, so Sasuke hides in Kiba’s room, nursing his third awful cocktail. Maybe if he drinks enough, he won’t notice all the boisterous people around him.

The floor of Kiba’s room smells exactly like Sasuke expected it to: wet dog and unwashed clothes. Not exactly pleasant, but it’s better than braving the living room full of strangers who should’ve been his friends.

He covers his face with his (only) hand and tries not to think of Itachi’s kaleidoscope eyes. The impossible red of his mother’s blood on a katana blade. Shadows that follow and envelop and smother Sasuke, until he’s drowning in darkness—

“You okay?”

It’s Sakura. She stands in the doorway, light from the hall spilling around her, soft and golden.

“Yeah,” Sasuke says. “M’fine.”

Sasuke hasn’t been fine for so long that he isn’t sure he remembers what it feels like, but the answer to that question has become too routine to change.

Sakura doesn’t push for an honest answer. Instead, she walks into Kiba’s room–taking careful, deliberate steps, as if it’s demanding all of her focus not to stumble.

“Are you drunk?” he asks.

She settles next to him on the floor, close enough that he can feel the warmth of her body. “We’re all drunk,” she mumbles.

Sasuke isn’t. At least, not drunk enough to forget that Sakura still wants him, still loves him. She said as much the day that he and Naruto battled, and he was such a coward that he met her truth with lies.

Sasuke doesn’t feel so cowardly now. “This won’t be like last time,” he says.

He hopes that she knows what he means.

Sakura must understand, because she whispers, “It just hurts, Sasuke-kun. After all this time, I thought I finally had you back. And now you’re leaving all over again.”

She makes a quiet, choked sound, and Sasuke wishes he hadn’t said anything. He hates making her cry, and he’s done it so many times. “I’m sorry—”

Sakura grabs at his loose left sleeve—a bit too roughly, and the fabric pulls at the tender skin of his stump. She shakes her head, the movement so vehement and exaggerated that Sasuke almost smiles.

“Don’t say you’re sorry. Not for this. You should go if that’s… if you need to leave, you should go,” Sakura says. She’s rambling, her clear voice muddled by drink, tripping over her words. “I’ll be all right. Last time, when you left me—left us—it felt like I was falling apart. Like you took a piece of me with you, something I really needed, and without it, I couldn’t…”

Sakura trails off. Maybe she lost the rest of her thought; or maybe she just doesn’t want to share it with him.

“But I was okay,” Sakura finally says. “And I’ll be okay when you leave again.”

I love you, Sasuke thinks.

He isn’t able to say it, though, and that’s exactly why he needs to go. Because he isn’t the man Itachi wanted him to be; he isn’t the man that Sakura deserves. Not yet.

Sasuke has to help heal the world that he damaged with all his wrong choices. And maybe, if he works hard enough, he can start to heal too.

He pulls Sakura closer, kisses the top of her head, and breathes in the sweet scent of her hair. Sasuke loves her, and when he’s ready to come home, he’ll tell her so.