prompt: ssmonth17, day 26- hawkmail
summary: between the woods and frozen lake.
notes: enjoy <3
the first letter came on a dead summer’s morning, as day broke on her windowsill. a brown hawk tapped dutifully at the glass; she had half a mind to toss a lamp at anything that disturbed her after a four-hour sleep just two hours before her shift at the hospital started. days were long amid these times of reconstruction. sakura hardly saw her boys, as everyone was tied up in the ins and outs of daily bureaucracy. naruto found himself day in and day out, stamping through mind-numbing policy right along kakashi-sensei, or rather, the rokudaime. sai sporadically would join her for quiet dinners, cups of tea. peace was a headache, though one she was grateful for, every day.
the bird sat in quiet nobility, awaiting his recipient to pull her lazy joints into place and draw herself from the bed. frowning deeply, she rubbed her eyes, and pulled back the window to greet the hawk. “ohayo,” she grumbled, pulling a slip of paper from the bird’s carrier fold. before she could spare any possible thanks, two great wings flapped and swept the messenger off into the morning breeze. sakura clicked her tongue at the abrasive nature of it all, muttering things about a glorified pigeon under her breath.
a jolt of partial surprise sent a wave of currents through her stomach, she leaned against the frame of her window. it wasn’t unheard of for sasuke to contact his teammates in the year he had been gone. regular reports to kakashi were expected, and the occasional notification of general health to naruto or herself was a courtesy. hell, he had even sent her rare teacakes from waterfall for her birthday. still, something about her name scrawled out in his neat pen made her palms sweat. she tore at the wax seal, a little too hastily, and tried not to devour its contents too quickly.
i received the medicinal pack you sent at the start of the season. It was addressed from the three of you, though I figured I’d thank the source.
so, thank you.
a heavy sigh fell from her lips at the close of the letter. she had forgotten about the package. the areas up north had been suffering large bouts of typhoid fever this season. worrying was her natural state, as her father always said. but boys as strong as sasuke were not impervious to illness; it was a preventative measure more than anything else. albeit, any form of contact with him these days, even if one-sided, comforted the small part within her that imagined his fingers against her forehead some nights; a gesture she told herself time and time again was platonic affection.
going about her morning ritual, she washed the anxiety from her brow, wiped the steam from the mirror, and took a look at herself. it wasn’t often they contacted himself outside the bounds of village matter, and even less often they heard back from him outside of necessity. sakura stared deep into her own expression, the slight glow of her eyes, the trace of an absent smile that she told herself wasn’t giddiness.
her letter would reach him at his next expected stop in Yuki. She kept it direct and succinct, as she figured he might appreciate.
i’m glad the pack reached you in time. by the time this gets to you, you’ll be in snow country. lucky duck. the snow was always my favorite. stay warm. protect your fingers and toes, please. frostbite is truly pesky. i’m sure you remember the time naruto almost lost a toe. what a mess.
wishing you warmth,
it was about two weeks before sakura came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t respond. the disappointment was absent, just enough to give a small sigh each morning she opened the window, half wishing that damned hawk was plucking her out of her sleep. she was glad she hadn’t caved and mentioned it to naruto, or even ino for that matter. her self-pity party would be a small, private affair, candlelit, and accompanied by small doses of chocolate after she got off her shift. icha icha paradise is on at eight tonight, she noted absently one evening, kicking her shoes off by the door.
the incessant pecking started up at 8:17, just as the icha icha male lead and some nameless woman from a party climbed into bed. sakura threw the blanket off and clumsily threw the window open. the hawk looked up at her, blinking patiently, probably ready to set off on his next task. sakura sighed at the sight of the bird, reaching for his carrier fold, “we cannot keep meeting like this.” like clockwork, the creature gusted off into the night just as she retrieved the letter. settling back on the sofa, icha icha murmuring softly on the television, sakura traced her hands over her name in neat pen, a small smile tugging at her cheeks.
medical facilities are far with few in between here, the pack has been useful. as for the frostbite, i have five fewer fingers to worry about than he did. i’ll manage.
their correspondence was light and sporadic, like rains shifting up and down the plains. they talked about the weather, about the people and things he saw. sakura did her best to keep him up to date with things she decided he should know about: the budding-something between naruto and hinata, the number of babies she delivered that week (only if it was that impressive), or how many times she had to snatch icha icha out from behind a document kakashi swore he was reading. on his birthday, she sent him an oxblood scarf she had knit herself (and secretly wondered if he smelled it when he opened the box just as she would have done if roles were reversed). letters flew in and out, far into the year. it was late that autumn when the first invitation came.
my time in snow country is coming to a close for now. the locals say we’re expecting the first real snow of the season next week. come see it.
Well, she did need a day off.