prompt: ssmonth day 23, it was always you.
summary: innumerable heart of the wind / fluttering over our silence of love. -pablo neruda
note: i missed writing for you all. ssmonth is like christmas. ❀
she’s different now, and he can’t help noticing. were he less prudent, he might have asked the dobe just what it was that made her scurry off to work each time he came around, or why it was she could look him in his stupid face but never at sasuke. he wonders if he wears it on his face each time, the seed of disappointment that digs deeper and deeper into his gut. “she needs time,” kakashi spoke to him one day, his nose deep in the pages of his orange paperback, “give her that, she’ll come around.” this was a level of transparency sasuke would never get used to.
he isn’t certain just when he started keeping mental tabs of her weekly schedule, only that he made it a point to be at hokage tower in the early evenings on tuesdays and on thursday mornings, or near the hospital just about every other day. false coincidence was the name of the game. their encounters were as brief as a short walk down the street, or up the stairs; the leisure of conversation would occasionally bring a soft smile to her face. but something always turned sour, something silent and nagging within her eyes. gaze averted, she would excuse herself to her tasks. peace times were packed with daily tedious work; sasuke never could have imagined hating the sight of her walking away as much as he did now. he definitely never imagined going as far as asking naruto.
“does she hate me,” he spoke one day, a tone low enough that it hardly escaped the low hum of life on the street outside of ichiraku.
naruto set his bowl down mid-sip, and sasuke felt his gut seize up. it couldn’t be a great sign when the human ramen vacuum stopped eating.
the blonde scratched his head, pensively, “it’s definitely not that…” blue eyes grew more reluctant, his foot tapped nervously, “she says she’s just…not sure.”
not sure? sasuke wanted to say, about what? about me? about my character? about loving someone who has quite literally just hurt her over and over and-? sasuke composed himself, “she said that?”
naruto nodded, “i guess she just,” he shrugged, “doesn’t know what you want.” he was silent at this, feeling the tension collect in his shoulders, along with the ever-increasing sinking feeling he experienced when he tried to begin to fathom what he might say to her.
“hn,” he finally responded, pushing his empty teacup away.
blue eyes turned to meet the side of sasuke’s impenetrable expression. “what exactly do you want, sasuke?”
sasuke put his half of the tab down and exited the stand.
it’s friday, roughly half an hour after her shift at the hospital has ended. he figures just a half hour off work, she’d be taking her time, ambling her way home at a calm pace. it was a nice night. there were three discernible routes from the hospital to her house. the road most traveled crossed through the akimichi bridge. she loves that stupid bridge, he notes, crossing through the various channels of the village, wondering all the while if he has his timing right. the red of the bridge comes into view as he crosses a corner, eyes searching wildly for any trace of pink in the falling night. there, he catches sight of her at just the other end of the bridge, crossing leg after leg down the lane, face upturned to the stars. he wants to stay there, in the shadows, witnessing the small joy of her walking home on a clear spring evening.
just her, and a stupid bridge, and the stars.
he can’t help himself as his feet start carrying him across the bridge, or his voice as it rises up to meet her, “sakura.”
and he can’t help the way his mouth goes dry and every salient thought shoots directly out of his mind as she looks at him with those damned eyes. he wants to tell her just how suffocating it is when she looks at him like that.
she doesn’t open her mouth to speak, but she looks at him, and for a moment, he wonders just how much she knows.
“i don’t know why it is things aren’t normal for us,” his voice is even, if only a little too low, “and i don’t know why it seems like neither of us can say something-” he stops. her eyes are steady on his own, he finally notices, unblinking, sincere. suffocating.
“you’re looking at me,” he says.
“you’re looking at me,” she somewhat shrugs, her voice low.
“you never look at me.” anymore. he doesn’t mean to be confrontational, but his eyes do not waver.
green eyes grow deeper in their dolefulness, “i don’t always know that i can.”
this, he tries to breathe, i didn’t account for this. suddenly, every memory comes rushing into him, a life of regrets he can’t swallow and words, actions, he can’t right. pink hair flying into the open air, lost; emerald eyes searching for goodness where it does not live. please, sasuke-kun. he feels for a moment he might just blow away, ashes into the wind, just scattered. her eyes are so clear even in the dark; he knows he’s been here before. all those years ago, looking at her just as he is now—it’s been so long, and she’s finally here.
“sakura,” he speaks her name, hoping she can feel for a moment just how good it is to say it. she looks like she’s preparing, her eyes are dry, bracing for the force.
“i’m going to kiss you,” he says, taking steps toward her, “if you don’t want that, that’s okay. but i’m going to, if you let me.”
her face is composed and beautiful in the moonlight, a graceful yet indiscernible pain growing in her expression as he draws closer. prudently, he reaches his hand up to move the hair from her face. his breath hitches in his throat as she closes her eyes, allowing him to sweep his thumb down the length of her jaw. something stirs in her expression, softening slowly.
he places a kiss on her lips, soft and grateful.
holding her face in his hand as he pulls back, he speaks, “i can’t stay here.”
she opens her eyes at his words, the pain in her face deepens in the slightest, but she does not look away.
“but please let me know i can keep coming back.” to you.
thought consumes her expression as she looks at him now, as she reaches up to touch him. he relaxes beneath the graze of her lithe fingers on his face, wondering absently if he would ever wish to feel this again should she reject him. nothing feels like this, he knows. no one is like her.
“as long as you keep coming back,” she speaks in a voice even and assuring, hands clearing the hair from his eye-line. her gaze is strong, holding his own, keeping him on the ground.
sasuke wishes to stay here forever, breathing her in, frozen in this night.