I come bearing a fanfic I wrote for Sasuke's birthday on Sasuke's birthday. I intially decided I didn't really like how the story came out (hence why I didn't post it earlier), but my good friend who beta-read it for me insisted that I post it and threatened me with some vague threat I can't seem to remember. So, here I am.
I also do lots of SasuNaru artwork that I'm hoping to post sometime soon. It's just a matter of finishing it and/or coloring it, which is harder than it sounds. I have tons of it, though.
Written by: Pacific Pikachu
Genre(s): General/Angst (?)
Spoilers: Takes place about a year past episode 135/chapter 235-ish.
Comments: Just so you know beforehand, the SasuNaru in this is very light. And one-sided. The last line is pretty much the only thing that can be taken as non-platonic. However, it is sort of a commentary on their relationship, and it's filled with metaphors and things. It's also very angsty and has a somewhat downtrodden tone.
Continue on, as if he is still here. As if violence never engulfed his gray eyes, as if it is just a matter of time. As if the stars and the moon and the open-mouthed sky aren’t laughing at you, and as if you might live inside him still as a beacon of hope. You can believe that, regardless of whether it’s true or not. What you can’t believe—could never, ever believe—is that it might already be too late.
Konoha is both the same as ever and different than it ever was. You continue going to Ichiraku Ramen almost every day, and you continue completing missions, enthusiastically declaring your ambitions, goofing around with your friends—you continue training, living, breathing, being. That has not changed. Your intentions may have changed, though. Becoming Hokage is important--but not as important as your promises. To everyone else, there seems to be only one—just that one, to Sakura-chan—but there are actually three of those promises glaring back at you in your mind like bare spots in a field of flowers. To Sakura-chan, to yourself, and to him.
The last one is the most important.
Summer passes in the way that summers do. Moments move sluggishly, but weeks and months pass with such speed that you cannot count them. Most days are the same—the same blank, blue sky; the same feeling you get when you step outside into the sun; the same scent of dust drifting off of pathways; the same sensation of the sun’s rays making your skin rougher. The townspeople are quiet and lethargic, and everything is so subdued you can almost hear conversations from the other side of town. This is because the pocket of air above Konoha is gelatinous and warm—you could almost swim through it. Sounds and insects just hang in that air, almost in slow motion.
You can almost believe your lies to yourself.
You’re walking along—hands in your pockets. Feeling indifferent, really, as you squint your eyes against the jagged sunlight. You can hear the squalling of crows fighting over something in the street next to you. Indifferent is not your type of thing. You’re normally exuberant, or at least passionate about something. It’s the heat that’s sucking out all your motivation. And your dreams, lately, have been so lost and cold that you almost feel something dying in your soul. Keep your chin up, you think. It’ll be okay. It always ends up okay in the end.
Even if you’re lonely now.
You hear the scuffle of feet against the pathway, and the footsteps are coming towards you. You move your eyes upwards to see who it is.
“Ah, Sakura-chan! Hello,” you intone, a smile twitching at your lips. The sound of your own voice, sounding cheerful, raises your spirits slightly.
She has a peculiar look on her face. Almost sad, almost happy, and almost mirroring exactly how you feel right now. Her green eyes strike at you, sparking in the same brief way as two rocks clashed together. “Hey, Naruto…” she says. Her voice is very subdued, and the same as her facial expression. Almost fretful. The sun is washing out her pink hair and making it look pale and wispy, like moonlight.
You two look at each other for a while, wallowing in the similarities between you just then, during that moment.
Sakura shrinks away from the silence after a few seconds. “Um… I…” she struggles a little with her words, but more with her emotions. “Um… It’s Sasuke-kun’s birthday in a few days, so I was thinking… I was thinking we could do something. I mean—it’s kind of silly, I guess, to do something for the birthday of someone who isn’t even here, but…” She looks up at you with such hope that it almost hurts you inside to look at her. She doesn’t need to finish her sentence, because there is no way to finish it.
You smile gently at her, because she looks so fragile just then. “I think that’s a good idea, Sakura-chan!” Your enthusiasm is measured, because too much of the enthusiasm you are known for would hurt both of you.
Sakura’s eyes light up as she clutches her hands at her chest and nods. “I don’t know what we could do… I was thinking of maybe making a cake and…and we could go over to his house or something. That’s usually what we did on his birthdays anyway. Though…” She stares up to the sky briefly with a bittersweet smile on her face. “Though he never did like it.”
You smile at the memory.
“What are you two doing here?” Sasuke pinned both you and Sakura with a glare as he stood in his doorway.
“Happy birthday, Sasuke-kun!” Sakura squealed, blushing and holding out a neatly-wrapped package.
“Yeah, happy birthday, bastard!” You exclaimed, grinning in that almost threateningly large way of yours. You tried to affectionately punch Sasuke’s shoulder, but Sasuke, scowling, moved out of the way just in time.
“Well, aren’t you going to invite us in or something?!” You insisted, pointing one finger past Sasuke and into his house.
Sasuke continued scowling., mostly at you, and put out his hands flatly to refuse the present that Sakura kept pushing towards him hopefully. “Why should I do that?”
“Because it’s your birthday! We want to have a PARTY!” You explained, complete with hand gestures.
“Hn, forget it,” he intoned dully, crossing his arms.
And thus, Sasuke’s birthday became little else other than a slightly more dysfunctional normal day.
“Well…” You say, as the reverie dissipates. You’re almost regretting it even before it comes out of your mouth. “Well, Sasuke won’t be there to ruin it this time.” Your smile was almost as bittersweet as hers.
“Naruto, that’s awful!” she says, almost jokingly, and with a half-smile. But her voice cracks halfway through, uncovering the thinly veiled hurt behind it.
“I know,” You sigh, pausing for a moment. You reflect on everything--on flashes of his face, on flashes of his voice, his mannerisms, his posture, his clothing, his smell… “I miss him, too, y’know.” Maybe… Maybe even more than you do, you think. You almost regret that, too, even though there is no one to hear it. Even though it’s probably true.
There is an odd pause that Sakura-chan ends with a sigh. “Well, I’ll see you on Saturday, then,” she says, turning with a wave and striding into an alleyway.
“See you, Sakura-chan!” You wave back at her, although she already has her back turned and is heading off.
You feel hollow. Almost like he never existed. Almost like he is just a secret, or something false.
Saturday morning feels almost like a dream.
You wake up slowly to a warm room and a profound silence. The sky is overcast—but not in that pregnant, dark way that comes before it rains. Just white. The sky is low and white, with little texture and no movement. It presses on you with this weight that hangs off of your chest and squirms a little within you. The humidity is not helping at all to ease that weight. Maybe that weight isn’t because of the clouds.
As you’re strolling to his house, you can’t help but notice that the white sky makes the leaves look brighter. If you could recognize irony, you would probably find that ironic.
You almost got him a present. Not that you can give him a present when he isn’t there, and not like you’d know what to get him anyway—but it felt like it was what you should’ve done. You’re almost sure Sakura got him one.
You wait outside his door silently, and you almost knock on it. You wonder what will happen if you knock on it. It’s hard for you to believe no one will answer. It’s hard for you to believe he isn’t in there, and he won’t answer no matter how hard you knock or how loud you scream. You almost do it to make sure--just to make sure the last year wasn’t just a bad dream, and just to make sure that everything in your life isn’t.
Sakura shows up not too long after you. She’s a little dressed up (though not as much as she was last year), and you notice again how pretty she is. Somehow, this isn’t interesting to you right now, though. In her hands she balances a little cake with chocolate frosting. She doesn’t seem to have a present with her. You can’t decide how that makes you feel. Her hair still looks pale.
You exchange quiet smiles with her. “That’s a pretty cake, Sakura-chan,” you murmur, and she thanks you, and says something about how her Mom helped her make it. You’re close enough now that you can see the “Happy Birthday, Sasuke-kun!” written on it in frosting.
It’s the perfect size for three people to eat.
You lean down to get Sasuke’s house key from under the doormat that sits, old and bristly, in front of his door, and unlock it. You’ve known about that key for a long time, but you’ve never used it before. You feel…almost guilty, for going into Sasuke’s house when he isn’t there. You shouldn’t, but you do.
You thought this whole thing might be a little fun—getting to hang around with Sakura, going to Sasuke’s house, pretending he never left, but instead, there’s this wrenching feeling in your chest. You feel like it’ll probably get worse, too.
The two of you enter the house, almost shyly. It’s perfectly orderly, like always, and dark. It looks just as vacant as it always did when he lived there. The only difference is that now there is a thin layer of dust coating everything, and it no longer smells like Sasuke. That hurts you, for some reason. Suddenly, the loss feels just a little more real.
“We should… Let’s go to Sasuke’s room.” You don’t know if it was you or Sakura who said that.
In his room, again, it is just like it was when he lived in it. Dark, cool, clean. The dust is less thick in this room than it was in the rest of the place, and a small trace of his scent still remains in it. That is reassuring to both of you.
Sakura pulls up a chair, dusting it off with one of the napkins she brought, but you opt to sit on his bed instead. She looks at you, almost in a scolding manner, almost as if it’s taboo, for that, but you remain where you already seated yourself. She sets the cake on a little table and looks at it for a second before opening a package of candles and sticking three in the cake, evenly spaced.
“Naruto, could you turn the lights on?” Sakura mutters as she takes out some matches.
You get up off the bed and flick the light switch upwards, expecting the light to blink on. “Hm,” you say when nothing happens. “They must’ve turned his electricity off.“ You pause momentarily. “That’s rotten,” you half-hiss. “It’s not like he’s…” You let that one trail off. It’s not like he’s gone for good.
But what if he is?
You can’t bring yourself to think like that.
Sakura scowls. “Oh well, we don’t need the lights anyway. It’s not like it’s actually that dark.” She takes some matches off the plate supporting the cake, and strikes one. A flame--small and wobbling--appears on the match’s tip--violet and yellow and somehow lacking the spectrum between the two. You watch it as it does its wiggle-dance to the drafts of air caused by your breath and the breath of Sakura. It reminds you of something, but what it is, you can’t seem to recall.
With gentle, nimble grace she lights the three candles perched upon the cake. Your faces light up with the dancing flames, and, if you look closely enough, you can see the reflection of the three flames in Sakura’s eyes. And almost in Sasuke’s, too.
You admire the little chocolate cake for a while, admiring its simple beauty, and admiring the way it lights up the blue-shadowed room with such minuscule flames. And, in this silent reverence, you hear Sakura‘s very soft laugh. She almost fools you into being shocked, but you catch the bitterness in her laugh just before you open your mouth to ask her what‘s so funny.
“He really would hate this, wouldn’t he, Naruto?” she murmurs. “He’s always hated chocolate. All sweet things, really.”
Staring fondly at the cake still, you can’t help but add to her observation. “And he’s always hated us showing up at his house, and he’s always hated us even acknowledging his birthday, and he’s always hated…”
She looks at you with this sad, defiant look on her face. “And he’s always hated the two of us, too.”
For a minute, you almost believe her. You almost see the tears burning at the edges of her eyes, and you almost give in to the possibility that maybe…maybe he isn’t… But you remember soon enough. You remember that this cannot be true.
You see the tears gathering now, not quite ready to overflow but gathering in a glossy sheen over her eyes.
“That’s not true, Sakura-chan,” you assert, reaching out to touch her shoulder to reassure her before her tears spill out past the boundaries of her eyelashes.
“Then why did he leave us, Naruto…? Why didn’t he listen to me? Why wouldn’t he even listen to you?” Her voice is tight with the effort of holding back her tears. “Why did he leave?”
“He… He…” You begin, but soon realize that you don’t know how to word what you want to say. “I… I don’t really understand why he left, and even if I did, I don’t know if I could explain it to you, but… But I do know that Team Seven meant something to him. I know, because he told me. He told me that it wasn’t meaningless. He told me…” That I’m his best friend. You don’t really want to tell Sakura that part. You’re not sure why… It just feels sort of special to you, for him to have admitted to such a bond. And, somehow, you feel like it would hurt Sakura to know that he acknowledges you, that he sees you as an equal, and as a friend. Or at least, that he did. You’re not so sure about now.
Sakura stares back at you, incredulous, and some of the light returns to her eyes. “Really…?”
“Really.” You can see the confidence returning to her, hesitantly. “That guy…I don’t think he knows how to live in the way we do. I don’t think he knows how to care about people anymore.”
“That’s...probably true,” Sakura sighs, staring down at her knees as she swipes at her eyes with the back of her hand. “I just wish he had never left.”
“I know. So do I.”
“Well… Let’s blow out the candles for him,” Sakura says. She then picks the candle closest to her, and carefully extinguishes it with a gust of breath. You do the same--watching the flame sputter and then die out as your breath batters it. A strand of smoke curls up from the black wick.
The third candle remains lit--waving like a tiny, victorious flag.
The two of you look at each other expectantly. That’s Sasuke’s candle. That’s the one he’s supposed to blow out.
Sakura, looking at the candle and not you, asks, “Do you want to blow it out, Naruto?”
That wrenching feeling in your chest worsens. You might as well be honest. “No.”
Her shoulders slump and her eyes darken again. “Neither do I.”
Another silence hangs like a spider-web between the two of you.
“Well… I guess we could just leave it lit for now, and cut around it,” Sakura reasons, picking up the knife that was sitting next to the cake. She holds the knife just above the cake, ready to cut it, but just as the knife is about to slice through the brown frosting, it stops in its place and begins to shudder. You soon realize that this is because Sakura’s hands are shaking like leaves. You soon realize there are rivulets of tears sliding down her face. Pearly tears, rolling smoothly down her skin.
A tiny, strangled sob frees itself from her throat, and she removes the knife from its hovering place over the cake and sets it back down on the plate. “I’m sorry, Naruto… I just can’t bring myself to… I know it’s stupid, and I know I shouldn’t be crying, but…” She points towards the cake with the one hand that isn’t wiping tears away from her cheeks.
The candle--Sasuke’s candle--went out on its own.
You’re not sure why that’s so sad, and you don’t know what it has to do with anything, but you do know that your world is suddenly rather blurry, and that this no longer feels like a birthday party at all. In fact, it feels more like a funeral.
“But it suddenly feels like there just isn’t any hope left,” Sakura finishes, and her tears hit her in a new wave.
You want to comfort her, or just do something, anything at all to ease the uncomfortable sounds of her crying, but at the same time it feels like there’s nothing you can do.
Sakura cries for a while with her face in her hands, and by the time her tears slow, she’s beginning to stand up.
That wrenching feeling has become so painful you can barely stand it.
“Sakura-chan…?” You ask, as gently as you can.
“Naruto, I don’t think I can stand being in this house any longer,” she explains. She doesn’t bother to gather the cake and matches and knife that she brought--she just leaves it sitting on the table as she heads to the door. “I’m sorry, this didn’t end up being any fun at all.” She moves through the door to Sasuke’s room and out of sight.
You can’t say anything at all for several seconds, and by the time you can say something, you figure she’s almost to the door. “Sakura-chan… I’ll keep my promise! No matter what! Okay?”
“…Thank you, Naruto.“ You hear her footsteps receding away from you, and the click of Sasuke’s front door closing behind her.
You sigh to yourself in the shady room, and stare at the still-intact cake for several minutes. Damn you, Sasuke…
You’ve broken both of our hearts.
Not long after you think that, you notice a turned-over picture frame on his windowsill. Gently, you turn it over—and discover that it was that old picture of the four of you—of Team Seven, and of Kakashi-sensei—of three friends with bright smiles. Turned over, so you can’t see any of those faces.
And, although you would never, ever admit it, and although it would later hurt for you for you to even remember… Right then, you grab one of his pillows (still dusted slightly with his scent), wrap your arms around it, bury your face in it…
And you begin to cry.
Damn you, Sasuke…
It’s not my fault I fell in love with you, too.
Comments would be immensely appreciated, as I'm a little nervous in posting this here. I'm hoping to write a lot more SasuNaru fanfics (I know one longer, darker one is planned), but I need to find some motivation first...
Well, I hope you all enjoy this! I hope to bring more presents in the near future. :3