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another kind of you

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Sometimes on the days when Sakura is feeling cynical and sarcastic (they are few and far between, hidden by the pink shimmer that almost perpetually surrounds her), she stops being a Girl In Love and becomes... something else. Someone who sees more clearly. She'll look around Naruto's house, the new meeting place for the old Team 7, and notice that, sure, it's messy, but nowhere near deserving of all the whaps on the head she has administered on the behalf of the dirty laundry sitting sadly on the couch. And then she will step on a long forgotten, half-empty ramen cup, soaking her whole foot, and begin her crusade for cleaning again.

It's the three of them now: Sasuke in all black, fitting the Angsting Teen stereotype to a T, Naruto flashing his brilliant yellow aura and peppering their conversations with sheepish grins, and her, all sitting around his apartment in various compilations of arms and legs and other body parts. And for Sakura, it just happens to be one of those days. So she can see that Naruto is not just the stupid and persistent guy begging for her attention, messing things up, and surreptitiously sending prideful yet worried glances Sasuke's way ('Am I doing all right? Is this okay?' He will never say these words, but he still wants the acceptance in the answer he'll never get). He is strong, and worthy, and she may just be the closest thing to a mother he will ever have.

Her gaze shifts to Sasuke, and she slides light eyes past mediocre lashes softly as her brain digests him. The contrast of pale, pale skin and darkest black is almost enough to make her hair scream with the injustice of it all. She has always been a bright and colorful person, she has never seen someone live in black and white in this technicolor universe. It is his trump card, his secret allure, she thinks. Something only he can pull off in his perpetually altered state.

Sakura's eyebrow twitches and right on cue her mouth opens. "The problem with the color black is that it can't decide whether it is the color of the classically evil or the color of the bad-boy hero." She says it less because it is true than because she wants to see his reaction.

Sasuke looks at her, face screwed up oddly, like he is glaring and grimacing and smirking all at once. It is not attractive, yet she finds it does not make the slight stirring in her soul any less persistent. Naruto has already cracked up, like he does whenever she says anything on these kinds of days, either purposefully or unintentionally misunderstanding her. She is never quite sure which one it is. Finally Sasuke gives a bit of a huff, allowing a glimpse of a closed-eyed smile for a moment, his head tilted downward, and Sakura cannot help but melt into the Girl in Love for just a second.

"I think Sasuke's kind of black is more advertising of a sulking loser, huh, Sakura-chan?" Naruto inserts into the slight tension, and it only takes Sasuke one second to be on his feet, knock Naruto over the head with a long-suffering look, and sit back down. Sakura thinks that the fluid motion is something to be admired, but then she would expect nothing less from him.

It's silent again until Sasuke himself speaks, voice measured, tapered with well hidden amusement. "Maybe it's just the warmest thing for a cold person to wear. Absorbing heat as it does." It is amazing for Sakura to realize that Sasuke speaks now, offers more than one sentence shuttered answers or questions. It's hard for her to remember he might actually trust them this time around. Her fingers wind into a relaxed fist, unkempt nails jutting slightly against her palm. She thinks the black may just be Sasuke's attempt at become his own shadow.