Lady Chiyo was one of those memories. The woman who’s risked her life to save not only the Kazekage but also her, the woman whose age did not diminish her skills in the battlefield in the slightest. Sakura remembers holding her then in one moment, and bidding her farewell at her grave in another.
And then, by association, she thinks of him.
Their battle, as brief as it was, was her first exposure to many more tragedies she would experience later, a learning opportunity as much as it was a frightening reminder of what she had yet to learn. As a medical ninja, she’s taught to analyze the enemy’s move -- to think two steps ahead -- in order to secure the team’s safety.
It was then, that she also began to analyse him, desperate to understand where he came from, what his motives were, what more he’s hidden under those layers of cold calculation.
He left little behind, among the fury he’s spiked in her, Lady Chiyo’s words a faint reminder of the cruel ways of the Sand.
His offer to make her just like him -- to understand --, and the information about Orochimaru he’s trusted her with left her just as confused.
She remembers visiting Lady Chiyo’s grave, but she doesn’t remember ever seeing his so-...
So, here she is, stepping between an assortment of dry wooden limbs in order to avoid entangling herself in this mess of a cave. She’s caused the absence of a ceiling, she remembers, now allowing the late afternoon sun to bask the field of debris in a warm glow. Her eyes wander the place, in search for a certain someone, the man in the body of an adolescent boy she knew Suna has never come back for. -- they were financially unstable as it is, it made sense that they never came back to clean up.
It was only the absence of his first puppet body, initially sealed to the wall, that threw her off.
She spots a tuft of red hair behind a small rock-
Her breath halts.
There he was, just as he’s been left behind, face down in the ghostly embrace of his parents.
“I-...” What was she supposed to say? “Don’t ask me what I’m doing.”
It wasn’t that he happened to be very talkative to begin with, and so she’s left in silence.
The sun towers over her, just barely leaving her shadow to hover over the three figures in front of her.
She does faintly recall that he hated to wait, as well as making others wait.
“I was just on my way to see Lady Chiyo-...and I thought I could just-”
Oh, why was she even bothering to lie to a dead man?
She lowkey expects him to stand up in just a second and murk her person, collecting her body to restart the collection she’s destroyed -- but nothing of the sort happens.
Instead, he makes her look like an idiot, feeling the need to fill the silence.
“Your birthday was a couple weeks ago, right?” Sakura doesn’t need to ask, she’s brought the old tattered bingo book with her, passing the time with memorizing the names and stats of a variety of funny figures yet to be caught. “How old are you? 36? 38? It’s been a while.”
It doesn’t feel right staring down at him, and so she steps backwards to sit down, crossing her legs in the process. She places her backpack next to her person, and tucks a strand of pink hair behind her ear. “It’s almost creepy how young you looked -- not as creepy as the, you know, the head rotation thing -- but still. Still creepy.”
“In any case... happy birthday-...belated happy birthday.” She tacks on, in case he would require a clarification. “You old man.”
Why was she nervous? He was dead, after all, and nobody was around to possibly catch her making a fool of herself. Maybe she’s developed a minor aversion to puppets. Hard not to be queasy when at least a 100 of them were sharing a space with her.
Sakura rubs her hands, a habit of nervosity. “I went to visit Lady Chiyo’s grave the other day. I°m on my way back, actually.”
She just…she doesn’t know what she’s doing, honestly. This ruin, this site of battle, is too far out of the way of Chiyo’s gravesite for Sakura to justify stopping by just because she could. She went out of her way to do this.
“I thought about lording it over you – getting your ass kicked by a kid – but now I feel…I feel kinda bad for you.” How empty had his life been that he would’ve yanked himself free of human flesh to encase in immortal wood and plastic?
Those puppets, the ones that shielded her, the ones that Chiyo called the mother and the father, are slumped on either side of Sasori. One has candy-bright red hair.
Was that his problem? Chiyo died before Sakura could understand the extent of their familial situation.
Yeah. She feels bad for him, backwards as that is. She’s felt bad when she sat in front of Lady Chiyo’s grave, noting the absence of a fourth one, and she feels bad seeing him like this, forgetting behind a pile of rubble. She also…
“You know what else is sad? That you hated your grandmother so much. I don’t know what she did to make you hate her, but Lady Chiyo…she barely knew me, and she respected me. I haven’t gotten so much blatant respect from an authority figure since Tsunade-shishou.”
Sakura’s voice is crumbling, crumbling like the cave she and Sasori and Chiyo obliterated. The daylight, weak and fading, wavers. Her cheeks are damp.
“I liked her a lot, okay? She respected me, and…” God, it just hits her now, hits her with full force now that the adrenaline of battle has long faded. “And you did too, didn’t you?”
Her hands clamped down on a metal coil, putting all her chakra, all her strength, into bringing him down. And Sasori’s face, the way he’d looked when she’d done that – he looked proud. Or impressed. Thrilled, even.
“I…” She’s lost for words, but her body moves on its own accord before she realizes what she’s doing, kneeling down in front of the three figures.
Sakura heard of the Impure Resurrection Technique before, not enough to perform it herself, but enough to know that she couldn’t leave him here like this.
Pointless he’s called the crucial bit of information that had brought them closer to Orochimaru, closer to finding Sasuke. Pointless, he would probably call her intentions right now, carefully removing the swords from his heart before turning the body over.
The crack that she’s caused is still there.
“I would like to do something pointless for you, too.”
Her face is dry and crusted with salt when she resettles the mother and father puppets closer to Sasori, wrapping him up in their arms, in the fresh hole of dirt she’d dug a couple meters away from the cave-side.
A grave seemed pointless, now that nobody was there to visit it.
Nobody but her.
By the time she’s finished filling it back up, the sun’s long gone, leaving her in the shadows of it’s giant forest. She’s picked a couple flowers from a clearing nearby, and used her leftover bandages to build a small memorial with wood from the cave.
She takes one last look at it, drinking in the peaceful scenery around her.
“I...I should get going.” Sakura dusts her apron and shorts off, ready to make her return to the real world. “Thank you, Sasori.”
Writing by aprito
Ok guys, this concludes my Sasosaku month! I will be taking a break from them, to branch out a bit haha, but to answer some questions, yes, I'm going to make a fanfic out of my time travel AU, and either make a comic or fanfic of my doctor AU. Thank you guys for a great month! Can't wait for next year! (Don't worry, I will be drawing them again before then)