summary: and he left, thinking that “thank you” was better than “goodbye,” anyway.
disclaimer: the summary is an excerpt from Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.
dedication: Tina and Mai—for remembering me and thinking about my family’s welfare when they saw the news of the state-wide flooding and texting me the other day. You girls made me cry from your concern. Thank you so much.
“You do know the storm gets really bad over there, right?”
“And the floods, OMG. Especially the one before last year. That was truly devastating.”
“The tornadoes too. Tore apart lots of houses.” Lots of casualties, went unsaid but he knew she was thinking about it.
Briefly he glanced at Sakura; she looked pale, worst scenarios were obviously already running wild in her head. Unfortunately, his best friend tends to let her imaginations run wild and was a little too paranoid for her good. Like right now.
“Not to mention the hailstorms during winter too,” she continued, seeming not at all bothered that he hadn’t given any response to her melodramatic dialogue, “and—”
“What are you trying to say, Sakura?” he finally interrupted. He already knew all what she had been telling him; after all, he helped her collect relief donations every time a disaster would strike Oto.
She sighed, stood up, scooped a stack of his neatly folded clothes from his bed and placed them carefully in his luggage. She was silent for a while.
“It gets dangerous there,” she spoke again, her voice quiet. I’m worried.
With nothing else to offer, he replied, “I know.”
“I know you know!” he was surprised at her raised tone then watched as she crumpled to a heap on his floor, frustration underlying her raised voice.
“That’s the thing, Sasuke.” And he was struck at the lack of the –kun he had grown accustomed to.
“You know how it gets there but you’re still going,” the frustration was clear in her voice now.
Her hands reached in the luggage and smoothed the clothing at the top unnecessarily.
“Do I really have to say?”
No. You don’t. I already know what you’re going to say. And as much as I want to hear you say it... I’d rather not.
“Do you really have to go?
“Can’t you stay?”
“You know the answer to that question already.”
“Fine. Just,” she broke off, “Just take care, okay?”
“Thank you, Sakura.”
Thank you for everything.
—one year later, Konoha
How long had it been since she last spoke with Sasuke? The last text they exchanged?
Two weeks. Give or take.
Not a month yet but that’s where it starts, and before long a year would’ve passed.
A sigh escaped her lips. She’s overreacting again and if he was here, he’d reprimand her for doing so. The lack of communication couldn’t be helped. They’ve both been busy with finals and Sasuke specifically told her he won’t be in touch for a while due to his hectic schedule.
Her mobile received a text. Could it be?
It wasn’t. It was a text from Ino.
*Sakura! Turn on the TV and watch the news!! HURRY!*
Nonetheless she did as her best friend instructed.
In bold white capital letters it was flashing on the newsreel: BREAKING NEWS
“Cyclone Orochimaru has hit the country of Oto... over 10, 000 homes are currently without electricity for more than 24 hours... Many cities have been flooded... A tornado also...”
—the following day, Oto
28 missed calls.
7 voice mails.
14 text messages.
And guess what? They’re all from Sakura.
*HEY SASUKE ARE YOU OKAY? I JUST SAW THE NEWS AND OMG*
*HOW ARE YOU? Is your area affected with floods as well?*
*Dammit, I told you NOT to move right?*
*OI, answer, reply, call me or whatever! Please I’m worried*
Reading her texts and listening to her voice, although recorded brought a smile to his face.
He’d been busy preparing for the finals and going to work that he didn’t have time to touch his phone beyond checking the time.
Pressing speed dial ‘2’ he waited for the call to connect.
“I’m fine. My area wasn’t affected at all by the flood and tornado though we were in locked down due to the cyclone.”
Then he heard her sob through the phone.
Startled and not knowing what to do. What can a guy, who’s halfway across the continent like him, do in situations like this?
He asked, worried. And touched. “A-are you crying?”
“Of course, I am, YOU BAKA!”
“You have no idea how worried I was after I saw the news...”
And he sat on the floor, leaning against the cold wall behind him, listening to everything she had to say, silently saying the words:
All over in his head.