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They walk side by side along the lane of snow. Behind them trail two distinct sets of forlorn footprints with a space almost wide enough to fit another person in between.
Everything is hushed—it's the snow, and Sakura likes that: she likes the soft quiet and the dead stillness, the cold and the shivers that wrack her spine.
It's Christmas Eve, and the war is over. It's Christmas Eve and Sakura and Sasuke walk side by side, together but still apart. She looks at the melancholy picture he makes out of the corner of her eye—dark hair and dark clothing startling against the white of the snow—and wonders what he's thinking about. They've been together for half a year now, and Sakura likes to think that she's learned how to read Sasuke well: what he wants to but doesn't say, what he's thinking of, all the little subtleties in the quirk of an eyebrow or the curve of his lips. These walks though—these walks they take at night in the snow, when it's as if the whole world is dead, the whole world is silent and mute and incapable of speech, that's when she feels the furthest from him.
All the progress—all the distances she has traversed and crossed in order to reach him, all that effort disappears along with the rest of the world into the white of the snow. Sakura bites her lip and what has she accomplished?
Nothing, she answers her own question, she has accomplished nothing.
And she sighs—a soft sound, but Sasuke hears her anyways, hears her and looks up and it's like he's almost startled to find her next to him. He stops, the movement abrupt, and Sakura stops with him.
Her gloved hands dangle by her side; his are tucked in the pockets of his dark grey coat.
(She'd bought him that coat.)
Sasuke takes a shallow breath, struggles with it like he is fighting with what he wants to say before stopping, gaze drifting away again. Sakura tries to hide her disappointment, but then there is a light tug, and she looks down to see he's taken out his hand and linked their pinkies together. She smiles, and out of the corner of her eye she thinks he might be too, a subtle softening in the normally grim line of his mouth.
And there is still space between them, barely enough for another person to fit, but—Sakura curls her fingers more tightly around his—now they are linked, and that is enough.
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