Sakura rubbed the back of her neck and rolled it, letting out a moan of relief. She couldn’t wait until her shift was over and she could go home. She loved her job but even she could get tired and weary having to tend to patients for twelve hours.
Especially when she forgot her supplements at home.
Sakura had never been fond of drinking blood. It went against everything she had worked for in her previous life when she had been studying to be a doctor.
She worked as a nurse now, always taking the overnight shifts so that no one would question her about not going out to socialize with coworkers. She never stayed at a hospital long, five years was her maximum, ready to leave and work somewhere far away so that no one questioned why she never aged or why her life was so stagnant.
In the beginning it had been hard. She wasn’t meant for a solitary life but it hurt her to see everyone she cared about move on with their lives while it seemed hers had stopped a long time ago.
“We can move to a different place and tell everyone you’re my oldest,” Ino, her best friend, had joked. In her early fifties she was still a head turner and with her fair complexion and blue-green eyes she could pass for Sakura’s mother. “And then when Inojin looks older than you we can move away again and you’ll be my youngest.”
But when Sakura saw her own face, forever twenty-three, she couldn’t help the ache that settled deep in her chest.
Ino, her husband Sai, and their child were the only ones of Sakura’s old life that knew about her condition. Sakura mostly kept her distance from them but she remained in contact, letting them know where she settled next.
There was no telling Ino that she couldn’t speak to her. Twenty-five years back when Sakura had broken off contact, Ino had hired a P.I. and Sakura reluctantly came back home.
Sai hadn’t bat an eye when he caught her with a rabbit in her mouth, tears and blood running down her face. He never explained why he was so nonchalant about the way he had found her but Ino had explained that it wasn’t his first time tracking down a loved one that had a peculiar ailment.
“If I never ran off you would have never found the love of your life,” Sakura had once teased her.
“Shut up! Don’t you ever do that again,” Ino snapped back.
So Sakura kept in touch but she also kept her distance. One day Ino and her family would die and she would look as she did the day she had been turned, forever twenty-three.
Sakura gagged but drained the entire vial. The supplements were disgusting but they replaced the need for blood.
Karin, an older vampire, had created the alternative to blood drinking. She was an acquaintance of Sai’s from his days as an investigator. She had an uncanny gift for knowing where everyone was at any given moment.
Her tracking was much more enhanced than a typical vampire and once she knew a scent she never forgot it.
She was an odd one, at first not wanting compensation for the supplements, but Sai warned Sakura to make sure Karin received monetary payment.
“She likes to collect nice scents and pretty things. Don’t ever be indebted to her.”
Sakura wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and placed the glass vial in her kitchen sink.
Some days, Sakura could understand why Karin had become twisted over time and seeked out companionship as a means of payment.
Life could get lonely when trying to keep their secret.
Sakura preferred the night shift because of the quiet. It had nothing to do with a myth that vampires couldn’t be in sunlight. Sure her eyes were more sensitive to light now but it had more to do with the fact that there would be less people to run into.
Besides the few overnight guests, Sakura only had to deal with her coworkers and the poor patients that had difficulty sleeping
So far she had been lucky and no one from her old life had crossed her path anywhere that she moved to. She had to make sure she was prepared just in case.
“Oh, I’m sorry you must be mistaken.”
“You know what’s funny? I get that all of the time. I must have one of those faces.”
“Sakura? I’m sorry my name is Saya. No not Haruno, Yamanaka.”
But she didn’t know if she would really be able to hold her composure if she saw someone she once held dear.
Sakura wasn’t able to attend her mother’s funeral but she was able to attend her father’s.
She knew if she saw her father weeping over her mother’s casket, lowering her into the plot right next to the empty one that had her name on the headstone she would blow her cover.
When all of the mourners had left she made her way over to his grave. Luckily, Ino had a hand in arranging the funeral and burial proceedings. Kizashi had given up his plot to bury her and her mother side by side. Ino had convinced the person that purchased the plot on the other side of Mebuki to let Kizashi have it.
They deserved to be next to each other. Sakura knew her mother had never been the same since she had “died” and that her mother’s passing had broken her father’s heart.
Sakura was officially the last of the Haruno family. But no one would ever know her name. Not until it was safe enough to use her real name again.
But she would be waiting a while to do that.
Good thing she had nothing but time.
Disgusting. There was nothing Sakura found more disgusting than drinking human blood.
Correction, there was something she found more disgusting.
Sakura yanked on the tall porter’s scrubs and dragged him into a supply closet. She slammed him into a wall and pressed her elbow into his throat.
“We don’t take from the hospital,” she hissed.
“I’m doing my job,” the porter responded coolly, not even flinching at the fact that she was attempting to crush his throat. “You’ll have to try harder than that by the way.”
“Uh..” Sakura’s face scrunched up in confusion but she pressed harder.
“See,” he gasped out, “now you’re actually doing some damage. As fun as this is, there’s a patient in ED that needs a blood transfusion.”
A ringing sound came from the porter’s pocket. He reached into his pocket and pulled out one of the hospital portables.
“Yeah, I’m on my way. A nurse just had a question.” He looked down his nose at her and raised an eyebrow. “Can I go do my job?”
The porter brushed her off, much more easily than she expected him to.
He pushed past her and left the closet.
“Can you not make a scene?” He asked without turning around.
And then under his breath, only loud enough for someone with her ears, “Annoying.”
“Figures that the first time you gossip with us it’s about Otonashi.”
Sakura chewed on her straw and cocked her head to the side. The more movements she made, made it easier to distract her companions from the fact she wasn’t really eating her dinner.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t eat the food. It just made her feel like a glutton when she ate food and took her supplements which were much more necessary for her to consume.
“What do you mean?”
“He’s the best looking guy that works here and I think all of the single porters and nurses have made a pass at him but he never wants to go out for drinks or hang out on off days in our rotations. Kind of like you.”
Her coworker tossed her ponytail over her shoulder and sighed.
“He’s just a porter but damn.”
“Keep dreaming, Hannah,” a different nurse mocked as she strolled by the nurses’ station.
Sakura spun around in her computer chair and hopped up to dump out her trash from her “dinner.” She was still on her break and it was obvious that she wasn’t going to get far in her questioning.
“I’m going for a walk.”
“Yeah, yeah I’ll keep an eye on your rooms.” Hannah waved her off but grinned at her slyly.”Say hi to Sousuke for me.”
Sakura shook her head but didn’t deny it. She hoped to run into this “Sousuke Otonashi” on her walk. It wasn’t often that she met one of her own kind and it was even rarer that they would take a job that would have them near such easy access to blood but not attempt to steal it.
He had been working at the hospital longer than she had and when she had researched places to move to and work at there were no incidents surrounding the area or the hospital.
She wanted a peaceful place to live in, no drama, and it looked like her vampire coworker wasn’t going to ruin that for her.
“What’s your name?”
Otonashi scoffed and tapped on his ID badge.
“No, I mean,” Sakura moistened her lips, “your real name.”
“What makes you think Sousuke Otonashi isn’t my real name?”
The corners of his lips twitched upwards. Once upon a time that would have been too miniscule a movement for her to notice but now nothing escaped her.
“Like you believe Saya is my real name.”
He leaned back on his hands and sighed. They had been sharing their break times with each other and chatting whenever they ran into each other but he still didn’t let Sakura in.
“It’s Sakura by the way.” Sakura cleared her throat. “My real name is Sakura.”
Otonashi stared at her impassively before turning his eyes back to the night sky.
“I didn’t need to know that.”
“But now you do.”
They sat there in silence for a beat.
Sakura burst out laughing and Sasuke clucked his tongue at her.
“It’s so similar to your alias. Did you even try?” Sakura relaxed and flopped her head onto his shoulder. “Sasuke suits you more.”
“How old are you?”
Sasuke dropped his cigarette and crushed it under his shoe. Sakura watched him pick it up and throw it into the closest trash bin, waiting.
“No! I mean how old are you really?”
“I thought you would be able to figure that out with my name.”
“It is a pretty old name. No one names their kids that anymore.”
Sasuke frowned but Sakura kept smiling up at him expectantly. She knew he would answer her question. He was a quiet man but there was something so liberating about being able to speak so freely to someone, to someone who would understand.
“I was turned in nineteen sixty-three at the age of twenty-six.”
“You died three years before I was born,” Sakura giggled. “You’re such an old man.”
She looped her arm in his and led him away from the bar they had visited. It was strange drinking alcohol. It was mostly for show. The only way to really get drunk was to drink the blood of an intoxicated person.
But it was nice to go out with someone and not have to think about how one day she would have to leave them.
“Hey,” she called out, bringing his attention to her.
Sakura stood on her toes and pressed a kiss against his cheek. His skin was cold, just like hers.
She hoped one day she wouldn’t have to leave him.
Sakura was glad her back was to him. Her sob was disguised as a whine for release as Sasuke gripped her waist roughly and thrust into her from behind.
It had been so long since anyone touched her in such a way.
It had been so long since anyone called out her name the way he did.
His moan was muffled into the back of her neck.
Sakura was so sure that one day she would forget her own name. When Ino was dead and no one knew her from when she was Sakura she was sure she was going to forget her own name.
But with Sasuke she was Sakura. In his bed with their bodies pressed together, she was Sakura.
And she wasn’t ever going to forget the way he panted her name into her ear and branded it on her skin with his mouth.
She loved him.
It was terrifying but she did, she loved him.
Sakura loved him but there was no way to know if he loved her back. Because sometimes she wondered to herself about her own feelings.
Did she love him or did she love the way she was no longer lonely when she was with him?
Sasuke shifted under her fingers. His brows furrowed and he looked at her quizzically as she traced her finger down his nose and over his cupid’s bow. She pulled gently down on his lower lip and then continued to trace down his chin and then stopped when her finger reached his chest, right over where his heart should have been beating but wasn’t.
“If we never died I wouldn’t have met you,” Sakura murmured. “I wonder what your family would have thought of me. If we were alive at the same time that is.”
“Too American,” Sasuke teased her. “We were immigrants. You were born here.”
“We could have met still if we never turned,” Sakura curled up closer to his body. “You would have been old though.”
“I’m not a cradle robber.”
“No, just a grave robber, huh?” Sakura giggled at her own joke. She sighed and wrapped her arm around his waist.
It was so easy to get comfortable like this. It was so easy to get close, to get hurt.
Sakura had picked the area she did because it was peaceful, drama free.
She just had to go and find some anyway.
“Next time I relocate I’m going to use my real name,” Sasuke muttered, drawing on her back with his finger. His finger went in a circle and then down in a line underneath it over and over again. “Uchiha. It’s been a while since I used it.”
“That sounds nice,” Sakura replied. The corners of her eyes began to blur, tears lining her lashes.
He was leaving. She shouldn’t have allowed herself to get comfortable.
Sakura couldn’t help but think about Karin and how she sometimes took payment in the form of companionship. It was probably one too many heartbreaks that had her yearning for more, even if it wasn’t real.
“You should use it too.”
Sakura blinked back her tears and tilted her chin up so she could see his face. He never stopped tracing his finger on her back in the same pattern, round in a circle and then a line underneath.
“You could be Uchiha if you want.”
“And could I go with you?” Sakura whispered, scared to voice the question even though Sasuke would be able to hear it perfectly no matter the volume.
“That would be the only condition if you want to use my name.”
“Couldn’t you just ask me like a normal person?” Sakura rolled her eyes but her lips turned up in a smile. “Or you could have asked me to make you miso soup everyday, you know, like the old man that you are.”
“That is going to get old one day.”
“Oh, like you?”
“You’re not exactly young yourself.”
“How dare you?” Sakura feigned insult at his words before bursting into a fit of giggles. “I have a condition then too.”
Sasuke frowned, looking unsure.
“What is it?”
“Always call me by my name. My real name.”