"You know, Sakura-chan, hm, I know you like watching sunrises with people, but why'd you bring wooden scrooge over there? I can barely get him out of bed in the morning for missions, un."
Sasori rolled his eyes and kept his eyes on the dark, distant horizon. Sakura hugged Sasori's arm.
"'Cause Sasori-san promised! Right, Sasori-san?" she questioned giddily. She looked at him with her wide, doe-like eyes while awaiting his answer. He stared back at her for a few seconds before turning his head to the side disdainfully.
Deidara and Sakura shared a grin. The sky was still a steady shade of dark blue, the sun having yet to flash the first of its rays. Between the three of them, there was a comfortable silence as they waited for dawn to come. Deidara was molding a small piece of clay with his fingers, and Sasori was fixing one of the weapons on his arm. Sakura, though, was staring straight up at the sky. The stars... The stars...
Would she really become one of those stars?
They looked at her.
"Have you ever regretted loving someone?" she asked. Deidara looked at Sakura with a raised brow.
"That's kind of an odd question, un. Pretty sudden too." he said as he scratched his cheek, "Where'd you get that from, hm?"
"Ano... Hidan-san read me a story a few nights ago. It was about this guy who loved this one girl a lot and was gonna marry her. He ever got her this really pretty ring! But then she got sick the day before the wedding and died a few days later. The guy cried and cried and kept saying 'I shouldn't have loved her... I shouldn't have loved her...' I thought it was weird that he was sying that after she died. I asked Hidan-san why the guy would do something like that, but Hidan-san said something like that never happened to him so he didn't know. Do you know?"
Deidara stayed silent for a little while, thinking about any sort of experience he had that would answer her question. Eventually, he shrugged and sighed.
"Sorry, Sakura. I don't know about it either, hm. What about you, Danna?"
Sasori was silent, his head titled towards the world above. He made no sign of having heard them.
The sun was now reaching upwards in the distance, but the blanket of the night still covered most of what they could see. Sasori let out a long, drawn out breath and met Sakura's curious stare.
"The man in the story was a fool. If he had truly loved her, he would have never said those things."
"Really~? But in the story he loved her so much! Didn't he just say that because he was sad?"
"He might have been sad, but that's no excuse. He should have never said that about her. He should be happy that he had spent all of his time with her even when he had watched her die from her sickness. He might have felt pathetically useless at the time- but that doesn't give him the right to say that he shouldn't have loved her." he hissed. Deidara was stunned to silence. He had never seen Sasori look so... emotional. His hand was covering his eyes and his teeth were clenched. If anything, he looked like he was about to cry.
But puppets didn't cry.
"... He never regretted loving her. Not even for a second, even though he had said all those things. Even though she never got to wear the wedding dress with the swirl of cherry blossoms at the bottom. Even though she never got to wear the ring he made for her."
The sun was now over the horizon, shining brilliantl with its orange light. Sakura held onto Sasori's wooden hand.
"What was her name, Sasori-san?"
He glanced down at her.
A little while later, Sakura was curled against Deidara's chest with her face buried in the base of his neck. Both he and Sasori were still on the rooftop, enjoying (for once) a simple conversation.
"So that's how it was, un... You became a puppet after what happened to Kaede-san." Deidara mused, "I guess I can understand why you've never talked about it, hm. Should we tell Hidan to stop reading books like that to Sakura? I mean, some of them seem kind of inappropriate, hm."
"She'll learn about all of that eventually, so why wait? She has the rest of her life to understand about these things. One day, when she's older, she'll look back on this day and be glad that she learned this." Sasori replied smoothly.
"Eh, I can't wait until Sakura's all grown up, un. Makes me feel old just thinkin' about it."
Sasori rolled his eyes.
"You sound like an old man already brat- talking about Sakura like you're her older brother."
"Psh- I'm close enough to one!"
Sakura, who was still and feigning sleep, bit her lip to keep from crying.