A/N: I'm on a Naruto kick lately. I swear to God, this series just won't leave me alone. This is the third story I've written for it in one sitting, in fact. Trying for something that's actually pseudo-canon this time too. *gasps*

Sakura's POV.

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"Playing Keep Away"

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Hey, Sasuke. Hey, look at me.

So introverted. So sure of yourself. What does that feel like?

I always doubt myself- it seems that I can never think of the right thing to do, while you and Naruto save the day and shame me. Why did Iruka-sensei even put me on Team 7, I wonder? You, I know, were supposed to balance out Naruto's incompetence . . . weren't you?

Or . . . was he to balance out your cruel arrogance? To make you get off your sorry ass and remember that yes, there ARE other people on the fucking planet, Uchiha: sorry to disappoint you.

Maybe it was both. Maybe it was neither.

But what about me? Where do I belong in that dynamic?

Maybe we're just supposed to fight. Have you noticed it, Sasuke? The way you and Naruto are clambering so desperately up and over each other time and again, while I follow you as quickly as I can, never good enough? That's one of the reasons that our team works, actually: you refuse to let Naruto get the better of you and he refuses to let you keep showing him up and I simply refuse to let either of you outrun me. It's like the most fucked-up game of Keep Away ever played in the history of the universe.

And I won't stop, you know.

I won't be left behind.

You are mine. Naruto is mine. Kakashi-sensei is mine. I won't let myself become a liability, become a weakness to be replaced or transferred.

I have control of myself. More than you two do, even if I don't always use it. I know when I've gone too far and when I'm not even close to pushing the limits. I have to. Otherwise everyone would know that I am a fake.

Do you know my secret? Do you know about the inner Sakura that laughed when Kakashi was caught in Naruto's childish prank that first day that we were thrown in together, that is so smug and confident?

Only, I never let her out, so how can I really be her? If I keep her locked up, afraid that she will not be accepted, what does that make me?

Damn it all.

Damn you, and damn Naruto, and damn Iruka-sensei for making me do this! For making me suffer through wanting you and being so close and getting nothing of what I'm giving you back!

Fucking cold bastard! I LOVE you! Even if you're an asshole and a jerk and just too cool for us, I love you! Love your smirk, your grief, your face and hair and the way you bleed and fight and scream.

That's me talking, by the way. Haruno Sakura, your teammate. The skinny girl with the big forehead and the big plans: the one who decided that you were going to be hers before she knew shit about you.

Well, I know you now.

And I love you more than I ever did then.

By the way, in case you care, Mr. Perfect- it seriously sucks.

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* ende *

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. : i love you. i love you. i love you.

yeah, whatever. : .