AUTHOR'S NOTE: T-rated for weird thoughts and general mind screwing. One-shot.
Erm, and no character bashing intended. I really do like all of the characters in this fic. All of them. I just like to toy around with…things. And, no, I did not mean in that way.
I've given my heart to a goddess.
She's all to me, my fiercely magnificent fighting lioness bringing death, my benevolent life-giving gentle spring. She's my ethereal bright heaven and my passionately burning hell. She's my sun, my moon and stars, my universe in which my world revolves. She's my beginning and ending and everything else in between. She's my darling beauteous thirteen-year-old budding rose of the garden in my heart, my precious delicate cherry blossom of the spring, my enchanting Eve of everything.
I love her. I live for her. I would die for her. I would give everything and all that I am and more – just for her.
And she's seeing another man.
The betrayal bites deep.
I'm not a complete idiot; I've heard the people talking in town. The whispers, the nervously pitying sidelong glances that never meet mine but that I can feel on me once my back is to them. It happens every time whenever I pass through. And it's been happening more and more frequently lately and any good ninja knows that there is no such thing as coincidences.
Being talked about is nothing new; I'm use to it. Being stared at is nothing new; I'm use to that too. But this-
I can't stand this!
I want to crush something, make it hurt, make it scream, make it bleed. And my target: preferably that other man.
How dare he return to Konoha and steal away what's mine!
He should never have come back.
And then there's her. I can't believe I trusted her. Believed her lies.
It's only a mission, she'd say.
I was requested to, she'd say.
It's just for training, she'd say.
She's said a lot of things.
I'm a fool, utterly and wholly. I should have known when he came back and they seemed to be thrown together time and time again. I should have known when her attention was constantly being snatched away from me. I should have known the moment when they were spending so much time together that he was slowly stealing her away from me. I should have known but I believed everything she said to me with smiling pink lips and sparkling green eyes.
I won't be a fool anymore.
Confrontation is necessary and I can't guarantee that there will be any survivors. I am a ninja and I have a mission, my mission, and I will see it through to the bitter end.
I just have to find my targets first.
It's surprisingly difficult.
Konoha is a small village; how many places are there to look? Not many, but there seems to be a lot more when you're actually trying to find a particular someone – or someones.
They are together.
Everyone is talking about it.
Gossip, I suppose, can't be helped. The guy is, after all, infamous in his own right and gossiping comes with the territory. Who he is, what he's done, the possibilities of what he might yet do…rumors, truths. It doesn't matter which is real and which isn't because they both continue to circulate like a storm blowing from one country to another, powerful and unstoppable. They follow him wherever he goes, draw all eyes to him though not all of them may be direct. The attention's unshakable and it tends to rub off on whoever might be keeping him company at the time, as well.
Unfortunately, that attention just leads to a wild goose chase.
From one end to the other and back again, I follow the murmurs of their sightings all over town and even beyond. From the entry gates of Konoha to the training grounds on the opposite side. A stop at the bakery at Konoha's north end sends me to the weapon shop on the south, to the bookshop on the east, to the café on west, back to the south end ice cream parlor, past the rocky monument immortalizing the Hokages of past and present, and all the way once again to the general store on the north. And a word from there sends me racing once again back to the south.
It's the poorest excuse of a hunt that I've ever executed. And it only grows my fury at the injustice of it all. It's seething hot, boiling, corrupting.
And I don't give a damn!
Rooftops have the best view and it's from there that I scan below from above while the length of continued search merely causes the rage bubbling inside me to grow and grow like the burgeoning pressure seeking an out from within a covered pot burning on the stove. The swelling tension screams but there's no opening the lid and letting it out until –
I can feel a wide grin stretching my face and, though I have no mirror, I don't think it's very pleasant. It doesn't feel very pleasant. And I can't bring myself to care.
A hidden spot from the main activity of the town, it seems private and intimate and there's no one else around. They're standing next to a small water fountain. Talking, laughing…well, she's the one doing all the talking and laughing as far as I can see, but he remains with her while she does it so that must indicate something. And the distance that they are standing apart from each other is incriminatingly close.
Then she smiles at him.
She smiles at everyone, I know. It's part of her charm, her friendly nature. But did she really have to smile at him?
It's the last straw and my body moves even before my mind thinks of the command. And then I'm falling, hurtling through air with the help of gravity and I can't help but note that his watching eyes are on me before I've even completely removed all physical contact between me and the hard tiles of the roof. That silently watching gaze is on me from flight to fall to final landing, unwavering and waiting with a predatory patience.
It's only fair, I imagine, for I was watching long before he.
His inattentiveness, if that's what it was for it's hard to tell anything for certain with him, towards my betraying beloved finally alerts her and twin emeralds of sparkling green turn my way.
Now she notices me!
Because of him!
Rage surges, leaves me incoherent; I've never felt anything like it before. Unsure what to do, there'd been no real plan other than to find them, I just stare at them mutely while twisting tumultuous ropes of fury continue tumbling inside of me.
As the silence stretches, her lovely treacherous smile fades. She smiles at him but she looks at me and her smile fades.
"What's wrong?" she asks, radiating concern and innocence.
The words practically choke me, "What's wrong? How can you ask that – as if you don't know!"
Her eyes widen. "Know what?"
I can't believe her gall, prolonging such a fruitless charade even when she's been found out. The betrayal I feel deepens as my mood darkens even more, spiraling into a burning churning abyss that swells hotter and blacker with her every word of continuing profession of innocence until it feels like just too much to take.
"Really, what's going on? Why are you upset? Is it-"
"Because you're seeing Gaara!"
I scream it, a frustrated cry bursting out of its own accord. It reverberates through my body, feeling shockingly loud, and seems to echo off the buildings and up and down the streets.
The ensuing silence is long.
She's the first to blink. Actually, she's the only one to blink for if he ever has, I certainly can't tell and don't care to look at his eyes long enough to even try. Though I can't be completely sure, for I've never been good at reading him with his lack of expressions, I think I've surprised them both.
My lovely beautiful betraying blossom clears her throat and smiles, puzzled and uncomprehending and uncertain. And a bit wary…of me.
"Lee-kun, he's right here. Standing next to me. Of course I can see him."
That wasn't what I meant and I can only weep at her innocence, her pristine perfection, and the sudden dawning blinding realization of just how terribly and horribly wrong I've been. Her words, her expression, tell me everything for, ninja though she may be, she's still Sakura and Sakura is unable to tell a falsehood when it pertains to something like this.
Why, oh, why hadn't I seen it before?
I shouldn't have doubted her. How could I have ever, ever doubted her?
Oh, silly, silly me.
Of course she couldn't be seeing him of all people! Of course the few missions she'd been assigned with him to further alliances between Leaf and Sand were just missions, the occasional training bouts were just training, and the requests by the Fifth Hokage to escort him around Konoha whenever he was sent in courier role by Sand really were requests! Of course she couldn't betray her loyalty with another man, and one from a traitorous other country no less! Of course she couldn't shower her wondrous affections on anyone else when all of Konoha knew that she was meant for Uchi-
"Oh, my sweet lovely! I'm sorry for misjudging you! And TenTen- Well, I should have known better than to listen to her when it comes things like this. Just look at how her results with Neji have been! I must beg you to find it within your heart to forgive me!"
"Lee-kun, forgive you for what? And what does TenTen have to do with this…whatever this is?"
As I pause for breath, for running at top speed while searching for them all over Konoha really had given me a bit of a hard time when they kept moving, I see her flick a glance at her silent companion. It's an uncomfortable realization to note that his gaze has been trained on me ever since I literally dropped onto the scene while I, in my debilitating fixation on my blossom, had temporarily forgotten about his presence. That's a dangerous mistake but it's fairly obvious to me that he doesn't see me as a threat of any sort and the moment she casts her gaze towards him, as if feeling her eyes upon him, he immediately turns his to hers and a message seems to pass between them in a speechless communication.
It bothers me.
So does the way their coloring seems to complement each other as-
Don't think about that. After all, there's nothing between them. Nothing. That's right. There isn't, there couldn't, and I was an idiot to believe for a moment that there ever was. How can there?
She belongs to me.
Full confidence is restored as I stare at the interplay between the objects under my observation. Whatever message is passed between them, wordless words spoken through their gazes, I don't know. It's only a second at most that it lasts and then, almost as one, they both break at the same time and return their regard to me. Hers is filled with visible questions while his remains as unreadable and unfathomable as it has ever been for me.
Only an instant that moment took and I try to shrug it off. It's small, a tiny stolen piece in time, and there are more important things to worry about such as ingratiating myself back into my beloved blossom's good graces.
"I'm so very sorry, my love! I shouldn't have listened to those rumors, believed in such lies when I know in my deepest of hearts that you'd never speak an untruth to me. Oh, please!" I bow down low, knees to the earth and forehead pressed to the ground. "Please, forgive me!"
"What rumors? What lies? Lee-kun, what the heck are you talking about!"
"It's amazing you haven't heard." I smile at her easily now and her obvious innocent exasperation. My delicate sweet flower. "Nearly everyone in town claims it's the truth."
"What truth exactly?"
"Well, that you're seeing – as in dating," I gesture to the one in question, "him."
Rapid blinking ensues. I think it's adorable.
"Really? The town and TenTen too?"
Gorgeous green eyes widen impossibly and then they dig into my own for the truth. They find it soon for it is no joke that I try to play and, now that the truth is finally revealed to me, I am a joyous open book from which she can quench her curiosity whenever she likes. And I can only continue smiling happily as she shakes her head, perfect pale pink hair flying here and there with the graceful movement, as she exclaims over the ridiculousness of it all.
"But that's just so silly! Honestly, where is everyone coming up with this from? I've never thought that way!" She turned those wide eyes to him. "Did you ever hear about th-?"
For some reason, she breaks off abruptly when she looks at him. It's disturbing to note that it's somehow different from the way she's always looked at him. Different from the way she's always looked at me.
She's never looked at me like that. But she's looking at him like that. And he…
He's looking back.
There's something somehow different in that look. Different from the way he's always looked at her. Disturbingly different. That I could notice a little nuance such as that told me that, somehow and somewhere, I'd been paying more attention to him than I would have originally thought. But what that 'different' thing is that lies in that look, I can't say. I don't know.
But I do know that something has somehow…changed.
I don't like it.
"Um, well. Er…"
Sakura stutters. It seems that it has been a very long, long time to me since I last heard her stutter. But she stutters now as her gaze breaks away from his and flickers everywhere but at him, though his never wavers from her. Her face is as pink as her hair and the sight makes a place in my chest draw tight as she fidgets and shuffles uncharacteristically, her voice a tad too choked and breathless while agitated babbling tumbles from pale lips glistening with the sheen of a nervous lick.
And his eyes are on her through it all.
I feel sick.
"L-Lee-kun, it's not- I mean, I'm not- I haven't-"
She breaks off, flickering eyes looking dazed and flustered and panicked. And I should do something. Anything. I should reassure her, comfort her, tell her it will be okay and that there's nothing to worry about, tell her that nothing's changed.
I should. I would.
But I can't.
Not really knowing why, I feel frozen. My body is overtaken with an odd stillness, my mouth seemingly sealed shut, and my eyes fixed and unblinking as a strange ominous heinous horrible something tries to worm its way frightfully and forcibly into my mind.
But I beat it back. I won't let it in.
"I've got to go!"
The sweet dulcet sounds of her voice, tinged with an odd sense of desperation, capture my full attention.
"I just remembered, there's something- That is, I need to- I just have to be someplace else right now! So about those mission specs, Gaa-" The glance she flicks towards the other skitters immediately away as she continued on with her unusual high-speed breathless ramble that leaves no room for a reply, "Uh, we can discuss that later, right? Right. Sorry for the change in plans, but now I just- I need to- I've got to go," she repeated again lamely. "I guess I- I'll see you later, guys!"
It's the only way I can describe it. Without waiting for a reaction from anyone, she's airborne before the last words have even left her lips and faded away to the wind. My last sight of her is of her back and the fluttering of petal pink hair as her form disappears over a nearby rooftop and then she is gone.
The ensuing silence is…disquieting.
I look back at him and see his gaze still trained on the area from where she'd disappeared, where she'd last been seen. It's only a moment, though it feels like so very much longer, and then his black-ringed gaze turns to me, piercing.
I can't help it. I flinch.
His expression is no different from usual, really. An inscrutable mask arranged in unfeeling lines. But there's something in his gaze that I don't believe is completely my imagination, something dark and forbidding and warning and not quite sane. It sends cold chills down my back and a sheen of sweat slicking across my skin. He stares, silently and yet somehow still aggressive, pinning me with a gaze that seems full of crackling intensity and barely leashed violence, holding me trapped without even touching me with flesh or sand or words. He does nothing else.
Then, in a cloud of sand and burst of chakra, he too disappears.
In the distance both far and near, I swear I hear a sound falling in the air. It's the bitter eve of revelation, of everything shattering to tumble down around and over me, broken fragments crashing on the ground.
And I had started the fall.