Author's Note: Ahahaha, I should be working on LC, IaD, and TSG right now. -retarded- SasuNaru fans, I'm so sorry! I'll get back to my usual writing ASAP!

Anyhow, because I do think that the pairing bears validity, I wanted to try writing a SasuSaku. (I think I failed miserably.) It's set sometime between the Wave Country arc and when Sasuke leaves, but other than that, the timing's very vague. As is the way it's written. It being Sasuke's POV, I wanted to write it kinda the way Sasuke might think. Kinda emo and simplistic, you know? So I purposely left a few little things out. Shouldn't affect the story at all. Anyway, enough of my blabbering.

Pairings: Sasuke x Sakura

Warnings: None, really. One or two curse words.

Disclaimer: Hoska is not huzzah with the Naruto-ownage.


She's so fragile. Thin and pretty, with small ankles and wide eyes, green like the leaves of a sapling's first spring. Saying that she's new to this world, preciously naïve. Pale skin, pink hair, the epitome of feminine. Even her name – Sakura – implies delicacy. Almost frailty.

She's so emotional. Smiles and frowns come easily and naturally to her. She shows happiness, sadness, anger, fear; all when each is appropriate. It seems even that she can't hide what she feels, more often than not. She becomes easy to read, like a children's storybook.

She's such a nuisance. Selfish and immature, with idealistic notions of romance and heroism and politics always brewing in her mind. Immesurably brilliant, but unable to use her knowledge when her life is on the line. Unable to protect herself when she's in danger.

I've never really gotten to know anyone like her, before.

The members of my family were all strong, independent people. Even my mother – with all her kindness and sincerity– was a great woman, a leader. A matriarch. Classy, dangerous, complex.

Casual, open, simple. Her unguarded attitude makes her seem too inviting. Like a moving target. I've more than once found myself telling her more than I'd ever meant to. More than she needs to know about me, more than she can handle, more than what's safe for her. Safe for me.

"What...? What happened to you?" She says with concern flowing through her face. She's asked me this before, but I catch myself every time I nearly tell her. Something so painful – she doesn't need to know.

"You don't need to know." It comes out more caustically than I thought it would, but I don't bother amending it. Really, it's probably better this way.

A look of vague dejection crosses her face, but she carefully smothers it before it can be called offensive. It's obvious that she's feeling hurt by my words. I wonder when she'll be hurt enough to get angry, to demand answers. Or perhaps she's too sensitive even for that?

"Well... when will you tell me?"

She's begun to blush. I don't usually lie to people, unless it's either for a mission or about how I am. I don't know what to say to her.

I go for 'vague and noncommital'. "I don't know."

She ducks her head to stare at her feet silently. After a moment, she begins shifting her toes, probably just noticing that her nails have become chipped. She really has been worried about me.

I look toward Naruto. He's alone again, training by himself not too far away. Yelling some creative expletive that makes no sense, but packs a lot of frustration. The tree trunk he's been sparring with has taken a lot of damage, and I watch as it loses another fleck of bark. Another kick, another fleck of bark. Oh well, it's got plenty to spare.

The problem is that there's only a little more on his than there is on the one I was practicing with earlier.

I should go fight with him, inform him that real enemies will be moving. We'll fight and I'll remain on top.

Sakura grabs my hand as I turn to leave.

This is a bold move for her. I imagine she's debating with herself whether or not she can back up such imposing actions. She'll probably say,


and I'll say,

"What do you want?"

After this, I'd guessed she'd back down, but she's deviating today. It seems she's really thinking about the way I worded my reply, contemplating her own answer. She is very smart. I have no doubt that if she were half as manipulative as she is intelligent, she could get anything she wanted. Anything in the world.

"I want," she begins, but pauses, apparently second-guessing herself. A rather determined expression floods her features. She looks prettier this way, with her brow a little furrowed and her lips pressed together, a fire in her eyes that I usually only see in Naruto's. And I know that in this moment she's not so breakable. "I want you to trust me. I want you to tell me. I want," another pause, but not as shaky as usual, "you to stay with me."

She knows that I know what she means, so she'll wait for me to respond. She is very smart.

I look back to Naruto. He curses again, but hasn't stopped. He doesn't seem to have been paying attention, but he isn't like Sakura. He's a master of deception. There's more lurking beneath his façade than there is life beneath the surface of the ocean. Of that, at least, I'm sure. It's probably more than he can handle. He's a ticking time bomb. He's just like me.

I shouldn't tell Sakura.

"You've heard of the Uchiha massacre, I assume." I say quietly, turning my head.

She nods. "But only that there was one. I was never told anything about it."

This is quite expected. The details of my clan's abrupt extinction were released to very few, and most children knew nothing of it. For a few moments, I consider how to get to the point. I decide that the blunt way is often best and easily the one she's most familiar with coming from me. "My entire family was annihilated. In one afternoon."

She gasps, and lifts a slender hand to cover her mouth. She'd probably thought that it was only a few people, and that my house had been safe. That I still had people hidden away within the confines of the Uchiha estate.

To my surprise, she slowly relaxes. She looks for something to do with her hands, and ends up clasping them together. "Do you... know who did it? How did you survive?"

"It was," and now I pause. I hadn't planned to get this far. The only person that I'd ever told was Naruto, and that was during the just-before-death bare-all drunkenness that I went through in Wave Country. He might not have even known what I was talking about. But here I'm healthy, and Sakura is waiting. "My brother. He told me that I wasn't worth killing."

Her eyes widen and tear up a little, and she wrings her hands like she's drying them on a thin towel.

She's handling the news very maturely, really. Better than most of the adults who were told just after it happened. Maybe it's because the Uchiha were so well-known at the time; many people knew them, and the shock of having them all disappear suddenly perhaps added to the effect. For Sakura, however, I'm the only Uchiha that she's ever known. The only Uchiha that's ever been.

She seems to have some kind of epiphany. It could be any number of things. Or, knowing her, a whole lot of things. And then–there it is, the Pity.

I can't help raising the edge of my lip in a sneer, so I turn away. Away from that face. "Don't look at me that way," I tell her forcefully.

I can't see her now, but I know she's started crying. I can practically hear the lump in her throat. "I wish I could say something to you, to make it better, to make it go away," she says. Yeah, she's crying, but her words are strong. I feel like a child. "But I know. I know there's nothing. I'm sorry."

All her reactions so far are perfectly natural. For a person twice her age.

She's done well, proven herself tougher than I'd thought she was. I feel like I should give her a reward, but I know that my telling her is reward enough. I turn around anyway.

She's looking at the ground again. Her hands are still clasped together, and she hasn't wiped away her tears. I look to where Naruto had been training. He isn't any longer. Instead, he's just standing with his back turned. He heard everything. I'm not really surprised.

He'll want to spar with me later. It's his way of offering condolences– by making me forget about my past and focus on fighting. By kicking his ass I show him that I appreciate it.

"Now you know why I didn't want to tell you."

She takes a step toward me, but doesn't put any weight on it. She's being cautious. She doesn't want to seem weak, even though we both know she is.

So I go to her instead. It takes me getting very close to her for her to look up at me. Her cheeks are tear-stained and her eyes are swollen from trying not to cry and failing. Her eyelashes are sticking together. Her face is filled with sorrow and laced with shock, and her arms must be frozen.

She looks so young. It makes something deep within me frown. Like I've hurt her without even meaning to. Like I've taken away some of the naïvety that suits her so well. I don't want to take that from her.

I shouldn't have told her. Sakura isn't like Naruto and me. She's a good child who, despite having the intelligence and wisdom to take things in maturely, still has the mentality of a person her age. She's still a child with honest feelings and impressionable thoughts. She's still normal.

Like the way I could've been.

So I guess that's why when I protect her– from danger, from the world, from my past– it's sort of like preserving what I wish I had.

I'm wiping the tears away from her face as gently as I can– though my fingers still feel rough against her skin– and she's finally looking at me familiarly again. With hope, like the pre-teen girl that she should be.

"That's good," I find myself mumbling. "Just like that. Stay this way, okay?" She knows what I'm talking about.

I want to reward this, too, so I bend down just a little way and press my mouth against hers for a long blink. When I stand straight again, I see that her face is red.

"Sasuke," she barely says. I let the hand that had touched her shoulder fall to her wrist. Her heart is racing at a speed that's probably unhealthy. For someone who looks so delicate, she has a very strong heartbeat.

"You should go home," I tell her firmly. "It seems like Naruto is finished, and so am I."

She nods loosely, and I almost expect her to ask me to walk her home, like she usually does. All she does, though, is smile and say, "See you tomorrow, then," before turning and making her way out of the training area. She glances back only once, and I watch her go.

As soon as Sakura is out of sight, I hear the grass rustling from near the trees, and I don't need to turn around to know that Naruto is there waiting for me.

"You ready for this, Sasuke-bastard?" he asks cockily. "I've gotta beat you down for kissing Sakura, you know!"

I smirk and get ready to start appreciating him.


Oops, a dash of Naruto. Mmm, salty.