Author's Notes: Well, in the short time that I've been on here, it seems I've upset quite a few people with my CandCing of their fics. Of my twenty seven reviews, eight people have removed their stories from the site (Was that my fault? Maybe, who cares?) and about six or seven others have flamed me because "I don't have the right to flame (Read: It was constructive critisizm, you big babies) them when I've never written anything myself. So to the hating people out there, here's a quick fic from me. I hope you like it.
The Way Things Are Now
By The Legendary Legacy
Haruno Sakura sat cross-legged on a small, plushy red couch off to the side of an unmarked room, patiently waiting for her turn as she flipped through a small stack of paper, mumbling rather incoherently about crappy spelling.
Huffing loudly, she set the papers down next to her and let her eyes drift around the room, taking in everyone else that was sitting around waiting as well. It felt weird being the only girl there, but she knew that, now more than ever, she'd have to be ready with plenty of moral support.
It was only a few moments longer when a door across the room from where she was sitting opened, and Naruto walked out, head bowed and looking about one nudge away from losing it.
It must have been really bad this time, she thought bitterly. Getting to her feet, the pink-haired powerhouse walked gingerly toward her old teammate.
"Naruto-kun?" she asked softly.
The boy didn't answer, just shook his head and trembled.
Sakura felt her throat tighten, but forced herself to speak firmly. "Need a hug?" she offered, raising her arms toward him.
Naruto lifted his head, letting unshed tears show for everyone in the room to see. With a small sob, he fell into the kunoichi's waiting embrace.
As Sakura gently rocked from side to side in an attempt to calm him, several of the other occupants of the room made their way over.
Kakashi and Iruka both placed a reassuring hand on their pupil's shoulder. "That's it, Naruto. Just let it all out," Kakashi told him.
Everyone was silent for what felt like a very long time before Naruto gained enough composure to speak.
Sakura stroked his hair in a soothing manner. "So, was it...?"
"S-Sasuke," he finished for her.
Kiba and Shino turned to each other, sharing a knowing nod, as did several of the other males in the room.
"Why did things turn out this way, Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked in a voice barely above a whisper. "It wasn't supposed to turn out like this."
"I know, Naruto-kun, I really do."
Lee stepped forward, looking more melancholy than ever before. "Naruto-kun, I also know what you're going through right now. We all do," he added, gesturing to the others, who nodded sadly. "I realize that you've been having it much worse than we have, but just know that in a situation like this, you're not alone."
Naruto sniffed and brushed at his eyes with his palms. "I just...I wish things could go back to the way they were before. I mean, he was my brother, you know? That's what I told him. I'd even be happy if he were still trying to kill me. I still remember that Chidori he gave me right through my chest." He went silent, apparently lost deep within his own memories. "I'd go back to those times in a heartbeat if it meant not having to go through any of this anymore."
"I'm sure we all do, Naruto," Neji commented. "Unfortunately, it's like I've always said: This is fate. And you just can't escape fate, especially not in this case."
Naruto hung his head again, wishing he could argue with him, but knowing he couldn't. There just wasn't a way out anymore.
Sakura's heart broke for what must have been the thousandth time. Seeing her friend and teammate in such a state was too much. Then she brightened a little. She moved back and grabbed the top sheet of the stack of papers.
"Hey Naruto-kun, look at this," she said, handing the sheet to him. She watched his reaction as he read the first few lines, filling with relief as a small grin appeared on his face.
"See?" she asked. "Things will get better, I promise. You and me can do this one later, okay? Maybe it'll help get your mind off of everything."
Naruto wiped his eyes again before giving her his patented fox grin. "Thanks Sakura-chan. You're the best."
At that moment, the door opened again and a young woman in a white suit carrying a clip board walked in.
"Excuse me everyone," she announced. "Two more spots have opened. We need Hatake Kakashi and Maito Gai for the first, and Uzumaki Naruto and Aburame Shino for the second."
Kakashi and Gai remained silent and slowly walked through the door, both already having given into their fates long ago. Naruto, on the other hand, looked ready to cry again.
"Me and Shino!" he sputtered. "But we hardly even-!" He stopped upon feeling a new hand on his shoulder, and turned to see the beetle master standing next to him.
"Let's just get this over with, okay?"
Naruto turned back to Sakura, who could do no more than shrug. Dejectedly, he allowed Shino to lead him back into the room. Just as they disappeared inside, Sasuke came through the other way, red-eyed and stone-faced. Before taking three steps he found himself trapped in the arms of Sakura, who was now sobbing into his chest.
"Why does it always have to be this way, Sasuke-kun?" she cried.
Sasuke was silent for a moment. Slowly, he reached up and returned the hug to his teammate.
"Fangirls, Sakura-chan," he whispered, saying the word as though it were a curse. "Fangirls."
A/N: And that's all I've got to say about that. If I somehow offended someone, please grow up. Of course, since this is my first fic, please let me know what you thought. Liked, disliked, you can even flame me if you choose to be so childish.
And for the love of God, don't tell me to update. This is a one-shot and shall remain that way. If, however,you have suggestions for other parody/mock stories of this nature that you're too lazy to write yourself, feel free to tell me about them and I might write them if I feel up to it.
Thank you, and good day.