Title: Ballerine
Author: desolate butterfly
Genre: AU, romance, angst
Pairings: SasuSaku, NaruSaku, NaruSasu, NaruSakuSasu
Rating: Pg - 13
Summary: Sakura is tired of being the center that Sasuke and Naruto dance around.


Sakura rests a hand on the barre and begins the paces of her warm-up.

Demi plié in first. Grand plié. Pointe tendue.

Across the room, Sasuke is practicing his turns, rolling them one after the other in quick succession, so fast that it makes Sakura dizzy to look at him. He never loses his balance. He never twists his body out of alignment. Technically, Sasuke is perfect. He dances with a precision and focus that is unmatched.

Cambré. Battement glissé. Grand battement.

Over in the corner, the chorus girls giggle and stare at Sasuke's tightly controlled movements, at his strong legs, at the mound between those legs, made obvious by his costume. Sakura blushes and turns her attention back to her exercises, feeling flustered for Sasuke, who never notices the attention he receive from the silly girls at the sidelines.

Sasuke never notices anything. Sakura sometimes wonders if Sasuke would even remember her name if not for the fact that she has somehow wormed her way into the lead role this year and therefore earns the honour of dancing with him. She bends and her fingers brush the ground before sweeping back up into an arabesque.


Bursting through the door is Naruto, late again and all apologies. Sakura watches him hastily strip off his sweater and leg warmers and toss Kakashi a sheepish grin before loudly accusing Sasuke of hogging the mirror. Sasuke scowls but moves over enough that Naruto doesn't smack him in the face as he advances through his jumps.

Naruto's jetés are the highest Sakura has ever seen—higher, even, than the jumps Sasuke is able to manage. Technically the blond falls short of his darker counterpoint, but he makes up for that lack of refinement in energy and expression. Kakashi moves to correct the line of Sasuke's shoulders during a glissande and Naruto notices Sakura watching.

He winks at her, and she turns her eyes away quickly.

Pas de cheval. Pointe tendue. Rond de jambe.

On Saturdays and Mondays, Sakura gets to dance with Sasuke. The entire time his hands encircle her waist Sakura feels nervous and elated and victorious all at once. She wonders whether or not Sasuke can feel her trembling underneath his palms when he lifts her smoothly from the ground and sets her back down.

One night, after a particularly gruelling session, Sakura catches Sasuke by the hand and presses her lips to his. She has to stand on pointe to reach his mouth, and it's a little embarrassing how long it takes before Sasuke rests a cautious hand on the curve of her spine and returns the kiss.

After that, it becomes routine to kiss for a few, brief minutes after practice like guilty school children waiting for the bell to ring. Sasuke's kisses are clumsy and just a little rough, but Sakura enjoys them, even if she ends up making the first move more than half the time.

Outside of practice, Sasuke is as cold and aloof as ever, and Sakura figures that he is letting her kiss him because it dispels certain rumours that male dancers always have to contend with, even in this day and age. She can't really bring herself to let it bother her all that much, when Sasuke's body leans into hers, and she can mould her palms into the broadness of his shoulders.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, Sakura dances with Naruto. She doesn't feel the same butterflies in her stomach when he lifts her, but his hands are always warm and she never fears he will drop her, even during the most harrowing throws and dips.

Sakura doesn't know if she approves of Naruto, since he has taken to making comments and jokes in her ear while they dance, causing her to smile or laugh in the most inappropriate moments. She's been scolded by Kakashi more than once about controlling her expressions to suite the dance, while Naruto innocently stood by.

Still, there's something compelling about the boy, and the way he throws himself into the dance as if there's never been anything else but the movement of his body—the movement of his partner's body against his. When he focuses—really focuses—on her, Sakura feels as if she is the only woman in the universe. It's an addictive feeling.

This year's production is Swan Lake. Sakura dances the lead, but is painfully aware of the fact that Sasuke and Naruto outshine her in every way. She is just there because Kakashi needs a pretty bauble for the boys to whirl between them, and Sakura fills the part well enough.

There are many different endings to Swan Lake. Kakashi's dance troupe only performs the ones that end in death.

Some nights, Sasuke dies. Some nights, Naruto dies. Sakura dies every night, because the ballet is never kind to women.

Pas de deux.

After the final curtain, it's time for the cast party. Sakura drinks far too much champagne and stumbles into Sasuke's dressing room just in time to see Naruto push him back against the wall and take his mouth in a heated slide of tongue against tongue. They do not hear her startled gasp, or the muffled noise of the door when she slides it shut again. She's not surprised at all. When Naruto focuses on you, you're the only person in the world.

The next week they begin practice for Romeo and Juliet. Sakura let's Naruto's hands linger a bit too long on her hips, and shocks herself by tucking the key to her apartment in his pocket after class.

Tonight, she'll coax Sasuke to her doorstep once more, with gentle kisses and fluttered lashes. Hopefully they won't have to wait too long before Naruto arrives and then the real dance can begin.