-1disclaimer I own nothing

x a x beautiful x let x down x

It was the same old, same old. Wake up. School. Work. Home. Homework. Sleep. Repeat. It's been like that for as long as Haruno Sakura could remember. Friends and parties were occasionally thrown into the mix but just often enough to keep her sane…. But only barely. It was nearing the end, though, this was her final year, her final year and then her life could really begin.

You see Sakura had big plans for her life, which was why her high school life was basically hell. While her friends went out every weekend she stayed home and studied. While her friends took some classes that required minimum to no effort she took things like AP Calculus, and AP Physics, AP Biology, and more. Miss Sakura wanted to become a doctor. Every extra credit counted, every hard earned A brought her closer to her goal.

Only one real problem stood in between Sakura and her life long dream, and that was money. Money, money, money, it seemed to make the world go round. And it was also something the Harunos were in short supply of. It wasn't as though they were poor, oh no, they were just below middle class. They had enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table but not a whole lot extra. Especially since her father died some years back. Nami Haruno had to get a job, and once Sakura came of age she took one too. Let's just say college fund was never part of their vocabulary.

That's why she worked so hard for a scholarship, a one way ticket out of her hometown called Konoha. A ticket to a better life.

Too bad all of her hard work was about to come crashing back down around her.

x a x beautiful x let x down x

"Morning Sakura-chan!" Came a booming voice, from a booming blonde as she slammed her locket door shut. She managed a smile for her best friend; no he was more than that. He was like a brother she never had. The two of them had known each other since grade school - more like they were stuck in the same classes together. (Something he enjoyed more than she did.) Though once she got to about thirteen she realized that he was a better friend, and a better person than she had ever given him credit for. It was then a friendship was able to bloom and grow.

"Mornin' Naruto." Came her soft reply, followed by a soft grunt as she balanced three text books in her arms. Naruto instantly reached for, and scooped two text books from her. "Thanks." She had learned that protesting was useless.

"Geez, Sakura-chan." It was the same thing he said every time he took her books from her.

"I know, I know." Was her common reply. "But at least school is almost over."

"Only 23 more days." Sadness replaced the usual cheer he once held for the ending of school. Realization that high school would really be over was staring to sink in. Sakura wrapped an arm around his shoulders in a small embrace. "Yeah I know." Her voice was heavy with unspoken words and fears as well. In a moment the books shifted in his arms and his now free arm snaked around her waist. The two of them walked quietly down the hall, lost in the moment knowing that their childhood was officially over, and that life as they knew it would be changing.

"Oh forehead girl!"

The moment was lost, shattered, but neither let go of each other for a long second. Finally Naruto did, leaned in and pecked her on the cheek. "I have to get to class." He handed her, her books back and was gone.

"Yes Ino?" She turned to face another blonde, only this one was ten kinds of beautiful. With long, long legs, and just as long golden locks framing her big blue eyes that could put angels to shame. Not to mention the perfect figure, and other large assets.

"I need your help." She started, falling in sync her, another friend from grade school. Sakura raised brow and hummed a small 'Mhmm.' to her know she was listening. "This math is ridiculous! I don't know why we need it! Ugh. I'm a model, I don't need to know if I start walking at one end of the runway and another model starts walking at the other end of the runway, but she's in stilettos which model will get to the middle first. Or how much space my original designer skirt will take up when I twirl so many inches per second and an angle forty-five degrees from my knee." She took a breath, "I need to know how to do is walk, turn, and look good."

Sakura smiled, this was, basically, an every day rant with Ino- the model. Sakura had no doubt that she wouldn't be able to get what her heart desired, and if that didn't work out well Ino had money. She frowned at the thought, hating herself for thinking like that. Sakura hated it when jealous reared its ugly green head. Ino was smart, and worked heard for her good grades, and her parents worked hard for the money they had in the bank…. And well Ino was just blessed with amazing genes. Sakura pushed the green monster away as she slipped into class Ino following.

Sakura weaved her way towards the middle of the room and plopped down in her seat. Ino pulled her desk closer, ready for Sakura to help her. They had twenty minutes before homeroom ended and they had to part and go their separate ways. The two girls put their heads together and Sakura began to explain the magic of triangles.

x a x beautiful x let x down x

Five periods later the bell rang and Sakura made her way to lunch. She moved swiftly to her table, sliding in right next to Naruto who was absorbed in a conversation with both Ino, and a blushing Hinata about the good points and the bad points of friends with benefits. She went unnoticed, by the three of them but not by a certain owner of glittering dark eyes who was on her other side. Kiba and Shino arrived shortly after her, Kiba all red in the face (Shino was kind of pink around the cheeks too) and they sat down by Hinata, Kiba next to her and Shino next to him. Shikamaru came in to join them after the late bell rung, quietly taking the seat next to Ino.

"Amazing how we can all come from gym and you're still here later than both me and Shino by hours." Kiba remarked dryly towards Shika, who in turned just shrugged and muttered something about troublesome locker combinations.

Sakura looked around her at all of her friends, they had all known each other since grade school and had basically grown up together, and grew together. Even Sasuke sat closer to them as the years flew by, he was close enough to Sakura that she could just reach and touch him if she wanted too.

Sasuke had always been some kind of a loner, he like Naruto had a tragic past. They were both orphans, but unlike Naruto he was alone. Naruto's father died before he was even born killed in the line of duty, he was a firefighter, and his mother died during childbirth. For a quite some time he was bumped around from foster home to foster home until his mother's brother, Iruka, showed up to claim him.

Sasuke's family is also dead, but his older brother, the prodigy of all prodigies, killed them all. Everyone but Sasuke. Itachi, his brother, went crazy -psycho- they say and just snapped. Killing everyone and everything living in the Uchiha mansion before turning the gun on himself. Sasuke was at school and came home to find everyone dead, and his older brother pressing a gun to his head. Itachi screamed at Sasuke to run, and run the little seven year old boy did. He ran right out of the house just as the gun shot rang through the air.

He was not as lucky as Naruto, he had no family that could (or would) take him in, but he did have a lot of money, and a butler who took care of him (barely) until he was thirteen. And now he lived all alone, and was in most of Sakura's classes. He, too, wanted to become a doctor more of a psychologist then a medicine doctor like her. It still baffled her as to how someone like Sasuke -so seemingly uncaring- would actually sit down and try to help someone with their problems.

Speaking of which…

"Hey Sasuke-kun," Sakura said turning to her left where one Uchiha Sasuke sat. He tilted his head just enough that one onyx eye shone from beneath equally dark hair. "Did you happen to understand number twenty-eight on the Calculus homework?"

He turned toward her more, and scooted over a bit (not that there wasn't already enough room between the two of them) which meant he was willing to help her. She flashed him a smile and slide over so that their thighs were barely touching. She opened her notebook exposing her very tiny and very neat handwriting and of course dreaded problem number twenty-eight.

"You should have been able to get this, Sakura. It's only review."

She felt her face go flush, and kept her eyes on the paper as his eyes swept her face. Sakura tucked a few strands of her strawberry blonde hair behind her ear, and sighed quietly lifting her face. "I know, I know. I should know this, but I just got confused."

Which was only mostly true, she did get confused when she attempted to do this problem but she also understood it eventually and was able to get an answer. But sometimes she found herself asking Sasuke-kun for help even when she didn't always need it. It was just a way to get closer to him, a way to show him he was needed in this world, a small way to show him that she cared about him, and trusted him. Her face was still pink as her eyes mixed with his dark ones.

After a long second Sakura's gaze flickered to Ino, who wasn't even looking towards them. Instead her sky eyes were entranced with another, dark eyed, dark haired, genius. She couldn't help but check sometimes, because there was a time when Ino and her weren't friends because of the man next to her. Sasuke was the heart throb of the school, and had been ever since they were all young. It never seemed to matter that the Uchiha had a heart of ice all the girls sill 'loved' him anyway.

Sakura and Ino were no exception and she ended their friendship because of it. She was sick of living in her shadow and wanted Sasuke to notice her opposed to Ino or anyone else. That was back when she was just about ten, or eleven. It took them four years to come to their senses and become friends again. That and Ino finally grew out of her crush on Sasuke, she still thought he was fine as hell but he just wasn't worth her time, or effort she told Sakura once. Unlike Ino, Sakura was still waiting to get over Sasuke, knowing full well that he would never love her back.

"Oh okay, I get it now." Sakura smiled, "Thanks." He put his pen down; his rough, slanted, bold lettering covered her paper standing out like a sore thumb. She looked up at him and again their eyes locked. There gaze lingered on each other and a foreign - yet oddly comfortable - feeling danced between them. Sasuke cleared his throat trying to break whatever connection was flowing between them, and he even went as far as to open his mouth to say something, but what he was going to say never happened.

Because Sakura was more or less slammed into him, well actually she was bumped which caused her to fall forward, making her end up in his arms. Talk about awkward, they were a small mess of arms and hands, before she roughly pushed herself off of his chest, face red, and ready to hit the blonde who had caused all this. Naruto was still hanging on Sakura, as if nothing had happened, his chin rested on her shoulder, and one arm was slung over the other.

"Nice going, dobe." Came Sasuke's deep voice, his face, Sakura noticed, was slightly pink as well. She of course said nothing, instead she settled for shaking her head lightly hitting Naruto in the face with her hair in the process. He ignored both of them, and just smiled. "Saaaakkkurraaa-cchhhaaaan." He dragged out her name, affectionally, "Come to my party tonight."

"Oh, teme!" He leaned forward, once again pushing Sakura towards Sasuke to shove his shoulder. "You're invited too."


"Oh. Come. On. We all know you have nothing else to do."


"Why not?"

"Because it's your party, dobe."

"Fuck you, teme."

"You wish."

"Hahaha, in your dreams. But seriously. Be there nine o'clock, my place."

Sasuke just grumbled in response, but didn't say 'No' again. The Uchiha would never admit it but Naruto was the closest thing he had to a best friend, and it might always not seem that way but the two cared about each other. Moving on, Naruto got off of Sakura turning to face her.

"So, you are coming right?"

"Oh… I don't know…"

"Come on! You missed my last," He counted briefly on his fingers, "five parties! Pretty pleeassseeee?"

"He's right forehead girl, you never get out."

"Yeah, Sakura, your studies are important, but getting out is too," added Hinata.

"Fine, fine I'll come. I don't have work tonight, or tomorrow. So sure. Count me in."

Everyone at the table sent her a smile, and she returned it back. A party was just what she needed.

x a x beautiful x let x down x

"Mom? I'm home." Sakura called as she closed the door behind her. She stopped to remove her shoes, and let her bag slide to the floor off her back. She grabbed the small pile of mail by the door, thumbing through it as she headed towards the kitchen. By the smells she could tell her mother was home and was cooking. "Baking, Ma? What's the occasion?" Her smile soon faded once she finished looking through the mail. Sighing, heavily, she walked towards the trash can to throw out the junk mail. It seemed as though she would be stuck in Konoha forever…

"Hello sweetheart." Her mother greeted her happily, "I want you to meet someone very important…"

"What's this?" Sakura questioned, cutting her mother off and picking up a torn piece of paper from the floor.

"Oh it's nothing, honey. Come here, I want you to meet someone."

Her mother walked towards her, and the sound of chair legs scratching against the floor made her look up. Both her eyebrows went up in confusion. He was tall, with a mass of dark locks, tiny dark eyes, and a small patch of hair on his chin. He had that whole 'bad boy'/'rebel' thing going on which would normally drive any girl wild. All and all he was pretty good looking, someone Sakura would consider dating, if she did date that is. Or had a heart to give away.

"Hagane Kotetsu." Kotetsu said smiling, and bowing before stepping around the table and closer to her. Sakura bowed in response, still confused as to why this man was in her kitchen he wasn't someone from school he looked too old, and there was no way he was here for her mother. But that wasn't the only thing bothering her, the tiny corner of the paper was still on her mind, she was still staring at it trying to figure out what it was. Something about her mother felt out of place and something about the piece of paper felt all too familiar. There was three letters on the paper 'Osw'; she had seen those three letters before she just couldn't figure out where.

"Sakura. Sakura honey, are you listening?"


Her mother just sighed and shook her head, but Kotestsu chuckled. Turning to her mother he said, "You're right. She is adorable." He flashed Nami a smile, but Sakura still wasn't paying attention.

Sakura blinked at her mother, but then it hit her. Osw where the first three letters to Oswego, the college she wanted to go to. Clarity spread over her face, only to be pushed away by confusion again. "Mom, what is this?" Her look was pointed, her voice was demanding and not questioning.

"Honey, it's trash just throw it away."

"No, Mom it's from Oswego."

It was easy to tell this was not what Nami wanted to deal with; she put her fingers to her forehead and sighed. Like a mother would do with a child, a little naïve child who just didn't understand.

"What have I told you about that place?"

".. Mom you have got to be kidding me."

"I've told you to forget about it, told you that it was pointless."

"But Mom, if I could get a scholarship I can go…"

"Sakura, honey… I told you to forget about college."

"But Mom a scholarship means you don't have to pay anything! It won't cost us a single dime!"

"Sakura, I told you a job would only be temporary for you. I told you I'd find a way to support you, and you'd never have to work."

Nami hated how her daughter had to take a job to help pay for the bills, and she always swore she would make sure her daughter would have a better life. A secure and stable life. A life where she would never have to ask her kids for help like she had to ask Sakura.

She just blinked. "Mom do you think that's what college is for? Mom I want to become a doctor, and not for the money. Sure money is nice, but I want to be a doctor so that I can help people."

"Sakura, just drop the college thing. Women belong at home, raising kids, and cleaning. Not out in the world… working."

Sakura's jaw just dropped, she knew her mother was old fashioned but she never thought she was this old fashioned. She had always known her mother hated working and hated it even more when Sakura got a job to help pay for the bills but she thought it was just because she felt like she wasn't being a good mother. Not because she didn't think it was a women's place not to work.

"Now, if you'd please pay attention, dear I have something very important to tell you."

She turned towards Kotestsu, and placed a hand on his arm. "Kotestsu here is your fiancé."

Sakura's jaw hit the floor, flabbergasted didn't even cover what she was feeling, after a good long minute she shut her mouth and was able to string her thoughts together enough to make barely coherent sentence.

"M-m-my… what?"

"You're fiancé honey. He's going to be your husband."

"Hahaha. Funny. Now where's the camera?"

"… This isn't a joke, sweetheart. You're going to marry Kotestsu here, and live a happy life."


"Have kids, and raise me some amazing grandchildren."

"…." Sakura pinched herself, one, twice, three times to see if she would wake up.

"The wedding's in three days."

"…." More silence, as the look of dread grew on her face.

"But what about my life? My career? What about everything I've worked for."

Nami just laughed softly, and put a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "Honey, your life is now a part of Kotestsu's, and you won't even think about a career once you have little ones running around.

"But… But… Mom."

"No buts honey, you're getting married and that's final."

Her mother turned from Sakura, and lead Kotestsu back to the table leaving Sakura to just stand there still in shock. Her mother brought her new son-in-law some more tea and some freshly backed cookies. After her mother settled down, she looked towards Sakura.

"Sakura, come sit down."

"..No." She whispered.

"What was that?"

"..No.." She spoke slightly louder.

"Sakura, come site down next to your fiancé."

"No, no, no, NO!" Her voice grew with every 'No' until she was nearly screaming.

Her mother was now standing. "Don't you use that tone with me. You will sit down, and behave like a normal human being."

She cackled, "Normal? You want me to be normal? You just told me I was getting married in three days and everything that I have ever worked for was for nothing. Nothing."

"No, no it wasn't for nothing. You got the scholarship," She shrugged, sitting back down. "It was just unnecessary for you to go to college."

"…." Her mother went back to talking with Kotestsu, while Sakura just stool there in shock. "…what?" She finally uttered.

"Oh. Hmm? Yeah, you got the scholarship. The notice came this morning."

Sakura's gaze flickered to the trash can, to the piece of paper in her hand, and then back to her mother. She darted to the trash, and nearly knocked it over, ripping through it looking for the letter. After a few moments she was clutching it in her hands, and was skimming it over.

"SAKURA! This is no way to behave!"

"Behave? You're telling me to behave?"

"Yes I am still your mother, and you will do as I say. Now apologize to Kotestsu." Nami turned to the man, "She isn't normally like this. It must me all the news, it's got her frazzled." He nodded, and smiled toward Nami and then Sakura. She shot him a look of disgust in return, and turned to walk out of the kitchen.

"Get back in here, little missy."

She stopped, but only turned to face her mother. "No."

"Get in here right this instant."


"I am your mother. I know what is best for you. I understand you're in shock but deep down inside you know this is what you want."

"… I want to be a doctor."

"No you don't."

"Yes I do."

"Sakura, listen to me I am your mother. I know what is best for you. I know what you want."

"I. Want. To. Be. A. Doctor. Not a housewife."

"You don't know what you want. You're only seventeen. A silly little teenager, you know


"Mom you were married, and pregnant with me when you where just seventeen, and I am almost eighteen. I think I know what I want."

"Honey, just come back inside and talk about this like an adult."

"No, I am a silly little teenager, remember?"

"Sakura, don't give me sass."

She knew this was going to go nowhere, her mother was as dense as lead, there was no way to win with the woman. The shock finally was beginning to wear off, and the just how screwed she was finally beginning to sink in completely. She swallowed back her tears, and took a deep breath. "I have to get out of here." Her voice was barely audible; she bowed to Kotestsu, "Now if you'll excuse me I have some where to go."

She ran from the house, but not before missing the wave and kiss Kotestsu sent her way. Her mother chased after her, calling out behind her how she knew what was best for her daughter, and how she would thank her one day. That and to be mindful of her curfew, and that they would talk more in the morning. Her mother lingered in the doorway, watching her daughter bolt down the road, and slip between the trees at the end of the road. Nami shook her head and headed back towards the table. "She'll come around soon, Kotestsu I promise. She'll understand what I am doing is best for her." Kotestsu nodded, and then added, "Besides all of her stuff is here she'll have to come back eventually." He smiled, and then laughed Nami soon joined in agreeing with him.

Sakura on the other hand stumbled through the trees as tears ruined her vision; the quickest way to Ino's was through the woods.

x a x beautiful x let x down x

author's note So what do you guys all think? I don't really like the ending, but oh well. You can also thank Sara ( NimeReak) for this; she made my muse come back.

Anyway, review to let me know what you think.