Fifth time's the charm

"I said I was sorry!"

"Actions speak louder then words. If you were really sorry you wouldn't have done it, again!" Sakura blew a strand of bubble gum hair out of her eyes"

"I'm human. Normal humans make mistakes!" the voice was pleading, and defensive. The face that accompanied it sported huge blue eyes and an impossibly adorable quivering bottom lip. She didn't have the heart to point out that he didn't exactly qualify as a normal human.

"Normal humans learn from their mistakes!" She sighed, exasperation and pain written in bold across her face.

"History repeats itself! You know that!" Sakura hated that he had a point, even a point as small and insignificant as that one was.

"I also know that it doesn't need to! That if maybe we could learn to listen history wouldn't have to repeat itself in order to teach us a lesson!"

"If I promise to never do it again?"

"I'll believe you just as much as I did last time."

"You believed me last time, didn't you?"

"Not a chance."

"I didn't mean to. I love you! I would never do something that I knew would hurt you on purpose, you know that right?"

She sighed again and looked into the eyes that haunted her dreams. "I know" Her voice belied her resignation. She knew that she would never be able to look into that innocent face and say no.

"Thank you! I promise you won't regret taking me back!" the voice had turned from doleful to exuberant in such a short amount of time that it sent her head spinning.

"I didn't say I would take you back." Sakura winced as the hope and happiness on the face in front of her was crushed.

"But…you said…" Sakura was almost positive that there was a film of tears covering the eyes she hadn't been able to say no to for years, they didn't look quite as impossibly blue as they had mere moments ago.

"I said that I knew you wouldn't hurt me on purpose. I didn't say that I forgave you." She crossed her arms and steeled her heart.

"Please, I just need one more chance. One more, I can understand if you'll never trust me again but I need you. Just tell me you'll forgive me. Please" There was a definite plea in the quivering bottom lip.

She sighed, yet again and thought for a moment on what she needed to say, "It was understandable the first time. Even the second, and I let the third and fourth time go too. But this is the fifth time! You wouldn't do that to me five times if you really, truly, wanted me to forgive you. I think you are subconsciously asking me to end this." She made a vague hand gesture meant to encompass him, the room, the everything and watched proudly the way her nails sparkled at the movement, Ino would be proud.

"But I do!" There was steel behind the silky soft voice, he didn't stop to ponder how else that declaration could be taken. "It was an accident. Just like those other, few times were accidents. It was your own fault anyway. You knew what I that I had done it before, and you knew that I would probably do it again, and you left me alone anyway!"

Sakura gasped, any guilt she had been feeling chased away by hot anger. "How dare…" she was cut off before she could finish her sentence.

"I'm sorry Sakura." There was no remorse in his honey-coated voice. "I shouldn't have said that. It was unfair, and not true."

"Your damn right!" But Sakura felt her anger ebbing away, she struggled to hold onto it, but her temper had always been like rapid fire, easy come, and fierce and frightening while it was there, but it departed just as quickly.

"Please! I'll do anything. Just forgive me. You can make me pay! Punish me. I won't complain. I promise I won't say a word!" He was never quiet for more than five minutes, even when he slept, but there was no point in pointing that out either.

"It isn't about making you pay! It's about teaching you a lesson. You can't keep doing that!"

For the first time since they had started talking the other sighed. "I promise you that if you really think that you can't forgive me, if you look me in the eyes right now, and tell me that you want me to leave, then I will, and you'll never have to hear from me again."

Sakura steeled herself to look into the eyes. She was sure that she could resist, just this once. But when she looked into the hopeful eyes she found herself once again unable to say no. "Fine! But if you do it again I swear I won't say yes, again."

"Thank you thank you thank you! You won't regret it." Sakura sighed as she cursed her own weakness, and this man's effect on her.

"What did you learn from this?"

"That you are the best girlfriend ever?" Her lover said hopefully. When Sakura gave him a dry look he corrected himself "That we shouldn't put Sakura's hairspray cans in the oven while it's on. Because they blow up, and ruin the oven and that makes Sakura very angry."

"Very good."

"So do I still have to pay?"

Alexa looked at her beautiful, charred kitchen and linked her arm with her younger twin. "For the oven and the hairspray." She laughed at Naruto's exaggerated wince.

He pulled out his frog wallet and pondered the contents. "How about I treat you to ramen instead?"

"Every meal of every day until we move out of this apartment?" Naruto grinned.

"I don't see a problem with that."

She shook her head and returned his grin. "Of course you don't. Come on then, I'm hungry." Naruto slung his arm around her shoulder casually and pulled her close to his body.

"I really love you, you know?"

She beamed at him. "I love you too Naruto, and you still owe me a new oven."