Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. They belong to a greater person than I. But this plot --clutches-- ish mine.

It came to me late one stormy night, of course. Ignore the cliche. I'll continue if people really like it, but if people don't I'll still do it I guess...just not right away. It's not high on my priority list, what with SDLIN and the Shrine Contest, so if you want to grovel at my feet go ahead, but this won't be updated once a week like my normal fics, so...

Oh, one more thing...please don't insult me by choice of pairing or ask me to pair up so and so at the end, 'cause I won't do it.

Neh, just review please. Oh, and read it, of course.


Naru/Saku and Sasu/Saku


Prologue: Rouge


And we fight together (apart), me and you...but her heart is one and we are two. Who does our angel belong to? Me or you?



Delightfully French in origin.


What she is drowned in right now, so beautifully.

Decorating a being that floats about the tatami floors in a sensual glide of happiness.


Seductively hugs every curve, not too tight to appear raunchy and distasteful, for she would never be anything but perfection to them all; no, it floats and shimmers and shudders over porcelain slender shoulders. Skin is unblemished and untainted, stretched beautifully to move with her figure and positively shines beneath the veil–like shawl that covers those shoulders from cold. They insisted.

They demanded.


Applied on her already flawless visage, a shade, a tint, a highlight to bring out the natural beauty already present. After all, that is what such products are for, she had said many times. Bring out the natural beauty. Something black decorates each tightly curled eyelash, and then the eyes, her eyes, seem to glow. Said eyes are jade, a color that they do not wear, do not see in nature, and really do not ever apply to anything else but her, as if she is the very definition.

She is the definition of a myriad of scattered things, each more palpable and yet truthful than the last.


She stares into the mirror with the unmistakably beaming visage of a girl, young yet feeling older as she applies just a finishing touch. Wanting to begin the night and hopefully end it right, and trying, desperately, to ignore what is happening around her.



It streaks across her round cheekbones like the most faint splash of paint, beginning as something light that is almost invisible, then eventually deepening as the flush creeps up her neck and sends her heartbeat into a twisted dance, held over the fire and writhing as his eyes–


–stare into her with the rawest emotion. She can feel the angry heat, a boiling, clawing hatred originating from the deepest crevasses of his frozen heart. Shaking her head, she sets the rouge down lest her shaking hands let it slip into the sink and spread powder across the marble. It would be a mess.


But we're all a mess...on the inside.


He clutches the doorframe abruptly, calloused fingers gripping so tightly that sharp cracks formed, like twisted spider webs as the noise resounds off the walls of the bathroom.

I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.

She turns slightly, straightens her slender figure and tilts her head at him, smiling.

"Did you come to tell me the time?"

He does not breathe, he does not blink. "Hn." I hate you.

Voice number three, commence.

"Sasuke–teme, what are you doing? You're bothering her, can't you see she's trying to get dress–"


Now they are both transfixed for so many, many reasons. First, isn't it terribly obvious? She is dressed in something that not only compliments every God–given asset she was born with, everything seems to compliment all that she has always possessed, and yet they never really took the time to notice. It takes a real slap in the face and a short–


–dress to get attention. Secondly, the only reasons she had ever worn such things were for missions when she was (at the utter enragement of her teammates) required to play an older, a sexier, or even a downright raunchier role than her age or demeanor would ever entail. She always had a man with her; specifically, she always had one of her devoted teammates at her side. Yes, even the avenger was hopelessly devoted in his own little twisted way. Even he could not break or escape her captivating innocence that seemed to pull everyone she knew into a little dance of worship at her feet.


She was theirs.

Ask the blonde; she was his best friend and he, hers, and they had been together for so many years and finally established a friendship with a bit less physical beating.

Ask the other; she was a bit annoying but she was still his teammate, and yeah, she had done a lot for him but he had never asked for it. They were getting better, or at least, he stopped flinging plates of food at her when she asked him to eat.

Both of them tended to lie. No, maybe not lie, but definitely downplay as often as they could.

They loved her as a friend. A teammate. Nothing more.


The color of her face after she finished screaming at them for behaving like little children. The color of her apron that she wore when she made them dinner after those long, tedious missions when they came stumbling home in the dark.

Heels. Cheeks. Shawl. Lips. Dress. Red.

The blonde had the decency to look away, down at the slightly damp tile, moist from her steaming shower that she had spent the better part of an hour in from sheer excitement. Excitement?

Or maybe because she knew how angry they both were. The blonde was more disappointed than anything, but the raven–haired avenger was positively furious, made all the more obvious when he had paced around during her shower and kicked at cupboards, rearranged objects on the dining room table, and shouted at their mentor. Demanding time and time again, who–the–hell was taking her to dinner, why–the–hell they were going when it was so dark, as if dinner dates were unusual for nighttime. His teammate had yelled at him to shut it, since it was Sakura–chan's decision, and she was intelligent, she could handle this. Of course, the blonde had made sure to disguise the hurt in his voice.

Their teammate.

Their friend. More like a sister than anything.

With someone else.

And it really was unfathomable; another man's hands on their Sakura. At least, they hoped not. The blonde had muttered fairly loudly, "If he touches..." All that was needed. While his rival did not necessarily condone anybody touching her, he nodded in agreement. Agree to disagree.


A few hours was a lifetime. She would be looked at by some other man, hold hands with some other man, talk with and laugh with and drink with and entrust her life with some other man and

I don't like it.


This little flower, she blossomed and then

Implanted herself in my heart once again

Our hearts were the same

So broken and bruised

Together, apart

We are rivals confused.


Now the blonde was blushing and stammering at her choice of dress. "Y–you...look...erm...Sasuke, quit staring at her like that!"

Conduct yourself with some decency, introverted little bastard! Or not. Nah. He doesn't get very many chances, except when he wins the ever–classic argument of, when dining with important lords or taking on an exceptionally challenging undercover assignment. Classic. Tall, dark, and undoubtedly handsome. He plays the possessive husband almost too perfectly.

Of course, for the cute, everyday seemingly meaningless, mundane chores...shopping, laundry and other assorted errands that the pretentious bastard has no tolerance for, that is the blonde's job. The little helper that still enjoys following her footsteps, trailing behind and earning a ruffle of the hair or a peck on the cheek for his generosity. Little actions that reduce the other to primal, infuriating jealousy of the lowest and most powerful kind.


They want to make it work, but deep down they know it will not. She always says she doesn't know how she would ever live without her boys. Being on common ground sets them further apart than she will ever know, than they will ever realize.


Wind ripples across this common ground...

Meant to bring together

reduces us to opposite sides

Crumbles this fragile friendship to exist with the dust.


Anyway, back to our quiet little avenger...his mind is particularly wild in this current moment, what with his sharp, intense gaze memorizing every delicious curve to remember later when he will pace the floor and pretend he didn't even notice what she had left the house in. What she was wearing, where she was going. He will not sleep. Neither will the blonde, and they will sit and huff and stare and wonder aloud (or perhaps read each other's minds; they are fairly good at that) and worry, but not speak.

Sit and hate the other for everything they believe is not in their possession, yet everything they believe will one day be theirs.

Now they are both silent and staring, eyes wide like a child staring at an object they know is strictly forbidden, but of course they will look and not touch for as long as their curiosity and will holds against it.

"He'll be here soon, Sakura," her mentor says cheerfully, smiling warmly as he surveys her outfit choice. "You look very nice."

She returns his smile. "Oh, Kakashi–sensei." He leaves, greatly amused at his former students' behavior as they attempt to shake themselves free from the convoluted vines that have left them twisted inside, around each other and this girl they consider everything.

Rushing. Hiding. Pretending.

Leaving the bathroom hurriedly, colliding with each other and the doorframe with spinning minds as they now stumble down the stairs, for the hour is nearing and they will assume their positions in the living room, like angry waiting parents.

Only they want her for themselves.


Like hungry jackals we wait in silence

Ready for this gruesome


Scare off competition

To come back to the real one.


Mentor is in his favorite chair, letting the two young men deal with the introductions and the curfew and the typical threats. But for some reason the arguments are with each other instead of toward her soon–to–arrive date...

"Sakura–chan is smart, Sasuke, give her credit!"

"Hn. Ten."




"Not a chance."

"Eleven, damn it!"

"...Ten–forty–five. Not a second later."

Surveying them over a book of his preferred and quite usual read, the aging sensei is truthfully exhausted with the argument already, which is ranging from curfew to how many drinks she is allotted (apparently she isn't very tolerant of liquor) to if they will allow, if the time came, to permit her date to leave her with a kiss. The latter, frankly, has been dismissed quickly as if the topic had never existed. They can't bear to think of it.

The man clears his throat and takes his eyes off his book for only perhaps half a second. "Do you really think Sakura will just go along with both of you dictating what she can and can't do?"


"Fine, ten–forty five. But you can tell her that, not me. I just want to make sure she's not too cold," the blonde said, glancing at the clock. "That dress–"

"A real gentleman will give her his jacket," the avenger mutters quietly. He hates this 'date' already. He has no idea who he is, but since when does that ever matter to him? Speak of a time. He's allowed to hate whomever he pleases without a discernable, logical reason. And anyway, if she was ever cold, there was always a certain black jacket that would find its way around her slender shoulders.

As if the blonde could read his friends mind of his little guilty pleasure, he glares at him with piercing cerulean eyes.

Momentous fate...


Uncoordinated and unplanned, shinobi are quite useless in battle if not completely prepared for all circumstances and inevitabilities. Therefore, throwing themselves at the door and effectively knocking each other to the floor and engaging in a grudge match is quite ineffective when the goal at the end is the simply task of turning a knob and uttering a somewhat polite greeting.

Running on light feet and cloud nine and all the happiness she's always deserved...

They look up from the floor (the blonde makes sure to roughly elbow his companion for raising an eyebrow as he edged his head slightly; the angle is too perfect to miss up the obnoxiously–in his opinion– short dress.) and immediately jump to nimble feet to hopefully cover the embarrassment.

She knew they would act unreasonable and overprotective, and she swiftly drags her date over the threshold with a hurried goodbye and not a single look back. Sasuke growled one last time at their backs while Naruto finishes the hasty 'interview' with a tremendous pronouncement.

"–And if you break her heart, I'll break your neck!"

They hover, transfixed in the doorway and watch their silhouettes recede into the darkness with narrowed eyes, swelling chests and words on the tip of their tongues they will not say. For Kakashi's gaze settles on the backs of their heads, a warning that they try to withstand.

They stare at each other for a long moment with set shoulders and thin lips, then turn in unison to attempt to cross the threshold at the same time...


And Kakashi watches with a slightly amused and slightly pitiful gaze, glancing at the clock in spite of himself before letting his eye settle on the book, ignoring their fight. After all, it's been happening so often lately.

Too often for comfort...


But her heart is one and we are two

I want her to myself, and that I can't do.

Wrestle like animals to the blood–soaked floor

Make waves in this friendship

We cannot endure






Stings. A wound to the heart and raw, untainted soul.

Sadly souls are never untainted, they only wish to be so.

They stir in their chairs opposite each other, across the floor facing the other, ends of sharp branches composing the most horrid music to soothe uncomfortable and worried men. Shroud in darkness the raised eyebrows, the vacant stares at the shadows across the floor and glares at each other, as though it is the severe breach of unwritten rules. You let her go, the blonde says with an accusing tone. Worried about Sakura–chan, he adds under his breath. The avenger retorts with a low blow and a truer statement, "You let her stay out later. Idiot."

His insult rolls off a hunched back with seemingly little effect, but it really does hurt as they listen to the wind sing unearthly pitches and rattle the eaves, reminding them of the presence that just is not there. A pain that keeps on hurting.


They leap to feet, born ready, and elbow each other as they take their places at the door. The blonde seems ready with a small smile to disguise his dismay at the fact that her giggles are so cute, innocent, and genuine. Those giggles are meant for them, to be heard by his–their–ears, and the smile she is surely showing that lucky guy at this moment is meant for them, to brighten his (The blonde corrects himself once more: Theirs.) Dark eyes glittering like a sated animal flicker from the door, where laughter is still heard (that sends his heart throbbing with suppressed jealousy; god damn, could the guy really be that funny? Not likely,) and back to his companion, who seems as eager as him to barrage with prying questions.

Laughter stops. Abrupt.

Cut off by the unmistakable sound of his lips upon hers, caressing and tasting and oh god, they can't handle that–

Her quiet, throaty moan of ecstasy sends sickening waves of primal emotion through both of their bodies as they stand, framed in such pure moonlight that creates an effective taste of bitter irony to clash with the incident. Leaves them stock–still and rigid as the most ancient statues. Whomever that man was, he was kissing her so beautifully and wonderfully and tasting the innocence that they treasure in their girl. Kissing her with him, hearts full of envy and lips tasting the very same thing.


We cannot see

But we know.

Stealing. Ripping. Tearing.


the epitome of,


Whom does she belong to?


She is not ready.

Screams of two startled beings echo and clash in pitch and tone with each other, and milliseconds seem to pass fleetingly, a cannonade–

On the other side of the door they remain frozen–


And it does not end.

When the blonde snaps to reality and lunges for the handle, he rips it open and the hellish sounds cease, and they know...whatever it was...was gone.

Too late.

The door swings open and–


Oh look! See?

Delightfully pretty.

We both agreed to disagree...

She was pretty in that dress.



The sound does not suit her at all: She is graceful and innocent and lighthearted and so terribly carefree; nevertheless, her body does not mesh well with the sound, and yet it is hers.

"Sakura–chan!" Babble from a mouth open in shock. "Sakura–chan!"

Now he notices the glinting points that pin her date to the door, piercing flesh, blood and ivory bones to hang him up like a decoration, and the fresh stench of viscid red is splattered on the wood and on the body, of course, and on the doorstep and it's too much...

And yet she is still so pretty, even with her limbs twisted grotesquely beneath her fallen form and her torso bent bizarrely at the waist, jade eyes dulling as they stand and waste precious seconds in the darkness. She bleeds profusely onto the tatami floor that she had complained about cleaning just that typical morning, oh, what a mess.

"Sakura! Sakura! Sakura!" A chant, a voice that cracks so loudly and wretchedly that once the word is spoken so many times, it does not mean anything anymore. "Sakura!"

One two many times, it has been said. She coughs abruptly, body writhing upon the cold floor and blood expelling him her lips; the rouge is smudged; droplets land on her own porcelain face, the white visage of this charming girl.

Violently shaking.

As if she is touching both of the boys, they now fall into a rhythm of uncontrollable shakes that will not and cannot be quelled.

Surprise number two.


The blonde stares; the raven–haired boy has fallen to his knees in the steadily growing puddle with a look that he has never seen before, not like this...

And he screams.

Intelligible, yet saying everything. A torrent of lilting pitches that were raw emotion. What could he say, anyway? He usually had nothing to speak of, he preferred silence and actions than unnecessary words.

The blonde is transfixed, horrified, stunned. Growls. Frustrated roars. Exasperated sighs, grunts, a syllable or two if it's a good day.

But he doesn't ever hear him scream...not ever, and certainly not like this.

"KAKASHI!" Help. Please. Help. That's all he wants.

The blue–eyed boy jerks and cowers as though shot and continues to mutter her name, and now it's nothing... "Sakura. Sakura. Sakura."

Ugh, kill the chant, it's useless.

The avenger sits silently in her blood and closes his mouth tight after his outburst. Hurrying footsteps echo, mockingly slow, signaling help that is just too late.

The strangled cry echoes...a milestone, a turning point, a realization.

They sit. They stare. They radiate hate...

Because it's your fault.


And I know this truth now

Too obvious to disguise

I feel just like you,

When she looks in my eyes.

But that feeling...

It's supposed to be mine.

His. Mine. Ours.




Meant to cover up and still delightfully French in origin.


What she is drowned in right now, so beautifully.


And here it goes...

Downhill we fall for her

Pitted against the other.

You weep now?

This is only the beginning.


And her heart is one and we are two...