Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

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Like Liquid Rogue

Five.

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I'll burn these cities down, just to show you the light.

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Sakura is such a bitch
, the scratches across her table read. One man doesn't satisfy her, so she needs three.

Sakura glared, and angrily scratched the words away with her pen knife. Sasuke glanced up at her automatically, eyes going from her face to the words on the table. He frowned.

She scratched desperately at the table, ignoring the silence that had suddenly fell across the classroom. Every head was turned, staring at her. Even the teacher's.

The words were almost gone now, victim to the growing scratches.

The penknife wobbled, and a single blade broke off from the others, cutting her across the palm. She had applied too much pressure. She hissed angrily, and threw the knife at the floor.

Clang!

She looked up.

The whole class was looking at her, some frowning, some scoffing, some curious. Weren't anybody worried about her well-being? Wasn't there a single person out there who worried for her well-being?

Her fingers twitched before curling into a fist. Blood trickled down her digits and dripped on the floor. She got up, and stumped her way towards the teacher. "I need to go to the nurse," she announced stiffly, shoving her hands at him for inspection. "I'm bleeding."

"Uh," the teacher started, but Sakura was already walking out of the classroom. She slid the door shut with a loud slam.

The teacher coughed awkwardly.


Sakura didn't go the nurse. Instead, she turned left at the corner and went to the girls' bathroom instead.

She narrowed her eyes as she swung the door open. Two girls were sitting on the side of the sinks, chatting leisurely, no doubt cutting class. Their ribbon was yellow. Juniors.

"Get out," she ordered, voice icy and gaze murderous. "Get out, now."

The young, inexperienced girls squeaked, but attempted to regain whatever precious silver of spunk left in them. "W-why should we?" The words that left the blonde girl's lips were undeniable rebellious, but her tone was undeniably submissive.

Sakura grinned and rolled her sleeve up to show them her bleeding palm. The blood trickled down her wrist now, dripping off at her elbow. "Do you want to stay and find out?" her voice was pure venom, shaking with anger and coming out more hostile than she intended.

The girls squeaked at the sight of blood and hurried out.

Absent-mindedly, she kicked open every door of the cubicles to make sure she was alone. Blood gushed, roaring in her ears. When every door was open, she turned towards the sinks and glared at her own reflection.

The girl who glared back wasn't Haruno Sakura. Haruno Sakura was demure, polite, and a girl who came from a prestigious rich family. The pink-haired girl with narrowed eyes, messy hair and a bleeding palm wasn't Haruno Sakura. She wasn't.

She pulled the blouse of her uniform off, throwing the flimsy sailor suit on the sink. Twisting the faucet all the way, she washed the drying blood off her arms and splashed cool water on her neck. Her ears. Calming the violent flush of red on her skin.

Haruno Sakura, Haruno Sakura…

What a Plain Jane name. She laughed sourly. Spring cherry blossoms. A cliché, plain, not-special, not-unique, overused name. Jane Doe and Joe Average. Even her name sucked. She laughed sarcastically.

Haruno Sakura. Sakura. Flimsy, weak cherry blossom flowers, powdered white with the faintest tinge of chalky pink and the occasional drop of deep red. Flowers that wilted and fell off the tree every freaking day.

What, born to blossom, bloom to perish?

She snorted and ripped a handful of tissue from the roll, taking much more than needed.

"Sakura, stop."

She whirled around, eyes immediately landing on the dark-haired boy leaning on the wall beside the hand blow-dry machine. Sasuke, her mind acknowledged. For a bizarre moment, her other senses shut down.

Sasuke who?

And then everything returned in a rush. She straightened. Sniffed. "Sasuke," her lips moved.

He walked towards her and snatched her wrist, holding her in his death grip, flaunting his superior strength. He held her hand under the running faucet and washed the wound properly.

"I don't know what's wrong with you," he didn't look up. "But its unsightly. Stop. I'd rather you cry than resort to violent tendencies."

"Cry?" she echoed blankly. "I don't cry. At east, not in front of them. Crying means losing, and I refuse to lose in this game called life."

Sasuke flashed his eyes at her. Those perfectly cool, perfectly calm, perfectly gorgeous eyes. "What game? Nobody's playing a game."

"You saw that sentence on the table, didn't you?" Sakura glanced down at her hand. "Provoking me. They're playing a game. They think it's a game. And I refuse to lose."

Sasuke didn't reply, instead he lifted her hand up to inspect the cut. He blew on the gash, and then wiped the water droplets away with tissue.

"Why are you so nice to me all of a sudden? One moment you're cool and don't give a jack-shit," she muttered, her mind flashing back to the incident, the day he went berserk over Itachi. "And the next you're so nice and, well, nice."

He brushed her hand against his lips, unsmiling. "Would you prefer for me to be cruel to you?"

"No. Of course not."

"Then why bother bringing this up?"

Her eyes dimmed. She pulled her hand away. "Why, indeed."

Sasuke threw a sling-bag at her. To be specific, her sling-bag. "You're going home."

"What?"

"I called your house-keeper and asked them to inform Hatake to come pick you up."

Sakura frowned.

"You had a nervous breakdown. That's valid reason to go home," Sasuke adjusted the strap of his own sling-bag. "And I'm going with you."

Sakura snorted. "You're just trying to cut Visual Art class."

Sasuke's lips curled up. "We have three periods before the last school bell rings, and I rather go to your house and finish my homework than stay here and learn how to draw apples."

Sakura snorted again. "So, what? You told the teacher you're going home with me because you're my moral support pillar? Don't make me laugh. You're the iciest guy on Earth."

"I told the teacher you're suicidal, and that I'll stop you if you try anything stupid," Sasuke corrected. "Like what you did just now. Glaring at yourself in the mirror isn't very normal behavior."

Stupid Sasuke, using her as a get-out-of-school card.

"You're such a good friend," Sakura batted her eyelashes at him, sarcasm dripping off her every pore. "Not taking advantage of my situation like that. Really. I'm touched."

Sasuke picked up her blouse and threw it at her. "Just get dressed," he rolled his eyes.


The trip to Sakura's house was short, and Kakashi didn't care enough to ask why he was sending two students home before school finished.

Sakura plopped down on her beanbag and tipped her school bag over, spilling everything on the floor. She picked up her history textbook and flipped to the section on World War 2, her homework assignment.

The teacher asked her to read up to page 200. She had already finished the book before the school year even started, but it was good to refresh her memory.

She glanced over to her bed, where Sasuke lay on his stomach, doing his Physics homework.

She glanced back at her textbook, and started mentally reading.

She paused. Her eyes stared at the two words—two words that were the solution to everything.

Soft power.

Of course! The ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion.

Coercion—that was what she had been doing, wasn't it? Posting numbers on internet, using political influence to bring down the family shares of girls who crossed path with her in school.

"Soft power," she breathed. It was as if she was seeing the light for the first time! She was flying, flying—

"What?" Sasuke's sharp voice sent her tumbling back onto Earth.

"Soft power, Sasuke!" Sakura grinned happily, scrambling to her feet and throwing herself onto the bed, tackling Sasuke down. "That's what I need to use, soft power!"

Sasuke blinked at her. Soft power? As in, political soft power? Sakura nuzzled his neck, purring into the apex of his throat. It wasn't the first time she got horny with him around. But then again, she probably did this with Naruto and Sai too.

If anything, the three of them were somewhat friends with benefits, just not to the extent of sex. Sakura was too sassy and savvy to demand commitment, so nobody demanded any form of explanation after making out.

Come to think of it, their relationship was extremely complicated. Mentally, Sasuke shook his head.

"Sakura, what are you talking about?" Sasuke demanded, frowning.

Sakura continued to purr and nuzzle his neck, straddling his hips. She was making weird whiny sounds that girls on porn videos made, giggling happily.

"Get off," Sasuke commanded, a little freaked out by her weird behavior. Maybe somebody spiked her water bottle that morning? Added some sort of drugs that made her get non-stop mood swings?

"Nuh-uh," Sakura grinned happily, brushing her lips against his neck again. She straightened up slightly, breathing onto his chin. "Nothing you can say or do will pull me down today," she exclaimed happily, hyper. " 'Cause I just found the per-fect solution."

Sasuke continued to scowl. Solution to what?

"Hey, Sasuke," Sakura grinned again, casually resting her elbows beside his head. She drew herself up to his eye-level, her pink hair raining down and brushing against Sasuke's cheek. "Will you get pissed if I kiss you?"

Sasuke held her gaze but didn't comment.

Hyper-Sakura smiled down at him uncaringly. She would've kissed him either way. She pressed her lips against his, soft and cute. Her eyes were closed and her tongue licked at his shyly.

Sasuke was beginning to realize something about Sakura: Everything about her was soft. Soft hair, soft lips, soft kiss, soft body, soft skin…

Kissing her was like sucking a mochi.

He grunted and turned, pressing her down against the bed, reversing their position.


All of a sudden, she cried. Sasuke tried to pull away, but she held him back. So they kissed, and she cried.

She pulled away and pressed her forehead against his. Sasuke frowned, but didn't comment. Sakura was awfully emotional these days.

"Hey, I'm amazing right?" She breathed, tears flowing. Her nose wasn't red. She wasn't sniffing. Besides the tears from her eyes, she didn't look like she was crying at all.

"Even if I chase you, you won't come for me," she pulled away and wiped at her eyes, crying a little harder. "I think this is jealousy. It's painful."

Sasuke tilted his head. Jealous? Of who? Karin? He had been spending a little more time with her in Chem class lately…

He scoffed and started to stand. What a stupid reason to be jealous. Sakura should've been more mature than that.

"I know what you're thinking," Sakura muttered, facing away. "I've known you too long not to be able to predict your thoughts."

"I'm not jealous of a girl," she closed her eyes, pressing her two hands together and touching her fingernails to her lips. "I'm jealous of Naruto."

Sasuke raised an eyebrow. He flopped back onto the bed.

"Why is it that," Sakura started, trying to find the correct words. "You two have such strong bonds together? I've known you two just as long." She sniffed. "Am I being selfish if I say I want what you and Naruto have?"

"I want that kind of friendship. I want that kind of bond. I want that kind of closure," she pulled her legs up and hugged them. "I'm lonely, and I think I'm breaking my own heart hoping."

"I don't understand," Sasuke admitted, casually leaning back and lacing his fingers behind his head. He was missing the point entirely.

Sakura furrowed her brow. Sasuke, a boy with intense ties with everybody around him. Sasuke, who hated his brother. Sasuke, who rivaled Naruto. Sasuke, who disliked Sai. Everything about him and his relationships were so open, so real.

Unlike her. Being a girl sucked. Words with double meanings, back-stabs, competition of wealth and power. Having to suck-up to people and attempt to blend in.

Maybe she was wanting too much? She had always wanted too much in her life. She wanted the best of the best. She wanted a great university, a rich husband, a respectable job. Money.

Money was power, and power is sexy.

In a world where power is fleeting but means everything, what was she really trying to find?

Maybe she should be lucky to be included in their bond at all.

She collapsed on the bed, hitting Sasuke on the stomach. He grunted, but didn't comment.

She closed her eyes. Opened them again. Climbed up Sasuke's body. Stopped when she was on eye-level with him.

She kissed the side of his eye. The corner of his lips. His cheekbones. The curve of his aristocratic nose. His neck. His ear.

"Sasuke," she whispered, voice husky with something he couldn't quite point out. Her breath blew across his ear in the most teasing manner. "In a world where money is power and power is sexy, you're the sexiest man I know."

What was she trying to do? Her world was spinning out of control and she was wildly grabbing and planting whatever trees she could get her hands on, in an attempt to root herself to this. This world. Their world.

Or was it something else? Sasuke was the only guy she'd ever had a crush on. But hadn't she grown out of that? Was this all it was? A pathetic little crush she hadn't grown out of?

What was it, exactly? Friendship? Jealousy? The helplessness of losing control? Growing lust, skin against skin? The need to fill that odd sense of emptiness brought upon by years of being the good, obedient little girl? The need to strip herself of that damned plastic mask, if only for a few minutes?

Her head spun. She was searching for answers to a question she didn't know. Her mind was running uselessly in circles, and she fisted her hand in Sasuke's shirt in an attempt to stop her world from crashing altogether.

Her kiss crashed onto him with the joint effort of a whirlpool and a Tsunami: wild, uncontrollable and virtually unstoppable.

Sasuke let himself drown.


Sakura laid on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

Somewhere in the house, the main door clicked close.

She had almost slept with Uchiha Sasuke.

She sighed, using her arm to press down on her eyes. There was something seriously wrong with her these days.

Uchiha Sasuke. The Uchiha Sasuke.

The Sasuke she had a crush on when she was, what, five? The Sasuke she grew up with. The Sasuke who was four months younger than her. The Sasuke.

This wasn't just any Sasuke. This was her Sasuke-kun! As in, the sexy tomato-lovin' Sasuke-kun!

It was practically like sleeping with your own younger brother.

She shot up in her bed, sick. She stumbled across the room into her toilet and practically collapsed against the toilet bowl, lurching.

In a way, it was lucky their relationship was so savvy, so sassy. She comforted herself in the fact that they would both pretend to forget anything happened the next time they saw each other.

She coughed dryly and heaved again, her stomach trying to vomit whatever little she had for lunch that day. Her hands held so tightly against the smooth side of the toilet bowl that it was growing white. Her left hand rose shakily and fisted into her fringe, keeping her hair away from her face. Sweat trickled down her brow.

The drying coughs stopped gradually, the rough feel of something stuck in her throat dimming. She stood and collapsed against the wooden table. The table she used for make-up.

Make-up—Something that seemed so wonderfully important just a few days back. The table was stocked full of it. Concealers, foundations, lipstick, tubes of lip-gloss…

Sakura growled and threw them all into the netted wastebasket with a single sweeping arm. A bottle of perfume smashed onto the ground. The crap that didn't fall into the basket rolled across the tiled floor.

She wasn't going to be that girl anymore. She wasn't the girl who caked on mascara and lipstick and all kinds of cosmetic bullshit to fit in. No more intimidation, no more double-edged words, no more picking quarrels and fights.

Using her fingers, she combed all her hair into a high ponytail, using a lock of her own hair to tie it. The girl in the mirror who stared back at her was scowling, eyes hard and jaws tensed.

She relaxed her facial muscles and attempted a smile.

Soft power, she reminded herself. Soft power.


"I'd like to order Belgian chocolates," Sakura chirped into her phone happily. "Those seashell-shaped ones. I want three hundred boxes."

Sai raised an eyebrow at the security camera surveillance video on his computer screen. What was Sakura doing in front of his house? More importantly, what was she doing in front of his house ordering three hundred boxes of 30$-a-box chocolates?

Wasn't she supposed to be having some nervous breakdown? She didn't look like somebody who was having a nervous breakdown. But then again, she was smiling.

Sai scrutinized the smiling Sakura on the screen. Hm. Definitely having a nervous breakdown.

"Okay, I'll hold!" she smiled, and then covered the receiver of her phone. "Sai," she hissed into the intercom, her smile dropped instantly. "I know you can see me, and I know you can hear me. Usually, when somebody rings your doorbell, you're supposed to freaking greet them and let them in, you social-retard."

He sighed, and flicked the switch to the automatic gates. The gate whirled open, and she skipped inside happily.

Sai frowned as the video cameras on his screen flickered to the garden, to the kitchen, the staircase, then outside his room. Sakura bounced through his house, and was currently standing next to his door.

He decided to be nice to his door and open it, lest it be smashed to pieces by Sakura's fist.

The moment the door creaked open, Sakura's fist connected with his face.

"Ow! What the hell, you psycho?" Sai blurted, hand automatically flying up to rub at his chin.

"That's for not coming to visit me, after hearing that I was sent home," Sakura announced cheerfully. "Don't worry, Naruto's getting the same reward when he arrives."

"Oh, since this is your room, can you call him and Sasuke, and ask them to come over?"

Sai was looking at her the same way you would look at somebody with a pot-belly and forest-thick armpit hair if he got down on one knee and proposed to you.

She squealed. "Thanks, love you!" And promptly jumped onto his even-bouncier-than-Sasuke's-bed bed.

"Crazy woman," Sai muttered, but picked up his house phone to call anyway. He mumbled into the phone for a while, and then announced that they were coming soon.

"Hey, Sai," Sakura smiled, her hair fanned all over his oversized fluffed snow-white pillow. "Notice something new about my face today? I'm not wearing make-up."

Sai frowned, crossed over to where she sprawled, and squinted at her skin. He couldn't see any difference, but told her "No wonder you look uglier than usual!" anyway.

"Mm-hmm," Sakura hummed melodiously. "Y'know, nothing you say will piss me off today. I am a whole new person."

"…Is make-up really that important to you women?"

"No, not because of the make-up, you dumbass. So insulting."

The door swung open then, revealing a reluctant Sasuke and a bewildered Naruto. "Sakura? What are you doing here?" Naruto raised a brow.

"Naruto," Sakura grinned, teeth pearly white and shiny. She beckoned him forward with a single, curling finger that was both seductive and impossibly sexy.

Sai smiled at Naruto and gladly got off his bed to see Sakura upper-cut him.

Her fist connected with his jaw, and Sai's smile grew even wider.

"Ow, Sakura-chan, what was that for?" Naruto complained, holding his hand to his jaw.

"You didn't visit me after hearing of my early departure from school today," she told him seriously. "I'm hurt, Naruto," she added, playing the sucker-card on him. "Don't you care for me at all?"

"Of course I care—"

"ANYWAY!" Sakura interrupted happily. "I'm going to plan a party. And invite the whole form. Or, at least, three hundred people. I've already ordered the chocolates."

"What? Why?"

Sakura grinned and leaned forward, bracing her elbow on her snow-white thigh and her chin in her palms. "It's my soft power. You know soft power, right? That political approach to settling issues and all that?"

"I've been getting provoked non-stop in school, and I hate it," she paused, contemplating. "Actually, come to think of it, its all you three's fault! Grow a pimple or something so you don't get so many female admirers, why don't you?"

Naruto frowned uneasily at Sakura. "What's wrong with her?" he whispered to Sasuke.

"I think she's finally snapped," Sai announced joyfully.

Sakura was ranting now, crossing and uncrossing her (oh-so-sexy, pale white) legs. Well, at least there was entertainment for them.

"Sooo, this soft power political approach is going to help me kill the hate. Or, at least, lessen it. Like how you usually treat a kid who had a party nicer in an attempt to get invited to his next party? Yeah," she nodded at her own theory, flicking her fingers out to inspect her nail polish. "Oh, by the way, any of you wanna be my boyfriend?"

The three figures froze.

"What?" Naruto choked out.

"Want to be my boyfriend?" Sakura repeated.

"Boyfriend," Naruto echoed.

"Yes, boyfriend," Sakura confirmed, smiling like she had just been given her Christmas present early.

"Sakura, I think you should lie down for a while," Naruto fretted, patting her head stiffly.

She frowned, negative Chi and dark aura emitting from her body in waves. Sai's room was suddenly very cold, and very dark. "None of you want to be my boyfriend?"

See, none of them have actually been involved in any official relationships whatsoever in all seventeen-and-a-half years' worth of their lives. Their relationships with girls and/or boys were always brief and unofficial; a fling to be thrown away and forgotten.

Sasuke crossed his arms. "What brought this commitment thing up?"

"The girls in school?" Sakura started reproachfully. "I figured that if I were tied down to one of you, they wouldn't be as violent."

"Hypothetically speaking," Sai said, over-emphasizing on the 'hypothetically', meaning that he was seriously considering it. "If I were to be your boyfriend, what would I get?"

Sakura frowned, dropping her fingers down to her lap.

"Um. Protection from love letters and female affection?" she offered. "Oh, and training from Kakashi-sensei. Did you know that he's an established martial arts master? He claims that he's the creator of this move--Chidori or something. You martial arts freaks should be interested, shouldn't you?"

Their eyes widened. Kakashi? Meaning, Copy Kakashi? Meaning, that prodigy-Kakashi was the same Kakashi who drove Sakura to school?

Sasuke's fist clenched. An outsider, somebody who trained in boxing, who had no touch on Japanese martial arts couldn't possibly understand how much glory mastering something like Chidori could bring.

She raised two hands, continuing her rant obliviously. "I swear I won't text you incessantly or anything, and I won't get any more mad than usual if you have an affair with another girl." Which meant that any girl she saw with them would die a slow, painful death. "It'll be like normal, but just with a label. Like--"

"I'll do it," the three of them cut through, chiming simultaneously.


A/N: Uh. I think I might be losing my touch. Kinda insecure about this, and I'm too tired to go proof-read. I think I might've made them a little OOC in some parts.

Thanks so much for the reviews, guys! They really motivate me to continue the story when I think of stopping.

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Oh, and on the whole rich kids theme thing? I was actually planning to write two parallels to this story: one where they were impossibly rich, and one where they were impossibly poverty-poor. So poor they can hardly afford the clothes on their back.

Something along the lines of, "its year 2020, and pollution has painted the sky a permanent black and poisoned the rivers." Think war, hunger, and torture!

But I'm kind of reluctant starting on that story. Feh, what do you think?