Masked Happiness

Chapter 1: Brief, Empty Happiness

Drip, drip, drip…

The carpet started turning crimson as it soaked up the blood that slowly but constantly fell the short distance from fingertip to floor, the soft dull thuds deafening in the silence.

Drip, drip, drip…

The fingertip twitched as another cut was made and another stream started to flow, sliding down the pale skin lazily.

Drip, drop, drip, drop, drip, drop…

The sound dazed her, scared her, relaxed her… made the guilt rise. Suddenly an extra loud snore broke the constant, muffled rhythm it had replaced, then silence. Everything was still as she tensed, wondering whether the next sound would be another comforting snore or… she heard movement and mentally whispered 'dammit', before shoving the razor under her pillow and rolling over in her bed, steadying her breathing as she pretended to sleep. A minute later her mother walked past her room on her nightly quest. Another minute passed before the flushing of the toilet broke the silence and her mother walked past her room again, having completed her mission and heading back to bed. Literally moments later her snoring had picked up where it had left off but by now Sakura had fallen asleep letting her hand fall over the side of the bed again unnoticed, to deep in her dreams to care.

Drip, drip, drip…


BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEE…

Sakura moaned loudly before hitting her alarm clock several times and eventually realised she needed to get up for school anyway so she might as well take the extra two seconds to press the button and turn it off properly.

'Ugh, school' she muttered 'time for the happy face' as she suddenly wore a smile. Although it looked incredibly forced, she knew it would get easier as the day went on, it always did.

She sat up and leaned over to check the time before pain shot up her arm. It wasn't particularly bad but it made her wince as she looked down to see the damage. She knew she had done worse before, but she had fallen asleep while it was still bleeding so it hurt more when she moved it as the dried blood cracked. She mentally hit herself in the head for being so careless before crawling out of bed and into the shower. The warm water washed the blood away as she checked her cuts. They weren't too deep and only hurt a bit… all in all it was shaping up to be not a bad morning.


'Morning Sakura, sleep well?' her mothers cheery voice rang out. 'Man I hate mornings…how can she be such a morning person???', instead she just said with a smile,

'Hey mum, yeah I'm good, did you sleep well?' as if she didn't know. Constant snoring all night meant that Sakura always knew when she'd slept well…she had.

'Yes thanks, had some dreams through the night… quite weird ones actually… work must be getting to me…'

As she continued to cheerily explain the ins and outs of her dreams, Sakura got herself some breakfast and ate, the whole time half listening to her mum taking about her subconsciousness' storytelling abilities, and half thinking of school… she didn't mind school, it was just kind of…

Annoying. Boring. Brain numbing. Ass numbing. Maybe just numbing.

Eventually the conversation wound down and her mum left for work as Sakura grabbed her bag and left for school.


The walk through Konoha was quite peaceful even with all of the people crowding the streets. The sun was shining which definitely made a huge difference to Sakura. She didn't like it when it was too hot or anything and she loved rain but there was just something about her that brightened when the sun was out, shining its yellow rays of happiness onto everything.

She continued walking and eventually her feet led her to the high school, just as the bell rang. 'That was lucky' she thought to herself half-heartedly. She walked into her classroom, taking her seat and fishing through her bag for the books she'd need. Her desk was next to the window (where her focus usually was in lessons), and on her other side was Sasuke who sat between herself and Naruto. Ever since they had been put into teams, everyone in their class had done all lessons involving team-work, partnerships or even set up the seating arrangements in those teams. This was mostly done so that all members of the team knew the same amount of information (as well as the extra 'bonding' it meant the teams would get with each other, but the teachers neglected to tell them that in case they weren't happy in their teams and it did more damage than good).

As usual the class slowly poured in over the next fifteen minutes knowing they could take their time because today they had Kakashi. Most students were just sitting around chatting, Naruto, the loudest of them all could be heard over the others although he was (apparently) a part of the same conversation. Sasuke sat at his desk, reading to pass the time and Sakura just stared out the window. She wasn't bored, just thinking about nothing in particular as she absent-mindedly raked her fingernails over her exposed her forearm in her lap.

She had pulled up the her long sleeves earlier to make sure her arms weren't bleeding and hid them under her desk. Her pain, whether she caused it, was her own and even the two people she was closest to didn't need to know about it. As she dragged her nails over the scars, old and new, she felt a little pain and the corners of her mouth twitched up into a small smile.

'You look happy'

The voice shocked her back to reality but it was the person who had said it that shocked her. Sasuke raised an eyebrow at her and as she looked down she realised that all he could see was that both of her arms were under the desk and one was moving…slowly. She blushed furiously, immediately bringing her arms up (after pulling her sleeves down with practiced ease) and rested them both on the desk. Sasuke smirked but neither got the chance to say anything more as Kakashi waltzed in and waved saying,

'Hi everyone, sorry I'm late, but was stopped by a purple rabbit and…'

'LIAR!'


After her lessons were over, Sakura said goodbye to her friends and walked home. On the way she started thinking about homework, (mostly target practice and possible mission briefs) but every time she started mentally doing her work in her head, her mind would drift back to her arm and that glorious time she knew would come when it got dark and her mothers' snoring rang through the house when she would feel it again… that brief empty happiness that nothing could beat.