Title: the color of love
Category: General // Romance // Drama // Humor // everything
Pairing: Shikamaru x Sakura, past Sakura x Sasuke, and very slight, onesided Naruto x Sakura. Negligible amounts of Shikamaru x Ino.
Rating: T
colors (I might do another one, simply because this one wasn't very focused D:)
Notes: Wherein I prove that I cannot write Sakura with any other character...unless I write Sasuke-kun out of it. XD.
This was interesting to write. This is seriously something like SOC. It all just came out, and there are little to no transitions and nyeh. D:

Also, I have yet to get a handle on Shikamaru.

Dedication: For Epiff Annie, because she's awesome and she deserves this and so much better. ♥

By all rights, they shouldn't have happened.

Naruto knew this. He had read the stories, the fairytales, as a child (because even a prankster needed a way to unwind, to relax, to power down - and storybooks had been a lot cheaper than the comic books that no one ever bought him, anyway). There was an established narrative, an accepted plot, and all the characters had been assigned their roles before they'd even realized there had been a story to tell.

There was, of course, the King, the ruler, the Royal Guard. Baachan fit that role well enough, Naruto thought. If anyone had thought to ask him, he might have even gone as far as to say that she'd filled the old man's shoes admirably.

(Of course, no one did, because he was the Village Idiot, and really what did he think he knew?)

He, Naruto, was the Prince(-in-Training). This wasn't arrogance, or misplaced idealism. He'd heard the rumors. Tsunade would be stepping down soon, and she would name Kakashi (Secretary of Porn) as her successor. He would manage until the last of the Council passed on, and then, Naruto would feel the weight of the world on his shoulders

(and revel in it).

Sasuke was the tragic hero, the shattered Princeling with too much pride

(and not enough sense, Naruto thought viciously, beating another wooden dummy into the coldhard earth),

too much sadness, too much hate

(no matter what Itachi said, but then, Naruto had always loathed him just a little bit less than his "foolish little brother")

too much red in his eyes to see the light in hers.

Sakura wasn't a damsel-in-distress; she'd outgrown that years ago, in the same way she'd quietly packed away her blood-red shirtdress,

(and vowed never to wear it again, because that was for Sasuke-kun, a memory she could keep, but never hold and she loved him still even if it wasn't, would never be, the same)

and donned her black, fingerless, fighter-gloves. No, his Sakura-chan was stronger than that.

But still, she was the Princess.

She was beautiful in that effortless way that girls like Ino (a Lady-in-Waiting if he ever saw one) would never understand. Sweat-streaked, and grim-faced, with a smile like death, and her fists like steel, Haruno Sakura

is Grace

(because she is sinuous, like water, like air in a labyrinth)

is Mercy

(because she's quick with the kill, and when she can, she buries the bodies)

but most of all

("That won't work. Not again, and not on me.")

she's Brilliance.

(Sometimes, he thinks he might still love her.)

That might be the only thing she has in common with the man who completes her idea of together. Nara Shikamaru doesn't figure in Naruto's version of The Fairytale. He's too drab, too colorless, too dull. He's intelligent, and sure, quietly confident, and coolly calculating -

But he's drab.

(And lazy.)

Tsunade looks out of ocher eyes, and Kakashi sits on a silver throne. He, Naruto, (thinksfancieshopeshe) burns with the intensity of blue fire, and Sasuke's vengeance lies rotting under gray soil.

Sakura is green, is bright, is effervescent, is life reborn, is

(beautiful, but not for him)

so vibrant that it's almost painful.

Shikamaru's utilitarian brown cannot compete.


But then, he sees (hears) them.

"Geez, Shikamaru! It's just one bite! Live a little. You're so boring."

"And yet, here you stand, having an inane argument with me over the merits of strawberry-peppermint ice cream. Which by the way, looks absolutely disgusting."

"Watch it, buster. Take a good look at me, and then tell me it looks absolutely disgusting."

"...you're more trouble than you're worth. You realize that, don't you?"

"Yeah, yeah, and if you wanted perfection, you could have stayed with Ino."

"Please. She's louder than you are."

"AHA! So that's why you stay with me. For the sake of your precious eardrums."

"Of course, of course. And the sex."

"Of course, cannot forget the sex."

"Certainly not. And stop preening. You look stupid."

"I look satisfied. And if you'd bothered to look at me more than once a day, you'd know the difference."

"I know the distance between your collarbone and the small of your back . I've mapped the length of your arm with my lips and my teeth, and my ears have memorized, and catalogued, the sound you make when I kiss your neck. I've timed the seconds it takes for you to come back to yourself after you've screamed yourself hoarse, and my hands have memorized the way you feel after you've fallen asleep in my arms."

"...aside from making me...well, you know, gooey, and whatever...what was the point of all that?"

"I don't need to look at you to know anything. Everything we've done has been imprinted into my mind as surely as if I'd had it engraved."

"...you closet sap."

"Shut up. You're troublesome."

"And I love you a little."


"For not calling me annoying."

"And the sex."

"...and the sex."

And so he sits, and he writes, corrects, revises the fairytale -

(and brown burns gold, and green darkens into the color of shadows)

and calls it a love story.


This is not my usual fare, but I enjoyed writing it, nonetheless.

Please tell me what you think.