Disclaimer: Well, since maybe Kishimoto didn't get my letter that I want Naruto for my birthday, I think he'll be getting it sometime soon, and he'll give me Naruto for Christmas, instead. But, until then, nope.

Dedication: My Dels, EJ, and Anne, because they are glue that hold me together, the very reason I get up and face another day, because no matter how bad my day is, they will always be there, and for this, I am eternally grateful.


Sakura is not one to hold grudges. Sure, she can get angry with someone, but then forget about it not too long after. She's not sure how well Naruto can hold a grudge

(because he has, after all, forgiven the villagers. Sakura can't quite stop her fists from clenching when she sees the way some of them shoot the blond dirty looks. He is a boy of eighttwelvefifteen trying to make up for something he will never be able to control. Why can't they see that?)

but she knows that Sasuke-kun can hold a grudge. It's obvious in his scowls, in his so blatant perfection that it hurts, it hurts so bad.

(But not as much as when she is screaming that she loves him to his back.)

She doesn't know why she's hurting herself this way, why she's roaming through the Uchiha compound, looking at the blood-spattered walls, the stains that not even four coats of white paint can hide.

(She wonders if this is what Sasuke-kun had attempted to do; to paint over the pain as if it was never there.

And it is then she knows that he has, at least, failed at something.

It doesn't stop him from being so perfect.)

Her fingers touch the dusty banisters of the Main House, footsteps puffing up dust. There is blood on the hardwood floors, and she represses the urge to shudder. No wonder Sasuke-kun had left to go get his own apartment.

Every room is a painful reminder of the past, to the people that had-been, and she thinks she understands why he was so angry all the time.

(And she can understand why he left, too. She just doesn't want to, because it meant that they had never meant anything to him.)

The hardest is Sasuke's parents' room. It is painted in a bright, cheerful yellow, and she guesses that Sasuke's mother must've painted it that color.

When she gets to Sasuke-kun's room, it is possibly the most painful.

(And it is breaking her heart. Even when he's not here, he still manages to hurt her like no one else.

She remembers that she had sworn, a few weeks after he left, that she would never think about him again, because it ripped the hole wide open where her heart once was.

She thinks, with bitterness, that it is with him, wherever he is. He's always had it; he just never realized it.)

The walls are painted a soft silver, and there are little trinkets lined up on shelves. She goes over and looks at them: there are mostly weapons, but a few gifts.

(She wonders if they are from fangirls-- he had never accepted her gifts-- and then quickly stomps on the pain this thought causes her, because he is not hers.)

Suddenly, she can't take it anymore, this tribute to the child Sasuke-kun had once been, and the child-like innocence that had been destroyed by a man that he had once called nii-chan!

She closes the door softly, and then she is running

(you can't run forever)

towards a place that is familiar to her, even though she has never been inside.

Sasuke-kun had bought the apartment, and therefore, the previous owner couldn't put it up for sale. No one had touched it; not even Naruto, though it was probably because, for all of his happy fa├žade and cheerful smiles, anything to do with Sasuke rips him apart too.

(She's not sure if his pain is more or less than hers, because Naruto loved Sasuke, too, just in a different way.

And yet, Sasuke had seen Naruto, but had never seen her.

She thinks that maybe she's just a masochist, because she obviously likes to hurt herself, visiting both of his former homes and thinking about forbidden issues. After all, it wasn't Naruto's fault that Sasuke has choice-sight, and her incompetence is no one's fault but her own.)

(She tries not to remember the way he used to spit out, "Weak." like it was venom at her.)

She unlocks the door with a key hanging on a chain around her neck

(because she still can't let go, no matter how hard she tries)

and walks into the spacious living room. Now this, this is more like the Sasuke-kun that she (thought she) had known.

There is a painting of a scarecrow in the middle of his living room, and this surprises her. She stares at it, observing quietly, before it hits her

(she wasn't top of the class for nothing, after all)

and just to make sure, she goes and peers into his cabinets, feeling the empty space in her chest open just a little wider when she sees the Instant Ramen cups lying there innocently.

She wanders through the apartment, looking but never finding anything that suggests that she had also been part of Team Seven.

(She really shouldn't be surprised, honestly, but somehow she can't make it hurt any less, this acknowledgement that he never really cared.)

It is when she goes into his room that she breaks.

There, on his desk, is a frame, lying face down, and when she picks it up she wants to burst into tears.

She is in the middle of her boys, but Sasuke is looking at Naruto; looking right through her.

She hurls the frame at the wall, listening with grim satisfaction as the glass shatters and sparkles prettily in the moonlight filtering through the blinds.

And even though she is not one for metaphors

(even though Sasuke-kun clearly is, with the scarecrow and the ramen and the absence of someone else)

she stares at that frame, of the wood that is still holding their picture in place, and of the glass lying on Sasuke-kun's carpet. The picture of so-long-ago, of pretty smiles and animosity. The way that they had been before.

She directs her attention to the glass and smiles sadly. And that is the way they are now; broken, because someone had shattered them, forcing them away from everything they had once known. Forcing them apart.

It is then that the tears come, because they are broken, and nothing can bring them back to being the way they had been originally.

And Sasuke-kun, Sasuke-kun with his lonely obsidian eyes, with his painful past, with his empty heart.

(Take my lungs if you need to breathe. Take my heart if you like the beat.)

Sasuke-kun, who didn't care whether she lived or died; who had only saved her because not doing so would've earned him a lecture from Kakashi and a beating (or, at least, an attempted beating) from Naruto, and that was all just so annoying.

(Though that had been his nickname for her, and that he always, truly thought that hurt more than any physical wound.)

After the tears stop, her face is perfect and blank (just like a porcelain doll, except that she doesn't break that easily. Not anymore.) and she walks out of the apartment, ignoring the once-upon-a-time picture and the Unhappily-Ever-After glass.

Sakura is not one to hold grudges, but time can't heal everything.


A/N- I actually REALLY like this one, even though the plot bunny hit me out of nowhere. But, still, because you guys are basically my muse, tell me what YOU all thought.