The characters and places represented here are not mine.

Just Dancing Through

It is said that when two people are meant to be together, in any way, they dance in and out of each others lives, weaving intricate intimacies through seemingly chance meetings. They brush by each, holding hands as they spin and continue on another path, turn back and match steps for a while, wander to another partner…it is the most complex and intimate dance one can step.

But Sakura was never very good at dancing. She had tried, a few times, but she was too technically minded, her feet didn't understand the improvisation, the spinning, the swaying. She was left to just stumble along while the other girls laughed and threw themselves into the dance, hardly aware of the complexity of the steps they made. Sakura quit dance lessons after the first session. She conceded to tripping over unseen obstacles and tumbling into people.

Kabuto, on the other hand, had a lot of talent in the dancing field—but made the conscious and definite decision to avoid it whenever possible. He preferred to walk. Dancing was too needlessly fancy, unpredictable. He liked to know where he was going, and control what he did when he got there. He had walked up to Orochimaru, walked behind him, beside him, stood still and obedient, waiting for whatever cause he was given.

And so, Kabuto walked into Konoha one day, and Sakura stumbled into him. It seemed so simple, and unimportant, seeing him there among the group of some dozens of other ninja, as she was jerked into his path behind the boisterous, trouble-causing kid in an orange jumper, and he walked up to them, a smile on his face and his path deceitfully chosen. She and he in particular shared no great amount of conversation, he did a lot speaking, to the entire group, and she added a few of her own questions, which he answered plainly, without intricacies. But they looked at each other, occasionally. She throwing him quick, nervous glances from the corner of her eye as she pretended to watch more intimidating people, and his gaze sliding over to her purposely, taking in the girl accompanying the boy who he was supposed to be focusing on. He found he could not focus on the brooding, dark child and so let himself watch Sakura instead; she never wandered far from Sasuke, he wouldn't lose the boy. And what was more, stalking Sasuke was a good excuse for continuously watching her, as he found himself inclined to do.

Sakura went about the exam as usual, unaware of Kabuto's gaze, but horribly aware of the way she kept accidentally looking for him in rooms, wondering if she would cross his path—hoping she would. Se blushed, and tripped down the hallway she was walking, drawing a taunting laugh from Naruto and a sigh from Sasuke. She had stumbled in front of a window, and through that Kabuto watched her turn redder than her dress and yell at Naruto to stop his teasing. He found himself smiling, and instantly stopped himself. She glanced out the window, and he smiled again (without honesty this time), waved, and walked on as if he had been on his way somewhere. If it had been possible, she would have blushed further.

She forgot about him for quite a while, with Sasuke and Naruto just about dying and she losing much of her hair and gaining a lot of confidence. She didn't have time to spare on thoughts of another person she had stumbled across who she happened to have exchanged a glance or two with. But when they were in the room together again, even with all her worry about Sasuke, she spared him one look past Sasuke's shoulder and as he turned away to leave, he look up and returned the gaze, and she quickly looked back to Sasuke. This was no time to be distracted…but still her mind put that gaze into a special corner to be mulled over later.

By the time she was ready to do that, Kakashi was telling her about his use of corpses and scalpels and jumping out of windows. She felt she was far more upset by his betrayal than she should have been. Naruto was the one who became instantly attached to people, not she. But it was disappointed that if she wanted to watch him now, it would have to be a rather dangerous spy mission. So why did she think that when she looked up into the eyes of the man she accidentally tripped in front of as he walked down the streets, had a gaze that brought a previous one out of it's mind-cranny. The stranger nodded to her as she bowed and stammered her apology, and walked on without a word.

Odd, that he should happen upon her while scouting Konoha, Kabuto thought as he spared another look over his shoulder at the retreating kunoichi. But then…he couldn't deny having thought he caught a splash of pink and following it this distance. It wasn't all that strange—as usual he had walked right into the situation. He was glad of that. It kept the affairs under his control, and something he was fairly comfortable with. So then why did he feel as though he had swallowed a rather volatile butterfly? He walked out of Konoha quickly, banishing all thoughts and feelings on the pink-haired girl he could. It turned out to be obnoxiously few.

Sasuke left, and she was broken. Sasuke left her behind in the moon-shadow, and slipped into the night to follow some brooding destiny. Sakura had no destiny, she was just moving forward, and Kabuto—he knew he was not destined for anything and so created his own fate as he pleased, mostly by supporting those with grander plans than he could ever imagine. He was near Konoha, the night Sasuke left, making sure all went right, leaving his master even in his time of greatest need for this visit that he for some reason was especially keen to make. He saw Sasuke leave, and followed the boys steps back a few paces, and found a wet-faced young girl lying on the park bench. He stared at her, unsure of what to do. Obviously he could not wake her and foil Orochimaru's pans, but it seemed cruel to just leave her there. He finally settled on drying her tears, smoothing her hair, and unwittingly holding off the nightmares that would have surely otherwise plagued her, and then left, knowing he had done all he had come to do.

After waking she continued bumbling along, with no idea where the path was let alone how to follow it. Trying to make sense of a changing world with changing people. Trying to figure, among it all, where and who she still was. He continued walking by; meandering down the path he made for himself, ever just one step behind his lord and master, and occasionally walking deliberately down the confused road she left in her wake. Sometimes though, because of all her mis-steps and slips, he accidentally walked right past, missing her completely. He pretended not to notice or care.

She continued her head-first, unbalanced, fate-less, journey onward, training hard under watchful eyes; knowing that it was not hers, really, but that she was working for a great and powerful purpose that she could at least help, if not play a major role in. With her every step being carefully monitored and guided, and after all the painful wounds had had time to heal, she took a moment to slip into the back of her head and finally give some thought to a thing she had meant to address years ago.

One glance. And a thousand thoughts. The memory was too dull now, covered by so many more important things, but she dwelled on it, wishing she could figure it out, clear it out of her mind once and for all so she would never have to worry about it again, or let it get in her way. Funny, how she said that but at the same time felt as though it was the kind of thing that would never leave her. She sat in the corner of her bedroom, letting it brew, trying to re-live the moment, and as she sat there, re-thinking it over and over again, she did feel the memory becoming more firm. She felt with each re-living that she could almost put herself right in that moment, feel again the way her muscles had tightened and her skin tingled, almost as if his gaze was on her right now, as if he were right outside the window.

He was, actually. And she looked up with a snap when she realized this. How he got into the town she could not begin to guess, but most everyone of exceptional strength beside Tsunade was off on missions at the time, that explained a little, she supposed. The 'why' of the matter was more curious, when he had Orochimaru to tend to and certainly more important things that peeping through her window? He was no peeping tom; she knew that, he would have hidden himself if that were the case. He was very deliberately in the branches of the oak outside, looking at her as she looked backed, and neither doing anything. Just watching.

Their gaze had them both spell-bound, her expression confused and surprised and almost awed, his calm but mystified, intense. There was something horribly meant-to-be in that gaze, green staring into black—black eyes so different from the ones she had always claimed to admire. Both of them with their lives lacking in destiny, felt as though fate had played at least this one hand for them, tripping her across the path he walked and entangling them around each other so they could hardly move, much less dance. No, just keep moving…glancing.

It was an un-chase-able destiny, though. If she opened the window to speak to him, she would have to, on duty as a kunoichi of konoha and a friend of many, interrogate him on Sasuke, try to force an answer from him, and have no talk of dreams and life. And should he slip inside to see her, much less hold her, he would, in response to her necessary reaction and to live up to Orochimaru's expectations, have to harm, if not kill, her after whatever fleeting passion might transpire.

So they both pretended they had seen nothing, and when she looked away back to her textbook he was gone from the tree. Well, that was settled at least, some answers gained, and now it would have to be locked back away, un-explored any further and un-pursued. But the pages of her textbook became damp, and Kabuto's chest felt especially hollow.

The two-and-a-half years passed, and Naruto returned, and Sakura was ready to move forward with him this time, instead of falling down and stumbling her way along. So they charged towards this immeasurably great fortune. She had all but pushed Kabuto from her mind, not even considered it would be him they saw on the bridge that day. But there he was. She had run and tumbled her way right into his path again, as he walked to meet them. So frustratingly destined. During the ensuing battle they exchange several glances, and they both felt that it was not the same as it had been those few times when the connection had been made. Perhaps that was it then, their fate found and ended, within a few seconds, no time for a melody or rhyme to kick in—nothing worth dancing to.

Too much happened in the hours following, stirring up more of the past—shaking her more than she had braced herself for. She saw him again, and realized her previous conclusion had not been it at all. Something had been settled, certainly, through time and maturity, but potential, raw potential, could never be satisfied unless acted upon. This would never be acted upon. She had not hoped for it long enough for her heart to break—but she was hideously sad. Sadder than she should have been over a few glances and day-dreams. Maybe they had shared those daydreams, making them on some mystical level intertwine and give each other too much hope. Whatever it was, it was carried away as he vanished again. She was torn down the middle, and it seemed each of her eyes shed tears for different reasons.

Kabuto was on the cracking edge of sanity by that point. But upon seeing her, he had felt totally human again for the first time in a infinitely long time. All the hope and sad recognition of foolishness between them making him ache in a definitely human way, though he showed no sign. It gave him a moment of clarity, to watch her as he walked to Orochimaru's side yet again, urging him along that destiny-drenched path as he and Sakura silently, secretly, relished in the last moments of theirs.

That was the last time she saw him as totally himself, when she could look at him and feel the energy of their shared minute and unimportant—and yet incredibly, wondrously powerful—fate. A special secret tucked within their hearts, an unlikely connection that wove between them.

In the end, Kabuto succumbed to pride and greed and many of the other seven deadlies, and lost most of himself. He fell, tumbling into a web of all those things which corrupt and destroy and he, very slowly, went away.

Sakura held her head high, with the knowledge of her already completed and glowing fate hidden within keeping her walking with those who goals she chose to follow and support. She kept on life's path, nowhere to go especially for her now that she had already taken that road to the end. So she just lived, not bull-dozing down to complete some intense plan or win an illustrious prize, not in any rush to get somewhere or accomplish something.

Just dancing through.
Finally! I've wanted to write a serious Sakura/Kabuto fic for awhile now, but in honor of it's startings I didn't want to crank out just any old romance one-shot. I finally was struck with the proper inspiration! So here you are! I know some of you have been waiting for this, or at least will be happy to see it.

It is a little more angsty than I might have liked. But hero/vilian love generally has to be unless it's either totally AU or comedy. And I do think it turned out well. The writing isn't my very best, but I love the theme and flow of the story.

I'm not usually one for Sakura romance, I mean, almost everything has been done over and over with her, but this is very dear to me and means a lot. I had to write it, and I hope you all enjoy reading it.

Any Ask Sakura fans, this is for you.

And to anyone else reading this I thank you greatly for your time and would to know your thoughts.

Much love