I just love twisting rhymes until they're distorted and scary…

Disclaimer: I don't own. Nah. Otherwise quite a few people would still be alive and others would be dead.

- - -

(Cinderella, dressed in yellow)

Their words echo mockingly in her ears

in her mind

in her heart

("coward," they hiss menacingly. "Naruto went and tried to save him, and you –






coward coward coward (they hiss)

and it hurts, so she covers her ears.

"Save me," she whimpers, but no one will.

There is no Prince Charming to rescue her

(because her prince – can she even call him that anymore? Was he ever that to her? – is the one who needs rescuing).

(Went upstairs to kiss her fellow)

He opens his mouth but before he can demand why she is here, in his room at Sound, he is up against the wall and she's covering his lips with hers

(because she's tired of waiting, dammit,

and it's her turn to act now).

And once he's gotten over the shock of her presence and actions, he's kissing back

(and it's passionate, fervent, needy, aggressive, and so much more),

and she can't believe it.

Her Sasuke-kun, her darling Sasuke-kun is kissing her

(she started it, but that doesn't matter –

nothing does –

even that little voice in the back of her head that screams alarm doesn't matter).

And then it registers.

(By mistake, she kissed a snake)

"Sssssakura-chan," that familiar voice coos in her ear

(she tries to keep from moving, she really does, but she flinches)

"how niccccccce of you to join usssssss…"

That voice, coming from the lips of the on whom she loves –

she is tainted by this creature

(this vile, disgusting, filthy menace)

who pretends to be who he is not.

A malicious smile – vicious twist of those perfect lips – adorns the face that is Sasuke's and yet is not, and she shudders.

She must get away ere her resolve fails, and she is stuck here with this thing that is no longer her dear Sasuke-kun.

Her fist, glowing green with chakra, slams into the stone wall behind her, and a networking web of cracks, thin as a spider's abode, spreads from a single blow.


And he looks at her, his voice a cacophony (jarring, harsh sound that does not fit Sasuke's cadaverous visage), and his eyes are yellow within black.

Then the wall crumbles from her display of power, and she is gone.

(She could have sworn that for a moment, those eyes were claret slivers embedded in midnight blue.)

(How many doctors did it take?)

She is found, collapsed, at the front gates of Konoha.

It is civilians who discover their favourite medic on the ground, and it is the populace of Konoha who spirit her off to the hospital.

When she wakes, all she can do is cry and clutch her chest

(because her heart is shattered, and Sasuke-kun is gone).

Verdant eyes gaze vaguely into the distance through the window

(towards Sound; she is ever facing Sound)

and she responds with the shortest sounds possible, hardly more than a living corpse

(that doesn't make sense, but nothing makes sense now).

And he's gone.

(And it doesn't matter that Konoha is crying for its beloved medic, or that others are dying as she lies there. He is gone, and that's all that matters.)


"Sakura," Tsunade says sternly, "enough of this nonsense. You are not the only one who's lost someone important to you."

But hard eyes of hazel soften slightly, because this medic knows the pain of loss all too well.

And she is the backbone, the sense of discipline that Sakura so desperately needs.


"Sakura-chan…" Naruto's cerulean gaze, so full of determination, lands on her worn and tired face. "Cheer up! I'll take you to ramen, and – oh! We'll ask Hinata-chan to come too! You always want her to come with us; I don't know why, but…"

Despite her twitching eyebrow at his obliviousness, she manages a genuine smile at his antics.


Kakashi decides to show up one day in her room, despite his apparent dislike (disdain, maybe?) for hospitals.

(She's so surprised to see him that she falls backwards on her bed –

"Don't scare me like that, Kakashi-sensei!")

He gives her his infamous eye-crinkle which passes as a smile in Kaka-language and poofs away, leaving her befuzzled

(then again, he seems to enjoy doing that).


"Forehead Girl!" Ino sings out as she saunters into the starched-white room. "What are you doing in bed? Today is a lovely day to be out and about!"

Her cheery demeanour lights up the room and dazzles Sakura for a moment.

It is all thanks to Ino that Sakura gets the first breath of fresh air that she's had in a while.


"Are you all right, Sakura?"

Yamato looks worriedly at her

("no I'm not okay how can you ask that HOW CAN YOU ASK THAT?!")

but she gives him a weary smile and assures him that everything's fine

(and now she's a liar and a coward and a traitor – )

and he doesn't buy it and he takes her out to lunch with Naruto and Ino.

(Arigato, Yamato-taichou…)

And she gives him an unexpected hug.


"Hey, Hag. You're looking less ugly today," the dark-haired ANBU greets as he raises a hand and gives her an empty expression in salutation.

Because normally she would reply to that with a furious fist, he is (pleasantly) surprised when she merely gives him a wan smile.

"Hey, Sai," she sighs.

"Are you sick or injured?" he asks cautiously.

When Sakura's eyebrow twitches, he grins and ducks out of the hospital room.


"Sakura," a deep voice whispers as strong arms go around her, "are you all right?"

She can hardly believe her senses when his familiar, musky scent envelops her.

"Ye – "

She can't speak through her happiness, but he understands.

Yes, yes, yes. I'm fine now that you're here.

When Yamato creeps into the room, he nearly falls over from the shock of discovering the two curled up in Sakura's bed.

After he recovers, he fetches the others.

And Kakashi's lone eye falls open, and Sai smiles that infernal smile and begins to sketch them

(because whether they know it or not, they do make a lovely pair)

and Naruto lets out a screech fit to wake the dead.

Sasuke scowls at them as Sakura stirs

(he'd hoped to keep her there against his chest for a little longer).

Tsunade comes running at once but stops when she sees the blissful face of her apprentice

(her almost-daughter)

and abruptly declares that since he killed Orochimaru

(he notes the file clutched tightly in her hand and smirks)

he is pardoned from all of his crimes.

(She knows there'll be hell to pay later, but right now all she wants is a drink.)

And she turns and stomps out.

The shinobi behind her grin and smirk and all is forgiven.

(They are Team Seven once more.)

- - -

I seem to be getting good at these. The difference between fluff and angst is that fluff has a happy ending. Don't you just hate it when you really like a piece of writing, and then you read it in school and have to overanalyze it until you hate it? We were reading "The Highwayman" in ELA, and I really like it (you should look it up; I believe that there's also a couple of fics on that are based on it), but we read it like five million times and now I don't like it so much.