Author's notes: This is probably my first attempt at a first-person pov fic. It's tenten doing some introspection on sakura and her attempts to 'fix' Sasuke. I do hope I can pull this off… and… uh… reviews are very much appreciated. Thank you.
By the way, I'm turning this into a oneshot collection. I'll be trying to write about other characters from now on, to broaden my... er... range. They'll all be related to each other in one way or another, though.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Sometimes, when I have nothing to do, I watch her. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm stalking her. She just interests me, that's all.
Her name is Sakura – easy enough to remember, what with the horrifyingly large cliché attached to it. Pink hair, Sakura petals, she's a huge cliché. Of course, I guess I can't blame her parents for giving her that name. It fits her perfectly – pink, delicate, beautiful… fleeting…
I don't really understand why I watch her. I have no connections to her, you see, apart from the fact that she was once a classmate of Neji's cousin, Hinata. She's a year younger than me and I think I encountered her once or twice during the Chuunin exams. We're not exactly close.
Occasionally, we go on missions together, but there's never really much of an opportunity to talk, much less bond. She's always off doing something; fixing things, making sure everything's alright, being the medic – anything to delay what she's going to do next. But when she runs out of things to do – as she always does – she stares off into space and dreams about what I can only guess to be goals and teammates and bonds and hope and love. She makes a bad ninja, really. She's too emotional to be one. Sure, she's highly intelligent, and she's damn good at making strategies, but that's about it.
I know little about her except that she's just a random kunoichi thrown into a team composed of three people whose names will be forever engraved in Konoha's history books. She's the student of Hatake Kakashi, known as the copy-nin, master of a thousand jutsu. She's the teammate of that loudmouth ninja named Naruto who, as Neji seems to believe, actually has a running to be the next Hokage, and of that Uchiha, the last wielder of the powerful Sharingan, courtesy of a sick and twisted massacre and an intricate web of truth and lies – the stuff of history. I have a vague memory of his clan's story, of how the grownups gossiped about it for days on end. But I was just a kid then, barely aware of what was happening around me. I think I cared more for my new batch of shurikens rather than the latest news. If I had known that it would impact the whole of my career as a ninja, my most important missions being almost always (directly or indirectly) related to that 'incident', then maybe I would've paid more attention. Haruno Sakura is just a random kunoichi with no special power, no prestigious name, no remarkable past, no nothing – and yet she's making history.
And maybe that's why I watch her – to find out what it is about her that makes her deserving of a spot in the history books alongside her more famous – and seemingly more significant – teammates. She's not the perfect kunoichi – far from it – but there she is, making history, doing something that I had been dreaming of doing since I was a little girl. She's the Godaime Hokage's apprentice, heir to the legendary strength and the equally legendary powers of healing. I watch her because as she goes on her seemingly unproductive and futile walks to the traitor's house and repeatedly skips training, she is engraving herself deeper into the history books. She's younger than me, she goes on girly shopping sprees, and she's horribly emotional, and she's probably one of the worst ninjas I've seen – and yet she's closer to my dream than I am. My dream – not hers, because wasn't her dream to become the silly little housewife of that traitor? She never dreamed of becoming a legendary ninja – so why should the honor go to her?
I think I've done everything properly, though not always perfectly. I care more about training than flirting, I care more about weapons than clothes, I'm a lot better at hiding my emotions – I'm what a kunoichi should be, and yet my name won't ever make it to the history books. The memorial stone, probably… but never the history books. So I watch her, to see what it is about her that makes me want to tear up the ninja rule book into little irreparable pieces.
Right now, she's walking towards the traitor's house, a bento box in her hands and her hair meticulously combed, heading towards another rejection, another disappointment. There's a hitch in her step, as if she's hesitating. Or maybe she's just tired. Hell, I'd be tired too if I was doing such a menial, boring, unproductive, unappreciated task. For her sake, I wish she'd give way to that hitch – stop tormenting herself, give up on her ungrateful teammate, turn back and walk away.
I wish she'd go back to Ino and accept the girl's invitation to go shopping.
I wish she'd go back to Naruto and accept the guy's request for a date.
I wish she'd go back to Tsunade-sama and train some more, learn more jutsus, gain more strength.
Anything – just stop wasting her time with Uchiha Sasuke – the traitor who abandoned the village and almost sent my teammates to their deaths.
He doesn't treat her right. He doesn't even see her. He's cold and arrogant and aloof and too damn silent and uncaring and… and he doesn't deserve her – he doesn't deserve her at all.
I follow her – always at a safe distance – her steps falter and she always seems to be taking her own sweet time, as if she doesn't want to get there yet, as if she wants to delay the inevitable. It never happens though. She always arrives at her destination and they always sit there, their backs against each other if not for the slab of wood separating them. I can see them from my regular perch, the branch of an exceptionally large and old tree that overlooks one of the manor's large windows. It's such a strategic position because you can observe the two of them together, yet the tree's leaves keep me hidden from their sight – not that they'd bother to look, anyway. Konoha's not a place that can be infiltrated by spies easily, this is where ninjas can let their guards down.
They almost seem like a painting – Sakura, pink and light against a bright background of grass and trees and mountains, and Sasuke, dark and gloomy against a backdrop of the drabbest grays and blacks, dust and grime gathering in his once stately mansion. The worst cliché anyone could ever come up with and yet… it's irresistible – this contrast between light and dark, life and death, heaven and hell. They never move, not until Sakura has to leave. The moment she does leave is my cue to leave as well. I never stay to watch Sasuke, he never does anything interesting anyway. Sakura, on the other hand, would usually go to several other places before retreating into her own apartment.
Sometimes, she goes to the training grounds, either to just lie down and think or to catch up on her training or maybe to vent, I don't really see much difference. Sometimes she goes to that road leading to the village exits and just sits on one of the benches there – the same one, every time, now that I think of it. Sometimes she goes to the library and pretends to read some random book she picks up from the shelf. Today, however, it seems that she's going to go to the lake – the lake with the cool waters that she dangles her feet in and the mountains that she looks at but never really sees. I wonder, sometimes, if she ever gets tired of thinking.
She's at it again – the same routine, the same results. It's boring – what I do. But I like to think of it as a patience-building exercise, or maybe a study on the human psyche. Sometimes, I even think of this as a favor to Konoha, watching the traitor and all… never mind that it's Sakura whom I really watch… just call it killing two birds with one stone. Mostly, I just think of what I do as some sort of self-inflicted torture, a sort of punishment for my inadequacies, whatever they are – because really, I shouldn't have any, according to that ninja guidebook, that is. Not that I've followed it to the letter, I won't kid myself into thinking that I'm so great. But it's unfair, how the ninja guidebook promises perfection but dishes out mediocrity. It is, I think, the biggest betrayal.
Ah—but what's this? They're… talking? This is new…
She's flustered, unprepared for the sudden development. I'd say she's on the verge of crying… but hey, I'm too far away to really tell. I can't even hear what they're saying. This is starting to get interesting… oh, hey… she's leaving? She leaves her bento box – which he most probably will take and never say 'thank you' for, that ungrateful and undignified traitor. But I don't stay to watch as I follow Sakura towards the training grounds.
As expected, once she gets there, she goes berserk against the trees. Really, if she could do that to the Uchiha, she'd be doing the world a huge favor. She punches and smashes and screams and shouts and… falls on her knees and breaks down into tears.
She looks so pathetic – sobbing on the forest floor, an inconsolable heap of sorrow and heartache and frustration. I almost want to go down there and console her, tell her to stop hurting herself, that the Uchiha's not worth it, that it's too hard and too frustrating and she should just stop trying because there's no hope… no hope at all… they won't ever be together no matter how hard she tries. Because he's from a big and important clan and the clan will always – always – come first.
Inexplicably, a single tear runs down my cheek. What I don't know, however, is if it's for Sakura… or if it's for myself. I suspect it's for both of us. And the thought lends me no comfort.
I never bothered to watch her again after that incident.
But when I found out that she's in the hospital after sustaining major injuries on her most recent mission, an impulse suddenly struck me. It was uncontrollable – this urge to visit her. I kept myself from going to her as much as I could, but in the end, the urge became too much to bear that I decided to just get it over with. So as it is, here I am, making my way over to the hospital room of a girl I barely even talk to. Yet, somehow, I feel like I know her better than anyone else does.
She's surprised, that much I can gather. I'd be surprised too if someone I barely knew came in with flowers. I must look stupid, standing here, not knowing what to say.
"Why do you do it?"
Today must be "Impulse Day" because those words were never meant to leave my mouth. I can only thank my lucky stars that she doesn't seem to know what I'm talking about. She must think I'm crazy.
"Uhh.. never mind. I'll be going now, bye."
Abruptly, I leave the room, too embarrassed to stay a while longer. I let my feet lead me, and, unexpectedly, I find myself sprinting towards the Uchiha compound.
He looks miserable – and I can't help but feel a bit of sadistic pleasure at this. Apparently, he doesn't eat anything apart from the food that she gives him. He's now skin and bones and he's rather pitiful. But I resent him too much to actually pity him. Though, I doubt he'd appreciate my pity anyway.
I've been watching him for quite a while now. In fact, I've been watching him since that day I visited Sakura at the hospital. It's sadistic… but I think I like watching him disintegrate.
It leaves me with a bit of satisfaction… of vindication.
But it's boring, though, watching him. He never does anything but brood. He's stupid too. I mean, for a genius, he certainly makes the worst decisions. If he wants to see her, then why not just look for her instead of moping around in his stupid haunted house?
Really, there's no hope for them… no hope at all.
"I never thought of you as the stalker type, Tenten."
My heart must have skipped a beat as the voice breaks through my reverie. I whirl around to face my new companion.
"Neji… uh, what are you doing here?"
He raises his brow – so condescending – at me.
"I should be the one asking that."
Smart ass – I want to slap him sometimes. But his question does make sense… what am I doing here? I turn my head towards the window, towards Sasuke, and then back to Neji.
"I guess I'm just thinking."
He doesn't answer, silently willing me to continue.
"About how there's no hope for Sasuke and Sakura's relationship… they're too… fractured."
He shakes his head, slowly, mockingly – as if he's talking to a toddler who just said something senseless but rather amusing.
"What? I'm just telling the truth – I mean, just look at the facts, they're—"
"They will end up together. It's fate."
"Fate, Neji? The facts are too clear! They don't have a chance! Why don't you use your head?"
Instead of getting mad at me, he chuckles at me and points towards the house. My eyes widen as I see an astounding sight: Sasuke and Sakura hugging – actually hugging! I must've missed something big while I was arguing with Mr.SmartAss here.
"Oh Tenten, ye of little faith…"
I continue to watch them, fascinated at the recent development. It's unbelievable, and yet—
"You can't fight fate, Tenten."
I turn to look at him then and I'm surprised at what I see. His expression is no longer arrogant, no longer mocking, no longer amused. It's serious and contemplating and suffused with an emotion I can't quite pinpoint. But the expression's gone before I can even recognize it, replaced with his usual look.
"Now come on, you should be training for the Jounin exams, not snooping around somebody else's house."
I follow him then… I follow Neji.
And somehow, there's a smile on my face – why I'm smiling, though, remains a mystery.