Once upon a time there was a fairy princess, locked away in a tall, tall tower.

The fairy princess was just a little girl. She had to wait in her tower until someone – her prince charming – came to get her. So she waited. She waited and waited and before long she was older and she was beautiful and she was strong, so strong she didn't need a prince anymore but she kept waiting.

The princess loved a knight.

He was a good knight – a brave, strong, fierce knight. But he wasn't a white knight. He once was, a long time before, but something had tarnished his armor and stained it with a sticky red that sometimes wasn't his. She saw the dirt and hurt for the boy she thought she loved. Over time she convinced herself that maybe, if he loved her the way she loved him, he would somehow come back together into something whole and wonderful.

The girl had a friend. He was a knight too. He was brave and strong and fought so hard it sometimes scared her. But he was foolish and loud and the princess only ever laughed at him – and then, later, with him.

The boy knight used to climb the tower to see her.

It wasn't easy, but he pretended it was, and he'd visit her and talk to her and make her laugh and sometimes forget the other knight. He'd smile and she'd smile back. Then, later, he'd climb back down and leave her to pine for the one that wasn't him.

The boy pretended it was ok.

Then, one day, nothing was ok. The not-white knight had come back and his splattered armor was gone and in its place was coal black metal and a smile that didn't touch his eyes. The princess – so strong and beautiful and powerful – couldn't do anything. She loved the man – because he was a man now – even if she hated him too and so she stayed in her tower and she didn't come out and she cried her heart out as battle waged around her.

When it was quiet and the night dark, her door opened.

A knight stood there, white and shining and watching her with eyes she couldn't see. In her dulled heart, something fluttered like mad. Then, slowly, the knight raised his hands and took off his helmet. He shook his head to clear his face and looked at her through eyes she knew better than any others.

"I was too tired to climb," he told her.

And she smiled at him, wrapped her arms tight about his middle, and told him she was sorry.

That night – that night of black knights and red screams – the fairy princess came down from her tower.

x

"Naruto?"

"Yeah, Sakura-chan."

"Thanks."


note: Because you asked for it.

And since it wasn't planned, forgive the possible lameness.

8D