A/N: Oh, I'm supposed to be doing so many other things, but I couldn't let this sit anymore. It has stolen around my mind, erasing all thoughts of homework and other stories and real life, insistently pushing at me. The only problem is that, while most of my stories are planned and plotted, this one really wasn't. There was no planning, nothing. Just a blank page and a need to explore an idea. So bare with me, and I hope it ends up interesting!

Warnings: Oh, I don't think there are any. Typically a little dark, a little depressing, but real. This may turn into a series of fics from female perspectives, but I'm not sure. Depends on how everything goes.

Disclaimer: I, um, yeah. Not mine. Not Naruto. Not at all. Don't I wish.


"Painted on My Heart"

The blankets were in shambles, spread across the bottom of the bed and floor as if they had been thrown off in the night by a wreckless hurricane. The sheets were crumpled and wrinkled, bent into odd shapes that Sakura swore still outlined their bodies.

It didn't matter that the tryst had taken place weeks ago. Months ago, really. When she woke every night, she still saw the same thing in the artistry of her bed. A face. A hand. A touch. A soul.

Her memory burned with remembrance of his whispers, her skin still tingled from the caress of his body against hers. She had never felt anything as sensual as the feel of his skin rubbing against hers, and she was sure nothing would ever compare to it again.

She woke at 12:32, every night. Precisely.

Her heart throbbed with the feeling, intensity burgeoning within her. She could close her eyes, wipe out the scene of beautiful, dark night beyond her window, and see him. Dark eyes, mysterious looks, fleeting emotion in wary features. A piece of dark hair fell in front of lustful eyes, blocking out her view. A hand came into sight, rubbing down her jaw.

What a way to be haunted, she thought all the time. Most people were haunted by those they had killed, by those they hadn't saved. She was haunted by a man she was pretty sure she had never loved. A man that had been a disappearing character in her life, not even filling enough of her time to constitute a mention.

Escape had become futile, though.

She had tried. Oh, how she had tried. She had filled her mind with work, with research, with missions. She had gotten drunk and went home with another man. She had gone out with Ino more times than she could count. Nothing seemed to replace him in her mind's eye, and her body always flew back to the sensation he had caused.

Her hand came to rest on the windowsill, cold and hot at the same time as her nerves tried to adjust to the temperature.

She had once felt like that, all over. Only one day since had she been able to wipe him completely from her memory, inducing such a feeling in her heart. She could still hear Tsunade yelling at her, the crash of furniture against the wall as the desk finally became the outlet for her frustrations. Disappointment was a crushing sensation, it seemed, and the only one that could really scare his apparition from her life. Even though she had felt grateful to have escaped him that night, she had never tried it again. The feeling of emptiness wasn't worth it.

It was 12:57.

Her lips burned, reflecting a memory of his kiss. Her shadow squirmed in the shadows of the bedroom, twisting about to find its counterpart.

Her leg came up, her head resting on her knee as she sat on the barren floor, staring out the window. Her flesh prickled, rising into goosebumps as a surprisingly shadowy hand rubbed along her calf. Her leg itched at the memory, but she didn't move to relieve the twitching.

Her fingertips went numb from lack of movement, from the wish to move across someone's body. She flexed her hands, balling them up and straightening them slowly.

How could one man cause such trouble?

Tsunade had told her, the same night she had finally escaped his shadow, that men were the bane of a kunoichi's existence. Kunoichi loved harder, faster, longer due to the type of work they did. Love was a different concept for them; death made such emotion that much more important. She had replied to her, almost mechanically, that it had never been about love. Tsunade had shaken her head, amused, before offering her another drink to wash away the pain. She took it, merely to wash away his voice and to finally understand her mentor.

The leaves shook outside her window, trees swaying back and forth in the night breeze.

She shook her head, almost copying the movement before her, but stopped soon after. The trees would not lull her into sleep, nothing would be able to do that until at least 2:00. She would have to deal with her insomnia until then.

She had also tried to nullify the insomnia's hold on her, picking random little chores to leave for her nightly activity. But she found herself never completing anything, not even capable of making a cup of tea when she woke at night. It was as if her mind couldn't focus on anything but the memory, the feeling. It scared her, sometimes; she was always afraid that it would interfere on one of the few missions she went on these days. So far, though, she hadn't even had to worry. A medic with her skills was more important in the hospital than on an unknown battlefield.

He was like a painting she couldn't escape, which was especially ironic, in her opinion.

Horsehair brushes, ink wells of different colors, lines blurring to form a picture she couldn't possibly fathom. He has always been so complicated, so different, that she had never known what lay beneath. She had never realized how much safer she was when he was being unemotional and cold, turned off from the world.

Now she knew, though. Now she felt it. It was a feeling she didn't dare call love, she didn't dare call anything less. Quantifying her emotion would lend it a reality she couldn't deal with, not when she might have to face him any day and act like he had never interrupted the pace of her life. She couldn't lessen her torment, either, though. And calling it anything less than the all-consuming emotion 'love' would lessen what she suffered.

It would make her feel stupid, really.

It had been one night to him, one fling to satisfy a friend in the only way he knew how while also learning what true emotion could do to a person. He had never said anything, given anything away. Yet, she suffered. She writhed with a memory of pale skin and dark hair, stripping off black clothes in the moonlight.

She didn't love him. She couldn't. He didn't know what it was. It would kill her.


A/N: And how many of you expected it to be Sai? Hmm?