Dedication: Julia, who challenged me. I CAN FRIGGIN TOO WRITE ANGST USING THE PROMPTS YOU GAVE ME.
Prompts: Cherry-flavored condoms, "You're a cutie, Karin-pa-to-tee.", 'Piece Of Me' by Britney Spears, colorful band-aids, Sex On The Beach, concubines.
Julia, it is on.
Random note: Again, the title has nothing, really, to do with the story, but was inspired by a song I couldn't stop listening to while writing this. It's by Crossfade, is amazing and I highly suggest you listen to it, and just to let you know, Becca, that is ALL YOUR FAULT for me having Breathing Slowly on repeat. I think I have a thing for naming my stuff after a song I can't get out of my head. (Keep Breathing, anyone?) Also, this is rated M for innuendo only. So perverts, you can get out now.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. And now it is the BIGGEST WOE EVER BECAUSE HOLY HELL HAVE THE LATEST CHAPTERS SUCKED. WHAT THE EFF, KISHIMOTO?
Sasuke, Karin knows, has never really had a need for words.
(Has never really had a need for her.)
She knew this when she married him, a year ago, that he was a generally silent man. She knew he was cold, too. It was what had first attracted him to her, apart from his beauty.
Sasuke is many things. He is handsome, he is cold, he is calculating, he is beautiful, he is her everything. But one thing Sasuke isn't is a liar.
(It's why she doesn't ask him anything that she doesn't want to know the answer to, because she's afraid of it, afraid of what truth will spill from those pale, soft lips.)
She is staring down at a package of 12-pack cherry-flavored condoms, the beginnings of something churning in her gut. There are only four left.
He has not touched her since their wedding night, and even then it was only to consummate their marriage once before he fell asleep.
She turns around at a noise behind her only to find Sasuke standing in the doorway. His eyes fall upon the package in her hands, and there is no remorse in them.
"I just came in here to find the electric bill." She says, and her voice is small in the room as she gestures to the open drawer in his desk.
"Hn." He hums, crossing the threshold and grabbing a stack of work papers.
"Who is she, Sasuke?" Karin murmurs. Sasuke pauses, if only slightly, before continuing on his way to the living room.
"No one you need to know about." Is his answer, and the door shuts ominously behind him.
Karin scrutinizes herself in the mirror, trying to find what it is about her that he doesn't find satisfying.
For the life of her, she can find nothing, but there has to be something if Sasuke finds her so undesirable that he feels like he must seek comfort elsewhere.
She purses her lips, fingers running against her abdomen absentmindedly, trying to picture a very different pair of fingers.
But they have never touched her here, have never touched anything more than her shoulder or her lower back when he is guiding her way to some place. The only time she ever sees those fingers clearly is when they are wrapped around a pen while he signs papers or as they tap at his keyboard, pale face lit with the glow of the screen.
But she has probably felt his fingers, felt them graze her stomach and thighs and hips and all of the places that he has never touched Karin. Felt them pulsing and pushing inside of her as they bring her to a completion, to a high that Karin could never possibly hope to feel from Sasuke.
Karin brings a fist back, punches the mirror so hard all of the shards fall around her feet, the glass sparkling in the overhead light, and leaves them room.
(She finds it ironic how the fragments of her mirror resemble her broken dreams; Sasuke, of course, is the fist. He is the strong one in this relationship, and he can break her just as easily.)
Karin has never been a fool. She might love him, yes, but she knows her feelings are not reciprocated.
She is there because she is beautiful, because she is a trophy-wife, because their marriage had helped Sasuke's career.
So she does what she was born to do well. She remains attached to Sasuke's arm, smiling politely at all of his co-workers, glaring back at all of the women who watch her husband lustfully as they pass.
For the most part, Sasuke ignores them. His eyes are focused on the man who he is conversing with, nodding and commenting every so often. The counterpart smiles and departs, and Sasuke brings his wine to his lips, his eyes scanning the crowd.
Karin feels him stiffen slightly beside her, the movement so slight that not many others would have noticed it. She glanced up to follow his gaze, her own eyes settling on a woman in a white halter dress with a green ribbon wrapped around her neck, choker-fashion, that matched the color of her eyes, pink hair swept into an elegant up-do.
Karin knew, right then and there, that it was Her.
When the woman met Sasuke's eyes she stiffened before a small smile snuck across her porcelain, flawless features.
Karin looked up at her husband and swallowed thickly. Sasuke's eyes were soft as they stared at the roseate-haired female.
Sasuke never looked at her like he was looking at Her right now.
"Excuse me," Karin managed to rasp out, "I need to go to the bathroom." When Sasuke glanced down, something inside of her broke.
When he looked at her, the smile in his eyes died.
She walked away quickly, a pressure erupting in her chest and contracting her ribs so hard that her entire body ached, and the pain was almost alike to that of the burn in her eyes.
"Karin!" A voice called out her name--the wrong voice. The female turned, only to see a vaguely familiar male stumbling his way towards her. Some higher up that Sasuke probably associated himself, more than likely.
"Ah, Karin. Juzz…just the person I was looking for!" His eyes were glassy, his words were slurred, and he hiccuped after he said 'just' (or what could pass for it). Clearly, the man was drunk. Though, of course, the dead giveaway was the glass of Sex On The Beach clutched between his fingertips.
He frowned, as if he could read her contemptuous thoughts.
"What's with the long face?" He slurred. When she didn't answer he leaned in, and all Karin could smell was alcohol. "You look sad, so I'm gonna tell you something. I think," he said, with all of the seriousness a drunken man could pull off, "that you're a cutie, Karin-pa-to-tee." He poked her in the chest for added effect, up high so it didn't touch an area he shouldn't, swaying on his feet and tumbling. The liquid in his drink splashed around, some falling to the floor.
Karin gave him a polite smile. "Thank you," she said, then moved away, her expression falling into one of despair once she reached the bathroom.
Why couldn't Sasuke think the same?
Karin frowned as she stirred the spaghetti, eyes flashing up to the clock as she did so. Sasuke was due home from his normal check-up at the doctor's an hour ago.
Perhaps there was traffic…?
Or maybe he's out visiting Her. Or maybe there were more whores that he visited. Maybe he had a whole horde of women at his disposal. He certainly was handsome enough to have gags of females falling at his feet and begging him for sexual favors. (He already did.)
Concubines, her mind snarled viciously, though there was still hurt laced within it.
She heard the beep of a car alarm from outside the window and her insides tightened. Sasuke was finally home. The jingle of keys, the sound of the front door being opened and then closed, and finally, the thud of his dress shoes as he crossed the wooden floor. He passed the kitchen without sparing a glance at her, and Karin swallowed.
"Sasuke," she called.
"Hn." His voice came from their bedroom, probably there to take off his jacket. It was so like Sasuke, to go to a check-up still in his work clothes.
"Dinner will be ready in a few minutes. Would you mind setting the table?"
"Aa," he agreed, and then a few seconds later he walked casually through the kitchen, grabbing two plates, two sets of forks and spoons, and then two napkins. Karin watched him from the corner of her eye as he placed a plate on the eating mats, each one across from the other. He did it quickly and sufficiently, and even though was wearing a white button-up, black dress pants and black shoes, he was still achingly beautiful, so handsome she could feel a part of her hurting. She guessed it was what was left of her heart, since Sasuke had taken it so long ago but was now slowly returning it to her in pieces, each one engraved with his signature.
Slowly Karin carried out the big plate of spaghetti and put it on a pot holder, then headed back inside and grabbed two bottles of water. She handed one to Sasuke, then sat down herself. "Itadakimasu." She said quietly, Sasuke echoed her, and they began to eat in silence.
Karin glanced up, watching Sasuke as he twirled his spaghetti (doused heavily with tomato sauce, of course) and then bring the fork to his mouth, chewing slowly. He brought his arm back down, leaning forward slightly, and it was then that she saw two colorful band-aids. One was on his arm, obscured by the shirt but she could still see it; the other, carefully hidden by his hair, was on his neck.
"You had to get a shot?" Karin asked, feeling something dark and painful threatening to swallow her whole. It was probably Heartbreak. She seemed to feel it quite often, nowadays.
(So hello Mr. Heartache, I've been expecting you.)
"Aa." Sasuke replied, his eyes looking up and following hers. He knew the question before she asked it.
"What about that one on your neck, then?"
Obsidian eyes bored into her own.
"It's a bruise, of course." He said slowly, and Karin nodded, swallowing back her tears.
"Excuse me," Karin said, smiling at a man once she returned from the bathroom. She hoped there were no tear tracks on her face. He looked at her and smiled back, so she figured she was safe.
"Can you tell me who that woman is?" She asked, her tone one of politeness and nonchalance, like the woman in the white-dress-with-the-green-choker meant nothing to her, like she wasn't the reason her entire heart was breaking.
"Ah, Haruno Sakura? She's a renowned doctor. Very talented, she is." The man chuckled good-naturedly, staring at Sakura. Not that it was a surprise, of course. Sakura was incredibly beautiful.
Karin's eyes, however, were on Sasuke. His own were watching Sakura, the rim of the wine glass resting on his lips. Karin couldn't help but be jealous of that glass; Sasuke hadn't kissed her since their honeymoon.
Sakura herself was talking to a stunning blonde-haired woman in a deep-blue dress, one that matched her eyes. The blonde said something that made Sakura laugh, and Sasuke's lips quirked upwards, like he wanted to laugh too, before he took a sip of his wine.
Karin blinked back tears and glanced down. "Excuse me," she murmured, and walked away, making sure her expression was perfectly calm once she reached Sasuke.
He looked down at her, stoic as ever, when just a few short seconds ago his face had been full of an emotion that Karin had never seen him look at her like that.
The rain was soothing. It was soothing. It was soothing.
Karin inhaled shakily and let it out, trying to feel calm. The rain tapped against the window, soft and gentle, like a lullaby, but her thoughts were too preoccupied right now.
Like, since when did the mighty Uchiha need a band-aid for a simple bruise?
The answer? He didn't, and that was no bruise. Not unless Sakura was rough while making out (or in bed, she thought, cringing) and from the look of the other girl, she looked delicate, breakable.
Was that why Sasuke was so attracted to her? Because she was small and soft and that was something Karin wasn't?
An epiphany began to bloom in front of her eyes.
Because Sakura was beautiful and kind in a way Karin was not? Because she was a doctor who bandaged the scrapes on a child's knee (and Karin tried very hard not to think about the green band-aid on Sasuke's arm and the blue one on his neck) and because she could smile brightly, happily?
Because she was so different from Karin? Because she was something (everything) Karin wasn't?
Karin turned her head to look over at her slumbering husband.
Even in his sleep, he had his back to her.
Karin rolled over and cried herself to sleep.
"I'm Mrs. You Wanna Piece Of Me? Tryin' and pissin' me off, well get in line with the paparazzi, who's flippin' me off?" Karin sang underneath her breath as she bent down, the mop swishing across the floor. She had her headphones in, her iPod in its case, which was snapped into place on the waistline of her booty shorts. Her black tank top had ridden up her stomach, but she neither noticed nor cared.
She didn't hear the door open, either, until she felt a presence behind her. Karin turned around and jumped. "Sasuke!" She exclaimed, putting one hand to her heart and another to pull out her earphones. "You scared me."
"Hn." Sasuke grunted, his eyes on her face and nowhere else, and the hurt was overwhelming. You'd think that when a wife dressed like this, scantily clad and slightly sweaty, her husband would want to shove her against the counter and have his way with her, but no, not her husband. Not Sasuke. He found sex elsewhere. (Making love, the broken part of Karin--becoming bigger and bigger with every passing day--murmured. He loves her, remember?)
"What's for dinner?"
"Oh," Karin smiled guiltily. "I was busy cleaning all day. Why don't you just call in for some pizza?"
"Okay." Sasuke said, brushing past her to get to the phone.
He ordered the pizza, gave them their address, hung up, and then walked past her and into their bedroom.
When he looked at her, there was no desire in his eyes, just his usual apathy and aloofness. The coldness that he always looked at her with.
But not Sakura. He looked at her the way Karin had always hoped he'd look at her, with a softness and tenderness that spoke volumes of the way he felt.
It wasn't meant to be me, though, Karin thought with a soft, sad smile.
It was then that she knew she had lost.
Three weeks later, Karin left the house with a luggage of clothing and other personal belongings and left behind two very important things on the coffee table in the living room.
When Sasuke returned home, the house was silent. He raised an eyebrow at the emptiness before he draped his jacket across the chair at his desk, then walked around until he arrived at the living room, where a diamond wedding ring and a letter with his name on it sat on his table.
Dear Sasuke, it read
So I guess this is the end, huh? I'm sorry I wasn't enough for you, wasn't good enough for your happiness.
But Sakura is. You love her, and because of that I couldn't have your heart. I finally understand now. I'm sorry it took me so long to figure out.
She loves you, and you love her. So what are you waiting for? Go get her.
Beneath this letter are divorce papers. Once those are official, I'm positive you and Sakura will get married. (Don't ask how I know her name, Sasuke. For one, it's not important, two, you probably don't care, and three: she's famous. Enough said.)
I loved you, you know. And there will probably never be another man like you, but I'm positive I can find happiness somewhere.
Your happiness, however, lies with Sakura, so who am I to stop that?
This letter--and this marriage--is over. Go to her, Sasuke.
A year and eleven months later, Karin read about the engagement of Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura in the newspaper.
A week later, a letter came in the mail, addressed to her. The return address said: Haruno Sakura.
Karin felt her heart thump in her throat. Why would Sakura be writing to her? She wondered. Her heart was mostly healed, and it had only hurt a little bit to read about Sasuke's engagement. For the most part, though, she had wondered what the hell had taken her ex-husband so freaking long to propose.
Sasuke-kun would kill me if he saw me writing this. Still, though, I feel like I should say something.
I know that Sasuke-kun hurt you, and while I'm sure you know that that's just him, I still feel bad. But thank you, for giving him to me. For letting him go. I know how hard that must've been for you. I let him go, too. After all, I was at your wedding.
I know you must think of me as some home wrecker, and I'm sure I deserve it, but Sasuke-kun and I have known each other since we were fourteen, and I have loved him since then. Letting him go and marry you, when I wanted him so selfishly, was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And I felt so guilty because even married to you, he couldn't let me go, either.
I'm not making it any easier, am I?
I'm just very sorry, Karin. More so than you could possibly imagine. I hope that you find all the happiness that you deserve, and that's a lot.
So…thank you, again. For him.
Karin read the last of the letter and looked thoughtfully out her window, where the snow was drifting outside.
Then she threw the letter in the fireplace, and with it went the last of her feelings for a certain dark-haired male.
She had known right from the first look at Sakura, that she was a good person. She tried to deny it, think bad of her for stealing her husband, but deep down Karin had known, and this letter proved it. At least Sasuke was in good hands. At least he was happy. That was all Karin could ask for.
She propped her feet up on the stone ledge before her fireplace, warming her soles, grabbed her novel and her cup of coffee, and, smiling quietly, began to read.
Did anyone catch the City of Bones cameo I made? Any Jace fangirls should have recognized it. (I'm looking at the ones I got into the series in particular.)
Ready to eat your words, Julia?
Also, um, don't worry. Karin has Suigetsu. Or something. And I couldn't have you all thinking Sakura was some man-stealing bitch, now could I?
Just to let you guys know, I have to wake up at 7:30 tomorrow morning (and it's four AM here), go do my laundry, go to my grandma's, go hang out with my boyfriend, and then pack to go away for three weeks when I leave the next day. I wanted to get this story out THAT bad that I would sacrifice my precious sleep.
So...yes. Reviews make the world go 'round! Be my axis?