So...hi guys! Yes, another SasuSaku angsty bit, because I love you guys just that much. I've been working on this for a few months—well, not exactly the whole time period...I just dropped it and then picked it up after a while. I really don't like it at all—the writing sucks, in my opinion. I think it's horrible, really. Oh well, I got too lazy to keep messing with it. I hope you guys enjoy it...

DICLAIMER W00T;; If I owned Naruto, do you really think I would just be sitting here writing fanfiction instead of making this shit canon? Really, think a little better next time before filing a lawsuit!

Title;; laying claim

Genre;; romance/angst

Pairing;; sasusaku

Wordcount;; 2387

Rating;; g/k+

Summary;; because she belongs to him, and he belongs to her, and there is no letting go.


xxx

The first time he says it, he is walking her home.

It is after training, and they are both dirty, sweaty and smelly, but she thinks he's much sexier that way, and it gives her an opportunity to see him look not-so-perfect for once. The sky is dark above them, old streetlights flickering and winking at them as they pass; their footsteps are the only sounds in the otherwise silent alley, but they don't mind the silence and they certainly don't speak, because she is Sakura and he is Sasuke and nothing can be properly communicated with words.

(They wouldn't know what to say anyway.)

They reach her apartment complex and she looks back at him politely, bravely meeting his eyes.

"Thank you for walking me home, Sasuke-kun." She bows her head in a silent farewell and puts a foot on the second step, but then there is a hand on her wrist that tugs at her arm. She is not expecting it, so she falls into him, just like he wanted her to—

—and that is when she discovers that he smells like fresh air and pure masculinity.

"You're mine," he whispers against her hair, and his breath is a gossamer touch on the shell of her ear, sending sweet chills sliding down her spine. She is suddenly hypersensitive to his ever touch—long fingers curled neatly around her wrist, sturdy hand rested on her hip, knee brushing against her thigh; every hair on her body is standing straight up.

Before she can express her confusion, he is gone, and she spends the night pondering in stupor on the couch.

xxx

The next time he says it, they are out for ramen.

Most of the Konoha Twelve are present, sitting in a neat little row on the stools. Sasuke is flanked on her right side while Shikamaru is on her left, the latter chatting lazily with her while the former silently chewed on his food (a little more neatly than the blonde to his own right).

They had all just returned from a conjoined-team mission, and with the exceptions of Shino and Chouji (both on family missions), the famous group of Konoha's best genin teams in history were all present. Kiba and Lee were conversing about their respective roles in the mission in escalated tones, while Ino and Hinata chatted amiably about theirs; Naruto was too preoccupied with inhaling his ramen to talk to anyone, and Neji and Tenten were huddled together and snickering at Lee's antics.

Suddenly, the lazybones tactician rose and brushed off his lap.

"Well, I guess I should go report the mission to Tsunade-sama," he said, and everyone chimed a collective goodbye. He muttered something about bossy, troublesome old hags, waved goodbye to Sakura, and left.

Before she could start back in on her ramen, Sakura suddenly felt herself moving and saw her bowl shift a little farther to the left. Then, the unmistakable fresh-air scent wafted over her again, and she felt warm breath against her right cheek.

"You're mine," his deep voice flowed into her ear, making goosebumps ripple across her skin and heat flood her face.

And before she could react, he tapped Naruto on the should; the blonde nodded, kissed his navy-haired girlfriend, hugged Sakura, and left with Sasuke.

Once again bewildered beyond belief, Sakura could not finish her ramen.

xxx

The next time he says it, they are on a mission.

She is leaning against a tree, bruised and battered and nearly drained of her chakra, missing a glove and her shirt cut to shreds. Between spontaneous healings and defeating enemies of her own, she teetered precariously on the edge of chakra burnout. She needed rest fast, and if she didn't get it, well...the results would be fatal.

As if on cue, one of the remaining five shinobi that had ambushed them turned to her, a hulking Cloud-nin with dull yellow eyes and a disgusting leer etched onto his face. A smile split his lips apart, showing decaying, crusty teeth.

Shit.

He began to charge at her, his moves more of a lumber than the graceful sprint most shinobi possessed. She never had trouble handling these oafs, and a well-placed kick would probably take care of him. But when she tried to gather the last morsels of her chakra to her foot, it flickered and failed. And when he drew a long, thick katana from a hilt strapped to his back, Sakura knew she was in deep, deep shit.

Then, seemingly out of thin air, there was an indistinct black streak rushing into the giant man's path—a flash of silver, a shout of something—

"SHE'S MINE!"

—the oaf's cry of pain, a spurt of blood, and the sound of a heavy body falling to the ground.

The black blur stilled, and two wild crimson eyes turned to look at her.

"That was the last one. Come on, you need rest."

By the time she had comprehended what he had shouted, he had her gathered in his arms and her world was fading around the edges.

xxx

The next time he says it, it is her night off.

Music thumps loudly and the bass vibrates in her chest, people writhing and gyrating and doing many other things around her, but she doesn't notice. The black skirt Ino gave her is almost obscenely short, and the long white tanktop with green lace lining is more than a tad see-through, but she can't bring herself to care. She's already long gone, off in Sakura-land, all shifting arms and swaying hips and ballet-slipper legs.

She knows this is dangerous behavior in such a seedy, skanky club, but it's not like she can't defend herself, right? And in this state, with music flowing hot and alive through every vein, she just couldn't care.

Yet, Sakura fell back to Earth when hands appeared on her hips, lips brushed against her ear, and a very deliciously masculine body pressed against her backside. She spun in the stranger's grip, hand instinctively poised to strike, when—

Oh. It was Sasuke. She knew that smell.

Wait...Sasuke?

"You should be more careful, you know," he whispered into her 25-cent bubblegum pink hair. "I could have been some random creepy guy."

Sakura scoffed. "And why do you care if I dance with some random creepy guy?"

A smirk crept across his (positively luscious) lips, and he leaned close enough to send a flash of heat boiling through her stomach.

"Because you're mine, of course," he murmured, drawing her even closer; and she searched for something to say, but came up with nothing, so she closed her eyes and breathed in his scent, never halting her swaying hips.

xxx

The next time he says it, they are alone in her apartment.

They are on her sofa, watching the rain patter against the windows. A cup of hot chocolate warms Sakura's hands and its delicious aroma drifts into her nose, every sip filling her insides with comfortable heat. Sasuke is next to her, silent but relaxed, sprawled comfortable among her sofa cushions.

Her eyes searched his face, his near-heartbreaking beauty making dormant butterflies in her stomach twitch their figurative wings.

When he was just gazing through the window, watching raindrops pound futilely against the glass, she had only been observing him. But when he slowly turned to look at her, this perfect picture of ink black eyes and sexily slanted lips and shiny raven hair, she transitioned to downright staring.

Then, he surprises her.

"What are you thinking about?"

After the shock wore off, she hesitated. She wanted to tell him the truth, but it was still a very sensitive subject, something she had purposely tiptoed around for the past four years, and...no, she would tell him.

It was about time she brought up the subject, anyway.

"Our genin days."

She could almost physically feel his inward cringe. For a moment, she looked back on those days, when they were young and impressionable and already so jaded, yet still so naïve. She remembered the bond between Naruto and Sasuke, the strong relation and rivalry, and she remembered standing dejectedly in the background while Kakashi's eyes were riveted to his male students—

(because if naruto was the day and sasuke was the night, where did she fit in?)

—and she remembered Sasuke's pain, and the whole defection fiasco, and the night that she had never talked about to anyone, not even Naruto or Ino.

She looked wistfully into her cocoa mug.

"I remember how I was always so weak and useless, and how you and Naruto would always have to protect me...well, you never stopped, really," she chuckled. Sasuke blinked slowly.

"I...I would always get so frustrated that you had to save my ass so much. No matter how much stronger I got, you two were always leagues ahead of me, and I constantly had to rely on you to stay alive during missions...it was hard."

She paused to take a sip, letting the warmth seep into her chest before continuing.

"I was so enamored with you back then, and every time you saved me, the first thing I thought was how well you played the part of my troubled knight in shining armor...but looking back, I always wondered why you did it."

Sasuke carefully watched the medic. Her vibrant green eyes had somehow mellowed out into a lighter shade, almost a lighter green like the inside of a melon, focused somewhere far beyond the window she looked out of—somewhere he couldn't reach. He looked at her hands; small fingers curled around her mug, nails painted to match her eyes...the empty space on her fourth finger.

Sakura, thoroughly spaced out, only barely registered the sound of shifting pillows and creaking springs before there was a hand on her chin and she was looking into the eyes of what was most likely the most beautiful man on Earth.

"Because you're mine, and no one else can have you."

She anticipated him saying this sometime today, and had spent all of last night thinking up a response; but before she could remember it, there were lips pressed softly against her own, and she had already lost herself in this perfect picture turned man.

xxx

The first time she says it, he is dying.

The skies are a pale gray, much like the rare spots on his skin where blood is not smeared, watery in spots where her tears have dripped onto his shoulder. Chakra as green as her eyes is intense and pulsing in her hands, and she is dearly regretting not finding a way to transfer Tsunade's ultimate healing jutsu into other bodies. If I had, she thinks, he would be up and running by now. Hell, if I had been strong enough to do that, maybe I could have been strong enough to learn other jutsus, and this whole mess could have been prevented and—

She pauses.

So this is what shishou must have felt like, trying to save Dan.

This couldn't be happening...not now. Her life was actually getting better—she was learning new genjutsus, her birthday was coming, her promotion to Head Medic would be soon...she had even finally gotten Sasuke, the object of her dreams from ages eight to twenty-one. Everything had been going so well, but then they had to go and get ambushed on a stupid B-ranked mission, ratio twenty to one.

Somewhere, during her muttered pleas of 'stay', 'don't die', and 'you can't leave me', her limbs began to tingle and the corners of her vision started to fade. Her chakra spheres were weakening; frantically, she pushed more energy to her hands, searching the deepest recesses of her mind for something—anything—that would work.

And then, Sakura realized belatedly, she had forgotten about her own injuries. There weren't very many, as Sasuke had decided to be a total fucking idiot and taken out most of the enemies himself, but there were enough to give her quite a beaten look. There was a spot where an enemy's kusanagi had sliced through her shirt, showing an old scar on her left side that she had gotten about six years ago fighting the...Akatsuki...puppeteer...

That's it! Chiyo-baasama's jutsu!

Checking in on her supply, Sakura found that with completely precise control, she had just the right amount of chakra to perform the jutsu and have just enough left to live—that last morsel. She closed her eyes and stared into the numbing dark, calling upon her reserves to send healing energy to Sasuke's vital points. After two minutes, Sakura's brain ached and she struggled to breathe, but she persisted, driven by Sasuke's now-visible breathing. And once five minutes had gone by, the girl could no longer go on, her chakra failing and her body promptly pitching forward. It was over; she could do no more.

But the violent cough and harsh intake of breath from her patient told her that all odds had been defeated.

The boy beside her, still slow from lack of proper recovery, scrambled to turn her on her back, enveloping her clammy hand with his impossibly cold one and infusing her name with muttered curses.

"Sakura, why?" a cracking post-teenage tenor asks, and even through her immense fatigue, Sakura found the strength to smile at him.

"Because you're mine," she gasp-whispered in his ear, "and no one else can have you."


"Be mine forever, Sakura."

"…"

"...Sakura?"

-SMACK-

"What the f—"

"I always have been yours, dumbass. Pay attention sometime."