A/N :What can I say? I felt like it.

Claimer: I own the plot.



by Queen of Pascalities


The music is deafening, the thumping is overwhelming and the yells and laughs of the crowd make my ears ring. Still, I'm standing behind heavy high school auditorium curtains. I'm just trying to imagine what it must be like to be on the other side of the curtains. It's the first time I ever attend to this kind of event and I'm actually going to be put completely upfront.

I want to puke.

Must. Find. Bathroom.

It wouldn't be nearly as nerve-racking if I had my best friend Ino were here with me, but she decided to drop out of school and go and try to become famous in the States. That traitor. She was supposed to stay with me and bear through the whole International Education Program the school thrust us in. She actually said she was wasting their time because she had no intention of becoming a scientist or whatever other kind of working person that uses math all the time, which is what you can mainly become when you're in IEP.

God, I hate her right now.

Honestly, how am I supposed to handle prom without my best friend? Okay, so it's not my prom, but what difference does it make? I still had to decide of what I was going to wear without her. And I swear, I really need her help when it comes to clothes. I have the lousiest, crappiest fashion sense in the entire world. I was so desperate to find something suitable, I went and put on exactly what I was wearing in the one picture I have where she dressed me up. The hardest part was to do my hair, because if I suck at dressing myself properly, I'm even worse at doing my hair. I think I pulled it off, though. I look almost exactly like on the picture.

I'm not sure it was a good idea, actually. You see, I'm wearing lots of striped stuff, and fishnets, too, big skate shoes, fingerless gloves, bracelets and necklaces galore and tons of eyeliner.

Okay, it was a Halloween picture.

I was a punk skater.

Her idea.

We were twelve.

Somebody please kill me now.

What would you have done? I really have no idea how to dress myself! Hadn't it been for that picture, I probably would have ended up with a frilly dress, cowboy boots and a Dark Side of the Moon hat so, be grateful.

"Sakura?" Asks a deep voice.

I turn around, inwardly wishing it's Ino with a really bad cold. Of course, it's not her. Ino does not catch colds. Ino doesn't catch anything. She failed PE because she was scared of balls. That was another reason of hers to quit school.

So, yeah, it's not Ino, but it turns out to be my other best friend, Shikamaru. I'm so happy to see him, I think I could cry. But I don't. He doesn't like it when I do. He says it's troublesome. I still jump in his arms, though.

"Whoa! What's gotten into you?" He gasps out when I half-choke him.

"I'm so happy to see you! You've got to help me!" I shriek.

He pushes me back a bit and looks me up.

"Damn right I have to help you," he said flatly, although I know it means he's a bit creeped out. "What the hell are you wearing?"

"Well, Ino's not here, so…"

"Oh, right, okay. Well, er… I… I actually have no clue about girl fashion, so… I think you'll have to fix that yourself."

"What!?" I whine. "You're not going to help me? Dude, come on, you're a genius, you should be able to!"

"There's a difference between being a genius and being a fashion genius. You know me, I can't even buy shirts on my own."

"Aaw, come on, Shikamaru! Pleeeeeaaaaase?"

"No. Sorry, I can't."

I frown. How hard is it to help someone, especially when that person happens to be your best friend? People around me seem to have forgotten the meaning of those two words. If it were me having to help them, I would do it! Well, I would try at least. I give Sir Pineapple the stink eye and the killer pout. He doesn't seem unfazed.



"You suck."

"Thank you."

I really thought he was going to be my saviour. Of course, I know he's even worse at fashion than I, but I still thought I could get a bit of help from someone I knew. He's the only person my age in this place. We're both still in tenth grade and our prom won't be until next year.

Whoa, wait.

I know why I'm here, but what is Shikamaru, my still-fifteen-year-old pineapple-headed best friend, doing here?

"Shikamaru?" A girlish voice asks from behind my as-of-now outlaw best friend.

He turns around as I rise on my tip toes to glance over his shoulder – I'm short, sue me – and we both see a tall blond girl in a prom dress make her entrance in the backstage section of the auditorium.

"What's taking you so long? Come on, we have to go back," she says, apparently not seeing me – short, remember?

"I have a damsel friend in distress, here," Shikamaru says, stepping aside so the girl can see me.

She sends me a surprised look and approaches.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she says. "I didn't see you."

"Yeah, you're lucky you didn't," my exotic-fruit-headed friend says.

A normal guy would have whimpered under the glare I sent him, but as Shikamaru is not normal, he didn't. I wish he did, though. I really hate it when he doesn't.

"I hate you."

"Of course you do."

He turns to the girl – who starts to look familiar – and takes her hand.

"She doesn't know how to dress," he tells her.

The girl sends me an apologetic look and smiles.

"Well, I'll help you. It shouldn't be that hard, you just have to take a few things off. Come on, let's go to the bathroom."

Whoa, wait, what? Take things off? She wants me to walk around the place naked or what? No way, José! Not happening!

She drops Shikamaru's hand and takes mine, dragging me towards the closest door while I'm mentally asking myself why I'm not struggling to free myself from her grip and her stripping ideas. We enter and I find myself in a bathroom that, I must admit, had no knowledge of. I've never been in the auditorium's backstage section before.

The girl pushes me in front of the mirrors and walks around me for a few minutes, looking me up. I'm actually more nervous than ten minutes ago, when I was all by myself. My palms are so sweaty I could fill up a swimming pool with all the water. Ew, mental image of swimming in sweat. Leave my head, you disgusting idea!

"Wait here," the girl says after a while and walks out. I stare at the door, dumbstruck.

Where is she going? Is she abandoning me – at that point, I don't know if I should feel doomed or saved – to go back in the auditorium? Oh, no! She's going to announce my unintentional strip tease to the other eleventh-graders! Or maybe she's going to get naughty lingerie for me to wear!

That's it. I'm out of here. There is no way I'm climbing on that stage with my clothes off. I wouldn't even do it with them on. I take a few steps towards the door when it suddenly bursts open and the girl enters, apparently out of breath. She has a bag in her hand and a comb in the other. She puts both objects on the sink counter and turns to me.

"Sorry, I had to go get something in my locker," she pants out. "Okay, erm… Take off the shoes, first. They won't fit. Keep the knee socks, I like the stripes."

I stare. She's really asking me to take my clothes off, isn't she? And what's in that bag? Probably the lingerie. I don't move. Soon, she tells me to wait again and locks herself up in a toilet cabin with the bag. I hear her struggle a bit and after a few moments – I'm surprised it didn't take her longer, though – she comes out wearing a completely different prom dress. She hands me the other one and tells me to go put it on.

I don't. I just stay there, rather flabbergasted. I can't believe what's happening. I feel the urge to pinch my thigh to make sure I'm not dreaming.


God, that hurt! Where did I learn to pinch that hard?

Okay, so I'm awake.

And she's giving me her prom dress.

I'm not going to be naked!

"Come on, hurry up, I have to go back," she urges me on.

I snatch the dress from her hand and half-walk, half-run to a toilet cabin. I close the door and start putting the dress on.

"Take your shirt off," she tells me from the other side of the door. "And you pants."

I should have thought of that earlier, but the dress is a bit too big for me. I don't fill it as much as she did. Especially in the bust part. I open the door and hesitatingly get out of the cabin. She gauges me from head to knee socks, not saying a word.

"It… It's too big, I think…" I say, fidgeting under her gaze.

"No it's not. It's just perfect," she answers, and steps aside so I can see myself in the mirror.

Okay, well, first of all, I wouldn't qualify it as perfect, because actually is too big. But I'm surprised that it still looks kind of good. Not perfect, but good enough. It hangs from my shoulders and floats around my body, but it's decent-looking. Plus, the dress was already awesome before I put it on, so it's only a little altered by my being in it.

I don't have much time to marvel at the awesomeness of the dress. The girl is already taking the pins out of my hair, and rather roughly, I might add. As soon as they're all out, she unties the rubber band, tearing a few hairs off my head. I wince and she thrusts the comb in my pink mop. She smoothes it down so that I don't have any rubber band marks in it.

When she's done, she goes to get toilet paper and comes back to me. She grips my chin and yanks my face towards hers. Roughly, she rubs my eyelids with the paper, and I can almost feel my skin getting red from the irritation. I wince in pain. It burns!

When I think I'm about to scream for her to stop, she lets go of my face and takes a step back. She snaps her tongue and shoves me to one of the sinks. She turns the cold water on and collects some in her hands. Before I have a chance of taking a step back, she splashes my face with it. She approaches me and starts rubbing my face again.

"There you go," she says.

I look at myself in the mirror. Almost all of my eyeliner is gone and my eyelids are completely red and puffy. My bangs are wet and sticking to my face. I can't say I look worse than I did, because I actually look better, but I still thought she would make a better job of fixing me.

"It's not the best makeover, I know, but that's all I can do now," she tells me.

"No, it's okay," I say. For your information, I am not lying. It is okay. It's better than okay. Come to think of it, she really saved my skin. And my reputation, however much I have.

There is only one little problem.

This isn't really… me. It doesn't look like me, like what I would normally wear – even after having been helped by Ino. I actually look like I'm trying to give myself a look that is not mine, like I'm trying to impress by looking completely different.

Yes, I wanted to look better, but not at a point where I'm not myself.

"Here, take your clothes," the girl says, handing me a mass of fishnets and necklaces and my skate shoes.

. . .

So, as I was saying, changing my looks once in a while can't hurt anyone, now, can it?

We hear a knock on the door.

"Temari, are you done in there? We have to go back," Shikamaru says from outside the bathroom.


Ex-bully, I-beat-up-professional-wrestlers-and-eat-them-for-breakfast, anything-but-girly Temari?

I look at her incredulously.

No, surely not, no.

She helped me dress? She made me look a thousand times better than what I usually do?

"You seem surprised, Sakura," she says with a smirk.

"Well-… I-… You-… You don't-… I didn't-… I mean-… What!?"

Me, confused? Pff. What makes you say that? My stuttering? Hah, th-that's… Yeah. I'm shutting up.

She laughs.

"It's prom, Sakura. It's the only time in this high school where you can show a different side of yourself after the beginning of the year."

"B-but… But you-…" Damn you, stutter! "Y-you're not girly at all!"

She stares and raises an eyebrow.

"Er… N-no offense," I blurt out nervously.

"None taken," she says with a smile.

"A-and, I mean… You don't even like dresses. Or pink, for that matter," I say, referring to the dress she's currently wearing.

She giggles again.

"That's why I came with a blue dress."

"Oh. Right." I chuckle nervously, looking down at the dark blue gown hanging from my shoulders.

"Well, I'm off," Temari says. "Can't wait to see you on stage."

And so she leaves the bathroom, leaving me alone with the dread that struck me when I heard the word "stage". Because, as better-looking as I am, I still have to go sing in front of the graduating population of the school. Were I with my best friend, I'd be almost happy to do it, but tonight, I'm supposed to climb on stage alone, with only my voice and my memory for lyrics to accompany me.

Good thing both of them are rather good. The memory more than the voice, but I still manage to get the notes right. It's nothing compared to what Ino can do, though.

Oh well. Gotta do it.

I leave the bathroom and walk to the backstage area. And eleventh-grade teacher is waiting for me there, ready to tell me to go onstage. She motions me to wait for the other performer to finish his song and leave the stage.

Oh God, I'm sweating again.

I fidget while repeating my lyrics inside my head. I pace around, bobbing my head with the rhythm of the song in my mind. I play with my hair, my fingers, my dress, I jump a bit, trying to calm down. I tell myself that I'll be alright, that I've rehearsed with the designated band numerous times and that I know all my songs by heart, nothing works. My hands are shaking, my knees are threatening to give way and my voice seems stuck in my throat.

Sounds of applause are heard.

"Okay, it's your turn, honey," the teacher says, inviting me on stage with her hand.

Why, oh why did I sign up for this?

I take a deep breath and walk up to the microphone waiting for me at the center of the stage. The lights are blinding me and I can't see the people that are probably staring at me from the auditorium floor, which is kind of good news. Oh, and I didn't stumble on the way. That's good news too.

I adjust the microphone to my height and let out my breath, which turns out as a sigh and gets amplified by the microphone and the speakers. I jump, startled and pat the round end of the microphone twice with the tip of my forefinger. I hear two loud thumps.

"Er… H-hi?" I half-say, half-ask timidly.

I hear a general and amused "Hi" in return from the room. Someone who I guess is at the back screams "Hello!" and everyone chuckles. Even I do.

"Er… Well, th-this is the first time I'm up on stage in front of older people, so I'm kind of nervous. Please be nice."

There is another resounding chuckle from the auditorium and someone in front says "Don't worry, honey, we don't bite" and this time, we all downright laugh. Me more nervously than the others.

"Okay, thanks."

I look around on the stage and am suddenly covered in cold sweat. My stomach falls down to my heels and my heart misses a beat.

The band with me onstage are, well, a band, but not the band. I've never seen them, let alone rehearsed with them. They have all the right instruments – even the piano's there –, but not the right faces.

First of all, there's a blond guy, which there wasn't in the right band, and one of the guys playing guitar has the thickest eyebrows I've ever seen. I can feel my face freeze in a mask of mortification.

I guess the boys saw it, because they all send me a questioning glance, except for the blond one who, bass guitar in hand, approaches me with and understanding look across his features.

"The other band couldn't make it," he whispers in my ear.

I lean my head away from the microphone and ask him, whispering as well, if he had any idea of how we could perform together without having rehearsed before. He tells me to trust him and his band and sends me a toothy grin before going back to his own microphone.

I look back at the dark room in front of me, trying to get the doomed look off my face. For a second, I think of quitting and leaving the place to go hide for the rest of my life, but I see the blond guy give me the thumbs up from the corner of my eye and decide otherwise. After all, I still have a week in this school with those people looking up at me from the floor and probably years in this town with some of them, I couldn't bear to have them remind of what I did – or didn't do – on their prom night. Plus, this isn't the worse that could have happened to me. I could have been stark naked like I thought I would be a few minutes ago, when I met Temari.

"Er… Okay, well, this is, er…This is Do Ya," I say in the microphone, failing to conceal the nervousness in my voice.

I see the boys glance at each other and when I turn my head towards them, I notice they have smirks on their faces. I pay no heed to it and wait for them to start the song.

Some drums, one high guitar note from the thick-eyebrowed guy, then the other guitar and I start singing.

Do ya, do ya, do ya love me?

Do you need a little time?

Do ya, do ya, do ya want me

Oh, to hold you when you cry?

I'm a bit startled because the bassist and the two guitarists are singing with me. Is that what the blond one meant when he told me to trust them? They know the songs.

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya love me?

Don't wanna hear you say maybe

Won't you tell me, do you love me

'Cause I wanna know

I'm making a list

Of things that I miss

Whenever we're far apart

The way that you kiss

The taste of your lips

I'm telling you from the heart

'Cause baby

I just wanna know

Not only are they singing with me, they even know what thirds and fifths to sing. While I'm noticing it, I completely forget about my own voice, and, for a few seconds, I fear I might have sung something wrong. You know, sometimes it happens when you talk and you think about something else, and you wind up saying what you thought of, when it has absolutely nothing to do with what you were saying.

Do ya, do ya, do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Do you feel it in your bones? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

What the…? They even know that part! What next, they'll tell me they wrote it? Ha! If they do, I think I won't stop laughing for the rest of the evening. That'd be so ironic.

Do ya, do ya dream about me (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Oh, when you're sleeping on your own? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Really, it would be. I mean, I freaked out because they weren't the band I rehearsed with, and then they'd turn out to have actually written the song. Maybe I wouldn't laugh. Maybe I'd faint.

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Don't wanna hear you say maybe (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Won't you tell me, do you love me?

'Cause I wanna know


I'm making a list

Of things that I miss

Whenever we're far apart

The way that you kiss

The taste of your lips

I'm telling you from the heart

'Cause baby

I just wanna know

Do ya do ya do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Do you need a little time? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Do ya do ya do ya want me (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

To hold you when you cry? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

I can hear the crowd cheering. I can't believe it! They're actually enjoying it. I think I might cry.

Do ya do ya do ya do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Don't wanna hear you say maybe (Do Ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Won't you tell me, do you love me?

'Cause I wanna know, Yeah

I'm making a list

Of things that I miss

Whenever we're far apart

The way that you kiss

The taste of your lips

I'm telling you from the heart

'Cause baby

I just wanna know

Do ya

Do ya

Do ya

Do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

So tell me do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

So do you love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

'Cause I wanna know

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya love me? (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Don't wanna hear you say maybe (Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Won't you tell me, do you love me? Whoa-oh

Do you really love me? (So tell me)

Tell me do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya love me?

'Cause I wanna know

(Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know)

Do ya love me? 'Cause I wanna know

The song ends and the cheering gets louder. I can feel my smile stretching from one side of my face to the other. I'm blushing, but it's a good blush. A happy blush. I'm a bit out of breath as well. I look at the boys around me. They seem happy too, but not as much as I know I am.

The blond approaches his microphone, grinning at me and asks:

"What next?"

"You're in a hurry?"

He glances at the other boys on the stage then back at me with a bit of an apologetic look on his face.

"Kind of, yeah."

I look inside my hand. That's where I wrote the order in which I would sing the songs I'd chosen. I lean into the microphone and say:

"Falling in Love."

"There seems to be a 'love' theme, here, tonight, doesn't it, guys?" the blond guy chuckles, turning his head to the crowd.

They all cheer while I feel the blood rush to my cheeks. Well, it is a prom, of course there's a 'love' theme. Most people here are with their lovers, anyway.

"What, you don't like my choice of songs?" I ask, kind of ticked off.

"No, of course not. I was merely pointing out the fact that it's the second love song you make us play. Please proceed," he replied hastily, chuckling.

"Wow, Naruto, I didn't know you had so much vocabulary," I hear from behind me. It's the guy with the caterpillar eyebrows.

"Shut up, Lee," the one called Naruto says, faking to be insulted.

I try to suppress the giggle that comes out from my mouth and fail epically. It actually comes out as a snort, and because the sound is simply too funny, I burst out laughing. Naruto, still falsely offended, sends a glare at Lee.

"Now, look what you did! She's laughing at me."

"Might I remind you that we're still at a prom?" a third voice says. It's the other guitarist of the band, who's standing in the space between Lee and the backstage curtain.

The two other boys look at him as if saying "killjoy" and I attempt – and epically fail again – to not drool at him. I can't believe I didn't notice it before, but that guy is by far the handsomest man I have ever seen. Yes, man. Although the others are boys to me, that one deserves entirely the title of man. He's really the whole-package deal, like my mum says. Tall, dark and handsome. Oh, and he plays guitar. What more do you want?

He doesn't even look at me and tells the others:

"Don't you think we should play another song, now?"

The crowd yells a deafening "YEEEEAAAAAH" and I jump three feet in the air. I tear my eyes away from the hunky dude at the left end of the stage and I look back at Naruto.

"Yeah, you're right, Teme," he says. "So, this is All About You."

"Falling in Love," I correct him.

"Falling in Love! Sorry," he says, chuckling.

I hear the sexy – yes, sexy. Very sexy – dude start to play the song on his guitar. Lee goes to a piano that's standing at the far right end of the stage. He starts playing at the same time as the drums and the bass. I lean towards my microphone, ready to sing again.

Everyday feels like a Monday,
There is, no escaping from the heartache,
Now I, wanna
put it back together,
'Cause it's, always better late than never.

Wishin' I could be in California,
I wanna tell ya when I call ya,
I could've fallen in love,
I wish I'd fallen in love.

Now, there's supposed to be someone other than me singing. I hope they're aware of it. How ridiculous would we look if suddenly no one was singing?

Out of our minds and out of time
in' I could be with you,
And share the view,
Oh, we could've fallen in love.

Oh, it's Lee. I didn't know he could sing. I didn't really pay much attention to who was doing the back vocals in the first song and he doesn't really look like the singer type. Actually, he doesn't like the musician type.


Oh. My. God.

It's the sexy dude! Oooh, what a voice. I can feel my knees turn to jelly.

Aw, come on. Get a grip, girl! It's your turn to sing. Hurry up, get to the microphone. Open your mouth. Articulate!

Waking up to people talking
And it's, getting later every morning

Good girl.

Now I, realise it's nearly midday
And I've, wasted half my life to throw it away,
Everyday should be a new day,
To make you smile and find a new way
Of falling in love,
I could've fallen in love.

Out of our minds, and out of time,
Wishin' I could be with you,
To share the view, oh
We could've fallen in love
We could've fallen in love

Yeah, oh-oh

Yeah, oh

Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya
Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya

Oh, Naruto's singing too. Heh. His voice is rather high. He sounds almost like a girl.

Does the drummer sing too? I turn my head around to look at him. Ah, no, he doesn't. Peculiar hair, though. Very long. It looks soft.

I can't take another night on my own (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)

So I take a breath and then I pick up the phone she said (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh

Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh
She said
Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh
Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh
She Said
Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh (
We could've fallen in love)
Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh (Ooh-ooh)
Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)
Oh Oh Oh (Oh, we could've fallen in love)
Oh Oh Oh

Oh Oh Oh (Oh, we could've fallen in love)

Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)

Oh Oh Oh (Yeah, we could've fallen in love)

Oh Oh Oh

Oh Oh Oh (Ooh-ooh)

Oh Oh Oh (Sick of waiting, I can't take it, gotta tell ya)

Oh Oh Oh

Oh Oh Oh (Oh, we could've fallen in love)

Oh Oh Oh

I wish I'd fallen in love

I listen to the last notes of the song, echoing all around my head. As soon as Lee finishes – he was the one playing – the crowd cheers again. I smile. I'm panting and sweating. The spotlights are burning my skin like the sun would, were I on a beach at noon without sunscreen. I fear I might get a sunburn.

Or spontaneously combust, either one.

I look down at my sweaty palm to remind myself what the next song is. And I curse.

Naruto, the closest to me, apparently heard it, because he's approaching me with a worried look on his face.

"What's wrong?" he asks.

I show him my hand. Or rather, the disaster in my hand. My list of songs, handwritten on my skin with a Pilot pen, that I carefully avoided to wash off all evening, is all smudged because of the sweat. Half of it is almost completely erased, and it's not the good half. It's the last two songs I wanted to do, and the last two songs I still have to do.

I'm dizzy and my head is spinning. I try to remember what song is next. Usually, I'd be able to remember, for I would have thought of some kind of reminder. But now, the only thing I can think of is that I'm standing in front of the eleventh grade with absolutely no clue what I'm supposed to sing and no way to know. I chose four songs by the same band, and since I'd listened to a lot of their songs to make up my list, I can't remember which ones I'd liked better. Sure, I'd learned the lyrics, but without the titles, the lyrics don't make any sense in my head. I can't tell which verse goes where, and if it's in one of the songs I chose.

I glance nervously at the blackness where I know the crowd is standing, then I look back at Naruto. He stares blankly at my hand, and I'm not sure if he's actually thinking really hard about a way to save my ass or if he just spaced out. I guess it's the first option – although the second one seemed more likely (I'm not saying he looks dumb, but he's not the most here-and-not-somewhere-else-looking guy around) – because suddenly he snaps his head up to look past my shoulder. I can almost see the light bulb lighting up above his head.

"Oi, Teme! Come over here!" He half-says, half-bellows at the (too sexy for his shirt) boy – I know I called him a man, but I do like boyish guys, so, yeah – who I can hear walks up to us.

"Hn," he says flatly. I'm almost impressed (and saddened) by how unaffected he sounds.

He comes into view and I instantly think to myself how much more handsome he is than I remembered – I hadn't looked at him during the last song. His face is expressionless and a bit intimidating. Right at this moment, I can't be sure if the heat in my cheeks is due to the hotness of the spotlights or the hotness of his facial features. In any case, I'm blushing and I have no way to hide it.

I hear Lee tell the crowd through his microphone that we have a slight technical problem that should be solved any minute and starts playing a little solo. I guess he made some kind of sign to the drummer, for he starts playing too.

"Teme here has the best eyes there are," Naruto explains. "He can read anything, even when it's all smudged and erased."

"Hn," 'Teme' repeats, just as flatly.

He takes my hand in his and pulls it up to his face. Now I know I'm blushing because of him. He has such soft skin! You know, it's not likely for a guitarist to have soft skin, what with all the chord picking and pinching – then again, it's not likely for a teenage bloke to have a smooth-looking complexion and no zit in sight, but this guy has it. So I guess the softness of his hands is normal. I actually imagined him to be a bit rough with my hand, since he doesn't seem very concerned about my well-being – without necessarily looking like he wants me to get hurt – but he holds it with such delicacy that butterflies replace the grasshoppers I had in my stomach before going on stage a few minutes ago and I actually manage to blush harder.

He stares into my palm, trying to decipher what I wrote on it, and I take this time of unawareness on his part to examine his face from my closer-than-ever-before perspective. He's got quite girlish features, but instead of making him look like a drag queen, it makes him even more handsome. He has really dark eyes, but I don't think they're black, because they're not as dark as Lee's (which are pretty easy to notice). They might be gray, or really dark brown. Or maybe even dark blue. I don't know, I can't tell.

He's a lot taller than me, too. He must be something like 6', 6'1'', because when I look straight ahead, I see his mouth – not that I'd complain about that. He has a rather appealing mouth. I'm not sure if I should say he has full or thin lips, but it doesn't really matter. He has nice lips and that's all I'm interested in.

Okay, maybe not all. I'm also interested in what's under that shirt of his.

Oh my God, what am I thinking?

I've never thought of any guy that way! Usually, I'm more of the hopeless romantic type. You know, the type who daydreams of walks on the beach and moonlit proposals, who sighs at the mere thought of a romantic comedy and nearly dies of heartbreak after watching Titanic or the 1994 version of Romeo and Juliet – the one with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. Yeah, I'm that kind of girl.

I have never ever thought of anything related to a guy's body, except maybe some actors' smoldering eyes, but it's certainly not the same as wondering if a guy has good-looking abs.

It must be the dress doing this to me.

I couldn't possibly blush anymore than I do now. I carefully keep my mouth shut, just to prevent myself from saying anything stupid, like I just know I would if I so much as parted my lips.

"It's all about you," the boy whispers, his eyes leaving my hand to focus on my face.

As he locks his gaze to mine, I feel my knees turn to jelly. My heart skips a beat, then starts thumping so hard in my chest I'm certain the whole crowd, although still cheering Lee and the drummer on, can hear it. If I said earlier that couldn't blush any more than at that moment, I was wrong.

I can almost feel that my cheeks have caught on fire. My ears are buzzing, now. As much as I dreaded it, my mouth falls open. I can't take my eyes off the boy in front of me. I'm frozen on the spot, as toasty as I might feel on the inside.

"Sakura?" Naruto's voice seems so far away. I almost decide to ignore him, trying to remember the black-haired boy's deep, smooth voice.

"Sakura?" Naruto repeats.

"Asdfghjk?" is all that gushes out of my gaping mouth.

"The song," the hunk says, raising one eyebrow, his face painted with an expression – as subtle as it is – of concern about my mental health. "It's All About You."



So he wasn't confessing his undying love for me.


"Shall we do it?" Naruto asks.

"Er… Er, yeah, o-of course," I stutter, slightly shaking my head to fully wake my system up.

"Thanks, Teme," Naruto mutters to the other boy.

'Teme' lets go of my hand – to my great disappointment – and goes back to his microphone. While passing behind Lee, who's still playing for the crowd, he taps him on the shoulder to indicate that we're ready to play another song.

I lean close to my own microphone.

"So, now, we're going to play a slow song," I can hear a wave of squeals coming from the crowd.

"Everyone, find your other half, loved one, partner or best friend for this next song," Lee chants in his microphone.

"We want to see couples," Naruto agrees. "In fact, could we get some circumstance lights, dudes at the light controls?"

Instantly, the lights on the stage went lower, changing to an electric – but still soft – blue, finally letting me see the people in the auditorium.



That's a lot of people.

I hadn't noticed before that there were so many eleventh-graders. I observe the closest faces, and I only recognize half of them. Without really intending to, I frown, wondering why I there are so many foreign faces. Then, from the corner of my eye, I see Shikamaru waving at me. I turn my head towards him. He's holding Temari close to him, waiting for me to start the new song. Then, I understand.

And my stomach drops down to my heels.

Of course I wouldn't know a lot of people. Students at my school don't necessarily date other students from my school. Some of them have boyfriends and girlfriends from other schools. After all, we're not the only institution in town. There are three other high schools around, along with a few elementary schools and a college. We don't have a university, though.

But that's beside the point.

The point is, not only is my reputation at my school at stake depending on my performance tonight, but it's also at stake in all the other schools there are in this town. Meaning, if I screw up and end up having to change schools, I'll have to move as well, because every single student in town will know how I ruined this year's prom.

I know it might not look like it, but my life will be over if it happens.

"One, two, three, four." If Naruto's countdown brought me back to reality, the first chords of the song just made me jump three feet in the air.

It's all about you (It's about you)

It's all about you, baby (It's all about)

It's all about you (It's about you)

It's all about you

Luckily, the boys already started singing, so it doesn't really sound like I messed up. I look around, taking in the acoustic guitars they traded they electric ones for. I didn't notice when they actually did it.

Yesterday you asked me something I thought you knew

So I told you with a smile

It's all about you

Lee's the one singing again. I can't help but wish Tall-Dark-and-Handsome would sing too.

Then you whispered in my ear and you told me too

Said "You make my life worthwhile"

It's all about you

Oh, it's my turn.

And I would answer all your wishes

If you asked me to

But if you deny me one of your kisses

Don't know what I'd do

So, hold me close and say three words like you used to do

Dancing on the kitchen tiles

It's all about you


Someone just broke off into a solo. I turn to my left, where I expect to see Lee soloing away, but instead, I see the black-haired boy – and I start being annoyed at the fact that I still don't know his name and have to call him by the same adjectives over and over again – standing at the edge of the stage, hunched over his guitar, his head bobbing with every note he produces.

I think it's the first time I see him actually having a facial expression. Okay, so I haven't known him for very long, but still. He has this look of… I don't know… Contentment could be it, but it doesn't seem strong enough. Satisfaction? No, that's not it either. I can't seem to find the right word, but the look on his face just overwhelms me. He seems almost overjoyed to be here, on the contrary of three minutes ago, when he looked bored to death. His face is calm, though, there's no trace of Naruto's hyperactiveness. I'm so engrossed in his facial expression that I almost forget to start singing again.

And I would answer all your wishes

If you asked me to

But if you deny me one of your kisses

Don't know what I'd do

Oh my God, he's singing with me. He's actually doing the back vocals on my chorus. I'm tempted to stop singing, just to hear his voice.

So, hold me close and say three words like you used to do

Dancing on the kitchen tiles

Yes, you make my life worthwhile

So I told you with a smile

There's a pause and everyone cheers. I know that in that kind of pause, the musicians are supposed to look at each other to know when to start playing again. Without really meaning to, as if on impulse – although I don't know what kind of impulse would make me do that – I turn to him, searching for his eyes.

And I find them on me.

Were I paying attention, I would notice that all of the boys were looking at me. But right at this second, I can only see him. His left hand, clutching his guitar, the other one gripping the microphone in front of him. His body, slightly hunched forward. His eyes, locked to mine by I don't know what luck. My heart skips a beat again and I feel blood creeping up to my cheeks again.

I completely forget that I'm on stage, in front of people who are counting on me to make their prom night the best night of their lives. I forget that the song's not finished. I forget that I'm the one who has to give the others the cue. I forget that no note is coming out of my throat.

I forget that I have to breathe.

All I can remember is that I caught hiseyes on me and that he hasn't taken them off yet.

Until Naruto clears him throat.

I snap my head back to the crowd at the same time as the back-haired boy, feeling slightly mortified. One reason is that I don't know how long I've been staring at him. Another is because I can't remember what I'm supposed to do. My fingers crisp around the microphone stand and my mouth opens, but no sound comes out.

Just as I'm about to break down in apologies, I hear a voice to my left sing the part of the song I'd forgotten about.

It's all about…

And the guitar picks on. I don't even look at him, for I know I'll forget everything again if I do.

It's all about you (It's about you)

It's all about you, baby (It's all about)

It's all about you (It's about you)

It's all about you, baby (It's all about)

I see Shikamaru and Temari swaying from side to side along with the song. They're looking in each other's eyes. They look so happy. I can feel my eyes welling up.

It's all about you (It's about you)

It's all about you, baby (It's all about)

It's all about you (It's about you)

It's all about you

I can't stop my tears. The song, the place, that particular couple – my best friend and my saviour – and that boy, still singing the back vocals, it's all too much. Too much love, too much happiness. Being the sucker for romantic stories I am, I have to get emotional in this kind of situation. I don't even try to wipe my tears.

It's all about…

I turn to him again. I can't help it.


And he's looking back at me.

I barely notice the crowd's cheer.


"Thank you so much! Tonight was awesome! I hope you enjoyed it as well. Have a nice evening!" I exit the stage, panting, sweating, smiling.


Tears of joy, mind you. Although I'm a bit sad the show's over.

I half-walk, half-run to the bathroom where my life was saved. I push the door open, walk up to the mirrors and heave myself up on the sink counter. My sobs fill the small, echoed room. I let my feet dangle off the counter, prop my elbows on my knees and rest my forehead in my hands, tears sliding down my cheeks and falling on my – Temari's – dress. I stare at the little dark blue spots that the drops created.

Oh, how I wish Ino were here. She'd be able to tell me why I feel like laughing and crying at the same time.

The door is pushed open. For a moment, I believe my wish has come true and Ino is home, but when I look up, I see Temari standing in the doorframe, a sympathetic look on her face. Even if I wished for Ino, I'm happy Temari's here. She walks up to me, a small smile on her lips.

"Aw, look at you," she says.

"I know," I answer. "I'm a mess."

"No," she replies. She hesitates, then talks again. "Well, yes, you are, but that's not what I meant. You're a grown-up. You're finally sixteen like you should have been since your birthday."

"How do you know I'm already sixteen?" I ask, slightly confused.

"Shikamaru," she grins and I chuckle.

"I liked that last song you did," she says, a bit matter-of-factly.


"Yeah. It was cool."


There's a silence. I'm not sure if I should feel awkward or not. There's never a silence with Ino. I'm not used to it.

I notice my tears have stopped. I have no clue why. Maybe I ran dry. I look at Temari. She seems pensive.

"What's wrong?" I ask her.

"Hm? Oh, nothing. I was just thinking about that boy."

My stomach drops.

"What boy?"

"The one you were singing for during the third song."

My heart drops.

"What about him?"

"Well, he seemed to be looking for you."

"What? When!?"

"Just before I came in here."

I slide down the counter and steady myself on my feet. My mouth hangs open and my eyes stare off in space. I try to process what she just told me.

He'd been looking for me.

He'd been looking for me.

Why? He didn't seem to care that much about me back onstage. Well, except for when he was staring at me. The two times.

Still, why had he been looking for me? To tell me to stop ogling at him? To mock me for crying in front of people (I don't need him for that, I already do it myself)?

"I think you should go see him," Temari said.

I snapped my head up towards her, my eyes wide.

"Are you nuts? No offense."

"None taken."

"Dude, I can't go see him! He probably thinks I'm crazy! Some nutcase he has to put a restriction order on!"

"How do you explain he's been looking for you, then?"

"W-well… I don't know. Maybe… Maybe he wanted to warn me that I'd be arrested if I came anywhere near him again."

I know that was lame, but it's all I could come up with. I have no idea why he would want to see me.

"Oh, come on, Sakura. Quit being a baby."

Temari grabs my arm and pulls me towards the door. Once we're outside, she looks around for a bit while I struggle – in vain – to free myself from her grip. Then, when she seems to have found what she's looking for, she pulls me towards another door.

I don't have time to remember that the door she's pushing me through leads to the parking lot behind the school, we're already outside.

In front of a big, black, two-story high bus.

A tour bus.

"Oh. My-…" I start.

"Naruto!" Temari cuts me.

How does she know his name? I thought I was the only one he'd told it to. However, sure enough, Naruto, who's about to climb on the bus, turns around, a surprised look on his face. He walks back to us, the wind ruffling his blond hair. I see strands of my own pink mop fly in front of my eyes.

As soon as he's close enough, Temari talks again.

"Sakura's here to see Sasuke," she says.

Who? Who am I here to see?

Naruto's face brightens with understanding and his lips stretch in a wide grin.

"Oh, yeah, right," he says. "Well, Teme's back on the bus and I think he's already asleep, but…"

He hesitates. I guess he saw my crestfallen face. I'd recognized who they were talking about when Naruto had called him 'Teme'. So his name's Sasuke. I'll be sure to remember that.

"Well, what he wanted to tell you was that, er, we have a gig in town tomorrow and we were wondering if you wanted to do it with us. You know, like tonight. He also wanted to say something else, but he wouldn't tell us what it was." He chuckles. "So, will you do it?"

"Er… I don't-…"

"Yes, she will," Temari blurts out. I send her a murderous glare.

"Yay! Awesome. Okay, er, you just have to give us your phone number and we'll call you tomorrow."

"Er… Okay, yeah. Er… Pen?"

"Here," Temari pulls a pen out of her purse.

"Thanks." I take it and pull the cap off. I reach out for Naruto's hand and start writing my number down.

When I'm finished, he takes the pen and writes down a number in the hand where the songs were written – and where there only remain a few black smudges. I look at the number in my hand, then at Naruto, confused.

"Sasuke's cellphone." He grins again.

"Thanks." I smile. I feel like crying again.

"Okay, well, see you tomorrow, Sakura-chan," he says, then turns around. I smile even wider at the suffix he put to my name.

I look at the bus. I've never seen one so high. I can see inside, for it's dark outside and the lights are on. For a moment, I don't know what's keeping my eyes locked to the lit windows, but then I realise someone's staring back at me. And he has black cropped hair. A new tear slides down my cheeks and I smile at him. I swear I saw him smile back. I rip my eyes away from him before I do something drastic and look at Naruto again.

Then I remember something.

"Naruto?" I yell to his retreating back.

He turns around again.


"Did you… I mean, did all of you guys… know the songs?"

He laughs loudly.

"Yeah," he says. "We wrote them."


A/N: 35 word pages, 8 969 words (counting the A/N's), 37 392 letters and numbers, 452 paragraphs, 1565 lines and 37 hours.

Those are the numbers of this story.

My mind is empty. My arms are dead. My inspiration is gone and will be for the next five months at the least, so you'll be hearing from me only when I graduate.

This was fun.

Tell me if you want a sequel – I already have the plot in my head, I only need your approval.

Queen of Pascalities