Um…yeah…I have no excuse. I fell of the Naruto fanwagon for a while, and with all the girls done I just kept coming up with excuses to procrastinate. But then XxXangelkunoichiXxX gave me a kick in the pants via review, and I was shamed into diving in again.

Thanks to angel and the following for reviewing during my sad, sad hiatus:

-Hitokiri Shinzui

- .princess-



-Musik Drache



-naruto watching freak


-The Shaggy Experience456

-Rosabelle the Sarcastic





-There is no 'L' in Carissa


-Forever in Your Heart

-Little Angel of the Starz




-Miyuki Takaneko


I only hope that this chapter makes…urgh…a year and a half of absence worthwhile. I submit myself to your scolding and derision. Now, onward!

Karaoke Night, Chapter 7: Desperation/Please Don't Leave Me

Sasuke shoved his way through the hot, sweaty press of bodies around the karaoke stage. Through the haze of cigarette smoke and low lighting, he could see Sakura put a folded bill under her empty glass and get up; her friends followed. He pushed and shoved, but drunk bodies were heavier and more obstinate than sober ones. One of them stumbled onto the stage and started a new song, loud and off-key.

I don't know if I can yell any louder

How many times have I kicked you outta here?

Or said something insulting?

Someone elbowed him in the stomach. He thought to use his Chidori on these smelly mouth-breathers, but Naruto caught his upper arm and said, "They're civilians, baka."

Sakura ran her fingers through her hair as she waited for Temari to shoulder her fan, staring sidelong at the door. Sasuke snarled.

I can be so mean when I wanna be

I am capable of really anything

I can cut you into pieces

When my heart is…broken

Short of killing people, there was no way he could get to Sakura in time. Sasuke saw that, and acted on the first instinct that came to him. He wrenched out of Naruto's grip, vaulted onto the karaoke stage, and shoved the sloshed singer to the ground. He ignored the complaints of his audience and fastened his eyes on Sakura.

She turned away and started for the door. Something in his chest fluttered and stretched thin.

He sang:

Please don't leave me

Please don't leave me

Sakura stopped and slowly, slowly turned to him. Her lime green eyes were wide open. Sasuke sang to them, straight into them.

I always say how I don't need you

But it's always gonna come right back to this

Please, don't leave me

At least, if she turned back and tried to leave the club, he had a good vantage point from which to leap and stop her. High ground was everything. Sasuke removed the mic from its stand to give himself more freedom of movement, and glanced at the karaoke prompter for the words to the next verse.

How did I become so obnoxious?

What is it with you that makes me act like this?

I've never been this nasty

Can't you tell that this is all just a contest?

The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest

But, baby, I don't mean it

I mean it, I promise

Shit, but that was accurate. Sasuke looked up again and saw Sakura still staring at him. He sang again, and felt the words pouring out of his eyes rather than just his mouth.

Please don't leave me

No, please don't leave me

I always say how I don't need you

But it's always gonna come right back to this

Please, don't leave me

Sasuke saw the words for the bridge pop up in his periphery, and sang them with all the spirit and fire he had in him. All he knew was that singing kept Sakura from leaving. He didn't notice that the club had gone quiet.

I forgot to say out loud

How beautiful you really are to me

I can't be without

You're my perfect little punching bag

And I need you

I'm sorry

Naruto hoped to God Sasuke never remembered his pride, or realized that he was pouring his heart out in front of half the Village. Come to that, he hoped to God Sasuke knew how much truth there was in what he was singing. The baka had serious emotional constipation issues.

Please, please don't leave me

Baby, please don't leave me (no, don't leave me)

Please don't leave me

(I always say) I always say how I don't need you

But it's always gonna come right back to this

Sasuke was never a patient man, and he knew that the song ended with endless repetition. He jumped down from the stage in the middle of the chorus and followed the path of least resistance he'd mapped out while onstage—hug the left side, through the section of sleepy drunks, use the back half of a stool as a step, and he was clear. Sakura still stared at him, unblinking, immobile.

Please, don't leave me (baby)

Please don't leave me (ah ah)

I always say how I don't need you

But it's always gonna come right back to this

Please, please don't leave me

Tenten, Hinata, Temari, and Ino glanced from Sasuke to Sakura—neither of whom acknowledged them—and slipped away.

"Is this a good idea?" Hinata asked.

"If it keeps her here," said Ino, looking over her shoulder.

"And if it keeps him sane," said Temari.

Tenten nodded. "Either way, we can't afford to lose both of them." She leaned against the bar and scanned the sweaty crowd for Sasuke's entourage.

Baby, please, please don't leave me

Sasuke and Sakura stared at each other. He was a shadow, dressed all in black, skin just a few shades darker than deathly. He stood with his shoulders squared and his fists clenched at his sides. She was a ghost, a cherry tree choked with ice, her color gone and her visage pale. She stood with one arm wrapped around herself and the other hand shielding her heart, her shoulder angled toward the door. Their eyes stared into each other, black and pale green.

Sasuke cleared his throat. "Hey."

AN: My lovely reviewers, I do not deserve your kindness. If you can find it in your big-as-Shukaku hearts, I would beg your forgiveness. *Falls prostrate at reviwers' mercy*

Needless to say, now that I found the perfect song for Sasuke, I gotta go and do the other guys. Crap. '^_^