Entitled: Last Petal Falling
Fandom: Naruto
Length: 2,000 words
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and etc.
Notes2: Oh, right, I'm having a panic attack.
Notes3: Proceed.
Notes4: Okay, self, you have thirty minutes. Then you may return to your hysteria. And stop blubbering in the self-indulgent author's wank section, and do things conducive to your semester grade. Like writing and memorize a monologue. Which is due…today, actually, in just a few hours.
Notes5: I would like to make it clear to the readers that this never happened.
Notes7: Unless Kishimoto actually manages to do something right and, let's face it.
Notes8: Also, there are better fandoms out there, you guys. Such as Hetalia! And no one paid me to say that.

The breaking dawn bleached them white.

"Hey, look," a gesture, a roughness on his skin, her gloves, her blood. She smiled, "Aren't you coming home?"

The quickness, the snap, the action potential. Sodium in and potassium out, breathing, muscles going tick, tick, grind.

So he just doesn't answer, for he can only deny her so many times before he breaks the two of them clean.

He touches his scabbard then, and her eyes follow the motion instinctively, but somehow never waver. She isn't begging, and she isn't crying until it's over. There's something so crushing about this wavering light. If he could hear music, he might have called it that.

Sasuke steps forwards, with his hands hanging loosely at his sides, "Sakura," he says it, says the name that feels estranged from his mind, because when he thinks of her he doesn't think Sakura, he thinks in vague blurs of cotton pink, and the crushed bitterness of flower petals. She dwells in the soft, buried colors of his palette, and is made so much more than a word. "I told you, I'd kill you if you got in my way."

Sakura watches him and—and she wavers, a flash of something weak and uncertain, before the façade snaps back into place, and he doesn't—he still doesn't get her, doesn't know which half is the real one.

"Don't insult me," she says, quietly, and shuts her eyes. Her hand held stiff, she uses it to slice through him. The smoke of his chest curls up through her fingers, and when she opens her eyes—they're the cutting sort of green.

"Illusions?" she asks, "You think I couldn't find you? Did you really think so?"

She flips around, knees bent, hands open. He smells dog on the wind—dog and sweat. They're getting closer. She hadn't called, so—trackers.

There isn't much point in staying, and so Sasuke does what he does best…and leaves.

He shakes her off for nearly a week, but she's back and waiting for him in Wind country, dangling some sort of sharp, almost invisible chain from her fingers. Her hair's pinned up, and she's dressed for the festival, ineffiecent shoes and everything. When she moves her dress pulls open a bit, and he can see and awful lot of leg—and the knives wrapped in her garter.

He swallows.

Probably out of annoyance, or something.

"I was going to kill you," she said, petulantly, "But now I'm drunk, and fighting you would be stupid. Besides, you're probably not even here."

Sasuke watches her toddle around him, eyes bright from any number of things. The cold, the liquor, the pleasure derived from crying, fever.

"So," she slurs it, and stops a careful distance from him. It's still too close, and he doesn't move back, because she has never scared him. "So, I'm trying to think of how to do it. To kill you, I mean. You're hard to kill, but—but it should be me," she insists, takes it into herself. Her mouth falls open, expression pitiful, "You're mine, you know? You don't know. But you are. It just works that way, because—because it has to. Who else is gonna do it?"

So for some reason, he tries to picture it. He knows she's stronger, but doesn't really know. Hasn't seen her in action. Her hands are still dainty, still ridiculously effeminate. Her hair's different in ways not dependent on length, but more on care, and—and okay, so maybe it's a bit weird now. He thinks about that for second and then just says it, "You've cut your hair."

Her yukata slips a bit in the front, showing a lot of collar bone. A lot of alabaster skin, flushing, like he can see the way her heart works. She'd always been bad about blushing. He's so busy staring at her, at all of her, at this new rawly sexual creature that he doesn't notice her advance until she's dewy-eyed just below him. She moves so—so exaggeratedly slow, his eyes hurt to watch her hands crawl up and forwards, and so he simply reaches out and plucks her wrists from the air, wrapping them up in one of his hands, and pushing with the heel of his palm. The bones creak. Her eyes shut and she arches until her shoulder bumps into him, hair grazing his lower lip, and she whimpers, waddling on those ridiculous shoes that, okay, okay he doesn't mind them so much because he doesn't know what to do with this new Sakura, can't put her on the shelf and guard her like he used to.

"Oh," she whispers, trying to bend her body into the motion, to keep her wrists from snapping, "Oh, damn, now is this the part where you kill me?"

Yes, Sasuke agrees, but she's—she's still talking, eyes glazed and relaxed, if tight around the corners, "I didn't tell you, um, about the other guys. The other guys who tried to kill me." She got quiet then, "You know, after you left, and Naruto left, and it was just me and—and then I was the only target, so." She tilts her head, "First one pulled off my fingernails. It's okay! I healed them, so he did it again, and again, so then I just stopped and let them hurt kind of quietly. He was asking me about you, actually. About you, and I didn't tell him anything. I never told anyone anything." She licks her lips.

Sasuke doesn't want to kill her anymore.

"Who's the girl you're with?" Sakura sighs, "Is she. Is she better than me?"

"Who was it?"

"It never happened," Sakura giggles, and does some sort of trick, twirls out of his grip, mesmerizingly graceful in her horrible shoes. She giggles, sobers, "That's not the point, Sasuke. The point isn't the fact or the evidence it's the message. It's why you eat up people's hearts, and why it feels like mine's too big."

He isn't really sure why he's taking her by the wrists and snapping, so that her face is right before his and fully exposed to its torture, the long streaks of mirth and despair and practiced grace whirling along the edges of her features, leaking into the air.

"Who was it?"

Sakura exhales heavily, breath breezing through his hair, and it—

"No one has ever hurt as much as you," she promises. She blinks sober, weight shifting, readjusting, there's a prick at the crook of his arm and he throws her away and into the wall, and she doesn't even trip, because her breath—

—hadn't smelt of alcohol.

His mind can't keep up. It rejects her, what she's done, just burns with a hot, gasping anger, not so much at her but at what she has become, at himself, at the lies they tell each other and the thing, the weak and papery thing that hung between them like a paper wall. He'd never even touched it.

He pulls out the needle and it drops to the ground. People are looking at him—at him, like he was the betrayer, the back-stabber, the manipulative, cocky liar.

His ears buzz. Sasuke turns and walks, hardly caring that she follows, lithe steps silent in his shadow. The paper lanterns teem with bugs.

None of it seems like a suitable place to die, but he's already slipping, sort of falling onto Sakura's shoulder. She holds him upright, with her arms around her waist. He blinks at her sluggishly, feels his lips moving, doesn't know, doesn't know if he's saying anything at all except he knows that there's her name in there, somewhere, and her eyes are glaring at him, daring him.

"I liked it better," he says, as it's hurtful and honest and he can't quite think of her as this—this malicious seductress, flaunting herself before him, and—she just isn't like that. "I liked your hair better, before."

There's a crack, a net, a shattering. She drops them to the ground and buries his face into her neck and doesn't even breath for a moment, and Sasuke knows—Sasuke knows she won't let him die.

He wakes up about an hour later, marked by the redness of Sakura's eyes. They're mostly pink. The sheets are cheap. She sits beside him in silence, on the mattress, dipping into him with their combined weight. The room fills with outside noise.

"Did you mean it?" she asks, and he doesn't have to wonder what she means. Her hair's not up anymore, and falls around her face in ungroomed, ragged spikes. No, he doesn't think of her as analytically attractive anymore. She isn't attractive in the way dolls, or weapons, or photographs are.

She's much too close for that.

She isn't so clean.


She touches the ends of her hair before she can stop herself. Her posture's horrible and sagging, all deadened and defeated.

"But that isn't who I am," she says, "I'm not that person. I don't want to be her."

Her teeth grit, he sees them glint, the room cast by orange city-lights from the windows. "I'll kill you tomorrow," she says, and stands. She doesn't stay with him, kneeling at his bedside like the old Sakura would have. He still hasn't seen her fight. He hasn't asked—hasn't asked about the flowers at the Uchiha compound, if she still watered them.

She shuts the door and her footsteps move away, and he sits up, because he can't believe, he can't believe her.

There's a spider in the corner, and he knows this without looking. There's a crack in the wall, the weakened foundation, poorly hidden by plaster and paint. He could break through with his shoulder.

It's a small, dark room, and it smells faintly of her.

He makes himself stand, so that he's not being left behind, and he leaves by the window because he hasn't got money for the room, so it's no surprise that they find each other on the rooftops. She's waiting with the moon, and they both face him head-on. It's dimmer, for the light pollution.

"Don't run away," she orders. He will. They both know this.

"Did the Hokage send you?" he asks, without infliction, "Or are you simply killing me because you feel like it?"

"I'm killing you because I love you too much to let anyone else hurt you, and if I don't hurry, someone will," she smiles, a wry and bitter thing, not like the one in the photographs, "I'm tired of saying it, you know. You must think it's easy. But it's not, it really isn't, even if you say no every single time."

She's moved up. He can't put her in the back, locked snug in a cage. He doesn't know where to put her other than by his side, and that hadn't ever been a possibility.

"It suits you," he says, and runs her through.

The smoke coils around his blade.

Notes9: And life shall now resume!