title: persuasion
SasuSaku; for now, anyway. Hints of other unimportant background pairs later.
AU. Non-massacre. SasuSaku. It was, Sakura rather thought now, those two last words—"even me"—that had sent her feet walking out of the room without her even realizing it. Was he so promiscuous? More importantly, was she really so undesirable?
Iz, who asked for Pride and Prejudice-inspired fic. This first drabble is based off one of my favorite scenes in the book. :) I hope it's still recognizable!

notes // warnings: This totally reminds me of when I wrote he said. But I have a different plot in mind for this—perhaps predictable, but I have never claimed to be original. Also, I was focused more on attempting to recreate an 18th-Century style of writing here (LOL, thanks college for helping me out with that one). That said, I'm sticking to short chapters. Because otherwise, it takes forever to update, and I'm under more pressure (read: cherry apple wine, which I SWEAR is being written). I'm trying to keep these under 500 words, without counting my headers.

Sorry for making Sasuke talk so... for using high-falutin' language here and there (and sometimes everywhere). My excuse is that I'm aiming for a... formal tone.

Maybe now, I'll be able to write my paper.

disclaimer: Neither Naruto nor Pride and Prejudice are mine; the former belongs to Masashi Kishimoto and Friends, and the latter, to...public domain, I guess. But before that, it belonged to the amazing Jane Austen. 8D

It was not, Haruno Sakura reflected later, when she was lying in the darkness of her own room, what Sasuke-kun had said, precisely—rather, it was how he had said it.

And how had he said it, again? Sakura remembered with unforgiving clarity the sudden rush of hurt that had suffused her when she had walked into the Hokage Tower's Administrative Office at precisely the wrong moment. Her dark-haired teammate stood in front of Iruka-sensei's desk, his body taut, and his voice more audible than he had perhaps meant it to be.

"I'll take anyone else but Sakura—she's an adequate medic-nin, I suppose, but this mission calls for someone whose expertise lies in...other areas. I have been witness to the kunoichi classes at the Academy—the ones that they are required to go to every so often in order to perfect their talents. Sakura is lacking in every respect that matters and this particular mission is difficult enough without my having to make up for her inadequacies; in short, her skills are not nearly honed enough to tempt even me."

It was, Sakura rather thought now, those two last words—"even me"—that had sent her feet walking out of the room without her even realizing it. Was he so promiscuous? And if so, what did it mean? That even she, Sakura, was not "woman" enough to appease his apparently low standards? Was she really so undesirable? And really—she was an adequate medic-nin? Just "adequate"? Sakura promised herself that she would remember those words the next time he came limping into the hospital after one of his practice spars with Itachi-san or Naruto.

Unsurprisingly, it was the words that had come after, the words which cast doubt on her ability to properly use her so-called "feminine wiles" during missions, which hurt the most. He had spoken so casually, as though every word he said were mere fact, rather than opinion. Then again, Sakura thought to herself, immediately switching tacks, as it was Sasuke-kun who had said the words—and it, regrettably, was she, Sakura, who had heard them—his sentiment might as well have been labelled Truth.

As much as she tried to deny it, his opinion still meant mountains and moons to her. The distance between them—the miles, the years, the silences—had done nothing to temper her affection, had done nothing but strengthen the ardor with which she regarded him. It was disgraceful, she thought, as she hugged the pillow in her arms closer to soothe the growing ache in her chest.

After a few moments, Sakura stirred, unwilling to remain still any longer. She rose up, and sat upright, her brow still furrowed in thought, but her eyes less solemn, her ego, less bruised. She knew herself well enough to realize that she would not be able to brush Sasuke-kun's words—the sound of his rejection—out of her head simply by wishing them away, and she certainly would not expedite the process by ruminating over them. She resolved to at least attempt to take it as a learning experience. Sasuke-kun was her teammate—he was pointing out her flaws, and she should, at the very least be thankful for that. (A part of her wished that he had not insulted her femininity in the process, but that was all past now. Or it would be, she hoped, after a few days of sulking.) It was constructive criticism at its finest—and its harshest, her ego said sullenly—and she would take it with a grain of salt. She certainly wouldn't be asking Sasuke-kun for his opinion of her any time soon—indeed, Sakura had already decided to do what she could to avoid him (which, she reflected would not be too difficult as he hardly ever sought her out on his own accord, anyway)—but she would do what she could to make his words a motivation to do better. And anyway, who was Uchiha Sasuke, anyway?

No one really, her ego and heart lamented in tandem—no one except the boy you've loved for nearly a lifetime.

Sakura suppressed a sigh, and gathered herself.

His was one opinion in a village of many people; heartthrob or not, Sasuke-kun was only one man. Teammate or no teammate, love-of-her-life or no, Sakura thought, she would do her best to put his words behind her.

Why, even Iruka-sensei who had been witness to Sakura's humiliation—more precisely, who had been Sasuke-kun's conversation partner—had looked positively aghast at the implication that she, Sakura, was anything less than a perfect match for the Uchiha's upcoming mission. Why else would Iruka-sensei have suggested her?

Almost as soon as this thought had entered her head, and bolstered her self-confidence, Sakura found herself floundering. If she were honest with herself—and Sakura nearly always was, even if, and perhaps, especially when, her ego was at stake—Iruka-sensei's good opinion, or even Genma-san's (who, only last week, had been unanimously voted the Village Bicycle) was not worth even one tenth of Sasuke-kun's.

"I am kind of pathetic," she announced to no one in particular (as no one was around to hear it). "And now I'm talking to myself. Stop talking to yourself, Sakura."

It was, she decided now, all too much. She would never be able to rest without at least indirectly addressing Sasuke-kun's affront. But how, she wondered.

For a few moments, Sakura sat on the edge of her bed with her favorite green throw pillow in hand, and an unwelcome chorus in her head. It was only when the sound of her doorbell filtered into her room that she remembered an appointment she had made earlier with one Yamanaka Ino. Sakura stood up and silently resolved to tell her best friend of this latest development. At the very least, hearing the episode—baring it to open air—would help desensitize her to its sting. Left untold, stuck in the hollows of her throat, Sakura knew that the wound to her pride would only fester.

At the very least, Sakura thought as she opened the door with a wry smile, Ino would be amused. It would be a bit longer before she would be able to hear—or think about it—without wincing, but telling Ino would be a step in the right direction.


Clearly my plan of "less than 500 words" was FAIL. Oh well. Also, the lack of dialogue is probably going to be the norm for this piece. So...yes. :D

Any and all comments would be very much appreciated!