Title: Love is a punch to the heart
Characters: Sakura, Sasuke.
Rating: T
Summary:Three times Sakura decides that Sasuke needs a good solid punch in his pretty, pretty face.

Usually Sasuke telling her she's not worth it doesn't make her angry. She's not as good as he is. She knows that.

She's not even as good as Naruto, because, well, because she knows she's smart and knowledgeable, but it's become startlingly clear over the past few months that Naruto has potential she can only dream of. He's awkward and reckless and sometimes so dumb she does hit him, but the rest...

There are times Sakura salivates over the guy's amount of chakra, and inexhaustible energy, and the way he just keeps trying, and he gets it in the end.

So. It's not like Sasuke tells her things she hasn't become aware of. It's not like it's the first time he's told her his opinion. And if Uchiha Sasuke's opinion on what makes a good ninja isn't worth taking, then whose is?

Usually it just makes her feel small and sad. Like when she was a little girl crying huddled on herself for fear people would see her forehead. Usually it's the same. Like everyone can see it, like the only reason Sasuke doesn't tell everyone she's a fake is because of team loyalty.

But today, well, today he looks at her down his nose and there's a sharp spike of fury piercing through her spine, making her fists clench. She knows she's clumsy, and she knows she's weak, and she knows she's not good enough, okay? She just knows!

She's got cramps, and she can't move without worrying that it's going to drip, and weather's hot and damp and she feels all sticky and smelly already even though she's taken a shower before leaving home and it's not even ten in the morning and they've barely started training and it's so monumentally unfair that Sasuke's there with his perfect hair and his perfect skin and his perfect ninja skills, and she's just- she's just not.

She's a no-good, too-soft, over-emotional girlwith a teenage body that gives her hell for having a period.

She doesn't punch him, of course. She doesn't rant, either.

She wouldn't even touch him if she tried to hit him, and if she starts to scream she's just gonna end up crying.

He says thank you when he leaves. Sakura doesn't remember it first thing when she wakes up, she's too busy freaking out about everything else, but it comes back later. Much later, after Naruto's left the village and the dust is settling around what used to be her team.

He says thank you, and he takes her out.

She doesn't think that he took the time to lay her on a bench when he could just have left her body crumpled on the ground.

She doesn't think that he could have chosen not to hear her out at all. He could've taken her out any time he wanted.

Well, no, she does think about it, but it doesn't make her resentment abate in any way.

She tried to get through to him, fuck him. She tore her heart out of her fucking chest and held it out to him and he stomped all over it on his way out, and he didn't even take the chance of giving her a chance of being useful. Not annoying, emotional, weak Sakura, right?

Does Sasuke have any idea how much it hurt, waking up and finding him not here? Knowing that if she'd been better, she might've had a chance - because at least Naruto, well, at least Naruto had something to show for his confrontation with Sasuke, hasn't he?

Naruto can look people in the way and say, "you're wrong", if they tell him Sasuke doesn't care about him. Sasuke tried to kill him, and then he didn't. Naruto's important to Sasuke, Naruto's a choice he made.

Sakura is just... nothing. A concession. A child. Sakura doesn't have anything to do with Sasuke, he couldn't have spelled it out more clearly.

He left her sleeping, like Team Seven was a dream that she would wake up from. Like she could go and be a civilian, now. That's what her family wants for her, you know?

Does Sasuke have any idea how humiliatingit was?

Naruto was beaten; Sakura was left.

If she can hit him, she can make him see her. It worked for Naruto, didn't it?

If she can punch him out, she can take him back.

Sakura wonders when she started wanting to be Naruto. She knows she's failed there, too; Naruto never gave up on Sasuke.

She can already imagine Sasuke's perfect, disapproving face when he sees right through her. Right through the fake she knows she's never stopped to be.

And, Konoha forgive her.

She wants to punch him for that.