disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: Les. angsty ass fuck. do something with it.
notes: I read the chapter five-sixty-seven this morning, and was like bitch, no at Suigetsu. thus, word-vomit.
notes2: fandom = be trolled.

title: carpet burns
summary: This is not a game of forgive and forget. — Karin/Sakura/Sasuke.






Karin stayed in the healer's tents for a long time after the world came crashing down and ended in a fiery explosion of chakra.

Someone had cigarettes on hand; left them there for her to find, maybe, but probably not. She smoked for something to do—something to pass the time. It was a nasty habit but there was no one to tell her off for it, and so Karin smoked her way through a pack and a half before Sakura made it back.

The sun still hadn't risen. It might have been four AM, for all Karin knew. But she wasn't very tired.

"You look like shit," Karin said, flicking the butt away, fingers nimble and cold in the early morning air.

"Thanks," Sakura replied. A half-hearted chuckle escaped her lips, and her eyes were pits of dull green in circles of deep dark-purple that might have been bruises. She brushed her hair away from her throat and Karin watched the passage of her fingers across her skin with a burning kind of hunger low in her stomach.

An uncomfortable feeling, but Sakura's chakra was the warmest Karin had ever felt. And it curdled in her blood and made her clench her fists as she shuddered. Want made physical, that was what Sakura's chakra felt like—it wasn't the first time Karin had found someone like that (Sasuke, not that she was ever going to forgive him), and probably not the last time, either.

But it was nice to be in that little healer's tent with another girl, in the silence and the knowledge that she didn't have to pretend for anyone. It wasn't something Karin had experienced often, but it something she didn't mind at all.

"How many died?" she asked. She flipped her hair over her shoulder, crimson tears dripping down her back as she moved. Sakura's eyes tracked the movement, and Karin noticed.

"Too many," was all that Sakura said, in a soft voice that spoke of grief and a wintry bitterness that sounded wrong in one so young.

(Fifteen was so young.)

(Karin thought that people forgot that, sometimes. It was easy to forget, because they had—all of them—been making adult decisions since they were twelve years old. Younger, even. But at fifteen the brain wasn't even close to finished its full development, and Karin knew that as well as Sakura did. Probably better. But that wasn't the point.)

"Need help?"

Sakura half-turned towards her; her with her hands on her hips and the littlest smirk and that red hair, dark and fluid and the wound through her stomach still only just recently healed. The marks on Karin's arms, too—the scars. They would be there forever.

But med-nin were med-nin, regardless of the sort, and it was not an offer Sakura wanted to turn down.

"Sure," she said, and Karin grinned at the profound relief that settled into Sakura's smile.

The Konoha headband tied around her throat and mostly hidden underneath her jacket weighed heavily in her mind. Karin shook it off. This wasn't the time to think about where she belonged—she didn't really belong anywhere, anyway, and this was just another pit-stop.

She'd think about it when the air didn't smell like burning flesh.

The two girls slipped out of the medical tents to survey the damage. Far in the distance, a pillar of thick black smoke streamed towards the sky. Karin watched Sakura's jaw tighten.

"They're alright."


"Your teammates. They're too stupid to die," Karin said.

Sakura smiled a little weakly. "I know."

She didn't question the fact that Karin didn't say our—sometimes things were hard, and forgiveness was even harder, and—and—Karin had never been the sort of forgive those that tried to kill her. No matter what, she couldn't forgive Sasuke.

Not now.

Not ever.

The thought made the smirk on her lips twist into something ugly. Sakura was a better person than Karin could ever hope to be, but that wasn't the problem. Karin had known from the start that she was in this for herself (maybe for Juugo, too, but mostly for herself), because she was a selfish person.

Sakura was in it for her team.

And wasn't that just the saddest thing she'd ever heard.

Karin was a horrible person. She wasn't afraid of it.

(The bite-marks on her arms couldn't even speak differently. They were there because she hadn't wanted to die. Because she would never allow herself to die. Not for anyone. Not ever. No matter what.)

It was just the truth.

She surveyed the smoking field like a seasoned general even as she pushed her glasses up her nose. She glanced at Sakura. "So where d'you wanna start?"


"Oi, Sakura-chan! Look who I brought home!"

Karin wanted to clap her hands over her ears at the pressure of the chakras that came bounding towards them out of nowhere. It wouldn't have changed anything, but she knew at least one of them—a deadly chakra that tasted like the lust for power, if that a taste. Sasuke.

And she drew back, the revulsion that spiked along her veins nearly rendering her to a state of unconsciousness. Sakura seemed fine—or at least, as close to fine as her emotions would allow her to be.

"Naruto, you—you idiot! You're going to—!"

And then he passed out, dragging Karin's former teammate with him.

It was sort of pathetic.

But Sakura's movements blurred, and Karin watched with a grim sort of satisfaction as Sakura caught them both. She could save herself, and Karin had no place there. "I should—"

"Help me, please," Sakura whispered frantically.

And it was sort of hard to say no to the person who'd saved her.

Karin sighed.

"Fine. But if I accidentally bash his head against the ground, you can't blame me."

Sakura almost smiled. "Now, why would I do that?"

Getting the blonde moron and the other moron back into the tents wasn't difficult. Sakura's monstrous strength came in helpful. Karin didn't even have to bash anyone's head in. They set them down on the cots in the far corner of the med-nin tent and drew a curtain around it with strict orders to the nurses that no one was to touch the boys inside.

"Idiots," Sakura muttered as they dropped into foldable chairs. "Idiots, idiots, idiots. Are they—ugh."

"At least they're not dead," Karin shrugged.

"They won't be dying. Not if I have anything to say about it. I'm still—urgh," Sakura growled. Karin almost giggled.

Sakura looked exhausted. The shadows under her eyes grew ever more pronounced. Karin hesitantly touched her shoulder. "You can… sleep. If you want."

"I don't," Sakura whispered. "Not until… you know?"


There was a hacking, wet cough from the other side of the curtain. Sakura's head whipped up and she was up out of her chair and reaching for the curtain before she could stop herself. Sakura disappeared behind it in a flash of pale pink and warm chakra that had Karin gritting her teeth in abject need.

Karin wondered if that was what unconditional love looked like.

She wondered if dying would be easier.

Probably not, though.

Sakura emerged from behind the curtain, half-supporting a boy-man with dark eyes, dark hair, pale skin; someone that Karin had thought she'd loved.

"Stupid," Karin said.

Sakura turned her face away.

"Karin," he returned.

"You're going to die. Sit down before you hurt yourself." And then: "I should kill you."

Like an afterthought.

Karin hadn't wanted to have this conversation. Not like this. Not here. But the thing was, that's how it had always been, with Sasuke. All or nothing, and so this conversation was inevitable.

"I mean, seriously. You tried to kill me."


Karin bared her teeth. "Don't you fucking hn me, Uchiha. Don't you fucking dare. You don't get it, do you? I don't care about you anymore. What, did you still think I did? Because I don't!"

She paused, to breathe and try to regain some control. "You're lucky. You have Sakura and the idiot over there and—god, you don't even care about them, do you? You're stupid enough to think that they'll hold on forever. And you know what's the worst part—?" and here she laughed, voice catching and nearly breaking "—the worst part is that they will. But not me."

Karin wanted to wrap her hands around his neck, but she didn't think Sakura would appreciate that.

"I'm smarter than that," she said on the exhale.

Sasuke just stared at her, eyes dark and fathomless. He didn't even say anything. There was no indication that he'd heard. Karin wanted to giggle helplessly, because god, she was so done, she was so fucking done.

"You went crazy and tried to kill me! I'm not stupid enough to think you won't do it again. So. Yeah. Don't talk to me. Don't come near me. We're not friends."

Karin shot out of the chair, a blur of motion and colour and life.

She did not belong here in this death camp with this man-child with dark eyes. It hurt like an old wound, carpet burn on her kneecaps. Almost something painful, but okay as long as she didn't move certain ways.

"Tell Sakura I said later."

Karin headed out to help with the clean-up effort, poetry in the fingers, waiting for peace to land.







notes3: I like Karin. SMD.
notes4: please don't Favourite without leaving a review! :)