Title: The Dread
Note: This is an older fic from maybe a year and a half ago? I really wanted to work with the line "you make me feel twelve again."
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto


A familiar dread returns when her teammates do too. It's stifling and it chokes her and haunts her every movement. It's one of being left behind. Of screwing up. Of failing. They fall back into the same patterns as before quite easily. It's almost as though they've forgotten that Sasuke left. Sasuke betrayed them. Sasuke tried to kill them. They ignore the past four years. They act the same. They act exactly the same, and Sakura hates it.

Meet at seven. Wait two hours. Kakashi-sensei arrives. Yell at Kakashi-sensei. Train. Spar. Switch partners. Spar some more. Switch again. Naruto whines. Tell Naruto to shut the fuck up. Spar. Stop. Get ramen.

Sakura fucking hates it. Sakura hates them.

She hates the way Kakashi pats her on the head. The way he smiles at her behind his stupid mask and tells her she's improving. She hates the way she actually doesn't quite know he's smiling behind his stupid mask. Sometimes she thinks she hates him the most (yeah, even more than Sasuke), because fuck yes she's improving, no thanks to him. But Sakura smiles back. She lets him ruffle her hair. She lets him indulge in the fact that hey, someone he gives the slightest shit about is still alive, so let him show some affection. Whatever.

Naruto just plainly irritates her. He smiles. He laughs. He's loud. He's cheerful. Sometimes she wants to remind him of all his issues, all those sad, sad things that have happened to him, so he'd tone that bright grin down a few notches because she can't stand it. Stop smiling. Stop fucking smiling. Why are you smiling? He's a fucking star. He's amazing. He's strong and he cares and god, he has such a big heart, and Sakura knows that better than anyone, with that stupid promise of a lifetime of his. Naruto is a much too generous person and Sakura can't stand him for that.

And then there's Sasuke. She doesn't even know where to start when it comes to him. Sakura hates plenty of things about him. She hates his cool countenance. His nonchalance. She hates the way he looks at everyone and everything with complete and utter apathy. She hates how he left. She hates how he came back. She hates, most of all, how he's actually trying to redeem himself. She hates the way he'll injure himself a little more for an extra spar with Kakashi, or how he'll make himself sick with all the ramen he eats for Naruto. She especially hates when he walks her home or pays for her meals or helps her up. Sakura can't stand this new Sasuke. She can't stand this subtle kindness because she wants to a reason to hate him and whining that he left is just getting old.

They make her feel twelve again. These people. Her teammates. They make her feel twelve again and Sakura hates them for that. Sasuke's return and how easily they take him back and how easily they fall into old patterns infuriates her because it makes her feel twelve again. Fuck, she hates them.

But most of all, she hates herself. As much as she despises Kakashi and Naruto and Sasuke for making her remember that stupid, stupid little girl, she knows she's her own worst enemy. She hates her twelve-year-old self. She hates the long hair. The hopeful stares. The affectionate coos. The pathetic, so-called skills. She hates that all she ever had was a fucking brain, and really, did she actually think she was worth anything? She hates the girl she used to be and she hates them for reminding her of that little bitch. For making her feel like that brat.

Sakura hates the stupid girl she used to be and Team Seven is a constant reminder of how much of a failure she once was. She knows being angry at everyone else is petty but she can't help it.

They make her feel twelve again and she hates them for that.