"Just promise me you won't get mad."
Kiba's voice was quelling, like he was doing damage control, and Sakura hated it when he did that. Like he thought she was a live wire or something that needed to be handled delicately. Already, she disliked where the conversation was going, because Kiba seemed to have more and more to apologize for lately, but she tried to control her temper before giving Kiba a reason to be uneasy around her. She took a sip from her water bottle and set it back down on the bleachers before raising an eyebrow to show she was listening.
But she wouldn't promise not to get mad.
He chewed on his bottom lip, a nervous habit of his, before running a hand through his messy hair. He exhaled sharply through his nose and blurted out, "I fucked Ami."
"It meant nothing," Kiba added quickly, his hands on her shoulders. The look in his brown eyes was shockingly repentant, given the nature of his crime against her and their one-year relationship. Sakura didn't move. "Seriously, it meant nothing, Sakura, I promise. It just…I don't fucking know, babe. It just kind of happened."
Sakura's anger and hurt rendered her completely stunned, and she barely managed to choke out, "When."
"After football camp last week," he muttered. His grip on her shoulders tightened like he was worried she was going to run off or something. As if she could will her frozen legs into moving, as if she could focus on anything but the sweltering summer heat, the blazing summer sun, and the way it felt like her heart was cracking right down the middle. "When you went school shopping with Ino. She hit me up and we got to talking, and…Sakura I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. This was all a big mistake. An accident. I swear, babe."
Sakura scoffed, a very unladylike snort escaping her as she pushed his hands off of her, rising quickly to her feet.
"Funny how guys always say the same shit," she snapped. Her stomach turned with her disgust, angry tears pricked at her eyes but like hell would she let him see that, and she wanted nothing more than to push him right off the bleachers right in front of all of his football friends. "'I didn't mean to hurt you.' 'It meant nothing.' 'It was an accident.' What, Kiba? What? Did you trip and her vagina broke your fall?"
Kiba winced a little, but tried again. "She came onto me, I didn't go looking for it, she came onto me, and…"
"Do you have any idea how many guys hit on me since we got together last year?" she asked him, her voice rising. "Any idea at all?" There had been so many offers, so many opportunities, from guys who were better-looking, or sweeter, or funnier, or smarter than Kiba Inuzuka, offers she had turned down without so much as a thought. She was in a committed relationship, after all; she'd just assumed he was, too.
"We're done, obviously," she hissed. She sidestepped him and hopped down the rest of the bleachers, fully determined to march straight home, tell her dads all about it, and cry until college.
"Done? Babe, what do you mean, done?"
He had to be kidding. Had to be. The tears in her eyes vanished with the force of her rage, and she whirled around to see him with the kicked-puppy look on his face, a handsome face she wanted nothing more than to smash in her fury.
"It means I'm dumping your worthless ass," she shot back. "Fucking idiot. Slutty fucking trashbag. You can do whatever the hell you want, I don't care but don't you ever look at me, talk to me, THINK about me again!"
Sakura was vaguely aware by now that they were attracting a fair amount of attention. It couldn't be helped; Kiba had confronted her during the football and cheer camp's half-hour break, perhaps under the misguided delusion that Sakura wouldn't make a scene in front of a huge audience. But he miscalculated. He always did. She looked over at the football field, and saw many of the players looking at them curiously; the other cheerleaders were gathered at the top of the stands, and a hush had befallen the entire Konoha High School football stadium as everyone tried to listen in.
"It won't happen again!" Kiba vowed, and his hand gestures indicated he was trying to shush her. Sakura was almost incandescent with rage at this point; she glared at him, her hands curling into fists, and contemplated if breaking every bone in her hand was a price she was willing to pay just to wipe that puppy-dog look off his tattooed face. "Babe, I promise, it meant nothing, I swear! It won't happen again! You're the only girl for me, everyone knows it!"
"If I was the only girl for you," she bit out stiffly, "you wouldn't have smashed the school trashcan. Leave me the fuck alone. I never want to talk to you again."
"You don't mean that!" Kiba said nervously, looking around them at the gathering spectators. Ino was already making her way down the bleachers to where they were arguing off the field. Naruto and Shikamaru were coming in off the field; Sakura noted that even Sasuke, one of her fringe friends, looked displeased. Probably because she was turning their night practice into a soap opera. "Babe…I love you. You know I love you. Don't throw everything we ever had away over one stupid mistake!"
"I didn't throw it away, Kiba!" she screamed, erupting at last. She shoved his chest, forcing him back away from her, and he stumbled before righting himself again, looking wounded. "I didn't throw anything away, you fucking asshole! You did! You threw it away!"
It was nothing like the confident, assertive speeches she'd seen her favorite actresses make on TV, eloquent and badass. It was pure, straight, unequivocal rage and heartache manifested into this one-sided screaming match and she didn't even care. She knew she would have plenty of time to be embarrassed about the way she was acting later, but for now, nothing was more important than throwing Kiba's words back in his face and telling him exactly what was on her mind.
"Baby, wait," he protested, grabbing her arm, but she wrenched it quickly out of his grasp.
"Don't fucking touch me!" she cried, as Ino, Naruto, and Shikamaru reached them at last to try and diffuse the situation. "Keep your fucking hands off of me! I hate you, I fucking hate you, don't you ever fucking come near me again!"
"Get out of here!" Ino's authoritative bark cut off whatever pathetic pleas Kiba was going to make. She slung an arm around Sakura's shoulders, businesslike and efficient in her role as 'best friend'. "All of you, get back to your practices, nothing to see here."
No one dared question Ino, the blue-eyed bombshell with a temper as volatile as her best friend's; with a fair amount of grumbling, the football players returned to the field, the cheerleaders back to their practice area by the tennis court. Sakura trembled with anger and hurt, blind to the gradual dispersion of the crowd who'd gathered to see the show, and didn't notice Sasuke lingering a bit by the Gatorade cooler, like he was trying to listen in.
Shikamaru grabbed Kiba by the arm and nodded back to the field.
"Come on, man," he said. "Leave her alone, you heard 'em. Let's get back to work."
"But…Sakura, don't do this, I swear it'll never happen again," Kiba tried again one last time, but Sakura was having none of it, and she was filled with gratitude to Ino, who seemed to know exactly what she needed.
"Get out of here, Kiba," Ino ordered. "This is over."
This is over, this is over, this is over. The words finally sunk in, and to her horror, tears of sadness rose quickly to her eyes. She and Kiba had broken up many, many times over the past year, but the breakups had never lasted more than a few days, and usually came about because of silly, petty arguments they both easily dismissed. But this? Cheating? There was no coming back from that.
It was over.
Kiba looked at her one last time, warm brown eyes full of regret, before he allowed Shikamaru to tug him back onto the field.
"I'll see you at practice tomorrow," Naruto promised his friends, before joining Ino at Sakura's side, and now that Kiba and the others were out of earshot, she felt her self-control rapidly diminishing. Tears leaked from her eyes at last, and she looked up at her two best friends, positively brimming with heartache.
"He cheated on me," she whispered.
"Cheated?" Ino echoed. "With who?"
"He cheated on you?" Naruto gasped, like it was all the more shocking that Sakura was the wounded party. Like it was so unheard of for someone to take a girl like Sakura Haruno for granted.
"Ami," Sakura whimpered before bursting into tears. She allowed Ino to hug her tightly, and then Naruto's warm arms wrapped around them both. "Guys I…I don't…I can't do this here. I gotta leave."
"Sure," Ino said with a firm nod. "I'll take you home, I took my car to practice today."
"I'll go with you," Naruto added, like it was a foregone conclusion, and Sakura was filled with a burgeoning love for her best friends, who seemed to know precisely what to do in a situation like this. She was seconds from falling apart, but they swooped in to save the day at the most crucial moment.
"But…my car," she sniffled, and Naruto shook his head.
"Don't worry. I'll have Asshole bring it to your house for you. Gimme your keys."
By 'Asshole,' he meant Sasuke Uchiha. Sasuke was one of her best friends from childhood, but over the past few months or so, they'd grown apart; she saw less and less of him lately. He seemed to avoid her more often than not, and apart from being lab partners during AP Chem and hanging out with the same crowd, they hadn't seen each other much recently. She doubted he would want to be doing her favors, but Naruto took her keys before she could protest.
"I'll meet you guys at your car, Ino," Naruto said. "I'll tell Asshole what's going on. Don't cry, Sakura, he ain't worth it."
The girls watched as Naruto jogged back onto the field. Sasuke was waiting by the water cooler, and Sakura couldn't hear what they were saying, but his expression became more and more pissed. Just great; now she was inconveniencing him on top of making a total ass out of herself in front of all of her friends. The thought made her cry harder, and Ino started pulling her to the parking lot.
"It's okay, baby," Ino murmured as they headed towards her little purple Honda, Sakura half unable to see through a haze of tears and anger and hurt. "He didn't deserve you. He didn't. And I know it doesn't feel like it now," she went on, looking hard into Sakura's eyes, tearing up a little herself, because best friends shared each other's pain, "but it'll be okay. I promise, this won't last forever."
This is over.
Abruptly, staring pathetically at her best friend and trying not to break, Sakura thought back to just that morning. How happy she'd been, when Kiba picked her up and took her for breakfast at her favorite diner. He'd smiled so easily, so guiltlessly, like there was absolutely nothing wrong, and in their volatile hot-and-cold relationship, it was a comfortable high point. He'd called her beautiful and before dropping her off at home so they could each get ready for their respective camp practices, he'd kissed her, a sweet, lovely kiss that made her lips tingle.
How was Sakura supposed to know, looking in his happy, innocent brown eyes and letting the warm feelings fill her from within, that that was going to be the last one?
Sasuke wasn't necessarily trying to eavesdrop.
It wasn't his fault he happened to have extremely good hearing.
Nor was it his fault that Kiba and Sakura weren't making much of an effort to keep quiet.
It looked like another break-up for Konoha High School's most fickle, back-and-forth couple. Sasuke wasn't sure what the reason this time was, (they'd called it off a few weeks ago because of an argument over crawfish,) but it looked somewhat serious. Sakura was yelling at him, and he saw that she was crying.
His frown of disinterest transformed quickly into a frown of disapproval. He didn't know or particularly care what they were fighting about, but like hell did Kiba have any right to make her cry.
A guy like Kiba, who was in a relationship with bar none the prettiest, sweetest, smartest girl at Konoha High School, had absolutely no reason to do anything but be grateful she'd bothered to waste any of her time on him in the first place.
He took another drink of Gatorade from the cooler even though he wasn't thirsty, and looked up to see Naruto and Shikamaru run off the field to diffuse the tension. Ino hurried down the bleacher steps from where she stood with the other cheerleaders, and Sasuke resisted the temptation to join them all as well. It had been a long time since he felt like he deserved to be part of Sakura's protective bubble of friends.
They weren't as close lately as they used to be, and Sasuke knew he was a big part of that.
Nonetheless, morbid curiosity had him listening in anyway, lingering by the cooler instead of returning to his workout. His teammates were all drawing closer to the sidelines anyway, not even trying to be discreet in their blatant attempts to listen to what was going on. Not much could bring sweet, sunny Sakura to tears like this; he doubted, though, that he could get away with telling them off for their voyeurism without coming off as a hypocrite.
A few more minutes of screaming and Shikamaru yanked Kiba back onto the field. Naruto hugged Sakura and Ino, said something Sasuke couldn't hear, then ran over to the cooler.
"What's going on, idiot," Sasuke asked, trying not to sound as though he'd been listening.
"It's bad," Naruto answered. He looked uncharacteristically worried; there was none of the typical optimism in his eyes as he pressed something into Sasuke's hand. He held it up and saw it was a keyring, with a University of Konoha lanyard and about a hundred keys. "Here. Do me a favor…take Sakura's car back to her house after practice today. We're heading over there now."
"She wants me to do it?" Sasuke was surprised; Sakura rarely, if ever, asked him for anything anymore, apparently out of a misplaced desire not to inconvenience him. "What happened, Naruto."
"Kiba cheated on her," Naruto said, not bothering to hide his contempt. He glared at Kiba's back, and as soon as he said the words, Sasuke's frown deepened.
Disgusting. Kiba was never going to be good enough for Sakura Haruno, but this was an inexcusable offense. What possible reason could he have to betray the trust of a girl like that?
"She's really upset about it," Naruto murmured. "She needs us, man."
Sasuke glared at Kiba and wondered if this overwhelming desire to punch his tattoos off was normal, and pocketed Sakura's keys to show willing. In a weird, perverse, morbid way, maybe this decisive break-up with Kiba would be the catalyst to mending their friendship. Or at least bridging the gap.
Leave it to Sasuke to capitalize on someone else's heartache.
"Aa," he replied, angry with a million things. "I'll be there later."
Naruto nodded. "Thanks, man. See you then." Sasuke watched as Naruto ran back off the field, abandoning the practice early, and wrapped an arm around Sakura's shoulders with Ino. The three of them left the stadium together, and Sasuke turned a very sadistic eye back on his team.
"Get back in formation!" Sasuke ordered.
Kiba picked a very, very, very bad time to piss off the football captain.
Sasuke hadn't been in Sakura's car in awhile, and he'd never driven it. A little white Miata her dads had bought for her sixteenth birthday, used, but in pretty good condition. It could use some new brake pads, he noted, and the slight grinding sound meant she needed an oil change, but beyond that, it was a decent car.
He sat in the driver's seat and immediately pushed it backwards. Sakura sat way too close to the wheel when she drove, or maybe she really was that short. Rolling his eyes, he pulled out of the school parking lot and headed across town.
He wasn't great at comforting people. It was more in his nature to tell them to suck it up and get on with their lives. He didn't know how well that was going to go over with Sakura, who'd looked absolutely distraught during her big fight with Kiba. Not to mention, outside of school, he almost never saw her anymore, unless it was with a group of their mutual friends. They used to be extremely close, but right around the time she started dating Kiba, Sasuke found it somewhat difficult to spend time with her alone.
Being in love with a girl who had a boyfriend did that to you.
This could be the opening he needed to get things back where they used to be. Sasuke was too much of a realist to hope for anything more than that anytime soon. Sakura had had her heart broken not two hours ago. She was going to need time to repair it before putting herself back on the market.
When she was ready, though? That was a different story.
Till then, Sasuke would do his best to be her friend again. Now that he no longer had a six-foot, brown-eyed reason to hold her at arms' length.
With that in mind, he pulled up to her house and parked behind Ino's little Honda out front. Her dads' cars were in the driveway, which meant they were home and had probably heard the whole story by now. Sasuke smirked. Sakura had not one, but two, pissed off, overprotective fathers who would be out for Kiba's blood tonight.
When he looked up at the front door on the well-kept little yellow house, he saw that Sakura was sitting on the front porch steps. Naruto and Ino were on either side of her, a tissue box in Ino's lap, and they appeared to be talking to her in hushed voices.
Not for the first time, Sasuke questioned his decision to come here. He wasn't close with Sakura anymore. She most likely resented him for putting such distance between them, but he'd done it to protect himself. Torturing himself with the constant presence of a girl he couldn't have was driving him crazy. He missed her, even if he wouldn't admit it, and he was bizarrely grateful for this odious circumstance.
It was a chance to get back in Sakura's good graces. A chance to earn the spot on the front porch steps back.
Sasuke turned the key in the ignition and stepped out of the car. He made his way up the walkway and tossed Sakura's keys to her. She caught them, sniffled a little (her eyes were red), and murmured, "Thanks, Sasuke. You didn't have to do that."
"Hn," he replied. He wasn't good with words. They didn't come out right or in the proper order so he used them sparingly, but when Ino gave him a meaningful glare, he sighed and murmured, "Crying over him is stupid."
Sakura blinked. Ino and Naruto looked at him angrily, like he'd said the wrong thing, but he kept his gaze on Sakura, who, at least at one point in time, understood him better than the others did. Even if what he said sounded horrible, he hoped she would understand what he actually meant.
A tiny, fragile smile lifted her lips, and she giggled.
"It is, isn't it?" she sighed wistfully, dabbing at her stormy green eyes. "I mean…it's not like I didn't see this coming."
"You didn't?" Naruto asked. "What do you mean?"
Sasuke took a chance and leaned up against the porch, not sitting with the others, but standing close to them with his arms folded. When no one demanded that he leave, he took that as a sign that Sakura accepted his presence among her group of confidantes, and relaxed somewhat.
"I mean…we had problems for a long time. Everyone knew. I just…I don't know. I thought he'd at least have the decency to break up with me before sticking it in Ami."
Sasuke wrinkled his nose. Apart from Sakura, he didn't think much of Kiba's taste.
"Well, if she thinks she's welcome at cheer practice, she's fucking high," Ino said dryly. At that, Sasuke smirked. It seemed he wasn't alone in abusing his power as a team captain to ensure vengeance for Sakura. Ino, along with her wounded friend, was co-captain of the Konoha High School cheerleading squad, and didn't appear to have any scruples when it came to ousting a cheerleader for violating the sanctity of cheerleading sisterhood, or whatever. "Sakura, what you need to understand about guys is when they do shit like this to their girlfriends, cheat on them or whatever, it's never with someone who's better than the person they were with. You get that, right? They never upgrade. It's always some spiraling vortex of fugly they bang."
"I know, I know," Sakura sighed, still sounding sad, but at least she wasn't crying anymore. "Just…you know. Senior year and everything, I kind of thought I had everything…in order. A steady boyfriend I really cared about..." Here, Sasuke couldn't help but notice that Sakura never said anything about loving Kiba, which was odd. "…I just can't believe he'd do that to me. I thought I was special to him."
"You ARE special, Sakura!" Naruto insisted, much better at this comforting business than Sasuke, who just stood off to the side and brooded over things in silence. "You're the nicest, funniest, coolest, cutest girl at KHS, believe it! Kiba's crazy for doing this to you!"
"i'm just being silly sitting here feeling sorry for myself, huh?" Sakura laughed at last, but Sasuke knew better. She felt guilty for needing so much attention from her friends, and was now downplaying how she felt so they wouldn't worry. Textbook Sakura, to minimize her own struggles. He rolled his eyes again.
No one thought she was weak or pathetic for having her heart broken. Didn't she see that?
"Just be single for awhile, girl," Ino said. "It's the life. No boys, no obligations, you can flirt with whoever you want and dance up on whoever you want and just have a great time, you know?"
"Yeah, sounds good," Sakura said, while Sasuke fervently, silently disagreed. "Thanks, you guys. Anyway I'm tired, I'm just gonna go to bed early…thanks so much for listening to me complain and everything. You've been here for hours. And Sasuke…I know it must've been a pain in the ass and completely out of your way to drop my car off, so, thank you."
"That's a whole lot of 'thank yous', boo," Ino said, hugging her friend tightly and kissing her on the cheek. "Text me later. I know you won't go to sleep right away. If you need anything, let me know. And Ami's off the squad. I'll fire her ass tomorrow. You won't have to see her until you're ready."
"Bye, Sakura," Naruto said, and he hugged her, too. "Don't waste anymore time on him. He never deserved you anyways. Oi, Ino, take me home, will you?"
Ino gave an exaggerated sigh and tossed her long blonde ponytail over her shoulder. "Fine, useless. You need a ride, too, Sasuke?"
"No," he replied, even though he lived a good eight blocks away and it was starting to look like rain.
Ino frowned a little in confusion, then glanced from Sasuke to Sakura and back again. A smile he didn't trust unfurled across her painted red lips, like she knew a juicy secret and wasn't telling.
"Suit yourself. Let's go, bimbo," she added to Naruto. "Text me, Sakura, I mean it."
"I know, I know."
Ino drove off with Naruto, leaving Sasuke alone with Sakura. He didn't turn to face her, and she didn't say anything for awhile. For a few minutes, it was just like the old days, a quiet evening spent in companionable silence on her porch, the site of so many old, fond memories. Sasuke inhaled deeply and tried to savor the moment; awhile later, Sakura finally spoke.
"Sorry I interrupted your practice."
He turned to her and saw that there was a wry smile on her face. She was hugging her knees and drowning in an oversized hoodie, long pink hair piled up on top of her head; there were tear streaks on her flushed pink cheeks and her eyes were glassy.
He thought she was gorgeous.
"I put on quite a show, huh?" She laughed in a self-deprecating kind of way. "Interrupting your practice and shit with my hysterics."
"Tch. We were on break."
She laughed again. "I guess so. Scale of one to ten, how embarrassed were you by me?"
He snorted and didn't bother answering.
Another comfortable silence passed, before thunder rumbled overhead. He glanced up at the skies and saw that they were darker than normal. The wind was picking up. He should leave, before the storm hit.
"You getting out of here?" she asked. "Yeah, it's starting to look bad…sorry about tonight. And thank you, it really means a…"
"Stop apologizing to me," Sasuke ground out. "Stop thanking me. Just do me one favor."
She looked up at him with wide, inquisitive eyes, prompting him to continue.
"Don't go back to that fucking asshole," he snapped. It was rude, it was abrupt, it was commanding and completely out of line and not his place and a million other things, but it had the desired effect.
Sakura smiled, beautiful and genuine, the way he hadn't seen her smile in months.
"All right, Sasuke," she said softly. "I won't."
Sasuke knew, as he walked home briskly to beat the rain, that this was the end of an era. Sakura had been dating Kiba for over a year. It would be a chance now to redefine where he stood with her. He didn't want to be the old friend who'd grown apart from her. He didn't want to be a casual date or a quick, easy fuck or a shoulder to cry on.
He wanted everything from Sakura, and he had for years.
This was the end of something big, and the start of something bigger.
With school starting in a week, Sasuke realized he had one last year to get it right with Sakura Haruno.
And he wasn't going to lose her. Not again.
some notes and shit.. yes, i have another story. each chapter is going to be based off of a taylor swift song, so to enhance your reading experience, i would recommend t-swizzle always. i'll tell it in alternating sakura/sasuke points-of-view because i like that best. and people have been hitting me up asking for a high school story, so here you go.
and i gave sakura two gay dads. because my husband has two gay dads and they're the best couple in the world and they raised the best son in the world.
please refrain from: favoriting/following without an occasional review. (srsly, you guys have to know me by now. but i still have people who have favorited EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY STORIES and never left me any feedback.) telling me to include something or a so-and-so pairing or whatever. (i like writing my own stories. if you have different ideas, write your own, i'm sure you can do a better job of it than me!) and telling me i have too many stories going on. (i have a lot going on to keep myself interested.)
thanks, booboos. let me know what you think! i'm pretty excited about this one, tbQh. now that sandy let me have power again, that big noreaster bitch.
how'd i do?