AUTHORESS: Amaya~Ikari

DATE WRITTEN: 5/18/13

TITLE: Sticks and Stones Break my Bones, The Knife Breaks my Skin

ANIME: Naruto

PAIRING: Hetero: SasukeXSakura

STATUS: Oneshot: Completed

RELATED STORIES: None

WARNINGS: AU, OOC , mild bullying, self-harm, trigger warnings.

Holding back your feelings may save you from others, but it will never save you from yourself~


"All I'm saying is, at what age do boys become men?" Sakura stated blandly, tired of being defensive with her best friend, whom was interested in every attractive boy to walk within a mile of her. But, Ino was tall, slender, big in the bust and blonde, so she could get away with being flirtatious and confident. She could have most anyone she wanted unless they were taken or out of her age range. "Sakura why are you so frigid towards dating? Not all guys are immature! And besides, sometimes they need a lady to teach them how to be a gentleman."

Ino sighed, tossing her ponytail over her shoulder as she walked down the sidewalk to the high school. Sakura rolled her eyes. How Ino didn't trip and kill herself in those high heels would forever be a mystery. The blonde was a true femme fatale. Her, on the other hand, she was the simple tomboyish and intelligent average teenager without the charm or looks to be flirtatious and daring. Not that she was ugly, but after being trod on by numerous love interests and differing boys and even haughty girls, one would begin believing the insults that left their peers' mouths.

"I just don't have time for dating. School is almost out and then we're going to be looking for colleges and jobs, who needs something like the confusion and drama of dating right now?" Ino laughed, giving her friend an almost sympathetic look. "Eighteen years old and never had a boyfriend, Sakura, you can't still have that crush on him right? Have fun, it doesn't need to be serious!" That stung, even when Ino meant no harm in it. She had never been asked out. Her mother told her boys were shy of her, that her intelligence and beauty intimidated them. That was a riot, if that was true then why had she been rejected when she asked someone out? Sakura hadn't needed a boy yet, she saw no need to have one now. And she sure as hell didn't take the reference to that old crush lightly. Why can't the past remain exactly that, the past. "Why would you go into any relationship without wanting it to last?" She said stiffly, walking inside the school and leaving Ino behind.

The blonde girl started to call after her, but one of her other friends walked in front of her and took her attention. Sakura was Ino's best friend, they both always said this, but Sakura still came last sometimes. She couldn't blame Ino, popularity and attractiveness made her life busy. Sakura's life was busy with studying, homework, and a deleterious hobby she had never told anyone about. Not even Ino, because Sakura knew that while the other girl cared about her, Ino was still a gossip and would probably tell the entire school. Imagine that secret getting out, being known as the crazy girl of the school. Sakura ignored the bustle of other students talking and shoving each other around as she walked down the hall to her locker. She had no use for the pointless chatter or horseplay. She had friends, but she didn't enjoy the roughhousing most of them did. In fact the only person she probably would stand around and talk with would probably be Hinata, at least she was calm and worth an intelligent conversation.

She remembered someone else that was intelligent. But he wasn't worth any type of conversation. Not after his blatant apathetic regard to her emotions. Damn Ino for bringing him up, she'd let him go when she was fourteen. Mostly. The human mind never forgets the first person it fell in love with, they say.

She walked around the corner and lightly bumped someone else's shoulder; she quickly looked up to apologize. "Oh, I'm sorry-" She let the apology kind of drift off when she realized exactly who she had walked into. Those onyx eyes, as cold as they were dark looked down at her as if it was entirely her fault they had knocked into each other. Crap, speak of the devil and he shall appear might have really been true. Her own emerald eyes hardened as she straightened back up. "Watch where you're going." He said, his deep voice low enough that it wouldn't cause a scene. Neither of them wanted drama. "Don't talk down to me, it's just as much your fault as it is mine."

She shot back under her breath. She had no time for this. She had spent too many years of her life infatuated with this arrogant, coldhearted, pretentious bastard. She had been a stupid kid, and that had been a stupid crush on the "cool" boy. The attractive, smart, popular boy. Damn it, Sakura. She berated herself for such thoughts. None of those compliments should matter. He made it clear when they were kids he couldn't care less about her. Back then she felt like he'd broken her heart, but then she realized how stupid she'd been to fall for one of the most important businessmen in the country's son. He was the richest and most powerful kid here, which made him the most popular. Damned if he didn't get lucky in the looks and smarts department either. Wasn't karma supposed to hate assholes? "Hey forehead, back up!" Sakura's eyes widened slightly when she heard the insult, turning to come face to face with another girl in her grade, Uzumaki Karin. Otherwise known as the "hottest" girl of Konoha high, but that was only because she was easy. Sasuke sighed in annoyance. Why did women continuously maul each other. He had supposed it was jealousy. That was believable, Karin had a lot to envy about Sakura. Most women did.

"Are you deaf? Back up before you give Sasuke crabs or something." Karin giggled at her own insult as she pushed Sakura back a little. The pinkette was sorely tempted to give the redhead a black eye, but she thought better of it. Why waste time on a slut that could hardly do her times-tables? "I'd be more worried with that little infection you got from screwing Orochimaru-Sensei." Sakura said, voice laced with venom. She didn't notice Sasuke smirk, the raven had turned and begun walking away. The green-eyed girl had always been sharp-tongued. Quick with her temper as well, he wondered what was so exciting about that. Perhaps because most females he knew wouldn't dare to talk to him the way Sakura did. Of course, she had good reason… He'd had to hurt her. His father already had a couple of arranged dates for when he graduated high school. Even if he could be with Sakura, she was probably too far above him to give him a second look. She'd begun acting like he was the worst person to walk the streets.

Sakura whipped around and stormed down the hall, not listening as Karin shrieked insults about her body and other obscenities. She couldn't believe Sasuke didn't even say anything, he just didn't care that Karin insulted her. Sasuke and Sakura were, once upon a time, at least friends. Or maybe, forced-playmates. Their mothers were friends. Sakura rolled her eyes as Karin continued shouting, obviously pissed at Sakura's insult, the redhead couldn't even make any sense; how could she could be a whore, while "never having attention from boys" before? Karin should pick one insult or the other. The effect had worn off.

She felt hot tears sting her eyes.

Well, most of it had worn off…

Sakura had been bullied since she was very young about her appearance. Her large forehead had always been the subject most people insulted her about, even though she had grown into it by the time she was a teenager. Her flat chest was another problem, and her lack of curves, even her pink hair, as if she could control any of that. The fact that she was weird and annoying because she was smart didn't help. Maybe she was a bit of a know-it-all, so what? At least she had the brains to be able to be one! Being smart was nothing to be ashamed of. She would get into a good college and get an excellent, high-paying job. She'd be above any of the fools here. She'd control their damn pay check.

She walked into her chemistry class and sat down, her eyes now dry, just like her emotions. Wipe them away like a chalkboard. No trace. She didn't care what Karin said. Karin had slept with half the boys in this stupid school, and numerous others outside of it, as if sex was the newest fad. Which, she supposed it seemed to be… Young people having sex. Sex used to mean something. Not this "give it to everyone" crap.

She jumped when the bell rang, looking beside her. Looks like her lab partner was absent. Their chemistry teacher, Kakashi-Sensei walked in and put up a slide of instructions while speaking to them about their project for the day. He glanced at Sakura and then at someone seated behind her, she didn't bother turning around. "Sakura, since both you and Sasuke's partners are absent I will let you work together for today." Sakura tensed, not even glancing sideways as she felt a bag being dropped beside her and Sasuke sliding into the seat. Why was luck treating her like crap today? She didn't cause trouble with anyone, especially not him, so why was life shoving them together like this? She had given up her crush so it wasn't like she had to worry about embarrassing herself or a fast heartbeat. But just because the crush was gone, didn't mean the pain and rejection he'd given her had dissipated. He'd hurt her, and this combined with the rude and arrogant way he acted now made her want to hate him.

She opened her journal and wrote down the instructions quickly so they wouldn't have to keep looking up at the slide's tiny print. She turned on the small burner on their station, sighing beneath her breath as she pushed her short hair behind her ear. She skimmed the directions, picking up a test tube. The liquid inside reminded her of blood. She poured it into the beaker, lifting her arm to reach over for the slide they needed. Her sleeve pushed up over her wrist as she stretched out, it wasn't something she expected since the baggy article of clothing had always kept her covered.

Sasuke glanced down, his sharp gaze lingering on her wrist before it shot to her. She prayed she could have gotten away with it, that he didn't see anything, but his eyes said everything as he stared hard at her. She jerked her arm back, pulling the jacket back down over her wrist.

Old ones.

New ones.

Scars.

Marked.

No one knew Sakura was a cutter. She didn't even admit it to herself. Her state of mind was hardly even herself when she finally gave in to the blade. She didn't look at Sasuke and for the first time in her life, she was glad he was never one to ask questions. She mixed the beaker and poured it into the tray, feeling tears prick her eyes. She wanted to leave and go, to be alone. She felt like she'd lost, somehow. Her deadly, deepest secret was out to the one man she'd never thought could know. She didn't think anyone could know, and now the person that hated her suddenly had the key to her darkness.

What would he do? Would he immediately announce it to his friends after class? Would he spread the rumor around the school? Or was he just going to taunt her about it. He always told her she was weak because of her habit of crying when she was younger, she couldn't control her emotions or fight back. She'd found a way to control them now. She felt her breathing getting shallow, a sign she would soon feel hot tears falling down her face. She wanted something, she felt this deep, needy yearn for something inside of her chest, but she didn't know what it was nor did she have the time to deal with it. Her nerves started when the bell rang. She replaced the beaker and snatched her bag off the ground, standing and moving so fast she gave herself a headache. She quickly left the room, not giving Sasuke any chance to stare with those damnable obsidian eyes. Deep enough to get lost and never find your way out.

Just like you never did.

She hoped he didn't think he was too good to hand in their freaking project. Their teacher would put the tray in the freezer and supposedly they would have crystals within twenty-four hours. Something simple since it was the end of the year, she guessed. Hah, what a lie. Or, was it that they knew what kind of hell they were sending these naïve little teenagers into when they graduated, and they wanted them to soak up any bit of childhood they could? Childhood was gone for a lot of these kids. Sometimes it was even stolen by other kids.

She walked out of the school, nudging past other oblivious students. It wasn't free period for her yet. Hell, no one was even outside, second period was currently supposed to be sending the students either to the library or auditorium to listen to the end of the year ceremonies and dances and the trip seniors took to some theme park. Fun was quickly going to become a thing of the past. Sakura knew reality was going to slap some of these kids in the face. Her bullies would realize they were just tiny ants in this world, they were going to start out at the bottom. Just like where they had forced her to be. She heard someone call her name, but she ignored whoever it was. She didn't want to talk.

I don't want anyone to see me break.

She started running. Maybe if she ran far enough she could escape her problems. Or pass out and not have to deal with them for a little while, at least. She didn't know why she suddenly was losing her control. Maybe Karin and Ino's words struck a chord within her. God, why was she to the point even friends and family could hurt her? They didn't even mean to offend her, but their comments became just like the jerks around school. Anything judging her or criticizing her, it felt like they were hating her. As if she was just never good enough for any of them. Maybe Ino's judgment on her lack of dating hurt her. Maybe Karin's sharp jabs about her appearance finally broke through her shield. Maybe Sasuke's cold indifference and neglecting to stand up for her hurt her. Why did she care, she didn't know!

If she did know, maybe she wouldn't be running down the street right now with the world turning into blurred colors because of her tears. She let everything build up inside of her until it almost killed her. That's when she began losing herself. That's when she had to cut. She didn't want to, she needed to. Cutting was a release. When she cut, the pain made her realize she was alive, that she would be okay. Because if the pain was real, she was real… And the insults and inner demons eating at her, were not real, and her mind was brought out of its darkness and back into reality.

She raced into her building and up the stairs, pulling her key out. She missed the lock once or twice trying to jam the key into it, but she finally managed to unlock it and force the door open. She dropped everything onto the ground and kicked the door shut, not locking it back. She had no reason to. She let her tears free now, her eyes burned as the saltwater escaped them and slid down her cheeks, gradually her silent crying turned into quiet sobs. It felt good, sometimes. She rarely let herself cry, even if she wanted to most of the time her body was so used to holding it back that it refused to cry; so when she finally broke down, it was uncontrollable.

She walked into her bedroom, taking her jacket off. Her red tank-top seemed as if she were flaunting the red stripes adorning her skin. Sakura looked at her arms, an afterthought humming in her mind thinking that she looked like a tiger with these marks. A red tiger. She never cut deep, but the shallow red marks over her wrists and going up her arm still looked gruesome to anyone unused to it. She cut her thighs as well, but she preferred her arms. Her thighs would get rashes from the blood and wounds being irritated because of her jeans, and that became difficult to hide, more difficult than simply wearing a jacket over her arms. She had six cuts on each arm right now that were clearly visible, fading wounds crawled up her arm and were hidden beneath the newer ones. She wished she'd never begun this habit, but she couldn't stop. It was an addiction. She would lose her mind without this release, everything would unravel.

Addiction. You know it's bad, you know what it's doing; you understand it's destroying you. Yet you don't give a single damn.

Sakura gasped sharply for a breath of air, swallowing hard as she opened a drawer and took out a small box. She stared down at it a moment, as if hoping to change her mind, but she knew that wouldn't happen. She opened it and took out a pair of scissors. She liked using scissors. They cut easily and no one expected you to be using them to hurt yourself… They looked for knives or razors. She assumed this was safe and no one could take it from her. She inhaled shakily, pulling them apart as far as they would go. She pressed the sharp part to her arm, but she didn't get a chance to bring blood. "What the hell are you doing?" Her heart stopped in shock and sudden fear, the weapon was slapped from her hand and she tried to stand and attempt to hit whomever had broken into her home. She gasped in shock as someone grabbed her hands and pressed her against the wall. She looked up, and every nerve within her went on overdrive as emerald clashed with onyx.

"What are you doing here!" She said, her voice more panicked than the demanding tone she had tried for. He didn't answer, he stared hard at her, his eyes searching her face before the glanced down to gaze at her arms. She expected hell to break loose then. Questions, mocking, insults, judgment. All from the one person she didn't need it from. That yearning in her heart grew then, she wished it would stop, it was beginning to ache. Sasuke's gaze wasn't cold, it was simply inexpressive. How long had she had this irrevocable habit? How the hell had no one noticed it.

She gasped when his hand brushed over cheek, wiping away the tears that stained it. She'd forgotten she was crying. She tried to push him away, but the jerk wouldn't budge. "Get out." She said, her voice pathetic and cracking. Just like her walls were. He never broke his gaze, it was like he was staring inside of her and seeing something she couldn't. She tried to shove past him, cursing in anger and pain when she couldn't escape and couldn't stop her pitiful sobbing. "Why won't you just leave me alone! Get out! This is breaking inside someone's home, you asshole!" She said, her eyes glistening with water. He wasn't even who made her mad. He was just there to be angry at right then. She didn't have the power to stand anymore, her energy went into the release of her emotions and pain. She couldn't stop; he'd taken her relief away.

She started to collapse, startled when he caught her and moved so she would be hugged against him. It was the only thing he knew to do to try and ease her. He didn't say anything and that only made her angrier. He was in her home, holding every secret she had in the palm of his hand, and he was cradling her like she was a godforsaken child. She didn't need this.

But god did she want it. So much. How long had she just wanted to have one person know her pain? To try to help her? Her face rested against his chest as she cried, her breath coming in shallow pants and tears in crystalline rivers. Her yearning had begun to ebb away, like a medicine slowly kicking in. She trembled as her meltdown slowly came to an end. Her sobs gradually stopped, her tears ceased soon after. She was breathing shakily and trembling, but her breakdown was over. And she was alive. She was here.

I didn't use it… And I'm okay…

She tensed when a hand raised up, tilting her chin up. "Sakura…" She hated how her name left his lips. So rich and soothing, so freaking easily. She shivered, looking accusingly into his eyes. What now? What the hell happened now? She gasped as he hugged her, her face resting against his shoulder. No questions? No 'how long' or 'why' was going to come from him? "You know, Sakura. We both know." No, she didn't, and she hated his games. Games were for people who had the time-

You.

Sasuke had his lips pressed against hers the second after he spoke. Chaste, warm, soft, and it conveyed so much she was sure she would burst from the flood of utter feeling that came with that simple action. He pulled back, looking down at her. Eighteen years of him teasing her, of rejection and longing and stolen glances and utter denial on both of their idiotic parts because they would be damned if this relationship didn't last the trials of school and their families, being from two painfully opposite sides of the tracks. Rich and poor, popular and loser, dark and light, two sides to one moon. And everything in the world gave them a reason to lure them to what they wanted, and then to tempt them into pushing it away. Eighteen years of a solid lie, and for nothing but stupidity. This was stupider than Romeo and Juliette's story. They let society shape them and what they wanted. "Find me next time you want to do this. Find me and I'll help you." He said, voice firm and eyes leaving no room for her to argue.

For once, Sakura decided he could win. But this wasn't an overnight change… She was sick, wasn't she? People said she would need help. Sasuke had college and business to think of, not worrying about her being in some shrink's office. Her doubt must've shown in her eyes, because he took her chin again and made her look up. "I can and will help. There are doctors, people to help with…" He looked down. Do you really get what this is? No, he didn't, but he got that she needed help and she needed someone. "Promise me." He said, and this time she could swear it was him that sounded worried. "Sasuke this is hard. You know it's going to take a long-" She gasped as he kissed her again. This kiss was harder, more intense, and fiercer with their green and black flames. When they broke apart, she murmured against his lips. "I promise."

What I needed, was you.


AUTHORESS NOTE:

Yes I did two high school drama SasuSaku stories. Why? Because I started this one, but it turned out to be basically my life turned into a love story and it was sad. I didn't want sad, I have no idea how that happened. My mind just formed a track and this story was born. This is a bit fast paced, but at the same time I tried to hint at their pasts and hidden feelings. I've not practiced much of this, but I hope it's still a good story.

Has anyone done the crystal experiment? My dad and I did it once, blew my little-girl mind. It's fun and easy, if mom or any other guardian doesn't mind you borrowing a couple bowls.

So uh, sorry this turned out to be dark. But, I also wanted to convey a message somehow. It does get easier. You're not victims, you're survivors. A bully is insecure and has a bad life themselves, so they pick on the people they are jealous of or that can't defend themselves so that they will feel powerful. Don't allow anyone else to have control over your emotions. Anything they say doesn't matter, it certainly won't matter in the future when you're a successful and strong person. There is always someone willing to listen and to help, even if help might come from the most unexpected of places.

Boys pick on the girls they like. This is the truest statement to roam the school halls.