Fandom Category: Naruto
Pairing: Haruno Sakura/Rock Lee, Haruno Sakura/Nara Shikamaru, Haruno Sakura/Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura/Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura/Inuzuka Kiba, Haruno Sakura/Hyuuga Neji
Fic Title: Cataclysmic
Author: Annie Sparklecakes / practiqueal
Rating/Warning(s): T. Character deaths.
Why This Must Be Read: Five boys Haruno Sakura kissed, and the one she never would.
This story deals gracefully with six very different dynamics Sakura has, or could potentially have, without falling into the trap of comparing them against each other. My absolute favourite thing is the angle it takes with Sakura. Here, Sakura's life is a tragedy, and as confusing and jagged and broken as you would expect from a ninja, and the writing, in all its starkness, is definitely strong enough to support the themes.
Sakura looks up from her crouched position a block away from Naruto's apartment, wiping away the last of her tears.
"Lee," she sighs. "How do you always find me when I'm at my worst?"
Lee's brows furrow in concern, and he crouches before her. "This isn't a safe neighborhood, Sakura-san."
"I'm not safe, Lee," she says, but gets up. "What are you doing here, anyway?"
"I live here," Lee says, and he looks down briefly, ashamed – just like Naruto, Sakura thinks, and her stomach churns.
"What's wrong with me, Lee?" Sakura whispers, before she can stop herself. Her voice rises, and she whirls on him, and he jumps a little. "Why do I hurt everyone who cares about me?"
And why is it, Sakura can't help but wonder, that her kisses seem to cause so much pain?
Lee is silent for a moment. He looks sidelong at her and says, "You've never hurt me, Sakura-san."
Sakura stops in her tracks and turns to look up at him. Lee fiddles with his sleeve, not looking at her.
Sakura promises herself something, then: she may have hurt Shikamaru, who tried to help her, and Kiba, who did help her, and maybe Neji, who didn't blame her. She may have hurt Naruto more than she ever wanted to hurt anyone.
But she will never hurt Rock Lee. She will never kiss him.
Lee meets her eyes tentatively, and she smiles at him, repeating her promise to herself. She doesn't say the words out loud, which is good, because if she did, she would have hurt Lee anyway.