Sleep Well, Darling

Sakura watched her ex from across the cafeteria, he was sitting surrounded by friends who were laughing and joking. To someone else it may have looked like he was joining in on the fun but not to Sakura. She could tell he was in his own little world, even if he was contributing to the conversation. 'One day, I'll get the courage to talk to him again' She thought as she picked up her empty tray and walked towards the exit where the trashcans were.

Halfway there a foot extended out in front of her, eyes widening she tried to throw her hands out to catch herself which only caused whatever trash she had left to be thrown forward on whoever was in front of her. Falling hard on her elbows she noticed the cafeteria grew silent, looking up slowly she saw why. Her trash was thrown onto her ex, Gaara, who was now looking at her with contempt.

"What The hell Sakura? Now you have to throw your trash on me?! Get over it already!" He shot up with such force that his chair fell back, his friends stared at Sakura with a mixture of shock and disbelief. Sakura could only watch as he walked away from her from her place on the floor, she quickly tried to get up and follow only to be pushed back down.

"Don't even think about it forehead, the last thing he wants is for you to follow him" her long time rival said with her foot still on Sakura's back. Ino and Sakura have been fighting for as long as she could remember, whether it was over toys or boys. Sakura always felt inferior to Ino due to the fact that Ino had long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Comparing that to her pink hair and green eyes when everyone always prefered the latter, was in a word, exhausting. "That honor is held by me now," Ino continued, at the shocked look Sakura sent her she smirked "oh you haven't heard yet? Me and Gaara are dating as of two days ago."

Sakura threw Ino's foot off her and scrambled up and out of the cafeteria before anyone else could stop her. She knew where Gaara was going and she needed to apologize, she needed to fix what she mess up. She wasn't sure why Gaara had dumped like he had but she needed to speak to him, she threw open the door to the staircase that led to the rooftop.

He stood with his back to her, holding onto the rail that prevented people from falling. She knew that he was aware she was there by the way his shoulders tensed up. "Gaara…" he turned to face her, surprisingly calm. "Sakura, there is nothing I want to say to you and I would love nothing more than for you to just leave me alone already." She felt her heart break. He walked passed her and down the stairs, leaving her there alone.

She didn't know how long she stood there before she walked down to her locker and grabbed her things, from the look of it it was only about an hour after Gaara left. Deciding to ditch school, she made the long walk home instead of waiting for a bus like she usually would. Unlike most of the kids, she lived on the bad side of town with Gaara, which is how they were close to begin with. They were dating for about 4 years and he was all she really had. Her father was an abusive drunk and her mom left a long time ago to get away from it, but left with the promise to return.

That was 11 years ago, Sakura was now 17 years old with no hope of seeing her mother again. Gaara had given her someone she could lean on and would help her forget everything that was going on at home. She would often stay at Gaara's to avoid her father when he was particularly mad about something at work or at the bar.

She made her way into her home and tip toed past her passed out father, and quietly shut the door to her room. She crawled on to her old battered mattress that laid on the floor and pulled out her laptop that was hidden under a loose floorboard. Singing onto her email, she saw she had over 20 new messages. Confused at all the attention she opened up the first one, "I can't believe you! You're disgusting and should just die after what you did to Gaara today at school. We don't even know why he dated you to begin with. Piece of filth. just die!"

She read in disbelief, the rest of the messages were written similarly. Silent tears streamed down her cheeks as she put her laptop back in its hiding place. Pulling on her headphones she curled up under her thin blanket and cried herself to sleep.

"Wake up you piece of shit!" Sakura jerked awake at the sound of her father yelling. He yanked her up roughly and threw her against a wall, "You didn't tell me you were home bitch! I'm hungry, make me something to eat." Sakura scrambled out of her room and to the kitchen, the stove time said it was 2 in the morning. This was the first time he had demanded this, and she set to cooking some eggs and toast. A few minutes later she had the table set and waited, shaking, in the corner of the kitchen for him to finish so she could wash up. "What the fuck is this?" he demanded holding up the plate of hot eggs, "does it look like this is what I want?!" he threw the hot plate at her. It hit her in the face and split her lip before he advanced on her. "I'm sick of your shit girl" he grabbed her by her hair,

Sakura grabbed at his hands trying to get him to release his hold causing her nails to accidentally dig in too hard and break skin, "Damnit!" her punched her in the face. Skin split above her eye, blood started to drip on to the floor, "now you're going to make a mess too?" he threw her to the ground and kicked her, hard, her breath left her so suddenly she started to see spots.

"I don't even want you in this house anymore, go live with your freak of a boyfriend." with a final kick and punch he picked her up and threw her out of the house and into the yard. "Don't come back!" he yelled and slammed the door.

Sakura laid on the ground, mind clouded by the pain, and just stared at the stars. She didn't know where she was going to go but she had to figure it out by sun up. Luckily it was a Saturday and she didn't have to worry about school, these wounds were going to cause a stir and probably encourage people to beat up on her more. Just like when they used to before her and Gaara started dating.

A few hours later, Sakura found herself standing on top of the school just looking down at the ground. 'How easy would it be to just jump, to stop feeling, to stop… Existing.' She thought, her headphones were blaring in her ears and the wind was blowing her pastel pink locks in her face almost teasingly. Curiosity getting the best of her, she stepped over the railing and looked down at the ground. It suddenly looked like a longer fall, her toes poking out over the ledge. 'I could just let go, and nobody would even care' she took a deep breath and started to let go of the railing. The wind seemed to be blowing so hard up that she thought, for just a moment, that it was trying to stop her… But wind can't beat gravity and she started to tip forward anyway.

"Stop!" she looked over her shoulder and saw a man running towards the railing, his long black hair blowing back from the force of the wind.

He threw his hand out over the railing barely catching her wrist, face twisted in concentration, he started to lift Sakura back up to safety. Being pulled over, Sakura collapsed onto her saviors chest in a daze, 'I almost killed myself'. "What in the world were you thinking?" the man below her asked breathlessly. She looked up at him from her position on his chest.

"I was curious to see how it felt to not exist anymore." He stared at her incredulously, "What the hell… No come on, I'm taking you home myself." He rolled Sakura off his chest and stood up, he held his hand out in front of her face. "My name's Itachi, I just moved here." Sakura took his hand and allowed him to lift her up, "my name's Sakura…" he gave her a half smile, "hmm, it's fitting."

Without letting go of her hand he led her to the door of the rooftop, "what are you doing here anyway?" Sakura questioned. Itachi looked back at her and smiled.

"I just moved here and I'm scheduled to start school here on Monday. I figured I would set up my locker ahead of time and map out my classes so I wouldn't get lost." Sakura nodded in understanding. "Now you have to tell me what that was all about back there, curiosity itself doesn't make a person jump off a building." his hand tightened its hold on her hand and he had stopped walking to listen.

"I… I wouldn't mind explaining in a more private setting. It's really embarrassing and I wouldn't want anyone to overhear." She whispered. "Fine, then we'll continue this conversation on the way to your house." Sakura's head shot up, "no! We can't go there, he'll be awake and angry if I return"

Itachi looked at her questioningly, "my dad threw me out last night in his drunken rage, if I show up now he'll do more than just this" she motioned towards her face.

He nodded in understanding, "I wasn't going to ask about those, do you have any where else to go?" she shook her head 'no' and her eyes started to water. "Very well, you shall stay with me for the time being." he started walking again giving her no room for protest. Sakura simply stared at him in wonder, "then later, when you think he's gone, we'll go to your place to collect your things." She simply nodded and followed behind, still holding his hand.

Itachi had taken her out to eat and they sat and talked about recent events, she recapped her bad break up and drunken father, and even explained the bullying that would probably pick up again on Monday. Itachi listened intently and gave the proper cues that encouraged her to continue, reaching over occasionally to squeeze her hand in silent support when she started to tear up again.

"So… That's it" she said taking a sip of coffee. She waited for him to say something, she watched as he seemed to be deep in thought.

"Okay then, I don't normally do this but I seem to be drawn to you." he paused, "I would like to offer you a place to stay with me, permanently if you like, or until you find a way to move out." Sakura couldn't believe this, "but you barely even know me!" Itachi nodded his head in agreement, "you're right, but I happen to be a really good judge of character and I can't just let you be out and on your own for who knows how long." he stated calmly.

Sakura started to tear up again, "thank you so much." Itachi smiled softly at her and they finished their coffee in silence. "Ready to get your things?" Itachi asked, "yes" Sakura smiled. A real genuine smile, she couldn't help the feeling of hope that bubbled up in her stomach.

Itachi paid for their meal and led Sakura back out to his car, opening her door for her and walking over to his side. They drove in silence with the radio playing softly as background music, 'maybe things are finally getting better for me' Sakura couldn't help thinking. When they pulled up to her home Sakura took a deep breath and got out, when Itachi followed she looked at him in confusion. "I don't think he is gone and I hope he will not try anything when a stranger is on looking" nodding in understanding, Sakura continued to the front door. Finding it unlocked she opened it up and peeked inside, laying on the couch was her father passed out. An empty bottle on the floor next to him, visibly relaxing Sakura hurried to her room and grabbed her suitcase out of the closet. She quickly laid her laptop inside and started laying the clothes on top of it. Doing a once over of the room her gaze stopped on the picture of her and her mother, before she left her in this hell hole. They were both smiling, Sakura still small and her mother's eyes shining.

Finally making a decision she grabbed the photo and stuffed it along with her things, and started carrying towards the front door where Itachi stood outside waiting for her. Before she could open the front door wider she was yanked back by her hair, "what did you think I wouldn't notice?!" her father yelled. Sakura let out a yelp of pain and was held still by her father at the sound of the front door flying open so hard it hit the wall knocking down a few photos. Her father released the hold he had on her, "what the hell?" he was quickly silenced by Itachi's fist. Sakura sat frozen on the floor as she watched the scene unfold in front of her.

Her father tried to punch Itachi but only ended up punching air where he once stood. Itachi had dodged to the left and quickly hit her father in the back of the neck, effectively knocking him out. "There, now we leave." he turned to Sakura and knelt by her on the floor, "are you okay? Did he hit you?" after she shook her head 'no' Itachi grabbed her suitcase and helped her off the floor. "Well then lets move you into our home, shall we?"

Sakura smiled at the word home, "I haven't had a home in a long time" she said quietly. Itachi squeezed her hand softly, she smiled warmly at him.

The following day was uneventful and was spent furnishing the decent sized apartment Itachi had moved into. It was a two bedroom one bath, with a small kitchenette and dining area. A small balcony that overlooked the street below, since they were on the third floor (thank god for elevators). Itachi was very generous with his spending, Sakura came to realize, he paid for a new bed, vanity, and dresser for her room. He even offered to take her shopping for new clothes and shoes, but elected to wait outside when it came to her underwear shopping (which she was grateful for). They spent the whole day getting to know one another and came to realize they actually had a lot in common. They had similar music taste and both enjoyed to read, which Itachi was immensely grateful for, they both found that they even enjoyed the same T.v. shows.

That evening in Itachi's apartment, Sakura was trying to be helpful and was cooking dinner when there was a knock on the door. Sakura peeked around the corner to see Itachi open the door to a strange man whose skin seemed to be… Blue? "Hey! You're finally moved in I see, looking good man. Boss is gonna be real happy you're here." the man in question said. From Sakura's vantage point she could see Itachi didn't have any emotion on his face. "Mmmm, I smell food. What're you cooking man? Mind if I join you?" Itachi simply opened the door wider and Sakura quickly added more meat and ingredients to the stew she was making. "Mind if I sample real quick?" Sakura whipped around to come face to face with the mystery man, his eyes widened at the sudden stranger in front of him and time seemed to stand still. The spell was broken when he yelled out, "Itachi there is a woman in your kitchen!" at the top of his lungs

Sakura flinched at the high pitched squeal the man in front of her let out, "yes Kisame, there is" was the simple answer that Itachi gave from the living room. The man, Kisame, seemed to study Sakura for a bit, "well, you are very pretty. Are you dating Itachi or just staying the night" Sakura's mouth fell open in disbelief and she hit him over the head with the spatula still in her hand. "Who the hell asks that kind of question?!" she yelled as Kisame tried, in vain, to stop the assault on his head when Itachi entered the kitchen area. He took in the scene with a blank face and Sakura stopped her assault afraid that she had angered him, "use a clean spatula to mix, I don't want his germs in my food." he stated calmly and went back to the living room. Sakura giggled at the pout that Kisame had and proceeded to get a fresh spatula.

Rubbing his head dramatically, Kisame sat down at the small table they had set up. "Well I'm assuming you are neither his girlfriend or some random girl he picked up for the night. You live next door or something?" he asked a bit more politely. Sakura debated on if it was a good idea to let him know she would be living with Itachi for the time being. Itachi saved her the trouble, "she's living with me. I found her on a roof trying to kill herself and took it upon myself to bring her in." Kisame looked at Itachi in opened mouth disbelief. Sakura finally lost it, clutching her sides she fell over in laughter and only laughed harder at the look both Itachi and Kisame gave her.

"She's had a very rough 48 hours, I believe she's finally realizing her situation and is letting it out in the only way she knows how." Itachi stated simply and turned to return to the living room.

"Wait.. Wait.." Sakura managed to wheeze out, "this is bothering me soooo much, but why are you so cold all of a sudden?"

Kisame gave her a look of confusion "Cold all of a sudden? This is how he always is." he stated. "Nuh uh! He was very charming and warm all day today." she stated back matter-of-factly.

Kisame looked at Itachi questioning, "what the hell is she going on about?" he gestured at her still on the floor. Itachi didn't get a chance to respond due to the variety of flying kitchen objects heading towards Kisame's head, silencing him for the rest of the evening.

"Despite your violent tendencies, you're a great cook pinky, and I'm glad you'll be staying with Itachi. He can use the company and quite frankly, I was worried he'd never get a girlfriend." Kisame said casually after dinner. Sakura couldn't help giggling at the glare Itachi was shooting Kisame.

"Well I'm glad he offered to take me in and even paid for all my new things. I don't think I'd still be alive if it wasn't for him." she said collecting the plates and putting them in the sink.

"Sakura, I'll do the dishes. You've had a rough few days, I think it would be best if you showered and went to bed. We're going to school tomorrow and I feel it will be stressful on you." Itachi stopped her. Sakura smiled gratefully and placed the remaining dished in the sink. "It was nice chatting with you Kisame," she called over her shoulder as she headed to her room.

When she left Kisame turned to Itachi, "you think this is smart Itachi? What if boss finds out and doesn't want her around." Itachi ignored Kisame and started to run the water to begin the dishes, after adding soap to the water and grabbing a sponged he answered.

"If boss doesn't like it then he can find a new command, he knows just as well as I do, that he rules simply because I don't want to." Kisame leaned back in his chair, "true, so why did you do all this for her anyway?" Itachi paused in his washing to look at his partner.

"she was going to jump, to end her life, over curiosity of how it would feel to stop existing." Kisame couldn't seem to look Itachi in the eye, "so... " he began "this was really just you doing a good deed?" Itachi shrugged. "I'm drawn to the girl, I don't believe in coincidences and I can't feel any deception on her. She is simply a lost soul that is looking for somewhere to belong, I couldn't stop myself from opening up to her."

Kisame nodded at the honesty in his words and leaned forward once more. "Well I hope this doesn't blow up in your face, and if you need anything… Let me know." Itachi nodded and Kisame left him to his thoughts.

When Sakura got out of the shower she couldn't hear anything save for the soft music playing from Itachi's room. 'Hm, Kisame must of gone home already' shrugging her shoulders she proceeded to her bedroom and peeled the damp towel off of herself. Catching a glimpse of herself in the vanity's mirror she couldn't help but flinch at all the bruises and scars that marred her skin from past abuse. She turned away and quickly dressed for bed, turning on her small stereo Itachi had bought her and putting it on low volume, she climbed into bed and shut the lamp by her bed off. 'God finally answered my prayers and sent me an angel. Things are definitely looking up.'

Turning onto her side she let the song 'Sleep Well, Darling' by Secrets lull her to sleep. A smile graced her lips as her final thoughts were of Itachi coming to her rescue, she was sure that he would no matter what the situation was. The fear and anxiety of tomorrow drifting away as she fell into a dreamless slumber for the second time in years, both times being with him.