Once upon a time, I graduated high school and my dear big brother decided his graduation gift to me would be an Xbox 360 and the newest Naruto fighting game, which we played together for four hours. I slowly became obsessed with having Sakura fight everybody (OF COURSE) especially the men I like to pair her with (OF COURSE). That, combined with the graphically epic boss fights, the Jiraiya VS Pain one especially, made me have a PainSaku mental explosion. Thus, this.

Keep in mind that I've never done this…theme…drabble…"ficlet" sort of thing before. Sadly, I'm doing it in this format only because I haven't written anything epic/large in scale for a long time so I'm worried that if I tried to make this into a big, long story, I would lose the will to finish it. I just wanted to write some PainSaku, SOMEHOW. So though it's no literary knockout, I get my pairing fix. ^^;

Okay, these are mostly but not all in chronological order, 'kay? Also be aware that Pain has his facial and ear piercings in this story, but none of the ones on his torso or arms. And I feel that I'm taking away some of his epic badassery by making him a modern-day person who goes to (American) college and has actual feelings, but…that's the way this story is, so he'll just have to be a modern-day badass like that.

Well. PainSaku. Bring it.

PS, beware the fact that this fanfic starts out light-hearted and has a heavier "lime" content the farther you go. It's like descending into a deep…dark…pit…hehe~


1. Introduction

Her parents were both confused and proud at how few boys Sakura brought home to them throughout her life. Her mother had cried when she moved out of state for college, and been ecstatic to hear that, just over a year later, Sakura wanted them to meet her boyfriend. Saya and Nobuyuki Haruno stood on the doorstep and smiled when their daughter drove up and stepped out of her car, bright and capable as ever. And they dropped their jaws when they saw the boyfriend's face covered in piercings.

It turned out fine, however, as he was a handsome law student with exquisite manners. Saya and Nobuyuki were most pleased.

2. Meeting

There were two versions of how they had met. The first one, only Pain knew. He had gone to the library to meet Konan. Halfway to their table, walking through intimidated bystanders, his eyes were caught by a flash of color. Sitting in a chair with her knees tucked close was a pink-haired stranger. Her pose radiated confidence, intelligence, and yet her curled-close legs hinted at insecurity. He had never seen her visit here before, and yet she looked comfortable here. And the intrigue and the pull he felt toward her were stronger than anything he'd felt in his life. And so half an hour later, when she dropped one of her books, he kindly picked it up and pretended that was when he had first seen her.

3. Stare

On their first date, one thing they both learned about each other was that they both had intimidating stares. Sakura's was reminiscent of a promise, a promise to help and defend, to fight. It was admirable, like her. Pain's was just straight-up scary. The combination of his stoic face and multilayered pupils made many think his eyes were like the seven pits of hell, and many in his hometown had whispered demonic things about him. His gaze was as threatening as he was. In fact, before parting ways on that date, Sakura had told him so. But, with a touch of shyness, she expressed her opinion that they were fascinating, and would he maybe want to go out again next week?

When he said yes, and smiled, Sakura lied to herself: her legs were not at all weak and she did not skip merrily back to her car like a sixth grader.

4. Voice

Every Wednesday morning, she met up with Hinata at an outdoor café, an hour before they each had to go to their separate university. One day, Hinata asked what Sakura liked about her boyfriend, whom Hinata had yet to meet. "Well…I like his voice." Sakura said quietly. "He's not terribly talkative, but when he speaks he calls all attention to himself. He sounds very strong and respectable, all the time. I've always liked that." After a pause and a sip of tea, she said, "And yes, he also sounds really, really, sexy, but that's not the point. What are you making that face for?"

5. Random

Ino nearly exploded when Sakura told her best friend that she'd invited her boyfriend into her apartment last night, and then deflated when Sakura added that all they really did was watch Harry Potter. Sakura could feel some insults at her nerdliness coming on, so interrupted Ino with, "But he paused just before Sirius appeared, to tell me he'd been struck by lightning."

Ino missed a step on the sidewalk and almost tripped, jangling her bracelets and earrings. "Th…That's…cool? Random?" She said, and there was very clearly an awkward question mark at the end of that. "Is he okay?"

"It happened when he was thirteen and he's still functional, so yes, I'm pretty sure he's okay. I asked why he told me, and he said it was just because he'd never told anyone before, and he wanted me to know things like that. Things he never told anyone." Ino inhaled and cracked a wide, girlish smile. "And…then we had our first kiss. And it was amazing." Ino grabbed her friend's arm and started to obsessively growl the phrase, "DETAILS NOW," but the rosette had dodged.

"Oh look here we are at my work I better go in for my shift now byyye!"

6. Reveal

"Your friends are very fond of me." He chuckled once they had left. (Sakura thought they had taken too damn long in doing so.) "And you answered all of their questions but one. Why didn't you have me meet them sooner?"

"Because I knew they would prod and poke and squeal at you." She said with a touch of irritation. "I thought if I fed them some information first, they wouldn't have as much to gawk at. I just don't want you thinking I have a bunch of drooling, boycrazy morons for friends, because they're better than that."

This was a crisp and well-crafted answer, but a fake one. He sensed it. He took her hand and turned her around gently, but it was not an easy grip to break away from. "I almost believed that. Now, the real answer." She narrowed her eyes slightly and tried to be exasperated. Inside, she was shaking and enchanted and praying he wouldn't try to use his voice against her again. "Sakura. Show me your real thoughts."

Fuck. "Be…cause…now they'll be asking for news about you all the time, and that feels like sharing you, and the idea of sharing you isn't something I w-do not smile at me!"

7. Four

On one hand, he had met and socialized with her friends, and so it was fair to do the same with his. However, the three of them made a perfect, peaceful set, and to try and interrupt them seemed invasive. Konan and Nagato had known him since he was a child, and had moved to America with him, and only got to come upstate to visit him once or twice a month. Not the mention that they were all four years older than her, and had four years' worth of more things to talk about. They deserved to spend as much time with him as possible while they were here. But Pain was quick to notice her keeping a little back from them, and pulled her forcefully near them so they moved in a line of four, instead of three with a straggler. Then he walked with a hand resting on her hip. "You're not a third wheel. You're part of me, and so you're a part of us."

8. Memory

Ino and Sakura loved reminiscing about high school. They were doing so one day when Ino suddenly raised her head and turned around. "Pain. Pain! Did Sakura ever tell you about the exchange trip to France she took? And how she sang a song in front of a crowd there?" Pain turned his head slowly and locked his eyes on her. Sakura kept nibbling at an apple slice and pretended to be unperturbed.

"Okay, so, after junior year, there was this summer trip to France for the French IV kids. You met Monica, right? 'Cause she went, too. Anyway, they were in this little town where there was a street performer guy singing a song and he had a pretty big crowd around him, and Sakura was so, so excited the guy pointed at her, and she knew the song and she just sang it for like fifty people. Monica took a video of it, and it's this adorable and, like, awesome upbeat, ballad kind of thingy…okay, I don't know music so well, and I wasn't there, but the video was so cool, and Sakura says she was so, so proud and happy that day, and…and she never told you this?"

"No." Pain said musingly. "I would love to know a memory in which you sing, Sakura. I've never heard you sing. Why didn't you tell me about this?"

"You don't speak French and I already showed you pictures from that trip."

"Ino, when you leave, I'll be interrogating Sakura about this song. I don't like when the best part of a story is deliberately left out."

Ino snatched up her purse and left twenty seconds later with a hurried demand that Sakura text her about what happened later.

9. Dream

One thing about her boyfriend Sakura never tired of was intelligent conversation, something most of her friends didn't give her that much. He was an endless vault of it, the only one she'd ever met besides Shikamaru, who usually would not bother with it. And she knew from the way he would regard her during these talks that he loved it, too, and was endlessly impressed.

Today they chose to take a walk together, and they passed a bookstore advertising the newest Stephen King novel. They were in the midst of arguing about a case discussed in his criminal justice class when her eye was caught by that poster for a moment too long. Pain caught on.

"Ah. I had forgotten you were a fan of his. It still strikes me that you read such nightmarish stories. However well-crafted. Horror seems a far cry from anything you'd like."

Sometimes she was a little irritated that he claimed to know everything she'd like. She replied, "Well, there's something very fascinating about nightmares. I mean, at least in literature. The way they're described means everything, because you don't always see or understand what is attacking you. Sometimes being vague or being too obsessively detailed, one end or the other of the spectrum, nowhere in between, is the key. And Stephen King can do that, and a lot more."

"What are your nightmares about, Sakura?" he asked her suddenly.

Pain's voice was reminiscent of a king's, a lord's. Whenever he spoke, Sakura listened, and obeyed. "Being held back from what I'm running towards. Or failing. And snails on occasion. And you?"

He hmm'd softly. She felt the vibration of it through her hand. "People dying in large amounts. Things like war, or a plague. I recall once dreaming a zombie apocalypse. It seems I'm subconsciously afraid of people suffering."

She hmm'd, too. "In a way, I wish you dreamed something…smaller. Something I could help you learn to not fear so much. I'd like to give you help, in general."

"But you do." He pulled up her hand and kissed it in his gentleman's way, and with his hell-pit eyes daring her to look away from him. The touch of his lips on her knuckles created a far stronger reaction in her body than she would readily admit. "Every day."

10. Game

It took her three hours to finish her anatomy assignment, and once it was done, Sakura had passed the stage of being tired. She was wide awake now, had exhausted her reading material the day before—stupid library had recently decided only four books allowed per patron—and bored. She had one cure, though, one which had been nearly flawless success since fifth grade. Sakura turned on her laptop and clicked on the Tetris icon.

Success was immediate. Polygons of all shapes and sizes, all colors and all fittings had her entranced from the first glowing row. Two-square slot, a fit? Nope. Turn it. Turn it again. Again! Yes! Math is power!

As she often did, she struggled from Level 7 onwards, and by 9 felt like the shapes were raining down like bullets. She slammed the keys on her laptop and once actually pressed so hard she pushed the laptop several inches away. The level nonchalantly told her she was a failure. Sakura abhorred failure, feared it, and so refused to give up. Around her eleventh try, a hand began tapping madly at her arrow keys and she was surprisingly unperturbed to see a head of orange hair and a black-marked face looming above her. She was however, perturbed that he was participating in a game of Tetris. (It seemed kind of below him.)

Without any words, the two of them battled Level 9 for half an hour, tapping madly at keys, fighting over them, pushing each other's hands and arms. With their combined work, they passed the level. Sakura whooped and encircled him with her arms. He accepted this with a kind of internal rumbling she had long ago begun associating with a lion. It always vibrated outward, and she liked to feel it. Pain kept up his soft noise for her for what felt like a long time. And so they failed the tenth level in three and a third seconds, because they were still holding each other.

'I love this.' Sakura thought, and laughed to herself. 'I love this man.'

11. Gift

Usually, they each had a few hours a day spend together before returning to their work or their classes. During these days, Pain watched Sakura smile knowingly, slyly, an expression he had never seen on her before. She asked him to please not try and find out what she knew, because it would spoil a lovely surprise she had for him. He relented and let her dance around him during those days with her secret knowledge. It was a privilege, after all, seeing her so free. Normally she would steel herself into her practiced posture or growl half-heartedly at him for how all-knowing he seemed at all times. Both her clever, ruffled responses and this new laughing one were welcome.

The fourth day of waiting was a Wednesday. On that day, Sakura showed up on his university campus with a smile and a relaxed summer outfit. Bare neck and shoulders, even bare feet. She had nothing with her, not even her cell phone. As clouds gathered and rumbled, she told him that she'd arranged to have his car towed back to his apartment, and they would be walking back.

Pain had spent most of his life in his hometown walking home in the rain. The only way she could know he used to love doing it was by talking to Konan, whose phone number she didn't have, and whom she would have to drive sixty-five miles to speak to.

So they walked three miles together, completely soaked. Sakura gathered both his hands in hers once they arrived at his complex, and she said, "I hope that made you happy."

12. Decision

For many days his mind was full of rain, and of her. In her efforts to please him, Sakura had finally woven herself so deeply into the fabric of his mind and self that she literally occupied his every thought. By walking home in the rain with him, she had strung together Pain's life in Ame as a youth and his new one here as a man, and everything that had ever mattered to him. She had literally made him complete. He had been waiting for this.

Their time together—three months, nine days—had been full of light-hearted play and banter, and he was careful to insert his most truthful gestures and feelings sparsely, as she was not used to such bold affection from a man. But from the inception of their light-hearted relationship, from his first look at her, he had instantly let out a piece of himself and attached itself to her, and had been waiting for them to grow close enough that he was consumed by his bond with her. He had started out in love with her and waited to be mad with it. Her gift was the turning point.

"I hope that made you happy," she had said. If he had been able to speak, to move through his heavy, muddled thoughts of 'I am more than happy, Sakura, I am in love with you, in awe of you, and I want you to be mine,' and say what he meant, she would know what he felt. But at this time of night she was busily immersed in studies and he respected her insistence on studying her materials enough to not interrupt it. Besides, it gave him time.

He had an extra day to decide how to tell her that she was now the focus and center or everything. She was endlessly impressed with his elegance and his grand voice, so he must use those and not disappoint her. Conversely, he had a night alone to think of nothing but Sakura. Having this time could shame him soon enough. With enough thoughts about Sakura, her king's-jade eyes absorbing all, hands running neatly through her own hair and light spilling onto her legs, there was little doubt of what would happen. Where his hands would go.

For the night at least, Pain chose to drag a book from his meager shelf and continue the study of Ross versus Atchison, though he'd finished examining the case and the plaintiff's lies a week ago. His eyes hovered over the words and then burned carelessly through them, unseeing. His attempts not to think of her that night did little good in the end.

13. Love

He came to her apartment a lot. He also left his stuff in her apartment a lot, and she couldn't imagine why, since it obviously wasn't subtle and he knew better than to think she wouldn't notice the clutter. The Monday before Halloween, he came to her apartment in the evening, which was strange. She barely had time to shut the door, for in the next moment he was pulling her as close to him as could be and kissing her like he never had before. Never before had she felt such fire from him, or felt so comparatively innocent.

Pain trapped her against the wall and the shock of hitting it parted her mouth. His tongue entered her mouth and attacked hers. His tongue piercing felt warm and smooth; when he withdrew from her mouth to draw his tongue up her neck, she was stung by its hot velvet surface and felt pleasure for the first time.

He was about to bite her, mark her, but became human again instead and touched his forehead to hers. Sakura, determined to show she was not rendered speechless and panting, asked, "What was that, Pain?"

His arms wrapped about her more tightly, reacting to his name. "I love you. I love you and I can't stand you not knowing." He looked her in the eye and Sakura looked back. It was not the seven pits of hell she saw there. They were nothing but entrancing, another entrancing piece of him that made her shamefully weak and hypnotized. Only he had ever managed to make her weak, and she was right now. But she was also smiling, and even giggled once.

"And now I know. I loved you first, though." Saying it aloud finally made her feel a little giddy, silly, even. But after hearing it, Pain dropped them from their feet onto their knees, slowly, like worship, and his hands were still on her tight. He asked her if she meant it, and she fervently said yes.

"Then show me." He said to her. Sakura balked and squeezed her fingers on his shoulder impulsively. But he went on in his lion's voice: "Kiss me as I did you. Make me understand."

To initiate that kind of physical contact was beyond her realm. Having longingly read many dime novels where such things happened meant nothing. She was completely inexperienced. Encouraged by that force he exerted by merely living, she confessed that to him, along with, "I can try but I won't be…nearly…as satisfying as you."

Pain's reply was a low, rumbling sound that was all knowing and masculinity. It made her feel embarrassed that he could make her so timid. "I will teach you, then." He lifted her slightly. They were very close, each feeling heat from the other, and Pain's hands were at all times running up or pressing points on her body no one had ever touched so. "Begin like this."

Sakura began and fought shudders when he growled and let her know she was doing well. He taught her for a short amount of minutes that felt like many hours or nights. She was surprised but honestly grateful that their clothes remained on the entire time. She wasn't ready for them to come off yet. She knew it, and Pain later told her so. And at the end he told her, "No man shall love you like this but me. Ever."

His voice seemed like god himself, huge and unyielding, and yet she was almost too exhausted to fully react to it. "I know that. I'm not going to be leaving you for any reason."

"Sometimes I fear that." He said softly.

"That I'm going to leave you?" she said, and some of her energy returned in the form of anger. "You think I would just leave you in the dust whenever I feel like it? You think I'm that heartless? Or unfaithful?"

"I fear someone taking you away from me. By force." He replied; for the first time Sakura heard fear quietly lacing his voice. His hold on her became more gentle, and his hands touched the sides of her face, touched softly by her blossom-hair."I've seen the ugly things people can do to each other. I feel sick to think that someone could take you out from under me and do whatever they please with you."

He had told her of the war-torn, far-off village he lived in as a boy, and she knew the kind of bloodcurdling stories he heard every day in a civilized classroom. Still… "We can't stop people from being wretched. But I think I can defend myself against most of them. You remember the story about Karin? And the men who called Hinata a cunt?" She knew from his face that he did. Sakura's very clean and respectable history had occasional pockmarks from people who had provoked her and been beaten bloody.

"So no fear." Sakura added. She touched his face, traced one of his ear piercings. It didn't feel brave or daring as it might have before (at least not that much). Just now, it had become normal. "Anyone who tries to get me will have their teeth punched out. Or anyone to tries to get you." That made him chuckle.

So the night ended with them together. Perfect, like rain.

14. Climb

Not long after their night of mutual confession, visiting each other at night, even one staying the night at the other's apartment, became less strange. Tonight was the third time she had ever stayed in his home. The third night, and yet he already preferred his apartment with her in it. It was clean beyond definition: it did not look lived in. She made it look lived in. Alive. Life and brightness always followed where she tread.

A force beyond his control (a thirty-page thesis) kept him from spending time with her as he wished. By the time he was done, she had fallen asleep sitting in front of the couch, watching television. Mononoke-hime played mutely on the screen, but he did not care. Pain crouched down beside Sakura and put his arms gently, serenely around her, and pulled her towards him. He moved her with the utmost care until she was comfortably in his lap. What he would give to have her awake in this position, actually conscious of her nearly-exposed legs and innocent eyes under his gaze, all of her protected inside him.

She slept there unbothered for some ten or eleven minutes, and then woke. Or so he thought. She was moving in her sleep, was all. Pain watched her legs stretch and then curl back into the warmth they felt. She reared her head back slightly, milky neck partially exposed and her head pushing against his shoulder. Her entire body seemed to follow, pushing against him like a purring cat. He purred back to her. God, what he wouldn't give to have her wake now.

Now her hands were reaching. Sakura reached behind him to the couch cushions, seemingly searching for something there. She surprised him by rising up and pulling her torso over his shoulder to feel the cushions further. She was climbing on him. This, too, was catlike, and it was arousing. It was strange to acknowledge something as both innocent and arousing. But Sakura was just that mix. When she fell asleep again, partway on the couch, he pulled her back into his lap and held her.

15. Chat

Heartbeat_Again, 8:21: Ino if you don't sign on in five minutes the lavender tee shirt you let me borrow may just be my new sweatrag.

Heartbeat_Again: 8:23: …

Lovintonight553, 8:24: Omg Im here, don't you sweat on my shirt!

Heartbeat_Again, 8:24: Okay your shirt's safe :I So what did you want to talk about and why couldn't I have just called you to talk about it? We haven't had a good phone conversation in almost three weeks.

Lovintonight553, 8:25: Well really I just wanna ask you 1 question. Im asking you online since I know youll clam up or give me an awkward answer if i asked you on the phone or in person. So really were online right now cause Im being a good friend and making it easier for you.

Heartbeat_Again, 8:25: all right. Thank you…? What's the question?

Lovintonight553, 8:26: Remember as your bff, you have to be completely honest with me. No secrets girl!

Heartbeat_Again, 8:26: I am honest with you, all the time. I never lie to you, promise. We're BFFs and not the dumb, shallow kind :) So gimme that question.

Lovintonight553, 8:26: Have you ever had a sex dream about your boyfriend?

Lovintonight553, 8:27: Oh come on Sakura!

Heartbeat_Again, 8:27: Yes

Lovintonight553, 8:28: Oooh~ Tell me about it! Lots of description! and how many dreams? Its about damn time btw, youre like three years late to the sex bandwagon :p

Heartbeat_Again, 8:29: Uh…he's always reminded me of a lion and I think because of that, there's a lot of purring and biting and…kind-of animal behavior. (No "furry" stuff, though) Sometimes he chases me first.

Heartbeat_Again, 8:29: The actual sex is sometimes focused on my face too much. I mean like the faces I'll make when he touches me, and the noises…I guess my mind is creating that from scratch, since I really don't know what I sound like in that situation. Anything else?

Lovintonight553, 8:30: Nope thatll do. Btw I have a confession to make!

Lovintonight553, 8:31: Im actually asking you this because your bf asked me to. He found me thru this mutual friend we have and said he was curious about this but thought u would melt and be brain-dead if he asked in person or youd just lie, so he had me do it cuz you would answer your bff honestly. Were sitting in Starbucks together right now and hes reading all your answers, lolol~


Lovintonight553, 8:32: Pain says you always get flustered and shy when sexual stuff happens. Sakura I didnt know u were shy? Ever! Omg he brings out secret sides of you!

Lovintonight553, 8:32: Hes chuckling at you and my God its a hot sound.

Heartbeat_Again, 8:33: YOU WHORE! LYING WHORE!

Lovintonight553, 8:33: Chill girl, telling the ttruth is a good thing! Your bf should know you think hes sexy.

Heartbeat_Again, 8:33: I don't wave my sexual thoughts around like a goddamned Homecoming banner like you do. And our next meeting is going to be the most awkward day of my life thanks to you and your consort.

Lovintonight553, 8:34: He says goodnight. And sweet dreams.

Heartbeat_Again, 8:34: Screw you both

Lovintonight553, 8:34: But I think your boyfriend here will do that soon enough AHAHAHAH

Heartbeat_Again has signed off.

16. After

It was the first considerably cold day of the year and she dared to be fashionable and wear Uggs, and her favorite red scarf. She enjoyed their warmth and looks between classes, that is in between times of heavy applied thinking and literature essays. After her three classes of the day, she walked outside under the Paul Revere arch to the parking lot. Monica and Chloe were with her, worriedly asking her what the professor actually wanted them to think about The Metamorphosis. Monica shivered and listened while the other two took opposite stances, and then snapped her fingers in front of their faces.

Sakura shoed away her friend's fingers. "Because Kafka was—what? Dammit." It seemed there was a security guard at the entrance to the parking lot. A half-second of further inspection revealed that it was her boyfriend and not a security guard, come to fill her happy day with awkwardness. And damn if he hadn't dressed his most attractive today. Of fucking course he would, a day and a half after The Online Confessional.

"Check out that guy's face." Chloe gasped, and pushed the bangs out of her eyes to see him better. "Christ. I bet he just came out of jail." Sakura sent a meaningful glance to Monica, who understood the implication and began dragging Chloe down an alternate path.

Sakura approached him and would have enjoyed his not-quite-fully-buttoned shirt and slightly-more-tousled-than-usual hair if not for mentally banging her head on the wall in embarrassment. He made her embarrassed and timid too damn much. "Come to make me feel even more horrified and awkward? Not just awkward, but super-double-secret awkward?"

She would have added more, but he interrupted her. "Hush. There is nothing wrong with it. And clearly you don't want to talk about it so we won't."

"No, you only want me to think about it by dressing like a model." She replied, but the satisfaction of calling him out on that was suddenly lost as she realized she, while not quite dressed like a model, coincidentally looked her best today, too.

"It's not as if I can control your thoughts about me." He said, and it was a fantastically blatant lie. "Just like I cannot always control my thoughts about you."

Her mind did a neck-breaking double-take, and the mood changed instantly, so she talked over them both. "So are our thoughts going to change anything between us? It feels to me like we've reached a new stage."

"We have." He agreed. "Acknowledgment of desire is important indeed. But the awkwardness is your decision. I for one don't feel it in the least." Sakura pulled on the ends of her hair and muttered something about his hidden thoughts being the ones drawn out and exposed instead. At this he cocked his head in the slightest and asked, "Would you like me to tell them to you?" Sakura said maybe later and tried to talk about something else. "All right, then. Will you come with me today? I'd like to take you out somewhere." And they did, from the pedestal of having reached a new stage. Sakura continued to think it was really fucking awkward.

17. Snow

School kids rejoiced when snow fell, and so did college kids. At least, a lot of kids attended Wellington did. There was a sect of students there who would romp and participate in snowball fights like they were ten years old again, and it was awesome. And most of those who didn't looked around and were either shocked or amused. Trevor was in the "amused" faction. By force. He was carrying a manila folder with pretty much his most important thesis ever in it, and his professor would not be forgiving if somebody snowballed it into fuckin' oblivion. Johann the German exchange guy waved at him once from the bear statue and he waved back. Behind Johann, some color caught Trevor's artistic eye.

It was orange and not a shirt so that meant it was Pain's hair. Trevor had a criminal justice class with the guy and watched him own most of the class every other day. Ryan said he was cool to talk to if you looked past his freaky eyes. And apparently if you made fun of his name you had nightmares about the devil. Trevor was thinking these things and suddenly he saw Pain take a snowball in the back of the head.

'Oh, whoever threw that is deaaad!' Trevor thought with a grin. Yeah, his class was soon but he wanted to stay and watch what went on. Pain had stumbled a little when he'd been hit but hadn't brushed the snow off his hair or shoulders. He let it stay there for a second, and then turned around. ('Like a boss,' Trevor thought.)

The thrower was apparently a girl with…pink hair. Huh. Pink hair, and one of those fancy jackets that Bree said she really liked. She trotted on up to Pain all smiley and cute and only looked scared and ready to run when she was close. What, didn't she see his thou-art-dead-meat glare till she was five feet away? Then the girl was brushing off the snow for him and Pain was gently holding her arm. They looked like a couple, actually. Like, really. The supermodel kind that should have paparazzi chasing them.

It was kind of amazing to think that Pain had a girlfriend and she was playful and fashionable and not scared of his weird eyes. Well, it was not kind of amazing, it was amazing, and Bree and Miranda would probably grab onto the info and not shut he hell up about it till the snow melted.

Pain and his pink girlfriend kissed and apparently said goodbye. She began jogging away towards the public parking. And Pain most definitely was smiling as he watched her go holy fuck Pain could smile. Forget the girlfriend. Bree and Miranda would and should go on and on about how Pain Shinra was actually capable of smiling. Maybe there was a god.

18. Truth

Many months ago, she had dared to ask the story behind his facial piercings. The contrast between his controlled personality and the rebelliousness that was always associated with tattoos always struck her as odd. This was still at a time when she was only about ten percent more used to his steely gaze than anyone off the street, and when he heard her question and turned his multilayered eyes on her, she thought she had stepped too far.

"You don't have to be afraid to ask that." He said first. "Of course I'll tell you the truth of it.

"When I was sixteen, I still lived in Japan. And I met a young man named Kisame. We became friends. When summer came, he asked me to go to the beach with him. He took Konan and Nagato with him, and another of his own friends. Even with only five of us, it was essentially a beach party." He paused to let Sakura laugh at his past self, at a youth who grinned endlessly and apparently attended beach parties.

"We were staying for three days. On the second day, I went into the water with Nagato. We were racing. Our endpoint was Kisame's boat. We were over halfway to it when a shark attacked me."

Sakura's amused face shattered hopelessly like new glass. She was holding his hand and couldn't decide if her hand should go slack or tighten madly around his. He only paused for two or three seconds but the phrase still repeated a hundred times. A shark attack.

"It bit off my face." Pain said quietly. "It took that one bite out of me and smacked me with its tail as it went by. Then Kisame drove his boat over it and it fled. His friend Itachi pulled me up, because Kisame was vomiting over the railing. But he had good reason. I had no recognizable face, I'm told. Almost no skin. What had been my face was now exposed muscle and half a nose on top. And earless. The pain from it was so great that I could not scream. I had to keep it inside me. It kept it inside me while the others drove me to the hospital. Konan talked to me the entire way…her tears fell on me once, and…they burned. I had never wished to die so fervently. Hush, let me finish.

"There was a nine-hour surgery where doctors grafted new skin and muscle onto me. And when they were done, there were still holes that artificial material could not cover. I could either live with holes in my face or with spikes in my face. I gladly chose this."

His words had drawn tears out of her, however strongly she tried to stop them. She cannot remember exactly what she said. A phrase about wishing she had been there to stab or shoot the shark for him stands out in her memory today. And she knows that she did ask him if the attack is what made him become so deathly stoic. He wasn't sure; Ame itself may have done that.

Sometimes Sakura thinks back on this conversation, on his memory of being torn apart, and wonders.

19. Animal

Ino would not leave her alone about the lion thing. She talked about it more than Sakura thought about it, which was saying something. But seeing it before her eyes made Ino's silly, suggestive remarks disappear.

She came into his apartment to retrieve a book, letting herself in with the key he had given her. She locked it and was confused to still not see him. Usually she could not be alone in the doorway ten seconds before he came to greet her. There was no reason for him to be out right now, or so she thought. She walked around the museum—uhm, the very clean apartment—and found him on his bed, asleep. And he did not look innocent, as fiction literature insisted powerful men looked in sleep. He looked like a sleeping animal.

He was sitting up against the headboard and with one knee up. It was a resting position, not a sleeping one. He looked ready to be attacked, and his breaths were deep and low like a muted growl. Sakura knew she ought to leave, but stood looking at his sleeping form for a little longer. So rarely did she actually see him sleep. But when the time came to leave, she was all too conscious of making noise. Supposedly someone of her size, and with her size feet, could manage to make it out quietly. But her third step betrayed her and squeaked. She saw Pain slowly raise his head.

She could have believed this was nothing but moving in his sleep if not for his now-open eyes. They were rings of hell for some, and indeed they were appropriately dark and made her shiver. But to her they were rings made of pure, unbroken attention divided between some needy affection and a very literal hunger. A regular man could not imitate that kind of unspoken need for someone. She did realize it was partially sexual, but mostly it just called out a more general Sakura, Sakura, come here. Let me hold you. Let me touch you right now, they said. Or he said. The rosette could not tell. She could not hear and her legs were weakening. But Pain had said to come, and she worried for what would happen next, but she still went to him.

Once she was near, he pulled her onto the bed. He seemed to want her to sit on him, and he pulled harder to make her do this, because she pulled back from him and was afraid. She didn't want this to happen if he was half-asleep or half-drunk, or whatever lost state he was in. Even with his not-quite-human mind he sensed Sakura's insecurity, and pulled her more gently till she was close enough that he could nuzzle her neck and purr soothingly into it. It made a vibration that sang through her entire body. His tongue came out as well and dragged up her neck, and all the rest of her sang.

He stopped with his mouth poised to bite her. Still breathing onto her neck, Pain put his hands round her waist and pushed her down onto his lap. "Not yet. Not tonight." He murmured to her. Sakura sat trapped in his lap until he spoke again. "Lie down with me. Please." She did, and he moved her into the crook of his arm and pulled her legs toward his until she was completely wrapped up in him. His deep breaths made Sakura think of a lion again. Wrapped up so closely to him, she felt like a cub; this was reinforced when he leaned down slightly and touched his tongue to her soft skin again and again until she mewled.

He chuckled at her, human now, saying, "You're ready."

20. Now

The next day found Sakura and Pain together on the latter's bed, and curiously, neither one chose to speak of last night. Pain remarked that he was happy she'd come to sleep with him that night, and then conversation of it was done. Sakura ate her morning meal with him and then left for her own home. Hearing her phone beep for a text scared the living crap out of her. It was Hinata, asking if she would like to come to the Harrison Museum with her tonight: her family had funded a new marine animals wing and she wanted some friends to explore it with when it opened tonight, (and it wasn't even a suit-and-tie event, thank goodness) and her boyfriend was welcome, too.

Sakura said she would go without thinking. She also almost ran a red light without thinking. Only once she was parked and safe from collisions did she text Pain and ask if he would like to attend.

She had no classes that day but did owe a shift at work, where her coworker Robin insisted she was moving faster than a cheetah. During her break, Sakura sat down with Robin and gave the explanation that she'd slept all of two and a half hours due to a term paper, and apparently this is how sleep-deprived Sakura went about her day. She denied the offer of a Five-hour Energy drink.

Six o' clock rolled around rather quickly. Sakura decided pick up her boyfriend for once instead of the stereotypical other way around. She gave only cursory attention to his once again not-quite-fully-buttoned shirt, slightly-more-tousled-than-usual hair and some other attractive detail she was forgetting in a wordless mental hurricane. When they passed the arch into the museum, however, she calmed for the first time in hours. Around them, people of all ages were milling around and staring at a roped-off doorway leading into an extravagant blue room. Pain turned around to greet someone he knew, and that gave her opportunity to go see Hinata, who waved excitedly at her. Kiba and Ino were at her side already, and Kiba had apparently not gotten the "dress casual" memo.

"Is this freakin' awesome or what? We get to feel all grown-up and important while taking a field trip to a room full of sharks." Kiba's words were possibly the first ones to come to her head clearly the entire day.

"Not to mention that Hinata owns the room full of sharks." Sakura added with a laugh. "Are there any whale exhibits, by the way? I forgot to text you that earlier." The conversation dissolved into which sea animals everyone liked best or had seen at Sea World. Sakura looked back a few minutes into the conversation and became completely still.

Pain was looking at her, and his eyes were the animal-eyes he had shown her last night. She read in them all his actions from that time. He did remember how he'd acted, how she had come to him, and so did she. He was asking her to come right now and she started to, but Mr. Hyuuga was going through the public necessity of opening the red rope to the exhibit and watching the public shuffle delightedly through it. Pain and Sakura lost each other.

She was soon cut off from Kiba, too. He ran off to the room full of shark bones while the three girls stared up at a floating whale skeleton, a beast that spanned the main room's entire ceiling. She was tracing her eyes down its fins when Ino prodded her suddenly. The prodding didn't suffice, so she pulled Sakura's scarf next. "Pssst! Oh, please, I know you can hear me. I haven't seen your bf since Mr. Hyuuga opened the line. Why isn't he, like, clinging to you?"

Sakura stared at the whale skeleton's fins some more. It let her not look at Ino. "I don't know." But Ino, a greatly experienced young woman, could read Sakura's nervous and aching movements. The twitch of her fingers and unconscious, soft swaying of her hips and uneven breaths all spoke to her. She made a guess and grinned. She kept it hidden throughout the tour, and knew she was right when she saw the orange-haired boyfriend approaching. Clingy was no apt description for him.

He approached Sakura, took her hand and told her, "Come. Now."

Sakura paused for a moment and her hand squeezed her scarf comically, with a side glance to her friend. Ino leaned in and said with her successful smile, "I know. You go ahead. I'll tell them you left, 'kay?"

"Okay." And he took her away.

21. Become

Their drive back home—his home—was quiet and meaningless. For Sakura, it also carried a trace of apprehension, like approaching thunder, but mostly it was a wordless transit from one point to the next. Pain sat next to her and did not speak. He did not speak when they stopped the car and did not speak on the way up the complex stairs. No, that was all time for Sakura to breathe and realize that her heart was beating like a bird's—

The door closed behind them. Now.

Sakura dropped her purse, because she obviously wouldn't be needing it. Then she half-turned to see if she was in this room with a man or with an animal. She saw him looming in front of her with his eyes bleeding need again and drawing breath to use his godly voice. Whether he was one or the other, or neither or both was unknown to her. He was just himself and she wanted him.

He was first to say it aloud: "I want you, Sakura." She tried to say it back to him but could do nothing but breathe. Whether he understood or not, he closed the distance between them first by walking to her and then trapping her against him.

His natural elegance became a feral elegance, and he moved his hands and mouth wherever he pleased. When they kissed, he meant to attack her tongue, but she was ready for him and they danced instead. His hand curled around her head to trap her further.

Next she knew, they had already arrived at his bed and he was lifting her up only to lie her down onto it. Now he was above her, hovering and staring and making her wither with only his eyes. He had always done that, but never to the extent that she literally ached for him to do more than stare. Seeing his effects on her made him make a low, rumbling sound. A tiny, rational piece of Sakura thought it might have been breaking thunder.

Pain came down to her and kissed her again, everywhere. He remembered the spots on her neck she loved to be kissed, and where to tease her with his tongue till became like a whimpering cub underneath him and mewled for him to love her more. He did. He did until he felt her own little velvet tongue on him.

Pain had given her her first taste of pleasure and now her first of lust, and gladly let her shower him with it. She liked the curve of his jaw and kissed it, far too softly, so that he would need more, and then the underside of his chin, and then where his skin disappeared underneath his shirt. And that, with her fingers coming up to touch him through the confining material, became the limit. He pushed her down again and then pushed up on the hem of the shirt she wore.

He could see her lust dissolving like steam as it came higher and higher, and she even dared to stop his hand. For this he glared at her and she finally saw the flaring pits of hell that all bystanders saw when they looked into Pain's eyes. But he relented this glare and leaned down to touch a feather-kiss on her bare stomach. Her hands released his and he finally tossed the offending material away.

He performed similarly with her pants, though she yelped slightly when he first touched them. They, too, were gone. The Sakura he too-frequently dreamed of was here beneath him. Seeing her broke some control inside him. He grabbed her shoulders to pull her into a sitting position and whispered heatedly to her, "Sakura. I need you to touch me."

Sakura's reaction was predictable and made him purr. Her lithe little hands were shivering as she asked him how. Pain took one of these hands and moved it till it touched the button of his pants, and slipped a finger behind it. Her eyes became comically wide and she suddenly said, "Take your shirt off first." He knew it was a stalling technique but he did so, anyway. It only came back to bite her when she realized the lack of the shirt only exposed him more, in all ways. Now they were both up on their knees, and he was begging her for what he wanted. In her nervousness her hand pushed down slower than he could stand and it felt like a taunt. But then her hand was curling shakily around his length and he felt only heat like a bursting sun.

He pushed against her to force them closer so that she would feel his hardness even more. She moved her hidden hand backwards, then forwards, fingers dragging, pulling and he groaned in pleasure like a beast. He smothered her with his hands and her own hand shook as she whimpered from the touch. She was driving him mad, controlling him, but he wanted to control now. He could not wait.

Pain stopped the motions of Sakura's hand by pushing her half-down onto the bed, again beneath him. The two of them did away with any last scraps of clothing hiding them from each other. Sakura's barrier of nervousness persisted, but it was weak. She adjusted her legs for him, and he hovered over her once more. Their breaths and their movements were the very same.

"Now," he murmured. "Move with me."

22. Morning

Sakura woke up because snow hit against the window. She was a light enough sleeper that such a noise should have startled her awake like any alarm or horn. But today it merely cracked her eyes and her waking consciousness, both of which let her see that she was too wrapped up in another body to move. And also naked.

From her she could barely see her cellphone lying on the nightstand. It was still glowing, which meant she had just received a text under a minute ago, at 8:01. Sakura squinted and saw the sender was Ino, and her message was short. Ino had sent her a very knowing ;D

The phone and its snarky message had distracted her from the fact that she'd very recently had sex, and even without the nakedness and the man in bed with her, she could feel the soreness of it everywhere. When Pain moved his arm and brushed her hand, she registered first that it made her exhausted hands feel and then the fact that this man lying next to her was naked and beautiful. His sleep-disheveled hair was like a lion's mane and it made her smile.

He was probably getting ready to say something undeniably suave or dominant. She beat him to it by moving up slightly, and touching her lips to his neck. The first real 'good morning' kiss she'd ever given. But of course it didn't make him quiet. "Nnn. My love." He whispered. Hs fingers began to play with her hair and her neck.

It started to get quiet, but she didn't want it to. "I do believe we've reached a new stage," she commented.

"And we won't be going back from it." He confirmed. "We'll repeat last night a second time. A third. Endless more."

"You think so?"


"That this will be endless."

"Why would it not be?"

"Are we talking about a relationship or sex?"


"Good. Because I'd like both to be endless, too. I don't ever plan on growing tired of you." Pain smiled at her. It was soft and fine and meant only for her. To it, she said, "Good morning, by the way."

My God I never meant for it to turn out like this. Did you see what happened in nineteen and twenty-one? Omg, I can't believe I wrote that x_x

Well finally I finished my PainSaku "drabble" fic, and lord, did I play fast and loose with the word "drabble." I originally meant for the story to be mostly light-hearted with little hints of lime, and for each "drabble" to be five paragraphs max, but clearly both those criteria turned out pretty backwards as I went along. I don't mind, though. I rather like this. But anyway…


Okay, I admit I partially wrote this story so people would read it, get to the end and see my advertisement here for a Halloween oneshot contest. The guidelines are quite simple: you shall write a oneshot of any length, with a pairing that involves Sakura Haruno. It doesn't need to take place on Halloween or even in autumn, but must include some scene, however big or small, that is scary, and somewhere in the story you must include the word 'nightmarish.' Other than that, you have free reign.

Entries will be taken until Halloween (maybe November 1st) and then voted on in a poll during the next week. First prize gets a oneshot of their pairing and storyline of choice, by me. Check out my profile for examples of how much dedication and pure length I put into my stories, even oneshots. Second prize is a drabble, still of your pairing and storyline of choice, but I think I've just proven that I can make some damn long and worthwhile drabbles. Interested? Get writing, plz. I will post these guidelines on my profile very soon. Ciao~