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Women Love Fest: Day 6

Title: Raspberry Swirl
Fandom: Naruto
Characters/Pairings: Sakura Haruno, Tsunade, Ino Yamanaka, Rock Lee, OCs
Ratings/Warnings: PG-13, violence and swearing
Written For: womenlovefest
Wordcount: 1067
A/N: I'm working on a series of Naruto fics based on Tori Amos songs. This is the one I wrote for Sakura. It's set in the fanon established in Taming The Wolf.


She stands alone, her fists and teeth clenched, blood trickling from her mouth. He is coming for her again, and she cannot hesitate. She will win this if it kills her.

There will be no leg biting this time. She remembers how she lashed out and sank her teeth into that Sound kid's leg, like a dog, but a fat lot of good it did her in the end. She was useless and weak and had to be saved. Like hell she's relying on Sasuke and Lee and Ino to save her arse now. Sasuke's gone rogue, and Lee is injured and clutching his leg in agony, and Ino is with another team.

She builds chakra into her fist, the way Tsunade has been teaching her, and punches the enemy into a tree. She hears the sickening crack of bones, and tries to block it out of her mind. You're a shinobi. You may be a medic-nin, but you still take life when you have to, you don't just save it.

She spins round sharply as she hears trees rustle behind her. A kunai sings past her ear, then another, then another. That was close! Nearly scratched my face. Thank the gods Tsunade-sama has been teaching her to dodge.

She's a harsh mistress, the Fifth Hokage. Every day, Sakura was coming home with cuts and bruises, the angry words of Tsunade ringing in her ears – idiot, fool, weakling, stupid little girl, try harder, and she calls herself a shinobi?, for the love of the gods, dodge! - but she kept going back, because she had no choice. The end justifies the means, and her reflexes are getting better and better – well, is it any surprise, the amount of bombs the mad old bitch throws at her? Sakura scolds herself for being so uncharitable. If it wasn't for Tsunade, she'd still be in a rut. I've got to become self-sufficient now. Can't keep relying on Naruto to bail me out.

Sakura throws a smoke bomb. Shizune's been teaching her how to make them. She can hear her enemy choking, and she seizes the opportunity to throw herself on top of him and deliver a blow with the side of her hand to the back of his neck. He crumples to the ground. He has a scroll in his pocket – the prize she's been looking for.

“Guys, it's alright,” Sakura calls to the two boys she's been paired up with, Lee and a dark, sallow-skinned kid called Han Minamoto, who was in the year below her, and who is sitting in a tree, keeping watch. “I've got the scroll.” It's all Lee can do not to start jumping up and down, but his leg is killing him. Sakura places her hands on Lee's leg and slowly, patiently, heals his injury. Han fingers the chain wrapped around his waist, the trademark weapon that his family carry. He doesn't want to admit this, but he's pleasantly surprised at Sakura's strength. A skinny little thing like her doesn't look like someone who can smash through rocks with her fists and send people flying into trees.

Fast forward to the Chuunin Exams. Ino has just passed hers – she beat Han, mindraping him and forcing him to stab himself. Chouji's probably going to reward her with a good screwing tonight, if the rumours about those two are true. Sakura's so happy for Ino – the old rivalry is done and dusted. Everybody knows I'm her friend.

Ino is up in the stands, bellowing her lungs out as Sakura swerves under her opponent's fists, gashing her leg as she slides on the gritty ground. Her opponent is from Sunagakure, a blonde teenager called Kotono from the Harumichi clan, a clan of poisoners, as Sakura's luck would have it, but she doesn't need to use poison. Kotono is breathing out a cloud of it now, and Sakura whips out an explosive tag and sets it off, forcing the other girl back. But Kotono's prepared, and is shooting a kurohado series at Sakura. Sakura's heard about this. They say it's some kind of black magic.

Think back, girl. Think back. Tsunade is volleying bomblets at Sakura and Sakura is frantically diving and twisting her body out of the way as the bastard things go off. One of them is too close for comfort, and she screams as pain sears through her body. Tsunade is unimpressed. “If you're going to amount to anything as a medic-nin, my girl, you're going to have to be able to dodge much worse things than these.”

Kotono is chanting something about mountains and twisted branches and dancing crow feathers, and a chakra chain appears to zip out of her hand and wraps round Sakura's leg. The Harumichi kunoichi is pulling on the chain, dragging Sakura towards her, and the bloody thing must be charged with some kind of magic, because it's burning Sakura's leg. She tries to grab hold of the chain, but it burns her hands.

An idea zigzags into her brain. Could it work?

Sakura grins, seizes the chain in both hands, and yanks her opponent towards her. A tug of war begins, and the opponent blasts her with another kurohado, but Sakura keeps holding on. She's damned if she's letting go. Didn't Kakashi-sensei tell her and Naruto and Sasuke about using the enemy's attacks against them?

Sakura bites her lip, her mouth filling with blood as she focuses chakra into her arms and hands, and yanks the chain upwards and towards her. Kotono's mouth drops open. She wasn't expecting this. The pain is snaking through Sakura's arms, but she bears it, thinking of Naruto and Sasuke, and suddenly leaps forward like a snake and punches the other girl full in the face, knocking her backwards. Kotono tries to reach for the poison-filled syringe she keeps in her pocket, like all her clan do, but Sakura's too quick for her and stamps on her hand, smashing the syringe and the girl's bones with it. She's concentrating chakra into her feet now. The Harumichi moans with pain.

“I give up,” she croaks.

Genma Shiranui declares Sakura the winner, and she can just make out Ino jumping up and down in the stands. Her arms and hands feel like she's been carrying flames, but the pain is worth it. Oh gods, was it worth it.

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