If anybody ever asks him what Sakura is to him, he knows with utmost certainty what his answer would be.
He is not even going to expound on it, to explain, to say that she is just a slip of a girl who liked to follow him around.
No, it will be nothing.
Just nothing. Plain and simple.
He will say nothing -- but only if nothing is preventing him from telling a lie.
However, if honesty is mandatory, then he will certainly have a different answer.
Sakura is something – though, what that something is, that he cannot quite pinpoint.
She belongs to that class of things that are dangerous to define.
Dangerous, in a way that was similar to how calling Naruto his best friend had automatically put the said boy in the path of his vengeance, and subsequently in a near-death state in one of their confrontations.
So that is how it goes with the girl with pink hair, like bubblegum and cotton candy and all the happy things that did not belong in his world.
She will be left undefined.
And yet, he keeps her memory in his mind. It is filed away neatly in one of the dark corners, ready for use should the need ever crop up.
…like that time in Sound where he could not, for the life of him, find a reason to go on; when not even the thought of vengeance, his brother’s blood seeping through his hands (he had wanted that back then, oh the irony, the sheer irony) could sustain him. He had lied to himself then, told himself he could go back, build a future.
And for a while, that was enough.
But lies are fragile, porous things; and truth always has a way of creeping in through the cracks.
And the truth is: He does not know how to build anything, only to destroy. Such was his fate. And he is resigned to it; he had to be resigned to it.
He does know how to preserve too, though – he is an expert at it. Past, pain, pink; all are preserved carefully, neatly, lovingly, in his mind – it was just that, he never quite got the hang of keeping things whole, and therein lay all his problems.
He can protect her, defend her, keep her alive – but never make her happy, never that.
It will not be enough, because there will always be someone who can do both.
Someone else. Someone not him.
That is why he never defines her, never gives himself the chance to, because he is afraid that if he does, something will mean everything.
He is not prepared for that.
Not yet. Not now. Not ever.
Not when he knows how easy it is to lose everything.
a/n. Gah, I hate lj's html formatting. seriously. But anyway, hm, here's a piece that I wrote quite a long time ago (months, lots of months) but was never able to finish. I found it on my sister's laptop and decided to tweak it a bit and, well, finish it -- finally. XD Special thanks to miko-chan for beta-ing it for me. Hope you guys like it. :)