Title: more than enough
Prompts: Post-war, Sakura realizes that the most important things for Sasuke are his clan and his friendship with Naruto. Seeing through her fake smiles and sad eyes, Sasuke proves her different; Sakura overworks herself and she gets sick. When she faints, who is there to catch her? The boy who tried to kill her suddenly tries to help her?
Summary: But of course. She never did have a place in his heart.
A/N: These were originally prompts submitted in my Tumblr but then because I just love good 'ol angst I enjoyed it so much it got so long. Yeah, I cheated and combined two prompts but whatfuckingever. I did because I can.
Also, this was originally titled 'THAT ANGST-FEST PROMPT THAT TURNED INTO A LONG-ASS ONE-SHOT' in my laptop. Nothing just sharin'.
NOW. ON WITH THE PROGRAM.
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
When the war was over and everything was taken care off—renovations were done, war crime trials were finished—Sakura takes the time to finally face a realization long overdue.
There are bonds that are broken that can be mended and repaired and rebuilt and then there are some which can never be fixed or mended or repaired because they were never there to begin with.
It didn't come out as a surprise when after Sasuke's trial and all throughout his sentence, his and Naruto's bond had not only mended (repaired, fixed, restored almost to the way it was) but it only became stronger (like nothing ever happened).
They train together, they eat together, they hang-out together, they fight with each other, they advanced in the ranks together and they go on missions together, more often without her.
She tries to justify this by the simple fact that she has a regular job in the hospital and is more often needed there than in the field. Her hours are different from them and their schedules just don't correspond with each other. But while she clings onto these reasons, all it ever does is make the bond between Sasuke and Naruto stronger while she is slowly being pushed out of the picture by no one else but herself.
Funny, though, how these reasons never did affect her bond with Naruto or any of her other friends.
And Sakura realizes that hers and Sasuke's was one that was never there to begin with.
Sometimes she'd look at her team and would be torn between feeling happy and devastatingly sad.
Happy, because they're finally reinstated as an official team again after being removed from the official roster (and with another member to boot). They've all moved up the shinobi ranks faster than Tsunade's sake consumption. She's head of Konoha General, Naruto is training for Hokage, Sai is in ANBU and Sasuke has successfully reintegrated in Konoha society and they're regarded as war heroes with a stone plaque erected in their honor. They've been going on missions as a team again and it almost feels like everything is back to the way it was.
(Almost, except it isn't.)
But she is also devastatingly sad because the truth has been staring her right in the eye all this time and she's only took the time to notice now.
Team 7 is composed of Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto and the little girl who was just lucky enough to complete the required number of a team and a nameless painter from the ranks as a temporary substitute.
It's like a hard slap on the face with the force that has built up in the long years she's chosen to ignore it.
And she knows it's unkind of her, to feel this way, because isn't this what they worked for? Isn't this what everything was about? To bring back Sasuke? For Team 7 to be whole again?
But then who exactly is Team 7?
So, maybe in all technicalities it would be the three of them: Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura, four counting their additional member, Sai; but are they really? Can they even be considered a team? Were they even ever a team to begin with?
Because Sakura clearly remembers she has only ever been included in the most mundane. She can count in one hand how many times all three of the original members had worked together in the past and it wouldn't even reach five.
It has always ever been Sasuke and Naruto. Even in the war, when she is finally fully capable to fight by their side, finally their equal, it is still Naruto and Sasuke who finished the job.
So, yes she is glad that Sasuke's back and she is happy for Naruto and Team 7 and that is what she says and shows to people every waking minute of every day.
But in the back of her mind, behind closed doors and prying eyes, she refers to Team 7 as Sasuke and Naruto and the little girl who was just lucky to complete the required number of a team.
And she realizes that everything really is back to the way it was.
Being an outsider is something she is used to; but sometimes, in her lowest moments and the bitterest of them, she wishes she's not the only one who feels this way.
She finds it to be lonely, being an outsider, and knowing that no one understands you is what makes it all the more poignant. It is not the kind of lonely that Kakashi and Sasuke feel nor is it the feeling of losing a precious person. It is not the absence of company because if it is that, she has no reason to feel this way.
It is the wanting, the yearning to be a part of something but can't and not understanding why no matter how hard you try to fit in.
Naruto may know but she doesn't think he'd understand the kind of loneliness she's feeling even if he went through it himself.
Because the difference between her and Naruto is that he always manages to worm his way into everyone's hearts and be a part of that something. It's just something that he's born with, she supposes, that innate talent to warm everyone's hearts and make them open up and accept him.
But their circumstances are different; because while Sakura can charm her way through the hearts of even the most cold-hearted kages, she can never manage it with the one person who matters.
She is not angry with Naruto nor will she ever resent him. Naruto is one of her best friends and he is her brother in everything but blood and she can never stay mad at him long enough for it to matter. It's just that he's also best friends with Sasuke and she can never be a part of that bond.
So, she goes to Sai and spends her time with him instead—watching him paint, training with him, eating with him, talking to him and ignoring his jabs—because she knows he knows what if feels like to be out of the loop.
"What's wrong, Ugly? You've been spending more time with me lately. According to my research this happens when there is a rift between one's relationships with other people. Did something happen with Dickless and Traitor?"
Their only difference, perhaps, is that he doesn't know how it feels to finally realize you're an outsider all along on something you've always thought you were a part of.
When they were young—innocent, bright-eyed, optimistic, full of hope and naive little children—she likes to think that Sasuke at least considered her a friend.
Because if he didn't he wouldn't have helped her in all those dreadful D-ranks before. He wouldn't be always protecting her during missions and he wouldn't have avenged her during the second exam in their first Chuunin Exams.
Get a grip, Haruno. It was because you were good for nothing then. You were weak and you needed protecting. They couldn't pass the Chuunin Exams without a third member. Protecting you and saving your scrawny ass was part of the job.
But then again, friends don't call you weak and make you feel insignificant and little. Friends don't knock you out in the dead of the night and leave you on cold hard benches. Friends don't leave friends behind in search for power and friends do not attempt to kill each other.
Didn't you try to kill him too? Wasn't that what triggered him? Did he really wanted to kill you or was he just defending himself?
She liked to delude herself that Sasuke at least considered her a friend but she knew—she always knew—deep in her heart that she never had a place in his.
Sakura doesn't look in mirrors these days. In fact, she avoids them as much as she can.
It's because she doesn't like what she sees in the mirror. She still has the same vibrant pink hair and viridian eyes. She still has the same tired and exhausted look that seems to have become a permanent resident on her face since she started working in the hospital, only now, she thinks, she looks...dead.
Nowadays, when Sakura looks in the mirror, she sees a girl with vibrant pink hair and exhaustion written all over her face, staring at her with dull and empty viridian eyes.
She is not stupid and she is clearly aware of these things. Like when she tries to smile her smiles look far too much like Sai's. She knows this in the way Ino frowns and Naruto's grin falters and Kakashi gives her a pointed look and even the Godaime Hokage raises her brow at her. Her smiles never stretch enough across her face as if she'll burst into laughter any second and they never reach her eyes enough for dull viridian eyes to brighten like they used to—like she was used to.
Nowadays, her smiles are far too professional and clinical—a small quirk of the lips, a plastered fake cheer—and they no longer held warmth like they used to but are dull and empty.
And she knows this because it's true. They are nothing but empty smiles. Empty just like her.
She is not surprise when he doesn't come see her even when she knows he's badly injured or his Sharingan is acting up. She has no right to demand of this anyway.
But it doesn't stop her from being hurt.
Naruto notices this and he tries to cheer her up by constantly teasing her or telling her about his day and the weird shit he's seen on his travels with the late toad-sannin.
And they work, most of the time. Sakura would scowl at him and deny that no, Lee and her are only friends thank you very much and no, she doesn't like the medic-nin from Iwa that way and would he keep his stupid fox-nose out of her love life it is none of his business. She would snort before eventually full out laughing as Naruto regales her with the story of how he was almost eaten by a giant bird while he was in Tea Country complete with wild gestures and ridiculous sound effects. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head as Naruto tells her about how Hinata went to Ichiraku with him but then turned an interesting shade of red when he offered to pay and walk her home.
But there are days when not even Naruto's stories or his antics can cheer her up and get her out of her stump and once, in her worst of the worst, she unintentionally took it out on him.
Why won't he come see her? Why won't he let her tend to his injuries? Why won't he come to get his Sharingan checked? She's not asking for him to be with her—hell, she's not even asking for them to be friends. She just wants to know if he's okay. How is he fairing in the village? Is he eating well? He's probably busy trying to figure out how to complete his next goal of reviving his clan. But then why will he only spend time with Naruto? She knows they're best friends and that's fine with her. She knows how strong and unbreakable their bond is and she knows they're a team. But wasn't she his teammate once? Didn't that count for anything? Didn't she count for anything?
Naruto could only look at her with something akin to pity and sadness in his ever expressive eyes before shrugging awkwardly and looking down or away or just anywhere but her and Sakura hates it.
She hates that Naruto can't help but look at her with such pity and sadness, hates herself for taking it out on him when it's not his fault. Of course it's not his fault. She hates how she sounded so desperate, pathetic, sounded still like that little girl that tried to stop him in vain all those years ago. Sakura hates how she's not above being jealous of Naruto of all people and she hates how she still clings to him and still yearns for any attention that Sasuke-kun might give her and she feels so stupidstupidstupid because none of that really matters. Not for him.
She knows Sasuke's priorities. She knows his clan is of the utmost importance and she suspects it only comes second to his friendship with Naruto.
And of course she knows she is not a part of those priorities and she never will be.
She overworks herself because that is where she is comfortable.
The hospital is her territory and she doesn't need to force herself to belong and she is not an outsider because it is her turf. She knows it like the back of her hands and she can move through it flawlessly and efficiently even with her eyes closed, even sleep deprived and chakra drained.
She doesn't need to skirt around and feel awkward in conversations and feel unwanted and irrelevant because here she is needed. Here she is the Queen.
In the place where death is always lurking and the halls are sterile but are stained with blood and the scent of disinfectant is heavy to cover the stench of loss and death is where she's in her element.
The hospital is Sakura's natural habitat and Konoha General is her second home. This is where she spends majority of her life and time fixing things, healing wounds and mending bones. Things that she at least has slight control of. She works herself to the ground—healing, fixing and mending—until she is numb from exhaustion and her mind and body are on autopilot with nothing but medical jargons, potion equations and the feeling of steady healing chakra coursing through her and out until she is wholly drained of everything.
Because this way, at least, she doesn't have to think of Sasuke-kun and of her and him and of everything that wasn't there.
Because she is angry and hurt and betrayed but she has no right to be. She is filled to the brim with these emotions even though she knows it's irrational and she has no right to be. And it's slowly building up inside her, threatening to burst any minute if triggered and all hell will break loose and she can only think of one way to deal with it. But even with all these negativity bubbling up inside her, she knows that is not the right thing to do.
So, she spends her time healing rather than breaking.
She clings to three things: coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. The comfort they provide her is something nothing or nobody else can provide. Not even Naruto.
And in these moments, she understands why Tsunade-shishou drinks her sake by the barrel.
Only in her case, it's not just alcohol she depends on.
The feeling of the smoke entering her lungs and how it looks like as she blows it in the cold and still misty dawn mesmerizes her and relaxes her even for a while. She's gone and finished almost half the pack in one sitting and she hasn't even taken two sips of her cup of coffee. A slow smirk stretches across her exhausted face as she imagines Naruto's reaction if he happens to chance upon her smoking in the wee hours of the morning.
Naruto is always angry whenever he catches her with a cigarette and says it's worst than consuming only ramen. "At least I still have nutrients in my body other than coffee and smoke!" he would say "Aren't you a medic? Stop existing on caffeine and nicotine alone!"
In her hazy sleep deprived state she vaguely muses how Naruto is wrong because she doesn't live off of caffeine and nicotine alone. That's just ridiculous.
Sometimes there is alcohol involved.
She has coffee to keep her awake (soldier pills don't taste half as good as bitter black coffee) and nicotine is to relax her and cool down the burning rage resting deep within her. And of course alcohol. Alcohol is for when she wants to forget. Preferably vodka but sake does just fine.
She wonders if it would've been a great idea to have poured some of it in her coffee. It's not like anyone would notice anyway.
Because everybody needs a coping mechanism. Just like how Tsunade-shishou drinks and Shikamaru smokes or how Kakashi goes to mission after mission and Naruto inhales ramen a bowl a minute, this is her way of coping.
Sakura smokes and drinks and works herself to death because it's the only way she knows how to cope.
Sakura takes a sip of her coffee, savouring its bitter taste and the scalding in her tongue, before taking another drag of her cigarette. She stifled a yawn and frowned thinking how the coffee is not doing its job of waking her up. She has a surgery due in five minutes and it wouldn't do if she's bleary eyed as she operates the patient—
Exhaustion finally took over and a sudden rush of vertigo assaulted her. She feels herself falling head first on the cold pavement and Sakura just waits for the inevitable.
She hears someone's voice call her name and a grunt as her vision darkened and she lost consciousness.
Her coffee is spilled and her cigarette dies as it hits the ground
When Sakura finally regained consciousness, she immediately knows she's still in the hospital even without opening her eyes.
She doesn't open them yet and just waits for all her senses to wake. She already knew she is not in the sofa in her office she always sleeps at because the surface she's lying in is soft but a bit stiff unlike her well worn sofa. The sterilized smell and the scent of disinfectant is so heavy in the air she could almost taste it and she wonders how it never bothered her before. Sakura sighed as she opened her eyes and adjusted them in the dark room. She supposes it's different when you're the one lying on a hospital bed.
She stayed on the bed for a few more moments before sighing again and getting up. She has a feeling she's been asleep longer than she should have and now she's late for her surgery, or all of her other appointments depending on the time.
"You shouldn't stand up."
Sakura knew of the presence before she opened her eyes but chose to ignore it. After all, she wouldn't have gotten here all by herself. There is a flurry of something in her upon sensing the presence prompting her to immediately get the hell out of the room. Her face didn't betray any of these feelings, however, fully aware of his ever keen eyes even in the darkest of surroundings.
She didn't deem it necessary to acknowledge him as she sat up and tried to get off the bed. But then another wave of vertigo assaulted her as her knees buckled making her lose her balance and she waits for her inevitable fall on the hospital's cold floor—only she didn't.
Sasuke is at her side before she even hit the ground, holding her up by the waist against him. "I told you, you shouldn't—"
"Don't touch me." She hissed as she pushed away from him causing her to tumble back in bed. The sudden animosity in her voice and the raw hostility in her eyes made him take a step back and Sakura felt an internal sadistic pleasure at that.
Sasuke seemed taken aback by her sudden outburst before recovering quickly as he tried to push her down on the bed. "Lie down and rest, Sakura."
She swatted his hand away. "Shut up. I said don't touch me."
Sakura pinched the bridge of her nose as she closed her eyes feeling a migraine coming. How long has she been out? It was early morning when she remembers blacking out and it's already dark out now. Has it been a few hours? The whole day? Has it been days now? The room is still spinning around her and her vision is blurry and fucking Sasuke is still in the room and fucking looking at her and—God, she cannot deal with this sober. She desperately needs a drink and a smoke and she damn well is going to get some.
She steeled herself, ready to try and get up again, but before she could even try to stand, Sasuke is in front of her and pushing her down on the bed again.
"You've been out for two days, Sakura. The doctor advised you stay in bed and rest. The Hokage has cancelled all of your further appointments. Where are you even going?"
The monotone in his voice just angers her more and Sakura glared up at him. "Out. Away from you." She spat "Now, get the fuck out of my way and don't even think of pushing me down on this bed again or I swear to God I'll—"
He's matched her glare now as he continued to block her path. "You'll what, Sakura?"
His voice sounded mocking and the dormant fury in her is slowly being awakened and she hates him a little more.
"I'll fucking destroy you."
"What the fuck is your problem?"
She wanted to laugh then and there. If only she had the energy to do anything more other than be angry she would've. She would've laughed. She would've fucking laughed.
This is the first time they're meeting after the war and outside of duty and all Sakura can think of doing is punching his face in. Sasuke wouldn't even begin to understand what the fuck her problem is.
"Didn't you want me dead before? I'm working on it to save you the hassle."
A look of confusion passed through Sasuke's face. He doesn't understand why she's angry. In truth, she doesn't understand either.
"You're still so annoying, Sakura."
In the end, she asked him to leave.
When she wakes up again, the sun is out and Kakashi is perched on her window sill, one leg dangling outside the window the other propped up with an arm resting on it. He's holding a Styrofoam cup in one hand and a stick of lighted cigarette dangling from his fingers on his other.
"Hmm. Coffee and nicotine. I certainly see the appeal."
Sakura sighed, stretching out a little. "You should try mixing it with alcohol. I finally understand now why shishou is a fan of alcohol in her tea."
She doesn't know if her spat with Sasuke is real or if she just dreamt of it. And even if it is true, she doesn't know how long has passed since then. Was it just last night or a few nights ago? All she remembers is lying in bed staring blankly at the ceiling until she succumbed to sleep.
Kakashi must've noticed her expression because he hummed and said, "It's noon now, just a few hours after."
Ah. So, it was last night. "How did you know?"
Kakashi just shrugs. Stupid question, really. Of course Kakashi knows.
There is silence as Kakashi continues to sit at her window and Sakura just lays awake. She can hear him making occasional sips from his Styrofoam cup and smell the smoke from his cigarette. His mask is openly pulled down as he takes drags from the nicotine stick on his hand and Sakura is more entranced by the smoke coming out of him rather than the fact that his face is openly exposed. She's seen him without his mask a number of times before that it's nothing new but seeing him smoking a cigarette is a different thing. The steady string of smoke coming from his thin lips and billowing around him makes her want to have a smoke herself.
"He's never going to get it, you know." Kakashi said taking another sip of his coffee before frowning slightly and settling it down.
Sakura doesn't look at him even as he continues to speak.
"This is Sasuke we're talking about here. He won't get it even if you slap it on his face unless you outright tell him."
She closes her eyes and exhales through her nose, angry and exasperated but still managing to remain calm.
"And what am I suppose to do about it, Kakashi?"
She can punch it through him and scream at his face all she wants and even then he still wouldn't understand. She knows because she's tried. Oh, how she tried.
"This coffee's horrible. I don't know how you can survive off of this let alone stand this, Sakura."
She still doesn't look at him but in the corner of her eyes, she could see him frowning at the Styrofoam cup still half filled with what is now lukewarm coffee as if it insulted him and she nearly smiled. The cigarette in his hand is still lit and half finished and she wonders if he's going to finish it.
"I didn't know you smoke."
"Hm?" she could imagine him cocking his head to the side "I don't."
Sakura wonders if this is Kakashi's subtle way of telling her to quit her nicotine addiction and change her diet. Again, it almost made her smile.
"I have to go" he said after a while and Sakura could just imagine him smiling under his mask he's put up again and his lone visible eye crinkling as he said "Feel better, Sakura" before jumping out her window.
The half empty cup of coffee and half finished cigarette are both left on her window sill and despite the strong urge to get up and finish them herself, Sakura settles to closing her eyes and going back to sleep.
On her fifth night on the hospital, she wakes up to the sight of Uchiha Sasuke on her bedside peeling an apple with a kunai.
The first time she woke at such a sight, she was torn between laughing or crying and screaming at him to get the fuck out. She also had the strong urge to upturn the plate as he offered it to her but settled into ignoring him. This has been the routine since Kakashi came to visit her.
Sasuke will be seating at her bedside peeling apples. He'll come around the early evenings and stay until she falls asleep. He doesn't come in the mornings but he is always there at night. And every time Sakura just ignores him.
"The nurses said you haven't eaten much again." He's cutting up the apple in half. "The Hokage won't let you out of here until you're back in shape, you know."
At the mention of her master, Sakura's mind came back to the conversation they had when she visited. She came barging in around mid-afternoon all stomps and fifty shades angry with a scowl that could've melted her face off and proceeded to shout at her.
"Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol? Are you a medic or are you not a medic?! You're worst than Uzumaki! I know I taught you better than that, brat!"
"But of course. I learn from the best."
"Do not sass me, brat. I can have you banned from working at the hospital for as long as I'm Hokage!"
And the rest of her visit was spent with her lecturing her about the dangers of caffeine and nicotine and unhealthy diets until kingdom come and she had no choice but to listen because that is how she is trained but it didn't stop her from thinking 'hypocrite' over and over again in her head.
In the end, the only words that truly stuck to her were:
"It's not worth it, brat. It's not worth destroying yourself over something that can be fixed."
She's convinced herself that they're wrong. Kakashi, Tsunade-shishou and Naruto are all wrong. This—they cannot be fixed because there is nothing to be fixed.
So, she continues to ignore him.
"Here." Sasuke offers her the plate of apples again. She doesn't take it and after a while Sasuke puts it on the table beside her bed.
But she wants to know why. Why is he even bothering? Why does he continue to come? Why does he continue to act as if he cares? It's not like there's something to gain out of this.
"I think you should leave."
And she will find out. Eventually. Just not tonight. She doesn't think she can.
Sasuke says nothing as he stood up and walks to the door but before it completely closes, Sakura hears it.
It is low, almost a whisper, and if she wasn't trained to hear the quietest of noise she wouldn't have heard them.
"Please feel better, Sakura."
She denies the lone tear that escaped her eyes.
It is a few days later and true to their routine; Sasuke continues to come by around the early evenings and sits himself beside her bed.
Tonight is no different. He takes out a plate and an apple from the bag he's brought and started peeling it off with a kunai. Sakura is seating up on her bed with a book in hand but stops to watch him.
When he's nearly done cutting up the apples, it is when she asks him.
"Why?" is the only thing she says but she knows she doesn't need to say more.
Sasuke stops cutting the apple into even bite size pieces and lowers it down on the plate. He stares down at his hands on his lap refusing to meet her gaze and doesn't say anything for a long time.
If it were during their genin days, Sakura would have all the time and patience in the world for Uchiha Sasuke. But a war, so many wasted lives, too many failed attempts to save and five years later, she can't find it in herself to be in his presence and not feel like she wants to go on a rampage.
His silence continues on and Sakura's grip on the book on her hands is enough to crush the hard-bound material. She shakes with controlled rage as she knowingly interprets the Uchiha's silence.
"You don't know?" she hissed "By shodai's—" she exhales, calms herself "Of course you don't know. How silly of me to think you'd understand."
A war, so many wasted lives, too many failed attempts to save and five years later and she is still sososo naive about Uchiha Sasuke and goddammit Kakashi is right and she should have known better and why and how does Uchiha fucking Sasuke always manages to make a fool out of her?
"You're wrong." He says and this time he is looking at her "I do know, Sakura."
How can he? What does he know? What does he understand? Her mind is running a hundred different thoughts per minute and she wants answers to all these questions in her head. What does he know now? Why is Uchiha Sasuke so damn hard to understand?
"You're still so annoying, Sakura." He tells her again and her heart aches a little more at the nostalgia it held. "I—Naruto told me what you told him that day" and she immediately knows what he's talking about and she is going to kill Naruto "I don't come because I didn't think you'd want me to."
Sakura watches him as he struggles for things to say and thinks that there are a million and one things that he wants to tell her but couldn't find the right words to say them. He has never been a man of words, she knows.
"I didn't think you'd want me around after everything that has happened."
And by God, why is Uchiha Sasuke so dumb?
"I care about you too, Sakura."
He said it so softly not unlike how he wished her well that night she asked him to leave. He said the words so softly as he looks into her eyes and Sakura just stares at him for a very long time.
And suddenly, all the pent up anger in her, all the bubbling rage and hurt and feelings of betrayal is slowly vanishing inside her as if in thin air, as if they were never there in the first place. And she didn't have the time to hate herself for still being soft when it comes to Uchiha Sasuke after all this time because she is caught by the sheer sincerity in his voice and in his eyes and Sakura could feel the tears threatening to escape.
Sakura let out a choked sob and for the first time in a long time, smiled as if she's about to burst into laughter.
It's not a declaration of love, but to Sakura, it's more than enough.
A/N: I love angst. Can't you tell?
Read and review yo!