A/N: It's been awhile, hi! Still one of the most fun things to work on, should probs do that more, heh.

The Voice Inside Your Head

You are upset, I can understand but I promise I didn't really mean to do that to him. He just said something stupid and you weren't going to do anything! Please understand, sometimes Sasuke is also wrong. He's not perfect like you think he is. He's human—love and treat him like one.

You are so much wiser, so much kinder, and so much stronger than you pretend not to be. Follow that gut of yours—it will save you!

Chapter Six

If one expected Sakura and Naruto's friendship to blossom, one would probably be a little too hopeful.

I hadn't expected it myself but I have to admit, I wanted her to do something. Hang out with the kid after school, have fun playdates, uh, I don't know. Whatever it is kids do. Ninja seemed to be a popular game...

But then I also knew that Sakura just wasn't in a place to pick others up when she was much more focused on herself. In the past, prior to Ino helpfully picking up on what I'd been screeching at her for a while, she was shy and considerably weak to the views of others. Bit by bit, she'd grown of course and now she was learning medicine, a way to keep her brain busy on other things that didn't concern socializing.

If I were honest...uh, it might have been my fault she didn't have a social life as a kid. I don't know. God knows I didn't have one in my past life—I was always more comfortable by myself but now, considering the fact that I'm a little girl's head and am probably imaginary by this point, that's not gonna happen anytime soon. The next best thing was making Sakura more of a loner, which she became just from the sheer fact that she had no time for others when most of her day was spent reading advanced medical texts, studying anatomy, tenketsu diagrams, then the documents on the side effects of poisons and how to combat them through antitodes. Not to mention the fact that the little pinkette was learning how to make them herself...

Either way, the most Sakura did for Naruto was not blatantly ignore him. She acknowledged his existance with a look, maybe a wave if she was feeling in a chipper mood, and that was that. Which was probably why he started to hang around her, pestering her into action as she tried to squint through the text about the delicate opperations that dealt with the heart and the methods to keep a paitent alive if it ever stopped beating. Chakra pulses to mimic the beats—long chapter made short, as it was otherwise an entire chapter based around getting it through a nine year old's head not to fuck around and to only do it if it was on the battlefield if the situation called for it. It was meant to take a lot of skill, control, and the determination to multi-task, i.e. helping the paitent stay alive long enough to heal the damage. But it could easily make things worse, causing undue damage to the heart if the pulses were ever too strong or too weak. Perfect control...

Which was what Sakura sought after as she ate another faled fish for lunch that day.

Naruto slumped in front of her, attemping to meet her gaze.

"Say hi to the kid, he's feeling lonely," I told Sakura and she inwardly rolled her eyes at me.

I don't get it. You must really want to be friends with Naruto. He's so loud though! Sakura clearly did not want to hang around people with high energy. Not that I really did either so I could perfectly understand her apprehension but well, Naruto was Naruto. The main man himself in this story I'd been prematurely tossed into.

I inwardly shrugged at her but wasn't sure if she could feel or sense the motion, "If things go the way they're looking, I think you'll thank me if you can get along with Naruto. So, I dunno, ruffle his hair or something."

She distinctly shook her head at the thought and gave Naruto an exasperated look as he played with her pencil. That was right around the time Sasuke came into play, moving past Naruto with the slightest brush against the blond boy. Instantly Naruto was scowling as he turned to snipe at Sasuke for not apologizing for knocking against him. Sakura got pretty annoyed by that, rolling her eyes at Naruto as she tried to studiously ignore Sasuke in favor of her books.

The crush didn't hadn't gone away but I'd been pushing too many thoughts into her head, like slowly brainwashing her into being more earnest in her work than wanting Sasuke's attention. That comes for later, she was thinking to herself now and had to reward herself with the image of a family with the Uchiha, happy and safe in his arms. With a bit of mischief on my part, I added to the picture and in came Sarada, red glasses glinting with the spark of the sunshine.

I didn't know why but it made me sigh longingly, which isn't something I normally do.

That was right around the time I remembered my fantasies of a family, of having people to love and depend on...

I inwardly shook my head and tuned in just as Sasuke was saying his piece.

"Knock it off, dobe," he said, hand on his hip as he glared at Naruto who's face was screwed up like he'd eaten something sour, "Don't even breathe around me. I don't want to catch whatever it is that makes you so stupid."

Sakura was flinching a bit at this—Ami had once said that to her—but she was more for Sasuke in this case because well, it was Sasuke, and also, he hadn't even pushed into Naruto!

It didn't really matter to me. I was honestly just miffed that any of these kids were mean to each other. I wanted them to get along, to be a well-oiled machine that I could recall them never being. Someone always had a problem on their team, whether it was Sasuke not wanting to get close to people he thought made him weak, or Naruto who thought the Uchiha was being too cocky for his britches, or Sakura who thought she was too far behind two boys that were special in their own way. Honestly, they were the most volatile team out of the entirity of the Rookie Nine, had always been and well, let's be honest, I'd never been the fan of in fighting.

Cute teasing was cool, that was great, it was friendly. But people squabbling always, always ticked me off. It made me want to sit them all down and get them to talk like adults, to be able to voice their thoughts, problems, feelings and for the others to possibly empathize, at least understand and theorize possible solutions. Smart, logical ways to handle the confusion that was human emotion. Funny, that I'm the one to think of all of this when I'm not even human!

I wasn't even thinking when I reached towards Sasuke, grabbed his shoulders and forced him to sit in the seat next to Naruto. The blond was speechless as he looked wide eyed toward Sakura, who was actually mortified by the actions she'd unintentionally taken against her crush.

For my part, I was honestly pleased that I'd managed to sit him the fuck down. For good measure, I flicked him on the forehead and met his incredulous eyes.

"Eat a goddamn tamagoyaki and shut up," I said, picking up a piece from Sakura's bento with a toothpick and jabbing it into his open mouth. I wasn't done though. I looked to Naruto, shoved another piece into his mouth, and glared at the both of them, "Now eat egg and stop being headaches. You're supposed to be training to be shinobi, not children, so act like it."

Inner! Sakura squeaked inwardly as I released my unintentional hold on her. She flushed darkly as soon as she came back into her body, picked up her book and tried to remain intent on the words even as she wondered the best way to apologize to Sasuke for actions she'd never wanted to take.

She kept glancing at the two of them from the corner of her eyes and was almost shamefully pleased that Sasuke was looking at her. His eyes on her, dark with black brows cutting forward thoughtfully. Ah! He was actually looking at her, with something akin to interest that he usually only gave to school work. Which was more than he'd ever given to any other girl in the entire school. Score!

I wondered if this got me off the hook but nope.

This wasn't the first impression I wanted to make on Sasuke-kun! She whined, trying to hide the pleasure that his extended glance gave to her.

Naruto, for his part, took my words had open season on Sakura's lunchbox and was busy filling him with tamagoyaki and pieces of Sakura's fried fish. She was vaguely annoyed by this but got over it with an eye roll, a slap to his head, and quickly covering up the dango she intended to preserve as a snack for later.

Sasuke released an annoyed huff, "Can I go now?"

Startled, Sakura yelped but relented with a nod even as she inwardly begged him to stay. Whatever, I say, go be a headache elsewhere. I'm tired.