Thanks to KITSU for beta reading this chapter!
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I do not own Naruto, or the story would have a different ending.
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After the fourth Great Ninja War and the battle between Naruto and Sasuke, Sakura found the two men bleeding profusely and on the verge of death. She then immediately proceeded to heal them both at the same time. After doing everything she could to keep them alive, she brought them back to the Konoha Hospital so that they could be treated there.
Naruto, as usual, recovered faster than anyone else. He escaped from the hospital to go to Neiji's burial and comforted Hinata with a small squeeze of his hand. Sakura, at the back, witnessed the gesture and stayed back so as to not show her presence. But she couldn't take her eyes off of him, not really knowing why, as if she was afraid that he might disappear right before her eyes. At the end of the ceremony she recognized the signs of exhaustion on the face of the young man and caught him before he faltered. She scolded him a little for leaving the hospital without permission and put an arm around his waist to support him and helped him walk back to the hospital.
How I fell in love with my best friend
Arriving at the hospital, Sasuke, who was completely stuck in his bed, felt his frustration growing by the minute from seeing his roommate fooling around as if he had already recovered. How could Naruto have recovered so quickly when he himself was still so drained and hurt everywhere? He was on the verge of lashing out in his frustration at the blond grinning like an idiot when he heard Sakura talk with a gentle smile while changing the bandage around Naruto's arm.
"You don't have to put on a brave face in front of me, Naruto. I know it's still painful, but I do trust your natural fast recovery, mister Uzumaki, to get you out of here in no time."
Sakuke realized two things at that moment: that these few years had distanced him very much from the bond that those two shared, and the fact that it was probably the power of the Uzumaki blood that was healing Naruto so much faster than any normal human. He was deep in thought when Sakura turned towards him to check on his well-being.
Naruto was laying down on his bed, looking at his two friends with a bittersweet feeling. He made it, he thought. He had brought back Sasuke and now Sakura could be truly happy. Even with all the satisfaction in the world at having managed this small miracle of pulling Sasuke out of the darkness, he felt a tug at his heart, realizing that he now had to bury his love for the pinkette forever. He shut his eyes tight and turned away from the scene, feeling some traitorous tears trying to escape.
Sakura pulled out of her light talk with Sasuke. Something seemed amiss with her teammate. Call it a sixth sense or whatever, but she knew at that moment that Naruto was too quiet for her liking. She stood up to walk toward him when a nurse interrupted her thoughts, asking her to come for another emergency.
Later during the night, Sasuke woke up to the sound of thrashing. Too many years on the run had made his sleep always light and he shot an annoyed look at the blond for waking him up. But his words were lost for the second time that day when he saw his one and only friend panting and holding his heart. His voice came out hoarsely. "Naruto?" The blond boy jumped in surprise and turned his head towards his friend, feeling a little embarrassed. The questioning look on his face told him the whole story.
"Sorry! I woke you up!" Grinning awkwardly, Naruto released his grip on his shirt immediately and jumped to his feet. "I am going to the restroom." The blond walked away as if nothing happened, trying to avoid any questions. When he came back he sighed in relief; Sasuke had gone back to sleep. He went back to sleep too, happy that his friend never was the curious type.
Early the next morning, Sakura frowned seeing a nurse jumping happily in front of the nurse board. What the hell is happening? She pushed away the thought as she continued walking to her next patient. The hospital was still full from the war effort.
The nurse put her hand on the doorknob of the room of her next task. She again read the name on it and the treatment needed. This was her lucky day. She pushed open the door to reveal her two patients. The black-haired one was handsome but his dreadful look was giving her goosebumps. However, she was more than happy to treat him if it meant that she was going to treat the hero of Konoha: Naruto Uzumaki.
She came closer to the man that was making her heart throb to get a better look at him. She felt her heart speed up and her face turn more and more red as her eyes lingered on him. His disheveled blond hair spread around the pillow like a golden halo. His arm bent over his head showing the muscles gained by years of training. His peaceful face with his lips partly open... so inviting. She shivered at the thought of kissing those lips and she turned one shade redder. His shirt was abandoned on the side of the bed and the covers were half laying on the ground, so she continued her inspection, letting her eyes wander over all the skin available, his well developed chest, his toned abdomen… A gasp escaped and her nose started bleeding profusely, forcing her to run out of the room to come back to her senses.
The erratic movement of the nurse attracted Sakura's attention again. She was more than pissed off and walked straight to the woman. "Pull yourself together! There's nothing to get so worked up about!" the pinkette lashed out harshly at the bleeding nurse. Geez! Just because her teammate became kind of famous... that did not justify the medical team being unprofessional... It was just Naruto! The same idiot that she knew since forever... She took the bandage from the nurse and went in to do her job. If I am the only one sane enough to do the job, then I'll do it! The pinkette stood still in front of her teammate's bed, her eyes wide open, her breath hitching in her throat. Only the drip of her own blood on her hand pulled her out of her reverie. She hastily pulled the covers over Naruto's body and turned around, rapidly cleaning her nose with her handkerchief and walking over to Sasuke, her brain in full turmoil. The words "big" and "sexy" keep popping up in her head with the invasive image of her best friend's morning arousal. She inhaled profoundly, trying to push away the discovery she made and landed back on earth immediately with Sasuke's awakening.
She smiled gently at him and tenderly caressed his black hair. "How are you today?" was her only question to him while releasing the old bandage. As usual, the dark haired man did not talk more than necessary but she still felt happiness bubble in her heart to see him here with her.
With her extreme dexterity, her job was done quicker than she would have loved to take and she turned an angry look towards her blond teammate. She had to do it… She approached and shook his shoulder roughly. Blue eyes appeared under fluttering eyelids before she heard a groggy "Sakura-chan..." He sat up, rubbing sleep out of his eyes, the covers pooling in his lap. She tried to not look past the damn covers and to distract him so he wouldn't see through her, she blew away her anger by harshly pulling off the band aid on his cheek. He winced. "You don't need that anymore," she said.
"True... but you can still be a little bit nicer to me... I'm your patient!" he mumbled while rubbing his cheek.
"And why are you not wearing your clothes properly?" she asked while undoing the bandage around his arm.
"It was too bothersome to close the button with only one hand." was his shameful reply, like a kid who tried to justify himself when scolded.
His little pout made all of her turmoil fly out of the window. He was still just her innocent best friend, the kid that she knew so well. A gentle smile appeared on her face and she put on the new bandage. "Well, it seems that you won't be my patient for too long," she added. The happy grin on her best friend's face told her how much he hated staying in a hospital room. She began to work on his back, hands healing the different tissues as she put her palm fully against his back. "But before you leave, I want to have some exams for your heart, your heartbeat seems a bit erratic. It may not be much, but I'm still worried, since it stopped beating during the war."
Naruto did not try to argue with the medic and nodded his head to agree. But he knew exactly why his heartbeat was abnormal... Her hand on his skin was all that he needed to wake his arousal for her again that he was trying so hard to control and he was clearly embarrassed with the situation. With the same dexterity she finished her task on Naruto and readied herself to leave. Sasuke offered her a silent nod but Naruto turned his face toward the window. She concluded for herself that he must be angry at her for the supplementary exam.
Later that day, she happily came back to the room of her two teammates with the results and Sai following her. Naruto was relating his different adventures like a happy child catching up with his friend. It would be so nice if everything could be so simple as Naruto wished, but even she was able to see that the polite Sasuke was nowhere close to the old Sasuke that they had known in their childhood.
"Hi! Dickless!" saluted Sai as usual, entering the room.
It might be as usual, but it reminded her of her morning event with Naruto and she needed a few seconds to relax her nervous smile from her face to continue on the purpose of her visit. She separated the two boys that were already fighting, punching them both on the head.
"You're free to go, Naruto. Sai is here to accompany you to your house. Leave before destroying the hospital!" she informed him before turning away. The two boys rubbed the tops of their painful heads with their hands. Sai handed him a bag with some clothes.
"Kakashi-sensei told me to bring you some," the pale man said.
"How is he doing as a Hokage?" the blond questioned.
"He hates it," was Sai's honest statement.
A sly smile appeared on Naruto's face. "He should give the position to me, if he hates it that much."
"Actually he has already said that too... as soon as you are ready to take the job, he will gladly let you have it," Sai confided.
It was a huge realization for Naruto. Becoming Hokage is not so far off anymore... I just need to hang on a little longer.
His head halfway into his tee shirt, Naruto turned to Sasuke. "You can come to my place when you're discharged too." A happy grin bobbed out of the collar.
"Like hell! You are too noisy when you sleep!" Sasuke replied sternly, even if in reality he was pleased by the offer.
"Did you get to hear him talk about Sakura in his sleep again?" asked Sai innocently.
"Not exactly..." the black-haired patient said simply, looking more intently at the blushing blond and silencing the artist.
"Time to go!" Naruto pulled Sai towards the door. "I'll come visit you tomorrow!"
The next day, Sakura was coming into the room to check on Sasuke and change his bandages when she found someone with him. It was the red haired woman, his former teammate. It was like spying on a very intimate scene. Sasuke was biting her arm and there was something in the expression on her face. Love... This woman was in love with him. Sasuke lifted his eyes up to Sakura but did not stop what he was doing. Sakura felt suddenly embarrassed and mumbled that she would come back later, quickly leaving the room.
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