Sakura stared up at the roof of her tent. Exhausted past the point where sleep could help her. The events of the world around her seemed nothing but a distant blur of motion. It was hard to regret what she had done minutes or was it hours ago. She had lost the ability to keep track of time too.

She was too tired to even close her eyes, now painfully dry to the point that blindness was claiming the edges of her vision. Her body didn't have enough chakra to function. Barely a sliver of a sliver of a fraction remained.

But it was worth it. Naruto was alive because of it. When pain attacked and she felt Naruto's chakra appear she had felt such hope and joy. She could feel Naruto's chakra like a bird knew which was south was. It was like a burning second sun in her dull gray world.

But then that sun flickered and vanished.

She unleashed everything. Every last bit of Naruto's chakra that she had stored in the seal on her forehead came rushing out of her. A brilliant but short-lived explosion of power that rivaled if not exceeded unlocking all eight gates. And perhaps just as deadly.

For a few dazzling moments, she was chakra. It surrounded her like a shroud of flames. The pain didn't know what hit him. She snapped the rods that bound Naruto and healed his wounds with a mere thought.

Then it was gone. All that brilliant power and energy was burned, nothing but a summer firework.

She remembered feeling Pain attacking her. Then Naruto's roar. Now there was nothing.

She should have been dead right now. She had no reason to live, and her body was but a dried up husk sucked devoid of its chakra. She couldn't even muster the will to crave the chakra that would save her life.

All she had left was a desire to die to put her suffering to an end.

Just as the blackness of death or blindness was about to claim her sight Sakura felt him. Naruto was touching her. She knew it was him his touch was unmistakable even when she couldn't feel anything. Then she felt his chakra.

She wasn't aware how cold she was until she felt the fire of Naruto's chakra ignite within her shadows. It was a small thing and she huddled around in desperation. Did Naruto forgive her? Did her life have a purpose again? Was there some small chance that she might have a life worth living?

"Sakura." Naruto's voice was like a beacon leading her to safe harbor. She followed it back to the pain and starvation of reality, feeling for the first time how drained her body really was. Everything hurt with a dull hunger that extended into her very cells. But Naruto and his chakra were here.

She needed to be there with him.

"Sakura, I need you to wake up." She could hear the sorrow in his voice. He sounded cold and desperate. Just like she was. She could make him feel better. And then maybe he'd give her more chakra.

That felt wrong. Wanting to do nice things for the man she loved only to get some of his chakras. Was that how she wanted their relationship to go? With her manipulating him every chance she got?

No, there had to be another way. But what path was left to her? She needed Naruto's chakra just to live.

At long last Naruto came into focus she could see him and him alone with crystalline clarity. Fresh tears moistened her eyes as she stared at him. He was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen.

"Naruto." Her voice cracked like autumn leaves trampled underfoot. She reached for him, eager for his touch. There was so much that she wanted to say, to beg, plead, repent. But her voice was lost when he touched her cheek.

She mewled at his touch and pressed into his staring at him in wonder.

"Listen to me Sakura," His voice like viscous honey enthralled her. She had suffered for a month dreaming about hearing his voice. Now if only he would say those three sweet words she had missed. "I want you to know that I love you."

He heart surged with life, she felt her blood flowing like hot water being pushed through frozen pipes. Finally, her hand found him, she wanted to reply but all that came out was a soft coo.

"But I hate to see you like this." He wasn't the only one. "So I want to give you a choice. I can give you all the chakra you can take right now."

Her heart skipped a beat at his words but the initial excitement died when she saw Naruto's eyes. This wasn't a good thing. He didn't want her to want that.

"But that's where our relationship ends, we won't talk to each other or see each other anymore." He sounded so hurt by the idea. There was no way that either of them could go through with it. But the act of trying would damage them beyond repair. If they weren't already there.

"Or?" Sakura asked, begging for a better solution.

"Or you tell me you love me," In a heartbeat. "I never give you chakra and you never try to take it, while we try to figure out some other way."

Never get Naruto's chakra again. Or get it once more and never be able to be in love with Naruto. How on earth could this even be a choice? "I love you."

Naruto smiled at her.

Besides, if she was with him, and she made the choice to try and they failed. He'd probably give her more chakra.

XXXX

Sakura smiled as Naruto pulled her up the hill. They were far from the reconstruction of the village. Completely surrounded by nature without another human around for miles. The only reason why they were away was Naruto's mission to cure her of her addiction and lack of chakra.

"So I have no idea if this will work," Naruto mumbled scratching the back of his head once they reached the top of the knoll where a lone tree-shaded a flat rock. "But it's the only thing I can think of."

"Just get on with it, you dork." If she ignored the painful hunger for his chakra it was almost like they were a normal loving couple.

Naruto just laughed and began the summoning Jutsu. "Oh and fair warning there's a chance you'll turn into a toad."

"What?" She didn't want to be a toad! Toads weren't cute!

In a puff of smoke, a small old wrinkly toad appeared glaring at Naruto. "What do you want brat?"

Naruto gestured towards her with a wide smile. "Fukasaku this is Sakura."

The wrinkly and hairy toad closed the distance between them with a single hop. "This is the girl you told me about? The one addicted to your chakra?"

Sakura could only nod and try to hide her shame behind a mask of pride. "Naruto, what are we doing?"

Probably a discussion she should have asked hours ago. But at the time she was too distracted by Naruto to really think rationally.

"Well, since you can't gather chakra on your own, I thought that maybe you could use Natural chakra instead, it's really hard and requires good chakra control." Naruto gave her a thumbs up. "But you're awesome Sakura you can do it in no time!"

"Don't get ahead of yourself brat, If we allow her to learn sage-craft she'd be the first outsider." Fukasaku leaped up onto her shoulder, nearly making her skin drop. "I'm going to bind myself to you for a moment girly, to get a feel for you."

Without waiting for her approval Fukasaku burrowed into her shoulder like a giant talking wart. She felt it instantly, his chakra pathway fusing with hers. His chakra poured into hers with nothing to contest it. It wasn't anything like Naruto's. It felt slimy and gross.

Then in a frenzy, Fukasaku pulled himself off her. Desperate to get away. "Dear Lord, girly you turned yourself into nothing but an empty vessel."

"Does that mean you'll teach me how to harness natural chakra?"

The old toad looked at Naruto and then back to Sakura. He nodded once. "I feel that I must."

XXXX

Short chapter no smut! Next chapter more smut!