Disclaimer: Naruto and characters blah, blah, (insert more legal jargon). Not mine, now READ!

A/N: Oh, before that I wanted to say PervertsRwe, Hats off to you guys! Ok...Now READ!

The One I Still Loved…

I tossed and turned restlessly in my bed with the light pattering sounds of raindrops echoing in the background. Often times I found the sound pleasant, very soothing, but for some reason tonight I still couldn't find the serenity of sleep.

The walls of my apartment seemed gloomy and dull, as my mind tossed around so many rogue thoughts; random images from my past, my newly appointed position as one of Konoha's ANBU and a girl.

A very special girl…

A girl I've loved since even before Iruka-san told me the meaning of the word. Thoughts on how I lost her, although I never had her, lost to her own first love. I lost her, but I was happy. I was happy, because she was happy. From all those years of trouble, she finally got her heart's desire. But the happiness didn't last…

Neither mine nor hers, because slowly but surely her heart's desire was destroying her…

Knock, Knock, Knock…

I peeled a sky blue eye open and ran a hand through my unruly blonde hair as I considered the sound. 'Someone is knocking on my door,' I said to myself. My gaze then fell to my left, looking at the digital clock, 'Someone is knocking on my door…at THREE IN THE MORNING!' I mentally exclaimed. With a few mumbled curses, I grudgingly got out of bed. Granted, I hadn't been sleeping honestly, but it was the fact I freakin' had to get up in the first place!

Since I wasn't in anything more then a pair of boxers, I hastily threw on the 'Uber Ninja' t-shirt Lee gave me for my birthday last year. Yeah, I know what you're thinking; who would've thought someone could sum me up in one t-shirt. :)

As I moved through my living room heading to the front door, my mind was cycling through all the people that might visit me at such a late hour. Was it one of the members from ANBU or maybe Tsunade with a super secret important mission? I quickly dismissed those thoughts. Things had been rather tame lately in Konoha with the fall of Akatsuki a few years ago. Then a new thought came to me, from all the people I know, only one person kept resurfacing and I prayed to god that it wasn't her, because if it was, I don't know what I'd do.

I opened the door and silently cursed because once again my prayers went unanswered…

Staring back at me was a weaken set of emerald green eyes through a shorten crop of pink hair. We shared a gaze that I couldn't hold for so long because of the streaking tears coming from those eyes and the developing bruises… The bloody split lip…The fact she was now favoring one leg…The hair…The clothes that looked as though she just tangoed with some wild animal or maybe an abusive lover. Not to mention at least a dozen other injuries.

We both stood there for several seconds in silence. Sakura shivered slightly as she continued to drip water onto my porch. She must have walked all the way here through the rain, she was soaked! Her normally vibrant strawberry pink hair now fell limply over her face in tattered strands.

I felt a reservoir of anger starting to boil inside me that needed no assistance from the demon inside. A part of me wanted to go back the way she came to finish that son of a bitch for good. But I couldn't… And it was either that or scream at the top of my lungs at her for allowing him to do this to her again.

My inner turmoil must have shown on my face, because her gaze fell from me to the floor. I bit back my anger and sighed. Yelling wouldn't solve anything. It hadn't the first time she showed up at my door this way and it wouldn't help now. Besides no matter what happened I couldn't stay angry with her. So instead I said, "Just go sit on the couch, I'll go get the first aid kit."

Wordlessly, she followed my instructions and came inside. Immediately, I left the room to go to my bathroom. Within less than two minutes I came back with all I needed and a few towels for her. I handed her the towels for her to dry herself. She gave me a quiet, "Thank you," in reply while she slowly started to dry her hair. I returned with a weak smile then sat down beside her.

"Let's see what we have here," I started saying, trying to start a slight conversation to lighten the mood. I'd learned from Tsunade that a good bedside manner can often be as beneficial to a patient, as the treatment itself. It helped several times on the field during the few occasions where I was needed as an extra hand to help tend to injured comrades.

But this wasn't some other comrade…This was her!

So I fell under a blanket of silence…

My first task was to set that leg. My hands quickly flashed into a series of signs then a light green glow started to encompass my hands. I placed them gently on her knee then I looked up at her. Knowing what must come next, she wore a stern look then bit her lip, bracing for the oncoming pain.

When I felt she was ready, I forcefully pressed down on the joint. She released a sharp yelp of pain through clinched lips, but then was silent. The hard part was over.

The next couple of minutes I spent wrapping her leg. I placed another quick seal on the wrapping to aid with the joint's healing. I then tended to the few other superficial cuts and bruises, doing whatever I could to postpone the next big task I would have to do. When I made my trip to the bathroom to gather the supplies, I noticed the back of her gown was clearly soaked through…with blood.

A few more minutes past and when I couldn't put it off any longer, I sighed and asked her to move up along the couch a little, while I moved behind her.

When I sat down, I nearly gasped, I was right blood seeped all the way through. Fighting down all the hundreds of vengeful urges I had, I used the slender scissors that came with the kit to start cutting away the fabric. As the material loosen and was pealing away, so did the wounds that closed around the fabric started to reopen.

Sakura hissed and cried out in pain. I spun a series of comforting phrases and apologies as I frantically worked. My world was nearly collapsing around me, a mixture of wanting to hold and comfort her and also wanting to get the job done as quickly as possible.

After ten minutes of agony on both our parts the last remnants of the fabric was finally cut away. Sakura now sat in front of me bare to the waist, with her slender naked back facing me. Any other time I would have rejoiced at the scenario but in this instant; those types of thoughts were far from me.

I was rendered speechless when I looked at the full extent of what he did to her. It was a sight that nearly brought tears to my eyes, because I didn't understand how someone could do something so horrible to something so beautiful.

Immediately, I went into another series of signs, then with two fingers I lightly pressed in several areas between her upper and lower back, to numb the nerve endings. At this moment I was so grateful that I had an adopted big sister which was one of the greatest medical-nin around.

When it was done, I noticed the tensing of her shoulders automatically eased, a small side of me smiled, glad to have brought her some comfort, but then I looked again at her injuries and swallowed deep. My fingers moved with an almost pitifully slowness as I applied the ointments and started cleaning the blood and broken scar tissue. I stared at my own hands in betrayal as they sluggishly worked. Even Sakura turn her head to the side and looked at me out of the corner of her eyes in puzzlement. But I continued to focus only on my listless task, because I knew why I was doing this; she had been hurt so much and no matter what happened I didn't want to add to it. Of course my rational mind was telling me that she couldn't feel anything, that the medical-nin technique I placed was working, but the other side wasn't listening. So I continued with my sluggish pace, eventually moving on to bandage up the wounds and I ended up giving her my shirt to wear. It was several sizes to big for her and sometimes fell to the side exposing the white skin of her delicate shoulders, but it was all I had at the moment.

After I finished my work, I couldn't let her go without holding her. I know I didn't have any right to but I had to. I just had to somehow subconsciously show her that regardless of whatever happened when she left this apartment that she could always find comfort here. At first I felt her tense in my arms, then after a few seconds she relaxed then drew further into my embrace. I even noticed a small pleasing sigh pass from her lips.

We sat this way for several minutes, neither one of us saying a thing to the other. Just content in enjoying the closeness we shared. I was one of very few people that she'd allow to be this intimate with. She had been hurt so much lately, that she withdrew into herself around some of the people she once called friends. I was only so lucky because she knew the only thing I desired was to be there for her.

Absentmindedly, I stroked my hands through her hair. Although there was serenity in this moment we were sharing, I couldn't help my thoughts from drifting further. I was considering what tomorrow would bring. She would return home and accept whatever bullshit apology that asshole would give her. Then things would be quiet for a time, till it happened again. As I sat there and thought about it, more of my conflicting emotions fought.

Apart of me, the one that spoke the loudest, that I knew was being influenced by my own demon, wanted to dash out through the rain and storm to find his sorry ass and make sure this never happened again. But I knew she would stop me before my face felt the first drops of rain.

Me! One of Konoha's most promising shinobi ever… Me! The one who after several years of patience, intense training and meditation, finally managed to quell the burning heart of the demon inside him… Me! The one who was told after a few more years of training he'd be a prime candidate for the next successor to the title of Hokage… Me! The loser, who still accomplished so many things and had promise to do many more, yet this one girl could undo all that I commanded…

…Because, to her I was still Naruto.

I wasn't the elite ANBU ninja. I was just Naruto, her friend, the wild, often brash guy that had an undying crush on her.

A part of me resented this. The fact that no matter what I accomplished, no matter what challenge I conquered, no matter what lengths I'm willing to travel…I was still Naruto.

But the more that I thought about it the more I realized. Because of her, I always felt grounded. No matter how deep things became, or how much I screwed up, my view never changed in her soft green eyes. From her, I realized I could always find what so many people spend their lives looking for…home.

Some more time passed and I noticed the soft steady breaths that were coming from her. She had fallen asleep in my arms. I smiled at how beautiful she looked while she slept. Carefully, I took her up into my arms. She was so light and fragile, her weight was practically nothing. It was a sharp contrast to how vicious she could get when properly motivated.

I missed that side of her. I hadn't seen it since the two of them started dating.

I carried her into my room and placed her down on the bed. She looked contented lying there, totally at ease. I sat besides her a little while longer just watching her sleep. I brushed a few strawberry strands away from covering her forehead. I knew how much she valued its shape.

I then sighed. 'Well, the couch can be comfortable too,' I said to myself as I started to rise from the bed.

"Naruto," I heard calling from behind me. I turned around and saw Sakura sitting up, her enchanting green eyes fixed on me, the little bit of my shirt had fallen down again exposing her bare shoulder. "Naruto…" she whispered again then paused for a few seconds. Her eyes frowned up as if she was considering what to say. "Why…Why you do you still…" her sentence drifted off from there but I knew what she was asking. What did I still allow her in? Why did I still tend to her? Why didn't I judge her or scold her?

I know the first few times; Sakura went to Ino for help. And for a time, Ino permitted it, but it wasn't for long. When Sakura stated she didn't want to go to the authorities about the abuse, Ino flipped. That was the last time, after that she politely asked Sakura never to come back. As harsh as it sounds, I can understand her feelings, it's hard to see someone you care about in so much pain and not being able to do anything about it…And the fact Sakura was still allowing it.

Even me, the first time, I didn't even think about going to the authorities. I was going to take it up with Sasuke right then and there. And I'd pitied the fool that would have to clean up whatever mess was left afterward.

But she wouldn't let me. Even after he hurt her so much, she still cared for him and wanted to protect him.

He doesn't deserve her…

I placed my hand over top of hers. "You know why…" I said softly, answering her. It was what I told her everyday when we were kids in the academy. Even after she started seeing him, it still didn't changed the way I felt. Even the six months I saw Hinata, after Sasuke and Sakura were going together, the one I still loved was her.

Her face changed from confused to almost angry. "Naruto, how can you!" she shouted. The loudest I heard her speak the whole night. "How can you still..."

"Don't…" I sharply cut her off, wiping away tears that I didn't even think she realized she was shedding. Why couldn't she understand? It was something I accepted a long time ago. I loved her, plain and simple.

But the look on her face…She almost looked ashamed, as if she didn't deserve any such worship. Like it was impossible for anyone to still be in love with such a wretched thing. But, I was and I'm glad I was. The shining smile on my face proved I didn't regret my feelings either.

"Naruto…" her voice wavered. Her eyes, it was like for the first time in all the time she knew me, she was actually seeing the real me. "Thank you!" she cried burying herself deep into my arms. Her hands sought me, wrapping tightly around my neck. Her perfect strawberry strands nestled under my chin, her head buried into my chest, tears falling from her eyes. My own hands worked they're way to her back to hold her, I didn't want to agitate her bandages, yet I still wanted to be close to her. I always wanted to be close to her.

Through her soft sobs she quietly told me what had happened tonight. Sasuke came home angry this night. An argument started, she didn't know who started it first. Then one too many words were said and everything seemed to avalanche from there.

It was a fear I had. Through all his life Sasuke lived and grew on his anger and hatred. At the destruction of his entire clan, that was his brother Itachi's instruction, to live a horrible hate-filled existence. Sasuke called it an Avenger.

But now that his brother was dead by his own hands, the anger still lived on. That was how he lived his entire life, through hate and it seemed it wasn't something he could turn off. The hate for his brother held such a deep rooted place inside of him that when he was killed, there was left a void, an emptiness that he couldn't file all his anger into.

And because of that fact, Sakura now felt his wrath.

After her confession Sakura then moved slowly again, pressing her soft cheek against mine. My ears were set a blaze from the tinkling sensation of her warm steady breaths hitting them. She then pressed back little, capturing me in her eyes. Her hands, which were wrapped around my neck, were now running through my mess of blonde hair. It felt nice. It felt really nice. But those eyes…Her eyes were still locked on me.

I could not tell you how long we stayed that way, locked under each other's gaze. Like her stare alone was unraveling every layer, breaking down all the boundaries of my soul. It was as if everything I was, everything I ever could be was plainly visible for her to see.

And then she kissed me...

The movement was so light, so fast, so…fantastic, I backed up a bit out of pure shock. From the look of her face, I could tell she was just as surprise by her own action as I was. But that didn't stop her from kissing me again.

When her lips touched mine again, it was as if something exploded inside of me. Or maybe I should say set free. My lips were on hers, her lips on mine. I was kissing her or was she kissing me? Regardless, all rationale was lost in the midst of blind heat and emotion. Her hands roamed along my bare chest, my hands caressing her subtle hips. I heard her moan, or was that me, as we fell against the mattress.

Through the blind haze of our fiery actions, through the need, through the want, 'For god, how much I wanted this!' My conscience still would make itself known. "Sakura-chan…" I hadn't called her that in years. "We shouldn't do this…" I whispered in between the fevered kisses.

And what she said next hit me so profoundly that for the next several days, whenever I thought about I still would be troubled, because the look…the lost, lonely look that was on that girl's face was heart shattering. "Naruto…" she said her voice barely above a whisper, "Please, just love me…" What little resistance that I had before was totally annihilated after those words. She stared up at me with those same sad green eyes, her fingers brushing through my hair.

"I love you…" I whispered to her in a tone that no one could doubt my sincerity. Her eyes glistened from unshed tears as she took in my words, then she launched herself at me with a kiss using strength I didn't know she was capable of. We challenged and parried each others attempts, deepening the yearning emotions between us. Light kisses, lingered longer and longer as we sampled each other's lips.

My lips fell lower, capturing her neck in an assortment of strong and gentle kisses. I heard the chiming sounds of Sakura cherishing my attempts with her soft moans echoing in my ears. With shaky hands, cause 'Yes...' I was scared; my hands caressed the subtle curves of her body through the oversized shirt she was wearing. Her fingers raked over my back as I heard her call me name.

My touch roamed further down her body, till I reached her pantied waist. I gently eased the lacey material down, sliding it off her. My hands then returned tenderly massaged her bare bottom. In retaliation I felt a tug at the hem of my boxers. I gave her a quick look, staring at her through the darkness. 'Was she smirking at me?' her bright eyes seemed to dance with some inner laughter. I smiled back and complied, removing the only shred of clothing I wore.

Everything from then on seemed to move as if in a dream. I eased her down onto the bed, my lips kissing her and whispering all the things I wanted to say to her ever since the first day I met her. It wasn't bed talk or some smooth lines to set the mood, everything I said to her, I've longed so long to tell her, but neither chance nor opportunity arrived.

"I'm sorry…" she said to me. "I didn't know…"

I accepted the words. Things have changed so much in the last few years between us that we were hardly the same people anymore. But what happened then didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was the now and that we were here together.

I gave her a final kiss then eased inside of her. She gasped sharply as I entered, her fingers drawing thin lines across my back. Slowly I drew back and eased into her again, gradually building a slow tempo. Sakura whispered my name again, as she joined my rhythm. We steadily increased our pace as the heat and passion between us soared, till we both reached the summit.

In a light haze of warmth, emotion and love, we both came together in unison. The effect seemed to last for several moments until we both collapsed onto each other, the room echoing the sounds of our labored breaths. Sweat covering our bodies like silk.

Regaining some strength I held her in my arms, allowing us to savor the afterglow.

"Stay, with me…" I said to her.


"Stay, with me…" …For this night, tomorrow, and every day after.


I knew that what we did this night would bring only trouble for the future, but I didn't care. After tonight, no matter what happened, I'll never allow him to hurt her again.

For several hours I just watched her sleep, nestled in the warm comforts of my blankets and the even more soothing warmth of my embrace.

A/N: Ok, before anyone gets confused I wanted to set a few things straight. I hate Sasuke. I hate that guy to no end. If anyone that knows me personally, there hasn't been a Naruto conversation I have, that I haven't mentioned my loathing.

Anyway, since there is a terrible lack of Naru/Saku lemons, (Hell fics in general) I felt it mandatory that I wrote this. Now I expect this to be a three part series. I have a few pages finished of the next chapter already so stay tuned…that is if you liked it.

Ja ne!