Life has a funny way of messing with you, Sakura realized.

She had it all planned out, really. Get on the same team as Sasuke (which had happened, but that was the only thing that went right), impress him with her ingenuity, brainpower, and beauty, and then have him proclaim his love for her, and then they'd live happily ever after.

The end.

Things had to be revised, though, when reality came knocking.

Naruto, for example, was on their team.

As much as he bothered her, as much as she had disliked him for no reason other than the fact that Sasuke did, she couldn't change that fact.

And of course, there's that little thing where life throws a kunai in the works.

The first one came from the fact that she did not, in fact, impress Sasuke. In fact, she'd pretty much figured that her dismal ability to protect herself was making him irritated.

A lot.

Hell, even Naruto of all people had to save her butt more often than naught!

What happened to the book smart girl who knew all the facts, whose life was already planned out?

Apparently, life had snuck into her room and murdered the girl in her sleep.

Still, it looked like Sasuke could tolerate her, at least, which was more than most girls could say. And she grew to care for him deeply, needing his strength and his power to make herself stronger.

Maybe her plan would just take a bit longer.

Yet again, life wasn't about to let that stand.

Because again, Naruto.

Naruto, Naruto, Naruto.

When people are forced into life threatening situations together, they have no choice but to bond. So when she started to care about him too, to worry when he got hurt and fuss over his wounds, she figured it was just the process of being a team.

But oh no, there was more. He started to, frankly well, impress her. The first time was when he stabbed himself in the hand to rid himself of poison, that day that seemed so long ago, the mission with Zabuza of the Mist.

She'd never, ever seen anything like it.

He didn't scream. Didn't cry. All he did was swear to become stronger.

Even Sasuke had to be impressed by that display, she had thought.

So she felt herself warm up a little to the boy. And as she did, she saw that he wasn't as bad as people made him out to be.

Which got her thinking (another way life threw a kunai in her plans) to why exactly her parents had cursed his name when she told them about her teammates, and didn't even mention Sasuke.

Sasuke, who was supposed to be the famous last Uchiha. Sasuke who was the class prodigy.

So Sakura started to feel pity for Naruto, and let herself care a little more, trying not to show it.

Of course, pity leads to compassion. Soon, she started imagining that Naruto would play some role in her life too, maybe godfather to her and Sasuke's child, the best man at her wedding...

And one day, completely by boredom, she imagined that Sasuke and Naruto's roles were reversed in that scenario.

To her surprised disbelief, it didn't seem too bad.

Sasuke was cold and taciturn, preferring action to words. Yet that pain inside of him made her want to reach out and heal him, to break down the ice around his heart and force him to realize that people wanted to help him.

Naruto was loud and brash, and preferred both words and action. Yet the way he charged headlong into battle, constantly putting himself in harms way for no real reason, made her want to hold him back and make sure he didn't do anything stupid.

She had always needed Sasuke to complete her life, she had reasoned. And she still did.

Only now, she needed Naruto too.

She needed Sasuke's pain.

She needed Naruto's suffering.

She needed her boys to be strong for her.

It wasn't clear to her when they stopped being teammates, even stopped being Sasuke and Naruto, and started being her boys.

But it felt right, even if it shouldn't have been.

Subtly, she knew that one way or another, one of her boys was going to get hurt by her.

Because sooner or later, all good things come to an end.

She was wrong.

She hurt both, and barely realized it.

In trying to stop Sasuke from leaving, she hurt him, forcing him to choose between her and his destiny, the one thing that defines who he is.

In asking Naruto to bring Sasuke back, she hurt him, forcing him to choose between her happiness and his happiness.

By the time she understood what she had done to both, it was already too late.

She was such a selfish girl.

Things felt... wrong without them. Naruto was doing his own thing now, and Sasuke was still absent from her life.

Life was already sweeping them away from her, and all that was left was weak little Sakura.

Her laid plans were now the ashes of dreams.

So she dreamed and planned again.

Naruto would bring Sasuke back. He had to. It was Naruto.

He'd never let her down before.


Then, Sakura thought, could wait until then.

For now, she'd just be happy to have her boys back.