Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
More Than Ramen
Sakura sat down on a park bench and let out a sigh of relief. It has been a demanding day at the hospital, and she was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening at home.
Stretching out along the bench, emerald eyes stared half-lidded up at the blue sky and fluffy, cotton candy clouds. It was such a beautiful day, and she regretted not spending time outside enjoying it. She could feel her skin warm as she basked in the sun, soaking it up as a plant would, and she let her eyes lazily close in content.
Abruptly, Sakura's sight darkened slightly from behind her lids, and sensed a shadow pass over her, blocking the sunlight. Even before she opened her eyes she knew who it was; he never really bothered to hide his chakra and she was rather adept at sensing it, especially his. She was not surprised, therefore, when cracking an eye, a green orb met with bright blue ones.
"Hey Sakura-chan!" Uzumaki Naruto exclaimed loudly, as was his nature, with a cheeky grin spread across his face. His arms were placed on the back of the bench to support himself as he leaned over it, putting his face a foot above hers.
"Naruto, it's so peaceful today. Do you have to be so loud?" Sakura stretched and stifled a yawn in her hand, overriding her initial plan to smack the blond for disturbing her much deserved peace.
"Aww, but Sakura-chan I just got back from my mission and I haven't seen you for a week!" Naruto complained, letting his face fall into a pout.
Looking at him, Sakura thought that no kunoichi in Konoha could deny that that look was cute. Sakura however feigned boredom, and sitting up, she smoothed her ruffled bubblegum hair and shrugged.
"You always have missions and you've been gone on longer ones than this." Sakura pointed out, bending her neck so she could look at his face. He now squatted behind the bench, resting his face on folded arms placed on the bench's back.
Naruto cocked his head to the side, the pout still present. He had grown quite tall and quite handsome over the years, even Sakura could admit this. At the thought of his female following that had manifested over the years, Inner Sakura would go on a rampage. Of course, Sakura couldn't understand why she would care about something like that. Naruto being Naruto was oblivious to his entourage, and even if he wasn't she shouldn't care about it. Naruto was her best friend, and that was all she wanted. At least, that's all she had wanted. Now she couldn't be so sure.
"I know that," he said, a smile once again gracing his face. "But I still miss you."
Sakura was touched by this genuinely honest statement, and her face softened for the briefest of moments. But within seconds, it was all back to fun and she grinned slyly.
"Well, I can't blame you there. I am pretty unforgettable." Sakura scoffed, blowing a kiss and adding a wink for effect. Inner Sakura was striking a victory pose and Naruto chuckled, tugging a lock of Sakura's hair.
"Right as usual Sakura-chan," he replied, blue eyes dancing and teeth flashing in, if possible, an even wider grin as he twirled her hair between his fingers.
After a moment of companiable silence, Naruto released her captive lock of hair and his look became slightly more serious. Of course, not everyone would notice this subtle change, but over the years, she became well learned at reading Naruto. There was definitely much much more to him than one would initially think. She herself had once been skeptical that the boy thought of anything other than ramen and his dream of becoming hokage. She knew better now, actually she had learned that on their very first big mission together. The mission to Wave had taught her a lot about both of her teammates, some things good, and some things bad.
"Anyways Sakura-chan, are you ready to go? I'm starving!"
Sakura sighed while Inner Sakura pulled her hair angrily. She had been expecting this. Naruto would want to eat at Ichiraku as was tradition for the two. It had become habit that when Naruto would come back from a mission, they would go get some ramen together and talk about all that had happened since they had last spoken.
Sakura felt slightly peeved that he didn't have anything more important to talk about than food. But of course Naruto would get all serious about ramen. He worshipped the stuff after all.
Standing abruptly, she whirled around to face him with her hands on her hips and a slightly annoyed look on her face. "Fine Naruto," she began with a slight twitch to her brow. "Let's go get your ramen."
Naruto moved to where he loomed in front of her, but instead of grabbing her hand and dragging her away as she expected, he seemed to hesitate with something he wanted to say. She could tell this because of the embarrassed way he was rubbing the back of his head and how he couldn't seem to look her in the eye. This was definitely weird for Naruto.
"Ne, ne Sakura-chan, I was thinking about something other than ramen. I know its where we usually go when I come back, and if you really wanted it we could still go of course.." he trailed off, finally looking into her eyes.
Question showed in his blue depths, which made Sakura confused. What was wrong with him? How could Naruto be turning down ramen! She couldn't fathom it and her eyebrows scrunched up in confusion.
"But you love ramen, Naruto." Sakura stated pointedly, her lips arching into a small frown.
"I—Of course I love ramen, and I don't think that will ever change." He laughed at this, which caused Sakura to smile.
"Yeah, you're right about that Naruto." Sakura agreed, giving him a knowing look.
He grinned cheekily. "But it's just so good Sakura-chan! I can't help it! But sometimes," he faltered, not knowing what to say. Sakura could almost see the wheels turning from the look etched onto his face. "Sometimes I want more."
He seemed pleased with this answer and his eyes willed her to understand. Sakura however was a bit lost.
He nodded and stood tall, puffing out his chest, and his eyes were ablaze with determination. "A man needs more than just ramen!"
Inner Sakura face faulted and Sakura just stared, a delicate pink eyebrow was raised in question. "So you're sick of eating ramen. Is that it? Geez Naruto, you could have just said that!" Sometimes that blond really made her brain hurt.
Naruto blinked then waved his arms frantically. "Ah, ah, that's not what I meant exactly!"
"No. It's..it's much more than just ramen," he moved closer so she had to crane her neck to look up at him. His eyes had softened as he looked down at her and Sakura found herself distracted by those beautiful blue eyes of his.
When she noticed their close proximity however, she immediately retreated back a step, but he followed her and placed his hands on her shoulders preventing her from moving away again. Sakura felt a wave of panic wash through her. Between the warm hands gently holding her in place and the strange look in Naruto's eyes, a mix of emotions was ignited in her. There was anger and curiosity and panic, and then another emotion she couldn't quite place and didn't want to think about. Looking at the blond, however, she could feel her anger lessen and this other emotion stir. This couldn't be good.
"Sakura-chan?" Naruto spoke softly, the hands on her shoulders tightened as if he was unsure of something. "You trust me right?"
Sakura's face darkened as her angered boiled up. She always got this way when anyone challenged her trust in Naruto. She trusted Naruto with her life, Kyuubi or no, that would never change, and it hurt that he himself would doubt her. Sakura didn't know whether she should cry or yell, or maybe just walk away. The last seemed impossible since Naruto currently had a tight hold on her, but the other two options didn't seem satisfying enough.
Naruto, being who he was and being able to read Sakura as well as she could read him noticed how her green eyes had darkened and her body had stiffened and knew he was in trouble.
"I'm sorry Sakura-chan, I didn't mean to-," he was stopped by the shaking of Sakura's head.
Sakura met his eyes firmly as she spoke, and Naruto didn't dare look away. "If 8 years of friendship isn't enough proof of my trust in you, I don't know what is."
She said it evenly, but Naruto noticed how her voice shook the tiniest bit. Tears fought at the corner of his eyes and he swiftly pulled the woman into a fierce hug, burying his nose into her pink locks. He hadn't meant to hurt her, but he wanted to make sure.
Sakura clung to him, her face pressed into his chest and her body drawn into his warmth. She felt safe in his arms, peace washing over her and her anger subsiding. "I never want to hear you doubting me again Naruto," her muffled voice spoke against him.
Instead of replying, he drew her back slightly. Before Sakura could knew what was happening, he had lent down and crashed his lips against hers. It was clumsy and desperate, but that didn't make it less enjoyable. For however desperate Naruto was at the moment, he was, as always, gentle with her and his lips were warm and felt nice against hers. And when Sakura pushed him away, Inner Sakura crooned her disappointment at the loss of contact.
As Sakura held Naruto at arms length, she tried not to think about the hurt look in his eyes. She bit her lip and found she could still taste him and she couldn't stop a smile from spreading across her face as she shook her head. Seeing this, Naruto's face erupted into a gleeful grin. When she hit him, it was playful and without much effort.
"What do you think you're doing? I don't remember giving you permission to kiss me." She said it with a teasing lilt in her voice, which evoked a sense of ease to pass through Naruto.
"I know that, but you trust me and I've been dying to do that for...well, years! I couldn't help it. You're just too cute Sakura-chan."
Though his statement was something of an apology, he showed no regret in his eyes, and this satisfied something in Sakura.
"First you say you are tired of ramen, then you ask if I trust you, and now you are stealing a kiss? What's gotten into you?" Sakura placed her hands on her hips as she awaited his answer.
"You've gotten into me. I know we have out little routine, and for awhile I was fine with that. But then, overtime, the ramen became…less satisfactory. I wanted more, but I wasn't sure if that would be allowed. I thought about this a lot while on my last mission and I realized I didn't want just something besides ramen. It wasn't that I wanted more ramen, I wanted more than ramen." He blushed. "I wanted more of…you"
At that, Sakura was up in arms. "What! You PERVERT!" And that time she really did hit him.
"Owww, Sakura-chaaan!" He whined, rubbing the side of his head. "I didn't mean it like that! I just meant I wanted more to our relationship!"
Sakura looked skeptical. "Is that so?"
"Yes! You know I wouldn't do anything you didn't agree to, and you said you trusted me, which I believe you. And you also know how much I love you," she stiffened and he looked at her sadly as he continued. "But if you want, we can go back to how it always was, nothing but good friends eating ramen."
So that was it. He was giving her an option to change, just in case there was the slightest chance she cared for him more than a friend. He really was desperate. Not only that but he loved her. It wasn't just a crush like she had stubbornly still believed, but something so much deeper. How could things ever be the same? But he had taken that leap and now it was her move. This was more thinking than she wanted to do after a long day, but she had to be honest with him.
Even at a time like this, when he was most vulnerable, she couldn't help but admire him. He was so mature now, well most of the time anyways. His loyalty never wavered, he was always true to himself and those he cared for. He would sacrifice himself for her, she knew, and she would do that same for him.
Inner Sakura also added how handsome he was, how his blue eyes would light up when he looked at her, and that smile that he saved for her especially.
Sakura's eyes widened in realization; she wanted more than ramen too.
Seeing her look, something in Naruto relaxed and the tense moment seemed to ease. She looked up into those blue eyes she loved so much and when he reached for her, she placed her hand in his and allowed herself to be pulled into his embrace. He didn't release her hand while his other was placed at her back.
Leaning down, his breath tickled her ear and he whispered, "I love you Sakura-chan."
That was all she wrote for Sakura and she melted into his arms. She had just enough time to murmur, "I love you too," before she was pulled into another kiss. Her free hand wound itself in his spiky blond hair as he pressed her closer into him. His lips coaxed her, and she replied hungrily, pressing harder. She felt something moist against her bottom lip and her fogging brain barely was able to register that it was his tongue before her lips parted. His tongue dove in to taste more of her, and Sakura couldn't help but release a moan, invoking a pleased growl from Naruto.
When they pulled away for air, they didn't relinquish their contact and leaned their foreheads together. The two were smiling sheepishly at one another, and it was Sakura who spoke.
"I guess I could get used to this 'more than ramen' thing. But I have to warn you, I'm not going to want just ramen all the time now. So you better step it up buddy." She poked his chest for effect and Naruto whined.
"But Sakura-chan you know how much I love ramen!"
"I know that, but that doesn't make me want to eat it all the time," she replied, unrelenting. "Besides, earlier you said you didn't want to go to Ichiraku."
"Well yeah, that was before I found out you loved me back. I thought I'd have to work for it." Naruto laughed guiltily as he saw Sakura's set face.
"Oh, so that's how it is? Tricky little fox," she said it with a certain fondness even as she crossed her arms stoically. "We definitely aren't having ramen today because of that little stunt. I'm still going to make you work for it."
Naruto slumped in defeat. "Fine fine, we won't eat there all the time." He perked up considerably all of a sudden, and a feral look crossed his face. "You'll just have to satisfy my hunger instead."
Sakura blanched and twisted around to run, however she didn't get very far before a chuckling Naruto caught her up again, causing her to squeal.
"You really are a pervert!"
"Maybe," he agreed as he leaned towards her ear. "But I'm your pervert."
And as he began to rain kisses down her neck, Sakura decided that perhaps she would enjoy quenching his hunger.
ah, the fluff. Well anyways, please review, tell me if you liked it or no. Hopefully I did the characters justice. This is my fav Naruto pairing really, so as I entered the Naruto realm of fanficsI wanted to write this pairing first. I imagine there will be others coming along eventually. Anyways, thanks for reading!