All In The Name Of A One Sided Love
Sakura Haruno was a messed up girl. She hates her best friend, Ino Yamanaka. Her teammates had both been gone for the past two and a half years. One was now under a perverted Sannin, Jiraiya, while the other was under an evil ex-Sannin who was currently trying to overthrow Konoha.
After those two left, she spent her years mending her relationship with—and succeeding in finally actually liking—Ino, while she constantly worked and studied to become a medic-nin under the third Sannin now Hokage, Tsunade.
This alone would drive anyone crazy. But the biggest thing that proved how messed up she was, was the fact that she was still in love with Sasuke Uchiha, even though Ino was constantly pushing her to move on, like she had. She finally had a healthy relationship with one of the biggest, yet sweetest, ninja in Konoha—Chouji Akimichi.
However, this relationship between her best friend and her boyfriend only drove Sakura to being even more of a workaholic. She would spend any free time volunteering at the hospital, memorizing the medical textbooks word-for-word, or constantly working on perfecting and strengthening her chakra. Her life became her work, but her love was still Sasuke, the one that betrayed her and Konoha.
Sakura walked with Tsunade down the halls of the hospital, glancing in every room she passed by. Tsunade was finally giving her her final exam towards becoming an authorized medical ninja by allowing her to perform surgery on an ICU patient. Tsunade said that this was a very dangerous final exam, for, if she failed (which Tsunade sincerely doubted she would), a person would die—and not just a person, a fellow ninja. Tsunade informed Sakura that the only reason she was allowing her to perform on a dying shinobi was that she trusted Sakura to pass with flying colors—not to mention there were no other ICU patients, other than other ninja, and only a ninja could get injuries that Sakura needed to learn to heal.
They walked into the patient's room, where fie medic-nins were standing above the ninja. Sakura gasped and looked at Tsunade in shock. Tsunade was having her perform the surgery on not just any ninja, but on her former teacher, Kakashi.
"Tsunade-sama…" Sakura began, only to be cut off by Tsunade.
"No time. These medic-nin are only sustaining him. Besides, you're more inclined to pass if it's someone you know. Now, hurry up and get to it!" Tsunade barked. Sakura nodded firmly at Tsunade before quickly hurrying to Kakashi's side.
Sakura concentrated on Kakashi's body. He had several wounds on his arms and legs, none on his face, and a particularly deep wound on his abdomen, which could have potentially pierced a lung. She began by forming green chakra around her hands and holding them above his chest, searching for any punctures in his lungs. When she found a single, shallow wound, she regenerated the cells in his lungs and reformed the spot that was wounded. She then turned her attention to the deep gash on his chest, and similarly used her chakra to regenerate the cells in his chest. She fixed that would with ease and quickly fixed the smaller wounds on his limbs.
After she finished, Kakashi's breathing became less irregular and the machine that was monitoring his heart rate also became a healthy, steady noise that showed a regular heart rate.
"Good job… doctor," Tsunade said with a genuine smile, happy to see a student succeed.
Sakura let out a sigh of relief and smiled at Kakashi's unconscious body. "So, what happened to him?"
"He was on a patrolling mission with three other Jonin, and he was ambushed. Those were the wounds the Cloud-nin gave him before he killed them. One of the other Jonin was an amateur medic-nin, and was able to sustain him for the day left of the mission before they hurried back here to have Kakashi healed," Tsunade explained.
Just after Tsunade finished explaining, Kakashi's eyes fluttered open. "Sakura-chan?" he asked, his eyes squinting in her direction (his mask was pulled down).
"Hai, Kakashi-sensei?" she asked sweetly, leaning forward so that she could more easily hear him talking, since his voice was raspy and he could only whisper.
"Were you… the one who…?" he asked, unable to finish his question.
"Hai. You were my final exam," Sakura said, sticking her tongue out playfully. "Now, as your doctor, I order you to get some rest in your room and inform the staff if you have any problems breathing," she commanded, before glancing at Tsunade for confirmation. Tsunade gave her a small nod, and Sakura turned back to Kakashi.
"Hai, doctor…" he whispered, smirking lightly behind the mask though he was exhausted and sore. He was taken away on a stretcher. Sakura sighed and folded her hands behind her head, watching silently as the medic-nin took him away and double-checked his vital signs.
"So, you finally finished your medic-nin training, eh?" Ino said with a small smile. Ino and Sakura were inside a small teashop called "Vitality". It was small, yet somehow, comforting. There were tables in the center of the shop, and booths alongside the walls. By every both were large windows that were only a few feet from touching the floor and ran around the entire restaurant. It was drizzling lightly outside, so few customers were inside the establishment.
"Yeah… My final exam was on Kakashi, of all people. I was terrified of failing," Sakura admitted, stirring the honey in her tea around for the sixteenth time.
"Wow. That does sound scary," Ino said with a small chuckle. Ino was having trouble saying, "Congratulations" or "Great job", but in her own, still somewhat quirky (with Sakura) way, she was still saying those.
"Why don't you specialize? You'd be great in interrogation… Maybe even genjutsu," Sakura pointed out.
"I'm still keeping my options open. I'll know what to specialize in when the time comes," Ino said aloud, telling herself more so than Sakura. "Besides, now that you are a medic-nin, you can just work at the hospital full time! And tons of guys work at the hospital…. They'd jump all over you!" Ino hinted at not so subtly.
"Ha,' Sakura said sarcastically. "My skills are better used on the field. Someone could die before they get to the hospital. Besides, I'm working on making the whole 'one medic-nin per four man team' thing possible. I'm staying on the field, Ino."
"Right, right… Wait a minute. Are… are you… still… in love with Sasuke-teme?" Ino asked, her tone making it obvious she couldn't believe that Sakura was, especially since Sasuke's name had come out in a hiss.
"No," Sakura answered back automatically, keeping her face stoic. "There are more important things than boys, Ino," she said harshly, keeping up a serious façade.
"Sakura, us girls have a small window of time for having children. Do you really want to miss that window?" Ino asked with her eyebrow raised.
"No, I don't. But, then again, I don't think I'd be a good mother. What, are you thinking about it?" Sakura asked, turning the attention back to Ino.
"Yeah, but it'll be after Chouji and I get married… He kind of slow with this kind of stuff, so I have to hint a lot before he does anything," Ino said with a small chuckle.
"So, have you started hinting about marriage?" Sakura asked with a small laugh.
"Yeah, a few times, but he hasn't said anything about it. He's either acting dense or he's scared—maybe both," Ino said with a sigh.
"Speaking of Chouji, didn't you say his birthday was today…?" Sakura asked.
"Yeah. He and Shikamaru are having some sort of 'boy's day out' and I'm taking him to dinner tonight," Ino explained with a small nod.
"Well, I'm sorry, but I have to go—there is something I need to get out of the library," Sakura said after glancing at the clock. The librarian said that she'd have a new textbook at that time for uses of medical chakra, and she would reserve it for Sakura for the next few hours.
"All right, you bookworm," Ino drew out jokingly. "But remember—there's more to life than work," she said with a wink.
"Yeah, yeah," Sakura said before paying the bill and walking out the restaurant, for the drizzle had subsided and only a few drops were coming down at once.
"Can I see that one?" Chouji asked, pointing at an engagement ring behind the glass.
Shikamaru sighed and said, "This is troublesome. How come I have to help you pick out a ring for Ino?"
"Because you know more about girls, Shikamaru," Chouji explained as he held the ring's box, looking at the ring from all angles. "How about this one?" he asked, holding it out to Shikamaru.
"Not enough jewels. Ino is superficial and she'd want either a large diamond or a lot of them," Shikamaru explained.
"Right. Then… that one?" Chouji asked.
"Ino seems more of a gold person than a silver one…" Shikamaru pointed out, rubbing the back of his head in annoyance. 'What kind of guy spends his birthday searching for an engagement ring because his girlfriend hinted at marriage?' Shikamaru asked himself before glancing at Chouji. 'Oh, right. It's either 'cause Chouji is a great guy, or he's really whipped. Maybe both… jeez, women can be so troublesome…'
"Ah! Then this one's perfect, right?" Chouji asked, holding up a golden ring that had a small circle of diamonds. In the middle was a larger diamond.
"Yeah, that one's good," Shikamaru said with a nod.
"This one, then," Chouji said with a sigh, knowing he wouldn't be able to buy much until he finished another mission. 'Good thing I've already stocked up on food and that I've been saving…'
Sakura paced around the room, Ino's words flowing through her head like a torrent of waves. 'We have a small window for having kids… There's more to life than work… After we get married… Are you still in love with Sasuke-teme?… Do you want to miss that window…' Sakura sighed and sank to the bed, rubbing her temples, for a headache was beginning to form. As if waiting for her to begin to have a headache, the phone rang, throwing her small headache into a larger one.
She picked up the phone reluctantly, and muttered into the phone, "Moshi moshi?"
"Sakura! I… I… Chouji asked! I'm getting married!" Ino shrieked. Even though the loud, now high-pitched noise that was Ino's voice had thrown her headache into a migraine, Sakura couldn't help but be excited for Ino.
"Really? Wow! That… that's great!" Sakura said, trying to not sound depressed.
"I know! You should see the ring he got me! It's… perfect!" Ino exclaimed.
"Big rock?" Sakura asked with a smirk.
"Tons of 'em! I swear, he picked the absolutely most perfect ring ever!"
'Ch, I think Shikamaru helped… After all, he did propose after his 'boy's day out'…' Sakura thought cynically before saying, "Congratulations, Mrs. Akimichi." She paused, not knowing what else to say. "So, when will it be held?"
"Chouji is letting me decide everything! I've already decided it'll be held in the spring after the sakura flowers bloom, and we'll hold it outside underneath that really huge sakura tree… You're going to be my maid of honor, of course, and Shikamaru will be the best man. I know Hinata and Tenten are going to be bride's maids, but I'm still not sure about the others…" Ino began ranting.
"Well, considering it's August, you'll have a while to plan," Sakura said with a small laugh.
"Oh, it needs to be planned as soon as possible," Ino said seriously.
"You make it sound like you're having a fall wedding," Sakura said sarcastically. "So, are you staying on the field, or are you becoming a stay at home type of mother?"
"You know once you're a ninja, you're always a ninja," Ino said with a sigh.
"That's true, but if you're a stay at home type, you'd only be called out for emergencies."
"… We'll have to get a nanny," Ino said with a laugh.
The days flowed by for Sakura. The only thing that kept her tied in with actual timing was Ino's rants of the wedding plans and Chouji. A few weeks after he proposed (and after having so many missions it made his head spin), Ino asked about living together. They decided that moving together before the wedding was okay, and started picking out a house. Sakura also went on missions, but most of her time was spent at the hospital, where she could constantly put her medical knowledge to use when she wasn't on a mission. Ino still constantly told her that she needed to get a boyfriend, and even Tsunade mentioned a few times that she needed a break from work.
Sakura ignored all of their comments and just pushed harder. She had no clue why she was working so hard—after all, her apartment didn't cost much, she didn't eat much, and it wasn't like she was Ino or Chouji and wanting to buy a house. It wasn't as if she was trying to beat some in particular (not anymore, at least—she and Ino's competitive drive had died down long ago), and it wasn't as if she really wanted to be the strongest shinobi. She just… worked to fill the time. But, even though she spent the vast majority of her time working, she couldn't help but think of Ino's words, over and over again.
'How come the only person I've ever liked that way was evil? Why did he betray me? Why? Maybe… maybe he was testing me! Maybe, maybe… maybe he was seeing if I'd follow him anywhere! And, if I do follow him… Maybe he'll ask me to marry him! He might be so impressed with how much I've improved that… that he'll have to fall in love with me!' Sakura thought to herself exuberantly.
She grabbed a bag and quickly filled it with clothes and a few provisions. She put on some normal clothes, and walked out into the street. She glanced around, just to make sure no one was watching her suspiciously (it was, after all, only about nine in the evening), and set off down the street.
Meanwhile, Chouji was leading Ino by the arm to a house that a real estate seller had shown to him earlier that evening, while Ino was on a half-day C-rank mission. "So, how amazing is this house that you dragged me out of my apartment at nine to show to me?"
"It's… perfect," Chouji summed up. "Lot's of space… two bedrooms… an extra room that can be turned into an office or study… large bathroom and kitchen… It's great, Ino," he said with a smile. 'That, and Shikamaru helped…'
"And what does Shikamaru think about it?" Ino asked slyly.
"U-um, well…" Chouji began, rubbing the back of his neck.
"It's okay. It's obvious you value Shikamaru's opinion. I don't mind," Ino said with a small nudge. "But, be careful. I might chase after him," she joked in a singsong voice.
"… I want you to live," Chouji replied, referring to Temari.
"Yeah, yeah… Sakura?" Ino asked, startled by having seen her best friend walk across the street to one of the exits of Konoha.
Sakura didn't hear Ino as she hurried down the road, nor did she even notice her and Chouji together. She just continued, her mind set on finding Sasuke—even though she honestly had no clue where he could be.
"Hold on," Ino said to Chouji, excusing herself. Chouji gave her a curt nod before she ran off to confront Sakura.
"Sakura? What… what's going on?" Ino asked, slightly shocked. 'Relax… it could be a mission… Alone? And so suddenly after work? But then again, why would she…?' Ino asked herself in a flurry of doubting Sakura and confusion.
"Ino! I'm… I…" Sakura began, tripping over her words, unsure of what to say to Ino.
"Are you running away?" Ino asked, feigning seriousness instead of confusion.
"No! Well, sort of, in a way… But… I… I'm doing what you said to do! I'm… I'm… chasing my destiny!"
"… And how long is 'chasing your destiny' going to take?"
"Somewhere between five minutes and forever," Sakura muttered.
"Ch. Sakura, you need to think about this rationally…" Ino began, attempting to calm down her obviously frazzled friend.
"No! Every… every time I think rationally, I end up contradicting what I really want and… and driving myself to do something I don't really want! I'm miserable when I think rationally! But… but maybe if I do something without too much contemplation…"
"Just what are you trying to do?" Ino hissed, annoyed with Sakura's logic. 'She's hit rock bottom. She needs rest and some sort of professional help… Wait! 'Chasing her destiny… Running away… May take forever… Not thinking rationally… She's… Oh my god, she's going after Sasuke!' Ino concluded accurately, finally realizing what it was that Sakura was attempting to do.
"I…" Sakura began, before biting her lip and looking away. 'That's just proof it's Sasuke,' Ino noted.
"Sakura… give up on him already. You… need to move on. He's a bastard, and he'll always be a cold-hearted, unmoral bastard. Do… do you remember what he did to you? He… just threw you aside. You deserve someone who'll pick people over power. Even if you think that you'll be happy like that, you'll just…"
"No!" Sakura screamed, cutting Ino off. "Damn it, butt out!" she screeched before turning and running away from Ino, tears beginning to form in her eyes. She knew, deep down, that Ino was right… and yet she couldn't stop the feeling that had been welling inside of her for such a long time.
She needed to see him. She needed clearance. She needed happiness.
A/N: I think this is a good (re)first chapter. –nod nod- I actually have a good reason for Sakura's… craziness, and Ino'll find out about it next chapter. I've also developed Ino and Chouji's relationship a bit more, and they're working to get a house and get married. Takara might take a bit longer to be worked into the story, but she'll still be a character, but I'll also change and refine her a bit.
I'm sorry about redoing this story before it even ended, but I felt like I really needed to! ;D Thanks, my loyal readers for continuing to read it, and for the new readers who might just now be tuning in, thanks for reading!