Disclaimer: if I owned Naruto, Gaara would be mine and Sasuke…well…lets just say his future wouldn't look to bright :)
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦Sakura held her bleeding arm close to her side, emerald eyes filled with battle lust as she reached for another kunai. The cloaked figure in front of her dodged her throw and disappeared. She looked around, her soft pink hair flying around her face.
'Where did they go?' she thought to herself. She closed her eyes and opened her senses. 'There!' she pivoted just as the person appeared behind her and brought his fist down hard enough to put a small crater in the ground.
"Who are you?" she shouted angrily. The only visible feature was the person's mouth and chin. He smirked and threw a handful of kunais in her direction. She dodged, but not soon enough. A stray kunai sliced open her leg. She screamed and fell to her knees. The figure walked up to her and punched her in the face, causing her to fly back into a nearby tree.
She fought to get up but failed miserably. The person lifted two pale hands and lowered his hood. Sakura gasped in shock. "No." she whispered, putting a trembling hand to her mouth. "No!" she swung her legs around and tried to sweep his feet out from under him, he jumped back before she could, his raven hair falling in front of his eyes. He began laughing uncontrollably and Sakura looked at him shocked. The man lifted his head and smirked, blood trickled down his face.
"S-Sasuke?" she whispered, scared as he limped toward her. He pulled out a kunai and threw it at her. Sakura screamed as her arm was pinned to the tree. Sasuke appeared in front of her, his eyes unfocused and as cold as stone. He lifted his hand and stroked her cheek gently. Sakura's eyes filled with confusion and anger, tears ran down her cheeks. Sasuke put his lips to her ear.
"I always win Sakura, always." He suddenly fell on top of her, his body dissolving into blood. Sakura screamed and tried to thrash around, the pain in her body becoming too much to handle. Drenched with her former love's blood and pinned to a tree, she felt as if she couldn't breathe.
"Sakura. Sakura. Sakura." Sasuke's voice echoed inside of her mind.
"Sakura, SAKURA!" Sakura woke with a jerk, thrashing around and trying to find out why she couldn't scream.
A pair of sky-blue eyes stared down at her, unruly blond hair scattered around the man's face.
"N-Naruto?" Sakura muttered weakly from behind his hand. Naruto sat on top of her, making it hard to breathe and pinning her to the bed. He rolled off of her and hopped off the bed.
"You okay? That must have been some dream, you were screaming like someone was killing you. I think every village except Sand heard you."
"No, Sand heard it too." Naruto spun toward the voice and smiled happily.
"Gaara! When did you get here?" Naruto asked.
"About a minute ago." Gaara smirked inwardly as Naruto threw him a glare.
"I mean in Konoha." Naruto said through clenched teeth.
"About two hours ago." He muttered, his sea-foam green eyes swept over Sakura, her long hair was plastered to her forehead with sweat.
"I heard a scream and decided to check it out." Sakura blushed a little, upset that everyone had probably heard her.
"Yeah, everything's fine." Sakura couldn't help but give a shaky smile. Gaara and Naruto had become close friends after everything that had happened. Naruto still wore his orange jacket, but he now wore it open, revealing a muscular chest hidden beneath a white shirt. He had ditched the orange pants, much to Sakura's relief, and switched to black pants. He was still loud and at times goofy but he had matured so much.
"Sakura get dressed, we're going to get some ramen!" Sakura inwardly rolled her eyes. Some things never change.
"Naruto, ramen for breakfast?" Naruto nodded happily before disappearing from the room, shouting that he'd see her there. Gaara glanced at her once more before disappearing in a poof of smoke.
Sakura lay back and pushed her shoulder length hair out of her face. That dream again, it was coming more and more often. Sakura sighed and swung her creamy white legs over the bed's edge and stretched. Getting up, she turned on the shower. Sasuke had left a few years ago, left her on a bench with two words before disappearing. 'Thank you.' He had become a missing nin, hated by Konoha for his betrayal. Sakura stepped into the shower and leaned against the wall, clutching her heart.
"Sasuke." Her tears mixed with the water. After he had left, she had worked hard to improve herself, studying until she had collapsed. Naruto would find her there, sleeping on a book of medicine. He'd lecture her, tell her to eat and force her to get sleep. Working had helped soothe the deep scars that Sasuke had put there when he left. It had helped her keep her mind on other things, even if it hadn't been good for her health. Not long after, Tsunade, the new Hokage had appointed her apprentice. She had gladly accepted and became even stronger. She was now anbu and a skilled medic nin, she even surpassed Tsunade's skill. Along with her skills, she had finally grown into her large forehead and had become one of the most beautiful girls in her village. Suitors had lined up at her door but her scars were too fresh and she had turned them down.
She changed into a green kimono top that matched her eyes and a black pair of shorts. Pulling her hair into a messy bun, she put on her shoes and walked into the busy streets.
"Sakura!" Sakura turned and stared at her pale blonde headed friend who was waving her over to the flower shop window. Ino. She had decided to not retake the chuunin exams and took over her parent's shop. When Sasuke had left, she had been there for Sakura and the two former friends had once again grown close. She had married one of Sakura's ex-suitors, Kyo. He had been really sweet but Sakura had seen him only as an older brother figure.
"Ino. Where's Kyo?" Sakura asked embracing her friend. Ino had let her hair grow out once again.
"Oh he went out shopping, it's our anniversary tomorrow." Sakura smiled.
"It's been what? Two years?"
"Yup. So where are you headed?"
"Ichiraku, Naruto's dragging me out to get ramen."
"It's morning." Ino pointed out. Sakura sighed and nodded. Ino laughed at her friend's expression then grew solemn. "Did I ….. I thought I heard you screaming." Ino whispered softly. Sakura blushed a little.
"It was…nothing. Just a nightmare."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Sakura shook her head no.
"I'm alright, well I'll see you later I have to go now or Naruto will throw a fit." Ino laughed and nodded, Waving goodbye, Sakura continued on her way down the street.
Moments later she reached the ramen stand and heard Naruto's loud voice. Raising an eyebrow humorously she entered the stand and was greeted by someone lifting her in the air and spinning her around. She squeaked and tried to slide out of the person's grasp but they held on tighter. After making sure she was thoroughly dizzy, they set her down on the ground. Glad to be back on stable ground, she clutched at the person's arm until she was able to regain her composure.
"Sakura it's so good to see you!" Sakura smiled at the boy in front of her.
"Kankuro." Kankuro still wore his black hoodie and the face paint, or as everyone liked to tease him, his makeup. Pretty much everyone Sakura knew had grown to become an elite ninja, except Ino of course but she was happy where she was.
"Kankuro, way to try and kill her." Temari muttered rolling her eyes and embracing Sakura lightly. The sand trio had grown close to them and became valued friends and allies. Gaara had become the kazekage of the Sand village. He had told Sakura once that he now regretted it for he hated doing all the (and I quote) 'damn paperwork that seems to grow every minute, all I want to do is shove it down someone's throat'. Sakura laughed at the memory and what he said about if she told anyone. She also remembered him actually trying to shove it down Kankuro's throat when he had arrived moments later with another stack of paperwork. Probably the longest conversation he had ever had with someone besides Naruto and his siblings.
"Earth to Sakura!" Sakura snapped away from her thoughts and looked around. Hinata sat next to Naruto, still blushing. Kiba sat beside her, Akamaru still fit snugly on his head.
'Oh hey guys." Sakura flashed them a smile before taking a seat in between Naruto and Temari.
"ONE OF ALL FLAVORS!" Naruto shouted. Sakura sighed. After everyone had ordered and eaten half their food, Naruto realized he was broke. So was Hinata, Kiba and herself.
"Well….I guess I can…RAMEN ON KANKURO!" Naruto shouted leaping up and grabbing Sakura's hand, Naruto flew from the bar.
"Alright!" Kankuro shouted happily as everyone disappeared. "Hey…wait a minute what? NARUTO!"
Sakura laughed along with everyone else as they made their way to the park. Hinata was in between laughing and worrying if Kankuro had managed to pay it off.
"Oh Hinata it's alright, Kankuro will just put it on Gaara's Kazekage tab." Temari comforted the pale girl.
"Oh…r-really? That's good." Hinata said relieved.
"So guys where are we going anyway?" Sakura asked.
Everyone gave each other a sidelong look.
"To the training grounds." Kiba said happily.
"Really? Why?" Sakura asked becoming suspicious of the way they were acting.
"No reason in particular, we just want to relive some old memories." Sakura gave Naruto a look but shrugged it off. Her friends were just weird. Suddenly hands wrapped around her eyes.
"Huh? What the…Naruto?" Sakura asked surprised.
"Hold on a minute almost there." Naruto said loudly.
"Naruto let go of…"
"SURPRISE!" Sakura looked around trying to shake off Naruto's hands.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"Naruto, let go of her eyes you idiot." A voice, a lot like Kakashi, said.
"Oh right." Naruto replied sheepishly and let go of the said girl's eyes. Sakura gasped and looked around. All her friends were gathered on the bridge from her younger days, when they were preparing for the chuunin exams. Also where Sasuke had left her lying on the bench. Sakura gave herself a mental shake, she would not think of that now.
"What's going on here?" she asked confused and staring at the balloons and cake. Everyone gave each other looks before Naruto said loudly.
"IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY SILLY!" with that everyone cheered. Sakura stood stock still. Her birthday?
"Did you forget?" Tsunade asked coming up to her and ruffling her hair. Sakura blushed lightly.
"Yes." She admitted.
"PRESENTS!" Naruto shouted happily and ran toward the stack.
"NARUTO! Get away from there they're not for you! Besides I still have to kill you for making me pay!" Kankuro shouted chasing Naruto around. Ino laughed as she walked up to Sakura.
"Happy birthday!" Ino cried happily. Kyo stood behind her, his long brown hair fell to his shoulders and his happy hazel eyes danced with joy as he embraced his 'little sister'.
Neji and Tenten walked up to her and Tenten threw her arms around Sakura. Tenten was now dating Neji, about time too. After greeting everyone, Sakura looked around. Temari had begun dating Shikamaru after the exams, the couple was now on the ground eating cake. Hinata still hadn't gotten up the courage to ask Naruto out, and the big goofball was still too dense to realize it.
'We'll have to see about that.' Sakura thought to herself. Kakashi appeared with Jiraiya by her side and patted her head.
"Happy birthday." He said, his eyes crinkling in the corners. Jiraiya grabbed Sakura and crushed her to him, fake crying about how she was getting so grown up. What made him get punched by every girl near him was not that he was a pervert embracing Sakura, but that he was a pervert feeling her ass.
"Jiraiya you pervert!" Tsunade said chasing after him with her fist raised.
"How does it feel to turn 21?" Gaara asked coming up beside her.
"About as stressful as twenty. But if you really want to know ask Jiraiya, he felt enough." Sakura half growled, half laughed. Shino walked up to her and nodded his head in greeting. Sakura, although he creeped her out a bit, nodded back.
She then noticed something. Where was…
"MY BEAUTIFUL CHERRY BLOSSOM I HAVE COME TO YOU TO WISH YOU A HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ALTHOUGH YOU ARE A YEAR OLDER YOUR YOUTH HAS NOT FADED AT ALL!" the next thing Sakura knew she was tackled to the ground by a green blur.
"THAT'S IT LEE SHOW HER YOU LOVE HER!" Gai said appearing beside Gaara who threw him an annoyed glare.
"Lee….can I please get up?" Sakura said, her voice muffled.
"OF COURSE!" Lee shouted as he leaped off of her and helped her to her feet.
Sakura sweat dropped as Lee latched on to her again.
"Lee let her go!" Naruto shouted punching Lee who flew into a nearby pole.
"Naruto!" Lee shouted punching back. The two started fighting…again. Sakura sighed and then suddenly remembered something.
"Naruto!" both boys stopped and looked over at her.
"How did you get in my house this morning? I locked the door this time I checked." Naruto looked around for an escape.
"Umm…I sort of, kind of, maybe….broke into the kitchen window. Once I get money I'll pay for it promise!" Naruto looked at Sakura and screamed like a little girl at her expression. A pissed of Sakura was not a good thing to be around, especially if the anger was directed at you.
"You idiot! I just fixed it from the last time you broke it!" Sakura shouted angrily chasing Naruto around. The evening went by quickly with laughs and tricks being played. It was not until night that they decided they should go.
"I'll see you tomorrow Sakura!" Ino shouted waving to her. Sakura waved back happily. All who were left was Naruto, Hinata, Gaara, and Temari (who was carrying a drunken and unconscious Kankuro, much to her displeasure). Sakura, who had, had a glass of sake felt a bit drowsy, let's just say that unlike Tsunade, she was not a big drinker.
"Hey Sakura, do you want me to walk you home?" Naruto asked.
"No that's alright, but you should walk Hinata home." Hinata gave Sakura a look and blushed as Naruto shouted an okay and grabbed her hand.
"Bye Sakura, happy birthday!" Sakura waved good bye, nearly stumbling over her feet.
"You're sure you'll be fine?" Temari asked. Sakura nodded and Temari disappeared. Gaara looked at Sakura, nodded once before leaving himself.
Sakura sighed tiredly and began walking down the street. She fell once but got up quickly. Why did she let Tsunade give her sake? Her vision was clouded and she was getting very tired. Finally, she just tripped and everything went black.
Gaara sat on the building, watching Sakura try and stumble her way home, although he could sleep now, he didn't know how, besides he was so used to staying awake. He sighed as he watched Sakura fall and quickly get back up, she could be really careless at times. He sighed again as he watched her fall, but soon became worried when she didn't get up. He appeared by her side and shook her shoulder. Unconscious. He smirked a little; who becomes drunk with only one glass of sake? He shook his head and picked her up into his arms. She was light and that made him frown. He could feel her bones, a clear sign that she wasn't eating enough. He let his sand transport them in front of her door. He turned the knob and wasn't at all surprised when it opened easily, she really was a klutz, leaving the door open. He brought her to her room and laid her on her bed, covering her up. She looked eerie yet beautiful as the moonlight hit her face, lighting up her pale figure. Gaara involuntarily reached down and stroked her cheek. Her brows furrowed together as she shook his hand away, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Sasuke, leave me alone. You left me, you left me." She sobbed and hugged Gaara's arm close to her. Gaara looked around, feeling uncomfortable. Using his sand, he lifted a black cat stuffed animal and quickly jerked his arm away and replaced it with the animal. Sakura clutched onto it tighter, still sobbing.
"No, get away it hurts Sasuke it hurts." Gaara looked down at her and was filled with anger toward Sasuke. He, and pretty much everyone else, hated him for what he did, not only to the village, but mainly to Sakura. Gaara slammed his fist down on her nightstand only to hear something crunch. He looked down to see a broken alarm clock. He cursed silently to himself but thought it best to go. Gaara left her room and worked his way down the stairs, shaking his head slightly at the clutter of junk on the table in her kitchen. He opened the door and, making sure it was locked, left.
"I'm late!" Sakura could be heard down the street shouting profane words at her table, dresser, hairdryer and whatever else she ran into and displeased her. Her alarm clock had been broken somehow and she had over slept. To add it all up, she had a migraine, possibly a result from drinking. She had burned herself on her arm from trying to heat up her breakfast which she had mistakenly put in the oven instead of the microwave and then she had reached in there to retrieve the plate that she had thrown into the bottom part of it, causing the metal stand to burn her. She had thrown on her clothes and left her hair down. Tsunade had been expecting her over half an hour ago. She ran to her front door, reached for the knob, and smacked her face against it. With a small shout, she fell back onto the floor with a thump. She held her bleeding nose and stared angrily at the door, murder in her eyes.
Naruto and Gaara walked lazily down the street, well as lazy as Gaara could manage. They were passing by Sakura's house when they heard a string of cuss words that they felt best not to repeat. Both gave each other looks before hurrying to her door. They were about to knock when the they heard her shout.
"YOU PIECE OF CRAP!" both boys looked at each other again just as the door flew off of it's hinges.
Gaara's sand protected him but Naruto didn't dodge in time. He was hit full force by the door and landed on his back with the heavy object pinning him to the ground. Sakura stood with blood trickling down her nose and a chakra infused foot held out in front of her. Her eyes were filled with fury but softened as she saw Gaara.
"Oh no!" she shouted as she saw Naruto pinned beneath the door. She ran over to him and Gaara helped pull the dented door away. Naruto lay unconscious, his head bleeding. Sakura immediately crouched down, her healer instincts taking over. She placed her hand over his head and focused her chakra to the cut. Her hand glowed green as she healed the wound. Naruto blinked a few times before Sakura's face came into focus.
"Sakura?" he whispered, placing his hand on her face.
"It'll be alright Naruto, you just lay here for a minute okay? Wait for your head to stop hurting." Naruto smiled then began laughing. Sakura looked taken aback.
"N-Naruto?" Naruto pulled her down on top of him. Sakura struggled to get up as Naruto tried to kiss her. His answer was a loud smack.
"Ow! Huh? What's going on? Sakura?" Sakura stood, hair ruffled and blushing furiously.
"Naruto." She whispered angrily staring down at the boy who cowered before her. She sighed and looked at Gaara who was actually showing a hint of a smile. Sakura also began smiling, then laughing. Soon she was in a fit of hysterics and tears were rolling down her face. She fell to the ground and held her stomach. Naruto crawled to her and looked up at Gaara curiously. Gaara shrugged, having no explanation to Sakura's strange behavior.
"Um…Sakura are you okay?" Naruto asked. Sakura laughed harder, pointing first at Naruto, then the door, then Gaara, then her burnt arm.
"Sakura?" Kakashi appeared, his eye scanning the scene in front of him.
Sakura looked up at Kakashi and was overcome with another fit of hysterical giggles. Kakashi glanced at the boys who shrugged. A bit worried he kneeled down before her and snapped his fingers in her face. She only laughed harder.
"Sakura? Sakura!" Kakashi slapped her lightly on both cheeks and when that didn't work, he did the only thing his mind could think of. He pulled down part of his mask and kissed her.
Sakura stopped laughing, her eyes gone wide, Naruto sat with his mouth agape, and Gaara's eyes had narrowed to slits.
"K-K-Kakashi?" Sakura gasped as she pulled away shocked, her face was once again bright red.
"Um…sorry. It was all I could think of." Kakashi muttered looking away. "Tsunade sent me to come get you when you didn't show up."
"Oh…right." Sakura blushed. Getting up, she disappeared.
"Kakashi." Naruto said trembling with fury.
"Um…how about that new Icha Icha novel huh?" with another poof Kakashi was gone.
Sakura appeared at Tsunade's office, face still red and her nose still covered with dried blood.
"Sakura are you okay?" Tsunade rushed from her office and embraced her apprentice. Setting her down she looked her over.
"What the hell happened to you?" Tsunade whispered angrily staring at the girl's disheveled state.
"I…It's a funny story really." So Sakura told Tsunade the story, leaving out the fact that Kakashi had kissed her and that Naruto had tried to.
"So tell me again why you were laughing?" Tsunade giggled.
"I don't know, I was just thinking that my day couldn't start off any worse then I knocked Naruto unconscious…" Sakura shook her head, smiling. Tsunade laughed again, drowning in another bottle of sake that Sakura stared at disapprovingly.
"TSUNADE!" both women jumped as Naruto burst into the office.
"Naruto what…" Tsunade began but was interrupted.
"THAT BASTARD…HE….HE…HE KISSED SAKURA!" Tsunade glanced at Sakura who was mouthing for him to shut up.
"Who?" Tsunade asked innocently. There was a venom beneath that innocence.
"KAKASHI!" Naruto roared just as Sakura covered his mouth. Tsunade sat shocked as she stared from the flailing Naruto to the uncomfortable Sakura.
"Sakura is this true?" Tsunade asked, eyes narrowed.
"Um… I really loved that coffee pot you got me for my birthday." Sakura quickly tried to change the subject.
"I got you a medical book."
"Yeah, that too. They're the same thing really."
"No. They're not."
There was a poof and everyone whipped around, Naruto's mouth still covered.
"Yo." Kakashi waved. His smile quickly left as he saw Tsunade's face.
"Um… I'm sorry I'm late I was lost in…"
"The north pole." Tsunade said angrily.
"Actually I was going to say the road of life…"
"I'm sending you to the North Pole you bastard! As far away from here as possible! You're lucky I don't make you walk the road of death for kissing my apprentice!" Tsunade shouted throwing her sake bottle at Kakashi who dodged.
"The North Pole has penguins." Sakura stated happily. Everyone in the room looked at her strangely. "What? It's true!" Everyone sweatdropped as Sakura shrugged.
A man about the age of twenty two sat on a bed draped in black sheets. His raven hair fell a little past his shoulders and his black eyes were as cold as stone.
He stared at a picture he held in his hands. A picture of a long time ago, before he was a traitor, before he was hated, before he left her.
"Naruto." His usual cold voice was filled with a bit of sadness, His eyes turned away from the blond headed boy to the tall, silver haired man behind him.
"Kakashi." He then turned his eyes to the last person in the picture, the one that haunted his thoughts daily.
"Sakura." Stroking her picture, he whispered her name like a loving caress.
Well…how'd you like it? This is a really long chapter huh? Well I did start it about a month ago yeah, yeah I am a bit slow I know. Anyway remember to read and review! FLAMERS WELCOME! Oh and this is prbly. not going to be updated quickly. I have finals then my job and ugh…well Thanx everyone!