Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Reliance

Chapter one

Flash Back:

Sakura walked into her office and was surprised to find Sasuke, sitting on the examination bed by her window. One leg drawn up and the other straight, an elbow resting on his raised knee.

Sakura, asked "What are you doing here? Are you sick?"

Her question was answered with a short, "No." He wasn't even looking in her direction, his attention focused on the street below.

Now confused, she asked, "Then why are you here?"

Sasuke merely shrugged and continued to stare out the window. Sakura inwardly sighed; clearly she wasn't getting an answer out of him. Had she really expected otherwise?

Though accepting his silent company, she warned, "You annoy me, you leave."

Sasuke snorted quietly at the irony, her being annoyed at him, made a change.

End of Flash Back.

And so that was how it had been. He wouldn't always come into her office to stare out her window. Some days, even weeks would pass before she saw him again. But true to his routine, he would be found later in her office, sitting on the bed, not saying a word. Sakura had grown used to his company and continued her work around the hospital as always. Attending to patients on her rounds and writing reports when at her desk. He never disturbed her.

Why he came, she didn't know. Ever since his return 6 months ago, he hadn't been quite the same. If possible, he had become moodier and even more withdrawn than before. He had been gone for 9 years; a lot had changed in that time. All of those who had been together as genin, were now chuunin and jounin. Naruto had become a jounin at the record age of 17 and Sakura not much later at 18. Now both were members of the ANBU, however had very different roles. Naruto was often out on the highest ranking missions with his squad, while Sakura remained in the hospital. Only going on missions when a medic nin was required. Kakashi was also still around, though since Team 7, he had never taken on another genin team. He had returned to the ANBU, and usually went on solo S-class missions.

No one was entirely sure of the exact details of Sasuke's return. All anyone knew was that 6 months ago, the ANBU squad Naruto was apart of had been given a dangerous mission, situated in a reclusive village near Sound. The squad were forced to call retreat due to complications. The squad returned, however Naruto did not. More ANBU squads were rallied and searched everywhere for the missing ninja. Until late at night, or very early in the morning, the guards on duty recorded two unknown figures coming toward Konoha's gate. Both with chakra so low they shouldn't have been standing, Naruto and Sasuke walked into the village. Despite many fractures, lesions and bruises, they were unharmed.

That was all anyone knew, apart from those directly involved. Sakura had been on the nightshift, when her two old team-mates walked through the gates. She was used to seeing Naruto fairly beaten and out of shape, and so was not surprised when he staggered through the hospital doors. But when he was followed by someone she hadn't seen in so many years, she could only stare.

She remembered the hollow expression on his face when she saw him. A few steps behind Naruto, he walked in to join him in the examination room and sat down. He looked the same as she remembered him, only older. Dark eyes, surrounded by equally dark hair and skin extremely pale. But now he also had a fine scar that ran the length of his right cheek. No one said a word, no-one knew what to say. Sakura could only look, dumb-founded, at the two men in front of her. Was she supposed to heal them? Just like that? Like nothing happened? Not to mentioned the questions that were plaguing her mind. Why has he comeback? Is he back for good? Is Orochimaru dead? What about his brother?

Naruto was the first to speak, "Please Sakura, don't start on him now. Wait 'til tomorrow." He was exhausted; they all were. But she was also absolutely furious, that she was all of a sudden expected to heal someone she hadn't seen in nearly ten years. She didn't reply, only went about healing them both in a hostile silence, and left the room when finished.

Upon walking into her office, she shut the door and leant against it. Eyes closed; her head swimming. It was all too much. She had just healed her old team-mate, whom she hadn't seen for 9 years. 9 years. And he hadn't said a word. He hadn't even looked at her; just remained staring at the blank wall opposite with a far away expression. Naruto hadn't said a thing either, that was strange.

In the coming weeks since his return, Sakura saw nothing of Sasuke. Everything just fell back into old routine; her at the hospital and Naruto on missions. The Hokage had personally dealt with Sasuke's return and let him off on a good behaviour bond. No one knew the particular's of the meeting. Naruto visited Sakura when he wasn't away, she tried asking him what on earth had happened; but, behaving extremely out of character, he wouldn't utter a word. Saying it wasn't his story to tell.

So when she arrived at her office one morning to find Sasuke on her examination bed, gazing out the window, it was fair to say that she had a few questions running through her mind. But her questions were only met with shrugs, despite her anger and frustration at being brushed off; she took the hint and stopped.

And that was how it had been.

Today, as usual when she walked through the door, he was there in her office, not saying a word. She wondered how he got into her office; he arrived even before she did. Though considering he was a powerful ninja, it probably wasn't all that difficult.

"Morning" said Sakura, with two coffees balanced in one hand and opening her office door with the other.

"Mm," was the response she received.

"I figured you'd be in today, so I got you a coffee, she said, placing a drink on the table beside him "no sugar right?"

For what seemed like the first time, he'd been in her office, he directed is attention away from the window, to the cup beside him. Well, glaring at it, to be more accurate.

"It's not poisoned."

He looked up from the cup to look her in the face, his dark eyes met her green ones. "Why?" he croaked, his voice raspy from lack of use.

She, following his example, just shrugged.

He picked up the drink and held it between his hands, savouring the warmth. And that was enough for her. But don't get the wrong idea, she wasn't doing this because she was interested in him romantically (He was asexual anyway.) She had moved on a long time ago, she just though he could use a friend.

:----------------:

Things continued on in much the same way. Although Sakura did notice that the time differences in between Sasuke's absences were becoming less and less. He would only go a few days now, before he was back in her office again. It had also become a ritual for her to get two coffees, instead of one on her early mornings.

Sasuke was even beginning to talk, not about the things she wanted to know; but just talking for him was such a feat that she wasn't complaining. He would sometimes ask her about some of her cases at work.

At the moment, Sakura was bored. There were no new cases. She still had a few reports, but they never took long. It was times like these she missed having regular missions. Always being in the action; having to be constantly alert. She knew she was too valuable and Tsunade was reluctant to put on more missions than necessary. Having trained under the current Hokage for 6 years, Sakura was a very capable nin. She had grown a lot since her genin days.

When she arrived in her office the next morning, a little late, she was quite surprised. There on her desk was a coffee. She looked from the coffee to the Uchiha on the bed.

"You got me a coffee," a statement, not a question.

Sasuke gave her a quiet, "Hn."

"You, voluntarily got me a drink?"

"I got one too," he said tonelessly. It hadn't been about her, he was already getting one, another cost little extra.

She sat down at her desk, still staring at the drink.

"If you don't want it, I'll drink it," he drawled, a moment later.

"No, I'll drink it."

After that, they were silent. He stared out her window in thought and she did her work. Both thinking different things:

'Just coffee, meant nothing'

'He did something for someone else'