This one will probably be pretty short, but I'll try to make it as long as I can, but one can only drag on for so long…. …oh yeah this will be VERY OOC in some parts cause I don' know as much about Asuma's character so yeah…

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or anything associated to it, not even any action figures or plushies (anime head drop)

Cigarettes

A story of Asuma and Sakura

She didn't know how she started, maybe it was when she realized that Sasuke wasn't coming back. She remembered the devastated look on Naruto's face when she told him to break the promise of a lifetime. It had been sad, too sad. She had told him that she didn't want to lose anything else precious to her, not another friend.

Maybe she started when she realized that she hated hangovers, and that drinking wasn't the solution… who knows how it happened. But it did, Sakura began smoking as a different kind of release.

Being a medic-nin she knew exactly what would most likely happen to her, but she didn't care. Nothing really mattered anymore, nothing at all.

That was how they first really met, sure she knew him as the sensei of three of her friends, just like he knew her as a pretty good medic with bright pink hair, but that was it. They knew nothing really about each other.

The first meeting… went like this.

FlashbackXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOX

Sakura had an itch under her skin, she was reaching for her weapons pouch where relief lay in wait. No, she couldn't do it, she couldn't smoke right in front of Naruto and Kakashi, it wouldn't be right.

Trying to fight the urge, Sakura managed for just a few more minutes before the urge for nicotine was unbearable. Making her excuses she left the two confused ninja's in her wake.

The moment she was out the door, a cigarette was in one hand, and a lighter with a flame already burning in the other.

Lighting it she gave a sigh of relief, taking a long slow draw she lightly blew out the smoke. She enjoyed how the smoke would furl, crumple, then altogether disappear.

"Smoking isn't healthy," a familiar voice commented with a slow drawl.

"Like your one to talk, Asuma-sensei." She smiled at her friends' sensei.

"Hey, no need to be so formal, I'm not your sensei after all," He stuck another cigarette in his mouth.

They just sat there in silence, no words passed between them. Eventually Sakura knew she needed to go back to her waiting team, "Goodnight, Asuma-san," Bowing politely, Sakura opened the door into the restaurant.

She almost missed the quiet, "Goodnight, Sakura-chan."

END FLASHBACK XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

There would be more meetings, and they would start talking more and more. Eventually they would become friends, they would talk more and more about their personal lives, they would talk of sorrows and tragedies, they would talk of times of laughter, and lost memories.

Everything was being shared, but it took a long time to get there, and there was pain in their lives. More so then one would think.

FLASHBACK XOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

There was another time they met, they had been talking for a while at this point. Asuma began to tell one of his stories of his past.

Flashback… in a flashback………………………………………………………

It was 3 years ago, Asuma had been seeing Kurenai for a while, and things seemed to be going well. He was going to surprise her, by appearing from nowhere and take her on the perfect romantic evening. And if all went well he was going to propose.

Feeling the small square box in his pocket he smiled slightly at the thought of his red eyed lover.

When he finally reached Kurenai's apartment the door was locked, frowning to himself Asuma wondered if something was wrong, Kurenai was always home at this point, and her door was unlocked.

Being a jounin breaking and entering was no problem, so stealing into her house, Asuma quietly crept through the darkened house. Checking her bedroom he found no one there. Continuing on he looked into the bathroom, and there laying on the floor was Kurenai, completely motionless.

Quickly making his way over to her, Asuma dropped onto his knee's beside the woman he loved. Putting his ear to her chest, there was no heartbeat. "No…" he whispered. "NO!"

Grabbing her lifeless body, he disappeared from the cold apartment, and reappeared in the hospital. "Get Hokage-sama, NOW!" he shouted frightening the hospital workers into a frenzy.

The rest was sort of a blur, he barely remembered Tsunade coming out of the emergency room to tell him that she was gone. Suicide, she had said, but he couldn't accept that. Kurenai had always been so happy, so full of life. There had to be a reason for this… but there wasn't.

That was the end of the story, she was gone, and once again Asuma was alone.

The days that followed were full of much alcohol and cigarettes, he couldn't stop. Asuma kept the box in his pocket, often taking it out to stare at it. He had gotten it on his last mission, it was a blood red diamond encrusted into a silver band, red like her eyes. He would cry when he looked at it, it was too painful.

One day he knew he couldn't live like that anymore, he had to live, for her sake. Taking the box to the bridge where team 7 often met, Asuma threw the ring as far as he could down stream towards the waterfall.

Letting go, it's harder then you could think, one of the hardest things to possibly do in this life.

End the flashback in a flashback, but it is still in flashback.

Sakura's cigarette had long been forgotten, just burning away in her hand while she listened to Asuma talk. She remembered the funeral of Kurenai, she had gone, and remembered feeling so helpless as Hinata cried while Kiba and Shino comforted her, both distraught over the death of their sensei.

Letting the cigarette fall to the ground, Sakura hugged the man she had come to know so much about. Tentatively he wrapped his arms around the younger girl, knowing he shouldn't feel the way he does about this girl.

"Gomenasi, I can't believe you went through so much."

"So have you."

Sakura trembled in his arms, thoughts flooded through her head of when she had finally let Sasuke go.

FLASHBACK IN A FLASHBACK XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Sakura awoke, sweat pouring out of her body, her hair sticking to her forehead. "It's just a dream," she whispered to herself, but it wasn't a dream, it was real. Or at least it used to be real.

It was the dream that began with, "Your annoying," and ended with, "Thank you," then everything went black.

Hugging herself, Sakura slowly rocked back and forth. "I have to let go, it's too much, I can't take it." She repeated that to herself like a mantra, over and over again.

Slowly falling back asleep, Sakura had the same dream, it wouldn't fade, and she awoke many times the same thing happening again.

The next morning Sakura awoke, feeling like she hadn't slept at all. Dark shadows were under her eyes, looking in the mirror she mused, "I sort of look like Gaara." Laughing at that she knew the Kazekage would hate to be compared to a pink haired kunoichi. Even the one that had saved his life.

She needed something new… something different. Maybe that's why she headed to the local convenience store and bought a pack of cigarettes. It wasn't supposed to be a habit, just a one time thing. Now she couldn't sleep without having one or two.

Addiction, that was the word that so many used, but it wasn't addiction, it was more like an obsession. Passionate, mania, fixation, all those words described it better than addiction. It was mental, not a physical need. If it wasn't for the damned dreams she could stop, and she would stop.

But the dreams were still there, haunting her, not letting her sleep without having to get up at least once to smoke.

END FLAHSBACK IN A FLASHBACK XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Asuma stared at the trembling girl in his arms, she was obviously lost in some hideous memory. Hugging her tighter to him, Asuma told himself that this was for mutual comfort, not because he wanted to.

Then he kissed her, and she kissed back. Who were they kidding, it wasn't comfort, it was need.

END FLASHBACK XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

After that, it had been awkward, but it happened again, and again. Then he asked her out on something real. A date. It'd been fun, and they'd laughed at the people staring at them, they hadn't cared, they'd had fun.

It happened more and more often, though there was still this space between them.

He went on dangerous missions, coming back with life threatening wounds. Sakura would heal him, then tell him to never do that again. Asuma would laugh and say it was the shinobi way of life.

She would go on a dangerous missions, and come back with more mental wounds, and some physical ones. Sakura would heal herself, and Asuma would hug her and make her promise to not leave again. It was the shinobi lifestyle, your loved one would most likely die, and there was nothing you could do.

Three years had passed, and Sakura was now twenty-five, Asuma was thirty-nine. Naruto had become the Hokage after Tsunade had resigned. Life was good, and the five country's were at peace.

Asuma proposed, Sakura agreed.

There were married. Sakura's dreams had been long forgotten, and she had stopped smoking. Sakura had come up with a healing jutsu for lung cancer, and had become the top medic, even topping Tsunade herself. Asuma wouldn't die of lung cancer had been her motivation for creating the jutsu, because otherwise he would have died within 10 years or so. And that couldn't happen.

Because just like he wouldn't give up his Sakura, Asuma couldn't give up his cigarettes.

THE END

It's short but I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out REVIEW PLEASE