Alright so here I am again...

well enjoy and review.

disclaimer: I do not own it... yet again I am not the owner of Naruto... maybe I love Severus Snape too much but otherwise wait...what sorry I got off track.

"Naruto, are you drunk?" Sakura's arms caught the muddied boy as he stumbled over the shoes at the entrance and into her apartment.

"Sasuke," Naruto managed to whisper. His eyes refused to focus and quickly he lost sight of the pink blur that faded out into a deep damp black.

"Naruto!" Sakura lifted Naruto's light frame quite easily and let him lay on her bed even as the mud dried upon her white cotton sheets.

Sakura's green chakra went to work as soon as her physical strength was no longer needed. Her skilled fingers detected emotional trauma. She quickly repaired the damage that caused Naruto to pass out and waited for his eyes to open.

The ceiling was white. He wasn't at home. His eyes blinked once more. He couldn't smell Sasuke's lingering scent. Naruto blinked until he understood he was alone. He glanced at the bed he was on. Once white, now a deep pecan brown. One more thing stained. One more thing ruined.

"You're awake." Sakura walked into the room with a towel and some clothes. "I brought you some clothes. They're Sasuke's."

Like a sealed dam that had just been broken, Naruto spilled his tears at the mere mention of the name.

"What's wrong? Did something happen with Sasuke?" Sakura handed him the clothes and helped Naruto sit up.

Naruto took the clothes and shook his head. He stood up and walked the well known route to the bathroom.

How could he explain the pain he felt? How would he break his friend's heart by telling her of his own? He wouldn't.

Naruto returned in shorts and a tight fitting shirt. He smiled but his eyes remained dim.

"I-" He faltered in his speech. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat. "I'm fine. I just got into a fight with some neighbors. Sasuke wasn't home and –"

"Did they hurt you?" Sakura looked over Naruto once more as she walked toward the closet to leave the dirtied sheets.

"No, nothing like that. It was more of an emotional fight. At least I would call it that." Naruto sat on the clean bed and took a moment to gaze out of the open window. Sasuke was walking away with another person. Naruto quickly stood up and ran towards the window.

"What is it?" Sakura continued her distracted cleaning while Naruto observed.

"Nothing important." Naruto recognized Akuji instantly. The dark red hair was unmistakable as was his airy walk. Sasuke was leaving again. He couldn't leave! He couldn't do this to Naruto again.

"Sakura-chan," Naruto turned and faced his friend. "I don't know if I can be completely honest, but I want to know if you've ever felt this before. I know Sasuke wouldn't understand and he'd probably laugh if I asked him, so I'm asking you."

"Go ahead Naruto." Sakura took a seat on the soft bed; it leaned slightly under her weight.

"I like this person. I love this person. I think I love this person, but it feels like so much more. It hurts. Right here." Naruto's closed fist tapped over his heart. "Every time I think of them. Sometimes it is a light pain that reminds me that they're there. Other times it's a strong feeling that turns to a sour acidic rise in my stomach. Then there are times when the pain is so strong that it hurts just to love them."

Sakura was speechless, but quickly recovered. "I've felt something like that once." Nothing more needed to be said. They both knew the person who had woken up those feelings in a young girl of 12 so long ago.

"Sakura-chan, -"He wanted to say that it was so much more than a childhood crush! So much more that comparing it to one would degrade the idea of it.

"No, I mean I know it couldn't possibly be the same, but I know what you mean. I've hit my extremes too. I think you meant to say that that love is so much more than love. I thought that this love" She pressed her fingers to her breast bone as she spoke. "was the most I'd ever feel. It was harsh, and maybe not as developed as yours, but I know. Just know that I do know." She looked at her once perfectly manicured nails, now broken by long missions and their tough requirements.

"What should I do? They're leaving Sakura-chan. They're leaving me!" Naruto rose and held his head in his hands.

"Naruto, go. Go after them. If they are what you need, then follow them."

Of course Sakura didn't mean it literally, but that was enough for Naruto to leave. His village wouldn't forgive a monster as easily as it would forgive the last remaining member of the famous Uchiha clan. He needed a plan.

He turned to face her and spoke in the calmest voice he'd used since the break-up. "Sakura-chan, I need you to cover for me."


"I need to get out of the village. Please! Tell Tsunade-sama that I'm sick. You can pretend to take care of me. Just tell her I'm under your care. Please, Sakura-chan." Naruto's hands were now holding her shoulders desperately.

"Naruto, I can't do that." Naruto's dodger blue eyes flickered to an azure as the shadows passed Sakura's window. "Lay down."

Naruto stared at her friend but after a few knocks at the door jumped in between the warm, clean sheets. The slight opening at the bottom of the door allowed for worried whispers to enter the room where Naruto was holding his breath in an attempt to hear Tsunade's powerful voice which at the moment seemed to be faltering. After what may have been five minutes Sakura returned.

"She believed me." Sakura was distant. She didn't want to cry.


"Yes, now go before she comes back." Sakura accepted the hug that Naruto rushed at her. She shook her head and gave him a tear filled smile that just barely helped her eyes contain the tears that waited heavily against her bottom lid.

"Thank you Sakura-chan." Naruto took off to their house. He needed to pack. Sasuke couldn't leave him for Orochimaru again. He just couldn't.

The bedroom door was open just as Naruto had left it. His hurried steps echoed in the new apartment. The same rush of cold air that mingled with the damming rain entered the small home and pushed Sakura's tears until they fell, unperturbed by any visitor.

She was third person to be affected, but not the last.

He was gone again, this love, Naruto's love. The same love had left them. The love that burned and tore at her once was now destroying her friend. If only he had spoken he would have known that she was long cured and could have offered salvation from the cruel destiny that would surely come by loving Sasuke.

Thanks for reading.