AN: A break from my other stories…which unfortunately keep on leading me to writer's block…anyway I decided to experiment on this pairing…hope you enjoy!Summary: The moment she had stopped calling him Sasuke-kun, Naruto had stopped calling her Sakura-chan. She didn't know which hurts more, the fact that she had fallen out of love or the realization that she had loved her other teammate a day too late.
The Godaime was in a very good mood. She had just won a wager and so decided to give her subordinates a day of rest. Before she could change her mind, the ninjas immediately planned a get together picnic.
It was a sunny morning when Sakura found herself being dragged from her own home by Ino. In truth, she was in no mood to join the picnic. But her bestfriend/rival took it upon herself to stop Sakura from moping.
The moment they reached the training ground where the gathering was being held, Ino left her and went over to Shikamaru.
Sakura smiled at the couple, they had been together for two years. She sat on the grass as her eyes roamed over her other friends. And finally stopping to rest on her two favorite teammates.
She remembered it as if it was only yesterday. Naruto had finally kept his promise, Sasuke was back. Although bloody and battered, he had managed to give her a smirk then passed out right after. He was quickly brought to the hospital where she and the Godaime healed his body.
After three months of recovery, the last Uchiha was finally let out of the hospital. His punishment was carried out a day later. Sasuke grunted in irritation upon reading the scroll,
"So this is my punishment?"
His teammates weren't fooled though; they knew that deep down he was really relieved. He'd only be under two years of probation then he could once again gain his title as shinobi.
Team 7 was back again, Sasuke was opening up bit by bit. Everything was perfect for everyone, except for one pink haired medic nin.
Yes, it was a day she would never forget.
They were at the hospital one afternoon. Sasuke was finally awake. She was peeling apples for Sasuke while Naruto bickered with the raven haired man. She smiled at the picture they made. Despite the hostility between them years ago, they still remained the best of friends.
"Alright, stop it you two. Sasuke, you better eat these apples or you'll starve."
"Hn. I want tomatoes."
Naruto snickered in the background. Sasuke glared at him. Sakura only sighed in exasperation.
"I forgot to buy one. I'll go get some tomorrow, but for now eat these." She trusted the plate into his face.
"Hn." But he ate it nonetheless.
She smiled as he munched the apples then she turned to Naruto intent upon asking him why he was so silent. The man was not known for his silence. Sakura was about to open her mouth when she caught a very unusual expression on his face.
He was staring at Sasuke as he ate.
His eyes were pensive, there was a small smile on his lips but it was a sad one. His arms were crossed on his chest and it gave her the impression that he was protecting himself from harm. From hurt…
She couldn't understand why a man so energetic could be so sad over a bunch of apples. Something suddenly clicked in her brain. She couldn't help but ask…
"Naruto are you gay? Are you in love with Sasuke?"
Sasuke choked, she immediately went behind him and patted his back. She looked back at Naruto expecting a very violent reaction. She was stunned though when he merely chuckled.
"You think way too much Sakura."
He gave them a wave before disappearing in a puff of smoke.
Her confusion doubled, something was off.
It was only after Sasuke's coughing fit subsided did she realize what was wrong. The usual Sakura-chan was gone from Naruto's vocabulary.
End of Flashback
It was ironic that he had stopped calling her Sakura-chan the same day she had stopped calling her ex-crush Sasuke-kun. Even more so, that she realized she'd been in love with Naruto a day too late, when an endearment for her no longer holds an importance for the orange clad ninja.
She berated herself for not noticing it sooner. She should have known it the day Sasuke came back and she didn't feel any romance towards the man or the time she felt really jealous when Naruto asked Hinata out on a date.
It was very surprising for her when she found she no longer felt the same for the Uchiha, only a love given to a dear brother. It took a while for her to accept that fact, mainly because she had followed him for so long she couldn't look at the other possibilities.
It was around that time when she had started acknowledging her feelings for Naruto, and so she wasn't prepared when Naruto started giving her the cold shoulder. At first she thought it was only her imagination. But then their other friends started questioning her about Naruto's peculiar behavior.
Every time she brings up the topic to Naruto, he would suddenly bolt away, saying there was something he forgot. To this very day, Sakura was a mass of frustration. Specially now where she could see him chatting animatedly with Hinata, and pointedly ignoring her.
She was so completely engrossed in her own thoughts that she failed to notice the figure flopping down beside her.
"Thinking too much could get you killed, you know." Onyx eyes danced with amusement.
"Sasuke! Don't scare me like that."
"What are you doing here anyway? Shouldn't you be over there sparring or something?"
"Sakura, come with me." Sasuke stood up abruptly.
She looked up suddenly at his serious tone. He held out his hands to her and she accepted it. She needed to get out of here, she thought. Or else she might not be able to control her jealousy.
The pair walked away from the others and headed deeper into the woods. Neither saw the dagger-like stare thrown in their direction.
"Hinata, could you excuse me for a while? I need to speak to Sasuke."
He left even before the girl finished with her stuttering. He didn't know why he wanted to follow when he knew he'd only be hurt upon hearing whatever those two would talk about. Yet he couldn't help himself. It was his own fault that he couldn't fight for her. He was ashamed to admit he was nothing but a coward.
He knew he had confused her with his sudden indifference and that he had hurt her by shrugging her off when she wanted to talk to him. But it was the only way he could think of. The only way he could be sure he wouldn't suddenly exclaim he was jealous of Sasuke and that he loved her more than life itself.
The moment he brought Sasuke back, he started to make his appearance scarce. He figured there was already something going on between the two, especially when he saw Sasuke looking at Sakura differently. He did not want to see and he did not want to hinder their relationship.
It pained him to no end that she would willingly wait for one man who was never there for her when he was always right beside her. He shook his head at his thoughts…
'I should be happy for them, they are my bestfriends.'
'Selfishness is something I should never succumb to.'
That day at the hospital. He had seen the shock on her face when he refrained from calling her Sakura-chan. It brought great suffering in him and he wanted to go back and say it over and over again. But he had already chosen his decision. It was time he let her go.
Naruto remembered the time he got back to Konoha after his extensive training with Jiraiya. As he was walking across the streets he saw a flash of pink. He was speechless for a moment then he went back to his usual self, he ran over to her and gave her that grin of his.
She had been so beautiful then, and he relished the fact that he had made her blush. Then when her fists connected with his face shortly afterwards, he found himself falling even more in love with her.
Now he couldn't describe her without feeling a pang of regret in his heart. Perhaps he should have told her. But he had feared she would dismiss it as another of his childhood proclamations. He remained silent, and now she would be forever taken from him.
He finally saw them at a distance. Blind rage almost consumed him when he got a closer look. Sakura's arms were around Sasuke, and the sharingan wielder held her tightly. Naruto hid behind a tree, trying to control his raging emotions.
Sasuke's voice cut through his concentration. His world shattered before his eyes.
"Sakura, will you marry me?"
Naruto didn't wait for her reply, once again he disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Sasuke stopped when he assessed they were far enough from the others, he waited for a few minutes before he felt that familiar chakra. He smirked then put his plan to action. He purposely tripped and landed on Sakura.
Her arms went around him and he did the same. He suppressed the urge to shiver when he felt a killing intent. With a deep breath, he opened his mouth.
"Sakura, will you marry me?"
He frowned when he lost track of the familiar chakra.
Her confused eyes stared at his unreadable ones. He decided to continue anyway.
"Well? Do you?"
"I-I…I'm sorry Sasuke…but I can't."
"I knew it." He smirked at her stunned expression.
"How did you know?"
"I may be cold hearted to others Sakura, but with the two of you, I am overly sensitive."
She couldn't help it anymore, she cried in Sasuke's arms.
"I don't know what to do anymore Sasuke, he keeps on ignoring me and I don't know what I have done to receive such a cold treatment!"
"It's simple; you made him fall in love with you."
He rolled his eyes when surprised orbs stared up at him.
"For a smart kunoichi you really are an idiot when it comes to the dobe."
She smiled at him, and later on both of them chuckled.
"Go Sakura, set him straight. I'll kick his ass if something goes wrong."
He watched as she ran away from him. Ignoring the tightening of his chest. His proposal was for Naruto's sake as well as his.
If she had said yes, he'd be the happiest man alive.
Since she had refused, then he would content himself by being happy for his two closest friends.
She had never felt so light hearted in days, at least now she had some sort of explanation. Sakura only hoped that Sasuke was right.
He was no where in sight when she went back to the clearing. When she asked Kakashi where Naruto went, he pointed the direction to Ichiraku. Sakura smiled and thanked her sensei.
When she reached the ramen stand though, she wished the ground would swallow her whole. Sitting there was Naruto Uzumaki, kissing one of her best friends, Hinata Hyuuga.
She made a choking sound unintentionally. Her hand went up to her mouth. Naruto looked up at her and for a moment she thought she saw guilt written in his eyes. But it was gone in an instant, replaced by a smug look.
"What's the matter Sakura, jealous?"
She hid her pain through the only means she knew…anger.
"What the hell do you think you're doing you pervert!"
He merely raised his eyebrows.
"Kissing?" he supplied smoothly.
"I know that you imbecile! But this is a public place!"
She didn't know why his eyes suddenly flared with anger.
"Oh, like what you and Sasuke did? Hid behind the trees and made out like there's no tomorrow!"
"W-what! Th-that's not tru-"
"Save it! I saw the two of you! He had asked you to marry him huh? I guess after that you squealed like a little fan girl and screwed him right away! I wouldn't be surprised! Given the slutty attitude you've been showing him recently!"
His face was turned to the side from the impact. She didn't infuse her slap with her chakra, but it hurt him so much more than any kind of hit he had received.
"How dare you…I thought you were my friend."
He would have preferred if she lashed out at him, instead of her quiet voice. She sounded so defeated he couldn't take it.
He couldn't look at her, he had lost control. He knew she was crying and he was the cause of it. He wanted her to love him, but he had succeeded in making her hate him. He was truly pathetic.
He continued looking at the ground even as her footsteps faded away.
"That was very low Naruto-kun."
"I'm sorry, for everything."
"I forgive you. And I hope Sakura-san does as well."
Hinata's voice made him look up, her eyes were reprimanding him. He wondered for a moment, why she wasn't stuttering.
"I let you use me, because I know how much you needed to get away from the pain. I've seen the way you look at her and I wanted to ease your sufferings a bit. But Naruto-kun, I didn't think you could do that. I thought you loved her."
"I do Hinata."
"Because I don't want to have false hopes anymore."
He turned his back and headed home. Konoha was very silent that day, there was no loud mouthed ninja running amok. No one to brighten up the streets, no one to greet the villagers with a grin and laughing eyes.
Naruto finally found out why Sasuke was so obsessed with training. It made him forget about things that mattered. It made him forget about her soft pink hair, her sparkling eyes, luscious lips, agile body. The tears in her melodious voice.
He had been practicing his taijutsu for nearly four hours now. His muscles were beginning to strain. Trees were already scattered across the training ground. But it wasn't enough for him.
He focused his chakra in his right hand.
He aimed for another tree trunk.
And clashed with a blue ball of lightning.
Blue eyes tinged with red met red ones with swirling tomoes.
Sasuke said while they were still connected through the masses of chakra.
He bared his fangs and pushed forward.
"What are you doing here Sasuke?"
"What? I'm not teme this time?" Sasuke smirked.
"You're being talkative today, I wonder why?"
"Well maybe because someone needs to say something!" He increased his chakra and threw Naruto towards the opposite end of the field.
"What do you know anyway!" Naruto came up gasping for air. He fell again and knelt on the grass.
"Enough to know you screwed up again!" Sasuke was equally angry now.
"Shut up! Are you here to rub it in my face? That you got her! That you finally beat me!"
Sasuke charged towards him again, he tried to move but found he can no longer stand. He braced himself for the impact.
What he received was a flick on the forehead. He opened his eyes and found Sasuke crouching before him.
"Cooled of now, dobe?"
He smirked before falling to the grass. Blue eyes staring up at the dark sky.
"Yeah. Thanks teme."
Sasuke too, followed Naruto's example.
"So, am I invited to your wedding?" He tried to keep the pain from showing in his voice.
Naruto's head turned towards Sasuke an angry retort forming on his lips.
"There will be no wedding. Sakura refused."
"That's why you're so stupid."
He smirked for the nth time when Naruto suddenly vanished from his spot.
"Really those two, by the time I reach thirty I'll be all wrinkles."
"Welcome to my world." A voice coming from a tree said.
"Kakashi, what are you doing here?"
"Well I had to make sure you two didn't kill each other."
He threw him a copy of Icha Icha Paradise before resuming his pose on the branch.
Both men continued to read in silence.
He couldn't find her anywhere, he searched her apartment, the hospital; there was still no sign of her.
Exhausted, he stopped for a while, upon scanning his surroundings, he realized he was at the mountain with the hokages' faces. Standing atop his father's head. He heard a sniff to his side, his eyes widened and his shoulders sagged in relief when he saw her pink hair.
Sakura was there, sitting on Tsunade's head. Her head resting on her knees as she sobbed continuously. He saw her shoulders stiffen when he moved behind her.
"Naruto, if you know what's best for you-"
He knelt behind her and turned her face towards his.
Then he cut her off with a kiss.
It started slowly and gently. But when she responded, he lost control and devoured her completely. She melt on his chest as she turned to him fully, savoring the feel of his tongue against her own. Her fingers raked his blonde mane and he groaned in delight.
Returning the favor, his hands glided from her pink locks towards her spine. He received a moan from her and he held her tighter. When the need for breath arose, he pulled slowly from her and placed his forehead on hers. Their breaths mingling with each other.
"I always know what's best for me Sakura-chan." He smirked at her.
Her face crumpled and tears started to fall from her eyes again. Naruto panicked, he didn't want to make her cry again. He hugged her closer to him.
"I'm sorry Sakura-chan! Whatever I have done to hurt you I didn't mean to! Please forgive me…" he added solemnly.
Her shoulders were still shaking but it wasn't from crying he realized, she was laughing.
"I'm sorry Naruto, it's just that, I missed that."
His brows furrowed in confusion.
"You calling me Sakura-chan."
His eyes widened, stunned was the understatement of the year.
"You noticed that?"
"Of course, I've been in love with you ever since you came back from your training with Jiraiya-sama. Although I've only realized that recently."
She couldn't look at him as she said those words. A gentle finger went under her jaw, she slowly faced the boy who stole her heart.
"You have no idea how long I have waited to hear that."
"I love you too Sakura-chan, and I'll keep calling you that until you grow tired of hearing it."
He lowered his face to her.
She met him halfway.
And their kiss continued until the sun rose high in the sky.
It is never too late to bask in the sunlight.
Never too late to feel the cool breeze.
A secret is kept to be found by the right person.
The surface is what the eyes can see.
But deep within is what the heart is for.
AN: This one was longer than I expected…Naruto was ooc but that's what I like about him, any characteristic could work for him…well then, I hope you liked it……