A/N: I was thinking of putting the rating up to M and have actual sex scenes but I know some won't like that so if you could let me know who's interested via a review or PM I'll take the majority opinion. Thanks!
Question, flames, comments you know where to put them…
Sakura held up her hand. Her thin, feminine, weak hand. She curled it into a fist and clenched so hard that her nails bit into her palm and her arm shook. She could level the entire bar with this one tightened fist but she still wasn't nearly as strong enough to catch up to Sasuke and Naruto. For every one step forward they took giant leaps.
She was still just as weak as the crying girl in the alley begging Sasuke to stay.
She slammed back her sake and gestured for another. The bar keeper looked at her wearily but did as he was told. Being the Hokage's helper had its benefits, especially when Tsudane was a great believer in underage drinking for medical ninjas. What you will see on this job will drive you to the bottle sooner or later kid, better now with me so I don't have to do it alone. She irately waved her masters voice away and the bar keep sat another bottle down beside her thinking she was asking for a double. No matter, she would get to it eventually.
"What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?"
Sakura rolled her eyes as Ino slid into the stool beside her. The blonde had been trailing behind her since her return. Ino usually trailed behind her like a lost puppy nowadays. Ever since that stupid love confession last spring she couldn't get rid of the blonde. "Leave me alone Ino, I want to get drunk in peace."
"Don't you know, you shouldn't drink alone?" Ino said her voice still light but the concern clearly lit her eyes and annoyed Sakura thoroughly. She already knew she was weak, she didn't need to be pitied by the most pathetic female ninja in Konohara. "Well, you can't drink yet so you can't join me, now leave."
Ino waved to the bar keep who looked at her with his eyebrow raised in a deadpan expression before producing an apple juice and setting it in front of the blonde firmly. Ino grabbed a pink straw and placed it in her glass before settling in her chair. "But I can still keep you company!" She declared cheerily.
Sakura looked up from her slumped position her eyes narrow slits. She wondered if hitting Ino hard enough to send her through a wall would make her feel better. Ino grinned around her straw as she sat straight in her chair. Sakura sighed disgusted and grabbed her bottles and got up. She channelled her Chakra into her feet and one hand which she used to grip onto the furniture as she made her way out of the door. It was the best way to test Chakra control and avoid weaving all over the place like a drunk.
Once outside she trailed her hand over walls to keep her steady. The world was only slightly out of focus telling her she wasn't nearly drunk enough for what she wanted. Even drunk she could detect the shuffling of footsteps behind her. Ino, unlike most ninja's, couldn't keep her presence from being detected in the most basic way. Her lack of skill disgusted Sakura. "Go home, Ino!"
"I want to make sure you get home safe first," Ino said coming to stand beside Sakura since there was no point in hiding anymore.
"Trust me if any bad guy jumps out I'll be more than enough to deal with them," unless they were Sasuke or Orochimaru then she was screwed because she couldn't even stand near to ninja's like them let alone stand up to them.
"Oh I have no doubt about that," Ino grinned and Sakura guessed she was supposed to be flustered by the flirty grin. She snorted and turned away but Ino wasn't bothered at all. "But I don't think you can get into your apartment if you don't have the keys."
Sakura jerked her head around as Ino finished. The blonde danced out of her reach when she made to grab for her keys. "You little pick pocket! Give me those back!"
Ino grinned and dangled the silver trophies in her hand. Sakura saw her caterpillar keychain swing lazily backwards and forwards. She glared at the mischievous blonde. She was really going to hurt the other girl if she didn't stop fooling around. "Give me them back, now" she growled dangerously having no idea of how much she looked and sounded like Tsudane at that moment.
Ino swallowed visibly, her grin faltering before she stretched her hand out offering the keys back to Sakura. "I just wanted to help, you left them on the bar beside your empty bottles."
Sakura snatched the keys back and walked on. She remembered throwing them down at the start of the night but only just. She felt for the bottles in her inside pocket and wanted nothing more than to slump down at the next corner and finish her drinking. She wouldn't. She couldn't let Naruto see her in such a pathetic state. She had already broken her promise to him. Next time I won't be a burden. Huh, yeah right, she thought disgusted at herself this time. She had still got in the way and had to be rescued by the captain no less! The self loathing ate at her. She thought this time she was finally near enough to them that she could keep up but it was just a joke. All her training was just a joke in comparison to theirs.
She heard the shuffling again and turned in annoyance launching a dagger at perusing blonde. Ino dogged the projectile with all the grace of a school child but Sakura supposed she would have to give her points for actually dodging. "Ah! Sakura! That could have hit me!" Ino whined not seeing Sakura's naked fury.
"The next one will if you keep following me, Ino!" She bit out as she came to the end of the wall and had to push away. She was trying her best to stay up right as she staggered around the corner and to the safety of another wall. Controlling her Chakra was harder than she remembered. She must be drunker than she first thought. She felt herself over balance dangerously and gripped for the wall only to find thin air.
Ino was there before she actually embarrassed herself and fell. She used the blonde to pull herself up right. As drunk as she was she still noticed Ino flush at being so close to her. A dark thought slithered its way into the recesses of her mind and made itself home. Ino was pretty in a traditional way. Blonde hair, blue eyes, well proportion and appropriately weighted. Not the horrible stick thin with glaring ribs or the chubby, which rolls the breast, kind of weighted but the nice in between that Sakura had always strived for.
Ino was quick to move away once it looked like she was steady enough but she refused to release her. The dark thought uncurled itself and started to spread through her hazy mind. She wanted oblivion didn't she? She wanted to forget how weak she was and what better way to do that than use her strength to take some thing weaker than herself? Not that Ino would be unwilling. The nervous fidgeting and red stain that marked her skin told her that Ino would be very willing. But could she really do something like that? Take advantage of Ino's attraction. If Sasuke had did that to her she would have been heart broken. Her dark thought wavered in the mist of her mind as she debated it.
"Sakura…?" Ino asked puzzled.
"You might as well walk me home, we're almost there anyway," she said like she hadn't been trying to get rid of the blonde all night.
Ino was understandably confused but elated at the chance to be so near her that she didn't question her change of heart. Another thing she was failing at as a ninja. Never let your guard down.
They made it to the village chemist and up the outside steel staircase that lead to Sakura's apartment. Sakura wavered at the door and Ino thinking it was her drunkenness that made her pause took her keys from her and opened her door. She made no move to go in but just looked at Ino appraisingly. She studied the blonde under half lidded eyes. Ino was good looking and had gorgeous legs. Her eyes traced up the defined calves and firm thighs to the edge of the short skirt. The skirt that Ino had probably put on in hopes she would be doing what she was at that moment.
Ino shifted and started to fidget under Sakura's stare and Sakura came to a decision. Ino was a pathetic ninja she should at least do something useful. The dark thought firmed and reached down through her mind to curl around her body making Sakura lean forward and kiss the taller blonde on the mouth. She had to lean up to do it properly but Ino's shock made it easy to slip her tongue between full lips. She pulled away and took Ino's hand to led her into her apartment.
Ino jerked to a halt on the threshold and made no move to enter. Sakura looked back annoyed and pulled on their joined hands causing Ino to stumble into the room and straight into Sakura. They fell on the floor, Sakura was miraculously unharmed as Ino managed to fall without hitting her with stray knees or elbows. Ino looked down at Sakura and Sakura could see she was trying to distance herself from the moment or some other such nonsense.
"Sakura, I love you," she said solemnly.
Sakura fought the urge to roll her eyes. She already knew that and she still didn't care. "I know," she said neutrally at last.
"I don't want to take advantage of you when you're drunk," Ino said moving to get off her.
Sakura wasn't having any of that and brought one hand up to firmly stop the blonde's retreat "do I look like I'm not enjoying this?" She said pointing out Ino's stupidity.
"You're still drunk and I don't want you to regret this in the morning," Ino then looked away embarrassed and the flush that was spreading up her neck wasn't from arousal "I want to be with you more than anything but I don't want to be a one night stand. I want to be your girl…" Ino trailed off in embarrassment and Sakura felt like she was watching someone on television humiliate themselves. She cringed for Ino "I want to be your girl…friend."
It had probably taken a lot of courage to admit that but Sakura rather wished Ino hadn't. She tried to think of a way to get what she wanted without being saddled with the guilt of lying. "I won't regret this in the morning Ino-chan," she said slowly hoping the 'chan' suffix would charm Ino a little "I'm not having sex with you because I want to for one night," true all she really had wanted was to drink herself into a stupor but now that Ino had spoiled that plan she just wanted oblivion in the only way Ino could deliver. That made her wonder, where had the bottles she had been carrying fall to? She mentally shrugged before she gently coaxed Ino's head downwards.
Ino broke away and Sakura wanted to sigh in annoyance. "I don't want this to be meaningless," Ino said and Sakura did her best to smile and reassure her "its not meaningless to me," she said again guiding Ino down to kiss her.
"You mean it?" Ino asked softly settling down and moulding herself to Sakura's body.
Sakura shivered as Ino's thigh slid between hers and she said firmly "definitely not meaningless."
She rolled them over and sought oblivion.
She couldn't believe she had snuck out of her own apartment but then was it really fair if she asked Ino to leave? After all the blonde was curled so happily around her pillow that it seemed rude to wake her and ask her to kindly leave. The picture of Ino in her bed made her frown even as she side stepped an elderly lady with a shopping bag. It wasn't the fact that she slept with a girl but the way Ino seemed so contented in her bed like it was normal. Like it was going to become a habit. That made her frown deepen. The thought worried her more than she would like to admit.
She entered the hospital and went to wash up and put on her scrubs. Maybe Tsudane would know what to do. If anyone had to deal with drunken mistakes on a regular basis it would be her. She tied her hair in to a pony tail glad that Ino had been able to lift her low mood at least. She really didn't like the fits of self loathing she would occasionally be hurled into after seeing the progress of her team mates.
She stepped out of the locker room and headed up to Tsudane's office. She took her assignments directly from the Hokage which did tend to annoy some of the more experienced medical ninjas which made them really push her in order to prove she was worthy of such treatment. Normally she didn't mind because it was jut more training to overcome to become the best medical ninja she could be. Now though she glared back just as fiercely when the elder ninja's give her their customary dark looks. Most flinch in surprise before finding other things to do. She hid her grin.
"Tsudane-sama?" She opened the door tentatively without knocking, if Tsudane had been drinking the knock would only irate her.
"Hey, Sakura-chan you're up early!" Tsudane burst out as she opened the door wider.
Sakura eyed her master wearily. Tsudane usually didn't speak until well after mid-day and considering the sun was only up her chirpy attitude was not only surprising but something to be feared. "You're up early yourself, sensei."
"Haven't been to bed yet!" Tsudane replied swigging coffee like it was a shot. "There's a critical patient on the bio hazard ward that could die any minute so I had to do night duty. Since he survived the night I handed him over to one of the other doctors…or a janitor, either way he's out of my hair!" Tsudane slammed the now empty cup down on the desk before surging to her feet. "What can I do you for, Saki?"
"Um," she was slightly thrown by the arm that slung itself around her shoulders "I wanted to know my duties for today, you said I still had more training…"
"Oh yeah!" Tsudane said as she guided Sakura to the door "take the morning off, I don't plan to do anything until later after I've locked you out of my office and had a few hours sleep." She lent over and opened the door for Sakura before pushing her out.
Sakura turned sharply and said "but my training-!" She needed to close the gap between her and her boys. She couldn't just take the morning off! The door closed firmly in her face tell her that in fact she could take the morning off. And had no choice but to.
She slumped irate. Her master was the most annoying and infuriating woman in the world. She still had no idea what to do about Ino!
She walked absently down the street chewing on her thumb nail. She was still in her scrubs, if she did find someone to train her, there was no use in ruining her own clothes.
"Hey! Sakura-chan!" She looked up to see Naruto stretched on his tippy toes waving idiotically at her. She smiled in spite of herself.
"Hey, Naruto," she called back more tamer her wave was less enthusiastic.
Naruto ran towards her then stopped and doubled over huffing when he reached her. "Sakura-chan Kakashi-sensie and captain Yamato are going to teach me how to create my own special, super cool move!" Naruto grinned proudly up at her before straightening up.
"That's great Naruto!" She tried to cheer but sadness was welling up in her gut at an uncomfortable rate. She couldn't match at his current level and he was still training to become better, how could she ever catch up?
"Yeah! The next time we fight Sasuke, we'll definitely bring him back!" Naruto had his wild smile stretched to its fullest before bringing his fists to his chest and crouching slightly as his face darkened "then Sasuke will have to admit that I'm the superior ninja, because of my super cool move that will leave him breathless and amazed at the wonder that is Uzumaki Naruto!"
Sakura laughed genuinely at Naruto's heartfelt declaration. He could always make her laugh. "You better get to training then!"
Naruto's eyes widened and he nodded furiously "you're right! I gotta go before I'm late!" He took off running but still waving to her.
She lifted her hand to wave back but as soon as he was out of sight she slumped down. He had just reminded her why she wanted to get stronger. She wanted to protect his smile and eternal good humour and she wanted to bring Sasuke back and give him something to live for other than vengeance. How could not see his friends and other people cared deeply for him?
"You look glum," a warm hand slid into her own and she turned to find Ino at her side. Oh crap.
"Just thinking," she replied leaning away from the blonde and smiling nervously.
"About Sasuke and Naruto right?" Ino said with one eyebrow raised.
"Right," Sakura said slightly surprised. She didn't think anyone would notice.
"You both get that resolved look on your faces when you think of Uchiha," Ino confided and Sakura could tell she was trying her best to keep her anger out of her voice.
Sakura frowned in anger at the repressed hostility in Ino's voice. What did she know about Sasuke and his problems? She took her hand away firmly and watched as Ino's face fell. "I have to go."
"Oh, okay," Ino said sadly then forced herself to put on a cheery façade. Sai could take lessons from her, Sakura thought spitefully still not forgiving her for her unvoiced opinion of her friend. "Hey, I get off work at five why don't I treat you to dinner at Chinos, at six?"
Sakura frowned at the invite but Ino bravely pressed on. She thought her unwillingness would be enough to make the blonde go away but it didn't seem likely. "I'll be busy at the hospital," seeing how crushed Ino was as she practically shrunk into herself, she relented and kicked herself for agreeing to her plan last night "I should be free at nine, maybe then?" she offered uncomfortably.
Ino light up like a Christmas tree "that's great! Perfect even! I'll see you then!" Sakura doubted if her voice could contain anymore joy.
"You don't need to force yourself!" Sakura called to the retreating frame "it's okay if you can't make it!" But Ino just smiled and waved. Sakura cursed violently in her head as she forced her own grim smile on her face.
First thing was first, she needed to get rid of Ino before she could train in any meaningful way.