Disclaimer: Naruto isn't mine.

A/N: The first sequence in the 'I know you' arc! Naruto's POV talking to Sakura about her decline of life, really. He's returned from training with Jiraiya to find a very different Sakura waiting for him at home.

I know You

The First Sequence in the 'I Know You' Arc

I've been with you since we were twelve, before that even, I played with you occasionally when no one else would, because no one else would play with me either. 'Course you didn't know what I was, or at least I didn't think you did. You do now. You know and yet you still stay with me, go to eat ramen with me. Everything best friends should do together.

I know how life has treated you. I've been through it, and I've watched you go through it. I've seen what exactly it's done to you. It's been a roller coaster ride from the beginning. Thrown around like some rag doll, taken detours you never wanted to take. And yet, you survived—for the most part—by yourself. You refused help, just like the rest of the members of our cell: the fateful Team 7. We were cursed from the beginning with our goals. Cursed by our personalities, our friendships, our weaknesses, and our strengths were all against us from the beginning. Yet we're still surviving, barely, because we both realize we're on our last limbs here, but we are. Better than others would've.

I know how you think, Sakura. I've been with you long enough to know every emotionally challenging thought you have throughout your day. Those thoughts are dangerous to dwell on, and I don't like you thinking to hard about them.

You asked me what I'd do if you died a couple days before I left. I couldn't answer you truthfully. I gave you the usual, normal, accepted answer. But I lied, and I'm sorry. I wouldn't immediately cry and be sad. I'd hate you for leaving me on purpose. I'd hate you for being that stupid, and I realize all this stems from Sasuke-teme leaving us—more specifically, you.

I know you don't want too. I know you like your neck deep pity pool party. I know you even invited me, because we all know misery loves company. But it doesn't deserve it. So I had to refuse your invitation. I tried to bring him back, and I failed. I know you wanted to hate me for it, too. But you didn't, and for that I was so glad. But I'm crashing this pity party of yours, Sakura. No more. It took a lot for me to give up on being a failure. As funny as that sounds—it's true. You have to let that mentality go, too. Everything you do is a success at something, let the glass overflow instead of only being half-full.

I'm here, Sakura. Really here. I'm on the same level with you emotionally and physically—you can depend on me, damn it! Even if he let you down—I never will. We're both jonin level Leaf Shinobi of Cell 7, our sensei is Hatake Kakashi, and our friend, my brother, and your Prince Charming, as disgusting as that is because I've loved you long before he even knew your name, is Uchiha Sasuke. So I'll stand for however long it take for you to stop crying and start living. And when you give up again—I'll come back, and I'll hold you just like I am right now until you find some way to stitch yourself back together again. Because unlike Sasuke-teme, you can count on me to carry you till you carry on.

I can only wonder how Tsunade-baa-chan let you get this bad. I know she's worried, but I'm sure someone could've helped you before I came home. I've heard you've been like this sense we left you. I can't blame you. I know the loneliness that comes from being left behind. Really I do. It hurts, and the pain that's inflicted is permanent, time won't heal anything. But it can be covered up, the happiness of being with friends is like Novocain to it, numbs the pain and then your world is alright again.

You're crying again, a fresh new load of tears. Am I really making you this sad, Sakura-chan? I asked you that, and all you did was shake your head violently and sob harder. What is it? Why am I only bringing you tears? Your tears make me sad, especially when they're for me. You shouldn't cry, Sakura-cha. We're not worth it.

You look like a ghost, I'm almost afraid I'll break you if I breathe wrong. Your skinnier since I saw you last, your skin is too pale to be healthy, and your normally bright bubblegum hair is now slightly faded, and you've taken on a slightly haggard appearance, but I won't tell you that. I will, however, start feeding you better if I don't stop feeling every vertebrae in your spine and every rib through your flesh and clothes. Good thing I've been saving up, you're gonna need lots of ramen. I grin, trying to make you stop crying, anything. I just can't stand seeing you sad anymore. You're too precious to me to be sad.

I'll get him back for you, because I know that's the only thing I can that can make you truly happy. I miss him too. That bastard'll pay for making you cry. If nothing else he should feel sorry for what he's done to you…but he won't, and we both know that. Is that why you're crying? Because you know, too?

You've finally stopped, and you're staring at me with bloodshot and tired emerald eyes that I remember used to shine like the sun everyday, now they look like they don't want to look anymore. You've changed, Sakura. But I know you. I've always known you.

You're still in love with him. You're still wallowing in pity because you can't get over him, and so you still think yourself to be weak—which you aren't by the way. You're still the same Haruno Sakura, kick-ass temper, now with matching supernatural strength, free of charge. You've still got that childish shy smile that can make anyone fall in love with you instantly. You're still you.

And yet you're not.

You're not cheerful. You're never truly smiling. It's always fake. Is this what life has done to you, Sakura? Is this what I've been missing?

I won't go away again, Sakura-chan, you have nothing to worry about on my part. I see the doubt hidden in your green depths, but only time will change your mind, I guess, although you're never one with patience. Heh, oh well. You can't, won't, get rid of me, ever ever again. Not if I can help it. We'll get our family back, and I know you believe it, despite your many declarations of defeat. You look at me questioning, curious as I call you a liar while we walk through the market of our beautiful village. I smile, hug and whisper in your ear the three simple words I've told you all along.

I know you.

A/N: Not much sense, but hey, it's drabble. So whatever. Enjoy, read and review.