Too Lazy for Love
They were all ganging up on her, she thought mildly cross. She rested her elbow on the table and put her face in her palm. Her lips were pursed slightly trying to find a diplomatic way out of her current situation. Sakura looked around at her girlfriends. They all wore different shades of worry on their faces. She didn't know why. She was fine. Her life was perfect and she couldn't ask for anything more.
They were all married. Two were expecting their first child. She was going to be an aunt soon and she was thrilled. A baby. She was hoping that this first one would be a boy. A little boy with pearly eyes, sun-kissed hair and a smile that would melt the heart of all who knew him. Yes, Naruto and Hinata's child was due first. In fact, any day now she would be delivering their child. At long last (with Sakura's help) Naruto had finally seen the shy kunoichi. He had seen that she loved him more than she loved life. And she only had to beat him half to death twice in order for him to see it.
Naruto was a single minded type of man. Once he realized the depth of Hinata's devotion he was deeply moved by it and he became determined to make her his. When he wanted something he went after it. Sakura, many times, felt a little bad for Hinata. To have Naruto's full attention can sometimes be a little overwhelming especially since she was so shy. She got over it though, for the most part and she clung to Naruto like he was her life line. Despite the fact that there were so many obstacles in their relationship with her clan and father they fought for their love. They came. They saw. They conquered. Even though they were at the opposite ends of the personality pole, it worked for them. Hinata, for some reason, loved Naruto's vivaciousness and Hinata's soft and quiet disposition tamed the Kyuubi container. They were happy and Sakura couldn't ask for anything more.
Ino was behind Hinata by a few months. Choji had claimed her heart. It was an unexpected event for everyone but Sakura. Ino had been devastated to realize that she would never be seen by Shikamaru. Her teammate, the man she loved madly, never thought of her as anything but at best a friend at worst a nuisance. Choji had picked up the pieces of her broken heart, with the encouragement of her pink haired best friend, and put it back together again. He nursed it until it was strong then he claimed it for his own and he swore he was never giving it back. (Not that Ino wanted him to.) Sakura was hoping that Ino would have a girl. One of each would be great. Sakura couldn't wait to see the new generation.
Tenten and Neji. Sakura almost chuckled to herself just thinking about them. Neji was an idiot but then again so was Tenten. Neji fancied himself in love with Sakura for a while and Tenten started dating Kankuro shortly after she realized that Neji had every intention of pursing Sakura. In short Sakura had to kick both of their sorry asses because someone had to knock some sense into them. They belonged together. Everyone knew that except themselves. Now they were practically inseparable. Sakura was actually surprised to see her here without her quiet husband somewhere nearby. Sakura glanced around discreetly looking for him knowing that if he wanted to be seen he would be if not well she was just wasting her time.
So, now they all sat in front of her worried because she had no love life. Truly, she didn't think that was a bad thing. She had loved once a long time ago. Where had that gotten her? A broken heart. Unrequited love. The object of her affection gone for good. So, she had decided that she wasn't doing it again. Love was too much work. You know? And if she had learned anything after her unexpected friendship with Shikamaru was that being lazy, sometimes, was a good thing. Yes, Sakura was too lazy for love. She wanted no part of it. It was too bad her friends didn't feel the same way. Sakura scrunched her nose up. They just had to share the love.
"You have to be lonely Sakura. Don't you want to at least try to date someone?" Ino asked incredulously.
"Nope." Sakura replied taking a small sip of her tea knowing her calmness was grating on Ino's nerves. Yelling would only get her worked up into a frenzy and she was not going to do that. "What's the point?"
"We want you to be happy Sakura." Hinata's sad eyes gazed her way and Sakura almost relented. If there was a master manipulator in the group, it was Hinata. Her sincere concern and worry sparkled in her eyes almost causing Sakura to bend to her will which is why Sakura started avoiding eye contact with the Hokage's wife.
"I am happy. Why do you all seem to think that I can't be happy alone?"
Ino spoke up. "Because I know you Forehead. You, more than any of us, wanted a husband and children and you're the only of us left that hasn't married. You deserve happiness."
"And again I say I am happy. Why don't you guys believe me?" Sakura said a bit incredulously. Her hands raised in exasperation.
Tenten finally spoke up. "Because your eyes don't look like the eyes of a woman that is happy."When she had finished speaking she shrugged lightly almost apologetically.
"My eyes don't look happy." Sakura repeated. "Would you like for me to tilt the edges upward so that they smile at you Tenten?" Sakura raised her hands and put them on the corners of her eyes raising them upwards. "Cheese." Sakura said drolly.
Ino slammed her hand on the table frustration and hormones getting the best of her. "This is serious Sakura!"
"You may think so, but I don't. I don't want to love anyone. I don't need children. Hinata has one on the way and so do you Ino and you're both going to need all the help you can get. I'm happy with being the single aunt that spoils the children rotten. I'm actually living for it because after I spoil them…I can send them home. If that's not enough I get a cat or two or a dozen. I'll become the crazy old cat lady."
Tenten chuckled and both women looked at her darkly. "Your time will come too Tenten Hyuga." Ino said.
"But until then I can enjoy a laugh at both your expenses." Tenten said laughing and Sakura joined her.
"Don't encourage her Tenten!" Ino scolded. Hinata just sighed and Tenten sobered.
"Okay. I know you're all heading towards something , so why don't you just get to the point?" Sakura said pointedly looking at Ino, the ringleader.
"You and Shikamaru have been together a lot. I was wondering if you have feelings for him that you won't pursue to protect my feelings."
Sakura blinked surprised. Shikamaru? And her? That was laughable. She knew better than anyone (even Shikamaru himself) that he was so madly in love with Temari that it wasn't even funny anymore. She was actually in the process of formulating a plan to get them together…. "Because if you are I wanted to let you know that it's okay. I love my husband more than anything and I wouldn't trade him for the world. If you want Shika--"
Sakura held up her hand halting Ino's words. "Ino, I don't have some deep unrequited affection that I'm harboring for Shikamaru. I'm single and I plan to stay that way. I'm not looking for love. It's too--"Sakura broke off with a small smile "troublesome."
They all gave her the same look of sadness and pity. It irritated Sakura causing her to push back her chair. She didn't want to say anything that would disturb the delicate condition of two of her friends. So it would probably be best if she just left.
"Look, I'm going to take off. I'm expected back at the hospital so--"
"Don't use that as an excuse to run Saku--" Ino's words were cut off as she gazed at a distant point behind her. There was a commotion that caused Sakura to turn her head. What she saw bewildered her to an extreme degree.
ANBU appeared out of nowhere and were currently restraining someone. Sakura frowned when a familiar arrogant profile was displayed to her. Her heart began to race wildly as her mind registered what she saw before her.
It couldn't be.
Sakura continued staring as the appearance of the man became all the clearer.
Okay, maybe it could be.
He stopped struggling suddenly and turned his head in her direction. His onyx eyes captured her emerald ones and it seemed that time had stopped.
And then time started again as he was jerked away and pushed towards the Hokage tower.
Somehow Sakura found herself sitting in her chair again looking into space. Her friends looked at her worriedly hoping she'd say something, anything to let them know she was alright.
Sakura shook her head snapping out of her daze. "I have to go to work. I'll see you guys later."
"Sakura--" Tenten started but Sakura didn't hear her. She was in her own world off and walking.
Sakura walked to work with an unfamiliar ache in her chest. What was this thing that she was feeling? It was so unfamiliar yet she recognized it.
He was home. After all this time he had come home. On his own. It hadn't taken any persuasion on her part nor on Naruto's. No pleadings. No beatings. He had just shown up. The trip they had planned to go after him and bring him home was apparently canceled. He was here. He was home.
Sakura raised her hand and placed in on her heart. It hurt and she didn't understand why. Or maybe she just didn't want to try to figure out the cause of her pain.
It was the end of the day when she was summoned before the new Hokage, that knowledge forced itself into her brain.
"Sakura-chan," Naruto began barely letting her enter his office. "Look! The bastard came home."
And Sakura slowly turned her head and looked at the last remaining Uchiha. He said nothing which was not unusual but he returned her stare with an unnerving one of his own. Sakura bit her bottom lip because it was then that she knew what it was that she had been feeling all day.
It was an unwanted, dreaded, hated emotion.
It was something she swore she wouldn't do again.
It was a bothersome feeling that she wished she could burn out of the existence of her heart.
It was love and she was foolishly doing it again.