'Here we go again' the pinkette thought as she walked to Naruto's door. Ino had discovered that her previous attempt to talk to Naruto didn't really get any results so of course she demanded that Sakura try again. Once again, either Ino was delusional, or thought it was okay that this would only end up with the rosette and her former team mate screaming at each other.
Either way, Sakura decided to try again, if only to quiet her best friend. Well, that really wasn't the only reason she came, but it was easier to think that it was. She knocked on the door and waited. This was the second time she was at the house that day. The first was when she had healed Hinata's baby which Naruto was unsurprisingly absent for. However, Hinata had assured her that he would be there this afternoon.
Even from outside the door, she could hear Naruto yelling to Hinata that he would get the door. She now had an extremely large urge to turn and run away. Perhaps if she fled fast enough he wouldn't see her…
Unfortunately, before she could try to leave the door opened and Naruto appeared. His eyes were bright, or at least they were until he saw who was at his doorstep. "Sakura," he spoke as he took a small step back. "What are you doing here?" His gaze turned worried. "Is Lorita ok?"
"She's fine," she quickly assured him. Or at least, the girl was as fine as she could be under the circumstances.
His expression became relieved then confused. Was she that easy to read as well? "What are you here for then?"
Here goes nothing. "I want to talk," Sakura replied, "to you."
A frown appeared on his face. He turned back to inside his home and called out, "Hinata, I'm going to go out for a few minutes." At least he was willing to do it now. That was good right? With that he shut the door and turned to face her. "Are you ready to apologise?"
She frowned. Not quite where she wanted this to go. "No."
"Well then what are you doing here?"
"Ino wanted me to try to talk you. She thinks that we should try to get along again. Obviously I think she's mistaken but I told her that I'd at least try." She figured that she might as well just explain her reasoning since there's no way that she would have come without Ino's enforcement.
"Oh so you're being honest with me? That's a change," he proclaimed.
Her features darkened. "You were unconscious."
"You could have woken me up!" He insisted. "He was out of it enough for you to have enough time to do it."
"Not really," she argued, knowing that there might have been some truth to his statement. "Besides, it was a really split second decision. Waking you up didn't really cross my mind."
"I can see that," he spat out. "Seriously, people think I'm stupid, but what you did was beyond that. Did you put any thought into it?"
"Of course I did!" Her hands were now fisted at her sides.
"So you thought about how you were betraying our village? How you were betraying our team? How you betrayed me?" Naruto yelled out.
She glared. "No, I didn't consider that. I know I should have, but I didn't. I was thinking about how he needed what I did."
"He needed it? Are you crazy? He wanted it yes, but he didn't need it. What he needed was to be back with us. But you didn't think about any of that. You didn't care about me or him."
"I do!" Now her voice was on the same level of his. "Why else would I come here? Yes, Ino can be insistent, but I could have just shrugged her off if I was completely against it. I want us to be friends again, to be a team again."
He scoffed. "It's not just something I can let go! And just when I wanted to think about forgiving you, you left to Mist! You abandoned us. If it wasn't for Lorita you'd still be gone. And you don't even regret anything about it."
"You forgave Sasuke didn't you? After all he did when he came back you still took him back. I bet he doesn't regret leaving. Why am I so different?" She demanded to know.
He looked like he wanted to reply, but didn't know what to say. So she filled in the blanks for him with what she knew the reason was. "It's because you care about him way more than you do for me."
"That's not-" he started before she cut him off.
"It is. That's how it always was, wasn't it? You and Sasuke, you were the main two of our team. I was always just an afterthought, even to you. The girl you had a crush on. But it when it came down to it, your bond with Sasuke always mattered more."
"That's not true and you know it!" He bellowed out at her.
"Really? I think it is. Why else would you accept Sasuke back with open arms after all he did and still cast me aside?" Without waiting for a response, she took off. She ran with Naruto hot on her heels, hollering for her to stop.
That's it. She was leaving. Tonight.
Thankfully an Anbu had intercepted Naruto and told him that Tsunade needed to see him about a mission and that he was to leave immediately. So, with great hesitation, he departed; probably thought that he could just catch her tomorrow.
For once in a long time she wasn't sure if she wanted to go to the hospital that day. All she really wanted to do was mope around her house and pack. But if she did that, people would wonder why she wasn't there and come to her place of residence to find out why. Then they would see her pack which would definitely not be a good thing.
Therefore she went to the hospital that day. For the first time ever she watched the clock at nearly every possible moment. Others there joked that she was becoming mortal like the rest of them. She forced herself to laugh and tease them back despite her desire to walk out the doors and return to Mist right then and there.
However, being there with them did make her feel like she would miss them when she left. She had come to enjoy her time back at the Konoha hospital. The girl did have to admit that the people were more open and talkative than they were back in Mist. In Mist people who worked at the hospital generally decided that they were there to work, not socialize, and that if they wanted to converse it should be done on breaks or before and after shifts. That was not the case in Konoha where people talked and joked throughout their shifts. There were days when she liked one style of it and days where she preferred the other. The rosette hoped that she wouldn't long for talkative shifts like this one too much.
She was just on the last ten minutes of her shift when a young patient that she had been helping earlier came up to her.
"Yes, Hoshi?" She asked, looking away her from her chart as she did so. "Is everything ok?"
The little boy nodded. "I just wanted to say thank you, you know, for healing me and stuff."
Sakura smiled. "You're welcome, but you do know that it's my job to do so right?"
He nodded. "I know, but you're still so nice when you do it and you're really making me feel better. I'm really glad that you're here!"
Wow, shot to the guilty conscience. The girl struggled to keep a smile on her face. "You're welcome, glad that I can make your time here more enjoyable."
After that, Hoshi left and Sakura spent the remaining eight minutes of her shift feeling like a horrible person.
The girl was hoping to go straight home after her shift where she could stay until most people were asleep and she could sneak out. She could go the normal route and write to Mei Terumi to ask for permission to abort the mission and then tell Tsunade when she received a reply. However, it would take days for her to get a response back and she could not wait that long, especially if the answer might be a no. Plus, she didn't want to face Tsunade about this. She could see the woman's face fall already. Therefore, she chose to do the cowardly thing and sneak out.
Sakura was on the road to her house when she was intercepted by Ino. "Hey forehead," the girl greeted her. "How did it go?"
Memories of her encounter with Naruto came back to her. She sighed and looked down. "Not very well."
"Aw," Ino frowned in sympathy. "I thought it would go ok." The girl then clamped her arm around Sakura's shoulders. "Come on, let's go get ice cream and then you can tell me all about it while we stuff our faces."
Twenty minutes later they were seated in Ino's home while Sakura explained what had happened. "And then an Anbu just came and told him he had a mission, so he left," she finished.
For a little while Ino was silent. Then she looked down and said, "Oh Sakura, that's horrible." But then, she looked up again. "But at least he was willing to talk with you." She brightened. "And I think that him chasing after you shows that he might want to forgive you." Ino smiled and touched Sakura's shoulder. "He'll want to talk with you again soon and in a few weeks; you guys will be friends again!"
The pinkette couldn't help but smile at Ino's enthusiasm. "You think so?"
Ino nodded. "I'm sure of it!"
Once again Sakura was reminded of how lucky she was to have a friend like Ino. A girl that truly wanted to see her happy and that was already there for her when she needed it (and sometimes when she didn't). She was really going to miss this girl.
That thought made her sad again and her gaze drifted down towards her ice cream. Suddenly the thought of staying here longer did not sound very appealing. "Hey, I think I need to go now." She stood up.
"Huh? How come?" Ino asked.
"I have something I need to do back home," the pinkette explained as she started to move away.
"Oh um, ok. See you tomorrow," Ino replied back.
"Yep," Sakura forced herself to lie. But before she left, Sakura turned back. "Ino, thanks for everything."
"Um, you're welcome," said a very confused girl.
This time Sakura did make it back to her house without any interruptions. While there, she packed the bag she had entered Konoha with. Unfortunately that didn't take very long and she forced to find another way to occupy her time. She didn't want to leave again in case she encountered something else that made her feel guilty about leaving.
It was almost funny. When she first came back she didn't want to go out in fear of being ridiculed again. Now although there were still some that weren't fond of her, she didn't want to go out because she was scared that people would give her more reason to stay. To second guess her hasty return to Mist.
But she needed to go back. Her life was so much better in Mist. She was accepted there, needed there. She never had to worry about people saying snide remarks to her. She didn't have to worry about old team mates that didn't accept her or deal with the hurt that came from being left behind. Not to mention that she had people like Hayden waiting for her to return.
The Haruno spent the remainder of the day doing everything she could think of that allowed her to stay inside. From cleaning to looking at old letters and scrolls to doing exercises likes push ups in her hallway. And yet, it felt as if time had slowed down to a snail's pace. Every minute felt like an hour, an hour felt like a day. She was sorely tempted to leave early and had to force herself down every time the urge came.
Finally the moon rose high in the sky and the time came for her to take off. The girl nearly whooped for joy as she grabbed her bag and bounded out of the house.
Her enthusiasm left quickly after that as she gave the house one last glance. She remembered doing so before, when she had departed from Konoha the first time.
Leaving had been so much easier last time. She had so much fewer reasons for staying. Back then she didn't see any possible way for things to improve. Now there were…
Sakura tried to force thoughts like that from her head as she walked down the now deserted roads. It's not like she was completely running away from her problems. She was going to leave eventually anyway after Lorita was fully recovered. She was just…planning ahead right?
She was now near the village gates. Just a little farther now…
"Sakura," a voice stopped her. The girl looked back to see Sasuke behind her.
Shit. "Hey, Sasuke," she called out, hoping that he just passing by. "What brings you here?"
Rather than address her question, he said, "This is the way to leave the village."
That brought back memories. She looked at him,"I knew you'd come this way if you were to leave the village. So I just waited here." The irony of the situation almost made her want to laugh.
Her gaze met his. Guess she was caught now. "Yes, I'm leaving. I just can't stay here any longer. So you can leave now." "Get out of here, and go back to sleep," he told her.
He did not seem satisfied with her response. "What about Naruto's baby?"
"It's stable enough now," Sakura explained. "It should be healed enough for another medic to look after it. If not, they can bring it to Mist."
She took a step back, he took a step forward. "You're just going to abandon everyone?"
"I'm not abandoning everyone. I'm just returning to my village, my home," she insisted.
"This is your home. And you're abandoning it," Sasuke insisted. "Even if you get you're revenge, it won't bring happiness," she cried out.
She frowned. "Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?"
He gave her a dry look. "I left to seek revenge on the one who killed my family. You're leaving out of cowardice."
That stung, more than it should have. Still, she wasn't done. "You could have gotten stronger here in Konoha. It might have taken more work and a little longer, but you could have done it. But you chose to become a missing nin and completely turn your back on everyone here. I'm going to a village that is now an ally of the leaf and, as you can see, I'm still willing to do missions to help the people here. So just which one of us is a coward?"
The look on his face showed that he did not like her answer. He paused for a moment before saying, "There is no point in arguing more. You shouldn't leave."
In other words, you're right and countered my points but I don't want to admit that. Despite her desire to feel smug about it, she still needed to leave Konoha and it seemed like in order to do that she had to get away from Sasuke. Which begs the question, why did she have to get away from him. "Why do you care anyways?" She asked him. "You never cared about me before. Me leaving shouldn't make any difference to you."
She saw a troubled expression on his face; as if he had been wondering this for a while himself. "I…I'm not sure."
He didn't know? Well if she had wanted any heartfelt response from him, she surely didn't get it. "It's almost funny, how things have changed. How I used to be the one asking you to stay. I thought I was in love with you, you know? And yet, it seems like ever since I returned, all you've done is cause me pain. You were the reason why I left in the first place, yet you never showed any remorse for it. I've even went out of my way to help you, and you act as if it's my duty to do so. And now you're trying to stop from me from going to a place where I can feel accepted and happy."
Sakura looked up at him and uttered a phrase that neither person ever thought she would say. "I wish you never came back." She sighed and looked away. "But I suppose that doesn't matter now, because I'm going to Mist and you'll be here. With any luck, we won't have to see each other anymore." With that, she turned around and took off.
In a heartbeat he was there behind her with an arm wrapped around her waist to prevent her from running again. "No," he stated. "I'm not letting you leave."
She sighed and turned as much as she was able to. "Please just let me go." "Please just stay with me," she begged him.
"You're annoying," he informed her. You really are annoying.
Those words still hurt. "If I'm so annoying let me go and I won't ever annoy you again."
"No," he replied. He was close enough for her to feel his breath on her neck.
"I have to," she whispered as she wrenched herself from his grip and took off again.
Once again, he stopped her, this time by grabbing her arm. She sighed, now desperate to take off. She was so close. "If you don't let me leave, I will fight you." Don't leave! If you do I'll scream. She knew that the chances of her winning weren't very good, but perhaps she could give him the slip.
In a fraction of a second he was behind her. "Sakura," he spoke. "Stay." Thank you. Before she could react, he did the same thing he did all those years ago, and all she could see was darkness as she slipped into the unconscious.
Hey everyone. I am super sorry for taking so long. Winter/spring classes seriously kicked my but.
In case it was hard to follow at the end, the italics are from way back when when Sasuke first left the village pre Shippuden. I have to admit that it's one of my least favourite manga chapters, but I had to revisit in order to write this scene (see what I do for you people :P ).
Anywho, I hope you guys enjoyed it. Please tell me what you thought of it.