notes: i'm actually really, really not sure about this one, so i'd love it if you reviewed and gave me some concrit. :/
you can lie awake in bed, or come sleep with me instead.
Naruto, the brightest of them all, is the sun. He's always the first anyone notices—the loud one, the sporadic one one, the stupid one. Konoha's most well known prankster, and the one they all wished would go away, disappear and never return—and now, irreplaceable to the village.
Sasuke is the next one people see. Dark and brooding—he is the sea, the ocean. Most of the time calm, but if you go far enough out, there'll be angry and colossal waves that swallow you up.
The last one they notice—and sometimes, overlook altogether—is Sakura. She is the earth—the foundation, the stability, the support. She is always there, waiting for the small waves of the sea to roll up onto her shore, waiting for the sun to shine down on her and warm her up. She is there even when the sun hides behind the clouds, even when the sea doesn't feel like talking. She is always there.
They are in constant equilibrium, and any two without the other would result in a natural disaster.
The day Sasuke returns is the day the village rejoices.
The formal things are taken care of first. Paperwork, some exchanged words with the Hokage, and the official re-acceptance of the missing-nin. Once everything is done and filed away, Naruto and Sakura immediately take him out for ramen. I have the honor of witnessing this.
It's a little awkward at first. It's more of Naruto trying to summarize the past eight years into one meal, of Sakura trying to get him to talk. Predictably, he doesn't budge.
Someone might look at the sea and think that it's beautiful—which it undeniably is. It sparkles, it radiates, it is the embodiment of power and perfection. But those who live by the coast, those who are familiar with the waters, will be able to tell when it's too quiet. When it's unnatural.
Sakura is the one who gets through to him.
"Sasuke." Her smile is warm and her eyes are shining. The way he glances at her shows that he acknowledges her. "Welcome home."
His gaze returns to his ramen. "Hn."
When they are leaving Ichiraku, something strikes me. I have never seen them walk in that formation before—usually, Naruto is in the middle, a step or two ahead. I'm used to seeing Sasuke and Sakura trail behind, watching his back, keeping an eye on him in case he trips and falls. But this time, Sasuke is in the middle—Naruto and Sakura are walking oddly close to him, almost like a shield.
Because the sea is the most unpredictable, the most easily swayed. It needs the support, the protection—and the sun and earth are more than glad to offer their help.
And sometimes, if they are lucky—the sea will accept that help.
One would've thought that Sasuke would be utterly pissed at Naruto and Sakura being by his side all of the time, chatting and bickering and fighting. But never once does he complain. He's quiet, and he watches them—watches how her eyes sparkle when she laughs, watches how Naruto puts his arm around her like an old friend, like his sister, like his wife—
It doesn't go unnoticed by either of them when Sasuke purposely situates himself between them at all times. Sakura merely giggles at this childish act, and Naruto yells at him for separating him from his precious Sakura-chan—but he doesn't actually do anything about it.
Sasuke is pleased. And that, in turn, makes them happy.
Naruto is trained by Jiraiya, Sakura by Tsunade, and Sasuke by Orochimaru. Everyone predicts that they will be even more amazing than the three Sannin. Everyone predicts that, unlike the Sannin, they will be together, and remain together.
They hope so too.
Eight years ago, no one would've seen Sasuke's betrayal coming. Eight years ago, no one would've thought that Sakura could bloom into a woman so beautiful, so strong, so independent and codependent at the same time. Eight years ago, no one would've guessed that Naruto would shine brighter than any prankster would.
And they continue to surprise everyone.
It is their team that brings down the last of Akatsuki. It is their team that helps rebuild Konoha without a moment's falter.
It is my pride, my students that stand on top of everyone's expectations.
I'd like to say that it's my doing; that I should take the credit—but I know better than anyone that I've done nothing. It's them who made all of this possible. It's them who changed the course of history.
I think I would be happy if I could be a fraction of what they are.
They care for each other.
It's well known that Naruto and Sasuke have no family, but Sakura never parades around, telling anyone and everyone that her parents recently passed away during Akatsuki's last attack on Konoha. Only her close friends know—and her two boys don't hesitate to step up and be the family that she needs.
(They've always been family anyway—now, it's just more defined.)
Naruto immediately invites himself into Sasuke's house at anytime, claiming it's too big and empty anyway. He spends so much time there; I think he's just moved in entirely. Sakura visits as often as she can, but it isn't until Sasuke tells her one day, "Naruto is too messy. I can't clean up after him alone," that she smiles and agrees to moving in as well.
She sells the apartment that she shared with her parents with a bittersweet smile, but she doesn't regret it.
She is the one who pesters Naruto to wake up in the morning. Sasuke makes the meals (she is a horrid cook, but both boys are wise enough not to comment on it), and she does the other housework. Sasuke helps her sometimes, when she's working too many late shifts at the hospital.
Neither of them ever harp on Naruto to do the housework, because the Uchiha compound will most likely burst into flames. He repays them in his own way, though—treating them to ramen whenever he can, and whatnot. Sasuke often discovers an endless supply of tomatoes in the fridge, and Sakura sometimes finds her favorite carnations in a vase on her bedside table. Naruto never admits to it, and they never press him to.
I never know how they do it. They're all so different—the sun, the sea, the earth—but they somehow make miracles.
Even in battle, things make sense.
You can see Sakura keeping a close eye on Naruto and Sasuke. She's always a little ways behind them—allowing herself to be protected, because she's the one who'll be saving their asses after they get beat up. But that doesn't stop her from stepping in and kicking some ass herself if they really need the help.
Naruto and Sasuke can communicate without words. Their body movements match each other's—when one comes closer, the other makes room for him. They're so in sync, it's almost unbelievable. Usually, Naruto acts as the decoy, and Sasuke goes in for the finishing blow. On the occasions that Sakura has to step in, they accommodate her nicely—leaping into trees when she breaks the ground, keeping the enemy busy so she can get close and tear their ligaments with the brush of her hand.
The boys don't let anyone but Sakura heal them.
She scolds them incessantly the entire time she fixes their bones and mends their muscles, but they don't mind. And if they do, they don't show it. Most of the time, I think Naruto just argues back, and Sasuke tunes her out (though he takes great care not to let her know).
Usually, she exhausts her chakra supply, because they've sustained so many injuries. (Something tells me that they would be more careful if she wasn't there. The little voice in my head insists that they only allow themselves to get hurt so much because they like the feel of her hands all over them. Sometimes, I can't help but agree.) In return, when she's sleeping, they take shifts at different intervals of the night to watch her back.
And they always return home, Sakura in the middle, holding them together when they're stumbling from the lack of sleep.
Nobody misses the fact that they're always hand in hand.
Things aren't always perfect.
"Go screw yourselves!" Sakura screams after punching both Naruto and Sasuke into the wall. Plaster falls all around them, but luckily, the civilians of Konoha are so used to her temper, that they already have insurance to cover the damage.
It's not uncommon for men—shinobi and civilians—to approach Sakura, in hopes of being more than friends. Until Sasuke returned, Naruto's never had much of a problem with it—but when the Uchiha is around, they seem to ignite each other's fire, and protect her like a mother hen would her chicks.
"You'll thank us one day, Sakura-chan," Naruto says weakly, but she's already stalking away.
"I'm not going to thank you for dying a virgin!"
The two boys glance at each other, exchanging highly suspicious expressions. "Hey, teme, would you hate me if I married her one day?"
"No," Sasuke replies easily, "because you won't be marrying her."
"She'll be marrying me."
Sakura is oblivious to all of this as they promptly start beating each other up amidst the fallen plaster.
With her grudges and tempers, she is unusually reckless during their next spar. Naruto purposely goes easy on her, but Sasuke does not.
"You always let your emotions get the best of you," he all but spits. "Weak." And that only makes her grit her teeth more, because he can't see that they're the only ones who could get her riled up like this.
But she stands up again, body bending into a defensive position. Naruto is sitting under a nearby tree, glaring the wits out of Sasuke for being so harsh to Sakura like that.
(But then again, they're the only ones she'll let bully her like that, because she actually values their opinions.)
"Again," she grinds out. But the results are the same.
For the first time in a long time, she trains herself to exhaustion when she's sure no one's around to see her. Naruto suspects something as much, but doesn't look for her—there's nothing that he could do to help, anyway. He tells this to Sasuke over ramen, but the Uchiha remains impassive.
"Females," the blonde lectures, "are delicate beings. You can't be harsh with them."
Sasuke scoffs. "She is a perfectly capable woman."
"Then maybe you should make her feel like a perfectly capable woman once in a while! Every time you say something to her, it's to bring her down." Naruto finishes his fifth bowl, and sighs in content. "Just apologize to her, you bastard." And he poofs away.
And Sasuke scowls, because he realizes that Naruto has left him with the bill. Again.
Sakura is curled up comfortably in the grass, asleep, when Sasuke finds her. He easily carries her in his arms as he takes her home (their house, their home), slipping depositing her under the covers of her bed after he carefully removes her boots and places them in their designated place at the front door.
When he looks around her room, he finds the infamous picture of Team Seven. Someone has drawn over his face with a marker, giving him devil horns and cat whiskers—and to be honest, he isn't sure if it was Sakura's or Naruto's doing. Maybe it was both.
He glances at Sakura one last time before slipping out of the room in search for Naruto, so he can pummel him.
Sakura wakes up the next morning, aching all over, but feeling oddly refreshed. Things are still tense between her and Sasuke, though.
"I don't want myself to grow immune to what you think of me and how I feel about you—you or Naruto. I know we're supposed to do that when fighting as shinobi—but I kind of feel like that's the last part of me that's human." She's careful to not make eye contact with him. "I don't want to lose that part of me." It's unspoken between them, but they understand.
She doesn't want to be what he almost became.
"Hn." When she's finished her breakfast, he takes her plate for her and brings it to the sink.
And for Sasuke, that means that it'll be okay.
Even Naruto has his moments. Sometimes, the sun hides behind the clouds. Sometimes, he just doesn't want to come out or be seen.
Sasuke and Sakura set a timer. After two hours, they barge into his room and force him to go training with them. Sasuke will say that he needs the brute force and the stamina that Sakura doesn't have, and Sakura will say that Naruto keeps everything on a positive note, and she needs him, because Sasuke is like their personal little raincloud, and does nothing but rumble with thunder every now and then.
Naruto grumbles about it, but agrees. They train for hours on end—Sakura gives up halfway through and just watches, but Sasuke tries his best to keep up.
It always ends with ramen. Always.
And Sasuke and Sakura don't care that Naruto never pays—because no matter what, it also always ends with his smile.
"I loved you!" she screams, punching him hard. Because Haruno Sakura doesn't slap, she doesn't scratch—she punches. He stumbles back a few steps, but remains unfazed. "I loved you, you asshole—and you left me on a bench."
He regards her evenly. "I'm here now," he says slowly—unsure of what sort of words would calm such a raging beast.
"Sometimes, that's not enough." Her eyes are shining with tears, but the last thing she'll do is to let Sasuke see her cry. "You can't just come back and think everything will be all right. Most of the time, it's not."
"Then what do you want me to do?"
She doesn't miss a beat. "Well, you can start by helping me carry the groceries each week…and maybe lend a hand at the hospital…oh! And help pay for my phone bill?"
Sasuke stands there for a stunned moment. "If that's what you want," he says carefully.
She beams. "Good. Because my phone bill has been way off the charts these past couple months. It's Ino, you know? With her upcoming wedding and all."
It's then that Sasuke realizes—and maybe a little belatedly—that women are very dangerous creatures—and also very good actors.
Never once does Sakura complain about Naruto's boxers strewn everywhere.
Sasuke never stalks into her room in the middle of the night when she's still talking to Ino on the phone, despite the fact that he's an incredibly light sleeper.
And Naruto—well, Naruto puts up with all of their mood swings. And on most occasions, make them feel better, as well.
Never have I ever seen a team so in sync—in battle, in life, in daily routines—and never have I seen a team that is so in tune with each other, that will remain in tune. I don't think anyone has ever encountered such a hardheaded shinobi, ready to plow through a war just to get back a missing-nin who might very likely be messed up in the brain. No one has seen a girl with such trivial concerns grow into a woman of her caliber. No one has seen a child with so much potential become rogue.
No one has seen all of these miracles come back together, just like magnets. Like inevitability. Like fate.
If only they would share a little bit of their magic with the rest of us.
They're so different, the three of them—the sun, the sea, the earth—they amaze me. I'm sure they amaze everyone.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura waves to me as they approach me. "You're not late for once! Is it a special occasion?"
It's actually been exactly ten years since Team Seven has been created, but I keep that little secret to myself. "I wouldn't want to be late for the first S-class mission Team Seven is assigned, would I?"
Sakura's smile is bright. "Of course not. Are you excited, Sasuke?"
"We are so going to kick ass!" Naruto cheered, running up ahead with energy. I smile a little, because no one will be able to see through my mask.
I blink in surprise when Sakura takes my hand—but my heart warms a little, because her other hand is holding Sasuke's. And I feel a little like a part of the family—a part of this phenomenon, a part of this—this faith, this hope.
"Are you sure you're alright?" Her eyes are green—metaphorical of life.
I nod cheerfully. "Just fine."
It's hard not to be fine, when I'm surrounded by my entire world.
a/n: when i look at this, i think of amity by annie sparklecakes. which, btw, is much better than this little ficlet thing. go check it out. 8D
updates will come slower now, i think. i've denied the fact that i'm in ib for too long—i really need to concentrate on school for the first time in my life. sorry, guys. :/ (BTW, HAS ANYONE DONE AN IOP? I AM IN SERIOUS NEED OF HELP, GAH.) i really don't want to, but then i'll never get a job and i'll be a hobo, hence no more laptop to post fanfiction on. so in the long run, it's for the better! (hopefully.)
but on another note, was this good? i don't know. i really love team 7, and i want to concentrate on them more sometimes. concrit concrit concrit, please!