Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters within


The Heart Wants...


It has been some time since the Paine invasion and Konoha was beginning to return to its former glory. Admittedly, there was still a massive crater in the middle of the town and a few of the buildings were still in need of repair, but even still, much of it had been restored to as before. And it is along these streets that a certain young woman found herself walking down, with no particular destination in mind; only a young man.

'Naruto-kun...'

With a mental sigh, Hinata continued walking. It was only just yesterday when Naruto had left with Yamato in order to protect him from the Akatsuki. She felt a little disheartened at his abrupt departure, mostly because she haven't had a chance to see him or talk to him since...since that day...

The day she told him that she loved him...

Honestly though, she wasn't expecting an immediate answer. She did just spring it on him during a life-threatening battle. And with the events that took place afterward, as well as her own recovery, she had been unable to see him since that time. But she still hoped that, at the least, he would come looking for her. But then again, it was probably best, since she wouldn't know what to say or do if that happened. It was funny. She had already confessed her feelings to him, yet she was still nervous on the thought of seeing him.

Stopping, Hinata released another light sigh, outward this time. She slowly gazed around to discover that she ended up in the medical area. The hospital had yet to be put up, so the medical staff as well as ninja was all to use tents to care for patients. A few benches were also around the area and it was then that Hinata caught sight of a young woman seated in one of them with her head lowered.

A woman with distinct pink hair...

"Sakura...?"

Snapping out of her revere, Sakura looked up and smiled a greeting. "Hey Hinata."

Nodding in return, Hinata sat down beside her, although she wasn't sure as to why. A part of Hinata had always been envious of the pink-haired medic. After all, she had the one thing, the only thing, Hinata wanted. Naruto's attention...perhaps even his affections. She wanted to hate her for it, but she just couldn't, and for three main reasons.

The first reason being that Sakura wasn't trying to gain Naruto's attention; she just had it. And it was no surprise really, considering her personality. Sakura was bold, outspoken, smart and quite pretty (albeit, she had a bit of a temper). It would be no surprise that she could catch any male's eye, even Naruto's. And not only that, but she was quite the capable medical ninja; with skill nearly rivaling that of her mentor Tsunade.

"Is your side still bothering you?"

"No, no." Hinata replied at the sudden question. "I'm fine. I was just walking around."

"Oh. Well, just let me know if you're having any trouble, okay?" Sakura said with a warm smile

"...Okay."

Her quiet reply reminded her of the second reason; her own personality. Hinata had never made it known to Naruto that she liked -loved- him, as her shyness prevented her from doing so. It hadn't been until recently that she had told him so outspokenly and that was only because she didn't think she would survive the encounter with Paine. But the alternate, letting Naruto die at the hands of Paine, was completely unacceptable.

Her eyes glanced over at Sakura and saw the girl turn forward, her previous smile slipping away from her face. It didn't matter though; Hinata knew a fake smile when she saw one and she knew that Sakura was just putting up a front. Hinata thought about excusing herself and leaving Sakura to her thoughts. But she couldn't help but see the flickers of sadness in her eyes, even though it was partially shrouded by her pink locks. And Hinata couldn't just leave her like that. It looked like she needed a friend now.

"I heard...that you saw...him."

Sakura's eyes widened, but she didn't turn and ask what Hinata meant. She knew what she meant. She knew who she meant. "Yeah..." Her head seemed to lower further. "I couldn't believe... "

And there was third reason. Sakura's affections lay with the young avenger who abandoned his village for power and revenge, only to continue on and direct that rage and thirst for vengeance toward that very same village. She didn't know the details, but Hinata could guess enough of what happened when Team 7 -the original Team 7- reunited for the first time in years. Even now, it was beginning to show as Sakura's eyes began to water.

"I... I'm sorry." Hinata began to apologize. "I didn't mean to..."

But Sakura lifted her head and waved her hand, covertly wiping at her eyes as she did. "No, no. It's alright. It's just a little difficult to deal with." She tried to smile, but it just wouldn't come up right. "Even after all this time... I still can't...get over him." She shook her head. "I feel so stupid."

Hinata turned toward Sakura slightly, feeling a great deal of sympathy for the medic-nin. "You're not stupid, Sakura."

"How can I not be?" Sakura replied through gritted teeth. "He left us, his village, his friends, all for power and revenge. Then he gets his revenge and now he's trying to destroy Konoha? He even tried to kill me, twice..." A single droplet fell down onto her leg. "For all intents and purposes, I should hate him. Or at least be angry at him. But..."

"But you don't." Hinata quietly finished.

Again, Sakura shook her head, her voice cracking slightly. "I don't. Against all better judgment, I just can't."

There was a moment of silence between the two as Sakura fought to stop the tears frm falling and failing while Hinata watched, feeling all the more sorry for her. To be in love with someone like Sasuke seemed like foolishness. But Hinata was well aware that when it came to such feelings, there was little that could be done about it. At best, a person could try and move on with their lives, ignoring those feelings all the while.

Sometimes, that worked... Other times...

"Is that why you tried to take him on by yourself?"

Sakura looked up at Hinata in shock, and Hinata too froze upon asking the blunt question. She didn't know why she asked it; it just came out. Seeing Sakura's face, Hinata quickly continued on in an effort to recover.

"K-Kiba-kun told me that you tried... You wanted to take him on...all by yourself."

The shock dropped away, but the sadness did not as Sakura turned away and quietly answered. "He was...so lost when I saw him. I just didn't want him to sink deeper into the darkness he was in. I thought...that it would be the least I could do. The only way I could help him..."

She paused, remembering that encounter and how badly it went. Not only had Sasuke suspected she would try something, he didn't even hesitate to attack her first. She would have been killed it not for Kakashi. And then, when she thought she had another shot at him, she failed again and Naruto had to save her.

It hurt, not only because she wasn't strong enough, but she had to be saved twice. But in hindsight, Sasuke's power had grown significantly since their last encounter, so she probably didn't have a chance in the first place. Kakashi faced him and barely made it through the fight and even Naruto admitted that he didn't have a chance against him either. But she had hoped that she would at least have a shot. But when it came...

"But I couldn't."

"Because you love him."

Sakura lifted her head as she felt a reassuring hand settle on her shoulder. Hinata smiled; part in understanding and part in sadness.

"The heart wants...what the heart wants, Sakura."

Sakura was silent for a good moment and then, a slight smile formed on her face. "Is that why...? Is that what happened when you went out to help Naruto against Paine?"

Hinata didn't reply, but the widened eyes and the blush that formed on her cheeks was answer enough. Like Sakura, Hinata feelings for the orange-clad shinobi were hardly a secret. The only person who was unaware of them was Naruto himself. At least he wasn't until the Paine attack. But Sakura didn't know about that, as revealed by her next words.

"You love him. I mean, you really love him, don't you?"

Nodding slightly, Hinata whispered. "Yes. I do."

The smile on Sakura's face never left as she let out a light sigh. "I envy you sometimes, Hinata."

That was a complete shock to Hinata. 'She...envies me?' That was something she would have never have expected to hear from Sakura. Just a moment ago, she had thought that Sakura had everything she ever wanted. But to hear that Sakura thought the same about her was...almost unbelievable.

"You're in love with a great guy who wants nothing more than to be Hokage and help other people. Sometimes...I wish I loved him that way."

"You do?"

"I think... maybe it might have been easier that way." Thoughts of her confession to Naruto came into her mind; an attempt to get him to break off his promise -the promise of a lifetime to get Sasuke back- to her. But not only had he seen through her, but he said that he would continue to go after him for his own reasons. Even in that, she could not stop trying to help Sasuke, even if it meant killing him.

"But then again, probably not." Sakura continued. "Naruto deserves a lot better than a girl who wouldn't be able to decide which person she loves. And like you said, the heart wants what the heart wants."

Rising up, Sakura stretched her arms out a bit. "Anyway, I should be getting back to work. My shift starts again soon." Turning to look at the still sitting Hinata, she gave a grateful smile. "Thank you, Hinata."

"Oh. Uh...sure." She wasn't exactly sure what she was thanking her for, but she accepted it anyway. "You're welcome."

Sakura began to move toward the medical tents, but then paused in her steps. "Hey Hinata? Remember when I said Naruto deserves better?"

"Yes?"

"You are better."


AN: Just a little something I thought up and just had to write out. I hope you've enjoyed it. R&R.