Title: Change

Summary: "Sakura-chan… she changed the most…sometimes she gets this look in her eyes…it reminds of how you look when you think about your family."


Sakura poured her chakra into Naruto. His heart beat was beating irregularly. She could feel the panic begin to set in. Her eyes scanned his bloody form only to look up when she heard the class of metal.

Sasuke stood pressing his blade against Itachi's own.

Sakura felt herself scream inside. She looked back down to see her arms coated in blood.

Naruto's blood.

It just wasn't right. She was covered in her best friend's blood, and she felt him slipping away.

No.

She did not train all those years, and sacrifice so much just to fail at the most important moment in her life.

With that she pushed even harder. Giving everything she could to Naruto. Even if it took away the little bit of her soul she had left she would die happy.


Slipping her ANBU mask into place, she smiled. But then she remembered that she was all alone. She didn't have to fake a smile for herself.

After running for days she finally reached her destination. She scanned the run down building wondering where the rogue ninjas would hide the forbidden scroll she was supposed to retrieve.

After forcing her way into the building leaving a trail of blood behind her she couldn't help but freeze at what she witnessed.

Guarding the scroll was a mere child, couldn't be more than twelve, but then he charged towards her. Determination shining in his black eyes, he raised a shuriken to throw at her.

Dodging the projectile Sakura closed her eyes as she grabbed him soon as he was within reach and shoved a kunai directly into his heart.

She tried to block the sound his final gurgle as his heart stilled. He fell to the stone floor with a dull thud. Stepping over the body Sakura recited the Ninja Code…

"Complete mission at all costs."


Sakura dropped her hands to her side once Naruto reached a stable condition. He still had a long road to recovery, but he was alive.

Wiping sweat from her brow she looked toward the Uchiha's battle.


It was raining when she stepped out of the hospital. Briefly wondering if the rain would act as a good enough shower before going to bed, only to change her mind when she brought her hand up to remove her wet hair from her face. Her hand, that she remembered washing for five minutes straight after healing a badly wounded ninja, was still covered in blood.

Naruto ran up to Sakura about to scream her name, but stilled when he took in the scene in front of him.

Sakura was standing next to the hospital entrance with her hand in front of her face. Her eyes were glaring at her pale hand as if it was at fault for something he didn't know about. Rain trickled down her face making it appear as if she was crying.


Making it back to Konoha with Naruto balanced on her back, and Kakashi walking along side an emotionless Sasuke almost made Sakura smile…almost.


"Sakura-chan, why don't you smile as much? I mean when you do smile, it's pretty, but I feel like it's missing something."

Sakura looked up from her mission scroll and gave Naruto the best, fakest, smile she could.

Naruto frowned slightly, and poked a finger directly at her eyeball almost stabbing her retina.

"But it doesn't reach to here."

Sakura sealed her lips, and looked at her scroll. She had to leave tomorrow for as long as it took her to capture and interrogate a ninja from Rain. He was responsible for destroying a small village, killing all of the residence. She would be responsible for killing him.


Naruto and Sasuke were in the hospital for three days before Sakura visited them.

Walking in wearing her ANBU outfit Sakura couldn't help but notice Naruto's look of disappointment.

"Sorry I haven't checked in on you guys much. There's been a lot of planning on how to go about terminating the rest of Atasuki."

"Sakura-chan! Why do you have to do everything?" Naruto pouted in his hospital bed.

She released a slight laugh, tainted with bitterness.

"Well maybe if you spent more time on missions instead of the hospital I wouldn't have to do so much."

Naruto pouted some more, but didn't disagree. Sakura walked over and shook Naruto's hair with her hand.

"Be back before you know it."

Then she walked over to Sasuke, and did the same to his hair.

"And you better be here when I get back, or else I will track you down and punched you so far into the earth you won't have to worry about the frost in the winter."

With a smirk she walked out the door.

Sasuke believed her.

Naruto was animatedly telling Sasuke about what everyone's been up to the past five years. Everyone from the youthful Lee to the timid Hinata.

"-and Sakura-chan… she changed the most."

Sasuke looked up from the hospital sheets to stare at the blonde.

"Sometimes when we're together she gets this look in her eyes."


"Sakura-chan! You've barely touched your ramen!"

She glanced up from her bowl, and focused her eyes on Naruto. He hated to admit it, but it unnerved him. It was like looking into the eyes of a corpse. Then she shook her head slightly. A ghost of a smile on her face.

"Sorry, I guess I am not that hungry after the mission."

Then proceeded to stare at her ramen.


"It kind of reminds of the look you get when you're thinking about your family."

Sasuke looked back at his lap trying not to dwell too much on the shiver that ran up his spine.

"There's so many times after missions I find her shopping for new clothes, at first I thought she was just being a girl." Insert a roll of the eyes. "Then one day I caught her burning the clothes she wore on her last mission."


Sakura was staring at the different brands of laundry detergents wondering which one could be the most effective when Naruto found her.

"Sakura-chan I was only kidding when I said you smelled weird. I mean you did smell kind of funny… but it was a… eh…good funny."

Naruto tried to smile and scratched the back of his neck. Sakura turned her head towards him with an exasperated sigh.

"It's okay Naruto. Blood and bleach never smell too good together."


Finally out of the hospital Naruto decided they needed to celebrate with, what else? Ramen!

Sitting down on the stool he always sat before he left made Sasuke feel almost as if nothing changed. Then he looked to the seat that Sakura was supposed to be sitting to see it empty. Wasn't he the one that left?

After Naruto talked for half an hour, and devoured his way through five bowls of ramen Sasuke was getting ready to leave. He couldn't stare, secretly horrified, as Naruto vacuumed his ramen into his mouth like a bottomless pit for much longer.

"Hey guys."

Whipping their heads towards the voice they saw Sakura sit down on her stool. Sasuke tried to hide his surprise, however Naruto failed.

"Holy crap Sakura-chan! I didn't even sense you!" With his hand over his heart and his eyes wide Naruto made an amusing picture to the tired Sakura.

"Sorry, I guess I forgot how to relax my barriers after a mission." With a shrug she turned towards them.

Naruto flung an arm over her shoulder.

"Oh, Sakura-chan how was your mission? Come on spill, I need some details."

Wincing as Naruto's arm rubbed against her still sore shoulders she told Naruto that he she wasn't allowed to tell him things like that.

Only Sasuke noticed the wince narrowing his eyes in response to it.

With puppy-dog eyes in full bloom Sakura bit her lip, and looked away from Naruto.

"I was sent to take care of Kisame. He was spotted fleeing after Itachi was taken down. Afraid that he would be a problem in the future I was sent to terminate him."


-The battle wasn't easy, but Sakura finally had him in her grasp.

"You know kunoichi I never wanted this."

Not releasing her firm hold from his neck, his arms and legs pinned under rock, she leaned close to him panting and looked into his eyes. His breath was even more ragged then hers. Scratches lined every part of her. Her shoulder felt like there was nothing but bone left after she got too close to that damn sword of his.

She gave him her first real smile in a long time, and sent deadly chakra through his system killing his lungs. With nothing but the stillness of his eyes Sakura removed her hand, and whispered into his ear.

"No one does in the end."


Sasuke stared at this girl before him wondering if it was possible that Sakura was being held hostage somewhere while this look alike imposter took over her life. This wasn't the girl that he knew. The girl he knew was full of compassion and love. The Sakura he was staring at now held an air of indifference as she rehashed the story of defeating a key member of the Akatsuki.

"But enough about me how have my two little troublemakers been?"

Sasuke snorted, while Naruto went into an explanation about how horrible the hospital food was, how the sheets were itchy, how-

Sakura locked eyes with Sasuke, and Sasuke realized that Naruto was right when he said Sakura's eyes almost looked dead. He remembered they used to be so alive and green. Like a sparkling emerald green forest. Now they were just a dull jade. All ninja became jaded at one point he guessed. Looking away Sasuke couldn't suppress the chill that entered his soul. If Sakura couldn't keep her soul, who could?

6 months later

Training ground ten has seen better days. Birds flew away propelling themselves to get out of harm's way.

"Sakura-chan! I know you are PMS-ing or something, but please stop throwing trees at me. I mean really! Think of the environment!"

Sakura growled under her breath, and stomped her foot on the ground causing a fissure to head right towards Naruto. He leaped away right before a hole appeared and tried to eat him.

"I worked for sixteen hours straight at the hospital after getting back from a three day mission where I had to not only fix everyone else when they got hurt, but also had to fight an entire army of freaking mindless assholes who kidnapped the most annoying, spoiled child in the whole world and to top it off-"

Sasuke signed in the background. When would Naruto learn not to mention when a girl looked like shit?

"Sakura."

"WHAT?"

Sasuke tried not to noticeably swallow as she turned her glare towards him.

"Do you want to go get ramen?"

Sakura paused, and gave a final glare to Naruto before turning back to him.

"Sure."


Sasuke and Sakura were eating ramen at Itchiraku. Naruto was supposed to be with them, but he got called for a mission.

It was the first time they have been together without Naruto since he came back three months ago.

"Sasuke."

"Hn."

Sakura stared at him.

"Yes?"

Nodding in approval Sakura turned her whole body towards him, and lowered her eyes to his nose.

"Thank you."

Giving her a skeptical look, he cocked his head to the side. She straightened her shoulders and finally met his gaze.

"When you left-," Sasuke froze dreading where this conversation was going, "I was devastated…"

"Sakura-" she held up her hand to stop him.

"No. I was devastated, but it was good for me. I grew so much…I learned so much. They say once you lose your most important thing losing anything else doesn't really matter. It's true you know? I have done horrible things…things I don't like remembering, but I do. I remember at the worst possible times. Naruto will smile at me, and just as I am getting the warm feeling his smile gives me I remember how in combat I shoved my hand through the stomach of a man with the same color eyes as him."

A smile crossed her face. A real smile. It seemed so odd in a situation like this.

"I became strong in every essence. So thank you. But I also want to thank you for returning because I was sick of being the only strong one. I wanted to be a healer, instead I became something else, and lost a part of myself that I'm not sure I can ever get back."

Sasuke rested his hand on her shoulder, patting it twice and brought it back to his own lap. Letting his actions show her what he could not say.

I'm sorry, but I'm here now.


When Naruto tells people about his teammates he never mentions how Sasuke abandoned them, or how Sakura tried to fill the gap Sasuke left by following the Ninja handbook to such an extreme she lost her soul for a while. No. He tells people that Sakura is always there to heal his wounds, and that Sasuke is like a brother (one that is a little moody and a little too feminine to be normal).

Sakura may have lost part of her soul, but maybe she had to lose that so Sasuke could squeeze in between that empty space and make her whole again.

Sasuke may be cold and indifferent, but when Sakura puts her hand in his, he absorbs the warmth she gives him.

When Naruto toasts at Sasuke and Sakura's wedding he sends a prayer to Kami-sama to please let their kids be a little more stable in the head because the world does not need any more antisocial, crazy ninjas. He was applauded and hit on the head…twice.


AN: So it's been way too long since I've written anything on here so I locked myself in my room and whipped this out. Hope you like it!