Simply Sakura

She was always suppose to be the weak link of team seven, but that is no longer true. After proving her strength, as well as her beauty in several sparring sessions, her teammates start to realize just how special Sakura is, and has always been. Sakura X Team Seven

I have listened to your votes on my poll, and now I shall deliver; I just hope this story holds up to all of your expectations : ) and if you don't like this story, then don't read it.

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Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Chapter 1: Welcome Home Team Seven

A pink haired teen frowned as she grabbed her bag from the locker room. It had been a long week, and the pinkette was being forced to take the next week off. Tsunade had said that Sakura being so low on chakra wouldn't help anyone in the hospital, least of all her, but that was only after Sakura had spent almost a full 48 hours of continuous healing. As she exited the hospital, Sakura was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't even wave goodbye to her coworkers behind her.

He had done it; Naruto had brought Sasuke back, though it had almost killed both of them in the process. That was what she had been working on for the last two days. She had spent hours stabilizing both teammates, but she had finally done it. Tsunade and Shizune had been too busy dealing with the Elders and the Council to even attempt to help Sakura with the healing. Now, there was no doubt in her mind that they would be fine, but that wasn't the thing that bothered her so much.

Naruto had left over a year ago; his mission was to find Sasuke and bring him home. Sakura had wanted to go with him; she had practically begged Tsunade to let her, but in the end it didn't matter.

Even if Tsunade had ended up saying yes, Naruto had said no. He told her he didn't want her to get hurt, and then left without saying another word. What he didn't realize, however, was that Sakura was more hurt with him leaving her than she would have been if she had actually went with him.

Her teammates could be so dense at times. Growling to herself, Sakura's thoughts turned to the other two members of team seven; those two were just as bad. Sai and Kakashi; the two had applied for a mission to follow after Naruto, and make sure he didn't get himself killed. In all actuality, Sakura had been left behind by all four of her teammates now. They had all left her behind to become stronger, but being left behind had given Sakura the incentive she needed.

A year really was a long time, and that was how long it had been since she had remotely seen anyone from her team. The isolation hurt her at first, but soon she used her loneliness to help her become stronger.

Sakura had asked Tsunade for more training and she had gotten it. Smirking slightly to herself, Sakura continued her walk through Konoha. Tsunade-sama had given Sakura extensive training, so much so that Sakura was now the second best medic in the village; second only to the Godaime herself.

Surpassing Shizune had taken only a few months after the training began; Shizune herself had even helped with a lot of Sakura's training. But the end result had been something Sakura was still not happy with; that was why she continued to train everyday.

Once all of her teammates got back, Sakura refused to watch their backs any longer. She had understood why they had left her, oh yes, she understood how weak she had been. That didn't mean she wasn't angry about them leaving, because Kami knew she was pissed off, but she understood their reasons. She wouldn't have wanted to be held back by a weak girl either. But, that wouldn't stop her from not talking to them for a few days… maybe a week even.

Sighing, Sakura looked to the apartment complex that stood before her. She had moved out of her parent's house a year ago; it had been one of the steps in starting over. She had needed to do things on her own, and living without her parents was definitely a way to do that. Sakura couldn't help but to grin as she walked to her apartment door; her roommate was already home.

"Hey Shikamaru," Sakura greeted as she opened the door. "What do you want for dinner?"

Sakura watched as Shikamaru lay on the couch with his feet up on the coffee table. His head was tilted backward, and Sakura could see that his eyes were closed; Sakura knew that didn't mean he was asleep, however, he was most likely thinking about something.

"Miso soup," Shikamaru replied as his eyes opened. Sakura smiled as she walked by him and headed to the kitchen. Hearing a sigh from the living room, Sakura knew Shikamaru was getting up to come talk to her; he was probably wondering why he hadn't seen his roommate in a week.

"Where the hell have you been, Sakura?" Shikamaru asked as he walked into the kitchen while scratching the back of his head. Shikamaru still had his brown hair tied back in a spiky pony tail, only, his hair was longer than it had been when they were chuunin. His stature had changed a little as well; he was taller and more muscular than he had been.

Everyone in the rookie nine had changed, Sakura mused to herself. "Working," she replied with a smile over her shoulder. "Sasuke and Naruto were brought into the hospital on Friday; I had been working on stabilizing them for the past two days."

"And it was successful, I am assuming," Shikamaru stated as his shoulders slouched slightly. Walking more into the kitchen, Shikamaru leaned against the counter as he watched Sakura make dinner. "We heard about Naruto and Sasuke yesterday; Tsunade called in all the rookie nine and team Gai, besides you obviously, to talk about it."

Sakura looked over her shoulder again and raised an eyebrow as if silently telling Shikamaru to continue his story. Shikamaru only shook his head with a small grin and continued.

"I guess Sasuke was finally successful in killing Itachi," Shikamaru said almost lackadaisically. "It turns out Naruto showed up before the battle, and the two killed Itachi together. Then, as stupid as those two are, they ended up trying to kill each other; you can see that didn't end to well.

"Kakashi and Sai were out on a mission, and found the two just as they were about to either pass out from lack of chakra or because of the wounds on their bodies."

"It seemed my whole team was out there without me," Sakura mused quietly to herself; she should really be used to this. "It's funny how I haven't seen either Sai or Kakashi in the village, though."

"You've been in the hospital," Shikamaru told her with a slight wave of his hand. "Sai and Kakashi actually went out for ramen after the meeting with Tsunade; they were asking about you. You should have seen the look on Kakashi's face when I told him we were living together."

Sakura couldn't fight the smile that came to her face; her and Shikamaru were an odd pair of roommates, but that was why Sakura had asked Shikamaru to be her roommate in the first place. Shikamaru and herself were considered the smartest two out of the rookie nine; living with Shikamaru had been a good choice for her.

The two both wanted to become independent, and Sakura had asked him if he wanted to live with her on one of the monthly rookie nine and team Gai get togethers. Shikamaru had agreed saying she was less troublesome than Ino. Either way, the two complimented each other nicely; Sakura knew Shikamaru had been the right choice.

"Hm, I bet Kakashi was rather displeased," Sakura said as her smile spread wider. "I'm sure he would have been more upset if I was living with Kiba though; that guy is as horny as his dog."

Shikamaru chuckled in agreement, and Sakura continued making their dinner in silence. It was what the two had become used to after living with each other for a year. Sakura would make dinner if she came home from the hospital; Shikamaru would have to fend for himself if she didn't.

And living with Shikamaru had helped Sakura create a bond with him, but not in a romantic sense. She would never be able to love Shikamaru in that way; he was more like a brother than any real blood brother could be. He protected her, listened to her, and just spent time with her; Shikamaru treated her as his equal, because in all sense, she was.

Sakura was now a jounin level ninja; she, Shikamaru, Shino, and Neji had all passed the exams together. The rookie nine knew of Sakura's strength; they knew that she still held a will to get stronger for herself, and for her teammates.

Sighing slightly, Sakura finished making the soup. "Can we train a bit after we eat?" Sakura asked as she put the soup into two bowls. "I'm afraid I don't want to get rusty after being cooped up too long in the hospital."

Shikamaru snorted at her request, but nodded nevertheless. Sakura thought sparring sessions with Shikamaru were always interesting; the guy was too smart, and Sakura always had to stay on her toes. To say the least, their sparring sessions were fun.


Sitting in the hospital room, Kakashi finally felt relieved. Two important members of his team were finally home, and things could finally get back to normal; well at least, as normal as team seven could be.

Sighing, Kakashi switched the holding of his book from his left hand to his right. He was too distracted to even read his beloved Icha Icha, and the cause of his torment wasn't even in the room he currently resided in.

Where the hell was Sakura, and why hadn't she visited Naruto or Sasuke yet? The two, well four of them, had been in the village for almost three days now; she had to have heard, right? The idea that she would just abandon her teammates was preposterous; Kakashi had engraved how important the other members of the team were into all of team seven brains. So much for that idea Hatake, the silver haired man told himself while looking to the other two occupants in the room.

Sasuke had left his teammates behind, but Kakashi guessed he could see that one coming. As Neji would have said it, it was Sasuke's destiny to kill Itachi; Sasuke deserved to get his revenge for his family. Kakashi would have put family over his team as well, if he had family left. He had no idea that Sakura could be as cold hearted as Sasuke though. Well, maybe that wasn't it at all; maybe she was on a mission?

Sighing again, Kakashi thought on to how the pinkette was doing. The last he had heard was she had finally become a chuunin, and she was actually learning medical jutsu from the Hokage herself. But he had learned this through other of his jounin colleagues, and that had almost been a year ago. He hadn't talked to Sakura since Naruto left; he hadn't gotten a chance since then because he went after on his mission right after that.

It wasn't surprising that Sakura had really never held his attention for long, but that wasn't really her fault. It was hard to divide up the attention evenly when there was an Uchiha and the Kyuubi on the team.

Looking back to the unconscious two before him, Kakashi had to fight a smile from appearing on his face. Tsunade-sama had certainly done an excellent job healing these two; there was no way the two would have survived if anyone else had healed them. Kakashi knew Shizune's skills weren't even that good to bring back both Sasuke and Naruto from the brink of death; he would have to thank the Hokage later.

Looking to the door of the hospital room, Kakashi stood before the door was even opened; Tsunade-sama had particular kind of chakra, and Kakashi knew it was her right away. Bowing swiftly, Kakashi looked back up at the reining Hokage.

Tsunade nodded her head slightly, and walked over to read the boys charts. After scanning over the charts, while Kakashi waited anxiously in the background, Tsunade smiled. "It seemed she did an even better job than I would have expected," Tsunade said more to herself than to Kakashi. Turning to the silver haired jounin, Tsunade addressed him. "Kakashi, it seems Naruto and Sasuke could wake up any time now."

Kakashi couldn't help but raise an eye brow at the first thing that came out of the Hokage's mouth; she wasn't the one to heal the boys? Then who did? "Forgive me Hokage-sama," Kakashi said while walking over to her. "I thought you were the one to heal both Sasuke and Naruto. I was aware of their condition when they came in, and I thought they could only be healed by you."

Kakashi watched as the Hokage's mouth switched from a smile to a smirk; something wasn't right here. "You really haven't been in the village for around a year, Kakashi," Tsunade said while placing the charts back onto the boys' clip boards. "You'd be surprised at what a lot of the shinobi have accomplished in your absence."

"So Shizune-san healed Naruto and Sasuke then?" Kakashi asked as he pressed for a real answer. Why hadn't the Hokage just told him straight up who had healed the two?

"No, that would be my other apprentice," Tsunade said as her lips curved up even more, and her smirk increased. "I believe you know the one: pink hair, emerald eyes, jounin medical ninja… the list continues."

"Wait," Kakashi was dumbstruck for a second; was Tsuande-sama really talking about Sakura? "Are you talking about my student, Sakura Haruno?"

"Well she's now my student, Kakashi," Tsunade sighed with a nod of her head. "But they are one in the same. Didn't you wonder why Sakura wasn't at the meeting yesterday?"

"I actually didn't notice her absence," Kakashi muttered under his breath, but when he said it, Kakashi knew it was a lie. He had noticed immediately that Sakura was not there; a pink haired girl was hard to miss. Thinking back on it, Kakashi remembered Gai, Asuma, and Kurenai's teams all being there, but none of the other members of team seven other than Sai and himself were there.

"She was not at the meeting because she was busy healing both Naruto and Sasuke," Tsunade said while throwing a look over her shoulder; seeing that both boys had begun to stir, Tsunade sighed. "She healed those two for two days straight. With the way Sakura healed those two, I almost assumed they would have been up before now."

Hearing a slight cough, Tsunade walked over to Naruto's bed and handed him a glass of water with a straw. Turning, she handed the same thing to Sasuke. Turning back to the silver haired jounin, Tsunade raised an eye brow.

"Sakura really healed both Sasuke and Naruto?" Kakashi asked while looking to his prized students. "Did she pass out from exhaustion? Is that why she hasn't visited them yet?"

"I gave Sakura a little vacation," Tsunade said with a small frown; Kakashi never quit did he? "She had been working in the hospital for practically five days straight before she started to heal these two."

"Sakura-Chan healed us, Granny?" Naruto's voice croaked out as he tried to stand from his bed. Tsunade glared at the blond, and Naruto eased back into his bed with a slight chuckle and a nervous smile.

"Our injuries must not have been as bad as I had thought they were," Sasuke mused out loud to himself as he slowly eased his way into a leaning position. He did it slowly, and only cringed slightly as he leaned against his pillow.

Tsunade glared at the two before speaking again. "I hope you two both know that Sakura Haruno worked her ass of in healing the two of you," Tsunade said as she practically charged at the Uchiha's bed. "After you two practically killed each other, you knuckle heads, you two were on the brink of death. Sakura was able to bring both of you back, without assistance from either Shizune or myself. Sakura is a well respected medical jounin."

Tsunade watched as Naruto's mouth dropped open, and Sasuke's eyes widened slightly. Shaking her head side to side, Tsunade decided to leave the room. Was it really so hard to believe that Sakura had gotten stronger without any of team seven's help? She guessed it was hard to compare the new Sakura now to the old Sakura; her personality hadn't really changed, only matured. Sakura had just gotten stronger and older; nothing else had really changed about the young woman.

"She'll probably be at training field seven with Shikamaru soon," Tsunade said before leaving the room. "If you don't believe me about her progress, then go look for yourselves. You two are both in fine condition even though you have just woken up; I'll have Shizune give you something to take most of the pain away, and the three of you can leave."

As she left and shut the door, the only thing Tsunade heard was Naruto's voice.

"Sakura-Chan's a jounin! Sasuke, we're both still genin!"