This is not quite a drabble, not quite a one-shot, maybe an unfinished story. I don't know, but I felt like posting it because I've been staring at it for months and the muse refuses to come back. So, I was thinking I'd post it and maybe some of you could pitch an idea, word, sentence, or maybe the muse will just come back from a review…I don't know. Or maybe I'm totally just unconsciously fishing for reviews and you shouldn't review at all because of that…whatever here it is. Hope you enjoy what is here. Future-fic. No beta, mistakes all mine.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of it's characters, just writing a story-ish.

Despite popular belief, Naruto was actually a rather sad man. Years of experience just made it easier for him to hide it. Be it through his wide-toothy smiles or his loud, hearty laughs. Sakura knew better though. She knew those smiles never meant anything unless they made it to his eyes. She knew the louder he laughed, the more he wanted to go home and cry. She knew he was only hurting himself, keeping it all in. And she knew, without a doubt, he was ok with that because he never wanted to burden his precious people, his precious Sakura-chan.

Yes, despite popular belief Naruto actually had one of the worst cases of self-deprecation she'd ever seen, only because he was to stubborn to let other people in. Too stubborn to just talk to someone, talk to her. No he'd rather hold it in until the very last moment-after an assignment that lead him to kill or after another failed attempt at retrieving Sasuke(like now) then drinking it back down to the depths of his unconscious. Before he really had to deal with it. Which she could clearly see he was doing right now.

She'd been staring at him now, for the better part of an hour. Just watching him, sitting at the bar, downing drink after drink. She's pretty sure he can't even get drunk, thanks to his little(big) buddy(pain-in the-ass). This was the one thing she was fine with that demon taking from her friend. It always takes her a while to get the nerve to talk to him. This night, she didn't even have enough courage to go further than the entrance door. She's not scared of him (he'd never, ever hurt her), she's scared of his hopelessness. If the world manage to break the brightest light, the most encouraging, the most good person. What would it do to a dim, pessimistic, sad person like herself. That scared her.

She's waited to long now. If she doesn't talk to him now, she knows she's going to leave and Naruto will stay. And tomorrow when the meet up for lunch, like always, everything will be ok(very, very bad). And they'll stay (pretend) as they always have. And she's so tired of pretending, so she goes to him.

"You need to stop this Naruto, it's not healthy," she lets out hurriedly, sitting on the stool next to him, facing his side. It doesn't even seem like he cares. She frowns.

He laughs suddenly. A harsh, bitter laugh. "Neither is going off on A-rank missions, chasing missing-nin," he scoffs, downing whatever battery-acid was in his glass. "But we still do it, don't we Sakura-chan," he finishes, turning to face her finally, smirking. She's not sure if this is better. "We. Still. Do. It. We still go after Orochimaru and the Akatsuki. We still, blindly, go after whatever Baa-Chan's 'sources' say about Sasuke's where-abouts. We still do it. Because, damn the consequences, we have to," he says resolutely, staring her down. "Don't we?"

"No," she answers quickly. She looks at him, mouth agape, eyes wide. She realizes she's just as surprised as he is, at her unexpected answer.

"Sakura-chan?" He adds the 'chan' almost as an after-thought.

"We don't," she continues, putting her hands on either side of his shoulder. "Sasuke…he's, he's not the same. He's not the same 12 year old I was in love with (she loves someone else now) or the same boy you thought of as a brother (he'll probably never stop). That…that blood-thirsty, revenge-stricken person, that's not our Sasuke. He's not our Sasuke. He hasn't been for a while. Our Sasuke is gone and he might be forever," she finishes, whispering softly, looking at her feet. Apparently they both needed to hear this.

"How can you say that Sakura?" He purposely leave out the 'chan' this time. He brings her hands from his shoulder, to rest in his lap, embalmed by his large, calloused ones. "He's still our friend." She can hear the hurt dripping with every word.

She raises her head, to look him dead on. "No he's not. Don't you get that yet?"

An this is where the jerk of a muse left me. I mean really, are you pissed. I am. Or maybe this is a perfectly fine place to end, I don't know. So please review, send some kind words, inspiration, anything…I'm officially lost with this one.