DISCLAIMER: I don't own Naruto… obviously. I'm not making any money off of this story so don't sue. Please and thank you.

WARNING: This story is rated M for mature themes, language, and heavy lemons in following chapters. This first chapter has sexual situations. Team 7 characters are around 25 in this story, which would put Kakashi and Genma around 40 or so give or take a few years. If you have an issue with the age difference or don't like the pairings, don't read.

Author's note: This is my first epic story! Really, it was only supposed to be a one-shot, but I decided to lengthen it. I know I promised not to publish this till the whole thing was done, but I couldn't help myself, I want to see what people think. Maybe it'll push me to finish the story faster too. With that being said, this story is a Sakura/Genma, Sakura/Naruto.. love triangle anyone? ^_^
Also, this story takes place sometime before the war with Madara because I haven't gotten that far in the manga yet. With that being said I know some things are going to deviate from cannon a bit… as it would for this kind of pairing, I guess you could say that it is AU, but please bear with me. Some characters are also a bit OOC. Also this story is a drama/romance/angst. It's going to be a bumpy ride folks….


Chapter 1- Opheliac

I'm your Opheliac
My stalkings prove my virtue
I'm open to attack
But I don't want to hurt you
Whether I swim or sink
That's no concern of yours now
How could you possibly think
You had the power to know how to keep me breathing as the water rises up again
Before I slip away

-Opheliac by Emilie Autumn

It was hard not to look, she admitted to herself. No one should look that good, especially not her best friend. Especially not her best friend in a dressing room before her other best friend's wedding. She couldn't help it though, not when he stood there in front of her looking almost mouthwatering in his black formal.

He was a far cry from the boy he had once been. Naruto stood at least a foot taller than she, much to her own chagrin. His hair was still wild as ever, but it had darkened slightly over the last couple of years to a charming dark blond. His shoulders were now broad and his shirt stretched across his wide chest where she could just barely make out the hard muscles underneath. His strong arms crossed in front of him where his large hands, that she knew for a fact were rough and smooth in all the right places, grasped his elbows. Following down the line of his body he had a perfect triangular shape from his well-defined abs down to his hips. He had legs that were lean and muscular, like most Shinobi, but she couldn't help letting her eyes linger the way his pants stretched in the front near the apex of his thighs. He looked so much older than he had when he was only fifteen years old, and in many ways he was also more mature, but he still was just so incredibly… Naruto.

I so did not just look at Naruto's crotch, she thought to herself in embarrassment quickly bringing her gaze back up to meet his own. He was still standing there smirking at her, his expression betraying the laughter behind his eyes.

"Do I look good or what?" A highly amused Kuuybi container asked triumphantly behind his bright azure eyes.

Sakura's eyes narrowed. "Whatever baka," she growled, running into the nearest dressing room to hide the blush that was quickly running up her neck and cheeks like some sort of red flood betraying her thoughts, but not before he heard him chuckle softly behind her.

"Hurry up Sakura-chaaaan!" He whined in a deep voice, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "The wedding is in two hours and I promised Sasuke I wouldn't be late."

Sakura leaned the back of her head against the door in her dressing room as she ran her eyes over the pieces of clothing she had picked out. Of course Ino had originally picked out a particularly nasty number for her to wear, but she'd be damned if she was going to actually wear the bubblegum pink monstrosity. It was just one more way for her loud blond friend to flaunt in her face that she had won the man of both of their dreams and Sakura had not. Well, she may have lost the war, but she was not going to lose the fight… plus pink would clash horribly with her hair.

"Just give me a minute Naruto," She called out. Her hands came down and she unzipped her skirt and pushed it off her hips. Inwardly she cringed at the soft noise and spoke to cover the silence. "You know I really hope Ino shuts up about this whole thing once they're married. I'm tired of her flaunting this whole marriage thing in my face. It's not even like they love each other!" She said spitefully. "Well at least I think Sasuke doesn't love her." She then grasped the bottom her shirt and in one swift motion brought the whole thing over her head. She paused glancing at the door through her reflection in the mirror. The silence was almost palpable. "Naruto?" she called out questioningly.

"I'm not so sure Sakura-chan." He said softly. "I'm sure Sasuke loves her in his own way, but it's not like him to be emotional. Maybe he only shows his love and affection for Ino when they're alone."

Ino and Sasuke alone? Now that was something she didn't want to think about. Sasuke had never been openly anything with her and for some reason thinking about Ino and Sasuke holding hands or staring at each other lovingly where no one could see them not only make her blood boil, but it was also quite ridiculous.

"Yeah and I'm the next Hogake," she muttered bitterly under her breath.

"What was that?" she heard him call from behind the door.

"Uh, nothing!" She called back as she reached for the rich black material of her dress as she placed it over her head and let it slowly fall over the curves of her body. Sure Naruto had changed in the last couple of years. He went from a bubbly little boy, to handsome young teen, to the utterly dashing man that now stood on the other side of the door, but she had changed too. She was no longer the young scrawny pink haired pipsqueak she once had been. Her hair was long again like it had been before, but instead of hanging lifeless at her waist it now curved around her face in shiny waves that touched just slightly below her shoulder blades. Where before her waist was reminiscent of a twelve year old boy, she now had a healthy flare in her hips and a round, albeit, small bottom just above her toned thighs and legs. She had also filled out up top as well, much to her great relief, and even gained a few inches of height. She was nowhere near as curvaceous as her best friend Ino or her Shishou, but she was no mere child either.

"I'm pretty sure he chose her because she was the most willing to bare him the plethora of children he needs to restart his clan. She's nothing but a broodmare." She said rather nastily as she looked at herself in the mirror. She smoothed down her dress and smiled. Ino was going to be so pissed when she saw her. It was made of a black soft fabric that was sleeveless with a heart shaped bodice that showed a generous amount of cleavage and clung tightly to her narrow hips. The skirt portion went all the way down to the floor, but had a long slit up the side that went about to mid-thigh. She had also decided on tall pumps that accentuated every muscle in her toned legs and a pair of black beaded earrings that hung low beneath her ears and swayed while she walked. The earrings even matched a choker that Naruto had given her for birthday a few years ago. It was made of black lace with a large white pearl that was long enough to nestle in the hallow of her throat. As she regarded her reflection in the mirror, she smiled and then applied a quite scandalous shade of pink to her lips.

Sasuke, eat your heart out, she thought triumphantly before she braced herself and walked out of the dressing room.


"Be nice Sakura," Naruto chided messing with his hair as he looked in the mirror that hung from the dressing room door. "They're our friends and we owe it to them to be there and be happy for them no matter what our opinion is." Then the dressing room door opened and all coherent thought went out the rhetorical window. His eyes went wide and his mouth went dry as he stood here and gapped at her like a fish out of water.

Great Kami nothing should look so beautiful, he thought as he relearned how to breathe. It took him two tries before he could speak.

"S-Sakura-chan you look… wow," he said walking up to her. She smiled at him and he instantly felt his heart melt into a puddle on the floor.

"Zip me up?" She asked turning around and pulling her hair to the side giving him a generous view of her smooth back and creamy skin on shoulders. Naruto had no idea what to do. Sakura was standing there in front of him with her dress half undone. It took every ounce of will power he had to not rip the garment off of her and ravish her against the dressing room wall as he took the zipper in his shaking hands and pulled it up.

She looked up at his face through the reflection of the mirror on the door. "Naruto, you're blushing," she teased.

Naruto let his hands linger on the zipper a moment and then before he could stop himself he swept her hair back over her shoulder and let a finger trail across her collar bone and stopped at the pearl at the base of her throat. He took it between his fingers and rubbed the soft surface gently, remembering how he acquired it. It had been on a long solo mission to Rain where he had helped a fisherman and his wife find their son after a brutal storm. After the happy family was united, the boy's mother had quietly left and returned with the pearl. With appreciative tears in her eyes she silently took his hand in hers and pressed the smooth stone into his palm. He flat out refused to take it, but she insisted telling him that it would bring him luck. Later, on his way back to Konoha, he passed by a lace shop and asked them to put the pearl into a necklace; he had given it to Sakura only a few weeks later. She rarely wore it, but it was in moments like these that he couldn't help but think that perhaps it really did bring him luck.

"Naruto?" Sakura asked. She turned around to find him looking at her, his eyes smoldering as if he was looking straight through her. He stepped forward, invading her personal space, until the line of his body touched hers gently and she had to crane her neck upwards to keep eye contact.

"Naruto?" she repeated breathily.

Suddenly he snapped back to reality shaking his head slightly and smiled broadly at her. Slightly confused and a little unsure of what else to do she smiled back hesitantly.

"Um, ready?" he asked nervously, stepping back and offering his arm to her politely. After a few seconds of hesitation she took it and they made their way out of the back of the temple towards the wedding ceremony.


The garden in the Uchiha compound, where the wedding was taking place, was in full bloom with flowers of every possible kind and color. Sakura vaguely remembered Ino telling her that Sasuke had hired gardeners who had spent the better half of three months growing them all and perfecting the space just for today. Ino had decided on the outdoor wedding in a traditional black and white motif, except for the flowers of course. Well, Ino probably wanted more colors to match the flowers, but she bet Sasuke would have probably threatened to cancel the whole affair if he had to wear baby blue or violet like she had always dreamed he would. How the hell someone could think blue and purple would go together was beyond her.

She sighed as she stared at the white cloth covered chairs with black sashes that fell to the floor. The chairs themselves extended on either side down a long runway up to a beautiful silver gazebo which had white flowers and silver ribbons decorating every possible inch of its surface. Everything flowed and glittered just right. It was so smooth, crisp, and clean, and it was making her more jealous by the moment. She also noticed that beyond the arch there was a pathway where she knew the reception was being held which she also knew would be just as disgustingly beautiful. It was hard to imagine that the stoic Uchiha would go through all this trouble just for a wedding, but knowing Ino she had been the one to insist on all the fanfare, and knowing Sasuke he felt like he had a newly formed image to uphold. At least this is what she said to make herself feel better. That's her story and she's sticking to it thank you very much.

She sighed once again and walked to her place in a line behind a few of Ino's cousins, waiting for the ceremony to begin before she lost herself in her bitter thoughts once more.

How many times had she and Ino thought of this exact moment in their lives? How many hours had they spent painstakingly planning every possible miniscule detail down to the shape and color of the intricate caviar spoons they would be using just before the five course meal at the reception? Too many to count for sure, and now it would seem that Ino had beat her in every way possible. Ino had the man and the dream wedding, and as much as it shamed her, she was absolutely green with envy. More than anything though, she was sad.

It just wasn't fair! Why couldn't she be the one who got everything she wanted for once? Ino was pretty, from a prestigious clan, popular, outgoing, and now she was also the girl who got a fairytale ending. Sakura didn't want a fairytale, hell Shinobi could hardly hope for anything remotely normal, but she couldn't help but just want something. She just didn't want to be lonely anymore, was that too much to ask?

Sakura watched the many guests who were bustling around taking their final seats before the ceremony began. It seemed as if all of Konoha was in attendance. She briefly noticed that almost the entirety of the front two rows were comprised of the other heads of the main clans, with Tsunade down on the far right. Of course all of Konoha's most important people would be here, Sasuke was the head and only member of the infamous Uchiha clan, and Ino, where her family didn't have the same prestige as the Hyuga, was the head of the Yamanaka clan who was well respected for their techniques primarily used for espionage and interrogation.

Maybe Sasuke hadn't chosen her because she was from a civilian family and had no clan technique…. The thought made her heart squeeze painfully in her chest. It just wasn't fair. She had never given up on Sasuke even when everyone else had. Had she not proven herself enough? She may not have some bloodline limit, but she was Sakura Hanuro, apprentice to the fifth Hogake and legendary Sannin Tsunade. Her strength and medical jutsu were second only to her shishou. Plus it wasn't like she was unattractive. She didn't have the same generous bust line as Ino nor was she blond, bubbly, or outgoing, but those things weren't everything were they? Why hadn't he picked her?

What if he wasn't marrying Ino for her family ties? What if he actually loved her? The thought made her frown. The cold hearted Uchiha was incapable of love, it couldn't be possible…why did it mean that much to her anyway?

Arg! Why do things have to be so complicated? She huffed.

This is why she liked Naruto so much. He was simple, easy to read, and no ulterior motives. After he brought Sasuke back, they had fallen right back into a team dynamic that was similar, but would however never be the same as it was before. Sasuke had killed his brother, the only other remaining Uchiha of his clan as well as the most tragic shinobi in all of history. He revenged his clan, but because of all the things that Sasuke had seen and done he would never be the same. He was still the stoic sarcastic Uchiha that had a fierce rivalry with Naruto, but he would forever be tainted by death of his unfortunate circumstances.

Naruto, however, was like her. They both didn't come from a clan nor had any Shinobi in their families at all… that she knew of. He was ostracized because of the nine-tails within him, but other than that he was loyal, kind, stable, and had an uncanny ability to gain anyone's trust and was unbelievably likeable. Plus they had formed an even stronger relationship after Sasuke had left that not even Sasuke could touch.

It started one night long ago, after one of their failed attempts to bring Sasuke back to the village. She had made her way back to her apartment tired, ragged, and broken. She had barely made it home before she lost herself to the agony and the tears came, and suddenly he was just there. Naruto held her as she cried in his arms, neither of them saying a word as he rocked her back and forth cradling her until her sobs died down and the sun was coming up. When she finally pushed away from him he made her another promise, one that he swore he would never break. He would never leave her no matter what happened between them and they would always be friends. It was in that moment she finally saw Naruto, really saw him. All those years it was almost like he was a shadow, something that was there but you sort of took for granted. Who really pays attention to a shadow anyway? But that moment when she saw the sincerity in his eyes as he gently wiped away her tears, she finally saw the person that he had become, and she returned that promise.

Sakura smiled at the memory and turned to look at him. He really was a man now. Strange how they both seemed to have grown up so quickly. She watched him as he stood next to her, lost in his own thoughts as he stared out into the distance. Maybe he was looking at the decorations too. She wondered a moment if boys ever thought of their own weddings when they were little, but looked away quickly when he seemed to sense her gaze upon him and turned to look at her.

Suddenly the grass beneath her feet looked entirely too interesting.

She smiled. Simple, likable, trustworthy Naruto. He might be a baka, but he was her baka.


Naruto felt her gaze upon him and turned to look at her and she looked away, but not before he noticed the shadow of a smile on her face. For a moment he continued to look at her in an amused confusion but then looked back over the garden, watching as the guests moved towards their seats.

He had promised he would bring Sasuke back for her and he did, but what he didn't anticipate was that Sasuke would not want to be with her. He figured, hell they all figured, that once the Uchiha had killed his brother and revenged his clan he would return to Konoha and set out to rebuild his clan with Sakura. Well he had killed his brother and he had returned, and sure he planned on rebuilding his clan, just not with her. Naruto didn't know why he had chosen Ino, but if it made the bastard happy, then he would support him as any friend would.

He was happy for Sasuke, really he was, but if he was being completely honest with himself he would also admit that deep down he was also glad that he hadn't chosen their pink haired teammate, because no matter how deeply Sasuke and Sakura cared for each other, Sasuke's feelings for Sakura didn't even hold a candle to how he felt about her. It made him sad to see his favorite kunoichi so forlorn, but he knew it would pass in time, wouldn't it?

Soft music started playing, breaking him from his reverie.

"Sakura," he said with a little more force than he meant to and wasn't surprised to see her flinch slightly. "It's time," he said holding out his arm to her giving her his signature smile. She looked up at him and nodded.

The soft waltz started picking up in volume as she linked her arm in his and slowly he guided her down the aisle as the music played around them. Down at the end he noticed Sasuke looking up at him with a smirk on his face. When they arrived in front of the gazebo, Naruto gently took her arm from his and let Sakura walk to the other side of the archway where Ino would eventually stand.

"What's with the smirk Teme?" he asked as he passed Sasuke on his right.

The stoic ninja grunted nonchalantly grinning wider.

There was a long pause as both of them watched the remaining wedding party file down the aisle towards them taking their places.

"You love her don't you." He finally said. It wasn't so much a question as it was a statement, one that caught him completely off guard.

"Do you?" Naruto asked eyeing the last Uchiha curiously.

The smile slowly died from Sasuke's face. A few moments passed as he looked off into the distance. "No," he said finally.

"Why?" Naruto blurted out, curiosity getting the better of him. He stared at him as if he could read the answer written on the back of his head. "She did everything she could to keep you here, and even when you abandoned her she followed you and never gave up on you. She's smart, beautiful, and strong, hell she's even stronger than Baa-chan. So, why? " The blond asked incredulously.


Naruto watched as his mouth twitched upwards into a smirk once more. "What does that mean?" He asked impatiently.

Sasuke shrugged. "Maybe she's just not my type," he answered noncommittally.

For a moment he thought that he must have heard him wrong. Sasuke has a type? Then he realized that he was probably just messing with him.

"Whatever," He said grumpily, looking back down the aisle.

Suddenly the music picked up and everyone stood as Ino came into view. Naruto had to admit that she looked rather pretty in her formfitting white Kimono as she made her way down the aisle, but what really caught his attention was the look on Sasuke's face when he saw her. Naruto noticed that where he wasn't smiling, his eyes were a little brighter and softer than normal and he was standing a little straighter than he had been a few moments ago during their short exchange. Naruto guessed that in Uchiha land this meant that he liked what he saw.

"You love her don't you?" Naruto echoed teasingly under his breath, taking his own turn to smirk at his best friend.

"I'll answer your question when you answer mine, idiot." Sasuke said curtly, his gaze never leaving Ino.

Naruto smiled then. That's probably as close to a yes as I'm ever going to get, he mused as Ino took her last remaining steps towards the arch and took her place next to Sasuke.

The rest of the ceremony seemed to go on forever and Naruto really wasn't paying attention as he fidgeted in place. He was tired of standing there and his feet were staring to hurt. Weddings were very boring he decided. There were too many flowers and ribbon things everywhere, and even though it was supposed to be a happy occasion, it seemed like everyone was crying. Plus he was hungry. For a moment he wondered if he could pull off a shadow clone jutsu without anyone noticing so he could get some ramen, but was pleased when suddenly he looked over and Sasuke planted a chaste kiss onto Ino's lips and everyone started to clap. Naruto couldn't be happier that the ceremony was finally over. Sure he was happy that Ino and Sasuke were finally married, but he was also happy to note that, if the rehearsal last night was any indication, now would be the time he got to reach out for Sakura and lead them into the reception area. He smiled when he wasn't disappointed. Happily he reached out for her as Ino and Sasuke moved passed them and Sakura took his arm gently. It was only the slightest of touches but Naruto took it gladly. Again he looked at her and he noticed that she didn't seem as preoccupied in her thoughts as before.

"So what did you think of the ceremony?" She asked suddenly as they strolled through the garden together.

"Well, um, actually I was kinda bored, I mean who knew that priest could talk so much, plus the smell of the flowers was too strong and they were starting to make my eyes burn," he blurted out honestly.

Suddenly he felt her hand connect with the back of his head and he winced.

"Baka," she breathed shaking her head. He looked down at her and saw a smile cross her face, but it didn't quite reach her eyes.

"Are you ok Sakura?" He frowned worriedly.

She gazed at him a moment before smiling at him prettily. "Yeah Naruto, I think I will be."

Together they walked forward in silence.


The air was starting to get chilly as the sun set over Hokage Monument. The light from the sun faded and the reception flickered to life as bright twinkling lights, strung around the garden in trees and on the sides of the building in the Uchiha compound, illuminated around them. It was actually quite pretty and the effects of the alcohol blurred the light making it all look rather magical. Sakura sat by herself at a table in the far back slowly sipping plumb wine from a bottle perched in front of her. As she swirled the alcohol under her tongue she couldn't help but savor its sweet flavor even though she was on her third bottle. She always did have a thing for sweet things, especially plumbs.

Because they're as sweet as I am, she thought giggling out loud.

She was alone now watching as all the others danced or chatted happily near the dance floor and main table where Sasuke sat with Ino at his side. Sasuke was talking to Inoichi with his hand softly placed over Ino's. It was a very subtle gesture, but for Sasuke it spoke volumes. Was she being selfish for wanting the things that her best friend had?

Wait, don't answer that.

She should just be happy for Ino, she realized. Ino was her best friend and as such deserved every bit of loving encouragement and congratulations from Sakura that she could muster. Sure they had been rivals at one point, but actually now that Ino had won Sasuke's heart, she and Sakura had nothing else to fight or compete over.

The thought suddenly made her sit up straight and brought a wide smile to her lips. She hadn't thought about it like that until now. She was free! She no longer had to fight with her over mundane things like who dressed the best or looked prettiest. It didn't matter because Sasuke was never going to look at her anymore, not like that at least. Now she could focus more on herself for the sake of herself. She giggled aloud and reached for the wine bottle and threw back its remaining contents and this time the alcohol couldn't have tasted sweeter.

She toyed with the top of the bottle and sighed as the warmth of the alcohol spread down her body to her toes, and she brought it up to her face to read the label. It was actually pretty good, maybe she could buy some of her own after the wedding. She squint her eyes to read the small writing, but it was too fuzzy to make out. She giggled again but then had a sobering thought.

So, if she wasn't going to spend all of her time going after Sasuke, what was she going to do? Funny how she had spent over ten years of her life over such trivialities that she didn't even know where to begin. Well, she could always work harder and get that promotion to head medic at that new training facility that Tsunade had been talking about. Her shishou had all but practically thrown the opportunity at her and if she had spent more hours working in the hospital than trying to doll herself up, perhaps she would have gotten it. How was it that at fifteen she had much more mature than she was now at twenty five? After Sasuke had left to join Orochimaru she had worked so hard to be a ninja for herself and not for someone else. She had cut her hair and began working on her skills so that she could be the kunoichi she had always wanted to be. She had been strong, liberated, and self-confident, but that completely crumbled once he had returned. Those around her had noticed the change immediately, and had brought it up from time to time, but she didn't want to acknowledge it. She was going to do what made her happy, and Sasuke made her happy; at least that's what she had thought. Now she wasn't so sure, but now she could change because she had no other choice.

A feeling close to shame washed over her then as she realized that she had become everything she had told herself she never again wanted to be. How could things have regressed so badly? She thought. In her anger she threw the empty wine bottle over her head and heard it shatter against a tree.

"Whoa there Sakura-chan," a voice called out. She turned dizzily to the voice and saw Naruto walking up to her from behind the table. "It's a bottle not a weapon."

"Depends who you're talking to," she said grumpily reaching under the table for another bottle. As she struggled to open its top he sat down and offered his hand out for the bottle to open it. Her eyes narrowed daring him to ask her if she needed help. Like I need help from anyone, she scoffed.

Catching her murderous glare, he threw his hands up in defense and she looked down and continued to struggle with its cap.

"Damn thing," she growled, before losing her temper and with a short burst of her chakra induced strength, she twisted too hard and the neck of the bottle shattered off completely sending glass shards and drops of sweet wine everywhere. Then giggling in glee she poured half of the bottle into her water glass sloshing the rest onto the table.

"Ok, that's enough for you," Naruto said leaning over and confiscating the glass and bottle from her. Sakura let out a cry of indignation and reached forward for it, but realized quickly that the sudden movement made her nauseous. Maybe I have had enough, she thought as the alcohol truly started to kick in.

Sighing she leaned back into her chair and looked up at the sky watching the stars as they blurred together lazily. If it wasn't so beautiful it might have made her sick.

Naruto watched her as she watched the stars behind hooded lashes. Her face was slightly flush from the alcohol and her hair was tousled which made her seem incredibly attractive in her tight black dress. Well Sakura in a tight black dress was attractive period but... Stop, he chided himself mentally. He needed to reign in his hormones and get them under control, which was actually considerably more difficult to do when he had sake in his system he realized.

"Ok Sakura-chan, you've been grumpy all day, spill it. What's wrong?" The comment was out of his mouth before he even realized he was thinking it.

She turned her head to the side and smiled lazily at him. "Absolutely nothing Naruto-kun, not anymore."

Naruto blanched as his mind came to a screeching halt. Did she just call him Naruto-kun? "What is that supposed to mean?" and why did you just call me Naruto-kun he added mentally.

From seeing the look on his face she threw her head back and giggled. "What it means baka is I'm free," she added happily sighing.

Naruto continued to stare at her in confusion. "Uh huh, right." What was this woman going on about? He knew he wasn't always the brightest when it came to women, but he honestly just couldn't figure her out sometimes.

She looked over at him again and sensing his confusion she scooted her chair closer to his and leaned over and laid her head on his shoulder breathing in his musky scent. He smelled like grass and ramen, but underneath that was something just so incredibly him. If optimism had a scent it would be called 'Naruto'. Slowly she brought her hand down trailing her fingertips across the soft fabric of his pants, playing slow gentle circles across his knees. Naruto stiffened but made no move to push her away.

"What it means Naruto-kun," She said in a low voice, "is that I'm finally free from my feelings for Sasuke. I don't have to chase him anymore and come to think of it, I'm not quite sure why I did in the first place."

There she goes with that Naruto-kun business again, he thought to himself. Tentatively he reached out and gently lifted her hand from his leg and laced his fingers with hers. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders then and rested his chin on the top of her head. It was remarkable how well they fit together like this. "It was because you loved him Sakura, and we all do funny things when we're in love," he added softly.

For a while neither of them spoke as they just sat in silence watching the people in the distance letting the chatter buzz around them. It startled him out of his reverie when she slowly started to shift and he lifted up his chin to allow her to twist in his arms. Then she looked up at him with green hooded eyes and smiled. "Yes they do," she practically purred, and before his mind could register what was happening, her lips were on his.

It felt like he was drowning and being electrocuted at the same time as shocks of surprise and pleasure jolted through his body. He realized he was holding his breath, and for a moment he thought of pulling away, but he finally exhaled and took in a breath through his nose the scent of blossoms and sweet wine filled his nostrils. She smelled so sweet and her lips were so soft that he seemed to be drowning in the intoxication of it all. He couldn't believe it, he was kissing Sakura-chan and she was kissing him back!

He moaned in the back of his throat and brought his hand up to tangle in her hair as she leaned awkwardly into him trying to deepen the kiss. It was as if everything around them suddenly disappeared and the world faded into the background and the only thing that mattered were the two of them. A little voice in the back of his mind was screaming at him that this was wrong, but he shut it out. Why did it have to be wrong when it felt so right? He pulled away only when his lungs were screaming for air and they both stared at each other for a moment their chests heaving.

Neither of them said anything for a minute or two as they searched each other's eyes. "S..Sakura?" he asked hesitantly. She leaned forward again, but a wash of confusion and guilt tore through him and he looked away.

"Look Sakura, maybe we should…" but whatever he was going to say died on his lips when suddenly she was on him again, this time she lifted herself up straddling his lap before putting her hands around his neck to keep him from pulling away. Naruto yelped in surprise and threw one hand around her waist and the other on her thigh to steady them both before they could fall out of the chair. Taking the hands on her as an invitation, Sakura dipped her head down over his neck laying her lips softly over the tender flesh on the soft spot just below his earlobe, and bit gently as she covered one of her hands over his on her leg and inched it upwards. Naruto's eyes widened in disbelief and his breath hitched. The soft material of her dress was ridding up past her thighs giving him a nice glance of her shapely derriere over her shoulder.

"Sakura," he breathed desperately as she trailed his hand dangerously close to places he had never touched a woman before. The moment his fingers brushed between her legs he jumped out of his chair as if he were burned and dumped her out of his lap none to gracefully onto the cold hard ground where she landed with a surprised oomph!

She looked up at him angrily as she ran her hand over her dress to smooth it down. "What the hell is your problem Naruto?" she growled, her eyes practically glowing in irritation.

"What are you doing? What are we doing?" he asked in a near panic, his voice a lot higher in pitch than he would have liked.

"I believe they call it making out baka."

Then her expression changed from angry to suggestive. She looked up at him over her lashes and started to crawl forward, but just before she could reach out to him, he jumped and put a chair between them to ward her off. "I know what making out is Sakura, and that," he sneered motioning to the chair in front of him, "was not making out."

"Oh for Kami's sake baka," she cried throwing her hands up in the air. "For years you've been trying to ask me out. For years you've been telling me you love me, and now I realize that for years I've felt the same, and what, now you suddenly decide you don't want me anymore because I want you?"

Naruto's jaw hit the floor. "Holy Kami," he accidently said out loud and in front of him Sakura smiled seductively. "Sakura, this isn't like you," he stuttered in a near panic.

"Bah!" She cried throwing her hands up into the air and suddenly laid back onto the grass in an agitated huff. Lying on the cool grass actually felt quite good considering it was getting harder to see straight with all the alcohol that was buzzing through her system.

"Just my freaking luck, I need to find a new hobby." She grumbled in agitation so low he almost didn't hear her, and covered her warm forehead with her cool hands. "But why Sakura," she said to herself suddenly in a mocking voice, "falling for men who don't love you back seems to be your freaking specialty."

Once again his jaw hit the ground. What the hell was going on? For a moment he thought that he might faint as a heavy fog pressed against his brain and blackness ate at his vision. When he could finally see again a few minutes had passed. He couldn't decide whether to be scared, shocked, happy, or nauseous, and it didn't help that his body decided to be all of them at once.

"What did you say?" He croaked as he tried to breathe in evenly.

She jumped slightly as if she had forgotten he was there. "What?" she asked, and rolled to her feet, which looked a lot harder than it should have been as she struggled to maintain her balance. He watched a guilty look pass over her features as she walked forward, but before she could complete the last steps between them she tripped over her own feet and fell into him. He caught her instinctively, his hands going underneath her armpits lifting her to her feet like a child. When he pushed her back onto her feet enough to steady her he saw that she was looking away from him and her shoulders were shaking. It took him a moment to realize that she was crying.

"Sakura! What's wrong?" he asked in alarm, his panic rising to a new pitch and he ducked his head trying to catch her eye as he stepped forward, but this time it was her who stepped back.

"I'm so sorry," he heard her say, "I shouldn't have done that, I don't know what I was thinking. I shouldn't have drunk so much, and I sure as hell shouldn't have told you that, not like this," she said gesturing between them, teetering on her feet a little bit.

He didn't know what to do, what to say, what to even think. What do you do when someone you've loved since you were a kid, someone who had always said they loved someone else, suddenly hints that they might love you back? He had so many questions and emotions running through his mind that it physically hurt.

"What shouldn't you have told me?" He asked carefully watching her closely, his pulse in his throat.

This was it, whatever she said next could either make their relationship or destroy it.

"I love you Naruto," she whispered so low that he almost didn't hear it. She looked up at him the tears still shining in her eyes.

His breath hitched and suddenly all the hurt, doubt, and confusion melted away and happiness welled up inside of him. He had waited years for her to say that to him, and even longer for it to be true. He could still remember so many years ago when she had said those same words to him and hadn't meant them. A liar he had called her, and she had deserved it. She had been lying to him then, to trick him in the most hurtful of ways to get him to forget his promise to her. He couldn't have forgotten though. He may be Naruto unpredictable ninja of the leaf, but if he was anything it was loyal. He couldn't have forgotten his promise to bring Sasuke back for her and he eventually made good on that promise.

He looked at her now and searched her eyes. If she was lying to him now it would break him irreparably, but what he saw soothed his worries. There was a rawness in her eyes that she hadn't had before when she said those words to him on their way to the Kage summit. She was looking at him as if she had crossed a line that she could never retrace, and in a way she had. It was more than that though, she was also scared but not of him, not really. She was frightened because she was waiting for his rejection. That was something he could never do even if he didn't feel the same.

He walked forward then and gently tucked her hair behind her ear, he always wanted to do that, and leaned forward and kissed her. The action surprised them both and she gasped into his mouth which sent pleasurable electrical waves down his spine. He pulled away from her lips and slowly started to lay soft kisses down her neck moving his way down her jaw before pulling back to search her eyes. Whatever he was looking for he must have found because the next moment he was kissing her again and this time with much more force than he had the last time. Again he reached forward twisting a hand in her hair and lightly he pulled, tilting her head back to delve into her mouth more deeply, tasting the sweet wine and beyond that something that was just completely her.

"You're drunk," he whispered when he pulled back.

"I know," was all she said and then they were kissing again.

Together they stumbled backwards away from the reception behind a line of forest on the edge of the compound. Sakura cried out not completely from pain as her back hit the trunk of a tree, its rough bark biting sharply into her skin. Naruto pulled her against him to protect her soft flesh and instinctively she rolled her hips against his which caused them both to groan aloud. He leaned forward and pressed his forehead to hers as they both relearned how to breathe.

"You're right Naruto this isn't like me," she said finally, her chest heaving as she took in air.

"No, it's not," he said, "but you were wrong about something Sakura. I haven't changed my mind, I do want you, and of course I still love you, I always have."

He leaned forward then and tilted her chin up. His eyes were smoldering. They had darkened to a deeper blue than she had ever thought imaginable, and it was beautiful.

"We shouldn't do this, we should stop," she whispered against his lips. Her vision was starting to dance behind her eyelids. How much had she drunk?

"No, we shouldn't," he breathed.

She had a moment of confusion over his reply, but before she could ask him what he meant, and before either of them knew what he was doing, he had her by the hand and they were moving outside of the compound, the wedding completely forgotten.


Gasp! So there you have it, chapter one of my epic long fic! How do you like it so far? Just a heads up, there's a lemon in the next chapter.

Also, thank you so much to my lovely reviewer "happy everyday life" who told me about how the honorific "kun" works. I thought that it could be used as a term of endearment when attached to the end of Naruto's name, but I find that it has more to do with respect, hence used Sasuke-kun and not the familiar "Naruto". Until I figure out how to change this I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that I used it incorrectly. This will help me and us all with our own fics in the future.

I 3 U, so please review.