OPrincess ShinigamiO here! I'm totally losing my mood for Naruto fics, so I'm sorry if this turns out a bit half-hearted. But since I had the time to post my other new fic for Bleach "Kurosaki For A Year" (thanks to all those who bothered and who're planning to read by the way!), I decided to post this one too since I was almost through with this anyway. As usual, it's as light-hearted as ever, but it's also shorter than the last few chapters, I think.
Anyway, this chapter holds very little SasuHina fluff. More so, it concentrates more on Sakura's feelings towards them and how she's coping (Congrats to all those who guessed right!), so to those who don't really care, then too bad. I personally am not a fan of Sakura, although I was admittedly a hardcore SasuSaku fan in the earlier Naruto days. But I believe that her character does need some justice, so I hope I did even a bit of that for her feelings for Sasuke. Also, since I'm definitely not handing Sasuke or Naruto over to her (both belong with Hinata, hehehe), I'm gonna give her to someone of whom I think would look cute with her. If you haven't read my profile, then you might be in shock :P
Thanks once again for all those who reviewed and I hope you enjoy! ;D
Disclaimer: If I own, Sakura would FINALLY stop giving a shit about Sasuke, because seriously, her feelings for him are going to go absolutely NOWHERE as far as the story's going.
"Are you sure, Sakura chan?"
The pinkette rolled her eyes, waving her newly manicured hand carelessly at her blonde companion.
"I'll be fine, Naruto. I know how to handle myself, thank you, and I already had my dinner before coming here. Just go and eat all the ramen your little heart desires."
"W-well, alright then! Honestly, Sakura-chan, I wouldn't be leaving you all alone if it weren't for the free ramen Old Man Teuchi's handing out!" the blonde ninja apologized.
"I told you, I'll be fine on my own. I'm meeting up with Ino anyway." Not.
Leaving one last apologetic look, Naruto scrambled away and into the busy crowd until he disappeared from sight. Sakura sighed, silently apologizing to Naruto for lying while fanning herself with a fuchsia pink fan that she bought for herself earlier. For a Sakura Festival, it was kinda hot that night. It didn't help that the festival was super crowded and bumpy.
Food stalls and games were standing everywhere. Yukatas and floral balloons could be seen almost anywhere. Children were skittering about with their parents, bragging about the prizes they won from some lucky shot.
The attractive pinkette herself was into the festival, donning on an exquisite lavender yukata and tiny floral hair accessories that held her hair up. To many people, Sakura Haruno was the perfect picture of a sakura goddess.
She's beautiful and kind, but she could also be tough and demanding. Several people compare her to their current Hokage, Tsunade, and they all agree that only Sakura has the capability of surpassing her teacher. Men from the village and even outside the Fire Country have their eyes on her, including her idiotic teammate, so it wouldn't come off as a surprise if she received a confession or two almost every day if not for the wars and frictional relationships common in the ninja world.
Too bad the only person the pink beauty wanted a confession from was Sasuke Uchiha, her former teammate and long-time unrequited love.
Of course, she's very well aware that he's already very much taken. In fact, news spread around that he recently just proposed to his Hyuuga love, Hinata.
Sakure bit her lip as she nearly bumped into a random guy. She knew deep in her heart that she had no reason to despise Hinata, especially since she's one of her close friends. But she just couldn't help that tiny pang of jealousy whenever she spots her friend with the Uchiha.
It's not easy getting over one's longtime crush, but ever since the last Uchiha returned and still refused to open up to her, she tried her very best to forget about her feelings for him. She tried dating other men through Ino's suggestion, but not one of them did she find good enough to replace Sasuke in her heart.
She remembered that one night maybe three or four months ago, during an emergency in the hospital. Hinata and her were the only ones available to help. It was there that the Hyuuga heiress decided to have a heart-to-heart talk with her.
Sakura wiped a sweat from her forehead. "Hm?"
"Um, I-I… oh, how do I say this…" she mumbled. Sakura raised an eyebrow.
"Spit it out, Hinata. What's up? It's not like I bite or anything."
Hinata flinched slightly. Somehow Sakura thought that her friend was a little bit unbelieving.
"I…. I think I like Sasuke-kun…"
Sakura paused, her emerald hues staring at the body infront of them as if analyzing their next move.
"That's nothing knew. You like everyone, I think."
"I-I m-mean! I-"
"Don't bother, Hinata. I was just kidding."
The Byakugan wielder snapped her head up in surprise. The pinkette pretended not to notice while wiping off the blood on the scalpel.
"It's kinda obvious, Hina. Well, at least Sasuke-kun was. He may act cold and uncaring on the outside, but there's absolutely no doubt when he's fallen heads over heels in love."
Both were silent for awhile. Sakura herself was quite proud of herself for not sounding too offended. Reaching out a reassuring hand to pat her friend's shoulder, the pinketter smiled sadly.
"But I'm glad you told me your feelings. Although, it's not like I'm Sasuke-kun's owner or anything. But… I'm glad you took my feelings to account, Hina. It means a lot to me."
"Y-you, you're sure?"
Sakura plastered the grin, ignoring the tiny pang of pain that blossomed in her chest.
"O-of course! Look, it's obvious since the very beginning that Sasuke-kun would never fall for the likes of me, especially since I was too obvious and forceful with my feelings in the past. But you," Sakura gave her friend a hug, "You're the one he needs. The only person he'll ever have patience for will always be you. And even though it admittedly hurts, I'm grateful that you were able to pull him away from the darkness. As his friend and teammate, I thank you for doing the one thing I couldn't do for him. And since I know you, I know for certain that your future with him will be secure and happy."
As the medic decided to rest in a bench outside the festival, she sighed in relief as she freed her feet from the pinchy sandals she borrowed from her best frenemy.
"Well," she muttered to herself, "At least it doesn't hurt as much as before. That means I've improved right? I can get through this, I know I can."
Her lips lifted slightly, comforted to the fact that maybe she can get over Sasuke for good. Yes, it still hurts now, but she cannot deny the fact that the pain lessened ever since she got used to the idea of the Uchiha coupling up with Hinata.
"Alright, girl. Enough with this sad nonsense. Let's just go back and enjoy the festival- ow!" She winced as she stepped into her sandals again. Looking down, she realized that her left sandal's strap was ripped off completely. She inwardly cursed to herself as she lifted the damned shoe to her frowning face.
"Crap. Now I owe Ino one. And it was one of her favorites too…" she murmured to herself.
"Are you alright?" a deep, husky voice suddenly spoke. Surprised, the pinkette snapped her head up, her emerald green eyes widening even further as she realized who was speaking.
The redheaded former jinchuuriki shook his head lightly. "Gaara, please. And you are… Sakura Haruno? Naruto's teammate?"
The surprised medic slowly nodded in response. "Um, y-yes. Uh, Kaze- I mean, Gaara-san, if you don't mind my asking, but what are you doing here?"
Gaara tilted his head slightly, the corner of his lips very slightly lifting as if remembering an inner joke. "Under Naruto's request, your Hokage decided to invite my village to celebrate the Sakura Festival here, since as you know, our village lacks thereof."
"Oh, right. I think Naruto did mention that to me last weekend." Sakura replied, stopping herself from rolling her eyes in front of the stoic Kazekage. Ever since Naruto and Gaara formed a close bond as fellow jinchuurikis, the blonde ninja never failed to invite the latter into friendly gatherings, even if it's within Konoha premises. The pinkette could just imagine how far Naruto would go just to convince Tsunade to involve Gaara into village happenings.
An awkward silence surfaced as both skilled ninjas lacked of topics to casually talk about when Sakura noticed that the redhead didn't have his usual guards with him.
"Ah, Gaara-san. Where are Temari-san and Kankuro-san? I thought they'd be here to escort you."
"They're quite… busy with their own businesses." Gaara slowly replied, closing his dark-lined eyes in slight annoyance. "I think you know my sister's involvement with one of your friends."
"… What about you? Why are you all alone here? Where is Naruto?"
Sakura gave a tiny shrug. "Where else? He's shoving his face down ramen bowls. I wasn't in the mood, so I left for awhile. And now…" She pulled up her broken sandal with a grunt. "I think I'm going to head home instead."
Gaara was silent for awhile, contemplating the broken sandal on her hand.
"… Would you like to borrow one of Temari's?"
"I can pick them up at the hotel we're staying. I'm sure my sister won't mind." Then to Sakura's surprise, the Kazekage's face turned a slight bit similar to his hair color. "… Would you like to accompany me or would you rather wait here?"
Sakura blinked. And blinked. And blinked.
This was a shock.
The Kazekage was EMBARRASSED. And right in front of her no less.
"… Um, my sandal is broken…" Sakura said dumbly, lifting up her sandal. "I think I'll wait here-"
Just then, she was distracted when she noticed a pair of brunettes walking hand in hand behind Gaara. They seemed not to notice the awkward pair, as they strolled outside the premises of the festival.
The girl had her long silky midnight blue hair up in a loose chignon, with silver and lavender hair ornaments decorating her hair. Her powder blue yukata and carnation pink obi belt complimented her pale white skin. Against the Sakura backdrop and the starry sky, she looked like the personification of the Moon Goddess herself.
The man wore only a loose dark blue yukata to compliment his counter-part's, like the dark sky that held the moon and the stars. Together, they were like the night, silent and peaceful and beautiful.
Sakura's chest dropped slightly as she stared longingly at the enchanting pair. It's been too long a dream for her to be the Goddess holding the man's hand. It helped that she rarely saw them together these past few weeks.
But now, it felt like hell. Cold, burning hell.
"Weren't you in love with the Uchiha, Sakura-san?"
Sakura turned her head to the Kazekage, who was observing the pair himself. The pinkette was slightly relieved to be distracted from the painful sight.
"Um, yes. Well, until now… I guess I still kinda like him." She mumbled the last part, but still, it was loud enough for Gaara to catch. Gaara turned to face her, his face showing no visible expression. Sakura waved a hand.
"Don't worry, Gaara-san. I'll get over it. What's important is that they're both happy. I'm sure I'll get used to it in no time-yike!"
To her surprise, the emotionless Kazekage began pulling her away from the festival. His hand covered hers. Sakura stared at their joint hands. Gaara's hand was larger than hers, and surprisingly smooth and warm over her small pale one. The pinkette blushed slightly in embarrassment. From all the hospital duties and fistful missions she had, her hand probably has a lot more flaws, wherein the redhead only needed to manipulate sand to do his dirty work.
But it felt comforting. Warm, comforting, and protective.
Sakura looked up at the Kazekage. Though he wasn't facing her, she could tell that his cheeks were slightly warming up. That's the second time that happened that night.
The pinkette herself began to blush harder. But she smiled slightly as she realized what he's done for her.
"…Th-thank you, Gaara-san…" she whispered, loud enough for the redhead to hear. If possible, the Kazekage's cheeks flushed harder, and to her surprise, Sakura thought it was quite adorable to see him being awkward and embarrassed. But hey, at least he's trying.
"… You're welcome."
At that, Sakura grinned. Maybe she'll start being braver around the awkward Kazekage from now on, just to see him blush even harder. Maybe she'll even get him to smile!
As they went on their way in the empty streets, Sakura never really realized that she was walking barefoot, her broken sandal on her one hand, her other wrapped in a warm embrace with the Kazekage's.
Please leave a review and look forward for the next chapters! For the next one, I think we'll be hearing some wedding bells ringing! Or not. ;P