A/N: This is based off an RP I did once. The art accompanying it is my own. Do not use without permission.
Naruto belongs to Kishimoto.
Sakura's mind went ninety miles a minute from the moment that she heard of Naruto and Sasuke's fight. From the moment she saw it. The raw emotions that had been going on inside of her had been enough to drive someone insane and if it hadn't been for Kakashi's hand on her shoulder, she probably would of done the same thing she had three years before and ran between the two. She understood it was their way of dealing with each other, but if one of them died, she wasn't sure she would be able to forgive the "winner." She certainly wouldn't of been able to forgive herself.
She had taken charge when the battle was over, healing both the boys from their brushes with death. The second they were back in the village though, her demeanor had changed. She took on Naruto's case, treating him as she always did with a tough love approach. He was healing fast, she could only guess from the fox's chakra, but besides the mental note of it, the medic-nin never mentioned it or bothered to ask questions about it. The blonde had come to terms with whatever was raging on inside, or so he acted like he had, and the last thing she wanted to do was to bother fixing something that wasn't broke.
Sasuke on the other hand...
Sasuke was an enigma. The second they were back she shoved the case into another doctor's hands and got herself off his floor. She didn't want the chance of bumping into him, she didn't want the chance of him seeing her, and most importantly, she didn't even want the chance of hearing about his course of treatment. She didn't want to get involved with anything about the Uchiha just yet. He had tried to kill her and she had yet to come up with a way to confront him about damn near anything without coming up blank in the ideas department. He would just stare at her with those big black eyes, and if anything he would just flat out ignore her.
That was when she got the idea in her head that maybe if she saw him, just caught a glance, she could figure out how to just be in the same room with him while he was conscious. She wanted to wait though until he was asleep. At least that way, she could prepare herself. She wasn't ready for those illegal eyes of his to be reading her like an open book like he had in the years past. The only reason she was going to bother trying was for the most obvious reason. She still loved him. With every fiber of her being, she was still impossibly in love with Sasuke Uchiha.
That was when she took a deep breath, her thoughts still racing as she stood outside his door, her nimble fingers slowly wrapping around the chilling metal handle. It took everything she had to go into his room and even more so to close the door behind her. She could do this. Naruto could, so most definitely, Haruno Sakura could get through standing alone in a room with the unconscious heap of the guy...er... man that she still loved, Uchiha Sasuke. She could ignore the feeling of the walls closing in or the fact it felt like the air wasn't getting to her lungs. Couldn't she?
A human sized lump was visible under the covers on a bed in the middle of a room, in the middle of Konoha's only hospital. The lump in question was currently pretending to be asleep so he didn't have to deal with the doctors and nurses buzzing around him. That lump was none other than Sasuke Uchiha. He was older than when Sakura had last seem him and when she'd briefly glimpsed him on the battlefield she'd been surprised by how he'd changed.
When she entered the room, she couldn't ignore the fact she was doing something awkward. What kind of person just hovered, watching someone sleep. God, if Sasuke was awake he probably would of thought she had lost her mind. She was staring so intently at the fan displayed on his back, the curve of his shoulders, the way his jawline disappeared from her view. Just everything. The past two times she had come across him, once in Oto and the second.. Well, the second she ignored. Both times though, she had either been in shock or was too busy debating on killing him or not. If she could do it. Never once had she had the time to really look at him, see how he had grown, memorize this new face. The one that hated everything without a shred of what once was visable to at a first glance.
He had changed so much, having become harder over the past three years. All she knew was that she still cared for him. After she could overcome whatever obstacle was accepting him back, maybe she didn't believe it yet? Whatever it could possibly be though, she knew that she would try to make his transition back easier. HerSasuke was still in there, she hoped, and damn it all, she would find him.
Her thoughts were shattered though as the boy... Damn it! 'MAN!' practically ripped his sheets away to face her, that look of sheer loathing on his face. It caused her to jump and take a step back, her hand grasping the chair to keep her from sprinting from the room.
"Can't you see I'm trying to sleep? Just go awa-" Sasuke stopped when he saw who it was in the room.
His onyx eyes met her jade ones and Sasuke stared at the pink haired girl for a moment. He didn't glare at her for once, just stared. "Sakura… Why are you here?" he asked in a much quieter and less aggressive voice.
It took her by surprise at the confusion that briefly crossed his features as he recognized her, curse it all, even went so far as to saying her name in that voice that was like velvet to her. Then, to make matters worse, he had to ask her why she was here. How to answer that... All that was coming to her mind was a blank stutter. Wasn't her plan to show him she had grown, that she wasn't some lovestruck thirteen year old looking to make him her arm candy?
"I... I uh... It's just I..."
Well this obviously wasn't working. All the rosette could do was take a breath before focusing her eyes just over his shoulder, a forced, but gentle smile coming to her face. "I was just checking to see if you were being taken care of."It was the truth, but God help her it came out like she was a hotel manager checking up on a guest. It was all she could think to say.
"I-I'm sorry I woke you up. I'll leave so you can rest." So now she was becoming Hinata... Fan-friggin'-tastic.
Sasuke swung his feet off of the bed so that he was now sitting up on the edge of the bed. "Hold on. I need you."
She turned to leave, but she had only made it so far as touching the door handle before he told her to wait. That he needed her. That comment alone was enough to make her entire world come to a stop. Maybe the world had stopped rotating. Never, not in a million years, was Uchiha Sasuke one to admit needing someone's help, at least not that she recalled. Then again though, she had never thought she would hear him say anything close to a 'thank you.' Oh well, she knew everything would be upside down if she ever heard him apologize.
"My doctor is completely incompetent and I can't count on him for anything. My side is killing me. I want you to take a look at it," the Uchiha explained.
She slowly turned to look at him, pulling at the hem of her red shirt just to give her hands something to do. Again, she couldn't bring herself to meet his eyes, finding it easier to stare at his side. Slowly biting at her lip she glanced between his side, and the door behind her, as if it were some big decision on her part. In the end she just gave a small sigh of defeat before giving an affirmative nod and reaching for the doctor's stool in the room. All she had to do was check it and get out. Rolling the stool over, she sat down leaving still a gracious gap between the two of them.
"Lift your arm, please," she said in her most professional tone.
Sakura kept repeating the mantra of being a professional over and over again in her head as she raised his shirt. She had been careful to only touch the fabric this far, but now, now when it was coming time for her to actually make physical contact, she felt the world come crashing down on her yet again. Taking a deep breath she reached out, her fingertips barely grazing his skin as she trailed over the bruises that littered his side.
"Were you happy in Sound?" It had been a question that had been eating away at her ever since he left. She would always let her thoughts drift to him and just try to reason if he could possibly be happy or not. He was getting what he wanted, all she wanted to know was if it made him happy. Then again, she had never meant to actually ask him. The question had just slipped out.
Sasuke hesitated for a moment. "I didn't go to the Sound to be happy. I went there to gain power."
"Heh, yeah. I knew that." She was saying it like it was an everyday fact, one that she clearly just forgot and was reminded of.
She didn't forget how he had talked about leaving for power. Of course she wouldn't. That night, the night he left, she could remember their conversation word for word. She had replayed it from the moment where he asked her why she was out, through her embarrasing, and feeble attempt at making him stay with a confession, to him saying 'thank you.' She had nearly driven herself crazy by going over 'what-ifs' in her head, like what if she had said something different, or called for help, if she could have stopped him. Sasuke was Sasuke though. If he wanted to leave, he would of left no matter what was in front of him. He was determined, one of the qualities that had caused her to fall so hard for him.
"Well, you have some broken ribs. I'm sure you know that." Sakura was sure she sounded like she was rambling. Telling him facts he knew wasn't going to make this situation any better, in fact, it just made her look like an idiot. "And technically, I'm not your doctor. So I can't do anything to treat you. What time is it?" She pulled away, bringing his shirt down and glancing to the bedside table for the clock. It was just after ten p.m. The shift for his doctor had ended at eight. That was perfect.
"Can you fix me up better than I am now? I can't sleep like this." He kept his eyes trained on her face, giving her that look that just made her melt in the past but now she knew better.
It really wouldn't be that much more than a time suck for her. It wouldn't take long to fix him, and besides a small scolding from his doctor and an ass load of paperwork, it could all be brushed over by tomorrow. Only deal was she had to be back at six a.m., which meant she probably wouldn't get home until late. This was Sasuke though, and as much as she wanted out of this room, she wasn't going to leave him in pain.
"Take off your shirt and lay down with your side facing up." It wasn't like she would be getting any sleep anyways, not after this.
The bruise was falling more towards his back, something she could be thankful for as she rolled the stool towards the other side of the least he wouldn't be staring at her now, reading her every emotion. He was a bit more talkative than she would have expected, but she was sure that mind of his was still calculating. He was probably just trying to figure out what the hell was going on outside the four walls of his room. Anyone would be asking questions, which could only help her to think that the old Sasuke was still in there. Deep down, she was just waiting for him to turn around and try to stab her with something. Or at least, it was a fear of hers.
"You should come back tomorrow too," he said nonchalantly, as if it meant nothing. He offered no explanation, just that simple fact.
"I'll try. My work schedule is pretty busy tomorrow, especially trying to get Naruto better. He's so stir-crazy up in his room, I thought about having him put in restraints," she answered.
There, Naruto was a good subject. She could easily talk about the orange-clad Konoha Hero and avoid that first question about how she had pawned his case off to the highest bidder. She was proud of him, despite how he could annoy her to his very core if he tried. He was neutral. Neutral, she didn't have to worry about conjuring up unwanted subjects. Or so she thought...
"He missed you. It was all he thought about to get you back here." She began healing him, just enough so that he would be comfortable.
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "I know. He came to my room twice today. How much he missed me was what he was rambling about half the time." The other half was about ramen of course. But that was just Naruto. Apparently the blond wanted to eat ramen with Sasuke, like old times. "I nearly hurt myself more kicking the idiot out the last time."
The green chakra that spilled from her hands was doing as it was supposed to, mending the bones and seeping away the pain. It was working fast, also. It had only taken her a few minutes to get his side fixed to where there was only a faint yellow discoloration. It would be gone by tomorrow night, easily.
"I missed you, too."That was enough to pull her from staring at his side in whatever trance she had been locked into. She stood up quickly then, pulling the stool back to it's original place and picking up his discarded shirt, setting it down on the table next to the clock. She needed to get out of here before she said anything else.
"I should get going. It's late and you need to rest." She nodded at him as she started taking steps towards the door, her nerves getting the best of her as she nearly stumbled while searching for the door handle. When she finally stopped, making eye contact with him and giving him a sincere smile. It was the least she could do. "I hope you found whatever help it was that you were looking for."
He sat up, grabbing his shirt from where Sakura had moved it and put it back on. "Hn," was his only answer to both her statements. She wasn't sure how she felt about that short answer that made up the majority of their past, mainly one-sided, conversations. She had let something slip that she still cared, saying how she missed him, she had even gone on to say that she hoped he got everything he had strived for and that was his reply? The only reason she couldn't bring herself to say anything else was the for the fact that it was so nostalgic.
He had been so fond of that damned... syllable when they were younger that she had learned to figure out his answers like another language. It was a habit of his, a habit of her Sasuke. That damned answer was a double-edged sword. She just wasn't sure to like it or hate it.
"Good night, Sasuke. I'll see you."
Opening the door she slipped out, closing it quietly behind her and moving towards the nurse's station. It wasn't until she grabbed the paperwork and was outside of the hospital that she really remembered how to breathe though. Seeing him would have been more than enough, but talking to him was flat out overwhelming. She hated that every other moment she wasn't trying to mutter like an idiot, she was thinking about him trying to kill her, or when he left. She didn't want to think of him hurting her, he deserved a second chance just like anyone. She just wasn't sure how long it would take her to give it to him.
When she finally got back to her house, she was careful to be quiet. Her parents were surely asleep by now. She avoided that third to last step on the stairs, missing the lovely creaking noise it made at the sheer brush of physical contact before ushering her way into her room. She refused to break down and let her emotions take over. She had grown up, or at least, that's what everyone needed to think. And what did grown-ups do? Paperwork.
"Naruto, I swear to everything that is holy on this world that if you don't sit still, I will break every bone in your body. Just stay in this room."
Sakura's day had only started an hour after she fell asleep. She had stayed up half the night filling out the necessary forms as to why she had treated someone else's patient and then drug herself to bed only to get a short nap in before getting up for work. She wasn't in the mood for people today, that was for sure, she even went so far as to take the long route to work just to see less activity from everyone. She came in, turned in the paperwork and then started her rounds, saving Naruto for last. Not even a foot inside the door and he was already getting up to leave.
"Honestly, Naruto. What could be so important that you have to tell Sasuke right this minute. I'm trying to get you better and then you can go bug him all you want!" Sakura yelled loud enough for half the hospital to hear.
She was going to rip her hair out, she was sure it would match the dark circles under her eyes to make her look like an awesome crazy person. Sasuke hadn't been back more than a week and already she was losing it from the one conversation they had.
"Well, I just wanted to go see him, you know, make sure he's still there and all. I mean, the bastard won't run off again, but being in here is making me crazy 'ttebayo."Naruto could only smile at Sakura, a smile that made her want to punch him. She merely made a glare at him before pushing him to sit still and then going back to work.
"Kakashi mentioned seeing you today. Wait around for him."
"That could take all day though!"
Naruto made a sour face but whatever thought was crossing his mind, for once he kept it to himself. The rest of the session, was filled with small talk, Naruto was asking questions about everyone, so on and so forth. Whenever Sasuke was brought up though, Sakura would just nod along, going silent. She never did mention he trip to see the Uchiha survivor, not wanting even another barrage of questions. Not if she was going to go see him again today.
When she was finally done, it was after eleven sometime and there was no question she was getting hungry. She had one more stop before she could even consider eating though. The walk to Sasuke's room seemed to take forever, but she refused to think about it. He was sure to be awake, at least this time she wouldn't be scared out of her mind by sudden consciousness. When she got to his room though, she was lucky enough to walk up just as the door opened, nearly bumping into Sasuke's doctor.
"Haruno, a word, please."She felt her head literally drop as she moved aside to let him out. She was hoping maybe he wouldn't notice, but the second he started yelling at her, questioning her why she was getting involved with his patients, she snapped.
"You weren't even taking care of him! I looked at the chart, you were just giving him pain medication but not doing any actually healing! He couldn't even sleep!"
"That's still none of your business! It's up to me how he's treated. Hell, no one can even be in the room within for more than a minute without him kicking them out. If you want to deal with it, you can gladly take the case back."The man didn't even wait for her to answer as he shoved the folder into her hands and stormed off. Sakura felt like an explosion had gone off somewhere in her mind at the name displayed on the corner of the patient folder in her hands. All that slipped out after a sigh was a curt curse before she opened the door and walked into Sasuke's room, tossing the folder aside.
"Well, guess I am your doctor now." She pinched the bridge of her nose before slipping into the visitor's chair, a wave of exhaustion hitting her. She loved her job, she did, but she really hated some of the people she worked with.
And all the Uchiha did was smirk in that superior way of his. "Hn. It's about time."
Sasuke had been purposely pissing of the doctor since he'd woken up, not that Sakura knew it. Just before the doctor left this time, the dark haired boy had actually told him where he intended to put his stethoscope if he didn't leave within ten seconds. But she couldn't help but let a small smile cross her face at the fact he seemed pleased with her being his doctor. Call it a girlish feature, but getting approval from him was something that never got old. She knew how Sasuke was, and getting any kind of attention that wasn't forced or negative was like getting a medal from the Hokage. Maybe even better than that.
"How long until I'll be discharged?"he asked flatly.
"It could be awhile. Anywhere from a few days to a month or so. Just depending on how well you respond." She stood back up then, retrieving the file she had thrown and grabbing his chart as well. Leafing through it she knew she couldn't let on the fact she was frustration and tired. The moment that he set foot in the village, she really hadn't been sleeping. She had been afraid that something would happen on the way back to Konoha, or that he would leave in the middle of the night again. She was just afraid that things would pan out for the worst and it was leaving her on edge.
"My arm isn't healing right," the Uchiha said, getting right down to business. He held out his arm for her to see.
Taking his arm, she set the paperwork aside to look at it clearer. She could remember watching the fight, he pulled back after an attack holding his arm as blood dripped down it and hit the ground. He had messed it up pretty bad, anyone could tell just by looking at it. As she ran her hand up and down his arm, trying to find the exact spot of the break, she could feel the muscles spasms. It had to be uncomfortable.
Running him through a few exercises that involved him moving his arm around, making fists and the like, she was pleased to find no muscles torn, but instead just a simple break. Sure it hadn't been treated, yet, but at least she wasn't going to have to break it again just to reset it. Focusing on his arm, she got to work.
Sasuke frowned. "I want to be out of here soon."
"Well, if the doctor had done his job, you'd be getting out of here probably this week." She sighed as she picked up his chart and started writing on it, a frown set in her features as she did. It was her fault that he wasn't healed yet. If she had just sucked it up and taken on his case, he'd probably be better and out on his own right now. Now, he was just wasting time in a hospital bed twiddling his thumbs. He did kind of deserve it though, giving he tried to shove a chakra infused arm through her head.
Going back to healing on his arm, she slipped into her own little world as she thought about everything going on. He was trusting her to get so close to him. If she wanted, all she had to do was switch the kind of chakra she was sending into him and bam, he would lose his arm at least. It was that trust that made her realize she could never intentionally hurt him, not even if she wanted to. And if she did hurt him, she'd do everything in her power to fix it. That was what brought on the next thing that slipped out of her mouth.
She also decided that she'd rather not see nor even hear his thoughts on the subject of her helping him. She was going to find him one and that was that. "So how did you sleep last night? Did your side bother you at all?"
"Tch," was his sole answer to her question about how he slept. As if she could decipher that.
He stared at her for a moment, his eyes watching her write on the chart. "You should make sure I have a good doctor from the start next time then."
"Oh, and Naruto wanted me to tell you 'hey.' He also mentioned something about you being roommates. Good luck cleaning. If you can imagine, it's gotten worse with his age."
The dark haired boy rolled his eyes. "I am not living with Naruto. I like clean living environments and my own bed." He really did. His place had always been clean, even a bit sparse in the way of things the few times she'd seen it. "I'll find my own apartment."
"I'll find an apartment for you, though Naruto will be angry. I'm sure I can get you a nice one real cheap, too. Especially if I co-sign." She glanced at him as if she were trying to gauge his reaction, but not even a second in she thought better of it and looked back at his arm to watch what she was doing.
The offer from Sakura took Sasuke off guard and he hesitated. "Hn. I can do it myself," he said blankly. That was his way of saying he was too proud to accept her help. Boys were always like that.
"I'm sure you could do it by yourself. I would love to see you go through the trouble of checking yourself in and out of the hospital in between healing sessions to go apartment hunting. Oh hey, and if you don't find one, there is plenty of places in Konoha you can set up camp for a night. There is bridges you can sleep under, trees you can sleep in, hell, even benches make good places to sleep."She wish that last part hadn't come out. Oh she wished how she could just turn back time and stab herself with a sedative. It wasn't like she wanted to take a shot at him, she had just been trying to lighten the mood with sarcasm, but before she knew it, there she was, throwing a memory that should really not be talked about in the middle of the street with flouresant paint all over it.
"I should go." Sakura had stopped what she was doing, staring hard at Sasuke's arm before she dropped her hands to her lap, curling her fingers around the hem of her skirt. She didn't dare look up to meet his eyes as she took his file and stood up, kicking the stool to it's designated spot. "I'll bring you some apartment listings tomorrow."
The Uchiha frowned. "Hn," he said, his dark eyes glaring at her now.
"Do whatever you want." Once again he gave a single answer to both her statements, and it fit them both so well.
The Uchiha merely huffed and lay back down in bed, turning away from the pink haired girl as if to prove his point. But there was one thing that he did add. "Bring some good food too," he said, not quite as harshly.
Sakura couldn't help the smile that crossed her face at not only his behavior, but his request. It was so like Sasuke to brush off her offers of help, but for him to belittle anything else in his conquest to make her feel useless was classic. She knew it was nothing personal, it was the way he treated everyone, but it made her smile. He was showing he was more and more like her Sasuke every minute he was here, he wasn't that Sasuke, the one that tried to kill her. She knew she'd trust Sasuke no matter what, be it her Sasuke or that Sasuke, but she would always be afraid of that Sasuke, but never hers. She'd never be comfortable with that Sasuke.
"What, you don't like the flash frozen, powered compost they call food here?" She laughed lightly as she laced her fingers together at the small of her back, continuing to smile at him.
She could joke with this guy, but never that one. What she hated most was that she kept categorizing Sasuke's action between a 'her Sasuke' and 'that Sasuke.' He was one person, she couldn't keep it up forever. One day he'd have to either be 'her Sasuke' or 'that Sasuke,' for now though, she'd just have to keep categorizing.
"I'll get you some good stuff. Tomatoes, right?" she asked.
Of course she still remembered what he liked. She had been obsessed when she was twelve. She could cook him a few things tonight after getting some apartment listings. She could also make Naruto a few things too, something other than ramen.
"Tch. Yes." He finally looked up, staring over at Sakura to make sure she heard.
"Nothing sweet," he added.
Sakura laughed lightly. "Alright. I think we can strike up a deal. I'll bring you food and find you an apartment and you'll just owe me a favor."
She walked over to the window, glancing outside as sun bathed over the village. Rain was coming, but for now, it was like the first day of spring. Crisp, full of life... Calm.
She had a strange feeling the weather was picking on this particular situation between Team Seven. It was calm now, but the second Sasuke was out in the village, dealing with whatever punishment Tsunade decided to throw at him, everything would blow up. His doctor was a perfect example of this. The man wouldn't even treat Sasuke, just letting him suffer in pain. The villagers probably wouldn't accept him so easily either. It would take time and a hell of a lot of trust building on the Uchiha's part.
"I just want you to promise me something as my favor. You don't even have to promise it now, just take your time with it. I just want you to promise that you'll understand that there are people here that care about you. Just don't forget that we're here, cause we certainly won't forget about you," Sakura asked in a quiet voice.
The Uchiha slid out of bed and walked over to where Sakura was standing, only glancing out the window for a moment. Sakura's attention immediately fluttered to him a protest already building in her throat. With everything involving this guy though, she was careful of her words, not wanting to try and prove authority but show him what she meant. She didn't even have the chance to part her lips before he was standing next to her though, giving her a look that made her stop.
He was staring at her, and as much as she wanted to look away, she was caught in the eye contact between them. She just couldn't bring herself to break it as he searched for... Something. And then he said, "It had better be really good food." Dare she say, he joked with her. His eyes locked with hers for a moment, as if he was trying to get a read on exactly what was going through her mind.
With his joke, all Sakura could do was try and contain the bright smile that was trying to erupt all over her features. She failed miserably. She just couldn't help but smile at him, though she was careful not to crack a joke at him. It was rare, barely any of her memories of the boy ever consisting of him showing his humerous side what-so-ever.
Sure he could make great sarcastic cracks at the dispense of someone else's humiliation, but she could barely remember an intentional joke. It was a miracle, one that was definitely for the books. She was even considering telling the world that one Uchiha Sasuke, the oh-so-great-avenger, attempted to make a funny. It was fantastic.
Sakura pulled the window open, a light breeze sweeping in and billowing the curtains throughout the room. It brought the smell of the village in, and to her it was welcoming, but to Sasuke, she doubted he'd enjoy it too much. "I'll go get you some lunch, okay?"
He nodded. "Yes, lunch would be good." He hadn't eaten yet and he was starving.
"Well, today will just be take-out. I'll cook for you tomorrow though, for sure." She was hesitant before reaching out, placing her hand on Sasuke's right forearm, trailing her fingers over it softly.
At the mention of take-out, Sasuke nodded. "No ramen," he said, frowning.
"Get some rest. I'll wake you when I get back." Dropping her hand she still couldn't get rid of her smile as she walked to the door and slipped out, her next destination being the market.