This story is rated 'T', so please be warned that it ends on sexual themes, very mild, but they're still there.

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Just because I don't think Naruto ever gets the appreciation he deserves.

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While I normally write nothing but humor based ItaSaku, I just couldn't shake the thought of a romantic NaruSaku story, so I had to write this or it would've haunted me forever.


He always screamed his goals out-loud and she always thought he was an idiot for it. "I will be the Hokage someday", he'd roar. And she'd always shake her head derisively as she marveled at her friend's nativity. She always thought that only fools did that. It is only the fools who keep their hearts on constant display right on their sleeves for the world to see.

It wasn't until they grew up that she heard someone say that the best way to set oneself on the road to achieving one's goals was to utter those goals out loud. This way the goals become more definite and much more real. And it was almost around that time that she realized that he was on the right track all along, for not only did he say it, he actually screamed it. And that's why he was always motivated and never for the briefest of seconds stopped working to get what he wanted.

And now he was getting very close to achieving his goals. The once ostracized child is now being hailed as a hero. And she couldn't help but look at him with a genuine smile and a happy tear, for she knows better than anyone that he deserves every bit of the appreciation that he was getting.

She blinked and it happened. It took a blink of her eye for her foolhardy teammate with the brilliant smile to turn into a heroic adult. And she has been by his side through it all. But somehow something changed inside of her lately. It was as if the blinds that once covered her eyes were abruptly pulled back and now she started seeing him in a completely different light.

She sheepishly rubbed at her eyes as she saw him make his way towards the ramen stand where she was waiting. Her mind was trying to ascertain whether this really was the same guy. Is this really Naruto? She marveled as her eyes traced his form.

It was no longer that of a child, for he was a man now. His once childish face with the whisker like markings, now replaced by the face of a handsome 20 year old guy with the most dazzling blue eyes and the most defined cheek bones. However, his 1000 watt smile was still in place as he raced towards her in sheer excitement.

He greeted her happily as he usually did, and he sat right next to her, ready for his daily serving of ramen. She watched him closely as he rambled on about various things, mostly having to do with Sasuke's return. Yes, Sasuke. She thought. He's back now, it's all over.

Sasuke helped defeat Madara and because of that he was allowed to come back to Konoha.

"He's doing fine." Naruto reassured. "I just came back from visiting him." He sang.

But why were her thoughts drifting back to the blonde. Why was her mind marveling at how genuine he is, at how truly happy he seems, at how amazing it is that he'd willingly lay his life down for a friend. Could someone really be this kind?

As Naruto eagerly eyed the plate that has just been put in front of him, Sakura couldn't help but frown. They've fought valiantly to bring Sasuke back, the two of them did. But at the start of it all was that moment when she asked him to bring Sasuke back for her. It was at this moment that he saw her cry and vowed to her that he'd do whatever it takes. He never broke that promise, and she knew that he never forgot that moment.

But she also knew that it was at that moment that he realized that she didn't feel the same way about him as he did about her. And instead of turning bitter and walking away, he smiled comfortingly at her and vowed to bring the one she loved back to her.

Sakura shook her head.

Why am I thinking about this now?

Sasuke's back.

He's back.

I'm just confused.

Those thoughts are temporary.

She reasoned.

"Sakura-chan." His voice echoed and she realized that she has zoned out throughout the entire meal.

She looked up and was greeted by his concerned face. "Are you OK?" He questioned getting to his feet.

Did I just blush? She asked herself in shock, before forcing her eyes to meet his brilliant blues.

She nodded.

He smiled, resting a hand on her shoulder, his smile only widening with the action. Was his smile always that bright?

"He's fine now Sakura-chan." He assured her in a calm tenor.

When did he grow up that much? When did he become this strong?

"It's alright now." He added solemnly.

Sakura smiled despite herself, even though these words for some reason weren't what she wanted to hear him say.

He waved at her, before turning around and leaving. "You can go visit him now." Was the last thing he said before turning away.

The words were lost on her as her eyes lingered on his departing figure and eagerly traced his broad shoulders.

When did he grow up that much? For how long has he been walking around looking like that? And how did she not notice it?

She saw the looks women gave him now, but for some reason she never thought much of it. Yes, the entire town admired him, but the women seemed to notice him even more.

Later that day, she walked into Sasuke's house. He sat there silently and for the first time she didn't mind it. She didn't feel like she needed to fill the silence or pull the words out of him. But he was looking at her now. He never looked at her in the past, he never saw her. But ever since she fought him, ever since she fought for him; he seems to have finally taken notice.

She smiled at him knowing what he wanted to say. She knew that he was sorry, sad and relieved. So was she.

A second later the door burst open and Naruto came rushing in. He smiled and Sakura's sadness dissipated. She wondered belatedly at whether he's always had that effect on her. Did she always feel that happy around him?

Yes.

She always felt happy and safe, even during their worst battles, even when they faced down Madara; everything instantly felt fine whenever the blonde looked at her. For even when he didn't smile, his eyes reassured her that everything would be just fine, for he'd let nothing bad happen; not to her and not to anyone she cared about: not if he had anything to say about it. And he was always by her side. How come she has never seen that before?

Sakura smiled and said goodbye to Sasuke.

Back at her apartment, she offered to fix him dinner.

He beamed with excitement. He wasn't like the other guys, he didn't hide what he felt and he never pretended. He was a man now, but he still had the childish innocence that she saw when she first met him.

He got up to help her and stumbled over a few plates. He dropped them to the floor and looked at her expecting a tirade. Yes, that's what she'd normally do. She'd fly off the handle and reprimand him. But today she just watched silently as he fumbled around for something to clean the mess up with. Even his moves now appeared to be more coordinated.

In a few seconds he got up rubbing the back of his neck and smiling sheepishly at her.

Does he know how amazing he is? He lost his parents, only to be ostracized by the very people they gave their lives to save. He grew up alone and had to fight for acceptance and for the briefest moments of kindness. Yet he never begrudged anyone and held nothing but love in his heart. And through it all, that smile of his was omnipresent. Does he realize just how incredible he was?

No.

She concluded as she watched him.

"Sorry." He muttered.

How come she's never told him that he was amazing before? How come she never thought to comfort him before? How come she only asked him for help?

"I honestly didn't mean to, it just slipped." He explained, completely unaware of what she was thinking.

He must know.

He must realize how worthy he is, how incredible he is.

He opened his mouth to apologize again, but before he could say a word her lips were pressed to his. His eyes flew open. He had lost all hope; he had reconciled himself with the fact that she would never be his. But now, as she demandingly held onto him, he couldn't help but reciprocate.

She kissed him harder. She pressed even closer. She wanted to feel him, every part of him. She was sorry; so very sorry. She was blind and now she wanted nothing but to see him, every bit of him, without any blinds.

Somehow, he seemed to understand just what she wanted. After all he always had the ability to understand people's hearts much more than anyone could.

His arm encircled her waist, as he moved her ever so swiftly, and in a second she was falling.

She grabbed onto him as she landed on her kitchen table. He was there, right there on top of her where she wanted him to be. She could feel him now, much better than before. Her arm moved up to draw him nearer, her body reveling in his touch.

She arched even closer to thank him for what he was doing to her. This delicious feeling was all she wanted; it was all she needed, as she vowed to show him just how incredible he was.


Please review and let me know what you guys think. Your opinions really mean a lot.