"Sakura, are you alright? Sai questioned as he helped her up from the rocky ground.
"I'm fine," she waved his question away with a lie.
She wasn't even close to fine, they were at war, people were dying all around them, and their other teammates were nowhere in sight. The amount of life lost in an instant was heart breaking, suffocating. If she didn't make herself moved, grief would take over and she'd loose the will to fight. Pushing past the pain, she started heading in the direction she had last seen the duo. She was beginning to wonder if three years of storing chakra was enough for the hell they were going through. She wasn't prepared for the toll war was taking on her.
"What are you doing?" Sai inquired of the woman with dusty rose hair.
"I have to find Naruto. He's the only one who can deal with this," she explained as she gestured toward the tree of death.
The ink user figured there was no point in arguing with the head strong woman and let her go without further interrogation. He guessed with the change in events, Naruto was going to need her and she probably needed to see him. They loved each other after all, even if only one was willing to admit it. He saw that before she got very far a flash of yellow was blocking her path.
"My son needs you," stated the Fourth Hokage, stretching an open hand to her with his only remaining arm. Without hesitation she reached for him. She couldn't believe she hadn't noticed their similarities before, not that his stone face that towered above the village did him justice.
In an instant she was near the teammate she had been searching for. It was a good thing his father had found her because this was not the way she had been heading. With a quick glance she took in her surroundings. Naruto was in the middle, sandwiched between the Second and Third Hokages, while Sasuke and his friend were on a rock ledge above them. The normally bubbly blond was shaking with rage, his dark glare set on the monument of death. He tried to raise to his feet but he collapsed back to the hard ground in a tired heap of muscle and bone. She hadn't seen him this spent in ages.
Fear found its way into her mind, creeping over it until it consumed it. A hand shot to her arms as a ghost pain flared up when she remembered her close encounter with the nine-tails. Rushing passed the men brought back from the grave, she entangled herself with her friend. Holding on to him like he would be lost to the madness if she didn't tether him to this world. Not knowing if her fears had any ground to stand on, she didn't care, she would not risk loosing him to the anger radiating from him.
Normally she would have never straddled him so intimately, and definitely not in front of people but the urge to be close to him had overridden her common sense. A gentle smile played on the Third's face, he motioned for the other men to give the teenagers some room. Surprise was written over several faces, except one that stayed stoic, wondering what else had changed about his rival.
"Is that his girlfriend?" Minato asked as his predecessor pulled him along.
She felt hot tears on her neck as he buried his face into its crook, his arms wrapped around her, desperate to cling to another life. Seeking comfort in the beating pulse of her heart. She would lend him her strength, she had faith in him. Whispering words of encouragement and trust in him, she stroked his dirt laced hair. Calming under her gentle touch a slight blush grew near his whiskers as he realized their position. He'd admit, never to her, that he had dreamed of embracing her like this, feeling her skin against his cheek, hands wrapped around her midsection. Of course, in his dreams there were less clothes, no monster trying to kill them all, and no Sasuke in sight. With what little determination he had left, he moved to push her away from him.
"Let me heal you," she choked out through her own silent tears.
"I have to end this quickly, before any more lives are lost," he responded, trying to get out from under her so he could destroy the man turning their world into a nightmare.
In his lethargic state he was no match for her, she grabbed his battle worn orange and black jacket a little too roughly, "you let me heal you right now or I'll break your legs so you have to let me," threatened the medic, as her grip tightened on the garment they heard it rip. A scowl on his face, he unzipped the jacket and flung it away from them.
"Well, hurry up then," he ordered as he laid back on the hard ground, too exhausted to keep himself up.
Her hands went to work as she chose to not think about the compromising position they were in or that everyone, including Sasuke, had given them a wide berth of space. She ignored the growing blush on her muddied face, and the indecent ideas that popped into her head. They were at war, it was no time for those kind of things. That didn't stop her fingers from grazing over his rib cage and sides causing a slight squirm from the ticklish blond.
The thoughts drifting around her pink head turned dark as the possibility of one of them not surviving was pretty high. Naruto was at the front lines of the battle, while she was a key medic, both high targets for an enemy. If he didn't live she'd never get to tell him how her feelings for him had changed. She no longer thought of him as a bothersome pervert who should find a hole to die in. In fact, she respected him for so many different reasons, some were too difficult to find words for. If she died, what would he be regretting that he never told her?
"Are you done yet?" he huffed, drawing her attention back to the job at hand as he sat up. His impatiences was getting the better of him. Life had returned to his face that was giving her a questioning look.
"I just have one more thing to check," she replied, nervous fingers slipped into his hair behind his ears. Clear blue eyes met hers. He was about to tell her something when the movement of his lips drew her attention to them. A blush burst forth underneath the thin layer of grime and sweat on his face. She gently pulled his face to hers, giving the boy ever opportunity to pull away if he didn't want what she intended to give. Her lips slowly sealed over his in a hesitant kiss. Her heart exploded as his hands grasp her waist and he sighed into the simple yet life changing kiss. She released him, panting over her excitement, her blush mirrored his own.
"Why?" he uttered. Now, in that moment, he felt like the biggest idiot in the world. He was sure he was over the allowance of his daily stupidity rations. The girl he loved with all his heart had finally kissed him and the only word he can shove out his mouth is why? He was ready to go find a deep dark hole to hide in and be forgotten.
"If the worst should happen, I didn't want to leave this life without having my first kiss with someone I love," she explained, not looking at him but staring at the so called "god tree."
"Sakura," he said, the rest of the words got caught in his dry throat. He wanted to promise everything would be fine, that he would protect her no matter what but this was war. War was dangerous, unpredictable, and consuming. He'd failed to keep the last promise he made to her. This one might not be any different. They'd already lost too much. Too many doubts filled him to be able to give her any kind of assurance of survival.
"Don't you have a world to save?" she questioned trying to break the strange new tension that she felt had built up between them.
"I would if someone would get off me," he snipped, turning his head to the side. His bottom lip protruding in a childish pout. In truth, he didn't want her to move, he liked the close contact.
Her eyebrow twitched in annoyance, "I'm not that heavy," she growled low as she got to her feet.
His playful yet determined grin had finally found its way back to his handsome face as he got up and dusted himself off.
"When this is over, I want a second shot at that first kiss," he declared, stretching out his muscles with renewed vigor.
Her brows furrowed in confusion, "you don't get a second chance at your first kiss," she stated what she thought was obvious as her fingers found a way to her lips.
"Not true, that was the first time you kissed me, next time, I'm kissing you first," he teased, his grin turning into a smile that went from ear to ear.
The blush reignited on her as he moved off to join the Hokages and their teammate.
"That idiot," she glared, but there was a smile tugging hard at her plump lips. She'd give him his second shot and he better not screw it up.