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Sakura's Decision

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Sakura’s Decision



Author: Midnight_Serenity



ONE SHOT

It was a breezy summer day in Konoha. Sakura Haruno sat inside the hospital room of Sasuke Uchiha, visiting him once again as he had been injured by Aoi Rokusho while on their mission in the land of Tea. She sat on a stool next to his bedside, peeling apples for him while also sneaking glances his way. Her mind kept recalling their fight with Aoi. The way Sasuke’s fighting style had changed after the chunin exams, his moves filled with a rage that consumed him. She knew he wasn’t acting like the same regular Sasuke she loved, and that scared her. She recently found out about his run in with his older brother Itachi that had put him in the hospital for the first time. She had no doubt that he was still thinking about his defeat at his brothers’ hands.

Yet Sasuke’s change in personality and fighting style hadn’t started with the run in with his brother. The chunin exam was where it began. When she, Naruto and Sasuke had stepped into the Forrest Of Death. After Sasuke had discovered Naruto had been replaced with an imposter who revealed himself to be a monster by the name of Orochimaru. Sakura had only been able to watch as Naruto and Sasuke fought Orochimaru and lost. She could only stare in horror as Orochimaru placed the curse mark on Sasuke’s neck, running to his side as he crumpled to the ground in pain, screaming in agony while she held his hand and cried for him. It wasn’t the first time Naruto and Sasuke put their lives on the line or protected her while she stood in the background, feeling useless. Only when both of her teammates were incapacitated did she step in, hiding them underneath a hollow tree trunk and treated them as best as she could. When the sound ninja came to kill Sasuke she tried to fight them off but knew if Rock Lee, Ino, Shikamaru, and Choji hadn’t stepped in to help, the sound ninja would have killed her, Naruto and Sasuke. The thought scared her almost more than she could bear. Though nothing scared her more than when she heard Sasuke call her name, turning to him with relief that turned into shocked horror as she watched patterns from the curse mark snake their way around his body; watching him easily beat up the sound ninja with a dark, satisfied smile. All she could think to do to stop him was cling to him, tears welling up and over her eyes as she pleaded with him to stop. This wasn’t her Sasuke. Sasuke was cool and kind. Outside of his aloof attitude he cared for his teammates. But with him gaining the dark power of the curse mark, his whole demeanor changed, his need to become an avenger overriding everything. Sakura wanted Sasuke back, but felt she was quickly losing him to the darkness.

Fear and sadness overwhelmed Sakura as she focused back on the present, sitting next to Sasuke’s bed peeling his apple as she started to tear up. She stabbed her apple slices with toothpicks and started neatly placing them on a plate. She stole another glance at Sasuke who sat upright in the bed, staring down at his legs under the sheets. Sakura pushed back her tears. The last thing she wanted was to cry in front of him again. It was not the time or place for her to get emotional, she needed to be strong for him. A light breeze carried though the muggy hospital room, calming her and feeling nice on her skin. She looked back down continuing her apple plate while getting lost in her thoughts once more.

‘How can I help Sasuke so he doesn’t fall completely into the darkness?’ Her eyes began to water again at the thought.

‘What if he decides to leave the village? I’m not sure I could stop him. I have to be stronger in case the worst comes to pass.’

Sakura pushed the dark thoughts from her mind, composing herself to finish the last of the apple slices and about to hand them to Sasuke when a loud sound sounded behind her.

The door flew open and their excited blond knuckleheaded teammate Naruto made an entrance. Both Sakura and Sasuke looked back at the young ninja.

“Hi Naruto.” Sakura greeted the boy, focusing her attention to her plate of apples, finally ready to serve to Sasuke. Sasuke barely glanced at Naruto before turning back to stare down at his sheets. Naruto gave Sasuke a puzzled look before shrugging it off.

“Here you go, Sasuke.” Sakura put on her best smile, holding the plate of apples near Sasuke’s head.

Sasuke glanced at the plate of apple slices, suddenly glaring at the plate he turned his face away slapping the plate out of her hands, smashing it to pieces on the ground along with the apple slices. Pure shock rang through Sakura and Naruto’s expressions as Sakura rose to her feet at Sasuke’s burst of anger. Naruto regained his composure first, anger apparent on his face.

“Oi, Sasuke! What’s your problem?! Sakura is only trying to help you!” He glared at his rival, trying to get him to understand he was being rude. Sasuke ignored Naruto’s outburst, throwing the sheets from his lower body, standing up to face him with a cold expression.

“Naruto. Fight me. Right here and now.” Naruto’s face turned from anger to shock for a moment before donning his best signature battle ready grin.

“Bring it on!” Naruto accepted the challenge, moving into a fighting stance opposite Sasuke. Sakura watched them with worried eyes, knowing she had to step in and stop this.

“Stop it you two.” She went to reach for both of them, hoping to defuse the situation before it escalated but was stopped cold at Sasuke’s harsh words.

“Shut up Sakura.” His glare towards her was just as harsh as his words, cutting her deeply. Her hands froze before touching them and then she slowly lowered her arms to her sides, feeling defeated. Her eyes spilled over with tears, unable to hold them in any longer as they trailed down her cheeks. Naruto saw red at Sasuke’s dismissal of her. They were a team and Sasuke’s sudden change in attitude was pissing him off. Especially when it was aimed at the female of their team who always stood by Sasuke no matter what.

“You bastard! Stop treating Sakura like trash!” He put every ounce of frustration into his words, yet his friend ignored him.

“Let’s move to the roof for our fight, I won’t fight you here.” Sasuke continued to stare down Naruto while he spoke.

“Fine.” Naruto spat at his friend, realizing the only way to get through to Sasuke was to beat sense into him. At Naruto’s approval Sasuke proceeded to walk past the blond and Sakura, ignoring the glare Naruto sent his way as he passed them. Naruto watched Sasuke walk out the door before following the Uchiha to the roof.

Sakura didn’t move from her spot, still reeling from Sasuke’s outburst as her tears continued to fall down her face endlessly.

‘Why? Why can’t I stop him? Why am I so weak? Does Sasuke hate me now?’

She picked up the broken pieces of the plate and apples as she silently wept, throwing the plate and slices away in a trash bin near her stool. As soon as she threw away the last piece of apple she felt a stab in her chest. It felt like an omen for Naruto and Sasuke, that something terrible was going to happen to them if they continued their fight. They were both so strong they could easily kill each other. The thought made her blood run cold. She had to stop them, right now. She had stood on the sidelines long enough. She couldn’t let her two best friends kill each other. She rushed out the door without a second thought, desperate to reach them in time.

As Sakura ran through the hallway she put a boost of speed on through her chakra she channeled through her feet, ignoring the protests of the staff and patients as she whizzed past. She quickly pushed past the door that read “Stairs” in bold red, heading towards the top of the building through what felt like tens of thousands of steps. Finally, she reached the top where a door that read “Roof” in dark red, she threw the door open praying she made it in time. The sight before her had her eyes opening wide with horror. Both boys were headed for each other in mid air the Rasengan and Chidori about to clash with one another. In that moment, Sakura made a decision. She wasn’t going to let her best friend and the boy she loved kill each other. She ran as fast as she could towards both of her teammates.

“NOO...STOP!!” She darted in front of their attacks, pouring all her emotions into those two words. But it was all in vain. Their attacks could not be stopped.

Naruto and Sasuke saw their pink haired teammate run in-between them. Their eyes went wide as they desperately tried to stop their attacks, but it was too late. In the next moment both their attacks struck her. Just before their attacks had hit, Sakura had turned her body to face Sasuke arms outstretched, wanting her last vision to be of him. Sasuke’s Chidori struck her left shoulder blade while Naruto’s Rasengan collided with the middle of her back, and blood rained from both wounds. As blood coated both boys and the ground below them, all they could see was their cherry blossom stained red.

Sakura was in so much pain, yet she weakly tried to look up at Sasuke. She smiled as best as she could at him, only managing a small short smile that turned into scrunched up face of pain as she started coughing up blood that fell to the ground, mixing in with the puddle of her blood below. Both boys stood in complete shock. Sasuke’s trembling red eyes focused on Sakura’s half lidded emerald ones as Naruto watched his hand on Sakura’s back become bloodier by the second. The sight snapped Naruto out of his trance, quickly removing his hand from her wet sticky back switching his now panicked gaze switching from his bloody hand to Sakura’s back.

“Oh my god, Sakura!” The pink haired beauty had grunted in pain when he removed his hand. Naruto took a few stumbled steps back, not believing what he had just done. Tears started to flow nonstop as he watched Sakura’s blood trickle down her clothes. Sasuke still had his wide fear filled eyes locked with Sakura’s.

‘No! This couldn’t be real!’ He focused on her pain filled eyes. This isn’t what he wanted! All he wanted was to fight everyone who he felt was strong, so he could become strong enough to kill his older brother and avenge his parents and clan. He never wanted Sakura involved with this part of him for this exact reason. He didn’t want to hurt her. He was brought back to his senses when Naruto removed his hand from her back, causing her to grunt in pain.

“Sak..ura.” His voice was low and filled with fear as he struggled to say her name. Fear for her life, fear of her closing her eyes and never being able to look at her beautiful emerald eyes again. The same green eyes he snuck peaks at when no one was looking.

“Sasuke.” Sakura’s weak reply punched him in the gut. Somehow even though Sakura was in excruciating pain, she gave him a soft smile.

Sakura was in almost unbearable pain, every breathe she took more painful than the last. Yet looking at her beloveds’ face, she felt at peace. She had done what she set out to do, to save her two dearest friends. She felt like she could pass out at any moment, the only thing saving her from falling over were both boy’s hands supporting her. When the weight of Naruto’s hand disappeared, she felt more of her blood flow out of her. She choked up blood from her mouth knowing she had precious little time left. She tried her best to keep her eyes on Sasuke. Hopefully she could at least die knowing she saved him a little. Suddenly, her pain vanished, and she felt as if she were floating. Her vision went blurry, yet she could swear she could heard both boys call her name. She had one last burst of strength to whisper one name before the end.

“Sasuke.”

‘I love you.’

Everything went black.

Sasuke watched Sakura’s eyes glaze over as she whispered his name and fell forwards into his arms. He instinctively caught her, falling to his knees as he cradled her body. He looked into her pale face, calling her name over and over, willing her to wake up.

“Sakura.”

“Sakura! Sakura!! Please wake up, please!” He shook her lightly with each plea, panicking as he gained no response from her.

A moment later, Kakashi landed on top of one of the fence panels surrounding the roof of the hospital. He had heard both attacks go off in the distance, knowing Naruto and Sasuke were at it again. Now atop the roof he was met with the horrible sight of both boys sobbing and the female of their team in the arms of Sasuke, bloody and unmoving. The sight of Rin flashed into his mind as he sprung into action, jumping down from the fence and rushing towards the pair.

“Naruto, get a doctor up here now. Look for Tsunade. Sasuke, let me see Sakura I need to try to stop the bleeding.” He barked the orders to his pupils, crouching down to Sasuke and Sakura signing the necessary signs with his hands to create a green glow around his hand, bringing it down to Sakura’s shoulder to start first aid, praying it was enough to give her a chance to survive until Tsunade arrived.

Kakashi noticed Naruto had not moved, still staring down at them in shock.

“Naruto, now! Sakura has precious little time!” Kakashi hoped his harsh words would wake up the blond from his trance.

It was successful as Naruto’s wet eyes widened in surprise at his words and he turned on his heel, running back into the hospital. With Naruto gone, Kakashi turned his full attention back to Sakura’s injuries noticing her extremely pale face and blood spattered pink hair, while the injury to her shoulder looked like a dark hole where the clothing had been disintegrated from the Chidori’s lighting. He winced at the wound, knowing her odds for survival were slim. He then turned his attention to Sasuke, wondering how the kid was holding up. Sasuke kept a strong hold on their cherry blossom, tears silently running down his face as he slightly rocked the girl. The sight brought Kakashi back to the fateful day with his old teammate Rin.

‘Rin. Am I going to lose another person close to me? Please give me strength now because I’m not sure Naruto and Sasuke would be able to handle it if we lost her.”

In the next moment, Tsunade, Naruto and a few medical ninjas burst through the door, collecting Sakura onto a stretcher, wheeling her away as her male teammates looked on in worry. Kakashi accessed the boys at his side, noting their exhausted state and bloody clothing.

“Sasuke, Naruto.” He waited for both boys to look at him before continuing.

“I want you both to go home and get cleaned up. Try to get some sleep and meet me back here tomorrow morning.” Immediately he was met with harsh refusals.

“No, I’m not leaving Sakura’s side.”

“No way Kakashi-sensei! There’s no way I’m leaving Sakura!”

Kakashi closed his suddenly tired eyes, understanding their responses.

“I understand, but in both of your current states you won’t be any help to her. Look at yourselves. Your bound to scare everyone in the hospital. Go home, get cleaned off than come back. I’m here and I won’t leave her side.”

Both boys looked down at their blood-stained clothing, simultaneously wincing at their disheveled look.

“Now go. The faster you clean off, the faster you get back here to Sakura.”

He saw the resolve on both their faces at his words and they both quickly set off to their perspective houses. Kakashi waited until they were out of sight before running a hand down his stressed face and turned around to walk inside the hospital to find where they had taken Sakura.

~Two hours later~

Kakashi stood outside the emergency surgery room Sakura was in. He could not find a doctor or nurse that would tell him how she was faring, so he stood staring at the double swinging doors patiently waiting for them to open. Naruto and Sasuke came down the hall towards him a few moments later, looking less bloody but still exhausted.

“Kakashi-sensei, how is Sakura?”

Naruto looked up at his sensei, worry still etched on his expression. Sasuke didn’t ask a second question, waiting for his response to Naruto, shadows clouding his face. Kakashi sighed.

“I am still waiting for that answer myself. No one has come out of those doors since she went in for surgery. All we can do now is wait. And hope for a miracle.” Kakashi advised the boys, watching them battle with their emotions before taking separate places near the door, Sasuke leaning against the wall with hands in his pockets staring at the ground while Naruto started pacing and Kakashi sat down in a chair near Sasuke. And they waited.

~ One Hour Later~

After what seemed like an eternity, Tsunade and two medical ninja stepped through the door, fatigue written all over their faces. Immediately all three men hurried towards them, only one question on their minds. She held up her hand silencing them before they could bombard her. With bated breath Naruto, Kakashi and Sasuke waited to hear the fate of their cherry blossom.

“It was touch and go for a while, but Sakura has pulled through surgery.” Their sighs of relief were short lived as the Hokage continued.

“However, while in surgery Sakura slipped into a coma. I am very sorry, we did all we could.” Tsunade ended her statement choking back her tears, wishing she could have done more. Each guy felt like their hearts had been ripped from their chests at the news.

“No, no it can’t be! Please say it’s not true Tsunade!” Naruto slowly started walking towards the Hokage his eyes wide and pleading. Kakashi turned his head away from the group, his eyes spilling over with the tears he could no longer hold in.

Sasuke could not believe what he was hearing. A coma? Damn it! He looked to Naruto who clung to Tsunade, sobbing into her shoulder as she held onto him, gently stroking his spiky blond hair. Eyes glazing over, Sasuke became lost in his thoughts.

In that moment nothing mattered but Sakura.

Nothing else mattered but seeing her again. He barely registered Tsunade talking to them.

“I am on my way now to notify her parents. As for her state, it is unclear if or when she will awake. That is up to her I’m afraid.”

“Where is she?” The Uchiha finally spoke up, his dark eyes searching Tsunade’s face. She hesitated before answering him.

“She is on her way to ICU as we speak. Right now, is a critical time for her, she could still die from her injuries or other complications if not watched twenty-four-seven.” Sasuke’s eyes darkened with guilt at her words.

“If you wish to see her I will require you to go through a sanitize procedure. Sakura is in a very delicate state right now and if you carry any bacteria on you, it could kill her.” He nodded, accepting her words. He would do whatever it took to be by her side. Naruto wiped the reminder of tears from his face and nodded as well, letting her know he would go through the process as well. She smiled down at the two boys proud of their resolve.

“Tsunade, I will inform her parents.” Kakashi spoke up gathering Tsunade’s attention.

“Kakashi..”

“Please allow me to at least do this for her. You have done more than enough. Just bring Sasuke and Naruto to Sakura and I will return shortly.”

Tsunade sighed even though she was grateful for Kakashi taking on the difficult task of telling Sakura’s parents.

“Very well, go.” At her command, Kakashi disappeared in an instant. She then turned her attention to his two pupils.

“As for you two, lets get you both off to sanitation so you may see Sakura.” She walked past both boys, knowing they would follow close behind.

The sanitation process seemed to last forever to Sasuke as his impatience level rose to an all-time high. Finally, a half an hour later Tsunade led him and Naruto to a giant door reading “ICU” in flashing red letters. They walked through a small hallway past the door stopping at the third door on the right that had a tray attached on the door with papers inside. Sasuke glanced at the papers noting the header of the first paper read, Patient: Haruno, Sakura. Everything became very real as he read her name. Tsunade slowly opened the door, holding it open for them to pass through.

Through the door two medical ninja stood on the opposite side of the room, watching monitors that beeped, filling the deadly silent room with the sound. Sasuke heard Naruto take a strangled breath of air, following Naruto’s eyes he felt himself grow pale. He inhaled sharply as he looked at the bed. Wrapped in two heavy blankets lay Sakura, bandages running down from her shoulder, tubes running throughout her upper body and her face as pale as when he last held her on top of the roof. He would have lost his composure if not for the hand that had appeared on his shoulder comfortingly. He turned to Naruto, the owner of the hand staring into his blue eyes. Sasuke could tell Naruto was trying to comfort him, his eyes telling him that Sakura would be ok. That they would get through this together and become a team once again. He would be able to see her beautiful emerald eyes again, crinkling slightly as she smiled at him. Still it was very hard to see her in this state. He walked to her bedside looking at her pink hair that spilled around the pillow and her eyelashes laying softly on her still face.

Naruto joined him at her bedside, watching him pull out two chairs for them both and sat down, similar to how she would visit him every day, walking in with her adorable smile and happy voice calling his name while walking over to him to change the vase of flowers she brought from Ino’s families shop. He secretly looked forward to her visits even though he was stuck in his own mind. Waiting until the two nurses left the room, he moved his chair on the other side of Sakura’s bed opposite to the door of the room and sat down with a curse. He saw her hand laying out of the blankets, taking her hand in his automatically, needing to know she was still warm and breathing.

That she was alive.

Everything else could wait, Sakura’s recovery took precedence and he would be there every step of the way. As she always was for him. He unconsciously squeezed her hand, not noticing Naruto’s sad smile across the bed way.

~Three Months Later~

Time seemed to blur together inside Sakura’s hospital room. She had been taken out of ICU a week after her surgery and moved into a small room on one of the lower floors still comatose. Her injuries slowly healed day by day, Tsunade’s daily visits speeding the process, yet Sakura showed no signs of waking. Sasuke kept his vow that day in her ICU room, staying with her through everything. Including her parents rage towards him the first few visits they made to their daughter’s hospital room. He couldn’t blame them. He was responsible for her condition. Her parents were ok with him now, their anger subsiding with each visit as they noticed him there every day, figuring he was repaying what he had done by visiting her every day. Which he did faithfully. He only left when he was kicked out every night by the nurses, telling him that visiting hours were over for the night. He would squeeze her hand one last time and walk home, showering and training until he fell asleep, waking up early without fail to walk to the family flower shop ran by Ino’s family to gather flowers for Sakura’s bedside and walking to her room, placing the new flowers in the vase and sitting in his regular spot at the foot of her bed watching the door and the people who came to visit her every.

Usually the cycle of visitors started with Ino who brought her more flowers, than Sakura’s parents would stop by to talk to her and chat quickly with him before leaving for work. A few hours later Kakashi and Naruto would make an appearance, usually together as Kakashi had taken over most of Naruto’s training when he was not with Jiraya. And her final visitor/doctor Tsunade would come in, healing her while speaking to her softly, urging him to talk to her as much as possible.

Which he did, when no one was around. Which was a good block of time each day with the best time being after Tsunade left, only stopping once the night shift shooed him out of the room. At first, he wasn’t sure what to speak to her about. Than he started talking about what came to mind, starting with his thoughts on her training and how far she had come from their days in the academy. Moving on the next day to update her on how Kakashi and Naruto were doing and how Naruto was his same old knuckleheaded self, messing up in hilarious fashions now and again, according to Kakashi.

One day he found himself running out of things to tell her, so he started telling her about his family. He wasn’t sure what made him want to talk about them after so long he just had a feeling that she would like to know about them. He talked about his mother and her kind and caring soul that he admired, and her amazing cooking that he missed terribly. Than the next day he focused on his father. How he felt his father though his skills were always second best to his brother, so he spent every free moment training, hoping to live up to his fathers’ expectations. Now today as he sat down in the all too familiar chair he decided he would talk about the most difficult part of his family. His older brother Itachi. He held her hand for comfort as well as it being a habit at this point, as he started.

“I thought my brother was a genius, and to all the people around me, he was. I wanted to spend every second with him. Let no one else train me but him.”

He watched her with a pained expression, his emotions starting to take hold of him wishing she would wake up and answer him or he would shut down and stop talking about this. Still he continued.

“After a while, he started taking more difficult missions, being too busy to play or train with me. It became more and more frequent. Until THAT day…” Sasuke had to stop talking, as flashes from that day flooded his mind, replaying his parent lifeless bodies, and the brother that he loved and trusted more than anything stood over them mocking his powerless form. Urging him to get stronger if he ever wanted to avenge them. That day, was the day his brother disappeared, and what remained was a monster in his brothers’ body. Now he was the one who felt like a monster. In his anger from being defeated time and time again by Gaara, his brother and most recently Aoi, he directed it at both Sakura and Naruto. And as a result, Sakura had played the ultimate price.

Sasuke suddenly felt helpless. Helpless to help Naruto when he was pursued by his brother, helpless to help Naruto and Sakura as they protected him from Gaara while the curse mark incapacitated him. Now with Sakura in a coma because of him all he could do was watch over her, praying she would open her eyes and come back to him.

He rose to his feet in despair not registering Naruto or Kakashi entering the room. His whole focus was on Sakura. He tightened his grip on her hand, placing his free hand on her cheek lightly, bending down to get close enough to her to almost touch for heads, searching her still face. He closed his eyes as grief overtook him and he felt tears run down his face. He realized he was crying again for the first time since Sakura was ripped from his arms the day he struck her with his Chidori. He ignored the anguished sound from Naruto, feeling just as strongly as he did. Kakashi looked on sadly not knowing how to help.

“Sakura, come back. Please wake up. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

He squeezed his eyes tighter, tears dripping onto her skin as he apologized to her. He needed to apologize, he didn’t know what else he could say to her.

Responding to Sasuke’s plea, Sakura’s hand still gripped in his strong grasp, squeezed back in return as she slowly came to. Her eyes fluttered open slowly seeing nothing but a blurry face before her eyes focused. Sasuke’s handsome face came into view, inches from her face wet with tears, his face a mess of pain and suffering. Her body felt cold save for her hand and cheek where he tightly engulfed her hand in his larger one, and his feather light hold on her cheek, both spots feeling nice and warm. She had faintly heard his desperate plea in the darkness, fighting her way back to him. She had to reach him. She reached her free arm up towards his face, using her palm to gently place it on his wet cheek.

“Sasuke its ok, please don’t cry.”

Sasuke’s head popped up at her words, opening his eyes to take in her tired half lidded eyes and weak smile as she wiped the tears on his face with her thumb.

“S.akura..?”

He was lost for all other words but her name as he looked down at her beautiful emerald eyes he missed every day.

In the next moment Sakura felt herself in Sasuke’s embrace as he hugged her fiercely, his body lightly shaking. She was thrown off guard for a second, suddenly feeling a surge of happiness flow through her.

‘He has never hugged me before. I can’t believe this.’

A flash of yellow joined their hug, tightly gripping her and Sasuke.

“Sakura! Sakura! Thank god!”

Naruto’s body shook as he sobbed and held on to the pair for dear life.

“Naruto, Sasuke.”

She murmured their names affectionately, hugging them as best she could back. The movement was too much for her sore body though, wincing in pain as her arms closed around her teammates.

“Ouch.”

At her whisper of pain, the two immediately released her, their red watery eyes watching her with concern.

“Sakura?”

“Are you alright?”

Both boys voiced their concern, waiting for Sakura, as she held her hand up to steady the boys, yet missing their warmth.

“I’m okay, don’t worry.” She kept her smile in place to keep the boys from panicking.

“We thought we lost you there, Sakura.” Kakashi walked up to her bedside next to Naruto staring down at her with a soft expression.

“I could never leave you guys. You would all get into too much trouble if I wasn’t around.”

Her proud declaration earned her a chuckle from the guys and she started to chime in with a small giggle of her own but doubled over, clutching her shoulder as the pain decided to kick in at that moment. At once all the men were leaning in towards her, firing off questions at once.

“Sakura, what can I do? What do you need?” Sasuke placed his hand on her uninjured shoulder.

Sakura never got a chance to answer as Tsunade walked into the room, noticing her awake and quickly shooed the men out of the room much to their annoyance. Sasuke the last one to be pushed out, took a last look at her, making eye contact and receiving a smile and small wave from her in response. God but he had missed that smile. Once fully outside the room he decided to follow Naruto and Kakashi out of the hospital, figuring Tsunade wouldn’t let them back in until tomorrow. Walking outside, the sky a bright inviting blue, the slight breeze blowing his hair out of his face, he knew for the first time in three months he was going to get a good night’s sleep, knowing when he woke up the next day and visited Sakura, she would be awake and waiting for him.

~~Three Weeks later~~

It was finally the day of Sakura’s release from the hospital. She walked towards the front desk with Sasuke by her side, noticing he was watching her with every step, as if scared she would crumple to the ground at any moment. They reached the desk, and she watched Sasuke fill out the release forms, enjoying the feeling of being upright. The bed was driving her insane since she woke up three weeks ago. Once he finished the paperwork they walked side by side outside the front doors of the hospital and into the warm summer air. She had to hold her arm up against the glare of the sun though a smile graced her face, thankful to be outside. As the glare receded she lowered her arm, noticing Sasuke had stopped just in front of her, his back facing her.

“Sasuke?” She looked at his broad back with a puzzled look, wondering why he had suddenly stopped.

He turned to look at her behind his shoulder and without warning pulled her into a hug, burrowing his face in her neck and pink locks. Sakura froze for a moment, this was the second time he had hugged her. It was surreal to her. Usually she was the one to hug him.

“I thought I’d lost you, I’m sorry Sakura.” Sakura processed his words, returning his hug.

“I’m sorry for worrying you, Sasuke. I’m okay though I promise.” Sasuke released her as she encouraged him that she was better.

She put on her best smile trying to cheer him up. She didn’t want him to be sad anymore. Taking in his handsome features, her smile vanished.

“Sakura?” Sasuke instantly became worried thinking her scars were hurting her. But Sakura’s reasoning for not smiling had nothing to do with her injuries. It was all about her feelings. She knew she had to tell him now how she felt. She was afraid if she didn’t he would disappear on her now that she was better. She watched his questioning look towards her as she gathered her courage.

“Sasuke, I love you. I love you with all my heart.” She tried to pour each ounce of her feelings into that sentence, hoping he would really hear her words.

He seemed stunned for a moment before composing himself. He smiled at her with his signature smirk that she adored so much. She watched his hand move towards her, wondering if he was going to pull her into a hug again, yet his hand kept rising towards her head, finally reaching her forehead. He put his index finger and middle fingers together and lightly poked her forehead affectionately, the smile never leaving his features as he answered her feelings with his own.

“I know, thank you.”

Sakura’s cheeks heated, blushing at the simple yet personal touch. She could almost feel his responding feelings in that one touch, and that was all she needed. She touched the spot he had poked delicately, giggling with pure joy. She wrapped her arms around one of his closing her eyes with the biggest smile yet.

“Should we go, Sasuke?” She aimed her smile at him, glowing happily as he turned his face slightly away from her, as she knew he was blushing from the red she could see on his neck.

“Aah.” His short and sweet reply sent Sakura’s heart soaring as they walked together towards the warm sun, and their bright future.

~THE END~