She managed only one argument, remembering how she had even offered to help him with his vengeance once.
"Your vengeance is complete now isn’t it?" Sakura had asked simply after Naruto had finished. At this Sasuke actually signaled for the boy with the cursed seal to stop. "So . . . So come back with us now, there’s no reason for you to fight alone anymore." This drew a nasty look from Karin. Sasuke turned to look at Sakura, his dark eyes boring into her soul.
"There is still . . . one more I must kill." Sasuke said, not without some difficulty.
"And even when he does that!" snapped Karin, "what makes you think Sasuke would ever want to go back and play with you weaklings?"
Sakura had ignored that tramp and focused on Sasuke’s eyes, but in them she could only see emptiness, darkness, and . . . sadness. It both made Sakura ache and chilled her to the bone.
Sakura had then watched helplessly along with Naruto, Captain Yamato, and Kakashi Sensei as the trio made their way to the exit. None of them were in any condition to do anything but let it happen. Naruto screamed Sasuke’s name one last time, and their former team mate halfway turned to say one thing.
"Naruto . . . Take care of Sakura."
Sakura was now halfway down "Main" boulevard which lead from the entrance to the Hokage’s mansion. She could see the mansion now in the distance as these memories finished cycling through her head again. Sakura stopped and looked up at the stars.
Didn’t Sasuke realize that Naruto had always done everything he possible could to take care of her? Didn’t he realize that more often than not, it was Naruto that needed caring for?
So much for fresh air, Sakura thought. Right now all she wanted, no all she needed was to talk to Naruto. But right now the hospital was locked down for the night, and he was probably sleeping peacefully. She should just leave him be. Yet, Sakura was a medical ninja after all, and getting in to see him wouldn’t be too much trouble. She made her decision.
Sakura spun on her heal and headed back to the hospital.
Naruto was sleeping peacefully. Sakura sat in a chair by his bed, simply watching him. Moonlight from a half moon filtered in through the window, highlighting one side of his face. Naruto had been badly burned on the right side of his body, but as usual he was healing rapidly. Cool bandages were wrapped around his torso and right leg, and his right arm was in a cushioned cast, the result of using the Rasenshiruken too much again. Every now and again, his cheeks would twitch, and he would mumble something incoherent. It was kind of . . . cute. She couldn’t bring herself to wake him. She couldn’t really think of anything to talk about that wasn’t depressing anyway.
Sakura remembered sitting by Sasuke’s side like this for hours on end, back when he was in a coma induced by his own brother. She’d brought flowers for him almost every day. She kind of felt guilty about not having anything for Naruto at the moment, but it was different with Sasuke, wasn’t it? Naruto was a good comrade, probably her best friend but . . .
"Its not a problem of small or big. What’s important is the strength of the feelings you have for Naruto. Sakura, I can tell just by looking at you. In reality you . . ."Captain Yamato’s words. Why was she thinking about that? Watching him sleep like this was stirring all kinds of strange memories within her. Watching him closely, she studied those strange birthmarks on his face. So often they had the illusion of whiskers, especially when he smiled that ear to ear smile of his. Naruto’s smile . . .
"You always cry so easily, Sakura. Don’t worry, because I’ll save Gaara."
Sakura still wasn’t sure if Naruto understood that it was he, not Gaara that she had been worried about back then, but it didn’t matter. His confidence had put her at ease, and it started with that smile. He always managed to do that, to make her feel safe.
Her eyes drifted back to the cast on his right arm. Was he really shortening his life using that technique? Sakura had warned him before not to use it again recklessly, but against any enemy that strong, was there any choice?
Still, Naruto always saw the bright side in everything . . .
"Though actually, I’m kind of enjoying this." Naruto had said back then.