As Naruto shut his door behind him, pain ripped through his stomach once again. He gasped with the intensity of it and leaned against the wood for support, shutting his eyes as he waited it out. A thousand poisoned swords seemed to stab into his stomach repeatedly to the point where he could see white spots dancing before his eyes. It wasn’t long before he fell unconscious, he thought.
“Hey, Naruto!” a familiar voice called his name.
He grit his teeth, wondering at Sakura’s impeccable timing. Maybe someone had planned out his entire life to cause him absolute misery. Shaking his head free of those pessimistic thoughts, he realized that not all of it had been awful. There had been Team 7, and the Rookie 9 and Sakura…
A small petite hand grasped his shoulder and electricity raced through his entire body, filling him with warmth. A renewed wave of pain quickly took the place of the warmth and he gasped, his face sweating.
“Sakura-chan, my stomach hurts,” he confessed in a husky voice and her brow furrowed.
“Come on, let’s get back to your flat,” she told him, slinging one of his arms over her shoulder.
She fished around in his large pocket for his keys and fitted them into the keyhole. It turned with a screechy grating sound that made her wince and she nudged the heavy wooden door open with her foot. She would have led him to his couch but he didn’t have one. Eventually, they managed to get to the bed in the corner of his room and he lay on it weakly. As she surrounded his throbbing stomach with her cool, silky chakra Naruto had found himself unconsciously longing for these past few days, she chewed on her lip worriedly.
“Naruto, I’m taking you to the hospital,” she decided aloud.
He suddenly gripped her wrist very tightly, his eyes unfocussed with pain but dead serious. In a tone that brooked no argument, he said sharply, “No, you can’t tell anyone about this.”
“You’ve been sick so frequently and it’s really starting to worry me. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with you and I think you should be watched,” she explained.
He shook his head and told her, “I don’t want to go back to the hospital anymore, Sakura. It reminds me too much of…”
His sentence was left hanging in the tense air but it was clear how it finished. The mission to retrieve Sasuke. Sakura averted her jade gaze.
“Can’t you…can’t you look after me here? You’re one of the best medics easy and you can heal something stupid like this,” he mumbled weakly and she sighed, running a hand through her pastel hair.
She hesitated before answering, “If I’m found out, Tsunade-sama is going to kill me,” Naruto’s lips twitched upwards in a slight humourless smile, “but you’re absolutely sure you don’t need to go to hospital?”
“Yeah, they’ve been happening over the last few nights. I must have eaten something bad,” he mused.
Silence fell between the two of them and Naruto found himself absentmindedly staring at Sakura, the object of his unrequited love. She looked so beautiful sitting there with the morning casting light upon her sharp, womanly features that never failed to snag an unsuspecting man’s attentions effortlessly. A small, contemplative smile pulled at the corners of his lips as he realized he liked her there, on his bed, in his room, with him. It was a foolish, fleeting notion but one that left a deep imprint on his mind.
His hand lifted to her face and he brushed the rough pads of his fingertips against her soft, full lips, deep in thought. He was treading dangerous waters but for Sakura, he was willing to do anything. His fingers ghosted past her lips to rest on her flawless cheek and he slowly drew his hand away from her face again, avoiding her eyes in shame.
Perhaps he was moving too fast- no, he knew he was moving too fast. Their best friend and the man she had loved faithfully for so many years had just died. There was no way she would-
A pair of wispy eyelashes fluttered shut against his scarred cheeks and she was suddenly too close. It was too late though because her lips, like the sweetest poison, had already pressed against his and he knew in a heartbeat that he would have sold his soul to the devil if only to experience another moment like this.
She pulled away first, her smouldering gaze captivating his surprisingly calm and collected one. Naruto’s mind whirred with possibilities. One of the more bitter ones sprang to mind, the one in which she didn’t love him; she just needed comfort and who better to give it to her than him? He could have been a replacement for the Sasuke who had never been.
But as the colour began to rise to her face and she looked away in endearing embarrassment, he found himself wanting to believe that she really loved him.