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Redemtion

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A few weeks had passed since the Kido predicament had taken place and things had returned to normal within Konohagakure.

Konohagakure, to Sakura, was always so still in the early hours in the morning. She was traveling home to her small apartment after her grueling 12-hour shift at the hospital. The dawn was slowing beginning to break and the sky was slowly filling with warm and soft colours, the orange colour was soothing after being surrounded by clean white walls. The town was quiet, and the only movement was the gentle breeze that passed through the trees. Sakura filled her lungs with a deep breath of fresh morning air, hopefully, it would keep her awake enough until she got home.

She had moved out of her parents’ home a few months prior, Sakura felt she needed her space. Coming home from a night shift to finally collapse into bed in the early mornings only to be woken again only a few hours later by her mother doing some sort of cleaning became too much to stand anymore.
As she was walking home Sakura made a mental note to speak to Ino at some point in the afternoon. Sakura had a duty to the general hospital and even though she remained actively working at the children’s hospital, Sakura was required to do a set number of shifts throughout each week to pay her bills. Sakura preferred to pick a mix of night and day as it meant she was still able to spend time with her friends and keep a semi-normal sleep pattern.

Sakura opened the door to her small apartment, took of her shoes in the small hallway and walked through into the living room and kitchen. Sakura didn’t mind that the two were combined, it suited her needs. She dumped her bag on the couch in the living area and headed toward the bathroom. Sakura may have been too tired to have a shower, but she felt the need to freshen up before getting into bed.

Her pillows were always so soft after her night shifts, exactly what she needed to take the strain off her neck. Sakura, glad to finally be out of uniform and into her clean pajamas, cuddled up in her bed and took one last look and the changing colours of the morning sky through her window and closed her eyes hoping to find the sweet embrace of slumber.
Said sweet embrace did not last nearly as long as she had hoped for. Sakura awoke with a start as she heard a series of loud knocking on her door. Taking a moment to compose herself and checking the time quickly she deduced she had maybe had about 3 hours of sleep. Another series of knocks made her get out of bed, her frustration growing.
Sakura opened the door, almost to be hit in the face by Naruto, about to start his next knock.

“Oh! Sorry, Sakura.” He said to far too happily for Sakura

“Naruto, what’s wrong? Has your arm fallen off again? I told you to go to the hospit-”

“Nah not again” Naruto cut in smiling sheepishly.

Sakura huffed “Then kindly tell me why you are banging on my door Naruto, I was trying to sleep”

“Sasuke. Sasuke back, he’s in with Kakashi-sensei in the Hokage’s office”

Sakura let out an involuntary gasp, her heart began racing at a pace she hadn’t felt in a long time.

“Pakkun was sent by Kakashi to tell me, he was going to come tell you but wasn’t sure if you were still at the hospital or not, and you know how they don’t let dogs in the hospital, so I thought I would come and tell you and we can go and see him toget-”

“Naruto,” She said firmly, cutting him off “Is he really here? Home? And we can really go see him?”

Naruto nodded softly at her, clearly sensing how much emotion she was becoming.

“Give me 15 minutes to get ready and we can head over, come in and make yourself comfy.”

Sakura smiled quickly before she turned to rush to the bathroom for a rapid shower. Naruto entered the hallway and shut the door behind him, he was about to head into Sakura’s living room to sit down however he didn’t get over the doorway before he heard Sakura shout from the shower.

“Take off your shoes now Naruto!!”

Naruto let out a small laugh, half filled with fear.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Naruto and Sakura stood outside of the Hokage’s office, waiting for Kakashi to let them in. He was currently still dealing with Sasuke and the waiting was making them both impatient. She was unsure how long they had been waiting to be called in, but it was becoming too long.

“Come in”

Kakashi’s voice brought the two of them to attention. She was finally going to see Sasuke again. Two long years. Sakura had to remind herself how to breathe. She needed to speak to Sasuke, at some point in private, she had a lot to say and a lot f feeling. Sakura needed to keep her composure, she had grown and matured achieved so much, she was not going to fall into old habits and fangirl and the sight of him.

Unlike Naruto who was already in the office and trying to get a hug from Sasuke who was currently trying to get free from his grasp. Sakura entered the office and shut the door slowly behind her taking in one final deep breath to keep calm.

“Kakashi-sensei” She greeted with a smile, he returned it with his usual smile and nod.

She turned to look at Sasuke, so much had changed I the last 2 years but surprisingly he still looked like Sasuke, the same hard expression, slightly longer hair however she didn’t understand the poncho. Still she was happy to see him again. Sasuke had managed to free himself of Naruto when he met her gaze.

“Sasuke” She began softly “How what are you doing ba-”

“I’m home, Sakura”

Suddenly her cheeks felt hot and the butterflies in her stomach quadrupled. She wondered if he felt it too.

“I’m glad you are”

She stared into his eyes, holding his gaze for a few moments hoping he knew just how happy she was that he was back.

“Well…” Naruto began, breaking the silence “Ichirakus?”

Sakura rolled her eyes and smiled, this was almost too predictable of Naruto.