Naruto Uzumaki rolled over to the sound of his phone blaring. By the perky ring tone that was set, he could tell immediately it was his best friend calling him. He looked at the clock, the time reading 1:03 PM-
Oh. Shit. Good thing I'm off today, then.
He quickly sat up and unlocked his phone. "Yeah?" he said, rubbing his eyes as he dragged himself out of bed.
"Are you seriously just now waking up?" came the annoyed feminine voice from the other end. "I'm almost home and I wanted you to come over because I have something I need to tell you! But I want to see your face when I do!"
"Yeah, yeah, Sakura-chan, I'm seriously just now waking up." He smiled fondly. "How was your trip?"
Sakura had gone on a "girl trip," as she called it, with a few of their friends from high school for a week. Their third spring term had just ended, and their trip had been an annual thing since they all graduated from high school.
He didn't see why she had to go away though, she had been home to drop her things off for maybe a minute and she and the girls were already on their way out.
He hadn't gotten to see her in months. Maybe he was being a tad selfish, but he just wanted to see her and listen to her talk all about her college experiences.
No, college had not been Naruto's cup of tea. He was the type of person that just wasn't cut out for higher education. He's got a job at the car shop, and while he's not the happiest with it, he makes good money. He's saving up for bigger and better things.
Things he'd much rather share with Sakura. But she's already doing that on her own.
"It was great! You wouldn't believe how many guys Ino hit on – I swear she would've hit on anything with a dick –" she laughed, "I can't blame her though, it's not like she's going to see those guys again anyway."
"Sounds like she had fun," he said, laughing with her, "You didn't run into any creeps, right, Sakura-chan?"
"Oh please. Even if I did, you know I can handle myself— Oh, I just got home, come over ASAP, ok?" Without letting him respond, Sakura hung up with a click.
Sighing, the still-tired blond strode to his bathroom to pull himself together. He always tried to look decent around her. It had always been that way since they met, always trying to impress her, hoping she'd look his way. And, after a year and half of always being assigned to papers and projects together, she finally did. Albeit not in the way that he'd imagined.
Naruto was content with their relationship as it was though, and while he still pined after her, he would never force her to feel anything more than friendship towards him. He liked being close to her and he would never screw that up. Sakura was way too important to let some crush get in the way of that.
After tousling his hair so it didn't quite look like he just rolled out of bed, he put on a pair of jeans, not bothering to change his shirt, slipped on the nearest pair of shoes, and headed out the door.
Sakura's house was only a ten minute walk from his apartment complex, which proved to be convenient back in the day, but nowadays, it just reminded him that the time he spent with her now was practically sacred. She'd go off to school for months at a time and only be back for the holidays, always engrossed in her work; she had recently finished up a research project and they had barely spoken through it. So whenever he did speak to her, whenever he was able to see her, he cherished it.
Like I should have with Mom and Dad, he added as an afterthought, but quickly shook it off.
Once at Sakura's, he knocked barely once before the door had been opened.
"Naruto!" came a shriek, and he was quickly enveloped in his best friend's arms. He held onto her tightly, laughing at her excitement.
"I take it you missed me?" the blond asked coyly, raising an eyebrow and smirking at the girl.
"Only a whole lot," she said with a smile, "You know I always miss you. I'm sorry I didn't get to see you when I dropped my stuff off at home, I was in a hurry—"
"Sakura-chan," the blond said, "It's fine, I promise." He gently patted her head. "You don't have to justify anything to me."
"Still, I should have made a little time—and then I barely got to talk to you! I'm a terrible best friend—!"
"Hey!" he said, putting his hands on her shoulders, "Don't ever describe yourself as terrible because you are far from it." He flashed her a grin, the one he knew almost always cheered her up, and said, "You're home now and that's what matters."
Sakura sighed, but smiled. She still felt awful, but she decided to say nothing more on the matter. She still wished she had been able to call him more, see how he was doing with his mechanic job and just life in general. She was grateful the distance hadn't changed their friendship, though. Every time she came home, it was almost like she never left.
She couldn't help but wish Naruto had wanted to go to college with her, though. A bit selfish of her, sure, but not only would he be able to see her more, he'd be furthering his education.
However, as far as she knew, he was happy and didn't need college. And that's all that mattered to her: he was happy.
"Yeah, I guess you're right," she said, "figures my parents are off having fun when I get home though." She looked up at her blond friend and gave him her best puppy-eyed look. "Help me unpack?"
"Even without the look, you know I'd help you anyway," he said with a laugh, "I just can't promise it'll be neat, though."
"For your sake, it better be, Uzumaki!"
"Alright, alright, I'll try."
Sakura huffed and led Naruto to her bedroom.
An hour and a half later, after a lot of yelling and bickering, Naruto and Sakura managed to unpack her things and put them in their correct places. Naruto flopped on Sakura's bed and folded his arms behind his head.
"Well, that took longer than it should have-"
"Well, yeah," she immediately retorted, "You would think at 23 – almost 24 you'd know how to fold clothes!"
"Your clothes are weird!" the blond whined, "they have no backs and weird straps and nothing else folds how it's supposed to!"
"That sounds like a personal problem," the rosette huffed. "It also doesn't help you just throw things haphazardly-"
"I always get to it later!"
"Yeah, 'later.'" A wide grin was tugging at her lips, but for argument's sake, she'd try her best to keep it at bay.
"You're trying not to laugh. What's so funny?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all, Naru-cha~n."
"Ugh, don't call me that. Tsunade-baa-chan calls me that when I get on her nerves—"
"Then I don't think this is a coincidence."
She couldn't help it, when the blond pouted at her, she laughed. "You're a grown ass man and you still pout."
"I can pout because I'm a grown ass man."
"Alright, idiot," she said with a light swat on his head. "Well, that's over with." She took a seat next to him. "Now what do you want to do?"
"Er," the blond scratched his cheek with his forefinger, "didn't you have something you wanted to tell me? Something you absolutely had to tell me in person?"
"Oh, yeah!" Sakura looked at her best friend and took his hands in hers. She was trying so hard to contain her excitement but she was almost positive that Naruto could practically feel it radiating off of her.
"Remember that research project I told you about?" she asked, waiting patiently for the blond's answer.
He stared off into space for a moment until she swatted him. "Yeah, of course I remember! What about it?"
"Well," she bit her lip and smiled, "my professor was so impressed that he sent it to Senju Medical Center along with my med school application – and I had no idea! He just attached it without telling me anything while I was on my trip, and – oh my God, Naruto, not only did I get a yes, I got a very enthusiastic yes from Tsunade-sama herself!"
"That's great, Sakura-chan!" Naruto exclaimed and hugged her tightly. "This is what you've always wanted, right? Since high school? I told you, I could've put in a good word for you, with her being my guardian and all –"
"Shush. You know I'd rather work for the acknowledgement. But isn't this fantastic?"
"It is," he confirmed, "But isn't Senju Medical Center twice as far as Ame U?"
Come to think of it, Sakura hadn't really thought of the implications of her going to that med school in particular. She hadn't thought of those same implications when she applied to Ame. But she pulled through it just fine, what would be the difference this time around?
"Yeah, but I'm home until September," she said, "so you have three months to get on my every last nerve."
"So…you leave in September? Isn't med school like four years long like undergrad?"
"Yes …. With fewer breaks, especially in the last two years. But," realizing she was still holding his hands, she gave them a gentle squeeze, "I can still call and visit on holidays."
"I don't want you to be too distracted, Sakura-chan – this is your dream, don't let anyone here at home hold you back from that."
She smiled somewhat sadly. "I'm not, Naruto; I just-…"
"Hey, you were so excited, and you should be! Be excited! This is what you've worked your whole life for – well since high school I guess – and you deserve it! We should celebrate, I'll call everyone and we'll go out tonight, yeah? Get a few drinks, have a good time! Like you said, we have three months, might as well use it wisely, yeah?" He gave her his best signature grin, and that was all it took to calm her nerves for the moment.
"Okay, yeah," the rosette agreed. "That sounds fantastic. Thanks for being so supportive, Naruto – for always supporting me."
"No problem, Sakura-chan."
He wasn't going to allow himself to be selfish. He wasn't going to tell her to apply to the med school in town. He wasn't going to tell her to give up her dream, especially not for him. Naruto was going to support Sakura in any way that he could.
Even if it meant, while she was gone, he'd have to let her go.
A/N: Hey guys, long time no see! It's been a while since I've published anything. I got this idea from a post on tumblr and it kind of spiraled out of control. I'm not really sure how long it's going to be, but I do know where I'm going with it. This is my first multichapter fic attempt in a couple of years, and I'm pretty determined to finish it, so please review, your feedback will keep me going! Hope you enjoyed! I'm probably going to stick to weekly updates. Thanks!