At the border between the Fire and Wind counties, an orange clad ninja was franticly pacing back and forth. His sandals digging trenches into the sandy soil. Out there he could see the massive sand dunes looming in the distance.

Unknown to the blonde, a certain pinkette was watching him from afar. Which was totally not like what Hinata always does, or so Sakura had to keep telling herself. It was different because Sakura had intended to talk to Naruto from the outset. She always favored the direct approach when it came to Naruto (there was no other way to penetrate his thick skull). But as soon as she reached him she had to stop and orient her thoughts.

The last few days had been a rollercoaster of emotions. First Naruto returned from his 3 year long journey with two super powered strangers from another dimension. Then Sakura learned that her former teammate and longtime crush had died at the hands of his brother. Leaving a hole in her heart that Naruto seemed to be quickly filling. Now the two of them were on a team again as equals sprinting off to save a man who had tried to kill Sakura in the past and meant so much to Naruto.

Flashback to a few hours ago after they had met up with Temari on their way to the Sand Village.

"Do you know why I can't calm down? I can't calm down because were here resting up while somewhere out there," Naruto pointed at the dunes. "Gaara is being held hostage by those Akatsuki bastards and probably being tortured right this second. All because they want his monster. They want our monsters…" Naruto paused before summoning up the courage to ask Sakura this next question.

"Sakura, you're the Hokage's apprentice. You must know about…me, right? About the Kyuubi?"

"They want us for these chakra monsters, for weapons. That's how they see us. As sheaths. It's almost worse than how our villages treated us. The hate and the loathing. But Gaara, he suffered for a lot longer. All alone. And now that he's in trouble I stuck here waiting to do something. Maybe the last person on Earth I could call my brother is in trouble and I can't seem to do anything for him right now. THAT is why I can't calm down!"

Flash forward

Sakura couldn't even take the time to process her new feelings for Naruto with all the stuff going on.

Oh how she wished that Ino hadn't seen her give Naruto that peck on the cheek. It had just felt so natural at the time with all the excitement going on. Yet Little Miss Piggy always loved to jump to conclusions and demanded an explanation. What was Sakura to do? Leave Naruto out to dry as she denied having any romantic feelings for him after such a public display of affection? The old her wouldn't have hesitated. Hell, the old her from four days ago might have hesitated. Yet seeing Naruto again after all those years made something click. And the news that Sasuke was gone for good just seemed to open the floodgates.

What this meant for Sakura and Naruto she didn't know. Was she just latching onto him to fill a void left by Sasuke? Or was Sasuke's death just the final barrier between her and Naruto being removed?

Sakura was so confused and what's worse, ever since Sakura had kissed Naruto he had been ignoring her. The guy who always wore his heart on his shoulder had chosen this exact moment to go tight lipped. Yes they were on an important mission and such conversations could wait. But Sakura needed something! A promise that when things calmed down the two of them would talk about where they would go from there. A sign that such thoughts were plaguing Naruto's mind as well.

No. Thought Sakura. What was she thinking? Now she just sounded needy. Naruto had more important things on his mind than dealing with their relationship or lack thereof.

She would just have to talk to him about it later and focus now on the mission at hand.

Fuck that! You should run up there and glomp the Baka for all he's worth and then demand that he pays attention to us!

"I thought I got rid of you." Sakura said to herself.

Guess again, Me! Inner Sakura is back and better than ever!

"Better, yeah right. Why are you even back? I haven't heard from you since my training with Tsunade began."

We've been over this. I'm your Id, the unfiltered version of you. I only appear when you aren't being honest with yourself. And bitch you are one lying motherf*cker right now.

Sakura had to massage her temples at this point. It was bad enough having to deal with this nonsense back during her preteen years, but now it was an even more unwelcome distraction.

I heard that.

"I didn't think anything." She thought.

I'm you, bitch. I can hear our subconscious.

"I thought you were my subconscious."

I'm part of it.

"Holy shit, what do you want?!"

To gazing into those piercing blue eyes with one hand raking through those golden locks and the other to trace down the peaks and troughs of that chiseled slab he calls a torso. All the while figuring out what else the Great Pervert Sage had instilled in his pupil. But for now I'll settle on you going over there and hugging our favorite idiot.

"Look, I don't need to add to the confusion. If I go over there-

Shut up. I'm you. I already know what you're going to say. The real reason you won't go over there is because you are scared. Scared of starting a relationship with Naruto for all the wrong reasons. Well you already have a relationship with Naruto. You're his friend, which is exactly what he needs right now and you know it.

"But…"

No buts. Whether you want to start a romantic relationship with Naruto or not doesn't matter right now. He doesn't need a new girlfriend right now. He needs a friend. And he's not going to get that if you're too scared to go and talk to him because you think that the only conversation you can have with him right now is about your love life. So go and hug him. No words, no romantic undertone. Just hug him.

It was hard to argue with yourself. Especially since you made the most sense out of anybody you know.

Deciding it was better to do it rather than hesitate. Sakura walk right up to Naruto who had yet to register her presence.

"Naruto." She spoke aloud. Naruto stopped in his tracks, rather shocked at the sudden appearance of his teammate.

"Sakura-chan?" He asked. Suddenly he found himself wrapped up in a strong hug. His teammate's face was buried in his chest with her arms wrapped tightly around his torso. Too tightly. Oh God she was crushing his ribs!

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto wheezed out. Sakura opened her eyes, realizing what she was doing and quickly loosened her grip on the man.

"Oh Jeez! I'm sorry Naruto! I was only trying to-

"Break my ribs?"

"Idiot! I was trying to comfort you." She shouted back. Her cheeks glowing with a deep red.

"Ugh, why?" He gasped.

"Just…you looked like you needed a hug. That's all…"

Naruto stared at Sakura, trying to decipher the hidden meaning behind her words. Sakura meanwhile had her gazed fixed on a nearby bush to keep from meeting Naruto's eyes.

"Well I wouldn't mind a softer hug if you've got one."

"Idiot." She smirked before rewrapping her arms back around him. Albeit this time without accidently activating her chakra enhanced strength.

Slowly, Naruto returned the hug, wrapping his own arms around her back. He dared not go any lower than Sakura's mid back for fear of his intentions being misinterpreted. He rested his chin on the crown of Sakura's pink locks. For a few moments they just stayed like that. Sakura breathing in Naruto's scent as he breathed in her shampoo. Strawberries. He thought.

"Sakura-chan? About what happened after the bell test…"

"Shhh. Never mind that right now, Naruto. We'll deal with that after the mission."

"But-

"No buts. We'll make it to the Sand village, save Gaara, then return home to discuss things. But for now, let the both of us just enjoy this friendly hug…please."

Naruto wanted to argue, but the desire felt short compared to the desire to keep this hug going for as long as possible. Naruto wasn't used to physical affection. It was different from the rough affection he got from his surrogate father figure in the form of slaps and pats on the back. This feminine touch was gentler, more lingering and warm in its own way. Who cared if it was romantic or friendly? It was lovely.

Moments turned into minutes and Naruto began to calm down. Sakura could hear his heartbeat slow to a more relaxed pace. It was soothing to hear. Sakura had heard plenty of heart beats from all kinds of patients over the course of her medical training with Tsunade. Most of the time they were quick. She heard just enough to diagnose the patient before moving on to other areas of interest. This was different, more intimate. This was her teammate's heartbeat. The rhythmic beat that kept the lifeblood pumping through his veins. It felt so strong, yet Sakura knew firsthand how delicate it could be.

When Sakura became a medic she swore an oath to always treat her comrades until their deaths. Now as she was being lulled into a kind of half sleep she felt inclined to make a new oath to herself. That no matter what happened between her and Naruto. She would always keep this heartbeat going until her own heart fell silent.

Like all good things, this moment had to come to the end. Both Sakura and Naruto inwardly groaned when Kakashi had called them both back for dinner. Wordlessly they broke apart. No words were needed, except for two. "Thanks, Sakura-chan." The two shinobi walked side by side back to camp, ready to dine on some prepackaged nutrition rations and purified water that tasted like liquid plastic.

Yum.

Author's Note: So yeah, I decided to turn the major narusaku scenes I help write for my buddy cmartinHFD's DBZ/Naruto crossover Legacy of Heroes into a kind of collection of one-shots. Taking scenes completely out of context and showing them off here so narusaku fans who don't normally venture out into the forbidden lands of crossovers can be enticed to check it out. And you should, it's a great story. Gohan and Videl get trapped in the Narutoverse just in time for Shippuden. Sasuke is dead, Videl is being trained to become a ninja, and there are whispers of things going even more off canon than they already are.

So leave a review explaining how you think I could write these narusaku scenes better so I can help improve the quality of my friend's fic even further.

And if you're a fan of my main fic, The Out Man Squad, know that as of 10/4/15 I am not abandoning it. Nor will I ever. I know that on this site your word is only as good as your release schedule, but trust me when I say that it is my full intention to complete the story. I have the whole thing planned out in my head. I just need to put it to paper and right now inspiration, motivation, and time management are not working together. Working with cmartinHFD may help me manage my time better.

For now, I hope you enjoyed my work and I hope you will enjoy cmartinHFD's work.

To all my NaruSaku brothers and sisters… Keep on fanfic-ing