Author: Annie Sparklecakes PM
No one ever expected their story to be perfect, because they were Sasuke and Sakura, and things could never be easy for them. But still Sakura hoped, Naruto lied, and Sasuke was sorry. [SasuSaku]Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Sakura H. & Sasuke U. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 13,286 - Reviews: 296 - Favs: 421 - Follows: 57 - Updated: 05-27-07 - Published: 03-26-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3460399
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thank so much to irrationalism for her help. Without her, this may have never been posted. And yes, this is really the last one.
I had known Team Seven for nine years. Hell, I created them.
I know them better than they know themselves. I've watched over them, I've taken care of them, I've taught them.
Naruto once called me Mom. I made him run laps around Konoha, but it had made me smile, because, really, I was their mom.
I had taught Naruto how to fight for Sasuke.
I had looked after Sakura, had held her when she missed our other half.
Now it was Sasuke's turn.
Whenever I saw them now, I felt somewhat disoriented. I couldn't seem to fully wrap my mind around the fact that they had grown up.
When I stood outside on that warm summer day and saw Sasuke standing beside Sakura – Sakura, in traditional wedding attire, her make-up and hair done to perfection and her face absolutely glowing with happiness – both finally married, after nine years of tears, I found myself seeing not a newly-wed couple, but a little girl chasing after her crush, a confused boy who just didn't understand.
Some things never changed.
Naruto bounded up to them as soon as the entire ceremony was over and everyone started to head towards the reception in the hall, where Ino had had her party nearly half a year ago. It felt like only a week since they got engaged.
"If you hurt her, I'll kill you," Naruto was warning Sasuke as I neared them. Then he turned to Sakura, "If you hurt him, I will buy you ramen."
Sakura laughed. Her cheeks were flushed with pleasure, her eyes were bright, and she was clutching Sasuke's hand tightly.
"I got you a present," I said, holding up a small object wrapped in silvery paper. "For the reconstruction," I added when Sasuke took it and ripped it open.
He threw the book at me.
I dodged it with a tilt of my head and looked lazily at Sakura. "Why did you marry him again?"
She smiled at me, only slightly tinged with sadness, leaning her head against Sasuke's shoulder.
"Because I love him," she whispered, so softly I almost didn't hear.
I looked at Sasuke. "Let's go. I'm hungry," was all he said.
I couldn't see his face, but I could see Sakura's.
She was smiling.
"Time for pictures!" Ino squealed, bounding over to us.
We were all seated at a table near the dance floor. Sakura was beaming at everyone who came by to congratulate her, and she had yet to let go of Sasuke's hand. He didn't say anything, merely switched to his left hand to eat. Naruto sat beside Sakura, chatting away with her in between bites of his own food.
And I sat there, reminiscing about old times. I was turning into an old man.
Naruto immediately stood up, looking excited, and hauled Sakura up by the arm with him. Still holding Sasuke's hand, she dragged him with her.
"Pictures?" Naruto repeated eagerly. "Yeah, yeah! Come on, Kakashi-sensei! Picture-time!"
"I'm good," I said wearily, waving him off. Sasuke looked like he would have liked to do the same, but merely stared ahead, face set in a small frown.
"Kakashi-sensei," Sakura whined, pouting. "It's my wedding!"
"It's Sasuke's too," I reminded her. "He doesn't want me, so I suppose I'll have to sit them out…" I mock-sighed, and Sasuke shot me a dirty look.
"Kakashi, get up," he ordered, letting Sakura lead him to where the camera was being set up.
This time, my sigh was real and tired, but I followed.
Ino and Sakura were posing together for the first few. They made a pretty pair, with their bright hair and eyes. Both were smiling widely at the camera, their faces close and hands clasped tightly. When the pictures were snapped, Ino hugged Sakura, then hopped away so someone else could have their turn.
Naruto leapt to Sakura's side before anyone else could, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her up into the air so he could plant a sloppy kiss on her cheek.
"Ew, Naruto!" she exclaimed, laughing, as she tried to push him away.
By now a number of people had gathered around, and were smiling at the two. Sasuke, beside me, smirked at them.
I nudged him. "Go join them."
He gave me a very flat look, but shuffled over to them nonetheless. Both cheered exuberantly, wrapping their arms around him while he protested.
"Sasuke, I'm your wife now," Sakura said, wagging her finger. "You have to let me touch you."
He rolled his eyes, let her hang off him, and glared at Naruto. "Well, he's not. So hands off, moron."
Naruto complied, wiping his hands on his pants. "Don't have to tell me twice, you jerk. Like I want to touch you."
The flash went off, capturing a moment with a raging Naruto and a smirking Sasuke. And between them, cheeks flushed and eyes positively glittering with happiness, was Sakura.
I had, on more than one occasion, consoled Sakura when she was rejected by Sasuke. Before he left, before she changed, she was always running to me, tears streaming down her face.
"Why doesn't Sasuke-kun like me?" she would sob.
I would pat her head, and encourage her to wear short skirts and train harder. I explained he wasn't interested in girls yet, but once he developed some hormones, she would be flat on her back sooner than she could say "Uchiha."
Looking back, perhaps I got a bit graphic.
She would smile shakily at me afterwards, her confidence restored and her bubbly smile back in place.
I had never really believed it to be true. I had always hoped they might one day get together (I was a romantic; so sue me), but I knew Sasuke would never go for her. Not the way Sakura hoped.
When they did end up together, though, I wasn't surprised. Why?
Because Sasuke wouldn't tell her he loved her. Sasuke wouldn't hold her or smile at her. He wouldn't pay attention to her the way she wanted, and while he cared for her… he was Sasuke. It just wasn't in his nature to tell anyone how he felt.
And I was still used to Sakura appearing outside my door every so often, looking for her wise (and handsome and dashing and intelligent and powerful) ex-teacher to offer her some comfort.
I was used to seeing her look empty. Which was why I was so surprised during her wedding, and especially a few weeks later, when they received the pictures of the day and each one looked so full.
She was smiling in each one (aside from one where she was yelling at me for reading by the bar instead, but that didn't count), looking absolutely ecstatic to be where she was, who she was.
It wasn't just me. A lot of people seemed to find it strange Sakura was so happy. It wasn't really a secret what was going on with her and Sasuke.
I only got my answer as the hall was emptying, and the only people left were the Rookie Nine, Gai's team, the teachers, Sai, Yamato, and Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Shizune.
"Hey, Kakashi-sensei," Naruto stage-whispered.
"Don't call me that," I grumbled. I wasn't their teacher anymore, hadn't been for years. But still Sakura and Naruto persisted in referring to me that way.
"Whatever," he said, waving it off impatiently. "Don't married couples usually kiss?"
Across the table from us, Sakura choked on her champagne. Sasuke rubbed her back (the last time someone had tried pounding her on the back, she only coughed harder, then, when she recovered, hit him so hard he left a dent in the wall he flew into. Poor Sai.)
When she recovered, Sasuke narrowed his eyes at Naruto. "What, d'you want a show?" he asked, looking incredulous.
Sakura laughed, somewhat embarrassedly, as Naruto made a face and said, hurriedly, "No thanks. Do that on your own time."
I met Sasuke's gaze then. I raised my eyebrow in question, but he merely turned away, folding his arms across his chest.
Gai and Kurenai came over then, and I left with the two. Sakura was later dragged off by Tsunade, and Sasuke and Naruto were joined by the other boys.
Later, however, when I was looking for Sakura and Sasuke to say goodbye, I found something that would stick with me forever.
Sakura, her back against the wall, with Sasuke's mouth on hers, their eyes shut and oblivious to the world around them.
When they pulled away, gasping, not noticing me gaping at them, she rasped, "I love you too, Sasuke-kun."
And then I slipped away, smiling to myself.
Sasuke came to me the next day, to say he had known I was there, and demand why I was spying on them.
"I wasn't spying, Sasuke. And if you're so worried, don't make out with her in public."
He flushed then, his eyes still burning with annoyance. But then he turned away, hands in his pockets.
"I didn't tell her I loved her."
I blinked, more than a little displeased. I had been happy for Sakura. She had finally gotten what she wanted, and I was proud of Sasuke for finally smartening up.
And then I found out nothing had happened?
I looked at him, not moving closer. It would only make him uncomfortable, and right now that was the last thing we needed. Right now what Sasuke was looking for was advice, not a lecture, and not a touchy-feely moment that belonged on a greeting card. That was why he had come to me.
"So why did she say that?" I asked.
He shifted uneasily. "I don't know."
I narrowed my eyes. "Sasuke," I said sharply, "What did you say to her?"
I was suddenly reminded of the time I taught Sasuke the Chidori. That had been trying, but he had co-operated. He wanted to be strong, so he could become Chuunin, then Jounin, then Anbu. He wanted a move to kill his brother and avenge his family so he could finally get some peace. But it had been hard, even to teach someone as skilled and determined as he was.
This, it seemed, would be at least twice as difficult.
"Nothing," he replied. "I just tried to tell her—I mean, she was so upset, so I just tried… I told her that I asked her to marry her because—because she's just what an Uchiha is supposed to—"
"I told her she was perfect!" he burst out. "I told her I picked her for a reason." He rubbed his temples, clearly embarrassed, but even more frustrated. "What did that mean to her?"
"Are you stupid?" He twitched, but I continued. "You told her you were marrying her because, to you, she's perfect. You realize that, don't you?"
He didn't speak for a moment. Then, "I was just trying to make her feel better."
"And I'm sure you did. By telling her you wanted to marry her, not just that you had to."
And then I shooed him out of my apartment, so he could go get ready to leave for his honeymoon, still looking confused.
I'd like to say a lot of things. I'd like to say Sakura got pregnant, had a baby boy and named him Kakashi, and Sasuke finally told her he loved her. I'd like to say they went on to have a happy life, with plenty of kids, and their friends all around them. I'd like to say we went out every day and drank and talked and had fun, just like old times.
But if I said that, I wouldn't be telling a story about Sasuke and Sakura. Happy endings didn't exist with them.
The first person to realize that was Sakura. While Naruto and I hung on the sidelines, regretting not having been able to do something for the most broken couple in Konoha and musing about the unfairness of life, not even giving their tear-filled relationship a chance, she pushed aside the hurt. While Sasuke watched over her, beating himself up every day of his life about how he had ruined hers, she smiled at him, told him she loved him, and firmly refused to let him apologize.
Sakura understood. She knew that with Sasuke, she could never have all she dreamed of as a young girl. But, as she once confessed to me,
"Everyone asks me if I'm happy with our relationship. I'm not. But I'm just glad there is a relationship to be asked about."
All she wanted was him to be with her. Even if it wasn't the way she had always imagined.
Sakura cried out. "Why won't this kid come out?!"
Naruto, grasping her right hand, called down to where Tsunade was helping with the delivery.
"Naruto Junior! Come out! The Hokage demands it!"
"Quit calling him that, Naruto," Sasuke bit out through gritted teeth from Sakura's other side. I reached out and smoothed some of the sweat-soaked hair from her flushed forehead.
"Show some respect, Sasuke-kun!" Sakura howled, her face scrunched up in pain. "And don't argue. I'll name him whatever I damn well please! You can name him Chidori or whatever the hell you want when you're the one giving birth!"
Sasuke grunted, ignoring Naruto's snickers. Sakura had never snapped at him, even when he broke her heart. But since her mood swings kicked in, she had yelled at him for everything from leaving the cap off the toothpaste to forgetting to buy her vanilla ice-cream (which she hated, by the way).
Sasuke had ignored her tantrums, merely doing as she commanded. Who knew he would be such a good husband?
"I see a head!" Tsunade exclaimed.
"Sasuke! Go look!" Sakura told him. He made a face, but dutifully did as she said.
"It's… beautiful," he choked out, quickly looking away from where his son or daughter was coming out.
"Pink or black hair?"
Sakura breathed a sigh of relief. She was certain her baby was going to be a boy, and didn't want him to have pink hair. If he was made fun of like she was, she might have to kill a few people, as she had casually told me.
Only minutes later, the baby was out, and Sakura collapsed with a sigh.
"It's a boy!" Tsunade exclaimed joyfully. "Pay up, Kakashi!"
I groaned. Since when did she ever win?
Wiping the wailing baby off carefully, she handed him to Sakura, who held her breath as she took the little bundle.
We all gathered around her and the baby.
"He's going to be such a little heartbreaker," she cooed.
The baby looked exactly as Sasuke must have when he was born. The slight upturn of his nose and his puffy cheeks were the only hint of Sakura I could see.
"Can I hold him?"
It took me a moment to realize the soft voice belonged to Sasuke. He was staring at the baby, and when Sakura held him out, he took him so gently, as if he was afraid he would break him.
"He's so cute," Naruto breathed. Even the Hokage knew to be quiet right now.
I looked at Sakura. She was watching Sasuke cradle their baby, her lips set in a soft, barely-visible smile. She looked exhausted.
"Let's get you to recovery, Sakura," said Shizune. Sakura nodded, her eyes never leaving her family.
"Congratulations," I said to her, patting her head fondly. Naruto echoed me from where he stood beside his best friend.
Sasuke handed his son to the fussing blond beside him, and I immediately moved closer to Naruto to watch over them.
I barely took notice of Sasuke walking away from us to bend over Sakura and kiss her sweaty forehead, but I did notice what he said as she closed her eyes and succumbed to her weariness, if only because they were two words I had never heard Sasuke say before.
No, they weren't I love you. We were Team Seven, after all. We didn't have typical happy endings.
We just had the little moments in between.
I knew I didn't want this chapter to be like the others. But I think I might have just screwed it up.
Still, angst was a big no-no for me in this last chapter. It was meant to be lighter. Because, now you know, Sasuke offered Sakura some sort of assurance. And while, of course, no one found it to be enough, she did.
I'm unsatisfied, though…