Author: BlueGreenApples PM
Post-Cannon.SasuSaku. Rin and Sakura, Kakashi and Sasuke. History just keeps repeating itself. Rated for violence and strong language.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Sasuke U. & Sakura H. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,291 - Reviews: 111 - Favs: 145 - Follows: 118 - Updated: 02-28-08 - Published: 02-26-08 - id: 4098247
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter Three: Déjà Visité
Glancing up momentarily from the form he was reading, Naruto grinned, "Ah, good. You used the door this time. I've only just had the window--"
"Why did you let her leave?" Sasuke let the heavy pack in his hands fall to the ground as he advanced into the room, cutting the seated man off.
The young Hokage sighed, rubbing his eyes with one hand and sprawling the other over his discarded documents, "We had this conversation, Sasuke. She deserves her shot at making it on her own after all that's happened."
A solid thump sounded as a shurikan embedded itself between the blond's fingers on the desk. Tugging the weapon free, Naruto spun it absently around his pointer finger as he observed his former teammate. The tall, lean man was taut with roiling emotions as he stood an arm's length from the desk. His hands were fisted at his sides and his head was hung low, allowing his longer hair to heavily shadow his face.
Without raising his bowed head, Sasuke rumbled, "She belongs here with me."
Standing and stabbing the weapon into the surface under his hand, the shorter man spoke just softer than a shout. "You didn't want her. She had no obligation to you."
Red eyes snapped up to lock onto raging blue ones, "I'VE WANTED HER SINCE WE WERE THIRTEEN!"
When Naruto shifted his weight backward, stunned by Sasuke's sudden honesty, the Uchiha advanced. Leaning across the space between them, he growled, "And ever since we met there's always been something keeping us from being together. Always. I tried to make things right when I came back! You know I did--"
"Sure! And then you abandoned her! She--"
Slamming his fist onto the desk, Sasuke shouted, "You don't know what you're talking about! SHE LEFT ME!"
Naruto didn't respond. He, along with the rest of Hidden Leaf, had always assumed that Sasuke had broken things off with Sakura when she was rendered barren. He didn't know what to say.
Swiping his hands through his choppy, shoulder-length hair, Sasuke continued, "That night, at the hospital...I knew I had to--but I couldn't make myself do it. She told me that she understood, that she hoped I was happy. I--"
The blond was back in full-swing, "Of course she did! She's Sakura, you idiot! She'd do ANYTHING for you. What was she going to do? Make you choose?" Naruto scoffed and sneered, "Why would she do that, just to watch as you chose the Clan, chose yourself over her again?"
Untangling his hands from his hair, the Uchiha roared, "I was going to pick her! Damn the Clan!" As he swiped a hand over his face, he muttered again, "Damn the Clan."
Confusion flooded the lighter man's face, "Then why couldn't you just tell her? After all this time..."
Sasuke laughed mirthlessly and stared up at the blank ceiling. "At first? At first I couldn't face her. She wouldn't stop crying and I could never stand seeing--" Cutting himself off, he changed direction, "But then she settled back into her routine. I went to confront her once...at the hospital." A sardonic smile lit his face. "She was talking to some civilian merchant. He was so obviously--" He couldn't bring himself to finish that thought either. He paused for a moment before he continued, "But she looked...so happy for the first time since that night. I couldn't ask her to come back. I don't deserve her, Naruto."
The shorter man just smiled encouragingly and shook his head, "You're probably right." Before Sasuke could take that to heart, he added, "But she's loved you from the day you met. We both know that. That should be enough. Someone like her was meant to be happy...made to be, even. If you can give her that, what's stopping you?"
For a moment, the Uchiha was silent and contemplative. Then a true grin spread across his lips as he looked to his best friend. "What's stopping me? A dumb ass Hokage who needs to grant me a Sannin title so I can bring our kunoichi back."
Naruto smiled and shook his fist in mock-anger. "Keep talkin to me like that and you won't go anywhere! I'm the boss-man now!"
"No." Sakura didn't so much as turn to acknowledge the person trying to talk to her. Instead, she was slowly evaluating the layout of the large civilian village she'd just walked into. She knew without looking that her flat refusal didn't sit well with the burly man.
His meaty hand on her shoulder sat even worse with the newly named Sannin. A lightening fast tug and slight shifting of her weight later and the thug was laid out on the street in front of her. Customers in the market stopped to watch as four well-built men squared off one petite, nobly dressed female. Cheers went up from the assembled crowd as the first man to charge the wandering kunoichi was brutally swung back to take out two of his companions. Only one man was left and the woman had only executed a single maneuver.
Centering her weight, Sakura pushed a surplus of chakra into her fists for show and smirked when they glowed a misty green. As she glared into the obviously terrified man's beady eyes, she jerked forward, faking a right hook. The man screamed, scrambling back and covering his face and head. A laugh rose from the onlookers and Sakura smiled and bowed mockingly two or three times. Without a flicker in her grin, she caught the shiv the leader of the gang was attempting to stab her in the back with, ripping it manually from his grip.
A chakra-less kick to his chest sent him reeling backward into an empty vending stall, his girth crushing the wooden structure as he fell. Strolling slowly over to the stricken man, Sakura let him see as she crushed the solid metal effortlessly with her monstrous strength and dropped the hunk of steel with a clatter onto the pavement next to his head. As she propped one strappy-sandaled foot on the collapsed stall, she leaned slightly to mutter, "Leave this town and never come back. Understood?"
When the bald man nodded vigorously, Sakura smirked and stepped back, watching with satisfaction as the man and his companions ran from the market toward the city gates.
Stooping down to retrieve the ball of metal that had once been a dagger, Sakura turned to the eager-faced townspeople and said, "Will one of you be so kind as to direct me to your village's elders? I'm sure there was a bounty on that gang." She smiled as she finished, "I'd like to collect it."
The infuriated pinkette mumbled about chauvinist men, both ninja and civilian, before lifting her head proudly and reciting, "I am Sakura Haruno, Sannin-level kunoichi of the Hidden Village in the Leaves. Aprentice of the Copy Ninja, Kakashi Hatake, the Godime Tsunade and teammate to present Hokage Naruto Uzamaki and Sasuke Uchiha." Looking frankly at the band of dodgy old men, she leveled, "Handling a rag-tag group of thugs is well within my ability."
Ken huffed peevishly and sneered, "That 'rag-tag group of thugs' has been marauding our city for months. I'm sorry that such paltry resistance is below you, but as you can see," he spread his arms encompassingly, "we are a non-ninja village. We have little defense against groups such as theirs."
Sakura grinned brilliantly, "Precisely. Which is why I'd like to offer my services as a free-lance kunoichi here in your fine city."
The wrinkled visage of the elder crumpled further as he squinted at the pinkette and asked shrewdly, "And what, dare I say, is in this agreement for you?"
Rocking her weight into her heels and crossing her arms behind her back, Sakura hummed as if in thought. Intelligent green eyes swept over the row of old men as she replied, "Aside from the pleasure of doing kind deeds?" She lifted her eyebrows engagingly before lilting, "Well...I couldn't help but notice that this is a flourishing port city. Surely you could spare a few things here and there in return for my assistance?"
The council leader's smile was thin as he acquiesced. "Whatever you'd like, within reason, would gladly be given to you in return for your services."
Pointedly ignoring the barb, Sakura bowed slightly and grinned, "Excellent."
Each was accompanied by a long, caring letter from Sakura herself, though in none of them did she divulge precisely where she was staying. Instead she asked after the health of her friends, wished them luck or congratulations in turn. The vague content of the notes kept Naruto off of her trail for more than a year, until a tiny mistake gave him the break he'd been waiting for.
A potted herb, meant for Tsunade, had been her slip-up. When Shizune had absently mentioned that the particular plant was difficult to come by, as they had to be shipped as seeds from a distant continent and grown upon arrival, a crack-pot plan formed in the young Hokage's mind.
Ino Nara had been more than happy to run a test on the soil in the pot, checking it against samples from her suppliers' shipments. (Anything to get billboard-forehead back here to see my ring!) The result had pointed to a large, seaside civilian village in Waterfall Country. It was a longshot, but it was better than the method Sasuke was using now: traveling from Hidden Village to Hidden Village.
As he sit down to pen an urgent massive to his best friend, Naruto couldn't help but add a post sentiment:
Go and get your girl. She's in Kuni, in Wave Country. P.S. You've always deserved her, Idiot.
When the hawk finally touched down on his extended forearm, he worked the scroll attached to his foot free calmly. Naruto had been sending him updates about the events in Konoha, but the hurried scrawl of this short letter made him curious.
Unfurling the note, a slow grin spread across the Uchiha's face as he skimmed the letter, tapping the last line with a finger as he changed his bearing.
He was headed for Wave Country.
Sakura slowed her gait, allowing a toothily grinning girl of ten or so to catch up with her. Raising her eyebrows and smiling slightly, she prompted, "Yes?"
The girl fidgeted, twisting her hands for a moment before hurridly asking, "Hey, so-when-you-go-back-to-your-hidden-village...can-I-come-too?"
When the young Sannin stopped walking altogether, processing what had been said. A moment later, she crouched to be at level with the child, who begged, "Please? I really wanna grow up and be strong like you! But this stupid Country doesn't have a Hidden Village, so..."
Sakura smiled gently, "I understand. It's just...I'm not going home right now. I might not be going back there at all, really--"
The girl gasped. "But why?! If I were as awesome as you, I'd be doin' important missions all the time! Savin' people and stuff, not hangin' around this dumb old city."
Ruffling the girl's distinct mint green hair, the kunoichi joked, "But if I was off doing big important missions, who'd look out for this place?"
The girl seemed to ponder for a moment before standing up straight and repsonding, "I would. I'm gonna grow up to be a strong kunoichi, just like you, but I'll come back here and protect this Country. My name's Kasumi, but you'll hear about me soon enough!"
Sakura smiled wider at the determined look in the girl's pretty blue eyes and agreed, "I'm Sakura and I'm sure you'll grow up to be much stronger than I am."
Kasumi flashed the older girl a thumbs-up and turned to leave when Sakura stopped her. "Wait, Kasumi-chan!"
When the girl turned back, Sakura presented her with a shiney new kunai. "To get you started."
The little girl was ecstatic. "Thanks Miss Sakura!"
With a sad smile, Sakura watched Kasumi disappear down the crowded streets of the port city. It wasn't so long ago that she was that young and idealistic. As she turned to make her way back to her apartment, she sincerely hoped that things went smoother for the young girl than they had for her.
It had been almost a year and a half since she left as a Sannin and she was homesick. The freedom of being able to come and go as she pleased was wonderful, but the frequent rains and sound of waves weren't something that she could quite get used to. She missed the sound of wind through ancient trees and the bustle of busy streets.
Setting her teacup down, she resolutely made her way to her bedroom. She was going out tonight.
Inspecting her reflection in a mirror, she convinced herself once again that she wanted to go out and have a good time. To forget about being homesick. After all, she had a point to prove and running home as soon as she got a little bored wasn't going to get it done.
The pinkette set her features into a determined mask as she stepped out of her apartment, locking the door behind her. As she opened her pretty parasol to keep the light rain off her styled hair, she wondered once more how all of her friends back in Konoha were doing. Naruto and Hinata's child, Tsukiko, had already celebrated her first birthday and she had yet to ever meet her Godmother. With a pang of regret, Sakura promised herself that she'd find out from her Hokage friend when Sasuke would be away from the Village on a mission and drop by, if only to meet her Goddaughter.
The light click of her heeled sandals and the tempo of the falling water droplets distracted the young Sannin from the additional set of footsteps rapidly approaching her. In fact, she was caught off guard when a low baritone called, "Are you ready to come home yet?"
Her back went ram-rod straight. How had he found her? Rotating slowly to face Sasuke, she propped her umbrella on her shoulder and replied, "No. And I won't be for quite some time. Harassing me won't make me come back any sooner, you know."
Tipping his wide-brimmed hat back to reveal his haggard, but still handsome face, he replied, "I think you've been gone long enough."
Green eyes narrowed at his audacity and she gripped her parasol tighter as she told him, "Not everything is about what you think or want, Uchiha." Without waiting for an answer, Sakura turned back the way she'd been headed and began walking once more.
A slow laugh rumbled from the tall man's chest as he let his hat fall back into place. Following along behind her, he said nothing further.
The pinkette frowned at the puddle-ridden stone path ahead of her and grumbled to herself. A sudden smirk grew across her face. If he wanted to be her shadow, so be it. She was going to make it miserable for him.
A pretty smile at the doorman and she strolled right into the hottest club in the city. The red eyed glare of the man in her wake had a similar result, though for a completely different reason.
Seating herself on the first open barstool, she carefully folded her parasol and leaned it against the bar at her feet. When the bartender turned to take her order, she asked sweetly for the strongest beverage he had. Sasuke's disapproving frown did nothing but strengthen her resolve. She was going to get drunk as hell.
Each one of them was happily entertained by the buzzed pinkette until they invariably said something stupid. Sasuke couldn't tamp down the smile that came to his face as the man who asked if her clothing would 'look as good on his floor as it did on her' had his roaming hand broken. Thoroughly. But, even her outright violence hadn't been enough to fend off the present guy, however, and this one seemed decent enough not to say anything unfortunate. Which led him back to just why he was pissed.
Sakura was laughing loudly, leaning heavily on the broad frame of the metal-worker who'd struck up a surprisingly coherent conversation with the female Sannin about the senbon seal he'd noticed on her wrist. A few moments later, their banter had dissolved into weapon-related humor and the inebriated pinkette was virtually sprawled in the large man's lap.
A low growl wiped the smile off of the civilian's fairly attractive face. His watery brown eyes widened almost comically as he was transfixed by the swirling pinwheels of Sasuke's Sharingan. His heavy frame slid sideways off of his stool in something akin to slow motion. Before his massive shoulders even hit the ground, he was out cold and Sakura had wheeled around and begun to pound vainly on the Uchiha's chest.
In a slurred voice she ranted, "Dammit Sasuke! I liked that one! Why won't you let me be," she hiccuped, "happy?"
Sasuke just grasped her struggling form by the arm and led her calmly from the club.
When he didn't so much as acknowledge her question, the pinkette railed, "I mean, why can't you let me have some fun for fuck's sake?" She giggled to herself as she shouted, "S'not like I can get pregnant!"
Her cloaked escort froze up at her words. He hissed, "Don't joke about shit like that, Sakura, it's not funny."
As they walked slowly down the rain-soaked side streets, she just waved and continued, "Why not? I think it's hilarious! I mean, I finally got you to realize I existed and BAM! All goes to shit! I think it's funny."
Sasuke just clenched his jaw. "I always knew you existed, Sakura."
Ripping her arm away from her guide, the young Sannin groused, "Whatever. Point is my life sucks. Period. No matter how hard I work or train or study, nothing ever just works out!" She spun and jumped in a puddle. "Hell, now I can't even have kids...I always wanted a family."
Watching her shoulders drop, Sasuke stepped up and grabbed her arm, leading her again. After a moment of silence, he ventured, "When I was still in Konoha...Tsunade told me you came up with a method to cure your...problem."
A shocked look fell across the drunken woman's face. She whispered, "How...? I didn't tell..." With a loud growl she pulled herself away from Sasuke again. She hissed, "So that's why you proposed before I left, huh? I get my childbearing back and I'm desirable again? Like a uterus for rent? Well, fuck you!"
That said she spun, swayed alarmingly and proceeded to walk the wrong way. Growling to himself, he cut the furious girl off. "I wanted to marry you before that, Sakura. I was going to propose that Christmas Day."
Her tense muscles went slack. Tearfully, she asked, "You what?"
Growing uncomfortable in the presence of her tears, he rushed, "I was going to propose to you in the nursery. I had it all ready. But that night--and..."
Before she could start crying in earnest, he took her face between his hands and told her, "I was going to choose you over reviving the Clan, Sakura. I promise, I was."
Shaking her head as tears ran down her flushed face, Sakura couldn't speak. She finally choked, "But you w-wouldn't e-even loo-k at me-e. I th-th--"
Sasuke growled and interrupted, "Because you kept crying when you saw me and I couldn't stand to wait and watch. By the time you calmed down, I thought...I thought you'd moved on."
A watery laugh bubbled from the kunoichi, "I c-could never move on, Sas-Sasuke-kun.Tha's why I le-eft." She paused for a moment to stymie her tears and whisper, "I couldn't watch you marry someone else. It would've killed me."
It was Sasuke's turn to shake his head, "I wouldn't have ever married anyone else."
Sakura hiccuped as she tried to laugh happily and threw her arms around Sasuke's neck.
Slipping his hand down into the pocket of his loose hakamas, he pulled free the little box that had been sitting in his dresser-drawer since the Christmastime two years before. He carefully pulled her arms back and watched her confused expression as he knelt on the wet street, still supporting her. Flipping open the tiny ring box to reveal the Uchiha diamond and ruby engement ring, he asked, "Will you marry me, Sakura Haruno?"
Her face numb from shock and crying, Sakura could hardly feel the smile she knew she was beaming. She could only nod and cling to him when he stood, slipping the ring onto her finger.
When she finally regained her voice, she asked, "Sasuke? How am I going to explain to our children that you proposed to me in the middle of Wave Country while I was drunk off my ass?"
Sasuke decided it was a fitting conclusion after their turbulent relationship, and told her so. Sakura just laughed and said any children of theirs would understand.
Epilouge: Déjà Vu is coming soon
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