The Final Chapter – Still Here
"I dream you're still here."
"What do you want from me?" And looking up at him in that moment, the answer came to her and she knew. She knew. This was what Sasuke needed. The final push. She believed it would be the thing to finally heal him. Her hands tightened in his hair at the nape of his neck and she was suddenly tight with anticipation. The words stuck in her throat and unable to come out just yet. Sakura took a deep breath. "Come home, Sasuke."
Sasuke looked wholly unsurprised, but his grip around her loosened. "Why would I do that?"
"Because your family is there, and we love you."
"My family is dead."
"No. We aren't. Naruto, Kakashi-sensei and I - we're your family now. You have to accept that. I...I'm your wife."
Sasuke blinked. "That wasn't real."
Sakura glared up at him, pushing away. "Oh? But everything else was?"
Sasuke looked away from her, his jaw clenched tightly.
"When are you going to stop feeling sorry for yourself?!" Sakura almost yelled, furious but not sure why.
Sasuke's head snapped back to her. "What did you say?!" he demanded.
"You blame me for ending the Infinite Tsukuyomi when you just admitted it wasn't real, you refuse to accept we care about you. Either you're feeling sorry for yourself or you're idiot. So much for the genius of the Uchiha clan."
"Sakura." Sasuke seethed. "You have no idea what you're talking about."
"No, this time I do. I want what's best for you, Sasuke-kun. I want you to be happy."
"And you think going back to Konoha will make me happy? To that place?!" he was yelling now. "There's nothing for me there!"
Sakura flinched back. "Am I nothing to you?"
Sasuke opened his mouth and then snapped it shut.
Silence fell over them, Sasuke looking down at Sakura, Sakura staring down at her hands. "Am I wasting my breath, Sasuke-kun?"
Sakura sighed and moved to the other side of the room, and lifted her backpack and cloak from the floor before she went to the door, her heart beating painfully in her throat but before her hand could close around the doorknob Sasuke grabbed her wrist.
"You can't leave."
Sakura's green eyes looked over her shoulder at him. "Why not?"
His grip tightened around her wrist. "You can't."
"Come home with me."
Sakura let out an angry, shaky breath, pulling his wrist from his grip before she pulled the door open. Sasuke slammed it shut, his hands on either side of her now, caging her between him and her exit, her bag in her hand and her other still clutched around the doorknob.
"What are you doing, Sasuke-kun."
His hands, flat against the door clenched into fists.
"Stay." he breathed tensely, unable to say what he wanted to.
"Come home with me."
"No." his hands slipped from the door, intending to let her go, but instead they slipped around her, pulling her back against him. Sakura's bag dropped to the floor at their feet as she laid back against his chest. Sasuke leaned down, kissing the side of her neck as he'd done so many times before and...in his dream. His hands fisted in her shirt and Sakura turned her head up and to him and Sasuke didnt stop himself from kissing her. Sakura gave a little gasp as their lips connected, moving together slowly as if they had all the time in the world. His hands slipped down and underneath her shirt, caressing his calloused hands against her pale skin. Sasuke tongue slipped into her mouth, sliding against her's and Sakura gave a moan, turning around in his arms before pressing her body tightly against his, her hands trailing up his chest and into his hair, gripping it tightly.
Sasuke hands found the zipper of her shirt easily, zipping it down before pushing it down her shoulders, fingers guiding it down her arms, skimming her skin. Next he pulled her vest over her head easily.
"Sasuke-kun..." Sakura whispered, pulling his head down so he could kiss her again. Sasuke's hands slipped around her hips, the tips of his fingers ghosting up her spine. Sakura pulled away, pushing his shirt up and Sasuke yanked it over his head, tossing it away. She fumbled with the bindings around her breasts, hands shaking as she tried to undo the knot. Sasuke leaned down, teeth biting through the fabric quickly before he pulled it from her with an easy tug. Sakura kissed his chest, trailing soft kisses up to his neck, her fingers skimming the sensitive spot where the cursed seal used to be. Sasuke stiffened at the contact before he relaxed and pulled her against him, her hard nipples gliding along his chest making Sakura gasp again, her eyes snapping up to his. Sasuke trailed his hands up her arms, shoulders, along her neck before finally taking her face in his hands and kissing her once more. Sasuke had never been like this with her before. Not in the Infinite Tsukuyomi and not on their wedding night. This was different. In a wonderful and irrevocable way. One of his hands slipped away from her face and around her waist, guiding her to the bed. Sakura pushed herself back onto the bed and Sasuke crawled over to meet her, hovering over her with his wonderful intensity.
"Sakura...have you?" he swallowed, his eyes wanting to move away but seemingly glued to her's. She shook her head once. "Only with you."
Sasuke have a few slow nods, his hair caressing her cheeks.
"Are we going to?"
Sasuke's lips tilted into an almost barely smile before he lowered his body between her legs and kissed her again without answering her. Maybe that was an answer in itself. He brushed his lips along her's, over her cheek, along her jaw and down her neck. Lingering on the spot he loved so much.
'I'll never leave you.' Sasuke paused, squeezing his eyes shut. She couldn't promise that. Not in a dream and not now. If he loved her she would die. Everyone did. He made to push himself up and away from her but his arms wouldn't obey and his will crumbled entirely when her hands slid into his hair again. Sensing his hesitation, Sakura pulled him up so he could look at her.
This time, he did manage to look away because he couldn't stand the look in her eyes. Sakura's hand moved to his jaw and turned him back to her.
She was quiet for a long moment before she said anything and when she did, Sasuke wished she hadn't. "I love you."
And he couldn't say anything. He didnt even move. Sasuke just stared down at her, almost frozen. Sakura pulled him down to her, kissing him again and Sasuke seemed to wake up again. He kissed her back hard, his mouth firmly against her's. His hand moved down her chest, cupping her, his palm pressing into her peak.
Sakura gave a low moan into his lips, her lips bucking up. Sasuke's chest rumbled with a groan and he shifted his hips, his hardness pressing against her. Sakura's hands gripped his shoulders and she rolled his hips up again, grinding herself against him.
"Sakura," Sasuke groaned against her mouth, both his hands slipping between them to push her pants down. Sakura lifted her hips to help him before he yanked his own off. Sakura watched him, watched his erection spring free as heat rushed to her cheeks. Sasuke hovered over her again, both now utterly naked. His darkdarkdark eyes staring into her green ones.
"Sakura." he breathed her name, his lips finding her's again, his hands guiding her legs apart, and around him. Warm hands sliding down her thighs and up her hips.
Sakura jumped when she felt him at her entrance. Sasuke took her hands, gripping them in his other either side of her and then all at once - he pushed in. Sakura made a pained sound, her eyes squeezing shut and her body tensed beneath his. Slowly, the pained look eased from her features and Sakura whispered one word, "Move."
He did. Sakura's eyebrows shot up in surprise and a little cry escaped her lips. Sasuke let out a sharp breath through his nose before shoving himself back in. And then they began to move together. Hesitantly at first and then erratically, as if their bodies suddenly remembered, sliding together, Sakura making the most blissful sounds beneath him, their fingers - entwined, gripping together for what felt like agonizing, glorious hours until Sakura arched from the bed, a cry of his name leaving her lips and Sasuke's body tensing, his release exploding from him until he collapsed on top of her.
Sakura's arms went around him, hugging him to her and after a long while, Sasuke lifted his head to look at her.
"Your eyes," Sakura murmured, her lips tugging into a smile.
Sasuke blinked, his eyes shifting from red back to normal.
"Come home with me."
Sakura gave him a sad smile. "Never?"
"...I don't know."
"We could be happy, in Konoha." She said, turning the words he'd used on her in the other world back on him.
But his answer was still the same. "Will you think about it?" talking about it again would get them nowhere.
"For me. Just...think about it."
Sakura grinned, seemingly satisfied.
Sasuke laid his head into the crook of her neck. "One month. I'll be in Sora-ku."
"Alone?" Sakura asked softly and Sasuke nodded once. "And then what? What if you decide that you don't want to return to Konoha with me?"
I've already decided, he thought - but he didnt say it. Instead, he said nothing. Because in that moment, Sasuke had no answer for her.
Eventually, days later, Sakura returned to Konoha. Alone.
Naruto met her at the gate, his blue eyes clear and sad. Sakura told him the story over ramen, and Naruto wasn't happy.
"What if you go to Sora-ku and he's gone?" Naruto asked. "Then I'll find him, Naruto." Sakura said simply.
"You shouldn't have let him go."
But she wasn't worried, not yet. Sasuke wouldn't leave. Not when he'd promised her. Honestly, she prayed he would return. Every night, she climbed into bed alone and it was like Sasuke was a ghost next to her. There but not really. She was alone. She would dream that he was there and then he would slip from her grasp with those two words she hated the most from his lips. Thank you. And then - just like before. He would be gone. And she would wake up, the bed empty, the morning shadows in the room reminding her of just how alone she was. Naruto had been right. She'd made a mistake letting him go. So, Sakura threw herself into work at the hospital. There was a bug going around Konoha and the hospital was crazy with it and by the third week, of working hours on end, Sakura caught the bug too.
She was pacing around her apartment after Shizune had sent her home when Naruto arrived sometime later.
"What if I can't make the trip to Sora-ku?" Sakura asked and then she groaned. "My back is killing me." Her palm pressed into her lower back and she gave a pained sigh.
"Maybe you should go and see Tsunade-baa?"
Sakura rubbed her palm over her brow. Her head was pounding too.
"If you're still sick...I could go with you. Sasuke wouldn't have to see me."
Sakura didnt answer him, "Let's go and see Tsunade-sama."
Naruto couldn't accompany her to Sasuke's. The deal was that she had to go alone. Tsunade would concoct something up and she would get better.
Sakura and Naruto walked side-by-side through Konoha. The village was almost completely rebuilt from Pain's attack and the villagers smiled and waved as they passed. Quiet. Warm. Peaceful. Like home was supposed to be.
"Do you think Sasuke is going to come back?"
Sakura was quiet for a long time. "I don't know."
"He loves you, you know."
Sakura shook her head.
"He has since the Chuunin exams."
Now she turned to look at him. "Naruto-"
He put a hand up, "Hear me out, Sakura-chan. Think about it. After the fight with Orochimaru, didn't Sasuke change?"
Sakura frowned. "Yeah. The cursed seal did that."
Naruto pursed his lips, trying to think of something. "Ah! After Itachi used his Sharingan on Sasuke and Tsunade-baa healed him, he let you hug him."
Sakura rolled her eyes. "What? That doesn't mean he loved me."
"No? After I left he kissed you."
"Are you insane? Sasuke-kun never kissed me then."
"What happened, then?" Naruto's hands went to his hips.
Sakura blushed. "Well, after you guys left, he put his arms around me and we just stayed like that for a while...until he fell asleep."
Naruto lifted his eyebrows as if to prove his point and Sakura waved it off and continued walking.
"What will you do if he says no?"
Sakura smiled. "I'll tell him exactly what you just told me."
"Sakura." Tsunade said, eye twitching in annoyance.
"What is it, Tsunade-sama?"
She'd just finished giving Sakura a checkup when her face twisted in undeniable anger.
"I'm going to kill that bloody Uchiha." she seethed, slamming her palms down on the desk so hard that it cracked. Sakura jumped and paled, realization of what Tsunade was getting at dawning on her. "No, but - no."
"Yes. You're -" Tsunade's eyes flipped to Naruto, "Get out, Naruto."
"What's wrong with Sakura-chan?" he asked with a frown, "Is it a ...female thing?"
"OUT!" Tsunade lifted a stapler off of her desk and tossed it at him. Naruto jumped, dodging it before scurrying out of the office. Tsunade's brown eyes turned back to Sakura.
"About three weeks along."
Sakura let her head fall back against the wall. "I can't do this yet." she couldn't give him another reason to hate her and if Sasuke felt like she was pushing him into a corner, he would hate her.
"Are you going to tell him?"
"I don't know." which seemed to be the answer of the day. "I don't want to force him into coming back."
"Then we'll just have to make him a deal he can't refuse."
Sasuke had watched Sakura leave before he'd turned and made his way to Sora-ku. For days, her scent clung to him. Something fresh and clean with just a hint of something sweet. Sasuke already knew that he couldn't return, he had no interest in becoming Hokage or destroying Konoha. Staying away seemed like his best option. So, why, in the late nights he found himself thinking about his old home. Thinking of Team 7 days, long forgotten.
Hating Sakura at this point seemed redundant after what happened between the two of them that day...and the days that followed. He still blamed her and couldn't forgive her, but Sasuke wasn't sure that he hated her anymore...and that was a start.
In the following weeks, Sasuke made alternative plans. The best one seemed to stay in Sora-ku, at least for a while. Among Uchiha things. Somewhere he felt like he belonged. Except...he didn't feel that, strangely. Even with the family nekos around him, Sasuke felt like there was something missing. Naruto had been right about one thing and Sasuke had realized it too late. He felt alone without them. Naruto, Kakashi and Sakura. But it still wasn't enough to get him to go back.
Sakura arrived in the morning of the one month mark. She wasn't alone, Naruto didn't enter Sora-ku with her but Sasuke knew he was there.
Sakura was tense, her hands clasped in front of her, a scroll between them and a room of space between the two of them.
"You think that the two of you are enough to drag me back there?" was the first thing he said and Sakura seemed to relax. "Naruto is here for me, though he would like to see you."
Here for her? Sasuke's eyes narrowed. He knew Naruto had been in love with Sakura for a while, but he had no business here. Sasuke's eyes slid over Sakura slowly. She was acting strange too.
"Maybe later." Sasuke said evasively.
"So? Did you consider it?"
Sasuke's eyes went to the scroll and Sakura gave a nervous laugh. "Right. This is from Tsunade-sama."
Finally, she crossed the room and held it out to him. Sasuke took it from her and rolled it open. It was a hand written message from the Hokage ordering him back. Saying that he would be a valuable asset to Konoha and that they were giving him...the Police Force.
Sasuke swallowed. His father's Police Force. Damn that old woman for doing this to him. Bringing honor back to his clan...the Police Force was a huge part of it. He could just imagine that old witch, leaning back in her chair in the Hokage office with a smug smile. 'Checkmate, brat.'
If he didn't accept it would make it seem like he no longer cared about the Uchiha name. The question was, did he care? Yes. Being Uchiha was everything to him and the Hokage knew it. Sasuke laughed slowly, shaking his head.
"What does it say?" Sakura asked curiously, coming around to lean around his arm to see it. Sasuke allowed her to read through the Hokage's note. He watched her green eyes scan over it quickly and she gave a gasp.
"What are you going to do?"
"I have no choice." he rolled the scroll shut and slipped it into his bag.
Sakura stilled. "What?"
Sasuke sighed sharply. He'd hoped to do this casually without anyone making a big deal out of it. He pulled his backpack onto his back.
"You packed..." all at once it dawned on her. Sasuke had decided to come home before she'd even arrived.
"You're coming home?"
A paused. "Aa."
Sasuke gave her a once-over, frowning. His eyes paused on her chest before meeting her eyes.
"Sharingan," Sakura told him and his face paled a little before his eyes shifted to red. He didnt look her over again - his eyes went straight to her stomach and he froze, his hands shaking at his sides. His eyes wide, eyebrows drawn down.
Sakura stepped up to him, taking his face in her hands. "Okay?
Sasuke swallowed, red eyes moving up to her's. "Aa." there was a look on his face that she couldn't identify. Almost sad.
Sasuke leaned down and kissed the side of her neck. "Sakura."
Immediately, she stiffened and Sasuke put his arms around her. "Thank you." he said again. His arms were tight around her, still shaking and his head buried in her neck. She was giving him something and she didn't even understand how much it meant to him.
Sakura swallowed. "You love me, don't you?" a question, and it took Sasuke the longest time to answer. "...Aa."
He'd admitted it. And that was a start too. For both of them.
x-x-x-x- THE END.
I won't leave you hanging though. Here's what happens to Team 7 after this story ends
Naruto is Hokage for 25 years before he steps down and Konohamaru becomes the seventh Hokage. Naruto and Hinata are married three years into his Hokage period, and they have three children of which only one gets her bloodline limit and another looks almost exactly like Kushina.
Kakashi starts dating at the insistence of his students and eventually ends up getting married...to Anko. They have one kid.
Sasuke and Sakura get married, officially, four months after he returns to Konoha. Their first child is a boy and Sasuke decided to name him Itachi. Over the course of their life, they have five kids. All inherit his Sharingan.
Hope you guys enjoyed Dark Paradise!
Don't forget to leave a review and check out my new fic: One Step Closer, which will be updated this week and then every Monday following that.
Thanks for sticking by me through this fic! Love you guys!