As soon as the front door closed silently and securely behind him, Sasuke removed his shoes and hurried up the stairs, years of training and serving as a high-ranking shinobi enabling him to move completely soundlessly.
He thought he had never been more grateful for that particular trait.
Walking down the wide hallway, he stopped upon reaching the room at the very end, gently pushing the double doors open.
His stealth soon turned out to have been of little use; she was still awake.
Crossing the room to where she was lying in bed, skin and hair damp from what he could only guess had been recent bath, he sat down beside her, the mattress dipping slightly with his weight.
"Hi," she whispered, sensing his presence, placing a hand over his thigh in greeting.
She smiled softly, but her eyes remained closed, her breathing light and shallow, the small crease in her forehead speaking of her discomfort.
A gentle breeze blew in from the open window, bringing along the scent and sound of fresh rain pattering against the damp soil.
"How are you?" he asked.
She wrinkled her nose. "Same."
Heaving a sigh, Sasuke leaned over her small figure, brushing wet tendrils of hair from her forehead and pressing a tender kiss to her temple.
Sakura groaned. "Why do you smell like ramen?"
Jerking away, the Uchiha cursed his best friend in a manner so creative, that it made his wife laugh, the mattress shaking lightly with the evidence of her mirth.
"I'll be back," he promised, stalking into the bathroom, practically ripping his clothes off in irritation.
As he stood under the hot spray of the shower, cursing a certain knuckleheaded Hokage some more, Sasuke wondered when it would all end.
Sakura was almost four months pregnant, which meant that she had been throwing up her insides, every morning, without fail, for at least two. She had said it was normal—and he believed it was, truly, especially since he had absolutely no knowledge of anything pregnancy-related—but when it stopped her from ever leaving the bed before ten, and yet always ensured she was up before seven, Sasuke was slowly, but surely, losing his mind.
He hated seeing her in pain, discomfort, and any other state that might hinder the appearance of a smile on her pretty face. He absolutely loathed them all. And, sometimes, he felt as though he hated himself even more, for not being able to chase them away.
From the very beginning, he'd made it his top priority to sit by her side throughout it all, holding her hair and stroking her back, carrying her back to bed and cooking her breakfast once her stomach settled. He was pampering her, she'd claimed once, but he'd disagreed. He wasn't the unfeeling bastard people seemed to be under the impression he was. He may not shout it out for the entire world to hear—and something told him most wouldn't believe him even if he did—but he loved Sakura with every inch of his being, and, perhaps more importantly, she hadn't landed in this situation by herself. He'd helped—a great deal—so he was more than willing, and even adamant, to shoulder half of the responsibility and more, were he able.
Stepping out of the shower, he quickly dried his body and ran a towel roughly through his hair, hurrying to return to her side.
He thought he could have strangled Naruto when he requested his presence at an emergency council meeting that morning, and then swung a punch at him every single time he insisted it was necessary despite Sasuke's uncharacteristically loud protests.
When he found out Sakura was pregnant, and then realized her morning sickness was so violent, the Uchiha had requested to be transferred to office duty and not sent out on any mission unless it was literally the end of the world. Being a high-ranking ANBU captain and one of the Hokage's right-hand men, he had a feeling that the only reason why his wish was actually granted was because Naruto was just as protective of Sakura as himself, but it was also true that there was never a shortage of paperwork for him to complete. And, aside from a couple of trips back and forth to his or Naruto's office during the week, Sasuke could do most of the work at the Uchiha Mansion, which enabled him to be there for Sakura in everything that she needed.
Including, apparently, accompanying her to and picking her up from the hospital, where she insisted she could still work for a couple of more months.
Sasuke believed she was crazy.
But then again, he justified, that might be one of the reasons why he was so much in love with her vivid personality, and so, he had to bite his tongue and suffer through it.
Pulling on a pair of sweatpants and a simple t-shirt, he strolled back inside the bedroom, climbing on the other side of the king-sized bed.
As soon as he had properly lain down, Sakura moved to curl up against him, making herself small and warm, burying her face into—what he had a vague suspicion was her favourite part of his body—the crook of his neck, while he shifted to accommodate her better by lifting his arm and wrapping it around her lithe waist.
"You smell nice," she sighed against the skin of his neck.
In response, Sasuke began to soothingly run a hand up and down her curved back. He had discovered, very early on, that it seemed to help, and he had done it every morning since.
They sat in silence for a while, wrapped up in each other's arms. Had it not been for the subtle signs he could read so easily, Sasuke could have easily been fooled into believing that she had fallen asleep. But he saw the way her little hand clenched in the fabric of his shirt every so often and felt her uncomfortable puffs of breath on the skin of his neck as she fought with the nausea—and he was reminded, yet again, of how much he hated the fact that she had to go through such a situation.
As the wind intensified outside, the rain falling down more powerfully, he tugged the thin comforter from where it had been kicked off at the end of the bed, covering her snugly up to where his arm was curled around her middle.
Finally, after what had to be at least another half an hour, Sakura's breathing evened out, and the tension dissipated from her muscles.
"Better?" he murmured against her forehead.
"Yeah," she sighed, nodding. "…Our little girl appears to feel very comfortable with you. Not so much with me."
Sasuke smirked, catching on to the jibe. "That's because our little boy already has a favourite."
"Are you tired?" he asked.
If his math was correct—which he was inclined to believe it was—she'd been up for a little over four hours. She wasn't getting enough sleep, he was sure of it, and constantly battling nausea couldn't be exactly relaxing.
He was proved right when she nodded.
"Try to sleep for a bit," he encouraged, running his hand down the length of her spine. "It'll have gone away by the time you wake up."
"Mm," she agreed, moving even closer—wrapping an arm around his neck, sneaking a leg between his, pressing her face snugly into his throat. And, as he tightened his grip in accord, Sasuke was struck with a sudden realization.
He held her to him, closed his eyes, and saw his future unfold before him, endless possibilities spilling out, forming scenario after scenario, one more beautiful than the last; and he wondered when exactly it had been that this life—this beautiful, peaceful, complete life that he would change for nothing in the entire world—had become his. When he had stopped being the child who had lost his entire family, when he had stopped being a murderer and a traitor or the last member of a dead clan on whose shoulders rested more responsibility than some men had to face in an entire lifetime. When he had stopped being the teenage boy who had felt so betrayed by everybody in his life, that his last and only resort was to betray everybody in turn.
When he had stopped being everything he had once hated, and instead became this man. This man that was happy. This man that looked forward to waking up in the mornings and coming home in the evenings. That dreaded the beginning of a long mission, however much it was filled with adrenaline, and could hardly wait for its end. This man man that couldn't walk beside his wife without reaching for her small hand, that couldn't say goodbye without giving her a kiss; this man that would rather swallow his pride and apologize, even if he had done nothing wrong, rather than spend the night on the couch, without her warm body beside him.
He didn't know. He couldn't recall the transformation. All he could do was look at himself in the mirror and confess that it would literally kill him to go back to the person he had used to be.
She'd transformed him completely and turned his life upside down in the best possible of ways. Everything he had now, everything that kept him going, that made him peaceful, was thanks to her.
She had been the one whose light had been so bright it had chased the shadows and the ghosts of an entire clan away. She had been the one to release him of his painful past.
And she'd done it all selflessly—with just the simple hope that, someday, she would manage to bring him happiness.
She'd succeeded—in more than one way.
Through the multitude of reasons why he would be forever grateful and indebted to her, Sasuke reasoned, that would probably be the most significant one. That she'd pulled him out of the darkness and given him not only a future, but a present.
The young Uchiha had never quite lived simply for the moment until he welcomed her in his life.
And, small discomforts and little problems aside, Sasuke knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he had never been happier with his present than he was in this very second, with her gently dozing off in his arms and his own eyes growing heavy, with the sound of raindrops pattering against the roof crooning in his ears and the cool breeze wafting through the window brushing against his skin, and with no plans for the rest of the day other than to be lazy in bed and cook her favourite meals and be yelled at because being pregnant did not mean she was disabled and hear all about how she was planning on painting the nursery pink because their baby would most definitely be a girl.
And to love her.
Because, as he was slowly discovering, that was the most important act he could accomplish.
A/N: Was in the mood to write something mushy, for the lack of a better word, and so this came out!