Five years later

The apartment on Green Street was everything they had wanted, and after living there for two years, Sasuke knew they wouldn't be moving anytime soon. He'd sold his Konoha Park apartment after graduating and hadn't looked back. There was no doorman here, just a well-kept lobby (and an elevator that broke occasionally).

It was early evening when he parked and entered the building, nodding to Sasori, who was carrying his latest project outside under a large sheet. The building was full of artists and musicians who created various levels of noise. Deidara, who lived right below them, was always blasting music and causing all kinds of weird banging noises. It had taken a visit from an exasperated Sakura to get him to tone it down in the middle of the night.

The building felt like home to Sasuke more than any other place in almost twenty years. He took the stairs up to the third floor and let himself into their apartment. Sakura's dirty work sneakers were lying by the door, which meant she was home. Sasuke kicked off his shoes next to hers.

"I thought you weren't off duty until seven." Sakura appeared in the doorway wearing a tank top and shorts, her hair wet and tangled from a shower.

"Got off early." Sasuke grinned.

"I saw you over by the square this morning," Sakura said. "Would've said hi, but I didn't want to disrupt your patrol protocol." She grinned.

Sasuke shook his head. "You could've."

Sakura leaned against the doorway and cocked her head, looking at him. "I like you better in a police uniform than a t-shirt, no offense."

Sasuke smirked. "Good thing I'm in it all the time, then." As a relatively new officer, they had him working long hours every day. Not that he minded. Enrolling in the police academy after finishing college had been one of the best decisions he had ever made.

"Don't let that go to your head," Sakura warned.

Sasuke rolled his eyes and came up to her, putting an arm around her waist. "I like you better in a work apron than a tank top."

"Thanks, liar," Sakura said, rolling her eyes. Then she reached up and tugged on the collar of his t-shirt with a smile.

"Who's the liar now," Sasuke muttered, still smirking, and she laughed. "What time is it?"

"Five thirty. We have time." She smirked up at him and pushed her wet hair out of her face.

Sasuke threw off his t-shirt, not caring where it landed. He pulled her closer to him and kissed her. Sakura pressed her body against his. In a flash, they'd moved out of the little living room and into their bedroom.

"Itachi said seven thirty for dinner. We might want to get ready," Sakura said an hour later. They were lying in bed together, their shirts forgotten on the floor.

"Hn," Sasuke said. "He'll probably be late."

"What, has he been getting irresponsible? That's impossible."

"Not irresponsible, just some new priorities."

"Ah," Sakura said, a smile spreading over her face.

Itachi had gone away for a week with Hana Inuzuka, a girl he'd met through a case the previous year. She was a veterinarian based in downtown Konoha, and also happened to be Kiba's older sister. Other than being whip-smart, Hana was the opposite of Itachi: fiery, confrontational, and always ready to say what was on her mind. She could also read Itachi like a book, which Sasuke thought was one of the reasons they got along so well.

In many ways, their relationship reminded Sasuke of his own relationship with Sakura. She had been the one to introduce the two of them when Itachi was looking for a professional's knowledge regarding some court case that had to do with dogs. Sasuke was reasonably sure Sakura had known exactly what would happen after the two of them spent time together. In typical Itachi fashion, nothing had happened quickly, but a year after first meeting the two of them were in a confirmed relationship. Itachi preferred not to talk about it, and from personal experience Sasuke didn't blame him.

Itachi's newly established law firm was flourishing in Konoha, and he had reached an uneasy truce with his biggest rival in the business: Madara. The two of them had managed to avoid facing off in the courtroom, but Sasuke had a feeling Itachi hoped that day would come eventually.

"So we've got a few minutes, then," Sakura said, leaning her head against Sasuke's shoulder.

"You've got a bruise," Sasuke said, looking down at her foot.

"Tire iron," Sakura said. "Genma dropped a bunch of them on the floor, and I happened to be right there." She rolled her eyes, then glanced at his arm. "Oh, look. We match now." Sasuke also had a bruise, from an arrest they'd made the previous day. The guy had flailed around while Sasuke tried to cuff him and get him in the car. "Regretting the desk job now?"

"Tch. Definitely not."

Sakura smiled and then shook her head. "There's so much irony in this," Sakura said.

"In what?"

"This whole situation. I never would've guessed that when I was twenty-five, I'd come home after a day at the garage, take a shower, wait for my police officer boyfriend, and then we'd talk about work. It sounds so…fictional. I would've just laughed."

"Me too," Sasuke said. "Not so fictional anymore, though."

"Yeah." Sakura grinned. "Sometimes I still want to laugh, though."

Sasuke nodded. He did, too, at the pure wonder of the situation. Maybe he was getting sappier, he thought, and shook his head at himself.

"What." Sakura grinned.

"Nothing. This."

Sakura's phone buzzed, and she glanced at it. "Damn it, not again."


"Ino's freaking out for the hundredth time today. She gets engaged and the next day she's already debating about the flower arrangements."

"It's Ino. Of course she is," Sasuke said, amused.

"She and Shikamaru haven't even decided on a date yet. And she's got final exams for the cosmetology program. She's trying to find out if she can hire a band for ten different days, just in case."


Sakura texted Ino a quick reply and then tossed her phone to the side. She was quiet and Sasuke turned to her. An uncomfortable question had entered his mind as soon as she'd mentioned Ino, and he knew he should bring it up. "Are you…Do you want to settle on a date?"

Sasuke had proposed to Sakura earlier in the year, with a ring that was currently in a box on Sakura's dresser. They had told no one about it, because it wasn't a proposal for an immediate wedding so much as a promise for the future. Neither one of them had wanted to get married anytime soon; their careers were just starting, and their relationship was progressing the way they wanted it to.

But getting engaged had felt like the best way to banish any lingering doubt about their differing backgrounds for good. They had stopped worrying about those differences a long time ago, but Sasuke had wanted to make sure that Sakura knew what his feelings were, and vice versa. It was their agreement that they would face the future together, and they had decided that would stay between them.

Sakura turned to look at him. "I—No. Do you?"

"…No. You're sure?"

"Yeah. I'm happy where I am." She frowned. "Tell me if you're not, though."

"I am, too. It's…I've never been happier," Sasuke said, meaning every word.

"Me either." Sakura started to smile, and leaned her head on his shoulder. Sasuke relaxed into her, and they were silent for a few minutes. He savored moments like these, just him and Sakura alone together, the sun casting a golden glow through the window. It felt improbable, and yet maybe it was stereotypical in the end. The future was theirs, and finally they both knew it.