Author's note: Hey, y'all! Sorry about the long ass wait! I know that with so many stories that there is usually a wait between each chapter, but that's just how it works, and I'm sorry. I do intend to finish all these stories, but it's going to take a bit of time. Forgive me. But I simply can't focus on one single story, I grow bored too quickly for that. People have been asking me why they should read my stories if it takes so long to update, but that's just how it is. I hope that y'all will keep reading and enjoy, but I can't promise that it's going to change. In fact, it's not going to. I hope y'all will stick with me! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Warnings: Language, un-beta'd and OOCness.
Word Count: 5,281
"A demon?" Sakura whispers, the word sounding foreign on her lips. She grabs onto Madara's hand tightly, wearily. She felt bad for knocking him down, but he got back up easily enough.
Miyayoi nods, looking down at the darkened patch of grass, her eyebrows pulled together tightly with an intense look on her face. "Yes, whatever this demon is exactly, its trapped somewhere between our world and its own."
"What does that mean?" Tobirama asks, glancing down at the man shaped death patch before drawing red eyes back up to Miyayoi. "A demon?"
"In our world there is physical monstrosities of chakra, creatures so unbelievably powerful with a will of their own," Miyayoi says, crossing her arms over her chest. "These creatures we called Tailed Beasts. Our collective history as both humans and shinobi goes all the way back to the Sage of Six Paths. He did battle against an even larger, more powerful monster and broke it up into the Tailed Beasts of today, as our legends tell us, but this thing is not one of those creatures. This is a demon that came from a different dimension."
Sakura shakes her head in disbelief, everyone knew the story of the Sage of Six Paths, the father of chakra. It's all a bit hazy on how the Tailed Beasts came to be, just that they appeared around the same time as him. Sakura remembers hearing the story from Hashirama. There is a lot of speculation, but the Senju clan believes that they - like all clans - came from the Sage. The Uchiha too, at least Hashirama believed that part of the story, and that is why their fates are intertwined with one another so deeply.
The Beasts appeared alongside the Sage at the height of his popularity and roamed the world for many years doing as they liked. Cause a bit of mischief here and there, maybe, but mostly they were something scary in stories. They only really became a problem after the Sage grew old and died. Then, there was nothing - no one - powerful enough to keep them in check so they began to cause a major ruckus around the five great nations before they were what they are today.
It took many years, but people found ways of dealing with them. Mostly learning where they are hidden and avoiding it at all costs. The Tailed Beasts eventually grew tired with the world and found little holes to live in. They remained there, usually, without disturbing the world around them unless provoked otherwise. To Sakura, who understands that they are real, she has never seen one so this is a new experience.
This wasn't one of the Tailed Beasts, but it was a demon.
This is just their own opinions, nothing concrete. Some - probably all - of the clan families believe that they are more important than others, but it all means the same thing. Demons are real - tailed beasts, actually - and part of their world, but this is something else entirely. Something that they aren't necessarily ready for. Who is prepared to fight some sort of demon? Sakura certainly isn't, she knows that for sure.
"How do you know that?" Tobirama asks, red eyes locked onto the Uzumaki clan leader.
"It didn't have any tails," Izuna says, shaking his head at Tobirama. "I thought you were suppose to be a genius."
Tobirama glares at him, lips pressed into a straight line. "No, I meant about it being a demon not a tailed beast." He looks over at Miyayoi.
"The Uzumaki are very spiritual people," Miyayoi says. "Our family has many sealing arts that allow us to do some things that you wouldn't even begin to imagine," she says, her eyes sparkling mischievously. Her face falls neutral again. "This is a demon of some sort, and it's powerful."
Wearily, Tobirama asks, "How do you reckon?"
Miyayoi looks between the dead patch of grass where the demon's essence remains to Tobirama. "It's growing more and more powerful. It's not all the way here. Part of it isn't in our physical world. But the fact that it's able to manifest itself for short periods of time in a realm like our own which is protected by the Tailed Beasts. Either it's been so slowly growing over many years that the Tailed Beasts haven't noticed, or that it's so powerful that they can't stop it from coming through." She doesn't appear as though she believes that latter of the two suggestions she offered them.
"What's this about the Tailed Beasts?" Hashirama asks, eyebrows pulling together tightly. This conversation wasn't going in one steady direction.
"We believe that where ever the Tailed Beasts come from, the Sage left them here to protect us from unnatural things in our world. Such as demons," Miyayoi says. "It's something that my people have believed for as long as we have been passing down stories. Is it true? I don't know. Do I put stock in it? No, not really." She brings her arms up and crosses them slowly, looking contemplatively down at the demon. "It's not strong enough now, but it will be getting stronger."
"So what do we do?" Madara asks. He looks down at Sakura for a moment, dark eyes darkening in anger. A protective, possessive anger. That demon was so close to touching both of them, if Sakura hadn't thrown them out of the way. It was dangerous. He didn't like it.
Miyayoi sighs. "I don't know, for now. But, I will do some research and get back to you. At the moment, it's not strong enough to be in our world for very long, but we will have to keep a close eye on it." She looks down at the human shaped grass patch with a critical eye before turning away and walking toward the village without another word. The Uzumaki Elders are quick to follow her, mumbling quietly to one another in quiet contemplation, their collective brilliance shining in their eyes as they pass the dirt patch.
They are intrigued. And worried.
"Well," Izuna says, after the last of the elders colorful robes disappeared into the thicket, "that was a shit ton of not helpful."
"Izuna," Madara snarls, obviously not in the mood for jokes.
"No," Hashirama quietly disagrees, looking down at the dead patch. "I think it was more than we had before. We didn't get to ask where it came from or why she thought it was here, but if she knew she probably would have offered the information, so I think it's safe to assume that she doesn't know or won't speculate at the moment."
"Then we had more than before," Tobirama says slowly, eyebrows pulling together tightly, "but not as much as we would have liked."
Hashirama sighs, his entire body drooping at the action. "Unfortunately, yes. We will just have to hope that Lady Miyayoi will be able to uncover something in her research before this problem escalates beyond control."
And on that foreboding thought, they leave the forest. But not before Hashirama leaves a wood clone behind to watch the patch of grass, and the emanating threat that exudes from it.
"Are you alright?"
Sakura perks up from where she is sitting by her bedroom window. She has been sitting there for a long time. It was light out the last time she registered what was going on, now it's late into the night. Her skin on her face and hands have long since chilled in the cooling night. Winter was coming quickly. The days are growing shorter as the nights are growing longer. They are going to have to build covers for the windows to try and keep the cool out soon enough.
"I'm okay," Sakura says, turning away from the window and the cold air gently filtering in.
"How long have you been sitting there?" Madara asks, closing the door to their bedroom slowly. He slowly removes his shiori, hanging it up on the wall. His day has been long and hard and obviously having worn him down. Sakura is honestly surprised that she was still awake. She was usually very early to bed and early to rise - something her brothers did that rubbed off on her.
She didn't get up and train bright and early like they did, but she did wonder about or follow them around to watch them. Either way, she's surprised that she was still awake. Maybe it's because she's found that it is getting harder and harder for her to sleep without Madara, especially in the coming winter where the nights are colder and Madara is like a wonderful heater that seems all too content to wrap around her and protect her from the cold. Madara's body temperature is so high that he seems content still to sleep without a shirt with relative comfort but she has to wonder how long that is going to last.
Quietly, honestly, Sakura says, "A long time."
Madara stares at her, contemplative of her words, before nodding slowly. "Are you ready for bed?"
Sakura nods, grabbing onto the window frame and pulling herself to her feet slowly. Her ankles, knees and hips all creak at the action, inactivity has stiffened her muscles. She reaches her hands above her head and stretches up onto her tip-toes as far as she can go, listening to the various cracks along her arms and legs and spine.
Sakura changes into a sleep kimono and crawls into bed with Madara, wrapping his arms around and sighing in content. He was just so warm, she could cuddle up to him without any shame. She'd like to say that she's surprised at herself, but she's not. Sakura has found herself to naturally be a very trusting individual. Moreso with her brothers than anyone else, but there is something special about Madara. He was always... different. She loved him. It was hard to tell at first, since her love for him wasn't too obvious, but she really does genuinely love him.
Everything about today has made Sakura painfully aware of her future. Her older brother is going to be married next month, the Uzumaki are going to back the village and get it onto it's feet, and their lives are moving forward. This... thing with the demon also makes Sakura think about her future. Death is looming over them, and she knows that wasn't the last that they saw of it, but she is also aware that she's not in a position to be able to do anything.
But it also makes her think about the opposite. Not of death, but of life. Madara and Sakura briefly spoke about both wanting kids, but not much more than that. She knew that she wanted kids, but wasn't sure exactly where Madara's head was in all of this. She spoke with Miyayoi about it, but didn't go in depth other than her wanting them. She wasn't particular about what the gender was. Boys were all Sakura knew, but it would be interesting if she could raise a girl.
So long as she was a good mother, that was all she cared about. She wanted her children to love her as she and her brothers and husband did with their mothers. She wanted them to love her.
Having children would be the only direct blood connection that Sakura would have. She loves her brothers and Senju family to death, but they aren't her blood. Maybe she will feel different holding something that has a piece of her inside of it. Maybe she won't. She's not sure.
"Madara..?" Sakura whispers into the quiet night.
Madara had been completely silent, she wonders if he has fallen asleep. She would feel bad about waking him up. It feels like Madara is hardly ever getting a good night's sleep, what little sleep he can get, would be cruel to tare away from him.
"Yes?" Madara asks, his voice even, like he was awake the entire time.
Sakura, who's head was resting on his shoulder, lifts to see his eyes closed as he lays on his back. The moonlight peaking into the room makes his lashes cast long shadows against his face. She lowers her head back to his shoulder and scoots closer, to absorb some of his warmth.
"You want kids, yes?"
Madara huffs, amused. "Yes. I do."
"What do you want?" Sakura asks, watching the moonlight cast shadows across his bare chest.
Madara hums quietly for a moment, giving it serious thought. "I don't mind. I'm not particular." His words were simple, but there was a strange lilt to his voice that made it seem like he did actually have a preference but didn't want to say it.
Curious, Sakura asks, "Are you sure?"
Madara sighs. "Caught me. I actually want..." he hesitates for a second. "I want a girl. At least one."
Sakura is honestly surprised. She somehow thought that he would be more interested in a boy, a real heir to his family. But, maybe he thinks that it is inevitable that he have a son and is more interested in having a daughter.
"A girl..." Sakura mumbles, lifting her head to look at Madara again. This time, his eyes are open and he's look at her, studying her face for any sign of what she's thinking. "Why a girl?"
Madara blinks slowly, moving his eyes from her face to the ceiling above them. He seems to deeply consider her words, trying to explain his reasonings for feeling the way he does. Sakura waits quietly, not wanting to force him into giving an answer that isn't entirely truthful. She wanted to know what he really thought. When it came to how things should be, Madara would speak up without an issue, but when it is more personal, about thoughts or feelings, it became much more of trying task to get something out of him.
Sakura respected that he wasn't a man of many words and didn't feel the need to talk about his feelings all the time, but it was nice to hear what was one his mind every once and a while, especially when he's so thoughtful about it. They've been married for a few months now and he's still surprising her with how he thinks. She was almost certain he would have said a son, yet he did not and she didn't expect that.
Madara was fascinating to her.
"I've always been surrounded by boys, my brothers," Madara says slowly. "I helped raise them. But I never had a sister. And, I'm just more interested in a father-daughter relationship." He lets out a long winded sigh, looking toward the window, but Sakura can see that the tip of his ear has turned red in embarrassment. He wasn't food at any of this, but he was still willing to open himself up to her.
Sakura honestly appreciates it.
Sakura leans up, reaching out with one hand, turning his chin toward her so that she can look down at his face. Her husband looks adorably bashful about his feelings, like he wished he shouldn't have said anything. Madara stares out the window for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts and settle his embarrassment before dragging his eyes over to her, looking bashful.
Sakura smiles, leaning down to kiss his lips chastely before pulling away. Short strands of pink hair that has slowly been growing out since the incident that she has been trying to really forget about, dangle in the space between them and Sakura can't help but appreciate how beautiful her husband was. The moonlight only serves to pronounce his beauty. Sakura knew her husband was handsome, but she could stare at him in moonlight forever. His eyes are darker than black, his skin is a snowy white and his hair is half black half gray where the moonlight settles.
"Why are you thinking about kids?" Madara asks, reaching up and pushing some of the strands of pink hair behind her ear so that they can stare at one another without the pink obstructions in the way.
"I was thinking more about the demon in the forest," Sakura says softly. "He is death, and makes me think about it. But also life."
Madara's peaceful look melts away, to stoic indifference. "You needn't worry about that thing. It's not going to hurt you." Sakura wished she could be that certain about the situation, but she did appreciate the strength he had.
Sakura smiles at him, thinly. "I am happy."
Madara looks curious at that. "You are? The family has been treating you good?"
Sakura nods. "The Uchiha are kind."
Madara blinks slowly, tiredly. "They are being welcoming? They are listening to you?"
Sakura nods again. "Everyone has been very kind. I love Kikiyo."
"You've bonded with her since the very beginning," Madara notes. He shifts on the ground a bit, wrapping an arm around her waist so that she doesn't pull away from him. Sakura smiles a bit at that, feeling the heat in her cheeks that she quickly forces away. He's her husband, he's going to touch her. She can't be all ooy-gooy over every little caress. It's not cute.
"I like Kikiyo's strength," Sakura says, trying to distract herself from the heat in her face.
Madara hums in agreement. "Kikiyo is a very strong individual. She's fierce and loyal. I trust her explicitly when she is with you. I know she will look after you and protect you with her life. She will protect your body, but also your emotions."
Sakura makes a noise of confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Kikiyo is a very perceptive individual," Madara says, a touch of pride in his voice when talking about his cousin, "and she genuinely cares about people and tries hard to look after them. I know that she will be by your side. I trust her and I'm glad that you two hit it off."
Sakura smiles. "I really like her. She is a good friend." Madara hums again, softly.
"I'm happy to hear," Madqra says, adjusting his position one last time before his eyes slip closed and he relaxes fully, his breath all leaving his chest before evening out.
Sakura wanted to stay in this peaceful moment forever, but knew that Madara was tired, as he often is when he returns home for the night. He spends much of his days training, polishing his weapons and in meetings in regards to one thing or another. Barely any time is saved for himself. He must be exhausted. Maybe Sakura can pressure him into taking a bit of time for himself. It certainly wouldn't kill him.
Maybe she can get Izuna to help her.
And then Hashirama and Tobirama along with Izuna are all going to need some time for themselves. They must all be so tired.
Maybe Sakura can do something more to assist her brothers and husband. She's going to have to think about it. There has to be something.
Sakura settles her head back onto his shoulder and snuggles up to Madara's side, feeling his grip on her begin to relax as he starts to slip further and further to slumber, the burdens of the day weighing down on him.
"Goodnight," Sakura whispers, wrapping one arm over his midsection.
Madara mumbles something quietly, nothing coherent. Sakura closes her eyes and listens to the peaceful sounds of his gentle breathing until he falls asleep.
Sakura opens her eyes. Morning has just barely come to them. Madara is still sleeping in her arms, which is rare. She has always woke up early, but he's always been awake long before her. His days have always been much longer than her own. He must be letting himself sleep in a little bit. Sakura looks up at his face, seeing the sunlight now painting his pale skin a gentle sun kissed color. His impossibly long lashes swoosh across his high cheek bones as he dreams.
She's so envious. All of her brothers have the beautiful long lashes that she is positively envious of. She hopes that any of her children have more of their father's looks than her own. She has some pretty attributes, but there is something so beautiful about him. His family were blessed with good looks, as were the Senju, were she was not. She was pretty, but they were all beautiful.
Sakura looks down at Madara's chest and stomach. His body is strong and fit, but littered with scars from years and years of training and battle. Despite the scars, the discolorations and the roughness of certain parts of his skin due to healing, he was absolutely beautiful.
She must have run her finger over a particularly sensitive part of skin over his stomach, because his abs tighten as his stomach sinks in for a moment, trying to stop himself from laughing. Sakura pulls her fingers back a bit, looking up at Madara. His eyes are half opened and sparkling. There is a gentle look on his face. Not a smile, but a gentleness that settles over his person.
"Did I hurt you?" Sakura asks, green eyes wide.
"Tickles," Madara mumbles, his voice thick with sleep. He's blinking slowly, but appears to be becoming more and more aware.
Sakura's face breaks out into a smile. Happy that she didn't hurt him, she rests her head on his shoulder again and touches the spot on his abdominals. "What happened here? How did you get hurt?"
Madara looks down his body at the place she's touching, before lowering his head back onto his pillow. "I don't know. I'm not sure I remember. I've gotten plenty of injuries all my life, I don't really remember most of them." He brings his left arm up and puts it behind his head and adjusts the way he's laying into a more comfortable position.
That makes Sakura sad. She knows where almost every single scar on her body comes from. The one on her chest from healing Izuna. The one on her right knee from when she fell on a sharp rock when she was ten and scrapped it bad. The one on her left calf that she got when she was playing with her brothers kunai and dropped it on her leg and cut it up. And more.
But she knew them.
To not know where a lot of scars all over her body came from? It just makes her sad. She had to wonder if all of her brothers were in the same boat. To be covered in juries that they will never really remember where they all came from. It makes her so incredibly sad.
"I'm sorry," Sakura says softly, using her hand to cover the slightly discolored spot. "I'm so sorry that you got hurt."
"It wasn't your fault," Madara says easily. "Our families were in war. Injuries were to be expected."
"But that doesn't mean it's not wrong," Sakura says softly, looking sad. "I'm glad that the war is finally over. We can move beyond it and grow."
"I agree," Madara says. "I wouldn't have wanted to bring a child into this world knowing that they were going to have to go to war and die. My brothers were born into this wretched war and two of them died young. It's hard to imagine that any of this could been thought of as a good idea."
"War is wrong," Sakura says softly, resting her head on the curve of his shoulder. "No matter how you look at it. It's terrible that it went on for as long as it did. Too many people fell in such a pointless war..."
Madara hums, bringing his right arm up and around her shoulder, pulling her closer. "I agree. I think I've said before, but I knew it was going to end in my lifetime, but I didn't know it would end in peace. I thought it would end one of three ways. We killed the Senju, they killed us, or we destroyed each other. Peace wasn't an option as far as we were concerned."
"But it's here now," Sakura says softly, her smile returning.
"Yes," Madara breaths. "It is. Thankfully."
They settle into silence. Sakura stares out the window over Madara's body, just relishing in his warmth and protection. She always felt protected when she was with Madara. He's always been relaxing to her. Even when they were kids and first met, there was something about him that she just liked. There was a light in him, a goodness in him, that he carried with him even though his life was engulfed in darkness. He was young, but still surrounded by battle and death, yet he was still good.
Maybe, since forever, Sakura has always loved Madara. It's not something that is easy to explain. In her heart, there is a piece of him that seems like it could have always been there. Like he was meant just for her, and her for him. He has been nothing but understanding about all of the oddities that come with being associated with her, and has accepted all of them without hesitation. SHe's not sure she would be able to find someone else in the world who would do that.
Not that she would want someone else.
Sakura deeply loved him. She's not sure when it happened, or if the love truly was always there, but she loves him. He's comfortable and fits in her arms. He was everything that she wanted.
"Are you worried about Hashirama?" Madara asks after a long silence.
"I'm always worried about Hashirama-ani," Sakura says softly. "He is so loving, anyone could take advantage of him."
Madara hums, letting out a little sigh. "Well, yes. He's dumb enough to fall for just about anything, but Hashirama is smarter than you give him credit for. He knows how to care for himself, and he's self-sacrificing enough to sell himself for this village."
"Like you were willing to for your brother?" Sakura asks, lifting her head to look up at him. "When you agreed to marry me so that Hashirama would allow me to heal Izuna?" She elaborates in case he forgot.
Madara stares up at the ceiling, frowning. A crease forms between his eyes as he thinks about her words, he seemed to not appreciate them very much. Sakura's not sure what she said wrong, simply that whatever it is made him mad. Or at least, displeased.
Madara shakes his head. "No, it's nothing." He closes his eyes for a moment, contemplating something before letting out a long winded sigh, pulling his left hand from behind his head and rubbing at his face, seemingly annoyed. "I... didn't marry you entirely for Izuna. I felt bad for the wound you caused and while I didn't know the entirety of what would happen to you because of it, I was grateful for what you did and..." He opens his eyes, looking down at her. "And... I can't imagine you with anyone else."
"Can't imagine?" Sakura asks, perplexed.
Madara frowns. "No, I don't want you to be with anyone else. No one would be good enough for you."
Sakura laughs. "You sound just like Hashirama-ani." She grins at him.
Madara rolls his eyes, probably not appreciating the fact that he was being compared to her big brother, who is both his best friend and his greatest annoyance. Sakura knew that their relationship was special. They understood each other in a way that no one else could. Sakura knew from long ago that both of them had a connection that separated them from everyone else. It wasn't something that they would say, but just something about the way they would speak with their eyes and just understand.
Sakura knew that there was something between them. She could just feel it. She has to trust that it's only a good thing. Their connection to one another is what helped them to end this war, Sakura fervently believes that.
"You're right," Madara says, sounding genuinely disgusted by it.
Sakura laughs again. She snuggles closer to him, wishing that they could spend all day like this. She was worried that she would have nightmares about the demon last night, but like in all cases since marrying him, Madara has managed to fend off the nightmares and keep her feeling safe with him. She hopes that she was a tenth of a relief to him that he was to her. He deserved it, especially since he was so wonderful.
"What's the plan for today?" Madara asks, letting out soft yawn, trying hard to keep it quiet. His lungs expand, pushing his ribs against his skin before he settles again, stretching his legs out, letting them crack before settling back in place.
"Stalk the Uzumaki girls to find out which will be nice to Hashirama and love both of our families," Sakura says, letting out a little groan. She wished that she could just lay in bed with him all day. "I'm going to recruit the girls to help me."
Madara smiles faintly, amused. "Have fun."
"It's not for pleasure," Sakura pouts.
"Then work hard," Madara amends, still amused.
Sakura grins, curling closer to him, not wanting to get up just yet. Not because she didn't want to make sure that her brother was in good hands, but because Madara was so comfortable and it's rare for her to wake up with him still there with her. She wanted to relish in this moment just a little bit longer. She wanted every single moment between them to last forever.
"Just a few more minutes?" Sakura whispers, not wanting to let him go.
Madara rolls onto his side, wrapping his arms around her rightly, seeming to feel the same. They curl around one another, and Sakura closes her eyes. If it's them and her brothers, somehow, Sakura feels that they will be able to stand up against anything that dares to threaten them. Sakura doesn't know how she knows - and does she ever? - but she knows that something is going to happen. Something is going to happen, she can feel it in her bones. Something is going to happen and she's going to need to be strong. They all will.
Someone is going to try to destroy them. Someone is going to try and destroy them, because that demon being here means that something absolutely terrible over the horizon. Something is going to tare them apart. Or try to. But she's not going to let them. She's not going to let whatever, or whomever, this terrible feeling is, to destroy them.
Even if it's family.