Carrying On

Optional Soundtrack:

505, Arctic Monkeys

My Propeller, Arctic Monkeys

Magic, Coldplay

The Hyuuga girl is going to burst any day now, and all of Konoha is holding its breath.

Despite her somewhat precarious state, Naruto continues to parade her around the village, showering her with such relentless affection that Sasuke is almost embarrassed on poor, shy Hinata's behalf. She has come a long way, though: these days, the only time he sees her stutter is when Naruto sweeps her up into his arms and carries her through the village streets. Hinata insists that she is quite capable of walking on her own, and goes so far as to call Sakura in to back her up. And for the most part, the dobe has been uncharacteristically mindful of Sakura's advice when it comes to the health of his wife and unborn child. However, whenever the topic of public transportation comes up, he suddenly becomes inexplicably, fantastically deaf.

Eventually, it reaches the point where Sakura smacks the dobe upside the head and accuses him of being too impatient to deal with Hinata waddling in his wake while he bolts around the village. She's wrong, of course, because it has never been an issue of impatience. It has more to do with the fact that Naruto has managed to lose both his parents in a childbirth gone terribly wrong, even if the circumstances of his birth were very different. Sasuke is pretty sure that behind all of the stupid grins, the wisecracks, and the carrying on, now that Naruto is finally so close to having a family again, he is secretly just terrified to let Hinata out of his sight, out of his arms.

Sasuke can understand the sentiment.

And perhaps Sakura kind of understands, too, because as soon as Naruto whisks Hinata away, she leans her head on his shoulder and gazes at their silhouette, shrinking into an overly perfect sunset.

"They're cute, Sasuke-kun."

"Tch, that dobe."

In the distance, they see Naruto lean in to rub his nose against Hinata's in an embarrassingly affectionate gesture. Typical. Beside him, he feels Sakura smile into his shoulder. Then she lets out one of her quiet, little sighs, one that blurs the gossamer line between content and wistful. It occurs to him, then, that even if she never mentions it, perhaps such ridiculousness is something that she wishes for herself? Theirs had been a quiet sort of courtship, built on not-technically-love-letters and stolen moments and distant longing, a courtship that never became explicit until one day, she found a ring on her finger and his heart in her hands. It was certainly not the type of romance her younger self would have dreamed of. Now she is older, stronger, braver, smarter, wiser…but that does not mean her dreams have changed. After all, despite his countless sins and blatant character flaws, his wife has never been able to let go of her dream of being his.

Now that she is, is it everything she dreamed it would be?

Belatedly, he realizes that she has already straightened up and started to walk, only stopping when she notices he hasn't moved.

"Sasuke-kun," she says, curling insistent fingers around the crook of his elbow and tugging, "let's go home."

"No." He stands firm and squeezes his elbow into his side, just enough that her hand is trapped exactly where it is. She tilts her head to look up at him, perplexed. "Tonight," he announces, "I'm taking my wife to dinner."

He remembers her as a silly, long-haired genin, remembers her shrill squeals and painfully transparent crush on an arrogant, undeserving brat. But his wife is no more that girl than he is that boy. So although her eyes widen in such wonder that he feels guilty for never suggesting this before, the moment passes so quickly that he wonders if he only imagined it. Before he knows it, she is a grown woman again, impossibly familiar but somehow still a mystery.

"Oh," she says, a small smile flitting across her face, followed by a subtle flush in her cheeks. "So…where are you taking her?"

Her small stature is a dangerous weapon, he thinks, because when she looks up at him through her lashes like that, he has this urge to take her straight home and skip dinner entirely. But he has already stated his intentions quite clearly, so his pride demands that he follow through. As she waits for him in the dying light, her pink hair is painted almost orange, and the little crimson flecks reflected in her eyes just make her irises seem that much more green, a piercing celadon unlike anything he can ever find in his travels.

"-Ichiraku," he says too quickly, surprising even himself because that was not part of the plan. The plan was somewhere a little more special than Ichiraku, somewhere with a table for two in a quiet corner, somewhere where the whole shinobi world can't just walk by at any moment.

She bites her lip, clearly suppressing a laugh. "Ichiraku? Really?" But she smiles and grabs his hand. "Well, let's go!"

So he follows, surly and silently cursing himself all the while. She chatters on about how wonderful this is, because Ichiraku is such a Team 7 thing, and how it's silly but as a genin she'd always secretly dreamed about going on a date with Sasuke-kun to Ichiraku, always, and there was actually that one time they came really close because Naruto guzzled those chocolate-flavored laxatives without realizing they were laxatives, silly Naruto, but then Ino came to foil her plans, which meant that Chouji and Shikamaru came, and then it really wasn't a date, but this! This is a real date, Sasuke-kun…

By the time Teuchi has raised his eyebrows, amused, and told them their bowls are on the house ("A date? Finally," he says), the rosy flush is only barely fading from her cheeks. And even after they have each slurped down several bowls of noodles, she is still grinning like mad.

It kind of pisses him off.

Not pissed that she's happy, of course, but that her bar is so fucking low. For God's sake, Ichiraku is where Naruto took Hinata for their first 20 dates or so, until Sakura finally told Naruto, in no uncertain terms, that it was cheap and showed zero effort, and that the ambiance was completely wrong. Just because Hinata was too nice to complain didn't mean he could get lazy about romancing the poor, sweet girl. And while her blatant double standards wherever he is concerned had never bothered him as a genin—privately, he acknowledges he may have even enjoyed the special treatment—they definitely unsettle him now. There is no reason she should hold him to a lower standard, not unless she thinks him either unwilling or unable to live up to the expectations she has of other men. He does not particularly want her to punch his lights out, but he also wants her to feel free to do so if she thinks he deserves it, or at least yell and scream and flip him her favorite one-fingered hand seal.

Sakura, ever perceptive of the ebb and flow of his moods, notices he is brooding again. He knows she has because she starts acting like she hasn't.

"Teuchi-san," she gushes as she leans back and runs her hand over her belly, stuffed, "it was just as good as ever! Thank you sooo much!"

The older man smiles fondly at her, as most people do these days. "It was my pleasure. It's good to see you kids all grown up and happy now." Then he fixes her with his sternest look. "And it's good to see you on your own two feet. I don't ever want to see you wear yourself down like that ever again, got it?"

She laughs and waves him off. "I—"

"Sakura." Sasuke interrupts, tone more sharp than is strictly polite. "Were you ill?"

"Ill?!" Teuchi snorts. "You should have seen her last week, she passed out and nearly drowned in her bowl of ramen! Good thing Naruto and Kakashi were there. Turns out she'd been working all day, never even realized she probably had a cold!"

Sasuke says nothing as Sakura begins to protest because it really wasn't that big a deal, Sasuke-kun, she's dealt with worse chakra fatigue loads of times, like when she passed out in the OR right after finishing one of her first challenging surgeries and besides, he and Naruto beat themselves up in worse ways all the time. She is still busily downplaying the incident ten minutes later, when his hand is at the small of her back and he is ushering her away. They are gone before Teuchi cleans up their bowls and finds Sasuke's gratuitous tip, accompanied by a hastily scrawled note on the receipt: Thank you for taking care of her.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he asks. Then, before she has time to respond, "And why does this sort of thing happen 'loads of times?' "

"Well, it doesn't usually happen like that, and it's never been that bad. When I'm chakra depleted, normally I go straight home to bed, but we didn't want to leave Kakashi alone on the anniversary of Rin's death."

"So you decided to celebrate by dying on him, too?"

She looks at his scowling face and seems somewhat surprised that he is perseverating on this issue.

"Sasuke, you know it wouldn't have come to that."


Out of the corner of his eye, he sees her watch him, gaze tentative, gauging the atmosphere. She probably wants to make eye contact, change the topic, and distract him with lighter conversation but unfortunately for her, he is very busy studying Konoha's latest trends in streetlights and awnings. She massages her temple with her free hand.

"Sasuke-kun," she begins again, conciliatory. "What purpose would it serve? I know you have work you need to do, so I'm not going to write you about every little thing…'Dear Sasuke-kun, I made a spectacle of myself at Ichiraku today because I was tired. Too bad you missed out on the fun. I hope you're enjoying your travels! Love, Sakura.' "

He really doesn't have much to say in response to that, mainly because she's being so rational about it. Even if he had known she'd had a cold, what would he have done about it? What could he have done, given that he was miles away? And she's the medic, what could he possibly have done for her that she couldn't have done herself?

This side of her is, in some ways, harder to deal with than when she is being her usual, emotional self. He can scoff at sentiment when it's convenient to do so, but he cannot argue with her logic. In retrospect, her remarkable analytical skills are a strength he has always been aware of, even as a genin. She has always been adaptable and resilient. It's just that nobody really realized to what extent until he and Naruto left her to bloom on her own.

He wonders, sometimes, what would have become of her if he had brought her along, or if he and Naruto had stayed. Would she have become the remarkably powerful kunoichi she is today? Sometimes, more than the delicate cherry blossoms she is named for, she reminds him of the wildflowers he sees in Suna, hardy flowers that bloom brightest in the lonely, barren desert. How many times has she asked him to stay, or to at least take her with him? Yet he never has. She is no fool, she can recognize a pattern when she sees one. So if she has developed the notion that she needs to be completely self-sufficient to survive in this world, he can blame nobody but himself for making her this way.

They walk the rest of the way home in silence. It's not exactly a comfortable silence, but not exactly uncomfortable, either. He is busy thinking about wide eyes and small hands, and their importance in his life.

"It's not a little thing," he begins again, stubborn.

Sakura ignores him, something she only ever does on rare occasions and that he is still not quite used to. She has tossed her jacket over the back of a chair and is stretching, twisting. There's a series of little pops, then she rubs her lower back in satisfaction and drapes herself all over the living room couch. It is clear to him that she has made an art of relaxing, distilled it into a lazy routine with the shortest possible doorway-to-couch time. It reminds him a little of the nin-cats his mother used to keep, lounging around the compound as if they owned the place.

But perhaps she is more the owner of this place than he, completely comfortable in his home in a way he cannot be when he still dreams of it as it was that night, strewn with debris and painted with his parents' lifeblood. The couch, at least, is new, something she brought with her from her old apartment because it was a gift from her parents, and it breathes life into the room.

He rather likes that couch.

From the way she is sprawled, however, there really isn't any room for him on it, so he settles into the armchair, with his elbows propped on his knees, and his chin propped on his folded hands. He, too, has a routine, completely independent of hers. He has brooded on this armchair for years, and he is quite content to continue to do so for the rest of his life.

Sakura's face is buried in her arms, but she turns her head briefly, her eyes flicking over him, taking in his posture, his frown. Then she giggles.

"You haven't changed at all, Sasuke-kun." But she seems to remember that he is still trying to change himself by roaming the world in his spare time—or are these visits home his spare time? He's not really sure sometimes—because she looks contrite and amends her statement. "In some ways, anyway: your habits, your mannerisms. You've changed in lots of other ways, though, like dinner today. I…um, well, thank you."


He unclasps his hands and sits up to make room for her as she rises from the couch and joins him on his armchair, which is roomy for one, but not really built for two. She settles onto his lap—she has grown bolder with time, he thinks, because she used to be a lot more tentative about initiating this sort of contact—and leans into his chest. Absently, he wraps his arms around her and wonders how someone he holds so close can feel so far away.

A few minutes pass by before he is drawn out of his thoughts again. She is fiddling with the hem of his shirt. While it could be a manifestation of boredom, the crease in her brow seems to indicate there is something more on her mind. Several moments pass, then she finally notices him watching her, her hands. Color rises rapidly in her cheeks, then, and she drops his shirt like she has been shocked. When he brushes a thumb over her flushed cheek, swiping a few renegade strands of pink off her face, her skin is exactly as warm as her blush implies. Then her eyes slide shut and she leans into his touch, and he remembers how frighteningly easy it is to make her happy. As lovers go, Sakura is about as low-maintenance as they come, and since even that seems to be too much for him, she is doing her damnedest to become no-maintenance. Pretty soon, she'll be perfectly happy on her own and he'll finally be free to go disappear forever.

Her efforts for his sake are well meaning, but misguided and annoying as hell.

It is so annoying, he can't help but kiss her.

It is a long, hard kiss, one that robs them both of their breath. When they finally break apart and he watches her gasp for air, he remembers that he wants her to need him again, not need to be rid of him.

So he kisses her again, thoroughly, just not for quite so long this time.

Afterward, she blinks up at him, slightly dazed, then grabs his collar and yanks him down for more. She's amazing and the kiss is amazing, but it's leading them down a path he's not sure he wants to take at the moment. After all, he cannot just patch all of the holes he has poked into their relationship with sex. They deserves more than that. She deserves more than that. But when he subtly avoids her eyes, tense, it does not escape Sakura's notice. She bites her lip, then leans in to press a kiss to his jaw-line, working her way towards his ear.

"It's ok if you're about to leave," she whispers, reassuring, "I'll be alright. I just want us to be happy during the time we have together."

It is a good thing he cannot see her face, because just listening to the desperate cheer she forces into her voice is enough to unravel him. His heart is clenching so hard it hurts, and his stomach is stretching itself into an infinite, bottomless pit.

"Sakura," he says lowly, his voice pulled taut with guilt as he imagines what she must be thinking. He needs to let her know that she is wrong, because not all his kisses are goodbyes. He is not trying to appease her, to distract her, to make a break for the village gates and run off on a new adventure. In fact, he has no intention of leaving until he is certain she needs him about as much as she needs oxygen. It's twisted and selfish, but he has never pretended to be anything else. "How did you come to that conclusion, that I'm leaving?"

She smiles wryly.

"You're always more indulgent right before you have to go," she informs him, like it's obvious. "I understand, of course, it's not like I want to keep you chained here just because you have a family—"

"Stop," he orders, arms tightening around her so suddenly that she looks up at him, alarmed. He really does not want to hear the rest of that sentence, another misunderstanding to add to the growing list. She reads him far too well for their own good, he thinks, because on these rare occasions where she can't, everything goes completely wrong and he begins to fear they can't carry on like this. "Just shut up. Please."

The entreaty tacked on at the end doesn't really make it any more polite, but at least he isn't quite lashing out and whacking plates out of her hands these days, and she can tell he's trying. So she waits in silence for a bit while he collects the fragments of emotion that are tangling with his half-formed thoughts.

"Sasuke-kun," she calls gently, even though he wishes she would scream and shout. She has turned herself around so she is facing him, her fingers massaging calming trails along his scalp. "What are you thinking?"


She does not press further, but continues to run her fingers through his hair. Although it is undoubtedly meant to be soothing, he finds himself gripping the fabric of her skirt, clenching and unclenching his fists.

"I thought," he says tersely, "that we…"

He falls silent, then, but she waits for him, just like she always does.

"I thought," he begins again, glaring past her big, jade eyes and into the wall, "that we were in…love."

She blinks.

"So did I."

She pauses.

"Have you decided otherwise, Sasuke-kun?"


It is enough to stop him dead, because the last thing he wants is for her to think he's lost interest or something, because even if he's not 100% sure where he was going with that thought, it definitely wasn't there. He swears to himself that no matter how she coaxes him in the future, he'll never think aloud again. Why is it that this is what he gets for actually trying to be honest and open with someone? His hands are now on her shoulders, gripping so tight that they are trembling.

"Fuck, Sakura, of course not."

"Good," she replies, eyeing him steadily. "So, then what's the problem?"

"What's the problem?" His knuckles are white, and but not as white as her skin, blanching beneath his fingers. "The problem is that you're acting like this isn't a problem! I've been leaving you continuously since we were twelve, I'm never around when you need me, and now you're conditioned to think that's normal."

He studies her face, but she doesn't look appropriately concerned, so he adds, "It isn't, by the way."

If she weren't perched on his knees right now, he'd probably be up and pacing the room. As it is, she has made herself completely at home on his lap and is putting her strong fingers to good use, kneading away at the knots that have taken up permanent residence in his shoulders. "Go on," she insists, voice soft.

So he does.

"It is well within your rights to complain when I take you on shitty dates. You shouldn't lower your standards just because it's me. And when you're overworking yourself, or struggling with something, or just dealing with something new, you should tell me, even if you don't think there's anything I can do, because maybe I want to try, anyway."

"But you don't have to—"

"I'm your husband, Sakura, have some faith in me," he grinds out. "God, you don't even ask me to stay anymore, because you already know I won't."

She regards him carefully for a few moments after that, until it is clear that he is done.

"You're wrong, you know," she says, a sad sort of half-smile crossing her face. "I stopped asking you to stay when I realized you actually might. I refuse to keep you from the redemption you're seeking because I know it's something you need. And if you need it, then so do I."


"Have you ever not come home?"

"I only ever come home because I've left."

"Semantics, Sasuke-kun. And dinner today wasn't 'shitty.' It was sweet."

"Tch." He decides not to contest her use of the adjective "sweet" for the moment. "When Naruto wanted to take Hinata to Ichiraku for her birthday, you punched him across the training grounds."

She laughs heartily, then. "That's different, though. He just wanted to go there himself and figured he could kill two birds with one stone by dragging her along for the ride, while your primary goal was to take me to dinner."

He mulls this over while she plays with his hands, interlacing his fingers with her own.

"With regards to discussing things," she begins, "I suppose that's an area where we could both do better, so thanks for starting, I guess. I'll work on it, I promise. But I don't want you to think you have to do things for me just because you're my husband."

"You're content to just let me watch your life play out from afar?"

"That's not what I mean." She squeezes his hand slightly. "I mean that you shouldn't think you have to fulfill certain duties in exchange for my love. Our marriage isn't a business transaction, Sasuke-kun. No matter what, I will always love you."

He flinches visibly at that, remembering too-bright light engulfing him, and Itachi's forehead crumbling against his own.

"That doesn't mean I can't try to take care of you, or that I can't want to."

Sakura flushes prettily. "Well, yes," she acquiesces, "that's true."

"Then don't get in my way, Sakura."

He revels in the way she shivers as he leans forward and drawls her name into her ear, barely a whisper. And this time, as she turns her face to his, her nose lightly tracing a line from his ear across his cheek, he does not pull away when she presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth. Instead, he allows her to do as she pleases for a bit, before turning and languidly capturing her lips with his own. He sucks her lower lip until it is swollen, enjoying the subtle catch in her breath when he scrapes his teeth over it.

Her fingers, tangled in his impossible hair, tighten their grip as his arms curl around her, pulling her closer against him until he can feel her chest heaving against his own, separated by only a few layers of cloth.

"Take it off," he orders impatiently, tugging at her sweater because both their lives will be better without it.

She complies, but shoots him a mock glare. "Same to you, Sasuke-kun."

If she wants him naked, he's happy to oblige. But he has only just unzipped his shirt when her bra tumbles to the floor and her breasts, exposed for his perusal, demand his attention. He runs his hands up her sides, palming her breasts with both hands, while she hisses in pleasure.

"Oh!" she gasps, "Careful, Sasuke-kun, they're—aaah!"

He traces calloused fingers over the pale meshwork of veins that is just barely becoming visible beneath the smooth surface of her skin, then gives one of her nipples a lazy flick that tears a guttural moan from her.

"They're what," he growls, slightly vindictive, "a little sensitive?"

He flicks the other one just because he can, then rolls and squeezes until she is writhing on his lap.

"About that, Sakura. When, exactly, were you planning on telling me you're pregnant?"

She has always had rather big eyes, but right now they are huge, enough that he can practically see the mental scramble playing out within them as she flails to find a suitable defense. "I wasn't trying to hide it, if that's what you think! I've been trying to tell you all day, but you keep killing the mood!"

"Hn." Replaying the events of the day, he doesn't doubt she's telling the truth, although he's a little too annoyed with her to tell her that. "How far along?"

"Seven weeks yesterday." She arches back a little to give his hands better access as they wander planes of her abdomen, and he can't decide if she is already beginning to round out a little or if he is just imagining it. "It's not that I was scared to tell you, or anything like that. I promise. I know you want this just as much as I do, probably more actually, what with the whole clan revival thing and all, so it's not like that, I just wanted to do it right because this is going to change everything…"

She tends to babble a little when she is revealing her innermost feelings, which is actually a bit of a relief because it reminds him that she isn't always good at this stuff, either.

"…and, um, how did you know?"

He just gives her a look, because she is already pretty flustered and he's not actually all that upset anymore, certainly not enough to merit a full-on glare.

"What kind of idiot do you take me for? You had five bowls of ramen, you've been unusually tired—enough to pass out in public, apparently—and you rub your abdomen and your back whenever you think I'm not looking."

He pinches one of her overly sensitive nipples again, just to remind her that they are still in the middle of something while he goes on.

"Not to mention, your moods make no sense whatsoever. I brought up some serious flaws in our relationship and instead of crying like you usually would, you couldn't keep your hands off of me. That sort of thing is not supposed to be a turn on."

"Oh, please," she scoffs, swatting at him. "That had nothing to do with mood swings. How could I possibly be upset about the state of our marriage when only moments earlier, you'd basically confessed your undying love to me? That's quite a milestone, I think."

"Tch." Sasuke feels his face flame, the warmth rapidly spreading even to the tips of his ears. "I did no such thing."

Even though he turns his head aside and glares at the wall, his peripheral vision is good enough that he can see her gaping at him, a triumphant grin creeping across her face. It is times like this that he wishes Naruto hadn't had so much time to rub off on her. Or Ino, for that matter.

"Sasuke-kun," she says, wonder evident in her voice, "you're blushing."

Now he can't even look at her.


"You are!"

"Earlier, I was just expressing my concerns."

"Yeah, you said, 'I thought we were…in love.' " She mimics him, downright gleeful. "Which implies your acknowledgment of something mutual between us, not just me being head over heels for you."

This is actually not the same as confessing one's undying love, but pointing this out will only prolong her fun.

"What does it matter, anyway?" he asks, sullen and eager to be done with this particular conversation. "It's not like it's something you didn't already know. I married you, didn't I?"

She taps her chin in playful mock-consideration. "Perhaps," she says, "but since you've never really verbalized that to me, it's always left open other possibilities. I mean, maybe you just wanted your own, personal sperm repository." She points at her belly, still relatively flat for now. "I'm good at that, apparently."


"Yes, Sasuke-kun?"

"Never speak of yourself that way again." He jabs a finger at her byakugou seal, suddenly very exhausted by her antics and all the overdue discussions he fears they are going to have to have over the next few days. "Never."

She throws her head back, laughing, then slides her hands down the muscles of his chest to his abdomen, then further down, down, down.

"I love you, Sasuke-kun," she says, so earnest that he cannot help but crack the smallest of smiles. "I really, really love you."

"Yeah," he says, eyes locked on hers, even as her skillful hands undo his fly. "I know."

"Oh, come on!" she complains, skimming her fingers over his rapidly hardening length, slipping it out of his boxers. "You can do better than that."

He swallows back a groan as she wraps her fingers around him and pumps once, twice.

"Can I?"

She squeezes his tip experimentally, then slides her hand all the way back to his base, impossibly slow.

"Yes, you can," she says, reprimanding. "And you will."

She doesn't usually take on this role, so he is always pleasantly surprised when she reminds him how ridiculously hot she is when she's trying to bully him. It doesn't mean he has any intention of letting her win, though. There is no reason for a big, romantic confession if she: a) obviously already knows as much as she needs to and b) is clearly just going to make fun of him for it.

"H-hn." His breath catches unintentionally as she settles into a rhythm, stroking and squeezing exactly the way she knows he likes it. As she speeds up her pace, his hips begin to buck beneath her touch. Sakura, the little minx that she is, laughs and slides off his lap, abandoning the job she has only barely begun.

"Dammit, Sakura," he growls. His member is poking straight up, already straining from the half-assed attention.

"Say it, Sasuke-kun," she insists, giggling. He grits his teeth.

"Make me."

"With pleasure," she says, flashing a predatorial grin.

Then she is on the ground and kneeling between his legs, blowing lightly as she lowers her lips to his member. It stiffens even further, if that's possible, and she flicks her tongue out, tracing a moist path over his slit. He grabs onto the armrests, hard enough that he worries he may crack the frame. But now that she is slowly taking him into her mouth, centimeter by maddening centimeter, the state of their furniture is suddenly far less important to him than finding ways to sit still and act carefully disinterested when all he'd like to do is shove himself down her throat. This proves to be an impossible endeavor, and all too soon his hips are twitching and he is panting and groaning as she sucks him off, her little pink head bobbing erotically at his crotch. He feels the familiar tightening in his core, twisting and coiling and burning him from the inside out until he is only moments away from snapping…

Then she stops.

He curses.

"What was that, Sasuke-kun? Want more?" she coos, tracing random curlicues onto his shaft with her finger. "You know the magic words…"

He grabs her hand—anything to make her stop if she isn't going to finish; his penis is not her toy, for God's sake—and yanks her up, off her knees, so she is standing in front of him, her belly almost at his eye level.

"Fine," he whispers finally, running his hands over the smooth expanse of her abdomen. "You wanted to know the things I love about you?"

Her eyes soften as she watches him press a kiss to her navel, an act of silent adoration of the mother of his future children. She allows him to tug her forward, until her shins hit the chair and she has no choice but to topple onto him, straddling his thighs and sinking into him. When she is exactly where he wants her, he leans his forehead against hers, his hair falling forward around them so they are in a world all their own, enveloped by his curtain of dark hair.

"Uchiha Sakura," he murmurs, voice raw, "I love the way you feel when you've got my cock rammed all the way up your—"

"YOU ASS!" she yells, shoving him against the back of the armchair while he smirks at her.

"But you love me," he reminds her, smug.

"And you love me," she retorts hotly. "Contrary to what you may think, you don't actually hide it well, you stupid jerk. If you really don't want me to hear you say it, then make sure I'm actually asleep the next time you-mmmff!"

When Sasuke finally pulls away, they are both breathing hard. His neglected shaft is poking her abdomen, and she looks down, remembering her role in his current frustration.

"Oops," she says, unremorseful.

"Oops, indeed." He looks at her, a beautiful, disheveled mess of pink hair and sun-speckled skin. "You'll pay for this, Sakura."

"Oh, really?" she says, eyes challenging. "What are you going to do, throw me on the floor and ravish me?"


He recalls the particular sexcapade she's referencing all too well, and stares at her, aghast.

"Sakura. NO. Absolutely not. If you think for one second that we're doing that again while you're pregnant, then you are out of your fucking mind." Because no matter how hot and bothered they manage to get each other, rolling around, wrestling on the living room carpet and squishing the baby is completely unacceptable.

She rolls her eyes. "You're such a worrywart, I'm barely 7 weeks in. At this point, some women don't even realize they're pregnant."

But even if their child is probably no bigger than a lentil right now, it is still their child and he refuses to take any risks, no matter how miniscule. He nudges her off his lap and crosses the room to the couch she likes to sprawl on so much.

"Here," he says, piling some pillows over and around the armrest, then a few more to be safe. She wanders over, looks at the small mountain and raises a brow.

"A little overboard, don't you think?"


Then he is behind her, running a single finger down her spine in simple appreciation. She shivers as he traces a lazy path back up, applying insistent pressure between her shoulder blades until he has her bent over the arm of the couch, braced on her forearms with her butt up higher than her head.

"How's that?" he asks, because once he gets started, he isn't going to want to stop.

"F-fine," she says, resting her cheek on folded arms. He notices, with some satisfaction, that although her face is bright red with embarrassment at this new position, which is somewhat vulnerable for her, there is minimal pressure on her stomach and she looks fairly comfortable. She is ready.

So he reaches forward and flips her skirt up, revealing pink cotton panties with a tell-tale dark spot spreading across the crotch. He presses a finger to it, gently probing, and she begins to squirm.

"Wet already?" he asks, even though the moist warmth of her panties has already given him all the answer he needs. Slipping a finger beneath the ridiculously bright fabric, he tests the skin of her folds directly and is immediately rewarded with a choked moan. If she is going to be this responsive all the time now, he may be forced to keep her in a constant state of pregnancy for the next decade.

He removes his finger and wipes it dry on her pink-clad bottom.

"Sasuke-kun," she wails, "come on."

But he is rather enjoying this, so he leaves her ridiculous panties where they are and just steps closer, so the head of his cock is rubbing right against that dark spot at the junction of her legs. He can hardly stand the sensation himself, but he presses his hips against hers and grinds, slow yet firm. She starts to move, too, but he grasps her with both hands and holds her in place while she tries to twist her hips free from his iron grip, panting frantically.

"Is something wrong, Sakura?" he drawls, slowing the motion of his hips as much as he can stand. He is lucky she does not like to use her chakra-enhanced strength indoors. She likes the furniture too much.

She snarls something rude in response, and he smirks. Restraining her with one hand, he pushes the fabric at her crotch aside and thrusts his hips forward, entering her in a single, swift movement. She sighs in breathy relief, sagging bonelessly against the armrest as her innermost muscles gradually relax and stretch to accommodate his length. It has been weeks since they have been together like this, and her slick passage is tighter than he remembers. Then he slides himself back out of her completely, despite her protests, readjusting the tilt of her hips. Slowly, he eases just the head of his penis back in, reaching down with his free hand to massage the slippery folds around her entrance.

Her face, still flushed, is twisting in sweet agony. "Sasuke-kun!"

"Hm?" He rubs his finger in a small circle around her clit, very deliberately avoiding stimulating it directly, while his tip rocks in and out of her in barely perceptible increments, driven only by the motion of their breathing.

"Please, Sasuke-kun," she is begging him openly now, "deeper."

Who is he to deny her when she is asking so nicely?

He rocks his hips forward once more, the different angle allowing her to take more of him in than before. Using his leg to nudge hers farther apart, he pulls out and drives back in, penetrating her so deeply that for a moment, he feels his tip rub up against something smooth and firm. But he has only barely registered the sensation before he is blindsided by the sudden force of her inner walls clenching and convulsing around him, while she cries something out in unintelligible sobs.

"Didn't catch that," he informs her, gasping, as he pumps in and out as best he can when her walls are clamping down so tight. "Come again?"

"Saaasuke-kunnnngh!" she moans out, doing her best to meet his hips in broken thrusts of her own, "it's too sensitive right now, I can't, I caan't, I ca-aa-aaaaahnn!"

Suddenly, her hips are heavier in his hands as her knees seem to have given out under her. He is not there yet, but he lets her come down from her pleasure-wracked high, slowing his movements until she is at least able to breathe normally again. But Sasuke is not a particularly patient or merciful man by nature, and she has barely caught her breath before he rubs his index finger over her clit and gradually resumes thrusting at his own, frenzied pace, driving her straight back to the edge until he feels himself tightening and teetering on the brink of his own release.

"Almost there," he promises, nervously watching her dig her nails into the plush upholstery of their nice couch. She responds with a strangled moan and he wonders if he is taking her too far, except that when he removes his hand from her little, swollen pleasure nub, she replaces it with her own. But right now her movements are erratic, clumsy, so he pushes her hand away and plays her himself until he, too, is toppling out of control, cumming in hot spurts while his hips jerk and twitch. He rides it out in a few quick thrusts, until he is satisfied, spent.

He means to pull out and take her to bed before they both fall asleep, but she is still gyrating weakly against his gradually softening member, face screwed up in some mix of pleasure-pain and concentration. His mouth goes dry.

"More?" he asks hoarsely, watching as she rubs herself against him on wobbly, unsteady legs. It seems like only moments ago he worried it was all too much for her.

"Don't," she gasps, "don't leave me like this, please, I'm so close, I'll go insane…"

"Wouldn't dream of it," he assures her, carefully stabilizing her with one hand and attending to her needs with the other. He makes sure not to pull out of her yet, because he does not think he is stiff enough to forge his way back in at the moment. But she melts into his touch with quiet mewls of exhausted satisfaction, until finally her muscled passage contracts around him with such force that there is a noticeable squelching noise and he can see milky globs of his own cum oozing out of her. It is an odd sight, both fascinating and somehow satisfying, as he withdraws from her and the thick fluid dribbles slowly out of her still-quivering entrance, irrefutable evidence of the intimate liberties she permits him to take with not only her body, but her heart, her soul. And when he helps her stand upright, there is still more, dripping down his hand in sticky rivulets when he hoists her into his arms and carries her back to their bedroom.

"I can walk," she insists, kicking her legs in shaky protest.

"So can I," he says dryly.

"Still, this really isn't necessary, you know, I—"

"Sakura," he interrupts, weary. "Shut up and let me take the love of my life to bed."

It takes a moment before understanding dawns on her face and paints her cheeks in shades of scarlet, which she tries to hide by burrowing her face against his neck.

"Oh," she says meekly, voice muffled. "Then carry on, I suppose."

And he does.

A/N: Bonus-in which Sasuke makes his first pun (granted, in the form of a sexual innuendo), and thus begins his descent into fatherhood.

"Papa! I'm hungry!"

"Hi, Hungry. I'm Papa!"

If I'd carried the Gravitation metaphor further, I suppose I would have named this one "Tidal Deceleration," but I wasn't able to do it without feeling forced. But the purpose of this fic was to explore Sasuke and Sakura's relationship a little further down the road.

Post-canon Sasuke is an interesting thing to write, because he is definitely very different from Part I/Part II Sasuke. So then there's the question: in what ways is he the same? In what ways is he different? Like Part I Sasuke, I think he still struggles to understand others on an emotional level, although he can probably reason his way through most situations. He's such an introverted thinker type, I suspect he also is rather poor at expressing his feelings, simply because for so long, it isn't a priority. Sakura, on the other hand is extremely emotional and, in my opinion, extraordinarily good at reading Sasuke (eg. when she knew he was going to leave Konoha). I think this makes their relationship easier for the most part, except that it means Sasuke can get away without learning to communicate all the things he needs to, which can become problematic. I also think that eventually he'll have to deal with the consequences of leaving Sakura behind all the time because he is basically conditioning her not to need him.

Shoutout! I had two main inspirations for this fic, the first being Alex Turner's dulcet tones (for the mood, as I imagine Sasuke is still a somewhat moody boy). The second was finval's lovely nsfw picture of Sasuke getting some action (I linked it on my tumblr if you're curious). She has some pretty awesome art, both nsfw and G-rated.

Up soonish:

1) an AU fantasy oneshot for Eternal Loyalty (G or T rated)

2) the next chapter of A Horizontal Expression of a Perpendicular Desire, for mirazel (T)