Time froze when his caressed her cheek softly, almost lovingly. This was the most emotion she'd ever seen on in his face and as much as she hated to admit, it scared her a little. Leaning forward the dark haired boy closed the distance between their lips before she promptly turned her head away, stopping what could have happened before it even started. After few beats of silence Sasuke resumed his previous position and a tired sigh escaped his lips.
She pondered this before she answered him, "You tried to kill me." He scoffed at this and turned his face to her direction.
"It's more than that. Tell me."
He wanted the truth and he wanted honesty, for all his arrogance Sasuke could see that something inside her had noticeably changed. Even on the battle field she wasn't this cold towards him, this was a recent development and he was determined to find out what encouraged it. He supposed she was still angry about him getting Naruto involved but he doubted it; she was much too hostile. Almost as if she her previous affection for him had been given to someone else so she no longer saw the point in playing nice. He had a sneaking suspicion that he had been replaced, but felt no malice as she was never his in the first place.
"Who is he?"
Her cheeks exploded in red and pink while she hastily tried to cover her face and regain her composure, "who?" a nervous laughter escaped her as she dismissed him and stood up with the excuse of needing to use the bathroom. He had dragged her back onto the bed before she could escape; they were now in a precarious position that looked a little too sexual for his tastes but he didn't mind as long as he got her to talk. His body hovered over her with both of his arms at the side of her head, effectively trapping her under him. He face leaned dangerously close to hers, while she squirmed under him – trying to break free.
"Get off me before I break your jaw, Sasuke." Heeding her warning, he flopped back onto his side and peered at her curiously, at least she wasn't trying to escape again. He sighed irritably, she was starting to annoy him.
"I'm not an idiot, just tell me."
Sakura looked over at him hesitantly before murmuring a little response, to which he nearly laughed.
"Tobirama? Isn't he a bit too old for you?" his lips curled up to form a little smirk.
"N-no, he's not old! Urgh, don't be such an idiot Sasu-cakes." She responded tersely but smiled a little as he scowled at the nickname she had given him, he hated it. It made him sound soft and cuddly. Uchiha men were most definitely not cute, nor were they cuddly. They were handsome and strong, Sasuke thought as he sulked.
"You don't even know how old he is."
"I do!" she bit back, but curse mentally when he realized he was right.
"Tell me then."
Sakura turned her head up and refused to meet his questioning gaze that was directed towards her. "I'm not telling you." Even still Sakura wasn't sure what her feelings towards Tobirama was; of course there was some type of attraction but she didn't know whether it was just lust or the beginnings of a proper relationship that they had yet to establish.
It was weird. This feeling of normalcy that they had created out of the blue. It comforted him to know that perhaps she had forgiven him for his transgressions just a little bit; he didn't expect her to forgive him completely but he thought it would have taken longer. For one of the first times in his life, the Uchiha felt a genuine tug of regret in his heart. He wished he treated her better, he wished he paid more attention… he wished he took her with him when he left the village that night. Of course he would never tell her this, what use was it to bring up uncomfortable memories of the past?
The first few months with Orochimaru had been hard; he missed Team 7 dearly, and the only thing that motivated him was the prospect of revenge and power. If it wasn't for that he would have ran back home as fast as he could. The hideout was damp and lonely; every night there were screams that echoed off the walls and came from the direction of Kabuto's lab. It was no place for a child and only now, years later, did he realize that's what he was. A child playing a grown man's game. He was thankful that he had Naruto, who refused to give up on him, Kakashi who taught in the importance of bonds, and Sakura, who showed him genuine affection since the death of his parents. Of course only in hindsight did he know that he had taken it all for granted but the universe had a strange way of going back to equilibrium. He guessed that was the way of life, all things balanced each other out for the better. Good would always outsmart evil and justice was inevitable.
A shy smile landed on his face and Sakura made sure she took notice; he was opening up to her, he was apologizing, he was trying to be better. Sakura knew she wouldn't forgive him just like that, but he was trying and she would accept this. Deciding that they had spent enough time on the bed and in her house, she grabbed him and decisively marched out of the house, "Let's go find Naruto."
The Uchiha allowed himself to be pulled like a rag doll for he knew no amount of protests would stop her for manhandling him. He sighed. After about twenty minutes they found the blonde knucklehead with his father – as usual – near the academy. It looked like some sort of activity for the orphans to cheer them up and brighten their spirits. Their eyes were wide with amazement as the young children practically absorbed everything that was said to them by Minato. It was clear that they idolized him and wanted to be as attentive as possible. I mean, who would pass up the chance to hear one of the greatest shinobi of all time?
They were in a clear space with dummies on one end while the children, Naruto and Minato were at the other end.
"The aim of this is to throw the Kunai right at the center of the dummy. Like this." His demonstration didn't fail to leave them in awe. In one swift movement, just a tiny flick of his wrist, the dummy was impaled with his weapon. They all lined up and practiced, clearly enjoying the encouragement and constructive criticism that was sent their way.
Not many shinobi villages acknowledged it, but without the children there would be no legacy to leave behind. They were the one who grew up to carry the burden left by the previous generation.
Naruto came to stand by his teammate and hugged them enthusiastically, it was clear in his eyes that growing up that this was the type of attention he would have loved. Instead of hatred and scorn, we wanted care and compassion. He also couldn't help but notice that Sasuke and Sakura had fixed whatever was wrong with them which made him sigh with relief internally.
"So what brings you guys here?"
"We missed you, Naruto-
"No we didn't." Sasuke cut her off but it was too late, his nemesis was already smiling so brightly he could have put the sun out of work.
"Aww, don't be shy Sasu-cakes, just admit it hmm."
"Anyways," Sakura interrupted before it could turn into an argument, "we wanted to see how you were."
Naruto filled them in on what they had been doing for the past couple of weeks, setting up the orphanage, giving the kids something productive to do in order to try and counteract the post-traumatic stress and psychological harm due to the loss of their families and homes. They were advocating adoption which saw great results with at least six children a week finding new families. The number didn't seem like a lot but they knew that when Konoha was rebuilt the numbers would skyrocket with the prospect of financial stability and peace. The task that they had was undoubtedly important to the restoration of Konoha and Sakura was proud that Naruto, who had first-hand experience, could offer guidance at a time like this.
While the children were fully occupied, Minato had strolled up to them with a kind smile on his face, it was good to see the people who his son cherished so much.
"Hello there, Sasuke-kun, Sakura-chan." They greeted him with equal politeness and began a friendly conversation on how he was settling back in Konoha and among other things.
They stayed until the around late afternoon before being granted the opportunity to grab Naruto along with them. It was just like old times with the members of Team Seven roaming the streets of Konoha while they chatted, mostly Naruto and Sakura, amiably between each other. When they had decided that there was pretty much nothing else for them to do, the trio found themselves back at the Haruno residence uncharacteristically bored with squat to do. Since the decimation of the village they rarely had any free time so when it was given to them they didn't know what to do with it. Half of the village had been restored and due to the fact that it had to be built from scratch it gave the Hokage to opportunity to rearrange the layout of the village. Obviously the Hokage tower was still at the centre but different headquarters were in different sections in order to stop one side from being defenceless. Previously ANBU headquarters, Intelligence Headquarters, Interrogation headquarters and anything shinobi affiliated was next to the Hokage tower, but this time Tsunade had other ideas.
The ANBU building was relocated to the north of the village, Intelligence to the south, Interrogation to the West and Tactics to the East. This was so that there we shinobi on all sides of the village, leaving no weak spots. Also, in conjunction with their first emergency meeting since they got back from the war, as the works progressed Tsunade had started to change the duties that she gave people. For example they recognised that it would be impossible to get Tobirama to sense everyone in the village and even if he managed it, what would happen when he left? So she tasked him, with some of the Nara's to come up with a type of sensor that everyone ninja had to register with, using their chakra.
This sensor was then programmed into the village walls and collected data of who was leaving the village, what time they left and when they came back. It was still a work in progress but Tsunade figured that if it worked on the ninja population then they could introduce it to the civilians. Of course it had issues because leaving the village didn't necessarily mean one left Fire country so the plan was to also put these sensors on the edge of the border. Tobirama had been working hard to solve the issue and would often wake up at dawn every day to travel there and test out the sensors.
As for Hashirama, it made absolutely no sense for such a skilled man, the God of Shinobi no less, to be sitting around idly, so he was sent to the smaller villages around Konoha and rebuilt them also. This was good because not only was it a quick was to restore damaged buildings but it also gave the Daimyo more faith in Konoha and he granted them more powers and additional funding to help with the financial crisis.
Konoha's debt problem was still there, months had passed but it was a big issue that would go away until the village was back in tiptop shape, all shinobi were back on their feet and the civilians had jobs and their businesses again. The progress was slow, but the results were encouraging. As for Sakura, once she and the nurses had managed to operate on the critically injured, they then proceeded fully update the destroyed records. However they were saved massive amounts of time from something Hashirama had suggested. Currently in Konoha there was only one hospital, and it was massive. With over two thousands cases a day and over five hundred active staff, it was a bustling environment. It was located right in the centre of the village so that it was easily accessible no matter whether you lived. Hashirama pointed out that maybe they should build about twenty clinics around the village and appoint the civilian doctors to do the blood tests and whatnot to help them gather the necessary data that was needed, instead of everybody coming to the hospital. These clinics were to also be allowed to distribute medicines and perform routine operations. This was a massive success as in the first week the normally busy hospital wasn't nearly as crowded as before and Sakura was no long always rushing to keep to her schedule. Overall the efficiency of the village was better and everything was a lot smoother than it was before.
Currently the three were lying down on her living room floor, staring at the ceiling owlishly.
"Dobe, Sakura and I have spoken to the Hokage… we're sneaking my family in tonight… and there's going to be a meeting early tomorrow morning." Naruto nodded at his words, it seemed as though everything was finally coming together in order for the truth to come out.
"They're literally on the outskirts of the village but there's so many patrols now... they're more efficient too, with most of them having an Inuzuka in the squad. It's not gunna be easy." For once Naruto said something that had slipped their minds, security had been beefed up substantially.
"How about we leave before it gets dark to avoid suspicion and then sneak back in at around eleven – just before the patrols become more alert because… well bad things usually happen at night."
"Wait… what about the sensors at the walls? They'll notice if we come back in with chakra signatures that can't be identified…" when an unrecognized chakra signature entered, nothing happened per say, but it was flagged up on the system and investigated almost immediately. And unfortunately for them, it was Tobirama who did the investigations. In his home Shikamaru had helped him to set up a little device that beeped a little when this happened, it also gave the names, ranks and times of those who came in and out. Sakura relayed this information back to Sasuke and Naruto. The latter groaned while Sasuke frowned a little. This was a lot more complicated than they expected.
"How about… Sakura… you stay behind and distract…"
"Huh, how could Sakura distract Tobirama-san? They barely know each other, teme!"
"That's where you're wrong, baka…"
"…What aren't you guys telling me?"
"Sakura and Tobirama, have a little thing going on."
"Shut up Sasuke, we don't have a thing! He's a really good friend…"
They basked in silence for a while, absorbing the information that had been presented.
"Umm, well… do you think you can distract your friend long enough for us to get Sasuke's family back into Konoha?"
"I hope so. We are you going to take them, Sasuke?"
"Alright, I'll get Tobirama to come here, so he can't hear the alarm in his house. Sound good?"
The rest of her teammates nodded and then proceeded to get up. The time now was just past 6, Sasuke and Naruto had to get ready to leave by seven, when the sun would start to set and she would use this time to invite Tobirama over, but she had no idea how she was going to make him stay so late at night. Also, there was a chance that if Hashirama was a home perhaps he would be the one to investigate. She sincerely hoped otherwise.
She felt a little bad for her sneakiness but it had to be done. After the boys had left her house she had changed into something that was a lot more snug; her attire was casual, with her wearing jeans that went up to her knees with a plain black top that clung a little too tightly to her body and a deep blue cardigan on top to protect from the occasional strong gust of wind. It wasn't seductive by any means but it was just enough to make you look for an extra second or so.
Nervously walking up to the door, she knocked three times before stepping back in mild anticipation. Her wait was short as Tobirama opened the door with a greeting, he had stepped aside to allow her entry but she quickly declined and offered if he wanted to come to her place instead. The request had seemed a bit forward but she graced him with a small, hesitant smile that changed his mind. Before she knew it his shoes were on and they were already at her house.
Upon entering, Sakura discretely checked the clock that was hung up on her living room wall. It was only around eight, she wondered how she was going to keep him occupied for three to four more hours.
Well, she had some ideas in her head but she didn't know if it would work – she didn't know if she was that type of girl. Shaking these thoughts from her head Sakura steeled herself; she was a shinobi and would protect her teammates no matter the cost. The pinked haired medic took a small breath before taking a hold of one of his hands and smiling shyly into his eyes. He seemed a little taken aback – obviously not expecting this much boldness from her but he didn't pull his hand back.
"How about I show you around?"
He nodded and consent and allowed her to lead him into her stunning garden; the setting sun made it harder to see but illuminated the cherry tree that was right in the middle and allowed light to bounce of the little pond that was situated at the corner of the garden. Tobirama eyed her as she let go of his hand and turned to him, the little light that was shining lit up half her face while the rest of it was shrouded in darkness. She looked beautiful.
However, he was a seasoned shinobi and could tell there was something up. It was unusual the way she grabbed his hand, it was unusual the way she smiled at him and he was definitely suspicious when she invited him out. He had expected her to avoid him for a few days while she came to terms while what had happened in his home just a few hours ago. She was up to something and he was determined to find out; never would he let a woman catch his off guard and distract him. He was raised to always be alert, even in the presence of family. And Sakura was no exception.
"During my time, to invite a man to your home at this time was an invitation for sex." He stared at her pointedly while she weighed his words.
"Maybe, that's why I invited you."
Trying to update as much as possible, because exams are coming up.
Should I put a lemon in the next chapter?
Thanks again. R&R.