Chapter 27 – Ichiban no Takaramono
Gods, it was so warm. All the windows in the car were rolled down but it did little to help. It was impossible to cool her down. Stupid Itachi and his stupid teasing-
Head falling back against the headrest, Sakura breathed out slowly, trying her hardest to calm herself down. After her tipsy boyfriend returned from his night out, he'd made love to her not once, but several times – each time better than the last and the memory alone made her muscles tighten, made her remember the way her body had responded to his actions. The bucking of her hips, the trembling of her thighs, the scratches left up and down his arms and the back of his neck.
Oh, but that wasn't what had her so riled up. It was what he did before leaving for his mission. Just when she'd been certain they were about to repeat their actions from the night before, that he was going to make her come undone all over again – repeatedly – he stopped. Every damn time she came close to orgasm, right when she was on the edge and about to snap, he stopped. Four times. Four freaking times. And now her body felt like it was on fire. Felt like it was thrumming.
"We will continue when I return."
Wasn't she supposed to be resting? What about the possible pre-eclampsia? Would such treatment negatively affect her body?
Another thing that wasn't helping her situation?
"Seriously, Naruto," Sakura snapped, green eyes wide as she clutched the door during the wonky right turn that almost had them crashing into an oncoming van. "Focus when you're driving."
"Sorry," came his mumbled response.
"What the hell's wrong with you today?" she demanded. "You told me you weren't hungover."
Blue eyes squinted at the road, like he was wincing at the volume of her voice, but she knew that wasn't the case. Usually when he was hungover, Naruto was pale with dark circles around his eyes, which would be duller in colour because of his lack of energy to do anything. Not to mention he stayed holed up in his room for most of the day, hiding beneath the sheets with the curtains drawn.
"I'm not. Just thinking."
Shit, what was wrong with him? Refusing to loosen her death grip on the door for even a second, Sakura stole a glance at Naruto, narrowing her eyes on him. He seemed downer than ever – although, saying that, he'd been cheerful when Sasuke returned. Always smiling and bouncing around, demanding rematches as they stayed up most of the night playing those stupid games. But maybe it was because of spending so much time with Sasuke? Maybe Hinata was getting jealous, or was upset about hardly seeing him? Did she say something? Was he feeling like he couldn't see his best friend because of her? Or was it something to do with that man who visited him not too long ago? The big one with long white hair? The pervert?
"What's up?" Sakura asked, willing herself to relax. How was he supposed to open up to her if she was tense and unapproachable? "Do you want to talk about it?"
He sighed deeply, one hand leaving the wheel to wipe at his face. It caused a momentary panic within her when he rubbed at his eyes, taking them off the road and making the car swerve slightly in response. Her death grip on the door returned. "Not really."
Quickly stopping the movement, he returned to watching the road, both hands returning to the steering wheel. "Sorry."
Gods, Naruto's driving was not good for her stress levels.
"Tell me," Sakura said with a sigh almost as deep as his had been. Whether it was a sigh of relief or annoyance, she wasn't entirely sure. It felt as though it was a mixture of the two.
Suddenly, he was unable to look away from the road for the first time in forever. That in itself was strange. It was usually impossible to make him focus on it, his eyes always straying or attention diverted by music.
"Have you ever thought that…" Her eyes were glued to him when he trailed off. "Are there different kinds of love, Sakura-chan?"
"Different kinds of love?" she repeated unsurely and then frowned thoughtfully. Naruto's expression was equally thoughtful, even though he wouldn't look at her. "You mean love for your family or friends, and love for your partner?" He nodded and she noticed his grip tighten on the wheel, saw him shift in his seat. "Well, yeah. I mean, I love Itachi in a… totally unexplainable way. It's different from my love for you, Sasuke-kun and Kakashi, you know? I see you all as family, but Itachi's a different kind of family because I'm starting one with him and just-" Sakura cut herself off with a nervous laugh, looking away when he glanced at her. "I'm making no sense, am I?"
Naruto shrugged, giving her a helpless smile. "Maybe that's because love doesn't make sense."
She laughed again. "Deep."
He was serious again. "Is it possible to only think you're…?"
"In love with someone?"
Her interest truly was piqued and Sakura found herself sitting up straighter in her seat. Who was he thinking about? She hoped it was Hinata, but something in her gut – no, her heart was telling her it wasn't Hinata. It was someone else. She just knew it. "I guess so. When you're crushing on someone, you think they're your forever, right? I did with Sasuke-kun, at least." It was hard not to blush as she recalled the embarrassing memories. "But he showed me that I was only feeling that way because he saved me. Soon enough, he was proven right. I moved on."
Slowly, unsurely, Naruto nodded and stuck his indicator on, doing yet another sloppy turn as he failed to slow down properly, almost bumping into the pavement. "But how can you tell the difference between love and a crush?"
"You can't," she replied quietly, leading him to turning the music down. "That's why it's always risky falling in love."
The dress was stunning, although, as they'd expected, they'd been forced to go with the next size up. Early in the morning, hours before the actual wedding ceremony, Sakura had to go back to the store and have it taken in so that it fit perfectly rather than kind of loose. That was fine, though. For the first time in her entire life, she could wear a strapless dress without worrying about it falling down. She actually had a chest to hold the dress up.
There was silence in the apartment when Sakura returned with Naruto, though she knew it was because Sasuke had gone to visit his parents. They weren't thrilled about him staying with her and Itachi, wanting him at home where he couldn't be negatively influenced. Oh, it made her so angry, but for the sake of her family and keeping her stress levels down, Sakura didn't linger on the unspoken accusations for too long. Neither did Itachi. He was too happy about having his brother home.
Sighing, she sat back into the sofa, one hand holding a cup while the other ran through her hair. Temari and Karin were due in ten minutes and fortunately for her, her boyfriend was a neat freak, so the apartment was already tidy. She didn't think she had the energy had it been a mess – probably would've had the meeting somewhere else just to avoid the embarrassment.
She nursed the cup of tea in her hands and breathed out a deep breath. They'd yet to hear from the midwife or whoever the hell was supposed to be calling her about the results. It was playing her anxiety like a pianist, in all honesty and she wanted it over and done with. If it came back positive from pre-eclampsia, then the sooner she knew, the better and they could come up with some kind of arrangement or a plan on how to reduce the risk for the babies. No matter what happened, the babies came first. Their lives were to be placed before her own – their health, too.
If it came back negative, then she could breathe easy knowing her babies were fine. They appeared to be growing well and were supposedly hitting all their targets – or so Itachi had told her in more complicated terms. At the time she hadn't wanted to know.
Now, she felt awful for not knowing how her own babies were developing.
Since everything was ready and waiting for the other girls to arrive, Sakura didn't see the harm in putting down her tea and walking over to the second bedroom. It was still empty and dull, the main and only feature being the wooden flooring which ran throughout the apartment. The size was okay, she supposed. It could easily fit two cribs if they placed the length of them against the furthest wall. Doing it like that left more room for centre of the bedroom, but then again, they wouldn't need that much space so soon. Perhaps if she put the diameter of the cribs against the furthest wall, that would be better? That way there was room for an extra wardrobe – one for the boy, the other for the girl. A rocking chair in the corner (maybe even a loveseat) for the rougher nights and feeding them, maybe? Oh and she couldn't forget the changing station or–
Gods, babies were so expensive.
Stepping closer to the wall, Sakura raised her hand, her fingertips running down the smooth wall. It was unpainted and there was no wallpaper, leaving it as a blank canvas.
She grabbed her phone from her pocket without another thought, firing through a text within seconds.
'I have an idea for the nursery. Is Sai-san available at any point next week?'
Not even a minute later, despite the fact her best friend was supposed to be at work, she got her reply.
'Omg, you have to share. I'll try and call him later for you.'
There were way too many emojis on the screen, taking up two whole lines after the text, but Sakura didn't have time to focus on it as there was a knock on her front door, followed by the dogs standing to attention and making their way over to it. Unlike their previous reactions, however, they were tame, merely waiting patiently to make sure the intruders were friendly. There was no barking or growling – well, at first Ken made a strange whiny growl sound, but other than that, nothing (probably to give possible intruders a shock when they were suddenly met with two huge dogs). It was more than impressive – it was a miracle, in her eyes.
"Yo," Temari said casually as they were allowed entry.
At the sight of the two women, Ken perked up, head tilting to the side before he barked once at the blonde, tail tagging as she reached into her pocket and gave each of the dogs a treat. Akako was more fussy about receiving hers, sniffing at the hand for a few seconds. Eventually, she accepted hers too and huffed once, returning to her bed without another glance. Ken, on the other hand, made sure to thank Temari – enough for the both of them.
"I love your dogs," she said once he'd rushed off to finish his treat.
"Akako doesn't seem to like you," came Karin's haughty reply. "Shocker."
"She's stuck up, that's all."
"Akako's not stuck up," Sakura argued without hesitation. "She's just…"
At her loss for words, Temari laughed that loud, boisterous laugh of hers, which soon had Karin and herself joining in.
It was nice working with them both. It was something she wouldn't have minded doing more than once, but Sakura was determined on sticking with her rule: different groups for each group task. There weren't many group tasks. However, she believed it was important to grow accustomed to always working with different people. She didn't want nerves to get the best of her if she was working in a hospital. People's lives would depend on her.
"So, what're your plans for the summer?" Karin asked as they each logged onto their student portals. That was how they handed in their assignments – uploading them onto an online portal.
"I was thinking of going home. Checking up on my brothers. Seeing old friends," answered Temari without missing a beat. "But I might stay in Konoha instead."
Interesting. "You're not staying in student accommodation?"
She shook her head and began typing away on her laptop. "I'm renting an apartment pretty close to the campus."
How the hell did she afford that? From what Sakura had gathered during their meetings, it was obvious Temari didn't have a job. She was focused entirely on her degree. Maybe she was from a rich background like Naruto? Was it okay for her to ask, or was it too intrusive?
"Rich kid," Karin said, smirking as she met Sakura's eye. "Only explanation."
Temari shrugged at that. "I'm not complaining about it. It gives me the chance to focus on getting my degree."
That was true. Smiling, she admitted, "I wish I didn't have to work."
"It gets boring sometimes, don't get me wrong," she added smoothly. Then, before any more could be said, she looked at them both with a smirk, asking, "Ready to submit our final assignment for the first year?"
The sudden ringing of her phone had Sakura snatching it from the table, eyes widening briefly as she recognised the number. "Sorry, I need a second," she said to them both, already on her feet and leaving towards her bedroom, shutting the door behind herself as she answered with a, "Hello, Haruno Sakura speaking."
"Ah, Sakura-chan. Forgive me for calling on a weekend – we have your results and I wanted to call you personally so that you weren't worrying all weekend."
Her stomach was in knots. Hands sweating. Slowly, hesitantly, she sat down on Itachi's half of the bed, reaching out and bringing his pillow close to her chest. It smelled like him, much to her relief and it helped calm her sudden anxiety. Helped her breathe deeply. "Okay, I'm ready."
"I'm happy to say that the tests came back as negative for pre-eclampsia, though I have to advise you to…"
She couldn't help but tune her midwife out, the words sounding distant to her as that single word repeated itself in her mind.
Her babies were safe.
"I've missed this," Sakura said warmly as she sat between them both. "It feels like it's been forever."
Sasuke simply nodded once, whereas Naruto remained quiet, much to her surprise. There was an awkward feeling in the air and it had her sitting up straight and frowning, eyeing the pair of them up. Her previous intentions had been to rest her head on Sasuke's shoulder and her feet on Naruto's lap – something they'd always done. However, if they were feeling awkward around her, was that okay? Had she done something wrong? What had she done to upset them?
"Is something wrong?" she asked unsurely, frown deepening.
"No," they said in unison, then met each other's gaze with an angered glare and looked away again.
So whatever was wrong was going on between them. Remembering Itachi's earlier words about Sasuke's patience during Naruto's pain and grief, Sakura decided not to push it any further. Considering Naruto's bad mood earlier that day, along with the surprise visit from the pervert too… Sasuke was probably making him talk about it.
"So," she said, hoping the awkwardness in her tone wasn't as obvious to them as it was her. "Can I choose the movie?"
The blond nodded and snatched the remote up before either of them could grab it, his elbow going onto the arm of the sofa and his head in his hand. "What do you want to watch?"
Without missing a beat, she replied, "Ringu."
"Ringu?" Naruto repeated in exasperation, forehead slamming into the arm. "We've watched that thousands of times already."
She slapped him upside the head just as he was sitting up, not caring about how roughly she'd done it. "And we'll watch it a thousand more. I love that movie."
"You probably know all the words by now," Sasuke muttered.
"And the credits," Sakura added, grinning.
"Sakura-chan," he whined.
The Uchiha by her side could only sigh, sinking further into his seat. Not long after Temari and Karin left, Sasuke had returned to the apartment. He hadn't been happy, though she supposed visiting his parents always put him in a bad mood. The news of the tests coming back negative seemed to brighten him up, however and together, they'd decided to have a movie night.
Their takeout was on the way to the apartment, they were choosing a movie to watch and were all in their pyjamas. Sakura hadn't been lying when she said she missed their nights in together, where they would all pig out and relax in front of the television. When they were still in school, since Kakashi worked nights at the weekend, she and Naruto were always inviting Sasuke over to stay. Sometimes Ino, too.
"I really did miss this," Sakura said again, smiling at her boys. "I feel like my family's back together again."
Naruto perked up a little, returning her smile and throwing an arm over her shoulders, their sides bumping together. "We'll always be together, Sakura-chan. Even when we're old, wrinkly and too weak to do anything else. Instead of movie nights, we'll be watching daytime television, bored out of our deteriorating minds and-"
A hand slammed to the side of his face, separating them as Sakura growled out, "You ruined it!"
It was breath taking.
Looking around the church with wide eyes, Sakura couldn't help but let her mouth part in surprise. She was the first of the bridesmaids to be ready, followed shortly by the maid of honour, so the two of them were ensuring everything was in its rightful place and ready for the ceremony, which was starting in just half an hour. She felt so excited for Rin and Obito. It was their big day. They were going to allow them all to witness their love as they became man and wife and she just…
"Here," the maid of honour said with a kind smile.
Sakura accepted the handkerchief with a shaky laugh, carefully dabbing at her eyes. "Sorry."
"Don't be. Everyone cries at weddings."
At the sound of the heavy doors behind them opening, Sakura turned, smiling warmly at Obito as he entered with Kakashi. He looked nervous as hell, his dark eyes scanning the church quickly like he was hoping to have caught sight of Rin.
Kakashi smiled at the sight of her, hand coming to the top of her head. Fortunately for him, he was careful not to mess her carefully styled hair up. "You look so grown up."
"Aw, is this your dad?" the woman asked her.
Before he could deny it, she said, "Yeah."
He didn't seem as opposed to it as he used to be, Sakura noticed and it made her smile widen. It was probably because of the wedding and everyone's elated mood, but that hardly mattered. "How's Rin doing?"
"Nervous," came her honest reply, green eyes shifting to a pacing Obito. "But nowhere near as nervous as he is."
"You should have seen him earlier," another said with a laugh. Four more entered the church at the words, Naruto leading the way with his arms folded behind his head. "Sweating buckets. Had to strip down so he didn't ruin his tux."
Speaking of tuxes… They all looked so handsome in theirs and Sakura bit her lip as she looked to Itachi. He was already looking at her, his gaze feeling so intense to her and reminding her of yesterday morning when he'd been ruthlessly teasing her. She hadn't seen him since due to his mission. Being reunited with him was… It should have happened before she left to get ready with the other bridesmaids and Rin.
Breaking eye contact, Sakura nervously ran her hands down her silver dress. It was a beautiful material, feeling like silk against her skin. Her favourite part about the dress wasn't the strapless feature, it was the crystal beading on the bust (which, by the way, looked amazing for once – her breasts, she meant). The bump stood out more than ever in the dress, but for once, it didn't make her uncomfortable. Somehow, she looked elegant – Rin had teared up at the sight of her, saying it was wonderful to see how far she'd come since the day she met her.
When she met the eyes of her boyfriend, he was busy taking in her outfit, his eyes languidly meeting hers once more. It had her nervously swallowing. He was turned on, too. He was remembering their night and morning together.
She'd never wanted him more than in that morning.
"You look beautiful," Itachi murmured, uncaring for those around them. It was more than likely because of his mission. Usually, after a mission, he would return home and cuddle up to her in bed, not moving for hours even if sleep didn't claim him. He needed the comfort. Needed to feel her. Instead, he'd gone straight to Obito's place to meet up with the others. He hadn't even had any sleep, despite looking fully alert.
"So do you."
Gods, she wanted to reach out to him. When he hadn't returned the night before (she knew it wouldn't happen, but still), she'd stayed up most of the night with Naruto and Sasuke watching horrors and eating junk food. They'd woken up to the sound of her alarms, all tangled up and so incredibly warm. None of them had complained about waking up in such a position, far too content with the peace and tranquillity.
"I can't believe I'm here," they heard Obito muttering. His trembling hands were by his sides, his pacing never ceasing for a second, not even when Naruto pulled out his phone and started recording him, snickering. "It feels surreal."
On her way over to him, Sakura made sure to slap Naruto, glaring at him to stop. Poor Obito looked like a nervous wreck, like he was ready to go into cardiac arrest. What was going to happen to him when he saw Rin in her wedding dress? He'd have a heart attack. He was going to pass out. Either one.
"Obito," she called out, hand coming to his arm. He was quick to spin on his heel, wide dark eyes staring down at her in shock and a touch of fear. Was it really that scary marrying someone? Even if Rin was the love of his life? "It's real. Rin-san's getting ready as we speak."
His hand came to his face and he shook his head. "Shit."
"She's just as nervous, you know," Sakura told him. "The makeup artist told her off for not sitting still."
"R-Really?" Obito demanded, eyes impossibly widening further.
"Yeah. That's why we're here instead of in there: making sure everything's in order so she doesn't have a freaking heart attack."
He chuckled at that. "She's been really worried about something going wrong."
"That's what I'm here for," the maid of honour stated proudly before walking towards the priest, saying over her shoulder, "To ease the burden."
"Thank you for helping Rin," Obito replied despite the woman already being in another conversation.
Weddings were so chaotic, Sakura noted. Rin had been all but crazed with the tiniest of details. Was her dress steamed and prepared? What about the bridesmaid dresses? Were all the decorations up in the church? Were they up in the reception hall? The band could still make it, couldn't they? Was her makeup okay, or too much? Was her dress still okay? Did she change her hair and have it down after all? Where was her bouquet? The catering company were still available, weren't they? The dress was still okay, wasn't it? Where was Obito? Was he just as nervous as herself? Where the hell was her dress?
It was a never ending stream of questions. In all honesty, Sakura wasn't needed in the church just yet – she'd needed a break from the constant paranoia of Rin's dress. Seeing her boys in their tuxedos was a bonus, for they all looked so smart and mature for once (not including Itachi, of course, for he always looked that way).
Glancing back to her, Obito smiled, his hand coming to her shoulder. "You're look wonderful, Sakura. Like you're glowing."
She rolled her eyes at that. "It's called sweat. I just hope I don't sweat so much that I soak the dress."
"You're wearing flats, right?" he asked worriedly and glanced at her feet. "I know the others are wearing heels, but you're pregnant-"
"I have flats in my bag," she said, cutting him off. "Just because I'm pregnant, it doesn't mean I can't wear the same stuff."
"Put your comfort first," Itachi interrupted their conversation. He settled her with a serious, no-nonsense expression, making her pout and turn her head away. "You are supposed to be relaxing."
Shit. She'd forgotten to tell him the news. "Can I talk to you in private for a moment?"
He instantly caught onto what she meant and without a single glance towards the others, he held out his hand to her, unnecessarily aiding her in walking outside and to their car. Whereas she'd arrived with the other women, he'd given Sasuke, Naruto and Shisui a ride to the church. Apparently Obito had needed a prep talk of sorts, so it was only himself and Kakashi in the car.
As soon as they were sat down, Sakura blurted out the news, knowing that it would've been causing him intense anxiety not knowing. "I didn't want to risk sending you a text or calling you," she added.
Itachi breathed out a deep sigh, sounding like he'd been holding it in since the news of possibly having pre-eclampsia. His head fell back against the headrest, eyes shutting with relief and it looked as though a humongous weight had left his left his shoulders. Smiling faintly at his response, she reached out and took his hand. For the briefest of seconds, she noticed the state of his hand – cut up and bruised – and felt her heart sink, her warm feeling fading rapidly and leaving her to feel cold. Shutting her eyes tightly, she kissed his hand, willing away the need to cry.
"We're all okay."
Like she'd been expecting: Obito cried when he saw Rin walking down the aisle. He'd taken a single look at her, took in her stunning dress and features, shook his head and openly wept in front of them all, telling her repeatedly once she'd reached him that she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, and how he can't believe how lucky he was to be marrying her.
Their vows were just as emotional. Along with the traditional vows, they added to it. It started with Obito, who managed to pull himself together long enough to get through it.
"These past few years have been difficult for us both. Testing our relationship, testing us as individuals," he began and smiled lovingly when she took his hands, smiling encouragingly. "We both lost our parents in the worst ways possible, leaving us to feel lost and without hope. But you guided me through that grief, you stood by me on my darkest days." It shocked Sakura to hear the words, as she'd had no idea the sort of troubles they'd been going through. "Even when… Even when you were suffering yourself, you tried to be strong for me. You've always taken care of me and watched over me. I can't thank you enough for that, Rin. I can only promise to love you with every fibre of my being for as long as we both shall live."
Turning her head to the side, she once more dabbed at her eyes, ignoring Naruto's and Shisui's knowing grins when she looked forward again. It was so emotional, nobody could deny that and seeing the look of happiness and pride in Kakashi's eyes made it more so. If anybody knew of the difficulties Obito and Rin went through, then it was him. He'd always said that he'd watched the relationship develop. He'd watched them grow from acquaintances to friends to lovers.
"I'm so lucky," Rin told him, hands clasped with his. "I can't think of a single person more perfect to spend the rest of my life with – I'm marrying my best friend." Grinning despite the tears filling her eyes, she added, "I'm marrying my soulmate."
It didn't surprise Sakura in the least that there were tears in Obito's eyes once more, that his expression was one of intense concentration. He was trying so hard not to succumb to his emotions, wanting to appear tough to the rest of them. She'd always known he was overemotional, however. If not from knowing him, then from hearing Kakashi's stories.
"I can't wait to spend my life with you," Rin said, still grinning brightly even as Obito reached up and wiped at her eyes. "When I'm upset or stressed, you're there to hold me and not only promise me that everything's going to be okay, but make it so that it's okay. You protect me when I'm scared. You love me even on my darkest days, when I'm feeling most unlovable and-" She cut herself off, taking a moment to compose herself before smiling again. "I can't wait to be your wife and I can't wait to be the mother of your children. I love you more than words can describe. I always will."
It was safe to say that Sakura was an emotional wreck for the rest of the ceremony, even as she linked arms with Itachi and was escorted back down the aisle. It made her think of things she probably shouldn't have been, things like what her own wedding would be like. How would Itachi propose, if he ever did? Where would they get married? A church or outdoors? A spring wedding would be amazing.
She blushed when he met her eye, his smirk teasing like he knew exactly what she was thinking and didn't disapprove at all. It had a strange feeling bubble away at her stomach. Giddiness, perhaps? Did she really want that? To marry Itachi? Not any time soon, of course. They were still so young. But in the future? Could she see herself marrying him?
It shocked her that the answer came so easily, like she didn't need to think about it at all.
Yes. Yes she would.
It just couldn't be helped.
While the others were celebrating the newly wedded couple, Sakura grabbed Itachi's hand, doing her best to drag him after her as she made a beeline for the nearest door. Once he realised she had her mind made up on something, and that it was urgent, he didn't hesitate to follow, even picking up his pace to make it less of a strain on her.
However, as they entered the bathroom together and she locked the door, spinning on her heel to look up at him from beneath her lashes, his eyes widened, easily reading her mind.
"Sakura, we can't-"
"Don't," she breathed, already tugging on his pants, pushing his back against the wall. "I need you, Itachi."
It didn't take much to convince him and she shut her eyes at his responding gestures, sighing as he removed her dress and turned her around. She'd rather be against the wall with her legs around him, but knew it wasn't possible due to how large her stomach was getting. Instead, she was bent over the marble counter, hands gripping at the edges to try and steady herself, while Itachi spared a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure the door was definitely locked.
There was no stopping her moan, grip tightening on the counter when he entered her with a single, swift thrust.
"Sakura," he whispered, sounding almost awed and she knew exactly why.
"Don't act so surprised," came her groaned response and her hips shifted against him, trying to make him move. "I've been like this since yesterday morning because of you."
Somehow, she managed to break out of his hold, hips moving back and slamming into his and he groaned, shifting his hold, hips staying still for a few moments.
He chuckled lowly after a moment, the sound sending shivers down her spine. "Forgive me," he said softly, leaning forward and pressing a tender kiss to the top of her spine. "I will finish what I started now."
All the things you are to me
Darling you have set me free
I'll always give you what you need
and what you deserve
She smiled warmly at the first dance, her heart warming at the sight of the couple holding each other so close, eyes locked like they'd forgotten they were even there. The song they'd chosen fit them so perfectly, almost like it'd been made for them.
Cause you are the love of my life
you are the love of my life
and now we are man and wife
When others began to join the couple on the dance floor, Sakura smiled brightly when Itachi took her hand and guided her to the edge of the dance floor, starting a gentle sway to the music. Usually, people waited until the entire song was over before dancing alongside the couple, but Rin had made it known that she wanted others to be involved in the happy moment.
Everything is going to be fine
Now you're in my life
So I give you heart and soul
It's yours to take wherever you go
Through the years you'll always know it's yours to keep
She grinned when he lifted his arm, allowing Sakura to spin carefully under his arm. They were further away from the other dancers to give her more space, just in case it all became a bit too much. After the pre-eclampsia scare, she supposed Itachi had every reason to be extra cautious. One wrong move, a simple fall, could be disastrous for their children. It was both relieving and terrifying that she could now understand his constant worry and paranoia over their well-being.
God has blessed this sacred vow
Angels line above and look down
See the two of us, we found the perfect love
"I was thinking about the nursery," Sakura said softly while resting her forehead on his collarbone, pressing a sweet kiss to his neck a moment later. "And I thought that maybe, if we came up with a design that we both like, we could ask Sai-san to paint it for us? Ino-Pig's always talking about how great an artist he is."
She felt rather than saw him nod, followed by the feeling of his hands moving along her body, easing her into a more natural sway. "I have had a few ideas, but we will discuss it in further detail tomorrow. Tonight is about Obito-san and Rin-san, wouldn't you agree?"
You are the love of my life
Uchiha Itachi truly was the love of her life, Sakura decided in that moment. It felt like the love she felt for him grew every single day. Even when he was at his worst, even when she saw how dark his world could become, she still loved him. Unconditionally and unfalteringly.
"I love you," he murmured in her ear.
Now we're man and wife
She smiled widely again, but that smile faltered when she looked up in time to see Naruto's own smile disappear the second Hinata looked away, his eyes searching the crowd of dancers until they met hers. He tried to smile again, shrugging in a 'what-can-you-do' sort of way and it made her heart break. Everyone was so loved up and in their own little bubbles, herself included. Somehow, she'd missed the fact that Naruto was struggling.
He'd invited Hinata the second they got the invites, but she could see in his expression that he wished he'd waited a while longer, perhaps not mentioned the wedding at all, even though it would undoubtedly hurt her when she found out. There was a noticeable, painful tension between the pair. Despite that, however, Hinata was doing her best to continue smiling, looking absolutely radiant in her formal dress and pinned back hair.
Before she could excuse herself from Itachi and approach him, the song changed and another was approaching her, nodding once to his older brother as they switched places. Sakura didn't argue or complain as Sasuke began a just as cautious sway, as she'd been meaning to talk to him, too. She simply hoped Naruto didn't think she was brushing him off. Already, he was speaking with Kakashi, so she supposed it was fine.
"How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine," he told her, sighing. Then, he glanced over his shoulder, dark eyes returning to hers after only a second. "They don't look happy."
This time, she was the one who sighed. "They're not." Her words made Sasuke frown and his concern touched her heart, making her smile return. "Don't worry too much. Naruto's capable of taking of himself."
The frown deepened. "No, he's not."
What? The smile disappeared altogether and she stopped their swaying, gazing up at him worriedly. "What do you mean?"
But he shook his head, telling her, "Doesn't matter. I saw that you added Temari as a friend online."
Temari? "What about it?" she asked curiously. "We're in the same class and we were working together on a project – no, we're friends now, too." Again, she was frowning. He looked troubled. "What's wrong with you, Sasuke-kun? I'm not used to you looking so concerned."
Now he was lost for words? What the hell was wrong with her best friend? Stepping away, she took his hand, quickly looking around to find the nearest exit and spotting it, she went straight to it, offering a single shake of her head to Itachi when he looked at them questioningly. Understanding they needed to talk, he didn't stop them, instead watching them go until Shisui captured his attention with two cups of sake, making him sigh.
It was warm outside, much to her gratefulness and they also seemed to be the only ones out there. The music was pounding through the walls, sounding almost like the entire building was vibrating with the bass of the next song. Naruto would love it – the fast, loud music, she meant. He disliked the slow songs, always saying they didn't have a rhythm he could dance to. Kakashi tried to change his mind, but always failed in doing so.
Sakura watched curiously as Sasuke sat down on the stone wall, breathing out a deep sigh and, much to her utter shock, just before he pocketed them, she noticed a faint shake in his hands. Her eyes instantly shot up to meet his, but he wasn't looking at her. He was staring out at the car park, watching as a few guests left early.
"Sasuke-kun?" she called softly, almost hesitantly. Whatever was weighing him down was freaking her out. Never before had she seen him so… Was scared the right word to use? It just didn't seem right saying Sasuke's name in the same sentence as 'scared'. "What's wrong?"
Despite his fear, the words came out so swiftly, so easily, that Sakura paused and tilted her head to the side, too stunned to think of anything to say. However, after a few moments, she shook her head. "Eh?"
As soon as the single syllable left her lips, though, she realised it wasn't easy for him in the slightest. In fact, Sasuke swallowed hard and his eyes dropped from hers, focusing on his feet. Never had that ever happened before and it was in that second that Sakura knew he was serious.
"Does your family know?"
"You're the first of my family to know."
Her heart swelled with so much love that she almost threw her arms around him. She stopped herself from doing so at the last second. "How…?"
"Did I figure it out?" he asked blandly, then shrugged. "How did you figure out you loved Itachi? It just happens."
"I suppose that makes sense," Sakura replied with a nod of her head. "So, this girlfriend of yours…?"
Dark eyes rolled, but she noticed the faint blush on his cheeks. "Is a guy? Yeah."
She couldn't believe she hadn't realised it sooner.
"I know that, but-" She cut herself off and leaned closer, saying, "You said she – sorry, I mean he is a redhead. And you know Temari-san because she said you know her brother. I've seen a picture of her brother, who also happens to be a redhead – what's his name again?" Tapping her chin, she looked up at the darkening sky, frowning thoughtfully. "It's something unusual. Something about a demon, right? Um…"
Again, he rolled his eyes. "His name's Gaara."
"That's it," she said cheerfully, grinning. "It means 'I love a demon', right?" He nodded. Smiling, she then said, "I'm really happy that you told me before the others – before Itachi. I mean, I thought you told each other everything now."
"I'm not ready for them to know," he told her quietly, frowning in the direction of the party. "Especially not Itachi."
The smile vanished.
Sakura breathed out a heavy sigh and sat beside him on the stone wall. "He loves you more than his own life, Sasuke-kun. That's not going to change because you're gay." Seeing his eyes warily look around them, she lowered her voice and shifted closer, asking, "Are you happy? With Temari-san's brother?"
After a moment of obviously debating it, he nodded.
There was no stopping her wide smile, green eyes creasing with happiness. "That's all he – all any of us – cares about. As long as your happy, safe and loved, nothing else matters."
"You don't understand," Sasuke said with an irritated sigh. "Father disowned Itachi simply because he wanted to study literature rather than be an officer. He almost disowned me for wanting to be a private investigator until he realised I was studying law and continuing with my training. If I-" He cut himself off as the doors to the venue opened, the music growing louder until they shut again. Once he was certain they were still alone, he continued, though kept his voice a mere whisper, "If I come out as…"
"As what?" she demanded with the same volume when she realised he wouldn't continue the sentence. "You can say the word, Sasuke-kun. It's not an illness or something to be ashamed about. It's not who you are or defines who you are, either. It's just a part you." Surprising him, she took his hands in hers, holding securely to convey that, with her, he was safe. With her, there was no judgement. "If they can't accept that part of you, then screw them."
Their eye contact broke as he looked away, shame still clear in his eyes and it broke her heart over and over again in those few short seconds. It hurt her that he felt ashamed of himself for something he couldn't even control. It felt like it physically hurt her.
Lips turning downwards, she added, "If you want me to keep it a secret, then I will. Until you're ready to tell others, know that you can confide in me about your relationships. It's no different than me calling you in the middle of the night asking for advice on Itachi." Her grip on his hands tightened, forcing him to meet her serious gaze again. "Please don't ever feel like you can't talk to me, Sasuke-kun. No matter who you're dating, you'll always be the boy who, without fail, sat by my side every lunchtime and shared his food. I'll always love you."
It was obvious he was taken by surprise by her words, the emotion behind them leaving him to watch her with eyes a fraction wider than usual. But then, almost hesitantly, he smiled in thanks and nodded, turning his hands in hers to squeeze back.
"And that offer still stands," she suddenly told him, making him frown in confusion. "I said that if the redhead messes you around, I'll break her. Just because the redhead's a man now, doesn't mean I won't be kicking ass if he upsets you. Temari-san's brother or not, you're my brother."
Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, Sasuke chuckled. It wasn't his reserved, reluctant chuckle. It was carefree, soon escalating to a laugh of genuine mirth.
"Thank you, Sakura."
A/N - Shit, that took me a while to write. Writer's block is a bitch.
Like with the chapter for Dying Embers, this chapter is dedicated to my friend Nena, who's currently stuck in hospital of an unknown amount of time. I hope you make a full and fast recovery, Nena!
erichan0902: That's so sad to hear, but understandable at the time. It has to be scary going through that. When is the Uchiha family not in trouble?
KurohimeHaruko: I dressed my eldest nephew up as Goku, believe it or not hahah. He had the blue shoes and everything! Sadly, he grew out of it so quickly, but that's okay, his little brother is almost big enough to wear it.
DarkSecretKeeper: Any idea on what you think Sasuke's done now? Or is it still hard to tell? I like to think I've gotten better at making the readers guess what's happening, instead of making everything so obvious.
Bsmiles123: Neither did I, not until I was reading into bulimia, anyway. It's an interesting read, but so sad at the same time.
I'm in here: Yeah, I know I've done the whole one boy, one girl thing before, but it's such an adorable thing to imagine, you know? What do you think Sasuke's done? And since I'm writing it from Sakura's P.O.V, we won't know if Itachi's missions are Hidan related, since he wants to keep it all separated to spare Sakura the stress.
KHB123: Yeah, apparently it's quite common nowadays and can also be caused by stress.
IheartSasuSakuIta: Hopefully, this chapter cleared things up for you. It's not that he's unsure of his sexuality, but I'm sure you've already picked that up.
cherrypie21: Don't worry, I've always promised my readers that I'll never leave a story unfinished. There's nothing worse than falling in love with a story only to find out it's never going to be complete.
Thank you to lakeya2700 and JigokuShoujosRevenge for your reviews, too!
P.S: If you haven't already, I recommend that you all go and watch Angel Beats! because it's simply amazing. It broke my heart, don't get me wrong, but omg. I've just started Nana, too. Pretty excited about that. I'm only 10 episodes in and it already looks so good, even though the childish Nana (ginger one - at least I think that's her hair colour) is kinda doing my head in. Shoji is a good guy, she better not mess him around!