Author Notes: Hello again, everyone!
I'm taking part in the SasuSaku Show Me the Love One Shot Challenge organised by fellow writer fanofthisfiction. Please hop over to her profile to read more about it and check out the other participating writers. I only ask that if you do read their stories, to please leave a review as a mark of appreciation.
Appreciation: Thank you to fanofthisfiction for inviting me to her SasuxSaku challenge!
Warnings: Spoilers for Shippuden, Boruto and fluff.
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
- Story Start -
It was something Sasuke Uchiha had relied on all his life, having been a part of him since birth. He had used it ever since he could remember. He had trained with it without even thinking.
To him, it was just a means to an end. A way to get stronger and more powerful, all in the name of revenge. And when that revenge was dealt with (albeit in a way he never expected) denial consumed his every thought and action until he took things too far and lost it.
When he regained consciousness and came to his senses at long last, he felt that loss was completely justified. After all, he had used it to try to kill Itachi, his beloved older brother. He had used it to try to kill Sakura and Naruto, his teammates.
He deserved the loss of his dominant arm.
But Naruto didn't.
Sasuke was grateful Tsunade was able to craft a replacement arm for Naruto from Hashirama's cells. Sakura implied they were doing one for him too, but he didn't bother. His handicap only served to make his pardon a more meaningful one, for he had to relearn the skills he had perfected for years while traveling the world.
It wasn't easy.
Sasuke opted to travel alone despite the offer of companionship - and more - from Sakura. Hence, he learned to take care of himself with one arm. He learned to leap and travel from branch to branch without losing his balance, how to wield a sword and throw a kunai with his non-dominant hand, and how to do one handed hand signs.
No, it wasn't easy.
But it wasn't impossible.
Sasuke's innate talent and sheer stubbornness saw him through it when he failed again and again. He persevered, practising long into the night, thinking only of the end goal. He got stronger and his aim grew more accurate. With his Sharingan and his Rinnegan to aid him, he achieved almost the same level of expertise he had before. He was a force to be reckoned with once again. He proved he could not only survive, but thrive with one arm.
It was enough.
It was more than enough.
Until the day came, a couple of years later, when he realised it wasn't. And again, it was for a reason he never expected.
Sasuke, like many of his peers, had married. He was back in the Leaf village on a rare, week long break. Kakashi wanted to gather more intel from the other nations before letting him set out again.
Sakura was ecstatic to have her husband home for longer than the usual day or two. She planned to swap time off with a colleague whose husband was due home from his mission next week. After she left to begin her shift at the hospital, Sasuke went shopping for groceries. They were out of tomatoes, apples and eggs.
It was not yet eight in the morning, but the town was already bustling with people. The July sun promised it was going to be a bright and sunny day.
Sasuke spied Naruto and Hinata in the distance, already returning from the market. Naruto had his right arm around Hinata's shoulders and was carrying a bag of groceries in his left hand, the ubiquitous stalk of green onion sticking out the top.
Sasuke lifted his hand in greeting and got a wide grin and a hollered 'Hey, Sasuke!' from Naruto, and a smile and bow from Hinata. He didn't stop to chat, but quickly headed for the vegetable stall, hoping there were still choice tomatoes for tonight's dinner. Then he stopped by the fruit stall where he bumped into another familiar face.
Shikamaru was holding his bag of groceries in one hand as he chose apples and placed them in a basket with the other. He made room for Sasuke who nodded his thanks and began selecting his own fruit. The final stop was the egg stall and then Sasuke's shopping was complete.
Less than half an hour had passed, but there were more people walking about when he left the market. He spied Shikamaru again, walking about twenty feet in front of him with his groceries in one hand and Temari's hand in the other. Then he saw Sai near the Yamanaka flower shop, holding his brush and sketch pad in one hand while shielding Ino with an umbrella in the other.
That was when Sasuke decided he had seen enough familiar faces for one morning. He leaped onto the nearest roof and made his way home, but still saw Choji walking hand in hand with Karui of the Cloud, his other hand swinging a large picnic basket covered with a red and white checkered cloth.
What the hell! Why was everyone of them out dating with their respective spouses?
And why were they all-
Sasuke looked down at his groceries and frowned.
- o -
It was just past seven in the evening when Sakura finally heard the front door open. She had expected Sasuke to have at least gotten dinner started when she reached home at six, tired and hungry, but their home was empty. Nothing had been prepared yet or even taken out of the fridge.
There was a bag of groceries left on the counter though.
At another time and in another life, Sakura might have demanded, with hands on hips, to know where Sasuke had been the whole day, and if he expected her to cook after spending nine hours on her feet attending to patients, but not this time. The last time Sasuke came home was a whole two months ago so she was determined to enjoy every moment of this visit while it lasted.
After all, she had already arranged to have the rest of the week off. She also had a surprise for him and didn't want to spoil it by getting annoyed.
"Sasuke," she called from the kitchen. "Dinner's almost ready."
Giving the miso soup a final stir, she covered the pot, put down the ladle and went to the fridge to get some green onion she had chopped earlier. She had barely taken three steps there when she was suddenly swung up in a pair of arms and cradled against a muscled chest.
Caught off balance, she squealed and flung her arms around Sasuke's neck.
"You're lucky I wasn't carrying anything!" she exclaimed.
"Hn," he said, looking down at her, one eyebrow raised and lips twitching the tiniest bit.
Sakura smiled back and mimicked his raised eyebrow.
"So, what's this about?" she asked and then the figurative Ryo dropped, making her heart lurch. He was supporting her legs with his right arm under her knees, so how was he supporting her back?
She jerked upright and twisted to look behind her, forcing Sasuke to quickly adjust his hold. The only thing she could see were bandaged fingers grasping her left side, just under her armpit. She grabbed the fingers with her right hand. They were warm. Her heart skipped a beat as her head snapped around to look up at him again.
'"Sasuke... you have two arms!"
"But - but why? You've never - I thought you didn't want a replacement."
He remained silent as he carried her over to the sofa and sat down, leaving her perched on his lap.
Sakura slid off and knelt on the floor before reaching for his left sleeve. Then she paused and glanced up at him. When he just shrugged, she tugged the long sleeve up as far as it would go, up to the elbow. It was bandaged all the way, just like Naruto's. The medic in her was tempted to examine his arm further, but there was only one possibility how he could have gotten it.
Clasping his new hand with both of hers, she looked up into his eyes, seeing the tiny hints of trepidation and defiance. As always, any vulnerability her stalwart husband chose to show made her heart turn over in her chest.
"I thought you didn't want a replacement arm," she repeated gently.
He looked away and swallowed. Then he exhaled and met her gaze again.
"I don't, Sakura," he admitted. "I've grown used to one arm and I've already trained myself to be proficient with it. But..." he hesitated before forging on, cheeks taking on a hint of pink, "I can't just think of myself anymore. I have a wife now and maybe children in the future. And I," he took a deep breath, "I want both arms to take care of my family."
Sakura's lips parted in surprise. That wasn't an easy admission for Sasuke, especially one that showed he cared. She blinked rapidly.
"I'm so glad," she said shakily, "because you're getting that family sooner than you think."
Getting up, she sat beside him and took his left hand, placing it over her flat stomach. His eyes widened a bit.
"I'm two months pregnant," she confessed. "I wasn't going to tell you until tonight, but you deserve to know right now."
She cupped his face with both hands and pressed her lips to his.
"Thank you, Sasuke. I'm sure you'll take perfect care of us."
- Story End -
A/N: Thank you for reading! Please leave a review if you enjoyed it :)