Begun: August 26, 2004
Finished: August 26, 2004
Notes: The chapters that will fall into this fic are going to be isolated incidents, not flowing from one part to the next. Writing styles will jump around as well, and the chapters will be written pretty much as I feel like it. Enjoy =)
Warnings: There are references for chapters up to 227, but no specific details. Also, fluff will occur. You've been warned.
Story Number One: Watermelon & Tissue
I hate watermelon. The big and round fruit that's pink on the inside and green on the outside. They look stupid, they're heavy, and no one likes to go through the trouble of opening one up just to get inside of it. Did I mention that they were big and round? And juicy? And sweet. And non-fattening, and good- Oh yes, watermelon. Er, I mean. Oh, I don't know what I mean. Maybe watermelon isn't all that bad. Not when it's cut up into little cubes with all of the seeds removed and you sprinkle just a little bit of salt on it to bring out the sweet flavor? When it's like that it's pretty yummy.
Oh man, I'm- I'm drooling again. Where are those tissues? …Ah, that's better!
Where was I? Oh yeah…
I guess I just don't like it because right now I feel like a watermelon. Yeah, I may have pink hair and green eyes but the colors still match. I've also gotten heavy. Really heavy. But the main thing is that I'm round. SO round it's not even funny. I think I used to be dainty, but now I can't even see my feet.
That's right. You guessed it. I'm pregnant.
Who's kid is it? Well, if you have to ask, then why are you even here? It's Sasuke-kun's! And people said I was hopeless… Oh, I'm sorry… I guess that was a little rude. Maybe Ino was right when she started saying I was being emotional… Or something. I can't quite remember. She stopped talking after I started crying… It felt pretty good at the time, too. No one's going to yell too long at a pregnant woman.
So where was I again? Watermelon? Oh, that's right!
Well, maybe it would be best if I gave you a little bit of background information first. You know how we ninjas are. We like to have all the information before rushing into battle. Not that I've been a ninja for a while, but- I better not get started. The last time Sasuke-kun and I argued about that he spent the night sleeping on the couch and I spent the night crying in our bedroom. And right now I can't afford to waste tissues.
Anyway, about ten years ago, Sasuke-kun and I joined the same genin team as ninja. What? Well, of course Naruto was there. Yeah, he's the Hokage now and he's great and he's wonderful but who's telling this story? Oh… So you already know that part? Well, then… Let me see. Did you know about my brother-in-law? Uchiha Itachi? Yes, he's the one that massacred our clan over a decade ago…
Well, not many people know this, but… Ever since that day, Sasuke-kun vowed that he would kill his brother. He called him "that man" all of the time, and it took Naruto and I a long time to figure out who "that man" was. Uchiha Itachi, the prodigy of a century that killed his clan. Sasuke-kun still hasn't told me why Itachi did that. I am not sure if he even knows, or if he is just trying to protect me from something, but I'm willing to wait. I don't want him to hold anything back from me.
To be quite honest, I think a small- very small mind you, part of me is grateful to Itachi for what he did. Don't get me wrong, or anything! I love Sasuke-kun with all of my heart, and if I could bring back his clan I would do it in a heartbeat, but… I've wondered more than once, if he'd grown up in a normal family with a normal childhood and normal goals if we'd be together now. Maybe if things had been different he would have married someone like Hyuga Hinata, the heiress of the most powerful clan in Konoha. He might have even married Ino-pig. Though she's not as beautiful as I am (even as a watermelon!) she's still pretty… I guess… And I'll be the first person to say that she's an amazing kunoichi. Who wouldn't want someone like that?
But the way things are, it was me and not either of them… I was the one that learned his pain. I was the one that vowed to stay by his side, no matter what. I was the one that fell in love with him. And he fell in love with me too. Of course, not as quickly or as readily as I fell in love with him, but that's a story for another day.
Anyway, as much as I love my Sasuke-kun, it was not my love that reached him. For a time I was very worried that nothing would reach him, but there was something- someone that got to him.
It was Naruto. The number one loudest, hyperactive, show off ninja in Konoha was the one to reach my Sasuke-kun. Okay so maybe he's toned down a little bit- okay a lot since that time in the Water Country so long ago. But more serious missions and nearly dying at the hands of your best friend will do that to you. But Naruto didn't die. He didn't even come close, and he brought my Sasuke-kun back to me, and for that I will be forever grateful to him.
Sasuke-kun will be too, I think. Even if he doesn't say anything. Even if he calls Naruto dobe from time to time and never smiles at him and hardly ever smiles at his jokes. I think he's grateful that Naruto pulled him back from going down a horribly wrong path. And though he'll never say anything, I can read him. After eight years of stalking and glomping and crying and protecting him I should be able to read him!
That's why I think Sasuke-kun's gratitude turned into trust, and trust turned into faith, and from faith, he and Naruto went after Itachi. Together. As two avengers that just happened to be best friends. I would like to say that I was right there with them. That I was the one who thought of a brilliant plan that was carried out by Naruto's strength and Sasuke's skill. That I was the one that stood on the sidelines, willing to be a shield for either one of them if it turned out that they weren't quite strong enough, or quite skilled enough.
But it didn't happen that way. I wasn't there. I wasn't even close. I'm not sure where the battle was, but it was far enough away that we didn't even hear rumors of it. Not from our allies, not from our enemies. None of the other hidden villages so much as peeped. I didn't know if either of them had lived or died until they came back, bruised and bloodied and carrying a few more scars, but back, and both of them alive.
I can honestly say that I was the most relieved person in the world when they finally got back. I couldn't even really be mad at them, because Naruto was grinning that stupid foxy grin of his and Sasuke was no longer wearing a persistent frown.
A few months after that, when Sasuke-kun was fully recovered and the excitement had finally settled down, he asked me.
You know what he asked me.
It was romantic, though I'm not delusional enough to think that Sasuke-kun meant it to be. The weather was actually perfect for a non-romantic proposal. It was gray and so, so cold just like winter always is. I had always imagined a spring proposal under falling cherry blossoms, or maybe in the summertime after we had just had a sweet picnic by ourselves. But no, Sasuke-kun was recovered and ready to start with goal number two. (Oh, goal number two was the restoration of his clan. Sorry, it's so engrained in my head that I forget that some people don't know…)
So we were standing there in that familiar place on the bridge, neutral ground for the both of us. Rather, neutral for him. To me it was special. Some of my favorite memories had occurred on that bridge, but Sasuke-kun probably wasn't worried about that. He didn't hesitate long either. Because the sky opened up and it started snowing, just a little bit, but enough to be beautiful in my memory forever. Then, and I remember this part very specifically, he looked down at me (because Sasuke-kun has had a growth spurt or two since our days as genin) and in utter seriousness asked me to marry him. And he was so beautiful because snowflakes were in his bangs and his breath was turning into steam.
It was the steam that made me say yes without hesitation. No matter how calm and collected Sasuke-kun likes to act, he was breathing fast. I was positive that he was nervous, and if he was nervous about my answer… Well, you understand…
So I said yes. I mean, of course I said yes. I had only loved him since I was ten years old, and ten years is a long, long time to wait. Even for someone that you love with all of your heart.
We got married in the spring, under the cherry blossoms. Sasuke-kun seemed to be annoyed that they were blowing all over the place. There was one time when he swatted at a few that were sticking to his face and I reached up and brushed them away as if it were the easiest thing in the world and he- You'll never guess this. He blushed! He blushed at me! And I grinned, because I couldn't help it. I'd never seen him blush, and when I grinned, he even smiled- it was a tiny smile, but it was the most precious thing I have ever seen. Sasuke smiled at me on our wedding day, and that made it one of the most romantic days in the world…
Our first anniversary was a few weeks ago, but we didn't do anything special. No matter what anyone says, though, it was not because of Sasuke-kun. Now that no one else is around, I can admit that it was my entire fault.
Sasuke-kun actually had reservations at a nice restaurant, but I'd been having one of my bad days and by that evening I couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror. I certainly didn't want anyone else seeing me looking like a wretched hag with a basketball under my dress! So we stayed in and watched movies and ate takeout. Sasuke-kun was probably just as happy to not go out, knowing him, and I was happy just to wear a T-shirt and some of his old shorts since mine don't fit too well anymore. Besides, I got to snuggle on the couch with the man I love. What could be better than that?!
Six months after we got married I got pregnant. And now seven months later, I am definitely showing. I would also like to take a moment to say to all of those out there that always thought I was useless… Well, the proof is in my forty-inch waist. I am not useless. In fact, I don't think either Sasuke or I were counting on me being so fertile! What do you mean that sounds gross? It's the facts of life, kid. Besides, I'm going to have to push this thing out in a few months, so I am going to say whatever I want between now and then.
Maybe I should be a little more careful with my words, though. I don't think Sasuke-kun has an infinite supply of patience. It hasn't failed yet. Not really, but I try not to push my limits all of the time. Most of the time, but not all of the time.
So weren't we talking about watermelon originally? Well, okay here's the story, I guess…
Every year since I can remember, Konoha has put on a cherry blossom festival. I don't know of any other countries that do, but it's always a pretty big thing here. It's a symbol of the spring and new growth, and I guess for some people it's a symbol that they made it through another year. People in ninja villages like that. Short life span and all…
It's a pretty important deal for the village. There are booths set up and down all of the main streets for games and stuff. Little children run around and scream, and right now it's a comforting thought to think in a few years my child will be one of those children. Of course, he or she will be very well mannered. With parents like Uchiha Sasuke and Sakura, then there's no getting around it!
There are all sorts of festivities for a few nights where people where their yukata. And because the nights are still a little cool, lovers walk arm in arm. Needless to say, I was looking forward to it. Sasuke-kun and I went together one night right before we got married, and it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.
The problem is… Many years ago, when the Uchiha were still prominent, I remember at the Cherry Blossom festival that all of the ladies and girls would carry beautifully lacquered fans. The folding paper ridges would be beautifully decorated with nature scenes, or stylized ladies, or some other thing. Even now, after all of those years, I remember the makers of those fans. With a name like Uchiha floating around, how could you forget?
This year, with many years of friendship behind us and the safety of marriage ahead of us, I wanted to ask him about the fans. I remember particularly well one fan that I had when I was much younger, a ceremonial thing, and a little bit expensive, but I liked it very much because of its design. Also, all of the girls in my kunoichi classes had a fan or two, and if I could have a fan as well then it served as a connection between them and me.
When I asked him about the fans he tried to close himself off, as he usually does, from the past. I didn't let him though. Wisely, or foolishly, and to be quite honest I am not yet sure which applies, I pressed him about it. I did not have to remind him of the W-word, my connection to him. He knew without my saying so that I was pressing that leverage. Besides, not many people, least of whom Uchiha Sasuke, will yell at a pregnant woman.
Finally, after a few tears, not all of which were faked, he caved and told me about the fans while he held me to stop my sobbing. The older members of the clan, the ones that were no longer ninja, would spend weeks and months making them ahead of time for the festival. Since there were festivals all year long, they would usually make them year round. He saw them made before, but never actually made them himself. The story goes that they were bought by the lover of a maiden and given to her as a symbol of love and care. Then, to reciprocate that love and care, the maiden would use the fan to cool herself and her beloved, especially in the hotter months of the year.
When Sasuke-kun told me that story, I remembered that the Uchiha did not discriminate against patrons that might buy the fan for their children. But it was a nice story all the same.
Everything seemed fine after I asked him. Only I had a wonderful idea after that and I wanted to share it with him!
Why wouldn't it be possible for us to continue making the fans? Or me, at least. Ninja work is in Sasuke's blood, even more than mine, and he still goes on missions fairly regularly. But with the baby coming soon, he's going to be taking more and more time off, and I have taken off completely. With all of my free time, I get bored sometimes so if I could at least teach myself to make the fans for the festivals in the coming years, then I would love to! I would love for my daughter- and Sasuke-kun and I are going to keep going until I get a daughter- to be the first maiden in a decade to receive one of the famous fans.
Needless to say, Sasuke-kun did not approve. He told me firmly that it was not going to happen. I told him just as firmly that he was being stupid and I was going to do it. Then he told me to stop trying to uncover the past. I told him that not all of the past is bad. Things went downhill from there. I think I called him a few (okay several) nasty names, but honestly I can't remember because I was crying so loudly that even I was getting embarrassed.
I've made it a point since I became a chuunin five years ago not to cry as much, but I was so hormonal and Sasuke-kun was being so inconsiderate that I couldn't help it. He slept on the couch that night, too. But I think that was more his choice than a punishment. Besides, I'm not sure that I wouldn't fall off of the couch as big as I am now, and I would rather kiss Naruto's dirty toes than hurt this baby in a fall.
That argument was actually a few hours ago, and now I am lying in bed unable to sleep because my heart hurts, my back is aching and the baby is playing Dance Dance Revolution in my uterus. And the more I lie here, the more I keep thinking about Sasuke-kun… and those nachos in the fridge… But mostly about Sasuke-kun. I mean, sometimes I wish he would yell. Because when he stares at me with those eyes that say, "You're annoying," then I remember when we were twelve years old and he told me that and then I start getting all emotional again, and it's really embarrassing. Even when no one is there to see my eyes and nose start running.
Ugh, where are my tissues?
Why are my tissues on the other side of the room?! Did darling Sasuke-kun put them there?! Why is he so cruel?! So now I have to roll out of bed… Where is Sasuke-kun to help me stand up?! That man!
After waddling to my box of tissues and blowing my nose until I can't blow anything else out, I'm ready to go back to bed but Sasuke-kun's standing there in the doorway.
As always he looks incredibly handsome, even if he looks kind of tired and disgruntled, but when does he ever not look incredibly handsome? Or disgruntled for that matter? But he's wearing a pair of cotton pajama pants- the ones that I wanted to wear tonight! And he's got his blanket thrown over his shoulder like he's about to come and get in this bed with me. Well, he's got another thing coming to him if he thinks that he's going to be forgiven that easily… Especially after…
"Why did you move my tissues?" I ask and then sniffle for emphasis. My arms come to rest over my bulging stomach as I priss (as much as a woman of my size can) back to bed and then flop onto it, back first of course.
I don't bother looking at him. I'm mad, and I want him to know it.
"Sakura," he says, and for once I can't tell if he is trying to be nice or he's confused. When I look at him from the corner of my eyes, he is frowning. Hmm, he's confused. Go figure. "I moved your tissues." I'm ready to point out that I know that, when he adds, "Because you wanted to be able to find them when you got ready for bed."
"Well still," I say trying, and failing, to hold onto that argument. I guess that means we have to go for the big nasty matter at hand. "Why are you so mad at me?" I ask quickly, before he can even begin to presume that I am going to let him sleep in the same bed as me tonight. Emotions of this depth will have him sleeping on the couch for at least three more nights unless he apologizes first.
"I'm sorry," he says, and I do look at him this time. I'm a little surprised that he caved so quickly. It's not like him at all. Then without warning he comes to the bad and climbs under the thin covers with me. With spring on the way, the two of us are enough to warm this bed, especially since I am generating enough body heat for two people.
But body heat or not, that apology was not near what it should have been, and he's not getting off that easy. "Hey!" I try to protest as he sidles up next to me. But then he's kissing me and I'm shutting up. Pregnant women don't kissed like this very often… It's kissing like this that leads to what gets women pregnant in the first place. Then he slides back into his customary spot in the bed and kisses my cheek, telling me without words what he means.
Properly pacified, I say, "I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have yelled at you so much… No one deserves to be called such awful things…" Even though part of me doesn't remember what I said, I know it was pretty bad… Besides, I'm the talker of the two of us, and it just wouldn't be right if I didn't spill everything that was on my mind. But before I've even gotten all of the words out I'm crying again. Crap!
Women are twice as emotional as normal when they are flooded with estrogen and their stomachs are inflated to the size of beach balls. Well, maybe not that big, but considering my size beforehand it might as well be.
Then Sasuke-kun, my dear, sweet, Sasuke-kun has taken one of the tissues from my precious cardboard box and is dabbing and my eyes, and even at my nose… And that gentleness is enough to hush my whimpering and stifle my tears. Then he disposes of the tissue and curls in against my side. One of his strong, callused hands lifts my shirt just enough to expose my balloon of a stomach and he spreads his fingers over it quickly.
We lay there in the silence, him staring at me and me staring at the ceiling. Then both of our gazes go to my belly simultaneously and I begin to smile. The baby's kicking again. Not quite DDR, but enough that Sasuke can feel it through my skin. I turn and look at his black eyes, discernibly wide even in the darkness. He looks as innocent as he should have been all of those years.
"That's your baby," I tell him softly, hoping not to break the mood, but unable to keep from speaking.
He looks at me slowly, and gives me one of his soft, beautiful smiles. The kind of smile that, five years ago, would have made me melt into a puddle on the floor. The reaction is not that much different now.
"That's our baby," he corrects me, smiling for just a bit longer before he presses a bit more firmly against my stomach. The baby's kicking back, and I want to imagine it's in response to that touch; that tenderness reserved for me alone. Except in about two months Sasuke-kun will share it with the baby too. He had better, that is, if he knows what's good for him.
In two months, two is going to become three, and Sasuke is going to be well on his way to fulfilling his dream…
I've already got mine…
Ugh! Where are my TISSUES!!
The End =)