Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto...although that would be really cool. :)
Thanks for taking time to read and review the 'prequel' one-shot...hah...how about that...a one-shot...er...anyway, thanks for reading the previous chapter and reviewing! So, for all those who had reviewed and requested and epilogue type scenerio, here it is. Sorry it took so long!
By the way, does anyone know how to insert more spaces? I would like to separate my 'title' a couple of spaces before the story starts...so it looks...well...slightly less cluttered.
Understanding (part 2: The Epilogue)
He had left on a mission, but he would be back. He was never gone for long.
Sakura smiled softly, smoothing her gray streaked pink hair back. Yes, she had no doubt, he would be back soon.
Comforted by this thought, Sakura walked idly across their outside hallway towards the balcony. She breathed a sigh of contentment.
This was her home, this was her life.
Padded feet echoed soundly through the meager rice paper walls, the sound somehow comforting. She stopped, resting her palms on the railing as the night crickets chirped-- loud then soft, loud then soft. It was a work of nature's rhythm. And how she loved it so.
She had been troubled, at first. The silence resounding within the lonely house, when he was gone, seemed bleak and desolate. A place of unwelcome. But now, everything had changed. Everything was familiar.
The sights, the sounds, the feel, the atmosphere-- it was all now common. And it was hers.
It was hers to understand, to know the basic value of all that was in this house. In their house.
Sakura faintly smiled at the thought. Theirs.
She remembered faintly their memories together.
Sakura tilted her head slightly, it had been a while…much too long. She smiled as she remembered their wedding.
It was beautiful…so beautiful.
The wedding seemed magical, it was everything she wanted, everything she needed. A quaint group, that mainly consisted of their childhood friends and relatives, had attended. Naruto was the best man, and Hinata, the maid of honor. It only seemed fitting to Sakura.
Sasuke wanted nothing extravagant, but a simple wedding. She easily agreed.
Her dress was simple, a fitting white dress held by two simple straps. The top, a straight cut across the chest, with the bodice snugly covering her stomach. The bottom of the dress had flowed from the waist and had been made to slightly flare from underneath as she moved.
She would always remember, as she had walked towards him, the look of satisfaction on his face. His eyes seemed brighter, more radiant, and as she came closer, he smiled. It was faint, but it was there. And she would always treasure the thought.
She still had the dress. It was safely locked away in a chest, a faint and distant memory.
It was held in the fall…when the Sakura blossoms fell, falling to the ground like a velvety covering. Nothing more was wanted, nothing more was needed. It was truly a sight to behold.
The general wedding was short and brief, but it was lovely. Their vows were made atop the same hill that he proposed. And Sakura loved it.
Laughs and banter were made as many couldn't understand how the Uchiha prodigy actually became engaged and managed to get her, Sakura, to agree. They both had shared a knowing look and Sakura gave a faint smile.
But the memory was faint, and it was fading fast. Yet still, she had many more memories to reminisce of.
Their first years of marriage were difficult, yet they had managed together. The Uchiha estate was once again rebuilt and furnished and later became their home. He tried hard to accommodate her physical needs, and she was content with all that he offered.
She was happy as long as she was with him. And he understood.
As the days had passed, Sakura managed to connect with Sasuke on a deeper level. She learned of the gravity of his childhood, his upbringing. She learned of his thoughts and his fears. She learned of his joy.
It was slow, and at times, frustrating, yet their emotional relationship pleased her to no end.
Shortly after, they had a child. Their first child.
Sakura smiled faintly, that was an important memory.
The moment they knew she was pregnant, Sasuke was wary of everything and anything she wanted to do. And she loved him for it.
Even when he became almost unbearable.
The day quickly came and as loud as Sakura had screamed, Sasuke held her hand silently as the medic had helped birthed the child. It was a boy.
His face was filled with pride and sheer pleasure as he carried their newborn. And from that moment on, Sakura knew Sasuke would be the father she would have wanted for her child.
They agreed on the name, Yukio Uchiha, 'God will nourish'.
The years of raising their child was a pleasant, but challenging experience. Their boy was a prodigy. Yukio followed in his father's shadow as top in the academy and had later become an exceptional shinobi.
A somewhat silent, but recognizable thud, resounded throughout the house, breaking her thoughts. Sakura gave a sigh of relief.
He was back. But she had not doubt he would be.
Sakura smiled, the skin creasing around her mouth, lining her face. A shiver made its way down her back as the chilly wind breezed by.
Sakura turned to welcome the ordinary sight of a battered and bruised Sasuke. He was back from his mission, still alive. And that was all Sakura could hope for every time.
His form seemed almost surreal to her, his outline framed by the moonlight. Sasuke's face held a slight look of triumph. His mission had been successful.
She gazed at him for a moment before heading towards him. "Come," Sakura said softly, "let me dress your wounds."
He gave a slight nod and followed.
There was one time, though, one time that she was afraid he would leave on a mission and not come back. Sakura led Sasuke to their room, sighing heavily. It was hard, that time, to allow him to leave, for her to let him go.
He was after Itachi, his brother.
Sasuke's vow was not forgotten, nor would have been because of his new life. She was undoubtedly sad to hear him say that. And yet, she had always known that this day would come.
Sakura remembered the day now, somewhat vividly, as he had prepared. His eyes shown with a sense of fierceness and anguish that she could only hope to understand. He was fighting for revenge. Revenge for his clan, revenge for his life, revenge for himself.
She remembered her tears, the panic that shown clearly in her eyes. What about their home? Their son? Their new life together? What about…her?
Her life was falling, crashing. She was a mess. But she understood him.
She understood his reasons, his actions, and his thoughts as he had left. Sakura remembered watching Sasuke lean over their son's cradle to kiss him once again…perhaps for the last time. Yukio was only one and four months. She watched him as his grip on his weapons was so tight, it made his knuckles white. She watched as he walked down the halls, seemingly reminiscing on his past, remembering. Remembering of why his revenge was essential.
And she remembered how he kissed her.
A longing to stay, and yet a yearning to leave. He kissed her violently with passion, ruthless with love, and brutally with desire. He wanted to stay.
She kissed him back fervently, evenly, fire with fire, faintly hoping he would. The night was spent in love, their limbs tangling around each other the next morning.
Then he left.
She cried, but not until he was gone. It started with the clouding of tears, a faint trickle of drops, to a cascading fall. She was helpless. And she hated it.
For three months, he was gone. Without a word, without a sign, and yet she waited dutifully on her porch, every night, hoping he would return soon. Three months had passed to five, and five had passed to nine, and still she waited, every night.
Their son grew older, making two. Looks of pity where thrown towards her and Yukio as his father wasn't there to celebrate. And yet…she knew without a doubt, he would return. He had to.
Her resolve had grown and she prayed, every night, for him to return safely. Nine months had turned to fourteen, and their second child was born. It was a girl.
She wept with gladness at her newborn daughter. Sakura named her Sachiko, meaning 'child of bliss'.
Sasuke would be pleased.
After seventeen months, he had finally returned. Slashed and injured almost beyond recognition, she hastily began her healing. The process was slow, but she was thankful. His reliance on her during those times helped bring them closer together. And for that, she was grateful.
Sasuke healed, physically, mentally, and emotionally. He could finally move past his nightmarish childhood and restore his clan. And restore the Uchiha clan, they did. Their children, grown, were already married, creating lives of their own.
Settling Sasuke on the edge of their bed, Sakura gathered her supplies swiftly. As she returned, she gazed at his face. Seemingly weathered and beaten, he was still strikingly handsome. His midnight hair held streaks of white and gray, and that, she thought smiling, only made him more alluring. As she studied the older and more intelligent image of the man she had married, she realized how blessed she was. Growing older only made the marriage stronger.
After she had quickly bandaged his fairly shallow cuts, she kissed him softly. "I'm glad you are back."
She watched him as he gave a faint smile in return, his voice low, "Me too."
The moon shone bright as the night grew darker, the winds roughly stinging her delicate skin. Her hair swayed in the wind as she stepped out on the porch. Timidly, idly, she made her way to her usual post, gently resting her hands on the ledge.
He had left for a mission, but he would be back. He was never gone for long.
Thank you for all of you who had been waiting for this...epilogue? Well, anyway, I tried to put the ideas of some, (coughBlackSheep18cough) and others. So please, award me with your wonderful reviews! I absolutely enjoy getting them. :)
As for those who like Neji/Tenten, please check out my other multi 'after-previous-oneshot' fic., To Defy Fate. Your reviews would be appreciated and...enjoyed! So please make me happy and leave a word or two.