A/N: This chapter won't be as long as the past few ones. This is, after all, the last one, and if I made this longer, it wouldn't have a satisfying ending.
Ironies of Life
The team manager of the basketball team froze. Zabuza said it already earlier, but she didn't believe it, she wanted to convince herself that he wasn't gone, at least, not without saying goodbye. "How could that be? I was with him last night! He should have-" she turned to face them and they all had depressed looks on their faces. Without thinking, Sakura suddenly ran out of the court, rushing towards his father's place. "Sasuke, don't do this to me!" she shut her eyes as she ran. "Don't leave me…"
She reached the Uchiha mansion and stopped at the gates. "Uchiha Sasuke! Stop playing around and show yourself!"
The guards came to her, wondering what she was yelling about. "Um, miss, Sasuke-san left with his brother this morning, they went to the States."
Sakura eyed them in shock before dashing back to Sasuke's apartment, still not believing the news. When she got there, no one was home, not even Ame. Without hesitation, she dropped to her knees and cried, calling out his name over and over.
Chapter 14: I Love You
The front door opened and Kasumi was surprised to see her daughter enter, her eyes stained with tears and her expression of deep misery and sorrow. She wondered briefly what could have caused her daughter to be in this state, but she had a feeling that it had something to do with the person she met this morning. "Sakura, you-" her daughter just walked pass her and went to her room, opening the door, closing it and plopping down on her bed, ignoring how her cell phone vibrated with the lights blinking on and off. Someone was calling her, but she wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone, so she just let her mind drift, her eyes slowly closing before she fell in a deep slumber.
She didn't even hear the faint knocking of her mother on her room door, even when it opened and Kasumi entered, a sad look on her face upon seeing her daughter asleep on the bed with tears still spilling down her cheeks. She sighed and pulled the blankets over her before kissing the young girl on the cheek lightly. She glanced at the desk Sakura had in her room, smiling softly at the new object that was just placed there early in the morning.
Kasumi blinked and looked at her daughter who slowly sat up and looked down.
"…When I told you about… my answer to Sasuke even though I really do love him, was it a wrong decision..?"
The older woman eyed her for a moment before sitting down beside Sakura. "You know, there's really no right or wrong answer when you're in love, you just rely on what comes to you, answering without thinking. Because that's what you truly feel, and not what you think." She stood up, smiled one more time at Sakura before leaving the room.
Sakura thought about what her mom said, and she sighed and buried her face on the pillow, crying out in frustration. "How could I have been so stupid? I answered him with my thoughts and not with my heart! Not what I felt!" her grip on her pillow tightened. "Now he's gone, he didn't even bother to say goodbye! That baka!" she threw her pillow on the floor in anger and tried to calm down. She didn't know what to feel anymore.
Her ears picked up the sound of vibration, before it stopped. She quickly turned her head to her bedside's table, seeing her phone with three missed calls and one new message. She checked who the caller was, eyes widened upon seeing the name displayed. "Sasuke-kun…" she tried to call back, but only a recorded voice answered her, saying that the phone was out of coverage area. Devastated, she stared at Sasuke's name and picture for a while before reading the message, her eyes shedding a fresh batch of tears when she read it.
I wish I didn't hope too much on what you said on the night you first slept over…
She clutched her phone tightly, recalling how there was a blackout, and how she went down stairs because she couldn't sleep. She saw Sasuke on the couch in a deep slumber, and she was staring him for a while. She could remember how she smiled at his sleeping face, and how she uttered the words: "I think I'm beginning to fall for you Sasuke."
What she was not aware of though, was that he smiled when she left, and that he had heard it.
"Sasuke…" she looked up, startled at what was on top of her table. She rushed to it, eyeing the three roses on the vase: a blue one, a pink one, and a red one. A note was folded underneath the vase, and she took it, reading the contents.
"This will be my last and final sign to you. I hope you kept everything you got from me."
Her mind drifted back to the first gift she got from this person whom she thought was Sai. The bear was still on her bed, Ten-Ten ate the chocolates though, she kept the CD full of her favorite love songs and she chatted with this person online, yet she still had no idea who he was. He left clues, but it was hard to figure out who he was. Then, there was the ring, she kept it, but didn't wear it, she just had it displayed on her desk near the picture of her and Sasuke on the school festival. She continued reading the note.
"Blue represents mystery: Why this? Don't you think it's pretty mysterious on how I fell in love with you? It also means the impossible or unattainable, which is, in our case… But then, it means a lot of things you know, like how the lighter shade of it means the first flush of love, which I believe I felt when I got to know you. It also means caution or secrecy, like how our relationship moved from friendship to love, without anyone knowing that it was just something we pretended to be. And you know what else? It symbolizes the meaning of a new opportunity opening, and this is our chance. Deep pink: Thank you, for everything. Red..? I'm pretty sure you know what a single red rose means. You're my first love, my last, and will always be the only one."
She finished reading the note out loud, and as she read some more, she finally figured out who was responsible for sending these gifts or signs to her. "I can't believe you, Uchiha Sasuke…" she murmured, her eyes producing tears but a smile was on her lips as she held the note close to her chest.
He looked up from the window he was staring at, seeing his brother take a seat next to him on their family's private plane.
"When you get there, you know that you have to forget about her and everyone else."
The teen was silent for a few moments, so Itachi spoke again. "You already know what Father said."
Itachi noted how his little brother's eyes closed, his head leaning back, brows furrowed. "I know it's hard, but you have to do this," he looked straight ahead as the plane finally took off. "It's the only way you can finish college there."
The older Uchiha looked surprised for a moment as he abruptly turned his head to Sasuke who now gazed back at the window.
"Aniki, I made up my mind. You know how I am when it comes to making decisions."
"Yeah, you're stubborn."
"Hn, so are you…"
"No duh, we got it from our parents, ototo."
Silence followed after and Itachi decided to take a nap and leave his brother to his own thoughts. Once the plane lands on the States, he'll have no choice but to keep moving forward without taking a look back at the past. Sasuke needs to focus on the present and future, for that, his past must be forgotten, his past should stay here inside the plane once he steps out. He needs to start a new life again.
"I know the feeling ototo," he glanced at Sasuke at the corner of his eyes. "I just hope that Sakura wouldn't do the same thing my ex did when I got back. Seven years is pretty long, and so was ten years, when I was studying to become a doctor, and spent another year there, only to come back to Japan to realize that she had another…"
(Back to Chapter 1's beginning)
She looked up when the announcer had spoke up. "He's here." She said to herself, ignoring the smile her companion had. "Come on then, let's greet him." He stood up, offering her a hand as she took it, following his lead when he made his way through the crowd.
Sakura didn't know for how long she was holding her breath when men dressed in formal suits with guns came rushing in, clearing the crowd. Her heart was beating rapidly, and she couldn't wait any longer to see him, to see how he turned out, to see if he moved on, to see if he found another girl.
"Man, that sleep on the plane was what I needed…"
"…Itachi-niisan!" she called out.
Itachi's ears twitched and he turned to the source of the voice, seeing Sakura waving enthusiastically at him. He smiled and walked over to her, followed by a couple of security agents. "Hey Sakura, long time no see!" he patted the girl's head. "You've grown taller, but you sure still look like a kid." He chuckled when she pouted. Itachi turned to the man beside her and gave him a curt nod and a smile as the man returned the gesture.
The Uchiha turned back to Sakura who was looking pass him, eyes searching for his little brother.
"Uh… Sakura," she looked up at him. "Sasuke's flight was yesterday, he starts working today. I thought you knew that..?"
A man named Uzumaki Naruto had better get ready to meet Sakura's fist.
He smiled as the little girl giggled at what he just said. He stood up from his kneeling position and patted her on the head lightly. "Now that Sachi-chan is on his favorite place, you now no longer have to worry about his sadness."
"Thank you nii-san!" she said out loud. "Sachi-chan thanks you too! I can hear him yell it!"
"You're welcome." he looked up at the woman who approached them, giving a curt smile to her. "Thank you for taking care of my daughter Uchiha-san." She took the little girl in her arms as the child waved goodbye enthusiastically at him. He gave a smile at her, sighing when the door closed. He walked back to his chair and continued typing on his laptop.
He sighed in relief. "Geez, I thought you were another patient."
The woman smiled and approached him, standing behind him as she pulled him back to rest on his chair, telling him to close his eyes as she massaged his head. "Sasu-chan, your father doesn't want you to stress yourself."
"I know that," he muttered, feeling sleepy at her touch. "Ka-chan, I don't want to fall asleep during work."
She giggled. "I have no idea why my two sons picked the medical department in college." She pulled the chair he sat on and made it face her as she smiled at Sasuke's bewildered face. "Take a break for now, it's only your first day, mister psychologist. Besides, you're the boss of your own job anyway!"
"Unless you'd like to meet another child who has imaginary friend issues..?"
Thatgot him to get up and step out of his office as his mother giggled and finished the report he was typing earlier. Mikoto always wondered why his youngest son can't be satisfied with doing just one job. "Well, being a writer is kind of like a hobby for him…"
The wind felt nice as it blew against his face.
"I sure missed this place…" he muttered under his breath, walking down the sidewalk that was next to a border where the sea was beyond it. He could remember when he chased Sakura down there after she kept yelling that he liked her, which was the truth. "Hn, pretty nostalgic…" he thought; a bitter smile on his lips as he reached the stairs that led to the sand that separated him from the water. "I wonder how that gaki is doing?" he thought to himself, not getting any news from Naruto and the rest when he asked about her.
He made his way towards the stairway, walking on the sandy beach and stopping a few feet away from where the waves crashed against the shore. He closed his eyes and inhaled the salty scent of the sea, opening his eyes to let the wind brush away his bangs as he stared at the about to set sun. "It's been seven years, huh gaki?" and he averted his gaze towards the ring on his finger, a rare look in his eyes as he closed them and thought about his decisions and actions during those seven years. "Seven… the same number on my jersey, the same number of the members of Shinobi Seven, the same number of years I've been away, the same number of days I got to know her and fell for her…" he smirked at the idea. "Seven must be some kind of lucky number… or maybe, something that signifies a lot to me…"
Sasuke opened his eyes and stared at the orange-red sky, deciding to take a seat on the sand, letting the breeze as his only company while he continued reliving the memories he spent here.
"The beach…" she thought, looking up at the cloudy sky. It wasn't raining but the air was as cold as if there was a storm. "Yeah, maybe… I'll go there…" and she made her way down the street, heading towards the beach. She stopped for a while when a few cars passed by the street, and when it was safe, she crossed it and stopped upon reaching the stairway that led her to the sand, and beyond that lay the ocean, the waves crashing and the salty scent of the water urging her to move on. A smile made its way to her lips as she placed her hands on her chest, her left ring finger adorning a ring. "It's been seven years, Sasuke. When will I see you again?"
She sighed and took a step forward; hesitating a bit until she finally proceeded in climbing down the stairs. Someone else went up, opposite to the direction she was going as they passed by each other. She stopped when she reached the sand, slowly turning her head behind her as the person who reached the top did the same. Their eyes locked onto each other, one widening while the other was startled for a moment before softening his gaze at her. "Hey Gaki." He greeted with a small smile.
A surprised look before he laughed lightly. "I can't believe you still call me that," he paused and grinned. "Blowfish..."
She ran up to him and tackled him to a hug, causing him to fall back on his rear as he grunted in pain.
"Ow, man, is it me or have you gone stronger..?" he looked down to see her crying onto him, her hands gripping onto his formal suit. "Baka! You've been gone for so long without even bothering to say goodbye or inform me of your departure! You're so stupid that I hate you!" she yelled. "I hate you so much and yet I missed you and I-" she got cut off when he kissed her lightly, pulling away. "You're so annoying." He glanced at her ring finger, smiling upon seeing the jewelry. "You're wearing it…"
She gave a nod. "Back then, I was so stupid to not tell you how I really felt, so when Shino gave me this and explained to me what it was for, I never took it off the moment I wore it, as a sign that I am already committed to someone." She raised her head to look at him, her eyes stained with tears. "Am I too late..?"
He smirked and shook his head, ruffling her hair. "Gaki, what made you think I moved on?" he showed her an identical ring that he was wearing, and she smiled brightly and crashed her lips onto him, earning a surprised look from Sasuke when she pulled away, startled at what she did. "I… I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, I just… well, I…"
"Shut up." And he kissed her, waiting for her to return it as she tried to register what was happening, if this was real or another stupid dream. Yet when she felt his tongue lightly come out to lick her lower lip slowly, she closed her eyes and opened her mouth, allowing his tongue to enter her cavern to meet her own anticipating one.
He pulled away and leaned his forehead on hers while she lowered her head a bit, still wondering if this was one of her imaginations.
"…You're really here…"
"Aa." He replied, smiling slightly as he kissed her again.
"This isn't a dream," she whispered, her lips connecting with his. "It's far from it." He answered, caressing her face with his left hand as she leaned onto the warmth of his palm, closing her eyes as she felt him. "Sasuke-kun…" she said, barely above a whisper as she placed a hand over his, keeping it on her face, not letting go. "I love you…" she said, loud enough for him to hear, soft enough to make it seem gentle. "I know," he answered, leaning his lips to hers. "And I still love you." And he closed the gap of their lips, glad that this finally happened.
When they parted for air, he pulled her into a hug, and she didn't mind sitting there, in his arms, out in the open.
She smiled as she watched him pass the ball to Naruto, running towards the side of their court before jumping in the air to dunk the ball his best friend shot. The acting referee blew onto his whistle and called it a day. Sakura giggled when Kiba and Naruto were at each other's throats once more, debating on who won or who lost.
"They haven't changed a bit…" she turned to her left to see Hinata smiling at the two boys. "Yeah, you got that right," Sakura said, glancing at the little boy on the female Hyuuga's lap who was cheering his dad on noisily. "I hope little Sei here doesn't act like Naruto and Kiba do."
Hinata laughed. "Don't worry, I'll make sure he won't." he glanced at Sakura's belly. "Why didn't you tell me you already have another child in your womb for a month?"
Sakura turned red and laughed nervously. "Sasuke-kun didn't want any of you, particularly Kiba and Naruto, to know since they'll start teasing him again on being active, if you know what I mean." Hinata just giggled. "So you're saying he's not?"
"To be honest," Sakura leaned closer to Hinata's ear. "I initiated our intercourse for this child."
And they both laughed.
"Ka-chan, what's intercourse..?"
Sakura and Hinata turned beet red as they looked up to see the four year old boy, who looked so much like his dad but had the same green eyes as his mother, stare at them with curiosity, head tilted - a habit gotten from his father – and blinking innocently on top of Sasuke's shoulders, who also had a light blush on his cheeks.
"Uh… Shoushi," Sasuke began, putting his son down and knelt before him to be in eye level. "Why don't you hold on to that question until you're thirteen at the least..?" the child smiled brightly and gave a nod. "Sasuke! He's still too young to know that when he turns 13!"
"Hey, my dad told me about itwhen I was nine."
He gave a nod, recalling how his mother scolded his father at that time, and how his brother had covered his ears from all the cursed words Mikoto mentioned. Still though, he turned out okay even after all that. He was, and still is, an Uchiha, after all.
"I hope you're not planning to do the same…" Sakura said in a low and dangerous tone.
"I won't, don't worry." He gave a reassuring wink at her before picking his son up again and taking his sports bag. "Come on, I still have work tomorrow and I need to get some rest." Shoushi pouted at this as they all bid their goodbyes to each other, Kiba taking his bike to go on a separate direction while Naruto, Hinata and Sei made their way across the street to dine in a restaurant nearby.
"Tou-chan, do you really have to go to work tomorrow..?"
"Yes Shoushi, I have an appointment with kids your age and up or even younger." He noted the frown on the boy's lips and he couldn't help but smile. His son was like him alright, easily gets jealous when someone he loves focuses their attention on someone else of the same age and/or gender. It was the same with how he gets irritated when Sakura talks to other guys he doesn't know, and not to mention, Sakura also ignored him for at least during the day whenever he'd talk and smile at some women – namely, his patients' mothers.
"So, exactly who do you have an appointment with tomorrow?" Sakura asked as she climbed onto bed after taking a shower. She looked at Sasuke who just came back from tucking their son in bed, giggling when he yawned and sat on their bed. "Sai and Kurumi's daughter." He stiffened when he felt the deadly aura emitting from his wife. "Sakura." He sighed, glancing at her, sweat dropping upon seeing how she gritted her teeth and clenched at her pillow.
He just shook his head and leaned to her, kissing her lightly on her forehead despite her frown. "Hey, gaki," she glared but he just smiled. "You don't have to be jealous about Kurumi or her daughter, Umi."
"That married woman is still after you." She hissed, her eyes narrowing dangerously. "And that Umi just likes hugging you! And she glares at me yet is so sweet to Shoushi!" Sasuke gently pulled the poor pillow from Sakura and set it aside, amused at how Sakura muttered under her breath. "And at the same time…" he spoke, leaning to her ear, tucking a stray strand of pink hair as he flicked her earlobe lightly with his tongue. "I glare at Kurumi when Umi glares at you, I like hugging you and Shoushi in front of them, I like kissing you senseless when I know the banshee is watching, and I like showing my affection as a dad to Shoushi with them staring at me." She blushed when he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her to him, her back hitting his chest as he leaned down to her neck from behind, kissing it lightly. "And I love you and Shoushi, not the banshee and banshee junior."
She smiled lightly and lifted an arm to pull his head a bit lower, her head turning to the side to give him more access as he continued to lick and kiss it, caressing her neck with his gentle kisses, making her giggle a bit since she was ticklish in that area. "Mou, you really have a knack for this psychology business." She pouted playfully and pulled away.
Sakura laid down on the bed, her back to him as she muttered a good night and closed her eyes. She opened them again when he turned off the lights and hugged her, pulling her closer in his arms.
"Who said I was playing psychology?"
And again, another night of convincing the pink-haired woman that he loves her. But he doesn't need his proof, she already knows it. Shoushi is already a good enough evidence, what more now that she's carrying another Uchiha 'brat' in her womb?
"Geez, stop ignoring me gaki…"
"BAKA! Stop calling me that!"
A/N: Yey! Now I can focus on Ai no Tsubasa and Biohazard – which hasn't been updated. Err… I'm sorry? Hehe. Hey! I've got a life too! Shoushi means midnight. Let's just say the boy was born at midnight. Sei is short for Seishin which means spirit.