A/N: It's been way too long.

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The contractions are coming stronger. It won't be long before she'll have to push and Sakura dreads giving life to another child. She prays this one will be stillborn, but she knows she fools herself when Sasuke walks in, tall and proud and every bit a satisfied Uchiha leader/murderer/rapist/kidnapper should be.

She winces and takes a deep breath as Kabuto instructs her while lightly teasing the proud father. The wide stretching of Sakura's muscles shoot pain up her spine and she swears she can feel it all the way up to her aching breast.

"Breath. In. Out. Good job. Take a deep breath," Sasuke is instantly at her side, holding her clammy hand and kissing her forehead.

"Ok, give a big push." Kabuto's light tone doesn't ease the anxiety and Sakura begins to hyperventilate. She doesn't want Sasuke holding her hand or giving birth to another child. She wants to go home and sleep in her own bed in her Father's home. She wants her Mother to fuss over her, wants Naruto to make her smile, wants Sai to question her about friendship, wants her Shishou to teach her how to gamble and drink, wants Kakashi to hold her in his arms and tell her she's his favourite girl.

Sakura begins to cry and she closes her legs, doesn't care that the child is coming and wishes it to just rot like his dead uncle. Sasuke is not pleased and Kabuto is a little nervous for the child's safety as well as hers.


"NO!" She trembles, tries to cause bodily harm as she flings over the bed. Sasuke catches her, holds her tightly against his chest as he sits her on his lap, her legs bent and open. Kabuto immediately checks her and lets a relieved sigh escape his mouth. She feels the pressure increasing and she knows the child is crowning, feels Sasuke's mouth moving, hot breath blowing against her ear as he commands her to push.

She obeys and when the child is born she refuses to see it.

- - - - - - - - - -

It's been a couple of months, the snow has already melted and the spring showers have begun. The pitter-patter from outside distract Sakura as she lets the young babe suckle more eagerly. She can't wait until Sasuke decides to wean the child and hopefully altogether decides to have no more children with her. She's tired, more so when the children are home and about, screaming and laughing and yearning for their mother.

The baby gurgles loudly, pulling Sakura away from her thoughts and she snaps her attention back to watch huge dark eyes twinkle. She grimaces and calls the nanny over immediately.

"Get it off," She lets no emotion flow with her words, but makes her distaste known. The nanny gently picks the child, cradling him against her chest and he whimpers, whines to be put back in his mother's arms. Sakura can only sneer in response.

"Leave. Lock the door on your way out." Sasuke's sudden voice startles the nanny; she bows with the child who is still complaining and scurries out.

Sakura has to look away as Sasuke walks towards her, leaving a trail of clothes on the floor. It doesn't take long before he is on her, eager and rough and everything she dreamed of in her youth isn't. She has to remind herself to breath, because even though this isn't the boy that she fell in love with it's still Sasuke, the same man/lostboy/murderer/rapist/kidnapper that will do anything to keep her safe.

"Sakura," His breath against her skin is scorching hot as he nips and kisses down her neck. She can already feel the burning sting of tears behind her eyelids and she struggles to keep calm when Sasuke begins to stroke her gently and lovingly.

"I love you." He whispers against the shell of her ear and Sakura pretends she didn't hear his confession, pretends she's back home in Konoha with someone other than her husband. She doesn't stop the tears or the pained gasp that spills from her mouth when he buries deep in her body, moving urgently and recklessly.

When he finishes she is too tired to push him away as he cradles and molds her against his warm body. For the first time in many years she dreams of darkness that night.

- - - - - - - - - -

She's thirty-six when she returns to Konoha.

Sakura marvels at its growth and beauty as the carriage moves on. Her children are excited, bouncing up and down in their seats. Their giggles and laughter giver her a headache, but she keeps quiet and instead focuses on the new face on the Hokage Mountain. There's a sudden rawness that eats at her heart, slowly and painfully she can feel it becoming a void as she watches the details of Naruto's face carved so serious, so powerful on the mountain.

She's abruptly pulled away from her thoughts as the carriage stops and a hand is offered to her. Sasuke has an odd gleam in his eyes as he patiently waits for her to accept his invitation. She does so but hesitates when he gives her a little smile. One by one the children are escorted by the Hyuuga clan, proud and respectful people amusing the new Uchiha clan, she snorts and ignores their giddy goodbyes.

Sasuke guides her up the stairs of the Hokage tower. The familiar smell and sight assault her senses; she tries hard not to let it overwhelm her and she stumbles a couple of times on the steps. Sasuke is quick to steady her on her feet and by the time they reach the top she's out of breath.

"Otokage. Lady Uchiha." The greeting is curt and respectful and she returns the bow to the present Hokage and his demure wife while willing her heart not to bleed through her clothes.