Set Me Free
A/N I'm soooo sorry about the wait, is anyone reading this anymore? It's been ages so you've probably all forgotten about it xDD But I feel dumb just leaving it, so here it is. The FINAL chapter, how sad (and kinda cheeeesy, OK, really cheesy)! XP
Soon Sakura found herself standing outside, watching Naruto as he stood silently, gazing at nothing as his mind raced. The pink-haired girl frowned, Naruto was still so young; and now he not only had the burden of choosing between two people he cared about, but he also had the burden of being a father. Would he resent her for keeping this baby? Sakura knew Naruto was the type to put on a brave face in a bad situation, maybe he was covering up his sadness now…
If he left to help Aka, would he ever come back?
Sakura wasn't sure if he could handle this responsibility resting on his shoulders. He'd already rushed out of Tsunade's office when she asked the question, he knew that Aka and Sasuke wanted to get going as soon as possible, but Naruto still needed time to think. Sakura frowned to herself, she knew bringing up a child at such a young age would be tough, but a part of her felt it would only be right if he went on the mission.
"Naruto…" She mumbled, hoping Naruto would be able to hear her meek voice, slowly he turned to face her and silently watched her, figuring that she had more to say.
"I…I'll be OK, Naruto…Honestly."
Naruto blinked in confusion, he hadn't expected her to say something like that. Slowly she walked over his side, before her eyes looked towards the setting sun. "You always wanted to be Hokage, didn't you?"
Again the blonde tuned to her, dumbfounded by her odd comment. She turned to him and smiled. "Well, this is your chance Naruto, your chance to be a hero."
Now they were both looking towards the array of colours in the sky, a small breeze sweeping by, before the sound of Naruto's sigh caught in the wind. "It's not that simple though…I wish it were, but its not."
"What do you mean? I know you'll be coming back, its not like I'd be alone forever, you can help Aka and then come home an-"
"IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE!"
Silence filled the air, now Naruto's brave face had been completely washed away, and all that was left was anxiety, fear, confusion…
"Don't you get it Sakura? I want my child to have its parents around, I don't want my child to be alone, to be unable to remember its parents. I want my child to have a lot of happy memories!" He turned to Sakura, who now seemed to be more understanding of his logic. "I know that on any other mission I would be happy to go, but this…this isn't an ordinary mission, this is the Akatsuki, this is the toughest fight out there and…
and I don't know if I could make it back alive, no matter how determined, no matter who I was fighting for. Now there's a child involved, I can't, I can't be irrational…"
"Naruto…" Sakura gasped, she was simply stunned, lost for words. Her Naruto was a changed man, he was seeing logic, making sense, and she wasn't sure if she liked it or not.
"Even if you didn't return, you would make your child proud by going out there in the first place. I like that you're listening to your head a bit more, but on this one." She stopped, placing a hand on Naruto's chest. "Maybe it would be better to listen to your heart, you say determination wont make you stronger this time, but…but my heart disagrees."
She smiled, a warm and comforting smile. "And my heart also tells me you'll be back in time to hear our child's first cries."
She could see teardrops glistening in his eyes before they flowed down his cheeks; slowly he placed a hand on his lover's stomach. "You're right, I'll be back for both of you, believe it…"
She giggled light-heartedly. "I do."
Soon the two were racing back up to the Hokage's office, and Naruto had put his brave smiling face back on, on the inside he was still terrified of the outcome, but he told himself to be strong, for Aka and for his new family, he would prove that his determination (or at least Sakura's belief in his determination) could make anything possible.
"I'm ready for action!!!" He yelled, giving Aka the thumbs up, "We'll have you home in no time!"
"Naruto-kun!!!" She beamed before running into his arms and giving him a tight embrace, everyone in the room had a smile on their face, although Sasuke's was a little harder to notice.
"Right then, we'll be leaving tomorrow morning, make sure you get some sleep." Sasuke instructed.
"Eie eie!! Cap'n!!" Naruto chimed, although Sasuke just seemed to ignore him as the Uchiha made his way out of the office.
At a time like this, Naruto should've been worried about what Sakura's parents would say when they found out their young flower had been impregnated, he should've been worried about money, and how they'd financially cope with a little one on the way, there were so many thing to worry about, and yet… As the sun began to rise, Naruto's only concern was returning from this mission alive.
He was still in bed, but his eyes were wide-open as he lay there, the ninja hadn't gotten much sleep. He turned over onto his side in bed, not wanting to face the challenges ahead just yet. He smiled, seeing Sakura back in his bed, her serene face was still in sleep. His hand found it's way to her stomach, there was no bump there yet, and Naruto couldn't help wishing he'd be here to see every minute of it.
Suddenly there was a soft tap on the door before Aka walked in, she gasped in horror. "You're not up yet, we've gotta get going!!" Her voice was still a whisper since she didn't want to wake Sakura up, but Naruto could still make out the force behind it. Quickly he jumped out of bed, he hadn't realised what time it was and swiftly began to get ready.
Soon the pair were ready to go and meet Sasuke by the gates. "I've just got one more thing to sort out." Naruto told the red-head before heading back to his room.
Sakura was still sleeping peacefully, Naruto couldn't help smiling, seeing her lying there in his bed, her soft pink tendrils of her falling over her face. He went up to her, planting a small kiss on her forehead before taking a final glance at his sleeping beauty and leaving the room.
Some hours had passed since Naruto's departure, and it was only then when Sakura's sleepy eyes opened, she took in the surroundings, a comfy bed, no snoring…
Instantly Sakura shot out of bed, she glanced in every corner of the room before heading into the living room, and as she'd suspected, there was no sign of Naruto or Aka. Her brows arched in a frown 'He's already left, and I didn't get a chance to give him a proper goodbye…'
From then on the day was dull, the pink-haired girl made her way over to the village gates, almost expecting to see Naruto on his way home, for some reason the hours that passed by felt more like days.
"Sakura…" A mellow voice soon snapped the kunoichi out of her daydreams; she quickly turned to find a familiar face staring at her. "I hear Naruto's gone away on a mission."
"Kakashi-sensei." The girl replied, before dipping her head a little bit. "Uh yeah, that's right…"
"Hmm," The jounin mumbled to himself, before whipping out his favourite book. "It's going to get cold soon, you'd better get inside…we wouldn't want anything to happen to the two of you would we?" He said monotonically before turning on his heel to leave.
'Kakashi sensei already knows? I wonder who else does…'
Sighing to herself, the teen decided to take Kakashi's advice, it would be a struggle without Naruto; all the villagers would soon find out about her baby, and she'd have to deal with the prejudice alone. 'Well, Naruto had to deal with all of these peoples' discriminations against him almost his entire life! And if he can deal with it then so can I!'
From then on, she knew it would be lonely, and she knew it would be a struggle, but compared to what Sasuke, Naruto and Aka were going to go up against, she supposed she had the easier of paths.
For one, the month was lonely, in a bed alone, in a town of staring eyes. For the other, the month was long, aggravating; the battle to end it all seeming so far away.
The stares faded, she was becoming a normal sight now, the bump beginning to show, friends were there for comfort, but they could never give her the comfort he could.
The dirt-track was coming to an end, they were closing in on the target, preparing final strategies, this had to be well planned; it would be dangerous and lives were at stake.
Aka began to reminisce, she remembered how much she wanted this freedom, how much she wanted Akatsuki to pay, but on her way…she learned many new things.
On of these things was war. War in this land and in many others, a few big-wigs would argue over some pointless matter, and then it would break out into bloodshed. Lives were lost for silly causes, families and friends lost loved ones; the same way she had lost all her kind. She'd be free once Akatsuki were taken care of, but she'd also be alone, the last demon left.
People were strange creatures, they'd fight and hunt for fun, they'd cause emotional and physical pain amongst each other. Of course, Aka knew she'd caused many to suffer; she wasn't going to deny that… but she also knew that it was the humans who attacked her first, after accidentally coming into contact with the village, she was only trying to escape from those wanting to catch her, and in the end, the place she ran to became her prison.
Funnily enough though, she'd begun to enjoy Naruto's company, helping him out when he was in a tight spot, being able to listen to his thoughts and see his dreams. That cage had become her home, and now that freedom was in sight, she was scared that maybe it wouldn't ever feel like home.
When the battle finally begun, it was scary knowing that she couldn't protect Naruto the same way she used to be able to, her powers sealed, his body separated from hers…
Naruto, no…I wont let you die…
He was covered in blood, gasping for air, Kisame's weapon kneading away at Naruto's flesh.
He finally has a family now, he can't lose it like this…
Sasuke was caught in the clan's mind games, the battle drew on and each shinobi could only think of protecting themselves, it was too dangerous to try and help one another.
I love you, my protector, my cage..
"No, not my cage…" She murmured with fists clenched. "My home…"
In the blink of an eye, an array of hand seals were made, she wanted to rid the world of these evil people, and she wanted to go home, soon a fiery charka was encasing her body, her eyes glowing, tails of chakra lashing violently.
The eight rice-paper seals were now visible on the fiery chakra where her tails used to be, and soon enough they began to tear, one by one, her body was encased in flames, her roars could be heard from miles away, and the air was quickly heating up, everything around her seemed blurry and the grass began to fizzle away.
Aka knew she was capable of breaking the seals, but she also knew what chaos it was cause around her, but right know in the open wilderness when she needed her powers in order to save her friends, she knew this was the perfect time to do it.
Her speed was incredible, the force behind each blow indescribable, this was the first time Naruto had really seen his demon's power to it's fullest, and with perfect control. Whenever her powers had taken over his body; he'd generally lose all logic and be unable to control himself, most of the time he wouldn't even be able to remember what had happened. But this was different, this was 100% Aka fighting.
And naturally, the battle didn't last much longer.
"Ugh, it's been so long since I've had rameeen…." Naruto grumbled to himself, clutching his growling stomach.
"Could you just shut up for five minutes already?" Sasuke hissed, spending such a long mission with the blonde was certainly a nuisance. Although Sasuke had to admit, after their battle with Akatsuki, he'd certainly grown more respect for Naruto. Who knew the dobe had such power locked away in him for so long? It was a shame he'd never had the chance to use it all. Of course, Sasuke wouldn't voice his opinions out loud; he didn't want it to go to Naruto's head.
"Look look!! The village is in sight!!! WHOOOOOHOOOOO!!!" Naruto leapt for joy, he could barely keep to a power-walk, the shinobi just wanted to sprint the whole way home. "Man, I wonder how big Sakura's bump will be, I wonder if she's been getting sick or eating weird food, you know what its like-"
"You know, eating fish covered in chocolate sauce, that kind of thing… that's what pregnant people do right?!"
"Naruto…did you just say I know what its like?" Sasuke began glaring daggers at the blonde, what was that supposed to mean, did Sasuke look fat or like a girl? Or like the type who ate fish and chocolate together? Suddenly, all respect for Naruto vanished.
"Ahw, come on Sasuke lighten up! I'm gonna be a dad!!!"
"God help us all…"
The conversation between the two soon became a contest of who had the better insults (with Sasuke generally taking the lead) until they finally reached the village gates. Soon they began to bump into familiar faces. A swarm of people gathered around, but through the crowds, Naruto was only looking for one person…
"Hey look! Naruto and Sasuke are back!"
"Did they defeat Akatsuki!"
"Didn't he have sex with Sakura?!"
Sakura sat beside the bedroom window, one hand propped up her chin as she gazed out to the village, while the other nursed her little bump, it had only been a few months, but it seemed like forever since she'd seen Naruto's face, every day she would pray that he, Sasuke and Aka were alright, and that her baby would be able to meet his or her father.
Her eyes were dull, but as a crowd began to form in the village his curiosity was aroused, there was some kind of attraction that everyone was being drawn to, and her eyes suddenly widened when she heard the other citizens' cries.
"They're back!!! Naruto and Sasuke are back!!"
Before she knew it she was rushing out of the house, her feet honestly couldn't take her there fast enough, she had to get there; she had to know that he was ok. Soon she found herself amidst the mob of people as she tried to make her way to the front, and when she finally caught sight of a dirty mop of blonde hair, her smile couldn't have been wider.
The two shared a fierce embrace, not wanting to let go of one another, Naruto was covered in scratches and bruises, she could feel blood soaking his dirty attire, but his callous skin, dirty clothes and blood-soaked body still felt wonderful against her, she never wanted to let him go. Hot streams of tears rolled down her cheeks as she embraced him, tears of utmost joy.
The kunoichi glanced over at Sasuke, a smile spread across her lips. "It's good to see you again Sasuke, and thanks for looking after him." She smirked.
"It's good to see you too," Was all the Uchiha could muster, but the small smile on his face made it clear that he was glad to be back.
"Heeey, I don't need grouchy over there to look after me!!" Naruto announced defensively, causing Sakura to giggle a little before the two lovers exchanged awe-stricken glances.
"I missed you so much Sakura-chan, both of you…" He said, placing one hand on her small bump.
"I missed you too, so much it hurt, and it's ok, at least you didn't miss the important bits." She smiled.
"Like the first little kick, the sickness, the holding your hand as you scream or the watching you eat fish and chocolate?"
"I'd just ignore his weird comments if I were you," Sasuke advised as the crowds appeared to disperse. "Anyway, I'm gonna get out of your hair, you've got a lot of catching up to do." The Uchiha said before making his exit.
Soon enough Sakura and Naruto found themselves alone once more.
"So, Aka was set free then?"
"Well…" Naruto began, whilst scratching his head. "It turns out that she didn't really care for the outside world, even without Akatsuki around."
Slowly Naruto lifted up his top, Sakura was about to object to him being so vulgar, this was a public place and she was pregnant for goodness sake! But when she saw the mark on his stomach, she knew it wasn't anything crude he was after.
"Yup, and I'm actually kinda glad, now I know she wont be alone, and no-one will ever have to suffer from Akatsuki again. The mission was still worth it, even with Aka not leaving, and as long as I didn't miss my child coming into the world, then I'm happy."
"I'm glad too." Sakura beamed. Placing a soft kiss on Naruto's lips. Finally, she felt she could breathe a sigh of relief, all the madness was finally over, and for the moment, it was just her and Naruto; and she couldn't have been happier.
Thank you for keeping him safe, I promise I'll look after Naruto and love him with all my heart.
And Aka, I'm glad to have met you, even when we had our rough times, I know you'll always love him too, and I know now that you'll be there to protect him when he needs you.
And when he falls asleep at night, I know you'll be there to keep him company in his dreams.
Aka, thank you.
A/N That's right, done and dusted. Sorry if the ending was disappointing xD
To be honest, I had planned on making it much longer, but since I've been so slow updating, I thought you guys deserved and ending before I got too lazy and gave up xDDD
Anyways, tell me what you think, I'd love to hear from you all!!! And thanks for reading, ja ne!!