Naruto does not belong to me, only original characters. Thanks to my wonderful beta fallenleaves142 for correcting this chapter. They did an excellent job. Please visit my website: www. freewebs .com / animemangafanatic (take out the spaces). Also, after this chapter, which is the last, I will be leaving on my hiatus. See you later guys! Merry Christmas!
Life had continued on since that night in the church. Sakura was not getting better. Her diagnosis showed that she would be dead by Christmas. Itachi felt the shortage of time together more than anyone. However, the others were doing their very best to keep up Sakura's spirits. Sasuke and Tsuki were distracting her with talks about their upcoming wedding. Fugaku and Mikoto talked about trips they could all do. Shisui told her embarrassing stories about Itachi, and each one received harsh blows to his head. The best times for her were those quiet moments that only Itachi and her shared, which is what they were sharing right now. All the sudden, Sakura threw her book against the wall, and then she turned into Itachi and rested. He didn't need to ask what the matter was. Since the start of the new treatment, her eyes had begun to weaken. When they would begin to fail, Sakura's temper would flare, which is why she threw the book.
"I hate this. Maybe we should stop and just let me do this at home."
Itachi looked down at her.
"Will you be more comfortable at home?"
Sakura looked around at the hospital room. Everyone had done their very best to make it like home as much as possible.
"I will be, but it wouldn't be a very good idea."
This was also very true. If Sakura would be moved to her home, there would be no one there when Itachi wasn't home. Speaking about going home...
"You haven't gone home much."
"I only go for clothes or I just have okaa-san to bring them. It's just that I don't like being away from you too much."
Despite her foul mood, Sakura broke into a grin and giggled. Closing his book, Itachi placed it on the desk beside the bed before taking her more into his arms. Silence filled the room and they just held onto each other. Sakura listened to his strong heartbeat and faintly wondered if hers sounded like his, so strong and steady. That and if it would really stop beating on its destined day.
Sakura slowly pushed away from him and Itachi became worried. Sitting up straight, she looked down at him. Itachi began to sit up, and then he was pulled into Sakura's chest. He faintly blushed as his girlfriend held him firm against her breasts. The little pervert in his mind was telling him that she wasn't wearing a bra.
He mentally hit himself. Honestly, he wished that his voice didn't just stutter and waver. She probably knew what he was currently thinking.
"Do you hear it?"
Itachi blinked in surprise. It was then that he realized that he did indeed hear her heartbeat. He smiled.
"Yeah, I hear it. It's a good sound."
Sakura laid back with Itachi still on her chest.
"You can let go now."
Sakura cradled his head in her arms.
"Couldn't you just stay like this a little longer?"
Itachi chuckled as he wrapped her in his arms again.
"This is nice."
Itachi couldn't agree more. Hearing her steady heartbeat, the fatigue faded and Itachi instantly slept.
For some reason, he was running quite rapidly. Trees that he was passing had begun to blur with how fast he was going. A village came into view and for some reason Itachi knew its name, Konoha. Somehow, he also knew that Sakura was there and that's why he was going. He knew for some reason that Sakura needed him. However, Itachi thought this was all wrong. After all, the last memory he had of Sakura was them in the hospital room. So how did they get here?
All the sudden, Itachi passed a puddle and he quickly saw his reflection. Since he had a photographic he remembered his image even if it was for only a second. What he saw shocked him greatly. His hair was long again and tied back. He also wore a strange headband with a crossed out leaf on the front. The choice for attire was also quite strange, a black cloak with read clouds on it. However, the thing that surprised him the most was the thing under the straw hat, red eyes. If he remembered correctly, his father had called them sharingan. Exactly, what did it all mean?
Suddenly, some men came into view, and they instantly went down. He knew that he had done it. Jumping the large wall, which he thought was impossible, as he came down, his hands did something and he disappeared in smoke. When the smoke cleared, he was face to face with Sakura. She seemed happier somehow, but her eyes showed great worry. Her attire was a lot different too, but so was his. Before he knew it, Itachi was kissing her. His hands began to roam under her shirt. He was horrified by his actions. Sakura was sick and shouldn't be touched like this.
Itachi pulled back. Sakura used her hands to frame his face.
"You look tired."
All the sudden, he received a hard punch in the side. Itachi felt more humor than agitation, that and it hurt.
She was agitated and he was smirking. Itachi felt himself push her harshly against the wall. Their lips locked in a passionate kiss. He was soon laying kisses down on her neck.
"Itachi, what would you say to a baby?"
He instantly stopped and looked at her.
"Yours and mine?"
Sakura became agitated.
"Of course. Would you like me to have it with another guy?"
His grip on her tightened and he felt his anger rise. Sakura rolled her eyes at his possessiveness.
His eyes narrowed.
"Have there been more suitors?"
Sakura again, rolled her eyes.
"Itachi you know very well I'm not going to answer that."
"How far along are you?"
"I'm just a couple weeks ago."
Itachi sank down on the edge of her bed.
"So it happened the last time I was here."
Itachi put out his hand and Sakura put it in his. He pulled her to him. Placing his hand on her back, Itachi placed his head against her belly.
"Are you sure about this?"
Sakura's expression turned into a frown.
"Do you not want this?"
"I wouldn't be the best father, Sakura."
Sakura cradled his face again and made him face her.
"You'll be a fine father."
"You can't stay here."
Itachi looked directly at her and didn't waver.
"I need to handle some things before we leave."
Sakura's expression became so calm and peaceful. He knew he had caused her many nights of restless sleep. It gave him some peace to lighten her worry. Although he would never admit it, Itachi did not like causing her worry. Their relationship was stressful and hard on her, this did not escape him. However, there was something that he was keeping from her. Itachi's doubt was great. After all, Itachi did not want to raise the child wrong nor did he want to leave Sakura alone with a child. Currently, he was torn, but there was no way he was going to cause her more stress. Funny thing was, she could sense even his deeper emotions because she cradled him in her arms.
"You'll be fine... We'll be fine..."
All the sudden, there was a sharp knock to the door.
"Haruno-san, ANBU have spotted Uchiha Itachi in the area. By order of the Hokage, open this door so we know he's not there."
Itachi felt himself torn.
With that he disappeared just as the door was kicked open, and Sakura turned to deal with the ordeal.
He shot awake and looked up at the worried expression of his girlfriend. Looking around, he saw the familiar hospital room. Was it just a dream that he saw or was it more?
"I kept calling your name, but you refused to wake. You're wearing yourself out. Please go home to rest properly."
Itachi could see the worry in her eyes. It was so familiar to the one in his dream. His hand brushed her cheek.
"I don't sleep well without you. Previous years are proof enough of that."
Itachi sat up and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.
"Plus, I was just too drawn in to my dream. It was quite strange."
"What was it about?"
"Us, in a different life."
It was now the middle of December, and everyone was becoming apprehensive about the coming Christmas. Even though Sakura told them they were all being stupid and that she was going to beat it yet again, but they could sense even she was still a little scared. Itachi knew her spirit was in for the fight, but her body may not hold out with her anymore. Like this morning, Sakura, Tsuki, and Mikoto were going over wedding plans. Sasuke was off to the side looking like he wanted to bang his head against something. The image amused Itachi greatly. He was in there as her doctor at the moment and not her boyfriend.
"So what do you think of this center piece?"
"It's pink Tsuki."
"Yes and its cute Sakura."
"I think the male would rather cut their throats than sit at the table with 'pink' center pieces, especially the ones you're marrying into."
Tsuki rolled her eyes and Mikoto couldn't help but agree. Currently, both of her sons were sharing a disgusted look. It was a good thing Fugaku wasn't there. Uchiha men did not do pink.
"Fine. Then what do you two think about this one?"
Mikoto and Sakura looked at a picture of crazy daisies in the ugliest rose they've ever seen. Sakura looked hard at Tsuki.
"Do you want your parents to kill you?"
"Sakura, not everyone can have as pretty vase as yours."
All eyes turned to the vase that Itachi had given to her years ago. When she was taken, Itachi had put it away somewhere safe so it wasn't broken. After all, he had it designed for Sakura. It still looked brand new. Currently, the vase held red and white roses, compliments of Itachi. If they had come from another man, they would be dead along with the giver. Shisui had learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago, that and he now hated chocolate. Remembering that made Itachi smirk with satisfaction as he writes in her chart. Sakura just rolled her eyes at knowing perfectly well what he was thinking.
"Tsuki, when do you two plan to get married?"
Sasuke blushed as did Tsuki.
Sakura narrowed her eyes at them.
"Why aren't you more enthusiastic about your wedding?"
Everyone was eerily quiet.
"Oh for the love of..."
Sakura threw catalogues at Sasuke, and pinched Mikoto's and Tsuki's cheeks. Itachi had successfully and smoothly dodged the intended catalogue to his head.
"Did you always say you wanted a spring wedding?"
"Then be more enthusiastic dummy."
"But I want you to be there!"
"That's your problem?"
"Where's the crime in that?"
"Because it's a stupid reason!"
"And why's that?"
"Because you're my best friend and I want you there!"
The Uchiha family wisely chose not to interfere in this best friends quarrel.
"Who the hell said I wouldn't?"
"The doctors did!"
"When? When did they say that?"
"When they said you wouldn't even live to see Christmas!"
The room became quiet.
"I am not!"
"Tsuki, have you ever known from me to break a promise to you?"
Tsuki didn't even have to think about it.
"Didn't I promise to be your maid of honor?"
"Then why do you think that I'm going to start breaking promises to you now?"
Tsuki's eyes widened in shock. Her spirit was so high. They softened back as she smiled.
"Yeah... You're right."
It wasn't until later when everyone had left that the excitement of their argument finally took its toll. Itachi found her coughing up blood, while repeatedly pressing down on her nurse's button. As he quickly went to her aid, Itachi scolded the just then walking in nurse. She later got a worse reprimand. Sakura, after being taken care of, had to have a transfusion. He never told anyone about the attack.
Christmas was two days away when Itachi and Sakura had the most life changing talk of their lives, what he would do after she died. Sakura was now too weak to move, let alone sit up. All her hair had fallen out, and her body had become so frail. She truly was breakable. However, Itachi tried his best to distract her with talk about their own wedding. They wanted to be married with the cherry blossoms. Both of them knew that the talk was more to distract him than her. She was fine with her death, he wasn't.
"So even though there will be alcohol, I don't think you should drink any of it."
"Do you have any friends from Paris you would like to invite?"
"If not that's fine. I think a small wedding is best for us."
Itachi looked up at her. Her clear, green eyes showed worry for him.
Itachi gently took her hand.
"We can't give up."
"Itachi, no matter what we do, our time has come to its end. We need to stop avoiding that fact and face it. There are going to be plans that will be left unfinished."
"It doesn't have to be that way."
"Itachi, stop putting your faith in man and put it in God. Pray that my soul will continue to live and be fine."
"I don't want to let go!"
Sakura softly smiled.
"Don't let go. Continue to think of me, love me, and hold on to me each day that passes. Days will pass, as will years. The pain will lessen, maybe not vanish, but at least lessen, dull. Then when you're ready, love again. As you love again, don't let go. It's fine to let go of me physically because a body is just a perishable tool. Just don't let go of the memory of the soul, because it will live forever in us. Itachi, you have a large heart to hold me as much as you do, and find someone new."
"I don't want to."
A rare tear rolled down his cheek as Sakura continued to smile at him.
Sakura turned to the ceiling.
"Lord, almighty God, take care of Itachi. May your love protect him where I cannot be and when I will not be able to anymore. Give him love after my passing."
Sakura turned back to him. Her own tears now rolling down her face.
"He deserves it. Amen."
Itachi gripped onto her hand and bowed his head as a sob threatened to come out.
"So this is where you were."
Itachi turned around in the pew to see Shisui coming down the aisle. As his best friend sat next to him, Itachi focused back on the large cross with Jesus' statue. It was now Christmas Eve.
"I'm surprised you're not with Sakura-chan."
"She's sleeping right now. I came to have a talk with God."
"Are you a Christian, Shisui?"
Shisui was surprised. Itachi had never been interested in any religion. So to hear a question like that from him was surprising. It must have come from influence from Sakura.
"Actually, yeah. I converted a few years ago in Paris. My girlfriend introduced me to God."
"Is Sakura really okay in His hands? Can I really trust Him with her life?"
Shisui looked at him seriously.
"Itachi, you won't find anyone better than Him. Only through Him can Sakura-chan's soul be truly saved."
Itachi closed his eyes.
"I'm so tired."
"Then rest for a little while. Place your burdens onto Him. He had broad shoulders to hold them for us anyways."
Itachi began to drift to sleep, but sent up one prayer before he did.
"Lord, I'm going to trust you. Please take my burdens and my sins. Forgive me. Save the only person that had made me love this much. Give me more time with the one who had led me to you. Spare the life of your child Lord. Do this for me please..."
The voice was so familiar to him.
"Itachi-kun, it's time to wake up."
It sounded like someone he had loved so dearly.
"Come on now. This is no time to be lazy. Up with you already, up I say."
Itachi's eyes slowly began to open.
"Well it's about time lazy boy."
Itachi's eyes focused on his grandfather the way he used to be before his death. His grandfather had always looked healthy, but he had a bad heart. Uchiha Soichiro had died at the age of 65, due to a heart attack. Soichiro wore the brown suit he liked so much and the matching hate.
"Grandfather, why are you here?"
"I'm here to explain some things to you. You're here to listen."
"I'm just the messenger that He sent."
"Time to go through the door Itachi-kun."
"What door Grandfather?"
Itachi turned around to the thing he was pointing at. A door was now behind him. It hadn't been there earlier, or had it been?
"Was that always there?"
"Time to go Itachi-kun."
Soichiro walked over, turned the knob and walked through. Itachi slowly, but faithfully followed. As soon as he walked through, it instantly became dark. The sound of pouring rain was strong. His grandfather stood beside him.
"Where are we?"
"In one of your previous lives, or to be more exact, your very first one."
Itachi turned to him in shock. He nodded towards something, and Itachi's eyes followed it. There he saw himself, the self he had been dreaming of, crouching over a body as he slipped a ring off the ring finger.
"What's going on?"
"You just lost your wife. Sakura-chan was your wife in your first life. She had just given birth, but you were too late. Your child was already dead when you got there."
As his former self disappeared, Itachi turned to his grandfather.
"What kind of game is being played here? I won't be fooled."
"Fooled? No. You know very well that this is all truth Itachi-kun. After all, you feel it. Your body may be new, but the soul isn't. I'm sure it remembers quite well."
All the sudden, Itachi reappeared, carrying a bloody bundle. It was placed under the cloak with Sakura.
"Why are we here?"
"To see how you died."
Itachi then saw Sasuke. A much angrier and pained Sasuke. Before he knew it, a katana pierced his chest by Sasuke's hand. He grabbed his chest in pain.
"Like I said, a soul remembers."
With a snap of Soichiro's fingers, they were back in the never-ending white area.
"Grandfather, I still don't understand. Are you showing me this because Sakura and I are doomed to that fate again?"
"Actually Itachi-kun, you and Sakura-chan have suffered that fate hundreds of times. God reincarnated your souls every 100 years."
"Sakura-chan was always a faithful follower in every life. You too, eventually came to Him in every life thanks to Sakura-chan. However, thanks to man's hand, you two always suffered the same fate. God wanted you two to finally have one happy ending, but God does not control man. Man has continuously separated you both. It was His sincere wish that you two would eventually find happiness in someone else. That was never the case though. No matter the circumstances, you two still found one another. Your love is truly rare."
"What are you trying to tell me?"
"We've reached the end Itachi-kun."
"I'm just the messenger."
Then he fell. As Itachi fell, he remembered each previous life. Each time, Sakura had died before him. There were so many ways she died. It broke his heart. Finally, their current lives played before him. When it ended, Itachi had stopped falling. Itachi noticed that each life, they were the exact same rings that Itachi had taken off of Sakura's finger in their first life. Even now, he knew where those pair of wedding bands were... in his room... A man and a body stood before him and they both helped him up. They began to walk towards the only light.
"Who are you?"
The man smiled.
"I am me. I am you. I am everyone."
Itachi felt a warm overwhelming love envelope him. It brought tears to his eyes. The boy squeezed his hand.
"See you later!"
They walked into the light.
Itachi opened his eyes to a concerned Shisui.
The bells rang midnight. Itachi bolted up and ran.
"Where are you going?"
"To get my one Christmas wish!"
"Merry Christmas Shisui!"
Before he could do anything, Itachi had raced off.
"Yeah... Merry Christmas..."
Shisui turned to the statue of Jesus and smirked.
"You planned something big, didn't you? You're such a romantic."
Itachi took the stairs by two because the elevator was too slow. He raced down the hall and into Sakura's room. Her vitals were low and her heartbeat seemed to be dropping. Kneeling by her bed, Itachi took her hand in his and prayed as Sakura's heartbeat status flat-lined.
"Sakura, I told you not to sleep here."
Sakura opened her eyes and pushed away from the desk. It had been two years now since that day. She had miraculously survived that Christmas day, and the cancer had mysteriously disappeared. Since then, Sakura had showed no signs of sickness. Itachi was pleased. After all, she was healthy now.
"I couldn't help it. Finally, I finished the manuscript."
Itachi kissed her. Then, he kissed her ring finger, where she now wore her engagement ring and wedding band. He wore the matching one.
"Even if you are healthy, I want my wife to take better care of herself."
A lot had happened in the last two years. Sasuke and Tsuki had gotten married. Naruto and Hinata were now engaged. He was nearly killed by Neji and Hinata's father. Neji and Tenten eloped. Who knew that those two couldn't handle a ceremony. Shikamaru, now engaged to Ino, was regretting it. Poor guy just wanted to sleep. As promised, Sasuke now was attending college with the sole purpose of graduating and taking over the family business. Shisui married his longtime girlfriend. They had twin girls recently. She had nearly broken his hand in the delivery room. Fugaku and Mikoto were still enjoying their semi-retirement. It wouldn't' become full until Sasuke took over. Itachi and Sakura got married the following spring. Now they were expecting their child any day now. When asked what they were having,, they both replied the same thing despite the fact they hadn't been told, a boy.
"So it's done huh?"
"Then let's go to bed."
Itachi lifted his pregnant wife and carried her to bed. Sakura's newest book laid on the desk. She had become an author, while managing her mother's company from home with Itachi's help. Her books however, took her main focus and were popular. The newest one was close to her heart though. It is titled, "The Struggling Weasel, The Dying Cherry Blossom, and One Christmas Wish". With a dedication page saying, "to my beloved family and God, who brought my husband and I together over one hundred times."