This chapter takes place when Naruto and Sakura are about 25. many spoilers for events in post time jump part of the manga Naruto. (I'm trying to keep things in agreement with current story canon as well, as I'm not a fan of stories that are AU, either in plot or characterization) I'm not keen on character bashing (unless they are outright villians- Orochimaru, Itachi, etc...) and you won't see that here. If characters have somewhat negative opinions of other characters I will reflect what is in story canon but there will be no exaggeration of that. This story will have a lot of "time jumps" in it. The "home" time period is the one in this chapter. There will be a number of flashback chapters in different points in time, from their current ages in the manga onward.
Disclaimer: Naruto is owned by Masashi Kishimoto and Shonen Jump
Rain or Shine
Sasuke looked out over Konoha. A storm was moving in. Back in their bedroom his two best friends - the ones that had saved his life - Sakura and Naruto lay entwined, contented smiles on their faces. He was going do his best to make sure those smiles stayed there. A bright flash of lighting across the sky drew his eyes back over Konoha.
"Not smart enough to go inside?" Sai teased as he arrived on the rooftop.
Sasuke gave Sai a dismissive look, the one he was famous for back in his childhood. He didn't give Naruto or Sakura that look much anymore though. They were more than his best friends; they had become his family, and had warmly invited him to be a part of theirs. Sai and Sasuke had also developed a kind of partnership over the years. Intimate, but mainly they found a bizarre pleasure in trying to get under the other's skin. Sai, although he didn't have much use for Sakura and she merely tolerated him, was trying to be Naruto's friend.
"Don't see you knocking on the door either." Sasuke countered.
"I just got here, you've been sitting there for hours."
"Hmph!" Sasuke felt annoyed, he didn't have a good counter for that.
The cloudburst caught them both by surprise. Loud crashing thunder followed a brilliant lightning display, waking Sakura, who saw Sasuke sitting on their balcony.
"Come on inside before it gets worse" She urged him from the doorway. He nodded agreement, heading inside with Sai jumping onto the balcony and following.
Sakura yawned and stretched, rubbing her lower spine. She did a simple chakra release to ease the aching muscles. This late in pregnancy no sleeping position was comfortable. Naruto still was lightly snoring away. He'd probably wake up if the storm got any worse, but he needed the sleep though, maybe even more than she did. He pushed himself as hard as he ever had, perhaps moreso since he became Hokage.
"I'll warm up some tea for you two ". Moving to the kitchen Sakura looked at the clock - middle of the night - she'd offer to let the two of them sleep here tonight. Sasuke was welcome as a guest anytime, but she could only tolerate Sai for a limited period.
A mighty crash of thunder startled Naruto awake. Sakura was already up; he could hear her talking in their kitchen. He scratched at his chin stubble. Trying to grow a beard wasn't all it cracked up to be, it kind of itched growing out, but it made him look more like a man and less like a boy. Sakura was supportive of him doing it; she was curious how it would change his looks.
Naruto sleepily wandered into the kitchen and said hello to Sai and Sasuke. Naruto sighed when he saw Sai, hoping he would keep his snarky comments to Sasuke, who seemed to weirdly enjoy them.
Another loud crash of thunder and a close lightning strike woke their 3-year daughter Saori, who began crying loudly for her parents. Naruto waved away Sakura going to comfort their daughter himself. Sakura knew Naruto cherished any time he had with her. He'd never had a family growing up, until the sort of family Team 7 had formed. Their final academy sensei Iruka, had tried to be fatherly toward Naruto, but Team 7 was his first family. Their sensei Kakashi was a father he was always trying to gain respect and approval from, and Sasuke was his brother. Sakura, though, had always been the girl he loved.
Naruto carried Saori back to the kitchen. She'd never go back to sleep during this storm, plus Saori had a bit of an innocent crush on the man she called her uncle- Sasuke. Naruto chuckled, like mother, like daughter.
"Ojichan!" Saori cried excitedly, forgetting the frightening storm that had woken her.
Naruto set his daughter on the floor and she leaped to hug her uncle. Sasuke was gentle with the child; his eyes losing a bit of the constant haunted look and a hint of an amused smile appearing instead. "Saori chan, shouldn't you be asleep?"
"Big scary storm" Saori's eyes grew wide and she pointed out the window.
"Uh huh, but we're all safe inside."
Sasuke nodded. He understood that feeling well. He'd lived with the fear until he had shoved it deep inside, so far inside he could pretend that he wasn't scared being all alone in the world, of having no family anymore. No family, other than his monster of a brother that had slaughtered the rest of the family. Itachi, who fueled Sasuke's nightmares and rage, leading him to the path that had almost destroyed him.
Sakura and Naruto exchanged looks. Their daughter was innocently healing their best friend. Her childish fears were allowing Sasuke to harmlessly reconnect with his own. Much like his friendship with both of them gave him something else to live for, drawing him ever so slightly away from his complete obsession for vengeance on his brother. That tiny part of his soul they held had allowed them to save him. It allowed him to become a hero again by killing Orochimaru.
It was witnessing this, and his small but significant role in protecting Naruto, that had made Sai fascinated with Sasuke. It was part of why Sai, although bored, was captivated with this warm family gathering. He brought out his sketchbook and drew the scene unfolding in front of him.
Saori didn't know what to think of her uncle's boyfriend, Sai. He was confusing. Sometimes he'd be nice and draw pictures for her, but other times he'd make fun of her parents or her uncle. Unless he had his sketchpad out she tended not to talk to him. Her eyes were continuously drawn to watch him draw though. She quieted and silently sat on her uncle's lap, sucking her thumb.