Next Time

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

A/N: Thank you for sticking around, guys, and I hope you enjoyed it.

Here's hoping there really will be a next time.


#41 – Wait

"So you're fucking sitting here and telling me that you feel bad for that piece of shit?" Hidan would ask, arms crossed and secretly boiling with jealousy inside, and Sakura would answer, "Well, yes, I do, I mean, he went crazy with power because of Orochimaru, and now he's in jail for it," to which Hidan would just growl and shake his head; "That bastard made you wait for years and fucking years, and you still are able to feel bad for him, Sakura; I think you just might be a Goddamned saint."

#42 – Talk

She cried sometimes when they talked late at night, alone in his bedroom, draped over his bed and side by side or sitting at opposite sides of the room; and he didn't understand it, because he never talked about anything to make her cry beside his past and what he did and didn't do.

#43 – Search

She'd gotten lost once, and when Deidara had announced it to him, all calamity and chaos hiding behind grace and poise, the shogi game he'd set up to play with Zetsu was immediately forgotten in favor of every able-bodied Akatsuki member going out into the surrounding forestry and searching diligently into night; when they all returned, scratched, bruised, empty-handed and dejected, each of them were surprised into varying degrees of anger, relief, and joy when Sakura appeared to them in the doorway of the complex, yawning and asking where everyone had gone.

#44 – Hope

Hidan wasn't known for clinging to hope where hope wasn't readily available, or even clinging to hope at all, for that matter, but he couldn't help it with Sakura when she touched him gently while they were speaking or she seemed just a little more clumsy than usual; damned be him if he didn't take advantage of her "crush," because hell, he'd had a crush since she'd dug him up and laughed at the ridiculousness of his predicament.

#45 – Eclipse

"Romantic poetry!" Tobi had readily announced when Hidan had asked what he thought was sure to woo Sakura, and so Hidan had tried, honestly: "When you smile/ I feel like I've had a total eclipse of the heart," and hadn't gotten past that point for the life of him (which was considerably long); he'd showed it to Kisame, who had proceeded to die laughing right before taking the unfinished poem from Hidan, crumpling it, eating it, and then muttering, "For the good of humanity," jovially under his breath.

#46 – Gravity

Gravity was what forced him to stay on this earth, he reminded himself, gravity and Jashin, of course, though he worshipped the latter much more than the former, and he thanked everything that they did; he didn't know what he would do if he'd ever have to leave Sakura and Taro, and even though he watched them like a hawk, he was only human, after all.

#47 – Highway

There did eventually come a day, a little bit farther into their marriage, when the first tragedy shook them: Taro died from a disease—something that Sakura explained to Hidan through sobs and gasps and hiccups was called Tay-Sachs disease; and though they both knew it was coming—Jashin knew Sakura had tried any- and everything to prevent it, but it just wasn't enough—they really could only treasured whatever time they had left with their son; it was Kisame and Zetsu, the uncle and the impromptu doctor, the mentor and the playmate, who carried the small casket, so small that Hidan could easily fit it in his arms, down the dirt highway and toward a shaded, gentle area that the trees kept hidden and the butterflies kept company.

#48 – Unknown

It was unknown what had prompted Hidan to drag Sakura underneath him and demand she kiss him right fucking there and right fucking now, but it was even more unknown why Sakura had actually agreed; they'd only known each other for a half a year, but that didn't stop them, and it would never stop them again, Hidan decided, even as he sucked on her lower lip and pushed his tongue past hers.

#49 – Lock

"My heart's locked up and I threw away the key," Sakura said with a playful smile, mimicking the action of tossing a key behind her; and Hidan had smiled back, took her hand, and licked the finger that held the ring safe, sucking at the tip and laving down one side, then back up the other, humming deviously when her face flushed pink and she licked her lips; "Then it's a good thing," he answered, pulling away from her hand to pull her against him, and then the both of them right onto the grassy floor, curious onlookers be damned, "that I have a pair of fucking bolt cutters."

#50 – Breathe

And he'd finally been stripped of his immortality, finally been set free, finally been able to live or die or fuck or fight or do all four at the same motherfucking time, because Goddamn it, he was human now, and it felt…it felt…tiring; he slumped to the ground, and Sakura immediately was at his side, pushing back pieces of silver that fell into his eyes, kissing him and crying tears that he hoped were joy, because he'd probably fucking kill her if she regretted him doing this, and she whispered, "I love you so much, Hidan, and yes, I'll have your little pink-haired, purple-eyed babies with the sadomasochistic tendencies and all," to which he grunted in satisfaction at; after a while, when the shuddering stopped and the vertigo had mostly ebbed, he turned to her, still rubbing her thumbs over his cheekbones and tucking strands of hair behind his ears that didn't very well need any more tucking, for fuck's sake, and muttered, "Seriously, so what do we do now?" while she held back another fit of tears; she answered with another kiss, slower and more deliberate this time, and he would have known the answer even if she hadn't mouthed it against his lips: "We breathe."