Cataracta's Notes: Huraah for more stories! This is the result of a summer without uploading access. Hope you enjoy!

Infinity Plus One

"There's a million ways to die, but only one way to do it right. The beginning of the end, and the ends of a few beginnings. Sasuke X Sakura"

It's the anniversary of the defeat of Sound, and Konoha is alive. The villagers are packed in the village square, their happy faces lit by the dazzling fireworks and blazing fires. Each mouth is smiling so widely it's a wonder their faces haven't split. Children run from place to place, their eyes shining with happiness and their laughter pure and untainted.

Sakura stands with Sasuke on the branch of one of the most ancient tress in the forest, her body relaxed and content. Beside her, Sasuke stands with his hands in his pockets, the look on his face bordering on thoughtful. Each is lost in their own thoughts, their eyes trained on the festivities that they can see even as far away as they are.

"How would you like to die?" Sasuke asks suddenly.

Sakura glances at him, unsurprised by the intrusion. She doesn't answer him right away, though, instead she stands and watches as a firework blazes into life above the village, her eyes following the bright colors as they slowly trail away into darkness. Somewhere in the village, she knows, Naruto, the Rokudaime, is watching the same fireworks. Beside him, she is sure, is his ever-faithful wife Hinata, her hand clasped in his and her eyes finally, finally content. Ino, Chouji, Shikamaru, Kakashi, Iruka, she knows that all are somewhere in the village, and all, she knows, are finally happy.

She glances back at Sasuke, and thinks that he has changed more than she ever thought possible. His body and mind are still as strong and sharp as ever, but the posture has relaxed somewhat, the eyes no less intense but somehow more calm. He moves with the same steady confidence, but now he moves with a purpose that does not take him closer and closer to death, but instead closer and closer to a life he's never dreamed of having. He is finally free, she thinks.

Finally she answers by stretching out her hand, her eyes and mouth smiling as she responds, "This would be okay."


Cataracta's Notes: Let me know what you think!