Cataracta's Notes: This is the first of a series of stories (and there WILL be a lot of them) that, for lack of better name, I'm going to call the "Taxi Driver Wisdom Series". Mainly because the summeries/quotes are acutally quotes from a book called 'Taxi Driver Wisdom'. It's an amazing book, very thougtht provoking. The title is the title of the page, or subject, if you will, and the quote afterwards is the advice given on that certain topic. This is sort of my challenge to myself for the next few weeks. Also, if anyone has heard of/seen this book (which I don't own) I advise you to look it up, buy it, if you really like it. I hope you enjoy!

On High Blood Pressure

"Everything comes out the same, no matter whether you make it hard on yourself or not. Sasuke, Sakura, and the lessons that come only with time. Sasuke X Sakura"

He's spent his entire life training for one moment, and Sasuke thinks that's kind of sad. Sad that there has never been anything more than the immediate goal, sad that there was never any side trips, any breaks, any I'm-doing-this-just-because-I-want-to's. He thinks he's missed out on a lot of things that most people don't even think about, like relationships and sex and alcohol and friends and family, and, perhaps saddest of all, on love.

For him the end would justify the means. It never mattered who he had to kill, where he had to abandon, what he had to destroy, if only it made him stronger. If only it made him better. Better than a spectral, red-eyed monster. Better than a killer. Ironic, he thinks, because he's now a killer.

He's spent his entire life in the shadow of one man, always trying to escape it, always trying to get away, into the light. But, he thinks, he never seemed to be able to, because he was always in darkness, always angry, or spiteful, or raging.

But that's not completely true, he thinks. Because there were times (going-to-kill-Naruto-can't-let-it-happen) when he'd step into the light, if only for a moment (goodbye-thank-you-stay-safe) and he'd know that things weren't always so bad. There were friends who were there even when he pushed – shoved – them away. There were teachers and mentors who understood, even when he left.

There were lots of things, he decides. And there are lots of things now. There are still friends, and there is family, if only a surrogate one. There are relationships, and there is sex. At times there is alcohol and stories and admitting things that never would be said otherwise.

And as he turns on his side and looks at the slim figure lying next to him, he knows there is also love. With unfailing care, he reaches forward to brush a strand of hair from Sakura's face and doesn't quite smile, but gets something of a gentle quirk. He leans in and presses a light kiss to her forehead and thinks that he just might be lucky.

Things could have been better, or things could have been worse. But laying exactly where he is, with Sakura wrapped tightly in his arms and safe and content, he thinks that he feels pretty safe and content. And even with all the hatred and the stress and the training and the near-death, things came out pretty well. No, he suddenly realizes.

Things came out perfectly.

Cataracta's Notes: I also realized that I've posted something like seven stories in less than 24 hours, but I didn't have uploading access for two months, so cut me some slack! XD Let me know what you think!