Chapter Two: Return

Disclaimer: I still don't own Naruto, and after you all see my sad attempt at a love scene I think we'll all be grateful that I don't.

Haruno Sakura perched on the edge of her bed, smiling contentedly. She did that a lot recently. Ever since she had gone to the Uchiha compound last month, she had started smiling again, and no longer cried herself to sleep at night. No one knew why, all they knew was that whatever she had seen there had changed Sakura for the better. She was back to being the happy kunoichi she had been before Sasuke's defection to Otogakure no Sato, the Village Hidden in the Sound.

Sakura glanced once again at the letter on her bedside table. Even the mere sight of it was enough to make her smile anew. Sasuke loved her. That thought had been on her mind constantly for over a month now, and still she never tired of it. She doubted that she ever would. Uchiha Sasuke loved her…

Beep! Beep! Beep!

The loud beeping of her alarm clock caused Sakura to jump in surprise. Quickly she shut the annoying thing up before exiting her room. It was time for training. Even though Team Kakashi still was nonexistent (Kakashi was still subbing for Kurenai as head of Team Kurenai), and Team Yamato had been disbanded with the demolition of the eight man squad (Yamato had to return to regular ANBU duties), Naruto, Sakura, and Sai (who had remained a part of the Team Seven family despite being sent back to Root after the break up of the eight man squad) still agreed to train together on certain days, and today was one of them. Sakura had only been sitting here now because she had woken up early this morning and had had some spare time before she had to head to the training ground.

The pink haired kunoichi stood up and walked out of her bedroom, pausing only slightly for one last glance at the letter. She smiled at it, silently thanking it for bringing happiness back into her life.

Sakura arrived at the training ground before her teammates (she still thought of Sai as her teammate), though the clearing was by no means empty. Her old sensei, Kakashi, stood there, perverted novel in hand, apparently waiting for someone. Sakura did a double take as the thought crossed her mind. Kakashi was waiting for someone?! Normally he was the one being waited for, as she and her teammates had learned the hard way in the early days of Team Seven.

"Kakashi-sensei?!" she asked, incredulous. He turned up from his novel, his single eye displaying traces of a grin.

"Hello, Sakura. I've been waiting for you for quite some time." Sakura anime sweat dropped. Kakashi, the world champion of being late and having a stupid excuse for it, was chastising her for tardiness?! What was the world coming to?! "Godaime wanted to see you in her office. She said that it was urgent." Without even giving Sakura time to question what Tsunade wanted to see her about, Kakashi disappeared in a puff of smoke to wherever Kakashi goes when he isn't reading Icha Icha in the presence of children, most likely to somewhere he can read Icha Icha without having to keep Naruto from trying to steal it every five minutes. Sakura's blond teammate suffered from his time spent among his various teachers: Ebisu (closet pervert), Kakashi (guy who reads Icha Icha nearly constantly), and Jiraiya (the guy who wrote the perverted books in the first place and Naruto referred to as Ero Sennin, despite Jiraiya protesting the title many times). With a sigh at Naruto's at first glance badly selected teachers (actually they were probably some of the best men for the job), Sakura headed off in the direction of the Hokage Mansion, wondering what Tsunade wanted her for.

By the time she got to the door of Tsunade's office, Sakura was completely out of breath, and bursting with the impatient desire to know what was so urgent.

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto ran towards her, skidding to a halt directly in front of the door. Despite him abandoning his childhood crush on her and finally realizing what the rest of the village had known for years, that Hinata was hopelessly in love with him, he still always referred to her as Sakura-chan. It was just a part of what made Naruto, Naruto.

"Do you know what Tsunade-baa-chan called us here for, Sakura-chan?" he asked her. Sakura shook her head, prompting Naruto to begin a monologue of reasons that would be deemed urgent. First and foremost was that they were discontinuing the manufacturing of ramen, followed rapidly by a fear that Ichiraku was going out of business. (A/N: If you look at the part two series closely, I don't think that Naruto has actually mentioned becoming the Sixth Hokage once the entire series. That's why I don't have him mention that. I just mentioned that so no one calls me an idiot for forgetting that.) Sakura sighed in exasperation at Naruto's one track mind, and opened the door to the Hokage's office.

"You summoned us, Tsunade-shishou…" Sakura's voice trailed off as she saw what was next to Tsunade's desk. Or, more specifically, who was next to Tsunade's desk. Uchiha Sasuke, bandaged thoroughly and obviously in slight pain, but whole, and alive, and in Konohagakure Village. Sakura stopped dead in her tracks, causing Naruto to be trapped behind her and unable to see.

"Sakura-chan, let me in!" he cried. Numbly she stepped aside, revealing Sasuke to Naruto. The normally hyperactive blond was at loss for words.

"Sasuke…" his voice trailed off just as hers had. The shock and joy of seeing their teammate was too great for words. However, Naruto being Naruto, he managed to overcome his initial surprise very quickly, and in less than a minute was bouncing like he had springs glued to his feet, shouting all the while.

"Sasuke-teme! You came back!" Sasuke smirked. Sakura noticed the wince of pain he gave at the movement of his muscles to form his signature facial expression.

"I see that you haven't changed at all, Dobe." Naruto grinned back. In a way that Sakura could never fully understand, their bond was emphasized by Naruto calling Sasuke a bastard and Sasuke insulting him in turn. They were closer than brothers (especially the Uchiha brothers), and shared a level of understanding that she was frankly envious of. Even before Sasuke had left, Naruto had been close to him in a way that she never had.

For a few minutes, the reunited brothers stood smiling at each other. (A/N: Yes, Sasuke was smiling.) Sakura looked on, a smile on her own face. Even though Sasuke had not yet acknowledged her presence, she was comforted by his mere presence. For now, she was content for the three of them to just stand here, wordlessly communicating their shared love of each other.

After a few minutes, Sasuke turned to face her.

"Sakura," he said shortly. Only a trace of his usual coldness found its way into the single word, a sign more than anything that Sasuke had changed. She turned to face him, tears of joy welling up in her eyes. He smirked at this, and nodded permission. In three strides, Sakura had crossed the distance separating them, and threw her arms about Sasuke's shoulders in a loving embrace.

"Sasuke-kun," she sobbed happily. He gently stroked her hair and let her cry herself out in his arms. Without her saying anything, he knew that she had found the letter, and she knew that he knew. The restraints that had kept them apart during their time together as Genin dissolved, and Sakura could only sob at her utter happiness. Tsunade pointedly glanced at Naruto, who, displaying an awareness of feelings usually beyond him, accompanied her out of the office.

After a few minutes of joyous crying, Sakura pulled back slightly so that she could look up into Sasuke's eyes. A love that had been so plainly absent during their Genin days had filled them, giving Sakura a warm feeling in her heart. She smiled up at him, her eyes still shining with tears. Gently Sasuke stroked her cheek, before moving in to kiss her lips. Sakura gasped, her eyes wide with shock, before returning the kiss, an expression of sheer bliss on her face.

After a few minutes Sasuke pulled back for air, the expression of love still plain in his eyes.

"Sakura." Absolutely no trace of coldness made its way into his pronunciation of her name this time; his usually harsh voice now held only love.

"Sasuke-kun, does this mean… your brother…?"

"I have killed him." She smiled with relief at his response. Until that moment she had not been aware how afraid she was, that this would all be shattered the next day as Sasuke returned to his quest to kill Itachi. But there was still one fear she had to address.

"Sasuke-kun, you are going to stay here, right?" She knew from the letter that, given the choice, Sasuke would definitely stay here, but she could not be sure that he had been given a choice. He had, after all, betrayed the village. He, though, only smirked at her question, amusement at her concern plain on his face.

"Yes, Sakura, I'm going to stay here. Tsunade arranged it before she sent for you and Naruto. She said that since I eliminated two threats to the village, Itachi and Orochimaru, I would be allowed to come home unchallenged by the Council of Elders." Sakura sighed with relief, burying her face in Sasuke's shirt and inhaling the scent of him. He was home. He was home and he was going to stay here.

Thank you, Kami-sama, Sakura thought as Sasuke swept her into another passionate kiss.


A/N: Well, there was my first attempt at a SasukeXSakura story where they get a happy ending. Please tell me what you thought of it.