A/N: Alas, this is the end of my Kiba/Saku series. I like this epilogue, and I hope you enjoy as well. Thanks for all of your support and love.
I don't own any of these characters.
Epilogue: Simply Sakura
Sakura sighed resignedly as she suddenly found herself wide awake. She really didn't want to be, and her body screamed that it needed more rest, but she just couldn't help herself. The petite woman leaned further into the body that lay behind her.
It was surprising that the medics had even allowed him to share her bed, but, then again, when one is faced with a crazed dog, one will tend to forget protocol. Thus, the woman had found herself propped against her husband's chest and body when she awoke. He had climbed into the bed and situated her to were she lay against him in a half-reclined/half-sitting position. And she adored him all the more for it.
A small noise to the right of the bed told her that the room's other occupant had awakened and was probably hungry. She moved to get up when she heard a low rumble in the body behind her, signifying that Kiba was also awake.
"I'll get him. You just stay there." The man of her dreams shifted her body just enough so that he could leave the bed, and she almost panicked at the loss of the feel of him and his heat. This panic lifted abruptly when father handed son to mother. "I think he's hungry." He crooned softly, and the woman nodded as she adjusted the infant in her arms. She set to the task of feeding the child.
Kiba stood with a bewildered look on his face. Sakura's cheeks pinked as she didn't know if his stares were a result of her partial nudity or of the fact that she was feeding their son. She reckoned it was the latter, but couldn't help teasing the man.
"Why, Kitten, I do believe that you are drooling." He looked up at her and blushed lightly at her accusation.
"I can't help it. You're just so beautiful."
"Yeah right. I've been in here for days, and I'm all gross and worn out," she scoffed. "I would have thought that the change in my scent would have changed things." It was true. She was no longer pregnant, which meant that her scent would return to normal. Hopefully, she would have a slight reprieve from her husband's constant ravenous advances. Now don't get her wrong, she loved the constant attention from the incredibly sexy dog-nin, but it had become rather exhausting. And it had seemed that the further she had gotten in her pregnancy, the more needy he had become.
"Well," he said with a teasing glint in his eye, "that is true. I guess it means that I'll just have to knock you up again as soon as possible." She shot him a glare that said that he would be in the dog house for a while if he continued. Realizing that telling a woman, who had just spent several months feeling fat and ugly, that he wanted her to return that way soon was pretty insensitive, he leaned over he and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"I love you, Pink." He sat on the edge of the bed next to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. Pretty soon, the woman's body relaxed and she leaned her head on his shoulder. She really was too worn out to be mad for long.
The two sat quietly for a moment listening to their son as he fed from his mother's bosom. Kiba reached in and rubbed the child's left cheek stripe lightly with a claw.
"He's so beautiful..." the man murmured as a small bright green eye peeked open before quickly closing again. Sakura sighed in agreement.
"You know people are going to ask questions, though." She turned her face toward the Inuzuka male and saw the expression of pure adoration on his face. She had to steel herself before continuing. "I mean, except for the cheek stripes, he really doesn't look like you. If only he had brown hair, instead of..." She trailed off when Kiba stood, running his hand through his own chocolate brown tresses.
"He's an Inuzuka, Sakura. If he wasn't, he wouldn't have the marks..." He raised a hand at her attempt at interruption. "I know that you think he could have gotten them from you, but you're wrong. He wouldn't have them if I wasn't his father." He came back to kneel by the bed. "And I know that there wasn't anyone else, certainly not the person who will be blamed."
The woman couldn't help but chuckle lightly. "You know, we should probably tell him...so that he can be ready for the accusations." Kiba joined in her slight mirth.
"I think he'll figure it out soon as he meets him." The two were silent for a moment as Sakura adjusted her hospital gown and moved to just hold her son.
"Tsunade said that I'll probably be able to go home today." She spoke, breaking the odd feeling in the room. Kiba nodded and sighed, muttering something about 'it's about damned time'. He soon rejoined his family on the bed as conversation shifted to lighter subjects.
Not too long later, Sakura was holding little Inuzka Kasei in her arms as Kiba wheeled them toward the doors that led out into the world. She had a flash of what had happened the last time they had made this trip. The chant of New Sannin over and over filled her mind.
It had been odd to go from being Sakura-san to being Sakura-sama as everyone in the village looked at her with new-found awe and respect. Naruto had taken his popularity in stride and boasted about how much cooler this was than becoming Hokage. Although, he still maintained that that was a goal of his. It just wasn't all that important right now. All present had rolled their eyes, knowing that the enigmatic blond would be shouting about becoming Hokage again in no time. Sasuke had taken things in his usual attempt-at-nonchalance, but he seemed a little less reserved now that his life was scrutinized even more. Of course, having Sai at his side had surely helped. God knows that if Kiba hadn't been there, the female 'new sannin' would have probably cracked.
What bothered her the most was the fact that the Inuzuka clan council still acted as though she were unworthy of being married to Kiba. Well, maybe not the entire clan. Well, specifically that damned Kumo and his stupid daughter. Both had made a scene at the clan's recognition of Sakura's new-found status as a shinobi as well as her pregnancy with the new heir. The family had been caught off guard by the woman's blatant display of her clan markings, but she had explained the circumstances of their acquisition.
Many had been angered that a non-Inuzuka had developed the triangular shaped cheek stripes, but they had been few in number compared to those whose were surprisingly supportive. Of course being a 'new sannin' had aided her in this situation.
The girl was pulled from her thoughts as Tsume spoke.
"Why so pensive, Sakura-chan?" The woman was ecstatic about her grandson, and she showed this in her endearment toward her daughter-in-law.
"I was just thinking that I'm going to have to retire from being a shinobi. I can't take care of Kasei and still do missions as well." Tsume exchanged a meaningful glance with her son.
"Ummm...mother and Kuromaru have offered to retire from being shinobi in order to care for the baby." Sakura's stunned silence extended until they were out the door and walking slowly along the path that led to the street.
"But... I can't ask that of you."
"We have both decided that it's time to step aside and allow the new generation of shinobi to have their time." Kuromaro's deep voice was heard from beside her. She reached over and patted the large dog fondly. He had been the only one of their companions to accompany them today. Kanna and Akamaru were at home tending to their own litter of six who had been born only a week previously.
The four continued on in silence as they approached the fence that signified the end of the grounds. Tsume looked to a large oak tree that stood at the edge of the street.
"Besides, my son is the Alpha of my clan and is married to one of the New Sannin. And my daughter..." Sakura followed the woman's gaze and saw what she was watching. "My daughter is in a very serious relationship with the man who will be the next Hokage."
Sure enough, leaned against the tree were Hana and Kakashi. Hana held a very content-looking Pakkun in her arms as she scratched the head of one of her own companions who rested in her lap. Kakashi also scratched idly at one of Hana's other two companions who had both taken over his lap. The man leaned toward the brunette woman and whispered in her ear. Her face promptly turned the color of her own cheek stripes, but she nodded slightly in agreement.
Sakura just knew that he was suggesting they try something new from his book, and it struck her that this pervert was going to be the next leader of their village. Tsunade had all-but made it official that she had asked him to take over when she retired later in the year. He, apparently, had agreed. Boy were they in trouble if that lazy pervert was going to be their leader.
Movement further down the way stole the young mother's attention. It was then that she saw the small crowd that had gathered outside the hospital gates. And, she knew them all.
She saw Temari standing with Kankorou laughing as they looked down at the sleeping bodies of Shikamaru and his daughter. The shadow-wielder had obviously been trying to teach her the finer points of cloud watching when the two had fallen to sleep.
Sakura vaguely remembered that Lady Hotaru had recently given birth to Gaara's own son, and she knew that this was why the red-head had not come.
Ino and Chouji stood to the side near Hinata and Naruto. Chouji held one of his daughters, who had also fallen asleep, while Ino handed her ward to a glowing Hinata. The blond took a moment to place her hand on the pale-eyed woman's slightly protruding belly and laughed at the kick her hand received. Shino stood close-by, silently watching his teammate and her interaction with the others.
Against the fence was leaned an intense-looking Sasuke. Sai stood close to his lover, trying to engage Shino in a conversation. Sakura smiled to herself as she noticed a possessive hand come to rest on Sasuke's shoulder when a group of three genin girls lingered a little longer than necessary. Neither male acknowledged this, nor did the hand move from its place.
She was shocked to even see Neji, Ten-Ten, and Lee standing near the others. Ten-Ten was engaged in a heated discussion with Lee, who had finally asked her to be his. Neji just watched stoically from the side-lines.
"Sakura-chan, you're out!" shouted that undeniable voice. He bounded toward the Inuzuka family with all of his usual vigor. Upon seeing the bundle in the woman's arms, he stopped short.
"Sakura-chan, why does Kasei-kun have blond hair? Shouldn't it be pink or brown?" Well it was as good a time as any to explain it to him. At least all of their friends were there, this way she wouldn't have to repeat the story a million times.
"Well, Naruto, it's from when I absorbed your chakra."
"But I thought..." Sakura held up her hand.
"We don't think he inherited anything due to the fact that I utilized your chakra. We think it's because he was inside of me when it happened. And the reason why his hair turned blond instead of black is because I used more of your chakra than Sasuke's."
"Oh...can I hold him?" Naruto shrugged off her explanation as if it didn't really matter. Which, in all actuality, it didn't. She reached up and handed her two-day-old son to Konoha's number one hyperactive knuckle-headed ninja, who turned to show him off to all of their friends.
Sakura saw in their eyes, not judgment, but love and acceptance.
Kiba squeezed her shoulder lightly. She returned the action to his and and smiled.
This was what she had always wanted. These people saw her as what she was: Kunoichi, New Sannin, Medic. But, now they saw her as more: Woman, Clan-leader, Friend, Mother. Sakura slowly realized that they saw her for what she was, what she had always been.
Let the tears fall, you know you want to. Anyways, thanks again for reading this and supporting my attempt to fend off boredom.
Also, thanks to earthbender068 for your constant mind-reading and assistance. She is responsible for the name Kasei which means 'transform'. And, we both felt that this was a good representation of how Sakura went through many transformations in this series in an attempt to find herself. Go figure that her 'true self' had been there all along.
So, with that, I'm out. Please be on the look-out for more of my work in the near future. Damned plot bunnies, and their armed assaults.