Disclaimer- Don't Own It. Hence, FAN-fiction.
Warnings: Indirect mentions of abuse. If you can stomach Law and Order you'll probably be ok with this. As fluffy as angst can get.
..:: Dedicated to Melitza And All My Other Wonderful Reviewers ::..
"My moon, my man
So changeable and
Such a lovable lamb to me
My care, my coat
Leave on a high note
There's nowhere to go but on
Heart on my sleeve
Not where it should be
The song's out of key again
My moon's white face
What day and what phase
It's the calendar page again
Take it slow
Take it easy on me
And shed some light
Shed some light on me please
Take it slow
And shed some light
Shed some light on me please..."
-"My Moon, My Man" by Feist
Sakura never imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she and Sasuke might make it. She had lived her everyday with the dark boy planning for certain disaster, and only now it became real to her that Sasuke wasn't going to leave her.
Sasuke wasn't going to hurt her- Sasuke was going to marry her.
Sakura's heart slowed to a steady thrum and her eyes widened slightly. Never had she thought this would happen. Never, ever. She had been set to have her heart broken again, so ready for everything to fall apart.
Sasuke was going to marry her.
He was going to...
Sasuke was going to marry her?!
At twenty-three years old they were going to get married?!!
"You want to get married!?"
Sasuke's reaction to her panicked exclamation of a response was to pull a shirt on and leave. And then Sakura went ballistic.
She ran after him down the street in just her shorts, cursing the coldness of the Konoha night, Sasuke, the institution of marriage, cotton, Sasuke, uneven pavement, her untied shoelaces and Sasuke. And then she just cursed in general- because everything in the world seemed unfair when you were chasing after your moody boyfriend in the thinnest clothes you owned on the coldest night you could remember.
When she finally caught up to him, the first words to leave her mouth were a string of hurried "YESYESYES!" 's! She threw her arms around him and predictably enough, started to cry. Sasuke just sighed heavily.
It was so like Sakura to do this.
He picked her up and the two of them, shivering, made their way home.
Sakura cried well into the night and Sasuke held her, listening to her explain how much she had wanted this and how much she loved him. When the sun finally dawned, illuminating the jagged roof line of the surrounding buildings, Sakura had tired herself out and was sleeping heavily next to Sasuke, who was still wide awake, and, as usual, deep in thought.
Sakura was... just like him.
The revelation was startling to him.
And suddenly nothing felt more right than lying there with someone who knew exactly how he was feeling, someone who knew his darkest and most shameful secret, and still saw him for who he was, and loved him all the more for his struggle. Sakura's body was deathly still despite her heavy breathing, but Sasuke had never felt her presence more thoroughly. With his arm around her waist, he finally decided that they fit together nearly perfectly. She was the yin to his yang; he couldn't imagine life without her any longer.
And while Sakura's acceptance of his unexpected proposal was not the fairy-tale he had expected it to be, he supposed he should be more understanding.
Sakura had grown to be much more cool headed than he, and his proposal probably scared her because while she wanted to marry him, she was still unsure if she was ready for a step that large. And he had probably shocked the living daylights out of her.
Her reaction was just another reminder of everything he had done to her when they were younger- things he sorely regretted now.
He sighed and readjusted Sakura in his arms, pulling her closer and breathing in the soft scent of her shampoo.
A few silken strands of bubble gum pink hair blew into his face and he gently blew them back off. Her scent lingered in his nose.
'Strawberry...?,' he thought. 'Typical Sakura.'
It so amused him that a quirky smile appeared on his lips.
Slowly his eyes closed, and then he too was sleeping deeply.
When Sakura and Sasuke sat down to a late brunch hours later, they spoke as a couple about their next steps. It was now obvious that they were going to become much more serious in their relationship than they had been, and they needed to work some things out.
Their conversation came to this: Sasuke would move in with Sakura, Sakura would start working towards her ultimate career goals now in the hopes of reaching them before they began to consider expanding their family, they would remain engaged for two to three years until Sakura felt more comfortable with her position in the hospital and Sasuke would begin applying for apprenticeships with local chemists.
This last decision was a difficult one for the shinobi. Sasuke was a fighter, born and bred. But he had tired of the shinobi lifestyle. His current skill level was well above ANBU but he had no love for the art of combat. He found no happiness in violence any longer. However, it was all he had known his entire life. Both he and Sakura felt that his most advantageous career path was in research and development, perhaps with ANBU. He was already more than qualified as a fighter, but he needed to develop his skills in science and mathematics a little longer.
He began studying full time.
And so the weeks passed quickly as the two fell into a comfortable life together. While Sakura worked all day, Sasuke stayed home and prepared for his next move career-wise. More often than not, both Sasuke and Sakura found themselves nearly exhausted come evening, and spent the night talking quietly.
Despite this, Sasuke still made time to train with Kakashi and Naruto on occasion...
Unfortunately, not all was well with the dark boy who had stolen Sakura's heart.
Sakura had heard from Naruto and Kakashi recently that Sasuke had become downright suicidal in his fighting style, but whether this was because it was how Orochimaru had trained him to fight or because he was seeking to quell his anger through self-punishment was anyone's guess.
Sakura was anxious regardless and asked Sasuke to suspend his training, worried he might do himself irreparable damage.
Sasuke had turned to look at her, shock written all over his features.
Sakura could do nothing but stare back at him with an awkward, watery smile the likes of which she had never shown him before. There must have been something in her expression that he understood because his jaw clenched and with averted eyes he acquiesced. And suddenly, something glimmered in Sakura's vision and she realized a henge was falling away from Sasuke.
His knuckles were swollen and beaten, his arms covered in blooming bruise marks and small scratches. The cherry on top of it all was the black eye Sasuke had somehow managed to get in what was supposed to be routine training.
Sakura, for the first time ever, flipped in front of Sasuke.
They would both remember it as their first fight, but really, Sasuke wasn't saying much of anything in his own defense. Sakura was right and he knew it. Purposely hurting himself was not an acceptable way of dealing with how he felt, but since both he and Sakura felt it would be better if he didn't continue his sessions with Anko, he really had no outlet.
Sasuke then learned that being in the doghouse with Sakura meant he was sleeping on the couch. Of course, she being Sakura and he being Sasuke, there was no way he spent even an hour there before Sakura came into the room and curled up beside him on the small but comfortable space, apologizing profusely for being angry with him.
He wrapped his arms around her, saying nothing, and fell asleep instantly.
Females, Sasuke learned, operated on a rhythmic schedule. Having not been exposed to biology in any sense other than with the intent to maim or injure, Sasuke understood just the bare basics of female anatomy.
But he knew enough to understand that once a month, when Sakura would take a day or two off from work and lie curled up in bed, refusing to move for hours on end, she was not to be bothered. At first, Sasuke remained disturbed at Sakura's out of character behavior- "Where had that beautiful smile gone?"- but he managed to catch on after an embarrassingly long amount of time.
So when Sakura exploded at him for his recent behavior, he tried to be as calm as he could. While he knew she was upset for a valid reason, he also knew that Sakura was more sensitive because she was in pain and her hormones were out of control. And so when Sakura kicked him out of their bedroom, he went quietly with only the slightest twinge of annoyance.
After all, he knew he had done wrong, and Sakura wasn't feeling well.
And when she came out and joined him on the couch, he was relieved, but instead of saying anything he just wrapped her in as tender an embrace as he could and fell asleep.
Because, really, when it came down to it, Sasuke was still just Sasuke, and Sakura was still just Sakura.
Sakura hated when Sasuke was self-destructive, Sasuke hated it when Sakura was upset and neither one of them was particularly fond of arguing. Therefore, what should have been an argument was really an evening of emotional outbursts on Sakura's part, and feeling guilty as hell on Sasuke's part.
Somehow during the night they had cuddled very closely together and Sasuke found his legs thoroughly tangled with hers by the time the sun filtered in between his eyelids the next morning. His eyes opened to reveal Sakura's porcelain skin and peaceful features- his nose brushing the tip of hers. He couldn't resist. He smirked and pressed his lips to hers. Unconsciously Sakura rubbed her thighs together and smiled slightly.
"Ssskay-koo!," she murmured happily and Sasuke's heart fluttered painfully. He moved a lock of her soft pink hair out of her face and his warm hand rested against the cool skin of her cheek.
"Mhmm," Sakura cooed, her cheeks flushing prettily. Her eyes fluttered delicately, and then opened slowly to reveal twin pools of glittering jade. Sasuke blinked and the corner of his mouth twisted upward.
She squeaked very suddenly and Sasuke laughed at her reaction at finding what position they were in. She tried to pull away from him, but ending up falling quite ungracefully to the floor. Sasuke looked over the side of the couch with an amused smirk.
A look of a mixture of shock and embarrassment was on Sakura's pretty face and her slightly mussed hair exaggerated the hilarity of her mistake. Sasuke's smirk grew.
Sakura shot him a sheepishly aggravated look.
"Oh shut it Sasuke," she said and stuck her tongue out at him.
"Careful what you do with that."
Sakura quickly retracted her tongue and shot him a questioning stare. The way his eyes traveled down her body informed her why.
She blushed again and Sasuke genuinely laughed, rising from the couch to help her to her feet. She ignored his gallantly offered hand and stood on her own, playfully flipping her hair and walking away, her hips swaying saucily.
"I'm an independent woman, Mr. Uchiha. I can stand on my own, thank you very much."
She didn't get far before Sasuke quickly wrapped his arms around her waist, stopping her in her tracks. He nuzzled his head into her hair and laughed lightly.
"That's right Sakura," he breathed. "You can independently fall out of bed, and then you can also independently snub me when I try to help you up."
She melted in his arms.
"Oh Sasuke, I was joking! I didn't mean like that!"
"I love you," he mumbled quietly into her nape. "You're the most annoying person I know."
At this Sakura laughed and rested a hand on his against her stomach. She leaned her head back to capture his lips in a quick kiss.
Said quick kiss ended up being more 'kiss' than 'quick' and Sakura was late (again) to work, leaving Sasuke alone in the warm apartment.
He quickly made his way to their shared bedroom to begin studying. He decided to enter a specialized chemistry course offered through the hospital that Sakura had weaseled him into, despite the fact that he really had no education higher than his academy days. He was feeling a tad bit anxious as he would be with men and women who had more than double his education. He would also be the youngest in the class, and the only shinobi by profession.
Sasuke, in true Sasuke style, set his mind toward his ultimately very ambitious objective of at least being their equals when the first day of class came. And so Sasuke sat studying for a while.
Sasuke was uniquely gifted in his memorization skills and was a quick study in overall themes, but had a very hard time with his concentration. Without the constant drive of desperation that he was so used to, he found it a lot harder to focus. He had to carefully school himself to broaden his attention span and be able to keep track of what he was supposed to be learning about. He was glad for this, even if it meant he would have a harder time learning in the long run, because he was finally enjoying his interests, versus turning to them in a blind panic when some new disaster struck...
And just like that, Sasuke was thrown into memory.
Sasuke groaned from his position in the dirt. Orochimaru approached him with quick, echoing steps. The Sanin sounded much lighter than Sasuke knew him to be. The elder shinobi was a study in grace, and, in some cases, elegance. His pale, pointed features recalled a Gothic painting, his steady movements a ballet dancer. Sasuke shivered and felt his stomach coil.
Oh god, not again.
Please not again.
The Snake Sannin's feet came into his view.
What followed happened so quickly that Sasuke wasn't exactly sure how he managed to pull the move he did, but he somehow embedded an oversized kunai in the Sannin's hand when he reached down to touch him.
Orochimaru hissed in pain and jerked his hand back.
"You little bitch," he groaned.
He leapt forward and caught Sasuke by the pale column of his neck and smashed his head back against the floor.
Blood splattered against Sasuke's face from Orochimaru's injured hand.
It was going to happen again, and there was nothing Sasuke could do to stop it.
He felt himself shutting down, pulling out of his own body, rising above the violence happening to his physical self. He would not win this round against his teacher. He would not win the next. In fact, he might not win anytime in the near future.
But it didn't matter.
His muscles relaxed. He stopped fighting against Orochimaru's hold on him.
It was easier this way.
As Orochimaru's hand wandered down over his chest, parting the stiff white fabric of his shirt as he went, he laughed musically.
"Very good, Sasuke-kun. You're learning quickly..."
Sasuke shook his head angrily and slammed his book shut.
"I'm not weak," he said firmly, and the feelings of hopelessness and guilt dissipated slowly.
'What does Sakura think when this happens to her?,' he wondered. 'What does she tell herself?'
Once, Sakura had volunteered information that her inspiration came from his own strength. This of course shocked Sasuke into next week.
He was equally as inspired by her strength. How ironic.
Sasuke sighed and stood up. He stretched and looked out the window. It was snowing. He threw on his boots and a jacket and headed out with extra boots for Sakura. Her shift was coming to an end and knowing the volatile weather of Konoha, there would be at least three inches on the ground before he even made it to the hospital. He slouched and pulled his hood over head. His eyes hit the ground and didn't rise his whole walk there.
Just when he was reaching the doors of the hospital, Sakura came rushing out and his heart stopped when he saw what she held in her hands.
A mission scroll.
His eyes narrowed.
"A mission?," he said and Sakura jumped in surprise.
"Oh jeeze Sasuke, you scared me!"
He raised a questioning brow.
"Oh, uh, yeah. Mission."
Sakura's jaw dropped and there was a very tense moment of silence.
"Uchiha Sasuke, don't you dare presume to tell me what I can and can't-"
"Sasuke, this is my mission. I haven't had one in forever. I'm needed in-"
"I said no."
Sakura's eyes flashed dangerously and she stamped her foot.
"I don't have to. You're not going."
For the second time, Sakura's jaw dropped.
"YOU HAVE NO RIGHT!," she cried, and a few passing hospital personnel shot Sasuke dirty glares.
He scowled and looked down.
"...I said no."
Sakura grit her teeth.
"Well," she growled, "who ever said I was asking for your permission?"
"No one. You're not going."
A sudden stinging on his cheek alerted him to the fact that Sakura had slapped him. He looked up at her quickly, anger boiling in his jet eyes.
"YOU'RE DESPICABLE, YOU CHAUVINIST ASSHOLE!"
"Yeah? Well, you're being an idiot."
Tears pooled in Sakura's eyes and she bit her trembling lip. She hiccuped out a sob. She turned around and began to walk quickly away from him.
Sasuke was immediately overcome with extreme guilt. Why had he said that? Now she hated him, and she would leave him forever. His heartbeat slowed down and the inside of his nose burned. He swallowed thickly.
Losing Sakura was a concept he had tortured himself over and over again about, and he had recently come to the conclusion that Sakura was just too good for the lifestyle she had chosen.
She was too soft- physically and emotionally- and belonged in the good world that was Konoha.
She was too good, too beautiful... had been too hurt, too abused...
She was all he had left. The only person that could make his sluggish, frozen heart beat with excitement.
And now she was walking away from him.
He felt an emptiness that frightened him to his core.
"...w-wait...Your...shoes. It's snowing... wet socks.... pneumonia... Sakura wait!"
But Sakura was turning around to stare at him with watery eyes. She laughed in spite of herself and wiped her nose.
"Sasuke you're such a mom," she sobbed out and began to weep into her mittens.
Sasuke felt his heart crack a little. She was so beautiful.
He jogged up to her and readjusted her scarf and hat.
"Please Sakura... don't cry."
She only cried harder.
"Sakura, stop, please."
He pulled her hands away from her face with gentle hands.
She looked up at him, pink faced, and blinked rapidly.
"You're such a jerk!," she cried.
Sasuke's face remained emotionless.
"I'm not your little doll! I don't need your protection!"
Snow was catching on her soft, short hair and a single snowflake landed on her nose and disappeared into the warmth of her skin.
She was so beautiful.
'Why you? Why did they hurt you? How could they hurt you?'
He held her face gently between his hands and kissed her demandingly. She pounded her tiny fists against him and tried to wriggle in his grasp, but he held her firmly against him and tried desperately to convey with his actions what he could not with his words.
'I love you. I'll never let you go.'
Soon Sakura had wrapped her arms around his neck hesitantly and was threading her fingers through his soft, black hair. He shivered at her touch and pulled away slowly.
He willed his leaden mouth to move, and miraculously it did.
"...Sakura... I need to protect you. You don't need it but I need to do it. Please. Don't go. If you left me I would die."
Sakura hiccuped and wiped her nose.
"Sasuke, this could be a major career move for me. I could get a position at a national hospital, instead of just Konoha's. Even Tsunade thinks its a good idea."
"Sakura, I'm going to marry you. You can't leave me."
"Who said anything about leaving?"
"Sakura, don't leave me."
"I'm not leaving you, I told you that alread-"
Sakura looked up into Sasuke's eyes and began to understand.
Sasuke thought she might get hurt, or worse, on this mission. He had finally become adjusted to living with and loving her, and this mission posed a threat to his newly found stability. He wasn't trying to restrict her movements. He was trying to protect her because he loved her. Needed her.
"FUCK!," She cried. "I'M SO SORRY!"
And the tears began anew.
Sasuke shook his head and scooped her up.
"Time to go home," he mumbled.
"Put me down I can walk!"
"I know that Sakura. Hell, I've seen you do it. Stop being annoying and let me carry you."
"Fine!," she said. WIthin moments, she was sleeping peacefully against him, and he realized something else must have happened at work today that she wasn't letting on about. When he reached the apartment, he set her carefully in bed and brought in some hot chocolate to set on the night table. She had awoken from her short nap and was sniffling miserably, having changed into her sleeping shorts and shirt.
"I'm so sorry for earlier," she said. "I think I'm getting sick."
"Like... sick sick, or um... 'sick' ?"
Sakura blushed brightly and looked away, surprised at his perception.
Sasuke nodded and sat next to her on the bed.
He never had a mother long enough to know exactly what was meant to happen when a woman had her period.
"What does it feel like?," he asked quietly.
Sakura choked on her own spit and sent him a shocked glance.
"Um... it hurts, sometimes. You feel... um, kind of irritable cause you're hurting. And you get headaches. Sometimes fevers. I get nauseous sometimes. And really tired. Like, all the time."
Sasuke frowned but didn't respond for a moment.
She laid back down and her pink hair sprawled out around her. Sasuke laid down next to her.
"Can I touch you?"
"Sasuke... seriously. I'm not made of glass. It's just like a bad stomach cramp... only lower anatomically."
Sasuke dragged himself across the bed and laid his head against her chest.
He could hear her heartbeat and it made him feel so incredibly close to her.
"You're so... weird," he said, lacking the eloquence he needed to properly explain what he meant. "I like it, though. It's like... everything thats supposed to be awkward is just normal with you."
Sakura ran a hand through his hair.
"Um... thanks, I think."
Sasuke grunted and threw a leg over hers, bringing his body half onto hers.
"...we're getting married," he said.
"Yeah, you already said that."
"No I mean I'm glad."
Sakura didn't respond.
"I know that the date is two years from now, and that that's a long time. But I'm happy."
Sakura smiled brightly even though Sasuke couldn't see.
"Yeah," she whispered. "Me too."
"You were upset earlier. Before... um, that thing."
Sakura's hand cupped the base of his skull and rubbed slow circles against his scalp with her thumb.
"Yeah. Yeah I was."
Sakura sighed heavily.
"I don't really want to get into it."
"Sasuke, I don't - "
Sasuke looked up at her with dark eyes.
She bit her lip and looked away.
"I want to-"
She swallowed, and Sasuke suddenly recognized her own behavior in himself. Stuttering. When something was bothering him deeply, he had to consciously force himself to pronounce words, and it was hard because his chest felt tight and breathless.
"... never mind."
Sakura wiggled her way out from under him and rolled onto her side.
Sasuke stared at her a moment before running a hand up her bare leg lightly. He placed his mouth by her ear and blew.
"Sakura...," he said softly. "Talk to me."
Sakura shivered and moved his hand from her bare thigh. She refused to answer him.
He wrapped his arm around her waist, splayed his hand against her stomach and kissed the hot skin of her neck.
Sakura squeezed her eyes shut.
"Sasuke... we haven't had sex yet."
Sasuke faltered in his ministrations.
"I think I want to, but-"
"-me too," he responded quietly and they both paused.
"I don't know how without-"
"... me either."
"So how do we...?"
"... I don't know."
They both paused and the enormity of the step they were taking dawned on them both.
"Can we do this?," Sakura asked. "I mean, is this good right now?"
Sasuke couldn't answer.
"Is it ok with you?," she asked.
"Maybe... that's how we should, like...work things out-"
"Yeah, instead of, you know, rushing things. Like, ask what feels good... what doesn't... what you want, how much, how far..."
There was silence for a moment before Sakura twisted in Sasuke's arms so that she could face him.
"Are you sure you want to marry me?"
Sasuke smirked. He brought her closer and wrapped an arm around her waist. Sasuke traced an aimless pattern on her back, deep in thought. He felt his eyes slipping shut and he smiled as Sakura's breathing became deep and regular.
"...Hn. Don't ask stupid questions."
"...My moon and me
Not as good as we've been
It's the dirtiest clean I know
My care, my coat
Leave on a high note
There's nowhere to go
There's nowhere to go
Take it slow
Take it easy on me
And shed some light
Shed some light on me please
Take it slow
And shed some light
Shed some light on me please
My moon, my moon and my man..."
-"My Moon, My Man" by Feist
Melitza- you know you're my favorite... you've been there from the very start.
Haliz- I wasn't creeped out... quite the contrary, I was very flattered. Thank you for your lovely reviews, I'm so glad that my story touches you- that's the highest compliment you could have paid me.
ultrasupremexardion- I'm glad that you understand that this fic is just about Sasuke and Sakura, no one else. I won't be writing Naruto, Kakashi, Ino or anyone else in (except where necessary, IE- as plot devices) in this piece, though I do plan on writing companion pieces with them in the very near future. The one featuring Sasuke's relationship with Naruto will be dedicated to you- watch for it.
CCRox4Eva (Emma) - You, my friend, are gonna get the fluff you so rightly deserve for reviewing so faithfully.
Melfina-Pan - Thank you so much ... you know, I find it strange how Sakura's past is the only one not elaborated upon, which is why I did so in this piece. Sakura is a complex character, designed from the very start to be the "cute" female without being "cute"- even Kishimoto has admitted to Sakura not being cute. I believe that Sakura was originally cast to be the female foil of her own character... one side is sweet, gentle and a little bit useless, while the other is dominating, strong and action-oriented. Interesting juxtaposition. Sakura is one of the most disenfranchised of the Naruto characters, even while she plays one of the leading roles! There has to be a reason for this. While my theory is a little bit of a long shot, its one way that might explain why Sakura's split character exists.
Commentary: Learning to live with your boyfriend can be hard. There's alot of fighting. There's alot of "awkward" going on. Usually its not worth it. Because its Sasuke and Sakura, it will be.
Timeline question answered: Each 'date' is set a lengthy time period apart. Sometimes just a few days, sometimes as long as a few weeks. The story began, if you'll remember, in October. It's now nearing March. Which means Sasuke and Sakura have been dating for going on 5 months, and have known each other for twelve years. Sasuke has been back in Konoha for close to a year. What feels like just a fews days in this story has actually been alot longer. That's why each chapter is entitled 'Date #_'. This story is a series of one-shots set to a flexibly incremented timeline.
Who is 7LetterDirt?
She's an asshole. No, really. She's my not-quite-friend who I've known since about forever. We get along only because we share the same kind of lethargic disinterest in anything but politics and psychology. Does she read what I say about her in the chapters? Yeah. Does she care? No.
Smut posted as an additional but separate one-shot with next chapter.