Title: Karma

Author: nostalgic-maiden/kasenshiki

Pairing: Sasuke/Sakura

Rating: T

Summary: Honestly, it's all about Sasuke. All about Sasuke and how he doesn't have feelings and how totally uncool pink-haired Uchiha babies would be.

o1. 'Konoha-coming', because his return cannot be called 'homecoming'.

Naruto tries and tries and tries and tries so hard to see him at least once before the interrogation and trial is over, but laws are laws, regardless of how much the Hokage favors you.

The sixth time that the ANBU plant a tied-up and gagged Naruto on her doorstep during her off-duty day, Sakura doesn't even bother releasing him. She thinks it's better to leave him outside where his contagious hope and optimism can't reach her.

They say misery loves company, but Sakura was never one to leave convention intact.

o2. when the one who wanted a baby-making machine becomes the baby-making machine.

Tsunade had always known Uchiha Sasuke would one day come back. And she had also known that when he did come back, Uzumaki Naruto would never, ever let him go and the elders would never, ever accept him as a ninja again. And so to appease both the elders and the blond-haired idiot, she had invented a jutsu, created especially for the day when Sasuke came back.

"Come on, Forehead, at least they didn't kill him," Ino says, sloshing a little bit of beer onto the table as she slams her drink down.

Sakura snorted. "What made you think I don't like what they did to him?"

Ino traces the rim of her glass thoughtfully and says, "Well, I mean, honestly – Sasuke-who-can't-use-chakra just isn't the same as Sasuke-who-can, right?"

Sakura doesn't reply. She doesn't tell Ino that swayed by a moment of selfish want, she had agreed to work on the jutsu with Tsunade.

It's still kind of funny though.

o3. Sasuke and the easy life. Also known as, 'Eat, crap, and have sex.'

Sasuke runs five kilometers a day and trains with metal weaponry – you know, all that stuff that doesn't need any chakra. He only opens his mouth to insult people and doesn't let anyone come within 2 metres of him. Well, the other members of the original Team 7 (because now they're Team Kakashi along with that jerk who looks a lot like him) like to violate that unspoken rule a lot, so he just gave up on the two (three when Kakashi felt like it) of them one day. But everyone else – he makes sure to stay away from everyone else.

"You know," she says, "you don't have to make things so difficult for yourself."

He doesn't give any indication that he heard her, but she knows he did because his hearing is way too good to not have heard her. Whether he cares or not is another matter altogether.

It doesn't change the fact that he doesn't even have access to enough chakra to make himself run faster.

Sakura sighs.

o4. the 'Sasuke-finds-it-strange-that-fangirls-still-want-him' phase.

Things didn't change too much. Naruto and Sakura go to Ichiraku. Naruto comments on Sasuke's absence. Sakura suggests they find him. They do. They drag him out (not as hard now, since the man doesn't control his own chakra anymore) and make him sit an hour with them.

Occasionally, they talk. About him.

"Y'know, Sasuke," Naruto says between mouthfuls of ramen, "I hear the Council's gettin' kinda antsy that you haven't knocked anyone up yet. You better start making some babies, man."

Sakura suppresses a laugh – Naruto makes it sound so crude, and it's exactly what she needs to hear at times.

Sasuke gives him a look that says 'go to hell' and continues to eat slowly.

Sakura can't help but join in the fun. "Hey Sasuke-kun." She elbows him in the ribs. "I'm sure none of those girls," she gestures to the small crowd of teenage girls sitting at the soba stand just 3 metres away, giggling behind their hands at him, "would mind giving you a hand in that."

She was the one who made the joke, but Sakura can't help but feel a little bit uneasy when Sasuke's eyes linger slightly on the black-haired girl on sitting near the edge of the booth.

o5. because we all know pink-haired Uchiha babies would be so not cool.

A week later, Sakura decides that she hates Sasuke. She hates him because she loves him and that made her downright mad, because she had sworn to herself that she would never love him ever again.

Meanwhile, Sasuke decides that black hair is overrated because that black-haired girl had green eyes that hit a little too close to home for him to be comfortable with.

It wasn't the sex and making babies part that he couldn't handle (messed-up or not, he was still a male) – it was all the feelings and commitment that would undoubtedly come hand-in-hand with the former two.

o6. there's a reason why alcohol isn't outlawed in shinobi villages – it's a relatively side-effect-free drug that induces baby-making in a place where the population is in a constant downward slope.

It's Kakashi's 34th birthday, and Sakura is drunk. Naruto is too, but that's beside the point. The point is, Sasuke is watching as Sakura's groggy brain is causing her to make a stupid decision; that older jounin has a reputation for being a player and Sakura would never let his hand rest on her thigh like that if she were sober.

Well, she wasn't sober.

So of course, when the jounin goes off to get them both a drink, Sasuke decides that it's time to step in and make Sakura feel stupid for letting some jerk feel her up.

Except that his plan goes awry when she trips as she is walking out the door (because she's mad at him for telling her she was useless when it came to men) and he ends up carrying her home because her ankle was throbbing.

Sakura's middle name should be "Temptation" when she is sprawled across the sheets like that.

o7. Sasuke doesn't care about hair colour. Really, he doesn't.

Sasuke wakes up with a start; his ninja reflexes are still intact because chakra never had anything to do with it anyway.

The room he's in is tastefully decorated in pastel hues – not that he cares much about colour anyway.

He notices that apart from his pants and boxers, the rest of his attire is still on him – rumpled, but still on him.

The sleeping female next to him is clad only in a bra and an anklet he hadn't noticed the night before.

It seems as if foreplay doesn't matter much to Sakura either.

o8. sometimes, a negative pregnancy test is even more devastating than a positive one.

Three months, three weeks, and five days ago, Sakura slept with Sasuke and remembered half of it. On the same night, Sasuke slept with Sakura and remembered all of it.

Time went by and since no physical proof of that night developed ('phew, I'm not pregnant' ), Sakura had no reason to press the issue with Sasuke and Sasuke had no reason to show up uninvited at her place just in case queer food cravings would cause her to eat something toxic that could harm a developing baby.

Nope, there were absolutely no strings attached to that night.

Except feelings – the one thing Sasuke liked to avoid – aren't tangible strings.

They just pop up out of nowhere, the little bastards.

o9. let's just skip the 'skittering around each other in circles' part and go on to the happy ending.

Ino had always said Sakura would end up marrying a civilian (because she apparently wasn't woman enough to handle a shinobi male). Well, she had ended up half right.

After all, Uchiha Sasuke's official status was, 'civilian'.

And while they never ended up married, per se, they did end up together. And surprisingly, they only ended up making one pair of Uchiha babies together – twins, to be exact.

And even when they couldn't make any more kids because something had happened during her pregnancy and Tsunade had said they were lucky she managed to even keep the two babies ('bloodline limits are more trouble than they are worth'), they still stayed together.

So feelings probably did have a big part to play in this story.

Not that Sasuke would ever admit it, though.