ASGJKL. I GOT IT! Erika, this better damn well placate you for a long, long time.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dedication: To Eleni and Erika, as always.
notes: Every time I write these, they get happier… I need happiness in my life, right now.

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'Time passes, seasons change… Young love turns to deep affection.'

Isn't that the truth, Hana thinks, and gently rubs her barely-swollen stomach. It is February, early in the month, and everything is still dead and cold. Winter has a sick grip on the world, and Hana is tired of it.

She wants summer; wants warmth, wants sunshine.

She smiles, because she thinks that in summer, the little being in her belly will finally become a child to be proud of.

Itachi is ecstatic when she tells him, Hana remembers. December. She told him in December, and he swung her around and around, the New Year's snow glittering around them in the darkness.

It is one of the rare times that he laughs (she laughs, too; laughs and laughs, as glittery and glitzy as the snow around them), and when he tells the family, they, too, are ecstatic.

Kiba, his arm around his new wife, boisterously congratulates them both. Hana remembers the wolfish grin her little brother gave the girl in his arms; she remembers the way Ino coloured high in her cheeks.

Hana also remembers the way Mikoto cackles, and immediately starts knitting little pink socks. Everyone else is wishing for a boy, but Hana secretly wants a girl (Itachi does too; he told her in the dead of night, once).

And maybe those secret wishes are fueling Hana's dreams; dreams where a little girl with long, shining black hair and big brown eyes laughs happily in mid-summer, wearing a pink dress, barefoot, and carrying a bundle of wildflowers.

Hana wishes stronger, and watches as winter looseness its grip on the land as February passes her by; spring is coming.

…–…

March is quiet, and Hana feels her belly swell on a daily basis. The leaves are coming out, and when the ice breaks on the nearby stream, Hana laughs out loud.

The tadpoles are out, and Hana inclined to watch them day after day, laying next to Itachi and staring in awe as the little almost-frogs swim about.

The world is coming alive, Hana along with it.

…–…

It is April, and the threat of war rears its ugly head. It always does, after the quiet winter lull.

As much as Hana dislikes the cold, she thinks that perhaps, if nothing else, winter is good for killing war.

If there is one thing Hana knows, it is that an army can not move during the cold months - this is the be-all and end-all of war. She did not study tactics for nothing, and Hana finds herself bored to tears without Itachi to talk to.

She sighs, and looks out at the finally-unfurling leaves on the cherry trees.

She is worried about her husband; he comes back to their bedchambers looking more and more haggard with every passing day, and Hana feels that she sees him less and less.

When she tells him this, he just pulls her into his arms, and whispers that he is sorry, so sorry, and god, I can't fix it, Hana, and I should be able to but I can't-

She hushes him, and they hold each other close while the world falls to pieces around them.

…–…

May comes, and the threat of war passes, much as the death grip of winter did.

Hana smoothes the maternity dress she has begun to wear; the clothes she normally wears are simply too restricting now. The child inside of her squirms; and Hana wonders whether it will be a boy or a girl.

The court still hopes for a boy, but Mikoto continues to knit pink booties.

Hana smiles to herself, and has a feeling that Mikoto may be right.

Itachi can not seem to get enough of running his fingers over her stomach, and she does not deny him it. It is a source of joy for them both.

But Itachi is still Lord Uchiha, and he still has duties to attend to.

So Hana spends many of her days sitting in the garden with her mother, her mother-in-law, and her sister-in-law. They laugh, sing and play together, and Hana is sure that this is right.

She knows her children will grow up happy and safe, and, really, perfectly stubborn, given that both of this little girl's (Hana has taken to calling the child a girl; why, she does not know) grandmothers are entirely insane.

Ino laughs, too, and shares the same pink-ness that Hana had in her cheeks.

Hana smiles and smiles, and thinks that perhaps, she is not the only one with child.

…–…

June is hot and humid, and Hana is irritable. She can not help but snap at everyone and everything, and when she finally does snap, she needs to be alone, to cool off.

She hides in a remote corner of the garden when this happens (most recently was with one of the maids; the poor girls looked entirely traumatized), and she knows that only Itachi will be able to find her.

He does, and he allows her to complain and complain. She rants and rants and I am fat, my favourite clothes don't fit, I eat too much-

But Itachi is smiling softly. He kisses her gently, his lips soft against hers. Hana melts against him, and forgets that anything bad had happened in the first place.

She forgets anything other then the fact that the world is right with itself.

…–…

July is a boring month, Hana reflects.

The doctor has ordered bed rest, but Hana does not want bed rest. And so, during the day, when Itachi is off converging with the other Lords about boring matters, Hana will sneak out, and visit the children who live in the nearest village.

They are dirty children, but then, all children get dirty in the summer. They are not very ragged, and not at all thin, and Hana thinks that the world is getting better and better. Time is kind, for once.

The children are careful with her, careful with the baby growing inside her. The know she is Lady Uchiha - know it in their heads, but -

But she's wearing a cotton sundress the colour of the sun, warm and yellow and happy, her braid long and thick and simple down her back.

So to the children, she's simply someone who's willing to play with them. She tells the stories of knights and princesses that keep them occupied for hours, and in return, they braid flowers in her hair and treat her like one of their own.

Itachi does not tell her that he watches her all afternoon, laughing with the children.

But quietly, to himself, he thinks that she will be a good mother.

…–…

August comes, and with it, a slight cooling of the air. The sun gets lower in the sky.

And a baby is born.

The court is disappointed. Mikoto cackles, and points out that she was right all along (and then she points out how she is always right, so why do they even question her, anymore?). The little girl has black hair, and brown eyes, and Hana feels her winter dreams coming true.

Hana names the baby girl Natsuki. Summer hope, that is what this baby is, and she represents everything Hana has ever wanted.

She catches Ino staring longingly at the little girl; the blonde hands rest on her own swollen stomach, and Hana thinks, with a smile, that Ino has another month. Maybe two.

She refrains from telling her younger counterpart about how much birth actually hurts; no need to destroy the girl's illusions yet.

Natsuki's eyes open and close, and Hana gently rocks her daughter to sleep.

That night, Hana lays curled next to Itachi, a quiet Natsuki between them. She stares into her husband's dark eyes, and thinks that perhaps heaven is much closer then anyone ever thought was possible.

…–…

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fin.
notes2: i really like this. huh.