Final chapter! All done now, and I hope you will enjoy it!
I don't own Naruto.
Sakura's head whipped around and she saw Aina standing in the doorway, staring at the newcomer. "Aina, honey," she chastised. "Didn't uncle Naruto say to stay inside?"
Aina looked up at her mother with a forlorn look on her face, and Sakura sighed. Reaching out, she pulled her daughter to her and turned to face the man who was staring at Aina with a look akin to wonder in his eyes. He took a tentative step forward, but then stopped. Sakura moved forward instead, keeping her daughter close by her side.
Aina stared intently at the other red head, her eyes wide and her thumb in her mouth. Sakura repressed the urge to sigh. Her daughter only really did that when she was nervous, and in this situation, it was totally understandable.
"Honey," she said, catching everyone's attention. "This is Gaara. He's your father, I guess."
Jade eyes snapped to hers. "You guess?" Gaara demanded. "I would think that it was obvious!"
Naruto took a step forward, prepared to defend his sister and niece. "Hey!" he said. "Watch it!"
Sakura put a placating hand on her brother's arm and shook her head. "Don't worry about it, Naruto," she said. "I think it's best if we all went inside. Obviously, there are things that we all need to talk about."
Gaara nodded his head, and Naruto did too, reluctantly, so Sakura led them all inside, still keeping her daughter close. Once they were all in the house, she noticed Gaara looking around and felt like he was judging the living conditions that she had their daughter in. He seemed to approve, though, because he made no comment as they all entered the living room. The two men sat down on the two couches while Sakura and Aina sat on the lounge.
"So…" she said. "Where to begin?"
"Just start at the beginning," Gaara told her in a commanding voice. "What happened?"
Sakura shrugged. "I don't really know," she admitted. "I only know what other people told me after I woke up."
"Woke up?" the red head demanded.
"There was an accident," Naruto told him. "A truck hit the passenger side of the car Sakura was in. She was lucky to survive. But Ino…"
"She was my best friend," Sakura explained, but it seemed this was unnecessary.
"I know," Gaara said. "Yamanaka Ino. We met because of her. I'd heard that she'd died… You were in the same accident?"
Sakura nodded and a tear slid unchecked down her cheek as she hugged her daughter closer for comfort. Aina reached around and hugged her mother, and Sakura felt more tears well in her eyes.
Naruto realised that his sister was preoccupied with her grief, and he continued with, "Sakura was driving. She blames herself, though she really shouldn't. It was that bastard's fault, the one driving the truck! He wasn't thinking straight because he was hopped up on drugs!"
Naruto nodded his head, approving of Gaara's outrage. "Apparently the company the driver worked for handed out stimulants to their drivers so that they would stay awake on long jobs," he said. "This guy was high when he hit my sister's car, so he wasn't properly aware of what was happening. He did stop, though, that's something."
Everything Naruto was saying was obviously striking a nerve, because the waves of violence emanating off the red head were palpable to all, including Aina. She started to whimper, and Sakura held her even closer, rocking her gently. Gaara was clearly outraged at all that had happened, and Sakura decided that she never wanted to be the recipient of his anger, ever.
This was almost unbearable. The knowledge of what Sakura had gone through without him there… All the hate and ire that he'd held for her these past four years vanished instantly to be replaced with a murderous anger that had him wanting to destroy the person who'd done this so utterly that there would literally be nothing left of them. To think that all this time she'd been suffering…
Naruto was speaking again, and Gaara forced himself to calm down so he could listen. "Sakura was a total mess," the blond was saying. "There was so much damage to her spine, everyone was convinced that she'd never walk again. And when we discovered that she was pregnant, it got worse. The doctors kept telling us that the baby should be aborted, but when we told Sakura, she refused, and mum and I backed her decision, so the doctors had to keep them both going."
Abortion? Looking over at Aina, who was still in her mother's arms, Gaara was not happy with the thought that the little girl might not have been here if not for Sakura's determination. Aina looked up suddenly and the two of them stared at each other a moment. Caught in the intense stare of his daughter, he knew that here was another human being he would do anything to protect.
"There was one doctor there who helped us," Naruto was saying. "Doctor Tsunade. She was amazing, the way she supported us! It was due to her expertise as a doctor that Aina and Sakura both made it out alive through everything."
Suddenly Aina pulled herself away from her mother and made her way over to him. All three adults in the room watched as the little girl made her way over to Gaara, a man she'd never met before in her entire life but it seemed that she positively glowed with the need to know him. Aina stopped before him and stared at him before she spoke.
"Are you going to stay with us now?" she asked. "Maruko always said that a mummy and a daddy were supposed to stay with their children."
Gaara noticed that Sakura was suddenly blushing and he looked back to his daughter. "I would like that," he said, "if your mummy would want that, too."
"She does!" Aina exclaimed a huge smile plastered on her face. "She's always telling uncle Naruto that she wanted my daddy here! And now you are!"
Gaara looked up at Sakura, eyebrow raised. Her face was as red as a tomato, but he realised that Aina was probably right. Naruto had a big grin on his face and looked like he was repressing the urge to laugh out loud.
"Aina!" Naruto chastised, barely managing to form the words. "You're making your mother blush!"
The little girl looked over at her mother and her eyes widened. "Sorry mummy!" she said, going over to her and hugging her leg.
But the spell was broken now. The miserable mood that had overshadowed them at the recounting of what had happened was dispelled by the bright little girl who was still hugging her brilliantly blushing mother.
Aina had excitedly consented to stay the night over at Uncle Naruto's and Aunt Hinata's. Naruto had seen the need for Sakura and Gaara to be alone for awhile and get things sorted out between them. After giving the red head a cursory rundown of Sakura's medication, and what to do if she had back spasms and such, he seemed to feel alright leaving the two of them alone.
"We're just a phone call away," he told them. "If you need anything, I can be here in five minutes!"
Already Gaara was aware of everything that had happened, from the accident to the law suit to the rehabilitation that Sakura had gone through to reach the point she was at now. The pinkette sighed. Currently she was sitting in her living room, staring out at her balcony that Gaara was pacing along, talking to someone on his mobile. Apparently he needed to make a few calls to let people know that he was going to be away longer than he'd expected.
The way that he'd reacted to all of this had shown Sakura that he was probably a one-of-a-kind find. Had she really been so lucky to find a guy like him? She'd gathered that he'd been devastated when she'd vanished from his life, and she felt bad about forgetting him, even though it wasn't actually her fault. But from the looks of it, he clearly intended to make up for lost time.
Carefully standing up from where she'd been sitting, Sakura made her way into the kitchen to find something to eat. With everything that had happened, she hadn't been able to have anything for lunch, and her stomach was protesting. Pulling out some bread, cold meat and salad, she made herself a quick sandwich, sitting on one of the kitchen stools to eat her impromptu meal. Gaara was still outside on the phone, and she wondered how long he would be.
She didn't have to wait long because he came in to the kitchen as she finished her food and simply stood in the doorway, watching her. Sakura felt embarrassed under his intense observation, and she nervously put the plate in the sink to be washed later. Moving towards him, she stopped an arms length from him and looked into his eyes, her breath catching in her throat at the look in his jade eyes.
"Did you sort everything out?" she asked, her voice a little husky.
Gaara nodded. "I've managed to arrange things so I can stay here awhile," he told her. "Naturally, I'll have to return eventually, but its fine for now."
He reached a hand out and gently caressed her face, and Sakura felt a tingle go along her spine. "I've missed you, Sakura," he told her. "I've thought about you a lot, and now I'm ashamed to admit that I hated you for the longest time."
"It's ok," Sakura said. "You had no way of knowing. You don't need to apologise."
Gaara leaned in and lightly kissed her cheek and she breathed in, inhaling his masculine scent. Ok… Intoxicating. Sakura closed her eyes and let him pull her to him, the sensations he was sending along her spine causing a chill that was extremely nice. Her arms slipped around him and she held on tight as his lips moved to cover hers in a sweet kiss.
It felt so good, so right, to hold her in his arms again. All theses years of her not being there had cumulated to the point where a single touch was enough to bring back so many memories, and Gaara fully intended that they would have plenty of opportunities to make up for lost time. He felt that nothing was out of reach now with Sakura back in his arms. Pulling away slightly, he stared down at her, waiting until she opened her eyes and looked up at him.
"I want us to be together again," he told her. "I understand that it may take awhile for you to love me again, but I'm willing to wait. I love you, Sakura."
Sakura smiled and blinked, tears falling from her eyes. "I want to love you too," she said. "Maybe I'll even be able to remember everything because of this."
"Really?" Gaara asked. "What do you mean?"
Sakura sighed and she pulled away from him, sitting back on the chair. "Doctor Tsunade told me that I would have a better chance of remembering what I'd lost if there was someone around who'd known me then," she told him. "But we had no idea about you, or anyone else that might have been there at the time."
The thought of Sakura remembering what they'd had was extremely appealing to him, and Gaara asked, "Well, do you think it would help if I told you about things that we did?"
Her eyes lit up. "Yes!" she exclaimed. "Tsunade said that sort of thing would be extremely helpful! Tell me something now, please!"
Gaara chuckled and said, "Well, there was one time that we were supposed to have dinner at a restaurant, but we had to cancel our plans because of a storm. The wind and the rain had made it impossible for anyone to go anywhere, so we'd decided to spend the night in instead."
Sakura started blushing lightly as she asked, "Were we spending that time in bed?"
"Not at first," he told her. "We actually stayed up playing board games for awhile. You always did love to try to beat me at monopoly."
She laughed happily. "I've always loved playing games," she admitted. "Me, Naruto and our parents would always spend our family time around the table playing all sorts of games!"
Gaara was about to reach out to pull her to him again when a grimace of pain flitted across her features. Instantly alert, he asked, "Are you alright?"
Sakura winced again, more visibly this time, and she told him, "Back pain. I just need to take some pills and it'll be alright eventually."
Remembering what Naruto'd told him, Gaara quickly retrieved her pain meds and got her a glass of water, watching as she slowly swallowed them. "Do you need to lie down or something?" he asked, and she nodded.
Carefully he led her to her bedroom, immediately noting that the bed was medically designed to allow her to easily get out of it, and he felt a renewed pang of guilt at the fact that he hadn't been there for her. Even though she'd been right to assure him that it wasn't his fault at all. Gingerly he helped Sakura onto the bed and was about to leave but her hand grabbed his and he looked down to see her earnestly staring up at him.
"Please stay," she whispered, and he could hear the pain in her voice. "I don't want to be alone anymore."
He didn't even hesitate. Gaara yanked off his shoes and tie, then slid into the bed next to her, but stayed above the covers. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close even as she snuggled into him. He heard Sakura release a heavy sigh and felt that at last, he was home.
"Thank you for being here," she murmured against him, and he felt her slowly slip into slumber.
At last he had the woman he loved in his arms, and come tomorrow, they would work on starting their life over again, together.
So there you have it. Please review!