Just Where Do You Think You're Going?
Note: This used to be a pretty common thing to do but has become less so since it became AU with Itachi's death. These stories usually ended with Sakura giving up on Sasuke (after ditching her and his kid to go chasing vengeance I don't blame her) and she finally realizes Naruto loves her and they all live happily ever after, which I hate because if Sakura would rather marry someone who already defected once and came back unwillingly than someone as loyal as Naruto and ONLY moves on to him when it's clear that Sasuke will probably never be okay with normal family life than Naruto deserves better, no matter who that 'better' is. And for that matter, Sakura deserves better than someone who would marry her, have a kid with her, and then run out on her. As for Sasuke…as long as he gets his vengeance and never finds out the truth about Itachi, he'll be happy, I guess.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Sasuke slowly inched towards the front door, practically sensing freedom already. His Sharingan was activated to help him stealthily make his way outside in the dark. Just a little further now…
Light flooded the room, making his journey both easier and more complicated and Sasuke froze accordingly.
"And just where do you think you're going, oh beloved husband of mine?" Sakura demanded.
Sasuke reluctantly deactivated his Kekkei Genkai as he turned to face his pink-haired wife and saw her standing in the doorway with one hand on her hip and the other still on the light switch.
"Midnight ramen run?" Sasuke offered. It was a little lame but it was also the first thing that had occurred to him to say and he was sure a certain blond best friend of his was to blame.
Sure enough, Sakura looked decidedly unimpressed. "Nice try but that only works for Naruto."
"Naruto wants company on his midnight ramen run?" Sasuke amended, wishing he'd taken the time to think up an excuse if he were caught before he'd set out. Then again, he really couldn't have put too much thought into this or he'd inevitably feel guilty and that would weaken his resolve.
"It's two in the morning," Sakura informed him.
That was a much easier obstacle to clear. ""Naruto considers any trip for ramen while Ichiraku's is closed to be a midnight ramen run?"
Sakura rolled her eyes at him. "This would all be so much more convincing if these explanations of yours weren't all in questions form."
"They weren't all questions!" Sasuke insisted, not entirely accurately. Or at all accurately. But at least his most recent claim was, in fact, a statement.
Sakura snorted, not believing him for a second. "Right. So what were you really doing up and about to leave the house?"
"Midnight youthful training session with Lee?" Sasuke offered, back to questions again.
"You HATE Lee," Sakura felt the need to remind her husband. "You say his youthfulness offends your vengeful sensibilities whenever you see him. Oftentimes in front of him, in fact."
"Yes, well, sometimes you need to reach out to your comrades, forgive them for their incredible annoyingness-" Sasuke began awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.
Sakura inadvertently interrupted him when she started coughing.
"What?" Sasuke snapped with a glare.
"Sorry," Sakura apologized, not sounding the least bit sincere. "I just thought I heard you say something about forgiving someone."
"I did," Sasuke confirmed. Sakura still looked skeptical so he added a bit defensively, "It's been known to happen."
"When?" Sakura challenged.
Sasuke quickly ran through everyone he'd ever had a grudge against and managed to find someone who fit the bill. "I forgave Naruto for dragging me back to Konoha."
Sakura simply stared at him for a moment. "He killed Orochimaru while he was in the process of possessing you, so that REALLY wasn't so much a choice of forgiving him so much as a necessity. Besides, you tried to kill him. A lot."
"And he forgave me," Sasuke replied. "Seriously, you really need to learn to take what you can get when it comes to these things."
"That I do," Sakura sighed. "And for the record, I don't believe you about Lee, if for no other reason than I know Kakashi convinced Gai to wait for the 'Great Pumpkin' tonight and Lee's waiting with him."
Sasuke blinked and decided his curiosity was great enough to allow the conversation to get sidetracked again. Who knew, maybe if they got sufficiently off-topic Sakura would forget she had caught him sneaking out of the house. God knew that worked with Naruto and causing his opponents to forget that they were supposed to be fighting him. "What in the world is the 'Great Pumpkin'?" he asked, trying to ignore the very strong feeling that he did not, in fact, want to know.
Sakura shrugged. "Damned if I know," she answered shortly. "Maybe it's some sort of giant pumpkin. Possibly possessed? Kakashi always likes to scare Gai like that. Either way, try again."
"Midnight convince Kiba I'm not in love with Naruto session?" Sasuke knew he had to be getting pretty desperate to willingly acknowledge Kiba's deep conviction about himself and is Hokage but it was an explanation his wife might actually believe.
Sure enough, Sakura didn't doubt the veracity of his explanation. "That couldn't have waited until morning?" she asked instead.
"By morning, he'll have convinced Jiraiya and they'll be an entire book based on the tragic tale of 'Saruto Uzuchia' and 'Nasuke Uchumaki' and their battle with the forces of evil and the closet," Sasuke responded, real annoyance lacing his voice. After all, that wouldn't be the first time Jiraiya had published something of the sort.
"Again?" Sakura asked, surprised. "I thought you and Naruto had set him straight after the last book he wrote about you."
Sasuke grimaced. "We did. I personally don't see it, but I'm told that Kiba is very persuasive and apparently the fangirls would rather believe that I'm gay and that's why they didn't end up with me instead of them just being annoying and weak. Besides, our story is apparently 'touching' in that Naruto would go so far to bring me back here and I never killed him. Not for lack of trying mind you, but…"
Sakura considered this explanation for a moment before slowly shaking her head. "I haven't heard Naruto cursing Kiba, Jiraiya, or even you so I'm not convinced. What are you really doing and why won't you tell me?"
"I'd actually hoped you'd forgotten about that," Sasuke admitted, wincing.
Sakura laughed. "Don't be silly; I've been friends with Ino for far too long to let such distractions work on me forever."
"Midnight-" Sasuke tried again, uncertain of just what he was going to say but praying it would sound at least marginally plausible. As it turns out, he needn't have worried because Sakura had an explanation of her own to offer up.
"Midnight escape Konoha to seek vengeance on Itachi?" Sakura asked innocently, though her eyes were hard.
"Ye – I mean, no. God, no. I thought you had more faith in me than that," Sasuke denied, doing his best to sound wounded. His pride normally prohibited such displays so he wasn't entirely sure how successful he was.
"I do have faith in you, Sasuke," Sakura was quick to assure him. "But you did just admit it."
"I meant to say no," Sasuke informed her.
"I bet you did," Sakura agreed. "But you didn't and I think that's quite telling."
"You know, most people who caught their spouse sneaking in or out of the house at odd hours and who were close enough with the Hokage that he'd at least tell you if I had a mission even if he didn't elaborate on what would suspect their significant other of having an affair, not running off to seek vengeance," Sasuke pointed out.
"True," Sakura concurred. "But most people aren't married to you. The only other girl you ever paid the slightest bit of attention to was Karin and she was…well, really creepy. And kept trying to molest you."
Sasuke shuddered. "I remember. Listen Sakura…it's not like I don't love you because I do. Really. It's just…I'm twenty-nine years old and I don't want to turn thirty with That Man still among the living."
Sakura closed her eyes and took a deep breath, bracing herself for the worst. "I understand that, Sasuke, but-"
"No!" Sasuke cried out. "No, you don't understand! How can you, who have never had your entire family brutally murdered by your once-beloved older brother and then forced to witness the act over and over again until you were comatose possibly understand what I'm going through?"
Sakura opened her eyes again and promptly rolled them at her husband. "God, Sasuke. If you're going to be so bloody specific than no one is ever going to be able fit the bill for understanding you."
Sasuke knew she was right but he was fine with that. "To be fair, it's not like I really expected them to. And can you really blame me for wanting to avenge my family? You may not understand my pain, but I'm sure you can concede that having your family violently killed would piss you off?"
"Of course it would!" Sakura exclaimed, wondering why he even felt the need to ask.
Sasuke nodded. "Right, your parents are wonderful people and your extended family is very supportive. You're very lucky to have them. In light of all that, can you see why I need to go?"
"No, I really don't," Sakura said flatly.
"But-" Sasuke began, looking faintly shocked that she still didn't see where he was coming from.
"You made a commitment, Sasuke," Sakura interrupted. "A commitment to me when you married me and, what's more, a commitment to our son when you got me pregnant. A son who, against my better judgment might I add, I let you name 'Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari'."
"That's a perfectly respectable name," Sasuke said stiffly.
"You named our son 'vengeance will be mine!'" Sakura cried.
"You're the one who wouldn't let me name him 'Death to Itachi'," Sasuke reminded her sullenly.
"That's because I don't actually hate our son," Sakura explained patiently.
"I don't hate him!" Sasuke claimed.
"Then why in the world are you trying to give him abandonment issues?" Sakura shot back.
"I am not trying to-" Sasuke began heatedly.
"Well if you have your way then your actions will give him them anyway and he's only five. That's a good three years younger than you were before you got your issues and even if it's been over twenty years, you're still not over it," Sakura informed him, as if he didn't already know.
"How could I possibly be 'over it'?" Sasuke demanded angrily. "That Man is still alive!"
"And you wonder why I don't want another child," Sakura murmured, shaking her head in exasperation. "You'll probably decide poor Fuku is another Itachi waiting to happen and hate him."
"I would do no such thing!" Sasuke insisted vehemently. "I'm not THAT obsessed." Sakura remained unconvinced. "I'm leaving anyway."
"I knew I should have taken Naruto up on his offer to get you a good therapist," Sakura said, pressing a hand to her temple. "God knows I'll probably need to look into getting Fuku some therapy after this anyway. Who knows, maybe if you'd gotten help then you wouldn't be acting like such an idiot now."
"I'm not an idiot," Sasuke hissed. "Just because you don't agree with me, just because you've never understood me-"
"Why is this so important to you?" Sakura asked, beginning to sound a little desperate.
"Itachi massacred my entire family!" Sasuke shouted.
"Keep it down, you'll wake Fuku," Sakura admonished tiredly. "I really don't want him to see this. And I know that, Sasuke. We all know. You talk about that more than Naruto used to talk about becoming Hokage."
"Well Naruto managed to achieve his goal, didn't he?" Sasuke asked rhetorically.
"Why do you need to kill your brother personally?" Sakura tried again.
"That Man is NOT my brother," Sasuke growled, his eyes flashing.
"Yes he is," Sakura disagreed. "He may be a complete monster, but since you both have the same family and are both male you're brothers."
"I need vengeance," Sasuke told her quietly.
"I know," Sakura replied. "But why?"
Sasuke really wasn't accustomed to having to answer this question beyond his all-purpose 'you don't understand' but he'd already used that one. "…My family will never rest in peace until that man is dead."
"He can't live forever and he hasn't even shown any interest in trying to prolong his lifespan," Sakura pointed out. "Add that to the fact that as a missing-nin he leads a very dangerous life and will die soon enough, your family will be avenged one way or another even if you do nothing."
Needless to say, that wasn't what Sasuke wanted to hear. He shook his head stubbornly. "No, no, it has to be me."
"Why?" she asked simply.
"Because it does!" Sasuke insisted agitatedly. "I can't explain this to you. You either get my need for vengeance or you don't."
"And I don't," Sakura concluded softly. "I don't want you to throw your life away chasing ghosts, though, and Fuku deserves better."
"You always knew this about me," Sasuke replied, equally quiet. "Maybe not when we first met, but definitely after I left. If you can't deal with it, why did you marry me?"
Sakura knew it was a valid question and so gave it the only answer she had. "Because I love you, Sasuke. I always have."
"And I love you," Sasuke told her seriously. "But I NEED to kill Itachi. Should I live, I'll be back." He paused before granting her a concession he never had before. "I promise I'll try to live."
"You promise?" Sakura repeated shakily.
"I do," Sasuke said firmly. "I know what it's like to grow up without a father and I don't want to do that to Fuku. You're right; he deserves better."
Sakura closed her eyes again. "Just go then."
Sasuke was visibly surprised. "You're not going to try to stop me?"
"What would be the point?" Sakura asked, sounding as if each word pained her. "You're stronger than me; you could take me out if you had to and I don't want to have to explain to our son why Daddy almost killed Mommy."
"Thank you for being so understanding," Sasuke said for lack of anything else to say. He stepped back towards the door and pulled it open. "I'll be back when I can."
Sasuke took two steps outside before freezing. "And…I'm in," he said, seemingly as a non sequitur.
"Excellent work, Ino," Naruto said, stepping forward. He held up a pair of chakra suppressors. "Here, get into these before you release him."
"Of course," Ino nodded. She closed the chakra suppressors over her wrist right before releasing her temporary prisoner.
"What just happened?" Sasuke asked, blinking dazedly. Spotting Naruto, he demanded, "What are you doing here? And why am I in chakra suppressors?"
Naruto grinned at him apologetically. "Sorry, Sasuke, but I'm Hokage now. I simply don't have time to chase you all over the continent again."
""Thanks for getting here so quickly," Sakura said, looking and sounding much more composed than she had moments before. "I stalled him for as long as I could."
Sasuke shot her a deeply betrayed look. "You called Naruto on me? Why? And how?"
"I sent a slug summon right before I confronted you," Sakura explained, looking pensive. "As for why…I will NOT be one of those women that get left behind by a man too blind to see what he still has in the face of what he's lost."
"I said I'd be back," Sasuke protested.
"Not good enough," Sakura said firmly. "You fully expected to die."
"Not to mention there's only so many times we can pretend you didn't defect," Naruto chimed in.
"Maybe if you would let me go after Itachi then I would be content to stay in Konoha," Sasuke hinted.
"Oh, I will," Naruto promised him. "The minute you stop being a flight risk. If any of what I've pieced together since becoming Hokage is true, you two have a lot to talk about. And Sakura, have you looked into getting your loyalty-challenged husband therapy? I can't imagine why he's never been after all this time…"