Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto! I'd be the luckiest person EVER if I did!
Author's Note: Hey guys! This is my third, and hopefully successful attempt at a oneshot! It takes place some years after Shippuuden ends (How? DX) … so they're all grown up here. It's mainly a NaruSaku. I've been thinking about Chapter 498 … and this is what it led me to. Oh yeah, and they brought Sasuke back in this.
Hope you all like it!
"Oh god! I'm late!"
Haruno Sakura ran through the main street, the hot air rushing past her and lights flashing momentarily at her from the shops she ran through. She looked pale and weary after a long, hard day but then again, every day was a long day for her. It was through hard work and sheer will that she managed to attain the position of one of the top medical ninjas in Konoha but it had paid off in the end. She was doing what she loved and she was content that most of her time was spent productively at the hospital. However, there was a big gap in her heart that couldn't be filled with hours of work. She was missing something and she was filled with guilt when each night, she did almost exactly the same thing she was doing now. Picking up her son from the Yamanaka household.
She slowed down to a walk when she saw the Yamanaka's flower shop in sight and hurried inside, grateful for the ambiance of the air-conditioning inside.
She looked over at the counter to see Inoichi staring back, a pleasant smile on his face. He mostly ran the shop during the evening, if he wasn't on missions and this was the first time Sakura had seen him in three weeks. She smiled back, "Konbanwa, Inoichi-san!"
He nodded, "Good to see you. Masato's upstairs with Ino."
"Right!" she bowed slightly and started up to stairs to the right, taking two at a time. She reached the first landing and opened the door to the living room, looking around her. Her face immediately brightened when she heard footsteps running towards her.
She felt arms wrap themselves around her thighs and she looked down to see a head of blonde hair. A laugh escaped her lips and she bent down to hug her son back, feeling a tremendous weight being lifted off of her shoulders. She placed her hands on his shoulders and held him back to take a good look at him. "Aw, Masato. Have you been good today?"
"I guess …" the seven-year-old wrinkled his nose and blinked.
Another voice joined their conversation. "He was an angel!"
Sakura looked up to see her best friend walking up to them, taking off her apron. Ino hung it on a rack hung to the side before flashing a smile at her. "Hey there, Forehead!"
"Pig," Sakura retorted, grinning. She straightened up, her hands on Masato's shoulders. "I'm sorry I came late today – I had to treat a patient and it took some time."
"Hey, hey, I understand!" Ino said, placing her hands on her hips. "No need to worry! Besides, Masato helped around the shop and learned a lot of new things so he had fun. It's all cool."
"Yeah," Masato nodded. "It was fun!"
"Alright, that's good," Sakura squeezed her son's shoulders gently and stepped back. "Alright sweetie, we should get going now. It's late. Thank you so much, Ino!"
Ino grinned. "Hey, it's nothing! Seriously, Sakura … "
Sakura reached out and hugged her before turning away to open the door. While Masato was slipping on his shoes, Ino asked tentatively. "Hey, are you gonna drop him same time tomorrow?"
Sakura felt her heart sink and she bit her lip, before nodding. "Yeah … I suppose I will."
"Oh, Forehead …" Ino stared at her, considerately. "You're doing a great job, you know that, right?"
"Yeah …" Sakura plastered a smile on her face before steeping out of the room. "See you tomorrow then!"
The walk back home was pleasant. This was the time of the day Sakura always looked forward to, because she finally got time to spend with her child. Even if it was only for a few hours. He was chatting animatedly about the different types of customers that came into the store each day. Sakura loved that he was learning some of most basic things, but what really hit her was that she wasn't the one teaching him. She felt guilt scratching at her heart again, but she ignored it and listened attentively. For a while, neither of them spoke anything. They were walking at a leisurely pace since the part of town they resided in was much quieter than the area Ino lived in.
She looked down at him to find him staring up at her with emerald-green eyes identical to her own. She smiled softly, encouraging him on. "Yes, Masato?"
"When will Dad come home?"
Sakura gazed back at the road ahead of her. She herself had been wondering the same thing. With there being problems on the southeast border of Fire Country, more shinobi had to be sent out to calm the growing disputes which explained why she was needed at the hospital more than ever. It was also due to this reason that they had been home alone for the past month. Her husband, as the Hokage, had joined those at the border. It had almost been a month.
"Well … you know your father," Sakura began, in a lighter tone to ease her son's worry. "Where there's trouble, he's gotta get there to sort it out! And he will, very soon! Before you know it, he'll be back with us."
Masato stared down at the ground as they walked, a hesitant look on his face. "Yeah, I guess … but I really miss him."
Sakura felt her spirits sink at that and she was left a bit speechless. Even she missed her husband and although it was comforting, knowing he was alright, she couldn't help feeling edgy most of the time. As for Masato, he was almost inseparable with his father. Whenever Naruto had free time, he'd spend it with Masato and even on his most strictest schedules, he'd always managed to fit his son in. Sakura remembered the look on Naruto's face before he left. He had told Masato to stay strong and that, he did. Sakura didn't once see Masato break down like most kids, though there was something melancholy about his features.
"I miss him too, honey," Sakura said, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Why does Ino-obachan always call you 'Forehead'?"
Sakura blinked. She didn't expect that question at all. She laughed a little and looked back down at her son, who stared back curiously. Shaking her head, she said, "It's quite a long story – I was a bit older than you when it struck."
"Well … you see, when I first joined the Academy, I used to get bullied by the other girls."
Masato frowned, shocked. "Really? But why?"
"Because of my forehead," Sakura's smile widened and she looked up at the sky. "I used to try and hide it but that didn't help … until Ino-obachan gave me a ribbon to wear so that it could make my forehead look nice. This way, we became best friends and no one laughed at me no more."
"So that's why you wear your forehead protector as a headband."
Sakura nodded, "Yes."
"But …" Masato looked across at the path they were heading, a thoughtful look on his face. "I like your forehead! I think you look beautiful, Mom …"
Sakura never felt more confident in herself than she did at that moment. Hearing others praise her was alright, but hearing it from her own child was just amazing. She had only felt this proud of herself once before, and that was when somebody had complimented on her forehead too. She reached out and pulled her son closer to her, her smile widening. "Why, thank you! You know, Masato … you're the second one to compliment me on my large forehead."
Masato blinked. "Who's the first one?"
"You sure have a large charming forehead … males me want to kiss it …"
Sakura smile widened. "Your father."
She watched Masato start to grin, and she was strongly reminded of Naruto. "Mom! That is so cool!"
They had reached their estate by now and Sakura signalled to the ANBU perched on the slanting roof. She then started proceeding to the door. Masato followed her, his eyes still on her face. Sakura continued, as she slid open the sliding doors, "I didn't know it was him of course …"
"He disguised himself as your Sasuke-jiisan so I could actually listen to him. It was some years after that I finally found out it wasn't who I thought it was – and well, let's just say it all led up to this. All cause' of my large forehead!"
Masato stared at her in wonder. She giggled, a slight blush on her cheek from those memories.
"Dad was so cool!"
"Oh yeah …" Sakura sighed, pausing to look back at him. "Your father was special, alright. I guess he was the one who made my dream come true … because I wanted to be acknowledged too."
Masato laughed, his face bright with happiness. Sakura herself hadn't felt this elated since Naruto had left, and was loving this moment she was sharing. She beckoned him closer and knelt down. "You know, Masato … I only say this to the men who've complimented on my big forehead – including you."
"Yeah?" Masato looked at her keenly.
Sakura smiled and brought him closer for a hug, closing her eyes.
"I love you …"
That night as Sakura lay in bed, her mind had drifted back to the memories she had shared with her son. She lay on her side, gazing at the team photograph of Team Seven on the bedside table. Behind that was frame which held a picture of both Sakura and Naruto holding the bells they had obtained from beating Kakashi-sensei. She gave a small smile and slowly turned to lay on her back, all too aware of the empty space beside her. Her hand reached out of rest beside her, feeling nothing but air.
"Sakura-chan! You sure have a large, charming forehead, you know … it makes me want to kiss it!"
"You loser, you need to try harder than that …"
"Shut up, Sasuke!"
"N-Naruto … that was you!"
Author's Note: Well? How is it? Should I continue or not?
I just thought that there is so much parallel-ism in Naruto. And Kushina was no different than Sakura was. Both being bullied, looking down on the men they loved (hopefully, with Sakura), then rooting for them. Plus, I couldn't help getting excited when Kushina told Naruto to get a girl like her. So … *hint**hint* Then again, that's my view. ^^
Please please review! I'd love to hear what you thought!