Note: I just wanted to say thank you for all your reviews and for bothering with this fic. I know it's a little weird to read considering how odd Sasuke is, so thanks for giving you make my heart beat faster a chance. I know I've spent a good chunk of these one-shots playing around with clichés from SasuSaku romances because I get annoyed when I read a perfectly stoic Sasuke, when they have this amazing sex on their first try, when Sasuke has pregnant!Sakura taken off of missions and Tsunade is basically all "yeah, sure," when Fugaku is portrayed as this complete asshole that's totally against them being together, and when Sakura basically spends those years Sasuke isn't in Konoha missing him and pining. Like really. And I forgot to say this before, but the title of this collection is a song by Matt Nathanson.
Anyhow, enjoy the last chapter! I haven't really focalized anything through Sasuke yet, so here you go!
Sasuke's known Sakura was The One since she punched him in the face fifteen years ago.
Naturally, like any other love story, theirs is imperfect. While there's nothing tragic about either of them, they both have their hurdles. Sakura, with her strict upbringing, has always been extremely disciplined and focused on her training. Sasuke, with his playful attitude, has always been one to stray. Since their days in the Academy, Sakura has always treated him kindly, but she's also kept him at arm's length. When they become genin and she always has his back, he realizes how important she is not just in his life, but to his life. The day she leaps in front of him to protect him from the Shuukaku's attack because he's an arrogant idiot is when he really falls in love with her.
But love is complicated. He really tries to wait for her like he promises the night she leaves Konoha. He feels a pang of regret when he sees her at the teahouse before his date and they don't get the chance to correct their awful first kiss together. He knows that despite Sakura's permanently calm façade, she does have feelings, and she probably took his words from their goodbye to heart. He still loves her, however. Despite the bitterness that developed over being cast aside and despite the other girls he meets, Sakura never really leaves his mind.
He tries to make up for their awkward reunion. He flirts with her and compliments her and asks her on dates not just to make things feel the same, but as some odd form of repentance. He knows he doesn't owe her anything but the way her eyes widened ever so slightly and she bit her lower lip before masking what was clearly hurt with an expression of surprise that night she came home – yes, Sasuke saw –makes him feel guilty just thinking about it, but, at the same time, elated. Sakura reacted. Sakura cared.
They spend two years juggling an odd friendship accompanied by what Sasuke calls dates but Sakura calls just having dinner together until finally, at seventeen, they finally make love. Sasuke, though he'll never admit it to anyone (not even Sakura), sort of wishes he'd waited until marriage – or at least for Sakura to have admitted her feelings outright. Nevertheless, that night serves as a turning pointing in their relationship that can now be called something akin to exclusive. They go on what they both agree are "dates," she responds to his red roses with whetstones and kunai, she lets him sleepover in her bed instead of her on her couch, and sometimes they even hold hands in public. He carries her from the couch where she's fallen asleep with half-written mission reports scattered across her chest and she double-checks his weapons and basic medical necessities pouch before he heads off on an ANBU mission with his brother. They have their little spats and they make up. They go out together and they make each other smile. Sasuke and Sakura complement each perfectly, whether they realize this much or not.
Their love story isn't overly tragic or overly happy. At best, it's mediocre.
They wouldn't have it any other way.
Sasuke wakes up first.
He doesn't get the chance to watch Sakura sleep particularly often because now that she's the head of the medical ninja training program while regularly working in the hospital and he's recently inherited Itachi's position as Alpha Squad's captain, they don't see each other very much and the nights they do get to spend together, they prefer to use for sleep.
But this particular weekend is different, Sasuke thinks with a small smile. She sleeps on her stomach with her head turned to face him. Her pink tresses, now cropped barely past her chin, stick out in a spiky mess. Sasuke can't help but snort at how utterly ridiculous she looks. His eyes drift from the pink mop down to the crest of his clan lingering at the base of her neck. He rolls his eyes, mentally declaring this particular shirt the seventh one she's stolen from him (although she likes to snidely say he "forgot" them and his "idiocy" wasn't her fault). He moves to tuck her hair behind her ear and isn't surprised when he immediately finds a tight grip on his wrist.
He smirks. "Good morning."
His grin grows when she scowls before blinking blearily. She finally opens her eyes to glare at him. "Why are you awake?" Her internal clock, conditioned under the stress of ANBU and working in a hospital, tells her that it's only five o'clock in the morning.
Sasuke raises an eyebrow. "Did you forget what today is?" He watches her eyes widen in realization before she groans and buries her face back into her pillow. Sasuke is torn between laughing and being concerned. "I never knew that's how you felt about the wedding."
Sakura turns over and shrugs. "It's not that."
"Or well," she says, "it sort of is."
"I'm not following."
"You know how it'll go," Sakura tells him, now looking him in the eye. "The reception will be full of people asking us questions that are none of their business." And by people he knew she meant the Uchiha clan elders. "I just…" Sakura sighs as she begins to absently run her finger along his ANBU tattoo.
Sasuke watches her calculatingly and wonders if he should tell her the complete truth. Ever since the announcement of Itachi's wedding eight months ago, several older members of his clan had been asking questions about his relationship with Sakura. Thankfully, there was no opposition in the clan for his choice of partner and therefore no one would be vying for any sort of betrothal. However, with marriage on everyone's mind, too many people had been asking about when he would be proposing. Sasuke knows he wants to marry Sakura. Sasuke's known she'd be his endgame since he was a little boy and no amount of testing other waters ever changed that. Sakura has always been a constant in his life and she's always been something to brighten his day. When he comes home from missions, he usually goes to straight to her apartment for the night (and the next) and lives out of the bottom drawer she let him have in her bedroom. Sasuke and Sakura practically live with each other and they know they only want each other but the idea of "marriage" unsettles Sasuke mostly because he knows that if he asks, she'll say no.
Still, he is honest.
"They already ask about us," Sasuke admits.
She doesn't react as violently as he thought she would. "Can't they just be satisfied that their new leader has gotten married?" she mutters.
Sasuke snorts. "Clans don't work like that, Sakura-chan. Every time I see them they ask me about my 'intentions.'" He pauses and looks at her and wonders if she knows his intentions. When her poker face stays in place, he continues. "They're quite meddling." He can't help but sigh at the thought of the Uchiha clan elders. "They like to know everyone's business."
"I suppose you'll just have to move in with me then."
When he fails to respond, heat creeps onto Sakura's cheeks and she flops onto her back to glare the ceiling for speaking without thinking.
"I mean, if you want to. That is, you're welcome to, if you'd like. I mean—" She stops herself and grunts. He can tell she's frustrated through her silence but chooses to remain quiet and hear her out. She suddenly sits up. The sheets bunch up in her lap and his clan symbol bears itself proudly under her hair. "Sasuke, before you joined ANBU, I told you that I have plans." Her head is bowed and he can see the tenseness in her shoulder. The next words come out just over a whisper. "I have plans for us."
He can't help his surprise. He joins her in a seated position and takes her hand in his. Her face, however, is turned to the side, most likely to hide the blush that he knows is on her cheeks. He smiles.
"Are you proposing to me?" he teases.
The jibe is enough to make her face him, most likely to yell a heated "no!" before punching him. But he takes advantage of her open mouth to kiss her. She remains stubborn at first, immediately pursing her lips, but eventually gives in. After a moment, he pulls away but presses his forehead against hers.
"I love you," Sakura mumbles while looking at their intertwined fingers, "but I'm not marrying you any time soon. We're still very young."
"I was just joking," he says. He squeezes her hand reassuringly, letting her know that he does understand what she's trying to say. "I know it's still early."
She snorts wryly and glances at the sunlight creeping into her once darkened room. "Yes, it is." She falls back to the bed, burying her face into her pillow. "God, I can't believe you woke me up so early when you know we're going to have such a horrible day of dodging enemy ninja trying to make us do dastardly deeds."
"…that's my family you're talking about, Sakura. And, again, your reactions to the idea of marriage kind of worry me."
He watches the way the corners of her lips curl upwards even when her eyes are closed and she's drifting back to sleep. He considers joining her but recalls her earlier suggestion. Sasuke leans down to press a kiss against her forehead before rising and dressing.
He has some packing to do.