A/N: SURPRISE! I got an urge to return to this universe. Just for a short while. So, here you have it. A little short extra. I might do more extras depending on whenever I feel like returning to this universe. I mean, there's a lot of potential for extras with the crazy time span of this fic, hah.
Also, if anyone is interested in my original novels and works, you should check out this new site that I just launched on facebook: /arfrederiksen
Extra 1 – A Past Revisited
It wasn't the first time this week that she had woken up to an empty bed, but it was the first time that she got up to find him. She pushed the sheets aside and let her eyes adjust to the darkness. She didn't turn on any lights. The air inside the bedroom was sticky and sweat sat on her brow and upper lip. She ran a hand over her face. Then she stood up and padded across the room on bare feet. On the way out of the room, she snatched up her nightshirt from the floor and slipped it on. She made a face when the fabric stuck to her clammy skin. The temperatures had been off the roof this summer.
She found him inside the kitchen. He sat at the kitchen table. His hair hung free, and he wore a pair of grey loose pants. He hadn't slept, she thought. His hair fell straight and undisturbed; not the tousled mass that it usually was when he woke up in the morning. She could remember how thin he had been when he had first returned to Konoha. He had been fit, but he had been thin. Nowadays, he has gained a healthier weight. He no longer depended on his body to make a living, but old habits died hard. He still trained and kept in shape even though he was retired. She knew that he was happy living like this, but sometimes she wondered if he missed his old life. He hated the fights and the deaths, but she wondered if he missed the independency and the solitude of his former lifestyle. She tried to give it to him whenever she felt that he needed it, but it was hard to take one step back when you really wanted to take two steps forward.
"Hi," she said and sat down on the chair next to his. She didn't touch him. His skin looked greyish where the moonlight fell in through the window and lit up the table like a round spotlight. The kitchen lights were off, and the smell of oranges hung heavy in the air. It mixed in with the sharper smell of homemade tea and dried herbs. Sakura knew why Itachi had gone to the kitchen instead of anywhere else. This was where they both felt calmest. Coupled with the darkness, it was the ideal setting for the conversation that was about to take place. Sakura thought that Ino's repetitive speeches about couple mentality were cheesy and cliché, but with Itachi she had to admit that there was an ounce of truth to Ino's words.
"I meant for him to live," Itachi said. He was looking at her, but he wasn't seeing her.
"A person goes his own ways," she said. "You can make the roads for him, but that won't mean he'll walk them."
"I left him alive," Itachi said and Sakura heard the confusion in his voice. Itachi had lived his life two times over. His knowledge of battle tactics, survival techniques, diplomacy and subterfuge was vaster than both Kakashi's and Tsunade's. Because of this, Sakura was always caught off guard when he didn't understand basic human behavior; basic emotion. Unless it pertained to battle, Itachi was blind to people's motives and actions. That was why it was hard to live with him. It was also why Sakura so often had to swallow her hurt, because Itachi didn't understand what he had done wrong. No matter how many times she explained it, he never understood. She had stopped trying. It wasn't healthy, but she had never expected Itachi to be healthy, and she would never demand it of him.
"Are you sure you don't want to do a speech at the funeral?" she asked.
"I won't attend."
"That's fine," she said. "We can stay home."
"You should go."
She shook her head. "We go together or we stay home together. Those are your options."
She thought she saw the corners of the lips twitch. That was her cue. She grabbed his hand and weaved their fingers together. When he looked at her this time, she could recognize him. She knew that this part of Itachi would always be beyond fixing, but that didn't mean it didn't cut her deep to see him like this. He had slammed the door on his past so tightly that the wood had cracked along the edges. He loved her all he could. She knew that. She also knew that he blamed himself for not being able to love her more. Sometimes she blamed him, too, but what good did that do?
"The truth has changed nothing," he said. He was talking about the past. Of course nothing could ever change the past. Not even the truth.
"It has changed something for me," Sakura said. "The man I love has been exonerated. The villagers know you fought for them, not against them. They're being nice to you. That changes something for me."
"Were you afraid of me?" he asked. They had talked about this before.
"I was afraid of the stories and I was afraid when I first met you," she said. "Mostly, I was afraid of Sasuke's hate. I was too young to understand it. I think he was, too."
"I would have done him right," Itachi said and looked down at their hands. "I was waiting."
"He knew that," Sakura said. "That's why he didn't come to see you after you moved here. All his life, he wanted revenge. When he realized that the reasons for his revenge were unfounded, he didn't know what to do with himself. Sasuke only knew how to hate you, and when hate was no longer an option, he stayed away."
"He stayed away so he wouldn't disappoint me?" Itachi asked.
"That's my version. I think he didn't want to give you false hope," Sakura said and swallowed past the ball in her throat. It wasn't her story to mourn. "You should talk to Naruto about this. He knew Sasuke better than anyone. Or he understood him. I don't think anybody really knew Sasuke. I didn't."
"You loved him," Itachi said.
"No. I loved the idea of him."
"What idea was that?"
"I don't know," Sakura said. "Unattainability? Coolness? I was a child. I had no idea what I wanted. We've been over this before."
"I knew what I wanted as a child," Itachi said and Sakura fought the urge to hurt all the people that had forced Itachi to grow up as fast as he had done. He had never been a child.
"I don't think you ever were a child," she said and chose her words carefully. "Neither was Sasuke."
Itachi didn't answer. They sat in silence until he wriggled his hand free from under hers.
"Leave me. Please," he said and turned his head away. Sakura stood up from her chair. She didn't ask why, and she didn't hesitate. She understood why, and she accepted it. Itachi understood his own actions as little as he understood the actions of others. He processed his emotions best in solitude. Sakura worked in the same way. More than once, they had lived for days under the same roof without talking to each other. It wasn't anger or hurt. It was one person giving the other space without the other having to ask. Sakura had already pushed it this time. She had come looking for Itachi. On this night, the tenth night after the discovery of Sasuke's dead body, she had broken protocol and gone to comfort her lover. He had been waiting for her, too. Ino's couple mentality, Sakura thought with a wry smile. Sasuke had been dead in her mind for a long time. Years after the war, everybody had agreed on his death. There had been no sightings of him anywhere after he had fallen off the grid at the same time that Itachi had showed up at the Konoha gates. They now had proof of Sasuke's death - his decomposing body, to be exact - but it made no difference to her. Even though the younger Uchiha had been alive all this time, he had been dead in their collective mind. Sakura had already mourned him. Itachi hadn't. She hurt because Itachi hurt.
"I'll be in bed," she told him. "Don't leave the door open if you go outside. It's hot outside, but it gets too drafty."
She left him in the kitchen and returned to their bed. She woke up one hour later when Itachi crawled into bed with her. She unfurled her body from one side of the bed and met his in the middle. She put her head on his shoulder and snuck a leg in between his.
"I'm fine," he said. Sakura raised her head to look him in the eye. He looked fine.
"I need you to be fine tomorrow," she said. "And the day after that. And after that, again. Come to the funeral."
"You've already held one."
"We held one after the war. There had been no sightings of him for a long time. It was the right time to move on," she said and laid her head back down on Itachi's shoulder. "But there was no physical body to mourn. No proof like now. If you decide to go, don't do it because of me. I don't care about going or not. I'm doing whatever you are doing."
"When have I ever done something I didn't want to do?" he asked and Sakura smiled at the hint of a scoff in his voice.
"You went to Kakashi's birthday last year and got drunk on the homemade booze," she told him.
"I wanted that."
"Maybe, but you didn't want to pass out on his couch and have me come pick you up."