It was finally over. The war had ended. Loud exclamations could be heard throughout the battlefield. Either cheers of happiness or bitter wails of sorrow.
Sakura had been waiting for this day ever since war had first been declared. She'd fought through the pain and suffering. Having to see someone die in front of you and not be able to feel any ounce of sorrow was extremely difficult for Sakura. It was just who she was; she cared about everyone and everything. How was she supposed to just shut down and stop caring? Sakura hadn't known how but she had done it anyway. There were other people that needed her attention. Perhaps, Sakura had tried to reason, she could save that person's life.
At the end of everything, she couldn't decide what had been worse: fighting off the Ten-tailed Beast on the battlefield or fighting off Death in the medical tents.
That didn't seem to matter anymore. It was over.
Yet Sakura wasn't relieved or depressed. Her eyes were locked on the young man standing away from all the chaos. His back was to her, as it had been for the majority of the fight. He was looking out into the distance. Sakura knew that he was injured. But she was unsure if she could heal his wounds. She thought it might be better to give him a few moments to collect his thoughts.
The worn out kunoichi pried her eyes away from the man she loved and started looking at the damage left behind. That's when her eye caught the Raikage. He was bleeding from a wound on his chest, yet he didn't seem to take notice of it. He had a determined look on his face. Sakura's heart pounded in her ears. She turned her head slowly in the direction the Raikage was walking towards.
He was walking towards Sasuke.
She probably wasn't the only one that noticed as she heard Tsuande's voice, though her words were indistinct. Sasuke didn't seem to realize that the Raikage was walking towards him. He was still an enemy of Kumogakure, and it might be too much to ask the Raikage to forget his animosity towards the Uchiha. No, the Raikage, and all the other Kages for that matter, would want to make Uchiha Sasuke pay for what he had done.
Without any worry for her own well-being, Sakura quickly ran over to Sasuke. She stood off to his left side, slightly behind him. "Sasuke-kun," Sakura called out in a whisper. He slowly turned his head to look at her. He looked…tired. They all probably were, but the look just didn't fit Sasuke. He never showed any type of weakness. Knowing that he was in danger made Sakura reckless. "You should go." She never thought that she'd be saying this to Uchiha Sasuke. After three years of getting stronger in order to bring him back, she was pushing him to leave her. The last thing she wanted was to see him leave. But she couldn't-wouldn't allow him to stay and go through a trial and possibly-
"No," Sasuke replied. Sakura's eyes widened at his declaration. She looked into Sasuke's obsidian eyes, searching for an explanation. There wasn't any. Sasuke had his eyes guarded, his emotions in check. "Do you want me to go?" he asked after a short pause.
It didn't matter what she wanted! Sakura wouldn't keep him there where he was in so much danger. She glanced nervously over Sasuke's shoulder. The other Kages had stopped the Raikage but everyone would occasionally throw Sasuke a dirty look. Sakura wasn't sure what the Hokage's opinion was, but she knew it wouldn't be enough to stop the others.
Suddenly, grey fabric blocked her view of the five ninja. She looked up at Sasuke. He was still waiting for an answer. "No," Sakura answered, honestly. "But I couldn't bear to see you…" Sakura left her sentence hang in the air between them. She lowered her gaze and kept her eyes on Sasuke's chest.
"I'm done running," Sasuke said quietly. Sakura had been afraid of that. Tears started to sting her eyes, but she would not let them fall. This was Sasuke's decision. It would kill her to see something happen to him, but she'd learned that she just had to accept things for what they were, especially when it came to Sasuke. She wouldn't push him any further.
Sakura was focused on steeling her emotions for what would happen when the Kages reached them. She jumped when she felt Sasuke's hand gently touch hers. Sakura's emerald eyes darted up to his. She still couldn't read their exact emotions, but they were…soft and open. "I'm done running from everything," Sasuke clarified. He squeezed her hand lightly.
The pink haired kunoichi felt a tear slid down her face and she smiled up at Sasuke. Wordlessly she intertwined their fingers and tightened her grip.
"Uchiha Sasuke," the Raikage called from behind them. Sasuke kept his gaze on Sakura for a few more seconds that felt like an eternity for the pair.
Slowly, Sasuke turned around to face the five Kages, his grip on her hand never wavering.
Sakura vowed that she would never let him go.