Gone?

"Itachi! Daisuke! No running in the house," Sakura called out as she watched her two oldest boys zoom past her. She would have followed the two hyperactive kids if she weren't busy stirring the pot of sauce that would definitely burn if left unattended. Paying no attention to their mother, the seven and six year old continued to run around the living room. Four-year-old Sayuri ignored her brothers as she continued to play with her dolls on the living room floor.

"Someone's had too much sugar," Sasuke commented dryly as he walked into the kitchen.

"They're your sons," Sakura mumbled, feigning annoyance. A pair of strong arms wrapped around her waist from behind, hands settling on her protruding stomach.

"Our sons," Sasuke corrected, as he kissed her temple. Sakura leaned back slightly, basking in her husband's warmth. Being parents to three children and having to plan for the arrival of the fourth left the two lovers little time to simply relax.

Glass crashing from behind them broke the moment. "Itachi! Daisuke!" Sasuke yelled out as he turned around. Sayuri's loud wails made both boys flinch, as they stood paralyzed in their spot. They kept their heads down as they heard their father approaching. In front of them, water soaked the wood floors. The sunlight glinted against small pieces of glass. The two boys were well aware of the fact that Sayuri was Daddy's little girl. They were really in for it now.

"Up to your rooms," Sasuke ordered his two sons as he kneeled in front of his daughter. "Now." Itachi and Daisuke ran out of the living room and up the stairs. Sasuke glared after them but quickly looked down at the sobbing Sayuri. "Are you hurt?" he asked gently, looking her over. The little girl shook her head vigorously, her pink hair swinging back and forth. "What's wrong? Did they scare you?" Sasuke inquired stroking his daughter's hair.

"F-fishy," Sayuri said between gasps. Sasuke looked over at the broken fish bowl and saw the small goldfish Itachi had won for Sayuri a few months ago at the summer festival. The little guy was motionless.

Sasuke let out a sigh. He wasn't sure how to deal with this. "He-he no move," Sayuri wailed.

"No, he doesn't," Sasuke mumbled.

"Why?" His daughter gazed up at him with big green eyes, glazed over with tears. She was a replica of her mother.

"He's…" Sasuke hesitated, wondering how to describe the family pet's current state. "He's dead," Sasuke stated bluntly.

"Dead?" Sayuri asked, sniffing.

"Yes, his time came to an end," Sasuke lamely explained.

"He gone?" The little girl asked. Sasuke saw more tears pooling in her bright eyes and knew that she was going to start crying again.

An image of his mother's smiling face popped into his head. Sasuke visible flinched. Sayuri caught the sudden action and kept her eyes on her father, confused. His father's face soon appeared as well. Then a myriad of memories from his childhood assaulted him all at once. Sasuke could feel his hands start to tremble slightly. A deep, stab of pain struck his chest and Sasuke felt like the breath was sucked out of his lungs.

A gentle hand on his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts. Sasuke looked up at his wife's understanding gaze. She affectionately squeezed his shoulder and gave him a sincere smile. The pang of hurt and despair was quickly replaced by an intoxicating warmth. Sasuke turned his gaze to the tearful Sayuri.

"No, Sayuri. He's not gone. He's simply watching over you from afar now," Sasuke explained.

"Really?" the pink haired girl asked.

"Really," Sasuke answered, with conviction in his voice. He gave Sayuri a small smile, his hand now caressing her cheek.

"Come on, Sayuri," Sakura said. "Let's get you read for dinner." Sakura took their daughter by the hand and headed towards the kitchen.

Sasuke watched them leave with the smile still on his face. He looked down at the still pet among glass, water, and small pebbles. The smile turned into a scowl. "Stupid fish," Sasuke mumbled as he started cleaning up the mess.