Hi everyone!

Welcome to the final post of Entropy! It's been a long, hard road to get here, but I'm glad to say that we finally have arrived. This chapter includes both the last chapter and the epilogue. I feel that I have wrapped everything up as well as possible.

The theme for this chapter fits very well with Mother's Day. For all you Americans, Happy Mother's Day!

Disclaimer: I don't own the poem at the end of the chapter. That is owned by Dylan Thomas, and I make no money from it.

I hope you all enjoy the final installment. Enjoy! :)

Chapter Twenty-Four

An Arrangement of Sorts

They reached a small clearing, Sakura glancing back every so often to check on Rei and also to keep an eye on the dangerous predator behind her. They were only about fifty yards from her camp, so Rei was in easy distance to defend should anything go wrong.

Sakura had to admit to herself that she anticipated things going south very, very quickly. While there wasn't much she wouldn't do for her son, being raped again was not one of them. There was only so much abuse she would withstand, and reliving the experiences that had brought Rei into the world was beyond that limit.

She stopped and turned to Madara then. His eyes gleamed in the moonlight, and she couldn't help the compulsory frown that she felt upon seeing him. Just making eye contact with him made her tremble, but a few deep breaths to calm herself allowed her to keep her composure.

"I'm going to ask again," she said coldly. "What do you want?"

Madara raised a singular eyebrow, clearly unimpressed. However, he humored her, and replied, "I want my family."

Sakura bristled at this, because she and Rei were in no way his family. But Rei would want that, wouldn't he? The reminder hurt, and scared her, but she had very little choice in this matter.

Through gritted teeth, Sakura replied, "I suppose that's reasonable." It was one of the most difficult things she'd ever had to say. "But while Rei might be amenable to your presence, I'm afraid I'm not."

Madara watched her with calculating eyes, and Sakura couldn't help but feel like he was reading her, seeing right through her words. Just because she didn't want him around didn't mean she would deny her son his father's presence.

"And you would keep our son away from his father?" he asked her then, and it yet again brought into question just how powerful the Uchiha doujutsu was.

Sakura clenched her jaw at the term 'our son', but knew that Rei wouldn't see it the way she saw it. Rei had always wanted his father, and who was she, as his mother, to deny him that, regardless of the bad blood between her and Madara?

It caused a pit in her chest, an ache, but she knew that she was strong enough to give her son his father, and so she would do it. Anything for Rei.

She exhaled hard from her nose and said, "No, I wouldn't. Rei wants his father, regardless of whether you deserve to raise him or not." Madara's eyebrow quirked threateningly at her words, but she wouldn't take them back. "That's why we're going to discuss this like equals and come to an agreement that works for the whole…" She choked as the word came out. "family."

Madara nodded concisely in agreement. She wasn't sure if he even understood the concept of equality between two people, but she wasn't going to back down on this.

There was a long silence during which neither spoke, Sakura trying to gather her thoughts and prepare to lay down her rules, and while Madara seemed to wait patiently with a blank expression. She wondered what was going through his mind right then—was he going to ignore everything she said and take what he wanted like usual, or was he actually going to treat her like her own person, as the mother of their son?

After a deep breath, she finally spoke. "If you're willing to follow my conditions, then I'll allow you to stay and raise Rei with me. Otherwise, we're going to vanish off the face of the earth and you'll never find us."

Madara seemed to contemplate this, and then nodded to show he was listening. His silence bothered her more than she cared to admit.

"First off, no means no," she said in the strongest voice she could. "You will not touch me without my permission. At all. The moment you do, the deal is off."

She waited to be interrupted, to be denied her request, but he simply looked at her expectantly, waiting. Now that the hard part was over, she could really get going.

"I want Rei to be a civilian, but I know you won't allow that. I understand you'll probably train him, and as long as you never require him to kill anyone, I won't fuss. You'll do an even share of the housework, and you'll treat me with respect. I don't want Rei to get the wrong idea about how to treat a woman, and if you understand anything about our dynamic, Rei will not tolerate you mistreating me. If you want any kind of relationship with our son, you'll take that to heart right now.

"I get an equal say in all household decisions. In some domains, my word trumps yours. Anything concerning Rei can be negotiated, but if I'm ignored or overruled without compromise, then the deal is off, too. He's just as much my son as yours," if not more, she thought to herself. "And as time passes, this deal will be negotiable as well if something turns out to be not working."

"This all seems to be very much in your favor," Madara commented. She couldn't read his tone, but she knew she didn't like the words, so it didn't really matter.

"Yes, it is," Sakura replied, and tried to figure out a non-confrontational way to phrase her words. "In the past, I didn't get much of a say in things. This time around, if we're going to make this work, I'm going to make sure my voice is heard and respected."

At this, there was silence, and Sakura waited with bated breath for his response.

He wasn't sure whether to be angered or proud.

Obviously he would be angered by Sakura denying him her body. At least, that was his initial reaction—but as she spoke, he heard something in her that he had never heard before. Or perhaps he had ignored it and only time and age had brought him the mellowness he needed to be able to accept it.

He had known, on some level, that he had hurt her, and he knew he hadn't liked it. But at the time, in his youth, he had been rash. He hadn't taken her feelings into account, and had been angered when she tried to express her feelings in any way she could.

He recalled his first thoughts of possessiveness and anger upon realizing that she might have had a child with another man, and how he had been willing to kill the child if it meant erasing the existence of her love for another man. He still felt that way, but given that Rei truly was his, and the fact that he could hear the hurt in her words, the pain and the anger, and she was still compromising for the sake of their son…it brought up a new feeling for her that he thought perhaps he had never truly had for her.


Respect for a true mother, a woman who would do anything for her child. A woman who was willing to face someone she had been deeply hurt by just so that she could give her son his father. He had always known Sakura was strong, but for her to show it in such an admirable way…

Well, he could appreciate this kind of strength beyond all others. So he supposed he was proud.

The rest of her requests were not unreasonable, when looked at through this new lens. And he told himself that in time, she would come to accept him as not just the father of her child, but also as a husband. But he would take it slow, and he would show her that he wasn't going to hurt her again.

So he agreed to her terms, and was taken aback when she burst into tears.

At the sound of her sobs, Rei came rushing towards the clearing to make sure his mother was alright. Sakura just embraced him, still crying, and told him that everything was going to be okay now, and to go say hi to his father. He noticed that she tripped up on the word 'father', but he knew that it would take some time to adjust.

And he had the rest of time to be with her—the Edo Tensei would never let him die if he didn't wish it, and when she and Rei died, he'd bring them back just the same way—so there was no rush.

When his son walked over to him and bowed formally, introducing himself as Haruno Rei, Madara could only quirk his lips and remind himself that no Uchiha child would go by any other name than Uchiha. And when he told the boy this, Rei pouted, and Madara could only chastise him and tell him that Uchiha did not pout.

Sakura watched on, and a strangled laugh tore through her when Rei continued to pout.

All in all, it seemed like they possibly could, in time, be a family.


When Sakura died at age eighty-six, with her sort-of husband, son, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren and their respective husbands and wife, and five great-grandchildren by her side, she left with no regrets.

After five years of living with Madara, she had finally decided that he could stay. He had proven to be an admirable father for Rei, and had defied all her expectations by treating her as more than just an equal—in some cases, he fully deferred to her without question. It took a while for her accept that perhaps he was being sincere, and even longer to develop any sort of trust in him. However, to her dying day, she'd never feel that she had ever fully trusted him, not like she could have had he not raped her, but they had developed a decent rapport.

It turned out that he was unable to rape her again, anyways. The Edo Tensei had no need for procreation or arousal, and a dead person couldn't spawn life. He had no urges to touch her sexually, and she would never want him to touch her sexually again, regardless of how close they came.

Which, to her despair and eventually acceptance, happened. It was hard not to become close with someone you shared your life and your son with.

She grew old while he stayed young, and for some reason, he stuck around. For a long time, she had believed that once she hit forty, he would move on to greener pastures. Such was not the case. In his own demented way, he did love her, and while she never loved him back, her companionship was enough for him. Perhaps if they'd had another two hundred years together, she could move past that.

But she could not in only sixty-something years, and so Sakura was convinced that it had not been meant to happen.

Rei cried when she closed her eyes for the last time, her daughter-in-law Aishine teared up quietly, her grandchildren bawled openly, and her great-grandchildren grieved as was appropriate for their ages. Rei and Aishine had fallen deeply in love quickly and without question in their youth, and the children had not seemed to stop coming. Then, with three grandchildren in their twenties, there had been no end to the young ones running around the house.

It had been a full life, filled with both hardship and happiness.

Sometimes she'd still wonder what would have happened if it had been Tobirama and not Madara who had given her Rei, but in the end, she'd decided that things had turned out how they were supposed to, regardless of whether she liked it or not. And so she drifted off into that deep sleep, content with how her life had played out.

And then she saw him, the love of her life.

"Hello, Sakura," his deep voice said. He looked no older than the day she had met him, and when she looked down at herself, she realized she looked the same as he.

"Tobirama…" she whispered. "What-what's going on? I'm supposed to be dead…"

"You are," he replied, and if his voice was colder than she remembered, she wished she wouldn't notice.

There was nothing here in this blackness, just her and Tobirama drifting in nothingness. She'd wanted to see him again, but not like this.

"I'm sorry," she said after a long silence. She looked down at her feet. "I'm sorry I didn't choose you."

Tobirama laughed gruffly, the sound not as cold as she'd thought it would be. "It wouldn't have mattered. We were star-crossed, Sakura. Nothing could have ever come of it, although I wish Rei had been mine."

Sakura's gaze shot to his. "How do you know about Rei?" And what else did he know?

"When one dies, if they had attachments that they were unable to let go of, they have the unique ability to watch over them until they find their peace. I admit…seeing you with him, I haven't found peace until now."

Sakura nodded. "I agree. You don't…you don't know how much I wished it had been you."

"It never would have," he said, although he clearly agreed with her. "I would never have wished you happiness with that bastard, but it seems fate would not have it my way. In the end, I am just glad you didn't live the rest of your life in pain and bitterness like I did."

Tears dripped from her eyes unexpectedly. "I'm so sorry…" she whispered. And then, in a fit of emotion, she ran towards him and embraced him.

He easily embraced her back. "It's alright, Sakura. I've found my peace. Now you just have to find yours."

It was then that Sakura realized the body—no, the soul—in her arms was fading away. She gripped tighter. "Where are you going? What's going on?" she shrieked frantically.

"I've found my peace," Tobirama reiterated. His voice was growing ever disembodied, until it echoed. "But you still have to find yours."

"My peace is here! With you!" she cried angrily, but his body had disappeared, and soon she was only hugging herself and not her love.

The love she had never been able to let go of—apparently not even in death.

And then she felt a tug, gentle at first and then stronger as she resisted it. What was going on? She felt herself being pulled downwards, and vaguely wondered in her panic if she was going to hell for what she had done to Tobirama.

Suddenly, she found herself in a physical body, looking at her family, whole and huge as it had been for the last twenty years.

"Obaa-chan!" came seven echoing cries. Sakura felt herself being embraced by everyone except Rei, Aishine…and Madara. Whose fingers were still in the final hand seal of the Edo Tensei.

"Tadaima," Sakura whispered, her eyes never leaving Madara's.


It seemed she had a very long time indeed to find her peace.


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.