I KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT MILITARY PROCEDURES AND SUCH SO PLEASE IGNORE ANY INNACURACIES.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Two hundred and seventy six days.
That was long how he'd been away from her. How long he'd been deployed.
It wasn't their longest time apart (he'd been gone for an entire fifteen months, once) but it was their hardest yet.
He'd left home to fight war, this time. Beforehand Sasuke had only ever been deployed on peacekeeping missions and for minor combats—but never a full out war. Communications were severely limited compared to their previous time spent apart, and Sakura was in a near-constant state of worry. He would spend the majority of his time trying to reassure her in whatever way he could, concerned by the consequences such stress would bring to her health. But she never quite calmed because worrying for him was in her blood—she'd done it for far too long, far too many times.
She was so frantic sometimes he was convinced she would lose the baby, if she kept going on like this. He was so nervous, so fearful about her health about halfway through his deployment that he couldn't help from reaching out to Hinata and Naruto, nearly imploring them to take in his wife in their home so they could properly take care of her. Of course they agreed without question or hesitation. This had later on been proven to be his best decision, as Naruto reported a few weeks later that she spent a lot of her days smiling and she seemed a lot less tense than she used to be in months prior. Relieved, Sasuke had allowed himself to be at ease, again.
His absence for the birth of their firstborn had probably been the hardest part of his leave, for the both of them. Originally, he was supposed to be back only after six months—he was supposed to have been there at the start of her third trimester. But the war reached its peak at the end of his deployment period and his troops needed him now, more than ever. He'd been asked to extend his leave for another six months. Sasuke, ever the good and loyal soldier, accepted the offer, despite the crushing sadness and frustration of not being able to be there as he promised Sakura. He wanted to be there the day their child was brought into this world—but he couldn't be.
It wasn't until he told Sakura—which honestly had been one of the worst things he'd ever had to do—that he realized that not only would he miss the birth of his child, but he would miss the first three months of its life, too. He would never be able to express how terrible he felt about accepting the offer, then, and leaving Sakura to not only go through her pregnancy without him, but to raise their child alone for the first three months. He couldn't blame her for getting as upset as she did when he told her the news.
But then a miracle happened. Almost three months later, Ibiki, his superior, had approached him with the news that he was to be sent home within the next week. Shocked beyond belief, yet nonetheless so very content, he asked what had prompted the change of decision. Ibiki had simply explained that with the severity of the war smoothly declining, and the constant willingness of his many comrades in replacing him, they had it all covered from here.
And now here he was, at the airport, freshly cleared with customs he'd been dealing with for about two hours now. Nine months and three days after he'd first left this beloved town. Nine months and three days since he'd left his pregnant wife to fight war.
He was home.
And Sakura didn't know that.
He hadn't told her the news. He hadn't told her he was coming home today—hadn't told her he would be able to hold her in his arms, once again, in just a few minutes. He hadn't told her anything at all.
But she was here, he knew it. He'd made Naruto promise to make sure of that, two days after Ibiki approached him. He'd been his only phone-call. At first he'd wanted to use it to call Sakura, but upon further pondering he realized what an amazing opportunity this could be. How happy he could make his wife by surprising her three months before he was due to arrive.
So he called Naruto. Devised a story to get Sakura to come to the airport on the day of his flight, with certainty. It couldn't be to support a friend whose husband was coming home from war, or anything too tragic (they didn't want her to stress again, after all). It had to be happy but urgent circumstances. Something she couldn't miss—something she didn't want to miss out on.
They settled on telling her they were welcoming a leg-wounded Kakashi home.
The latter had played his role most convincingly, having sent a picture of himself in crutches, with his left leg wrapped and bloodied, and the words, "I'll be home soon, don't worry so much," written at the back, along with the flight gate, date, and time of his—well, Sasuke's—planned arrival.
He knew she wouldn't miss it for the world—especially if he was told to be injured.
Sakura was here.
But where…? As he walked through the arrival gates, Sasuke adjusted the strap of his military pack on his shoulder, grunting a little at its heaviness. But he paid no more heed to it as he scanned the crowds for his pink haired wife. She shouldn't be hard to find—her exotic looks made her particularly noticeable admits even the biggest of hordes. So where could she be…?
As families started to cry out in joy, for the obvious notice of their brave soldier coming home safe and sound, his heart began to race. Soon, he would have something like this. He swallowed tightly, feet coming to a stop near a bold pillar as he perused the masses of people more thoroughly, trying to ignore the way his hands began to shake in anticipation. God, he couldn't wait to see her. To see them.
"Hey! HEY! There he is, Sakura-chan!" His heart stopped. Naruto. That was—that was Naruto, he was sure. "Hey, over here!"
Shifting his body quickly in the direction of the shout, he spotted pink. Sakura, he thought, heart jumping in his throat. He clenched a fist tight, biting the inside of his cheek. Sakura. She's here.
She wasn't facing him yet, though. Instead, Sakura was preoccupied with the stroller between herself and Naruto, caring for the little miracle that he couldn't wait to meet. But she was excited, he could tell.
When she finally turned, with a shining smile upon her lips, and a most warm-hearted gaze, their eyes seemed to find each other instantly. Her smile vanished within seconds, utter shock taking over her entire body. She couldn't wouldn't move, wouldn't say anything. Couldn't believe what she was seeing.
He stepped forward hesitantly, before pausing and taking a moment to just look at her. To take her in. To take note of the changes in her figure, her posture, the green of her eyes and her—her hair. It had grown so much since he'd left, he noticed. They were barely touching her shoulders then, and now they were just long enough to reach her chest. It suited her so well. She looked more… motherly.
But still so beautiful, he thought to himself. Tilting his head a little, a wave of immense affection rushed through him, and he couldn't help himself—he smiled: Small. Soft. A little playful, even, as if teasing her about his well-thought surprise.
The sight of his tiny smile seemed to snap her out of her shock, and she took off running instantly, nearly tripping over her own feet in the process. Her eyes were wide as ever and there were tears starting to well, and as he saw her mouth twist downwards in a broken frown, he felt his heart clench painfully.
Smile slipping from his face, his brows furrowed. She'd missed him too much, hadn't she? In all their times prior, she hadn't cried like this upon his many returns. She had yelled and shouted her joy and let some happy tears escape, but she'd never been like this. Never so… hurt.
Sakura, he thought, dropping his bag to the floor with a heavy thud and readying himself to receive her. I'm so sorry. He was only ever able to take a few quick steps before she all but jumped in his arms, legs wrapping themselves around his waist tightly while her arms clung desperately to his back. For leaving you alone and putting you through so much.
His strong arms went around her in an immediate response, and he gripped so tight he was afraid he would break her, fingers digging almost painfully into her skin as he quite literally hugged her with all his might.
There was a sharp pain in his heart, then, and he felt his eyes prickle with tears, seemingly only realizing at this very moment just how much he was hurting in her absence. Closing his eyes, he tightened his grip and thought, I missed you too.
And as she began to sob furiously in his arms, he swallowed past the pain and buried his face in her neck, one hand running through her hair comfortingly.
"You dick," she cried, wrapping her arms tighter around his neck. "You fucking dick."
He chuckled a bit hoarsely against her throat, rubbing her back soothingly and trying his damned hardest not to let his own tears fall. "I know," he said, kissing the skin of her throat. "I know."
when you're close to me
It took a while for Sakura to finally calm down and to be willing to let go of him so he could settle her down to the floor again. They'd gotten quite a few stares for being wrapped up in each other's arms for so long, with Sakura sobbing against him and literally hanging onto his body. But, he noted quite contentedly, they weren't weird or reproachful stares—they were awed. Happy. Touched.
Those stares continued as he and Naruto had shared one long, tight hug, and bantered for a few moments, throwing affectionate insults and catching up on the time they were apart. They were more than just best friends to the public. They were brothers.
Unfortunately his time with Naruto was cut short as the blonde checked the time and realized he was due to return to his wife.
("I have to help watch over the kids while she makes dinner! And her family's over tonight—wouldn't look too well if I got there late!")
"You'll see him tomorrow," Sakura had told him after he'd watched his best friend walk away. She sounded comforting, and Sasuke wondered if perhaps he looked a bit sad or disappointed, or if his wife simply read him too well.
"Probably," he replied, turning to her so he could press a kiss to her forehead. "Unfortunately, the dobe probably has too much to boast about."
"He just missed you." She paused, then, and looked at him right in the eye. "It's alright to admit you missed him, too, Sasuke-kun. He's your best friend."
Sasuke grumbled a little, and drew her into his arms again, nuzzling her hair. He could feel his heart picking up its pace again as his gaze was drawn to the stroller at their side. He knew they would meet very soon, and he could barely keep himself composed.
Suddenly, as if reading his mind, his wife whispered, "Are you ready?"
He swallowed, hoping he didn't seem as nervous as he felt. "For what?"
Sakura smiled, most knowingly. "Don't even try to pretend with me. You haven't been able to stop staring at the stroller ever since you put me down." At his silence, she took his face in her hands. "You have to see her Sasuke-kun," she said softly, her green eyes so bright and full of love. "She's so beautiful."
Trying to regain some composure, he teased, "Well give her to me, already."
But no matter how much he tried to prepare himself in the next little moments, as Sakura turned and gently reached for the blanket covering the top of the stroller, no matter how many calming breaths he took, or how much he tried to keep himself from shaking in anticipation—nothing worked. Nothing could prepare him for the sight he was to be met with.
He was breathless when he finally saw her. When he finally reached for her.
She was so small. She could fit in one arm but god he was so afraid to do something wrong—so afraid of hurting her or holding her in a way that would make her uncomfortable that he couldn't help but to carefully, shakily, cradle her within his two strong arms. As he looked down at her, at his angelic little baby girl, he couldn't help the immense waves of emotion that traveled through him. She was perfect. She was so utterly, unbearably perfect. With her tiny little hands and her tiny little face, and her little tuff of—oh god, was that pink hair?
Perfect. So fucking perfect, he thought, looking down at the child and feeling such intense, intense love that he couldn't help himself from tearing up. Such a beautiful baby girl and—damnit, I missed three weeks of this? And he could have missed more, too. He was supposed to miss more. But thank whatever god out there, he was here and he was home, with his two most precious people in the world. His beautiful family.
Then she stirred, making a noise and frowning a little, and Sasuke held his breath, tensing and unsure about what he had done to wake her up. Had he moved his hands without knowing? Had he been holding her too tight? Did Sakura usually hold her in a different way? What did he—
And then her eyes opened, revealing the most beautiful, picture-perfect shade of dark, dark green. He couldn't breathe as her gaze fixated on him.
"Hey there, pretty girl," Sakura whispered, before he had the chance to say or do anything. She brushed her tiny hand, smiling beautifully. "That's your daddy holding you."
He lost it, then, shoulders shaking as the dam broke and his tears flowed free, slipping onto his cheeks and his lips as soft, little sobs escaped him. He couldn't stop himself. He was so thankful for what life had given him, so damn thankful for being here when he could have been taken away—when he could have died. So thankful to love and be loved by the woman at his side, and to be able father the little baby girl in his arms. So thankful he could have what so many had had taken away from them.
Softly, he felt thin arms slipping around his neck and a head resting gently on his shoulder, providing some comfort and support in his time of need. She was crying as well, he could feel it by the way she trembled against him and hiccupped lightly against his shirt, and he couldn't help thinking how so very Sakura that was. Urging her closer, he tipped his head and leaned his face into her hair, murmuring soft, tender little words of gratitude as he quietly wept against her.
He was, at that moment, the happiest man alive.
"She's not crying," he remarked a while later, as they parted to look down at their tiny daughter again. His voice was a little raw and hoarse.
"She likes your scent."
He looked up, bemused and eyes still a bit puffy. "What?"
Sakura smiled. "Your scent. It always calms her down." She tilted her head, an odd twinkle in her eye. "Remember when I told you to send me one of your used shirts just a week before she was born? And once again after? I always used it to wrap it around her and she just always calmed down so fast." She leaned in and kissed his cheek, grinning lightly. "She loves your smell. She loves you, Sasuke-kun."
Feeling his stomach flip with warmth and happiness and love, love, love, Sasuke smiled and kissed her sweetly, before he declared, "Let's go home."
Oh, be my baby,
I'll look after you
Part two coming soon. This is only a two shot. :)
I didn't feel like putting it all together cause after that last line I was like awe, that's worthy to end a story or a chapter so I'm just gonna leave it off here and post the next part, which is more heavily centered around their little family, rather than their relationship as a duo, which was more or less what this chapter was.
I feel like I did so great in some parts but awful in others and like the whole thing didn't flow like I wanted to, but I told myself I'm always so critical of my work and if there really is something wrong with it I can always rework it anyway, right? Lol.
Hope you enjoyed. :) Please leave your thoughts! They make me so happy.