Chapter 10

The first of their friends to find out about Sakura and Sasuke's confirmed engagement was Kakashi. When discussing who to tell first after breakfast with her parents, Sakura had blushingly suggested that Naruto should not be at the top of the list, as he had just spent his first night as a married man. Sasuke gave her a mischievous smirk, thinking of the blushes that would creep up on her cheeks on their first night.

Knowing that Ino was too much of a loudmouth, Tsunade was likely to threaten Sasuke, and Sai was incredibly awkward, Kakashi seemed the best choice. The couple made their way to the Hatake residence in Sasuke's open carriage. Sakura's hands were covered with white gloves, but she was well aware of the ring that graced her finger. Sasuke's mother's ring that was now hers.

Kakashi was, unsurprisingly, reading one of Jiraiya's infamously scandalous novels when the couple walked in to his parlor.

"Ah, Sakura. Sasuke." He greeted them. His mouth and his left eye were hidden beneath his mask, but his right eye twinkled with delight at the sight of Sakura clutching Sasuke's arm. "To what do I owe this unexpected but very welcome visit?"

Kakashi had a hunch that last night had gone very well for the young couple. Sakura was glowing blissfully with a shy look in her eyes, while Sasuke stood proudly next to her, a smirk gracing his mouth.

"Well sensei," Sakura began shyly before casting a glance to the man beside her. "Sasuke-kun and I are going to be married." Sakura turned back to Kakashi breaking out into a large grin.

Kakashi watched his two students for a moment. "Congratulations," his eye was smiling at them, the hint of a tear appearing at the corner. "I know you'll be happy together. Have you told Naruto yet?"

"Ah, no," Sakura chuckled. "We didn't want to disturb him."

"That's probably for the best. Have you set a date?"

"May 12th," Sasuke spoke up.

"Ah," Kakashi paused. "Well, then you two have a lot of work to do."

Sakura laughed at her sensei. It was so like him to worry about the little details at a time like this. The rest of the visit was spent discussing logistics. Plans for the wedding, for Sakura's move-in, and for the future began shaping themselves in Sakura's mind after discussion with her sensei.

"Ah, one more thing, sensei," Sakura stopped Kakashi as she and Sasuke began to depart. "We're not officially announcing the engagement until tomorrow night. You'll receive an invitation from my parents today. Please don't tell Naruto or Ino until then."

Kakashi felt his heart swell with pride. He was the first person they had told about their engagement besides Sakura's parents, and he couldn't help but feel special. "Your secret is safe with me."

Even Sasuke gave Kakashi a genuine smile at that moment.

The next night, at Sakura and Sasuke's engagement party, there were tears, hugs, and "I told you so"'s from everyone. Held in the Haruno's large outdoor brick patio, there was dancing and drinking available to celebrate.

Tsunade congratulated her student with pride that rivaled that of Sakura's own mother. Shizune squealed and hugged Sakura, promising to help with whatever wedding things she needed. Temari and Shikamaru gave them knowing smirks, while Gaara and Kankuro offered handshakes and respectful good wishes. Lee and Guy gave them thumbs up and lectures about "the beauty of youth and young love" until Tenten and Hinata's cousin Neji pulled them away with smiles and apologies. Ino lost her composure, threatening Sasuke to take care of her "beloved forehead". Sai asked Sakura if she were pregnant, earning him a punch from Sakura so fierce that Kakashi had to retrieve him from the nearby woods.

The reactions the couple appreciated the most, however, came from Naruto and Hinata. The newlyweds were already feeling over the moon about their own marriage; hearing about the marriage of their two close friends was just icing on the cake. Hinata had approached Sakura with tears in her eyes, throwing her arms around the pink haired woman.

"I'm so happy for you, Sakura-chan," Hinata told her as she pulled away. "You too, Sasuke-kun. You both deserve so much happiness." The beautiful smile on her face filled Sakura with joy.

Naruto, who had been standing watching his wife lovingly, turned to the couple as Hinata returned to stand by him. He clapped his arm on Sasuke's shoulder. The two shared a look that only brothers could. "It's about damn time, dattebayo!" He wiped away tears that were spilling out of his eyes. Knowing that two people he loved like family were finally going to be making each other happy the way they deserved overwhelmed him.

"Ah, Naruto," Sakura smiled at her sunny best friend and drew him into a tight hug. Sasuke smiled softly at his friends.

Everything was falling into place for the Konoha nine, and in that moment, Sakura and Sasuke felt as though nothing could ever change that.

The weeks leading up to the grand Uchiha wedding were a whirlwind for Sakura. Dress fittings, invitations, decorations, and all of the pieces that went into making a perfect wedding were overwhelming her. In addition to wedding errands, she was working daily in the hospital with Tsunade, developing new antidotes for poisons and continuing her research. Her saving grace was that at the end of these few weeks, she would finally be married to Sasuke.

Before she knew it, May 11th had approached. She was delivering a file to Tsunade that morning before she went home to finish packing all that was left of her room when she heard voices coming from the Hokage's office. She stopped right outside the door, listening to see if she would be allowed to interrupt.

"…totally foolish, you could have been killed, you idiot." Tsunade was scolding someone from behind the door.

"Ah, sorry, Tsunade." There was no mistaking Jiraiya's resigned voice apologizing to Tsunade.

"He's lucky I went searching for him," a snake-like voice hissed. Sakura almost gasped aloud at Orochimaru's voice. "He was half dead when I found him. But more of Jiraiya's foolishness later. It seems that the remaining Akatsuki members are buildinhgan army, and are intending to take down the Five Great Nations. They have captured almost all of the tailed beasts, with the exception of the Eight-Tails and the Nine-Tails."

"Is that their goal? To capture all of the tailed beasts?"

"They do not want to just capture them," Jiraiya interjected here. "I believe they want to bring back the ten-tails and utilize its power to achieve control of the world. The only way to stop them is to fight back, and take them down before they get their hands on Naruto or Killer B. They are not, however, fully prepared to fight yet. I'd say we have four months, maybe five. In this time, all the great nations will need to be preparing and training their armies to fight. It is imperative that no one nation makes a move alone."

"Fuck," Tsunade muttered. Sakura heard the clinking of glasses, and she knew her shisui was throwing back sake. "A Five-Kage summit will be arranged for next month. That gives everyone enough time to travel and meet in the Land of Iron. We will be preparing for war."

"Do you think you should inform any of your shinobi, Tsunade?" Orochimaru inquired lowly.

"Well, seeing as Sakura has been standing outside my door this whole time, I don't know if I have a choice."

Sakura heard footsteps coming towards the door, before it was opened by Jiraiya. He smiled and shook his head at her, motioning for her to come in. Orochimaru looked at her with interest, but said nothing to the soon-to-be wife of his former pupil.

"So, Sakura," Tsunade addressed her with a wry smile. "What do you think? Should the rest of the Konoha shinobi be informed?"

Sakura paused for a moment. "If you're wishing for utmost secrecy, then no. But if you're wishing to gain trust and support from your future army, then you should disclose as much as you can as soon as you can. Keeping this from everyone will only lead to rumors and illogical actions."

Tsunade pondered for a moment before nodding. "Shizune!" Tsunade yelled. The dark haired woman came running in a few moments later carrying Tonton in her arms.

"Yes, Tsunade-sama?" She bowed.

"Summon the Konoha nine, their senseis, and Team Guy immediately." Shizune nodded before running out.

"I will tell those involved in your wedding first," Tsunade mused. "I don't want there to be any surprises tomorrow. Everyone else will find out later today."

Sakura bowed, looking grateful. "Thank you, Tsunade-sama."

By noon, everyone had piled into the Hokage's office. Naruto was the last one in, and the moment he saw Jiraiya, he let go of Hinata's hand to tackle his sensei.

"Get off me, Naruto!"

"You missed my wedding, Pervy Sage!"

"Naruto!" Sakura pulled him off of the white-haired man with one easy pull of her hand. "This is not a time for your antics! Get it together!" She set Naruto back on the ground and he instantly ran back to Hinata. Jiraiya had already jumped up, so Sakura went to take her place standing next to Sasuke. He eyed her curiously, but did not say anything.

Sasuke was completely mystified. What in the world was so important that they all had to be summoned to the Hokage's office the day before his wedding? What were Orochimaru and Jiraiya doing here?

"I have summoned you all here to relay some rather important news." Tsunade clasped her hands together below her chin, elbows resting on the table. "As you all know, very few of the Akatsuki remain. It seems, however, that those left are more powerful than we ever could have imagined. It seems they have the intention of building an army to finish collecting all the tailed beasts and then taking over the world."

A few gasps came from Choji and Ino. Sakura felt Sasuke go completely rigid next to her. She reached out her hand to grab his. Hinata had turned to look at her husband, who was almost shaking with anger. She placed a gentle hand on his arm, and his relief at her touch was apparent.

"So what will our response to this be?" Kakashi pressed her.

"A Five-Kage Summit is being called for next month. It seems we have until October at the latest before the enemy is ready to fight. Their power is monumental. Because of this, no nation will be able to conquer them alone. Our plans will be discussed at the summit. For now, continue working as shinobi. Increase your training regimens, but do not let any civilian know that there is anything abnormal occurring. We are on the brink of war, which makes remaining calm and collected even more important than normal."

Tsunade paused. "And Naruto…do not allow yourself to become an easy target." The jinchuriki had gone stock still as his eyes bore into the Hokage's. "We need you more than ever. You are bold and eager, but in this case, you must not let those traits take over you. This is war."

Naruto simply nodded at her.

"For now, continue on in your normal social spheres. You are all dismissed. Remember, there is a wedding tomorrow." Tsunade threw a sly smile at Sakura and Sasuke, who were still holding hands. "I expect you all to be on your best behavior on my pupil's special day."

The shinobi began to file out of the Hokage's office, their faces all set seriously. They were darkly discussing what had just occurred, and it wasn't until Ino let out a small shriek by the carriages that they all stopped.

"Sakura! We're going to be so late! We have to go pick up your dress!" Ino pulled Sakura away from Sasuke, who began to mutter darkly about infernal blondes. Naruto began laughing at the glare Sasuke was giving the Yamanaka girl, and everyone slowly joined in. The blonde then motioned for Hinata and Tenten to join them. With a kiss to his cheek, Hinata disengaged her arm from Naruto's, making the jinchuriki glare at Ino as well.

"We'll see you tomorrow, everyone!" Ino yelled as the Haruno carriage began taking them away. Sakura made eye contact with her fiancée and threw him a smile. Realization hit Sakura like a brick. The next time she saw Sasuke, she would be walking down the aisle in the backyard of the Uchiha grounds to become his wife.

"Leave it to Ino to lighten the mood with something so trivial," Sai told his companions as they put their horses into the Uchiha stables. "She is an enigma."

"I just don't see why she had to take Hinata too," Naruto huffed.

"It's part of the wedding process," Kakashi told them. "You should know better than anyone about the amount of female bonding that occurs."

The men of Team Seven made their way to Sasuke's library. It was bigger than any other private library in Konoha due to the centuries of Uchihas who had helped contribute to its stock. There was a warm fire blazing in front of the comfortable armchairs and tables the men sat in, giving them all a cozy feeling.

"So, are you prepared for tomorrow, Sasuke?" Kakashi asked him while reading his usual novel.

"Hn," Sasuke affirmed. The Uchiha was not a patient man, and he had waited long enough to be married to Sakura.

"I doubt you're ready for tomorrow night," Naruto clapped his hand on Sasuke's shoulder and laughed. "Oh, you innocent little Uchiha."

Sasuke's face contorted with anger. Best friend or not, he would throw Naruto out on his ass if he made another remark

"Well, it's not like you were ready either, Naruto," Kakashi remarked. "You were stammering and blushing when we mentioned your wedding night to you."

Naruto turned red in the face before retorting "I was just nervous about Hinata's feelings! I know now that I shouldn't have been. That woman is something else."

All the other men turned their eyes curiously on to Naruto, who turned even more red. "I just mean that she wasn't scared or anything!"

Even Sasuke let out a small chuckle at his friend's embarrassment. The Uchiha then began to wonder about Sakura. Would she be scared? Usually, she was fearless. But she was also unpredictable. Would she be eager or reserved?

"Well, I'll just have to make her as…comfortable as possible." Sasuke chuckled internally. He would only give Sakura pleasure tomorrow night. There was going to be absolutely no reason for her to be scared, whatsoever.