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Her Boys

By lackingwit


Her Boys

Sakura was not happy.

She didn't really even know why. All she knew was that Sasuke was coming back, all her friends were still alive, and everyone was going to celebrate, because all the good things that happened. She knew that, for the moment, at least, they were going to ignore that Sasuke had ever betrayed the village in the first place. They were going to ignore that, on more than one occasion, they had all tried to kill each other. They were going to do that because, for once in their miserable lives, things has finally gone their way.

The war was over. Sasuke was back. Konoha had lost a few ninja, but it had also gained some. Like Karin and Suigetsu and Juugo. Things were going well. Things were going better than they had been in a long, long time. It was a time to be happy - to kick back with a few bottles of sake and call it a night, because truly, everything felt like one never-ending day. That day's night was long overdue, and they were supposed to be giving the night a good, happy welcome, altogether, as a family, as a team.

And yet, Sakura couldn't find it within herself to be happy. So many loose ends - to many, many loose ends. What were they going to do with the prisoners, once everyone who had been the war stopped partying as if they couldn't believe things had gone well - because they really couldn't believe things had gone well for them? What were they going to do with Karin, Suigetsu, and Juugo? What were they going to do about Sasuke? How many of their own had been injured?

She knew she'd have some really long nights at the hospital waiting for her.

So no, Sakura was not happy.

And she felt really, really bad about not being happy, when everyone else just wanted to sigh and let go of the baggage that weighed down their shoulders. Especially Naruto - he had so many things to worry about, and she didn't want to add her unexplained displeasure to his shoulders.

She sighed, looking down sadly. She'd forgotten she was walking through the village, watching the villagers celebrate. The price for sake had gone down, but only for ninja, and so Tsunade and her friends were more than happy. They'd marked down Konoha merchandise as well - a matter of pride. Even Ichiraku's had marked down their sale price, and Teuchi knew how quickly he could lose money if he let Naruto anywhere near his restaurant - and it was downright impossible to get Naruto away from Ichiraku.

They were all so happy that this war was over; they weren't thinking straight. She wished she could just let go and enjoy the peace for however long it lasted. Ino would be yelling at her for being such a party-pooper, screaming that her big forehead obviously didn't hold a brain large enough to realize when things were good. Ino, however, was busy celebrating with her own team.

Sakura pouted. For a moment she wondered where her own boys were, but decided it was better to leave them be. They were probably enjoying themselves; she didn't want to ruin that for them. They deserved it. All three of them deserved it. They worked hard, and they dealt with her emotions more than she dealt with them herself. Hell, even Sai could tell her emotions better than she could - Sai, for kami's sake!

Another sigh. She leaned against a pillar, watching a family across the street. Three people. The father was a ninja; she'd healed him on more than one occasion. He was older than her by at least twenty years, but he didn't look it. He almost looked younger than she did, with that wide smile donning his features as he tossed his daughter over his shoulder. His wife fussed and worried, but it wasn't any real kind of worry - it was the playful kind, as if she knew better than to think her husband would let their girl come into any kind of harm.

This was what she had dedicated her life to preserving. The happiness and glee and innocence. That child, and all the others like her, and even those unlike her. That woman, and the safety she was so sure she had. Even that man, her own college, a possible teammate - because she was the one who had the job of saving his life when he put it on the line to protect everything she fought for.

This was exactly what she had saved.

So why didn't she feel happy? She had saved exactly what she wanted to.

Green eyes watched for just another moment as the ninja tickled his daughter, as the wife hovering just in case - listening to their mingled laughter. She shook her head, pushing herself off the pillar. She tried to smile, but she couldn't do more than a twist of her lips before she walked away.


She almost slapped herself - no, she almost slapped him. It'd be better if he just saw her and walked away; he was so happy, and she didn't want to bring that down. She groaned, turning her face to Naruto. Sasuke and Sai were with him. Great. She didn't want to be a downer; they'd all had too much sadness for this.

She hadn't expected them to, but they stopped. It was comical, the way all three of them tilted their heads and scanned her with their eyes. She almost giggled.

Naruto and Sai looked at each other, blue eyes meeting with gray for only a moment. Sasuke scowled, stepping backward from the others. Sakura saw something flash over his onyx eyes, but it was gone before she could confidently name it. She would have called it jealousy. How...cute. He wanted to be part of the small tie Naruto and Sai had.

Sakura was too busy watching Sasuke to notice that Naruto and Sai had taken off their shirts. When she did, her left eye twitched and she was about to ask what the hell they thought they were doing when Naruto's face turned into Sasuke's, and Sai followed suit.

Sakura sputtered, watching one of the Sasuke's breaking into a wide grin. Naruto.

Then they started dancing. Oh kami, they were dancing. It wasn't even good dancing - they were jiggling and jutting like fish out of water. Naruto's Sasuke was trying to - twerk!? That ass was obviously Naruto's; apparently he didn't feel like changing anything but his face and hair.

Oh. My. God.

The three words jumped around her head, green eyes wide as she saw Sai do something with his abs that made them wriggle, like worms walking under his skin.

Sakura burst out laughing, watching the two try to dance in Sasuke's face. She was laughing until she had to hold her stomach to stop it from hurting and until she had to put her hand on her knee to keep herself from falling over. Still Naruto and Sai kept dancing, doing things so un-Sasuke-like that Sakura was struggling to breathe through her laughter.

"N-Naruto," she heaved, trying to find oxygen, "S-Sai. Please! Please stop! I - I can't breathe!" Sakura reached out, grabbing hold of the real Sasuke's shoulder to keep her upright. She was snorting in her laughter now, and Sasuke was seething, glaring the kind of death only the dark eyes of the Uchiha could promise.

It was a moment before they took off whatever jutsu they were using to change their faces, but Naruto kept twerking until Sai glared at him and he was fighting off two unfeeling glowers.

"What the hell?!" Sakura shrieked between her laughter, snorting.

Sasuke glared. "That's my line."

Naruto smiled. "You looked kind of sad," he explained.

"You get uglier when you're sad," Sai continued, frowning. "It hurts my eyes."

Sakura almost pounced him, if it weren't for the laughter that kept making her double over.

"So we thought we'd make you laugh."

Sakura shook her head, snorting in her laughter. These were her boys, even Sasuke glowering in the corner. He must be angry at their using his face for means of entertainment. She almost didn't care, because these were her boys being worried - even Sasuke didn't move away when she leaned on him for support, and he hadn't yelled when Naruto and Sai had used his face. She hadn't noticed she looked so down.

A bubbling laughter started, so thick and full of light it belonged to none other than Naruto. Sai grumbled, but offered that silly fake smile of his - it had that edge of honesty that most of his smiles lacked. Sasuke grunted, reaching out to steady Sakura with a scowl on his face that meant he was worried.

These were her boys, and things were going to be okay.

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