For a moment in that eternity, she was resting in peace.
Her mind was completely blank. There was nothing there to fill that stressless emptiness or to cloud that sunless sky that resembled that medic’s head. She had all the space in the world and her ideas weren’t there to occupy any endless corner of her subconscious. For that eternal moment, she didn’t want anything to disturb that perfect state of absence that, for a reason she didn't want to know either, was making everything so much better than before. So much lighter than before. In that white canvas she called mind, the pink haired Uchiha didn’t want any color to disturb that infinite solitude. However, as the numbness evaporated from her senses, a shower of colors started to paint her inner walls. Shades of orange, of pink, of gray and even of black were slowly decorating the insides of her soul.
Those shades brought back the precious memories of her life.
They brought back all the smiles and all the tears she has ever shed.
They brought back all the things that made an Uchiha Sakura out of that hollow body.
Those shades, eventually, brought her back to reality. A reality a lot different from the one in which she lived before her collapse. Before that disease.
When she weakly opened her green eyes to see the world, all the colors had melted into a solid white. Her brain took some time to fully interpret what she was seeing, but when it did, it became clear for her that she was staring at a white celling she couldn’t really identify from where it belonged. On that first moment of her partial awakening, her body started to recover its sensibility in quite a slow pace. It started in her feet, when she felt the soft and cold sheets falling over her ankles; then it climbed up to her hands that started to move their fingers almost imperceptibly. Some shivers followed their way up to her chest, making the rosette feel every single breath that filled her lungs. It was a comfortable and cold sensation that helped the rest of her body to recover all of its senses and made her get used to the silent atmosphere that surrounded her. Sakura was fully awake once again, and along with her consciousness, the memories she preferred to have forgotten, returned.
His painful face was the first image that lit up inside of her head when the chaos brought by that epidemic was remembered. That man’s decapitated head was the next image and the other countless deaths followed by in that reversed time-line that was being rebuilt by her still confused mind. She remembered his last words and how his hand was sweating because of the fever. She remembered both of them waiting for his inevitable death and she remembered about her idea. The idea that could save him. The idea that made her choose to intentionally be infected in order to prevent his eyes from closing forever by the end of that night. Yes, Sakura already remembered it all, but what happened after that? What happened after her memory shut down? Was he dead? Was she dead? She didn’t know anymore. And depending on what would be the answer for the first question, the second didn’t matter at all.
Once she managed to make her head fall to the sides of what seemed to be a pillow, her forest green eyes carefully started to analyze her surroundings. It just took her a quick glance at the machines and at the design of the room to conclude that she was at the central hospital of Konoha. She was back to that place that was the center of the infection, and for some moments, Sakura felt an unexplainable fear of being there. She didn’t want to be back at that place when her help was of no use. She didn’t want to see anyone else dying because of that virus, and after concluding that, a sharp pain settled in her heart. If she was there, then it meant her self-healing idea hadn’t worked on her and it also meant it hadn't worked on him either. It meant that she had failed in finding a cure. It meant that the love of her life was dead. And that thought was enough to make her eyes shed the most painful tears of her life.
The salty droplets streamed through the sides of her temples and invaded her ears with that wet sensation. Her eyes were closed and she was doing her best to hold her screams inside of her lungs. For the moment, Sakura wanted to be alone and if her screams echoed around those hallways, she knew someone would rush into her room. Someone who would be worried and would give her a pity look that would simply finish burying her in the ground. A pity look for a pity widow that couldn’t even save her husband. And that was the one help she didn’t need to receive from a stranger. At that moment, she just needed to go back to sleep. A sleep that, if depended on her, could last the eternity she would have to spend without him. Death had, indeed, destroyed their future.
But never their Love.
Turning her head away from the door was the first thing the pinkette did in order to avoid any possible person that could enter her room. During the first moments of her grief, Sakura just wanted to close her eyes and return to that state of unconsciousness she had been trapped into before waking up. She wanted to go back to the white emptiness of her uncolored dreams, where nothing would really cross her mind. She wanted to disappear from that life, but she couldn’t even close those stupid, teary eyes of hers. They refused to return to the darkness of her eyelids as they kept exploring her surroundings. They were trying to stay open even if she wanted to close them forever. They were trying to see the world even if she wanted to die. They were trying to appreciate the daffodils that were resting on her nightstand, but she refused to think of flowers at that moment, for flowers reminded her of the dead and the dead reminded her of him. Sakura didn’t want to see those flowers or any other flower for the rest of her life. She didn’t want to receive them anymore from anyone that not her husband. Unfortunately, the dead don’t send flowers. And fortunately, those flowers had been a true love's gift.
It was only when a breeze drove the scent of the daffodils to her nostrils that her eyes captured the one thing that made them widen in the most surprised and wonderful expression that girl has ever wore on her face. Her heart stopped, her throat went dry and her whole body simply wanted to stand up from that bed and go touch that figure that was standing just some meters away. A tall figure that was integrating the scene so perfectly that it didn’t even seem to be there. A tall and mysterious figure that stole her heart almost in the same instant. Sakura could not believe in her eyes at that time. She could not believe what she was seeing. On whom she was seeing.
At first, she thought she was seeing a mirage or that it was just a trick played by her mind. She thought she was going crazy and she even considered the possibility of being dead. She considered so many options at that moment but she didn’t really care about any of them. She didn’t care if that image was real or not or if it would last one-second or an eternity. She didn’t care about anything anymore. All she cared about was the fact that he was there, and that she could see him, wearing his usual black vest and leaning against that window as the wind played with his dark locks. His hand was inside his pocket and his eyes were lost somewhere outside of the window. That man was certainly as beautiful as ever and if that really wasn't real, oh life, she just wanted it to last a little longer so she could see his eyes tenderly looking at her. Just one more time and she would be happy. More than just happy.
And thankfully, she had that opportunity.
“Hn, Goo Morning, sleepy horse.”
His eyes were, as she had expected, as dark as ever. They were peaceful, calm and so livid that she could swear she could see his heartbeats through his pearls.
His thin smile was also something that caught her eyes. It was just a tenuous thin line, slightly curled up in one corner, yet it meant the world for her. It meant that he was happy enough to smile. That the whole world was allowing him to be happy, but the fact that it was an almost imperceptible smile meant that he was still the same Uchiha Sasuke she has met in her younger days. He was still that same boy she fell in love with even after so many difficult years. It meant he was still her husband. And wether he was alive or not, Sakura was happy just to be able to see him.
She smiled back, using her arms to help her sit up. At the sight of her struggle, the male Uchiha, more than wilingly, walked to her side, placing a hand on her back as he helped her straightening her column. When she felt his warm hand grasping her own, Sakura couldn’t help but feel at ease. His touch just felt so real and so relaxing that, for one moment, she allowed herself to be completely taken by such feelings. She was taken by his touch and by the way he was looking at her and by how close he was standing from her. All of that mixed with the fact that he was her husband and the love of her life. Not being affected by it would certainly be impossible considering who she really is.
“So… How are you feeling? You’ve slept for a long time, Sakura…”
“ I am okay for now…” She smiled, caressing the back of his hand with her thumb. “ As long as you’re still here with me, I’ll be okay.”
“Hn, I’m not going anywhere, I promise.”
“ I am happy to hear it… I don’t mind going crazy if that means I’ll always be able to see you, Sasuke-kun…”
“… Why would you go crazy?” His brows arched in confusion for a second. Perhaps his wife was still not fully recovered from the whole thing, he thought.
“ Ah… Because… You’re not real, are you?” She said, reaching the palm of her hand to rest on his cheek. “ You are… You are not really here…”
For some seconds, the male Uchiha didn’t know how to react to her words. Of course he knew she had just woken up after days of recovering and her head was probably still not connecting all the information. He didn’t expect her to be totally fine, but thinking he was a fruit of her imagination was, perhaps, a bit too much for him. Still, he would give her time to get used to his presence. He would give her time to realize he was alive.
“Sakura… I am as real as you, don’t worry.”
“… Then, am I dead too?”
“Tch, silly.” He said, flickering her forehead and winning a childish pout from his wife. " None of us is dead, I guarantee it…”
“Uh? How come?”
“ Well… Your crazy idea worked in the end… You’ve found the cure, Sakura.”
Her heart started to beat a little faster as she tried to look for any hints of lie in his eyes. Sakura was searching for any sign that would prove he was not serious and that the reality was still that one in which he had lost his life to that virus. She was trying to find any mistakes in his words, but fortunately, there wasn’t any.
Looking at her a bit more tenderly, Sasuke took her hand from his cheek and held it tight enough to show her the reality behind his words. His dark pearls wouldn’t leave her emerald eyes and the raven haired man simply stared at her as he waited for the answer to hit her with enough strength to make her understand the whole situation.
To make her understand that the virus wasn’t there anymore.
To make her realize that her idea had really worked.
To make her accept the fact that, more than ever, he was really standing by her side.
And that was exactly what happened after a good staring section between such intense orbs. The pinkette finally opened her eyes to the world again and she couldn’t have asked for a better welcome sight.
“Sasuke-kun… So, what you’re saying i-is…” Tears started to pool in her eyes, as her nose became redder and her lips pouted. That was the Sakura he knows, he thought. She was back, at last.
“I am saying that I am-“
“You're alive!” She cried, wrapping her arms around his neck and burring her head on his shoulder. Sakura was sure she was soaking his shirt, but at the moment, she couldn’t care less about his clothing. She just cared about him and about the fact that he was alive and healthy. The love of her life had been saved. And it was all thanks to her.
He tapped her back slowly, helping her to return to her previous position. Those crying, childish eyes of hers were simply stunning at the moment, and for that, Sasuke didn’t even try to wipe her tears away. On that time, he let them fall for they weren’t expressing sadness anymore. They were showing how happy they were for seeing him alive after what seemed to have been more than eternity itself. They were happy to have him by her side. And that was a spot he would never want to share with anyone.
At the moment her eyes were normal again, Sasuke noticed a certain confusion still hovering over her head. He could see the worries in her eyes and in the way her free hand was gripping tightly on the blankets that were covering her lap. He could see her anguish and knowing his wife like he does, the raven haired man could bet anything that the reason behind her torment was no other than the virus itself. There were still unanswered questions in her mind, and even if he wanted to spare her for a little longer, the male Uchiha knew that his wife wouldn’t want to wait to know about the latest news. Sakura wouldn’t wait, and if he didn’t tell her everything, chances were that she would get up from that bed and go look for answers on her own. She is impulsive, stubborn and really really impatient. And those were the things that kept him alive after everything was already lost.
“ … Is there anything bothering you, Sakura?”
“…” She looked at him, simply nodding. “ Well… What happened after I collapsed? What happened to the infected? What happened to us?”
“Hn… After you collapsed, I started to feel my strength coming back and I managed to send a message to your master. She came to our house with some other people from the medic squad and I told them exactly what you did to produce the serum with the correct antibodies… Your master was really proud of you after hearing my words…”
A light lit up inside of her heart as a wave of happiness took over her body. So her master wasn't disappointed in her, after all…
“ And then what happened after that?”
“… They took us to the hospital and ran some exams on both of us… They took our blood for testing and they even took yours to help other patients in extreme need… Hn, you can even say you’ve donated blood to every single one who was here…”
“ Aren’t the patients here anymore?”
“How come?! It’s still too early for them to leave! It’s been what… 2-“
“It's been almost a week already, Sakura… You’ve been resting for almost a week…”
“What?” Her eyes widened. Never before she had slept for so long. “ Sasuke-kun, you shouldn’t have let me sleep!
“What? And what should I have done!?”
“Tch… You should have woken me up… There was still work to be done around here.”
As he blankly watched her puffed cheeks, the male Uchiha did his best not to yell at her in order to teach his wife a lesson about taking care of herself. There was no way he would have woken her up and no way he would have even let her do anything in her condition. Sakura was more than just exhausted after producing the serum and more than anyone in that village she deserved a rest. A long and energetic rest to fill her tanks and to restore a part of her health. Her body needed special cares at the moment. And it was his duty as her husband to make sure she remained healthy. To make sure she felt proud of herself.
“ You’re impossible, Sakura… Having saved the whole village isn't enough already?”
“… But I didn’t do it all by myself. You also he-“
The end of that phrase never met the external world. Just before it could leave, his hand went to the back of her neck and puled her face closer so his lips were smoothly pressed against hers. Lips so chaste that served only for shutting her mouth and for making Sakura swallow back those letters. The male Uchiha wouldn’t allow her to share her efforts with anyone for he knew how hard she had worked for that serum. He knew how much of herself she had sacrificed for the sake of the others and for that there was no way he would let her credits be given to someone else, even if she was the one giving them away. Sasuke would never let her finish that sentence. And he would kiss her every time she tried to if it was necessary.
It was only after some good twenty-seconds that they both parted their lips from that kiss. Sakura was left blushing after that, while their foreheads were resting against each other and they both recovered their air. That kiss had been the best thing she had received ever since she woke up, and even after he broke their connection, the rosette felt something weighting down her neck. It was almost imperceptible, but once her eyes looked down, they soon identified a silver necklace with a horse pin attached to it. After seeing it and touching it, her cheeks became even redder, and before she could even say anything in response to that, her husband decided to take the initiative.
“ You did it all by yourself… You did it with your own strength. A strength similar to a horse."
“ I love you…"
Watery eyes observed the raven haired man in front of her as she held the pendant with her right hand. Her cheek was softly brushing against his own, as his lips were innocently hovering over the corners of her mouth. Her husband was being so gentle and sweet that, for a brief moment, she could swear that there were real butterflies living in her stomach. Everything was simply perfect at that moment and she doubted it could get any better after such meaningful surprise from her husband. She still could not believe he had bought her a horse necklace as a reminder of her crazy idea, as he had called it. Sakura didn’t really need any present as a reward for saving his life, yet just because she didn’t need it, it didn’t mean she wasn’t happy for receiving it. The fact that he chose it for her and the meaning behind that silver horse meant more than anything in the world at that moment. The pink haired medic was exhaling happiness and love at that moment, and if not for the fact that her muscles were still hurt, the female Uchiha would have thrown herself on him already. At that moment, Sakura just couldn’t wait for them to be alone at home so they could properly be together as a couple. She wanted him for herself more than anything at that moment. She wanted to hug him so tight he wouldn’t breath and she wanted to hold him close so they would never be apart again. She wanted to stay close by his side like that for eternity if she could. Just the two of them, forever. However, some things can’t be controlled. And these things are annoying just like a fox.
“ I love you t-“
“ Are we interrupting the couple?”
With a foxy grin playing on his lips, the future Hokage of the Leaf, like a worm, was indelicately peeking on his best friends’ conversation through the wide opened door. His intense sapphire eyes observed cautiously the whole scene that was happening inside that room and by the way those two eyes were shinning, it was possible to tell that he had seen something in there that made him quite happy. Naruto had been there since who knows when, but it was only after that warm scene that he coincidentally decided to announce himself, and wether he had seen it or not, Sasuke was sure the blonde wouldn’t miss the opportunity of teasing him about it later. It would be just a matter of time, but that time could wait for the big star of the day was the pink haired girl. And all of those eyes just couldn’t wait to see her.
"Of course not, Naruto." Sakura said, smiling weakly at her friend. " Come in. I'm really happy to see you here!"
"hehe. I am also happy to see you, Sakura-chan! Time here didn't let anyone pay you a visit. He stood by your side every day and every time we asked about you, his eyes would get all watery because of his wife!"
Both of the Uchihas blushed madly at those comments, making Sasuke quickly turn around from his wife. If she saw him blushing like that, she would discover that Naruto's words were truth and that would be just too embarrassing for him to bare. That stupid Naruto...
"Is it true, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked, just observing as the tips of his ears became red. That silly husband of hers...
“ Tch, you are an idiot, Naruto.” The blonde girl came shortly after him, holding a bouquet of flowers on her hands. “ You should have said that they were in the middle of something important… You really recover fast, Forehead. “ Ino smirked, sending her best friend a teasing glare.
“ Hmph, as if I would let Teme do something to Sakura-chan in that state!”
"Oi, Dobe, I wasn’t-“
“You kids have grown up so fast…” A gray haired man came from behind, with a smile being suppressed by his mask. Still, even if not visible, it was possible to tell that their former sensei was quite happy for his students and their grown up initiatives. “ Hello, Sasuke. How are you feeling, Sakura?”
“Kakashi-sensei! I am okay, thank you for coming!”
“ No problem… Now, maybe we should leave you two alone again, right?”
“ Tch… You pervert old man…” The male Uchiha said, taking his palm to his face and finally standing up from his seat. If he sat there any longer, the others that were coming would continue to say those kind of things about them.
“ So Ugly and Traitor-kun are committing inappropriate acts in there? Aw… Aren’t you two too old for that already?”
“Sai, you…” Sakura’s fists clenched tightly. She would definitely kill him once her body was fully recovered.
“ Kakashi-senpai is right… Maybe we shouldn’t interrupt them.”
“Even you, Yamato-taichou!” Sakura blushed, hiding her face in the blankets. Being seen as a pervert by all of her friends wasn’t really that good, but there was one person among them who would wipe all of her embarrassment away. And that person had just arrived.
“Hn. Leave my apprentice alone, will you?”
Her honey colored eyes sent a deadly glare to all of them, as she made her way towards the bed. Her heels were the only sound captured by Sakura’s ears and once that sound stopped, the pinkette knew her master was standing in front of her. The powerful Godaime of the Leaf was there to see her, with an intimidating face that, soon, disappeared into a proud smile. Tsunade couldn’t have chosen a better person to take over her legacy, indeed.
“Tsunade-sama….” Her forest green eyes were looking confusedly at her master, as the blonde simply stood there.
“Sakura…” She said, placing her hand over her student’s pink head. “You've done an excellent job… I am proud of you.”
And so, after the whole tension dissipated in the air and all of the other visitors approached the pinkette’s bed, his dark eyes observed cautiously the scene that happened in front of him. He saw how all of them were happy to see his wife and how all of them worried about her almost as much as he did. Sasuke knew how hard the last few days had been and he was glad that all of that chaos was over at last. He was glad because, after what felt like an eternity, he would be able to see her full smile once again. He was glad because he knew how much that virus had damaged his wife until she could finally wipe it away from Konoha. He was glad to be there to see it all and to stand by her side once again, just like before. However, not everything was the same as before the epidemic, no. She was not the same anymore. Sakura was stronger after that and she proved to herself and everyone else that she is the best in what she does. His wife proved everyone that she had surpassed her master. And he couldn’t be any prouder of the one who saved Konoha.
“Eh, Sakura-chan! If it was me who had gotten infected, would you have done the same as you did with Teme?”
“Uh? What a stupid question, Naruto. Of course I would-“
“No, she wouldn’t, Dobe.” Sasuke said, stepping in and placing his hand on her shoulder, smirking at his loud best friend.
“ Eh? And why not, Teme?!”
“ Hn, because you’re just her friend… I, on the other hand, am more than that…. I am her husband. The husband of the newest hero of Konoha.