9 years had passed ever since the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War. Peace had once again restored to the lands and made itself welcome to all who lived there, and life was again at a pleasurable point for most. This was particularly true for one blonde ninja, who was currently standing at the balcony outside his house as he peered over the slumbering village.
It was 10.30 pm in the evening, and Uzumaki Naruto was finding it hard to veer off to sleep, so he had decided to stand on the balcony of his house in order to catch some air. Behind him, the door to his bedroom was ajar, and glancing from the corner of his eye, he caught the form of his slumbering wife lying in the muddled up sheets. Quite surprisingly, Sakura was quite a rough sleeper, although it was something that hardly put Naruto off. On the contrary, it made him love her and appreciate her more, as he had in the past six years of their marriage.
After watching her slumbering form for a few more minutes in silence, the blonde man arched his body off the edge of the balcony, and proceeded to walk carefully back to his bed. Halfway there, he stopped momentarily and looked to the door beside him. Opening the door slightly, he looked into the room from the small shaft of light that he had caused, and caught the sleeping forms of his two babies, Uzumaki Shinachiku and Uzumaki Hanami.
These were the two babies he had sired with the girl of his dreams, and they were the product of their love. The boy, Shinachiku was the elder child of the two, being 5 years of age, while his sister, Hanami, was one year old. Naruto had been overjoyed beyond the moon when he had first caught news of his wife being pregnant, and ever since then it seemed as if his life had been where he had always wanted it to be. Things were perfect, and he couldn’t be happier.
Settling in beside his wife on their bed, he watched her sleeping form, and felt his heart fill with love for the girl. He had fought through teeth and nail to get her, and now that he had her he wasn’t planning to let go of her, ever. Wrapping his arms around her, he placed a chaste kiss on her forehead before slowly drifting off to sleep himself.
Yes, things were perfect right now, but before they were not entirely a smooth ride till where they currently were.
A month earlier
Konohamaru stepped into a dimly lit room on one particular afternoon, the only source of light in the near dark room being a series of candles that were all erected into the walls of the room. The room itself belonged to an old shabby house, which had definitely seen better days than how it appeared currently.
From inside the dimly lit room, a voice called out to Konohamaru. “Psst, did you bring her?”
“Naruto, really, I didn’t come all the way here for some lousy game,” the pink haired woman currently accompanying Konohamaru responded to the voice in the dark.
“Sakura-chan, it’s not a game!” Naruto responded almost fervently, all hints of coolness in his previous response already gone. Leave it to Sakura to throw Naruto off his game even on his best games.
The Medic was not going to be appeased by something like that. Placing her hands on her waist, she bobbed her head to the side and assumed a dull expression on her face.
“Oh really? You have Konohamaru come fetch me in the hospital in the middle of my working shift, to bring me into this dingy place and then you tell me it’s not a game. Come on Naruto,” Sakura probed her boyfriend in a slightly tired voice. She had been working at the hospital ever since morning, and right now the antics from her husband was the last thing she needed on her plate.
“As I said, it’s not a game, I promise. Tell you what, if this turns out to be a complete waste of your time, I’ll take you out for dinner tonight,” Naruto persisted in his persuasion of his wife. He still had not shown his face, something which did not bother Sakura as such, but she felt her patience regarding the entire matter had stopped thinning altogether. She could not tell whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, as her attention was currently snatched by what was in the room in front of her.
“So, what do we have here?” Sakura asked, walking further into the room as she took in the contents. There was a scroll placed in the middle of the floor, surrounded by a seal formation that went around the centre in spirals. She thought that the seal formation was familiar, and a memory prodded at her reminding her that the seal had the same shape as the seal on her husband’s stomach.
That moment was the one Naruto chose to pop out of the darkness, finally showing his face to his wife. “This, my dear Sakura, he started, walking around the seal from the opposite point where Sakura was standing in what seemed to be a poor imitation of a scientist at his lab,” is the latest technique I have finally mastered and perfected.”
Sakura was still not impressed, the dull expression on her face lingering there a bit longer, “Right. Don’t you mean it’s your first one? I don’t remember any of the others working at all.”
That sent Naruto into another frenzy, and his cheeks quickly stained crimson. He stopped in his earlier cool rotator motion around the seal, before rushing to his wife and fumbling with his hands in front of her as if imploring for something.
“Come on Sakura! I promised, didn’t I?” He reminded her of the earlier pact he had made with her, and Sakura saw the longing look in his eyes that was mixed with a feeling of growing enthusiasm. His eyes seemed to sparkle with excitement and he seemed to be in a giddy mood about showing her the results of his new experiment. She couldn’t help but smile back a little at that face, and slowly by slowly, she felt the walls of resistance crumble around her. Even after getting married, he had never quite lost that childish part of him. And she didn’t want him to change, ever.
And just like that, she found herself nodding to him in affirmation to his request.
The truth was, ever since the Fourth Shinobi World War had come to a halt, Naruto had grown increasingly bored with how things were never changing in his day to day life as a ninja. He was one of the strongest shinobi around, but he still wished to increase his jutsu arsenal. While he was content with how things had managed to go back to normal, but even then, he felt as if something was lacking in his day to day life. Pursuing this small feeling of want that nagged at him daily, he sought out the help of his teammates, Hatake Kakashi and Uchiha Sasuke, he had gone on a search for the lost scrolls of his clan. It wasn’t an exactly hard task, as he had already come to terms with his heritage when the war ended. The search had proven successful; he had found a truckload of scrolls in the temple where Sasuke had told him that he had once summoned the dead Hokage using the Edo Tensei technique.
Ever since that day, Naruto’s life seemed to have perked up for something, although Sakura could not quite tell whether it was for better or for worse. While at first he had been strictly warned by Kakashi not to practice the techniques in public since they were quite dangerous techniques of old, which did little to diminish his new found drive. Finding an old abandoned shack to practice in had not proved to be a hard task, since there was one of them readily available near the library. In between making times for dates with her, he divvied up his time to trying to learn and master all the techniques in all the scrolls he had dug up. Sakura had been privy to all his trials with the experiments at his behest, and to her unvoiced expectations, all the experiments had turned out to be failures.
“Okay, okay. I’ll see this for myself.” When Naruto began whining about something, it was very difficult to get him to stop. The only way for her to get out of this debacle was to agree to his whims.
Plus, his beaming face every time you agreed was a sight for sore eyes.
“So, what am I supposed to do?” She asked him, this time a genuine hint of curiosity in her voice.
“About that,” Naruto took his wife by the hand, leading her to the middle of seal formation. He pushed away the scroll that was lying in the middle of the room, before making Sakura stand where the scroll was. “You stand here.”
“You aren’t going to do anything weird…are you?” She asked him, a hint of doubt in her voice just then.
“I won’t. Trust me,” Naruto responded in a calm manner, placing his hands atop his wife’s shoulders in a show of reassurance. He felt her shoulders relax under his hold, and took it as a sign that she harbored no more doubts regarding what he was about to do.
He then walked to the other side of the circle, where Konohamaru was already standing ready.
“What, Konohamaru is going to help too?” Sakura asked Naruto.
The young lad grinned widely before responding,” Yep, Sakura nee-chan. This is a jutsu that will require two people.”
“Don’t worry; it will all be over in an instant.” Naruto spoke to Sakura once more, and she let her arms fall freely to her sides.
“She seems completely ready, boss!” Konohamaru called out to Naruto.
“Yosh, let’s do this!” Naruto said in a voice bubbling with enthusiasm.
Consequentially, the duo of Naruto and Konohamaru proceeded to go through a series of hand signals together. Sakura had to admit how they were in sync just then was quite amazing, to an extent.
The hand signals came to a stop, and for a moment nothing happened. Then almost abruptly, there was a flash of blinding light from inside the circle, followed by tenure of silence as soon as the light dissipated. The scenery soon came back in sight to reveal a collapsed Sakura on the ground.
Naruto’s heart caught in his throat, and he rushed immediately to the girl’s side. Placing her gently in his arms, he tried to ruse her gently by shaking her shoulders slightly and calling out her name, but nothing happened.
She didn’t move.