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Sakura opened the door to her new apartment "Aw no I forgot I have boxes everywhere- I- Eh. Sorry, Sasuke" She admitted hitting her flushed cheeks as she moved around the boxes. "Mom kinda .. destroyed the house" Sarada filled in quickly as Sakura left them in the hallway. Sasuke eyed his daughter nodding slowly as he removed his coat. Sarada jumped forward quickly grabbing at it "Here I'll help you" she grinned helping him take the coat off. Standing on her tippy toes she reached up to place the coat on the rack. 

 

"Hn"  Thank you  Sasuke smiled down at her. Sarada was so much older now. She wasn't the same little baby he had spent hours cradling in his arm. Who had dragged him around the house (and was the reason he always had this knot in his back from having to lean down holding her tiny hand as she dragged him around the moment she could walk). To be honest Sasuke had absolutely no idea what to do now when she was a baby it was easy. A checklist of sorts.

 

  • Food
  • Sleep
  • Changing
  • Playtime aka drag father around the house. Pushing his hair around. Fuss around with his missing arm. Try find and throw father's shuriken (Sakura had scolded him on this twice. Although Sarada had found them more than that Sasuke was surprised)

 

Sarada was so routine based as a baby all he had to do was follow a mental checklist and if anything went outside of that said checklist normally Sakura was around to know what she needed. Sasuke reached out to her shoulder and he saw his daughter's eyes brighten. He smiled in response softening his features for her. The pair walked down the hall turning into the living room that was still stacked with boxes. "Are they labelled?" Sasuke found himself whispering to his daughter looking around the boxes. Sarada put her hands behind her back leaning forward to find her father's eye shaking her head slowly "Nope" she grinned. Sasuke gave a single nod in return.

 

"I've made tea Sasuke just the way you like it. Do you want anything to eat- What am I saying you two must be so hungry after all that fighting. Sarada I hope you haven't used up too much Chakra" Sakura spoke from the kitchen fixing up three cups of tea for them each. Sasuke followed in with Sarada following close behind. "I'll carry those" she beamed skirting around him to fetch the cups to the kitchen table. 

 

With Sarada's back turned Sasuke reached out to his wife giving her a light tug on the arm closer to him. Pressing his lips into her hair. "I missed you" he whispered and Sakura smiled widely. "I missed you too Darling" She whispered back. Sarada sneakily came around eyes wide, smile wider looking at how peaceful and happy her parents were together. Sasuke lifted his arm back inviting Sarada closer to which the girl jumped quickly wrapping her arms around them both.

 

He hadn't ever imagined that he would actually rebuild his clan. That anyone would actually love him after everything. That he would have a daughter who was perfect in every way (Naruto could fight him on that). "Go drink your tea, I have dinner on the way" Sakura blushed hiding her face from them by quickly turning around. Sasuke smirked heading towards the table that thankfully wasn't covered in boxes unlike the rest of the house. 

 

Sasuke and Sarada were seated at the time. Sasuke slowly sipped at his tea watching his daughter from the corner of his eyes as Sarada seemed to be internally focused on memorizing every fine detail of him. "I've got dinner!" Sakura called out. Coming around the table to layout their dinner for the night.

 

 

Sakura moved about the table handing out the meals to them. "Of Course you are my real daughter, and Of course I gave birth to you" Sakura drawled out clearly still somewhat tired from the last few days. Sarada glanced down stiffening her boy "Silly kid" her mother said offering a soft smile that Sarada missed feeling defeated. How could she think that? After everything that happens between her and her mother, of course, they were related. 

 

Her eyes moved first searching to find her father looking at her "I.." she started unsure what to say in those rare moments where she was tongue-tied. "I'm sorry" she willed her voice to sound stronger then she felt. "Dad... I" she started somewhat surprised to find him smiling down at her. He looked so calm and okay with what had happened? Wasn't he annoyed with her too like her mother was. Sarada shifted in the chair.

 

"Don't worry about it, I get suspicious and jump to conclusions too" he revealed with some playfulness to his tone that had Sarada beaming. She was beginning to understand why her mother always said 'you're so much like your father.' Her eyes widen and her smile grew just looking at his lone eye the other hidden behind the thick bangs of hair - It was so messy! -

 

Sakura stood back smiling at the pair before her. Like father like daughter she thought letting her gaze soften at them. Her silly pair.

 

 

Dinner moved on quickly pasted them, eventually, Sakura had taken the plates into the kitchen before washing up. Sasuke had joined her. Drying the dishes as she washed them. Sarada watched them standing against the kitchen half wall. Grinning ear to ear. "Daddy? Can you tell me about the Uchiha clan?" she asked resting her head in the crook of her elbow on folded arms. Sasuke glanced up at her "Hn?" he asked in this silent tone for  What would you like to know?  Sakura mused to herself, he hadn't changed. "Everything" Sarada's eyes were bright and Sasuke had to pause for a moment. Everything wasn't exactly an easy thing to explain.

 

"Pick something simpler Sarada." her mother scolded. She didn't need to move and judge Sasuke reaction to know what he would be thinking in response to their daughter. Sarada pushed her head into her arms "Can you tell me more about our clan history? Our family?" she asked leaning up on her toes over the half wall with bright eyes. Sakura glanced at Sasuke who she could tell was processing the thought slowly. "Hn. I think I can do that" she responded putting away the last of the plates. Sakura smiled and Sasuke began telling Sarada stories of their clan. Of course, he avoided specific tales and subjects, anything pertaining to eyes or the Sharingan was carefully voided by both parents. His brother and the actions of many of the clan members were also avoided carefully. Sakura was sure that one day Sarada wouldn't allow them to avoid such topics and would press harder then she did but for tonight at least Sarada was easy to handle, desperately seeking any and all attention from her father. 

 

 

An hour before midnight she could see Sarada beginning to doze off. The young girl was trying her best to stay wide awake. Sakura couldn't help feeling sorry for her watching her leaning on Sasuke arm as he responded to each dire question with ease and she told him plenty of life with Sakura well he was gone. They looked like a complete family. 

 

Sarada nuzzled her father's missing arm as she began to almost drop off. Sasuke smiles her eyes moving from her as his voice quieted to nothing. Looking to Sakura who had been grinning ear to ear this entire time just enjoying the moment. "I think it's finally bedtime. I'm surprised she could stay up so long" Sakura smile taking away the teacups back to the kitchen. Sasuke leaned across getting her to rest on his other arm, putting her arm under her he managed to lift his daughter up into his shoulder on the good side. Sarada's arms around his neck. "Daddy" she mumbled clinging onto him. Sakura returned from the kitchen "Aren't you two adorable" she said, Sasuke huffed in response.  He wasn't adorable. He was a feared war hero and criminal. Oh, what was he kidding he was anything but to Sakura.  "I'll take her," he said. Sakura leaned on her toes pressing a gentle kiss to his lips. Sasuke returned it quickly. 

 

They reached Sarada's room. Sakura helped Sasuke lean her gently into the bed. Sakura took her chance throwing her arms around Sasuke neck leaning her weight into him. "Our little girl. Our silly little girl who ran off from the village just to find you" she said putting her hand to Sasuke's cheek. He leaned into the feeling "Let's go to bed" he offered to give Sarada a final look.

 

Spending the last few days with his daughter, the evening with his family and finally climbing into bed after years of being away Sasuke was beyond happy and relax. 

 

They waited at the gates. Sarada had insisted on coming to see her father off and Sasuke couldn't bare saying no to her. Much to Sakura's delight, it meant that they had both walked with him to the gates. Instead of last time where he had left at what Sakura was reasonably sure was 3 in the morning well Sarada was fast asleep. 

 

The morning sun stood high in the sky at already mid-morning. Sakura, on the other hand, had insisted to him to leave a little later in the morning so Sarada could sleep, so they could at least cuddle for a few moments in the morning and so she could have breakfast made for them all and a lunch box for him. 

 

"Daddy ... When will you ... Come home again?" Sarada's voice was broken clearly on the edge of tears much to the hearts of her parents. Sakura hated that Sasuke had to leave, so soon already too, but unlike her daughter, she understood why he had to be away. She understood all the great things he was doing for them by being away and protecting them. One day Sarada too would understand, as heartbreaking as it was. His mission wasn't forever, he would get time with his daughter soon Sakura hoped. 

 

Sasuke swallowed back. Grateful Naruto hadn't been here to see him off, it was just them and it gave him time to let his walls down for his family. He could see Sarada's face almost breaking as she made herself look away. On the edge on tears. He stepped forward reaching out to her with his single arm, Putting a hand on her shoulder he pulled her off balance towards him. Slipping his arm around her shoulders. Sarada let herself lean in caught off by surprised that he was hugging her. Her own dad was actually hugging her. Taken back she didn't know how else to respond besides pushing her head into the shoulder of his clock. "I'll miss you Sarada" he whispered leaning back from her "Daddy?" she said voice cracking again and Sasuke could see the tears in her eyes.

 

Damn it if she didn't look so much like the spitting image of Sakura to him the night he left her back when they were Genin. "Don't make such a sad face" he hoped she couldn't catch the begging tone to his words. He knew Sakura would've. If Sarada kept making such a sad face he was sure he couldn't will himself to leave her again. It was hard enough when she was still so young clinging to Sakura's arms as her mother held her to her chest. Now she was old enough to actually comprehend him leaving. 

 

Sasuke put on a smile remember the tiny baby that he had once been holding and how she had grown up too quickly. He moved his hand away, putting out his index and minger finger and closing the rest. 

 

Poke.

 

The world had stood still as far as the Uchiha family was concerned right now. His smile grew at the shocked face of his daughter. Damned if she had inherited his hair and eyes she looked everything of her mother to him. "Till next time, Kay" He said bravely. Just as Itachi had done to him, know he would repeat it to her. But this was his promise, he was going to come back as soon as he could. He just didn't know how to voice such a thing to her without having her cry in front of him. 

 

Sarada's mind flashed back to the first moment her mother had done the same. Poking her forehead and telling her "I'll tell you about it next time" lowering her hand and beaming brightly. Sarada caught the flush of her cheeks with confusion. "You'll understand when you see your dad". Sarada truly did understand now as the tears finally broke free in her eyes but she wasn't upset this time. No, she was beyond happy to finally understand what her mother had been doing for years. Her own cheeks flushing red as her dress, the girl raised her hand in surprised to her forehead. She turned around with tears in her eyes sheepishly looking to her mother. 

 

Sasuke behind her stood up gathering himself with a smirk. Sakura grinned widely at them both. The moment between them was adorable, it was perfect. It was exactly what she knew Sarada had been needing for years. She took her turn walking towards Sasuke holding out the lunch box she had prepared this morning well he was showering. "Here I packed your lunch," she said somewhat shy. She, in reality, had left this moment between them, she had had Sasuke all to herself last night and this morning before they got up. It was Sarada she knew who needed this time as much as she had missed Sasuke more than anything, Sarada needed to be with her father. "Thanks" Sasuke returned. 

 

She leaned forward with glistening eyes that caught Sasuke off guard. Sarada looked between her parents with curiosity. Sasuke mentally had to remind himself their daughter stood between them, He turned quickly suddenly embarrassed "Ah- See you" he said. Why did they have to keep making it so damn difficult for him to leave, He'd never be able to leave on missions if they kept doing this to him. Affection wasn't his strong suit. "I have to get going-" He added slowly knowing full well how disappointed Sakura would probably be. He held tighter to the lunch box in his hand smirking behind his bangs.

 

 

Sorry, Sakura. Next time.  He said in his head as he left his two favourite people. Sasuke was tempted to turn around if only to see them walking back to the gates but he never felt their eyes leave his back. Smirking he continued his walk. Letting his mind dwell on the time he was lucky enough to spend with them.