Parade of Lights

The last time Sakura had been to the Land of Waves with Sasuke, they were twelve and it was the setting of the first frightening experience she had encountered when becoming a shinobi. She had felt weak and useless not being able to do anything to help her teammates.

But that was different now.

Sakura was twenty years old and about nineteen weeks along in her pregnancy. Her bump was still small and with her heavy cloak no one would be able to tell but as she crossed the Great Naruto Bridge she couldn’t help but place a hand on her lower stomach.

One day she was going to be able to tell her child of the story of how this bridge got its name.

Something cold and wet touched her nose causing her to look skyward. White flakes were falling. Sakura hated the cold but she loved snow. She looked to the concrete and deflated when the flakes melted as they touched the ground. It wasn’t cold enough to stick.

Her hood was pulled over her head and she tilted her head to look up at her husband. His single hand pulled on the strings off her cloak, tightening the hood so it wouldn’t shift.

Sakura’s face became warm, a pink blush covering her cheeks. Sasuke was a mostly silent man, but it was these small actions that loudly stated how much he cared for her.

“Thank you.” She smile sweetly, almost shyly. Sakura wondered when this newlywed feeling would go away. The soft gestures of affection weren’t new but they still made her feel as if there were butterflies fluttering around in her stomach. Sasuke responded with a nod before making their way further down the bridge.

It had been Sasuke’s idea to visit the Land of Waves. They had been traveling for almost a year now without a set plan about their destinations but he had been almost insistent about reaching the Land of Waves by this date. It was out of the way considering they had plans to visit the Land of Snow before the generators were turned on for the time of year it became the Land of Spring.

“So when are you going to tell me what we’re doing here?”

Sakura had been asking constantly throughout their journey but Sasuke would just smirk and evade the question. Sakura would puff out her cheeks in irritation and let the subject drop for the moment before curiosity hit her again and they repeated the motions of her asking and him evading.

Whatever it was, it had to be good if Sasuke was keeping it a secret.

“Don’t you get tired of asking?”

“Don’t you get tired of not answering me?”

Sasuke just shook his head and chuckled. As happy as it made her to see him so amused, Sakura could only go so far without knowing.

As they approached the shores of the Land of Waves, Sakura was overcome with a sense of warmth in her chest. The harbor town was bustling with activity, lanterns were lit and there were stalls along the street leading to the docks. So many years after they had visited as genin and the Land of Waves was prospering.

There was a multitude of shapes formed with strings of lights on the docks, causing the dark water to glitter in the night. They bobbed on the water, making the reflection of the lights dance across the surface.

“Wait. Are those…boats?”

The colorful string of lights had been wrapped around the vessels. Each boat had their own theme, with different creatures or objects created with the lights.

Sakura’s eyes widened in awe and in her excitement she made to sprint to the docks. A firm hand grasped her forearm and stopped her in her tracks. Sasuke was looking down at her, brows pulled down in a frown. Sakura clicked her tongue at him but looped her arm through his.

“It’s not like running is going to do any harm. We’ve been traveling across countries! And plenty of women exercise while pregnant.”

Sasuke scoffed but he let her hold on to his arm. It wouldn’t make sense to argue with a medic. He only wanted her to be more cautious. Festivals had crowds and running in a crowd wasn’t a good idea. He was being logical, not overprotective.

Or so he kept trying to convince himself.

Sasuke unhooked his arm and drew her cloak tighter around her body, making sure Sakura was completely covered━especially around her midsection━and keeping warm.

He wasn’t being overprotective. Honestly.

“Helicopter parent,” Sakura muttered. Sasuke narrowed his eyes at her but she just grinned and playfully stuck her tongue out at him. Sasuke rolled his eyes and lead her to the docks.

He watched her as she turned her head excitedly back and forth between the different displays. She was reacting exactly as he thought she would when he first came across the boat parade. It was just one of those things that reminded him of her when he was wandering alone just a year ago.

Sakura’s eyes sparkled under the many lights. The light display decorated her face in a palette of technicolor brilliance.

After roaming for a bit and purchasing warm drinks, the couple went back to the bridge to find a spot to watch the boats as the traveled out into open water.

“Do you think we’ll be able to bring them here one day?”

Sasuke didn’t need to ask what Sakura meant. He could tell by the subtle shift under her cloak that she meant their unborn child. She was prone to laying a hand on her stomach when she spoke of their child.

He nodded his head and she beamed at him.

It would be wonderful if some day he could bring his child here and make them happy enough to smile at him with the same joy Sakura smiled with.

Yes. Sasuke couldn’t wait for that some day.

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