Sasuke had been gone for so long, you almost hadn’t recognized him upon his return.
The overly-serious school boy that you knew, with a half-feigned laid back attitude and oddly spotless shoes, who would fight back the harsh scowl that threatened to bloom at your lame jokes when it once caused your eight-year-old self to cry, had been traded in for a tired, but content man standing at your doorstep.
He had aged— a childhood he never had was forever lost.
The years had not been kind to him, that much was obvious from an inexplicably missing limb, but when you met his gaze, there was a softness that had not previously been there, even in the hints of childlike joy you used to sometimes drag out of him.
I’m ready to rest now, his eyes said.
He was so much warmer than before.
You had imagined the reunion time and time again in your daydreams— a bit shameful really, considering how life as a ninja meant that constant alertness, whether in or out of a mission, was a must. You had expected something like a dam breaking and your emotions flooding your senses; maybe incoherent sobs or untameable anger, both of which you would’ve taken out on him. Your real reaction was gentle; a soft smile, and your arms slowly looping around his midriff, dragging his body closer to yours so that you could rest your head against his shoulder and listen to the slightly erratic thump of his heartbeat.
A soft, barely noticeable exhale left his lips, shuddered. Clearly, he had gotten a much firmer hold on his emotions, and had no intention of fully submitting to them even in this moment; stability, while maybe still shaken in some parts of his psyche, had to at least be present here. Stability was the least he could offer you.
He allowed himself a quiet bliss, reveling in the feeling of your body safe in his arms. The familiarity of your figure was gone— you had grown just as much as him. But the comfort he felt with you was still the same.
When the two of you had finally curled up under the sheets, he listened to your whispered promises and hopes for what the future would bring to you.
You clung to him.
And you knew he would still be there come morning.