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The Bonds that Mark Us

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I.

 

When Sakura is 12, she stares at the two marks on her body with delight and confusion. Multiple soul marks for Shinobi are not even remotely unheard of. However, she has no idea what the marks on her body could even mean. Everyone gets their marks on their 12th birthday, and it's incredibly taboo to ask someone about their mark unless you think it might be yours.

On the back of Sakura's right thigh, she'd almost missed it but luckily she had always been thorough, is a red pinwheel that almost looks like a flower. Maybe it is a flower? On her right hip is a swirl that looks like it's got writing around it. In school she's learned its some kind of seal. There's no chakra in it that she can tell, so it has to be a mark.

Which one of these marks is Sasuke's, she wonders. After all, one of them has to be right? Who's the other person?

Sakura lays on her bed hugging one of her pillows close and wonders what mark her soulmate, again hopefully Sasuke, has that represents her.

 

II.

 

When Sasuke is 12, he doesn't look for his mark or marks. He doesn't care. Soul mates are something he can worry about later. Relationships are part two in his plan, not part one.

He does, however, catch them in the mirror one day after a shower.

On the top of Sasuke's left shoulder is a swirl with writing around it. He'd think it was a seal, but there's absolutely no chakra coming from it. On his right hip is a diamond. He would think it was a birth mark, but it's bright purple.

He does his best to not let anyone see them. Now was not the time to concern himself with that.

 

III.

 

When Naruto is 12, he's excited to find that he was two whole marks. Bonds are incredibly important, and while there is so much more in the world than just soul mates, he's excited to meet whoever has the mark that represents him.

On his right shoulder is a pinwheel or maybe a flower. It's bright red. Naruto has no idea who exactly could have this mark, but it's perfect all the same.

Right above where the seal is there's a purple diamond. It's not super big, and Naruto has no idea who could have mark like that but again. One day, he's going to meet them.

 

IV.

 

Sakura tries really hard to see the marks on Sasuke's skin. It's taboo to ask, so she can't. But she's sure the second she sees the cherry blossoms somewhere on his skin, she'll know how to bring it up. It'll be obvious of course!

Naruto likewise tries really hard to see the marks on Sakura's. He's not really sure what's going to represent him. Maybe it'll be the little thing in Ramen that he's pretty sure he's named after.

Sasuke honestly wants his teammates to focus on something more important than stupid marks. Both of them think they're being stealthy, but anyone with half a brain can tell what they are doing.

 

V.

 

“That's my mark!” Naruto accidentally yells pointing straight at Tsunade's forehead. “I figured my soulmate would be...a little younger.”

Tsunade punches the ground a foot away from him, and Naruto almost gets a taste of the ground.

“I'm not old, you brat!” If looks could kill, Naruto would probably be dead at this point.

Jiraiya makes his way in between them because he really isn't looking to make a scene here.

“Is he one of yours? Should have figured. Teaching kids pick up lines like that.” She rolls her eyes before turning to leave.

“Tsunade-” Jiraiya tries to start, but Naruto's already unzipped his shirt.

“Listen, it really is though!”

Tsunade turns and stares at the purple diamond on his front. Jiraiya looks nervously to the side. The mark is so similar to the purple diamond he has shoulder. Soul marks usually make more sense, but who's Jiraiya to play games with this.

“That's not mine.” Tsunade says simply.

“What?!” Naruto blinks and shakes his head. “Listen, Baa-Chan, I know it's weird bu-”

Tsunade fist meets Naruto's head before he can continue.

“Watch your mouth!” She starts before poking him right in the mark. “It's the wrong size and the wrong shape. Whoever your soul mate is...they either learned the technique from me or stole it. But that's not mine.”

 

VI.

 

Kakashi sees the mark on Sasuke's shoulder. He knows exactly what that mark is. 

He can't forget the day that mark happened.

It's not his place to interfere in his team's dynamics, but he hopes they figure things out.

The red and black pinwheel on his own shoulder almost burns as he thinks about it. The one he's seen in the mirror before.

Marks are supposed to gray when the person dies, but his is still a dark red.

It's not his only mark, but it's the one he has issues looking at.

He doesn't want that to turn out the same way for them.

 

VII.

 

Sakura stands in the middle of the only road out the village. This is the way Sasuke has to take if he really is going to leave.

One of these marks has to be his. She's sure of it. The red of the Sharingan comes to mind. It looks so much like the red flower on the back of her thigh. Somehow....

Nothing she says to him works.

In fact, he stares straight at her and...

“Sakura, you're annoying.”

She tries to convince him to take her with him after all...

“Please...” She starts. “I could help somehow...Sasuke, you have to have my mark somewhere....a cherry blossom or...”

Sasuke's always hard to read, but there's nothing in his eyes that reveals he has that mark at all.

“Sakura...Thank you.”

The next morning, Sakura decides that maybe neither of those marks are really his.

After all, what other mark would she even have?

There's a part of her that can't really let go.

 

VIII.

 

Naruto knows that Sasuke is one of his soulmates.

He's pinned underneath Sasuke, when he sees the mark on his left shoulder just inches from the hickeys he's left on Sasuke's skin.

His blood almost runs cold. Out of all the things to be his mark, it had to be the seal.

Part of him thinks he should mention that to Sasuke. That they're soulmates. Doesn't that prove that leaf is where he belongs?

Part of him is afraid if he does, Sasuke might stop doing whatever it is that they've been doing.

In the end, he says nothing, but he does catch the purple diamond on Sasuke's hip.

He wonders who the third person could be. Sakura has nothing to do with that diamond, right?

 

IX.

 

Naruto has to be one of his soulmates. It doesn't matter at the moment, but he must be.

Sasuke knows what a Mangekyo pattern is when he sees one. He'll never forget the one that swirled in his brother's eyes that night.

There are only two Uchiha left. Marks Grey when the person dies.

That's his Mangekyo.

Ironic, that his soulmate is the person he'll have to kill to get it.

But then again, it was Itachi's Mangekyo that graced Shisui's arm after all.

 

X.

 

They're back at Sakura's place, when Naruto sees it.

They'd had a lunch meet up. A sparring session. And then, somehow, they'd ended up back here after making out over at the training grounds.

Sakura's pushed him onto her bed, wiggling out of most of her clothes, when his seal shows itself on her hip.

The purple diamond must be hers.

Which makes sense because Sakura is Tsunade's apprentice.

There's almost a train of thought after that, but Sakura smashes her mouth against his.

Later, when Sakura makes some food for the both of them, he'll see Sasuke's mark on the back of her thigh.

Naruto doesn't say anything. He'll tell her when he brings Sasuke back.

When Team 7 is properly reunited.

 

XI.

 

Sakura sees the red flower on Naruto's shoulder, but she ignores it.

She's gotten good at that. Ignoring Soul marks. Besides, she's busy with other things.

She sees the purple diamond on his front and nearly stops what she's doing.

The next day, she tells Tsunade she wants to learn the Strength of One Hundred. She's sure she has the chakra control for it.

She doesn't catch the smirk Tsunade has when she asks.

She'll make herself worthy of that mark.

 

XII.

 

“I trained hard too, and I caught up to both of you!” Sakura's words catch his ears, and Sasuke turns to see the purple diamond appear on her forehead.

Oh.

He presses his thumb against his hip.

He's not surprised, but also, he would have never guessed that was hers.

It doesn't matter now anyway. After all of this, he will be Hokage. He will protect everyone. Soulmates will only be a hindrance to that.

Besides, he saw the purple diamond on Naruto's skin.

They'll do better with each other anyway.

 

 

XIII.

 

It isn't until Sakura makes the mistake of looking Sasuke right in the eyes many years after seeing that pinwheel flower on her skin, that she understands who's mark it is.

It's not quite right. There's a black pinwheel inside of it, but she knows when she sees it that that's the mark. She knows.

She really was right all those years ago.

Sakura's not sure how she feels about it anymore.

 

 

XIV.

 

Sakura says she's going to kill them herself the next time she sees them.

But, when she sees them next to each other, bleeding to death, she decides she'll heal them first.

Then kill them.

All she can do is stare at the marks on their matching shoulders.

The seal on Sasuke's shoulder. The one she knows is for the Kyuubi on Naruto.

The red flower on Naruto's shoulder. The one she's seen spin in Sasuke's eyes.

The purple diamond on Naruto's stomach that's entirely hers.

And as she's trying to patch up Sasuke so he doesn't die from blood loss, she'll see the purple diamond on his hip.

They're her boys.

She knows this doesn't mean everything is perfect. Soul marks don't mean your relationship immediately slots into place, but she knows that one day, they will.

 

XV.

 

One day, they find themselves on the bed in Sakura's house. Naruto's house is a mess, and Sasuke doesn't really....have a house right now. Sakura at least keeps her mess confined.

Sasuke and Naruto lay on the bed passed out, shoulder to shoulder. Sasuke's Mangekyo to Naruto's seal.

Sakura is passed out on top of them. Her left hand curls softly over Sasuke's right hip. Her right hand resting against the mark on Naruto's stomach, a place that she's healed time after time.

Sasuke's only hand, Sakura's still annoyed about that, lays on top of the mark on her thigh. Naruto's arm is draped lazily over the mark on her hip.

They don't get moments like this often, but, when they do, they know this is where things were meant to be.

They were meant to be.