Sakura and Sasuke happen across a summer festival in a tiny town the evening before his birthday.

Fireworks sizzled and popped in the distance, casting subtle streaks of color over the wooden floors and reflecting bright every few seconds on the cream-colored walls. The sound of instruments, rolling carts and tinkling bells was accented with a chorus of voices as villagers laughed and squealed and murmured as they ambled through colorful and brightly lit streets.

The festivities outside and below were but a distant accompaniment to the two lovers sprawled, half dressed and entangled on a hastily spread futon. Long-forgotten treats and near-empty bowls of sake were dispersed in a peculiarly neat disorder, evidence of a slow-burning but all-encompassing interruption of passion. 

Another crackle and burst of light, laughs and exclamations filtering in from below but all Sakura cared for was the whisper of Sasuke’s breath and the heat of his palm sliding under her yukata, pressing firm into the curve of her waist. She giggled at the ticklish brush of his fingertips as they skimmed over her ribs.

“I think they’re cheering for you,” she murmured, pressing a kiss just below his ear. A quiet scoff was his only response.

His mouth slid soft over hers in a feverish kiss and it tasted like sake, like Sasuke, and an abundance of other things that she loved.

“It’s officially your birthday, Sasuke-kun,” she slipped the words through the infinitesimal spaces between their passion-sealed lips, “that means you can have anything you want.”

“Anything,” he echoed, not so much a question, inflected by the way his fingers crept up the line of her spine and spread upwards against the crook of her nape. 

“Aa,” she smiled, clutching at him half-drunk off the sake and fully inebriated with him. Sakura drew her face back and glanced at him through shaded lids, mapping the sharpness of his features, softly illuminated by the flashes of light outside. “You only need ask for it.”

  Kiss-swollen lips formed into a teasing smile as Sakura waited, her skin tingling in anticipation as her body sank, fluid, settling deeper into his lap.

A lone, slender hand slid around her neck to cup her chin and she shifted her weight, pressing her face into the palm of his hand. As the rough pad of a thumb brushed featherlight over the flushed surface of her cheek, his lips parted.

Sasuke whispered, “I want you to marry me.”

The sound of a cacophony of explosions--the climax of the fireworks show--hisses and sparks filled her ears as she stared wide-eyed at his face. And when the resounding booms turned into muffled squeals and shouts and the cheers faded into a dull buzz, she swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat, reaching for his face with barely-steady hands.

“Aa,” her voice was shaky, but tipped her chin once, and her gaze was steady, eyes bright, “and so I will, Sasuke-kun.”

The smile that graced her lover’s mouth was more vibrant than any light show she had ever seen, tasted sweeter than even the best anmitsu to be found across any nation they had traveled. 

The streets were quiet and empty in the early light of dawn, and they walked leisurely, hand in hand. Remnants of joy and amusement the night before were strewn about the edges, the wind carrying with it faint residua of fragrant treats and smoke. A strong breeze sent their sleeves rustling, the sound of delicate, treasured fabric breaking the hush of a sleeping town in the early morning. 

‘My mother’s’, he had said, breath ghosting over her kiss-bruised shoulder, smearing a droplet of his blood over the seal of a scroll she had never seen him open before. Her eyes had filled, then runneth over when the parcel in his hand was unfurled, a sacred emblem revealed to her gaze.

The uchiwa fanned proudly against her back, and she stood straighter, adopted a shift in her carriage for it. 

And the shrine they visited was modest, beautiful, brimming with leftover decorations and offerings. It was not grand, and nothing made it remarkable, but Sakura swore she would never forget the sound of the rustling colored papers, the scent of burned-out candles, the flavor of that particular sake and the texture of chipped porcelain against her lips.

“It’s too bad the festival fell just before your birthday, anata,” Sakura noted quietly, drawing closer, testing the weight of her words in the early hours, a new endearment against her tongue.

Her dark-haired companion shook his head, fingers tightening slightly around hers as he drew just a bit closer.

“You’ve gifted me something so much better,” he murmured, head turning to peer down at her face, lips curving in the shadow of the night’s previous expression, “tsuma.”