Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto in any way possible.

Author's Note: I've been asking myself recently what my dream is, and I can't help but despair at my lack of answer. Whatever my personal feelings are, I wrote this fic because it was pretty fun thinking about the new dream of Sasuke (based on chapter 675) and decoding what he meant by becoming the Hokage. This is set after the war (assuming it will end). Reviews please. :)

Also, do you happen to know if the prompts for SSMonth 2014 are up? Let's do follow each other on Tumblr. I'm lonely. If you're interested, the link's on my profile. 3


To dream before the night comes

"What is it?"

From a distance, Sasuke beheld the sight of the sun's descent towards the horizon. He would not tell anyone about it, but he had always feared what would come next after the meeting. As much as he cherished piercing silences and suppressed truths, he had to eventually become resigned to the fact that despite being once an ally of the dark, he feared the night. It signified darkness for him, and he did not want to be under its control ever again.

He thought he should stop keeping things in the dark especially when the season of petals and leaves was bound to come, and Sakura was just there standing inches beside him, hands on the rail of the bridge where they used to meet as Team 7 back in their genin days.

"It's about what Kakashi-sensei asked you."

Sasuke knew the reference Sakura was making. It had been almost two months since the war against Uchiha Madara ended, yet the question Kakashi posed remained unanswered. He thought only Kakashi was interested in his answer although he never persisted on it after the war. Sasuke figured that Kakashi must have obtained what he wanted. He would always be their teacher, and so he would always know from their actions, from his actions (especially during their team battle against Madara) what other people would want to be laid down in concrete words.

It was only now, however, that he realized that Sakura had every right to demand an answer from him since she was also principally concerned about his desire of being the Hokage. She asked him before about the meaning behind it, and he could not mistake the tinge of wariness and worry in her voice when she spoke those words.

He thought it no longer mattered since he had officially returned to Konoha despite having to suffer some punishments allayed by his alliance with Konoha against Madara. He was banned from accepting missions, but he could still conduct his trainings although sometimes under the watch of the assigned jounins.

He thought that he just had to show through his actions towards the people he had hurt the most that they could trust him again. He knew that Naruto and Kakashi could easily forgive. He was almost always with them (due to Naruto's insistent demand) after the war, and the bond was starting to form again. Only this time it would get to be a lot stronger than before. On the other hand, Sakura had to be away for medical missions in other nations which specifically begged for her assistance to heal their injured people. She had just come back a few hours ago and immediately sought for the company of her team and after their reunion at Ichiraku decidedly told Sasuke that she wanted a talk with him.

Sasuke felt like there were so many things to be said between them, and he wanted to stop regretting. He thought this talk would be a good start.

After a moment's pause, he finally turned to look at her and nodded, giving her the consent to continue.

"Why do you want to become the Hokage?" Sakura did not miss a beat.

He faced her fully and matched her steady gaze on him; she was evidently searching his eyes for any betrayal of emotion.

"I want to have the kind of power that the Hokage has."

It suddenly alarmed and frightened Sakura that Sasuke was still not over the issue of obtaining power. She almost turned away from him to recompose herself when he continued in a collected tone.

"It's the power to protect his people. I want to feel what Itachi must have felt back then – what it felt like to have someone, something to protect."

Her expression softened at this, and she could not help smiling so soothingly at him as she reminisced their halcyon days.

"But…back in our genin days, you were always there for me and Naruto. You are capable of protecting people, Sasuke. You always protected me despite my being an annoyance to you. Remember that time when – "

"But I left you on a cold bench … defenseless."

His tone was biting as if challenging her to recant whatever she had presumed about him.

She stopped smiling but retained that forgiving expression she had always reserved for him whether he would ever deserve it or not.

"I wasn't able to understand your reasons back then but it's all – "

"I tried to kill you."

There was a finality in his voice, and she just knew that she lost to him because after all those years, that memory still brought her so much pain rendering the passage of time invalid. It is the fleeting against the permanent, and time could never kiss the pain away.

Silence engulfed them. He turned once more to the direction of the setting sun and wondered if darkness and night was actually favourable to him because it served as a blanket that he could always throw across all the mistakes he had done … and then he would not have to see them ever again.

After a few minutes more, Sakura spoke once again with a newfound clarity of voice, resolute to make a point.

"You did not, Sasuke."

The pain would always be present, but she hoped and knew that there would always be a feeling so strong it could negate the sting. Her forgiveness and love.

He faced her yet again and noticed that there was not a hint of hesitation flickering across her face. She continued.

"It's true that Sensei got there on time, but even if he had not, would you have killed me?"

He did not know himself.

"Does it matter?"

She felt bruised. It was vague, but she took it as a yes.

He sensed her distress, and he could only sigh. He was never good at choosing words people would want to hear from him.

"Here we are now," he continued, "breathing."

Her smile was back on her face in an instant, and she mentally berated herself for getting too sensitive when she fully knew it was Uchiha Sasuke she was conversing with.

"Regardless of the past, Sasuke, I still feel that your dream will come true even though you're not the Hokage. It's such a wonderful dream … protecting people."

It was a visionary stare she gave him that he could not dare to shatter.

"It's not entirely different from yours."

"Hmm?"

"Saving people. Isn't that your dream? You have always been working so hard to achieve it."

She laughed softly, and Sasuke suddenly wished he had the right to laugh with her.

"When I was a genin, that wasn't my dream. If you were listening to our discussion back then, you would know." She looked playfully at him.

He just smirked a little.

"So what is it now?"

"As I grew older and became more aware of your suffering, I began to have a justification of those silly feelings I used to have. Maybe that was what pushed me forward to become a reliable medic-nin. I wanted to save people. I wanted to save you, Sasuke. And now that everything is finally okay, I feel accomplished although I wasn't able to save you. You saved yourself, and for that… "

She tiptoed and patted his head lightly. Sasuke was too surprised to be able to move away from her touch, and it was all done when he realized what she did. She just chuckled at her own action.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't help it."

He shrugged, pretending not to care. He continued making it look like he just needed to satisfy his curiosity and nothing more when in reality, he wanted her to say that nothing had changed.

"Do you have another dream, then?"

"Who knows?"

Her laugh was cut short when she realized the horror of what she had done (had not done) making her eyes widen in panic.

" Ah! It's almost evening, and I haven't gone to report to Shisou yet. Thank you so much, Sasuke. But I need to go. See you!"

She had started to run when she noticed Sasuke also running with her. She slowed down and stopped. Sasuke did the same.

"Are you also off to somewhere?" she asked.

"I'll be with you," he deadpanned.

"What?"

"I'm not sure what the Sasuke back then would have done, but the me now will be doing this – walking or running with you to wherever you are going," he said it like it was the most natural thing that could come out of his mouth.

"But why?"

"Weren't you the one who asked me about my dream and told me how wonderful it is?"

She did not want to read too much into it, but she blushed anyway.

"I am fulfilling my dream. And as for you, Sakura … "

It was the first time she heard her name uttered by him since the war that all that mattered to her that time was her heart beating and him.

"You can always save me from my nightmares every night."

She somehow understood what he was trying to say, but before she could even respond, she found herself being pulled by Sasuke with her hand in his.

Fin.