Author's Note: Grahhh. Here's my second crack at nailing a Sasuke perspective.

Takes place during Chapter 676, and contains spoilers of that chapter.

If things had gone differently…

One Shot: Crimson

Sasuke glanced at Naruto and saw the fatigue etching itself onto his face. The worry tugged at his nerves, considering Naruto was supposed to have the largest chakra reserve out of all four of them. Beside him was their mentor, Kakashi and he too looked a little worse for wear. Bruised and bleeding, Sasuke couldn't help the tiny niggle of doubt creeping into his confidence. Kakashi was good, but Sasuke couldn't remember a time when he'd seen the man fight an important battle without his Sharingan.

Swallowing, he snuck a glance at Sakura and saw her forcibly trying to breathe deeply. In. Out. In. Out. The marks of her Byakugou Seal were still present on her face, as well as the determined look she sported in her eyes. However, Sasuke worried that she too was almost at her limit. Having to continually heal herself and Kakashi whilst maintaining enough destructive chakra for offensive attacks was sure to take its toll on her.

We can't keep fighting Madara like this.

"Sasuke, you and Sakura keep the shadows busy–"


"You can see the shadows!" Kakashi cut in hurriedly. His gaze flicked in the direction their opponent was at and Sasuke noticed a drop of sweat roll down the side of the man's face. "That seal won't keep him down for long. Get ready."

Sasuke nodded at Sakura and they both launched themselves at Madara just as the seal broke.

Flying through the wooden debris, an arm held up to shield his face, Sasuke pulled Sakura away from an ominous shadow lurking in the dust clouds. They landed deftly without delay and Sakura whispered, "Point me, Sasuke-kun."

"Right, 90 degrees," he whispered and she launched into a chakra-powered punch 90 degrees to her right, just as he moved to cut off another shadow's movements with a Chidori.

"Watch out!" Naruto's voice pierced their concentration just as a Rasenshuriken flew between Sasuke and Sakura, and straight into a third shadow.

A blur of a figure to his left suddenly catches Sasuke off-guard and he opened his mouth to warn her but was too late. In another blur of black, Sakura was abruptly sent flying several meters from him, a crimson trail in her wake.

"Sasuke! Naruto!" Kakashi called from a ways away. "Get away from him!"

"You were too busy fighting my shadows, you forgot about me," Madara grinned but just as he extended an arm to unleash an attack, Sasuke had already taken off to where Sakura had rolled to a stop.

"But… we've played enough." Madara muttered as he flew into the sky. The Team 7 men watched in horrified awe as several large meteors carved themselves out of the earth and tailed Madara into mid-air. "These raindrops are a bit big and hard." And the mammoth stones began to plummet.

"It's coming!" Kakashi yelled.


"I know!" Naruto hurriedly made the signs for the Shadow Clone Jutsu, Sasuke leading the way as he launched himself at disabling two of Madara's shadows.

It was all a blur but Sasuke could vaguely recall Naruto screaming out another one of his jutsus, presumably for the meteorites, as five of his clones helped themselves to battling Madara's shadows.

"Susanoo!" Sasuke shouted as fear gripped his chest. He absolutely refused to come all this way only to be crushed by a rock. Anxious, he watched as his summon sliced clean through a gargantuan boulder but something entirely different caught his gaze.

What's happening to the–? This is bad!

"Gah! I'm gonna crush all those meteorites with my next attack, don't worry!" Naruto barked as he summoned several Bijuudama Rasenshuriken. "Stay still next to me!" he shouted as he sent the balls of chakra towards the sky.

However, just as the Rasenshuriken made contact with the meteorites, Sasuke's Susanoo suddenly landed above them with an almighty crash.

"Hey! Don't be so lo–!"

"Just shut up and don't move!" Sasuke snapped, his attention aimed towards the sky. He was thankful he couldn't see an inch of it, Susanoo's armour completely blocking out the light of the moon.

At the corner of his vision, he caught Naruto stiffening before quickly trying to leave Susanoo's shelter. Sasuke grabbed his arm just in time.

"Let go of–"

"Naruto, not now!" Sasuke urged.

"Why are we–?" Kakashi chimed in. Sasuke glanced at him and noted how slumped their mentor's shoulders were, even as he rested in a crouched position.

Sasuke shook his head. "We can't go outside now. Without the Susanoo I created, you'll be affected by his genjutsu too." He gaze caught Sakura's still form on the ground and he knelt beside her. "If the two of us die, it'll be all over."

"What?!" Naruto sputtered. "There are people out there!"

"Sasuke's right. Naruto, let's wait for a chance," Kakashi piped up. "We need to recover." He gestured toward Sakura and caught Sasuke's eye.

Averting his mentor's gaze, he gingerly rolled Sakura onto her back and felt his stomach churn when he saw the extent of the injuries she sustained to her torso. Blood… There's so much of it. He felt a lump form in his throat and he struggled to maintain a calm demeanour. He denied himself the luxury of using his powerful eyes to check her chakra because what he had managed to see was not good.

Pressing a tender finger to her pulse point, he counted the pumps of her blood and considered her heartbeat too slow. Sasuke felt his brows furrow. She should've been able to heal. Something was wrong. He touched her face, wiped the dribble of blood from her chin and frowned at her seal marks, still present and as vivid as ever.

"Sakura," he found himself saying. "Sakura, get up."

"Sasuke?" Naruto suddenly asked from the background, the soft tone of his voice marked with fear. "Is she…?"

Sasuke shook his head, touched Hagoromo's Moon Seal to her heart but saw no response to her heatbeat or her chakra. "Sakura, get up," he whispered as his blood ran cold. "Please…"