While Ino and Naruto are chatting it up, Sakura comes over and stands next to me. She grins, as she looks up at me, a mischievous look in her pastel green eyes. "Hey, Sasuke," she whispers, playfully jabbing my arm with her elbow. I look over at her confused by her sudden behavior. "Beating Ino to the punch by approaching Naruto first, smart move. I didn't know you had it in you." She says, shaking her head in mock disbelief at what she believes my intentions to be.
I frown at the accusation. Of course, she'd immediately think that. She and Ino watch way too many of those soap operas. "It wasn't like that at all. I only bumped into him coincidentally." I tell her.
She rolls her eyes. "I was only joking, Sasuke." She tells me, still smiling. Then she looks over at the two of them. They're talking and laughing, clearly smitten with each other. You can almost see the sparks flying. "But it's a good thing you don't like him, because Naruto is totally into Ino. You're just friend A, here to be a supporting role."
"Hn. It's not like I would've have had a chance anyway. He likes Ino, and he doesn't exactly strike me as bisexual either." I say shrugging it off. Perhaps, I'm just acting like it's not a big deal, but in the end, whether it is or isn't doesn't really matter. I don't have a chance with Naruto. That's all that matters.
"Well, you'd be wrong." Sakura says. I look up at her surprised, but she isn't looking at me anymore. Instead, she's looking down at her watch. "Naruto!" She calls out. Naruto looks back at her confused. "Don't you have to be somewhere at 10:30?" She asks.
"Oh, that's right! How could I forget?" Naruto yells out, face-palming.
"Huh? What's the rush all of a sudden?" Ino asks genuinely concerned. Which is surprising for her since she hardly ever worries about being on time, she just let's others do the worrying for her.
"Come on the show starts in 5 minutes!" Naruto exclaims. He starts running towards the center of the village, and we all follow him without question.
"You're going to be late." Ino comments, as we're all running towards a large wooden building with lanterns decorating the outside. On the lanterns are pictures of hand-painted suns, and in bright gold letters, is the name of the establishment, Sunny Opportunities. Just underneath that, it reads: "We hold competitions for children and teens."
I slow down.
My feet stop moving.
"I know this building." I say. It hadn't registered at first, probably because I've been trying my best to ignore every part of my past since that night, but this is where my brother use to show off some of his skills before he joined the Anbu. Uchiha are known for performing and winning here, in pretty much every area of competition. If you win, you get prize money.
Though most Uchiha liked coming here since it was easy money, Itachi never particularly liked doing it. He only did it, because as he got older, the village elders wanted to see more of what he could do. He didn't always show it in the field, because not many people that he fought were able to provide sufficient competition for that level of combat.
Nonetheless, whatever competition Itachi took part in, he won. I had always wanted to perform here, to be like my big brother and the rest of our clan. But somewhere down the line, I suppose that dream fell apart. Itachi stopped coming here. He refused it once, and they never asked again. His distaste for the clan is was becoming more apparent to me, and he made it clear he wanted me to find my own way, to not be like everyone else here. Shortly after that, he joined the Anbu.
"What are you doing?" Naruto asks. He's now standing in front of me. His arms are crossed, and he's frowning. "You are going to come and watch me aren't you friend A?" It's a question, but it sounds more like a demand.
"Actually, I think I'm gonna to get going. I've got a few things I need to do today, so I'll see you all tomorrow." The excuse sounds weak, even to my own ears. Sakura looks disappointed, and Ino looks away, saddened. But both of them have a knowing look in their eyes, so they don't push.
"What a shitty excuse!" Naruto yells. All three of us look up at him surprised. My eyes meet his fiery blue ones, and of all things, the idiot smiles at me. "I want you to see me perform." He says, this time his tone is softer. "It won't be the same without you, Friend A, so please, come."
Before I know it, I finds myself nodding. Perhaps, it's those pure blue eyes of his, or maybe it's the fact that I owe him for bringing color to my world. Whatever it is, I'm glad for it. Because he grabs my hand, making electricity shoot through it, and starts running towards the building again.
As I watch his figure running ahead of me, leading me to a place filled with good memories, now rendered not so great. I notice my world bursting with color. Everything seems to move slower, as he looks back at me offering a genuine smile.
When we get inside, Naruto has to hurry backstage to get ready for his performance while the rest of us find some seats in the theatre to get ready to watch the show. After a few minutes, the curtain is drawn.
A woman is shown in the middle of the stage. She has on a long sparkly black dress with bright red lipstick and tall bright red pumps to match. She has dark brown eyes, and her hair has been curled into large dark brown coils that shape her face perfectly.
"Hello, everyone!" She calls out giving a large wave. "My name is Aoi Inuzuka!" My eyes widen at the name. She's the same woman that was here when my brother still performed now and then. "This is the Spring Art Competition part 1, for ages 13-17! Please sit back and enjoy the wonderful show we have coming your way! Don't forget to cast your vote for audience favorite at the end!" She tells us. After a bow, she introduces the first contestant. Then she leaves the stage as they come on.
The first contestant is a girl. She has auburn colored hair and bright green eyes. She uses her water style jutsu to make paint, and then proceeds to paint a picture in front of us all. She does so quickly, so that she won't run out of time. When she's finished, she steps back from it, letting us get a clear view. It's a painting of the audience peering down at the stage with her and her painting on it.
"Wow!" Sakura whispers. "That's amazing!" She's right. It's a beautiful painting, but I'm unable to enjoy it fully. The memories this place comes with. They're all coming back to me. They're nice memories of pleasant times, but they only serve to haunt me, making me feel sick.
Next on, is a boy. He has brunette hair with hazel eyes. Using earth style, he manages to make a picture out of only rocks. He smoothes it out once he's done, and the picture on it is exquisite. He shows it to the audience who gawk at it, and we all give him a hand.
By the third act, I'm beginning to see a pattern. Everyone who's come out so far has only used some kind of jutsu, in the third act's case bugs, or an element of nature to make something pretty. Most do a picture, a few do objects, but it's all the same. I suppose it's not called an art show for no reason. By the fifth contestant, I've completely stopped paying attention, and I'm sitting in my seat drowning in my memories.
My feet are in my seat now. My legs are drawn up, and my arms are wrapped around them. I've hidden my face within my knees, but I can still feel Sakura's concerned eyes on me. She doesn't touch me or try to talk to me, probably thinking I need space. I don't need space though. I need a distraction. I need-
"Next up, is Naruto Uzumaki!"
Unfortunately, I will no longer be continuing this story. I do hope all of you enjoyed this much. As always, thank you for all the support and love!