Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Please don't sue.
I am very poor!
Title: I think I better leave right now - chapter 20 - FINALE
Author: Purrfectly679 - e-mail for comments and suggestions. Feedback highly appreciated.
Rating: PG-13, angst. Hint of SakuSasu, SasuNaru.
Notes: This one is dedicated to you guys - the best reviewers in the world!
Kakashi stood rigidly, his eyebrows drawn in silent contemplation, as he stared unblinkingly at his former student… Or more correctly, stared at the body of his former student, lying immobile upon the white pristine sheets of Konoha's hospital bed…
It was wrong… Everything was wrong! He was so pale… So deathly pale…Why did this have to happen to him? Hadn't he been through enough already?
Hadn't he suffered enough already?
The silver haired man sighed bitterly. The doctors had said that he'd be fine… But that had been over a month ago! A whole damn month! That's over 4 weeks!! 4 whole weeks and the boy was still there! Still lying in the same damn position!! He hadn't moved an inch, hadn't even opened his eyes…
He gazed sadly at the small body connected to the hundreds of machines surrounding him, all flashing steadily and beeping constantly to confirm the boy's continuous life-force… But no matter how persistently the monitors verified the existence of life, the copycat ninja of Konoha knew otherwise… He knew that the boy wasn't alive…
You couldn't call that living… He was nothing but a shell… A fragile shell of his former self…
And shells did not live.
"I'm sorry…" the silver-haired jounin whispered softly. The words had almost become like a daily ritual for him, spoken even when there was no evidence that they were ever heard… He knew that the dire situation was partly his own fault, and even then his sincere apologies did little to calm his raging guilt and apprehension building deep inside…
If only they had arrived earlier… Would it have made a difference? Would the boy be moving, smiling – living - instead of just lying there like a breathing corpse?
Was it their fault?
Were they too late to save him?
"Kakashi-sensei…?" a soft voice brought the silver-haired ninja out of his deep brooding. He glanced sharply at the intruder by the door of the hospital room, his expression relaxing noticeably at the sight.
Iruka – good old dependable Iruka… The only other person that bothered to visit every single day…
The silver haired man merely nodded in acknowledgement.
"Aa… Well…" the brown-haired teacher seemed to be struggling with his words, as if slightly reluctant to voice his thoughts. "I was… Uhm… I was just wondering whether you wanted to go -"
"No thank you," Kakashi interrupted curtly. This was another scenario that happened at least once a day… He already knew what the other man was about to suggest, and no, he wasn't going to leave his student…
Not again. He would never let his students down again…
"But you've been here for 3 days straight now! You need a shower! And something to eat! You know, this isn't - "
" – healthy, I know…" the silver-haired jounin interrupted drolly. Iruka said the exact same things everyday… It was starting to get really predictable, if not slightly irritating…
"If you know, then why aren't you doing something about it?" the dark haired man sighed exasperatedly, as he folded his arms in frustration. "I'll look after him from here – nothing will happen - "
"No," Kakashi muttered stubbornly. He knew that the teacher had a good heart, but it still confused him greatly to why the man even bothered to try… Was he really stupid, or just plain ignorant to everything around him? Why did he continually try to convince him to leave, when all he did was decline in the same old fashion?
'No, I'm not going to leave, and no, there's nothing you or anyone else could do about it…'
Just which part didn't he understand?
"This isn't your fault, you know…"
Kakashi nodded, falling into the comfortable steps of their well-rehearsed script. But no matter how much Iruka tried to convince him otherwise, he knew it was his fault… If only he had been a little wiser… A little more observant…
Then maybe none of this would've ever happened…
"There's nothing that you could've done…"
Then maybe he wouldn't have let another student down…
"You wouldn't have been able to change anything…"
Then maybe he wouldn't have to lose another one of his 'special' people…
"Kakashi… Are you even listening to me?!" Iruka frowned, jarring the brooding man back into the harsh clutches of reality.
The silver haired man smiled softly, as he gazed into deep brown eyes that overflowed with compassionate empathy… It hurt to see his eyes so full of trust – so full of hope… Such innocent eyes burning with such fervent confidence…
Confidence in him… Confidence that he didn't deserve…
Kakashi opened his mouth as if to say something, then decided against it before abruptly turning away. He didn't want to impose upon the rigid boundaries established within their daily performance, and yet he just couldn't face those eyes anymore… Those warm eyes that persistently rejected his pleas of guilt, even though deep inside he knew that he was to blame…
"I'm fine, Iruka…" he murmured softly, wishing deep within his heart that the other man would just go away and leave him alone… He didn't want his pity, nor his sympathy… He didn't want his forgiveness - didn't want him to understand… He just wanted to suffer in peace…
He deserved to suffer…
"You're not fine!" the brown-haired man muttered in frustration, as he sent a cold death glare towards the apathetic jounin. "When will you finally see that It's. Not. Your. Fault? You don't seem to- "
Iruka halted mid-rant, as the sudden sound of footsteps made its presence known at the foot of the doorway. Kakashi frowned, and immediately tensed – this occurrence was definitely out of the ordinary… After all, if he was here, and Iruka was here…
Then who the hell was standing at the door?
Slowly and quietly, a small blonde woman entered the room.
The two men bowed respectfully at the sight of Konoha's leader.
"Kakashi-sensei… Iruka-sensei…" the fifth Hokage nodded in acknowledgement, before stepping towards the unresponsive boy neatly tucked into the starch white hospital bed. She sighed sadly upon reaching the small body – the tiny form seemed to drown under the multitude of wires, all connecting him to one vital machine or another… It made him look like a lifeless doll – as if the wires were the only strings that held him up…
And that the strings were the only things that kept him going…
"I have some news…" the blonde woman whispered softly, as she tore her gaze away from the pale and expressionless boy lying before him. "We managed to trace the woman…"
Kakashi immediately stiffened upon hearing the news.
"Her name is Kazuki Riyoka, classified as 'missing' from within the hidden village of sound…" Tsunade's voice was gentle, yet firm. "5 years ago, she ran away from the Riyoka establishment at the tender age of 17, the reasons of which are still unknown…"
"She has a clean record – no past details of any violent activities, nor anything else which could be used to explain or constitute to her sudden reckless behaviour. She has no creditable combat skills, and as far as we know, she has never been trained as a ninja…"
"Her connection to Uchiha Itachi is still unspecified."
The silver haired ninja immediately growled upon hearing the cursed name fall from the Hokage's lips. Itachi that bastard – he was the reason why all this happened… He was the reason why his pupils now had to suffer – the reason why they were all hopelessly drowning in pain…
He was the fucking reason why everything was so damn fucked up.
That bastard – that son of a bitch – he deserved to suffer!! He deserved to suffer for what he did to Naruto… For what he did to Sasuke, and for anyone else he had ever tormented within his life… He wasn't worthy of the quick and painless death that was implemented upon him… He deserved to die slowly, to suffer a cruel and anguished death… To suffer as he had made others suffer…
He wasn't human.
And he didn't deserve to be treated as one.
"What about that weapon she had?" Iruka asked quietly, seeing the barely restrained anger flickering across Kakashi's face.
"The ANBU have been investigating, but so far, no useful leads have been found. We have dismantled the original entity, and it seems to be a shooting device of some kind. There are 6 slots, where the cartridges are assumed to be placed, and pressing on the trigger enables a single cartridge to shoot out at unimaginable speeds…"
"What are the cartridges made of?" Iruka interrupted hastily, worry and anxiety apparent within his voice.
"Cast iron – same material as our kunais – but theirs have been case hardened…"
"So basically, they're like mini shurikens?"
"No…" Tsunade shook her head, with a strange regretful gleam in his dark eyes. "They're worse…"
A tense silence descended upon the inhabitants of the room, where nothing could be heard but for the constant beeping from the machines… All three companions appeared lost in deep thought regarding the severe implications of the previous statement… That is, until –
Two sets of surprised eyes stared at Kakashi, shocked at the sudden outburst from the usually placid jounin.
Kakashi clenched his fists and punched the wall again, shattering the white paint and plaster with one forceful strike. The pain didn't even register within his mind.
"Why the fuck would anyone make something like that?" he growled, his teeth gritted in frustration. He didn't plan on losing his cool, nor did he intend to swear in front of the Hokage, but just hearing about that… that lethal contraption – it just made him so angry…
Especially since Sasuke…
Kakashi sighed and lowered his eye in a mixture of reckless anger and confusion. Just… Just what the hell were the inventors thinking? And why…? Why would they make something like that? Such a dangerous and destructive weapon – didn't they care? Didn't they care about all the people that would inevitably die at the hands of the device? Didn't they care about people like Sasuke?
Didn't they care about the suffering? About the pain?
Didn't they care about anything?
"Unfortunately, we highly doubt that this weapon had been produced as a one off…" Tsunade continued, her voice grim and serious. "In other words, there are probably more contraptions like this circulating within the black market… And if they should fall into the wrong hands…"
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Iruka asked softly, his voice becoming hoarse and bleak.
"The ANBU are still trying to determine the contraption's origins… And until then, we can do nothing else but hope and pray…"
"Just hope and pray…" Kakashi echoed dully. He glanced forlornly at the comatose boy swathed in white, before a distant gleam entered his eye…
Wasn't it unfortunate that he just happened to run out of hope…?
Naruto frowned as he stood in front of the training academy. What was he doing here? He hadn't been here since… Since… Since – God, he couldn't even remember the last time he had visited…
He frowned in confusion. Just what was going on here? He felt weird… And why was everything so dull? So… foggy? He took a step forward, before scanning the surrounding vicinity with cautious bewilderment…
Well… Nothing seemed different… The school looked just as it was, except it did seem awfully quiet… But the swing was still there…
A small bitter smile graced his lips, as memories of his lonely childhood flashed up into his mind… He had never been a popular kid… While the other children held hands, and played games in the playground, he could usually be found swinging in isolation under the shade of the tree… Up and down, up and down…
Up and down…
It became hypnotic after a while… But at least then it became easier to pretend… He used to love those games, those 'make believe' games… It was simple really - he just closed his eyes and then everything became perfect… He had friends, he had parents… He had a warm home, filled with laughter, and not just a cold, empty apartment… He had someone to hold him, someone to hug him… Someone to tell him that everything would be ok…
And most importantly, he had someone to love him… Someone that cared…
Naruto shook his head nostalgically. Now was no time to get all sentimental – he still had to find out what the hell he was doing here!
"Where are you?"
Naruto spun around immediately to face the source of the sound, his heart pounding furiously within his chest.
"S-Sasuke?!" he yelled incredulously, as his blue eyes dropped open in shock. Standing in front of him was a small pale boy, around 5-6 years old, with unique features that unmistakably affirmed his identity as the one Uchiha Sasuke. But how?! And when?! Did he somehow travel back in time? And just where did the raven-haired boy come from?! The blonde was certain that he was alone only a few moments ago…
Just what the hell was going on?!
Naruto frowned as Sasuke continued to scan the outside of the academy with his big dark eyes. He had to admit – the Uchiha did look kinda cute as a child… Cute as in a child-trying-to-act-mature kinda cute… He also looked much older than his height suggested, but the blonde wasn't really sure whether that was a good or bad thing…
It just seemed like such a waste of a valuable childhood.
Mini-Sasuke's expression remained solemn. "Where are you?" he repeated steadily, his voice a complete monotone.
"What are you talking about?" Naruto looked adorably confused, as he crouched down to face the chibi boy at eye-level. It felt extremely odd to look down at the dark-haired boy… Especially when said boy had always been one or two inches taller than the blonde throughout their entire childhood together…
Heh. Life was cruel.
Naruto shook his head roughly to clear his wavering thoughts, before searching the Uchiha's dark eyes for information, only to find them blank, lifeless and staring straight past him. He shivered inwardly – was this Sasuke? And if it was, what the hell was wrong with him? Why was he so pale? Why were his eyes so emotionless?
And why did he seem so… so dead?
"Where are you?" the raven-haired boy asked, his voice a little louder, as he advanced towards the blonde.
"I'm right here…" Naruto answered, as his eyebrows furrowed in bewilderment. What did Sasuke mean by 'where he was?' He was right there, wasn't he? Right in front of him….
Couldn't the Uchiha see him?
"Where are you, Naruto?" Sasuke halted inches away from the confused blonde, before slowly settling himself down upon the ground. Small hands mindlessly fiddled with a blue shirt in agitation, before a heavy sigh of disappointment could be heard.
Naruto frowned. If it had been anybody but Sasuke, he would've immediately presumed that the other person was playing a joke on him… But, alas, it was Sasuke…
And Sasuke didn't play jokes.
"Sasuke?" the blonde scrunched up his nose in puzzlement. "Can you see me?"
The Uchiha didn't answer.
"Sasuke…" Naruto knelt down in front of his mini-teammate and attempted to catch the raven-haired boy's attention. He waved his hands wildly around in front of the Uchiha's impassive face, but to no avail.
Sasuke continued to stare sullenly at the ground, his hair blowing softly in the wind. "Where are you, Naruto…?" he whispered softly, so softly that it was barely audible against the gentle murmur of the breeze.
"I'm… right… here…" Naruto mumbled, a mixture of hurt and confusion flickering across his face, as he crawled closer towards the small yet stoic boy. What was going on? Just why couldn't Sasuke see him?
"I miss you…" the Uchiha whispered, his voice spilling with such raw emotion that it stopped Naruto's heart.
The blonde's breath hitched in his throat, as an expression of confusion contorted over his face. He hadn't been expecting that… But Sasuke had sounded so sincere… So… hopelessly forlorn… But it didn't make sense…! Why would the Uchiha miss him? He wasn't going anywhere… In fact, he hadn't even planned on going anywhere…
Before he could stop himself, Naruto went to grasp the smaller boy into a tight and suffocating hug –
- only to fall right through him…
Naruto jumped back in shock. What the hell – ?
Sasuke continued to gaze sombrely at the ground, his expression still blank and lifeless. There was no evidence that the Uchiha was even aware of the blonde's presence.
"Sasuke?" Naruto's voice held a twinge of panic. What was going on now? Why couldn't Sasuke see nor hear him? And why couldn't he even feel him? He slowly reached out a hand to touch the dark-haired boy, and watched in mute disbelief as his fingertips went completely through the smaller boy's arm… The blonde hastily retracted his hand in horror – what the hell was going on? Why couldn't he feel anything…?
It was as if Sasuke wasn't even there…
"Where are you Naruto?" the dark-haired boy whispered, oblivious to everything around him as he hugged his little knees tightly against his body. It made the chibi boy appear even smaller – even more vulnerable as he curled up into a defensive ball…
"I miss you so much…"
Blue eyes widened in shock as he heard the trembling boy's voice choke over with emotion. He glanced at the raven-haired boy in disbelief, and what he saw took his breath away…
The once stoic and expressionless face was now contorted in obvious pain, childlike eyes wide open and quivering, as silver tears slowly trailed down pale cheeks…
Naruto felt his heart break.
Then everything faded to black…
Sakura laid unmoving upon her bed, back in her old room at her parents house. Her pink hair was unnaturally dull - the gleam that accompanied her happier days had all but disappeared… Her normally vivid green eyes were blank, lifeless… But at least they were no longer red…
She had run out of tears to cry a long time ago…
After she had heard the news that fateful day, she had immediately run home, crying in a mixture of shock and horror… Her mother had welcomed her back with open arms, no questions asked… But her expression was sympathetic, as if she understood the raging turmoil that her daughter was going through…
But it was all a façade - she didn't understand…
No one did.
Sakura hitched back an uneven breath as thoughts of that tragic day rushed erratically through her mind. She remembered seeing, for the first time in her life, Sasuke smiling – just smiling so freely - as he walked out of the front door, as he walked self-voluntarily into danger… She remembered how her heart had stopped in that moment in time, as she realised just how beautiful the Uchiha was when he smiled…
It saddened her that he had never smiled at her like that before…
She remembered his last words clearly – as if they were only uttered a few seconds ago… He had said it so honestly, freely – so openly… As if it were the most simple and natural thing in the world…
"Because I love him."
His eyes had glinted then – shined with some hidden brilliance – and right at that point in time she knew that she had lost him… She knew that no deep words, nor heartfelt actions would've been able to change his mind… It was painfully obvious that he didn't love her…
And that his heart would always belong to someone else…
She had wanted to go after him – go after him and demand an explanation for his unexpected behaviour – for his ambiguous words… She wanted to hear his denial - wanted to hear him deny it from his own lips – that it was a lie, that she was reading too much into it, that she was stupid for even thinking that he loved Naruto in more that a platonic sense…
But she didn't.
She did nothing but watch his form rapidly disappear into the distance… She had collapsed then, as her knees went weak and refused to cooperate… She wanted to go after him – really she did… Then maybe… Maybe none of this would've happened… Maybe if she begged hard enough, he would've never left…
Then maybe… Maybe no one would have to get hurt.
Fresh tears sprang to green eyes. She should've been a little more assertive and confronted him! If only she hadn't been so damn afraid of hearing his words – his words which would've undoubtedly claimed that he didn't love her, and that he never could… If only she hadn't been afraid of hearing those harsh irrevocable statements, which would've, without a doubt, shattered her heart hopelessly into a million pieces…
If only she hadn't been afraid of hearing the truth - the truth that his dark eyes had revealed to her in one single glance… That it was true - that he loved Naruto with all his heart and soul… That his heart would forever belong in the fragile grasp of the blonde's, and that no matter what happened, he would continue to love him until the end of time…
That he would love Naruto for all eternity…
Because true love was unconditional…
A small tear slowly trailed down her cheek before Sakura even realised that she was crying. She thought that she had run out of tears a long time ago, but even now – after 4 whole weeks – she still had tears to spare… And it still hurt so much…
She buried her face deeper into her pillow, before a new onslaught of sobs wracked furiously through her trembling body. It seemed that no matter how much she cried, the pain still remained with her - still burning as viciously as the fateful day that Kakashi had informed her of Sasuke's situation… Like a wound that wouldn't heal, no matter how much time you gave it…
Just why did it have to hurt so much?
She continued to sob quietly as she realised that she still hadn't even visited the hospital yet… She knew that it was a duty for her to turn up, and yet she just couldn't bring herself to step out of the house… She couldn't bring herself to face him again – not after everything they had been through… Not after all the tears she had cried because of him, and all the times that she had felt used and manipulated…
A mixture of shame, anger and remorse surged violently through her…
And guilt. Especially guilt.
Remorse, because she felt that she could never face him again…
And guilt, because she knew that she could never forgive him.
Naruto slowly entered his former classroom in confusion. What the hell was going on now? Only moments ago, he was standing outside the academy, then all of a sudden, he somehow ended up inside?!
…And where the hell was Sasuke?
At the thought of the Uchiha, Naruto immediately attempted to run back outside, only to find that the door he had just walked through had disappeared. Now all that stood in its place was a blank and smooth wall. The blonde frowned, before folding his arms and pouting simultaneously. Something weird was definitely going on here…
Naruto immediately spun around at the sound of his name. His heart pumped furiously, as he realised that he had been caught off guard for the second time that day. Definitely not the way to go…
"Sasuke!?" he yelled, as he glanced at the 12-13 looking year old boy in disbelief. What the hell…? How did the raven-haired boy manage to put on 6 years in a matter of seconds?! And he was absolutely positive that the classroom was empty when he had entered! Bewildered blue eyes glanced at the far wall again – confirming the fact that the door was still missing…
But… If there was no entrance…
Then just how the hell did the Uchiha get in here?!
Naruto glanced up into dark blank eyes, before shivering in apprehension. They were still so blank – still so bare…
Sasuke stopped directly in front of the blonde, before looking straight into his eyes.
"I miss you Naruto…" the shorter boy whispered hoarsely, dark eyes searching blue ones in desperation, voice choking over with unanswered questions.
The blonde hitched back a shaky breath. "Can you see me?" he asked anxiously, eyes burning with renewed hope. Sasuke was looking at him, right? Right?! That meant that he could see him… That meant…!
"Sasuke, can you see me?" Naruto repeated, a little more urgently, a little more desperately…
"Where are you, Naruto?" the Uchiha replied softly, never once breaking the intense eye contact that the two boys shared. He slowly walked closer towards the blonde, until they were only inches apart… Tenderly, he reached out a hand to touch Naruto's bewildered face…
But his fingers encountered nothing save for thin air.
"Sasuke!" Naruto yelled in anguish, throwing himself towards the unmoving boy, only to pass right through him. He tumbled painfully onto the ground, his body frozen in disbelief. Why…? Just… Just why couldn't he feel him?! God, he would do anything – give up everything – just to be able to hold him… To just comfort him, and to show him that he was there, and that he was never going to leave…
Just why couldn't he even touch him?
"You can see me, can't you?" Naruto pleaded, his eyes full of hope. "Tell me you can see me… Please tell me…"
The raven-haired boy glanced at his fallen companion with an expression of sad resignation.
"Do you even know how much I miss you?" he whispered, dark eyes filling with some indescribable emotion that made Naruto weak at the knees. He continued to hold the blonde's gaze with an intense vigour, even as the first tears began to make their way down his ivory cheeks.
Naruto felt his heart break a little more.
Then once again, everything faded to black…
The next time Naruto opened his eyes, he was beside the lake that had provided him with his most cherished memories. It took a couple of seconds for his vision to adjust to the night sky – but when he did, what he saw took his breath away…
The moon shone brightly against the pinpricks of white starlight, surrounding the lake with a mystical veil… The breeze swayed gently, creating small ripples upon the surface of the calm waters, as if dancing to a forgotten song of ancient times…
Never before had the blonde witnessed something so beautiful…
Naruto turned around sharply to face the direction of the voice, although he wasn't really surprised at the unexpected company anymore. After all – it had happened twice already…
"Sasu...ke…" the blonde's words trailed off, as his mouth dropped open in surprise at the sight in front of him.
Standing only 3 feet away from him was the most beautiful vision he had ever laid eyes upon. The dark-haired boy, now around his current age, seemed to be emitting an inner glow – giving him an almost ethereal look of fragile radiance. His skin glimmered like rare diamonds - intense sparkles that would undoubtedly fill the stars of heavens with bitter envy… And his eyes… His eyes burned with such intense fiery passion that it scared the blonde…
Scared him to the depths of his soul…
"Naruto…" Sasuke repeated, his voice gentle yet powerful. Naruto hitched back a breath in fear. So this was what angels sounded like… "Where are you?"
The blonde stood rooted to the spot, his mind still unable to comprehend the image of the boy standing before him. Sasuke had made the lake look lifeless, had make sunsets and sunrises dull… He had made shooting stars seem mundane, and sakura blossoms seem dull…
It wasn't possible…
It just wasn't possible for anything to be so beautiful…
Naruto looked up, only to be met with a somewhat bemused looking Uchiha.
"Sasuke…" the blonde held his breath. Sasuke was looking at him… That meant… That meant he could see him right? That meant… That meant…
Sasuke walked a step closer to the blonde, a small yet sad smile displayed upon his features.
It just made him even more breathtakingly beautiful.
"I miss you Naruto…"
The blonde felt hot tears well up in his eyes. Not again! Please… Not again… He couldn't go through it again! To just stand there doing nothing, while listening to Sasuke speak… To hear those words of longing and yearning, to see that expression contort over with pain… And knowing that he could do nothing about it…
Knowing that he couldn't comfort him, couldn't even touch him…
It hurt so much… Why did it hurt so much…?
Everything hurt so much…
"Don't cry, Naruto… I just want to know… Where are you?" Sasuke murmured, as he took a step closer to the blonde.
Naruto immediately took a step back, even as tears began to fall freely from his eyes. He couldn't take this torment anymore – all Sasuke ever asked was where he was! It just didn't make sense! He was right in front of him damn it! The Uchiha must be able to see him, right…? So why did he even bother asking?
Nothing made sense anymore!
A pained expression flickered across Sasuke's features.
"Naruto…?" he asked unsteadily, his eyes betraying his uneasiness deep inside, as if wondering why the blonde would recoil away from him… Did he somehow do something wrong?
"Stay away!" Naruto yelled, his blue eyes dilating wildly, as he took another step away from the raven-haired boy. He couldn't go through it again… Not again…
He couldn't bear the disappointment of not being able to hold him all over again…
"Naruto…?" Sasuke's voice cracked slightly, his dark eyes revealing his pain and confusion swirling inside.
"Stay away Sasuke!" Naruto was sobbing uncontrollably now, his tears pouring down in constant silver rivulets. "I can't take it anymore…! It hurts too much Sasuke… Please… It hurts…"
The raven-haired boy took a cautious step forward. "It's ok…" he soothed gently. "Everything's ok…"
"Shut up!" Naruto yelled, even as his tears began to choke and overwhelm him. "Stop getting my hopes up! You don't know how it feels…! I can't hold you, I can't even touch you… I-"
The blonde's words were cut short as he suddenly found himself encased within a pair of warm arms.
"Shh… It's ok…" Sasuke murmured, as he weaved his hands lovingly into thick strands of blonde hair. He rested his chin contentedly on top of Naruto's head, as his arms gently yet possessively wrapped themselves around the smaller boy's body.
The blonde froze, before burying his face deeper into the Uchiha's chest, inhaling the unique scent that can only be defined as Sasuke. This was real… This was real! He could touch him, he could hold him…
Naruto wrapped his arms tighter around the raven-haired boy's waist, crushing their two bodies closer together…
It felt so right… It felt so real…
Naruto began to cry again – except this time the tears were shed from joy and happiness… It was real – he was real… He could touch him… He could finally touch him…
And now, he was never letting go.
Initially, Kakashi looked confused upon hearing the loud constant beep emitting near the motionless boy. But as soon as he glanced at the pale frozen body, an expression of panic rapidly immediately formed upon his usually impassive features.
"Doctor!!" he roared loudly, trying his best to keep his anxiety under control, as he sprinted towards his former pupil's bedside.
Almost instantaneously, a party of doctors and nurses rushed in, surrounding the small-looking boy with impeccably trained efficiency. The silver-haired jounin found himself overwhelmed by the amount of activity taking place – incomprehensible orders were shouted, equipment obtained and actions commenced in the most time effective of methods…
Never before had he ever felt so unsure, so useless…
After what seemed like an eternity, the steady beep of the machines ensued - the same beep that the older man had considered insufferably annoying only a few hours ago…
And never before had the copycat ninja heard anything so beautiful.
Naruto felt the older boy tense long before a gasp of pain was even heard. He lifted his head slightly off the Uchiha's chest to gaze into dark eyes inquisitively.
"Sasuke?" he whispered, his own blue eyes widening slightly at the obvious pain that flickered across the taller boy's expression. "Are… Are you ok?"
The Uchiha responded by crushing the blonde tighter against his body.
"Are… Are you hurt?" Naruto asked timidly, speaking so quietly that it was barely audible over the beat of his own heart. He didn't want to speak too loud – didn't want to ruin the atmosphere… He was too afraid, too frightened…
He couldn't risk Sasuke disappearing again…
The dark-haired boy hesitated. "Naruto… Where… Where have you been?"
The blonde frowned. What kinda question was that? "I've been…" he trailed off, unable to answer. A flicker of confusion crossed his features. He had been looking for Sasuke, right? And now that he found him, everything would be ok…
Everything would be perfect…
"Why didn't you come to visit me?"
Naruto raised his eyebrows in puzzlement. "I looked for you…" he trailed off uncertainly, before wrapping his arms tighter around the Uchiha. "Buts it's ok now… We're together, that's all that counts right?"
Naruto felt himself being gently pushed away from the warm embrace, until the two boys faced each other eye to eye.
A mixture of hurt and confusion flicked across the blonde's features. Why was Sasuke pushing him away? Didn't the Uchiha miss him?
"Sasuke?" Naruto questioned, his hands clutching the taller boy's arms almost desperately, as he wondered what the hell was going on. Blue eyes frantically searched black ones, only to find a deep sense of profound sorrow and distress…
Why? What…What was going on?
"Naruto, what do you remember?"
The blonde frowned in confusion. "I was looking for you, and then – "
"Naruto…" Sasuke interrupted desperately, his voice betraying his inner turmoil, which perplexed the blonde even more. "Please… I need you to remember…"
The smaller boy bit down upon his lower lip, as his grip on Sasuke's arms became tighter. Almost immediately, unwanted images and memories began to surge through his mind, making him feel sick to the stomach… Visions of the dark-haired boy… Visions of cruel Sharingan eyes… Memories of pain…
Memories of so much pain…
"No… I don't… I…" the blonde whispered, as his head began to spin from nausea. Why was Sasuke doing this to him? He didn't want to remember – he didn't want to remember the pain… It hurt…
It hurt so much…
The blonde looked up into dark eyes, only to find them filled with desperate tears. Sasuke… Sasuke was crying? But… Why? Why was Sasuke crying?
Angels shouldn't cry…
"I…" Naruto trembled, as images of a cruel Sasuke once again invaded his mind. Sasuke kissing him, Sasuke hurting him… But why? Why would Sasuke hurt him…? It just didn't make sense…! Sasuke loved him, right? And people… People didn't hurt the ones that they loved…
Sasuke… Unless Sasuke didn't love him?
Unconsciously, he let his hand slacken and drop from the Uchiha's arm…
He didn't see the stab of pain in Sasuke's eyes that ensued.
"You…" Naruto managed to choke out. "You were hurting me…" he trailed off, before clenching his eyes shut in pain. He wanted to deny it, he wanted to pretend that everything was fine…! But those eyes… Those sharingan eyes… They were so cold… But Sasuke… Why would he…?
Naruto moved another step backwards. He didn't want to remember… He didn't want to go through it again…
He didn't want to hurt anymore…
Suddenly, blue eyes flew open as new images filled the blonde's mind – images of… another Sasuke? There were 2 Sasukes? No… That's impossible… That man… That man wasn't Sasuke! He was… Itachi? Was that possible? …Sasuke was protecting him! Then there was a fight… And the real Sasuke… He… he…
"Do you remember now?" the dark-haired boy asked softly, as blue eyes shot open in disbelief.
"You were hurt…" Naruto whispered, tears springing to his eyes as images of the Uchiha's broken body flashed through his mind. Itachi… Itachi hurt him…. He hurt his own brother…! There was so much blood, so much pain… Sasuke was hurt…
Sasuke was hurt because of him…
"What else do you remember?" the raven-haired boy probed gently, a deep look of resignation within his eyes.
"I… You… You went to hospital…. I went… I went to look for you…"
"Shh… Naruto…" Sasuke reached out a thumb, and stroked the blonde's cheek in a soothing manner, trying his best to calm the trembling boy. "I need you to think clearly…" he murmured quietly. "Please… Please remember…"
"I… I didn't come to visit you…" Naruto choked out, as tears of regret spilled down his cheeks. "I'm sorry Sasuke… I never… I wasn't there when you needed me… I… I was scared…"
"I was so scared…"
Apprehensively, the blonde braved a glance into the Uchiha's dark eyes, expecting to find emotions of anger and disappointment swirling around. He knew he had been a coward – but how could he explain it? How could he explain the fact that he wasn't there when Sasuke needed him, just because he was scared? Scared of losing the man that had haunted his dreams for 5 years… Scared of losing his teammate, friend, rival, lover – whatever their relationship… Scared that the only person he had ever loved would never get up again…
Scared because it was all his fault…
But instead of finding resentment and bitterness within those black eyes, all he found was a profound sense of sorrow.
And in many ways, that was even worse.
"Naruto…" Sasuke hesitated, even as his thumb continued to rub soothing circles along the blonde's cheek. "You're not… You're not remembering… Think harder… Think – why didn't you come to visit me?"
"I already said – I was scared…"
"No, Naruto… That's not the reason… Think harder… Why didn't you come to visit me?"
The blonde frowned. Why was Sasuke trying to make excuses for him? Couldn't he just accept the fact that he was scared? But it was ok now, right…? They were together… That's all that mattered…
And now everything would be perfect…
"It doesn't matter…" Naruto murmured despairingly, as he flung himself into Sasuke's arms, desperate for the comfort of human contact. "It's over now, ok? I'm sorry… But it's in the past… We're together now, and that's all that matters, right? And everything will be ok… I'm never going to leave you, and you're never going to leave me… right?"
But instead of hearing words of agreement from the raven-haired boy, Sasuke merely tensed, before reluctantly releasing the smaller boy from his embrace.
A look of absolute pain flickered across the blonde's features. Why…? Why did he…?
Didn't Sasuke love him anymore?
"Naruto…" the Uchiha whispered, as crystal tears began spilling over his dark eyes. "We can't… We can't be together…"
The blonde froze in mortified confusion. Did he hear right? Did… Did Sasuke just say that they couldn't be together?
Naruto felt his world crumble and collapse around him. "Sasuke…?" he croaked, in disbelief, hoping with all his heart that this was nothing but a big misunderstanding… Or maybe that the Uchiha had suddenly acquired a sense of humour, and this was nothing but a really horrible joke…
But all he found in those dark eyes was a deep sense of longing, sorrow and regret.
"I… I'm sorry… I'm sorry I never went to visit you… But… But can't we work this out?" the blonde whispered in desperation, as tears began to spill relentlessly from his blue eyes. Agonising pain tore deep into him – it felt as if his heart and soul had been shattered beyond repair…
Sasuke didn't respond.
"But I love you!" Naruto cried in a mixture of anguish and hopeless desperation. Why was Sasuke doing this to him? How could he…? How could he be so cruel? After everything they had been through… After all those promises, all those tender words… After all those proclamations of undying love… Was it all just an act?
Were they all just lies?
"I love you so much Sasuke… Please…! Please don't do this to me…! After everything we've been through… After…"
"I love you too…" Sasuke interrupted hoarsely, his eyes full of genuine love and sincerity. "And I'll love you forever… But…"
"But we can't be together…"
"Why?" Naruto yelled, his fists clenched together tightly, even as the pain threatened to consume him from within. "Why can't we be together Sasuke? If you really loved me…" the blonde trailed off in desperation. "If you really loved me, you wouldn't do this to me…"
"If you really loved me, you would never leave me…"
"Don't you ever doubt my love for you…!" Sasuke whispered harshly, with so much anger and passion that it shook Naruto to the core, undeniably proving the fact that the Uchiha's love was true. "Don't you ever…! After everything… After - "
"Then why won't you be with me?" the blonde interrupted, as his voice choked over with distress.
"I… I can't stay…"
"Why not?" Naruto demanded despairingly. "I'm sorry about the hospital visits, ok? But I'll never leave you again… I'll go wherever you go, I'll follow you wherever, whenever - "
"Naruto…" the Uchiha's voice was hesitant. "You don't seem to understand… I… I was never at the hospital…"
The blonde frowned in confusion. "Yes you were… You were brought in after…"
Suddenly, blue eyes went wide as more startling memories wracked violently into the smaller boy's mind. Blood… Pain… Sasuke… Hinata… Hinata trying her best… Hinata crying…? But why was Hinata crying…? Kakashi… Kakashi looking grim… But Kakashi never looked grim…! Tears… Sasuke… Shikamaru looking troubled… More tears… Pain… So much pain… Why was there so much pain? An inhuman wail…
Sasuke had… Sasuke was… Sasuke is…
Blue eyes snapped to black in utter fear and disbelief.
Sasuke was dead.
Kakashi stood frozen over the body of his former student in a mixture of fear and disbelief. That had been the first sign of movement from the immobile boy ever since he had slipped into a coma over a month ago… But the fact that his heart had stopped momentarily – was that bad, or merely a blessing in disguise?
But at least he moved, right? For the first time in over 30 days, he had actually moved… That was somewhat encouraging… That meant he was responding – that there was a chance that he was going to get better… Right?
"Wake up…" he whispered brokenly, hovering resentfully over the pale and motionless boy. "Why don't you wake up….?" It hurt so much to see the usually vibrant boy in a comatose state… It just seemed so wrong… So… unnatural…
"Please… Please come back…"
"Please come back to us, Naruto…"
"NO!" Naruto yelled, as he shook his head furiously to purge the unwelcome thoughts burning within his mind. It's not true! It can't be true!! Sasuke was here damn it! Sasuke wasn't dead – he was here! He was alive, he was breathing! His heart was beat-
The blonde froze in shock as realisation struck him like a lightening bolt. When… When the Uchiha had held him earlier… When he had curled up against his chest… Sasuke…
Sasuke didn't have a heart beat.
Naruto instinctively backed away from the raven-haired boy.
"Stay away!" he shouted, his voice hoarse and trembling with emotion. "You're lying to me!"
"SHUT UP!" Naruto screamed, as tears of frustration began their descent down his face. "Why are you doing this to me? Stop playing with my mind! You're not dead – you're not dead damn it!"
"Listen to me!" Sasuke interrupted, his wild eyes clenched shut in desperation. "I don't have much time - "
"You're not dead!" the blonde yelled, ignoring the Uchiha's frustrated plea. "If you were dead, you wouldn't be here right now! You wouldn't be standing in front of me, you wouldn't be - "
"You're dying Naruto!"
The blonde paused in the middle of his outburst, his blue eyes wide open in bewilderment.
"That's the only reason I'm here!" Sasuke continued in desperation, taking the smaller boy's silence as encouragement to carry on. "You've been in hospital for over a month now, and you still haven't woken up… And… And if you don't get up soon…" the Uchiha trailed off, as a surge of indescribable emotion overwhelmed him.
"You're going to die…"
Naruto stood frozen, as if trying to grasp and comprehend all the ruthless information thrown cruelly at him. So Sasuke was dead…? And he was the one in hospital…?
But… But that couldn't be true, could it? He was… They were both standing here, for god's sake! How could Sasuke even think of such a ridiculous concept?
But then again… What were they doing at the lake…? And how did they even get here?
Was this… Was this a dream?
The blonde took an uncertain step forward. "Are… Are you… really dead?" he whispered, slight confusion and hesitation within his words. Maybe it was a dream… And dreams were supposed to be insightful or something, right?
But… Was it even possible to see dead people in dreams?
Sasuke nodded sadly but solemnly, giving Naruto no room for doubt on whether the Uchiha was being truthful or not.
The blonde slumped as his world shattered around him. Sasuke was dead…? But… But -
In desperation, he reached up to grasp the raven-haired boy's hand, trembling as he asked the crucial question. "But you're real… Right? This isn't… This isn't just a dream?"
Sasuke hesitated. "I… I only have 10 minutes left…"
Naruto weaved their fingers intricately together. There were still so many unanswered questions – so many things that still didn't makes sense… Like how? And when…? But… None of it mattered anymore… None of it mattered in the end…
All that mattered was Sasuke.
"Then I don't want to get up…" the blonde murmured quietly.
His words echoed with an air of finality.
Sasuke felt panic building within him, like a volcano ready to burst. This wasn't how it was supposed to be! This visit – this entire visit was implemented with the principle objective of rousing the blonde from his coma! He was supposed to persuade him to keep on living – not encourage him to give up his life!!
"Naruto…" Sasuke whispered desperately, as he pulled the smaller boy closer towards him. "Naruto, listen to me…"
He cupped the blonde's face with his two trembling hands on either side, gazing into blank blue eyes with his own intense black ones.
"Listen to me…!" he whispered, urgency evident within his voice. "You need to live… Hear me, Naruto? You. Need. To. Live."
"But I don't want to…"
"You promised me, Naruto…" Sasuke interrupted, his eyes frantically searching the blonde's for any signs of understanding. "You promised me, remember? You promised me that you'll become Hokage, no matter what… You promised me…"
"You promised me too!" the blonde yelled, as fresh tears spilled from his sore eyes. "You promised that you'd never leave me!! But you lied! You lied to me Sasuke!"
"Its not - "
"You're going to leave me again!" Naruto interrupted, as furious sobs choked his words. "You're going to leave me, just like you left me 5 years ago…"
Sasuke looked on helplessly, as the blonde finally bared his soul.
"It hurt so much…" Naruto whispered despairingly, as he shrugged himself free of the Uchiha's touch. "When you left… I didn't… I didn't tell anyone… About us… I was so scared…So confused…"
"I thought you hated me… That you went away because you regretted what we… What we did…"
Sasuke listened in silence, although his insides were protesting in anguish. He never knew… He never knew that his actions were the source of so much distress…
"And when you came back… I found out that you were getting married…" Naruto trailed off, as a new onslaught of sobs overwhelmed him. "And all these new feelings… These weird feelings sparked up… And I wanted to hate you – wanted to hate both of you – you and Sakura… But I couldn't…."
"I just couldn't…"
"Then you came and told me… Told me that you loved me… And I was so scared Sasuke…! I was so scared…" Naruto trailed off into a whisper, as he gazed blankly at the ground. "You confused me… It didn't… It didn't make sense… How could you love me? Me… The fool – the idiot – the outcast of the village… Even when you knew about the Kyuubi…"
"How could you choose me – a demon - over Sakura?"
The last part was said with so much incredulity and hollowness that Sasuke felt his soul tear apart.
"So I thought… I knew that you were going to regret it… You don't understand Sasuke…! You couldn't love me…! I had to make you see the truth before you started to hate me… I couldn't bear it if you started to hate me…"
Sasuke felt fresh tears sting his eyes. Didn't Naruto see? Didn't he understand? Didn't he realise that he could never hate him?
"And I didn't want Sakura getting hurt… So I had to make you see that you were confused - I had to convince you that your feelings weren't real…! I tried to put you off – I tried so hard…"
"Telling you… That I… I didn't love you… It had to be the hardest thing I've ever done…" Naruto broke down as overwhelming emotions choked up within his throat. "It hurt so much, Sasuke…" Naruto whispered, hoarsely, hopelessly. "I don't want to hurt again… I don't want to hurt anymore…"
"Please don't hurt me anymore…"
Sasuke hitched back a gasp as trembling blue eyes met his – eyes spilling so openly, so honestly with fear, confusion and deep profound sorrow. Eyes that were displayed without the usual barriers - without the usual mask - revealing a hauntingly beautiful soul…
"I love you Sasuke… I love you, and I never want to leave you…"
The Uchiha closed his eyes as raw pain seared through him.
"Please Sasuke… Please…. Don't make me go…"
"Please don't make me live without you…"
In desperation, Sasuke stepped forward to embrace the smaller boy with a renewed vigour, needing the comfort of human contact…
"You're not being fair, Naruto…" he whispered, as the blonde trembled fervently against his chest. "You have to live… I… I can't… I can't watch you die…"
"But - "
"People need you Naruto…" Sasuke murmured, as he hugged the smaller boy tighter against his body, as if afraid to let go. "Please… Don't make it harder than it already is…"
"This is my fault isn't it…"the blonde sobbed. "If only I didn't run off… Then none of this would've happened… It's my fault… It's my fault that you're dead…"
"Don't think that!" Sasuke ordered in defiance, as he weaved his fingers possessively into thick blonde hair. He forced the trembling boy to look into his eyes – dark eyes filled with anger and disbelief at the other's admission. "Don't you ever think that! If it's anyone's fault, its mine… I should've finished my brother off ages ago…"
"He should never have touched you…"
An agitated silence consumed the two, as the Uchiha tried to keep his anger under control.
"So what do we do now?" Naruto whispered quietly.
"You wake up," Sasuke replied simply, effectively concealing the fact that his heart was shattering into a million pieces. "You wake up… and you live."
"It doesn't matter…" the Uchiha murmured hollowly. "You have to live on without me…"
"But I'm not sure if I can…" the blonde's voice crumbled.
"You have to!" Sasuke declared vehemently. "You have to… You can't… I won't let you die… I won't…"
"I won't forgive you if you die!"
Sasuke buried in face into the mop of blonde hair in a mixture of desperation and frustration. Didn't he understand? Didn't he understand that he couldn't let him die, especially for him? That he just couldn't watch another special person die… He still had so much to live for… He still had so much to give, still had a dream to fulfil…
He would never forgive him if he just threw it all away…
"I'll never see you again, will I?"
Sasuke remained silent, not trusting himself to speak.
"So this is goodbye?"
"This is goodbye…" the Uchiha replied hoarsely, as overwhelming emotions surged to his heart, shattering the broken pieces into oblivion.
Naruto sniffed, before looking one last time into the eyes that will inevitably haunt his dreams for the rest of his life.
"I love you…" he whispered. "I'll love you forever…"
"I know… I love you too… Forever…"
Then they kissed – their last ever kiss full of love, sorrow and bitterness – a kiss that seemed to last forever, yet ended all too soon… And as their silver tears intermingled, their souls embraced – and in that one moment in time, everything was in harmony…
Everything was in perfect harmony.
It was a final kiss to mark the end of their fruitless struggles – yet all was not in vain… For true love had transpired.
And that was enough.
Love was always enough.
Two years later, a tall man stood quietly by the side of a relatively peaceful lake, as a cool breeze swept softly by him. His blonde hair, now golden from constant exposure to the sun, shone brightly, contrasting greatly with his now dark bronzed skin. But his eyes – still an impossible shade of brilliant blue – betrayed hardships and suffering that no one that young should've ever had to suffer…
They were eyes that had loved and lost.
It was a peaceful day… The sunlight glinted warmly over gentle ripples upon the surface of the waters, sending millions of crystal shards spiralling in all directions… It was definitely a beautiful day…
Yet nothing but a solemn expression graced Naruto's features...
"I miss you…" the blonde whispered softly, his voice soft and sincere, as he gazed out longingly into the deep depths of the lake.
But as always, there was no answer, except for the gentle murmur of the winds.
"This is what you meant, wasn't it?" the man continued, either oblivious or uncaring to his lack of responses. "I finally understand… I finally understand what you were trying to tell me…"
Naruto closed his eyes as he felt the soothing breeze caress his face.
"When you kept asking me where I was, and why I didn't visit you…" he whispered, so faintly that it was barely audible even to his own ears. "You were really asking why I didn't visit your resting place…Weren't you?"
"I'm sorry it took me so long…" startling blue eyes slowly opened, gleaming brilliantly with unshed tears. "I didn't mean to be away for that long… But… But I've found someone… I've found someone that I'll be able to love…"
"I hope you're proud of me Sasuke… I did what you said – I lived… And you were right… There's still so much to do, still so much left unfinished…"
A gentle silence filled the air.
"We've finally found it though…" Naruto murmured softly. "We found the factory - where those illegal weapons were being created… But… But more are being created, more being developed… It just seems so impossible right now…"
A slight pause.
"Maybe… Maybe we can't escape it after all…" the blonde whispered. "Maybe no matter what we do - no matter how hard we try… Maybe we just can't escape this new era – this era of handheld weapons of destruction…"
"Maybe it's just the next step in human evolution…"
A small, dry chuckle escaped the blonde's lips.
"Hehe, sorry for sounding so philosophical back there…That's more of something you would say, ne, Sasuke?"
Silence, followed by a heavy sigh.
"I really do miss you, you know…" Naruto whispered forlornly. "I still dream about you every night… Still think about you every day… You know I'll never forget you, right…?"
"I still love you so much…"
The blonde paused, as if temporarily overwhelmed with emotion.
"But there's someone I'd like you to meet…" he whispered hoarsely, his lips trembling slightly. "And I think you'll like him very much…"
Naruto walked to the edge of the clearing, where a small boy – around the age of 5 -with dark hair was patiently standing. Then holding hands, the two slowly walked forward, until they reached the rock that stood beside the lake.
The rock had a simple engraving upon it – Uchiha Sasuke, may your soul rest in peace.
"This is Ataski-kun…" the blonde smiled proudly – the first smile that Naruto had expressed since reaching the area. "Ataski-kun, say hello to Uncle Sasuke…"
"Hello, Uncle Sasuke," the small boy said politely, before bowing graciously in front of the rock. The boy had a cute yet serious expression adorning his features, giving the impression that he was someone who just wanted to grow up a little too quickly…
But then again – which Uchiha didn't?!
"Heh, bet you didn't know that huh!" Naruto grinned, as a little of his old mischievousness crept back into his voice. "It seems that your brother and that 'Miss Riyoka' were connected and joined… In more ways than one!!"
Another snort escaped the blonde, as Ataski watched on in amusement.
"Anyway, the poor kid was left with the neighbours, but since he had no one left, I decided to become his guardian! Yeh I know what your thinking – how can I become a guardian when I can't even take care of myself blah blah, but this guy is great!" Naruto grinned, as he grabbed the smaller boy and ruffled up his hair. "He's very smart, and very gifted – he's probably stronger now than you ever were…!"
Ataski crawled out of the blonde's grip, with an endearing pout upon his face. Add that to his erratically messed up hair, the little Uchiha boy looked absolutely adorable.
"Oh and he doesn't talk either… Gee, what is it with you Uchiha's and the inability to speak?"
Little Ataski glared, although the effects were pretty much diminished by the two dimples that appeared on either side of his cheeks.
"Heh… See what I mean?"
And so, the two stayed chattering aimlessly – well, Naruto was chattering aimlessly - until the blonde somehow ended up falling into the lake. His stomach rumbled soon after, which more or less signified the end of their visit.
"Well… I guess I'll see you later then, Sasuke…" Naruto murmured, his expression considerably lighter since Ataski-kun had been introduced.
"Come on Ataski-kun, let's go get some ramen…"
And as the two left hand in hand, a fresh engraving could be found underneath the original message upon the rock. It read:
'A friend, a rival, a lover… He has touched my heart, and embraced my soul… One encounter is worth over a thousand lifetimes…'
'Wait for me, my angel. I'll love you forever...'
OMG it's finished... After...5? 6? 7? months... It's finally over...!!
This chapter has to be the longest... Yep, definitely the longest I hope I didn't confuse too many people... Basically, Naruto kinda broke down after Sasuke's death, but he didn't realise he was in hospital until 'Sasuke' told him... The new person who Naruto loves is Ataski, and he is supposed to be the son of Itachi and the woman that killed Sasuke...
And what happens to Sakura you ask? Well... it doesn't really matter does it XD. She's not important!!
And I know guns aren't in Naruto world, but gah... I hope this 'giving Naruto something to live for' is a good enough justification... Oh and the whole human evolution thing - I guess I've been watching too much TV recently...!
Feedback? Yes please!! Mail me at ! I'd love to know what you think of the whole story now that it's complete... If there are any plot holes, please feel free to ask... And I'll try to weave them into the chapter somehow... O.o;;
Well... Until next time! Take care!! Ja ne!