WARNING: If I did my job right, this will make you cry. I apologise in advance. I hope that it reflects upon my skill (or lack thereof) in writing. Some of the dialogue in the ending was taken/inspired by chapter 16 from Full Metal Alchemist.
Set just after Tsunade accepts the position of the fifth Hokage and just before Naruto and Sasuke face off.
It was a perfect day by anyone's standards, but Sasuke looked as though he could care less. He crinkled his nose, wondering how the hell he got in the position he was in. It didn't surprise him that many of his life's questions began and ended with his rival. Hell, life itself began and ended with Naruto.
He turned his hollow black eyes to the sky and noticed how blue it was. Tiny fluffs of cloud dotted the expanse of one of the brightest days he'd ever seen in his life. He caught himself before he even considered comparing Naruto's eyes to the sky. There was nothing to compare; they were two completely separate things. He never understood it when romantics compared the two. Sure he saw the colours of the sky when ever he had been close enough to see them, but he knew that the sky was one of millions of strands of blue that stretched from the pupil to the whites of his bright eyes.
He nearly laughed out loud at the way he sounded to himself, but he knew it would only draw looks of pity towards him. He didn't want their pity. It would change nothing and he knew it would only make him feel worse and lash out at everyone.
He looked back at the people who were standing behind him silently, eyes staring straight ahead or down at the ground. There were even children in the back that kept rolling their eyes and sighing like they had better places to be, but their parents kept a tight grip to their hands, keeping them there. A few of the women were crying into handkerchiefs and one young woman was holding onto her newborn as though she would die without the child. Kakashi had his eyes closed, as a form of preventing emotions to be shown on his face, and Sakura just stared at Sasuke stonily.
She'd really surprised him when they found out. Not a single tear dropped, but looking into her eyes, he could see that she was lost in the confusion. It still seemed surreal to the both of them and she stood by the belief that it was truly horrible to cry in this way. She was standing beside Kakashi and holding his hand in a death grip that neither noticed. Sasuke looked closer and he found that both hands were clenched together tightly. Anybody who was looking at the pair wouldn't have seen the little things and thought them cruel friends.
He turned his gaze back to the Hokage mountain, studying the old fading cracks of the five faces. The Godaime Hokage's face looked so out of place beside the older men, which was one of the reasons she had protested the addition to the monument, but her angry outburst was ignored as it was a tradition. Her stony face was smooth and youthful, completely unlike someone her age, and it looked over the village with a smirk. It was almost as though Naruto had been there while she was posing for the picture the builders used for the face. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine that scene. Godaime Hokage would be sitting stiffly on a stool, waiting for the photographer to finally snap the picture, when Naruto would burst in, yelling at the top of his lungs and generally making an ass of himself. The Hokage would explode at him, but there would be that smirk, as though she was looking at a ghost from the past, returned to give her a second chance.
There was a shifting of feet beside him and he turned to see Tsunade-hime walk up beside him, looking to her own face as well. Tears were streaming down her face, but her lips were curved up in that smirk, almost like she was remembering the same scene. He stared up at her, wide-eyed innocence long gone from his eyes, and took one of her frail hands in his small ones. She looked to him suddenly, as if he had startled her with his actions, and gave his hands a quick squeeze.
"It will be alright," she whispered, and both of them knew her words were directed to herself more than the young boy holding her hand. "It has to be." He nodded stiffly and closed his eyes. He tilted his head backwards again, and listened to the wind as it rushed over the mountain. He was surprised at how easily the wind had managed to drown out the near-annoying screeching of the infants and the mothers who couldn't control their tears. He could barely hear them, and if he tried hard enough he could play back memories loud enough to drown out even the howling wind.
He was jostled to the side when Konohamaru came running to the front, having broken free of Iruka's protective arms. He looked at Sasuke and Tsunade accusingly, grabbing onto the twelve-year-old's shoulders.
"Why are you burying Naruto-niichan?!?!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. Iruka and Ebisu grabbed him from behind, but he continued to struggle, shifting his attention from Sasuke and Tsunade, and turning his tear- stained face to the wooden box being lowered into the ground. He tried frantically to wrestle his way out of his teacher's grip to get at the men holding the casket. "Iruka-sensei, why are those men burying Naruto- niichan?!!! Stop them!!"
"Konohamaru," Iruka whispered softly, holding the young boy tightly.
"Don't!" he yelled at the men, ripping the goggles from his head and whipping it at them, as if to chase them away like a flock of birds. "Naruto can't challenge me to the Hokage title if you do that!"
"He always said he was going to become the Hokage. He promised me!!! Naruto- niichan never breaks his promises!!!! Don't... don't bury him... Naruto!!" He turned around and burrowed his head in Iruka's shoulder and let forth the tears, many of the older ninjas refused to show. Iruka nodded his head, murmuring softly to the young boy and let his own tears slide down his pale cheeks.
"I'm sure he's fighting with the other four Hokage's for supremacy right now," he whispered, just loud enough for Sasuke and Tsunade to hear as well, and take hope from his words. "He's in a place where he can't be hurt anymore, so there's nothing stopping him now."
Sasuke watched the pair as Iruka gathered the kid into his arms and led him away from the grave site. He knew he must have looked cruel and unfeeling, and for a moment he really wished he could show any other emotion but the brick wall, but shinobi weren't trained to have hearts; they weren't trained to be vulnerable, and from the corner of his eye, he understood how some of the older ninja felt when they lost someone close to them.
He turned his head slightly when the woman clutching her newborn child burst into another round of sobs. Iruka had told the village about Naruto's upbringing and how his parents had been murdered on the night of his birth, and from that moment on lived the life of a condemned child. He'd had no mother, no father, no one who would look after him or tuck him in at night or kiss him on the cheek. The chuunn sensei made everyone think about how they would survive growing up without people to care for them, he had even turned to the women at the back and asked them how they could stand there with their children knowing that Naruto had lived with nothing. He'd died with nothing. Sasuke had thought he was right in standing up for Naruto on the first day their team had been formed. He thought he knew what kind of loneliness the little idiot faced, but even he had parents who loved him at one time. Strangely enough, when Sasuke looked around he didn't see a single look of pity on the faces of the people around him. There was remorse and guilt and mourning, but no one pitied him.
He looked back to his hands, clutched around Tsunade's and pursed his lips together. He had heard rumours of the horrors that had plagued her life, and that Naruto was her second chance at a little brother, but she had startled him when Naruto was first brought in.
There had been blood everywhere and sharp bits of metal were shimmering through the red liquid that practically poured from each of his wounds. He was howling in pain, and every other sentence was cursing Sasuke. At first, they ignored his yelling, figuring that he would be okay if he was able to make that much noise, but by the time they had gotten him from the battle field into Tsunade's arms, he was shifting in and out of consciousness, and biting his lip to keep quiet. Tsunade asked no questions and began work immediately, but by then everyone knew there was nothing anyone could do.
The last thing Naruto did was reach out for someone's hand. It didn't matter to him. Sasuke was about to reach out to take it when Tsunade stepped forward and wrapped his small hands in her travel-worn ones.
"Tsunade-baba," he chuckled, even though it hurt him to do so. She wiped her eyes on her shoulder sleeve, but didn't return the laughter. "I told you I would be worthy of the Hokage title!" he exclaimed hoarsely. She had frowned in confusion.
"What are you talking about, idiot?"
"When I learned Rasengan," he explained, twirling his free finger in a spiral. "You said that because it took Yondaime Hokage three years to master it, I couldn't do it in a week. I proved you wrong." He smiled, his hands shaking slightly. He closed his eyes, and for a second Sasuke thought he might never open them again, but after a shuddering breath, he looked back up at Tsunade, his eyes filled with a mixture of pain and pleading. "I'm going to become the village's greatest Hokage. I'm going to make everyone see me, and love me, and respect me. Please don't let me die. I haven't even beaten Sasuke yet. Please help me, Tsunade-neechan. Oneechan, don't let me go." She turned her head from him at his desperate words, tears staining her face, and when she turned back to the boy he was gone, his hand limp in her grasp.
Now, Sasuke turned away from her when her hand fell limp. He almost wished Naruto had gone silently and not hurt the Hokage with his parting words, but in a way he knew they would start the healing process in the old woman's heart. She looked down at him and smiled softly, clutching her necklace tightly. She gave his hand a quick squeeze before leaving the service. He turned to see her go and realised that it was only him and Sakura left.
She stepped closer to him and raised a hand to his shoulder, but paused before she could touch him. The hand fell back to her side.
"Are you going to come inside, it's getting a little cold?" Sakura asked softly, almost hesitantly.
"Yeah, in a second," he replied. "You ever wish we could just bring everyone back?" Sasuke asked, breaking the uncomfortable silence. "All the people that were lost? Everyone who didn't deserve to die?"
"Sasuke, are you alright?" He kept his back to her and nodded briefly.
"I'm fine," he whispered. "...oh, no. It's raining." Sakura looked at him, confused and then turned her gaze towards the sky. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky.
"It isn't raini-"
"No." Sasuke interrupted. "It's raining," he repeated with a little more force, and Sakura caught the glimmer of the sunlight catch a solitary tear as it slid down the boy's cheek. She turned away and nodded to herself.
"Yes, it is," she replied. This time she put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed tightly. "Let's go back. It's... getting cold."
I'm sorry... this came out of nowhere... I was just typing randomly and then I got to thinking about that scene in FMA (the manga... I missed the anime version) where Roy says those last few lines. I figured I would try and pull off a Naruto version of that... and it sorta just kept expanding. That page still makes me cry. It's the first time we ever see Roy showing real emotions... he's a lot like Sasuke... only... more obnoxious... and sadistic.