The Alternate Story – Dim Light
Months later, Haruno Sakura returned in Konoha Hospital where she lends her skill for service. She must work to pay for the debts from all the people who cared for her. Many people have been glad to see her working as a Medical Ninja again. Their prospect of her becoming the next Tsunade, in terms of Medical skills and intelligence, had risen again.
One day, while she was on duty, Shizune mentioned to her about her miraculous recovery upon psychological infliction that Uchiha Itachi caused her. Shizune did not elaborate the details but left her a hint to ask Tsunade about this, if, of course, she's interested.
This made Sakura curious. For many, her continued existence from an Uchiha's bloodline technique was inexplicable. According to the records, only those who have Sharingan and Uchiha blood running in their veins are only those who can survive the Tsukiyomi.
After her scheduled task for the day, Sakura hurried over the Hokage's tower.
Uchiha Sasuke was called earlier to have a meeting with the Hokage, regarding the purification of the Cursed Seal that the bastard Orochimaru unwillingly gave to him.
"Jiraiya and Anko started looking for the method months ago, but it seems complicated as it is now."
Sasuke gave her a blank expression, but was still listening to her.
"The first step of the process requires you to die."
"What?" Sasuke automatically replied with croaky, nervous voice.
Requires him to die and leave Sakura alone? That cannot be done then!
Tsunade must have noticed his face especially when his eyes went wild and sudden cold sweat dripped down the side of his face.
She continued. "That's the first step. While you are dead, the Ritual of Purification will begin."
"Can't the ritual perform without death?"
"Scared, Uchiha?" A mocking smirk came to insult Sasuke.
But Tsunade wasn't prepared for his answer. His one truthful answer.
"I'm not scared of death. It's just that… I don't want to leave Sakura…anymore."
This made Tsunade's hazel eyes narrowed towards the forlorn face of the young survivor. Tsunade didn't want to push more buttons about her protégé's and his emotion.
"Like I've mentioned, it's only the first step. It doesn't mean that you'll be completely dead because it will only take an hour, then we'll revive you."
The Hokage closed her hands together as she placed her elbow on the surface of her table.
"The Cursed Seal cannot be erased that easily. It must undergo the same process. If you can still remember, he gave you something to activate the power of the Cursed Seal. And in the process you have to die once."
Sasuke did remember it. He was in the barrel where the Sound Five was dragging him along towards Orochimaru's hideout.
"In the ritual, for us to completely get rid of the Cursed Seal, we must destroy the effect of the drug that Orochimaru once gave you. After that, we'll start purifying the seal."
Sasuke couldn't help but hung his head low. He cannot escape death. However, death is the only way to get rid of the effect of the drug that was still inside his body. He would have to stay strong, then. Stay strong that he shouldn't let go of the connection of his soul and his body while in the process of being 'dead'.
"One more thing, Uchiha," Sasuke looked back at her, "while you're dead, you must know that once you let go from that moment, you'll completely die."
Silence was all over the room after the Hokage had explained him the process of his freedom. The Hokage noticed his troubled expression but then again, how could she forget the words she asked him before? She then decided to ask the same question again.
"Do you remember the question I asked you?"
Sasuke slowly looked at the Hokage. How could he forget? It didn't actually leave his thoughts.
"What else do you want?"
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Who is it?" Tsunade laid her back on the backrest of her chair while Sasuke bowed to her, to give respect. "I'll call you once the preparation is done."
"Tsunade-shishou, are you in there?"
Sasuke and Tsunade immediately turned to the opened door upon hearing a familiar voice. When the person stepped in, she was also surprised to see Sasuke talking to the Hokage.
"Oh… hi, Sasuke-kun." Then she bowed to the Hokage. "Sorry for disrupting your talk, Hokage-sama."
"That's fine, Sakura. We're done, actually. So," She put away some papers and continued, "What are you doing in here?"
Sakura slowly walked towards the table, aligned with Sasuke. She gave Tsunade a nervous look before glancing over Sasuke. She was thinking twice if she should start the inquiry when there's another Uchiha around. Sasuke gave him a slight nod, a signal for her to go on.
"Uhm… it's about my recovery. How…how did I recover from Itachi's Tsukiyomi?"
Sasuke looked at her from the corner of his eyes. Indeed, how did Sakura survive the psychological blow? It's not like he wanted her dead, he loved her now, but how in the world she survived one of the Uchiha's powerful eye techniques?
The Hokage gave Sakura a serious face before taking a deep breath.
"It was all thanks to Ino's testimonial regarding your match up during your first Chuunin Exams when you were 12."
Sasuke and Sakura almost had the same expression but Sasuke doesn't have the slightest idea what had happened during Sakura's match because he was already in the hospital for recuperation. Sakura, on the other hand, doesn't fully remember everything. All she remembered was they had a draw round.
"One of Ino's abilities is Mind Control Technique. She takes in a body and manipulates it like her own. But in order to complete the process she must take over the mind of the body. In your case, Sakura, you were able to push her technique away."
Sakura didn't know if she must show surprise or any related expression for already knew what the Hokage was talking about.
Tsunade looked her in the eye seriously and said, "You had another personality."
Sasuke usually didn't care about fictitious things, but knowing Sakura to have another personality…? It was not normal, for him. But then again it's because of that another personality that Sakura was still alive today.
Sakura knew all well about her other personality but she wasn't delusional. She knew that.
"But I'm not delusional." She defended.
"Yes, that's true."
"But the other personality only loitered in my head. Talking to me in the mind."
"Hmm, is that so?" Tsunade walked away from her chair, passing the side of the table until she stood front in Sakura. "It looks like an existing being, lingering in your mind. It was like another soul residing in your body."
Sakura jerked in surprise. Another soul? In one body?
"Is that even possible?" Out of nowhere, Sasuke spoke.
Tsunade glanced at him for a moment then sat on her table, her arms crossed over her chest.
"The human body can only contain one soul. Just look at Orochimaru for example, he couldn't get in on another container unless the soul of that person has vanquished permanently."
"So how did I able to get another personality? I can even talk to it." Sakura stepped forward, eager to know the truth.
Tsunade could only shake her head. "I don't really know, Sakura." Then she looked up to stare at Sakura's eyes. "But one thing's for sure, that soul sacrificed itself to save your life."
It could have been more complicated if they ask something about superstitious phenomenon. Maybe Sakura should be satisfied with what Tsunade-shishou told her.
It was not long after they left the Hokage tower. Sasuke was given the information about the purification of the Cursed Seal and Sakura was given the truth of her survival. She did want to claim that it was enough but no matter how hard she tries and look for it, everything will be more complicated than ever. And besides, she has survived. The other soul lodged in her mind for so many years now. Maybe it's time for her to have a silent mind. An untroubled, chaotic voice that had given advices, critics, and such should somehow come to an end. The end may not be peaceful, but… at least she had survived. It sacrificed itself for her to continue to live.
And so, she must live. Survive the cruelty of the world.
"Are you alright?"
She's not used to it when Sasuke shows his concern. But then again, it gave shivers down her spine and butterflies in the stomach in which would resort her to blushing. When Sasuke offered to walk her home after they have been dismissed in Tsunade's office Sakura couldn't stop but be surprised. Nevertheless, she should have remembered that they're a couple now. A couple that has yet to be tied together.
"Y-Yes, I'm fine. I was just thinking." She gave him a small smile then continued to walk with him.
"Is it about the other soul?" Sasuke silently asked.
Sakura shook her head, continuing to walk so that they would reach her home quickly. But Sasuke noticed that she was avoiding the topic.
"Then what were you thinking about?"
This made her stopped.
She had walked a little further from where Sasuke had stood, for he had stopped the moment he asked another question. Could he have offended her? As of this moment, Sasuke didn't want her to get mad at him, to despise him or anything that might break their connection, their love for one another. He vowed to be faithful and loving to her, although the latter part must be learned in time.
Before she turned around, she breathed in air.
"Why am I given the chance to live? How do I compensate for this gift? Am I worthy to continue life?" Her questions were blunt but at the same time deep.
She must have been stating about the negative facts when she was revived. That soul may not be important to all but that soul saved her from death. That soul granted her another life for her to continue what she must do. But most of all, she must have been too focused to herself especially because she sounded regretful of the chance that the soul had given her.
He tried to think something to soothe her troubled mind. Unfortunately, he couldn't think of anything to comfort her, other than touched her left cheek and gave her a genuine look in the eye as he spoke.
"Just think of it this way, you may always want to save other's lives by sacrificing yours but do you really think about those who are close to you? Did it ever occur to you that when you die, they will die with you?" He noticed that her eyes were sparkling from tears. "I'm not really good at comforting a girl or anyone for that matter, but…" He now moved his hand until he held her chin to make her look up to him. "No matter what happened back there, I'm just glad that this is where we are now."
Finally, Sakura broke in tears, jumped towards Sasuke's arms, embracing him by the neck.
Sasuke-kun… Thank you…
Even a man who lives in darkness can bloom in one fleeting moment. (1)
But to Sasuke, it wasn't a fleeting moment.
He might have lived in the dark for so many years since the tragedy that caused his entire clan to end, but in his heart he sought for love and a light of his life. In the past, he may not always show his concern over his teammates in which in the end became his family, he was protective of them. He didn't want anyone taking the lives of those who are close in his heart. But he feared it. That was why he didn't show how much he cared. That was why he pushed them all away so he wouldn't feel hurt when somebody would take their life away.
But everything's different now.
Sasuke was a changed man. He had changed in several ways, from several years. He changed not because he had killed his brother which he had prepared for years and the reason of his betrayal, but because of one person.
A person who he sworn to protect…
A person who he would take care…
A person he would cherish until his last breath…
In the Ritual of Purification, Uchiha Sasuke accepted the instructions of being dead in the procedure. He had informed Sakura about it and despite the fact that she was truly afraid of the process she gave him a warm smile, a tight hug and a long kiss. Sakura is Tsunade's protégé and that being so, she trusted her master.
During the procedure, Sasuke was positioned on large cryptic symbols that resembled a level-three Sharingan inside a large eye. A large circle enclosed the Sharingan-like symbol, attached to it were huge triangles. Their tips were pointing away from the center. Surrounding the huge symbol were a number of high ranked Ninjas and Medic Nins. There were torches and scrolls scattered everywhere.
For Sakura, everything was creepy. It was like they were having a sacrifice ritual to a God. Even so, it's the only way to free Sasuke from any bonds of darkness. Once he was freed he could retrieve status as a Ninja of Konoha.
After an hour of despicable waiting, watching her beloved die before her and revived, Sakura stood shock as she watched Sasuke's hands moved slowly until it reached his neck where the Cursed Seal once was.
"It's finished." The Hokage announced.
There was a moment of silence until his rasped voice echoed the hall.
All Sakura did was to cry and hurried to his side to embrace him.
There was also a time when Neji had proposed to Tenten in which she happily and tearfully accepted. Neji surely was on a rush when he declared their marriage two weeks after his proposal. The Hyuuga clan together with his friends, teammates and the Hokage were all invited in the gathering.
Seeing as he was in charged of the entire clan, breaking the discrimination of the Main and Branch families, everything went well.
Hilarious scenarios also happened during that day especially when Naruto got drunk. He courageously walked towards the table where Hinata was and yelled for the entire world to hear, that he was indeed proposing to her. Just like before, Hinata turned beet red in an instant simply because of the attention Naruto has drawn to them. With the audience cheering on, Hinata tearfully accepted his proposal. Thankfully, the moment Hinata answered him, he was well aware of what he was doing. And Naruto was glad that finally, he had someone to cherish, someone he would live with forever.
While at the gathering however, Sasuke had been staring intently at Sakura. While he did so, he started to contemplate about their relationship. They were already together, Sakura had allowed him to stay at her apartment, but Sasuke's mind has always been bugged by Tsunade's words.
"What else do you want?"
He forced his eyes to shut, bowing ever so slowly to hide his eyes from his long dark bangs.
What else do I want…?
He then opened his eyes only to see her hands touching his crossed arms.
"You okay?" She asked.
Since he didn't want her to worry, and he wanted her to enjoy the night, he gave her a small soft smile and said, "Yeah. I'm okay."
But he wasn't.
A year later, the Hokage officially reclaimed Uchiha Sasuke as a Ninja of Konoha. Sakura thought of returning the forehead protector he had once gave to her, but because he had walked away from the past, Sakura decided that he must have a new one. A new one for a new life.
Many were surprised when he advanced into a Jounin rank, especially when he didn't even have to take up a Jounin Exam to excel. And since he was trained to kill best, Tsunade test him by putting him in an ANBU unit to be dispatched in Wind Country. The only way to make him place in the ANBU unit was performing the mission well.
Sakura was placed on another mission with her Medical Team to help a small village near Hidden Mist due to a spreading disease caused by plagues in the field. They must cure those who have affected and relieved them of the plagues.
Both of them had returned becoming Ninjas of Konoha. Naruto was happy to have them back, hoping to have a mission that consist only the three of them.
What they didn't know was…
Right after Sasuke had fully returned to them…
The title of the Legendary Three was linked down to them.
It didn't take long for Sasuke to gain the position of being an ANBU captain after so many A-ranked missions that he took as a solo mission. In no time maybe, he would be leveled as one of the elites in Konoha that could be leveled with Sakura and Naruto together with some elites that mostly came from their batch.
Sasuke had regained his glory just like his childhood popularity. Young women had swooned over him again but he was thankful that they didn't bother giving him gifts every time he passed by for they have learned his relationship with one of the best Medics in the village. They respected Sakura so much they wouldn't do anything to her Sasuke.
Once Sasuke reached the Elite level, he, Sakura and Naruto were well-known as the Descendants of Legendary Three, in resemblance of the historical Original Legendary Three.
Their names would be put in history scrolls and books for they have contributed so much for the village, for the country, for the people, and for those they loved most.
Each Ninjas have different stories of their own.
Each may have a happy story but mostly a sad one.
They become Ninjas for a reason.
And that reason is what it keeps them alive.
It's what they used as motivation to fight.
One Thursday morning, Sasuke and Sakura were both sleeping on a large bed. Sakura's head was atop of Sasuke's chest while his hand touched the side of her face. Both were silently sleeping after last night's activity. They must have been exhausted but their Chakra must be replenished fast especially when another dreaded mission arrives.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Sakura! Sasuke!" A familiar voice yelled from the main door.
Sakura mumbled something under her breath as she moved to the other side, trying to get more sleep. Sasuke slowly opened his eyes from her movement.
"Oiiiiii! We have an urgent mission today guys! Hurry up!"
Sasuke pushed himself to sit, a hand clutching his forehead. "Naruto…" He whispered.
"Mmmm…" Sakura groaned from her side while she gripped the bed sheet.
Sasuke could only smirk at her. When Sakura didn't want to wake up, she really won't get up. So instead dragging her away from bed, he got himself out of bed to talk to Naruto.
He grouchily opened the door to make it look like he was indeed just woken up from a deep, deep slumber. "What do you want?"
Naruto sighed dejectedly, "Don't get mad at me for waking you up. I've got a message from old hag."
Sasuke put his elbow at the door frame, leveling his chin, "And what of it?"
"The remaining Akatsuki were sighted."
This made the last of the Uchihas completely woken up.
"The old hag appointed me to gather elites from the list."
Sasuke scratches his hair. "You're in this mission, too?"
"Yeah. And Sakura, too."
Whenever Sakura was involved in missions like the one they were going to have, they have to expect possible bloodbath and serious casualties. But that was the reason why they require a high ranked Medic Ninja.
"Hn. When do we get there?"
"Around 10am sharp."
Sasuke leaned back to check the wall clock on the room. It said 9am. He smirked.
"You normally come here 10 minutes before mission briefing." He joked.
And Naruto could only smile, "That's because we're talking about Akatsuki here."
"Yeah I know." He scratched his hair once again before banging the door closed.
Since they have an hour before going to the tower, Sasuke took time to get back to bed where Sakura was already awake but was too lazy to open her eyes. She heard the message.
"Another mission to complete the Legendary Three huh?"
"It's a special mission." Sasuke corrected when he fell at the comfort of the bed. "Get ready now Sakura. Go and take a bath now." He commanded. Knowing Sakura, she usually takes 30 minutes to one hour in the bathroom.
He heard a giggle before feeling her warm lips touching his.
Sasuke closed his eyes. "Morning, Sakura."
"Hmm… another working day, isn't it?"
"Another mission to make me worry…"
When he opened his eyes, he stared at the upside hovering face of his lover. Her eyes would forever bear a worried look every time they were set on a dangerous mission.
"You shouldn't worry too much. We're all there anyway."
A smile. "And watch each other's back. I know." A kiss.
No matter how happy their life was, they were still going to carry on the life of a ninja.
A Ninja with principles, honor, and a person to protect.
A person they protect is a person who gives them strength.
Perhaps, in Sasuke's case, it's Sakura that gives him all the strength to fight, to survive and to live…
…not as an Uchiha, but as Sasuke himself.
Author's Note: And now, thank you so much for all of you who have read, reviewed and supported this fanfic story (from the tragedy to the alternate). It has been my pleasure to write stories like this.
Honestly, I loved the tragedy story than the alternate. But most of the reviewers find it unacceptable because of Sakura's death. But it's not the main reason why I have to write the alternate. I created the alternate story simply because I want to figure out a scenario when both of them are alive. I was hopeful that the alternate story will gain more reviews than the tragedy, but it seems to me that the tragedy gained more support/reviews than the alternate (laughs)
To tell the truth, this chapter is done in one sitting that's why it looks like rushed. Anyway, I do hope though that you enjoyed reading this final chapter. Again thank you so much!
(1) Excerpt from Valkyrie Profile
I would like to grab this opportunity to thank all the people who reviewed, put the story in their favorite's list, alerted, and supported Someone Screaming and Someone Screaming Dim Light. Especially those who gave constant reviews (you know who you are), constructive criticisms (because of them I was able, somehow, to improve myself), wonderful compliments (they have given extra boost for me to write) and of course those who supported me and the story.
And to those who will review, fave, alert (the story) for the last chapter. I thank you so very much.