Hello. Firstly, I must apologize for updating so late. Please forgive me! I did not die, I was just spaced out for a while. Many things have happened in my life, both complicated and exciting. I am going to begin at a university soon, which scares me to death. Preparations, exams, Norwegian traditions and the end of my school have occupied me. I hope you understand. I never forgot though and here is the new chapter. It was so complicated to write, that it took some time. There is a lot of interaction between Sakura, Naruto and Sakura, and I find portraying Sasuke very difficult. I hope he is accurate enough. This chappy may be the last, however, before I make that decision, I would like to hear your opinions on this matter and the chapter. Please enjoy and review! Thank you for all the support and encouragement. You rock! Okay, here we go!
She opened her eyes and found that the light was caressing her flawless face gently. She glanced out of the window, noticing sparkling raindrops falling from the surrounding buildings and the roof. The sky was completely empty, cloudless and the strongest colour of blue. A faint smell of blossoms reached her nose. She saw pink petals dancing freely in the wind. They were flying high.
'Where am I?' She thought, dozily. Memories flooded back. Her eyes widened slightly when she realized she was in a hospital. That sour smell seeped in, giving her a hollow feeling. Suddenly, she remembered.
She knew nothing of his condition. She wondered if he was alright. She desperately wanted to see his smiling face. She struggled slightly, attempting to get out of her bed. She released the band in her hair, letting her pink strands glide gracefully down her back, before stepping out of her cold bed. She found no warmth here. Loneliness consumed her. She needed to see…
"Where do you think you are going?" A voice muttered from a corner, shattering her thoughts. She swiftly turned around and spotted silvery strands of hair blowing gracefully in the wind and an eye painted with darkness. She did not feel his presence at once. He was like dust, appearing and disappearing freely.
"Kakashi-sensei." She gasped. He was lazily gazing at her, sitting comfortably on the window-ledge. He was waiting for an answer.
"What happened? Where is Naruto?" She asked, calmly, yet her eyes were sparkling like stars. She was trying to hold back her engulfing emotions. They burned inside of her. It was almost suffocating.
"You have been unconscious for a day. Everyone has safely returned." He answered, seriously. A faint feeling of relief surged through her, but it was not the answer she sought.
"And Naruto?" She questioned, placing her hand securely on her heart. Kakashi's visible eye closed.
"We almost lost him, but he pulled through. He is safe, but he has not woken up yet. The doctors say it might take some time." He answered, calmly. His voice and face were like steel. She could not react immediately, for her emotions were trapped in a cage. Suddenly, her hand clutched her shirt. She tried to weaken the pain in her heart. She could feel it being pierced by an invisible blade. She bent her head in worry. Her hair concealed her solemn face. Kakashi slightly opened his eyes. Discovering her worry, he narrowed them. For some reason, he found it slightly agonizing to see her like this. It was something he could never comprehend though. In his eyes, she was the one who needed protection the most out of team 7. He wished to give her a soft reassurance, convince her, that everything would turn out alright in the end. In the past, he always thought negatively, like she often did. Although Kakashi seemed so together most of the time, he was actually broken up inside. He did not want her end up the same. It truly and slowly killed you inside. That is what negativity and lack of belief did to you. He never acknowledged until later, though. He has learnt from falling and he won't let Sakura do the same.
'Sakura, you don't have to go through that pain.'
He would need to open up his heart though…
"Knowing Naruto though, he should wake up soon, Sakura. Do not worry." He reassured, stepping down from the ledge and approaching her. Slightly hesitant, he stopped. She did not respond.
"Believe in him, Sakura, and in yourself. Negativity will only break you. I know how it feels." He said, now looking her in the eyes.
"But it's my fault. He transferred his chakra to help me, causing him to lose his strength. Still, he kept fighting. He always pushes himself." She said loudly, her gaze floating to the floor. Kakashi remained unaffected. He only grew more serious. Seeing her like this made him realize even more he had to maintain his belief in order to save her from falling. In situations like this, one needed uplifting words.
"That is just how Naruto is. He is selfless. He fights till the very end. That's an unchangeable quality he has." Kakashi whispered. Sakura could tell by the tone of his voice that he was smiling.
"Don't blame yourself." He added, placing a protective hand on the side of her neck. She looked up again, her bottomless eyes filled with tears. His were like stones, yet there was a soft emotion hiding behind them, especially now. He had revealed a part of his covered heart, which was rare. His walls were slowly, but surely burning. She appreciated this
"You're right…" She muttered. A tear journeyed down her cheek. She wiped it away, slightly embarrassed.
"Thank you." She whispered, forcing a grateful smile. She grasped his hand that touched her wispy locks and clutched it softly, yet tightly. He responded by briefly placing his forehead on hers, before removing his hand.
"Oh, I know somebody who wants to see you." He said, moving his head slightly to indicate her to look at the door.
She turned around to notice him. Sasuke was leaning against the door, his midnight locks framing his porcelain face. It shined, just like his onyx eyes.
"Sasuke-kun." She greeted whilst memories of his aid slowly flooded back to her.
"Are you alright, Sakura?" He asked, lowly. Kakashi silently left the room... He knew he had helped her a bit, which pleased him.
"I'm fine." She responded, watching her teacher leave the room, before focusing her attention on Sasuke, who unfolded his arms. He seemed slightly tense and his eyes glowed with seriousness.
"So, the mission was that dangerous." He said, gravely. His eyes were like daggers. Sakura felt her heart jump. She suddenly realized that she was uncertain of his feelings towards knowing the details of the difficult mission. She feared he would unleash anger.
"I'm sorry I could not tell you, but Tsunade just wanted to protect you. And so did Naruto and I." Sakura admitted, sincerely. He looked at her, whilst unleashing a deep sigh.
"You should have told me. I am familiar with Orochimaru's strength." He said with a raised voice. He sounded very aggravated. Sakura felt tears form behind her eyes. They stared at each other in silence. His teeth were gritted. She was intoxicated with speechlessness.
"Sakura, tell me!" He persuaded. Her eyes widened by his overreaction. She could not interpret his face, for it was impossible. Was he angry, or worried, or maybe even sad? Confusion swept through her like the undying wind.
"Why?" He asked. The tears did not fall, but a mixture of sadness and anger grew inside of her. Why could he not understand her concern, the protection she had given him? This time, she wanted to be his shield. She could not hide her emotions any longer. Her mask broke, falling into small fragments, like tears. She approached him.
"It would be too dangerous for you. We've been through hell together because of him. I don't want to lose you again… I don't want to relive that pain. You are too important to me, to Naruto. Why can't you see that? Why?" She said piercingly, hitting him gently on the chest. She lost her strength and leaned her head against his shoulder, finally letting her tears fall, like the rain. Her hand trembled as she squeezed his shirt. She wanted her words to reach his heart. If hitting him was required, than so be it. Sasuke's body stiffened completely. His ebony eyes widened slightly as she cried softly. Sometimes, her visible emotions were a strength... To her surprise, he slowly embraced her. It was tight, yet soft. It was rare of him to hold her close like this. When he did though, she felt protected. The pieces began to gather again in his arms, but she always felt an unexplainable chill. Her heart called out for Naruto, who gave warmth to her, whenever she needed it.
'Can I reach you, Sasuke? Can I?'
"I understand." He whispered, lowering his head so that it rested on hers. His locks that matched the night tickled her. Sakura understood how hard it was for him. Realizing his weaknesses was a new strength in him. He was always calm and closed, but his past was something that reawakened dangerous emotions and he was aware of that. He let her go and vaguely looked away, before giving her a strong gaze.
"Sorry." He said, softly. She smiled behind her tears. Sasuke had changed so much. She suddenly sank to the floor. She felt frail and weak, but a feeling of relief swept over her. Immediately, Sasuke helped her to the bed. For a short moment, they sat in subdue, thoughts rushing through their minds, like rivers. Finally, Sasuke broke the silence.
"Did he overdo it again?" He asked, smiling slightly, but his tone was grave. A feeling of guilt hit her hard. Sasuke seemed to notice by her soft expression.
"Of course he did, but he protected the entire team by doing so." She said, truthfully.
"Why does he always have to be a hero? It strains him." He muttered with an irritated tone. He shook his head.
'Sasuke. You lecture him, but you are really worried about him, aren't you? Some things about you never change.'
Sasuke made a promise to himself there and then. He was going to forget and erase Orochimaru, once and for all. He would never sink again. He would believe in his two friends and support them... No matter what. Nothing would break them apart. Sakura rose from her bed suddenly.
"Let's go, to where Naruto is." She said. Sasuke nodded.
His face was lifeless. That was something almost unbearable to see. His face was destined to be smiling. And it was destined to put a smile on the faces of others. Now, it was gone. The ocean in his eyes was still, covered by a dark sky. She stroked his golden hair with her fingertips.
"Naruto." She whispered. Sasuke had left for an emergency meeting. When he left, his face was saddened. It was apparent in his usually emotionless face. Standing over his friend, he had called Naruto an idiot with clenched fists. Anger and sadness drove him. Sakura knew he was worried about him, even though it was somewhat hard to tell. Sasuke disliked it that Naruto would so thoughtlessly, so carelessly, put his life in danger. However, he knew that it was an unchangeable and typical choice that Naruto would often take to protect his comrades in threatening battles. It was admirable, but it angered him. She sighed, taking his hand and holding it tightly.
"Wake up." She said. She wanted to give him hope, but watching him like this was so hard, words were useless. Actions were not needed. There was nothing she could do. She was ineffective. She detested that feeling the most. Why could she not help him, like he always did with her? She wanted to open his eyes this time…
'Why can't I?'
Then she remembered Kakashi's words. Negativity would only damage you. She knew he was right. Everything inside of you would crumble. She could almost feel it.
'Kakashi and Sasuke give me hope, so why can't I, by being by his side?'
Night coloured the empty sky black with its mighty paintbrush, adding irreplaceable and sparkling stars that gave some light and hope to the empty heaven. Ribbons of clouds drifted aimlessly by, catching the rebellious wind. The day had shed its skin so quickly, from blue to black. Sakura's eyes felt heavy and she could barely keep them open. She unwillingly welcomed slumber. Before the darkness stole her sight, her last thoughts were of him.
'Naruto... I can't lose you. Not you. Hang in there. I'm here.'
She fiercely opened her eyes, realizing she had fallen asleep. Confused and curious, she looked out of the blank window. The sky was stained with a wild flame of pinkness that seemed to scorch the clouds. It was early morning. The sun had not risen, but was cradled by the old and comforting mountains. It would soon wake up and spread light. She looked at Naruto. There seemed to be no change in his condition. Her newly found optimism was replaced with negativity. Naruto was so unimaginably strong. Why would he not wake up? Yet again, she felt tears uncontrollably dance down her cheeks.
"Please, Naruto. Wake up… I try to be strong, but I can't take it." She mumbled, clenching her fists. She shut her eyes, closing off the world. She tried to erase the pain. Suddenly, it vanished when she felt a soft and weak touch on the back of her head. She opened her eyes. She could see his eyes that had recaptured the sky and a warm smile. His caressing hand glided down to her neck.
"Don't cry, Sakura." He said, weakly. Her eyes were wide with surprise. She could not say anything immediately, for she was stung with gratitude and shock. His face was so warm.
"Naruto… Naruto!" She cried, throwing her arms around him. The tears fell, but they did not consist of sorrow, but of happiness and relief.
"It's okay now. All I need now is some ramen." He whispered, squeezing her tightly. His embrace was so strong; it sent chills down her spine. The feelings that overcame her were indescribable. Right now, she wanted him to hold her like this forever. She never wanted to let him go, because she knew she would be safe and warm.
"Idiot." She giggled slightly, yet her emotions broke her voice. She could not stop crying. He was his true self, even after just waking up from a hostile struggle. She stared into his eyes and saw life. He looked into hers and got lost in them. They were so strong, like unbreakable orbs. Then she leaned in and kissed him, firmly, yet softly. The caress of his lips was strong.
After a short moment, she released the lock between their mouths. Their faces were so close; she could feel his breath against her skin. Finally, the sun rose and its rays of light spilled through the window. The room sparkled like gold. She felt it on her face. Her eyes were enhanced by the strong light.
"Don't scare me like that again." She whispered in his ear, clutching his shirt. She had done this so many times today in order to reach for something. She knew she would reach him though.
"I'll try not to." He answered, softly. He laughed. They kissed again, before she slipped into his bed. They hid under the sheets. He held her protectively. Their hearts entwined. He wiped away her tears, but they soon diminished on their own. Naruto was still fairly weak, so after some time, he fell asleep. She watched his chest peacefully rise up and down, breathing freely. He looked handsome.
She learned something new about him that day. He talked in his sleep. At first, he mumbled about ramen, training and how perverted Jiraiya was. But then he said something else. And his words were nothing new to her, but they touched her in a new way. They meant something to her now. Her heart jumped.
"I love you, Sakura…" He had mumbled, with a big smile on his face. She reflected the same smile, before gently kissing his eye.
"I love you too." She whispered in his ear. She could finally say that. She sort of knew that he heard her, for he smiled even more widely.
'I want this moment to last forever.'
After a few days, he was well enough to leave the hospital. Tsunade believed that the immense power that resided within him would contribute to healing him completely in no matter of time. Naruto and Sakura bonded even more deeply, sharing their thoughts and spending time with each other. Lee and Neji visited often. Sasuke passed by sometimes as well, but he was extremely busy. The day arrived where Naruto was ready to get back on track with his life. Sakura came to meet him at the hospital. He was so happy and energetic, it lifted Sakura's heart. It was a clear day, with an empty sapphire sky. The wind was weak and the birds chirped joyfully.
Naruto and Sakura walked through the lonely streets. She took his hand and Naruto looked at her with bright, shining eyes. Sakura thought it was about time to bring up a certain issue dealing with their relationship. Although they had talked a lot, they had not confirmed their relationship to be official.
"Um, Naruto?" She began, but Naruto stole her voice with a small kiss. Then he looked into her eyes and smiled again.
"I think I know what you are going to ask me. I wanted to ask you the same thing. Let me!" He said, energetically. With an inerasable smile on his face and that limitless happiness, like the sun, he took her hands. He took a deep breathe, uncertainty hitting him slightly, but it disappeared quickly.
'Sakura has feelings for me.'
Do you want to be with me?" He asked. Almost at once, she gave an affirmative nod, before embracing him strongly. Naruto held her back and hair with his hands. She smiled fully and truly, something she had not done for a while. Suddenly, they were interrupted.
"Naruto?" They heard a familiar voice. They swiftly turned around to see Sasuke standing in the middle of the road, his face painted with mild surprise. Naruto mentally fell over, for there special moment was cut off. Than he realized that Sasuke was unaware of their relationship.
"Sasuke…" Naruto began, but Sasuke interrupted him.
"Are you and Sakura…?" He asked, lowering his head, his gaze surprised, but sharp. Sakura wanted to answer, but Naruto gave her a look that told her that he wanted to be the one to reveal the truth. She gave him a soft nod, encouraging him to continue.
"Can I talk to you, just the two of us?" Naruto questioned, walking towards him. He responded by giving a weak smile. It was there at least.
"It's okay. I understand." He said, almost bitterly. He clenched his fists in concealment. He turned around, readying his leave. Naruto stopped.
"See you." He said and walked away. Naruto widened his blue eyes, staring at his back. He was shocked by his casual action. There must be something deeper lying inside of him that he hid so masterfully. He could not interpret his reaction, nor could he read him accurately. Sakura approached Naruto took him by the hand. He squeezed hers, consuming the warmth.
"I'll talk to him. I don't want us to be ripped apart." Naruto admitted, seriously. He tightened his grip. Sakura could instantly tell that Naruto was worried. His eyes sparkled.
"Don't worry. He's just shocked. He'll be okay." She said, trying to reassure him.
"Yeah, you're probably right." He answered, giving her an uplifting smile, but she could tell that it was forced.
Naruto said goodbye to Sakura. When he entered his empty home, he immediately threw himself in bed, a mixture of confusion and surprise flowing through him. Did Sasuke have feelings for her? He shut his eyes, trying to come up with an answer in his mind, but it did not hold any truth. He could only receive it from him. He buried his head in his pillow, trying to rid of all the heavy thoughts.
'All I want is for us to be together. Sasuke, Sakura and I.'
He clenched his fists.
Sasuke felt his heart pound as he entered the loneliness of his home. It swallowed him. He leaned against the door, trying to sort out his mind.
'What am I doing?' Why did I react that way?'
He narrowed his eyes, sadness enveloping them. He felt hurt. Why?
'Do I have feelings for her?'
He could not even find the answer to that question. He looked up at the empty ceiling, hopelessly seeking for aid from an unknown force. Maybe he did, but he could never be with her. His heart was too bound by hate, ice and regret. She needed light.
Although they had melted his heart, he could never accept nor forget the pain he had caused them. He was not what Sakura needed. No matter how hard he strove, he would never be able to give her what she needed. He had realized this long ago, but had never acknowledged or accepted it before now. She probably knew this too. That is why she treated him as a friend. Friendship is more important to him. That was the only thing he could give her. Although calculated in battle, his recent actions were so impulsive, it irritated him. He caused confusion for Naruto. He needed to talk to him, although it would require a great deal of courage from his part. Serious conversations were rare between them. He really did not want to open up, for it was not his strong side, however, it was unavoidable.
do anything stupid, Naruto. I'm coming.'
He ran out of his house, the loneliness vanishing from his body. Confidence, yet worry, consumed him. He wondered where he could be. Maybe he was at home or even eating ramen somewhere? No matter, he had to find him.
The stars had appeared on the endless sky, but uproarious clouds were forming, concealing them. After some time, the rain began to fall softly, yet it felt ruthless, like ice. The sky had a silvery blackness to it. Sasuke had looked everywhere, except for one place. He had to be there. He climbed the rigged mountain, which carried the mighty image of four irreplaceable heroes. The sharp shards of rock did not bother him. He continued, until he reached the top. It was flat and open there. Naruto liked to look at the sky. He felt like he could reach it here. He spotted him, drenched in the rain, just staring at the sky.
"Ah! Sasuke?" He greeted, surprised. Sasuke tried to say something but could not. His heart was closed. He only looked at him strongly, his ebony eyes almost covered by his strands of dark hair. Raindrops danced down his face.
"You must be rather surprised, Sasuke. Sorry, I should have told you when you visited me at the hospital. I'm such an idiot when it comes to these things." Naruto admitted, trying to sound sincere and carefree. Back then, he did not understand Sasuke's reaction. It was hard to read him. He did not want to create a heavy atmosphere. Sasuke remained silent, trying to gather his words. Naruto continued when Sasuke did not respond.
"Sakura and I are together. You know that I have always liked her, but she, amazingly enough, learned to like me too." He whispered, casually. He sounded happy. Naruto looked at him and realized that these kinds of conversations were extremely rare between him and Sasuke. It felt strange, but he appreciated it greatly.
"Geez, don't sound so soft." Sasuke said, peaking into his sapphire eyes. Black and blue eyes stared at each other.
"I'm sorry for reacting that way. It really surprised me... I only realized later how impulsive I was. That is why I came looking for you. It must have confused you and Sakura. I just…" He managed, seriously. Naruto smiled, pleased to hear that Sasuke was trying to open up.
"What did you feel?" He asked. Sasuke looked away, staring at the earthy rocks that adorned the mountainside.
"I'm not sure. Sakura is the only girl I care for." He admitted. It was the only thing he managed to say, for he was truly uncertain. Naruto hoped he did not have feelings for her. He did not want a tension between them… He wanted the three of them to be happy. Sasuke was an important part of the picture.
"Do you have feelings for her?" Naruto asked, suddenly. It was rather abrupt, but he thought it was wise to be direct at this point. Sasuke widened his eyes slightly by the unexpected question. He could not answer immediately. He was confused himself.
"I…" He managed to say, but could not find himself to continue. Naruto waited patiently. He knew that it was difficult for Sasuke to realize and open up his feelings. Sasuke looked up, determined.
'You know the answer now...'
"She is an important friend in my eyes. That is all." He answered, cleanly. Naruto felt relieved that he did not have to go through any pain.
"I have nothing more to say." Sasuke admitted and began to walk.
"Sasuke!" Naruto shouted, alarmed. He stopped and glared back at him with his penetrating eyes.
"So are you." He blurted out, widening Naruto's eyes.
"What?" He managed.
"You know what I mean." Sasuke said, slightly irritated, yet he was smiling cockily. Hearing this gave Naruto a hopeful feeling filled with warmth. He thought he knew what he meant. He could not react, so his face remained unchanged. Noticing this, Sasuke decided to answer his unspoken question.
"You are my best friend." He admitted, clearly. Naruto received an unexplainable and warm feeling in his heart. Gratitude surged through him. He looked down, the feelings he was experiencing apparent on his sun kissed face. His eyes glowed.
"Yeah, so are you." He whispered, but it was audible enough for Sasuke to hear it amongst the falling rain. Sasuke could not help but smile.
"You better take care of her." Sasuke uttered, smirking with his eyes shut.
"Of course I will, idiot." Naruto said, loudly. Sasuke released a little humph before jerking his head with that same crooked smile.
"Let's go. How long have you been here anyway?" He asked, sounding irritated. He suddenly realized that Naruto was not fully recovered. He was soaking wet and his eyes were rather hollow and empty. Naruto was so happy though, that he did not care about the piercing cold. He tried to walk. Instead, he stumbled clumsily.
"Hey, are you okay?" Sasuke asked, trying to help him sustain his balance.
"Yeah, I'm just kind of cold." He admitted, lowly.
"Idiot. Why did you come here? You are not well." Sasuke questioned with an annoyed tone.
"I come here when I need to think. That is all. Sorry, sorry." He said, more energetically, waving his hand in apology. He looked so tired though. Sasuke let a sigh escape from his mouth, before frowning. He rolled his eyes.
"Shut up and lean against me. You can barely walk." He ordered, taking Naruto's arm forcefully and putting it around his shoulder.
"I can walk on my own!" Naruto said, trying to convince him, but Sasuke ignored him.
"Come on already." Sasuke muttered. Naruto gave in and listened to his raven haired comrade.
The two friends walked back home together in the sparkling rain, not exchanging many words, but they both knew, that they appreciated each others company and their recent conversation. Naruto was more positive than ever. He wore an unbreakable smile. He knew that they could be together now, all three of them. Nothing could break them, nor rip them apart. They were a resilient triangle, complimenting and fulfilling each other. Their differences only made them stronger. Naruto could not see the future, but he had a suspicion that it would be bright, like the burning sun.
'Sakura, Sasuke… All I need is you. And I do have you…'
Finally finished. So, what did you think? Did I get Sasuke right or?
Should I continue? I just don't think this is the end! I have another
story progressing, which I will release soon. Anyway, please review for
tired me. Again, sorry for updating so slowly. Well, thank you so much
for your support and I hoped you enjoyed the chapter! I will update as
soon as possible if I choose to do so. Thanks!