Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters are not mine. Bleh.
I Dreamt of a Butterfly
The response he elicited from the kids were exactly like what he had anticipated. Konohamaru smirked and puffed out his chest importantly. He had the perfect audience! They 'ooohed' and 'ahhhed' at all the right places. Sometimes they screamed, especially when he widened his eyes suddenly and raised his fingers, wiggling them. And whenever he paused dramatically for effect, they would simultaneously lean forward, eager for his next words. He cleared his throat, thinking of how to continue his story.
"And so, um… well, by this time, Sasuke was in deep trouble! Sasuke, as we all already know, was a genius and he had the Sharingan, but he was still no match for the uber evil and all-powerful Orochimaru! Thankfully, before he could be killed, our Hokage-sama, Tsunade and our pervert sennin Jiraiya-sama arrived on the scene! They both summoned their Toad and Slug to challenge Orochimaru's snake, Manda. However, they were all equally matched and neither of them seemed fit to be the victor. Meanwhile, Orochimaru himself advanced on Sasuke, eager to make use of his body!"
"For what?" a little child interrupted.
Konohamaru frowned. For what? He didn't even completely understand that part himself. He decided to just continue his story and pretend that he hadn't heard her. "And here, Sasuke did something that made him truly the greatest genius that Konoha ever raised! He…"
Konohamaru scowled, feeling a large bump form on his head as he stared up at the blonde ninja standing over him. "What?"
Uzumaki Naruto gave Konohamaru another lump on his head as he stalked away. "Don't turn such an epic battle into a comedy!" was his cross remark.
Konohamaru glared at Naruto's back, a tiny tear forming in his eye as he turned back to his hungry audience. They were still lapping up his words as though they were butter. He cleared his throat again. He hadn't been turning the battle into a comedy! He was just… simplifying it for these younger ones who couldn't understand. Damn that Naruto! He would have his revenge! Just because he was many years younger didn't mean he was stupid… "Anyway, Orochimaru went crazy at this and lost most of his concentration! At the same time, Tsunade's Slug and Jiraiya's Toad finally managed to overthrow the great Manda. However, Orochimaru himself still could not be beaten. At this crucial point, guess who stepped in?"
"The great Uzumaki Naruto!" Konohamaru declared. Behind him, Naruto ears perked at that and he stopped in his tracks.
"What did he do?"
"Ahhh…" Konohamaru paused, letting the silence hang in the air for an agonizing two seconds before continuing. Ha! Let these young, gullible ones spread this lie around the town and ruin Naruto's reputation! He rubbed his sore head again and hit on the best inspiration that had come to him today. "He let out a great whoop and unleashed his most feared jutsu ever – SEXY NO JUTSU!"
"I thought you'd left," Konohamaru whimpered, his lower lip trembling as he stared up at Naruto's furious face.
And now he had three.
It was nice to sit like this. It was nice to sit on top of a hilltop that overlooked the valley which linked the outside world to the busy village of Konoha. It was nice to be here in this spot on a not-too-bright day beside the one you loved most. It was a nice day. A day to remember, to reflect. A day of memories.
She smiled as she gazed across the valley and recalled that fateful day, four months ago, when a certain someone came through it and returned to the place he truly belonged. She smiled, pushing her wind-swept bangs out of her eyes as she dipped her fingers in sticky green balm and, lifting them out of it, turned to the person sitting beside her. She smiled, and, reaching her hand up to his face, applied the balm onto his eyelids. She massaged them lightly, feeling tendrils of her chakra withdraw from her fingertips and enter his eyes. She could feel him twitch and she knew that it stung. But he never said a word, only sat silently and patiently and waited for the job to be done.
They sat in a mutual, comfortable silence after this. She was leaning slightly against his shoulder. His voice broke the quietness and made her jump.
"I have two sets of memories."
She stared at him.
He did not face her. "You always assumed I had forgotten everything. But I do. I remember everything."
She hardly dared to breathe. A deep red flooded her cheeks. "Everything?"
A corner of his lips lifted in a tiny, lopsided smile. "Everything. That is why I can remember what… what happiness is. That is why I can let myself not be consumed by guilt, by hatred. That is why I can let myself be free."
She let out a deep breath and leaned back against him.
"So… you'll make another garland for me, then?" she asked shyly. She was remembering that little kiss.
"… Heh. I'll try." Maybe he was thinking about that, too, but who could tell?
It took time – so much time – but he was finally smiling again. Sometimes he even laughed. The most noticeable change was that now he talked more than ever. And Sakura let him. He was right – she'd always assumed that once he had regained his old memories, he lost the other set. Deep down inside, she had always hoped that he did remember what it was like to be a child all over again. She had always hoped that he would finally come to realize what was truly important to him. And now he did. He was Uchiha Sasuke – the whole Sasuke. It took so long – but what mattered was that he was finally… here.
"…Tell me something truthfully, Sakura."
Sakura tensed slightly, afraid of his question.
"Will I see again?"
She was unsure of what to say. She stared at his face, at his eyes that were glued tightly shut. And she knew he was happy, either way. Maybe not completely satisfied – but who on this earth was completely satisfied? "I don't know. Probably. Yes." She spoke the truth. She believed he would.
"…And… the Sharingan?"
Now here was the difficult one. "I don't know. Does it matter?" she added. "You're still Uchiha."
She felt a presence near them, and gazed outwards slightly. A striking, familiar figure was making his way up the hillside towards them. He lifted an arm to wave, and she waved back.
"Naruto." Sasuke smirked. "He still owes me ten bucks from that last trip to Ichiraku Ramen."
A giggle formed in Sakura's throat. It developed to a laugh. She laughed out loud, a joyful laugh that filled the entire area. Dimly, she heard her echo. With a great wonder, she spread out her hands, lifting them up as the strong wind blew something into her palm. It was a long, pink flower.
A/N: Hey, there. This story is finally over and done with. -whew- YAY! This is the FIRST multi-chaptered fic I've ever completed, btw. Makes sense, though, since it's only got five chapters. Hehe.
I do feel that that the last few chapters were poorly written. They weren't as developed as the first and second chapters, nor were they as detailed. And I do also feel that this story has a lot more potential to be extended into perhaps a 20 or so chaptered fic. However, I don't have that much of commitment to keep the story going, and neither am I able to produce such fine work, sadly. So, if I've disappointed any of you readers, I'm really, really sorry.
I hope the ending was satisfying enough, and that you enjoyed it or at least got a gist of what you meant. To state it plainly for those who don't understand - Since Orochimaru only wanted Sasuke's body mainly for the use of the Sharingan, Sasuke decided to stab his own eyes as a last resort. Okie, I know this is NOT likely to happen in the manga - but it's a possibility - and I am NOT going to go into any technicalities about what it means when you stab or defect a Sharingan user's eyes. Nor do I want to hear you complaining about the inaccuracies of this chapter and so on.
Please, please review and drop me some constructive criticism. I really appreciate it. ) Thank you all for following this story all this time (even if it's only five chapters...) and thank you for all the reviews. -sighs- Am starting to feel a little sentimental, really, about ending it all... but this story is finished... so thank you for coming this way with me and I hope you continue to support my fics. SasuSaku, rock on! P
(Psst... on a final note... does anyone get directed to another person's story when you click on the 'reviews' link in this fic?)