A/N Same old song and dance, the disclaimers in the first three chapters. I always said that reviews didn't matter to me, but when I got only one for my last chapter I was so disappointed I didn't even want to look at this fic, so it took me quite a while before I went back over and realized that my last chapter was quite disjointed and a little chaotic, so I again attempt to write the fic that's kept me up at night trying to figure out the fight scenes.
He's supposed that if this were like any other goodbye it would be a lot easier, after all he was a ninja and ninjas were good at the whole goodbye thing. But when he'd gone to get her last night from the shop (where she had told her parents she'd be doing inventory all night) she hadn't said a word and only held his hand tightly as they walked to "their" spot in the woods. They'd lain together quietly in the grass all night watching the dusk fade to stars and as they awakened the stars fade to dawn. He had a million things he wanted to tell her as they walked to the gates, but he knew that he wanted something to remember while he was out there and if either of them spoke they'd probably argue and that'd ruin it all, and she seemed to understand that as well which he could only add as the one thousand and seventy eighth thing he loved about her.
"I love you" Her voice broke the quiet misty morning
"I love you too" He embraced her as the others in his group approached them and he had to pull away all too quickly for either of their tastes.
"We're leaving now" He couldn't meet her gaze
"Stay safe, and if you get a chance grab me a souvenir" She hugged him quickly a smile on her face that seemed somewhat grotesque considering the atmosphere. He quietly thanked God she wasn't making a scene and responded to her with the good guy pose "I'll get you something from the first peddler I see!" With that he ran to catch up with his team who had by passed the couple and were waiting at the entrance to the village.
This was "it" the thing that every moment of the last three years had been leading up too, and he knew that he may not come back, he knew that each one of them might not come back. Which if he'd given any thought to it all would have made him wonder why he only chose his close friends for this mission, after all the whole village was filled with ninja's who were nothing more than cannon fodder to him, but he didn't give it any further thought and chose only those that he trusted and respected. He knew that each of them had their own problems and their own demons to fight, but Sasuke was the one demon they all had in common, so they would go forth and conquer as the ninja stories of old told of.