Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters created by Masashi Kishimoto

Simple Things

Sasuke

It's such a simple thing, walking away. That is, until the walking becomes running, the running becomes hiding, and the hiding somehow becomes reflecting. It's like the farther you run, they closer they come, those little thoughts and memories that nibble at your mind when you have too much time to think.

And the more you think, the more you remember, and the more you remember, the more you understand.

Home is more than a place.

Betrayal is more than an act.

And you realize all these things are ones you never knew you had, convinced yourself you didn't want. But now all that is gone and there's nothing left of them but hazy dreams that disappear when you try to catch them, leaving nothing but ghosts in their wake.

This was your choice and you refuse to be wrong. You only ever did what you had to. It's not something that can ever be explained, not something that can ever be understood.

And there's no way to go back, even if you wanted to, so there's no real point in explaining anyway.

Sometimes you can't return to a place even when you're already there.

Some things that are broken can never be mended.

There's nothing you can do and nothing you can say.

You can't try to kill your best friend and just say you're sorry.

You can't tell someone you don't care and just say you're sorry.

You can't betray an entire village and just say you're sorry.

'"I'm sorry" is not some magic phrase that makes everything all better.

And you know that.

And what does it matter when you're not really sorry anyway? Not in the way they think you should be, not for the things they expect.

In a weird way, you'd never meant to hurt them. In a life lived alone with a one-minded purpose, people don't even enter the equation as anything but a means to an end.

But you're still sorry. A sorry excuse for a human being who doesn't even understand your own heart.

You're sorry things had to turn out they way they did. Sorry that you won't go back. Sorry they don't want to let go.

Sorry that you can't.

But how do you tell someone you're sorry and make them understand?

That the only thing you're sorry for is that you're not really sorry at all.

You feel like you need to tell them, now that it's all at an end.

And now that you see how you can never go home.

But they'll never understand.

"I'm sorry" is not some magic phrase that makes everything all better.

And you already know that.

Naruto

You'd think a smile is a simple thing, especially when worn on the face of someone known for them.

It's not.

Smiling is hard. Keeping a constant facade is hard. Because no matter how you look on the outside, the inside is always different. No matter what people may think, how easy to read they may think you are, no one is an open book.

The truth is, no matter how close you are, how well you know someone, no person can ever truly understand another. You may think you do, you may think you know all there is to know about someone. But there's this little thing about people: they surprise you.

And they hide from you.

Everyone does it, some just find it easier than others, it's all a matter of practice. Sometimes, if you work hard enough, establish enough of a reputation, you barely even have to try.

But smiling is still hard.

And you really want to smile, you want to be happy with friends in a place that accepts you, but deep down you know the truth. You know what they've always thought of you.

And forgiveness is not easily given.

You smile and say "it's OK". You laugh and say "I don't care what anyone thinks." But it's a lie and you know it, and inside, where no one sees, you're still angry. And you haven't forgiven.

Because deep down there's still a little child who remembers what it's like to be hated and alone. And they've never asked for your forgiveness, so why should you give it?

But you know she's sorry and you tell yourself you forgive her, that now you two are friends. And yet you still remember every word, every look, every snub of disdain. And there's always that little part that can't forgive, but you tell it to shut up, it's unimportant, go away.

But it doesn't listen and it stays.

And then you find yourself chasing the worst of the worst and you wonder how something that caused so much pain can be so important. How can something that betrayed you and denied you and tried to take your life be something you need so much?

You haven't forgiven, can never forgive, but somehow this time it's not important.

Because somewhere, you think maybe you also need to be forgiven. Somewhere along the way you forgot that friendship is a two-way street and you forgot to look both ways. And it isn't fair and it isn't right, but maybe you need forgiveness too.

And you know you'll never get it. And you know you'll never give it.

Because forgiveness is hard.

But asking for it is harder.

Sakura

There are just certain things that should be simple, that's what you always thought.

You're born into a family, you make friends, you fall in love, you begin a family of your own, and the cycle begins again.

That's how things were supposed to be. It should be simple.

But the only family one had left he hated.

And the other worked all backwards, finding people he could adopt to create a family of his own.

And now you're in this new family too, only it makes so little sense that you don't even know where you fit in.

So family is really far from a simple thing. And friendships are no better.

Your friendship with one isn't simple, despite how it looks from the outside

And your "whatever" with the other isn't simple, exactly how it looks from the outside.

Life simply isn't simple and you don't like it.

Family should be family and friends should be friends. And they should remain that way, even through fighting and crying and mistake after mistake.

Bonds like that should never break. They only bend.

So how do you make things right, how do you mend tattered ties, how do you go back to simpler times, even when now you realize they were never simple?

And you wish it could be simple.

You wish you could just get together, make amends and be happy again, with all your dreams intact. But there are no easy answers, no quick fixes no matter how much you might wish it to be so.

Because life doesn't work that way, and neither do people.

There's no way to mold people to your will, no way to really know what it's like to live their lives.

Especially when deep down, they don't want you to.

And you can't say you understand because you don't.

You don't understand what it's like to lose everything, and you don't understand what it's like to have nothing.

You don't understand how someone can't see what's right in front of him. Or how he can throw away the few precious things he had.

You don't understand how someone can chase after another like his life depends on it. Or how the fact that person tried to kill him somehow doesn't matter.

And you don't understand how anyone can love and hate someone so much that life somehow seems wrong without them.

But you don't have to understand. You already know what you want.

And understanding can be overrated.

Because life is never simple anyway.

Especially when you're a member of Team Seven.