Where they Belong
It was Christmas season – a joyous global holiday for everyone.
A time for family, reunion, and celebration.
Everybody's given a holiday for this day including Cross HQ.
The dreadful night was a week and three days in the past. Most people liked to celebrate their victory after finally cutting the head off of his minions, and it was quite literal in a sense. That night, they have come to rest when the field members returned at the base. Most of them dealt patch ups while Itachi had to be examined due to Orochimaru's inflicted damage on his side. It was good news to them that there was no sight of blood transfusion whatsoever in Itachi's system – in other words, he's still a human.
Apart from physical injuries, emotional drawback was also observed especially when the Uchiha brothers gave cold shoulder to any members of the organization. After their check up, Sasuke didn't even have to ask anyone where his brother went. Sakura was waiting at the laboratory where Ino and Shikamaru were when she saw Sasuke walked pass the door. She was about to go after him when Shikamaru stopped her and sent her a knowing look.
"They need to talk, Sakura." Ino voiced out what Shikamaru meant.
Sakura slowly gaze back to where Sasuke walked to before she resigned herself to the computer chair.
"Sasuke's so confused… and I couldn't do anything to help him."
Ino was at loss to give any comprehensible reasons to make her friend feel better. She, for one, was utterly surprised when she overheard their conversation during that night. It gave chills on her spine just by remembering what Itachi confirmed which would undoubtedly create a ruckus inside HQ later on.
"What do you want to do?" Shikamaru began as he rotated his computer chair to return to his work. "Go back in time and stop Madara from creating madness?" He picked up his cigarette and placed it between his lips. He started rummaging his things to search for his lighter. "What Sasuke needs is your faith in him."
Sakura stared at Shikamaru and realized that he did make sense. While Sakura was thinking of when she's going to see her boyfriend, Ino finally gave up as she sighed and extended her hand which clutched Shikamaru's lighter.
"Would you stop hiding my lighter?"
"Then don't smoke in here."
Nobody knows what the brothers talked about which aroused more questioning regarding their clan, however, after finding out their past everybody seemed to have different standpoints about them. So the next morning of that particular mission, most people in Cross HQ developed skepticism concerning the Uchiha brothers. Some even recommended that they must be put under strict test to verify that they don't have substances in their systems which might indicate that vampire genes could be inherited in their family since it originated in their clan. The boys granted their curiosity since they both know that something like this would happen.
In conclusion after the tests, the boys were definitely uncontaminated.
On Christmas day, the Director – Kakashi, gave all his staff a break and thought that they should celebrate their victory on whatever way they wanted. But there were some Cross members who stayed at the moment and Kakashi was one of them. He woke up at three in the morning from a nightmare. He didn't return to sleep after he brought wine down his throat. Instead he decided to go to his office in attempt to forget what had occurred in his haunting dreams.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Kakashi wondered who came on his door at this time.
The screeching of his door echoed in his quiet office as his visitor slowly came in. "Merry Christmas, Sakura."
Said girl smiled at him. "Merry Christmas, Kakashi-san."
Kakashi smiled at her while he gestured her to sit on a nearby chair which Sakura politely declined. "I, uh, saw your car at the lot so—"
He intertwined his hands atop his desk as he spoke. "You came to see him, right?"
Sakura bit her lip before nodding in affirmation. Kakashi continued. "They stayed here last night."
Sakura knew that Kakashi was talking about the brothers, Itachi and Sasuke, and just like her, he was also worried about them. He developed a paternal treatment towards the boys ever since he had taken them into his care after the night of Uchiha annihilation. He brought them up like his own sons and taught them whatever he learned. When he felt it was the time, he let them do what they want. They weren't particularly spoiled for any senseless motives because Kakashi knew that they have matured at young age and he believed that they already know what they'd do.
He knew all that because—
—he went through the same pattern.
"If it's okay to ask…" Sakura began as Kakashi returned from his short daydream, "What are you doing in here, Kakashi-san?"
His sole eyes crinkled. "I don't have anybody at home and I had a strong feeling that some would be staying here."
The young lady looked at the Director worriedly before she offered him a smile.
"I hope you'll have a nice day ahead, Kakashi-san."
"Yeah, you, too."
Sakura left his office.
Sakura felt nervous when stopped in front of Sasuke's room. Her left hand had clasped on her right wrist while debating if she would be knocking on his door or not. However, the moment she thought of Sasuke and his situation, her anxiety receded and her hand flew towards his door to knock.
She heard brief movements from the other side but he wasn't responding yet.
"Can I come in?"
When Sasuke didn't respond the second time she called him, she felt crushed. She thought that Sasuke might have considered avoiding people after that night but she was also hoping that he would let her in or call her.
This is wrong. Among all people, I should be the one to understand him. But… She stared at his door for a couple of minutes. I don't want him to be alone. Not during this day. Not after that night. Never…
She remembered the time when Sasuke stayed by her side when they encountered her brother's unit by the shore. He never left her side and even as much as he wanted to intervene to secure her safety he stopped himself and let her fought against her brother. After the mission, he saved her again by pulling her out of cold shower when she tried to clean her body from, what she claimed as, sin. He stayed with her and learned about her past – about the truth she'd been carrying all along.
He never left her.
He never did.
So did her.
Not as a favor, but as a reminder that no matter what happens – she'd stay by his side.
But today, as she stood silently at his door while waiting for him to open it for her, she smiled to herself.
Maybe I should give him more time…
She was about to step back from the door to leave the floor when suddenly Sasuke's coarse voice was heard from the other side.
She blinked twice.
Then she opened the door.
The screeching sound of his door echoed in his room as Sakura gently pushed it close. She turned around and saw Sasuke curled on his side, his back at her. He was wearing a pair of dark blue sweat pants and white long sleeves shirt. Both his hands lay beside his neck. The layers of his clothing won't make him stay outside for two minutes if he ever plans on strolling outside the building. She looked at his room and noticed that it wasn't entirely darkened like what she did before. His curtains were tugged at the sides revealing the scenery outside. All his things were arranged and not a single article of clothing sprawled on his carpeted floor.
When she laid her eyes on his back once again she started walking towards his bed. "Good morning, Sasuke."
"Nn." He replied but he never looked at her.
She thought that maybe she'd try some treatment to make him talk or something but she's quite positive that if she started shooting her mouth on random things it would make matters worst and if by chance she got on his nerves, she'd be facing his door again from outside. Besides, she learned from him that he liked silence and serenity.
Apparently, he's not in the state of serenity, so therefore, she resolved in silence with him.
Sasuke felt his bed sagged under Sakura's weight when she crawled beside him. Her left lower arm encircled on his head while her hands stroke his black hair. Her right hand touched his arm and tapped it gently as if she was following a tune or a lullaby.
They stayed in that position for quite a long time. Sakura felt that she needed him to take a break from his forlorn state so she gave him her warmth and love at the same time. She wanted to make him feel that she'd stay with him.
Sasuke didn't fall asleep but he found himself relaxed at Sakura's touch and unspoken words of "I'm here, you're not alone." Her soft hand on his hair was working really well as if trying to ease his tension. The tapping of her hand as if on rhythm made his mind wander for a while. But in entirety, he felt like his mother was beside him, nurturing after him.
The truth was he wanted to forget what happened that night. He might as well continue living in their clan's fragmented history but he also knew that he won't be able to escape from the truth because it was already there before even he knew it. He was only living in cover ups and thus there was only one option left for him: Acceptance.
"This is hard."
Sasuke surprised her as he spoke low voice.
"Who would have thought that acceptance would be this hard?" A pause. "I don't know if I'll ever forgive that man who called Madara. To think of creating a disaster just because he wanted to have an ability to exceed human limitation, does he really think that he's a god? He's insane. I would've killed him if he weren't dead."
Sakura remained silent as Sasuke continued.
"I don't even know if I'll forgive my clan either… that Orochimaru… he could be right about Uchiha. My family valued pride most. We don't know what kind of conspiracy they planned to do… that they even put us all out of sight. Why did they even hide that truth from us?"
When Sasuke left a hanging question, that even Sakura didn't know how to answer, Sakura thought she'd talk. "Did Itachi-san found more information about… your family's past?"
"He only got few names, the objective and the materials for the experiment but they're just basics. He said he'll start digging information for God knows when."
"Then what at are you going to do?"
Her question led him to dead end.
Truly, what should he do?
Itachi would start searching information about their past. Cross would keep low vampires away. Elites would continue their pursuit against strong vampires, etc. What about him?
Sakura didn't have any follow up questions for thinking she might have struck a deep spot on Sasuke's heart. She considered her last question as a motivation for him to move away from brooding. And the reason was: to make his heart stronger. That fateful night which materialized truth from lies weakened Sasuke's heart. The confusion of his voice after the battle was not easily forgotten.
Sasuke shifted from his position until he was facing Sakura but he wasn't looking at her face for fear of catching pity in it. But through her questions - lies a hidden statement. Sakura loved mind healing. Said young lady had placed her loving arms around him to keep him inside her embrace. His face was just underneath her chin. The smell on her skin soothed his mind.
"No matter what you do, Sasuke, know that I'd always be there by your side."
Sasuke responded when he put his left arm over Sakura's hips and pulled her body into a tight one-arm embrace.
"I'll help my brother." He said.
She placed a loving kiss on his head. "Then I'll help."
The two stayed in each other's arms on Christmas day.
Several months later, they have graduated from high school degree and pursued college together with their friends. They attended one school but enrolled in different courses. They even saw Ino and Shikamaru enrolling on the same campus however Ino announced confidently that on their second semester she'll shift to another course because she blamed Shikamaru for choosing an entirely different course. The two lab rats instantly came in their small circle of friends.
Neji and Tenten, being second year in their courses, would meet them during their breaks. They would gather at one place then go anywhere whoever suggested any location. It was like they've returned to their routine as students, as teenagers, yet even then, fights against the existence of the dark side.
It was autumn of that year when Sakura visited the graves of his family: her father and her brother.
There were tombstones placed on the surface of the earth but underneath them were plain dirt. Their bodies have turned into ashes and those tombstones only held the names of the departed.
After she laid flowers on her father and her brother's grave she placed her hands together in silent prayer.
I hope both of you are doing fine. Mommy misses you both. So am I. I hope that you both understand that what I did was necessary. I have freed you from the bonds you both had with Orochimaru…
Her green orbs revealed when she let her hands drop on to her sides.
"I want to ask favor though…" A sigh. "Please watch over Mom. I might leave soon. I promised Sasuke that I'll help him and his brother. I know Mom wouldn't like it but… I really wanted to see it to the end."
As the cold autumn breeze wafted, Sakura bid her family goodbye.
Donned in leather coat to withstand the coldness in the air, Sasuke walked on his homeland to pay a visit.
He knew that no one dared buying the entire land because everybody knows what happened there. They were afraid that there might be remnants of the past that might disturb them. For some who believed in ghosts and spirits, they were sure that those who were slaughtered that night would eventually pay visit on their homes and would try to seek help from the living.
But Itachi, upon obtaining large amount of money, bought the entire land for him to use in research. This place helped them create anti-vampire substances in which they put in their vaccines and bullets. Initial findings were found here -leads after another because this was the place where everything started.
He stopped in front of their old mansion. Walls and windows were shattered but his childhood memories could imagine its beautiful appearance from long ago. He closed his eyes to remember and smiled when something beautiful was recalled.
But his thoughts soon reached all events which mixed up everything he had recollection with.
The Uchiha brothers arrived home that night only to be welcomed by the stench of blood and corpse that stung their noses upon reaching the Uchiha District. Running down the road, they found out that everybody had been killed. From scratches, bloods and neck bites, the two young men identified that the cause of murder were vampires.
Sakura bravely shot at his brother. "I purposely missed. But the next shot will be aimed to your head. I'm serious… brother."
Her father locked his hand with the gun towards his target, who gasped at his sudden action.
—and in an instant…
He shot himself in the head.
"I want to join Cross!"
"I have a favor to ask from all of you, don't mention Cross to Hinata. She doesn't know anything about it."
Their father turned towards Sasuke. "Train hard and be strong, Sasuke. Both of you had to."
Itachi and Sasuke stood straight and spoke in unison. "Yes, father!"
(End of all flashbacks)
He clutched his hand until it curled into fist.
His emotions strongly wrestled in his heart and mind.
"You've kept a lot of secrets from us but this mistake won't be forgiven. We'll look up in any records until we have our conclusions."
And his words were final.
During that period Elites flew back to London after being confirmed that Japan was nowhere close to any dreadful threats after they terminated Orochimaru. However the existence of several vampires still lingered everywhere and Cross were certain that even before they were built, there were hundreds of thousands of vampires threatening mankind. It was even more troublesome because they know how to alter blood circulation to turn humans into their kind.
It was as if they won't cease to exist.
But Cross would never abandon their duty.
They'll eradicate their very existence from the face of the earth.
Four years later…
It was spring when a young man clad in clean brown polo and khaki walked down the streets of Tokyo. He was holding a city map, trying to locate the place he wished to go.
"Ehh? It's not here anymore? That's odd."
He was lost.
"Oh well. I'll just enjoy my homecoming."
And then he crossed a lane with a huge grin on his face.
E N D
Author's Note: The final chapter and a hint of sequel :P For those who have watched, read and reviewed this story – THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I really appreciate that you stayed with me until the end.
I'll see you guys on this story's sequel okay? It's going to be uploaded as new story. Format will be: Inverted Cross: "title"
Again, thank you for those who will read and review this chapter:D
Uploaded: 08/15/07 (2:52 am)