Blu: Okay, I know I should be writing the next chapter of Naruto X right now, but I read this fanfic in the Kingdom Hearts section and this inspired this SasuSaku/NaruxSaku fic. This may be a little hard for me because it's been quite a while since I wrote something romantic for Naruto, and this story turned out to be something from almost every genre: romance, humor, drama, tragedy, action... Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
WARNING: SPOLIERS TO NARUTO PART 2, UP TO RECENT CHAPTERS!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto,Sakura, Sasuke,or anything from the Naruto series.
1000 Paper Birds
When Sakura was a little girl, her mother told her a story about a girl who made a thousand paper birds and received one wish that would come true.
"Is that true, Mama?" She remembered asking.
Her mother answered with a smile, "Well, that's how I met your father. I wanted someone to love who'd love me forever, and a few days afterward, I met him."
Little Sakura was so surprised. She asked her mother if she could make a thousand paper birds for herself. "I wanna wish for a puppy!"
"Don't get excited so fast, Sakura-chan. It takes a very long time for someone to make a thousand of those." Her mother told her. As the girl started to frown, she continued, "But that means you'll have time to think about what you'll really want."
And from that day, Sakura started her little hobby involving origami birds. Her mother had to help her out from time to time, seeing as how all her birds turned out odd-looking. But as time passed, she got better and her wish kept changing.
Some time after Sakura entered ninja academy, she developed a crush on a boy by the name of Uchiha Sasuke. She could remember telling her mother about the boy--how cool, and mysterious, and cute he was. It was because of that Sakura changed her wish, yet again.
'I wish that Sasuke-kun will fall in love with me!'
The day after that, Sakura found out that Ino liked Sasuke, too. It tore her up a little inside, because a little nagging voice in the back of her head said, "She's so much better than you. Sasuke-kun will like her more than you."
"I..." She stopped folding a bird mid-way. The girl bit her bottom lip as she held out the urge to cry. She and Ino were friends no longer. Now they were rivals over a boy's heart. That night, she thought about a second wish.
'I wish Ino and I were friends again...
When she graduated from the academy, she was placed on a three-man team with Sasuke and--to her dismay--Uzumaki Naruto, a boy who liked her as much as she liked Sasuke. Of course, she really didn't care about Naruto. Sakura only cared about Sasuke, who only thought she was annoying.
This only made her all the more persistent to win the Uchiha's heart. So much so, that she pretty much neglected her ninjutsu for making sure her hair was nice and silky for her Sasuke-kun.
"Good morning, Sasuke-kuuuuun!"
But, whenever there was some time alone between the two of them, there was always--
"Naruto, will you shut up? It's early in the morning for crying out loud!"
'That moron! SometimesI wish he would just disappear!'
After the Chuunin Exams and the Invasion of Oto and Suna, Sakura had grown to like her short hair a little.
"It's taken a little getting used to, but it's not so bad," She remembered telling Ino.
"You look great with short hair, Sakura-chan!" Naruto told her. "It makes you look way cuter than before!"
"It really suits you." Kakashi told her once.
Sasuke never told her anything about it. He really could care less about whether she looked good or not.
Her hobby had slowed down a bit after she became a ninja. However, after the exams and the incident that happened in the Forest of Death, another wish came up that made her get back to it.
'I wish I can become stronger...so I could protect my friends.'
Sakura could remember waking up on a bench near the exit out of Konoha. Then she remembered Sasuke and those two little words he told her: "Thank you".
She simply couldn't understand why he left. How could Sasuke turn his back on his village, his friends? How could he turn his back on her, the one swore that she'd kill for him, that would help him take his revenge on the one responsible for his coldness?
"Don't worry, Sakura-chan! I promise I'll bring Sasuke back, no matter what!" Naruto told her, giving her a pose that reminded her of Lee or Gai to seal the deal.
After he left with Shikamaru, Neji, Choji, and Kiba, Sakura locked herself in her room, frantically making tiny paper birds, taking time every once in a while to straighten them out and make them look pretty. She only had one thought in mind as she did this:
'I wish that Sasuke-kun would come back, so we can all be happy together like before!'
They couldn't bring him back... Sasuke was gone. Gone to Orochimaru in search of more power--power that he'd use for his revenge. Most people would think that Sakura would be heartbroken, and she was. But her getting over it was not something they expected.
In fact, Sakura asked the Godaime Hokage, the Sannin Tsunade, if she could become her apprentice. She would learn medical jutsu and learned to control her chakra so finely that she could have the same monstrous strength as the Hokage.
On the same day she became Tsuande's apprentice, she went back to folding the little origami birds, this time, going slowly.
'I wish had the strength to help bring Sasuke back! I don't want to stand on the sidelines anymore!'
Almost three years later, Sakura first heard about Kyuubi from Naruto, she finally started to understand him--why he was the way he was. When he lost control that time in Grass country in the fight against Orochimaru, she was upset that she could nothing to help him.
Then, when the new Team Kakashi--made up of Naruto, Sakura,an ANBU named Yamato and an ANBU Root member named Sai--had snuck into Orochimaru's current secret base, they met Sasuke for the first time in two and a half years. Sasuke didn't think of them as friends anymore, or even worth his time. It was the first time ever that Sakura had tried to harm him--the one whom she had "loved".
But it seemed that Sasuke had grown very powerful over the years. Of course, when you're the apprentice of a Sannin, what could you expect? The Uchiha had decided to break all bonds with his second family and the village of his birth--all so he could focus on his hatred and revenge against his brother to become stronger. He didn't even care if Orochimaru took his body. In fact, he wanted him to, saying that together, they might stand a chance of beating Itachi. Sasuke might have killed them if Orochimaru didn't stop him from that jutsu he was planning and all of them left.
After they did that, Naruto and Sakura broke down. They weren't strong enough to bring him back. They still had six months though. The two of them could get stronger together and bring him back. Or maybe, Sakura hoped, Sasuke would see that letting Orochimaru have his body would only harm his friends and bring shame upon his dead clan's name. That revenge would be meaningless if he didn't have anything at all in the end, including his own body.
'I wish Sasuke could see the error of his ways...'
When Tsunade told them that the Kyuubi's rushed healing made Naruto's lifespan shorter and shorter, she wished that there was a way to stop it. She wished that the blonde never was the Kyuubi's jinchuriki in the first place--that the Yondaime had chosen someone else so that maybe...maybe he'd lead a normal life (for a shinobi, at least).
Naruto, however, didn't think much about the downsides of having Kyuubi. Instead, he focused most of his energy training, and feeling pumped up about the training Kakashi was going to give him.
As she went home to her apartment building, which she moved into as soon as she became a chuunin, she started counting her paper birds. Her little childhood hobby had grown quite a bit, and held a corner of her room all to themselves. To her surprise, there were over 800 now, very close to 900.
"I never noticed how far I've gotten..." She said aloud to herself. She was so busy with training and her part time job at the hospital that she hardly noticed how big the pile had gotten. A few of the birds were covered with dust, some she made from her childhood were colored, others looked bad with some stains left over from her tears...it was the ones that she had started to make recently that looked like someone actually took the time to make a perfect looking origami bird.
As Sakura sat down and began to make a few more paper birds, she started to think about her blonde-haired teammate and gave a small, sad smile.
"I wish Naruto could live a long and happy life..." She said softly. Then, mentally added, 'With me.'
As she laid on her stomach there on the forest floor, Sakura watched Kakashi, her old sensei, fall after Sasuke's blade removed his blade from the man's body. They had encountered him on a mission to obtain a scroll before Orochimaru could. Naruto had gone to presumably find the scroll before Orochimaru. Afterwards, Sasuke and Kabuto appeared.
Sakura fought with Kabuto as Kakashi dealt with Sasuke. She could hear a few snippets of the conversation they had between blows. Apparently, Sasuke had found out that from Orochimaru that Kakashi had managed to obtain a form of his Sharingan eye similar to that of the Mangekyou Sharingan. Kakashi told the Uchiha that he had found out about his new technique, the Chidori Nagashi that he used on them.
Sakura had managed to knock out Kabuto with one chakra-empowered fist and sent him flying into a tree nearby, rendering him unconscious. She was about to go help Kakashi as she heard a scream of pain. Apparently, he had witnessed the power of Sasuke's Chidori-strengthened Kusanagi as it sliced him in the chest. The pink-haired kunoichi charged towards the raven-haired traitor, her fist ready to strike when she felt the shock of his Chidori Nagashi. Her body became paralyzed and she fell to the ground, unable to move.
She had to watch as Sasuke stepped towards Kakashi and stabbed him in the chest with his sword, and the man got shocked. She opened her mouth to scream, but found no words coming out--at least, not shouted. She wanted to try and save the jonin. Sakura tried to drag herself across the forest floor, crawling towards her sensei. However, Sasuke stepped in front of her, and pointed the blood-stainedblade of his kusanagi in front of her face.
He didn't say a word--only stared at her with no emotion on his face. Perhaps he thought she wasn't worth an insult or taunt, or maybe he just didn't think of her as someone worth talking to. The thought alone made tears come to Sakura's eyes. She started talking softly, even though she wanted to shout and scream and curse that damn Uchiha for killing his sensei with a variation of the technique he taught him, but instead, she spoke softly, "Why, Sasuke? How could you do that Kakashi-sensei?"
"He was in my way." He told her emotionlessly.
"Really? Am I in the way, too? And Naruto? Will you kill him next and then me, Sasuke?" Sakura asked him as she felt all feeling disappear from her legs. "At this rate, it won't matter whether or not you kill...your brother. Because you're...you're..." Her fists clenched tightly as she looked up at him with anger in her eyes. "YOU'RE AS BAD AS ITACHI! You'd want to kill your friends, who love you and want to help you to make you happy...ALL FOR THE SAKE OF POWER!" Tears began to stream down her face as she began to lose consciousness. "You're...a monster..."
The last thing Sakura could remember before blacking out was seeing Sasuke frowning and hearing Naruto's voice saying:
"SASUKE! YOU BASTARD, WHAT DID YOU DO TO KAKASHI AND SAKURA-CHAN?"
'All I want is for things to go back to normal. I want Kakashi-sensei back...I want Naruto to live...I want Sasuke to be happy...I want us all to be together...'
The first person Sakura saw when she woke up was Naruto. The blonde had been sitting by her bedside from the day she had entered the hospital.
"W-wait a minute! What about Kakashi-sensei? Is he all right?" She asked him as she sat up quickly.
Naruto suddenly got a sullen look on his face. His bangs covered his eyes as he slowly shook his head. "He...didn't make it."
Sakura's eyes widened and she felt tears well up in her eyes. A nagging voice in the back of her head told her that it was her fault that he was dead. If she had been a little quicker, if she could have dodged Sasuke's attack then maybe... "Wh-what about Sasuke? Did you...?"
"No. He's still alive, but he's in a cell somewhere. Granny Tsunade won't tell me where, though." Naruto got a saddened look on his face. "The council members are trying to figure out...what his punishment should be. I managed to sneak in and hear a few of them before I was caught: probation was one...taking out his eyes so that he wouldn't be able to use his Sharingan anymore was another. And..."
"What? What is it?" The kunoichi simply couldn't imagine what was worse than having one's eyes taken out of their head.
"...Execution." He said gravely.
At that word, Sakura began to cry. "They can't...they can't do that! After all we've done to bring him back, they can't take him away now! Oh, Naruto!" In a moment of vulnerability, she hugged the orange-clad teen and began to cry on his shoulder as he held her tightly.
'I wish Sasuke could live, so that he can be happy...!'
The day that Sakura had been released from the hospital was the day before Kakashi's funeral. She didn't ask Tsunade if Sasuke could come. He probably wouldn't care. He'd just be upset because Naruto killed the one person who could help him kill his brother. Or maybe he just didn't care that their sensei was dead, and that it was all his fault.
The day of the funeral, there was a lot of people: Iruka, Kurenai, Asuma, all of the rookie nine--minus Sasuke--, Gai and his team, and lots of other people in which there were a lot Naruto and Sakura didn't know. The service was quiet and somber--Sasuke might've liked it.
'What are you thinking? Do not think about that...that...' Sakura's fist clenched and unclenched as she searched mentally for a word bad enough to describe her old teammate. She couldn't think of one. Maybe wouldn't? It's been so long since Sakura's heart won over her brain.
After the funeral, most of the attendants placed a single flower on his grave. Naruto and Sakura did this and placed a little something extra as well. Naruto had put down a copy of an unreleased Icha Icha novel by Jiraiya, saying that Kakashi could use something to read up there. Sakura placed a simple watch, saying that he wouldn't be late anymore as long as he had this. As everyone else left, Naruto and Sakura remained behind, looking at their dead teacher's grave.
'I wish I won't lose anyone else close to me in the future...' Sakura thought as a tear streamed down her cheek.
"Naruto..." Sakura muttered softly as she placed a hand on his face. There was a large hole in his chest--made by Sasuke's Raikiri. Speaking of the Uchiha, he was lying facedown on the ground, knocked out.
The village had been attacked by Sound. Apparently, Orochimaru was still alive, and very furious at the fact that Naruto had taken his future body back to Konoha. Sasuke probably knew that the snake Sannin was here to retrieve him. The ANBU that were assigned to look after him on his three-year parole said he kept grabbing his neck in pain. It made Sakura wonder what made him come to the battlefield: Orochimaru's arrival or the urge to help out Konoha?
The battle was fierce, with both sides losing many shinobi. A few of the old Rookie Nine went down as well: Choji, Hinata, and, to Kiba's sadness, Akamaru. Lee almost lost his life and Kurenai was gravely injured from a behind-the-back attack by an enemy Sound-Nin. Naruto, having had enough of his friends and fellow ninja being hurt and killed, tapped into the full power of Kyuubi, using all nine tails to wipe out almost every enemy, including Orochimaru. The few who managed to survive fled.
You'd think that would count as a victory. Except for the fact that Naruto lost control of himself, the power of all nine tails wasn't something he'd practiced with. If Sakura recalled, he only got up to six, and even then he couldn't stay in that form long without losing his mind. Sasuke was there too, arriving just when Orochimaru fell to a blood red claw-like hand going through his chest. The pink-haired kunoichi didn't know what else had happened, but from the evidence it was clear...
Sasuke killed Naruto. He actually...killed him. The Uchiha himself looked like he was in pretty bad shape. Actually, that was an understatement. He had a large claw mark on his chest, what seemed like a burn on his left shoulder and Sakura thought for certain that he had a broken arm, but he'd live. Sasuke's sword was lying somewhere nearby, in two pieces, with the blade stained in dark red blood.
When Sakura had found out about what happened, she had rushed out of the hospital to the battlefield to try and help her friends. But she was too late...
"Sa...Sakura-chan..." Naruto said softly. His skin looked darker than it usually did--maybe because of the transformation to his nine-tailed state. He coughed up some blood and despite that, Sakura smiled down at him.
"Naruto! You're alive! D-don't worry! I'll heal you and Sasuke, and then--"
"Heh..." The blonde jinchuriki smiled as he looked up sadly at the pink-haired girl. "I...don't think I'll make it... So tired..."
Her eyes widened in surprise. "DON'T BE STUPID! Of course you'll make it! And then we'll all be together--you, me, and Sasuke!" Tears started to brim in the medic-nin's eyes as she held out her hands over his wound. They started to glow with bright green chakra as she concentrated. She couldn't lose Naruto--she just couldn't!
"Sakura-chan... Where's...Sasuke?" Naruto choked out.
"He's unconscious and injured badly. But I'll get to him after..." Sakura stopped talking as she realized something. The wound wasn't healing. It hadn't even closed up a bit. "Why isn't it working?" She cried as tears started to stream down her cheek. Why wasn't the Kyuubi healing him like it was supposed to?
"Sakura... Can you promise me something?" Naruto whispered as he coughed up a little more blood.
She couldn't believe it. He was dying. Naruto was... "Wh-what?" She sniffled. "Though you can do whatever it is you have to do when you get better." Sakura knew he was dying. She just didn't want to believe it. You couldn't survive if you had a giant, non-healing wound in your chest. It almost made her wonder how he was still talking.
"Promise me...you'll take care of...that bastard..." He managed a small grin. "Even though...he might not deserve you...make him happy... Please..." His breaths became slightly labored and he coughed on her, getting blood on her face. As she nodded, Naruto closed his eyes. "Thanks..."
After a few seconds, she waited for him to speak again. But he didn't. She closed her eyes and sat there on her knees, crying over his corpse. "You can't go yet, Naruto! I never even got to tell you...that I...think I...love you!" She threw herself onto the blonde's body as the medic-nins came onto the scene.
It had been a decade since Naruto died. Sasuke's parole had been cut down to one year, and afterwards, he was allowed to be a shinobi of Konohagakure again. Sakura had managed to get over the events, but sometimes, at night, she wondered how Naruto would feel if she told him her feelings before he passed on. Her love for Naruto and her love for Sasuke...they were both equal. If given the choice, she might not have been able to choose between them.
As she laid down on her bed, looking up at the ceiling, she closed her eyes. She could still remember what Naruto told her. He looked a little sad when he told her to take care of Sasuke. Maybe...he still loved her more than he did when they were young. "Hmm..." Sakura turned her head to the side and noticed the large stack of paper birds kept in some sort of pyramid. Ever since she had found out about how close she was to 900, she kept a little piece of paper near the pyramid, with the current number of origami birds.
"I wonder..." The pink-haired kunoichi walked over to the pile and picked up the piece of paper. Her eyes widened at the number written on it. "Wh-what? How is that...?" 997... Only three birds away from one thousand. Had she really been so busy that she hadn't noticed the amount? The collection itself was taking over almost all of the left side of her room.
She suddenly remembered what her mother had told her about the wish. How could she have forgotten about that? That was the reason why she started this hobby in the first place!
The pink-haired woman began to make the last three birds. She went slowly, though--making sure that each one was perfect. She was relishing every passing second. Very soon, she would have a thousand paper birds, and she could have her wish.
"My wish..." Sakura's bright green eyes darkened slightly. What did she want, anyway? When she looked back at it, she realized that she had either completed most of her wishes or simply got over them. She was friends with Ino again, she was strong now and no longer stood by the sidelines, and Sasuke was back... But the others...Kakashi and Naruto weren't coming back, no matter how hard she wished; she couldn't make Sasuke love her, no one could stop death, Naruto wouldn't have lived past 30 if he was still alive, and as much as she wanted them to, things would never go back to the way they were before. Team 7 was broken now, and two of the pieces had been lost.
The medic-nin frowned as she stared at the paper bird. But the wish had to come true! Her mother told her herself! But maybe...she was lying. It's really easy to lie to a five-year old. 'Only one way to find out.'
"I wish..." She held the paper bird to her chest and closed her eyes. "I wish I could make Sasuke happy..." It might not've worked, but it was worth a shot, right?
"So then what happened?" The little girl asked from her spot on the floor. Her blue-tinted black hair and dark green eyes reminded her grandmother of her youngest child.
"Well..." The old woman placed a strand of faded pink hair behind her ear as she took a breath. "A few weeks after Sakura made her wish, Sasuke came back injured from a very dangerous mission. Sakura was assigned to be his doctor. A few days later, Sasuke told her something she would never forget..."
The girl looked up, eyes wide with suspense. "What, Granny? What?"
Her grandmother closed her eyes. "...He said, 'Sakura. Marry me.'" She started to frown. "He wasn't all that romantic: he didn't get down on one knee and give her some flashy ring, or even profess his love to her and that he couldn't love her until his goal in life was accomplished. All did was tell her to marry him, and that he would remain forever faithful to her."
"And Sakura said 'Yes', right?" The child said, dark green eyes sparkling.
She opened her eyes and looked down at the girl. "She knew that one of Sasuke's goals was to restore his clan. After killing his brother, of course, which he had done a few years prior. The only thing that Sakura worried about was that Sasuke wouldn't love her and would see her only as a way to revive the clan."
The girl's face fell. "So...she didn't marry him?"
"No, no, no! She did!" The old woman held up a finger and began to wag it at the girl. "Did you forget already? Sakura-chan made a promise to her friend Naruto. She promised to make Sasuke happy, and the revival of the clan might've been the key to that."
The dark-haired girl looked confused. "...I don't get it, Granny."
"Ahem." Both females looked at the doorway. A man that looked like he was in his early sixties stood in the doorway, dressed in a black yukata. "What are you doing?" He asked. The question was directed towards the woman.
"Eh-heh." The woman looked back at her granddaughter, ignoring her husband. "Anyway, Yuki-chan, they got married, had five beautiful children, and lived happily ever after."
"Granny was telling me a story, Grandpa!" Yuki said as she stood up. "I wanna make a thousand paper birds, Granny!"
Her grandfather arched an eyebrow. "'Paper birds'?"
"There's just one thing I wanna know..." The girl placed her hands on her hips as she looked at her grandmother. "The girl in the story...Sakura... That was you, right, Granny? Tell the truth!"
Her grandmother started to giggle. "My, aren't we sharp? Okay, I am!"
"Does that mean that Grandpa's the cold-hearted stick-in-the-mud Sakura married?"
Sakura could feel her husband's glare. The pink-haired woman laughed nervously. "Okay... You have to learn not to pick up things from your cousins."
"Uncle Haseo said that."
Sasuke muttered something under his breath as he shook his head. He looked at Yuki. "Your mother's going to come in a little while."
"Oh! Really?" Sakura looked at the clock on the drawer. She looked down at Yuki. "Okay, go and get your things ready, okay?" The little girl nodded and ran past her grandfather and out the room.
"...So, what were you telling her, exactly?" The retired shinobi asked as he took a few steps forward.
"Ah, it's nothing. Just a little story to pass the time, dear." His wife said as she stood up. "...Sasuke?"
"Do you love me?"
He didn't say a word.
Sasuke closed his eyes and sighed. As he opened his onyx-colored eyes, he said, "What do you think?"
She frowned, but after a while, she smiled. "Just like last time." She walked up to him and kissed him on the cheek. "In that case, I love you too, Sasuke-kun."
Blu: Okay, I think I made this oneshot a companion piece to Naruto X, because it had things that I had planned out for the later chapters that would reveal how Naruto died. (Of course, this is somewhat of a spoiler. Might have to change everything now... DAMN YOU, SAIYURI FOR GIVING ME THIS IDEA!) And, the little four-year girl is Yuki, the little sister of one of my main OCs in Naruto X and Sasuke and Sakura's granddaughter.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed "1000 Paper Birds" by Blu Rose. Please review and tell me what you think. Ja ne.