Hello Guys! It's been a long time!! I have been sooo busy so I haven't updated at all. I was planning to chop this up into more chapters but I'm too lazy to do so.. So, here's the finale! Btw, some of you may have read this at my deviantart account. Don't forget to R&R! Thanks!
Disclaimer: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto. If I did, Sakura would have never existed.. Mwahaha!
NO FLAMING!! THANKS!
And so the feeling started. That flying cherub has chosen me for target practice and hit me with his stupid red arrow. Ever since, Sasuke was always inside my head. I'm obsessed, if I dare say so myself, the first time I encountered the dreaded feeling…love…
Being in love wasn't that bad. In fact, it inspired me to do better at school. A newfound goal had been formed, to beat Sasuke in academics. I thought that if I proved myself, I would be qualified for him. He likes girls who excel in school so I had to stop being lazy.
Nonetheless, I was careful not to let him find out. Only three people knew this matter, Hinata, Shikamaru and Chouji. At first, they were all shocked that I fell for him, even though his looks were not that far from my ideal cutie. But they accepted him for who he is. Actually, Chouji and Shikamaru already befriended him.
Rehearsals were for the whole day, since the date of the festival is on Sunday next week. That means we can spend more time with each other. We were always seen together, during water bottle refills, rest periods and lunch break. People started to get weird ideas that we had a special relationship, and the Sasuke Fan Club threw angry words at me while attempting to hit me with their fists and palms (Hah! I'm too fast for them!). They only stopped when Sasuke glared at them and told them to leave me alone. Whew…thank Kami –sama for preventing a commotion! Afterwards, Sasuke and I just laughed and informed them that we're just good friends. Secretly, I wished we had that special relationship.
The presentation proper was only a day away. Now, we had dress rehearsal. I really hated my costume. It made me look like a servant from someone's house. Good thing our headdress was ornamented with flowers; that definitely put the fine line between looking like a girl dressed for Halloween, and looking like a maid.
If my costume was horrid, Sasuke's was worse. He seemed like a pilgrim warped from the past, minus turkey stuffing and cranberry sauce. I couldn't help laughing while he trotted around the practice area, cursing his donned apparel. I approached the traipsing pilgrim and startled him.
"Sasuke-sama, how may I be of service?" I uttered loudly, pretending to be a servant.
The young man just grinned as I bowed. Subsequently, my wreath of flowers became lopsided. Then an unanticipated thing happened. While I raised my head, he rearranged the asymmetrical circlet. I smiled at him, cheeks slightly flaming. He too, beamed back, face sort of reddish.
I couldn't concentrate on dancing. Shikamaru got irritated when I kept messing up. My plain remark is a giggle and head scratching.
"Uh…If I know! You're thinking of him again!! Will you just focus on the dance, Ino?" Shikamaru reproved me.
"Hai…Hai!!" I snickered.
It was the English dance group's turn to have a run-through. My partner and I danced our semi-best. From the distance, I saw Sasuke leaning against a tall post. He was so cute, sitting in a rather anime-ish pose. The artist inside me was inspired to draw that certain figure. He was watching us dance.
Anxious, I looked away. I faced Shikamaru and stared at him, creeping the living daylights out of him. He also gazed at me. We then ended up laughing.
Time passed. Before we knew it, the day of the competition finally came. All of us juniors were fully clad in our costumes.
"Give it up for the Third Year!" the announcer said in a sonorous voice. Applause followed and the dance began…
Finally, all competitors finished performing. Sasuke and I went to the cafeteria after dressing back to our civilian raiment. We talked a lot, as usual. During that rap session, something inside me, rather, a little voice, told me to confess my feeling for my best boy bud. I only ignored it.
Sasuke and I returned to the performance hall to see if we won anything. I jumped in euphoria when our level was announced the Grand Champion! Sasuke just smirked, though I can see that he's pretty happy about the win. I unintentionally hugged my beloved, to his surprise. I only realized what I was doing when he also put his arms around me. It felt really good. I glanced at him and saw that his face turned intensely crimson. I could also feel my cheeks burning. We broke the embrace and chuckled. Hand in hand, we went to our daily resting place, under the mango tree.
"Ino, I have something to tell you…" he said in a clement tone.
"N…Na…Nani?" I answered, my heart throbbing wildly as each second passed.
"Ino…Boku wa…ano…. I…I love you…"
An astonished me stared at his onyx eyes, struck with disbelief. Before I knew it, tears cascaded down my scarlet cheeks.
"Sasuke…I…I feel the same…I really love you…"
I closed my sense of sight, afraid of witnessing his reaction. I felt a finger wipe away my tears. I opened my eyes and, for the first time, saw him smile. Something was different with that smile. It was so…true and deep, unlike his usual sarcastic grin.
We held each other tightly, unwilling to let go. For the first time, I felt his passionate fervor and comfort. We finished our hug and gazed intently into each other's eyes. Our faces drew closer…and closer…until our lips touched… So warm…
And it was then we saw the mango tree blossom…
I noticed that our new improved relationship was better than when we were only best friends. Time again elapsed so quickly and recognition day grew near. Both of us were included in the awarding ceremony.
During another batch of rehearsals, we tried hard to conceal our ongoing affair. Fortunately, nobody figured it out. We only told the secret to our closest friends, that includes Hinata, Chouji and Shikamaru.
It was only under the mango tree that we showed our affection towards the other. God knows what it is but it never involved immoral acts.
This was a good thing. And all good things always have an end.
I last saw Sasuke at recognition day. We had a pact that we'll always have a date during summer vacation. The meeting place? Under the fruitful mango tree.
Everyday, I came. Sasuke, on the other hand, didn't show up all the time. Anxiety filled me…what if he doesn't love me anymore? But still…I waited…and waited…
May. Even now, my dear Sasuke never came. Munching on a mango I picked, I read a book and waited…
I noticed that the tree's blossoms were becoming less and less in number. Within a few days, the tree became fruitless again. An omen…? Nah… maybe it wasn't the season for mangoes.
Sunday, May 18. I waited under the haven beneath the tree. I saw a figure of a boy from the distance. I stood up and waved at him. At last! Sasuke!
Very much to my dismay, it wasn't Sasuke. It was only Shikamaru. He had a serious look on his face. His eyes were swollen, probably from crying.
"I knew I would find you here, Ino…"
"Konnichiwa, Shikamaru…" I groaned and resumed reading.
"Gomen Ino, but there is something that you should know…" Shikamaru sternly said.
"What is it?" I answered nonchalantly, still reading my book.
"Ino …Sasuke's dead."
I gasped in horror as I heard him say the terrifying truth. He told me that shortly after the recognition day, Sasuke was diagnosed with a strange incurable liver disease. His days were numbered and all he wanted was for me to be by his side. But, he couldn't bear to see me pained and sorrowful so he opted not to tell. His last words were that he wanted to be buried under the mango tree, the most important and memorable place of his life.
"He also asked me to give you this," Shikamaru handed me a small parcel.
I opened it and tears began to flow incessantly. Inside the present were a diamond ring, and a note.
My beloved Yamanaka Ino,
I'm sorry for not telling you about my illness. I didn't want you to worry nor see you cry. Always remember that I truly and deeply love you, even in the afterlife. I will forever be beside you, even though you won't see me.
My heart was heavy…I couldn't believe my dear Sasuke left me behind. After his funeral, for many days and nights, I grieved while recalling the precious memories we had when I was in his arms of fervor…his smooth hand caressing my skin…his eyes thrilling me as he stares deep into my soul…his genuine smile…
Senior year at Erudition Academy. I met my classmates in Class Q. I never had any idea that I qualified for this cream section. I excelled in academics and I managed to belong to the Top Five students of the class.
Everyday, I sat under the shade of the mango tree. I always hung out there alone…reading books and doing my homework.
But I knew I was never alone. I knew Sasuke was always with me, whispering his love for me. And I always waited for him underneath the mango tree…
…The mango tree that bloomed once…
A/N: I cried when I was writing the original version of this (The characters were OC, I just replaced them with Sasuke and Ino so it could qualify as a fanfic). I hope you enjoyed the story! Please R&R (no flaming please!)