Yo peeps. No, this isn't my rewrite (But I've nearly got the first couple chapters finished! I'm just making you suffer...), just a pointless little one-shot I really wanted to get out of my system. It's incredibly crappy, though, so if you wish to keep your sanity I greatly suggest clicking the 'back' button and forgetting this thing entirely.
Now, I don't specify who this actually is until halfway through this thing, but if you can't figure it out by then you must be really, really unfamiliar with the series. As for her lover, you should know who that is, too, but the only time I say his name is in a flashback. And the other character... well, I'm not going to say anything quite yet, but you'll know soon enough.
On to the rating. This is rated 'T' for some implied sexual activity. No, I didn't write about anything graphic in here, and there's only one kiss in this entire thing. Yes, I know it sucks. Now get over it and read.
Okay, I have a challenge for you peoples! I had it in here before, then I took it out, but now I'm putting it back in because I got bored. If you look really, really closely, you'll be able to see who Arashi's grandparents are. So leave it in your review, and if you get it right... I'll, uh, figure something out later. .
Flashbacks are in italics
Disclaimer: I didn't have the disclaimer here for the first few hours because... I own Naruto! But then these lawyers in black suits with really heavy brief cases came and knocked me out, taking the papers that said I owned Naruto! So now Kishi-dono has it again. Poor me.
Some of you have asked for more from this fic in your reviews, so I'm writing a sequel (thingy) for this. But, no, the update here is just because I changed some of the stuff in my author's notes.
Only Going Up
Nine years. They tell me that time seems to go more quickly as you get older, but it seems as though every second passing takes an eternity. As if the clock is still, and I long so much for it to just end. I want everything to just pass on, to just go back to the way things were before. But they can't. I'm not stupid, nor am I ignorant, and I know that.
I sit here, alone, of course. Clutched in my hands is an old, tattered journal, the once dark marroon color slightly fading with age and exposure to light. I feel as if letting it go of it will send me into nothingness. It's one of the only things I have left now.
He wrote in one of these every single day, from our very first encounter as a team. It's been sixteen years since then, and there are seven of these I've collected. He used one every year. Seven are going to last me forever. There won't be an eighth.
I hug it against my chest as I lean back into the stone of the memorial, the one for the ninja who've died on the field. My name should be engraved here.
The sun has long since left Konohagakure behind, with the soft light of the full moon seeping into my warm body, reflecting off my light pink hair. I'll be here for several hours more, as I'm well aware. I read some every day at this time, right when the day is getting ready to fade into nothingness and make way for a new beginning. I can feel his presence around me, as if he was standing right next to me. And I so desperately wish that he was.
The journal I have with me is from when we were nineteen years of age. It's my most cherished, the one I hold closest to my heart. The seventh in a series of seven.
I read this one the most. I disect it, searching for the small details that I may have simply looked over before, as if I don't know him better than he himself. There's nothing I've missed, though. I know the whole thing by heart. And yet I still crave more each time.
Tears well up in my deep green eyes, easily spilling over and cascading down my round cheeks that have turned red from my silent sobs. I look into the dark abyss surrounding me, the only source of light is coming from the moon and stars above, and I can't honestly say I know how I could read like this, since I forgot my flashlight this time. I once heard that each time a person dies they become a star as they ascend to the heavens. It may be silly, but I hold on to it, and try to believe it's true with all my might. I know that he's the one who's shining the brighest, and even if I can't always see him I know he's there.
Having finished my reading for tonight, I wipe a few stray tears from my eyes and hoist myself off the cold dirt. It took me longer than it usually does tonight. Maybe it's because it's the anniversary of the day he came back after two and a half years of training, or perhaps it's because I lost my virginity a whole ten years ago (to he himself, if you must know), and it might even be that he completed the rasengan so many days back. Maybe it's all three.
I face the memorial stone and look at it with sad eyes. He said that he wanted to see his name here when he was younger, on our first day as genin. Back then he didn't know what it meant. I found it silly, childish, something beyond what was beyond stupid. But he got his name here. And I think he's happy that he died that way. I know he's happy because of it.
I bring two of my fingers from my right hand to my mouth and kiss them before gently running them over the gold-colored letters. My hand hesitates for a moment before pulling itself away and resuming its place at my side, and I know that it really is time to go now. There are still things that need attending to, and I can easily tell that it's already around eleven now.
Maybe the pain will go away one of these days, maybe I can finally stop crying.
The walk isn't very far, and I soon reach a deep red two-story house with large windows. I take my keys out of a pocket in my light training skirt, the same style I wore back when I was sixteen. I open the door after I wipe away the rest of my salty tears, destroying all evidence that I had ever been crying at all.
I walk in briskly and silently shut the door behind me, not wanting to make too much of a ruckus. I can feel that I'm not the only one in the room. Ah, shouldn't he be asleep? And somehow I know what's coming.
"Kaa-san!" I hear, confirming my every suspition. I turn around to see a young boy, just over eight years of age, staring back up at me with a huge grin plastered to his face. He jumps up into my arms and hugs me tightly, and I bury my head into his soft blonde hair while I hug him back, breathing deeply.
"Arashi, why are you up so late? Shouldn't you be up in bed?" I ask him with a soft, calm voice. It must be eleven-thirty by now, and I made sure he was already asleep before I left at nine. Maybe he had another bad dream, or perhaps he fell out of bed.
Either way we should make it quick. He has to go to the academy tomorrow, and it wouldn't be so good if he fell asleep during a lesson or something. I thank God that Iruka's still teaching, he'll understand. He always understands, Arashi's the grandson he never had.
"I was worried about you, I woke up and was all alone," the blonde chided in his soft voice. In reality he wasn't anywhere near being alone -- I could sense a minimum of seven Anbu at the moment.
"Well, now I'm here, so I think it's about time you got to bed," I say to him as I take him up in my arms and hold him. He lets out a long yawn and rests his head on my right shoulder, and I start to carry him upstairs to his room.
"Mommy?" he says to me with his head still on my shoulder, and I can tell that he's about to fall asleep.
"Yes?" I reply as I reach the top of the staircase and turn left down the hall to his room. It's the second door on the right. His door's wide open, just like it always is. He left his doors open, too.
"Can you tell me a story?" he asks me in a voice just above a whisper. I smile contently. He's going to want me to tell him about my genin teammates. He's going to be put into his own squad one of these days. And somehow I know what his teammates will be like. Mother's intuition, they call it. I say it's just the past repeating itself.
"Of course, Arashi," I assure him, and start to wonder what I'll tell him this time. I try to avoid the subject of Naruto. I'm afraid. I'm afraid that I'll get carried away, and describe his bright, sunny hair of his deep sapphire eyes, his ability to light up a room with nothing but a smile, or perhaps how he knew just the right things to say. And then he'll put together the pieces. I can't have that happening. What if he hates him?
I turn into his door and shut it behind me. Now the only source of light is from the window where the moon is shining over the Hokage monument. That's one of the reasons I love this house. You can see the monument from here so clearly it's almost unreal, even though it's about a mile from here. It's probably because this house was built on our spot, up on a hill, where we would come to talk day after day. I can see his face smiling down on me all the time.
"What would you like to hear about?" I ask as I set Arashi down on his dark green bed. I sit next to him on his soft bed before laying down next to him and just holding him. He's the only connection I have left. He's all that matters.
"I want to know if you ever planned on falling in love," he tells me softly as his face that was once staring up at the ceiling turns toward me. My whole body stiffens, and I can hear my heart beating faster than it normally does.
"Sakura?" he asks me, and although he's quiet I hear him, and I can tell he's tired, I swear he's nearly asleep. "Did you ever plan on falling in love?"
I can't help but wonder why he's asking me this now, of all times. It's one of those things that I probably won't ever know how it came about, nor does it matter. Because all I really care about is the thought he puts behind these things. I can't help but smile mischieviously as I think of something that I know will drive him absolutely crazy.
Ah, I love it when I get to play with his emotions.
"I never fell in love, so I wouldn't know," I reply matter-of-factly, and I can feel his expression change. He's confused, concerned, and slightly worried, since he can't think of any reason why I would tell him that he means so much to me at every oppurtunity if I wasn't in love with him. His arms are wrapped around my upper back, and I can feel them tighten slightly for all but a second.
"Oh... okay then," he whispers, even more quietly than before, and I can feel the bit of masked pain coating his words, even if he tries to hide it. I grin again and push my body even more against his, burrying my head deeper into his chest.
"I'll never fall in love. Because I'm not falling, I can only ever go up," It's true, as completely corny as it may sound. Because falling implies uncertainty, and there's no way I'm uncertain. I know where I'm going. I chuckle as he smiles -- sincerely, unlike so many times before -- with relief and holds me as close as humanly possible, like I'm going to disappear into thin air if he doesn't.
We stay like that for what seems like forever, just enjoying the other's presence. I can feel his intakes of breath getting farther and farther apart, and he'll be asleep in a few short moments. I start making small circles on his chest with my left hand as I breath his scent in deeply, making sure I never forget it.
I can feel him drifting off as sleep raises its voice to me, also. Just before I feel him go into unconsiousness, he whispers something to me, something about how he never fell in love, either. I smile and look up at his dreaming, angelic face before slowly bringing my lips to his own in a chaste kiss, then wrap my arms around him and fall into a deep, calm slumber.
"I never fell in love." My reply is met with a raised eyebrow. "When you're old enough you'll understand."
I can see his confusion, it's in his expression, his eyes, his posture, you could feel it coating his very aura. He wore his heart on his sleeve, just like his father.
"But Kaa-san, I don't get it at al-" I cut the boy off by placing my index and middle fingers to his lips.
"You'll get it in time. Now, I think it's time I went to bed. It's going to be a long day at the hospital tomorrow, what with Tsunade-shishou being gone on 'official Hokage business'," I explain while getting up from my spot on his bed. "You really need to go to bed, too, you've got to get up early tomorrow to go to the Academy."
"Is Obaa-chan really on official Hokage business when she goes to the other countries like this? I swear she goes on drinking sprees with Hakufu-sama," I chuckle as the clue-eyed boy asks his innocent little question, both at his closeness to Tsunade and the old nickname he uses for her.
I blame Gaara, though it's quite playfully, of course. He took up sake some eight-and-a-half years ago when his best friend sacrificed himself. For me, no less. But he doesn't blame me, he doesn't hate me, and he's quite overprotective of Arashi. He's coming back to visit in about a month, and Arashi's got it on his calendar forty-seven times. How he does it I'll never know.
"Yeah, Tsunade-shishou really is on Hokage business, as hard to believe as it may seem. But she does go drinking with Gaara when Shizune isn't around," I reply with another soft chuckle before walking a few paces towards the door.
"Bed," I turn around and tell him, "You can ask more tomorrow."
"Why were you crying?" my features soften. How he notices these things I'll never surely know.
"I was reading a sad book," I half-lie, and I can easily tell that Arashi doesn't quite believe me.
"Oh... what was it about?" he inquires, trying his hardest to have an excuse to stay awake and just keep talking endlessly, even if he wants so much to put his froggy hat back on and cuddle up with his stuffed animals.
"The life of a great man. Now, Arashi, you really need to get to sleep."
"Who's it about?"
"Can I read it?" I stay still, about halfway between his bed and his door. I stiffen for a few seconds before relaxing, my features soft.
"Someday, when you're old enough," I clutch it in my hands even tighter, "Sleep," he nods at me and grabs his fox plushie, the one I gave him when he was born. His froggy cap is snug on his head, and he sinks back into his pillows as I continue walking to the hallway.
"Goodnight, Mommy. I love you," he says to me as I reach the door and open it up. I turn around to face him and blow a kiss in his direction.
"I love you, too, baby. Now c'mon, you're going to be incredibly tired in the morning," he nods again, and I take one last look out his window before stepping back into the hallway, ready to find myself in my own bed.
The faded diary rests in my hands (though I usually use the word "journal", as he usually called it; a "diary" was just far too girly for his liking), and I can't help but smile as the thought of him one day reading these volumes crosses my thought. Of course, I'd have to keep him from reading several of the pages, since it probably wouldn't be a good idea to let my young son read a detailed acount of his parents' sex lives.
Yeah... definately shouldn't do that.
The last thing I see before closing his door is the bright full moon softly shining over the six faces on the Hokage monument, the one Arashi will one day find his face upon. He's already decided on his future, one of which he is bound to acheive.
My steps echoe through the hallways as I walk upon the hardwood floors towards the other end of our house, every second recalling a new vision from my memories. Arashi's similarities to his father surprise every day; like how he can make anyone smile, or his ability to heal people of their internal wounds with just a laugh.
Of course, I wouldn't change him one bit; just as any mother feels about her child. Sometimes I feel as though I know him better than he himself, every little detail; from his favorite color being red to ramen, dango, and red bean soup having their spots as his favorite foods. He loves foxes and frogs, just like his father before him. And his worst fear is something happening to his most precious people.
He's just like him, really. He always seems to be asking how he got his golden hair or sapphire eyes, though I always find excuses not to answer him. Hell, you wouldn't even know he was mine if it weren't for the fact that everyone in the village knew Naruto was madly in love with me. Plus, if you look very, very closely, his hair shines pink in the sunlight.
The same sun I'm still reaching towards in the endless sky, the same sun that always seems to be just out of my reach. Sometimes, when I look back on where I've gone, where I am, and where I will be, I get a little frightened. A little frustrated with myself for not having enough time. Because time is racing forward; if I try to fight the current I'm going to end up nowhere.
My only regret is not finding him sooner, even if he was right beside me all along.
This is the only fic I've written in first person as of yet, so I know that it probably isn't the best. I try to do the best I can, but, ya know, I'm only human... at least that's what I tell people. Thanks for reading! I've already got a sequel thingy going! .