"Good morning, Sakura-chan!"
It's just another day. Okay, you can do this. Breathe. Speak! They're looking at you funny. You're not supposed to be silent!
"Okay, Sakura-chan," you say and your tone is calm. Whoops. But it's okay, you can afford one slip-up. Just don't do it again. Right. Got it. Now, jump up on the rail of the bridge and expertly hide the way the rocks hinder smooth movement. You've been practicing. You want your death to look spectacular so that no one will forget you. And they won't. Even though Sakura-chan and Sasuke will be the only witnesses. You trusts the story to spread. Theoretically. A bitter smile graces your face, but only for a moment. Can't let them suspect. Can't let them stop you. Only if they really care, that's the only reason you'll call it off.
"Hey, dead-last," Sasuke calls. Startled, you jerk and almost over-balance. Your hand shoots out and grabs the railing just in time to stop you from toppling over. Soon. Not now.
"What, bastard?" You shoots back. Like you actually feels anger. Not like you really feels. Tired. Sick of it.
Sasuke stares at you for a moment and the small wrinkle in his forehead lets you know that he's thinking, carefully considering his next move. You understand. You have to do that sometimes - find the right word, select the tone to convey what needs to be heard even if it isn't what you want to say. It's like poetry really. No one would ever think of you as a poet. You're too uncultured, too loud, too rude.
It's true you have to look out for the quiet ones. But sometimes the silent ones hiding behind the loud face are even more deadly.
Not to say that your everyday appearance isn't your true one. Okay, you're slightly more mature and less naive but the Naruto that everyone sees is almost always the real you. It's just sometimes you feel tired, unable to be your true self. It's those says where you are the poet, the silent-and-deadly-one. But people need that side of you so you turn to your skills to give them what they need.
(Naruto has always been unselfish at heart)
"NARUTO!" and a fist crashes down on your head. You grips the rail tighter and grab it with your free hand. Almost fell then. Also not the way you wants your death to go. Dying because Sakura-chan punched you. Not very spectacular, although you're sure the villagers who hate you - the majority - would get huge amusement from it. They'd probably crown her as a hero. Wait. Heroine. That's right.
You snap out of your thoughts just in time to see the fist swinging down again. There is only a few seconds - you grip the rail in a death-grip and as a precaution, hook your feet behind the rail. Pain blossoms through your skull but you only wobble. Thank God.
"What's wrong with you?" Sasuke demands. It seems he's written his poem.
"Just thinking," you begin in a soft voice. Sakura stares at you in surprise and even Sasuke looks slightly bemused by your tone. Time for the poet to come out to play.
"About how pretty you are, Sakura-chan! Wanna go get some ramen? Kakashi-sensei won't be here for a couple of hours!" Grin. Wider. There. Perfect. Your eyes are slits and all your teeth are showing. Absolutely beautiful.
"NO, IDIOT!" Sakura screeches and hits you once more. Keep smiling. This shouldn't hurt you. Not emotionally, anyway.
Heh, you look so scary when you storm off like that, Sakura-chan! Even Sasuke-bastard looks nervous! But then you smile and his face returns to its impassive state. Like the ANBU masks. You can't tell what they're thinking when they're wearing one.
You don't need a mask. But that's okay. You'll never get to wear one, anyway.
All right, enough of that. Showtime!
"Hey, Sakura-chan? Sasuke?"
"What?!" Sakura snaps and Sasuke gives a non-committal grunt.
"Would you cry at my funeral?"
You shouldn't gape like that, Sakura-chan. Someone could chuck poison in there. And then you'd die and I would cry at your funeral even though you'll probably never cry at mine. As for you, Sasuke-bastard, looking confused doesn't suit you. You're a genius and geniuses should never look confused. At least not my picture of a genius and you're pretty close to that, to tell the truth.
Not that you'll ever tell the truth, not to anyone.
Kyuubi doesn't count.
"WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU ASK THAT?!"
Because, Sakura-chan, you and the bastard's answers will help me make up my mind. I can't tell you that - I don't want to influence your decision and make you choose something someone will regret. Hurry up, Sakura-chan. You too, bastard. I'm running out of time, I have to do this before Kakashi-sensei gets here. He's the only one who will be able to escape my jutsu. He'll be the only one to be able to save me when I don't want to be saved.
Oh good, you're opening your mouth.Okay, quick, the responses you have prepared, one for each scenario you could think of.
"Of course not!"
Good. I don't want to make you cry, Sakura-chan. It's all going to work out. Okay, quick, respond.
"But, Sakura-chan, whyyyyy -"
"Shut up moron. I wouldn't cry, either," Sasuke cuts in.
How rude. Hasn't anyone taught him that's it's rude to interrupt?
"Okay. That's all I need to hear."
Now! While they're confused. Form the handsigns - you practiced so much that your hands are a blur. You can feel the chakra forming, itching to be released. Cry out the words you have been yelling for the last few months - in secret of course. Success! Their feet are frozen to the ground. It will take a while to figure how to get out of that one - it's so simple of course they'd overlook it completely.
They're yelling insults, demanding to be released. Do they really think you're such an idiot, going through all that and just letting them out. Right. Now, you need words. You had thought of some, but they came out too forced. You decide to just wing it, right there.
Pull your feet clear of the rails. Get them under your body; keep holding onto the rail until you're sure you're steady. Rise slowly - you've checked. You have time. There! You're standing. Hold onto the vertical rails, can't do all this and ruin your spectacular death with one misplaced sway. The perfect words have come to you. They need to be shared. Speak!
"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly?"
Your voice is quiet but they can hear you perfectly. No need to be loud now. Like many times before you're tired, you just want to sleep but this time there's no need to bring out the facade. Don't rush it; you'll be sleeping soon.
Whoops, the bastard is about to talk. Listen carefully and come up with a spectacular response to fit the spectacular scene about to come.
"You can find out. Just jump off a cliff." He's glaring, clearly not pleased by you getting one up on him. Tough. It happens, even to geniuses like him.
"Not that kind of flying. The type when you can jump and not prepare for a landing. The type where there is no landing."
Turn around. Look at the water. The surface is smooth. Winter is coming. It will be cold.
Face them. Sasuke-bastard looks like he's starting to get it. That's all right. He won't be able to stop you.
"Tell the story, all right? I haven't planned this only for it to be forgotten."
There we go; Sasuke-bastard's got it! Give the man - boy? - a prize!
Look him in the eyes. He's panicking. Why? You're not that special.
"Don't -" Don't what?
"What? Don't what?" Sakura-chan is confused. That's not good. She's not supposed to know your intentions until they are fulfilled. That way she won't feel guilty.
"It's going to be okay, Sakura-chan. Don't worry, I've seen to everything."
Sasuke-bastard is speechless. Which is good because you need some hard-hitting last words. Think, think! Ah, there we go. Not exactly award-winning but at least they mean something. And Sakura-chan will be oblivious to your intentions, still. Genius!
He looks at you. He looks desperate. Why? He shouldn't.
"Fire. That's what I want. So I know the thing inside me is really gone."
He deciphers your cryptic words quickly; you see the connections forming and his eyes widen. But there's also confusion. Again, why? Oh, that's right. He doesn't know about Kyuubi.
He will. Eventually.
"Naruto -" he begins but trails off.
Don't say anything. You've said the best last words you could make.
Right. Let go of the vertical rail. Shuffle along and spread your arms. Like you're flying. Give them one last look. Sasuke's wide eyes and Sakura-chan confused (but still beautiful face). Excellent. It's all worked out just like you planned.
And then fall.
Keep your arms outstretched, like you're flying. You are flying. Finally. And then your back hits the surface of the water and you're no longer flying any more. That's okay. The water is happy to see you. It quickly covers you in an icy embrace. Cold. Very cold. Water is very impersonal, generally, but it seems to like you. It approves. The rocks are making you sink. Just like you had practiced. You hadn't realised the river was so deep before. You really do learn something new everyday.
Right. Let all your air out. Breathe in. Water rushes into your body but you don't fight it. Just lie back. Water is taking care of you now.
Open your eyes. Everything is distorted above the surface of the water. It's beautiful, in a way.
The world is quiet here.
You can't hear anything. You'd think you were dead but Kyuubi is still roaring its displeasure. Hush. I don't care what you think. You're disturbing the silence. I like silence.
There, you shut up. Good fox.
You can see black at edges of your vision. It's creeping closer. Come on, don't be shy. I invited you here. Good, you're speeding up. Oh, look I think I can see Sasuke-bastard and Sakura-chan peering over the rail of the bridge. They must have gotten free. Oh well, you held them off long enough.
The black has almost completely covered your vision. Good - keep going. All the work you put into this has paid off. Relax, the water hisses and it sounds so beautiful. You give into the siren call. You close your eyes. There's an odd ringing in your ears but the water is still embracing you so it's nothing to worry about. And then suddenly the world explodes in a shower of white so bright that you're in pain. But then it fades. And then...