Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
In memory of the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
[August 6, 1945
Uzumaki Naruto ran through the forest with a bunch of flowers in his grasp, a wide grin on his face. He was in a very good mood since the love of his life had accepted his invitation for a date. His grip on the lilies and other vibrant flowers tightened as he saw the streets of Hiroshima from beyond the thick trunks of maple trees, some leaves covering the forest floor. He was so close to his new lover's home and being the teenager he was, he was excited.
Married couples and other teenagers littered the streets, wearing the latest fashions. Most took on a European look, to fit in with Japan's German allies, but others still remained in their traditional garbs, not wanting to give up their religion and ethnicity for the war. Naruto ran down the gravel street, his tan pants and white shirt snug on his frame, drawing attention from a few older people.
He was the son of a German military officer and a Japanese woman, his features taking on that of his father, the Aryan look that the Nazis so greatly desired and adored. But he was only fifteen and wasn't really interested in the war that was going on, far too concerned with his social life and school, just like any other kid his age.
Skidding to a halt in front of a westernized home, Naruto looked up at the bedroom window that was Sasuke's. Just thinking of the other boy's name had his heart beating and he lightly punched himself in the chest to get rid of the embarrassing feeling. Reaching forward, he knocked on the wooden door and there was shuffling inside before the woman of the house answered, her pitch black hair tied in a long braid down to mid-back. She smiled fondly.
"Good morning, Naruto-kun. Sasuke's not done dressing yet, but he should be down soon," she moved aside so he could come in and he accepted the offer, stepping into the home that was always so warm compared to his. Like every time he visited Sasuke's home, the first thing he did was look at the picture hanging on the far right of the entrance hallway, of Sasuke and him leaning against the school gate. He remembered that it was taken on the exact same day he came to terms with his feelings for the other boy...
Sasuke's mother, Mikoto, moved into the kitchen to grab a small glass pot she had and brought it back into the hall, tugging the round lid off. She pulled out a few money pieces and held them out for Naruto, still smiling that sweet smile of hers.
"You're both going to that street festival, yes? Here, I know how strict your father is with money, so here's a few extra pieces. Think of this as repayment for when Fugaku and I asked you to help fix our roof," she laughed airily when Naruto blushed and took the money and pocketed it.
"Actually, I've been saving up..." he mumbled.
"Really now? How adorable," Mikoto laughed prettily again.
At that time, Sasuke hurried down the steps, his short raven hair bouncing with his steps. His dark eyes instantly fell on Naruto and he let his lips barely turn up into a smile. He noticed that his best friend's hand was behind his back and wondered what he was hiding. He raised a thin brow, knowing that would get an answer from the tall blond.
Naruto grinned sheepishly and held out the hand-made bouquet of lilies and other forest flowers. "I tried to get you a nice one from the shop by our school, but... it was closed because of the festival tonight. This was all I could manage."
Sasuke took them and smirked. "Flowers are for women, dobe."
Naruto huffed. "Oi! You could just say you hate them, teme! Hn, and after I spent two hours collecting them out in the stupid woods," he crossed his arms.
"I didn't say I didn't like them," Sasuke chuckled and ran his fingers over the silky, soft petals before handing them to his mother, asking her if she would put them in a vase for him. She happily obliged, wishing them a good time on their date.
"Ah, before I forget," she got to them before they'd walked out the front door. "Sasuke, I want you home before dark, alright? No staying out late."
Sasuke nodded and then he and Naruto were gone.
Mikoto went back into the kitchen and sat down at the dining table, turning the little knob of the radio. She began sewing a kimono she'd been working on for a while, the beautiful blue fabric slipping between her working hands. As she tucked a lock of black hair behind her ear, the music of the radio was cut off and replaced with a report about what could be air crafts flying over Japan. She listened closely, but just went back to sewing when they said that the air crafts weren't low enough to worry about.
"Ah, so many false alarms these days," she whispered to herself.
Naruto and Sasuke walked through the busy streets, talking and laughing, attracting attention from others. The both of them could care less if they were called names because of their sexual orientation, they enjoyed the stares and what they enjoyed even more was glaring right back. As they approached the grounds that held the festival, they could hear the cheerful sounds of children.
"I've never been to one of these before," Naruto stated as he watched a little boy run by holding a paper fan with a picture of a crane on it. "We didn't have festivals like these in Germany."
He was born and raised in Kassel, Germany with his parents. His mother had been hidden away from the public then, since Japan was an ally of Britain at the time. But a while ago, when Japan had joined Germany's side, his mother finally came out for the first time and wasn't hated at all by the German people, actually very much liked by the Nazis. Then a month later, he and his parents had left to move to Japan, to help with planning attacks out with Emperor Hirohito.
"They're fun," Sasuke said and he motioned for Naruto to come with him to a booth just a little bit away. They both bent down into the pond-like pool and he asked for two nets from the man who was running it. Once he got them, he handed one to his date. "This was always my favorite thing to do when I was a kid. You use these to try and get a goldfish out of the water. If you can, without the paper breaking, then you can keep it. I was never able to get one, but it's fun."
"Never, huh?" Naruto grinned. "I'll win you one. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I couldn't catch a little fish?"
If Sasuke were any other person, he'd blush and be flattered. But since he wasn't, he just smirked. "I'd like to see you try."
Naruto leaned forward and looked down into the water, his cerulean eyes focused on the little golden fishes that swam around. There were a bunch, but he wanted to go for a lively one, since he was sure if he caught it, it'd live longer. Lowering his arm, he swooped in and lifted a gold fish up, its body flailing around.
Sasuke stared at it and was surprised when the paper didn't break through.
"You did it... How come I never could and you were able to on your very first try," he complained with a frown. Beside him, Naruto snickered and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly as the man put his fish in a little plastic, water-filled bag. He tied the top off with string and handed it to the blond, thanking him for stopping by with a shallow bow of his head. Sasuke grumbled something to himself and went for his own fish with the net in his grasp, but before he could even lift the net up, the paper broke and the fish fell back into the water with a small splash.
Naruto laughed loudly, but when Sasuke glared at him he smiled and held his bag out.
"Don't get so angry, I won it for you."
The raven took it, but didn't say thank you, only walking past the blond, who in turn snickered again and followed behind.
It was the afternoon now and the sun was high in the sky, birds flying by to try and find some fallen food on the ground. There were a lot of people out, all wearing traditional kimonos and it seemed like Naruto and Sasuke were the only ones in regular, every day clothing, their European styles causing them to stick out like two sore thumbs. As they came close to the open field at the very end of the long stretch of various booths, they heard music playing and Naruto's blue eyes brightened considerably. It seemed as if his good day was getting better.
"They're dancing!" he practically beamed and Sasuke found himself smiling to himself. One of the reasons why he liked the blond so much was because he was always so happy and energetic. Completely opposite of himself, mind you, but that only made it better. "Come dance with me!" he beckoned.
Back in Germany, he'd always dance with his friends in the streets, but since he'd moved to Japan he barely had time to do anything but study and eat. And now he was with his special someone and they were playing music from his end of the world, from Europe. It wasn't German, but he didn't care, it held memories just the same.
Sasuke paused. "Dance...?"
Naruto grabbed his wrist and pulled him out into the field (sitting the fish down next to one of the booths), the view of the sky and the city perfect. He grinned and let go of his date's wrist, stepping back a bit to do what he wanted to do the professional way. Holding his hand out, he smiled handsomely.
Sasuke looked down at the hand, then up at the blond, giving in with a sigh and a slight smile. "Fine," as he whispered that to himself, the music quieted down for a moment. But as soon as he took Naruto's hand and those tan fingers wrapped around his, the older gentlemen who were playing the instruments started up loudly, the violins loud and energetic(1).
Naruto pulled Sasuke toward him and took both of his hands, leading his lover into a fast dance. Sasuke had no idea what he was doing or how he was supposed to dance, but he just followed Naruto's sharp steps and turns and found himself thoroughly enjoying himself, a smile slipping onto his handsome face. The people around them stared in awe, for they didn't know the dances that the Europeans did.
They danced, the voilins and cellos loud and quick, but they kept up, their feet kicking up pebbles and dirt.
The blond pulled Sasuke against him, an arm around his waist and the other outstretched with the pale teen's fingers laced with his. He could feel the sweat of the other boy, could smell it mixed in with Sasuke's natural scent and he closed his eyes, his heart beating loudly in his chest as memories flooded his mind.
He remembered meeting Sasuke in elementary school, he remembered Sasuke beating him up for calling him a girl the first summer after they'd become friends, he remembered taking Sasuke to the hospital when he fell from his bike and broke his leg, he remembered always going swimming with him in the lake every day after school, he remembered being cheered up by the raven after failing one of his exams, he remembered the bruises on his friend's face when he was beat up for liking other men... and he remembered falling in love with him...
The violins sped up and Naruto moved his legs faster, his mind on hopefully spending the rest of his life with Sasuke. The Sasuke from elementary, the Sasuke from junior high, the Sasuke now... he'd be with him forever, that's what he hoped and wished for with what breath he had left.
Then the music slowed down and came to a stop, the musicians lifting the bows away from their instruments. Many people around them clapped and Naruto looked at them all sheepishly, while Sasuke pulled away from the blond's body, his dark eyes catching blue ones. Sasuke could see himself in those clear eyes and he tightened his fingers around Naruto's hand. But he couldn't keep the eye contact for long before the crowd drew their attention away with whispers and grumbles of awe as they looked up at the clear, blue sky.
A few kids ran past them with dumplings in their grasps, pointing up as something black flew through the few clouds high up in the sky. Many people smiled and laughed, saying that it was probably a Japanese aircraft coming back from Germany, none of them the least bit worried, as if it were an every day occurrence.
Naruto and Sasuke watched too, but the blond felt his hands tighten around Sasuke's and the raven looked up at his boyfriend, confused.
"That's not Japanese..."
Naruto's eyes were a bit wide and he stepped back, pulling Sasuke with him. His heart was beating loudly in his chest as realization struck him and he ran, making Sasuke follow. He didn't know where he could go, there was no way to escape, and every happy thought he'd had a few moments ago were shattered as fear replaced them.
"It's not a Japanese plane!" a few families turned toward him as he yelled that. "My dad's in the military, he has all of the flight schedules in his office and I know for sure that no planes were supposed to come in today!"
Naruto hid behind one of the tall buildings just beside the festival and pulled Sasuke against him, muttering prayers, which confused Sasuke even more.
"Naruto, what're you talking about? It's just a plane--"
Tan hands reached up and warm palms were pressed against Sasuke's cheeks. The shorter teen furrowed his brows and was about to ask what he was doing, but warm lips were pressed against his and the words died in his throat.
"Please live...!" Naruto pleaded against Sasuke's mouth. "Keep him alive...!"
Then there was the sound of an explosion and everything became quiet in their ears, darkness consuming them quickly and painlessly.
Naruto's eyes opened to see smoke rising to the dark sky, flames all around him. His vision came into focus and his mind seemed to stumble over what'd happened, his fingers twitching at his side. His eyes watered and tears slipped down his temples, into his blood-soaked hair as his body ached in agony and pain. It was something he'd never felt before, as if everything had been ripped open.
He looked down at himself, his head never moving, and saw burns all over his skin, the flesh not even really there. He also saw all the bodies around him, completely burnt and black, including the one beside him, the charred fingers still interlocked with his.
More tears came to his eyes and he closed them, not able to stand the sight of what had happened to Sasuke. He held back a sob, the pain of knowing that his prayer hadn't been answered weighing on his already broken and aching heart. Ignoring the pain that tried to swallow him up, he wailed, his voice raspy and dry.
Everything that was good in his life had slipped away in an instant.
Everything that he'd thought would be the future, was now just a memory and false dream...
[August 6, 2007
An elderly man was pushed in his wheelchair toward the Memorial Cenotaph by a blonde girl with light blue eyes, his gaze on nothing in particular. Tubes were leading from a little machine to the inside of his nose, helping him breathe; burns were all over his skin, running from his face to the tips of his fingers; the left side of his face was more slack than the right, the sign of a serious stroke; his hair was grey and almost completely gone, his face covered with wrinkles and burns, and as the girl talked to him, he could only really reply with animalistic grunts.
The girl, Ino, pushed the wheelchair next to the cenotaph that held all of the names of the people who'd died in the bombing of Hiroshima. She grabbed the ten paper cranes she'd made early that morning and a few lilies from the flower shop they'd gone by earlier, and sat them in the pretty flower bed in front, smiling.
"Okasan told me that every year you bring lilies for Sasuke-kun because those were the flowers you gave him the day the bomb was dropped," Ino commented, scurrying forward and pushing her grandfather closer to the memorial that held all of the names. "That's what I told my teacher and she said that you were really kind," she giggled and took the old man's hand, placing it on the smooth marble memorial, placing his fingers over where she found Sasuke's name.
He could feel it beneath his fingertips, the name echoing throughout his head and bringing back old memories that moistened his dry eyes.
And Naruto felt himself crying on the inside, his destroyed face not able to convey the overwhelming sadness that was still there.
(1)- If you wanna listen to the song that was played during this, it's called 'Ola 1' by Gaate, a Norwegian band.