"It is only through the eyes of others our lives have meaning."

His head felt like it was about to split in two. His cerulean eyes refused to open and he was powerless to move, powerless to think, powerless to speak. All he could feel and think was pain and there was no escaping it.

Was that screaming he could hear? He strained to listen but even that seemed too difficult a task for him. Agony distracted him and he felt his entire body clench in protest. Gritting his teeth he tried to focus, focus, focus.

Was that Sakura-chan screaming? He tried to picture her in his mind but the lines were blurred and the colours bled into one another like a wet painting. Her face finally cleared but trembled like an age old movie screen with every renewed wave of pain.

He held onto her image and thought of her eyes, eyes like emerald, eyes like sea foam, eyes that never failed to captivate him. He almost believed that the pain was slowly ebbing away but as his back arched and he began to fight to breathe, he realized darkly that even Sakura couldn't save him now.

Her name slipped out of his mouth before he could control himself. He reached out with a trembling hand for someone he wasn't even sure was there before a loud scream of pain cut him short. It was only moments later he realized the sound had come from him.

A smooth, husky voice murmured to him in his head, trying to calm him down. Naruto, you can control this. You still have to become Hokage and protect Sakura. Focus Naruto. Focus

He was trying to focus but it was so damn difficult. His image of Sakura shattered into a thousand pieces he tried to put back together in vain. As he scrabbled to find them, the scattered shards were instantaneously replaced with a dimly lit sewer that was too foreboding to be real. He could hear snarling and metal rattling as small papers fluttered onto the surface of the ankle deep water.

Frustration was beginning to seep in through the pain. He scrabbled desperately to find his focus again but every time he did it slipped through his fingers like water until the sewer dragged him back into a world he wasn't even sure existed. He was growing so tired, he wanted to stop fighting but he had to keep going-