Title: This is my Goodbye
Author: Dying Dreams
Fandom: Naruto
Feedback: Feedback is always welcome!a
Summary: I pretend that I'm always happy. I pretend so no one sees my pain. I pretend so no one sees what I've become. I pretend because that's all I can do. I pretend because that's all I know how to do.
Pairings: Currently undisclosed for the time being. All shall be revealed eventually. nn

Naruto: Why do I have to be the one to die?
Dream: Because I love you.
Naruto: That doesn't make sense.
Dream: I don't make sense either. I'm not sure why this surprises you Naruto-kun.
Itachi: -Laughs- She's right. She never really makes sense.
Naruto: I hate you.
Dream: No you don't.
Naruto: Yes I do.
Dream: Fine be that way. In other news, special thanks to my beta for helping me out. I believe I re-wrote this about three times before he was satisfied. I love you Psy. x3 Ah the joys of trying to please a beta. I have to admit I'm more satisfied with this version as well.
Itachi: Well that's certainly something.
Dream: I know isn't it? -Shrugs- I have more issues with Naruto than other anime series. What the hell's with that?
Itachi: You're asking me?
Dream: Not specifically. -Stares at nothing-
Itachi: Dream? -Waves a hand in front of her face- Yep. She's gone.
Sasuke: The hell? -Stares at her- She's a freak.
Itachi: -Shrugs- Warnings and disclaimer. Dream: Wait wait wait! Additional warnings in the summary thingie will be added when needed.

Warnings: Mm. Not really much I can say as far as warnings go. Not much to actually be warned about. Unless you count Naru-chan's sadness. oO -Shrugs and wanders off-
Disclaimer: I do not now, nor will I ever have any real claim of ownership over the original ideas of the series known as Naruto. In no way am I profiting from this writing.

Prologue

- - - - - - - - - -

The blond shifted uncomfortably in his seat, staring at the blank paper in front of him, pen clutched tightly in his hand. He lowered his head sighed, his hand slowly moving towards the sheet. He didn't write anything, instead his fingers gently brushed against it, his mind going over again what he was going to say. Moving his empty hand away, he replaced it with his occupied one, pressing the tip to the sheet, dragging it across as he began to write.

'Sasuke,

There's something I've been meaning to tell you. But I never knew how to say it. I wanted to tell you I love you, but I don't think I can anymore. I wanted to tell you that I want to be with you always. That I wanted to be the first thing you see when you wake up every morning. But I can't. It hurts when I think about it, but it's true. I can't tell you. I don't want to lose you. Because if I lost you now, I would surely be alone when it happens.'

Naruto held back his sniffling as he continued.

'I haven't told anyone yet.

But...

I think... I think I'm dying.

I've been like this for awhile now. I feel so weak, and it feels like my body is giving up. I don't eat very much anymore, and I think I may end up stopping sometime soon. What's worse, is I can't hardly sleep anymore either. I lay here in my bed, and I stare at the ceiling, unable to close my eyes and let the darkness take me. At most, I'd say I get about an hour, if even that.'

He stopped again, lifting his free hand and running it through his hair, he sighed sadly as he continued, the words he was about to write making him want to cry.

'I'm sorry I haven't told you anything like I knew I should have.

I'm sorry I'm making everyone worry, especially you.

I'm sorry that all I seem to do is make things worse.

I'm sorry that I can't do anything right.'

He could feel them stinging at his eyes, threatening to fall. He realized now that he really was pathetic. Maybe they were right. Maybe they had always been right. That he really was good for nothing. He'd heard it all his entire life. Everything from being the demon they claimed him to be to disgusting filth not fit to walk this Earth. He meant nothing to anyone. He was as they said. Worthless.

He could only watch as his tears splashed onto the paper, dripping from his eyes and trailing down his cheeks before falling from his face. He did nothing to stop them, his hand holding the pen pressing onto the paper hard, the pressure he applied causing the ink to leak from the pen, leaving a dark pool of slowly drying ink in its wake. He didn't even seam to notice it as he drew his hand away to continue writing.

'I'm sorry you have to see me like this.

I'm sorry that who I am makes me so weak.

I'm sorry that I can't be as strong as everyone else or even just you.

I'm sorry for the things I've said and done that I never meant.

I'm sorry that I can't change who I am, to make myself better.

I'm sorry that I can't be the person you think I am.

I'm sorry that I'm going to leave you.

I'm sorry that I can't stay with you.'

His tears smudged slightly the still drying ink. He couldn't stop them, and he wasn't sure he wanted to.

'When I think about it, I don't think I ever truly deserved your friendship, or that of anyone else for that matter. If I still think about it, it's always been a game. A child's game of pretend. I have always played this game.

I pretend that their words don't hurt me. I pretend that no matter what they do to me, nothing can bring me down. I pretend that I'm always happy. I pretend so no one sees my pain. I pretend so no one sees what I've become. I pretend because that's all I can do. I pretend because that's all I know how to do.

Do you understand? Everything about me that you thought you knew, has always been wrong. I'm not who you and the others think I am. I never was, and I never can be. This is me. The one who hides his true self from the world for fear of being broken again and again because he can't take all the pain.

I've always believed that I was destined to be alone. Would you look at me now? Talking about destiny when I told Neji at the Chuunin examines that first time all those years ago that destiny does not control you, but it is you who controls your own destiny. I'm such a hypocrite, but it's true isn't it? I know. I know that deep down this is how things are meant to be.'

His own words were distressing him. Unable to stop himself, he slumped forward, dragging the pen vertically across the sheet of paper he was writing on. He had almost pressed hard enough to break through the fragile object. After several still moments, he finally rose in order to continue, tears still trailing down his cheeks even as he moved on to the next blank sheet of paper.

'No one knows the real me, so no one can ever love me. The person behind the mask, always playing that game of pretend every day. All you've ever seen is the idiotic fool, always happy and hardly ever sad. I couldn't let anyone in to see how fragile I really was. It hurt to much.

I wish I could have trusted you enough to let you see the real me, but I was afraid. I was afraid of being hurt by the one I held closest to my heart. I've been walking on glass with a fragile heart for as long as I can remember, and I know I've always been this way.

You should realize that no one could ever really understand me, except Gaara, but he is free of his demon now. I can never be free. I learned to accept that, and it isn't so bad anymore. At least he doesn't make fun of me anymore. I think it's because he finally started to feel my pain as his pain. He understood how much I was hurting because of what was done to me. Every day he tries to tell me to let him be free so he can destroy everything for me, since I can't do it myself. But I won't let that happen. I won't debase myself to be like them, and give them a reason to hate me even more. That's not what I want, so I let myself be their scapegoat, because everyone needs a scapegoat at some point in their life.'

He stopped again, pulling back from leaning over the slowly filling sheet. Everything would be blurry if he kept crying over it. He wanted Sasuke to be able to read it. No guessing at what he was trying to say. After several more moments of nothing passed, the tears had slowed and were barely leaving his face now. He continued writing.

'I'm sorry. I want to tell you all of this myself, but I don't think I can. I think if I did, I might break. It hurts to think about it. To know that I'm so weak even after I went to the effort of getting you back after everything that happened. You leaving. Orochimaru's death. Itachi's death. The downfall of the Akatsuki.

So even if I die, it's okay in the end. Akatsuki was never able to get their hands on me, and the council can finally be appeased. It's what they've always wanted. It's what everyone always wanted. The death of the demon. So it's a win-win situation, you know? Everybody wins. Well, I'd like to think so anyways. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think I really care anyways. So it's okay

But I just want you to be happy, Sasuke. I really do. And I want to think that you'll be better off without me. I don't deserve you anyways. You're so much better than I am. I shouldn't say it, but it's true. And it's ok for me to admit this. I don't mind. Really. I mean it. Please believe me.'

So until I go, which I don't think will be to long from the time you receive this, I will continue to play my game of make believe. I don't want anyone to worry about me. I'm not worth it anyways. The demon child doesn't need anyone to love him. I can love you, but it's ok if you don't love me back. As long as you're happy, then, I think I'll be ok. So please. Don't worry about someone as worthless as me. Just... be happy.

That's all I want.

That's all I need.

If the last thing I can see before I go is you, then I can for once in my life be truly happy. I can't explain what I mean.

But I do mean it.

Because it's only you I truly care for.

It's only you, that I will ever love.

With all my love,

Naruto'

The tears had come back full force as Naruto pushed the papers away from him, not wanting to soak them with the tears. He slowly slid the envelope towards himself, setting the pen down on the table. He opened it and pulled the papers forward, arranging them in the correct order before folding them and gently slipping them into the envelope. He folded the flap over and picked up the small wooden handle from where it lay, using his other hand to press a dab of dark red melted wax over the middle of the flap. He moved his hand away and pressed the brass end of the handle into the wax, holding it down for a minute to let the wax cool before pulling it away, leaving a small nine-tailed fox in its place. He set everything aside, intending to put them away later should the intent actually rise. He blew out the candle used to melt the wax and rose to his feet, glancing around his dreary apartment before turning to leave, slipping his shoes on at the door before silently slipping out, pushing the door softly closed behind him.

TBC...