Hajimemashite and Konbanwa!!! Welcome to the newest chapter of The Dance of Fate!!! Thanks to all the reviewers and those who have added me and/or this story into their alert lists and favorite lists!!! I just got back from HK a week ago and I must say that it was fun being there, although the one thing that I did miss while I was there is the Filipino food. Maybe that's because food's the only thing stuck in my head… hahah… Sorry for the wait but after my trip to HK I was exiled to the province. And it was hell I tell you… I got no access to the internet and that's why I wasn,t able to update sooner…. I am really, really sorry… And before I forgot, I would just like to thank Yiruma (whoever he is) for composing the extremely beautiful piece River Flows in You. Really, that piece was so captivating and moving. It really is my sort of motivation nowadays in continuing this fic. It was a bit disappointing that it didn't become Bella's lullaby. Seriously, it was much, much better than what Bella's lullaby is now. You should try listening to it sometime. Anyway, I hope you guys would enjoy this chapter. Please read and review!!! Constructive criticism is welcome!!!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto… if I do, then this wouldn't be called a fanfiction work… just fiction… anyway, enjoy!!!

Chapter 25: Encouragement

"Dobe?" Sasuke called as he went inside Ichiraku. It was the first place he thought of where Naruto would be.

"What is it? I'm eating here," Naruto said, not really paying attention to whom it was who called him but then he realized a second later who it really was. Only one person would call him dobe. He froze for a bit and then made a slow turn in order to see if his assumption was correct. And as to be expected, it was Sasuke. He was about to speak but Kakashi who was sitting just beside him spoke first.

"Sasuke," Kakashi said in recognition. He motioned Sasuke to join them in eating. "Another miso ramen please," he said to the owner, Teuchi. Teuchi just nodded at him. "So Sasuke, what brings you here?" he asked. "Usually it was Naruto who always looks for you," he continued now with a hint of seriousness in his voice.

"I was actually looking for both of you," he said quietly as he sat beside Naruto. "But I thought you were still on your mission so I decided to find Naruto first. I wasn't really expecting to find both of you here," he said as he looked at both Kakashi and Naruto.

Naruto contemplated for a bit before speaking. "Sasuke, I'm sorry for being harsh in telling it to you especially when you weren't in your best mood but I just can't help my attitude back then and I thought that it was already time for you to know," Naruto said as he put his chopsticks down even if he still wasn't finished eating his bowl, it was his third actually.

"I know. And I thank you for that. I know that Sakura was scared of how I would react, that's why she wasn't the one to tell me. I would still love her," at this point his voice was just barely louder than a whisper, "but… I'm afraid that she won't accept it. Just like how I did it before to her," he said as his head hung low, his bangs covering his eyes.

Teuchi took the momentary silence as an opportunity to give Sasuke's meal. Then, he walked as far away as possible from the trio, busying himself, clearly to give them some privacy in their serious talk.

"Sasuke, Sakura loves you more than anything and anyone else in this world and you know that. Sure, she might say that she stopped loving you a long time ago but you know how bad a liar she is, surely, you could see that she is just lying to you. Besides, if you would show how sincere you really are with your feelings and if you would support her all the way with what she is going through right now, then, she would overcome all her fears and uncertainties and then it would work out well for both of you," Kakashi said in encouragement. He was a bit amused at how ready Sasuke was to die back then just to kill Itachi compared to how uncertain he is right now just because of his feared rejection. But then again, Sasuke already lost most of the people he loved; he probably couldn't bear to lose another one of those precious people.

"But after all those things that I did to her, what could I expect?" Sasuke asked in exasperation. He was really confused of what to do. Sure, he was good as a ninja but that's all that he could do. Fight. He didn't have any idea in the slightest of what to do in this kind of things. He wasn't even sure if kissing and hugging her made it better or just worse. Hatred had been the most dominant emotion he had felt for many years. He was just beginning to be normal now that he was back in Konoha. How was he supposed to know what to do with this… this love for Kami's sake?

Well, it wasn't everyday that you see an Uchiha's perfectly-made façade shattered just like that. Naruto and Kakashi both knew that. This just means that this is really a serious matter for Sasuke. After all, what could you expect from somebody in terms of love when that somebody lost his whole clan because his brother killed them and was then in turn killed by him? They both knew that Sasuke wasn't the kind of person who is expected to be good in this kind of stuff. His ignorance in this matter of love is just as worse as Sai's. But at least he had a good reason to be ignorant in this stuff.

Naruto who had already grown a bit irritated due to Sasuke's pessimism shook his head before speaking. "Sasuke, you're a genius. I know that you can be a bit stupid sometimes, like in the revenge stuff and also in this kind of things, but you already did some things that clearly showed her how much you love her. All you have to do now is say it so that she'll have a confirmation. Then, all you need to do is wait for the outcome," Naruto said seriously.

"But dobe, it's not that simple!" Sasuke said angrily. He was annoyed at how Naruto had called him stupid and how simple he thought it was to do. Didn't he realize how complicated it really was? Sakura was sick and she was scared of accepting his feelings because she didn't want both of them to be hurt. How can the dobe NOT see the problem? Oh yeah… he IS a dobe, after all…

"But Sasuke, it's the best thing you can do, no; it's the ONLY thing you can do. I really can't believe that there will come a day that I will disagree with you and say that Naruto is right but I guess, today is that day," Kakashi said smiling slightly. "I'm sure Sakura is just waiting for you to say it to her," he added as an afterthought.

Oh great, so now the two of them are ganging up on him. "But Sakura is scared. She's not sure if accepting my feelings would be for the better or for the worse for both of us if this happens to end badly," he said, his eyes getting wild now. He was becoming desperate. Part of himself was agreeing with both Naruto and Kakashi but another part of him was telling him that both of them, him and Sakura, are not yet ready for it.

"So? Still tell her. Even if she did reject you, there's still nothing she can do about your feelings. At least she knows how you really felt. Show her how much she really means to you even if things went for the worst. Be there for her. Sasuke, you have to act fast. Time may be running out. Even if all of us didn't want to recognize it, there's still a possibility that she might die. Do you think you can continue on with your life if she dies and you still haven't told her how much you love her? There are no second chances here, Sasuke. It's between life and death. How can you even consider gambling your chances of telling her your feelings now? Save yourself from all the regret, Sasuke," Naruto said, his voice hinting some anger, as he looked directly into Sasuke's eyes.

Sasuke was silent for a while. Still holding his gaze with Naruto, he thought of what both of them had said. He then, came up to the conclusion that both of them were right. He should be telling everything to Sakura now instead of wasting his time dwelling on the 'what ifs' that could happen. "Thanks," he muttered to both Naruto and Kakashi. He then nodded before running out of Ichiraku to find Sakura in order to tell her his feelings for her.

"Seriously, what is the matter with, Sasuke? He already kissed her. How can he even be chickening out now when he had the guts to do that?" Naruto asked to Kakashi after Sasuke had left them. He was starting to eye the ramen that Sasuke had barely eaten, evilly.

"Naruto, he may have just acted out of his impulse back then. At least we have done our part. Sasuke's now on his way to Sakura. Now, all we have to do is to wait for the outcome. Hopefully, it will be alright," Kakashi said as he thought of what would probably happen between his two other students.


Another chapter done!!! Well, I hope this chapter wasn't so lousy… Hope you guys enjoyed it!!! Please read and review!!! Constructive criticism is welcome!!! Ja ne!!!