※ 回想記の夢・A Memoir of a Dream※
This was how the world ends.
There always seemed to be a wind coming in from areas and lands of far away when one thinks these thoughts. Indeed, that was exactly what was occurring at this particular moment in time. It was not normal, either: it was strong, picking up little particles of dirt and sand and pelting her exposed flesh like no tomorrow. It wanted to get in her eyes, her mouth; her nose. It moved all of the banners, signs, and bell chimes from down below where even the people of the village at her feet. However, it was just the wind, and with this wind, it couldn't have caused all that she was seeing. All that she was experiencing.
Her sea green eyes reflected an image of a tombstone, etched with the words, "Here lies the greatest medic nin of them all: Tsunade Senju." There was a smaller phrase at the bottom, but she couldn't put it within her to read. It was all a lie, anyways. Tsunade-Shishou wasn't dead. She was not actually buried below her feet. She had not escaped off with a hidden lover. Nor was she even injured. No, the Godaime had simply vanished, right before her eyes.
It had been only about three days. Yet, the memories still chill her to the bone.
She had to hurry, as she was delivering paperwork detailing the latest updates dealing with Sasuke. With Naruto gone, it was only left to her, really, to reclaim that missing man. She refused to let him shimmer in the darkness that seemed to envelope every single step that man took. Sakura had seen him only twice since he had left the village - both times after Naruto's disappearance. At first, she had tried so hard to convince him to come back; she loved him! The village could help make things all better! The path he was encountering and meandering on was just going to hurt him in the end! She shivers at that memory, as all he did was just hit her unconscious with such envious speed. The second time fared none better: word of Naruto's assumption of death had already reached far-flung areas. Siasuke was mute for a few moments before he acted as if their missing partner never truly mattered. 'After all, you both were just weak.'
So, it was with the knowledge of a potential third attempt to try to talk to him - her drive to force Tsunade to make her do this mission, instead with far more backup - that she had entered the Hokage Tower.
Climbed the stairs.
Brought some sake, just in case.
And then opened the door.
The time was late - somewhere between 12 and 3 in the morning. Sakura wanted the cover of night to undergo this: most of the village was hostile towards Sasuke now. Not to mention she knew her shishou was still awake. Or should be. Yet, as she reached to the knob and slowly opened the door, she grew disappointed. It seemed as if Tsunade was reading reports earlier and just crashed on them. In fact, she could see the impressions of ink being smeared on the blonde's face. That only meant a few things, such as that woman was adding her signature to numerous of ceaseless political 'garbage'.
Sakura had smiled. Had placed the sake down on the desk. Was about to reach her hand forwards to awaken the sleeping woman.
Then, she was simply gone.
No poofs. No lights. No explosions. No seal markings. No genjutsu. Not even killer intent. Just gone.
She had thrown the alarm. She had called the ANBU. She had rushed the entire area to look for her. But in the end, it seemed impossible. It was if it was Naruto missing all over again. The pain in her heart was never-ending, it seemed. Even Ino was noticing this, and had tried the past day to get her to cheer up.
This was how the world ends.
Of that Sakura was sure.
The room looked to be exactly the same. The man standing in front of her was her sensei, Kakashi. He still had that mask around his face; still gave her a smile through his eyes. He even sounded the same. Yet, her voice keep forcing out a desperate plea of "Kai! Kai! Kai!"
The woman in the background was just laughing. "Oh, Kakashi, she sure is funny. Hehehe."
He just nodded a bit, before adding, in his sing-song voice. "Any particular reason as to why you stopped by my home, Miss...?"
She was confused. In all aspects. Kakashi - the man on whom she learned how to begin to be a ninja - was just staring straight at her face, as if he never even existed. Of, certainly, she had heard the rumors that Kakashi had gone... a little over the deep end, but to assume it was this far! And who was that woman, with dark brown hair and purple rectangles on her cheeks? It felt like all of this was a nightmare: a genjutsu!
Sakura thrusted out her finger. "Don't play coy with me, Kakashi! This is important! Why were you not at Tsunade-shishou's funeral this morning!"
Instead of frowning, or apologizing, or anything even remotely related to that, he just raised his eyebrow. "I am certain she is not dead. Right, Rin?"
The woman - this Rin - nodded in response, smoothing her miniature tabi that was wrapped around her waist. "Yes, that is a cruel word to say, Miss. The Sannin is currently having fun with training her new recruits, or so I have seen this morning. Are you sure it is not you in the wrong...?"
Sakura had to frown at this, anger and grief wracking at her mind. How could Kakashi not even bother to show up and pretend Tsunade never even mattered! How DARE he be here, with this-this WOMAN!
As if to answer her thoughts, her sensei only sighed a bit, before yawning. "You know, now I remember where I have seen you before... You are that pink haired girl whom follows Sasuke Uchiha around a lot, as well as Naruto Namikaze." His white hair shook back and forth, trying to recall memories, it seemed. Yet, despite his callousness, the kunoichi was still filled with her painful emotions. Added on top now, though, was a sense of bitter confusion.
"I don't have TIME for this!" Sakura yelled, pulling her hand into a fist. "I'll go search for the killers of Tsunade and Naruto, myself!"
With that, she left them; tears echoing in the beginnings of a drizzle.
The sound of the rain was still echoing loudly throughout the home of one Kakashi Hatake. The two figures inside the home were still looking at that door, utterly confused over what had just occurred there. How sad, it seemed, that a poor woman had gone completely nuts. Or perhaps it was nothing but a large prank? Nay... she seemed far too serious to potentially be joking. So, Kakashi was left back with confused.
His eyes turned towards the woman next to him. "Well, what do you have to say about this?" She was still standing there, musing about something.
"You know, that would be the second time someone would have called that blonde woman a Hokage. I swear, it seems like all of them just forget that it is Minato-sensei that has that title!" With that, she threw her arms up into the air, before walking back to the kitchen to bring out the tea. That left for the man a bit of a time to ponder further, but he didn't really need to. After all, he had a bit of more important things to wonder about. Perhaps he would talk to Obito later...
In this rain, however, it is hard to see if one is being watched. Up on the rooftops of neighboring buildings resided at least four men in cloaks. Where their heads would be was an eerily reflection of the setting sun: the rain slowly dripping over each curve of their masks. A different pattern of ink and paint was upon each of the four men, all with symbolism of animals.
One of them shook his head for a moment, sadly to and fro. It was a sorrowful expression that almost all of their group has done before. It was aimed at the white haired man they were looking at through the window, who was looking as if he had overcome his time of thinking and was walking off towards the dining area. There was Hatake, smiling and laughing - talking, even - to an illusion of a woman created by his memories.
It was always sad to see a man fall into insanity.
For that is what it could only be.
"It is, however, confusing that Sakura also saw the woman, do you not think?" floated the voice of their third member.
The first one could only grunt. It was back to watching the 'development' of the Copy Ninja: they doubted they could say anything positive to the council about this situation. It meant that this man below was definitely no longer in the running to become the next Hokage.
They all shivered at who might be next. It was a thought that ran into their minds, often.
Gloved hands moved like a fervor, stuffing every single article of clothing into her bag that she could carry without too much weight. On top of that was dozens of medical scrolls, ink for using said scrolls, kunai, and other such items that a kunoichi on a mission would need. Her pink hair was turning into a large mess, falling into her eyesight, but she triumphed through it all, tossing it aside. Her tears had already been pushed back as there was no longer a reason to cry. She had to be strong.
She just had to.
The image of the four of her Team 7 was still there upon her nightstand. The faces made Sakura nostalgic of times that have long since passed. If only-
"Nee, nee! Sakura-chan! What are you doing here, all mopey and stuff?"
"She's obviously packing for a mission, idiot."
"Pft, I dunno why. You two weren't assigned anything, right?"
She let her kunai fly at the voices, only to have it deflected. With a thud, it hit the floor, as she gasp in horror. Her hands reached to her mouth - eyes, widening. WHAT. WAS. GOING. ON!
"Who are you!" she screamed out, placing herself into a fight stance. There was no tall-tale signs of this being a genjutsu, and she would have noticed if it was. Very few people could overrule her own senses.
But no one was there.
"It's us, Sakura-chan!"
"... Are you alright, Sakura?"
No. No. No. No. NO! This wasn't real. This was NOT happening! It was just a filament of her imagination, and if she didn't control her damn grief enough, she would end up JUST like Kakashi! The voices had no bodies - no one was behind her.
"I don't think Sakura-chan is..."
"Maybe you can send Tsunade on her?"
"Well, I can... It'll be for the better... She's acting as if... As if..."
"What's wrong? Why do you have that look on your face?"
"Go away!" she screamed out. "Leave me alone! Is not going on a mission enough to keep you out of my consciousness! Is not trying to find your killer and you yourself ENOUGH!"
"...It... It's nothing, Sasuke. We... we should go, though. Now."
"But, my teammate is obviously in-!"
With that, there was the sound of a door slamming, only her front door never moved at all. Her pack was still behind her, eagerly awaiting a new mission.
Sakura wasn't. Not anymore.
His blonde hair was lying back on a pile of books. "Ugh, if there was ever a way to be more miserable than this, I have yet to find it."
"Honestly," came a retort back. "Naruto, it isn't too hard to find information on all of this, you know. Or better yet, not with another help, ne?"
The teenager flipped around to give his Baa-chan a look. With a nervous smile, he added, haphazardly, "Well, with YOUR help-"
He got fisted to the head. Although, he thought as he rubbed the injury away, it was not nearly the power that it would take to be an actual combat fist punch. His blue eyes reflected some of the yellow light coming from the ceiling in the vanished light. Though normally he was asleep at this time, it was just impossible to do so. He was talking to Tsunade, discussing all that he had done, in as good as a detailed description he could come up with.
Needless to say, the entire thing took them both well into the early morning hours of the new day.
"So, you know about Minato..." came Baa-chan's soft voice. "To be honest, Kakashi, Jiraiya, and I knew the truth, although, we were... hesitant to tell you. 'What would have done with that information?' we had thought." The blonde woman shook her head slowly, back and forth. Perhaps some of the night's sake was helping in this as well? Normally, Naruto condemned that sort of stuff with Tsunade, but for this night, he let those thoughts slip. Just a bit! "It is a good thing that you took everything so well."
At that, Naruto snorted. "Well, as good as feeling an Iwa shinobi sending a boulder to my lungs."
His Baa-chan had to arch an eyebrow at that. "Sounds like something you experienced."
"No, but it was something that I nearly saw happening to someone else."
Silence went by for a few moments as they both began to settle down, trying to claim as much sleep as they could. For the current moment, it seemed like Tsunade was going to spend a few nights within the same inn-room as Naruto. At least, until she could access some of her funds and rent her own room. ["Damn, I am still drowning in debt in this moment." "I ain't helping you on THAT, Baa-chan~!" "Little punk!" "Ahahaha!" "It'll only take a little bit of gambling from you..." "Baa-chan...!"]
"You know, we are going to have to rush on trying to find out a way to stop the Kyuubi attack."
"Sound so grown up there, Naruto," the ex-Godaime Hokage added. She was in the process of burrowing her way into her futon, trying to shoo away the coldness of the air. Winter tended to make things uncomfortable... at least for those used to living in warm weather all the time.
The teen frowned at that comment, before slowly adding, "Well, it was hard here the first few months. In fact, I think I 'grew up' quite a bit." However, as soon as that was said, his smile came back in full force, killing away any thoughts that Tsunade might have assumed otherwise. "What do you think little me will look like! All small and fuzzy headed? How about cute and short? WOAH, there would be TWO of me! How confusing would that be! Dad'll have TWO sons!"
With this, Tsunade grunted back, "I don't think it works that way, Gaki."
"Well, yeah. Whatever. I think I'll look freakishly adorable."
"Go to sleep." Baa-chan was in the right. Sleep seemed like such a good idea.
Sleep was not something the Namikaze could undergo. It didn't matter if Kushina was trying her hardest to ensure so before ultimately giving up - it was a current action he was unable to do. His blonde hair rested lazily all around his head as it was placed on a pillow. Better to try than stand up and exhaust oneself even further. Thought kept dancing across his mind, twirling and crashing; very much so following the namesake of his own child...
"Ugh..." he moaned, rubbing his face with his hand. It was such a hard concept to even fathom! Yet, at the same time, it made so much sense. It was as if he was teetering on some kind of edge, with sudden realization on one side, to utter disbelief on the other.
It was not just the concept of having a kid, though. No, he couldn't put the blame upon Naruto. It was the other things that came along with... with his future son. The Seal was Art - it was something his Sensei and him have had long conversations about. An Art that was both powerful, but costly. Only two people - three max at best - could potentially undergo such a thing correctly...
It was looking, aiming, focusing, that he, Minato Namikaze, Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato, holder of the Will of Fire, was going to die, sealing a beast that was currently contained within his own wife.
Even more horrid a thought: his own wife was going to loose her life as well, for Naruto never mentioned having a mother.
He would leave his child family-less.
Yes, that hand went back to his face, covering his own set of blue eyes. "There has to be another way."
One without deaths. One without sacrifice.
One that would leave his future child safe with someone to care for him.
But that brought things back into full circle. Kushina had yet to elaborate as to why having children was such a 'testy' occasion. Minato's face went back into it's calm, calculating gaze at the ceiling. Yes, he was going to have his wife explain the more elaborate, and secretive, parts of her life. From there, he could prepare some sort of better plan.
Outside, the birds were beginning, if just, to start their morning songs. They were too ignorant of the world to be filled with confusing and clashing thoughts. It was a new day to them, and new days always meant the folly or woes of previous was long gone.
So, they sung. Sung to a new day.
As promised, here is the next update. Sooner than some expected, no?
I didn't want to make Sakura all sad and depressed, but considering what was going on, I was kinda 'forced' to. ;o And what could Minato be planning? Tsunade's next action? Naruto's? Obito n lil Kakashi n Rin? WHO KNOWS! [Aside from me, ajajaja!]
-hand over palm- Please be kind to lil ol' me and send some nice, yummy reviews! ;D -stab'd-