The Eternal Soundtrack

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. That copyright belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

"Breaking" belongs to Anberlin, from their album New Surrender.

Track 8: Breaking

/Do you memorize theatrical lines
That seem to lead them in?
Play the role with the good girl heart
Had the tangled webs within
Who was it that led you on
That makes you want to hurt me so?
Who do you want to forget?
Who forgot you long ago?/

There comes a time in every man's life when, regardless of his usual carefree spirit, the games and run-arounds of so-called love are simply not enough anymore. When those insincere actions become less game and more pain, as he realizes they are damming the truth, building up such a crushing weight behind false pretences to the point where, any day, it will smother his existence to nothingness if he does not act.

Naruto was not a thinking man, nor was he ripe in emotional maturity. But this truth was undeniable, even to him. It was simply life, reminding him that the way he saw the world wasn't always the way the world saw fit to behave. And how he saw others wasn't always the way others were.

"You love him."

It was a simple statement. But it was one of the most difficult things he had ever had to say in his life. Because, though he had said those words before, he had not had the added understanding then that the new epiphany life had recently delivered now afforded him. He understood now what those words meant. Not to say he did not comprehend the meaning of love as a thirteen-year-old—one as ardent in the quest for acknowledgment as himself would have to know what love was, since that was what he was really seeking all along—love through acknowledgement; acceptance; to be cherished. But his eyes were shrewder now, his mind more discerning. And he understood.

/Do you still feel him
Calling in the air tonight?
Do you still feel it?
Seems like you've done this before/

Love is not a refined emotion. It cannot be schooled and tamed, formed into shapes to fit whomever. It is raw and solid, meant to be as it is, never anything more nor anything less. It can only be what it is, as it is, when it is.

Love is unique. It is as unique as the person who experiences it; as unique as the person who receives it. And they both have a hand in creating the natural form it will take, specially spun into existence by and for them and them alone. No one else.

No one else.

/You make breaking hearts look so easy
Seems like you've done this before
You've got breaking hearts all but down
Have you done this, you've done this before
You make stealing hearts look so easy
Where is the girl I adore
You've got breaking up all but down
And I can't love a thief anymore/

Though he understood, he had to try, just once, really try to make her see. He was a man of action, after all. He would not be Naruto if he did not dare to achieve the impossible.

"You love him, but I love you." His voice was subdued, contemplating—pained. "It's...not fair, Sakura-chan. I love you! And it's not fair that you don't love me back." He stared into her eyes as he spoke, ardent and honest to a fault. He wasn't being whiny. He was simply asking why. Why not him? Why couldn't he be the one for her the same way he knew she was the one for him?

She watched him quietly for a moment, assessing him dispassionately. Her voice was flat when she replied. "Yes, it's not fair. But it's not fair that he doesn't love me when I love him, either. So the point is pretty much null then, isn't it?"

"No! You could stop—" He paused abruptly, taking a deep breath. That wasn't what he wanted to say. That wouldn't make her understand. He began again. "You could see that I'm here for you. I wouldn't hurt you. I'd make you happy. You could love me, Sakura-chan."

Her head shook with a small shrug, face set like glass. "Or you could just stop loving me. Or he could stop loving hate and start loving me."

Her voice was so vapid, but Naruto did not miss the small tremor when she spoke the last line. And it stabbed at him. (The thought of letting him go hurts you. I know that pain. I feel it every time I see you and know that you're thinking about him. Not me.)

She went on, either not noticing or pretending not to. "Or we all could stop and look for completely different people. But it's not that simple, Naruto. He won't stop and I won't stop."

"And I won't stop," he added, his voice a low sadness.

With the clarity he had gained, he had also realized something about his own emotions. Something that was disheartening and wonderful in its own right. She loved another man. He could not change that. But he loved her. And she could not change that. It was created by him and created by her, even if she had done so unintentionally. It was brought about for them and them alone. No one else. And even if she wanted no part in it, it would still always be for her. No one else.

/Do you collect the souls you've lost
In the top of your dresser drawer?
Count the number of tears displaced
On lonely bedroom floors
A machine where your heart once was
Slowly takes the place of you
Only hold the memories now
Of the love I thought I knew/

There was a strange light in her eyes as she watched him. That apathetic facade was all an act, anyway. He knew that (I know your heart is hiding from me, but I can still feel it).

And it broke then, showing...anger. A pained anger, which surprised him, though he tried not to show it.

"You're so determined not to give up on me. Nothing will deter you," she spoke slowly, condescension in her tone, as he had never heard her use. "So don't be so self-involved to think that you're the only one who will never give up; that you're the only one whose goal and dream shouldn't be given up on." That pretty face was trying to be hard, but Naruto saw tears hidden behind carefully controlled eyes. "Don't you dare ask me to stop loving him when you refuse to stop loving me." The sharpness of her voice dulled slightly as she spoke, "We're both quite unfortunate to fall for someone who doesn't love us back. But do not belittle my feelings by asking me to let go of them while you hold fast to yours. That is not fair."

"But Sakura-chan—"

"Naruto, please just stop. Please."

The cold grip of understanding was slowly winding its way around him, strangling the urgency, the desire, and the need out of his words. He was fighting a losing battle and his energy to persevere, despite the odds, was quickly waning, like so much sand through a fist.

"I...can't do that," he finally spoke, defying defeat, even if his voice did not hold such conviction.

"And I can't do this," Sakura sighed, slouched shoulders shifting under the tension she felt. "So, could you just agree to ignore it until you begin to forget?"

It felt as though she had just slapped him in the face. "I'm not going to—!" he half-shouted, nearly outraged (hurt. It hurts so bad...this feeling). Calming himself, he began again. "Sakura-chan. This isn't some random conversation that I'm barely listening to. This is about what I feel. I could never forget about the way I feel. Especially not about you."

There was a smile on her lips, small and wry, and completely without humour. Such an insincere smile did not belong on Sakura's face. The hint of pity in her eyes made a lump grow in his throat to accompany the earnest ache in his chest. He hated being pitied (I'm stronger than that. I don't need such empty emotion. Just you. I only need you...).

/Do you still feel him
Calling in the air tonight?
Do you still feel it?
Seems like you've done this before/

"You pick the worst things to hold onto, Naruto." Her voice came out soft and irreverent, bringing him to loathe the sound for the first time in his life. She should never talk like that. It was so...foreign. She was making great efforts to not be herself when all he wanted was her. And perhaps that was exactly why she was doing it. "Sasuke-kun. Me. Neither of us is healthy for you. Neither of us feels about you the way you feel about us."

Sharp blue narrowed on defensive green. "What are you saying? Sasuke is my friend!"

"You dream of being friends with him again, but you have no place in his dreams." Her words were so biting he flinched, as she continued, "When is it going to finally hit you?"

"Sakura-chan—"

"He left you—"

"Sakura-chan—"

She continued as though she didn't hear him. "He left me. He'll come back over his dead body, so unless you want to devote the rest of your life to becoming a head-hunter, you should just stop." An obvious tremor formed in her voice that she could not pretend did not exist, and a sorrow showed in her eyes that had him aching to console her—made him ache even more when he realized he wasn't the one who could do that. "Just stop already, Naruto! He. Is. Gone. Consider him a ghost; let it rest." Her green sight turned down to the ground when they took in his expression, guilt pulling her shoulders even lower, as she obviously realized what he would think of her words.

"No life deserves to be thrown away," he said, voice low and rough, teetering between love for his friend and rueful envy of the same man (she's yours and you aren't here holding her. What kind of man are you?). "To let him go, as if he were giving up the ghost, when he's still alive...that's not something I can do. It would be like saying his life doesn't matter. But it does. It matters to me...and it matters to you, Sakura-chan. At least admit that. Admit that I understand that much about you."

/You make breaking hearts look so easy
Seems like you've done this before
You've got breaking hearts all but down
Have you've done this, you've done this before
You make stealing hearts look so easy
Where is the girl I adore?
You've got breaking up all but down
And I can't love a thief anymore/

Pink hair swayed as she shook her head, watching the trees before looking at her companion again. "It's not about how I feel or how you feel. Everything is stuck. It's all in static. How long have you postponed your advancement up the shinobi ranks because you've been chasing someone else chasing his obsession?" Shifting, her voice muted slightly, trying to hide emotion within the low tone. "I know that I have spent enough years chasing madly while everyone still just walks on past. We're not moving forward. We haven't for a long time. It's enough. For all of this."

It was very clear to Naruto what Sakura was saying without being blunt. She was tired of it all. Of following a disappearing man and of pretending it did not bother her that a man she did not love was still constantly seeking her heart when she simply could not give it to him. But there were half-truths hidden within her words, as well. The lies her lips could spill were often entirely convincing, but she could not fool Naruto when it came to her heart. She could not stop loving the man who had broken her heart, but the years had taken their toll and the struggle to chase after the stolen pieces he had kept was too much. She was taking a different approach to putting her heart back together.

"You always look toward the village gates when you talk about him, you know."

Her head jerked up, surprise overshadowing the tense discomfort in her eyes.

"It's like you're expecting him to come back from the way he went. You're done chasing, but you're still waiting."

"..."

/You make breaking hearts look so easy
You've got breaking hearts all but down/

She wasn't going to answer him, but he knew. He knew her so well, and she him. They both held no illusions as to where this would end, but neither tried to stop it. It needed to happen. Anguishing as it was, they both needed this. Life can only be held in limbo for so long. They needed escape. Even if it meant facing a spectre that had been shadowing their steps for a decade.

"I'll never hurt you. You know that, don't you?" he spoke quietly, blue eyes watching her with the pain and longing of a lifetime of wishes and need and love (still wishing, still needing, still loving...).

"I know, but...I will hurt you," she answered, her voice gentle, easing his heart over the cliff.

A smile struggled through his drawn features, tenacious as ever (always smiling). "I don't know; I'm pretty strong."

"So am I," she replied, with the same smile on her own lips.

He gave a jerking nod, accepting what she was saying (deep down, I always knew. But I hoped... I wished... You're one dream that's never going to come true).

/You make breaking hearts look so easy
Seems like you've done this before
You've got breaking hearts all but down
Have you done this, you've done this before/

He turned to go, back straight, head bent, when he paused and half-turned to her. "If... If you could..." He paused, taking a small breath. (This is it.) "Could you ever wait for him with me, Sakura-chan?"

Watching his back—a very familiar sight—she recognized the finality in his question. "No." She smiled wanly, though he didn't see it—he wasn't looking at her and she was left looking at his back. "You don't wait, Naruto. You chase."

"And he runs." The man's voice came out low, distant.

"Yes. But he has to have a destination."

"Waiting for him."

"Yes."

Shifting forward, away from the woman behind him, he stared out at the darkened faces of the mountain in the distance, seeing entirely different visages in their place. His voice was strong and sure when he finally spoke. "If I'm chasing him, then my destination is the same as his."

"Naruto..."

A rare, rueful smile quirked his lips at the sound of her voice saying his name. As he began to walk, he called back quietly, "I just hope it's waiting for me when I catch up, even if he's the only one who gets to stay there."

/The best you could hope to be
Is now just a bittersweet memory and
You make breaking hearts look so easy/

End of Track 8

Guttersnipe's Word: Oh my. This is the first NaruSaku I've ever done. Granted it is one-sided on Naruto's part, but I just can't make it reciprocal. I just can't envision these two together. I don't support incest pairings, and I consider Naruto and Sakura to be siblings, wholly and completely. Or, at the very least, cousins. But far-too closely related for it to be appropriate for them to be more than friends.

Thanks for reading! Please review.