A/N: So here's just a little bit of an epilogue. Nothing all that special about it; it kind of just concludes A Whisper in the Night a bit and sets the stage for A Shadow in the Darkness a little bit too.
And below the Epilogue is a sort-of summary for A Shadow in the Darkness. This one will have a bit more humour and less angst in it than A Whisper in the Night, but for those of you who like angst, don't fret. There will be some of that too! I just wanted to make the sequel a bit more fun and mix a bit of everything in it.
And before I officially conclude A Whisper in the Night, I want to thank all my readers, my reviewers and ESPECIALLY sasusaku 779. This story seriously wouldn't have been finished without your amazing support! You have excellent taste, my friend haha. I can't wait to hear your opinion on the finished product!
And for the last time...(for now)...
"I think we can safely assume that there will be no attack on Konoha."
Sakura shook her head and looked up at the Hokage. Her mind had been drifting the entire meeting. She knew she probably should pay attention- she was the Hokage's trusted apprentice and they were discussing the fate of Konoha and Naruto, who happened to be her best friend.
But it was just so hard to get excited about anything these days. She no longer found the joy she had in the things she had done before. Perhaps the deadness inside her would fade in time.
The question was - how much time?
"So are you saying we should abandon all posts and return to our regular routine?"
Sakura didn't quite register who had spoken – probably some old, experienced jounin.
This whole thing was a bore. It was fairly obvious that Orochimaru wasn't coming. She already knew he wasn't. It would be suicide. He was a crazy bastard, yes, but not a stupid one. Not that stupid, anyway.
As arguments raged on around her, Sakura took the time to study her surroundings, more out of boredom than anything else. She supposed she could voice an opinion or two. She was fairly good at that. Sometimes people didn't listen because she was small and decidedly of the female persuasion, but she had ways to make people listen - many ways. And God only knew they should listen to her. Hell, wasn't she the one who had come to them with this information they were now arguing about?
Well, her and Naruto, of course. But Naruto was out and about somewhere doing something or other. He really should be there, with her, but whatever. His presence probably would have just caused more problems and therefore caused more arguments and therefore make the meeting last even longer. Naruto had a way of pissing people off - usually older people. Younger people just laughed at his antics.
God, he'd make an excellent Hokage. Those old fogies needed a swift kick up the ass sometimes.
She was about ready to do it herself when her eyes caught something unfamiliar or, more accurately, someone unfamiliar.
And this unfamiliar person was staring at her – intently - and even though she was now staring back, his eyes did not waver.
He's a bold one.
Now that she really looked at him, she did get the feeling that she had seen him before…but couldn't quite remember where or when or how or anything else for that matter. He was young (he didn't look any older than her), he was fairly handsome and he was the only other person in the room who was sitting down besides her. No wonder he was staring at her - his fellow degenerate, also not bothering to delve into the wild world of village politics.
But then he smiled at her and the smile said something a lot more than a mere 'I know how you feel' commiseration. She blushed and looked away and suddenly her mood worsened considerably.
Not because he had been staring at her because he thought she was pretty or attractive, but because she was entirely unaffected by it. If a good looking guy checked her out, her stomach should flutter and her face should heat up and she should blush out of shyness and not guilt.
She was ruined. Completely and utterly ruined and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.
So much for that promise.
She hadn't known at the time that it would be so damn hard to keep - impossible, actually. Well, it didn't matter anyway. It wasn't like he would pop around to make sure she kept her word.
She was about to settle into another bout of sighs when a shinobi burst into the room, panting like a dog with rabies.
"I request (pant) an audience, Hokage-sama (pant). It is (pant)…it is most urgent (pant)."
The Hokage looked around the room, probably wondering how the hell she was supposed to extricate herself from the council room.
"It is private?" she demanded.
The shinobi shook his head. It seemed he had fully recovered his breath, "No, Hokage-sama. Actually, I imagine it is something everyone in this council will need to know."
Sakura perked up in her seat. This was finally getting interesting.
"Speak," Tsunade barked.
The shinobi took a deep breath before spilling the awaited news.
"Orochimaru is dead."
Sasuke stared down at the corpse at his feet. He could barely identify it…whatever the creature was.
Orochimaru's true form. To be honest, it was a bit of a letdown. He had been expecting – no - looking forward to what he thought would be an interesting fight. But Orochimaru had gone down easier than he had expected.
He had always planned on killing the scaly bastard, but his plans had been moved up a bit once it had been made clear that Orochimaru had no intention of waiting any longer for his promised body.
Promise my ass.
He was about as likely to follow through with that promise as he was to return to Konoha.
Which was not at all.
Now it was time to hunt his brother down and end it. He was ready. He knew he was. He could feel the adrenalin pumping through his veins. He felt more alive than he had in weeks; more alive than he had since…
But he wouldn't think about that, about her. No, he would only think of what was to come. And she was not part of what was to come.
Only the promise of retribution; sweet retribution and blood.
A Shadow in the Darkness
If only life were as simply as he wished it to be. He would not have to be disappointed. He would not have to feel unnecessary pain. He would not have to find out after years of believing otherwise that he was still in love.
But it did not matter. It didn't. He had walked away before…twice. What was one more time? And besides, she seemed less than inclined to rekindle anything so why should he bother?
He had accomplished his ultimate goal…but another one had presented itself to him. One he could not ignore. Itachi wasn't the only one responsible for his clan's surmise and he was damned if they were not fully avenged.
It was time to go after the instigator. It was time to go after Uchiha Madara.
It hardly mattered that Sakura was along for the ride.
Just when she had come to terms with being with a guy she didn't love and living a life without him in it, he just had to come back and ruin her fragile rapport. Didn't he know what this would do to her? Did he have any idea what would happen? How the hell was she supposed to let him go again?
But then again, he seemed in no hurry to dredge up their past…and all that was said then. In fact, he seemed entirely unaffected by her presence. A wise lady had once told her that one could never fall out of love. Well…she was wrong because Sasuke obviously had.
That was fine. Just fine. She would go on with her life and she would ignore his presence…to the best of her ability.
It certainly didn't help that they were going to be stuck together for an undisclosed period of time. At least it wasn't just her and him because, quite frankly, she didn't think she would be able to stand being alone with him and not attack him…with her lips. God, he was sexy…
But that didn't matter. It didn't. If he wanted to act like he had never said 'I love you' then that was just dandy with her because she wasn't too bad at acting either. Hadn't she being doing just that these past two years? Yes, she had. So she'd keep doing it until he left.
And she would not cry. She wouldn't.
And she definitely would not fail.
"I knew he'd come back."
A/N: Okay, so that's that! I hope you're getting interested in A Shadow in the Darkness! But before I write that, I will be writing three Interludes which cover the other pairings I favour. I decided to do this because there was no room for the other pairings in A Whisper in the Night and also because there is a two-year time gap between the original and sequel so I wanted to emphasize that by writing a few different short stories in the middle.
Interlude One: Neji and Tenten: Tenten thought she knew all there was to know about being a reliable kunoichi...but when she receives a mission she never thought she'd get, she finds out she was so wrong.
Interlude Two: Ino and Shikamaru: Ino didn't know why she loved Shikamaru, she just did. And now she had to get him to love her. But how the hell was she supposed to do that when he was immune to every trick in the book?
Interlude Three: Naruto and Hinata: Naruto had never really noticed Hinata. She was the shy girl that faded into the background and he was the in-your-face guy nobody could ever forget. So why was he suddenly so weirdly attracted to her and what was he supposed to do about it when her clan was adamantly against their match?
So yeah...I hope you guys read those too because that would be really great and it will make me start A Shadow in the Darkness just that much faster.
Till next time!