Author's Note- Haha, bet you all thought I forgot. Nope nope. Been working on it for months and I just couldn't figure it out but finally I think I've done it and I can't stop smiling. I just finished like ten seconds ago. Hehe, so forgive me for any misspelling or grammar, I didn't really check.
Thank you all so much, it's meant a lot. Hopefully I have enough skill to write my own book, you've certainly given me enough confidence. *waves*
Final Chapter- Forgiven
You gave up the fight, You left me behind, All that´s done´s forgiven, You´ll always be mine. I know deep inside. All that´s done´s forgiven
Sasuke stared at the small pond without really seeing any of it. He knew the weeds that entangled the rocks, he knew the fish had long since died away in the algae infested waters and he knew the liquid no longer flowed through the dead bamboo. But what he saw was another story. The waters were crystal clear, murmuring against rocks smooth as glass. Coy wiggled through the current twisting and turning, searching for food. And the small drop of the bamboo striking stone occurred every few seconds as water filled and emptied into the pool.
He was stupid. Yet what else was there left for him to do but live in the past?
Within his compound he stayed. Buildings crumbled, spiders and insects over populated every inch of living space, and vines of wildlife had snaked its way up the sides of stone and wood alike. There wasn't much damage to the inside he found and with a little time perhaps the place could return to it's once vibrant appeal. But he dared not disturb the dust, lest spirits wake. He was in no way ready to face his clan's wrath just yet.
He thought he would find comfort here, in his own world. But even his house felt too holy for his own sinful soul. He hadn't a right to be here for he had failed them in every way he could.
So instead of sleeping inside to let the memories choke him, he laid upon his back porch near his father's sect. It was here Sasuke faced judgment from the old man. Those harsh eyes of his staring down at him, disgusted by what he saw. Words of discouragement, of disappointment, and disapproval always flowing from his father's lips.
How many times had he prayed to his family's gods that just once his father would speak to him with half as much love as he spoke to Itachi?
Sasuke closed his eyes when he heard his brother's whisper. 'Father will see you now.'
Itachi was wrong. Father wouldn't pay a bit of attention. For Sasuke had failed in killing his brother. Naruto had done it. Naruto had pushed the sword through where he himself had been unable.
Sasuke had many regrets in his life but that wasn't one of them. Itachi deserved his death. Did Itachi deserve to die alone? No, not at all. That was his biggest regret thus far.
Yet to know that Itachi had remembered the strife he had suffered, made him wish for his brother again.
The thought alone got him to his feet. His shoeless toes scrapped against the ground at his lethargic pace and it took half the afternoon but when finally he got where he was going, Sasuke dropped to his knees again and laid beside his family's graves.
Grass was sprouting upon the dirt where his brother laid. Sasuke snatched at it, ripping it from the ground. He didn't want time to move on. He didn't want to continue living alone.
Sasuke threw himself on his back. His face now covered with mud and it smeared when he wiped it. He glared at the sky, at the sun for continuing to shine, for the wind continuing to blow, for life going on when it should have ended when Itachi took his last breath.
His first kiss. Naruto felt like he was flying. He jumped from rooftop to rooftop not really sure in what direction he was heading. It didn't matter anyway.
Life couldn't be getting any better. Sasuke's home, Sakura's home, and he just had his first real kiss!
If his grin could stretch for miles it would have wrapped around the earth twice. He needed to tell someone and who better than his best friend.
Naruto looked around and was excited to see he was around in Sasuke's part of town. He jumped over the barred Uchiha doors and ran down the empty street, twisting and turning till he made it to Sasuke's compound. He swung upon the door, "Sasuke!" He called going from room to room until finally he got to his. Sasuke sat upon his bed and looked up. "Sasuke!" Naruto beamed and quickly set in a pace to tell his story, "Okay, we went to this new place down by the river, I never been and I don't think I'll go again, their ramen wasn't great which I was a bit disappointed because it's suppose to have the best but it wasn't even close but Hinata wanted to go to it so I agreed. She looked great. She wore this purple thing and showed her legs and boy does she have nice legs. I thought Sakura had good ones but Hinata's are way better. And after we ate, I don't even know what she ate I wasn't paying attention she looked so good in that purple thing, and when we went out on the deck by the lake, we kissed!" He screamed that last part looking to Sasuke for some enthusiastic reply. "Have you ever kissed before? It's amazing! At first I thought that kissing was stupid, it doesn't look fun at all but man did it feel great! And she smells so good! You got to try it-"
"I mean it's unbelievable.- What?"
Sasuke looked up at the boy for the first time. "I'm leaving, Naruto."
"Leaving? What do you mean? You just got here?"
"I can't stay here."
Naruto choked on his words, knowing not what to say. He looked around and noticed the dust and the debris, and finally the smell. He rank with death still. "Yeah, you should live with me. We can be roommates!" His eyes lit up at the thought.
Sasuke scoffed. Naruto was such a kid. "Naruto-"
"Sasuke. Don't. Don't leave again."
It affected him, hearing Naruto beg. Perhaps it even hurt a little. But it wasn't going to hinder him. "I have to."
"I need to know why my brother killed everyone. I need answers Naruto. Akatuski might have those answers."
"You killed him. We killed him. You're goal is done. You did it. You don't need to leave."
"I'm not discussing this any further" Sasuke turned his back hoping it would end this pointless bickering.
Naruto was never good at signs. "Then why? Why tell me? You know I'll stop you. You know I'm come after you. You know I won't let you go."
Sasuke's eyes held onto the floor. Naruto's voice was cracking. The boy was shedding tears for him. Him and Sakura both loved to cry for him. "You killed Itachi." It wasn't a good explanation but somehow he hoped Naruto would understand.
Tsunade had sent for him. Sasuke wasn't one to obey orders but it just so happened that he needed to speak to her. Plus the ANBU were being pushy. He couldn't wait to get rid of them.
The door was open for him and within it stood three more members of the secret society. They wore their cat masks for amenity but he felt their glares, their scorn. It was easily ignored considering.
Tsunade stared at him, her fingers laced in front of her seemingly studying his person. Perhaps if he were younger and less trained it would have bothered him. Orochimaru loved to stare, her gaze was nothing compared.
"I hear rumor you wish to leave." Sasuke made no remark though he could only guess it was the ANBU's daily reports of all his conversations and doings. "Do you actually think that's possible?"
"It matters none. When I leave there is no one to stop me." She glanced to her ANBUs. If he could produce a laugh he would have. "Your slaves will do little."
"I could lock you up again." He shrugged. She definitely could. She didn't underestimate him in that area. She leaned up on her desk. She was hesitant. It made him wonder why. "It would do no good I'm sure. You are stubborn, Uchiha Sasuke. I hoped you would get past your grief. I allowed this month of mourning for the simple purpose of finding out what lies beneath the mask you wear. But you were trained well, weren't you?"
"I am done with questions."
If he wasn't grieving for his lost family, he was being interrogated by her probing cast of mind readers. The violation was nothing different then Orochimaru's controlling nature so it had affected him little but that didn't mean he didn't fight it.
"I have one more. What do you plan to do IF I let you leave?"
"What I do is my concern."
"No. It is mine as well. All of the Five Countries wants you dead. There is bounty for you. A large sum, no doubt. Believe what you will but I have been protecting you. The ANBU do more than just watch you. Yet I'm sure you know this." She leaned back in her chair, her hands connecting again with concentration. He wondered if she realized her habits were so easily read. "So you plan to just walk out of here without a destination or friends, and just fight for the rest of your young life. Doesn't seem like a great idea if you ask me."
"You should ask someone. You are a young boy, no matter what you think. What you have been through hasn't been fair-"
"Fair?" He scoffed.
"But you have a home here." She finished harshly. "You are safe here. As long as I am alive, and in charge, Konoha will be your home. However. In order for it to stay that way, I need you to do something for me."
Sasuke wanted to walk out but he knew his options were limited. Besides, if he didn't like what she had to say he could always ignore her.
"Help me." She pushed out. Sasuke's eyes narrowed in confusion when her whole demeanor changed. She no longer seemed like a cold heart hokage but instead an old caring woman. "Help me keep Naruto safe." He didn't understand. "Akatsuki is coming for him. And I don't know if I'm strong enough to stop them anymore. And Naruto is so careless. He does what he want. He doesn't even realize how close to death he is at every hour of the day." A smile formed on her lips, "And I hope he never has to know." She coughed suddenly, sat up straight and went back into her hokage position. Her eyes roamed around for a moment before descending on him. "So, is it a deal?"
He was back here again. Laid out on the wood floor before his father's wing like a kid waiting for punishment. Why did this section of the house attract him? It wasn't that it made him feel any better or that he felt safer. It was only that the voices were quieter here.
Sasuke could see only partially the sky above him. It was dark out now, the stars were shining, the moon was barely visible beneath the tree line. It would be a good night to leave and never come back.
The hokage. What an evil woman that was. To give him such an ultimatum had been a surprising tactic he hadn't thought she was capable of. Protect Naruto or be locked up for the rest of his life. Neither one was a particular choice he would willingly choose but it was obvious which one he was leaning toward. This way he would be able to leave this village without a scene.
A door closed.
Sasuke's brows knit. His ear was pressed up against the wood. He could feel the vibrations and the sounds of footsteps traveling. There was someone in his house.
Sasuke's hand dropped to a small knife he kept on his side. With a snake like silence he slithered to his feet, sliding against the wood into the back hallway. He rounded the corner peaking a glance. There was movement in the kitchen.
Tightening his hold on his blade, Sasuke charged into the room.
Only to come to a sudden stall.
Sakura washed vegetable in the sink, humming to herself. She turned and caught his eyes, noticing his weapon and smiled softly shaking her head. "Sit down." She ordered lightly. The water snapped off and she whipped her hands on the side towel before going over to the cabinet and grabbing a few bowls. She washed those too, getting rid of the built up dust.
She was touching his mom's stuff. The panic set in. "What are you doing?"
"I'm sure you haven't eaten anything." She began mumbling to herself picking through the drawls, trying to find a knife to cut up the food.
Sasuke shifted, the knife dropped from his hands, "What are you doing, stop it." He grabbed her utensils, shoving them back in the drawl, nearly pushing her aside to grab the bowls that were still wet and placing them back in the cupboard where they belonged.
"Sasuke. You need to eat. Kami, you're wasting away here." She went to grab the bowls again and he grabbed her hands. "Would you stop it?"
"Don't touch it." He bit.
Sakura yanked away, "What is the matter with you?" He ignored her folding up the towel she had used and put it in its proper order. When she noticed that however, Sakura was quite to realize what the problem was. Normally her heart would have gone out to him and she would been so understanding but today she was going a different way. She would yank him from his despair if it's the last thing she does. "I'm cooking dinner, Sasuke. You need to eat." When she grabbed a bowl, he snatched her wrist, squeezing it hard.
Her expression at first was fear but it past quickly. She was going to get to him, one way or another. She dropped the bowl and shattered against the tiled floor. His eyes were wide in shock and she only smiled. Sasuke sank to the floor to try, touching the pieces.
Sakura threw down another bowl. He was motionless.
Sakura went passed him, flipping the kitchen table over. It crashed against the floor, the chairs flinging with it, breaking when it collided with the wall. She stepped to the pantry, yanking out all the food covered in cobwebs and molded over, scattering them on the ground. The smell was rancid but she continued her tirade. She went to the living room, flipping the couch, busting the TV, breaking the coffee table, smashing the lamps.
By the time she returned she was out of breath. Sasuke still stayed upon the floor, with the sharp pieces of porcelain upon his palms. Sakura sighed before she took a seat against the cupboards on the floor with him. She rested her head upon her knees and waited.
When he finally rose, he disturbed her from her sleep. Sasuke could feel her eyes on him even as he left the doorway. He went down the hallway and entered his room, one last time.
Sakura may not know but she had done it. She had severed the bond still left here. This room, this home, this village. This deathly grave. It had shattered with his mother's dishes. Though Sakura may not look at it like it was a good thing, for Sasuke it was the best thing she could have possibly done. He would suffer no more. The past was broken and swept into the garbage.
He would leave here and the only thing that he would leave behind this time was them. His friends. No spirits, no vengence, no hatred. Just friendships, strong bonds that wouldn't break with time. And maybe he would return one day, when he knew who he was. When he had something to give back to those friends that had sacrificed so much for him.
Sasuke pain was ebbing. Even as he rested his packed bag on his shoulder he felt lighter. What an odd feeling it was.
Sakura watched him, her eyes following each movement until he disappeared behind the doorway. She heaved herself up and thought about following after him but then thought better of it. She looked around and couldn't help but chuckle at the stupidity of her immaturity.
She picked up the table, straightened the chairs that weren't broken and grabbed an unbroken bowl from the cabinet, her feet cracking the glass upon the floor. Sakura returned to the sink, grabbing the lettace that was now dry and began to chop it into fine pieces. She heard his footsteps stop at the entrance but didn't turn to face him. She knew what he was going to do.
"I'm leaving." He stated.
Sakura didn't stop. "Where are you going?" She was proud that her voice didn't betray her.
"I wouldn't tell you even if I knew."
"Everyone believes I'm dead. Oto's been abandoned. And besides, I'd never go back there again."
She swallowed and dropped the sliced lettuce in her bowl. "Okay." She grabbed the tomato.
Sakura kept her lips tightly meshed together. She wondered why his footsteps didn't sound. She needed him to go. If he was going to go. It needed to be before she broke down.
"You're not going to fight?"
It was a question she was sure he hadn't meant to ask. But it was there and he was anything but subtle. She felt a smile on her face but her lips trembled and she shut them tight again. "If it will make you happy." The silence hung in the air. "Will leaving make you happy?"
It was a harsh question. She knew that happiness was a struggle for him. For his whole teen life he thought that killing his brother would fill the void but instead the hole had just gotten so much bigger. There would never be any happiness. It didn't matter where he went or what he did. He would never find it.
"It doesn't matter."
She chuckled, a bitter chuckle. "You're right. I guess it doesn't."
There was so much she wanted to say. So much that was stuck in her throat. Perhaps she would have said it all if any of it would have made a difference. But she knew better now. How pointless it all was. There was nothing left that he didn't know anyway. Saying it would only tear her apart.
His footsteps still didn't leave. Her strength was wanning and yet she was able to withhold it as long as she continued her diligent work on their dinner.
"This." He paused. "place. This whole section. Its yours. Burn it, sell it. I don't care."
His footsteps began to fade.
Her whole body went rigid. Oh, why, oh why did he have to go and do that. Why did he have to give her his entire life? A white elephant, not wanted, and yet so precious to her. Something she had wanted her whole life and he just tosses it to her like a filthy and ragged old t-shirt.
And just like that, he filled her up with all the hope she needed.
Sakura spun around and ran after him, the door slammed shut and she skid to a stop catching Sasuke standing at the end of the walkway with his back to her. He had waited for her.
It took forever for him to finally turn around but when he did, she had a smile waiting for him, "I'll fix it up." She shrugged, "Paint some walls, tear down some houses, get the stores open again. Maybe even create a new clan. For people without one."
He gave no reply and began to walk down the street again. Sakura took a step, "Sasuke!" She yelled over the distance and glanced back at her. "I'll be here, when you come back. So don't forget about me."
Sasuke straightened, continuing his path down the dirt road. And she could swear that she saw his head shake, just once.