Tsunade looked into the lifeless, azure eyes of Naruto Uzamaki. He lay on the hospital bed, no will to live, left. She looked to the small table on her patients right, noticing a small, tattered book. She opened it, her amber eyes widening as she realized what it was; his journal.
Sasuke left today. He left without any warning. I tried to bring him back, really I did, but I just couldn't do it. He almost killed me. Why, Sasuke, didn't you finish me off? I think death would be better than this aching in my heart. You've gone to Orochimaru, Sasuke, and I really would like think I understand. Did you do it because you needed the power? To kill Itachi? So, after he's dead, what will you do?
Sasuke, everything seems duller now, without you. I look at the stars that we always used to lay for hours and stare at and think, "They're so much brighter. Too much. They burn." Everything seems to burn now. My whole being burns with a fire, a desire to bring you back. My thoughts burn with the same fire. But, no matter how much I'd like to deny it; my heart burns with a different fire. A fire of the ultimate betrayal. A cut so deep, I've almos lost the will to live. You said you valued me as your brother; why couldn't you have stayed with me then? Why'd you have to go after Itachi? That was when I realized; you chose him over me.
It's the seventh. It made me think of Team Seven, or more like the broken Team Seven. You know what I've realized? We're the next Sannin, really. You betrayed us like Orochimaru did Tsunade and Jaraiya. Also, we're each training under a Sannin. Ironic, no? Jaraiya tried to warn me, but I didn't listen. Damn, I really wish I did. Maybe...Maybe if I'd believed, I'd have realized your feelings sooner. Maybe I would have been able to stop you.
I thought I'd seen you today. I was walking through the forest when I saw the Uchiha Clan fan. I looked up and saw your Sharingan, you standing a ways away. I couldn't move. I froze. Do you still check up on us Sasuke? Do you care? I'm still gonna bring you back, bastard. Believe it!
Sasuke, it's your birthday today. I went out and got you a present. It's a picture of us from a while back. I framed it and stuff. I put it in the forest where I saw you. I hope you get it. I'm going to get you back, that burning's still there.
I give up. I'm laying here in this hospital bed, broken, because I tried capturing you, again. I just can't do it. I've seen too many friends die in battle, too much bloodshed, too much torture, too much loss. Just too much. That burning is too much, also. It scalding. Maybe if I just lie here, I'll die. I don't want to live anymore.
Tsunade put it back.
So, it was all to Sasuke, hmm?
She sighed, running a finely boned hand through her blonde hair. She cast one last glance at her blonde charge before exiting the room and the hospital altogether. She slowly made her way to the wishing fountain in the center of her village of Konoha. She leaned on the railing and looked down at the water.
So, no one has any hope? No one wants to dream or wish any more? Maybe she was a worse Hokage than she thought...
Her closed her amber eyes, her thoughts drifting back to all of the Rookie Nine, Naruto and his recent fallout, first.
Almost all of them had broken at least twice already. They weren't even sixteen, yet. Each had to face hardships far beyond their time. She knew why children shouldn't be sent to war. She herself had broken far too many times for someone her age. But these children...And they were all so willing. She sighed and shook her head, her resolve hardening. She knew why children shouldn't be sent to war