A/N: Hello there, reader. I'm pretty excited to write this story. It's been something I've been formulating in my mind for a while now. I hope it's not too similar to anyone else's story out there. That's something that always scares me when I first post a new story...
Anyways, I'm not so sure which pairing to post this story under, since I haven't quite decided which one will be the more important yet. I guess I'll put it under the usual Sasuke x Sakura until I decide.
The rating may change, as well. I don't know if I'm going to include any lemony/limey moments at this point.
Rating: PG-13 or R for subject matter, language, and mild sexual content
Pairings: ItaSaku, SasuSaku
I DO NOT OWN NARUTO!
P r o l o g u e : M i s t a k e
It's dark today.
It's darker than it should be.
May in Konoha is usually bright and light-hearted, the air thick with innumerable floral scents and the ground littered with sprouting plants as the children of the academy rush to class for the last chance until autumn to become genin. Birds sing as the new shinobi emerge and the soft wind brushes my face sweetly as I watch and wave from afar.
But this year has been different.
It seems that, due to a long winter, the blossoms never formed, and the air is dead and dry, just like our miserable spirits as we stand before the framed picture of a child lost to the hands of time. It seems that every eye in the village is shining with a tear, that is, except mine, because I've already cried every tear I could muster.
This child should have been my patient. I failed him. I failed Konoha.
His father is standing by my side, and out of shame, I cannot meet his eyes when I tell him I'm sorry for his loss. I left his son to die, even though he does not know it. Had I been there when it happened, had I left my selfish wants behind and just did what I knew I should have done… and realized how everything would end… this child might have fulfilled all of his dreams someday…
Just another face on the wall to remind me that I'm incompetent… and just at that moment, when I'm about to hate that child for doing this to me…
…humanity returns to my heart, and I feel worse than before.
Yes… I continue to reconsider my own life.
My house is dark when I enter it. I'm not sure who had been paying my bills in my absence, but when I flick the light switch, the darkness is chased away by weak beams of artificial sunshine, and they make me wince slightly.
Still garbed in my funeral attire, I drop to my knees on the cold floor, not caring that they will surely be bruised tomorrow, and slump against my front door.
When I left the village with that man… no, creature, I hadn't realized what connotations came along with that decision… and to be honest, even if I had, I wouldn't have cared. In my anger… my frustration… I had sought revenge… just like the man with makeshift wings had, only on him himself…
I didn't understand it then. I didn't understand him until he was dying in my arms, his final amends made to the world and his heart finally free of burden after all those years. Yes, in that moment, I could feel his pain, knowing that it was solely my fault that he would never get to enjoy his ultimate liberation.
I'm startled out of my thoughts by a sudden pounding at the door behind me. I jump back in surprise, and then raise a pallid hand the door and slide it open. I'm greeted by the sight of the village's sunshine, my dearest friend, Naruto. His azure eyes watch me, and he doesn't bother to mask the look of utter hurt in them.
I bite my lip nervously. "Naruto…"
"I told myself I wouldn't bother to speak to you again," he asserts. "It was hard here without you, Sakura!" I immediately take note of the absence of the usual suffix. "You just up and left us for no good reason!"
I knew I would regret saying it, but the words escape my mouth before I can stop them. "Just like Sasuke did, but you weren't mad at him!"
I'm sure his eyes just flickered red. "That's so much different…" His shoes make a hollow sound against the wooden floor, and he's approaching me with nothing short of murderous intent.
"He had a reason! Even though I hated it, even though I still hate it today, I know why he left us!" My back meets with the wall, and he's still coming closer. "But you didn't! You just went on your merry way with…Itachi!" He spits the word out like it leaves a bad taste in his mouth. "And just because you wanted to!"
I can't argue with him, because I know he's right.
I don't know how much time passes... probably a few minutes, before I decide it's safe to speak again. His breathing his short and hard, but I can feel him calming down.
"Do you want to know… about it?" His eyes meet mine sadly, and I can tell he's considering my offer half-heartedly. "It's all I can offer you, Naruto, please…"
"Why do you want to tell me anything?" His voice is laced thickly with disdain.
"Because it's important… and you're my best friend."
He sighs and takes a seat on the floor, looking up at me with tired eyes. "Don't leave anything out. Not a single word."
I nod fervently, and then sit down to face him.
I know that this is going to be the second-hardest thing I will ever do in my life, the first being something I must reveal to Naruto. I have to tell him how I left behind my humanity to embrace the very thing he despised. I have to tell him that his mirror image has ceased to exist because of my doing. I have so much to say…
…and maybe if I can succeed in this, I won't be so useless anymore…
I began slowly and cautiously.
"It was on the night of April Fool's Day that my eyes met hell..."
A/N: Please review!!