100 Times Over
A/N: Um... don't know how this came about... it's much longer than all my drabbles, but hopefully, you'll enjoy it...?
When Sasuke Uchiha was young and carried on his brother's back home, passing by the Konoha Police Force that the Uchiha clan were placed in charge of, he had numerous dreams, dreams that his young heart yearned to achieve and that his young mind believed he should strive for. Dreams to make his father proud, to remain by his brother's side as they grew older together and finally, to become a policeman.
When his brother had left him as the only survivor of the Uchiha clan, his dreams had all shattered and died, replaced with a bitter ambition; vengeance. To avenge the death of his entire clan and to kill the brother that he once wished to grow together with.
After his brother had finally died and he believed that he had avenged his clan, he discovered that his ambition had been wrong all along and that his brother had in fact been acting upon orders given by the village he had chosen to abandon; that his brother had been attempting to guide and protect him the entire time.
Sasuke Uchiha wept over his loss.
Dreams, ambitions lost, Sasuke armed himself with a desire.
A desire to avenge his brother for how he was wronged by their home, their village. The destruction of Konoha was what he desired and he believed that it was what they deserved.
Throughout his entire life journey, he had never questioned the reason for his existence-- vengeance-- and yet there had been various people who had questioned his ambitions. And now, crouched in front of him, was one who questioned his desire.
His eyes flickered up from the hand pressed against the deep wound on his chest. "I could ask you the same thing." Dark rings circled under his eyes and his breathing was slightly irregular from the attack he had received from the canine-like team mate of the medical shinobi before him.
She concentrated on healing his wound, watching it slowly close up with her medical ninjutsu. "You spared Naruto-kun," she replied softly.
There were no more words after that.
In the beginning, he had hardly recognised her with how much she had changed over the years he had been gone. Yet she knew him instantly and had refrained from attacking. He, and the three people accompanying him, were returning from an encounter with the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki and it was general knowledge by this time that Naruto was a target of the Akatsuki and although she noticed the cloak Sasuke wore, she did not launch an attack at him but rather watched as he leapt past her.
She had been using her Byakugan before he had arrived to this point and knew that he had let Naruto go (not even bothering to attack him) despite his Akatsuki appearance, and the possibility that he was capturing the tailed demons. And through the use of her Byakugan, she observed that he appeared to have even turned to his companions and ordered them to leave him alone; this was what made her waver and decide not to attack the Uchiha if he held no ill intentions.
It was however, the sight of the Uchiha that triggered an instant attack from her team mates whom Sasuke had no choice but to defend himself from. It was after the slash to his chest that Hinata had grabbed the Uchiha by the arm and had quickly pulled him away into a distant alleyway, preventing her comrades from causing any further damage to him and successfully losing Sasuke's team members who were held up by the remaining members of Team Eight, who though unaware of Hinata's intentions, trusted their female team mate. Once in the alleyway and ensured of their safety, Hinata released her hold on Sasuke's arm and before she knew what she was doing, she was in front of the Uchiha, healing the deep gash across his chest.
It was strange, she had to admit, sitting there healing up the wound of the missing-nin, murderer and possible Akatsuki member, Sasuke Uchiha. She bit her lip and decided to ask her question once more. "Wh-why...? Why d-did you spare N-Naruto-kun?" When all she received was silence, she continued, her eyes always on her healing hand. "W-We're aware that the A-Akatsuki's aim is to capture the t-tailed beasts... so wh-why...?" she asked, her voice becoming softer with each word, almost to the point where what she said was inaudible.
Yet Sasuke had heard it all and remained silent, his eyes concentrated on the gentle features on her face, studying the expression they portrayed. He remained still and his silence continued for a moment longer before he spoke. "I don't need to capture Naruto to complete what I aim to do."
She inadvertently raised her wide pale eyes to his obsidian ones. "Y-your aim...?" Realising that she was staring, she returned her gaze to her hand pressed gently against his chest. She should've known that it would be an unexpected answer. After all, she had even forgotten to ask him why he had return to Konoha after all these years if he had no intention of capturing Naruto. Nibbling her lip, she began to wonder if she was doing the right thing by healing him. It had just been on impulse to grab him and drag him to safety and now she was beginning to regret her reasoning for doing so. Was it good enough an excuse that he spared Naruto and she was grateful? What if, because of her own rash decision, she ended up killed by him; it would make sense since she didn't know Sasuke personally and wasn't sure he would simply allow her to escape after naively healing him.
As if affirming her doubts, he grabbed the wrist of the hand she pressed to his chest and gasping in alarm, Hinata attempted to pull her hand away, her chakra for her healing ninjutsu instantly vanishing. She was more than surprised when he released her wrist.
"That'll be enough," he said dismissively, placing his hands firmly on the ground on either side of himself and attempting to push himself back up. He winced as some blood spurted from his open wound.
Instinctively, Hinata was on her feet, her arms hovering around him as she anticipated a fall. "Y-you shouldn't m-move... you're still n-not in any c-condition to..." she stammered, still unable to look him in the eye, but rather, pretended to take interest in the swirling clouds on the Akatsuki cloak he wore.
Sasuke eyed her wearily, pushing her arms away. "I don't need your help. I have a healer in my group already, besides, I'm sure she's tracking where we are and my team are headed this way." He stumbled past her, no longer turning to look at her as he spoke. There was no need to; he had far more important matters at hand and it was pointless to remain here with the Hyuuga heiress. It wouldn't benefit him nor would it help him achieve his desire.
More blood spurt from his wound and Sasuke's hand pressed against the alleyway wall for support as he struggled forward. He had not expected the wound to be so severe. As he struggled on, he heard the tapping of footsteps and realised that she was now beside him once more and wondered why she was so persistent in helping him. He glanced at her, not bothering to turn his head. "Why are you trying to help me?" he asked, expressionless.
She bit her lip worriedly. "N-Naruto-kun... has been w-working so hard to bring you back..." she began, her voice almost inaudible. Unable to finish, she looked away.
From his appearance and his determination to leave, there was no possible way that he had returned to Konoha for good. The agony and difficult training that Naruto had pushed himself through and endured... all for this person who was simply going to leave again. It tore at Hinata's heart, that so many people would be affected by this person's disappearance and that he was not concerned at all about those people. She could not understand this person, the lone survivor of his clan, the Uchiha who limped before her, his expression uncaring, distant and cold.
"I... I d-don't understand..." she whispered, continuing to look away. "Th-there's so many... so many people I-I know... who would be affected by your leaving..."
He paused, his hand resting against the wall as silence fell upon them. "I already know that," he replied, his voice hard. "Those people continue to cling to a bond that I've already severed. That is why they suffer." He pressed on, pushing his wounded body forward, blood dripping continuously to the floor, leaving a crimson trail behind him.
Hinata whipped her head in his direction, tears brimming her eyes. "W-why? W-why don't y-you c-care about th-them?" she cried softly, her vision blurring with tears.
There had been so much pain and suffering for the shinobi who held onto those bonds that Sasuke had severed. So many troubles and heart-aches for the two people who worked hard to bring the Uchiha back.
A blurred silhouette grew bigger as it drew closer and irregular breaths fanned Hinata's face.
"I had a dream once," spoke the blurred silhouette before Hinata.
Two tears escaped from each of Hinata's eyes, her vision clearing slightly to see Sasuke's impassive face.
"I had a dream when I was younger," he said, his eyes portraying no emotion and his face blank of it. "But you should know Hyuuga," he continued, his eyes never leaving hers, "all dreams must come to an end. It's what fools like Naruto and Sakura should realise. They should quit dreaming that they can renew this severed bond."
"U-Uchiha-san!" Hinata gasped, horrified by his harsh words, another tear unwillingly shed.
Suddenly, he clamped his free hand over her mouth and silence fell upon them once more, Hinata sensing that he was expecting something.
Hinata recognised it to be the voice of the his red-haired companion, the one he had referred to as Karin, the tracker of their group. It struck her suddenly, the possibility that she was only just reaching them because her team mates had been defeated. Her eyes widened and just as she was going to pull away and activate her byakugan to check, Sasuke pulled his hand back and brought it swiftly down on the pressure point in her neck, taking her completely by surprise. Drowsiness suddenly swept over her and her eyes rolled back into her head, her knees buckling beneath her as she fell backwards, Sasuke swiftly reaching out and catching her before gently placing her on the floor at his feet where he crouched over her.
There was a moment of silence where he remained still, looking down at her.
"That took you a while to take her out."
Sasuke did not bother to look up to see who it was. "There was no reason for you to hide and wait back there. I remain true to my desire of the annihilation of Konoha, however, it's not my duty to take care of the Jinchuuriki of this village," he said, his dark-ringed eyes turning to address the Venus trap-like Akatsuki member.
"Oh, don't worry, I wouldn't tell the boss any less in my report," he replied in a different voice. "The boss has however, requested for your team to return soon," he said before he began to sink into the ground below him. "We'll see you when you return then."
By the time the Akatsuki member had vanished, the sound of hurried footsteps grew louder and soon, Karin and Suigetsu reached Sasuke with Juugo lagging behind a bit, wounded.
"Sasuke!" Karin cried, pulling to a halt behind the raven-haired leader.
Before anymore could be said, Sasuke stood, ignoring the stinging pain from his wound. "We're leaving."
"But Sasuke--!" Karin quickly rolled back her arm sleeve and held out her arm, riddled with bite-marks. "Take a bite, you're bleeding too much!"
"Go on ahead of me all of you. I'll be able to catch up with you in my condition," Sasuke ordered, ignoring the red-head.
Suigetsu heaved an aggravated sigh. "You heard him Karin, let's go. We can't stick around to be caught by Konoha's ANBU. We've scouted out this village enough anyway."
"And we've attracted too much attention, it'd be best if we left now," Juugo added, puffing slightly. "Besides, Sasuke's our leader. What he says goes." With that, Juugo turned back around and quickly leapt up, skillfully rebounding off the walls of the alleyway with his feet until he reached the top of the building, Suigetsu following closely behind him.
Reluctantly and with one last worried glance at Sasuke, Karin followed Juugo and Suigetsu up onto the building as they raced across the Konoha rooftops to the village gates.
Knowing he did not have much time left until ANBU would reach him, Sasuke turned back to the motionless figure at his feet. His eyes studied her brows that drew softly together even in her unconscious state.
"Hinata Hyuuga," he spoke quietly, ignoring the protests from his wounded body as he crouched back down, clutching the shinobi headband that was fastened loosely around Hinata's neck. He paused, staring at the glinting metal before allowing the material to slip from his fingers as he let go, the Konoha symbol gleaming in the small ray of light that hit it from above. As the headband slipped out of his hand, he felt as if he had touched a dream that he thought to have ended long ago; a dream that had slipped out of his reach once more, his desire pushing any chance of that away.
And Sasuke Uchiha turned and raced to catch up with his comrades, his brow furrowed as he ignored the pain from the wound in his chest. There was no pain from his heart however. His dream had died long ago and so had the pain that came with a lost dream.