Disclaimer: I wish I could claim to owning Naruto. Or maybe not, because it would make my ego swell obnoxiously big. And I don't own the lyrics that you see before you. (They're in italics.) Those are from a song called Star Mile, which is sung by Joshua Radin. And it's a really beautiful song; I suggest you guys go listen to it.

Warning: Spoilers for the newest Naruto chapters, most especially the most recent. (408) You have been warned! Oh, and mostly OOC Sasuke. That's what happens when you get attacked by a plot bunny and write until six in the morning.

Notes: Oh, angst, how I have missed you, my sweet. Chiaroscuro is the art of light and shadow, and is normally used for art itself but I twisted it. Tee hee hee.


Remember the face

The girl who had made you her own

And how you left her alone

You did not wish to part with her in such a manner, (hell, you thought, you didn't want to part with her--with them--at all, but necessary things aren't always pleasant, and this is something you must do) but it was inevitable.

"I love you with all my heart!"

A twinge of something twitches in your chest and you almost stop, pause, and look at her, one last time. Her words ring in your ears, as you are sure yours do ("Sakura…thank you.") in her mind. When you left her on the bench her face had been contorted in pain, and guiltily you had looked away, because it wasn't a look of physical pain but emotional, as if someone was grinding her heart into particles beneath their shoes and spitting on the grains.

And that person was you.

The dobe, you know, will be mad when he wakes up; the thought makes the corner of your lips twitch, before your face fixes itself back in its usual apathetic one and you sigh, almost inaudibly, as you climb the hill, away from Konoha, away from everything you have ever known, away from the only family you ever had.

But that, you know, is not true.

They are your family, too.

Kakashi will be…you don't know. Disappointed, more than likely. Perhaps hurt. Sakura will be crying. Naruto will be angry. His own anger will be increased because he will hold all of the anger for Sakura, the blame on you yourself, because Sakura will never blame you, because she is Sakura and you are Sasuke-kun! and Sakura is incapable of hatred. (You hope, deep down, in the only untainted part of your heart that Itachi has not touched and where Team Seven resides, that she always stays that way.)

And then you stop, exhale, because--

You do not deserve to miss them.

"Sasuke-sama, we've been waiting for you."

You do not deserve them.


Look down from your tower on high and take in the night

Look her right in the eye

She'll listen

When you see them again, you are fifteen and have no more time for bonds or friendship or bright grins or kind smiles. Teme! is dead and Sasuke-kun is nothing more than a distant memory, one that you think could hurt you if you allowed it to. But you don't, so it doesn't matter.

Out of your old team, she is the first one you see. In the back of your mind, you notice that her hair is still cut short but her clothing is changed and her body is now lithe, slim. She looks like a kunoichi and you want to laugh because since when has Sakura ever looked like one?

Words are exchanged, meaningless words, because you are a man of action and not small talk, because to you, words mean nothing if actions don't follow them.

("Sakura…thank you.")

And then there is action and you are fighting the people you once thought you never would, and Sakura is looking at you with an expression that you have never seen on her face when she is looking at you.

It reminds you of Naruto's determined gaze, when he wants something and will do anything to get it.

Dimly, you are aware of a small part of you hoping that she does. Mainly, though, you are annoyed, are prepared to hurt her in case she gets in your way. (Not kill, though. Not yet.

Not ever. Whispers Sasuke-kun/teme, but you promptly ignore him. You left your naïve dreams back in Konoha.

You left your heart with them.)

Another man--where is Kakashi?--steps in your path as Sakura is running at you, right hand glowing, ready to cause pain to the one man who had meant the world to her.

Not long afterward, Orochimaru and Kabuto show up, and the three of you disappear in a swirl of flames.

But, you know, you will never forget what you see, as you are staring down at them as you are leaving. Emerald irises look crushed, blank, empty, and Naruto is on his knees. Defeated.

A tiny part of you, one that will not go away (you would call it a conscience, you suppose. Or maybe consciences, since it is always their voices you hear, mostly at night when you're trying to sleep and a sensei's words try to reason with you, a young girl's voice pleads with you, and a best friend's voice is yelling at you, words you don't want to hear because it might affect you and that is a big no-no) hurts.


And if you burn the road that'll lead you back to her in time

I'll watch you turn to stone

You have done everything possible to survive, just to find out that it is all for naught. To find out that your entire life had been a lie, and the man you had once hated…

You clench your teeth against the sudden onslaught of inner turmoil, eyes tightly closed against what you didn't want to see, didn't want to feel.

Behind your eyelids burns cerulean and viridian, and you push them away as Madara continues to explain.

There is no more room for picnics, for D-rank missions, for friendship.

Konoha, and its elders, must pay.

That night, your conscience(s) die.


And all the gold dust in her eyes won't reform into rain

You had and lost the one thing

You kept in a safe place

You see impossibly green eyes widen when you are in front of her wearing an Akatsuki cloak; see her mouth form the words, "No…" desperately to herself, as if she whispered it to herself enough it would make it untrue, would erase what she sees in front of her.

You are of the damned, now, and there is no redemption.

No hope of Team Seven reforming, and you can see the dream shattering in her eyes. Somehow, you can't bring yourself to care.

(You are such a liar, Sasuke-kun.)

Then, Sakura's mouth tightens and she snaps on black gloves, and you smirk, because she is taking you seriously.

Her eyes go carefully blank as she spreads her ankles apart, getting into a defensive stance, ready to defend her home.

(Which is run by people who order an entire clan to be wiped out without a second thought.)

And then, you fight the one girl you never thought you would.

You win, of course, but somehow you feel no victory, standing over her bruised and aching and broken body.

You did this to me. Her eyes seem to scream accusingly.

The part that would have felt guilty, the part that had belonged to your other family, which had been composed of sunshine and smiles and waiting and insults that really carried no weight to them, that part no longer exists.

(Like the lack of innocence in her eyes, right Sasuke-kun? But why are you surprised? After all,





She's moving on without you

They send her into your jail cell to deliver the news, and there is no pity in her eyes, only a deep anger, and you stare at her.

Hatred stares back, and you can't help but think that Sakura is the monster that you created. You did this. You deserve this.

"Uchiha Sasuke," she greets formally ("Sasuke-kun! Want to spar with me? Then afterward, we can go out to eat, right?") and her voice is blank, though she cannot hide the suppressed rage that is seeping through. "You are charged with being a traitor to Konohagakure, for the murder of the eight-tailed jinchuuriki, for joining with an enemy organization," her smile is deadly as she hisses out, "Akatsuki." Her voice is shaking as she nears the end, and you knows why. "For the aid in the murder of the nine-tailed jinchuuriki." Beneath all that anger you can see the hurt and wait for her to pass it on to you. She was always good at that. "For aiding in the invasion of Konohagakure. For the murder of Konoha's elders."

Her lips lift and she spits poison. "Uchiha Sasuke, your execution is set 24 hours from now." And the swing of the axe comes down on you, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

She turns to leave but pauses in the doorway, turns her head to look at you, shackled to a wall and chakra-less. A humorless smile adorns her face and you are almost struck by how one person can change so much in five years.

"Was it worth it, Sasuke?" She asks softly. "Was it worth it, coming to Konoha and knowing Uchiha Madara was going to kill Naruto, your best friend?"

You had known, of course, but her words unsettled you.

"Looking at you, in that Akatsuki cloak…" You knew the words before she'd said them, though her eyes were sharp as razors and cut just as deeply. "You reminded me of Itachi."

"Good." You grunt. Surprise flickers in her gaze for a moment; she is clearly taken aback by your answer, because years ago the name Itachi would've sent you into a murderous rampage, screaming for retribution.

"You never answered my question." Sakura says quietly.

"Yes." You reply, to both of them, and she understands.

Her hands clench at her sides, knuckles standing out, and you could tell that she wants to kill you herself, wants to see your blood spilling around her feet on the floor but you are dying tomorrow so what does it matter?

"I see." She says, a slow, nasty smile spreading across her face. "Well then, have fun in hell, Uchiha Sasuke."

The door clangs shut behind her.

(It is not the end that matters, but the journey of how you get there, and yours is filled with wrong turns, wrong ideas, wrong choices. Your death is an atonement.

You wish you could tell her that you're sorry, but only a small part of you is. Still, though, that part is hers to keep, even after your death.

You almost hope you see Naruto, because he is--you do not use was, because maybe your bonds were never really severed. Maybe your team clung too tightly and maybe you…maybe you clung back--your best friend, and an eternity is an awful long time to spend without an apology, and Naruto, of all people, deserves it.

But then you banish away that thought. Where you are going isn't for Naruto. He won't be there, because he doesn't deserve to be there. But you do.)


The tide breaks

You watch the stars fade

They gather you back to their home

I guess it's better than being alone

You are awoken the next morning by ANBU guards. It is time for you to die.

They drag you unceremoniously to the Hokage Tower, and from what little you know of the Hokage, she will not be pleased to be woken up at such an ungodly hour, because the sky is still dark, pink beginning to tint the horizon of the sky.

It is the last dawn you will ever see, and mirth bubbles up inside you, unbidden and unwelcome but who cares? You won't be alive to for much longer.

When you finally reach your destination, your thinking is correct, because beneath her blankness and superiority Tsunade is irritated and cranky.

"Missing-nin Uchiha Sasuke," she says coldly, smirking at the shackles that bind you. Behind her, Sakura stares.

Tsunade goes to her desk and pulls out a kit, filling a syringe with some golden, honey color, one not unlike her eyes, and walks up to you as the ANBU quietly shut the door behind them. Now the only people left in the room are you, the Hokage, and Sakura.

You are surprised that your end will not be more violent, that they are not beating you to death. You wouldn't stop them, even if you could. You deserve it. Tsunade must see it flash on your face, however brief, and she smirks again. "You are lucky my apprentice spoke up on your behalf, Uchiha, or we wouldn't be as forgiving."

You look at Sakura, who is now staring at something over your shoulder, and realize that she must have seen the unspoken apology in your eyes, the words that needed to be said but weren't because your ego was just too big. Besides, you didn't think she'd care even if had seen it. Then again, Sakura had always been good at reading you, no matter how deep the words lied buried.

Maybe…maybe for one last time, you can just be Sasuke-kun.

Her eyes flicker to yours and you hold her gaze as Tsunade sticks the needle into your arm, draining the syringe of its contents.

'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.'

Her gaze is weakening, and the hardness in her eyes is softening. You think she might cry. You're not sure if you want her to, because if you are Sasuke-kun then you want her to be Sakura again, just Sakura, back when she was still innocent and naïve and believed in you with a determination that, when you really thought about it, was enough to almost bring a lump to your throat.

Your vision is blurring around the edges but you're still staring at her, absorbing everything you can.

'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.'

Maybe, in another life, in another time, she might have been yours. You hope she knows it.

Your world is beginning to fade but you don't care, though a lull is dragging your body, singing a sweet siren song to sleep; you fight against it.

"Sasuke-kun. Come home."

I am home.

There are tears in her eyes, welling up around the corners and dripping down her face, slipping down her cheeks. Some fall onto the edges of her lips. You wonder if they taste bitter.

"Sakura…" You slur out, and the drug has you in its grasp. Her tears fall faster and she cannot bite back the sob that escapes from her throat. Her hands, you see, are clutching at her tan skirt, and from the tenseness of the muscles in her legs you know that she is resisting the urge to run to you, to hold you in her arms and say that she forgives you.

'I'm sorry.'


Her eyes are the last thing you see before your world turns black and you slip into oblivion.