Now, it seems to me that those of you that reviewed were a bit confused about the end of the previous chapter. That was not the "END". I said in the A/N that there was still one more chapter. That being said, for your reading enjoyment may I present to you, THE FINAL CHAPTER OF SPARKS THAT FLY AND FALL.
(Still confused? Reference chapter 21: Killing Loneliness and chapter 22: Promises)
Chapter 51: Of Connections and Stones
Sakura's chin dropped down to her chest. "I'm sorry. She's… gone."
"Gone! Gone! What the hell does that mean?" Naruto screamed at the medic nin. "Please Mika-chan, come back!" The young boy shook the limp body on the ground. "Please don't go…", he pleaded as tears streamed down his face. "Please…"
A fine mist covered everything in sight. The trees were bare and the ground was nothing but dry dirt. She was standing in the middle of a clearly defined path, slowly taking in her surroundings. It was difficult to see further than a few meters in any direction but what could be seen had a pale, faint coloring to it. "This is… strange."
"Agreed." A familiar voice answered her.
The woman turned her head to look for the source. Sitting on the ground to her left, attached to her wrist by a thin silver chain, was a small, bronze and white colored weasel… with six tails. "Rokubi?" It looked up at her with its solid black eyes and nodded. A calm smile crossed the woman's face. "Even in death, eh?" She gestured to the chain that acted as a bracelet for her and a collar for him.
" 'fraid so." He scratched his ear with his back foot. "Hey do you feel this weird sense of peace too?"
She nodded reaching down to pick up the small critter. "It would be upsetting if I was capable of feeling that right now." She cradled him in her arms, only to have the weasel flip around and set his head down on her shoulder.
"This place looks like a haunted forest." He nipped at her earlobe.
The woman tugged on his end of the chain to stop him. "I think we're in purgatory."
The Rokubi sighed heavily. "Better than hell I guess." They walked down the path for a few minutes before she stopped and held the creature in front of her, looking it in the eyes. "What is it?" The black orbs blinked in confusion.
"We've gone over six minutes without cursing at each other." It took another couple of seconds for this to sink in.
"Hmm… that is odd. Are you feeling alright, Mika?" The weasel squirmed in her grasp until she pulled him in close again.
"I feel… fine."
Kakashi reached forward and placed his hand over Mika's eyes, closing them for the last time. Naruto continued to cry into the dead body's chest, refusing to let go.
"I'm sorry." Sakura stood up and dusted the dirt off of herself. "There are others that need me." Her sensei waved her off dismissively and without emotion. "… I'm sorry.", she whispered again as she turned quickly to help the other wounded on the battlefield. She didn't get far. When she turned, she ran straight into Sasuke. He caught her by the arms and looked down at her. The girl gasped, "Sasuke…"
His eyes panned from her to the scene behind her. "What happened?"
Sakura's eyes fell off to the side as she took a step back, out of his grasp. "Poisoned." Her inadequacy issues surfaced. "I couldn't save her." The girl rushed off to aid the other fallen ninja.
"Hey, can you see that?" Mika readjusted the Rokubi in her arms and pointed down the path.
"Yea, it looks like a person. Hurry up and walk faster. I wanna see who it is." The weasel jumped from her hold on him and ran, pulling on the chain with all the force a small rodent could.
"What's your rush?"
"Why aren't you rushing? Maybe they can help us." He continued to pull.
Mika just walked forward with the same pace she had been, slowly but steadily getting closer to the figure in the distance. "Help us with what?"
"Pass on… that's what we're supposed to do, right?"
"I guess so." She answered him half-heartedly. "What are our choices? Is it possible for us to go back?"
The figure in the mist was now much clearer. A man with blonde, somewhat spiky hair and a white coat over his green Jounin vest. "…!" Mika gasped. "Nii-san!" She ran past the weasel on the ground without picking him up and inadvertently dragged him behind her as she rushed to her brother's now open arms.
"Hey there, Sparky." The man held her tightly with a smile on his face.
"Oh my god. Nii-san, I-I… I don't know what to say." The lost expression on Mika's face explained it all.
"I know. I know." He comforted her. "But what are you doing here?" He held her back and looked at her. "How old are you?"
She stared back at him with wide-eyes. "Um… I'm 28."
"You're 29." The Rokubi crawled up her back and peeked over her shoulder. "Your birthday was last month. You didn't celebrate it, remember." He looked away from Mika's cheek and saw the Yondaime. "Hey."
The man nodded to the weasel and then looked back at his little sister. "Rokubi's here too, huh?"
Mika nodded and let her head drop. "We died."
Minato grabbed her chin and lifted her head back up. "Not quite." Both Mika and the Rokubi's eyebrows raised in confusion. "Nothing is set in stone, Sparky. Now you better keep on walking and I better not see you again until you're 80 and a grandmother, you hear me?"
Sasuke took a step forward and looked down at his sensei and former teammate. He knew better than to try talking to either one of them at the moment. Glancing over his shoulder, he looked back at his brother's body. Itachi had died in the battle with Madara, but he took that bastard with him. More than once during that fight, Itachi saved his life. Taking a hit that was intended for the younger Uchiha. With a shallow sigh, he knelt down and placed his hand on Naruto's back; letting him know he was there for him.
"… Who are you?" The raven perched on Naruto's shoulder asked Sasuke.
Kakashi finally looked up from Mika's corpse to see his two former students. One comforting the other's loss. Silently, he stood and began to walk away.
But Watari noticed and flew after him, landing on his head and bending over to look him in the eye. "Where do you think you're going?"
The man reached up and pulled the blackbird off of himself, forcing it to flutter about until it found a perch on a nearby tree branch that was conveniently at head level.
"Don't you care that she's dead?" The bird prodded.
With his one black eye, Kakashi stared at the bird. "This is the third time… the third time that I've lost her. First when the Kyuubi attacked, then when I thought she was a traitor and now this. I can't take it anymore…" He closed his eye and swallowed hard. "But I guess I won't have to."
Watari watched him carefully, noting the pain in his voice and gestures. It was genuine. Puffing up his little chest, the bird flew over onto the silver-haired man's shoulder. "Take me back to her." He ordered.
Reluctantly, Mika had continued down the misty path, leaving her older brother behind. "Who else do you suppose is around here?" The Rokubi shrugged his shoulders before snuggling into the crease of her elbow. The weasel appeared to be falling asleep in her arms. It was turning out to be a long walk and he was grateful for the free ride. Mika sighed and trudged forward, when she heard someone call her name.
"Huh?" She looked around looking to see the source of the voice in the dense mist. "Hello?", she called out.
"Mika! Oh my gosh! Mika!" A black haired woman shot out from behind a tree and tackled Mika to the ground, accidentally causing the Rokubi to go flying from her arms. However, he only flew for the distance allowed by his unorthodox leash.
"Gah! Get off!.... Oh, Rei? Oh! Rei!" Mika hugged her lost friend as if her life depended on it.
The two girls started chattering like a couple of school girls. With every sudden movement that Mika made, the Rokubi was jolted around. He finally managed to reach her side and bite her ankle. "You know…" he started having earned her attention. "Even though I'm a bijuu made of pure chakra… it still hurts when you choke me like that."
"Oh my god! What is that thing?" Rei pointed in shock at the rodent like creature.
Mika stared at Rei blankly for a moment while she thought of her answer. "Um, yea. I kinda left that out about me." She raised her wrist to show off the silver chain. "I'm a… er, rather I was, a Jinchuuriki. This is the six-tailed beast, Rokubi. He's a lot cuter than he would seem to be, right?" She smiled.
Rei knelt down and poked him. "Beast?" She giggled. "But he's so tiny."
"For whatever reason, I don't really have it in me at the moment, but normally I would cuss you out for that." The little weasel plopped himself down in the dirt and pouted, his six fluffy tails flickering back and forth behind him.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" Rei snatched him up and cuddled the cute little thing. "I'm sorry, little buddy. I think you're positively adorable!"
"Rei…" Mika reached out and took the Rokubi away from her so that she would get a focused answer. "How long have you been here?"
"Hmm…. Ya' know, I don't really know. Genjo and I have been just walking around for what feels like eternity."
"Eternity? But you've only been dead for 7 months. Wait, Genjo?" Mika swiveled around to catch the nobility slowly making his way down the embankment of the road.
He looked up sensing a pair of eyes on him. "Ah! Mika-chan! How lovely of you to join us!" He waved joyfully.
"Um, join you?"
The Rokubi looked up from his cradle in Mika's arms. "We are not joining them… right?" She looked at him like she didn't know what to do.
Genjo walked up next to Rei, throwing his arms around her sweetly. They made such a cute couple. "So Mika? Will you be staying with us?"
Kakashi's steps drew Sasuke's attention away from his friend's grief. More than ever before, his former sensei looked like an old man. The stress of the war and the loss of Mika must have brought it out of him. As the man fell to his knees on the other side of the dead woman, the bird on his shoulder dropped down and spoke. "Move him." It gestured to Naruto.
Quietly, Sasuke began to pull his friend from the source of his mourning. "NO!", the blonde fought, but Kakashi reached across and held his shoulders, silencing him.
Naruto was about to snap back at the two others that were trying to take him away from his only family, but the sight of Watari slowly walking up the length of Mika's body caught his eye. "What are you--"
The bird cut him off with a wave of his wing. "Be quiet. I'm…" He sighed heavily. "Just be quiet and don't touch her." The three inched back slightly to make sure they were at a suitable distance. "Oh and you.", he pointed to Sasuke. "Go get that medic nin. It's been almost 15 minutes and her blood has begun to coagulate. She won't last long if her blood can't be pumped though her veins." Watari settled himself on Mika's chest and stared at the bite mark on her neck that had veins of poison still radiating from it. People still need you here, doll. He closed his eyes.
"She most certainly will not be!" There was a fluttering sound as the four looked up in a nearby tree. Watari stood resolutely staring down at them. "Mika, you're going back right now."
"Watari, what are you doing here? Oh, I left you and you died didn't you? I'm so sorry. I should have dismissed you first I guess." She sighed. "Now you're stuck here with us…"
The raven flew down and landed on a tree stump, much closer to her. "Hey now, doll. I love the sympathy, but I'm not dead." …yet., he thought. "Don't you remember all the people you left up there?"
"Well, yea. But what's that got to do with anything?"
He shook his head back and forth. "They need you and you're going back." The bird nodded to the Rokubi in her arms. "Freaky weasel and all." Mika continued to stare at her summon blankly. "So…. Are you going to walk over to where I am or do I need to fly over to you?" The bird ruffled its feathers in annoyance. He was sacrificing himself for her and all she could do was stare.
"I-I don't get it." Mika sat down on the ground. "I can go back… how? I'm dead. Last time I checked that was a permanent type of thing."
Rei and Genjo laughed lightly. "Nothing is ever set in stone, Mika. You should know that."
"Silly girl." Watari flew over and stood in front of her. "I'm as connected to you, as you are to me. And that includes any other things that happened to be attached to your soul." The Rokubi was cleaning his paw and looked up to catch the glare of the raven. "Just promise me you'll be good. And stick with your family. That's where you belong." With that, Watari jumped up and struck her in the head.
"Sasuke, I already told you." Sakura was being dragged back toward Mika's corpse. "She's dead and there are other injured people that could still use saving." She hissed quietly, taking care to keep her voice from reaching Naruto or Kakashi's ears.
"Three years ago I wouldn't have had to drag you anywhere…", the raven-haired boy grumbled irritably. "Stop it." He pulled roughly on her wrist and glared at her harshly. She only returned the glare two-fold. It caught him off-guard. He was certain she would cower and back down. Three years… should've known. "Look Sakura, I don't know what's going on. But that talking bird said that it was going to need you to undo the coagulation of that woman's blood. So stop being such a whiny bitch and come on."
The pink-haired girl snatched back her wrist and strode alongside him. "That woman has a name and it's Mika. She's Naruto's aunt and I don't want to ever hear you talk about her so callously again. Do you understand me, Sasuke-kun?" She grabbed his shoulder and squeezed with that freakish strength that Tsunade taught her. He winced and nodded slightly, looking back to their destination only a few meters away now. "Good."
Both Kakashi and Naruto were watching the raven intently. Neither knew what was going to happen, but they were both praying for a miracle. Suddenly, there was a slight movement. Both men twitched and looked at each other briefly, unsure if it was Watari or Mika that had moved. Slowly, the raven's head dropped down, his necklace loosening and falling forward slightly with him.
Stressfully, Naruto leaned back and looked up at the sky. "Oh God.", he whispered and closed his eyes.
Then Mika's chest rose and fell… and then rose and fell again. She was breathing steadily. Kakashi couldn't believe what was happening right before his eyes. She was dead… dead and gone, her blood wasn't pumping, her brain should have died minutes ago and yet her lungs were filling with air and she was breathing. She was alive!
He leaned forward, over her head and whispered. "…Mika? Mika, are you there?"
Naruto heard his teacher's words and instantly his eyes shot down to his aunt. He gasped and slammed his hands down on her upper arm… the one stabbed by Sasuke. "Oba-chan!"
The shot of pain from her wound brought her back to consciousness… and into direct contact with Kakashi's forehead. Mika shot up from the ground only to make it a few measly inches before smacking right into Kakashi as he hovered over her. Both fell back to the ground, Mika looking dazed and Kakashi holding his head.
Sakura and Sasuke were standing at Mika's feet in a state of shock. The pink-haired girl snapped back to reality first and began running through the paces she learned in her medical training. Though really, who could prepare themselves for helping to fully revive the dead? She started healing the dead tissue and mixing up the congealed blood inside her veins, breaking up any clots that could cause a heart attack or worse, a stroke.
Mika slowly rolled her head toward Naruto and whispered. "Get… off."
"Hm?" He smiled dumbly with tears of joy sitting nicely in the corners of his eyes. "Oh! Sorry." The young blonde removed his death grip from her arm.
She breathed a sigh of relief and then rolled her head back to the side to see her one -eyed hero looking at her with the sweetest gaze, still holding his head. "What's that look for?" Mika looked back at him from behind heavy eyelids.
Kakashi's eye squinted in a smile as he shook his head back and forth. "Nothing."
Sakura finished and moved over to her torn up shoulder to begin work on that. The girl was quite astounded with herself at the moment. She had just aided in reanimating a dead body. Clearly the possibility of zombification never occurred to her.
Slowly, Mika sat up, helped by the two closest men in her life, and caught Watari's body as it fell from her chest. "Watari?", she petted the large raven and cradled his head before it struck her. "He's dead."
"It was an exchange. Wasn't it?" Kakashi asked.
She nodded sadly and slipped his loose necklace off of him, wrapping it around her wrist twice as a bracelet. The group was quiet for a moment and then Mika looked up to see Sasuke as the last person standing. "What?", she asked.
The boy stood with a morose expression on his face. "I'm the one that summoned Manda, not Orochimaru."
Mika's face resembled one of boredom, but it was most likely extreme fatigue. "So what's your point?"
"I'm the one that caused your death."
Only Mika and Kakashi were paying any attention to the emo boy. Naruto was too entranced by his aunt miraculous revival that all he heard were her words and Sakura was still fervently working on her torn up shoulder. So much so, she didn't care what Sasuke had to say.
"Well," Mika blinked slowly. "I think there are a few degrees of separation between you and the 'cause' of my… momentary lapse in continuous life." The blonde leaned back into Kakashi ,who more than willingly wrapped his arms around her protectively. "Even if it was your fault, I'm not really the revenge type. Guess I'm a bit too lazy for it." She grinned weakly. "Now this," she leaned her head toward her lacerated shoulder. "This is completely your fault."
The dark-haired boy rolled his eyes and made a face that reminded Mika of Itachi so much.
Just like his older brother…, she smiled inwardly.
I'm gonna miss Itachi so much!
"But seeing as how you're basically Naruto's brother, I guess that makes you my nephew. And I can always forgive family."
"Alright. All done." Sakura stood back up and clapped her hands together. "You still should go back to the hospital in Konoha, though and have the doctors there take a look at you."
"Kay." Mika turned to look at Kakashi as he held her securely. "Vamos?"
He leaned his head down into her neck and answered. "Si." She started to giggle. "What?" He looked back up at her.
"You're hair… it tickles." She explained, an innocent smile still planted on her face. It must have been positively too much for him to take. Kakashi slid down his mask and kissed right there on the cheek.
Sakura covered her mouth, Sasuke's eyes doubled in size and Naruto's chin hit the ground, all in utter shock. For years they had wanted to know what was under the mask, never to discover the truth and yet so casually he just took it off in front of them. It just wasn't fair.
"Come on." The silver-haired Jounin put his mask back on and picked Mika up into his arms. "We have to get you to the hospital."
"Ugh. I hate the hospital… except for that citrus smell they have sometimes. That's a good smell."
"Yes it is." He carried her past the three young ninja and back to their home village.
That's all she wrote, ladies and gents! Hope you liked it, enjoyed it, or possibly even loved it. Now you are all required by universal fan-fiction law to LEAVE A FINAL REVIEW of the story. Whether you are reading this the day it was posted or if it's been over a year or more since it was finished. I like opinions and it doesn't hurt to kiss my ass… or kick it I guess. P.S. Next fic coming out soon. Vote for pairing on my profile and don't forget to 'Author Alert' me so you see when it gets posted!
Epilogue: (choose for yourself…xD Have fun!)
And they all lived happily/miserably ever after. Mika and Kakashi did/didn't get married. They had 'x' amount of children. The kid/kids were normal/extraordinary/amazing singer-s that formed a family band. For whatever reason they/he/she had blonde/silver /red/black/turquoise colored hair. The Rokubi was with Mika forever/was removed and put inside a real weasel/died. Naruto ended up with Sakura/Hinata/Kara!/Anko(woot, Older lady!). Sasuke ended up with Sakura/Hinata/Kara!/herpes. THE END of the story/of existence.