A/N: Heh, this story took me completely by surprise. I was jogging this morning, thinking of… well, nothing in particular, when this idea struck me like a sledgehammer. This lil' 'baby' wanted to be born, and I didn't really have the desire to stop it. (grins)
Oh yeah, first off…
About this fic… This is the second piece to my 'The One Thing You Want' –oneshot series. Like mentioned in the summary, this is both a OroJiraTsun story AND a Team7-fic. This is my rambling about how I see the fate of the poor Sannins. (snickers) Gah, I'm in a babbly mood today.
Warning. General oddness, definitely. YAOI. And I guess a tissue warning of some extend is also in order… (smirks sheepishly)
DISCLAIMER: ME, own???!! (insert A LOT of insane laughter here)
Awkay, because there's no point in stretching the beginning of this story… Let's roooooock! This is my first drabble ever, so I really hope ya'll have a good time. (grins nervously)
Why is the one thing you want often the only thing you can't have?
The One Thing You Want – Cursed Legends
Once upon a time, in a nation torn by wars, a baby boy was born during the brightest of all nights with a full moon in Konoha's long history. To many it was a cursed night during which the evil forces were looming around, and the night cursed the unfortunate boy as well. The bright, unearthly moon chose to kiss him, leaving his mouth and palette split brutally. The last thing his far too exhausted and many summers too young mother saw before dying of bleeding was his face, and she faded into eternal light with bitter tears and a barely human howl of agony that spread through the entire hospital. His father, a young fool of a fire's warrior who was destined to die young, wasn't any kinder towards his son's clearly cursed face. As the medics gently explained to him that his son would most likely not live long, the man's eyes turned much darker than the sky surrounding the ominous moon. The village's orphanage wouldn't take such a child in fear of tainting the place, he knew, so he found a tiny hut right next to Konoha's borderline. The house was a witch's home, everyone whispered, to which many children had disappeared forever. Perhaps, the young father mused, this woman – or no, a being – would accept his son as well. And so he left the baby, never looking back on the face no villager would willingly look at, almost hoping that death would soon arrive and claim the unfortunate creature. But this is where fate finally allowed some mercy on the poor boy. For the baby's crying caught the hut's inhabitant's – a old woman's – interest. She opened the door, and froze there. Just then moonlight was once more revealed by the clouds, and this time the baby was far more lucky – the moonlight's second kiss showed the woman something beyond the disfigured face, and she smiled. The boy was named Orochimaru, and against all odds he survived.
Not much later, during the soon arriving winter's first cold night, another baby boy was born. He arrived into the world loudly, screaming at the top of his lungs against anything or anyone daring to question his existence and worth. The medics were almost sure even the gods could hear him. When it was asked what his name should be, his mother looked at his face and whispered before closing her eyes to the world. "Jiraiya."
As from then, many questioned his worth during his life, but no one ever dared to question his existence. The will of fire lived with vigour in his eyes.
The paths of these two strong souls were bound to tangle, and when they were only five-years-old that happened, in a nearly abandoned old playground. From the shadows he'd grown used to hiding in Orochimaru observed how Jiraiya attempted to train, sunlight shining in the white locks, determined eyes and sweat drops, making them sparkle like diamonds. This child, he realized, wasn't kissed by the moon, but by the sun itself. And if such was possible for a child of his age, he fell in love. Unfortunately fate decided that it still wasn't on his side. Eventually the other child noticed his presence, and turned to look at him before he could move away. He was too young to understand that the scream given was that of surprise, not of disgust. And so he ran away with tears shining in his already then haunted eyes. On that day, Orochimaru swore to himself that the next time they'd meet, his face would be beautiful enough for this eccentric child and his skills great enough to match the other's. And so he asked his adoptive mother to make a surgery to erase the signs of the moon's cruel kiss. She agreed reluctantly, and although the operation almost killed him he found it well worth the price; as from that day, only a tiny scar was left to remind him of the shameful curse mark he'd been carrying.
This, however, is where the road becomes far more complicated. For a third child was also born only months before the boys – after all, Konoha had always preferred three-man-teams. And this child's ungrateful destiny was to disturb whatever could've been between the two.
Unlike most children, the baby girl didn't cry out of startle right after her birth, didn't become fazed by the world she was violently pushed into. Instead she looked right into the eyes of the midwife, and smiled. Tsunade, was the name written all over her face.
And so these three fate's outcasts became a team. It was by no means an easy ride – they fought and bickered, cursed each other far more viciously than destiny had slated them – but they overcame the obstacles and grew up. As years wore on bonds grew, but once again the spirits of fortune had no room for these three in their cold hearts.
Jiraiya fell in love with Tsunde the moment he laid his eyes on her, but her stubborn head said a firm 'no'. For years and years he kept trying (after all, he was a stubborn being), tried everything to show her just how much his heart was worth. And eventually, after a lot of heartbreak and several missteps, she did see, so clearly that the realization took her breath away and brought tears to her eyes on more nights than she could count. Because by the time she truly understood her heart, the world had already stolen Jiraiya away, without him ever knowing her true feelings. Little by little their foolish hearts withered in loneliness. But saddest of all those stories was that of Orochimaru – after all, he was the one of them whom gods had cursed from birth. Unlike a part of him had expected, his love for Jiraiya didn't fade away or even diminish. Instead it grew and flourished, like a beautiful flower growing stubbornly in the cruellest of all lands. And Jiraiya… Well, Jiraiya had no room for loving him at all. Every skill he'd learned, every trick that'd been supposed to capture the boy's attention, only pushed him further from what he wanted. His new face went unnoticed.
However, although it hurt Orochimaru beyond all words to watch the one who meant everything to him chase after something the boy would never get, to see the same pain he was feeling radiating from his love's eyes, he stood firm, endured every hit. His love and undying trust towards the fate – his steadfast belief that one day he'd have to have his share of mercy – carried him through all those nights during which he cried in silence.
But over the years he came to learn that pain is what separates fairytales from reality. As he noticed that Tsunade's feelings were slowly yet steadily turning, he understood that he would never have his happily ever after. Such agonizing realization at his most tender teenage years was something he couldn't take. And slowly yet surely the treasure he'd cherished faded away, turned cold and icy, like the most brutal of arctic lands. The friendship Jiraiya had to offer wasn't even nearly enough to bring back the warmth.
So he drifted from the real world into something else entirely, faded away into somewhere no one could bring him back. He abandoned his heart and soul he found useless and weak, instead welcomed something so dark that it chased away the little warmth there'd been in him. The pain of living as a dead man was far easier to bear than that of a heartbroken man, he decided. And soon he was beyond reason, beyond anyone's salvation.
Once again Jiraiya was a little bit too late to understand what was happening, to see just how far his best friend had fallen. His hands, no matter how strong and eager, could no longer reach Orochimaru. For years he tried, almost killed himself doing so, until the harsh reality finally caught up with his dreaming mind. He was forced to understand that some people just couldn't be saved. The day he learned such a harsh lesson a large part of his heart died.
They were the legendary Sannin, Konoha's golden arrows. Perhaps it's the fate of legends that they die alone.
Years passed, and a full generation appeared to stand in between until the second team of Sannin was born.
Sasuke was born in the death of night, before his mother could ever go to the hospital. So exited he was about his dawning life, that he forgot to breathe after birth, and his parents already thought they'd lose him before he finally sucked air into his lungs and cried out in a broken tone. It was as though he'd already then – only minutes after his birth – seen the path his life would take. Sasuke, was what his mother named him with endearment, and during the loneliest hours of that night his brother Itachi swore to protect him.
How was any of them supposed to know just how dark the road ahead of them would be?
Years later, as Sasuke collapsed by the dried blood of his parents, he swore to himself that as from then there'd be no room for love in his life, only for hate. That promise held until he met Naruto Uzumaki.
The night during which Naruto was born was the darkest in the history of Konoha, and unfortunately for the child it'd never be remembered for the precious miracle of life. The sounds he gave as his greeting to the world can't be called cries – they were howls, such that made many suspect that the demon had been sealed into him already before birth. He was born almost alone, and that was how he spent most of his early life. But he was no ordinary child – his hope and light never faded, not even when being tormented by the loneliest of his days. And soon enough he wasn't alone anymore.
And to make sure that fate would be no different this time, a baby girl was also born. Like most children she cried at first – as though knowing the ungrateful part she'd have to play – but then she astounded everyone with actually giggling in her mother's arms when she was only five minutes old. While stroking the little hair she already had, her parents smiled and named her, blissfully unaware of all the pain there was ahead of this beautiful new person. "Sakura."
And once again a team of three was made, because the history hadn't taught the stubborn village that in a triangle, there are too many sharp edges.
Years made the three of them grow up to be three very different teens, and when the particles of a triangle crashed together it didn't happen gently.
Sasuke, the most observant of the three, realized quite early on that his heart had chosen a home many wouldn't approve. But he also discovered that Naruto's heart wasn't his to have.
And while Sakura loved him beyond all reason, with childlike devotion and through haze that only showed a disfigured illusion of the real him, a great part of him hated the girl, because she had the one thing he would've given anything for – including his life.
She had his attention, she had his devotion, she had his heart. And when she already had his heart and soul, what did that leave for him?
In the end, he even started hating Naruto. How could he not have hated someone who caused him such pain with a smile on his face?
It was the saddest of all things, really, that as his heart kept growing cold and hollow under the ache eating it away, his mighty eyes became too blind to see the change that was obvious to anyone else.
Like often with Naruto, learning took him long. But eventually he started to understand what Sasuke would've so desperately wanted – needed – him to see for such a long time ago. His heart changed its mind, ironically at the exact time Sakura's did. The triangle spun around, leaving two longing for the one they could no longer have and one loving nothing at all anymore.
And Naruto was too late – the day his heart finally understood, Sasuke's died. The mighty, praised Uchiha left, thinking there was nothing left to stay for, taking the poor Uzumaki's whole heart with him.
Even without his heart, however, Naruto didn't give in. His goals changed, and he grew up far faster than he should've, but he never once gave up. Because the strength of his love was even greater than that of his determination.
And so he continued his chase, like a madman many said, pushing through everything with such vigour that he didn't have the time to even notice all the pain he felt. Never once did the picture of his goal grow dimmer in his eyes. Never once did he stop dreaming of the day when Sasuke would finally be in his arms. He'd never had anything more than his dreams, and this one was bigger than all the rest.
Many wondered how he managed to remain so strong. His secret was simple.
Although he didn't know it at the time, there was one thing he did right. He never once paused to question whether fate was on his side or not – he simply decided that if necessary, he'd push himself through fate itself. How could he have given up, when it was his heart and all his love at stake, when it was Sasuke at stake?
Perhaps he was a fool – love is rarely a kind master.
But he was determined to believe that legends didn't have to die alone to be remembered.
Jiraiya watched this all from the sidelines, his eyes always darkening under the understanding that once again, history was repeating itself in the cruellest way imaginable. He could feel how Sasuke became scarred beyond repair by the sharp shards of his broken heart, watched how Sakura's eyes dimmed a little under the realization of what she'd lost. And most of all, he watched and felt the pain in Naruto's heart, experienced the great agony and desperate determination hiding in those blue eyes that didn't smile for real anymore. He watched and observed all this, and in the end he decided that he'd have to stop this generation from repeating the former one's mistakes.
But eventually he stopped fighting against the force of Naruto's will, because in the end he finally understood the great difference between the two of them.
He hadn't loved Jiraiya enough, or perhaps his will hadn't been strong, but maybe Naruto was different. Maybe the love of the demon container would be enough to break through all the boundaries of reality. It was just too tempting to think that perhaps, just perhaps, happy endings did exist after all. As always, all there really was left for him – for them all – was the faintest trace of desperate hope.
In the end he wouldn't be there to see if fate had abandoned these three as well.
Several decades passed, and those once young and vibrant grew old and tired. As surely as the former three, the newer squad of Sannin became legends. Unfortunately, however, legends are hardly ever born without great sacrifices.
It was afternoon while a fifty-years-old Sakura sat on her favorite chair nearby the most popular training grounds. She'd been doing nothing but thinking, until her peace became disturbed by a male voice. "… brats are going to be the death of me… Troublesome…"
Turning her gaze, she found Kazuki Yuuhi. The son of Kurenai and Asuma had grown up to look exactly like his father, and these days he was already one of the oldest ninjas still working as a squad leader. With just one glance and brief listening it was easy to tell he'd spent too much time with Shikamaru.
She found herself smiling. "So your team is still acting up?" That, unfortunately, was a huge understatement. Apparently, his team was fast on its way towards becoming the next Sannins. As amusing as it was to hear the tales of the team's… adventures, the stories also scared her. After all, history had already repeated itself once.
Kazuki seemed to blush ever so slightly. "Umh… 'Sorry, Hokage-sama. It's just…" The man then nodded towards the training grounds. "Now take a look at those three. They're great kids and I'm lucky to get to train them, but sometimes they just…" The brunet groaned. "I'm too old for this, aren't I?"
She looked, and no longer heard a word he said. There, less than thirty steps away, two boys were sparring while hissing insults at each other. One of them had long, wild black hair and untameable onyx eyes that carried such anger she remembered so well it chilled her. No one knew much of his past – all they knew was that his name was Hakuoh, and he'd been found collapsed by Konoha's borderline at the age of six. During the first five months he hadn't spoken a word, but when he finally started all hell broke loose. The one responsible for the loosening of his tongue was his future teammate, Kenji. The teen now had shortcut, always messy blond, almost white hair, flaming green eyes and the biggest mouth ever met in the history of Konoha. The third team member was Kiro, a girl from a rather wealthy family who had long, purple hair that'd declared a war against the poor girl, and deep blue eyes that always seemed to see more than they should've.
Without being called a tiny smile appeared although Sakura's eyes stung hellishly. She was already getting up while speaking. "Let me talk to them in one hour, will you?"
Kazuki blinked with confusion. "Huh?"
Hearing the unvoiced question, she spoke without turning to meet him. She didn't want him to see something she'd successfully hid from everyone else. "There's something I need to do first."
Sakura's steps were heavy and filled with something that felt like doubt until she finally managed to reach her destination – a tree that had several names engraved to it.
Some sign to remind of the village's legends, of how much had been sacrificed before Konoha had become what it was today, she mused bitterly. Once again facts flooded in with icy coldness – although everyone knew she was the only one who remembered, because she was the last survivor, the only one of them greedy fate hadn't claimed.
Suppressing more of such thoughts from coming, she squeezed her lips to a thin line and took a deep breath while kneeling with some difficulty. Two beautiful lilies all but dropped from her hand before she forced herself up once more, and rested her hand against two particular names that even now brought tears to her eyes. Warm moisture rolled down her cheeks like rivers.
She closed her eyes, but didn't quite manage to suppress her emotions. The memories still felt too new and tender, although it'd been such a long time…
Days long since passed claimed her.
In the end the fated battle between Naruto and Sasuke had arrived, less than six months after the Akatsuki had been defeated. The price was higher than anyone had dared to believe. Sasuke received fatal wounds, but dragged himself away from Naruto anyhow – what for, is anyone's guess ('Who'd want to die alone?', they'd asked). Five days later his body was found only steps from Konoha's borderline. Naruto was also severely injured and suffered from a dangerously high fever, but against all odds he survived – whether he wanted to or not. He, however, never healed back into the same person he'd once been, and eventually he disappeared from Konoha like a shadow. Three months later he was discovered dead, right next to Madara's corpse. It was anyone's guess which one had died first. Only two days later Sakura had a miscarriage, and the doctor almost shattered her with the news that she'd never be able to have a child. As from then the tale of the mighty new Sannins only kept living her in her memories and stories.
Sakura forced her eyelids to inch and opened her mouth, but in the end she realized that no words would be needed – there were no good words for saying goodbye like this. Right now she needed to believe that she'd been spared for a reason, that she still had a purpose.
Her legs twitched, but she couldn't leave yet, not without doing something she should've done a long time ago. She pulled a long, extremely sharp knife from the covers of her clothing and engraved to the tree, right below the names.
' May the price never be forgotten, may their true memory never fade'
Watching the newly created text, she managed to smile although it was through tears.
No matter how much she would've wanted to, she couldn't do anything to change the past anymore, she couldn't change the fate that'd been out of her hands to begin with. But she could – she had to – at least try and change the future.
As she walked away, she had a feeling that she was no longer alone. That's why it was surprisingly easy for her to start telling her tale – the true tale of the Sannins – to Kazuki's team.
A/N: Ah! (winces) So many sad fates – already taken place and possibly to come in the actual manga, too! (sniffs) Poor things, ne?
Gah, I'm once again running out of time a bit, so I've gotta start tuning out.
PLEASE, do leave a note to let me know if this was any good or not! I love hearing from you guys, you know?
Thank you so much for reading! As for now, adios!