Hey all. So i wrote this one-shot to take a break from a larger story I'm currently writing. Writer's block. Anyway, enjoy.
I do not own Naruto. At all. Wish I did, but I don't.
It was a somber autumn day. From the genin to the jounin, all ninjas residing in Konoha were clad in black, saddened looks engraved on their faces. They mourned and lamented silently and waited patiently until five o clock, the designated time for the burial of one of their own. Throughout the ceremony, they sat patiently, enduring the gloomy uncomfortable atmosphere, the quiet sobbing of their comrades and the sorrowful eulogy given by the Hokage. And at the end, row by row, they all stood quietly and in an orderly fashion, dropped a single flower onto the casket of their friend Neji Hyuuga. He was 22.
Sakura stared blankly at the casket nestled snugly in its six feet deep hole. She had no tears to shed; she had exhausted all of her reserves when she had discovered Neji's still warm corpse, the life having just left him. Over the years, they had developed a relationship akin to the one she shared with Naruto. He was like a brother. And she had been too late. Too late to save his life, to save Ten Ten a world of hurt. The rose slipped from her fingers, falling softly onto the pile of other flowers blanketing Neji's final resting place. The pale face of his corpse flashed in Sakura's mind. Her eyes closed in pain. Too late. Too late.
She walked past Ten Ten sobbing on Hinata's shoulder. She walked past Naruto, hands in pocket, leaning against a sickly tree, face forlorn, for once quiet. All the faces, sorrowful and serious, blended into one blur of gray as Sakura found herself running away from the mourners, running away from the sadness, the despair.
At the other side of the graveyard, she panted, her hand clutched to her chest in a mock attempt to prevent it from aching with pain, regret, guilt. Tears streamed unnoticed from her eyes, falling onto her brand new ebony dress. Her panting quickly turned into gasps as she felt a bout of hysterics closing in on her. She looked around wildly for refuge, something to stop these emotions from engulfing her.
And she found it at the other corner of the graveyard. A dark figure walking idly between two willow trees rooted on a grassy hill. It wasn't really a part of the cemetery but Sakura always remembered that there were two graves there. One day out of curiosity, she had perused the names on the headstones: Mikoto and Fugaku Uchiha.
She stared surprised at the figure. Too far for recognition, he could have been anyone. But no one else would dwell at those two headstones. It was him it was him it was him it was him. Her mind wanted her to sprint but her body moved slow, walking at a cautious pace.
Could it be? The long missing man who stole her heart and shattered it? The missing nin who chose revenge and misery over friends and happiness? It couldn't be. Impossible.
But there, standing before her in a black suit was Sasuke Uchiha, walking absentmindedly among his parents graves. He glanced up upon her arrival. He nodded once.
"Sakura." His voice, so smooth and cunning, deep and seductive, alluring and terrifying; it sent chills down her spine. With her mind jumbled with thoughts and emotions, she had no idea what to say. So she spoke the first words that came to mind. "You're a fucking asshole."
He looked up from the ground in slight surprise, his eyebrow cocked curiously. "Excuse me?" Sakura was confused herself, but the words spilled smoothly from her mouth as if she had been prepared for this encounter.
"It's been eight long years Uchiha. Where the hell have you been? You knock me out and throw me on a bench and don't show your face for eight years?! Do you know how hard it was to find out even an inkling about your whereabouts?" She couldn't stop herself. It was so effortless to release her pent up emotions and strangely, she found herself thinking less and less about Neji.
"No letters, no nothing. We find you once at Orochimaru's hideout and never again. We gave up around year three trying to find you it was so pointless. It's like you vanished from the earth. No one had seen you or heard anything about you. And the people that had seen you didn't help us at all because wherever they told us you were going, you were already gone. Kiba couldn't even sniff you out? Did you die? Or maybe you were living underground for a couple years." A single finger laid on her lips stopped the angry rambling.
She looked up to see a small smirk on his face. "It's nice to see you too." She slowly removed his finger from her mouth and held his hand tightly, to ensure that she wasn't in fact dreaming. To her immediate surprise, she realized that his hand was warm, callused a bit, but soft in a way. Staring at his hand in hers, she breathed deeply before speaking. "Why are you here?"
"I came to pay my respects to Hyuuga." An incredulous expression fixed upon her face followed swiftly by the grief that had temporarily melted away. "Why?" she whispered. She saw him shrug in her peripherals. "I almost considered him a close acquaintance." At this, Sakura looked up into Sasuke's eyes, searching. Why was he speaking like this, the man who had so desperately tried to break his bonds with Naruto?
All the unasked questions and confusion swirled furiously in Sakura's eyes and Sasuke watched her trying to make sense of him. "When I heard, I thought it was only appropriate that I attend. He did get injured during that mission to retrieve me, no?" He glanced quickly at his hand laying in Sakura's. It was distracting him. "I see it as a debt that I paid."
Sakura nodded slowly in understanding. "You won't stay." Fueled by the slight hope in heart, she had wanted to ask the dreaded question. But her mind was logical and the question came out of her mouth as a statement. She already knew. He already knew. It was just something that was.
"You better hurry up. You still have to attend the party." He began to retract his hand from her grip. At the same time, the despair began to clamber its way back into her. "I don't want to go to a party. I just left a funeral for god's sake." It was surrounding her now, the despair, seeping silently into her soul.
Sasuke smirked. "Don't you know? Everyone wants to party when the funeral ends. It's the best time to get together because everyone comes. No one declines a funeral invitation."
"You won't come." Sakura stated mechanically, wallowing in sorrow. With a sad smirk he answered, "No. I won't."
He turned to leave, walking away with his hands in his pockets his hair swinging gently in the fall breeze. Sakura wrapped her shawl tightly around her arms watching him retreat. She felt herself crumbling a little more as he left her, again.
It was a gloomy winter day. From the genin to the jounin, all ninjas residing in Konoha were clad in black, saddened looks engraved on their faces. They mourned and lamented silently and waited patiently until three o clock, the designated time for the burial of one of their own. Throughout the ceremony, they sat patiently, enduring the gloomy uncomfortable atmosphere, the quiet sobbing of their comrades and the sorrowful eulogy given by the Hokage. And at the end, row by row, they all stood quietly and in an orderly fashion, dropped a single flower onto the casket of their friend Hatake Kakashi. He was 39.
Sakura stared blankly at the casket nestled snugly in its six feet deep hole. She had no tears to shed; her eyes had run dry when she had entered the hospital room, a mutilated Kakashi laying on the bed, unbeknownst to her. It was only when she saw the necklace she had given him for his birthday still draped around his neck that she had realized the patient she was supposed to transfer to the morgue was in fact her old sensei, her father figure. The rose slipped from her fingers, falling softly onto the pile of other flowers blanketing Kakashi's final resting place. Hadn't she just been here only a year ago? Wasn't the earth on Neji's grave was still fresh? It was too close in timing. Her heart had just healed, had just almost returned to its previous condition, changed some, but still healed regardless. Her eyes closed in pain. It was too close. Too close.
Again, Sakura walked away from the grieving crowd, recognizing some among the crowd. Separated from them was Naruto; leaning against the same sickly tree from the year before that was now ready to die, hands in pockets, face devastated. She turned away from the sight.
She walked aimlessly listening to the sound of her feet crunching against the snow. She weaved in and out of the various headstones, passing her own parents' graves before continuing on. Eventually, she ended up on that same hill between the two willow trees shading the headstones of the former Uchiha matriarch and patriarch. It was purely accidental; her mind had subconsciously led her to the spot, the spot where she had found a temporary relief from the pain. And in a way, she was still comforted.
Staring unseeingly at the whitened forest surrounding the cemetery, Sakura didn't notice him approach her from behind and didn't realize that she wasn't alone until she felt that same warm, callused but somehow soft, hand pressed into hers.
She looked up at him indifferently. She knew she should seem surprised, she knew. But she couldn't feel. She was numb and blank, shrouded with a cloak of depression. "Hey."
She watched him scrutinize her as his eyes moved from the dark circles surrounding her eyes to the dullness clouding her eyes. "You don't look so good."
She smiled because she knew she was supposed to. But the motion was empty, haunted, and mechanical. It was all she could attempt. It was all she could do because everything else seemed impossible at the moment. "It's the anti-depressants. They're not working though. The depression is still there, hidden underneath the numbness." A long moment of silence passed between them.
"It's been nine years since you left Konoha. You ever think of coming back?" she asked to make conversation. He nodded. "Sometimes. And what about you...?"
She stared at him blankly as he stared at the glittering layer of snow covering the large stretch of forest before them. "You ever think about leaving?" His gaze returned to her, serious and questioning. Unexpectedly, his question seemed to clear away some of the fogginess in her brain causing her to realize something she hadn't noticed she had considered.
"Yes. I do actually." Her surprised gaze returned to the forest. How often she had imagined herself running away from the village, leaving behind the life of a ninja, roaming free from the constraints of being head medic and discarding the emotional turmoil that was bestowed upon her. It was only now that she came to terms with her desire to escape.
For about an hour or so, the pair stood on the small hill containing the rotted bodies of Sasuke's parents, chatting on and off about death until their feet grew weary and their faces numb.
"You better go. Kakashi's funeral party has probably already started." He hesitated before he began to remove his hand, sliding it slowly out of Sakura's loose grip. "By the way, how was Neji's party?" Sakura's lip twitched into a weak smile. "Surprisingly, fun. Everyone drank a lot to drown their sorrows and started telling stories about their funny experiences with Neji. It was...comforting."
Sasuke nodded knowingly. "Told 'ya so." He smirked as he watched her roll her eyes once. It looked as if it took her a lot of effort to show any emotion. He waved once and began to descend down the hill.
Experiencing a sense of déjà vu, Sakura felt the same crumbling feeling within her as she followed his receding figure, longing to call out to him, feeling as if he was leaving her to die. But his name was stuck in her throat.
It was the last day of spring and it was raining heavily. From the civilians to the ninja to visiting mourners, every person in Konoha was clad in black, saddened looks engraved on their faces. They mourned and lamented silently, the village mute for the day, and waited patiently until twelve noon, the designated time for the burial of the most well known person in Konoha. Throughout the ceremony, the people sat patiently, enduring the gloomy uncomfortable atmosphere, the loud sobbing of their comrades and the tearful eulogy given by the Hokage. And at the end, row by row, they all stood quietly and in an orderly fashion, dropped a single flower onto the casket of their friend and hero Naruto Uzumaki. He was 26.
Sakura didn't give a fuck anymore. She wept and screamed and sobbed as she stared hysterically at the casket nestled snugly in its six feet deep hole. She had too many tears to shed; her eyes had never run dry, the reserves had never emptied. Since the discovery of Naruto's body three days prior, she hadn't been able to stop crying. She threw the rose angrily into the dark hole, screaming in rage as it fell softly onto the pile of other flowers blanketing Naruto's final resting place. Not even a year had passed, just six months and she was burying her only family member left. She stared lifelessly as several men began to shovel dirt into the grave laying next to a grave dug only the day before. Her heart was gone. Shambled, shattered, and crushed. Since Kakashi's funeral, Sakura had stuck to Naruto like glue, following him everywhere so that he wouldn't die too, wouldn't leave her. He had left for a day long mission, assuring her with his thumb raised in the air that he'd be back soon, "Don't worry about anything Sakura-chan!", a grin plastered on his face. Two days later, she was part of a squad called to locate the missing team. She had sprinted all the way only to see the one scene she hadn't wanted to. Her eyes closed in pain. She was too late. It was too close. Too many deaths. Too many tears, too much guilt, too much pain, too many people, too much silence!
It was only until she felt the several comforting hands of the mourners that Sakura realized she had been shrieking aloud, on her knees, her fingers clawing at her skin. Shaking them off, she stood covered in mud and muck and stared at all of them, all the people Naruto had touched over the 26 years of his life. They were crying, most of them, especially Hinata who hadn't spoken since they had brought back his corpse. Her empty gaze met Sakura's for a moment, each woman reveling in the intense pain. But soon Hinata turned away, realizing just how deep and horrid Sakura's pain was, driving her to the edge of insanity.
With stumbling feet, Sakura walked briskly from the scene, heading to her special place of solace, rain drenching her through her clothes. Perhaps, she thought, just perhaps, she might recover if she could think; if she could breathe properly without being consumed by the darkness surrounding her.
She knew he wouldn't be there. He couldn't be there. But like it or not, she noticed the shape of Sasuke, walking idly between his parent's graves. He noticed her presence immediately and waited patiently for her to approach him. She didn't.
"You can't be here." She said numbly, staring at his feet. "Why? I'm not allowed to attend my best friend's funeral?" he questioned. Her face contorted horribly before she screamed at the top of her lungs, rivaling the booming thunder in the sky, "You killed him! It was you! You shouldn't be here because it was your fault! You murdered him! You...you...no, no, no, no, no..." her screams dwindled into scattered ramblings, her haunted eyes flickering around as she hugged herself. Sasuke's hand moved to touch her arm.
"Don't touch me!" she shrieked jerking backwards. "Don't you dare touch me..." she shook her head from side, to side trying to make sense of everything. "You can't be here." She stated again.
"But I already am." He answered. She shook her head once more. Because not only was he not supposed to be there because he had killed Naruto, logically, he really could not be there.
Because with his last bit of strength, Naruto had killed Sasuke with his own kusangi.
The scene had been unexpected. Two eternal rivals accidentally crossing paths as Naruto returned home. A fight had broken out and before long; a Chidori was aiming straight for Naruto's heart. However, last minute, Naruto had wielded Sasuke's discarded weapon and so as he leaned forward to ram his hand through his best friend's chest, Sasuke had fell upon his own weapon. And that was the scene Sakura came to, her two teammates' bloody lifeless cadavers laying in an embrace.
"Ten fucking years Sasuke. You leave here ten fucking years ago and don't even touch any of our ninja." She stared into his eyes. "Why now? Why him?"
He shrugged nonchalantly and said, "I noticed how much you enjoyed funeral after parties so I thought that I'd jumpstart the proceedings." His indifferent gaze met her crazed one. "You're not serious." She said to herself, her arms still cradling herself. "I am." "I don't believe you." "Ah, but you should Sakura. Because that's what everyone believes. Everyone believes that it was just another act of violence, a missing nin murdering a former comrade." He turned towards one of the aged willows. "There are never any accidents in the ninja world."
He turned to see Sakura blinking at him repeatedly. Confused and distraught she fell to the ground, heaving for air. "It's my anti-depressants. They're making me delusional. He's not really here. Not really here."
Floating gracefully to the ground, he spoke softly: "Remember when you told me that you thought about leaving the village?" she rolled her head messily. He whispered in her ear. "Come with me."
Her clouded drugged eyes gazed oddly at him. "You're not alive. You're dead." He smirked. "I know."
Realization hit soon. No Sakura, she reasoned to herself. Live, survive and stay here. People need you. Carry Naruto's legacy, Sakura. Don't let him take you away. Don't let him get you. You still have a life. Don't give up.
But she found herself holding his warm, callused, but somehow soft, hand. Immediate comfort flowed through her. No, no, no. Live, live, live. Clashing in an epic battle of logic and love, her heart throbbed and her brain ached. He pulled her up.
"Wait, wait." She whispered. Sasuke looked at her questioningly. "I...I...can't." he nodded and smiled slightly. "I understand. Goodbye, then." He said, drawing his hand from hers and turning around to leave.
Just as soon as he turned the fear and despair and grief swelled within her like a deep angry river, choking her, suffocating her. She was going to die. She was going to drown and die. And her only comfort in her now barren live was floating down the hill like he always had at each of their partings. The call for him was on her lips, ready to be shouted but she couldn't speak. She was drowning. Dying! Dying!
But her legs worked. And within seconds she was by his side, her fingers intertwined with his, gasping for breath. She smiled brokenly at him. "Take me with you." She had nothing to lose; her life was hardly worth living anymore. A strong dose of anti-depressants and Naruto's bright spirit was how she had survived this far. With him gone, there was nothing else. She didn't want to feel anymore. She wanted to leave. Sasuke's feathery hand brushed the hair from her face as his lips made their way to hers.
Within a moment, she felt the turbulence leave her body, every burden and sorrow left behind. And when she opened her eyes, she saw her pale gaunt body lying abandoned on the ground, exactly where a worried Hinata found it the next day. Sakura floated serenely hand in hand with Sasuke, descending down the hill toward hopefully, better days.
I wrote this listening to this one song on repeat. Can you guess? Thanks for reading. And please, please, please review. I'd love to hear what you think.