Let's Kill Sasuke!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Spoilers: Up to Chapter…462, I think. Either way, if you're not caught up, you probably shouldn't read. Unless you don't care, of course.
Note: This is kind of weird, but after I saw Shikamaru's bizarre explanation of why this was absolutely necessary – I think Shikamaru is just tired of everyone obsessing over Sasuke, wants to kill him, and came up with all that reasoning to justify it, personally :p – it occurred to me that Sakura trying to convince Naruto of this probably would not go over really well… I also want to get this out before the manga stops focusing on Sasuke being a suicidal idiot (again) and Sakura and Naruto actually have this conversation. I hope both sides come off as mildly reasonable (well...not the revenge tree, because that's stupid, but the 'give up on Sasuke' 'Never!' thing), since I have no idea which side I'm actually on since Sasuke's being a prick but still...nostalgia! And sooner or later, Sasuke is actually going to make an appearance in a story that heavily involves him. Probably.
Yamato, Kakashi, and Naruto were just returning to Konoha from the Kage Summit. It did not go very well and they were all greatly disheartened.
"I still can't believe that Sasuke would disregard Itachi's final request like that after he apparently sacrificed so much for him…" Kakashi mused aloud.
Naruto snorted. "Hello, have you ever met Sasuke? I mean, everyone tells me I'm far too attached to him for my own good, but even I could tell you that that boy is simply not happy without revenge. I guess since that's all he ever thought about since he was eight, that makes sense, but man is that annoying."
"I might have been in the process of creating a jutsu to transform his outfit into a superhero's every time he said he was The Avenger," Kakashi admitted.
"Really?" Yamato looked interested. "Did you ever finish that?"
"Eventually," Kakashi nodded. "I wasn't really in too much of a rush to finish it after Sasuke left, but I've had some free time over the years, so…"
"When we next see Sasuke, I fully expect you to use it on him," Naruto informed his ex-teacher.
"Naturally," Kakashi agreed.
"Naruto!" Sakura cried out, running up to meet him. "How did it go? Are you alright?"
"It, uh, went…" Naruto said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head.
"I see," Sakura said, not sounding very surprised. "Listen, I need to talk to you, privately. Is now a good time?"
Naruto looked over at Kakashi and Yamato.
"Go on, Naruto," Kakashi told him.
"Alright," Naruto said as he followed Sakura to a secluded spot. "What did you want to talk about?"
Naruto winced. "I'm going to get right on that, I swear. I've just been really busy and there that thing with Nagato and people trying to kidnap me and-"
"I know, Naruto, it's okay," Sakura assured him with a sad smile. She took a deep breath. "I release you from your promise. I don't want you getting hurt because of me anymore."
Instead of looking shocked or relieved, as she might have expected, Naruto had an expression of dawning horror. "You…what?"
"You don't have to keep chasing after Sasuke for my sake anymore," Sakura repeated. "You've done enough."
Naruto groaned. "Sasuke is…well, quite frankly he's acting like an idiot. Attacking the Kage Summit like that…what was he hoping to gain? He could have easily attacked Danzo on his way back to Konoha if he wanted to kill him so badly and needlessly attacking the Raikage after already going after his brother…I just don't understand him anymore…"
"Naruto…" Sakura trailed off, unsure of what to say.
"It's been over three years, Sakura," Naruto said frankly. "And that's a long time to go chasing after someone. I want to believe that I'll bring him back. I have to believe it. It's easier when I have someone else I need to do it for because then it's not just that I have to succeed for my own sake, but so I won't let them down." He paused, thinking. "I guess I kind of promised Itachi I'd save Sasuke…And he is dead, so it wouldn't be very nice to break that promise. Not to mention he can't take it back…Well, probably. It is Itachi, after all."
"I-Itachi?" Sakura was confused. "When did this happen?"
"As far as I can tell, about twenty minutes before Sasuke assisted in his suicide," Naruto said dryly.
"Suicide? What-?" Sakura began.
"I'll tell you later," Naruto promised. "Or you could always ask Yamato or Kakashi. Anyway, thank you for being so concerned about me but I'm not going to give up on Sasuke anytime soon."
"But all he ever does is bring you pain," Sakura protested. "I mean, I realize now that I've done that, too, but I'm going stop. Sasuke…Sasuke isn't."
"I know, but Sasuke was my best friend. He claims he doesn't care, but can't actually kill me. He was the first person to really see me. How can I just walk away?" Naruto challenged.
"He tried to kill you," Sakura pointed out. "For the love of God, Naruto, he shoved a Chidori through your chest! That's an assassination jutsu! If you had been anyone else…"
"Sasuke knew about my healing ability, Sakura," Naruto said gently. "Besides, once he saw I was still alive he could have easily finished the job but he chose not to."
"Healing a kunai wound in your hand after you stabbed it to get poison out is quite a bit different than healing a gaping hole in your chest," Sakura told him. "And even now…you let those Kumo Shinobi beat you up, and for what? You know Sasuke won't be grateful, even if he ever does find out."
"Yeah…" Naruto looked sheepish again. "It occurred to me on the way back to Konoha that when they asked about Sasuke, I could have just said that he was our teammate who could use the Sharingan and used fire and lightning jutsu but that he left a few years back and I didn't know anything recent. That wouldn't even be telling them anything they didn't already know."
"So why didn't you?" Sakura was curious.
"I was too concerned about protecting Sasuke," Naruto confessed. "I know he won't care but…I just can't walk away, Sakura. I can't."
"So you'll keep chasing after ghosts forever?" Sakura asked softly.
"If I have to," Naruto said firmly. "Was that all, or was there something else?"
"There's something else," Sakura replied quietly, looking down. After hearing Naruto declare yet again his intention of finding Sasuke and bringing him back to Konoha, this wouldn't come easily. "First of all, let me preface this by saying that I love Sasuke. I always have, I probably always will. Just the same…I can't choose him over Konoha. Not again."
"Sakura…" Naruto murmured.
"Shikamaru thinks that we need to kill Sasuke."
Naruto choked. "Shikamaru thinks what?!?! WHY?"
"As we recently found out, Sasuke has joined forces with Akatsuki and keeps provoking Kumogakure. If his actions are left unchecked, he could spark an all-out war between Konoha and Kumo," Sakura explained.
Naruto's eyes scrunched up the way they always had when they were younger and he was confused. Sakura hadn't seen that look in awhile. "What do you mean? Sasuke is – as much as it pains me to admit it – a missing-nin and what's more he actually became an Oto Shinobi. Since when are the Hidden Villages in the habit of holding the Village a Missing-nin defected from accountable for their actions? Especially since Danzo is actually acting like Sasuke betrayed us."
Sakura giggled. "Yeah, Tsunade told me that she was so tired of dealing with Danzo and the Council's questions about when she would put Sasuke in the Bingo Book that she was thinking about assigning him a mission outside of Konoha of indeterminate length of 'getting over himself.'"
"That might take awhile," Naruto agreed with a grin.
"What ever happened to Oto anyway? I mean, Orochimaru's dead, right?" Sakura asked.
Naruto shrugged. "Don't know, don't care. It wasn't really a Village, right? Just a collection of bases and hideouts."
"But anyway," Sakura turned serious again. "It's not that we're afraid that the Raikage would blame us for Sasuke's actions but that it will be one long chain of hatred. You, me, and Ino would go after anyone that killed Sasuke and if we died then Ino's dad, Choji, and Shikamaru will get involved. If they die, their families will get involved and with the other side seeking revenge as well…war will be inevitable."
"Wait…" Naruto squinted again. "You're saying we would be so upset if someone else killed Sasuke that we would throw our lives away 'avenging' him – which really wouldn't be an issue with me as I've recently taken a stance against revenge – that we must kill him ourselves to prevent this?"
"Right," Sakura confirmed.
"If we were okay with Sasuke dying, then couldn't we just not seek revenge once Kumo or whoever killed him?" Naruto asked reasonably. "I mean, I already told you I've sworn off revenge. It's not like I'm not tempted, but I'm not one to take the easy way out – unlike Sasuke – and if you're talking to me about it you probably have agreed and Sasuke's never meant as much to Ino as he does to us, so why do we HAVE to do anything?"
"Sure you say that now," Sakura agreed. "But once Sasuke's actually dead it might be a different story."
"Hey, I didn't kill Nagato who killed Jiraiya for trying to help bring peace to the world. I'm sure whoever kills Sasuke will have significantly more provocation," Naruto disagreed. "And why is Shikamaru even telling me this, anyway?"
"He wants your permission," Sakura answered.
Naruto raised his eyebrow. "So…despite the fact that he, like pretty much everyone else I know, keeps telling me that I should give up on Sasuke and despite being convinced that we must kill him or a war will break out…he WON'T do it if I don't give my okay?"
"Well, no," Sakura admitted. "But he thought asking would be polite."
"So he thought it would be better to traumatize us both by making us give our consent to have Sasuke killed when he was going to do it either way?" Naruto couldn't believe it. "What the hell?"
"It made a lot more sense when Shikamaru was explaining it," Sakura told him.
Naruto rolled his eyes. "EVERYTHING makes more sense when Shikamaru says it. It's because he's a genius. He better not expect me to be the one doing the killing…"
Sakura didn't reply.
"Sakura?" Naruto asked hesitantly. "He doesn't, does he?"
"Well…" Sakura clearly looked reluctant. "He said that he doesn't know if Sasuke is as strong as Pein was but since you were the only one not dead or in a coma capable of standing up to him, it has to be you."
"You know, I could have sworn Sai told me you guys were going to stop relying on me every time one of you wants to do anything," Naruto muttered.
"Oh, we will," Sakura promised. "Right after you kill Sasuke."
"Not happening," Naruto said flatly.
"But what about Kumo?" Sakura asked.
"Since we all don't want war and agree that should the Raikage kill Sasuke he'll probably deserve it, we'll just all agree not to take revenge. Wow, I think I just prevented a war right there," Naruto said dryly.
"So you won't kill Sasuke but you're okay with the Raikage doing it?" Sakura was skeptical.
"Of course not," Naruto scoffed. "That's why I'm going to get there first. Madara told me he's making Sasuke fight me and even though I refuse to play his games, I know he'll probably manipulate Sasuke into attacking me and my last meaningful interaction with him was three years ago. This could be my one chance to save him."
"So…basically since you're planning of fighting Sasuke anyway, can I just tell Shikamaru that you'll do it?" Sakura asked. "That way he'll stop bugging us about it, will be more supportive in your efforts to find Sasuke, and if you do manage to convince Sasuke to return he won't be able to complain as you prevented a war."
"Eh, why not?" Naruto shrugged. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a pervert to see about a costume…"
"That doesn't sound good..." Sakura noted as she watched Naruto run off.