Hey. I know you're all anxious to read this chapter, so here it is.
Disclaimer: I don't own the anime known as Naruto.
Rule Fifteen: Thou shall choose one boy and one boy ONLY to go after this year. Once you choose, you aren't allowed to go back on it so choose wisely. Thou must use all the rules here after to gain this boy.
"I'm sorry, Haruno-Sama. Your daughter...she's-"
"What are you doing, Sasuke?"
The young man looked up, his black eyes lost and confused.
He licked his dry lips and coughed lightly, trying to get his voice from being scratchy.
"I'm waiting to see her."
Naruto looked down at him. Sighing, he slid down the wall and sat next to him, placing his arms on his raised knees.
"You know," he began, "she wouldn't want you like this."
"I know," was his soft reply. Naruto felt pity for the man beside him. He was sitting there, in the hallway of the white hospital, his clothes rumpled and creased from sitting here all night, and his eyes vacant and haunted. Like he had seen a ghost.
Or was going to see one.
"Naruto, I-" he stopped, clenching his eyes shut, "I can't help but feel like this is all my fault. If I hadn't been so angry and mean to her, she wouldn't have run off and gotten herself-"
At this, he stopped again, clenching his fist over his heart. He continued.
"She won't wake up."
"Soon," Naruto interjected quickly. "She won't wake up soon." Sasuke looked at him, with a look that was falling fast and losing hope.
"How do you know that?" Naruto was shocked at the utter self-loathing coming from Sasuke's voice. "How do you know that she'll wake up? She has been brutally beat, cut, stabbed, and everything else under the sun!" He took a deep breath. "And it's all because of me."
Naruto opened his mouth to retort, but was cut off by Tsunade.
"You can see her now."
Both boys rose and followed her to the door at the end of the hall. She pushed it open and let them in.
They stopped at the sight before them.
Sakura was laying in the middle of the room. Her face was mostly covered by the bandages placed there, hiding the left and top of her face. She had a broken arm, three bruised ribs, a crack in her cheekbone, and multiple cuts and bruises on her body.
Sasuke took a couple steps forward as her parents walked in, and they saw him collaspe on his knees at her bedside, hands gripping the railing tightly. He was shaking, and they all saw couple drops of water fall onto the floor. Sakura's mother, Akira, came over to him. She knelt down next to him, and murmured something to him. He shook his head sharply, and she took him in her arms and held him in a hug. His sobs were silent, but he shook violently. One hand rested next to him, limp and unused, while the other held Sakura's hand above him tightly, like he was afraid to let go. Akira's head turned.
"Can you call Mikoto-Chan and Fugaku-Kun? They are needed here. You know they consider Sakura like a daughter."
Daisuke nodded, and left the room to call them. Naruto knelt down with them, and spoke.
"Sakura wouldn't want you like this. She'd probably hit you upside the back of the head and tell you to stop moping. Then she'd hit me and yell at me for not making you stop moping. Now, I'm not going to do that because I really don't want to hit myself, but you need to not let this consume you. Go to school tomorrow. Be upset with your friends. And then come back and visit her. She's still going to be here tomorrow. She's not going anywhere until she wakes up. And when she wakes up, we'll be here, ready to take her home."
Sauske turned his head from Akira's shoulder.
"Okay." Naruto nodded once. "But I'm going to stay here tonight."
"Okay," Akira said, and released him. Naruto brought a chair over, and put his friend into it. They left soon after.
Sasuke was staring at her, not believing his eyes. Sakura, his Sakura, was laying prone in this bed, comatose.
And Tsunade said she didn't know when she would open her eyes.
Sasuke was laughing, trying to grab the leaves above his head as his brother held him on his back. Itachi kept walking, his eyes searching for a branch that was low enough for his brother to reach.
A light, delicate sob caught their attention, and both boys turned to the sound.
A small girl was crying, her pink hair falling in her face as she had her arms wrapped around her legs.
"Nii-san, let's go help her," Sasuke whispered in his brother's ear. Itachi nodded. They made their way over to the crying girl, Itachi putting Sasuke down so he could talk.
"Hi!" Sasuke said cheerfully, smiling. The little girl tilted her head up, but they couldn't see her eyes.
"Hello," a watery voice said, the voice behind it lovely.
"My name's Sasuke. What' s yours?"
"Sakura," the little girl said.
Sasuke grinned. "Hey, that's a nice name! It fits you."
"That's what my Kaa-san says. She named me that because of my hair and eyes."
"What color are your eyes?"
She shook her bangs out of her face, and two stunning green orbs peered up at them.
"Green," she simply said. Sasuke sat down next to her.
"Want to be friends?" The little girl looked shocked.
"You want to be friends? With me?"
"Yeah!" Sasuke smiled. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Because I have a big forehead, and I'm not pretty, and no one likes me. Why would you want to be friends with me?"
Sasuke shook his head.
"You are fine. Whoever said that is wrong. And I'm going to prove it to you!"
She smiled brightly, the smile lighting up her face.
Naruto sat under the Cherry Blossom tree, reminiscing about his days in Kindergarten.
Sakura and Sasuke sure got in a lot of trouble because of him.
He chuckled, shaking his head.
There was a couple of times that it wasn't the greatest of times to do something stupid, but he could remember one time that he would do over and over again.
A flash of blonde was all the lunch lady saw before she was flat on her back. Another two flashes, one black and one pink ran by her quickly, and she screamed.
The three kids ran outside and collasped under the Cherry Blossom tree, laughing.
"Oh my gosh, did you see her face?" Sakura was giggling uncontrollably.
"Yeah! I almost peed myself!" Naruto exclaimed. Sakura's face scrunched up, and Sasuke hit his head sharply.
"Ow! Teme, what was that for?"
"For being stupid."
"You want to go?"
"It would be a challenge, Dobe."
And the quarell began. Sakura didn't honestly care anymore. She knew them well enough to let it go on until they stopped. She layed back and watched the sky.
About fifteen minutes later, Sasuke was laying on her left and Naruto on her right. She sat up and looked at them.
"Guys." both boys looked at her. "Can you promise something?"
"Anything, Hime," Sasuke said quickly.
"Of course, Sakura-Chan!"
She smiled at them.
"You promise to never leave me? And if I was to leave, you would bring me back?"
"Without a doubt," Sasuke said.
"Why wouldn't I?" Naruto was confused, but still promised.
"Thank you, guys. You'll be my best friends forever."
Ino was holding the flowers from her mother's shop tightly in her left hand, a box of strawberry pocky in her right. She stood outside of Sakura's door, trying to force herself to go in.
You can do it, she told herself, it's just Sakura. She's just asleep. Walk in, put the flowers on her bedside table, and sit down. She is just sleeping. You can do it. YOU CAN DO IT!
"Are you going to come in?"
The rough voice broke her concentration, and she looked up.
"Oh, hey, Sasuke," she said sheepishly. Sasuke's eyes were blank as they stared at her. Ino licked her lips nervously. "Um, I could just...come back...later?"
"You can go in. I have to go get something to eat. Naruto's about to come by in ten minutes, and if I'm not eating, he threatened to tell Hime when she woke up." The way he said this was like he was just going through the motions.
"Oh, okay. I'm just going to sit there for a little while and talk to her. That okay?"
Sasuke nodded, and walked quickly towards the cafeteria. With his long legs, she doubts he'll be gone two minutes. She walked in the room and froze.
Sakura looked so peaceful, laying there. Ino sat onto the chair next to her bed, placing the Lilies and Cherry Blossoms on the table. She opened the pocky and waved one under Sakura's nose.
"Come on, Saki," she teased lightly, ignoring the pain in her heart, "You know you want to wake up and eat one." When Sakura didn't respond, she sighed sadly.
"Even the strawberry pocky won't wake you up," she said.
Ino was watching the older girls on the swings, sniffing as she remembered what they did.
"Hey, are you okay?"
She looked up at the soft, girly voice, only to see a mess of pink hair clouding the girl's face.
"I'm fine," Ino said, wiping her face harshly and smiling a forced smile at the girl. The girl pushed her hair over her shoulder, revealing a pretty face and wide green eyes.
"You don't look okay."
"Well, I said I am!" Ino quieted suddenly as she saw the girl's eyes begin to water at her outburst.
"I was just trying help," she said softly, and spun around to run away.
"Wait!" The little girl froze. "What's your name?"
"It's only polite to give your own first."
She jumped at the boy's voice, and turned her head to see perhaps the most beautiful boy she's ever seen. A blush covered her cheeks, and she began to stutter.
"M-my na-names Ino-o," she got out.
"Hn," the boy said, and looked to the girl behind her. "Hime, come here." The girl hopped over to him, and suddenly, Ino saw she would never have this boy. The way he was around this pink-haired girl showed his crush he had.
And it made Ino mad.
"You like her!" She pointed a finger at him. "You really like her! How can you like her? Her hair looks like strawberry pocky!" The little girl's face screwed up in anger.
"Well, atleast I wasn't named after a pig and ended up looking like one!"
"That's because you got a forehead the size of Japan!"
The girl's face went from anger to utter sadness, and tears began to slip down her face. She ran off, towards a tall, dark-haired teen. The teen picked her up and rubbed her back gently. The boy looked at her.
"You better apoligize right now, or I swear-"
"I will, I will!" She ran over and looked up at the pink-haired girl in the teen's arms.
"I'm sorry," she said truthfully. "I like your hair. It's very pretty."
The little girl hiccuped. "T-thank you, I-Ino."
"Could I know your name?"
Naruto came in the room just as Ino was leaving. She smiled sadly, and said, "He's in there." Naruto nodded, and continued in the room.
He saw Sasuke sitting in the chair that he had been sitting in everyday for the past three weeks and walked up to him.
"You've been eating, right?"
Sasuke looked at Naruto with a blank look.
"I had a piece of toast," his rapsy voice said. Naruto shook his head.
"You've got to eat, Teme. When Sakura-Chan wakes up, I don't need both of you looking like skeletons."
"What if she doesn't?"
Naruto froze. "Don't say that."
Sasuke stood up. "Be realistic, Naruto. What if she doesn't wake up?" Naruto turned around, his lip curled in a sneer.
"She's going to wake up."
The door open, and Sasuke's parents, Naruto's parents, and Sakura's parents walked in to an all out brawl.
"You fucking Teme! How could you say that?" Naruto's hand was around Sasuke's throat.
"Because she might not!" Sasuke's knee came up into Naruto's stomach. Naruto bent over, coughing. Sasuke rubbed his throat.
"We promised her," Naruto whispered, but it sounded like a scream in the silence. "We promised her if she was to leave, we would bring her back. Well, guess what, Sasuke?" Naruto's blue eyes turned hard. "She's not awake. She's in a fucking coma, away from us! I'm not giving up like you!"
"How could you think I want to give up on her, huh? I don't want to give up, Naruto! It hurts so damn much to see her lying there, in a coma because of something I said! I would never want to give up on her! I love her, dammit! I love her!" Sasuke closed his eyes and slid to the floor with his back against the wall. "I love her, and I didn't tell her."
"I didn't know I was deaf."
The soft voice froze all of them, and their eyes turned to the bed. Sakura's eyes were barely open, and her lips barely parted, but the green behind her lashes was burning brightly, showing them she wasn't going down without a fight.
But they noticed she wasn't looking at all of them. She was only looking at Sasuke.
Mikoto, Akira, and Kushina pushed their men and Naruto out the door, locking it silently behind them. Sasuke rose from his spot on the floor and made his way over.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
She ignored him. "Did you mean it?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Sasuke." He flinched. She only called him Sasuke when she was mad or serious. Or both. "Did you mean what you said? About loving me?"
"Yes." He brushed the hair away from her face, and she found comfort in the familiar action. "I do. Have since I was five. Well, back then it was a crush, but-"
He was cut off by Sakura grabbing the back of his neck and pulling him down. She placed his lips on hers and kissed him, slow and sweet. He responded, kissing her back the same way. She pulled back. "I've been wanting to do that since sixth grade."
He smirked. "Well, I'm sorry I kept you waiting so long." She smiled and he kissed her again.
Finally. They admit it!
I bet you all are relieved.
But don't think it's over. Oh, no.
It's only just begun.