Prologue

I don't know why I'm writing this—I don't want to be writing this. But Desunei said it would be good to vent my emotions without taking out several acres of land along the way. As always, she was right.

The war is going to start tomorrow: this I know for sure. After all, I once stayed with an Akatsuki member for two years, so I have my sources. The one thing I don't know is how many villages have allied themselves with the Akatsuki. We don't know how many shinobi we are up against. It scares me.

But I will not let my fear waver my decision. From the time I left with him from Konoha, I knew that this was going to happen. His younger brother would come to fulfill his hunger for revenge, and I would have to stop him from destroying the village I love—the people I love. His training me was not futile. I was molded from the start to end this war.

The only thing he didn't take into consideration was the fact that I knew I was going to die. He thought that I was strong enough to stop them; and, in a way, I am now. I will stop Sasuke and the Akatsuki…at the cost of my own life.

I'm pretty sure no one will grieve me too much. Well, maybe Naruto and my family. Maybe even Kakashi-sensei. But they'll just have to realize that it was either me or the whole village.

Hmm…maybe that's why I'm writing this - so that they can read it and understand.

They will know that I did it out of love. After all, I always have let my emotions show too much. That is why I am weak, ne? Emotions get in the way too much. I have and forever will be the weak link. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, so maybe, after I die, this village will be stronger. In that I am happy.

I have many hopes for my loved ones for the future. How can I not, really? They are all so very strong and confident— they will all turn into something great. Like Naruto. I can feel the tears in my eyes right now, even though I haven't cried in over a year. I only let the tears fall when I am sure they will be masked—in all their superfluous grieving—by torrents of rain. Yet here I am, crying because it has become too hard to hold it in. But it is more of a pleased rather than anguished emotion that has overcome me.

Naruto will indubitably be the flame that powers Konoha, and I have no doubt that when he and Sasuke fight (whenever that may be), love will conquer revenge.

There are so many hopes, so many things that can and will happen. It's as if I can see the future, so clear these wishes and accomplishments are. Ha, seeing the future—he and his Sharingan eyes must have rubbed off on me.

Well, since now I have the time, I might as well write my hopes down here. It will be a last little remembrance of me, so that you can know what has driven me on through this chaos. All in all, this is my shinobi way of life.

My Goals

My first and foremost duty—my goal—is to protect my village. Protect what I love and never let them get hurt, even if it means I shall die because of it. Love is not a weakness—it is the most capable thing to go against hate, to defeat revenge.

I would want to live to see the day when Naruto became Hokage. He would—will—be the greatest leader any of the Great Shinobi Villages had ever seen. I know this because he has something I haven't seen in anyone else—and that is the never-ending will to do what is right. He never puts his life above others' and he never gives up on what he believes in.

Naruto, if you're reading this, know that I am so proud of you. You have always been there for me even when I tried to pull away. Thank you for that. I consider you one of my most precious people, and don't expect that to ever change. One day, you will fulfill your dream. Somehow you have made it one of mine to see you happy. I love you, Naruto, as a friend, as a teammate, as family. I will never forget you, even when I'm dead.

My next wish would be to see Sasuke home and…content with his life. Sasuke, if you're reading this—though I doubt it, since why would he even care?—know that I do not hate you. I understand that that will not make a difference, but I wanted you to know anyway.

You have lived in darkness your whole life, and I thought that once you killed him you would come back to Konoha…come back to me. Well, I have long since abandoned that wish. After what he told me, I knew it would come to this. Whether we meet in battle tomorrow or not does not matter. It was destined that you and Naruto would fight.

You two were meant to be powerful, and I only wish that I could say the same for myself. At least now I know my place.

So please, Sasuke, come back willingly and be happy. Smile for me. Smile for Naruto. He would want to see that. After all, we've never seen you smile before. And if he can witness it, then I will be satisfied.

And one more thing, Sasuke: I forgive you. I left the village so that I could bring you back, and now I understand that sometimes you have to leave what you love behind. But you left for revenge, and I left for love. Even though I left my precious ones, I at least found happiness along the way. Now I just hope that on your way back home, you will be accepted and content. Because if you don't, then all of this will have been for nothing.

I have so many other things I want to say, but I'm afraid that I don't have enough time; I have to continue trying to save the people of Konoha. But, before I go…

Tsunade-sama and Kakashi-sensei, you two are the reasons I became so strong. Without your teachings I would be nowhere. Tsunade-sama, you are like a mother to me, and I will never forget your strict words that forced me to train hard so I could become like you. Kakashi-sensei, even though I was never a student you favored, I thank you for staying with me when my two other boys were gone. You have both taught me so much—I love you guys.

To the rest of the Konoha Twelve: you have been the best friends anyone could ever ask for. Ino, Hinata, Tenten…I am lucky to have known you. We have always been surrounded by stronger males, but we have them by our fingers, ne? They depend on us for love when the world lashes out rampantly, and they know it. Each of you are powerful in your own individual way, and you are needed in Konoha.

As for Shikamaru, Kiba, Neji, Shino, Choji and Lee…what would I have done without you? Your strength pushed me to try harder, because in the end I wanted to be just like you guys. All of you had better keep fighting and rising in the ranks, because you all have it in you to be even greater shinobi.

I can picture all of you right now, with Naruto sitting at his desk as the Hokage, Sasuke on his left and Hinata on his right, the rest of you lined up against the wall, waiting for orders. I wish I could be there to see it, when it happens. You don't know how much I love each of you.

But I will not regret my decision.

Now I need to go - I need to make sure no one gets hurt because of me. This war has only just begun.

My Last Wish

...to join Itachi.

Love,

Haruno Sakura; container of the Fujin na Tora Seishin