Final chapter of Blind, after a long recess. Chapter 9: Light
Many things happened after the collision of the chidori and the rasengan made Naruto and Sasuke hurled in opposite directions. Zetsu had appeared suddenly and cushioned the fall of Sasuke, while Kakashi did the same with Naruto. The first thing the blond boy said was "Now I'm sure."
Sure? Sakura asked herself, seeing on her friend's face a serious and, however, peaceful look, aimed at Sasuke. What is this feeling?
The girl then looked to where Sasuke was. Near him, Madara emerged from a kind of swirl in the very tissue of space. The man with the mask told Zetsu and Sasuke to withdraw because it wasn't the best moment to fight the Kyuubi and the others. The white being that seemed to be a plant had still multiplied himself, wanting to fight, but Madara dissuaded him, adding that it would be more entertaining to let Sasuke fight Naruto in the future.
Despite all that, Sakura could only watch the strange atmosphere involving Naruto and Sasuke. The Uchiha was also different, although the girl could not say for sure why. For a moment she thought she had seen the old Sasuke on the place of that cold man that had tried to take her life moments before. The Sasuke that she loved so much and she tried so hard to forget. Naruto began to walk toward his friend, saying he needed to tell something to him. Madara told the young Uchiha to leave with them, but Sasuke ordered them to wait.
Naruto and Sasuke stared at each other, face to face. Their expressions strangely calm and thoughtful. Sakura looked at them with amazement, and without knowing why, she felt her heart slowly turning calmer. Seeing them so close... it's almost like before. And Sasuke-kun too...
"Sasuke, do you remember what you told me about top class ninjas at the Valley of the End?" Naruto asked, but Sasuke did not reply. Sakura stared at the two of them. "I understand better now. We have become top class ninjas. So, tell me... did you see what was in my heart? How do I feel? Did you see what will happen if we fight?"
Sasuke paled slightly. Kakashi was concerned about the situation and Sakura could not define what she was feeling. Naruto paused for a moment and added, without hesitation or any sign of nervousness:
"We'll both die."
Everybody, except Sasuke and Naruto, went shocked because of the statement of the blond man.
So what I saw... that dream... I knew a thing like that could not happen in the world of the living. But then, why do I have this feeling that there is another meaning behind these words of Naruto? What has he in mind exactly? Sasuke wondered.
Naruto talked in a calm and determined voice:
"Our battle will be inevitable if you really attack Konoha. So save your hate, focus it... and hit me with it with all your strength. I am the only one who can bear your hatred. It is my duty, not anyone else's! I'll deal with the burden of your hatred and we'll die together!"
Sakura felt tears forming in her eyes, while a deadly silence fell upon everyone. How can Naruto say such a thing? Such a terrible thing... and he still keeps his calm like that? The two of them will die? Naruto and Sasuke-kun? I... I don't want it.
Sasuke finally made a sound. Naruto's words were too absurd for him. Bear my hatred? Die with me? What about that dream of seeing everybody happy? How does this fit? It makes no sense! What does he mean? And why...? Why...?
"What the hell is wrong with you? Why do you care so much about me?" Sasuke shouted, deeply angry. To his surprise, to everyone's surprise, Naruto smiled at him and replied:
"Because I'm your friend."
The very air around the people present there seemed to become different. Naruto's strong determination overflowed and reached everyone. Sakura, who was sinking with despair moments before, when Naruto spoke of dying with Sasuke, felt her heart calm down again.
"Sasuke..." Naruto continued, "We'll never be able to understand each other only through words. I knew it from the first time we met. The only way we can communicate properly is with our fists. Remember what I said? We are top class ninjas now! I have not given up!"
He hasn't given up? Naruto didn't give up to save Sasuke-kun... Sakura processed the information slowly.
"However, I'm tired of chasing you." Naruto added, "I'm not very good at putting phrases together... I shouldn't be lecturing anyone."
The blond boy laughed, running a hand through his hair.
"If we do this and we both die... we won't be Uchiha, Jinchuuriki or anything like that anymore. We'll understand each other in the other world!"
Tears began to flow from Sakura's eyes. Naruto... you are... You'll risk everything to the end, even your life... you will do everything necessary to save Sasuke-kun...
"I'll never change!" Sasuke yelled suddenly "I don't want us to understand each other. And I will not die, you will."
"Enough, Naruto." Kakashi spoke, unable to stand it any longer. It was horrible enough to lose a student, he could not tolerate the idea of losing two, "I'll take care of still have the dream to become Hokage. Sasuke may have fallen, but do not let him drag you along too."
"How can I consider myself a Hokage someday if I can't even save a friend?" Naruto asked in a tone of voice that made Kakashi go quiet, "The only person who will fight Sasuke is me!"
Finally, Kakashi was starting to understand Naruto's feelings, but he was still unable to put much faith in the boy's decision. He would respect it, however.
Sasuke smiled and said cynically:
"Do it your way then. I will kill you first."
"Heh... you haven't accepted me as an equal yet." Naruto said, laughing a little.
Sakura wiped the tears from her face, feeling something strong in her heart, something that would change her forever. Naruto is here because he has made up his mind. His determination is nothing compared to mine. I should be a ninja, but all I did was depend on him and cry. I should change that. I came here... I thought I was ready... but I can't do anything or say anything. The only thing I can do is believe in them.
Madara, Zetsu and Sasuke left the place. Kakashi wanted to attack Madara before that, but he had been dissuaded by the old Uchiha. Naruto, looking into the whirlpool that was extinguishing in the air, said:
"I'm ready when you are, Sasuke."
Sakura approached her friend timidly and thanked him for everything. Now... I believe there may be a happy ending for everyone on Team 7.
After that, Naruto fainted from the poison of the kunai, alarming everyone, but Sakura treated him in time. When he recovered his senses, Kakashi grabbed Karin and carried her on his back. Everybody was going to Konoha. Karin was very impressed with Naruto, having already given up any feelings she had had for Sasuke. Naruto was the opposite of Sasuke. The girl found his chakra warm and bright, realizing then a shadowy presence in his body.
At night, the group that was with Kakashi, already reunited with Kiba's group, set up camp in the forest. The jounin was thoughtful, looking at Naruto and Sakura near the fire while the others were lying on the grass. Karin was sitting in front of Kakashi, leaning against a tree.
Naruto looked so relieved. I'm starting to believe... maybe... he can save Sasuke. I tend to be so realistic, maybe I lack that strength that Naruto has... that his parents also had. I thought I was a horrible sensei. I never had wanted to become a sensei, I disapproved of all the teams. But the team 7 was different from all others. I could only see my mistakes and how they affected Naruto and Sakura... I tried to protect them... tried to kill Sasuke thinking that would solve everything. But Naruto is right. He is the only one who can reach Sasuke. I hope everyone be well in the end.
"You all really care about Sasuke, don't you?" Karin suddenly asked Kakashi.
"Yeah. For me, Sasuke is like a son... I always saw a lot of me in him. For Naruto, Sasuke is a precious brother with who he has an unbreakable bond. And for Sakura ...
"He is the man she loves." Karin added. What she feels for him is a lot stronger than what I felt. "You're Hokage now, right?"
"That place where the kages' meeting was taking place... I think my two comrades are imprisoned there. One of them, Juugo, can become violent and out of control sometimes, but deep down he has a good heart. The other, Suigetsu... he is a complete idiot, annoying and ugly, but ..." Karin looked at the grass, sadly.
"If they were arrested for helping Sasuke, they got what they deserved and I have nothing to do with it." Kakashi spoke sharply, but then added, seeing the sad face of Karin, "I won't promise you anything, but I can try to negotiate their transfer to Konoha, to get information."
Karin smiled quietly after hearig that. Thank you.
Meanwhile, Sakura was talking to Naruto.
"Let it go. Everybody does stupid things sometimes." Naruto said smiling, then noticing how Sakura was serious.
"I was very immature and abused you... I depended on you for everything and burdened you... even when I tried to help by making a false declaration of love and going after Sasuke-kun alone... I made you suffer so much."
"No need to get so depressed, it's all in the past now."
"You know, Naruto? What you said to Sasuke-kun gave me hope. Isn't that strange? You were talking about death and I went happy."
Sakura hugged her knees and pressed them against her body, while Naruto looked at her, "I'm not good at understanding people or at saying inspiring things, like you. Even loving Sasuke-kun, I am not able to save him. I always fail at the most crucial moment. This time I had given up on him, everyone had, except you... I could feel that you have awakened something in Sasuke-kun... the old Sasuke-kun. "
"If you noticed that, then you're not so bad at understanding other people, right?" Naruto joked, "About the death stuff... it's not such a precise thing."
"What do you mean?"
"It's not the right time to explain it, sorry." Naruto sighed, "You know something weird? Even though I'll fight alone against Sasuke, I won't feel alone. I feel as if you, Kakashi-sensei and everyone else is with me, trying to rescue him. I know it sounds selfish that I face him without you, but that's how I feel it should be done. I will fight not only for me and for him, but for the entire team 7. Am I talking about strange things, Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked, scratching his head.
"I don't think so." Sakura replied with a smile, "Listen, Sai had told me that you... loved me. Is that really true?" She asked apprehensively.
"Well, for a long time I had a crush on you. But I gave up."
"The Naruto who never gives up on anything?"
"It's a different case. You really love Sasuke." Naruto spoke in a little grave voice, staring at the fire in his front.
"You are a special person. I would be lucky if I fell in love with you, Naruto."
"Stop saying weird things, Sakura-chan. I don't feel anything for you anymore, I moved on." Naruto spoke without thinking.
"Moved on?" Sakura asked, surprised, "You're in love with another girl now?"
Naruto went extremely nervous when he heard that. His face flushed violently, and he began to sweat.
"W-w-what are you saying? F-from w-where you got that idea?" He tried, unsuccessfully, to disguise his nervousness. Sakura was finding his reaction funny.
"You're all red and stammering, how cute! Now I'm even more curious to know who it is... Wait! It's Hinata, isn't it?" She asked excitedly.
Naruto's face was even redder than before and he felt very hot.
"It's her! I knew it! Are you two dating? When and how did you fall for her? Was it when she faced Pain?"
"I-i-it's embarrassing, ttebayo!" Naruto almost shouted, standing up. Sakura was enjoying seeing him like that.
"So you don't deny it, huh?" Sakura joked, which made Naruto even more nervous. Kakashi watched the scene, smiling under his mask.
Far away, Sasuke rested alone in the room where he received Itachi's eyes. He was lying on the table where he had been operated, his eyes were wrapped in strips.
I feel the power flowing. The power with which I'll destroy Naruto and reject what he represents.
"You really fear him now, don't you?" Sasuke heard a voice in his head.
"Your voice is different." He said.
"I'm not your darkness, Sasuke-kun. It suffered a mortal blow and may not return for a while."
"Mortal blow? That dream? Don't make me laugh."
"I'm part of you, you know I'm telling the truth. Or how do you explain your desperation to destroy Naruto now?"
Sasuke didn't answer. The voice continued speaking:
"Destroying Naruto means destroying all yor ties, your happiness and hopes to take your life back. If you don't destroy him, you will be recognizing all those things and end up abandoning hatred and revenge. The fact that you keep your eyes closed now, your attitude to catch the eyes of your brother... All this proves the fear that the reunion with Naruto, Kakashi and Sakura brought to you."
Sasuke trembled a little, muttering "I'm not afraid of anything. Neither of Naruto, nor death, nothing."
"I know you don't fear death, but you fear the death that Naruto mentioned. You're afraid of opening your eyes. The fight that you will catch with Naruto will be the battle that will decide your future, in which you both will bet your lives. And I don't need to say what you truly want..."
"SHUT UP!" Sasuke yelled, "Who are you, anyway? Why do you have this voice?"
"Were you expecting Naruto's voice? He occupies a different space in your heart. You could say that he is the bridge that will guide you safely, the structure in which you can trust."
"Naruto Bridge? What a bad joke. And you didn't answer my question."
"You streched your arm to that person in the dream. Even after having taken it back, it was enough for me to awake. That person is the one who disturbs you the most, and yet, who you hate to hurt the most. The person who has awakened you from the darkness once and filled your existence."
"I don't want to hear it. Stop talking about it! Stop using her voice!" Sasuke was getting angry.
"You can't escape from it, Sasuke-kun. The person who symbolizes your light is Sakura."
"SHUT UP!" Sasuke cried, sitting up. Madara, who had heard the yell, went into the room.
"Who are you crying at, Sasuke? Is there anyone else here?"
"Of course not. Go away." The young man ordered.
Madara left him alone. Even denyig it, Sasuke knew something had changed irrevocably that day. His future combat with Naruto would decide everything. A great revolution was about to happen.
And this is the end of this fanfic. It may seem frustrating to end without the fight, but I trust Kishimoto and I know he will do a better job than I ever would. Again, thank you to all of you who read my story and commented. A special thanks to my great betareader, Ditte. You were very kind. :D