"We never were Sasuke-kun, were we?"

"No, Sakura, we weren't."


"Hey," I smile weakly as Naruto slows down a bit, so our steps are stride in stride. "Did you hear?"

And for the first time in his life, Naruto's not there smiling, comforting me. For the first time, I'm the stronger one. And it scares me. A tear leaks out of his eye. I hold my arms wide open, "So you did hear," We stand there and cry together, because there are no happy times here; only suicide missions and what could've beens.


The next day, for the first time in his life, Hatake Kakashi is early. Naruto and I don't even have the heart to appear shocked.

What do you do when the world is crumbling around you and all the loving energy that you've poured into your life, your Naruto, your Kakashi, your Sasuke, is leaking out? And the once strong friends you depended on are nothing more than figments of your imagination?

Kakashi in a rare moment of light, hugs us both.

Sai arrives, less clueless than before. It's ironic how Sai-like I feel. Except it isn't Sai anymore. This new Sai is nicer, more considerate. The new Sakura I am, the grownup Sakura I am, is older, with cold eyes, and no love left to give.

We leave, just at the crack of dawn.


My legs are about to give in and it seems as if Sai has noticed. Following the string of firsts, Sai nods to me sympathetically, "I'll go ahead and tell Kakashi and Naruto, stay here and set up camp,"

I feel terrible. My body is sluggish after a night of screaming and fitfully turning in my sleep. I can tell Naruto shares my sentiments. We're at the same slow pace, trying to save whatever energy we can. We'll need it.

For I'll need all my energy, to stay back, to suppress my emotions, to stay alive. For once, I'll be a strong kunoichi, or at least I'll try. I want to be a hero; someone a mother would tell her kids dotingly, "Sakura Haruno was the best. She was a savior, a hero." I won't fail. Not this time. Not when I've failed so many times before.

We set camp for another night in this dreary forest. I'm glad. Tomorrow is so close. I need time. The thoughts swirling in my mind compress me, choke me so I can't breathe, and I sit there, panicking, because this mission is impossible.

Naruto is snoring gently, while I can sense Kakashi's light breathing. In, Out, In, Out. Life is such a precious thing. To breathe. To feel the cool air in your lungs. I can't throw it all away. But I am throwing it all away. I knew that when I signed up for this mission.

Sai comes over to sit next to me. "You're not okay," He's no longer the rude boy he once was; I miss when he called me Ugly. Because any time is better than now.

"No, I'm not." I answer.

He sighs. "None of us are okay, Sakura. None of us." And he walks over to his sleeping pad and smoothly pulls the cover over his head. "Good night,"


I bite my cheek painfully. It bleeds. I avoid a punch from Karin. Only to turn around to a slice of pain from Suigetsu. Kakashi takes over while I gingerly place my hand on my forearm and heal myself. It hurts me. To see Sasuke's team working as a team. There is no discord. Only bonds between a team that cares for each other. Even if only to further each other's goals.

I take a deep breath. Suigetsu is down and Kakashi is currently disabling Karin. Sai has Juugo handled and I give a small gasp when I see Sasuke and Naruto fighting. Involuntarily, because I promised I wouldn't show my emotions. What a weak fool I am.

Sasuke is every bit as handsome as he was in his younger years. High cheekbones, haughty, practiced aristocratic smirk in place, and hair that still cannot be tamed.

It all comes crashing down on me. I don't know what to do. My heart sinks. 'Sasuke has a new team. He doesn't want you. He doesn't want Team 7. He never wanted you. The four of you were never a team' The truth hurts. Instead of lightening the burden like Sai often says the truth will; it just sinks me down deeper into the quicksand of my emotions. A lone tear comes down my face.

Kakashi is wounded, his chakra low. But Suigetsu and Karin have both been knocked out. Healing chakra travels to my hands and I heal all of the serious wounds, trying to preserve my chakra for Naruto, who will most definitely need it most. I finish quickly, feeling thankful that Suigetsu prefers not to play around. Finding hundreds of small cuts on a body is never a pleasant experience; with blood mingling with his distant cousin sweat.

I look over at Sai, who seems to be doing quite well. A tied up Juugo is behind him, and he flashes over to join Naruto. But a roar from Naruto and his basic survival instincts hold him back.


I cry over Naruto's body. Silent, cold tears. A composed face, with drips of salty water running down my stone visage.

Then I see an outstretched hand.

Sasuke is standing in front of me, with his tracker Karin, glaring at me fiercely behind his back. "Come,"

And I do. Because in the land of hopeful firsts, we'll rebuild our future together.


A/N

Woah. Overuse of linebreaks. OVERUSE. OVERUSE. I am trying really. It looks so much better on Word. But I really wanted this to be a jumpy piece. Unfortunately, I've never mastered the way of those authors who manage to tell just enough but not too much. I tried though. And hopefully there aren't any spelling mistakes. But please let me know if there are! And tell me if there's any grammar mistakes. There probably are, but I'm not that good at grammar - just decent for my grade level, I hope.

Anyways, review with everything you do like and everything you don't like. Or even if you don't like it at all and want to kill me for writing this. I'd love your opinions on this piece. Only if you have the time of course.(: (And feel free to tell me how annoying the linebreaks are; I wholeheartedly agree)

-Sartruce