I do not own Naruto.

You ask yourself, shouldn't she be working on one-shots for Beginnings? Yes, probably, but I hope in the meantime you might enjoy this trifling piece of insanity.


Sometimes, the how is all that matters, and it keeps Sakura awake at night.

Some of the how's are silly things. How will breakfast taste? How is she going to get her laundry done? How is she going to convince Naruto to ask out a different girl? How will her parents react to her taking the jounin test?

These how's change from day to day, passing with minimal importance, and some touching only as light as dandelion seeds blown by a soft breeze.

Then there is the one that is a stain, permanent, dark, and constant.

How will Sasuke return?

Will he come willingly? Walk through the gates with that slight smirk of his, ignoring Naruto to annoy him, dark eyes sparkling with their old mischief? Time would have changed him of course. He had done bad things, terrible things, but great things as well. Tsunade waives all excuses away and greets him warmly, drawing him into Konoha's embrace with all the kindness of a mother.


Perhaps he'll come slung over Naruto's broad shoulder, arms and legs snapped out at angles just as promised. Perhaps his face will be blossoming purple and black, lip split, eye swelled shut. Naruto would be grinning of course, and Sasuke's face would have been beaten into a half-smile, half-grimace. Sakura would be there, standing right next to the tea shop with the green door, waiting for them with a choked smile. She would take them to the hospital, tuck Sasuke beneath white sheets, and Tsunade would let him stay on conditions.


Maybe the sky will be pregnant with moisture, heavens trembling in anticipation of a birth that would bring a deluge. She'd be called away from the hospital, hands slick with guts and blood, to the gate. Sasuke will be there, cutting a path of carnage through the street, eyes blank and mad. There will be screams, cries, and Sakura will scream and act until she can't move. Then Naruto would come. From the side alley, or the roof, with the clouds clearing just long enough to light his frame in a halo. He would fight Sasuke, and he would win, but the Sasuke they all knew would be gone.

They would have to put him down, like a dog that had rabies- quick-like, with a snap of the neck or a hand through the heart.

Also possible.

Perchance it would be a sunny day, hot and muggy. She would go for a walk, leave the city on a whim, stare at the austere pines and revel in the pop of colored flowers. She would find him there, sneaking about the edge, a body in his arms, face torn and guilty. She wouldn't understand at first, why the blue eyes were dull and the skin chalky and cold. He would have to explain, crying a little, and she would take the body and not look back. Close the gates with him outside.

She didn't want to think how likely that might be.

There are a thousand other possibilities of course, and all require effort and time and hope, and all these needles of futures only come out to draw blood at night.

Naruto swears he'll bring Sasuke back.

And Sakura wants to know how.


Please review and let me know what you think.