Title: Grains of Sand

Anime: Naruto

Pairing: Kakashi x Sakura

Rating: K

Words: 686

Disclaimer: NARUTO © 1999 by MASASHI KISHIMOTO/SHUEISHA Inc and assorted corporations who bought various rights to it.

A/N: A big hearty 'Thanks!' goes to both those who reviewed Unbound and to those who voted for me in the Week 1 Poll so that I could continue on to Week 2. This is written for the Edgar Allan Poe Contest over at the KakaSaku LiveJournal Community. The prompt for Week #2 is A Dream Within A Dream. If you happen to like this well enough, please vote for me in the Week 2 Poll (set to end on 1/25 at 10 PM EST), so that I can move on to Week 3.

I hope that in writing this, I was able to capture some of the prompt's essence.

This is unbeta'd unfortunately due to time constraints.


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The silence of the mist-shrouded area ended abruptly with rapid footsteps echoing faintly against unseen ground. A figure burst forth from the haze. Deep grey eyes darted fiercely around, taking in everything and nothing all at once. A single thought thrummed through him urgently, insistently, wrenching upon his very being until he could focus on nothing else: They cannot take her!

Hands tightened into fists as he continued on, listening to an internal compass that would surely lead him to her location. If he could, he would be sweating in both physical exertions of his search as well as in an encompassing, gut-twisting fear. He could not be late!

A flash of something caught the corner of his eye, and he turned towards it. Mouth parting slightly in realization of what he beheld, the man felt a fluttering of hope gather low. Hope that he thought never to experience again. Kakashi swallowed against the dryness in his throat as he took the final steps that would bring him close to her in this realm as he had been in their last. "Sakura…"

She hovered in an ethereal state, a glowing aura of gentle warmth and passionate pinks that brightened with his appearance, pulsing with welcome and love. Kakashi reached out a hand, wishing to touch her again as they had in the past, hand in hand, fingers entangled, but he knew they could not. In fact, he did not even know how he managed to break the barriers but he had not care for that. What he knew was that he needed to reach her, and he did so with but that single purpose in mind. So what if he left his physical body behind to move into this realm?

As his long fingers almost brushed against his Sakura, a pulse of energy coming from another source stopped him. :You should not do that.:

Kakashi growled at the voiceless interruption, posture going into a defensive crouch. "We are to be together."

Amusement and a deep, knowing patience tinged the reply. :This is not the realm where such things are allowed. This is a passageway onto the next life. Though the fact that you are here is usually not allowed either. We commend you for your loyalty, but it was her time as it was not yet yours.:

The silver-haired man snarled silently, "You will not have her!"

:It cannot be undone as you well know. However, there is something else to be addressed, such as the consequences for going against the rules. For breaking the barriers between here and there and ignoring the cycle. It is regrettable as you had much to experience yet. Perhaps next time, you will do better to understand, to grow, and to move on.:

With only that as a warning, Kakashi felt his sense of self began to twist and warp. Eyes widening (he was so close!), he made to leap towards Sakura whose aura flared wildly in response as well, the pinks and greens and golds brightening and darkening in agitation.

Kakashi gritted out, "There is no moving on without her. I will not have it, no matter who you are!"

Though he tried to hold on, the overwhelming presence that had suddenly appeared to speak with him gradually undid him, unknotting him from within and from without until only loose threads remained to be knitted into a new shape. :You will be sent on first. There are not guarantees...But use your next time wisely. You still have much to learn.:

Kakashi wanted to ignore the silent presence, wanted to speak again, wanted to shout her name, wanted to touch her again…He had not even done the last even though he had come so far! He, who was once a human man, yearned, and in his yearning, reached out towards his Sakura one last time.

As his consciousness faded amidst visions of green leaves against a carved mountain face, he thought he felt her reach out as well and happiness flooded him.

We will find each other again.

In the next life or another.

This I swear.

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~Fin~


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Story Notes: "A Dream Within A Dream" is one of Poe's more famous poems. Even now, I feel like I could take another decade just to savor it and try to understand even better what he envisioned on the page. Overall, what I get from it is a desperate yearning for what has been lost, and that was what I hoped to capture.

I had just enough time to type this up as is and upload it so forgive me for any mistakes. The polls are about to close, and it looks like I'll be able to retire after this round so I'll have time again and may come back to flesh this out some more. Need to ponder on that.

Reviews are love! I sincerely thank those who have done so! *smooch*