Anyway. After this long wait, I've made this chapter (hopefully) better than the others :)
"L-Let's go back," she said quietly, but loud enough to be heard over the crashing waterfall.
He stood still, which was not unusual, but Naruto felt truly intimidated by Sasuke's demeanour for the first time. She shivered – not from the winter night air that bit and stung – but from the needles she swore she could feel penetrate slowly into her beating heart from the silence that hung.
"Sasuke, come –"
"Im leaving." He said coldly, his voice cold enough to slice the cold night air.
She controlled a few shallow breaths and made her expression much calmer than she felt inside. "Why?"
"Because that's who I am."
She stilled, and the tiny droplets of water spraying towards her from the waterfall no longer mattered. She no longer felt cold, because she felt like she had just died – like she had nothing to feel any more.
My name is Uchiha Sasuke. I dislike many things and I don't have anything in particular I like. And… I don't want to use the word 'dream' but I have an ambition – to kill a certain man.
"But what about us?" she asked, for the whole to Konoha, "What about everything team 7's been thro-"
Sasuke disappeared and she spun around, only to be slammed brutally into the rock walls of the waterfall. His arm – pressed her against neck – kept her off the ground, keeping her from being able to slip away.
"That's exactly what." He said icily, glaring into her eyes – their face's mere inches apart. "There was never an us."
"What do you mean? You're a Konoha Genin!" she growled, pressing her cheek on the rocky wall – away from Sasukes face.
His other hand grabbed her chin and forced her to face him. He growled, "You just don't get it. I mean us. Leave Konoha out of the equation. I'm talking about me and you."
She stilled, the words stuck in her throat. Then, her defensive side flared up. "What do you mean? We are friends!" she snapped.
"I meant what you and that monster are now!" he snarled back at her.
"Gaara and I are friends!"
He seemed to control a few shallow breaths, before he leaned in, just slightly, so that they're lips were almost touching. She struggled. "Then," he said in a tone that was dangerously quiet, "because we too, are 'friends', that gives me the fucking right to kiss you, don't i?"
She struggled against him and he removed his arm, dropping her onto the hard floor.
"I thought not," he answered himself coldly. "That's why I've decided to cut these useless ties."
She scrambled up and attempted to shoved Sasuke backwards, but he didn't budge, his feet firmly planted on the rock.
"Useless?" she spat, "Bonds are important. Bonds –"
" –make us stronger." He finished boredly, tired of hearing the cliché phrase over and over again. "Only idiots – weaklings – would believe that. They drag us back – give us limitations."
She spluttered, unbelieving of Sasuke. What had happened to him? Just what had happened to make Sasuke like this?
"You're wondering why im like this?" said Sasuke flatly. "Because of what Konoha – you – did to me. Stopped me from achieving my sole reason for living."
She regained the ability to speak properly. "What the fuck did I do?"
"You still don't get it!" he hissed, "After all these years, you still don't get a fucking thing, dobe." His voice rose towards the end and he was all but shouting at her. He lashed out and pinned her against the wall again, but harder – so that she'd choke and gasp like the pathetic weakling he knew she was.
He leaned in close. "That I fucking loved you," he spat.
She clawed at his fingers and gasped for breath and finally, with a disgusted face, he withdrew his hand but Naruto caught herself before she fell onto the floor. She rubbed the skin on her neck in a dazed, shocked manner, staring at the floor with wide eyes.
What? Sasuke loved her? The teme loved her? But… that was impossible. The Uchiha actually had feelings?
"All… all those times…" she whispered hoarsely.
He walked away silently, not one glance over his shoulder.
Naruto clenched her hand and flung the fist forwards at Sasuke, who turned and looked at her, just in time to see her mouth open.
"If," she said, "you had told me, it would have helped. And what, you're just leaving like that? You're leaving your whole village for revenge? For fucking revenge? Teme, I never took you to be the stupid type but that is fucking twisted. You –"
"What does any my choices," he sneered "Have to do with you?
I have my own path. I won't let anyone get in my way, no matter who it is. Not even you.
Let me make this clear, my childish games with you Leaf's are over. Go home."
He turned around and walked but he caught sight of a shadow from above and far too large for a bird. He spun around, but not fast enough. Naruto flattened him on the ground, and earned a satisfying grunt from him. She slapped his cheek with as much force she could muster. But before her palm hit him, she saw it – the way his face was impassive, dead.
"What the hell are you thinking about your leaf comrades!" she screeched.
She hit him hard enough to result with his split lip and a bruised cheek. He spat the blood out and it stained Naruto's cheek. Naruto, furiated, grabbed the front of his shirt and harshly pulled him from the ground but before she could utter a word, he spoke.
"So do I get any stronger staying with these… 'comrades'? Do you get it yet? Im going to Orochimaru."
The weight of reality crushed Naruto but she regained her senses swiftly, and she shook Sasuke by the grasp she had on his clothes.
"That man killed old man and tried to crush Konoha! You think he's just gonna give you some power for free?! Fine, I confess, I heard your conversation with him at the Chuunin Exams. And I know that he just wants to take your body! You might not come back! You might get killed! I can't let you go somewhere like that!" her voice rose unevenly, choked in places.
"I don't care," murmured Sasuke, and she ground her teeth together in frustration. "All I care about is my objective. I will kill you if you get in the way."
"You can't do it! I'll take you back with full force! I-ll-"
She was knocked off him easily and her counter was interrupted. Before she could get a grip on the situation, he grabbed the front of her clothes and lifted her off the ground and he punched her in the gut – hard – and he let go, sending her flying back into the vast body of water. He was normally stronger than others – but this was something else. Something more powerful – something that was so much more powerful than himself. And it was coming from within him, from the seal on him neck.
If he was to release the seal, how much power would he receive?
Naruto swam to the surface and heaved herself back onto the ground, and shot forwards towards Sasuke. She took him by surprise and hit him back in the stomach, and he was knocked down.
"Did that wake you up?" she shrieked.
"Yeah," he murmured, "From a dream by my foolish self, who dreamed a future with comrades drunken with the assurance of peace."
He disappeared from her eyes and she staggered back a step but he appeared again, right next to her with his fist ready to pummel her in the stomach.
"That this future that is not where my dream is." He muttered in her ear as he shoved his fist forwards harshly.
She caught herself from falling before she countered. Her attack met himHe fell back into the water. Soaking wet, he channelled chakra into his feet and balanced himself easily on the surface of the body of water. They aimed hits – dodged each other's – ducked and jumped – swerved and landed a hit – kicked and punched – and it was all like a practiced routine. If anyone had been watching, and had not seen the hits Sasuke and Naruto landed on each other or Sasuke's eyes, they would have watched it like it was a dance.
They sprang apart – Naruto panting and Sasuke's breathing shallowed. The stomach was a girls weakest point. How many times had she been hit there? Ten?
"I… I'll break," she paused to pant for a moment before continuing, "every single bone – crush them – if that's what it takes to bring you back."
A clone appeared next to her and she gave a final huff before she straightened up, and then crouched into a stance. Chakra swirled in her hand.
She tried as hard as she could, and it stayed in shape in her hand, and she raced forwards with her attack. Looking just past her fogged vision, she watched the corners of Sasuke's mouth curl into a sneer, and she saw him take off from his spot, towards her with a crackling sound accompanying him.
They were close - so close. A second and they would collide. Half a second. A quarter of that second.
And then they did.
But Naruto's rasengan shattered against the more developed chidori, and Naruto screamed in pain as she felt the electricity on Sasuke's hand dance up her arm and the skin peel off from her hand.
There was a laugh. A horrible, sinister laugh with the voice she knew.
Sasuke was laughing at her – the way she was losing to him. And she hated it. The sinister cackling echoed throughout the valley – together with her pained scream.
It faded and her arm fell limp to the side, and she felt the multiple trails of blood roll down the length of her arm, and drip from her fingertips, and she watched the red swirls appear, then disappear in the water from the corner of her eyes.
She had taken the risk – and failed.
Sasuke. Why couldn't he just see what he was leaving? A home, family, friends – all the aspects of life she wanted and he was just throwing it away like nothing. He was making the wrong choice – and she knew it. Her eye's burned – every single fibre of her body burned, and she felt something scratch at her insides, looking for a weak point to tear its way outside. Unmistakeable bloodlust hazed her vision, and she could taste her own blood in her mouth from her canines, and she licked her cracked lips.
She was going to crush him if that was what it took. Strangle him if that was what it took. Kill him if that was what it took. She wanted to hurt him so, so bad. Her mouth went dry as the bloodlust took over, and the want to rip apart Sasuke became so bad that her eyes watered. She wanted to hurt him past repair so that he couldn't leave ever again. She wanted to tear him apart, limb by limb.
Then, before she sprang on him with her claws, before Orochimaru could tense, Sasuke was on the ground. No one had touched him, but he was on the floor, writhing from obvious agony, and Naruto's red pupils flickered for a second.
No sound escaped Sasuke's lips as he cringed against the rock. Naruto's eye's flickered again. And she jerked up.
The cringing faded and after a moment of shallow breathing, he picked himself up slowly, glaring at Naruto.
"What are you doing?" he demanded
"I-I'm not doing anything."
"The hell you aren't. The girl at the Chuunin exam's writhing on the floor, Itachi, and now me."
"I'm not doing anything!" she protested.
"Don't deny it!" he screamed. "I know it. Why all the adults hate you. It's because youhave the nine-tails inside of you. It's not you who's strong, it's the monster you have that you've been grovelling for power at. You're just a pathetic weakling that uses the help of others because you can't do it yourself. Pathetic.
It all fits together. Why you've become so strong – for the moment. You accept donations from the beast inside of you – and even stronger because of that marking on your shoulder. But I'm different. You aren't the only one with the gifted power."
He threw off his shirt, exposing the black marking on his shoulder that matched the black tomoe's on his red eye.
Her breath hitched in her throat as she watched the transformation – the way black ink seemed to stain him from head to toe – and listened to the sickening crunch as two wings spurted out from Sasuke's back. He had changed.
But she wasn't weak – she knew that. But what was she doing? Was something wrong with her? The girl at the Chuunin exam? Was he talking about the girl who had towered over Sakura? Itachi? Was he talking about when he had released her like she had scalded him?
She clutched at her head in midst of her uncertainty, shaking her head slowly, tremors rippling through her. He watched her vulnerable state, before he padded over towards her unsuspecting figure and lifted her by the throat.
"Our fight hasn't finished yet." He said with his hand pulled back, covered with blue chakra.
He thrust it forwards towards Naruto's beating heart.
And the world seemed to slow down for a second before it went back to normal, and he felt Naruto twist in his grasp. Her heart was missed – just narrowly – but his arm drilled through her right lung, and she gasped and coughed, blood spurting from her mouth. He pulled his arm out and shook the blood off, as she collapsed on the ground with her hand pressed against the wound in an attempt to stop losing blood. She choked on the blood, and spluttered, staining the rock with red blotches.
She staggered up – and collapsed again. She felt her Chakra being drained from her body, by the curse seal she had on her shoulder. She blinked in an attempt to clear away her unfocused sight, and didn't catch Sasuke's foot slamming into her, sending her flying.
She could hardly make out anything anymore, but she heard the definite thud of metal being dropped next to her.
Every breath – every single part of her body ached. Her breathing was jagged, uneven and then,
all that was before her was
It hurt her nose.
No – every single part of her body of her body hurt.
Surely her heart was being ripped apart by the pain she felt in her chest. Or had it already been finished being shredded? Had Sasuke torn her heart before he had left her?
She shifted her arm slightly and in return, the IV jangled, the water sloshing.
She hated needles.
She moved to rip the needle out when she realised she couldn't move.
How bad had it been for the hospital to grudgingly allow the use of morphine on her?
She cracked her eye's open and she stared at the white washed ceiling feeling empty. She felt hollow. Had Sasuke finished her off before he had left? This was surely not heaven. Was this hell? What had she done to land herself in hell? Was being forced to carry a monster in her stomach such a sin?
There was a rustle, and Sakura was looking down at her with red eyes.
Was Sakura dead too? Just how many had Sasuke killed after she hadn't been able to stop him?
"Naruto!" Sakura moaned, as she hugged her tightly, sobbing into her shoulder.
This was hell? It wasn't so bad.
There was a sudden lurch of thick liquid into her bloodstream and she felt like sleeping.
She closed her eyes,
there was darkness.
But how long it stayed like that – she didn't know, because she screamed, begged, pleaded in her sleep for Sasuke to come back. Crying, Sakura held her down by the shoulders as Tsunade looked her over, and Jiraiya stood nearby, watching like a hawk with his lips flattened into a thin line.
And the cycle repeated, until finally, on the last day of the week, Naruto spoke.
The single word came out dry, cracked and soft. A mere word, yet Sakura lurched herself onto Naruto's lying body and hugged her tightly.
"Sakura," Naruto rasped, "Sorry."
"It's okay," Sakura cried, tightening her grip, "There's nothing to be sorry about… nothing"
A warm, large hand slipped over her cold one and her eyes shifted to see Jiraiya, smiling down at her.
"It's okay," he assured her. "I'm proud of you."
Her eyes shifted and she saw Kakashi in the room, looking at her over the rim of his pink porn book. He gave a small nod before going back to reading.
She gave a small smile and heaved herself up, waving away Sakura's helping hands. She was going to do this alone. She was strong enough to stand up.
She wobbled and grasped the bed rails for support. Her muscles were stiff as board but she was too tired to stretch them.
"How long have I been here?" she asked.
"Two weeks," Tsunade replied immediately pulling out the needles in her arm. "The nine-tails wasn't helping you recover. In fact, the seal's visible on your stomach, but there's been no chakra flares, no sudden changes of appearance, no nothing. Zilch. It's been unusually dormant. Something is getting in the way."
"Isn't that good?" Naruto asked, half understanding.
"No," Jiraiya replied before Tsunade, "because that whatever is stopping the nine-tail's chakra," there was a glance exchanged between him and Tsunade for a second that Naruto missed, "is unknown. We don't know much about it - what it might do, side effects, possible flares… you get it."
"So they put a restraint on it," Sakura piped up helpfully.
"And Sasuke?" Naruto asked, a tad more cheerfully.
Jiraiya threw the forehead protector onto the bed and Naruto looked at it blankly. He sighed and explained, "He left this – only this – before leaving."
Sakura watched the emotions flickering through her eyes, the hurt, shock, sadness, regret… and she stepped forward and hugged her.
And for the first time in her life, she watched Naruto sob.
Naruto sobbed into her shoulder. "Im sorry Sakura," she cried, "im so sorry. I'm so sorry…"
"It's okay," Sakura said, trying hard to fight down the lump in her throat. "But next time, let's go together, okay?"
Naruto nodded, and sniffled before she withdrew with a cheery smile. She gave a small laugh.
"Look at me, getting all weak! But don't worry Sakura, I'll definitely bring him back to Konoha. Definitely."
Tsunade cleared her throat and the two jumped apart, with Naruto wiping at her face hastily. However, when she opened her eyes, there was a blue crystal necklace thrust before her. She blinked and it was gone. Instead, there was a slight weight around her neck and Tsunade's warm, smiling face was infront of her.
"It's your turn to keep the dream alive. To become Hokage."
Naruto grinned back. "I sure will."
Tsunade kissed Naruto's forehead.
"I know you will." She whispered.
"Sensei!" Naruto screamed, "Get your ass up here!"
"The words 'sensei'," muttered Jiraiya, "and 'get your ass up here' aren't supposed to be used together, squirt."
She pushed open the Konoha gates, ignoring the cries of protest from the guards. Jiraiya waved them down and they snapped a salute before they went back to their posts. He sighed before he went back to see Naruto, who hadn't moved from the spot, but stayed rooted, staring at the sun appearing past the horizon.
"Sasuke," she whispered, the dawn's rays dancing on her face, "I'll bring you back, I promise."