I read a doujinshi awhile ago and it had a lantern lighting ceremony for the Uchiha Clan. I don't remember where i read it or even what it was called but i was just thinking about it the other night and decided to write this. I just like the link between the three boys of team seven and wanted to write something focusing on them. It's short, but gets the job done.
I hope you enjoy.
I'm a-wonderin' if she remember me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.
So if you're travelin' in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine.
It was such a beautiful spectacle. Never before had anyone seen such a thing. People gathered by the road that overlooked the lake, huddled together to fight off the unseasonable chill that had settled over Konoha. Naruto had laughed bitterly when he woke up that morning, his cold toes still out from under his blanket. Even the weather felt the need to be somber and cold for today.
Sasuke had returned to Konoha a few months ago and was under near constant watch. It was probably the reason that word spread throughout the village so quickly. It was hard to have a private moment when you were constantly being watched. And that's what this was, a private moment for grieving that had somehow been turned into a spectacle, another train wreck for the village to gawk at.
Sasuke had never done anything like this before. When the day of the Massacre rolled around, a day that the Third had declared the official "Uchiha Remembrance Day", Sasuke would sulk and hide away from the world. No one ever saw him. He never answered the door when Team Seven stopped by, always locked the windows and doors with chakra so they couldn't get it. It was expected now.
This was far from his expected behavior.
Naruto had been unable to sleep. Crawling from his bed he moved toward the window. He pushed open the frame, letting the cold air hit him. He took a deep breath of the crisp air, his mind wondering idly how Sasuke was doing. Remembrance Day was always hard for Team Seven.
Dimly he looked down and noticed that civilians were coming out of their houses and rushing in a single direction. He stared at them in confusion for a long moment before he lifted his eyes in the direction they were going in. Confusion washed over him as all he could see was an orange glow in the distance. His heart felt a tug, a strange attraction that compelled him to get there. Forgetting to get dressed, he made his way to the orange glow.
He had to push through the crowd that had gathered along the road above the banks of the lake. His eyes quickly zeroed on familiar pink locks and he pushed his way towards Sakura. Only when he reached her side did he notice that Kakashi and Sai was there was well. Their gazes were focused on the water.
"What the hell is going on?" he asked, lightly pulling on Sakura's arm to get her attention.
She turned a tortured gaze to him. "Oh, Naruto, it's you," she muttered. Naruto had to repeat his question.
Kakashi was the one who answered his hands oddly unoccupied by his customary orange book. "It's Sasuke," his tone was grave. His gaze never once moved from the water. Naruto followed his gaze in confusion.
He had never seen such a beautiful sight.
The lake surface had been set ablaze with the small lanterns. The orange light of each individual light reflected on the water's surface, a shimmering illusion that danced across the usual dark depths. Finally Naruto was able to get passed the beautiful glow the vast amount of lanterns created and noticed a lone figure standing in the water. He focused more closely on the figure, realizing with a start that it was Sasuke.
He was standing nearly waist deep in the water that was no doubt freezing, especially in this cold weather. He was dressed in a traditional white men's kimono, looking so well groomed that he could have been going to a festival instead of standing in freezing water. He had a single lantern in his hands, holding it gingerly by his navel. His gaze was focused on the glowing water ahead of him.
Never before had Naruto seen him like this. The glow of the lanterns was casting an almost heavenly orange glow on his pale features. It was beautiful, something you only see in dreams. But it was also so heartbreakingly sad. His dark eyes, even against the orange glow, looked darker than ever.
Without thought Naruto pushed forward, breaking from the crowd and cautiously making his way down the steep hillside. The cold wind hit him harshly as he got closer to the water, reminding him that he was only in a tank top and a pair of thin sleeping pants that off at his calves. His bare feet hit the sand, the coldness making goosebumps crawl up his exposed flesh. He ignored the cold and slowly walked out. The first step into the water confirmed his suspicions that it was freezing, but he had failed to realize just how cold it was. Naruto shivered once before taking another step, and then another, and another.
Up close now, the blonde could see that each lantern had a name on it. He recognized Sasuke's neat left-handed script and dimly noticed that he recognized some of the names. They were the Uchihas that had been lost in the massacre and then a few stragglers who had died before the event.
Naruto pushed against the water, coming to a halt next to his best friend. He looked at the lantern in his hand. Itachi Uchiha
They were silent for many minutes, long enough for Naurto to grow numb against the harsh temperature of the water. It was Sasuke who broke the silence.
"My mother once told me that lighting a lantern was a good way to remember and honor those who have fallen," he muttered in an eerily calm voice. There was no an inkling of sadness in his voice. Blue eyes focused on the raven next to him while Raven eyes stayed focused on the glow.
"She said that she had always believed that lighting it will free the soul of the dead, allowing for the living to let go and the dead to move past the gates."
He finally turned his gaze away from the water ahead and focused on the lantern in his hands. A small splash of water caught Naruto's attention and he noticed that Kakashi had choosen to follow him in. A look at the shore showed that Sakura and Sai had moved off the street as well but were staying away from the water. Kakashi pushed against the water, slowly coming to a halt on the other side of Sasuke. His one visible eye studied everything carefully, finally looking at the lantern in the raven's hands.
Hesitantly, Kakashi reached out and put on hand over one of Sasuke's. Sasuke didn't flinch like he expected him to, but looked up to meet his sensei's eye. They stared at each other for a long moment, so long that Naruto even felt as if he was intruding on an intimate moment between the two, no matter how silly it sounded. Kakashi took a small step closer to his best friend, now shoulder to shoulder with him.
"I know it's hard, especially with Itachi. I've lost family too so I know how hard it is to let them go. But you aren't alone, you must remember that. And if you will let us, we can help you let him go."
There was a long pause and Naruto looked down that the lantern in their linked hands. The flame flickered slowly, casting an orange glow on Kakashi too now. He looked up at the two. They were having a moment, he realized, moment that only a person who has lost everything could possibly understand. Naruto swallowed a lump in his throat and stepped closer to Sasuke's other side.
Mimicking Kakashi's actions, he moved in so that he was shoulder to shoulder with his best friend. He reached out with a single hand and placed it over Sasuke's other hand. It was warm from holding the lantern for so long but the exposed flesh of his arm lightly touched his and was as cold as ice. Sasuke looked away from Kakashi and instead looked into a pair of blue eyes. Naruto tried to express everything he felt in that moment with a single look, unsure if Sasuke could be able to understand. However, the raven seemed to understand perfectly.
Sasuke took a deep breath between them and looked out into the bright waters ahead. He hesitated for a long moment, to which Kakashi quietly reassured him. "Only when you're ready, Sasuke." Sasuke took another deep breath and nodded in determination. Together, they bent forward. Their united fingers brushed against the water's surface, making more goosebumps spread. The bottom of the lantern hit the water gently and with a small push from their hands, was gently launched out to join the rest of the Uchiha Clan.
The three straightened up slowly, watching in awe as the lantern for the lost prodigal son finally rejoined the ranks of the rest, a sense of contentment and peace settling over them. It was as if they had truly set Itachi free, as if his ghost was now standing among those of his family who were welcoming back. Naruto's eyes welled up with tears while Sasuke let his go freely, the warm tears gently rolling over the swells of his cheeks.
Simutaniously, Kakshi and Naruto moved their free arm to wrap around Sasuke. Kakashi's arm moved to rest over his shoulders while Naruto's was settled around his waist, hugging him close to both of them. Their hands still remained locked with Sasuke's through he had dropped both to his side. Naruto leaned his head on Sasuke's shoulder, feeling Kakashi move his hand slightly so that it now rested on the blonde's head in a comforting manner. Kakashi leaned his head down too, his taller form allowing him to rest his cheek on Sasuke's raven locks.
They didn't know how long they stood there together, completely numb to everything beside's the touch and comfort of each other. The crowd behind had dwindled slightly, though most were determined to stay and see when the trio would finally leave the water. Sakura and Sai sat in the sand, towels sitting beside them from a kind villager who had retrieved some for when they finally did exit.
On the dock stood the other teams that made up the rookies plus their surviving sensei's. They stared out at the orange glow, determined to stay for when the grieving team was able to regroup on solid ground. They would stand as a united front, a immovable force. No one was alone in anything.
Sasuke took another deep breath, his tears long since dried. He squeezed the warm hands in his, an action that made both men lean away so Sasuke could look at them both. He gave a sad, but thankful smile. "Let's go home now," he whispered and the two men nodded.
Their hands still linked together, they waded to the shore where their family awaited them.
I wrote this listening to the Lions cover of Girl From the North Country. I recommend that you listen to that version of the song versus the Bob Dylan one when reading this because it is much more dramatic than the original.
Well i hope you enjoyed. Reviews are welcomed though i understand if you don't.