This story is intended to be quite depressing, but also inspirational to those who read it. Inspired by the film 127 Hours and the song The Funeral by Band of Horses. Another note, this story will be formatted in a certain way: the first perspective you see will be Sakura, and after a break (which is symbolised by a period) it will switch to the perspective with Naruto/Sasuke (sometimes the rest of Konoha). At some times, one of the perspectives may not occur. The line will mark a change to another day. At this point of the story, Sasuke has still not returned, but he is aiming to destroy Konoha. And yes... most of this story will be in dialogue.
d a y s o f s t a t i c
"You sound serious for once."
"So do you. Get to the point." Punctual.
The Hokage sighs. "It's Sakura."
"She wasn't at training today, baa-chan."
"As I thought." Her voice seemed distant, lost in thought.
His eyes arched in worry. "Something's wrong, isn't it?"
She took a breath and stared into the dismantling ocean eyes that almost made her stop and lie.
"She's gone, Naruto."
She's gone, Naruto. Gone, gone, gone gone.
He's heard it all before, with someone else that he dare not name in this situation, but he never imagined.
He never imagined it would've been Sakura.
"...Why?" The word escaped his mouth in a strangled cry.
The Hokage did nothing but put her head down, collecting the papers together as if it were another day.
"All in time."
"Hey there, Konoha! (and maybe possible enemies and allies) It's me, Haruno Sakura. You'll probably wonder... well... you will once you find this, why I have done this. Maybe you would've already found out."
Her eyes fall to the ground. She recovers with her blinding, idiosyncratic smile.
"B-But, don't worry! Things all end well. I don't know how I've found this little old camera thing, however I think it was used by Kakashi-sensei to stalk on those younger women. Yes, I know you've done it Kaka-sensei! And I do persist on calling you sensei even on when I'm—"
She stops, immediately. Cover the slip. Cover the slip. Cover the slip!
"—here. Yeah. Um... I just figured... I would do this. For you all. Don't be sad, though. Please. Please don't be sad, when it ends."
The screen goes to static.
"She didn't tell you, did she?"
The blonde nods dumbly.
Underneath his mask, Kakashi bites his lip, but says nothing.
His student grins weakly. "We need to find her, don't we, sensei? Ne, sensei? We do, don't we? We—"
Said person's eyes narrow in suspicion. "Do you know, sensei? Do you know why?"
Kakashi hesistates. He places his book down and forms a hand on his shoulder. "Naruto—"
"Godddamit Kakashi, do you? Do you know why she did this to us?"
The shaking of the head had never been as disappointing of a motion as it was now.
"No. No, I don't, Naruto. I don't."
"Good morning again! God, it's unbelievable how tiring this already gets, even when this is only my second day... but maybe it's just me. It's probably just me. I've been getting tired a lot recently."
She manages a smile to the camera. "Well... I didn't bring much supplies here. Just a blanket and a—" she chokes a laugh, "—and a few bottles of water. It should save me from dehydration."
Her eyes dull at the prospect, because she knows there's something else her body requires, being a doctor.
Yet, she says nothing more.
She turns the camera off.
"I almost forgot! Naruto... you've probably found out now that I'm not at the village anymore. I hope Tsunade didn't tell you why."
"Heh... I bet you're really mad at me now, however this time, I can say you have the right to be..."
"But. But—don't look for me."
"Just this once."
She clenches her fists.
"Just this once. If you can somehow magically hear me..."
She turns her eyes to the camera, pleading.
She wakes up in this morning with a new-found freshness about herself.
"I actually really like it here—" she points into the distance and smiles (though the sunlight reveals the already sickly pale sheen of her face), "—the sun is a beautiful view in the early day. It sort of comes up beyond the mountains and peaks through."
"A-And... it's peaceful here. It's quiet. Nothing dangerous, I suppose..."
"...I suppose. There's a lot of time, though."
She stops smiling. "A lot of time, to kill off. A lot of time... t-to think."
"And I have a lot of things to think about. And regret. And despise."
She laughs, but it sounds out of place. "To think I wanted to live a life with no regrets! I won't get there now..."
The sunlight shines upon her again. "...But still... still, I hope I do."
He storms into the Hokage tower.
"Tsunade, I've already waited three damn days, and I have heard nothing from you."
The Hokage squints at him, warningly. "You shouldn't talk in that manner to me. And after all, Naruto, it's unfortunate, but we simply have other matters! Our village is on the edge of demise! And you know who the reason is. Don't act so naive about this."
The Uzumaki's eyes drop. "You can say his name, you know. You can say it."
She says nothing.
"You can say that it's Uchiha Sasuke. It is all his fault, after all..."
A tear falls from his eye.
"...and it's probably why Sakura's g-gone, too, isn't it?"
Tsunade stands up, a tall and structured statue. "Naruto. I'm—" she glances up to him, "—I am sorry. I don't have time for this."
And as she exits the door of her office, he screams at her, angry, but desperate.
"Don't have time to save your own apprentice?"
The following door slam was harder than it should've been.
Nonetheless, Naruto knows, if he could choose, he would rather see this village burn into ashes than find Sakura dead.
She switches the camera on, and her booming, lively voice comes into action.
"It's Friday now! Man... I used to love Fridays. It used to be the day—do you remember, Naruto?—when you, me, Kaka-sensei and Sasuke-kun used to gather together to go to each other's houses..."
She grins, nostalgically, painfully.
"...b-but, hey, you always liked to go to the ramen stand! Always bickered around with Sasuke, and he was always annoyed at you—and let's not forget about you, Kaka-sensei, and your horrid book of yours! God... we were so dysfunctional."
She stares into the distance again, reminiscing. "Dysfunctional, but a family."
She intakes a breath of air, a pause of reluctant acceptance. "—A family. Yeah. I miss that. Then again... I miss a lot of things these days."
"I do. And... I do, still. Even more... right now."
Sakura holds up a sign, presumably (pre-)designed for Naruto with bright yellow and orange colours, saying 'wish you were here.'
But she doesn't mean it as much as she's meant to when she reaches over to switch the camera off.
She doesn't really want anyone here at all, to see what she's become, and will become.
"J-Just making something a little here... yep, that's right, just have to turn this part over hopefully neatly and t-there! Done!"
She holds the piece up to the camera.
It's an orange paper crane.
"Y-You know, they say, if you make a thousand of these, your wish comes true."
She smiles at the crane, as if it were a light in all the darkness. "I hope so. I hope so."
And yet, from her one unusually thick bag that contained her blanket and water, she brings out the thousand paper cranes.
"This is so silly from me, and I always hid it from you Naruto, but this is what I've been doing ever since our darling Sasuke-kun left!"
She laughs hysterically. "I know, right? Pathetic of me... to think this could work... but."
"It's my seventh day here, Naruto, and I know that's your favourite number. Lucky, lucky Naruto..."
She places the cranes in front of her, lightly touching selective ones with her fingers.
"I... I made this believing that when I finished, I could hope that Sasuke-kun would come back, and he would."
The camera is met with her watery eyes.
"Y-You know what, though? It doesn't matter anymore. This is all for you, Naruto."
"I... I have never been fair to you, Naruto." She bites her lip as the tears cascade down. "And... and—I-I've hardly ever put you first. It's always been S-Sasuke-kun. And, I'm so sorry. I should've picked you. I s-should've followed you, all this time. You were always the right one, the bright one, the one that would b-be there."
She wraps her arms around the dense collection of paper cranes, hugging it to her like it was Naruto.
"You always did everything for me."
"Sasuke! You bastard! What are you doing?"
The time has come, and as much as he hates to admit it, his ex-best friend is right in front of him destroying everything he had ever believed in.
The onyx eyes that gaze at him are apathetic. "Get out of my way, Naruto."
"S-So what? So you can go ahead and bulldoze the village down?"
His voice takes an abrupt altering. He steps aside. And grins. Nastily or sadly, Sasuke can't tell.
"Alright. Go ahead, Sasuke."
The Uchiha halts. He knows something has changed.
(Konoha was something Naruto only ever believed in when Sakura was part of it.)
"What's wrong with you? Go ahead already."
Sasuke activates his Sharingan. "This is a trick," he hisses. "It has to be a trick." He looks around defensively for any sign of a counter-attack or illusion. But he finds nothing.
Naruto laughs, and instead it sounds like he's running out of life. "This is no trick, Sasuke. This is just a tragedy."
The boy glares at him. At eighteen years of age, the word 'tragedy' was still taboo for him. He still believed that the only tragedy was his family massacre. In bitterness, he pulls out his katana and walks past Naruto, scraping away all the dead bodies that were in his path of walking. The stink of the war smells as iron-like as it always has, pungent and revolting. The sky is as grey as it always has, and the air is filled with the screams and yells of opposition. The atmosphere blazes with the smoke of Konoha being exploded in front of their very eyes.
War is as it always has been, to anyone else's eyes. But Sasuke, no, Sasuke knows. Something's missing.
Naruto smiles silently. He knows Sasuke's realised. Said boy turns back around him, quietly asking, but not really wanting to know the answer.
"Yeah. She's gone, Sasuke. Yeah. And it's all your fault. It's all your damn fucking fault!"
Sasuke recoils as if he's been slapped in the face. "How the fuck is this all my fault?"
Naruto laughs more bitterly this time, in disgust of the person in front of him. "You know what I've found out, Sasuke? Do you want to know?"
"You trash in here like this is own backyard to toy around with and ruin when this used to be your fucking home. But I don't give a damn anymore.
"Sometimes I wish you would just go damn ahead and do it, so it would finally be finished. I don't give a damn because she's gone.
"We've lost her. And nobody has a blue's clues where the fuck she is."
He calms himself down, taking deep breaths, but his body is pulsating in earthquakes.
His voice was softer now, begging even. "You could still save her, you know."
"I can't save her if you won't tell me what happening to her, Naruto." Sasuke hates how he sounds like he actually cared, and he damns to Hell his memory of the emerald eyes of salvation.
"It doesn't matter what she's suffering from." He talks hurriedly to hide the hint. "You were the only person who could make her happy, and that's all that matters."
Sasuke steps forward, sick of all the talk. He swings his katana around and sledges it into Naruto's cheek, the blade digging in and pronouncing blood.
Tell me, his eyes say.
And so Naruto does.
"And... here it is!" She announces as if it were a lottery number, her eyes sparkling and her grin illuminating.
She had a doctor's certificate in her hand. But it was no ordinary doctor.
"I know I'm probably shocking you all with the things I'm bringing out of this lousy bag here, but I promise, I promise this is the last thing!" She giggles childishly.
She traces her index finger on the paper. "See here? This line."
Her voice is a mimic of a sympathetic, nurse voice. "We are apologetic to inform you that you have been diagnosed with the Ebola virus disease, one that is incurable and hence, has no available treatment."
She stops. Everything about her dulls.
Her tone returns to a monochrome drone. "I've brought enough water to last me through three weeks, and that would be how long it takes for a healthy, living person to die from starvation—" she swallows. "—because you see, I have no food with me, and I'm not a healthy, living person. With this disease, I'll survive for two. If I'm lucky."
She does everything she can to stop the tears, to be strong, in this calamity of a situation that only seemed to be building onto her as the days went by.
Only to fail anyway.
"I'll make you a deal."
Surprisingly, Sasuke does return after a day of consideration, and though his tone is harsh and demanding, Naruto knows it is the best he will get.
They meet in the old training grounds of Team 7, and Naruto is surprised that his ex-best friend can still remember where they are, given that Konoha is in utter ruins.
He forces it to the back of his mind, though, that the cause is indeed Sasuke, and to a lesser extent, Madara.
The importance is Sakura.
"I'm all ears." Naruto grins.
Sasuke's eyes turn icy. "I will find her—" he almost grimaces at Naruto's expression which lights up like a firework in the night sky, "—but, I order you to convince the Elders, with everything you have, to surrender to my power."
The blonde laughs. "We can't do anything else but surrender at the moment, Sasuke. And ah... a little problem... the Elders are dead."
The Uchiha glares at him in that familiar, stubborn sense Naruto has always known. "I wasn't finished. I'm normally not very patient given this certain subject, but I am willing to discuss the current situation... and it seems with your Hokage." He mocked the title with a sinister voice. "Naruto, I desire for Uchiha Itachi to be recognised." The way he said his own brother's name was almost dehumanising, but Naruto knew that out of anything, this is what Sasuke needed.
"What makes you think they're going to listen to that after all you've done?"
Sasuke smirked. "They're going to have to, after all they've done."
"Tsunade... I just want you to know, you haven't failed me."
She still holds the doctor's certificate in her hand, but its crinkled, with angry and why-did-it-have-to-choose-me creases.
"You—you know, you've done the best you can. F-For me. And everyone. I owe you so much, for teaching me how to grow up, from dragging me out of that s-silly depression! I know I'll never forget when you decided to make me apprentice..."
Her body shakes. "...I'm sorry I disappointed y-you, Tsunade-sama. But the truth is—"
She closes her eyes and breathes in, smiling. "—the truth is... I couldn't bear to stay, seeing Konoha being destroyed in front of my eyes, and knowing I can't do anythingbecause I'm sick... it's just like Sasuke-kun said, I'm u-useless! Useless!"
Sakura brings her sight level with the camera, her eyes resolute, but empty.
"T-Things are getting harder to do around here, you know? Even the s-simplest of things!"
She attempts to fold the doctor's certificate into another paper crane, but her fingers fail her and the motions become disjointed.
After a choked cry, the paper falls from her hands, once again. "It's so pathetic, really..."
She leans her head against the rock of the cave. "I'm getting so tired... and everything's becoming so slow, so dreadful. On some days—o-on most days—I just want this all to end."
Her expression is of the essence of the contorted disappointment known to I-never-thought-I'd-be-saying-this-but—
"I want to die."
On this day, Sakura merely flicks on the camera and places its focus on the water bottles.
All of them are empty.
Her dissociative and blunt voice returns, just as she had with the doctor's certificate. "People die from dehydration within three days."
She smirks. Acidly.
"It'll be right on time... I suppose. I have... done my job."
Everything in her eyes, at that very moment, defies the previous statement.
"Sasuke... you know... you better find her."
He looks over at the blonde who appears to be helpless. Sasuke shakes his head at the detriment Naruto's become.
He sighs. "Sakura's chakra is probably weakened now, Naruto. I won't promise that I will find her."
"You never promise everything." Whispered, but audible.
Sasuke's thin lips form a straight line. "I won't change just because it's Sakura."
Naruto's heard all this before, but he can't quite come to accept it. He lives in the world of hopes and dreams where Sasuke lives in the world of rationality and pessimism. "You should change because it's Sakura, Sasuke. You should want to find her. You should be telling yourself that you won't stop until you do. Goddammit, Sasuke, can't you just show for one damn fucking second that you care? I know you do. I know you do."
(Because you should.)
The Uchiha turns his back on him for the thousandth time, but not before turning to look back past his shoulder.
"I said I would try—" Sasuke swallows, trying to mould the right tone to acquaint his words, trying not to sound too emotional but at the same trying not to sound too heartless, "—isn't that enough?"
And Naruto smiles, because in Sasuke's language, it means he'll (try every damn thing he can with every damn thing he has inside of him to) succeed.
She is in a frenzied state.
It is night, and it can clearly be seen how her face is caked with tears, but she keeps on going because she's driving herself insane and because she doesn't want to die without a fight and because she's Sakura—and because it's all she has left.
Minuscule, really, and to think that the numbers made it even more impersonal.
However, the most ironic feature was that even in this most dire situation, she could still see the beauty in life.
"The n-night s-sky is really b-beautiful h-here, you know?" She smiles, and its almost painful to watch, as her facial structure pulls back into her skin; ghostlike and indescribably taut. She spins the camera around so that the night sky could be seen.
There's a multitude of dotted stars, faded auroras and one, solemn moon.
"I always l-loved Konoha for its n-night—" she stops, forcing back the memory of the one crude, defective night that had gone wrong and salvages the last of her hope through forgetting, "—because it was s-so... so perfect. Unadulterated, pure... and f-free."
She looks at her own hands, miserable and remorseful, due to her own state: a hit and miss from happiness, a self-inflicted cage, a down-spiral.
But most of all, through the night sky of Konoha, she remembers the day that Team 7 laid together on the grass of the training grounds as one.
"Tomorrow I die...—so, I thought I'd save the best for last! You know who you are. That's right, dearest Uchiha Sasuke-kun!
"You know how it is. Ever since I first laid my eyes on you, I thought you were the most beautiful person on the entire Earth, and it still hasn't changed!
"I'm still so silly, though. I'm still that little twelve year-old-girl when I think about in terms of you.
"I remain waiting here, even if the truth is you probably won't even know I'm dead."
She closes her eyes slowly... shatteringly. When she opens them again, they are diamonds waiting to break.
"And I—God, I don't even know what I thought—but, I just thought, just a tiny little bit Sasuke-kun, that you would've come. That you were how you were years ago. I just thought...
"We would've been perfect, you know. We would've been amazing. Unbreakable. Unbeatable. Undying. Nobody could've stopped us, you know, Sasuke-kun. Don't you know? I would love you as I do now, and I would be yours. If you had just... j-just—loved me...
She smiles to herself, and her expression changes to one that is at ease. "But, that's not how things ended up. So, I-I want you to k-know, Sasuke-kun, be happy. P-Please. Be happy. I-I'm sorry I won't be there when you finally decide to return (I knew you always would, in the end of it all) and to see you all fancily dressed up in a tuxedo... a-and—" the shuddering inhale of breath is forced, "—I'm s-sure she'll be beautiful... just like you. A-And... she'll be e-everything that I w-wasn't. Thank God for t-that!"
In the reflection of her eyes, you can almost picture the future she had laid out. Sasuke being happy. Without her.
Every iota inside of her told her it was wrong. But she forced herself to believe it was right.
She reaches over to the camera once again, her face close, and the unconditional love clear. "Goodbye, Sasuke-kun. I love you. Yesterday, today..." the doubt clouds in her mind, but she shakes it out, "...and tomorrow. Forever."
Sasuke finds her in the Valley of the End, nearing midnight on the thirteenth day.
It had taken him more days than he should've, and he knows. Once the revelation had came to his mind, he wondered why he didn't realise it earlier.
The Valley of the End. Of course. It was where everything went wrong. And such a fitting name, too.
However, the sight of Sakura withering away right in front of him (and knowing that he couldn't do a single thing to stop it) shook him to the core. She was a splitting image of his murdered mother.
He walks towards her, stopping to pick up the deserted camera, and investigates the contents inside out of curiosity. He checks the latest entry.
At this very moment, his stomach churns with regret and nostalgia and hatred and anger and loss and hurt and everything-he-wishes-he-could've-been.
He leans down and caresses her hair. The imposing and finishing words of Naruto come alive.
She'll be waiting for you, Sasuke.
She can't help it.
She's dying, but she was never afraid of death.
She was only afraid of losing you.
And she thinks she's lost you.
Don't let her die afraid.
He cradles her in his arms, and as the clock ticks into the last day of her life, the Uchiha avenger cries as he does: without tears and without letting go.
He falls asleep swallowing all the poison of the situation.
Sasuke wakes up to the sound of whistling wind amongst the mountains of the Valley of the End.
He feels something unusual and unfamiliar in his hands, and as something sharp pricks against his skin, he wakes up alert.
Only to find out it is the edges of a folded piece of paper.
Ignoring the item for the moment, in panic he turns over to Sakura, who was snuggled against his side... an almost too peaceful smile on her lips.
He realises that she must've woken up some time when he was asleep. But that wasn't the only answer he wanted, though underneath it all he already knew.
He checks her pulse. The wrist. The neck. The wrist. The neck. The wrist again. The neck again.
No matter how many times he did it, he didn't want to believe any more than he did the last time.
He lands his head softly against her chest.
Nothing. Soundless. Motionless.
In aggravation, he grabs the piece of paper in the aim to crumble it with his fist with as much animosity as he could manage, only to spot a large font of writing scribbled all over the paper.
There was only two words, but it was enough to break his heart.
'You came' was written across the doctor's certificate.
Though the wretched paper was the one available evidence of her death, he places it carefully to the side of him and sits next to Sakura, staring out towards the sky they once shared.
The sky she died sharing with him.
um. This is in serious need of editing. But there it is. :)