Warning: Spoilers up to current manga chapters.


Aurora

She was numb. It wasn't a good sign. The gaping hole in her side should have at least stung. She could barely feel the press of her fingers against her skin. The last reserves of her chakra had been depleted hours ago. Medically, she knew she would need someone to enhance the blood clotting and someone else to focus on mending the muscle and tissue torn out of her side. Realistically, she knew she was dying and there was no one available to help her.

A thunderous boom echoed somewhere off in the distance. She still had her hearing. A good sign. She wasn't that far gone. Yet. It was only a matter of time.

Sakura blinked and let her eyes adjust to the receding darkness of the night sky. Dawn would approach in a few hours. She wondered briefly if the war would be finished by then. Another loud boom vibrated throughout the ground and her lips quirked upward in a slight smile when she felt her bones jostle. At least she had felt that. Soon she wouldn't feel anything. Best to relish what little she could.

Her gaze never wavered from the night sky. She wanted to drink it all in: every star, every shade of blue-black, every twinkling hope and dream. Hopes and dreams. The very thing that he was made of.

She didn't want to think about how he would take it. She was the only one who could keep him in line. She had no doubt that someone else would eventually fill her role, but she didn't want anyone else to. Not for her teammate.

His needs were too compulsory and ingrained in a relentless need to buck the system that no one in their right mind would be able to keep up: no one but her.

Sakura choked back a tear. It was the first since she was hit by an attack from the Juubi that annihilated several units. The gush of her blood didn't faze her. Neither did the last screams the neighboring shinobi around her. None of those garnered a single sob. Only realizing he was going to lose her was what broke her. The thought of not surviving to see him or his smile again; to never hear his voice, was too much.

"Naruto."

She hoped that the faint whisper of his name would bring him to her. It had always worked in the past. He had a way of sensing whenever she needed him and she needed him now: desperately. If she was going to die, she wanted to see him one last time. To what though? To tell him she was sorry? To show him how much she cared? A fool's wish at best.

The night sky suddenly started to shimmer. Hues of greens and blues filled the night sky with colorful beams of light. It was beautiful. She wanted to reach her hand out and touch them. Her fingers grasped nothing but air.

It occurred to her that this was probably her final moment. The light beams in the sky where nothing more than wings of light reaching down to carry her soul off into the unknown. She retracted her hand and shook her head. She wasn't ready yet. She couldn't go. Not yet. Not without at least saying good-bye to him. She owed him that at least.

The blue and green lights grew brighter and closer to her until her eyes were blinded. Then there was nothing. No feelings. No sound. No breath.


She heard voices. Voices she recognized. Naruto's was the loud one. The other was more muted, but echoed weariness and resignation. She tried to open her eyes, but they were so heavy.

"Why do they deserve a second chance? Why does anyone? You don't understand my pain." The speaker was Obito, the real man behind the orange mask.

"I understand you pain. I know exactly how you feel. But unlike you, I would never become an asshole. Rather than punishing everyone for your loss, you should have lived for her. Fought for her memory and survived because she would never have wanted a world like this. I know Sakura wouldn't."

"How can you say that? What makes that girl special?"

Naruto didn't hesitate. "She's my Rin."

There was a long pause. So long that Sakura thought her hearing was gone again.

"You truly are something Naruto Uzumaki," Obito said. "A better man than I ever could have been. Do you wish for a second chance with her? Even if she might not feel the same?"

"Does it matter? She'll be alive." Naruto always knew what he wanted.

One moment, Sakura felt adrift in a deep weighted void; the next she felt her chest rise sucking in precious breaths of air. Her hand was holding something, or someone was holding her hand. Either way, the warmth was comforting.

"Sakura! Speak to me. Please!"

"Naruto?" Her voice felt raw and dry. She opened her eyes to see Naruto gazing down at her with concern. Greens and blues still danced in the pre-dawn sky.

"Thank goodness! You're safe." He pulled her into a soul-bearing hug. She didn't think he wanted to ever let go of her. At least for a little while.

"I saw wings of light. They came to me. I died, didn't I?"

Naruto didn't answer; he only tightened his hold.

Sakura gently brushed his hair back and turned his head so she could look into his eyes. "You saved me. Didn't you? You always save me."

"And I always will," Naruto said with a smile. "The war's over now. We won."

"We won?"

Naruto nodded.

Sakura looked back up at the sky and smiled. The flittering lights in the sky looked more beautiful now that the fighting was over. She could hear the cheers of her comrades and feel the strength in Naruto's grip as he held her in his arms. There was nothing holding her back from pushing him away. But that was the last thing on her mind. Instead, she leaned closer into his touch. It felt safe. It felt right.

"So what now?"

Naruto shrugged. "I'm not sure. I didn't really think this far in advance. I was sure that one day I'd get here, but now that I am . . . all I want to do is hold you. Is that okay?"

Sakura giggled. "That's okay."

They didn't speak after that. They didn't need to. With fingers interlaced and eyes facing forward, they watched as the blues and greens that lit up the sky faded with the coming of dawn. Fiery orange and pink hues pushed through the horizon bringing with it many things. But Sakura was only thinking about two things: hopes and dreams.


A/N: Just something that came to me with the most rest of the Naruto chapters. Had to get it down before it became irrelvant. It's been hard finding any time to write since I've been super busy at work. I barely got this story out. Probably why it's so short. But at least I wrote it. Hope you enjoyed it!