Beginning Note: How easily sidetracked I am… I am a terrible, terrible person and nothing is ever being finished. The title for this one-shot popped into my head and I couldn't not write it. So, yay! Read my story!
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor shall I ever own these delightful characters. They are the copyrighted by Kishimoto Masashi. And I couldn't tell you the last time I actually read Naruto, so I have no idea what the hell is going on with all of our favorite ninjas, just what I make up in my head. (I like that much better!)
What's Left of Us
She wakes up sobbing, her heart aching along with the rest of her tender, still healing body.
She is surprised by her door opening, flooding the bedroom with weak light from the hall. She can see Ino framed in the light, arm still in a sling and stitches keeping a deep cut on her brow closed.
The blonde kunoichi sits down on the bed next to the other woman and places her free arm around her heaving shoulders. Ino gives her friend as sad look and she pulls her close.
"I know, Sakura-chan. I know," she tells the pink-haired medic.
But all Sakura can think is that her friend doesn't know. Not really. She didn't feel the life run out of her lover's body as she desperately poured her depleting chakra into him and fail to keep one of the most important people in her life alive. She didn't see his eyes dim and stare into the starless sky.
She didn't know what it was like to be ripped away from his body, screaming until her throat was raw. To be slapped and told that she had other people to attend to and that there was nothing more she could do to save the man she loved.
But she lets herself rest her forehead on Ino's shoulder and they mourn their losses together in the silent, never ending night.
Services for the dead are held the next day, the village dressed in shades of black. Sakura can't even muster up a smile to the familiar faces muttering their sorries to her. It doesn't matter. It isn't like any amount of sympathies will bring him back to her.
Tsunade stands in front of the memorial stone, looking her age and older. The pink-haired girl has never seen her teacher look so old before and it hurts.
Sakura glances around and her heart breaks all over again. So few of her friends survived the major assault from the Hidden Sound Village, a declaration of war from malcontents that no one suspected.
She sees Kiba leaning heavily against Akamaru, head bandaged and bruises ringing his eyes. Ino is crying softly, wrapped in the arms of Shikamaru, who's eyes are lined with pain and sorrow at losing his teammate. Shino stands off to the left, eyes hidden by his sunglasses, but Sakura can see where tears have dried on his cheeks. The kunoichi imagines that Hinata is at the hospital with Naruto, praying that the Hokage hopeful wakes up.
It makes the young woman sad to think that Naruto's unborn child may never get to know the loud, rambunctious ramen-lover.
This is all that was left of her Academy graduating class. So many gone in an instant. Sasuke, Neji, Chouji, Lee, Tenten, all dead. And the older generation of nin had lost so many greats too. Before she could recollect, Tsunade cleared her throat and everyone's attention snapped to the fifth Hokage.
"Today we mourn for those we have lost," she says to the crowd gathered before her. "We fought and won, but not without sacrifice. We lost friends and family during this battle. And while our enemies may not remember their names and faces, we will.
Sakura listened to her teacher speak, head bowed and throat burning from trying not to cry.
"The names of the fallen will be etched into stone to join their brethren so generations to come can realize the great future given to them by these brave men and women."
The blonde woman opens a scroll and begins to read off the names of the dead. Sakura wishes she could put her hands over her ears to block the words out. If she cannot hear their names then they cannot really be dead.
"Hyuuga Neji," Tsunade intones. "Akimichi Chouji. Rock Lee. Uchiha Sasuke."
The kunoichi's breath catches in her throat. The Uchiha complex would sit empty forever now that Sasuke was gone, sure to fall into disrepair. All of the pain and suffering to bring the Uchiha clan back to its former glory, and for what? For Sasuke to lie dead and buried next to his kin? Sakura has to bite down hard on her cheek to prevent herself from laughing at the irony of it all.
Her blood freezes as the Hokage's gaze flicks from the scroll to meet her red-rimmed green eyes. His name is next. She shouldn't have come here. It was a stupid idea. She should have stayed home to cry in peace.
Sakura tries to gulp down her sob, but it pushes its way through her closed throat, sounding abrasive in the solemn silence. Tiny fingers tighten on hers and she looks down at her side.
"Mama, why is she saying Daddy's name?" her son asks, deep jade eyes wide and silver hair, so much like his father's, standing up messily.
"Because Daddy was a very brave man," she tells the little boy. "And he died doing something great."
The boy's eyes fill with tears and he begins to wail. The medic picks him up and tries to soothe his confusion and pain.
"I want Daddy," he sobs into her shoulder, tears burning through Kakashi's borrowed shirt.
"Me too, Sakumo," she whispers, holding the three-year-old close. "Me too."
She can't take anymore names. She doesn't want to hear anymore names of those she once loved. Murmuring apologies to those around her, she snakes her way through the crowd and onto the village's main thoroughfare. It is deserted as she walks along, cradling her son, and it shows signs of the attack that took place less than a week before. They haven't bounced back like they usually do. Not under the weight of their losses.
Sakumo is just hiccupping now, small bursts of sadness against her skin. She rubs his back as she heads home, thinking about how much of Kakashi she sees in the boy. His mannerisms, tone of voice, even his technique are all reminders of the Copy-nin she loves and married.
The boy is asleep by the time they arrive at the small, yet comfortable house that she and Kakashi started carving their lives out together. She lays him down in his bed, watching him curl up with the teddy bear Kakashi had gotten him when out on a mission when he was a baby. The pink-haired nin moves into the living room and pours herself a glass of wine.
Twenty-one is too young to be a widow she thinks, trying to drown out the sound of his last rasping breath that invades her ears. Is this all love amounted to? She wonders what the point of falling in love was. They were supposed to have so much more time left together. After all they had been through to find themselves at the point they were at, happy and together.
It just started off as a stupid crush to her. Sasuke had left, crushing her bright-eyed naivety and her views on love. What good was love when all it did was hurt as badly as it did? But as she got older, Sakura noticed things about Kakashi that she slowly fell in love with. There was a tenderness in his teasing smiles that was reserved only for her, which she knew because she looked for it when he smiled at others. For the longest time, the girl was unsure of where the Copy-nin's affections truly lay.
One day, their student/teacher relationship evolved into friendship. Yes, they were partners and good ones at that. They could trust that they would watch each other's backs in the field. They knew almost everything about each other.
What would he want with a girl like her? What could she offer the notoriously late ninja that older, more experienced women couldn't?
Slowly but surely, she saw his true feelings in the little things he did. One day when she was sixteen, while he was about to leave after helping her bring her groceries to her apartment, she took a leap of faith. He stood a little below her on the stairs with his mask pulled down from drinking a bottle of water, making her his height. Shyly, without thinking about it too much, she leaned forward and pressed her lips innocently to his.
Almost immediately, she had pulled back, red staining her face and astonishment painting his. But the Copy-nin's astonished look quickly disappeared as he reached out and pulled the kunoichi into his embrace. His kisses seared her soul and she squealed in delight as he threw her over his shoulder and carried her into the apartment. With a click of the door, their fate was sealed and Sakura knew she would be bound to Kakashi for the rest of her life.
However, it wasn't easy once their courtship began. He was so much older than her and she was a former student. Rumors and snickers would follow them on the street, occasionally silenced by a death glare from Sakura. It didn't matter to the pair. Age was just a number after all and Sakura was no longer a child. Her parents were disappointed at first, but they in turn came to love the lazy Jounin as much as she did. They got married a few months after her eighteenth birthday and when she was nineteen, Sakumo was born. They named him for his father.
And now, Kakashi would never get to see his son grow up and become a ninja. His only legacy to his son would be stories and the Hakkou Chakura Tou.
If only he hadn't jumped to save her while she was trying to heal Naruto. But he was tired and spent and his reaction time slower than usual. She remembers her screams as his blood sprayed on her face, droplets burning like acid as the fuuma shuriken bit into the Copy-nin's body.
"Don't leave me," she had sobbed, stroking his silver hair and tracing the scar that ran down his face. "I love you."
He just gave her a sad smile, reaching up to touch her face one last time.
"I love you too. Don't cry, Sakura," he had whispered before the light faded from his eyes.
At that moment, she had wanted to die too. To have someone stab her with a kunai and send her after him. But she had Sakumo and Tsunade's strong fingers pried her from her husband's body, shaking her and reminding her that she was a medic and needed to save the people she could. If only she hadn't been so drained, she may have been able to save him.
The torrent of sobs Sakura has been holding back since she heard Tsunade read her Kakashi's name come flooding back, and she puts her hand over her mouth to try and slow the tide. Her sorrow is palpable. It paints the room in somber shades of blues and grays, dampening the sunlight that happily peeks through the window.
It shouldn't be so beautiful outside, she thinks to herself, wrapping her arms around her knees and inhaling deeply. Traces of his smell cling to her shirt and she takes solace in it as his personal scent wraps around her. This is what is left of them. Smells, lingering touches, sounds. She only has the comfort of memories to keep her afloat now.
One day, she will be strong again, but today, she mourns everything that she has lost and what could have been, her silent tears a promise to her husband that true love never fades.
A/N: And depressing! I'm so glad I just created a cloud of perpetual gloom to follow you the rest of the day. This title popped into my head as well as the line about Sakura's sorrow painting the room, but it was originally for a he. Buuuuut, I changed my mind. I hope you enjoyed this story! Oh, and the Hakkou Chakura Tou is Kakashi's sword that was given to him by his father. (That's what it's called in Japanese, but I'm assuming fans will know that…) Please read and review!