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Updated so fast! XD Jumped right into the new chapter when I had a chance. Can you guess why? ;)

Because it's...

Chapter 38

The Final Complication

The Broken Future

Uchiha Sasuke woke up to the sound of silence.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since he set foot in Konohagakure.

5:00 A.M. His eyes would automatically seek out the digital clock on his bedside that never functioned as an alarm. Uchiha Sasuke would always wake up on his own. He would go to sleep alone and wake up alone. When he closed his eyes, the last thing he would see was darkness. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he would see was darkness. He preferred silence to remind him of his purpose.

Ten years had passed since he began sleeping for less than four hours a night.

Ten years had passed since he last saw light… since he last smiled.

Ten years had passed since he finished his studies and excelled without so much as a flinch.

Ten years had passed since Uchiha Itachi inherited the Uchiha fortune.

Ten years had passed since Sasuke built his own future from the ground up, making him one of the most promising businessmen of his generation.

Ten years had passed since he was mentored by Orochimaru and turned into the ruthless, calculating man he was today.

At 26, Uchiha Sasuke was an indomitable force.

Ten years had passed since he left Konoha.

Ten years had passed since he left his family without so much as backwards glance. He was betrayed by them and therefore deserved no love or consideration from him.

Ten years had passed since he left Haruno Sakura.

The only woman whom he trusted and loved.

The only woman who truly loved him.

"If you leave it would be very, very lonely for me…"

The prediction.

"If you stay, I promise to make everyday happy. I'll even help you with your revenge."

The promise.

"Stay, Sasuke-kun. I love you so much!"

The confession.

At 26, Uchiha Sasuke had it all – fame, money, power, and success. But to attain all of these things, he forsook his love.

There must be a number of reasons why Sasuke left Konohagakure to go to Otogakure. Revenge must taste so sweet for him to hunger so much for it.


Haruno Sakura woke up to the sound of a vintage alarm clock.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since she started living on her own in a flat at the heart of Konohagakure.

5:00 A.M. Her eyes would automatically seek out the ringing alarm clock that would be annoying to most yet comforting to her. Haruno Sakura would always wake up and sleep to the noise. She would go to sleep at the sound of the television left open until the timer runs out. When she closed her eyes, the last thing she would hear was the sound of the Shopping Network. When she opened her eyes, the first thing she would hear was her alarm. She preferred noise to help her drown out sudden bursts of memories.

Ten years had passed since she began sleeping for less than four hours a night.

Ten years had passed since she last saw light… since she last laughed.

Ten years had passed since she finished medical school and passed the board, snatching the coveted top spot in the country.

Ten years had passed since Senju Tsunade retired after Jiraiya succumbed to heart failure.

Ten years had passed since Sakura reluctantly inherited the Senju fortune and made it flourish more than ever, earning her the title of "Most Celebrated Medical Practitioner of the Age."

Ten years had passed since she focused all her thoughts and energies in learning as much as she possibly could from her grandmother.

At 26, Haruno Sakura was at a class of her own.

Ten years had passed since she chose to stay in Konoha.

Ten years had passed since she chose to stay to help her grieving grandmother, who had somewhat turned into an alcoholic and whose compulsive gambling took a turn for the worse.

Ten years had passed since she chose to stay and let Uchiha Sasuke leave her.

The only man she ever opened her heart to.

The only man who ever claimed to love her in his own way.

"I never loved you."

The lie.

"You really are annoying."

The façade.

"Thank you."

The truth.

At 26, Haruno Sakura had it all – accomplishments, distinction, money, and the respect of the people around her. But to attain all of these things, she forsook her happiness.

There must be a number of reasons why Sakura stayed in Konoha rather than go to Oto. Rejection must be so bitter for her to avoid it so much.


Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto woke up to bright sunlight.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since he gave his life to Konohagakure.

7:00 A.M. His eyes registered that he slept too much again, much to Ebisu's chagrin. Alarms never worked on the man. He would go to sleep just like any normal person – just like he would when he was younger, with no one knowing how empty he felt inside. When he closed his eyes, the last thing he would think about was a pair of lovely lavender eyes. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he would hear was a melodic voice singing a song long forgotten. He preferred dreams to shake away reality.

Ten years had passed since he began dreaming of the same person over and over again in slow, sweet torture.

Ten years had passed since he became the Crown Prince and tomorrow was the day that he would be crowned as Emperor of the country he sacrificed so much for.

Ten years had passed and during that time, Uzumaki Nagato lost the battle against his illness. That was one month ago.

Ten years had passed since he took on all the duties and responsibilities with the same smile that the people were accustomed to, not knowing that beneath his sunny demeanor was a man who was gradually dying day by day.

Ten years had passed since he became the royalty that the Elders expected him to – a completely different version of himself.

At 26, Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto had the world at his feet.

Ten years had passed since he chose to move forward.

Ten years had passed since he chose to move forward from the pain of loss that had so consumed him at one point in time that it was hard to survive every single day – a loss that diminished the fire and constant happiness that enveloped him.

Ten years had passed since his wife, Namikaze-Uzumaki Hinata, died.

The only woman who captivated him more than anything else in the world.

The only woman who stood by his side from the very beginning of time.

"I-I'll always stand by my w-word."

The oath.

"I think I'll never stop wanting to get to know you better, Naruto-kun."

The desire.

"Your smile saved me."

The change.

At 26, Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto had it all – influence, authority, money, and the love of the citizens of a country he fought so hard for. But to attain all of these things, he had to lose to death.

There must be a number of ways for Naruto to live once more in the real world rather than to stay consumed by countless dreams that tormented him. Death must be so painful for him to be reminded of it so much.


Hyuuga Hinata woke up to suffocating darkness.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since she gave her life for Konohagakure.

7:00 A.M. Her eyes registered nothing, only making up a time in her head – an estimation by how the air felt against her face and how warm it had become. Alarms always scared the wits out of her. She would go to sleep just like any normal person – unlike what she was accustomed to when she was younger, only because she had nothing better to do than to sit or lie around all day. When she closed her eyes, the last thing she would think about was a pair of fiery, cerulean eyes. When she opened her eyes, the first thing she would hear was a lively voice that greeted her with warm familiarity. She preferred reality to shake away the nightmares of a life that tried to kill her.

Ten years had passed since she was given medicine to sleep, just so that she could avoid seeing the same stranger over and over again.

Ten years had passed since she last saw light… since she last hoped.

Ten years had passed since she lost most of her sense of perception – her sight and all the sensation from her legs and arms, along with the ability to speak. All that remained in her life was a name that she remembered from the moment she woke up and the voice of the person who kept her alive all this time.

Ten years had passed and during that time, she had lived in isolation, hiding from the people who, her benefactor said, were out to murder her.

Ten years had passed since she accepted the fact that she would never get out of the house that she hadn't even seen, contentedly passing through each and every day without so much as a complaint.

Ten years had passed since she began serving and pleasing the man who saved her life when everything seemed all over, obeying his only command of not leaving the house that sheltered her.

At 26, Hyuuga Hinata was a ghost of the past.

Ten years had passed since she forgot Konoha.

Ten years had passed since she forgot her grieving parents, her pained friends, and her heartbroken love, who all thought that she was already dead and lost forever. But she was, in a way, because she didn't remember anything except for her name.

Ten years had passed since she forgot her husband, Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto.

The only man who inspired her more than anything else in the world.

The only man who held her hand from the moment they said 'I do'.

"You know, I always thought that you were a weird, gloomy, plain, and wishy-washy girl."

The forgotten first impression.

"But I like people like you."

The forgotten changed impression.

"You look beautiful, Hinata."

The forgotten lasting impression.

At 26, Hyuuga Hinata had it all – basic commodities, safety, money, and the security provided by a man who was already going above and beyond for a young woman he barely knew. But to attain all of these things, she had to lose to life.

There must be a number of ways for Hinata to dream of happiness and love once again, rather than to stay consumed by an unseen reality that was forced upon her by a stranger that claimed to care for her. Life must be so arduous for her to be jaded by it so much.


Hyuuga Neji woke up to the sound of arguing adults.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed and he was still living under the same roof that reminded him of so much painful memories.

6:00 A.M. His eyes would automatically move to the windows, checking if the morning had indeed arrived. Hyuuga Neji would always wake up with mistrust. He would go to sleep always thinking about the many business deals that he had successfully accomplished and how many would actually stand by their word, drowning out another loud argument from his mother and father whose marriage was only hanging by a thread for the last decade. When he closed his eyes, the last thing he would recall were the many times people in and out of his company would try to deceive him. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he would recall was the biggest lie he had ever heard in his entire life. He preferred listening to himself.

Ten years had passed since he last trusted anyone.

Ten years had passed since he last saw light… since he last believed.

Ten years had passed since he assumed responsibility for the Hyuuga corporation, even though he still wasn't named as CEO just yet.

Ten years had passed since Hyuuga Hiashi started slipping in his work because he was consumed by sorrow.

Ten years had passed since Neji took control and resuscitated the business and the clan when it was on the verge of collapse, collecting the praises of the many people inside and outside their society.

Ten years had passed since he threw himself into work and pushed away anyone who got in his way.

At 26, Hyuuga Neji was a cynic with a drive.

Ten years had passed since he let himself be consumed.

Ten years had passed since he let himself be consumed by all the responsibilities left by parents who chose to grieve over the loss of a daughter, taking all the challenges even though he was still unprepared for the burdens life had suddenly saddled him with.

Ten years had passed since he chose to face the music and let Sabaku Tenten go.

The only woman he ever trusted.

The only woman who claimed to have trusted him.

"All I want is for my family to be happy."

The purpose.

"I even the scales in the right way."

The challenge.

"I think I'm in love with you."

The lie.

At 26, Hyuuga Neji had it all – high business acumen, stability, money, and the admiration of the people in his community who would rather see the fear he brought out within them in a positive light than risk invoking the wrath of a man so changed by his belief of trusting no one. But to attain all of these things, he gave up the right to trust.

There must be a number of doubts that crossed Neji's mind everyday for him to change so radically over the years. Deception must be so frightening that he wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.


Sabaku Tenten woke up to the sound of a crying kid.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since she ran away from Konohagakure to start over.

6:00 A.M. Her eyes would automatically seek the door to head for the room next door, wanting to cease whatever nightmare it was that her beloved was fighting off. Sabaku Tenten would always wake up because of her son. She would go to sleep reading bedtime stories to the precocious and highly intelligent nine-year-old. When she opened her eyes, the last thing she would be thanking heavens for was the fact that her son was well and safe. When she closed her eyes, the last thing she would be worrying about was what breakfast she would cook for her little boy. She preferred listening to her kid.

Ten years had passed since she began living honestly.

Ten years had passed since she last saw light… since she last rested.

Ten years had passed since she nurtured her own business empire in Otogakure under Gaara's name and took care of her son out of her own blood, sweat, and tears.

Ten years had passed since she was disowned by the Sunagakure Imperial family, who resented her for leaving without a trace and Gaara keeping his promise well.

Ten years had passed since Tenten achieved almost everything that she wanted – to start working on her own and actually achieving something, except for the fact that it would again go unacknowledged because she had to hide her identity from the public.

Ten years had passed since she sacrificed everything for the beautiful baby boy who didn't even shed a tear the moment he was born.

At 26, Sabaku Tenten was a selfless mother of a precious, nine-year-old boy.

Ten years had passed since she left her former life behind.

Ten years had since she left her former life behind to give birth to a child that no one wanted, who had unknowingly caused chaos to an entire country and two powerful clans – running away to a country that no one dared to touch because of its notoriety.

Ten years had passed since she gave birth to Hyuuga Neji's son, Sabaku Setsuna.

The only man she lost herself to.

The only man who saw her for who she truly was.

"You want to make my life a living hell?"

The beginning.

"Why do you make things complicated?"

The middle.

"We're not engaged anymore."

The end.

At 26, Sabaku Tenten had it all – businesses, achievements, anonymity, and the company of a son that she loved more than anyone else in the world. But to attain all of these things, she gave up the right to be trusted.

There must be a number of doubts that crossed Tenten's mind everyday for her to change so dramatically over the years. Honesty must be so enlightening that she would embrace it with all the passion that she formerly lacked.


Inuzuka Kiba woke up to the sound of sighs.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since he started living a life of a rockstar, consisted of draining parties day after day at the center of Konohagakure's music industry.

11:00 A.M. His eyes would automatically close once again to fend off the women who tried to rouse him from his slumber – women whom he always told the night before to leave before he woke up. Inuzuka Kiba would always wake up to strange women in his room. He would go to sleep at the feel of flesh against his hot skin. When he closed his eyes, the last thing he would smell was cheap perfumes and cigarettes. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he would feel was someone rubbing up against him. He preferred them dumb and not clingy.

Ten years had passed since he began sleeping with more women than he could ever count.

Ten years had passed since he last saw light… since he last showed respect.

Ten years had passed since he accomplished everything that was humanely possible for a musican and an actor, making him the most beloved personality of the world.

Ten years had passed since her mother and sister decided to stop worrying about his personal life turning into shambles.

Ten years had passed since Kiba started to work so hard and play so unstoppably that it was impossible to keep track of where the wind would take him. Even the paparazzi had a hard time keeping up with his next move in expanding his career and his next move in making his private life explode.

At 26, Inuzuka Kiba was a supernova.

Ten years had passed since he chose to stay single.

Ten years had passed since he chose to stay single and leave the love he had held on to for so long in favor of the life that was ahead of him, not knowing that the more he rose to the top, the lower his heart sunk to the bottom.

Ten years had passed since he broke up with Yamanaka Ino.

The only woman he would ever give a damn about.

The only woman who matched his passion with hers.

"I will always choose to be a Yamanaka than to be a nobody."

The first rejection.

"It was only just a dream."

The song for him.

"I don't remember… I'm sorry… I'm sorry."

The apology.

At 26, Inuzuka Kiba had it all – popularity, talent, money, and the adoration of millions of fans who would give everything just to have a minute with him. But to attain all of these things, he had to let go of his muse.

There must be a number of regrets that plagued him every time he spent his money and his hours with various strangers who only wanted to use him. Singlehood must be so fun for him to latch on to it so much.


Yamanaka Ino woke up to the feeling of warm, loving arms enveloping her.

Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen.

Ten years had passed since she began living the life of a fairy tale – living in a palace that could only be the stuff of one's fantasies.

11:00 A.M. Her eyes found light green ones as she smiled brightly, knowing and not regretting that she overslept because this was a day for herself and only to herself. Yamanaka Ino would always wake up only to meet those beautiful eyes. She would go to sleep at the sound of that deep voice that lulled her to a land of endless dreams. When she closed her eyes, the last thing she would hear was a story about how the day went and how everything was well. When she opened her eyes, the first thing that she would see were those bottomless jade pits. She preferred to see herself reflected in the eyes of another.

Ten years had passed since she began sleeping with one man and one man alone.

Ten years had passed since she last saw light… since she last knew true love.

Ten years had passed since she tried to get over that seemingly endless debacle of a scandal that humiliated her and her family, getting out of the ashes with more grace than anyone could ever imagine.

Ten years had passed since Deidara was finally apprehended and put to trial, sentencing the man to death and finally giving her the peace she so longed for.

Ten years had passed since Ino revived herself and finally stopped her old career of being an actress. She devoted herself to the Yamanaka business and helping various charitable organizations to show people that she was indeed a person to be respected.

At 26, Yamanaka Ino was a shining star.

Ten years had passed since she chose to get married.

Ten years had passed since she chose to get married to the man everyone least expected her to be with – a man who was both her savior and her friend. Sabaku Gaara made her see the right path to take when all was lost.

Ten years had passed since Inuzuka Kiba broke up with her.

The only man she would ever truly love.

The only man who had the power to break her into a million pieces.

"You love me but you don't know who I am."

The opening act.

"I look at you with such disdain."

The climax.

"Let it fall, let it fall, let it fall…"

The finale.

At 26, Yamanaka Ino had it all – redemption, change, money, and the love of a man that everyone adored more than anyone else in Sunagakure. But to attain all these things, she had to let go of her muse.

There must be a number of regrets that haunted her every time she would look into her husband's eyes with the thoughts of another man. Married life must be so hard for her to run away from it so much.


A Number of Complications is done! =)

First of all, let me thank you beautiful readers for all the support! You have made the ride truly wonderful and amazing. I'm still reeling from all the love I received for a project that started out as a simple dare. Really, thank you! Especially to those who pointed out the inconsistencies, grammatical errors and such. I am pleased to note that I have changed the major inconsistency of Kabuto's character. I changed the name of the Biology teacher. XD I always thought of him as the prince of Oto, but mistakenly put him as a Bio teacher since he sort of suits the character too. Also, thanks for those who persistently bug me to update, even the truly rude ones. LOL. Thanks for the naysayers and the hackers who try to downgrade and delete my stories. You'll never be forgotten and I'm sure as hell you can't forget about me. XD

(Note: Even though I didn't mention all of your names, please don't think that I don't appreciate the reviews/fav's/follows. It makes my day brighter to know that my story is the source of happiness/pain/disgust/whatever emotions you've gone through while reading it.)

Thanks for the friendships I forged throughout writing this fan fic. To my wonderful betas, BuriedInBooks and Hendrixson, who both started out as fans of this story. BuriedInBooks has always helped me out whenever I had writer's block and none of these chapters would be polished without her. She has given me input whenever I can't write fluff or some scenes and she's extended her help to my other fics despite the fact that she was also busy for a lot of things.

Hendrixson has been my 'pen pal' for a while now and he's the one I vent to whenever some shit happens. Our Naruto and life conversations will never be forgotten, as well as the help you've invested in assessing the plot of my story. The recent updates would not have been possible without you. Again people, check out his story – For the Love of the Hokage.

Seriously, thank you BOTH of you for everything.

And to enlighten you all, there are four sequels to A Number of Complications and here they are:

A Number of Reasons
Rated M
Ten years has passed since Konoha Gakuen. Uchiha Sasuke is intent on exacting his revenge while Haruno Sakura is intent on getting him back. There must be a number of reasons why Sasuke became hatred itself and also a number of reasons why Sakura wasn't the same.

A Number of Ways
Rated M
Ten years has passed since Konoha Gakuen. Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto is on the brink of becoming Emperor of Konohagakure while Hyuuga Hinata is shunned in the darkness. There must be a number of ways for their paths to cross once more and a number of ways for everything to fall apart once more.

A Number of Doubts
Rated M
Ten years has passed since Konoha Gakuen. Hyuuga Neji is on the verge of closing the biggest business of his life while Sabaku Tenten is doing her best to run away from a past that was catching up to her. There must be a number of doubts in Neji's head when he finally saw Tenten again and a number of doubts he had when he met his son.

A Number of Regrets
Rated M
Ten years had passed since Konoha Gakuen. Inuzuka Kiba is at the peak of stardom while Yamanaka Ino enjoyed the attentions of a husband who would give her everything. There must be a number of regrets in Kiba's life for him to sink so low and a number of regrets in Ino's life for her to risk a life she worked so hard to repair for a man who left her.

I hope you watch out for it! :D

P.S. You should have guessed that this was going to end tragically. Every chapter title had the word 'break' in it. XD

P.P.S. This story was first written at a time when I was in the dark. This is actually the story I've worked on the most and the one that occupied my thoughts just to get me out of depression. To those who've gone through a rough patch, believe that life gets better as time passes by. You just have to believe and see it through 'til the end. Honestly, the only thing that prevented me from killing myself was to see how Naruto and all my other favorite manga would end. XD Pretty neat, huh?

With all the love in the world for the readers who hope and the writers who dream,
The Crafty Cracker

P.P.P.S. If I forgot to thank anyone, please feel free to beat me up with a cucumber.