Prologue: In Death Do We Part
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Prologue: In Death Do We Part
I knew what I said to Sasuke was true, but I couldn't help but feel doubt that he would listen. I was right.
"You really are..." He paused and turned to me and smirked. "Damned annoying."
That was when he flash-stepped in front of me, and stuck a hand into my chest, casting me into a strong genjutsu. The last thing I heard before I collapsed on the ground was Naruto's voice screaming something incoherent. Then everything was black.
In Sakura's Genjutsu...
A second later, I found myself standing in the middle of a black void. I looked around for anything but it was just black and empty. Then the black scenery started to blur and change and I found myself back in Konoha. The Konoha before it been destroyed. My eyes widened in surprise but the scene changed again and I found myself standing at the front of the Academy. My brow furrowed in confusion and I frowned. Why am I here?
Suddenly, someone burst through the doors, making me jump. A little girl ran past me in blur of pink and red and giggled. Wait, pink and red?
My eyes trailed after my younger self.
How naïve I was as a child, Inner said. I had to agree with her. I was reminded of how useless and selfish I was when I was younger. I hated myself for it.
Then the scene changed, fading until it reformed into a completely different setting. This time, I was at the spot where I had ate my lunch the day I graduated from the Academy. My grimace deepened slightly. Why am I even here?
Then a 12 year-old me and 12 year-old Sasuke formed in the exact same spots we were in before. I watched my younger self make a fool out of herself and talk all "high and mighty", making insults about Naruto. I started to hate myself even more.
I watched as Sasuke walked away after talking back to me and calling me annoying. Something tugged at my heart. A tight feeling in my chest that I couldn't exactly explain, but it hurt.
The seen changed and formed into a large misty bridge. The place where we had our first A-ranked mission together. The Great Naruto Bridge.
I watched as Sasuke threw himself in front of Naruto to protect him, sacrificing himself, and Naruto, unleashing the Kyuubi chakra, fought valiantly against Haku while Kakashi against Zabuza. All the while my younger self, being the useless little civilian-born girl she was, stood in front of Tazuna, the master bridge builder, doing nothing but watch.
Something warm and wet slid down my face. I was crying.
The scene changed another time and I was surrounded by dark overgrowth and...a giant snake.
My eyes widened as I realized where I was. I was in the middle of the Chunnin exams in the Forest of Death. In the middle of Sasuke and I's first encounter with Orochimaru.
My body started to tremble as tears continued to run down my face. I watched as Sasuke stabbed himself in the thigh and carry me away to hide and continued to dodge as far as we can away from Orochimaru.
The tears came faster and soon I was sobbing while I watched, the tight feeling and the regret growing larger and larger in my chest until it was almost intolerable that it hurt.
I gritted my teeth, not to hold the tears back but in anger. My vision blurred.
It's all his fault, I thought as I glared through my tears at Orochimaru. All I wanted to do was kill him right on the spot, but it would be pointless. This was only a genjutsu.
I continued to cry, silently watching the scene play out to the part where Naruto came to the part wear Sasuke was bitten and given the curse mark.
Damn it, I thought. If only I had been stronger, he probably wouldn't have left or maybe even bitten. Anger rose in my chest.
I watched, tears having finally stopped, as my younger self carry an unconscious Sasuke and Naruto, and I was about to follow them but I couldn't move my legs. I couldn't move from my spot. Literally. I was stuck.
The scene changed again and this time I was watching the battle between me and Lee and the Sound ninja sent from Orochimaru. My younger self cut her hair and was getting beaten up by Zaku.
Why couldn't I be stronger? I clenched my teeth. I watched regrettably as Sasuke woke and almost killed Zaku as my younger self ran up and hugged him from behind, pleading him to stop.
I sweat dropped. I still can't believe that I did that. It was such a weak move. I'm so useless.
The scene changed again and this time, I was back in the park, at night, standing under a tree with the perfect view of the most painful moment of my life.
My first confession to Sasuke.
I started to tear up again as I talked to Sasuke, crying.
I brought a hand up to wipe the tears from my eyes. I'm so stupid! My younger self was yelling at him now and my tears kept running, making me hiccup and sob.
He said 'thank you' before he knocked me out and laid my younger self on the bench, leaving Konoha forever.
Stupid Sasuke, I thought as I wiped my tears with the back of my hand again, although it didn't do much to stop Why? Why did you have to leave us? You could have got stronger here at home, but you chose to get revenge in the darkness. You're so stupid! Sasuke-baka!
The scene changed once again and this time, I stood in midair with a perfect view of the Valley of the End, where Naruto battled Sasuke to come home.
I watched the whole fight and even heard their conversations between them.When it finished, Naruto was laying unconscious on the ground with Sasuke kneeling over him in the rain. His head band had came off during the explosion. He got up, cradled his broken arm in his hand and limped away.
I was crying silently throughout the whole fight. When I tried to move this time, I was able to make my way to the genjutsu-Naruto and kneeled down next to him. I smiled sadly through my tears, and the smile reached my eyes.I brushed the blond yellow hair away from genjutsu Naruto's face.
Thank you, I thought to him. If you were real, I wish I could have thanked you for everything.
Just as I stood up, the scene blurred back into black.
Oh good it's finally over...What the hell is this?
I gaped at the scene with complete confusion. I was surrounded by different versions of me. There was 6 year old me, 8 year old me, 12 year old me, 16 year old me, and even another 17 year old me.
Surrounding me in a circle, their faces showed anger, sadness, fear, frustration? All at once as they stared at me, as if looking into my soul.
"Why?" They chorused, their eyes flashed in agony. They clenched their fist and gritted their teeth in "Why am I so weak? Why can't I be strong like Naruto and Sasuke? Why?"
At some point during their rant, they all started to cry and I only watched in horror.They were crying tears of blood.
"Stop," I yelled at them. I knew what they were. Who they were, but I won't listen to them. I haven't for 9 years, this won't make a difference. "Stop it!"
"It's all my fault," They screamed together. "It's all my fault!"
The darkness around us thundered and rumbled. Then it started to crack and I could see the white showing through the cracks. Everything looked like glass about to shatter.
"It is my fault," I said aloud as I looked at the ground in shame. My hair fell over my face like a curtain, hiding my face. Everything else, even the other Sakura's, seem to disappear. I became lost in my thoughts.
Everything was my fault. If I wasn't so weak, maybe I would have been able to get a scratch on Sasuke when I had tried to kill him. I could have been of some use during the attack on Konoha and help Naruto. Maybe even prevented Orochimaru from giving him the curse mark. I could have protected Sasuke.
I am weak. I am useless. I'm a crybaby. I'm-
"Shut up! You're not weak!" My thoughts were interrupted and I looked up to Inner yelling at me.
She was usually in my head in black and white colors, but she was literally standing outside of my mind, in front of me and in the genjutsu. In my mind, I had pictured her to look exactly like me, but now that she was standing in front of me, she didn't look exactly like me. We had the same hair, face, body, we were even wearing the same clothes. The only difference between us were her eyes. They weren't light green, jade, like mine. They were sunlight yellow, practically shining sparkly pale gold.
I stared at her shocked for a while and noticed that the other Sakura's had diappeared but the shattered black sky was frozen in mid cracking.
She raised am eyebrow questionably at "What?" Then she looked down at herself, back up to check where she was, and then back at me. Her face turned from confused to shock.
"Oh. Well this is new...and awkward." Then Inner recovered from the shock and put a hand on her waist and pointed a finger at "And you are NOT weak! What do you think we've been doing for the past three years?"
Although I continued to gaze at her, I stayed silent.
"Training," She continued. "We've been training our asses off and with the Fifth Hokage no less. We've become medical ninja and if it wasn't for you, Kankuro would be dead a long time ago. We aren't weak. We are strong. If we weren't, we wouldn't be the Fifth Hokage's apprentice, would we?"
My expression turned from dark to determined and I nodded at her.
"Now," She "Genjutsu is supposed to be one of your specialties. So stop being a wuss and break out of this hell hole!"
I nodded to her again and started to concentrate. I made the seal of the Tiger, concentrating chakra and calming myself.
"Kai!" I yelled. It didn't work.
I tried again and again and once more. Now I was starting to loose hope. The genjutsu was just too strong for me.
"Don't give up!" Inner yelled at me again. "We're not even in Sasuke-Bastard's Sharingan genjutsu! This should be nothing! If you don't get it in the first try, don't give up! If you don't get it the next few times, you still don't give up! Don't give up until you're last breath!"
Inner had grown to despise Sasuke after he had left a few years ago and it seemed that Naruto had grown on her.
My determined expression hardened and became fiercer. I continued to try and Inner continued to encourage me.
"Kai." I had to keep going. I had to get out of this genjutsu. I need to help Naruto. Naruto is my first priority. I...
Don't care about Sasuke.
"Kai!" Sasuke, I thought. I...
"KAI!" I didn't feel the same warm yet sad feeling I usually did when I thought about him. At that moment, I realized how I felt about Sasuke and my eyes widened for a moment before narrowed into the dark void of my mind in anger.
Sasuke, I thought. I hate you.
"Never give up until your last breath! Don't give in until you die! That is my ninja way!"
I sweat dropped at her but smiled. "I think Naruto's rubbing off on you."
She shrugged. "You make it sound like it's a bad thing." She smirked.
I smiled back and shook my head. Then I tried one more time.
Sasuke, I thought. Never will I love you again.
The blackness started to fade as did Inner. She smiled at me and saluted me with two fingers. Then it all disappeared.
I never noticed how my love for Sasuke disappear with it.
Out of the genjutsu...
I opened my eyes and blinked before looking around. I was laid on the ground less than 3 feet away from Madara's body and Kakashi and the Sage of Six Paths were standing not very far, their backs turned to me.
I have to get to Naruto, I thought. emThey'll probably be at the Valley of the End for their final battle.
I quietly brought myself up to a sitting position and looked around again. We were still in the same spot.
Kakashi and the Sage were talking about something serious but didn't seem to notice me.
Good, I thought. The Sage of Six Paths probably knows I'm awake though.
But the Sage made no sign that he had noticed me and continued to talk with Kakashi.
I quietly but quickly stood up and turned towards the direction of the Valley of the End and started at a walk but I was stopped by someone grabbing my wrist.
I looked back to see Kakashi, his face a mix of both surprised and seriousness.
"What are you doing?" He asked. "How did you break out of the genjutsu?"
I raised an eyebrow in confusion."What do you mean 'how'?"
He let go of my wrist."Even I couldn't break the genjutsu. So how did you?"
"Like how you normally break a genjutsu. Now I must find Naruto." I said before I turned to run but he stopped me again.
"No. Naruto and Sasuke have to settle this on their own. You just have to put faith in them." He said.
'You mean I'll just get in their way' was what I wanted to say but instead I substituted it with ...
"I do have faith, "I said."In Naruto. "
Kakashi gave me look as if he expected something else and I continued.
"I have complete faith in Naruto but if something happens to him, I will never forgive myself."
And I ran to the Valley of End, towards the Final Battle.
I was surprised that she dissed Sasuke just like that. I had thought she was truly a kind girl.
How was she able to break out of the genjutsu? And what did she see? I thought. I turned to look back at the Sage of Six Paths.
He nodded to me."Go and follow her. You may want to watch your team."
I nodded back to him and ran after her.
Sakura, I thought. What did you see that made you change your feelings?
The Sage stared after Kakashi, who ran at full speed in the same direction as Sakura although he wasn't able to catch up to her.
That girl, He thought. Something in her eyes had changed.
He knew that she had woke up earlier and had attempted to leave them undetected but he made no sign that he'd noticed her awakening. He had noticed when she turned to look at them, her face had change. Not physically but it did.
Something in her eyes had told him that...he really wasn't sure what but he felt like she had wanted to do something and it seemed to him that she wanted to change.
My dear girl, He thought. What do you desire now?
At the Valley of the End...To Naruto and Sasuke's Final Battle...
The two friends clashed again and the ground trembled with each hit.
Naruto would win, he had to. No matter what he would bring Sasuke back. That's was the only thing in his mind. Their memories together as Team 7, their adventures, their embonds/em they created together. He wouldn't let Sasuke sever them just like that. Not without a fight.
They had been battling for so long, both of them were both panting heavily and they knew they were almost out of chakra. They only had enough for the final blow.Naruto had drained most of Kurama's chakra and had to stop using Kyuubi mode and Sage mode. Sasuke had to stop using his Mangekyo Sharingan and Susanno and had to revert back to his regular Sharingan.
They were tied but that wasn't going to stop them. Nothing would stop them.They stood several yards away from each other, on the stone ground near the water fall.
"Naruto," Sasuke said."It's time to end this."
Naruto nodded at him and they started weaving hand signs. Electricity sparked and chirped in Sasuke's hand as wind started to swirl and spin in a sphere in Naruto's.They ran towards each other, not even noticing the nearing presence of their pink haired teammate or their sensei.
"SASUKE!" Naruto yelled.
"NARUTO!" Sasuke screamed back.
Time seemed as if it was slowing. They were so close, only few feet away, minus their arms' length, and as they closed in on each other, in a flash of pink, Naruto and Sasuke's view of each other were blocked.
Except all they could see was red.
Time seemed to have froze.
The sound of tearing flesh and bone echoed throughout the chasm.
No one noticed that dark gray clouds had infiltrated the sky.
Kakashi arrived in time to see his only female student run in front of Naruto with her arms spread out on either side of her to block their attacks at each other, facing Sasuke, only to have their attacks hit her instead.
Kakashi, Naruto and even Sasuke's eyes widened as they realized what just happened.
Naruto's Rasengan had hit her mid back but Sasuke's Chidori had cut into her chest, right through her heart.
Sakura coughed up blood and it splattered on Sasuke's face. His face was still shocked as he flinched and quickly pulled his hand out of her chest, his hand drenched in her blood.
The sudden movement made Sakura jerk and cough, making blood dripped from the corners of her mouth. She started to fall forward and Sasuke reached out to catch her but Naruto, his face turned from shocked to horrified, got to her first and set her down gently on the ground.
Kakashi was at her side in a flash. "Sakura!"
Sasuke stared at the scene in shock as Sakura tried to sit up but Naruto gripped her shoulders firmly and gently laid her back down. Naruto's face seemed to transition between worry, panic, anger, and fear.
Sakura struggled to speak but her blood was welling in her throat and she coughed again, blood staining her clothes and dripping from her lips. All they heard was the gurgling of her blood in her throat.
Naruto brushed her bangs gently from her face."Sakura-chan, don't talk," he said. He smiled sadly and his eyes started to feel wet. "Save your energy. We'll get Granny Tsunade right now to heal you and..." He choked, crying and sobbing as he looked down at her. He was unable to finish his sentence because he had started to hiccup.
"Na...ruto," She said through the blood, and she turned her head away to cough and spit the blood out, but it continued to fill her throat.
"S-Sakura-chan! Please stop! Don't talk!" He turned to look up at Kakashi, who had been sitting in the otherside of Sakura, watching the scene with sad eyes. Naruto's eyes were wide with panic and worry. He was hysteric."Go and get Granny Tsunade!"
Kakashi didn't move but just stare at him sadly. "Naruto," He said calmly."Lady Tsunade was taken into one of the cocoons and is in a genjutsu."
Hugging Sakura to his chest as the tears continued to stream, Naruto yelled at him,"Then break the genjutsu! We need her to heal Sakura-chan right now!"
Kakashi shook his head at him. "None of us can break the genjutsu, Naruto. Only Sasuke can."
Sakura's breathing became ragged and she coughed up blood again. Naruto turned to look at Sasuke, who was standing, a short distance a way from them. He was staring at Sakura.
"Sasuke! Hurry and get Granny Tsunade!" Naruto shouted, his voice cracking.
Sasuke looked at Naruto, his shocked expression unchanged, but he didn't move.
"Sasuke, don't you understand!? Sakura needs help! If you don't get Granny Tsunade, she could...she could..." Naruto stuttered, not wanting to finish. Then he felt a cold hand on his cheek and they all looked down at Sakura.
"Naruto...It's," She managed to say before she started to have a coughing fit. Suddenly Sasuke was at her side, next to Naruto. His face turned from shocked to worry and fear.
Then his eyes became hooded and hid under his bangs. "Why? Why would you do this?" He said through gritted teeth.
Sakura turned away to spit out the blood that continued to well up in her throat and turned back to Sasuke. If she was the old Sakura, the one that had confessed her undying love to him and was emotional about almost everything, she would probably be crying by now and would have answered with 'Because I love you'. Instead, her eyes hard, she gave him a humorless smile.
"Because," She said."I don't want to see Naruto on the ground half dead." She managed to say without choking on her own blood. Her eyes were slowly becoming unfocused and she could see a bright light growing in her vision.
Sasuke's eyes widened at what she had said.
She turned back to Naruto and his gaze stopped at her."Naruto, it's okay," She said and this time genuinely smiled at him."We all know that I'm not going to-" Her body gave a jerk and she coughed up more blood."-Make it."
Her eyes were starting to loose its gleam and Sakura's breathing was becoming slow and steady."Naruto, before I leave everyone, tell Master Tsunade, when you save her, that I finally understand." She said, her voice became hoarse. "And tell her it's not a bad thing."
Naruto looked at her confused and worried, his brow furrowed."What do you mean 'understand'?"
Sakura shook her head at him. "Just tell her." She rasped.
Sakura's eyelids felt like they weighed a ton and she struggled to keep them open. Her vision was starting to become blurry and the white light was growing brighter.
"Sakura-chan! I still don't understand! Why would you do this!?" He said worriedly.
Sakura smiled again. "I told you. Because I don't want to see you half dead. Naruto," She said and started having another fit. After she was done, she motioned for him to get closer and...
She kissed him on the cheek. Shocked, he pulled away and his face became red. Not from a blush that had not appeared on his face.
Blood stained his cheek.
She wasn't able to keep her eyelids open any longer and they started to droop. Her vision was so blurry and the light so blinding that she could barely see Naruto's figure.
"The next time I see you, you've better become Hokage by then." She managed to say without coughing blood. Her voice was crystal clear and stern, not hoarse or raspy.
Naruto was taken aback by her statement and he blinked in surprise.
Hokage? He thought incredilously. How could she think of him becoming Hokage when she was...dying?
unable to come up with a response, he nodded.
Sakura let out a sigh of relief. "Good. Thank you," She said to no one in particular as she looked up at the now crying sky. The light in her vision was flaring by now.
Her hearing began to fade to the point that she was unable to hear the sound of raindrops slamming into the ground.
Through heavy eyelids, she took one last look at Naruto one last time before she past. And she could've sworn that she saw 12 year old innocent Naruto with a concerned expression on his face.
I wish things could've been different, Was her last thought and her eyelids drooped lower.
Her eyelids fluttered closed and she died, a ghost of a genuine smile on her now peaceful face.
What she didn't know was that someone they didn't know wished exactly for the same thing, and decided to change. Everything.
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