Title: What You Wanted
A/N: Inspired partially by 693 and partially with an idea I’ve been toying around with for a few weeks now. Hope y’all enjoy it.
The first time he saw her after he and Naruto made it back to the main battlefield, the area was a giant flurry of movement. The noise coming from the remaining members of the alliance was deafening. The mixture of shouts of joy and of sorrow, paired with the sounds of crying and retching provided a sickening feeling to the chaos around them.
It took members of the alliance several minutes before they acknowledged the pair, limping through the madness. Sasuke had Naruto’s arm slung over his shoulder as he dragged his heavy feet forward. The moron was simply smiling, eyes closed and face bloodied. The moment someone called out his name Naruto finally opened his eyes—still smiling, always smiling—and gave a thumbs up to the stranger who seemed to recognize him.
Echoes of “Naruto” quickly sounded through the giant crowd and before Sasuke could brace himself for it, they were bombarded by dozens of shinobi, some laughing, some with tears in their eyes, but all of them smiling.
He remembers clenching his fist uncomfortably at the feeling of having so many strangers so close to him; the pain on his palm where his yin seal lay was almost excruciating, but he tried to ignore it as he maneuvered Naruto and himself to where a few random ninja were leading them.
He saw Kakashi before he saw anyone else. The man was sitting against a large stone, leaning backward and allowing some random medical-ninja take a look at him. When Kakashi caught sight of the two he did not stand, nor did he call out to them. He simply made eye contact with them and nodded.
Sasuke was sure that he was smiling underneath that damn mask of his.
When he saw her, she was still unconscious, lying on some sort of tarp that had been laid down on the ground. There were a few ninja he didn’t recognize fluttering around her, most likely trying to figure out what was wrong with her.
Sasuke didn’t even look at Naruto as he felt some medic-nin’s literally take him off his hands. Better someone else drag the blonde around than him.
“Where is Tsunade-sama?” he heard one panicked voice ask as he slowly moved forward.
“Someone go find the Hokage, now!” another voice commanded, firmer, less startled; more experienced Sasuke assumed.
The distressed squabbling came to an abrupt halt as Sasuke approached. A few of them looked at him in fear, but all of them regarded him with tense confusion.
“Move,” Sasuke ordered. It was the first word he’d uttered since the end of his and Naruto’s battle, and the scratchiness in his voice only made his command sound more intimidating.
Reluctantly, most of the medics moved out of the way, all but one. A blonde man that Sasuke vaguely recognized.
Cloud nin, Sasuke thought, regarding the man’s vest. And then with a sick taste in his mouth the recognition hit him. Iron country was the first and last time he’d seen this man.
So when he refused to leave Sakura’s side, Sasuke understood. He was one of the few ninjas that had seen Sasuke in his demented, frenzied, blood-thirsty state. So when the man lifted his arm toward Sasuke, fingertips glowing dangerously with what he could only assume where chakra scalpels, he paused, mere feet from Sakura, and met the man’s dark eyes with his own.
“Move,” Sasuke repeated.
“The Hokage is on her way. Do not touch her.”
“I’m fixing it.”
“No you’re not—“
“I did this,” Sasuke admitted, frustration building slowly. “So move.”
When the cloud-nin still did not budge, Sasuke sighed. Focusing on a few pebbles that lay on the ground on Sakura’s opposite side, he used the little bit of chakra he had left and teleported himself to her side.
Too quick for the man to react in time, Sasuke reached his hand out steadily and allowed a few of his fingertips to rest on Sakura’s forehead. It only took a few seconds, and by the time the blonde man had turned around and pointed his hand at him—fingers mere centimeters from Sasuke’s temple—Sasuke was already done.
Fingers lingering for half a second too long, Sasuke couldn’t help but brush his fingertips against the diamond-shaped seal on her forehead.
Strength, Sasuke reminded himself, it’s meaning clear to all who looked at it. But as he eyed the dried tears covering her cheeks he knew that sometimes physical strength only got you so far.
NARUTO 692 話カカサク
BY :: Beth
Holy shieet my deels Omg
may I cry my fucking eyes out
Love is a complicated thing...
This is how I see their relationship. It’s a tangled mess, but it’s not ripped. Tangles can be undone. Things can be worked out. Their love can lead to their happiness.
They just have to untangle the mess.
"I can't let you go
Dying days of my youth overtake me."
for the wife, hallous
Not even sure if that’s Sakura talking anymore or if it’s just me pouring out my own frustrations into this comic
But srsly this is about the only way I’d accept resolution for Sakura’s character arc. Because fuck dammit she doesn’t deserve to be relegated to ‘side character’ status while Naruto solves all of Sasook’s problems and brings him back. If Sakura doesn’t have a hand in Sasuke’s redemption, then I’m sorry, Kishimoto, you’ve done a crap job of writing Sasusaku as an end ship. I may ship it like no tomorrow, but fuck it’s painful watching how unbalanced their dynamic is at the moment.
(FYI there’s gonna be a fic accompanying this comic later)
one of the most annoying things about the naruto fandom is how 90% of the meta i see on my dash has the people using things that sasuke said and taking them at face value?? and disregarding his body language?? and forgetting his extremely traumatising past which doesnt excuse his actions but goes a really long way to explaining them??
yes this x 101012392
It’s been a very long time since I wrote any SasuSaku based on the canon, manga universe. This one shot is inspired by the latest Naruto chapter, 693, in which Sasuke places Sakura under genjutsu to stop her from following him and Naruto and interfering with their battle. Warning – major angst.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto.
1. To banish, expel, dispel
2. Wipe off, clean away, cleanse
She saw her death at his hands.
It happened in a heartbeat. One moment, she had been hopelessly professing her love – so pitifully, so desperately – and the next, he had struck, with all the swiftness and callous brutality of the lightning element he so proficiently commanded. She had merely blinked – and he had been there in an instant, surging forward in graceful, fluid motion towards her.
Her startled brain had only a fraction of a second to register just how close he suddenly was - before indescribable pain exploded behind her eyes, staining her vision to red. It was agonising. Crippling. A level of pain she hadn’t thought it was even physically possible for the human body to endure, much less survive.
But of course, that was the entire point; she wasn’t meant to survive. Sakura saw her death - but even as his hand stabbed with ruthless force through her chest, spearing through flesh to puncture her heart, rupturing the organ beyond repair and shattering her entire existence to fragmented pieces - all she could see were those haunting, tragic eyes.
Mismatched, unfamiliar – yet still achingly his – holding her captive to her last, raggedly drawn breaths.
She saw the way they lowered after a moment, as if refusing to meet hers – as if incapable. And all she had been able to think about, then, as her lungs had rattled from the blood rapidly pooling into them, were those last, torturous words that echoed almost tauntingly in her ears.
‘You really are… damned annoying.’
Those five words hurtled her mind back four years into the past, flung her into her twelve year old self’s body again, to a cool, early-autumn night, under a starry, midnight sky. To a cobbled-stone path, and the sound of sniffling sobs and the feel of her voice breaking with emotion as she’d pleaded with him, with every fibre of her being, to stayby her side.
Those words dragged her back to the moment when he had finally shifted to angle an almost sardonic glance over his shoulder at her. To the moment those lips, ever set in a firm, serious, unyielding line, had finally relaxed into a slight, amused smirk that had caused her breath to catch in her throat.
‘You really are… annoying.’
They’d taken her back, to the memory of his presence and warmth, as he’d stood so close behind her.
An excruciating pause, one she had regretted ever since – because she should have used those last few seconds of silence to move, to act, to turn around, to throw her arms around him – but instead, every muscle in her body had locked, frozen her in position – a helpless prisoner to the quiet, silky smoothness of his voice.
And just like that night, all her present self could think about was the slight, almost pained smirk he had given her this time; so different to the last - yet it had accompanied almost identical words.
His parallel response to her second confession had whispered assuredly to her that as astounding and impossible as it was, he recalled that night with as much indisputable clarityas she did.
And he’d permitted her no more than a mere second to acknowledge the weight and significance of that realisation - and what it had to mean that he remembered-a mere second alone to feel her heart leap and her stomach flutter – before he had lunged in for the kill.
The physical trauma, however, of having a hole torn in her chest as if her body was nothing more than paper was nothing compared to the mental and emotional anguish that followed the realisation that it was Uchiha Sasuke - the boy she had loved so desperately, for what had felt like her entire life – that was the one to stop Sakura’s heart beating.
“S… Sasu-ke… kun…” his name fell in a senseless whisper from her lips one last time, before the tangy taste of copper filled her mouth and began to choke her.
It was only fitting, in a way; she thought numbly to herself - as he wrenched his arm out from the fatal location in which he had impaled her, with ruthless, merciless force - that she would meet her end at his hands.
For he had already killed her so many times before. For every time he had left her side, left her far behind, and slipped further and further away from her, traversing increasingly darker paths that she could not follow, she had died a thousand deaths.
This was merely the final one. The most absolute.
And as her trembling knees collapsed under her - sending her crumpling to the rocky ground like a lifeless puppet clipped of its strings - Sakura’s mind broke under the unbearable strain of the torturous knowledge that her greatest nightmare had come into full fruition.
Dying, leaving the world behind, leaving him… without being able to pull her troubled, former teammate from the oozing tides of darkness that were swallowing him up, even now, dragging him deeper and deeper into sinister depths that he would not allow her to reach.
Failing before she could save him.
As her eyes closed, she saw his beautiful face – the face that had enslavedher to such a wretched, cruel fate - drift through her fogging mind one final time. She saw, once more, the almost bitter, rueful smirk he had angled over his shoulder at her, split seconds before he had so viciously attacked without warning. And Sakura almost completely surrendered to the blackness, as the searing pain in her crushed heart and body begun to ebb, at last, into the merciful nothingness of death.
Her body and soul destroyed by the trauma of meeting her demise at the hands of the very man she loved more than anything else in the world, Sakura almost succumbed – but then she unexpectedly heard his voice whisper fleetingly, distantly, inside her head.
Like a passing breeze, like the slightest of brushes, it spoke to her, a brief caress.
Hate me, Sakura, it willed.
The words seeped through her brain like venom, seeking to impose their iron command on her consciousness and authority over her thoughts and senses. They sought to bend, to warp, to erase and alter and grotesquely disfigure emotions, to secure absolute obedience.
That was when something finally snapped, near audibly, in Sakura’s mind. That was when she realised and she knew. And suddenly, her mind was fighting back, screaming and clawing and battling against the steely chains that contained her.
Never! I never will!
And that was when – with frightening strength – the furious fire of her chakra network roared into being inside her, flaring so brightly and blindingly and with such abrupt, inextinguishable intensity that its sheer force warded back the encroaching shadows, singing and burning them until nothing else was left but righteous, pure light.
Hatake Kakashi’s dejectedly bowed head lifted at the thoroughly unexpected sound of the young woman suddenly stirring beside him. He blinked in astonishment; sharply, he sucked in a breath, not daring to hope it was possible.
But as his awed gaze flew to rest onto her slender form, he saw that it was true; Haruno Sakura was breaking out of Uchiha Sasuke’s genjutsu. Breaking free from the highest level of illusionary technique, which Kakashi knew, for a fact, Sasuke had slammed into her with the sole intention of keeping her downand out of the way.
“Sakura!” Kakashi reached for the rose-haired girl, gently placing a hand atop her left shoulder. The tense lines marring the smooth skin of her forehead openly conveyed the violent, internal struggle raging within her mind as she fought to dispel the illusion inside which the last of the Uchiha had tried to imprison her.
“Interesting,” Otsutsuki Hagoromo remarked as he observed her. “Genjutsu cast by the Rinnegan is much more potent than its Sharingan form. A remarkable young woman she must be, to be able to free herself from its mental shackles.”
A surge of fondness and pride swelled inside Kakashi’s chest as he watched the only female member of his team battle to regain consciousness. Yes; there was no question about it. She certainly was remarkable.
Come on, Sakura! He silently urged. He knew she had the strength to do it; the purity of her feelings surely could not lose to the chaotic darkness of Sasuke’s will. Kakashi believed in her – in how much she had grown and how hard she had fought to earn her position as a respected kunoichi in her own right within the Team 7 dynamic, from under the shadows of two of the most naturally gifted and powerful shinobi Konoha had ever produced.
And he felt his eyes sting, as she released a sudden, painful gasp, and her green, green eyes flew open at last, disorientated, unfocused, brimming with tears but awake.
“A remarkable woman, indeed,” Hagoromo repeated.
“Sakura,” Kakashi gingerly helped her to sit up, supporting her weight somewhat awkwardly as she leant back against him. “Are you alright?”
His heart constricted when she simply wept in response, floods and floods of sobbing tears that only caused the bitter disappointment in his chest at the way things had unravelled to intensify.
If only he had tried harder to talk sense into Sasuke, all those years ago.
If only he had paid more attention to training Naruto.
If only he had been better able to protect Sakura from the same depth of misery he personally knew unrequited love could so cruelly bestow – instead of feeding her false promises that everything would go back to how it had been.
Perhaps it was only fitting for someone so short-sighted, Kakashi sorrowfully found himself thinking, that he had lost the powerful eyes Obito had gifted to him.
The guilt of his past failures and present uselessness was like a crushing burden on his shoulders. He could do nothing and say nothing – only watch, powerless and defeated, as Sakura cried woefully into her palms.
He could only guess what distressing image Sasuke had chosen to inflict upon her as he’d cast the genjutsu – one certainly harrowing enough to leave her in such a dispirited state. He swallowed thickly, the same anger that had prompted him to confront Sasuke immediately after he’d knocked poor Sakura out burning in his chest once again. The unstable boy’s unjustifiable treatment of a selflessly dedicated girl who had only ever wanted to give herself entirely to him was completely unacceptable. Sasuke had crossed the line the moment he had attempted to take her life – the same life he had always so valiantly protected in the simpler days before he’d defected from Konoha.
Sakura had shed blood, sweat and tears for the young Uchiha, risking her life on numerous occasions, pushing her body to its limits repeatedly. Her devotion to him was absolute, unwavering. The kind of patient, pure devotion that he knew Sasuke would be hard tested to find in anyone else. It pained Kakashi, to see her hurting so much because of the heartless actions of someone so ungrateful, so unworthy of her affections. But he knew, only too well, that love was an emotion that could not simply be switched off or discarded, the way Sasuke seemed to so adamantly and foolishly believe.
Suddenly, Sakura stopped crying. Just like that, the tears ceased. Sniffling, she lowered her hands and wiped at her red-rimmed eyes. The clarity and focus had returned to her gaze – but her expression remained strained with anguish.
“Thank you, Kakashi-sensei,” she murmured, taking her own weight again. “I’ll be fine, now.”
“Sakura,” he said. He thought briefly of the unkind, disrespectful words Sasuke had voiced about her feelings for a moment – then decided she didn’t need to know about them. Instead, he informed her, “They’ve gone. All we can do now is wait and hope that Naruto can make him see sense.”
She was silent for a long minute, her head bowed. Then, slowly, she rose to her feet. A concerned Kakashi noted the way her body seemed to tremble – the after-effects of the genjutsu still lingering.
Sakura stared ahead at the empty, rocky plain ahead of them. Then her eyes rose to the sky, where she noted the ominous storm clouds gathering.
“After the rain,” she said quietly, “comes the sun.”
“…” Kakashi’s lone eye lowered. Still, she held onto hope. His eyebrows drew together, pained. There was no doubt that he believed in Naruto and his resolve.
The question was - could he trust that Sasuke would finally recognise the errors of his ways and withdraw from the cloak of irrationality that had him shrouded in its dense grasp before he mortally wounded Naruto – or himself?
It alarmed Kakashi that he couldn’t quite be sure. Sasuke seemed to be so far gone…
“Don’t worry, Kakashi-sensei.” As if sensing his uncertainty, Sakura turned to him, a small smile curving her lips. His eyes lifted to her, his own mouth twitching underneath his mask at the irony of the situation.
How the tables had turned. Now she was the one reassuring her old teacher.
“Everything is going to be fine,” she went on with conviction. “I’m going to make sure,” she added softly.
His amusement immediately vanished, replaced with instant alarm. “Sakura,” he warned sternly. “There’s a reason why Sasuke placed you under genjutsu. He knew you’d try to follow. Don’t do anything reckless!”
But Sakura didn’t seem to hear him. She was staring ahead again. He caught the familiar, steely glint in her eyes, the way her jaw suddenly set and how her hands curled into tight fists. He recognised that look – the fiery determination and resolve. And it frightened him, to realise what it was she had already settled on doing, knowing that he hadn’t the strength or chakra reserves left to stop her.
“This isn’t like back then, on the hospital roof,” Kakashi went on almost desperately, his words pleading for her to see reason. Even when a part of him knew it was hopeless. Just like her teammates, Sakura was infuriatingly stubborn. “With their power and abilities, Sakura… if you were to get in the way-” he broke off, the remainder of the thought too terrible to articulate.
Last time, he had been able to protect Sakura, been physically able to prevent Naruto and Sasuke from causing a tragedy that would have crushed them both. This time, however, he knew he could not.
“Don’t worry, Sensei,” Sakura assured him once more, her expression hardened. Grim. “I’ll make sure they come back.” She lifted her right fist, as she pledged, “Both of them.”
And with that, before he could say anything else to dissuade her, she bolted forward, away from the safety of his side.
His pounding heart leapt fearfully into his throat as horror washed over him. No! He’d already lost everything once before. He couldn’t, again!
He couldn’t lose all three of them!
“Don’t, Sakura!” he yelled, scrambling onto his feet, managing only several pitiful steps before his body once again gave up on him, forcing him back to his knees. “Damn it!” he hissed in frustration, looking up just in time to see her back disappearing further away into the horizon. Panic exploded inside him. “No! SAKURA! Come back!”
Her words echoed torturously in his ears – the last words, he realised with a dawning sense of dread, he might ever hear her utter.
‘I’ll make sure they come back. Both of them.’
He didn’t doubt the sincerity of her promise. But as she completely vanished beyond his line of sight, Kakashi frantically wondered at what cost she would deliver it. ___________________________________________________
The more the fight wore on and the more wounds they both sustained, the more exhaustion began to creep over Sasuke. Already worn out from the previous, lengthy battle they’d waged with Kaguya, he felt every muscle in his body scream in protest and resistance as he once again channelled a stream of Chidori into his left palm.
This was it, he knew, as he watched Naruto summon a rotating orb of his own signature Rasengan attack opposite him. He could feel his reserves dwindling into their lowest limits. He had next to nothing left.
This would be the final clash. It was almost nostalgic, he thought, one corner of his mouth tilting in what wasn’t quite a wry smirk – for he was far too tiredto managed one – that despite their spoilt wealth of newfound abilities, they would both call upon their original techniques for the last collision.
Their intense, deadly scuffle had spanned over an hour, blown off rocks and debris from the mountains around them. The black flames of Amaterasu still crackled in the locations Sasuke had directed them. Whenever he’d felt he was finally getting the upper hand, Naruto had pulled out a last-second response. He’d met and matched everything Sasuke had thrown at him – and vice versa.
They’d fought and fought, and the longer it dragged out, the more Sasuke had realised that Naruto’s words were starting to get under his skin. Like iron pellets, they hailed down upon his armour, chipping and chipping and chipping tirelessly away, leaving weeping, narrow chinks that were starting to worryingly widen.
Sasuke swallowed thickly. No, he thought furiously. He would bring about his revolution! He owed it to the Uchiha Clan – to his mother, his father, to Itachi – to ensure the ninja world was reformed. And that could only be done under his rule as Hokage!
He was not going to let Naruto take that away from him – even when a small part of him was starting to lose the will to continue – was starting to question whether it was all really even worth it.
The part of him that was so exhausted – physically, mentally, emotionally – the part that just wanted to give in, to run straight into the path of Naruto’s whistling hurricane attack and succumb to the permanence of death.
Because at least, in death, he would no longer feel the aching burden of the pain he had already shouldered beyond his limits; at least, in death, he would no longer have to think.
The more he contemplated it, the more his body yearned for it.
Naruto’s eyes widened. He saw the barely perceptible sag in Sasuke’s posture that openly betrayed his fatigue. And still, he refused to give up hope or belief.
“You know I’m right, Sasuke!” he shouted across at the young man he still considered his best friend, his brother. “You know this is madness! I warned you once before; if we do this, we both die! We don’t have to take this final step! Let me help you!”
“Shut up, Naruto!” Sasuke snarled, the stream of electrical energy screeching more loudly in defiant response. “I don’t need your help!” He reared back to strike. Naruto’s heart shrank at the cold, unbridled rage and seething denial he glimpsed in those mismatched eyes.
“I don’t need ANYONE!” Sasuke screamed – and then he lunged at full speed, straight at the blond, his left arm extended, lightning energy flaring and hissing destructively at his palm.
“SASUKE!” Naruto yelled, equally as frustrated. So it had come to this after all – he’d stop Sasuke with his own life!
The cyclone orb in his hand picked up speed until it reached full momentum and destructive force. Naruto hurtled himself forward, extending his right arm in a motion that mirrored Sasuke’s, his pulse thundering as he prepared himself for the inevitable end – and the explosion of pain that would accompany their last collision.
He was ready. In his mind, he had already prepared for this outcome, a long time ago.
Their ears were filled with the deafening shrieks of their elemental attacks. Yet somehow, over the howling of wind and the crackling of lightning – they still heard her cry.
“STOP IT! NOW!”
Naruto’s widened eyes met Sasuke’s in a look of abject, wordless horror. His gaping lips were moving – but Sasuke didn’t hear his words.
All he could hear was the rush of blood in his ears. Nothing could have prepared him for the devastating way his heart lurched at the realisation that she had somehow, against all the odds, managed to dispel his genjutsu.
It was impossible; he scoffed disbelievingly to himself, utterly stunned as he finally caught sight of her slight form, racing directly into the path of their attacks like an incoming, targeted missile – just as she had done at the age of twelve.
Déjà vu slammed into him, knocking the air from his lungs as the same, senseless panic that had crippled him back then overtook him once again.
Except this time, it was even more frightening in its intensity.
Because this time, he knew she was alone – and neither Kakashi, nor anyone else, could redirect the unstoppable force of their attacks.
How? How? He was enraged at himself, at her for her reckless, annoying stupidity.What had he done wrong?!
“SAKURA-CHAN!” Naruto’s frightened, hysterical scream was blood-curdling. “NO! GET OUT THE WAY- WE CAN’T STOP-”
He heard someone else yell at her, in a tone full of such sheer desperation, that it shocked Sasuke to register that it was his own voice shouting.
But he could see that as always, she had absolutely no intention of listening to him. She continued forward, her eyes burning bright like luminous green flames. The tears that had plagued them at twelve were non-existent. All Sasuke saw instead was a fierce, fiery resolve.
And he realised then, from the pure determination in her features – that there had been absolutely nothing wrong with the genjutsu he had cast. She was there, through no fault of his; he’d shown her the image of what he had known for a fact had been her greatest nightmare – her murder at his hands - in the hopes of breaking her mind, of making her detest him, the way he deserved to be hated, after every deplorable thing he had ever done to hurt her.
He’d intended for his genjutsu to keep her down until their battle was over – to prevent her from doing precisely what was happening at that very moment. Because he had anticipated Sakura’s careless intervention – and that was why he had felt it necessary to disable her. For her own safety. Sasuke had specifically programmed the illusion to automatically dispel at his return – or Naruto’s. Because one of them, he had reasoned, had to make it out alive.
He just hadn’t quite bargained on Sakura’s natural genjutsu know-how manifesting itself so powerfully. He’d hit her with the strongest illusion he could – what else could he have done? He thought that fate was cruelly coming full circle and mocking him, because she had not only actually managed to break out of the mental prison, but had arrived just in time to launch her body between them once again.
“I WON’T LET YOU KILL EACH OTHER!” she screamed, raising her arms as if to ward them both back. “STAND DOWN! NOW! BOTH OF YOU!”
Everything seemed to happen in sickening slow motion, then – Sasuke watched, powerless to stop the momentum of his hurtling body, powerless to call his chakra back in time, as she arrived directly between them at the precise point of impact.
Except Naruto, in one last-gasp, mighty effort, managed to jerk himself marginally to his left, to graze the bulk of his attack just short of her left shoulder. The hurricane cyclone flew from his palm, striking the ground where it exploded, causing rock and debris to crack all around them as the blond slammed sickeningly into the ground, stomach first. He lay there, dazed, unable to divert Sasuke – or help Sakura.
The blood in Sasuke’s veins froze and icy fear prickled down his spine. Dread knotted itself in his stomach as he attempted to do the same as Naruto had. But he couldn’t shift. Not even an inch. Lightning didn’t move once aimed; his deadly element was set to strike its targeted location. In pure, mindless desperation, he tried to engage his Rinnegan, to swap her position, despite knowing for a fact that his chakra reserves were all but spent. It was hopeless. He could do nothing but look on in horror, as her eyes turned to his.
And they were not filled with the anger and hatred he had so desperately wished to find, which would have been the tiniest consolation to him – but rather, they were swelling with love.
The same strength and depth of love she had professed tearfully to him, that had caused his treacherous legs to tremor and halt, that had made him realise just how dangerous she truly was in how profoundly her words and emotions were still able to reach the part of him he had believed he’d closed off forever.
Even before his hand drove lethally through her chest, Sasuke’s mind – and anything else that was left of him – shattered. Someone was screaming – he didn’t know if it was him, or her making such terrible sounds - and then pure chaos ensued, as lightning energy exploded, blinding his vision.
When the chaos ceased, Sasuke opened his eyes to find her crumpled on the ground beneath him. His hand was still embedded inside her chest, and her body convulsed as the remnants of the Chidori stream jagged through her system, before sizzling out.
No. His heart thundering, Sasuke yanked his arm out of her. It was stained crimson with her blood. He numbly thought that he had never seen so much blood – not since the day of his Clan’s massacre. He scarcely even registered that his entire body was shaking.
Her eyes were still open – but glazed. There was no life in them – nothing but the pools of tears that were already drying from their outer corners. His heart thundered, his gaze frozen onto her face. Somehow, he couldn’t look away. And at that second, all thoughts of a revolution – of anything else – evaporated from his mind. He suddenly couldn’t remember why he had even started a fight.
This was the face of the girl who had offered him the love he had spurned and rejected. The love he had never thought he could have again – and with her gone, he knew was lost to him forever. The girl who had held his hands in the Forest of Death, allowing his fingers to near crush her delicate bones from the depth of agony he’d experienced back then. A girl whose sheer will to find him had kept a portal open for him across a scorching desert, when she’d pushed her body to its absolute limits. A girl he’d sincerely thanked, who he’d left far behind, who had wanted nothing more than to look after him, to smother him with her concern, her kindness and love until all the pain of his past was erased.
And now… now he had killed her. And this time, it was no illusion.
“Sakura… chan…” a hushed voice spoke.
Sasuke’s heart constricted. His gaze fell back to his bloodied hand. Inside his head, he was shocked to hear something screaming. His inner voice. On the outside, however, he was perfectly expressionless. Motionless. Silent.
Naruto fell to his knees opposite Sasuke. With a trembling hand, he reached out to the gaping wound in her chest.
“Sasuke…” he choked, in a voice raw with emotion. “What have we done…?”
We? The urge to vocalise the internal screams intensified. Didn’t Naruto realise that it was him alone who had done this? He had killed her! He had been the one unable to stop. He had been the one who had let his hatred consume and blind him.
What was the use of seeing clearly at last? Self-loathing gnawed at him, burning at his insides like acid. It was far too late. He could never forgive himself.
“Sakura-chan…” Naruto’s eyes flooded with tears, as he whispered, “She- she just wanted us all back together…” His head bowed. “She didn’t want us to fight!” He leant over, and rested his head on her flat stomach, sobbing uncontrollably. “This- this wasn’t- this wasn’t how it was meant to end!” he wailed. “Damn it, it should have been me!” Weeping, he went on, “We’re so sorry, S-Sakura-chan! We’re so sorry, we’re so sorry!”
Overcome with nausea, Sasuke stumbled back onto his feet. Without thinking, he turned away, turned his back, unable to stand the pain of looking at her lifeless form any longer.
Naruto was wrong. Naruto was wrong, because it shouldn’t have been Sakura, or him.
It should have been Sasuke. He was the one who deserved to die. To rot into the ground, unremembered by anyone.
Sakura… Sakura deserved death the least. Sakura, who had always been so full of life. He staggered slowly away, moving unseeingly, the will to carry on lost from his body. There was no place left for him, anywhere.
There was nothing. Only her blood on his hand, on his clothes, and the crushing guilt and hatred for the person he loathed most in the world – himself.
A sharp intake of breath behind him alerted him to the fact that Naruto had noticed his half-hearted attempt at departure.
“Sasuke-!” he exclaimed, his voice shaking with fury and disbelief. “You bastard! How can you just walk away?”
The damage had already been done. What purpose was there in lingering? There was nothing else he could do. Sasuke continued to walk aimlessly onwards, finding himself strangely unable to focus on Naruto’s words.
A hand suddenly clamped onto his shoulder, yanking him roughly back around. “You bastard!” Naruto yelled furiously right into his face, his fists closing tightly at the collar of Sasuke’s blood spattered top. “She loved you, and you-!” he broke off abruptly, as Sasuke stared dully back at him.
Something deep inside Naruto’s chest constricted painfully as he noted that Sasuke’s Sharingan had deactivated completely. But that wasn’t what made him halt in his intended insults.
It was the staggering sight of the lone tear that rolled down Sasuke’s cheek. He seemed not to register it at all, however, for he continued to stare mutely and blankly back at Naruto.
“Sasuke…” Naruto whispered, realisation washing over him at last. “You…”
His voice trailed off for a second time. He didn’t need to finish the words. He’d already known it in his heart, all along – known that Sasuke had been lying all along, merely denying a transparent truth.
You care about her. You don’t need a reason, either.
The last Uchiha said nothing. He simply stared vacantly – the look of a defeated man who had given up on everything. A man who had been completely crushed.
Naruto’s mind raced. It couldn’t end like this, he told himself frantically, his heart pounding. Not now that he knew the quarrel between them was finally over – for good.
“Wait a minute!” A sudden idea then struck him. He gasped, dizzy from the whirl of his thoughts – before dragging Sasuke abruptly back with him to Sakura’s corpse.
Sasuke watched, silently, numbly, as Naruto knelt back down beside her. He then glanced up, a frown of impatience on his debris and blood-marred features.
“Sasuke, come on!” he urged. “Give me your hand!”
Sasuke swallowed back the bitter taste in his throat. It was hopeless. He didn’t understand what Naruto was trying to do, or why he was suddenly looking so foolishly hopeful. The idiot had always been hopelessly naïve. Didn’t he understand that Sasuke had simply had enough? Why wasn’t he angry at him? Why wasn’t he pummelling his face into the ground and taking out his fury and grief over Sakura’s death on him? Sasuke thought that had their situations been reversed, had Naruto been the one to still Sakura’s heart, then Sasuke wouldn’t have hesitated for even a second to pulverise him into oblivion.
When he didn’t respond, Naruto reached out and tugged forcefully on his wrist. Sasuke finally knelt down, overcome once more with nausea and unbearable guilt at the sight of Sakura’s ashen face again.
“Naruto-” he managed to utter at last. His voice sounded unfamiliar to him. Hollow, even by his standards.
“Just trust me on this!” Naruto interrupted. He positioned Sasuke’s bloodied hand above Sakura’s chest, palm-side upwards – the palm bearing the Yin Crescent. Meeting Sasuke’s empty gaze, he said, “The Sage gave us these seals for a reason.” Holding up his own palm to display the Yang Sun symbol, he exclaimed, “Let’s do this!”
Slapping his hand into Sasuke’s, bringing their seals together, he yelled, “RELEASE!”
Sasuke didn’t say it – he didn’t have to. Somewhere deep inside him, his still beating heart pulsated with the word.
A mighty gust of wind immediately shot up from the point at which their hands connected, accompanied by a great explosion of blinding light. Sasuke and Naruto shielded their vision, bracing themselves, and as the mystical, sacred energy of their chakras blended and tried to push their hands apart from sheer force, Naruto’s fingers closed more tightly around Sasuke’s hand, pressing it down more firmly against Sakura’s chest.
“SASUKE!” he shouted, over the deafening howl of air. “DON’T LET GO!”
Sasuke squeezed his eyes shut against the rushing wind funnelling around them and finally gripped back.
The riotous, blinding din seemed to last forever. When it eventually subsided, Sasuke’s ears were left buzzing and his head spinning. He didn’t want to open his eyes. He wasn’t as foolish as Naruto to believe that anything had actually changed.
He heard a brief, choked laugh. The crushing hold on his hand released. He felt fingers grip his wrist, turning his palm so it rested on Sakura’s chest.
It was strange, Sasuke thought distantly, how it almost felt warm. How it almost seemed to move-
Unbidden, his heart palpitated inside him. His thoughts grew deadly still – and every muscle in his body froze.
“You can open your eyes now, Sasuke,” Naruto chuckled teasingly.
With painstaking slowness, the last Uchiha’s eyelids dared to lift. His breath hitched in his throat, the air catching in his lungs as he blinked down incredulously at the most beautiful and annoying sight he was certain he had ever seen before him.
Mismatched irises met shining apple green. And the emotional, trembling smile that curved her lips as she gazed up at him with tear-filled eyes was nothing, nothing compared to the explosion of conflicting emotions that ricocheted chaotically inside him, as a thoroughly overwhelmed and staggered Sasuke registered that she was alive.
The blood had disappeared entirely from his hand – as if the light of chakra fusion had cleansed it. Sakura’s right palm lifted to rest lightly – almost shyly – atop his fingers. And when she spoke his name, it was like liquid sunshine, flooding through the numbness and pain and guilt and leaving behind nothing but a deep, throbbing ache in his chest that he just couldn’t comprehend.
Not at that moment. Not right then. But in time, he would.
“Sasuke-kun,” she whispered.
This will be posted on FF.net tomorrow. Tumblr exclusive, for now! I did warn you it was emotional! What did you think? I tried to make it as IC as possible. Please reblog/share if you liked it!
IF I COULD HAVE TAKEN ALL YOUR PAIN ONTO MYSELF TO COMFORT YOU, I WOULD HAVE.
Sasuke-kun, if I still have a place in that heart of yours even if it’s just a little… please don’t go!
So final thoughts from 693:
From a Sakura fan perspective I’m meh about it, from a Sasusaku fan perspective I absolutely love this chapter.
Because we can surmise that Sasuke….
- doesn’t believe he has qualities ”deserving” of Sakura’s love, or has a bad image of himself. “I don’t see what she likes about me.”
- considers Sakura’s confession as an important memory to him - he parrots their conversation for the second time.
- -said a lot of very harsh things, but his body language and actions imply the opposite - his keeps his back turned, falters in his step, and can only stand to look at her from the corner of one eye. There is nothing relaxed about his posture or his expression at all.
- -places her in a genjutsu so she doesn’t get in the way of their battle (read: so she doesn’t get unnecessarily hurt. If he didn’t care about her, he could have easily given her the Karin treatment if she ”got in the way.”)
honestly i have said before that narusaku does seem like a plausible ship because i can literally see how people can think it works. but after this chapter all thoughts about that have completely gone. there are NO moments in naruto that are as emotionally driven as those between sasuke and sakura. literally NOTHING compares.
if you asked me a couple months ago if i actually thought narusaku had a possibility i would have said yes. if you asked me now, i would say hell no. there is no chance that they are getting together at the end of this manga. TAKE MY WORD ON THAT. if they then so help me god i will jump off a bridge. pls how can you think they can still be together..it is impossible good bye