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[archived] [Team 7; Sakura focused] ; The March of Time

Title: The March of Time
Word Count: 1476
Rating: Eh, we’ll just put it at PG-11
Characters/Pairings: Team 7, but Sakura focused.
Summary: Sakura sees Naruto moving further and further away from her. Her thoughts and reflections on her ‘failure’ as a ninja, and her reaction when Kakashi finally brings Naruto and Sasuke home.



Naruto changed, slightly, with every passing day.

Of course, Sakura would never admit she was paying enough attention to have noticed that difference, but there was something about the way that he walked, the way that he smiled, and the way that he laughed; it simply wasn’t there before.

It frightened her.

It frightened her because he had become her rock. He was supposed to stay with her forever. He was supposed to be unchanging. The same idiot. The same dead-last little boy, who acted out to get attention and who never had real love in his childhood. Now that she was older she wondered if perhaps that had broken him somehow. Not outwardly like Sasuke – the obvious poster-child for pain, suffering and hatred. That wouldn’t be Naruto. For all his loud-mouthed proclamations of greatness, for all his angry energy thrown into succeeding, finding that infinitesimal something that had been denied him, he still would never show his weaknesses. Those tiny hairline fractures that crisscrossed his soul and weakened his resolve. Never enough to be noticeable – heaven forbid Sasuke have noticed. It would never do to break the illusion of wholeness. That was all Naruto had on Sasuke, even in the Uchiha’s ‘absence’. It was better to hide pain behind a smile than to show it with a frown, right? That was one of the things Sakura had learned from Naruto, and molded to fit her own purposes.

Sasuke. The genius. The Uchiha clan survivor. The last remaining link to possible greatness. No one looked past the dark eyed, dark haired, dark hearted and depleted soul that made up the Uchiha boy. No one stopped to think that perhaps, just maybe, there was another hope. Another more useful, loving, caring project that they could pour their energy into. Kakashi saw too late his mistakes, and had returned to the field, refusing all new students. This new energy that was poured into death made her want to weep.

But the life of a ninja is hardness, sadness, and death. There is no other way.

She learned at an early age, in any matter, to never show emotions. Top-notch jounin never show emotion – at least not in the line of duty. Laughing is unheard of. Smiles are frowned upon. Crying is forbidden. Love is non-existent. Killing is easier that way. When you don’t recognize emotion, you don’t recognize humanity. When you don’t recognize humanity, it’s not really a human you’re killing. It’s not a person with thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams. It’s weakness. It’s all those things that you wanted to be, wanted to feel, wrapped up in a disturbingly fragile package.

And it was simply a job to destroy it. It. Never ‘him’. Never ‘her’. Never ‘they’. Those words were used to describe people. You never used those words to speak of things. To speak of a job, a hit, a bother.

She came to realize that her failure to bottle away her emotions, hide them in some deep cavern within her soul, made her a failure as a jounin. Killing a person is impossible – killing a weakness, a simplified package of harmful emotion, is easy. And Sakura couldn’t push away her feelings; couldn’t bury them deep enough to stop seeing a person as a person.

Perhaps her weakness was why Sasuke left. Perhaps that’s why Naruto was changing, becoming a stronger man than he was before. If Sakura wasn’t strong enough to kill, to become a real jounin, then how could she even dream of keeping her team together? Sasuke was gone. Kakashi was gone. Naruto was pulling away from her without even leaving Konoha. He no longer ran up to her yelling “Sakura-chaaan!” There were no more stolen hugs, no more stupid comments aimed at impressing her. At the same time, he started to close himself off to the outside world. It was like watching a flower fold up protectively as night approaches – fragile while still holding onto self-preservation. The emotionally charged, high energy, optimistic Naruto was forced to change by life. Not just life itself, but the life that he led. Seventeen wasn’t an age where a normal teenager shoves a sword through an enemy’s neck, all for the sake of their home. Normal seventeen-year-olds don’t hunt down their best friends, hoping to save them, but knowing that death was looming over their very shoulders.

Normal seventeen-year-olds didn’t house a thousand-year-old demon within themselves. They weren’t stalked by a criminal organization, hoping to rip that beast out of their body – resulting in their death.

Normal seventeen-year-old boys had a girlfriend (or a boyfriend), they went to parties, they argued with their parents, and they found pleasure in stupid things like card tricks or a simple game of ball.

Naruto didn’t have a girlfriend. He didn’t have a boyfriend. He never went to parties, and he didn’t have parents to argue with. Training was more important than things like card tricks or a game of ball with ‘acquaintances’. Because who in their right mind wanted to befriend a monster?

It had been shocking, of course, when she had found out the well-kept secret of Naruto and the Kyuubi. She had suddenly been wrenched into a disturbing form of perspective and hindsight. Now it made sense why her mother had been so upset over the team assignments. Why everyone avoided Naruto, poked – and punched – fun at him even as a nearly grown man. Why he didn’t have parents, and why he had never been adopted into a foster family. Sakura found that she understood a little bit more now; why Naruto had always been the class clown, vying for attention that no one wanted to give. Her selfishness during her early Team Seven days shamed her, and she wished that she could have taken back some of her actions. But life moves inexorably forward, and not even the most determined ninja could return to the past to change things.

No matter how they wished for it, or how they cried for it.

Even if she could change the past, she wouldn’t know what to do, or where to start. The things that went wrong were so terrible, so many and in such a short amount of time, that she wouldn’t know how to put things right. And because of that past, and the seemingly unavoidable future, she was being left alone. When Naruto left her, where would she be? A pink-haired little girl, with only her monstrous strength and a demented inner voice to keep her company.

Wait.

Even that was changing. It seemed that everything was changing now, mostly for the worst. Even her obnoxious inner voice was more violent than usual, pointing out flaws in others, how simple it would be to prove herself – just kill them off. Would people respect her then? If she decided to show her strength – I’m a big girl and I can be a ninja too, watch, just watch me – would people still leave her here alone? Leave her here in a life that she didn’t want, didn’t fit, but still needed. She would sit and watch Konoha for hours, the ebb and flow of life in it’s many residents, the minute changes that took place. And she would think, Konoha is leaving me behind too.

And so when the time came, when Naruto finally got word of Sasuke’s whereabouts, Sakura could do little more than watch his back – his stupid, orange-jacketed back – as he walked away from Konoha, from her. She had reached out once, timidly, but then pulled back. For truthfully – could she really swallow down another bitter pill of rejection? It was better to act like she didn’t care than to show that she did, and be rebuffed.

So she waited, and waited, and waited. The days passed with little news, and even less hope. She would sit and watch Konoha’s main gate, hoping for a flash of orange, or a sight of tousled black hair. Sometimes she would wish for white hair, an orange book, and a black mask – but Kakashi would never, could never, come back while the team was still split apart. Besides, he had been the first to leave her. There was little more Sakura could do than wait. Days passed, turning into weeks, which flowed seamlessly into months. She threw herself into her work as a medic – at least then she wouldn’t have to think about the sound of a thousand birds, of a tormented scream asking why, why did he leave? Finally the day came when she caught sight of orange. When she saw that tousled black hair. When she finally saw the dark mask of her teacher.

But when Naruto and Sasuke came back, carried by Kakashi who refused to be unburdened of their bodies, they had left her alone forever, to silently rest in the ground of Konoha, finally unchanging and perfect and still.

Sakura broke then, watching their cold, unmoving bodies being carried into Konoha. And no one was there to pick up the pieces.

Comments

Sakura....

The sad part is, I could see this happening.
I know, me too. D:

But thankfully I don't think it will. I hope.
It might happen.
With that fouth movie and all =[
Very sad, but perfect nontheless.
NANA~

May 2010

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