InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Midnight Meets Moonlight ❯ Of Dreams and Deceptions ( Chapter 19 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

They had just ended their training. He stood off to the side, and started walking away, going to train some more. Suddenly, his team mate called out his name. He turned around, “What do you want?”
“She wants to talk to you. Don't refuse this time, teme, or I'll kill you.” The voice was so hostile that even he was convinced something was up. To appease the anger caused by who knows what of his team mate, he trudged back up the hill and saw her sitting under a tree, leaning on its trunk…
She looked up, and smiled, as she always did for him, for his team mate, for their sensei. It was her habit, he thought. Maybe. She motioned for him to sit down, “Do you mind?”
He shook his head. Something in him told him that he was not to refuse any of her requests today. What was it called again? Oh yes, his conscience. She turned away, he followed the direction her eyes were straying to. The beach…
“I love the beach, you know, Sasuke-kun.” She whispered. He didn't get why she had to whisper. She gave a little cough. She looked at him, “The sun's almost setting. That's why I called you up here.”
“Hn.” It was the only response he knew how to give. She nodded, somewhat understanding. He didn't know what she understood. There was a strangeness in her smile today. He couldn't place it.
“You know, training today really wasn't training. I actually told Kaka-sensei that I'm a little worn out after training with the Godaime all week so I asked him to let us get together for a little fun.” She smiled. So that was why they were at the beach instead of the training grounds.
“Aa.” Another automated response. She smiled, no, grinned at him. “I'm sorry I made you guys waste your time. But, you see, I can't survive without seeing you guys often.”
She gave a little laugh. He was impressed by how she could carry a conversation by herself; he ignored the fact that she just said something strange. She shook her head, looking towards where Naruto and Kakashi-sensei were waiting for them. He felt the urge to ask, “Why are they waiting for you?”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, Sasuke-kun. I live with them now.” She grinned sheepishly. Suddenly, she gave a little gasp and pointed towards the beach. The sound of the waves made him sleepy. She spoke, “Look, Sasuke-kun! The sun's setting!”
They sat together, the very first sunset they were going to witness together. She gave a little nostalgic smile, “I've always loved sunsets. I don't know why. Watching the sunset with you has been one of my dreams, you know, Sasuke-kun. Now, I'm sure I can die happy.”
She stared up at him now. He stared incredulously at her, raising an eyebrow. “What do you mean by that? Your dreams are meaningless.”
She didn't retort but just smiled. She shook her head, “They may be meaningless to some people but mean the world to me. I'm just saying what I feel. I'm really glad that you watched this sunset with me, you know. It makes me really, really happy, Sasuke-kun.”
He sat silent now. He didn't want to talk anymore. He suddenly felt like he knew where this is going. She started coughing again. She gave a little smile, watching the last remnants of the sun fade under the horizon, “Have I ever told you I loved you, Sasuke-kun?”
He nodded. He went back to their genin days. He didn't want to recall. She recalled for him, “Oh yes, I have. Back when we were 12, right? That was a funny incident. Funny, but I really meant what I said. I do hope you know that my feelings have never changed. I think I'll love you until the day I die.”
She suddenly leaned her head on his shoulder, taking his hand in hers. He wanted to shake her off but something in his gut told him he shouldn't. She didn't mind that she caused him discomfort, she gave his hand a little squeeze, “I'm really glad I met you guys. Especially you, Sasuke-kun.”
She went into a fit of coughs again. Then, all was silent as she slowly leaned her head back into his shoulder. He felt something wet on his arm. He started, “Sakura, don't tell me your crying ag-”
His eyes caught red. Blood. He immediately caught her as she fell forward, blood dripping from her mouth, hand clutching her chest. Kakashi and Naruto ran towards them, calling her name…

She was in a coma. He stared at her still body, confused, angry. He turned to Naruto, “Why isn't she waking up? What the hell is wrong with her?”
The blonde just turned away. Sasuke turned to his gray-haired sensei who said nothing to him. He breathed heavily. He glared at them, “What are you guys not telling me!”
Memories of Sakura giving Naruto a little kiss on the nose just a few hours ago flashed into his mind. Naruto should've been jumping for joy but he just gave her a sad smile. She hugged that perverted sensei of theirs too. He hugged her back so tightly it was as if he never wanted to let go. He felt something was hidden from him.
“She's sick, teme.” Naruto began. Sasuke sharply turned to him, almost going into a duh pose. He glared at him, “I can see that, dobe. Now I want to know why! Why the hell she's not waking up and what you're keeping from me!”
“Let Naruto continue, Sasuke. Calm down.” Kakashi said, his lazy eye shut tiredly. Sasuke then, sat down on the chair beside Sakura's bed as Naruto began to explain, “It all started four years ago, Sasuke, when you left.”
Naruto looked outside the window as he sat opposite Sasuke, “She was in so much pain… She started having little fevers and stuff, only little things that nobody seemed to be worried about. But when her parents were murdered by sound nins, that's when she had her first major attack.”
“She had a minor attack when you left. She was still strong then. She was able to recuperate. It was as if nothing happened.” Kakashi continued, seeing the pained expression on Naruto's face. “But the death of her parents caused her so much pain her heart began failing her. She had a heart attack.”
Sasuke sat still, staring at this girl lying down in front of him, connected to many tubes. He sighed. Naruto continued again, “She fought so hard and so long. She was confined two months. I was away at the time, training with Ero-sennin. I didn't even know she was sick until I came back two years later.”
“By that time, I thought she was fine. She was still cheery and happy though she would go back to the hospital ever so often.” Naruto said. He looked at Sasuke square in the eyes, “Only then when we got you back did we think she'd recover almost fully. Her hospital trips lessened. We thought everything would be okay. But we were so wrong.”
Sasuke shook his head, feeling angry at all the people around him now, conscious and unconscious. He glared at Naruto and then at Kakashi, “Why didn't you tell me?”
“She didn't want us to tell you, Sasuke. She didn't want to be a cause of burden again.” Kakashi said. Naruto exploded, “I wanted so much to tell you how much you were killing her heart when you kept rejecting her these past two years! She promised me she would get better. She promised me that!”
Naruto shook his head, tears now in his eyes. He clutched the white blankets covering her still body, saying to her, “You promised me you would get better if I brought him back, Sakura-chan. I kept my promise, please please keep yours.”
Kakashi looked sadly at the weeping Naruto. Sasuke was emotionless. He recalled several nights ago when he found her between the pine trees in the hill near the village. He had just come from the training grounds when he saw a figure by the trees.
It was Sakura and she looked like she was supporting herself by leaning onto the trees. He remembered her coughing, her words, `Damn. Why do I have to be so weak?'
Those words rang in his ears. He remembered her shaking her head, forcing herself to stand up but only failed. He didn't know what was going on, so he just left her there, shaking his head. He suddenly felt so heartless.
He remembered when she would disappear for days and Naruto would be so sad those days, lacking his usual cheery behavior. Kakashi would be acting strange too, looking up towards the sky, never even opening his dirty orange book. He realized that those must be the days she went to the hospital.
He turned to them, eyes filled with emotions that none of the other members of Team 7 had seen. He shook his head, turning his gaze back to the seemingly sleeping girl, “How could you not tell me… Do you think I wouldn't care?”
Silence was his answer. All they could hear was the humming of machines keeping her alive. Suddenly, the door opened, revealing the Fifth Hokage of Konohagakure, Tsunade.
She confidently strode towards the body, taking in full sight of it. She put her hand on Sakura's pale face. She shook her head and turned to the men in the room, “I'm sorry. She won't last long.”
They stared at her in grief. She sighed, not wanting into the details, but knowing she had to explain what caused her last attack and why she's almost dying. She looked down, “Her heart is dying as we speak. As some of you know, this began four years ago, and all the emotional stress she must have kept to herself finally caught up with her.”
She looked back at the body again. She gave a little smile. She stroked the girl's pink hair, “You were so much like me. Do you know that, Sakura? I'm so sorry it had to be this way. I know you tried so hard and fought so long. I'm proud of you.”
She nodded to the males in the room and walked towards the door. She opened it, not turning back, “There's nothing more I could do. Please brace yourselves for what's to come.”
With that, she walked out the room, shutting the door quietly…

His eyebrows knotted as he tried to get to sleep. Sitting by the window, in a chair, he refused to leave the room. Naruto and Kakashi, in the other corners of the room as well, wanted to stay with her until her last moment. He didn't know she would leave them this soon…
He turned to her again, her breathing slow and labored. She seemed to be asleep but he knew otherwise. He stood up and walked towards Sakura. Stopping until he reached the side of her bed. He didn't know what to say, what to do…
“Sakura… Please wake up…” He didn't know where those words came from. He shook his head, knowing that in his heart, he felt the sadness of it all. His brain just couldn't register it yet. He hung his head, “Sakura… Please… Wake up and smile. Say that everything would be okay like you keep saying when something goes wrong… Sakura, please!”
He came almost pleading. He was not ready to lose another person in his life. No, he couldn't lose another person in his life. He fell to his knees, “Sakura… Please… Don't leave me, don't leave us, Sakura. What would happen to us if you left?”
She had been the gel that kept them together, the level of equilibrium between him and Naruto, the ladder for them to reach the level of thinking that they had a family again. If she died, everything, everything that she had worked for, would be gone.
He looked up at her, and saw green staring at him. He stood up quickly, calling out her name, waking up the other two in the process. She motioned them, to come closer, she whispered, voice hoarse, “Room… Closet… Scrolls…”
They stared at her, not comprehending what she said. She looked at each of them in the eyes. First Kakashi, giving him a soft smile, then Naruto, she held out her hand to tap his nose, finally, Sasuke, whom she reached out her hand to stroke his face. She let her hand drop, looking at them lovingly, whispering, “I… love… you.”
Then, she closed her eyes. She took a deep breath, and let it out. And never breathed again…

Days passed, the funeral was over and done with. The other three members of Team 7 understood what Sakura said and saw three scrolls in the closet in her room in the house they were staying in. Each scroll was a letter to them, in her handwriting…
Not one of them said anything about their scrolls. However, in the days to come, the people in Konoha saw a few changes in Team 7. They would always be together, training, going out on missions. Kakashi finally pulled off his mask, causing a great percent of the women of Konoha to fall into a dead faint.
I really do wonder what you look like under your mask.
Naruto was a cheery as ever, ever as sprightly eager to go forward with his goal to become well-known in Konoha and become the Hokage. However, they never knew the reason why he was that determined.
Promise me you'll reach for your dreams. I know you'll make it. I know it.
And lastly, Sasuke, who disappears every Friday afternoon, probably going to the beach, and comes home, smiling a little. He had the biggest changes. He finally killed his brother, his comrades right behind him.
It was, after all, his job as a hunter-nin, to kill that man. He was now a lot more sociable but still had that same stoic persona when things were uncomfortable for him. People see him smile a little sometimes, maybe once or twice a week.
To you, whom I've loved since forever, smile for me just as I used to smile for you.
All three of them, the last members of Team 7, always thought that sunsets weren't so bad after all…
What may be meaningless to one person may mean the world to another…