Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Colors of Life and Death ❯ Rain ( Chapter 29 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Colors of Life and Death- by Songbird21
Please read and review. I love reviews! Thanks!
SakuLee fans will be happy with this chapter. :) Tissue warning near the end.
If you don't want to wait for me to remember to update this fic here you can check out my fanfiction.net account. The fic is complete on there. The user name is also Songbird21.
Radioplay news: A friend of mine pointed out that some ppl might not know what a radioplay is, so I thought I'd explain. It's pretty much a T.V show without the picture. It has sound FX, BG music and voice actors. The finished chapter segments will be in MP3 format.
Gamabunta stared forlornly at the still form of the much smaller frog cradled in his enormous webbed hand. He squeezed his eyes shut and a single tear rolled down his face. "Gamakichi...." he said softly.
"I'm so sorry, Gamabunta....if I had gotten there in time...."
"It's...not your fault, Jiraiya," Gamabunta replied. He sighed heavily. "I just don't know how to tell my mate. I'm...going to take him home now."
Gamabunta sighed again and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. As Jiraiya was returning to the city, he saw Tsunade walking up the path. "Ohayo, Tsunade."
"Ohayo...Jiraiya." Silence. "How did he take it?" she asked with a wince.
"About as well as you would expect. I suspect I won't be able to summon him for quite some time." Jiraiya watched a bird as it flew over his head. "How did it go with Katsuyu (A/N-Tsunade's summon)?"
"Not as bad. It wasn't her child, but she was still upset," Tsunade replied.
"Nhm." Silence. "Well...I'll be seeing you," Jiraiya said as he turned around to go.
"Jiraiya, wait," Tsunade said as she placed a hand on his arm. Jiraiya turned back around to face her.
"Naruto should be awake soon. I want you to stay and talk to him," Tsunade said.
Jiraiya shook his head. "It won't do any good, Tsunade. He hates me," he said sadly.
"I don't think he does. He was taking the shock of the moment out on you. I think if you talk to him again you might find he's calmed down."
Jiraiya sighed. "Alright." Silence. "But before I do that, I need to tell you the whole truth...."
Naruto had spent the past few nights in the hospital. Monitors beeped in rhythm with his heart and circular pads on his forehead connected him by wires to a machine that watched the electrical activity in his brain. He was getting very tired of listening to the incessant beeping. "Beep beep...beep beep...beep beep," he repeated in a bored voice as he stretched out on the floor in front of Kyuubi's empty cage.
He made a long, irritated sigh as he rolled over and stared at the cage. "I wish he was here to teach me how to heal." Pause. "Wait a minute...maybe I can teach myself." He sat up and leaned against the wall. "Hmmm. Maybe if I just imagine myself getting better, then I will." He pictured his body in his mind. "Get better, get better, get better...."
After a minute he realized his plan wasn't working and stopped. "I guess I'll have to ask Baa-chan how to heal myself when I wake up." With that, he flopped back down to the floor and resumed echoing the heart monitors.
She watered the flowers on the nightstand next to Naruto's bed, put the watering can on the floor, and sat back down on the chair she'd occupied for the last few hours. She had wanted to stay by his side every second until he woke up, but of course, her father would have none of it, and restricted her to normal visiting hours. She became more alert when she suddenly heard her name called.
A wide, open-mouthed smile lit up her face. "Naruto-kun!" she cried happily. She hugged him and planted a kiss on his lips, then sat up quickly with a blush. "S...sorry, Naruto-kun."
Naruto smiled. "Don't worry about it. Definitely not the worst way to wake up."
Hinata's blush intensified at the comment. "I'll...be right back. I have to tell the nurse you're awake," she said before getting up and leaving the room.
Naruto smiled and sighed happily. "Not a bad way to wake up at all." he thought as he folded his arms under the back of his head.
Sweat beaded on Lee's forehead as he pounded away at the multi-armed practice poles in front of him. "One thousand four, one thousand five, one thousand six...."
Lee stopped his practicing and turned in the direction of the voice to see Sakura running toward him from the other side of the field.
"Sakura-san!" he said with a wave.
"Lee-kun, Naruto's awake!" Sakura said once she came to a stop.
Lee grinned. "Yosh! I knew he'd be fine," he said as he clenched a fist in front of him for emphasis.
Sakura smiled, but then became quiet. "Lee-kun?"
Lee saw the serious look on Sakura's face and became concerned. "Hai?"
"It's nothing bad. I just...need to talk to you for a minute," Sakura said as she fidgeted with her hands.
"Oh. Okay...Do you want to sit down?"
Sakura shook her head. "No, standing's...fine." Silence. "Lee-kun...While Sasuke and I were out on the terrace at the hotel...." she began.
Lee forced a smile. "I'm happy for you. I didn't think he'd ever change his mind," he said, trying to keep his shattered heart from showing.
Sakura immediately understood what Lee was thinking. "We didn't kiss, Lee-kun."
Lee looked confused. "Then what....?"
Sakura put her fingers over his mouth in order to silence him. "I told Sasuke-kun...that I don't love him anymore...."
A flutter of hope entered Lee's chest. "Y...you don't?" He swallowed down his nerves.
Sakura shook her head once again. "No...I like...someone else...." she said as she looked at him.
"S-s-s someone else?" Lee asked, trying desperately to remain calm.
Sakura, having suddenly lost her ability to speak, looked down at her feet. "Should I just come out and say it? How should I say it? Aaaaaaugh! Oh the hell with it!" With that thought she jumped up, wrapped her arms around Lee's neck, and kissed him.
Rock Lee could not move a single muscle; hell, he could barely breathe. And he felt stupid too. The girl he loved more than anything was kissing him and all he could do was stand there like a statue.
After a moment, Sakura realized Lee was not kissing her back and stopped. As she backed down off of her tip toes she looked at Lee in confusion. "Lee-kun?" No answer. "Lee-kun...say something," she said with a worried frown.
Suddenly, Lee blinked rapidly, as though coming out of a trance. It took him less than two seconds to quickly take Sakura's face in his hands and covered her lips with his own.
Sakura's eyes widened in surprise, but it didn't take her long to settle into the kiss. Just a few months ago she would never have thought of kissing Lee, but now it seemed like the most natural thing in the world.
After a few moments they parted. Sakura looked at Lee's eyes. Somehow, they didn't seem as strange as they used to. Where once there were these odd, round portals, there was now warmth...and love. Was this really the same boy who's manner and eyes made her very skin crawl when they first met? It seemed so very long ago. She noticed he had tears slowly finding their way down his face. "Lee-kun?"
Lee made no move to wipe away his tears. He put his hands to her face again, rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. "I'm scared."
Sakura's face crinkled in concern. "Scared?"
"I'm scared to move, or breathe. I'm afraid all of this will vanish and I'll wake up," Lee answered in a choked voice.
Sakura smiled. "Lee-kun...." She pulled him into a warm embrace. "I'm not going anywhere."
Naruto sighed for the millionth time as Tsunade checked him over. "I'm fine, Baa-chan."
Tsunade sighed and stood straight. "I suppose so. Just take it easy for the next few days."
Naruto rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah."
"Naruto?" Tsunade said with unease in her voice.
Naruto looked up. "Hm?"
"Someone would like to visit you."
Tsunade's tone sounded odd to Naruto. "So? Send them in."
"Alright, but please do me a favor and don't make a scene." She turned and went to the door. Opening it a crack, she spoke, "You can come in now."
"A scene? Why would I....?" Naruto began before he saw Jiraiya step through the door. His eyes narrowed into angry slits. He jumped up and was caught by Tsunade just before he managed to escape through the window. "LET ME GO!" he roared.
Tsunade put Naruto back on his bed and held him down. "You will at least listen to what he has to say. If, after he's finished, you still want nothing to do with him, that's your business." She leaned closer to him and lowered her voice. "But you would really be the idiot so many people think you are, if you let the friendship between you two go without a chance," she said sternly.
Naruto stopped struggling. "Fine," he snapped, before folding his arms.
Tsunade let Naruto go and turned to face Jiraiya. "Good luck." She placed a hand on his shoulder. "If you need me, I'll be in the hall," she said with a comforting smile.
Jiraiya nodded in thanks and sighed as Tsunade closed the door behind her.
"Spit it out, would you? I don't have all day!" Naruto said irritably.
"I need you to know the whole truth." Jiraiya sat in a nearby chair. "If you still hate me after I'm done talking, then I won't bother you anymore."
Naruto's expression softened a bit. "Fine."
"I was on your mother's squad for only a few months, when she told me that she was pregnant with you." Jiraiya allowed himself a small smile. "I was very happy. Arashi was like a son to me, so I felt like I would soon have a grandson." His smile faded. "When she was about five months along I learned, through my network, that someone was planning to release the Kyuubi in order to harness his chakra. That person...was Orochimaru."
Naruto, now interested in the story, sat up straighter.
"I knew he had gone insane, but I had no idea he would try something so stupid." Jiraiya sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. "I told Arashi, and he immediately began working on a new sealing jutsu. A few months later Orochimaru attempted his plan, but something went wrong, and Kyuubi was released from the youkai realm into our own. After the attack, Sandaime-sama asked me if I wanted to take you in. I wanted to...I really did...but I felt I needed to avenge Arashi. I didn't think it would take so long...."
"But the weeks turned into months and the months turned into years. By the time I realized that taking care of you was more important, you were four years old. I knew you had grown up with Sandaime, and I thought you were happy. I felt like I had no place in your life anymore, so I stayed away. If...if I had known about the way everyone treated you...I...I never would've...." Jiraiya finished as he wiped away the tears that were rolling down his face. "I know I don't have the right to ask...but is it possible for you to forgive me?"
Naruto simply stared at the man in front of him. This man was not the normally proud Jiraiya. This was a man who cared about him and was begging for forgiveness. He couldn't just leave it at that. "Yeah...."
Jiraiya looked up in surprise.
"I can forgive you. It'll just...take a little while," Naruto said with a somber expression.
Jiraiya closed his eyes for a moment. "That's a lot more than I expected...Thank you." He stood to leave. As his hand touched the door handle, he spoke again, "I'm glad you're alright."
Naruto sighed. "Thanks."
Jiraiya nodded and left the room. He saw Tsunade standing there with a satisfied smile. "Thank you, Tsunade. You stopped me from making another mistake."
"Don't worry about it. Come on. Let's go get something to eat," Tsunade answered with a grin.
Jiraiya smiled, and the two sannin left the hospital.
Tsunade's face began to slip down the hand it was resting on. She suddenly blinked and shook away her exhaustion. She was surrounded by the stacks of books on her bed. She'd spent the last six hours searching for anything she could find on niji chakra. What she had found were merely passing references shrugging it off as an impossible legend.
She noticed the room around her getting brighter; day was coming. She frowned at her rather skimpy list of notes and sighed. "I guess I'll have to finish this later." She yawned, moved the books to the floor, turned out the light, and laid down in an attempt to get the little sleep she could before work.
Hinata walked along the road to the hospital with a small bouquet of daffodils in her hands. She spotted Lee and Sakura and walked over to greet them.
Sakura saw Hinata approaching and smiled. "Hey, Hinata."
"Hello, Sakura-chan," Hinata replied.
Sakura noticed the flowers Hinata was carrying. "Are you going to see Naruto?"
Hinata smiled, looked at the ground and blushed a bit. "H...hai."
Sakura giggled softly. "You're his girlfriend now. You don't have to get embarrassed anymore."
Hinata looked up. "You're right," she said with a smile. "Would you like to come with me?"
"That sounds great. How bout you, Lee-kun?" Sakura asked.
"You bet!" Lee answered. He took Sakura's hand. "Let's go."
Hinata looked at Lee and Sakura's intertwined fingers and her eyes widened a bit. "A..ano? I hope you don't mind me saying this...but I'm glad you've finally accepted Lee-kun," she said with an approving smile.
Sakura grinned from ear to ear. "Me too," she said as she looked up at Lee and gave his hand a short squeeze.
Naruto looked up as Sakura, Lee and Hinata entered his room. "Hey, guys!"
"Hi, Naruto," Sakura replied. "You're looking a lot better," she said with a smile.
"I feel a lot better," Naruto said.
"Ohayo, Naruto-kun," Hinata said.
Naruto flashed her a foxy grin. "Hey Hinata-chan." His gaze drifted to the flowers. "Are those for me?"
"Hai," Hinata replied with a blush. She walked over to the bed and handed Naruto her gift. "I picked them out because the tops are yellow like...your hair."
Naruto's grin widened and he blushed. "Thanks."
Sakura leaned up to whisper in Lee's ear. "Aren't they just adorable?"
Lee grinned. "Yeah," he whispered back then, using the opportunity their close proximity afforded him, gave her a quick kiss.
"Neh, Naruto?" Sakura said.
"Hai?" Naruto replied as he put his flowers in the vase on the nightstand.
"With everything that's happened since your party I, never got around to having mine." Sakura pulled a small, pink envelope from her equipment pouch. "It's on the fifteenth." She walked over and held out the invitation to Naruto. "You're invited," she said with a smile.
The instant Naruto's fingers touched the invitation, a memory awakened that made him freeze in place. The stunned look on his face must have been quite severe, because Sakura frowned in concern. "Naruto?" she asked as she placed the envelope on his bed.
"Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked.
Naruto blinked rapidly and shook his head. "Eh...um...nothing." He said softly. "Just a...a headache," he said rather unconvincingly. "Could...could you guys leave me alone for a bit? I'm...kinda tired."
"Okay," Lee said, earning an unhappy look from Sakura.
"Lee...." she began.
"Get some rest," Lee interrupted, silencing Sakura with a look.
Once Lee and Sakura were in the hallway, Sakura turned to him. "Why did you do that? Something obviously upset him!"
"Which is why we needed to go. I don't know what it was, but something about his expression told me that we would only make him uncomfortable. Hinata is probably the only one who could get through to him right now."
Sakura sighed and dropped her arms to her sides in defeat. "Alright," she said. "Let's go then." and the two walked off down the hallway.
Back in the room Hinata was at a loss as to what she should say, but Naruto broke the silence for her.
"Hinata-chan, I know you want to help, but I'd really like to be alone right now," Naruto said gently. Hinata's expression became sad and she looked down. "I'll tell you later...I promise. I just want some time to myself," he added with a comforting smile.
Hinata sighed. "Alright." She gave him a kiss. "I'll see you after I get my mission assignment." With that, she turned around and left the room.
As soon as the door clicked shut, Naruto gingerly picked up the invitation off the bed. He stared at it with a tightness in his stomach. "I completely forgot about that."
Sakura had left Lee at his place and started walking home. On her way, she went past the academy and suddenly had an idea. "I wonder," she thought and jogged toward the building.
Iruka was correcting some tests when he heard someone knocking.
"Iruka-sensei?" Sakura said as she opened the door and walked in.
Iruka smiled. "Sakura, What's up?"
"I wanted to ask you a question...about Naruto," Sakura answered carefully.
Iruka raised his eyebrows. "Sounds serious."
"It's not...well...actually I'm not sure what it is."
"Hmm. Let's sit outside," Iruka said as he stood up.
Sakura nodded and they left the room.
"So what is it?" Iruka asked as Sakura seated herself on Naruto's swing.
"Well, a little while ago, I was visiting Naruto with Lee-kun and Hinata. I wanted to invite him to my birthday party."
"Wasn't your birthday in March?"
"Hai...but I never had time to get around to a party."
"So anyway...I handed him his invitation and...he got this strange look on his face. He asked us to leave...He wouldn't say what was wrong," Sakura finished with a frown.
Iruka's face wore an expression of understanding. "I think I know what it was, but you may not want to hear it."
Sakura was confused. "Why?"
"It has to do with you," Iruka replied gently.
Sakura was a bit startled. "Me?"
Iruka sighed. "It happened when Naruto was nine years old. He came to me and said he had some great news. I was glad to see him so happy. He wore a fake smile so often back then," Iruka's eyes clouded over with sadness at the memory. "I asked him what happened and he told me that he'd just been invited to a birthday party."
"A birthday party?"
"Mine? But, I never...." Sakura's eyes became wide as a long forgotten memory seeped its way into her mind.
Sakura looked at Uzumaki Naruto, and then at her last invitation. She'd never seen him hanging around with anyone, so she wondered if she should invite him. Finally, she decided it was okay and walked over. "Naruto?"
Naruto, who was sitting on his swing, looked up, surprised that someone was talking to him. "Hai?" he replied with suspicion.
"Do you wanna come to my birthday party?"
Naruto's face lit up. "That'd be great!"
Sakura smiled and handed him the invitation. "Okay. It's Saturday at five o' clock."
"Thanks!" Naruto said as he stuffed the invitation in his pants pocket.
"Do you know the way to my house?"
"No," Naruto replied, nervously scratching the back of his neck.
"You live with Sandaime-sama, right?"
"Sort of. I have an apartment right next to the Hokage tower."
"He's lives by himself?" Sakura thought in shock. "Okay, I'll come get you then. Wait for me outside your apartment at four thirty."
"Okay," Naruto replied.
"See you later," Sakura said as she ran off. "Don't forget!" She called back over her shoulder.
"Hai!" Naruto called back.
"Kaasan?" Sakura said.
"Yes, sweetheart?" Mrs. Haruno answered.
"I invited one more person to my party. Is that okay?" Sakura asked hopefully.
Mrs. Haruno smiled. "Sure. Who is it?"
"Uzumaki Naruto," Sakura replied.
Mrs. Haruno stopped moving. "I'm sorry, Sakura. He can't come," she said in a low voice.
"But why?" Sakura asked with a sad frown.
"He's..." She paused. "What should I tell her? He's dangerous? He could kill her? No—better go with something else," she thought. "He's under the care of Sandaime-sama, and you didn't ask his permission."
"Oh. Well, we can just call him then," Sakura said.
"I...don't know his number," Mrs. Haruno replied, praying her daughter would drop it. No such luck.
"We can look it up," Sakura said as she walked over to the phonebook and began to turn the pages. Suddenly, the book was shut and her mother's hand firmly held the cover in place.
"Sakura, drop it!" Mrs. Haruno said crossly.
"Why?" Sakura asked, frustration building up inside of her.
"Do as I say."
Sakura bowed her head. "Hai...Kaasan."
"Poor Naruto. I completely forgot about it." Sakura began to stand up. "Well, at least now I can apologize to him."
"Wait...you don't know everything," Iruka informed her. Sakura sat back down. "On the day of the party, Naruto took all of the savings from the allowance Sandaime-sama gave him and asked me to take him shopping. He wanted to buy you a present. I told him he didn't have to spend so much, but he wouldn't hear of it."
"Once we had the gift I took him home. He told me he didn't need me to stay with him, so I left. He stood in front of his building and waited for you."
"He waited...." Sakura exclaimed with a heavy heart.
"Around six o' clock it began raining. At nine o' clock I figured the party was over and went to ask him if he'd had fun. I got to the front of his building...and that's where I found him."
Sakura let out a gasp and her hand flew to her mouth.
Naruto was sitting on the ground, holding Sakura's present. He was soaked to the bone and shivering with cold. Iruka could hardly believe his eyes. "He...He's been waiting out here all this time?" He bent down and held his umbrella over the small child in front of him. "Naruto?" No answer. "Naruto, we have to go inside."
"Sh-sh-sh-she s-s-s-aid sh-sh-sh-she's c-c-c-c-coming," Naruto's small voice shivered in determination.
Pain entered Iruka's heart. "Naruto...." he said before pulling him into a hug.
Naruto's resolve melted away and he began to cry.
Sakura's eyes overflowed with tears.
"I brought him inside and had him change his clothes. Then I sent him to bed and kept him company till he fell asleep." Iruka wiped his eyes as he finished speaking.
Sakura felt as though her heart would break. That she had caused Naruto that much pain was too much for her to bear. She put her face in her hands and sobbed loudly.
Iruka felt a stab of pity as he watched her. "Sakura...."
"Please....just go...." Sakura managed to choke out.
Iruka sighed. "Alright." He stood up. "But, if it means anything to you, I know your parents probably stopped you from going to him. It wasn't your fault." When he didn't receive an answer, Iruka walked away.
Sakura continued to cry. After a while she stood up and just stared at the swing. "Someday, I'll make up for this, Naruto." She turned away from the swing, left the schoolyard and walked home. "I promise."
.........TO BE CONTINUED
I pulled that plot idea right out of my childhood. Well, minus the rain. I figured I might as well get some use out of my less pleasant memories. Lol.
Later all, Song