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Monday, May 26, 2008

Learning To Swing Again

Warning: Only a few swears, I swear!
Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto, I wouldn't be starving for the next Shonen Jump issue right now! The withdrawal!!

Well, you guys asked for it, so here it is! The sequel to Of Swings and Headbands. It's funny, I actually stopped on the way home from summer school at a park and sat down on one of the swings. The first line of the story is exactly what I thought at the time. ;

You'll notice the style is different and a little more...dark. That's because Naruto's older, and thus, victim to...:dundundun:...teen angst! Bwa..ha..ha..ha..:choke:

Elf #1: Give up. You'll never get the evil laugh right.

Quiet you.

Learning To Swing Again

Author: Inaho

I had forgotten what it was like to swing.

Granted, it isn’t like I have much time anymore for such a thing. It isn’t like there are no missions (more like errands) to complete. It isn’t like Kakashi-sensei doesn’t drill us every chance there is until we’re ready to drop. It isn’t like I don’t train myself day in and day out in order to become better, because who needs to train when you’re already so great, ne?

And it definitely –isn’t- like I actually want to swing anyway.

I lied. I –do- want to swing. Perhaps that’s why I’m standing here at my old hiding place (even though it was right out in front of the Ninja Academy), gazing at this worn piece of wood on two ropes. It looks as if no one’s touched it since I graduated, probably because they know it’s mine.

A smirk made its way across my face, and I know it’s out of bitterness. Here, alone, I did not have to hide myself. I did not have to act the clown.

Nothing has changed over the years, despite my hopes. The same looks are there, everyday and everywhere. It has even infected the children, my classmates, who understand nothing and yet, do not hesitate to cast their contempt upon me. I just said ‘children’ didn’t I? Kami, I must be losing it. It’s not as if I’m any older than they are…

…but I feel old…no, tired.

It barely registers in my mind that I’m sitting, the bright spring grass contrasting against the orange of my pants. I notice a hole starting to form at the left knee, and I realize just how long these clothes have been with me.

There I go, reminiscing again. You would think I were some old geezer like Hokage-sama, thinking back on better days. Only there aren’t many of those for me. Kami, when did I get so depressing? Uzumaki Naruto does -not – get depressed.

Okay, maybe another lie. This is why I hate silence; it allows me to start thinking. You would think that would be a good thing, but no, my mind’s traitorous; it only brings up the bad things, which mind you, I have plenty of. I think it’s a teenager thing. Damn hormones.

I hate thinking dark things; if you keep thinking of them, they’ll start running your life. Kami knows we don’t need another Sasuke around. Really, that jerk is so moody! With his I’m-better-than-you attitude and I-don’t-need-you-stay-away-from-me eyes. And the way he calls me dobe, it’s so frustrating!! I hate him.

I was wrong. Things have changed. Things have changed a lot, and I can’t explain it. You would think he had never smiled before, the way he acts, nor that he was capable of smiling. But I know better, because I had seen it for myself. That one day, the first day someone talked to me, touched me, -smiled- at me…

…and imagine my surprise when I saw him again, years later in my class. Imagine my surprise when I discovered what a cold bastard he had become, the fierceness of his glare striking my heart like ice shards as his low, monotonous voice slowly, calmly, told me to never touch him again.

I stopped swinging that day.

A breeze passed by, gently pushing the empty seat, swaying back and forth slowly, teasing me with its easy movement. The wind seemed to laugh gaily, like children, as it rode carelessly upon the wooden plank, before carrying on in its freedom.

Yes, I hate Uchiha Sasuke. I hate him for being better than me. I hate him for having everyone’s attention and praise. I hate him for not caring. But most of all, I hate him for giving me hope, for coming to me that one day when no one else would, for killing something in me that day with only his eyes and his words.

I hate him for smiling at me.

And I hate him for calling me dobe, just like how that little boy did so many years ago. How dare he call me dobe like that, when that little boy, who gave me that name first, is dead and gone, killed by a bastard with his eyes and his face but will never be the same?

“Hey, dobe."

I don’t tear my eyes away from the old swing; I don’t need to.

“I am not a dobe.”

“Of course you are.”

My breath stopped.

“Otherwise…” A pair of beige shorts walked into my view before settling themselves upon the wooden swing. Dark eyes looked into mine, and Time seemed to halt.

“…you’d be swinging.”

It couldn’t have been more than a moment, but something flickered behind those eyes, something warm, and then it was gone. As soon as he has sat down, he stood up again, walking back the way him came. I remembered to breath again.

“C’mon, dobe. Kakashi’s called a team meeting.”

It took a few seconds before my mind processed the words, and I scrambled to my feet, ready to race after my teammate and rival, but a small movement at the corner of my eye stopped me. The swing.


He stopped, already some yards ahead of me, and turned around. A sense of déjà vu struck me, but I ignored it. This, the present, was more important.

“…you never had a chance to swing.”

The silence stretched, and I thought he would turn away and say nothing. I felt myself deflating. It had been stupid, to think that—

“Maybe next time.”

And then, he smiled.

It had been small, but a smile nonetheless. Something grew in the depths of my heart, something light and threatening to burst, and it spread into a wide grin on my face, remaining even as I chased after Sasuke’s retreating back.

Yes, perhaps next time, he’ll swing.

Hell, maybe even tomorrow.

My smile grew.

— Owari —

Author's Note: Heh...somehow, dobe turned into a term of affection for me...don't ask why. ; Oi, I have a feeling I made them a little OOC...if you can't tell, I'm not as happy with this one as the other one. Sequels tend to...not be as good the original. I'm sorry if it's not up to par. I hadn't planned to make a sequel, but your wonderful people kept asking for one, and this plot kept biting me in the butt...

Elf #4: :patpat: It's okay...Inaho-chan has low self-confidence, so please send reviews.

Elf #2: Yes, or she'll subject us to her continuous whining.

Elf #4: She does not whine, she...obsesses...

Elf #2: ¬¬ And the difference is? And what are you doing out of your closet?

Elf #4: Eep.

— Inaho and Co. (the Elves)

To The Reviewers of Of Swings And Headbands: Wooow...I didn't think I'd get so many reviews...Arigato! You people are what make the writing world go 'round!

Elf #1: That is so corny...

Shut up...or you'd be out of work as a muse and making shoes secretly at night or slaving for a fat man on holiday.

Elf #1: Meep.

IceTiger3 (firedraygon97): Heh. Thank you. I guess this answers your sequel question. I hope you liked. Sorry that it's not shounen-ai...maybe sometime in the future.

Sadistic Demon: Hai, it is sad. But we know they love each other deep deep deep down. Thank you for the support.

chibizaza: Heh, smiling Sasuke is quite rare, eh? I hope it worked as well in this one... Oh, and thank you for the comments!

Yume: Wow...fav list? Thank you so much! You made me so happy!

Kawaii: Hee. I hope you liked the sequel. I realize it was a little...angsty at the beginning, but hopefully the end made up for that?

bunny: Thank you! I'm glad I didn't screw up the whole Itachi thing.

firefly: Heh, I didn't actually think that psychologically into it, but oh well! It was kinda the feeling I was aiming for anyway, and I thank you for your input. And I've been meaning to read your latest chapter, but was screwed up. Grr. Well, I'll read it eventually!

Silver: Here's your sequel! I hope you like as well...even if it was less...innocent? Well, anyway, thank you!

MoonFairy: Heh. Thank you and hope you enjoyed the sequel. And yes, we need the graphic novel SOON!

moi: Heh, yeah. I tried to base most of the feeling on what I thought as a kid too. I'm glad I wasn't too far off, 'cause I hadn't been on a swing for years, well, except for recently to write the sequel, but that's wasn't really swinging. More like...sitting there and having people stare at me as they drove by. ;

Bishiehuggler: Ooo, can I see the drawing if/when you're done? I can't believe I inspired a drawing... So happy. :is an artist as well:

JadeTiger: Thank you! Hope you enjoyed!

The Forbidden Child: Oh, I really hope the sequel was many people wanted one! >izzy-chan: Heh, I haven't actually seen Itachi yet, so I can't say anything. But I'll take your word for it, and looking at Sasuke...heh.

Shinigami: Yay, Death! Heh, sorry. Needed to say that after seeing your name. Thank you for the review and your enthusiasm.

MiakaKiller: Yay Miaka killing! Diediedie! Anyway, I think you might have misread something. I had meant it as -Itachi- who was the one who had just graduated. Naruto and Sasuke didn't have their headbands. Naruto was just watching the new graduated class, and Sasuke was there for Itachi's graduation. Does that clear it up? And yes, we do need more innocent fluffy Naruto fics. Sadly, my angst elf wouldn't let me go with that on this one. :glare:

Elf #2: :rasberry:

Anyway, hopefully the end made up for the angst, and thank you for the review!

dragon: Well, I guess this tells you if I continued or not. Thank you, though I'm wondering if you mean "Kawaii"...'cause "kowaii" means "scary" I believe. ;

Dragoness: Thank you! Cute is good occasionally from the angsty love triangles...pentagons...whatevers out there in Naruto fic-dom, eh? Thanks again.

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