Advertising by :


Friday, January 9, 2009

Leave Your Ghosts Behind

Language: English
Author: Serendipity1

Title: Leave Your Ghosts Behind
Author: Ivy-chan
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 781
Characters: Sakura
Summary: Sakura has learned how to bury her friends and her past, but can't quite seem to let them go.

Sakura buries her dead like an expert, in the end. She lays them to rest with quiet prayers and carefully-chosen words in public, and with clenched fists and cold eyes and chakra unleashed like a tidal wave of earth, at the moment of their death. She can still see them bleeding at her feet and under her hands, their pulse fading to nothing, and their chakra bleeding out and dissipating into the air like fine mist.

She is the last of Team Seven.

Sakura has seen Kakashi crumble and fall to the ground, his neck broken, his smile leaking trails of crimson. She buries the body of Pain who killed her sensei- opens the very earth with her strength and crushes him in its chasm, breaks him to pieces.

It’s not enough to save Kakashi-sensei. It’s not enough to help her own sense of bloodlust, even with bruised fists and sorrow-bruised eyes and chakra draining from her like tears. Her former teacher’s last act is to try and offer her his eye: his sharingan, as if the Uchiha have benefited from it at all. She doesn’t want sharingan. The last living person in that bloodline had used it to sieze Naruto’s mind up and rip it to shreds from within.

She still sees Naruto in the hospital room he’s stayed in for what should be three years now, dull-eyed, unresponsive, slow-moving. Dead in every way that matters.

He smiles at her sometimes. Mostly he just sits, a living receptacle to the power that once laid waste to Konoha and once saved it. They daren’t kill him: not without another container, and Sakura is the only one who knows the seal. It’ll be her choice one day, ripping the last of his life from him along with the fox, damning another child to the altar for them.

(is it really worth it? is it really? )

But she remembers seeing it once, crouched in the prison of Naruto’s body, wide and terrible and dark. Power like vast oceans, crushing, relentless. Invincible. The babies in the nursery watch her with wide, trusting eyes, and she understands now, too late, the Yondaime’s choice. (understands but won’t follow in his footsteps, her child will carry no curse.) Naruto, unknowing, continues to watch the sky outside his window as if it presents an escape. Perhaps it does, for him. She envies him that.

Sasuke, she has killed with her own hands. She doesn’t remember much of it, to tell the truth. What she remembers is only pain, flashing images, a haze of anger, a scream of loss and outrage. Sai’s severed hands in her lap, cradled gently, (he’s an artist! how dare you ruin his hands! and it’s odd she screams this when she should worry more about his severed head,) ink running across stone, and her fingertips gently finding Sasuke’s heart and bursting the aorta. All her memories begin and end with blood now. Sakura wonders if this is how Tsunade felt.

The girl who once cried freely, loved openly, and bled so easily is folded away and placed in the cupboard with all childhood things. She takes her out for company sometimes, shakes her out and dusts her off and has nice conversation with Ino or her parents. Sakura never comments about Team Seven, not in polite company, not in friendly company, and not even in her own. Words can’t touch the memories, reminiscing can’t bring back the dead.

She has all their hitai-ate in a box lined with black silk in her room. Sakura takes them out sometimes, traces the scratches, wonders at the scars in the metal. And asks herself the questions she can’t bring herself to voice.

They bring her the robes of Hokage when Tsunade slips away quietly in her sleep. That was always Naruto’s dream, not hers. It’s the last irony. She accepts- it’s fitting. Konoha is a broken village now. Even the mountains have fallen.

Sakura wears them to visit Naruto in, the next time she visits. It’s a touch cruel, a touch desperate. He smiles at her without a trace of recognition.

“This should be yours,” she tells him, demanding him to understand, “It’s always been your dream.”

“Dream,” Naruto echoes. There’s the barest hint of a shudder in his voice, and he turns his head quickly away. Sakura gives up the ghost and leaves. She’d like to say she never looks back, but doesn’t fool herself for an instant. She is good at being capable, at being sensible, at knowing when what is through is through. Sakura is an expert at burying her dead- but she’s never learned the knack of letting go of the bodies.

No comments: