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Remembrance by DancerOfShadows

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Chapter notes: Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto

Yes, I know you all want me to update my actual fics, but I have writer's block. So, sorry. ^^; Hopefully this will help.

R&R, please!
Hinata sighed, stretching her sore arms. She’d been moving boxes around all day, reorganizing her room and much of the rest of the Hyuuga compound. All that was left of her room was the closet. She dreaded moving onto that, as she knew it was unhealthily cluttered, but she also knew that she would have to get to it eventually, since Naruto was busy on another ANBU mission.

After the short break, she moved over to the closet and pushed it open, sighing as her soft eyes fell on the chaotic mess. She sat down and pulled a half-open box to her in order to sort through it. On the top of the dusty pile was a thick leather-bound journal with crumpled yellowed paper. Interested, she undid the string keeping the journal together and opened it gently, not wanting any of the many loose sheets to fall out. She scanned the pages quickly, intrigued at the story.

Day one
“He’s nowhere to be found. We had to stop for the night, despite my urges to keep going. Every moment we spend here I think of that snake bastard controlling Sasuke’s movements. Controlling his thoughts, and making him go. At least, I wish it were that. I think I know that Sasuke chose this path. For whatever reason, he chose it himself. I just want to know why. Why would he choose to leave? Why would he want to go? I may be stupid, but I can realize that, since he’s doing this, he’s following the same path as the brother he hates so much. If he really wants to be different from Itachi, if he really wants to renew the Uchiha, if he really wants to avenge the clan, he should stay in Konoha, and forge a new path. That way, he would be doing the opposite of what his brother wanted, instead of going into his forged path.”

Hinata’s eyes widened as she realized what she was reading. Naruto must have misplaced his journals in her closet when he moved in, instead of the closet in his own room, across the hall from hers. If she weren’t able to tell from the topic who the author was, she would have definitely been able to tell from the bad handwriting. She frowned slightly, but continued reading.

Day two
“We think we’ve found his path. Sure, we know where he’s going. But we don’t know the real reason why, and it’s also hard to follow the tracks of those who don’t want to be found. I can only hope that we find him in time, before Orochimaru gets his fangs into him. The nights are horrible. We have a small fire going- that I’m using as light to write by- but we can’t really cook anything, since there’s nothing to cook. Choji seems to be the only one who can sleep. Kiba stays off to the side, mumbling to Akamaru. Neji sits in a tree and keeps guard so much that it’s bordering on paranoia. Shikamaru sits by the fire and stares into it, hardly blinking, if ever. And I sit by the fire, writing and hoping.”

Now Hinata frowned deeper. She knew that Naruto had been affected by Sasuke’s leaving, but…she didn’t know it was this much. Shaking her head slightly, she carefully flipped through the pages as not to damage them, and stopped at a page with a drawing.

The full-page picture depicted…something that looked somewhat like the 13-year-old Sasuke. A terrified shiver rippled through her as she stared at the picture, eyes wide with shock and stomach tight with revulsion. It was Sasuke- that fact was certain. But it was a different Sasuke, not the one she had ever known. His hair was long and silvery-grey. The sclera of his eyes was black, and his iris showed the Sharingan. Across his face was what appeared to be a four-pointed black star. His skin had deepened to a reddish hue, and his fingers had become claws. Worst of all were the two massive hand-like wings sprouting from his shoulderblades and the power-crazed grin that distorted his face further.

Aftermath
“I lost. I failed. I broke my promise. Part of me died. I’m pathetic. I couldn’t even stop him. I couldn’t even get him close to thinking about stopping. He almost killed me. He called me his best friend, but he wanted to kill me.

Why?

Why did it end like this? Why did it have to be like this? Why did this have to happen? Why did Orochimaru have to take Sasuke? Why did Sasuke even want to go? Why? Why? Why, dammit, why?!

Everyone nearly died. Everyone nearly died, but he didn’t care. He didn’t even want to hear it. He only wanted power. He only wanted to kill me and move on. He only wanted to shred his bonds and go to Orochimaru. He only wanted to be left alone. He didn’t care what happened to the others. He didn’t care what happened to me. He didn’t care what happened to himself, apart from gaining power. When did he become like this? He was always introverted and downright anti-social, but when did he pass the line? When did he not care at all who died? I remember him telling me that he never wanted to see those precious to him die in front of his eyes ever again. Did that mean we weren’t precious to him? Or did it mean that he was simply lying?

He did all this just to get the power to kill his brother. I know why, now. I understand his reasoning. It’s terrible. As the only Uchiha, he was weighted with the burdens of the village praising his greatness, and his duty, and his honour, and his power, and his asset to the village. But he was also weighed down with the torments of his brother, and the sight of his clan’s blood, and the sight of his respected brother emotionlessly massacring his family. I understand him better than anyone. So why wasn’t I able to talk him out of his power obsession? Why wasn’t I able to stop him? Why wasn’t I able to keep him from dying?

I know more than I did before now. And one of the things I know is that I never want to see Sasuke with the expression he had when he wore those wings and said he was going to kill me. I never want to see that pain in his eyes again, as it was directed at me, as if I was to blame for his hatred. As if I were to blame for the suffering, for the anger. I also know that I will bring him back someday. I won’t let him die with a broken soul.”

Tears that had sprung up in Hinata’s eyes now trickled down her cheeks. She never knew that Naruto had gone through this. He had never told her anything this deep about Sasuke’s leaving. She realized that, if it meant that much to him then, that it still meant much to him now. She realized that the past wasn’t near forgotten, and that Naruto would never stop trying to get Sasuke back. She realized that Naruto, beneath his mask of happiness, was still trying to find himself, even though it was a different reason than years ago, when people had begun to accept him for who he was.

“H-Hinata-chan? What’s wrong?” a familiar voice stammered.

Hinata looked up, closing the journal as she did so. Naruto stood in the doorway, still wearing his ANBU garb. He was looking at her intently, worry blatant on his expression. Hinata dropped the journal on the top of the boxes and pushed it back in the closet with a foot as she stood, rubbing her tears. “Nothing, Naruto-kun,” she said quietly. “I just got some dust in my eyes.”

Naruto smiled, relieved. “Alright then,” he replied softly. “As long as you’re okay…”

Hinata hugged him tightly. “It’s you who I’m worried about, silly,” she whispered into his chest.

Naruto returned the embrace. “I missed you too,” he said, unaware of what Hinata had said.

Hinata smiled, the horrifying drawing of Sasuke fading by Naruto’s reassuring strength. “You’re sure you’re fine?” she asked, looking up at his face.

He blinked. “Of course! Well, I’m a little tired…kinda hungry, too…”

“That’s fine, then,” Hinata murmured. “Let’s go get something to eat at Ichiraku’s.”

Naruto grinned in agreement. As the two headed out, Hinata let herself relax. Naruto had healed.
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