A Song for Them @nihilistic_bunny
Breaking Waves Arc, Precious Things

Naruto Fan Fiction!

Adventure! SI-OC!

(Title)

"A Song for Them"

A/N: Ah, so much drama the last time! A thingie that was brought up that I need to make clear!

Sora will never become a medic. Ever.

That's not to say she'll never be capable of healing. She'll just never be a medic or work at the hospital or train for becoming a medic, none of it. Not gonna happen. As last chapter should've pointed out, she does not have a good experience with medics and would not have a inclination to be anywhere near them.

Sora is not Sakura. Sakura is Sakura, and our pink-haired girl will be back... eventually.

That is all, loves. Enjoy this nice, long chapter~

DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the cannon characters! I do have wuv though...

WARNING! RATED M! Fluff. Tears. Love. You have been warned... Oh and there's... lemons! Pfft!

Breaking Waves Arc,

Chapter Fourteen: "Precious Things"

"To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world." -Dr. Seuss

Today is starting out to be a wonderful day.

The dawn was a lovely one today, bright and warm on my skin. The birds of Wave country were singing tunes I hadn't heard before and I had gotten almost a full nights sleep last night! I figured it must've been from all the chakra usage yesterday. I was still sore and a little drained but...

I was the first up the tree!

I wasn't a natural at chakra control like Sakura is, so it took me a while before I got the hang of it. After taking off my boots it became ridiculously easy to sense the natural chakra in the tree and apply my own chakra to meld against it accordingly. Of course after getting it down without my boots, I practiced the rest of the day with footwear on.

I made sure both the boys had a full view of me running up and down and jumping around to each tree. Tree walking is so much fun! I never wanted to come down from up there.

The Hero had been very annoyed with me, I'm pretty sure Duckie had wanted to punch my face and... I think I'm Scarecrow's new favorite student. He had particularly liked when I went along with his provoking of the boys. The looks on their faces...

I sighed contently.

I was busy tying up my hair and sorting through what I was going to bring to the bridge with Tazuna today, when my vision was obscured by fluffy blonde hair. My Hero was crouching in front of me, looking very serious. He raised his hand to cover his mouth.

"Hey, hey, Sora-chan..." The Hero whispered, "What's the secret to tree climbing?"

I smiled wryly at my best friend, 'Good morning to you too, Hero.'

He blinked before smiling sheepishly, "Ehehe... yeah, morning Sora-chan." he mumbled, a slight flush on his whiskered cheeks.

I rolled my eyes at him playfully and thought about what to say. He doesn't have the same sensory ability as me so... yeah. That'll have to work for him instead.

'Okay, the trick is-' Naruto grabbed my hands, stopping me from speaking. I frowned and raised a questioning brow.

"Ahh..." His blue eyes glanced at Duckie, who I'm pretty sure can hear everything he says. "Can you write it down for me so I can read it again later?"

I gave my blonde friend a very unimpressed look.

He was trying to get an advantage over Sasuke, that much was obvious. And, well... that wasn't such a bad idea, I suppose. Maybe it'll light a fire under Duckie if the Hero suddenly started gaining ground.

I resisted the smile tugging on my lips and unsealed a stack of extra paper I stored back at home and wrote, Naruto standing over my shoulder.

"It's really easy, actually. You're supposed to be using BOTH Physical and Spiritual energy so the trick is to not get worked-up, you have to relax. So you can't get over excited and lose focus." I tapped his nose to make a point, because he has a bad habit of getting overly excited in... pretty much everything he does. He scrunched up his nose in response. "This is the important part. Concentrate and focus only on the tree and MAKE SURE to relax. It's supposed to come naturally, don't try to force it."

He grinned at me as he picked up and folded up the paper, stowing it safely in his jacket. "Thank a lot, Sora-chan 'ttebayo!"

'No problem, Hero.' I signed, then a thought struck me.

I glanced over and saw that Duckie had grumpily stalked out of the room while I was writing. That's good. Naruto stood to head out as well, but I pulled on his sleeve before he could get far, he turned back to me with a questioning look.

'Do me a favor?' He nodded dutifully, 'Try to get along with Duckie today? Kakashi-sensei and I won't be there to break up any fights between you two, so it's up to you to make nice and get along.'

Predictably, Naruto's face scrunched up in distaste but before he could say something like; 'HE'S the one who doesn't want to get along' or whatever, I looked at him pleadingly, wide eyes and raised brows and I stuck out my bottom lip.

Yeah, I can do puppy dog eyes too.

The Hero looked at me a moment, mouth agape. Like he couldn't believe I actually broke out the puppy dog eyes for this. He's never stood a chance against my puppy dog eyes, I just make it a habit not to do it too often else they lose their potency.

My friend groaned in defeat. "Alright, Sora-chan... I'll try to get along with the Bast-uh, with Sasuke."

I smiled gratefully at the Hero and allowed him to pull me to my feet. We walked into the front room while Kakashi-sensei was in the middle of explaining to Tazuna what was gonna happen.

I was put in charge of protecting the bridge builder because I had finished my training after one whole day, -I might be a little smug about that- while the Hero and Duckie would continue to train and Scarecrow was going to stay at the house and rest/protect Tsunami and Inari-chan.

"Well alright then!" The Tazuna turned to me, "Let's head out Sora-san!"

I nodded and waved goodbye to my team with a smile. 'Get some rest, Sensei. Good luck with your training guys!'

Scarecrow rolled his one visible eye but his chakra was warmed. He knows I nag because I care. The Hero gave me a face-splitting grin and a cocky thumbs-up. And Duckie...

Duckie watched my hands and briefly, very briefly, his eyes slid to my hitai-ate before he looked at anywhere else other than me without acknowledging what I'd said. Not even with a uninterested 'Hn'.

Yeeeah... that wasn't awkward at all.

It'll probably be best to ignore that though. Sasuke'll get over it sooner or later and we'll go back to acting like normal, like it never even happened!

...right?

The bridge was even more incredible up close.

Tazuna really was a master bridge builder. I mean, I'm no expert on bridges but we did have that one class on the structural integrity of buildings and other architecture back in the Academy. I'm pretty sure that class was for any aspiring saboteurs in our ranks. Naruto had slept through the whole class, much to the instructor's annoyance.

So I know at least a little bit about what Tazuna was talking about on the way.

We've been here for a couple hours now. I found a seat on the side of the bridge, out of the way of the men but where I could still keep an eye on Tazuna, and I had just ran out of chakra infused ink and was in the middle of molding my chakra into a glob of semi-suspended ink. The familiar twist and curling motions had me in a nostalgic mood, I soon found myself thinking of Kaa-chan.

I wonder what she'd think of Naruto and my team.

Would she approve of my Sensei and his choice of books?

Would she have helped me to make Sasuke's lunches?

...would she have loved Naruto as much as I do?

I... I think so.

"Hey, those are some super nice drawings you've got there."

I looked up from my ink pot to see that Tazuna had paused in his work to glance curiously at the silencing seal formulas I had been working on before. I'd set them to the side so I wouldn't accidentally spill any ink on them.

Drawings, huh? Well, they were a bit on the flourished side of the spectrum.

Now, I could've told him that they weren't actually drawings and were instead a dangerous and highly volatile ninja craft that tended to be frustratingly more temperamental than they should have any right to be!

...I was having a itty bit of trouble with the silencing formula.

Needless to say, I didn't correct his misunderstanding. Instead I placed my hand over my heart and bowed my head as a sign of thanks. It was a compliment after all.

The bridge builder had a look of contemplation come over him as he surveyed the area. We were in the middle area of the construction, men of all ages were hustling back and forth, hauling metal and wood and other materials towards the front.

"Say... do you do commissions?" He asked.

I blinked in surprise at the odd request. Seeing my perplexed look he waved his hand at our general surroundings.

"It's just that the walls along the side could use some livening up I think. Like some of those super swirly designs you've got there, they kinda remind me of the ocean. And we don't have any artists in the village so I just thought I ask, is all."

What? He wants me to paint the bridge? I-I'm flattered but I don't know... that would take a lot of ink and time and just seems-

-Ohhhhh!

That's a good idea.

遠隔 Remote

"DAAAAAAH!"

I mark the tree a little higher and feel my chakra lose it's grip and jump away, rebounding off the one next to me and I see that Naruto's marks are-Damn! He's catching up to me...

I know it's because of whatever advice Sora had given him this morning. Whatever she told him to do is really working if he can improve so much over night.

For a moment, I consider asking Sora for what she told the Idiot but...

There was a jagged scar right across her throat.

I land and skid to a stop on the dirt.

Since the other night I haven't been able to even look at her without thinking about what I'd seen. I can't stop myself from wondering what the hell happened to her.

Kakashi had pulled me aside yesterday and told me not try to wake her up again if she was having a nightmare, that she needs her sleep even if it's restless. So he knows it's a regular thing. She had another one last night, I'd heard her thrashing around again.

I have a feeling that he also knows how she got that scar.

Sora is always joking around and she's hardly ever without a carefree smile on her face, yet... she has nightmares every night. She sleeps with a kunai under her pillow and has a deep scar across her throat. I've seen scars before, from knifes and cuts, they always thin and fade away. But that scar...

It's ridiculous that I only just now realize that I've never once seen her without that ugly orange scarf when we were attending the Academy.

'Smack!'

I was pulled out of my thoughts by Naruto slapping his hands on each side of his face. What is he doing? He looks like he's in pain but I think that's just him trying to concentrate.

Naruto is concentrating.

I look back up at our marks. He's catching up to me. Fast.

I have to master this training if I want to get any stronger. I've barely gained any ground today when Naruto has only gotten better.

...I have to ask don't I?

I've already decided that I'm not going to ask Sora and if Kakashi was going to be helpful then he would've given us tips in the first place.

So... there's really only one choice left.

"Hey, Naruto."

"Gak!" He had started running towards the tree again but stumbled and fell face first into the dirt. He whipped his head up and started yelling, "WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM!? CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TRYING TO FOCUS!"

"Well... uhm..." Damn it. I can't believe I'm doing this...

"What is it 'ttebayo?" He asked impatiently, folding his arms over his chest.

I looked away as I felt my face warm up uncomfortably from embarrassment. "...wha... what did Sora tell you this morning?"

It was quiet for a moment. Then the Idiot started to grin stupidly and I instantly regretted ever opening my mouth.

...but then he seemed to remember something as the smile disappeared and he looked off to the side. When he turned back to me he seemed to be giving me a considering look. I think... it was really just him squinting at me sideways.

He spoke slowly, "I'll tell you... but only if you tell me why you've been acting weird 'round Sora-chan."

I froze.

Even the Idiot had noticed?

I frowned, "I haven't been 'acting weird'... it's just your imagination." I dismissed, I cursed inwardly at how defensive that sounded.

The Idiot scowled at me, "Yes you have, dattebayo! You've been avoiding her for the last couple days and you can't even look at her! And when you do look at her, you're always lookin' at her... at her..." Naruto trailed off and stared at me, his mouth hanging open.

Shit. He's her friend, of course he knows too.

When he spoke again he was strangely quiet, "Sora-chan hates people seeing her scar... why do you know about it."

I shifted on my feet, uncomfortable with where this conversation was going, and the Idiot was acting weird all of a sudden.

I turned back to the tree, determined. I'll get the hang of this training without the Idiot. I don't need either of my so-called teammates 'help'. I'll get stronger by just my own abilities.

Just like it's always been.

I took a running stance but I was stopped by the Idiot's hand on my shoulder, I turned to snap at him but the words got caught in my throat when I saw the look on his face.

He was... angry?

"HEY! I asked you a question, bastard!"

I shrugged his hand off, frowning at him. "I don't need to answer you."

Just go away and leave me alone already.

The Idiot got in front of me, standing in my path. "Why do you know about her scar 'ttebayo! What did you do?!"

My eyes narrowed at him in annoyance, "Get out of my way, loser."

He grit his teeth and his eye twitched.

"RAAAHHHH!"

He tackled me into the dirt.

"The hell!? Get off me!" I tried shoving him off but he grabbed the front of my shirt and got in my face.

"Sora-chan would never show you her scar, so how the hell do you know about it 'ttebayo!?" He got spit on my face.

"I said get off!" I shoved my knee into his gut and he toppled over easily. I rolled to the side into a crouch. When I looked back up I see Naruto's already taking an aggressive stance.

So that's how he wants to do this?

Fine.

He charged at me with a right swing that I easily side-stepped. As his body turned with his missed strike, I threw a fist into his exposed ribcage, he grunted in response and swung his left at me. I blocked his left with my right and grabbed his arm, holding him still as I lifted my left leg to kick him in the ribs again-

-but he grabbed my leg before it connected. "Tch."

"What did you do to Sora-chan, bastard!?"

"I didn't 'do' anything, loser!"

I jumped up and landed my other foot in the center of his chest, letting go of the hold on his arm. The air rushed out of his lungs as he let go of my leg and his hands went to his chest as he stumbled backward. I bent my torso backwards and landed in a handstand before going with the momentum and flipping back onto my feet.

Naruto had already recovered from my blow and was in the air, swinging a leg down on me. I raised my arms to block the kick from the front when-

-my head whipped to the side as a fist connected with my jaw.

When did he have time to make a clone?

There was a stunned silence, because neither of us could really believe he actually just did that. I wiped the blood from the corner of my mouth and the first Naruto poofed away. I looked back at him and his eyes were hard.

"If you did anything to hurt Sora-chan, I'll-"

"-I didn't touch her, you idiot! She was having a nightmare! I woke her up and I just saw it!"

We were both breathing heavily, exhausted from the tree climbing before this. Naruto fell back onto his ass and crossed his arms over his chest, a frown on his face.

"...so that's why you've been acting weird 'ttebayo." He mumbled, mostly to himself.

I wonder... if he knows how she got that scar?

Without my permission I heard myself ask. "Do you know... what happened?"

Naruto stared at me for a second before he looked down and away, a gloominess coming over him. "...that's the one story she's never told me... all I know is that she got her scar the same night her Mom died."

Her mother's dead? But I thought that-

"I mean... Sora-chan never actually said that she died but I know that there's... a stone she visits sometimes on the west side of the village."

I thought that Sora was abandoned by her parents. Isn't that what everyone said back in the Academy?

I shake my head of these pointless thoughts. Why does it even matter? It doesn't. Not really, this is just morbid curiosity is all. I have to focus on my training instead of getting distracted. I turn back to the tree.

"Hey!" What the hell does he want now?!

I feel a growl rising in the back of my throat as I tilt my head to look at him and... he's... holding out a piece of paper towards me. I stare blankly at it, confused.

"Well, are you gonna take it or not, 'ttebayo!?" Naruto wasn't looking at me. Apparently that was a very interesting bush over there.

Cautiously, I reach up and take the paper and unfold it. It was a feminine handwriting that looked really familiar-but what's more important was what it said, it was the tips Sora had given Naruto this morning!

He gave them to me? After all that crap just now?

When I look up again, Naruto is already preparing himself to run at his tree again. My eyes linger on him a moment before I read over the words again, and relax, preparing myself to run.

"Ah, hey bast-um, Sasuke?" I look at the Idiot from the corner of my eye, he was biting his lip and looking weirdly nervous.

"Hn?"

"Uhm... can we not mention any of this to Sora-chan? I kinda, sorta promised her that I'd try to get along with you 'ttebayo..."

I scoffed. Of course she'd try to play peacemaker when she wasn't even here. That girl really is strange.

"Whatever..."

Strength

I've decided.

I need lemons.

If I was gonna pull off what I was hoping to pull off then I was gonna need lemons, and a couple of them at least.

It was an extremely convenient fact that the Land of Waves just so happened to be a subtropical environment that was fully capable of supporting lemon trees.

When I'd told Tazuna that I needed lemons for my painting he'd given me an odd look and said we could look for some in the shops but didn't ask further. I figure he must've chalked it up to 'Secret ninja magic' which... wasn't too far off actually.

There was some drama at the worksite before Tazuna called it a day and for everyone to head home. We were now walking the main street of the village to look for food to bring back for lunch today and...

I swallowed thickly.

This was more of the tyrannized and subjugated country I was expecting when we first arrived in Wave.

The people were thin and obviously starving, their clothes were dirty and raggedy. Most of the shops were closed down due to having run out of supply. Everyone I passed looked tired and just... broken. Even the excess natural chakra in the air was saturated with despair! Influencing natural chakra is a pretty hard thing to do!

"Here we are." Tazuna said before walking into a small shop. There was a child, younger than me, sitting against the wall. I could see his skin was pulled tight along his bones.

The sight made my stomach churn.

The store was small and like the others we passed, they didn't have much for stock. As Tazuna began picking out things to bring back to Tsunami, I glanced over the... fruit section. There were some oranges, a couple grapefruits and, oh look... a pomegranate. I huffed a small laugh at the reminder of my Academy nickname.

Then I saw them.

They were dirty and a little bruised but they were without a doubt, lemons. I went over and collected all five of the lovely citrus fruit and took them over to the counter where Tazuna was paying for his things. I placed them on the counter and pulled out my little black book.

Kakashi wasn't around to harass or threaten the security of my storage book, so I happily brought it along with me instead of the bag that I left at the bridge builders house.

As soon as the price was named I unsealed my money purse and paid the amount asked, it was a bit on the expensive side for a couple of lemons but I had plenty of money from all the D-Rank's we've been pulling these last few weeks. We get paid pocket change really, but it all adds up eventually. And I can hardly complain about prices considering the state of the country right now.

I sealed my lemons away in the perishables section of my storage book and tucked it safely back into my tools bag. I followed Tazuna back onto the street. Not long after we began walking however, I felt that someone was tugging on the back of my shirt.

I turn around and see a small -too thin- boy with his hands out towards me. He wanted something, I realized, food most likely. Then I remembered that I stocked up on those tasteless food bars before we left Konoha in case of an emergency! I quickly pulled back out my little black book and flipped to the supplies page, I lowered my hand and pulsed my chakra, eliciting a 'poof!' and a stack of six calorie bars.

The child was confused for a moment until I unwrapped one of the bars, seeing it was food he then gave me a grin so wide I felt my heart break a little. As I watched him run away happily with the bars, I only wished that I had something tastier on hand to have given him.

"It's been like this since Gatō came." Tazuna's eyes were somber as he watched the boy go, "...all the adults have lost hope."

He was right. I could feel it in everyone's chakra as they shuffled past us on this street. Tazuna started slowly down the street again, back towards home.

"That's why we need that bridge. A symbol of courage... we need for the people to lose their fear and regain the desire to stand up for themselves. If that bridge..." As he spoke I saw something shine in his dark eyes, something that I was very familiar with. Something I usually only see in my Hero's bright eyes.

"If that bridge can be completed the city will return to that time... the people will return to how they used to be."

...I think I'd really like to see that.

"Wow! This is super fun! It's been a long time since we ate with so many people!" The bridge builder laughed.

It was a pretty lively dinner, it felt pretty nice being surrounded by so many people. Dinner at home has always consisted of just me and Naruto, sometimes Teuchi-oji and Ayame-chan when we ate at Ichiraku's, but that was only sometimes.

But... it could really do without the two teenage boys eating like they've been starved for days on end.

'One would think we never feed you.' I signed with a disapproving frown. Only Scarecrow read me and his chakra held slight amusement to it.

The boys shoveled down the last bit and held up their bowls and asked for more in complete synch with one another. They also crumpled over and barfed up all their food in synch. I felt my eyebrow twitch.

The idiots.

My mind went back to everything I saw walking around the village today. There were people right outside who were starving right now, and these two dolts were wasting food like it was nothing!

I hit them both upside their thick heads once they came back up from expelling their guts.

"Oww... Sora-chan!" "The hell!?"

'Eat slower or you won't get any more food.' I signed with furrowed brows and a prominent frown, my eyebrow was still twitching like mad. A clear sign I was angry. Naruto gulped nervously seeing my quiet anger.

He knew to fear my quiet anger.

Poor Sasuke didn't recognize the signs. Didn't know to fear.

That would soon be rectified.

Duckie met my glare with one of his own, "No, I have to eat to-"

-My eyes narrowed dangerously at him... I may or may not have been leaking a bit of amateur KI into it.

He stopped talking but he didn't avert his glare. We stared each other down. Waiting for the other to back down. Naruto was watching from the side with mixed feelings. Tazuna and Tsunami-san shared concerned looks. Inari-chan was trying to ignore our presence.

Kakashi coughed to pull attention to himself. Very subtle, Sensei.

"Maa... I agree, you should eat to recover your strength but you should also seriously slow it down. There's no need to throw up, guys."

The Hero straightened up, "But-But! I can't slow down! I have to get my strength back as fast as I can so I'll be strong enough to kick ass when those guys show their faces again dattebayo!"

I was just about to scold him when hands slammed down on the table, clattering the dishes. Inari-chan was standing from his seat.

"What did I tell you?! If you try to fight Gatō and them you'll just end up dead like everyone else!" He shouted.

Naruto scowled, "What did I tell you, huh!? I'm a Hero that'll stop Gatō and save everyone!"

The little boy's face twisted, "THERE'S NO SUCH THINGS AS HEROES! THERE'S ONLY STUPID PEOPLE THAT MAKE STUPID PROMISES AND END UP DYING!"

Then the boy ran out of the room, leaving a stunned silence behind him. Tsunami-san made a hurried apology before rushing out after her son.

Tazuna let out a sigh that made him seem far older than he was, "Please excuse him... he hasn't been the same since..." he trailed off.

"There's seems to be a story behind that." Scarecrow remarked casually, letting it be up to Tazuna whether he wanted to elaborate.

"Inari had a father, not related by blood. They were very close, like a real father and son... Inari would laugh a lot back then." My eyes widened when the bridge builder started crying. "Ever since that incident... the word 'courage' has been stolen from the people of this island and from Inari."

"'That incident'? What happened to Inari-kun?"

Tazuna took off his glasses and wiped his eyes, "Before I get to that, I first have to tell you about the man who was called the Hero of this city."

"Hero?" Naruto asked, his arms on the table and folded under his head.

Then Tazuna told us the story of Kaiza.

I was horrified.

Gatō had taken Kaiza. Cut off his arms, beat him near to death and then executed him in front of the whole town to make an example of him. In front of his own family, of Inari.

I... I had known that things like this happened in this world but, sometimes I... I forgot that the people of this world can be just as brutal and vile as Before. That this wasn't some anime for kids to watch on the weekend.

This was very real, very dark world.

Naruto stood up abruptly from his seat and moved towards the door-and then he tripped and fell! The blonde fool was completely exhausted from today, I can feel it in his chakra. He'll hurt himself if he pushes anymore! I jump up to help him but he's already pushing himself back up.

Scarecrow spoke up, "If you're thinking of training, take the day off. You've used too much chakra, and anymore and you could die."

"I'm going to prove it..." Naruto said quietly, "I'm going to prove that in this world, Heroes do exist!"

That's... totally what I should've expected from him.

Another morning, only this time I woke up without a certain blonde in my side this time, Sasuke was also not in the room. I was actually the last one up for a first. I finished with my morning stretches I made my way to the kitchen to see who else was up and about, it was still pretty early. Tsunami-san was wiping the sleep out of her eyes when I walked in, Tazuna was going over some more plans for the bridge and Scarecrow...

Was totally reading his porn.

Thankfully, it had a fake cover over it so he wouldn't embarrass us... too much at least. To everyone else it seemed like he was reading a travel guide, but his chakra was way too active for him to have been reading about the best tourist traps in the Land of Tea. I rolled my eyes at him as I took a seat across from Tazuna.

I figured that Naruto and Sasuke must've not come back after training last night. They've been staying out later and later since we heard Tazuna's story a couple days ago. I'm kinda worried about them over-working themselves, it's been three days and they haven't taken a break yet.

"I didn't hear Naruto-kun come back last night before I went to bed, did he make it in?" Tsunami asked.

Tazuna frowned, "Naruto didn't come back last night?"

Scarecrow answered, "Mm... he's been really motivated since he heard your story the other night, but you shouldn't worry about him. He might not look it, but he's a true Shinobi."

I heard a scoff, "He's probably dead from exhaustion. It's wouldn't surprise me... that moron." I looked up at Duckie who had just walked in. He caught my gaze before looking at anything other than me.

Wait. If Sasuke was here who was with Naruto?

I signed, 'I thought you were with him?'

He saw it out of the corner of his eye before shrugging, "Nope. The Idiot mentioned something about getting another hour of training before he'd head back... I guess he fell asleep. Tch."

The Uchiha clicked his tongue in annoyance but I was too busy panicking at the moment to really care about his moodiness because NARUTO HASN'T BEEN SEEN SINCE LAST NIGHT!

No-No... don't panic. Naruto is just fine. Probably. He just stayed out too late and fell asleep is all that happened.

Alone.

Completely by himself with no one to watch his back... on an island with enemy ninja whose job it is to dispose of him-

-Okay! Time to find Naruto!

I stand up and sign quickly to Kakashi letting him know, before slipping on my boots and heading out.

The area the boys have been training at is about a mile and a half to the south-east, I know the route well already considering I've been the one to drop off their dinner when they predictably miss it. I had sensed Duckie get up to follow me before he even made it out the door. He fell into step with me and I felt his chakra was still a bit tense around me.

I didn't know how to fix that, this situation between us. I just hoped it would go away soon. We wouldn't ever chat or hang out, but before he saw my scar we could at least be around each other without things being terribly awkward.

We walked in relative quiet for the most part, but funnily enough, I don't think Sasuke is used to not being quietest one around. Maybe that's why he felt the need to talk?

"He's probably still alive." The Uchiha drawled. A small part of me thought he could've bothered to sound a little more convinced of that.

'I just have to make sure.'

"Why? It's not he's completely helpless, he can survive a night by himself."

Okay, the alarms are going off now. First off, Duckie is actually trying to hold a conversation, with me no less. That would be strange in itself, but now he's... backing Naruto?

Either I missed something big or Duckie has a concussion from landing on his head one too many times.

'Because he's my friend and teammate?' I signed warily. Things don't tend to go well when Sasuke is feeling talkative, I've noticed.

He nodded easily but I became even more alarmed when his chakra flared with... intent. I didn't have time to read into the emotion as he continued speaking.

"Yeah. And because you're in love with him."

I tripped.

What.

Slowly, very slowly because I wasn't 100% sure of what I'd just heard, I lifted my head from where I face-planted to stare uncomprehendingly at the Uchiha. Sasuke looked back at me when I hit the ground. He gave me a very unimpressed look as he shoved his hands into his pockets.

"It's obvious you have feelings for him."

Again. What.

My face must've clearly said 'WTF!?' because Sasuke rolled his eyes and gave me the 'it's obvious, Idiot' look he uses on Naruto.

In a very dull tone, Duckie explained himself. "You're by his side at every available chance. You're always... touching." He said it with a grimace like it was a bad word. "Whether it's hugging or playing with his hair, whatever. And then there's the fact you're totally possessive of him."

'Explain.' I signed with a flat look.

He now had a cocky little know-it-all smirk on his face that made me really want to smack him.

"Back when he was pretending to be me, Sakura started flirting with him and you started throwing rocks at him when it looked like he was going to kiss her. You got jealous." He shrugged casually.

I stared at him blankly.

How... how did he even come up with something like that!?

I am very affectionate to my closest people, yes. Guilty as charged. But... 'in love'? Are you fudging kidding me!? Have those fangirls really deluded his-

-Waitaminute.

Duckie is twelve.

Clever as he believes himself, he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about this time. Duckie doesn't talk about what he doesn't understand, he wouldn't chance getting it wrong.

The intent from before? I look closer at Sasuke's body language, he was staring resolutely at my face, he was also standing stiffly and his chest was a bit more puffed out and pronounced. He only does that when he's anxious.

He's... trying. He's trying to fix this thing between us. I was both extremely touched and utterly confused at the same time.

So I missed something important then.

Sasuke was trying to make things not weird but that whole... whatever he came up with to start a conversation, it cannot go without a response. I stood back up and dusted off the front of my outfit. I walked up to the shorter boy -heh, still amusing to this day- and looked him squarely in the eye.

Then I ground my fist into the top of his spikey head.

"Ack! What the f-!?"

As his hands went to his newest bump, I signed, 'Wrong type of love, idiot! You don't know anything about romance, so don't pretend that you do!'

I had two very specific signs for 'Love', one for the friend and family kind, and one for the romantic kind. Though that later only ever gets used by Hinata and I when discussing books.

Duckie was glaring at me, "Whatever!" he hissed.

On the outside I was frowning but on the inside I actually relaxed a little. Duckie's chakra had also untensed. That was the most semi-normal interaction we've had since the other night.

Maybe we'll get over this after all.

I was so distracted with Duckie's horrible misconception to have been actively checking for unfamilar chakra signatures like I probably should've been. I'd been walking on auto-pilot towards the spot where I dropped off dinner last night.

We turned a bend in the path and I stopped in my tracks when I saw the prettiest boy I've ever seen in both my lives. His black hair was long and combed nicely, his skin was just about flawless and his lips were small and rosy.

He was prettier than Sasuke.

Haku had been here. With Naruto. Alone.

My heart began to pound and the world was slowing.

His dark-brown eyes met my own.

I didn't even register when my fingers moved to my kunai pouch. They weren't in, yet. Just... ghosting over the lid.

The movement was enough to make the Yuki boy in front of me tense. It was almost imperceptible, Sasuke didn't even notice it as he walked right by the other boy.

A simple straightening of his shoulders. A tighter grip on his basket. Almost imperceptible. He continued with his sedate, unhurried pace. A calming smile on his lips.

The picture of innocence really.

His chakra was swirling in preparation for combat.

We were sizing each other up now. Wondering who would strike first. Who would be faster? Haku. Haku would be faster but he didn't know that. I was pretty much an unknown to him, I placed a barrier around Tazuna during the fight but didn't do much else besides catch Naruto when he went flying.

He was outnumbered, three-to-one. Was wearing a yukata that isn't really the best for concealing weapons, but I have no doubt he had some kind of weapon on his person. The odds are he was still outgunned. He could use his Ice Style and escape but that would give away his technique and any element of surprise when he comes back with Zabuza.

Haku didn't have many options.

His eyes were cold and his pretty chakra was agitated.

He knew that I knew.

I knew that he knew I knew.

...Terra is still eerily quiet, I'm starting to get actually worried now. I made a note to go in and find her if she didn't resurface within the next couple days.

Haku was still watching me carefully and I wanted to sigh... I really hadn't been expecting this when I woke up this morning.

Time resumed as normal when I heard my Hero's voice call out to me. "Ah! Ah! Sora-chan, come look how high my marks are now 'ttebayo!"

My eyes shifted from the Yuki boy to Naruto, he looked filthy but whole, no signs of bleeding or senbonage.

He was okay.

Haku didn't touch him.

I look back at the boy who was far too pretty to be one. He was still smiling serenely as he walked towards me.

My hand fell away from my pouch and I walked past him towards my teammates. My Hero who was beaming with pride and the Duckie who was still brooding over his sore head.

I may like Haku, but I love my family far more.

Home

I can't sleep.

I keep tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable spot on the futon but I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about what that guy from this morning said.

"Do you... have someone who is precious to you?"

Yeah, I do. I have Iruka-sensei and Jiji and Kakashi-sensei and even the Bastard isn't so bad all the time...when he's not being, y'know, a complete bastard... but he's still a bastard most of the time.

I also have Sora-chan too.

Sora-chan wasn't always there, I know. I remember from before she came to the Orphanage, when everyone would look at me with those eyes and there was no one who would be nice to me except for Jiji but he was always busy being the Hokage, though I didn't always know that back then, and he couldn't visit me all the time.

...and I was alone.

But then Sora-chan came, with her orange hair that shines pink in the sun in a long ponytail and her smile that was always so warm and her purple eyes that have never once had that look towards me.

She would scare away the bigger kids because she was even bigger than them when they would come and pick on me-Sora-chan would even fight some of the adults when they were being mean to me and she couldn't even talk! She would let me sleep with her in her bed when it was cold or even when it wasn't and she'd play with me whenever I wanted and make sure I had enough food to eat and give me warm hugs when I was sad...

I'm precious to Sora-chan too, right?

Sora-chan is always nice to people, even when they aren't nice back to her, like the Bastard and the rest of the girls in our class. Except for Hinata, she was always weirder than the rest of the girls in class, but she's Sora-chan's friend and she likes her so I guess she isn't too bad though.

Everyone's always been mean to Sora-chan 'cause she's my friend and they ignore her and though she says it's just 'cause they're still little kids -which is weird because she's only a little bit older- and that they'll all grow up one day, it still hurt her when they treated her like she didn't have a voice-which is stupid because Sora-chan has a voice and they're all just dumbasses because they can't understand what she's saying.

Unlike me. I always know what she's saying!

And the Bastard... and Kakashi-sensei too... and Jiji and Shikamaru and Chōji and Kiba and Hinata and that weird Cat-guy that always visits Sora-chan who kinda creeps me out-but that's not the point!

Sora-chan's nice to everyone like she's nice to me.

...I was a 'precious person' to her.

Right?

I get out of my bed. I'm not going to fall asleep like this, even though I'm still tired and sore from all the training today, my brain just won't turn off! Kakashi-sensei and the Bastard are asleep but Sora-chan isn't in bed either. She must be outside watching the stars, she doesn't seem to need sleep as much as anyone else.

It doesn't take long to find her, she was sitting outside on the back porch like I'd guessed. She was wearing one of those girly, frilly nightgowns she always likes to sleep in and her headband was tied tight around her neck so there's no chance of anyone seeing her scar. Sora-chan really doesn't like her scar.

She was just staring at the sky. I asked her once why she liked looking at the stars so much and she told me it reminded her of a boy she used to know. Sora-chan always gets a sad look in her eyes when she thinks about the time from before she came to live in the village. I don't like seeing her sad, so I don't ask about it... much.

"Hey... Sora-chan?"

Her purple eyes looked back to me when I said her name and I could see the moment they light up when they land on me. I've always liked her eyes, I've never met someone else with eyes like her's. But not because I've never seen someone with a color like them, but because they're always so warm and they shine when she smiles at me.

Not for the Bastard or Kakashi-sensei or anyone else.

Just for me.

She looks at me for a second before she frowns. It was her thinking frown, she already knows I'm upset. Shit! That was fast. Sora-chan can always tell whenever I'm happy or sad or whatever. She must've seen something wrong about how I was standin' or something.

She tried to explain it to me how she does it once when we were eating lunch, but then Sasuke walked by and all the girls began making weird squealing noises and I got pissed because why did everyone think he was so cool!? He wasn't so great! And when I looked back at Sora-chan she had that look on her face Iruka-sensei always gets when we're at Ichiraku's and I have five bowls of ramen in a row.

Sora-chan waved her hand to the deck, telling me to sit without speaking. I shuffled my feet over until I was sitting right across from her now. She was staring at me now. I couldn't help it, I started playing with the bottom of my pajama shirt, I always get fidgety when she stare at me like that.

Sora-chan tilts her head at me, waiting for me to talk because of course she knows I want to talk.

Sometimes... I secretly think that she can read my mind. I mean, I know that she can't because she told me that there's another clan in the village that can do that already and she's not apart of that clan.

I still kinda wish that she could and then I wouldn't have to ask this.

"Sora-chan, am I..." I trail off because, how do you ask something like this? Will she think it's a silly question? Will she think I'm silly for asking it? Why do I want to ask? I already know she'll never say; 'No.' so what does it really matter if I ask?

Because if she knew the truth about what you really are, then she'd look at you the same way everyone else does. Like a demon. A nasty part of my brain whispers. I shake my head because, no! Sora-chan would never do that, she'd never leave me!

She promised!

...she promised, didn't she?

"Am I precious to you!?" I blurt out to her. I flinch back at how loud I was, I didn't mean to be so loud. I just got myself worked up and it just happened!

Her eyes widened. At my loudness or my question, I didn't know. I hope it was because of my loudness. She just stared at me for a while and I didn't know if she was gonna answer, it shouldn't be that hard of a question right? So why did-

-She started laughing.

She started laughing! Her shoulders are shaking and I knew that meant she's laughing at me! That's so mean! I was being serious and she thinks I was just joking around! I frown at her, because this was not supposed to be funny. That was a serious question!

Before I can get up and go back to bed because my face feels likes it's on fire and I really don't want to be here right now I felt her grab onto my arm, pulling me back onto the floor, sitting right next to her this time. She's smiling that smile at me that lights up her purple eyes. Her face was a lot closer, I noticed. I could see all the little crinkles around her eyes because of how wide she was smiling.

Sora-chan lifted her hand towards my face and it felt like somethin' got stuck in my throat 'cause it got really hard to swallow all of a sudden, like when I eat too much ramen without chewing. Sora-chan always gets mad at me when I don't chew enough and food gets caught in my throat and I choke but this time I wasn't eating and Sora-chan's hand was right next to my face now and she was smiling so warm and her eyes were so bright and-

-she flicked my nose!

"Ouch!" I covered my nose with my hands, it didn't really hurt, Sora-chan would never really hurt me but it was still surprising. I look up to glare at her and she's still smiling.

'Idiot.' She says, and now I'm really glaring at her becau-

-'You are my most precious person in the world.'

...oh.

I blink.

Ohhh.

I...

She's still smiling, all warm and glowy.

That's...

She shook her head at me, 'You are my best friend and I love you. Idiot.'

I squeeze my eyes shut because they started to prick and I know what happens after they start to sting and hurt like that.

I felt Sora-chan's warm arms wrap around me and pull me closer and I end up laying my head on her shoulder and putting my face in her neck. I wasn't crying. Men aren't suppose to be crybabies! It was just kinda cold out here and she was warm! Y-Yeah!

I sniffled. She hugged me tighter.

Right, even though she's nice... Kakashi-sensei and the Bastard don't get hugs like when Sora-chan hugs me. She's nice to everyone but she...

She...

...loves me.

My words won't come out right and I definitely know that something's stuck in my throat now.

I nod into her neck, "Mn!"

I'm not c-crying damn it!

Breaking Waves Arc,

Chapter Fourteen: "Precious Things"

END

A/N: I... I didn't cry writing Naruto's scene at all. Nope. Not whatsoever. Well, that was the scene I mentioned in last week's A/N. I think I did Naruto pretty well. What do you guys think? Mm... I don't think I'm very good with confrontations. Sasuke and Naruto's interactions are hard for me...

If you guys have any questions or are confused by how anyone is acting please, don't hesitate to ask me. I'd happily explain it in a PM or bring it up in a future chapter!

Fun fact! I listen to 'Black Night Town' from Naruto Ending 27 when I want to get into the right headspace to write from Sasuke's POV!

Author Question!

"What is your favorite battle in Naruto?"

Ooooh... there's so many good ones! A favorite though? I'd have to pick Naruto and Sasuke's Valley of the end. It was the very first time I watched Naruto in fact. I was totally lost but I fell in love with the boy in orange who was trying to save his friend.

Wuv yew all!

-Nanami

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