The Clock

Doors opened unexpectedly. Yells echoed uncontrollably. And in the middle of it all... I stood. Silent. Very silent.

"Naruto! What are you doing?! SAY SOMETHING!"

I turned to face the girl with pink hair and light green eyes. What to say, what to say?

"Sakura-chan... It's... not my decision to make."

Her body sunk ever so slightly. She jerked her head towards Tsunade, pleading. Why did she always do that?

"Look Sakura," Tsunade said in a firm tone, "You know as well as I do that Sasuke has made a choice. He chose for it to be this way. I know it must be hard for all of

Team 7, but it's something that we cannot control. I can't argue with the Village Elders reasoning. Sadly, it makes perfect sense."

Sakura's eyes were becoming watery as she begged and begged to Tsunade to change her mind. But what was done was done. There was no turning back now.

"If I may," I whispered unusually politely, "I would like to leave now."

Tsunade sighed. I could tell that Sakura's words were getting to her; but that wouldn't make any difference. I had argued and pleaded for countless weeks. Now, it was

much too late. I had given up and accepted what was coming.

She waved me out the door. Before I could shut it, she called to me, "I'm very sorry Naruto."

You're lying. If you were sorry, you wouldn't let this happen.

I nodded. I was the one lying.

I knocked three times, each pound more gruesome than the last. What was I doing? I was making it so much harder for myself, that's what.

The lock turned ever so slowly. Its click took an eternity; an eternity I didn't have. I couldn't get excited or... or...

It was so dark in that room. The curtains were shut tight, the sun unable to sneak a ray through them. Shadows danced across the walls. What were they so happy about?

Didn't they know?

"Sasuke..." I said without a thought.

He had already made it back to his bed. It was messy, extremely messy. How could he care though? What could he care about now? It was all over for him. To care

would just hurt even more than it already did.

I trudged over to his side. On the way, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a cracked mirror. I could already imagine him smashing his fist into it angrily. I didn't blame

him.

I sat on the edge of the bed, and stared into an alternate space where life was happy and innocent. Sasuke was tainted with so much blood now. How many had he killed?

How many undeserving lives had he taken away? I couldn't help but wonder such an absurd question.

Here was another one: Was he ready to kill me? It was the perfect time. I wouldn't defend myself after all. I was about to lose something so precious anyways, so what

difference did it make?

"What do you want?" Sasuke said, his voiced muffled by his knees.

He was grouchy. Definitely.

And I couldn't answer. I didn't know what I wanted. It was like I had be turned into a small child, one with no reasoning and no concept of what was happening. I did

understand life however, and I knew that some people did not always live it to the fullest. I sure as hell didn't. If I did, then what was I doing here in this cold, isolated

room?

We were silent. It was a time to reflect on all that we had done, all that we COULD have done. Together.

Then, there was tears. Not my own, surprisingly, but Sasuke's. He made his way over to me and place his head on my shoulder. I could feel warm liquid drip down my

shirt. It smelled so salty.

"I'm not ready," he cried, "I'm not ready to die yet."

Now he was the child, and I was the adult. I was given the hardest role; the comforting.

I didn't obey the rules. Instead, my eyes began to fill with the same salty water. It flowed swiftly and unevenly down my cheeks, right into his raven black hair. I wasn't

ready either. As much as I tried to convince myself, I wasn't.

"I tried... I tried to convince them. But they wouldn't listen," was what I wanted to say, but I just couldn't get it out. It wouldn't help the situation. And I was so

scared he would doubt me if I did. Wow, I'm a coward.

I watched, the atmosphere becoming thicker and thicker, as the sun rose high above the clouds and sunk beyond the horizon. Sasuke had long fallen asleep. It was soon

time for me to retire as well.

The sound of his breath was long and deep. It was never going to be like this again, was it? I watched the time slip away; the peace slip away. And before I knew it, the

sun was peeking over the clouds again.

There was rustling beneath the covers. I had fallen on the floor, my eyes glued shut. Gosh, I'm tired.

"Hey, you idiot," Sasuke yawned, "get the hell off my floor and wake up."

How nice of you.

My neck hurt. Ouch. But for some reason I felt so relieved.

"I can't believe you fell asleep on the floor..." he grumbled, "They're probably looking everywhere for you right now."

I shot up. Today was the day... The day when Team 7 would no longer exist.

I glanced quickly at Sasuke, just to take a look at his expression. He appeared as he used to be, back when there was nothing to worry about. Or, as he liked to phrase it,

back when we were "playing ninja." Had he forgotten? Or was he relieved? There were so many questions to ask and so little time.

"Hey... Sasuke..." I began, "Do... do you miss when we were Team 7?"

He turned away. "Don't be stupid. That's over now."

I could have sworn I'd seen him grin a little as he faced me once again. I laughed. This was the way it was supposed to be.

There was a loud echo on the door. "Sasuke! Naruto!" Sakura yelled, "I have to talk with you!" Her voice had a hint of grimness in it. It couldn't have been good.

But I made up my mind. I was going to start all over again with Sasuke, and make the most of the little time we had left. Yes, that's what I was going to do.

Music is My Life

This is a story about my OC Vocaloid Hana Yukine. Thanks to everyone who has read it ^^

Chapter 1

Hana Yukine. My first name is spelled with the kanji for flower, while my last is spelled with the kanji for snow and sound. At first I didn't understand why I was given such a name. I asked Father, my Creator, to tell me what it really meant. He just smiled.

External Image

As a Vocaloid, my job is to sing. When I first awoke in that swirling, starry room, I was overwelled with fear. I was so naive and helpless at the time. I didn't even know my own name.

"Where am I? How did I get here?" I whispered.

I wasn't greeted by my Creator. Oh no, that came much later. Rather, I was greeted by a girl with long, soft sea green piggy tails and a fair porcelain face. She had a headset with a microphone and an outfit that much resembled a schoolgirl's uniform. Her voice was high, but not near as high as the girl that followed her.

"Hello Hana-chan. My name is Hatsune Miku, and this is Rin Kagamine," she giggled, pointing to a yellow haired girl, "I would introduce you to the others, but seeing as you aren't properly dressed yet, it might be a better idea to wait."

My whole face flushed red. This... is embarrassing. I pushed myself off the floor, and the yellow-headed one -Rin was it?- handed me an outfit. As I unfolded it, I realized how different it was from the others. It had a skirt and shirt like Hatsune's, but the accessories were customized. The tie was purple, and the vest was also purple with 2 belts on each sleeve. I had a pair of ankle boots, but they were covered by thigh-high socks that flared out at the bottom (much like cutoff pants I believe). Hatsune walked to the other side of the room and flipped a switch. I was then surrounded with endless amounts of mirrors. I gazed into them with surprise, shocked at the vast ocean of reflection. It was there that I noticed my plum colored hair and violet eyes.

"Here," Rin said, handing me 2 hairclips, "put these in. As well, here is your headset."

I took them meekly and placed the headset on my head. It fit snuggly, I had to admit. There was a clicking as the hairclips clipped into my hair. I was officially dressed.

"Now," Hatsune announced, gesturing me to her side, "let me explain your situation."

Situation...? What am I, a prisoner? I followed Rin to the other end of the room and stood beside Hatsune. She was slightly taller than me.

"Your name is Hana Yukine. You are the 4th installment in the Vocaloid 2 series. You, me, Rin, we can all sing. Although your data has yet to be inputted, you will be able to sing almost any song in the world. As Vocaloids, singing is our lives."

I was confused. Vo-ca-loid? Data? So... I'm not real? I'm not human? I'm... a humanoid computer?

"I don't understand," I spoke.

Rin rolled her eyes at me. "Is it really that difficult to get? Geez."

Hatsune shot a warning glance at Rin and then smiled. "It's alright Hana-chan. It's hard at first, but before long you'll feel right at home."

I shook my head, "Thank you Miku-san, but that's not what I meant. I'm not real, am I?"

Her eyes grew wide. She knew what I was getting at, and I could tell she didn't want to start with it. But I wanted to know, I needed to know. I wouldn't let the topic go so easily.

"Well, you are most definitely real Hana-chan. You are living in this world with all of us, so you are real. But... not human. As Vocaloids, we do not age. We can break, we can lose our data, but we can never actually "die". Not in the human sense, at least."

Rin was bored. She began to tap her foot on the floor, creating an echo. The mirrors were still around me, and they made me feel smaller and smaller by the second. That girl was so ignorant.

"Look Hana-chan, let's talk about this later alright? I want you to meet the rest of the Vocaloids. I think we'll all be great friends," she chimed, skipping to the door of the room. I had no idea how she could find it in the barrage of reflection.

It opened it with a pop. I peeped through the opening, and was shocked with the sight in front of me.

To be continued in Chapter 2...

Watching

There was complete silence.

The sun rose over Konoha so slowly that morning. It seemed like an absolute eternity, an eternity that of course would never end. A small figure sat inside a large window, hair tangled and untamed. But she didn't care.

The rays of the sun just managed to reach her face, and illuminated the room around her. Yes it was messy. Yes it was dusty. But she still didn't care.

Staring into the sun was bound to damage her, she knew. Somehow, in her heart, she couldn't find the strength to care at all. To care took up so much courage and power, something that she had wasted her strength on. What was the point? In the end it was all in vain. And it left her broken inside and out.

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Oh when would her nightmare end? Even by midday, when the sky was blue and the clouds were fluffy, her nightmare dragged on. She couldn't remove herself from the window. Was it because that was the last place she saw him, peeking through her window and waving to her with a friendly smile? She couldn't decide. All she knew was that he wasn't coming back for her, and she didn't care.

Wait, of course I care! I do care! W-why w-wouldn't I care?! I... She was now struggling with herself. Her mind conflicted with her feelings, raging an unfair and unjust war. She had to put her trust in one of them, but which one? The right choice, or the easy choice? It was so confusing!

She started to slump slowly towards the window. The sun was now going down, the stars beginning to shine through an endless night sky. If only she had been strong enough to protect not only him, but herself.

"Look at me..." she mumbled, "I'm a wreck. I'm useless. I'm weak."

Then, in the midst of all her pain, there was a voice. "You're not any of those things Hinata," it whispered to her, "you are what you want to be."

She jerked her head up. "N-Naruto?"

There was no response. She smashed her hand into the window, and looked down into the street. There were no people, only a few distant lights from some of the homes. She cried and cried, until her eyes were so dry that it would take days for them to rehydrate. What was she really? He believed in everyone, including her, so why couldn't she believe in herself? Why couldn't she step up?

Suddenly, an earthly voice reached out to her and woke her from her daze.

"Hinata..." Neji called from outside the door, "You can't blame yourself forever. Do you think Naruto wanted this? There are people out here waiting for you."

Her eyes grew wide in shock. She wasn't alone, not at all. There was Kiba, Hinabi, Neji, Tenten, Shino, Kurenai-sensei, Sakura, Ino, Shikamaru, Choji... everyone. THEY were waiting for HER. She would stand up! She would get herself together! The only way to get over this was to live the way he had always wanted her to live. Not in the dark, but where she was loved and she worked hard. That's how she was going to move on.

"I'm... I'm coming," she replied, wiping her tears from her face.

She would always have friends. And he would always be watching her.

Distance

A sweet melody chimed in my left pocket. I reached in and grabbed my brand new cellphone. As I continued to walk through the park, an even sweeter melody came through the speaker of my phone.

"Hello Aoi," he said.
"Mizu!" I screamed, almost too loudly, "Mizu! It's been ages!"

I was a little overly excited. But the sound of Mizu's voice was so rare to me now that I could not keep my cool when he had time to call me.

"How are you Aoi? How is it in Tokyo?" he asked calmly.
"I love Tokyo! It's so beautiful here, especially in the spring. I wish you could see what I'm seeing Mizu..."

Suddenly, my heart was pained. I had to stop and take in a breath. The cherry blossoms around me were a sad reminder of the distance between us. Of course Mizu would never see what I could see. He was so far... so far. I hated the very thought of what he did for a living, because it seperated us. After University, I could only ever hear his voice. I didn't even know where he was stationed anymore.

"So Mizu," I managed to cough out, "where are you right now...?"

There was a long pause. For a mintue, I thought he had hung up.

"Aoi, you know I can't tell you that..."

I stood still under the petal rain, and listened to the shuffling in the background. Mizu was not alone.

"I'm sorry Aoi, I have to go," he apologized softly.

I was silent. Who knows when he could call again? I loathed those same words he said to me when I had crossed the line; asked beyond him. He was running from me.

"Mizu... I... P-please don't go!" I cried. I could feel tears welling up. A bit of the salty liquid spilled over and a single tear managed to roll down my cheek. I watched it fall into the pavement with a splash.

"Bye Aoi," he replied. It was a coldhearted tone, and it made me hurt more on the inside.

-----

For weeks I anticipated a new call from Mizu. It was nerve-racking, and I could feel a bit of paranoia beginning to creep over me like an ominous shadow. I could hardly sleep, hardly think, hardly breathe. Before I knew it, my life was centered around that one single call. I waited and waited... months past, seasons flew, and I began to lose my hope of ever hearing his beautiful voice again.

Mizu could play violin, and he could sing. But he chose not to persue those as careers. I never really did understand why. All I knew was that Mizu was somewhere out there, like me, waiting. His waiting wasn't the same though. He was waiting for those orders... the orders that would change his life forever. After University, he became an astronomer. I was fine with that, for there were plenty of facilities in Tokyo. However, he chose to join a top secret government operation, and he left before I could even say goodbye. Since then, I hadn't seen him. He wasn't allowed to reveal his location, and camera phones were strictly out of the question. So, obviously, I would never see him again.

It was spring again, and I walked the same path I had many times before. I watched the soft pink petals drop elegantly to the grass. It was nostalgic, because I still remembered, so many years ago, when Mizu took me to the exact spot I stood on and sung to me. I was so entranced, so distracted, that I hadn't realized the true message behind the lyrics. It was our last spring together.

I sat under the tree, and gazed up into the sky. Where are you Mizu? I miss you so much. I want you to be here with me...

As if by pure coincidence, my phone rang. My heart leaped from my chest and across the street. It was him!

"Mizu! Oh my god! You finally, FINALLY called! I've been waiting!"

Mizu wasn't the same. His voice was no longer a beautiful ring to my ears, but a hard, monotonous bellow that made me shudder in fear.

"Aoi, I have to tell you something..." he whispered.

There was a lump in my throat. How could I answer? How could I answer when I knew what he was about to say?

"I got the orders Aoi. I don't know if I'll make it back," he hinted.

The tears were coming now for sure. Not just one, but a whole fountain. People stared at me in pity as they passed; I was too distraught to notice.

"Mizu, Mizu, MIZU! Please don't go! Please! I've been waiting for you forever, and I miss you more than anything in the world! I love you more than anything in the world! Mizu, Mizu..." I choked, my eyes red and puffy.

"I'm so sorry Aoi... but I have to go."

I slammed my palm into the trunk of the cherry blossom tree. Why, why now? Why him?

"No!" I yelled, tears muffling the seriousness of my voice, "NO! You can't go there! It's a suicide mission! I know it, you know it, THEY know it! They're sending you to die Mizu! You can't leave me here, not when I waited so long for you! You can't!"

Mizu was going to cry as well. I could hear it in his voice as he forced the words out of his mouth. "Aoi, I'm sorry... I'm sorry... Please, stop crying."

I buried my head deep in my knees and screamed his name. Mizu, please don't go, please!

"I love you, Aoi," he breathed.

I gasped, and the line was silent.

-----

The space shuttle launched at exactly 4:06 am on Tuesday. It was destroyed at 12:06 pm on Friday.

Mizu was on that shuttle. He was the only one left that could help the government navigate the ship through the hazy stars and planets. He was forced into a war that he could not win. Everyone died on that ship.

None of the bodies could be retrieved. In the end, I didn't get to see Mizu. Even in death, he was an unknown face to me. Maybe he still did look the same as he once did? I would never know.

The last I heard of Mizu, was the second he died. I was in my room, gazing through the window absent-mindedly, when a pretty sound, almost like a music box, filled the room. It was quiet, but I could make out the words. It was Mizu's song that he had sung to me before he left to persue his career. The song that was everything to me, I could hear one last time. When it faded away, I weeped into my pillow.

The line between our two phones was dead, and so was Mizu.

RE: I STILL LOVE YOU

Naruto quietly opened the door to his home. He slipped inside, and went immediately to his bedroom.

"Euggghhh... What a day. I can't believe how cold hearted Sakura can be," he sighed to himself, as he sprawled out on his lumpy mattress.

A strange beep came from across the room, repeating and repeating. For a while, Naruto ignored it and just stared at the ceiling, replaying the day's events. When he could stand it no longer, he sat up and scanned the room to find where the annoying sound was coming from. Rolling his eyes, he reluctantly pushed himself from the bed and trudged over to his shiny computer.

I got to remember to turn that thing off once in a while. He slid into a chair, and let the screen blink to life. For a while it was unresponsive, but soon the large desktop wallpaper and tiny icons appeared on the transparent glass. With his mouse, he searched for the source of the noise. Finally, a small mail icon appeared on the corner of the screen, flashing in rhythm with the beep. It was sure to cause seizures.

"What in the world...?" He pondered, as a new window popped open and a chain letter faded in. Chain mail? Since when do I get chain mail?

With a shrug, he began to read it.

RE: I STILL LOVE YOU

This really works! Try it!

On your keyboard, type out your name.
Then, out loud, name 7 of your closest friends.
Place your hand on the screen of your computer, and make a wish!
At 12 midnight, the name of your crush will appear, and your wish will come true!

If you don't send this to everyone on your contact list within the next 45 minutes, you will be greeted with an unwanted visitor.

Naruto laughed. He laughed so hard that he fell on the floor, clutching his stomach and rolling on the carpet. This was the most ludicrous email he had ever received!

After 20 minutes of non-stop chuckling, he pulled himself together and sat back on the chair. It was a bunch of nonsense he knew, but inside he REALLY wanted to try it. Maybe to prove it wrong, or perhaps to prove something else...?

He did all the instructions correctly. At 9, he set his frog alarm for 11:45, and drifted into a dreamless sleep.

*****

There was that beeping noise again. Naruto rolled over, still half asleep, and smacked the button of his clock. He really did regret setting it for such a silly message, but his curiosity was getting the best of him. He dragged his jello-y body over to the computer and opened his email.

The screen was bright, really bright. He cringed at the light and waited patiently for his eyes to adjust. He browsed the internet as he anticipated 12 am. Before he knew it, a new mail message had been sent to his inbox. Naruto didn't understand why, but he excitedly opened the message without even reading the title. He was disappointed to find it was exactly the same as his last chain mail.

I should have know. Chain mail is such a waste of time.

In disappointment, he exited his browser and curled up in his sheets. His hopes were so high, and then they were so easily crushed. He knew, even though he wouldn't admit it aloud, his wish would never come true. Magic was his only chance now.

As Naruto snored, his screensaver began to appear. If only he had been awake, if only he had been patient, he may have had a chance to see his wish come true.

Your crush is Hinata Hyuuga.
Sasuke will only come back if you stop doubting yourself.

That screensaver never came again.