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.

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.

End