Everyone needs closure, even super beings.
Even as a person having the most power in the universe, vulnerability gives way to frustration, and frustration into depression.
The most difficult thing about being a super being is having to hold your strong facade in front of every single person you meet. You are their moral foundation. Once you break down, they also break down. They will try their best to uphold their confidence and have pride in knowing and having fought alongside you. But along with their depression of you being gone, it will either make or break them.
I have to survive, not just for myself or Hinata. But for everyone who needs a symbol of hope and strength against any adversity.
Unfortunately, a small cloud of foreboding had always wandered over my head ever since. It sits above my head, telling me that something is amiss.
But what is amiss and different? I have everything I want. Pain is gone. Hinata is alive and well even after getting killed. In fact, I found her to be the love of my life and would love to have children with her.
My rivalry with Sasuke is evened out although we engage in healthy competition from time to time. Everything is alright in town or in the universe.
So what is this feeling of looming gloominess? Is it the lack of threats? The lack of circumstances to bring out the full potential of my power?
Maybe I’m just too stupid to figure out my own thoughts and feelings. Not even the Nine-Tails can help me beat that one big foe.
I remember Sakura having told me that my rivalry with Sasuke always dominated everything in my life, even my feelings for her. It was true; I realized I was never truly romantically involved with her. I was doing it just to spite Sasuke, who she liked so much.
What did I like about Sakura anyway? She’s scrawny, whiny, and she openly disliked me because she found me annoying. Although we have matured enough to acknowledge strengths and weaknesses to uphold responsibilities and another part of her trusts me to do what’s right, another part probably thinks of me as that prankster of our childhood that everyone in the village immensely hated. And for good reason; I would have hated myself encountering my younger self, too.
But, you have to admit something had indeed happened between Sakura and I. Maybe a small spark. Maybe a little understanding of who and what we were and are now.
Is it possible that I have true feelings for Sakura? That her dialogue was to finally get me away from her and Sasuke’s sharing of love?
Now, now. Entertaining these thoughts would just mean breaking the equilibrium and making things worse for myself.
But why am I craving closure? What is this feeling that I have left something amiss?
Maybe I’ll just sleep on it.
Another day, another peaceful hunt and training mission for the youngsters of the village. Quite happy that my kids are doing well, too. Thanks to Hinata for making sure they’re progressing well.
But then, all to myself are these thoughts that I could never understand. Staring at the stars during the night watch, I can’t help but think of what’s bothering me.
Sakura just walked out with her kids and led them into their home. I bet Sasuke’s happy to see them. She saw me staring at them. She waved and smiled back. I was taken back to those days when she smiled at my pranks while openly disapproving of them. I never really knew if she enjoyed them.
I remember the time having to team up with her, Sasuke, and Kakashi during our early days. Now, we weren’t the best ninja team, but we put our backs to make sure we succeeded in everything we needed to do.
There were times I had to protect Sakura and times that it was Sasuke and Kakashi’s job to do such. During those moments, I felt this certain closeness with Sakura that I could never explain. While you might say that yeah, I was driven to beat Sasuke by winning Sakura’s heart, part of it wished that I wanted to be accepted by her.
Come to think of it, had she ever accepted me for the person that I am?
However, to heck with it; only people you love accept you entirely. I mean, Hinata fell in love with a dumb-move guy, a person who impulsively moves rather than thinking about their actions’ consequences first.
But was it really a ploy, what she said, about my romantic links with Hinata that I never realized, just so she can get me off her back once and for all?
However, I really want to ask her about how why I was unacceptable to her; why I can never be what Sasuke is when he and I are quite similar in many ways.
Tonight, I’m going to ask her about everything, about these unrequited feelings that I confirm were love for her. If it wasn’t love and she explains it, then maybe I can take it and finally have those dark clouds looming overhead gone.
I caught Sakura by the town square. Alone, probably resting from a hard day’s work of tending to trainings and her children and of course, Sasuke.
She waved and smiled that sweet smile she had since we were kids. I waved back.
“Mind if I join you?”
“Oh, sure, not at all.”
The square had plenty of people. The villagers were setting up lights. Someone’s celebrating something. I guess the town committee has that all figured out.
I began. “And how are things with the kids and Sasuke?”
She sighed. “Day in, day out. Training, getting everyone on track with studies, helping out Sasuke with some trek injuries having to clear out the forest with some foreign resistance.”
“Some factionless stragglers. Nothing serious, really.”
I never get these reports. I feel like some secret powerful scroll the village only needs to use in truly dire situations. But then again, maybe they think I should reserve my strength for bigger conflicts.
“How about you?” she looked at me. “How are things with Hinata, huh?”
She smiled. A smile that says you never regretted loving her indeed, and I was right!
It was true. I love Hinata. I love her dearly. She’s the other half of my being. She gives meaning to me along with our children.
But there are things Hinata can’t cure, such as past events that never truly involved her.
“We’re quite okay at home!” I smiled. “Sometimes the kids fool around. You know who they get that from.”
She raised her eyebrow with a smile. “You bet.”
She smirked and said, “remember that time you posed as Sasuke and locked him up so you can get up close to me and I told you, you annoyed me?”
I laughed. Yeah, I did that. We almost kissed.
“Yeah. Good times, huh?”
“We were so young and innocent.” She stared upwards. “We never knew we’d be fighting for the world when we grew up.”
Indeed. I just had to ask one more question at this point, and I was done. Or so I thought.
“Sakura,” I said. “When you knew it was a suicide mission, who did you think of when the world of hurt hurled upon us?”
She frowned a bit, stared at the ground thinking of events ten years ago. “I thought of this village, of you, and of Sasuke last. I thought I would lose everything.”
Thought of me, as a sidenote. But that’s okay though, somehow, there’s a certain comfort to it.
Now she had a question.
“After we talked about Hinata, who did you think about before Pain killed her?”
I held my left palm with my right thumb.
“It was Hinata, and then you.”
She looked at me, surprised.
I kept looking at my hands.
“You know, even if you might be right that it was all about rivalry with Sasuke and a competition-based winning of affection, there was a small part of me that believed in that feeling; that maybe you would learn to love me one day.”
Her turn to stare at the ground.
“Well I…” she said.”I always saw that you had something better in common with Hinata. Remember that time you encouraged her to fight her cousin because she’s better and she’s not worthless at all?”
I do. I cheered her on. I put her through so much pain. But still, she kept encouraging me when it was my turn to fight Neji. But like Sakura said…
“You did say I was stupid not to realize I liked her.”
“You bet your butt you’re stupid.” She laughed.
“But what keeps me wondering sometimes is,” I looked up the sky. “Why did I think of you often without Sasuke in the back of my head?”
She stopped laughing.
“Maybe there was a thrill to, you know, winning the heart of someone who might like you but not entirely.” She said.
That’s true. Was this closure I needed something about being competitive? Or was it because I lost? Or was it because I really felt something more?
But she was right; there was thrill to winning someone’s heart than being accepted by someone wholeheartedly, even if you yourself accept this particular person entirely, too.
“So you mean we were playing a game?” I said.
“You and Sasuke, probably. He wasn’t even aware both of you were playing.” She started laughing again.
“Both of you are just soooooo dumb.”
I stared at her. “But you yourself had to win his heart. We both know how Sasuke is.”
The man was a loner. He always fought and looked like he never cared, but he did. Sakura made him realize this when, shone the illusion of both their deaths, Sakura was paralyzed but Sasuke fought the illusion to save her.
A life-or-death situation huh? That’s just unfair. But nothing’s fair when it comes to human feelings.
She was still looking at the ground. “I have to say though,” breaking the silence, “out of the two of us, you won.”
I stood up. She looked up at me. “It’s getting late though and these guys are gonna throw their party real soon.” I looked at her. “See you around!”
I’m not sure why Sakura never left the town square after I strolled home.
Lonely night’s watch. The same thoughts and feelings. Why is it Sakura? Why did it have to be Sakura? Was it because I had Hinata that I never felt this? Was it because both of us were fighting for the affections of someone who we thought couldn’t love us back? Is she unbothered by it because she did win Sasuke’s heart?
So many questions. I need to fight. I need to hunt something strong.
Who was that? I suddenly triggered my fight mechanism and stood on stance, only to see Sakura, standing behind me in this watchtower.
“Hey! How’s it going? Trying out for night’s watch?”
She stared forward.
“About what you said…”
I just smiled. “What I said is just probably a truth I have to accept.”
I looked at her straight. “And no, you don’t have to take pity on me; I’m happy where I am with Hinata.”
“Then why did you have to tell me that I won?”
Surprised by her suddenly-risen voice, I grew tense.
“Because you did, and I’m happy for you.”
“And now I can’t be happy because I was the only one to enjoy what you couldn’t!”
I was appalled. But it made sense, somehow. “What is it I can’t enjoy?”
“Winning someone’s heart, their affections, because you had a shared experience.”
She looked at me. “You know what I mean. Don’t play dumb with me even if you are the dumbest person I know!”
The people who can call me dumb are Hinata and Sakura. Anyone else would be pummeled to the floor by now.
“Can you blame me…” I said. “If I continue to feel all my efforts my entire adolescent life have always gone to the person who never really cared?”
Her turn to keep quiet.
“Can you blame me if I keep feeling that all those efforts and times I cared, regardless of being competitive or not, was to impress you because I liked you?”
We stared at each other.
“I don’t want you to pity me because you were the best of me. You always were the best of me, Sakura. You always were. And you being happy became more imperative than for me to win your heart.”
She suddenly knelt on the floor. I saw her crying. What is happening? Am I being dumb again?
“Naruto, why do you always have to be so dumb?” and I was right.
“I was always dense to start with.”
She spoke with her face buried in her hands.
“You always did love me. You always did accept everything I did, my weakness and strengths. I want you to know that I hold every effort you made in my heart.
“That night you left me in the square. I was thinking of my own cruelty to make you realize you loved someone else and summarizing every affection you had for me into just a competitive gesture with Sasuke. “
I just stared at her. But I think I had it figured out. The clouds in my head started stirring.
She looked at me now with swollen eyes. She held my face.
“This is not out of pity. This is not because I want to forgive myself for what I did to you.” she said.
It was still very confusing. I never really knew what to do with this information she’s telling me, but it felt right.
“This is because we can never turn back time again.”
Does that mean she loves me?
She pulled me closer. Our lips met. So she does love me. Or maybe the past tense is more like it.
“Let me feel what we could have been.”
I felt her head push closer and her arms lock around me. Automatically, I returned the gesture. A long, hard kiss.
A sudden feeling of my vest loosening. Suddenly feeling her hair falling loose. An irresistible urge to follow the scent of her perfumed neck. Hearing the heavy breathing. Hearing my own palpitations.
I buried my face and planted my lips along the line of her pristine neck. Her scent can drive any man insane. Her beauty is truly unparalleled in this village.
I removed her own vest and underclothing. She pushed me forward, landing on my back. Sakura started running her lips on my neck, then to my chest, and then to the passion pulsating right between. I can feel her chest rising and falling as her mouth enclosed everything that desire stood for. Every pulse and pump a testament to the years she lost because of one thing she made herself, and myself, believe through all these years.
It was my turn to carry her. I impaled her with every withheld love and effort I had with her. It was a different feeling with Hinata. It was a different feeling when you finally unite with someone you have always fought for all these years.
It was as if every movement I made electrified her. And in turn, her very person reciprocated in kind. A special, warm, and welcoming feeling that was rare because it wasn’t yours, to begin with, and it will never be yours.
The event was an anomaly. But it was necessary to introduce the one thing we both needed now: closure.
What did I need for closure? Clearly, it was not the desire for physical intimacy as a reward, but rather the recognition that you too, are valuable to this one person you thought can love you back.
It was a play of probabilities, and this particular event had to be played out to be observed by both of us.
I turned her body and initiated myself inside of her. Smelling her hair, feeling the soft skin of her neck with my lips. Caressing her ample bosom. Feeling her every being. Keeping them in memory, storing them in memory not to pleasure myself, but to make it a symbol that everything that begins has an end.
And after tonight, all my feelings for Sakura will forever be etched, untouched, but never forgotten. After releasing every raw intimacy I had with Sakura, she and I knew it had to go on until the night wanted us to move forward.
We touched each other and became electrified with every encounter. It was similar to a feeling that you can never describe, but you always wanted. It was a feeling of something you knew would never happen again. My lips wrapped every part of her as hers did myself. I wanted to consume every single bit of her body in any form, as she did me.
I wanted to truly commit to memory the feeling of her thrust and pleasure inside of her; the taste of her lips, her scent, the gentle softness of her breasts, the flaming desire in her eyes. I have never longed for them, but they symbolized everything that never went right, until now.
As the morning was almost approaching in the last hour before the watch ended, we lay beside each other. Her arms were around my chest; my left arm cradled her head close to my neck.
“What have we done, Naruto?” she began.
“Went back in time.” I said.
“Do you still love me?”
“I always will, you know.”
She rested her head on my chest.
“And I always will love you too. In a different way. In a way that will not affect the decisions we have taken.”
I agreed on the idea. In fact, the entire being of me agreed, once in my life.
School’s out, training’s done, my son Boruto looked dastardly and rugged, just like his old man when he fought against Neji. Hinata and I laughed about it and remembered the first time I cheered for her as she cheered and cared for me. I’m pretty sure this is what love is.
So, what is this love between Sakura and I?
Come night’s watch, the dark clouds that usually accompanied me were gone. I felt light. Has everything I felt been settled? I’m too dumb to know.
Downright in front, Sakura escorted her kids into their house. She looked up the watchtower and waved, smiling the same smile as always. I waved back, smiling that smile that said I was truly happy, or so I felt.
Maybe happiness is a choice. But closure is something everyone will need, even though they are dumb enough to know they needed. And that realization is the one true evidence that Sakura did love me all these years.