Chapter 14: A Friend Like You

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"So... How much do you know Sakura?" Lee asked curiously.

Gaara opened his eyes slightly in thought and said. "More, actually... But, there are some things I want to get to know her. She likes to keep things to herself, which she holds them closely to her. That is one of the traits that she has. When I look up at the sky, I always wonder if it's still worth fighting for someone who just suddenly leaves you... Are you still capable to love, even when you're hurt?" He looked ahead without breaking an eye contact at the view of birds flying by.

Lee pause for a moment in surprise as he placed his finger in speculation, then answered. "Hm... I suppose." He chuckled nervously with a grin and continued sincerely. "It all depends on the person. My love for Sakura will never change. I mean, she may not love me that way. Though, she is capable to love me back, even as friends. That's all that really matters and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Gaara blinked and replied softly. "I see... Yeah. She truly does love her friends and family so much."

Lee nodded in agreement. "Her state is not so well, actually."

"Is that so?" Gaara said rhetorically. He didn't ask any questions further. He decided to go and find out what really happened to her again.

Somewhere else is where Naruto finally catches up to Sasuke and starts to call out his name.

"What, are you going to run away!?" The blonde-haired questioned in frustration.

The dark-haired ninja slowly turns himself around and greeted monotonously, showing his curse seal on the left side of his face without a disinclination, much to Naruto's horror. "Hey... Dumbass. Is it you this time...?"

Naruto kept narrowing his eyes even further at him in anger as he recalled the moment of Sakura pleading him to bring Sasuke back.

"I told Sakura this... So don't bother me anymore," the dark-haired ninja said emotionless, then laughs like Orochimaru and asks. "What's with the grim face?"

The blonde-haired ninja's expression was starting to falter into sadness and betrayal and interrogates him silently. "Why... Sasuke? What made you like this!? Why!!"

"What does any of this have to do with you? I have my own path. I won't let anyone lead me any other way. No matter who it is. Let me make this clear to you, my childish games with you leaf shinobi are over. Go home," The dark-haired ninja demanded sternly.

Naruto protested to emphasize a point in exasperation. "Chouji, Neji, Kiba, Shikamaru and Bushy-Brows... They all risked their lives to follow you here."

"Good for them," Sasuke uttered sarcastically as he turned around to walk away from him. Though, he noticed Naruto's shadow above him, now that he's getting closer.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT YOUR LEAF COMRADES!!" The blonde-haired ninja yelled out in rage when he landed on top of him and kept punching him to get into his senses.

Sasuke glanced at him and spitted out blood on his face and asks quietly without feeling any pain. "So do I get any stronger staying with those 'comrades?' I'm going to Orochimaru."

"Orochimaru was the one who killed the third and tried to crush the leaf village! You think he's just going to give you some power for free?!!" Naruto argued truthfully as he clenched his grip on his shirt and resumed. "He just wants your body to use as his container!! You might not come back! You might get killed! I can't let you go somewhere like that!"

"I don't care... All I care about is that I accomplish my objective. I can't help it if you're going to get in the way," Sasuke answered darkly.

"You can't do it! I'll take you back with full force!" Naruto instructed boldly, much to the dark-haired ninja's amusement.

"If I recall, that fight was interrupted," Sasuke said smirking.

"That wasn't the fight I wanted... Even now," Naruto cried out quietly in distress.

"Why the hell should I care about you?" He questioned as he got up from his feet and grasp his neck tightly, lifting him up from his feet. Then, he jabbed him on his stomach, thus spilling out blood and letting him fall down the river. "Brother... No matter how deep I have to plunge myself into darkness, I will do it in order to kill you. No matter what happens, I will get that power!!"

Sasuke informs Naruto that he doesn't dream of the future, only the past as he remembers his close bond with his older brother, Itachi. Naruto ignores him as he tries using force again and attacks Sasuke. But the dark-haired ninja dodges it and uses Dragon Flame Jutsu and sends it towards Naruto.

The blonde-haired ninja rises from the flames unharmed, and Sasuke remembers his childhood, while doing battle with him. Reminiscing his memories, Sasuke learns the Fire Ball jutsu, thus gaining his father's attention. Aside from that, Fugaku Uchiha tells him not to follow his brother's foot steps. He then starts to wonder if he is only to replace his brother. His mother confirms everything else is alright. After doing this, he looks back at the time of him heading to school and deciding that he will not lose to Itachi.

In the present time, Naruto and Sasuke begin to fight. This time, it was more than just rivalry. This time, it was personal.

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