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Chapter Fourteen: Sasuke's Inner Truth

Sora and the others managed to leap onto the massive snake’s head and confront Orochimaru at last. Naruto and Sasuke gasped though, when they saw the third Hokage’s body defeated and dead on the ground. They glanced back at Orochimaru, who now had a crazed look in his eyes. “Yes, that’s right, I killed old Sarutobi! Oh, he almost succeeded with that reaper death seal of his, but I opened my heart to darkness and realized true power!” Naruto growled with rage, and furiously made hand signs for a jutsu. Orochimaru merely smirked.

“Shadow Clone-ACK!” Naruto’s stomach area flashed and caused him to jolt with pain. He fell to one knee, breathing heavily. “What the heck?! What’s going on?” He leapt up and tried again, but met the same result. Orochimaru laughed insanely.

“Haven’t you guessed by now, fool? It’s impossible for you to do anything that requires chakra! I placed on you a Five Pronged Cursed Seal! You have no hope of defeating me now!” Naruto ripped open his shirt and saw the five spirals on his stomach, each one sizzling with smoke.

Orochimaru gasped when he suddenly saw Sasuke hovering mid-leap over him. “That doesn’t mean I don’t!” Sasuke delivered a kick straight to Orochimaru’s face, and skidded a few feet back as he initiated a jutsu.

“Fire Style: Phoenix Flower Jutsu!” He inhaled and then released a massive fireball at Orochimaru, who simply batted it aside with his bare hand.

“Poor idiotic boy. You just don’t seem to get it, do you? With darkness on my side, I’m invincible! No one can stop me!” Orochimaru waved his hand, and several Heartless erupted from the snake’s scaly skin. They dogpiled onto Sasuke, their claws digging into his flesh. In a few moments they exploded off of him, and Sasuke glared at Orochimaru with strange new eyes. His pupils had turned into red circles with three small spirals surrounding a black center.

Orochimaru beamed. “Ah, the Sharingan. How I’ve longed to watch you die fighting with it.” Sasuke sprinted toward Orochimaru with his fists at the ready. He sighed, and motioned with his index and middle finger for his dark blade to strike. He punched Sasuke backwards, then swept his hand forward, a sign for his dark blade to stab him through the heart.

Sora, Donald, and goofy ran to stop the sword, but Heartless sprang up to prevent them. They watched helplessly as the blade sped at Sasuke like lightning, but at the last second a pink blur leaped to intercept the sword’s blow. A splat of blood echoed over the battlefield.

Sasuke opened his eyes and gasped at who stood in front of him. Sakura cried out as she fell to the ground, the blade gouged deep into her chest. Sasuke scrambled over and drew out the blade, tossing it away from her. Her turned her over and held up the side of her face desperately. “No, Sakura! Come on, you’re all right! Sakura, please no! NO!” His eyes brimmed with tears as he watched her beautiful face serenely quiet, and he buried his face in her shoulder. He sobbed uncontrollably, not noticing when her eyes opened slightly.

“Sa…suke? Is that you?” He lifted his head up and cradled hers in his hands. Her mouth formed a weak smile when she saw his face. She lifted her hand up to his mouth and pursed his lips with her finger. “Please, don’t cry over me… I know you don’t feel that way…”

He shook his head. “No Sakura, I do! I always have! It’s just…” He broke off, and his tears stung his eyes. Sora and the others managed to wrestle their way past the Heartless and ran over to Sakura’s aid. Sora and Donald crossed their weapons over Sakura and cast their spells.

“Curaga!” The two castings sank into Sakura’s body, and her wounds and bleeding receded. She slowly sat up on her knees and took Sasuke’s hands in hers. He looked away, his eyes still shut.

“I…I can’t feel this way about you Sakura! Until my brother is dead I cannot be this close to anyone!” He looked at her with his tear-stained eyes. “When I was little, my older brother Itachi killed all of the people in my clan, and left me alive for only one reason: to surpass and kill him one day. I am left alive because I am to be an avenger. And you have to realize…my brother has powerful allies, and if I am to destroy him, I can’t let them know that anyone is precious to me!”

He grasped her shoulders and drew her close to him. “Sakura, I know how you feel about me, and I feel the same! But we can’t be together! I couldn’t…” He looked at her and brushed her hair out of her face softly. “I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

Her eyes welled up, and she whispered, “Aw, Sasuke…” He began to let go, but Sakura stopped him. She drew close until her face was inches from his. “What ever enemies you face, whatever trials you need to overcome… we’ll do it together.” She pulled him in and they met in a gentle and passionate kiss. Naruto watched in pain, not just from the mark either.

When they broke, Sasuke looked at Sakura with intense feeling, and for the first time in anyone’s memory, smiled with genuine affection as he said her name. “Sakura…” He hugged her tightly. “Thank you.”

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