In this story, Sarada is 15-years-old, which is roughly 3 years after meeting Sasuke for the first time. (I believe Sarada was 12… not sure.) The Boruto Movie never happened, and Sasuke didn't finish his mission until now. And that entails just receiving information for the Hokage.

This is my first tragic FF, so I hope I did good. I went back about 20 times to edit and perfect. It probably still has a few boo-boos, so don't mind those.

Well, here it is!

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Sarada

It always rained on days like this. It couldn't just be a coincidence. I used to like the rain. I watch it slide down the glass of my window and merge with the earth once again—a never ending cycle. The same goes for life and death.

There was a funeral today. And I suddenly found myself hating the rain.

Everyone in the village was there—everyone. Shinobi who were on missions came home early when they heard the news. Villagers gathered, shopkeepers closed their doors, children paused in their studies. Everyone…came to pay their respects. Even those from neighboring nations came. All five Kage showed to pay their respects for the death of our Fallen comrade.

But…there was still someone missing.

I sat up high in a tree, my legs dangling far over the heads of those you passed to the burial grounds. Black umbrellas and cloaks merged with one another, making it nearly impossible to tell them apart. Most people said nothing, their black robes blending together in a sea of dark, depressing water. Some murmured rumors of what they believed caused the death of the fallen, some whispered the possibilities of threats to our village. None of it mattered. It happened, and that…was that.

"Sarada."

I heard my name from below—The Seventh Hokage, Naruto Uzumaki. His eyes were clouded with sadness, and it looked like he hadn't slept in weeks. Though, he probably hadn't. He'd been prepping the funeral for the last two days, and before that there was an attack near the village he sent teams to investigate. Being Hokage was a tough job, but I was always told that if anyone could do it, Naruto could.

I pushed off the branch and gently landed on the ground next to him. It felt like my body was as heavy as iron, but it felt was brittle and breakable as glass. I hadn't slept or eaten much since…it happened.

I stood, bowing slightly. "Lord Seventh," I greeted, not liking the way my own voice sounded: broken.

I felt his hand on my shoulder, calm and gentle. When I looked up again, his sad, tired smile greeted me back. "He'll show. I guarantee it."

'So he knew why I was up there, looking into the sea of black clothes and gloomy faces. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything less from him of all people.'

I averted my gaze. "What…What if he didn't get the message we sent? What if…he doesn't come?"

"Sasuke will be here," he assured me. The look on his face told me there wasn't room for argument, so I bit back a retort.

"Come on. Everyone's been gathered. They're waiting for us." He guided me gently up the path the others had been.

'Not everyone,' I thought, but didn't say aloud. I looked over my shoulder again, hoping he'd appear there. 'You better not be late…Dad.'

When we made it to the funeral grounds, all eyes were on us as the Hokage walked me to my place next to the gravestone. I couldn't look at it… I wouldn't dare turn my gaze to read what it said. My heart couldn't bare it.

Although, I felt better being surrounded by my friends. To my left were a few of my classmates: Shikadai, ChōChō, Mitsuki, and Boruto. And to my right was the close friends of the fallen Shinobi… The Seventh Hokage included. He turned to address everyone, taking a deep breath and then let it out slowly.

"Today…we honor the dead. Today…we mourn the loss of a fellow Shinobi."

My heart was beating so fast I thought for sure it would burst from my chest. But, my body felt numb; I felt as though I was frozen in place by a genjutsu.

'I can't believe…this is reality. This is…really happening.'

"This isn't the only death we've had caused by the attack, and everyone will he honored in their sacrifice to keep our village safe." He looked hard at the ground, his fists clenched at his sides. "No one is to blame for this but the actions of those who attacked our village without warning. Believe me, I want nothing more than to find out who exactly is behind this and make them answer for what they've done. But…that would make us no better than the people who are responsible."

You could feel the anger roll off of the Seventh Hokage in waves. He was hurting just as much as I was—as we all were. And by the look of the villagers and other Shinobi, they felt it, too. Me? I was done. I was done with fighting for nothing—fighting and coming out as the loser. I would rather curl up in a ball and ignore everything… And I really wanted to kill the bastards responsible. I wanted them to pay, to feel pain, to suffer! I wanted—

I felt a hand gently wrap around my fist I hadn't known I'd made. It was Boruto. His eyes held sympathy, and I hadn't that look. We gently unfolded my hand and I saw…blood. I had been clenching my fist so hard I'd actually drawn blood. I never felt the pain, though now I feel a dull ache. I snatched my hand back, cradling it to my chest.

The Seventh's voice lightened. "We will handle the enemy Shinobi who were captured during the attack. We will get answers from them, and then…we will move on." He paused for a moment. "I used to always think 'fight fire with fire' because that was the only thing that made sense. If they punched me, I'd punch them right back, twice as hard. But soon, as I grew up, I learned to think first, throw a few punches later." He motioned to everyone before him with his hands. "If we stoop to their level and fight back just as they have—if we were to attack a heavily populated village and show no mercy—then we are no better then them. So, the best thing for us…" His eyes met mine, a knowing look I didn't quite understand in his eyes. "…for all of us, is to move forward. One foot after the other. Don't look back, because it will only slow you down. That way, together, we won't be stepping over corpses… Instead, we'll be stepping toward happiness and peace—peace with ourselves and those around us."

I felt a tear slip down my cheek. I hadn't even known I had tears in my eye. I wondered briefly if my face had even shown any kind of expression. But, all at once, a way of emotions hit hard, and I had to bite my lip to keep from mavin a total meltdown right then and there.

He was right, of course. I couldn't get the idea in my head that they—whoever attacked us—deserved the pain and sadness that we felt. Because then…I would wind up just like them.

Naruto turned his back to us. "Today, we say good-bye to a fellow Shinobi, a comrade, a classmate, a friend, a daughter, a mother."

His voice was thick with emotion as he spoke up again:

"Sakura Uchiha, it was an honor and privilege to work along side you on our missions, to learn and teach with you as we grew up. I'm honored to be your daughter's Godfather and Uncle. I'm honored to have fought alongside you in the war that nearly brought our world to an end. You always had my back… You were a great friend, Sakura—a great sister even. So…" He bowed deeply just as a tear slipped past his cheek. "Thank you…"

The rest of the ceremony went on as the rain slowed to a light drizzle. A few others stood up to say something nice about my mother. Others simply bowed in respect and left. Eventually, everyone stepped forward to bow before the gravestone. It was a simple, kind gesture that showed respect. It was the last gift the village gave before departing completely.

And yet…still no sign of Sasuke Uchiha.

Soon enough, it was just me and Naruto Uzumaki, the village's once well known knuckle-head-ninja.

I finally brought myself to look at the headstone. It was a smooth yet jagged rock placed gently and careful over my mother's grave.

I was torn between going back home and going to the nearest mountain and screaming at the top of my lungs. 'Maybe then Dad will hear and come running,' I though bitterly. 'I can't believe…he didn't show up for his own wife's funeral…'

I felt Naruto's hand on my shoulder. "You know, there was a time I was head-over-heels for Sakura…"

His face held an expression that showed he was recalling the old days when him and my mother and father were back at the academy. I hadn't known that, but I was sure he knew that already.

"She either never noticed or just thought I was annoying. Or both," he quickly added before letting out a light chuckle. "She was a good friend, a great comrade, and an even better mother. She loved you and your father so much."

The mention of that man suddenly struck a nerve. I slapped his hand away and turned on him, pain and fear firing though my heart.

"Well, clearly he doesn't feel the same!" I shouted. "Where is he, huh? If he loves us so much then why the hell isn't he hear?"

My throat thickened with sobs that threatened to come out. I fired off question after question, fulling knowing that I probably wasn't going to get an actual response. "Why isn't he telling me he loves me, telling me that everything is going to be okay, like a normal father? If he cares so damn much like everyone says he does, then why didn't he come to his wife's funeral?!"

By the end I was panting, breathing heavily from sputtering out so many words and feeling so lost and sad and confused. My body vibrated with pain, the self-inflicted wound on my hand coming back to life as I clenched my fists at my side.

I thought he would yell at me, scold me for saying something so harsh about his best friend—my father. To my surprise, he smiled. Then he placed his badged hand on my head and ruffled my hair. Normally I would have been upset, but not today. Not that my hair could look worse—I haven't tended to it like usual.

"I'll meet you back at the hospital," he said simply, not bothering to answer me. A little more loudly, he called over his shoulder, "You can take over from here, can't you, Sasuke?"

'Did he say…?'

I felt my eyes go wide as The Seventh Hokage stepped aside and started walking away. A tall, dark-haired figure in a cloak behind him took his place. His eyes were as black as night, and skin just as pale as mine. There was no mistaking it…

The clouds started to part, and small tiny rays of afternoon sun shown through.

"D-Dad…?"

His expression my have portrayed nothing, but the pain, sorrow, guilt, and anger in his eyes reflected my own. 'He got my message after all…!'

"Sarada…"

That was all it took.

"Dad!"

Hot tears pooled in my vision as every emotion I'd bottled up swelled over. I lunged for him and wrapped my arms around him. I barely noticed that I was nearly as tall him now—one arm draped over his shoulder and the other wrapped around his back. I felt his arm immediately pin me to him, holding me as close as I held him. I was pretty sure my leg's and given out from under me, because he was suddenly supporting all of my weight as I cried and waled relentlessly into his cloak, letting everything out.

"I'm sorry, Sarada…" he murmured, his voice barely audible. "I'm sorry I'm late…"

Naruto my have been close with my mom, but my dad… He was the only one who felt exactly as I felt. Well, at least I assumed so. And he was the only one who could pull me out of the darkness before I slipped too far. He continued to try and calm me, but it was easier said then done. I was a lot like my mother in that aspect. I may have been good at hiding what I felt at times like my dad, but my mom could never bite her tongue for too long.

Eventually, my tears subsided to small, pained hiccups. I leaned heavily on my father for support as we stood and watched the sun bathe my mother's headstone in golden light. Soon enough, the tears stopped, but my heart didn't stop aching. The pain of losing my mother and the fear I felt when I thought my dad wasn't coming home hurt a lot. That was something only time could heal. We stood there for what felt like hours, until it was eventually time to go home.

Before we walked away, Dad walked slowly up to the headstone and stared down at it for a long time. Then, he gently placed his hand on the rough rock, petting it softly.

"Thank you…Sakura. I loved you, truly. And I wish I could go to where you've gone." His voice was heavy with grief and thick with guild. But…I left his love even from just a few feet behind him. He really did love my mom, even though he rarely showed it.

Then, with a whip of his cloak, he turned and together we started our walk.

There was a long few minutes were we didn't say anything, just walking in silence. But I couldn't take it anymore.

"Hey… Dad?"

He looked at me, a silent notion for me tot continue. "I'm…sorry about what I said. I was just…hurting. With Mom gone its…" I swallowed a sob. "Its like there's this black whole inside me, and I can't pull myself from it. I guess…you never know what you have…until its gone."

After a moment, he nodded. "I know exactly how that feels. And…" He took a big breath, and then let it out slowly. "Well, I never wanted to feel that way again. When I was young, I devoted my entire being into becoming strong. It backfired, and I wound up just hurting myself more. However, if it weren't for the decisions I made in the past, I never would have lost my left arm. Your mother…" He looked over at me again. "Well, let's just say I'm more surprised than anyone that Sakura forgave me."

I don't know why, but that made me smile just a little. "Yeah. I heard you were a real jerk back then."

His brow furrowed. "Who told you that?"

I gave him a sideways glance. "Uncle Naruto."

"Of course he did," he said with a sigh.

We were about to come up to the hospital when I remembered: "Oh, yeah. Speaking up Uncle Naruto, I'm supposed to meet him at the hospital."

"The hospital?" Dad looked at me curiously. His eyes scanned me for injuries.

I smiled reassuringly, waving my hand as if to brush his worry away. "I'm fine. I just need to pick up—"

I stopped myself short. 'That's right. He…he doesn't know.'

His brows came together in confusion. He clearly had no idea what I was talking about. 'Oh, no…'

I suddenly recalled her mentioning that the last time I asked her. Her bright smile flashed in my mind: 'I want to surprise him when he comes home again!'

My heart clenched hard. 'Now…I have to tell him…'

I looked down at the ground as we walked, pondering the best way to do this.

"Sarada, what is it?"

I stumbled for words. "Let's…just get to the hospital. It's easier if I just show you…"

Before he could argue or ask any more questions, I quickly walked into the hospital's front doors, my father hot on my heels. Not many people were around, having been given the day off. Though couldn't very well send everyone home for the day, considering someone had to keep an eye on patients.

"Sarada," he called, closely trailing behind me.

"We're going to the second floor," I said over my shoulder, portending he hadn't said anything at all. "We…need to clear out Mom's office, too… But Miss Kuranai said to take my time with that…"

'Distracting him isn't going to work—he can see right through you.'

We made it to the second floor, ascending the stairs quickly. I think I had started sprinting by time we made it to the top of the steps. He was always just a step or two behind me.

"Sarada." This time when he called to me, I stopped dead in my tracks. His voice was stern, and it was clear he wanted answers. "Where are we going? Why aren't you telling me what it is we're here for?"

'Gee, maybe because I now I have to break your heart just a little more?' I thought sarcastically, bitterness gripping me hard as I clenched my fists. I felt blood drip from my hand—I'd forgotten about that damn cut in my palm from earlier.

I half turned to him, facing the window. "Do…Do you know how she died?" I asked after a few moments of silence.

He didn't answer, which meant he didn't.

"We—me and Mom—decided we were going to pick fresh herbs from the forest just outside the village. It…was just a simple walk… It should have been so peaceful, just me and her walking out through the woods. What we didn't realize was that we were walking right into a trap."

He listened intently, watching me.

I wrung my hands nervously, hating the feeling of being put on the spot. "I knew something felt off, but I ignored it. Something in me told me to turn around and drag Mom with me, even if she went kicking and screaming. But…" I swallowed hard, almost chocking on a sob. "We…were ambushed by rouge ninja from one of the neighboring nations."

Only one showed themselves, but I knew there were more lurking around. Someone in the distance performed a Jutsu that covered the surrounding area with mist, and we could barely see each other. They were ruthless, threatening to kill us right then and there. No matter how much I asked, they wouldn't tell me what they wanted. Then, like they were trying to scare us, we threw a lot of kunai and surakin at as. One by one, I fended them off" I squeezed my eyes shut, blocking the tears from falling before they could form. "All…but one."

Dad took a step towards me. "That doesn't sound right. Sakura was better than that. There must have been something—"

"She was pregnant."

The words were like a Chidori through the heart. They hung in the air and I let the information sink in. When I looked over at him, he was frozen in place, face shaded by the hair that hung in his eyes. His expression we pretty much what I expected: shocked and pained.

"The kunai struck near her heart, severing a main artery. She was just over eight months along… She could barely walk, let alone defend herself in an attack. Whatever juts she would attempt to preform would be useless, because the baby drains her strength as it is."

I bit my lip to keep from crying. "I…couldn't protect her…and now—" I took a breath, deciding to avoid that sensitive subject. "She was loosing too much blood too fast, and with the baby still growing, her body didn't have the fight she used to have back then."

I shifted from one foot to the other and switched topics. "She…wanted to surprise you when you came home. I told her that was stupid, and that maybe…you'd come home sooner if she'd said something as soon as she found out. But…she was stubborn—wouldn't take my advice on the matter."

"S-Sakura… She was…"

I looked back at the window. "I took Mom as fast as I could to the hospital. When I passed through the front gates, Shinobi were already on their way out. Sensory ninja must have saw what was going on and went after to ones who attacked us. Apparently they caught two of them—the others got away. Anyway, I made it to the hospital—Aunt Hinata said it was bad and…" I clenched at my chest, as if my heart was actually breaking. "If I'd just…been a little bit faster. If I'd been stronger… I could have protected her…!"

Hot tears threatened to flow again, and then I remembered The Seventh's words at the funeral today: 'The best thing for us…for all of us, is to move forward.'

I shook my head back and forth, trying to get the image of my mother bleeding out in my arms from my head. But it would remain there…forever. But, I won't let what happened get me down, because that's not the life she wanted for me. She may not have blamed mr for what happened, but I do. And I won't let that slow me down. I'll keep moving forward, no matter what.

'I'll keep us moving forward, Mom… I promise.'

After a long pause, I kept going with my story:

"I refused to be left in the hall and watched as they tried to stop the blood flow…and to keep the baby alive. I held her hand and screamed for her to stay with me…" I wiped a tear away subconsciously. "Ultimately, there was nothing they could do. She was too weak, and losing too much blood. Before she died…she squeezed my hand, smiled that ridiculous smile at me, and…she said she wanted you to name the baby. This…was her last gift to you… To us."

Hesitantly, I reached out to him and grabbed his hand, squeezing it as it shook with rage. I knew how he felt—I wanted nothing more than to rip the word apart to exact revenge on my mother's killer. But now wasn't the time.

When I pulled him into the view of the window, the shaking quickly stopped. I would never tell as soul what I saw on his face when I showed him the dark-haired infant sleeping comfortably in a white fluffy blanket on the other side of the glass.

He clearly wasn't going to say anything, so I did. "Mom was about eight months along, so he was born pre-mature. He has to stay here until I can finish getting the house ready." I sighed sadly, suddenly feeling exhausted. "I…haven't had much motivation to do anything."

The baby—my little brother—started to squirm, his tiny face twisted in either pain or loneliness. It was like he suddenly sensed us there and wanted to be held. Faster then I thought possible, the Shinobi standing beside me was through the door that was just next to the glass window and at his cradle faster than I could blink. With the door open, I could hear his wails as tiny tears leaked down his little, pink face. He looked down helplessly at him, gently brushing the tips of his fingers over the tuff of black hair. And if I looked closely, I could see glints of dark pink shine in the light.

I joined my father in the room. I probably shouldn't have, because he was still so little, but I carefully picked the infant up, and placed him in his arm. Almost immediately, he stopped crying. His face relaxed and he was soon fast asleep again.

A smile spread on my face. "Wow. It's like…he knows it's you. It takes me a least 10 minutes or more to get him to stop crying," I told him matter of factly.

It was like he didn't hear me. He was so entranced by the newest addition to our family to notice anything I'd said. When he did speak, I barely heard him.

"I'm…supposed to name him?"

"I…asked mom once if she even thought of names a few months ago. She told me she liked 'Eiji', but was going to wait to ask you…"

He continued to stare at him, like he was memorizing ever detail on his tiny face. The Shinobi's expression was as blank as ever, so it was hard to tell what he was feeling. But, then again, what I did know was that he was thinking.

"You don't have to decide today," I commented after a long silence. "Let's just take our time and—"

"His name is Hisashi."

I was taken aback by his sudden announcement, but smiled. "Hisashi Uchiha… I like it." I stifled a laugh when I realized something. "So, I guess we're breaking the 's'-themed names, huh?"

When I looked up at him…I could have cried all over again. But it would be tears of joy, not pain or sadness. I don't think I've ever seen such a genuine, bright smile on his face as he looked from Hisashi to me. Then, he leaned over and softly kissed my forehead, and then did the same to his son. (Although that was probably only because he now didn't have a free hand to pick me on the forehead like he usually did. Mom has said it was Dad's way of showing affection.)

I blushed lightly and touch that spot. I was not used to this kind of gentleness and sweetness from him.

"You are both precious to me," he said sincerely, peering down at the sleeping infant nestled perfectly in the crook of his arm. "I will always protect you—both of you."

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Well, what do you think? Good? Bad?

I don't know where I came up with this idea for a story, but I had to write it, otherwise I would think too much about it and totally lose it, you know? I don't know. If I think too hard about what I'm going to write, then it doesn't turn out good.

I'm not sure if Sarada had an 'inner' personality, but I gave Sarada one, but because. Haha. It was also easier for me to narrate that way.

So, there's a sad story for you. I haven't written anything like this before, so I'm sorry if it's bad. I actually had more for this story, but I cut it out. If anyone is interested, I'll think about putting it up, but this was meant to be a one-shot.

Thanks for at least giving it a chance!

—RFC