It always had to rain in times like this…

Sakura tried to push herself up from the muddy ground. The sky pummelled the ground with heavey drops of water, burning the Kunoichi's wounds, splashing muck onto her drenched clothes and face. She gripped the saturated soil in both hands and managed to roll onto her side, but her remaining strength could not serve her in any other way.

She stared down at the pair of feet that stood patiently before her.

'He probably wants to savor this moment,' she thought bitterly.

But even that didn't make her angry. All she had felt the entire time was sadness.

The two legs stepped foreward. A long, thin sword dropped down to point under her chin.

"You know why you can't kill me?" he told her in a dry, uninterested voice. "You don't have enough hatred. My brother once taught me that."

Sakura relaxed and lay on her side on the ground. She couldn't feel anything but pain, yet that didn't move her. She accepted his decision. All she had wanted was to know that she had done all she could to help—that she was not the useless member of team 7. That she had deserved her Sensei's and Naruto's attention… But, most of all, that she had not failed her only love. She knew that challenging Sasuke was basically suicide, but she had to try. She had to try to get through to him. Knowing that she had tried, instead of sitting out of range of the battle field while watching others try, was enough to give Sakura one last moment of self-satisfaction.

"You are pathetic," said Sasuke. "You won't even fight to the last? You won't even defend your life to the end? Why do you leave yourself open to my sword?"

Sakura had been avoiding his eyes for the entire battle, for fear of his powerful Uchiha gengutsu. But now her acceptance of death had given her an even greater reward—having one last look into his eyes. She savored the moment as she trailed her gaze up his strong, masculine body, and paused at his face. His eyes were bright red. She had always loved the color red… she remembered her silly, immature thoughts as a child; she had giggled from the thought that pink is the lighter form of red, and so it must be a sign that they were meant for each other; she could save him from his loneliness and hurt and anger. She could add a little streak of white love to his red hatred...

Sasuke glared at her, the tip of his sword lingering by her throat. "This will pleasure me greatly," he told her, "Once Naruto learns that you died by my hand, his idealism will turn to hypocrisy. He will feel true hatred."

Sakura smiled. "He has already felt true hatred."

"Ha! What would you know about that!" he sneered. "You never knew nor cared about Naruto for most of his life. You know nothing about either of us."

"No, Sasuke," whispered Sakura. But the rain drowned out her voice, so she spoke louder, even though it widened the gash in her side. "No, Sasuke. It is you who is the ignorant one. You are completely oblivious that Naruto knew someone who meant a lot more to him than I ever would."

Sasuke frowned. He knew she wasn't lying. But he didn't want to hear it. He raised his sword.

"That man," Sakura said even louder above the rain, her last wish for Sasuke to hear these words, "That man was like a father to him. That man is who trained him for about two years. His power and his friendship grew stronger by this man's side. And this man was Jiraiya."

That name alone halted Sasuke's sword. Where had he heard that name before? He remembered Orochimaru mentioning it once…

"This man," Sakura continued, "Loved Naruto like he was his own grandson. They had a special bond. And recently…" She winced as she felt a wave of nausea, "Recently that man was killed. And Naruto felt real hatred…So you are the ignorant one, Sasuke. You may know everything about Jutsu and chakra, but you know nothing about what he has been through and how he still feels about you!"

Sasuke's eyes hardened. "Well then… let's see what he truly feels about me after this."

His sword dropped to his side.