The first letter of many comes in the middle of springtime. Naruto is lazily eating instant ramen in front of the TV when the claws of a big bird clacks against his window.
Already accustomed to carrier birds, Naruto stands up immediately and walks towards his window where a big, angry looking falcon with a little parcel attached to its right leg is seething near the wooded frames.
The bird notices his attention on it and enraged, hits the crystal with its beak.
“Alright, Alright!” He screams at it while running to open the window “Geez! I wonder who’s your owner. Huh?” He laughs when he finally opens the window and the falcon enters his home uninvited, knocking over a whole pile of plates on his table to stand on it.
Naruto is only grateful the dammed beast doesn’t bite him when he eventually musters the courage to take the parcel on its leg.
The letter is obviously from Sasuke; the blond is sure of it from the moment he reads the first line.
How are things in Konoha? I’m currently travelling around the Tea Country.
Everything is awfully cheery and so very touristic. I can’t find my place in here but I been helping some people around with bandits and physical labour.
At least the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in here, it’s a beautiful sight and it reminds me of home.
Tell me about Konoha, tell me about the cherry blossoms. Are they blooming?
Some days I get bored by these peaceful days, but peace is what we wanted all along. Is it not?
Naruto laughs out loud when he finishes reading the letter, he even reads it once more just to laugh again. Both of his friends had always thought him naïve, innocent, a borderline idiot.
But he saw them stick to each others as a child, noticed the smiles, the hugs barely avoided. He’s not as oblivious as they are. He can see their love as clear as the first day.
“Your master is an idiot,” he says to the bird looking around for a piece of parchment and a pen. The falcon grinds its beak and ruffles his feathers as a single answer.
Konoha is well and safe, because I’m here to protect it and you know it!
Ichiraku is still the best place around, Hinata is still the cutest girl and Kakashi is still late.
Have fun beating up bandits and getting your hands dirty, I’ll have fun training to be the next Hokage!
The cherry blossoms are also in bloom here. But it’s weird. It seems they miss nourishment; they miss some sunshine. Because they’re not in full bloom yet.
They’re beautiful and strong though. Maybe by the time you come back you will be able to see them fully blossom!
Peace is not over yet, Sasuke. We have to maintain that peace.
Another one of many others letter comes by summer; the falcon is not the same as before. This one acts with politeness. It waits until he allows it to enter, sits on one of the arms of his couch and chirps a happy tone when he approaches it. Naruto is gladly surprised with the bird’s behaviour.
Until it bites his finger when he tries to take the parcel attached to the back of its neck.
“Augh!” Screams Naruto, holding onto his injured hand and pouting as he sheds a single tear by the minimal but unexpected pain. “You’re worst than the last one!” He accuses it.
This letter is a little messy, dirty and wet, it smells of the sea.
I’ve been travelling by the sea for a long time, it reminds me of when we travelled on missions.
We both used to get seasick all the time. Remember? Good thing we never travelled alone then. Right? The smell of springtime was refreshing at the time. I wish I had it with me now.
Did you know that red sunrise means the end of good weather in the sea?
I witnessed it by myself.
For me the sunrise was beautiful, a bright terracotta colour, almost pink before the ocean attacked the ship I was travelling in.
Then the storm started and the sea moved so furiously that I thought a goddess pummelled the grounds beneath the waters.
I couldn’t believe such a pretty colour could be the bringer of destruction…
There was peace after the storm, however. The calm may be worth the ferocity. Or so I believe.
It’s weird to Naruto how happy and calm Sasuke sound after such a gruesome tale, maybe his travels are good to him. Maybe his decision to leave them for the time being was the right one.
But maybe he should come back.
Maybe then, you should come back to Konoha. The village still smells vivid with the fresh air of spring. It used to never leave us remember? We were blessed back then, and we keep being blessed now in our village. So perhaps spring is the season of Konoha.
Only you, Sasuke. Only you can think of a goddess when the sea hits you right on the face. Only you can find the rage of the elements as worth it if it means peace.
I find myself preferring only the calm these days. Remember when I enjoyed to face the storms right by your side?
I think that now. I would die a happy man If I could spend my last days serene under the clouds in a warm day.
I’m sounding like Shikamaru now.
Come back before the whole village wastes away from the laziness.
Pd: Please never send that blasted bird again!
When the letter of his return finally arrives one cold winter morning, a crow lands on Hinata’s shoulder as she enters the house. She tries to take the parcel it holds but the crow doesn’t allow her until Naruto returns home.
“What does it say?” She asks nervous, always worried by some thing or another.
“Sasuke is coming back to Konoha,” beams Naruto “He wants to see Sakura-chan, too!” He expects her to smile just like him, but instead he finds her frowning apprehensive. “What’s wrong?”
“I just worry about Sakura-chan,” she confesses, “Sasuke-san never mentions her in his letters, he never writes to her. How can we know he’s even thinking of her, that he’s not going to hurt her?”
“I just know, Hinata.” He hugs her by her waist. “I can tell.”
I will return to Konoha, shortly.
I’m far away in my travels right now but if I hurry, I will come back by the time spring graces our village.
I want to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. I don’t want to miss it once more. I know I haven’t atoned for my sins still. But I don’t know if I can go on living and fighting when I lack the warm of sunshine, the sweetness of our flowers.
I fear that if I come back to it I won’t want to go away anymore. I have always feared this. I’ve always loved beautiful things more than anything, strong things.
Maybe I can take some spring with me next time. Am I within my rights, Naruto? Will spring accompany me in my travels?
I fear not, I fear I’m no longer worthy.
But I still would love to take some with me.
When Sasuke comes back to Konoha Sakura welcomes him to the village.
She does it with a hug, holding him close and hiding her face on his broad chest. “Welcome home, Sasuke-kun,” she smiles happier than ever.
Sasuke, even if taciturn to the untrained eye, buries his nose on her pink hair and breaths deeply as if he had been deprived of fresh air for years. “I’m back, Sakura.” He sighs.
Naruto can tell, that the next time Sasuke departs, he will be taking spring with him.