Summary: The war is over, and Sasuke is brought back to the village after his defeat by Naruto. But he is struggling to re-assimilate into the village. As his mental stability continues to erode, Tsunade and Kakashi ask Naruto to try a different treatment method. Naruto x Sasuke (Yaoi - boy x boy). Post manga chapter 693.

Warning: This story has been reported, so explicit content has been removed to meet FF's terms of service. If you want to read the unedited version, please see my profile at Ao3 dot org (just search under Kizukatana and you will find it). I will mark the chapters that have been edited. Additional warnings for language, angst, mental illness, substance abuse, masturbation, eventual sex. Not appropriate for young readers.

Disclaimer - As with everything I write on this site, I don't own the characters (Kishimoto does), and I make no money. My only payment is in reviews.

Author's note - As a warning, this is Canon!Sasuke. Which means he is mentally unstable, and not warm and fuzzy. Not sexually experienced. Totally emotionally jacked up. So. That is what we have here. If substance abuse is a trigger for you, or if you have issues with people having sex while under the influence and view it as dubcon/noncon, DON'T READ THIS FIC.

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Naruto sat in the Hokage's office, looking blankly between the large-breasted blond and his former sensei.

He had just returned from a six week mission, and he was exhausted. So he told himself that he must be hearing this wrong. Surely his Kakashi and the Old Hag weren't actually asking him to...

"But why not just send one of the nurses, or one of the physical therapists to help him? Why not Sakura?" Hell, Sakura would kill to be asked to... do whatever it was the Tsunade was asking Naruto to do.

Tsunade cleared her through and glanced down slightly. "Sakura immediately volunteered, naturally. But even when he's... not fully in control of his faculties, Sasuke is quite skilled. Not to mention the sharingan. He is simply too dangerous for anyone else to handle."

Naruto narrowed his eyes. He could tell when the Old Hag was trying to gloss over something. Especially when it came to Sakura. "What did he do to Sakura?"

Kakashi shrugged. "He threw her against the wall. Broke her arm. Then put her into a genjutsu that she was being buried alive in a pit of snakes for three days."

Naruto blinked. That sounded thorough, though he supposed it could have been much worse. Given that it was Sasuke they were talking about. "What did Sakura do to trigger that?"

Tsunade's lips tightened. Kakashi glanced at her, then rolled his eyes. "Sakura might have been a bit... overenthusiastic to help test this approach on Sasuke."

"Did she... she didn't... she wouldn't..." Naruto stammered, hoping Sakura didn't try to do what he thought she might have.

Tsunade poured herself a glass of sake, and downed it quickly. "We learned not to have any of the women of the village involved in this. The Uchiha tends to bring out the worst in their behavior. Regardless of how they feel about him as a ninja, as a man he... remains desirable."

"What about you?" Naruto persisted. "You aren't going to try to rape him. And you have extensive medical knowledge. And you are experienced enough that you could avoid his genjutsu or block his attacks, especially if he's as wasted as you say he is most of the time."

Tsunade sighed. "This type of therapy works best when administered by someone who actually cares for the patient. Or at least someone who can fake it. There is no love lost between me and the Uchiha brat. He knows it, and I know it. It has to be someone he trusts. Or at least someone he will tolerate."

Naruto wasn't sure there was anyone left alive who fit that description, now that Itachi was dead.

"Kakash' Sensei could -" Naruto began half-heartedly, only to be cut off abruptly.

"NO!" Tsunade said, bringing the flat of her hand down hard enough to leave a long crack down the center of her desk. "We are not sending the most perverted ninja in the village try therapeutic touch techniques on arguably the most intimacy averse person in the Fire country."

Naruto almost laughed at the thought of Sasuke blearily waking up to find Kakashi massaging his naked back, or whatever it was that Tsunade was about to suggest he do.

But then he realized that if it wasn't going to be Kakashi, it was going to be him. And all thoughts of laughter stopped.

This was retarded. A backrub wasn't going to make Sasuke 'all better'. And everyone knew it. Sasuke was broken beyond repair.

Naruto paled, feeling his hands prickle with sweat. He had gone to great pains to avoid Sasuke after the war. The bitter taste of betrayal was still too fresh. Yes, he had defeated Sasuke. Finally, he had done what he had not been able to at the Valley of the End. But it should never have had to come to that. After all they had been through together in the final battle against Obito, Madara and Kaguya, Sasuke should have trusted Naruto. He should have talked to him about what he wanted to accomplish instead of... Naruto clenched his fists and forced the bubbling anger and hurt back down. He was tired of both feelings. Tired of everything

"Old Hag. I haven't even been back to my apartment since my last mission. I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I need a bath. Since you've already made up your mind that I am going to be the one to do this, and you're still the Hokage, you can make it an order. Just tell me what it is that I need to do. Let's get this over with."

Sympathy flashed across the Hokage's beautiful brown eyes, but it was brief. Then she was all business. The Uchiha was simply too dangerous to leave in his current, unstable state. It was this or prison. The psychiatric ward in the hospital would not be able to hold him.

"As you know, Sasuke never received any sort of treatment for the mental trauma he suffered as a child following the Uchiha massacre," Tsunade began, a feeling of anger spiking through her as she thought of how callous the Third had been at the treatment of both Naruto and Sasuke. Had no one thought to look after the children of the village at all? For a Hokage who had been known for his kindness, the Third had been a true bastard in how he ignored the children of his fallen comrades in the end. But there was nothing she could do to fix the mistakes of the past. Her job was to focus on the present. "The long term effects of the mangekyo sharingan that Itachi used on Sasuke twice are unknown, but most ninja who were exposed to that technique even once suffer complete mental breaks and never recover. Kakashi was only exposed once, and had months of therapy following it. His exposure was less severe than Sasuke's, and even he has had lingering effects. With the first exposure, the boy received no treatment at all, and with the second he left the village with only the most minimal treatment. In addition, he lived in complete isolation during his time with Orochimaru, the curse seal further influencing his thought processes, and witnessed god only knows what kind of depravities in his adolescent years when we know the mind is quite fragile," Tsunade paused, letting her words settle.

Naruto realized in that moment that Tsunade had thought more about Sasuke and the reasons for his actions than he had given her credit for. She might claim to not like Sasuke. But she understood why he was the way he was. She didn't blame him for it.

"Then there was... the battle with you during the war," she said, her voice hardening with remembered anger when she found out what Sasuke had tried to pull while she and the other kage were bound by the infinite tsukuyomi. Ok, so maybe there were a few things she did still blame Sasuke for.

Naruto shuffled his feet slightly. It was not one of his fondest memories, either.

"Sasuke has returned as a fallen hero. He no longer holds the respect that he had as a child, and his defeat by you has taken away the mystique that he is the strongest in the village. With all his enemies either dead or in prison, he no longer has vengeance to support him as a goal to give purpose to his existence. His help during the war and your decision to not seek retribution for his final act of betrayal has kept him out of prison, but we cannot allow him to resume missions at this point. None of the other kage trust him, and no one in our own ranks is willing to work with him until he has managed to prove himself loyal in some way. Giving him only low level, solo missions would only insult his pride and further anger him. So we are left... where we are."

When word had spread that Sasuke had turned on Naruto in the final battle, the people of Konoha and the surrounding lands had not been as ready to forgive that transgression as they had his crimes against Danzo or even the attack on the Kage summit. Naruto had earned not only the trust and respect of the kages, but he was viewed as a friend. He was a hero across all five nations.

Naruto had been the first to reach out to Sasuke and trust him when he had joined in the battle against Madara and Obito. The emotions that had flowed through the chakra link when Naruto had shared his chakra with the allied shinobi forces had carried Naruto's memories of grief and loss and friendship of Sasuke. But it had been rejected by the missing nin in place of a chance to rule with absolute authority. And Sasuke had turned on him.

Naruto had stopped him, but they had both almost died in the fight.

And now they were both 'home'. Naruto's victory felt hollow.

Naruto was surprised that Sasuke had stayed in Konoha, truth be told. But he supposed there really wasn't anyplace left for him to go, with the Akatsuki gone and the rest of the ninja world firmly allied with Naruto and Konoha.

There was always Orochimaru, but even Sasuke must have realized that was a bad idea. And Orochimaru had taken up residence not far from Konoha, trying to legitimize himself and stay out of trouble. For now. But there was no hiding the way the man's snakelike eyes had followed Sasuke's body throughout the battle. Sasuke may be many things, but oblivious was not one of them.

So Sasuke had stayed. He currently lived in complete isolation in the ruins of what had once been the Uchiha clan grounds. That part of the village had never been rebuilt after Pain's destruction of Konoha. Sasuke had paid to have his home reconstructed from the rubble, but left the remaining buildings as they had fallen. As the land belonged to the Uchiha clan, and Sasuke was now the sole survivor of that clan, it was his prerogative as to what to do with it. Or not.

Naruto snapped his attention back to Kakashi and the Hokage. "I get all this. But why are you saying that it needs to be this... therapeutic touch thing? Aren't there medicines or counseling or other shit that doesn't involve trying to get close to a bastard who has literally made a trademark out of his 'back-the-fuck-off' look?"

"We've tried that, Naruto. Don't you think we would have thought of that first? Counseling was a complete failure. Sasuke is too intelligent to be manipulated that way, and years of living with Orochimaru has made him able to see through most of their approaches. He was quite clear that he didn't want to 'share his feelings' or memories or anything with anyone. Both doctors who tried this approach ended up running out of their offices, terrified when Sasuke had offered to share his memories the old-fashioned Uchiha way - through his mangekyo sharingan. We considered trying anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medicines, but the sharingan makes his brain chemistry different from other people's and the risk of it having a dangerous adverse effect was too high."

"And there is nothing else?"

"No. The further he is declining mentally, the more at risk we are of him completely losing control and potentially harming others. There is significant medical research that shows that physical contact is a key factor in improving mental health of patients who have traumatic stress disorders. Even with infants, they have found that babies grow faster and get sick less with more direct contact. That's why they recommend skin on skin contact while nursing."

A rather awkward image of some random woman trying to nurse and oddly psychotic looking Uchiha infant flashed through Naruto's mind before being repressed.

"It has also been shown in post traumatic stress disorders that physical contact can help reduce stress and increase the overall mental stability of the patient. Naruto... we have spent the last three months trying everything else. It's this or incarceration. The hospital would not be able to hold him."

Naruto looked at Kakashi, who had pulled out his little orange book of porn and appeared to be ignoring their conversation while he flipped through the pages.

"So what do you mean by physical contact? Do I just... try to hold his hand and talk to him?" That was a mental image that Naruto could not summon. When he thought of Sasuke's hands he thought of... chidori being punched through the center of his chest.

Tsunade snorted as though reading his thoughts. "Somehow I don't think Uchiha is a hand-holding kind of guy. No, nothing like that. You can try scalp massage, or laying your hand on his arm. Any form of touching that he will allow. Or... maybe he would talk to you."

Naruto rolled his eyes. If there was one thing he was completely certain of, it was that Sasuke wasn't going to 'open up' to Naruto after years of fighting him. "How about sparring? I could put my foot up his ass. That kind of physical contact is something I would be totally comfortable with."

Kakashi snickered. "I don't think your foot is the part of your body Sasuke really needs shoved up his ass right now."

"Huh?" Naruto asked, slightly confused. Tsunade casually switched her sake glass to her left hand, and with her right hand flicked Kakashi in the forehead, sending him flying across the room.

"Never mind what Kakashi said, Naruto. You just need to go over and do what you can to help Sasuke. From what Sakura told us, the first thing you'll probably need to do is drown him in the tub. He hasn't been bathing, and his house is a mess."

Naruto frowned at her words. Sasuke had always been fastidious about his hygiene. Almost freakishly so. I mean, the guy had lived in a cave under a mountain with snakes, and his clothes and hair had always pristine. That took effort.

"Alright. Fine. So I just go there and... talk to him and... rub his arm or something?"

Tsunade shrugged. "If you make it through the first day without killing each other, I can have some of the physical therapists here teach you some actual techniques. But there is no point in bothering with that if the minute you walk through the door you've both got your chidori and rasengan going."

Naruto grumbled, "Stupid Sasuke. Greatest fucking ninja in five nations and he can't even wash his ass without help."

But his words didn't fool Kakashi or Tsunade. They could hear the underlying concern for his childhood friend. Naruto may or may not ever forgive Sasuke for what he had done, but they knew that it was simply not in Naruto's character to give up on his friend. No matter how shitty of a friend he had turned out to be in the end.

Because Naruto knew why Sasuke was the way he was. He understood what had twisted and broken the youngest Uchiha. And Naruto still on some level believed that the young boy that had existed before fate had decided to shit all over him still existed amongst the wreckage that he had become.

. . . .

Naruto walked through the village, trying to decide if he should stop by his own apartment first to bathe and rest, or just go directly to Sasuke's. After the description Tsunade had given him about the state that the Uchiha's home was likely in, he decided bathing probably wasn't worthwhile, so he simply grabbed a change of clothes and headed directly there.

People stopped to greet him warmly as he walked. There was no longer any question that he would be the next Hokage. Tsunade simply wanted to wait a couple of years until he matured a bit more, but everyone already acted like it he was their Hokage in every way except the paperwork. The streets of his childhood no longer existed. The buildings had been destroyed by Pain. And the sneering, hostile faces had, too. After saving his village, even his most hostile antagonists could no longer deny the leader he had become. Children smiled and waved shouting out his name excitedly.

Naruto smiled tiredly, but honestly. He finally had achieved what he wanted. And in some ways, he was at peace. But something was still missing.

He reached the edge of the re-built part of town, and his pace slowed as he entered the Uchiha compound. The twisted wreckage of homes a reminder of Pain's attack, but also the fact that there was no one left of the owners to rebuild. Except for the one house that stood alone amongst the debris.

Naruto hadn't been here since Sasuke had rebuilt and moved in. He doubted many people had. It wasn't along the main part of town, and it was quite frankly depressing as hell. Naruto felt a small frisson of guilt for not thinking about how Sasuke had been living since he had dragged his unconscious body home. But he didn't have to live here. He could have chosen anywhere in town if he wanted.

Naruto felt nerves tighten in his stomach as he approached the door and knocked. There was no answer. Naruto placed the palm of his hand flat on the door, checking for seals or traps, but detecting none.

Reaching for the door knob, he was surprised to find it unlocked. Taking a breath and readying himself for attack, he pushed the door open. And stopped dead at the sight that greeted his eyes.

Sasuke was sitting at his kitchen table, slumped over with his head resting on his arm. The table itself was littered with empty sake bottles, some broken. There were scorch marks in the wall, and one Sakura sized dent in the middle of one. That was apparently where he hurled her when she tried her version of 'touch therapy' on the psychotic ninja.

Naruto wondered where she had tried to touch him, but figured he didn't want to know.

"Sasuke?" Naruto said hesitantly.

The raven lifted his head and Naruto was met with a bleary-eyed black gaze. " - the fck out, N'rto," the slurred voice came. Sasuke hurled an empty sake cup at him, and Naruto had to duck his head to avoid being struck squarely between the eyes. Even dead drunk the Uchiha had flawless aim.

"Sasuke..." Naruto took another step in, and his nose wrinkled. "Jesus, man. You stink. When was the last time you took a shower?"

Sasuke sat up, weaving slightly in his seat as he poured himself another glass of sake. "Fuck off," he said, slightly more clearly as he downed the glass in one go.

Naruto just looked at him, completely at a loss for what to do. He'd never seen Sasuke like this. As far as he knew, Sasuke had never even tried alcohol. Not that he really knew for sure. God only knows what habits Sasuke had picked up living with Orochimaru, then with the Akatsuki. But he knew that this was... way beyond anything he had expected to find.

Naruto walked slowly around the house, feeling Sasuke's eyes following his every step.

"The place is nice. A total pigsty, but nice."

Sasuke simply sneered, not bothering with a reply.

Naruto continued down the hall, somewhat surprised that Sasuke hadn't kicked him out. Or at least tried to. He hadn't even asked Naruto what he was doing here.

Maybe Tsunade had told him Naruto would be coming.

There were four rooms down the hallway, and Naruto felt no compunction about opening the doors to each one and peering in. The first was clearly a spare bedroom, with no furniture at all. The second was a bathroom. The third appeared to be some sort of reading room, though the boxes of books and scrolls were opened but not unpacked.

The final room was clearly Sasuke's room. There was a large bed, a dresser with Uchiha fans on the drawer pulls, and... a huge mess. The state of it reminded Naruto of how his room used to look when he was a twelve-year-old living alone. The smell alone told him that Sasuke had done quite a bit of drinking in here as well. And not changed the sheets in the past month or two.

Naruto remembered the fussy boy who would always have his bed roll tied neatly and put away every morning before Naruto had even rolled slovenly out of his. He could hardly believe it. This was not right. It disturbed him more than the fact that Sasuke had apparently fireballed Sakura and hurled her into a wall.

There was a thump heard from the kitchen, and Naruto poked his head out to see that Sasuke had passed out under his kitchen table.

. . . .

Naruto crouched down next to his fallen friend. Unconscious, Sasuke's face had lost the hard, cold look that he had maintained even in his drunken state. Naruto sat there for several minutes, taking the time to really look at Sasuke's face. It had been years since he had seen the Uchiha sleeping. Back when they had all been together on Team 7. So many years, and so many fights had passed since then. But somehow, Sasuke's face was the same. A little older and thinner, the baby fat long gone. But it was still the boy that had drawn Naruto's complete and utter focus, the boy that Naruto had wanted to acknowledge him above all else.

The boy Naruto had wanted as his best friend.

Naruto reached out to touch Sasuke's hair, something he had always wanted to do. It was stiff and coarse from grime, clearly not having been washed in many days. It bothered Naruto to see Sasuke in dirty clothes, with dirty hair, in a dirty house. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Sasuke wasn't supposed to be like this.

Despite his fatigue, Naruto summoned several shadow clones. Before he washed Sasuke, he'd need a clean place to put him. One of the clones went to try to find clean sheets for the Uchiha's bed and bundle the rest of the dirty clothes and linens down to have them washed.

A second clone set to work cleaning up the empty sake bottles and bringing some level of sanitation back to the kitchen area. That left the real Naruto to deal with Sasuke himself. "Alright, Sasuke. Let's get you cleaned up."

Naruto slid one hand under the unconscious man's shoulders, and another under his knees, then hoisted him up and carried him into the bathroom. He stood in the entryway of the large bathroom for a few minutes, not really sure what to do next. The tub looked fairly clean. Either because Sasuke hadn't been using it, or because even in his declining state a dirty tub had been just too much for the Uchiha to stomach.

Setting Sasuke down on the floor, Naruto turned on the water and closed the drain of the tub. He poured some of Sasuke's soap in, noting that it smelled like sandalwood. He tested the temperature of the water, and knew he was stalling.

He didn't really feel comfortable with what had to come next. They had bathed together when they were younger. But that was back when they had been friends. Which Sasuke clearly didn't consider him anymore.

Naruto took his wet hands and flicked them in Sasuke's face. "Wake up, asshole. You stink and need to wash yourself."

Sasuke didn't move.

Naruto sighed. Sasuke was dressed in one of his grey short-sleeved shirts, which was fully zipped up with its high collar coming up to his chin. The dark blue pants and blue cloth he wore around his waist were stained and disheveled. Naruto decided he would go part way, and untied the purple obi, removing the blue cloth but not the pants. The pants needed to be washed anyway. He unzipped Sasuke's shirt and pulled it off, earning a groan from the otherwise limp form before he picked him up and placed him in the tub, only to quickly grip onto Sasuke's arm as the unconscious man almost slipped beneath the water.

Sasuke must have breathed in some of the water, because he began coughing, and his eyes opened briefly, focused on Naruto for a frozen instant, then closed again.

"Sasuke?" Naruto asked, more than half expecting a fist to come flying at his face. Possibly charged with chidori. He wondered how well that would work in the tub, but assumed Sasuke knew how to avoid electrocuting himself. "You know... it would make this a lot easier if you participated."

"Fuck you," Sasuke slurred, his eyes staying closed.

Naruto wasn't exactly sure what to do, but Tsunade had said something about head massages. That's sort of what you do when you wash your hair anyway. Since Sasuke's hair had already gotten wet when Naruto had almost accidentally drowned him, he simply squirted some of the scented shampoo onto his hands, working them together to make a lather. Sasuke must have been alert enough to prevent himself from slipping down in the tub again, but he made no more move to speak or open his eyes.

Naruto pressed his fingertips into the scalp at the front of Sasuke's forehead, and slid them back into the thick, dirty, black locks, pressing down and rubbing in small circles as he did. Sasuke breathed out, one pale hand gripping the edge of the tub, likely to keep himself from sliding down under the water. Dragging his fingers back to the front of Sasuke's head, he repeated the motion, pushing even further back to the crown of Sasuke's head. A spray of goose bumps appeared along Sasuke's neck and shoulders at the sudden release of tension.

There was a small bathing pitcher next to the tub, and Naruto used it to pour some additional water into Sasuke's hair to make a lather, using his other hand to prevent the soapy water from running into Sasuke's eyes. Naruto's fingers were strong and calloused from years of fighting, but he tried to gentle his touch somewhat as he worked the scented soap through Sasuke's black locks, massaging down to the scalp then tugging back on the strands. He noticed absently that Sasuke had grown his hair out so that it covered more of his forehead than it used to.

He slowly worked his way toward the back of Sasuke's head, until he got all the way to the base of the neck, taking time to work through each section of Sasuke's hair. When he had finished, he rinsed it clean. Sasuke let out a small sigh, slowly opening his eyes. "Why?"

Naruto didn't pretend to misunderstand. "The Old Bag told me you needed a bath. And your house is a pigsty, so I cleaned it up a bit."

Sasuke smirked. "Hn. So I get the next Hokage as my personal maid," he said, his eyes unfocused for a minute. But then they turned hard and swirled red, the smirk slipping away. "Now get out."

Naruto stood, assuming that if Sasuke was alert enough to activate the sharingan, he probably could manage to finish bathing himself without drowning.

"You're welcome, asshole," Naruto said sarcastically, drying his hands on the clean towel and throwing it on the floor next to the tub. "This is clean, and so are the sheets on your bed. Sleep it off, and try to do something other than drink tomorrow."

Naruto glared at Sasuke, but the man had already closed his eyes again, turning his face slightly away toward the shower wall. "Whatever. Get out."

-xXx-

to be continued