Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto

All in Naruto's POV. Also, yes, the legal drinking age in 18 in this world. I always make Sasuke so tortured.

Warnings: drugs, prostitution, crude language, mentions of sexual violence, OOC behaviour

Depression… Like cancer, it spreads. I live in the ass end of town – a barren wasteland of urbanized garbage. The shit I see and hear on a daily basis is enough to make any sane person wanna croak, but nothing beats the reality of my next door neighbour.

The junky next door lets strangers into his house – men who come for a taste and a touch and leave without a single kind word. Sometimes I hear them moan. Sometimes I hear them scream. Sometimes I hear nothing at all and that's fine with me. I like the quiet days.

I've never seen him, but I've heard the rumors. The neighbours like to talk and they've been talking to me ever since I moved in here, which was just this month. They'll light cigarettes haphazardly, smoking and coughing and talking at anyone who will listen. I guess they're a lonely bunch. I doubt I'm any different.

It's late now. Today was garbage day and that means everyone was filling up their rank smelling dumpsters, waiting for the trash men to come and take away the filth. It smelled like ass the entire day. I live in the worst part of town, but it's all I could afford. There's a string of dank, grimy townhouses and mine is the last one. I have a feeling they're mostly flop houses. I might just be the only sober guy on the block, sad as it sounds. Well, maybe I'm not completely sober, but I'm nowhere near junky level. I've had enough alcohol induced nightmares to know that this is as far as I want to go when it comes to shit that dulls your senses.

I used to drink a lot and then draw. I used to think that's what being an artist was. You had to be sad to make something that mattered. I don't draw much anymore, but when I did my art was furious and I like to imagine it was also powerful. Screaming, angry faces with black caves instead of eyes – eternal caverns and if you looked long and deep enough, you'd fall in and get lost forever.

I'm eighteen and the orphanage didn't offer me much. I moved as far away as I could from that nightmare. I like playing the part of the stranger. I like feeling lost. It's a lot better than being found. I learned that when I was a kid. I ran away so many damn times, but they always found me and I'd get the worst beatings. They were merciless with the whip. I was a trouble maker and my ass cheeks were red as cherries on most days.

I like to think I held fast, but there are some days I get so fucking miserable. If I could, I'd like to burn that damn place to the ground and scream, "Fuck you!" to all the uncaring orderlies and cruel matrons. Too bad I can't. I just need to learn to let it all go, but it's so fucking hard when you know you've been wronged.

Everything on the street looks disgustingly identical – every house, every mail box, every rotting tree. It's a shit show. My townhouse is attached to the junky's and the walls are paper-thin so I hear every grimy detail. I hear every vile insult, every dirty name, every wet-slapping sound, every hit, every shove. But never tears. I feel like if I lived that sort of life, I'd fucking lose my shit every damn night. I guess this guy is different. He must be used to it.

The house is ugly. The basement is simple storage. The top floor has only a bedroom and bathroom. The main floor has a living room and a small kitchen that's only big enough for a two-person table. It's fine, though. I live here alone and I have no one to share breakfast with. Not that I'd want to in this embarrassing shit hole. There are crusty, linoleum tiles in the kitchen and bathroom that couldn't be scrubbed clean even with a bottle of bleach. The carpets are stained and old. They feel rough against my bare feet, so I try to wear slippers. There are tacky wallpapers on the walls, some tinted and peeling and discolored. The light fixtures are weak and it doesn't get very bright in here when the sun goes down. Oh, well. At least there aren't any bugs.

I don't have a lot of belongings. I got a little money from the government to get myself started – so I could buy the basic necessities. Apart from that, all I had from my time in the orphanage are some clothes and a few books.

It's not all bad, though. I've met some cool people in this strange, little town called Konohagakure. The first person I met was Sakura. She works at the Laundromat I use and she was nice enough to tell me about the town's history while I washed my drawers. I guess it was a slow day for her because she spent a good couple hours talking to me as I did my damn laundry. She's got pink hair – something you don't see every day. She's quaint and kind, but I've seen her yelling at her co-workers, so I wouldn't want to get on her bad side. Turns out, she's studying to be a doctor. I told her I thought that was amazing. It's honestly rare to see that kind of ambition these days. I feel like everyone stopped caring a long time ago… then again, maybe I'm just being bitter.

Through Sakura, I've met Sai and Ino. They're involved. Ino is the prettiest girl I've ever seen and if I was straight I would definitely be jealous of her boyfriend. Such is life, I suppose.

I've never been in a relationship. I've had a handful of careless fucks throughout the years, but nothing more than that. I once let some old fart stick it to me. I don't know why. I was sixteen. It was during one of my many escapes from the orphanage. The entire time I felt like I wasn't myself. It was like I stepped out of my body for a while and I was standing in the corner of the room asking why the hell I was having sex with an old man. I was a pretty fucking cute kid. I know I could have done better. I guess I just got desperate for a lay. Or maybe I was just stuck in a state of self-hatred and I didn't give a damn. I don't really remember. I just remember I didn't make him use a condom. That's the first and last time I had unsafe sex. When we were done, I tried to leave but he didn't like that idea so much. He beat the shit out of me and called me a whore, saying he wasn't a fan of one night stands. I guess he expected more from me.

I ended up getting an STD. It feels like so long ago, but I guess it wasn't that long.

Anyway, that was the last time I had receptive anal sex. To be perfectly honest, the thought of taking a dick stresses me out now. It's funny and sad how a brief event can impact a person's entire life. I try not to let it cross my mind too much. I have a lot of crappy memories, but that's definitely one of my worst. These days, I prefer my sex partners beautiful and stupid and loud in bed.

Tonight is the same as every other night. I turn the television on and put the volume on high, trying to drown out the sound of my neighbour getting rammed. I bet I could pay him two dollars for a spin and he'd be fine with it. Not that I would. I'm not that kind of guy. I prefer my sex clean. I guess 'round these parts people don't really give a damn what kind of sex they're getting as long as they're getting it.

I close my eyes, listening to the actors on screen spit out shitty lines. I hate soap operas. I hate melodrama. I hate all this sad shit, but I can't find it in me to budge an inch and change the damn channel. I know I should turn it off and try to sleep, but I doubt the junky is finished his latest orgy. At least I work at noon, so I can sleep in tomorrow. I work at a fast food joint. Every day I come home smelling like fryer fat and onion rings, but I never eat the shit I serve. I try to stay as healthy as I can.

My life is so stereotypically cliché I could vomit. I'm a statistic – the kind you read about in a sociology text book.

After a while, I shake away the bitter thoughts and finally force myself to stand. I turn off the television and return upstairs. By now, it's quiet. There are no more sounds coming from next door and I'm thankful. I can never sleep when the junky is up all night shrieking.

Because of my depression, my sleep is either sporadic or constant. There's rarely a healthy medium.

I walk into my cupboard of a bathroom and brush my teeth before taking a piss. I strip down to my bare ass and then stare at myself for a minute. I've never been overly critical about the way I look. I know I'm not exceptional, but I'm definitely far from ugly. I was a pretty cute kid. That kind of wore away as I got older… but I think I'm decently handsome. I'm pretty fit. My height is average. My skin is pretty tanned. My hair is blond and rather unruly. My eyes are blue. I've got some weird birthmarks on my cheeks that look like whiskers. I got teased a lot because of it back in my early years at the orphanage. Kids are fucking assholes.

I walk across the hall, crawling into bed. My bed is a simple mattress lying on the floor. I don't have a quilt. All I have are some thin sheets. I should probably invest in something thicker for cold nights.

With a long sigh, I try to get comfortable before finally closing my eyes.

The following morning I put on a housecoat and as I go out to get the paper, I see a black Cadillac parked on the side of the road. Standing outside is a handsome man with prominent tear troughs and long, dark hair in a low ponytail. He's talking on a cellphone. He looks frustrated, but calm at the same time. I watch for a minute and when he hangs up, I grab the paper lying at the end of my driveway and continue minding my own business. We make awkward eye contact before I turn away.

"Excuse me?" he calls a split second later.

I turn back around and he approaches me where I hover. "What?" I ask, trying not to sound completely rude. I've always been blunt. Some people hate it.

He points to the junky's house. "Do you know the man who lives here?" he asks.

Oh, fuck. Is this a bust? What if this guy is FBI? Nah… No, that isn't likely. I'm sure if there was anything too dangerous going on in there he would have come in with a team. So, I say, "No, I've never seen him. I think he's a hermit because he never comes out."

"He's not," the man murmurs. "He just doesn't get out much during the day. Light sensitivity from migraine headaches keeps him inside. He's also very introverted."

"How do you know?" I pry.

The man gives me a bleak, grim smile. "He's my brother."

That surprises me. Of all the dirty rumors I've heard about the junky next door, I never imagined he'd have a brother who looks like this. So… put together. "Oh," is all I muster up.

"He hasn't been answering my calls."

"Want me to try knocking down the door?" I offer. I don't have much muscle, but I think I have a little more than this guy does.

He looks like he's considering it for a moment, but then he shakes his head. "Sasuke would hate that," he says. "Besides, I have a key… I just don't want to have to use it."

"Who is Sasuke?" I question.

"My brother," he specifies.

"Then what's your name?" I ask.

"Itachi," he holds out his hand. "Itachi Uchiha."

"Naruto Uzumaki," I introduce myself, grabbing his hand and giving it a firm shake before letting go. "You should probably go in and check on him," I urge. "What if he's like…" I trail off, not wanting to sound like a dick for hinting that his brother could very easily be dead in there.

With a sigh, Itachi digs a set of keys out from his pocket. "You're right," he admits. "Thank you."

I nod and without another word I walk back up my driveway and into my house. I need to shower, but I'm debating whether or not I should put it off. I'll just get greasy and smelly at work, so what's the point?

I go inside and I move upstairs, into my room. I sit down and grab my laptop, opening it. My laptop is shit, just like everything else I own. That's fine, though. All I use it for is porn. I love a good orgasm. For those mere seconds, nothing else in the damn world matters. Hell, my life sounds bleak and empty. I open up a new tab and type in the familiar URL. This must be the loneliest activity in the world, but I don't give a damn. It feels good.

I can hear shouting coming from next door. I try to ignore it. I click some random video and stick my hand in my robe. I like watching vanilla sex. I know there's a lot of fucked up pornography out there, but none of it interests me. I don't want to get into the habit of watching strange shit. I've lived through enough of it to last a lifetime. Vanilla is… comfortable.

After jerking, I wipe the mess off with a tissue and throw it in the trash can sitting in the corner of my room. It's time for work. I have to wear beige khakis and a stupid polo with the ugly restaurant logo on it. The worst part is the visor. God, I fucking hate the visor.

But hey, money is money. So, I get dressed and I go outside. It's bright, but it's getting colder out this time of year, but it's still pretty warm. I hate October – mostly because of my birthday, but also because it starts getting cold. I hate the cold almost as much as I hate my birthday. Neither is fun or pleasant.

Birthdays at the orphanage were always forgotten. I didn't even know my own birthday until I snuck into the office to read my file. Birthdays usually involved beatings, but this year was different. This year, I was finally allowed to leave. So, in a way, maybe this was my best birthday ever.