A/N: Hi everyone! Sorry, I went MIA for a bit, was doing a bit of math and studying extracurriculars. Here's a new chapter! If self-harm is something that triggers you please skip over it (there is a warning and you won't be missing any plot).
Naruto bit his lip as he woke up from another nightmare. Ah, he had one after every beating, and he was almost used to it. His heart pounded as he remembered the hot smelly breath of the villagers and the sharp sting of a kunai over his collarbone. A sudden growing itch crawled over his back before settling on his left arm. I'm such a monster and I've been raped a dozen times. I'm so disgusting, why does sensei even bother helping someone like me? thought Naruto as his thoughts directed to the itch on his arm. The skin begged to be broken, to let the crimson and warm liquid flow out and dribble onto the floor. In one final mental battle, Naruto grabbed a kunai off the bedside table and ran to the bathroom.
∆Self-Injury Starts Here∆
Naruto sighed as he blinked a few tears out of his eyes. He set the thin, silver blade on his forearm and bit his lip. Drawing his arm back, the skin broke, revealing a pale cut that slowly filled with blood. Small beads of red formed along the inch-long laceration, and they joined and ran down his arm. It wasn't deep enough to bleed a lot, just enough to form a red trail down his arm. Wiping off some of the excess blood with a tissue, he picked up the kunai again, and pushed down a bit deeper, letting blood drip down his arm and collect in the crease of his elbow. He was feeling a bit tired, this daily ritual always left him without much energy. With a yawn, he drowsily sat down on the toilet before drifting off, head lying on the sink.
Kakashi was a light sleeper. Call it genetics, call it ninja training, call it sharp ears, either way the man was woken up half past three by small thuds on the hardwood floor. The bathroom door creaked open, and Kakashi bolted out of bed, knowing that Naruto shouldn't be up with his injuries. Pulling on a shirt, as Kakashi normally slept with only a mask and body-suit on (the black tight-fitting gear that connects to his mask in the anime), he cracked open the door and blinked back the dots in his vision at the sudden brightness.
Kakashi whispered, "Hey, hey Naruto, are you here? You shouldn't be up with these injuries." Silence met him, and nervously the man stepped into the small washroom. He saw Naruto passed out on the toilet, snoring softly. Kakashi noted the bits of red on his arm and the kunai with some fresh blood caked on it. He shook Naruto awake before grabbing the boy's arm and putting it in the sink. Naruto winced as the cold water ran over the fresh wounds.
"K-Kashi sens-ei?" choked out Naruto, and Kakashi suddenly noticed how thin he was, the light accenting his protruding cheekbones. The T-shirt he wore hung loosely down his shoulders, and Kakashi noticed the scars over his collarbone and how little fat he had.
"Hey, I found you asleep in the bathroom. Do you, ah, want something to eat perhaps?"
Naruto slowly nodded, he hadn't eaten in a few days and he was feeling famished. He asked his sensei for some rice balls, and Kakashi left off to the kitchen to make a short snack for the boy. Naruto sighed; he had woken up his sensei who had slept late to take care of him, and they both had training at 8! What a disappointment and a waste of time, though Naruto. I'm only a burden on sensei, he should've just left me there yesterday to fend for myself.
Sasuke lay in his bed, unable to sleep. Or rather, he forced himself to stay awake, because he knew the nightmares would wake him the moment his eyes closed. His stomach rumbled, the unused acids burning a bit at his throat, but he didn't mind it and turned over. Itachi… you were an amazing brother. Why did you choose the path you did? Why am I too weak to ever match up to you? Sasuke was always the weaker brother, the Uchiha who didn't have the Sharingan, the one who wasn't perfect. Itachi was the youngest Anbu captain, he was so strong, mum and dad were proud of him. He had the Sharingan at 10, and he was the strongest Uchiha at his age. Why am I so weak? Nii-san was handsome, strong, and he wasn't fat like me.
It was 2 A.M., and Sasuke knew he had to get some sleep before training the next day. Popping back a sleeping pill, he drifted off into a drug-induced sleep, but he knew that the peace and respite wouldn't last long.
Sakura woke up at 5. She needed 2 hours to do her makeup, and then she had to head off and get there early in hopes of meeting Sasuke. Sakura sighed; she didn't even like Sasuke! He was just an arrogant brat who never talked to anyone because they were "below him." However, he was an Uchiha, the last remaining Uchiha. Sakura's parents told her at a young age that they were expecting her to court the rich and powerful boy. She thought back to when she was seven.
"Mommy! I saw this boy today, he was really handsome. He had brown hair and really pretty blue eyes," said Sakura, smiling up to her mom.
"SAKURA! *slap* I've told you many times to only focus on Sasuke, the last Uchiha. He's going to bring you money and fame. That's what our family needs." Her mother scowled and Sakura's face crumpled, a red mark forming on her cheek.
"But… Akiho (made up name for the brown-haired boy) is so much nicer to me! Sasuke just pushes me away, Aki actually talks to me and helps me with schoolwork."
"Sakura!" yelled her father. "You can't get help from other people for school, you're supposed to be the top of your class in order to get Sasuke to notice you!"
"But… I… I don't like… Sasuke…" Sakura's pupils trembled as her father stepped closer. With a slap, he sent her flying into the tabletop behind her. She felt a sharp pain and fainted, before waking up in the hospital due to a fractured rib.
Yeah, Sakura didn't have any choice. She had to marry Sasuke or else… she just had to. It was all she was good for. With a sigh, she went back to applying her eye shadow.
Sakura arrived at the training ground around seven-thirty, and Sasuke entered a quarter before eight. The girl smiled at Sasuke, who grunted and looked away, leaving her close to tears. She blinked them back. She couldn't cry, she needed to look pretty so that Sasuke would love her. Sakura ignored Inner, who was screaming, "Sasuke loves you? You don't even love him!"
At around eight, Naruto showed up, dark bags under his eyes. His physical injuries, except for the self-inflicted ones that the Kyuubi refused to heal, were already gone. Sakura shot him a dirty look and Sasuke didn't even notice him. Naruto smiled widely, yelling, "HI EVERYONE! Let's train! I'm the future Hokage, believe it!" Yep, thought Sakura and Sasuke, same ol' happy, cheerful Naruto.
Kakashi arrived only a few minutes late, needing to keep an eye on Naruto, and he appeared with a pop before sending them off on a run.
Naruto was tired; he only slept around three hours the night before. His wrist throbbed as the cuts bled a bit during the jog around the fields. Closing his eyes, he felt a bit dizzy, but he was ahead of Sakura and at the same place as Sasuke so they didn't notice the pain on his face. The dizzy spell soon passed, and he sped up again. I have to keep going, thought Naruto. No one can notice that there's something wrong.
Sasuke glanced at Naruto, and his stomach growled a bit. He turned around and kept running, hoping to burn off more of that hideous fat. Sakura was panting, but she needed to show that she was a capable kunoichi for Sasuke to marry, so she kept running at her fastest pace. The dark-haired boy suddenly felt ill, and black dots clouded his vision as he stumbled. Sasuke slowly halted, before passing out and falling to the ground with a "thud." Naruto sprinted to the fallen team member, shaking him and trying to wake him.
"Sasuke! Hey, Sasuke, you here with me?" cried Naruto, frantic with worry. Sakura finally caught up to where they were, and knelt down to examine Sasuke. She knew a bit of medical jutsu because she had studied extensively on them after a short academy lesson on ninja medicine. Casting a diagnostic glow over him, she noticed that he was a bit malnourished. Sending healing chakra into his head and heart, she woke Sasuke up.
"Huh… where am I… Oh," said Sasuke groggily. He pushed Sakura and Naruto away, exclaiming, "Sorry, I'm okay now," before resuming the jog. Kakashi had watched the whole encounter from a distance, and he was afraid that something was wrong with Sasuke.
They did a bit of tree walking, and the jounin noticed that Sasuke slipped even more than Naruto, which was unusual. He also stumbled a lot before jumping down the tree. During their kunai and shuriken throwing practice, the raven often missed the target completely, which was very different from his usual perfect accuracy. Even Naruto noticed that something was wrong with Sasuke, and he didn't make fun of the boy's poor throwing skills.
After training, Kakashi let Naruto and Sasuke go before pulling Sakura back to have a short chat. He gestured to Naruto to wait for him in the apartment, and he saw the boy's rebellious eyes before the jinchuuriki submitted and walked in the direction of Kakashi's home. Sasuke just walked at a slow pace home, stumbling on a few rocks before going out of view.
Kakashi smiled softly before asking the girl, "Have you noticed anything up with Sasuke today? I felt medical chakra during your run and I saw him collapse."
"Yeah, I think Sasuke is very malnourished, that was the only thing wrong that I found which could've caused him to faint," replied Sakura, worry evident in her soft, green eyes.
"Oh, I'll look into that. Thank you for letting me know, Sakura. Ja ne!"
Kakashi teleported to the store and the pinkette walked towards the civilian section of the village. It was late in the afternoon, and Kakashi was purchasing some food for him and Naruto to eat. He bought a few cups of instant ramen, even though he had a suspicion that the boy only liked the food because it was cheap and affordable. After laying a few coins on the counter, Kakashi jumped onto a roof before strolling home, hopping from one house to another. He would think more about Sasuke later, after he took care of his grumbling stomach first.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I hope this meets your standards and happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US! I'm thankful for the support I've been getting for this story and I'm glad that most everyone is patient with my slow updating. Give me some ideas, from a reader's perspective; am I going too fast with it? I know Sasuke is a bit OOC and Kakashi isn't as lazy, but I feel like with all that's going on in the story it fits better.
What did you guys think of Sakura's backstory? For such a strong character I felt that she would have a "reason" to be a fangirl, and it also fits the "trauma" of the story well.