A/N: Ninety-minute challenge written for the temps_mort community over on LJ. Also my first actually finished Sasunaru, so go me, yah? ^_~ About time I got one of these done.

Sasuke's POV.

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"A Less Attractive Gray"

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I hate him.

I hate him, I hate him, I HATE him.

From the stupid grin to that garish jacket, from the never-neat hair to the brash, chaotic attitude, I hate him. I will never know how he managed to finally pass the shinobi test and earn his headband. It's a miracle the idiot hasn't gotten himself killed yet.

He just makes me absolutely sick. Every time I see him, every time I speak to him, my stomach twists unpleasantly and I feel as tense as I would if left unarmed in a roomful of enemies: as hot and angry and needlessly sensitive.

His jacket is much too bright. I hate it. I hate him.

. . . why can't I stop repeating myself? Why am I still thinking of him? Other people are so much easier to brush off. But him . . .

Him I can't forget.

And sometimes I think I might hate that, and not really him at all.

I'm not used to feeling like this about people. I didn't think that I still could, in fact. That a person could so affect me. That a color could become such an obsession.

Sunrise. I watch it from my roof, and try to ignore the color's place in it. His color's place in it. When I looked for breakfast, of course the only food I had in the house was a few oranges. I should've gone grocery shopping, but I had not thought to before and it is too early right now.

I never liked the color orange when I was younger. It was too bright, too gaudy- too likely to give its wearer away when they were seeking to go undetected. I still can't imagine myself ever willingly wearing it- I always wanted as far away from that particular shade as humanly possible.

But when HE wears it . . . that is something else. Something very hard to dislike.

Except that I hate him.

I have to hate him. Because if I don't, then I won't know how I feel about him.

Not knowing things like that can come back to bite you at some very bad times.

So I hate him, because he's loud and gaudy and explosive and too good at being happy. I like silence and subtlety and cool nighttime colors. The sunrise is not for me. The daylight is not for me. He is not for me.

Let the orange go to Heaven or Hell. I'll stay here in Purgatory, where it's dull and pointless and safe; where I can try to repent for the things that I've done- or didn't do, in a few truly miserable cases.

It is better that I stay in the blank places: the gray that means nothing.

Because the orange is too hot and if I get closer, I know I will burn. Still, the burning itself is not the problem- what I fear is what his fingers will find when he sifts through the ash of me for whatever is left. Would he find precious stones, or just brittle glass? Would the heart have survived his fire?

And if it did, would it have been worth the trouble anyway?

Such a hideous, glorious flame. I can't look at it again. Let me back into the darkness, into the gray where I can see no colors.

Orange. What do I know about orange . . .?

It is a tree. It is a fruit. It is a butterfly. It is vibrant and alive and burning and so, so him.

The sun is up now. I can see too much. I can see him on the ground before me, looking a little bored and watching me. Me, who wants nothing but to see the gray again.

"What the hell are you up to?" he demands with a frown, but I keep my silence for fear of what I might say in reply. His scowl, unsurprisingly, darkens.

I want him to smile at me. Even if it burns, I want to see his light: the light that burns so powerfully that it will blind you and send you back into the darkness in the end anyway.

But that painful light is still so worth it, even if you can never see any other again.

"Get off the roof, dumbass!" he yells up at me, throwing a rock. I catch it halfheartedly and toss it back. He yelps as it hits him and I have to force back a snicker.

"Pay more attention, would you?" I say with a snort. "If that had been a kunai you'd thrown at me, you'd be bleeding all over my yard right now."

"Nice to know you care," he says irritably. "Get dressed, would you? We have a new mission. Last-minute deal."

"Coming, dead-last," I reply lightly, taking a step forward and dropping to the ground in front of him. He greets me with a punch that I dodge easily enough- it is an old ritual between us now- and we go inside with only a minor scuffle.

I dress quickly while he watches, again looks slightly bored but still following my movements. I wonder what that means even as I pull my shirt over my head.

"I like that color," he says suddenly, and I pause, slightly puzzled at the comment.

"What color?" I ask.

"That blue," he explains, pointing to my shirt. "It's cool."

" . . . Thank you?" I try, beyond confused now. Why is he mentioning this? It's the same shirt I wear almost every day; the same color it's always been.

"I just noticed it, but it's like exactly the opposite of my jacket," he says cheerfully. "You know how every color's got an opposite- a complementary shade that goes the best with it? It's like that. Or whatever you call 'em."

Why is my face suddenly hot?

He stands next to me, pressing our shoulders together, and says, "See? Isn't that weird?"

I do see. He's right- our orange and blue look very good together.

But for some reason, I think that I like this situation for more than just its aesthetics.

And I have the strangest line of thought going through my head right now in regards to what he'd kiss like if he were doing it willingly.

Somehow, gray is so much less attractive when I am with him.

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* fin *

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. : crazy like a FOX : .