Disclaimer: Naruto doesn't belong to me, just this fic. It is enough. Naruto/Sasuke pairing yaoi Rated: R By: Sunstrike

Chapter One Absorbing The Demon

Water and soap suds flew everywhere. Naruto hated cleaning dishes, it was a crappy way to end a good day. But Iruka-sensei had said that he was going to bring take-out ramen over. He also said that if the boy didn't have any dishes done then he would just take it all back home for himself. Naruto was fairly certain that his old teacher was at least half kidding when he said that, so, he decided to do half the dishes.

He had changed into a black shirt and some boxers because his old outfit was just too hot to do this sort of work in. As he bent over his task he remembered when he didn't have to get a backache by just being next to the sink. He had grown a lot over the past month; and a few years had effectively gotten rid of any baby fat, with only a few traces lingering around the edges. Lean and tall, he almost matched Iruka for height, so he was trying to find some new clothes to fit his change. He was hoping that this new modification would require the fatigues of a full class ninja. For now though, he would settle for the usual orange jump suit, even if it was a bit thread bare. His hair remained a constant, especially during these hot autumn nights where he cut it short and left it spiky. A soapy bronze arm wiped the sweat off his brow and he grinned. He had only just come back this week from the beach. His teammates were off on a mission so he had been waiting patiently this whole time to see their reactions to the new and improved Naruto.

The view outside his window darkened as night approached. He doubled his efforts; even half of the pile next to him was turning into an arduous task for the young man. His nose twitched, night wasn't the only thing making shadows, a storm was coming, and he could smell the sharp scent of fresh rain mingling with the decay of autumn leaves. He chuckled thoughtfully to himself; Iruka would have to walk home wet. The mischief that seemed to flow in constant motion through his veins was tempered by a weak spot he had for the guy. Maybe just this once he'd loan him a blanket and the couch.

Naruto looked at his reflection in the window in surprise. Had he just let a mature and helpful thought enter his head? His brow furrowed in consideration. It must be because he was getting older. Sixteen was practically ancient, and his seventeenth was just around the corner. He grinned, who knew how he had survived for this long with everything that had occurred in his life. He was pretty optimistic now that he had managed to get through basically whole and intact. He blushed, with only a few mental adjustments along the way.

He picked up another object to wash out of the large, but getting smaller, pile next to him. Best not to think of things like that now. He had all but managed to quench any feelings he had towards certain teammates by drowning himself in his training and this spontaneous trip to the seaside. Over all, he thought he had managed to conquer everything he felt, and was now ready to begin the next step of becoming a master ninja. Clear mind, which was never very hard for him, and clear conscience, which was turning out to be more complicated then expected. It was funny how odd things seem to creep up when doing mindless activities.

That's how it began, really, with a thought. Then, someone called his name.


The boy blinked and turned around. Nothing was there. His blinked a bit stupidly with confusion. Someone had just said his name right by his ear, and yet, the space that normally would have been occupied with a body mass was decidedly empty.

Soapy glass cup still in hand, he walked slowly through his small flat, turning his head this way and that. Even more nothingness greeted him. Just to make sure, he checked all the other windows and the lock on the door. Then looked outside, walking around to the window that led to his kitchen. Still nobody. Feeling more then a little embarrassed at this, Naruto walked back to the sink, dripping more soapy water all over the place. It had been a long day; he wondered where Iruka was.

He had just dunked the cup in for another go when he heard it right by his ear again.

"Naruto.kun." This time he whirled around, glass upraised to use in his self-defence.

Nothing was there. Now he was seriously pissed off.

"Iruka-sensei if this is your idea of a joke." He trailed off as a chuckle echoed that sounded nothing like his teacher.

"Who's there?"

Pain ripped through his stomach and the glass shattered in his hand as he gripped it too hard unconsciously. He couldn't even scream as blow after blow scraped across his insides, it felt as if he had swallowed something that was still alive and wanted out. Lightning ripped across the sky as he grabbed the counter to stable himself. As he did so he caught a look of his reflection in the bright harsh light, and his wasn't the only one. He managed to glimpse a tall figure of a man who was grinning malevolently at him. The stranger's eyes and hair were the deep evil red of blood.

Finally managing a strangled shout the boy dove away only to slip on the wet bloody floor. He cracked his head hard on the cold surface of his kitchen, his last view filling with light, and insane laughter filling his mind.


He awoke to warmth and shouting. He was being carried down a narrow white hallway. People were blurred shapes going past. Even though moving quickly, the only really motion Naruto felt was the fast breathing in the chest next to his head and the vibration in a voice. The same person holding him was making all the noise, he recognized it well, have been at the other end of it many times.

"Hey, Iruka-sensei, do you really need to be that loud? My head hurts." Iruka's face loomed in a watery blurred fashion, and yelled some more, straight into his face.

"Naruto!? Don't you dare go back to sleep! You've had a concussion and lost a lot of blood-" Iruka kicked open a waiting room door and walked in.

I might die, but I'm going to go a lot faster if he doesn't start to be quiet. Oh no. All his senses lost track of his splitting, about to explode head, and settled to his stomach. The instinct of the insanely proud, and about to lose dignity, managed to translate the churning in his stomach.

His eyes sharpened to a narrow view of a trashcan that would be perfect. With the strength of one large sixteen-year-old boy who's pride may be in jeopardy he leapt out of his sensei's arms and landed hard on the floor, frantically making it to his goal with seconds to spare. Everything focused on him losing his lunch, snack, and stomach. He didn't see the nurses shuffling a still yelling Iruka out of the room or the doctor come in. He didn't feel the cool hand on his forehead or the jab of a needle into his arm. For that moment, his world focused on a small can with tissues at the bottom, and what was left of his food.

Finally, when there was nothing left, he managed to fall back into a sitting position. Slumped over, he completely zoned out. He felt utterly hollow, as if more then his stomach contents had been lost. The helplessness was the worst part and if he wasn't so empty, he would have been deeply ashamed of himself. Iruka must have carried him unconscious all the way through town. On top of all this his head started to throb again, making him feel worse.

Someone slowly lifted him up from his wilted position and sat him on the cold plastic and paper patients' bed, then wiped his mouth and face with a warm, wet towel. He finally registered another person in the room besides the doctor who had opened what was left of the door and was standing in the hallway.


"Don't say anything, kid. As Iruka probably burned into your head with his shouts, you've had a nasty fall." Said kid moaned and slowly raised his hand up to the aching mass that was his big head, only to find himself looking at a severely bandaged mitten hand.

"Your hand didn't fare much better." The big blue and grey blur that was his teacher tilted his head to the side. "I thought you were going away to train and not be as clumsy. You just swam and sunbathed all day didn't you."

"I'm never washing dishes again." Came the low mutter, even that hurt. His own voice echoed painfully and he almost felt sympathy for everyone who had to listen to it over the years. Kakashi laughed softly as if reading his thoughts, then went to confer with the doctor.

Naruto tried to remember what had happened. Big mistake. His memories seemed to be at the end of a tunnel and he was walking barefoot over razor blades as he chased after them. He was startled when strong arms picked him up.

"I can walk, you know, Kakashi-sensei." Now the shame filled him to the brim making him squirm. Naruto felt his teacher's chest move as he gave a snort of laughter.

"And face the wrath of Iruka? You got to be joking, Naruto."

The young boy blushed at how close they were and instantly went still. Damn it, feelings like this was why he stayed away from the others for so long. He was so tired of running away but if emotions like this came from just being near his teacher, god only knew what would happen when he rejoined Sakura and-. No. Better not to think like that.

Kakashi's showing eye crinkled at the edges, and Naruto could hear the smile in his voice. His teacher continued.

"Besides, you can tell me what you did on that little vacation you had from the rest of us. And maybe then I'll go buy some ramen and I'll tell you about all the mistakes Sakura and Sasuke have made in your absence and how much stronger they are and-" His voice trailed off as he felt the deep breathing against his chest that told him that his pupil wasn't too interested in anything but sleep. Still smiling, the older ninja took the injured boy to Iruka's.

There would be time for questions later.