Hey! I apologize for my poor english, I originally wrote the story in german and translated it. My beta-reader said it was ok but I'm not sure... if you have ideas how to make it better please contact me... anyways, please R&R!

This story takes placed after the latest manga chapters. I dont know what's going to happen next so I just thought Naruto and the others managed to bring Sasuke back to Konoha....


Bird in a Cage

It's already dark outside and the village has become quiet. But I can find no sleep. My huge apartment is cold and empty and as always in lonely nights such as this one, I feel like something is missing. I miss Sakura smiling at me. I even miss Naruto's constant bragging. I can't take it any longer, the silence in this room is suffocating me.

I decide to take a walk outside, to enjoy the air on this warm summer night. I walk through the empty streets with no specific destination, yet I eventually find myself in front of Sakura's home. Secretly, I scold myself for being so foolish. Why am I here? She must be asleep already, and although I doubt that she'd mind me waking her up in the middle of the night, I turn around and walk ahead. Something is different. I can't look into her eyes any more.

Undecisively, I take direction toward Naruto's small apartment, but when I approach the house, I don't have the courage to go and visit him. I climb a tree, which highest branches reach up to Naruto's apartment, and take a timid look into his room. Just as I thought, he is fast asleep. Doesn't he ever feel the loneliness?

I want to wake him. Shoo him out of his bed with a pretense reason, and maybe argue with him a little, just so I don't have to be alone any more. But I can't. When I climb down the tree, before anyone can see me up here, and find myself back in front of his door, my hands just won't move.

Crestfallen, I give up.

Why am I fooling myself? Since the day they brought me back, things have changed. They pretend that nothing happened, but after all they despise me for leaving Konoha. Secretly, they blame me for leaving them behind. Maybe things will never be the way they were. Naruto doesn't argue with me any more. Whenever we meet, he just keeps smiling this weird smile, I think, he has lost respect for me.

Now I am really lonely. I just wanted to be the lonely avenger, chasing after my brother, living only for revenge. Well, this is it. I am lonely. I lost the only friends I ever had. How could they ever forgive me? I knocked Sakura unconscious and joined up with the four sound-nin, ready to leave in search for Orochimaru and thus also for power.

My path leads me a far off side of the village, close to the entrance. I am about to leave Konoha for a slight walk in the woods, but I hear a sudden scream. I stop and turn around, listening closely, following the unfamiliar sounds. Its origin is within the garden of a huge estate and I recognize it as the Hyuga estate. In the back yard, far away from the buildings, I discover the source of the screams. Someone is training.

A thin mat, tied tightly around the stem of a tree, is what his punches aim for. Again and again he hits the mat with punches and kicks, I can see that his fingers are bleeding. I come closer. He is real good. I don't see why he is pushing himself so hard. All of his punches are exactly placed and I can tell there is a lot of strength in his kicks. Actually I have hardly ever seen anyone strike so efficiently. Having gotten curious I step closer to him and involuntarily analyze his combat style. I wonder, if he could be a match for me.

"Who's there?", he suddenly screams, then spins around and aims a punch at me. He is taken aback when I catch his wrist easily. But I'm also surprised about the force behind this blow. I was right, he is strong indeed.

White eyes stare at me and now I recognize him. Hyuga Neji, the guy who was beaten by Naruto in the final chuunin exam. "Uchiha Sasuke…", he says and lowers his hand. "Why are you here? This is the Hyuga main house, you're not welcome here."

"I was watching you.", I reply honestly.

He loosens the bandages around his arm and wraps the cloth around his bleeding hands. "So what?", he asks indifferently.

I smirk at him. "It seems that you have nothing else to do, so what about a little training battle?"

I can see the fighting spirit shine in his eyes and after a short pause he replies: "Sure, why not?" He prepares for the fight and I notice his unfamiliar fighting stance. Must be a characteristic for the Hyuga family.

I take a look around myself. Here? The house is quite far off, but I don't want to attract uninvited observers. On the other hand, all the windows look dark and I'm not planning to use my special powers in this fight. It's just supposed to be a training battle. I lift my arms, ready for his attack.

When we approach each other for the first time, we exchange simple punches. Each of us is testing the other's force and speed, and I must say his strength is remarkable. He is talented. The speed of our attacks is increasing steadily, and so is the force of our blows.

Oh, he is a good fighter. I'm beginning to have problems following his fast moves. And he is reaching his limits as well. Therefore we jump to a new level. I activate the sharingan and he uses his famous Byakugan. His eyes seem to see through everything. This technique is similar to mine, yet it's different. His insight goes deeper, but he cannot copy moves as I can. And I do. Over time I adapt his combat style and even his stance.

And yet I cannot get the upper hand in this fight. Incredible! I feel excitement rise within me, but also anger. I want to win against him. I cannot lose to someone who lost to Naruto! I just can't! He cannot block one of my kicks and I hit his head. He is not hurt, but his forehead protector loosens and falls to the ground. I hesitate when I see the sign on his forehead. What is that?!

My hesitation earns me a blow to my stomach and I get really angry. I almost lose my temper and create an energy ball in my hand. "Chidori!" While I prepare my final attack, he bends forward and his left hand almost touches his left foot. I don't recognize this stance. But I can tell it's a form of defense, I can feel him gather chakra around himself. Is my chidori going to break through his defense or is he stronger than me? I strike out and attempt to attack him.

Out of the blue a searing pain runs through my body. The energy ball disappears unused, while I fall to my knees and press a hand over the scar on my shoulder. It hurts all of a sudden. The seal… did I break the seal? I shouldn't have used so much chakra in a simple training battle. But this pain is new. What's happening?

"Uchiha-kun!", I hear Neji say as he approaches me. "What's wrong?" He knows well enough that he didn't injure me. His Byakugan must see the unusual symbol burned onto my shoulder, even through my clothes. The proof that I'm right is his asking me: "What the hell is that?" He kneels down beside me, but there is nothing he can do.

The seal is breaking and I double over in pain. Something is going wrong. But what? Is this Orochimaru's doing, because I refused him? Because I went back to Konoha with Naruto and the others? I feel the familiar black symbols covering my skin. Neji sees them as well.

"I'll get help!", he yells and attempts to stand up.

My arm snaps forward and I grasp his wrist firmly. "No!", I gasp, and it takes me a lot of willpower. "The curse… might take over… ughh… You have to stay and stop me, if I lose my temper…" It's obvious that I cannot control the curse this time. It's just like the first time, when it broke out during the exam, when my hatred threatened to take over my body. If this happens, nothing and no one will be safe from me. Neji is strong enough to stop me. He has to keep me from going berserk when I lose control.

He doesn't understand what's happening, yet he nods softly. Good. Now I can concentrate on winning back control over the curse. I still hold on to his wrist and in my agony I squeeze it with all my strength. He draws back slightly and stares at me wide-eyed, but doesn't say a thing.

It seems to me like an eternity during which I almost lose complete control over myself. But then I get a hold onto a clear thought. I remember how Sakura brought me back. I need another human being, a good friend at best, but neither Sakura nor Naruto are there right now. So I stick to the next best thing. Neji. I stare into his eyes and try to hold on to this sight. There are people who are worried about me. There are people I care about. If I lose it now, I might hurt them. I feel the touch of his skin beneath my fingers.

And it works. I repress the curse and the black symbols disappear. I fall forward in exhaustion.

"Uchiha-kun?" His soft voice reminds me that he is still there. I lift my head as soon as I regain my composure. My hand is still grasping his wrist firmly. I let go and he draws back his arm. My grip left red marks on his pale skin.

I sit back and sigh in relief. "Thank you…"

He seems to be confused. "What was that?"

"The curse.", I reply. "Orochimaru marked my body with his symbol." I pull the hem of my shirt over my shoulder and show him the scar on the base of my neck. "When I'm angry or my body is weak, then the seal breaks and I lose control."

His expression changes, and if I didn't know better I'd say he's smiling at me. "She was right after all. We are alike." When I stare at him in awe, he explains: "Hinata-sama said that some time ago. Although I don't think she knew about the curse." He touches the mark on his forehead swiftly. "This mark was burned into my forehead to keep me under their control. I'm at the main house's mercy."

Finally I understand what he means. We both had our bodies marked against our will. And although mine increases my strength and his is supposed to suppress his powers, they are both meant to take away any control over our body. In some ways, we're caged. "Like a bird in a cage…", I say absent-mindedly. I didn't even mean to say that out loud. He is staring at me bewildered.

"What did you just say?"

It must be the exhaustion and maybe the loneliness that makes me say these foolish things. "Even if someone opens the cage, we cannot fly away. I hold on to my revenge, even if it destroys me."

"And I cling to my hatred against the main house." He touches his forehead again and seems almost forlorn to me suddenly. "I almost killed Hinata-sama."

Although each of us can understand the other's pain, we're both too involved with ourselves. I can find no consolation in the fact that I found another being who has to suffer as much as I. He is like a mirror to myself.

"Maybe we should finally learn to fly.", he says depressed. "And let go of our past."

But none of us can do so. I can feel his despair as much as mine, although I have never been a sensitive person. Why should I care about someone else's feelings? Must be the loneliness…

I lean forward on my knees to reach him, who is still sitting on the grass with his eyes cast down, and kiss him on the lips ever-so-softly. Hell, I don't think about what I'm doing right now. He was so beautiful sitting there, just like me and yet so different. I just did it.

Instead of pushing me away, he kisses me back.

It feels so unreal as we touch each other in the moonlight. I have never kissed somebody, I have never wanted to. And all of a sudden I am caught in a kiss, with Hyuga Neji of all people! Neji, who has this distant aura and the piercing eyes. We both forget everything around us. Where we are, who might watch us, even our pride and the reputation as cool, distant fighters. I feel strangely attracted to him.

He pulls my shirt over my head and kisses the scar Orochimaru left on my body. A shiver is running down my back. I undo the bandage on his head, which is keeping his hair back, and tuck at his hair-band. Black strands of hair fall freely over his face, making him look so vulnerable now. I stroke a strand of his hair behind his ear and slightly touch the mark on his forehead. It must have been hurtful when they cut it into his pale skin.

None of us would say a word. I know that any word spoken out loud would make this weird sensation that has gotten a hold of us disappear instantly. He removes his shirt.

My hands stroke his muscular chest and a wave of arousal washes over me. For the first time I realize what this might lead to. But my head feels dizzy, I am blinded with grief and loneliness, and as well with lust. And so is he, his heavy breathing increases, his chest is rising heavily beneath my soft touch. He draws me closer to himself and our hips grind against each other, sending waves of pleasure through my body. I want him. I can feel only this: I want him.

Between deep kisses, longing touches of our hands and soft sounds of arousal, we tear at each others clothes, undressing each other.

He presses me to the ground, and the grass feels cool against my heated up skin. For the first time since that first kiss, we are looking directly into each others eyes. His white eyes meet my black ones and his right hand is cupping my cheek.

What am I doing here? I must be losing my mind.

Hot breath grazes over the sensitive skin on my neck. Fingers stroke wantingly over pale skin. Black hair, tickling me. His soft voice in my ears, suppressed moans of arousal. Our fingers entwine and we hold on to each other as if for dear life. We both want to escape our loneliness for a few precious moments.

The world disappears into a sea of sensations and this weird mixture of lust and loneliness and I completely lose my mind and my composure.

Eventually I find myself lying face-down on the ground, my face pressed into the cool grass, and his hands grasp my raven hair. Beads of sweat are glistening on my skin. With one hard thrust he buries himself deep inside of me and I can help but crying out. He gently kisses my shoulder and whispers meaningless words softly into my ear, words of comfort.

Then he starts to move, slowly at first, but his rhythm steadily increasing. I lose count of time, to me there's just the two of us and the thick air and this sensation within me.

We come closer to the moment of relief and I can hear his hardly suppressed moans. He is supporting his weight with his right arm, the other strokes my back, moves over to my chest, down to my stomach, and goes down further, and I tilt back my head, screaming my excitement out into the world. From far away I hear his gasps when we reach climax simultaneously and the world disappears and my body trembles and while I cannot grasp a single thought I feel incredibly focused at the same time.

At this single, perfect moment I feel like a bird that flies out of its cage into the endless sky.

Then we fall over onto the grass, enjoying its cool touch on our bodies, gasping for air, listening to our hearts beating in the same, fast rhythm. He rolls himself off of me and lies down on his back, staring into the night sky. I lie there by his side, facing him, refusing to come back to my senses. I know that as soon as I regain control over myself, it'll be over and I'll be alone again.

Eventually, when we are able to breathe again, he reaches out for his pants and puts them on. Upon seeing this I do so too, afterwards sinking into the soft grass once again, enjoying the aftermath of our love-making. His eyes seem dull from exhaustion, now he is avoiding my gaze once again.

I feel endlessly tired, but in a wonderful way. I can't seem to keep my eyes open and for a little while I doze off. When I feel like I've been resting for long enough I sit back up. Neji is asleep next to me. He is still lieing on his back, his head slightly tilted at my direction, and his black hair is mingling with the grass. Even now that I am coming back to my senses, I still think he is so very beautiful.

Careful not to wake him I kiss the mark on his forehead like he kissed the scar on my shoulder minutes ago. I watch him sleep for a long time. He looks vulnerable, almost fragile in his sleep.

To me he is like a bird with broken wings.

And yet I don't feel lonely in his arms any more. I can feel this insatiable longing for closeness I have always denied. If I could, I'd forget about my pride and my cool image, and just stay with him. Wake up next to Hyuga Neji tomorrow, give him a good-morning-kiss and embrace him.

But whatever happened to us tonight, it's over now.

Each of us will cut his own path, locked up in his cage, haunted by the ghosts of his past. I cannot share my path of revenge with anyone, even though I shared my pain with him for one night.

As quiet as possible I gather up my clothes and head back home. The same crescent moon is shining down upon me as it has been a few hours ago. My apartment is still the same, still dark and empty. And I am still the same. I am Sasuke Uchiha. Forever trapped like a bird in a cage. I look through my window over the quiet village I call home. Maybe I will never change. But…

I wanna learn to fly.



Oooh! My first Neji/Sasu Fanfic! I'm obsessed with this pairing but there are hardly any fanfics about them! Please, everyone! Write Neji/Sasu or Sasu/Neji fics!!! P L E A S E!!!