Title: Red Eyes


Warnings: Spoilers up to chapter 206 of the manga. Violence. Slashy overtones if you're reading with that intent.

Disclaimer: Nope. Not mine.

Summary: Twice before, he'd seen those eyes nearly close forever for his sake. And that made the difference - because red eyes see things others don't. One-shot.

"You...must die once."

Sasuke blinked, frowning into the darkness that surrounded him. Where was he? And why was such a strange phrase the only thing he could remember?

His whole body hurt, like there was fire running down his nerves, racing through his veins, searing at his muscles from the inside. Hesitantly, he stretched, to see if he could relieve the stiff joints, but hissed and withdrew his arms when his elbow slammed into something hard. Reaching a stiff arm out again, he ran shaking fingers across a rough wooden wall, curved around him. Sitting slowly, painfully, he discovered that his hand could follow the wall all the way around, to find that it formed a small circle around him.

Another hand reached upwards, to find a smooth, oddly warm ceiling to his small cage, which didn't give at all to his careful pushes.

Where am I? He wondered again, carefully rotating his shoulders to remove that stiff, unused feeling. There was a terrible taste in his mouth, and as he moved his tongue to try and remove it, a rush of memories came back.

The Sound Four. Seishingan. Dying once. Cursed seal. A small glass bottle. Level two. The forming of a rough wooden barrel.

So that's what this is, he frowned, rapping his knuckles against the wooden wall. I suppose this means the sealing worked.

"I won't let you take Sasuke!?!"

Sasuke's head snapped around, trying to find the source of that voice. It sounded....it sounded something like Naruto...but what the hell was that dobe doing out here?!


Another voice, closer, lower. Sasuke didn't recognize it, though there was a certain quality to it that seemed all too familiar.

"I'll smash you!" That did sound like something the dobe would say.

Somewhere outside of his small circle of darkness, somewhere beyond his enforced solitude, Sasuke could hear the scuffle, the grunts, the cries and yelps of battle. He could feel more than anything else, the dance, the whirls, the dips and weaves that would be at least twenty-five Naruto shadow clones against one all-too-powerful adversary. More than twenty-five, he decided. Maybe into the hundreds.

"Behold! The dance of the willows!" That unknown voice cried, and now the cries and wails of the injured came only in Naruto's voice, accompanied always by that now-familiar explosion of chakra cloud that would be all that was left of a clone each time.

"You...!?" Naruto's voice bellowed, but it was followed seconds later by the most agonized cry yet, followed again by the sound of another clone disintegrating.

Sasuke wished he could see what was going on. Without his even realizing it, black eyes flared red, the pupils swirling angrily, but he still could not see beyond his prison walls. I have to get out of here, he scowled, pulling his hands to rest in front of himself, fingers posed into the tiger seal, focusing his chakra inward. If he could gather enough chakra, he was sure he could blast out of this place. It only would need just a little more...

The sounds of the battle outside faded in his ears. If Naruto and the other were still fighting, he didn't hear it. He couldn't hear it. All his energy, all his concentration, all was focused inward, on his hands, on the dark chakra that was beginning to focus around them. He didn't notice the way the darkly glowing purple energy surrounded him like a shining cloak, nor did he notice the way the black mark on his neck began to spread, covering his skin like a macabre tattoo. He didn't feel the walls of his prison growing steadily hotter, til they themselves seemed to glow with suppressed heat, steam beginning to work its steady way from the crack around the lid. All he felt was the chakra, still building, and the seals that began to fall away from his cage.

Sasuke's Sharingan eyes snapped open again, and with a roar of rage, he lashed out with that chakra - sending his prison flying in a blast of smoke and splinters.

When at last that smoke faded, he lifted heavy eyes to see two figures.

One was a man, white haired, holding a sword of whose composition Sasuke didn't want to guess at. He stood, watching Sasuke with an expression that somehow mixed paternal pride with bitter jealousy. He posed no threat to Sasuke.

A little further away, slumped on the ground, hand held to stomach, breathing heavily, sprawled Naruto. His chest was heaving, blood dripped in a steady rhythm from the corner of his mouth. His eyes were closed. He made no move to acknowledge Sasuke's presence.

"Sasuke-sama arrives," the man said, and Sasuke's eyes snapped back over to examine the man's face. "And well progressed, I see."

Sasuke ignored him.

But then, he was ignoring Naruto too.

"Sasuke," a voice rasped, and said boy immediately rectified that, turning blazing red eyes to the other boy.

To find blazing red eyes staring back at him. Red eyes he had seen once in the Forest of Death, what felt like lifetimes, but had only been months, ago. Red eyes that had taunted him, 'scaredy-cat' when he had been faced with a challenge unlike any he'd ever faced before. Red eyes that had widened in horror when an inhumanly long tongue had pinned his arms, lifting him off his feet. Red eyes that had reacted in pain to a strike to the gut, then had fallen closed as their owner had lost consciousness. Red eyes that had stared a demon down, unflinching and unafraid. Twice, he had seen those red eyes, twice those red eyes had protected him, and twice....twice those red eyes had nearly shut forever for him.

"Kill him."

Sasuke's own red eyes blinked, looking away from orbs of the same hue to the white man. He was too pale, too washed-out next to the red.

"Kill him," the pallid man repeated, eyes too flat, too black. "Prove your worth, your value to Orochimoro-sama. Kill the demon boy."

Sasuke's eyes flitted back to the other set of scarlet eyes. Naruto didn't move. He just watched him, silent.

"Sasuke-sama!" The ashen man demanded, his drab eyes narrowed. "Prove your strength!"

And so Sasuke did.

Crimson drops hung for a moment in the air, scarlet splashes scattered across the grass, carmine driblets coated his hands, leaving the skin slick, stained a vivid flush.

And slowly, he sank to his knees, Sharingan swirling restlessly, helplessly.

"Good job," a voice said, and he turned, slowly, feeling as though each of his limbs was tied to the ground, to face the voice.

Vividly scarlet eyes stared back at him.

"You have the same eyes as me," he whispered, almost as though he had heard those words before, though of course, he hadn't. His own orbs looked down at his hands, scarlet stained over the alabaster skin, blood on marble. There had been color in that colorless body, after all.

"I know." The other said simply.

His shoulders slumped, and he knew, without looking down at himself, from the fire that ached its way across his skin, that the cursed seal was retreating. He looked up once more at the other pair of crimson eyes, then let himself fall forward, knowing even before it happened that he would be caught in a pair of arms, cradled awkwardly in another's lap until help would arrive.

Because red eyes see things that others miss.

The "eyes are the same as mine" is a quote from Haku about Zabuza. Lovely eyes. "^_^"

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