Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto… get that in your heads already…
Warnings: Shonen-ai, suicide attempts, violence… angst… lots of angst
Pairings: SasuNaru… hints to KakaIru
Summary: When no one cares for you… when no one bothers to know your name… or learn your heart… can you truly find happiness while still alone? SasuNaru
Okay, just to explain this. What appears in ITALIC is the past and NORMAL is the present. Okay… just making sure you understood that.
Title: Flowing Glower
The room was dark… almost like that boy's eyes: black, emotionless, and cold. The room reflected everything that shouldn't have been in the blonde's mind at the moment.
Sitting in a corner, covered in shadows was a teenage boy. His eyes were red-rimmed from the tears that flowed freely down his face, were a bright blue, like the sky on a cloudless, sunny day. Yet these eyes did not show happiness. Instead, they were endless pools of despair that could ensnare anyone who dared to stare into their depths.
"Doushite…" the boy mumbled; his voice hoarse from sobbing. "Doushite… Sasuke…?" He put his tanned face in his hands, the sobs wracking his body, shaking his nerves. Why did this happen to him? Why… why was he betrayed by the one who claimed to be his best friend?
It had all started out as just a simple training session – just like every other that Team Seven had had. Sasuke and Naruto were trading insults, as normal, while Sakura was clinging to Sasuke. Kakashi had his eyes stuck in Icha Icha Paradise. Stupid pervert.
"Ne, Kakashi-sensei," the blonde called. His trademark grin – almost like a fox's mainly due to the three whisker scars on each side of his nose – lit up the boy's face. Team Seven was seventeen at this time. They were growing up.
That didn't escape the mind of Kakashi, as much as he hated to admit it – he might have to say goodbye to his students soon. They would all become jounins, as they were at the chuunin status already. He shook his head, continuing to read the paragraph in front of him.
"Oy! Bastard!" Naruto yelled suddenly.
Sasuke looked up and glared at the blonde. "What is it, dobe," he growled. The two shared a slight glaring contest before Naruto pointed behind the boy.
"Would you mind telling your fan club to stay at home while we're trying to train?" he asked.
"What? Can't handle them being here?" Sasuke sneered.
His face was inches from Naruto's. Naruto glared back. The two had entered an unspoken challenge and neither was backing down from it right now. The fan girls surrounding the clearing where Team Seven were, shouting insults at Naruto and cheers at Sasuke.
Sasuke began to speak in a low murmur, enough for only Naruto to hear him. "Naruto, come on," he whispered. "Help me out of this."
Naruto had to fight to keep the glare on his face. Of course Sasuke would ask Naruto to help him get away from the fan girls. Who wouldn't? And it wasn't anything new. For the past three years, Naruto had been helping the Uchiha boy escape from tight situations like this one. It was just another part of their weird friendship/rivalry.
"Again, Sasuke-chan?" Naruto murmured back with a smirk. "This is the third time this week."
"I'll treat you to as much Ramen as you can eat," Sasuke replied. "But only if you help me out here."
The thought of free food banished whatever else was in the blonde's head. "All right, you're on!" Naruto exclaimed.
The two began a dramatic fight which made the female viewers "ooh" and "ahh" over Sasuke's form. They didn't care about Naruto. Naruto summoned Kage no Bunshin and Sasuke was able to get away, as was the real Naruto. When the clones all vanished and the girls found the clearing empty, they were enraged.
Meanwhile, Sasuke and Naruto sat on the branches of a few trees, trying to suppress their laughter.
Naruto looked around his dark apartment. Each time he stared at an object, he was reminded of his best friend. Sasuke had been a large part of his life over the last six years. The blonde and his teammates were now nineteen years old.
Team Seven knew everything about each other. They knew their teammates' likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies and personalities. The three were very close. Sakura had even given up on Sasuke when she was fourteen, turning her emerald green eyes to Rock Lee. It hadn't been much of a shock to Naruto or Sasuke. After all, it was bound to happen. The boy had had a crush on her for ages and had been hounding her no matter what she said.
The only thing that Sasuke and Sakura didn't know about Naruto was that the blonde no longer had a dream. He didn't want to be Hokage anymore. He wasn't exactly sure why, it had just occurred to him one day that maybe he had been living a pointless lie his entire life. To become Hokage would mean that the villagers would have to depend on him. How can they depend on what they only see as a demon that killed their brethren? No matter how much he tried, all Naruto did was screw up. He had wanted attention so much as a child, that he pulled so many pranks. Well, needless to say, that hadn't helped the villagers' view of him at all.
Naruto tried to smile – just like he did in public. In public he would wear the mask of his personality. Smile happily, be loud and obnoxious. That was all a lie. He only smiled so that he wouldn't cry. He was only loud so that the silence of the hatred wouldn't engulf him. He only wanted to be seen.
And cared for…
Was that too much to ask for?
Naruto walked along the hallways of the Hokage Tower Mission Office. He was eighteen now… proudly considered an adult. He had promised that he would help Iruka in filing mission reports in return for Ramen. The teacher had agreed willingly, obviously disliking the job. However, it wasn't as though he could complain – considering that he was the one that signed up for the job to begin with.
Naruto knocked on the door to Iruka's office, where he was to report to. If he were still young, he would have bashed right in – but that changed after he was fifteen. He had accidentally walked in on Iruka and Kakashi kissing each other.
Since then, he knocked. It was simple as that.
Hearing no response, Naruto shrugged and went into the main archive room, shutting the door behind him. He could see some of the papers on the desk already.
He had been working for a half hour before he realized that he really had to go to the bathroom. Standing, he walked over to the door when he heard voices on the other side. Hearing his name mentioned, he leaned closer, pressing his ear to the wood.
"So, Sasuke-kun," a female voice said. Obviously, judging by the amount of giggles coming through the wood, the poor Uchiha boy was with his fangroup again. Or rather, they were with him… he wouldn't have cared less if they all disappeared into thin air. He had just come back in order to deliver a mission report. "Are you and that Naruto monster friends? Neh, Sasuke-kun?"
Naruto pressed himself further up against the wall, wanting to hear the answer to this question. They had been friends for ages – or at least, that's how Naruto liked to think of it as.
"No," was the boy's sullen reply. "We're not friends…Hell; I wouldn't even call us really anything. That dobe and I are nothing to each other. We were on the same team, but now that we're both Jounins, we're nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing."
Naruto felt a slight push against the door. He felt numb as he was pushed out of the way by the door, landing hard on the floor. He looked up into the surprised eyes of Uchiha Sasuke.
"Naruto…?" the boy questioned softly.
Naruto didn't reply. He stood up, feeling tears well up in his eyes and shoved Sasuke into the doorway. The fan girls cleared a path for him to get through and he ran for all his might.
"NARUTO!" he heard Sasuke yell from behind him. Naruto ignored him.
He ran. He ran as fast and as far as his legs could take him. Past the ramen shop. Past his house. Past the bridge where he always met Kakashi in the days of old. Past everything he knew and loved. Past even the furthest outreaches of Konoha.
He just needed to be alone – he needed to think. He needed to calm his raging heart and get some sense back in his head. However, none of that happened. He kept running, past trees – past everything.
It was as though if Naruto kept running, than he could outrun all the hurt and rage that had been born when Sasuke said those words.
We're not friends… hell; I wouldn't even call us really anything. That dobe and I are nothing to each other. We were on the same team, but now that we're both Jounins, we're nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing.
"Dammit…" Naruto said as he collapsed in an unfamiliar clearing. He tried to move but couldn't. He hurt. All over. The muscles in his legs were screaming in pain – as were the lungs that he was struggling to breathe with.
Finally able to shift himself so he was lying on his back, Naruto looked up at the sky. The clouds were dark – heavy, as though the sky was about to cry.
Naruto wasn't sure if he wanted this to happen or not. He just wanted the pain to go away. The muscle pain and the exhausted lungs he could handle.
It was the pain in his heart that he wished he could banish – and yet he found it so hard to do so.
Why… why do I feel like this? Why am I always the one that has to feel like this…? Naruto wondered as the clouds broke and ran began to fall.
He faintly heard someone call his name. Not wanting to be found, Naruto dragged himself to his feet, wincing. He crawled into the bushes before collapsing, everything around him going black.
The last thing he saw was Sasuke looking into his eyes.
Naruto looked at what was in his fist. He would end it. End it before he had to feel this way again. End it before someone else could choose to destroy him – to betray him.
No one cared.
He knew that before, but he had hoped.
Optimism's a bitch, isn't it? A low voice growled in the recesses of the boy's mind. Didn't I try telling you that once before?
Shut up, Kyuubi, Naruto yelled back.
The boy was tossed into himself again, staring through the gates at the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. To his surprise, the fox was looking at the boy with concern, not mockery.
Lowering his head so that the two were on eye level, Kyuubi looked at the boy. "Are you really going to let that bastard win?" he asked softly, his red eyes looking at Naruto.
"It's better for everyone if I'm not here – nobody cares… so I should just disappear," Naruto was mumbling.
Sticking one of his tails through the bars of the cage, Kyuubi wrapped it around the boy. Naruto turned and cried into the fur whilst the fox held him.
"Naruto…" Kyuubi murmured.
Naruto just wailed for what seemed like hours into the fur of the fox demon, not caring that this being was supposed to be evil.
It just felt so good to have someone care. Especially on his birthday.
He was nineteen today…
Yesterday was when the… incident… happened.
Kyuubi just let the boy cry, knowing that he needed to. Unlike most of his human companions, Naruto was truly known by the fox.
Sasuke looked around the village. He couldn't find Naruto anywhere. He had been searching for the boy ever since yesterday. He hadn't meant to say those words. Now he wished that he could take them back.
But kicking himself thousands of times would have to wait. He needed to find Naruto. He wanted to explain to the blonde that that's not how he felt at all. That was just his mask speaking.
He ran towards the boy's apartment, not knowing where else to check.
Yesterday, Sasuke had found Naruto unconscious in the bushes a long way off from Konoha. Fearing the worst, he took the boy immediately to the hospital. Unfortunately, between yesterday and today, Naruto had escaped from the hospital and just disappeared.
Slowly approaching the apartment, he noticed that it was pitch black on the inside.
"Might as well check it out anyway," the boy muttered doubtfully. Naruto wasn't the type of person that just sat in darkness. That was more of a Sasuke trait than a Naruto quirk.
He walked up the door and tested the knob. Like normal, the thing was open. "Urasontonkachi…" Sasuke murmured, like he always did.
Unable to see in the blackness, Sasuke flipped on the light switch. He searched around the main room, trying to find Naruto. He saw nothing. He checked the bathroom and came up with the same result as before.
Sasuke paused before entering the boy's bedroom. It was only a second of hesitation, but it happened. Then he plowed right ahead.Whilst Sasuke was searching through the main rooms of the apartment, Naruto was still talking to the Kyuubi.
"Gomen ne, Kitsune," the boy murmured.
The Kitsune nodded. He knew what the boy was saying. However, there really wasn't anything that the fox could do to prevent it. He didn't like seeing Naruto like this.
Naruto slowly awoke to consciousness. "Goodbye, Kyuubi…" he murmured. "Arigato."
Then he plunged the tip of the kunai into his wrist, raking it along his forearm. He bit his lip to ward off the pain before repeating the gesture to his left wrist. Now all he had to do was wait.
The door to his room crashed open, Sasuke stood there. The Uchiha boy looked out of breath and his normally pale skin was flushed.
"Sasuke…?" Naruto questioned thickly. His eyes were getting blurry. Whether this was from the inevitable death or his tears, he didn't know nor care. "Doushite…?"
"No!" Sasuke yelled. "Naruto!" He rushed over to the boy, tearing his shirt and making makeshift bandages around the boy's forearms. "Please, God, no… not you too!"
"What?" Naruto managed to rasp. "How? After…"
Sasuke looked at him, his black eyes filled with panic, sadness and pain. "Dobe…" Sasuke growled, though it was in a caring way. "I didn't mean to… Dammit, I'm such an idiot."
"I love you," Sasuke told the boy, hugging him. "I love you, dobe."
He looked back at Naruto, only to find the boy's eyes closed. Listening for any sign of life, Sasuke could find none.
He screamed – loud and long. The one he loved the most he had hurt the most. He sobbed, holding the dead boy's body in his hands. He didn't want it to end like this. It couldn't end like this.
Uchiha Sasuke had just realized how much Naruto meant in his life. But it was too late for trivial matters like that. It was way too late.
He hugged the lifeless body tightly to his chest. It was in this position that Kakashi and Sakura found him hours later. He couldn't move. He didn't want to move.
Because he knew that it was his fault. He knew that he was to blame.
And that was what hurt the most. That was the wound that he knew could never be healed. No matter how much he tried, it was that wound that would scar him for the rest of his life.
Sasuke was going to have a "rest of his life" because he knew that if he killed himself, Naruto would kick his ass for eternity. He would have to live with the pain of his deed.
It was the worst possible punishment that he could think of. To live without the blonde boy's smile, his happy blue eyes bouncing. His obsession of ramen, his generous heart and strange pride. His attitude, mannerisms… all of this was embedded in Sasuke's brain with ever step he took down the road called Life.
It was nearly fifteen years after Naruto had gone when Sasuke had been attacked during a mission and his chances of living were slim. Sakura was there with him, as she was the team medic.
Although Sakura dressed his wounds to the best of her ability, both knew that Sasuke was dying. Strangely, Sasuke didn't feel any fear at this. He had never fulfilled his avenger duties. After Naruto died, he just didn't care about Itachi anymore.
"Sakura… gomen ne," he murmured softly as she dressed his broken arm.
"What are you talking about, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked. Her bright emerald eyes stared into his pained onyx ones.
"I killed Naruto-chan…" Sasuke said, his voice cracking as he felt the dam break and tears flow down his face. "It's my fault."
"No it isn't!" Sakura yelled. "Naru-chan would be the first to tell you that."
"But it is… it is…" Sasuke sobbed. He felt like he needed to tell someone this. His fingers gripped Sakura's sleeve. "Gomen… I needed to talk to someone… you'll be here for me… right?"
Sakura's eyes softened. "Hai…" she murmured, making herself more comfortable next to the makeshift bed of pine cones that Sasuke was using.
"I told him I loved him… and then he died…" Sasuke was mumbling. "I don't even know if he loved me back. It was an accident… fucking fan girls… they asked me whether Naruto and I were friends. I told them we weren't… I told them that we weren't anything." He paused. "Naruto heard every word. He ran… I tried to find him… and I did. I took him to the hospital… but then he escaped. When I saw him again… it was too late."
He couldn't stop the tears. Sakura had never seen Sasuke like this. Awkwardly, due to his many injuries, Sakura leaned over and hugged him.
"Don't worry, Naruto forgives you," she assured him as she sat back.
"H-how do you know?"
"Because… you were his 'Person-Just-For-Me.' He would've risked his life to save you from any type of danger. So of course, he forgives you. He's probably waiting for you right now. With that big goofy grin of his and those sparkling eyes. His hair in disarray and his stomach rumbling for ramen. He's waiting for you, Sasuke," Sakura sobbed. She let the tears fall. She was losing one of her best friends. Fuck the ninja rules. They were a bunch of bullshit when it came to times like this.
"He loves you, Sasuke… and he's waiting for you," Sakura told him. Sasuke was growing even more pale, and Sakura knew that he was about to leave her. "Just cross the bridge. Don't look back, Sasuke-kun. Don't look back. Just look for him. He'll be there. And everything will be as it should be for you to."
"Arigatou gozimasu, Sakura-chan," Sasuke murmured, and then he was gone.
Sure enough, Naruto was waiting on the other side for him. His hair was spiky, just as Sasuke remembered it. His sparkling blue eyes seemed to shine even more. The whiskers on his face were still there. But what Sasuke loved most was the way Naruto's arms were open.
Ready to welcome him.
Ready to welcome him home.