Well. Hey there minna-sama! Sinful Serenity has decided to finally make her contribution to the Naruto fandom (Quick! To the bomb shelters!) with the plot line of a story she was originally going to write for Kingdom Hearts. It was originally going to be rated PG-13, but then I kind of consider this a extremely soft R; character death, alcoholic fun, silver-haired perverts and all of that lovely stuff.
So yeah. Besides this irritatingly long introduction, the story itself won't be many chapters at all. Sinful prefers writing one-shots, so her stories tend to be 'clipped'. She's estimating 3-4 chapters for this one, at best.
…Yes, she speaks in third person. Don't ask.
1) Sinful Serenity has an awful habit of plotting out her stories but forgetting to update for weeks on end. Gasp.
2) This will eventually contain some measure of yaoi material. In case you don't know, that means guy-on-guy action. As of the next few chapters, it's all normal—best friends sort of thing—maybe shounen-ai if you're a hopeless romantic and you squint. Like me.
3) S.S. will do her best to keep characters…in character. Forgive her if they sound crapped up.
Disclaimer: I've got… a couple pieces of lint and a piece of an M & M…sure you don't want those? It's all I own.
. W A I T . A N D . S E E .
By Sinful Serenity
Act 1—What Your Eye Makes Believe
To say that Uchiha Sasuke was a happy camper would be the equivalent to calling your pet dog Neko-chan.
In easily understood language, Sasuke was pissed. The unhappy Uchiha glared at one of the ANBU moving service workers, causing him to twitch under his steely gaze and hurry into the back of his truck. Now, Sasuke was a calm and reasonable young man. Not much managed to make him angry; even less made him anywhere close to happy. And certainly, the two men he had hired to help relocate his possessions to his new home, dropping said possessions about every half a minute, was not remotely close to the 'happy' in the Sasuke-mood-o-meter.
The raven-haired boy growled under his breath and stooped to pick up a fallen cardboard box, dusting off its battered sides and inspecting it quickly, before lugging it over to the pile he had stacked up on the porch of the house—mansion, really—he was renting out. Irony at one of its finest moments; Uchiha Sasuke, sole survivor of all that is Uchiha, college-bound, in desperate need of money, moving into a mansion. For some reason, it was being leased for a reasonably low price. So—what the hell, opportunity doesn't knock twice—Sasuke went and answered the add and now he had his new digs.
He paused to rummage in his pockets, pulling out a rather rusted silver key and inserted it into the lock, tugging once or twice experimentally before it opened with a faint click. The door had to be shoved on rather hard to open. A narrow strip of light illuminated part of the dusty foyer as Sasuke stepped in, one onyx eye immediately beginning to twitch in sheer irritation. Without a doubt, the place was filthy and looked like it hadn't been lived in for several years.
Sasuke threw open a couple windows, letting the welcomed light drift into the darkness and the autumn breeze race into the house and stir the dust. On his previous visit, he hadn't remembered the place being so god damned…old. Then again, he'd been desperate to get out of the shack he called an apartment.
"Oi, Mr. Uchiha, where d'ya want this?" One of the two moving men stuck his head through the open doorway, waving a hand in a haphazard gesture to Sasuke's dresser, which now sat on the porch.
Sasuke paused to point at a set of black iron-railed stairs to his
right—"Inside the first room on your left."
The man nodded curtly as Sasuke turned back to his own business. The boy decided to go and air out the rest of the ground floor rooms, if not only to make it bearable to live in this dump, but to restrain himself from beating one or both of the ANBU shitless as he heard a loud clunk and "Damnit!"
With a heavy sigh, Sasuke trudged off, his dark glare settling on the poor innocent walls, practically making the paper peel off more then it already had.
›››››I don't know what I am to you ‹‹‹‹‹
Sasuke plopped down on the jumbled mess of furniture in what he had hoped to call his bedroom by this point in time, tired, sweaty, and sore.
After moving all of the boxes of his various stuff into their respective rooms, leaving them to be sorted out later, Sasuke had been forced to assist the apparently more intelligent of the two ANBU moving men, death glaring the other none-too-gently. With their strength combined, Sasuke's furniture had found its way into the creaky old mansion, and then the two hired men had hopped off into their truck and sped away.
Sasuke had spent the better part of his day rearranging said furniture. All he had left was to move the stuff in his new bed room and all the crap in the cardboard boxes and he'd be done moving in. The 18-year-old forced himself to his feet, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand as he surveyed what he had left to move. He could leave the dresser there, nudge the bed a bit to the left—
"Oi!" A voice drifted out of nowhere, breaking rather rudely into his thoughts.
Sasuke blinked. He must be hearing things.
"What the—?!" Sasuke spun on his heel to face the unknown and successfully tripped himself in the process. He stumbled for a moment to regain balance…
…Which idiot left the slippery moving pad-thingies on the floor?
With a spectacular crash and a loud thunk, Sasuke's legs flew out from underneath him and his forehead promptly met the edge of his nightstand. Spots of light dotted his vision as the voice yelled incoherently at him again. Sasuke tipped to the side, one feeble hand half-heartedly attempting to clutch at his forehead, before he crashed to the side. The boy blacked out, but not before spotting a splash of bright gold and a shocking shade of orange in the inky darkness.
›››››But I'm sorry, so sorry, if I can't be ‹‹‹‹‹
Lookit the pretty dots spin... round n' round they go, where they stop no one knows…
A woozy Sasuke slowly lifted his eyelids, scrubbing at his eyes with the back of his hand in an attempt to clear his foggy vision. All he could see was a few licks of black; that was probably his hair dangling in his eyes again, two bright blue spots—damnit, why won't the colored dots just go away?!—and that infuriating orange that clawed savagely at his aching head.
And then an equally infuriating voice. "It's about time you woke up!"
See, the Uchiha clan has been carried on for a very long time. Ancient times, in fact, generation after generation after generation. In any generation, however, one of the first lessons any Uchiha should know is to protect their territory, personal space, whatever, at all times.
So, Sasuke replied in an equally loud shout (which he instantly regretted, as it made his ears ring) "Who the hell are you, and the hell are you doing in my house?!"
"Your house? Your house?! This has been my place for the last couple of dozen decades!"
Sasuke opened his mouth to throw back whatever sharp retort he could think of, and then promptly shut it at the word 'decades'. "Decades? Great, I move in one day and I already get broken in by some lunatic who thinks he's frickin' immortal..."
"Can't be immortal if you're already dead," The voice cheerfully replied.
That woke him up.
Sasuke blinked in confusion as the blend of colors separated and took on a distinct shape. Spiky shocks of golden, sunshine-colored hair, a pair of brilliant sky-blue eyes; that offending orange clothing clinging to the body of a teenage boy who looked around his age. He looked completely normal (with maybe an exception of the clothes; just couldn't get over its horrible neon color!) had it not been the fact the boy wasn't completely solid.
And the fact he was floating. Mid air.
The blonde grinned at him cheekily—notice the odd whisker marks on either cheek…hell, that could be normal too if he was one of those twisted punks who felt the obsessive need to cover every inch of their skin with some tattoo—folding his arms over his chest as he sat cross-legged and floated several feet above the floor. "Welcome back to the land of the living, sleeping beauty," He added with a mocking grin.
Sasuke blinked, then rubbed his eyes again, and took a good long look. He was still there. Then he turned, rubbed his eyes, slapped himself hard in the face and took another good look. Blue-eyes smirked back at him in obvious amusement.
"Alright. This has been a long day—" Sasuke closed his eyes and rubbed his temples.
"Was a long night, you conked out after ramming your head on the table," The other cheerfully interjected, gesturing at the window, through which the morning sun was indeed visible.
"—long day," He ground out through tightly clenched teeth, refusing to spare the boy another glance and instead directed his pointed glare at the evil wooden surface of the nightstand, "I hit my head on a table, and now I'm hallucinating. Excellent."
"Hallucinating?!" The boy cried indignantly, standing up—well, taking a standing pose, he was still floating—"I, Uzumaki Naruto, am no damned hallucination."
"Right. So what are you?" Sasuke shot back automatically. "Shit. I'm talking to thin air. Maybe I should've bought some more aspirin…" He muttered, glaring balefully at the pair of innocent-looking moving mats that had previously caused him so much pain and agony.
"A spirit! Duh!" Naruto leaned forward, staring at Sasuke straight in the eye (despite the patented Uchiha Death Glare aimed at him), though he was several inches shorter. "You don't look so good," He commented idly.
"I wonder why," Sasuke snarled back.
Naruto floated back a foot or two, his own baby blue eyes narrowing dramatically. "Hey, hey, you don't have to be a total asshole about it."
Sasuke chose not to dignify that statement with another response. The boy stretched and shuffled in the general direction of the door, groping around his dresser for a moment to grab a navy-blue headband and tie it around his forehead to keep his bangs out of his eyes, then let himself through the door and began the long, agonizing trek downstairs to the kitchen. Naruto popped through the wall, a fact he also chose to ignore along with the boy in general, and followed him silently as he stumbled down the creaky wooden stairs.
"…Sooooo….why are you in my house again?"
Sasuke grit his teeth as he entered the kitchen, then moved to rip the duct tape off one of his boxes with much more force then needed, sending the piece of tape and half the cardboard itself flying across the room. He picked up a glass cup from the remains of the box, crossed the kitchen to fill it with water and instantly downed it all in one gulp, almost sighing in the relief it brought to his dried throat.
"Hey! I'm talking to you!"
And I'm not. Sasuke mentally kicked himself as he refilled the cup, set it on the counter, and went to look for where he had dumped the medicine.
"Stop ignoring me!"
Happy place. Happy place. Happy place. He must delirious or something. That crack with the god damned nightstand must have seriously jilted his brain…or…or something.
ME, GOD DAMNIT!" Apparently, Uzumaki Naruto was one who liked to be heard.
"SHUT UP!" Sasuke finally roared back at the ghost-boy, then promptly clamped his mouth shut as Naruto grinned at him in satisfaction of eliciting a reply. "Alright. I'll play along. What the hell do you want?!"
"For you to tell me what the hell you're doing in my house."
Sasuke dropped the sadly empty bottle of aspirin he found on the kitchen table, flopping down in one of the chairs scattered around it. If that guy didn't stop speaking in such a freakin' loud voice… "I moved in. Yesterday. As in, bought house, moved into house, not your house, dobe."
Naruto's eyebrows knit together as he crossed his arms again, staring down at Sasuke and scowling. "Don't call me that, asshole! And I've been here, alone, since…forever. Well, except that one old lady… ran out screaming like bloody murder after I tried to talk to her. Stupid hag." He noted the tinge of bitterness in the spirit's voice.
The raven-haired boy suddenly felt the obsessive urge to bang his head unto another of the poor innocent walls rapidly as Naruto, brows furrowed in thought, rattled off every last previous owner of the mansion and how they'd all been somehow, inexplicably, moved out within a week of moving in. Well, Sasuke wasn't a cowardly old geezer, and he'd be damned before a figment of his imagination managed to drive him out of the best deal he found in ages! Something about the ghost irritated him to no ends, yet intrigued him at the same time, or he would've gone back to sleep long ago. Or maybe it because of how loudly the exuberant young man always spoke.
Nevertheless, for some reason Sasuke felt he'd rather die then be shown up by the annoying blonde and chased from the old mansion.
So, once again solidly ignoring the blonde, Sasuke stood up and picked up the aspirin bottle, throwing it through Naruto (who stopped off with a loud, angry "Hey! I hate it when people do that!") and into the trash can, and turned to go straighten out the rest of his new household.
›››››If I can't be what your eye makes believe‹‹‹‹‹
Sasuke's first visitor arrived the following Tuesday, October 19th. It was a cool autumn evening, the velvet sky washed in charcoal-colored darkness, dotted with diamonds of stars and a sliver of the moon. Sasuke was settled on his couch, intently studying a history book in preparation of Konoha University's entrance exams, attempting to ignore some loud banging coming from upstairs that was most likely caused by none other then Uzumaki Naruto in some way or another. Then another loud banging noise joined in, followed by a hollow-sounding thump from the general direction of the foyer. The eighteen-year-old gave up trying to study, dropped his book on the couch, and strode out to the hallway to answer the door, from which there was a funny giggling sound emerging through.
The raven-haired boy threw the door open expectantly, except for the fact there was nobody there. Sasuke blinked and peered out in confusion, when suddenly there was another thump and something hit the ground near his feet."Haha…hi Shashuke! You'll like, never believe what happeneeeed…" The owner of the slightly slurred voice attempted to pick himself up, failed, and collapsed once again, giggling insanely.
Sasuke stared in blatant distaste at his visitor, before grabbing Gaara by his collar and hauling him to his feet. "How the hell did you manage to get this knocked up?"
Gaara broke away from Sasuke's grip on his shirt and slumped against the wall, choking out words in between his laughter. "Heh. Great bar on the south side a town, dun even bother checking your ID for fakes… And tha bastard dared me anyway…" Sasuke and Gaara had been friends for a while. Both quiet, introspective, and generally anti-social, the boys were able to put up with each other. Unfortunately, while Sasuke was just anti-social, Gaara was anti-social and a sadistic bastard, who also managed to get as high as kite after a couple of shots. "Haha—look Sasuke—there's this flying dude over there—"
Sasuke spared a glance over his shoulder, where Naruto was floating, having given up teasing the poor mice in the attic and became interested at the source of noise from the entrance. Thankfully, the ghost had ousted the orange jumpsuit for a pair of black pants and a crimson long-sleeve shirt, and was now 'sitting' on the banister, watching Gaara laugh with interest. "Gaara, I think you need to—"
"Shut up, Suke! I can take care of myseeeelf…I'm a big boy now…" Gaara proceeded to attempt to make his way down hallway, stumbling in his drunken stupor. Naruto zoomed down to stare at Gaara quizzically, while Sasuke rolled his eyes and strode forward to catch up.
"For God's sake Gaara, you're as high as frickin' kite! How much did you actually drink?!"
Gaara stopped to think, or tried to. "Hnn. Dunno…lost count after the 12th… Couldn't beat Kiba, damnit…"
Naruto snickered, using whatever strange spiritual powers he possessed to lift one of Sasuke's books. It glowed an odd shade of blue, similar to Naruto's translucent eyes, then flew across the room and repeatedly poked Gaara in the head. Gaara attempted to swat the thing away, failing the first two time before the ruby-haired boy managed to grab it and nearly rip half the pages out. Sasuke's eyes widened as he dived forward to rescue the object, while Gaara half-heartedly scowled at Naruto, absently ripping a page out.
"Gaara! Watch it!"
"Tha' bastard's smirkin' at meh," Gaara slurred, then threw the book at Naruto, apparently not noticing or caring as it flew through the spirit and crashed into a wall.
Sasuke rubbed his temples in exasperation as Naruto, now having far too much fun, picked up another object to bother Gaara with. "That's it," he growled, stomping forward and grabbing Gaara's wrist, dragging him away from Naruto, who pouted as his toy was bodily removed from the hallway.
Gaara's head seemed to have collided with the book too many times, and the normally stoic red-head stumbled as his vision reeled and promptly vomited in a dizzy fit.
"Sorry, Suke…" Gaara mumbled, his next couple of words punctuated by a hacking fit. Sasuke seethed to himself, holding the stained fabric away from his skin, while Naruto burst into laughter behind them.
"Charming friends, suke," Naruto snickered.
"Shut up, Naruto," Sasuke growled in irritation as he peeled off his shirt, and involuntarily gave all present a nice view of his chest as he left to dump the dirty clothes in the kitchen sink. Naruto found his eyes glued to the boy's pale skin and muscular chest. Apparently, Sasuke worked out, and judging by how very social he was, Sasuke was not somebody to fuck around with. In fact, you probably weren't supposed to get close to Sasuke at all. Which really sucked, because he bet close was exactly how anyone would want to be after having that nice view of said well-toned chest.
"Oi, Naruto dude, I think you're drooling."
Five minutes later, a puzzled Sasuke re-entered the hallway to find an unconscious Gaara sprawled over the floor and another book besides his body that seemed to have slammed into his head quite soundly.
›››››If you looked and tried very hard to see‹‹‹‹‹
Two days later, Sasuke was beginning to understand exactly why each of the mansion's former occupants had left.
It seemed like the blonde almost had some strange connection with the house. He either had extraordinary hearing or some uncanny ability to tell exactly where Sasuke, and nothing could stop Naruto from barging in and wreaking havoc. Sasuke was forced to believe the whole spiritual thing, as he learned when Naruto popped into the bathroom while he was taking a shower and stole all the towels. The ghost boy had the power to manipulate the spiritual energy of any object, no matter how little or how much it had, and generally screw around with real-world objects. That, in itself, was enough to make poor Sasuke's life living hell. It also seemed Naruto had risen to Sasuke's challenge of staying in his new home, and was doing his very best to piss him off at every damn point imaginable.
Naruto wondered about it too. Sasuke interested him a lot; he was, so far, the only person that hadn't A) freaked out when they first spotted him, running in circles and panicking while loudly screaming "DEMON! GHOST! HEEEEELP!" or B) fainted, then moved right back out as soon as possible. Naruto had been haunting this mansion for exactly one hundred sixty-seven years, and he had nobody to talk to except the mice in the attic and the random cockroach and ant infestations. Unfortunately, Sasuke was about as vocal as said cockroaches, so Naruto turned to the only other way he knew to force the raven-haired teen to respond: annoyance.
Sasuke closed his eyes for a moment and sighed, then returned to watching TV, not bothering to acknowledge Naruto's presence as he floated through the wall. The blonde stared at the TV in fascination, apparently never having seen one, or just intrigued with the whirls of flashing colors. Sasuke sub-consciously began flipping through channels as fast as possible. Click. Click. Click. Click.
"Hey! I'm trying to see!" Naruto complained. Sasuke continued to ignore him. Click. Click. Click.
Naruto waved both arms up and down in an attempt to attract his attention (and blocking the screen at the same time), resembling the men flagging the runways at airports, causing Sasuke's eye to twitch unpleasantly. Sasuke paused in his channel surfing momentarily, glaring at Naruto, though the ferocity of his gaze seemed to bounce right off the hyperactive boy. "Go away, Naruto."
Naruto brightened up for a second. "Does that mean you've finally accepted the fact I do indeed exist—well not really, but—damnit, I mean—"
"Naruto, what do you want?!" He cried in irritation, sending a freezing glance at the boy.
"Nothing! Nothing!" Naruto's waving ceased from Sasuke's icy glare. Desperate to look anywhere except the coal-eyed boy, his cerulean eyes shifted back to the TV screen. "…But I didn't know you watched porn, Sasuke—HEY! Stop throwing things at me!"
Oh yes. That had been memorable. Naruto had fled the Uchiha's wrath as Sasuke's face turned a dark red (either from rage or embarrassment, or both, he never knew which) and he threw the remote at him, which unfortunately landed on its volume button.
Guess what happens next.
The sounds of someone reaching the climax of orgasmic bliss blared through the old, worn walls of the mansion. Days after, Naruto had trouble stifling a round of laughter every time Sasuke dared ventured outside and was greeted by very odd and disapproving glances from his new neighbors.
"…Will you stop that already?"
Naruto drooled openly at Sasuke. Rather, what Sasuke held, which happened to be Naruto's absolute favorite thing in all of existence—ramen. The golden-haired boy wiped his mouth off with the back of his sleeve and shrugged carelessly. "What? It's not fair!"
"Tough." Naruto twitched as he mournfully watched Sasuke take a bite of his noodles from the white plastic cup.
"Daaaaamnit," The spirit whined. "I love ramen! And I can't have any! This sucks!"
Sasuke smirked at him evilly, slowly chewing and swallowing, strangely satisfied at finally being able to push the blonde's buttons. "It really must," the eighteen-year-old drawled, lazily waving his chopsticks. "I mean, I'd share," insert perfectly evil—and sexy—smirk—" but you're kind of dead." Sasuke ate the last of the noodles, drained the container of all leftover soup, then crushed it in his fist and lobbed it through Naruto to the trashcan, an activity he was thoroughly beginning to enjoy. The teen spun on his heel and exited, stifling a laugh at Naruto's tortured expression.
That was before Naruto retaliated by doing said bathroom prank, leaving a soaking wet and fuming Sasuke yelling at him through the doorway for half an hour straight.
Their was suddenly an unwritten law between the two that there was a war and the first to back down would be the first to go, or something along those lines. Call it rivalry, or perhaps just immaturity, but both struggled to hold their own. Unfortunately for Sasuke, Naruto had been around for hell of a lot longer then he had, knew every last thing about the creaky old mansion, and he had his spiritual powers, a lot more in comparison to the meager mental torture Sasuke could inflict on him.
And that was why a very angry and somewhat confused Sasuke was standing in his kitchen, staring at the yellowed pages of the phonebook spread out in front of him, contemplating his next move.
Oh yes. It was a dirty move, but it had to be done. Sasuke was near his wit's end and beginning to fear for his sanity. Then again, he thought bemusedly, flicking a page in the massive book that laid open in front of him, one finger trailing down the page and halting at a specific phone number, no one in their damn right mind would be calling 'Exorcise & Exterminate, Your one-stop source to get rid of any kind of pest, dead or alive!'.
Well, low blow, but Sasuke desperately needed his peace and quiet to study for his exams.
The harsh buzzing dial tone filled his ears as he quickly stabbed in the phone number and placed the phone to his ear. Six…seven…eight…when were they going to pick up?!
Sasuke blinked as the dial tone was replaced by a calm, easy-going sounding voice, none of it sounding what he expected a professional or someone skilled in their expertise to…well, sound like. "Is this the…the… Exorcise & Exterminate service…thing…?" He muttered into the mouthpiece uncertainly.
"Yup," the voice cheerfully agreed. "Tonight's special is the hot & raw package, including extermination of one type of household pest and front-row seats to viewing free porn performed by Hatake Kakashi and—"
There was a click as another phone was apparently picked up and another voice interrupted
the other-now-known-as-Kakashi. "I'm sorry," the other man apologized. "I'm
Umino Iruka of E & E service, how can I help you?"
Sasuke practically removed the phone from his ear to stare at in disgust, wondering exactly the what the hell had he been thinking calling what sounded like a perverted lunatic and his partner. He didn't seriously believe there were other people who actually believed in this kind of superstitious bullshit, much less people who ran a business about it. "Umm…Well. It might sound stupid, but… Unless I've gone mental, I believe there's a ghost haunting the house I just moved into…"
"Ghost?" Kakashi broke in, his slow voice sounding mildly interested. "Let me guess, old mansion or shack abandoned for a couple of centuries, right?"
The charcoal-haired boy arched an eyebrow, even though the two couldn't see his face. "Mansion."
"And you want to get rid of it," Kakashi continued.
"Depends what kind of spirit it is," Iruka put in thoughtfully. "If it's an angry spirit, then it'll have to be removed by force… Can you describe what it's like?"
"Calls himself Uzumaki Naruto," Sasuke answered flatly. "And as far as I know, he spends ninety percent of his time trying to piss me off. Doesn't seem to be some malevolent specter waiting to possess my body and kill everything within a ten mile radius whenever I go to sleep," he added in dryly, not expecting his words to be taken seriously at all.
case," Iruka stated, "He's your ordinary spirit."
Sasuke twitched. "Meaning?"
"Meaning he has some unfinished business or something," Kakashi filled in. "Probably committed suicide or something like that. Teen angst, y'know."
Unbeknownst to Sasuke, the brunette on the other line rolled his eyes as he continued on Kakashi's blunt summarization. "Anyway, something's bothering it, so it's holding it back from moving on," Iruka explained. "If it was an angry spirit, we could exorcise it or seal it away, but normal ghosts are a bit trickier. You have to find out what's wrong with it, try to solve the problem, and then hopefully it'll move on into the afterlife."
Sasuke sighed heavily as he processed the new information. Dealing with Naruto currently was enough to go him a headache whenever the spirit felt rowdy and in need to pull pranks, which was almost all the time, and he doubt the boy would appreciate anyone, Sasuke included, trying to pry into his past and generally make him go away. He could see it now…
Hey, Naruto, how many times were you dropped on the head as a child? TT
Naruto: Huh? Oo
mean, what disturbing things emotionally scarred you for the rest of your life
while you were still living?
Naruto: -suspicious- Why'dya wanna know?
I can get rid of you? TT
Naruto: …Bastard. TT
Yeah. That'd go over really well.
"Alright. Thanks for your help… how much do I owe you?" Sasuke grit his teeth, wondering why he bothered calling. He already heard all that crap about ghosts before anyway, and he didn't exactly have the kind of cash for frivolous things. Such as calling perverted exterminators.
"Oh, nothing," Kakashi answered airily. "Not like we actually had to drive out and go kill something for you. Speaking of driving, Iruka, now that the job's done, let's go have kinky sex in the back of the van!"
"KAKASHI!" With a chuckle, the other hung up with a click, a tiny beeping sound ringing in the remaining two's ears as his phone line disconnected Iruka sighed heavily, apologized for his companion's behavior, bid good-bye, and hung up as well. Sasuke replaced the phone on its cradle, leaning against the wall, immersed in deep thought. So… play the counselor, get Naruto to go away.
Then again, how exactly do you solve some one else's problems when you've got too many of your own?
›››››Maybe, just maybe, you'll get a glimpse of me‹‹‹‹‹
Sasuke dropped the rag he was holding on the arm of the couch, then plopped down on the leather besides it. Clearing a few year's worth of dust, grime, and general filth from his new home was exhausting, and he swore everyday he dusted the damn place it generated two times more of the crap, just to irritate him. Still, the raven-haired boy continued to wage war against the household, dutifully scrubbing away in attempts to sanitize the dump.
The teen forced himself off the couch, which was quickly becoming all-too-comfortable for his worn body, an surveyed the room. He cleared out his bedroom and the kitchen first, successfully managing to make it decent and organize all of his stuff, and he was halfway done with the hallways, living room, and a few of the extra bathrooms and guestrooms. That still left the attic, which really had no intention of venturing up to, and the basement. He needed extra storage room, and he hadn't checked it out yet anyway, so…
After opening one or two doors to the main foyer, he successfully located the correct door, staring down into the darkness the plain wooden stairs led down to. What're you, afraid? He scolded himself and immediately plunged downward.
Sasuke groped around for a moment before finding the light switch, though it did little, as three of the four lights placed in the basement were burned out. Sasuke sneezed twice, fanning the air around his face as dust sailed around him. The small underground room was piled with dozens of stacks of boxes and trunks and some odds and ends of furniture forgotten or left behind with a purpose (as he noted of a rather shabby looking, blood-stained sofa). Everything seemed to be coated with a two inch layer of dust, proof of the ages they had been stored away, but what instantly caught the teen's eye was a trunk sitting in the corner, though obviously quite old, that was devoid of any substance that told of how long it'd been sitting down here. Sasuke moved forward, curiosity aroused, kneeling besides the small trunk and inspecting it with interest. After a struggle with the rusty locks, the lid slid open, revealing the most astonishing collection of ninja equipment he'd ever seen.
The insides of the wooden trunk were divided in compartments; two small ones were stacked with shruiken, the other with kunai, and two or three giant windmill shruikens laid besides that. There was a pile of scrolls written in old-style kanji that Sasuke couldn't quite read, but from the few fragments he could pick up they were describing various jutsu and how to perform the techniques. There was a stack of books accompanying the scrolls, a crystal orb, a dusty, moth-eaten pillow, and a weird-looking, wide-brimmed hat, among other ninja-related tools.
The shruiken and kunai gleamed up at him as if they brand new, the feeble light the basement lamps gave off shining on their smooth razor-edged ebony surface. Sasuke picked up one of the kunai, weirded out by how natural it felt in his palm. He let the weapon rejoin the others of its likeness with a clatter. There was what looked like some kind of head accessory, a metal plate engraved with a symbol like a leaf, sewn to a navy-blue band of fabric, similar to something he thought he saw Naruto wear once. And that was all the trunk contained, until he spotted a sheaf of paper tucked away behind the crystal orb.
It was a stack of photographs. The paper was worn and yellowed, creased and crinkly with age, but the faces it captured still beamed up at him with amazing clarity, the colors only slightly faded. There was a picture of an village that looked positively thrown together out of odds and ends and whatever building material the architects could find; scenic pictures of a forest, mountains in the distance, an ocean and a large bridge that spanned some water body. Then there was a photo of Naruto, still grinning like an idiot, his whiskered face stretched into a wide smile as he stared at the camera. The next were a couple of group pictures of Naruto and presumably his friends. The last photo stood out from the rest, as it was the only one that was of a person and didn't have Naruto in it.
The image of a girl smiled happily from the worn paper. She had mint-green eyes, shoulder-length cherry-blossom pink hair, with one of those head protector things tied amidst her tresses as a sort of headband. Her smile was innocent as she waved at the camera, red dress drifting in the wind.
"Oi, Uchiha-bastard! Where are you?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes at Naruto's latest and lamest nickname, twisting around halfway on his knees to glance up at the doorway. "Down here, dobe!" He shouted back, then turned back to staring at the picture of the pink-haired girl. For some reason, as happy and as innocent as she looked, there was something wrong with her smile, something wrong with the aura the picture seemed to give off.
Naruto appeared in the doorway, a perfectly evil grin imminent on his face. "Ya know what would suck? Me 'accidentally' locking you in he—"
up as Naruto abruptly trailed off. The color in the spirit's face seemed to
drain away, making his ghostly tanned skin look even paler then Sasuke's. The
blonde seemed to be frozen up, his jaw working soundlessly as he stared blankly
at the picture in Sasuke's hand. "…How…"
He started and faltered, then tried again. "How did you find those?!"
'I was cleaning and decided to snoop through your junk?' Yup, real smooth, Uchiha. Sasuke blinked, looking down from picture to ghost and back again. "Uhh… I was going to clean up down here…" he said evasively, "…and I came across…your trunk, I think… What's wrong with you?"
Naruto jerked away, glancing desperately in any direction except Sasuke's. "No one," he muttered under his breath, turning to leave.
Sasuke flipped the pink-haired girl's picture to the bottom, coming across the final image. It was the girl, her arms loosely wrapped around Naruto in what looked like a friendly hug, but the emotion that seemed to shine through both pairs of emerald green and sky blue projected something much more then 'friendly'. Naruto practically glowed in the picture, looking somehow happier then Sasuke had ever seen him. The picture stirred something inside the raven-haired boy's heart; a sense of longing to love and be loved like he never had, as a child and as a teen; yet more curiosity, and a fogged understanding that perhaps Naruto wasn't a simple trouble-making prank-pulling ghost. The foxy grin the spirit flashed him was a watered down version of the enormous smile plastered to his face in the photograph.
It made him think how truly little he actually knew about the blonde.
"Naruto," he called firmly, causing the golden-haired boy to stop, though he didn't turn around. "Who is this?"
Naruto was silent for a few seconds, contemplating whether or not to tell Sasuke. "It's…" he whispered darkly, crossing his arms, "It's Sakura. Haruno Sakura."
"What's special about her?" Sasuke pressed, quickly shuffling the photographs so that it looked like he hadn't seen the picture of the two together.
Naruto flinched. "I don't want to talk about it," He answered in a flat voice, so unlike the Naruto he knew—or thought he knew, at least.
"Fine!" Naruto snapped, whirling around as Sasuke stared at him in shock at the sudden outburst. "She was my girlfriend, okay?!"
›››››I'm sorry I can't be what your eye makes believe…‹‹‹‹‹
A/N: Well, that wraps up the first chapter. This would've originally been two chapters, but I lumped it all together. Hope ya guys liked it… I'm looking forward to writing the other stuff I plotted out. xD It changed a lot from what I originally thought up already, but that's okay! If I may quote the description on the Wingin' It set from Gaia online, 'sometimes a half-assed job is better then non at all.'
Though I think I did pretty well keeping them in character. I think. Oh…except for Gaara. But he's drunk, so that's okay.
Right now, I'm busy drooling at a couple of doujinishi I found… I desperately want to buy 'Naruto de Punch!!' by Meiji Kimera, but everywhere I've looked so far either hasn't had it in stock or isn't selling it at all. Blast, and they drew Sasuke all sexy-like too.
Anyway… that's it for ranting. Leave a comment or two and let me know how I'm doing, okay?
I don't know what I am to you
But I'm sorry, so sorry, if I can't be
If I can't be what your eye makes believe
If you looked and tried very hard to see
Maybe, just maybe, you'll get a glimpse of me
I'm sorry I can't be what your eye makes believe…
. WHAT . YOUR . EYE . MAKES . BELIEVE .