Symphony of Opposites.
AN: First in a series of unrelated drabblefics. Criticism?
They start the day early, just as the sun is timidly peeking out from behind the mountainous skirts to the east, a shy child with its cautious mother. It fills the sky with a kaleidoscope of color, shot through with pastels; pinks and greens and golds, and some colors that don't have names but don't need them, because the sheer aesthetic impact of seeing them and knowing they exist is enough.
It's dawn, and Naruto doesn't want to be awake.
It's daybreak, and Sasuke doesn't want to be sleeping.
They're a symphony of opposites, they two. Dark and light and wrong and right and somehow friends forever. And they're scowling at each other to prove a point they don't even understand.
"…Betcha I can go higher!" And Naruto kicks his feet against the ground and his swing wobbles unsteadily and he almost crashes into one of the poles anchoring it to the ground. He kicks the pole next, like it shouldn't be there, like it's not his fault he's a total klutz.
Sasuke smirks. "Oh yeah?" He mirrors the gesture –with far more self-assurance and capability than the boy next to him- and sure enough, he manages it. But altitude is always hard to sustain when one doesn't know how to fly, and falling seems to be an Uchiha family trait.
Naruto laughs, and straightens himself out and goes higher despite Sasuke's disapproving glance.
"Hah!" Naruto crows, triumph and elation tumble together to create a snub-nosed child with spiky blonde hair, blue eyes with the depth of an ocean, and a demon chained to his soul. "Admit it, you're such a loser!"
"I won't lose to you, idiot," Sasuke mutters darkly, and within a moment they're on the level again. Naruto's laughing and Sasuke's smirking and the two maybe remember why they've fought for each other, and with each other, and why they'd die for precious little else.
The next time they're here together; the playground is a macabre corpse, lifting skeletal fingers of metal and wood to the arrogant sunset.
It's nightfall, and Naruto doesn't want to be here.
It's twilight, and Sasuke doesn't have anywhere else to go.
It's been six years since they've been here last. They're eighteen now. Too young to love as yet, but old enough to die indeed. Old enough to have killed with their bare hands, young enough to never be taken seriously. Old enough to have seen comrades die, young enough to still have hope for the future.
Some of that hope is in Naruto's eyes.
None of it is in Sasuke's.
Naruto's sitting on one of those damnable swings, swaying back and forth with a child's whole-hearted enthusiasm. The years haven't dampened his spirit, darkened his soul or pushed him down a road from which he'll have to claw his way blindly back to the arms of the people who care.
Sasuke's not like Naruto, but they're still a symphony of similarities. Rhythm and tempo, shadow and shade. Sasuke feels the weight of his years, his soul's a yawning black cave waiting and wanting to be filled, and he's so lost in life that no map could ever lead him out.
So he sits on a swing next to a man he's loved and tried to kill and loved just the same and they don't speak. Not for a while, anyways.
"I forgive you, yanno, idiot," Naruto observes, and he's staring at the stars like they're the ones who matter. He grins and salutes to the sky and Sasuke says nothing.
"You're welcome, asshole." He laughs again, one of those delicate little flashes of a childhood forsaken, and Sasuke smiles bitterly.
He doesn't ask for forgiveness. He doesn't like being redundant. Instead, he undoes the straps of his haversack and rifles a moment and comes up with a popsicle, still cold thanks to a certain jutsu. He breaks it, hands the excess stick to Naruto and half-hates, half-exalts in the expression of live-for-the-moment happiness on Naruto's face.
"Don't mention it," he mutters, and means it. Naruto licks at the popsicle with vigor. Sasuke savors his, slow and sure. And after Naruto's half-melts and dribbles down his hands and he's trying to lick it off, Sasuke gives up on him. Leans over and rubs at a spot beside Naruto's mouth with a thumb.
Naruto gives him a Look.
"Missed some," Sasuke says conversationally, and he sticks the thumb in his mouth deliberately. Naruto just shakes his head, mutters something that sounds like 'Bloody well turning into a pervert!' and they sit still.
"I wanna go somewhere," Naruto announces abruptly. "Like…somewhere not here. Let's go, Sasuke!"
'Somewhere' is on top of the Hokage's monument. More specifically, on top of the Fourth's stone carving. Naruto stretches, yawns, and ruffles his too-long hair. "Needs a cut," he says, tugging a long blonde strand in front of his eyes, going cross-eyed in his observation of it.
"C'mere," Sasuke says, flicking a kunai between his fingers. "I'll do it."
Naruto doesn't eye him suspiciously. Doesn't even question it. Slitting his throat wouldn't be that easy, because he'd fight back if he had to, but he won't unless Sasuke gives him a reason. A logical one.
Sasuke's a little tired of logic. He doesn't care if things make sense as long as they feel right. So he cuts Naruto's hair –messily, because he's a boy and boys aren't supposed to know how to cut hair- and Naruto checks his appearance in a battered forehead protector's mirrored surface and he grins.
Sasuke snorts, returns the kunai to the holster and pats the stone beside him. Naruto sits, and then leans, and then two seconds later he's draped across Sasuke's lap possessively and Sasuke is petting –petting- his shorn hair.
They're comfortable like that. It doesn't have to be perfect because it's them. They're masters of the art of imperfection.
"Hey," Naruto says, and his voice is muffled a little against Sasuke's thigh. "Nice view of the village, eh?"
Sasuke doesn't care about the village. He never has. They're shallow and senseless and they pitied him, all those years ago, for circumstances beyond his then-control. They whispered in dark corners and plastered him with their fake smiles and pinned fake hearts on their sleeves so he could make them bleed fake blood.
Sasuke doesn't care about the village. But Naruto does.
Symphony of opposites. Compassion and apathy.
So maybe Sasuke cares a little after all, just a little, and only because Naruto cares. It doesn't make sense.
He just doesn't give a damn.