Skeletons in the Closet
Warnings/Disclaimers. Slight spoilers? Not really main thing yes the rating has gone up for a reason. Thanks goes to proud_snapist for her hard work in beta-ing this chapter for me. The suggestions and edits were fabulous and thank you again! Naruto is not owned by me.
Sasuke put the notebook aside, not having read through all the entries, but still disturbed at what he did read. It's kind of sad, almost. He thought. I think I can understand Naruto a bit more now, Sasuke was about to be pardoned and things were going to go back to normal, then Sasuke died. The details of Sasuke's death obviously weren't in the notebook, but with the way the 'letters' were going, thanking Naruto over giving him something back.
His head still felt fuzzy, and if he closed his eyes he could still see the uncertain looks of Sasuke's 'friends' comradesNaruto's wide and real grinalmost as if he was seeing it before his eyes. He always had a good imagination, but to picture every scene so clearly, mind filling in the blanks of what wasn't written in the journal.
He just finished reading about how he and Naruto were getting closerhow close were they, really? He wondered absently, before storing the notebook away again. He was starting to feel off, almost disconnected from reading the entries for so long, with no one else around. It was strange not having Naruto there, even after all this time he still hadn't appeared. Sasuke's lips thinned in annoyance as he went on a more determined hunt for the blond ghost.
His mind went back to the previous entry of Uchiha Sasuke's, about the memorial site for the Uchiha family. He had been thinking about it that night after he and Naruto trained. Naruto had never been there before, but he was certain that after Narutos friend died, he would have gone there, if only to pay his respects. With the recent events and confusion lately, Sasuke had a feeling that was where he would find Naruto now.
The only problem was that he didn't know where the memorial site washe hadn't explored every inch of the estates, and there were doors locked that Sasuke didn't have the key to. He knew there was a shrine for the family around, separate from the memorial, but he didn't have a clue where that was, and some part of him didn't want to find out, either. He was positive there were a few spots outside that were a part of the Uchiha estate that he couldn't get to because of Naruto sealing them off or he simply didn't have the keys to those places. And it was partly out of respect for Naruto's wishes to keep the past in the past. But now he had to find Naruto. Running a hand through his hair, he decided to explore the locked doors first, and hopefully he'd hit on something.
The hallways were quiet now, with only the sound of his feet moving over the smooth wooden floors. Naruto wasn't hovering near him Naruto's presence wasn't noticeable at all and Sasuke could usually tell when he was nearly hit his head at his stupidity. Naruto could never fully hide himself, because he was nothing more than concentrated energy if Sasuke tried hard enough, he would be able to find out where he was, rather than wandering aimlessly through the halls and buildings of the massive estate. He didn't know why he was always able to 'find' Narutohe just attributed it to the fact that he was always around Naruto. He could tell where Naruto was from early on almost from the time he started living at the estate.
When did he become so important to me? He wondered vaguely. When did it become normal to want to search for him, to see him next to me while I studied something or just relaxed? When did he cease to become a nuisance and a fixture in my home? He didn't know how to answer the questions, but he knew that he didn't want to spend another day in an empty house, with only the memories of a past that was not his own to keep him company. The previous day had been hell for him. He could almost feel the weighted stares of the Uchiha clan all around him, wondering at this intruder to their home without Naruto there to vouch for his presence.
And after wandering hallways that he had never really cared to go to before, feeling the same daunting presence of what was once Konoha's most elite family, he finally felt the thread of what he knew was Naruto's energy. This place was quieter than any other place in the house, the silence was oppressive and choking and he clenched one hand to push away the emotions that were not his own. Get over it, Sasuke. It's just a house it's just empty hallways and rooms.
Even with the thread of Naruto's energy to follow, it was difficult navigating the more dilapidated part of the estate. Sasuke was sure that he left the main house a few pathways ago, and wondered just where he was going. A door suddenly appearing in front of his face startled him. He pushed tentatively on it, relieved when it gave and led him outside. The house was starting to make him claustrophobic.
He spotted Naruto by a single monument, the stone worn and even from his spot by the door, he could see the Uchiha clan symbol engraved on the stone. He moved closer to Naruto, unsure if he should bother him, but reassured himself with the knowledge that Naruto would have known he was there, would have felt his presence coming closer as Sasuke felt Naruto's energy. The ghost was wearing something different again Sasuke didn't try and figure out how a ghost could change it's clothing, a white coat with flames along the bottom. He'd never seen Naruto with that particular jacket before--"Naruto?"
The ghost turned around, a faint smile on his face. "Thought you'd end up here sooner or later." There was a faint note of almost-amusement in his tone and Sasuke wasn't sure how to react to it, especially with Naruto's next words. "Welcome to the Uchiha Cemetery."
Sasuke stared at him, eyes widening in surprise as he took an involuntary step back. Naruto gave a sad laugh. "Cemetery isn't the best word, I suppose but it's a memorial to the Uchihas that have died over the centuries, and it is separate from the family shrine." He gestured to the angular stone in front of him. "This stone is supposed to be a tribute to those that had passed away, and it was ritual for the youngest member of the Uchiha family to visit here and light a stick of incense at the memorial."
Sasuke was silent at that, and he automatically looked for the curling smoke but there was none. He looked at Naruto in silent inquiry, asking him why he didnt continue the tradition after Sasuke died. It was almostwrongnot to have an ever-burning stick here, something to acknowledge those who had passed before.
Naruto snorted. "You think that the Uchiha family had a never-ending supply of incense?" he asked incredulously. "Or that I had the right to even light a stick?" He shook his head. "I'm not a member of the Uchiha family, even if Sasuke accepted me." Expression vaguely pained, Naruto moved away from the stone. "The last stick was lit when Uchiha Sasuke died."
"I see" Just as Sasuke felt like an intruder in the house without Naruto thereNaruto must've felt like an intruder without Sasuke there. "I didn't mean to accuse you, Naruto." He stepped closer to the memorial, kneeling down in front of it in an almost absent-minded motion. Hands reached out to a small niche behind the stone, and a faint smile formed as he felt the familiar bundle of incense there.
"I think it would be okay to start the tradition again." His smile was faint. "Even if I'm not him, I guess my being here and you seeing me as him should count for something." Not waiting for Naruto to reply to that, he turned back to the stone. The only thing he didn't have was anything to start the fire, but it didn't hurt to place the incense in the holder. Now that he knew where the place was, he could always come back and light it. He knew that Naruto was still behind him, but the ghost was silent. The lack of words didn't bother him. Just knowing that Naruto was there and hadnt left him was enough.
He finally turned around and looked up at Naruto, who was staring at Sasuke with a sort of astonished look in his eyes, but he still didn't voice any of his thoughts. "Is it fine that I come out here?" Sasuke prodded. He didnt want to offend Naruto, not after figuring out where the ghost was and knowing that he wasn't alone. He didn't want to be left in the empty house againand doing something like this could very well alienate him from Naruto even more.
Naruto nodded slowly, a small smile on his face as he looked at the incense at the memorial, then down at Sasuke. "I think that they would like it." His face didn't reveal anymore than that simple happiness"I think that Sasuke would be happy as well."
Sasuke shot Naruto a look at that. He isn't going to go on about me being that other Sasuke? He thought in surprise. He would've guessed that Naruto would have said something silly like "it was your duty" or something aggravating like that, but it appeared the blond had learned something from how Sasuke took the news earlier and kept silent about his thoughts on the matter.
He offered his own smile in return, hands absently moving together, his mind not really focused on what he was doing. Only Naruto heard the murmured 'Goukakyuu no Jutsu' and felt the chakra spark around Sasuke, the incense stick catching the heat. Sasuke either never noticed the curl of smoke, or just didn't pay any attention to it as he got to his feet. "Let's go back inside." He offered. "It's too quiet out here. Even your voice can't fill up the empty space."
Naruto snorted and use a spark of his own chakra to lightly thwack Sasuke. There were some advantages to being a ghost, like Sasuke not being able to retaliate to the hit. He and Naruto just traded insults as they walked back into the Uchiha estate together, the incense forgotten.
"So what's with the coat?" Sasuke asked, gesturing to what Naruto wore. "I don't think I've ever seen you wear it before." He was cooking something for his dinner, pleased to have Naruto hovering by for once. It was a familiar scene, one that he was comfortable with and had missed the few days the ghost had 'disappeared.' Naruto looked down at his outfit, a faint smile on his face as he fingered the material clothing that was just as insubstantial as he was.
"It belonged to the Yondaime." His look was proud. "Ero-sennin gave it to me after I became Hokagehe had kept it all that time" His smile grew as he recalled the shock on the other people's faces when they saw the jacket. "Most people thought the Yondaime died wearing this but"
Sasuke already knew the Yondaime was Naruto's hero even after what the man had done to Naruto at birth, he still admired him and aspired to become everything he was. "It must have meant a lot to you to get that jacket." Sasuke said carefully. "But is that the only reason why it's so important to you?"
Naruto laughed at that. "You're reaching too far." He shook his head. "It had sentimental value for me, I guess you'd say. I mean this Hokage loved his village so much that he gave up his life to protect it? And" Naruto looked at the ground. "Jiraiya and Tsunade, Kakashi, even they told me that they believed he was my father. I found that out not too long before I died."
Sasuke stared at him with that piece of information. "No one thought to inform you of this before?" He asked incredulously. "That was rather cruel of them." He was making ginger-spiced noodles and was reaching for a second plate before his mind caught up with his hands. He carried the solitary portion of noodles over to the table, Naruto following him. Sasuke tried not to feel guilty eating in front of Naruto.
Naruto shrugged. "I suppose it hurt them too they were all really close to him well, maybe not Tsunade-baba, but she knew him at least, cause Jiraiya was his teacher. Maybe they just didn't want me to get too excited or angry or something." He shrugged again. "I justwas surprised." He ran a hand along the edge of the coat. "And happy. I was so happy to find that out."
I bet, Sasuke thought privately. You just lost your best friend it must've been nice to have some sort of happy news. "So you kept his coat, even after death?" Sasuke couldn't help but tease him, "I swear, Naruto you have more outfits than a girl."
"Now that was just low, Sasuke." Naruto growled out. "I don't have that many outfits and it's not like it's an effort and" He grinned suddenly. "I'm just glad that I didn't get stuck in the same clothing for eternity. I like a little variety at times."
"Being that I don't know many ghosts, I can't say if it's the norm or not." Sasuke said dryly and poked at his noodles. He didnt know why he made so many he usually made half this much, if that. Guess I'll be eating leftovers for the next few days. He thought absently. "But even your varied outfits arent that varied" He tilted his head at Naruto. "But I never see you in your ANBU uniform. Why is that?"
Naruto frowned a bit at the question. "I never really liked what I was ordered to do when in ANBU." He said shortly. "Even though it was good preparation for becoming the Rokudaimethe Hokage has to do a lot of stuff that's squickish. We were mainly assassins as well as being privy to top secret stuff in the Hokage's offices knew a lot of the secret shit and we were the Hokage's guards." His hands twisted together momentarily. "My last mission as an ANBU was to guard Sasuke to make sure no one harmed him and that he harmed nobody else." This time, Sasuke could read the pain that Naruto had previously hid. "I failed at that task."
Sasuke blinked at him in surprise. "But I thought that." Naruto cut him off, blue eyes hard now as he faced Sasuke. There was that anger again something that mainly appeared when Naruto thought about Sasuke.
"No matter what you thought or heard, I failed to protect my best friend when he needed it the most. I can't forgive myself for that mistake." He gave Sasuke a long, considering look. "So do me a favor and take care of yourself, hmm?" He asked softly. "I don't want to see another friend of mine die when I can't do anything about it."
Food long forgotten, Sasuke could only stare and stutter a 'I'll try my hardest' to Naruto's strange request. I heard that Sasuke died saving him but I suppose the person that was actually there at the time would know the best or think that he knew the best. Sasuke's eyes narrowed at Naruto and the way he hunched over slightly, lost in some private memory. He only thinks that it was his fault
"What happened?" He asked bluntly. Naruto's eyes widened at the direct question, something that Sasuke had never dared to ask before. He gave a crooked smile. "If you say I'm that other Sasuke.. don't I have a right to know how it happened?" His gaze coolly assessed Naruto's. "Shouldn't I be the one to judge if it was your fault or not?"
Naruto's gaze hardened at the flippant way this Sasuke treated the situation. "You are either him or not him. You can't pick and choose your acceptance of it whenever it suits you. Even if you did fully believe you were Uchiha Sasuke, I still wouldn't tell you. Nobody needs to relive their death." A faint shudder racked Sasuke's body. "I don't like remembering minebut I have no choice. Remember that you do have one."
Sasuke made a face at that, but had to concede at least privately that Naruto had a point. He was asking personal questions of someone who lost someone close to him almost a century ago. Naruto didn't need to tell him anything and he refused to hurt the blond ghost anymore over the matter. He would find out another way.
He would start first with Sasuke's notebook even though it wouldn't be able to give anything on his death, it could contain something as to what led up to it, how Sasuke felt about Naruto, or any number of things. Pulling it out from its accustomed hiding place and making sure that Naruto was nowhere around to see him reading ithe settled in his bed to try and piece together what was still a growing mystery to him.
You've done some amazing things for me you, the person that had every right to never accept me back or forgive me. AndI don't want to lose you. I can't even tell this to your face what, an Uchiha admitting that he needs someone? But you're the one that I came back to, you're the only reason why I didn't give up and just kill myself after Itachi and Orochimaru were dead. Damn it, Narutowhat makes you so special where you can break down all my barriers, jump over those carefully constructed walls? Your presence here is now normal. I can't imagine the estate without your loud voice echoing through the halls. I don't feel the presence of my family's disapproving stares so much. You took that awayyou've replaced it with memories and thoughts and feelings that are more comfortable, more wanted and desired.
But who am I to take that comfort now? Who am I to deserve it, why should I be allowed to accept the comfort you offer me? Didn't I commit the ultimate act of betrayal? Wasn't I the one who ended the last connection to the Uchiha clan? I killed my brother and tried to kill you. Yetyou do everything you can to try and make me happy as if you re doing whatever you can to keep me here. Do you want me here as badly as I want to keep you here? You should know by now that my leaving wasn't your fault, Naruto. It wasn't anything you did or didn't do
We still bicker at each other, we still fight and antagonize each otherwe wouldn't be ourselves if we weren't like that, but sometimes I think that I could tell you anything and you would understand. Do you think the same thing? You're closed off a lot of the time, though. Even around me, you have fake smiles and push away your hurts so that I don't see them. You did that all the time when we were kids, and you do it now. Your shield was of smiles, and mine was impassiveness. But, Naruto sometimes I think it's okay to smile around you nowwhat is there to hurt me?
I hope that we'll have come to some type of understanding by the time you read this,
He put down the notebook again, fingers idly tracing the carefully penned letters, ascetically neat even when Sasuke knew he was probably the only one who would read it. He never really counted on Naruto reading the letters, he was sure of it. They were just journal entries, addressed to someone Uchiha Sasuke thought understood and cared for him it was just very sad in a way, to know the outcome of this person, to know that he was going to die, because he couldn't stand to see his only friend lose his dream.
It wasn't Naruto's fault. Sasuke thought to himself sourly. It couldnt have been. Sasuke knew that it was only a matter of time before he died, he had accepted the knowledge of his own death a long time ago. It was only near the end that he regretted it, that he didn't want to leave Naruto alone.
He was starting to detect a certain flavor from the writing something that Sasuke was trying to overtly say, but never wrote out as if he was afraid of admitting something in writing, even to himself. It was centered around Naruto, and the way he felt about it Sasuke rubbed his head, the ache coming back. He was starting to get his headaches again, ones that started out with sharp pains, but settled to a low, constant ache. Reading the carefully scripted kanji only made it worse, and Sasuke sighed. A few aspirin and a short nap should take care of it. He thought decidedly, putting the notebook away in the nightstand next to the bed. Then I'll head into town and see what else I can pick up.
Sasuke fell back on the bed, mind too tired to really think about what his plan would be if he should question people that knew Naruto, or Sasuke if there was some type of record of his death and what occurred. If it was as violent as he imagined it to be. And he wanted to find out more about how Sasuke and Naruto were friends. That would be something that he would have to ask Naruto himself to see how much it coincided with Sasuke's journal entries. Yawning again, he fell into a deep sleep.
Sasuke smirked up at Naruto, who only grinned back, unconcerned at the overconfident look on his face. "So what are you planning now that you've got me pinned?" He murmured, not even making a token struggle out of Naruto's grip. He could see the gleam in the younger boy's eyes as he held the dominant position. It wasn't everyday that it happened, and Sasuke felt that Naruto deserved it every once in awhile. But Sasuke wasnt going to make a habit of it. Even though this was their first time togetherthe touches and gestures led up to this momentit was something that had been brewing for a long time. Even when they first kissed
"Wouldn't you like to know?" He smirked, but he betrayed his eagerness with the way his mouth moved down over Sasuke's, soft and hesitant at first, but then growing stronger and more demanding. It was as if he was still unsure over their relationship, over how Sasuke felt over him. Sasuke decided to clear up all of that immediately. He wasn't going to give up his chance at being top for Naruto to fumble around like a virgin girl.
"Get serious about it, dobe." He growled against his lips, removing one hand enough to keep Naruto's head in place. "Or can you not handle being top? I can always take over and teach you what you're supposed to do." Not that he really knew any better. Neither of them had ever been close enough to someone, and reading books certainly wouldn't help in the overall experience. If they weren't careful, they'd hurt each other. He wanted this to be as good as he could possibly make it. That didn't mean he couldn't harass Naruto about his lack of finesse.
His eyes challenged Naruto, who only growled and pinned him down again, his mouth renewing his attack on Sasuke's. Sasuke gave an appreciative groan as he opened his mouth, Naruto's tongue caressing his slowly. At least they were more experienced at the kissingtheir fumbling starts at kissing each other had progressed into something more, something that Sasuke was addicted to and another part of Naruto he couldn't bear to let go of.
It was slow torture, and Sasuke closed his eyes, just letting Naruto move over him, mouth caressing his. His lips moved over his face, trailing over his cheekbones and down the line of his jaw, sharp teeth nipping slightly, tongue caressing the marks after. Arching his neck, Sasuke moved into the nips and licks, suddenly enjoying himself that much more. Especially when a hand let go of his wrist to ghost down his side, fingertips brushing over his ribs, just short of ticklish.
The light, tentative touches were driving him crazyhe never expected Naruto to be so careful of his movements, as if he was trying to learn every part of Sasuke by feel alone. That thought abruptly shut itself off as nails trailed across his chest and quick fingers pinched one of his nipples, causing him to hiss. Sasuke reminded himself sharply that Naruto never had anyonethe fact that they allowed themselves to reach this level was astoundinga few years ago, the thought of someone hugging them would have been a foreign concept. But he and Naruto always had been fast learners
Naruto's lips moved back up to his, and Sasuke could feel the pleased smile curling against his lips. "Did you like that?" Naruto murmured. "Figures you'd be the type to enjoy pain." His voice was teasing, because out of anyone in Konoha, he probably knew Sasuke the best, and the same could be said for how well Sasuke knew Naruto.
"You would know." Sasuke shot back, eyes dark as both of his hands were released to grip onto Naruto, holding his face firmly in his hands. "Now shut up and get on with it, Naruto. Or else I won't think you're man enough." It was a well placed blow, and he knew it hit the mark when Naruto arched up slightly, his lower half pressing against Sasuke's, a dark gleam in his eyes.
"If I wasn't man enough, you wouldn't want me." Naruto quipped. "We all knew that you never dated any of the girls for a reason." Even in the middle of intimate caresses, they still found a way to bicker with each other, but Naruto did 'shut up' after that, his kisses becoming increasingly more aggressive as Sasuke sought to 'encourage' him, one hand ghosting over his erection, but nothing more than that. Naruto's response was a gasp and moving his hips into Sasuke's hand. Sasuke only smirked and moved his hand away, mirroring the path the Naruto's hand trailed earlier.
"Not yet." He murmured. "You should treat me before I reward you." His eyes gleamed up at Naruto, who only gave him a pleading stare for a second before his fox-grin widened. Without warning, his hand squeezed Sasuke's length, before moving away just as quickly. Sasuke gave an outraged gasp. "What the fuck?" His voice came out more strangled than he intended, losing the demanding tone. "Now that's playing dirty, Naruto."
Naruto only smirked at him. "Says who?" He purred, mouth hovering over Sasuke's chest. "I thought a ninja would have to be prepared for every type of technique that could be used against him." His smile only widened. "And be prepared to counter it."
Sasuke's only reply was a muttered curse and yanking Naruto's hips against his own. He didnt give a damn that Naruto was on 'top' at this point,. The idiot made it a challenge and he would be damned if he'd back down from it.
He wasn't sure when their clothes fell to the floor, or when Naruto nearly spilled the bottle of lubricant all over them but he remembered clearly the point of Naruto's fingers moving inside of him and the careful, tender way he stretched him. The feel of his lips and his soothing voicethe way he positioned himself over Sasuke. Tender fingers soothing away the bruises from their scuffle to be 'top.' The slow burn of Naruto being a part of him, of realizing that he gave that position of trust to Naruto a long time ago.
The sweat that formed on Naruto's face, droplets hitting Sasuke's as they moved together. Naruto's hand closing over his erection and moving it in the same rhythm their bodies had already found. Of warm lips closing over his and muffling his cries, of Naruto's body shuddering over his as his own tightened in response. He knew of the warmth afterward, of Naruto holding him tight a protective embrace that he hadn't allowed himself for a long time, for fear of losing it.
When Sasuke opened his eyes, he automatically reached for Naruto, and was puzzled when he didn't feel the presence of his body. It wasnt like Naruto had a missionhe would have woken Sasuke up at the least
As his mind cleared from the dream, he realized exactly what it was about and all that it implicated. Be careful what you wish for. He reminded himself dryly. You may just receive it. He wanted to know what type of relationship they had especially near the end, he wanted to know what Sasuke had alluded to in his journal but he never expected a dream like that one. A faint blush tinted his cheeks as he remembered that, like before, he was an active participant in the dream it wasn't as if he was 'watching', but as if he was really there.
At least the dream was more pleasant than the last vivid dream he had of Sasuke's past the one with his psycho older brother and the death of the Uchiha clan. And as he no longer questioned that dream, he didn't question this one either. Only he wasn't going to be dumb enough to ask Naruto to confirm it. That would be going a bit too far some things were meant to be private, even if he did seem to have a direct connection into how the Sasuke of the past was. Even if he did experience it and Naruto thought he was the past Sasuke. Biting his lip, he realized more now why Naruto was so close-mouthed about so many things, why it hurt him so bad to have Sasuke blow off everything entirely, including the possibility that he was that past Sasuke. Even if I'm not, I feel kind of bad now
It was like asking Naruto how he really died what the details of it were, or how he felt when Sasuke died. He winced at that train of thought. He came perilously close to doing that Sasuke apparently wasn't just a childhood friend he was something more and just as precious to Naruto. And I have a feeling it was just a short time they had togetherThere had been a sense of sadness from Sasuke during their tryst, a feeling of inevitability, a shadow of foreboding tainting the happiness for a brief moment.
He continued to lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling as his mind processed through the dream again. It was fading quickly now it just left a feeling of sadness of what was lost of what could never be regained again. At least Sasuke was happy at the end. He reassured himself. At least the both of them found something in each otherSasuke had yet to experience that depth of emotion with anyone he almost envied the two for what they had, but then berated himself for the thought.
How was he going to look at Naruto again, with even the fading memory of the dream?