Title: The Redemption
Author: Tristripe (Tri)
Genre: Alternate Universe
Pairings: Sasuke/Naruto, Choji/Shikamaru…more
Rating: M
Spoilers: Umm…maybe plot and characters?

Disclaimer: I do not own the anime or the characters…If you try to sue me I will never write again.

General Warning: Character Death, Rape, Cutting, Burning, Psychotic Stuff, Corruption, Insanity, Demons (or are they?) and other nasty stuff…read at your discretion please.

Chapter Warning: mentions of death and cutting, language, ncs.

A/N: I wrote this chapter a long time ago, but I held onto it cause I didn't want to post it up while I had other things going on….but I'm tired and might as well post it. I heard a song from Gundam Seed…I think its called Atsuki no Kurama….i could be very wrong, but it's a gorgeous song, and for some reason when I listened to it I thought of this fic. Its dark…very dark. I set the mood and the tone of the entire fic right here in this prologue, so if you do not like what's happening in the prologue, you probably might want to back away from the entire fic.

Every chapter will have a warning of the chapter's content, so take them seriously. If someone feels that it oversteps the rules of M for please tell me and I will edit it and tone it down. Please, if you do feel that it is too much, say so, but with respect, and I in turn will respect your feelings.

I am open to criticism and questions! Feel free to babble away on the reviews. I ADORE long reviews, but I also would like to know if something I did was no effective, or was over the top, or just plain stupid…and tell me WHY! I love to write, its my passion, and I love to work and get better at my love! So don't be shy!

Now onward! And beware!


PROLOGUE

"Did you loose your mind all of a sudden, or was it a slow gradual thing?"

Jack
"The Fisher King"

"Haku is dead."

The boy paused, hunching over the open composition notebook on his crossed legs, the small of his back barely touching the grey wall; one of six that surrounded him on all sides, over his head, and below on the cold floor. The room was dark, lights-out had been five minutes ago and his roommate was late. Only a small sliver of moonlight from the small barred window helped illuminate the walled space. The springs of the boy's bed creaked as the three words he had written were scratched out.

Three scratches for those three words. No more. No less.

It had to be perfect.

He tried again on the second line:

"Haku died today."

Once more, the boy stopped, his teeth gritting in frustration. Savagely he drew a thick line across the sentence. Just one; it would be too messy to just scribble it into oblivion. The tip of the pen moved below to the third blank line, and ink sank into the cheap paper, forming a large dark spot. A blot. A mark. The hideous thing was marring the stark white of the lined paper.

Surging up, the boy lifted his arm over his head, prepared to throw the offending writing instrument from him, away, far, far away from him, but jerked back at the last moment. His arm lowered, still clutching the pen in a tight white knuckled fist. Turning his face to the side, he leaned back, ear pressed against the cold wall.

And listened.

This night was not so silent.

A moment passed and he pulled away, gazing heavily down at the wordless notebook staring accusingly right back at him. The scribbles, the spot, the ugly black smears.

He had been told that there was no such thing as perfection.

The pen returned to the paper, down to the fourth line right below the spot. He took a deep breath before slowly writing:

"Haku was killed today, and I can hear Naruto crying."

That was better. Much better.

"I don't know the details; no one knows exactly what happened except for Naruto. He was the only one there, the only one who saw everything, and he's not telling. Only crying. Haku won't be there to make things better like before. A lot of the guys here think that they were messing around with each other, 'fuck buddies' they called it, but they're too stupid to see that's not the case. Even though Haku was fucked up in the head cause he was the guards' favorite toy, he never let it out on Naruto. Never on Naruto.

"I remember he told me once that Naruto was special, a lucky one among all the fuck ups here. Don't know what the hell he was talking about, but I guess Haku was special to Naruto, 'cause now he's crying, and he never cries. Not once. Even when those shit heads got to his ass he never cried. I was there. I watched. And he never cried. He bled, there was a lot of blood, always a lot of blood.

"He should know that no matter how hard he cires Haku is not coming back. Never. And he is the only one who knows why, but still won't say anything. I don't think he'll ever say anything about it. Not even to Gaara, who always seems to listen. They must have scared him pretty bad to make that loud mouth shut up. The only person who ever got Naruto to be quiet was Haku, but then Haku was like that. When he spoke people listened. But then that's cause he always would listen—"

The door to the room gray room opened, and the boy froze, back stiff, eyes wide with apprehension at the familiar shuffling sound of his roommate languidly walking in. But the boy did not move, could not make himself turn to greet the other boy, staring down as his pen made another black ink spot at the end of 'listen' like a giant mutated period. Should he scratch out just the last word, or the whole sentence? He wanted this to be perfect…

…even if there was no such thing.

"What are you doing?"

The footsteps approached, and a large shadow loomed over him. The boy swallowed hard, but did not answer.

"Shikamaru." A warning.

He swallowed again, his stomach churning nauseatingly. The black spot was the size of the letters now. "Writing," he answered shortly. "Iruka said that we should write in our journals, so I'm writing in my journal."

The large figure snorted, shrugging in amusement. "What for? It's not like he's going to collect them or anything. And since when have you bothered with the journal? You told me it was too much of a bother."

His jaw hurt, he had not realized he had been clenching it. "Well," he whispered, still staring at the paper, the words, the black marks. "I guess I changed my mind. I can change my mind, can't I? I'm a kid, aren't I? We're fickle, and can never make decisions, and don't know shit, so might as well write in the journal so when I'm grow up and even more fucked up I can read this and laugh while I slit my wrists." His hands were trembling, and the pen shook, making irregular round scribbles.

"Shikamaru, hey…" a large beefy hand that smelled of salt came to his face, knuckles brushing softly against his jaw.

The boy's face snapped up, his arm flying outward and hurling the pen into the wide face of his roommate. It hit the forehead, then twirled to the side and clattered down out of sight.

They stared at each other, the boy staring at the red mark over the other's brow, and his roommate watching him searchingly through narrow eyes. It was still and quiet, only the sounds of their breaths marring the perfect silence.

And then the other boy launched himself at him, knocking the journal away, so that it flopped to the ground, its white pages folded cruelly beneath the bindings like broken wings. Large hands seized the boy's wrists, yanking him forward then down so that his back slammed onto the mattress. The springs shrieked in protest, and the boy gasped as the heavy weight fell over him, legs pinned beneath thicker ones, hands held by his head in a punishing grip. Then one of his arms was pulled up, and the boy watched in fearful consternation as the angry red marks that slashed across of the pale skin of his inner arm were scrutinized closely. The fine hairs on the held limb tickled slightly from the warm breath coming from his captor's nose mere centimeters away.

Finally, a sigh of relief. "Don't say shit like that. You're gonna end up getting locked up in Isolation again. Even if you didn't do anything stupid, they'll still punish you." A thick thumb gently stroked his wrist, over the dark brown scars that crisscrossed it. "You've tried you're stunts too many times for them not to take your threats seriously."

The boy twisted his head aside, "I'm already locked up. Whether the cage has a window or not makes no difference."

Warm lips brushed against the held wrist, the tip of a wet tongue ran over the ridges of the old scars.

With a snarl the boy yanked his arm away and pushed upward at his roommate's broad shoulders. "Stop that, it's disgusting! Get off!"

Dread settled into the his heart at the hardened look in the other's narrow eyes, and he was unsurprised when he was forcefully pressed down again, this time his arms held over his head with one beefy hand. There was a familiar touch along his side and stomach, and he shuddered in revulsion, even as his shirt was pulled up. He lay perfectly still when his pants was pulled down and slipped off, his legs pushed apart so that the other boy's larger frame could settle between them. His head was forced to tilt back as demanding lips bit at his jaw and neck, wincing at the thought of the vivid marks that would be there in the morning.

But when the hand touching him drifted downward to quest beneath his underwear he twisted away, hissing angrily, "No! I told you I'm not a girl!" One of his legs curled up to try to put a wedge between the larger body and himself.

The boy on top of him let out a ragged breath before slowly pushing himself up, releasing the wrists and leaving room for free movement. "Fine," was the sullen reply, "like a dog."

Bile rose to burn at his throat at the comment, and with trembling limbs the boy pulled back and spat, "Then congratulations, you'll be fucking a dog tonight."

He saw it coming, the backhand that smashed into the side of his face, splitting his lip and knocking his head into the wall with a crack. There were bright stars, or were they flashes of light? Then black and red spots that he could not blink away as the back of his neck was gripped in an iron hold, and his face pushed down to the small pillow. It smelled of cheap detergent. The sheets and pillowcases had just been washed. He had made his bed perfectly, making sure to tuck in the edges under the mattress. It was comforting to walk into a room with a well made bed. He had even made his roommate's bed, to the other's immense amusement.

The mattress shook as the blankets were kicked off haphazardly, and the boy curled his arms around the pillow, shutting his eyes tight and burying his face to try to block out the inevitable.

It was the same thing, over and over again. Almost. Every. Single. Night.

In the beginning, when this twisted ritual started, there had been pain. Even with Vaseline, even when fingered, even when things went slow. It hurt, and he kept his face in the pillow so that the other could not see the angry tears and muffled some of his pained screams. It was better now, there was no blood, no horrible bruises and burns, there was no ripping that had taken such a long time to heal. As long as he did not fight and lay still, it wasn't physically horrific, the discomfort was tolerable, and that meant he'd be able to walk in the morning.

He had to just let it happen.

It would be the same the next evening, and the evening after that. No one was going to stop it, not the guards who could not be trusted, not the others who had their own demons to deal with, and not himself. It would be so easy to go to one of the older prisoners and have them get rid of his cellmate, but that was a price he was unwilling to pay. There was not a shred of doubt in his mind that being with the other boy meant he was safe from anyone who would use him more sadistically, who wouldn't mind if he bled, if he was ripped, if the pain was unbearable. Someone who wouldn't care if he survived their play or not.

So tomorrow he would wake up, sore but alive. There would be breakfast and he would carefully avoid the older boys and their pets. He would fall asleep during class because it was a bore and a bother. There would be a fight in the gym room and he'd hide carefully when the guards come to break it up. There might be some new books in the library he hadn't read, and just maybe he might catch a conversation between the visiting adults about the outside, and he would take that bit of delicious gossip to his friends. He would go outside, and be allowed to lie in the grass and study the clouds.

However, tomorrow Haku was not going to be there. Haku wouldn't be there to talk, to listen. To quietly discuss the nightly torture, to calm him down when the betrayal got too much to handle, to try to assure him that eventually things would work out.

After all, the person raping him was his best friend.

"Shikamaru…"

It was over. He had not noticed. How much time had passed by? A couple of minutes? A half hour? Was it all finished? There was that horrible wetness between his legs, and the sting from the abuse his lower body had suffered. It was quick. Had the other boy realized that not even his mind had been present during this unwilling exchange?

"Shikamaru…" again, his name was repeated, and he hated it, hated how the other dared to be so familiar, dared to think he could address him immediately after such a betrayal. It was at this time, with the large body leaning over his back, and the fluids drying on his thighs, that he wished he had never had a name.

His roommate shifted off of him, rolling to the side so that the boy was trapped against the wall. One of the hands was stroking his back soothingly, and he realized belatedly that he was shivering, still clutching the pillow. He did not want to look at the other boy.

But he started when the hand moved up, running over his shirt that was bunched up at his shoulders and neck, then going to the band that held his hair up in a tight tail near the top of his head. He lifted his face up just as the band was removed and his dark hair fell over his shoulders, staring at his roommate in a dumbfound stupor. Thick fingers ran through the flat strands, narrow eyes heavy lidded in tired satisfaction, wide face covered in shadows, the moonlight illuminating the thick brown spiky hair that stood nearly straight up on the other boy's head.

"Stop that," he muttered, pulling back from the touch.

The hand returned to his back, stroking again, the eyes studying him.

He dropped his head back to the pillow, not wanting to meet that gaze and said petulantly, "I want my pants back. Give me my pants."

They were quietly handed to him, and with his underwear he wiped away the sticky mess, then savagely yanked the pants on. His eyes began to burn suddenly, and he threw himself back down but this time with his back to his roommate, who had pulled up his own pants, and was still lying beside him, propped up by an elbow.

"Aren't you done yet?" he snarled over his shoulder. "Go back to your own bed!" He pressed his forehead to the wall and wrapped his arms around his waist. His eyes were still burning, so he bit at his lip where the split was, and was satisfied to feel the pain there.

If he closed his eyes and listened, he could still hear Naruto through the wall.

"Shikamaru…"

"What!" His voice broke, and this time he knew the tears were there, knew that the other boy knew that they were there. He clutched the pillow, wanting to rip it, wanting to scream into it, wanting to suffocate in it.

"You going to cry?" His roommate was incredulous, his voice disbelieving. "What for? I didn't hurt you too bad? You didn't even make a sound."

The boy shook his head, and bit harder on his lip, tasting his blood. Merely tasting a small drop of the pain.

There was a pause, then, "Is it Haku?"

"Fuck you!" he shouted, whirling around and swinging his arm at the other's face. But with a yelp his arm was grabbed and next thing he knew he was sprawling ungainly on the cold floor, winded from the fall. Feeling dizzy, he sat up, and felt his jaw drop as he watched his roommate pull the sheets, making himself comfortable in his bed.

"I saw him y'know," said the other boy, pulling the sheets up over his shoulders. "Outside, walking by himself. He was following them; the ones with the beautiful wings. They were blue and silver, and Haku was just following them." He yawned then continued, "I'm not sure, but I think I saw Zabuza going after him. Haku trying to catch the wings; Zabuza trying to catch Haku."

The boy let out a sound that was between a laugh and sob. "You're crazy, y'know that? Fucking crazy."

A soft chuckle, "That's why I'm here."

He sniffed at that, and wiped at his eyes with his arm, staring down at his arms and the moonlight that illuminated his scars.

"You gonna join me?" came the light question.

The boy stiffened. "Fuck off!" he spat.

A snort, and then silence.

Once his roommates breathing had deepened, the boy picked himself up, retrieving his notebook and pen before sitting himself down on the other's untouched bed. Opening the binding, he gently unfolded the pages, smoothing them out, before turning to the first page. He took only a moment to look over what he had written, before continuing, this time unheeding of the ink spots and scratched out words.

"Choji says that Haku followed the butterflies. Don't normal crazy people see or speak to angels that carry away the dead. I know we're all freaking crazy in this nuthouse…but butterflies! Are you fucking kidding me! Haku thought it was a nice idea when he first heard about them, and always listened to Choji when he described the wings. But Haku was like that, if someone spoke to him, he listened. Listened to every fucking word and actually remembered every damn thing. And its nothing like me, I can't help but remember everything, my mind is just like that, but Haku remembered cause he was actually paying attention.

"He ALWAYS paid attention. To everything and everyone. So who the fuck would kill him? He never did a FUCKING thing! Out of all the fuck ups here, why did it have to be him? If there was a secret he never would have told, and he never did ANYTHING that would get someone pissed enough to off him.

"And its true. Even though the guards say it was an 'accident', it's a flat out lie. There are no such things as accidents in this hell hole.

"Fuck…nobody here deserves an accident. It's too easy, too painless. We don't deserve that. Not me, not Naruto, not even Haku. We're all here for a reason. Cause we're psychos, cause we're murderers, rapists, and everything else under the moon, and cause we're never going to get out. Unless we all decide to follow Choji's fucking butterflies, that is.

"But…the least we can do is know what happened. What went wrong. But only Naruto knows that. Bet tomorrow he's going to be normal, smiling and shouting and picking fights as if everything were normal. He's now open for the picking, there's no one to protect him anymore. But no matter how much they mess with him it ain't gonna crack him. Naruto is tough like that. Not like me. I don't even have a fucking mask to hide behind.

"But even with that mask, even with his toughness he couldn't do a fucking thing for Haku. So now he cries…thinking that if he had done things differently Haku might still be alive…if someone else was there, if something hadn't had happened, if he had only done this and that…if if if…that's all there is…if. But the fact is that even if all of us had been there, Haku probably still would have been killed…

"That's the way it is here…

"Even if I had been there…I wouldn't have been able to do a thing. I would never have been able to save him.

"I can't even save myself."

The notebook slid down, falling on its side, the pen clattering to the floor after slipping through nerveless fingers.

And in the darkness, Shikamaru wept.

TBC


Comments? Angry rages about Choji? Perhaps inquiries on MY sanity?

Tri