A/N: I know I said I wouldn't start any more stories until I finished what I've already started. It's all debbiechan's fault, so point all plastic forks at her please. :P Ha. Don't. I'm kidding, but do go check out her fics if you like DBZ or Bleach!

Title: Because of Them
Author/Artist: mischief maker
Theme: Attraction
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: Major spoiler warning and a whole lot of wishful thinking. Damn you, 292! ;;
Word count: 396
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

For Uchiha Sasuke, power was everything. The strong survived and eliminated the weak at their discretion. It was as simple as that. A shinobi was either powerful and therefore worthy of respect (or hate and resentment in many cases), or he was nothing, not even deserving of the title of shinobi.

It was almost three years after his defection that Sasuke was unexpectedly reunited with the only two people he'd allowed himself to give a damn about since the annihilation of his clan.

Interestingly enough, his first thought upon seeing them had nothing to do with whether or not they looked different to him or how, after everything that happened, all hate-filled glares were directed at his companions and not him (though he did notice.)

No, his first thought upon seeing his old team was, "They replaced me with that freak?"

All indignation was forgotten, though, when the fighting began.

Seeing Naruto engulfed in that flame-like aura once again, with three tails this time instead of one, made Sasuke's blood boil in an excitement he hadn't felt in years.

When he easily caught Naruto's punch, the blonde leaned in and, grabbing a fistful of his shirt, spoke just loud enough for the two of them to hear.

"Oi, bastard. When Sakura takes care of Kabuto, let's take out Orochimaru and get the hell out of here."

Sasuke only had a moment to wonder about how Sakura was supposed to pull off such a feat before he saw her punch obliterate nearly a hundred meters of ground. He couldn't stop the shiver that ran down his spine.

There was no time to think, only react, as adrenaline surged through his system, dictating his movements through a blur of dirt, sweat, and blood.

Next thing he knew, he was dashing through the trees of the forest with Naruto and Sakura at his sides. He didn't notice the jounin following close behind them or the fact that crop-top boy wasn't. What he did notice was the expressions on the faces of his former teammates. Both were grinning stupidly, and he had to resist the urge to do the same.

Uchiha Sasuke had left Konoha in search of power, yet it was the strength of his former teammates that ultimately drew him back to the village he'd betrayed.

At least that's what he told himself.

It was a partial truth.