Title: My Atrophied Heart

Fandom: Naruto

Pairing: Sasuke x Naruto

Rating: M

Warnings: Self harm, swearing, shounen-ai. There may be a few spoilers in there but only if you have not yet met Itachi or Orochimaru – basic plot points mentioned in passing.

Description: Sasuke has found a way to deal with the darkness within something which Naruto understands all too well. Cutting, shounen-ai, one shot.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto…unfortunately.

Sasuke sat, alone in the middle of the living room in the mansion which he resided in. He wouldn't call it living and he certainly wouldn't call the place a home…as the old saying goes 'home is where the heart is'…he wasn't even sure if his heart still existed anymore.

He had been hurt so much in the past by his brother betraying him…by his family when they let themselves get killed…being treated like a toy by Orochimaru, even though he had known from the beginning what that snake bastard's little plan was. He existed simply to gain power and defeat his brother…but then what? He would be free to die, yes that was true, for what else is there to live fore once you have completed your one goal in life? Well except maybe your special person. But he had no one like that…well there was one person who he could live for, a certain blond haired, blue eyed dobe…a boy who brightened up his day every time he spotted him, who could push his buttons like no one else, the only person who seemed to pay attention to the personality that Sasuke let them see rather than his looks or his history.

But it still hurts to know that none of them know the real me…hey think they do but they only see the good part…if I really let them in…if I really let them see…I would be shunned, feared…probably even banished for the darkness within me.

So once again, as he did every night, he un-buckled the coverings over his forearms and dragged his sharpest kunai over the scarred flesh of his inner-forearms, trying to bleed out the darkness. Yet, like always as he became dizzy from blood-loss he realized that the darkness wasn't going anywhere so he staggered away from the pool of blood on the floor, to the bathroom. After bandaging his arms, with no regard for cleaning the wounds, he washed off the kunai; put it back in its place, separate from the others.

Sasuke flopped backwards onto the bed and fell into an exhausted, dreamless sleep for which he was extremely thankful.

x x x

A beam of light shone directly through one of the large windows, across the Uchiha fan inlayed in the dark wooden floor, across the large black silk and fur covered bed and directly into the sleeping face of one Sasuke Uchiha.

Sasuke rolled to escape the stinging light, however his sleepy haze was shattered as he rolled onto his bandaged arm. He shot up with a sharp hiss and glared at the bandage. With a sigh he realized that there was no way he was going to be able to get back to sleep so he got out of bed and go dressed.

As he stalked through the house a disgusted scowl marred Sasuke's beautiful face. His mind was full of disgusting images and repetitive phrases of self hatred. He stopped in front of the kitchen, before deciding that he didn't deserve to eat today as atonement for cutting himself the night before. He jammed his sandals on and decided he would show up for training early.

Sasuke arrived at the scheduled meeting place, a bridge in the middle of the city, only 15 minutes before the actual meeting time, he had woken up later than he had thought.

He leaned against a tree and forced his usual cool, uncaring, closed mask back on.

"Ohayo Sasuke-teme!" Shouted a cheerful voice

Sasuke inwardly winced, trying to rapidly bury all of the darkness back down inside himself, he didn't want to taint the enthusiastic blond who he knew was already trying to deal with his on demons.

"Hn." Sasuke grunted half heartedly in response and turned to face away from Naruto, hoping that he would take a hint and leave him alone. However in typical Naruto fashion that subtle hint was thoroughly disregarded.

"Hey have you seen Sakura-chan around yet?" Naruto bubbled as he bounded up beside Sasuke

"Do you see her anywhere?" Sasuke asked sarcastically, his question was followed by the blonde shaking his head in a negative

"Then what do you think, don't ask stupid questions dobe!" he hissed, glaring at he boy, mentally pleading with him to go away

Naruto blushed furiously "What the hell is up your ass Uchiha!" the blonde fumed

"Just piss off usurakontachi." Sasuke snarled

Naruto lunged at the raven haired boy, Sasuke dodged out of the way on pure instinct.

"What the fuck are you doing Umazaki!" Sasuke yelled

"We'll see who the moron is once I have beaten you into the dirt!" Naruto hollered, charging back at Sasuke, madly flinging his fists and random jutsus towards the boy.

Sasuke let his attention wander for a split second at the gorgeous sight the flushed and panting boy before him had created. In that split second Naruto threw a punch, Sasuke faltered, he blocked too hard. A few seconds later Naruto paused, his eyes widened in horror.

"S…Sasuke…gomen…I didn't mean to…that looks bad…maybe you should get it checked." Naruto fumbled

Sasuke was confused. He followed the blonde's line of sight down to the cover over his left arm which was rapidly turning from cream to crimson with each passing second.

"Fuck!" he cursed silently before looking up at the blonde who was biting his lip, hands buried deep in his pockets, managing o look sheepish and worried at the same time.

Sasuke picked up the familiar signature of Sakura's chakra approaching. Sasuke sped off, ignoring Naruto's shouts. Shimatta! How could I have been so careless? He reached his house, quickly unlocking the door and throwing himself inside. Panic settling deep within his chest.

What if my blue eyed angel works it out? He locked the door heavily behind him. Even though Naruto appeared thick headed and oblivious, he was actually rather perceptive when it came to people. That was one of the reasons why people were drawn to him…one of the reasons Sasuke cared for the shorter boy so much.

Sasuke growled and ripped his left arm covering off, throwing the blood soaked garment across the main entrance hall.

He was always so cruel to the poor blonde…he hated it but it was, however a necessity…everyone he had ever cared for had gotten hurt, so by pushing Naruto away he was effectively stopping said boy from getting hurt…or worse infected by Sasuke's darkness.

Sasuke went to his room, re-bandaged his arms after a shower and pulled on another pair of cream shorts and a lightweight, long-sleeved version of his regular navy-blue shirt. He flopped onto his bed and fell asleep.

x x x

He was startled awake hours later, unaware that he had even fallen asleep in the first place. He stretched, suddenly confused as to what had woken him so harshly. Then he heard someone banging furiously on the door. Sasuke groaned and rolled over, ignoring who ever it was, hoping they would get the hint and piss off.

When they didn't he clambered out of bed.

"If its Sakura or that damn Ino again I swear I will remove their intestines and strangle them with it!" he muttered evilly into the hollow darkness

He reached the front door and flung it open, only to receive a 'knock' to the forehead.

" 'the hell dobe! What was that for!" Sasuke snapped as he rubbed the abused patch of flesh

"Well if you didn't take so long to answer the damn door!" Naruto shouted back at him

Sasuke crossed his arms and lent against the doorframe "What do you want dobe?"

Naruto scratched the back of his head, an embarrassed grin spreading across his face "I wanted to make sure you were okay…you know…after this morning…you were bleeding pretty bad."

Sasuke smirked "Why dobe, I didn't know you cared."

Naruto glared at Sasuke "Baka teme I'm not! I just had to make sure you weren't gonna go dying on me before I get a chance to kick your ass!"

Sasuke noticed that he hadn't said it was because he had made Sasuke bleed. Of course Naruto would have known that so much blood couldn't have come from a something as simple as blocking a punch unless a broken limb was involved.

Sasuke kept up his façade "Was there a point to this dobe?"

Naruto perked up slightly "Hai. I was going to get some ramen and thought that you might like to come too." He smiled that blinding smile of his

Sasuke couldn't bring himself to say no to that face.

"I suppose you're expecting me to shout you hmmm dobe?" Sasuke said coldly

Naruto shifted slightly, his grin never faltering as his hand flew up behind his head in nervous embarrassment.

Sasuke sighed "Fine but you owe me."

Naruto's grin got even brighter (if that was possible).

"Come inside whilst I grab my stuff." Sasuke said as he stepped from the doorway to let Naruto inside.

The blonde kicked off his sandals and followed Sasuke into the mansion.

"This place is huge and you live here all by yourself!" Naruto gushed

Sasuke scowled "Hn."

Naruto followed the taller boy into what looked like a large living room with a bed in it.

"Doesn't it get lonely?" Naruto asked innocently as he sat on the edge of the bed, watching the raven haired shinobi scouring his room.

Sasuke chuckled darkly "You get used to it."

He buckled his kunai and shuriken holsters to himself and grabbed some money. He turned back to Naruto only to find the boy looking at him with an unreadable expression plastered across his face.

"Do you want to go get ramen or not dobe?" Sasuke asked with a smirk

Naruto stood up and punched Sasuke playfully in the shoulder and bounded out of the room with a blinding grin.

Sasuke felt like an iron fist was gripping his stomach. He cared for Naruto, he wanted to be friends with the boy…hell who was he trying to kid, he wanted them to be closer than that. He growled softly to himself…he couldn't let Naruto get close to him, but it seemed no matter how horrible he was to the boy, Naruto just kept coming back and being nice to him.

"Sasuke-teme are you coming or not?" Naruto's voice echoed throughout the house

"Patience is a virtue dobe…not that you would know anything about that!" Sasuke shouted down the stairs

He heard a snort from the blonde who already had his shoes on by the time Sasuke got there. Naruto bounced anxiously on the spot whilst waiting for Sasuke to slip his shoes on. Sasuke caught himself, stopping the fond smile from slipping past his mask.

"Kami, Sasuke-teme! You take longer to get ready than Sakura-chan!" Naruto exclaimed as they left the house

"You really don't want that ramen do you?" Sasuke threatened

Naruto 'meeped' and the pair walked to Ichiraku's in silence. Sasuke watched the shorter boy out of the corner of his eye. The blonde's eyebrows were knotted together as he stared at the ground, deep in thought…this was unusual for the normally bubbly blonde. It was making Sasuke uncomfortable because Naruto's silence meant that he was alone within his own thoughts.

They reached Ichiraku's and Naruto was startled from his thoughts at the smell of ramen. Naruto ordered miso ramen whilst Sasuke ordered some tea. Sasuke stared absently into his cup whilst the blonde beside him inhaled his ramen.

"Aren't you hungry?" Naruto asked around a mouthful of ramen, snapping Sasuke from his dark thoughts

"No." he replied simply

Naruto looked over at Sasuke, placing his chopsticks on the counter beside his unfinished bowl of ramen, this action in itself surprised Sasuke. He looked into the sky blue eyes of the boy beside him, an emotion he couldn't place was shimmering in their depths.

"If something is wrong you can talk to me." Naruto said hesitantly

"I'm fine. Your ramen is getting cold dobe." He replied, turning away from Naruto

If he has been looking he would have noticed the slight falter before Naruto's trademark fox grin slipped back on and he began to scoff down his now warm meal.

x x x

It had been two weeks since Sasuke's meal with Naruto. Each day was getting harder and harder to bear. The darkness was enveloping him, bleeding into his soul. He had wondered briefly if this was how Itachi had felt before he had killed the clan, but quickly banished the thought.

This brought him to his position now, sitting in the hallway where he had been ever since he got back from training, kunai pressed against the marred flesh of his inner-right forearm. Without another thought he brought the kunai down and ripped open the flesh violently. Blood sprayed from the cut and he dropped the kunai in shock.

Shit! This was bad, he was pretty sure that this might be life threatening. He wanted to keep the darkness at bay not die! He still had to slaughter his treacherous brother! He couldn't die yet.

Sasuke stood up and pressed his arm to his cloth covered stomach. He left the mansion and began making his way to the hospital. Half way there he was feeling weak and his surroundings were beginning to spin, he leant against the cool wall…he just needed to rest for a little while.

"Ohayo Sasuke-teme what are you doing around…hey are you okay?" asked a familiar voice behind him

Sasuke turned around and saw Naruto drop his shopping in shock.

"What the hell happened to you?" he exclaimed

"I'm sick" Sasuke replied distantly

His legs gave way and he fell forward only to be caught thanks to Naruto's lightning fast reflexes. Naruto gently pulled Sasuke's arm away from his shirt.

"Baka, I told you to come talk to me." Naruto said softly, his voice cracking.

Sasuke felt something wet fall against his cheek before he lost consciousness.

x x x

Sasuke's eyes fluttered open and he winced against the burning bright light.

"Sasukeeeee-kun!" trilled a sharp voice that cut into his foggy mind

Suddenly he realized that he must have been in the hospital and why he was there. He quickly sat up, ignoring the way the world tilted sharply as he stared at his bandaged arm.

"Sasuke-kun the nurses said for you to take it easy. Oh and I told off that stupid Naruto for nearly killing you! He has to learn to be less reckless…he never thinks before he does stuff. I told him that something like this would happen if he kept picking pointless fights with you." Sakura gushed

"Fight?" Sasuke rasped out

Sakura nodded "Naruto said that you guys were training and he got you with his kunai."

Sasuke nodded, dropping his cold mask back into place. Inside he was wondering why the blonde had lied to everyone for him.

"Okay Sakura you should let Sasuke get some rest now." Kakashi said from the doorway

Sakura looked angry for a moment but then she turned and smiled sweetly at Sasuke "I'll come back and visit you tomorrow ne?"

Sasuke ignored the pink haired girl.

Sakura smiled cheerfully, waving as she walked past Kakashi and out the door. The masked teacher closed the door behind Sakura and turned to face Sasuke. The boy inwardly flinched when he noticed that his teacher was not even holding his infamous bright orange copy of Icha Icha Paradise.

"I saw your injury." Kakashi said calmly as he stood at the end of Sasuke's bed

Sasuke shrugged.

"I saw the scars on your arms." He continued

"What's your point?" Sasuke snarled

"You could seriously hurt yourself. What would've happened if Naruto hadn't found you?" Kakashi asked, not expecting an answer

Sasuke turned his head to stare at the blank wall.

"I'm not going to kill myself. I won't die until I have destroyed my bastard brother." Sasuke hissed

The door flung open and a familiar blonde bounded in grinning from ear to ear, effectively halting whatever Kakashi was about to say next.

"Eh Sasuke-teme you're finally awake!" Naruto beamed

Kakashi looked between the two boys and then disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Naruto sat down beside Sasuke who had to look away from those piercing sky blue eyes which were trained on him.

"You should've called." Naruto said softly, all of his joking and cheerfulness leaving his voice.

Sasuke couldn't bring himself to reply to the blonde as he felt the iron fist once again grasp his stomach. He berated himself. His special person was upset and it was his fault, it was his fault that the normally bubbly blonde now looked so defeated.

Naruto stared down at his hands "You can talk to me…I'll keep your secrets…you can trust me."

Sasuke pulled his cold mask back down, he had done enough damage to the blonde as is and he didn't want to contaminate him further.

"There is nothing to talk about dobe." Sasuke snapped

Naruto glared at him "No, you're hacking the shit out of your arms and everything is fine."

"It's none of your damn business!" Sasuke hissed

"Kuso! You're my best friend, of course its my business." Naruto growled

"Leave me alone." Sasuke snapped

"No." the blonde replied

"God damn it Umazaki! Leave me the hell alone! I don't need your pity!" Sasuke spat as he glared over at Naruto

Naruto stared over at the dark haired boy "I'm not offering you pity. I'm offering you understanding and support."

"You want to help?" he asked

Naruto nodded, a small smile playing across his face.

Sasuke turned away, once again feeling his disgusting darkness rising inside him "No one can help me." He said softly, his voice bitter

He was startled out of his inner turmoil by the sound of Naruto slamming his fist into the bedside table, his head hanging forwards.

"Naruto?" Sasuke questioned softly

"Baka, just let me in…it hurts more if you suffer alone." He said, his voice cracking with bottled emotion

Sasuke gulped "I'm fine dobe…really…this was just an accident…I won't slip up again." He said reassuringly

Naruto chuckled darkly, never looking up from the floor "Where have I heard that before?"

Sasuke sat in puzzled silence. He didn't know of any other shinobi who had been in hospital for harming themselves.

"I'm not going to pretend to know why you're doing this or know exactly how you feel but I have some idea." Naruto said calmly

Sasuke snorted "Whatever dobe, you don't need to pretend that you understand."

Naruto stood and Sasuke was relieved, thinking he had pissed the blonde off enough to get him to leave. However Naruto didn't leave, he pulled off his bright orange and blue jacket, under which he wore a simple black t-shirt and sat back down. He roughly shoved the insides of his forearms at Sasuke. The dark haired avenger's eyebrows lifted in surprise as he inspected the latticework of scars lacing his perfect blonde's flesh.

"When did you…why?" Sasuke breathed, it felt as if someone had broken his ribs, it was difficult to draw a breath.

"It hurts pretty bad huh?" Naruto smiled sadly, lightly tracing a scar with his finger "Knowing that someone close to you is hurting themselves, yet you never noticed."

Sasuke eyed the blonde, seeing him fully for the first time. That the perky, annoying boy he trained with was often putting up a strong mask of indifference to hide just how bad he felt and how much of the abuse people threw at him that he actually took to heart. Naruto was not perfect, far from it…oddly, it made Sasuke care for him even more.

Sasuke reached down and ran his fingers gently over a particularly raised, purple scar. Naruto jumped slightly at the sudden touch but smiled lightly at Sasuke.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Sasuke asked

Naruto didn't take his eyes off of Sasuke as he replied "You are my only friend, the last thing I wanted was for you to think I was a freak and shun me too."

Sasuke nodded silently, he didn't know what to say to that, even though he could understand the logic. The pair sat in silence for awhile before Naruto spoke.

"I don't wanna lose you." He whispered, looking down at his hands, which were now in his lap

Sasuke shifted awkwardly; when he had started hurting himself he had never thought that it would affect anyone. It pained him to think that he was the cause of Naruto's pain right now, so he did the only thing he knew how to do…

"Keh. Dobe you are so melodramatic." He said

Naruto's head snapped upwards "Damn it! Don't just blow this off Sasuke!"

"I told you that it isn't your problem to worry about." Sasuke replied coldly

"It is my problem Sasuke! You are my best and only friend and it hurts to know that you are hurting. If I could take that pain away I would because I know how it feels and no one deserves that." Naruto whispered, tears shining in the corners of his eyes "You have no idea how scared I was when I found you tonight. I was afraid…for the first time in my life I was truly afraid."

Sasuke swallowed, trying to clear the lump in his throat as he painfully watched Naruto try to hold back his tears.

"I can't stop. You of all people should understand that." Sasuke said softly

"If you don't want to stop then that is okay…if you want to I can help you but that is a decision you have to make on your own. Hell the only reason I stopped was because of how bad I felt when I saw how much pain I put Iruka through when he came to visit me one day and found me passed out in a pool of my own blood after I slipped up one day." Naruto explained "You need to know that I am here for you, any time of the day or night, even if you just want to be around someone or talk about random shit then I am here. All I know is that it would kill me to lose you…I care for you too damn much!"

Sasuke had never had anyone say anything like this to him before or speak with such conviction. His heart swelled, Naruto was accepting Sasuke and all his flaws…saying that he cared for him and that he was important to him.

Suddenly a tear trickled down his cheek. All of the tears which he had not been able to shed burst forth, as if the first tear had opened the flood gates and now he couldn't stop them, he dropped his head into his hands. He noticed briefly that the bed dipped with an added weight. Suddenly he was enveloped by warm arms, he subconsciously moved, snuggling into the warmth, breathing in a scent that was so deliciously unique to his Naruto. He rested his head in the crook between Naruto's shoulder and neck as he continued to sob, whilst Naruto threaded his fingers through silky ebony locks.

"Everything is going to be okay. I promise you that it gets better…no matter what I will always be there for you." He whispered, placing a gentle kiss on the top of Sasuke's head.