Of power, respect and friendship: Twenty Facts about Sasuke and Naruto
by aishuu

1. Sasuke and Naruto are not friends.

2. Sasuke doesn't have any friends, just allies, and Naruto isn't that, either. There's no one he'd rather have at his back, but he doesn't call on Naruto for help. He has to be strong enough to watch out for himself, since he's learn that you can't really trust anyone. The only person he can count on is himself.

3. The only thing that matters to Sasuke is power: the power to kill Itachi, the power to refound his clan, the power to defeat his enemies. He sometimes watches Naruto as the blond wastes chakra like it doesn't matter, and seethes inside.

4. Naruto would tell him power is only important in how it is used. Real strength, Naruto believes, is something that can only be earned by helping others, and earning their trust. He wants to be the person that people can count on in a crisis. He wants to be the person whom others turn to.

5. Sasuke wouldn't understand that.

6. What Sasuke does understand is that Naruto is growing more powerful every day while he stagnates. Every time he turns around, Naruto is learning a new technique, or pulling his ass out of the fire. He was supposed to be the pride of the village, but the dead-last dropout is surpassing him.

7. Naruto is jealous because Sasuke has the one thing he desires most – respect. He may claim he hates Sasuke because he's a bastard who has everything given to him, but in reality, he wants nothing more than for Sasuke to acknowledge him. If he can earn Sasuke's respect, then he can earn anyone's.

8. Sasuke would tell Naruto that respect is a pretty concept, but gets you nowhere. Respect limits you, since with it comes expectations. Sasuke has no interest in meeting any responsibilities others put on him. He already has his own agenda.

9. Sasuke thinks Naruto looks suspiciously like Yondaime. Every time he sees the Hokage Memorial, he wonders why Naruto hasn't figured it out yet. He knows that Naruto is an orphan, and he was born on the day Yondaime died. The pieces slide together neatly for him.

10. Naruto never brings up Yondaime because he knows what Sasuke thinks. He doesn't want to draw ties between himself and the deceased leader of the village, because Sasuke might someday see the seal that marks his abdomen, and Sasuke would be smart enough to understand what that means. There's nothing that terrifies him more than letting Sasuke know the truth about Kyuubi, because he couldn't stand to see genuine loathing in his eyes.

11. That is their problem. They are both very poor at communicating, and that's where most of their trouble arises from. If they could sit down, and discuss their problems, they would both realize that they are stronger because of each other, not in spite of.

12. As they grow older, they are confronted with the concept of love. Sakura proclaims her devotion to Sasuke, but he doesn't believe she really loves him. If she did, she'd be able to accept that he is an avenger, and support him. Naruto thinks he loves Sakura, but he's never been able to really get to know her because of Sasuke.

13. When Sasuke leaves, he breaks something inside of Naruto. He leaves because he thinks Konoha cannot offer him what he needs. He leaves convinced that he's doing the right thing, and that Naruto is just going to have to accept it.

14. It's only years later that Naruto realizes that Sasuke took his innocence with him. Until Sasuke actually is gone, Naruto had always believed that things would somehow work out. In his mind, Team 7 was supposed to be invincible. With Sasuke gone, Naruto finds his faith shaken.

15. Naruto spends three years on the road with Jiraiya, and not one night goes by when he doesn't wonder what Sasuke's doing, and if he is happy. He thinks of Sakura, but he knows she is safe. He had no such assurance about Sasuke, because that Snake Bastard might get it into his head to do something.

16. There are times Sasuke wishes he could speak to Naruto, and tell him the truth. He would like to explain why he'd made this decision, and how he regrets hurting Naruto. It was inevitable, but he still feels a touch of regret. I'm sorry, he would like to say, and he knows he would be forgiven because Naruto is kind. Of course, Naruto would try to kick his ass before accepting an apology, but he would in the end. Sasuke, though, was brought up never to apologize, and those are words he will never say.

17. Naruto knows that he'll bring the bastard back, because he's given his word. Naruto never lies, not even to himself. Sasuke will come back, because Sasuke is needed by Konoha. The running away bit is merely a fit of teenage rebellion.

18. Sasuke believes with his whole being that Naruto will one day be Hokage. Naruto will be the greatest leader that Konoha ever has. Sasuke doesn't believe he'll be alive to see it happen, though, because deep inside himself he doubts he will ever be able to defeat Itachi.

19. Naruto would tell Sasuke that he believes Sasuke can do it, because Sasuke should be the strongest ninja in the world, if only because he's Naruto's rival. Gaara and Neji may be close, but Naruto knows that Sasuke is the best. Naruto wouldn't compete against anyone less than the best.

20. Sasuke and Naruto are not friends, but they are rivals – and nothing's more important than that.