May 14, 2006 : I'm sorry about the off-ish grammar regarding tenses; I'll try to fix them (now, or after posting my other fics). Haha, it's a bit difficult, coz English isn't my first or second language -sweatdrop- Anyhow, I hope you all read my other fanfics :) The updates will be (hopefully) quick, but my internet connection is a bit disruptive at the moment, so... Maybe in a few more days? -smile- Thanks for your support! XD


DISCLAIMER : I don't own anything.

Warning : AU, some character-OOCness, a few OCs here and there, slight language, some mature themes, come on… this is rated M for a reason. Includes Sasuke x Naruto (or Naruto x Sasuke :D) and Sai x Naruto, yaoi and shounen-ai. Don't worry, there are also het pairings here (such as Naruto x Sakura)

Title Notes : From Naruto's Fifth Opening Song Seishun Kyousoukyoku –Rhapsody of Youth- sang by Sambomaster.

Inspired By : I'm pretty sure there had been tons of fanfics like this, not just on the Naruto fandom, but also on different others. Just to mention a few stuffs like this: I think I better leave right now (SasuNaru), First Time (SetoYami), Give You Back (SasuNaru), Homecoming (SasuNaru). So… yeah. Not very original, but I'm trying my luck anyways.


Chapter One : Mystery


A lone figure is walking along a worn-down path, a path he never failed to visit everyday for the past five years. It was abandoned since a long time ago, and the only person who lived here –and has the right to live here- perished in an unfortunate incident, leaving the huge estate deserted and spooky. But it never frightened the man walking forlornly, with his tanned hands shoved securely on the pockets of his black trench coat.

He walked slowly, as though he had all the time in the world. His head is hung forward, making him look like somebody going to his own execution. Or maybe he is; he doesn't know already. He lost all reason to continue living, when his light left him five years ago. No matter how much his friends despised that man, no matter how much they told him to stay away from the darkness that might spill to him and spoil his innocent light… he continued loving him.

He still loves him.

His beloved has a harsh personality, austere-like facial qualities. Unlike the swarms of girls that mindlessly worshipped and stalked him, he didn't love him for his looks or for his charm. He loves him because of his relentless determination, his passion for whatever he's doing, his belief in his own power and own capabilities. He loves him because he understands what it means to be truly alone, with nobody else that could see past the walls he built around his walls.

He loves him. Still does.

He was so caught up with his musings about the love that he lost and he almost hit the rusted gates that open to the Uchiha Manor. He almost feels guilty for sneaking here, without any permission, and he looks around discreetly. After making sure that nobody nearby would pay attention to somebody dressed in monochromatically-dark clothes, he slipped the huge key into the trusty lock, and swung a gate open.

He slipped inside effortlessly, after tripping slightly over one overgrown vine that slid past the gates. He considered kicking the vine for making him stumble forward, but he decided that a person kicking a harmless plant –while fuming over it and making weird hand gestures- would surely attract the attention of the few passersby who are not hurrying with their life.

He continued his way forward, until he saw the familiar gravestones. His first time here was filled with chills and shivers, but the thought of him resting here calmed him down. The accident left no traces of his body –mangled or otherwise- so they just decided to let him have a place on his Clan's estate. He, out of respect of his beloved's feelings, put him apart from his older brother's grave. He recalled his friends' quips, saying something about Sasuke rolling out of his coffin and trying to rip Itachi's hair out if their graves are close enough, and he muffled the slightly-humored grin snaking past his tightly-closed lips. After all, no matter how endearing Sasuke looked like when he pouts, the sibling rivalry between the two Uchihas isn't something that he enjoys. The feelings of jealousy and competition ran much, much deeper, and he found himself frowning at the memory.

He fished out the invitation to his engagement party –slightly crumpled in his pants' pocket- and laid it down Sasuke's grave. The tremor that ran up and down his arms is unmistakable, and he found himself suppressing sobs from escaping again. He steeled himself; he was over this. Not over with loving Sasuke, but over with crying over something that he couldn't control.

Though he promised loving Sasuke forever, he would really like to settle down and live. He couldn't do it alone, and since he had also harbored some feelings towards his bride before –no matter how petty those feelings are- he thought that marrying her isn't so bad. He loves her, the way a brother would love his sister. He thinks that it should be enough.

Maybe, just maybe, he would learn to tolerate her touches, and learn to love her deeply. Who knows?

"Naa, Sasuke," he says the name with much familiarity; after all, hasn't he spoken that name every time he dreams, hasn't he thought of the person bearing that name for every single moment since he met that person? True, their first meeting wasn't the sweetest thing in the world –Sasuke was such an arrogant asshole; still was, until he died- but something there sparked the fragile heart that he had buried after getting hurt so many times before.

He breathes deeply, trying to quell the urge to just run and go to his room, cry his eyes out, and never go out until the day he joins Sasuke in heaven. Then, he remembers his bride's face, her smiling face, her cheerful face, and he wants to just scream until his throat is hoarse. He opens his mouth, and he finds his lips trembling pathetically. It's not like Sasuke could scream from his resting place to stop him, right?

Uzumaki Naruto, twenty-two years old, closes his mouth again, and swallows, unsuccessfully dislodging the thing that blocks his throat. He opens it again, and the cold breeze, with the stench of ground and the nearby flowers –the lilies that he offered Sasuke yesterday- and the upcoming rain, caresses his cheeks, cradling him softly, leaving ghostly tendrils of touch on the visible skin. He strengthens his resolve, because if he is resolved, he could do anything.

"What do you think of me marrying Sakura?"


The pounding rain continued to pour, and it constantly drummed over the expanse of his back. His head is bent down –uncharacteristic posture for him- and his long bangs shadow his face. He is clutching his right elbow, as he suddenly felt some searing pain crawling over his arm. His face is contorted into a painful grimace, but other than that, there's no indication of his predicament. Not that anybody would be able to give him help; he is alone in this area that was abandoned for five long years.

The ancient houses looked even more forbidden and looming under the dark serenade of the rain clouds; the vines and overgrown plants crowded over any area they could reach. He withstood the urge to stomp on the herbs that curled beneath his expensive leather shoes, and continued staying under the shadows of one willow tree. He watched one young man –who tried to pitifully cover the piece of paper that he left on one certain gravestone- dressed in a similar manner as him.

His dark-hued eyes regarded the person, and waited until the tan-skinned man left before he moved out of his perch. He brushed off the dust –mixed with some leaves and sticky rainwater- from his business coat, and he picked up the suitcase that he left on the mansion's porch. Honestly, he came back just to check how things are progressing; he didn't expect seeing him.

How are you now, Naruto?


He waved off the maids that rushed to usher him to his cousin's study, and continued his way to the second floor of the mansion, raindrops dripping from his hair and to the carpeted floor. Any other person would be very depressed with the sight of him walking slowly, dripping water everywhere, but he knows that his cousin would just replace the carpeting with a flicker of his hand.

He waved off the maids that rushed to usher him to his cousin's study, and continued his way to the second floor of the mansion, raindrops dripping from his hair and to the carpeted floor. Any other person would be very depressed with the sight of him walking slowly, dripping water everywhere, but he s that his cousin would just replace the carpeting with a flicker of his hand.

He didn't bother knocking on the oak door, and just waltzed in. The owner of this huge mansion is standing near the glass windows, the pouring rain blurring his darkened reflection. He clears his throat, and waits for the other to acknowledge his presence. A few moments later, the other man turned to him, one dark eyebrow raised at his soggy appearance.

"Where the hell did you run off to, Sai?" The man asked curtly, and Sai almost flinched at the murderous look. He managed to look apologetic –he is a master of facial expressions, not of emotions- but he knows that the other wouldn't be affected.

"I checked the estate that you left," He answered meekly, bowing his head down for good measure. It never hurts to be careful when he's around the other. The other time that he pissed his cousin off, it resulted with him nursing a black eye and broken arms. The other's shoulders stiffened, and for a mere moment, it almost seemed that the other's dark eyes glowed a chilling, blood-red color.

"I saw Naruto," Sai blurted out, after the pregnant pause that followed. In a second, his cousin's hand is curled neatly on his neck, and the grip told him quiet clearly that, if he wanted to, his cousin could separate his head from his torso without any remorse. The eerie, crimson eyes returned, and Sai struggled to calm his breathing and ignore the pain of his voice box. He is lifted up without effort, and he counted one to ten, trying to not look pained. His cousin houses many sadistic traits, and he realized that now isn't the best time to discover them.

Sai felt his arms and legs growing numb, and his cousin put him down, and it took every inch of his power to not fall down on the floor in a graceless heap. He struggled to return to his normal breathing; he forced his hands to remain on his sides; he willed his palms to not try to touch the area abused by his dark cousin.

"Go," the rich baritone belonging to the older man told him, and he didn't waste a second in scurrying out of the room.

Admittedly, telling his cousin about Naruto at this time isn't intelligent. After all, after five years, he set foot in this area once again. Sai could say that his cousin is more than just surprised to learn that Naruto stayed in this place, especially after that incident.

A few hours later, somebody knocked on his door. He offhandedly barked out an order for the maid to let herself in, but somebody else entered his chambers. He almost fell on his chair at the sight of his cousin, but he is more scared with the blank, soulless eyes the other possessed and the sadistic smirk that twisted in his lips.

His cousin spoke, but his mind is too caught up with the implications of his cousin's words. When he finished explaining his part, Sai could only utter one phrase.

Incredulous and a bit heartbroken at his cousin's unusual order, "You want me to pretend to be you?"


TBC

Yes, I do realize that I have some sort-of fetish with a dead Sasuke O.o;; not very healthy, I know. Anyhow, please try to give me constructive feedback, since I always read SasuNaru, but never tried writing one –aside from my fanfic Limits.

I originally wanted this to become a Neji x Naruto instead of Naruto x Sakura, but I found myself unable to XD Plus a het versus yaoi pairing is more plausible, to make one more unacceptable in "society's standards".


Teaser for the Next Installment:

Naruto stared at the dark-haired man walking towards him. He couldn't move, he couldn't breathe, and holy shit, is his heart still beating? Familiar dark eyes, colored with the starless night; familiar blue-black hair; familiar tantalizing lips… Naruto stood, frozen on his spot, as the person that he loved most, the person he loves still, the person he'd love forever, made his way towards him. Sasuke's dead, DEAD! Why is he here!

"Congratulations, Naruto," A classy voice said, and Naruto's world came tumbling down.

"Sasuke… You're supposed to be dead!" Naruto shrieked uncharacteristically, and pointed a shaking finger at the person who looks so much alike his beloved. He blurted out so many things, shaking with tremors that wrecked his emotions, and—

Naruto fainted.


Flames are ignored and Reviews are appreciated.