Hey. So in a lot of ways I really don't want to finish this. It's been way too long and I don't know this story, or the Naruto world, as I once did. However, now I know how it's going to end. And having recently gotten back into the Inuyasha fandom and found it full of great but unfinished stories guilted me, and so this is here. It's short, but hopefully I will have the next one up quickly. I love you all. :3
Addicted - 15
"Your hands are sweaty," a mellow Sasuke declared. One look at him and you had to know things were not right. He had a weird sort of smile on his face.
"At least my face isn't sweaty," Naruto retorted.
Sasuke lifted his unoccupied hand and touched his forehead, snorting a little at what he found. "It's not. You really are an idiot!"
The blond rolled his eyes to the sky and fell over onto his back, giving their arms a tug. "This is ridiculous. You have turned into the biggest space cadet I've ever known. And it happened in less than ten minutes. And we've been here all night because of you. Do you realize how stupid that is, Teme? How can you even call yourself a ninja?" When all he got in response to his rant was the sound of birdcalls, he turned his gaze from the light blue sky to the Teme in question. Sasuke was sitting cross-legged in the grass, only touching him at their palms. A light breeze played in his dark hair that was poking up in irregular peaks – not up to the normal Uchiha grooming standards. "Don't you have something to say for yourself? You're being like a kid," the blond harrumphed.
"While you're less and less like a kid, Dobe. That's almost amusing" Sasuke declared, also flipping onto the grass. Except that Sasuke didn't really seem too amused. He seemed frighteningly intense despite his new mellow lease on life, staring (awkwardly) most of the time.
"Gee," Naruto nearly-shouted, his nerves frayed. "Tsunade really seems to be taking her time." Why is it always so hard to be conversational when a conversational tone is just what is needed? Things would be so much simpler if Sasuke would just reign in his eyes!
"Do you ever wonder about things?" Sasuke asked, eyes glassy.
Naruto glanced at him, untrusting. "What kind of things? Like, questions? Like things about people?"
Sasuke tilted his head, the daylight illuminating his pristine skin. "No. Like stuff."
"Are you high? I hope you're just high, and that your brain hasn't rotted. You know, if it has rotted, they'll blame that on me, too. And you know how they never believe me," the blond ranted. "They never do. They'll be convinced I made you an idiot, and they'll never listen about you being an idiot already, before I got to you." He cast his eyes back towards his friend only to find him much closer than he had been moments earlier. Their heads were almost touching, blond and black hair mixing in the grass. "Well, before you got to me," he amended, a little wary.
Sasuke took in a long, lazy breath. "I sometimes think about stuff. Wonder about it, you know. How you can be friends with everyone so easily? How can you let them be friends with you? That's something I kinda won-"
"Wonder about? Yeah, I got it, I got it. Short answer: I'm a sexy beast, and chicks dig my hair," he commented easily, before feeling suddenly awkward. "I kinda wonder why you refuse to make friends with people so easily. You must feel bad sometimes. I mean, you've probably been a huge jerk since before you were born." Naruto didn't really feel any remorse for anything he said to the Uchiha anymore. It was pretty much the way things went between them, normally. Normality was good. "A really huge jerk," he added for good measure.
"Like," Sasuke seemed to pause, thinking, before he went on, "They just like your hair? Everyone?"
Naruto closed his eyes in despair, edging away a little to regain some personal space. "You're so stupid when you're like this. It's embarrassing."
The other boy followed him as he edged along the grass, clinging to his lifeline. He rolled around and propped himself up
"I used to think my hair was all right. What do you think? Maybe it's too black, or…spiked wrong?" Sasuke mulled.
Naruto rolled his eyes.
The reason Tsunade was taking so long was not only because Hinata had never reached her, but also due to the fact that she and her fellow ninjas were a little busy. At least that's what Iruka would have told Naruto had he heard him wondering about it. Late that morning – just before lunch, in fact – Konoha was seized by an invasion that was, mostly, silent and subtle. Soon after that, the village and its surroundings fell eerily quiet.
When the Iruka woke up that morning, there was little action in the hospital. Kakashi had scampered off somewhere and there were no sounds from the halls. The numerous ninja that regularly passed his doorway -often moving back and forth from the vending machines at one end of the hallway - were absent. So was Sasuke, Iruka discovered soon enough. He marched out of the hospital into the hot, humid day on his poor tattooed foot, beelining it towards hokage's office. He was ready to raise hell about that damnable Uchiha boy until he was pounced on from behind, stuffed into a dark bag, and clonked on the head. Which hurt.
Quite honestly, any good ninja should be able to keep himself from being stuffed into a sack. Iruka lamented this failure until he woke up for the second time that dreary day to a number of familiar faces. Kakashi was there, which was both reassuring and worrisome, as was the presence of the hokage and the entireties of teams eight and ten. They didn't seem tied up, really. It was more like they were all just devoid of the desire to move. They were strewn like rag dolls about the room, eyes glazed over, some unconscious, and leaning on things: walls, each other, barrels of one sort or another. All those with open eyes appeared relatively aware, but none were talking. The room was dark, a little daylight trickling in from a window, but not quite the amount required to make out the colours and finer textures of the room. The teacher wondered whether they were being guarded, and whether their captors were in that very room, but his body seemed to resist whenever he attempted to move much more than his eyes.
"What's happening?" Iruka tried to question, but his mouth didn't respond, and his voice only groaned faintly. Whoa. He was really tired. Exhausted, even. That groan felt like it had taken all of his strength.
How strange. He'd felt fine this morning, and could remember having been attacked but not having fought much with his assailant. Or assailants? Given the sheer number of accomplished ninja lying motionless in the room, it seemed likely that Konoha had been taken by a large group. Iruka moved his eyes around as much as he could manage, taking in his surroundings. They were in what looked to be a storeroom of sorts. It could have been anywhere, but he could smell food of some kind. Vegetables, maybe, and old cooking scents which were reminiscent of Naruto's clothes a few days after a ramen binge. Which meant they were somewhere near the ramen stand, in the centre of town, in a store house. It was a decent start, he guessed. There was some other smell, too, an herby smell that was not all together pleasant. Try as he might, Iruka couldn't place it. His sense of smell had always seemed dimmer after the blow that had given him that scar.
Why would they be imprisoned in a storage area with little structural security, a lack of restraints and no apparent supervision? Unless they (whoever "they" were), didn't expect their captives to be getting up and walking out any time soon.
Alarmed at the thought, he quickly tried again to rally his strength, struggling to move any part of his body. The chunin felt as though he'd shifted slightly, but had little time to mull over the accomplishment as the drain on his energy sent him back into unconsciousness.
In the hour following Hinata's departure, Naruto had thought of a number of things. Among them, he'd somewhat confronted his own feelings towards Sasuke, prompted as he was when he'd let him hold on after the intoxicated ninja made a few not-so-subtle grabs for his belt loops. He'd allowed the pale hands at his waist to caress his middle, the fingers, long and thin, dipping below the band of his pants to touch the point of one hip and then to rest on the plain just below his navel. The Teme's eyes were closed, his breathing a little shallow, but slow, and for once Sasuke seemed relaxed. It was as if his hands were moving of their own accord.
On the one hand, the blond found that he was terrified by the implications of his friend's actions. Again, he was even more terrified of the response of his body, and then his mind, to these touches that shouldn't have ever happened. Although his first reaction was to hit him, Naruto uncharacteristically reasoned that he probably couldn't send a punch to Sasuke's pristine face without sending his sorry ass back to the hospital. After that, acceptance began to set in. He liked this, with Sasuke touching him. He wanted to kiss him, to touch him back, to spar with him, to call him names. He wanted their friendship to be more…complete than a friendship. He wanted to believe that Sasuke was truly attracted to him, and not only that, but that he cared for him as well.
The blond decided it was highly unlikely. The safest bet was that all this – the touching, the attraction – was due to the weird chakra thing he was giving off. That the attention being paid to his midriff was entirely due to the seal at his middle. That none of this was real. Despite his conclusions and against his better judgement, he let it continue.
However, after drifting in and out of a pleasurable semi-consciousness for who knows how long, eventually Sasuke's movements stopped and he suddenly remembered that Hinata was supposed to come back with Tsunade. And he did not need either of them to see this. More gently than he normally would have, he moved Sasuke's hands his bare forearm (a more respectable place). Shortly thereafter he was struck by the thought that it should not have taken Hinata so long. Not only that, but Naruto couldn't hear anything but wind and the quiet flow of water. There were no birds singing in the trees, and the regular village sounds were completely absent. It was as if everything had stopped.
This put him on edge as much as did the few sounds emitted before an attack, or the quiet milliseconds following a strong blow to the enemy. Something was wrong.
He knew immediately that he had to get up and find a way to approach the village without being seen. This was harder than usual as he was now completely responsible for an unconscious Uchiha who weighed a good amount and might die if he lost skin to skin contact. With the sudden urgency of the moment, the blond hefted Sasuke onto his back and wrapped the pale arms about his neck, pressing the palms briefly flat against his collar bone. Then, muscles primed by the undercurrent of adrenaline outlining his movements, Naruto pushed off toward the village, running as quickly as he dared. He really didn't need Sasuke falling off and dying or whatever.
Tsunade waded through a haze of semi-consciousness. Although not fully aware of her predicament, she had a vague feeling of urgency. What she could make of her surroundings was a hazy acknowledgement of a nasty smell. It was sweet and fetid, and very like something she might have smelled somewhere once, some time ago. Underlying the primary scent was the unmistakable pungency of an alcohol. Attention to it sharpened her awareness. Peeling her eyes open, her field of vision was filled with familiar shapes, but absent of any evidence of guards or – her eyes fell groggily to her hands – bonds of any kind…
Kakashi was nearest to her, and his one visible eye looked a little open. Forcing air through her larynx, she attempted to quietly question him.
The hokage managed a brief, undignified, "Hrrrnngh?" With that, what was left of her energy left her, and she collapsed back against the wall.
The usual busy life about Konoha was silent in the morning light. The faces of the Hokage Monument looked down upon empty streets and homes. The village felt dull. That was the only way Naruto could think to describe it. The quietness went beyond a lack of sound, reaching a palpable level of stillness. What he was sensing, the blond couldn't fathom, but it was deeply unsettling. He had never known this level of emptiness in his village.
The sun, still rising to its high point in the sky, shone down unbroken light to the buildings below and cast the world into pallid colours. No, Naruto thought, the hair on his arms standing up. Things are definitely definitely not right here.
One hand over the pale hand at his chest, he tightened his hold on his friend, and headed toward the main street. An instant later, he was glad he'd secured Sasuke while he'd had the chance. Immediately thereafter, a gentle wind brought to his attention two things, one being a sweet stink riding on alcohol fumes, and the second being a sudden and strong feeling of vitality just around the next building. A stark contrast to the deadness permeating the village, Naruto was startled into action, pulling away just before another ninja was able to clobber him with a bat. His first thought was that it wasn't very ninja-like to try to clobber someone with something as unsophisticated as a bat. His second was that these guys didn't seem very threatening; apart from some thick-looking face masks, they looked and acted pretty weak. There were three of them, all looking slightly chubby and definitely unfit. Two were a little too close to him for comfort – one holding a bat, and one a large sack – and one standing off a bit, having just emerged from the same alley. This one spoke without looking at him.
"His senses and reflexes should be slow. Give him a good knock and we'll throw them both down there with the others. We shouldn't have to wait long now."
The ninja holding the sack and the bat nodded, taking steps to make their approach. Naruto hardly paid them any mind. Hopping backwards, Sasuke's face banging against his neck, the blond glared at the man he assumed was the leader. "Give me a good knock?" he bristled, incredulous. Sidestepping a clumsy swing from the bat-man, and hearing the flapping of sack material near by, he demanded, "You're just hoping to get close enough to crack me with a bat? What, or try to put a bag on my head?"
The slow nin holding the bat looked dubiously at the man who seemed to be leading the operation. "Why's he not done in already? I'm not exactly an expert at clocking the quick ones."
His companion with the sack let out a chuckle. "Kenji, we all know you need 'em really slow before you have any hope!" Naruto felt his eyebrows twitch in annoyance as he backed a little further away. He wasn't going to risk being even accidentally taken down by someone with aim that bad.
"Wait," the tall ninja muttered. "Wait. Could he be the one? This kid doesn't exactly seem like what we're looking for, yet he seems unaffected by the poisonous fumes. Jiro! Jiro, is this him?"
Naruto jolted as he felt the quick approach of a stronger presence behind him. Swinging around so as to keep his eye on these fools as well, he sized up this newcomer. Now this guy looked the part of a ninja. Trim and tall, this one was also wearing a thick mask over his nose and mouth.
"This blond kid must be the one I'm looking for. See him?" This new ninja pointed at the blond boy. "He's not even swayed by those fumes, and yet chakra must be pouring from him."
Naruto felt his eyes widen. "This has something to do with Kyuubi's chakra? Who the hell are you? What'd you do to everyone, huh?!"
From the way his eyes crinkled – and, having known Hatake Kakashi a long time now, Naruto knew enough about eye crinkling – the man was smiling. "They call me Jiro, and I'm here to suck up some of that excess chakra for you."