Wow, you guys must be ready to totally lynch me by now, huh? :nervous laugh: Well, I can't blame you. Once again, I've been a terrible liar and am so far overdue on this installment that I'm sure you must have been thinking that I'd given it up for good. I have a whole list of reasons why I haven't been writing, but I won't make excuses. What it boils down to, ultimately, is that real life takes priority in these things. I beg your forgiveness, and hope that this next chapter will help make up for it. Yes, this is the chapter, so I hope you will enjoy it. Little less on the humour, slightly more on the angst, but I hope it works out.
As an additional note, this story has now passed 1000 reviews. I cannot begin to tell you how amazed I am that this has become so widespread and enjoyed by so many people. To each and every person that has left me a comment, I thank you. Reviews have been what motivates me to get back into the story, and I can only hope that you will have the patience to stay with me until the end.
And so, please enjoy Chapter 16! :D
Chapter 16: Hanging by a Moment
I'm living for the only thing I know
I'm running and not quite sure where to go
I don't know what I'm diving into
just hanging by a moment here with you
Sasuke, Day 15: Our assignment today was to complete a will that would dictate who would receive custody of Sachi, and what kind of provisions we wanted to leave for her. I cannot honestly say that this wasn't at least a little disturbing. Contemplating one's own mortality is not particularly pleasant, especially when writing out what my wishes are to be upon my death. As I'm sure you know, I have my own personal experience with such matters, and I'm sure that does nothing for my comfort level. If I must think of Sachi in terms of being a true child of my own, then I know that I would never wish for her to ever have to experience such a thing. But I can control fate no more than I can the wind, and must face that I may not get a say in the matter. Should the worst come to pass, I can only hope that the people I choose to trust with something so precious would be able to be what she needs.
The phone rang.
He listened through his end of the receiver as it rang and rang. The answering machine picked up after the fourth ring and he heard the curt "leave a message at the beep", so he promptly hung up and hit redial.
On the third ring, it was finally pick up and a gruff, very cranky sounding voice grumbled at him menacingly over the line.
"This had better be a really hot chick, or I'm hanging up."
Naruto rolled his eyes. "No such luck, you old pervert. There aren't any hot chicks that call you, anyways."
There was silence for a full minute. "Oh. It's you. In that case, I'm hanging up now, and turning off the ringer. Bye!"
"Ah, wait! Don't hang up on me!"
He heard the sigh. "What the hell do you want at three in the morning, you damned brat?"
"It's not three in the morning." Naruto grouched. "it's four."
"Same question. This had better be good, or I'm gonna kick your ass next time I see you."
"Ha! No you won't. I got something you want, and you're gonna help me or else you won't get it."
"Psh. What could you possibly have that I would want?"
The blond grinned victoriously. "I got you a promise from Tsunade to go on a date with you."
"You're full of shit."
"Nope, no lies. She roped me into babysitting, and it was part of the deal. Plus, it makes great blackmail material."
"She actually agreed to that?"
"Really?" Was that glee? It sounded like glee.
through his end of the phone he heard a distant "woohoo!", which he could clearly imagine being followed by a victory dance. Jiraiya was definitely a victory dance kind of guy.
"Alright. In that case, I've decided to let you live even though you called and woke me up at three in the morning."
"It's four in the morning, and I know you weren't sleeping anyways. You're always up all night writing those trashy novels."
"Hey, that's 'best selling trashy novels' to you, brat!"
"So, what do you want so bad to call me at such an hour and tempt me with dates with your hot mother?"
Naruto glanced around the dark room he'd hidden away in. He'd closed himself into a small study with the cordless phone, not daring to turn on a light. Sachi lay sleeping in his lap, brought along in case she woke up and in return woke up someone else in the household. Like her "father". Who would be bound to wonder where his partner was at such an hour, and said partner was just not inclined in the least to answer any questions right now.
"I needed to talk to somebody, and you were the best option, all things considered."
"I'm touched." Jiraiya drawled sarcastically.
"I went on a date tonight."
That certainly had his attention. "Woah, wait, what? You? Went on a date?...you? With who?"
Naruto squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. "With this girl that Sakura set me up on a blind date with."
"Was she hot?"
He rolled his eyes. "Yes. She was pretty cute."
"Did the date go well?"
"Did you score?"
"No! Geez, you damned perv. It wasn't like that."
"So what was it like, then? Did anything interesting happen at all?"
"I well..." He felt his face heat with a blush. "I kissed her."
"Hey, that's my boy!"
"I'm not related to you."
"Semantics. So, how was it?"
"Hey, don't get all uppity with me. You must have called me for a reason, and it can't have just been to tell me you were sucking face with some teeny-bopper friend of Pinky's."
"I'm starting wonder why I called you at all."
"Because you're having some mental crisis, again I might add, and since you've lived next door to me since you were a toddler and I've damned near raised you myself with all the babysitting over the years, that makes me about the closest thing to a father figure you got going. Now either spill and let's get this over with, or I'm going to hang up on you and go back to watching porn."
"I just don't know what to do!" Naruto blurted.
"About what? The chick? Listen, kiddo, we had that talk years ago, if you don't know what to do by now, well hell, I got plenty of movies you can watch...."
"That's not what I meant! Dirty old man, geez."
"Then spell it out." Jiraiya demanded, though Naruto knew that they both knew what this was about.
"Fuck....fine. You remember that talk we had last Christmas?"
"Sure. So you're telling me that that's what this is all about? Hell, brat, I thought you'd figured this all out by now."
"Well....I did. Sort of. But now..."
"Uh huh. Look, you like this chick, right?"
"You're thinking maybe it's time to get yourself a girlfriend?"
"Then you'd better deal with your issues pretty damned quick and figure yourself out before things go haywire. Chicks hate guys that can't make up their minds."
"But it's not that simple! You don't understand, there's so many things that could go wrong here, it's not even funny!"
"All things work out in the end, kiddo. You do what you need to do to be true to you, and the rest will work itself out."
"What, is this one of those 'with age comes wisdom' thing?"
"Yes, brat. Now solve your damned problems yourself, I have porn to watch." And with that, the line went dead.
Naruto quietly replaced the phone in it's holder, shaking his head.
"He's makes it sound easy." He told Sachi, rocking her gently. "When he knows as well as I do that I'm pretty much screwed."
Naruto woke to the sound of Sachi's crying and lifted his face from where he'd buried it into his pillow, blinking bleary eyes as he tried to spot her. He pushed himself up on his elbows with a groan and fumbled blindly for the makeshift bed that Sachi had been sleeping in the night before, which should have been right beside his futon on the floor.
"Go back to sleep, Dobe, I got her this time."
Naruto squinted in the voice's direction, his foggy brain focusing only vaguely on Sasuke sitting perched on top of his bed, in the middle of changing a diaper. He grunted a monosyllabic sound meant to convey that he understood, and let his arms go slack so he face-planted back into the pillow.
Sasuke snorted and rolled his eyes. He considered, just for a moment, throwing the dirty diaper at the other boy, but decided that would be just a little bit too cruel first thing in the morning. He disposed of it into the plastic diaper bag and into the garbage in the bathroom.
The dobe was snoring, and drooling visibly, when he returned to the room. Sasuke decided that sleep looked like a good idea, and curled up on top of his bed, Sachi tucked neatly against him. He ignored the snoring and closed his eyes, willing himself to go back to sleep.
Which he was apparently to be denied by the knock on his door.
Itachi opened the door just enough to stick his head into the room. He paused a moment to observe the drooling mess on the floor with obvious amusement and just a touch of disgust, before shaking his head.
"Breakfast is ready, little brother."
Sasuke glared at the alarm clock, which clearly said that it was six thirty in the morning. "It's barely dawn outside, Itachi. What the hell are you doing up?"
"I have a conference call that I cannot miss this morning. I thought it would be in my own best ineterest to be the one to cook this weekend, lest our guest decided to generously serve us another meal of questionable chemical additives."
Sasuke winced. Oh, right, that. He dreaded the retaliation they were going to get for that stunt. Itachi was the sort that he didn't get mad...he got even. And is was rarely an immediate payback, or even an obvious one. Itachi was very patient, and his deviousness was subtle. You didn't usually know you'd been had until it was too late.
"I'll be down shortly, then, brother."
"Good. You may as well wake him up too, no sense in letting the food go to waste."
"I'm awake, dammit." Naruto slurring from within the pillow.
Sasuke stepped over his prone form on his way out of the room. "Good, then. We'll meet you downstairs."
Itachi let him pass, watching as Naruto pushed himself up, yawning as wide as his jaw would allow and rubbing at his eyes like a child.
the blond blinked sleepy eyes at him, curious, but not especially aware just yet.
Itachi paused, and shook his head slightly, apparently changing his mind."Never mind. We'll speak later."
The elder Uchiha watched him stumble towards the stairs, deeply thoughtful. This may just be the best chance he ever got, he would have to make it work. But for now, Kisame was waiting for him to call and go over the ledgers and the quarterly report, and he wasn't about to ruin his reputation as a businessman.
Breakfast and a shower did wonders to make both boys feel human again, even if it did nothing for their paranoia towards each other. Sasuke had carefully checked the shower head, shampoo bottle, hair dryer, and his change of clothes for any signs of tampering before he's gone ahead and stepped into the water, after also making sure that the door was securely locked, and grease-free.
There might be a truce and a tentative friendship now, but he still wouldn't put anything past the twit, after all. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice....
The water sluiced through his inky black hair, warm and pleasantly distracting. What time had that dobe gotten back last night, anyways? He'd thought he'd heard his brother return, woken by the sound of the door down the hall from his snapping shut for the night. But after waiting for a few minutes, Naruto hadn't returned to the room from his date. And when he'd woken again this morning to the sounds of the baby crying, there he'd been, passed out on the futon on the floor, still in the same clothes he's left in the night before.
He growled at himself as he scrubbed the shampoo against his scalp. God, he was being such a...a...woman. What the hell did he care? He didn't, dammit. And it made him all the more angry at himself because he knew he was lying. But fuck, he didn't want to care.
He toweled off and dressed in sharp, angry motions, highly agitated. He caught sight of himself in the mirror and scowled at his reflection.
"Stop it." he ordered himself.
This emotional, high-strung person was not himself. He didn't like it one bit.
How the hell did someone have such an effect on someone else in only two short weeks? He snorted in disgust and threw open the door, making his way downstairs.
Despite himself wishing to be anywhere else, doing anything else, they had work to do this weekend. Maybe the sooner he got it over with, the easier to avoid the other boy later.
Naruto sat comfortably in the plush chair in the living room, text books and parenting guides spread out all over the coffee table, feeding Sachi from her bottle as she lounged in the crook of his arm.
He sent up a quick prayer for strength. "What's our assignment for this weekend?"
Naruto reached towards the table and pulled free a sheet of paper.
"It says we have to make a will."
Sasuke frowned and snatched at the page. "What?"
"You get water in your ears? We have to make a will. Like, how we want Sachi to be taken care of if something happened to us. You know, a will."
Sasuke flinched, though it was barely visible. His eyes were hard and cold like onyx when he glared at the other boy. "I know what a will is."
Naruto considered him and this sudden mood swing, but shrugged it off. "So, let's get working on it, then. The sooner it's done, the sooner I can challenge your brother to a rematch on Burnout."
They both took their seats, paper and pens in hand. Silence reigned supreme as they both scribbled away at the page.
Naruto thought this was kind of stupid to do it this way. They each had to write their own will first, then compare it to each other's, and then write a joint one that they combined from both of their originals. He wrinkled his nose at the page. That was just making useless work. It's be easier to just go ahead and do the second part, but he seemed to be stuck with it.
He glanced through the list of questions that he had to answer as part of his "will". They made him uncomfortable, thinking about such things. If both he and Sasuke were incapacitated, or worse, dead, who would he want to take over Sachi's care? What if that person wasn't available, or was already deceased as well? Who then? What if there were no one left that he called family that could look after her?
Ah, now that one hit home. What if his child not only became an orphan, but became an orphan with absolutely no one who would step forward to claim her, to care for her? The very thought made him feel ill. His memories of life before being adopted by Tsunade were vague at best, but he knew with absolute certainty that he never, ever wanted to go back to that. And if he had any say in it, no child of his would ever go through it, either.
Sasuke growled, breaking the silence. He threw his notebook and pen onto the table, pushed himself up from the couch in one fluid motion and cursed under his breath.
"I'm not doing this right now." He stormed out of the room.
"Ah, hey, wait Sasuke, what the hell-"
"Fuck off, dobe. Not right now."
Naruto fumed in his seat, cheeks puffed out in irritation. How dare he, he was going to give that bastard a piece of his mind. He glanced at Sasuke's paper, not sure what to make of the fact that it only had one line written onto it.
If my spouse and myself should both be incapacitated, by illness, injury, or death, and unable to care for our child...
After that, the writing simply stopped. Then again...he looked at his own paper, and realized that he hadn't done much better.
"Where is Sasuke?"
Naruto jumped. "Gah, don't sneak up on people, Itachi."
Itachi merely raised a brow at him. "I didn't sneak anywhere. I just finished with my business dealings, and came to speak to my brother."
"Oh. Well, he's not here. You just missed him, he stormed out of here in a huff a minute ago, got his panties all in a bunch about something."
Aw, hell. He hated when he didn't think before he spoke. He wasn't supposed to say stuff like that to Uchiha Itachi, he was sure of it. Maybe if he was lucky, he'd ignore it.
"Interesting. What did you fight about this time?"
"Hey, it wasn't me! We weren't fighting at all. Honest."
Itachi leaned against the door frame, all elegant indifference. "Oh? Sasuke is rarely upset by anything. What caused him to leave, then?"
"Hell if I know. We were working on this paper, and then he got up, told me off, and left."
"For this child care project. We have to make a will to look after Sachi."
He would swear he'd never seen the other man move from his spot, but Itachi was suddenly standing right there in front of him, looming and intimidating.
Naruto cautiously handed over the assignment sheet and waited quietly while it was read.
"Ah. That would certainly explain it, then."
"Do these questions not bother you at all, Naruto?"
"Ah, well, kind of."
"And why is that?"
"Well, nobody wants to think about their own death."
"And what else?" Itachi's eyes were sharp and piercing, demanding answers.
Naruto blew out a sigh. "I'm an orphan, and there was no family that came to look after me. If Tsunade hadn't adopted me, I don't know what would have happened to me."
"Then why do you think this bothers Sasuke?"
The answer hit him like a brick wall, and he suddenly felt like the biggest jerk in the world.
"Oh." he said in a very small voice, all the while berating himself for his absolute, monumental stupidity. How the hell had he not thought of that? God, he really was a dobe. Itachi, at least, was silent while he let him think it over.
"Hey, Itachi...what happened to your parents?"
Itachi didn't answer him for a long moment.
"I think it would be best for you to have Sasuke answer that for you."
Big blue eyes looked up at him, and Itachi couldn't help letting his expression relax a little.
"Perhaps this is not the best time to discuss such things, but I wanted to say...thank you."
"What?" Naruto tilted his head at him, confused.
"Sasuke was not always as you see him now. Before we lost our parents, he was different. More open. Since then, I have never seen him so like his old self as I have now that you are friends. So, thank you."
Naruto watched his retreating back, utterly bewildered and not entirely sure he knew what had just happened.
It took a lot of searching to find the younger Uchiha. The house was just way too damned big, with way too many rooms. And of course, only after he'd searched every single other room possible did it occur to him to try the attic.
And lo and behold, there he finally found him. Sitting in the dust on the floor, with an open book in his lap and a decidedly unhappy slouch to his shoulders.
Naruto made no secret of his approach, though he felt very uncomfortable being there, as if this were something that he should not be intruding on. The floor squeaked loudly under his foot, and Sasuke's head snapped around to glare darkly at him. It was a clear "get out", but Naruto was, well, Naruto, and he pushed on anyways.
He sat down with a thump beside his partner, coughing at the cloud of dust that he sent up in his wake and trying to wave it away.
"So..." he tried to sound nonchalant. "What are you doing up here?"
Sasuke refused to look at him, let alone answer him. His whole body looked tense to the point where it made Naruto want to wince. He tried again.
"What's the book?"
Fingers tightened on the edge of the pages until the knuckles turned white, but he still didn't reply. Naruto pushed aside his own irritation at this reticence and forced a smile onto his face. Like it or not, he considered Sasuke a friend, of sorts, and he just wouldn't leave this alone when it looked so much like his friend needed some help.
He peered over Sasuke's shoulder, surprised when the book wasn't simply just closed right in his face. The photos on the page stared back at him. Happy, smiling faces of a family that obviously cared a lot about each other. So much lost. He was starting to think maybe they weren't all that very different after all.
"Hey, you were a cute kid. What happened?" Naruto poked Sasuke's temple, and was rewarded with a hard shove to the floor.
"Dobe." Sasuke glared at him, but the twist to his lips gave away his amusement. The blond just laughed and sat back up again, glad that he'd managed to ease the tension.
They sat together for a moment of awkward silence. Naruto wanted to ask, but wasn't sure how to even go about it. Aw, hell.
"They died when I was six." Sasuke told him calmly, answering him anyways.
"They went out to dinner with some friends. On the way home, they were hit by a drunk driver running a red light and died instantly." His voice carried a note of solemn finality.
Naruto took a moment to try and process it all. Tried to see how such a thing would feel, to have all that you've ever known snatched away from you like that. If anything ever happened to Tsunade, he didn't know how he'd be able to handle it.
"I'm sorry." He said, know it wasn't nearly adequate, but having nothing else to offer.
"Everybody says that."
"I, yeah, well..."
"But I think you're one of the few that might understand it."
"I never knew my real parents."
"Do you wish you did?"
"I don't know. Maybe. For all I know, they're still out there somewhere. But if things had been different, I wouldn't be the person that I am, and I'm pretty happy with my life as it is now. Some things, I think, are just meant to happen."
Sasuke grunted an agreement and his eyes slid back to the photos, staring at the image of his mother.
"Hey." Naruto poked him, making him look back again.
"For what it's worth...I think your parents would be proud of you."
Sasuke drew back, eyes widening just a bit as he stared at the other boy.
"....thanks." he finally muttered, looking away sheepishly.
Naruto stood, swatting at the dust that covered his clothes.
"Alright, so, while this bonding thing is nice, this is just way too depressing. So let's get out of here. We got some homework to do, and then I'm gonna whoop your ass on the x-box." He held out his hand to help the other boy up.
Sasuke chuckled, took his hand and pulled himself to his feet.
"You wish, dobe."
Naruto yawned and rested his chin in his hand, sprawled out flat on his stomach near the foot of the bed. They had eventually migrated into Sasuke's room by the end of the evening because...well, he didn't really know, but it had seemed like a comfortable place to do their assignment.
The afternoon had been given over to video games, which resulted in much yelling, cursing, squabbling and wrestling for the controls. They were both competitive and stubborn, so it probably would have lasted longer if Itachi hadn't walked past, eyed them rolling around on the floor in an all out battle for the remote and exasperatedly told them to "get a room".
Sachi lay beside him, blissfully asleep and quiet, and Sasuke sat cross-legged by the headboard. All in all, he supposed, it was...cozy.
"So, alright. What do we want to do then if Tsunade, Itachi, and Sakura are all out of the picture. Who's going to take Sachi after that?"
Sasuke made a face. He personally wasn't thrilled with the idea of Sakura being on the list, but seeing his partner's attachment to the girl made it clear that there would be a huge fight on his hands if he tried to remove her. She couldn't be that bad, anyways. At least, not as bad as say...
"If there were no one else, we could ask Kakashi to look after her."
Naruto gaped at him. "What the hell? Just because he's the teacher for this class, I don't think we'd get any points by making him her guardian."
"It wouldn't be because of his position as our teacher. Technically, he's my legal guardian."
Naruto shook his head, then stuck his finger in his ear and wiggled it around, trying to find the blockage that was messing with his hearing.
"Want to run that by me again?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "He's my legal guardian. He stopped living with us after Itachi turned eighteen and took over, and now he just kind of keeps an eye on us."
"Well, holy shit." Naruto mulled this over a bit in his head. "That would sure explain a few things."
Sasuke really didn't want to continue on this particular conversation. He wanted to change the topic, and opened his mouth to ask a mundane, small talk kind of question about the paper, or hell, even the weather.
"So, how was your date?"
Obviously the connection between his brain and his mouth was malfunctioning.
Naruto looked a little surprised by the question, then promptly blushed. His right hand came up to rest behind his head in that classic nervous habit of his and he even laughed a little.
"My date? Oh...it was good."
Sasuke buried his nose into his book, feeling supremely awkward. "Well...good, then."
"Yeah, yeah. She was pretty cute, too. I was thinking of maybe asking her out again."
Sasuke nodded curtly, pretending to be engrossed in his reading.
Naruto snapped his fingers as he suddenly got a brilliant, to him anyways, idea. "Hey, I know! We should do like that group date thing. Kiba and Hinata, Shikamaru and Ino, Chouji and Ayame, Sasame and I, and you and Sakura could come, too." He beamed, apparently thinking this was the best idea ever.
Sasuke glared at him over the edge of his book. "No."
The blond's face fell. "Aw, but come on! It'd be fun. You need to socialize more anyways. Seriously. And you wouldn't need to feel like the odd man out, because, you know, Sakura can keep you company."
"No." he growled, in a tone that brooked no further argument.
Naruto pouted at him, clearly put out, then scooped Sachi up and retreated back to his books, whispering to her about what a grouch her "father" was.
Beating down the urge to hurl the book in his lap at the other boy's skull, Sasuke settled for sullenly slouching into his pillows. Stupid dobe needed to take a friggen hint. Sasuke had not missed all the attempts to set him up with the pink haired wench, and had clearly refused any advances on this plan, but still they persisted. Along with annoying the hell out of him on principle, it also bothered him more than a little that he was apparently being fobbed off now in favor of the "date".
He was not fucking jealous, goddammit, he was not.
Oh, hell. Yes he was. And he hated it.
He just didn't know what the hell he was going to do about it.
He woke up feeling dissoriented. What the hell...oh, right. He lifted his head from the page it rested against. He must have fallen asleep while they were still working. Judging by the soft, even breathing coming from the other end of the bed, he hadn't been the only one.
The lights were off, and he wasn't sure who exactly had done that, but he was too sleepy to care for the moment. His eyes felt like lead weights as he let them close again, but his bladder insistently reminded him of why he'd woken up in the first place.
He stumbled and tripped his way to the bathroom, blinded himself by turning on the light without thinking, then stumbled back when he was done. Which left him standing in the middle of the bedroom now, trying to reason out the answer to a very difficult question.
Did he return to his very comfortable and still nicely warm spot on the bed, or did he forfeit the space to the bed's other occupant and go lay down on the cold and not nearly so comfortable futon on the floor. He knew, with what logical part of his mind was working, that the smart thing to do would be the choose the futon.
But he really didn't want to.
So against his better judgment, he crawled back onto the bed and curled up in his previous position, telling himself not to think about who he was sharing the bed with. But after only a moment, his eyes slid open and settled on the prone form just a few feet away.
What the hell was wrong with him? There were so many reasons that he shouldn't be feeling this way, but for all that he told himself not to, he couldn't seem to help himself. And there were times when he was almost sure that he felt like it might be mutual, and for the life of him, he didn't know if that made it better or worse.
Stupid Kakashi and his stupid ideas. He'd have never had to deal with this if he hadn't interfered.
He didn't realize for a moment that he'd sat up, or that he'd moved at all. He saw his body shift forward, and felt like it was simply impossible to stop. He wasn't going to do anything, he just wanted to see a little closer. Really.
He studied the face in front of him. In sleep, he looked different. He was certainly no sleeping angel, though, he noted wryly as a soft snore escaped. His hand moved of its own accord to trace a finger along his jaw ever so lightly, careful not to wake him.
Would it really hurt anything...just this once?
Just this once.
He had to know.
The air itself felt thick with tension as he braced himself with one hand and leaned down.
He had to know.
Just this once.
A breath away, he paused. He still had time to retreat, to step back and pretend that this had never happened. Nobody would know, and nothing counted if nothing happened.
He kissed him. A simple press of lips on lips, but the simple contact stole his breath.
He felt the body beneath him shift, respond. He was kissing back.
It was far too soon when it broke. Feeling like a deer caught in head lights, he watched eyes slowly open and squint up at him, still foggy with sleep and confusion and lust.
Oooohfuckshitdamnitalltohell....what had he done?
He just ruined everything. It was all going to go to hell in a hand basket, and there was nothing he could do. He felt like a bystander watching a trainwreck as he saw his name being called.
Naruto, Day 15: We had to work on the will today. I gotta tell you, not fun. Thinking about death and dying gives me the heebie jeebies, especially if it's thinking about my own death. The last thing I'd ever want is for Sachi to wind up being an orphan. The only comfort I have from this idea is knowing that if anything ever happened to me, I have some really excellent friends and family who would step up to take care of her for me. If they were all gone too...well, I don't want to think about that. Hopefully, Sasuke's family, or Sasuke himself, would be there.