Monochrome: A condition of colour-blindness, in which all colours are perceived as shades of grey.
Into a darker abyss than ever before
Holding onto faith
Grasping a chain
Of hope and of memories
But when that chain brakes
Into that darker abyss
Full summary: In a horrible accident, ANBU captain, Uchiha Sasuke has overused an important nerve in his Sharingan eye, causing him to suffer from the infamous monochrome condition. His world is colourless, a never-ending grey matter. His grass is grey, his sun white and his sky an ever consistent black. A resemblance to his blackened sky, are the eyes of his precious Uzumaki Naruto - who just so happens to hate his guts, and is stuck looking after him too.
Warning: contains heavy yaoi, use of vulgar language and unhealthy innuendoes.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto. Short, sweet and witty, if you look underneath the underneath ;)
Chapter 6: Yellow Sunshine
Upon opening his eyes, the blond thanked God that he could still see the pale, pastel orange ceiling of his room. Or rather, the colour itself. His peripheral vision was hazy for a moment – a balled up fist rubbing at his eyes took care of that.
Naruto shuddered as he pictured life without being able to see the blue skies outside his bedroom window everyday. His mind then drifted back to Uchiha Sasuke.
The memories from the day before flooded back into his mind as he vaguely recalled storming out of the hospital with the mindset, 'I will NOT be dragged into this! I'm NOT going to be a FUCKING LIVE-IN attendant to SASUKE-TEME!'
Unfortunately for Naruto, Tsunade had tracked him down within the record time of thirty seconds, in which she spent a little chakra to hunt him down and capture him. The blonde Hokage had gripped him by the cuff of his collar and promptly dragged the boy back to the Hokage Tower to give him a long, ear-killing lecture.
Tsunade then progressed on to tell him that whether he liked it or not, he would be the live-in attendant for Sasuke and she had her reasons, which were strictly 'Hokage Confidential'.
"Why can't you tell me?" Naruto whined, grumpily crossing his arms over his chest like a brat ten years his junior.
"I told you. Hokage Confidential!! Hokages only!" Tsunade sneered, narrowing her eyes at the stubborn blond.
"There's only one Hokage at a time, obaa-chan!" Naruto complained, scrunching his face with disdain. "I don't want to be near Sasuke! He's so mean to me!"
"Oh quit being a baby! Sasuke needs your help!"
"No he doesn't! He's an Uchiha!" Naruto jeered, exaggerating the beginning of Sasuke's surname. "Stupid Uchiha pride!" He muttered this under his breath, glaring at Tsunade beneath long, blond eyelashes.
"This is pointless," Tsunade gave a sigh of exhaustion, pinching the bridge of her nose while stretching her body, which was raked with fatigue. Dark circles were beginning to form beneath her eyes, despite the henge that she kept up. This required a lot of chakra, and because of the unusually high level of chaos and movement over the past few weeks, as well as chakra consumption, the Godaime found that she had to release the henge while she slept, so as to be energized throughout the day. "Naruto, don't argue anymore. My word is final."
"Final, Naruto! Do you want me to extend your mission ban to a year, like I said before?" Tsunade threatened him, her voice raising a few notches higher. Naruto grimaced, thinking back to how she had reacted upon returning Sasuke and Sakura to the village, injured and exhausted. Once all three of them had successfully been healed, Naruto and Sakura to stability, Sasuke still in a coma, she banned the kyuubi-holder from completing any B-ranked missions and above, for about three months. He complained that it had been her fault for sending Sakura and Sasuke to tail him, due to lack of trust, but Tsunade merely told him that it was for his own good. He was reluctant, of course, but she then threatened to extend the prohibition. For his sake, Tsunade had made the ban private, so as to not damage Naruto's pride and reputation as a capable jounin. Only she, Naruto, Iruka and select others were informed about the prohibition.
"You'll do it, Naruto."
Naruto stood up, his jaw tight and eyes blazing with anger. The built up rage suddenly began to flood through his veins. How dare she? How dare she use her power as the village leader to decide what he wanted! She was taking advantage of the powerless Naruto, abusing her own power to manipulate situations. Naruto began to look at the Hokage in a different light. He felt so insignificant. He felt so vulnerable. Yet there was nothing he could do about it, or else risk being banned from the good missions for a year.
He walked quietly to the door, in a composed and dignified manner. His hand rested on the doorknob. He proceeded to turn the metal knob in his hands, slowly opening the door.
"Some time this year would be good," Tsunade wryly added in a monotonous voice. No. He was determined to have the last say in this.
"I hope you realize I'll make no promises as to how I look after him. I hope you realize that I'll hate you for this."
He turned his burning cerulean eyes to meet the chocolate orbs of Tsunade's.
"The only thing I regret is that you disappointed me as the Hokage, obaa-chan. You disappointed me as my friend."
He left. Tsunade starred at the door in stunned silence. Hot tears began to prick at her eyes and she shakily reached for her sake.
To anyone viewing the Hokage at that moment of time, you could say that she was well composed. But as soon as they turned their eyes away, her hands shook, eyes leaking tears. The sake spilled on the mahogany desk, soaking her papers to a messy pulp.
For the first time in a long time, Tsunade had lost her composure. Naruto's words had shaken her up, badly.
My arms itched. So did every damn part of my body, now that I think about it. Not the physical itch you feel – the one that you want to scratch. This one is similar, though. When you scratched an itch, usually you were satisfied, right? Then you'd be happy, am I correct?
What if someone banned you from scratching, kind of like when you get chicken pox?
That's what Tsunade-sama has done to me. Well, metaphorically speaking anyway. I don't have an itch, much less, the chicken pox. But I'm itching to train. And I'm banned from training. But I'm allowed to do missions like baby-sitting, on the requirement that the dobe, Naruto, comes with me.
My life just had to get darker than the pathetic state it is already in, didn't it?
Naruto swallowed whatever nerve was beginning to bubble up in his throat and spew out. Sasuke had been permitted to live in the Uchiha Compound, provided that Naruto, as his live-in attendant, would be there to tend to his every whim.
Well, those hadn't been the words used, but in Naruto's opinion, it might as well have been.
Didn't those fools understand that by putting him in this situation, one, he was extremely uncomfortable being around someone who hated him, and two, Sasuke could pretty much control him like a puppeteer would a puppet.
If Tsunade thought that this was the best possible way for Naruto to 'pay Sasuke back', so as to no longer feel indebted to him, then she was sorely mistaken.
The blond shifted the satchel bag slung over his shoulders, filled with his few personal belongings, while the duffel bag in his hand carried what meager clothing he owned. One of the requirements of being a live-in attendant, a full time one, anyway, was that Naruto was required to basically live with Sasuke in the Uchiha Compound.
As if the history of the place wasn't freaky enough to begin with. Naruto couldn't imagine why anyone would want to live there, especially someone who was at a crucial healing stage like Sasuke.
With a sigh, Naruto fished the key to the compound from one of his many pockets and shoved it roughly into the almost completely rusted keyhole at the foremost gate. Iron wrought steel spanned the length of a few metres to Naruto's left and right, connected to two small watch-towers. From there on, a long, stone wall, perhaps more than two metres high, helped to hide the Uchiha Compound from the rest of Konoha and the outside world.
Many years of being unused and unkempt saw ivy and vines already choking the once pristine white boarder, occasionally cracking into the one-time infallible wall.
It took a little more effort than necessary to open the gates, which had pretty much been rusted shut (Tsunade and her inhumane strength must have opened these gates with ease), and Naruto grimaced as he wiped away a little of the iron oxide reside that clung to his sweaty palms.
He closed the gate, locking it as he went, then walked further into the compound. He kept his eyes strictly ahead of him, refusing to even spare a glance at a garden and lawn that was once immaculate beauty.
There was the aura and scent of death lingering in the air, heavy and oppressive in the way that sent dark chills down Naruto's spine. This was a place of death, no longer life. Once upon a time, perhaps, it might have been an ethereal beauty of a building but since UchihaItachi had slaughtered all but one, it had degraded to the ruination it was now.
With no one to tend to the gardens, the lush, green grass saw no water, save for the rain. Trees had managed to follow the course of nature, but even they had to be tended to and it seemed that no one was willing to go anywhere near the Uchiha Compound.
A shoddily drawn map, courtesy of Tsunade, gave him quick directions to the Main House, where Sasuke would have resided as a child, and lived in now. Naruto shook his head with disgust.
He may not have liked Sasuke that much but this was fucking ridiculous. This place was a constant reminder of the colossal blow that had been dealt to the prestigious Uchiha clan, from the clan leader's eldest son.
This place held the unforgettable crime and ultimate betrayal to one's family. Naruto felt anger and sorrow intermix in his belly. It was disgusting.
He, who hadn't known his family, save for those who he regarded now as familial, wished for nothing more than for what the Uchiha's had in the basics – family. A large one, at that.
But then Itachi had to go and massacre nearly the entire clan in cold blood, without thought, without remorse – disgusting.
A second key was retrieved from his pocket and this time, it took a little longer for Naruto to open the door to the Main House because his hand was shaking, overwrought with his nerves.
For the sake of his missions, Naruto reminded himself firmly as he heard the key slide into place. For the sake of his future – he turned the key and the unmistakable sound of a lock clicking caused Naruto to realize that this was it.
No more missions for a long time – that is, unless Sasuke decided he wanted to baby-sit some brats for some pompous jerk who didn't have the time to look after their own kids.
Naruto sucked in a breath, subconsciously. Just because Sasuke was living here already, it didn't mean he trusted the air here. What if there was asbestos in the very fibres of the walls? Surely, Tsunade would have checked, right?
To Naruto's pleasant surprise, the inside of the Main House was rather well kept. Aside from the multiple layers of dust which had settled over the white cloths that covered the furniture, the interior was quite livable.
Naruto heaved a sigh of relief and shut the door behind him with his foot. Silence, yet again, and then the oppressive feeling returned.
There was murder in these very walls. Within this very room, perhaps. What if those white linen cloths weren't there to serve the purpose of keeping the furniture intact, but rather, to hide whatever bloodstains were splattered across them?
Naruto felt a cold shiver spike its way down his spine. There wouldn't be any dead bodies in here, would there?
No. Silly. That's stupid.
Tsunade wouldn't allow it.
It was then that Naruto realized he relied upon Tsunade's words, actions and judgments too much to look after his own sorry hide. Whatever happened to being betrayed as a friend?
Naruto scoffed. Right. He was on his own now, left to heave the burden that is Uchiha Sasuke – in all his tremendous, monochrome glory.
The emphasis on silence in the Main House was made even more evident as Naruto crept through the timber-floored corridors. Upon passing a corridor that branched off into another direction, Naruto felt almost icy chills seep into his very pores.
There. There must have been a room down this corridor where Sasuke bore witness to the slaughter of his parents; where he saw his beloved elder brother slay the people he loved before his very eyes.
If Naruto closed his eyes, for a moment, he could hear panicked screams, tortured souls who hadn't been able to move on into the afterlife. He continued to stare down the dark corridor, which was almost pitch black because no light had managed to penetrate through.
Naruto wanted to move away, but he was rooted on the spot, simply staring. It was when he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder, that he jumped a mile high and screamed.
"Dobe, get a move on," Sasuke's voice rasped, pulling his own hand back to his person. Naruto frowned as he realized that a thin sheen of sweat coated Sasuke's unusually pale skin. Being sick and locked up in hospital had made him even pastier than usual, not in the porcelain-alabaster skinned way that Sasuke once had.
Naruto couldn't help but satisfy his curiosity. He jerked his thumb in the direction of the corridor, pointedly staying rooted where he was. "That place – is that where… you know?"
He didn't even have to finish his question, nor point out the obvious, to make Sasuke stiffen, his jaw tightening. Sasuke remained standing on the spot for a few moments, before he nodded shakily and walked perfunctorily back to the room in which Naruto presumed he was staying.
Naruto spared the corridor a final glance, frowning down into the darkness before he followed Sasuke back into the light.
Neither spoke until Sasuke gestured to two doors in front of them. With his back facing Naruto, he pointed to the door on his left, "Mine," then to the door on his right, "Yours."
Naruto nodded, despite the fact that Sasuke couldn't see him. "Should I settle in first?"
Sasuke was quiet for a moment. Then, "I don't care. Do as you wish."
Naruto could feel a numbing cold bite at his insides due to Sasuke's detached words. The door closed with a soft click, leaving Naruto to stand in the hallway, completely alone. He sighed, repressing his instinctive urge to simply yell out 'TEME!'
This was weird. Sasuke was so goddamn apathetic! Naruto would have preferred Sasuke angry most of the time, rather than this… this lifeless ragdoll!
He heaved the door to his new bedroom open and threw himself onto the bed, which was the first thing in sight. His body bounced lamely for a second before he settled into the covers where he had landed and shut his eyes.
He wasn't even tired.
Just a little…
Just a little nap.
By the time Naruto had reawaken, he was startled to find that he had no idea where he was. It was then that it clicked in his mind – the Uchiha Compound.
This was his new bedroom.
It was large and spacious, but the furniture was a bare minimum. A bed, a dresser, wardrobe and desk. It must have been a guest room, and judging from the typical style of these compounds, it probably meant that Sasuke had opted to stay in a guest bedroom, rather than in his old one.
It made perfect sense to Naruto. He stifled a yawn and pulled open the blinds on the other side of the room. For a split second, he saw blood stains sprayed all over it, a decapitated head and rotting flesh. Naruto reeled backwards with a shriek, pressing himself as far away as possible from the window before he realized it was nothing but an unruly figment of his imagination.
A shaky breath left his lips as he stared fixedly at the gentle sunlight that streamed through the glass panes.
Perhaps he had been unconsciously expecting something behind the drapery, just like one would if they were walking in a dark place such as this and turned a corner, only to see the most horrendous scene of their life.
Naruto shook his head to clear his thoughts. This was sick. Less than a day spent at the Uchiha Compound and he could already feel the darkness crawling around him. He didn't want to be dark and gloomy but the very air that they breathed in this place was stifling and thick.
Naruto didn't want to admit his fear to himself, much less to anyone else, but the mental image of death in his mind had left him feeling rather insecure. He flicked the light switch on. It didn't work. He made a mental note to himself to ask Tsunade, or someone for help to build this place back up again.
Naruto left his bedroom, still in the clothes he wore from yesterday, and crossed the hall to Sasuke's room. He knocked twice and received no answer. Opening the door, the first thing he saw was a bed, pushed up against one corner. Sasuke probably didn't realize that his sheets were baby pink, and for a second, Naruto felt a twinge of guilt at the slight triumph he felt over Sasuke.
The boy in question was missing from his room. Naruto's eyebrows furrowed as he glanced around. Sasuke's room probably had less than his own. A bed, a curtain-drawn window and a dresser. That was it.
Gods! What on earth did Sasuke do to pass the time? If Naruto were in his situation, he probably would have died of boredom. But then again, this was Sasuke. He could probably sit still for an entire day and not get restless. Then again, Sasuke was pretty much indifferent most of the time.
Sure he had his moments – a smirk, annoyance, anger, loathing and once in a while, a genuine smile – but otherwise, Sasuke was pretty uninterested. Blank looks took up the majority of his facial expressions.
"What are you doing in here?" Sasuke's voice demanded from somewhere behind him. Naruto pivoted rather clumsily on his heel to see the dark-haired boy leaning against the doorjamb with an annoyed expression on his face.
"Looking for you," Naruto answered automatically. He glanced around the room and sighted the bed, "By the way, your sheets are pink."
Sasuke scowled and reached forward to grab at Naruto's arm. For someone so slender, Sasuke did have a lot of muscle strength and the blond winced when he felt a painful pressure on his wrist. That would probably bruise later, he decided, because Sasuke was grappling him harder than strictly necessary.
"I don't need you to remind me that I can't see," Sasuke snarled, swinging Naruto around so that he could fling him out the door.
"At least I got a reaction out of you, you stupid prick! You've been completely indifferent this entire time and if it takes a little insensitivity on my part to get you to do something then I'd be more than happy to say that I can see a rainbow right now!"
It was a lie, of course, but the fact that Naruto was rubbing it in Sasuke's face served to only make the Uchiha angrier.
"You want a reaction, dobe? Fine!" Sasuke sneered, rearing his fist back. Naruto only had a second to realize what was happening before he felt a throbbing pain in his nose and a gentle, hot trickle.
Through his pain, Naruto managed to grin up at the Uchiha, despite having his nose injured, "See, teme? I can get you to be angry."
"You're always making me angry, you idiot," Sasuke snapped, kicking at Naruto's shin with a little bit more force to be a simple nudge. "Everything you do pisses me off. The way you look, the way you smell, the way you dress, the way you eat! It pisses me off when you train because your style is completely unorthodox and brash. I hate when you run headlong into danger and it's always up to Sakura and I to save your sorry arse!"
"Oh so this is about that, now is it?" Naruto was no longer smiling as he came to stand up in front of Sasuke, his face contorted into a scowl. "Don't you dare give me that bullshit, Sasuke. I went on that mission alone. I didn't need you or Sakura to come and 'save my sorry arse'," he used quotation marks here, "and since when would I care what you think about me?! You've never cared for me before."
The expression in Sasuke's eyes darkened and Naruto wondered, if only for a moment, if all the shades that Sasuke could see had darkened a tone too.
"You ungrateful little rat," Sasuke snarled, the fist at his side clenching and unclenching, twitching with the restrained desire to clobber Naruto again.
"I'd rather be an ungrateful rat then a poncy princess, darling," Naruto sneered, holding his own ground against Sasuke. The Uchiha's eyes narrowed before he pointed to his door.
"Get out. I don't want to see you. I don't want to see a single part of your body any where near my rooms, ever. If I see so much as a strand of your stupid yellow hair in here, I'll drag you out by your hair and tie you to the gates."
"I have to watch over you, teme! It's not like I have a choice."
Sasuke's lip curled into a sadistic smirk, "All the more better to make your life harder."
He could see Naruto struggling to keep himself in check throughout the provocations. Sasuke pointed to the door yet again. "Now get out. I told you already: You and your ugly mug aren't welcome here."
"Gladly, teme! I hope you rot in here," Naruto growled, turning around to slam the door shut behind him.
At last, Sasuke was left alone to the silence and solitary of his room. He glanced around and finally, his eyes fell upon the light gray bed sheets. Pink, huh?
Sasuke made his way over and sat down tentatively on the bedspread. It wasn't like he could see the irritating colour anyway, so he didn't really care. Sasuke shut his eyes and rubbed at them wearily.
He couldn't afford to care. There was a slight itch in his eyes and he had to restrain himself from the temptation of rubbing them even more. Tsunade had warned him that if he tried to rub them too much, they could end up getting irritated, especially after the first, unsuccessful surgery to save his sight. If he had a second operation, he was running the chance of losing the Sharingan.
Well, technically, he should have lost his sight completely. This was definitely better though, right?
Still, Sasuke couldn't help but feel slightly bitter. He could see, yet he… couldn't. Everything felt as if he was watching a really bad, outdated movie. Heck, everything that happened so far felt like it was part of a really bad, outdated movie.
He threw himself back onto his bed petulantly, glaring at the curtains which were drawn over the window. He wished they were open. Despite who he was, Sasuke was most certainly not a vampire and he did get uncomfortable when his room got too cold and he wished for just a little bit of warmth.
He stirred, willing his body to rise and open the curtains, but he didn't.
He lay there, numb and cold. Just as his eyes began to drift shut, the door to his room opened and he heard Naruto's loud voice.
"Wait teme! I know you said not to come in here but do you have a heater? I'm freezing!"
"Freeze then," Sasuke replied as he turned over, giving Naruto a view of his back. He heard the blond scowl before the door clicked to a shut again.
Sasuke closed his eyes and when he opened them, he could pretend that in his tiny field of view, that the walls around him were white, and that the bedspread below him really was pink.
But it was futile at times. Because the memory of all those beautiful colours which he had once taken for granted still burned fresh in his mind.
Yet slowly… slowly and surely, they were fading away. The memories were slowly becoming his reality.
Sasuke closed his eyes again, trying to grasp onto the memory of being at a festival with Naruto, Sakura and Kakashi. There were fireworks and so many colours… and… and warmth. He shivered a little and wrapped his thin arms around his slender frame, as if it would help to keep some heat radiating through his body.
"Freeze… like me," he whispered to no one in particular, before he forced his mind to shut down and allow him a moment of peaceful respite.
Rice-Ball247: So... I wonder if there are still people who read this. It was a little hard to start writing on this chapter. I had less than half of it written up, originally, then I didn't like it, changed it, and after a while I eventually lost interest. Then whenever I felt like writing it, I either had a problem with the files on my computer, or my computer was chock full of viruses (6200 ) and the cycle continued.
But then I decided to just start on this again and the rest of it came spewing out. If anyone's wondering, I started writing the rest of it at around the end of Sasuke's POV. For those who are really perceptive, you might have noticed a slight change in my writing style, you might have not.
I've been hanging around the Harry Potter fandom a lot too, so I apologize for the use of 'poncy' but it just seemed to fit when I thought of 'Princess' Sasuke (poncy: think Draco Malfoy) and... I think that's about it. Gods, I can't believe I was about 14/4 months when I updated this last and it's already 2008! .
Sorry. If anyone's interested, I was in the 9th grade last time I updated. I'm in my first year of being a senior (11th) now.