Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Naruto are property of Masashi Kishimoto. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.
AU- the events of the actual anime haven't happened, but the character's pasts have. Also worth noting is that Sasuke isn't hell bent on revenge about Itachi- rather, he's scared of him.
I'm finally trying my hand at some Naruto fiction that isn't only a couple of pages long! Here's hoping it comes out well, and if I'm happy with it, I'll write it more often xD
I guess I've slightly westernized Konaha, purely because I found it difficult to not-incorporate some values I'm so used to being able to use in fiction. Also, as usual with me, angst, occasional swearing, and mild violence warnings. Proceed with caution if any of the above offends you.
by Nanaki Lioness
"To see what I was capable of."
"That's all…? That's the only reason?"
He stood- he didn't remember how he got his body to move from the wooden floor, but he somehow managed it. He charged at the figure before him, fist raised, adrenaline guiding him.
He was knocked down easily, and didn't have the willpower to get up again. He felt blood beneath his knees and hands, sticky to touch and strangely cold. He choked, bringing his head up to try and meet the gaze of his murderous brother, and instead making contact with his father's cold, dead eyes.
Sasuke awoke, sitting bolt upright with a gasp. It took him a moment to gather his thoughts, wiping away the sweat that had beaded on his forehead in his sleep.
That nightmare again.
It was always that nightmare, where his mind forced him to re-live the murder of his entire clan. It was frequent, and he had grown used to it, but that didn't make it any easier. He rarely got a decent night's sleep these days.
Throwing the covers back, Sasuke sighed as he felt them dampened from sweat. Scowling, he stripped them instead, knowing that no matter how hard he tried, he wouldn't sleep again tonight.
He picked up his clock from the table next to him, and walked to the window. Drawing back the curtains, he looked at the display under the moonlight.
Four am. I suppose that isn't too bad.
Replacing the clock, he opened the bedroom door and stepped out into the living room. He looked around once purely from force of habit, taking in the room in the dim lighting filtering through the curtains.
Shower and breakfast. I should be out and training before five.
He walked across the living room to the bathroom, pushing the door open and feeling around for the light switch. Before he could flick it on, however, he spotted something at the window.
It can't be…
Eyes stared at him through the window.
Sasuke dropped his hand from the light switch to his weapon pouch, pulling out a kunai slowly. He ducked around the doorway, glancing around it to keep the eyes in sight.
They were still there, not moving or blinking- just staring. Sasuke lowered the kunai slightly, his mind cycling various possibilities as to why the person would be there and whether he should ambush them.
The eyes blinked, snapping Sasuke's attention back. And changed.
The Mangekyou Sharingan stared back at him.
Panic overtook Sasuke for a moment, and he threw his kunai at the eyes, unsure whether that was such a great idea. Fear had enveloped his voice of reason on the matter and he'd done it before he had the chance to think it through.
The window shattered, showering the room with glass. Sasuke shielded himself with his arms, closing his eyes for a moment as the glass settled.
When he opened them moments later, the eyes were gone.
Realising he had made a convenient entry point for the intruder, who he knew could only be one person, he grabbed the key from the lock on the inside, slammed the door, and locked it on the outside.
Throwing the key across the room, he turned and fled. He stopped by his front door momentarily to grab his shoes, attempting to run and put them on. Once he succeeded, he ran from the house as fast as he could, not caring which direction as long as it was away.
What's he doing here again?!
He ran swiftly across the rooftops, not daring to look behind him in case he was being pursued. He carried on that way until he reached the border of the village, before chancing a look behind.
It was clear. He sighed and sank to the floor by the fence he was standing by, trying to straighten his thoughts out about what had just happened.
What does he want with me after all this time…?
Sasuke looked up at the owner of the voice, eyes wide with shock at being spoken to, his hand already heading to his weapon pouch. He stopped when he laid eyes on the speaker, and stood.
Kakashi rose his exposed eyebrow at him.
"It's barely four thirty, and you look exhausted. Have you been training all night?"
Unsure how to answer, Sasuke chose not to.
"I admire your enthusiasm, but you should get some sleep. Go home, Sasuke."
Home? No way.
"I'm fine," he said smoothly, hoping his disheveled appearance didn't expose his lie too much.
Kakashi didn't say any more on the matter, walking past him without another word. He felt his sensei's eyes on his back as he turned and started to walk the other way.
"Don't push yourself too hard, Sasuke."
"I never know when I'll need to defend myself."
Silence for a moment. Sasuke almost started walking again, but Kakashi spoke again.
"You won't need to do that any time soon. Go home and get some rest."
Sasuke took in what he said, eyes widening.
He's telling me not to train and to go home?
He pulled a kunai from his weapon pouch, throwing it at Kakashi's back. Kakashi deflected it easily, turning around to face Sasuke.
"I can't train with you right now, Sasuke," he said levelly.
"I don't want to train with you!" Sasuke growled at his sensei. "You're in on this, aren't you? Telling me to go home, telling me not to worry about defending myself!"
Kakashi looked at him blankly before sighing.
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Go to sleep, Sasuke."
Kakashi vanished, leaving Sasuke to stare at the ground he had been standing on.
Later that morning, Sasuke still hadn't returned home. Kakashi frowned as he looked at the broken window before him, having walked around the side of the building when he received no answer from knocking at the door.
Kakashi turned to acknowledge Naruto, who was running up to him.
Naruto opened his mouth to reply, but whatever he was going to say was lost when he noticed the broken window.
"You broke Sasuke's window?" He asked, confused.
"No. It was broken when I got here."
"Is he home?"
"If he was, I wouldn't be standing outside, would I?"
Naruto frowned harder.
"I saw him early this morning, and he didn't mention it then," Kakashi continued. "It seemed he'd been out training all night. I instructed him to go home, but apparently he didn't listen."
"Who would break Sasuke's window?" Naruto asked rhetorically, before shooting off to look for his friend.
He didn't have to look far. As he jumped to the rooftop opposite Sasuke's house, he realized Sasuke was sitting on it observing Kakashi in the street.
"Sasuke!" Naruto said, walking over to where the dark haired boy was sitting. "Kakashi's looking for you, why don't you go down and talk to him?"
Sasuke didn't reply, not even looking up to Naruto. Naruto sat down next to him.
"Sasuke, you look tired. Kakashi-sensei said-"
"I don't care what Kakashi said," Sasuke interrupted sharply.
Naruto laughed and stood up.
"Kakashi-sensei!" He yelled, waving his arms. "Kakash-"
"Idiot!" Sasuke hissed, standing and throwing a punch at Naruto. Naruto dodged, looking at Sasuke strangely.
Kakashi appeared next to them, having heard Naruto's shout. He grabbed Sasuke as he swung at Naruto again.
"I don't know what happened here," Kakashi said, his voice stern. "But I think it's about time you got that rest I mentioned earlier, Sasuke."
He freed his grip on the boy, who looked less than pleased with the situation before him.
"Naruto, board that window and make sure he gets some rest."
"That's an order," Kakashi interrupted Sasuke, before vanishing.
Naruto eyed Sasuke wearily, before shrugging and indicating down to the house.
"Did you know that was broken?" He asked.
Sasuke didn't reply, jumping off the roof. Naruto followed, heading to the window. Glass crunched beneath his feet, but he noted there wasn't that much of it on the outside. He peered inside the gap, seeing the kunai on the floor surrounded by the rest of the glass.
"There's a kunai on the floor," he told Sasuke, who was standing next to him.
Naruto turned to him. "You knew it was broken, then. Is that why you didn't go back inside? Did you see who did it?"
Sasuke sighed, and walked around the building to the front door. Naruto accepted that as a yes, following him.
"I can't imagine why anyone would want to break into your house," he said, thinking out loud more than talking to Sasuke.
"Be quiet," Sasuke snapped, opening the front door and slamming it in Naruto's face behind him. Unfazed, Naruto opened it again and entered. He walked up to the bathroom door and tugged on it to open it, frowning when it failed to open.
"Is anything missing?" He asked Sasuke, who was on his knees looking underneath a chair.
"I said be quiet."
Naruto pulled on the door again, visibly annoyed that it wouldn't open. "How do you open this damn thing, its stuck fast!"
"With the key," Sasuke replied from his side, pushing him away and unlocking the door with the key he'd retrieved.
Naruto stared at him as he entered the room, picking up the kunai amidst the glass and putting it back in his weapon pouch.
"You broke the window?!" Naruto realized as Sasuke stalked out past him without a word. "Why?"
"Didn't you have an order to fix the window?" Sasuke responded, sitting down at the table and not looking over at Naruto.
Naruto scowled at him. "Fix your own damn window!"
Sasuke responded by laying his arms on the table and putting his head in them.
"You should get-"
"Yes, some sleep, I know," Sasuke answered, pulling his head up just a little.
"That won't be too comfortable there, you know."
When he didn't get a reply, Naruto walked over to the table and sat down opposite him.
"You're not acting yourself, Sasuke," he admonished. "Why did you break the window, and why were you out all night?"
"I wasn't out all night," Sasuke said quietly.
"Eh? Kakashi-sensei said you had been."
"Kakashi jumped to conclusions."
They sat in silence for a few moments, Sasuke not bringing his head out of his arms. Naruto poked him on the arm.
"So, why did you break the window, Sasuke?"
Sasuke hesitated before answering, but knew Naruto wouldn't take no for an answer- he was too mentally drained to try and deal with that. "Because I thought I saw someone there."
"Just someone. It was early, I'd only just woken up, I panicked a little and threw the kunai without thinking about it."
He stood up, indicating that was as far as he was taking the conversation.
"I need to go and get some wood and nails," Naruto said, standing with him. "Will you go to bed?"
"I need a shower," Sasuke replied. "I can hardly do that with a broken window next to my shower cubicle."
"Well, at least go and lay down if you won't sleep. Unless you're worried about that person coming back?"
"Heh, Sasuke, you don't have to be scared, I'll be back soon!"
"I'm not scared!" Sasuke snapped back, glaring evilly at Naruto- even if it was a correct statement.
"Sure, sure, whatever you say," Naruto said, waving his hand at him to indicate he needn't lie about how he felt. "They won't come by in daylight, Sasuke."
He left without another word, leaving Sasuke alone.
Sasuke stared at his friend's retreating back, before entering the bathroom to clean up the glass. He opened a cupboard under the sink, pulling out a dustpan and brush. Careful to avoid kneeling on the glass, he knelt on the floor and started sweeping it up. It had broken quite cleanly, so it didn't take him long to gather all the pieces.
He put the pan into the sink when he was done, figuring he'd wrap it safely later to dispose of it. He cast another glance at the broken pane of glass, sighing.
I really need to learn to be more rational.
He walked back into the living room, doing his usual glance around. He stopped on his front door, which Naruto had left slightly ajar.
Peaking around the doorframe was another pair of eyes.
"What do you want?!" Sasuke yelled out, grabbing a kunai and guarding himself with it. The eyes didn't move, and the owner of them didn't reply.
Sasuke willed himself to walk forward, and to confront the person spying on him, but he couldn't. Fear rooted him to the spot, and he couldn't shake himself out of it. Had it been any other person, he would have ambushed them already.
But not him… Not Itachi…
"What do you want with me?!" He repeated, inwardly cursing his voice for betraying his fear.
Still no reply. The eyes blinked once.
"Stop messing with me you bastard!"
The eyes vanished. Sasuke froze, mentally willing his arm to do as he instructed and throw the kunai he was holding in the direction of the intruder. But it wouldn't.
"Run. Run, and cling to life."
He stared at his brother, tears clouding his eyes- he couldn't see past them, could feel their salty taste on his lips, but he knew he had to run or he would meet the same fate as everybody around him.
He found his common sense, pulled it out from the corner it was hiding itself in, and ran as far away as he could.
Sasuke closed his eyes, shaking his head at the memory. Even some years on, the fear he felt from that day hadn't changed, and it was taking all his strength to not run like he had earlier that morning.
No! Open your eyes!
He did so, keeping his eyes fixed on the door. Itachi's eyes didn't reappear again.
Did he somehow come in?!
He turned around sharply. The room behind him was empty. Sprinting to the front door, he slammed it shut without looking outside.
He ran to the bedroom, flinging the door open to find that empty too. Gradually panicking, he found each room and cupboard in the house empty.
I should be happy he's not here, but if I can't see him, I don't know where he is…
He ended up back in the living room, panting slightly from his haste at ripping his entire house apart. He willed himself to relax slightly.
He's not here. He's gone again. Calm down…
There was a knock at the front door.
"Get away!" Sasuke screeched, running to the door and bolting it quickly. He heard someone call his name, but ignored it, turning and looking around for something to barricade the door with.
His keen ears picked up the sound of crunching glass, realising someone was outside the broken window.
"No!" He shouted hoarsely, but once again fear kept him from entering the room.
Naruto entered the room from the bathroom, looking confused.
"Why didn't you open the door, Sasuke?"
Sasuke sunk to his knees, dropping the kunai he was holding as he did so.
"I'm lucky I didn't cut myself on the glass!" Naruto carried on complaining. "And why did you shout at me?"
He trailed off as he noticed Sasuke was trembling. Confused, he took a few steps towards him.
"Did the person come back whilst I was gone?"
Sasuke didn't reply. Naruto knelt down in front of him, concerned.
Sasuke was still trembling, slowly shaking his head. His eyes were tightly closed, tears collected within them.
"Who was it, Sasuke?"
"Sasuke!" Naruto grabbed his friend's shoulders and shook him.
Sasuke looked up at him, eyes wide and fearful.
Naruto let go of Sasuke's shoulders in surprise. He stood swiftly.
"We need to tell Tsunade-sama if he's in the village."
"At least tell Kakashi-sensei!"
Sasuke stood shakily, almost falling as he did. Naruto grabbed his arm to steady him.
"Go and rest, I left the wood by the window outside. It won't take me long to fix it up."
Sasuke stared at the closed bedroom door. Naruto sensed his concern, and stalked over to the door. Throwing it open, he scanned the window quickly for any signs of Itachi.
"It's fine," he called.
What if he's lying?
Sasuke chose not to believe his words, and seated himself at the table nearby. Naruto growled slightly.
"Sasuke, Kakashi-sensei ordered you to rest, and me to fix the window. Now go rest so I can do this!"
No reply, again. Naruto restrained himself from smacking the dark haired boy, and left- via the broken window again- to fix it.
Sasuke sat listening to the sound of nails being hammered into the window pane, concentrating on the sound as some form of cold comfort.
I need to face him and stop being frightened of him, I can't go on running forever.
But you're too weak to fight him, Sasuke- chan.
Sasuke sat bolt upright at the voice he had heard. He looked around, but the room was empty.
No-one could answer your thoughts anyway, idiot.
Are you sure?
He didn't recognize the voice speaking. It wasn't anybody he knew, just a voice, answering him when he thought.
This whole thing is driving me crazy. I probably should get some sleep…
He stood, walking to the bathroom to see how Naruto was doing with the window. As he was about to place his hand on the door handle, he recoiled quickly.
He blinked and it was gone. Blinking a few more times, to make sure the blood he had seen on the handle definitely wasn't there, he entered the room.
When was the last time I got a decent night's sleep? I actually don't remember.
Naruto was on the outside of the window, it seemed.
"Naruto?" He shouted.
Naruto's face appeared at the second, unbroken window in front of Sasuke, grinning.
"I just finished," he shouted back. "Let me in!"
Sasuke obliged, waiting for Naruto to knock and confirm it was him before opening the door to him.
"There, now go take your shower and sleep," Naruto said, his tone leaving no room to question.
Naruto, despite making it clear Sasuke wasn't to defy his words, was surprised when he didn't. He simply entered the bathroom and shut the door quietly.
Turning the shower on and leaving it for a moment to regulate its temperature, Sasuke stared at the mirror over the sink. The pan of glass was still there, but he could deal with that later.
Hopefully I can sleep without the nightmares…
Sasuke ignored the voice, turning away from the mirror and stripping his clothes.
Hot shower and about two days of sleep should fix this…
"I'm sorry, Sasuke-chan."
Sasuke scowled. "No you're not."
Itachi smiled softly at him.
"I can give you five minutes, but then I need to practice."
Sasuke's face brightened, and he grabbed the strap of his schoolbag on his shoulder, pulling it off and dropping it to the floor. He sat, cross-legged, looking up at Itachi expectantly.
Itachi sat opposite to him, looking distant.
"What's the matter, nii-san?"
Itachi shook his head, and ignored the question.
"What did you want help with?" He said, changing the subject. "Math again?"
Itachi pulled the younger boy's yellow schoolbag to him, looking through it. Sasuke watched, deciding not to ask his question again- but mostly because he was running out of excuses for incomplete math homework.
"There's no math book in here, Sasuke-chan."
Sasuke held out his hand for the bag, confused. "Let me look, I'm sure I put it in there."
Itachi grinned wickedly, dropping the bag and brandishing a small blade he'd taken from it. He pointed it at Sasuke.
Sasuke stared at him, eyes wide with fear. He tried to stand, but shock and horror rooted him and kept him on his knees.
Itachi grinned wider, and beckoned to Sasuke.
"You should try to find mother and father, Sasuke-chan. Have you seen them today?"
Sasuke screamed. He tried to stand again, but pure terror still kept him in place. Shaking, he closed his eyes tightly and covered his ears.
"Stop it, nii-san! Stop it!"
When he opened his eyes what felt like hours later, he was kneeling on the cold, wooden floor in that room, and the bodies of his parents lay before him. He was kneeling in water, he could feel- icy, sticky water drowning his knees.
Was it really water…?
He gasped, falling backwards and wiping his knees. Red smeared his hands, and he realized it was the blood of his parents.
His parents, that Itachi had killed.
Itachi, his brother, had killed.
Sasuke awoke screaming and gasping for air. Heart racing and bed sheets sticky, he sat up and placed a hand on his heart, trying to calm his breathing. He kicked the sheets to the end of the bed, noticing it was light outside as he did so.
When did I go to sleep?
His pillow was damp and so was his hair, he realized, so he stripped the pillow case and threw it to the end of the bed with the sheets.
I had a shower and went to bed. When?
He looked over at his clock, that read four pm.
Not long ago, apparently.
He shook his head to clear the remainder of the nightmare he'd had, and swung his legs off the edge of the bed. Four pm was still afternoon, and that meant he had time for the training that he hadn't had the chance to do that day, yet.
Author's Note: I told myself I wouldn't do another chaptered fic because I like standalones much more. But this threatened to be long, so I decided, why the heck not? XD Review if you feel like it- if not, I only hope you enjoyed it.