Author's Note: It came to me in the middle of things - in medias res. I suddenly hit upon the idea when I read a certain manga.

Warning: Blood and gore. It's not too much that it has to be M-rated, though.

Frayed Reason

By: Yummei-sama no Hayashi

Disclaimer: I own a gum eraser!
I want to be your reason to live.

He had been back for good. The villain had been laid to rest. The snake bastard was not a threat. He was back, and after a series of confusing and wonderful events, they fell in love.

"I love you, Sasuke-kun. I want to be your reason to live."

He had no purpose before. Life had lost all color – it had been dyed red and black the day he lost his clan, and remained a furious storm of raging crimson until he slew the one who had caused it to be that way. Then she forced her way in, and the pinks and blues and greens and the wonderful rainbow blended into one flurry of a fantastic artwork… her artwork, falling into place as he found the joys of life again. It was an eternal spring when he was with her.

Perhaps he had been too lost in this flurry. Maybe his senses had fallen asleep. Because with her, he knew he was safe. He could never fall back into the darkness, ever again, for as long as she was with him. For as long as they were part of the same puzzle.

"I'll be your reason to live, if you let me."

It had been a year, and she had disappeared after a mission. All who cared and all who pretended not to care searched high and low for her. The sick asked for her, the dying wanted to thank her one last time. The younglings whined and begged for "oneechan" to come play, the elderly requested for her to be found so that she could read to them.

The flowers were being neglected in the flower shop. The grassy hills where you could see the sky, the barbeque place, and the training grounds missed their usual occupants. A clan felt defenseless while its mistress and its protector were gone. Akamaru's newborn pups whined for their father. The bugs were being kept busy. The swords smith began missing his most frequent buyer. The ink was crusting around the paintbrush.

The sake bottles and paperwork were left untouched. The orange book was gathering dust. The ramen had been left cold.

And he felt the most lost of all.

"I'll hold on to you, even if you push me away."

He found a letter slipped under his doorway, after a long hard search in the outskirts of the country. It smelled like her perfume.

She wants to live for you, the letter said. Would you try to let her live at least?

He stared long and hard at the letter, trying to clear his mind of images of her smiling face, and decode the meaning of the note. The smell of her perfume conjured unbidden glimpses of her sparkling green eyes, like the green of the ocean water.

It took him another whiff of that letter to realize it smelled of snakeskin, too.

"I know we had our problems… hehe… though you pretend not to remember them! But…"

He rushed out of the village, alone. He had given a word to the one who held the power of friendship over him, and then went to go chase after the one who held the power of enduring love over him. The other youth insisted on coming, but it was his fight, not the other's. He left the imminent Rokudaime in an unconscious slump, after deadening his senses with his bloodline.

He neared the place she could be kept, and found her alone, a panicked expression in her eyes, welts on her wrists, and crimson on her ankles. She had escaped, but barely. He told her bluntly she looked stupid when she cried. She did anyway as she clutched onto his shirt.

All was well in the world.

"…I love you! I will never ever stop saying that. Because it's true! That's why…"

It had been quick enough. Something struck her silent of her incoherent sobs, and she fell unconscious against him. He lifted his eyes to see malevolent golden eyes, and he tensed, getting ready to murder this man brutally for taking his only sanity and hurting her.

"It was an experiment."

The statement was enough to make him think twice and listen. The snake wanted to know whether altering the pink blossom's blood would give him the elixir he needed to become immortal. The only other ingredient needed…

…was his body.

He knew it was going to be a mistake to rush headlong towards the snake. But as usual, her frequent reminders of him not to be foolhardy in battle went unheeded. He knew it would've done him good, and it should've been his last favor to her.

Because he fell unconscious as well.

"…I'll always take care of you. I don't care if you refuse – I want to be-"

He woke up, and found his former master smiling serenely down at him and explained quite calmly that as he lay down there, drugged and unable to move, he had been fed a special substance that allow his body never to rot. He had been a little dismayed that it involved such brutal techniques, but it was nothing as long as it moved him closer to his own goal.

"Do you know whose flesh and blood you have just been fed?"

They were one, literally, in flesh in blood. He stared up at her bloodied stomach, guts spilling out, her irises hollow and empty.

"-one with you. Always and forever. Do you understand?"

He would have wanted to vomit, but his muscles refused to move and rendered him paralyzed. It was too late that he realized that her wish had been taken too literally, and the light in her spring field eyes had been the cost.

But he knew he'd be with her soon too.

His eyes slid in and out of focus, the man before him fading in and out of being a gargantuan serpent. It would be up to the rest of them to stop the madman.

Because he wanted to be with her now.

"I want to be… your reason to live. Will you… let me?"

His eyes closed.

Whatever you want.






:.: don't cry on a sleepless night :.:

Author's Note: It's a little less gorier than I wanted it to be, but I'll leave the goriness factor up to you to visualize. It can be as mild or as brutal as you please.

By the way, the manga I took the idea from is "Immortal Rain" by Kaori Ozaki. My sister bought it this afternoon, and we read it. She found the art great, while I found the story awesome. You should read it sometime.

(We got it at a bargain too – by the exchange rate, it only costs about 1.15 USD!)

So, tell me what you think. I hope you guys managed to get the things I wanted to get across, and that you enjoyed realizing them.