Hello again! Never thought you'd hear from this story again did ya? Well... here it is... even more words and yet another chapter! There reason I'm back here, working on Concrete, is because many people asked me to write an alternate ending to this story. I'm not promising any of the requests about how the alternate ending is written or what happens in it.... but I've written it. It is alternate. There is no high school reunion. This is a completely different ending.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride
The morning sun beamed into down onto Sasuke's dormant body as it first ascended above the horizon line. The raven groaned as he rolled over and covered his eyes with his arm. He didn't want to be woken up so early in the morning. He wanted to sleep until eternity, never to wake up and face reality again. It would be a wonderful thing. That's what he thought to himself time and time again. And then that would earn him a theoretical punch across his face. At least that's what his best friend promised to do the next time he saw him in person. He was bad at keeping his promise, however, as Sasuke was rarely ever subject to Kiba's violence.
Rubbing his eyes with his hands and sighing loudly and with more than a few traces of irritation, Sasuke figured he would have to get up eventually. He simply didn't want to. Moving required effort and he barely had the effort to keep living, let alone walk.
He yawned as he rolled onto his back, resting his head on his crossed arms under his neck. In conclusion, he would have to get up at some point. But right now he figured he could just stare into the sky until the moment came when he was forced to move and do something with his life.
As if on cue, his cellphone started vibrating in his pocket and sang the customized "Who Let The Dogs Out" ring tone that signified his best friend was calling him.
Sasuke reached down and flipped the phone open, pressing it to his ear nonchalantly, waiting silently for his friend's voice to penetrate his ear.
"So where are you this time?" The voice asked as if it were customized to this question. He sounded slightly perturbed at the fact that he was calling Sasuke.
The raven looked around at the grass that surrounded him. There was a vast amount of water down at the bottom on the hill but it was blocked off by large rocks, so that if Sasuke had rolled down the hill, he would have smashed his body against the rocks instead of tumbling into the running water and drowning himself in his sleep. Instead he would merely bleed out as his battered and broken body lay useless on the large pointed rocks. Above his head, unfortunately not blocking out the sun that currently raped his eyes, was an extremely elaborate bridge that was so long, it was clouded by mist before you could see where it led to.
"At the bridge." He finally answered in a yawn.
"That's the seventh time this month you've been there." Kiba scolded impatiently.
"Is it?" Sasuke asked, as if he didn't know that Kiba was keeping track of all these particular events.
"And it's the fifteenth time you've woken up outside. Why can't you return to your house at night so I don't have to wake up at six in the morning to call you to make sure you're living?"
Sasuke sighed and shook his head at his mother-henning best friend. He'd told Kiba several times that nothing was going to happen to him. It was small, island town. There was no crime to speak of and he was well known enough by people that they wouldn't want to subject more misery upon him.
"Nothing is going to happen to me Kiba. I'm comfortable outside." It was true. He had come to hate the indoors. He spent too much time surrounded by walls and stuffy air that made it hard to breath. He could only sleep peacefully when he was surrounded by fresh air and nature. Open space was his only comfort.
"That doesn't stop me from worrying! You're going to catch pneumonia or something and then I have to come up there and make sure you actually get some rest." Kiba complained loudly into his ear.
"Kiba." Sasuke spoke his name in a tone that suggested how stupid his exaggeration sounded.
"Okay, I know that if you get that sick, Tsunade would force you down and scare the illness out of you. But that is beside the point! Your health is important and so is my sleep!"
"There's an easy solution to that, Kiba." Sasuke hinted in a light tone.
"I'm not going to be able to sleep if I know you're out there. Besides, this is a good way to get me up for class." Kiba admitted.
"Why are you complaining?"
"Sometimes I have days off dude! And six o-fucking-a-clock is not that fun to be awake at every bloody morning!" Kiba exclaimed in a huff.
Sasuke sighed at his best friend's reasoning. Sure it was okay for him to worry about him but that didn't mean that he had to wake up with the sun every day simply because Sasuke preferred to sleep outside. He wasn't risking death by doing it. Sasuke was perfectly logical in deciding his sleeping areas.
"Do you have work today?" Kiba finally asked. It didn't take long for his rage to go away. It was like this every morning that Sasuke was sleeping outside. He would call, ask, complain, get mad, and then have a normal conversation.
"Not until two."
"You know... you should-"
Sasuke cut him off before Kiba started on the same old speech. "Kiba, I'm not going back to school."
"I'm just saying that if I can get into university... then your intellect is being wasted by working minimum wage."
"It's not minimum wage."
"Oh my bad! A dollar eighty five totally makes all the difference!" And there is was. More anger and more complaining. That's really all Kiba did these days.
"Kiba." Sasuke warned.
"Fine. But I'm not gonna let up! You know I won't. Just like you and Tsunade always said, I'm a stubborn mutt."
"Yeah. You are."
"Can't you just apply?"
"Apply next fall?" Kiba went on. It was true. Once he set his mind to something, Kiba never let up and he wouldn't until Sasuke gave in. Even ten years from now, Kiba would probably still bring this up every now and then if Sasuke didn't fold.
"Are you coming to visit after your exams?" Sasuke changed the subject. He didn't want to admit it, but he had been thinking about applying this fall to go back to school. If he continued talking to Kiba about this, it would probably be brought up and right now, Sasuke wanted to keep that to himself.
"Of course. I haven't seen you all since Christmas." Kiba gave up for the moment and went with the topic change. He had learned that it was better to abide by Sasuke's will rather than push a topic that Sasuke wanted to avoid. It usually ended in the line going dead and Sasuke tossing his cellphone to the side.
"Good. He misses you." Sasuke spoke in a somber tone.
"I miss him too." Sasuke could almost hear the sad smile which undoubtedly spread across Kiba's lips as he said this. It was common for them to pause like this. The solemn atmosphere engulfed them.
"So... are you going to get up?" Kiba continued, his voice still holding a sad tone.
Sasuke groaned as he sat up on the grass that had flattened over the night because of his heavy body. "I'm up." This usually satisfied Kiba. Apparently he had some kind of sixth sense to be able to tell if Sasuke was lying about getting up or not. So now Sasuke figured it would save them all the trouble if he actually sat up.
"Go get something to eat, alright. Something healthy."
"I always eat healthy."
"When you eat that it. You don't do that all too often these days."
Sasuke had to admit that he was right. Eating wasn't a good experience for him anymore. He didn't have much of a sense of taste anymore. It was boring.
"Okay." Sasuke gave in. Figuring the advice probably wasn't that bad.
They sat silent on the phone for a few moments. Sasuke stared out at the water that was lapping against the rocks below him. Kiba was probably thinking about what to wear today or what to put off studying first.
"When are you off work?"
"I'll give you guys a call around eleven."
"Later, dude." Kiba tried to leave off on a happy note, as usual.
Sasuke flipped the cellphone closed. The only reason he had this phone in the first place was because of the three people he loved. They hated not being able to reach him when he decided to go off on his own. They all yelled at him, but at least before he got yelled at later and from some sort of a distance, rather than right in his ear when they first wanted to see them. Before they worried for some time before they got a chance to yell at him, so by that point they were just happy to see that he was alive and hadn't done something stupid.
Shoving the phone back into his pocket, Sasuke got up ad brushed himself off. He should go home and change before he started the day. Grass stains usually weren't that acceptable to have all over one's clothing.
"Have a good night Uchiha!" Tazuna called as they closed up the doors to the shop.
Sasuke waved back as he headed out into the darkness.
"Hey," Tsunami stopped him in the middle of the road, "say hi to Naruto for me and Inari. We haven't been over to visit lately."
"Yeah, I'll do that." Sasuke smiled, continuing on his way after she gave him a warm hug.
Sasuke was lucky to have this family. As promised by Tsunade, Tazuna and his family took Sasuke and Naruto in when they moved to the Land of Waves nearly three years ago. They were very supportive and allowed them to live in their home. They were, of course, followed by the over-protective Tsunade who transferred to the Land of Waves hospital and quickly took over as head doctor. Sasuke enrolled in the school there and finished grade ten the same year he finished grade eleven. He was determined to finish high school back then and not lose anymore time with his wonderful boyfriend. After one more year, Sasuke finished graduated high school with honors. Instead of applying to university, he stuck around to be with Naruto and move them out of Tsumani's house and into their own small apartment. Tazuna was more than happy to hire Sasuke at his carpentry shop where they built smaller things than the bridge that Tazuna had been working on while Sasuke was in high school.
Tazuna had grown to love Naruto and Sasuke so much that he named the bridge after Naruto. The couple had become quite popular in this town. They weren't out-casted because of their love that was usually defined as unnatural. Here they were accepted and loved, not persecuted. For once, Naruto didn't have to suffer and be constantly judged. It was a whole wonderful new beginning away from Konoha and the horribly ignorant villagers.
Many things had changed after that day in the hospital all those years ago. Sasuke didn't know what he would have done if Tsunade had walked in moments later. Naruto's aunt had taken up a hospital chair... Emi could have killed Naruto if Tsunade hadn't stopped her. Now that woman was in jail and they would never have to see her again. Particularly because Tsunade threatened to do more than simply kill her if she ever came near Naruto again. Sasuke really came to love that woman like family. She became Naruto and Sasuke "adopted aunt." Hell even Kiba was part of the family and referred to her as his aunt... although he was more rude when he said it.
Sasuke smiled softly. It had been a wonderful thing when they moved here.
The raven took out his keys and unlocked the door to his apartment. He flicked on the light of the hallway as he closed and locked the door behind him.
"Hey Naruto! I'm home!" He called out as he hung up his jacket and his keys. He kicked off his shoes near the mat and headed through the living room toward the bedroom.
Naruto was lying on the bed, breathing evenly with his eyes fluttering in his sleep.
Sasuke sighed as he walked over and ran his hand through Naruto's soft blonde hair. "Hey babe... I'm home." He whispered softly, leaning down to place a gentle kiss on his forehead.
Everything was still the same as it always was. Sasuke looked over to check the monitor for any change since this morning when he returned after sleeping by the bridge. He wrote down what needed to be recorded before sitting on the edge of the bed and taking the hand of his unconscious lover.
Naruto had been fragile when Emi attacked him... those few hits from the chair didn't kill him but they caused enough damage to put him right back in a coma. Sasuke had just gotten him back... he had woken up and they were planning things and they were together again... and then Emi did what she did.
But that didn't ruin their plans. Once Naruto was stable enough, they moved to the Land of Waves with ambulance and helicopter assistance. Naruto didn't need to be in a hospital, he could be kept at home as long as he was looked after and Sasuke did a good job at that for a while. With the aid of Tsunami while Sasuke was at school, Naruto was in good hands. He was unconscious, but at least he was alive. Sasuke continued to tell himself over and over again that Naruto had woken up once so it was only natural that he could wake up again. Next thing Sasuke knew... high school was over and Naruto was still comatose.
Sasuke ran his fingers down Naruto's arm before teasing the skin of his twitching hand. Naruto often twitched or responded in such a way. Back in grade twelve, when Naruto had first responded like this, Sasuke was excited. He did things more often to evoke such reactions to encourage the blonde to wake up. He did these things everyday. Tracing his soft skin, leaving sweet kisses on his face or hands, anything that seemed appropriate. Naruto would twitch or his eyes would flutter quickly. Once, when Sasuke desperately placed a kiss on Naruto's lips, Sasuke could have sworn that Naruto had kissed him back. After some time, however, Sasuke declared it his imagination or his hopeful wishing.
Now the twitching and the movements that gave him false hope simply depressed him. At random times, when Sasuke was particular morbid, the twitching would instantly bring tears to his eyes and Sasuke would break down. Every time he did this... his imagination got the better of him and Sasuke would think that one of these times Naruto is going to wake up to see Sasuke crying by his side, like something out of a movie, and whisper something sweet to console him. Each time Sasuke thought about this, it made him cry harder and he couldn't bare it. It hurt him too much.
Eventually, Sasuke could barely stand to see Naruto's face or be around him. He had spent so much time going from work to sitting in a silent room. Back in high school, Sasuke cheerfully finished his homework by Naruto's side and recited his studies to him. He read everything to him and talked to him about everything. When Kiba called them, he would put the brunet on speaker phone and they would have a conversation which included Naruto. Now the only time Sasuke could stand to be in the same room with Naruto for longer than a few minutes was when Kiba called them. That killed Sasuke even more. He felt incredibly selfish and horrible that his best friend was only thing that convinced him to be around his boyfriend for longer than ten minutes.
Yet Sasuke didn't get better. He knew it was wrong but he couldn't get over how depressed Naruto made him. Finally he couldn't even stand to be inside anymore. This started a few months ago, when Sasuke accidentally fell asleep by the bridge one night because he was desperate to procrastinate going home. After he realized how well he slept, after developing insomnia within his home after they'd moved into their own lonely apartment, Sasuke started to sleep outdoors more often. The one time he had missed work because of it, Tazuna informed Tsunade and Tsunade drove Sasuke to tell her the truth. She knew that he had been developing depression and she had already given him melatonin for the lack of sleep, even though it didn't help. Tsunade had even suggested that Sasuke start seeing a psychiatrist, but Sasuke declined. The only thing he allowed Tsunade to do was send a nurse to the house whenever Sasuke was working. Shizune would come in during the day or night and check in on Naruto. Fix him up, make sure he was getting enough nutrition, everything that Sasuke had learned to do while he took care of him at Tsunami's.
Now Shinuze came over much more often and he would find her asleep on the fold out couch when he returned in the morning or late at night. He was glad that she was there when he wasn't... and since he wasn't there too often these days... he was happy Naruto had someone around.
Sasuke loved him so much. He loved Naruto more than anything in the world. But with each passing day... Sasuke's doubt about his life continued to grow and he would find solace by sleeping outside more often.
Three years and Naruto still had not woken up. He promised that they would be together but there he was, sleeping involuntarily as the world passed by around him. Kiba started university and was about to finish his first year while Sasuke worked built book shelves, chairs and desks. It wasn't as though Sasuke blamed Naruto for how he lived his life. This was the life he chose.
The ringing of the phone brought Sasuke's attention out of melancholy and towards the living room. He moved to pick up the cordless phone and knowing it was Kiba, he instantly put it on speaker phone as he answered the call.
"Hey Kiba." Sasuke greeted as he returned to Naruto's bedside.
"Hey Sasuke. How are you, Naruto? I miss you pal." Kiba's energetic voice called over the speaker. Sasuke couldn't help but smile at his enthusiasm and how Kiba spoke to Naruto in the same way he always had. It was just like the first time Naruto was in a coma all over again. Sasuke was the desperate sad one who sat around, waiting and hoping while Kiba was the cheerful one who spoke as though Naruto was answering him back.
"He's doing good, right Naruto? You're stats are all the same as they always are." He spoke as positively as he could, but the negativity was undoubtedly pouring into his voice.
"I'm sure they are. How was work today dude?"
"As per usual. Boring and napping." Kiba joked. "Shizune give you a hard time today Naruto? I bet she nagged away as usual. Telling you to wake up or she'd report back to Tsunade. You know what she'd do huh? Pray she doesn't stick you with that green liquid stuff."
"Are you still going on about that?" Sasuke sighed and laughed. Kiba had a talent for making him smile, even if he was making fun of him.
"Hey that was some freaky stuff man! She should have been suspended for that." He exclaimed over the phone.
Sasuke thought to himself that if Tsunade had been suspended because of that, she wouldn't have been there to save Naruto... and then things would be different. But he didn't say this aloud or think about it more than that. He couldn't afford to be that negative. He loved Naruto, end of story. He would never wish for things to be that different.
"Yeah... it was creepy." Sasuke agreed.
"Are you staying in tonight?" Kiba asked in a more serious tone than he'd been using.
"I don't know." Sasuke answered honestly. He hadn't thought about it yet.
"I think you should stay in, for Naruto's sake. Right blondie? You miss your emo boyfriend don't you?"
Sasuke smiled sadly at the comment. He knew that Kiba wasn't trying to make him feel guilty but he did. He felt like a horrible person each time he concentrated too hard on how much he avoided coming home to his helpless boyfriend. It felt as though he was abandoning him. It really hurt to think about it but no matter how hard he tried... sometimes staying inside the house hurt more than the guilt.
"Yeah... maybe..." Sasuke answered in a sorrowful tone.
"Hey man... I'm-" Kiba started to apologize but Sasuke cut him off.
"Don't be. It's true. But we've talked about this." And they had, but only once. One of Kiba's jokes completely broke Sasuke and he talked to Kiba through the tears as soon as he moved to a different room away from Naruto. Kiba came to understand how much Sasuke was hurting that day. Sasuke hated to talk about emotions or even acknowledge the fact that he cried constantly, but he admitted everything to Kiba that day. Ever since, Kiba kept those comments to a minimum but sometimes his concern for Naruto's well being overruled the concern for Sasuke's. It was only natural. Naruto was the one in a coma.
Before Kiba could respond, Sasuke continued.
"I have something important to tell you two."
"Oh really? This sounds interesting, huh Naru?" Kiba sounded curious yet concerned.
"I'm... I'm going to apply to go back to school in September."
"Really! That's awesome!" His best friend's excited voice echoed through the room. Naruto's left hand twitched but that was all.
"Yeah... I have until the first of April for many schools and it's only the first week of March."
"I'm so excited for you! You should apply to my school!"
Sasuke knew that Kiba really wanted Sasuke to go back to school, but he was surprised with how energetic he was about it.
"Calm down, Inuzuka. That's too far away. I was thinking... that... well Naruto, you could go live with Tsunade for a few years. I'm sure she'd be glad to take you in and Shizune lives near her anyway. That way, you would have a lot of attention and I'd be home every other weekend and major holidays. Any chance I get really." Sasuke began to explain to the blonde who probably didn't even hear him... but Sasuke had to hope that he understood what was going around, it was just hard to do that nowadays.
"Of course, there's also the summer and both of us can come back and see you, Naru. It'll be great! Aren't you happy for your boyfriend? Finally getting off his lazy ass and putting that brain to work?"
Naruto's right hand flexed and Sasuke instinctively reached to hold it.
"He flexed his hand, I think he's okay with it."
"He'll miss you, I'm sure." Kiba assured.
"Yeah... I'll miss him too." Sasuke smiled down at his slumbering boyfriend and tried to convince himself that he was doing this for the good of both their lives. This wasn't simply an easy way to get out of this depressing life. He wasn't running away from Naruto. Going to school would further him in life and then he would be able to support Naruto better. Life had to go on... it was only a matter of time.
"Well this sounds great! I'm glad you finally decided to get your ass back to school. But I've gotta get my ass back to school and finish this essay for tomorrow."
"Okay Kiba, we'll talk to you later."
"Yes you will. I'll call you guys later. Take care of Sasuke little blondie, don't let him sleep outside tonight."
"Bye Kiba." Sasuke warned lightly.
Sasuke hung up the phone and placed it on the counter. With a sad smile, he stared down at Naruto's beautiful face. He looked so peaceful, so unaware of everything around him. He must be in a wonderful dreamland, so perfect that he didn't think it was a dream. That's probably why he hadn't woken up. If he knew the truth, if he knew Sasuke was waiting for him... he would wake up. Sasuke was worth that much... wasn't he?
Sasuke bit his lower lip as tears formed in his dark eyes. His hand reached out and caressed the blonde's face. Why did it have to be this way? Sometimes Sasuke asked himself why he had ever fallen in love with this blonde. But then all their memories together would flash before his eyes. The lavender bath where he awkwardly washed Naruto's hair... the movie that they were supposed to watch... their first night sleeping in the same bed... all of them were worth it. Each time he remembered one his love for Naruto grew. And each time he remembered these precious times... he missed Naruto all the more. He wouldn't give Naruto up for anything... but he wanted so bad to have him back in his life as conscious, reacting person.
"Come back to me." Sasuke pleaded as the tears ran down his cheeks. "I miss you. So please... just come back."
Alternate The End
And this is where you all kill me I guess? But hey, you wanted an alternate ending where Naruto lived and... here he is! Living! Sort of... but well he didn't die! I kind of like having this alternate ending though because the first ending had Naruto die but it was positive and hopeful. And this one has Naruto living but it's depressing and sad.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading it. This is the last of "Concrete Naruto." Seriously, you should know me well enough by now that I'm not going to write an alternate alternate ending where Sasuke and Naruto live happily-ever-after all living and happy without comatose states or hospital emissions. No matter which way I end this story... it will always be sad in some way or another. And Emi will not miraculous die... although we can imagine horrible fates for her in jail and believe that she dies of alcohol poisoning when she gets out. Either that or she falls down the stairs in a drunken stupor and breaks her neck.
So... this is it. Complete and finished. Thanks for reading. I'll miss this story a lot but this is it. Bye bye, case closed, no more additions... THE END! And if you ask me to write another alternate ending... you know it will only get progressively more tragic, angsty, depressing and miserable (like Hamlet only not as funny).
Thanks to anyone who reviews! I really appreciate all of them and I'd love to get your opinion on this alternate ending! Thanks again for reading!
~~Lots of love from Arra Frost~~