Inspired by: I got this idea while I was playing the game ZUMA. …What a weird timing for an inspiration :O This serves as my (belated) White Day offering for SasuNaru :) Much thanks to ALL the people I bothered to look over this thing! Especially xHydromaniacx, Gonrie, WingIt, StarsOfYaoi, and of course, my beta, Crick118!
Warning: SasuNaru, yaoi, shounen-ai, weirdness (?), OOC (?), some fluff :D heavy AU. Rated M for safety :D This chapter is rather intensive on explanations, so yeah… More notes below, thanks :) And yes, there will be a happy ending here, even if Sasuke is a "ghost".
"Uzumaki-san! Uzumaki-san!" A young woman, Hinamori, called out, waving her hands frantically to get the blond's attention.
Uzumaki Naruto, nineteen, first year university student, looked up from the bunch of scrolls and papers that were stacked messily on their camp's area. He quickly summoned a bright smile for the approaching Hinamori.
"Ah, what is it, Hinamori-chan?" He asked gently, though his blue eyes weren't really focused on the girl standing in front of him, panting slightly to catch her breath. Beads of sweat formed on her pale forehead, as the forest's humidity embraced the surroundings tightly.
"Shiro-chan and Iruka-sensei have confirmed it," Here, Hinamori paused for a brief moment; Naruto took the moment to remember that 'Shiro-chan' referred to Hitsugaya, the snobbish prodigy that happened to be Hinamori's childhood friend. "…We've found the entrance to the underground city!"
The blond was a person filled with expressions, and he immediately held Hinamori by her shoulders, eyes bright and finally focused at her. Finally! The five years of hard work by Iruka-sensei and his fellow researchers and archaeologists finally paid off!
Though Naruto was only at the site for two months, he had grown to be fond of Iruka-sensei's research. He was happy-beyond-words about this revelation. Without missing a beat, the blond informed the nearby groups about the discovery.
Finally, they uncovered the underground city: Konohagakure!
Gate of Memories
-- Sasuke x Naruto fanfic --
Naruto isn't a model student.
He isn't a member of the Student Council, he isn't a class representative, he isn't a captain of any sports club (though he is a regular member of the tennis and basketball clubs), and he isn't a straight-A student.
Naruto, however, possessed some very important 'people-skills' that top-notch students like Hyuuga Neji (one of the applicants in this internship-of-sorts) lacked. It was one of the reasons why Professor Umino Iruka chose Naruto as one of the summer students that would help him in his most important project.
The cheerful blond also lacked the term 'giving up' in his dictionary—something that Iruka's project needed. It was critical to have the faith in the discovery, in the existence of the underground city.
The team members also needed to go on, to keep on searching for clues, for signs, for evidences, about Konoha's existence. Naruto fulfilled all those requirements, which was why Iruka chose him, despite him being only a first-year with mediocre grades and slightly-tarnished school record.
Plus, Naruto is his favorite student, no matter what.
Iruka was thankful for this moment, as he peered down into the earth-smelling stairs. Naruto and the other team members hovered above the just-unearthed passage to the supposed underground city.
"Are you ready?" Iruka asked; his usual warm voice now filled with shaky anticipation and firm determination.
Iruka heaved a deep breath, and took a heavy step forward, one step towards the deep earth of the underground stairs.
Naruto held back the urge to put his hand over his nose for the fiftieth time. The passageway was damp and smelled of earth and dirt, and the flame inside his torch was flickering madly, like a man gasping for breath.
They were walking down the underground tunnel for the past twenty minutes, but Naruto couldn't see anything special. Rather, he couldn't see anything at all, save for the brief images of Hitsugaya's silver hair in front of him, and for his fingers that carefully held the torch.
Sounds of footsteps and breathing echoed hollowly inside the soil-made walls. If Naruto strained his ears enough, he would be able to hear the sounds of the other workers from further behind them, marking the path and slowly chipping the entrance open, letting more oxygen inside.
With a slight hiss, the flame that danced inside Naruto's small torch died, enveloping the blond in complete darkness. Azure-colored eyes tried to seek out the people in front of him, but apparently, all their torches and candles died at the same time. It meant that the passageway was a lot deeper now and a lot narrower as well, and Naruto cautiously reached out for the flashlight that was shoved inside his pants' pocket.
A brief flash of thought filtered inside Naruto's mind; they should have used flashlights from the beginning, right? Why use candles, if the flames were going to die anyway? His line-of-thought was pretty reasonable, but Naruto couldn't see the silver hair in front of him anymore, so he hurried to catch up to the others.
He finally caught up to Hitsugaya and Iruka-sensei, but they were staring, open-mouthed, at the sight before them. Naruto easily weaved his way to the front, in order to see what caused the normally-calm people to just gape like that.
Yet, the sight also left Uzumaki Naruto, dead-last, class-clown and loudest-person-in-class to simply stare, utterly speechless.
There, below the cliff they were standing on, stood the beautiful, perfectly-preserved underground city of the Village of the Hidden Leaf.
CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!
Pictures were taken shamelessly, as reporters scurried to take shots of the wonderful, ancient city that Umino Iruka's team just discovered. Scientists, archaeologists, geologists, and other researchers, buzzed around the huge city excitedly—taking samples, testing for radioactive dating, comparing theories about the city.
Uzumaki Naruto nodded to the shy Hinamori standing beside him. She was awfully quiet, especially now that Hitsugaya was off terrorizing some workers about handling the artifacts to the office. Silently standing beside the ebony-haired girl became quickly boring for the normally-loud blond, so his eyes easily wandered around the ancient structures of Konohagakure.
It was strange, Naruto decided, very strange. While the passageway to the city was soil-y and smelled like earth, the city didn't smell like that at all. Instead, it felt like the city wasn't underground; like it was still alive and on top.
"Naruto!" Iruka-sensei called excitedly to him, sharing things about companies that would willingly grant their research group money if they could unravel more facts about this 'miraculous discovery', as dubbed by the reporters.
The blond nodded at his teacher's instructions about observing things, about collecting data—like, why was this city underground? Why was the city preserved this perfectly? Why didn't it smell like the disgusting mixture of worms and soil?
The blond waved goodbye at Hinamori, before he proceeded to walk around the old town.
He touched the structures of the houses. Very strange. The walls felt like concrete—wait, did they even have concrete 500 years ago?
The houses' structures were also very modern—not the skyscrapers type, but it felt like a normal residential area in a modern city. Did that mean that Konohagakure was way advanced in its technology?
Also, his fingers didn't meet piles of dust and dirt. It felt like there was a wind constantly blowing around the city, routinely dislodging any dust that might accumulate too much.
It was really very strange, and Naruto kept mental tabs on those observations. He doubted most of them would notice those things; everybody was rejoicing about the success of their discovery, and they probably would have closed their minds to things that could possibly ruin the image of an ancient underground city.
Underground cities nowadays are used to link different commercial buildings, shopping centers and MRT stations. This particular underground city, however, as Iruka-sensei and his superiors' research believed in, was from an ancient civilization that lived 500 years ago, in the land that is now submerged between the Japan and China.
According to the mountains of texts that Iruka's team studied, the area they discovered just now belonged to a larger domain named Fire Country. From what Naruto heard from the fellow members of the excavation team, this place was once called Konohagakure—The Village of Hidden Leaf.
Hidden leaf… leaf… leaf…
The name rung a bell inside the blond's mind, like a lonely signal that echoed recognition.
Naruto stopped walking as soon as he stumbled over a series of steps. His eyes followed the clean-looking stairs, which led to a grand-looking house. It looked like it once belonged to an illustrious family, since the house's designs were intricate, and the garden surrounding it was huge.
Naruto already saw a lot of unexpected things in this excavation, but he certainly didn't expect to find a well-kept garden, something that he only saw at entrancing magazines and gigantic estates.
Naruto cautiously peered to the side of the mansion. There, in the middle of the garden, stood a tree. An old-looking tree, with a thick, sturdy trunk, and a healthy crown of green leaves.
The tree is alive, Naruto realized, as million other thoughts filtered in inside his mind, the tree is alive!
"But…" The blond murmured to the air in front of him, "…that's impossible, right?"
He whirled around, as a passing breeze curled around his exposed neck. Naruto visibly shivered as he analyzed the facts inside his head.
This is an underground city—buried in a cave-like structure. Naruto knew that he wasn't a star-student, but he knew that trees need sunlight to live, damn it. And there's no sunlight here, since this is underground.
Naruto knew that there shouldn't be a breeze as strong as that either.
There was something terribly wrong with the picture, but Naruto couldn't wrap his mind about it.
Instead, as though somebody was controlling his limbs, Naruto turned back to the mansion. His head felt numb—maybe it was from thinking too much?—and his vision became blurry. He felt another strong breeze, and Naruto wanted to wrap his arms around himself to ward off the coldness, but he found out that he couldn't even lift his hands.
His thoughts felt distant, and it was like something, somebody, was submerging his hands into the jumble of coherent thoughts that he had; it was like somebody was purposely removing the links and blurring his consciousness altogether.
Naruto made one step closer to the mansion's doors. His step felt heavy, and he distantly remembered that nobody was nearby. He was alone in this portion of the underground city, and he was going to trespass into some ancient mansion.
He vaguely thought that he shouldn't be letting his body control itself. He tried to close his eyes, but they wouldn't move. His legs took another step closer to the doors. Naruto watched, with almost-inappropriate fascination, how his hands lifted, and how they pushed open the doors.
A tidy room greeted him, without a speck of dust in sight. The artificial light that the researchers installed around Konohagakure illuminated parts of the mansion's interiors. The mansion's living room only had the essential furniture and fixtures, but that wasn't what caught Naruto's attention.
The first thing that Naruto noticed was the design painted on the walls. It was in a shape of a fan -or a ping-pong paddle- and it was painted in hues of red and white. The symbol was painted on various things, and Naruto faintly wondered if it was a family crest.
The next thing that the blond noticed was the book that sat primly on top of the coffee table. Without his consent, Naruto felt his legs move towards the table; his fingertips burned with the feeling to hold that book, as soon as possible.
Without further ado, Naruto sat on one of the couches, and held the book. The name 'Uchiha Sasuke' was printed in an elegant script on the bottom right-hand side of the cover.
Out of all the things that Naruto wanted to utter, to notice, to think about, his lips moved to form words that he found himself unable to resist calling out, using a voice that sounded sad, and so far away.
Rushed footsteps resonated in the expanse of the Uchiha Estate.
Naruto knew that as a ninja, he should be stealthy, but he was in a hurry, because, damn it, Sai told him that Uchiha Sasuke was spotted near the West Gate thirty minutes ago. The blond ninja searched for the Hokage Tower first, since the most obvious explanation for the Uchiha's appearance was his mission to kill the Godaime.
He wasn't there however, so Naruto made his way towards Sasuke's home.
Home—The word felt funny against Naruto's lips, but to him, Sasuke's home would always be in Konoha, no matter what happened.
He carelessly flung the door open, with the haze of moonlight creating shadows and illuminating the most unnecessary things.
There was a distinct chakra smell that made the Kyuubi growl and twitch inside the seal. Naruto placed a hand protectively over his navel, willing the fox to stay put and not interfere. Nobody should interfere with him and Sasuke.
As Naruto made his way to Sasuke's bedroom, he distantly wondered when did he become so possessive over his best friend.
With each step, the blond ninja felt closer, much closer, to the dark chakra signature. …Just a little more…
Naruto seized the bedroom door handle. It felt cold, but the coldness was nothing to Naruto. He wanted Sasuke back. He wanted Sasuke back, no matter what.
He'd do anything—anything—to get Sasuke back.
"Sasuke!" He exclaimed, and true enough, the Uchiha was there, standing silently, his bathrobe-looking top blending in with the moonlight and his pale skin. Aside from his panting, Naruto couldn't hear any other sound.
Sasuke turned around to regard him, with his eyes colored like the darkest blood. One of his hands had a notebook clutched in it, a notebook filled with thoughts and memories of a person that existed long ago, but is now replaced with a heartless avenger.
"Naruto, huh?" Sasuke's tone was impassive, and it was way colder than the doorknob that the blond held a while ago. Heartless. Did Sasuke really succeed in killing all of his emotions? Naruto feared and longed for the answer.
He didn't like it, but Sasuke was successfully –effortlessly- turning him into a longing mess of contradicting emotions.
"…Sasuke," Naruto murmured, with his head bowed low, the reddish chakra curling around him like the snakes that Sasuke now controlled, "…stay."
The Uchiha didn't answer, but Naruto knew.
A part of Naruto's heart broke at the steely silence.
"Sasuke, I'm going to take you back," Naruto knew that despite Sasuke's physical presence here in Konoha, his heart wasn't here—because, after all, his heart was already in that abyss of darkness, right?
Not here, not in Sound.
Sasuke traded everything for power. For the power that now licked and crashed against the power of the Kyuubi that surrounded the determined blond.
"I'm going to take you back, no matter what."
A figure that easily blended against the shadows watched, as though fascinated, as the blond that he knew so well –a person which he knew better than anybody else- sat on the old, unused couch.
He was a bit disappointed, though, to see that Naruto's eyes lacked its usual shine, as though he wasn't the Naruto from before.
His pale fist clenched by his sides. No, that can't be. This has to be that dimwitted blond. This has to be Naruto.
The expression on the blond's face was dazed, and the observer felt a stab of feeling through himself, as he took in the endearing look that Naruto sported at the moment. He felt a sense of satisfaction and relief, as he saw Naruto take the diary with him.
A familiar smirk twisted upon the other's lips—lips that existed since five hundred years ago.
"I've finally found you, dobe."
To Be Continued
The second-to-the-last scene is a flashback :D This one took roughly around two hours (minus the multiple chatting and bathroom and eating breaks) plus around 15 minutes of fiddling with the formatting and posting XD;; Guh, I'm becoming slower :O
Yes, I stole most of the OCs from other animes :P Nyahahaha. ZOMG is this another Ghost!Sasuke fic? Another reincarnation!fic?! Well, read and find out XD All I know is that, I haven't seen anything like this in all my years of reading and writing fanfics for different fandoms :D This is another plot!fic, but I promise that no matter what happens, Sasuke and Naruto would end up together in a happy ending XD
OOC: If Naruto was OOC (and/or weak/somber) in this chapter, that's because he hasn't interacted with Sasuke yet… and that's about to change very soon—like, next chapter :D Credits: Hinamori and Hitsugaya are from Bleach. The underground city idea was from FMA. The modern definition for an underground city can be found in Wikipedia.
Next Chapter Teaser: Sasuke frowned as he watched Naruto sleep. Even from this distance, the Uchiha could read the words formed by those lips, lips that were moving because of his dreams. "Why is he bound there… underground…" Sasuke turned away, shifting his gaze to his diary that rested in the bedside table. "The reason why I'm bound…" Sasuke murmured in the velvety voice that made dozens of girls swoon before, "is because you sealed me there, Naruto."
Please review :)