Warnings: Swearing, shonen-ai, angst.
Summary: Sasuke finds some letters addressed to himself when he's in Naruto's apartment, and he decides that since Naruto is away on a mission it would be all right to read them. They are addressed to him, after all…
UPDATE!: Okay, so 'Letters' was a story I wrote, what…three years ago? Four? Anyways, I was maybe fifteen at the time and it came in the middle of my yaoifangasm stage. I haven't thought about the thing for two years or so, until recently I got some more reviews for it. One of these reviews complained about the end of the story. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it, but suffice to say it involves the classical seme/uke stereotypes. The reviewer disliked this; however, since they were anonymous, I could not reply that I was fifteen when I wrote the story and had no idea how to write a realistic relationship. So…basically what's happening is I'm rewriting Letters. Not so much because of that one negative review out of, I don't know, three hundred or so, but more because I was never really satisfied with the ending and was simply reminded of it by recent reviews.
(However, for the curious among you, I will not be writing any more fanfiction after this. I don't really like this series anymore, and I feel uncomfortable using other people's characters in my writing at this point. Not that that should come as such a big surprise since I haven't uploaded anything in three or four years, but there you go. Sorry for the terribly long author's note; it won't happen again.)
At this point in the story the main characters, namely Naruto and Sasuke, are thirty-two years old. Most of the teenaged drama is gone; for instance, Sasuke's little 'I will destroy you all' rampage. And keep in mind that I'm not following the show currently, so if some people have magically come back to life or you sight similar plot discrepancies, feel free to consider this an alternate universe story where Sasuke is not a total psychopath and doesn't cause total chaos and such.
Disclaimer: I'm only making this one, right here, in the first chapter: I do not own Naruto; all credit for original characters and story, etc., go to whoever does own it – Kishimoto and Bandai and those people. And considering where the show has gone in the past year or so, I am okay with that.
Chapter One: Lost and Found
Sasuke stood staring at the door, his hand on the knob. Conceivably he could try searching around the doorway for a hidden key and just let himself in. Hell, if he really wanted to, he could go in through the window; in a city of ninjas, few people bothered to lock them. And this was Naruto's house, for goodness' sake; he shouldn't be so nervous. Naruto was his friend. He tapped a finger on the doorknob.
…Nervous? That was the wrong word. No – no, he wasn't nervous. Not about simply going into a friend's house while he was away to pick up some overdue reports. It was just that…well, it was just that it had been Kakashi who sent him here, and even all these years later Sasuke had difficulty accepting that Kakashi was not up to something. The man was always three steps ahead, and in a city of ninjas that was a damned difficult thing to be. When Kakashi told a person to do something – and especially when that person was Sasuke – there was usually a trick of some sort up his sleeve. And so Sasuke was quite understandably…apprehensive; that was the word. Naruto hadn't been in his home for about three weeks now, which would be plenty of time for Kakashi to set a trap, besides which Naruto was not averse to playing a trick or two himself, at times. If Kakashi was planning something, the blonde man would be unlikely to refuse his ideas. The fact that Naruto hadn't handed in a mission report in three months seemed a little too convenient, really. The official story was that Naruto had just gotten lazy about handing them in, which Iruka blamed Kakashi for. Kakashi, therefore, had become responsible for obtaining the missing reports; but actually going to get them himself would be like admitting that it was his fault, so of course he couldn't do that. And, Naruto being away on a long-term mission and Sasuke being a close friend of his, it was only natural that he be chosen to fetch the reports instead…
Sasuke sighed and steeled his nerves. As far as pranks went, he had probably seen everything-and-a-half that these two had to offer. What could they possibly do to him that hadn't been done before? He'd been exploded, painted, watered, slimed, food…ed – no, wait, that wasn't a word, was it…?
The door, to Sasuke's surprise, was not locked, and the apartment beyond did not appear to be booby-trapped. The disarray beyond was expected, but not extreme; there were a couple of socks on the floor, shoes tossed haphazardly to one side, and a shirt and a pair of pants strewn over the back of a worn-looking couch. A windowsill full of plants, green and healthy, occupied the wall to Sasuke's right. The small kitchen table was half occupied by empty ramen cups, and half occupied with a wild mixture of scrolls, books, papers, and various writing utensils, as if Naruto had got up in the middle of a report and left. Sasuke took all of this in at a glance and crossed to the bedroom door to the left, being careful where he stepped and watching keenly for trip-wires. Kakashi had said that the reports could be found somewhere in there.
He'd never really had an occasion to enter Naruto's bedroom, and so it surprised him to find that the walls, carpet, blanket, and pillows were all a cool, tranquil blue. A bright orange lamp on the bedside table made it seem like a more Naruto kind of place, but the excess of blue was still a little disconcerting. The blonde leaned more towards black and white these days because of the ANBU, and the rest of his apartment was so…gray. But there was a picture of a younger Team Seven on the bedside table, and a picture of Naruto's team of genin hanging on the wall, so there was no doubt that this was, in fact, Naruto's room. Sasuke shrugged it off and made sure to stay alert as he eyed the room for the mission scrolls – but there was no such luck as for them to be lying in plain sight. That meant he would have to search through Naruto's things until he found them. He took a deep breath.
First, Sasuke stood to one side of the closet door and slid it open all at once, expecting at the very least a mess of clothes and junk to tumble out and bury him – but there was nothing. Naruto's clothes were hung neatly on hangers and hooks, or folded carefully into drawers. Extra pairs of boots and shoes were lined up in an orderly row at the bottom of the closet, and boxes full of extra socks, underwear, and gloves occupied the top shelf, along with old sweaters and unmended clothes. He got down on his knees lifted the edge of the blue blanket to look under the bed next; but there was nothing under there except a few dust bunnies and a forgotten sock. The drawers in the bedside table and the small dresser offered similarly disappointing results, until finally Sasuke noticed the chest hidden in the corner of the room behind the bedroom door. He eyed the chest for a little while, suspicious; the scrolls would have to be in there. The rest of the room hadn't been booby-trapped so far, but…that was the last place to look. If there was a trap anywhere in here, it would be in that chest.
The dark-haired man sat on the bed thinking for a moment, and then took the blanket off the bed and wrapped himself in it before approaching. A quilt would never stop a blade, but then, this was Naruto and Kakashi; it was unlikely that they would actually try to kill him.
…No. They wouldn't.
…They were insane, but not insane. They wouldn't really try to hurt him.
…Maybe he should have worn armour for this.
He slipped the blade of a kunai into the crack were lid met case and slid it all the way around the edge, to set off any traps that might have been set for him. Nothing seemed to happen, so he held the blanket up in front of his face and opened the lid. He waited a moment…and then two…and then three. Nothing.
Slowly, Sasuke lowered the blanket and peered into the chest. There, sitting innocently on top of a pile of other scrolls and papers, was a stack of scrolls tied together with string that had a note attached, in Naruto's handwriting: MISSION REPORTS. Naruto, seriously, hand these in TODAY. You're not old enough to be senile, so stop forgetting. Sasuke shook his head and smiled, and put a hand on the scrolls. Nothing exploded or leaped out at him, so he picked them up, and would have turned to leave had not something odd caught his eye. Underneath the scrolls was a stack of envelopes, also tied together with string, and bearing the name Uchiha Sasuke in that same scrawling handwriting.
Sasuke looked at them and sighed. This was probably the trap…and he shouldn't be curious, but he was. It might have been that he was growing masochistic in his old age, but he couldn't help but wonder what Kakashi had planned. It seemed too simple. How could Kakashi really think he would fall for – for his name on an envelope? It wasn't clever or subtle or anything. …Maybe Kakashi was the one who was failing in his old age. After all, he was at least twelve or fifteen years older than Sasuke; he had to be running out of ideas by now, didn't he?
Eventually, warring with himself inside, Sasuke reached out and poked the envelope with a kunai. Nothing happened, so he slipped the knife under the string and pulled it out of the stack of papers that held it captive. The papers shifted a little, but nothing else happened, and Sasuke took the envelopes in hand. There were maybe twenty of them, and they weren't very heavy – about the weight one would expect of letters. Perhaps they contained exploding notes or something of that variety, but even that would be a little elementary for Kakashi and Naruto. They'd done it so many times before, after all, and besides – why have twenty of the things? He would hardly open the next nineteen if the first one blew up in his face. He wasn't that masochistic.
Sasuke scanned the letter with his sharingan, which revealed nothing, and then checked the other envelopes for his name. There it was – Uchiha Sasuke, ten times in a row. Sasuke regarded them suspiciously for a second more, but…well, Naruto couldn't even remember to deliver his mission reports. How could be possibly remember to deliver personal letters? Although Sasuke couldn't think of a reason why Naruto would write letters to him, there wasn't anything too terribly odd about it. They were friends. Friends wrote to each other sometimes, right? …Not usually when they lived about ten minutes from each other, but it was still possible. Sasuke decided that, since Naruto was gone and they were friends and nothing seemed to be wrong with the envelopes, he would take them. They were clearly meant for him, whether as a prank or because Naruto had just forgotten to mail them, so there was no harm in doing so. He carefully rearranged the bedroom to its former state of order and, taking the letters and the mission scrolls in hand, left the bedroom.
Halfway out the apartment a water jutsu over the door triggered and a load of water poured down over his head. Sasuke paused, and then continued on with a self-satisfied smile on his face. Kakashi is getting old, he thought. Now he has to give Iruke wet, smeared scrolls, and I get to hug him while completely soaked. He needs to plan these things more carefully.
Sasuke did not get to the slightly damp letters until much later that night, after he'd run all his errands and eaten dinner. He started with the one on the bottom, which seemed to be the oldest and therefore the first letter written. He opened it with a kunai, just to be safe, and handled the paper inside carefully; but it appeared just to be a regular letter.
…In years to come, Sasuke would question why he thought that Naruto would every produce anything just regular.
What he read that night, sitting on his couch in a dark apartment with only the reading lamp on, was this:
I'm dying. (Sasuke's heart skipped a beat and he wondered what Naruto had been keeping from him.)
No, seriously. My head hurts and shit is coming out of my bodily orifices that I never even knew the body could produce. I mean, not shit literally, but stuff – fluids and shit. You know? And I'm really cold and sweaty all the time and I think this cut I got in my thigh is infected and the nurse doesn't seem to be doing anything much about it, so…I'm probably not going to live to see tomorrow. I just thought that, since you're my friend and all, I'd write this letter and, you know, let you know. And just so you know, I've got a fucking nasty headache and my eyes are all googly right now, so if what I'm writing doesn't make any sense, don't feel too bad. The sentiment is there, right? The 'writing-my-best-friend-a-goodbye-letter' sentiment. So. That's all right, then.
Okay. Now…I should warn you. This isn't gonna be total sap. I've got something to get off my chest, and if you don't want to know what it is you'd better, like, burn this letter. No, seriously. I'm being serious. You will probably not like it. Turn back now. This is the point of no return! You can't take it back once you've read these words!DOOM IS NEAR!
…Still with me?
Okay. So. I'm in love with you. (Although stunned, Sasuke could hardly stop reading there. He swallowed and pressed on…)
And it really fucking sucks, in case you were wondering. I mean, we're friends. And plus, you're like this total jackass twerp so convinced of your superiororority (is that a word?) that you can't even, like…where was I going with this? Jackass twerp…well. That's about it. I mean, it's hard being love with someone like that, because you can't say you're in love with them because they're such jackasses and they'd probably think it was a stupid joke or something.
…All right, so, that was a little unfair. I couldn't tell you I was in love with you even if you weren't a jackass. Especially if you weren't a jackass. Jackass. Jackass jackass jackass – sorry. I though I hadn't said it enough times yet. Anyways. Even if you were like, this really nice, sweet guy, I could never admit to you that I was in love. You're my friend, and also I get kind of weird in the head when I'm around you, which really sucks. It sucks that I can go on S-class missions and kill people without batting an eye, and then I come back to the village and you and I turn into a stumbling, clumsy teenaged boy again. I mean, that kind of shit is supposed to happen to teenaged girls, right? Not me. Not ANBU. I'll have you know that I don't trip up on myself and say stupid shit nearly as often when I'm not around you, you bastard.
So, anyways…yeah. I'm in love with you. I don't suppose that really comes as a surprise, (it did, actually) because you are the almight Uchiha Sasuke and your awesomeness is just another service you offer, but I guess I should give you some reasons why, anyways. Probably more for my sake than yours. I mean, I'm the one who's all 'I'm in love' and shit and confused about why or – not really why I love you, but why it had to be you, if you know what I mean. Now, you – you're probably not confused at all. Angry, maybe. I mean, you're, like, dripping with girls. They love you crazy types. There's no way you'd even think of me that way – and that's kind of what's got me confused, too, because I shouldn't be thinking of you this way either. I mean sure, my teenaged years pretty much revolved around your crazy spree, but…I like girls. I've always liked girls! I've had girlfriends! I like it when girls like me! And then I go and fall in love with you, who are most definitely not of the feminine persuasion.
…Hehe, feminine persuasion. You know what that makes me picture? You dressed up in a – well, a dress. It's probably funnier in my head than here. Sorry. Off topic.
Anyways. Where was I going with this…reasons? I was going to list reasons. Okay. Here she goes.
You're my friend. I like spending time with you and talking to you and shit, even if you are kind of a nut. (And don't glare at me. You remember your teenaged years. You know you're screwed in the head just as well as everyone else does.)
You're sexy. I'm sorry, I know that's gotta sound weird coming from a friend, but…well. You know. You are. (To be honest, I thought you were pretty a long time before I even liked you. Didn't start causing problems until I started comparing girls to you before I deemed them pretty or not. I mean, that's just not right. Guys aren't supposed to do that with other guys. Threw my head for a spin when I realized I was doing that.)
…The crazy, to be honest. I mean, it's weird and freaky sometimes, but you remember when I said the girls love you crazy types? Well. It sounds fucking girly, but I gotta say…crazy is a good look for you. And when it's not all directed towards, like, destroying everything I ever loved, the crazy can be pretty fun, in moderation. (Yes, I just turned crazy into a noun. AND YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, because by the time you read this I'll be dead. So ha.)
You're funny. Not on purpose, most of the time, since you are the almighty Uchiha Sasuke, but…you're funny. You get weird over little things, and like I said, the crazy can be fun in moderation. You make me laugh. Since usually I'm the one at least trying to make other people laugh, I appreciate that in someone else.
What else is there?
You don't hate me, I guess. That's always a big plus. …Man, I don't know. You're just awesome.
You're smart! That's one! The crazy and the smart complement each other nicely. And even in imaginary relationships, it's always nice to have someone in mind with an IQ greater than that of your average turnip, so you more than qualify.
Okay. I just wanted this list to have ten points. What else can I put here…oh, yeah; we've saved each other's lives, like, a billion times. You're a good ninja. You're a good fighter. It's good to have someone to spar with who's on a level with me and isn't ANBU, because honestly most of those guys are even weirder in the head than you. (And also fighting with you is probably the sexiest thing I ever get to do with you, so that's pretty awesome.)
So…that's about it.
WOOOOOOooooooo, I wrote it down! Take that, sucker!
Sorry. I wasn't calling you a sucker. I meant the whole – the thing. The love thing. The letter.
Anyways, I've written the whole thing down. I can die happy now. And here's the nurse, right on time to administer powerful drugs and make my pain go away. Lovely. Maybe she can help me out with the whole 'dying happy' thing.
Ah. I guess not. She's not permitted to kill ANBU without direct orders. Damn.
Well. I guess I've babbled for long enough, so I'll be signing off here. Oh, just one more thing – if you ever read this and I'm still alive, please don't kill me. I'm too young to die. Except in regard to death-by-hot-nurse. So unless you're willing to dress up in a nurse outfit (which would be sexy as hell, but unlikely) please don't kill me. If it's not too much trouble.
Sasuke slowly put the letter down in his lap and stared into the shadows for some time. Various explanations flitted through his head. Foremost among them was that Kakashi and Naruto had planted these letters as a joke, in order to upset him. But…it seemed wrong, somehow. Naruto would never agree to something like this, simply because he would never admit to being gay even in joking. It was possible that Kakashi had used the sharingan to copy Naruto's handwriting, but…his tone and writing style, too? His whole personality? And the content. If they had been trying to make a fool of him, why not deliver it to him in a public place? Why not make it more…sappy? More like a love letter and less like a death-bed confession? Besides which, Sasuke remembered the time Naruto had been in the hospital with an infected cut in his thigh, and he remembered the half-delirious man grabbing his hands and asking if he was going to die, his blue eyes bright with fever. So…
…What if it wasn't a forgery? Sasuke barely dared to let himself think the thought, mostly because he didn't quite know what to do with it. What if it wasn't a forgery? What if Naruto really was in love with him and had just never told him?
…Well? Sasuke didn't know. He was so deep in shock right now that he couldn't even tell if he thought it would be good or bad, either way. Maybe he was a little…curious. Not interested per se, but…curious. Confused, certainly. That was all right, wasn't it? He was allowed to be confused. After all, Naruto had never shown any sign that he was interested – at least, not that Sasuke could tell. …Although he had said in his letter that he wasn't nearly as clumsy when he wasn't around Sasuke. Naruto's behaviour had never seemed strange to Sasuke before, because that was just Naruto, as he had always been and, as far as Sasuke was concerned, was always likely to be. He could see that that thinking was flawed, now that he had reason to question it; Naruto could hardly have been a member of ANBU for so long if he was always as loud and obnoxious and completely un-stealthy as he was around the village.
The letter opened some strange doors for the dark-haired man, but ninjas were good at coping with stress – they had to be. He put the letter away, determined not to read any more until he had time to confront Kakashi about the possible deception. Then he went to bed, telling himself that this was a worry that could wait until morning to process. And if his dreams were a little full of blonde hair and blue eyes that night, well…the subconscious did weird things sometimes, and it was absolutely not his fault.
End Chapter One.
A/N: this'll be a short one, I promise. I'm going to leave up all of the old chapters until I've written their replacements, and then I'll just replace them as I go. (And just so you know, the plot is going to be changed quite a bit. Sakura may not be involved at all, since that caused me problems the last time around. Apologies to those of you who liked her in this story.)