Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, I don't own Bleach, and I'm not making any money off of this (no matter how hard I try.)
Of all the manners in which Sasuke imagined his return to Konoha, this wasn't one of them. There had been occasions when he considered returning to his home village voluntarily, especially just after he had destroyed Orochimaru and again after killing Itachi, when the slaying of Konoha's most dangerous enemies would still be fresh in everyone's minds and his past misdeeds would appear minuscule in proportion. In those imaginings, he would walk through the front gates, alone or with team seven or some other familiar acquaintances, or he would sneak in sometime in the night to visit first Sakura, the least likely to give him away, and then Naruto who...
Perhaps he had imagined returning to Konoha like this, in the dead of night to visit Naruto. He had just always assumed he'd visit him at his apartment. And certainly not with flowers.
It was a nice spot, though. The very top of the hill, one over from where the Hokages were buried, and you could see the entire village bellow, and the sea of green beyond that. The idiot had his very own monument, a black three-sided triangular column, and sapling had been planted just behind it. In the spring, the little tree would bloom, sakura blossoms raining down like pink snow. In the meantime, a blanket of flowers surrounded the dark obelisk. It wasn't like the Yondaime's grave. None of the flowers here were white or similar in any way. Goldenrods, tiger lilies, gladioluses, bleeding hearts, tulips, carnations, roses, sunflowers, and so many others all in brilliant colors. Not bad for the class clown.
Sasuke smiled a little, setting his own yellow rose amongst them. Surely, Naruto would have liked this so much better than the traditional pile of white lilies. This was so much more Naruto, and it spoke volumes about those that had known, respected, and even loved him. If Ino were here, she could probably tell him who had brought each flower and how it represented what they had thought of him. But Ino wasn't here, and he didn't know what his own flower meant. But he had wanted it to be a rose, and since there were no orange roses...
"This is so stupid," he muttered, "You weren't suppose to end up here. You and your goddamn impossible dream... You weren't done yet. You shouldn't have gone before me. God damn you!"
Angrily, he tore off his straw hat, followed by his cloak, then his weapon's pouch, and leather breastplate he had taken to wearing. He threw them all away, leaving himself bare in only his loose fighting clothes and shoes, hair flying wildly. His forehead protector had been lost years ago, and only Naruto ever knew what happened to it. There was symbolism in that, Sasuke was certain.
As bare and vulnerable as he had ever been, he sank cross-legged to the ground, crossed his arms and glared. In his frustration, he was tempted to retrieve a shuriken and slash the living hell out of Naruto's grave marker, but he had already scarred his former teammate in life and didn't need to scar his memory as well. So he sat there and fumed, letting his Sharingan flare to life and spin about pointless, feeling the now familiar ache and the blurring in the corners of his vision.
Naruto would have laughed at him or screamed at him.
"You're not the Sasuke I know!"
Who ever that Sasuke had been.
He closed his eyes, felt the Sharingan's spin slow and recede, until there was only darkness and a faint, but familiar chakra thrumbing against the back of his eye lids.
"Have you been here this entire time, Kakashi?"
The chakra flared a bit, and then the older man was standing beside him. He was just as Sasuke remembered him, the same gear, the same posture, the same heart broken look he had seen every once in a while.
"I figured you'd show up here one of these days. And if not, well..."
"It is a nice spot, isn't it?" Sasuke said without an ounce of sarcasm.
"Naruto wanted to get married up here."
Sasuke turned to the man, actually surprised. He supposed he shouldn't be, but the idea of Naruto being a responsible family man just wasn't clicking. Kakashi's eyes folded into happy crescents.
"Not yet, of course. We came training up here once, and afterwards he said, 'This is a great spot. You can see everything from here. I can see the hospital I was born in. I can see the ninja academy. I can see Hokage tower. I can see where I'm going to be buried. If I get the chance, I think I'll get married up here. It's great.' But since he didn't get married..."
The silence that followed was Sasuke's courtesy to Kakashi, who needed the time to regain control over himself. When he spoke again, his voice was decidedly cool.
"You picked a funny time to visit, Sasuke."
"I'm not visiting. I have nowhere else to go. Mangekyou's evolution has already drained my chakra reserves dry. I came home to die."
"This isn't your home anymore," Kakashi snapped, "You've made that clear to everyone."
"I'm not asking for your forgiveness."
There was a pause, as they both stared pointedly at the name carved into the marker.
Uzumaki Naruto, Konoha's most surprising ninja.
"Are you asking for his?"
Sasuke said nothing, closing his eyes again, thinking instead of Naruto sitting in front of him, arms crossed and glaring as he waited for his apology. Yeah, keep waiting, dobe.
"Because, I think he would have given it to you."
There was a faint snick, and Kakashi's calloused hand was in his hair, shoving his head forward.
"But Konoha can not."
And everything went dark.
"You're such a selfish bastard, teme. If you wanted to die, you should have just done it yourself."
Sasuke opened his eyes to meet them staring back at him in a dead glaze. He jerked up on his hands and knees, scuttling away. As the scope of his vision expanded, his sudden fright was replaced with horror. Before him lay his own body, fallen forward on the grass, blood seeping out of his neck, and his partially opened eyes staring out at nothing. Beside his body stood Kakashi, bloody shuriken in hand, staring down at him regretfully and then at Naruto's grave.
"I'm sorry, Naruto. I would rather not have done this in front of you," he said, his voice brittle.
"Bastard, as if everyone wasn't upset enough as it was, you go and make Kakashi kill you. Why don't you just make Sakura dig your grave while you're at it?!"
Sasuke turned his head again, looking further down the hill.
"Sa-Sa-Sasuke?" Naruto mocked harshly, glowering at him. "Nice to know you haven't forgotten me. A letter or something before I died, might have been nice though."
He turned back to Kakashi quickly, but the other seemed oblivious as he gathered up Sasuke's traveling cloak and wrapped his body in it. Turning back to Naruto, who was sitting much like he had been picturing him, arms and legs crossed as he glared at Sasuke. This Naruto was a bit older than his imagination had made him. In his mind, Naruto was still in his teens, still sporting a bit of baby fat and that hideous orange outfit. This Naruto was in his mid twenties, dressed in black shinobi gear with only a little bit of orange to accent it, and his forehead protector a little more dented than he remembered it.
He turned back to Kakashi's retreating form, wondering what he intended to do to his body. Picking up on his thoughts, Naruto explained, sounding a bit less antagonistic.
"He's taking you to your family grave. We picked it out a while ago. There's been rumors about you being sick for a while now."
The situation was disturbing, Sasuke decided. His sharp mind had already concluded that he was dead, Naruto was dead with him, and Kakashi wasn't. There was no confusion on this matter, just a large amount of disappointment that his mind hadn't dissipated into oblivion.
At least Naruto hadn't ceased to exist completely. The world with Naruto, even dead Naruto, seemed a little less depressing.
"The Council won't object?" he asked, even though he didn't give a shit about the Council or his body really. He just wanted to hear the other boy speak.
The blond snorted.
"I doubt he'll even tell them. If he tells anyone at all, it'd be Tsunade. Konoha's in a really tense time right now. You showing up to kamikaze only makes it worse."
Sasuke had heard rumors about that of course, but hadn't paid much attention until the news of Naruto's death had reached him. It was assassination, and no one doubted it. That the Council was somehow behind it wasn't even disputed. Tsunade's imminent retirement, and Naruto's rise as the next candidate for Hokage at only twenty six had sent the village elders into a maddened frenzy of objections. They could object all they wanted, but the fact of the matter was he had the support of almost all of the Konoaha ninja, particularly the younger generation and Tsunade herself. With Naruto dead on the eve of his coronation, the village was on the verge of a civil war, with neighboring villages just waiting to throw in their lot.
He supposed now wasn't the best time to go kamikaze as Naruto put it, but he was a selfish bastard and he didn't want anyone but a Konoha ninja to take his life. Being buried with his family wasn't a bad thing either.
Having not expected to actually awaken after dying, he was not prepared for a post-mortem conversation, and apparently neither was Naruto because a drawn out silence hung in the air they groped for things to say.
"Sorry you died, dobe," he said.
Naruto scowled. "Congrats on killing your brother," he said, ignoring Sasuke's earlier statement. "Now what the hell are you still doing here. I would have thought you'd have been dragged off to hell by now."
Sasuke smirked, and it felt strange and familiar at the same time. He couldn't remember the last time since his face had been anything but completely neutral.
"Well, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you have been dragged off to be reincarnated as a poodle or something?"
"Yeah, well, believe me, they've tried... are trying, but shit- I got unfinished business. I got croaked and Konoha's gonna end up going to war because of it. I'm not leaving until things get resolved. I'm not leaving my precious people up in the air like that. I gotta-"
What ever it was that Naruto was supposed to do was forgotten as the boy jumped to his feet. Sasuke followed just as quickly, recognizing the signs of approaching danger. A strange feeling suddenly filled the air, like the chakra of a particularly strong opponent, yet different somehow. Naruto's gaze was directed towards the bottom of the hill towards a cluster of trees.
He turned suddenly and made a dash for the other side. Sasuke followed him, but was surprised when couldn't go faster. Naruto paused long enough for him to catch up, then grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him forward.
"Our chakra coils don't work anymore. Those are for living things."
Naruto dragged him into the forest, and they didn't make a sound, but quickly found shelter. With a firm hold on Sasuke's wrist, the blond ninja dragged him through a dead tree and found the inside hollow. There they remained, crouching silently, and waited.
It was very dark, and though they were dead, Sasuke could feel warmth radiating from Naruto in the confined space. He wasn't really afraid, because Naruto didn't appear to be afraid. The blond wasn't fleeing, he was making a tactical retreat, accessing the enemy so that they could fight later. Sasuke followed because he had no where else to go.
"Did you feel it? That funny sensation kinda like chakra? It's not really. It's something else. They use it like chakra, but it works differently. I think we could use it too, but every time I try to harness it, they seem to sense it and come after me."
"And who are they, dobe?"
"If I'm the dobe, why are you asking me for answers, teme?"
"Ha! For your information they call themselves Shinigami."
"Death gods? You mean reapers?"
"Yep. I think they go around an pick up stray souls that don't immediately go off to hell or heaven or reincarnation or whatever. They showed up an hour after I died and have been bugging me ever since."
"What do they do with the souls they pick up?"
"I dunno. Eat them?"
Sasuke sighed. Trust Naruto to be utterly clueless. Whatever the case, these shinigami were after Naruto and possibly after him now too. By all accounts they should both just leave the area, but he new Naruto wouldn't go and Sasuke was tired of being alone. He'd come back to Konoha so he wouldn't die alone, and wouldn't you know it he hadn't.
So perhaps together they would figure out how to use this chakra-esque power and defeat the Shinigami, save Konoha somehow, and then what? Perhaps Naruto's soul would move on to heaven and he'd just wander off to hell, and that was damn unsatisfying.
Better than being eaten he supposed.