Disclaimer: Doesn't belong to me.

Author's Note: Partly-future fic. Spoilers ahoy. Reviews much appreciated.


Hate -
i
ntense animosity or dislike;
hatred.


Sasuke hates Naruto because of many, uncountable things.

He hates Naruto for his boisterous behavior and lack of tact in every single thing that he does, and his perverse humor. Sexy no Jutsu is not funny, and will never be funny to Sasuke. And yet, the fool just grins his stupid wide grin that takes up his entire face and stretches his whiskers, and manages to get himself let off the hook once again. What is it with people and their leniency towards happy kids? Sasuke's pretty sure that if he'd ever tried pulling tricks on a senior, they would've tried to thump him to death. Of course, the last Uchiha (not counting the bastard who defected to the Akatsuki) would probably have beaten all of them to pulp before anything could've happened. But yes, the issue is that Sasuke hates Naruto, because Naruto can be bright and sunny and optimistic even if they toss him into a never-ending pit of flames.

But that's only the start. Sasuke realizes that his hate grows along the years – being part of Team 7 has shown him all of Naruto's bad habits that he thinks is perfectly all right to retain because it's amusing. Yeah, life is a whole big joke to the stupid blond – he never did take their missions seriously because lower Class missions weren't attractive, and he slacked off training from time to time. Being a shinobi means having to be serious and on their toes all the time. Look under the underneath, as Hatake had always said. Obviously, Naruto didn't really take heed because he took everything by surface value. Probably still does, but Sasuke doesn't know and doesn't care. (Really.) The things that Naruto finds funny seldom tickle Sasuke, because the Hokage-wannabe's sense of humor is warped – to Naruto, a fart or a burp is something worth laughing over, much to both Sasuke and Sakura's disgust. Just thinking about Naruto's jokes makes Sasuke want to kill something.

Sasuke also hates to lose, and being with Naruto has amplified his inferior complex. The Uchiha isn't weak; oh of course he isn't. No one will beg to differ, back then and now. But Uzumaki Naruto will always be stronger – that's an unspoken fact that everyone knows. Sasuke has the Sharingan, and is considered a genius. But Naruto has the kyuubi sealed within. The Uchiha bloodline is a formidable one, but Uzumaki Naruto directly descended from the best Hokage in Konoha. In every aspect that Sasuke cares about, Naruto is always better off. This competitiveness is unhealthy, someone remarked before. Indeed, because it drives Sasuke nuts every time he faces a strong opponent and asks himself if Naruto would be able to win if he was in Sasuke's shoes. (The answer is always yes, and that infuriates Sasuke to no end.)

Sometimes, Sasuke thinks that the main reason why he hates Naruto so much isn't because of their vastly different personalities or any of the things mentioned above. No, it goes way deeper than that, because the two boys are just driven by two very unlike objectives which form the very essence of their being, the sole purpose that spurs them on to continue fighting and living. Dear Naruto has always wanted to make everyone else smile and become the next and best Hokage that has ever existed in Konoha. Ah, such a noble cause. Pfft, of course, because he's everyone's favorite – he's the one who was sacrificed to seal the kyuubi, the one who's so foolhardy that everything just works out nicely for me in the end. Sasuke, on the other hand, has always had more selfish intents. A long time ago, his aim in life was to perform up to his father's expectations. Now, he's been taken over by the obsession of finding his older brother and killing him with his own bare hands. If those aren't considered self-centered, he doesn't know what else to call them. Well, not that he gives a damn – it's just that it makes him hate his previous team-mate even more.

There's also the fact that Naruto can adapt to any environment that he's thrown into, and even turn his enemies to friends. (At this, Sasuke smirks because he's probably the only one who's turned from friend to enemy. Hah, take that, dumb blond.) There are too many examples to choose from. All the teams they were up against during the genin test – Kiba, the one who stinks of dog and is as loud and dumb as Naruto; Lee, the idiot who tries his best to mimic his teacher in style and hell knows whatever else; Shikamaru, probably the smartest of the lot but too much of a slacker to be of any threat to Sasuke; Neji, the revengeful white-eyed boy; even Gaara, who changed from an inhuman killing machine to the Kazekage. Anywhere Naruto goes, he makes it known that he's there, then he'll make a difference and turn everyone into sappy morons who live in peace and harmony. Sasuke hates this, partly because he dislikes change unless it makes him stronger, and mostly because he'll never be able to do the same thing. He sees himself as more of the bringer of anger – the complete opposite of Naruto. As a young kid, his family was massacred. Later, he placed Team 7 in danger because of Orochimaru's interest in him. Right now, strengthened by his training under the snake, he brings destruction to anywhere that he goes.

But most of all, Sasuke hates Naruto because the blond will never blame him for all that he's done. Sakura is always expressing her love, but Sasuke knows that deep down inside she faults him for leaving and breaking the team apart, for killing too many, for crushing her heart. Naruto is different, because he believes that Sasuke isn't wrong, and will try his hardest to bring his former team-mate back. Sasuke is sure, that Naruto will not go down without a fight (as proven by their battle before Sasuke departed), but he is also definite that if it's really necessary, Naruto will die for him. The boy who's always smiling, dying for the one who makes life difficult for anyone he comes into contact with. It's almost laughable, if it isn't really happening right now.

Sakura is screaming, but Sasuke can't hear it.

The rain is falling in torrents, but his vision isn't marred because of his Sharingan. Everything around them is in ruins because they've all become so strong – such a change from the first day they met and failed Kakashi's little bell test. Naruto is on the ground, smeared with blood. He is breathing, but only barely. Sasuke hasn't realized it yet, but he is on his knees, digging deep into the wet soil. He looks as battered as Naruto, but the difference is that he's alive and Naruto is dying.

He doesn't register Sakura's form as she rushes over to her team-mate (oh, right, Sasuke isn't one of them anymore) and tries her best to heal him, but she herself has run out of chakra from battling Sasuke's now-defeated sidekicks. He has never cared for them, anyway. Tears are rolling down Sakura's face as she presses her palms onto Naruto's limp body, frantic and unsteady. When that doesn't work, she comes over and drags Sasuke towards Naruto with her superhuman strength, screaming and sobbing at the same time. Sasuke lets her.

He drops down to Naruto's side against his own will, and tastes copper in his mouth. It's then that he realizes he's been biting down onto his tongue the whole time.

Naruto's face is pale and his eyes are unfocused, but they seem to meet Sasuke's red ones unwaveringly. Sasuke tries to look away, but then he feels a cold and weak hand on his – he whips his head back to stare at the dying boy, his eyes widening in shock.

He feels his heart stop beating as he is met with the brightest grin he's ever seen, and those ever-familiar sparks dancing within Naruto's blue eyes. It lasts for a few seconds, then fades away abruptly as Uzumaki Naruto leaves the world for good.

Sasuke knows then, that he's never really hated Naruto, because Naruto had been the only one who'd treated him as a friend and a comrade even when after his sudden departure; Naruto had been the only one who'd loved him truthfully and selflessly, and had always believed that he would return some day.

At eighteen years old, Uchiha Sasuke lets his fringe cover his eyes as he lowers his head, and cries for the first time in too long.