Title: Between You And Me.
Author: Gawd Complex
Summary: The fight between Sasuke and Naruto at the Valley of the End ended quite dramatic, and when they woke up, everything was quite mixed up. Literally. Timetravel with a twist
A/N: Sorry for the incredibly long wait. There were several reasons for the long, LONG wait. Firstly, I was following the whole Sasuke vs. Itachi battle in the manga. At first, I played with the idea of good!Itachi, then after one chapter I thought it would be a bad idea. And now it turns out he actually is a good guy. This is why I hate on-going manga. Secondly, I have been really busy with all kinds of stuff. Not forget to mention my inspiration sometimes leaves without as much as leaving a note. D:
Warnings: Sasuke is being temperamental. And Naruto has colourful vocabulary.
Disclaimer: Hereby, I solemnly swear I'm up to- Err. I mean, I solemnly swear I don't own Naruto.
Between Me And You
Chapter 2: Never Again
By now, Sasuke'd memorised every inch of the room he resided in. And he'd only been there for a few days, excluding the days he'd been unconscious. He wasn't used to this. And he didn't think he could get used to this.
It'd been an awfully long time since Sasuke had been forced into something. Maybe it was because of the fact his parents had died when he was young… After their deaths, no authority figure had ever really bothered to discipline him. And no one needed to. The young Uchiha heir had been perfectly well-mannered, so no one really saw reason to.
Sasuke stared at a crack in the wall.
He just wanted to go out, damn it! He just wanted… no, needed to see if his theory was correct. He just needed to know if he really was in the past. If his family were still alive- And if they were he could finally kill Itachi! After all, he was in Naruto's body. The shame of killing a fellow citizen would befall Naruto, a nameless orphan. The Uchiha name wouldn't be disgraced.
Well, at least as no one would generalise the whole idea into something along the lines of 'Little Kid Kills Uchiha ANBU Captain'. That would hurt the Uchiha's ego a bit. A lot, actually.
Something – his conscience maybe? – was screaming at him that Sasuke was getting his priorities mixed up. He would ruin his best, and only, friend's life and then worry about the reputation of the clan?
Shut up, Sasuke tried to reason with his conscious. Killing Itachi had always been his goal. There were no priorities getting mixed up, here. First killing Itachi, by any means necessary, and later on he'd maybe give a little thought at the destruction he'd caused.
If he came to that part, though. He'd probably have more interesting to do, like celebrating Itachi's death or resurrecting the clan. Though the latter wouldn't be really necessary if he could prevent the whole massacre this time.
Now things would go a lot easier if the Hokage would just let him go. The elder man had refused to give Sasuke permission to leave the hospital, or his room for that matter. He'd told the doctors and nurses to keep an eye on him and had left, off to check the village and fill in paperwork, Sasuke presumed.
Sasuke diverted his attention from the crack on the wall. He needed something to do. Killing Itachi sounded good enough. But, then again, he couldn't leave the room. He wanted to, but it seemed his door was locked. And, despite the fact that it hurt to admit, Sasuke had to acknowledge that he wasn't actually a threat. To anyone. His body was still weak, and too young to be doing anything remotely shinobi-like. Also, Naruto's body had an entirely different build than Sasuke's. Sasuke still hadn't gotten used to Naruto's body.
Sasuke tossed around angrily. The bed he occupied slowly started to feel like a rock under his body. He needed to stretch real bad. Huffing angrily, he sat up, and glared at the bed as if it was the bane of his existence. And, for now, it may as well be. Sasuke pushed himself from the bed, and no seconds after that, dizziness befell him accompanied by a huge headache.
Clutching his head, Sasuke refused to give up. Through his narrowed eyes, he still managed to glare at the bed. Sasuke felt childish, having an one-sided challenge with a bed of all things, but for now he refused to care, as it were the only reason he was still standing.
At least he understood why the Hokage didn't want him to leave the room now.
…For some reason or another that discovery left him entirely unsatisfied.
A soft sound behind him returned Sasuke to the world of the healthy. Behind him stood a nurse along with a food cart. She simply stared at him for a few seconds, taking in his fragile form that was heavily leaning on the bed, while breathing hard.
The nurse felt sorry for him. The kid seemed so frail, even when he glared at her as if trying to tell her to bother other patients. This was the first time she'd seen him conscious, and she was surprised by his glare. She'd heard he was a very friendly and social kid, though maybe a bit rude. Shrugging it off, she abandoned the cart and went over to help Sasuke. She gently grabbed his shoulder, and Sasuke flinched, neither expecting the touch nor appreciating it.
"Hey," she said soothingly, "Are you okay?"
Sasuke growled, and slapped her hand away. "I'm fine."
She didn't believe him, of course. What kind of nurse would? She stared at him. He was sweating, seemed a bit paranoid, had difficulties standing, was breathing hard and raggedy… There was nothing wrong with his eyes, though. Not this time. So it had to be something else…
"Hey, come on," the nurse said to Sasuke as soothingly as she could. The kid seemed a bit temperamental. "Let's get you into bed."
"I told you I am fine." Sasuke growled out, barely able to keep the anger out of his voice.
The nurse, however, didn't notice Sasuke's impatience, and attempted to lead Sasuke to his bed, totally oblivious of all the signs that Sasuke could explode by any minute. "Come on, just l-"
"I TOLD YOU I AM FINE!" Sasuke screamed, his frustration finally hitting its peak. He just wanted to go out! All he wanted was some fresh air, some violence, and avenging his clan! Kami, was that too much to ask?! He slammed his hand into the wall. Were he in his normal body it may have left a crack, but as this was a younger, underdeveloped version of Naruto's body, the only thing his fist did was hurting like hell.
The nurse flinched. Her colleagues had told her this boy could get a bit temperamental, but this? Knowing the stress wouldn't be good on Sasuke's condition, she didn't try to coax him into bed anymore.
"Okay, I believe you," the nurse attempted to soothe him. She walked back to the cart and pulled the meal assigned to Sasuke out of it. "Here you are." She placed the meal on the boy's nightstand, knowing Sasuke himself would be to stubborn to go lie on his bed, and too weak to hold the meal and trying to stand at the same time.
As she finally left the room, Sasuke's legs gave out. With a thud, he came down to the ground, and he felt relieved she was gone. Though he was still livid at her for reasons he wasn't quite sure of. ...And reasons he preferred not to think about, he thought a moment later as a splitting headache came over him.
He barely managed to climb onto his bed, his vision fading in and out.
He let out a frustrated sigh and just let his body fall down on the bed, before everything went completely black.
Between Me And You
The Sandaime hadn't felt this confused in a long while. People regarded him as a wise man, a man willing to sacrifice himself for his village, smart, intelligent, brave, kind and caring for all. And they weren't far from the truth. Most rumours had at least an ounce of truth in them, or they wouldn't exist. If you'd believe some of the rumours the Sandaime would be as fit and active as he'd been at the beginning of his Hokageship. The Sandaime chuckled. Yes, some rumours really pushed it a bit too far.
The Sandaime sat behind his desk in his office, vaguely staring to nothing in front of him. He was lost in thought, something he was quite often. He shook himself out of it, and took a look at the papers that laid on his desk. Yes, young Naruto's injuries were very odd.
The medical files on Naruto, along with an investigation report investigating Naruto's circumstances for the past weeks were both opened right in front of him.
The Sandaime gave the medical report another brief look. State upon being found: exhaustion as well as chakra exhaustion… bleeding eyes, slight case of malnutrition…
Then he looked at the investigation report. Umino Iruka, Naruto's teacher, upon investigation, replied he hadn't seen Naruto around for a few days, and hadn't gotten an absence call. He'd merely though the boy was skipping school again and hadn't looked much into it. The Sandaime only hoped Iruka hadn't let his prejudice blind him…
He looked at the other results of the investigations. After a lot of reading Sandaime could conclude the underlying message was clearly that most people hadn't cared much for Naruto's absence. Of course they noticed, but they'd been happy with his absence, and hadn't been that keen on finding out why.
Frowning, the Sandaime could only be glad that he himself had missed the havoc Naruto was almost always causing in the village, and had searched him out. The Sandaime frowned even deeper as he tried to make sense of what all of these reports were telling him. None of them could answer how Naruto had ended up in his condition…
Naruto had been absent for days… if he'd been unconscious all the time, it would explain the malnutrition.
The exhaustion would imply Naruto had used a rather powerful Jutsu, yet there were no traces of any Jutsu happening nearby. If that theory was correct, then that arose a lot of questions. What kind of technique had it been? To cause so much harm on the user, it surely must've been a forbidden technique. But Naruto had no access to any scrolls that would teach him nor was there found anything implying this at his apartment. What forbidden technique made the eyes bleed? Well, there was one, but that theory was too absurd, even for 'The Professor'.
So, a Jutsu performed by Naruto was unlikely, but possible. The boy did have large chakra reserves, just not the control… Sandaime could only sigh sadly as he knew how many holes this theory had, and he was just trying not to think of his last theory.
The last and most likely theory he had thought off was one he feared to be true. What if Naruto had been attacked? What if a villager, or a shinobi hadn't been able to restrain themselves, hadn't been able to look past a demon and hadn't been able to follow strict orders?
It would explain a lot more. Naruto could've tried to defend himself and exhausted himself, given his rather poor chakra control. Naruto's attacker could've attacked his eyes, as disgusting as the thought was. Kyuubi's chakra would of course try to heal Naruto's damaged eyes. A more likely theory for the chakra exhaustion. Demonic chakra was dangerous for a human body.
It would explain Naruto's behaviour. The boy seemed very defensive when Sandaime had last seen him in the hospital. Very untrusting and wary. Maybe the attacker had told him things… Maybe he knew about the fox? Maybe the attacker had played psychological games… It seemed highly likely. And for a child as fragile as Naruto…
Sandaime just couldn't get the submissive "Hai, Hokage-sama" out of his head. It seemed wrong compared to Naruto's normal 'old man!' and other things considered rude. The last time Sandaime had Naruto conscious, Naruto had seemed strangely docile. However, according to the personnel at the hospital, it seemed Naruto's behaviour had changed overnight, and now he was aggressive.
Of course, Naruto wasn't the only thing in the Sandaime's mind. There was also the trouble with the Uchiha clan. Itachi kept reporting to him and Sandaime was thankful for that. Soon, Itachi would have to make his final decision. Itachi had pledged loyalty to the village, but in his position, it was possible to turn until he actually fulfilled his mission. Sandaime could only imagine Itachi's troubles, especially with his younger brother suddenly getting sick two weeks ago.
The Sandaime could only watch as Itachi seemed more confused and troubled every other time they met. The Sandaime didn't know the specifics to young Sasuke's sudden illness. Only that the boy was found in one of the training grounds, in critical health. Perhaps an attack? But Sasuke wasn't the heir of the Uchiha clan… why would someone want to attack him? A personal attack to Fugaku? But why hadn't they chosen Itachi then? The Sandaime kept pondering. The boy had regained consciousness a week ago. Ever since then, Itachi only seemed more confused.
There was also this a new village building itself, Sandaime had heard. Otogakure, village hidden in sound. Not much was known about it, and the investigation squads still hadn't returned.
The Sandaime sighed. Being Hokage was a demanding thing, on both mind and heart. He could only hope that one day he'd found someone with a big heart and a bright mind to take over his tasks. Now that he thought of it, only a week or so before the attack Naruto had claimed he wanted to be Hokage with bright eyes.
Standing up and walking out of his office, the Sandaime only hoped Naruto's heart would remain big as ever, even after this situation.
Between Me And You
Naruto had never really liked silence. He'd known silence a lot, and he'd hated it. He would always listen to something, make sound himself or try to make someone else make sound, because he thought silence was so damned frustrating!
And so, there he sat. Surrounded by silence. Doing nothing. Lying still.
He believed his eye was twitching uncontrollably, but other than that he lay down perfectly still.
Had he been in his own house, Naruto would've done something. Maybe going out and bothering people. Or just quietly humming a song. Just… something. But now it was kind of impossible. He wasn't Naruto anymore. He was Sasuke now. Or at least, he was pretending to be Sasuke now. There's a difference, you know.
He knew Sasuke had been a people pleaser as child. Sasuke wouldn't go around bothering people. He'd go around… pleasing people, or something. Similar. Stuff.
Naruto had been kind of opposite as child, once he'd found out the nice tactic didn't work with him. Pretending to be Sasuke was going to be hard for him. He'd already blown it once or twice, but his parents kept saying it was probably due to his fever, despite the fact that his fever had almost died down by now.
He knew the following days were going to suck majorly. He just knew it.
When Itachi entered the room, his thoughts were confirmed.
"Sasuke," Itachi greeted Naruto. Fortunately Naruto had gotten used to it by now. He really didn't want to repeat the scene he'd created when he'd been called Itachi's brother for the first time. It was just too embarrassing to even think about it!
Shaking the thought off, Naruto sat up in his bed, and tried to appear sleepy. Which wasn't that hard since he'd barely slept whole night. This whole situation was just too confusing for his mind to handle, but he at least wanted to have attempted it.
Itachi seemed a bit worried, seeing the lines beneath the young Sasuke's eyes, but made no comment of it. Now that Naruto thought about it, he couldn't even be sure if Itachi had actually seemed worried. Itachi wasn't easy to read, quite the contrary actually.
What the heck? That couldn't be Naruto's vocabulary that just spoke. And again! Were the pompous Uchiha affecting his brains?!
Naruto plopped back on his futon and groaned miserably. He guessed it wouldn't take long before he himself, too, developed some fancy superiority complex.
"Otouto?" Itachi spoke.
Naruto had almost forgotten Itachi's presence. Which was easy, since Itachi was so damn stealthy and quiet.
He quickly sat up again. "Eh, yeah, Aniki?"
"Our parents would like you to join breakfast, if you're feeling well enough."
Naruto blinked. What?
"Eh, sure." He said, inwardly panicking and regretting his words instantly. He had no idea how he should behave with his parents! Wait, Sasuke's parents! He had no idea how to behave in the presence of Sasuke's parents! What if he would be acting very out of character in front of them?! What if they would suspect something?! What if they knew he wasn't their son?! What if…
His earlier musings on Sasuke's personality before the whole massacre were abruptly forgotten.
Itachi frowned, because of a reason Naruto was oblivious of.
"Are you coming?"
Naruto looked up to Itachi and flushed. He wasn't even with his parents yet, and he was already screwing things up. Could things get any worse?
Naruto nodded at Itachi, and stood up from his futon. He felt a bit weak, since he hadn't used his legs for a week or something. He was thankful to finally stand again, though. Lying around was just plain boring.
When Naruto looked up Itachi was gone.
Great, now he had to find out where they were supposed to eat by himself.
Naruto closed the fusuma behind him, and just choose a random direction to start his search. Needless to say, of course it was the door he'd been skipping all along because he thought there'd be no way the family ate there.
Naruto grinned sheepishly upon entering, then remembered he was Sasuke and quickly pulled what he'd like to call 'shy smile'. "Sorry, I couldn't really remember where the eating room was."
Naruto could have kicked himself for saying that… it was as close to the truth as could get, but still really suspicious. The fact Sasuke's parents would probably think he had an over imaginative mind never crossed his thoughts even once.
When Sasuke's parents glanced at each other Naruto felt his anxiety at the situation heighten.
He positioned himself on one of the cushions near the table, next to Itachi and opposite to his parents. His father frowned at him, his mother looked wary and Itachi… well, Itachi just looked like he always did.
Eating breakfast was done in an awkward silence. Well, at least Naruto thought it was an awkward silence. It seemed 'his' family was used to it. Even more so, when Naruto had tried to break the silence, Fugaku had promptly told him to be silent while eating.
So much for trying to break the ice.
Ungrateful bastard. Who needed etiquette anyway?!
Not that he'd say that out loud. He was babyish Sasuke, right? It would do him no good to speak like that. Many people thought Naruto lacked tack, and brains for that matter, but he wasn't a complete idiot!
Besides, he knew his fair share of masks, right?
He just needed some time to try and adjust… and the only thing he really needed were people who knew Sasuke well enough to notice when he acted out of character. Risky, but necessary. People who would criticize him when he acted differently yet wouldn't be entirely suspicious...
For a minute Naruto considered himself, but then realised that he hadn't known Sasuke all that well as a child. The only thing he did was envying him from afar. Something which would later become pity, understanding and the beginning of a frail friendship.
He could try… but then again, he could seriously screw up everything by doing that. Wasn't he supposed to have a sob story of his own when he would fight Gaara? He wouldn't have a sob story if he started befriending Sasuke…
His father and Itachi were also a choice. But Fugaku wasn't really fond of him, and Itachi seemed busy with ANBU stuff. His mother was too gentle and would just frown. Naruto figured he should worry about this at a more appropriate time. Apparantly he'd made his musing sounds, and now the Uchiha were staring at him.
"Soooo… may I talk now?" Naruto asked innocently, trying to avert their attention.
"No." said Fugaku.
As breakfast was finished, Naruto felt unsatisfied. For years, he'd completely romanticised what a dinner with family would be like, only to have his whole picture about the whole thing thrown upside down and tossed away by the bastards of the Uchiha clan. Sulking, he walked around the big house. His parents deemed him healthy enough to do other things than lying lifelessly in his bed. Naruto brightened up a bit at the thought. He really needed to get outside the Uchiha Compound and investigate all the horrible things that could've happened in his absence. He doubted his parents would let him, though, or at least Mikoto, Sasuke's mother would not let him. She didn't seem all that happy with him being outside the house, even if it was in the Uchiha Compound.
Parents really could be a pain in the ass, Naruto figured.
Naruto still wasn't entirely at ease with Itachi's presence. The guy had tried to kidnap him after all, and he'd deceived Jiraiya, incapacitated Kakashi and tortured Sasuke attempting to do so. The guy had also murdered his whole clan, save for his little brother. Seeing as Naruto was now his little brother, he only hoped he'd be save. Or better yet, he could try to avoid the whole thing at once and inform the Sandaime of Itachi's plans. Naruto brightened up considerably.
That was a brilliant plan! Why hadn't he thought so earlier! Dear lord, he always had known he had a hidden genius inside of him.
He was so busy floating through the house in a blissful cloud, that he hadn't even noticed Mikoto until he ran into her. With a thud, he fell backwards. "Ugh," he groaned, and unattractively rubbed his butt.
Mikoto stood in the doorway, holding a bag and looking at her younger son in wonder. "Sasuke… you seem much more lively." She smiled at him, happy to see her youngest son getting better. When they'd found him, those two weeks ago, in a deserted training ground in that condition… She'd feared for his life. Seeing Sasuke move before her now, in such a lively matter, even though it seemed rather out of character compared to two weeks ago, she still couldn't feel more happy.
Naruto grumbled a bit, feeling disappointed he'd lost the blissful feeling from only moments before. Then he noticed the bag in Mikoto's hands. "Are you going out?" Naruto asked hopefully. At Mikoto's nod, he felt a feeling of excitement well up. "Can I come with you?"
Mikoto hesitated for a bit. Naruto decided to thrown in some tricks he'd learned, and made a sorrowful face at her. "Kaa-san, please?"
Mikoto felt torn. She wanted her son to be happy, but what if he wasn't healthy enough and collapsed halfway? Or overexcited himself? He seemed much more excited than he normally did, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to take him with her…
"I'll watch Sasuke for you." Itachi's voice said from behind the two of them.
Both Mikoto and Naruto turned to face him. Naruto's face lit up, and ended up as a mix between gratefulness, horror and delight. Mikoto looked as if she was still in doubt.
After a short moment of contemplating, she answered her approval, may it be a bit reluctant.
Things between her and Itachi had been strained, especially after he'd been given his… role. Mikoto wasn't entirely sure if she could trust him anymore… but she trusted he'd take good care of Sasuke. She knew he would. Always.
Between You And Me
Groaning, Sasuke opened his eyes. His eyes tried to adjust to the unbearable whiteness of the room. He was just glad that he didn't wake up with a headache this time. Lately that seemed to happen a lot. Sasuke didn't have much time to think about anything as a voice interrupted his thinking.
"Awake, Naruto-kun?" A voice to his left said.
Sasuke blinked, and looked sideways to see the Sandaime sitting at his bedside. What the heck? Since when had Naruto and Sandaime been so close that the Sandaime would personally visit him in the hospital? Sasuke couldn't remember the Third visiting him when his clan had been massacred. Figures.
He glared to the old man next to his bed, who had no idea what he'd done wrong and who was still trying to figure him out. Sasuke couldn't help but ask the question that was bothering him. "Why are you here?"
The Hokage frowned. "Why shouldn't I be?" He avoided answering the question.
Sasuke glared at the Hokage with barely concealed rage. "Don't you have better things to do than visiting some stupid, nameless orphan who causes nothing but trouble to the unsuspecting?" Sasuke said, saying exactly what he thought of Naruto. He was too damn frustrated to even bother pretending like Naruto would. He didn't know what exactly happened at the Valley of the End, but whatever happened, happened at the wrong time! He had been this close to finding a quick solution to Itachi's life. And it was all the fault of the real owner of his body. Naruto might just be the second person on his hit list.
The Sandaime's eyes softened. "Naruto-kun…" he hesitated. Obviously he wanted to tell Sasuke something, but didn't know how to bring the news to an seven-year-old. Not that he was making things easier for him, but Sasuke still thought it was pretty pathetic of the leader of the village.
"Naruto-kun," Sandaime tried again. "I understand you'd rather not talk about what happened two weeks ago, but, understand, we must know what happened."
"I already told you," Sasuke sneered. "I don't remember."
The Sandaime didn't seem to believe him, but Sasuke watched fascinated as the Sandaime visibly decided not to question Sasuke any further. "Well… If that's so… how would you feel about a little walk around the village?"
Sasuke's eyebrows rose. The idea was actually very tempting, but it did sound a bit suspicious. "Why?" he asked the Hokage, never expecting a honest answer.
"Maybe fresh air would do you good." The Hokage said, cryptically.
Well, the answer was obviously an excuse, but Sasuke couldn't let this opportunity pass up. He'd be able to see in what kind of state the village was, or, more importantly, his clan. Would his father still live? His mother, and his uncle and aunt? Would Itachi still be in the village? And what would have become of Sasuke, himself? He obviously was here, in Naruto's body, so what happened to Sasuke's body? What happened to Sasuke's seven-year-old spirit? Or were there now two Sasukes? What had happened to Naruto's spirit after Sasuke entered the seven-year-old's body?
Sasuke looked straight into the Sandaime's eyes with an unreadable expression before nodding solemnly.
As Sasuke walked through the halls of the hospital, he couldn't help but notice the glances the personnel seemed to give him. Some seemed curious, after all, it seemed he had gained reputation for being a difficult and aggressive patient. Sasuke almost snorted. Almost. Because he felt too dignified to snort at the moment, no matter if it was his body he was in, or not. Others seemed a bit fearful. He bet those were the ones who had seen him have one of his 'tantrums'. In fact, he did recognise most of them. Wasn't that nurse over there the one who he had bitten? Seeing her reaction after he gave her a self-satisfied smirk, he did believe it was her.
The Hokage walked besides him and greeted all the people with a smile. Sometimes a wave, sometimes a nod of his head and sometimes a quick 'hello'. His presence seemed to give the personnel of the hospital assurance that Sasuke wouldn't attack them on the spot. And Sasuke wouldn't. He didn't want to blow his chance on getting out of the hospital. He needed this opportunity.
Going outside, Sasuke actually enjoyed his first inhalations of fresh air he breathed in after weeks. There always was an eerie air in hospitals. It felt great to breathe in fresh air after being exposed to the typical hospital air for a few weeks. His hospital window had always been locked, especially after he'd almost escaped through it.
The Sandaime and he seemed to walk nowhere in particular. Maybe the Sandaime actually wanted him to have some fresh air? No, of course not. Sasuke wasn't as naïve as to believe such a thing. He noticed the Sandaime seemed to absorb and observe his every move, and every reaction. Sasuke still hadn't figured out why the Hokage took such special interest in Naruto and it seemed he would never. The real Naruto had always taken the Hokage's interest for granted. Sasuke doubted he'd ever asked, or had ever wanted to ask. Sasuke also doubted the Sandaime had ever told.
After pondering, Sasuke decided to pay more attention to his surroundings. It would not do for him to walk aimlessly on the streets and accidentally bypassing his family and not even noticing.
As soon as Sasuke started paying attention, he noticed something wrong. Wrong or odd? He wasn't even sure what this was. Normally, when one walks besides the Hokage, most of the attention is diverted from him or her. However, as Sasuke walked next to the Hokage, he seemed to receive about as much attention as his companion was. Only the attention was a bit more hostile. People glared and gave him cold looks. An old man sneered. It seemed that Sasuke not only had landed a few years in the past, but the people's attitudes had changed entirely? Was this some sort of alternate dimension? Had he arrived in a dimension where Konoha actually inhabited cold and untrusting people, or delinquents? Nothing seemed that impossible anymore after switching bodies with his rival…
Sasuke kept walking next to the Hokage, feeling slightly uneasy under all the hostility. He kept his eyes to the ground, not wanting to attract any more unwanted attention when he heard a familiar voice call his name. A voice he sometimes still heard in his dreams. Sasuke tilted his head upwards, hope growing in his mind and eyes frantically searching for the source of the voice. He turned around quickly as he heard the voice come from his left. And then he saw her…
His mother. His mother who'd always cared and always cheered him up.
Sasuke barely noticed as his feet dragged him from the Sandaime's side without his conscious consent, and towards his mother. As he came closer, he realised it really was her. His throat went dry and suddenly his eyes felt hot. He mouthed her name, and took off in a sprint. He didn't even hear the Hokage call his – no, Naruto's name – from behind. He just blindly shoved people out of the way, and didn't even flinch as someone barely a clearly intentional elbow to his head
At last, he reached her and without hesitation Sasuke threw himself at her, hugging her waist and burying his head against her stomach. He felt hot tears running down his cheeks. He hadn't cried ever since the day his family had died… He was almost in awe with his own emotion – had he really possessed that much still? And he couldn't even stop crying. He couldn't even lift his hand to wonder at the substance falling down his cheeks, for he didn't want to let go of his mother.
Ever. Ever again.
Mikoto just stood there, almost as if paralysed, after the boy had just gone up to her and hugged her on the spot. She looked down and found a bright blond mop of hair. Bright blond? She only knew two bright blond children in Konoha, and since this one wasn't a girl... Was this the Kyuubi container? What was this all about?
Almost a few seconds after the boy had attached himself to her, the Sandaime came pushing though the gathering crowd. He seemed as equally surprised as Mikoto at the boy's actions.
"I'm sorry for this, Mikoto-san," the Hokage apologised, looking troubled. He felt the need to explain this. He knew how many people unjustly looked down on Naruto, and he knew this incident would not be received well. But first, he needed to remove Naruto from Mikoto. He approached the boy and noticed how his whole frame shook.
"He's crying," Mikoto said upon his questioning look, looking terribly confused herself. It seemed as if her mother instincts finally kicked in. Okay, so maybe he was Ky-… The container of Kyuubi, but … the child that was currently sobbing in her arms didn't seem like any sort of demon. Just a lonely and confused child. Mikoto knelt down and looked into the child's bloodshot eyes.
"Kaa-san…" he sobbed upon seeing her face so close. "Kaa-san!" He cried, and buried his head in her chest. Whatever plan Mikoto had made to comfort the little kid was thrown out of the window, as she stared at the boy with shocked eyes, her mind temporarily shutting down.
And then, all of a sudden, he stopped. The boy still seemed tearful, but tried to stop his tears from coming. He let go of Mikoto and wiped his eyes with his arm. It seemed as if he was incredibly embarrassed, especially after he saw the crowd that had gathered. The silence continued for only a second or two, before an unwelcome voice asked: "Kaa-san, are you okay?"
Sasuke snapped his head abruptly, and then looked to see the source of the voice, who was almost directly behind his mother.
"I…I'm okay." Mikoto said, still looking at Sasuke with wide eyes. "Really, Itachi." she finished.
"Itachi…" Sasuke growled, an old feeling welling up in his stomach. This time it wasn't the love and sorrow he'd felt upon seeing his mother. No, it was his never dying hatred for Itachi. Sasuke had envisioned this moment, had planned this moment, had decided that he would not lose his temper, unless Itachi had already killed the clan. But Itachi hadn't. And Sasuke wasn't as prepared for that scenario as he thought he'd been. He simply had gotten used to the fact his family had been killed by his brother. He'd lived by that fact, had shaped his whole life to this belief so he could live.
Sasuke hadn't noticed the tinier figure next to Itachi. Sasuke also hadn't noticed that the tinier figure looked very shaken upon seeing Sasuke. Sasuke also didn't notice as his teeth and nails started to lengthen, nor the fact that the atmosphere suddenly felt very heavy with wild, animalistic chakra. Sasuke did notice that he got angrier and angrier the more he looked at Itachi. He also noticed, though vaguely, that all his rationality was starting to fade.
I can't attack Itachi. I want to. Not here. I must. Not now. I have to wait. I can't wait. I don't want to wait. What do you mean consequences? Consequences be damned! Did Itachi ever face any consequences after offing the clan?! He killed so many people- he caused nothing but pain.
I'd give my life – both my twelve-year-old's and seven-year-old's, even Naruto's – just to see him die.
Sasuke didn't even know what happened next. Rage consumed his altogether. Next thing he knew… was nothing.
To Be Continued…
Wordcount: 5,862. Bloody hell, I really was on a roll all of a sudden. Months I've not come further than 2,000 words, and suddenly I have 6,000! The chapter is actually even longer than this. I've decided to split the whole thing in two, since I'll be leaving for a week the day after tomorrow and didn't want to delay any further. I'd planned a far more dramatic ending, but I guess this cliffhanger is also a bit dramatic. Sorry, but not really.
With this chapter I feel as if I've definitely enriched the storyline. Sandaime's worried and yet knows there's something odd in all of this. Mikoto's confused and doesn't know what to make of all of this. Itachi's the one who has his suspicions (you'll notice) and is also torn with his own life. Naruto's just trying to make the best of the worst and Sasuke has his own agenda and isn't of any help to anyone.
Something to look out for: More Fugaku stubbornness and pride in the next chapter, Itachi protects his brother, someone needs to sort out Naruto's mess and Naruto visits someone with someone's help.
If you see any obvious errors, please tell me. I'll fix them as soon as possible.
The next chapter will be much sooner. Don't forget to review. :)