Pairing: Undecided. Most probably SasuSaku.
Summary: AU. In a world where those caught out after Curfew are slaughtered, where Communism, fear and death are ways of life, and where the Akatsuki might as well be gods, Uchiha Sasuke discovers a group of people who still know what freedom means.
Disclaimer: Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto. Plot © me. The italised lyrics beneath the chapter title © The Last Firstborn — Celldweller.
Note: I've been getting a mass of PMs about this, so I want to clear this up so I won't have to repeat myself 2782352 times again; when I first learned English, I learnt how to spell words the British way, not the American one. Therefore, random words will have u's in them, and z's will be replaced by s's. Just so everyone knows. Enjoy!
Chapter One: The World
Oh man, I can't believe you did what he said you did
And he ran.
And he ran.
A cool breeze blew by.
Sasuke paused and relished in it. It felt so foreign, yet so familiar, this gentle wind on his skin; it had been too long. He looked up at the sky, so bright and beautiful and was that sunset, those wonderful, glorious colours streaked across the sky? If he had any energy in him, he would have laughed. Cried. Showed some kind of emotion.
But he was dead-tired and he needed a place to stay for the night. Curfew was drawing dangerously close, and if any Followers were to find him, he would be back at Square One.
Scratch that. He would be dead for running away. If he could escape once, he could escape again.
The Akatsuki wouldn't take any chances. Not with him.
"Aniki! What's happening, where are Otou-san and Okaa-san? Where are we, what's happening? Aniki, where are you going? Aniki!"
Sasuke shot up from the cement floor of the derelict warehouse he had taken refuge in, panting. He wiped the sweat off his brow and froze.
Someone was here.
He silently got up and crept to a dark corner, hiding behind an old crate. It was old and dusty, and he could barely make out the word 'FIREWORKS' stamped across it.
The warehouse itself wasn't brand new either. Sasuke could tell just by looking the height of the ceiling and the faded graffiti on its walls that it had been around for quite sometime, probably even before the Takeover, if anything before then even still existed.
There were voices.
There was more than one person here.
Sasuke cursed under his breath. Maybe he could have taken out one person, but he was in no condition to take down two or more. He was tired, famished, and the sheer torture of what he had been put through for the past ten years was enough to send anyone to an early grave.
But he had finally tasted freedom again for the first time in a decade, and he wasn't about to give that back so easily.
"Naruto, you idiot! Now I know why Sakura hates teaming up with you when we have to do rounds."
"I'll have you know that anyone would be honoured to do their rounds with me, and that Sakura-chan is missing out big time."
Sasuke strained his ears. It appeared that there were only two of them, and at least one of them was a klutz if the ruckus they were making was anything to go by. Still, it didn't mean that they would be easy to take down.
Unless this was a trap.
Sasuke panicked for a brief moment. What if They had already had his location and had sent these two in to lure him out? What if this was some sort of trick?
"And I'll have you know that if anyone else was here, we'd be dead right now. I mean, even that dog that hangs around with Kiba is more graceful than you."
"Hey! Well at least… At least I'm a natural blonde!"
"What? How dare — I am so a natural blonde!"
"Prove it then!"
"… Naruto, you're disgusting. You know that, right? I can't see how Sakura puts up with you."
Sasuke looked around him and found a foot-long steel rod, one end sharp and jagged. It was thick and looked heavy, but the few hours' worth of sleep he got was a lot more than he usually had back at the prison.
He picked it up. He could barely hold it upright, but it would have to do.
"It helps when you have looks as handsome and dashing as mine. Maybe you should take a leaf out of her book and get with the — Holy shit!"
Sasuke had run out from behind the crate with the rod, and had pointed it to the neck of the closest person to him which, in this case, was this 'Naruto' boy, whose body instantly became rigid.
"The hell do you think you're doing?" he all but screamed in outrage.
"Who sent you here?" Sasuke demanded. He had to get this over with quick; with every second, the pole felt heavier and heavier.
"Whoa, whoa, there," the other person — a girl — said. "We — we don't mean you any harm. We were just sent here to look around, you know?"
"Who are you?" he said, refusing to give in to his aching arms.
"Look, we're not here to hurt you. Put that thing down. Please."
Sasuke turned his head to the left, at the girl. She was blonde, as he had guessed from her and the boy's earlier conversation. But her eyes. They were a bright blue, and as Sasuke squinted and got a better look at them, he almost dropped the rod.
She had no pupils.
After the initial shock, Sasuke's grip on the bar tightened. This meant that she must have had some kind of contact with the Akatsuki and that she had been in the Detainment Unit at least once.
But it didn't make any sense.
If the Akatsuki had planned to trick Sasuke out of his hiding place, They would have chosen normal-looking people, not people that Sasuke could have easily linked to Them. They weren't stupid.
They wouldn't have gotten to where they were now if they were fools.
So against his better judgement, he lowered the bar.
The boy gave a loud sigh of relief and the girl just rubbed her temples with her index and middle fingers.
"Hey, thanks man," the boy said to Sasuke, swinging an arm around his shoulders.
"Don't. Touch. Me," Sasuke snarled and shoved him away in the direction of the girl.
"Okay, okay," the girl said, grabbing the boy's arm before he aimed a punch at Sasuke. "Now we're all best buddies and stuff, mind telling us who you are?"
"What?" She looked confused.
"Yes, I do mind." It felt odd, Sasuke thought, having to speak again. His vocal chords were strained due to their lack of use, and his mouth parched from the lack of water.
The boy grumbled a "Bastard" and was quickly shushed by the girl.
"You were a prisoner, weren't you?" she asked after a pause.
Sasuke glanced up at her. "Yeah," he said, and even though he already knew the answer, he added a "you?"
"Yeah," she replied.
The boy mumbled something under his breath to the girl that Sasuke couldn't hear — he wasn't used to having to strain his ears either; the guards usually shouted — and she nodded.
"I think we can trust you," she said, smiling slightly.
Sasuke snorted. "And what makes you think I can trust you?"
"You didn't kill me, did you?" the boy reasoned. "Doesn't that prove that you trust us?"
"Don't flatter yourself," Sasuke sneered. "Your life was spared merely on a whim."
"Look," the girl interrupted. "I'm assuming that you somehow miraculously managed to escape the Akatsuki, and that They're out looking for you. I'm also assuming that you have nowhere to go now, and are currently seeking shelter, food and probably serious first-aid, looking at your wounds. Am I right?"
Grudgingly, Sasuke nodded.
"That settles it then. You're following us."
"Where to?" Sasuke couldn't help but feel slightly intrigued. After all, he had only seen the inside of the Cell and the Chamber for the past ten years.
"Konoha," the boy said, and he promptly turned his back and began walking out of the warehouse, the girl beckoning him to come, before following him herself.
"You know, I still don't think we can trust him."
"Me neither, but Tsunade-sama would slaughter us if she found out we came across another person and left him there without taking him back to Headquarters first."
Sasuke trailed behind the two blondes, not paying attention to their conversation. It was nearly nightfall now — had a day already passed since he had won back his freedom? — and he hoped that they reached this Konoha place before dark.
"I never got your names," Sasuke called out to the two people ahead of him.
The boy snorted. "It's impolite to ask for other people's names without offering yours first."
The girl ignored her comrade.
"I'm Yamanaka Ino," the girl — Ino — said, glancing at him briefly before looking back to the front. "And he," she said, jerking a thumb in the boy's direction, "is Uzumaki Naruto."
"You didn't have to tell him," Naruto grumbled.
"Whatever. I'm tired. Let's just get back to base before we're caught out past Curfew."
"How much longer do we have to go?" Sasuke asked.
They stopped at a dead end of an alley.
"Here," Naruto said, pushing four of the bricks in different places and motioning Sasuke to follow him and Ino as they stepped through the brick wall.
Sasuke's eyes widened briefly. A hologram.
"Welcome to Konoha," a woman — probably their leader, Sasuke assumed — said.
A crowd of people had gathered around Naruto, Ino and himself to welcome them as soon as they had stepped through the wall, the woman at the front leading them.
"I see Naruto and Ino have brought home a stray kitty," she smirked.
Sasuke scowled at being referred to as such.
"Well? Aren't you going to introduce yourself? It's only polite, you see, as you're on our territory now."
Naruto chuckled and nudged Sasuke lightly. "Don't worry," he laughed. "Tsunade-baa-chan barks more than she bites."
Sasuke sighed. There was no getting around this now.
He just hoped they would give him a chance to explain this later.
But he was proven wrong when, a split second after he said his name—
—he found three dozen guns aimed at his head, ready to be fired.
... Maybe I should stop starting random AUs, but it's an addiction.
Well, this is the start of a very long, long-winded AU, kiddies. This is my first original-plotted AU fic (Monochromatic does not count; I'm just going with the flow on that) so any constructive criticism is very very welcome and appreciated. Bear in mind that I only just started properly writing fanfics about a month ago and that I'm still not completely comfortable with writing in English, so I need all the help I can get. That, and I want to have your babies. ;D
This story, unlike Smear It Splendid and The Taking, will not be fast-paced and focus so much on the plot. Again, this is another experimentation, and it'll centre around the characters more and how they react to events in the plot. So some chapters may be long and winding, and you can expect this fic to contain many chapters and for updates to be slow, as I really want to think this one through properly.
... You know, I don't get why so many people hate Ino. D; I personally adore her and her friendship with Sakura.
Oh, and people who PMed me, my e-mail is on the fritz, so hold on for a day or two please:3
Why yes, I do like to write very long notes that no one will read.