Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
A/N: Final Chapter! I hope you enjoy, its been a long road, thanks all for your glorious reviews! Info on part 2 below!
Warnings: Graphic violence and yaoi.
Naruto hummed to himself, completely out of tune as he fished some more clothes off the floor as he finally picked up the long forgotten washing basket, the straw wicker crinkling in his hands as he strolled leisurely through the lofty apartment.
The dying rays of the sun were gleaming in through the large glass windows that stretched from top to bottom along the narrow hallway. The sight was so impressive, Naruto couldn't help but pause to take in the view; the sun was dipping below the horizon in a blaze of red that stretched far out into the sky, where at the edges purple and blue were encroaching upon it like spilt ink.
The last beams of orange light made his blond hair sparkle a luxurious gold, not that he noticed, and he wondered what Sasuke was doing right this moment. He was still a little annoyed that he hadn't been allowed to go with him, but he was able to console himself that if it involved a bunch of old bags nattering on and on, then he wouldn't want to be there in the first place.
Sighing under his breath, he altered his grip on the wicker basket a little and padded off from by the window, leaving the view behind him as he trotted off glumly in the direction of the kitchen.
He was just stepping down a random wooden step in the middle of the hallway when there was a great lurch, and he was sent flying to the ground, basket full of clothes meeting the floor for the second time that day.
He hit the floor with little grace, and slammed against the wood heavily, caught by complete surprise.
He rubbed viciously at a spot on his arm where he had fell and turned to stare accusingly at the floor that had turned to what felt like quicksand just a few moments ago.
He frowned as he looked at the clothes strewn across the floor.
Iruka was going to get mad for getting them dirty again.
But…what was that? An earthquake? He'd felt a couple before, considering he lived in Japan, but he had never felt one quite like that- it was over way to fast for the amount of shaking.
Maybe it was just because he was in a building, and not in the mountains like he was used to?
Confused, he stood, not bothering to pick up the clothes, but instead turning to find the kitchen, wanting to check that Iruka was all right.
The sounds that had been coming from there all afternoon had stopped, and as he got closer Naruto felt his feet slapping the floor faster and faster until he paused in the threshold of the doorway.
He blinked, but there was no Iruka in sight- despite the way several of the kitchen appliances hummed.
But before he could think or consider anything else, Iruka was bursting back into the room, a panic stricken look on his face.
His face was pale, and he looked absolutely terrified.
That was when Naruto first registered something must be wrong. Not when the blast or whatever it was hit, but when Iruka, acting as if the demons of hell were on his tail grabbed his shoulders with a desperate cry and immediately tried to move him out the room for no discernable reason.
"Iruka!" he cried out in confusion, and not a little pain; the way Iruka had a death grip on his shoulders, he thought they might pop out their sockets.
"We need to get out, out of the building, its not safe!"
Naruto had never felt more out of the loop as he did then, being physically herded by a positively disturbed Iruka out the front door. The normally paranoid man didn't even bother to lock the door behind them or bring or touch anything, and was practically running, pushing Naruto along in front of him.
"What do you mean its not safe-?!"
His words were cut off as another blast rattled the building, in a way that suggested this one was much closer. Some plaster fell from the ceiling and the pair were forced to bang and cling to the walls until it was over.
Blinking against the mist covering his eyes, he heard Iruka cough from beside him, before he felt a forceful arm push at his back from nowhere, causing him to nearly fall down the stairs.
He got the picture though, and stumbled and staggered his way as quickly as possible down the seeming never ending flights of stairs, Iruka pushing him from behind at all times with a desperate urgency.
"It's the tenmakashi," raved Iruka with wild eyes as they tripped their way down the stairs in haste. At Iruka's words, Naruto almost pitched over the railing.
What the hell was going on?!
From behind him, Iruka nodded, his head bobbing like a float on a stormy sea.
"I don't know much more than that," hissed Iruka with extreme anxiety, "but we need to get out of this building- we can't get trapped here."
"But," spluttered Naruto, as they practically flew down the cold concrete steps, "but- you mean they're coming after me again?"
He didn't see the way Iruka bit his lip or the way his eyes darted around.
"No- I don't think so anyway," he said hurriedly, out of breath and panting, as he didn't slow their pace any, "I think they're attacking everyone."
Iruka didn't say anymore for a while and Naruto could only focus on one step after another as he was shepherded down the stairs. He didn't understand- everyone? Did that mean all the youkai in the city, or…or what?!
He didn't get what was happening so suddenly- hadn't he been picking up the washing just a minute ago? What was happening to make Iruka act like this? There had been a couple of shakes, but nothing really dangerous, why was Iruka so terrified?
It may have been the tenmakashi, but it seemed all too far away, far too improbable that they'd attack like this, in broad daylight!
Well, not daylight exactly, he amended as he glanced out of the few passing windows in their rapid descent, it was easily turning to dusk already, but surely they didn't have the power to get away with this sort of thing?!
The government, or something would quickly to put a stop to anything public- they wouldn't even know what this was about.
He half expected to already hear sirens in the background, but there was no such thing.
As they finally reached the ground floor, Naruto was half beginning to expect that Iruka might be going mad when the first sounds of screaming began, terror colouring the voices.
Shocked, Naruto glanced across the wide space of the marble lobby to see a whole crowd of people running outside through the glass doors.
And around them inside the building the few staff members left were panicking, holding trembling cell phones, glued to their ears and one or two were even crouched under the reception desk.
Mouth open, he gaped, and was stilled of all movement until Iruka grabbed his upper arm none-too-gently and pulled them across the lobby area and out through the doors.
The first thing Naruto felt was the wind, which blew dust into his eyes and forced them to close momentarily. When they opened, it was onto pure chaos, people running everywhere; it seemed to have caught all the workers heading home after a long day and now they were dashing to and fro, some standing still. Garbled voices rang out here and there and the sheer mass of people seemed to act as one mass.
The question that seemed to be on all their lips was the same.
'What was happening?'
Naruto couldn't make any of them out and it was a surprise when Iruka jerked once more on his arm, leading them down the steps, holding on tight as people bashed into them like a great tide they had to fight against.
It took Naruto a moment, still looking around him in shock to hear that Iruka was speaking to him.
"- to go, and leave here. I think I know a place we can go…oh Kakashi, where are you?"
Naruto looked at him helplessly, limbs numb and his mind feeling weak.
People were starting to scream around him and he couldn't bring himself to move, or do anything. He wasn't even thinking properly.
He watched as Iruka wrung his hands in anxiety before him, head darting to and fro above the crowd, as if trying to find someone, or find a way out.
And then his eyes widened, and his mouth opened, and Naruto couldn't even tell what it was that he said, or even what he was trying to say, only that he'd never seen Iruka-sensei with that look on his face before.
That was the very last thing he thought before the world went black, the sounds of shrill screams and metal the last thing ringing in his ears.
All he saw was black.
His thoughts were hazy and slow, and his body felt like it was made of stone rather than flesh, it was so heavy. He couldn't bring it to do anything.
He tried to lift an arm, and his fingers only twitched. Or at least, he thought he did.
He couldn't see anything, and his body felt weird, strange like it was numb. And heavy- really heavy.
It was cold.
A low, guttural noise made its way through tight lips and a closed throat, and the sound echoed painfully in his own ears.
It was enough at least, to know he wasn't dead; not yet anyway.
He gave another groan, but still his vision was block black, even though he was sure he'd pried his eyelids open.
Why couldn't he see?
His thoughts were starting to become less hazy and more coherent as he began to panic.
Why couldn't he see?!
He blinked vigorously, as if that would bring back his sight and for an agonising while nothing happened. Instead, he started to become aware of other things; like the way his body actually hurt, and that there was something cold and hard pressing against it.
He tried to shift against whatever it was, but there was no luck, he was effectively stuck wherever he was.
But finally, his vision started to sway, fuzzy outlines starting to take shape as he was brought to fuller consciousness. It was hard to open his eyes against the light- which made him want to close them- but he persevered, and colours began to emerge, and shapes.
But when he could see again, he didn't know what to make of it.
All he could see was the paved ground, and a tiny triangle of blinding white light.
He started to pant, his chest tightening as more panic bubbled in his stomach. The heaviness was starting to shift into pain, and as he tried to shift again he almost screamed at the pain that was seizing his entire body. Especially his head.
As it was, he couldn't help but let out a pained groan, more like whimper and a couple of rebellious tears fell to the dusty ground he was pinned against.
His ears perked in hope as he heard his name screamed out from somewhere around him.
He heard footsteps and finally strange sounds echoed in the tiny space he was trapped in, like stone shifting against metal. It was jarring and echoed sharply.
But soon, light was flooding him again, and some of the weight pressing down on his body was removed. Hope filling him, he tried shifting again and was rewarded with success, as he was able to sit up, body numb as it twisted.
Though, it came with a price as he immediately clutched his head, which was throbbing with a fierceness that left him dazed.
Scrapped hands clung to his shoulders, and his head tilted just enough to see who was holding him.
"…Iruka…" he managed to mutter.
The brown haired man smiled weakly and immediately began to pat him down for injuries.
For once, Naruto made no move to complain or try to stop him.
Fingers fussed over the tan hand clutching his head and Naruto finally relented, only to hear a gasp.
"Oh my god, you're bleeding."
Fingers pressed gingerly against the rather large head wound that was staining Naruto's golden hair a bloody red that was dripping all across the fox's face in dirty streaks, dust sticking to it.
"It's okay, they always look worse then they are," Iruka worried, failing miserably at trying to reassure himself, "Naruto, do you feel dizzy at all, or sick? This seems to be the worst, oh thank god you're alive…"
Naruto squinted at him in confusion, before he swivelled his aching head gingerly, battling dizziness to see that he was sat in the middle of a field of what looked like boulders. As his eyes focussed he could see that it was closer to broken masonry, with a mix of glass shards and shafts of wrecked and twisted metal that could easily run a person through.
There was also fire; a burning that was filled with something that smelt a lot like petrol that made his nose itch fiercely.
"A part of a building exploded," commented Iruka distractedly as if reading his mind, and for the first time Naruto noticed that Iruka had scratches all over him, his clothes were torn and he had a gash on his arm, "it was like a grenade or something, I don't know…we have to get out of here!"
Iruka then dragged him up out of the rubble, small bits of plaster falling off the blonde's clothes in clouds.
They both hobbled out of the debris to flatter ground, opposite the Uchiha building.
A lot of the people had disappeared, and the others that remained were nothing but faceless blobs swimming in and out of the range of his vision.
Iruka had wrapped an arm around his shoulder, as if to give him support. Night had settled over them; Naruto dimly wondered how long he'd been out. The fact he'd nearly been crushed by an exploding building seemingly unimportant.
Instead, he stared at the building that had only been his home for a very short while.
"-It's going to be okay Naruto, we're going to go, somewhere safe and we can get your head seen to and- Naruto?"
The blond had brought up his hands and pushed against the man's chest, managing to separate them by a good foot. Limp blond bangs, full of dirt and steadily drying blood, swayed over his face, hiding his eyes.
"I…I gotta…" he clenched a fist tightly, taking the pain it caused his cut palms to bring determination to his body, " I have to go find Sasuke!"
Iruka stared at him, taken a back for a moment before frowning, face contorting in exasperation.
"Naruto," he scolded, "Sasuke can take care of himself just fine, you need to come with me and find somewhere safe!"
The man reached out to try to take the blonde's arm once more but Naruto managed to evade the grab, blue eyes burning in ferocity.
"No! Sasuke went to that meeting, and I'm sure that that's what those fucking hunters were after, I have to go find Sasuke!"
"Naruto, be reasonable, you have no idea where he could be, and you're just putting yourself in more danger to go looking for him!" Iruka snapped, "Do you think that he'd want you to go risking your life for that?!"
Naruto reeled back like he'd been hit and stared speechless at Iruka before an ugly scowl broke out over his features.
"Don't you try to tell me what he'd want! Especially so you can get your way!"
This time it was Iruka who jerked back, stunned.
Naruto set his jaw.
"I'm going to go find him- you can go to somewhere safe, but I'm not leaving my mate all alone!"
The blond began to turn and Iruka reached out desperately.
"Naruto- listen to what you're saying" he said, pained, "surely you can't- Naruto!Come back, Naruto!"
It was all Iruka could do to watch as Naruto began running away from him, off towards hunters waiting for him. Off running towards Sasuke.
The man couldn't even bring himself to move and follow after him as he saw the last of blond hair whip around a corner.
And then he was gone.
The wet, gouging sound of rendered flesh filled the air, blood splattering in thick red showers to stain the grimy tarmac on the road.
Any last scream or gasp of life was stifled before the body hit the ground, boneless limbs spread haphazardly.
Sasuke's lip curled in some distaste as he stepped over the body of a young human that had got in his way, along with many others.
It had been nearly an hour already, and he'd hardly managed to get anywhere! The streets were full to bursting with a chaotic mix of youkai and tenmakashi. At times, it was impossible to distinguish the two from each other.
It was hell around him, flames burning brightly and fighting occurring wherever one would look; shiny metal weapons clashing against claws and growls.
Metal went whizzing right over the Uchiha's head to crash and burn into the side of a building nearby, but Sasuke paid it no attention as he made his way through, trying to get down the street almost sedately, taking his time to dodge around the masses of bloody people, and avoiding the various flying lethal objects just waiting to impale him.
It was a strange scene to find amid the tall buildings, and bathed under sickly yellow electric lighting, when it appeared far more ancient in its simple brutality.
He frowned in frustration as his path was once again blocked by a hunter, who was holding a curved silver sword, the colour mostly disguised by the thick red sliding down the slippery edge as it was removed from a moaning body on the ground.
Sasuke didn't even spare the fallen youkai a glance; it was no one he knew.
His swirling eyes watched with a startling ease as the hunter, faceless and nameless swiftly moved forward in a leap, perhaps hoping to catch him off guard with his speed, but it was pathetically easy with his eyes to see right through it and simply turn to the side out of range, and with lightning speed reflexes reach out and grab the wrist holding the weapon.
Before the ningen could even begin to form a counter attack, he was at the mercy of Sasuke's sheer speed, his arm being bent right round until it could hold no more force and a sharp crack shot through the air as it broke cleanly in half.
The sword fell from a now limp hand.
Sasuke couldn't help the feral growl that resonated from his throat as he went with his momentum and spun right round, releasing the hunter, not bothering to watch where the man fell several metres away, head colliding with a post, knocking him out as blood trickled from his skull. Or it might have killed him; Sasuke didn't bother to think on it as he took the opportunity to slip further down the road, through a sudden opening of free space.
A growl rumbled deep in his chest; he was getting nowhere, and even the satisfaction of slaying young, inexperienced hunters was losing any ability to relieve his frustration. He had to find Naruto, and that goal seemed impossible with all the setbacks he kept on suffering.
He'd come out of the tunnel in the basement of a multi storey car park, thankfully near the exit.
But somehow, tenmakashi had staked out the entrance, and hiding behind cars, and dodging out the way of flaring explosives had taken well over half an hour to even get out onto the main street; some of his fellow demons didn't make it that far.
And then he'd been forced to cut his way through the hordes of seemingly limitless numbers of hunters. It hadn't been too difficult so far, considering there were plenty of other youkai to serve as a distraction, and that the hunters so far had been easy enough to cut down, young, inexperienced, probably never fought toe to toe with a demon before, let alone one of his calibre.
But, he knew that the more dangerous members had to be around, lurking somewhere, and he didn't like it one bit. If they weren't here, where were they?
His entire body rattle with suppressed rage at the thought they could be near where Naruto was. And despite that he'd managed to get this far, he wasn't completely uninjured, a thick gash on his side that was thankfully more flashy than deep, and he'd wasted precious strength with the sheer numbers of the little rats running around.
He grunted in the slightest of pleasure as he finally made it to the end of the street, hoping to get out into the more spread out and empty surrounding parts of the city, where hopefully he'd be able to make better time.
But just as he ran round the corner, he was forced to dodge, skidding hard to the left to avoid becoming impaled with exploding building, deadly shards of glass and steel showering all over him as he was forced to raise his arms to protect his face.
The blow rang through the air, crackling the night air around it and the force it generated had Sasuke slamming into the rattling metal shutters of a closed shop on the other side of the street, his shoulder completely pinned by a long jagged piece of metal that had run him straight through.
He gasped out in both pain and surprise, warm blood gushing out from the wound to soak his clothes, overflowing to drip to the ground.
He hissed through clenched teeth, his entire body throbbing as he placed a trembling hand on the hilt of broken metal that was sticking out of his body.
He tested it with his fingers and cursed when he found it to have completely run through, all the way out to lodge him into the building behind him.
Not to mention, it was excruciatingly painful; it took a lot not to cry out as he shifted, feet scuffing the ground as he tried to dislodge the shaft slightly so he could remove it easier. But the slight movement only made it sting his nerves even greater and he was forced to stop after only a few moments.
His grit teeth, with fangs digging into his lip, cracked under the pressure of his jaw as he bore the pain.
"Heh, not so grand now are we?"
He shot his head up, to find a hunter- a woman- walking toward him. She had a couple of friends too, still partly hidden behind a shoddy barricade of corrugated metal.
He hissed once more in displeasure and spat to the ground in front of her, blood staining the concrete.
The woman didn't appear impressed or fazed in the slightest, only cocked an eyebrow that nearly disappeared under her purple hair. She grinned widely, eyes gleaming in sadism as she approached, now only a few feet away.
"Seems like you've got yourself in a bit of a spot there, handsome, why don't I help you out?"
Sasuke felt his face contort in anger as he began to renew his pulling; straining against the damned metal that was making his body weaken with pain.
She chuckled; sounding happy as she drew a shiny metal blade from the confines of her rather scandalous and revealing get up, which including copious amounts of fishnet.
She took the last final steps, lifting the blade high, intent on his throat, an artery, perhaps his heart if she was feeling like it.
Like hell he would let this bitch touch him!
But before he, or even she, could do anything, the woman was forced to jump back to avoid being hit with a set of gnarled claws, though they still managed to catch her cheek, sending thin trails of blood spinning in the air.
She landed just about upright, finding her footing quickly despite her surprise; she was obviously better trained than the average hunter.
It was Kakashi; the man seeming to have appeared from out of nowhere, and now was standing between the pinned Sasuke and the female hunter.
Sasuke grit his teeth together, and tsked, more than irritated; Kakashi didn't have to jump in for him.
But Kakashi seemed to have read his mind for he called out.
"As if I couldn't, Sasuke."
Sasuke growled, only further irritated, and in a fit of ferocious fuelled strength, placed his free hand on the metal and pulled, hissing only minutely as the steel shaft slid from his shoulder with resistance, finally leaving his body with a sickly squirt of blood.
Sasuke let it drop to the floor in disgust, even as his shoulder burned in agony, the surrounding skin fizzing as a dark black like chakra began to dance over the wound, the flesh already starting to knit back together now the obstruction was removed.
The clang of the metal as it dropped to the floor was enough to get the woman sneering, though the excited gleam in her eyes belied her true feelings.
Excited that more prey had arrived for her.
The woman jerked, jogging backwards away from the two youkai, back towards the little barricade they'd set up as an ambush.
"Yeah, yeah, I know- go at 'em then."
She sounded almost grumpy, and Kakashi tensed, ready to spring.
"Sasuke…" he growled.
The Uchiha nodded in understanding, moving to be level with the other man, rolling his injured shoulder experimentally. It hurt, but it was healing well already. Satisfied he was no longer handicapped, he faced the little group of hunters head on.
They were obviously some of the more experienced, dangerous ones he'd only just been thinking about.
He was sure that he by himself could take them, so with Kakashi here it shouldn't be any problem at all, except that damn ningen seemed to have something up their sleeve, as the ominous sounds of clicking metal echoed from behind the flimsy barrier, the hunter woman keeping a keen eye on them as she fingered the blade in her hands appreciatively.
Sasuke just managed to catch a glimpse of a gleaming barrel before he was jumping out the way, moving to desperately roll behind a large metal bin on wheels, that was full of scrap cardboard. Kakashi joined him not a moment later, grey hair being swept up in the breeze as a rain of bullets followed after them, rattling off the metal container like a swarm of angry bees and painting lines of potholes on the brick above them, sending showers of brick bits over their heads.
"Guns huh?" asked Sasuke dryly, as he irritably shook plaster dust of his shoulders.
Kakashi nodded, and absently lifted the headband that covered one of his eyes, revealing the red swirl of his Sharingan eye.
"This might be a bit tricky."
Sasuke snorted softly to himself as they squatted back to back, listening to the ricochet of metal on metal, prepared for a wait.
But, far earlier than either expected, the sound stopped.
Both paused their breathing, listening to the commotion going on somewhere only a few metres away.
"Why did you stop?! That thing won't hold up much longer!"
The screech was followed by a whimper, and a restrained sigh, all from different people.
"Anko-sama, we only have a limited supply of the specially designed bullets at the moment…"
An irritated sigh, and then the scraping of something on the ground.
"So we'll do this the old fashioned way? Good, its much better," the woman purred in reply, and blood red eyes clashed momentarily in understanding, before both youkai dashed out from their place in opposite directions.
The clash of sparking metal told Sasuke Kakashi was engaged with the woman. He focussed on the two other hunters, whom were only half standing, caught off guard.
Sasuke felt a smirk tilt his lips, as he easily punched through the corrugated iron like butter. It did its job and the two hunters jumped out the way to loop back behind him.
At least they seemed to possess some skill, he thought as he turned to face them.
Both had scowls and determined faces, but Sasuke didn't much care as he parried one, making the outstretched hand carrying a weapon glance by him, and being able to catch the other one right across the stomach, fisting his hand upwards to try to crush the man's ribs.
Unfortunately, the hunter managed to flip back, avoiding the fate of punctured lungs and Sasuke scowled as the one behind him tried to catch him with a blow to the head, which he managed to dodge simply by ducking, reaching out behind his back with reaching claws.
He felt them come in contact, ripping through cloth easily, but the purchase of flesh was unfortunately denied to them.
Hissing, Sasuke skidded abruptly to the side, getting the both of them back into his sights.
But he barely dodged in time to see a blade slip past his cheek, the woman having lunged from the middle of her fight with Kakashi to take a stab at him.
His surprise was quickly overcome as he smirked at her.
Two could play at that game, as he twisted, trying to gut her right down the middle, he knew Kakashi was moving to take the twosome somewhere behind them, switching opponents as easily as water.
Sasuke grunted to show he heard as he ducked out of the woman's lunging range once more, dimly hearing Kakashi collide with one of the male's by the pained cough from a human.
"You know what to do after this, right?"
Sasuke scowled, brow furrowing as he attempted to rake his claws all over the woman's infuriating face, but she managed to dodge once more, laughing.
"You just worry about your own responsibilities Kakashi."
The youkai didn't make another reply as he managed to flip one of the hunter's, making him smack right into the other one, the strength of the blow sending them both skittering across the road, groaning, but still conscious.
Kakashi took the brief reprieve to intervene with the woman Sasuke was fighting against, bringing up his long wolfen claws to clang against the blade in her hands, his claws easily matching the tensile strength of the steel.
He pushed on her, his strength more than a match for her, and pushing Sasuke out of range at the same time.
He growled out as he met her gleaming eyes.
"Sasuke, go now!"
Sasuke stood there, and stared at the form of the man who had raised him since he was a young child.
He caught the pair of males stumbling upright out of the corner of his eye, and he sent a fleeting glance down the length of the street, long and deserted and closer to his destination of finding his mate.
"No," he called out sharply, taking Kakashi's momentary flicker of surprise or whatever it was, to take his place, managing to backhand the woman in her side in the process, sending her to the ground, even as she scrambled back to her feet.
"I'll take care of this, you go."
Kakashi's mismatched eyes, grey and red, were impossible to read as several emotions passed over them at the speed of light.
He looked like he might protest for a moment, but another look at Sasuke's rapidly swirling red eyes, and he only gave a light chuckle.
"So, you're planning on using that, are you?"
Sasuke didn't answer him, turning his back to the man as he faced the three oncoming hunters.
Kakashi didn't waste any more time and ran his way down the street, only pausing at the very end to take a last look at the form of Sasuke's back as he fought off his attackers, his movements perversely slowing.
Not for the first time recently, Kakashi felt old, his tired eyes watching intently.
"You always were a scary kid, Sasuke."
Kakashi's parting words almost sounded proud as his silver hair whipped out of sight.
Meanwhile, Sasuke clenched his jaws together, having finally gotten a hold on the woman, immobilising her by a death grip on her arms; he was strong enough that that was enough to hold her down, though it had cost him a slash in the stomach for it.
However, the other two were more than free to do what they wanted with him stuck in a stalemate, and they wasted no time drawing their daggers of that special shiny metal.
They sank deep, right into the Uchiha's proud back.
The youkai gasped out in pain, agony even as his grip on the woman's arms became almost crushing. Blood splattered out of his open mouth, running down his lips and chin, his pale skin paling even further as his body finally began to struggle from blood loss, the deep wounds in his back and side gushing quite profusely.
The hunters finally felt some relief; it was clear that the youkai was done for.
So it was more than unexpected to hear something akin to dark laughter rumble out through the demon's throat, a malevolent sound that sent the hairs standing on end.
The woman looked at him incredulously, watching that Uchiha's back heave with his chuckles of pure dark mirth.
What a psycho…
Who would laugh as they die like this?
But before Anko could think anything else, she felt her arms being squeezed to a bone crushing point and as she gasped, fighting the pain, she was met with eerie blood eyes staring at her.
She watched, in a sort of fascination as the tomoe in his eyes began to swirl, faster and faster, becoming nothing more than a black blur.
Sasuke grinned at her, revealing his blood-stained teeth, the fangs curling and lengthening as the pure adrenalin in his system sent his body haywire, the need to repair itself overriding anything else.
He revelled in it as a pulse of bloodlust shot through him, burning a curse of the blood through all of his being.
The hunters could only watch in mute shock as the Uchiha's hair lengthened and thickened, taking on a strange texture as dustings of black fur crept from his hands up his arms.
The sounds of bones cracking echoed through the air like gunshots, and a roar of primal fury broke through the night to reach the heavens above where the stars dwelt.
Though it couldn't completely cover the screams that followed it.
Naruto stumbled under the sick yellow lights of flickering street lamps.
His bare feet scrunched against the broken gravel on the broken pavement, cuts and welts from shattered glass already healing over, leaving only the blood splattering the ground in his wake to remain as evidence.
His blond hair was plastered to his pale face, lips parted to gasp for breath, an unusual, rattling sound spilling from his lungs, like thick liquid. More red was splashed across his face, matting his hair further, dripping down his fingers to crust under his thick claws like rust.
He blinked numbly, eyes blinded by the flash and flare of an explosion of fire and sulphur up ahead somewhere in that misty distance.
The sun had set, but the sky was still streaked an eerie red, but Naruto took no notice, only pushing his torn body further on, even as his lungs burned and frothed unpleasantly.
Voices, loud and screaming echoed from behind a street or two, but it wasn't close enough for him to take any notice.
The civilian humans had long cleared off in a rush of screams and terror, leaving only blood to run down the streets for company.
His limbs were aching; he hadn't fought this much for…ever, he didn't think.
As soon as he'd left Iruka he'd run into nothing but trouble, somehow managing to come across hunter after hunter in the mostly empty streets.
He'd been able to dodge round a couple, but conflict was inevitable, but unlike that night when a snake had crept into his room, these hunters didn't have the same smooth and fluid movement. They weren't as experienced, and filled with purpose Naruto felt no fear from these humans.
His claws had grown from his fingertips in anticipation and he'd felt a strange pulse echoing around inside his skull that silenced most of his pesky, distracting thoughts.
For a few moments, it had all just been him and that sneering man in the way of his goal. And the promise of blood that hung in the air as a sweet perfume.
Like hell he'd let him get in his way!
The next minute or so then became a bit more hazy, but were filled with sounds; of tearing cloth, untamed growls he knew must of come from himself and that strangely delightful sound of rending flesh.
The hunter had been quite fast; but he'd been faster, easily ducking under lunging, open blows, and with creaking strength he'd taken a fist and planted it right in the man's stomach, and then watched in fascination as the straightforward punch sent the human flying, skidding and rolling at speed until he collided with crushing force against a very hard wall.
He fell and did not get up.
Naruto had then turned to stare momentarily at his still clenched fist, and tensed it, near giddy at the sense of strength such a simple thing held.
He hadn't gotten into another fight since he'd become a youkai, and it was near thrilling to start to see the effects in himself for the first time.
The pulsing in his head, the same thing that had red creeping into his vision, seemed to agree and he'd quickly started up running again, filled with a renewed determination and confidence that he wouldn't let anyone get in his way.
He'd been fine for a while after that, just picking up the odd scratch here and there, his brawling style easily overpowering those he met so far, though he was annoyed to see his wounds weren't healing as quick as he'd like.
But it was no real matter until he met someone who actually gave him trouble.
He hadn't expected it at all until he felt the sharp piercing metal slice through his own body- he moved away just in time to prevent a fatal blow.
His blood had still showered after him in a spray of red.
He'd stared in a strange wonder at it, never having seen himself wounded in such a way- it was even more than when that hunter assassin had slashed his shoulder.
It was such a rich colour, so pure, staining…
The throb in his head become louder and the hunter had stepped back, wary as blue eyes burned a hellish red and whisker marks thickened to black feral bands.
After that, Naruto didn't have too much recollection, until he was removing a hand topped with inch long, serrated claws from a man's abdomen.
He'd been surprised to find he didn't feel much as he stared down and saw glassy eyes.
And he didn't have much more time to dwell on it as sounds of movement from the next street over echoed over to him and he realised he couldn't pause, and he was off running again; in what direction, he wasn't sure.
But, the fighting was starting to take its toll, especially the blood loss; head wounds bled a lot, and the others he'd picked up, in his side, one across his back, had still given an initial profuse loss of blood before his chakra began to stem the bleeding as they began to slowly heal.
But not fast enough.
But all Naruto could think of, was finding Sasuke, reuniting with his mate, and he only began to take note of his battered condition as the steps it took to keep running, keep going became harder and harder to continue.
Physically, he was exhausted, his body shaking as he pushed it ever further; he had no idea how far he had come, only that he had to keep running onward.
He hadn't found Sasuke yet.
His mind burned fresh with painful memories, and he paused a moment to linger on guilt, wondering where Iruka was; they'd fought last time they'd seen each other, only a few hours ago- or was it less?
He could only hope the human was alright, and that Kakashi had taken him somewhere…
Somewhere he had no idea about, but at least wasn't the hell he himself was trapped in.
He hadn't been thinking much when he'd been fighting; distracted by the almost liberating blood lust on his tongue, the pulse in his head removing all but his more primal thoughts to rip, and tear, and bite.
But now, as his body began to falter, his more normal thought process was returning, leaving him full of turbulent emotions that he wanted nothing more than to ignore as they bubbled in his chest; he only wished to focus on finding Sasuke.
Broken glass littered his path, but he paid it no mind as it cut again and again into his feet, or when he had to dodge over the odd fallen pylon, or tree.
Fires burned everlasting out of the corners of his eyes, and he just kept running forward.
For all he knew, he was running in circles, but he didn't think so, he hoped so.
He had no idea how long he had been searching, but that didn't matter either.
All that mattered was that he hadn't managed to find Sasuke yet.
He'd keep on running forever just to find him, it burnt an imprint into his mind, trying to lull him into forgetting that he practically couldn't breathe, or that his thighs were burning in acid.
He had to be with Sasuke!
With that thought smashing through his mind, he felt one last burst of adrenalin rush to his lagging limbs, pushing his legs forward, pounding on the ground as he stumbled forward, head dipping as his body began to lose the fight to keep him going despite everything.
It was pure luck he didn't meet another hunter, he was sure he wouldn't be able to do much except fall over.
Even if he didn't want to recognise the pain, from his feet, from the lactic acid eating away at his muscles, or the banging throbbing of his head, the pain was starting to get to him, and the thick, heavy breathing would easily suggest that he'd broken a rib or two during the blast that threw him earlier, and now it was slowly but surely puncturing its way through his lung.
If he'd had known, he still wouldn't of cared.
He just…neededto find Sasuke, to make sure he was all right, to see him safe, so they could be together again, it made his eyes sting and his chest fill with a tightness that was a mixed jumble of sadness, anxiety, confusion and others he couldn't identify; but it was an uncomfortable thing and it made him feel desperate; as if he was running out of time for something.
It was nearly enough to overwhelm him in a tide of pointlessness, that this was a hopeless target of his efforts, and only thing that kept it down was something burning and passionate that was by far more overpowering than the negative senses could ever hope to be.
The whirring of something fast and burning echoed over his head- when it exploded in a white burst of flying metal, brick and flame, he only skirted it to keep running down a side street, jumping with all his remaining strength to easily clear a chain link fence, landing clumsily on the other side.
He took no notice of his feat, or when he ran blindly into a horde of bins, tipping them over; he just staggered free and put his legs into motion once more.
He almost tripped on exit, but arms flailing he managed to keep upright, not slowing for a moment.
He didn't care for anything anymore, only to find that one, most precious person.
Where could he be?
His laboured gasps for breath echoed dimly in his own ears, blood still oozing copiously from his unhealed head wound, despite the hiss of fiery, bubbling chakra at his skin.
His heart was beating painfully within the flimsy confines of his chest, thudding with a hurt far greater than the rest of his body.
His eyes closed in reflex at the loud commotion going on to somewhere to his right; he couldn't tell how far away it was. There were shouts, the whiz of something painful and deadly, and a primal roar of something, something inhuman, that made the ground shudder under his precarious feet.
He barely remained upright, grabbing onto a wavering, thin wooden fence, finally pausing for a moment.
Gasping, he stared up, blue eyes as wide as an ocean, slits the only island and he saw the boughs of a sickly tree above him.
It suddenly occurred to him that he must be closer to the suburbs now, rather than the centre of the city. For him to have travelled over such a large place, it sent his head spinning.
He breathed thickly before pushing off the fence as the sounds from the right began to quieten. He couldn't help but wonder, on what that had been; it sounded like an enraged monster- had that been a youkai?
His head was light, and dizzy from his blood loss, and he couldn't quite focus on his own question as he stumbled, his pace slowing by the step as he stumbled out into a main street, the dim sick yellow light bathing him in a twisted halo of light, dancing shadows over the drying blood all over him.
His mind was growing fuzzy, and his body was becoming difficult to co ordinate properly.
He took a few more hurried steps, but his feet were numb, as were his legs and it was suddenly very hard to stay upright.
He tried to keep going, he really did, but his body finally gave up on him as he tripped, hurling to the floor with no grace at all, skidding along the broken gravel and dirt on the ground, scratching his battered form even further.
Shocked for a moment, he lay completely still, the vision from before he fell imprinted on his eyeballs for a minute. He almost didn't dare to move, wondering if he'd managed to seriously hurt himself.
Then, with stiff limbs he tried to push himself up.
He got barely two inches before his arms gave out, aching in a way that was bone deep and he looked at them numbly, amazed that they wouldn't pick him up. He blinked, not accepting the information properly.
He tried again, but got no further than before.
He didn't stop trying, pushing his knees close and up to his body, trying to get some leverage, unwilling to believe that he'd reached his limit.
Stop shaking, dammit!
The tan limbs, covered in dirt, dust and blood were trembling so bad they were as useful as a newborn lamb's, but as hard as he tried, his body wouldn't stop shaking, wouldn't stop failing him.
Get up! Get up, get up, get up, get up, get up!
But it wouldn't.
Unused to the strain, his body wasn't handling the influx of youkai chakra too well, inhibiting his ability to heal, and the adrenalin couldn't bring his limbs to move on nothing. Not anymore, when his body was suffering beyond its current limits, and despite his will, he was left sprawled on the ground, like a broken starling- his wings shattered so he could no longer fly.
He clenched his teeth, squeezing his eyes tightly shut in anguish as a burning sadness made his body heavier than ever.
Sasuke…I …I gotta find him…
He panted pathetically on the floor, and he had never been so disgusted with himself.
Move! Just…just get up!
He cried out in desperation, willing his body into motion, but like a puppet with his strings half cut, it was blinding agony and almost impossible.
He screamed out in anger through grit teeth, hot tears making rivers down his face as he scrunched his body up, putting his all into standing, resolute that he wouldn't give in; not to his body, and not to the ball of helpless emotions lodged in his chest.
He would get up!
Failing that, he was determined to crawl forward if he had to, but he wouldn't give up for anything.
He managed to sit himself up, body protesting with searing jolts of pain singing through his nerves, but he manages, legs spread on the ground in front of him, as he leaned to the side, one hand carelessly thrown out to steady him.
His breathing was becoming suspiciously thick, bubbling like he had water in his lungs, instead of air.
He panted, vainly trying to catch his breath, taking a much needed rest until he tried to stand from there.
It hurt so much.
But when he finally, after a few long moments tried to push through his knees to standing, he was met with a complete refusal of his body. It didn't even seem to try to move at all.
He growled out his frustration to the stars above, his only companions, as he clenched his fists. Or tried- for even that only elicited a twitch of his fingers.
He looked down at them with horror.
It felt very much as if his own body was betraying him.
Dammit! Just move! Why won't you-?!
His breath caught, stuck in his choked throat as he blinked rapidly.
Not knowing else what to do, he threw his head back to stare up at the dark sky above him. He got a blinding flash of burning yellow lamplight instead, which illuminated the traitorous tears making dirty tracks down his face.
He moved his gaze immediately, but was distressed to find the black dots in his vision weren't going away.
His body was shutting down on him, and he could do nothing about it.
It hurt so bad…
He was surely about to pass out, right in the middle of some unknown street, with no one around, to be left for some merciless hunters to find.
And he hadn't found Sasuke yet…
He was all alone.
Everything burned within him, and fuelled one last push.
With the very last of his strength he tottered worryingly onto his feet.
And nearly as soon fell down again.
But with determination tearing his very insides apart, his managed to reach out to the lamp post beside him and cling onto it, stalling his renewed meeting with the rough road beneath his feet.
He let his eyes slip closed as his vision swayed dangerously, letting his forehead rest against the cool metal.
He'd just stay here a moment, and then he could keep going.
He couldn't exactly be sure how long that moment dragged on for…a few seconds…a minute or two…half an hour.
All he knew was that his swimming head was brought away suddenly from the soothing coolness of the metal by a sound, much closer than the others.
Wildly cursing that it could be a hunter, he whirled around, but still keeping a death grip on the pole, determined to meet whatever it was head on.
Wild blue eyes roved the street from one end to the next, ears straining to hear that soft, strange sound of footfalls.
For a few, excruciating seconds, just enough time for him to believe it could have been a stray cat, he saw something shift under the shadows, and felt his heart enter his mouth even as he squinted in its direction to attempt to make it out.
He sniffed the air lightly, trying to make out a scent over the overpowering smell of blood that smothered him- both his own and others.
He nearly reeled back as the scent hit him like a wave of stampeding water; it was so thick and heavy and purely feral he couldn't place it at all.
He instead could only watch in a sort of awed wonder as the thing shifted, the shadows seeming to bend around it before it finally came out, padding with a soft silence that belied its size.
Naruto felt all his breath be seized from his body as he stared.
It was…it was…he didn't know…
A big hulking…thing, easily over two metres at the shoulder and several long, he supposed it was some sort of animal- though not like any he'd ever seen before in his life.
It was feline in shape, that was clear enough, like an extremely oversized big cat.
But no cat had muscle shape like that.
It had a thick coat, long thick silky black fur that shifted like an all-encompassing mass over a strongly muscled body. Strong haunches that would surely easily propel it with an extreme speed, and a long tail where the fur lengthened even further swaying almost delicately behind the creature.
It's paws; large enough to remove a man's head with one swat, were equipped with unsheathed ivory claws. Claws that were inches long and curved in a way so the inside had pin sharp serrations, which seemed familiar in a way Naruto couldn't explain.
Black ears twitched and a dark nose sniffed the air.
Despite being obviously cat-like in appearance, the head was slightly different, the maw elongated to fit it's teeth, which practically burst from its mouth. Long and a matching ivory white, they were triangular before coming to a serrated point and fit together more like a shark's. It was more than obvious that that jaw could crush through plated steel, never mind a weak, fleshy human body.
Naruto had never seen anything like it; it wasn't any sort of normal animal; it looked…it looked positively demonic in appearance.
And it appeared to have noticed him, by the way its dark wet nose twitched, before that grand head swung to face him.
A rumbling growl that seemed to fill the entire street was echoed out of the beast's slightly opened mouth.
Naruto was frozen to the spot as it began to move towards him at an almost languid pace, moving further into the light as it did so, making its pitch fur shimmer a hypnotising blue, and flooding its large eyes with light.
It was right beside him and he could only shudder at its presence.
He clung even tighter to the post, but he couldn't move. His face was two inches from it; red eyes boring into his and if he'd been able to think anything, he would surely have thought it was about to eat him.
His entire body was trembling, and he knew it was on the verge of collapse, but all he could do was stare. Numbly.
Those teeth were so close, and they parted, revealing a black hole of a mouth.
And it then began to…lick him?
Shocked, he couldn't do much more than stand as a pink tongue swiped at his face, the surface rough like sandpaper, just as a cat's.
Dazed, he put all his energy to stay upright against the forceful tongue bath he was being subjected to, and he registered dimly that the thing was purring.
Blood red eyes.
A hopeful swell of warmth began to suffuse his chest, and he tentatively raised a hand, staring at the being in wonder as he let his hand fall through long, thick silky fur.
It was so soft.
"Sasuke…" he whispered.
The scent, though thicker and much more…animal, was very familiar.
The tongue became a bit more vigorous and a strangely plaintive whine resounded from the beast's chest as it found the wound amid Naruto's golden strands and laved it with particular gentleness.
Another round of slow tears ran down his face, but this time Naruto didn't feel guilty about them. He only wanted to laugh, despite his aching ribs, and everything else.
He finally let go of the post to instead cling to his mate's fur.
He let one of his hands continue to run through it, amazed.
There was absolutely no doubt that the creature before him was Sasuke- he'd finally found him- but obviously it was more than a small surprise to see him like this.
Maybe it wasn't so weird. He'd seen the Uchiha with claws, fangs, ears and a tail. Even fur on his hands. He'd even had foxy features of his own. It wasn't a giant leap to think that obviously these features all led up to something more- another form.
Youkai wouldn't normally look so much like humans would they?
He'd think about it more later…now, he just wanted to wallow in the presence of his mate, who wasn't seriously injured, dead or captured.
They'd be okay.
The relief nearly made him topple right over unconsciousness right there and then, surrounded by the presence of the youkai, but he managed to keep his eyes open.
The sound of shouts and the clash of metal from not too far away was reminder enough that they weren't through with the night yet and he gripped onto Sasuke tighter.
The cat seemed to agree with him, stopping in his cleaning to stare off into the distance, ears twitching.
But only for a moment, before turning back to Naruto.
The blond met his Sharingan eyes unflinchingly, and when the Uchiha made a strange rumbling sound from his throat and offered his back, Naruto quickly understood and stumbled the last couple of feet, reaching up to take a strong hold onto the thick fur and pulled himself onto Sasuke's broad back.
It was a struggle, but his body seemed to have recovered a little with the small break, his chakra finally starting to work at the rate it should.
Nonetheless, he was exhausted, and it took his all to hold on tight with his fingers. He could feel the thick, strong muscles tensing and flexing underneath him, and he was jostled just as Sasuke straightened.
It was enough for him to instinctively know that this was going to be rough ride, though at the same time he had to hide a delirious grin into the fur he was holding so tightly onto; it was just such an unreal thought that he'd be riding like this on Sasuke's back.
The muscles flexed and Naruto had to quickly tighten his grip even further as the youkai began to move, rapidly jumping to a flying pace.
Naruto peeked over a shoulder to see the street's concrete speeding under them at an extreme rate. His wonder didn't end as Sasuke kept his speed, paws barely seeming to touch the ground.
The scenery; buildings, flames, glass, all whipped past them. Naruto was so distracted by it; he didn't even notice the block in their path, in the form of a heavily destroyed building, the wreckage strewn right across the entire street.
He only took notice at the strange change in pace from below before vertigo seized his stomach as the scenery he'd been watching shrunk.
He snapped his head around only to find that Sasuke had simply jumped right over it, taking his time to land on the glassy side of a building, before pushing off to land smoothly on the other side.
The wind that stung his face was enough and he squeezed his eyes tightly shut as he saw the ground fast approaching them.
How high had Sasuke gone?!
Dreading the landing, he grit his teeth as he found it just as bad as he'd thought it'd be, the great cat's limbs bending to gracefully take the fall, but at the same time, shoving Naruto forward with enough momentum to have him nearly fall right off.
Only his death grip on Sasuke's under fur saved him from that painful fate.
He opened his mouth to yell his utter outrage at the stupid bastard below him, but the wind stole his breath before he could form a single word and he was forced to close it again.
Sasuke just loped on, making great time through the empty streets, the few people they met; hunters or youkai, all moved out of the way with haste, staring at the pair with wide eyes, no chance to follow them.
It was an amazing feeling, and Naruto grinned helplessly into Sasuke's fur.
But eventually, it seemed even Sasuke would tire, and his steps, though still unfairly graceful, began to slow until the youkai was the equivalent of trotting, and then simply walking, slowing fiercely in a short amount of time.
It was quieter here, but who really knew where all the tenmakashi were hiding?
But Sasuke was obviously lagging, and Naruto could fancy that his proud mate had also been running on nothing more than pure adrenalin for some time now too.
So he said nothing at all, gratefully sliding from his back, to settle on unsteady feet on the hard ground.
He gave a rub on the cat's flank, but quickly pulled it back in disgust when he found his hand rubbing against something coarse and gritty. Another look showed it to be dried blood, plastered to his side.
Eyes flaring, he took another look, to find that Sasuke was even more covered in the stuff than himself.
Before he could check to see if the Uchiha was injured (he hadn't seemed to be, but that meant nothing), Sasuke's form buckled unexpectedly.
Unsure what to do Naruto simply stood as Sasuke appeared to shrink, dropping to his knees as the sound of bones cracking echoed in the still air around them.
Dark fur began to recede, and with it the other features, pale, bloodied skin taking its place, blood red eyes fading back to black and grey.
Before he knew it, Sasuke had changed back into the man he was familiar with.
With no further thought, he jumped on the trembling boy, ignoring Sasuke's irritated hiss as they both were sent sprawling to the ground.
Hungry lips found each other in the tangle of limbs, and they clung to each other with a fierce possessiveness; Naruto had his fingers curled into matted bangs, while Sasuke was digging much blunter nails into the blonde's hips.
The kiss was quick, hard and full of a violent passion. Naruto even managed to give him a split lip that bled as they pulled away, panting for breath.
Their noses were brushing, side by side as Sasuke brought up his hands to hold Naruto's head close, his strong grip pushing down the usually stubborn blond locks. Naruto closed his eyes against the sensation in a momentary moment of bliss, and they both revelled in being together once more.
But time was against them and they could take only the moment before they both had to pull away, the scorching trail of something blazing in the sky bringing them back to their senses.
They stood slowly, wearily testing fragile limbs, and Naruto refused to let go of the hold he had on the Uchiha's arm. Suddenly, he realised he should say something.
"Sasuke…" he muttered, not sure how to continue. Black eyes darted to his, and he found his lips moving again.
"We…we should go find Iruka or something- I don't know where he is and we got separated earlier-!"
Sasuke gave a harsh yank on the blonde's arm, effectively silencing him as Naruto peered at him questioningly through the gloom.
"Don't bother with that, Iruka is Kakashi's responsibility."
The blond frowned, and opened his mouth to protest, but Sasuke ignored him and set off at a surprisingly fast pace in the opposite direction. Unwilling to relinquish his hold, Naruto dragged on along behind him.
"Sasuke…what are we going to do?" he asked tentatively.
He wanted to find Iruka, tell him he was all right…tell him he was sorry for yelling earlier. But Iruka had wanted them to leave- go where Naruto didn't know, but surely Iruka would have gone to safety by now?
His stomach twisted in protest, but he didn't let it bother him, resting his gaze on the back of a purposeful Sasuke. Kakashi may be a shameless pervert, but he was sure that he'd make sure Iruka was all right and safe; so he didn't have to worry.
It was a small balm, but Naruto knew he would surely see him again soon for himself.
Sasuke didn't say anything to him at first, only a small grunt of acknowledgement, and Naruto suddenly realised for the first time that it was cold. It was the middle of the night and now the exertions were over, the chill was making his twitching limbs all the worse.
It was dark around them, and somehow very lonely.
He swallowed thickly.
They finally halted about five minutes later, where Naruto noticed that they were near the outskirts of the city, the blaze of car headlights a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of his eye of the big road that he'd ridden in Iruka's old battered jeep a few months ago when he first came here to Tokyo.
He'd known so little back then he realised, and a strange mixture of nostalgia and sadness settled in his chest, only to be blown away like meaningless sand as he turned back to see Sasuke's face, the shadows playing weird tricks over his features.
The tenmakashi, the fact he'd been fighting for his life, all seemed very far away, despite the echoes of pain still lancing through his body. There was a weird look on Sasuke's face, what he could see of it, and all the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
"Naruto," he muttered softly, "we need to leave."
Naruto blinked as he felt the hand gripping his wrist squeeze him.
"But, go where?"
Sasuke sighed, and averted his gaze, just a little- to the side and Naruto suddenly felt just as lonely as the empty streets surrounding them.
He watched as Sasuke stared into the far distance, not seeming to see anything, before he turned back to face him with a bitter chuckle.
"You know, I planned all of this a long time ago, before I even knew you existed…what a funny thing."
"Sasuke?" questioned Naruto in a very soft voice, full of an uncertain unease. Trepidation filled him as Sasuke finally met his gaze head on, the coal black eyes seeming to stare right through him; they gleamed in the low starlight.
"Naruto," he started very seriously, though his voice showed all the inflection of a stone, "I've made plans, lots of them- this little show tonight changes none of them, only the timing. I need to leave- leave the city for a long while."
He paused, and Naruto couldn't do a thing as those eyes pierced him in his place.
"It may be years until I can fully return, do you understand?"
No, he didn't, he didn't seem to understand anything Sasuke said. Something painful, like jagged shears, was twisting around in his stomach, and his chest felt too tight to breathe. His ears mustn't be working right either.
And then Sasuke smiled.
It was small, and simple and Naruto could barely catch a glimpse of it before it was gone before his eyes. Before he could identify what was wrong with it.
"Of course, Naruto, you could come with me."
He said it so casually, you could almost mistake it for so, but as Naruto simply looked at him, he could somehow tell that the boy was sweating inside.
Or whatever the Uchiha version if it was.
The blonde's lips twitched into a secret smile, before it quickly morphed into a knowing sort of grin. He tugged playfully on his mate's arm.
"Na, na, you know I couldn't let you go anywhere without me!"
Sasuke sighed, sounding strangely grave.
"Naruto, you know you might not see Iruka or anyone else for a very long time?"
Blue eyes blinked and appeared to cloud in thought, and for not the first time that night, Naruto turned his gaze temporarily to the stars shining above them so far away.
He wouldn't see Iruka again, huh? Not for a long time. That meant that their parting earlier would be a goodbye. And all the others, like Kakashi and the friends he'd made.
He turned his attention back to the city, with its towering peaks of glass and metal, and how the sky above was tinged yellow and red with fire and blood. He could still hear, even from this far away the hoarse shouts filling the air.
He glanced back towards the great road with all its cars, and smiled a little.
He turned to find Sasuke regarding him blankly.
"It's fine," said Naruto lightly, "I trust you Sasuke."
His smile didn't leave him.
"And besides, I love you," he took great pleasure in the way charcoal eyes widened briefly and he squeezed the arm in his grip gently, "I'd follow after you till the ends of the earth if I had to."
Sasuke seemed to regain his bearings a bit at that, all the important things that were left unsaid answered between them, and Naruto's smile turned into a malicious sort of grin at Sasuke's answering smirk.
"Well, what are we waiting for then?"
Sasuke's words were lost to the wind, and then they were running, running from the city to the wilderness of the countryside, running out of sight.
Somewhere along the way, their hands found each other and laced tightly, and they ran together, right from under the star filled sky.
A/N: It's done! I hope that climax was worth while! But as i'm sure you can tell, the real fun is just beginning, for the sequel is yet to come.
The working title at the minute for this is 'Blossoming Dawn' but may be subject to change, check my profile or, the best would be to put me on author alert to make sure you don't miss out. It should be coming soon! In the meantime, its been great guys, ja!