Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Summary: Team Hebi is not a good team, he thinks. But he'll stick by them anyways. T7.


Team Hebi is not a good team, he thinks.

Karin, after all, is nothing more than an Itachi-detector for him. She is a tool, one he must use but does not – cannot – trust. (And deep inside, he knows that an Itachi-attractor he can trust is much, much better than an Itachi-detector he cannot.) He's not stupid. In fact, he's a genius. He sees that if she wants to, she could ignore the feeling of Itachi's chakra, and she might, just to keep him with her.

Juugo is nice enough, he thinks. (In tennis, he adds in his mind, love means zero.) But his curse seal is even more volatile than Sasuke's own, and when Sasuke doesn't trust himself sometimes, how can he trust him? So Juugo is… a burden. (They're all burdens.) Juugo is the one he must watch, all the time, because you just never know.

And Suigetsu… Sasuke nearly snorts. Weakling. Can't even carry his own sword. In fact, its not even his sword. (And Sasuke remembers Haku, the mirrors, Sakura, and Naruto – people he would have died for.)

But he sticks by them anyways, because sometimes, when he closes his eyes and pretends, they are Team Seven all over again. Only not as good, never as good, because he chose them, he thinks, for their similarities, but copies are never ever quite as good as originals (he pretends this truth doesn't hurt), and they are copies.

Sometimes, Karin and Suigetsu argue, and she punches him (not as hard as Sakura punched Naruto), and he'll scream at her (not like Naruto, who winced and laughed.) And Karin will look at him, eyes hidden under her glasses (eyes that could never shine as brilliantly as Sakura's anyways). And Juugo will sit and read a book (sometimes it has an orange cover, but, more often than not, the cover is a dull black or brown or grey-green.) He looks up, and his eyes (two eyes, not one, and exactly the same color) are lazy and bored and smiling.

And sometimes, Sasuke will play his part. He'll call Suigetsu an idiot, and they boy wil smirk (not like Naruto did), and he'll call Karin foolish (not annoying, because that epithet is left for Sakura; but she sniffles and tears trickle out of the corners of her eyes, not like Sakura, who cried silently). He'll snatch Juugo's book (and he can), and snap it shut (only to find it is not Icha Icha Paradise, only something on philosophy or tactics or history.)

Its not the same, its not as good, but its all he has.

Copies, because he cannot risk the originals.