Warnings: Mild-violence. Abstration. Mentions of psychiatric wards and mental disorders.
Disclaimer: Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto.
Revelation #5: This Is Your Life
It is the one you were supposed to have
After Naruto's chat with Tsunade, she had told him to return to the cafeteria. However, by the time he had arrived back, everyone was already retiring for the night. Naruto met up with Sasuke and Sakura at the entrance, and together they made their way back to their rooms in silence for the most part. They fell behind the rest of the crowd quite quickly, and when they were about to turn the last corner that would lead to their living quarters, Sasuke caught sight of one of the cleaners and halted abruptly.
"Mother?" he croaked.
The cleaner, a slim, pretty woman in her early thirties, pretended not to have heard him and continued walking forward.
"Mother," Sasuke repeated, louder this time. He began to follow the woman, who quickened her footsteps in turn.
"Ne, Sakura-chan," Naruto said, furrowing his brows and looking to Sakura for elaboration. "Who's that?"
"Oh, that's just Sasuke's mother. He's going to say hi. I think we should wait here," Sakura said, rocking on the balls of her feet and grinning.
Raising his eyebrows at Sakura, Naruto nodded and turned his attention back to Sasuke.
"So that's her," Naruto murmured, watching as Sasuke managed to catch up to the woman and grabbed her hand.
"Mother," he heard him say again.
The woman fixed him with a pitying look before gently prying her hand away from his grasp.
"Look, Uchiha-kun. I'm sorry, but for the last time, I'm not your mother. Please let me get on with my work," she said softly but firmly.
"What's going on here?" a voice said, coming from behind him and Sakura.
Naruto's blood went cold. He knew that voice—
Itachi bowed his head. "Naruto-kun. Tsunade-sama had told me you had woken up, but I'm afraid my workload had prevented me from seeing you sooner. You look well."
"Itachi!" Sasuke shouted furiously again, leaving the woman alone and stomping over to where his brother was.
"Calm down, Sasuke," Itachi said. "It's almost curfew time for the three of you anyway. You should get going."
"Leave Mother alone, Sasuke," Itachi cut off smoothly. "She has a lot of work to do. Let her be."
When Sasuke made no objection, Itachi ushered them down the hall to the male living-quarters and showed Sakura to her quarters opposite.
Naruto didn't miss the soft "I'm sorry about Sasuke, Mikoto-san. We'll try our best to avoid this happening again next time" that Itachi uttered to the woman before following Sakura.
"Sasuke's mind is in a very unique state, especially considering his young age," Tsunade continued. "He's been here since he was eight. The both of you used to get along quite well. I assume that he was a close friend of yours in your Hidden Village world?"
"Yeah," Naruto managed to croak out. His throat was parched.
Tsunade, noticing the same thing, got up from her desk again and walked over to a mini-fridge in the corner of the room. She opened it and took out a small bottle of water.
"As you've noticed, he refuses to speak. This is called catatonia. It's not recognised as a separate mental disorder, but it is a symptom of a few. Dementia is one of them." She passed him the bottle.
"Why?" Naruto asked, opening the cap.
"That's a good question. Why is anyone like that?" Tsunade paused. "You're a fairly intelligent boy, Naruto. I know better than anyone what you are capable of, and your mental state isn't as... unbalanced as some of your friends' ones. It's only these comas that keep you here. This is why I'm going to explain everything to you frankly. Okay?"
"Sasuke does not recognise his own mother. He remembers his father, and even his brother, who is one of the doctors in this institute, but not his mother. However, he seems to think that one of our cleaners—Mikoto, her name is—is his mother, and you have to understand how distressing that was for her the first time that Sasuke strode up to her and started calling her 'Mother'. She's even threatened to quit a few times, but she needs the money, and if Sasuke ever found out she had left..." Tsunade trailed off.
"Mikoto was his mother's name in the re—uh, my world," Naruto muttered.
"Strangely enough, Sasuke's real mother is also called Mikoto."
"How does she feel?"
"His mother? Oh, Lord only knows. How would you feel if your own child didn't acknowledge you as the one who gave him life?" Tsunade mused. "But she must feel devastated."
"Wait—" Naruto backtracked. "Did you say his brother works here?"
"Uchiha Itachi? Yes. He's one of our top psychoanalysts here, much to Sasuke's chagrin. In fact, he's the one that brought Sasuke here."
That night, Naruto didn't sleep. The past few hours were reeling inside his head, and he was still trying to digest all the information Tsunade had given him by replaying the events over and over.
He brought his hands together and tried dispelling the genjutsu again. Nothing happened.
Either this was one hell of a technique, or this just might be his new life.
Naruto glanced at his bedside table. The only objects on it were a glass of water and a photo frame with a picture of a small, blond toddler running after an orange ball. Behind him was a pretty redheaded woman laughing, and the top left-hand corner of the picture was blocked out by a tanned finger.
Or maybe, just maybe, this was the life he was supposed to have lived all along.
Sasuke's mental state is derived partially from a real life situation. My godfather's mother has dementia, and she is unable to recognise many of her loved ones. Although she is not catatonic, whenever my godfather goes to visit her, she doesn't acknowledge him. She knows she has a son but she fails to recognise that he is her son, despite being told numerous times.
In more pleasant news, Itachi's initial role in this story coincides almost perfectly with the recent manga chapters. My foresight may be limited, but whenever it sees something, it is spot-on. Oh yeah.
These chapters are slowly, but surely getting longer. Hm.