Sasuke's Triumphant Return

A/N: All right, wrote this one a while ago, back before the appearance of "Tobi is a good evil villain!", Itachi "Loleyes" Uchiha, or even Pein "Light" Yagami and his faithful sidekick Konan the Librarian. In fact, I believe it was before Kakuzu and Hidan, but I'm not certain.

In any case, events may differ slightly from canon... that's why I write.

xXx

"Two and a half years after running away in the dead of the night, defeating his best friend, crushing the heart of his teammate, and being thought lost to the darkness, Uchiha Sasuke returns triumphant to his home!"

"You are so arrogant," Suigetsu muttered from behind Sasuke as they walked up to the gates of Konoha. "Hey, what do you want me to do with this head?"

Sasuke sighed and took Itachi's head from his comrade. "I'll carry it, I guess. And you guys don't understand; I'm the shit in Konoha. We'll be heros." He smiled at his teammates. Orochimaru had not told him much of their pasts, but he knew that each of them had been as miserable and wretched as he was after he lost his family. Perhaps they had had it even worse. "Not outcasts anymore."

The trio smiled back at him and together they entered the town Sasuke swore by.

xXx

"I'm pretty much the town heartthrob," Sasuke bragged after they dropped off his brother's remains at the family shrine. "Watch this." He winked playfully at them and directed his steps towards the ramen stand. God, was it ever good to be back.

All the old crowd was hanging out there, as Sasuke expected.

"SASUKE!" Naruto spotted him first. Sasuke braced himself for shouts of jubilation, questions, yelling, slapping, etc. Naruto waved as though his neighbor had just walked in. "You're back! Come over here, have a seat! I'd hug you, but I just ate 30 bowls of ramen and that wouldn't end well. Who are your friends?"

"Oh... um... Suigetsu, Karin, and Juugo," Sasuke introduced, stunned into automatic mode.

"This is Sai, by the way," Sakura said, pointing at the new face sitting between her and Ino, Sasuke's former seat. Ino tugged Sai's ear affectionately. "He's our generic off-brand Sasuke we got to replace you," Sakura explained. Sai smiled affably.

"Oh..."

"So, you're back now, eh, Sasuke?" Shikamaru walked in, squeezing past the entrance crowded by Hebi.

This was the welcome he expected from Shikamaru, who was never much for dramatic reunions and had always made it clear that he disliked Sasuke. Sasuke recovered some of his composure.

"Yup. Defeated Orochimaru, killed my brother, avenged my family, and now," Sasuke tossed his hair seductively to one side. "I'm back to revive my clan," he said, striking a pose.

Karin fainted and Suigetsu caught her. She was the only one, though. Hinata didn't even blush, Ino was hanging off Sai, Sakura just nodded along with Naruto, and Tenten actually laughed out loud and shot him a Nice Guy Pose.

Sasuke struck another, sexier pose, revealing some of his muscular, toned chest, with no response. Not even smile from Sakura. Not even a blush from Hinata.

"Douche chill," Suigetsu hummed.

Sasuke cleared his throat and prepared to say something sensual and irresistible, but before he could get his vocal cords to the right husky pitch, Neji and Chouji grabbed him from behind.

"Oh, that's right," Naruto grinned. "These two went through hell trying to rescue you when you left, and you didn't thank them... you do remember what that means, don't you, Sasuke-teme?"

"I almost died," Chouji said, patting Sasuke on the back.

"Nothing's worse than having your uncle pay your medical bills," Neji added happily.

"We've been waiting a long time for you to get back," Chouji told him.

Sasuke gulped.

Rule Number 143 of the Konoha Kids' Official Rules and Regulations Concerning Friendship: If one member of the Konoha Alliance risks their life to save another's and is not rewarded in a proper and timely fashion, the rescuer will be allowed one minute of punching the rescued for every day they spent in critical condition.

"H-how long?" Sasuke whimpered.

Chouji and Neji grinned demonically at each other. "Fourteen days."

"Consider it your welcome-home party."