I'm posting this and Part 5 at the same time, so read that first.... and that's it. Enjoy!
By the way, I closed down the poll on my profle page. It asked who readers believed more, Sasuke or Naruto. Sasuke won, 44 to 36.
"Have some composure, where is your posture? Oh, no no. You're pulling the trigger (pulling the trigger) all wrong."
Time to Dance, by Panic! at the Disco
Naruto sneezed. Someone blessed him under their breath as they passed, and he mumbled a quick thank you in return. He swiped underneath his nose with the back of his hand, and used the same appendage to dig through his pocket for a tissue a moment later. The other hand held up a thin stack of papers, on top the syllabus for the second half of his psychology course.
The freshly-sprung bundles of dandelions whipped at his feet as he crossed the field. It was unusually brisk for a day in the middle of Spring, and he looked forward to getting into the physical therapy building, where the air conditioner filtered out the pesky pollen and filled the room with crisp, clean air.
Before he stepped into the doors, he drew in a deep breath. As bad as his allergies were at the moment, he felt warm from the inside out as his lungs filled with fresh Spring.
He stepped inside, and nearly wished he was back mingling with the weeds.
There was a room directly across from the door, and it was slightly ajar. Naruto was surprised that anyone was even here. It was around two 'o' clock on a Saturday; most all students had finished with their midterms and were back home. But this room still contained two people, a man and a woman, and Naruto had just witnessed the latter slap the former smartly across the face.
"How…h-h-how--you motherfucker how fucking could you?"
Her back was to him, but from the way her voice cracked at every other syllable and how her thin shoulders shook, Naruto could tell that she was crying. The eyes of the man standing across from her were dry, but his face was drawn deeply in misery, eyes pouring with so much guilt that Naruto was curious as to how they stayed put in their sockets.
"W-was I not enough?"
"It had nothing to do with you." Even his voice was dripping in guilt. Naruto didn't know what he did, but found it hard to believe that a person racked with so much pain deserved to be yelled at. It was obvious that enough damage had been done.
She went and yelled at him for another minute, and another, and yet another, all the while he stood still and took it, shoulders sunken so low that he appeared to be the smaller of the two. Naruto hovered awkwardly at the door. He had to get into that room. He had a lab due that Monday, and he wanted to burrow one of the manuals. This room had the misfortune of being the only one that carried it.
Finally, she appeared to be finished with him. She did not say good-bye, but the man's crumbling face told Naruto that the look she was giving him was more than enough. She finally turned, and Naruto got a good luck at her face. She might have been pretty, but the tears had stained her face a ruddy red color, and her mascara had drooled into the hollows of her eyes. Her lips were wide and gaping, lips shining, as she tried to contain any further cries. She swept past Naruto with a croaked, "Excuse me", and Naruto didn't see her again for the rest of his life. If he did, he wouldn't have recognized her. He worked hard to get the image out of his head.
The look the man gave him, however, would prove to be much harder to dislodge from his brain.
Guilt. Pure as white snow, plain as the nose on his face, more obvious than the color of his skin, than his gender, as real as the oxygen they both breathed.
Naruto felt sick, and decided right then that the manual could wait. The cool air-conditioned air suddenly seemed like toxic, and his lungs yearned for the throat-constricting pollen. Naruto turned on his heal, clutched the papers even tighter in his hand, and walked out the door.
It didn't really stick in his mind. Barely a blip on the radar. He thought about what kind of food he was going to pick up for dinner, since neither he nor Sasuke had woken up with the will to stomach whatever the school diner was serving. He was thinking about the paper he had due for Kakashi's class this Friday, and that he still needed to find two more book sources. He thought about how his hair had actually turned out decent-looking when he'd looked in the mirror this morning. He thought about how lucky he was, especially after witnessing such a fall out. Naruto Uzumaki had a lot on his mind, so it only made sense that he pay little attention to the spark of familiarity he felt when he saw the look in the eyes of the nameless man's face, drenched and crumbled in guilt.
Author's Notes: I'm sure at least one person will ask, so I'll say it now: The events from when they were teenagers was completely false in this chapter. What really happened was in the first chapter.
And to answer a few other questions I know I didn't clear up in here:
-Iruka's coworker overheard Kisame bragging. A bully. Bullies brag, and seldom do they have any truth to back it up.
-Sasuke's guardian is Kakashi.
-Sasuke is a manipulative son of a bitch, but he does love Naruto. He just did something incredibly and unforgivably stupid when he was sixteen, and has gone about fixing it in the worst way possible; manipulating Naruto by using what he knows. Like how Naruto is prone to doubting himself, his guilt, and the fact that Naruto's only real friend was Sasuke.
-The look Naruto sees on Sasuke's face repeatedly through the story, but can never name, is guilt. Are you sick of that word yet?
-There will be no sequel. If I ever feel like playing around with this plot again, I'll probably write part of it from Sasuke's point-of-view. I thought it was better to leave it like this.
-Yes, the spelling is bad. I'm sorry. I can't write. Really, I'm sorry. I apologize if it's disrupted your reading in any way, shape, or form.
That's it. Any other questions, please ask! Also, if you don't like to review or comment, that's fine, but I'd greatly appreciate knowing if you either liked or disliked it. If you've enjoyed reading it half as much as I've enjoyed writing it, I'll have accomplished something.
Thanks for reading!