Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto . . . I wouldn't be ending this.
Author's Note: Well, I slacked a bit on the update, didn't I? No excuses this time around, ladies and gentlemen. This is what happens when you don't finish a story before you post it up on .
Here is the bonus chapter! I have a lot to say!
During the breaks in the chapter, there will be little extra sections. You'll see what I mean. I just thought they were interesting to put in there.
And a major apology to purvysage for being unable to use her incredible idea about writing a short story from the beanbag chairs' perspectives!
See if you can spot the subtle changes in Sasuke.
…:::Because I Got High:::…
Poll: For future reference, which day of the week would be a good day for a constant update?
Warning: There are several parts to this chapter. Make sure you read them all (with the exception of the final author's note at the bottom that you can skip over if you'd like to).
"Mom, what the hell?!"
Uchiha Mikoto tried not to break out into a hysterical fit of laughter, trying to remain as stoic and as indifferent as her own sons, but she could not help it. She brought one hand up to her mouth as she began to giggle incessantly, doubling over when she could no longer hold her laughter in. The pot and wooden spoon she had just been banging together fell limply from her hands.
Well, Sasuke was annoyed.
He gave a long, uncharacteristic whine of "Mo-om!" and shoved a nearby pillow over his head with such intensity, he could have possibly broken his nose. "I'd rather have the alarm clock! What were you thinking?!"
Mikoto straightened and brushed her hair from her face, holding up the pot and wooden spoon as she posed. "April Fools!"
"It's November," Sasuke deadpanned.
"Come on, honey. Breakfast is ready." Mikoto turned away, her smile still permanently plastered onto her face. "I'm leaving for work right now so I can get there early and help Anko set up some things in her new office."
Sasuke groaned in reply and buried his head deeper into his pillow, his boxer-clad body falling limply to the mattress with a soft thud. After a few moments of failed attempts at sleep, he became frustrated and had a wrestling match with his pillow for the bed.
The pillow eventually won when Sasuke realized that he could bruise, but it could not. Triumphantly, it was allowed to stay, content, on the mattress. Sasuke, the loser, was forced to slide sluggishly from his bed and fix his prosthetic leg into place.
He hated mornings.
Sasuke had his shower, his shave, and his attempt at brushing his hair before he walked from the room clad simply in jeans and a dark polo shirt. Mikoto came rushing from her room. She pulled his head to her lips, kissed the top of his wet hair, and released him all in one swift movement.
And then Sasuke was left alone.
He supposed he couldn't consider himself alone, he thought as he sat at the dining table and pulled a plate of eggs close to him. He was simply the only other person in the house that was awake.
Sasuke liked it that way.
Content, he continued to pick at his eggs until there was nothing left of them. His life had fallen into a predictable routine ever since he had started his senior year at Konoha High, but there were always the antics he aroused that took him far from that routine and put his dramatic life back on track.
He sat in thought for a few more minutes, planning out his day briefly, before he hooked his backpack over one shoulder and started for the door.
"English homework, check," he whispered reflexively to himself. "Calculus homework, check. Psychology homework . . . psychology homework . . ."
Itachi had taken his psychology textbook the previous night for the anatomy section it held and had not returned it. Sasuke sighed lightly and dropped his bag. He hadn't wanted to disturb his brother, but Jiraiya (who was crazy enough to teach the seniors as well) would have his head if he did not hand in the essay that was slipped between the pages of the textbook.
The elder Uchiha's door was closed and for a moment, Sasuke worried that it was locked. His hand quietly turned the knob until a soft chink was heard. He pushed open the door and began to practically tiptoe inside.
Itachi was asleep.
Sasuke smiled slightly to himself as he searched for the book. Itachi had worked out his schedules in college so that he no longer had to wake up at insane hours of the day. It had helped the elder Uchiha out immensely; no longer were there bags under his eyes, or a sallow tinge to his skin. His body had filled in after beginning to eat properly.
Sasuke stood over his brother for a few moments, watching him breathe in and out normally. A lengthened piece of hair was beginning to slip inside of his parted lips. Itachi's once shortened hair was now strewn over his face, and when he awoke in the mornings, he would tuck the stands back into a neat ponytail that reached a little past his shoulders.
His appearance wasn't the only thing that had begun to revert to its normal state. His room also began to bear a striking resemblance to the room he had once occupied back before they moved to Konoha. Painting after painting adorned the walls, each of them vibrant and beautiful.
He had taken his up his old hobby again over the summer and happy moment after happy feeling after happy memory washed over him. Not wanting to forget, he painted them, and now they were the only things he thought about when he entered his room. Sasuke knew his darker paintings, the ones with the depressing, somber emotions, were hidden away in his closet.
Sasuke forced his eyes away and they fell upon his psychology textbook placed neatly in the center of Itachi's desk. He quickly and quietly went to retrieve it. Colored sticky notes stuck out from the pages tidily, Itachi's neat, neat handwriting all over them. One of them was labeled Little brother's essay. Sasuke turned to the page and smirked.
Itachi must have been really bored to have labeled where Sasuke had hidden his essay.
Without another word, Sasuke closed the book and began to head out of the room, hoping the king of light sleeping wouldn't wake to the sound of his footsteps. He stepped from the room and took the elevator, having dawdled too long in search of his textbook.
Konoha was always quiet in the mornings. Sometimes Sasuke despised the stillness. The trees would not rustle their leaves. Cars barely passed. Even the birds had mastered the art of silence. But sometimes, Sasuke loved it.
He loved it because he could defy the silence.
A slim leg swung over the body of his bicycle. Slender hands grabbed the equally slender handle bars as a petite bottom situated itself on a bicycle seat. Sasuke had gotten a bicycle for his birthday in the summer and he had treated it as if it had been his newborn son. He would have given it a name, but he thought that would have been surpassing the boundaries of creepiness.
The Uchiha possessed a driver's license, but no car to use it on. He did not want to waste money on a second car for his own selfishness, and so Kakashi had taken a trip to the outskirts of town with Itachi to pick out the beauty that Sasuke sat on at that very moment.
And he loved it.
He began to propel his weight against the right pedal, lifting his left leg from the floor as he did so. Left, right, left, right, faster, faster, faster. He loved the silence and stillness of Konoha because he could defy it. In a single minute he was hitting top speeds, swerving past corners and cars in the street as he propelled his bicycle forwards.
The wind was forced to break its vow of silence. It whipped around Sasuke's face, warning him in a high-pitched whistle, telling him to slow down. But Sasuke didn't.
He loved to defy the silence.
#1 - Differences
Did anyone notice that there were intentional differences between Itachi and Sasuke? I wanted to portray them as brothers with their own styles, and so I put in little hints here and there:
Whenever Itachi's handwriting is mentioned, the adjectives used to describe it always revolve around "neat", but whenever Sasuke's handwriting is mentioned, it always involves something around "messy scrawl".
Itachi calls his parents "Mother" and "Father", whereas Sasuke calls them "Mom" and "Dad".
Itachi speaks very formally; he doesn't use contractions in his speech at all. Sasuke, however, uses contractions like he uses his name and is not afraid to thrown in slang here or there.
The only exception to this is whenever Itachi is distressed, stressed, or not in the right state of mind. He will then begin to use contractions. Recall that in his cocaine frenzy, his speech was very casual, as it was when he was stressing over Sasuke throughout the story.
Sasuke fastened his bicycle to the bicycle stands affront of the school and looked up at the call of his name. Kiba was waving to him from over by his new Volkswagen Beetle®.
Sasuke smirked, remembering. Kiba could have gotten almost any car he had wanted for his birthday. Any car. So he had chosen a beaten up Beetle® which took him the entire summer to fix and paint. When asked why, he had two reasons:
One, so he could fix it himself, or call his friends over to help him. Indeed, Sasuke remembered sitting on the floor of Kiba's garage, his sleeves pulled to his elbows and his arms covered in grease as he worked away at the underside of the hellish piece of junk.
And two, so that Kiba could give anyone who rode in his car a punch. "Punch buggy!" he would say before turning around from the steering wheel and driving his fist into the unsuspecting passenger's shoulder. 
Sasuke had the bruise to prove it.
Kiba quickly caught up to him and the two fell into step as they walked to the doors of the school.
"Are you coming after school?" asked Sasuke, pushing open the doors.
He was somewhat surprised when Kiba shook his head. "Man, I wanted to again, but I'm picking up my dog from the vet." He looked sheepish all of a sudden, rubbing the back of his neck in a similar manner that reminded Sasuke a lot like someone. "There was a sandwich under my bed for a while. I didn't even know it was there until he ate it."
Sasuke stayed silent, listening. After a few more turns in the hall, Kiba parted for his locker and English class. Sasuke headed for his Calculus course, but not before he made a quick pit stop.
He entered the Guidance Office and tossed a paper bag onto Kakashi's desk. The man looked up from his computer, slightly surprised. If there was one person who did not change his appearance in any way or form, it was Hatake Kakashi.
Gravity-defying silver hair?
Random mask covering half of his face for no reason?
Single visible eye heavily lidded?
All checked and accounted for.
Sasuke had to admit that he hadn't changed much in appearance, either. His hair had grown slightly longer, but it still retained the choppy spikes in the back. He had grown taller and his body was no longer bordering anorexia, but nothing else had changed. Sasuke liked it that way.
He sat down on his (he called it his; it wasn't like anyone else was using it) beanbag chair. From the way it automatically shaped his figure, Sasuke could tell it remembered him.
"Mom made some cookies for Kisame before he left overseas for a few months," he said. "We had a lot of leftovers, so we packed you some. I've got another bag for delivery in my locker."
"You didn't help her, did you?" asked Kakashi, raising an eyebrow. "I don't want to have to check for eggshells every time I take a bite."
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "You're such a horrible counselor."
"Hey, you're alive, aren't you?"
Kakashi had said it in a jokingly sarcastic tone, but Sasuke knew there was a hidden meaning to the sentence, intentional or not. He stood up when he heard the warning bell.
"Are you coming today?" he asked before he could leave.
"I'll be late. There's a so-called staff meeting after school." Kakashi opened the door for him. "It's one of those things where teachers just sit around and pretend they're getting something accomplished while they get free doughnuts and coffee."
"You call that slop coffee?"
"Hey, it's free."
Sasuke smirked and walked off to a rather lonely class of Calculus.
#2 - Loopholes
Some of you have already addressed me about these loopholes, and I've found some more as I continued to write the story. How many of you thought some of the following were a bit suspicious?
Why didn't Itachi just sell his paintings for money?
Recall the following conversation from Chapter 7:
Naruto: ". . . Why doesn't he just sell [his paintings] instead of working?"
Sasuke: "It's long, and it's complicated, and it's none of your business."
Well, it turns out that it's not long, or complicated. As a matter of fact, I don't know why Itachi didn't just sell his paintings. I had originally intended to come up with a good excuse along the way, and I had at one point tried to incorporate Orochimaru into it (before I decided he would become a prosthetic-obsessed kidnapper). I remember thinking about making him a long-time coworker of Itachi and Orochimaru threatened him never to make artwork ever again or else . . .
And that's about as far as I got.
Then I made Orochimaru the Orochimaru you know in this story, and this is where the loophole opened up.
Think about it this way: why didn't Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz just put her heels together three times and chant "There's no place like home" at the beginning of the movie?
Because the story would be too short!
Now apply this with Itachi.
If the Uchihas were so famous, how could the downfall of the Uchiha Empire be kept under wraps for so long?
Ah. The infamous question I have been asked by several reviewers. Originally, I had planned to have an explanation inside of the story, but I never found the perfect place for it.
And as a matter-of-fact, the explanation I thought up had several loopholes in it. This was another thing I thought about coming up with an explanation later and failed. Here is the failed explanation:
The Uchihas moved to Konoha. They weren't original residence, and their empire was far from Konoha. And so in such a reserved city, news did not travel so far.
I also thought of his weird conspiracy where Fugaku put an entire fortune into bribing the media against writing about anything concerning the empire . . .
. . . Yes. Failure at its greatest.
Lunch time held a new meaning for Sasuke.
It meant actually entering a large room called a cafeteria and ordering something called lunch. He had vaguely remembered the concept from the tenth grade and managed to get through the process.
And so he sat at the table he could usually be seen sitting at, a frown on his face as he picked away at his spaghetti. Long ago had he grown accustomed to blocking the excessive noise coming from the other students that crowded the room.
Sakura took a seat in front of him, bringing her tray to the table. Ino took a seat next to her and dug into her salad.
"The cafeteria food here is actually good compared to other schools, you know."
"Just thinking," he replied casually.
The group of friends he had kept was used to his random silences. It had shrunken in its size as Sasuke entered his senior year. Neji, Lee, TenTen, and Sai had graduated. Sasuke had frowned the day after the graduation, realizing that it meant growing up and parting their ways, and that eventually, he would have to do the same.
Sai went off to one of the most elite art schools in the country after having received a hefty scholarship. He came back to Konoha every other weekend, his monotonous humor always sorely missed.
Lee, perhaps, had gone off to do the most bizarre thing Sasuke had heard of so far: study with Shaolin monks. When asked why, he explained about wanting a deeper insight on something called chakra points and the study of the flow of chakra.
Sasuke simply nodded his head and raised one eyebrow. At least Lee was happy. The eccentric boy promised to come visit during his vacations (Gai had broken down in tears and cried about how his youth would be lost if he didn't). Sasuke vaguely wondered if he had shaved his head yet.
Neji surprised Sasuke with his decision to go off to college close by despite his incredible grades. He, to Sasuke's amusement, applied and was accepted into Firenial. Itachi had him in an anatomy course.
When Sasuke asked why he had done so during a hangout at the Chalk O' Lit Café, Neji said he had no interest in traveling abroad for his studies.
"Whatever I can do there, I can do here with the benefit of acquaintances and friends," he said.
He had also wanted to annoy the hell out of his uncle for not entering a top college.
TenTen went right along with him, staying in favor of her boyfriend and her foster home. She and Neji occupied a share house with three other people Sasuke had yet to be acquainted with.
"Are you guys coming today?" asked Sasuke as he turned to Sakura and Ino.
Shikamaru and Chouji set their trays down simultaneously, one on either side of the Uchiha, as they listened to the conversation taking place. Sakura and Ino shook their heads.
"My dad needs me at the store today," said Ino. "He said we have a full list of orders to get done."
"She pulled me in to help out," Sakura said with a mock grimace. "We'll be over as soon as we're done, but it'll probably take a while."
"I promised my dad a while ago that I'd go with him to the farm to help him get some deer antlers. So troublesome."
"Dad. Store. Stocks," Chouji managed from behind his bag of chips.
Sasuke sighed at the inconvenience. It seemed on that single day, everyone had something to do. He didn't blame them; he, too, had work, but his would simply last for two hours before he would be free to do as he pleased.
"Hinata," he said, looking over Sakura's shoulder at the girl advancing with Kiba and Shino. "Please tell me you're free today."
The girl looked down and blushed, shaking her head.
"I'm really, really sorry, but my uncle wants me in the house today."
"I am to handle an infestation of bugs at the neighbor's house."
Sasuke didn't dare ask for an elaboration. He sighed again, putting one elbow on the table so that he could rest his cheek on his hand.
"It looks like I'm all alone today."
#3 - Concepts and Fun Facts
The Sound 5 were never supposed to play such an important role in the story, nor were they supposed to be "good" – they were originally supposed to battle it out against a rival gang (Akatsuki)
Akatsuki members were supposed to make appearances as classmates
Kimimaro was supposed to live
I thought about killing off Mikoto at some times, but I thought that would be too unrealistic (and I really, really liked her)
Kushina, Naruto's mother, died giving birth to Naruto. I was trying to find a right spot to put this information into the story, but alas, I could not
Originally, I had written this story for the sake of simply wanting to torture Sasuke, but then I just got so into it and so attached that I made it my pride and joy.
The concept of Falling Up to Heaven was taken from a similar title somewhere in the world (I don't remember where I had seen it, sadly), and I thought about the words and came up with the concept. It was supposed to play a different role than with Kimimaro, but I hadn't finished the story and hadn't thought it through entirely, but I'm glad I put it the way I did.
"And Sasuke? A new box of books just came. Alphabetize them, please."
"I'll be going out for a few moments. Take care of the shop while I'm gone."
"Thank you, Sasuke."
Sasuke watched his elderly boss leave the bookstore, the soft chimes (he had suggested installing them there) overhead mingling together in reply. He turned around and stared at the latest box of books to come and immediately began ripping the tape from its sides.
The bookstore had just recently opened in the marketplace and had asked for three employees. Sasuke quickly seized the opportunity and had instantly been favored, getting the job and time slot of two hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. He was especially happy because of the discount he received on the new books, and the free, elderly books he could bring home.
And sorting out the books and boxes built up his arm muscles, so he wasn't complaining.
When the books were sorted on their shelves, the box was folded and recycled, and Sasuke was dusting in the back, his boss returned. The dumpy old man placed several bags on his office desk and handed one to Sasuke.
"Courtesy of Izumo and Kotetsu," he said, smiling an almost toothless grin. "They stopped me as I walked by and told me to give this to you."
Sasuke smirked, automatically knowing a cream cheese bagel was cradled in the depths of the paper bag. He bowed his head slightly in thanks as he took the bag.
"All of the books are out and alphabetized, the shelves in the back have been dusted, and two customers came in and left with two books each." He paused, biting his lip as he stared at the ceiling. "The first man paid eighteen dollars and fifty cents for two paperback books. The other originally paid –"
His boss held up a hand, chuckling slightly.
"Who needs a computer when I have Uchiha Sasuke?" he said teasingly. "You have a gift, son, yet you chose to work in a bookstore?"
"It was either this or the strip club downtown," said Sasuke, only half joking. "I've still got the Chalk O' Lit Café to play at, and it's not like I want a full-time job in the first place."
He just needed something to prevent his mother from taking another shift at her job and his brother from taking up another job entirely.
"I'll tell you what," said the man, leaning in slightly. "It's the slow hour at the moment, and you've done so much work already. I know you've got a certain place that you are simply itching to go to, so I'll let you off early."
Sasuke shook his head. "Sir, I still have thirty-three minutes to complete –"
"You're burning daylight, sonny!"
Sasuke jumped slightly and immediately ran to reach for his coat. "Thank you, sir," he said as he pulled one of his arms through. "Thank you so much, sir."
And off on his bicycle Sasuke went.
He had two destinations in mind. The first was the supermarket nearby. He quickly jumped from his bicycle and leaned it against the nearest wall, too lazy to place the kickstand in position. Moments later, he returned with a bag bulging from two tubs of ice cream.
He hated sweets.
His other destination could be seen just over the hills. There was no bicycle stand available and so he simply fastened his bicycle to the railway of the stairs like he had done ritually in the past few days.
The doors opened up for him slowly, as if tired of welcoming him so often.
"Here comes Uchiha Sasuke," the left part of the door said as it slid.
"That boy needs a life," the right side said before it disappeared.
Sasuke did not speak Door.
"Sasuke!" the woman behind the counter exclaimed brightly. "You're a little early today."
Sasuke held the bag in his hands up and fished for another bag inside of his backpack. "I brought ice cream and cookies, if that's okay."
"That's better than okay. Same room as always."
The Uchiha nodded out of respect and turned to follow through with the temporary ritual he had entered. The hospital did not know the meaning of silence. There was always a beep, or a scream of pain, or a random little boy asking his mother if his shots would hurt. It was the only place Sasuke could never successfully block out all noise.
"On . . . moon . . . light . . . ba-a-ay!"
He knew that voice.
It was a hoarse, cracking voice, poorly tuned and seemingly tone deaf. Sasuke knew otherwise. He slid open the door of his destination to reveal the insides of a private room. In the midst of it was a bed, and in the midst of the bed was a blond.
At the sound of the sliding door, the harsh singing had stopped. Naruto had turned towards Sasuke with a goofy grin plastered onto his face.
"Baby! You've come back for me!" the blond slurred, his arms outstretched.
Sasuke closed the door behind him and advanced cautiously. He stood at the foot of the whiskered boy's bed with a raised eyebrow and an amused smirk.
"Se-da-tives!" agreed Naruto, emphasizing every syllable. His mood suddenly changed and he grumbled darkly. "I feel like cra-a-ap!"
Sasuke ignored the usual whines from the boy and moved to the desk at his side, taking out the tubs of ice cream. There was already a bowl and spoon present in the room and so he used them to scoop the two flavors of ice cream together, taking a cookie from the other bag he had brought and crumbling it as a topping.
Naruto had been in the hospital for several days. He had had a respiratory infection, sending the boy's asthma into fatal conditions and leaving him with a high fever and gelatinous limbs. As if the infection had been bad enough, the poor boy's tonsils were to be removed. It was hard for Sasuke not to take pity on him.
"Here," the Uchiha said, shoving the bowl of ice cream and the spoon into Naruto's hands. "It's good for you."
Naruto smiled drunkenly. "Is this dramatic enough for you?" he joked, recalling the times Sasuke had told him about the lessened drama in his life.
"Very," the Uchiha said dryly. "Now don't do it again."
He sat in silence for a while, picking at the threads of a neon orange bracelet he wore on his left hand. Itachi had gone and bought a neon orange Fedora hat to match his neon orange bowl hat and so orange-loving Mikoto begged Sasuke to get something orange as well.
Still not as daring as his brother, Sasuke tried for something more subtle. Naruto and Kiba whisked him away one day and brought him to a body piercing shop.
"This is your idea of subtle?" Sasuke had said bitingly, watching as a man left the store with surface piercings lining his collarbone.
"Relax, Uchiha. You'll just pierce your left ear and we'll put in a neon-orange earring! That's subtle, right?"
Kiba had slung one arm across Sasuke's shoulders and escorted him inside. A little rubbing alcohol, a second's time from the needle gun, and Sasuke emerged with a reddening ear and a new orange earring. Naruto commented on how cool it made Sasuke look. Kiba commented on how much it would hurt for a while.
Not even a week later, the piercing was infected.
Sasuke had taken painkillers for an entire week, unable to sleep at night with the throbbing ache of the infection. The piercing closed, and when his ear had healed and Kiba had suggested getting his ear pierced again, Sasuke had punched him in the shoulder and walked away.
So Naruto and Mikoto got together and made a simple bracelet.
Much less painful than the piercing.
"You suck, you know that?" Sasuke said to Naruto.
"Why the sudden revelation?" the blond asked with a grin nonetheless.
"Because you're in the hospital."
Because you scared everyone to an inch of their lives when you couldn't breathe that one time in Psychology. Because you had us worried when you wouldn't wake up from that fever of yours. Because you wouldn't stop moaning in pain and we couldn't stop hoping it would end.
"Hey!" exclaimed Naruto, licking the vanilla ice cream from his upper lip. "Remember when you were sick with influenza in the hospital! You had everybody totally freaking out! Now it's my turn."
Sasuke silenced once more.
He had a settled lifestyle, he thought: a senior with a part-time job and flawless grades, and a life ahead of him. But there was always the dramatic side to it. Naruto constantly kept him alert, and the two of them hand ended up in the hospital on more occasions than they would like to count.
Sasuke wasn't entirely innocent, either. There were still the odd nights where he would wake up in cold sweat, either screaming or breathing heavily, his trauma washing over him forcefully. The memories were still there and they surfaced on rare occasions. Kakashi was always open for a quick therapy session and then it was back to his settled lifestyle.
Sasuke broke from his thoughts and turned to look at the gifts that adorned Naruto's desk. He spotted the random, uneaten, cream-filled and chocolate-covered doughnut sitting harmlessly on the surface. The card that had come with it was still fresh in his memory.
You're a doughnut: sugary-sweet on the outside, and soft and mushy on the inside. When they cut you up, your innards come out!
They had needed to inject Naruto with a stronger sedative after reading the card so that he could go through the tonsil operation in peace.
"Hey, stop zoning out. You're here to make me feel better."
Sasuke turned to find Naruto's eyes closing, the boy's head tipping back.
"Who's the one zoning out?" he commented amusedly, poking the blond harshly in the ribs. "If you want some sleep, I'll leave –"
"Don't leave me-e-e!" Naruto suddenly cried hoarsely, reaching out in his sedative-induced daze and grabbing hold of Sasuke's arm. "They drugged me up, Sasuke! They want me out cold so they can take me to the back and –"
Sasuke ever-so-gently unlatched Naruto's free hand from his arm, watching it flop back into his lap before it was redirected to the bowl of ice cream.
"No one wants to sever your head from your body and use it as a soccer ball, Naruto."
Naruto had come up with several clever stories in his incapacitated state as to why he had been so heavily sedated. He suddenly switched moods again, all drunken glory gone from his body. He held out the bowl of ice cream for Sasuke to hold before he curled into a loosened fetal position.
"I feel horrible," he said miserably, his mood changing again. "I want to go home."
Sasuke thought Naruto could cry then and there.
Awkwardly, Sasuke put a hand to Naruto's back and rubbed in short circles. Despite being in many awkward situations before, Sasuke still could never enhance his comforting skills. Naruto buried his head into his pillow.
"Take me home, Sasuke," he said, his hoarse voice barely audible. "Please?"
"I can't, Naruto."
Naruto suddenly broke out in a tune that made flowers wilt and balloons deflate. "I want to go ho-o-ome, go ho-ome . . ."
"Do you always break out into song when you're hopped up on painkillers? You're like live musical."
Naruto grinned, his face still shoved into his pillow. "Just wait until I can legally drink."
Sasuke knew that if he thought about all the endless possibilities of antics a drunken Naruto could possibly get into, he would get a migraine that would need ten painkillers to suppress. He, instead, sat in silence and watched as Naruto's grin slowly began to fade, the blonde's face loosening into a neutral expression. In a matter of minutes, he was asleep.
The younger Uchiha stayed in the hospital despite his only company drifting into another world. He didn't mind; he had stayed in the same position on several occasions before. There was even a routine he had created for himself.
He pointed to the door suddenly, counting down in his mind. The second he reached the end of his countdown, the door slid open, and in came Tsunade. She grinned at him.
"You're like a stalking boyfriend," she told him.
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "No, Sai is the creepy-stalker type. I'm the bored-out-of-his-mind-with-nothing-to-do-until-his-brother-gets-here type who just happened to have some leftover cookies and a little extra spare change for ice cream."
"Just admit that you care too much and move on with your life."
Tsunade flicked Sasuke on his ear – the same one that had previously been infected – as she rounded the bed to check up on her grandson. She gingerly turned him over so that his face no longer kissed the pillow and checked his breathing.
"You bored him to sleep with that monotonous voice of yours, Uchiha," she teased.
"He went to sleep to save himself the trouble of having to deal with you," Sasuke bit right back, an arrogant smirk making its way into his expression.
Tsunade narrowed her eyes. "That tub of ice cream would look pretty good dripping off of your head."
"Your reputation in this town looks pretty good, too, but that can change."
Their traditional staring contest went into play. Eyes narrowed, faces set into their own expressions (Sasuke's, a pompous smirk; Tsunade's, a serious sneer), they battled it out for several minutes until finally, Tsunade caved.
"I've got a hospital to run," she said, smirking and leaving with another flick of his ear.
Sasuke's own smirk began to fade as he started to drift away into his personal sleep. With a senior's load of schoolwork, his own work after school, and staying by Naruto's bedside, he had gotten used to random naps in the day. Itachi had called him narcoleptic. Sasuke had replied with a single finger.
"Hey, Mr. Narcoleptic."
Sasuke awoke immediately, not even bothering to rub his eyes as he stared into the dark orbs of his brother. Itachi smirked and pushed his shoulder lightly. The younger Uchiha had fallen asleep against Naruto's bed; the blond was now awake with a new bowl of ice cream in his hands.
"Why are you back early from college?" asked Sasuke.
"Back early? Sasuke, it's seven o'clock." Itachi ruffled his hair simply to annoy him. "Someone needs to stop his nasty habits of napping in the day and staying up all night."
"Gee," Sasuke replied dryly. "I wonder who that could possibly be."
Itachi stood up, patting his knees as he did so. He walked to the nearby desk. Sasuke was somewhat surprised to see the presence of Kakashi in the corner of the room. The man turned to stare at him, smiled suddenly, and waved.
"I'm here for the movie," he said.
"Itachi brought a movie to watch!" exclaimed Naruto, raising a spoon-bearing fist for emphasis. "And more ice cream!"
Great. An overly hyper Naruto. More than usual, anyway.
"Why the sudden act of kindness, brother?" teased Sasuke.
Itachi shrugged, taking out the DVD from its case and placing it in its respective slot by the television in the room. "Neji told me to give it to Naruto as his get well gift since he could not personally be here to give it to him," he said. "And since mother has volunteered to pick us up today, we shall sit and watch the movie together until she arrives."
Sasuke had been about to ask which movie they were going to watch before the title came up on the screen. He groaned.
Both Naruto and Kakashi put their hands together and clapped.
"Kill me now," Sasuke said into his hands.
Itachi smirked evilly. "Just wait until the ninja frogs meet the ninja slugs."
An hour later, Sasuke was completely absorbed into the movie. He was gawking at the screen, his mouth hung open as his eyes hungrily took in the scenes. Naruto, directly at his side, was mindlessly shoving spoon after spoon of ice cream into his mouth.
"But wait! Don't go!"
"I can't stay. My country needs me."
"Don't go, Daisuke! Don't go!" Kakashi called out to the screen, extending one arm.
"The general lied to you! Stay with her!" Naruto called in a similar manner.
Sasuke nodded his head in noiseless agreement. Itachi crossed his legs for the umpteenth time and gave a heaving sigh, shaking his head in his hands.
The door suddenly slid open, pouring light into the intentionally darkened room. Mikoto stood in the frame. She cast a confused glance around the room and then sent a questioning stare in the direction of Itachi, who had been the only occupant of the room to take notice of her. Everyone else was too absorbed in the movie.
"This is the best part!" Naruto suddenly exclaimed, hitting Sasuke's arm repeatedly in his excitement.
"Mother, please tell me you have come to stop this nonsense," Itachi practically begged.
"Nonsense? Is this Ninja Frogs?"
"The sequel!" Kakashi called.
Mikoto suddenly squealed in delight and ran inside, closing the door sharply behind her. Itachi groaned and sat back down. Sasuke shushed him.
"Raise the volume!" cried Mikoto. She rushed to the television. "Where's the volume button? Oh, I can't see a darn thing in this dark . . .! Is this it?"
Three pairs of eyes suddenly widened in horror. One pair opened in evil glee.
"Mrs. Uchiha –"
"– Don't touch that but–"
 Punch buggy: For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a real game. Whenever you're in a car and driving down a busy street, keep your eyes peeled for a Volkswagen Beetle. When you spot it, randomly shout "Punch buggy!" and punch the nearest person. Fun for you. Painful for him.
#4 - Upcoming Story Information
Many of you have asked if and when I would make another story.
Well, I am not planning on leaving FanFiction for a long, long time from now (perhaps never). And I do have a story.
It's not a deep story like this. It's more of one for pure entertainment purposes, already planned out, with exactly eight chapters. The plot is original and I'll write it like I wrote this story, btu without all the hardcore emotions, etc. It's for fun. I'll be writing it over the remainder of my summer and putting it up on before the new year.
I've also got a bunch of one-shot ideas stored up that I'll be randomly putting up (all original, don't worry).
Writing, however, will be much harder from now on due to a severe lack of free time now that I am entering IB. I will try my best to get more chaptered stories!
#5 - Short Story
…:::How Itachi met Kisame:::…
Kisame was an active vegan.
At eleven years old, he was already putting together protests and ads all over the town, going out on himself to picket fast food restaurants. Konoha Fried Chicken was always his main subject of protest.
Itachi hated Konoha Fried Chicken.
Ever since he had found a chicken nugget in his kid's meal that resembled a chicken's head, he had a loathing for the restaurant and decided that chickens had lives too, damn it!
And so, at the tender age of ten, he organized his own little protest against it. The only problem was that no one else would join his protest. Konoha Fried Chicken was too popular of an area. Their food was just too good.
But Itachi, mustering up his pride and his hate, marched right in front of his local restaurant with a picket sign in his hands and a nonsensical chant.
And was ignored.
"Sir, did you know that Konoha Fried Chicken slaughters about –?"
"Let's go with two buckets of chicken, honey."
"Ma'am, every year, Konoha Fried Chicken takes about –"
"Ooh, I'll have that one extra spicy."
Itachi felt a familiar feeling of dejection as he walked from the restaurant, his picket sign limply at his side. Someone suddenly touched his shoulder and pulled him out into the cool night air.
"Is that a picket sign?"
The person that had pulled him out was a young boy, slightly taller than he was with an odd, bluish tone to his skin and sharp teeth – a usual sign of a pure vegan. He was grinning.
Itachi nodded his head, holding it up.
"Konoha Fried Chicken needs to burn in H-E-double toothpicks."
The bluish boy held up his own picket sign in return. There was a dramatic pause where Itachi looked to the boy, the boy looked to Itachi, and then the two of them dove into a language known only to a select few, obsessive vegetarians.
"Ovo?" asked the boy after a bit of random conversation. "Lacto? Flexit?"
"Not even close. I cannot become a complete vegetarian. I simply want animal cruelty to halt."
"I like where you're going, kid. Put her there. Hoshigake Kisame, at your very service."
Itachi took the hand extended to him and shook it firmly.
Kisame slung a hand around Itachi's shoulder suddenly and led him away.
"Itachi," he said. "Let's go take over the world."
"Or we can try."
o.o.:: Official End ::.o.o
#6 - The Final Author's Note:
So this is it, huh. It feels weird. Now, I don't feel so occupied anymore. I'm not going to stay up all night working on this story anymore, and you can think I'm lying, but that really makes me feel kind of empty inside. It's a bit depressing.
I have never put so much time and effort into a story. I've got so many ideas that I wanted to try, ideas that are piling up on my desk and in documents on my laptop, but I chose this one, and I loved it, and I loved the fact that I had so much support.
Okay, this will be utterly cliche, but as an author that can finally experience the feeling, I found out that it's true: it's all about the readers.
Stop laughing, it is!
When I started to post this story up on , I had only thirteen chapters down! Now I'm on my thirty-first! Do you honestly think I thought up the rest of the chapters every week without the slightest bit of help?! Heeeeeeeeeeell no! You guys all had these cool ideas, and even if I didn't use them, they led me to think, "Hm . . . what would be the reaction if I did this . . ."
Have you guys read the Fun Facts? Do you know why those didn't make it to the story? Because you guys gave so much support and reviews to this thing that I started thinking about your reactions instead of just the plans in my head.
So thanks. A lot. I'd say something cliche again like "There's no possible way for me to say thank you enough", but my thank you present is this story. For your reviews, I gave you my pride and joy.
Some of you have suggested getting this story published, and I assure you, I've thought about that, but I'm leaning towards a no. I mean, I could always create new characters, right? And tweak things here and there, take out some parts, put some other parts in . . . But would you really feel the same about that new novel?
I mean, you guys know Sasuke, Naruto, Itachi, Kakashi - everyone! You already knew their personalities! The challenge and fun of this story was trying to match those personalities and keep them in check! If I created new characters, you just wouldn't feel them, you know? You wouldn't be as sympathetic for a flawless Uchiha if he was breaking down, for one. I mean, as an author, you're supposed to make your own characters and make people feel for them, and maybe I'll publish a similar story or something, but . . . just, no.
Besides, I want a new challenge! =D I'll make my own characters to sympathize with.
Thank you. Again. And if you want a better thank you, reread this story. I started this story in January of last year, and it has been my top priority ever since. This its end, and I wouldn't have it any other way.