Rating : T for langauge. As usual.
Dedicated to everyone who's helped me over the last couple of months. (That's you.)
This was written listening to The Killers on repeat after having spent most of the night star-gazing.
It's delightfully hopeful.
The little Big Bang
It was with all due deference that Sasuke, with flashing eyes and coiled fists, threw Naruto out of his apartment.
"-the hell! What is your damn problem?"
His answer was the slamming door echoing through the concrete stairwell with a lifeless clang.
The silence that descended then was so thick it was nearly tangible. Naruto sighed, shuffling his feet aimlessly. Shoving his hands in his pockets to fight the chilly air, he meandered over to the balcony at the edge of the stairwell and leaned over it, exhaling noisily.
The cool metal of the balcony cut into his waist and he grinned tightly. He looked up at the sky and for a moment, could swear his heart stopped. He bit his lower lip, spinning around, and sprinted across the hall to bang on his friend's door relentlessly.
"Open up! You need to see this!"
It was some three agonizing minutes and fourteen grueling seconds before the door opened a crack, Naruto's fist freezing in mid-fall.
"You're giving me a headache."
Naruto's eyes shined desperately in the glimmer of light from the street lamps outside."If you come outside for just a couple minutes, I'll leave!"
Sasuke considered him for a moment before swearing under his breath and opening the door further. He stepped out, looking anything but freezing in his short sleeved shirt, and closed the door behind him quietly.
"Alright. I'm outside. So?" Naruto shook his head at this and grabbed the other's wrist.
"Not here, stupid." Naruto set off with the determination of an ox and the petulance of a child, dragging Sasuke out of his concrete prison.
The air was much colder out here, brushing away the murky fog and dusting everything with the kind of truth only found in fairytales.
Naruto grinned, feeling the cold settle in between his teeth. The other folded his arms and looked away,
"So...?" Sasuke repeated.
Naruto's smile was electric. "Look up."
Sasuke looked at him in exasperation before jerking his head upwards irritatedly.
"What is it?" Sasuke's voice came out as a gritted mutter between clenched teeth.
Naruto exhaled impatiently, looking at the other in disbelief.
"I'd have thought you would have noticed."
Sasuke eyed him as a niggling feeling of presentiment grew in his chest.
The question fell to the ground, lifeless, as Naruto breathed in deep, spreading his arms out, and spun in the cool grass. The only sounds were the sheaths of ice protecting each individual emerald blade cracking beneath his exuberant feet.
"God, Sasuke." The words were almost lost in the air whipping past them both. "Doesn't it just make you wonder?"
Sasuke stifled a yawn, folding his arms tighter. "What?"
Naruto abruptly stopped spinning, grinning inanely as his balance dipped and swerved along with his body. He collapsed in one orange heap on the ground, staring upwards at a sky tilted on its perfect axis.
"It's like looking into eternity. How brilliant is that?" The wind easily carried Naruto's voice so that it echoed and twisted in the dim streetlight which flooded them both in a haze of yellow.
Sasuke shrugged, eyes focused on the crunched grass beneath his feet.
Naruto coughed and twisted himself to grab at Sasuke's foot, ripping his weight out from underneath him. The other went down with a startled cry, anger dusting his cheeks an infuriating red.
Naruto didn't dare laugh for want of continuing his life with the minimum possible amount of pain. Sasuke glared uselessly at nothing in particular and sat up, arms going around his legs and pressing them to his chest with the demeanor of a soul possessed with a choleric urge for retribution.
Minutes passed in tense silence before Naruto, in a weak attempt at mollification, cleared his throat and forced out the words he knew he had to. "You can go back in. I suppose," he looked down, "If you want."
Sasuke only gripped his legs tighter and muttered a tense "I'm fine," that sounded callow even to his own ears.
Naruto looked up and beamed at the other, eyes sparkling from where the streetlight hit them. "Me too!" His grin dimmed a tad. "I'm fine too, I mean."
Sasuke met the others eyes, the barest hint of a smile twisting the ends of his lips. "Okay."
Naruto inhaled noisily and broke their gaze, looking up to inspect the sky once more. With each passing second it seemed the aura of wonder that surrounded him only magnified.
Sasuke wondered what he saw up there that didn't exist down here.
Naruto's gaze switched back down to earth, contemplating Sasuke from the corner of his eye. "Just look up, Sasuke. Stop thinking in terms of there and here. Here is as much 'there' as there is 'here'."
Sasuke's eyes widened, shaking his head at the others foolishness, but he tilted his head up nonetheless.
Naruto extended one quivering finger upwards. "That's Betelgeuse." A sparkling grin overtook his face. "That red point in the sky is nearly six hundred times the size of the sun and a heck of a lot brighter." He took in a shaking breath. "It's propelling mass outwards really super fast because its nearing the end of its life." He put his hand down, suddenly reveling in the feeling of cold air caressing his body. "But it looks so very small to us." He looked over at Sasuke, the streetlight playing in his eyes. "We're so tiny, Sasuke. It's unbelievable."
Sasuke leaned back against the grass, shivering as the ice cooled his back mercilessly. Yet, he still found himself wanting to play connect-the-dots with the cosmos.
Naruto leaned next to him, resting his hands behind his back as he stretched like an inter-galactic cat. "Everything that happens here, on this earth, with us, is so utterly meaningless. I mean, if one of us died, the stars wouldn't stop shining, the earth wouldn't stop revolving, everything would just keep on going. Nothing at all we do matters." He paused. "I guess that's why I love watching the stars. The feeling of being so... gifted just to be part of this universe is so overwhelming."
Sasuke sunk down into the ground with each exuberant word, his eyes watering from the cold, and shook his head. "Then what's the point of this?" He gestured around him, arm flying in a wide circle. "If it doesn't matter what anyone does here, what's the damn point?"
Naruto looked back at him in confusion and took in the way Sasuke looked up at the sky like it was going to eat him whole.
"It isn't so hopeless as I made it sound." Naruto muttered carefully, testing the waters. He found his answer when Sasuke looked away, fists clenching in the knife-like grass he was drowning in.
Sasuke swallowed. 'Yeah, sure. We're all part of the whole. I know." He snapped his eyes shut suddenly, as if abruptly realizing that he was actually sitting out on an ice-crusted lawn some hours before dawn with his rival gazing at the stars.
Naruto sat up, biting his lip to keep from laughing at the expression on his friend's face. He inhaled for a moment and looked up, eyes contemplating the sky as if it were a swath of blank satin upon which a motley of dazzling diamonds were casually strewn. A light coating of water threatened to shine his eyes as the feelings seeped out of his every pore.
"I personally believe," his voice cracked and he coughed lightly, "that every time someone falls in love, another star is born." He looked back at the tense figure beside him. "And every time someone falls out of love, a star explodes." He smiled tightly, fighting an enigmatic itching feeling behind his eyes. "So, if you think of it that way, what we see as stars are really just captured emotions. So, we really do have an effect on the universe." Naruto swallowed and leaned back all the way on the grass, shivering at the chill of the ice.
"Sasuke." He whispered.
A moment passed when Naruto wondered with panic if the other had fallen asleep on him. Then, Sasuke turned his head to face him, eyes sparkling from the dim light drowning them in gold, and Naruto found himself lost in the others eyes, for they seemed to match the black expanse above their heads.
Naruto wrenched himself away and looked up again, directing Sasuke's gaze with his finger. "See that star?" Sasuke scoffed but followed the other's finger and looked up, searching the sky lazily, his expression growing slightly frustrated.
Naruto watched him for a moment before reaching down and grabbing the other's icy hand, lifting it into the air, and directed his finger up. "That one. There.'
Sasuke's jaw dropped just slightly, his breath catching. "Oh," he swallowed, "here."
Naruto smiled with relief. "Yeah. Just here."
And, in the precious time it took for a star to fizzle into existence, they became eternal.
What did you think?
It's hard to believe how much writing this affected me.
I think I'm finally getting better.
It's down to a lot of the people on this site.
They know who they are.
All readers, reviewers, flamers, constructive criticizers, and friends tearfully thanked on bended knee for pulling me out of a stifling depression.