A/N: Heh, there were a couple of other projects I was supposed to work on, but this lil' thing refused to be smothered, so it ended up popping out first. (grins)
This is the third more or less proud piece to my 'The one thing' –wave, and the first request (YAY!). This is NejiSasu, as I already revealed, and I checked out from a website to try and make sure the timeline of this story matches with the actual manga. (grins)
WARNINGS: YAOI (as always with my fics…), sadness, oddness, some language and blood… (grins) Ya know, the usual.
DISCLAIMER: As much as I'd like to, I don't have any ownership of the manga. Damn Kishi-kun for coming up with Naruto first! (pouts)
Awkay, because I can't bring myself to stall any longer, let's go! (grins) I truly hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did the process of writing. (glances hopefully)
Why is the one thing you want often the only thing you can't have?
The one thing you want - Nocturne
It started the very second their praised eyes met for the very first time. A strictly forbidden connection many in their village would've considered a crime was formed before Neji Hyuuga and Sasuke Uchiha had even uttered each other's names.
Names weren't important, that much they knew from the very start; all that mattered was the fire that burned within both of them. Neither of them truly belonged to Konoha – together they managed to perform an escape, forget all the barriers striking them down. Already when their eyes first met past and anger faded away.
Quite foolishly, from the very first moment Neji thought it'd be enough.
The night following his defeat against Naruto, Neji got a visitor he would've never known to expect.
He frowned while watching the dark figure stood by the doorway, his heart gaining a foreign rhythm. "What are you doing here?"
Although they didn't turn red Sasuke's eyes burned when meeting his. "I want to know what the hell you've done to me."
All reason lost its meaning at that moment.
That night felt unusually – almost unbearably – hot to both of them as they explored a land neither was familiar with, touched and tasted something both of them knew to be forbidden. Sounds neither of them would've ever emitted with anyone else echoed like prayers in the night.
And although they barely knew each other, during those silent hours they were no strangers.
The following morning's sunrays coaxed Neji from his for once untroubled sleep to notice that he was alone. That, however, barely mattered to him although disappointment squirmed like a snake inside him.
For the first time in years there was something other than hatred and pain his still thumping heart wanted to hold on to.
He just didn't know what to call 'it' yet.
Although he was still tired from the activities of the night before, he couldn't find rest.
And so almost a month passed, with them meeting far more often than would've been wise in the security of night's shadows. At first they barely talked, for words held barely any significance to them – they were so alike that they understood each other quite well enough even without talking. They both wanted out of their current lives, and during those precious nights they were free from the boundaries of reality.
There was only one thing that bothered Neji during those otherwise magical hours. Whenever Neji looked into Sasuke's eyes he could see – almost feel – the Uchiha's desperate need to get away. It felt like he'd been looking at a caged wild animal, and his most secret fear was that eventually nothing he did would be enough to hold back the wild raven.
Sasuke Uchiha was no one's possession, no one's to hold back and restrain. Deep in his heart that was what captivated and infuriated him the most about the other boy. And eventually that was what sucked him far deeper into the Uchiha's clutches than he'd even been supposed to sink.
One night his willpower wasn't enough to control his tongue any longer. His eyes were on the deceitful shadows as he spoke. "How long are we going to keep going on like this?" It felt both disappointing and relieving that he was able to lock such a huge part of emotions from his tone. His pride would've never allowed him to admit how much the answer meant to him.
Sasuke was silent for so long that he thought he hadn't been heard. When the boy finally spoke, he didn't recognize the tone. "I… don't know." Night air pushed its way into the room through the window he'd opened a while back, making the Uchiha's scent strong. "Nothing lasts forever."
He didn't know what to say, so he remained silent. For some reason those words affected him far more strongly than any attack he'd received.
He should've known to expect this. Sasuke had never been one to sugarcoat things and live in fairytales.
They lay still and silent for a long time, until he finally managed to move. It was surprising, really, that someone like Sasuke didn't fight back as he manoeuvred himself above the Uchiha, looked towards the flaming onyx pools below him.
We have tonight, those eyes told him
And for a few hours that was enough.
For some reason, even in the middle of hot, electrifying kisses it felt like Sasuke had already taken the first step away from him. The almost searing, rushing blood running underneath the other's pale skin was much stronger than Neji's might.
Apart from those strange nights that seemed to belong to some entirely different world Neji worked furiously the act like nothing out of ordinary was going on. And he actually thought he succeeded well.
He didn't know that someone's sharp eyes had already discovered the secret he fought so very hard to hide.
When Hiashi Hyuuga sat beside him to a porch that night, no words were necessary – the man's very essence and posture told everything necessary.
Words losing their meaning, he sat absolutely still – barely breathing – and waited, feeling like his heart and lungs were about to fail him. Although it was relatively warm outside, wind felt rough and cold when it brushed his face.
Eventually Hiashi broke the silence. "I really hope you know what you're doing, Neji." The man's voice was so very different from the usual that chills traveled down his spine. They didn't look at each other. "Because letting a Uchiha close always comes with a price."
He didn't react in any way, and after about five minutes Hiashi left.
As soon as the man was gone he shivered, the wind feeling even colder than before – it was almost like fate had been giving him a bad omen…
When he first heard that Sasuke was awake after his encounter with Itachi Uchiha, Neji found himself hesitating for some reason.
Once he finally entered the boy's hospital room, sure that no one else would be there, he understood why.
Sasuke had always been filled with anger and shadows of past. But this boy he met… He'd sunken completely into some world inside him. The Uchiha he'd once known had been wiped from existence, perhaps for good.
Their eyes met, but neither said a word – as always, talking was unnecessary between them.
Silently, almost without thinking, he walked up to the raven and took the boy's hand without bothering to feel embarrassed. After a moment Sasuke squeezed back, as tightly as the Uchiha's pride allowed him to. Obsidian eyes were hazy with something he couldn't identify or understand as the other stared out the window.
For the first time ever he couldn't tell what Sasuke was thinking, and it unnerved him.
Sun went down outside the hospital while he kissed Sasuke's head with dizzying passion and the Uchiha leaned closer, sighing in an exhausted manner. It was almost like the sun itself had wanted to grant them some privacy.
They met a couple of times after that, still in the middle of the night. But for some reason nothing was the same.
For hard as Neji held on, no matter how much passion and life he flooded into the other, in every way that mattered Sasuke was already gone.
And then, inevitably, came the day when Sasuke finally did what Neji had been waiting with dread almost all along.
In the middle of the night – which was supposed to be their time of the day – the Uchiha slipped away from Konoha, from the path of a honourable ninja, from him. Although the thought sickened him as soon as it appeared, he couldn't help wondering if even a death had been easier to cope with and understand.
Although almost his all screamed against the action, Neji allowed Naruto to be the one to rush towards Sasuke.
He was no hero – he didn't have what it took to save someone; he was too tainted by shadows and his past. But perhaps Naruto – with his sun bright aura and determination – would be enough to pull the Uchiha away from the darkest of paths.
But as he slumped to the forest floor that fateful day – less than inches from death's hungry embrace – he knew, with such bitter certainty that it actually broke his heart. Even Naruto hadn't been able to save Sasuke. All hope disappeared from him the moment he faded into darkness.
And for quite a long time he almost wished he'd died.
But fate had always had a twisted sense of humor when it came to him. He was spared to live in a reality that no longer included the one thing his stubborn heart would've wanted.
All he could do was live on and wait.
The time after Sasuke's departure was hellish to Neji, and not only physically with the recovery he had to do. Although he would've liked to deny feeling such, the weight of worry and yarning always loomed around his chest and stomach, making it almost impossible to sleep. His dreams were filled with Sasuke, as were his thoughts whenever he had time to really think. The couple of lovers he accepted for a while had black hair and eyes, but they just weren't Sasuke. His heart remained agitated and heavy.
But the story didn't end there, for the secret lovers were bound to meet again.
The first time they met again was a year after Sasuke's departure, while Neji's team was on a mission. Both of them had been ordered to retrieve a certain scroll.
When they met in a dark, uneasily hot forest, according to all sense they should've killed each other right there and then. Instead they made love on the cool, otherwise extremely uncomfortable forest floor. The sounds they emitted startled away all animals whereas wind picked on, emitting several sighs for their sake.
That night, while watching Sasuke who'd fallen asleep so close that he could've easily touched the other's frowning face, Neji finally realized that he'd fallen in love. And it hurt more than anything he'd ever faced before, including the death of his father.
Although they should've stopped seeing each other their meetings continued. Shady inns, forests and caves became their sanctuaries, the whispers and touches delivered in the dead of night were their deadly secrets. He became the soul bright spot in Sasuke's new life, and in return Sasuke was the darkness hiding away behind his eyes.
Neither had regrets.
And so months passed, turning into years.
In the end, as always when people try to cheat fate, they crashed into the inevitable.
It was the most desolate night of autumn, and rain was beating absolutely everything outside the building while Neji and Sasuke listened to the thunder in a tiny, stinking inn.
"You've been restless all night", Sasuke spoke out in the end, cutting a silence Neji hadn't even noticed before. The raven, who'd been sitting before him on the bed – occasionally slapping his hand away when he played with the other's hair – peered towards him over his shoulder. Had he not known the other better, he would've thought he saw worry. "Is something wrong?"
He didn't know how to set his words, so he waited for a couple of seconds before speaking, looking to the onyx eyes he knew painfully well. "Do you remember when I asked how long you think we'll be able to go on like this?" He buried his face into the other's hair to hide his embarrassing expression. "I… had my hopes as to how you'd answer."
Sasuke sighed so heavily that he could feel it. "It's not going to be forever, Neji, no matter how hard we hope. Our wants don't matter."
The night's unearthly atmosphere wiping away his self-restraints, he frowned. "Why not?" He knew he was being a fool, but couldn't restrain himself.
He could almost imagine the look on Sasuke's face. "Because you and me… We're not going to end up to the same place – not after all I've done."
He frowned, feeling chilled by those words, and wrapped his arms around the other's shoulders. The raven managed to make him feel slightly warmer with leaning slightly backwards without noticing it. A hand was placed lightly to his.
Thunder raged outside, but in their room it was so silent that he could almost hear Sasuke's heartbeat.
Later on he wondered to the point of insanity if he would've said or done something more if he'd known that it was the second last time he ever saw the Uchiha.
As it was, he pretended being asleep when Sasuke left before the morning dawned. For his pride's sake he fought with his all to conceal his emotions that felt much too strong and raw for him to handle.
The last time Neji met Sasuke came less than five months later.
The day the Akatsuki had been defeated, Neji had finally seen and felt hope in the horizon – perhaps some of the old obstacles had finally been wiped away. He'd greeted that day like a salvation. Of course he should've known that nothing ever worked that simply.
That night one week later, TenTen's frantic knocking woke him up to a world he would've never wanted to face. Her brown eyes were filled with shock – near terror – he'd never seen in them before. "Sasuke… He attacked, with his new team." He barely recognized her voice, but understood the words much too clearly. "Danzo… He and the elders are dead. Naruto ran after Sasuke, before ANBU finds him. He's…"
Neji didn't hear, wasn't even listening. He was already running, wishing from the bottom of his heart that he wasn't too late.
Unfortunately his heart was right once more. The sight he met when reaching the Valley of The End was almost enough to strike all life from him, and he froze to the spot with a shudder as though a weapon had torn through his heart.
There, nearly right before him, a horrendously injured Naruto had slumped to the ground with his back to him – with Sasuke in his arms. He hoped from the bottom of his heart that he would've found even the slightest breath of life from the extremely bloodied Uchiha, but the ashen face and half lidded, dead eyes stole away all his hope without mercy.
Naruto's voice shuddered badly and was quiet, but he still heard far more clearly than he would've liked. "Sa-Sasuke, come on… Wake up, please, wake up…" Hard, brutal sobs shook the blond's suddenly frail frame. "You… You've gotta wake up, teme… I love you – come back."
At that moment, he hoped from the bottom of his heart that he could've hated Naruto, screamed and released all his rage, blamed this unjustifiable sight on someone. But he couldn't, no matter how hard he tried – he could barely feel anything but the ache that took his breath away.
After all, it wasn't Naruto's fault that in the end, the hero most often claims his in one way or another.
He was ridiculously relieved that it was raining while he closed his eyes from the sight that was much more than he could bear. His legs trembled so that he was almost sure they'd fail him.
'Letting a Uchiha close always comes with a price', Hiashi had once told him.
At that moment, he knew painfully well what the man had meant.
In the mist of the next morning, Neji Hyuuga disappeared from Konoha, almost exactly like Sasuke had several years earlier. Those who attempted to track him couldn't help wondering the meaning of the marks on the dust, following the Hyuuga's trail. It was almost like someone had been following him.
Two years later, far away from Konoha, Neji stood on an extremely high cliff with a steely look of determination and something beyond on his face.
Sasuke had once claimed that they couldn't wind up into the same place because of the Uchiha's deeds. Now it was time to test if what he was about to do would change things…
He closed his eyes and stepped forth.
A bird chirped loudly while rising to its wings in the woods behind the cliff.
A/N: Oh dear… (sniffs) Another tragedy from me, I see. (sniffs again) Poor things, even the teme! They never had each other in the end.
Ah, as for the future… I'm still taking request as to the oneshots for this 'theme' of mine – ANY couple is such I'm willing to try. A dear reader of mine has already requested a KakaIru fic – I'll write it as soon as I manage to come up with a decent plot. (grins) So do let me know if there's something you'd like to read!
But, now… Thank you so much for reading! And do leave a review so I'll no if this lil' piece (my first with this couple, btw) was any good! Pwease? (gives puppy dog eyes)
Awright, I'm running out of time so I'm tuning out. (grins) 'Hope I'll see ya all with some other fic of mine!