It wasn't supposed to end like this…Never in his wildest dreams- more like nightmares- had Naruto imagined it ending like this. Blue eyes widened, pupils dilating from pain and shock as he felt Sasuke's electrically charged kunai ram itself into, through, and out of his back. Sasuke dragged the blade on a diagonal slant, slicing Naruto's spinal cord with a grunt, earning a breathless gasp of pain as Naruto's legs folded instantly. The blonde would've fallen if not for Sasuke's arm curled around and behind his shoulder. The fox was yowling madly in the back of Naruto's mind, but Naruto paid it no mind, focusing on the surprisingly strong grip Sasuke had on him. Despite the rasengan Naruto had messily punched through Sasuke's back, scraping against spine and obliterating a kidney and some other organs Naruto was pretty sure were vital to living.

Naruto sighed, fuzzily noting that there was an unexpected bonus in being paralyzed- he could no longer feel any of the injuries below his stomach or thereabout. Sasuke shifted with a grunt of his own. "What're you laughing at, dobe?" Sasuke's voice sound so strange, a slight gurgle present from the blood slicking his throat, bubbling up to trickle out the corner of the Uchiha's mouth.

Naruto weakly curled a fist in Sasuke's ruined top. "I was just thinking…how it wasn't supposed to end like this." Naruto paused to spit out the blood welling up in his throat. "You were s'posed to come back after killing Itachi," he whispered, "and I'd be 'Kage and you would marry Sakura-chan and have cute little pink haired boys who would kick anyone's ass who teased them with some Sharingan illusion…"

Sasuke couldn't restrain the rough snort of amusement that escaped him and Naruto weakly chuckled. "But what about you dobe," Sasuke mumbled, tightening his grip on Naruto as he felt his legs start to give. The rivals sunk towards the ground and landed slightly heavily, Naruto not even noticing as his bloodshot blue eyes started to glaze over slightly.

"Dunno," Naruto whispered, letting his gaze fall to the ground and the steadily growing pool of crimson surrounding him and Sasuke. "I don't think there's a Matsuri for me," he sighed, referring to Gaara's former student and new wife. "I might've 'dopted a gaggle of the orphans from th' 'Cademy….Set 'em on Kakashi or Iruka to annoy them." Naruto giggled weakly. "Serve 'em right." 'Kashi specially, th' dirty bastard."

Sasuke mmed an agreement, wondering why he wasn't as scared as he should've been as his eyes lost the sharpness of detail the Sharingan provided and things were blurring together…. "Just what Konoha doesn't need," he murmured, refusing to let his speech slur like Naruto's. "A mini gaggle of Narutos."

"Heh. Like a squad of stuck up 'Chihas would be an' better," Naruto retorted, vainly to resist the urge to close his eyes.

"Don't you dare go to sleep before me Naruto," Sasuke warned, attempting to ward off his own desire to just lay down and sleep. Naruto mumbled something that vaguely resembled an affirmative.

"...Y'said m'name," Naruto said, weakly moving his gaze to look at Sasuke. Sasuke twitched a shoulder in response, letting his eyes slide shut with a tired sigh. He felt Naruto sigh as well. Silently both men let their heads rest on each other's shoulder. They were just so tired…A few minutes of rest and then they could continue their spar…Really.

It was with neither a bang nor a whimper that the lives of Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke ended, but with the whispers of fingers clenching bloodied fabric as they finally reached a mutual understanding and acceptance of one another's support.

AN: [pensive sigh] My beta and I were talking and eventually got on the subject of how the manga is gonna end. She said it would be awesome for Naruto and Sasuke to have a final death match and keel over at the same time. I suggested a more pragmatic, Kishi!crack-like ending where Sasuke offs Danzou [YES!] and the other old buzzards before dying a redeeming death against Madara. Naruto either wins and dies, or he wins and becomes Hokage. Only to die six months later to some fatal effect, leaving behind a pregnant Sakura....Or Hinata, because it's Kishimoto and he could randomly say "NaruHina ftw, despite the lack of ANY interaction between the two besides the best love confession ever."

But anyway, I totally agree that a death match between Sasuke and Naruto would rock. And so this little plot bunny was spawned and written out of my brain in just fifty-four minutes. But this was also inspired heavily by that famous black and white and red print that everyone's seen of Naruto and Sasuke holding each up, both dying. (I think every Naruto fanfiction author has to write something based off of this print. It's an unspoken requirement of the fandom.) For those of you who haven't seen this print, here's the spaced out link (Man, FFnet really needs to work on letting us copy and paste links in here...): http:// www . nuu . deviantart . com / art / Naruto - Perfect - Ending - 40412057