Rating: Strong T

Pairing: Itachi/Naruto

Warnings: Angst, Drama, YAOI: m/m pairing, sexual content. No real spoilers.

Tribute to both Michael Jackson and Itachi/Naruto coupling.

Edited by Kamerreon and reposted July 8th, 2009

- You Are Not Alone -

Sometimes, he just wanted to throw up his hands and end it. The silence really did get on his last nerve. He would ask himself in a timeless sort of manner, why? Why had he chosen this stoic and expressionless man? There were times when Naruto would feel as though he'd been forgotten.

When the sun was up and glittering, the man would move from the bed they shared without as much as a glance his way.

Naruto would usually remain lying under the silk sheets, watching him as he deftly covered his nakedness. His long black hair was messy from sleep and his eyes were blood garnets and dangerous. The pale porcelain quality of an Uchiha was high.

Naruto's heart would pump with pain. No words were spoken, and even if Naruto did spark up a conversation the man would simply look at him and nod or shake his head.

Why? Why did it have to be this way? He hated silence! He'd grown up alone and without so much as a word spoken to him.

He turned over in the bed as the tears glistened in his eyes. They ran down his tan cheeks. Every morning this was how it was. It was painful and he suffered greatly from it. He pushed the sheets back and finally got out of bed, knowing exactly what was to come.

After he was dressed, he was in the kitchen preparing some tea. All was quiet, and Naruto felt like a ghost, walking around and not being noticed. The man at the table was studying the newspaper, held between perfect pale hands that he knew all too well. Sometimes, he'd have to look away because he would start choking on absolutely nothing.

Then, he would leave, without so much as a word to him. Not even a goodbye. And here he was, left all alone, and his heart would break just a little more. Naruto wondered when there would be nothing else left of his crumbling heart.

There were times when he'd back himself up against the wall, slide down, and sit there for how long he did not know. But what he did know was the pain that tormented him.

Was he some sort of masochist to go through this? Why, oh why, was he allowing this to continue? He had no answers. He needed to leave, for his sanity. He couldn't be in any more pain than he already was. What did it matter?

Sometimes, Naruto wouldn't see him for days, depending on the mission he took. One of these days, Naruto wondered if he'd ever give in and finally express that he'd had enough. He stirred the leaves in his tea as he sat where his mate had once been. The rippling silence was broken only by the sloshing in his cup and the ticking of the cherry oak grandfather clock in one of the corners.

Pulling his fingers through his tangled blond hair, his hands shook as he thought about how to leave. How to stand up, gather his things, and walk out the door without looking back.

The silence had been ongoing for three years. Naruto couldn't even remember how he'd gotten into this relationship. Had it been attraction? It definitely could have been a major part of the decision. Uchiha Itachi was one of the finest looking men around.

But all that aside, physical appearance, and one-sided love weren't enough. Naruto, for some reason, loved him, but the feeling was not returned. The man was a block of ice. He was freezing in temperature and Naruto was a complete opposite.

His heart felt as though spikes were puncturing it. It ached and squirmed. He was so deprived, more so than when he was younger.

As more tears began to glide down his cheeks, he did nothing to wipe them away. No one could see his tears; no one could catch his pain. He was safe where he was to brood and think about everything.

He supposed he should consider himself lucky, he thought, twirling the diamond encrusted wedding band on his left finger. The man gave him everything a person could want.

But that was just it; Itachi gave him what other people would want. He didn't give Naruto what he needed, what he silently begged for. Material possessions, Naruto didn't care for. In fact, he'd rather take everything he had and start a bonfire with them all while roasting marshmallows.

He sniffed and brushed a finger under his nose. He was crying full on now and he couldn't stop it. He had numbed the pain except for his small mourning tears. He craved the attention of his husband, but never once received it, never once got looked at. It was like he didn't exist.

Naruto didn't exist to Itachi. The wedding band on his left finger slipped off with ease and spun around on the shiny table surface. He watched it finally stop. It glittered and twinkled in the chandelier light.

Kami-sama! He hated this feeling and begged to whatever God was out there to end it. But he knew that his prayers wouldn't be heard, he'd begged for years and had received nothing.

Naruto bowed his head. He hiccupped at random, as the sobs wracked his thin body. He was having a breakdown, a serious case of, 'I give in.'

It was this scene, which Uchiha Itachi walked in on for the first time in his life.


Uchihas had never been easygoing men and Itachi was no exception. He was rather complicated on a whole new level. They excelled greatly at everything they did. They were perfect in every way. An Uchiha did not mess up. It was a fact. It had been bred into them generations ago.

He not only had a world of dangerous people to please, and make sure they didn't do anything exceptionally stupid, but he also had an idiot brother who was ruining his life. The Hokage had been relentless and it was all his partner Kisame's fault. Itachi had walked away for ten minutes and came back to find that the Akatsuki man they'd captured had been ripped to shreds by a very angry fish-like man.

Itachi couldn't act like it bothered him, considering his very delicate and dangerous situation and so now an irritating blonde was yelling at him.

"Yes, Tsunade-sama," Itachi said. "It will be done." Immediately, he disappeared before she could add anything else to his list of duties.

Usually, Itachi would go to his office. But he decided to let Naruto know that he would be leaving for a month-long mission. Usually, he'd send a messenger, but he needed to pick up a couple of personal Uchiha Kunai before heading off.

He appeared inside the ultra silent manor and vaguely guessed that Naruto was fast asleep. He was never a morning person, but the beautiful blond always made it a point to get up with him in the morning.

He silently moved toward the staircase only to be caught off guard by an odd sound as though someone was having trouble breathing. His usually blank expression drew up a frown as he immediately turned on his heel and headed for the kitchen. Itachi only stopped when he saw something that shattered everything inside of him.

Three years… and never had Itachi seen Naruto cry. The blond was very strong and hard-headed. He wouldn't show these sorts of emotions often, if at all. Itachi's breathing became laboured and something inside of him knotted up. This was perhaps one of the worst things in the world to see. He was about to inquire what was wrong, when his eyes fell on the wedding ring in front of Naruto. It sat so innocently but the fact that it was no longer possessing Naruto's left finger haunted Itachi more than he could explain.

For the first time in Itachi's life, he didn't know what to do. There was always an answer for everything in the back of his genius mind. Itachi was the type of man who overcame all boundaries. He was a perfect man; he made the perfect decisions.

He continued to watch, paralyzed, as Naruto let himself go, crying into his hands until he was coughing and worn out. Itachi watched as Naruto left for the private lounge, the ring still on the table.

Itachi followed quietly and saw Naruto crawl up on the couch and bring a cushion close to him, eyes closed. He wound up falling asleep. He had been unaware the whole time that Itachi had been standing there, mortified.

The only thing Itachi could think of at the moment was to observe the situation and find out where he had gone wrong in their marriage. He would figure this out and he would fix it. He only had one night to fix it; he was leaving soon.

The time couldn't have been worse, he thought taking his leave.

He was able to get a twenty-four-hour delay.

He arrived back home at five o'clock. Naruto was completely normal when Itachi saw him lounging with a book in his hand. He had his wedding ring on and all. Itachi inwardly breathed.

Perhaps it was nothing, he thought. Maybe it hadn't been him in the first place. Surely, it wasn't.

"Itachi," Naruto addressed finally raising his beautiful blue eyes.

Itachi inclined his head. "I have been sent out on a mission; I leave tomorrow."

Naruto arched an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"I won't return for a month," he said simply.

"I see," Naruto said.

Itachi went quiet and looked away from him then.

Naruto was feeling his strength rise with each word Itachi spoke with that careless indifference. He was no longer shaky, nor did he feel like crying anymore. He'd had his breakdown. It was time to deal with this before there was nothing left of him. "Well, I suppose this came at a rather convenient time for the both of us," the nearly twenty-year-old said softly.

"Hn?" Itachi looked up in time to see Naruto rising and standing in front of him, golden blond hair fluttering forward into his eyes. He waited for Naruto to state what he wanted.

Naruto held out his hand, his fist closed. "This belongs to you."

Itachi reciprocated and was shocked when the soft weight of the wedding ring fell into his hand. He stared at it.

Naruto felt the lump in his throat. He'd actually gotten an expression from the Uchiha! He stared in shock. How amazing. He tried to keep an aloof attitude, but it was hard. "I'll be gone before you get back."

Itachi continued to stare at the ring. "Why?"

"I can't do this anymore," Naruto said sincerely.

"Is there something you want?" Itachi queried. "Just name it."

Naruto rolled his now really glossy eyes. He was trying not to break down and crossed his arms, looking away. His heart was beating fast and he felt hot all over. "Itachi, what I want—you can't give me," Naruto said through gritted teeth.

"Name it."

"I tried!" Naruto said turning and facing him fully. A tear ran down his cheek and Itachi inwardly cringed. "What I want…" He trailed off and shook his head. "What I want Itachi, is to not be lonely and ignored. I'm not talking about being overly chatty. But you know a simple hug or a look my way could really fix a lot of things, Uchiha Itachi!" His jaw quivered; he rubbed his forehead and breathed deeply before rushing out of the room. He was about to lose it and he had to leave the man's presence lest he embarrass himself thoroughly.

All demeanour was lost on Itachi's part as he sagged in the armchair. The ring was warm in the palm of his hand. He clenched it as well as his teeth.

He closed his eyes. The shock was still wracking his entire body until the reaction became agonizing pain in the form of something so deep he couldn't describe it.

His eyes shot open. He'd broken Naruto's heart. He had promised never to do that when they first got together. But he had taken that promise and shattered it into sharp careless pieces.

There were two things he had to do.

The first thing he did was appear in front of the Hokage's desk ten minutes later.

She looked up at him in annoyance. "What is it Uchiha-san?" she asked sharply.

Itachi skilfully pulled the mask from his face and laid it down. "I, Uchiha Itachi, resign," he said indifferently.

"WHAT!?" she shrieked, rising up, her eyes bugging in size.

"Personal matters have arisen and they cannot be delayed. I apologize; I will send a more formal resignation at a later date."

After he returned, he went straight upstairs to their bedroom and cringed inwardly when he saw Naruto tossing things into a black suitcase. Blue eyes held pain and tears, effectively slicing and dicing right into his rare emotions, which were becoming a flood.

Itachi had never realized how big of a mess he had gotten himself into. He'd never noticed how he abused Naruto day after day. He didn't mean abuse in the physical or verbal way, but abuse in the way of his emotions, taking him for granted.

He'd been doing everything in this world to please everyone but the one person he should have been pleasing. The one person he should have always put first in his life, even before his clan and Sasuke.

All the perfection Itachi had once felt dissolved in those few moments.

Naruto had never felt so awful. Everything inside of him screamed in agony. He didn't think he'd ever felt this bad before in his life. How could it ever have been this bad? Naruto would have remembered.

He wasn't going to take much, just enough to get by. He'd go to Iruka and Kakashi. Iruka would love to have him, having never approved of Itachi in the first place. He'd probably be delighted.

He went to put a set of shirts in the suitcase when a hand came out and swiped them away, while another curled around his waist causing the deprived man to gasp and flinch violently.

"Stop," Itachi commanded softly, moving closer.

His heart shot into his throat and he could have sworn he was choking on it. "P-please don't, Itachi!" Naruto said when Itachi dropped the clothes and used both hands to hold onto him. "Please, please, please! Don't do this to me, Itachi," he begged. "N-no!" His heart couldn't take it. "Please…"

"Shh," Itachi whispered pulling Naruto close against his chest.

Naruto was about to pass out. Itachi brought his hand up to wipe away the tears but when he went to kiss Naruto's cheek the former shinobi turned away. "N-no. Stop," he pleaded desperately.


"Y-you're destroying what is left of my heart," Naruto confessed, the flow of tears coming down to the point of a waterfall.

If Itachi hadn't been a strong man, he'd have broken down at the sight. Angels weren't supposed to cry. "Can I mend it?" Naruto sniffled and closed his eyes without speaking. Itachi pulled his shaking body closer. "Naru-chan?" He pressed a kiss to Naruto's cheek, getting a whimper in return.

Itachi hadn't called him Naru-chan since they first met. It had been his indifferent way of teasing until it became a common name for him.

"Why now, Itachi? Surely, you should have noticed…" Naruto asked roughly. He brought his hands up to wipe the tears away.

Itachi squeezed him tightly and lowered his face into Naruto's neck, getting a shuddering gasp. "I am a foolish man, who was too arrogant and conceited," he confessed brushing his nose up Naruto's sweet skin. The scent of ivory consumed him. "I am sorry," Itachi said truly.

Naruto was so very scared. He whimpered piteously as Itachi's strong hands cupped his cheeks and pulled him close until their lips were touching. For a moment, Naruto's reaction was non-existent before slowly kissing back for the first time in what felt like ages.

How could he have denied this to not only Naruto, but to himself? Itachi took control, pouring all his feelings into a kiss since words would never do. Itachi hated to talk and explain himself, and so he decided that the best way to express himself was through his actions. He pulled Naruto's body closer until they were together. Deeper and deeper Itachi fell into him, holding him close; he was aware of how much of a lifeline Naruto truly was in those few moments. The thought of Naruto leaving his grasp… disappearing… was like an acidic sort of rain. It was corrosive and dangerous.

Taking for granted something that is so precious—how could Itachi have fallen into that trap?

Naruto whined when he realized Itachi had him on the bed. Before he knew what was happening, he was being kissed and touched with so much feeling and loving emotion that he could actually feel the chakra pooling out of his husband.

He wanted to say no, but the kisses to his neck were so sweet, the brush to his skin was so hot and his body arched into it compulsively. He wanted to push Itachi back, tell him it was too late, but all Naruto could do was moan as he was devoured, feeling every inch of Itachi kissing, licking, and sliding deeply into him in the way he had always enjoyed it, causing him to come up off the bed, arms and legs around Itachi. Flush beads of sweat lingering on his neck and chest until kisses wiped them away.

Every pleasurable thrust to that bundle of nerves was followed by one whispered word: 'Sorry,' until Naruto was curled and panting on the bed.

Then Itachi was lying on top of him, burying his face into Naruto's neck. Naruto's arms tightened around Itachi's neck and he almost gasped when he felt the man shaking on top of him.

"Never again," Itachi whispered into his ear after a moment. Naruto pretended not to notice the wet sensation on his neck or the barely even tone. "I will never leave you alone again."

Naruto clenched his eyes closed again. "N-not possible," he got out quietly.

"I quit," Itachi told him, hands running up and down his sides gently.

Gasping, Naruto squirmed at the ticklish sensation. "Wh-why?" he asked in shock. "Itachi!" he said nudging the man up to see his face. Of course, even sexed up and trying to hide his emotions, Itachi looked graceful as their eyes locked, deep red Sharingan to his plain blue eyes. "You love being an ANBU! You live for it."

Itachi shook his head. "No, you have it wrong, Naru-chan." Naruto was totally confused. Itachi pressed a kiss to his chin and smirked briefly, which captured Naruto's heart, sending it soaring. The pain lessened little by little. "I love you and I can live without being an ANBU. I can't live without you," he said firmly.

Naruto lay back down on the bed, his elbows giving out on him. It was perhaps the most the man had ever said to him in two years. Naruto closed his eyes.

Itachi continued to kiss him, watching his fair lover's expressions of pain, confusion, and then hope. Did he have a chance still? For the first time, Itachi was uncertain. He couldn't read Naruto's mind. He knew that he had hurt Naruto deeply. The begging he had done earlier, when Itachi had merely touched Naruto, sent him into a bizarre reaction, a reaction that Itachi had caused.

He would never forgive himself for the pain he'd caused Naruto, but hopefully, one day, with enough work, Naruto could forgive him—if only a little bit. He didn't deserve it.

Naruto moaned. He knew what he was going to do now. Itachi, Itachi, Itachi, his mind chanted.

The man in question lifted his left hand. They were still under the covers and naked; Naruto's legs were wrapped around his figure. Naruto opened his eyes to see Itachi slipping his wedding ring back on. He then kissed Naruto's hand and squeezed it. "I am sorry."

"I know," Naruto said sighing. "I think I remember why I never left…" Itachi looked at him. The answer was so clearly written on the Uchiha's face, but even he, a genius of all Uchiha didn't know it. He too had always been alone. They were two lonely people together. Naruto, however, never answered and instead reached back and pulled the tie out of his hair and flung the band across the room. Itachi's long black hair fluttered around him.

Itachi kissed him in response.

Itachi had allowed the consequences of his loneliness to seep into their marriage. He had been so used to being an emotionless shell. He'd never known anything else. Naruto, while he grew up lonely and unwanted, always begged for affection in secret. Always craved it and that only heightened when he became older, met Itachi and clung to him.

That was it; Naruto clung to the first person to ever show him true affection: a lonely soul, just like him.

Had his prayer finally been answered? Would his prayer remain answered or would Itachi go back to ignoring him? He supposed only time would tell, and he hoped to God that his heart would be mended rather than destroyed completely.

Surviving loneliness was something Naruto didn't think he could do and he felt that Itachi couldn't survive it either, in his own way.