Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth in strange eruptions...
He was used to it, preferred it in many ways. The silence, the dark… It was familiar to him. This was something he knew. This was something he could manipulate, he could control. He could destroy the dark with one fire jutsu. Shatter the silence with one yell.
Settling back against the wall, he observed the cell in an almost bored manner. Only one person could have read the faint anxiety lining his body. He wasn't in the cell with him, however. And it seemed insulting to scream when that was always his job.
Sasuke pulled his legs close to his chest. His chin rested on his knees, arms wrapped casually around his calves.
Sasuke supposed he shouldn't have been surprised that the idiot defied the Hokage's rule that Sasuke wasn't to receive visitors. And broke every other law too.
The silence grew palpable.
Sasuke wasn't naturally inclined to speaking. The other didn't seem to want to. The brunet closed his eyes, counted to one hundred and opened them.
He was gone and the silence was no longer soothing to him.
The next time he appeared, Sasuke spoke.
"You're not supposed to be here," he said tonelessly. Naruto shrugged.
"Why are you even here? You brought me back. Or don't you have anything to do now?"
Naruto leaned his head against the bars. He opened his mouth, but shut it almost immediately. Wrapping his hands around the bars, he sighed.
Sasuke turned away. He didn't see or hear Naruto leave.
"You're a missing-nin," the Hokage spoke bluntly. Sasuke looked over her shoulder, four ANBU standing around him and numerous chakra suppression seals burned into his skin. "The penalty for betraying Konoha is death. But because of Uzumaki Naruto's actions to bring you back and his word that you present no danger to us, the sentence will be lessened.
"You will bear a monitoring seal at all times. If at any point you leave Konohagakure's immediate grounds, ANBU will subdue you. You will live in the Hyuuga Compound. You are to go nowhere and meet with no one unless it is with Hyuuga Hiashi's permission and with a Hyuuga accompanying you. Your missions will be of a D-rank nature until you've proven to be trustworthy enough to handle higher ranked missions. You cannot take the Chuunin Exam until further notice and your Sharingan will be sealed."
Sasuke dropped his gaze in shock to meet hers. The Hokage's brown eyes were hard. "You won't need it," she said sweetly. "Any questions?"
"Where's Naruto?" Sasuke knew his words had the desired effect when she paled, eyes widening. She quickly regained control.
"You have no right to know," she said, coldly furious.
Maybe he had no right to know. But Naruto followed him.
He had moved into the Hyuuga compound. His room was next to Neji's. He doubted it was an act meant to make him feel at ease.
He left the window open. He lay on the sleeping mat, wearing only his pants. His shirt was discarded on the floor. His fingers absentmindedly touched the black marks around his eyes.
Kakashi had performed the sealing. His birthright along with most of his chakra…unable to be accessed.
He didn't know what to feel.
Without turning, he sensed the other's sudden presence.
"I know you're there," he said.
Naruto lounged on the windowsill. One knee was propped up; the other foot tapped against the floor.
"Why are you here?"
Sasuke turned to look at the door. Neji leaned against the doorway, arms crossed in front of him. "Whom were you talking to?"
The Uchiha ignored him. Naruto was gone.
Days later, he awoke to the feeling of something tracing his seals. He opened his eyes to see Naruto sitting beside him, cool fingers just lingering over the marks.
Sasuke kept his hands at his side.
"What do you want?"
Naruto's blue eyes searched his. And Sasuke realized he could see right through him. One hand shot forward to clench around Naruto's neck, but his fingers sank through air.
"What do you want? Talk already!"
Naruto eyes were downcast. Sasuke no longer knew if he didn't want to answer or if he couldn't.
Kakashi came to see him. When Sasuke asked him why he came alone, the older man focused his one eye on him.
"Sakura cannot look at you anymore. And I have a feeling you would kill Sai before you speak to him."
"What will you do, Sasuke?" Kakashi asked innocently as if the boy had any control over his life at the moment.
The Uchiha was silent for so long, Kakashi stood and headed toward the door.
"I have an ambition," he answered softly and he knew Kakashi heard. "I won't let it remain a dream. I owe him that much."
Sasuke performed his duties flawlessly. He never gave Hiashi cause for reproach. He fulfilled his missions without complaint. He knew the Council was pressuring Tsunade to reinstate him as full Konoha shinobi again.
Naruto never faded away now. He always followed Sasuke, silent and unseen by all except the dark-haired boy. He would grin at Sasuke from the roof as Uchiha caught the ridiculous cat again. Or he smiled, lying in the grass as the young man weeded an oversized garden. He had no privacy, no time to himself. When he awoke, the first thing he saw was Naruto's smiling face. When he struggled to reconcile sleep, the blond rested his palm on Sasuke's cheek.
And Sasuke secretly began to gather the materials.
Under pretense of helping Hinata find some items to press her flowers, he purchased some fine, red rice paper. He took some ink and an expensive brush from Hiashi's study.
He had the scroll memorized. He knew the jutsu.
He just needed the final part, the most important one.
He needed a body.
The boy didn't bother to return Sakura's greeting. She was clutching at her hands nervously, eyes unsure whether to settle on Sasuke's form or on the air above his shoulder.
For a moment, Sasuke believed she could see Naruto lingering just behind him.
All three were silent. After so much time, Sasuke was no longer bothered by Naruto's stillness.
When Sakura refused to voice whatever she was thinking, Sasuke stood to leave.
He paused at the door. Sakura was on her feet, face solemn, eyes uncharacteristically angry. "Who killed Naruto, Sasuke-kun?"
"What do you really want to ask, Sakura?" It was the only time Sasuke had directed a sentence to Sakura since his return.
Sakura swallowed, but continued fearlessly. "Did you kill him?"
Sasuke coked his head to the side. "You were with him last. He didn't say?"
"He said you didn't do it."
"Then why ask me?"
"Because Naruto would have done anything to protect you," she snapped. "Even let himself die by your hand."
"And lie about it?" Sasuke finished. Sakura's eyes widened at the force behind Sasuke's glare, but stood her ground.
"Are you calling him a liar now? Sakura?"
Sakura seemed to sense the danger in the question and did not answer. She raised her chin slightly, glaring at him out of jaded eyes.
Naruto observed the argument and Sasuke could see the hurt marring his features.
"Get out, Sakura. Don't come back."
Two years after he returned he was allowed to take the Chuunin exam. He was teamed with a boy and a girl who had failed the previous exam. Sasuke was older than them by five years.
The first part proved ridiculously easy even without Sharingan. He finished his test within five minutes and spent the rest of the time observing the genin around him.
In his holster, the scarlet paper burned his leg.
People died during the Chuunin exams. There was nothing surprising about that. And he did not care for advancement or his team. He needed a body. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the perfect one. A boy from Grass who looked to be about fifteen years old. He had messy brown hair and a pale face. But his eyes were an intense shade of blue, so bright they almost rivaled Naruto's.
People died during the Chuunin exams.
Once the second part began, he led his team against the first enemies he could find. He slipped away during the melee.
Naruto shadowed his steps.
"I won't kill someone from Konoha so don't give me that look," Sasuke snapped irritably. He didn't expect Naruto to respond and received no answer.
He found the team from Grass quickly. Performing a simple genjutsu, he put them to sleep. He picked up the blue-eyed boy and began running. He soon found the clearing where Sakura had cared for him and Naruto during their exam. He set a genjutsu around the clearing that would confuse anyone who approached. He dropped the boy on the ground, one hand lingering over the Grass nin's neck.
"It won't hurt him, dobe," he said. Naruto's face was inscrutable.
In two years, he had not pushed the limits set upon him by Tsunade. But he couldn't finish this jutsu with the amount of power he had. It was not enough.
Naruto watched him, those blue eyes darker than Sasuke had ever seen them.
Sasuke performed the seals, summoned his chakra and was met by nothing. Eyes narrowing, he did it again. Seals, chakra…nothing. Seals, chakra…nothing.
His body trembled with exertion. His eyes throbbed. Tears burned him like acid as his eyes struggled futilely to change form. He could feel his chakra, could feel Sharingan trying to surge and could feel them meet the insurmountable barrier of Kakashi's seal.
He did the jutsu again and again and again and again.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothingnothingnothingnothing…
"Agh!" Sasuke punched the ground with enough force to crater it. He breathed harshly.
A pair of sandals entered his field of vision. He didn't bother to raise his head as Naruto knelt before him. He felt Naruto's fingers hesitating on his face and saw one finger catch a glimmering teardrop. He watched Naruto look at it curiously before delicately licking it off his finger.
Sasuke was too stunned to move as Naruto pressed forward. His tongue brushed against the dark markings around Sasuke's eyes, before following the path with his lips. His chakra suddenly surged around him, unfettered, wild, eagerly seeking escape. His Sharingan blazed a brutal, unforgiving red.
He performed the seals. He channeled his chakra. He closed his eyes.
He heard the whisper of ash and dirt. He discerned a purple light. He felt the rumble of the rising casket.
When he opened his eyes, Naruto was nowhere to be seen. He took a step forward, but the lid suddenly creaked and fell at his feet.
He could feel his heart like a pounding tattoo at the base of his neck.
The body stepped forward, head bowed, eyes dark.
Fisting the kunai tied to the scarlet fuda, Sasuke closed the distance between him and the summon. The weapon sank through the back of the summon's head. He watched the tail of the red paper disappear as if sinking through water. His hand ran through the fine yellow strands.
The head slowly raised and Sasuke was looking into Naruto's curious blue eyes.
Sasuke knew he had minutes at best. He still had the monitoring seal. Kakashi and Tsunade should already know he had broken free of the chakra suppression seals. He had spat on the constraints the Hokage set on him and performed a forbidden jutsu.
It looked like Naruto. It felt like Naruto. It smelled like Naruto.
When he opened his mouth would it be Naruto or the jutsu speaking?
Sasuke found he no longer cared. Not while he could grab Naruto's garish black and orange jacket and Naruto was grinning widely at him like he always did and he needed to hear that obnoxious voice or he would go insane...
"Usuratonkachi," Sasuke breathed against Naruto's lips. Naruto would insult him. He had to.
He waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.