Right, this is my first story. Ever. It's Sasunaru, my fav pairing and kind of angsty. Don't like yaoi, the do not read this. Sorry if the characters are a bit OOC. Reviews would be appreciated.

Over and Over

Sasuke and Suigetsu are all that's left of Taka, the 2 frightengly strong cowards who are so messed up, too messed up to even try to live the life they want to.

*********

They stop at at a town in Rock for restock on water. It's all they ever do, really. Wander around, killing old enemies, either Sasuke's or Suigetsu's, whenever they come across them, and visiting towns for supplies and the occasional wish for a bed. Always sleeping on rocks gives incredible backaches.

There's also the odd mercenary hiring and various jobs to be done when they're broke. But, really, they're 1 25-year old and 1 26-year old doing a lot of nothing. It's the only lifestyle, besides already being dead, that Sasuke can imagine himself in.

*********

Taka had lost Juugo first, then Karin. Juugo had been killed and they did not know who did it or how they did it. Juugo was impossible to kill and even now there's a slight sense of regret whenever they talk about him and are forced to use the past tense. So, like all things they regret, Sasuke and Suigetsu have learned not to talk about it.

He was setting up camp (that was back in the days when they still had futons), lighting the fire and cooking the meat while they were in town buying (sometimes stealing) supplies and water. When they came back, he was unmoving, dead. Lying face up on the rough rubble, entire body covered in blood (if it was his own or someone else's, no one knew) with multiple wounds, though noticeably more on the head. If a medic-nin (Sakura Sasuke can't help thinking) was there, she could have found out. But there is no medic-nin, so that settles the matter.

It was the first time Sasuke had ever seen Karin sad and actually crying and the first time Suigetsu had shown he had a heart, with Karin's arms wrapped around it and her shoulder pressed against it.

Sasuke had dug the hole, Suigetsu had gilled it in again, Karin, the only one to have actually been at a proper one, recited traditional funeral words. All three of them found a good sized rock, propped it upright and carved in, because none of them had any experience here, Juugo. They did not know his last name.

*********

Karin left too, but of her own choosing, never mind whatever Suigetsu wanted to believe. In some ways, like how Sasuke had left Konoha, a long 13 years ago.

They were in the Land of Wind, following a lead on Zetsu being in Suna, a few months after they found Juugo dead on their campsite, because that's how the measured time now: how many days after Juugo had died. All 3 of them wanted revenge on Akatsuki, for many numerous things, especially Suigetsu, who never mentioned them without swearing. Sasuke went along with it because he didn't know what else to do, Itachi, Danzo, Orochimaru being dead, and Naruto alive. Thus, his problem.

A small village along the way was where Karin met Aoi, an unremarkable boy, of an unremarkable family with an unremarkable job and unremarkable looks (brown hair, eyes and skin). Sasuke suspected that was exactly why Karin liked him so much. She had had enough of irregulitaries. On the walk back to the inn, he was all she talked about. Sasuke kept quiet and Suigetsu changed the subject about things Karin hated as much as possible (himself, mainly).

Later, due to an unreliable bastard who purposely told them lies about Zetsu's whereabouts, they were forced to stay in Aoi's town much longer than anticipated. Karin went on dates and kissed and afterwards told them she was staying right here because she was sick of everything and didn't want all these nutjobs surrounding her. Karin had made up her mind and she stayed, no matter how much Suigetsu yelled at her.

2 days later, Suigetsu found and killed the man who'd made them stay longer and burned his house down for good measure, even when Sasuke pointed out the golden mug which would make sure they're never be broke again. And that was incredibly odd, because Suigetsu always wanted to steal something from someone and complained about it for days when Sasuke said no.

The whole trip was, in short, a catastrophe. They never found Zetsu, either.

*********

„The world is retarded", Suigetsu complains one dawn. He and Sasuke are sheltering in a cave and Sasuke has to lip read over the never-ending pouring rain. The walls and floor are bloody from the bear they killed in order to have breakfast.

„Pretty much" Sasuke agrees and continues to roast the meat.

*********

„Uchiha", Suigetsu says one day, slow, watchful, curious and cautious. „How many times have you been in love? If you ever have been?"

They never talk about this. Never about Karin, Naruto, Wind and Leaf and Sasuke is amazed one of them finally got up the nerve or was just too damn tired of the whole thing. But he is an Uchiha, and Uchihas are nothing if not blunt. „You mean like you and Karin?"

The wind whistles and whips and his hair is flying in his face. He feels Suigetsu wince. „Yeah".

Sasuke lets out a long breath. It took him months to figure this and out and he's reluctant to share it after such hard work. But Suigetsu is fair (at least in this matter) and he has the right to know. Sasuke knows about Karin, after all. „Thousands and thousands of times, just always into the same person, over and over again". It's romantic and pathetic and sappy, everything Sasuke used to not be. Suigetsu understands. He nods.

*********

Sasuke knows he is incredibly good-looking, knows his eyes and hair and skin and face and body and everything put together is beautiful, is lovely, is cool, is what makes girls swoon and spend hours picking out clothes and makeup. He knows all girls dream about him, knows how they all pretend to love him, knows how most boyfriends would want to beat him up, knows how drunk men mistake him for a girl and wind up bleeding on the street („shhhhheeeeee's a preeeeety gurl")

He also knows that if he did not have his good-looks, his power, his Uchiha Sharingan, if he was of average looks but with the same past and attitude, girls would hate him, tell him he was mean and ugly and cold-hearted. They'd pity him a while, because a massacre carried out by your brother is a horrible experience, but that's how far it would go before he was hated for his arrogance, his insults, his stupid ghost-clan, his ugly black clothes and his general bastard-ness. Girls loved sweet things, and Sasuke was only sweet on the outside part. He'd be hated.

Naruto, however, would be the same.

Naruto would be the same and Sasuke loves him for it, more than he'll even admit to himself.

**********

The air is stale and dusty, radically different form the rain-scented cool air on the wet mountains they were in a few days before. The chairs Sasuke and Suigetsu are sitting on are old, decript and missing a leg. Candles burn weakly in every corner, the entire town being too poor to afford electricity. The alcohol is cheap and in a corner a hooker is only wearing panties and a bra, negotiating a price between 3 men. Suigetsu's beer bottle swivels and dances in his hand, a result of years of sword-fighting. To the right, a gay couple are crying, the younger's body enfolded in the elder's arms, kisses raining.

Sasuke watches, wondering if he should be having some great emotional impact. All he notices is that the elder's eyes look a bit like Naruto's. Blue, sky blues. Except this guy's eyes are sea blues. Not sky blues not like Naruto's.

Blue. Huh.

The shirt he's wearing is blue, he realized and looked down on it. Blue with large spots of brown.

„Two more", Suigetsu orders.

„I don't want any" Sasuke objects to Suigetsu.

He doesn't want to drink. People drink to get rid of their problems and Sasuke has had problems his entire life and he had long given up, given up to nightmares and questions. Plus, as ridiculous, dumb and loyal as it sounded he didn't want to get drunk, hook up with some person he didn't know a thing about, (and he knew someone would want to seduce him, because it happens every night) and 'cheat' on Naruto, even though Naruto probably hates him. He loves Naruto and that's enough reason in Sasuke's mind.

Suigetsu makes a 'whatever' motion with his shoulders and smiles. „I'll have both of them, then"

The barmen slides over 2 beers over, one in front of each ninja and Suigetsu grabs Sasuke's and pulls it in front of him, drinking. He takes a few sips, gulping it down loudly.

„I'm not dragging your ass around when you get wasted" Sasuke tells him blandly. Suigetsu would not do the same for him.

„I can't get wasted, Uchiha" Suigetsu smirks, eerily reminding him of Orochimaru for a gross moment.

„Because of..." , Sasuke has obviously had at least some alcohol. He knows there's a word for this, for Suigetsu's 'condition', but now he doesn't know it. „The water thing.", he concludes lamely.

Suigetsu laughs, clear, loud and sober. „Yeah, sure. The water thing."

Sasuke grunts his annoyance.

„You bastard, Uchiha" Suigetsu laughs again for no reason Sasuke can understand.

Sasuke sips his beer glances over at the gay couple. Huh, they've left. Sasuke feels a bit disappointed; he wanted to see the elder's Naruto-like eyes. Bored, he looks at the hooker and sees her walking off with all 3 of the men.

„Have you ever been in a threesome he asks Suigetsu then, out of curiosity. He's pretty sure he's never been in a foursome, and a threesome is the closest thing to that.

Suigetsu glances up at him. „Yeah. In my dreams. It was me, Karin and that other blonde bitch we saw in Suna."

Suigetsu's silent for a moment and then: „Why? I thought you were saving yourself for Naruto or some other crap. Have you ever even fucked someone?"

„Yeah." Sasuke drinks some more and elaborates further. „I did in Sound, a few months after I killed Orochimaru. Just to see what it feels like."

„Just that once?", Suigetsu asks, eyebrows raised, white as foam. He's amazed, dumbfounded.

Sasuke nods.

„With a guy? Were you on top?"

„Yeah. To both."

„With who?" Suigetsu is really interested, much more interested that anything else. Sasuke wonders why.

„I don't know. Why are you so interested?"

Suigetsu looks at him, intently looks at him, his eyebrow-colored hair streaked with blood and dust, brushing against his shoulder and dirtying the cloak even more. „Sasuke", he says, exactly how he always says his name, seriously and devastated at once, „Sasuke, you asshole, you're so lucky."

*********

Sometimes, when Suigetsu is away, pissing or swimming or resting, Sasuke opens his eyes, as wide as they will go, tilts his head back and stares at the sky. He just stares, stares, stares and remembers. Remembers Naruto's sky-blue eyes, remembers his shaggy lion hair, remembers the whiskers everyone made fun of, remembers his loud voice, remembers the cuts and bruises, remembers his ramen cravings remembers the shabby, patched and orange clothes he wore, remembers the feel of it, the feel of fist on flesh or leg on flesh, which is how they always fought, hand-to-hand, with no fancy tricks or disguises. Most of all, he remembers the way Naruto looked when he cried because of Sasuke. It fills him with a sort of twisted pride, to know that Naruto cried, if not for him, at least about him.

It's dumb and stupid, he knows. He's supposed to be forgetting (because he'll never see him again), supposed to hate him for trying to bring him back (because he has to live this way; he's an avenger) and supposed to not feel sad (but he does, so everything goes to hell).

But he can't help it. He's scared, terrified, that he'll forget about Naruto, so he does his best to remember, to keep remembering, every little detail.

*********

„You gonna tell me now?" Sasuke barks at Suigetsu, hugely irritated. The swordsman had been avoiding the issue for 2 weeks and Sasuke had lost all his patience. Suigetsu had great hearing; he knew exactly when to turn into water every time Sasuke tried to strangle him and get the truth out.

Sasuke had never been lucky in anything as far as he knew, but Suigetsu, the jackass, had apparently figured something out. He'd said as much the night Sasuke had seen Almost-Naruto-eyes.

Now they're out a hotel, a big, white, happy hotel on the Sound-Konoha border where Suigetsu wants to stay because, Uchiha we never stay anywhere with a roof anymore and we deserve it after the long walk here. They're in their room now and Suigetsu is stretched out on the bed, ahhing.

„Sure, sure", Suigetsu complies finally. „Let me just think of a way to explain this to you."

Sasuke sighs with impatience and sits down on the bed. If he has to wait even more, at least he should wait comfortably.

"Listen, Sasuke", Suigetsu starts, staring up at the ceiling. "This ain't a compliment or anything, but you're pretty hot."

Sasuke doesn't see what this has to do with anything. "So?"

"So", Suigetsu rolls his eyes at Sasuke's apparent stupidity. "You'd expect a hot guy to have slept with tons of women, or in your case, men. You've only done 1. Then there's the whole abandoning Konoha thing. You haven't seen Naruto for more than a day, in what, 13 years?"

Sasuke nods his yes.

"13 years, and you haven't seen Naruto for more than a few hours." Suigetsu concludes. "You've only slept with 1 guy in 13 years. Put all that stuff together and you should have given up. No-." Suigetsu, stops, reconsiders. "You shouldn't be even able to love. You should be some killing machine, all dark and angsty, like a worse version than me, or Zabuza. Yeah, Zabuza's a good example. You should be like Zabuza, fucking 7 men a week and killing people just for fun. Well, Zabuza was bi, so he did woman too, but you get it. The fact that you don't is amazing."

"You're not like that", Sasuke points out. Suigetsu is bloodthirsty and can hold long lectures about how to best maim an opponent, but he's not like that.

"I used to be", Suigetsu shrugs. "Spending years in a tank sorta just slows you down, though. That and Juugo's wining about not wanting to kill anyone, Karin preaching about the ninja laws of conduct and your sorry Leaf-forgiving ass."

"Were you ever in love?" Sasuke asks, because he doesn't want to understand, doesn't want it to sink in yet. "I mean, before Karin."

"Yep. I was like you, in love, but I also wasn't like you. I raped her and now she hates me and she's married." Suigetsu stops, inhales deeply."Karin is…is kind of like a second choice."

Sasuke sits still, head in his hands, head on his knees. Suigetsu rolls around and stares out the balcony.

*********

"Naruto", he says or thinks. His throat is choked up and he can't speak, can't speak at all. Naruto, his Naruto, his idiot sky-eyed Naruto is standing there, right in front of him and he can't say a word.

*********

Sasuke wakes up from his sleep, suddenly and roughly, gasping and heaving. His eyes snap up, Sharingan flaring and when Naruto isn't standing there in front of him he breathes more easily, remembering. Remembering, I'm in Sound, not Leaf. With Suigetsu, not Naruto.

Next to him, Suigetsu, too cautious of a ninja to miss his rustling sheets and heavy breathing is on his feet, already with two kunai in each hand. "The fuck, Uchiha?" demands Suigetsu, pretty pissed off.

Sasuke is never weak. In every single thing he knows, he is not weak. It's just this, and only this, he and Suigetsu both know, both understand. But, as much as they do understand, they regret it, and like everything the regret, they try not to talk about it. Except, now it's staring Sasuke in the face, along with 4 angry kunai so it's unavoidable.

He croaks out "Naruto" and his voice cracks at the end.

Suigetsu puts the kunai away, lies down next to him and softly, ever so softly sighs and does nothing. He isn't taunting, judging, teasing and Sasuke is grateful, utterly grateful. Instead all Suigetsu does is nothing, which is exactly what Sasuke needs. At the moment, at least.

*********

3 months after the hotel, they're broke.

"Where do we lose it?", demands Suigetsu, pacing back and forth and swinging Zabuza's heavy sword. "How do we lose it? We hunt our own food (sometimes Sasuke thinks), sleep on rocks, collect our own water from streams (sometimes Sasuke thinks) and all sorts of other outdoors crud. How and where do we fucking lose it?!"

"I think it has more to do with how little we had at the beginning." , Sasuke points out. "And, you made us waste it at that hotel.", Sasuke finishes with a scowl.

"That", snaps Suigetsu without stopping his sword-swinging, "Was a special occasion. We were celebrating ("You were.", Sasuke grumbles) your good-will and undying love toward the Kyuubi". Sasuke growls and Suigetsu goes back to yelling at squirrels and birds.

*********

Later, Sasuke is hitchhiking through the treetops, as fast as he will go. He's certain they don't who stole the food and water, but he's also they know someone stole food and water and he doesn't want to be there when chaos breaks out. Sasuke's muddy cloak, his unkempt hair and lack of forehead protector contrasting a ninja's body will immediately label his as a missing-nin, and he'll rightfully be blamed and forced to kill a couple people.

Sasuke dislikes stealing, but there's no stream around for hours and he doesn't have the patience to go hunting tonight. He quickens his pace, tired and hungry and looking forward to the campfire, and after that, sleep.

Crash.

Sasuke glances down sharply, in the direction where the sound came from and stands still on the tree branch, silent and sword unsheathed. Suddenly, in a storm of silver and every other color, bodies catapult from the bushes and Sasuke's Sharingan blazes into life. He sees Suigetsu's telltale strange liquid chakra and at least 5 other unknown chakras.

Quietly, he draws out the wire that helped battle in Orochimaru during the Chuunin exam.

Sasuke has no time to summon one of his snakes, which is now how he usually gets the wire into position. Instead, hoping that no one looks up, he deftly jumps to another trunk and tightly wraps it around the trunk, near the base. Suigetsu and the other ninja are fighting heavily and Suigetsu has Kisame's sword out, along with curses and profanities spewing from his mouth. Whenever Suigetsu curses during battle, he's usually under pressure, so Sasuke knows he'll get angry soon and no one of the enemy ninja will think to look up in light of Suigetsu's new jutsu he discovered a few weeks ago.

Quickly, the wire is tied around around the bases of 4 large trunks, near the ground. Sasuke thinks someone saw him, because he's way too close now and the ninjas would have to be complete morons not to see, but they're too busy fighting Suigetsu to do much about it. Sasuke does the hand seals, speaks the words and fire is roaring down the wire, rapidly approaching the ninjas and the green grass is burning already.

The mystery ninjas are screaming now, recoiling from the flames and Sasuke sees the golden opportunity. He leaps down and ties the wire around the ninjas and ties a double knot, hard and tight. Suigetsu, having already seen this attack numerous times, adapts quickly and does exactly what Sasuke hoped he would do and soon enough the flames are gone and Sasuke and his captives are dripping wet. He looks at Suigetsu then, a broad smirk spread across his features and eyes red, says: "This is our money. We'll ransom our new hostages."

Suigetsu grins and walks closer. "Great job, Uchiha. Think they're worth mu-"

One of the heads in front of Sasuke, the only one blonde one, jerks up. "Uchiha?" it gasps, a female's voice. The head turns and sees Sasuke's Sharingan eyes and gasps again, much more loudly: "Uchiha?", disbelief coloring the tone.

Suigetsu looks confused: "Someone you know, Sasuke?" He walks closer, and then gapes soundlessly. "Sasuke", he points out incredulously. "Sasuke, they're-"

Again, their captives don't let Suigetsu finish his sentence. One of the black-hairs, this one with an absurd pony-tail, finishes mockingly: "Leaf."

The first thing Sasuke does when he hears is figure out if any one of them could get out of the trap right now, through some kekkei genkai or such, and for the sake of staying alive and Naruto's friends not escaping and Naruto not finding him, for no other reason, connects the pony-tail to a memory, shadows twisting and brought to life and connects the long blonde hair and purple clothing to mind games the blonde slut used to boast of doing. But neither shadows or mind games could work without hand seals and Sasuke yells frantically to Suigetsu: "Get the wire! Bind their hands! They're gonna fucking escape!"

Suigetsu does it in a few seconds, knowing that Sasuke keeps his precious weapon in his pants pocket and ties the hands hurriedly. He ties all of the hostages, quickly and clumsily and then sets about tightening the knots, only when all of them were safely tied.

Sasuke steps back, and looks at them, trying to remember.

There's 7 in all, the blonde in purple who Sasuke remembered seeing with Sakura all the time, the black-haired pony-tailed one who Sasuke remembered being on his retrieval team, a wild-looking man with red fangs on his cheeks who was also on Sasuke's retrieval team, a fat one with spirals on his cheeks who, too, was on his retrieval team, another blonde woman with 4 pig-tails and a scowl and last of all, two dark-haired, pale-faced and pupil less eyes that Sasuke knew immediately were Hyuugas.

"Do you know any of them?", Suigetsu demanded.

"Yeah. I can't remember their names though. I know those 2 are Hyuugas-"

"No shit.", Suigetsu scoffs. "That's obvious. I'd know that."

"And that the blonde with 4 pig-tails is the Kazekage's sister. Gaara no Sabaku's sister. I know who the rest are, I just don't know their names. Those 3," he points, "were on my retrieval team. Hyuuga, too. I think."

"I'm an Inuzuka, Uchiha!" the red fang tattoo one roars, amongst shouts of "Nara!", "Akamichi" and "Yamanaka!"

"We have the Kazekage's sister?" Suigetsu asks, unbelieving. "That's gonna be soooooooooooo much cash. Great job, Uchiha! We're practically rich!"

"Oi!", the sister bursts out. "Don't talk to me like I'm not here. What makes you think Gaara will ransom me, Uchiha? He'll kill you before you can get the words out of your mouth!"

Sasuke stares at them uneasily. He won't deny it, he's worried. Leaf ninja, one measly batch of old companions he can't remember and he's already terrified Naruto will come right after them. And he remembers the Chuunin exam, how Naruto fought Gaara of the Sand and how Naruto treated all of the Sand Siblings, not just Gaara, like friends. It's a long way from here to Suna, and Sasuke knows word will eventually reach Konoha, and Naruto, who will come, just like he always does.

They can't travel all the way to Suna with this many hostages, not when they don't have a wagon or cart or horse or anything. And he thought it would be some minor ninja, not worth as much as Gaara's sister was. He also thought they were less of them. If there were 5, like he originally thought, they could have probably made it to somewhere, provided they stole something along the way, but not with this many people, no way. But, most of all, Sasuke kept thinking of Nrauto, Naruto, Naruto.

Sighing, he grabs some leaves and ties them roughly around their captor's mouth, gagging them. There's some screaming and some resistance, but he and Suigetsu get it done. He summons a snake, leaves him to guard and leads Suigetsu up to the treetops were they definitely can't hear them. All the same, he feels 2 Byakugan boring into his back.

Softly, he explains the trouble.

First, Suigetsu curses, then punches the tree in frustration and lastly just screeches up into the sky. "The hell are we gonna do now, Uchiha?" Suigetsu groans.

They can't take them to Suna, can't take them anywhere farther away than a few days' walk, they can't ransom them here, in a middle of the forest and definitely can not let them free.

"Can we lure anybody here?" Suigetsu asks, desperate. "Like, some rich official or something?"

"With what?", Sasuke demands.

Suigetsu looks lost. "Let's sleep on it and decide in the morning.", he ventures, really desperate. "Aren't you supposed to be a genius, Uchiha? Figure something out, godammit!"

Sasuke stares at him. "We don't have any fucking time for that, you jackass. We need to figure it out now."

Suigetsu groans. "Look, Uchiha, how important are the 2 Hyuugas? And the rest of them? Is the Sand girl the only one that's worth a lot?"

"I don't think the rest of them are that important, but the Hyuuga girl is the heir to the clan. She's part of the Main house, but the other one is from the Branch house.", Sasuke summarizes for him, digging for memories he'd that were long forgotten. "Why?"

"Let's leave the others here", Suigetsu urges. "Just take Hyuuga and the sister."

Sasuke scowls. "That's not going to work. That wire can't hold them forever, after 3 days they'll be able to break it. They'll catch up to us, and get Hyuuga and the sister back, or go straight to Leaf and tell them about us. Either way, we're screwed."

Suigetsu sighs and groans. "Do you have any better ideas?" he asks harshly, irritated.

"We could just leave them here.", Sasuke ventures. "Leave them here, still all tied up. In 3 days, they'll be free, sure, but your way they'll be free in 3 days and us with hostages who will be trying to escape and kill us. We'll move much more freely this way."

"And then what, after those 3 days?", Suigetsu groans. "They'll catch us. Sasuke, can't we just kill 'em all? Everything will be solved."

"If we do that, someone's gonna find the bodies and with some medic-nin figure out who killed them. We're still be screwed. And besides, there's Naruto." Sasuke stares at him, defeated and begging for him to understand. "Suigetsu, Naruto will hate me more than ever."

Suigetsu looks at him, softly turns his head away and sighs. "I can understand that, I guess. I wouldn't kill Aoi, or any of Karin's stupid friends."

Sasuke smiles, relieved. He leans in, struck by a new idea. "I know,", he whispers. "You should go to Wind, to her town. You're probably gonna die in a few days anyway. There's nothing to lose."

Suigetsu looks at him. "If I have to do that, you have to go back to Leaf."

Sasuke looks down at their bound and gagged captives, each with a Leaf forehead protector, and feels strangely light, like he's floating. He thinks about Naruto, thinks about his shabby orange clothing, his loud voice, his ramen cravings, the whiskers everyone made fun of, the cuts and bruises, his shaggy lion hair and his sky-blue eyes.

He glances upward, again, watching Suigetsu, and sees the man leaning against the tree trunk, his eyes sort of glazed over and hears him say "Yu know, Uchiha, your Sharingan is almost the same color as Karin's hair." And Sasuke feels a sort of certainty then he hasn't felt in a long time, about Taka, about Itachi and most of all about Naruto.

"I'll come to that village one day, if I don't die.", he promises to Suigetsu and Karin.

Suigetsu throws back his head and laughs: "We're pretty pathetic, huh, Uchiha? Like a couple of lovey-dovey boys in a story, trying to regain lost love in the face of death. I can't believe we're such saps." He leans his head against the trunk, chuckling.

Sasuke scowls at him. He does feel a little ridiculous, now that Suigetsu pointed it out. "Don't remind me.", he snaps.

"I'll see you in hell, Sasuke." He grins at him, that sharp smile floating, turns away and jumps through the trees.

Sasuke turns away, looks down at the captives and thinks they don't matter, Naruto matters and heads in the opposite direction, as fast as he can to Konoha.

*********

When he sees the Gate, a week later, he knows the Leaf ninja he took captive got their first, because Naruto's standing there, right next to the Gate.

He's pacing up and own, oddly reminding Sasuke of Suigetsu, hands thrust into his pockets as protection against the unusually cold weather, with eyes sharp and alert, darting everywhere, looking for Sasuke.

Naruto looks the same to Sasuke, despite all the years. He's taller, the whiskers on his cheeks are more visible, his blonde hair is longer slightly, but he's still walking with the same nervous energy, the same impatience, his clothes are still shabby, patched up and orange and his eyes are still bright sky-blue.

Sasuke walks quietly out of the trees, with no plan at all, no idea what he's going to say, just walks out because it's been so long, too long.

And, as it turns out, he doesn't have to do or say anything, because Naruto sees him, shouts "SASUKE" in the same loud voice and runs. In a second Naruto is gripping him,hugging him even and Sasuke closes his eyes and feels his shirt go damp and right now he doesn't care if it's his or Naruto's tears, all he can think of is that Naruto does not hate him. He whispers "Naruto" as an answer to Naruto's cry, though it's a feeble, quiet answer.

He looks at Naruto, the first time in a while he's really looked at him, and all he can see is blue, sky blue.

END

Reviews please!

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