AN: I have so many stories that need to be completed that it sucks that this one forced its way through. (I actually have 2 more but that are humor but the need to do a creepy one was the greatest. I hope it's as well as the Gundam Wing one I did called Living Hell. While this one is not inspired by any games, it does get some inspiration from the many horror stories and movies that exist, and best of all, the mood that can be created with Midnight's Syndicate's music, especially the album titles The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates. Awesome creepy and sometimes melancholy music. The character's of Naruto are not mine and are solely being used for entertainment purposes. Do enjoy. (AU)
The Portrait from the Attic
Naruto Uzumaki was once known as a very happy individual. And that personality intensified when he and Sasuke Uchiha became a couple.
But that was over five years ago. In that brief time, things became very different. And the past three years seemed the roughest, as unhappiness in their relationship increased with ill luck at work. Sasuke was much more successful in business, and the ego that came with that had him encourage Naruto to maintain the house like a typical housewife.
At first it posed no problems since Sasuke seemed to love to pamper Naruto. And the spoiling was accepted by Naruto, although truthfully he would have preferred to work. But then Sasuke lost his job and things downgraded fast. He became cold towards Naruto as he sought out other jobs, but none were bringing him enough money as the previous one. Naruto tried to gain employment too, understanding that his significant other would need help with costs. But rather than being grateful, Sasuke became even more bitter. He accused Naruto of rubbing his failure in his face by seeking out his own means to support himself.
In between jobs, Sasuke would come back late at night from job hunting, reeking like cigarrettes and alcohol. And sometimes stale perfume. Naruto hated those nights the most, but his hope that the perfumes were just from waitresses and the like kept him from leaving Sasuke behind. Although that statement wasn't entirely accurate either. Naruto had almost left once, but Sasuke caught him at the door with the luggage by his feet. Sasuke had lost his composure and reacted violently at first, throwing everything inside the suitcase out of the house, calling Naruto horrid names. He accused Naruto of being like his family, abandoning him at his time of need when he was unable to provide anything. That Naruto only used him for his money. That Naruto was the reason he no longer talked to his parents.
And when Naruto began to slowly pick his things up off the floor and place them back in his suitcase, Sasuke had thrown himself on Naruto, sobbing and apologizing for being so unworthy. Begging for Naruto not to leave him too, that he would die without his blonde.
Naruto, of course, agreed to stay. And despite the nightly absences, and the almost none existent romantic times with each other, Naruto never tried to leave again.
Things got worse. With the unstable jobs that Sasuke kept gaining and losing, they were soon unable to keep their condo and were forced to sell.
Sasuke's drinking got worse, and a few times Naruto had to go bring him back to whatever little dingy apartment they could afford. Many times, Naruto found him in the arms of flirtatious women, laughing and kissing them and sharing drinks. He would scoff and try to fight off Naruto, but once they were in the cab, Sasuke would practically assault him, telling him over and over again that he loved him.
Of course he would remember nothing when he woke the following morning, instead being cold and callous all over again. In all honesty, Naruto was surprised that Sasuke willingly lay next to him on the weeks in which he had a job and didn't go drinking.
Then something happened that made Naruto hope it was a sign of good things to come, despite the tragedy of it. One of Sasuke's uncles, Orochimaru, had passed away. And for whatever reason, had left in his will that his mansion would go to Sasuke and his life partner, Naruto. The Uchiha family did try to fight it, but Orochimaru had everything mapped out, and no lawyer was able to find a loop hole to take the mansion away from them.
It did seem a bit too easy, until Naruto and Sasuke got to the mansion. It was old and looked like it had been abandoned for years. The only rooms that were in good condition were the kitchen and the master bedroom, where Orochimaru himself had died in his sleep.
Naruto refused to sleep in that room, and that was when he and Sasuke began sleeping in separate quarters. Sasuke refused to sleep in anything not livable to his standards, especially after dealing with shit hole apartments the past year and a half. Instead he told Naruto to make the mansion worthy again while he sought jobs.
So Naruto was left alone to deal with the damn creepy mansion by himself, spending time cleaning away cobwebs one room at a time, and praying to any god that would listen to him to help Sasuke find a job. He hated being there by himself, as the rooms never seemed to warm up, no matter how many fires he had going. And of course Sasuke would laugh of his talks about how he constantly felt a chill and then grow annoyed when Naruto would decline sharing Orochimaru's room with him again and again. To be honest, Naruto hated the mansion.
It was on the second week that they were graced with another bit of luck.
Naruto was in the attic, going through all of the covered furniture and personal belongings that had been acquired over the years. He had stumbled across an old chest and it had caught his attention because of the name: Kushina Utamaki. His mother's name had also been Kushina, and the last name was so similar to his that for a moment he had thought he had run into his mother's stuff. He was going to try and prop it open when he saw that there was an item covered behind it. He could see a frame peeking from underneath, and right away he knew it had to be a mural. Naruto left the chest and moved towards the dusty blanket and slowly pulled it off. He gasped in amazement as he saw that it was a portrait. It held a couple, and the painting seemed almost like a photograph. There was a gentleman with a serious look on his face, eyes as black as coal, hair so black and shiny, but skin so pale, like a vampire. He wore a ruffled dress shirt that came all the way to his neck, definitely Victorian style. A dark navy coat and leggings covered the rest of his body. One hand was rested on a thick cane, fingers dressed with thick rings and large stones. His other hand was around the waist of a blonde woman, her hair so bright against the dark coat of the man. She wasn't facing out completely like the man, as she was actually turned towards him, arms around his waist. Her skin was darker, almost tanned, and her blue eyes peeked out almost shyly. A small smile decorated her face, and the artist even picked out a faint blush on her cheeks. Her dress was a blue that matched her eyes perfectly, and the jewelry she wore was accented in orange colored gems.
The background itself was dark, in which the gentleman could almost get lost in if it weren't for his pale skin and the bright woman next to him. Naruto reached out and touched the painting. He could not get over the fact of how realistic it looked. He almost expected the people to leap from the wood it was painted on. He found himself lost in their eyes, seeing how joyful the female looked, but how empty and cold the man looked. He almost reminded him of Sasuke if he wanted to be honest with himself.
Naruto eventually dragged the painting downstairs, and set it up in the hallway that he had cleaned and fixed two days prior. When he finished securing it in the lighted hallway, Naruto noticed more details about the painting. There were faint raised lines on the woman's dress, almost as the painting had held something else and the artist painted over it. A mistake of some sort? They had the shape of legs and Naruto briefly wondered if maybe the woman was originally drawn in the nude. It would explain the blush. Something or someone must have had the artist fix it and put her in clothing. As he continued to examine the faint raised lines, Sasuke arrived.
"Guess what?" he heard Sasuke call out, sounding enthusiastic, a sound Naruto had not heard in over three years.
"Did you get an interview?" Naruto asked warily, hoping that this was the case and that Sasuke wouldn't blow up at him again. He got off the ladder as Sasuke came into the hallway.
"Yes. On the spot and I got a job offer! It'll be long hours but it's not that different from my stint at the Yue Tokyo Enterprises. I'll probably be up with promotions soon. And then I can buy you more stuff for this house so we can move into a room together again."
Sasuke pulled Naruto in and gave him a deep kiss, and Naruto could feel his heart swell. This was the man he had chosen to be with. Sasuke continued to hold him, and then he abruptly let go. "What the hell is that?" he asked with obvious distaste, and Naruto felt like he had been doused in cold water.
"Oh, ummm... the painting?" Naruto asked, seeing that Sasuke was staring up at the portrait above the fireplace mantle.
"Why the hell did you put that there?"
"Well, I found it, and we don't have anything for the walls yet other than our pictures... but I want those for our room. And judging by their clothes, I can't help but wonder if this was their house. I was kind of hoping by doing this that they will... I don't know... give us their blessing and good luck."
Sasuke scoffed. "You still believe in ghosts? Dobe."
Naruto pouted as Sasuke headed towards the kitchen. "We don't need dead people's blessings and good luck," he was saying. "What we need is money and hard work."
Sasuke's joyful tone had become bitter once more, leaving Naruto to sigh. Naruto glanced back up and was slightly startled. For a brief moment, it had looked like the man was looking down at him and that his mouth was turned upwards ever so slightly, and that the woman's eyes looked like there was a shimmer of unshedded tears.
Naruto backed away, wondering if there was some sort of trick of the light. He shook his head and assumed that maybe it was the crackling fire casting shadows. He followed Sasuke.