Title: Family Affair – Chapter 1: How to save a life
Pairings: Eventual NaruSasu, Existing Minato/Mikoto, Past Fugaku/Mikoto
Rating: T for references to abuse – Could go up to M in later chapters.
Warnings/Notes: Swtiching POVs like crazy (lines/page breaks indicate the switch), weird tenses because I don't have a proper beta, some necessary OOCness (please note that both Naruto and Sasuke have parental figures in this story so they will be understandably different from their orphaned selves, which is to be expected), fairly Sasuke-centric, abuse, crazies, angst, teh emo, eventual yaoi/shonen-ai/slash/BL/whatever you wanna call it!
There were boxes everywhere, and each of them contained a piece of him.
He'd never have believed he'd be able to organize the chronicles of his life thus far in cardboard, but he is staring at the proof. Three full days and only eleven full boxes to show for it.
Giving his now empty room a final scan he finds it hard to believe this is where he spent the last seventeen years. He couldn't say he'd miss it.
"All finished, dear?"
His mother is a dainty woman and yet had somehow managed to finish packing the entire house yesterday by herself. She had, of course, offered to help him with his own things, but he politely refused. He already felt bad that he hadn't been more helpful with everything else.
He turns to her and nods in response.
"Right on time," she smiles "Naruto is just downstairs, Minato sent him over to help with some of the more heavier things."
He knows the reason he suddenly feels offended, but buries it for his mother's sake.
Minato is his mother's boyfriend: Naruto, the moronic son that came as part of the package.
Her expression softens at his tone and she steps toward him, brushing some of the longer pieces of hair away from his forehead with her tiny hands. He leans forward slightly to make it easier for her; he is taller than her now.
"Your hair is getting so long…" She combs her fingers through his bangs once more before tucking them behind one ear. Pausing a minute to consider him, and then smiling once again, she brightens:
"Okay! I'll just send Naruto up then. Minato already helped me with everything else yesterday," she looked around his old room, "So you two can finish up here and I'll meet you over there," with that she was out of his room and padding down the stairs.
He'd met Naruto on occasions before this so he knew what to expect.
And though he had made a point to ignore the other boy as much as possible (while still retaining his manners), Naruto unfortunately got in everyone else's business. The other boy always seemed so ecstatic about their parents dating slash being in a relationship slash whatever else it was— like Sasuke and his mother were chosen specifically for the kid as add-ons to the Uzumaki-Namikaze Family by the blond's father: A new mother happy meal of sorts, brother and toys included, for his only son.
He closes his eyes tightly and savors the moment he knows to be one of the few he'll get to himself before the great blond ape makes his appearance.
He still couldn't believe tomorrow he'd be officially living with him.
These thoughts were interrupted by his soon-to-be-housemate's lumbering steps coming down the hall—
"Hey!" Naruto says in greeting, coming to stand next to him and looking extremely out of place in Sasuke's memory. "I got my dad's SUV outside, I think we'll be able to fit everything in one trip," the blond takes in the number of boxes "if this is it?"
"Okay then," the other boy immediately grabs for the largest box he can find, which makes Sasuke's eyebrow raise minutely. Naruto is a year younger than him and yet stands a half-foot taller and probably around sixty pounds heavier. Which, Naruto would proudly insist, is nothing but muscle. It wasn't Sasuke's fault his genetics ran more towards his mother side of the family. Or that Naruto's dad was fucking 6'5 and his dumb son was only trailing behind by three inches. It didn't need to be rubbed in his face. He had been taller than the idiot once!
He still didn't understand how his mother didn't feel so dwarfed by the two, he himself would never admit to feeling small, but his mother was tiny, barely above five foot.
He tunes into the other boy, "What?"
"Are you alright?" Naruto, box in arms, is looking at him funny, "I asked you twice, if there was anything breakable in these?" the blond motions with a toned shoulder towards the rest of Sasuke's stuff.
"Oh," the brunet thinks about it, "No, but try not to drop anything."
"I wasn't going to," Naruto frowns.
Picking up another box, Sasuke ignores the other as they begin making the trips back and forth to Minato's black pathfinder carrying everything, Naruto chatting to himself all the while.
They were almost done when:
"Hey— I got the last one." Naruto says as he stares determinedly at Sasuke as if the blond's gaze would magically make him relinquish the box held in his arms. Ha.
Sasuke only grips the box tighter and stubbornly stares right back.
"I'm just tryin' to help you out," the blond grins at him, used to the shorter's silences, and purposely straightening his back.
Oh, he was going to punch this moron. But he'd have to save it for later, right now he couldn't wait to get away from the idiot.
Naruto didn't even attempt to intercept Sasuke as he shoved his way past, the last of his stuff still in his arms, marching down the stairs with the box effortlessly. The blond did laugh though.
Sometimes he couldn't get the other boy.
For someone who had been described to him by his father as good-natured but a little shy, Sasuke had not been what he was expecting when they'd first met. He'd been 12 at the time and Sasuke 13, the brunet and his mom had stayed with them a couple nights, sharing the guest room.
At the time he wasn't exactly sure why they were at his house and not at their own, but he hadn't really minded. He liked having people over, even if everyone else had seemed so depressed about the situation— Mikoto had been very kind to him.
He couldn't say the same about her son.
Yeah he had been quiet as hell, but Naruto could find nothing "good-natured" about him. Naruto had even tried to be nice but the other boy was completely sour towards him and his dad, even though his dad was doing a favor for the other boy's mom. His dad had told him not to worry about it though and that Sasuke hadn't meant anything by it, just that he was probably tired.
And Sasuke did look tired, his mom too.
So Naruto had let it go.
After all, he figured he'd be a little cranky too, if he had those sore looking bruises around his own neck.
Making his way outside, Naruto never would have guessed four years later they'd all be moving in together, it was such a natural progression too. He was happy for his dad because as far as he knew his dad hadn't been with anyone since his mother died and Naruto couldn't even remember her.
And he liked Mikoto. He liked that she could put a smile on his dad's face just by looking at him, and how she could get him to relax by simply being in the same room. She was beautiful and sweet and everything Naruto imagined a mother should be.
"Hey idiot," the prickly brunet yells from his dad's truck, "Get a move on!"
He still finds it hard to believe Sasuke is her spawn.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll be there in a minute!" locking the door of the now empty house with the key Mikoto left with him, Naruto quickly shuffles down the driveway and gets into the SUV on the driver's side.
Looking over at Sasuke to retort, the blond swallows and can't deny the resemblance— those slanted dark eyes, high cheekbones, straight nose and sharp jaw line— it was like being told off by a grumpy masculine-looking Mikoto. Fine. They were definitely mother and son, but it was just Naruto's luck the other boy didn't have the decency to inherent a single niceness gene.
"Instead of being pissy you could, oh I don't know, maybe thank me?" he looks over at the shorter, "It probably wouldn't kill you." He makes sure to put a lot of emphasis on the "probably" while looking slightly suspicious.
Sasuke only snorts before turning to look out the window, effectively destroying any possibility for conversation.
Naruto sighs and starts the car.
This was going to be a long ride.
When they got to Naruto's, well… their place, Minato's cruiser was there, which meant he'd come straight from work, which also meant—
"Look at you two! Naruto, you've gotten so big! And Sasuke—! Not quite so big, but my, how you've grown!"
Kakashi: Minato's partner. The bane of his existence.
"But you saw us last week Kakashi," Naruto states quite stupidly.
Leave it to the blond idiot to take the graying idiot seriously, he's honestly not surprised though, Naruto isn't the hardest to fool. If it weren't for the fact his mother was watching from the kitchen window he would have simply brushed both Kakashi and Naruto off, as it were…
"To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"My Sasuke, so polite!" the older man's eyes were curved upward in delight, "Minato wanted to make sure everything got here okay, including you two—"
"What's that supposed to mean?!" Naruto growled taking offence at the jibe, having just gotten his license. Kakashi stops a minute to clap the blond on the shoulder in apology before he goes on ignoring him.
"—he's inside helping your mom unpack."
"I came along for the ride of course,"
He can already feel the beginnings of a headache stirring behind his eyes; of course he would have to deal with Kakashi on top of everything else today.
"Can we get this over with," he finds himself completely resigned at the moment.
Naruto ended up convincing Kakashi to help too, more or less pestering him until he gave in and finally started unloading Sasuke's things and bringing them into the house. The guest room would become Sasuke's and so everything was being piled there.
Part way through though, Minato and Kakashi got a call from dispatch and had to leave, but it didn't really matter as they were almost done anyway. Naruto was bringing up the last of the boxes and Sasuke was re-assembling his bed frame.
All that was really left to do was finish up Sasuke's new room. It was smaller than Naruto's because it was the guest room, but the brunet didn't particularly care: He only wished it were bigger at the moment because Naruto insisted on helping him and the close quarters meant having to be near the doofus as he made good on his word.
They can both hear Mikoto through the ventilation still tinkering around in the kitchen below, getting familiar with everything, and Naruto notices how it makes a small smile appear on the other boy's face. He smiles too.
"Do you think she knows we can hear her?"
Sasuke is caught off guard, "huh?"
"Your mom, do you think she knows we can hear her?"
The brunet is frowning now, "what does it matter?"
"It was just a question, no need to get all defensive."
Sometimes Naruto wonders if they'll ever be able to get along and leave the awkwardness behind, but there always seems to be something holding them back. Sasuke won't even look at him right now and he wonders if the brunet has come to the same conclusions. He wonders if Sasuke considers him and his dad as replacements, or something else.
Because Naruto knows the brunet already has both a brother and a father.
They're not dead like his mother; they're just not here.
Naruto thinks he doesn't want to be a replacement, but he doesn't want whatever this is either.
"Are you boys hungry?" Mikoto to the rescue, Naruto thinks.
She observes them both, and he thinks maybe she already knows this isn't going to work. He feels guilty and he doesn't even know why, but then she smiles and he thinks maybe she understands something he doesn't. Sasuke lightens at the sight of her and Naruto is glad for it. He wants this to work.
They go downstairs and eat, all three of them together and somehow Mikoto keeps the conversation alive; and Sasuke is still quiet but not as quiet and Naruto thinks he can get used to this. Afterwards he feels rejuvenated, he thinks Sasuke feels the same, so he doesn't feel completely stupid when back upstairs he drops one of Sasuke's boxes by accident and books spill out everywhere.
"Are those muscles for show only?" the tone in which the words are spoken is completely flat but when he looks he sees the bastard is smirking at him, genuine humor shining though the ridicule, so Naruto isn't too angry or embarrassed.
"Yeah," he taunts back, "Do you want to see my abs?"
Downstairs, Mikoto wonders if they know she can hear them laughing.
By the time Minato gets home, both Naruto and Sasuke are passed out upstairs in their respective beds, the latter having finally finished unpacking. He checks on them both before going to his own room where he finds Mikoto asleep with the lamp beside her still on and a thin book lying open atop her stomach. Gently, so as not to disturb her, he takes the book and places it on the night table where the lamp is sitting. He turns the lamp off too.
He pulls his uniform off in the dark and leaves it on the floor by his side of the bed before lifting the covers back and sliding in next to the other. She rolls towards him when the bed dips and he puts his arms around her and pulls her closer; her dark hair is soft under his chin.
"Hi," she whispers against his neck and he smiles.
It is the first night spent together in their shared home.
Sasuke is awake when Minato gets home but he pretends not to be.
It is weird to have his mom's boyfriend check in on him, and he thinks of his own father and the last time he was in this room. He's not sure that he misses the man, but he's been thinking of him more often than usual and he doesn't like it. After everything his mother went through, he feels guilty that he's not more grateful towards Minato— Guilty that he's still only striving for one man's approval and it's the same man who lost his own a long time ago.
He feels pathetic and afraid.
Pathetic because he still can't get over his dad's absence and afraid because he doesn't know how his mom will react if she ever finds out.
He'll never forgive that man for what he did to her.
But, sometimes, he doesn't think it's enough.
Naruto wakes up to the persistent growls of his own stomach and that's when he remembers he hasn't eaten anything other than the small lunch he had with Sasuke and Mikoto yesterday. He's actually astonished he forgot about dinner, he's even more surprised Mikoto didn't remind him. He blames it on all the moving/unpacking and gets up to get himself breakfast.
He passes Sasuke's room on the way downstairs and sees through the open door the brunet is still sleeping, he glances at the digital clock resting on the table beside the sleeping boy's bed, and reads 8:12AM. He doesn't think he's been up this early on a Sunday in half a decade.
When he reaches the kitchen he sees that both his dad and Sasuke's mom are already awake. They're sitting outside on the porch sipping what smells like coffee. "Good morning Naruto" and "You're up early" float in though the open window.
"Good morning," he sends back over his shoulder as he starts looking through cupboards, trying to decide what he's hungry for. He settles for cereal in the end; it's too early to be making anything complicated and he's not that adept at cooking.
Though, his rifling around the pantry seems to have been enough to wake the other boy, as Sasuke lazily stumbles down the stairs. He realizes this is probably why their parents decided to take their coffee outside. Oops.
"Good morning dear," it's like Mikoto has a sixth sense when it comes to Sasuke, because her greeting is timed perfectly with the other boy's entrance to the kitchen. The brunet replies with his own soft "morning" and makes himself some toast.
Naruto is irked when Sasuke eats the bread plain.
"There's jam in the fridge," he says helpfully but it seems today the shorter boy is back to pretending he isn't there. That or he really isn't a morning person. Judging by the wild spikes of blue hair going in every direction, he figures it's the latter. Well, that, they have in common.
They finish their breakfast in silence, his father and Mikoto joining them halfway through, and when he's done he puts his dishes in the sink. He sits back at the table out of politeness and begins playing with the tablecloth; Sasuke is still nibbling away at the same piece of bread, and their parents are skimming newspaper flyers.
Mikoto looks up when he sits back in his seat and smiles before turning to her son and frowning at the half eaten piece of toast in his hand. His dad notices her change in expression and offers to make Sasuke oatmeal if he wants— the dark haired boy declines but doesn't finish his toast now either.
"Okay," His dad replies lamely.
Naruto is about to excuse himself when Mikoto begins awkwardly:
"So, Minato and I were thinking…" here she pauses to make sure both of them are paying attention, "It might be easier for you two to attend the same school."
Before they can blink, his dad continues, "That way you can both use the pathfinder, and you won't have to take the bus anymore, Sasuke." addressing the dark-haired boy.
He can't help his relieved sigh; they are making Sasuke transfer, not him.
His father shoots him a look quickly at the sound but waits with Mikoto for some kind of reaction from the other boy. Naruto watches as he gives them nothing, shrugging and excusing himself from the table.
Mikoto gets up too but when she reaches for Sasuke, the taller brunet edges around her carefully so it looks like she's misjudged the distance between them. He can tell his dad wants to say something, the way he half-stands before sitting down again.
The way he wants to defend her but Sasuke stares him down and Naruto can't help but notice the other's eyes.
They are so dark.
Mikoto's eyes are dark too, but Sasuke's stare right through him, and he gets a chill. He wants to punch the other boy for the way Mikoto's face crumbles as she watches him leave the room and climb the stairs out of view; but he thinks maybe he understands. This isn't easy for Sasuke.
But it isn't easy for her either.
He's surprised he doesn't feel more awkward when silence descends on the table, he almost doesn't want to excuse himself because he thinks it'll come out as a shout.
It is his father who finally breaks the quiet.
"Naruto, why don't you get ready and we'll go down to the docks today." It isn't a suggestion but Naruto is glad for the distraction. He gives his affirmative before racing to his room. When he passes, the door to Sasuke's is closed tight as he expected it would be and no sounds escape. The blond finds himself wondering what the other boy is doing right now, he knows if the situation were reversed he'd be making a lot more noise himself, but he doesn't linger and soon he's dressed and ready to go.
Mikoto waves to the pair of blonds as they pull out of the driveway before lightly shutting the door and locking it. Turning and leaning against the wall, she closes her eyes and just breathes. She knew the change wasn't going to be easy at first and she had been prepared for difficulties, really, she had expected them. Just knowing is not enough, she decides, while trying to organize her thoughts; because, she thinks, nothing could have prepared her for the betrayal in her son's eyes.
He had looked so hurt, and maybe to someone else, someone who didn't know Sasuke quite like she did, he may have seemed stubborn and even rude, but it was quite clear to her he was upset. More than just having to change schools. She steels herself, and begins climbing the stairs.
When she reaches the door to her son's bedroom she stops and knocks softly. Sasuke doesn't invite her in but he also doesn't ask her to go away, so she turns the knob and steps inside.
He is sitting on his bed, back pressed against the headboard and still in his pajamas. She's not sure whether she's relieved or worried that she finds no anger in his features; he appears a little defeated, otherwise, unfazed.
No words are spoken as she quietly makes herself comfortable beside Sasuke, sitting shoulder to shoulder with him on his bed. When they sit like this, they are roughly on the same level, most of Sasuke's height being in his legs; so it's easy for him to slide down a bit and rest his head on her. Her arms come around his shoulders as much as they are able and she holds him like she used to. It's as much a comfort to her.
"I like having you close." Mikoto knows he'll understand that she isn't just referring to their position. The private school Sasuke attends is far even from their old house; from this one, it would be a journey. She knows it's his graduating year and she does feel guilty, but the thought of her son so far out of reach; it's not something she can fathom, not anymore.
She will never forgive herself for that mistake.
And he's hugging her back.
"Next time, try to be a little less obvious,"
They were sitting, fishing off the side of one of the older docks; a few old men their nearest company, but otherwise secluded.
Naruto grinned in spite of himself, letting go of his reel a moment to wave his hand as he replied with a rushed "Yeah, yeah!"
Minato almost winced at his son's carelessness; he could have knocked him in the head this morning for his blatant display of relief that he would not be the one switching schools. Where was the boy's tact? He could only imagine how well that would have been received.
"I'm not asking you to force yourself, but—"
"I got it dad! Don't worry, I'm not stupid, I just slipped. Next time a little warning beforehand would be nice!"
His eyes widen at Naruto's interruption, well then, he hadn't thought of that— telling Naruto ahead of time would have been easier, maybe his boy wasn't so tactless after all. Speaking of:
"You are not stupid," and he says it in all seriousness. He is actually quite proud with how Naruto is handling everything. He realized it would still take some time to get completely used to this new arrangement, but Naruto seemed to be showing some amazing maturity through it all, well, aside from his 'slip' this morning. But that was understandable— Naruto had a way of surprising people.
"I know," a knowing look of mischief crossed his son's face, "just wanted to make you feel guilty!"
When he wasn't being a…