Utilitarianism and Other Ethical Theories Don't Matter When Love Is Involved
Pairing: Sasuke x Naruto
Warnings: OOC, language, fluff, shounen-ai, various philosophical and ethical terms one may not be familiar with
FTOYGWAD: I'm in the middle of a blizzard right now and they closed the school for two whole days! How awesome is that? But I also feel like crap…I don't know. I just do.
Anyway, this was inspired by my BioEthics class that I have to take as a freshman. Every time I walk into the damned class, I automatically get a headache but I somehow end up actually enjoying the class. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. ^^
Disclaimer: So I own Naruto. Or at least I thought I did. Then I woke up.
"Why are we doing this again?" asked the annoyed voice of a blonde boy. Said blonde turned his eyes to look at his friend, trying to gauge a rational answer out of the older of the two. When he didn't answer, he opted to stare blankly at his schedule for a while. He frowned where they misspelled his name.
"It's Naruto Uzumaki dammit!"
A few students who were walking in the hallway turned at the outburst but Naruto just ignored them, focusing his energy on glaring at the paper. Four monotonous tones went off over the intercom signaling the beginning of third period. High school students seemed to have vanished as they hurried to their classes, books and binders in a tow and left the hallway deserted.
A pale hand ran its fingers through thick raven locks as Sasuke Uchiha tried to make sense of the schedule in his hand.
Honestly, do these people have hormonal monkeys working in the main office? The young man glared at the paper, doing his best to bore a hole in it with just his eyes. It was supposed to be a schedule for his and Naruto's new course but as always, their school system failed in telling them where to go. The last spot they'd checked led them into a janitor's closet.
After a while, the blue-eyed student gave up and crumpled the piece of paper. Sasuke rolled his eyes at his best friend's childish behavior and kept counting the room numbers on each door in order to figure out where their class was.
"Oi, Sasuke, I asked you a question," Naruto poked the raven's shoulder as they meandered through the empty halls. "Why are we doing this?"
Sasuke sighed for what had to be the hundredth time that day. He looked up at his blonde friend and gave him a half-hearted glare, indicating that he was exhausted but active enough to put him in his place if need be. "Because dobe," he said, stressing the first word for no other reason than to sound intimidating. "If we're going to be going to the same university next year, they're not even going to look at our applications unless we have at least five credits for this class."
Naruto groaned but followed the raven anyway; it wasn't as if he knew where to go. They kept going and he stopped paying attention. A few times he even bumped into his friend much to Sasuke's annoyance.
Naruto perked up at the syllable. In Sasuke-speak, that meant that they arrived.
Twenty three minutes late.
Fuck you schedule, Sasuke thought angrily as he grabbed Naruto's arm and moved for the door. Fuck you with something cold and sharp. And may it not satisfy your libido at all.
They've never met the teacher that was supposed to have them nor had they heard any scandalous rumors about him. Dr. Rhean. He was supposed to be teaching World History to juniors but offered to teach Ethics to seniors that semester.
Seeing as how the both of them had skipped that year by taking summer courses, they never had a chance to meet the man in person and only had to go by what their friends had said; which wasn't much. So basically, they were walking blindly into what was supposed to be their ticket to college.
Opening the door, albeit a bit louder than necessary, Naruto barged into his new class for the next five months. "Yes! We're finally here," he announced and had the attention of everyone in the classroom. The room itself was quite spacious and decorated with historic photographs but the number of students that occupied it was less than average – only about fourteen or so. In the front of the room stood a man who had to be at least fifty with white hairs peppering his head. He had on a formal shirt, complete with a tie, giving him an overall appearance of authority; even Sasuke had to admit he was pretty impressive.
"Well, don't just stand out there like idiots, come in," he commanded with a deep voice.
The blonde winced at the insult but proceeded inside anyway. The only seats available were in the front right across from the board.
Fantastic, Sasuke thought dryly as he pushed past Naruto to hand the man their paperwork. The teacher nodded thoughtfully at the papers and placed them on his desk.
"Uchiha Sasuke and Uzamaki Naruto. Welcome to –"
"Actually, it's Uzumaki," the blonde corrected. "The stupid main office messed up my name."
Sasuke let out an irritated sound at his friends rude intrusion and pushed him until they were finally in their seat.
"I apologize Mr. Uzumaki. I'll have the office know as soon as I can," the man said. "Regardless, my name is Dr. Rhean and welcome to Ethics class."
A few murmurs bubbled throughout the room and Sasuke took the time to survey his new classmates. All of them were older than him and Naruto by one year because of their skipped grade, so he was only greeted with strange faces.
"Now that we have the entire class here, let's begin," the man started. Sasuke automatically took out his notes and began jotting down any information coming out of the man's mouth while Naruto just stared off into space.
To say that the class was already boring would have been an understatement since he never even wanted to take the course in the first place. Sasuke had been indifferent the entire time. Sighing loudly, the blonde laid his head on the desk and looked at his friend; he was too busy to notice anyway.
The two of them had known each other since they were literally born. Or ever since Naruto was born because he was a few months younger than the Uchiha. Either way, their fathers had been childhood friends, automatically making them friends by default. Still, even though none of them would admit it, they knew that they would have somehow ended up being friends even if they weren't introduced at birth.
Because they'd grown to become so close, the both of them planned to go to the same college since they were freshmen.
After countless arguments and fights on the perfect choice they settled on Mount Sinai University; a college that was directly linked to the hospital so that they had a more hands-on experience.
The only problem – Sasuke figured out three years later – was that the university wouldn't accept applications unless the high school transcripts clearly stated that they received some sort of education in philosophy or ethics. Luckily for them, Sasuke requested for them to be transferred from P.E. to Ethics at the last minute, just before the new semester started. Naruto had pouted the entire time since P.E. was one of the few classes that he excelled at. Then Sasuke would retort by telling him that it would only crush his self-esteem because he would always be better.
Ultimately, after getting approval from their parents and their Physical Education teacher, they made the last-minute switch.
Which was why he was stuck in the dumb class.
"Alright, now I'm going to start off with a few light exercises," the teacher said, earning himself some groans. "No, not bookwork. More like food for thought."
The class shut up and this time even Naruto paid attention.
"So here's the scenario: there's a maniac philosopher that somehow tied four innocent people to a railroad track. He also tied one other innocent person to another track. Now, the train is approaching really fast and is about to kill those four people. This is where you come in. You are standing next to a lever. If you pull that lever, the tracks will change so that instead of hitting the four people tied together, it will hit that other one person instead," he paused. "So do you pull the lever, or not."
It seemed as if he was waiting for hands to rise but no one offered their opinion. Naruto didn't blame them. Even he had trouble with the decision.
Minutes passed in silence until a lone hand rose. Dr. Rhean smiled in pleasantly when someone finally decided to break the silence.
Naruto and Sasuke turned to find an older boy with long hair pulled back and pale eyes.
"I wouldn't interfere with the philosopher at all, sir," he replied. "If he tied those people up himself, then it is not my place to tinker with fate."
Naruto's jaw dropped at the flat response. Frustration rose and suddenly he exploded. "BULLSHIT!"
Everyone turned to stare at the blue-eyed blonde. Sasuke winced in surprise but recovered when he realized that this was the sort of thing that the moron would do on a normal basis. Even a few gasps were heard from girls at the bold interruption. The boy, Neji, narrowed his eyes in suspicion but to Sasuke's surprise, Dr. Rhean was smiling expectantly at his dobe.
"Naruto, would you like to rebut Mr. Hyuuga's explanation?" he asked, his eyes twinkling.
"You better believe I would!" The blond stood up and pointed in Neji's direction. "What do you mean you're 'not going to interfere'?"
The pale-eyed boy stared at him coldly.
"You could just frickin' pull the lever and save four people!" He then lowered his eyes. "Sure, we would lose one innocent life but we could save four more!"
Sasuke sighed. Leave it to Naruto to make a hypothetical scenario into real life.
"Is that all?" the teacher urged.
Naruto took a seat, his hair still covering his eyes. "Yes."
"Okay, after that insightful outburst, how many of your would do nothing?" Rhean asked.
Two other people in the room besides Neji raised their hands and Naruto turned around in his chair just to glare at them. "How many of you would pull the lever?"
The rest of the class raised their hands, Naruto being one of them. He looked to Sasuke, expecting him to do the same. However, it seemed as if the raven didn't have an opinion on the subject; he didn't raise his hand for either choice.
"Alright, that's good," Dr. Rhean said, smiling. "Most of you know where you stand. Naruto's decision is based on utilitarianism. An ethical theory that states that one should act towards the greater good. In this case, the greater good would be saving all four people instead of that one person. Open your text books…"
Naruto, again, tuned out as his thoughts wandered off. What was Sasuke thinking? Was he even thinking? Did he care?
All these thoughts swirled in his mind and eventually he had to cradle his tan face in his palms in hopes of getting rid of the impending headache.
Sasuke began opening his text book and nudged Naruto to do the same. "Dobe, we both need to pass this class in order for us to get the credits, so get off your lazy ass and turn to page 33."
Glaring at the raven, Naruto lifted his head and picked up his copy of Ethics: Theory and Practice.
"Okay Sasuke, why don't you read the first few paragraphs in the first page?" Dr. Rhean requested.
Sasuke put on his reading glasses and began to read. "Consequentialist Theories of Mortality. In the history of ethics…"
The boring reading went on for quite a while before the teacher told the raven to stop. "Thank you, Sasuke. Does everyone understand what they mean by utilitarianism?"
Nods of agreement and a few murmurs of 'yes' resounded throughout the classroom. Dr. Rhean smiled in content and turned towards the raven again. "Good, good. However, Mr. Uchiha, I couldn't help but notice that you didn't raise your hand for the earlier question," he started again. Naruto's ears perked up and he looked at his friend. "I am hoping, now that you have a better understanding of all the ethical theories, you could give us your opinion the railroad scenario."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "I didn't raise my hand because I couldn't care less about what happens to those five people. Or even the philosopher. To me, it doesn't matter whether they live or die."
That resulted in an eruption of murmurs and Dr. Rhean's smile grew. Naruto…Naruto just sat there, his eyes colored with disbelief.
S-Sasuke?...What the fuck?
"Interesting…but is that based on an ethical theory?"
"Yes. Ethical egoism. When one operates on one's own self interest," he replied flatly.
"I see," the teacher murmured. "What if I were to ask you to use utilitarianism to act on the situation?"
"Obviously, I'd follow the theory and kill that one person to save the four people. But that's solely based on the theory and not my personal preference."
"Okay," the teacher said again, this time, his smile turning into more of a smirk. "Using the same theory, what would you do if I said that your friend, Naruto, was that one person?"
Naruto gaped at the teacher and looked back at Sasuke. His mind drew a blank at what to think. On one hand, Sasuke would be saving four people who had families, friends and an entire life. On the other hand, he would be killing … him.
As soon as the question was asked, Sasuke didn't miss a beat and said, "Naruto."
Dramatic gasps were heard and Dr. Rhean's smile faltered just a bit. And Naruto…the boy was at a loss for words. He just stared at the pale, black-haired boy next to him, his mouth slightly open and his mind numb.
"Mr. Uchiha, I asked you to take the utilitarian way out. You stated yourself that you would kill that one person to save four others."
"What's so different this time?"
Again, the teacher's smile faltered and this time he decided to take a different approach. "Okay, it's between this entire classroom," he gesticulated towards the classmates, " and Naruto."
"Your family and Naruto."
"A million people."
"A billi –"
"Naruto, Naruto, Naruto," Sasuke repeated. "It's always going to be Naruto."
A heavy silence filled the classroom until Dr. Rhean cleared his throat. "Sasuke I'm afraid that you were acting on personal ethical egoism," he stated. "Which means that you care for nothing but your own self interest."
Sasuke snorted. "Sir, that is correct. But I would like to point out that humans don't know how to behave in any other way. They always behave in their own self interest. For example, one might argue that a mother cares only for her children and puts them before herself or her interests. But by bringing her children happiness she is brining happiness upon herself.
"A rich man may donate millions of dollars to a charity and claim that he is being self-less. But the fact that he is advertising his charity work and even the sense of accomplishment he gets from that act means that he is, again, acting in his own self interest." Sasuke stood up. "Which is why, if I were forced to make a decision between one person and four people, I would chose to save those four people. So as long as that one person is not Naruto. Why? Because Naruto is my sole basis for everything. And I know that if I chose to not do anything, he would be angry at me. I don't want that under any circumstance so I make the "right" decision, not because of utilitarianism but because of personal ethical egoism. I simply don't want Naruto angry with me."
"Mr. Uchiha, I believe that I forced you to take the utilitarian theory and act for the greater good," Dr. Rhean said smugly.
"Yes, and utilitarianism, according to this book which you go by, states that one should perform the act or follow the rules that would bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people concerned," Sasuke paused, turning to Naruto who was still staring at him with his eyes impossibly wide and his mouth open in an 'o.' His eyes softened at the sight. "And the only "people" that concern me is Naruto"
At that time, four monotonous tones sounded and Dr. Rhean, with a very weary voice said, "Class dismissed."
Students crowded around the door and disappeared for a much needed lunch break. The class itself was enough to spawn a migraine so who knows what an entire hour and a half of it would do to a senior? Even Dr. Rhean gave Sasuke and Naruto a stiff nod before leaving himself; he probably saw the almost-tangible tension in the air and left the boys to themselves in the classroom.
The raven was in the middle of packing his school things into his back pack when suddenly he was yanked out of his chair by a tan fist on his shirt collar. As soon as he was forcibly standing up, a fist came crashing onto his jaw. Sasuke stumbled backwards and almost tripped over a chair.
"The fuck…?" His used his hand to rotate his jaw to make sure it wasn't dislocated.
Naruto made his way forward ready for another punch but Sasuke was too quick. He grabbed the oncoming fist by the wrist and used his other hand to do the same. He backed up the blonde until he was cornered into a desk with his arms above his head so that he could stop causing the other boy so much bodily harm.
"What the hell dobe?" Sasuke asked harshly, his obsidian eyes boring into blue ones.
"Don't what-the-hell me, teme!" Naruto struggled and squirmed until he realized that it was of no avail. He wasn't going to get out any time soon. Sasuke loosened his grip but still held it firm. The blonde seventeen-year-old hung his head and went lax. "Why did you say all those things?" His voice was so weak and strained, Sasuke winced.
He sighed and slowly let go of the other's wrists. Looking away from the blonde, he spoke. "Say what?"
Naruto's anger flared again. "Don't fuck with me, teme! Why did you tell the entire fucking class that you would rather save me than them. Me over your parents or even a billion people. Why did you lie to them like – "
He didn't get to finish because Sasuke forced his chin up so that they were eye-to-eye again. "I wasn't lying," he said truthfully. "I honestly don't care what happens to those people tied up or what happens to a billion people as long as I have you. But I know that you would hate me if I just stood there and did nothing so I would save those people Naruto, for you." The older boy ran fingers through his hair and shoved his hands into his pockets. "But if it came to choosing between them and you, dobe, you're always my number one priority."
Naruto stared incredulously at his best friend that he supposedly knew all about. He then realized what a fool he'd been to not notice how deep their friendship, affection and love for each other ran. What they had was so unbelievably unreal, even family blood didn't run that far.
"Look, even if I had to choose between myself and you, I would still choose you. You're loved and cherished by others and have the capability to bring happiness into their lives." Defeated, Sasuke returned his gaze to Naruto. He'd never spoken this much about what he truly thought about anything or anyone; it was the first time he'd "opened up" and Naruto was marveled. "I would easily give my life – oof!"
The Uchiha was toppled further back when a blonde flash threw his arms around his neck in a death grip. "And here I thought you were an indifferent bastard with an icicle up his ass and didn't give a shit about what happened to me!" Naruto mumbled into Sasuke's shoulder. The raven smiled gently and wound his arms around the smaller boy's torso.
"Idiot. If I didn't care, I would have left long ago," he assured. The grip around his neck tightened and he felt wet drops fall on his shoulder. "Naruto?"
"B-bastard," came a cracking, watery reply.
Sasuke pulled back enough to cup the teary face with the palm of his hand. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Naruto's forehead and then placed another feather-light kiss to his mouth.
"Hey, don't do that," Naruto complained. "It makes me feel all girly!"
Chuckles bubbled from Sasuke and Naruto ultimately ended up grinning even in his tear-stained face.
(Six Years Later)
Giggles and high-pitched laughter was heard in the pediatric wing of Mount Sinai Hospital. A twenty-three-year-old doctor was currently attempting to carry all five of the laughing children on his white-coat clad body. Laughing himself, he swung some of the toddlers hanging on to his arm and tickled the children rolling around on the floor.
"Ahahaha!" Gasps of joy and more giggles resonated throughout the wing. "Dr. Uzu-Uzumaki!"
"Well if it isn't the hospital's most valuable pediatrician, reducing himself to a heap of giggles and chokes on the floor along with his patients."
Naruto looked up to find his bastard in the door way, his dark bangs covering his face and his eyes decorated with lines that could only be caused by sleep deprivation.
"Hey, why don't you guys play with yourselves while I go and see how Dr. Uchiha is doing?" Naruto smiled brightly at the children as they nodded enthusiastically.
The blonde made his way over to the taller man, away from the loud patients. "And if it isn't the hospital's most prestigious neurologists," he greeted the same way before stopping in front of him and placing his hands on Sasuke's face. "You need more sleep, Sasuke."
"I'd much rather do that with you," he said slyly.
Naruto's eyes widened at the comment and he shoved the man on his shoulder. "Pervert."
The raven chuckled and pulled the shorter man towards his own body. "You know you love me."
"You bet I do, teme," Naruto said softly as he reached up and kissed those pale lips.
Sasuke returned the kiss with great enthusiasm and pulled a way just to whisper, "Me too."
When they finally met their sexual and emotional needs, Naruto rested his head on the older man's chest. "So teme," he said. "If you had to choose between me or the kids, who would you choose?"
Sasuke smiled when their old game made its presence known again. "The children of course."
Naruto smiled and reached again for a quick peck. "Good answer."
But only for you, Naruto.
FTOYGWAD: Okay, I don't know whether some of you understood what was going on in the story. Sorry for the excessive philosophical vocabulary but I truly hope that you enjoyed the story regardless for the ethical meanings. Oh and Mount Sinai University is fake and I made it up but the hospital is real. I use it for a lot of my fics. n.n"
And it may also seem rushed so I apologize for that as well.
I would like to bring something to your attention. If you liked this fic and are going to favorite it, know that I get an email saying that "blah" just favorited your story "blah." And if you favorite it and don't review, I also know about that. And I just may hold a life-long grudge against you if you do that (not really). So I ask of you in the most respectable manner: Please review. ^.^