AN: Yay! We're not dead! Update time! I'm sooooo sorry this has taken FOREVER to get out. You see, I was sick for ten days, then my computer was infected with Trojans, and then it got fixed, and then I went to band camp for two weeks, and now I'm posting day 15 before I go back to school, in 2 parts. I'm working my hardest, and for someone who asked me, I don't exactly have a set time frame for when Shikamaru or Kurenai'll get back. Or maybe I do. But it's a secret. Feedback appreciated! And, now, enjoy the long-awaited Day 15, or as I call it, the Boredom of Reception Areas, and Sleep-Deprived Philosophy.

Day 15 (Part 1)

Today I went to die.

Alright, I suppose that's a little melodramatic. I went to see Isamu. It was time. Last time I saw him, I gave him my journal, in which I've written down most of my inner thoughts that people would kill to read. Hell, if anyone ever read this thing, I don't know what I would do. Deny it? Defiantly. Refuse to acknowledge anything ever having to do with it? Probably.

This morning started out with Kiku and Naruto in the kitchen, eating cereal out of milk cartons with forks because no one remembers where I keep things. I woke up to a counter covered in Froot Loops and two giggling cereal eaters sitting on the floor, cross-legged. Naruto was making face while eating, making Kiku laugh and spill more of her make-shift breakfast onto the floor that I would eventually wind up cleaning because no one else would.

I had to actually get ready to do something out of my messed-up home today, so Naruto was left in charge of getting Kiku to and from daycare. This thought still troubles me greatly. I really dislike leaving the two of them alone, who knows what'll happen to my kitchen sink.

But I had to go out today, to see my therapist and the undisputed reason for my chaotic hell of a home life. Last time, through some sort of Naruto, work manipulation, and Naruto, I ended up letting him read this journal thing to understand me better. Why the hell would I willingly let someone understand me better? Because of Naruto.

So I walked down the streets of Konoha alone today, without the ever-present chatter of a certain toddler and blonde. People are beginning to get used to seeing me around again, I suppose, they only slightly avoid me wherever I walk. I guess it's just becoming too much trouble to actually ignore me anymore.

That really does make me feel great. Yeah. Great.

I walked into the office and the receptionist barely did a double-take. After all, I had an appointment, she had proper warning that I would be there, and she probably had anti-Uchiha ward charms up around her desk. No wonder I was having trouble actually signing in.

So here I sit. Waiting for Isamu to call my name and damn me to an eternity of 'you-were-born-that-ways' and 'don't-be-ashamed-s' and 'trust-your-feelings'.

It's been about an hour. Where the hell is that guy?

I've got nothing else to write about.

My life got complicated the day I left. I don't know what finally made me snap and do it. Maybe I was just easily fooled. Maybe the curse mark was beginning to take affect. But I never thought I would. My years of living with first Orochimaru, then with Hawk, were black. I never understood how a coulor could describe an emotion, or a situation.

Now I do. It was empty. I had nothing to live for but revenge. I was the avenger. Even after succeeding my goal of murdering Itachi, I had to extract vengeance on the people who caused the endless cycle of murder in the first place. By continuing the cycle of murder.

After a while I ceased to care about anything. Everyone around me could die, they'd be replaced. If it meant reaching my goal, I could kill them myself. It wasn't anything but a mild annoyance of finding someone to replace that position on my team. The world could have gone literally to hell and I wouldn't have given a damn. I could have died, and my only regret would have been if I hadn't managed to take the advisors or Madara out with me.

Even though he was on my side, I didn't give a shit about him. He was just there for me to obey, and later end up killing, anyway. I was selfish. I trusted only myself. I could kill anyone. I could kill Sakura, or Kakashi, and it wouldn't matter to me.

The only person I couldn't bring myself to kill was Naruto. Because I knew inside that if I fought him, the best outcome would be us both dying, simply because the idiot never gives up, and even if I was stronger, to kill him and the kyuubi, I'd have to die, too. Or lose.

I was too far in. I couldn't lose. I couldn't come back. They'd never accept me here. What was I even thinking, believing that things would be any different here than they had been everywhere else? I'm a stoic symbol of hatred and murder. That is what I have become.

I can't be just a guy anymore. I vent on my situation with Naruto so much because to think about anything else... anyone else… and know that I deserve every single harsh word, slap across the face, whispered rumor, harsh glare, child's cry, and even the empty space I'm given on a street. I've earned it all. Once this would have made me laugh, thinking about everyone and their stupid attempts to judge me.

But I know, deep in my core, that they have every right to judge me. This man I've become…. Me… I don't know what to think. It's not me the world sees. And I have to wonder. If who I am hates who I've been, what would the world think?

What would he think?

Day 15, part 2

I don't know how this happened, so I'll start from the beginning.

I fell asleep in my chair. When I woke up, it was late, the receptionist had shaken me awake, and told me I had to leave, and she turned back to her papers. Then Isamu walked through the doors and gave me a you-come-here jerk of his head. So I followed him, and confused the hell out of the receptionist lady. I glanced at a clock, and it was 11 at night, pretty late for office standards. I suppose some of the crazies couldn't come in at a more convenient hour.

He sat down and gestured for me to do so with a limp wave of his arm. I sat. He stared at me. I stared at him. And he sighed.

"Sasuke." One word. My name. I cannot describe what happened, when he said my name, but my unease dissolved, and I no longer resented Isamu. I am grateful for that, at least. Even if I don't even know why myself. Just hearing him say my name… it helped me more than I can ever say.

"I was…delayed." He continued, and my insightful moment was gone, a blur of the past, and even now I'm unsure of why it happened, or how it ended so quickly. "By the time I returned, you were asleep, and I did not wish to disturb you. I had other clients, and I wanted to make sure I saw them. I wanted to wait until we were alone, without anyone else in this place, where I could be sure no one would monitor our little chat tonight. I've read your entries, Sasuke."

Ah. The part I didn't want to hear about.

"It seems as though Uzumaki-kun plays an important roll in your life." His voice was blank. I wished I could cover my ears. "Keep speaking to him. He can keep you in line."

Those were the only two things he said about Naruto. And yet those two things made me ache more than anything else he'd ever said. He knew. And he wouldn't ridicule me for it. Damn him for making me grateful. Life was easier when I hated Isamu.

It was then that the night got weird.

I heard a baby cry.

I looked around the room.

No baby. I frowned. "Do…you hear that?"

Isamu's serene face tightened slightly. "Yes. Excuse me." He left, and after a moment, the crying stopped.

And in came Isamu, cradling a blanket-wrapped infant who was now only whimpering on occasion. I blinked. And he sat down and continued on as if nothing had interrupted.

"As for Kiku living with you, I will not explain or show any signs that I knew to her mother or Nara." I blinked again.

"Yes, I know about Kiku. There isn't much I don't know about, Sasuke. Get used to it. My patients tell me everything they see and I have a lot of patients. Back to you. It seems as though you are having an intense inner struggle with yourself."

Finally. Here was the part he'd tell me what I needed to do to be normal. He might actually help me. Psychoanalyze me or something. Give me meds. Tell me I was a hopeless cause. Tell me why I am the way I am. Something. Anything would be better that not knowing.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how it will end up."

Or that. The hell, man? "…you don't know?"

"You're fighting against yourself, Sasuke. I can't tell you how it's going to end."

"Then how are you helping me?" I kept my voice low, to try and keep the frustrated anger out of it.

"I can only help you see the sides of the battle. I can't help you win your own war."

I just nodded, and stood up. "Can I go then? My voice was flat.

Isamu just nodded, and as I turned to go, I looked back at him, and watched for a moment before walking out the door. He was bouncing the infant lightly in his arms. It was weird. Isamu is such a large man… watching him hold so fragile of a life… that life was in his hands. As I walked home…it hit me.

When we are born, we have the ultimate trust. No one gets a choice, we all have to. As newborns, we have to trust in parents, or whoever cares for us, to keep us safe because…we are totally helpless. As we get older, we lose the ability to trust completely and utterly, like a baby. As we get older, we lose the ability to reach out and trust, and know, someone's arms will be there to hold us, and take us in and love us unconditionally. We trust, blindly, in the fact someone will love us because…. when you're born… no matter how or why… you need someone to love you.

When you get older, you lose that trust. You bury it under mounds of walls and protections designed to keep yourself safe. But you don't lose that need to be loved.

Without that ultimate trust, you can never be loved completely. You can never love completely. That trust misplaced will kill you for sure, emotionally, literally, or mentally. It's why people don't give that trust away easily. If they do… they get hurt... badly. Giving someone that trust… it's like giving them yourself, to do with as they will. They can return that trust, and unconditionally give you themselves back, or they can rip you apart and tear you to shreds so easily.

And yet… if you don't trust… you can never have the love we all need.

I don't know if that made any sort of sense. It's late. I'm home, on my couch. I can hear Naruto's snores.

Naruto… he never had a mother…or a father.

Yet… he trusts harder than anyone I know.

Yes, I meant that. Trusts harder. Once that man puts his faith in you, you don't ever get rid of it.

Trust me, I know.

~Sasuke Uchiha, 2 A.M.