Chapter 23 was edited and changed a bit (kinda a lot) for the sake of a little character development. I would advise that you go back and reread it if you haven't already.
Naruto didn't exactly know when he'd gotten back home or how long the trip had taken his family on foot as he had fallen asleep watching the world blur by on Gaara's back. He'd woken again to find himself in his own bed –in his own room- and was completely alone. The moment was so surreal to him –at one point throughout the whole kidnapping ordeal he'd come to accept that he'd never see this place again- yet here he was.
He sat up slowly –carefully as if afraid he'd wake himself from a dream- and took in his surroundings. The room was a mess just as he'd left it in what couldn't have been thirty hours ago before he'd gone and walked himself into Orochimaru's trap. His basketball uniform thrown carelessly over his dresser, xbox controllers scattered in front of his tv stand, cd collection in a pile on the floor from where he'd practically gone crazy in search of his Ed Sheeran album that he'd misplaced, a basketball sitting under his windowsill, and on his wall shelf was he precious Kyuubi –a little battered with age- slumped into a sitting position at the highest shelf and it was all he needed to send him into a fit of silent tears.
Waves of fear, regret, and longing came crashing down onto his whole being as all that he had been through finally caught up with him now that he was in the safety of his own home and could bask in what had almost been ripped away from him. He brushed the sheets off of his body and took three hurried steps across the room until he had the little fox in his arms and could bury his watery eyes into the soft fur. He'd missed his long time friend, his bed, his home, even though it hadn't even been two days he felt he'd been gone for much longer. He suddenly had this ridiculous urge to explore the rest of the house –bask in the familiarity- and was only a hairs length away from sprinting to the door when a sudden thought crossed his mind.
Where was he? Would he be ready to face him if he so happened to run into him outside of this room? Would he ever be able to face him? What were they to make of this situation?
He stood starring at the door for a good minute before deciding that he'd rather stay here in his safe haven until he figured out exactly how he felt. He backtracked and sat down at the edge of his bed with Kyuubi resting in his lap.
He stroked the fur absently as he lost himself to his thoughts. He knew how he should feel, or rather how others expected him to react. He could practically feel Kabuto's breath at his ear –whispering harshly- pleading for him to tell Sasuke how much he hated him. But Naruto couldn't, he didn't hate Sasuke, if he was sure of anything it was that. But he was angry because if there was one thing that Kabuto was right about was that Sasuke had taken everything from him.
He'd missed out on a brave father who'd go so far as to relocate to a whole new country and who'd risk his life without hesitance to protect the ones he loved. He couldn't even remember the woman who'd given him life not only once but twice when she'd bared her neck to vampire in her best attempt at protecting her son. He could have had a great life with them. Maybe he could have… The hand that had been stroking Kyuubi's fur still suddenly and blue eyes –still wet with tears- narrowed slightly at his train of thought.
He looked back to the controllers that lay at his TV stand and remembered Haku having coming over to play the new black ops with him only a few days ago. He glanced over to the basketball under the window steel and smiled in memory of joining his first basketball team in little league. There sitting next to his stereo system lying on his wall shelf was the case to his Ed Sheeran CD that he'd listened to on full volume earning himself a few bangs on his door from Sasuke who had begged him plenty to turn it down a notch. The basketball uniform on his desk served to remind him of the game he'd played last weekend that every single member of his family had managed to show up for to cheer him on.
Sasuke had taken everything from him… but maybe he'd given him so much more in return. He had a large supportive family, an awesome best friend, a sport that his guardian had encouraged him to try that was reeling in scholarships for him to choose from, and he'd had an amazing childhood. Sasuke had made sure of that. Smiling he glanced down at the small fox cradled in his lap.
Most of all, Sasuke had given him love -unconditional and undying- and Naruto could not remember a second of ever having felt that Sasuke didn't treasure him. Naruto had a great life was surrounded by great people and he realized now as he took one more look around his room that he wouldn't trade it for anything.
Maybe they should talk.
With his mind set and stubborn Naruto rose from his bed –determined even though his heart was beating a mile a minute in nervousness- and set for the door. And right where his search started it ended because there was Sasuke sitting against the wall directly in front of his door. He sat with his right leg stretched in front of him the other bent to serve as a armrest for his left arm. His head was slouched down so that he starred unseeingly into the hardwood floor refusing to meet Naruto's gaze.
He didn't have to ask if he'd been there the whole night. That much was pretty obvious. It was the elder Uchiha who had spoken first. "I wanted to come in there earlier. I wanted to see you… Figured you would want your space though." His spoke quietly and Naruto had to strain but eventually made out everything that he'd said. He nodded in understanding even though Sasuke couldn't see and moved slowly until he was standing in front of the elder and took a seat.
"Thank you," he whispered quietly to match the atmosphere around them. The dark hallway only illuminated by the little moonlight that streamed in from the window of Naruto's bedroom, Sasuke's hushed tone, and depressing mood. Naruto's breathing became a little labored as he because conscious of the very sound of it in the quiet hallway. It had never been this hard to talk to his guardian before.
"Its late Naruto."
It was even harder now because Sasuke obviously didn't want to talk. Blue eyes narrowed in anger as he gazed at the man incredulously. "You're going to run even now Sasuke?" His voice rose with his anger. "After all this shit that we've been through over the past day because you won't fucking communicate with me!"
He waited for as long as he sanity would allow and still nothing. "Honestly Sasuke I'm at the end of my road here. There's no more searching left for me to do alone. I need for you to talk to me. We need to find a way to fix this and I cant do it without you."
It was the second time he'd been blown off and Naruto wouldn't give him a chance for a third. He sneered at the bowed raven head before storming off into his room and slamming the door behind him. He was tired of running to Sasuke –giving him chance after chance- if the bastard still gave a damn then he'd come to him. If he didn't then Naruto would find refuge in Tsunade and Jiraiya's home because he was damn tired of Sasuke acting an ass whenever things went a few shades from perfect.
For now he lay on his stomach on top of his sheets, his face buried into a pillow, his right hand stroking Kyuubi's red fur. A glance at his alarm clock told him that it was two am –four hours until sunrise- though he didn't even plan on getting a wink of sleep. It wasn't until half an hour later that he finally heard the slow squeak of his door being opened. He childishly turned his head away from the tall dark figure standing in his doorway and still didn't turn when he felt the bed dip at his side.
Sasuke waited for a few moments and Naruto was secretly thrilled to finally be the one giving the cold shoulders. He heard Sasuke sigh quietly and it was the only warning he got before nimble fingers were combing through his messy locks. His eyes fluttered closed at their own accord, his anger quickly subsiding.
"What do you want from me Naruto? I have nothing left to confess, no more skeletons in my closet… Would you like for me to say sorry? Because I've apologized at least a hundred times before. When you were little and too young to ask me what the hell I kept apologizing for. Hell before you could even talk at all. I've apologized a hundred times and have yet to ease any of my guilt. I'm sure it wouldn't do any good for you either. It won't ease any of your pain."
Naruto didn't know what he wanted from his guardian exactly. He didn't think it was an apology though. "Do you know that Orochimaru was planning to do the exact thing you'd done only days after you had come along." The sheets rustled underneath him as he finally turned on his side to look his guardian in the eye. The elder looked both stunned and confused all at once and Naruto realized that even Sasuke was unaware of all of the events that had eventually led them to where they were now.
"What do you mean?" Naruto shook his head stubbornly using what he could to his advantage. "I'll tell you my story only if you tell me yours." Sasuke looked as if he wanted to draw back into himself all over again, reluctant, as he was to give his charge any details of that night lest he really believe that he was a monster and never look at him the same. Though it seemed he didn't have much of a choice considering that he'd almost lost the child completely because he'd held on to his secrets. He could talk and plead his case –pray to any God that Naruto would sympathize and understand- or he could remain silent and watch Naruto walk out of his life all over again.
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair tiredly. "Do you think that I am a monster?" He had not been expecting that. Blue eyes widened, as it had never failed to take him completely out of his element when Sasuke would shield pain filled eyes from his own and edge away from him slightly in a manner that spoke clearly of all of his insecurities. He wanted to erase all of that guilt and fear that Sasuke must have felt for all of seventeen years.
He reached out a shaking hand to pry Sasuke's out of inky locks -sure that the man would rip them from his scalp otherwise- and intertwined their fingers. "I've lived with you for seventeen years of my life and never have you shown me a monster." He shifted his eyes to stare at the patterned designs of his comforter. "I just don't understand. You don't even feed off of humans directly so I just can't imagine…"
Sasuke eyed his charge with a calculative gaze for a long moment before nodding his head once having made his decision. "I never really told you how I came to be a vampire have I?" Naruto's interest was piqued immediately as he gazed up at his guardian from under his long eyelashes with curious eyes. The slightest of smiles curved Sasuke's lips as he was reminded of all the times he'd sat in this very spot on Naruto's bed to read the child bedtime stories on those frequent nights when the hyperactive boy was too energized to sleep.
"I didn't die at age nineteen. I was eighteen, nineteen was just when I'd decided that counting birthdays were quite pointless and I just stuck with the number. I don't exactly know how old I am. I don't really care though. I had been a senior in high school more than ready to graduate and move as far away from my parents home as possible. I had gotten this scholarship to a school in a whole other state and had no intentions of ever returning home for the holidays. Needless to say my parents were awful. They were cold and relentless in their believes that Uchiha's were to be bred to perfection and there was nothing that I or Itachi could do to ever be good enough for them."
He paused here and seemed to lose himself into a time period before Naruto was even thought of. The blond squeezed the larger hand twined with his own to bring Sasuke back and encourage him further. "I don't know how or when Itachi was turned. We don't talk about. All I know is that he'd been missing for almost a week. I was sick with worry because Itachi was all I had had in that hellhole and with him gone I was the center of all negative attention. It was only then that I'd even stop to let myself believe that my parents had any affection for us because I could tell that they had been worried. They just had a pretty fucked up way of showing it."
"So yea. It had been an awful last week for me." He almost smiled again when he glanced back into Naruto's blue eyes to find them concerned and bit watery for his sake. Even now the kid still held empathy for him. It gave him hope and encouraged him enough so that he moved to lay on his side facing his charge dead on without breaking their linked fingers. He swipe at a fallen tear with his thumb and was tempted to lean in just a little further to kiss away the rest.
"I had just been verbally beaten for only God knows what on one particular night when Itachi had came back. He was supposed to have stayed away because new vampires aren't really known for their self-control. If it's one thing that I admire about Kabuto it's that. He and Itachi were naturals I guess and maybe he felt so sure of himself and that he thought he could come around unnoticed to maybe find some closure for himself before turning away from what was his life."
"But what he'd come home to was me being scolded like a peasant and he'd been furious. He'd never had a taste of human blood then and he was weak. Blood makes us function as normally as any human would mentally and he'd been starved of it so he had no control over himself when his emotions went chaotic. He attacked before he even knew what he was doing and only managed to bring himself out of it before he could completely drain me. I woke up alone and confused."
"I was so thirsty." There was anguish in his voice that tore at the veins in Naruto's heart. Pale eyelids closed over ebony eyes, hiding the torment and grief that must have been swimming in them. Naruto in an attempt to comfort raised his unoccupied hand up to cradle Sasuke's face in his palm, his thumb rubbing soothing circles into his skin. "I was thirsty. I was completely alone. I was angry. For a long while I was the monster that Kabuto accused me of. " He opened his dark eyes to search Naruto's own to see how he reacted to that. "I killed people Naruto. Innocent and young and full of life." He rested his hand atop of the one that Naruto had on his face and held it there firmly. "Just like you."
The younger tried his best not to react strongly to Sasuke's words. He didn't want to give him the wrong ideas but the acceleration of his heart gave him away. "Don't be afraid of me Naruto. I'm not like that anymore. I wouldn't harm you for the life of me."
"I know." He squeezed the hand in his again to encourage the rest of the story out of him. "Keep going. What happened next?"
"I met Kakashi. He was the first decent vampire that I'd met. He was just as annoying then as he was now but he was decent -almost human in his mentality- and it intrigued me. He introduced me to our family and I learned not too long ago that it was Itachi that led him to me. I'd admit that having Tsunade around as a doctor was a blessing because she had an endless supply of blood to offer us when we really needed it. I could feed without actually hurting anyone and for a few years I had adapted to their way of life."
"Went to college, started my own business in making microchips in digital technology as the world went through a major revolution in technology, bought my own house. I kept myself plenty busy and for a while it was easy to ignore the fact that I was still so lonely. I had a clan yes, but I'd attended wedding after wedding watching them all fall in love. I yearned for the same but didn't believe that it was possible for me."
"I felt so out of place and I dealt with it for as long as I could before I decided that I was better off alone. I left without any goodbyes and traveled the world for what had to have been the tenth time in all my years of living immortal. But I didn't go back to killing people. I didn't want to be that monster again but without the blood I was weak against my emotions. The day I that I had intruded into your life was the day that I'd finally lost it." He sighed as he brought his story to a close, glad that he'd finally gotten it off his chest and apprehensive about how Naruto would chose to feel with all the given information.
"I'm not going to give you any details. I can barely remember it myself I was so out of it." Naruto nodded his head in understanding putting the rest of the pieces together himself. "And so you brought me here… out of guilt?" He watched as Sasuke's eyes widened with sudden realization and like that the roles were switched. It was now Sasuke who was stroking Naruto's cheek tenderly comforting the child to ease the hurt swimming in those electric blue eyes.
"I always knew that I was adopted I just never knew why. Why would a vampire walked into an adoption agency and request a human child to raise as his own. I used to entertain fantasies of us sharing this unique bond that brought us together. Like maybe you'd seen me and one day by chance and maybe you felt that we would… that we'd be... I mean there was really no better explanation than that."
He narrowed his eyes and refused to accept that this had all been out of guilt, shaking his head furiously at the thought that Sasuke's love had ever been anything but real.
He fought at the arms winding around his waist in vain as they pulled him close until he was nestled into Sasuke's chest. "Don't be stupid Naruto."
"Fuck you!" He struggled even harder but made even less progress as those arms tightened around him. "Now who's running? You wanted an explanation and I gave you one even though I'd been reluctant and now you want to be the one to high tail out of this after we've made a bit of process. I don't think so."
It took a while and a bit more struggling but eventually he'd been won over by the lull of Sasuke's chest rising and falling beneath his cheek, and the gentle fingers carding though his hair. "I don't feel like your little angel anymore. I feel like your little burden."
Sasuke guessed that they were both a little insecure. "You know we didn't really like each other much when I first brought you here. I don't think that your parents had been anything like me. I was a bit cold and cut off and that didn't appease you. I think you might have been used to warm kisses and hugs and what not so you naturally didn't want anything to do with me. Everyone else would throw their pride out the window and make a complete ass of themselves to make you smile and you'd jump willingly into anyone's arms but mine. You scream if I so much as touched you. It was annoying who in the hell was you –an infant- to judge me?"
He smiled when he made out a muffled reply into his shirt. "I've always known a bastard when I saw one."
"Yea well I figured that just because I'd promised to give you an exceptional life as compensation for wronging you and your family, it didn't mean that I'd actually have to like you. I was fully prepared to banter with you for the next eighteen years before I could finally get you off to college and out of my house. Things changed though because you were always so precious that I could never resist you of anything. By some miracle you grew to like me and I grew to adore you because of it. I was your favorite by all means I couldn't leave the room for five minutes without you calling out for me."
"It was heart stopping and I couldn't help but fall in love with you. I'd finally found something that eased that loneliness, someone who I could call my own like Neji could call Gaara his and Sakura could call Lee hers. I've loved you wholeheartedly ever since. There is no guilt in the way that I feel for you Naruto."
They lay there for a while both lost in their own thoughts and feelings before curiosity brought Sasuke to break the silence. "I've told you my story. Tell me yours." In all truth Naruto had forgotten about the little deal he'd made him earlier but saw no harm in telling Sasuke all that Orochimaru had told him. By the end of it Sasuke was frowning sadly thinking that the boy had been cursed from the jump.
"If you hadn't taken me then Orochimaru surly would have and who knows where I'd be then." Sasuke frowned at the thought. "He's sick. I'm disgusted to even think of where you'd be if he'd gotten his hands on you."
"What ever happened to him?" The silence he was met with spoke volumes. He nodded in understanding. "I kind of feel sorry for him." Sasuke nearly sneered. "Now is not the time for your empathy Naruto. He tried to force you into a long and miserable eternity with him that I'm most certain you wouldn't have wanted."
"He loved me. It might have been a little insane and obsessive but it was love all the same. It drove him to kill and in the end it had gotten him killed. I think that's pretty sad but what wouldn't a person do for love?" For the hundredth time in the past day a frown tilted pale lips. "You speak as if you know."
"Maybe I do."
Somewhere in the pit of his stomach jealousy clawed at his insides and something like fear gripped his heart. He pulled Naruto back slightly to glare accusation into bashful blue eyes. "Guess I'm not the only one with skeletons to clean out of my closet am I?" Impatience's almost drove him to hurt Naruto as he pulled his chin back around to face him when the boy tried to avert his eyes. Almost. "You couldn't possibly love him Naruto. You don't even know him."
Naruto's nose wrinkled in slight anger as he tried to tear Sasuke's fingers from his chin. "Orochimaru? Hell no I don't love him and before you jump to anymore insane conclusions I don't love Kabuto either." Confusion clouded Sasuke's eyes. "I don't think that now is the time for this though. Forget that I said anything,"
"Tell me." He almost seemed desperate. "You've never closed me out before now is not the time to start." He closed his eyes in an attempt to do just that and heard Sasuke growl low in chest with frustration. The sheets shifted underneath him again and he could feel Sasuke move closer.
"Naruto." He'd been unaware of just how close Sasuke was until he felt warm air brush past his lips. He opened his blue eyes wide and found Sasuke's – desperate and dead serious- right in front of his own. "Tell me."
"Why does it matter?" Sasuke's eyes narrowed to slits for a second of brief fury but simmered in a second and in its place was guilt. He broke eye contact and moved to put some space in between himself and his charge but a tan hand fisted into his shirt and Naruto pulled himself back up to his chest. "Why does it matter Sasuke?" The elder Uchiha look so vulnerable. Naruto had never seen such a look on his face. "Sasuke?"
Dark eyes rolled to the ceiling in silent prayer as he fought to get a grip on his emotions. Gently he cradled the boy's chin in his fingers and lifted his head at an higher angle. "I guess I lied when I told you that I had no more skeletons left to clean out."
It was now or never.
He leaned down slowly eyes fixated on Naruto's lips. "I can handle rejection. But you asked and I'm sure you wont relent so what I wont tolerate is you walking out on me if I do this." He searched Naruto's eyes for understanding and tried to look braver than how he felt. He was slightly encouraged when Naruto made no move to draw away. In fact it almost seemed as if he was waiting.
Like he'd been waiting for a while.
He dipped his head lower still before bringing their lips together in their very first kiss.
Sappy ending. Yea I know it could have used a lot more character development but this is as patient as i can be. And really I know at first it might seem awful but at the same time the circumstances are too unique for anyone to expect Naruto to feel a certain way. In the end Sasuke's loved him relentlessly all his life I cant imagine Naruto hating him at the lost of people who are technically strangers to him.
Second Im sure a few of you might be a little unsatisfied with the lack of SasuNaru. I mean 24 chapters and thats basically all you've gotten so far. Ill try to give you more in the last chapter but don't expect too much because I want to keep this fic innocent. (You can look for all the good stuff when I start my MBN series of short stories.)
With that being said. Theres only an epilogue left and this is finally...Finally...FINALLY over!
Ps Im considering changing the name of the fic. You gotta admit My Baby Naruto kinda sucks