It had happened. Cancer had chosen another victim to add to it's list. No one had seen it coming, and no one was prepared.
Although, no one could decide when cancer decided to smother out another life, and when it decided to do so. Sasuke's life was no different.
He had been stricken with lung cancer. He didn't even smoke, and neither did his family. He hadn't been near any kind of smoke at all.
It was improbable, it was unfair, but when has something like cancer ever been fair?
Sasuke remembered when he was laying sickly on his hospital bed, wondering when the time would finally come when he could breathe no more.
He remembered the faces of his family. They looked like the ones who had contracted some disease. Worried, tired, worn, defeated. Those were the faces Sasuke watched as he was put through countless treatments. Sadness, regret, pain.
Sasuke was pronounced dead at 2:06AM. An early Friday morning.
An average person didn't believe that anything could happen to their perfect family. They were one of the lucky ones that didn't appear on the news where drastic things happened to innocent people. No one believed anything could happen to their perfect image of life, until that unlucky event did happen. When that time came, it hit harder than any stone; cut deeper than any blade. Reality washed over them like a tidal wave of cascading devastation. Leaving nothing but empty regret in its wake.
What could I have done differently?
What did I do to deserve this?
Why did it have to be me…
Questions that the world ultimately left unanswered. A truth that was life's most darkest secret.
Sasuke's family was left feeling void, and hopeless. How could the earth keep spinning… as if nothing had ever happened? How could the earth keep spinning… when they were feeling so much pain?
People kept smiling, people kept laughing, people kept walking, as Sasuke drifted along to become one of the many, forgotten memories.
A few years later…
Naruto, a blonde haired boy with dazzling blue eyes, was seated comfortably on his sofa. He was watching the news for lack of anything better to do at the moment. It was kind of late now, and he was much too lazy to do other productive things. He let out an exasperated sigh at the mess that surrounded him on all sides. His house was littered with paper cups, plates, and plastic spoons. Confetti was stuck in his hair, and a small slice of cake was left untouched on his brown, coffee table.
It had been his birthday, his twenty first birthday, and his friends had celebrated with a surprise party. It was a nice thing to do, and he appreciated it a lot, but now he was left with the daunting task of cleaning up after them all, whom had been too drunk off their asses to offer any actual help. Yes, there had been beer, and copious amounts of it. Naruto himself wasn't much of a drinker, so he didn't indulge himself in but one cup.
His friends left shortly after ten. Figuring they had done enough damage by then to leave a lasting impression on Naruto as this birthday being the most awesome. Which, it would have been, had they not stormed in like a tornado and left his home to be considered nothing more than collateral damage.
"And so, Aiko Mitarashi has died today of cancer…" Naruto shook his head and glowered at his TV. "I don't wanna hear this." He lifted his remote and turned it off before flopping down on his back on his couch.
Naruto never did like hearing about sad things. He hated it when they talked about death and people dying due to storms and earthquakes and other such natural occurrences. Life was sad enough without the news accentuating it.
It was getting late now, probably best to start on the arduous task of cleaning up his house. Naruto audibly sighed at the prospect of having to clean everything on his own. He had no family to speak of. No one he lived with. His parents died in a car accident when he was at a young age.
He was adopted by a man with a promiscuous nature, white hair, and a lecherous smile. Jiraiya was his name, and he cared for Naruto until he came of age. Naruto didn't ask for anything much of the man, and was quite grateful he had even put up with his rambunctious ways until he was old enough to find his own place. Albeit, Naruto was lonely at times when the man went off on one of his escapades around town. But he bared it with a wide grin. What more could an orphan with no where else to go ask for?
Another sigh escaped his lips, as he got to work on removing the Styrofoam cups with liquid still inside them from his coffee table. He poured out the beverages in the sink, and disposed of the remainder in his trash can.
Naruto placed his hands on his hips, standing there fixated above his trash can. He introspectively stared into it unblinking.
It was way too quiet in his house for his liking. He hated not having anything to concentrate on when his mind wandered to depressing subjects. Like, what if my parents hadn't of died that day? Would I be a different person altogether? Why did my parents have to die?
He hated feeling like one of those unlucky ones on the news where their families were killed by an earthquake, and they weren't there to do anything about it.
Stupid thoughts, now wasn't the time. Naruto didn't have the energy to be thinking about any of this to begin with. He scratched at the back of his neck, and ran a hand through his unruly, golden hair. Great, now he was too somber to work on cleaning the rest of the house. Maybe he should listen to Kiba and see a psychologist. Either that, or get on some anti-depressants.
Or maybe I should stop thinking about the what if's and start moving on with my life…
Regardless, Naruto found he wasn't in the mood to do much of anything anymore. So, he decided to take a walk to ease his thoughts and the growing headache blooming in his forehead.
It was a soothing night stroll. The wind was blowing gently at his tousled hair. The stars were glittering beautifully in the clear, night sky. The pestering sound of crickets and other such night dwellers could be heard from every direction.
It smelled of early spring. Flowers were blooming in the yards of the people he passed. He had his hands in the pockets of his jeans, relishing in the sights, sounds, and smells.
The gentle humming of cars could be heard not too far off from where he was walking in his neighborhood. Not many people were out and about at roughly 12AM. So Naruto had it good for the time being. He could simply forget about his troubles and tribulations, and step out of himself for a short time.
It gave him a different perspective of the world. That, perhaps, where there was a nasty side to it, there was also a very stunningly beautiful one too. The thought gave him some semblance of hope that he would one day truly be happy. And that he wouldn't have to hide most of his pain behind forced smiles.
He was on the highway now. Walking along the sidewalk passed buildings and alleyways. He wasn't quite sure where he should go, or for how long out he should bother staying. He had the idea in mind to stop by one of those twenty-four hour supermarkets and get himself something sweet.
That always made him feel better when he was at his worst. Not many people were on the sidewalk, and the cars started to dissipate as time went on. That was the only problem with it being night. It was also, relatively quiet.
No one to focus on. It bothered Naruto to no end.
He thoughts trailed back to his current predicament. About his eternal loneliness, and yearning for a normal life. His friends helped him sometimes with the loneliness, but there was something missing from his life. A spark he just couldn't place. It left him feeling empty in a part of his heart. Naruto glowered at the sidewalk beneath his feet in dismay. Yes, it had started all of this… in some way or another.
He decided to stop for a moment, and leaned against one of the many buildings. Reaching into his pocket, Naruto pulled out a cigarette and an orange lighter. He had promised himself to quit the addiction, but found it too much of a tedious endeavor. He lit it up in one fluid movement before replacing the lighter back into his pocket.
He inhaled deeply, letting the nicotine infiltrate his system and calm his abused nerves. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head back against the brick while holding the cigarette in place between his fingers.
It was the only thing that seemed to help him at these times. It wasn't as if Naruto was some kind of pessimist. Quite the contrary, Naruto prided himself in being quite optimistic actually. But, even someone so resilient as he couldn't help but feel depressed every once in awhile. About something or another.
He slowly opened his eyes to stare forlornly up at the dark expanse of sky. Naruto wondered how long he would be able to endure all of his internal torment. It's not like he was considering suicide, oh no, he wasn't like that.
He just wondered if someone could get so fed up with being depressed that they got fatally sick. That was possible, right?
His musings were interrupted by a sound. Naruto was on alert as he pushed himself off the wall and listened closely.
He faintly heard it a second time. It sounded like… someone coughing? Naruto stuck his head around the corner leading into the alleyway he was near. He saw the silhouette of a person. It was hard to tell from where he was standing. On closer inspection, it sounded more like this person was dry heaving.
It was Naruto's first instinct to offer as much help as he could provide. So he found himself approaching the person with careful steps. He became close enough to tell the person was a boy. A young, slender looking male with wild, black hair, and onyx colored eyes.
He didn't seem to notice Naruto, as he continued coughing violently. What shocked Naruto was that, this kid was completely naked. On his hands and knees coughing like he had water in his lungs.
Once Naruto deemed him unthreatening, he leaned down and placed a hand on his back. "Hey, are you okay?" The boy started at his touch. He jumped a little, and scooted himself away from Naruto.
Naruto tried to reach out again. "It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you or anything." The boy's breathing had increased exponentially, but at least the coughing stopped. His eyes were wide with fear, and confusion.
Naruto removed the jacket he had thrown on before going on his walk, and threw it over the boy's shoulders. He felt the boy's skin, and it was inhumanly cold. Like someone who didn't have blood running through their veins.
His skin was also a tinted blue color… which, was actually kind of freaky. "Why are you sitting here naked?" Naruto tried, a little bit worried about this boy now. The look that replaced the one of shocked confusion was one of pure exhaustion. The boy then fell limply against Naruto. His head hitting his shoulder with a thump.
Naruto immediately checked his pulse, and was relieved to find it faintly there. He was even further relieved to find the boy had started to turn a more rosy, pink pale instead of tinted blue.
His breathing became normal, and he started to warm up in Naruto's embrace.
Naruto was left to wonder how the boy got here, and why. His brain began jumping to the craziest conclusions. Was he strangled, then dropped off here after being raped expected to die? Naruto checked the boy's neck, and looked around for any bruises or welts. Nothing marred the boy's perfect complexion.
Naruto then checked his surroundings just in case this was some kind of set up. Defenseless boy looking like he's about to die, someone comes up to help, bam, mugged. He glanced over his shoulder, in front of himself, and above just for good measure. He found it quite odd that no one was around.
Naruto looked back down at the boy in his arms. He had seemed so shocked and confused. As if he was wondering why he was there. Naruto figured it was probably best to get this boy medical treatment. But, as he watched him, he looked completely fine. Just… shaken up a bit.
The hospital was also pretty far from where he was though… and his house was so much closer. Maybe he could monitor him for a day, and then send him off to the hospital at any sign of injury.
He gently lifted the boy in his arms and made a move to stand up. The boy grumbled a bit in his sleep, but otherwise didn't protest. He slowly began walking back into the direction of his house. The sweet treat he planned on getting would have to wait until later.
Naruto tried not to wake the boy, but didn't notice when his onyx eyes began to open. The boy didn't make a move to get away even after noticing he was being carried by a complete stranger. He didn't even move his head upward to stare at Naruto's face when he announced that he indeed, was awake.
"Where are you taking me?" The voice was devoid of any emotion. Like he was getting use to talking all over again. Naruto glanced down at him inquisitively. The boy simply leaned his head against the blonde's shoulder, and moved his hand onto his stomach to get more comfortable.
Naruto regarded his question with a shrug of his shoulders. "I was going to take you to the hospital, but I think I'm going to let you rest at my house for now. You don't look like you're hurt or anything. I know I wouldn't wanna be poked and prodded if I wasn't even hurt at all."
The raven haired boy shivered while reflexively curling in Naruto's grip as a particularly large gust of wind blew against them. Naruto held onto him tighter to make sure he didn't fall out of his arms. "It's cold…" He heard the boy say in a small voice. "No, you're just cold. When I found you, your skin even had a bluish hue."
The boy didn't respond, and the two then proceeded to their destination in contemplative silence. Naruto gave the frail boy in his arms constant glances to make sure he was even still breathing. He looked like he was borderline malnourished. Naruto wondered if he should ask the boy his name. If he was going to let him stay for a day or so, it would be best to at least know the name of the person he was helping. As he was debating with himself whether or not he should bother the boy with his questions, said person spoke first. "Why did you help me? It seemed like it was out of your way."
Naruto tilted his head downward to notice the boy was staring at him with bleary, and unfocused eyes. His eyes were dilating unnaturally whenever they passed the dim lighting of the street lights, as if his eyes were getting adjusted to having to see again. Naruto's train of thought wandered back to how the boy had gotten in that alleyway, and what exactly happened to him in the first place.
An elbow nudging against his ribcage brought him back to reality. He blinked before shaking his head apologetically. "Oh, right. I just like helping people I guess. You looked like you needed the help anyway." The boy seemed to deem it a satisfactory answer, and turned his gaze on the buildings far off in the distance.
Naruto managed to get back into his neighborhood without anyone noticing he had come back with one extra person. Once he made it to his door, he balanced the boy in one of his arms as he struggled to get his key out of his pocket.
"Did you want to ask me something?" Naruto paused momentarily from putting the key into the slot to stare quizzically down at his new house guest. At the blonde's confused expression, the boy began to elaborate on his inquiry. "You just seemed to want to. You had a curious look in your eyes." Naruto pushed the key in and opened the door to his house before stalking inside. He closed the door behind him quietly with his foot before walking to his couch and gently placing the boy down.
Naruto couldn't help but grin at him once the boy seemed to finally notice how exposed he was. He attempted to cover the remainder of his shame with the jacket that had previously been over his shoulders. "I just wanted to know your name actually." The boy's eyebrows furrowed in contemplation before voicing his answer. "Sasuke." Was his response. Naruto nodded. "Well, Sasuke, are you hungry? I could warm you up some of my dinner if you're interested."
Sasuke seemed to take his offer into consideration before looking down at his naked self. His face turned a lovely shade of pink. Naruto chuckled, and received a glare in return. "I'll go see what I have that'll fit you. I'm sure I have something." He made his way into his room. Rummaging through his closet and dresser, carelessly throwing clothes that wouldn't fit onto his bed, and occasionally the floor. He managed to find a pair of sweat pants and a white t-shirt.
Naruto walked back out into his living room to see Sasuke had passed out on his couch. He looked so small, and innocent. Worn, weak, and frail. His skin now had a pink hue to it, which looked much better. He still seemed to have some trouble breathing though. This troubled Naruto a bit.
He made his way over to Sasuke and placed his hand on his forehead. No sign of a fever. He looked over the boy a few more times just to make sure he wasn't a victim of some kind of abuse. Even in the brighter light of his house, he still didn't see any blemishes that implied such conclusions.
Naruto placed the clothing next to him before allowing the boy time to rest from whatever he had been through before he bombarded him with the multiple questions he had thought up from the moment he found him.