Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto or any of its characters nor am I making any money off these writings.

Warning - Angst, does that need a warning? Imprisonment and general sadness I suppose.

AN - I'm struggling with the mother of all writers blocks and when I sat down to write…This is what came out…I'm a very twisted person. I hope you enjoy it regardless.

This little fic is dedicated to the wonderful Trulywicked because she's awesomeness personified.

Only Forever.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip.

Naruto shifted his limbs shifting slowly and his muscles aching from lack of use. How long had it been now? He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the moist, stone wall, listening to the constant, ever present dripping. Naruto had stopped trying to tell time, count the years ages ago. What did it matter? He would never get out.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip.

Funny really that this was how it would turn out. Naruto would have laughed but somewhere along the way he'd forgotten how to. He did it all for them, his precious people, his village...his lover and they were the ones who had put him here. In this godforsaken hole in the ground, made especially for him, infused with chakra suppressants in the very stone and so deep below the surface that he would never see the sun again.

He pulled his knees up towards his chest and rested his forehead on them, his long, tangled mess of hair fell around him like a curtain and Naruto didn't have the strength to brush it away. What did it matter anyway, here in the constant darkness.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip.

How long ago was it that he had dragged the stubborn Teme back to the village kicking and screaming? Naruto didn't even dare to guess and besides he didn't want to, didn't want to know just how long he'd been here. He had practically sat on the stubborn Uchiha for months, guarding him, watching his every move, talking to him and just loving him until Sasuke had finally realized that Konoha was where he belonged.

For a while there he'd been insanely happy. Sasuke was back, was with him. That was all Naruto needed for things to be right in his world...Of course he should have known that it would never last.

Madara...even now Naruto cursed his name. Madara had come to Konoha, intent on leveling the village to the ground and take back his stolen toy. He had come frighteningly close to succeeding.

Naruto watched his friends die around him and his beloved village burn. When he had stumbled on Iruka's body something inside him had snapped, in an act of desperation he had merged fully with Kyuubi, bleeding their beings and powers into one and then he had gone in search of Madara.

Madara had been defeated, Konoha saved and Naruto's world had crumbled.

It started with whispers and stolen glances. Naruto didn't pay them any mind since he'd always been looked at and whispered about. Being one with Kyuubi really wasn't much different than before. Kyuu was mostly silent and not the homicidal monster it was portrayed to be. The demon was content inside Naruto and after getting its revenge on the Uchiha that had tricked it to attack Konoha in the first place it mostly slept. Naruto's mind was still his own and so was his will...Maybe he'd been naïve to believe that the ones close to him would actually understand that.

He'd been awoken in the middle of the night when Sasuke was away on a long mission. Still in his pajamas he'd been more or less dragged to the Hokage tower and placed before Tsunade herself along with all of the council. Tsunade had informed him in a strong voice that the leaders of Konoha couldn't in good conscience let a demon roam free on the streets. It had been different when Kyuubi contained but with things being as they were they could no longer trust Naruto. He had too much power...That's what it came down to in the end. They were scared he would use his power and take over. Pitiful humans worried only about their own importance.

There had been issued a decree, signed by both Tsunade and the council that the nine tailed beast would once again be contained and since they were now one Naruto was to be imprisoned with it. Naruto thought it rather ironic that his prison was beneath the mountain with the proud faces of the Hokages of Konohagakure...Well he supposed he was part of the mountain now, just not in the way he had imagined it growing up.

Chakra suppressors had been slapped around his neck, wrists and ankles. Kakashi, Neji had been among the ANBU's leading him to his new ihome/i. They had worn masks but Naruto knew it was them behind the wood and the paint, he had spent enough days laughing with them in friendship to recognize their scent.

He wondered if Sasuke knew...A part of Naruto wished that he didn't. That the council had chosen to strike when the Uchiha was on a mission. He wondered if Sasuke missed him, if he wondered what had become of his lover at all.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip.

In the beginning he had screamed himself hoarse, begged and pleaded to be allowed to talk to Tsunade, to ask why and beg to be let out. No lights, no lamps, no sun. Naruto wasn't made to live in darkness. The cold and moisture seeped from the cave like walls and chilled him to his bones.

Naruto had been terrified to have to live in his own filth, chained to the poor excuse for a bed as he was. Kyuubi solved it by stopping his bodily functions. He didn't need food anymore and there was no waste. It was a double edged sword though since that meant that they stopped bringing him food, one more string cut to humanity.

Naruto's enhanced hearing picked up things the guards were saying though none came inside his prison anymore. It was clear they all waited for him to die. He chuckled humorlessly the ragged sound sounding too loud in the dark silence. Didn't they know that he didn't have that option anymore?

He longed for death, longed to sleep forever but he couldn't, he was stuck where he was. Naruto had sacrificed his very being, his mortality and his soul for his precious ones and the real kicker was that if he had to...He would do the same again.

Naruto didn't know how long it had been but his eyes had grown used to the pitch black darkness when suddenly one day the heavy steel door to his cell was opened with a loud creak. Naruto winced and threw his arm over his eyes, the barely there light stinging his eyes like a thousand suns. He smelled Tsunade and hoped against hope that she was there to release him, hold him tight and call him gaki the way she used to. Instead she just stood there in the doorway for several minutes, just when Naruto was about to speak up Tsunade said in a loud and clear voice. "The decree stands." She turned her back and the door slammed shut, leaving Naruto in total darkness again, his eyes having to start over in seeing even the faintest outline.

She came to visit him several times after that. It took Naruto a while to figure out that it was a year between each visit, that the Hokage was there to see if he hadn't had the courtesy to die yet and to reaffirm the decree.

Time lost all meaning, Naruto was where he was, frozen in his twenty-one year old body. He kept breathing his heart kept beating but Naruto was sure he didn't need it anymore. Yet the sound of his heart was comforting, like a soft lullaby luring him to sleep. His hair grew long and tangled, his nails became claws though manageable in length, Naruto assumed he had Kyuubi to thank for that. By now he was sure looked very much as the monster they claimed that he was. Maybe he'd always been, maybe all the others saw something in him that he just missed. Maybe this whole thing wasn't about Kyuubi at all, maybe it was all him. With that encouraging thought Naruto curled up into a ball and tried to sleep. With the changes Kyuubi had made to his body he didn't need sleep anymore either but he missed it, he missed so badly. Sleep was his chance to escape as short as it was and as bad as he always felt when waking up it was worth everything.

In his dreams he could still feel the sun on his face, the wind in his hair, the smell of freshly picked strawberries and the feeling of holding Sasuke through the night. Just melding their bodies together and being one.

In his dreams he was still human.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip.

Days, weeks, years and decades bled into each other and Naruto found himself caring less and less. Tsunade grew smaller, grayer and frailer with each passing visit but the words she uttered were still the same. She never spoke to him or even really looked at him. She only stood there in the doorway, seeing that he was still alive and reaffirmed the decree. The woman looked as if a modest breeze would blow her over and still she held so much power over him, over his fate.

Naruto started to wonder if the warm and gentle woman who had given him her necklace and said she believed in his dreams ever existed at all. Would that Tsunade really do this to him, keep him locked up underground year after year after year? Even after all this time there was a part of Naruto that wanted to say no. That wanted to believe that this was just some sort of horrible mistake and that someday someone would realize that and let him out.

Naruto faded back into the darkness, living in a limbo of fantasies and memories until he heard the whispers of the guards once again. It was time for Hokage-sama to come for the yearly control of Konoha's dirty little secret.

Had it been a year already? Naruto was surprised, it seemed as if almost no time at all had passed since he saw Tsunade last, the web of wrinkles that covered her face and the crooked back. He could still picture it clearly.

It was strange though, the guards seemed more excited this year, the whispers were louder and Naruto could practically smell the admiration and slight fear the guards felt when they talked about their Hokage.

For the first time in years Naruto was alert when the visit grew closer, he wanted to see what the commotion was all about.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip.

When the locks and bolts started to twist and turn and the door slowly creaked open Naruto was sitting up in his cot, blue eyes firmly fixed on the door. The light blinded him like always, making his eyes sting but Naruto didn't look away...And there he was...His Bastard.

Sasuke had grown wider over the shoulders, his face bore many new lines that hadn't been there when Naruto saw him last. The wild midnight dark hair had streaks of silver in it at the temples. Naruto couldn't look away, his heart was pounding and his clawed hands itched to reach out and touch, hold...Feel another's warmth and skin against his own.

A part of Naruto was chuckling madly at the irony, there he stood, Uchiha Sasuke, deserter, avenger, murderer and Konohagakure's new Hokage and here he was locked up for having done nothing but protect the same village to the best of his abilities. The fates really loved to screw him over that was for sure.

Naruto didn't know how long Sasuke stood there in the doorway, their eyes locked on each other. For an instant he thought he saw something flicker through those bottomless eyes but then they were just as unreadable as always and Naruto didn't know if he'd imagined it all.

Sasuke stood there with the light behind him, making him look more like a fallen angel than ever and even after all this time Naruto's heart still ached for him. Maybe that made him pathetic, Naruto didn't know and he couldn't bring himself to care. All feelings got jumbled up and twisted around here in the darkness and to be honest Naruto was just happy to feel anything at all.

Naruto sat up straighter when Sasuke shifted, the Hokage opened his mouth and Naruto's eyes moved to those lips, those lips that were so familiar and still achingly different.

"The decree stands."

His voice was deeper as it rumbled up from a broad chest and it took a while for Naruto to register what Sasuke had said. By the time it sunk in the door was already closed and locked again and Naruto was once more alone in the dark.

Something inside him shattered. Something broke and Naruto knew that it could never be whole again. It felt as if his last tether to humanity had been severed, there was nothing to keep him grounded anymore. Naruto now knew with blinding clarity that he would never get out, he would be stuck where he was forever.

He curled up in a fetal position and looked out at the darkness with dry eyes.

Kyuubi cooed in his mind, wrapped its tails around him in comfort. Telling Naruto that it was only forever, he had time to wait.

Yeah only forever. Naruto chuckled darkly and rose up again, straightening his back as much as he could in his chains and sat on his cot cross legged. His claws dug in to his own skin but Naruto couldn't feel the pain.

Kyuubi was right, he had all the time in the world, he had nothing but time. In time the mountains would crumble, land would shift and seals would weaken...Nothing lasts forever.

Naruto held out his hand palm up and watched as a tiny fleck of blue chakra formed and swirled in his palm. The chakra ball was hardly bigger then a pea but it was there, proof that seals did indeed weaken with time. Naruto smiled ferally and leaned back to watch the miniature rasengan with crimson eyes, slitted pupils following the swirls of chakra.

No one would be able to hold him for good.

He would get out and feel the sun on his face once more.

After all...It was only forever.

Drip...drip...drip...drip...drip...