To Chase Monsters
Author's Notes (Long winded): One: Happy Halloween (Even though this fiction has nothing to do with it.). Two: I apologize for my absence. I hope this will tide you all over until I finish some chapters that I've been working on. Now that I'm out of the hospital, I do have work, so it bites into my writing time. Also, this is another one of those 'crazy house love stories'. Forgive me, but when something eats at me, I usually give in and write it anyway.
Warnings: Foul Language, psychiatric setting, mental issues, OOC-ness (because I'm a tard) and shounen-ai.
Disclaimer: I do not own nor will I ever get anything close to owning Naruto. Instead I borrow some of the characters, put them in horrible situations and then tie a cute bow on top.
The door creaked open in the early morning hours, the sun still tucked beyond the horizon. The hallway lights leaked into the room, brightening it against the wishes of the person inside.
There was a low, annoyed groan that echoed through the room. The sound of wheels dragging across the tiled ground was the closest thing to an alarm clock.
"Morning Naruto." The nurse said. "Did you sleep well?"
The blond sighed, ruffling his own hair as he sat up in bed. "No, not really."
The nurse frowned, "Any reason? Or are you not sure?"
"Something in between the noisy ass neighbors in the recreational room and the fifteen minute checks probably got me. The meds aren't exactly a kicker, either."
The nurse smiled tenderly as she grabbed the blood pressure cuff off of the portable stand. "You'll be out of here in no time. Then you can have a nice peaceful sleep."
"Yeah, without all you crazy nurses." The blond muttered, sticking out his arm for the cuff.
"Now why are we crazy?" She asked tenderly with a giggle.
Naruto opened his mouth to reply, but the nurse stole that as the moment to stick the thermometer in his mouth before the blond could protest.
The machine beeped and she took it out, "Perfect. Now, go ahead."
"I mean, you guys never sleep for one thing. You guys have some paranoia thing going on if you have to come and check every room every fifteen minutes, you know? Plus I heard Head Nurse Reddy sing, and everyone clapped when she was done. Now you all are either crazy to the core or desperate for a pay raise."
The nurse laughed, writing down his vitals. "Blood pressure is up. Is your anxiety bothering you?"
"When isn't it bothering me?"
"Alright. Quiz time." She pretended to pout as she grabbed the clipboard.
"Bring it." Naruto said with a nod.
The blond smiled, "Tuesday the second of November, year 2010."
The nurse nodded and made a check on the paper. "Anxiety level?"
"Not mentally cracking worthy, but enough to make me want to run and play in traffic."
"Extreme." The nurse replied. "Headache?"
"Lights bothering you?" The nurse went on.
"It's four in the morning." Naruto replied, his blue eyes glaring at his watch. "Of course they are."
"Hearing any voices that aren't coming from you or I?"
"Still am." Naruto muttered.
"Seeing anything that you know shouldn't be there."
"Who's the vice president?"
The blond paused and gave the nurse a funny look. "What's with the curve ball? Trying to make me stay longer?"
She winked at him. "Of course. Can't stand the thought of letting you go."
The blond winked back. "This is a short term type of place, so don't get too attached."
"I'll try." She laughed.
Naruto laid back down, settling as best he could on the cheep, thin mattress made of air and a bit of foam. He hated it. It was like a jail house bed.
"Any new crazies come in while I attempted this whole sleep thing?"
"Two new people came in last night actually."
"Wow, two? You guys must have been busy."
The nurse yawned and Naruto laughed. "Very."
"Is my room still locked out?" The blond asked.
"Yes. No roommates for you."
"This whole lonely thing isn't enjoyable by the way. Just figured I'd put in a formal complaint."
The nurse giggled. "Alright. Get back to bed. Breakfast at –"
"I know," Naruto groaned, turning on his side. "Seven sharp. How could I forget?"
"And show up for meds. I'm not chasing you around today."
"Alright, alright." The blond sighed. "Should I follow you now?"
"No." She replied. "I'll bring you the Valium."
"Fair enough. I'll try not to get too comfortable then." Naruto replied sarcastically.
The blond sighed, tossing the covers off of him and going to the bathroom. He grabbed his hoodie and threw it on with a quick zip. The hospital was cold and chilly in the morning.
He shoved his feet in his slippers and cracked open his door. It was no use trying to go back to sleep. It never worked. He just laid there staring at the ceiling.
He took a step out of his room and looked right, down the hall towards the nursing station and then turned to look the other way. He stopped when he noticed a nurse standing outside of a room.
The nurse smiled and waved. "Good morning Naruto."
The blond bobbed his head, still not quite a morning person. "Morning. You on watch?"
"Yes. For a new patient that just got here."
Naruto glanced at his watch again and winced. "Not the funnest nights for the poor soul, yeah?"
"Well, we're here to make it better." The nurse assured.
The blond snorted. "Yeah, harassing the poor sleep deprived person on a constant basis. Marvelous."
The person stepped out into the hallway, dressed head to toe in the cheep scrubs the hospital gave them. He handed over a paper bag with a blank face, his bangs just long enough to get in his eyes.
"Naruto, this is Sasuke. He's going to be your neighbor."
The silent teen turn and looked at Naruto briefly. He looked tired. His coal eyes looked dead. He seemed slightly lost.
"Nice to meet you." The blond said.
"Naruto, stay right here with Sasuke. I need to grab some charts. Don't tell Marie, but if something happens, shout for staff."
The blond gave a false salute as the nurse ran off, trying to be fast as she broke the rules.
Naruto turned back to the other teen, trying to admire his hair. The deep black with gentle highlights of dark blue, a hairstyle that seemed to crave most of his attention. He was pale, like he didn't get outside much. He was quiet, but then again, most new patients are.
He had a loud and nasty bruise on his cheek, and Naruto figured of all things that could be a conversation starter. "What happened to your cheek?"
Sasuke turned to glance at him with a nasty glare and it didn't take a genius to tell that he didn't want to talk about it and it was indeed, none of his business.
"Right..." Naruto muttered, rubbing the back of his head. "So, uh, how old are you?"
"Oh, cool. Me too! It's about time someone was in here and my age."
There was a brief silence before Sasuke asked his question. "How long have you been in here?"
"Going on week three." Naruto shrugged. "But don't worry, most patients don't stay that long."
"I didn't say I was worrying." Sasuke said.
But Naruto didn't hear him.
His eyes were focused on something else, something he knew shouldn't be there. A person. Someone who didn't exist in the real world but only in his mind. He turned and watched him walk down the hall, a taunting look about him. There was a deathly look in his eyes.
"Hey, snap out of it." Sasuke bit.
Naruto shook his head and turned back to look at Sasuke. "It isn't that easy you know."
The blond turned, intending to look and find what he knew shouldn't be there, the people and things who didn't exist. They always stared at him. Always taunted him. They were always there.
Naruto turned around on the spot for a few seconds before his blue eyes focused on Sasuke. "How did you do that?"
"Made them go away. How the fuck did you do that?"
Sasuke scowled. "I didn't do shit, moron."
"They're always there." Naruto said frantically. "You made them disappear. How did you do that?"
"I didn't do anything."
Sasuke gave Naruto one last glare before turning on his heel to walk into his room. If he wanted to get away from Naruto, his room was his only place. Other patients couldn't enter other rooms.
The blond let out a low, shaky breath when he heard a whisper in his ear and turned towards the medication station. It couldn't have just been because of the new patient. It couldn't of. He was a rude, spoiled brat. There was no way it was him that chased the terror away. He waved lightly at his nurse who nodded, ready to give him his medications. It was those. The pills, he was convincing himself, that was doing it. Nothing else.
Sasuke woke the next morning by a calm voice calling to him. The nurse was there to take his vitals.
He sat up in his bed, rubbing at his eyes as the nurse went about her business.
"Do you remember last night?" She asked lightly.
"Did I have an episode?" He asked dully.
She nodded, unraveling the blood pressure cuff. "It was a bad one, but you settled right down after Naruto came over."
"What?" Sasuke asked, the nurse wrapping the cuff around his arm.
"You screamed rather loudly, and he doesn't sleep very well. He thought something happened. He came in and told you to let the monsters go away, and you went right back to sleep. The nursing staff didn't even punish him."
"I don't even remember that." Sasuke said lightly.
"Most don't recall night terrors, and most don't wake fully."
"I never wake fully." Sasuke recalled. "But I always remember."
The nurse smiled as she slipped the thermometer in his mouth. "Well then, that's a good sign. Maybe the treatment is helping you with your trauma. Those coping skills must be doing wonders now.
The medication must be doing its job. And after only one day, that's wonderful."
"Yeah..." Sasuke trialed off, the nurse telling him about his perfect vitals. "It must be the medication or something."
It couldn't just be because Naruto told him to let it go. It couldn't possibly be because of Naruto.
That morning after breakfast Naruto found himself in his favorite chair outside the nurses station; a pile of colored pencils in his lap and a thick pad of coloring pages on top. They didn't have group for another two hours, and if he learned anything from the past weeks of being here; it was the simple things that made the time fly by.
Simple things like coloring a butterfly.
He could hear the patient in sixteen – A having their morning argument with themselves. He could hear the lady in four – B protesting her medication as loud as possible. He ignored the guy from nine – C as he hobbled past in pain from detox.
It was another normal morning for the treatment center.
That was, until Sasuke Uchiha decided to interrupt Naruto's peaceful little world.
"What did you do last night?" He asked suddenly, hovering over him from nowhere. "How did you do it?"
"Do what?" Naruto asked lightly. He was more concerned about staying in between the lines than what Sasuke had to say.
"How did you make it go away?" Sasuke muttered angrily.
"Look man, I really don't know what you're talking about." Naruto mumbled.
Sasuke grabbed at his coloring sheet and ripped it out from underneath the orange colored pencil he was using, causing a loud orange line to cut across the picture.
"What the fuck?"
"How did you do it?" Sasuke asked again, angrier and more frustrated. "How did you make me forget?"
"Forget what?" Naruto barked as he stood, a nurse glancing in their direction.
"You told me last night to let the monsters go away. Don't you remember?"
Naruto snorted. "Yeah, you were screaming your head off. Seemed like a logical thing to say at three in the morning."
"How...?" Sasuke trailed off. "You really did make them go away."
Naruto gave Sasuke a funny look and paused. "Like you made them go away for me?"
Sasuke nodded silently, handing over the coloring page as well in some sort of awkward peace treaty.
"You haven't seen anything else since I got here?"
Naruto shook his head. "Or heard anything. It hasn't been that long, but it's the longest it's gone for years."
"I forgot my trauma for one night when I woke up."
"Man, you could have at least spared us the screaming." Naruto sighed.
"I forgot it when I woke up this morning, moron."
"Just felt like screaming for sanities sake?" The blond jested.
"I still had the night terror. I just forgot about it by the time I woke up."
"Now that is crazy. You fit in perfectly. Here I thought you were just some emo seeking refuge from the outside world and all it's unstoppable happiness."
Sasuke glared at him and Naruto laughed as he balled up his ruined coloring page. He had over two hundred more, no reason to get upset over one.
"So...you're in here for night terrors?" Naruto pressed on, wondering if the conversation should die or not.
"Failed suicide attempt, PTSD, and the night terrors."
"Oh, that's it? You should be out of here in no time." Naruto commented nonchalantly.
"Are you serious?"
"Short term facility. I'm probably getting transferred because I've been here too long. But they usually let suicide cases run the streets again in three to five days."
Sasuke bunched his eyebrows together. "Something about that seems wrong."
"Like you're not getting enough treatment?"
Naruto shrugged. "Cause you aren't. A few groups and a fixed medication schedule later and they think you're fit for another shot at society."
"Seriously?" Sasuke asked skeptically.
"Oh newcomers. You guys are so precious." Naruto mocked. "That's it. They watch you, give you a basis diagnosis, steady medication and expect you to take care of the rest on the outside."
"Well what about you?"
Naruto snorted. "Because my list of normalcy is shorter than my list of crazy tendencies, they want me kept longer. Something about being dangerous to others as well as myself or something. Guess it's no big deal if you're just a danger to yourself."
"That's ridiculous." Sasuke whispered under his breath.
Naruto chuckled. "Tell me about it."
"How many times have you been here?" Sasuke asked suddenly.
"To this facility or ones in general?"
"The second one."
"Pfft." Naruto looked up, mentally counting as he ticked off fingers. "I don't know, seven...eight times maybe."
"You'd think they'd learn their lesson after three." Sasuke muttered.
Naruto busted out laughing, making Sasuke jump unexpectedly. The blond waved him off with a smile, his giggles dying.
"Sorry, that was just funny. Here I thought you couldn't make a joke to save your life."
Naruto nodded, wide eyed with a smile. "Oh I can tell."
Sasuke couldn't help the snort that leaked through and the small grin that tainted his lips.
"See, you're looking better already. They'll let you out in no time."
Sasuke shrugged. "What if you don't want out."
"Then you're crazier than you lead on." Naruto deadpanned instantly.
Sasuke shrugged, looking towards the ground and the ugly black slipper socks he was given.
"So, uh..." Naruto made a funny, confused face. "Want to uh, color with me or something?"
"I don't color."
"Thought so. You look like the type to live in a black and white world."
Sasuke looked up just to glare at the annoying grin that met his coal eyes.
"Well, another favorite past time is pacing the facility floor. We can go walk with some coffee or whatever it is you drink and pass the time."
"Why with me?"
Naruto shrugged. "If we can keep the monsters away, why separate?"
That was how they started. A crutch to hold each other up. They weren't sure exactly how it worked. They didn't understand why Naruto didn't see things or hear things anymore, they didn't understand why Sasuke's night terrors were coming to a halt. Not questioning it was better than lingering on it.
The doctors didn't ask many questions when they met with the two patients. They nodded along as Sasuke and Naruto separately told them it had to be the medication working. The groups were teaching them something, learning to cope.
Naruto came out of the group room where he had his usual Monday meeting with his doctor and walked down the hallway, meeting up with Sasuke as he walked out of his room.
"Day six Mr. Uchiha. How are you feeling?" Naruto asked, trying to recreate their doctor's voice.
"Fine." Sasuke sighed. "Do you have to do that every time you see me in the morning?"
Naruto shrugged. "Yeah."
"What did the doctor say this time?"
Naruto grinned, elbowing Sasuke as the two of them walked towards the dining area for breakfast. "They're setting up my family meeting, which means I can get out anytime between today or Wednesday."
"What did they say with you?"
"I have to have someone to stay with me in order to leave." Sasuke muttered.
"Oh, pssh. They stay for like, a day and then split. It's nothing."
Sasuke gave a little nod.
"You do have someone to come and stay with you, don't you?"
The silence was enough for an answer.
"Sasuke, you never told me exactly what your trauma was." Naruto said softly. "Why the night terrors coupled with the PTSD."
"I don't want to talk about it."
Naruto and Sasuke didn't say a word to each other as they stood in line to get breakfast except when Nartuo warned Sasuke about the sausage patties. They sat together as usual, but this time, silently. Usually Naruto talked Sasuke's head off, only getting the occasional response.
Instead, the blond ate just as silently as his friend, downing his cereal and eggs without so much as a sound.
"I don't have anyone because they're all dead."
Naruto looked up from his english muffin, his hand stilled with the butter scooped in his spoon.
"My trauma." Sasuke muttered, playing with his oatmeal. "My family was murdered. I saw everything."
Naruto swallowed nothing as he sat down his food.
"It wasn't that long ago..."
The blond nodded. "I know, I remember it being on the news when I was a kid."
"You watched the news then?" Sasuke asked suddenly.
The blond shrugged. "I just didn't put two and two together with the whole Uchiha last name thing. Sorry."
Sasuke shook his head. "I was kinda happy about that."
"What, me being stupid?"
"No. You not getting in my face and asking me five million different questions."
"Like the reporters and doctors?" Naruto said, going back to buttering his food.
"If it's any help to you, you can probably stay at my place."
"They don't support their patients having any type of friendship or relationship or anything. It won't work. I'll just have to try and get a hold of my guardian."
"I mean, with this special case. With us. Maybe they'll be cool with it." Naruto tried.
"I doubt it."
"Alright." Naruto said. "If they are okay with it, would you come?"
"Too many jokes, no time. Would you come live with me?"
Sasuke shrugged, "I mean..."
"Okay!" Naruto popped up out of his seat, leaving his tray. "I'll be right back."
Sasuke watched silently and almost helplessly as Naruto left the dining area to no doubt seek out their doctor. In the mean time, he suddenly lost his appetite.
If he had nowhere to go, what would happen to him? Would he be stuck in one of these places forever? The life insurance money left behind from his parents was enough to get him his own place if push came to shove. He should have told Naruto that. He could afford to go somewhere, it was simply that he didn't want to go alone. He would never admit that. Not in a million years. He wouldn't even admit that just being with Naruto helped him cope. Not forget, but simply cope.
Sasuke waited patiently in the dining hall till he was the last one left, still waiting for Naruto to come back with any sort of news.
He would deny to his dying day that his heart rate doubled when Naruto came back into the dining hall, doctor in tow.
"Hello Sasuke." The doctor greeted. "Seems there is to be some things that need to be discussed."
"They're allowed to be discussed?" He replied cautiously.
Sasuke shot a skeptical look towards Naruto who shrugged. It seemed he was as much in the dark as Sasuke at this point.
"Usually, in these circumstances we don't approve of any type of patient relationship. But it seems that the two of you are an amazing exception."
"Come again?" The two replied at the same time.
The doctor chuckled. "We've noticed the improvements the two of you made together. Now, we usually frown upon that. It is typical that one could leave the other, and the two of you could regress drastically in your recovery."
Sasuke shot Naruto a look, but the blond was too interested in what the doctor had to say.
"But, this time it is exceedingly different. With you Sasuke, you have nowhere to go. Being a minor at seventeen, I can't release you to the world to be on your own. You'd be placed in foster care unless you could get a hold of your guardian, which you said is a rare instance. If Naruto's parents are willing to take you in, we would make a one time exception for the two of you."
"Bullshit." Naruto said breathlessly. "Seriously? Cross your heart and all that crap?"
The doctor laughed. "As long as it is okay with your parents, Naruto, I say I'm in favor of it. I would want you two to seek treatment separately of course, but living together temporarily might do you both some good. Very good, actually."
"You're serious?" The two of the asked again, at the same time. This time it caused Naruto to laugh.
"Very much so. Of course the rest is up to Naruto's parents, but, I'm agreeing to letting the two of you live together."
Naruto's blue sky eyes met Sasuke's, and silently without so much as a noise or a sound, they agreed as well.
"I'll call my folks." Naruto said, pointing to the phone. "Explain everything from beginning to end."
"I dare say you'll exceed the ten minute limit, Naruto." The doctor said with a smile.
"Write me a note, will you? That way I won't get bitched at." The blond replied as he began dialing the numbers.
"What if his parents say no?" Sasuke asking, facing a very real possibility.
"Possibly a family friend could take you in? But, if not you'll be subjected to foster care. I'll have no choice."
"MOM!" Naruto shouted into the phone, making the doctor and Sasuke turn sharply to look at him. "Sweet, I got you instead of dad...what? No. No, don't tell him that. I just meant...don't tell him I'm playing favorites mom. You know how competitive dad is. Don't rub it in his face!"
The doctor laughed, "Well, it seems this will be an interesting conversation. I must get back to work. Naruto, you tell your parents to call me once they're done talking with you."
The blond nodded and silently waved the doctor off.
Sasuke stayed behind, only to be able to listen to one end of the phone call. "Hey mom, you know that guy I was telling you about? No, not the weird one. Not that one. Come on mom, I talk about him all the time."
Naruto turned more towards the wall as a blush dusted his cheeks; he just had to say something like that out loud.
"Yeah, him. I've got a major question to ask here. What? No, not to marry him. The hell? Stop kidding around here, I'm serious. Yes, me, serious. I know, I know, the world is coming to an end."
Sasuke snorted. In a way, he was glad to see Naruto seemed to still have a good relationship with his parents. He could see his folks being the type to brag about their son no matter what they were bragging about. They were probably, now, worriers. Someone, be it his mother or father, had to be a loud mouth. Despite the small jet of jealousy that spray through his body quickly, he couldn't help but smirk. He missed being around a family. Albeit, this family was sure to be far different from his own. He just couldn't help but silently hope they say yes to this awkward request.
"Mom, do you think Sasuke can come and stay with us for a little bit?"
Silence. Coal eyes watched Naruto fidget on the spot as he no doubt listened to what his mother had to say.
"No, he doesn't. And look, I know this is a big deal and you'll have to talk it over with dad and then talk to the doctor and so on and so forth...but mom. I'm really serious here."
Naruto made a hand sign towards Sasuke saying the prospect was iffy, but he was still trying to work her over.
"Mom, this guy has helped me more than the doctors have here. I haven't seen or heard anything in six days. Yeah, six consecutively. Yes, I think he has something to do with it. Will you please seriously sit down with dad and consider this. It's not permanent, but mom, you'd be helping the both of us out here."
Naruto made a thumbs up sign and pumped his fist in the air. "Alright, sweet. Call the doctor and all that round about crap. Love you too. Don't be too harsh on dad, alright. He's only one man."
Naruto laughed loudly as he hung up the phone and turned to Sasuke, his eyes wide.
"I'm pretty damn sure it's in the bag." Naruto was grinning from ear to ear, it almost looked painful.
"What makes you say that?" Sasuke asked skeptically, trying not to let his hopes fly to high.
"My mom said yes. Now, despite my father being the man of the house and so on and so forth, my mom is one hell of a scary woman when she doesn't get her way."
"You really think this will work?" Sasuke mumbled, opening his apple juice.
"My mom always gets her way." Naruto assured him.
"No, us living together."
The blond shrugged, jamming his thumb through the top of his orange juice. "Only one way to find out."
The two of them dumped their trays one after the other and set off towards their rooms to shower, but Sasuke had to get one last thing in before they went their separate ways.
"Do you really talk about me all the time?" He asked with a smirk.
All Naruto could manage was flipping him the bird over his shoulder as he kept walking towards his room.
Naruto's parents showed up that afternoon.
Kushina and Minato, they introduced themselves. As he watched them hug their son, something inside Sasuke's gut twisted, flashes of blood and lifeless bodies crossed his mind. He shook it off. He had to get used to being around a family if this was really going to happen.
They all sat down together in a secluded room, the therapist giving them a few minutes alone together.
"So you're Sasuke." Minato sighed out, lacing his fingers together.
He nodded silently in return and Kushina smiled. "I hear there is some miracle in the working here with the two of you?"
Naruto smiled. "He hasn't had one night terror in six days and I haven't seen or heard anything. That's a miracle."
"But son, how do we know it isn't just the medication?" His father asked seriously.
The blond shrugged. "Then I have a new friend living with us, which doesn't seem like something that sounds bad. I mean, it's kinda nice when someone actually understands me."
"So you suffer from night terrors?" Kushina asked. "But you haven't had one in awhile?"
"Can you tell us what they're about, or do you want to do that when you get to know us better."
There was a pause where Naruto watched him carefully, his coal eyes dancing around the table in thought.
"Naruto can tell you. I'd just prefer I not be around."
Minato nodded. "Fair enough."
"Do you have a discharge plan if you leave with us?" Kushina asked gently.
"To seek therapy to learn coping skills to deal with my trauma that causes the night terrors as well as my depression."
"So you have some base idea of what you want to do when you get out." Minato continued.
"Yes. As well as, I'd prefer if you'd allow me to pay rent."
Kushina shook her head. "This isn't the time for you to be pushing a job and worrying about getting us money. This is the time you need to take for your recovery."
"I have money." Sasuke assured them. "I wouldn't feel right otherwise."
Minato held up his hand. "We'll discuss all of that later. Right now I want to know how comfortable you feel with coming to live with us?"
"Far more comfortable than foster care."
"Naruto isn't forcing you?" Kushina asked.
The blond laughed. "Yeah right. This stubborn kid?"
"He isn't." Sasuke assured them.
"You'd have your own room. Is there things from anywhere that we can collect for you?"
Sasuke shook his head. "I can get it when I leave."
Naruto turned and gave him a sharp look and frowned. "I'll go with him."
"Do you need a ride?"
Sasuke shook his head. "My car is in the ER parking lot."
"Well, I hope you don't mind us discussing your diagnosis with the doctor so we can understand you a little better. But you have to sign a paper in order to allow that." Minato said.
"Just so we know." Kushina insisted. "We want to be able to understand your illness like we understand Naruto's."
"That's fair." Sasuke agreed.
"Now Naruto has explained a little bit to us. We want to make sure you'll be comfortable being around a family or if it will set you back."
Sasuke shook his head. "I have to learn to cope sooner rather than later. I think it will be better for my recovery in the long run."
"Alright. We have the paper for you to sign, and once that's done we'll go in and talk with the doctor."
Kushina handed over the paper and pen with a small smile and Sasuke looked away, wincing slightly. He had to get used to it, he convinced himself. He couldn't let a family setting hold him back every time he was around one.
With a swipe of the pen he handed over his secrets as he passed back the paper.
"Okay, you kids stay here and we'll get back together for the family meeting in just a little bit."
"Sure thing dad." Naruto said lightly, watching his parents stand and leave the room, meeting the doctor who was lingering in the doorway.
The blond turned to give Sasuke a sharp look. "I thought you said you tried to commit suicide?"
"You drove yourself to the hospital?"
Sasuke shrugged. "I took a bottle of Xanax the night before, and I woke up the next morning. After I failed in the attempt I came to the hospital."
Naruto gave him a heated look. "You drove after that?"
"I didn't want to call for help. It would just cause another issue with the press."
"Its still dangerous." Naruto stressed.
"Do you really think I cared at that point?" Sasuke muttered.
"Well sorry I do." Naruto growled. "It's bad enough thinking about you living alone for so long and people not giving a shit. But to suffer like that alone really pisses me off."
Sasuke turned to give Naruto a sharp look. "Why does it matter to you?"
"Because you're my friend, idiot. You still try to pull that alone crap, and it isn't going to happen. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure you're okay, Sasuke."
There was a pause in the conversation.
Naruto looked determined, Sasuke looked stubborn. The two of them were sure any moment there was going to be a shouting match. Maybe Sasuke suddenly disagreeing to moving in with him. But the raven hair teen just sighed, stood up, and looked down at Naruto.
"I'm getting some hot tea. You want some soda?"
Naruto gave him a funny look, and looked him up and down in caution, looking for openings that showed he was indeed pissed.
The teen rounded the table and went to walk through the doorway to the small cafeteria where the coffee machine was that could pump out hot water. Naruto called out to him just as he was about to be out of eyesight.
The teen turned around just in time to see Naruto walk up on him, a smile painting his lips. Naruto nudged him with his shoulder and Sasuke smirked with a shake of his head.
Silently, together, they got themselves their drinks.
The family meeting was indeed a little awkward.
Naruto's parents now had to express not only concerns for their sons release, but Sasuke's as well.
The young blond was the one who was reassuring everything more so than Sasuke, who would silently nod or mumble something.
In the end it was decided they would leave as soon as possible.
They had follow up appointments set up separately, at completely different doctor's offices.
Naruto's parents agreed to let the young blond ride home with Sasuke, so he had company while getting his things. Then they would have time to go pick up extra stuff that they realized at the last moment they needed.
Narto packed his backpack while Sasuke trashed the scrubs he was given save for the pair he was wearing. He had nothing to take with him except the simple things that could fit in his pockets. His keys, his wallet, his cell phone. The clothes he had worn the day he came in, he trashed as well. He didn't want the memories.
Naruto lent him a hoodie, more forcefully than nicely, considering it was chilly and rainy outside.
They found his car quickly, and Naruto had to say he was a little surprised it was a junkie car that looked like it was on its last legs. After Sasuke explained the money he had from life insurance from his family, he was expecting some fancy sports car.
"So, this guardian type person." Naruto continued, not able to talk about it much in the family meeting. He had just found out about this guy, he was curious why they couldn't release Sasuke into his custody. "The guy you said that checks on you?"
Sasuke nodded from the drivers seat. "What about it?"
"Well, how often does he check on you? Why couldn't you go with him?"
"Now that I'm older, it isn't very often. Twice a year maybe. And he technically isn't my real guardian. He did it because he wanted to."
The blond frowned. "So, should you like, somehow tell him you're moving in with me?"
Sasuke shook his head. "It doesn't matter. I'm not going to be there that long."
"Well gee, I'm happy to have you at my house too."
The teen sighed, making a right turn. "I feel like I'm imposing, alright. Your parents won't even let me
"Well, you aren't imposing." Naruto assured him. "You're helping. You're helping me and I'm helping you, remember?"
The car ride was silent the rest of the way to Sasuke's old house. Naruto had a million things to say and ask, but kept them to himself for once in his life. Sasuke seemed to get tenser as they came closer to his house. They pulled into the long, horseshoe shaped driveway and parked in front of the stoop. Before Naruto had time to think, Sasuke was climbing out of the car. Quickly he followed after him, that is until they both met the front door.
Sasuke stopped in front of the door with a pause. Naruto stopped along side him and poked his shoulder.
He nodded, Naruto seeing the small twitch of his lips. The blond already figured out in the short time knowing him, that meant he was lying. He seemed locked up and uncomfortable.
"Sasuke..." Naruto hesitated in asking, but decided to ask anyway. "Did everything happen in this house?"
Sasuke stared at the front door, and Naruto could easily tell he was lost far away in thoughts and memories.
"Why didn't you leave?"
"I couldn't." Sasuke said distantly.
"Why?" Naruto stressed.
The other teen shrugged, still staring off with an empty look. "I couldn't say goodbye."
Naruto's breath caught in his throat. This strong, stubborn, jackass of a friend look like a scared and lonely child.
A tan hand interlaced with a frozen pale one. Naruto curled his fingers around Sasuke's hand, their fingers laced together. Slowly, Sasuke's hand responded and held Naruto's hand right back.
"In and out." Naruto promised. "Straight to your room, alright?"
Sasuke reached forward and opened the door, never having bothered to lock it. He pushed it open quickly and tugged Naruto along.
They went through the front room and then made a sharp right followed by a sharp left. Naruto tripped a little going up the stairs, but never lost his grip with Sasuke's hand.
The blond almost hit the wall as Sasuke quickly turned a corner still dragging him along.
They made towards a door in which Sasuke nearly knocked down in his haste to get to it. The two of them stood just inside the doorway, the light still on from the ceiling.
The room was nothing short of a mess. It looked like someone had come through and threw everything around as much as possible.
Naruto looked over at Sasuke, "What in the world happened?"
He knew Sasuke was a tidy neat freak and borderline OCD with his things. For something like this to be found in his room seemed unnatural.
The teen shrugged, Naruto's arm jerking from the action – their hands still linked. "I don't remember much myself. I just remember that I had no balance when I woke up and I kept falling."
Naruto remembered the bruise on Sasuke's cheek when he first met him, and suddenly that all made sense.
He tightened his grip on the pale hand, a quick squeeze before Sasuke pulled his hand away. Silently the two of them tidied up and simultaneously packed. It was all in silence, the only noise was from the things they moved around.
At the end, Sasuke's room was neat and semi-empty. Three large duffel bags sat at their feet, packed to the brim. Things that were needed and things that were wanted. The two of them stood their, silently in the middle of the room.
Naruto grabbed Sasuke's hand again, ignoring the bags for now and squeezed it in a reassuring type of way.
"Are you ready?" He whispered.
Sasuke lips twitched and he nodded, making Naruto frown.
"We're on your time, okay?" Naruto whispered.
It took another thirty minutes before Sasuke even moved. He bent down and picked up two of the duffel bags, Naruto grabbing one and following him out. It was a quick exit, leaving Naruto to practically run just to catch up. The sound of the door snapping shut behind them left them standing there on the front stoop, silence encircling them once again.
The rain was coming down in lazy drizzles, but quickly soaking through their clothes as they had no cover. Sasuke kept taking deep breaths, most of his face hidden by the hood that was thrown up when he reached the bottom of the stairs.
Naruto grabbed his hand, the rain dripping off of their fingertips. He gave it a soft squeeze, and Sasuke nodded.
The two of them took down the steps together, towards the car, without one single glance back towards the house that held all of Sasuke's nightmares.
Dinner, Sasuke thought, was going to be a quiet affair.
It was far from it.
Naruto's mother and father told Sasuke all about the stuff they had gotten for his bedroom. The new bedding and hangers for his closet, towels; all random things they had picked up.
Naruto talked about how his room was going to be next to his, quickly went through the rules of the house (which was constantly corrected), and went on and on about his plans as to how they could get through the days to come.
They ended the night with a family movie. Kushina and Minato took up the loveseat together; Minato wrapping his arm around Kushina's shoulders and holding her close to his side. Naruto and Sasuke were on the big couch, a large space between them until Naruto decided to lie down; his head closest to Sasuke.
They all not-so-quietly watched the movie. Naruto and his parents constantly talking out loud about it without a care. Sasuke had no choice but to listen.
Naruto's head was an inch from his thigh, his hair brushing his pants. The blond was completely comfortable with the space invasion. It seemed like he could care less or not that Sasuke was fine with it. Occasionally Naruto would reach his hand up and flick at Sasuke's knee to let him know he was still included, that he was still there. Every once in awhile when Sasuke thought no one was paying attention, he would run his hand through Naruto's hair. It was gesture that comforted them both. They were both still there. Together. Nothing could hurt them, haunt them, trap them; as long as they were together.
It was a bloodcurdling scream that woke Naruto that night. It made the hairs on his arms stand on end. He threw the blankets off of him and bolted towards his open door, and then practically knocked down Sasuke's. He heard his parents scrambling in their room as well, but he had beat them to the punch.
Naruto quickly went to Sasuke and ran his fingers through his hair soothingly and gently rubbed his shoulder, hushing him like his own mother did when he was upset. His parents were halted in the doorway looking panic stricken, but Naruto took the time to wave them off and give them a thumbs up. He had it under control.
Sasuke's screaming had stopped, his eyes were still closed, and his breathing leveled out. Minato steered Kushina away from the room, her motherly instincts kicking into overdrive and not wanting to leave. But Naruto's father saw that his son had it well under control.
"It's okay now Sasuke." Naruto whispered. "I'm right here. I won't let them get you."
"Help..." Sasuke lightly called out, still trapped in his nightmare.
"I'm here to help." Naruto whispered, still running his fingers through his hair. "It's okay."
The blond pressed his forehead to Sasuke's damp one, barely coated with sweat, but Naruto ignored it.
"Let the monsters go, Sasuke."
Naruto smiled, letting out a breath of relief when Sasuke let out a noise that meant nothing. He wasn't in pain or scared anymore.
The blond straightened himself up, taking the time to fix Sasuke's blankets before turning to leave the room and head back to bed. He nearly jumped out of his skin when Sasuke's hand grabbed his own.
"I didn't think you would wake up." Naruto admitted, turning to face him. "I thought that's how it works."
Sasuke's grip on his hand tightened, and Naruto took the silent hint. He knew Sasuke would never just open his damn mouth and ask him to stay. He really had pride issues.
Sasuke scooted over on the bed, lifting the covers for Naruto as he climbed in to bed. Something about this seemed right, Naruto thought. There wasn't anything that felt awkward about it. Nothing seemed out of place. If anything, it felt like it should have happened sooner rather than later.
The two of them laid on their sides, facing each other. Naruto wiped his hand over Sasuke's forehead and then wiped it off on the sheet.
"You okay?" He whispered gently.
Sasuke nodded silently, his face still looking pained. "Thank you."
Naruto's eyes widened at the whispered words. "I didn't think you knew how to say that to me."
The raven snorted, his coal eyes rolling.
"I mean it." Sasuke whispered.
"I feel like you owe me a gold star or something." Naruto whispered with a grin.
Instead Sasuke rewarded him with something else. Something unexpected. Something secretly wanted.
He leaned forward and pressed his lips against Naruto's, his burning hand coming up from underneath the covers to cup a tan cheek. Naruto didn't snap his head back or push Sasuke away. He let their lips linger together, heating against one another before Sasuke pulled back.
Coal eyes searched the sky blue eyes that stared at him with confusion and want. Desperation and loss. Sauske leaned forward again, locking their lips once more in a silent promise. He would never leave. He would never let Naruto fight the monsters that plagued the two of them on his own.
He was there to stay right in Naruto's life.
"Forever." Sasuke whispered.
Author's Note: I always turn to the fluff. I can't help it. Bah, whatever.