A/N: It took a while to get this chapter out, mostly because I don't have Internet - man, it's a real drag, being without Internet, I'll tell you that - but, finally, I have been granted a few hours worth of this beauty. I mean, enough to browse and put this up. Yay! :D

But, anyway, hopefully, you'll enjoy this chapter. We are getting nowhere near the end, however. We still got many chapters to go. I intend to finish this story, no matter what.

So, yeah, enjoy! :)


F A T


Quiet sounds of nature and the hum of the television in the background are the only sounds that are our friends in this moment of ours. We sit beside each other. We don't look at each other once. We don't hold hands. We don't talk.

We're just there.

Maybe it was just my imagination, or something, but ever since the night of Naruto's accident about a week ago, things haven't been the same between Pein and I. While, yes, we were still together, we weren't exactly joined at the hip anymore. Our conversations lacked depth - we were quiet most of the time that we did happen to be together, such as now - we rarely held hands or kissed much anymore. It was strange. We were fine when we came out of the hospital - we were normal, as far as I knew.

I guess not. Perhaps because we both knew there was something to discuss. Moreover, for me to discuss. I hadn't told Pein anything of what had happened back at that party from a week ago - or anything much concerning of Naruto, either. I sensed he knew something was up, though. After all, I wasn't the one who put the brakes on this relationship all of a sudden like this. I was pretending everything was fine and dandy. But I probably shouldn't be doing that. I promised myself that I was going to tell him what happened between Naruto and I; I was completely disregarding his trust over me. Even more as of today. When the right time came to tell him, I told myself to tell him every single detail - and that time was now.

I switch the television off. Pein seems unaffected by this. His eyes blink away from the screen to look down at the floor instead.

"...We have to talk." I say quietly.

He doesn't say anything, doesn't do anything. Hardly reacts. Doesn't even look at me, but I know he's listening. Yet... It wouldn't feel right if I told him everything without having him look at me. That wasn't fair. I needed him to look at me. Our relationship was at stake, and I needed his help in deciding whether or not he had a right to dump me. I needed his true reaction to what I'm about to tell him.

"Please look at me, Pein." I murmur. He does, but his eyes are blank. Almost as if they have no recognition of me whatsoever. Such a dull look frightens me. There are also bags under his eyes, proving many sleepless nights passed him by.

Because of you, the voice in the back of my mind sneers.

I'm about to speak, about to spill the ailing pain of my heart and of my promises in never doing such a thing ever again to him, that I was in it for the long run now. But he beats me to it, turning that blank, tired stare away from me to the gray television screen.

"For this past week, Sasuke, I have been trying to figure out what it is between us that falls flat. Why, only this week, does this suddenly happen, I ask myself. Every day. Every night. Wondering, worrying..." He rubs his hand over his chin, then over his eyes. So tired. He groans, leaning back on the couch. He looks up at the ceiling and shrugs, mustering a small chuckle. Not a laughable chuckle, but a weak chuckle. That frightens me even more than the sudden dead look in his eyes. "What happened? We were fine before that party. We were having fun, you and I. I mean, I'm trying to skim over the fact that it has something to do with the party and Naruto getting beat up. It's just too coincidental! I keep telling myself that very sentence, over and over and over again, until I believe it. But, then... I start to get ideas, making connections to all these coincidences, and my imagination gets the best of me. As usual. I think of the places in which Naruto just happens to show up, whether injured or not, and I start to think, 'What if...?'"

There's that weak chuckle again as he lifts his head to look at me.

With that.

Same.

Stare.

My heart is about to burst out of my chest by how quickly it's racing.

This side of Pein I hadn't seen once, and, of course, it was a very frightening sight to behold. Especially with his suspicions accused at me, which, I suspected, he knew were true. How eerily similar he and Naruto could be -

No. Stop that. Focus on your crumbling relationship. Don't go back there.

"Pein, I -" I start to say, hoping to dilute this situation, to tell my side of the story. But he's not finished.

"'What if...?' That's a dangerous game to play with someone, babe." He says. I kind of wished he didn't call me 'babe' when we were having a discussion like this. I was starting to feel even worse than I already was feeling. His suspicions were growing, and the more of his suspicions he revealed, the closer he was getting to the truth. "Now, me, I think, 'Sasuke would never fall for this; he's smarter than to cheat on me', and, here, I believe is where I'm right. God, how I wish how I was right. But I notice that whenever Naruto's around, you miraculously disappear. And then when he gets beat up, something in you changes. You go into full freakout mode, crying and saying that it was nothing like that, while punching the same guy who beat him up, for God knows what, now that just gets me thinking even more. You might say you're friends with him and all, and that none of it REALLY means nothing - yet it doesn't seem like you're protesting much to this. So, tell me, Sasuke... do YOU think we SHOULD talk?"

Just like that. Just like that, and his suspicions disappear. His eyes are different now. Serious. Judging. My insecurities creep up on me again and my emotions bubble up all at once. All my mistakes, all the stupid, fucking disasters I've created, mounted on top of one another, all toppling with unavoidable consequences.

"You don't understand..." I start to say, vision blurring as tears begin to form. My heart clenches. My throat starts to tighten. I let out a strangled cry and stand up from the couch. Pein does so, as well. In the back of my mind, I'm hoping he'll forget all this and just hug me, promising me he won't leave me. I wished he would.

But that wasn't the way relationships worked. There had to be some fights that one would win and some fights that one would lose. This was a definite loss for me. Surely, Pein wouldn't forget so easily about this fight. I wouldn't either.

"Help me understand, then." He tells me. So seriously. "What's the deal between you two?"

Despite that his suspicions were somewhat true, he wanted to know the complete truth and everything leading up to it about me and Naruto. I had to tell him everything; it was the only way he'd fully understand my emotions and my stupid, careless actions. So... I suck in a shaky breath and wipe away what tears I can from my eyes.

"Naruto was my first boyfriend. For two and a half months." I tell him. He nods. We sit back down on the couch. This time, we're sitting fairly close to one another. Not the intimate kind of closeness, but the kind of closeness that goes on between friends. I assumed that was the closest category we could identify ourselves as of now. I sniffle. "This was back when I was fat... and back when I wasn't all too smart. I broke it off with him too soon for the stupidest reason. And this was the same time he first said 'I love you'... I never said it back. I was too scared. I still am. Yet, even when I'm broken up with him and dating someone else, I find it so easy to make even stupider mistakes." I shake my head, angry at myself as I remember the events of the Halloween party, of Naruto's encounter with me, of how he held his ground and he ONLY wanted to talk. And how I didn't and I pounced on him like a cat in heat. I was so ashamed of myself. "I don't mean to feel the way I do, but it really can't be helped. I try to go against the hive mind and I always fail. I always end up back in his arms. And it's just... I'm sorry."

I try to keep my tears to a minimum, but they rack through my body and my shoulders shake uncontrollably. He doesn't comfort me. Even if there's no reason to try to. I was the idiot. He was the innocent one; there was no need for comforting on my part, but on his. Besides, I had told my story - it was what he needed to know, what he needed to hear. I needed to hear what he wanted to do now. Would he want to continue this relationship, despite of what I did? Would he want to try to fix me, to keep me from feeling the way I did about Naruto? I would surely let him. That was one of the main reasons I let Naruto out of my life.

But...

What if he decided against keeping this relationship? What if he wanted nothing more to do with me anymore? He was right. This 'what if' game was a dangerous game to play. But it was his decision - I couldn't do anything to sway his opinion. I'd already messed up enough.

"...Was that the only time since we were together that you've let yourself get close enough to him like that?" He asks, and the way he says it makes me feel unbelievably guilty. Even if it was the only time. I nod. He sighs, obviously relieved. Although, that isn't the only question that's on his mind. "What did you guys do?"

"We only kissed." I say quickly and that continues to raise suspicions. Technically, that much was true. We did kiss, but, of course, if I were to let myself get into the moment even more, I would have let it gone further. Pein had a right to know that as well, too. "But... It was leading up to something more than just that."

This very sentence caused him to look over at me. Very seriously. But he looks away just as quickly, pain clearly etched into the fabrics of his eyes. He takes a moment for himself, fingers clasping together tightly, knuckles white.

"...And did you?" He asks calmly. Quietly. Despite his disturbed appearance.

Did he really have to ask something like that? He knew I didn't. Did he really think I was so stupid as to... Yeah, never mind. I probably was. Though, obviously, I had common sense. For the most part, anyway.

"No. I didn't want to cause any more of a problem. I felt like I did enough damage just by being in the same room with him all alone." I shake my head, wiping away stray tears. "I never intended something like my past with Naruto get so out of hand and so messy. I thought nothing more could come of it since we were over, but..." I shake my head again, ashamed and disgusted with myself. "I guess I should have seen it coming."

Pein immediately scoffs.

"Obviously, you SHOULD have if you were thinking of doing anything more with him than just KISSING." Calmness on his part now took no part in his voice. It rose a fair amount - not shouting, but provoked as such only slightly. He sighs, pushing his hair back in frustration and rests his head in between his hands. He speaks from behind them, voice muffled. "I just... I never thought you'd do something like this to me, Sasuke. I mean, you still have feelings for your ex, and then you go behind my back and do things like what you did." He utters a quiet sound of exasperation. And then he looks up from his hands, refusing to look me in the eyes, instead looking up at the ceiling. This killed me. What had I done? "You could have just avoided this whole relationship with me in the first place, you know? We wouldn't even be having this conversation. You could have just told me and I would have understood that you were to be left alone to deal with your demons. And you'd probably be off making out with HIM or something if you did tell me and we weren't together. Or maybe having this same conversation with some other poor soul about your woes and your mistakes." His voice had taken a sharp, hostile tone as he rose from the couch.

I didn't want him to leave. I didn't want it to end like this between us. I didn't want him to have such a bitter opinion of me. Even if he deserved to. I had every right to tell him everything between Naruto and I, from the beginning - it was my stupid mistake to avoid from speaking of such a critical part of my life.

I follow him as he's starting to head for the front door. He reaches for the doorknob.

"Pein, please. I'm really trying to ignore all of this. I've cut off all contact with him. And we promised each other that if we were to ever cross paths, we'd ignore each other. Pretending like our situation never happened." I reach for his shoulder, gently prodding him to look at me. He does, but it doesn't seems like he's convinced at all by my words. "Please." I rest my hand over his cheek, caressing the nape of his neck. He places his hand over mine and brushes his lips faintly against the palm of my hand, before placing it over my chest.

He shakes his head. Something within me shatters. I resist the urge to cry.

"It's not enough. While you say one thing, I know it isn't what you really want. You don't want me. You want Naruto. You'll never want me as much as you want him. Besides..." He chuckles. How easily he could transit from one emotion to the next. But I suppose it was his go-to for these types of situations. "I think we've sucked this relationship dry to the bone, anyway. Don't pretend otherwise." He wiggles his finger at me. It reminds me of the earlier stages when we WERE happily dating, before all of this collided together into a horrifying fashion. But the smile that he's throwing my way tells a different story. Like it never happened, or it never bothered him - only, deep inside, I know it does - yet his smile is so contagious, it's impossible not to smile back. I muster a small smile. He turns to leave, but then stops and turns to me again. "And, uh, well, it's probably for the best that you don't have yourself involved in relationships for a while. Until you think you're ready, at least. You don't want to give any potential future boyfriends the same problem. They won't be as lenient and understanding as I was, just for future reference."

And he turns again to leave, but I stop him again. Perhaps I'm testing what is actual reality and what isn't. This is all a definite reality. There's no need for my testing over it. But maybe I just need clarification on what happens after this sort of thing. I didn't really know what to do now. Did anyone ever REALLY know?

"So, wait..." I start to say. He stares as I try to search for words. I look at him. My hand is resting over his own. I drop it. "This is it. We're over. That easy?"

"As one, two, three, yeah." He replies. I shake my head. Not because I didn't want it to end - either way, this relationship was doomed - but I'd have expected him to be a little more concerned about our relationship.

"Couldn't we have tried to work through it? Or, around it, at least?" I ask. The questions sound so stupid in AND out of my head. Pein probably was thinking he dodged a bullet with me. He might be thinking that I would be the type of person to stick through with something, no matter what problems arose at such a critical time. I laugh a little. "I'm not trying to pull you into a guilt trip here. I was just wondering if anything at all could be done to keep this relationship above the surface."

For a second or two, he bows his head, brightly colored bangs covering his silver eyes. He chuckles, shaking his head.

"There wouldn't be much to fix, anyway. We could have TRIED to work through it, around it, over it - we could have tried anything and everything - but I don't think it would have done much. The problem is you, Sasuke." He wrinkles his nose at his wording. "Well, not necessarily you, alone, but you have a problem that can't really be fixed magically. You need time to yourself is all. To get everything in order."

I hummed quietly in response as I crossed my arms over my chest. It made sense. He was right - there wasn't much to fix. It was just me. He was fine. Even if he would have tried to do something about it, it wouldn't work. As he said, a problem like mine couldn't be fixed magically. Obviously. Besides, it's not like anyone in the world would be crazy enough for someone else to stick it through thick and thin while their beloved was still head over heels stuck on someone else. No one was that sick in the head. Something like that was bound to end in shambles.

"Is that all? Or was there more to this?" He muses gently after a while's silence, gesturing his hands between us.

I shrug halfheartedly.

"A few, but I think those questions were the ones that bothered me most. Although, there is one question I still have on my mind..." I say, trailing off.

"Shoot."

I'd always seen the way these breakups went and how uneventful they all played out. They didn't talk, didn't look at each other, pretended what happened between each other never happened. But, of course, what else would one expect in the aftereffects of a breakup? Except I didn't want to be like those couples in the movies. I wanted to defy the norm. Even if people said otherwise, saying stuff like being friends after a breakup would never work out, too much jealousy hanging around in the air afterwards - you know, the usual. Sure, it would be a little awkward between us, but I didn't want to lose Pein as a friend. We were just as close then when we were a couple. All that would really change was the intimacy betweens us. We'd have to get out of that mindset when we'd kissed each other as a daily greeting to a manly grip of a handshake and a hard manly hug, followed by an equally manly pat on the back. He did that with his other friends. Male friends. As for the girls, they qualified for a gentle hug. I would very much prefer a gentle hug, but that wasn't a decision I could make - it mostly depended on him.

Which brought my question to full circle.

"...Will it be awkward between us?"

Immediately, as if expecting this sort of question, he nods.

"Guaranteed. Now let me tell you how it'll go down." He puts his palms up, readying himself. "When our circle of friends figure out our sudden distant behavior, the questions will come. Then, once we provide confirmative answers of our sudden distance, they'll find it awkward to be around us, deciding whether to choose your side, or my side. Depending by how long they've known us, or by how much they like us, of course - it's only natural selection. And it'll be a hard decision to choose between us. So, in retribution, our friends will tiptoe around the subject of us for a few couple of days, siding with a telling of each of our stories behind our backs, eventually succumbing us to be awkward around each other ourselves. It'll throw our friendships all out of wack, I'll say an estimate about, a month or so, and, hopefully, by then, we'll be able to pick up the shattered pieces of what's left from our friendship and build up from there." He grins at me as I frown at him slightly. "Unless you want to avoid all of that and go a different direction."

I nod.

"I was kind of hoping it wouldn't come to that. I still want to be friends. I don't want the stench of awkwardness to mess with anything. And, yeah, I know, I know, exes aren't supposed to hang around with each other after the destroyed ruins of a relationship, blah, blah, blah. But..." I sigh. "I like having you in my life. Most people can't say that about their exes. They always say horrible things. I would never say things like that about you. You still mean something to me. You are someone in my life. You help me. You provide insight to such obvious things. Like a wise, watchful guardian-like wizard... However, I understand if you think otherwise and would like it to be the way you described."

He snorts.

"Yeah, right! I was only saying that because I thought it was what you wanted to hear. But now that I hear you saying something otherwise, I'm relieved." He lets out a whoosh of breath, chuckling nervously. "Seriously, though. You're not joking? You still want to be friends? Just so you know, it won't be the exact same between us as it was a month ago. There will be a smidgen of awkwardness."

"It doesn't matter. We can survive through that. If it does turn out awkward, we take a moment to ourselves and snap ourselves out of it. That's the only way, right?" He nods, unsurely, forehead creasing. "Other than that, let's just, please, not let our breakup lead it entirely to that. I want us to be normal. Can we do that?"

Pein shrugs.

"I hope so." He says. "But, anyway, I should probably go. It's getting awkward here." He laughs at the deadpanned look on my face. "I'm kidding. If I wanted it to let it get in the way, I wouldn't have joked about it. Think of how much easier I made it seem now, eh?" I roll my eyes as he opens the door and takes a step out the door, but then he stops abruptly, turning. "Ah! Our breakup. Is it cool if we mention it was a mutual agreement? Technically, in a sort of indirect way, it was. That way people don't start talk about who was or wasn't the bad guy."

I nod, satisfied.

"I'm good with that. And if they ask why we broke up?"

"Well, tell them the truth, if you want. We wanted different things." While if it was true, the casualty in his voice made me feel even more uneasy about it. He was right. There was just a smidgen of awkwardness about this. But I wasn't going to let it affect our friendship now. I wanted him in my life, I reminded myself. "I'll see you tomorrow."

I nod and bid him a farewell. I watch as he walks down the path to his car, throws me a small wave, and gets in his car. He turns the engine and takes off down the street, turns right at the corner and disappears from view down the road.

At the same moment that he's disappeared from view, my parents' car pulls into the driveway, and my parents pour out of the car. My very pregnant mother reaches me first, my father trailing closely behind her, watching over her, hand on the small of her back. You know, just in case her belly happened to topple her over. She was so big. And she was glowing. It wouldn't be long before she popped. We were all hoping for that day to come soon. My mother, especially.

She had grown weary and her temper flared twice as hotly now as she was getting staggeringly closer to her due date. Seriously. When she was tired or hungry or bored or anything of the sort, she just threw various insults our way when we didn't tend to satisfy her needs quickly. It was very frightening to be near a pregnant person such as my mother. She was a vengeful beast. Even more with my father, as he was always the one nearest her, ready to fetch anything it was that she needed, tending to every small little need of hers. Now THAT of my father bending over backwards for my mother was something else - it was funny, in all honesty. He was like an obedient puppy.

However, it was a different story today. They were both in good spirits. They had been out all day, out on the town to shop for my mother, eating dinner, spending time alone together, and finding a way to distress from the crazy life they had ahead for them as well. Just what they needed; a whole day to themselves. They wouldn't have time for it for a few couple of years or so.

The closer that my mother approached me, her smile seemed to grow. An airy flighty aura emanated from her. Oh, yes, she was in hella good spirits. Practically floating. Drunk, it might have appeared to others.

"Hello, my dear, sweet Sasuke boy." She sighed dreamily. I looked at my father, eyebrows raised. He shrugged, gesturing his hand forward, as if saying, 'just go with it'. Her delicate hand reached for my face, thumb stroking over my cheek. She stares intently, noticing something off about the way I looked at her. "Have you been crying?"

My father now looks intently at me, too. I prod my mother's fingers from my cheek gently and head inside, shaking my head. They follow.

"I was watching a sad movie." I lie. But, of course, they, being parents, see right through it. They both mirror frowns my way. I sigh. "Pein and I broke up." Immediately, their expressions change.

My father, as usual, doesn't know what to say to situations such as these. He was not a man of much emotion. Though, he made some effort. He offers to listen to my sorrows, if I needed to unload. I counted that as helpful. I smile in recognition of his words, nodding.

My mother, on the other hand, fawns over me, like a child who has fallen into the dirt. Like a child usually does. Not much damage done. They just dust off and they're fine. I mean, I WAS fine. I try to reassure her of that fact, but she's not convinced. She offers me food as her way of comfort and heads into the kitchen, clutching my hand tightly, my father following behind. She makes me sit on a stool as I continuously try and try to reassure her that I'm fine, that she didn't need to worry about me.

Yet she did worry.

She was a mother, after all. I was still her baby in her eyes. I needed to be looked after, whether I needed her to or not.

Both my father and I watch her as she clutters about in the kitchen, opening and closing cupboards, taking out pots and pans and ingredients for her concoction, muttering under her breath about her 'poor baby' and how the world was out to get me. I try not to laugh, but it's difficult not to find the humor in this.

My father laughs as well. Although, he does it quietly. He wasn't sure whether or not my mother was still keen on her hearing with all her worrying over me.

He rests his forearms on the counter, resting his head over them, looking over at me, waiting. Questions of wonder dangle in his eyes. I can feel his urge to know what happened between us while they were gone for the day. What had I done, he must be wondering. Or what had Pein done. I laugh a little at this.

Pein was right. People would find a way to pin who was the good guy or the bad guy in the relationship leading to the breakup.

"So, what happened? Did he break up with you or did you break up with him?" He asks, fiddling with the salt shaker on the other side of the counter. I can still hear my mother mumbling on the other side of the kitchen, cutting up vegetables. As she passes by the other side of the counter to snatch the salt shaker from my father, I can hear her say something along the lines of breaking hearts and not raising me to be let down like this, that it was a shame for Pein to let me go, that I had so much more to offer. You know. Normal stuff coming from a parent, I suppose.

She was so silly. She was starting to sound a lot like that rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, always muttering about 'being late for a very important date', all chatter-y like that.

I shake my head, turning to my father.

"Technically, he did. But it was my fault. He had every reason to. I did something stupid." He narrowed his eyes at the word 'stupid'. Bet you anything he's not thinking anything positive of me now. I watch my mother as I speak. "Last week, I went to Gaara's Halloween party, you remember? When I told you Naruto had gotten hurt?" A nod. "Well, I kind of, um... I fooled around with him a bit. But I didn't let it go any farther than kissing, Dad, I swear." Obviously, any parent wouldn't believe those words coming out of their own kids mouths. So I skimmed over the part about Suigetsu almost beating him down to a pulp because of a clear misunderstanding. I didn't really want to see my father blow any fire from his nostrils. I continue with my happenings. "Pein never knew anything about Naruto, so he started to piece things together, little by little. He started to notice things about us. So, with that, I confessed everything. How I hadn't exactly gotten over him and... yeah." I finish lamely. Awkwardly.

I never really told my father anything, so pouring something personal like this to him was strange. Since I always kind of thought of him as never accepting of my being gay. I believed he was in denial about it all. Probably not. Like I said, he was not a man of much emotion. It probably didn't matter to him - I was still his son; it didn't change anything.

"Huh." He clears his throat. "I thought... I thought you WERE over Naruto. If you were still hung up on the kid, why jump the gun so quickly? You obviously weren't ready for this relationship." How alike my father and Pein were. Could have mistaken them for father and son instead. Could have even become the bestest of friends were it not for brainless Sasuke! Such wise men they were, compared to the incompetence of my little brain!

"Pein said the same thing..." I sigh, then shrug. "I don't know. I just... He was nice. He liked me. I liked him. I thought if I gave him a chance, then this whole thing with Naruto would just blow over and I'd be home free. And, you know, it wasn't much of a problem for the first couple of weeks. I was okay. I hadn't thought about Naruto once, or wondered what had become of him or anything. But then I had to do something stupid and throw this whole relationship out of proportions. I COULD have just avoided all of this." However, I wasn't going to kick myself for what I did. It was already in the past. Done and over with. And Pein and I had parted on good terms - and we were still going to remain friends. A win-win situation. Hopefully, we wouldn't let the awkwardness consume the rebuilding of our friendship.

My father watches my mother as he mulls this conversation over in his head. He's probably trying to grasp at just how low common sense his own son had compared to him. I wondered that too, myself. Perhaps he was thinking of the mistakes he had once made in his life, and comparing mine and his side to side, laughing at just how ridiculous my mistakes were compared to his. He was obviously the smarter man, therefore the lack of the mistakes on his side were slim to none. What a joke I was, huh? Gay and stupid. Could the combination make anyone gag even more?

...Geez, what was up with me in putting myself down so much? I hadn't done anything wrong. And my father had yet to say anything about the current situation I put myself in. He didn't think any less of me, of that I was entirely sure. Somewhat. Even if he was my father, he had a right to instigate an opinion of what he really thought of my actions and such. He had to have SOME voice of his own, rather than just the authoritative voice of a parent.

"Well, what's done is done, eh? Can't change what's happened." My father says. I should have suspected. He wasn't going to say much on this. What else was there to say? "You just relax without the worries of any companionship for now. Focus on your studies. That is the important thing at the moment - your future depends heavily on it." I nod once. He was right - it seemed common sense was bestowed upon everyone else but me; what a shame - I needed to focus on my studies.

I hadn't even added studies into this equation known as my life. I hadn't even moved the stack of overdue homework papers I had lying around my desk once. I hadn't even applied to any of the college applications I'd received from my counselor. I'd been so wrapped up in the worries of my personal life that I'd completely factored out the importance of my future and how great a severity of an impact that would fall upon me. And my parents. I would become a disappointment in their eyes. I didn't want that.

I wanted to be successful. And the only way I would get there would be by actually doing some of the work. I had to get started. All this talk about relationships was giving me a headache. Both my father and Pein were right. I needed to be alone at this point in my life. Focus on other important matters.

I nod at my father once more, taking his advice to heart. I thank him fondly as I rise from my seat. I make my way around the counter to my working mother still fretting over my break up with Pein. She was moving about the kitchen swiftly, slicing and frying and all kinds of cooking. I stop her, smiling, and a look of confusion appears over her features immediately. I kiss her forehead gently, thanking her, whispering only to her that I was fine, but I appreciated her concern.

She gives me a look. I repeat that I'm fine. Really. And I smile again, flashing her a thumbs up. She doesn't believe me, as usual. Parents always had a way of knowing. Maybe because they were our parents and they knew us better than we knew ourselves. Or maybe because they had also gone through something like this, just as our ancestors before us and those before them.

But I really was okay.

Sure, this breakup of mine with Pein wasn't one I wanted to rid of so easily. He was a good guy. He made me laugh. I wanted to see just how long it would have lasted were it not for my mistakes; we could have lasted all throughout our senior year. Maybe even more. Possibly could have gone to college together.

Either way, I was fine. We were still friends. Our friendship could last forever. We could still go to college together. As friends, of course, if we were to ever resume our rightful places as such. Only time would tell.

"I'm okay." I whisper. And then my mother suddenly stares at me with such a guilty look in her eyes that I almost decide to take back my words, whether they spoke of truth or not. Perhaps she felt guilty because we hadn't spent any time together, what with her stressing about the pregnancy and everything else in between. She must have felt like we didn't talk in ages and this breakup of mine would be her only chance in actually connecting with me once more.

She smiles anyway, patting my forearm gently, nodding, then she looks over at her pots and pans stewing away soundlessly. She looks back up at me, tears in her eyes, fingers caressing my palms.

"Are you hungry, though? I hear that going through a breakup can really build up an appetite..." She murmurs.

I chuckle and kiss her forehead again. It was like dealing with a small child, my mother. Maybe it was the pregnancy that caused her to act like this because usually she was a fierce, opinionated woman who embellished her strong words through kindness. And seeing her act like this, concerned as she was, I realized she must have felt inferior at this point in her life, which might have made her feel like she needed to establish a place in my life once more. It was impossible - she never left from my life; she was still there.

I nod to her question, tucking a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. She smiles, kisses my cheek, then pats at my forearm yet again, bidding my leave. She tells me that she would call me when it was all ready. And she goes back to her cooking, quiet now. My father watches her from behind the counter, fist against his temple, supporting his head.

I leave the kitchen and I climb upstairs slowly. I drag my feet as I take a step one at a time, the look on my mother's face still on my mind. She didn't believe I was okay. She could see through that. I'd only been in two relationships. Naruto and Pein. I broke off the first one but, this time, Pein broke it off with me. Clearly, anyone who had been broken up with would be destroyed by a thing like that. While, yes, there was a dull ache starting up in my heart and the strangest urge to cry, I was still okay. Maybe I didn't feel as strongly as I did about Pein as I felt about Naruto. That made me feel pretty bad.

My throat feels like it's closing up as I struggle to keep the urge to cry from escaping past my lips. I stop in the middle of the stairway and slide down against the banister, leaning my head against the bar, shaking. I'm trying to regain my composure. I try to tell myself that it wasn't my fault, that this happened to everyone; I wasn't the only one. But that was a lie. I take deep breaths as an attempt to calm myself, yet it fails. And I start to cry.

Softly, at first, to keep quiet from my parents in the kitchen and to save face from my little white lie of 'being fine'. Eventually, it heightens to sobs. I want to stop. I want to keep believing that I was fine, that I was okay, that this didn't bother me at all. I didn't want anyone to find me like this. I looked out of my mind pathetic. Like someone who belonged in a mental institution.

Yet it didn't go like that at all.

My brother found me before my parents came out of the kitchen. He takes me in his arms, embracing me immediately as I blubber against him. He doesn't ask me what's wrong or anything. He just holds me as my parents watch from the bottom of the stairs. I can hear my mother crying softly. My father is shushing her, telling her the same thing I told her. That I was fine. That she was going to be fine. That they would help me get through this.

I don't know for how long I was crying or when I stopped, but when I came to my senses, I realized how tired I was. Itachi helps me to my room, our parents following. He tucks me into bed gently as my parents pile blankets on top of me. One by one, they whisper that they love me and kiss me on my forehead, that they were here if I needed to talk. I knew that. They were my family. They were all good people. But I didn't get to tell them that. I was so tired.

I nod weakly as the urge to cry awakens within me once more. I ask my mother to stay. She does, taking her place beside me. My father turns on the lamp on the end table beside my bed. Then both he and Itachi leave, shutting the door.

I take my mother's hand. She squeezes lightly. I want to apologize to her for not confiding in her more about my life or being all there when she needed me. Though, I'd like to think she understood. Somehow.

We don't talk. We're very quiet. She touches my hair, caressing it. I'm drifting. The dull ache is still there lurking in my heart, but I feel safer now with this strong woman by my side. And for my unborn sibling in my mother's belly. I rest our entwined fingers atop it. I smile once a nudge finds its way between us. I want to believe that that tiny little nudge was a way of connecting with me in helping me feel better. I knew better than that. Surely, my sibling had no idea what was going on out in this world. It was merely coincidental.

Even so, I keep that little nudge close to my heart as well as the soft touch of my mother's kindness in aiding me. I thank her as I slowly start to drift off into my dreams. She doesn't say anything. There isn't much to say anymore.

So, instead, I sleep, smiling and dreaming of what could be.


A/N: And, yeah, there we go. I hope it was pleasing to you, Sasuke's pathetic unhappiness. Lol. Towards the end, I was reading a couple of books, so I apologize if it got all shitty. (Game of Thrones and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, if anyone is interested in knowing. :D Really good books, both of them; I advise all of you to educate yourselves on reading them.)

Review, if you'd like, please! Chapter will be up soon! :D (Hopefully...)

- With much, much adored love, KK247 -