**DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO; IT BELONGS TO MASASHI KISHIMOTO-SENSEI.
A/N: My first fanfiction ever published! It's a NaruSasu fanfic and there's some yaoi, so if you're uncool with that than just don't read. I blame my bestie Jen for my newfound yaoi obsession! I adore this pairing, so don't you dare flame them or Sasuke will flame you. :D That's all, so enjoy and review please!
Friends 'Till The End
The rain poured down from the angry sky, cleansing the blood from both of their dirty, bruised faces. The Final Valley. That was where it all started, and where it just might all end. And here they were yet again, fighting for the same reasons, and with the same intentions to kill. Though the world was darkening, covered in a thick veil of black clouds, there was a tiny spark of hope that things would end today.
Naruto refused to give up.
He struggled onto one knee, wincing at the pain that shot through his body. Naruto refused to use the nine-tails chakra, just as he refused to rely on Orochimaru's curse mark. He shook out his drenched, spiky blonde hair, and stared at the person on the ground in front of him.
His eyes were black again, the Sharingan no longer visible. He stared back defiantly at his old best friend, and then weakly got to his feet. His sword was nowhere in sight, all they both had left was their bare hands. Sasuke brushed his messy, soaked black hair out of his eyes and glared at Naruto.
Why won't he just give up?
Thunder rumbled overhead like a battle cry. The two shinobi were near the base of the waterfall, only a few feet away from each other on the bloody rock face.
With a lot of effort, Naruto managed to heave himself up. Memories of their younger days flashed through his head.
"Why did you…" Naruto stared horrified at the raven-haired boy, who had needles jutting out of his body and was dripping blood on the floor. "Why did you do it? Why did you save me?" Sasuke coughed, blood trickling down the corner of his mouth.
"I don't know why... I just did," he replied softly, as the world started to go blurry around him. He smiled. "You… I hated you."
"Then why? It doesn't make any sense, why did you… protect me?" Sasuke smiled at him again, unnerving the blonde boy. Naruto's fingers shook in sudden anger. "I didn't ask for this! I didn't ask for you to save me!"
"I don't know... my body just moved; there was no time to think. Uhhh-uhh loser…" Sasuke whispered as he fell back into Naruto's arms.
That was the day. The day they realized how much they meant to each other. The day they became aware of their bond.
Naruto looked at Sasuke with sorrowful, pleading eyes.
"Sasuke… please, come home," he whispered painfully. He started to limp slowly over to his lost friend. Sasuke took a step back, his eyes shooting daggers at Naruto, daring him to come closer.
"You idiot," he spat. "I'm never going back! Don't you realize that it's far too late now?" Naruto shook his head in frustration.
"I don't understand; you already got revenge on your brother, so why won't you come back? Why can't we stop this fighting?"
"Why do you even care?" Sasuke yelled. "It's my choice, not yours!" Naruto looked him straight in the eye, an expression of intense hurt etched into his face. How could he ask such a question? Didn't Sasuke understand it by now?
Of course I care.
"Because I'm your friend," he answered quietly. Sasuke's eyes widened, mirroring the hurt in Naruto's own eyes.
"If anything was worth-while from staying in the village, it was our friendship," Sasuke murmured sincerely, as he prepared to attack Naruto.
Sasuke winced at the vivid memory of their last fight here.
"Naruto... why?" he whispered painfully, his voice quivering slightly. "Why won't you give up on me like everyone else?"
Naruto took another step closer, but yelped in agony, clutching at his shoulder where Sasuke's sword had pierced him. Blood trickled through his fingers, but he gritted his teeth and kept moving.
"For two reasons," Naruto said softly. "One, because I made a promise to Sakura five years ago that I would bring you home. And two-" Tears were beginning to well in his eyes. "Because like I said before; you're my friend. My best friend. You were the first person to believe in me." Sasuke stared back at him in anguish, trying and failing to hide the emotion that was so vulnerable and plain on his face.
Sasuke looked up at Naruto in anguish. "Naruto… why? Why would you go so far for me?" The blonde stared back at him, giving him a painful smile.
"Because… this is the first time, that I've ever had a bond like this."
The raven-haired boy bit his trembling lower lip hard, until he tasted blood. Maybe it would've been better if we had never met, he wouldn't have had to endure all of this suffering caused by me…
"I remember what you said to me two years ago, when I almost..." Sasuke's voice cracked and trailed off. "You said 'how could I ever be Hokage if I can't even save one friend'." He looked down at his feet, unwilling to look at Naruto. "You meant it."
Naruto nodded and looked longingly at his old rival and friend.
The small blonde made a face at the little raven-haired boy sitting alone on the dock, who glared back annoyed. As he swung back around to look at the water, Naruto continued to stare at him curiously, feeling sorry for him.
He's the same as me…
Sasuke turned back around, and this time Naruto grinned at him. The little Uchiha was surprised, but a sweet smile crept up his face. The two boys smiled at each other, grateful to know that they weren't alone.
That was the true beginning of their friendship.
"Sasuke, please-" Naruto pleaded desperately.
"No!" Sasuke shouted, cutting him off. "It's too late Naruto, I'm never going back!"
Naruto chuckled weakly and gave Sasuke a sad, humourless smile.
"So that's how it is, huh?" he was still smiling, but his big blue eyes were filled with sorrow. "Then I guess it all ends here, today."
I will never be Hokage, if I can't even save you. I don't want to be Hokage if you're not there beside me.
Sasuke nodded, burying his pain and emotions away deep inside himself.
"This is it."
Naruto stuck his hand out, creating a rapidly-spinning ball of concentrated chakra, as Sasuke pointed his hand toward the ground, a powerful ball of lightning forming in his palm.
"I will save you, Sasuke," Naruto said quietly. "Even if I die in the process." The raven-haired boy flinched at those words, trying to keep up his cold demeanour, and succeeding only just barely.
"I'll never let you join Orochimaru, even if I have to drag you back and break every bone in your body!" Naruto roared, sprinting towards Sasuke.
The deja vu was uncanny; though this time felt twice as painful as the first.
They ran at each other full-force, with the same intention to kill as the last time. Thunder rumbled overhead as the rain continued to fall.
Drip, drip. Naruto coughed painfully. Pitter-patter. Sasuke winced in agony. Drip. Blood and rain; both fluids mixing together from the final clash, falling gently on the ground.
Naruto had one bloody hand over the hole blown through Sasuke's chest, and one on the small of his back. His head was staring blurrily over the other boy's shoulder. Sasuke's own crimson-covered hand was placed gently over the hole through Naruto's chest, the other around his neck in his wet, silky blonde hair. He rested his chin on Naruto's shoulder, pulling him closer in their bloody embrace.
Tears slid down both of their faces, mixing with the blood and rain. They wept under the fierce storm, hugging each other tightly.
I don't hate you, Naruto. In fact, it's the exact opposite.
Our bond is unbreakable, Sasuke. You can't sever it.
After a long moment that seemed to stretch on for eternity, the two let go.
"Sasuke, did you-" Naruto began to whisper, but was caught off guard by a wave of nausea from the loss of blood. He tried to regain his balance, but fell towards a surprised Sasuke, who landed in a sitting position. Their lips pressed together unintentionally, just like the first time so long ago. Naruto looked back up at Sasuke after disconnecting his lips, and was surprised to see that his rival's cheeks were slightly pink.
That's when all of Sasuke's walls shattered.
A mix of emotions danced across his face, too many to count. He suddenly became hyper-aware of how close their faces were; they were still only mere inches apart. He was also conscious of Naruto's limp hand resting on his thigh.
Sasuke peered at Naruto's chest wound, then at his own, obsidian eyes filled with understanding and desire. They would both die here tonight, and they didn't have long to live. He gazed into the aqua-blue orbs that were Naruto's eyes… so close... They seemed to mirror the longing in Sasuke's own eyes.
Sasuke leaned up without a second-thought, pressing his lips tenderly back to Naruto's closing the distance between them. Naruto froze on his knees in shock, but relaxed as the raven-haired boy parted his lips with his own. They both remembered their first kiss so many years ago at the academy.
But this one felt... different.
Naruto moaned softly as Sasuke tackled him to the ground, deepening their kiss. He wrapped his arms around Sasuke's slender waist, pressing their bodies tightly together on the hard ground. Sasuke tangled his hands in Naruto's hair, his legs straddling the blonde boy underneath him. They ignored the rising pain from the raw edges of their wounds, they ignored the thunder rumbling above them, they ignored the blood flowing into the water, they ignored the pounding rain in their ears… they ignored everything; being only aware of each other.
They remembered; every precious memory, every happy moment spent together back in Konoha.
"Sensei, why does a great ninja like me have to be with a slug like Sasuke?"
"We did it! We're genin!"
"You are such a loser!"
"We made it; we climbed all the way to the top!"
"I WANT SOME MORE!"
"Naruto, you're one of the ones I want to fight the most."
"Why are they so obsessed with him, 'Sasuke, SASUKE'!"
"You're not hurt, are ya? Scaredy-cat!"
"We're gonna see what's under Kakashi-sensei's mask, believe it!"
"Why is it always with you!" *after they kiss again*
"We already peed together."
They would never forget any of it.
Their never-ending rivalry…
Their everlasting friendship…
They kissed passionately, as their hearts raced then began to slow. Death was approaching fast, its cold presence lingering in the air, intruding the warmth emanating from the two boys on the ground.
Abruptly, Sasuke broke the kiss, his eyes going wide as his heart gave a painful lurch.
Naruto sat up worriedly just as Sasuke began to fall backwards. He jumped up and caught him just before he hit the rocky, wet floor. He cradled the raven-haired boy lovingly in his lap, holding him as if he was more precious than life itself.
"Sasuke!" Naruto cried in horror. He stared down into the deep pools of black that were Sasuke's eyes.
"Naruto…" Sasuke murmured softly, placing a hand gently on his rival's scarred cheek.
I put you through so much; I made you endure so much pain.
I distracted you from your dream.
I killed you, over and over again.
I don't deserve to have someone like you in my life, you deserve so much better.
But I know that if I told you that, you wouldn't listen to me.
We understand each other.
I'm grateful that God gave me you, dobe.
Tears escaped from Naruto's eyes, as he gazed heartbroken at the boy dying in his arms. The blood had soaked from his chest and into his thin, white Uchiha shirt. Naruto pulled Sasuke into a tight embrace, hugging his best friend for the last time. Sasuke gave in, letting more tears fall as he buried his face in Naruto's shoulder. Lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating the clearing.
After they held each other for a long, tender moment, Naruto placed Sasuke's head gently on the rough base of the waterfall and stood up. Sakura's voice echoed desperately inside his head.
"Naruto, you're the only one who can save him now," she cried painfully, tears staining her cheeks.
"Don't worry, Sasuke," he said softly. "I'll go get help, I'll-"
Naruto fell backwards, the pain in his chest making his whole body go numb. He landed on his back beside Sasuke. The last Uchiha turned his head slowly to look at the blonde, who was dying, too.
"You were right," he croaked, his liquid black eyes shimmering. Naruto raised an eyebrow weakly in confusion as Sasuke continued. "We are going to die together."
Naruto gazed painfully at his best friend.
"I wish I wasn't," Naruto replied quietly, regret in his voice. His lips turned up into a small, sad smile. "But then again, I wouldn't want to die any other way." Sasuke's lips parted in surprise, his eyes brimming with deep emotion.
"Naruto..." Sasuke whispered, as he reached out painfully with two fingers, linking them with the other boy's two fingers, as well. Though nothing else was said, that action alone spoke volumes. Naruto squeezed gently, turning to look at him.
Their two-fingered handshake from their childhood.
They then intertwined their fingers and held on, intending to never let go again.
"Sasuke…" Naruto murmured back. They gazed at one another intensely, black and blue boring into each other. So different yet so much the same.
Thunder rumbled in the murky sky, as the pitter-patter of rain continued unceasingly. Naruto stared at Sasuke. Sasuke stared at Naruto.
The Final Valley. The place where it all started and the place it would all end.
The boys squeezed each other's hands tightly, as they breathed their final breaths...
And then everything went black.
The sequel "Friends Forever" is now up. :)