Hey, everyone, how's it going? :)
I wanna fill my account, it's far too empty, hehe. So, here we go.
I wrote this one-shot as a little "what if Sasuke returned to Konoha" scenario, with Naruto being the Rokudaime Hokage. So, what would happen to Sasuke should he return, while having feelings for Naruto, hm? Here's my idea, it's up to you what happened before, whether he returned willingly or had to be dragged back or whatever.
Warnings: Well, there is SasuNaru (a bit one-sided, though), but nothing hard. It's rated M to be safe, but see for yourselves.
I don't own Naruto, obviously. *so sad*
Enjoy the story!
Cherish what is dearest while you have it near you, and wait not till it is far away. Blind and deaf that we are; oh, think, if thou yet love anybody living, wait not till death sweep down the paltry little dust clouds and dissonances of the moment, and all be made at last so mournfully clear and beautiful, when it is too late.
~ Thomas Carlyle
He grabbed a fistful of blonde hair and yanked his head back, bit down in the tender, muscled flesh of his neck, sinking his teeth enough to make the pain pleasurable, but not hard enough to break skin and draw blood. Skin was moving under his skin, raw and hot, and he trailed his hands up and down his chest, teasing him, stroking him, feeling him.
A moan echoed through the darkness and he licked his skin, tasted him, licked down his spine until he was by his lower back.
"Ah... Sasuke...", the moan was beautiful, and he forced two fingers inside his mouth, threw his head in his neck at the sensation of a hot, wet tongue sucking on his fingers. Oh, this felt so good, so very, very good... yes... yes...
He was losing himself here. Now would be the time to realize what was happening and stop, it was the moment to understand that this was dangerous, lethal, that he was being self-destructive, but – such moments didn't exist, at least not in this world, in his world.
He removed the fingers, turned him around, stared him in the eyes. Azure, clear eyes piercing him, seeing right through his soul into his heart, breaking something that was never whole in the first place. He swallowed, his throat was dry and narrow.
He leaned forward to kiss him – oh, those lips, soft and rough, made to fit his own perfectly – but there was a hand on his chest, stopping him. He looked at him, stating the obvious, saying the usual.
"I'm only in your head, you know."
Sasuke smirked and tilted his head, met Naruto's mouth with his, dipped his tongue inside this sweet warmth and drank him as if he was the elixir of life.
"I know.", he whispered against his lips, his breath hot between them, and it didn't matter a thing, not a single thing.
Naruto's grin was evil – dangerous – when his eyes turned to a feral red, when he exposed sharpened fangs and when he replied in a voice that was not his anymore: "You are losing yourself.", and then the world was shattering, falling to pieces like a crushed mirror.
Sasuke opened his eyes and stared into the night sky, feeling positively drained and so very, very weak. At the same time, he felt as if something inside him was fading away and he didn't find the strength to move his body in order to reach out and grab it, so that he could keep it. All in all, it was the same as every time, the feeling was biting his heart, the loneliness was freezing the blood in his veins and he had no choice but to close his eyes and linger in blissful torture of sweet memories.
"Why...", he whispered and his breath melted into the night sky, "Naruto...why...?"
He heard soft footsteps in the grass. With the little strength his body still possessed, he turned around to see two bare feet and he looked up to meet Naruto's azure eyes.
He had left the coat in his office, as well his jacket. And his shoes, obviously, which meant that the Rokudaime was only wearing a pair of navy-blue pants and a black shirt. The years that had passed since the war had erased the last pieces of boyishness on Naruto's tanned face; his hair was slightly longer and less bright, but still a golden shade sticking out in the crowd, not to mention his eyes. Azure eyes, the deep color of the sky, so big and so bright and dangerous that Sasuke feared he could turn to stone by just looking into them.
He grinned at the Hokage and propped himself on his elbows, daring to look into Naruto's eyes, "You'll catch a cold.", he smirked and watched how the blonde lowered himself to lay down beside him.
"It's warm.", he replied, "I'll be fine."
"You'll always be."
Naruto turned his head to smile at him: "Just like you."
Sadness was hidden beneath the brilliant smile on Naruto's lips and Sasuke had never thought he could feel a piece of his heart breaking away and shattering to irreparable pieces. He felt as if shards of him were separating from his being, drifting around only to be gathered by Naruto, and he would keep them and never return them.
Sometimes, maybe a bit more than that, Sasuke was plagued by thoughts and feelings like this, and the more he gave himself away, the worse he felt. Feelings of solitude were nothing he wasn't familiar with, something he knew how to deal with, something he was used to, but never really had accepted in his life. He remembered when his brother used to say that things would never get any easier, but only harder when you grow up, and simple things like love and bonds had suddenly become hard and difficult for him to find and keep.
Right now, Sasuke was at the end of his road, and the steps he had taken had burnt the soil under his feet. Being with Naruto showed him once again how much he had destroyed, how many roads he had burnt, how many lives he had dragged down with him – including the one of his Hokage.
His Hokage. It sounded right, perfect, as if it had never been any different. Too bad for Sasuke, though, that it would never be like that; all he could do was to continue whatever he was doing.
"What are you up to?", he asked, "No work?"
"I left a bunshin."
Naruto smirked, "Of course I am.", his eyes dulled over and he sat down beside him, "How many days are left?"
Sasuke didn't even realize the nostalgic grin appearing on his lips, "Five."
"Five days?", the blonde murmured, "I keep losing track of time..."
Naruto licked his lips and turned his head towards Sasuke. He stared at him, calmly, directly into his eyes. There was no need for words. It seemed as if there never had been any words needed between them, they were meant to be, no matter how. Friends, brothers, lovers, soulmates, whatever the bond between them was called, it was true and it was theirs.
No words of apology, no words of regret. Not tonight, and not tomorrow. Maybe someday, but not now. There was too much that still hadn't been destroyed by deeds, why destroy it with words?
They both knew it, and they both kept quiet.
A few moments passed; a cicada started humming. It would be perfect, Sasuke thought, too perfect. Not how it's supposed be, just like he wanted it to be.
"Are you hungry?", Naruto finally asked.
"A bit.", he answered.
"You know I can't say no to you."
There was more truth to those words than Sasuke would probably never know.
Oh, sometimes he wished he wasn't such a coward. He wished he would knock on his door and face him, tell him the truth about his feelings. He wouldn't care about the answer, he wouldn't nurse a broken heart, he wouldn't drown in euphoric bliss. All he wished was to tell him, to let him now about what was in his heart, but he never did. Many opportunities had passed, and many had been wasted. Sasuke wondered why he was not able to tell Naruto the truth. Maybe because he didn't want to ruin anything that had not been ruined in the past? Maybe because he was happy like it was, happy with just being with him. Seeing him everyday was enough. Sasuke was scared that once he opened his mouth to say what was so heavy on his heart that everything was suddenly different, that everything had changed and that he couldn't enjoy what they had now.
Besides, it was so very unlikely that Naruto felt the same. He knew there was something more than friendship between them, but it wasn't enough to turn the feeble spark into a raging inferno of love, lust and passion.
The sun was setting already, drenching Konoha in soft shades of orange and red and he enjoyed the last warm rays that reached his face. The people around him mostly ignored him while he walked down the less and less crowded main street, and those who recognized him gave him the usual stare. After a fifteen-minute walk, he had arrived at his small apartment and once he was inside, he closed the front door behind him. He switched the light on and saw Naruto sitting on the couch, a smirk on his lips and a glimmer in his eyes that caused Sasuke's heart to jump up his throat. He felt how heat raced through his body until it reached his face and he slowly removed his shoes before he stared at him, copying the smirk perfectly.
"How did you get in here?", he asked, his voice low as if he was on a mission, interrogating an enemy.
"I have my ways.", Naruto purred back, not moving an inch while he came closer to the white couch, "I am, after all, the Rokudaime Hokage."
"How could I only forget that.", the raven-haired replied and stopped when he was by him, looked at him as if his eyes could already taste him. Something between them made the air crack as if it was filled with electricity and Sasuke moved down onto the couch, pressed Naruto deeper inside the cushion and then bent forward to kiss him. He couldn't help but moan against the soft lips and pressed his tongue between them while the blonde grabbed his hair, tugging gently; the other hand unbuttoning his shirt.
Sasuke broke the kiss for a second, then pressed his hands flat against Naruto's chest and kissed him again, kissed him as if he could melt into him and he enjoyed it like he never had before.
The Rokudaime hummed against his lips, let his hand wander down towards Sasuke's belt and opened it, yanked him closer, kissed him harder, rougher. Sasuke let his lips wander down Naruto's neck, tasted his sweet skin and felt his arousal burning inside him.
"Hm...", Sasuke made "Naruto..."
He removed his shirt, adored his toned chest and his tanned skin. He let his fingertips trail every inch, inhaled his scent and lingered in this bittersweet bliss.
"I want you...", he whispered inside his ear, "Right now and here, Naruto..."
There was a pause and Sasuke moved away to look into a pair of azure eyes. Naruto smirked at him and bent forward to brush his lips against his skin, then moving away again.
"You poor idiot.", he chuckled, "Don't you ever learn? I'm only in your head, Sasuke."
Sasuke would've almost laughed, but he was too aroused to think about anything else than taking Naruto like he wanted. He crushed their lips together again and, with a whimper, grabbed Naruto's collar and yanked him close.
He opened his eyes and met Naruto's – a blazing red had replaced the soft blue and Sasuke moved away as if he had been burnt. His chakra filled the room and while he tried to end the genjutsu, Naruto moved.
"See?", the Hokage asked, "You are an idiot."
"You're not real.", the Uchiha snarled and before he knew, he was on his feet and backing away from his own illusion.
Naruto's malicious chakra was tensing up, becoming heavier and heavier until it felt like a rope curling around his neck, suffocating and killing him.
"I said I am in your head.", the blonde replied, his pupils morphing into feral slits, his whiskers growing a bit, his fingernails changing into claws, "I never said I'm not real."
Sasuke changed his eyes to the Sharingan – something he hadn't done in a long time, something he never wanted to do again – and he crushed the chakra with all the force he had left. His world turned, and within the next moment, he found himself back in reality, laying in his bed, breathing hard.
While trying to catch his breath, he closed his eyes and removed the crimson shade, cursed himself in his thoughts.
This was getting out of control – obviously. He felt exhausted, drained, thirsty. Getting up, he searched for a bottle of water and emptied it with strong gulps.
Slamming the bottle against the counter, he let his fist follow. "Naruto...", he breathed against the silence of his apartment. His hands were shaking, he lifted one palm and look at it, wondering if this was really his. If those hands could only hold into what he once had called his – then everything would be so much easier.
"Goddamnit.", he mumbled and closed his eyes again, "Why, Naruto..."
Before he could even let his thoughts wander further, there was a knock by his door and Sasuke's face grimaced into a puzzled expression. He usually had no visitors, not even Naruto came over.
He walked to the front door, and when he opened it, he saw Kakashi standing there.
Sasuke frowned at him, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm gonna be on a long term mission starting tomorrow.", he said and from that moment on, it was clear what his former sensei wanted. It was a sad goodbye, and it was a goodbye he didn't want to say.
"Four days, right?", the gray-haired said when he walked inside.
Sasuke closed the door behind him and nodded, "Actually, three. It's almost midnight."
"Did I disturb you? You look exhausted."
"No. I'm fine."
"Good.", Kakashi smiled and looked around the tiny apartment, "How are you holding up?"
He only shrugged. He feared he might break down to tears if he said anything. Kakashi seemed to notice, he silenced up a bit.
"Are you here for any long speeches?", Sasuke asked, "If so, I've heard it all and I don't have time for that."
"Believe me, you haven't heard what I am about to tell you.", Kakashi said, the smile audible in his voice. Sasuke couldn't help but frown again, old habits seemed to die hard; his former sensei was as cryptic as ever.
"No matter what you did, Sasuke, I don't judge you.", he said and sat down on the bed "No matter how much you ruined, it's in the past. To me, you've showed your regret the moment you showed up and saved his life."
"What to you really want from me, Kakashi?"
"Answer?", Sasuke chuckled, "I didn't know I was being interrogated. Again."
Kakashi didn't laugh, he stayed dead-serious: "Why, Sasuke?"
And just like that, his world was shaking and dared to fall out of its make-shift order. Sasuke felt his throat drying up and he had to look away; away from Kakashi's piercing eyes and to whatever he found within the next second.
Had anyone else asked him this question, Sasuke would've only 'hn'ed them and then make them leave his apartment. But his defenses were non-existent with Kakashi, so he had no choice but to search for an answer.
And it wasn't an easy thing.
He shrugged a bit "I don't know.", and then he dared to look directly into Kakashi's visible eye, and his words were pure and sincere: "My body moved on its own."
Sasuke nodded. His lips were too heavy to speak. Something was crushing him, and it was inside him, and he couldn't remove it.
"What do you wanna do tonight?", Naruto crossed his arms behind his head as both walked down Konoha's main street at night. Only a few people were still out, and those few who encountered the Hokage and Uchiha Sasuke either greeted their leader or ignored both of them perfectly. Either was fine for Sasuke, as long as they left them alone and as long as he could spend time with his friend.
He once could've had everything he ever wanted. Now he had to be satisfied with what he got. Sometimes Sasuke wondered how fast the world could just change from almost perfect to mostly horrifying.
But he knew, within the next three days, he had to say what was burdening him so heavily. He couldn't prevent the last destruction of their lives, no matter how hard he tried. But for now, he kept it all to himself and let Naruto live with bittersweet lies and regret that reached deep inside his core.
"I don't know.", he mumbled and avoided to look at him; he wasn't sure if he could bear it. There was something about him that completely captivated him, something he was defenseless against, something he knew that was dangerous, but something he still wanted more than the air he needed to breathe.
He was scared that his lips might move on their own, all of the sudden, going out of his control and saying all the things he ached to say. It puzzled him; he had nothing to lose anymore, absolutely nothing, and he still was holding himself back.
"Wanna watch a movie?"
"What movie?", Sasuke answered, remembering he had a voice he could use. He knew his cold attitude and his defensive manner irritated Naruto, but he couldn't help it, it was the only way to deal with all this.
"Well, whatever is in my shelf. Or in the theatres."
"No, not in the mood."
"Okay.", he admired Naruto's endless enthusiasm, he really did. But this time, Naruto was on the losing line, "Then, how about... we hang out at my place?"
Sasuke looked up to his Hokage and saw a smirk in the corner of his lips; a smirk he hardly saw on his face. It was the one he only gave girls, the one he used when he had other intentions than small talk.
"You heard me.", he purred, "Maybe we can make the last three days count."
"You are crazy."
"Oh, I am.", Naruto said and stopped walking, yanked Sasuke close to him by grabbing his collar and before the Uchiha could even process what was happening, he felt his Hokage's warm and rough lips against his. It seemed as if the world had stopped turning; at least, Sasuke's world had, because everything around him seemed to stand still all of the sudden. All the thoughts in his mind were blown away and he felt extraordinarily stupid. They parted and Naruto stared into his eyes. Sasuke felt as if he was drowning in the ocean and he had to catch his breath for a second.
"I love you."
Words could be just like fists breaking your nose, as he came to realize, and within the same second, Sasuke wondered what he should answer. He didn't even understand what Naruto really had said, he didn't feel the bullets piercing his heart, it was as if it hadn't even happened. But then again, it had never happened - something was-,
He opened his eyes. He looked up and saw Naruto's face; a nice contrast to the nightsky above them.
"I'm telling you, you'll catch a cold."
Sasuke blinked – this was not supposed to happen. Was his chakra system really that messed up that his own illusions already did what they wanted?
On the other hand... what if-,
Without Naruto noticing, Sasuke pinched himself. It hurt – this was real. Slowly but certainly, he was really losing himself. Was he? Or had he just fallen asleep and dreamt all of that?
"Had a wet dream?", the Hokage joked, "You're face is all flushed."
"Oh, shut up.", the Uchiha grunted and propped himself up before he got on his feet, "What are you doing here again?"
"Skipping work.", Naruto grinned, "Stalking you."
"Your poor bunshin."
"Well, this time, I left a note saying I was getting coffee."
"Long coffee break, then.", Sasuke said and watched how Naruto's lips curled up in a smile. He said nothing, instead he looked at him as if he had never seen him before. He looked calm like a water's surface, as if nothing could break him, only cause him to lose his composure for a moment, but then smooth the lines and go back to where he had been.
Sasuke wondered when Naruto had changed so much, from the loudmouth dumbass to this serious and admired Hokage. He wondered how fate could be such a capricious thing when he had lost everything and Naruto gained it all. Was he jealous? Probably. But he was even more than that, he was angry. Angry at himself.
He had to do it. He had to clear the air between them – if not know, there would never be the opportunity again.
Gathering all the strength he could find, Sasuke tried to step over his pride: "Naruto...", he mumbled and the words were like stones on his heart "Naruto, listen-,"
"Don't.", he was cut off and Naruto turned his head away, "Don't, Sasuke."
There was a sudden tension in the chilly air and Sasuke felt his hairs bristle as goosebumps flared all over his skin. His neck started to tickle uncomfortably when he went on nonetheless: "It's only three days, and I-,"
"I said don't!", he yelled and walked a few steps, "You promised me."
"I know.", Sasuke said, but his voice wasn't weak, but unshaken "But I need to tell you something. Something important to-,"
"I don't wanna hear it.", the Hokage pressed between gritted teeth when he turned around; his coat flying in the air with his movement, "I don't wanna hear anything from you."
And then he left him standing there, all alone, by the lake he once had called a shelter from his loneliness when in fact it had been all that once had embodied it. He stood there and watched how Naruto stormed away and he could feel the immense chakra boiling in the air – he had gone too far, with that tiny misstep.
How fragile was reality? How fragile was Naruto?
Sasuke wished he knew.
When he had arrived home, he felt miserable and alone. Sasuke wished he could just reach inside his chest, pull his heart out and give it away, give it to someone who knew how to handle it. Someone who wasn't Naruto, someone who would return it in one piece and not crushed and damaged.
"Fuck.", he spat and slammed the door close behind him, probably upsetting some neighbors, but he didn't care at all. He walked towards his fridge, opened it, took the half-empty bottle of Jack and opened it, took a deep gulp.
He started shaking, then. Reality crushed down on him like a tidal wave and he was too weak to swim against it. It should've never come this far, never.
Why did he even leave the village in the first place, all those years ago? Why didn't he fulfill Itachi's dying wish when he should've done it, not months later when it had been too late? It would've shaped so many things into a better form, it would've made it all so very perfect.
Sasuke took another gulp of alcohol and slammed the bottle on the counter of his kitchen. It was all so pointless, so useless. Why did he even get up in the morning? Wasn't this a total waste?
He was about to take another gulp when he suddenly felt the air around him heating up. Startled, he spun around and saw Naruto standing there, grinning as if he had lost his mind.
"Well... your regret comes a tiny bit too late, Sasuke.", he said and started walking towards him, radiating the most malicious killing intent Sasuke had ever felt in his life before. He felt his face paling and when he wanted to back away, he felt the counter behind him.
"Why are you fighting so hard against it?", the blonde asked when he was too close already, "Why are you so desperate?"
"Piss off.", he hissed and stared right into the red eyes of his – what was it anyway? He hadn't cast a genjustu, this was not his doing. Was he hallucinating? Dreaming?
"No.", was all he got as an answer and then he felt a hand in his neck and Naruto's hot breath against his skin and then he kissed him and he felt like dying.
He didn't think when he raised his fist and punched Naruto straight in the face. He could've sworn to have felt a bone breaking under his knuckles, but when he had caught his breath again, the blonde was grinning at him, licking the blood that dropped over his lips.
"I said, piss off, you bastard!"
"I like that fighting of yours, Sasuke.", he only snickered and grabbed Sasuke's face with both hands, "Makes you a better lover in bed, I guess."
He leaned in to kiss him again and Sasuke was too weak to resist it any longer. It was what he wanted and it felt as if he couldn't take it. It was overwhelming, the power Naruto was radiating was too much to handle and his kiss was numbing him with the sweetest pleasure he had felt in a long time.
He whimpered against the other's lips and his eyes fell close as he dropped his defenses. So what if he was losing control, what if he was losing himself, it really didn't matter a thing anymore.
Not a single thing.
He woke up to the first rays of light tickling his face. He felt mangled, drained of all power and he turned around to sleep on when he felt someone's arm around his torso.
His eyes opened and he looked at Naruto's sleeping face. Confusion hit him like a lightning bolt and he moved away, stared at the man inside his bed, naked to the bone and certainly too close to his own, naked body.
The first thing he would do was to remove all alcohol in this apartment.
Then, however, another thought struck him and looked back at Naruto. Slowly, he moved his hand to touch his face and felt soft and warm skin under his fingertips. It surprised him, really.
"Are you real?", he whispered, almost unconsciously and brushed over Naruto's cheek. He left the question unanswered and got up, went to the bathroom and started his day as if it was any other day. When he was done showering he went back to the kitchen and glanced towards the bed – Naruto was still sleeping.
"I must be hallucinating.", Sasuke said to himself and started brewing some coffee. When he was just done with filling himself a cup, someone knocked on his door again. For a second he paniced – if Naruto was real, and somebody'd see the Rokudaime Hokage naked in his bed, then-,
"Oh, who the fuck cares.", he grunted and opened the door.
"Good Morning, Sunshine!"
Sasuke would've almost dropped dead on the floor – and stared at Naruto as if he was a ghost. There he was, dressed in full Hokage attire, smiling a brilliant, yet apologetic smile and carrying a bag from the bakery.
Sasuke had his fair share of difficulties to find his voice while he glanced over his shoulder and still saw Naruto's naked form in his bed. He still couldn't find any words to say when he turned his head to look at Naruto in the doorway. A quiet, maniac chuckle escaped his lips.
The blonde looked at him with a hint of worry, "Are you... okay?"
Sasuke managed to nod and stepped aside. Clearing his throat, he said: "Yeah. I'm fine... come on in."
"I'm not gonna bother you for long, need to be in the office in an hour.", he said while he looked around the small apartment. Sasuke closed the door and was sure his face must look most ridiculous, caught between massive confusion and total shock.
What the fuck was-,
"Looks totally different than I expected it to look.", Naruto chuckled as he scanned the apartment, "Oh, coffee.", he chirped when he saw the pot and he sat down on a chair, "Did you just get up?"
"Ah, did I wake you?", Naruto asked while he removed muffins and bagels from his bag. Sasuke only shook his head and sat down across him. He could see Naruto laying in bed from where he was and wished he knew what was going on here. The panic hadn't left, and his heart was still wild in his chest. A bad sign, he didn't want Naruto to get suspicious.
"Listen.", Naruto then started and Sasuke knew what was coming at him. He braced himself for the worst and tensed up.
"About yesterday...", he licked his lips briefly "I'm sorry... I kinda behaved like a stupid idiot."
"Don't make a fuss about it."
"No, I mean it.", the blonde went on "I... I know this isn't easy for either of us. I just... I just wanted to spend the last days as if nothing had changed. You know, just as friends."
Sasuke only shook his head: "Everything's changed, Naruto.", he said quietly and glanced at the other Naruto in bed, and he wished his floor would swallow him, "It's okay. It was my fault, I should've just shut up and-,"
"No.", the Hokage interrupted him "No, I-,... I should've listened. So, tell me now."
He smiled gently, "What you wanted to tell me yesterday."
Sasuke sighed a bit and closed his eyes. For a second, he contemplated listening to the blonde, but he shook his head again: "No, it's... not a good idea. Forget about it."
"Sasuke...", he said softly, "Your execution is in two days. Whatever it is that's burdening you, you can tell me."
It was the first time Naruto had said it out loud and it felt like a blade tearing him apart. His throat was drying up and he had to look away when his world started to spin a little. He couldn't say anything, there were no words and no voice left.
And to make the situation even more horrible, the Naruto who had been sleeping peacefully was waking up. Sasuke felt his heartbeat up to his throat and his eyes widened as he stared into feral red eyes.
"Oh. Good Morning, sunshine.", he chuckled and then he looked at Naruto sitting by the table. A smirk appeared on his lips and Sasuke feared nothing good, "I see we have some company."
Sasuke flared his nostrils and tried not to let Naruto know what was happening. He had to keep his cool and he had to pretend nothing was weird. Just act as if the other Naruto didn't exist and everything would be fine.
He snapped out of his stupor and licked his lips again "It's okay, really.", he said, his voice strained and forced as cold sweat gathered in his neck, "You're right, let's just... go on like we did before."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Sasuke, are you sure?", the other Naruto grinned, "Why don't you tell him?", he got up from the bed and walked over to his real self and curled his arms around Naruto's neck. By now Sasuke was sure he was hallucinating and he bit down on his bottom lip to push the fury in his insides away.
With a smirk, the evil illusion of the Hokage licked Naruto's cheek as if he could taste him, "Tell him how much you want him."
Sasuke had to gnash his teeth together in order not to scream at the goddamn hallucination and he cursed himself in his thoughts.
"Sasuke? Are you-,"
"I'm fine.", he snapped despite not wanting to. Naruto looked at him as if he was insane – well, it wasn't even an insult. Sasuke touched his forehead, "I'm sorry. I'm... just tired."
Naruto seemed to understand and nodded a bit, "It's okay."
"Oh, you poor boy, are you tired?", the hallucination mocked him "Of course you are tired. Was I a bit too rough last night? I'm sorry...", he then let go of Naruto and sat down on the last chair, grinning at Sasuke, "But, you enjoyed yourself... so, I'm free of a bad conscious."
"Alright, but then let me tell you something.", Naruto said and handed Sasuke a bagel. He took it and placed it down again.
"I... I'm sorry, Sasuke.", his voice was filled with sadness, all of the sudden, "You saved my life and I can't save yours. I'm really... really sorry.", he looked at him and there were subtle tears in his azure eyes. Sasuke felt his heart dropping and he furrowed his eyebrows together.
"You did all you could.", he whispered back and tried not to remember the fights he had witnessed, the exhaustion he had seen in Naruto's eyes, the fury he had felt as if it was his own emotions he could feel.
"I know.", he replied, "But it wasn't enough."
"It's all I deserve.", Sasuke said, "I know what I did, and I can't make it undone. It's time to face it."
"You don't deserve death.", the Hokage said and his eyes slipped away into another world, "You deserve happiness."
"No.", he muttered, "You... you deserve it, Naruto. I... I had already been happy in my life, but that was a long time ago. But... as long as we are together, neither of us can be happy. Right? You said it, at that bridge, all this time ago. Either we both live, with our burdens, or we die, and are free. And all I want... is-,"
"To kiss him.", the hallucination said, but his voice was gentle, almost soft, and filled with genuine sincerity, "You want to feel him. Touch him. You want him to love you. You want love, don't you? Someone to love you, unconditionally, without having to earn it. You want to drop your defenses and lower your weapons. Be who you are. Be loved because you are yourself. You want him to see you with different eyes. At least for the last days in your life."
Sasuke lowered his eyes and let the words reach his heart. It felt good, in a very hurtful way, to hear Naruto's voice speaking words like that and in the next second, he closed his eyes and let it all happen.
"Tell him. Tell him you love him, Sasuke. You will never find peace unless you tell him."
"I can't.", he mumbled and felt his face heating up as if he had caught a fever, "I won't."
He opened his eyes again and stared into Naruto's confused eyes. He shook his head and got up from his chair, "You better leave."
"Nothing's wrong.", he said and raised his voice, "Just go."
Naruto said nothing and got up.
"Okay, then... see you later.", and then he left the apartment. Sasuke didn't waste anytime and swirled back to stare at his hallucination of Naruto – only to find him gone.
He covered his mouth with his hand before he screamed with fury.
It wasn't easy dealing with unreturned feelings of love, a death sentence and a hallucination on one day. Sasuke, on the other hand, was handling it quite well. Maybe because he already had had a couple of screws lose when he had begun taking an illusion of Naruto as a sextoy. Maybe because he had only twenty-four hours left to live, so he probably didn't mind losing his mind.
He hadn't left the house and he didn't intend to. Tomorrow at noon, he would never be able to walk this world anymore, but he didn't want to see the sky or the sun or anything one last time. The only one he wanted to see had Hokage duties and thus Sasuke was left to stare the time away.
Besides, he had someone to keep him company. Since sometime past eight in the morning, his new roommate was doing whatever he pleased. Nothing Sasuke did made him go away, and at some point he had given up trying.
"Why are you not listening to me?"
"Because you are not real.", Sasuke grunted, "Go away."
"Why are you always saying I'm not real?", he asked while walking towards the bed Sasuke was laying in, "I am as real as you are."
"Shut up already."
Naruto had nothing better to do than sit down on top of Sasuke and bent over to lick his throat. The raven-haired tried not to enjoy it.
"You have to tell him.", he murmured against the soft skin of Sasuke's neck, his voice vibrating against his pulse, "Don't you understand?"
"Go away.", it was a feeble plea, he wasn't even sure if the illusion was hearing it. Sasuke close his eyes and laid there as if he was a puppet, "Just leave me alone."
"It's your last day on earth. What do you have to lose?"
"You don't get it, do you?", Sasuke growled and then pushed them in a sitting position, kissed Naruto and bit inside his lower lip "He doesn't love me back. What good will I gain out of it, then? On my very last day on earth..."
"Well.", the hallucination breathed against his lips and kissed him back, sneaked his tongue inside his mouth and finished with a smack before he started playing with Sasuke's hair, "How can you be so sure he doesn't feel the same?"
"Oh, the almighty Uchiha has spoken.", Naruto mocked him and pinned him down on the mattress again, let his hands massage his chest through his shirt, "Go and tell him."
"You better shut up."
He had no answer. As much as he hated it, he was powerless against whatever he was – hallucination, illusion, real. Sasuke wished he knew why he was here and what he had done to make him come here, but he was clueless.
"Don't you want to be loved?", he asked quietly and cupped Sasuke's face with his hands. The raven-haired couldn't help but feel at ease under the soft touch of those hands and he closed his eyes, sighed peacefully.
"It's never too late.", he whispered and brushed his cheek with his thumb, "I'm not your enemy, Sasuke."
"It's over.", Sasuke whispered back and didn't dare to open his eyes. This was dangerous; the more he let it happen, the more he lost himself.
"Don't you understand? Over."
Naruto kissed his forehead and sent warm sparks through Sasuke's cold body, "It's not."
He disappeared in the same second and Sasuke opened his eyes, stared at the blank ceiling and felt empty. It was as ridiculous as it was satisfying to think about the advise someone had given him who was not real. Sasuke touched his lips, licked them and could taste Naruto on them. And if the illusion was right? What if Naruto felt the same?
He shook his head.
If he felt the same, he would've confessed a long time ago. Naruto wasn't the type to keep something like that to himself – but then, again, the Naruto he once had known was gone. He had one day left, and Sasuke still was a coward. Others would try to cram as much life in one day as possible, and he was hiding from it. It was almost typical.
He sat up and brushed over his face. A confession would make Naruto even more miserable than he already was. It would fuel his guilt and that was the last thing he wanted; it didn't matter what he felt for him, there was no future for them, whether they stayed friends or became lovers.
Sasuke had been right – there was no way for them to be happy when they were together.
The thought tortured him far into the night, it was scaring him more than his execution, and he wished he wouldn't have to see Naruto, but the blonde wanted to see him before he was being killed. And thus he awaited the Hokage with fear and hope. It was a few minutes before midnight when Naruto knocked on the door and Sasuke opened hesitantly.
"Let's go.", Naruto said with a smile.
Sasuke followed him and they left the city behind them, walked towards the Uchiha district and finally arrived at the lake. His heart was heavy in his chest when he followed Naruto towards the footbridge where he had sat as a child, where he had escaped to a different reality, where all of this mess had started.
"Why are we here?"
Naruto shrugged, "I thought it'd be a nice place to say-,"
"Yeah.", the Hokage said and then Sasuke noticed he was carrying a bag with him. Puzzled, he watched how Naruto bent down to unpack and couldn't quite see what it was; the moonlight wasn't strong enough to illuminate it and his eyes hadn't gotten used to the darkness.
"What are you-,"
"Shut up for once, will ya?", he was cut off and rolled his eyes, waited for Naruto to finish whatever he was doing.
Impatience grabbed him, joined with his doubts and inner conflict, and he grew more nervous by the second. After what felt like an eternity, Naruto was done. He turned around and walked towards the end of the footbridge. Sasuke heard the soft zssh of a lighter and fire briefly illuminated the area around Naruto. A moment later, he turned around and held a paper lantern with an Uchiha fan in his hands, had a huge smile on his face and a sad glimmer in his azure eyes. Sasuke's throat closed up and he couldn't help but choke on his own voice, "You are such a girl."
Naruto chuckled, "It's a tradition in your clan, right? To send a paper lantern flying when someone's dead."
"I'm still alive as far as I can tell."
"Stop joking, it doesn't suit your brooding character."
Sasuke didn't reply a thing. His heart was about to jump out of his chest and into Naruto's hand and he was only one second away from finally telling him the truth. Something was still strong enough to hold him back and he clenched strong fists.
"So.", Naruto went on and his voice was thick, "Just so you know. Every year on this day, I will stay here and send a paper lantern flying."
"Oh, will you?"
Sasuke shook his head, "Why?"
Naruto shrugged, "Why? Oh, come on, that's such a stupid question.", he took a deep breath, "I asked myself so many times, why did he leave, why did he have to get revenge, why don't I understand him, why did this have to happen - why did you save my life, Sasuke?", he swallowed soundly, "I never found an answer. It's useless to even ask. It happened, it happened to you and me and whatever this bond between us is called, it was precious to me. And that's why I'm doing this. You could be the greatest asshole in the universe and I'd to it. Okay, let me correct myself, you are the greatest asshole in this universe and I'm doing it. See? There you have it."
Sasuke was out of words to say when he heard another pair of feet walking towards him and when he was about to turn around, the other Naruto walked past, towards the real one and turned around to face Sasuke.
His eyes weren't red – they were azure like Naruto's, bright and full of life. He didn't look evil either, there was nothing that told Sasuke who was real and who was not. All he knew, all he felt, was this stupid, unconditional love for the blonde idiot and he wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.
"Tell him.", the illusion said and brought his hands to the paper lantern. He looked deep into Sasuke's eyes, deep inside his soul, deep inside his heart.
"Tell him, Sasuke."
He opened his mouth. It was the hardest thing he had to do – not even fighting his brother had been as painful as confessing his feelings for someone who'd never return them. To his own surprise, Sasuke felt tears in his eyes, something he thought he'd never feel again.
"Naruto...", he breathed and closed his eyes, prayed the tears wouldn't roll down his cheeks, "Naruto, I love you."
He opened his eyes and was sure his heartbeat would drown every sound around him. He felt free; all of the sudden he felt free and light, and he would've almost laughed because of the happiness inside his heart. He searched Naruto with his eyes and when he found him, he saw the illusion disappearing, a gentle smile on his face, and eyes that said he did the right thing.
And then Naruto let go of the paper lantern.
taaaaa-daaaaam, there you have it. :3 I guess I watched a bit too much Tangled, huh? (love that movie. I cry every time I see it, lol).
I actually don't think Sasuke should be 'converted' back from his 'evil path' in the end of the manga. I mean, really, I doubt he could ever live in Konoha again like he did before, no matter what strings Naruto would pull for him. I kind of fancy the idea of Sasuke living like Jiraiya, though, traveling around and sneaking some information back to Konoha. :) Because, really, Kishi sucks at keeping his characters dead, so Sasuke will survive in the end, haha.
So, why don't you tell me how you liked the story and review, hm?