Just disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to briony. This was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I guess not.
notes: also, you watch way too much Supernatural.
title: death and strawberries
summary: I don't know what evil is, anymore. — Naruto, Sasuke.
two brothers and a betrayal.
/ / /
She stands near the Divide. She tips her head to the side with innocent eyes, glowing green and sick in the false morning light. On a bridge, she stands before them, and she is quiet and simple. She is beautiful and dead, and smiling.
And smiling, she reaches a hand forward. "We're all dirty little freaks and pretty little liars. Why don't you fall for me, angel?"
Nothing moves. Everything is silent.
One steps forward.
/ / /
Naruto's tail thrashed. It was a thin line of ink black, furling and unfurling as the anger seethed in his stomach. He stared across the dimly lit room at a person he'd once considered his other half.
He didn't even know why he'd come.
(He would never know why he came.)
He stood with his arms crossed and demanded "What do you want, you bastard?"
The angel looked at him with dark eyes. Naruto could still see the hunger for power, for evil, for Sakura there. It was so clear, now.
Everything was so clear, now. It was a little bitter.
So many years wasted.
Well, not nothing, perhaps. He could see the hypocrisy—it was different to be on the other side of it, rather than living inside of it.
Angels were just as blood-thirsty as demons.
Demons were just more honest about it.
Naruto stared the angel down. His pupils were sky-blue slits in black whites and he waited for the angel to speak though it killed him to do it. He would not speak for what seemed a half-millennia and finally the angel opened his mouth, and spoke.
Nothing, of course. Nothing. Nothing. Always nothing. Naruto clenched his fists and fought not to fly at him and hurt him, much as he had when they were young. That had been a regular occurrence, but now...
Now, such an act would start a war.
And no one wanted that.
(And that was a lie. They all wanted the war; wanted spilled guts and dying screams; wanted a victory flag dyed crimson as they drank thick red from golden chalices set up across a marble table. That wanted the slaves and the lovers and the passion. They all wanted the feelings that came with war.
But no angel would ever admit it. The demons were filth for admitting it, and Naruto lied because he belonged neither to one nor the other and acceptance was something that was not touched on.)
Naruto gnashed his teeth. Fangs bit down into his lip, dark blood bubbling up and into his mouth and he almost smiled like death and strawberries.
"So," he said. "How've you been?
/ / /
The mallet comes down like lightning and Naruto screams and screams as his wings lose their feathers.
He'd always taken the blame for the bastard's mistakes.
This is no different.
And Naruto FALLS.
/ / /
"Fine," said the angel.
Sasuke. Naruto remembered the name but didn't speak it. No, he'd never speak it again, had he the choice. There was too much bitterness between them; too many problems and far, far too many feathers on the ground.
Naruto had once forgiven sinners and worshippers alike. It had all been water under the bridge. He had forgiven murderers and bigots and all manner of evil.
But he could not forgive that.
He could never forgive that.
"I'm good, Naruto snorted. "Thanks for asking, bastard."
Sasuke made a sound low in his throat, and Naruto thought that once, he might have been able to tell exactly what that particular sound meant. But that was a very long time ago, now, and Naruto was a very different person—different angel. Demon. Being. A very different person.
And he had no desire to return to the angel he had been. He'd long ago made the executive decision to stay whatever it was he'd become (FALLen), even if offered redemption.
The bloodlust was the same. Demons were just so much more honest about it.
And Gehenna was full of interesting people, anyway.
Naruto stared around at the dark hotel room in a rural town in the human midworld, trying to calm himself. Thinking about things like that always made him want to rend something in two.
The past was not something brought up lightly.
Water under the bridge, and all that.
But the only bridge Naruto had ever known had been the bridge that girl had stood on, with her fluorescent pink hair and her fluorescent green eyes and that smile. The only bridge he'd ever known had been the end of his existence as he'd lived it.
So no, it wasn't water under the bridge.
There was no going back.
Not really, anyway.
/ / /
He's in and out of consciousness, drifting on waves and memories or maybe they're the same thing. Naruto lies on a beach and shakes, wings black and bat-like; spread out on dark sand behind him, they sing an inky skeleton of woe.
He lies there for a very long time. He's bled himself dry and then bled some more; bled colour and hatred and sorrow. He lies there, not prepared to move.
There is nothing left.
And then hands. Hands. On his skin. Everywhere. Fingers tracing down his cheeks, pressing into his eyelids, poking and prodding and he is so cold.
He is so cold.
He shakes again and there are voices whispering from far away and Naruto is so cold.
"—I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorr—"
He looks up.
Brown eyes. White eyes. A boy and a girl, hovering above him with fear in their gazes but also a wary warmth.
It has been so long since he has been warm.
Naruto doesn't think. He presses blood-stained fingers against tear-stained cheeks and he tries his hardest to kiss away the pain.
/ / /
"The family's alive, then?"
The smirk that crossed Sasuke's face was cruel. "Pure as ever."
Pure, Naruto thought. His lip curled. Of course.
"Sakura's good, too," Naruto said casually.
Sasuke's gaze went dark and dangerous, eyes flaring up red with holy light. Naruto snickered. No matter how much he wanted to, Sasuke would not kill him. He would not touch him.
They fought to wound. They could not fight to kill. Fighting to kill was prohibited by long-laid laws.
Brother would not kill brother.
But he wasn't going to give in this time.
For a very long moment, they stood and stared at each other. It was tense and Naruto flexed his fingers, remembering what it was like to wrap them around someone's throat—to feel the crunch of windpipe crinkling like paper under his grip—to feel the snap of the spine—and the vicious satisfaction at the thought of a life ended.
Then Sasuke's shoulder's relaxed, and the killing intent receded.
They fought only to wound.
/ / /
The water in the pool is still and dark, deep as a well but purer. Naruto stares down at his reflection.
FALL. FALLen. It shows in his eyes and the marks on his cheeks—he is destined to sit apart from every angel and every demon ever, on the fence, not one and not the other.
Except Lucifer himself, but that was another story entirely.
A pair of bright pupil-less white eyes peeks around him in the water-glass, pale and shy but smiling.
It is a very different smile than Naruto ever remembers seeing. This smile is kind. This smile is sweet. It is good.
The irony of that alone is mind-boggling.
Naruto grins down at the little demon-girl who saved his life, and turns.
From across the Divide, he can see the people he'd once considered kin. His mother is there. She is sad. Sasuke is there. He is not.
Sakura stands on the bridge and beckons with her dead hands and her dead smile. Convulsively, Naruto's arm tightens around the demon-girl and her innocence because despite her blood she is good and there is so little of that left in the worlds.
Naruto had been good, once.
Sasuke had never been good. He'd just been good at hiding it.
There is a difference that Naruto didn't know, before. But now he does and he stands and he watches his family advance with no intention of leaving.
He is in disgrace.
They do not look at him. Sasuke does not look at him.
It is with a vindictive kind of joy that Naruto laughs and laughs and laughs. It is cold and mirthless and painful, and he does it just to watch them squirm.
They listen from across the Divide with their joyless faces turned downwards, shoulders pin-straight and unmovable. He can see that they do not enjoy it. He can see that they shift and squirm, shamefaced. He can see that they are appalled that he was once part of their rank.
Sasuke looks up. It is a fast motion but Naruto catches it anyway, his laughter lingering in the water-lily air. It is awful.
/ / /
The best part of FALLing, Naruto thought, was never having to watch what you said. He opened a jaw full of blood-stained teeth and let his mouth run.
"I ripped her throat out and then I kissed her and watched her bleed out and it was great 'cause she was perfect—"
His breath went out of him as his back hit the wall. It crunched beneath the weight of his body and his wings, and Naruto knew that there would be a dent left, there. Something to mark it as his. Sasuke's. Theirs. No one's.
Sasuke slammed him there with burning eyes and Naruto laughed weakly because Sasuke was so, so hypocritical. The whole thing was so, so hypocritical and fucked up and heaven help us, that's a demon on the loose!
"Don't forget your place," Sasuke breathed into his ear. It felt like he was kissing the words into place, but it was funny because Naruto didn't think that Sasuke loved anything except death and Sakura herself.
Naruto smashed his fist into Sasuke's gut. He thought he heard the rattling intake of breath as Sasuke drew back; the clink of chains surrounding both their existences tied to each other as surely as Cain loved Abel. Brothers in mind, brothers in blood; tied by a mark and a fate and a murder.
"Don't forget yours, Naruto replied, blood leaking from his grin.
Sasuke's face darkened.
Neither was safe.
/ / /
The Divide is raging as the angels snarl and the demons jeer along the stands in the only neutral ground in the universe. It is set in remote Assiah, surrounded by ice and snow but the Divide stays in a bubble world in static summer. Hidden from the humans, it is caught between paradise and destitution.
Naruto stands behind Lucifer and grins with his teeth, staring at the world through unnatural eyes. He watches Sasuke watch Sakura watch the sky, then he turns away.
They are no longer his.
Not that they were ever his, he thinks, wry.
The little demon-girl smiles at him with her eyes, fingers pressing together and Naruto would whisper prayers into her skin but who prays, in a place like this?
On the bridge, Lady Death smiles.
Over the cacophony, he can hear her laughter.
/ / /
"Don't tell me you love me," Naruto mocked. "How was that, bastard? Getting turned down? She said no. Death told you no."
Naruto watched Sasuke grind his molars and ran his tongue over his own overly sharp canines. Sakura was worse, he thought; her with her immortality and her judgement and her temptation.
They had all loved her. She offered glory and gore and she was beautiful, yes, with her smile and her hands.
And part of Naruto would always love her; the memory of her, as he loved the memory of Sasuke, as he loved the memory of his mother.
But the other part wanted to destroy them all. She sat between them, their imaginary line that didn't have a physical form, and she smiled and smiled as she crooned her song.
"You fell," Sasuke sneered.
Naruto stared at him and the rage—the rage rose and rose and he would have ripped him to shreds had he the chance.
Because there were some things that were simply not spoken of and Naruto had never had any tact, anyway.
"Fuck you. I took your fall. I fell for you. I gave up everything. Fuck you," he spat.
He didn't need to say any more. It was the truth.
Demons were so much more honest.
They stood in silence, trapped in the things they both had left behind. There were no more words left—there were no more hopes left. He didn't say goodbye.
Naruto walked away.
/ / /
thank you for letting me FALL.
notes2: possibly the weirdest thing i have ever written in my life. idek, okay.
notes3: please do not Favourite without leaving a review. :)