A/N: About four years ago I mentioned on my profile that I intended to attempt a rewrite of my story Masochist. This is that attempt. I would like to state here that I have not been keeping up with Naruto the series, so any characters or storylines I use will only related to the first series, not Shippuden, or mostly anyway. I should be updating once a week or so. It's great to be back. Oh, and I might be looking for a beta-reader soon. - Jaiden


Masochist

Prologue

Sasuke listens to Nevermind on repeat for nearly three hours the thursday before his seventeenth birthday. He sits on the edge of his bed, the walkman settled in his hands between his knees, and he watches the seconds tick away on the blue backlit screen while he waits for the world to come crashing down around his ears. He's certain it'll happen any minute, can feel it in his bones like he can feel a storm coming, aching and impatient. His heart has stopped pounding in his chest; his breathing has settled. His Ativan bottle rests on its side against his hip and every so often his fingers itch to grab it, but he's been good, has gotten through the worst of the anxiety without an extra dose. He hates having to explain the missing pills.

His world feels dulled right now, all blurred-out soft lines and angles in gray-scale. Even his skin feels indefinite, like it's barely hanging onto his bones, trying not to float away into the air that surrounds him. He supposes it's an improvement from the way it usually feels, too small for his body, stretched taught and bracing to explode. He'll take these muted tones and subdued emotions over the sharp, blaring feelings he's so often bombarded by any day.

Kakashi comes in sometime between the beginning of Lithium and the end of Polly and sits down next to him, throws a long arm over his shoulder and rests a pointed chin on the top of his head. Sasuke doesn't have the energy now to shrug him off, doesn't even have it in him to be angry. They sit in silence until the album is looping around again before Kakashi finally speaks.

"The movers will be here sometime in the morning," he says, his voice only just audible over the music, "Do you want to set an alarm or do you want me to call you?"

"I'll set an alarm," Sasuke replies, though he doesn't even sound like himself. He sounds older somehow, weathered, tired. But if Kakashi notices, he doesn't say anything, just sighs and stands up again.

"I'll meet you at the airport then," he says. He doesn't say, "It'll be okay," or "Things will get better," or "They would want you to be happy." He doesn't say any of those things and Sasuke appreciates the thought behind the silence. He appreciates the lack of suspicion, of expectation, of surprise.

He'll call tomorrow morning, ten or fifteen minutes after Sasuke's alarm will go off. He'll ask if Sasuke is awake and won't remark on the fact that he'll know Sasuke never fell asleep in the first place. He'll remind Sasuke about their flight times and gate numbers and he won't ask if Sasuke is all right.

And it won't hurt any less, but it won't hurt any more either.