Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto, there would be a lot more yaoi.

A/N: This is for my darling xox-'.'-K-A-G-O-M-E-'.'-xox, who wrote me a beautiful one-shot called Paper Lantern Sailboat (read it, I demand it!). Asdfasdfsf it reduced me to a puddle of weeping happiness and made me flail around like uwahhh~~, I loved it so much, thank you again! So here's my thank you fic for your thank you fic; I hope you enjoy it! *blows kiss*

Review for a llama, because llamas are awesome.


Sacrifice

"People do crazy things, when they're in love."

-Meg from Hercules

A slim, sun-kissed hand gently caressed the angelic face lying so peaceful in sleep before him. The slumbering teen seemed to unconsciously lean into the warm touch, appearing vulnerable and more fragile than ever in his present state. His breathing was deep and laboured, one of the only sounds in the small hospital room besides the beeping monitors attached to his wrists by long tubes, and the quiet sobbing coming from his tall, blonde visitor.

Naruto carefully brushed a few stray strands of midnight hair from Sasuke's sleeping face, and then wiped his leaking cerulean eyes on his dirty ANBU gloves roughly. He still hadn't changed or gone home since rushing Sasuke to the hospital after their mission, so he was still in his filthy uniform and covered in dried blood. His other hand was currently interlaced with Sasuke's limp one, their skin tones contrasting like snow and caramel. Naruto winced at the bandages only partially visible underneath his companion's loose, teal hospital gown. Sasuke had been a bloody mess when Naruto barged into the hospital carrying him weakly in his arms. The Uchiha had suffered six broken ribs and a fatal gash across his stomach, not to mention how Sasuke had choked out "I can't see" before he collapsed into the grass, ANBU mask completely slipping off his raven locks and into the blood pooling around him.

"I was too slow," Naruto muttered quietly through gritted teeth, voice quivering with rage and self-loathing. "And now this- dammit!" He slammed his free fist down on the bed in anguish, its raven-haired occupant barely stirring. Naruto clenched his eyes shut, more frustrated tears spilling from beneath dark blonde eyelashes. He squeezed Sasuke's hand tightly as his heart seemed to shatter within him, the splintered pieces making it difficult to breathe.

"I couldn't protect you again," Naruto whispered in a strained voice, furious at his inability to protect the person he cared for most. He leaned over the bed slightly to tenderly kiss Sasuke's smooth, porcelain hand, and then pressed it to his own face for comfort. "I'm so sorry, Sasuke."

That mission had gone downhill from the start. It was supposed to be a simple scouting mission to gain intelligence on the Hidden Mist Village, but it soon turned into a bloodbath when Naruto and Sasuke were ambushed by around forty skilled rogue ninja. Naruto and Sasuke were far more advanced in skill level, but the adversary's numbers left them at a huge disadvantage. They managed to take down about half of the men before their fatigue began to take its toll, not to mention Naruto's shadow clone jutsu was finally past its limit. That's when Sasuke used his Mangekyo Sharingan, even though Lady Tsunade had ordered him not to, turning their bad situation to even worse. The effects on Sasuke's eyes were immediate, and he screamed in pain. In that moment of weakness, one of the remaining wanted ninja dealt a fatal blow to Sasuke's stomach with his sword, leaving a deep, ugly gash behind that immediately began to bleed profusely. And before Sasuke could retaliate, the attacking ninja kicked him hard and mercilessly in the ribs, a sickening crack echoing through the trees and even more blood spurting out of Sasuke's sliced torso at the blow. Naruto had seen everything that had happened, but as much as he wanted to rush to Sasuke's defense, he couldn't as there were five men attacking him at once. "Get the hell out of my WAY!" Naruto had shouted, eyes flashing a demonic red before he leaped into the air and spun, shuriken flying and pinning their targets in all the right vital spots. When he landed back on the ground, he watched in horror as Sasuke collapsed into the grass, rasping "I can't see" before falling completely unconscious. That did it. "YOU BASTARDS!" he had roared. The remaining ninja were all dead within a minute. He took a mental note of who they were, before scooping up his bloody companion into his arms and sprinting faster than he ever had in his life back to Konoha.

They had been at the hospital for nearly 24 hours now. Sasuke still hadn't woken up, and Naruto had yet to leave his side. Naruto had been injured as well, but his wounds were mostly healed now due to the Nine-Tail's chakra. Naruto placed another reassuring kiss to Sasuke's pale knuckle just as the door to their room swung open.

Tsunade opened her mouth to speak, but closed it when Naruto turned to look at her. She flinched inwardly and felt a pang of sadness in her heart at his red, drooping eyes and bloodstained ANBU uniform. He looked exhausted with his ANBU mask pushed roughly to the side of his head, his bright, blonde hair messy and wild, and sticking up all around it. Naruto turned back around to the object of his devotion without saying anything; he just gripped Sasuke's hand tighter and stared at his companion with determination and pure stubbornness. Tsunade sighed. This wasn't going to be easy.

"Naruto, I checked out Sasuke's eyes like you asked me to," she began in a business-like manner, walking towards the suddenly highly-alert blonde.

"He's going to be okay, right?" He asked urgently. Tsunade looked down at her sleeping patient, mulling over how exactly to break the news to Naruto. This pause caused him to panic even more.

"Why aren't you answering? What's wrong with him?" Naruto shouted impatiently, squeezing Sasuke's hand in a desperate attempt to calm himself down, holding onto it like a lifeline. Tsunade put a warm, gentle hand on his shoulder, causing the blonde to flinch and his bright blue eyes to widen.

"There's been permanent damage done to his eyes," Tsunade began seriously, wincing inwardly as Naruto's face began to crumple in pain, but pressed on. "Sasuke's already blind in his right eye, so I can't fix that. His left eye is nearing blindness too, but I'm prescribing him with special eye drops that should eventually help his eyesight in that eye to improve. But because he's blind in one eye, he won't be able to use the Sharingan." Naruto's shoulders shook, and he grabbed fistfuls of his messy blonde hair, tugging helplessly. His eyes were impossibly wide, filled with disbelief and anguish, his teeth clenched tightly, holding back the frustrated tears that threatened to burst. It tore at Tsunade's heart to see him so distraught. A memory was filling Naruto's head, and it was cutting him deep.

. . .

"Hey Sasuke, why do you still use your Sharingan if you know that it's frequently hurting your eyes?" Naruto asked curiously, looking up from where his face was previously nestled in Sasuke's clothed crotch, his body lying snuggly between Sasuke's legs on his stomach. Sasuke was currently slouched down on his back on their couch, contenting himself by playing with Naruto's soft, blonde hair. He stopped for a moment to consider the question, then shrugged.

"Because they make me who I am," he responded evenly. Naruto cocked his head cutely to the side.

"Eh?" Sasuke rolled his eyes and sighed.

"They're proof that I'm an Uchiha?" he tried instead, but Naruto still looked troubled.

"Why the hell do you need proof?" Naruto asked incredulously. Sasuke face-palmed, sinking farther down on his back.

"Just forget it dobe, you wouldn't understand," Sasuke muttered defeatedly. Suddenly, Naruto sat up and leaned over Sasuke, hands pressed into the cushion on either side of the raven's head. His cerulean eyes were intense, staring down into Sasuke's own black orbs.

"Sasuke," Naruto began quietly, warm breath fanning across Sasuke's surprised face. "Your kekkai-genkai doesn't make you who you are, it's the people you love that do." Sasuke's cheeks flushed pink at his companion's serious words, his eyes going half-lidded as they pressed their lips together passionately. Naruto's hands found their way into silky midnight locks, while Sasuke wrapped one around Naruto's neck and the other slipped under Naruto's shirt to his toned back. Their tongues danced, sliding and tangling over each other almost gracefully, before Sasuke began to chew softly on Naruto's lower lip. They broke apart for a moment, staring intensely at each other.

"So simple-minded," Sasuke murmured teasingly, wrapping his legs tightly around Naruto's waist before crushing their lips together again.

. . .

"Why, grandma Tsunade?" Naruto asked shakily, breaking out of his brief trance and squeezing his eyes shut. "Why is it always Sasuke?" Tsunade pulled him into a tight hug, unable to stand the tension radiating off of him. Naruto whimpered into her bosom, but refused to shed more tears. Sasuke would've hated that.

"Don't beat yourself up over it Naruto, it's not your fault," she murmured softly into his bright hair.

"But I'm supposed to protect him! I'm still too weak!" Naruto protested painfully.

"Shut it brat, you're the strongest person I know," Tsunade countered back fiercely, before her voice turned gentle again. "It was Sasuke's choice to use the Mangekyo technique, and so it's his responsibility. You need to focus on getting some rest, you know that Sasuke wouldn't like it if he knew you still hadn't gone home yet."

"I don't care what that bastard thinks," Naruto muttered half-heartedly. "My home is wherever he is." Tsunade rolled her eyes, stroking his bright blonde locks soothingly.

"I'm sorry Naruto," she told him in a motherly voice, letting him go. "There's nothing we can do but help his other eye to get better." She quietly left the room, leaving Naruto to his mess of thoughts. Naruto grimaced, and climbed onto the bed, gazing down at his companion.

"She says that it's not my responsibility, but it's my job to protect you," he whispered to Sasuke's oblivious form. He pressed his forehead against his rival's, staring at Sasuke's pale eyelids and the long, dark lashes that framed the bottom of them. "I'm sorry, Sasuke. I promise I'll find a way to help you." He kissed the raven-haired teen lovingly on the cheek.

What can I do? Naruto thought desperately. It can't end like this; Sasuke told me how important his Sharingan are to him. He fiddled with a piece of Sasuke's fringe, and sighed in frustration. It's not fair that I can see so perfectly, while Sasuke... Naruto froze.

I can see...

"Wait a second, I wonder if I…" Naruto glanced down at Sasuke hopefully, and then nearly sprinted out the door to find Tsunade. "I'll be right back, Teme!" he called over his shoulder. He sprinted through the almost-empty hospital hallways, scanning every room for the busty Hokage. In his frantic search, he bumped right into Sakura causing her clipboard to clatter to the ground.

"Oh, sorry Sakura!" Naruto grinned sheepishly, bending over to pick up her clipboard.

"It's alright," she replied kindly, remembering why Naruto was still here. He handed her the clipboard which she dusted off gingerly.

"Have you seen grandma Tsunade?" he asked urgently. Sakura pouted and shook her head, light pink locks swaying gently.

"I'm pretty sure she just left to talk to Shizune. Why, what's wrong?" Her voice was concerned. Naruto bit his lip.

"Well, maybe you know if I can or not," Naruto said quietly, more to himself. Sakura put a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"You can tell me anything, Naruto, and I promise not to judge." Naruto took a deep breath, grateful for her support.

He knew exactly what he needed to do.

-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Its dark, Sasuke thought. Where am I? Soft voices could be heard over him, and the sound of someone moving reached his ears. He struggled to open his eyes; they felt heavy, like lead. He grunted quietly, forcing his eyes open, and blinked to adjust to his surroundings. Oh, I'm at the hospital...

"Hey, he's awake! Lady Tsunade, Sasuke's awake!" a girl's voice called excitedly. Sasuke turned his face slowly to the left, at first only seeing a pink blur, but the shape quickly morphed into Sakura. Tsunade appeared beside her, and looked him over.

"It's about time," she said sarcastically with a smirk. Sasuke rubbed his eyes drowsily, but jerked his hand away at the bandages he felt around his right eye. Tsunade smiled kindly. "Here, I can take those off for you now." She undid the bandages and chucked them into a nearby waste-basket. "Sakura, you better go get this one's 'luggage'." Sakura chuckled, and then shot Sasuke a sweet smile. There was sorrow in her emerald orbs, but Sasuke wasn't alert enough to catch it.

"I'm glad you're okay, Sasuke," she said gently. He allowed the tiniest of smiles in return.

"Thanks Sakura," he replied smoothly. The pinkette ran out of the room to go fetch whatever it was that the women had been talking about. Sasuke tried to sit up, but quickly clutched his stomach as a wave of pain overcame him. He hissed, suddenly feeling sick.

"Hey, easy now," Tsunade ordered, helping him sit up better. "You've been out for over a week and that stomach wound you received was fatal." She fixed him with a stern gaze. Sasuke's obsidian eyes widened.

"Over a week?" he choked.

"Yep." Tsunade's chocolate brown eyes suddenly shimmered with emotion, and Sasuke raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Well, you did have to undergo an extra surgery, so-"

"EH? SASUKE'S AWAKE?" A familiar loud voice shouted, cutting off whatever it was Tsunade was going to say. They heard running footsteps. Tsunade shook her head and smiled, suddenly turning to leave.

"Sakura and I will leave you two alone for a while," she told him kindly, and then shot him a knowing smirk. "Just don't mess up the sheets; you're in no condition for that yet." Sasuke decided to pin her with the Uchiha Death Glare of Doom #1, but it didn't have the right effect as Sasuke's cheeks were flushed a vibrant shade of pink. Tsunade laughed at his obvious embarrassment and then disappeared into the hallway.

Suddenly, a tall, panting figure appeared at the doorway, his now clean, blonde hair a little messy and bright blue eye shimmering with happiness. He had changed since their mission finally, and was wearing jeans and a long-sleeve black t-shirt. He gripped the door frame hard, catching his breath.

"Naruto..." Sasuke whispered in surprise. And that's when the blonde flung himself at the Uchiha, effectively capturing Sasuke in a bear-hug. He winced at the slight pain in his stomach, but decided to just ignore it and hug his companion back just as tight. They pulled away from each other after a moment, Naruto sitting on his knees and grinning with relief.

"Welcome back to Earth, bastard," Naruto said affectionately, his one eye closed contentedly. Sasuke slowly began to smile, but then froze.

Wait, one eye?

Sasuke blinked rapidly, and then really looked at Naruto, finally taking in the white bandages covering his comrade's right eye. He poked it gingerly.

"What happened?" Sasuke asked worriedly. "Did this happen after I got slashed?" Naruto looked uncomfortable, his smile faltering slightly.

"Not exactly," he replied quietly. Sasuke raised an eyebrow.

"Well, then how-" Sasuke's voice caught in his throat and it was suddenly hard to breathe. It finally hit him. I can see... but Naruto's eye...

Naruto watched solemnly as Sasuke's face changed from shock to horror to anguish. He suddenly gripped the front of Naruto's shirt harshly, yanking him forward. His eyes blazed with anger and pain.

"What did you do?" Sasuke demanded in a shaky voice. The small, sad and loving smile he got in return was all the answer he needed.

. . .

"Is it possible for me to donate my eye to Sasuke?" Naruto asked seriously. Sakura gasped in surprise, biting her lip hard to keep herself from getting all emotional. He gazed at her pleadingly, and she knew she couldn't lie to her comrade.

"I-I think that there might be a way," Sakura replied softly, sea-foam eyes threatening to leak tears. Naruto's face instantly lit up, but she grabbed his hand before he could run off to find Tsunade. "Look Naruto, I really care about Sasuke too, but this... you don't have to do this." She pleaded desperately. He had already sacrificed so much in his life...

"Yes, I do," Naruto said determinedly. "Please understand, Sakura." His eyes begged her to comprehend how much this meant to him. She winced, bowing her head so that her cherry-blossom hair would cover her eyes. You really love him, don't you Naruto? A tear rolled down her cheek.

"Okay," she whispered. Sakura re-composed herself, glancing up again with a determined look on her face. "Then let's go find Lady Tsunade." Naruto smiled gratefully, giving her a quick hug.

"Thank you, Sakura," he murmured with emotion, before tugging her through the building. Sakura let a smile settle on her features, a wistful one, but a smile nonetheless. I should stop him, she thought a little guiltily. But he would never forgive me. She squeezed Naruto's hand in reassurance, proud of his devotion. Take good care of Sasuke for me, Naruto.

Safe to say, when the two seventeen year-olds finally found Tsunade, she wasn't happy with the idea at all. But Naruto's insistence won over, and with a heavy heart, Tsunade agreed to perform the surgery the next day.

"Are you sure about this, Naruto?" she asked hesitantly. He looked up at her, that familiar determined grin on his face.

"I'm sure," Naruto responded evenly. And there was no doubt in his voice as he thought of his best friend.

. . .

Sasuke was shaking badly, waiting impatiently for an answer. His heartbeat pounded loudly in his ears. Naruto sighed, placing a hand over Sasuke's.

"Your right eye would've been blind," Naruto began seriously, no trace of regret in his voice. "And you wouldn't have been able to use the Sharingan ever again, so I asked Tsunade to give you my eye." He lightly touched Sasuke's right cheek, smiling a little at his beautiful obsidian eyes. "She even found a way to change the colour back." Sasuke suddenly slapped Naruto's hand away, glaring painfully at the surprised blonde.

"Why?" He croaked, his throat feeling too constricted to say anything else at that moment. Naruto actually rolled his eyes at that.

"Like I would ever let you go blind, one eye or not," he said firmly. He gazed intensely at the bristling Uchiha. "What other reason do I need besides the fact that I love you?" Sasuke snapped, and slapped Naruto hard across the face. Naruto barely had time to register what had just happened before Sasuke's shaking fists were pounding into his chest over and over and over again, his eyes downcast and face crumpled in furious despair.

Finally, Naruto had had enough, and so he forcefully grabbed the Uchiha's wrists to stop the next blow from connecting with his aching collar bone for what felt like the millionth time. He lifted Sasuke's chin up gently and was startled by what he saw.

Sasuke was crying.

"You idiot!" Sasuke shouted, his face crumpled in pain as tears streamed down his cheeks. He threw himself at Naruto, wrapping his arms around the surprised blonde's neck, and buried his face in Naruto's hair. It took a moment for Naruto to comprehend what was going on, but when he did, he hugged Sasuke back gingerly around the waist. He moved one of his hands in a soothing circle on Sasuke's back as he sobbed, tightening his grip on Naruto.

"I'm not even worth it," Sasuke whispered, failing to stem the flow of tears. He was just so overwhelmed and touched by Naruto's actions. Could he really love me that much? Naruto suddenly gripped him tighter.

"Don't you ever say that again, you bastard!" Naruto said angrily, causing Sasuke's eyes to widen in shock. "You're worth more than anything in this entire world! Heck, you are my world, so don't go muttering crap like that!" Sasuke stilled before allowing his lips to spread into a grateful smile, his eyes closing as more tears escaped and ran down his cheeks.

"Thank you, Naruto," he murmured emotionally. Sasuke pulled back a little to gaze at his companion, before tangling one of his hands in sunshine-blonde hair and pulling Naruto in for a soft, chaste kiss. Naruto smiled affectionately at the raven when they separated, tenderly wiping away Sasuke's tears, and then leaned back in for a more intense kiss. Their lips moved together in perfect sync, tongues brushing playfully as they lost themselves in each other.

Sasuke would never understand why Naruto loved him so much or how he could sacrifice so much for him, but he knew that the blonde meant what he said. And Sasuke felt the same, which is all that really mattered. He was precious to Naruto, and Naruto was precious to him. And in all honesty, if the situation had been reversed, Sasuke would've done the same thing. Now, his right eye would be an eternal reminder of Naruto's utter love and devotion.

"I love you, too," Sasuke murmured suddenly, a beautiful smile lighting up Naruto's face before he captured his partner's lips in another mind-blowing kiss.

.

.

.

The End.