Teacups and Carousels

xCastielsGirlx


Full Summary:Uzumaki Naruto- supposed mute and victim of child abuse. Uchiha Sasuke- a boy in Naruto's year who just so happened to get dragged into his life- as things start to spiral and Naruto becomes lost, can Sasuke save him from falling too far and being lost forever?

Author's Note:I love the fact that even though I'm all over le SasuNaru references, I can still manage to write friendship with only a few hints. But yeah- another extremely one-shot like this is going to come up soon by the name of 'Edge of the Raincloud'. Check my profile for a summary on that one- I'm hoping it'll be soon- although this may have to be split in two- but let's not hope for that, eh?

Warnings: Swearing, violence, mentions of abuse. Sasuke may also seem a little bit OOC.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto. I might throw in a few OCs- but not many.


*~Teacups and Carousels~*

*~Part I~*


The raven surveyed his surroundings with something akin to distaste. He was only five years old and he already had the stick up his backside that every Uchiha should during their entire life.

They were at aFairground that went by the name of 'Namikaze's'. Onyx eyes glared at the flashing lights to the carousels around him. The plastic horses with their painted on grins, the teacups with their dizzying spins- nothing appealed to the Uchiha who just pouted and folded his arms across his chest. All he wanted to do was go home and work on the school project that he had been assigned to that day, but his mother insisted that he should have some fun.

It was the 23rd of July.

The significance of this date- when asked to an outsider- would just be any ordinary day, and that's what the small Uchiha boy thought so too. Why would you celebrate a year closer to death? The boy wasn't morbid- he just didn't see the point in celebrating the day you were born. Surely you should just acknowledge it- not blow up balloons, bear badges or consume cake?

"Sasuke? Are you going to go on any of the rides?" a raven haired woman with kind brown eyes asked. The boy- Sasuke- just pouted and faced away from the person who was obviously his mother. Her smile dropped at the attitude of the boy before she just sighed and looked away. Her eyes caught the teacups and she sighed nostalgically. She and her husband had met on the teacups in a travelling fair. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing away the tears before she crouched to her little boy's height.

"C'mon Sasuke, let's at least have a ride on the teacups, eh?" she tried to persuade. Sasuke locked his onyx eyes with the kind brown of his mother's. They were the same shade as his older brother's and so he found it hard to resist. He nodded and sighed. His mother looked considerably happier as they approached. She went to take a pale hand in her own but the boy moved away before she could take it. A small, sad smile crossed the woman's face and she walked up to the operator of the machine.

"Two people please," she told him. The redheaded teen nodded and gestured for them to step on. A few other people occupied the other cups and within two minutes, they were spinning. Sasuke's eyes shot open at the sensation of spinning. His mother was opposite him, smiling slightly.

"Do you want to spin it with me Sasuke?" she asked the boy. Sasuke looked into his mother's pleading eyes and decided that he could stop being repressed for a moment and enjoy the time spent with his mother. She was the only family he had left now. Their hands joined at the centre disk as they spun it around, faster and faster until both of them were giddily giggling. The ride came to an end and they were both still chuckling slightly. Sasuke's mother seemed to have lost the sadness in her eyes and the boy's eyes were much brighter and warmer. He allowed his mother to take his hand as they stepped off the ride.

"That was fun, wasn't it Sasuke?" she asked.

"Yes Mama," the boy replied with a small smile. The smile vanished when Sasuke felt a pair of eyes upon his person. He glanced around to see a small blond boy, about a year younger than him, grabbing onto the jean clad leg of the redhead and staring at him. Sasuke felt his smile turn into a scowl and the blond shrunk back, a little bit of fear painted in his blue eyes. The woman zoned in on the boy that was fearfully looking at Sasuke before she noticed the scowl and frowned.

"Don't be so mean, Sasuke-kun," she whispered. Sasuke looked up to his mother with pleading eyes.

"He was staring at me Mama!" he implored, pointing at the blond. The woman sighed before dragging her son away from the blond boy with blue eyes. The boy himself just shrunk back behind the older teen.

"Kyuu-chan," he whispered slightly. The redhead looked down at the blond who was cowering. Murky brown eyes glanced to the raven boy who was walking along with his mother.

"Don't worry about it Naruto," he whispered, ruffling the blond spikes. The younger child- Naruto- chewed on his sleeves before looking up to his older brother.

"When's Mama coming back, Kyuu-chan?" he asked, almost whimpering. The redhead sighed and faced away.

"She's not, Naruto. She's gone to play with the angels," he whispered, trying to swallow the lump that had risen in his throat. Confused blue eyes looked up.

"Angels?" he asked in a confused voice. The teenager turned to his little brother.

"Uh-huh. Mama's an angel now. She'll be looking after you from a distance- so remember to be good!" he chuckled as a few tears slipped from his eyes. Naruto was instantly worried for his older brother.

"Kyuubi! Don't cry! She's looking after you too!" Naruto reasoned, climbing up onto his big brother's lap and wiping at his older brother's face with his wet, chewed sleeves. Kyuubi chuckled and hugged his little brother.

"I wish we could just get away from this place," he whispered, kissing his baby brother on the cheek. Naruto nodded in agreement.

"Papa's scary when he yells," the blond whispered against the chest of his older brother. Kyuubi stroked the blond locks.

"Don't worry about it Naru. Nothing'll ever touch you. I promise," the teen said with such sincerity, he believed his own words. A blinding grin was sent his way by the small blond and Kyuubi felt another lump rise in his throat. He couldn't worry about that though, he had customers to serve and rides to start.

"Why don't you go and ask Shukaku for some candy floss, eh?" he told the infant. Naruto nodded with a glee before wondering off the food vendor. He found the sandy-haired man just entering his food wagon.

"Shu-chan!" the blond yelled, wandering over. Shukaku turned around at the voice and grinned.

"Hey there little one!" he greeted, sweeping the young boy up in an embrace before rubbing his cheeks against the tanned other's.

"What brings you here, eh?" he asked, setting the blond on the high stool that he usually occupied whilst serving customers. Naruto swung from side to side on the chair.

"Kyuu-chan told me to come and eat some candy floss!" he grinned. Shukaku sighed.

"Orange again?" he asked, knowing the answer. Naruto nodded vigorously in reply, stretching his small hands out to grab the treat that was going to be stuck on his face later on. Shukaku rolled his eyes but handed the blond the treat anyway. A small cough caught the teen's attention and he turned around to be met with the raven haired woman and her son.

"Hey there, what can I get ya?" Shukaku asked, leaning on the counter with his forearm. The woman smiled, opting for a large swirly lollypop.

"What would you like, Sasuke?" she asked her son. Sasuke blinked, looking up to the blond who had a large mouthful of cotton candy. He blinked before his eyes set on an ocean coloured lollypop. He pointed towards it before Shukaku had given the sweets. The teen nodded and rung up the total whilst Sasuke continued to stare at the blond enigma. His mother saw the gaze and decided to distract the vendor in hopes that her son would finally make a new friend.

"Is this a travelling fair? I've never seen it before." she asked. The sandy-haired teen shook his head.

"Nah, we just recently opened!" he grinned. The woman smiled.

"Ah, do you find it fun to work here?" she asked. Shukaku nodded.

"Sure! You always meet new and interesting people! Say, Miss, what's your name?" Shukaku asked politely, tilting his head to the side. The woman smiled.

"Uchiha Mikoto," she replied. Shukaku nodded.

"I'm Sabakuno Shukaku! It's nice to meet'cha!" he replied. Mikoto smiled at the teen before glancing to Sasuke, who was still staring in wonderment as the blond had snuck a third bag of candy floss and was somehow still eating. It was covered all over his face and hands, but Sasuke still couldn't help but stare.

"So, do you all live in the area?" she asked. Shukaku nodded before blindly reaching out to the side and snagging the fifth bag from Naruto's hands. The blond just pouted and looked the other way.

"This little ruffian here should be starting school soon," he replied, pointing to Naruto with his thumb, who tried to bite it. Mikoto giggled at the action before the blond turned to her with a blinding grin.

"You're pretty! Just like my Mama!" he commented. Shukaku paled and Mikoto blushed.

"W-why thank you," she stuttered, smiling slightly. Naruto nodded.

"My Mama's an angel though so she's not here. I'm sure that you'd like her if you met her though!" the blond continued, unaware of the amount of shock the small statement caused. Mikoto looked towards the blond boy with wide eyes.

"If my Mama's an angel, are you one too? Kyuu-chan says that you have to be pretty to be an angel," the blond frowned. Mikoto chuckled before smiling.

"I'm not an angel, no. Not yet, anyway," she replied.

"Maybe in about 100 years- but not yet," she sighed. Naruto frowned.

"Do you not think that you're pretty enough? You'd get straight into Heaven!" he told the woman eagerly. Shukaku placed a hand over the mouth of the blond.

"I'm so sorry Mikoto-san," he apologised quickly, pulling the blond down for the chair and out of sight. Mikoto shook her head.

"It doesn't bother me Shukaku-kun," she smiled, looking down to see her son with another scowl on his face.

"Dobe," he muttered, turning on his heel and stalking off. Mikoto watched with wide eyes, turning back to Shukaku to bid him farewell. She caught up with her son.

"Sasuke! What's wrong?" she asked the raven haired boy. Sasuke just huffed and crossed his arms.

"He's so stupid- he doesn't know that his mother's dead. When people are gone, they don't come back!" he snapped, glaring back towards the food vendor. Mikoto frowned.

"He's young, Sasuke. He doesn't know as much as you yet," she explained. Sasuke snorted.

"He's little than a year younger than me- he needs to grow up. There is no Heaven, no Angels and no Fate. It's all chance in life and you have to grab it!" Sasuke scowled. Mikoto's eyes widened before they lowered to the ground.

"C'mon Sasuke, let's go home," she sighed, trying once more to take her little boy's hand.

She was greeted by silence and an empty hand.


*~Teacups and Carousels~*…

11 Years Later…


"Gypsy boy," the hisses attacked the tan ears of a blond with scarred cheeks as he made his way down the school corridor. He ignored the whispers and searing glares pointed in his direction as he approached his locker and shoved his key into the lock. He ignored the graffiti on his locker. He ignored everyone that caused him grief.

It was how he survived in Secondary School.

Pulling his P.E kit from the locker, he swung the door shut, locking it once more and walking away. The blond kept his head low, trying to avoid drawing attention to himself. However, as he wasn't looking up, he didn't realise that soon he'd be colliding with a raven haired prefect. The blond was confused as one moment, he was walking to the Sports Hall and the next, he was on his back on the floor. He frowned at the ceiling before a groan caught his attention.

"Bloody hell! Watch where you're going!" was the snarled response. The blond sat up, rubbing his head and looked up into breath-taking onyx eyes. He felt his chest constrict as the onyx smouldered his own ocean blue and he blinked twice. The raven with the duck-butt hair just growled, hauling the blond up by his collar.

"What's wrong, dobe? Too scared to fight back?" he snarled into the tan face. The blond just flinched at the tone and started to shake. It brought back painful memories- even just last night when his father had grabbed him in the same spot before landing a fist to his stomach and then throwing him across the room. The raven just snorted at the flinch and dropped the blond to the floor.

"You should watch where you're walking, Uzumaki." was the threat from the prefect as he made his way to the Sports Hall also. The blond- Uzumaki Naruto- just shook his head and stood up before sighing and walking away. As he arrived at the Sports Hall, his teacher, Might Gai, jogged up to him to scold him on being late. Naruto just ignored the man and went into the changing rooms that were almost empty by that point. A brunet- Inuzuka Kiba- stood in the corner with his friend Nara Shikamaru, just discussing what they were going to do that evening. They spotted Naruto as he entered and went silent, just observing the enigma that was such a scapegoat in the school's society. The changing room was bathed in silence and the two boys felt their jaws drop when the blond removed his hoodie that was definitely not part of the school code and his school shirt.

Bruises littered the arms and chest of the blond with the occasional cut here and there. Then there were the faint scars and few not-so-old cuts on his wrists. Kiba blinked a few times whilst Shikamaru just stared at the blond. Naruto soon caught on that they were looking and faced the two with an icy glare. The two just gulped at the fury and underlying drop of fear in those oceans before making their way out of the changing room. They kept their comments and questions to themselves. Even if they did ask the blond, he wouldn't reply. It was a well-known fact that Uzumaki Naruto had become a mute after just a year in secondary school. The School's psychiatrists had tried to rouse some noise out of the blond, but each had failed miserably. As soon as he had turned thirteen, the usually so loud and not-caring-about-what-you-think Uzumaki had fallen silent, almost as if he had been placed under a curse by an old witch with a poisonous apple. The blond just sighed before pulling on his football socks and trainers. He made his way to the field where they were already being divided into teams. Naruto was glad that they had to wear rugby shirts in winter as he could cover up his arms. He'd always preferred the colder weather- that way he could hide the marks more easily in longer and baggier clothes. Plus he wouldn't sweat as much. Sweat rubbed away the concealer that covered the bruises on his face. He jogged onto the field as his teacher had pointed at him.

"Uzumaki-kun, you're on Uchiha-kun's team," he pointed out. Naruto just nodded and went to join the end of the line that had formed behind the team captain. A few glares were directed his way but he just ignored them as usual. He formed up behind Shikamaru and Kiba who looked slightly awkward in the presence of the blond. Naruto just sighed, knowing that he wouldn't be doing anything for this P.E session as nobody wanted the 'Gypsy Boy' to be on their team. No matter how good he was on the field, he'd never be given a chance- that's just how the school worked. Nobody wanted the unpopular one on their team. Naruto just folded his arms across his chest, wincing when the material caught his cuts and bruises slightly. He went to go sit on the bench as the two teams approached, not wanting to feel the small pang as he was rejected from a team once again. A whistle caught his attention.

"Oi, Uzumaki- where're you going? You're striker!" Kiba called. Ocean blues widened and he approached as Shikamaru walked out.

"Football's too troublesome," he told the blond, who just blinked again before breaking into a jog to the team who looked a little less than pleased when they saw that Naruto wasn't going to be sitting on the side as usual. Kiba was the only exception who grinned at the blond, who smiled back awkwardly.

"Okay, so we go for the usual positions. Uzumaki, you're taking over from Nara today and will be my secondary striker," Sasuke relayed. Naruto just nodded, already knowing who'd be going where from his constant watching's of the two teams. He knew their strategy too.

"You know our strategy, Uzumaki?" Sasuke asked, looking into the blue eyes. A small nod was his reply and Sasuke nodded back, seeming to have completely forgotten about their encounter right before the lesson.

"Alright, let's get into position then," he summarised. Naruto jogged out onto the field and just sighed at the fact that he was actually being included. He reminded himself that it most probably wouldn't last though seeing as it was only happening because Shikamaru wanted a nap.

The game was intense and the final score was 16-3 to Sasuke's team. Most of the scores were down to Sasuke, but Naruto had scored at least seven of them. By the end, despite the cold, the blond was sweating slightly. Thankfully, he had a free period next and had the time to use the school showers. He approached his gym locker, withdrawing a pair of swim shorts and shower gel. He left his towel in the locker for when he had finished and waited for the changing rooms to empty before changing into his shorts and approaching the showers. He pressed the button and relished in the feeling of water pouring down his back and through his hair. He let out a small sigh and a smile slipped onto his face as he washed his body, avoiding the areas with bruises and cuts with an expert hand.

"Broke my heart on the road. Spent the weekend sewing the pieces back on," The blond just sang a few lyrics before humming as he entered beneath the spray of water to wet his hair even more.

"Not the homecoming kind. Take the top off and who knows what you may find," Naruto uncapped the gel and rubbed it into his hair as he sang further on and entered the downpour of warm water- not noticing the sound of someone's footsteps coming closer and a pair of onyx eyes watching him shower.

"'Cause I'm a gypsy. Are you coming with me? I might steal your clothes and wear them if they fit me," a small cough made the blond jump and slip on the soap suds before he flew backwards, slamming his head on the tiled floor, everything going black.

Sasuke stared in shock at the knocked-out blond on the floor of the shower. He'd come back as he'd forgotten his jumper to hear somebody singing beautifully. Curious, he'd stepped forward to see who owned the voice only to be met with Uzumaki Naruto- a supposed mute. He'd just cleared his throat when he'd jumped violently, knocking himself out. Sasuke sighed and dragged the blond out from the spray of water and winced when he saw a small amount of blood coming from the head of the blond.

"Shit," he hissed as he leant the blond against a locker and tapped his cheek.

"Dobe, wake up!" he hissed, tapping the cheeks further. There was a small groan and hazy blue eyes opened blearily, spotting a pale and raven blob above him.

"Whazzgoinon?" he muttered slightly before hissing as his head brushed against something. Ocean blue locked with onyx and he frowned.

"'Ske?What'r you doin'?" he muttered sloppily as he tried to focus on his surroundings.

"So much for being a mute, dobe. You knocked yourself out whilst singing in the shower," he explained, feeling the back of the blond's head for a lump and jumped when the blond yelped.

"Teme, that hurt!" he cried and the raven pulled his hand back, seeing it had a few spots of blood on it.

"You need to go to Matron. You're bleeding." Sasuke instructed, reverting into his 'sensible prefect' mode. The mode which had no prejudice or biases.

"Don't tell me what to do," Naruto muttered, struggling to stay conscious. His head dipped into the crook of Sasuke's neck and his warm breath fanned across the raven's collarbone. Sasuke tapped his cheek a few more times.

"C'mon dobe; at least get dressed and dried," Sasuke told the blond, who nodded sleepily and struggled to stand up. He had dried himself and slipped on his school uniform. Sasuke grabbed Naruto faded orange rucksack and shoved his P.E kit into it. He noticed that the blond was sat on the benches, breathing steadily.

"Fucking hell," he breathed gently as he approached the blond once more.

"Dobe! Get up!" he commanded but was met with silence. He sighed in aggravation before swinging the blond's arm over his shoulder and dragging him up.

"C'mon dobe, at least help me out here!" he muttered as he exited the Sports Hall.

"Teme, I'm not a dobe," was the soft mutter in return as Naruto roused a bit and started to slowly drag his feet. Sasuke smirked slightly as the two made their way to the infirmary. Sasuke gained several looks of surprise at the fact he was actually helping the blond whilst Naruto himself received many scathing glares for making the Uchiha help him. Sasuke just glared at the people who glared at the blond who was struggling to stay conscious and had blood mixing with his blond hair. They eventually reached the infirmary where the school nurse was waiting at her desk with a pen.

"What happened this time?" she sighed as she noted Naruto's almost unconscious form. Sasuke frowned.

"What do you mean by 'this time'?" he asked. The Matron- Tsunade- looked up with shocked eyes as she grabbed the blond and placed him down on the bed.

"Pillow…nice," muttered the blond. Tsunade smiled and stroked the blond locks.

"Tsunade-sensei, what do you mean by 'this time'?" Sasuke repeated once more. Tsunade looked around, honey eyes searching for eavesdroppers before she closed the infirmary door, locked it and drew the small curtain across the window.

"What do you know about Naruto, Sasuke?" she asked, sitting down at her desk. Sasuke frowned.

"He works at 'Namikaze's' and is teased because of it. He's been labelled a 'mute' but from his singing in the shower and the fact he was talking to me earlier contradicts that greatly," Sasuke told the nurse. Tsunade just nodded sagely and frowned.

"He talked to you?" Tsunade asked, shocked. Sasuke nodded and Tsunade hummed in response.

"He doesn't talk to anyone but Shizune, Jiraiya, Iruka, Kakashi and I." she muttered. Sasuke blinked, having no idea who these people were.

"What did he say to you?" the nurse asked curiously

"He told me not to tell him what to do when I was helping him and not to call him a dobe," Sasuke replied, frowning. Tsunade nodded.

"At least he's going for slightly normal conversations now," she muttered. Sasuke frowned.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked. Tsunade looked up and grinned sheepishly.

"Sorry, I've said too much already. So what happened?" she asked. Sasuke huffed and frowned.

"He slipped in the shower, knocking himself out. There's a bit of blood as well," he told the nurse, who just nodded in reply.

"Thanks for bringing him here Uchiha-kun; there are many who would've just left him there," she sighed. Sasuke nodded, already understanding the prejudice in their school.

"No problem," he muttered, going to leave. He was just about to open the door and forget about the whole thing when Tsunade called him back.

"Yes, Tsunade-sensei?" he asked. The woman sighed and looked the Uchiha right in the eyes.

"You saw the bruises and cuts didn't you?" she asked. Sasuke nodded. Tsunade looked down and to the side.

"Don't tell anyone else what I'm about to tell you otherwise I will make sure you are excluded!" she warned. Sasuke entered back into the room, closing the door and standing straight.

"I promise that I won't reveal anything Tsunade-sensei," he promised. Tsunade nodded and looked directly into onyx eyes.

"Uzumaki-kun is abused by his father. That's the cause of most of those marks. I want you to look out for him- be his friend if you can- but don't let anything bad happen to him. This is a personal plea from me, Sasuke. I don't want my grandson to be a victim," she told the youngest Uchiha, who just swallowed and nodded.

"I'll try my hardest, Tsunade-sensei." He agreed. Tsunade smiled and nodded.

"Thank you Uchiha-kun. Now get to your lesson!" she told the boy, who just nodded and exited, mind reeling with the information he'd been told. Naruto was being abused. And what did Tsunade mean by most of the marks? What did she mean by this time? Had it happened before? Was Naruto regularly abused at home and in school? The Uchiha swallowed and looked up. Nobody deserved what the blond was going through- he was determined to make it better.


*~Teacups and Carousels~*…


A bleary ocean eye cracked open and all he could see was white. He sighed as he felt the familiar comfort of the infirmary bed beneath his back and the soft blanket over his body. His vision was then assaulted by blonde hair and a large chest.

"Hey there, Naruto-kun," Tsunade welcomed as she helped the blond sit up on the bed. Naruto smiled slightly before crying out quietly and gripping his head.

"Motherfuck, OW!" he whisper-screamed. Tsunade made a sympathetic clicking noise with her tongue before stroking blond locks once more. Confused cerulean looked into concerned honey.

"What happened? How did I get here?" he asked, gripping his head as Tsunade stood up to grab a few painkillers. She hummed, handing the medication to the blond.

"Uchiha-kun brought you in after you knocked yourself out in the shower." She explained. The memories came flooding back like the tide onto the beach and the blond blushed.

"I spoke to him. He's going to tell the school I'm a fake! Oh God!" he cried out, gripping his head and pulling his hair. Tsunade just sighed, gently taking the blond's bruised and cut wrists and pulling them away from his hair.

"I told him not to tell anyone what happened under threat of expulsion. He won't tell anyone," Tsunade told him softly, making the blond sigh with relief.

"So you were singing in the shower, eh?" she asked with a twinkle in her eye. Naruto just blushed and shoved the nurse away.

"Shut up!" he mumbled, then eyeing the spilt medication on the floor.

"Ah, I'm sorry baa-chan, I spilt the medication!" he mumbled. Tsunade just rolled her eyes.

"Don't worry, I've plenty more," she reassured, walking over to the cupboard and taking out more medication. The blond sighed and smiled.

"Are you going to work tonight, Naruto-kun?" Tsunade asked, coming back over. Naruto nodded, taking the medication, using a polystyrene cup of water to do so.

"Uh-huh. Dad'll have my head if I don't," he replied with humour- even though the statement wasn't that far from truth. Tsunade smiled sadly.

"Don't joke about those sorts of things. You know you can always move in with me, don't you?" Tsunade told the blond, who just sighed.

"The humour makes it bearable- and I don't want to put pressure on you or Great Uncle Jiraiya," he told the woman, who just sighed, looking lost. Unless the boy didn't deny the claims, she wouldn't be able to help him at all. She grabbed a tan hand in her own.

"Let me help you, Naruto," she pleaded. The blond just smiled a radiant smile, closing his eyes as he did so.

"Thanks for the offer Baa-chan, but this is something I need to do on my own," he replied, still smiling, missing the devastated look on the woman's face.

"He's still my Papa, and I still love him," he replied, squeezing the hand in his own. Tsunade just sighed.

"You've got a free period, right?" she asked. Naruto nodded.

"Actually, I have two free periods, and lunch!" Naruto explained. Tsunade nodded.

"How about we go out for ramen?" she asked. Naruto blinked.

"But don't you have to be here just in case something happens?" the blond asked. Tsunade smiled.

"I'm sure Shizune will be able to handle it," she replied, leaving a note for her assistant. Naruto frowned.

"I don't feel right about taking you away from your duty, Tsunade-sensei," he replied quietly. She just smiled, grabbing her coat and car keys.

"I'd feel even worse if I abandoned my duty as your grandmother- now get into the car and grab your stuff; we're going for ramen!" she sternly told the blond, who just sighed in return before grabbing his school things and heading into the school car park.

"Are you sure this is okay?" Naruto muttered when they were outside. Tsunade just scoffed, glaring at the students that were staring from a window.

"You shouldn't care about them, Naruto- they're all a bunch of wet-nosed brats!" she spat, glaring with distaste at the ones who were glaring at Naruto.

In one of the classrooms, Sasuke watched as Naruto was taken by the nurse to her car and entered into the passenger's seat of the car. He just sighed before facing his front and listening to what the teacher had to say on carbon double bonds. A tap on his shoulder caught his attention, and he turned to his right to see Haruno Sakura- a fellow prefect- staring meaningfully at him.

"Do you need some help, Haruno-san?" he asked her. She frowned at the formal tone before looking past the raven to follow Naruto being driven off the school premises by the matron. Sasuke was irritated by her short attention span, and was about to go back to his work when she said something that caught his attention.

"Y'know, he's actually really nice," she muttered, looking down at the practice paper they were completing. Onyx eyes widened.

"What do you mean?" he asked, wanting to know more. Sakura glanced around her self-consciously as if looking for someone to scold her.

"Well, I went to the Fair he works at and that his father owns about a week ago with my family. He was tending the carousel and seeing as it was my little sister's birthday, I agreed to go on the carouselwith her." Sakura started. Sasuke just nodded, wanting her to continue.

"He's not actually a mute," she whispered. Sasuke nodded.

"I know. He was singing in the Sports Hall shower block. He slipped and knocked himself out. He then scolded me for calling him a dobe," Sasuke frowned, as if tasting something strange. Sakura nodded.

"He'll only talk to a few people- he told me," she whispered. Sasuke's eyebrows practically disappeared beneath his hairline.

"I talked to him after he let us onto the carousel- my little sister adored him and he gave her a free cuddly toy," she smiled slightly. Sasuke smirked.

"Yeah, does seem like something he'd do," he commented. Sakura giggled slightly.

"But he self-harms," she whispered sadly. Sasuke's eyebrows were non-existent at this point.

'So that's what Tsunade meant by most of the marks,' he thought to sighed and looked down to his worksheet.

"Sasuke-kun, do you know where he gets the marks from?" Sakura asked the raven. Sasuke had half a mind to tell her that he did, but Tsunade's threat came swimming to the forefront of his mind, and so he shook his head.

"I heard that his father abuses him," she whispered even quieter. Sasuke's eyes shot open.

"How did you know that? Why are you telling me this?" he asked the pinkette. Sakura just sighed.

"He told me himself and- I guess I'm telling you this because, well, everyone seems to hate him. I guess I just want you to be different to everybody else," she whispered. Sasuke swallowed at the confession but just nodded.

"I know- I want to be different too," he whispered, shocking the pinkette, who just twisted on her science stool to face him.

"I vote we confront him tomorrow at work and tell him we want to be friends!" she told the raven. Sasuke blinked but just rolled his eyes at the pinkette's suggestion.

"Might as well," he commented. Sakura beamed at him before there was a bark from the front of the class.

"HARUNO! Kindly stop gazing into Uchiha's eyes and get on with the work!" Kurenai Yūhi snapped at her student. Sakura bowed her head slightly.

"Sorry sensei!" she apologised before getting back on with her work. Sasuke just smirked before his thoughts wandered over to the boy that was currently at Ichiraku's Ramen.

The blond shuddered as he ate his ramen but he didn't focus on that as Tsunade frowned at him.

"Do you not want another bowl?" she asked as Naruto pushed away his single bowl. Naruto shook his head, wincing when he felt slightly dizzy.

"I'm fine Tsunade-sensei," he reassured, looking into golden eyes. The woman just sighed and checked her watch. By now, the school bell would've just rung for lunch.

"So what stall are working tonight?" Tsunade asked as the two paid for the meal and walked down the street. Naruto dug his hands into his pockets to keep them from the bitter cold.

"I'm working on the teacups tonight," he answered.

"Then I'll most probably move onto the food stall," he replied, trying to ignore the pang of hurt that always appeared when he had to work those two shifts. Not long after his mother had passed away, Kyuubi and Shukaku had run away, leaving Naruto alone with his father. Tsunade sighed, knowing exactly what thoughts were occupying the blond's head. She placed a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sure they're fine wherever they are," she commented, placing a soft hand on Naruto's shoulder. She felt the blond sigh before a smile was sent her way.

"Yeah," he whispered. The two stopped outside a burger van, ordering a hot chocolate for the blond and herself a coffee. The blond sipped at the sweet beverage, sighing when it warmed him to the core.

"Will you visit me today?" Naruto asked as they continued down the street. Tsunade blew the steam away from the liquid caffeine.

"I'll try, but I can't promise anything," she told the blond, who just nodded in reply.

"It's okay. If you're busy you don't have to," he replied. Tsunade just ruffled blond locks, avoiding the sore spot expertly.

"I'll try my very best," she told him before pressing a soft kiss to his forehead. Naruto blinked before chuckling.

"Thanks for the outing, Baa-chan- it really helped me clear my head," Naruto told the woman, who smiled softly down at him.

"Anything for my darling grandson," she whispered as they continued to make their way down town.


*~Teacups and Carousels~*…


Naruto sighed as he walked through his front door and placed his bag down in the hallway.

"Dad, I'm home." He called out into the house. He was greeted by silence and frowned. Usually his dad would wait for him to come home from school before setting off to work.

"Yo, Dad! You here?" he called out. A shuffling in the longue caught his attention and he was about to move closer when he heard the sounds become more pronounced. Moans and wet pants. A blush fanned over the cheeks of the blond before he grabbed his bag, zooming out the front door. He sighed and rubbed his face in embarrassment. Sighing once more, he decided to make his way down to the local park and take residence at a small swing that had been there since he was five- a year after his mother had passed away. He sighed, dropping his bag by the trunk of the thick tree the swing was attached to before settling down onto the swing itself. He started to lightly push himself back and forth with the soles of his feet and sighed, pulling out his iPod to listen to his music. He swung in time to the soft tune of 'Under the Bridge' but was stopped when a shadow was cast over himself. He looked up to be met with the classic school bullies, Sennin Orochimaru and his lackey Yakushi Kabuto.

"What's a gypsy boy like you doing so far from his caravan?" the boy with greasy black hair sneered. Naruto frowned, pulling out his headphones.

"What was that dickwad? I had my headphones in," Naruto snarled back, fully aware of what the other had said. The two were looking confused at the fact that Naruto was actually talking. Their confusion morphed into anger.

"What did you just call me?" Orochimaru hissed, leaning further in to the blond's face.

"You heard me asshole, now fuck off!" he spat, standing up to meet the bully. Kabuto looked calculating.

"You'd better shut your mouth, you gypsy fag!" he snapped. Naruto growled, the sound low in his throat.

"And you'd better wash yours out with soap! Mind you, your hair's so greasy that I doubt you know what it is!" Naruto snapped back. That was it- the blond was pounced upon by the lanky haired raven, a punch being sent into his face. Naruto fought back, landing a few punches into the gut of the boy before he was then dog piled by the other boy, a blow being landed to his temple, making him feel disorientated. Blood then filled his mouth as he was elbowed in the chin, making him bite his tongue.

Naruto growled, fighting and kicking back until, in the end, he lay on his stomach, the foot of Orochimaru pinning his chest to the floor. He spat out some of the coppery blood, still trying to fight back.

"You squirm a lot," Kabuto noted with a hint of sadistic glee as he approached the boy, crouching to face him better. Icy blue locked with heartless grey, narrowing in a deadly glare.

"Fuck you!" he hissed, spitting in the boy's face. Kabuto grimaced, wiping away the blood before his foot collided with the boy's face once more and Naruto winced, the familiar sound of his nose being broken. Kabuto smirked from above him.

"Punks like you should learn their place," he whispered in a deadly voice. Orochimaru chuckled, releasing his foot from between the blond's shoulder blades.

"We went light on you," he commented before the both of them left, leaving a battered blond in their wake. Naruto hissed and sat up before setting his nose back into place; if he didn't, it would heal wonky- he already had enough problems on his list. Clenching his jaw, trying to stifle the pain, Naruto stood up before making his way to his job at the fair. Despite the state he was in, he had to go to work- his dad would kill him otherwise. First he had to wash up in the bathrooms first.

He stood in front of the small basin, washing away the blood that clung to his skin and stained his teeth. Luckily they were all still in place and none of them chipped, so he settled for rinsing his mouth out. He was just about to exit the bathroom when he ran into someone.

"I'm so sorry," the blond mumbled in apology before blue eyes locked with warm brown. Kiba Inuzuka. The brunet just widened his eyes before a grin overtook his face.

"Hey, Uzumaki! How's it going?" he asked cheerily, scratching the back of his neck in a nervous gesture. The blond just stared before blinking twice. The air was stiflingly awkward, almost humid with the tepid unease that was radiating from the two boys. Kiba sighed before looking down and to the side.

"Look, I want to apologise for the almighty ass I've been over the years," he told the blond, whose eyes widened dramatically at the confession. He swallowed a few times, hardly daring to believe his ears.

"I mean, you're not all that bad a guy and I don't see why you get all the hassle you do. I mean, at least you have a job- unlike some people who'd rather stay at home all day on the X-box or other useless shit. I guess, well- I'm sorry, d'ya think we could be friends?" he asked anxiously. Naruto was still trying to comprehend the situation. Somebody was willing to be his friend? Kiba then stuttered.

"A-ah, you're mute, aren't you?" he reminded himself. Naruto sighed and brought his palm to his face in an exasperated movement.

"I'm not mute, Kiba, I just don't like talking to people who potentially want to hurt me," he told the brunet lowly. Kiba stuttered more.

"Why would people want to hurt you?" he asked, horrified. Naruto shrugged but gifted the brunet with a blinding grin.

"However, I would love to be your friend!" he replied, making Kiba's heart beat a little faster with the intensity of the smile he was producing. Kiba chuckled.

"Alright then!" he cried out happily, thrusting his hand forward for the blond to shake. A tan hand interlocked with a slightly paler one, shaking in agreement.

"Never imagined I'd make friends in a Fair bathroom," Naruto chuckled, earning a bark of laughter from the brunet.

"Say, Naru, what shift are you working?" the brunet asked as the two left the bathroom to the main fairground. Naruto chuckled.

"Teacups and then the food cart," he replied. Kiba nodded.

"D'ya think you could show me how the gadgets work? I've always wondered- ever since I was a kid!" Kiba admitted, making the blond chuckle with his enthusiasm.

"Sure thing- I'm just not gunna let you control it- god knows how that'd end up!" Naruto told the brunet as they walked to the little office where the controls were kept. Kiba's eyes lit up like a child's on Christmas day as he saw all of the buttons. He reached out a hand to touch one but a sharp slap on his wrist made him draw his hand back. He looked with shocked eyes to the blond.

"Don't touch. I don't want a load of kids puking on the ride," he grinned, earning an abashed chuckled from Kiba.

"Sorry man," he apologised. Naruto just grinned before the first hoard of children came along, wanting to have a go. He just smiled, letting them all on and Kiba watched with longing at all of the controls. Eventually, Naruto gave in, allowing Kiba a turn with the controls. The sight on the brunet's face was hilarious when he made it so that three children threw up. Naruto was furious and refused to ever let him touch the controls again. Kiba just pouted and crossed his arms.

"So what shift do you have now?" Kiba asked as they moved from the teacups. Naruto sighed.

"I'm working at the food cart," he explained, ignoring the pang in his heart. Kiba noticed the upset look in the blond's eye and was confused as to why he'd suddenly changed mood.

"Hey, what's up?" he asked, stopping to make sure his friend was okay. Naruto blinked, not realising that he'd let his emotion show on his face.

"A-ah, nothing!" he reassured with a blinding grin. Kiba was about to press the issue further when there was a yell behind him.

"Naruto!" the brunet slyly noticed how the blond tensed on seeing who it was- there was even a little bit of shaking in his hands before they clenched, stilling the motion.

"Yes sir," he perked up. Kiba's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Why did Naruto call this person- who was obviously his father- sir? The older blond approached his son, clenching his teeth.

"Where were you? I was waiting to give you a lift!" he barked, clenching his own fists. Naruto swallowed.

"I'm sorry sir, you were busy with a woman," he replied, looking straight into slightly darker blue eyes than his own.

"It won't happen again, I promise," he continued. The man growled raising his hand and crossing it across a tan cheek with a great force.

"It'd better not!" he snarled. Kiba felt as though he was in a dream, but shook himself awake.

"Hey! You can't do that!" he yelled, feeling anger call in his stomach at the fact that Naruto was just going to stand and take the abuse. Two pairs of blue eyes locked onto his own, one pair pleading, the other furious.

"He's my child- he doesn't have a say. Who are you to question my parenting methods?" the parent asked furiously. Kiba clenched his fists, not going to take the fury dished out by this blond.

"I don't care what the fuck you are to him- you shouldn't hit a child that way- especially your own!" he snapped.

"Why you little-"

"FATHER!" Naruto yelled, earning attention of both people who were growling at each other.

"Please, calm down," he whispered, cerulean blue locking onto the elder's. The fist that had been raised to hit the other boy fell limply to the side of the adult.

"Get to work," he told the younger blond, who nodded in return and walked off. Kiba took a moment to glare at the man who looked slightly downcast. He caught up with the blond who had a red mark appearing on his cheek where he'd been slapped.

"Are you alright?" he asked in shock. The blond just nodded.

"You've got a red mark!" Kiba pointed out.

"I know," the blond replied.

"He shouldn't do that!" Kiba complained, running in front of the blond.

"How long has this been going on for?"

"Kiba-"

"Does he always hit you?"

"Kiba, shut-"

"Is that where those marks on your wrists-"

"KIBA!" the blond yelled, successfully cutting off the rant that was forming. He pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration and locked eyes with the brunet.

"He's bipolar, Kiba, and he also has a multiple personality disorder. It's not his fault!" Naruto reassured. Kiba looked a little lost on how to continue.

"But it's dangerous!" he told the boy as they walked to the food cart. Naruto just sighed and looked to the brunet with a smile on his face.

"Don't worry- I can handle it!"


*~Teacups and Carousels~*…


The raven entered through his front door and removed his shoes with his familiar call of 'I'm home'. He waited a few minutes before the shuffling of feet caught his attention. Mikoto Uchiha stood in the doorway with a soft smile on her face.

"How was school, sweetheart?" she asked, looking tired with a few strands of hair falling around her face, coming loose of its ponytail. Sasuke smiled, placing a kiss on his mother's cheek.

"It was fine. When's your shift at the hospital tonight?" he asked, moving to the kitchen to pour himself a cup of juice. Mikoto smiled and followed.

"I have to go in in less than an hour. You don't mind making your own tea do you?" she asked nervously. Sasuke smiled gently, giving the woman a smile he only reserved for special occasions.

"Of course not- it's fine," he replied, putting the juice back in the fridge and taking a swig of the liquid in his cup.

"Mother?" he asked. The woman looked at him, black eyes inquisitive- it wasn't like Sasuke to ask a question with the tone he was using.

"What is it Sasuke?" she replied in question, leaning against the kitchen countertops. Sasuke seemed to be having an internal debate but eventually settled for asking the question.

"Remember when we went to the fair for my fifth birthday?" he asked, beginning the awkward conversation that was to come. Mikoto nodded.

"The blond kid- he didn't have scars on his cheeks, did he?" he asked, sure of the answer that was to come- if what Sakura had told him earlier on and Tsunade's reports were correct, he knew what the answer was.

"No, not that I remember- why?" she asked. Sasuke paled slightly and swallowed.

"N-no reason," he replied, frowning into his juice cup. Mikoto also frowned.

"Why did you ask then?" she quizzed. Sasuke sighed.

"I was just curious," he replied softly. Mikoto's eyes softened slightly and a small smile overtook her features.

"Do you have a crush on him?" she asked. Sasuke choked on the drink and turned an interesting shade of lobster.

"NO!" he spluttered, earning a laugh from his mother.

"Why would you say that?" he gasped, trying to cough out the burn from the liquid that had gone down the wrong hole. Mikoto giggled.

"I don't know, it's just that I've never seen you so inquisitive over a person before," she told the raven who just finished his drink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

"I don't have a crush on him mother- I've just heard some rumours, that's all," he replied. A sad smile overtook the features of the woman.

"Please don't be too harsh on him," she whispered, gaining surprised attention from her son.

"And please don't listen to anything harsh said about him," she continued.

"Mother, what's-"

"I'm sorry Sasuke, it's just that the boy gets enough abuse as it is," she whispered once more, making the raven swallow and Tsunade's words come rushing back to him.

'Uzumaki-kun is abused by his father. That's the cause of most of those marks.'

"Mother- is it true that he's abused? By his father?" Sasuke asked, looking down at his hands, fiddling with his fingers, missing Mikoto's surprised look.

"How did you find out?" she replied. Sasuke shrugged.

"It's been going around the school," he told his mother, who just sighed and placed a hand on her son's head, ruffling his hair.

"You'd do best to leave it alone," she told her son, kissing him on the forehead. Sasuke frowned but nodded, watching as his mother took two Paracetamol from the cupboard and downed them with a cup of water.

"I'm gunna take a shower then I'll be off, okay?" she told her son, who just nodded in response. She set off up the stairs, leaving Sasuke where he was in the kitchen. The raven sighed before sitting down and leaning on his hands, deep in thought.

'Naruto's abused by his father but yet he stands mute in school- not going for any help. Tsunade always says 'this time' as if he's constantly in the infirmary. I know that he does get bullied a lot, but could it really be that bad? Sakura's told me he self-harms but he doesn't necessarily look depressed or like the person who would. As soon as he turned thirteen he turned 'mute' and that was when he disappeared for a while too. What's going on?' Sasuke's internal debate showed on his face in the form of furrowed eyebrows as he thought more and more on the situation.

'There was also the redhead with him all those years ago- Kyuubi, I think his name was- what happened to him? I'm sure the two were relatives. What happened to his cheeks- he never had them before- in fact, when he disappeared in year eight was when he came back with the scars. Could it be that-' Onyx eyes widened in understanding.

"Holy shit!" his whispers cursed as he drew the laptop forward that was in front of him. He flipped the cover open and pulled up the internet.

"Sasuke, I'm off!" his mother called. Sasuke snapped out of his daze to see his mother off.

"Have a good evening," she told him before making her way down the drive in her nurse's uniform and getting into the car. Sasuke waved her down the road before bolting back indoors and onto the laptop. Towards the end of year seven, Naruto had disappeared for a few months. Most theories gauged on him skiving or being kidnapped- nobody really cared about his disappearance- but then there was the way that Tsunade had been acting really nervous at that time. Sasuke was sure there had been some media coverage on the story, so he decided to look it up on the internet.

He scoured through many pages involving the disappearance but came up with nothing. He sighed in frustration and slammed his head onto the keyboard- accidentally making it go onto a random page. He looked up with a growl, about to click the 'back' button when something caught his eye.

'Young boy found beaten at side of road, aged 13' Sasuke's eyes widened and he thought he was going to throw up when he was greeted by pictures of a bloodied and half-dead Naruto being placed onto a stretcher. His face was scratched, almost unrecognisable, but Sasuke could make out the thing lines that were photo-still- pouring with red. His hands clasped over his mouth as he read the article of the local newspaper. The police didn't bother, assuming it to be a bully attack. Sasuke checked the date of the article. 23rd July. Sasuke swallowed and kept on scrolling down. There had been no signs of forced entry in the blond's room where he was taken from that evening but only a small drawing of a fox- artistically drawn with nine tails at that point- and a short note on the back saying 'I'm coming back for you,'. There was a scan-in of the drawing and Sasuke took time to admire its beauty before going back to the article. He frowned as he caught the words 'must have been somebody the victim knew personally'. As far as Sasuke knew, the blond didn't have many friends at that point in his school career- enemies, yes- but Sasuke doubted the blond would be stupid enough to actually let a person into his home that he didn't like. Onyx eyes blinked as realisation dawned on him. The police were idiots! Sasuke frowned, looking at the time when his stomach let out a loud rumble. His eyes widened- it was almost 9pm- he'd been searching for almost four hours. Shaking his head, the raven went to the freezer to pull out a pizza and threw it into the oven. His head was going over the facts he had learned and found out through his searching. If his guesses were correct, Naruto's brother Kyuubi had ran away at some point, leaving just Naruto and his father at home. Angry and still upset about his wife's death, the father ended up abusing Naruto- not physically, just emotionally. At one point, Kyuubi had contacted the blond to say he was coming home. Naruto was obviously overjoyed by the idea and let him in without hesitation.

'The two were planning on running away together. Kyuubi'd be about 21 at this point so he'd have his own place,' Sasuke countered in his mind. Obviously his father was against that notion and caught up with the two when they were on the road. Kyuubi could run away whilst Naruto could only obey his father- or not catch up with his older brother. Sasuke could envision it. The two running from an enraged father, but in the end, a tan hand slipping from a slightly paler and much larger one. He could see it in his mind's eye as the redhead ran on, unwillingly leaving the blond to fall behind as he ran on. Furious, the blond's father would catch him and teach him a lesson he wouldn't forget. Sasuke shuddered- no matter how annoying the blond was, he didn't deserve the abuse he was burdened with. Sasuke sighed, resting his cheek on his hand in thought about the events that he'd heard had happened with the blond. A beeping cut out his thoughts and he turned to the oven to see his pizza was already cooked. The raven just blinked before removing the food from the oven and setting it on the side to cool. He withdrew a knife from the cutlery drawer and decided to cut the pizza into eighths, saving his mother half for when she came back after her shift. He sat back down at the dining room table with his half of the pizza on a plate before going back to researching more on the blond. He was interested when a small article pooped up about someone by the name of 'Kushina Uzumaki'. Sasuke frowned, recalling that the blond had lost his mother at a young age. Curious, he clicked on the link, eyes widening once more as he was assaulted by the image of at least twenty body bags, red hair spilling from underneath one and a blond boy being dragged away by a redhead that looked as though he was in his early teens. Sasuke gulped at the headline.

'24 SHOT DEAD IN SCHOOL SHOOT-OUT'

Sasuke didn't feel as though he'd be able to read the article but his impatient curiosity overwhelmed the nausea and fear. He skimmed through the article to see how Naruto was connected and saw his eyes widen in the reflection of the screen.

'One woman, Uzumaki Kushina, tried to apprehend the gunman as he turned his weapon on both of her sons. She managed to beat him but unfortunately, a shot was fired, killing her instantly in front of the sons she was trying to protect. She had been attending the elder sibling's Parents' Evening when it occurred and brought the younger along as there was nobody else home. The younger boy then valiantly fought the gunman after the incident, but it ended with him being knocked out as the gunman resumed with his rampage, killing 23 others before he was finally apprehended. Another two victims of the shoot-out were the renowned CEO of Uchiha Corps- Fugaku Uchiha- and his son Itachi.' Sasuke didn't know what upset him more- the fact that a three year old boy had tried to protect his mother or the fact that he had failed to protect the woman. He shook his head, thanking God it was a Friday evening and he didn't have school the next day. He frowned, leaning his elbow on the table and resting his chin on his hand once more.

"Why'd you put up with this?" the raven mused out loud, sighing when he couldn't think of an answer. He decided to turn his attention to his food and sat there in silence, contemplating all of the information he had learned. Now that he thought about it, there were only two rational reasons as to why the blond would stay with his father. He was either scared, or he thought it was normal. Sasuke sighed once more before finishing off his pizza and checking out the time. He blinked when he saw that it was quarter to ten. Irritated that most of his evening had been taken up by researching the blond, he decided to go into the lounge and flop himself down on the settee, intent on watching some television.

Sasuke didn't know when he'd fallen asleep; he just knew that he was being woken up at quarter past one by the ringing of the house phone. Clumsily, his pale slim fingers grasped the electronic mobile device and placed it to his ear.

"Ny'ello?" he asked sloppily. In the background, there was the sound of rushing bodies and shouting.

"Sasuke, Mikoto's collapsed!" the voice of the Uchihas' family doctor, Uchiha Shisui, came barrelling down the line. Instantly, tiredness was replaced with fear.

"What happened? Is she okay?" he rushed to ask. Shisui just sighed on the other end.

"We've determined the cause as stress but if you'd like to see her I could come and pick you up?" he asked. Sasuke bit his bottom lip.

"Yes please," he replied, clutching the phone to his ear tightly. Within ten minutes, there was a knock at the door and Sasuke was ready to stay overnight at the hospital with his duffle bag in hand. He was met with a raven haired man and he smiled slightly as he entered the car. The drive was quiet apart from the gentle thrum of the engine and soft beats of the late night radio. Sasuke leant on the window, staring out at the deserted streets and the glowing steps that were lit up by streetlights.

"So it was stress?" Sasuke asked, wanting to make sure it wasn't anything else serious. Shisui nodded in his seat, eyes set on the road ahead. Sasuke sighed and Shisui sent him a look of understanding.

"I know how you're feeling, Sasuke- she's my sister as well as your mother," he told the boy, who nodded against the glass. He looked to his uncle with pleading eyes.

"I just don't want to be told that it's back- there haven't been any signals for so long," he almost choked at that but Shisui placed a hand on his shoulder as he kept on driving.

"She's fine, Sasuke. We even gave her a CT scan to be sure and there's nothing there." He stated to the younger Uchiha who just sighed in relief. Shisui smiled slightly as he pulled into the hospital, taking up the space that was reserved for employees. The raven walked in, looking around before he spotted his mother coming out of the on-call room. He made a beeline for the woman and smiled as he approached, pulling her in for a hug.

"You should be resting, mother," he almost scolded. Mikoto shrugged and just held her son at arm's length by his shoulders.

"You needn't have come. I was perfectly okay," she told the raven teen who just shrugged in response.

"I was worried, Ma," he told Mikoto who just smiled gently in return.

"I see you packed your overnight duffle- you're welcome to steal a bed in the on-call room," she told her son, patting him on the cheek before walking off to attend some patients. Sasuke just sighed and entered the room, ditching his bag onto the floor and sitting on the bottom bunk of one of the bunk beds. He was bored, truthfully, and so he decided to go exploring in the hospital. The floors squeaked under his converse but Sasuke ignored the noise, just settling for travelling into various places. He'd just turned down a corridor when he felt a vibration in his back pocket.

'Standing on the rooftops; everybody scream your heart out!' Sasuke jumped at the sudden noise but pulled out his phone, surprised to see that it was Kiba- a friend-slash-annoyance – calling him. Confused, he flipped his mobile phone screen up to answer.

"Care to tell me why your gracing me with your voice at two in the morning?" he asked sceptically- even though he wasn't asleep, Sasuke was still annoyed at the fact that Kiba would contact him at an hour such as this.

"Shut up Uchiha, this is urgent!" Kiba spoke in a voice that made Sasuke's insides freeze.

"Kiba, what's wrong?" he asked the dog-lover. By the silence, he could tell that Kiba was biting his lower lip, trying to decide whether or not to actually relay the information he had picked up.

"Tsunade's appointed you as Naruto's looker-outer right?" Kiba asked and Sasuke frowned.

"How did you know?" he quizzed, sitting down on a plastic chair by the entrance. A sigh marred the other side of the line and he could easily picture the brunet running a hand over his face.

"Shit like that gets around. In fact, you'll most probably find out soon what's going on. You're at the hospital, right?" Kiba asked. Sasuke snorted.

"I see your crystal ball is accurate this evening, oh mighty soothsayer!" Sasuke quipped sarcastically. Kiba chuckled dryly.

"Whatever- just...be prepared," Kiba warned the boy before hanging up, leaving the raven to contemplate what going to happen. Just as he thought he had a grasp on the situation, a gurney was pushed in, several paramedics working on one body. Sasuke felt his mobile phone slip from between his hand as he noticed blond spikes and tanned skin. He noticed also how his mother was one of the first on the scene. Not knowing what to do, Sasuke followed the gurney but was stopped by an arm across his chest when the paramedics entered the ER. Sasuke looked up to be met with a pair of soft grey eyes. The man also had silver hair but was far from old- he was wearing a surgeon's mask and had an eye-patch over his left eye.

"Calm, Sasuke. He'll be fine," the doctor- Kakashi Hatake according to his nametag- soothed, taking the Uchiha to the staff room for a hot drink. Sasuke sat there, cradling the mug in his hands for at least ten minutes with the older surgeon looking over him, arms folded across his chest and slouched in his seat.

"You okay?" he asked the quiet boy. Sasuke just sighed, staring into the dregs of his tea.

"Not really, no. I don't know why but for some reason I feel compelled to help him out. I mean, I barely know him and the times I did talk to him, I was an asshole of epic proportions!" Sasuke reasoned, staring at his own reflection in the shallow tea waste. Kakashi chuckled.

"Tsunade also assigned you to look out for him as well, didn't she?" he asked. Sasuke growled.

"How does everybody know this?" he snarled. Kakashi just chuckled once more.

"She lets slip after a few bottles of saké," Kakashi informed. Sasuke just nodded.

"All I did was stop him from drowning in a shower," he told the older man quietly. Kakashi just nodded.

"There are many others that would've just left him there," Kakashi supplied thoughtfully. Sasuke frowned.

"That's what Tsunade said," he commented. Kakashi chuckled and leant forward.

"It's because it's true. Sasuke, it's vital that Naruto has someone look out for him, and I think you can do that- are you up for it?" Kakashi asked seriously. Sasuke swallowed.

"I'm up for it- I'm just not too sure that Naruto would enjoy my company," he told the older man honestly. Kakashi just hummed thoughtfully.

"This is true- you were a bit of a bastard- but Naruto is kind-hearted and forgiving above anything else. Prove to him that you genuinely want to look out for him and we may eventually make some progress," Kakashi told Sasuke seriously, who just nodded in return, raven bangs swinging slightly.

"What do I need to do?" he asked. Kakashi smiled- at least Sasuke thought he did- and leant forward.

"Make sure he stays out of trouble- at odd times you may need to comfort him, but you might not know when those times come- he's good at hiding his emotions behind a mask," he told the raven, who just nodded in response.

"Anything else?" he asked the silver-haired man.

"At some point, we'll need you to get into his house and record his father abusing him. We need evidence, Sasuke. I'm sure you can guess what happened to him this evening," Kakashi trailed off and Sasuke could only assume the worst.

"Was it his dad?" he asked. Kakashi sighed.

"Where else would he be at such a late hour?" he retorted. Sasuke swallowed, feeling the sting of tears in his eyes. His clenched fist slammed down onto the table, making the teacups hop about.

"DAMMIT!" he roared, trying to calm his tremors.

"He's an idiot! He needs to get away!" he ground out from between his clenched teeth. Kakashi just sighed once more.

"This is why I want you to help. He may not admit it, but Naruto's struggling. Minato suffers from multiple personality disorder and not to mention he's bipolar. Somehow he's managed to keep Naruto out of safety and in the house- but we need Naruto out. When the master's confused, it's the dog that gets hurt," Kakashi commented. Sasuke swallowed and nodded.

"Kakashi- I was looking some stuff up on Naruto-"

"Stalker," the older man quipped with an amused eye. Sasuke just growled.

"I'm being serious. Anyways, I was looking up some stuff and I came across a particular news article. The shoot-out where I lost Father and Itachi; Naruto also lost his mother. Did Itachi ever tell you about a friend called Kyuubi?" the raven asked, curiosity filling his voice. Kakashi hummed in thought, tapping his chin before a scowl overtook his features.

"Ah, yes. That little used to visit Itachi when I was babysitting along with his friend Shukaku!" Kakashi told the teen, leaning onto his hand.

"Always a bunch of brats; knocking lamps over, playing pranks, stealing my books and once they even tried to set a load of fireworks off in your room," Kakashi reminisced with a scowl on his face. Sasuke's eyes widened.

"Do you know what happened to Kyuubi and Shukaku after...the incident?" Sasuke asked, swallowing slightly. Kakashi frowned but decided not to question the questions.

"I heard that Kyuubi and Shukaku ran off together about two weeks afterwards. Why did you want to know?" the silver-haired man asked. Sasuke shrugged- feeling that his hypothesis was correct. If Naruto's father did indeed make those marks, then that itself was substantial evidence- but they needed the boy to cry out for himself, otherwise they'd never be able to protect him. Another beeping noise distracted him from his musings and he turned to see Kakashi pulling out his pager with widened eyes.

"Naruto's in a stable condition- he's unconscious, but stable," he informed the raven. Sasuke nodded and stood up from his place on the chair.

"Which room?" he asked the man. Kakashi held a knowing glint in his eye as he stood up opposite the Uchiha.

"Floor three, Second Wing, room two," Kakashi stated, earning a formal bow in thanks from Sasuke which he returned in kind.

"Thanks for the tea and talk Kakashi but if you'll excuse me, I have an Uzumaki to befriend," he dismissed himself, grabbing his duffle bag from the on-call room as he went. He eventually found the blond's room after many wrong turns and misdirection's given from interns and doubled back slightly from the sight. The blond was connected with a few wires, bandages on his arms, chest, neck and Sasuke was sure that there'd be some on his legs and back too. An oxygen mask was placed over the delicate and small mouth that had long since been in use. Sasuke sucked in a shaky breath and approached the blond, taking residence on the small chair that sat beside the head of the bed. As Sasuke neared the blond, he couldn't help but think about how fragile he looked. Not twelve hours ago he was running around like mad, kicking a ball into a goal but now here he was, delicately linked up to tubes. A pale hand ran gently through blond locks and Sasuke had to steel himself from doing anything else. The childlike innocence was practically screaming to him, demanding affection, attention, control. Sasuke just chuckled and leant down onto the soft blanket slightly.

"Silly dobe. I'll be here to help when you wake up. Don't worry."


*~Teacups and Carousels~*

*~Part I: End~*


So, here we have the first part of 'Teacups and Carousels'. It's really different from what I usually write, and I have a feeling that Sasuke is slightly OOC. Ah well, all I can really do is see if you guys liked it enough to review :3 So, the next part should be out... not so soon- three weeks maybe? I mean, this took me about two weeks to write (I have time limits on my PC plus exams) but as I'm camping all next week... well, yeah.

~Until the next Part